It’s that time of year again at this writing where October brings out the scary side of me. So here we go.
It was in mid December in 1978, when I was watching the news on Channel 7 in Chicago. The news story talked about two bodies found buried at the home of a John Gacy. The home was in the Chicago suburb of Norwood Park. One body was found buried by the garage and the other found in the crawlspace. Both bodies were eventually discovered to be teenage boys. The report that someone would murder a boy and then bury that boy or boys on their own property disturbed me. Little did I know what was to come.
Another day or two later another body was found in the crawlspace and the television showed police and coroner’s officials carrying a stretcher covered by a plastic bag. Then in the following days, and I don’t remember the exact order, but there would be another report from Gacy’s house again, this time with 4 more bodies found. Then another day and the report of 8 more bodies found in one day, all unearthed in Gacy’s crawlspace. Believe me, I would be at the kitchen table getting dinner ready with my dad and I would roll out the TV on the stand so we could watch the 5 o’clock news. We were not going to miss what was going on. I had mixed feelings of fascination and disgust. I could not believe what I was hearing. But there was no mistaking it. The film crews were parked outside Gacy’s house and each day I would see police carrying white plastic bags containing body parts or whole bodies carried out on plastic covered stretchers. My dad and I could not even speak. We just watched in disbelief. The new reports flashed statements like “Four more bodies found: total 8”. “Eight more bodies found: total 18”.
The ultimate gruesome total of bodies found at Gacy’s home was 29. All of them were boys in the ages from 14 to 21. Twenty nine bodies, one buried under the concrete under the garage and the rest under the wooden floorboards in the dirt where John Gacy lived, breathed, ate and slept.Upon the first day of searching Gacy’s home, the odor was so bad in the house that police thought there was a sewage back up in the house. Gacy stated that he would sometimes place the dead body under his bed and sleep before he buried it in the crawlspace.
Gacy would pour quicklime to hasten the decomposition of the bodies.Gacy stated he had lost count of the number of victims buried in his crawl space and had thrown the final five victims—all killed in 1978—off the I-55 bridge into the Des Plaines River because his crawl space was full.
Once back at Gacy’s house, the victims would be handcuffed or otherwise bound, then choked with a rope or a board as they were sexually assaulted. Gacy would often place the victim’s underwear in the victims’ mouths to muffle their screams. Many of his victims had been strangled with a tourniquet, which Gacy referred to as his “rope trick”. Occasionally, the victim had convulsed for an “hour or two” after the rope trick before dying.
The victims were usually lured alone to his house, although on approximately three occasions, Gacy had what he called "doubles"—occasions wherein he killed two victims on the same evening.
John Wayne Gacy was tried and convicted of the murders and in May of 1994 was executed by lethal injection.
This entire story has been brought back to life by the media in recent weeks. Eight of the bodies have been exhumed to use modern DNA evidence techniques that were not available in 1978 to try to find more details and possibly find more bodies that Gacy has killed. There is even a possiblity that Gacy traveled through as many as 20 states in the U.S. where he may have raped and killed more boys. Authorities are urging parents or anyone who has had a child missing from that period of time to contact Chicago police in an effort to help with the investigation.
It seems the nightmare is starting again.