John Wayne Gacy’s profile
The moniker at the bottom of pages says that I printed out the Wickedpedia (AB’s term) write-up on John Wayne Gacy, the alleged serial killer, on December 6, 2020. At some point along the line I had stumbled upon him and saw that he was said to have had 33 victims. That signal in mind, I printed out the 51 page report, and began to absorb it. I wanted it to speak to me without my having preformed conclusions. I’ve been looking at it off and on, just letting it settle in.
Gacy’s known victims were young boys and men, the youngest 14 and the oldest 21. The killings took place from 1972 to 1978, and appear to have become more frequent as time went on. It is like an FBI profiler’s dream come true. In 2007 Malcolm Gladwell wrote about the art and science of profiling for The New Yorker, and I think he got it right, that it is an overblown hobby more often misdirecting than aiding in pursuit of a criminal. (Dangerous Minds.) Often enough, a profile can fit hundreds, if not thousands of potential suspects. But whoever wrote the tale of John Wayne Gacy was surely caught up on the idea. This is from Wiki:
“Gacy was close to his mother and two sisters, but endured a difficult relationship with his father, an alcoholic who was physically abusive to his wife and children. His father also belittled him, calling him “dumb and stupid” and comparing him unfavorably with his sisters. One of Gacy’s earliest memories was being beaten with a leather belt for accidentally disarranging car engine components his father had assembled. His mother tried to shield her son from his father’s abuse, which only resulted in accusations that he was a “sissy” and a “Mama’s boy” who would “probably grow up queer“. Despite his mistreatment, Gacy still loved his father, but felt he was “never good enough” in his father’s eyes.”
In days past, before the current era of high quality films made for various TV channels, there were two genres of movies – made for theaters, and made for TV. The latter were usually poorly written and acted with easily predicted endings, as a murderer confessing “My father locked me in the closet!” Gacy’s Wiki history has that schlocky feel about it, written by a profiler and performed by B-list actors. But for the early paragraphs of this post I am going to treat it all as real, allowing it to fall apart on its own in the end.
Means and methods
All of Gacy’s victims were treated to gruesome deaths, most by suffocation, only one by a weapon other than a garrote. Gacy lured them to his house under false pretense, and then would (most likely) take them from behind by strangling in some manner. One or two escaped, which should have alerted police to a house of horrors, but did not. Socks were stuffed down victims’ throats, and a medicine bottle shoved up the anus of one. Since Wiki states that Gacy served time in Iowa for sodomy of a young boy, there does seem to be an anal theme in the writing of this story. That should be researched – even if fiction, the writer appears to have a fixation. Perhaps we can get an FBI expert to profile the writer, perhaps remove him from proper society.
The victims were placed in the crawl space under Gacy’s home 8213 W. Summerdale Ave., Chicago (since demolished with a new home in its place). Twenty-nine of his thirty-three victims were found there, and by his confession two more had been tossed off a bridge into the Des Plaines River. Gacy spread bags of lime over the victims in the crawl space to retard the decomposition process.
As a young boy I was once following a cat and saw him go under the house next door through a crawl space. I followed him in there and, crawling on my belly, soon came nose-to-nose with a dead rat. You can imagine the speed with which I was able to crawl backward and out of the place. You can perhaps then sense my skepticism about 29 corpses that lay under Gacy’s house, putrefying, attracting all manner of scavengers. The smell would have engulfed the entire house and spread beyond the walls of the compound, attracting dogs, coyotes, raccoons and cats along with perhaps neighborhood children, curious like me as I pursued that cat. And rats. The corpses would have been a rat magnet.
I began so suspect something afoul here beyond odors. The Wiki piece is focused on Gacy and his means and methods, and says little of the families involved. Imagine, however, that you’re a set of parents, and your son goes missing. You begin to ask around, and eventually call the police. The police begin to see a pattern in the fact that a large number of young boys have gone missing. Eventually a task force is formed, and a full-scale investigation ensues, with detectives questioning everyone involved with the boys. With investigators in full state of alert, they make lists and cross-reference and then maybe stumble on a lead that takes them to Gacy’s place of work, where several of the boys and he crossed paths. (Perhaps they could interview the ones who got away.)
