Something A Little Different

Instead of the Wisconsin Case that I would normally be sharing today with you all, I wanted to do something a little different. One of my earlier posts was that I consider myself a muse for other people, I can come up with great ideas and they in turn can take them and use them to create something amazing. However, I can’t seem to make it work for when I keep the ideas myself.

With that said I have recently found myself putting pen to paper and having a story flow from it. I work on it off and on during the day, but I know it isn’t going to be a 300-page book, or even a best seller. The thing I’m impressed is that it keeps going and I’ve not stopped. It progresses and I don’t feel it’s too muddy with random thoughts. I know that if I choose to put it on a digital format, that I will need to add more to it, but such is proofreading.

Now that I have a taste of this minor success, I want to be able to do more of it. My end goal is to put more story options out there and have them available digitally. So, for those of you that have found success in the world of writing, self-publishing, or other creative mediums, what suggestions to you have to make a little extra money for a minor (or no) cost?

When I finish this one and figure out what to do with it, or where I will eventually offer it to be read, I will be sure to let you all know as well, as I’m hoping you would be interested to take a peek. If not, I’m simply grateful you come to the blog and read my thoughts here.

But until the words, The End, are written, I will be here sharing with you, and rooting from your corner for those adventures you are taking for yourself.

Be strong, be beautiful, be you

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

The Lesbian Vampire Killer

**This post contains photos of crime scenes, please use discretion when viewing**

We are finishing up the month with the last vampire case I have for you, at this time. This case comes from Australia, and involves four young women who murdered a man, for no other reason than to watch him die, and reportedly drink his blood. Here is the case of Tracey Wigginton, the Lesbian Vampire Killer.

Tracey was born in August 1965 and became infamous in Australia in 1989 for “one of the most brutal and bizarre crimes Australia has ever seen.” And this is coming from a country originally founded by criminals and has seen the likes of Katherine Knight, David and Catherine Birnie, and Ivan Milat.

Tracey was raised in Rockhampton with her maternal grandparents, who had adopted her at the age of three when her mother was no longer able to care for her. Tracey claimed that her grandparents were both controlling and abusive, physically and sexually. When Tracey was 15, her grandparents died and left her with $75,000. She moved in briefly with her mother, who was not accepting of Tracey being a lesbian, but then moved in with a family friend.

Tracey had often been fascinated with the occult and Black Arts. She would read tarot cards, carry occult symbols with her and used blood to draw occult symbols. At the age of 24, Tracey was immersed in this lifestyle. She also met other lesbians with similar interests and maintained friendships with them. Tracey had allegedly killed animals to drink their blood and had been planning to murder a man so that she could “feed” on him.

On the night of the murder the four women; Tracey Wigginton (24), her friends Lisa Ptaschinski (24), Tracy Waugh (23) and Kim Jervis (23) had been out drinking and then drove around to find their victim. It wouldn’t be long before they found one.

October 20, 1989, Edward Baldock, 47, a father of four, and a council worker, and spent the night heavily drinking and playing darts with friends. He was waiting for a taxi when four women in a car picked him up and offered him sex. The group drove to the Brisbane River, where Edward undressed, and Tracey had left him alone for a short time to get the other girls, Lisa, Kim, and Tracy. When she had walked away, she had dropped her bank card, which Edward put in his shoe thinking it was his.

Crime Scene of Edward Baldock

Returning with a knife, Tracey and her accomplices would stab Edward 27 times in the head, neck and back, the opening was the size of a bread-and-butter plate, approximately 6-7 inches in diameter. Tracey made a deep slash to her victim’s throat and drank his blood to impress her friends. After her arrest she said that Edward made a “gargling” noise and she saw the blood come out of his mouth. She sat down and “watched him die”.

The police arrived the next day, and found Edwards’s clothing, neatly folded and his shoes with them. Inside his shoe they found a bank card with the name, Tracey Wigginton on it. It wasn’t long before the police arrested all four women.

Tracey was the only one who pled guilty to the charge of murder. Because of that there was no trial for her and very few details about the crime were disclosed to the court. In 1991, a jury convicted Tracey Wigginton of murder and sentenced her to life in prison. Tracey served 22 years before being paroled in 2012.

