268 - All-Stars of 7th GradeMy Favorite Murder with Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark
- 2,173 views
- 1 Apr 2021
On this week’s episode, Karen and Georgia cover The Poet of Wichita and the true story of the ‘Cocaine Bear.’
See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Hello and welcome to my favorite murder, the podcast. It's a true crime podcast. That's right. And I'm Georgia Howard Stark. And I'm Karen Kilgariff. How do you do? Very well. And you? Fine, thank you. Do you forget Matt Fabian? Do you ever get mad at people when they say to you, how are you? And I said good things. And then I say, how are you? And they say, I'm well, because they're like pointing out they just said, good.
And so you immediately feel that way yourself.
Is that grammar passive aggression?
Is it, though I know you that well, I swear it drives me crazy.
I'm well, I would assume that someone who is posing as a as some sort of therapist is what that sounds like to me or some that sounds like someone who's like I'm well, I was just at the farmer's market buying fresh broccoli to steam and that's into my pores.
Do you can't do it organic.
Do you eat organic, do you?
Well, no, because I'm unwell. Well, I'm fine without with not having organic, so.
How about I'm just fine. Barely getting by. Do you see the circles under my eye. Do they look like a. Well person's under the baggage.
I'm well thank you. Well I'm. Well I may Stepford wife. I'm well I'm well we're.
Well that, that just makes me think of banana boy. Scotty Landis is where he and I were talking about some people that were like very successful and also had kids. And both of the husband and wife are famous in some way and they're both rich or something like that. And I go, wow, they really have it all. And Scottie goes to Who wants it all?
Oh, it's this thing where it's like that's what I always feel like in especially in Los Angeles, is like I always want to tell those people with the tall new buck boots and the white sweater and the big weird hat and the bleached blond hair.
I know them a I don't I'm not competing with you. I'm not interested in your life. I don't want what you have. Yeah.
I understand that you believe yourself to be the pinnacle of, you know, your yoga class and congrats.
And I'm on auto toast. Yes. You're doing all the things you're checking all the boxes from the weird subscription box company that you signed up for. God fucking bless. Get away from me. Have you seen the movie Ingrid Gozde West with it is there is a character in that and it's what she is striving for. What's her name? She's so great. Steven Chase, April Aubrey Plaza. And she's trying to to reach that character's lifestyle goals, hashtag lifestyle goals.
But she is just like us so she can and just squeeze it all up. And all these like charming, not charming ways, like dark ways that like the character they had play. And all of it is so exactly. But it lives in a bungalow in Venice Beach with her hot bearded husband and their puppy.
And they have a lot of baho, you know, Joshua Tree style, my and everything they eat is perfect in kids. And it's and so she steals her dog to become friends with her. It's like it's very bad. So I highly recommend that sounds really good and relatable. I really love that movie. Yeah. It's a this town is and I think maybe it's not even this town. I think a lot of pop culture has become so drastically homogenized in a way that is like and I know this is because I'm never on Instagram.
And so when I see little bits of Instagram pop through, yeah, it is. It's shocking to me how strange it everyone is starting to look exactly the same.
Yeah. And and a little bit like sex dolls where it's like sex. So everyone has equal size, top and bottom lips and they're, they're both giant and they're the exact same size. Yeah. Everyone has not a line or wrinkle or a mark on their face. Yeah. Every single person has like half inch long eyelashes and gigantic eyebrows. Eyebrows. It's not even like a wrinkle, not even an expression. And everyone's kind of to the side.
Huh. And and has a lot of contour and there's a window and every on every wall in every room letting in the most dappled lovely sunshine. God bless it all.
That's at all. It's a yeah. It's a fucking rat race to get somewhere that we don't even know what the point of it is. Yeah. Because it's not real ultimately. Yeah.
I mean I know look, I, I'm not saying beauty is bad. Obviously everybody wants to feel good and look good. That's good. Yeah. Good. You make yourself good. Sure. Good. Good, good. But at. Don't assume it's interesting just because it's not what you think people want. Here, let me brag real quick about how real I am at real shit cat food in this room I'm in right now. That's how real.
And you can't you can't ever know Instagram filter for that baby, that's all. Just like it's all for me, you know what I mean?
Like, is it Hearties seafood platter or is it more of a chicken and a supreme like Fisherman's Wharf on a hot day? Yes. Yes, it is. That's what it is. What hashtags? The crab, Fisherman's Wharf.
You see a seagull picking at an empty bread bowl that's got like the clam chowder as you do on it, and then a tourist right behind it, taking a picture of it, then making the seagulls way smaller and the seagulls boobs bigger.
And then there's no lines around the seagull.
Where did he get those boots? Oh, my God. Did he have a rib removed? That seagull is so skinny. No, he's on a paleo diet. Oh, I was going to say you lived in San Francisco in the 90s. No, I'm wrong. Twins. Oh, twins. Yeah. Shit. Then there's no way you remember this. What is it? Because there was a thing on Fisherman's Wharf piercer.
I used to go with my dad so maybe I remember it to Pier thirty nine to Fisherman's Wharf. OK, same same death. Yeah. Same area. Yeah. Yeah yeah. But, but basically Pier 39 was like the weird marionette doll stores it here. My, my parents would be like we're never buying you anything from that store. Don't look at your precious art pieces. There's no fucking way we're there. Like you can pick one thing and I'm like I absolutely want the four hundred dollar marionette.
My mother's like, what is wrong, Howard. How do you do it every time? But they used to have on Pier 39.
I guess I'm thinking this because of the Seagull.
We were sure a bag of bones seagull just thinking they had a thing there in the eighties. Then you could go in and sing along to your favorite, like Whitney Houston hit and make a cassette tape of yourself singing a hit. So it was like, yeah, individualized karaoke, one person karaoke to no one. But then you had a tape you could like. Was it a video car. OK, OK. Because it wasn't that long ago that say yeah that would have cost five thousand dollars at the time.
Yes, that is awesome.
But I feel like they had those around in malls all over the country and then eventually became like there because these videos pop up of kids doing that, like that must have become the video you could get and then like, remember how they would have like Teen magazine and you and your sister had to sit in and they take a photo of it and show you on the cover of Time magazine. Yes.
It was like the young girl's version of the Time Person of the Year thing. It's instead it's like I made it on covers. I don't like you getting mad. And those things are the rich girl equivalent. Not to say rich, no offense, the rich girl equivalent of having to get a caricature drawn a view on Fisherman's Wharf, which is just like the bottom of the barrel. Are you ready for your low self esteem beginning? Yes. Here is how big your teeth are, Georgia.
Yes. Here's here's how like your head is like for mine, you know, they give you a tiny body. Yes. Like if you're like, I like to ride horses. It's a tiny, tiny body on a tiny horse, then you're accentuated whatever you hate about yourself. Yeah. So I already had a big face. So it's like they couldn't figure out what to do with me because it was like there was the caricature itself as the gigantic head.
That's the joke. I don't know what to do with this girl. It looks exactly like this. We're gonna take your eyes bluer like that's not going to hurt her feelings. How do we how do we make this child hate herself for the rest of her life?
Much better about yourself, because you're like, wow, my eyes are like pools just like.
So you're saying that's my real size face? Yep. Yep. That's not a caricature.
That was for a long time. Like what you wanted is that big, had a lollipop, had skinny body, you know, and it was you're above all it forbids anybody.
A tiny horse, Golden Gate Bridge in the back, little cowboy hat like what a hashtag this is.
That was the original Instagram where characters thirty can everyone please post their caricature drawings for their cover of Time magazine photos from when they were kids?
I have. Oh yeah, sure. I was a cowgirl. I have one as me as a fucking cowgirl. I swear it's not scary. My God. Do you have one? Use it. Yes, I have one at the group of friends. They all decided one day we were going to go to Pier thirty nine and you know who's in it. Legendary Holly Gardner tampon suitcase story who's who I have to say suffered. Greatly in the retelling of the tampon, Touquet story was my best friend from sixth grade through high school.
So like you would really hold it if you had said her full name, if you had really hated her. Yes, maybe. No, no, no. That was just a bad moment in our relationship. But but she's in that, you know, the all stars of like seventh grade essentially. And and what it is, is one of those old fashioned cowboy pictures that's supposed to be like a tintype. Right, when we're all dressed up in costume.
Right. OK, so here's we're going to do Steven, there's no way you don't have a caricature of yourself as your kid, as a dinosaur. You at Jurassic Park, real time dinosaur.
Yes, I did. OK, so here's what we're going to do. The three of us are going to post answer. Can I just retell hold? Yeah. Stephen's as George is saying, we know you have one. Steven's looking. It's almost like he was in like a pantomime of a confused guy. And the second I said Jurassic Park, he snapped right into it.
But just like, oh, yeah, I have this well, because my sister and I have one of us doing it. And then we recreated it as adults, like a few years ago.
Is it a character or is it like it's just like, you know, a green screen being, like chased by a dinosaur. So it was easy. Children and adults. Yeah, it's like we have the middle, beginning and hopefully end of what they put, what we were able to do as children. Yes. Yes. We we spend three generations. This is our family.
I think I was too scared to get a real caricature, though. You were saying you were too scared to find out what your one major feature is on your face.
Yeah, I think I was too scared. So like at Knott's Berry Farm, Georgia. I never I know that.
Yeah, he was he was easy on me because I think I was like four.
And then please tag, let's do MFM caricature hashtag because we have the whole thing point of this is to get our own hashtag right. That's what you wanted.
Karen, you now you're speaking a language like on Twitter. Hashtags are straight up for nerds that never use Twitter, Instagram. I know Instagram is a completely different language. So you have to call this just tagging, just Tagus. MFM caricature is good, OK? I mean, those are the ones we want. Big head little I want big head, little body. OK, you're looking for a potentially fake magazine cover. No I don't. Just so funny.
I'd love to see that whatever the like the play area are, we spent too much time on this. Just post it and Tagus disagree. I think we could dig deeper on this. Also, it makes me think of this too, because it's like just to not to argue with you first that we were definitely middle middle class, but my mother would always do this thing. We're like if we walk by the character person, she go, You don't want that.
It's not worth it. Pick something.
That's something Rick, she would always like out of sight of her mouth, basically be like, you know, crash class. You're going to like it. You like it now. You won't like it by the time, you know, smart lady.
And she knows really how to work with people. I feel like to like make them think that they're making their own decision. Yeah.
You mean manipulate children. Yes. By dancing one or one. Give them two options. Make one of them shitty. Make the other one the one you want them to do. Yeah. And then you get whatever you want. Do you want to nap or do you want to help Mommy with laundry.
That's also hard writing. If anybody wants to take my class that's that's.
Wow. That's good stuff.
How did we get on. What did we were talking about. How things are superficial and such. Oh yeah. Speaking of social media, I have a correction because social media told us perfect. It's a you know, another clarification because last week I talked about the book I'm reading the Icelandic. We we we guessed Norwegian. It's called I Remember You by Yrsa Sigurdardottir.
