The Chapbook

A little post to enliven you a bit about projects I have long desired to probe into deeper  . . .or a little post to reveal that I have probed into them already. It will also help you to understand why I am so eager to shed the EAR/ONS case and bring it to fruition, and the ‘Zodiac’ Killer case as well.

There are so many mysteries out there that intrigue, but I have been stymied by investigating two of the crime biggies– ZODIAC, which most people have heard of, and  EAR/ONS of which, sadly, until recently not so many have heard; and in terms of the popular press, most still have not heard of him. They are both such overwhelming cases that I have not been able to proceed with many others. Most of you who follow my jottings know that I am already delayed with Then Came the Dawn, the search for Amelia Earhart, The Bermuda Triangle II: an Odyssey, etc, so forth,  and South by Northwest: In Pursuit of D.B. Cooper. But let’s have a look at a few others.

Friday the 13th . . .on Monday– The Camp Scott Girl Scout Murders

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(Photo: Roxann Perkins-Yates)

June 13, 1977:

In some respects the real life precursor to Friday the 13th, which opened with this subtitle “Friday June 13.” In this case, it was Monday, June 13, 1977. This was the murder in very suspicious circumstances of 3 Girl Scouts at Camp Scott, near Locust Grove, Oklahoma. Three girl scouts were somehow plucked from their tent, next to the others at the encampment, and murdered. Their bodies were later found at a fork in the trail by one of the counselors the next morning.  Supposedly, there was even a warning months before that 4 girl scouts would die that summer. The circumstances are suspicious, to say the least, and the murders have gone unsolved. A man was tried for them, and many believe him to have been guilty. But Gene Hart was acquitted. Many could not believe he could have acted alone in the atrocity.

Amityville: The Horror

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Through the gross hype, there is something that happened at Amityville, Long Island, during the time the Lutzes stayed there in 1975. I don’t believe in the paranormal like so many others do. I am often called a “paranormal investigator,” though I am not. I do not mock others for their views. I try and solve mysteries, in many genres, and I am objective enough to see when some things don’t add up.

When something becomes famous, it is preserved in the public forum by only two sides playing a tennis match of comments and counter comments, claims and debunking. Neither side investigates. The topic is reduced to something of popular discourse. I do not investigate popular discourse on a subject. I investigate the subject itself.

Something drove the Lutzes out of that beautiful Dutch colonial;  something they feared they had created or, more precisely, they believed they had unleashed. There were attempts to capitalize on it, unquestionably. But something happened. As an example of to what little extent this has been investigated, I had to be the first to find out what happened to Father Pecoraro. No one even seemed to know when he died. They just said he died. I had to find his death certificate. He is significant. He is the only one outside of the Lutz family that claims something evil, by effect, truly inhabited that house.

The lawsuit trial seemed more like something from an old B&W Frankenstein movie, where the town was too afraid to face the issues. Pecoraro even testified that he heard the voice say “Get out!” when he was blessing the house. But the sensationalism was such that the judge only thought a lot was made up. This seems true, but not all of it was. The formula today tick-tocks between those who believe it was a hoax to those who believe there was truly insensate evil there.

The Skinwalker Murders

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Murders have occurred in Arizona whereby the perpetrator has tried to make it look as if an Indian shapeshifter or shaman was responsible. What is his goal? Is it true ritual murder or is his goal to stir up trouble against the Navajo and Apache? This is one topic that at least gets me out of the 1970s.

The Black Dahlia

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The supreme Crime Noir “Who done it?” A serial killer leaves lots of clues as he develops his gross murder spree. But a single, complex  murder without motive is actually the most difficult crime to solve. The murder of Elizabeth Short in 1947 has all the hallmarks of the act of a serial killer . . . but for one thing: her murder stands alone. She is the only victim to be killed in the gruesome and vengeful that she was. Then she was symbolically displayed in a proletarian neighborhood for the middleclass to see. To see what? To see the fate of this Hollywood wannabe. The murder is sensationalized, but there are very few clues out there. The files remain closed in Los Angeles. The actual location of where her body had been dumped was even lost until I had to find it again.

Cattle Mutilations . . . 