The other women were also tried:

  • Lisa Ptaschinski was convicted of murder; she was sentenced to life in prison. In Queensland that meant 20 years or less.
  • Kim Jervis was convicted of manslaughter, she was sentenced to 18 years, but was reduced to 12 years on appeal.
  • Tracy Waugh was acquitted, the courts believed she had no active part in the murder and even tried to convince Kim Jervis to not participate.

Tracey Wigginton, currently 56, is now living in Tamborine, Queensland, and uses an assumed name when posting online. The name she uses is Oberon Fairchild and her posts on social media are disturbing. Her posts include statements such as: “Now panic because I’m back.” and she is posting images of vampires, witches, bones and skulls.

The detectives say this is consistent with the Tracey they arrested 30 years ago. But they are also quick to state that her parole should be revoked due to her social media posts.

Be strong, make good choices, be safe

Mystery – Sims Family Triple Murder

When a case goes cold it makes the survivors have to keep reliving the crime over and over, because the investigators go back again and again to see if something new was remembered or if they get a new lead. Today’s case is a Cold Case from Tallahassee, Florida, and it begins at 641 Muriel Court.

October 22, 1966, the Sims family consisted of Robert (42) his wife Helen (34) and their three daughters Norma Jeannette (17), Judith Ann (15), and Joy Lynn (12). The family were considered tight knit that many aspired to be. They attended church, were financially stable and were well respected in the community.

The community had less than 100,000 people and this crime created a sense of fear among the residents. When no arrests were made cash rewards were offered.

On the fall night of October 22, the older two daughters, Norma, called Virginia by her friends, and Judith were out babysitting. When Virginia returned home it was near 11:15pm and she found her father near death on the floor. Her mother was also near death and her little sister, Joy, was already dead next to her mother.

Something terrible has happened, please come,” Norma Jeannette Sims pleaded with a Tallahassee funeral home and ambulance service.

Her father, Dr. Robert Sims, had been shot in the head, her mother, Mrs. Helen Sims, had been shot twice in the head and once in the leg, and Joy Sims, had been shot in the head, and stabbed 7 times.

Sadly, Dr. Sims would die just after the ambulance arrived, Helen would survive for 9 more days in the hospital in a comatose state. She would never regain consciousness. And when the police looked for a motive, they weren’t able to fine one, as the Sims family were upstanding people.

About a half hour before Virginia returned home a neighbor had heard screams but had assumed it was young adults. There was a football game happening at the university and people may have been excited. The Sims home had a forested area behind it and there was no sign of forced entry, the police assumed the murderer was someone that the family knew. Almost immediately, robbery was ruled out as a motive for the murders.  There was no evidence of anything being moved around or stolen.

Russell Bevis and his son, Rocky, arrived first at the home from the Funeral Home. They attempted to save the lives of the parents. Rocky was sent to find something to cut the bindings from them, compromising the scene. The first investigator to arrive was Larry Campbell, he became the lead detective on the case.

The investigation was slow going as many people had wandered through the crime scene and the murder weapon was not able to be found. The police even searched the area outside the house and drained a pond looking for it.

There have been suspects over the years, but no arrests. Here are some of the details about the suspects.

Suspect Number 1 – C.A. Roberts. He was a pastor at the First Baptist Church and Helen Sims had done clerical work for the church but resigned a few weeks before her murder. Gossips claimed that Mr. Roberts was a womanizer and had an affair with Helen and then murdered her, her husband, and their daughter, Joy. Investigators observed Mr. Roberts but there was nothing to suggest his involvement. He was also the FSU football team chaplain and was seen on film the entire time that night at the football game. Mr. Roberts stepped down as a pastor, and later died in an accident.

Suspect Number 2 – Robert and Peggy Howells. In December of 1966, Peggy and Robert were driving down the coast of Florida when Robert confessed to Peggy on how he had murdered the Sims’ family. She didn’t go to the police until the 1980’s as she feared for her life and her children’s lives. Eventually Robert is cleared of involvement, but Peggy was always adamant that he was the killer.

Vernon Fox

Suspect Number 3 – Mary Charles LaJoie and Vernon Fox. Neighbors who knew Mary said she was obsessed with death and was often caught breaking into funeral homes. Mary’s boyfriend, Vernon was a creepy peeping Tom and had even peeped on Joy Lynn Sims a week before she died. The police found several odd things about their behavior, and they gave conflicting and changing statements to the police.