None of this happened. It appears as though Gacy was beneath the radar of law enforcement and even neighbors, only one of whom noticed anything afoul, that being only noise, not odors.
A Jungian archetype? [See PS at the end on this subject]
Gacy was active in politics, Democrats of course (my choice of words). He also did stints as a clown. Back in 1987 a horrible crime was committed against a family member of mine, during a time when I was engaged in reading It, a book by Stephen King (1,184 pages). I was in a PTSD state, hyper-alert, and yet was drawn to the novel. I was awake late at night anyway. Later, in a family counseling session I mentioned this behavior to the psychologist, who found it understandable, more so than I. Why was I drawn to horror during a time when I was suffering a severe case of PTSD due to horror I had witnessed for real?
King’s book centered around a clown named Pennywise, and was perhaps inspired by the Gacy character. I find that interesting, as clowns are for children, and clowns who murder children, like Pennywise and Gacy, are perhaps Jungian archetypes. I wonder if the images are intentional, designed to terrify children, as was later done at Columbine and other schools. Frightened children grow up to be frightened adults, much easier to manage and manipulate than the unafraid.
The writing in the Wiki piece about Gacy is ghoulish, enough to traumatize an adult. And yet, as I got deeper into it, I began to understand that this was the intent to the writers, to bring us a side of life so horrid as to create Jungian archetypes. The clown is one, surely intentional. The innocent-seeming neighbor with 29 corpses in his crawl space is another. The smiling mug shot aside the opening paragraph above was surely intentional as well, as it says to us that even innocent and friendly men can be pigs. Rosalynn Carter’s photograph with him (she also was photographed with Jim Jones, another supposed mass murderer) tells us that people like Gacy walk among us, and are even prominent in our communities. If law enforcement and crime fiction are to be believed, serial killers are all about. We should be very afraid.
The thrust of all of this – fear, is omnipresent in all of us, used to keep us under control and justify ongoing attacks on civil liberties. By the time I made my first pass through the Gacy piece, I was not buying any of it, and yet could not disassemble it by merely attacking the absurd premises of the events described therein. It could all be theoretically plausible, even if preposterous. So I sat on the piece until this past week.
I wondered about the victims, how they could so easily disappear and not create a stir in law enforcement. I decided to analyze each of them for clues as to their demise. I chose to use Find a Grave, the service that photographs grave stones and accumulates information about dead people. Only 27 of the 33 victims are named, the rest presumably never identified. (Yes, I note that 27 identified, 29 buried under the house and 33 total are all “spook markers”.) I ran them through Find A Grave, and only two, Randall Wayne Reffett and Samuel G. Dodd Stapleton turned up. Eureka!, I thought – I had unearthed fakery, but the journey was only at its beginning.
The name game
One question that I needed to answer was if the names of the victims were real or made up. I can think of two examples of mass slaughters, Waco and The Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Florida. For Waco, an anonymous writer for Miles Mathis tracked down Vernon Wayne Howell (aka David Koresh) and most of the supposed victims of that event, finding them alive and well. (Link.) The overarching point I take from that as it applies to Gacy is that at Waco in 1993 they were using real names for fake victims. In some research I did on the Pulse Nightclub massacre, I found fake names and images of faces, that is, by that time (2016) they could generate images and biographies of victims, no need to use real people. A few of the Pulse victims played a dual role, having their faces flipped so they could be claimed to be two different people.
So my conclusion here is that in 1978 they used real people as victims. Maybe they wanted to avoid people doing what I did with the Columbine massacre – go to the library and look up the names in phone books of the time. With Columbine, I found most of the victims to be real people, though none died that day. There was one exception, a black kid who was probably thrown into the mix so that Harris and Klebold could add racism to their list of deplorable traits. The kid, Isaiah Shoals, apparently did not even attend Columbine, if his football jersey is evidence. Lakewood is miles north of Columbine, which is in Littleton. And there was no phone listing for a Shoals family.
