Invisible Ships podcast
Invisible Ships podcast

Episode · 7 months ago

Circleville Letters 3


In our final episode about the Circleville Letters, we travel to Circleville Ohio and interview a local historian who received a strange letter around the time Paul Freshour was up for parole. Could this be the work of the Circleville Letter writer?

We also have Michael Prelee on he is the author of the mystery novel Murder In The Heart Of It All which was based on the events of the Circleville Letters.

You can get a copy of his book by clicking the link below

 Murder in the Heart of It All (Tim Abernathy): Prelee, Michael: 9781682010631: Books

also visit his author page

and don't forget to visit our homepage Invisible Ships Podcast – From true crime to the truly weird. You will find case documents and photographs. 

Time for the invisible ships podcast,where we talk about everything from true crime to a truly weird readyFOTECON, we are back its the visible ships podcast. I'm lead podcastcollaborator where Cosin- and this is my brother Dan back in the bunker. Yes,you know that little reference I just kav there was I'm not going to get toomuch into it, because ou lowers won't, allow us to, but there's haters out there and there's ahater on social media that publicly docks me and in the way that he did itwas. He said this is Leed podcast collaborator. So I kind of like that,as a title sounds like the UN is going to invade you or something I don't now,but collaborator lead podcast cleberator. I might get that on abusiness card. Okay, DIAN! You know this is going to be our last episodeabout the circle, O letters, but we had a lot of good stuff. Coming up. Italked to Michael Preeley, who is a an author that wrote a really good mysterynovel that is based off of the Circle Bol letters and I'm excited to talk tohim because there's nothing out there really folkwise about the circle ofletters which is strange, sat that nobody wrote. You know right some kindof true crime book about it or Inmarmit. Martinett should yes, B t MichaelPriley's book Ar Paly, it's murder in the heart of it all right right. Soit's a mystery t is strongly influenced by the actual events of this feraletter. We went down to Circleville. We got really cool Mahaping from the Nicepeople, thisderical society, and you know we just kind of went in there andstarted talking to them and one of the ladies. There had anexperience and she kind of brushed it up, but she got some strange lettersthat were angry and hateful and anonymous and postmark Columbus. Shejust thought it was like a crreck pot. You know, after talking to her, westarted thinking that this could have to do with the circle of a letter,writer, especially the time frame, because her letters arrived sometime inthe late S, which would be one of the Times that Paul would have been up forparole, and I think when you look at what was going on with the case, theletters were mainly happening around the time that Paul was coming up forparol. So we're going to play that interview in just a second and then youknow I was going through and reading olther letters and one thing that wedidn't get to with Mardyent or have a chance to really talk about. Yet it'sjust how crazy the letters got in the end. Did you see the one where Paul'sand prison now and I think he's been in prison for almost like seven years orsomething? And these letter start coming to the prosecutor, saying that if you don't admit to sleeping with theschool teacher and killing her an a unborn baby, I'm goingto dig up thebaby's bones and mail them to the police department. Yeah, I mean that's,not your run, a litle letter that o Erico, I think her name- was that onemissing. So there is another unsolved mystery that is kind of tied to it. Sothe circle of the letter writer is officially part of that case file yeah,because he is talking about this murder, but I don't think there's any evidencethat she was actually pregnthant at the time becaus they did find her body. Ibelieve so it's kind of interesting that theletter writer would have made that mistake. Something creepy about you know to Sabe bones: no just theletter writer like he was sometimes he's dead on and sometimes it seemslike he was a little bit off or yeah or way off well, like I said before I kindof pictured I liked. I was intrigued by looking at the case without looking attoo closey just growing up in H, we've heard about it and it seemed like atown that had this narrator that he was vindictive, but he knew everything wasgoing on and you just pointat somebody and out all their stuff and and now having to more mature outlook and doinga lot of digging and talking to people. It seems more like this person was onda Crusade, but there's like a personal vendetta against certain people andeverything always ties to the school,...

