Your Neighbors – Do You Really Know Them?
There’s an Internet radio station in my town, and one of their regular shows is all about local unsolved murders. The show has a historical slant, with most of the cases dating back to the 1950s or even older. But they’ve also dealt with more recent cases.
This got me interested, so I googled my county name + unsolved murders.
More than 25 since 1985. Considering I live in a small county (174 sq. miles of land, and a population of 324,839 as of January 2019) that until the 1990s was more rural than suburban, this caught me by surprise.
Teenage girls getting killed on the way to the mall. Boys and girls disappearing from neighborhoods and turning up in creeks and ditches. Adults disappearing while out on errands and getting found weeks or months later in the woods or buried in fields.
And in pretty much all the cases, no suspects.
Now, to be sure, some of these were probably committed by transient folks, people on their way to another place who saw an opportunity.
But at least some had to be carried out by locals. Residents of one of the towns near me.
Maybe even a neighbor.
Which is what’s really scary. Because today we tend to know fewer of our neighbors than back in our parents’ day, or even back in our own childhood. Growing up, I knew who lived in every house on my street, even if they didn’t have kids my age. Or kids at all. That’s a total of 80 houses. And then you knew some of the families on other streets nearby, the people who lived next to your friends.
Today, I live on a street that has 28 houses. I know perhaps half those people by face (and then only if I see them in context, in their house or driving by me), and maybe five by name. I know the names of more neighbor dogs than I do people, quite honestly. The next street over, I know three families, and one of them only because they’re good friends of ours. The other two I’ve met because they have dogs.
When I’m driving through the neighborhood, or walking the dog, I sometimes find myself wondering what’s going on behind those curtains. Is there a serial killer living near me? It’s possible. After all, no one thought anything was odd about Ted Bundy, or Jeffrey Dahmer, or Albert Fish. For all I know, the guy across the street is eating human flesh right now. The nurse up the road might’ve poisoned a patient this week.
The couple walking their dog earlier could have a torture chamber in their basement, like H.H. Holmes, a respected doctor in the 1800s who killed and tortured dozens of patients and murdered tourists he snatched at the World’s Fair.
Or maybe one of my neighbors fancies himself (or herself) the next Dexter, and is killing “bad” people.
Or that widow down the street who has boarders. Do they really leave, or is she chopping them up and living off their money?
With more and more crazy people in the world today, and communities becoming less social, anything is possible.
Who knows, I might be the only person on the street who isn’t a psychopathic serial killer.
Something to think about the next time you take a walk!
Until next time … stay weird!
Stay informed on all my demented ramblings … http://www.facebook.com/jgfaherty, jgfaherty-blog.blogspot.com, and http://www.twitter.com/jgfaherty.