The case of the Night Predator is growing still. It is entering the mainstream more and more, and hopefully folklore will not overwhelm it like other cases. I firmly believe in the arts and the ability within art to communicate on many levels, without words, to stimulate the release of feelings and inspire us to evolve concepts. I communicate with you now intellectually, overtly. But art probes into deeper layers than just into the mind. It opens the door at the very centers of the living. I suppose what I am saying is there is the letter and the spirit.
It has taken a lot to get at the letter of the EAR/ONS crimes. Those who follow my work know how far and wide I had to travel just to find the locations and then assess more than just the location of the house in the neighborhood. With the Night Predator one has to figure why he parked where he did and then why he changed parking later, then why on the night of the attack he is often completely invisible. One has to figure how he carefully closed-in and finally selected a victim or how he took advantage of an opportunity. Enough said. You all understand how complex and incessant his prowling was.
No documentary or film will ever achieve the perfect letter, but I have hopes one will be made that captures the spirit of the Night Predator’s attacks. I have likened him to the real life Michael Myers because he was unnatural, because he simply just appeared out of nowhere, and because he was unstoppable. He was also only known by his masks, a couple of times just a ghostly sheet over of his head, like Myers standing in the doorway assessing how to dispatch his unwary victim in Halloween. No commercial enterprise can liken him to that figure, since that is a copyrighted franchise, but I think it helps us to visualize just what he was really like.
EAR was not just a rapist. His victims are adamant that this be known. He was a sexual terrorist, but even that was just a fraction of what he did. He was a monster, a monster of dichotomies. He sent whole communities into a panic and yet disappeared to history. True Crime buffs really didn’t think there was anybody left in the pantheon of evil who could in substance outdo Jack the Ripper and ZODIAC for cunning and evil. But more and more are discovering The Night Predator. Compared to EAR, those other villains don’t come close. But EAR’s crime load is mindboggling. There weren’t 5 victims. Times that by 10.
Still so many struggle with the irony that he had been forgotten, a villain who left dozens shattered in his wake and several jurisdictions scratching their heads.
We’ve debated it many times– it is because he has a terrible moniker (merely an acronym), or because he was classified as a rapist only, and that topic doesn’t seem to carry with it any real enticing mystery for people to crack. We love mystery. Our minds dwell on it until it is solved. Curiosity is healthy. It is why we learn. Mystery murders captures our attention more, and EAR’s murders attract much more attention. But they came much later in his thrill game of terror.
No one disagrees that EAR left the most clues early on. He appeared only a young punk stalking neighborhoods and invading houses. But he was clearly sophisticated enough already to get away with it.
EAR’s hang-up phone calls reveal many clues, but they haven’t led to him. He was obsessive and careful, this we know. But still, how did he get so many phone numbers?– not just of the potential victims but of neighbors as well. He must have had a thick black book wherein he kept them.
We come back to an early attack today, the 40th anniversary of Attack No 3, one of the most bizarre attacks in EAR’s litany of terror. It occurred 2 doors from Attack No 1. No one could know a this time that EAR limited his appearances in a neighborhood to an initial period and targeted (potentially) several victims. Then he’d return at intervals and strike. Thus when the investigators canvassed the neighborhood asking about suspicious persons seen, it may have been weeks since he had actually been in the neighborhood until the attack, and then most of it was prowling at night.
We have a glimpse with Attack No. 1. She had felt that a midsized American car had stalked the neighborhood. This is possible. EAR had not yet begun. He wasn’t as careful yet and he may have been seen. For No. 3 we have nothing. He appeared at the second daughter’s window in early morning hours and quietly wedged the screen until her head pooped up from her bed and she looked into his cold eyes. He stared at her and then slowly sank down out of view. Rushing to mom to tell her brought her mother back to her room, there to see the figure in the window, still wedging the screen. He popped down and as they rushed forward to look the mom saw him run to the back of the yard. This still didn’t stop him. He came back, plowed through the window somehow, and there appeared in the kitchen, gun in hand and leather padded baton in the other, ordering the mother to put the phone receiver down. You know the rest.
Dusk hangs over Malaga Way, Rancho Cordova. EAR walked along here 40 years ago, naked from the waist down and disappeared into the shadows after the attack. Which direction did he go?
The fact he ran toward the back of the yard rather tells us he came from Del Rey Court, the cul de sac behind Malaga and Paseo. When he walked away down Malaga he must have soon dropped into a yard, popped over the fence and was back into the yard or vacant house behind the area. How he got his pants on and got away before the sheriffs cruised the neighborhood nobody knows.
But when EAR grouped his attacks as he did at Paseo and Malaga, his very first, it became an indication he didn’t know the neighborhood. He selected a few potential victims and then came back over spans of time. He had stalked enough to know where he could lurk before and after attacks, how to escape undetected and most of all how to master getting in the victims’ homes first.
At first, the investigators thought he was a local, but as his crime scene evolved it seems that even here in the very beginning he already had developed a pattern he would maintain. It is one that reveals he wasn’t too familiar with the area at all. Paseo and Malaga are main thoroughfares in the residential area, and Paseo is a quick way to Highway 50. This would be EAR’s modus operandi in all but a few places in Carmichael across the American River.
EAR may have goofed at No. 1 on Paseo by trying to cut the phone line from outside, but he was certainly a skilled prowler already, one with an overriding stratagem on how to assess communities first and foremost before he got specific with neighborhoods.
The attack on No. 3 reveals an inexpert but strangely unrelenting attacker on a home, but a prowler who could transpose right back into the night again undetected. This is his crime spree in a nutshell. He escalated to murderer and then, amazingly, being the No 1 serial offender in history, he accomplished disappearing to history, leaving behind over 60 victims and now millions to wonder who he was and where is he now.
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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.