My wife subscribes to Ancestry.com, using it to research her family tree. I’ve toyed with it in the past, but was never satisfied with the results and so never used it to do any research. However, I decided to get better at it by using Gacy as the subject matter. I began to run the victims through its many databases, and found that while using Find a Grave by itself yielded only two hits, accessing that same database via Ancestry yielded sixteen. I don’t know what to make of that other than random names and Find A grave don’t pair up well, whereas Ancestry is better suited to point an arrow at information.
I then decided to use another service of Ancestry, access to the Social Security Death Index (SSDI). Most routes to using this massive database have been shut down in recent years, limited to professionals who are granted access, and not to private parties like me. I wanted to be sure it was working properly with Ancestry, I ran my older brother through it. Indeed he turned up, all information accurate.
One further step, a service I first learned about at at the Waco post linked above is TruePeopleSearch. The service is free – at least for surface features like place of residence and age. I ran my own name through there, and found information there to be mostly accurate, but not enough so that I would rely on it as a sole source of data.
Using Ancestry, Find a Grave, the Social Security Death Index and TruePeopleSeaerch I was able to assemble the following information. I was searching not for verification of Wiki information, but for inconsistencies and deviations from it. Keep in mind that the premise for Wiki is that all of the information regarding victims of Gacy was assembled in late 1978 and thereafter, and is therefore, while accurate, not complete. Below I have used TPS to search for people alive today or earlier of the right age and name. This is not precise work, as names, especially common names, are often abundant. However, matching up both name and age might be slightly less sloppy.
The victims (in no particular order)
There are only 27 of the 33 victims listed here, which I take to mean six unidentified corpses. The two numbers in parenthesis by the name are age at date of death, and age if still alive in 2020. These names are in no particular order other than McCoy said to be first victim, Piest the last.
Timothy Jack McCoy (16, 64), has a gravestone with his name on it, and is not listed at SSDI. TPS says there is a Timothy J. McCoy living in Quilcene, WA, Age 64.
John Butkovich (18,63) has a gravestone, and is not listed in SSDI. TPS says there are two men named John Butkovich currently living in the Chicago area, ages 62 and 64.
Darrell Julius Samson (18,62) did not turn up at Find A Grave nor in SSDI or on TPS.
Randall Wayne Reffett (15,59) has a gravestone, but had no SSDI match and did not turn up at TPS. Wiki lists his DOD as 5/14/76, while his gravestone says 1978.
Samuel D. Dodd Stapleton (14,58) has a gravestone (with no dates on it), and does not turn up at SSDI or TPS.
Michael Bonnin (17,61) has no gravestone, and does not turn up on SSDI. A man with that name lives in Texas, and is 61 years old in 2020.
William Huey Carroll Jr. (16,60) has no gravestone, and does not turn up at either SSDI or TPS.
James Bryan Haakenson (16,60) has a gravestone, but does not turn up at either SSDI or TPS.
Rick Louis Johnston (17,61) has a gravestone, and does not turn up on SSDI. There is a man with that name in the Chicago area, age 62.
Kenneth Ray Parker (16,60) has a gravestone, and is also listed on SSDI. Wiki lists his DOD as 10/24/1976, while the gravestone shows 12/28/78 and SSDI shows 12/78.*
Michael Marino (14,58) has no gravestone, and does not turn up on SSDI. TPS lists a man with that name living in Texas, formerly Illinois, and who is 65. That may seem a reach, but this kid’s birthday is a blank – it is listed as “unknown,”
William George Bundy (19,63) has a gravestone which lists his date of death as 1981, and so is not his. TPS has a man by that name in Indiana (formerly Illinois), age 65.