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I prefer physicists rather than UFOlogists to investigate these. There are many factors involved here, but some of the most sensational reflect a physical phenomenon and not abduction, either by helicopter, cultists, or aliens.  One of the few mysteries that keeps me in the present time and not back in the past.

There are more, but these give you an example.

*         *          *

Since 1990 Gian J. Quasar has investigated a broad range of mysterious subjects, from strange disappearances to serial murders, earning in that time the unique distinction of being likened to “the real life Kolchak.” However, he is much more at home with being called The Quester. “He’s bloody eccentric, an historian with no qualifications who sticks his nose into affairs and gets results.” He is the author of several books, one of which inspired a Resolution in Congress.

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ZODIAC’s Echo– HorrorScope– Chapter 15 –Titwillo–

A sneak peak at the first couple of pages of Chapter 15 –“Titwillo”– from HorrorScope.  Still in the rough, but let’s see. . .

 

Now I feel just as sure as I’m sure that my name

Isn’t Willow, titwillow, titwillow,

That ’twas blighted affection that made him exclaim

“Oh, willow, titwillow, titwillow”

 

 

 

It didn’t take long for Zodiac to fade away. His little epilogue in January 1974 really wasn’t much. For almost 5 years he had proved himself nothing but a sporadic and empty braggart. This was 5 years in which society had undergone a huge change in which the Zodiac’s crimes had paled by comparison. The Kodachrome flamboyance of the late 1960s may have gasped at a grandstanding predator haunting lovers’ lanes, but the dim, trash strewn reality of urban decay was to see militant groups like the Symbionese Liberation Army and the bizarre Zebra Killings. San Francisco had been the center of the latter, a crime spree which seemed to come from the pages of Kipling and the deadly Thuggee uprising in the name of Kali. The entire Bay Area was affected by the SLA, who had kidnapped Patty Hearst from Berkeley.

Worst of all, of course, was the fear that these crime sprees could only be vanguards for more urban guerilla uprisings or cult gang murders. Mindset was fueled by anxiety now, and “What’s next?” was the attitude. Altogether the Zodiac, that pudgy braggart who boasted of shooting unarmed teens at petting spots, was relegated to a dated past, and his boasting letters to an archive drawer at SFPD, one of the 9 filing cabinet drawers where Dave Toschi kept everything.

Weeds were waist high in public sidewalks now. White Flight had occurred. Winos walked in fashionable business centers. Post Modern skyscrapers were artless glass boxes whose shadows plunged the classic old downtown buildings into cold obsolescence. Fashion seemed a thing of the past. Unkempt was the hairstyle, long and “casual.” Hip huggers showed too much. What kind of fashion was “afros”? Morality was in the tank. Disco seemed lewd. The new lingo included ‘fuzz,’ ‘foxy,’ and ‘far out.’

Society, as a result, had become overwhelming nostalgic about “How sweet it was” before the counterculture movement of the late 1960s, and the drug, crime infested culture that followed. Movies may have continued to churn out the “dystopia” genre showing a negative post nuclear holocaust future, but TV with its stricter censorship rules found success in catering to the nostalgia. Happy Days, which aired only 2 weeks before Zodiac’s final “Exorcist Letter,” was a tremendous hit, joining The Waltons as the primetime favorites.

The social activist stuff like Room 222 was already fading from the channels. The mainstream was adapting the counterculture attitude only in terms of lifestyle, wanting a much freer social environment but not the constant tambourine beating of philosophy.

Newsmen are like drama critics. They hate a good performance. It makes them struggle to write their reviews. News concentrated on all the bad, but there were sordid things they didn’t think their middleclass audience was ready for. For San Francisco, there was little coverage about a pimp butchering drag queens in the Tenderloin, and the bizarre case of The Doodler was largely swept under the news carpet.

The Doodler Murders were especially sordid. The Black Doodler, as he was also called, was an artistic young black man, probably from nearby George Washington High School, who went into the late night bars of The Castro, the district which was now becoming the center of San Francisco’s nighttime gay culture. He came in with his sketchpad handy, and with this and his charming manner he captivated patrons. He also ingratiated himself. He drew caricatures of them, and at one point some offer was made and they left the bar. Next time the patron would be seen he would be carved up in Golden Gate Park or at Ocean Beach. On more than one occasion the patron survived, with or without slash wounds from The Doodler’s formidable butcher’s knife.