...even the this other letter. As about amurder teacher and she worked in the school district there in PeckawakCounty, so everything always goes back to the school yeah, at least in nearby,but yeah. It was definitely no matter how you slacs it just a sick mind because there's neverlike a real true grievance there, like even the statead grievance in theLetteris, like stop himing an affair like Yeu'r like a third party to thisaffeir like if you happen to see someone at work. I want affair withsomeone else at work like woilh tit, destroy your life and make you hat towrite a hundred letters like o weird right- and you know I mean I guess Icould see- We've talked about David Longburry, possibly if he's like inlove with her or whatever right- and you know, David Longmarry was a busdriver, an mechanic and he was around the garage and he reportedly had headon Mary or tried to get her Togo out with him and she turned him down. Imean she was married right, but I guess he could be really angry if he's likewell she's married, but she still has affairs how come not with me. You know Gtt so obsessed almost like that David Chapman or whoever we shot RonReagan because he was obsessed with jody foster like thethe wires, are a little bit crossthere. But it's comes from some type of like just obsession with somebody yeah,and I think the wires were definitely crossed with David Longburry because Ithink later on, he ends up on America's most wanted. legedly. He raped a twelveyear old girl and then was that in that ar in the area I don't know where thisrap has so. I've had a hard time fighting a whole lot of independentverification, but it hrhas been discussed. It's is in a lot of thedifferent online literature that you read and I think Martin iance is on therecord talking about it as well, but he I don't know where he was what statethis happenedin, but he ran away to Texas. He was somebody ase him, thebabysit and he ended up like raping the kid and thet. You know ran off to Texas and killhimself, so I don't know, there's some unhinghed people doing some crazy stuffin Circleville, at least at that Ed time yeah we went down there and itseemed like a pretty normal Talto Hav as many problems. Everyone that weinteracted with was super cool Ye, H, Ye, the historibial society in thelibrary and just in as a cool. You know the town was built on those ANCIENTNDOF,Indian circle, mountans or whatever or around it to, and then I don't know thedowntown. What would you say, sort of Victorian Yeah? Its definitely has likea historical core downtown and I'm just intrigued by the whole native Americanmysteries behind it, and then you know we're not just true prime e like to dotruly weirds Lik Yep thinking like could this place be cursed? You knowall this talk about. The native American history of the areaand stuffreminds me of our visit to the Circleville the store fol society,because they had a really good collection of Natha American artifects when Rick and I were in circle, Villistop by the historical society and talked to some of the ladies. There cotains Alemen not like a mete, Ri Meta right, a mandfounded his backyard when he was digging a foitter, so they said: Wheredid it come from? So they thought. Maybe the moundbuilders found thit loved have had it in the Moun and when they just set themound down, it could have just went across the street. Tho Make Sense, rulyShaw ff from the pickaway county, historical society. It was nice enoughto show us around the museum and honestly het was fascinating. We couldhave stayedit all day, but we really wanted to talk to her about the CircleHill letters and I think you know at first a lot of people in circlevell.They don't seem like they really want to discuss it too much. Do they they'vemoved on. It's not yeah. I mean a lot of people, don't even know about itright, but were you surprised when she started talking about personal experience? Surprise, but italmost just felt like Serin didbe. Like... know, this is who we were supposedto talk to. We were in the right place at the right time, the people in town. Do they payattention to these letters, or is it something that you know hsh it p Wanitwas happening because when I was in a case that the testify on something theysaid something about letter did you ever get, and I said I would get these old things in the NALand it would be put together with newspaper and stuff. NDIT was like. Ohmy God. This is awful, never believe a liar yf. Her tell the truth that Ithought Whooud do this. Who would hate me? You got the letters, but I don'tthink it was the lives. I don't know. I just said: Well, that's what I had andwould you do with I threw the way I was so upset. I was you know, humiliatedand then ive got one Moren. I can't tell you damn you know. I know people listeningto this they're going to be like cut out a newspaper circle e letterraider had a distinctive blockhandwriting style and, first ofall we don't know. We know that there 's been over thousands of a thousandletters at least sent out only thirty nine for preserve because they recordexhibits in the all fresh hour case. That's not even we can't say that onlywe only know thirty nine because they were preserved for the court case right.I have heard rumors that there's there in safety, deposit boxes they're justout there the place we have been haunting for them and if any wouldlistenaand has one and wants to talk to us. We W L, love to hear from me, butthe larger point is that this ties an first of all. Geographically. It'sCIRCLEVILLE. Secondly, Julisha goes on more about this case in these lettersand it's right about the same time that Paul Freshhour is up fo parol