I was at the bank today, and I was complimenting the tellers on their costume choices. One was a Star Wars stormtrooper, which wasn’t really done very well…but the other gal dressed up as Link from the Zelda video games and really nailed it. They asked me what my costume was and I told them I was a serial killers since “they look just like one of us”. One of them said she was fascinated by serial killers and I asked her if she had heard of Missoula’s very own serial killer, Wayne Nance. I’d met Doug Welles, the fella that cancelled Nance’s birth certificate, years ago and heard a little about it from him, and a lot from people who knew Welles. So i told them what I knew and it turned into some sort of ghost story scenario, these three bank tellers raptly leaning over the counter listening.
Then I told them the details of cannibal child-killer Nathan Bar Jonah (famous for serving children to his neighbors at potlucks). Turns out the guy who runs the coin shop across the street from me is the retired cop who arrested Bar Jonah. Again, he told me all the inside details and creepy stuff that was found (and suspected) in Bar Jonahs apartment. As I recounted it, the tellers just stood there, eyes wide, hanging on every word.
Interesting that Montana had a couple serial killers within such a short time. To be fair, though, Bar Jonah was an import (or, more accurately, an export) from Massachusetts.
Over in Idaho, the equally despicable child killer Joe Duncan came to light when he hammered a family to death and stole their kids. Unfortunately, he’s still alive because no one did the reasonable thing when his actions became known.
If you’re into the macabre histories and body counts, two extremely notable serial killers are Ed Gein (the inspiration for Norman Bates of ‘Psycho’ fame), Albert Fish, and H.H.Holmes. If you want to read a fictional thriller about chasing down a Victorian era serial killer, ‘The Alienist‘ was an enjoyable book. (And, I hear, on its way to becoming a movie.) And if you want a movie, I highly recommend “Manhunter” (1986), which introduced Hannibal Lecter to the world. (The book, Harris’ “Red Dragon”, was extremely good.)
But..hey..it’s Halloween. Best not to dwell too closely on what a human being can do when he’s got a couple crossed wires.
Human beings are fabulously dangerous critters when they want to be. Sometimes you get one who has a couple wires crossed, or someone who has been so damaged by life that they just aren’t safe to be around decent folks. They’re out there….working in furniture stores, passing you on the street as they walk to work, filling your prescriptions… never can tell.
Which is why we have hollowpoints.