Because there had been survivors, The Doodler was easily identifiable, as you might imagine. However, the three survivors were of prominent positions. One was a “European diplomat,” the other a “nationally known entertainer,” and the last of the three survivors was a “prominent local citizen.” Since these were pick-ups in gay bars, at night, and in such circumstances that they would be classified as “Dinge Queens,” none of the trio wished to admit to anything or any wrongdoing. The prominent citizen left for Texas, the entertainer couldn’t remember and refused to return, and the diplomat insisted no sex had occurred . . . before he went back to Europe.

The diplomat was probably right. There is no evidence from the circumstances that I could uncover to indicate that The Doodler was interested in any dalliance, shall we say. He seemed to want to kill his victims rather than indulge in any erotic interlude. They were found in such circumstances that indicated they were taken completely by surprise by their charming and talented sketch artist before anything had occurred. He either hated gays or . . . no one was really sure. But no charges were ever brought. Seven or 8 victims fell in slashing violence little different than the victims of Norman Bates in Psycho, but SFPD could never get enough information out of the survivors. The Doodler quit . . . and faded away.

The press never demanded any action. These were late night, sordid tenderloin murders. By contrast, the Zodiac had generated metropolitan wide news because he had attacked John and Jane Q. Citizen. The Doodler was a bizarre denizen of a very controversial district in town, and most of the news was covered only in underground gay magazines and newspapers.

In terms of publicity, all the other jurisdictions but San Francisco had long been out of the limelight. Zodiac’s letter writing had kept San Francisco as the center of attention and the center of his publicity campaign. This made the publicity dangerously disproportionate to the meager evidence SFPD had, but since an echo’s strength is dependent on the strength of the original sound it is not surprising San Francisco would always dominate the echo. As echoes also take a while to reverberate, and are only a pale reflection of the original sound, so was the era that was to follow.

*         *          *

Since 1990 Gian J. Quasar has investigated a broad range of mysterious subjects, from strange disappearances to serial murders, earning in that time the unique distinction of being likened to “the real life Kolchak.” However, he is much more at home with being called The Quester. “He’s bloody eccentric, an historian with no qualifications who sticks his nose into affairs and gets results.” He is the author of several books, one of which inspired a Resolution in Congress.

Behind the Franchise — ZODIAC’s Link

Santa Barbara County– the rugged unchanged coastline, the morning fog, the sandstone cliffs. There is no one about in the early morning. The train even appears to be intentionally more quiet than usual.

I am in spirit and mind brought back down south in my search for ZODIAC.  As I await more handwriting samples on the man I have called “Beard” — Wilcox– The Omicron Suspect has excited some possibilities. It requires I go back on the trail of Leigh Allen. No, I do not believe he is the ‘Zodiac’ Killer. Nor do I think there was a conspiracy of more than one man. But Leigh may have been an inadvertent link to the real man, and I think he may have suspected it. It’s a clue anyway, and you know my opinion about clues.

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The first image of “Zodiac,” October 1969

 

Leigh was in the Lompoc region working as a life guard. He was gone by the time of the double murder of Bobby Domingos and his girlfriend Linda Edwards on June 4, 1963. But Leigh knew a wide range of people in the south, both from Cal Poly and from his side jobs. If Bay Area investigators ever thought him a link, they must have dismissed his sojourn down here, thinking, well, this was long before he had his Zodiac watch and the principles of his make-believe game to hunt for people. . . . but this presupposes he did not stay in contact with someone he had known in these parts.

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The public pool in Lompoc, closed now because it is supposedly not earthquake proof. Leigh Allen was a lifeguard here

The Domingos/Edwards double murders show some of the signature of what would become the ‘Zodiac’ Killer’s. But there was no publicity campaign. This is in keeping with ZODIAC’s first Bay Area murder in December 1968, 5 years later. His publicity game wasn’t developed yet. The killer just seemed to enjoy finding youths at remote places and gunning them down.