Mary Charles LaJoie, spoke with police and she learned that Vernon may have been arrested for peeping on young, Joy Sims. She said she would have come up with a plan to protect Vernon, so she didn’t lose her only friend. The night of the murder, the couple were at the movies, but said they left after the second movie and went directly home.

In 2016, Vernon stated that they had left the movie and had sex in the car. In 1987, Mary stated they didn’t have sex until she was at least 19, which was 1967. Their stories consistently change and contradict each other.

Is the case solvable? Some say yes, but after 55 years, is it possible? One of the areas that could help the case is having any remaining evidence examined by modern technology and DNA profiling.

The case remains one of Tallahassee’s most notorious unsolved murders. Even though violent crime would strike Florida State University in 1978, when serial killer Ted Bundy broke into a sorority and bludgeoned students to death, this case still hangs heavy on the minds of all residents who were around at the time.

The Sims family’s murders are still not solved, and there is a documentary from and FSU student that sheds a lot of light on the case, you can view it here: https://vimeo.com/189936003

Stay Curious my Friends!

Skincare Battle – Moisturizing

Hello my lovelies! Today we meet again, to start a new week, or if you feel Sunday is the end of your week, then tomorrow we begin anew. Either way, I’m glad you are here and today I wanted to talk about body moisturizing. We know we take great care with our faces and keep them hydrated and soft, but do we neglect our bodies? Sadly, I have but I’m working to change that.

As I sat down to think about lotions, moisturizers, and body butters, I thought, aren’t they really all the same things? Yes, and no. So, there are three types of body lotions/moisturizers that I can currently think of: lotion, cream, and body butter. I’m sure there are more, but those are the three that I am going to discuss.

Lotion: These are the most common products and are readily available in most department stores. They are normally the lightest product that you may use and often times will be the first thing you reach for. And at the minimum may be something you add to your daily routine.

Lotions come in a variety of types, some with scent, some that warm, and some that may just simply help you relax. Whichever you choose, be sure you use it as often as needed.

Creams: Creams are slightly thicker than lotions, and usually have a 50/50 mix of oil and water. They would allow hydration to stay in the skin longer and may be an option for winter months when your skin may be extra thirsty.

Creams will normally come in a jar or pot as opposed to a bottle or dispenser, that will usually be your first way of determining if it is a lotion or a cream. When applying, remember the product is thicker and you won’t need as much as a lotion.

Body Butters: Butters are the thickest type of moisturizer. They often are designed to nourish and hydrate your skin, and they feel almost silky to the touch. Many of the body butters out there will have essential oils or other nutrients in them, as they are more of a luxury experience.

These products are normally made with shea butter, coconut oil or other vegetable-based oils such as avocado. You can use the body butter in addition to a lotion and cream, as it would the last step because it is the thickest.

For any product if it doesn’t provide the results that you are looking for, or causes rash, irritation, or breakouts, stop using them and try a lighter option. For any type of hydration that you choose the best time to apply it is within 5 minutes of exiting a shower/bath as it will help lock in moisture and reduce dryness.

But which product is the best for my skin? That all depends on your skin type, here are a few tips:

Oily Skin – Body lotions may be your best option. They normally have a lower oil content that allow them to be absorbed easily, and less breakouts. You may do well with body creams simply remember they have a higher oil content so proceed carefully. You may want to avoid body butters completely as these are much heavier and may cause your skin to break out regularly.

Dry Skin – What I mentioned for oily skin, reverse it for dry skin. Body butters are going to be your best friend. They will hydrate longer and remove any itchy feelings associated with dryness. Body lotions are great for a daily lotion option and creams can be used as well. Whichever you choose to use daily look for one that has SPF as you may burn easier with less hydration.

Combination Skin – This one is tricky as you may have areas that are excessively oily and excessively dry. You may have more experimentation to do to find the right combination and routine that will work for you but start with using some creams on the dryer areas and see if the oily areas may tolerate them as well.

Normal Skin – There are no restrictions or problems for those with normal skin. Start with some lotions that appeal to you, and if there are times when you want that deeper hydration or a more spa like experience have some creams and body butters waiting in the wings.

Sensitive Skin – Sensitive skin can be found in any of the above skin types. You will know if you have sensitive skin as you may have; redness, itching, burning after applying products, or a severe reaction. What I would check out are some products with less ingredients and anything with fragrance free or dye free options as these may be less irritating for you.

