Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Toole, Jonestown and Bundy?

What does Ottis Toole have to do with Jonestown, Ted Bundy, and Satanists? Or with the name "wood" and the Tescumseh Curse? A little or a lot? Who knows?

A press conference was held in Hollywood, Florida, on Tuesday, December 16, 2008, to close the Adam Walsh case. As you will recall, the six year old Adam was abducted from a Sears department store at the Hollywood Mall in Hollywood, Florida, on July 27, 1981. Adam's mother, Revé, had left him playing in a video game section of the store with older boys. When she returned, he was gone. Adam's severed head was found in a Vero Beach, Florida, canal on August 10, 1981.

At the news conference today, the murder was blamed on serial killer Ottis Elwood Toole (March 5, 1947 – September 15, 1996). Toole had confessed and withdrawn his confession to the Walsh twice each, and did the same kinds of confessing and recanting with other killings throughout his life.

For more on the initial Adam Walsh "Case Closed" report, see here. For more on the questions being raised, days later, see here.

Ottis Elwood Toole has a bizarre history, including these quick tidbits from Wikipedia and other sources:

1) His father's name was Elwood Toole;
2) Ottis Toole claimed his mother was a religious fanatic who often abused him and dressed him in girl's clothing;
3) Toole's maternal grandmother was a satanist who exposed him to various satanic practices and rituals in his youth and gave him the nickname "Devil's Child";
4) In 1976, Toole met serial killer Henry Lee Lucas* (August 23, 1936 – March 13, 2001) while working at a soup kitchen in Jacksonville and they reportedly became lovers; [*Lucas also had been dressed as a girl as a child, Lucas at one time lived in Tecumseh, Michigan, Lucas claimed to have delivered poison to cult leader Jim Jones in Jonestown prior to the notorious mass murder/suicide of Jones's group, & Lucas's sentence was commuted to life in prison in 1998 by then-Governor George W. Bush. Lucas's was the only death penalty case among the 153 that came across Bush's desk in his tenure as Texas Governor in which he intervened and commuted the death sentence.]
5) Toole and Lucas claimed to have committed hundreds of murders, sometimes at the behest of a secret cult called "The Hand of Death Cult";
6) Toole briefly shared a cell with serial killer Theodore Robert Bundy (November 24, 1946 – January 24, 1989) in Florida's Raiford Prison, according to Ann Rule's The Stranger Beside Me.

Various "experts" feel that most, if not all, of what Toole and Lucas told authorities were fantasies of two mentally ill men. Some, in the law enforcement community, feel what they were saying were partial or full truths. As is obvious from what occurred today at the news conference, Toole is a strong suspect as a killer in various murders.

I find the timing of this news quite bizarre, considering what we have been hearing lately about the Tecumseh curse, the names Reeves (Revé), Wood, and all.

Oh, yes, and there's one more twist to the story. Some eyewitnesses identified Toole as the weird man they saw at the mall the day Adam disappeared. Years later, others said they recognized the kidnapper the second he first appeared on TV - infamous Wisconsin serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer, who lived in South Florida in 1981. Some in the community still believe the case is stronger against Dahmer, who was killed in prison 14 years ago.

Make of it what you will.


FilmNoir23 said...

Noooo wayyyy. The Hand of Death Cult? You're kidding me...? This is huge...

Anonymous said...


I'm generally fascinated by your blogs, either here or on Cryptomundo, but I have to say, I think you might be reading a bit much into this. The activities and existence of the so-called Hand of Death have never been independently corroborated outside of the Lucas and Toole confessions (unless you want to consider Gerard Schaefer, Toole's prison mate in Florida and fellow serial killer as corroborating evidence) and I believe the Jonestown claim has been refuted. Lucas admitted in his later years that the bulk of his confessions were calculated in order to receive better treatment in prison and, ultimately, to get a stay of execution and the number of crimes to which he confessed that he can solidly be ruled out as a suspect for(the Green River killings and the Capital City murders in Wisconsin come most readily to mind) seem to cement his status as an opportunistic liar.

As with the double-standard the press has displayed in believing the confessions of admitted hoaxers despite evidence to the contrary with regard to cryptozoological phenomena (i.e. Ray Wallace, Bob Hieronymous, etc.), it's easy to fall into a similar trap when it comes to attributing unsolved crimes to sociopathic serial killers who base the whole of their self-spun identities on a facility for distortion and outright lying. This is a prime example of needing to consider the source!

Like I said, I generally love your postings and look forward to reading new blogs as they come but when it comes to taking the word of people like Henry Lee Lucas and Ottis Toole as gospel, I have to respectfully disagree. When it comes to interviewing these kinds of personalities, one can generally learn more from what they DON'T tell you.

However, that said, some of the twilight language links you've uncovered do merit further attention and I think you're definitely onto something in a lot of these posts!

Sorry to post anonymous. I should really get an account with these blogs, since I've been lurking for well over a year!

Loren Coleman said...

Actually, I would assume that anyone reading this would approach this bit of news with great caution and care. A critical analysis of this "announcement" is exactly what I would say is needed, and why I ended by noting: "Make of it what you will."

Listing of tidbits tied to these two characters is not proof of anything, of course, but merely that those factoids have been associated in time and space with this entire story.

The psychodrama that is this tale continues, but that does not mean we should ignore the twilight language being revealed in the tension between the fact and the fiction.

Anonymous said...

Oh, absolutely. I certainly believe strongly that, fiction or truth, you have to take the language, thematic elements, and cultural archetypes presented by these coincidences and consider them in the context of a broader zeitgeist or collective unconscious. What is it about violence and its representation in our media that bring these structures to the surface? I have to wonder if human beings are defined by the transgressions they commit and the reactions to them more than any virtues that might be native to our species. Truly fascinating stuff!

Anonymous said...

Otis the Tool, even after his death, continues to be quite useful to the authorities seeking to close up old cases.

Lest we forget the brothers in arms, Toole and Lucas, had their dates with the devil stayed by brothers in blood, Bush.

Anonymous said...

Ok if the Hand of Death is some hoax why did both men in different states confess to it?
Also Lucas had a fourth grade education yet gave a guy who interviewed him for a book a perfect account of a satanic black mass. This was performed in the Everglades at what he said was his initiation into the Hand of Death. This was before the internet, Lucas could barely read, and yet he gave a specific detailed account of this black mass.
Also the story behind Lucas' confessions and later recantations is complex. He believes he was visited in jail by God who told him to give the details of all the murders in order to give the victims and family members peace.
During his orgy of killings he was drugged out of his mind and they committed so many killings he didnt want to leave any out.
So he rubberstamped every case, also he got cigarettes and better treatment while confessing and out at murder sites.
However in some of the killings he gave details such as in one case he said they put the victims hand in their mouth. Which was proven when the body was found.
The DA was an idiot though and didnt do proper police work rubberstamping every Lucas confession.