In the broader and basic form the Domingos/Edwards double murder reflects the ZODIAC’s knowledge of rural places where couples went. ZODIAC most definitely knew main backroads of Vallejo/Benicia and the area around Lake Berryessa. The latter is most significant. He needed a remote but not so remote location in order to stab a couple. How many remote lakes in California have young couples visiting them?  I can’t think of any. It’s not a question of knowing Lake Berryessa. It’s a question of how did he know that students came from Angwin frequently?  That takes having known the location for a while.

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Leigh Allen’s old lifeguard chair.

 

In like manner, how did the Domingos/Edwards killer know that the remote area of Gaviota is where couples went? Yes, people went to fish there. But so did the teens to hang out. It’s someone with local knowledge and knowledge of remote but still visited locations where he might find a couple.  I don’t know if the killer recognized Bobby Domingos’ distinctive car parked on the highway, but he took the chance and walked down the canyon far enough to see a couple on the beach. When that was done he must have walked back up to his car and retrieved the ligatures and his .22 automatic.

I stay behind the scenes usually. I dispassionately investigate through records and then the crime scenes. I seldom encounter members of the victims’ families. I am not a collector of Zodinalia, so to speak. But in Lompoc I met Bobby’s cousin, Brian, and he introduced me to Lee Gnesa, who as a youth had led the highway patrolman to the area in the dark after they had found Bobby’s car parked by Highway 101.  There is no question after speaking with them that the area was known locally to be a hang out. It is also clear how popular the couple were. The murder still affects the area to this day.

There is more than the fact that Leigh once lived down here and formed friendships that drives me on to believe he could be a link with the man who would later call himself the ZODIAC.  But I must start anew for this unnamed suspect. The clues are there. At present I have to go on the assumption he had contact with Allen later on after her moved north.

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A rugged, weathered old coast. There’s only one way down, down the game paths at the mouths of a couple of canyons. Bobby and Linda were sunbathing at the mouth of one canyon, where the beach was etched by the trickle of the canyon stream.

The Lake Herman Road slayings stand out as most similar to the Gaviota murders. ZODIAC used a 10 mag .22 caliber J.C. Higgins Model 80 on Faraday and Jensen. Faraday tried to fight him and lost. ZODIAC shot Jensen on the run and grouped his shots. Bobby fought his assailant and both he and Linda fled. Both were shot numerous times with a .22 caliber automatic pistol.  There was no gloating to police after each attack. It was 7 months after the Lake Herman Road murders that ZODIAC begins his terror campaign.

If he committed both sets of murders, he evolved into the ZODIAC only after coming north and learning the Vallejo area, and perhaps after renewing friendship with Leigh Allen.

 

*         *          *

Since 1990 Gian J. Quasar has investigated a broad range of mysterious subjects, from strange disappearances to serial murders, earning in that time the unique distinction of being likened to “the real life Kolchak.” However, he is much more at home with being called The Quester. “He’s bloody eccentric, an historian with no qualifications who sticks his nose into affairs and gets results.” He is the author of several books, one of which inspired a Resolution in Congress.

Dropped Note: The Disappearance of Glenn Miller

Boy, the way Glenn Miller played

Songs that made the hit parade

Guys like us we had it made

Those were the days. . .

Unlike Amelia Earhart, Big Band leader Glenn Miller’s mysterious disappearance has not generated the lasting fame necessary to have made his last flight the object of book after book, theory after theory. His disappearance was final, unlike that of famed aviatrix Amelia Earhart. Twenty years after her disappearance claims arose that Earhart had been taken to the island of Saipan and eventually executed by the Japanese. Others jumped onto this hit parade and created Earhart into both the first victim of WWII and the center of a living conspiracy theory. Glenn Miller vanished and, while questions remain, he was never given a sensational epilogue. He was subject to an assumption, and that was all.