What products to I like when I’m moisturizing? Here are some of the body products you will find me using:

In-Shower Moisturizer – Jergens Wet Skin Moisturizer $5.99 on Amazon. This product is lovely for when you are in the shower, your skin is still wet, pores are open, and you can massage in some moisturizer for when you turn off the spray and dry off.

Body Lotion – Hempz Sweet Pineapple and Honey Melon Herbal Body Moisturizer. This product is one of my favorites as their scents are lovely, and you do not need to apply a lot of product to feel it working. It is offered in a variety of places, in different scents, sizes, and prices. For a 17 fl.oz. bottle you will be paying roughly $20 at Walmart.com. If you do find a sale, stock up!

Body Cream – Or Body creme as Nivea likes to label theirs. This product is thicker than the lotions I have mentioned and primarily I use it on areas that are extra dry, elbows, feet, ankles, and knees. You don’t need much, and it absorbs nicely into the skin. But do massage it in fully and remember less is more. This is available at many drug and department stores and is available in a variety of sizes, cost is approximately $7 on Amazon.

Body Butter – This is my newest favorite, The Body Shop Body Butter. I use this after every bath or shower, and I can feel it for at least a full 24 hours. I’m in love with the scent, Mango. But have also purchased the coconut as I love that scent in most things as well. This feels silky as you apply it to your skin. It absorbs quickly and the light scent is so refreshing. You can get this online and at beauty stores, I got mine at Ulta and the 6.4oz. was $22.

Be strong, be beautiful, be you

Castle of Good Hope

Africa is a mysterious continent, there are drastic differences between the north and the south, and South Africa at the tip seems to break free from the stereotype of either desert or jungle and is a thriving country. But like any country, it is not without its own history and identity. Part of that identity takes place in Cape Town, and the star shaped fort known as The Castle of Good Hope.

The Castle of Good Hope, Cape Town, South Africa

The Castle of Good Hope holds the honor of being the oldest colonial building in South Africa. It was originally built in the 17th century by Dutch colonialists. It has served as the seat of government and military operations for two centuries and now offers tours, museums, and expansive grounds for tourists and visitors.

From 1899-1902, the Castle was used as a prison during The Second Boer (Farmer) War. Interestingly enough a prisoner, Fritz Joubert Duquesne was imprisoned there. He had almost escaped by digging his way through the thick cement wall using an iron spoon. (Sound familiar to a well-known movie that also involves an escape?)

Donker Gat

The torture chamber, called Donker Gat (Dark Hole) located in the dungeon, was a windowless room that flooded in Winter, drowning its contained prisoners. When the floods started the water would rise 3 feet per minute. Those that were imprisoned and executed within the castle for trying to escape included, slaves, outlaws, and rebellious natives.

But the thing we want to know, is the Castle of Goood Hope haunted? Those who have worked in the Castle will tell you that it is full of paranormal activity.

Here are some of what you may encounter when visiting the Castle of Good Hope:

Bell Tower at the Castle of Good Hope

You may be able to hear voices and footsteps in the dungeon and in the narrow corridors. The bell in the bell tower also can ring on its own. And since it was bricked up centuries ago, it should be impossible for it to ring. The story behind it is that a soldier once hung himself by the bell rope, perhaps he rings the bell now?

A black dog haunts the castle grounds. It is vicious and will lunge at people before disappearing. There are also reports of a tall man leaping from the castle walls. He disappears before hitting the ground. Others report that a man and woman are heard arguing near the guard’s room. When investigated a shapeless figure is seen.

The secluded Dolphin Pool

Lady Anne Barnard is said to haunt the castle to this very day. She had resided in the Castle in the late 18th century and was responsible for entertainment of guests. She took her role seriously as she continues to do this after death, and usually is seen when important people visit. After the Dolphin pool was restored from Anne’s drawings, people reported more sightings of her as she would bathe nude in the pool.

Lights will also frequently turn themselves on and off and guards are hesitant to patrol in the arches as that is where the spirits like to roam. And lastly,

Inner courtyard of the Castle of Good Hope

A ghost that continues to visit is that of Governor Pieter Gijsbert van Noodt. He was a strict man and sentenced 7 men (unjustly) to death. A prisoner’s last wish was refused right before his hanging, and it is said that his prisoner cursed van Noodt. It was a fast-acting curse as van Noodt was found dead in his office that same day. Today, visitors can hear him cursing and swearing inside the castle walls.

