Although I usually blog on art, today I felt like dwelling on a topic that my novel concentrates on: killers. One thing I find strange in my life is all of the weird too-close-range circumference of killers and personal experiences with some of them. Here are examples, below Ted Bundy.
First of all, my parents lived in Ann Arbor, MI and went to school there during the absolutely terrifying serial murders by John Norman Collins. The all comprehensive book on this can be found here. My father was in the Navy, so my mom might have spent some of this time alone in Ann Arbor. Around this time, she had me, and we left Ann Arbor soon after. The next place we went to, apart from Hawaii briefly for naval duty, was Hayward, California. Ted Bundy wasn’t there but Edmund Kemper (the Co-Ed Killer) was, murdering women around Santa Cruz and Berkeley, which is right next to…Hayward. We then moved back to Ann Arbor where we lived a few years. Around the end of this time, Ted Bundy came through Ann Arbor for a night. We may have just left Ann Arbor, I believe.
We lived in a quiet suburb after that, in Oakland County, outside of Detroit. I used to walk to elementary school and even middle school, which was a good mile. We did tend to go in twos but sometimes you went alone. I was a latchkey kid from the age of 9, coming home and then waiting for my parents for a couple of hours. Nothing happened except for a weird incident at the mall where a pedophile seemed to come on to me but luckily I was with a group of other kids. All the same, I was terrified by that.
I found out just this year that while I was living there there WERE things going on because it was the time of the Oakland County Child Killer. Kids were being molested and held as captives, then murdered, then their bodies dumped, one from my own small town, and then others from the towns close by. It was easy for the killer to evade the police because he was dumping their bodies in snowdrifts where they froze. It took time to find the bodies as a result so the killer was always one step ahead and to this day they have not confirmed his identity. Luckily, I was unaware of what was going on. (I wonder if my parents themselves had any idea.)
Eventually, I came back and went to college in Ann Arbor. During this period, along with a boyfriend who stalked me and a co-worker who sexually harassed me nights at the hotel where we worked, I also lived for a while in a house in which several tenants were psychotic. Don’t ask me how I had this bad luck. I simply had waited too long to find living arrangements that year and the houses and apartments had all filled up. My roommate and I got a flat on a top floor of a ramshackle house. As soon as we moved in, we realized that no fewer than four tenants in this boarding house were mentally off the grid. One woman walked around with a white rat on her shoulder. A second boarder befriended us with a very strange looking tuna dish. I felt sorry for him as he really seemed very isolated and probably mentally disturbed, but I was afraid of being anywhere alone with him at the same time, and he was also an exceedingly large man. His room was downstairs from mine, so I had to pass it going up or down the building, which alone was enough to sometimes make my hair stand on end. In addition to this tenant, a third tenant was flat out medicated, never opened his door, and was in some sort of comatose state from very heavy antipsychotic medication probably. And then there was the fourth tenant.
There had been some strange phone calls. Then, finally, one day around the end of graduation, I was packing to go home, when I heard a beating on the walls. This was a ramshackle apartment on the third floor of this house and I often felt like it would literally slide off the second floor, especially if there were an earthquake. The banging on the walls continued and then I turned around. In the back of the house was an emergency escape ladder that spanned the ground to the third floor. There was a small door from our apartment to access the escape ladder. And as I turned around, there was the delusional fourth tenant, pounding on the window of the door, staring in at me. I screamed and didn’t know what to do. I was not ABOUT to try to get out of the house, which would not only mean running past the other weird tenants but also this one might run INTO the house again or wait for me by the front door. There was no way to know if he was violent, but it didn’t look great. So I did what any girl would do. I called my ex-boyfriend who also stalked me.
The ex-boyfriend was himself troubled. He’d had a rough life, had taken one too many uppers, drank, was paranoid, had bipolar episodes, and was morbidly jealous and physically threatening, thus ex-boyfriend. But he stalked me the following year. But he was certainly not going to let his ex girlfriend get stalked by someone else. He came over immediately and went into the house. By this time my father had arrived to pick me up and take me home. As he came to the house to pick up my things, he ran into the ex boyfriend stalker and the third tenant, who was screaming at us that ex-boyfriend had broken into his room and threatened him when he had done nothing to me. The loony fourth tenant was nowhere to be seen.