andthat's when we see these spikes of the letters yeah and I mean maybe thenewspaper doesn't fit the pattern from before. But again we don't know wehaven't seen them all in you know. Maybe this guy isn't superrigid with rules. You Know Ema. If you're an insane letter, writerInda he's been doing Hav. Your own rules, like don't swear, is alreadykind of Flang by the seat of his pants. With t e Maby trip yeah, he sins. It's an Orthodox approach forsure you know we Presse Julie, Shaoff for some more details and she goes onsomemhore. So let's play that part, but so in the s he received one of theletters I ceeved to, but I threw them the one I rememberedthe most, because I thought what did I say Dat. I say something to somebody,but you know this was be. That was a trial in ninety ninety niney two. Thiswould have been maybe three to four years before that.So whati would have been a freshman in high school, so he graduated ninety two.So I'm saying eighty eight yeah well, I me fresh Ouer, Wa Sti Marhrhoap Sin, sohe probably would have just been a prisoner like a year or two. It'sthat's right in the middle of it that could have been part of the campaign tokeep thim in prison. Was that letter that was newspaper cut out? It wasnewspaper, cut out and then a cartoon never believe a liar, even if they'retelling to truth. So I dould say- and I mean I didn'teven H- I didn't een wis shot to my husband because I thought what have Idone. I make somebody really upset. I've, as you know, is the baseball momof the cat. I was everthiing, you know just really got me yeah I mean I don'Noel Beveryoi looked at Ithogt Tahat, something sorery. So the second one I said pay I got toshe said what did say you kno. I don't remember. I had no idea what it said. Ijust know. I just did there and rippe him up and throw away I wam. So upsetand t en she got one, but I can't tell you or she knew someone who did and weall decide it was this girl that didnt... us, that Wass in some kind of exerciseclass- and I said why would she do it? You know, so we just we never knew andthen, when all these letters came out an h a that, was we reached out to the friend that Janementioned and she was able to confirm that she received a letter in apostcard. One was handwritten and the other was newspaper cut out. Both werederogatory and kind of hostile letters and she did not hang on to any of them all rig DANC. So well, you were busyworking and doing your full time. Nine to five I called Michael Preeley WHO 'san author. He wrote really good mystery novel called murder in the heart of itall. It's based off of the circle, FO letters and we started talking, and youknow I told him just how I'm still amazed at this to this day. How famousthis case is and how there's no real works that are written about it and Ifound Michael Preeley. It's a happy accident was searching for booksbecause one of the things I like to do, if we're going to take a case or talkabout a case, I like to read about it and read everything I can and therewere no books, but his novel came up, and so I ordered it kindl version rightthrough in like a day or two, and I really liked it, and I was happy when Icontacted him and he agreed to Begon the show so Alri Sarr, O just kind ofby asking him how he got interested. In the case. It always seemed like a veryinteresting case to me, and it was. It was something that I just when Istarted to look for a topic to write about. When I wanted to write a mystery.It was right there and that's what I used. The action in Michael Priley'sbook takes place in a fictional town called Hogen Ohio. It is a very good standin forCircleville and really it's just the town seems alive with the charactersthat he puts in there and I almost felt like I already been there. You know Imean like it had that ring of truth to it. So it's interesting how a writercomes up with a place that feels lived in in alive, yeah yeah. I grew up in alot of small towns in northeast Ohio. You know around Youngstown, so it was very easy to create afictional place like Cogan and base it on all the places I lived recently. Iwas in Sylville and it had been after. I read your book, so I already hadthese kind of visions from Hogan in my head and walking around the town. Youknow there's a lot of stuff that you got right like the newspaper inCircleville is a storefront newspaper. Just like in your book. I was wonderingif you had been to Cirpleville to actually research the book. I have notbeen a circl ball. I've been around Columbus, you know when, when crated home an no you know every small town you know innortheast. Ohio has like that Freebie newspaper, that you hand out of the thegrocery store of the Mat. You know the post office. So when I you know when Icreated that I just a use that image of all those newspapers you know the townI live in, has stil hase a main street literally called mainstreet. You knowwith with shops and with you know, a little small town newspaper, so it wasvery easy to get that Imagean and to build that up. You know, I don't knowif you're familiar with Marginam, but you know your book. It's almost lakelife imitates art because your character, Tim Babernatte works for anewspaper he's tasked with figuring out whor. The letter writer is and stepsinto this detective role. We just talkd to Martin ant and he's kind of like thereal life Tim avern Athy, because he was a journalist and he got involved inthe leterator case, and today he is the president of Ace investigations, whichis a highly renowned private eye firms. OHS utrthing, that's a that's aninteresting parallel, yeah tim is just based on you know theway I grew up here in the people that...