Happy Haunting!

The House of The Seven Gables

Having been such at some previous time, before we were born, there was an indentured servant from England, who had a son named John Turner. John, however, was not satisfied to make other people rich, oh no. John had the knowledge and drive and became one of the wealthiest men in the Massachusetts Bay Colony.

John Turner decided to build a house, it was originally simple, but then as he became more successful, he expanded his house and investments in other properties. His son, John Turner II, inherited six homes, 200 acres of land, and several ships docked in the port.

After three generations, the Turner’s were no longer wealthy and lost the house known as the Turner Mansion. It was then taken over by Samuel Ingersoll. His daughter, Susannah, inherited the house and she would often host her cousin at the house. Her cousin, Nathaniel Hawthorne, was originally born in Salem, and was rather a reclusive person.

During the time of his stay, the Turner-Ingersoll Mansion, as it was known, only had three gables, instead of seven that the book made famous. Susannah shared the home’s history and showed him the architecture in the attic where the original gables were. The fact that the house had seven gables was an inspiration to the young writer and he was quoted to say, “The expression was new and struck me forcibly…I think I shall make something of it.” The idea inspired the novel, The House of The Seven Gables. Published in 1851.

The book was written and described in the novel as if it were a living thing. If the house were truly a living thing, what secrets does it have? The answer to that depends on who you ask.

Some people will tell you that the house is cursed, fortunes are made and lost, and it could be blamed upon a curse from the witch trials of 1692. Nathaniel’s great-grandfather, Judge John Hathorne, who served as a judge during the witch trials of 1692. The records show that he may have assumed sympathy for those accused, but he never showed regret or remorse for his involvement in their trials and executions.

Nathaniel Hawthorne

After the hysteria, the Hathorne family lost most of their wealth. In 1804 when Nathaniel was born, the reported curse had not been lifted. Nathaniel attempted to distance himself from that dark period by adding the ‘w’ into his name. However, his complete disgust over the sins of his ancestors was portrayed in his books. In the opening to his debut book, The Scarlet Letter, he took the time to apologize for his family’s involvement.

For many years there have been a number of spirits reported at the Turner-Ingersoll Mansion.

  • In the famous, secret staircase, visitors have witnessed the spirit of a man clambering up and down the stairs.
  • Some claim a phantom boy enjoys playing in the attic. Throughout the day, his footsteps can be heard playing around upstairs as he giggles and laughs.
  • The last frequently seen specter is Susannah Ingersoll, her spirit has been spotted walking the halls of her former home and even peeking out the windows to those who enter the estate through the garden below.

The one area that is commonly mentioned where people experience the most unease is the attic.

People often claim extreme anxiety when in the attic or on the hidden stairs. Some have even heard whispered voices in their ears.

The next time you get to visit Salem, take the time to check out the House of the Seven Gables. Do check their website for operating hours and any other requirements.

Happy haunting!

Crockpot Brat and Sauerkraut Soup

There are somethings that just go together. And being in Wisconsin, cold days and soup are hand in hand. But to honor my German heritage, I found a way to enjoy brats and sauerkraut without having to tailgate in subarctic weather. Don’t get me wrong, we still do that, but now we don’t have to have a game to do it. Happy Eating!

  • Crockpot Brat and Sauerkraut Soup
    • Ingredients:
      • 1-pound uncooked bratwurst, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
      • 1-pound tiny new red potatoes, cut into quarters
      • 2 small onions, cut into 1/4-inch wedges or coarsely chopped
      • 1 cup sliced celery
      • 2 cloves garlic, minced
      • 3 bay leaves
      • 1 14.5 ounce can Bavarian-style sauerkraut
      • 2 14.5-ounce cans lower-sodium beef broth
      • 1 tablespoon spicy brown mustard
      • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
      • 1 teaspoon paprika
      • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed
      • ½ teaspoon caraway seeds
  • Directions:
    • In a large skillet, cook bratwurst slices over medium-high heat for 3 to 4 minutes or until browned on all sides, stirring frequently. Remove from skillet and set aside.
    • In a 4- to 5-quart slow cooker, combine potatoes, onions, celery, garlic and bay leaves. Top with browned bratwurst and sauerkraut. In a large bowl, whisk together broth, mustard, vinegar, paprika, fennel seeds and caraway seeds. Pour into cooker.
    • Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 6 to 7 hours or on high-heat setting for 3 to 3 1/2 hours. Discard the bay leaves.

