Clara Bates

This story is close to home, approximately 15 miles from my house is the county line and near this line is the setting for today’s case.

June 30, 1952 a bartender, 76-year-old Clara “Cad” Bates was murdered. An unusual noise that sounded like a woman and child weeping lured 34-year-old Edward Kanieski to Cad’s Bar.

The bar had closed earlier than usual that night and the front door was locked. Edward left and returned with a friend and gained entry to the building from the back. When the two men entered Clara’s living quarters they found the bartender, dead.

Police were called immediately and it is reported that Clara had been nude except for her stockings and shoes. There was a rope around her neck, but she died from multiple blows from a blunt object to the head.

The murder weapon was never determined nor located.

There were rumors that Clara was the madame of a “sporting house” at the bar and provided patrons with a prostitute. It is suggested that Edward was one of her clients. And even that he had been at Clara’s earlier that evening.

With minimal police work, police arrested Edward for Clara’s murder. The prosecution presented fiber evidence from Edwards jacket and pants that matched a rug and a dog in Clara’s home.

Based on this highly circumstantial evidence, Edward was convicted. Edward would appeal his case often and in 1972 his case was heard at the state Supreme Court where the finer evidence was thrown out as circumstantial and no motive was provided. Edward was released but sadly died in 1975.

The question remains who killed Clara Bates?

One unique theory, and one I have never heard associated to him, was Ed Gein.

In 1954, about 20 miles south Ex Gein would kill bar owner Mary Hogan. Sounds a little similar. But we will never know if Clara Bates was Ed’s first victim.

Stay Weird Wisconsin

I don’t like Mondays

Many of us dread the start of our work week. Mondays can be hard to handle. The weekend is a destress time and the time to do something fun. But when Monday rolls around we rouse ourselves from our beds, shower, prepare for work or school and drink copious amounts of coffee to get into the mindset for another week.

However, some of us take things to a horribly brutal level when faced with Monday morning. Brenda Spencer was faced with a Monday morning in January 1979, and instead of accepting the day, she chose to make it a Monday nobody would forget.

Brenda was a bright red headed girl of 16 and lived with her father in poverty. Their home had one mattress that they both slept on on the floor. The home was littered with alcohol bottles.

For Christmas Brenda had wanted a radio but instead received a Ruger 10/22 semi-automatic .22 calibre rifle with a telescopic sight and 500 rounds of ammunition.

Brenda believed that her father had wanted her to commit suicide.

Monday morning and Brenda lived across the street from Grover Cleveland Elementary School. That morning she open fired on the students who were waiting for the principal to open the gate for them.

Eight of the students were injured, Principal Burton Wragg, 53 and Custodian Mike Suchar, 56 would die from the gunshots. A police officer arriving on scene was shot in the neck.

After firing 30 times, Brenda barricaded herself in the house and spent several hours in the house before she gave herself up.

Brenda was charged as an adult and pleaded guilty to two counts of murder and assault with a deadly weapon. On April 4, 1980, a day after her 18th birthday, she was sentenced to 25 years to life.

She remains incarcerated at the Institution for women in Chino California.

Be alert, make good choices, be safe!

Last Meal Monday

In the United States we have an odd fascination with true crime and the last meal of the condemned. Since I wanted to shake things up and try something new I’m looking at Last Meal Monday. Let’s review what a few prisoners have chosen as their last meals before being sent to the great beyond.

(This post and series is not intended to cause controversy regarding capital punishment, and is only intended to discuss the final meals of those who have been judged in a court of law and sentenced to the death penalty.)

  • Who: Thomas J. Grasso
  • Age: 32 years old
  • Where: Oklahoma State Penitentiary
  • How: Lethal Injection
  • When: March 20, 1995
  • His Crime: Murder of two octogenarians in 1990 and 1991.
  • Last Meal: Two dozen clams, two dozen mussels, a half dozen spare ribs, a double cheeseburger from Burger King, two strawberry milkshakes, half a pumpkin pie, strawberries, and a can of SpaghettiO’s. He never got the SpaghettiO’s.
  • Who: Ronnie Lee Gardner
  • Age: 49 years old
  • Where: Utah State Prison
  • How: Firing Squad
  • When: June 18, 2010
  • His Crime: Murder of two men in 1984 and 1985.
  • Last Meal: Steak, lobster tail, apple pie, vanilla ice cream, and 7-Up. He also requested to watch the Lord of the Rings trilogy while eating, and this was granted.
  • Who: Lawrence Russel Brewer
  • Age: 44
  • Where: Texas
  • How: Lethal Injection
  • When: September 21, 2011
  • His Crime: Murder of a black man. Hate crime.
  • Last Meal: Two chicken fried steaks, three fajitas, a triple-meat bacon cheeseburger, a pound of barbecue, a meat lover’s pizza, a bowl of fried okra, a pint of ice cream, and peanut butter fudge with nuts. He declined to eat any of it and due to his actions the last meal request ceased after 87 years.