I've known you know who work. You knowa couple of jobs go to school, so you know in the in the book. TanBasically works one job at a store. You know where he meets his love interestand he yea that pays the bills, and then he has a second job, which isjournalism, which is what he wants to do and, like you said his editor, youknow. Ges finally gives him a break and says: Hey. I've got a story here, I'dlike somebody to look into it and and really temd the only person that can doit. So you know that's how the book begins. I don't know if it is something thatyou were purposely your consciously doing or or if you're, just good atreflecting how life actually gets, but the the editor for the shopper. I thinkhe kind of realized that the the world had moved on and that his paper wasn'treally going to be much more than just a place where you can make a few bucksadvertising things, but then the story happens and Tim and him get togetherand, and they start writing real journalism and haveit an effect, and itjust think about that today, when most of our papers they're outsourcing a lotof the journalism, and you need that you need to have local hard, hittingnews to really to be a check and balance on. You know what the policeare doing, we're not doing on a case absolutely you know, you know. One ofthe sad things about the rides of the Internet is that we do lose a lot oflocal journalism and you know people are more affected by what happens on alocal level. We know their local politic state politics and withoutlocal newspapers around to you know, pick up on those stories and to reportwhat's going on at you know, councole meetings and- and you know, mayorsoffices, you know we do tend to lose something, and even here our regional paper was theYoungtown midicator and it shut down. I think, a year year and a half ago, andthat was a tremendous loss to the you know to the area. Yeah Yeah. So you know you know even an you know thisstory to to miht move on from. You know like a small newspaper to more regionalone and now thoug. Even those are disappearing. Yeah like in ourCleveland, plane, dealer half of the stories are just wire stories. Orrtaken from the New York Times, there's very very little local jouranalism, that's true! Actually you know when you're, whenyou're a writer and when you wer with the small press, you know you doeverything you can so you know to promote your book, and I was. I wasvery sad to see that you know the plaine dealer, which had a great book,Erview Om. You know section and you know n the Sunday paper and it was gone.You know d. That was that's terrible and I didn't realize this till yearslater, but I like to go to like the use book stores and just fill up a bag ofpaperbacks and a lot of the the biggest blockbors or best sellers or whateveryou call them. You know when you open up the blurb, they always have aCleveland plain dealer blurbon there like that was one of the papers thatwas known for Sein. Good Book Reviews Yeah, you know as far as big newspapers Rocthere I was successful. Like the Akron Dacon oral. You know they gave me agreat review, you know they like the book and get Yot right up and it wasfantastic and yeah. I really wish there was more ofthat. You know that that that local journalism- I something we're going tomiss this time- goes by yeah yeah. We are, I notice that you have a lot ofreviews on. I think it's called good reads: I don't know if you ever stop and readyour reviews or not, but quite a few people on there have have read yourbook and almost everything I see is you know they're praising you it is. It isa really interesting story and I love a good mystery and you did a great job,just weaving it all, together with the characters. I wish that the circlevillletters, the actual case, could be wrapped up as nicely as your book did, but sometimes I thinkyou know this may be unsolvable. You...