Serve hot, with a delicious beer on the side, the darker the better. This recipe is great served with some crusty bread, and some real mustard (Sorry yellow mustard, not today.)

Troy and Phyllis

Welcome to another Wednesday where I have waiting for you a delightful case of murder, madness, and mayhem. This week, we have a case that is made for the movies, or at least Discovery ID.

Phyllis and Troy

Troy Bierdz was the miracle child that was destined to keep his parents’ marriage together. But unfortunately, it didn’t. Troy was the youngest child of his parents, Phyllis and Thomas Bierdz Sr. He had an older sister Kim, and two older brothers, Thomas Jr. and Craig. Phyllis was a tiny woman, 5 feet tall and barely 100 pounds. Phyllis and Thomas would divorce when Troy was 7.

During childhood Troy was a hyper child and Phyllis would take him to doctors to figure out why, but all they told her was that he needed more attention. Whether to gain attention or not, Troy destroyed Thom’s toys when he would build with Lego or Lincoln Logs. Giving Troy as much as she possibly could, Phyllis enrolled him into karate thinking the discipline would be good for him. Troy loved karate, and eventually became a black belt, but it didn’t solve any of the behavioral issues.

Phyllis attempted to continue to help her son, that is what a mother does. She took Troy to over 40 doctors, but they all seemed to doubt his symptoms. Many felt he was only faking the symptoms of schizophrenia, and only a few believed he was schizophrenic.

As he got older, Troy got into more and more trouble, he had stolen her car several times and was chased by police. At one time he cut began to himself with a knife while locked in his mother’s car. He was sent to various mental health hospitals and either escaped or would continue to display aggression.

Finally at the age of 17, Troy was sent to the Ethan Allen School for Boys in Wales, WI. He would tell social workers that he wanted to kill his brother Thom, and he said he had wanted to experience the thrill of killing someone.

Thom Bierdz

At one time when Phyllis’ boyfriend interfered in an argument, Troy who was 6’8″ tall, beat him up, and was charged with battery. He didn’t show remorse for what he had done either. When his older brother Thom moved to California to pursue his dream of acting, Troy had been invited to come stay with him, as either a way to connect with his brother, or to help his mother out with his brother.

Troy stated he would kill Thom which prompted his eviction from the house. Eventually Troy would go back to Wisconsin after Thom kicked him out. After returning to Wisconsin, Troy continued to get into trouble and stole his mom’s car to drive to Los Angeles so he could hurt Thom, but he hit a tree in Illinois and was then put into a juvenile center.

On July 14, 1989, Phyllis called Troy and said she wanted to see him. So, Troy’s cousin dropped him off at the house. Later that day Troy’s cousin and grandfather arrived at the house to do some work for Phyllis and instead they found her dead in the kitchen. Phyllis had been beaten to death with a baseball bat, she had been hit so many times that her head was in pieces.

Troy was finally arrested in Texas about a week later. He had stolen another car and when the police fingerprinted him, they learned he was wanted in Wisconsin, and he was extradited. A month after returning to Kenosha, Troy asked a jailer for a piece of paper. “I, Troy Alan Bierdz, would simply like to walk into the court, plead guilty, and be sentenced on that same day,” he wrote in his confession.

In November 1989, he was sentenced to life in prison. He will be eligible for parole at age 69. Even now, thirty years after the crime, Troy has never given an explanation for why he killed his mother.

Stay weird Wisconsin!

The Vampire of Marshfield

There are thousands of images of vampires out there. Ranging from Bela Lugosi, Kiefer Sutherland, Brad Pitt, and even a cartoon version of Dracula in Hotel Transylvania. But those vampires are not real. None of them are. There is no such thing as vampires (right?). But the last few weeks have shown us that there are people among us that believe vampires are real. These individuals may participate in a gothic or vampire lifestyle, and if that does not harm anyone, then go for it. Some of these vampire enthusiasts take things a bit too far, today is a case about another individual who believed that not only was he a vampire, but that everyone else was one as well. Let’s meet James Riva.

