My Fascination With True Life Crime

I haven’t had much time to write lately, but now that the school year is winding down, I have a little more time on my hands. I just picked up a couple of books that will keep me busy for a few days to get my summer reading off to a great start. Of course, when you find me at Barnes and Noble, you will most likely find me in the history, biography, or true life crime sections. I still prefer real books over anything digital. There’s something about the feel of it that I like.

I have to admit that I have an obsession with true life crime stories. I remember watching detective shows with my daddy  when I was little, and that has led to more updated (and scarier) shows of today like Criminal Minds. My grandma used to read mysteries  I would cuddle with her in bed while she read Agatha Christy. I always preferred the non-fiction books better.

One of my sisters (who shall remain nameless), used to scare the crap out of me with a little book about Kansas history that my parents had. The book had a story about the Bloody Benders from Cherryvale, who murdered travelers in the 1800’s that would stop for dinner and a night of rest. They never caught the Bender family. I think they killed at least 20 people if I remember right. That book used to terrify me, and my sisters knew it. All they had to do to get me to leave the room was to pull out that book! They found it to be great entertainment because I would scream and cry, but I think it helped to encourage my interest in true life crime. http://mentalfloss.com/article/53672/bloody-benders-americas-first-serial-killers

A few years later, I heard people talking about the Manson family when a made for TV movie came out. That terrified me as well, but I was fascinated! I would lay in bed at night sometimes worrying about things like that, and I guess that was my own fault, but I couldn’t NOT be interested!

I read In Cold Blood when I was in the 6th or 7th grade. That crime also happened in Kansas…..what was it with Kansas?! I watched the movie when it was on late at night….it had a young Robert Blake in it. I still remember the gory details. That one also kept me awake at night.

When I was a young adult, I met my friend Sally. She was also interested in true life crime, so we immediately had that connection. At least I knew I wasn’t the only oddball out there! We read a book called In Broad Daylight, about a man who terrorized his small town in Missouri (not Kansas). They made a tv movie about it with Brian Dennehy. The book, of course, was better.  But now here I was, a young adult…a young wife and mother, and I was still interested in this dark theme. This was not a passing phase, but I was afraid people would think I was sick or twisted.

As I grew older, another Kansas murder/serial killer was in the news…BTK in Wichita, where my family lives! Still fascinated with that one.

Now I live near Pensacola. They happened to have captured one of the most famous serial killers here…Ted Bundy.  About a year ago, there was a Bonnie and Clyde type couple involved in a nationwide manhunt, and had a shootout in the town where I teach. A few months ago, there was another serial killer in the loose in the area. When these stories are in the news, I can’t help but read everything I can get my hands on about it.

Recently, my daughter turned me on to a podcast called My Favorite Murder. Guess what? I found out there’s a whole bunch of us out there! It features Georgia Hardstark and Karen Kilgariff, and they talk about different murders around the world that have happened throughout history. I’m hooked. I drive to work each day to my 1st graders, and listen to my podcast about murders! That’s how I begin my day! Dark, yes, but I think I have become more aware of people and my surroundings by listening to it.  I guess I am officially a “Murderino,” another name for fan. http://www.feralaudio.com/show/my-favorite-murder/

At least I have discovered that I’m not really that weird because of this. I’m weird about a lot of other things, but this is kind of normal! Yet, each time someone asks me what I listen to, the first thing that comes out of my mouth is, “Ok….don’t judge me…”

So as I begin my summer reading, I will tell you that I picked up a couple of true life crime books. Don’t judge me…


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