What would your final meal ever consist of? Not saying you would be in jail, but if you knew tomorrow was your last day, what would you eat today?

Sleeping

We can do many things to improve our external beauty. I have mentioned many of them here, skin creams, serums, treatments, make up. But one thing that I haven’t mentioned is our beauty sleep.

How much sleep do you get at night? Is it really enough? For most adults 7 or more hours a night is recommended. Other factors can affect your quality of sleep and require more sleep at times. Pregnancy, sleep deprivation, or simply getting older.

For adults, getting less than seven hours of sleep a night on a regular basis has been linked with poor health, including weight gain, having a body mass index of 30 or higher, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, and depression.

Now think about it. If you don’t get enough sleep you may see the signs on your face; bags under your eyes, red eyes, even finding that your skin has become slack and saggy. Your body feels sluggish and your can’t even do the most basic of things.

Your sleep is beneficial not only to rest your mind and body but for your body to repair itself and heal. Sleep can also ensure you remain alert, bright eyed and bushy tailed, and keep you in better health.

So do yourself a favor and take a nap, go to bed early, sleep in, or simply put the phone down and catch some z’s earlier. Your mind, body, spirit, and health will thank you.

Be strong, be beautiful, be you

Fitness Update

Or lack there of. I have been busy everyone. So much so that I have reverted back to bad habits. My sessions in the gym are non-existent and I have been enjoying foods that may not be ideal for me.

So I need to refocus and get my head back in the game. My goal is 2x a week for the gym and making better food choices each day.

I know I can do this and I know that I want to do this. I have some great support behind me, encouraging me. It’s gonna be a mental game.

My water intake in down so I need to also get more H2O in my body. Then maybe I won’t feel so tired all the time.

I got this and I know you are all behind me too. Thank you!

Mac and Cheese

This recipe was a game changer for me. I usually make a homemade version of mac and cheese that I got from Ina Garten. But this one, is my new go to recipe. If you feel the need to change it up, or add something to it feel free to do so, but I honestly was not disappointed with this recipe. This one is easily adapted to feed a crowd, and you can reheat it the next day, I think it tasted even better on day 2.

  • Mac and Cheese
    • Ingredients:
      • 32 Ounces of Velveeta Cheese – Do not cut it up or slice it, leave it whole
      • 2 pounds of uncooked elbow macaroni – you can use any pasta really
      • 4 cups of heavy whipping cream
      • 1 1/2 cups of water
      • 2-3 cups of shredded cheese – your preference I used Colby and Italian blend
      • 1 1/2 cups of bread crumbs
      • 2-3 Tbsp melted butter
      • seasonings to taste – salt, pepper, garlic salt, onion powder, parsley
  • Directions:
    • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
    • In a baking dish put the block of Velveeta cheese in the middle. Pour the entire uncooked pasta around the Velveeta cheese. Pour in the heavy cream onto the uncooked pasta, followed by the water. Top the noodles with the shredded cheese.
    • Put entire dish into the oven and bake for 30 minutes (depending on your oven and the doneness of your pasta, you may need to go longer.) After thirty minutes mix the pasta with the cheeses, the pasta should be tender, but if you need to go longer put in for another 10 minutes.
    • After you mix the pasta and cheese together, combine the bread crumbs, melted butter and seasoning and sprinkle on top of the dish. Broil for a few minutes until golden brown.

Happy Eating!

Wisconsin – Swinging Bridge

When I hear anything described as ‘swinging’ Austin Powers comes to mind. However, this unique bridge in River Falls, WI actually swings.

River Falls is about 12 miles from the Minnesota border and has a population of 15,638 people. One area of the city is the beautiful Glen Park.

Glen Park has been a favorite spot for families and individuals to fish, swim, and picnic since the 1800’s. Part of that charm is the Swinging Bridge.

This 130 foot long bridge crosses over the South Fork tributary of the Kinnickinnic River. It sits on the site of the old mill that washed away decades ago.

Below the bridge is a popular spot for fishing, cooling off or exploring. I searched to find how tall this bridge is but am unable to find that information. If you know please let me know!!

Known simply as the Swinging Bridge, it is a solid structure but the walkway is designed to move and sway. It’s something you only notice on the bridge.