No. Yes. And we guessed all sorts of places where this book must be from. None of them. Right. Because Deborah Taylor. Sixteen fifty four on Instagram said Yrsa is from Iceland. You can tell if someone is Scandinavian slash Nordic, if their last name has something at the end that resembles son or daughter like daughter. Oh my God. It good to know Scandinavia is Jill. Then she goes on to give us a report. Scandinavia is geographically considered Norway, Sweden and Denmark.
Culturally, Finland and Iceland are included generally all five and their territories, like Greenland and the Faroe Islands are considered Nordic countries. Maybe you can hit Kovik on your next tour and invite her to the show. Love you both.
So. So your author lives in Reykjavik? Yes. And I said Kubic, by the way, is the capital of Iceland.
Well, I should have known that then. Now, here's here's what I know. In sixth grade, we had to do a report. Some countries of the world. I'll tell this story again, even though it's not really a story. I love it. And I got picked second to love. And the only so if your name got picked out of a jar and you got to go up and there goes Matt Brocco, he picks Italy, he's got everyone, all the people the Italian grandparents are in in two more swipes.
Ireland's gone. What? Come on, then. It goes all the way down through the 40 or 60 kids in my class.
I can't remember how many. Then it's me. I pick Iceland. Last guess who was last? Holly Gardner. No. And she got Multa literally. This was pre Internet, pre everything like pedia. There's two lines about Malta. I fucking literally ate. The librarian couldn't help us. She was like, nobody knows these countries. Nobody wants to hear about them. Who's your teacher? What the fuck? What's what's Mr. Gillani doing over there? So I end up digging up as much as I can find out and become quite interested in Iceland because I was like, wait a second.
Greenlands the one that covered.
And I actually to Iceland, I did a full report. I became a true fan of Iceland. And then twenty five years later, Iceland is all the rage. And I'm just like, I will tell you about Reykjavik and not vice versa. OK, well so I remember you is a good Icelandic book. It's part of it takes place in Reykjavik. It's fucking creepy as shit. I highly recommend it.
I'm going to look at it because that sounds familiar. I feel like there might be deserve to be. Yes, because it's very like as I'm reading and I'm like, I can picture the movie. Yeah. And I had a daughter.
There's a little boy goes, boy, Gustafsson, Gustaf's daughter.
You're your daughter, your daughter.
Go there one day for sure. Hell yes. What do you have. What are you doing. I have the following.
Oh shit. Do and I repeat and I declare I have started the podcast which now this is weird and maybe you can explain this to me Georgia and OK. The podcast is called West Cork. Oh right.
It's a true crime, legendary true crime podcast that I have heard about for so long.
Only recently became available on iTunes podcast because it was audible original that I recommended three years ago.
Easily, easily that it is. So I can't believe you haven't. It's one of those ones that everyone's like, but Karingal really like it and you're like, but no, then no, no, no. And then three hours later you go, Do you know what I found? I thought, you know what? I, you know what you need to hear about.
And it's excellent. It's one of those anchoring ones because it's a cold case still. I don't know if anything's come out of it since it came out, but it takes place in Ireland. West coast Ireland. Yep, beautifully done. Podcast is classic, wonderful, true crime. I didn't know you couldn't listen unless you shout audible So that's awesome. Yeah. It just came, it just became, we just went wide and then I was like, God, I know this though.
How do I know I'm listening to it. And obviously what what's the one place I would go to if I'm like, how would you have told me who told you about this?
And truly, I was just like for some reason it well, it's because it was three years ago, which means it was one hundred years in my brain.
But we also had a lot of them, like, you have to listen to this and you're like, OK, I know. And of us at this point, it's like it's going to be from one or either us to each other or a bunch of other people. So or literally thousands of other people who know our taste very well. But I will say this. What a listen. Even separate from if you're interested, not interested in true crime or just a basic story, this almost goes beyond a lot of that.
There's like a kind of like small town psychology element to it.
And it is a true like just a quilt of all the different Irish accents.
Yeah, there's a guy in there. There's an Irish detective who I kept thinking was from France because his accent would go into this like she's just. But she's French. She's French.
There's not Tecktonik is from I believe they said he was from Galway or something and I can't remember, but his accent was unlike anything I've ever Irish style, but like would go into these other places and come back around and you're just like, this is how this brog turns into all these things. And this is in all different areas. This is a narrative.
This is like real people because it's true crime. So, yeah, that's good. I'm excited for you. That's a great one. It's I'm just almost done. I'm on the last like last half, the last episode that I do that thing where I can't I can't stop. I'll tell you what, if there's been any update since it came out, because I haven't OK it on. I will now. So I did want to read you one quote, which you may or may not remember, but there's a witness who was old who.
Testified to seeing something or, you know, whatever some some story and but he was old, so they were trying to act like he shouldn't have testified.
Kids telling me I need to be in a home for the bewildered.
You know, that Susan was saying that they didn't trust me and he was, like, mad about it, telling me I need to be at a home for the bewailed.
Oh, my God. Do they have those? Just if you're generally bewildered, you get to go stay in a hospital for a while, like see someone stupid doing a dumb thing. And you're like, I don't even understand why you would try that. And I was like, let's go home. Let's go to your be older. They will appear to be wylder to be out in the world. He happened to be in a home for the bewildered.
Can we call this episode of Home for the Bewildered Steven?
So that's my most prominent.
I just love when there's a good podcast, but I get up in, like, do the dishes. Yes, I get my stuff done.
It's like you finally have someone supporting you and the things you want to do and the bullshit shit you want to do, not the work.
It's like, yes, yes. Finally someone wants me to do the dishes and fold my laundry and like go for a walk.
Yeah. Just go kind of sit and stare. Well, that's what you want from me. Westcourt. Do you know best because you love me the most and I trust you. Can I plug can I plug something about me. I wish you would. OK, great. I was on a podcast and I'm really I was really nervous about it and I'm really happy with the way it turned out and proud of myself for it because it was like kind of some hard topics that I hadn't really shared before.
So it's this podcast called Turned Out a Punk that I'm a big fan of, and it's a Sky Damian, who is in this band, fucked up, and he interviews people who are in, we're in and are in and have been in the punk scene and how they got into it.
And there's been all kinds of great, you know, Fred Armisen and Bill Hader, a lot of comedians, and then a lot of like, you know, musicians like the Go Goes and old punks. And it's just really cool. And I wanted to be on it because I love punk. And so I was on it and I I'm really happy with it. So check out my episode of Turned Out a Punk. It's Episode three. Twenty one turned out punk.
Turned out a punk. Turned out. Yeah. Awesome. Congratulations you. Oh Nora went back to school. Norns back. She's back in class.
What grade is Shia now. Eighth.
I have nieces growing up but also like. Just in time, it just makes me happy because it was really for someone who loves school so much and well, so I just can't imagine that in eighth grade, like, great, when things are starting to get interesting and kind of fun or whatever, you're getting your footing.
Yeah. You just have to go sit home, sit on the computer for a year going crazy.
I wonder if it's like if it's kind of got them out of some trouble they would have been in or means that now they're going to get in more trouble to make up for the past trouble they would have gotten into.
I say probably more trouble. Yeah. Although did I tell you when a lawyer told me she was going back, I texted Nora and said, I hope you're still popular.
Do you think you're going to be popular? What if you're not popular anymore?
Did I tell you, though, you didn't tell me that. Let's show. She sent all the laughing like crying emojis going. I hope so.
Do you think it's like it's like, you know, how you measure how much you've grown on the wall? Do you think when they all left school before right when it hit, they all measured their popularity on the wall and they have to go back and stand up against the wall again and be like, oh, shit, Nora, you're still at the same popularity level, but at least over two L's over here.
His popularity skyrocketed over the past year. You know, I give it down. You have to give it your crown.
It's so confusing at this age. But, yeah, I guess people just don't like you in real life, like your grade on Zoom. It's your worst nightmare is your only good on Zoom.
If you adjusted so well to the pandemic that then you really, as opposed to all the people that are just hate being on Zoom and the timing so often shitty, you're just like I've come alive on Zoome.
People finally care about me. Don't make me go back to standing on two legs and having to wear pants in front of people and not being surrounded by the stench of cat food. I can't. I am at my best when I'm surrounded by the stench of cat food and no one knows. That's when I'm at my best.
I just need two snoring dogs near me to really podcast what started. I know. I love your dogs. They're out quite a few. See, what have I started wearing? Like a cardboard piece of cardboard behind me that has this wallpaper on it just so I always have because I need this background. Now, this is like flooring a backpack with a big pink floral wallpaper, cardboard background. Yeah. Just so everyone knows how good I look. Yeah.
With this, I'm going to start carrying around books like I'm in the eighth grade and these are my books from my bookshelf, from my Zimm.
Remember when I was trying to start like a belt, a little leather belt around the books, lollipop, lollipop.
You know, when they walk to school like that, what was that all about? Oh, did you hear the great author, Beverly Cleary, Diane? May I be what a legend. She really she wrote an amazing book. She wrote a ton of great books. Boys like those books, girls like those books, young, old.
Everybody read them to your kids, get them into it. God, it's so good. Ramona Quimby. There's one that starts out Ramona is so upset because her and Beezus went to the playground and some kid kept saying, Jesus, Jesus to Beezus. And Ramona was out of her mind angry. And I was like, I just remember reading it and being like, let's get into this. Ramona, what happened to you?
Tell me your story. Yes. I mean, like. It's such good writing for kids, it's it's saying what happens to you matters. And like, is a story worthy.
Yeah, yeah. So good. You don't look like waltzing through a wardrobe to get your story written, everyone.
You don't need a big, weird Christian lion telling your story. You don't need a giant peach. You don't need sex to be your friend, although it's very helpful. I also I loved the idea of being on a giant piece that you could, like, lay on and then just take a bite of if you want.
Oh my God, that was my favorite. I read that book so many times and I was a kid. We read that book also. Did you have the copy of James and the Giant that had the original illustrations? And when they first showed James, he is so scary, looking like his little eyes are so dark and he's all like, you know, because his parents were his parents were killed by escaped animals from the zoo, a hippopotamus. And so we had to go live with an spikier.
And this book is tragic.
It's so tragic and horrible. There's so mean to him. I know. Jesus, we were no wonder where the way we are.
I know for real. It's all real dolls. What should we do exactly right now is. Yeah, I don't think there's much exactly right. News this week. Right. Just some highlights of good stuff that's happening on shows. Right.
Well, really exciting. I'm sure you heard the trailer that tenfold more wicked season three kicks off this week. It's called to order in the court. And it covers a historical true crime story about a fractured family in Texas. So check that out. It's so good. It's so, such a good series. It's such a good podcast. We love it. We're so proud of Kate Winkler, Dawson and all her amazing writing talent and her amazing podcasting talent.
She really is making just a hit. Yeah. I mean, people really love this show. Such good feedback on it. She's just she's amazing. We're thrilled to work with her. There's more covid-19 information on this podcast. We'll kill you this week. So go check out what Aaron and Aaron have to tell you. There's just it's a bonus episode.
