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Monday, October 29, 2012

Infamous Serial Killer: Why I Love Halloween

Between Oct. 1 and Oct. 31 of 1994, a serial killer calling himself “Lord Halloween” terrorized Loudoun County, Virginia. While he communicated with police only through brief post-it notes left at crime scenes, he wrote long, detailed letters to Tim Anderson, a local reporter at the Loudoun Chronicle.

Those letters only recently came to light after Lord Halloween’s second killing spree in 2006. Most have remained sealed by the courts—until now. Following is a previously unreleased letter from Lord Halloween to Tim Anderson near the beginning of his first rampage.

LH File: Letter #4
Date: Oct. 12, 1994
Investigation Status: Closed
Contents: Unclassified

Mr. Anderson,

Sometimes I wish we could meet face to face. I’ve watched you, of course. I’ve seen you go to the grocery store and the gym. I’ve even watched you on assignment—talking to the police about me. So I feel like I know you already.

But I wish you could ask me questions. One-sided conversations are always unsatisfying and it’s so hard for me to know what you’re thinking. Do you hate me? Do you think I’m a monster? Or am I the best thing that’s ever happened to you?

Come on: what’s a crime reporter without a story? I’m the biggest story this place has ever seen and you’re at the center of it.

Still, I keep wondering what you would ask me if you could. I bet I know one question: why Halloween? I could have picked any name. I could call myself Son of Satan or something equally ridiculous. Why be Lord Halloween? Why kill just in October? Why focus on a stupid holiday that’s just for kids?

The truth is it’s not for kids. It never was. It was a pagan holiday celebrated with human sacrifice. It was a tribute to death and decay and the end of the world. I’m just bringing it back into style, the way it was meant to be.

It makes me sick to see how twisted and lifeless (excuse the pun) Halloween has become. The little painted ghosts in the shop windows and the cute witches with their frisky kittens. All the kids bobbing for apples and dressing up like super heroes and fairy princesses.  That’s not what Halloween is about, Mr. Anderson. It’s not meant to be something the kids look forward to. It’s meant to be the thing they dread.

Halloween is about fear. Fear of the thing that goes bump in the night. Panic at what lies beneath you while you sleep. There’s a whole world out there we don’t know or understand and it’s filled with terrors we can’t begin to comprehend. Halloween is a reminder of everything we don’t want to face, including our own mortality.

But like everything else, we’ve corrupted it. We’ve made it insipid and bland, tried to tame it and pretend it’s all in good fun. But it’s not fun, Mr. Anderson.

Jack O’ Lanterns were lit as a way to ward off demons roaming the night. They weren’t meant to be craft projects for school kids. Costumes were a way to hide from the things haunting you, not play make believe. Even the candy we hand out was originally a tribute to the Old Gods to let us live for one more year. Now the only person who finds Halloween threatening is the dentist.

The world needs to be reminded what Halloween is about. It needs a teacher. I am that person.

I promise you that when I am done, this entire area—hell, even the country—won’t even want to think about Halloween again. If anyone shows their face on All Hallow's Eve, I will consider them fair game.

I am staking my claim to Halloween, making me part of the legend. For now and forever, we will be intertwined. In future years, Leesburg residents will shudder when the very mention of Halloween passes someone’s lips. They’ll look behind them and wonder if I’m lurking in the shadows.

And I will be, Mr. Anderson. I always will be. I’ve told you before, but soon you will know first-hand: I am night. I am fear. I am Halloween.


Lord Halloween

For more on Lord Halloween, check out “A Soul to Steal,” now available on Amazon.

1 comment:

  1. "I am night. I am fear. I AM BATMAN!"

    I'm a horrible person.

    Also, I couldn't help reading this in the voice of Mr. Smith/Hugo Weaving, from the Matrix. "Mr. Anderson."

    Note the inflated pride and narcissism. Just as a crime writer needs a story, a serial killer who says "I am fear" needs the attention of an audience to terrify. And while the crime writer might have other motives than his own personal gain and feelings of importance to write about the murders -- like gee, I don't know, warning the community -- the serial killer can't conceive of interests beyond the self. Helping others? What? Yet he's utterly dependent on others: the reporter for one, his victims for another, and the community at large as well. He and the crime writer might as well be part of a team -- because the media feeds the fear machine that he's determined to keep up. Without the audience to terrify, the whole game is pointless and his constructed identity is destroyed. He depends on an audience as much as the reporter does; the difference is that he doesn't realize it.