Flying home from Norway in 1979, I was at a loss for something to read. I was just shy of 11 years-old. I picked up a copy of the Sunday Times of London, and read an article revisiting the Moors Murders case. The details of the case are lost to me, what I remember are the reflections of the aging parents, whose children disappeared between 1963-65 but whose bodies were never found, and were so never connected directly to the case. Some held out hope, some assumed long ago that their slain children were waiting to be found some day, on Saddleworth Moor.
From that moment in 1979, and for the next two years, I literally feared for my life. I felt helpless against potential abduction, absolutely sure that I was incapable of defending myself against an grown man with (or without) a weapon. My bedroom window opened onto the roof of our garage. How easy would it be for some to climb up there, get in, and carry me away? I took to sleeping on the floor of my parents' room. At the age of eleven.
During my fourth year in college, on a train trip to visit my brother in Minnesota, I became aware of the case of Amy Renee Mihaljevic (December 11, 1978 – October 27, 1989). There have been other missing children cases. But Amy was from Bay Village. I had no connection with her, I was twenty-one years old at the time. My only personal dread, apart from the horror of the crime, was what happened to her and how. She was a fifth grader attending Bay Middle School, my old school. And she had been picked up by a stranger pretending to be a friend of her mother's in front of Avellone's Pharmacy at the shopping center on Wolf Road across the street from the police station.
When I was a kid, my parents were members of the bowling league at Bay Lanes, at the same shopping center. Often I would accompany them, because my brothers were busy and couldn't look after me, and I would wander around she shopping center, always visit Avellone's for candy or to look at magazines.
What does all this mean? That it could have been me? Who knows. I was sent to therapists for this paranoia, they tried to figure out in what way I had been abused to bring about these fears. I hadn't been. I just had an active imagination. But as they say, just because you are paranoid doesn't mean they aren't trying to kill you.
The fact is, as I have mentioned before, murder doesn't thrill me. Torso murder aficionado, creepy James Badal has also written an entire book about Beverly Potts. Surprise. Even the death of Amy Mihaljevic has been fetishized by James Renner. I cannot stomach living in these places in my head long enough to write a book or a play, I do not wish to go to there.
I have children of my own. And I work so hard to allow them their freedom to run up the street to their friends' houses on their own at the same time I have their physical descriptions down cold so I can recite details to reporters in case the worst occurs.
Did you know Showagon has been around over fifty years and still exists today?
Keep an eye on your kids.
The Charley Project