So much good stuff. And I saw what you did. Million Daniel watch and discuss the amazing films with the incredible Pam Grier, including Jackie Brown and Coffee.
I mean, those are frickin classics. This woman is a legend. And Million Danielle are the people to tell you about it.
They break it down. All right. Should we get into this? Oh, yeah. Also pop sockets in the march in the merch store, my favorite track star, pop sockets. We have lots of them. Bye. Pop targets. Get into it, get into it, pop it and lock it. So the story I'm doing this week was recommended by listener whose Twitter handle is or her Twitter name is sweetly sarcastic. She's sweetly sarcastic. She sent me a tweet that said it said read this on medium dotcom, immediately thought of you twists, turns, psychological drama.
I highly recommend and a damn good my favorite murder story to Ekso. And she put the link and then she put no offense hashtag true crime, which made me laugh. See there it's used.
I think it's being sweetly sarcastic. Got it.
So attached was a link to this article on Medium Dotcom written by Corey Mead called The Poet. And it it tells a tale of this story out of Wichita in the late 70s that I have never heard even an inkling of. So the majority of what I'm about to tell you is a retelling of Corey Medes article for medium dotcom called The Poet.
So I highly recommend is Wichita Spooky or is it just me?
Well, you know, you're think you're about to find out why you think, OK, or do you want me to just say it right now? No, go. OK, no spoilers. Well, it's about to happen. There's there's other information we got was from medium medium dotcom article by a writer named K.M. Brown called Trauma, stole these women's lives as well as in nineteen eighty eight People magazine article by writer named Jean Stone. Also an article from the Wichita Eagle by Jason Rted and Legacy Dotcom, information from Legacy Dotcom, and also a fax from a book called Nightmare in Wichita The Hunt for the BTK Killer.
Oh, that's what you're thinking it, of course.
Yes. So we go I take you now to Wichita, Kansas, November 21st, 1978. So. Forty eight year old Ruth Finley, who's a secretary for the head of security at Southwestern Bell Telephone Company, she's out running errands on her lunch break in downtown Wichita and she's leaving a greeting card shop on North Market Street when a blue green 1964 Chevy Bel Air pulls up, cuts off her path and a man jumps out.
He's wearing black framed glasses and a jean jacket over his sweater. No, he's not a hipster. It's nineteen seventy eight. He doesn't isn't about to ask her about animal seeing animal collective live or if she has an extra cigaret.
Yeah, Ruth immediately panics because she's seen this man before.
This is actually the third time this stranger has approached her, each encounter being a little bit scarier than the last. So at this moment, he jumps out of the car, Ruth looks around. All she can see is an old lady like way up the street so she knows she's alone. So before she can do anything, she's kind of in shock. He kicks her in the shin really hard, then yells, Have you got my money? She doubles over in pain.
And as she does, the man shoves her into the back seat of the car slides in next to her. And then a man who her attacker calls buddy who's sitting behind the wheel drinking from a paper bag wrapped bottle. He basically takes off on the attack or shuts the door, so Ruth immediately slides over and tries to get out the other back door. But it's the handle's gone.
She looks around, she notices the upholstery in this car's torn up, the the floorboards littered with junk. There's Chanes, there's rags. There's like an old gas can. There's pieces of concrete. And she also sees the dashboard is held together with masking tape. So the man, her attacker starts going through her purse. He pulls out a three hundred and fifty dollar paycheck, one hundred dollar savings bond and her safety deposit key. He says we've struck it rich, but then he finds the business card of a police officer and he starts screaming, you damn stupid bitch at her.
And he picks up one of the pieces of concrete on the floor, hits her in the head with it and knocks her out. So she's fading in and out of consciousness. But she later remembers snippets of the men's conversation. At one point there at the Twin Lakes Shopping Center, she hears the driver complain about the shoddy job that Sears did and fixing his car. And another point, she hears them say we'll get rid of her, but not here.
It's then that she remembers she's got a can of mace in her purse because the other two times she ran into this guy, it scared her so badly that she has mace in her purse, but she's too afraid to move or do anything. At the moment. They end up driving around for hours. And so finally, Ruth says, you have to let me out. I have to go to the bathroom. They both laugh at her and then she basically says, I'm going to throw up if I don't go to the restroom.
And she starts gagging. So they say, OK, hold on a second and they pull into a park. So at this point now it's cold and dark out because it's November. So they make Ruth take off her sweater and her shoes so that she won't run anywhere. You try to get away.
And her abductor, you know, the guy that jumped out at her on the street, he walks out into the park and he's saying stuff like, oh, this is going to be fun. I'll watch you and you watch me.
And then he's unzips his pants to start peeing. He says, I'll go first and she grabs her can of mace and sprays him with it because they let her take her purse.
Yes. So then she runs, she she runs up, she sees a bush, she kind of runs away, hides in the bush. The guy's walking around going, you can't get away. You'll freeze out here. Just come out. We'll be nice to you, whatever. But she stays hidden. Her feet start going numb from how cold it is. She waits. She waits until it all goes quiet. And then she runs up to a higher vantage point.
And when she doesn't see the car, the Bel Air, she sees that basically they've left. So she goes she runs out of the park and she runs across the street to a liquor store and has the store owner call the police and then call her husband.
Amazing. So now her husband, Ed, hasn't heard from her all evening, so he's already filed a missing persons report with the police. So the liquor store store owner calls and says who he is, says Ruth is safe. Ed, Russia rushes to the store, but by the time he gets there, his wife's already been taken to the police station. So, Ed, when he finally sees Ruth, she's shaken, but she's grateful to be alive.
Unfortunately, this isn't the first time she's experienced a brutal attack and it wouldn't be the last. So Ruth Finley, her maiden name is Ruth Smok. She's born on February 1st, 1930, in rural Missouri. She's one of three children, her father a farmer. Her mother's a homemaker. She has a normal upbringing by Depression era standards. So they had enough money to live, but they didn't have any extra, like most families. Her parents are pretty strict and they were very stoic.
You know, none of the kids are really they were all encouraged to keep their emotions to themselves. So when Ruth is 15, she moves out on her own to a boarding house in nearby Fort Scott, Missouri, to take sewing and typing classes. And a year later, she gets a job working for the local phone company. And then on the night of October 14th, nineteen forty six, when Ruth is 16 years old, she comes home from the grocery store and is startled by the sound of the screen door opening behind her.
And she turns to look and sees a roughly 50 year old white male intruder who grabs her, starts pulling at her clothes. She fights back against him. She presses her thumbs and do his eyes, but the man overpowers her. He has a claw of chloroform on a rag that he holds over her mouth. And as she's passing out, she sees him heating a flat iron over the stove. She wakes up later with scratches on her face, arms and legs and both of her thighs branded with first and second degree burns.
Oh, my God. But her clothes are intact and investigators find no evidence of sexual assault. And it's unclear if that assailant was ever caught.
But so she goes on to marry when she's 20 years old, June 1st, 1950, and she marries her husband, Ed Finley, who's an accountant for a construction firm. They settle into one story house in a quiet neighborhood in Wichita, Kansas. Ruth gets a job as a secretary for the head of security at the Southwestern Bell Telephone Company. And in their free time, Ed likes to paint landscapes and Ruth makes ceramics. They have two sons and they basically live a quiet, fairly normal life.
She's described as soft spoken, sober, and they're just an average middle class couple. So so basically all of this starts on a day in June in nineteen seventy seven. So basically at this point, Ed is 50 years old. He's working in there in the backyard when he suddenly collapses. So he's rushed to the hospital. Everybody thinks it's a heart attack, but they have to spend the night in the hospital to get his diagnosis of what's actually going on.
So with both of their sons grown and out of the house, Ruth, now forty eight years old, is left to spend the night alone in her house for the first time in 30 years.
And this is after the attack, right?
No, no, no. This is before. So this is this this is how everything started. Oh, OK. Got it. Got it. Is this night, June in nineteen seventy seven. OK, so she turns on the radio to distract herself. But all of the news on the radio is about Wichita's first serial killer, the BTK killer, and the seven victims he had so far murdered. Oh, no. So, yeah, he had been he had been, you know, obviously going undetected.
There's basically had a serial killer loose in Wichita and no one knew who he was. And it was just it just he had killed seven people at that point. And so that's her first night home alone.
So she has to turn it to a different station to distract herself. And then a little later that night, the phone rings. So Ruth is afraid it might be the hospital saying something bad about Ed when she answers. Instead, she hears the voice of a strange man who says, is this Ruth Smok from a Fort Scott, Kansas? And she is surprised to hear her maiden name and to hear her old hometown. She says, yes.
And he says, I know all about that night. And he then reads the article from an October nineteen forty six issue of the Kansas newspaper. The Fort Got Tribune all about Ruth's horrifying attack. Oh, my God. So the man on the other end, he reads the whole article to her. Then he asks if Ruth still got her brand. She says, I don't know what you're talking about, but he says that he was a construction worker who found this article about Ruth in the wall of a house he was demolishing.
He says he's going to blackmailer and threatened to revive the story and tell everyone she knows unless she pays him. She hangs up the phone, she gets a terrible headache, she goes to sleep, and then she sleeps for 10 hours, so she wakes up. The next morning, she gets the call from the hospital to say Ed didn't have a heart attack. The collapse was from a car accident, an injury that had happened a year before. He has to stay in the hospital another week for observation, which means that Ruth is alone in the house for another week, you know, and she's fearing another ominous phone call from this man.
But none come when Ed's released and back at home, Ruth decides not to bother him with the story of that call and just decides to put the whole thing behind her. But then later that summer, she's at work. When an envelope appears on her desk with her name on it, she opens it up to find that same newspaper article that the man had read on the phone to her. So she rips it up and throws it in the trash and then the calls start again.
Ruth keeps him a secret from Ed. So when she answers the phone and hears the man's voice, she immediately hangs up and sometimes it'll answer. But he basically the caller just hangs up on Ed. So then in August of nineteen seventy seven, she's window shopping in downtown Wichita and she notices a man that's there on a crowded sidewalk and but suddenly there's a man walking alongside her and then he says, you've done such a good job working this week.
You can take the weekend off. And she's kind of freaked out, but she stays calm. She looks at him, estimates he's in his late 40s. He's five nine. He's skinny. He's wearing a plaid sports shirt and jeans, white canvas shoes. And he has black hair graying at the temples. So she kind of takes a picture of him with her mind, but she ignores him basically, and she just she just keeps walking, but he keeps talking to her and he says, you work for the phone company, don't you?
What do you do there? Are you an operator? Then he tells her that he won it big, big one big at gambling and asked, do you want to go to Vegas sometimes? So she's just she's still ignoring him. And finally she says, I'm waiting for my husband. And his tone changes. And he says, Are you still married? I like your face. I'm going to see you again. You can count on that. Some people's fantasies are other people's nightmares.
So he disappears and then like into the crowd and then Ed finally arrives. And so she tells him everything that's going on or that's just gone on. He says, oh, he's just trying to flirt with you. It's fine, Ed. And so a year goes by, she still gets the occasional phone call, but she just hangs up and she doesn't see the man in person again until a year later, in June of 1978, when she's walking by an alleyway in downtown Wichita, when a hand reaches out and grabs her wrist and she hears a man yell, Ruth, get back here, you stupid bitch, and talk to me.