Gregory John Godzik (17,61) has a gravestone, turns up on SSDI, and TPS shows a man by that name living in Illinois, age 61. The SSDI DOD is listed as 12/78.*
John Alan Szyc (19,62) has a gravestone, and turns up on SSDI. His DOD in Wiki is 1/20/77, but both the gravestone (1978) and SSDI (12/78) show different dates.*
Jon Steven Prestridge (20,63) has no gravestone, and turns up on SSDI, not on TPS. Wiki shows his DOD as 3/15/77, while SSDI shows 12/78.*
Mathew Bowman (19,62) has a gravestone, and shows up on SSDI but not TPS. Wiki lists DOD as 7/5/77, while SSDI shows 12/78, and the gravestone shows 1979.*
Robert Edward Gilroy (18,61) has no gravestone, and does not show up on either SSDI or TPS.
John Antheney Mowery (19,62) has no gravestone, and turns up on SSDI. TPS lists a man by that name living in Indiana, formerly Illinois, age 63. SSDI lists the DOD as 12/78.*
Russell Lloyd Nelson (21,64) has no gravestone, and does not show up on either SSDI or TPS.
Robert Winch (16,59) has no gravestone, and does not show up on either SSDI or TPS.
Tommy Joe Boling (20,63) has no gravestone and does not turn up on SSDI. TPS does show a man in Tennessee, formerly of Chicago, by that name. However, he died in 1997 at age 63 outside our range. This could be a relative, perhaps a dad. I also searched the sources for “Thomas Joseph” Boling, returning nothing.
David Paul Talsma (19,62) has no gravestone, and does not show up on either SSDI or TPS.
William Wayne Kindred (19,61) has a gravestone, does not show up on SSDI. TPS lists a person in Chicago by that name, age 62. DOD on gravestone is 12/19/78, while Wiki shows 2/16/78. The name on the gravestone is “Billy,” not William. “Billy”, I’ll have to ask Rastus about this, looks like a woman. However, Adam’s apple says male.
Timothy D. O’Rourke (20,62) has a gravestone, and does not turn up on SSDI or TPS.
Frank William Landingin (19,61) has a gravestone, and does not turn up on SSDI. Oddly, TPS lists a Francisco Landingin (age 72) living in Chicago. That caught my eye because of Frank/Francisco and the last name being unusual. I do not know what to make of it, probably just coincidence.
John Mazzara (20,62) has a crypt, and does not show up in either SSDI or TPS.
Robert Jerome Piest (15,57) has a crypt, and does not show up in either SSDI or TPS.
That’s it for the list.
*Of the 27 names listed here, only six show up in the Social Security Death Index, and for all six the DOD is listed as “December, 1978”, month and year only, no specific date. This tells me that all of those names were added long after the fact, and probably without a death certificate to guide the person making the entries. From this I gather an outsider intruded on SSDI and surreptitiously added those names and dates. Remember, in 1978 SSDI was not known to the general public, and certainly was not accessible. Anyone wanting information would have to write and hope for an answer, or call and hope for a cooperative clerk, running up a big long distance bill in the process. Most likely people doing such research back then were in some official capacity.
Of the 27 names listed here, 16 have gravestones or crypts, the rest not. This is not to say that other grave markers do not exist, only that it seems odd that so many are unlisted by Find A Grave. Some of these kids appear not to have mattered to anyone, no grave, no SSDI, no yearbook photo. Also, oddly, some of the yearbook photos I viewed looked like artists’ sketches rather than photos. That was another line of inquiry, but one I decided not to pursue.
My work is almost done here, but for one further discovery I made. It is going to set me off on a whole new path of inquiry, but for now, observe the following:
That’s Gacy on the left, Jack Nicholson to the right. Gacy appears to be a Brat, a member of Jack’s group. From this I am going to do some more Bokanovsky Brat work to include serial killers and other infamous people. To the left is another Brat, Mark David Chapman, said to be the man who murdered John Lennon. He also fits into the Nicholson group.
PS: It is understood on this end that I need to better understand Jungian archetypes. At this point it is my belief that the image of the killer clown was deliberately inserted into our consciousness by both the Gacy affair (written by spooks) and Stephen King in his book It. In both cases, the clown murders children. I also mentioned Columbine, another psyop aimed directly at children, teaching them to fear anyone different or nonconformist. There has to be a department at Langley behind these events, staffed by behavioral psychologists. These events are aimed at our deepest fears, bringing them to life, so to speak.