Friday, May 13, 2005

Zion Killings and Devil Ladder Road's Mass Murder

The Mother's Day killings in Zion, Illinois, of two young girls, one a Hobbs (wearing an "angel" t-shirt), allegedly by her father, Jerry Hobbs ("Hobbs" = Old English for "Devil") was followed by the discovery of six bodies on Devil Ladder Road (or Devil's Ladder Road, in some reports) in Riverside County, California.

David McGowan, 44, apparently shot his wife, mother, and three children to death early Tuesday, May 10, in the murder-suicide at his large ranch home on that road, in Garner Valley, near Idyllwild.

McGowan was a Riverside County district attorney's investigator. No motive is known for the mass killings.

What will this year's only Friday the 13th bring?

Thursday, May 12, 2005

No Surprise: Car Chase Killing Broadcast Live

In a press release on February 26, 2003, Mayor Jim Hahn, Los Angeles Police Chief William Bratton, Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca, the California Highway Patrol, the Los Angeles Police Chiefs’ Association and the Los Angeles Board of Police Commissioners ask the media to "stop live continuous television coverage of police pursuits" - more popularly known as "car chases." They noted that "the media’s treatment of pursuits as entertainment encourages copycats to engage in these highly dangerous chases."

More that 700 suspects fled L.A. law enforcement officers in 2002, making Los Angeles the "Car Chase Capital of the World."

The ultimate outcome of all of the car chases being televised was predictable. As crosstown television station NBC4 headlined the news, on May 11, 2005, "Officers shoot man on live TV at end of pursuit." After a 50-minute pursuit across the Los Angeles communities of Long Beach and the South Bay, it ended with the fatal shooting of the car's driver, as he ran out of the car with one gun, dropped it, and then went for another in his pocket. Rival KABC-TV had shown the sequence of events live on air, as they followed the events from TV helicopters.

A KABC-TV spokesman told the The Los Angeles Times, "Live breaking news is always unpredictable." The spokesman said no one knew shots were going to be fired and "the instant we did, we went to a wide shot.".

But why the surprise? How have some car crashes ended? With the crash of the car? With the injury or death of the drivers or bystanders? Yes, of course. What is the goal of showing car chases, over and over? And have the media acknowledged that the copycat effect is in full swing here, and that every car chase shown stimulates more to occur? This "kind of story...has become a staple of local newscasts," noted The Los Angeles Times.

Following the live coverage of the shooting, Los Angeles Police Chief William J. Bratton and Sheriff Lee Baca again urged TV stations to reduce their coverage of chases, arguing that the intense focus encourages criminals to flee from authorities.

Marty Kaplan, an associate dean at the USC Annenberg School for Communication, asked by the paper about the car chases said: "I think the motto, 'If it bleeds, it leads,' didn't just fall from the sky....It's well-known that mayhem attracts our attention…. Ever since the possibility of O.J. Simpson blowing his brains out while we all watched him in the Bronco, we have known the power of that stuff to get ratings."

I guess this is why the subtitle of my book is "How the Media and Popular Culture Trigger the Mayhem in Tomorrow's Headlines," and I include a section about "Death Sells."

Will this wake up the LA media? No, instead, the local California news today will be a platform for multiple repeats of this "dramatic" shooting, just as it has been on all the national morning news shows today.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Twilight Language in Zion?

Ritualistic Killings in Zion?

The twilight language may be revealed in the Mother's Day killings of two second-grade girls near Beulah Park in Zion, Illinois. Could the place and victims have been purposedly selected?

The news of the deaths are the lead story in many media outlets. Let me quote from today's (May 10, 2005) New York Times to make some points.


First, you have the name "Zion" with it's natural lexilinks to the ancient "Zion" of the Mideast and to the "Zion" of the Matrix movies. As I point out in The Copycat Effect, some killers have used The Matrix for inspiration.