But she manages to get away from him and she runs into the Macy's across the street. She finally gets to the fifth floor of the Macy's. She realizes where she is and she's that she's basically like blacked out from fear. So she calls Ed, he comes and meets her at the Macy's and she tells him about that incident and about the man that talked to her the year before and finally tells him about all the threatening phone calls and all the stuff that happened.
So they forget actually files a police report, but nothing comes of it. So then four months later, in October of nineteen seventy eight, Ruth gets another mysterious letter and this one is sent to her home. And it's written in the same messy scrawl that the other ones are written in. And this one reads, Fuck you, fuck the police, fuck the telephone company.
Oh, shit. Right. Which is I mean, that's how we all feel. So a month later. But remember the telephone bill.
I remember Ma Bell. Ma Bell used to be these rates. Oh, these rates.
OK, basically a month later and and Ruth go to the police and they talk to a lieutenant, Bernie Watsky, who's a thirty four year veteran criminal investigator, and he is all his time is being taken up by this BTK case, I'm sure. Right. So he's listening to this nice couple. And in his mind, he's like, yeah, just don't have time for this bullshit, basically.
And but now the loose Ruths got another letter where the man is now demanding one hundred dollars and he ends the letter like this very threatening letter with a poem. And it says, wherever you go on water or land, you still got to pay or I tell about your brand. I am smart and know things to do. You talk to people I despise, like police lieutenant, and tell us spies like filled with misspellings and weird spellings and stuff like that.
And this is the beginning of this onslaught of letters. She just keeps getting them each one stranger than the next. They're all they all of spelling errors. Sometimes he uses really big, like uncommon or like, you know, fancy vocabulary words. And then sometimes he makes up words like Santa used or Cycos Denia.
He's he's always he always refers to Bruce branding Scar's. So the lieutenant takes these letters to the lab for fingerprint testing. They don't find anything. We're still getting the phone calls at home. So it doesn't really seem like the calls stop. Ruthanne had hoped that this stalker is finally letting up, but then later that month is when Ruth is abducted by the two men in the Bel Air. So that brings us up to November of that first thing that happened.
So, OK, so now that Ruth has been abducted. Yeah, suddenly, Lieutenant Watsky, it's taking this case seriously because it's starting to match up with the BTK M.O. letters and then the actual physical violence, like they're very worried that this is some that it could be it could be BTK in some other weird form.
They don't know or a copycat or they don't know what it is. Yeah. So the day after her abduction, Trotsky's colleague, Detective Richard Nortman, goes back to the park where Ruth escaped and finds her sweater, shoes and footprints leading from the parking lot to that hiding spot in the bushes. He doesn't find anything else, so they also run a check on all 1964 Chevy Bel Air owners in the area, none of them turn out to be suitable suspects for this abduction.
So for five weeks, several officers are assigned to keep watch over Ruth as she takes her lunch breaks downtown. But nothing happens in that time. Another detective named Detective George Anderson takes Ruth and Ed to Fort Scott to dove back in to her attack from when she was 16 to see if he can find any leads connecting that to her.
This current stalker. Yeah, they end up spending two days reexamining the old case. And she actually reviews a number of mugshots in the Fort Scott police have on file, but nothing comes of it. Detective Anderson even goes back for a second two day trip on his own to look into it more. But he doesn't find anything. Meanwhile, Ruth can't sleep. She has bad headaches. She's getting stomach cramps on a daily basis. And Ed is spending his nights hidden in the bushes of their backyard, armed with a 12 gauge shotgun, hoping to catch this stalker approaching the house, which I'm sure makes her feel extra safe that her husband's like.
That's terrifying. I know. I know. They're but they're freaking out. And this is their own mini personal family freak out on top of the wider city. Jesus, freak out. Sure. Then on December 13th, 1978, Lieutenant Trotzky receives a letter of his own weird stalker is accusing him of, quote, protecting a whore from death. The lieutenant's furious. He now knows Ruth and Ed from this case. He believes Ruth to be a kind, good woman.
And now he wants to catch the stalker even now more than ever. So the letters keep coming, each one with its own dark, threatening error, error riddled poem.
Ed starts referring to the stalker as the poet, and the name actually ends up sticking that. On January 25th, 1979, the poet calls Ruth at work. He tells her that he has a quote unquote surprise for her in the lobby down in a telephone company building. So she's cautiously walks downstairs. And there in the lobby phone booth, she finds a knife wrapped in a red bandana. She calls police. They start questioning everyone that's been in the lobby and in the building.
A few witnesses come forward and say that they saw a man resembling Ruth's description of the poet. They saw him near the phone booth. But no one really has any information of who he is or where he went. So no leads, you know, taken from it. A month later, the poet starts sending letters to local businesses. He sends a local florist a letter with five dollars enclosed and their request to send Ruth one black rose. Only the note reads, quote, If this is not enough, enough for a delivered one, then call.
And then it has Edward's phone number and tell her to come and get it. Yikes. So as things get warmer, the letters and the calls start to slow down. So Ed and Ruth decide to take advantage and plan a vacation to Colorado in July of 1979. So to get ready for that, Ruth tells Ed she's going to go to the mall by herself to get a pair of jeans. And now it doesn't like that she's going alone, but she says it's just going to be fine.
I'm just running in really quickly. So on August 13th, Ruth Lee's work, she goes to Dillard's department store at the town East Mall in downtown Wichita, gets some jeans. By the time she's done, she goes outside to find herself walking through a practically empty parking lot alone at dusk. No.
Has anything good ever happen in a mall parking lot? Not at all. Especially toward the end of the day, no. And it's worse and worse just as the sun goes down. Right. But this was, you know, is seventy nine. Some malls were new for people. True. So before she gets to her car, she hears a familiar voice yell, Hey, Ruth, I didn't think you're going to make it this easy.
She spins around, she sees the poet lunging toward her. She tries unlocking her car door, but she can't get it in time. He grabs her. He shoves her against the car. He tells her to get in as he tosses a bag filled with rope, white tape, a red bandana and half a drunken bottle of wine into the backseat. He tells her he's going to take her to a remote bridge near Auguste Airport Road. But right when that happens, she breaks away from his grasp.
She manages to get into the car through the passenger side door and close it behind her. The window is slightly cracked. The pilot tries to reach in after her, but she rolls it up. She forces him to pull his hand away and pinches a brown glove into the window as she peels out of the parking lot.
Ruth, this woman I know. Frickin hero, she gets away again at the next red light. She looks down and realizes she feels a little lightheaded. She looks down, she's been stabbed.
It an eight inch boning knife is sticking out of her left side of the left side of her torso. Holy shit.
Right. So she'll later learn at the hospital. This is actually the third stab wound that she got. There's two more in her back that she didn't even feel. My God. So she she drives herself to a gas station phone booth. And there she dials the number that she's memorized to six eight four one eight one, which is Lieutenant Trotsky's boss, Captain Al Finish. This is his direct line. And before Ruth can finish introducing herself, he picks up.
She's like, hi, my name is or whatever. He's like, I know who you are, what's going on?
And then she explains it to him. So he sends an officer to where she is. But she's so worried that the poet's going to find her there that she drives home, which is only five minutes away. Captain Thermic is already called Ed and basically said, what's going on? So by the time she gets home, Ed's waiting for her on the porch. As soon as she gets there, he gets in, drives her to the hospital. The police meet the couple at the hospital.
So Ruth's all of her wounds are treated. The doctors say that the third stab wound in her left side was so deep, had it gone in any further, she would have died. She stays in the hospital for nine days. Her story makes the news once again. And there were the reporter covering the story for the Wichita Eagle Beacon newspaper is named Fred Mann. He reports the incident. And then in a follow up article, he includes the police sketch of the poet.
And for that, he begins to get threatening letters from the poet. So the day after Ruth gets out of the hospital, one of the nurses tells the police that a man who resembles the police sketch of the poet visited the nurses station several times while Ruth was in their care. So as a precaution, Lieutenant Drew Outside stays at Ruth and Ed's house for two days just to make sure they're OK. Nothing happens while he's there.
So by September of 1979, the police have no leads. And Ed is growing desperate to protect his wife. His employer puts up a three thousand dollar reward on the Findlay's behalf for information leading to the poet's capture. But Ed also tries contacting the poet himself. He actually puts an ad out in the Wichita Eagle Beacon that says, Poet, tell me what I owe you RCF and the poet responds to RCF. The price of my service to stay alive can now be settled at five.
But this isn't enough information for Ed to know how much that is what it's supposed to mean. They go back and forth several times, but none of it leads anywhere. And it doesn't. It doesn't. Nothing happens. So in October of 1979, the newspaper puts out a statement saying that they've been receiving letters from the poet directly to them. In one, he writes, quote, Make sure that you don't confuse the executioners again, referencing the rumors that the poet and BTK are the same person.
So the public, of course, is following this story like word for word. And there's rumors all around town calls to the police constantly roll in with alleged poet sightings. None of them bring any leads or evidence. So Lieutenant Gruevski assigns eight officers to go undercover around downtown and they have Ruth wear a wire whenever she goes out, just in case he approaches or downtown. Again, there's no sign of him, but more letters with poems in them.
Turn up on the Findlay's porch and in their mailbox. And at night they can hear strange noises from their garage. But when they go out there, they they don't catch anybody. On Christmas Eve 1979, the Findlay's phone lines are cut and that's the second time that's happened. So they're running out of options. Ruth agrees to undergo hypnosis to see if she can recall any other details from her attacks. A psychologist named Dr. Donald Schrag works with Ruth for two sessions until they reach the matter of her kidnaping.
And her demeanor shifts from calm to distraught as she cries out. I want out of the car. I want out of the car. Dr. Schrag, after this these sessions, he concludes that whoever the poet is, quote, it's likely he's had psychological treatment and possibly has been in a state institution, unquote. But he also believes the man's highly intelligent. So in January of 1980, Lieutenant Trotzky is promoted to vice and organized crime. So a man named Captain Mike Hill takes over Ruth's case soon after Captain.
Receives a letter of his own from the poet, a line of which reads, There was once a captain who had an asshole for a heart.
Oh, wow. I mean, it's really it's so visual. So Jurafsky had forged the strong friendship with the Finlay's, in fact, they went to the same church, they had basically the same political views. And so a Jurafsky and his wife went out with Ed and Ruth on like double date times, like they socialize together. Yeah, but Captain Hill has no personal relationship with them at all, so it gives him the advantage of an objective point of view.
His first move after taking over the case is to install a surveillance camera in the Finlay's backyard. He has officers posted in the Finlay's dining room on a round the clock watch, checking the cameras, monitors for any suspicious activity. Ruth feels guilty that all of these officers have to endure such a boring job. So she's constantly making them baked goods and sometimes she even read some of the poet's letters aloud to them for entertainment. So a month later, later on Valentine's Day, Ruth gets a menacing Valentine themed message and a second letter containing a strip of red bandana.