Glenn Miller had forsaken his role as the King of Swing in 1942 and joined the Army. Some of his men came with him, the rest he organized from Army men. The Big Band era had joined the army. By 1944 he was a major, and a huge influence on army morale. He vanished on a dull December day in 1944 while enroute from the south of England to Paris, France, in reparation to bring his band across the Channel to entertain the troops. Miller4

Despite the foggy, cold weather, it was perhaps the best time to travel. The war was in a lull. The Ardennes Offensive had not yet begun. Soldiers lazily sang Christmas carols along the Belgian border. There was no real Luftwaffe anymore to worry about. Yet despite the first real respite since the Normandy invasions, there was no search for the famed band musician after his plane failed to arrive at Paris. This would later become a source of embarrassment for the Army Air Force. One of the most famous civilians in the AAF simply vanished without trace or reason, and to this day no one knows what happened.

This post will touch the possibility that Miller did not go down over the Channel, as is often thought. Hitherto this has merely been an assumption.

It was December 15, 1944. Though Glenn Miller did not like to fly, he decided he would go to Paris to arrange for the band to follow and prepare its tour for the men in the war zone. The best plane available was a relatively small aircraft– a Norseman. It was, in fact, quite a large high wing aircraft, but it was not a particularly heavily built aircraft. The pilot was to be John Morgan. Joining him for the flight was a “groundpounder” colonel, Norman Baessell. They drove from Milton Earnest Hall, where Miller was billeted, to RAF field Twinwood. They were escorted to the plane by Don Haynes, the band’s administrative officer. “Where are the parachutes?” Haynes recalls Miller asking. To this Baessell replied: “What’s the matter, Miller? You want to live forever?”

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The Norseman  cleared the fog and sailed on overhead.

Glenn Miller and his companions never arrived in Paris, and it seems no real alert was raised for days that they were missing.

By this time the “Battle of the Bulge” was underway. It was the last and greatest Nazi counteroffensive of the war since the Normandy invasions. US troops were falling back. The Germans were driving to the coast to cut the American advance in half and force an evacuation. They were ultimately trying to reverse the Normandy invasion. The Allies knew it, and they knew this was serious.

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Milton Earnest Hall

The result was that America’s most famous band leader– the man who truly defined the Big Band sound and the entertainment of a generation– vanished and was never searched for. When the Allies could take a breather after the Battle of the Bulge, it had to be deduced that Miller’s Norseman went down in the Channel, probably having iced-up and plunged like a rock. They obviously never had time to send a mayday. No one was questioned about the loss. Miller’s things were gathered up to be shipped back to his family.

Blaming the Battle of the Bulge can only go so far, however, for this oversight. This battle began the next day on December 16, 1944. The December 15 was a lazy day. The Channel was rung with radar. It had been since the Battle of Britain. Spotters lined the coast. Ships were out over the Channel acting like radar pickets. The allied coast of France was a radar web. This was a war zone. Why no reports of Miller’s plane falling from radar? Or even reports of an unidentified aircraft? Or was no one asked? Could it be the plane never got that far?

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Herb Miller, Glenn’s brother, felt they had been given the runaround by the Air Force. Something was just not right.

A report, you’d think, would contain any reference to radar commands reporting an unidentified aircraft. Yet in any true sense of the word there was no report. It seems the Air Force wasn’t really sure about the flight. A report of downed aviators was to be made within 48 hours, and yet Miller’s plane was not listed as missing until 20th of December and a report was made on the 23rd that didn’t contain much. A physical search was not made. The Battle of the Bulge was raging now. But why had nothing been done that lazy day of December 15?

Decades later those who felt they should have been contacted had finally been heard to speak about it. A couple of them, including Dixie Clerk, the radio operator at Twinwood, appeared on In Search of in 1979. She expressed her surprise that the plane did not clear the circuit, that is, the pilot did not report that he was airborne and finally heading south. There were only two reasons why a plane would not respond to a call, she said. Its radio wasn’t working or it had gone down. She did not believe that the pilot would head over the Channel with such an important person as Glenn Miller without a working radio. She later called Coastal Command to inquire and they replied they had no report of such an aircraft (and apparently no radar ever picked up the flight). Consequently, she believed the flight had gone down in the nearby Chiltern Hills.