...may never really know everything thathappened here. I think you know the circle Ta letterwriter case is only going to be resolve when somebody comes forward. Who knowswhat happened and hecides that they're going to talk about it? You know, andthat can be true of a lot of unselve mysteries, and in this case you knowyou have it's interesting, there's a lot ofinterest in it. You know especially originally, and it's hard to believethat so many years have gone by, but nobody has come forward to say. I'vegot a story to tell you know because they would find a willing, audence yeah.So it's very strange- and you know just how many letters were sent out so inthe circle of the letters case. It was thousands, I think in your book. Youknow the the writer that you have what we call the letter writer, the villainand your story is Bob, and I love that character. Just doing this and thinkingabout the circle of a letter writer, you know, I think I maybe had some kindof carboard cut out image in my head, but you made this guy flesh and bloodand, most importantly, I think that you made them kind of sympathetic when you,when you read him and you read his life kind of know where he's coming from andwhy he feels powerless and chooses to lash out at the community in the waythat he did it. Just wonder what was your thought processand creating this character? Well, you know, and antephotagonist isonly as good as is antagonist and I didn't want ot to be. You know kind of just one of the millad guy who does things I want it. People maybe not to symtepize with them,but maybe to empathize like they understand where he's coming from. Theyunderstand why he's angry, you know he's somebody who's. You know he'slater in life, he's lost his job, he losthe's a widower and he's he's toss. You know even hispension, so he's had to go back to work and those those characteristics are all ha a mash together from people. I knowhere in situations that we've dealt with here. You know around here, especially youknow. DILFI men, bankrupt and a lot of people lost their pensions. That they'vworked their whole life for and Itsit's, not figur its, not fair. What happenedto them, and it's been ten years of people trying to get what they you knowwhat they deserve. It was very easy to imagine what wouldmake somebody angry enough to lash out the way the circle bi letter writer didso I just used what was here and when I developed that character. So you haveanother book out that was actually nominated to be part of a festival,possittle sister that follows up with marger murder in the heart of it all was selected for the Ohio Ana BookFestival, which is actually located in Colombus fo, ed relations. First of all, and so thiis going to be something that people will be able to like physically attendto, or is this going to be online that noreally? Normally it's alike a two day event that you would go to in person, but unfortunately youknow due to covid restrictions and it's taking place in April. It's going to beonline, so we're going to do panel. So if anybody's Interestedi'll berecording a panel, this coming Saturday actually and then it'll be you know,available on the highway and the library website o the Festibal. Do youhave like a link for the panel or anything that we could put out to just sheep aheadquestions or anything about the book yeah? I can send you link for theBocestical and then once we have the panel done, I can go and provide youlink for that to okay, I guess what I'm saying is like. Are you going to betaking questions just from...