And they're also letters being sent to local businesses. The utility companies get letters instructing them to shut off Finlay's gas and power. The health department gets a letter claiming that Ruth Finley is spreading STDs around town. The local mortuary gets a letter threatening that Ruth, quote, would be requiring them soon and quote. Yikes. So now it is driving Ruth to and from work. So she's never by herself. And at this point, it's been three years.
So the police have looked into more than 300 people of interest. All of them are dead ends. They install another security camera at the Findlay's home, this time hidden in a birdhouse in the backyard. Nothing happens. So in the spring of 1980, they decide to use Ruth as bait. They have her wear a bulletproof vest and walk around in downtown Wichita while several undercover cops are patrolling the area.
But nothing comes of it. Then on June 3rd, 1980, Ruth gets a letter from the poet that's postmarked from Oklahoma City. So the Wichita police contacted Oklahoma City police. They discovered that an anonymous woman called in to report a recent sighting. So the police close in on a man who's recently been fired from his job in Wichita. And they're certain that this must be the poet. But when they bring him in for a lineup, Ruth says that although he does look similar, it's just not him.
So by July 4th, 1980, this story's national news, the rumors that the poet is BTK continue to spread. And police actually have a psycholinguistic expert named Dr. Murray as Myron examine the handwriting in his in the letters. I think I know. So he determines that while it's the handwriting is actually similar to BTK, it's highly unlikely that they're the same person. But the public can't let go of that idea. OK, so the next few months, stranger and stranger items start showing up on the Findlay's front porch, an ice pick, broken glass, Molotov cocktails, firecrackers, cigarets, even hair.
And at Christmas time, the Finlay's are watching TV when they're jolted by the sound of their window breaking. Ed runs out onto the porch to find a burning wreath has been hung from their front window. And the heat from that cause the window to explode. In a rage. Ed runs out into the street with a pair of garden shears screaming that he's going to kill the poet so they can. Things continue like this into 1981. The Wichita police are widely criticized by the public who can't believe they haven't been able to catch the poet and they also simultaneously aren't catching BTK either.
So now Chief of Police Richard La Munyon or La Munyon, but I'm going to say Lebanon is he's left fending off questions from the press about his department's ineptitude. But Lebanon's annoyance turns personal. On Friday, September 4th, 1981, when the poet sends a letter to his wife. Oh, she now fed up Le Monan, who has had no personal involvement in the case as of yet, takes it over himself. So he on September 5th, he takes all the poet case files home and pours over them.
It takes him several days, but at the end of his research, he believes he knows who the poet is. He calls a private meeting for select officers on September 11th, 1981, and he begins to explain his very secret theories. He says he finds it strange that all of its attacks have been in public places, yet there are zero witnesses to any of these attacks. It's also strange that despite the all out, all the hours of round the clock surveillance, no officers and no neighbors have ever seen a trace of a trespasser, not even footprints on the Findlay's property.
And they live on a dead end street. When the surveillance camera is installed in the Findlay's backyard, all the action moves to the front porch. And then after Ruth's abduction, the only footprints the investigating officer find at the park are Ruths. And when Ruth is stabbed, instead of calling nine one one at the phone booth like a regular person would, she calls the direct line for central investigations the officers in the room. So basically what he's saying is he thinks that the poet is Ruth Finley.
As soon as you said he's able to look at it with the new chief, is able to look at it without any personal, you know, because he's not Renzler, I was like, no, he doesn't have bias. He knows it's her. Yes. I mean, I was like, don't say anything. Shut up, shut up.
This is exactly the way writer Cary Mead laid this are listicle out. So the entire time you think you're just reading this, a case that you've never heard of before. And by the time it gets to that exactly thing. Yeah. Where you're just like this woman is being hideously victimized, why have I never heard this story before?
So but here's the thing.
All of these police officers, the Wichita P.D., think think this guy is nuts. They think the chief is totally lost it. Oh, there's no way Munchhausen syndrome back then.
Right. Like, why would anyone do that to themselves? Right, exactly.
It's it's the kind of thing that. Yes. No one had ever talked about anything like that detail before. But also they know Ruth. They've come to know her over the past four years. They cannot believe she'd be the kind of person who would put her husband to that. Who would who would do that to the police or to herself? Yeah, that's not what she's like. Like, that's she's a kind, quiet, you know, very upstanding lady.
And what. Her motive be it didn't make sense to them, it didn't add up. Yeah, but since Le Munyon is the boss, they have to follow his theory. So beginning Monday, September 14th, 1981. Le Munyon sets up. A 24 hour surveillance on the Finlay's, with officers trading off 12 hour shifts in a van two blocks away from the Finlay's house at the escape mall, this time without the Findlay's knowing.
Yeah. So three days later, at eight thirty in the morning on September 17th, the surveillance police capture photos of Ed driving Ruth up to the mailbox at the gate mall and depositing several pieces of mail. So they run over and basically it takes them until one thirty to get a postal officer. Sorry, the postal inspector to open that mailbox. And inside they find two letters from the poet. But too much time has passed between when Ruth dropped the mail off and when they were finally able to get it open.
So technically, someone else could have mailed those letters like they don't know for a fact. Those are the letters she put in. Yeah. So basically nine days later, they get another opportunity. Once more, Ed drives their car up to the same mailbox. Ruth leans out the passenger side to drop the mail and but this time an undercover cop pulls up right after them, blocks the mailbox, pretending to have car trouble so no one else can use this mailbox until they get the postal inspector down there to open it.
All right. So this time. They're mixed in with the Findlay's regular mail is another letter from the poet, once this is confirmed, they received the envelope and they let the mail carrier deliver that letter to the Findlay's.
So the next day, which is Sunday, September 27th, Ed brings the poet letter to the police, as he does with all of the letters they receive. But then the police launch a search for more of the Finlay's mail everywhere. Businesses they sent payments to, you know, like mail at her work. And they basically inspect all the envelopes and they're able to match the edges of the stamps because stamps used to get pulled out of boxes and you would tear there would be perforated little rolls where you pull the stamps apart.
They match the tear, the tearaways, and they see that all of these stamps are from the same book. They can they can put them all back in. So. Police gave permission to search Ruths office at work, and there they find the book of a book of poetry paper with the poet's handwriting on it and a red bandana concealed in a tissue in Ruths desk. All of this is enough to warrant a search of the Finlay's house. So on September twenty eight, while the Finlay's are away, they searched the house, but they actually find no hard evidence inside the house.
But then two days later, on Wednesday, September 30th, she Pflum Munyon and his wife Sharon get another letter from the poet. And at the bottom of the page, the page is torn off. So through microscopic fracture analysis, they are able to determine that the torn off piece from Ruth's trash can at work matches the piece at the bottom of the letter that Le Munyon received.
Sillett. Yeah, I got I got this solidifies the case. So the next day on October 1st, 1981, the police ask Ed to come into the station to pick up the latest batch of letters, which is what usually happens. But when he gets there, Captain Hill and Detective Jack Leon take Ed into an interrogation room and they start asking him questions. Now, Ed's confused, but he cooperates. The basically the officers spend two hours asking Ed about his life, his upbringing, all the way up until the beginning of the harassment in 1977.
And to get the idea of basically, is Ed complicit in his silly plan?
Is he? Oh, my God. Finally, Captain Hill tells Ed that he knows who the poet is. And Ed says, well, I hope the hell you do. Let's go get him. But then he shows Ed pictures of his wife dropping letters in the mailbox at the mall and explains that they can confirm that Ruth is in fact, a letter writer. Ed is in utter shock. Hill asks if he'll agree to a polygraph test so he can be eliminated as a suspect.
Ed agrees. He passes the test. He was never involved.
It was all Ruth by herself. Edie, I got bad news for you. I know.
So at five o'clock that same afternoon, Hill calls Ruth and has her come down to the station to look at mug shots to see if she can identify the poet, which is a common practice for her at this point. She agrees. Hill walks her through the same interrogation procedure that he walked Ed through, and he finally asks Ruth if she wrote any of the poet's letters. She says no. But when he shows her the surveillance photos of herself mailing the letters and says that he can prove she did.
She finally admits she says she has a vague memory of sitting in her basement writing letters, but when she thinks back, she can't tell what's a dream and what's reality, dear.
I was hoping you were going to say that show or a mug shot line up and hers was in it. And then she'd know.
And she's like, oh, there he is right there. Oh, yeah.
Basically, he asked he then he switches his tone and gets mean and asks or if the attack went from when she was 16 years old, if that even really happened, she swears it did. But she gets starts to get really upset. He switches back to a gentle tone and basically says, quote, Ruthie, why it's time. It's time to tell me why I'm not mad at you, Ruth. I want to know why you're doing this. So after some prodding, Ruth eventually admits to everything, the letters, the calls, the odd objects left at her house, even her own stabbing.
But she says it wasn't a deliberate plan as much as it was kind of this fuzzy memory that she can barely recall.
Basically, it's like she's really ashamed and she's almost she's confused, but she's really ashamed. And when when Hill says to her, there's no hard feelings between you and me, Ruth says, there should be. I wish I was dead. Oh, my God. So she confirms that Ed was not involved at all, but she makes it clear she needs medical help. She says she thinks she's crazy. And then she says, quote, I tried to figure out what was wrong, but I couldn't stop it.
So that night, she's taken to the psychiatric ward of St. Joseph's Hospital for treatment. After much debate, the Wichita police make the controversial decision not to press charges against Ruth, citing that she was suffering from severe mental distress and had no malicious intent. She did, however, cost the department almost four hundred thousand dollars for all their investigative efforts over the past four years. And Chief Leo Munyon does not agree with this decision not to press charges. He considers her a dangerous criminal.
Basically, Ruth goes into therapy with a Dr. Andrew Pickens and this goes on for the next seven years and she's finally able to uncover the source of her issues, which takes her a while to get to and then takes her years to process afterwards. But in a sense, what's interesting and kind of fascinating about it is she does it using the same technique that the poet does. She begins writing poetry about it and she finally unwinds like all of those things that she was writing in the poet's poems.
They all kind of pulled into her reality. And what she she basically had faced a long buried childhood trauma of sexual abuse by a neighbor when she was only four years old. And it was a man who had used red bandanas to tie her up.
So I'll make it seem like there was actual symbolism in her. Wow.
So she basically says that when that happened to her and it went on for a couple of months, that she would remember, quote unquote, floating off to heaven, which was a comment, which is a common dissociative tactic that the brain uses in times of severe trauma. So it's a defense tactic, her doctors theorize, that allowed her to develop this kind of separate identity as the poet. And then in 1977, when Ed has his heart attack and she is alone for the first time in her life, while the BTK is like gone, basically killing people around town and no one knows who he is.
Yeah. Basically, her brain switches back into this dissociative mode and the stress she basically it's like this cry for help. So did the the teenage attack happen?
Yeah. OK, so that primarily that's the as far as we know, as far as we know and. Yeah. Yeah.