The Chiltern Hills were an aircraft graveyard. Many aircraft had crashed during wartime maneuvers or fell out of dog fights overhead. To the time of that show (1979), there had been over 100 aircraft wrecks found in those hills and many more aircraft had been known to vanish there.

However, over 2 decades later there would be another discovery– the log of an aircraft spotter. In it for that day he lists seeing a Norseman heading east southeast.  This seems to be Miller’s plane. The location, however, near Reading, proves the Norseman was already south of the Chiltern Hills.

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It would seem that Glenn Miller could only have vanished over the Channel . . . unless the Norseman went down in some forest south of where the spotter reported seeing the plane. One thing bears on this. It seems that Morgan did not have a working radio. But when did he realize this, if ever? If it was before the Channel he might have diverted to another base, crashing in the foggy wilderness before they arrived. He may have braved the Channel with a famous band leader and a huffy colonel, but would he have done so without radio? He would be an unidentified target on radar, with no means of identifying himself. If Coastal Command couldn’t identify him, they would contact spotters and have them look at the flight. For radar commands in France, I can’t imagine they wouldn’t vector interceptors. Would Morgan risk flying into a war zone without being able to identify himself? To believe this one must assume Morgan didn’t know his radio wasn’t working.

The maintenance man, Arnold Bruhns, also spoke on camera, saying that the Norseman did have de-icing aboard, but this contradicts what was thought about the plane.

So did Morgan head over the Channel without a functioning radio, without anti-icing, and simply plunge them into the cold Channel? That is the only alternative that we have unless the Norseman crashed in the forests in the south of England or in the north of France.

Unknown to her, Dixie Clerk’s call to Coastal Command was probably a major portion of the search. The rest must have been various routing commands calling airfields to see if they had landed and failed to report in, and this may have been days later. But it seems to be true that no radar command had ever picked up the Norseman over the Channel, and due to the war the Channel was scoured by radar waves.glenn-miller-in-uniform

Did Glenn Miller vanish in the south of England?

My mother had me later in life than most moms. She was 20 years old when Miller  had vanished. As I grew up in the nostalgic 1970s I remember listening to her Big Band Glenn Miller records. We still have them. It’s been forever since I’ve listened to them. But Glenn Miller still touched the 1970s. His era became a part of my generations’ life. We saw the nostalgia of our parents and grandparents. We looked back and viewed the era of the 1930s-50s as a special time, a time before the dark world of the 1970s and post counterculture drug culture. Our childhood was a time that saw middle age men go back in time and visit significant areas where they had fought or had been stationed during the great WW two.  The beginning and ending of Twelve O’clock High rather captures it the best.

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When we were kids in the 1970s, our uncles and aunts were graying 50+.  Their youth was preserved for us in old black and white photographs, often in uniform. WWII seemed so long ago, but in the 1970s they were the age we are now, and we don’t feel so old. Their youth truly wasn’t that far from them. In their lives since they were 20 they fought WWII and saw the world change to the morality and technology of the 1970s. That was 30 years of a lot of change, sudden change and drastic change. No wonder there was so much nostalgia.

In Search of  ended in like manner. To the s0ft tune of Moonlight Serenade we saw a decrepit Twinwood Field. “Once this field echoed with the roar of spitfire fighters and the cadence of marching troops,” narrated Nimoy. “Thousands of men departed from here for the battlefields of Europe.” In a barrack’s command room, roof now gone and rafters crawling with vines, there was a plaque commemorating Glenn Miller amidst the neglect. “Many of these men were touched by the music and the memory of a fellow soldier who never returned.” Only for a brief moment did the camera look out again at a seedy, empty field that was once an active, bustling airfield chocked with aircraft.

Glenn Miller and his era were certainly gone, but his music and his mystery remained.

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*         *          *

Since 1990 Gian J. Quasar has investigated a broad range of mysterious subjects, from strange disappearances to serial murders, earning in that time the unique distinction of being likened to “the real life Kolchak.” However, he is much more at home with being called The Quester. “He’s bloody eccentric, an historian with no qualifications who sticks his nose into affairs and gets results.” He is the author of several books, one of which inspired a Resolution in Congress.

Michelle McNamara — 2016.