In the New York Times article, "2 Girls Found Stabbed to Death in Illinois Park," writers Gretchen Ruethling and Jodi Wilgoren note that Illinois's present-day Zion, "a close-knit community of nearly 23,000 people about halfway between Chicago and Milwaukee, was founded by an evangelist in 1901 as a utopian society 'where residents would commit to living clean lives, have healthy habits and work together for the honor and glory of God,' according to its Web site. One of the first planned cities in the United States, it was laid out to imitate the British flag, its main roads, all with biblical names, leading to a hub."

The young victims, who were found fully-clothed and not sexually-molested, but nevertheless were killed in a way said to be "heinous" and "heart-rending."

The Name Game Continued: Hobbs and Krystal

The names of the girls were released today. Police identified them as Laura Hobbs, 8, and Krystal Tobias, 9, best friends in the same class at Beulah Park Elementary School in Zion. People familiar with my writings on the occult (as in hidden) "name game" will recognize immediately a moniker that pops up often in my discussions: "Hobbs."

From an earlier book of mine, talking, at first about the fictional use of the name "Hobbs," I mention that:

...Hobbs Lane has a long history of poltergeist, haunting and apparition activities. One keen young researcher discovers an old street sign near the diggings, and she notes the spelling is “Hob’s Lane,” not “Hobbs Lane.” “Hob,” it turns out, is another name for “devil,” or the “Devil,” if you prefer.
Some words do not appear to be what they so calmly convey. “Hob,” for example, is an alteration of Robin or Robert, as in Robin Goodfellow, a rustic, a clown (lest we get too far from the phantom clowns). Goodfellow, sometimes called Puck, was/is a tricksy house sprite or elf in popular English fairy lore. And Puck is sometimes called hobgoblin. Even the descriptive verb “hobble” refers to the word’s origins, as the classic view of the Devil shows cloven hooves.
In the United States, consequently, Hobbs, New Mexico, and Hobbs, Indiana, have “devil’s names.” Although the local folks know a great deal about the strange things happening thereabouts, most probably do not know that the etymological origins of their towns’ names flash back to a demonic past.

The Zion case also involves the name "Krystal," a name we have come across before in high-profile cases. On March 19, 2000, Krystal Steadman, age 9, was kidnapped from an apartment complex in Stateline, Nevada. She was beaten, raped, tortured and murdered. The next day her body was found near Highway 50, below Spooner Summit. In 1999, teenager Krystal Archer was battered and died in a ravine, where she was thrown, near Madison, Georgia. Krystal Baker, 13, disappeared after calling a friend from a Texas City, Texas, convenience store, on March 5, 1986. Her beaten body was found on the same day twenty-five miles north of Texas City under the Trinity River Bridge. Special names in special places.

The nature of the Zion murders, the name game being "played" there, the twilight language used may all reveal this new homicide is by a ritualistic or serial killer.

The Investigators: Watkins

Finally, in terms of the name game's ultimate coincidental twist,New York Times identified the chief spokesperson emerging from the Zion situation as "Clyde Watkins, deputy chief of the Zion Police Department."

"It's a crime against not only those kids but against all of us," Chief Watkins said at a news conference on Monday afternoon, as quoted by The New York Times. "We have two murdered children, and we don't have anybody in custody."

"Watkins" may "see" things the rest of us do not or feel personally impacted by these crimes. The name "Watkins" turns up in these cases, as the ones with insights. Watkins is a key name linked to historic child disappearances, such as ther series at Watkins Glen, New York, in the 1970s, or the law enforcement officers doing the looking into these crimes (e.g. Columbus police Lt. David Watkins who is investigating El Salvador kidnappings in central Ohio). It probably is just a coincidence, therefore, that earth mysteries observer and discoverer of ley lines in 1921, was named Alfred Watkins.

Ritualistic killers won't be picking specially-named towns with police officers named "Watkins," would they?

This Zion killer won't have selected these kids because of their names, would he?

The thought is horrifying. I am hoping I am so wrong on this one.