And basically it seems like the the police in that town believe I feel like that attack alone as a teenager would have triggered that reaction from BTK too, because that's a similar thing. He was breaking into women's houses and it's like either of those could have all of it.
Yeah, it's all it's all horrible parallels to her life. And if she was repressing it and then that attack, you know, she was kind of able to come back and then she has this marriage that's really solid for her. And, you know, it's this really strong, great marriage relationship. Family she builds for 30 years. Everything is like going great. Yeah. And then this thing happens.
That's like shock after shock. Yeah.
You know, so that the only person who doesn't believe this theory is Chief Law Munyon, who would later say, quote, I think she's lying. She knew everything she was doing, unquote. Wow. But no one in Ruth's family or friendship circle believes that at all. In fact, Ed stands by her. Their marriage lasts through this horrible experience. And she was quoted as saying, it's been hard on Ed, but he's the kindest person I know and he's been very supportive.
But also her friends and neighbors rallied by her side. Her neighbor, Emma Dillinger, is quoted in that People magazine article saying, Ruth told me her story and gave me the option of cutting off our friendship. But all I wanted to do was comfort her.
Oh, my God. And all of us love loved ones, like basically had that same reaction. And after five years in treatment, she feels strong enough to talk about her story on a local like news station. And after she basically tells her side of the story, there's they start getting that station starts getting calls. And ninety eight percent of them were compassionate and loving and completely supportive of her like an overwhelming majority. It were just like, this is unbelievable.
Yeah. So it turns out that the poet of Wichita was not a violent madman, but a woman who didn't even know herself how much she needed to be heard. On May 30th, twenty nineteen, Ruth Finley passed away at the age of 89. And that is the fascinating story of Ruth Finley, also known as the poet of Wichita.
What the fuck? What the fuck? Give the credit to the person who suggested it to you again, because really sweet, sweetly sarcastic.
Read that article by Corey Mead first on Medium Dotcom and sent it along to me. I mean, I also think that part of me hesitated and I think I felt like I may have begun to read this story one time when we are on the road.
But but I hate the idea of talking about going this far into a story where a female victim is lying because it does it doesn't happen that often. Yeah. And that kind of thing of like these false reports, it's it's it's I think it's one of the reasons that it's not a very well known story. That is because it's this is it's as crazy as a serial killer. It's as ugly. Yeah. It's as you know. It's very common for women to be stalked.
It's very common for women to be raped. It's very common for women to be attacked and abused. So this is a true anomaly that then kind of grew into a whole other crazy.
I mean, Wichita, it almost it's. I don't know, it's fascinating. So many layers, there's so many layers to it. Really good point.
But that doesn't mean the story shouldn't be told. And we tell a huge amount of different types of stories on this podcast.
And this is one of those examples. But it's not it's not a rule.
So I think it's it deserves a place in this podcast. And that was an incredible job telling the story. The medium writer did an incredible job. So.
And it happened. It happened. Here's the thing. It happened. And it didn't end in a in a pitchforks and torches mob, you know what I mean? It ended with people going, what?
Why would someone do this? This is baffling. Yeah. Because there weren't she was the only victim. And Ed. Yeah. And then the wasted time. But it's like what was she doing. It doesn't make sense. It doesn't add up. And then it's like but everybody has their reasons and you know.
Oh, fucking crazy. Great job. Thank you. Yeah I know. It's crazy. All right, I had an epiphany this week that although it feels like this story is part of the folklore, that is my favorite murder. It's a tale as old as time in our lives. We actually don't know the full story of the cocaine bear. Oh, we don't.
We know a snippet from Minnesota, Minnesota 101. Thank you, Stephen.
But who why? What, where? Let's find out today. I thought you did this story. I asked Stephen, did I do it when we were in Kentucky?
Because it's what we've been to Kentucky. Yeah, we have. And it wasn't I thought, OK, well, great.
So too when I was halfway through. And that's why I stuck Steven and he said, no, no, not don't tell me I don't care about doing it today. Yeah.
If you, if you figure out otherwise you can go ahead and let Steven know. And personal Steven email at EarthLink dot gov. Right. All right. So I got info from a Rolling Stone article by E.J. Dickerson, a Slate article by Matthew Decem, the Kentucky for Kentucky website by Coleman Larkin, and that Eifel Science article by James Felton. So here we go, Karen going, I tell you the tale, I want to know the truth about the cocaine there before I before I see the movie.
It's truth. It's legend. It's truly a legend. On the morning of September 11th, nineteen eighty five, Mr. Fred M. Myers of Knoxville, Tennessee, woke up, walked out of his home on an island home pike in South Knoxville and found a dead man in his backyard.
So Mr. Meyers recalled hearing a crash around midnight the night before. And it turned out the crash he had heard had been that of the dead man falling from the sky and landing in his backyard. Oh, my God. Yes.
Horrible as a horrible start. So the body of the man was dressed in khaki and it was sprawled out on his back over an open the parachute. There was no obvious injuries aside from a trickle of dried blood from each of his nostrils. But other than that, he looked fine.
Authorities arrived and found that the dead man was wearing a bulletproof vest and night vision goggles and was carrying two different pistols, ammunition, a stiletto knife, freeze-dried food and six Krugerrands, which are gold coins.
Yes, I love Gugger. And that's my favorite reference.
Forty five hundred dollars cash, IDs and multiple names, a membership card to the Miami Jockey Club and several inspirational epigrams, which I know you love. Epigrams. Epigrams.
Yeah, like. You mean like keep Sorbi like a mighty bird. That's right. Keep on truckin.
Those things are those off the ground. I don't know. I don't know. Let me read you one. That's definitely an epigram because this is one of the ones he had on him. Wait a second. Is an epigram the same thing forward and backwards so mine wouldn't work? No fly like a mighty eagle won't work.
Let me spell that backwards and try to help. All right. OK, this is one that's one read. There is only one tactical principle not subject to change. It is to inflict the maximum amount of wounds, death and destruction on the enemy and the minimum amount of time.
It sounds like a Chuck Norris type of like thing that like that they live by, you know, like a here's what I like.
I it sounds like the kind of shirt that you'd be right up against in line at 7-Eleven. And then once you read that epigram or whatever the fuck it you're claiming it to be, then you back way up and you're just like, oh, I didn't realize you're here to do the most damage in shorts. And you're like, Hey, mister, can I touch your nunchakus? And they are nontax in your pockets, right?
So that he had that on him poetry and he had a duffel bag with about seventy five pounds of cocaine. That was ninety five percent pure. And I wanted to like I wanted to like in my head picture. Seventy five pounds of cocaine, which is hard to do with powder. Right. So then I looked up like how many pounds of chocolate bars would that be. But then I thought OK, well how much, what kid weighs about five pounds.
And so I looked it up in an average ten year old female weighs seventy five pounds. So that's how much cocaine if you held an average nine year old female in one hand and cocaine in the other, that weighed the same. You could also do it basically if you're doing five pound bags of sugar. Oh but cocaine there would be about fourteen bags of sugar. Oh that's a lot. No wonder his parachute didn't open.
And if it's 95 percent pure, you can get some baby laxative and cut it in there and then you can have like then you have like thirty five pounds of cocaine. You just get all the kids at the junior college, buy it and you're in Cabo. Baby Niños, Karen just snuck up on this podcast and was like, hey, I have an idea. Hey man. Look man, be cool. All right? So police came and we're like, what is the scene?
It was like baffling to everyone. Of course, narcotics agents came. DEA Customs were very baffled by this innocent looking back yard scene. I guess it wasn't an innocent looking and not innocent with the Krugerrand. You I'm telling you, any time Krugerrands are involved, this is an international issue that we have, or it's a spy movie starring Brad Pitt.
Either way, we're fucked. So police by afternoon are able to identify the body. And even then, they still have few theories as to what the hell happened. But they do identify him as Andrew Carter Thornton, the second of Kentucky. So let me tell you about Andrew Carter Thornton, the second, as you can tell by his name. Yes, he came from a wealthy family, his royalty. That's right. So he's born on October 30th, 1944, to Carter and Peggy Thornton in southern Bourbon County, Kentucky.
Carter and Peggy had a grand old time being wealthy and breeding horses at their State Farm Luckies.
So Andrew grew up living a privileged life in Lexington, Kentucky. He attended pretty prestigious private schools, along with other Lexington blue bloods. He went to the Military Academy, Suwanee Military Academy and then joined the army as a paratrooper. Then he became an Air Force officer.
He earns a Purple Heart, you know, he's on his way up. And Nexon is lustrous career.
He becomes a police officer in the Lexington, Kentucky Police Force Narcotics Division. So here he is. But then in 1977, he resigns because he now wants to practice law.
So he goes to the University of Kentucky Law School. And apparently the law applied to everyone but himself because of the 1980 federal indictment alleges he was part of a drug and weapons smuggling ring called the company.
Oh, yeah. And it also reportedly involved other former Kentucky police officers as well. So maybe he went to law school to be like having to keep this business going and like, not for good reasons. Mm hmm.
So in nineteen eighty one, he's arrested along with twenty five other men.
They were attempting to steal guns from a naval base in Fresno, California, risky and for attempting to traffic a thousand pounds of marijuana into the county, into San Diego, Fresno. Oh, yeah, I thought drugs lived in Fresno. Why do they have to smuggle them in? Yeah, especially from like Kentucky. Yeah. No one and no one in Cowley wants that KYC. No, thanks. Keep it for yourselves and your on your stud horses.
We're good over here.
So DEA agent Robert Brightwell, who says he worked with Thornton on narcotics investigations in the early 70s, described him as a quote and Devil seven paramilitary type personality and adventure driven by adrenaline rushes who became bored with being a cop. So we got this guy who thinks he's James Bond or Chuck Norris.
It seems like a cross between the two and he's bored with even being a narcotics cop, which sounds pretty entertaining and fun if you ask. And stressful and stress. Yeah, like what you need.
What and legal. So not enough for some people. Never enough. Never. Initially, Andrew was given two felony charges of conspiracy to import and distribute a controlled substance to which he pled not guilty. But he fled the state and then it was found heavily armed in North Carolina and brought back to California to face reduced misdemeanor drug charges. So he got his charges. Superduper reduced.
Let's go back and talk about how he was wealthy. That's how it probably happened.
And Hoyt, hoity toity, he pleaded no contest to the charges, was sentenced to six months in prison and fined five hundred dollars. And he also had his law license revoked.
So, Karen, this last brush with the law was all it took for Andrew to see the error of his ways, straighten up, find Jesus, and not cause the death of a black bear.
Right, Blyde? Oh, turns out no. Find you.
This is how I know.
So a woman named Betty Zeringue was his former wife, and she said about him, quote, He was a he was a son of a bitch. Son of a bitch. She shot two pistols in there. This son of a bitch had shitty Kentucky. We'd always try to give me that.
We'd know. She said he was a philosophical, incredibly disciplined, extremely spiritual and loyal warrior with his own code of ethics who thrived on excitement. And then she lit a candle on his on her under his headshot. OK, yes. She was into that guy. Yeah. I think she still liked him. So she likes like I did.
