Wednesday Weirdness Roundup

  • I just learned that Jay Smith, one of two men convicted for the brutal 1979 murder of Pennsylvania teacher Susan Reinert and her two children, died in May. His conviction was overturned in 1992. If you’re not familiar with the “Main Line Murders”, there’s a fairly good synopsis at truTV’s Crime Library. Be warned that it’s one of the most bizarre, convoluted, and disturbing cases in the history of American crime. I’ve read the two major books on the case several times each, and I still don’t know what the hell was going on at Upper Merion High School in the ’70s. It was either a conspiracy between two killers, or one of the most elaborate frame-ups imaginable.
  • Remember the Austrian journalist who’s filing criminal charges against various health officials and pharmaceutical companies over the Swine Flu “depopulation plot”? Well, I should’ve seen this coming, but I didn’t: People are referring to her as a “whistleblower”. This is one term that is horribly abused by the conspiracy community. Whistleblowers work within the industry they are exposing. Ms. Burgermeister is, at best, a muckraker. But I hesitate to even call her that, because muckrakers usually have lots of hard evidence to back up their work.
  • Gullible’s not in the dictionary: A UK woman reportedly supports her 13-year-old son’s account of being trounced by a ghost, and has turned to a priest for help.
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8 thoughts on “Wednesday Weirdness Roundup

  1. So, did they never find the kids in the Main Line murders? What a truly bizarre case. You hope when you send your kid to school that the headteacher is not a robber (and possibly killer), and the staff doesn't include a sociopathic murderer._________________This 13 year old kid, maybe he's covering up getting into a fight? Or an attack by someone? Of course, the whole family could be making it up. I just can't help thinking that most parents response to 'a ghost attacked me' would be either to calm a kid down and try and find out what really happened, or assume their imagination is getting the better of them. But I suppose if you actually believe wholeheartedly in the paranormal and follow the cult of Yvette and Carl, you'll grab the nearest priest.They could always try taking their supernatural being to court:http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/8145862.stm

  2. I imagine when you're handed the story "Child get's bruise" it's pretty hard to write about it without becoming distracted and making stuff up. I never quite understand why people feel the need to draw attention to it even if they do believe in nonsense. Why would anyone want a newspaper report that will inevitably lead to the family being labelled as a bit weird? Hell won't the kid get even more bruises when he's bullied for being weird? Why would anyone put themselves through this? Then again, the cynic in me can't help but suspect that the landlord's comments hide the fact that the family are just doing it to try and get moved. (Also, why was the kid at home at the same time as his younger brother was at school? Since primary schools typically close before other schools, shouldn't he have been at school too?)

  3. Unfortunately, Karen and Michael Reinert were never found. It has been suggested that their mother's body was left in a highly visible public place only because Bradfield and/or Smith needed it to be found when Bradfield was out of town, to cement Bradfield's alibi – and she needed to be dead, not just missing, so that he could collect the insurance. The children, on the other hand, didn't need to be found at all. In fact it was better for the killer(s) that they weren't found. It would be one thing to go on trial for killing a mistress, quite another to go on trial for killing her children as well. I think he/they figured that wouldn't happen if the children's bodies were never found.Fortunately, he/they were wrong.With the ghost-beating, I fear the boy is covering up some sort of abuse – either from other kids (which could explain why he was at home instead of in school), or someone else.

  4. Ever since I discovered the Doe Network, possibly as much as a decade ago (?), I've had this persistent fantasy of how I would like to spend my retirement years (I'd do it right now, if I was wealthy enough to travel wherever I wished and not have to work).I'd like to get trained in the use of the most sophisticated "ground-penetrating radar" equipment and travel around to communities that have long-unsolved missing child cases, then go over every blessed inch of that territory, urban or rural. I wouldn't mind spending years doing this, and if I could find even one young victim I'd die a happy man. Yea, I'm a bit strange.As for: "why would anyone solicit or expose themselves to publicity that will make them seem weird?" – my decades of participation in a wide range of subcultures that involve "magickal", "mystical", "spiritual" or "paranormal" beliefs & practises has convinced me, that some people's need to feel "special" easily over-rides any other concerns about how they are perceived by others. For some, anything is preferable to remaining just another normal, average, anonymous drop in the vast ocean of humanity.

