Because he was so prolific in his prowling, stalking and attacking, and yet remained so phantom-like we have developed an understandable obsession with what EAR/ONS truly looked like at any given time in his long crime spree. Most of the composites show a “suspicious person” seen in the neighborhood. This could truly be anybody. Some show shoulder length hair. Most show shorter hair. When it comes to some of his features we can only speculate, but when it comes to his hair we can make some deductions.
We can look outside of composites at a few clues. Old cars were associated with someone stalking the respective neighborhoods where EAR would strike. In the case of Attack 40 on Montclair Place (Oct 28, 1978), the occupant of a car cruising the San Ramon cul-de-sac was seen to have short hair. This fit with an odd clue that police detectives uncovered at the scene of Attack 38 (Oct. 7, 1938)– a security guard’s badge was found dropped on the neighbor’s lawn. Did EAR drop this badge by mistake? Did he use it as a cover, lest he be seen and stopped? No one with long hair could get away with claiming he was a security guard.
On May 16, 1979, in a neighborhood perfect for an EAR attack (Danville), a woman came in from her garage (where she was doing laundry) and found a jogger walking through her living room. He was dressed in the usual jogging outfit and wore a black Navy skullcap. He bolted. There is no mention he had any noticeably long hair.
Richard Shelby writes of the prowler seen at El Capitan and Allegheny (just north of the previous witness sighting) in Danville the night of the attack on #46 (June 11, 1979). The description is a little radical to the description of EAR in height, but then it was nighttime. But Shelby notes that the hair on the prowler came to the nape of the neck– so not even midline.
In the Davis Co-Ed attack (#34) on June 7, 1978, recall that the victim saw him from behind and noted that the tag of his T-shirt was showing, indicating he had put his T-shirt on wrong-side-out. The stocking he wore over his head came to the nape of his neck. She did not note long hair. He also wore the skullcap on top– another great way to hide his hair color, which could show through the stocking.
Earlier sketches and police kit composites overwhelmingly show a young man with short to relatively short hair and a somewhat long face. Other than that EAR really has no other distinguishing features. He was a rather bland looking young man. No excessively large nose protruded from the ski masks. His eyes were given various colors by victims. He always disguised his voice.
In sum, EAR’s hair seemed to be short, parted on the right, and it grew out to the center of his neck. He liked the night and he may have masqueraded as a security guard, which required relatively short hair.
Today, this does help a bit, even though it is 40 years on now. It tells us a bit about him back then, and it tells us into what kind of society he could transpose during the day when finished with his night prowlings. It may even help jog people’s memory for back then. I think EAR/ONS was clever enough that he knew he had to look like the unsuspected lest he be stopped or seen when scouting a neighborhood. This means no long hair. This means nothing that should alert people’s suspicion. It obviously worked. For 40 years he has remained the unsuspected.
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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 or Q Man. “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.