Your dog just belch. She growled at me because I just realized I didn't feed her dinner, but I did give her two cheese sticks to shoot. You want to go to dinner? No, no. I think she can make it.
It sounded like that song about that. Oh, yeah. She went, wow, wow. OK, you have to just give me a half an hour.
You got it. OK, on September 9th.
Nineteen eighty five. Andrew is now forty. He enlisted the help of. His don't. Don't be too surprised by this karate instructor turned bodyguard, a man named Bill Leonard. So the pair, along with a third man who is a Colombian man that Bill had apparently never met, they get on a Cessna 404 airplane.
So Bill alleges that he just got on the plane.
He didn't know what they were doing.
And while en route, according to Bill, in a 1990 interview with former Knoxville News Sentinel managing editor Tom Chester, Leonard said that while he knew of Andrews shady drug fueled, you know, past and reputation, he had not known that this flight was to involve drugs he didn't know was the officer and insisted that Andrew had sprung the plot on him mid-flight as the plane flew over the Bahamas. It was raining and dark, and I guess he hadn't asked, hey, who's this Colombian stranger on board with us?
He died in style and they were getting on plane. And it was like, whatever. Yeah. Just, let's say a bunch of strangers on a Cessna. It'll be fine.
Nothing will happen. Andrew No. Andrew told Leonard the plan that they would pick up 400 kilograms of cocaine in Colombia and smuggle it into the U.S. Although I can see the logic of being like, don't fuckin tell Andrew on the tarmac, we have to be in the air.
He's going to get one of his classic freakouts.
He'll just he always goes along with any plan. ANDREWS The Andrew is is the what's his name? Andrews. The main guy.
Bill is the foil, whatever. Doesn't matter who's got the Krugerrands. Andrew Andrew's got the bill is Corradi. Bill is the crux of this whole thing.
Sounds like Danny McBride and James Franco got stoned together and wrote this up. This doesn't seem real, does it.
Now not surprise you that Elizabeth Banks is part of it. Everyone's like, how are you going to make this music? I think you just cast it. Yeah, there it is.
OK, Bill said if he had told me, hey, Bill, we're going to Columbia to smuggle 400 kilos of cocaine to America, I would have gone. Yeah, right. That would have been the end of it right there. He tricked me. There is no way in hell. I mean, anybody that knows me in Lexington knows there's no way I would do anything like this. I was a nobody. And then he winked at the reporter, nudge, nudge, nudge, gave him a bag of cocaine and walked and tightened up his brown belt in karate chop up to the face and stole the cut bag of cocaine and ran in the opposite direction to show his dojo.
And all was well. Then he said about Andrew. When he told him about this plan, he said the look on his face was hard to explain. He was smiling, but he had a very intense look in his eyes. And he was watching me very closely.
In my heart, in my heart, I would love of Bill actually was just this foil who had no clue about it at all. It was just like this, a local Lexington dude he really liked. He just thought Andrew was the coolest. And I was like, come along, even though he knew Bill would fuck it up somehow. And he did. Yeah, OK. But Bill hating to be someone who cancels plans, apparently they move on with their mission and picked up the freight that was in Columbia.
And we're somewhere over Florida. When Bill claimed that they heard federal agents talking over the radio about following their plane record breaker.
So Bill, who picture this bill had been vomiting over an open door because that's how inexperienced he was on planes Bill. Yeah, like a Hawaiian shirt on because he thought they were going to the Bahamas and I was just flatterers half mil.
But you still can't tell that's the Tommy Bahama promise you you can puke on yourself. Oh, my God.
So he hears this. He freaks out, he stops vomiting, and he opened the door and kicked three bags of cocaine out. Now, like, let's get rid of this cocaine, then we're being followed. Andrew, of course, being a business man freaks out and it's like he's hates a party foul. So he's like, what the fuck are you doing?
And the two of them start to argue, OK, Bill says, quote, Right at that time when it looks like we're going to rip each other's throats out, he just starts laughing. I don't know what happened. I started laughing. And the next thing I know, we're both rolling around in the plane laughing. That's probably the safety hazard, right? Tears coming out of our eyes. He turned around and said, I'm really sorry for getting you involved in this.
I can see this is not your thing.
You're a family man. Just do it.
I tell you and I'll get you out. That's a quote. I didn't just fucking make that up.
This is I'm sorry, but this is also if you've ever seen the fucking Peter Falck movie and Ellen Barkin movie, The In-laws. This is the. A very similar plot to the in-laws. This is like we thought the cocaine bear aspect of this story was the best part of the story, so we never bothered looking it up.
I completely, in my mind, connected it to a totally different story. You did the full version. Yeah. And just in my mind was like, oh, yeah, that must be connected to that thing.
I don't know. A story with them ended with a bear dying on cocaine was going to be even.
But I think that it was like surmised perfectly in that email, the original email, where they were just like this thing happened. But what's important is that, yeah, you know, we're going to boil it down. I meant to give credit to the first person, the person whose hometown we read because they, like, really brought it into our lives and deserve full credit. But I forgot to do that, and I'm sure it's impossible to find at this point.
So it's impossible. It's impossible. All right. I have it.
It's even possible. That's your perfect setup.
It's from Sam. So there's no other details.
It's just Sam, Sam and Lexington know you're screaming your name out there. And we heard it to thank Sam.
Well, because it was about your mother's ex-boyfriend, the cocaine cowboy. So I think she dated one of the people.
She dated Andrew, probably Andrew originally. Yeah, OK. What she dated Bill Bill's not the cocaine cowboys.
He threw three huge big cowboy adjacent.
Here's the thing. She is a cowboy entrapment A and B, if there's a plane following you don't throw anything out of the plane. They can see you.
They are going to go after it, essentially. Is he yes or no? A cowboy caricature? Yes.
Andrew's a real thing. He's got a little tiny, tiny horse, tiny horse, big head, tiny, tiny horse, cougar. And yes.
So Sam's mother dated Andrew Carter Thornton is like, holy shit, Sam.
Sam is here.
Dad secret. Like you're only we know. Yeah, that's OK. Sam, how big is your head.
How small is your hat, SAM? All right. So Andrew tells Bill to cut loose three duffel bags of cocaine from their parachute and dump them from the plane. OK, OK. So then Thornton is like, I'm going to help you out, man. I'm going to get you out of this. I'm sorry I even got you into it. You're not really good at this anyways.
So he gives he gives Bill a four minute lesson in skydiving. His family is like, here's how you do this here. Say this, but this unclipped that.
And he can I just really quickly with great rage, say that's not fucking cool as someone as someone who is taught to snorkel.
Yeah. By being in in a bay in Hawaii with my stuff on and my ex being like, no, no.
You have to like suction it to your face and just be like, you don't mention any of this. Yeah. At any time before. Like you don't you're not waiting until we're I'm treading in 30 foot water before you start to tell me things I need to like already scared because you're in the shark tank.
Essentially. I hate. Here's the thing.
I really resent people who are bad teachers because they if they already know it, then in their mind, you know. Exactly.
Are you sure I can't take it like they don't even understand that you won't understand the words that are connected to it that are like, you know, part of it. I get what you mean. Yeah.
It's like a bill who didn't want to be involved in a drug trafficking situation in the first place now has to learn how to fucking skydive under pressure.
He's like, first of all, what is a cigaret? And is first of all, what does an epigram let's start at the very beginning. Is it a poster or is it just is it on a hat? Is the text?
Oh, we got this guy to get an old school like inspirational photo of a skydiver and get that quote.
Yes, a murderer is already making it as we're talking. Get that terrible effort and put it over. But grab grab whatever you want. All right. Was it like a hologram but just two sided?
Got a hologram. Get a hologram, Bill. Tell the story himself. Hologram a bell. The next my favorite murder live show. You got Bill on stage. OK, so. And then Robert Kardashian close. Oh, OK.
OK, so basically, Andrew ties the remaining duffle bag of cocaine to his body with a nylon bag containing two his whole kit that he later found dead with spoiler alert. So they so they prepare to jump as the plane on autopilot now flies over Knoxville. So poor Bill jumps first he landed and the word hard is always in there. He lands hard near Knoxville, downtown Island Home Airport, about three miles from downtown. He. Thornton had told him to walk to a grocery store or call a cab and then gave him the address where he was going to meet Thornton's girlfriend at the Hyatt Hotel.
I wonder if it's Sam's fucking mom. Yeah, perhaps.
So they go to the Hyatt Hotel with his girlfriend to wait for Andrew to show up, but he never shows up.
So let's go back to the morning where the guy finds the dead body in his backyard that is identified as Andrew in Andrew's pocket is a key.
And they were able to match the key, the tail number on the key to the wreckage of a plane which had crashed into a mountain in Clay County, Carolina. They had found it on autopilot and it had landed about 60 miles away from where they jumped. That's dangerous. So dangerous just to let the plane go off by itself. Totally irresponsible, especially there over Knoxville. That's like human humans live there. So when the cops or the investigators have found Andrew's body, of course, they found all that cocaine on him and they were like, there's got to be more cocaine that they didn't like in the plane.
And they searched the surrounding areas and found two hundred and twenty pounds of marijuana, of marijuana, of cocaine hanging from a parachute in a tree. And Fannin County, Georgia, they found maps, clothes, food and all that stuff.
A couple of days later, more duffel bags of cocaine were found months later in northern Georgia. So cocaine everywhere. It's a fucking everywhere. It's like a confetti cocaine plane, like cocaine, Easter egg hunts all through the mountains.
So they were they were found months later. But before that, a black bear stumbled upon the cocaine. And there he is, our friend, cocaine bear spotlight that can look.
Now it's the soul. Well, my baby lights go down. Spotlight on cocaine, mayor.
Just a little kid wandering around the forest. Not high or wired, but will my debris.
Oh, what's this? What is a pile of powdered sugar? No know.
Well, a local hunter who sadly has never been identified because a hero had found the dead bear and told his friends about it. But none of them reported it to authorities because they're hunters in Georgia and they don't, I think, mingle with authorities. They're like, mind your business. Yeah, exactly. So it took three weeks for the story to finally trickle down to a game.
And fish agent who then told the agents at the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and they discovered the bear's body on December 20th so that they're you know, as much as it's lived in our hearts and minds, it essentially snorted up a bunch of coke and died kind of on the spot. Sounds like it just immediately odd. It's so no, listen, let's keep it our hearts and minds. And in Nick Terry's incredible animation that he did of this, that's fucking classic, one of everyone's favorites, that they had a grand old time.
It was so much fun.
All the woodland creatures came together and got Wyatt.
A medical examiner conducted an autopsy on the bear and found every telltale sign of a massive overdose. Let's all sing it together. Cerebral hemorrhaging, respiratory failure, hypothermia, renal failure, stroke and heart failure.
Oh, no. Yeah, like it. They died. And then I wrote. It's unclear if the detailed plans to open a restaurant card called Bare Essentials were ever located. Because, of course I did. Because you had to. I had to get it in there. George. Quiet, Georges. Tonight, the part of the bear is being played by George Kilgariff, by George, who hasn't eaten yet.