  5. I agree that the Reinhart case is both fascinating and a confusing, never ending labyrinth to wade through. The only thing that bothers me about the whole case is that because the media is so focused on Reinhart, they give little mention to Jay Smith's daughter Stephanie, and Edward Hunsberger, her husband, both of whom vanished into thin air. I don't know if it's because they were junkies, or because of their relation to Smith, but I find their disappearance as equally riveting as the disappearance of Reinhart's two children, who were also never found. Maybe it's the fact that we may never know what happened to them or where they are that makes it so tantalizing. Whether it be an unidentified serial killer like The Zodiac,* or Anthony Godby Johnson, who's exisistance still lingers in a fog of uncertainty, (regardless of recent developments), unsolved disappearances are those kind of mysteries that can drive professional or amateur sleuths alike into a world of feverish obsession. And though the Godby affair is a hoax and the Reinhart case is about murder and money, you have to admit that the real life details of each case is full of WHAT THE FUCK clues and asides. For instance: while the Hunsberger disappearances were a mere blip on an already twisted and tangled story, there's the other participants in the story of Tony Johnson. There's no question that Vicki Fraginals created Tony. But what about this Lesley Karsten woman, so prominantly featured Tad Friend's "Virtual Love" article in 2001? She was a real person, right? Not a fictionalized creation in Vicki's mind like Jerry DiNicola or Earnist Johnson, Tony's alleged "Pop." Why has no one really gone after her, like on 20/20? Kartsen was supposedly a successful TV producer, so if she found out that it was all a hoax, why would she go along with it? What about the other dozen friends of Tony who claim to have seen him, including his own editor and publisher, all of whom righteously proclaim his exisistance? Why would all these people go along with this? Surely Vicki couldn't have created all these people, though it's curious that Karsten is alleged to have married DiNicola, when it's pretty obvious that he is not a real person. But how could that be? None of it makes sense.So who's real and who's not? And who is this Lesley Karston person in the first place? Why would she go along with this elaborate deception? These mysteries mirror all the questions I have about the Hunsbergers, as neither are rarely even mentioned, similar to the way the disappearance of the neighbor who accidentally killed John Gotti's kid in 1980 was never fully examined by the press. The media was too focused on Gotti's other exploits.And let's not forget the many, MANY angles of the Christine and Walter Collins case, which the Angelina Jolie film "Changeling" was based on. With that you have a child vanishing without a trace, police conspiracy and corruption, a fake boy turning up, a demented child serial killer, and too many unanswered questions; mainly — what the hell ever happened to Walter Collins? What about Karen Silkwood? Whether or not she was purposely contamined is beside the point; I'd like to know if she was truly run off the road, AND, if so, did they steal her damning evidence folder against Kerr-MGee?We'll probably never know. Anyway, why Bradford or Smith would kill Reinhart's children was pretty much a given from the outset, but what about Smith's daughter and son-in-law? Why would he kill them? Did they know something? Their mysterious disappearance certainly deserves its own seperate spotlight alongside the Reinhart case. Something strange happened there, and it's never been equally examined.* Have you looked into Robert Graysmith and his exploitation of The Zodiac case? If not, look online for the website Graysmith Unmasked. He and his books are full of flimsy facts and made up evidence. I'd love to see more people go after his ass.

