J = John Wayne Gacy, A to Z Blog Challenge

I told you that we would be a little darker this week. Now we are going to be a LOT darker. I do want to say from the outset that this post won’t be anywhere near complete and that, if you have the stomach for it, there are resources out there that will horrify and teach you.

John Wayne Gacy was a serial killer active in Chicago, Illinois from 1972 to 1978. In that sort span of time, he killed 33 or 34 young men and boys, often raping them. When his spree was done, he was eventually charged with 1 count of sodomy, 1 count of sexual assault, 1 count of indecent liberties with a child, and 33 counts of murder. His favorite prey was young, attractive men, and he seemed to have a particular affinity for young athletic types.

One of Gacy's mugshots. Yes, his smile disturbs me, too.

One of Gacy’s mugshots. Yes, his smile disturbs me, too.

Like other serial killers, Gacy was actually an upstanding citizen, a respected community leader, and was married twice. There are aspects of his killings which are both terrifying and intriguing (in a clinical sort of way. On a conscious level, he was a deranged psychopath, of course).

One of the most intriguing aspects to me personally is the ignorance — feigned, willful, truthful, or determined — of his wives. You see, Gacy would kill these men and bury their bodies in the crawlspace under his house. Here you have to consider the gruesome aspects of body disposal. These men weren’t embalmed, buried far underground, or prepared in any way we do in the modern world. Consequently, the decomposing victims began to smell. Gacy told his wives that it was bad plumbing and that he was fixing it.

The house in question.

The house in question.

He would often lure men with promise of work in his company, cheap labor, or, as he called it, go cruising, bringing home runaways, boys walking home from school, male prostitutes, and essentially anyone who could go missing without a trace for a little while. After his eventual divorce and before his capture, Gacy’s cruising became more frequent and his behavior more erratic. Neighbors reported occasionally hearing muffled screams coming from his house in this time, and one has to wonder why nobody called the police in those instances. Was it the Kitty Genovese syndrome, a woman who was murdered in a crowded apartment complex, screaming for her life, and nobody did anything because they didn’t want to get involved? Was it this infamous bystander effect? Who can say?

Fortunately, Gacy was eventually caught after offering a job to a 15 year old boy name Robert Jerome Piest. When Piest went missing, Gacy was questioned, which led to an in depth look at his record, which led to his arrest, and the subsequent grisly finds under his house. He was arrested on December 21, 1978. At this time, Gacy was running out of room to bury the bodies. Think about that for a moment. He killed so many young men that he ran out of room.

To further terrify you, Gacy was an upstanding citizen on the outside. He would dress up as a clown for birthday parties, saying later that the costume allowed him to become a kid again. For those who don’t like clowns, here is another reason.

Pogo the Clown, also known as John Wayne Gacy, the murderer of at least 33 young men and boys.

Pogo the Clown, also known as John Wayne Gacy, the murderer of at least 33 young men and boys.

Gacy was a sick, sick man. However, to dismiss him as crazy is to miss the only point of importance he can bring to this world. Study of reprehensible people like this can help us, through education, to spot the next serial killer and the next. Knowledge is power here. One of the scariest parts of all this is that, aside from the scary clown, there were only subtle indications that this man was a monster inside (if you did not visit his house, that is), so studying men like him may help society to identify these people and possibly prevent further atrocities, or, realistically speaking, limit their abilities to hurt the innocent. John Wayne Gacy died on May 10th, 1994 by lethal injection, roughly 15 years after his arrest.

For more detailed information, see his Wikipedia page here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Wayne_Gacy. It’s as good a starting point as any.

Alternate letter considerations: Jedi, jaundice, Jezebel, Judas cradle.

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~ by Darren Endymion on August 12, 2015.

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