I say it. Yes, I get that. All right. So but that medical examiner was so impressed with the bear and its state and that despite everything, the bear's body was actually in good shape. So he was like, you know, it'd be a pity just to throw this in the cremator cause of a buddy hunting buddy who was a taxidermist, taxidermist. And so the Bears Tex taxidermy taxidermist, that's a word, and put on display at the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area in Georgia.
But it doesn't have like a plaque saying what it is. It's just like a fucking taxidermy bear. So it doesn't get its full glory just yet. But so there is an approaching wildfire and that forces the employees of that place to load up some of their artifacts.
Into a storage unit, someone breaks into the storage unit, steals a bunch of artifacts and cocaine, bear twists and turns, man, so sorry, a forest fires coming.
Yeah. And they're like, grab the important stuff. Dan, you, Jerry, Rick and T.J., grab that fucking gigantic taxidermy bear that died five ways and we'll go get the arrowhead.
It's like we'll get the the precious, precious arrowhead. Look at the precious feathers in the arrowheads while you guys lug the fucking oken, bear the coat, the fully taxidermy and stuffed with sawdust. Yeah.
Hurry up, guys. OK, then some creeper.
Kristo some college students find out the cocaine bears at the at the storage unit at the Georgia storage unit on high five or five meets the 210. The 210. That's Glendale. OK, nearly three decker. But OK, so it's stolen. Goodbye. Gone forever. So we think. No. Yeah. Almost 30 years later, after the Bears death, the eccentric, they're described as an eccentric retailer, Kentucky for Kentucky, which you can go online and find their website.
They seem like a lot of real fun people because. Oh, yeah, they do some digging and investigating. They contact local pawn shops where the storage unit had been and are like, hey, do you remember 30 some odd years ago getting a bear attacks, taxidermy me there when the shop owner was like, yeah, that came in at the same time that some like some like feathers and there's an arrowhead took him in and we found out they were stolen.
So we returned those. But the bear was never claimed. So we sold it. Kentucky for Kentucky we're like, well, where did that bear go? And they're like, let us look up our records. They find the records. And it turns out that the had somehow, through some changes, fallen in the hands of country legend Waylon Jennings.
You know, Waylon Jennings here, you're stuck in line. We Waylon fucking looking back to win and Wombo, there you go.
So it turns out that Waylon Jennings has a huge private collection of preserved animals. He's like a big animal head head.
He's big dead animal head. Exactly.
So he actually Waylon Jennings, Kentucky for Kentucky, found out, has relationships with pawnshop owners throughout the south to let him know whenever they get like a really good taxidermist or preserved the bear. And me, too.
So they had contacted him and had gone with Waylon Jennings to Nevada to live with Waylon Jennings in Las Vegas. Yeah, this bear this bear is living now more than ever, has had a more exciting life than any of us.
Shit, except for Karen in the nineties. OK, that's true.
Sometimes Karen can compete with kind of like an Lulea. So they trace it further and its illustrious journey and they find that its current owner and its current resting place was a traditional Chinese medicine shop in Reno, and it's owned by the now deceased man named Xu Tang.
And it had been used there as decoration.
So Kentucky for Kentucky context, this man's widow, Mr Tang's widow, and she tells them that her husband, quote, was always bring home junk from auctions and estate sales and things like that. The bear was one of his favorite things. He just loved it for some reason. At first he had great, fucking great taste. At first he wanted to keep it in our living room, but I wouldn't have it. It scared me. I made him take it to the store.
You knew there was going to be an irritated wife somewhere along the line, whether it was Mrs. Jennings or Mrs. Tang here where it's somebody going, Are you fucking kidding? You're not keeping that near. The children know full size bears in the TV room talked about that.
I come home with the states from the states with a pair of matching vintage lamps. Mr. Tan comes home the fucking full size with cocaine full on cocaine. They're white white powder underneath its nose. So Kentucky for Kentucky in their fucking infinite glory tells her the whole story.
And she's like they said, she almost didn't believe us. But she said that if she'd gone to that much trouble, we could just have quote the damn thing just to get it out of her sight. Do you know what you know? She charged them. Shipping, shipping and handling for real. She didn't charge you a penny, she said, get it out of my fucking sight. It was two hundred dollars to ship it home to Kentucky. And they fucking did it.
Can I just ask a clarifying question? Kentucky for Kentucky is like a like a basically a cool store.
Well, now let me see. Hold on. Let me look at Stephen Holden is like an artist collective type of thing.
A great question. Let's find out.
OK, I just want details on these. Like, obviously little fun people kill clearly our best friends like of. Oh yeah.
Oh, that makes sense. So there's we're talking there's a lot of like calf tattoos. We're talking about a lot of interesting glasses.
OK, I'm seeing their website is kwi for k y oh. And they have the fun mall.
OK, you know there's a there's a commercial online it looks like just like a like a cool shop of like Kentucky gear. It says a kickass commonwealth since nineteen. Oh a kickass commonwealth since 1792. That's about the actual state of Kentucky they're talking about. Got it. OK. Got it. OK, yeah. They look like a wacky bunch. I'm looking at there about Zayat. There's a lot of there's a Kentucky Fried Chicken bucket hat. Let's see.
Did you see the shirt. It looks like a like a Yale sweatshirt but it says y'all. Oh that's amazing.
OK, this I want one of those real back. Here's their mission. Our mission is to engage and inform the world by promoting Kentucky people, places and products and to kick ass for the Commonwealth.
All right. I love them. OK, so they'll be invited to our next show and and invited to give me a Kentucky Fried Chicken hat.
Please make way for Kidwai presents the never ending pandemic warehouse sale commercial for their fun mall that like a super kitschy and funny.
So look them up online. Yeah, they these shirts. Oh my God. You know how the chickadees are cicadas, however you pronounce it. There's a thing where they're coming back this year after twenty eight years and they're all going to there's they have a picture on the cake for quite well it's quite a for quite dotcom and it's a prosecutor's T-shirt and it says, let me hear you, I'll make some noise.
So they're fun but they're funny, they're funny and fun and loves to have fun and buy bears.
So they bought it. That's makes it even better. They bought they they tracked down single handedly and bought the cocaine bear because they thought it was I bet they were drinking one night or like, you know, would be so funny. And what we need here, the cocaine there. And they're like, what happened to it?
And then they found it really quick. They have a T-shirt that says, I'm not a cat. I'm I'm here live. I'm not a cat from when that guy was in court. And the cat face, they have a t shirt here. I'm not a kid.
You know, these guys are on the black on Kentucky style on trend, OK? And there's a cocaine bot.
They have their own team. Their T-shirts. Don't say a certain part of it. What don't I mean, looking at their website while you're trying to tell your story, I don't know what the problem is. Let me read this. So the bear is now on display at the Kentucky for Kentucky Fun Mall in Lexington. They sell a line of merchandise based on the bear, including T-shirts, which you've seen me wearing before.
Someone at our Kentucky show gave me one hat, hoodies, mug stickers and snow globes that they call blood globes.
A sense of humor. Yeah, OK. As we all read in Variety recently, Elizabeth Banks has signed on to direct the Cocaine Better film produced by the dudes who made the Lego movies. And they haven't released a lot of details. But the movie has been described as a, quote, character driven thriller inspired by truth events that took place in Kentucky in nineteen eighty five. So I hope oh period piece.
You'd be great thriller. It could be. It's going to be great. And then I wrote, hopefully they'll include the quote that was included in Thornton's obituary. So Andrew Thornton's obituary, one line read quote, I'm glad his parachute didn't open, but someone hated him.
You make him enemies when you're killing Jesus.
It reminds me of a curse you with my dying breath. Yeah, I read gladly. Parachute didn't open someone for you that can't have been in his obituary. It was an obituary.
I swear to God, Stephen, we look it up and put it on the Internet. They usually don't let shit like that through. Was it in the guest book? No, it says obituary, I swear. Wow, that's intense.
The last line I'll tell you is that according to his friends, Andrew Carter Thornton, the second died a millionaire. And according to us, the cocaine bear died happy the. That's the real story of cocaine there, there's also a book which has the entire story of Thorntons smuggling operation as far as anyone is aware of it, it's called The Bluegrass Conspiracy by Sally Denton from 1990. So check that out if you're into fucking crazy ass stories.
I mean, it's so much cocaine.
That's a crazy story. That is nuts. Also, like, it's.
Yeah, the idea that someone drops from the sky and dies in your backyard. I bet he was dead before he hit the ground, though. If he. Absolutely.
He had a heart attack, first of all, because, you know, he was probably on some cocaine and then he jumps out in a parachute and that parachute doesn't open, at least unconscious.
You got to hope, please. Well, also, because that just means he's falling straight down.
So, yeah, that's going to just this whole it's so extreme.
It's like it's the most like fucking Red Bull story of all time. It's just nothing serious.
Nineteen eighties Red Bull story. I bet the movie is going to be sponsored by Red Bull and you should you should be required to like chug three Red Bulls before you watch that or whatever.
Cola can I bring them back for this movie, the OG or just I love him or just some plain old cocaine in a in a nice popcorn bucket. I mean that was great.
Should we let that story be our fucking her a maybe.
Yes, I think that was a fucking right hold on epigram. A pithy saying or remark expressing an idea in a clever and amusing way. OK, what would that guy read? That's not an epigram you're thinking about. An epigram is like, no, I'm saying the epigram was the word. You got it. And then it's like the point of battle is to inflict as much pain in the shortest amount of time. That's not an epigram is like don't let the screen door hit you in the ass on the way out.
I believe you may not like let the screen door hit you where the good Lord split you like that or any number of programs even.
Did you find the obituary? Yes.
So in the Rolling Stone article, it says the district attorney who prosecuted Andrew said, I'm glad his parachute didn't open. I hope he got a hell of a high out of it. Out of that, not a dick.
I mean, unless what he was saying is, I love him so much, he's such my good friend that he got the big final that he didn't even want the parachute to open.
That's what he was saying. It just sounds different when you say I'm glad, as Parrish does.
It didn't. It was very bad. Yeah. Maybe he was like he got the ultimate. Hi, I'm Gladys. Oh, I loved him. I'm glad his parachute didn't open. It's what he would have wanted. That makes that sounds way better. No one wants their parachute not to open. Sorry. Here's here's the first example of an epigram and OK, it is better to light a candle than curse the darkness. Eleanor Roosevelt. And then she says, kill all your enemies with a smile and let God sort them out.
Eleanor, was Eleanor Roosevelt good loving? Really. Wow. All right.
Well, this story is full of information, misinformation. Let us know if you know any other than love stories that we should cover full of misinformation. I think that's that's our specialty. Yeah.
Thanks for listening. You guys are a treat and a treasure, and we appreciate all of your hard work and and not so hard work.
Yeah, we appreciate it. When you're relaxed, we appreciate you at all times. Resting, InMotion, whatever. Stay sexy and don't get murdered.
Go by Elvis.
Do you want a cookie. Hi.