The park is open all year with summer being most popular. You won’t be disappointed in the park as it has many trails, water areas, picnic spots and a pool.

The park is located at 632 Glen Park Rd, River Falls, WI 54022.

If looking for an outdoorsy adventure for the whole family, check out Glen Park!

Stay Weird Wisconsin!

Mary Kay and Vili

In the 1990’s it was sensational news to learn that a schoolteacher had an inappropriate relationship with a student. It was even more outrageous when we learned the student was a 12 year old boy, and that his teacher would even go on to have his child, twice. Let’s try to understand the case of Mary Kay Letourneau.

Mary Katherine Schmitz was the middle child in a family of seven kids. She was born January 30, 1962 and her parents were devout Catholics.

Her family called her Mary Kay and her father was politically motivated and was elected to office several times. Eventually his political career would be shattered beyond repair after it was learned that he had fathered two children out of wedlock.

Mary Kay attended college at Arizona State University and this is where she met and eventually married Steven Letourneau. They would also have their first child, Steven Jr, while in college. Mary Kay would later say that she was not in love with Steven but was told by her parents to marry him. They would marry in 1984.

The young family would move to Alaska and then to Seattle for Steven’s job with Alaska Airlines. Their second child, Mary Claire would be born in Seattle.

In 1989 Mary Kay graduated and began teaching at a local elementary school. She first taught 2nd grade and this would be the first time she taught Vili Fualaau.

Steve and Mary Kay’s marriage was not ideal but they did welcome two more children into their family, son Nicholas and later daughter Jacqueline. The marriage was suffering due to money problems and Mary Kay’s claim that she had been emotionally and physically abused by her husband.

Vili Fualaau was born June 26, 1983. He was Mary Kay’s student in 2nd grade and then again in 6th grade. In 1996 their relationship went from platonic to sexual.

June 1996, police say a vehicle parked in a marina parking lot and investigated. When he approached the vehicle, Mary Kay jumped into the front seat and Vili pretended to sleep in the back. When questioned they both gave false names and Vili stated his age was 18.

The officer did not believe this and took them to the station. Vili’s mother was contacted and asked what she would like to do and she told police to return her son to his teacher, Mary Kay. Later she would claim that the police never informed her about the false names or what they had been doing.

It was almost a year later, March 1997 when Mary Kay was arrested. A relative of Steve’s contacted police. Mary would plead guilty and while awaiting sentencing gave birth to her daughter Audrey.

Eventually Mary Kay agreed to a plea deal. Instead of serving 7 years in prison, she would serve 6 months, three month suspended. She would also have to take sex offender treatment for three years and have no contact with Vili or any of her children. For life.

In 1998, two weeks after finishing her sentence Mary Kay and Vili were found in a car together, and it was assumed that sexual intercourse had occurred. Inside the car was over $6000, baby clothes and men’s clothes, as well as Mary Kay’s passport.

Mary’s plea agreement was revoked and she was sent to prison for the remaining sentence. In October 1998, Mary gave birth to her second child with Vili, a daughter named Georgia.

This time Mary was allowed visits from her children but was unable to attend her father’s funeral. In prison she wasn’t well liked and was in solitary for over a year.

Vili would drop out of high school, suffered depression, alcoholism, and attempted suicide. His mother would gain custody of his children, her grandchildren.

When Mary was released from prison in 2004, she registered as a level 2 sex offender and shortly after Vili convinced the court to reverse the no contact order. He was now 21 and planned to marry Mary Kay.

The couple married in 2005.

By 2019 their relationship was over and they were legally separated. Vili never claimed to be a victim and was not ashamed of their relationship. He did see that it was not a healthy relationship and chose to divorce.

Mary Kay Letourneau Fualaau would eventually succumb to colorectal cancer in July of 2020. She was 58 and Vili and their daughters were with her when she died. Most of her estate went to Vili.

And that is the story as we know it.

Be strong, make good choices, be safe.

Jeff Davis 8

Also known as the Jennings Eight. This is a case that begins in 2005 and remains unsolved. In total there are eight victims who were all found in the swamps and canals surrounding Jennings, Louisiana; in Jefferson Davis Parish. There have been numerous instances of ineptitude within the Sheriff’s office and people have named several law enforcement officers as suspects.

Jennings, Lousiana

In May 2005, a man fishing in the canal around Jennings, LA, he originally thought it was a mannequin that someone had left in the canal, but then he saw the flies and knew that mannequins do not attract flies. This was a human body.