Queries are coming in, and even search terms are using “quester died.”  I am still alive. I have been told, however, that Michelle McNamara has passed away at the age of 46. With LA Magazine behind her she was able to get some very interesting pictures released of EAR crime scenes from the Stockton Police, which she used in her articles. She created interest in the case several years ago, as it was still struggling for recognition.

Very sad to hear that she passed away at only 46 years of age. Other than this I have no details.

She is one in a long line, now just 2 months short of 40 years, who has sought the identity of The Night Predator.

RIP.

 

 

EAR & Niguel Shores

I’ve been asked a number of times about this attack and this community. EAR had struck in Goleta, then Ventura, and then following his Contra Costa Corridor MO he struck the furthest south that he intended to go– he struck near Dana Point.

Remember, a vital part of investigating a crime is the reenactment, at least the way I combine the methods of the French police and Scotland Yard. Unfortunately, I was not able to get into the restricted community. I know of only one who has pursued EAR who has gotten in and had a camera ready. She has given me permission to share her photos, so I thought this would be a good place.

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It is a significant clue that EAR got into a gated community– not on the night of the attack but prior to this in order to do his stalking in order to refine whom he would strike. EAR devoted quite some time to his prowling, and when it came to his murders he waited about 2.5 months in between them at least. Was he learning new territory? More likely he knew he could not afford to strike as frequently when committing the ultimate crime. He took even more precautions. As a rapist he had struck with alarming frequency. He did not seem to have to feed his thrill as much when he went down south in October 1979. Anticipation probably nurtured him. He retained his cool, calculated stalking MO, using Highway 101 and 5 in the same manner as he used Highway 680 in Contra Costa.

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The street seen from Leeward

 

Niguel Shores is a sprawling complex of a development. EAR struck a corner house, with the backyard accessible from one of the main roads– Leeward. This makes it seem likely he jumped a backyard fence on Stonehill Road, a road outside of the gated community. Where did he park? This I do not know, but probably down Stonehill or even further on.

How did he even find the community? I don’t know. But as was common to his MO he struck in an area under construction. He could have easily entered the community during the day posing as a construction worker. \They may have had night security– EAR may have worked that–but I don’t think EAR wanted any real, tangible connection to any of the places where he struck.

Nevertheless, he was able to prowl out a couple that fit. I can’t say it had to be a couple. He had attacked women individually. He would soon start to kill women individually. I must deduce it was the woman that he was attracted to.  The husband was simply in the way and EAR had no problem getting rid of what he viewed as a slight nuisance.

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All this and more faced the villain that night.

 

Niguel Shoes was not a heavily trafficked area, not at night and with gates on the community. EAR did not have to worry about being seen coming or going. The community was off Highway 5, just before it heads into open terrain at San Clemente all the way to the San Diego area. It was his last safe location to strike. EAR did not like to standout on a lonely highway after leaving the scene of a crime.

I must impress the arrogance of such a killer upon you. These were not murders of passion or those done in an insane rage. EAR carefully stalked, chose his victim, and then maneuvered the events of that deadly night the way he wanted. Equally, he stealthily escaped.

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Aerials don’t reveal the uneven terrain. All this had to be negotiated at night.

EAR had to know the area well enough to negotiate the uneven roads, embankments and then fences at night. From Stonehill up to the community it is quite an incline, through a backyard, across Leeward, and then up the embankment to the house. Then, after the double murder, to negotiate this all the way back.  10847724_1606290172942132_7177266732240091825_o

EAR also had to make sure beforehand that there was a killing weapon about. He didn’t come with one. This suggests to profilers that the crime was not intended. But we know in this case it was. He made sure to kill his victims with a bludgeon he knew to be on the site already. He came and went without weapon. He left no prints. It was only DNA that would identify him about 2 decades later. He was that careful. If he was stopped, for any reason, there would be nothing on him the police would find to link him to a crime that night.

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Niguel Shores is quite the clue. EAR did not strike gated communities. He did strike upscale communities, but still this was a huge distance from where he had begun in the So. Cal area. This was the south terminus of a north-south killing field between here Santa Barbara. In between he would strike in Irvine. That’s a lot of driving. He would stay close to the main highways. Never 405, always 101 and 5.