...people there or people like just therandom readers going to be able to go online and and sumit questions? I thinkit's going to be there's a moderator and then there's four five of us thatAl write, mysteries, Oh cool yeah, so they'll have that kind of discussionset up. That sounds like fun too bad. You can't physically be there, becausethat you know that would have to be fun just hanging out with a bunch of othermystery writers O. I know that would be fantastic. You know, but you know we'llget back to it. You know maybe the year after you know, I'm sure after we getall this craziness behind us, it's got to be fun for you. You got to belooking forward to it getting together with a bunch of different mysterywriters, and just you know whatever it is that you guys all get totalking about, which is got to be something kind of weird yeah. I thinkthere's a hundred hundred and forty of US something like that. So I was GotaGood autor, sne, Yo, Knowbi, big rander San well, here was a weird plice. Werank high with ceral killers. We rank hi with you, Wi fo Sianes, like allkinds of weird stuff happen in Ohio, it's a Gooyo play sometimes yeah yeah,I'm always surprised when I'm listening to like a true crime, podcast and, ofcourse something happened in Ohio, so seein. How Michael prely is from theWaran youngs town, part of the state. I want to. Let him know that our nextstory that we're going to be talking about is in his neck of the woods. It'sthe one thousand nine hundred and ninety four UFO siting that happened.That's right had he heard of it yeah he knows about it. Yeah. You thing thatwas in trouble county. That was probably like twenty years ago. It waslike one Thousad, nine hundred and ninety four EAH. I remember that Wasgonto school yeah and you knowthat, like the police dispatch, I have therecordings from the the whole night of the police dispatch, and so you knowshe starts out the dispatcher getting bunch of these phone calls and she'sannoyed by it or wondering if there are a joke and then they send police carsout and the cops are seeing it so something happened there and there's alot of credible witnesses in one of the police cars got powered down. I meanI'S A it's a wild story. It is, we have a. We have a. We have an air force. bace out here, I isns Nand, I don't know, maybe was something fromthe base there. It's like right on, it's Riin trouble county it well, sothe disbatchlo called the airbase twice and called FAA once and they said thatthere is nothing on the radar who knows if the military was doing somethingexperimental. They may not tell you, but according to the the recording, theguy from the military bas said they don't have anything in the sky,experimental or otherwise. Well, I can tell you that was big nessfor you know about a week around here. You know everybody talked about it. Soso you remember that o you said you were in school at the time when thathappened. Yeah I was Gooing Tho, Young Sen state and I cremember driving toschool the next morning, and it was it was all we coul talk about on the likethe local Talk News, Yeah, O yeah. That's so crazy! Ohlet me ask you thisto. Are you going to do any more books withtip avernathy? Is it we're GOINGTO cafollow him yeah? I I have a Scifi series that I kind of wanted to tie up with Hathird book, so I'm almost done with that with the first draft of that andI've been plotting out the new to Mavernati book. So I know you know, what's I know what's going tohappen, I av I'm working the plot out right now. So as soon as I'm done withone I'll jump right into the other, that's very cool all right, Michael Hey!Thank you best, O luck and be looking forward to seeing what you put out inthe future. Okay. Well, thanks a Lotand, I look forward to the episode all right,cool I'll talk to you later Tanki by yeah. I definitely recommend MichaelPreeley's work to anyone. That's listening! Definitely you have to readmurder in the heart of it all and also check out lost little sister. Thesebooks are available on Amazon. I know... I said I got the kindle deal and Ithink it was a bundle. So I got murder in the heart of it all and lost littlesister for like crazy, low price read both of them he's definitely well worthyour time and I think it's important to support local authors anyway. Yeah andI was going to say you know just support someone independent doing someinteresting stuff. You know not just your same old kind of unusual book yeah.I think it's so cool what he's doing and you guys should just check it out.I mean, surprisingly not a lot of people aretalking about the events of the circle, ove letters, and I know that we'reabout to get into the summer season, so you're going to need something to readwhen you're at the pool or you go to the beach or whatever, and I just HoTis, for I thought it's cool that he was aware of the ufo he that we'regoing to be lookin into so excited about that. So we are going to betalking to the president of Mufon, Ohio, TR, yeahHio chapter move on and we got the dispatch recordings from the UFO InisoFun, Sanfor, mutual UFO network weet, so yeah and they're serious. Youknow, I think, a lot of people kind of have this preconceived notion thatanything that you see in the sky, that you can' immediately identify they'regoing to come and they're going to pat you on the back and say:Congratulations! You Sal on alien but they're, not like that they come in. I don't want to say ther'r coming intodeep bunk plut. They definitely look for Yeh obvious a grapes. They haveparameters and stuff that they have to check off and because they have, Idon't know if they also do big footer. If they have like a a sister company.This bi n bring up big Fay. Now I'm tnot ashamed of my weirdness, but whatI like about these people is that they really filter out a lot of thosejust the crazy and the creck pots and people that saw n airplane flight overtheir house yeah and you left with like the they come like Classsa and Class Band stuff like that, like they take like a scientific as much as yocanapproach. You know you can tell that my brotheris excited to get into this, and- and some of I I think it's Gon Na be fun.We have. We have a lot of cool stuff playing for the summer, but in themeantime, if you don't subscribe to the show why me likeit's free so subscribe, we're onspotify, itunes and Anywea, you get your podgist to this sho, maybereproduced anyway, without the mission ofte riting, visible ships, productionsand ell see until next an IT makes.

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