The woman was identified as 28 year old Loretta Lynn Chaisson Lewis. She was a known local sex worker but there were no leads to find who may have killed her. Loretta was the first of eight women in the next four years who would be killed in a similar fashion.

All of the women had bizarre and unlikely similarities in things such as their upbringing, their involvement in sex work, drug addiction and the people they knew. All of them knew shady characters, and they talked, sometimes with law enforcement, about the things they knew on prior murders, and it apparently was a lot of information they knew.

The victims also included: Ernestine Marie Daniels Patterson, 30; Kristen Gary Lopez, 21; Whitnei Dubois, 26; Laconia “Muggy” Brown, 23; Crystal Shay Benoit Zeno, 24; Brittney Gary, 17; and Necole Guillory, 26.

It wasn’t until December of 2008, when a task force was formed to catch the person responsible for the murders. Authorities announced they were looking for a serial killer.

Journalist Ethan Brown makes a compelling case against the notion that the killings are from a serial killer. The more he looked the more he found of misconduct and corruption in the local law enforcement. The same law enforcement on the task force.

Frankie Richard

Mr. Brown stated that it was pretty clear that these killings did not following the FBI’s definition of a serial killer as the victims all knew each other, and this wasn’t something that was found with serial killers. They targeted victims that didn’t know each other or them. Kristen Gary Lopez and Brittney Gary were cousins. Brittney Gary and Crystal Benoit had been roommates. They had all engaged in sex work at the same seedy motel in Jennings. All but one of them, Ernestine Patterson, had been involved with an infamous local pimp and strip club owner named Frankie Richard.

Another aspect that is disturbing because of it’s frequency is that these women would all offer information to the police about a prior murder, and they were then dead shortly after. Many of the residents pointed to law enforcement as being responsible for at least some of the murders. Each of the victims spent time in the local jail and reports note that jailers often trafficked female inmates — including some of the victims — for sex.

And so the Jeff Davis Eight murders remain unsolved. It shouldn’t matter that these eight young women were sex workers or struggled with drug addiction. Their lives still mattered. But law enforcement in the town where they were murdered seem to have discarded them like trash. Here’s hoping the person who killed these women will one day be brought to justice.

Be strong, make good choices, stay safe

Pilgrim State Hospital

It’s been a few weeks since we went ghost hunting, virtually at least. Today I am taking you to Pilgrim State Hospital. Another abandoned psychiatric hospital, this one located in New York.

Pilgrim State Hospital was originally built in 1931 to alleviate the overcrowding at other hospitals and the original location had dozens of buildings and had almost a campus of 2000 acres. They would have been able to house 12,500 patients. It is still the largest in the world, but no longer is an actively used facility. In fact, it is now in disrepair, decay, and deserted. Many of the buildings have been demolished as of 2003.

Pilgrim State Hospital was built as the answer for the overcrowding at the other six psychiatric hospitals in the New York City area. Originally it was built to hold 12,500 patients, but at its peak population it had over 16,000. That’s bigger than many cities, and these patients all lived in one campus. There were four large treatment groups and each group had six separate buildings.

The campus had a building for chronic patients, a theater, staff homes, bakery, laundry, fire house, power plant and a farm. There was also a ten-acre cemetery that lies behind the water tower. The unclaimed bodies were buried with a simple headstone with the patient number. At times the hospital averaged one death per day.

The treatments included many things that were considered cutting edge at the time, but hopefully are not seen any longer due to their barbarity. Before the 1950’s when the drug, Thorazine was developed the following treatments were used:

  • Insulin shock therapy: The patient is injected with large doses of insulin, which causes convulsion and coma. Introduced at Pilgrim in 1936.
  • Metrazol shock therapy: Injections of Metrazol (or commercially known as cardiazol) quickly induces powerful seizures.
  • Electric shock therapy: Currents of electricity are passed through the brain to induce grand mal seizures, commonly used to treat schizophrenia and mood disorders. Pilgrim State started using this technique in 1940 and has recently been under investigation for forcing this treatment onto patients.
  • Pre-frontal lobotomies: This treatment started in 1946 and by 1959 up to 2000 lobotomies were performed here. Most were done in the central medical building #23.

You are welcome to visit the grounds, always make sure that you can investigate and proceed with caution.

As you can see from the image above, this was taken from two individuals who were exploring the property. Is that a smudge, a person’s head, or just a shadow?

And another image, poor quality, of a human shape in the center. It may have been another person, but the image is again poor quality so it’s hard to say. Only one way you will know for sure if it’s haunted, go check it out for yourself.

Happy Haunting!