Since EAR seems to have killed his first couple down south by shooting them in unexpected circumstances, I have suggested that when he turned to bludgeoning he was trying to imitate the Bedroom Basher, who was the current scourge.  Perhaps so, perhaps not. In any event, part of his prowling was to determine that a bludgeoning tool would be handy.  If he had a gun on him, he never intended to use it.

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Despite this murder being about 36 years ago, there is no reason to not be enraged at the calculated brutality of a young man who was so arrogant he made this his past time for the better part of 10 years. He was so careful and that clever it took a full 20 years for law enforcement to link him to all the crimes now attributed to him.  The crime spree of the EAR aka Original Night Stalker or The Night Predator is not one of those that can be allowed to go unsolved. We can’t just shrug and say it was a long time ago.

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Since 1990 Gian J. Quasar has investigated a broad range of mysterious subjects, from strange disappearances to serial murders, earning in that time the unique distinction of being likened to “the real life Kolchak.” However, he is much more at home with being called The Quester. “He’s bloody eccentric, an historian with no qualifications who sticks his nose into affairs and gets results.” He is the author of several books, one of which inspired a Resolution in Congress.

EAR and the Lake . . .

It’s a matter of perspective. No one can simply draw a perfect map of a location from walking it on the ground floor. EAR’s mysterious map, complete with a home second from the corner blacked out (as if to indicate the pending target), shows many stylized elements and even doodles which are not necessary. Details such as vents in nearby shopping center roofs were things to scribble while wistfully contemplating his next victim. He no doubt lived in his mind as he pictured himself stalking through the dark to the home.

The area was under constructio0n, according to EAR’s map, which fit his then-MO of striking in new communities. This makes it even harder to spot today, even with Google Earth.

EAR lived in an era in which no such Bird’s Eye view was attainable, and maps did not exist of communities under construction. So he walked and drove the development, and as best as possible drew his map. It was enough for him. He already knew where he’d park. Which lanes he’d take. The house he intended. But the map was no carbon copy. Possibly it was accurate only insofar as the lanes he walked, and it leaves out many others that were not relevant and would only confuse things on paper.

The lake, as it stood, had a grassy area around it– the houses were not built with their backyards onto the lake. This is rare for Calif.

It takes perspective, and it takes walking an area to see if one cannot develop the same sense of proportion and direction that he had.

In all the EAR’s Contra Costa Corridor attacks he hit each town at least twice. . .except for Fremont. I have puzzled about that, assuming that his second intended strike there was scheduled for after his botched No 49 in Danville.  Instead he fled south. Or, another possibility, is that perhaps he did strike a second time in Fremont and his second victim refused to admit to it.  . . .Or it could be that Fremont was avoided because EAR fled. The map could be referring to a place in Fremont.

I have searched Fremont, for years, of course. I visited the Honda Way attack. It has the unholy trinity EAR used — CATS, canal, walking path. But I would encourage any of those in the Bay Area who follow the EAR crimes spree to visit Ramsgate Dr. and walk about. Take some pics. See if you can begin to get a feel for the area.  Elements match the map,  though by no means exactly. But don’t let the map be your guide. Walk about and make mistakes. How would you draw the location purely from your perspective while walking around?

Ramsgate

EAR’s map shows a lake, but which part of it? It doesn’t show an island, but then a couple of corners of the lake are pretty large and on a map could look like a small lake unto themselves, with the island forming the other bank.

The lake development was under construction in 1979, as Historic Aerials proves. Fortunately there was an overflight that very year. This proves worthy of pursuit. If in essence it is the area, which house would qualify as the victim’s house?

Do you know who the developer was? I don’t think you’ll be too surprised.

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Since 1990 Gian J. Quasar has investigated a broad range of mysterious subjects, from strange disappearances to serial murders, earning in that time the unique distinction of being likened to “the real life Kolchak.” However, he is much more at home with being called The Quester. “He’s bloody eccentric, an historian with no qualifications who sticks his nose into affairs and gets results.” He is the author of several books, one of which inspired a Resolution in Congress.