  6. That's quite the fascinating comment, DM. I would love to examine Graysmith more closely, and may do just that in the near future. Son of Gaia has some interesting thoughts on Zodiac, as well.Re why Jay Smith would get rid of his own daughter and son-in-law: I don't know for certain. He was cashing their incoming checks, though. As for Karsten and the others who swear they've met Anthony, I just don't know what to think of them. There are many possibilities. Fraginals may have found a young man (or a young woman…) to play the part of Tony for those occasions, just as Laura Albert did in the case of "J.T. LeRoy". The eyewitnesses could be lying to protect a mentally fragile woman for whom they feel pity. Or they could be in on a financially motivated hoax (Fraginals did get money out of Keith Olbermann and others). Re Karen Silkwood, I would love to know the truth of that too. The sleeping pills she was taking to help her relax might have caused her to drift off behind the wheel, but her boyfriend was convinced the car had been struck by another vehicle, based on his own examination.

  7. SME:Thanks for the response. I think "Zodiac" is one of the best movies of the decade, and yet it would seem that the whole of it is built out of a mountain of fragments of deception. I realize that most people who watch it and see interviews with Graysmith will believe EVERY WORD he says, because objectivity is such a decaying art in this day and age, (just watch Penn & Teller's Bullshit! for proof of that). But there is something about him that is every bit as desperate and diluted as Vicki Fraginals Johnson. Jake Gyllenhaal, possibly another gullible Graysmith convert, (an easy mark like most in Hollywood), portrays him as a quirky anti-hero in the film, which he most certainly was not. I'm not suggesting he's entirely sinister; at least not in the way that the actual Zodiac killer was. But I don't see him as HARMLESS either. Calculating would be the best word to sum him up. It makes you wonder that if he could lie and distort some facts, no matter how small they were, WHAT ELSE IS HE LYING ABOUT? And unwilling to counter most of these arguments, (again, see Graysmith Unmasked), Graysmith has further evaded responsibility for his deal with the devil. But because the facts of the case are many and confusing, including those in his books, most have trouble seperating the facts from Graysmith's fiction. It's sort of like taking one cookie out of the cookie jar. Yeah, it's missing, but no one will notice anyway, because there's 12 more.Anyway, I've been obsessed with the Godby case ever since I first read Tad Friend's article in The New Yorker, simply because it is such a tangled web of strange characters and contradictions, so much so that Armistead Maupin himself could not even come close to, not even in the world of FICTION. I'm not sure if I even want to know the truth, because then the mystery would lose all of it's, well…MYSTERY. But there is still that need to know. You bring up some interesting points about money possibly being the motivator. If true, there's gotta be some way to link them up. And whomever this crazy Lesley Karsten enigma is, she's still out there, right along with Vicki. Scary thought, huh? Surely there's got to be some reporter for a newspaper or on TV who can penetrate this shit, possibly going even further than the New Yorker did in 2001. Hell, what if Vicki dies? It could happen. Then we'd never know ANYTHING! This woman needs to be studied, and prodded, and paraded, perhaps to give us a closer glimpse of what makes a person do something like this. And out of all the literary and internet hoaxes out there, NONE have come close to the ominous brilliance of Vicki Fraginals. I swear, one day I'm going to have to do a documentary on this. And does anyone know where to find the 20/20 videos about it? I have yet to see to see either in full, the original story and the update, and am curious to hear the audio of Tony's alleged voice in the ABC documentary again. I can't find it anywhere. Now I'm wishing I had recorded it.

  8. BTW, after I posted the first comment, I found your article on the Collins case. Very interesting look into a story where still so little is known. Oh, and the chief investigator into the death of Karen Silkwood admitted on camera that her steering wheel was BENT, indicating to him that she had actually braced just before impact, which would suggest that she wasn't as heavily under the influence as the medical examiner originally concluded…and as someone who took Qualudes regularly, she would have built up a pretty tough tolerance to them, meaning she would most likely be in control of her actions if she was continually taking them on a consistent basis week to week, day by day. And if you haven't already, you can see that interview on a 1999 "History's Mysteries" episode about Silkwood. One of the better ones. I'd also highly recommend reading "The Killing of Karen Silkwood." Sad Fact: Karen Silkwood's boyfriend Drew Stephens, played by Kurt Russell in the movie, was killed in an avation accident back in 1995, while Sherri Ellis, her roommate whose character in the film was played by Cher, had been arrested in 2002 for acting crazy with a weapon.

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