James Riva, 23

April 10, 1980, Marshfield, MA. 74-year-old Carmen Lopez was a disabled grandmother, and she was sitting in her wheelchair. That afternoon, when her killer had chosen to confront her, Carmen begged for her life, and then threw a glass of water at him. Carmen was shot 2 – 4 times with bullets that had been painted gold so they could “find their mark”, she was stabbed through the heart, and it is believed that she was also beaten. As her life’s blood was pouring from her body, Carmen’s killer was said to have drunk from the wounds. If Carmen wasn’t dead from this attack she would be shortly, her attacker poured accelerant over the room, lit a match, and left the scene. After the fire was extinguished Carmen was found in the fetal position on her bedroom floor. Who was this depraved to attack and brutally murdered an elderly woman confined to a wheelchair? The answer is just as horrifying, it was her grandson, James Riva.

Why would he attack his grandmother who at times had cared for him? James claimed that his grandmother had been poisoning his food, and after he had fallen asleep at night she would come into his room and indulge on his blood. But that couldn’t be, because James was a 700-year-old vampire and he was required to drink her blood, but she was too old and withered to produce enough fresh blood to sustain him.

How does something like this all start? How does a 23-year-old man decide to murder his 75-pound grandmother without remorse? For James it started 10 years earlier, when at 13 he became obsessed with vampires and started to kill animals to drink their blood. He claimed this was to replenish his own blood supply as other vampires drank from him as well. He also attacked humans to drink their blood and never had the desire to kill anyone, except his father. He had attacked him with a hammer but was unsuccessful.

Carmen Lopez’s house

James’ history of mental illness began in 1975, when he first spent time in a mental health institution. He was a diagnosed paranoid schizophrenic, but his treatments through the years did not help him get better. When he was released, his family had been terrified of him and sent him to live with his grandmother. Two weeks before the crime, James had moved in with his uncle.

On April 11, 1980, James was arrested and arraigned for the murder of his grandmother and arson. He would plead innocent. When speaking with police James stated he had no memory of the crime and that he must have been sleepwalking. He eventually stated that he did these horrible acts due to the voices in his head and genuinely believed that if he killed his grandma and drank her blood, he would become immortal, and that the other vampires would throw him a party. He would then be irresistible to women.

October 22, 1981, James stood trial as he was found competent to do so. But his plea was not guilty by reason of insanity. But there was one glaringly obvious hole to that plea; the fact that James had parked his car 150 feet away from his grandmother’s home on the day of the murder and that he later burned her body and house to conceal the crime.

October 30, 1981, after three hours of deliberation, the jury rejected the defense’s argument that James was not guilty by reason of insanity, and convicted him of second degree-murder, arson, and assault and battery. He was sentenced to life in prison for the murder and received an additional 10-19 years for the arson conviction.

James Riva,

In August of 2004, James was in front of the Parole Board. They had denied his request and stated he would be able to request parole again in 5 years. In 2009, James stated that he had gained control of his mental health using medication and has become religious. James has not however, shown remorse for the murder of his grandmother and his parole again was not granted.

James Riva resides at Walpole State Prison in Massachusetts.

Stay Curious my Friends!

Betty

On December 31, 2021, we were all saddened by the death of Betty White. She was only a few weeks away from her 100th birthday, which she would have celebrated today. She was a national treasure and hilarious in everything she was in.

So in honor of today, Betty White’s birthday, I implore you to make a donation in her name to the humane society nearest to you. Adopt a pet if you can, or donate your time as a volunteer. She was a supporter of animals and wouldn’t take a role if she couldn’t bring her dogs.

Betty was born in Oak Park, Illinois and was married three times, her last husband was Allen Ludden, and they were married for 18 years before his death in 1981. She did not marry again, and she had no children.

I remember her as Rose Nylund, the ditzy Minnesota native that moved to Miami after her husband died and started almost all of her stories with, “Back in St. Olaf…”, on the Golden Girls.

Her Hollywood career started in 1945, and she was often in TV movies and other sitcoms. Some of her well-known roles include; Sue Ann Nivens on the Mary Tyler Moore Show, Ellen Harper Jackson in Mama’s Family, and Elka Ostrovsky in Hot in Cleveland.

Regardless of what she was in, nobody could compare to Betty White. May she rest in peace and know that even at 99 years old, she was taken too soon.