Netflix made a bold move commissioning Mindhunter; set in the late 1970s and chronicling the birth and subsequent implementation of the FBI’s criminal profiling divisionv, Mindhunter isn’t afraid to get down and dirty while exploring the darkest recesses of the human mind. The show isn’t exactly shocking; all of the crimes dealt with in the storyline take place off-screen, usually before our fledgling profilers arrive on the scene. But it is extremely haunting (and more than a little creepy). Watching and listening to serial killers recount their crimes turns out to be almost more disturbing than the crimes themselves – or at least, disturbing in an entirely different way.
Spearheaded by mastermind David Fincher, the dark series seems to have tapped into a communal fascination with true crime, which has been bolstered in recent years by stellar offerings like Serial, The Jinx, and The People Vs. O.J. Simpson. It might not be pretty, but it certainly is engaging! Log on to BUCKiTDREAM to see if you can track down any fellow true crime enthusiasts, then put on your deerstalker and light up your oversized pipe, as we take you through five of the most infamous unsolved crimes in modern history.
1 – Tupac and Biggie Smalls
Hip-hop artists engaging in feuds that escalate to violence is nothing out of the ordinary. In fact, if your name’s 50 Cent, it’s practically part of your brand. What’s strange about the late-nineties murders of superstar rappers Biggie and Tupac, which occurred just six months apart, was that investigators couldn’t trace a motive, largely due to a host of uncooperative witnesses. Their respective record labels were involved in a heavyweight rivalry at the time, but it’s unclear if this feud was directly related to the murders, or simply served to set the scene. To this day police have yet to identify a suspect, leading to a number of fan conspiracy theories, the most fanciful one being that the two musicians faked their own deaths and are still alive and kicking out there somewhere, presumably with Elvis and Bowie.
2 – JonBenét Ramsey
The cherubic face of six-year-old JonBenét Ramsey haunted the newspaper pages and television screens of 1997 America after her body was discovered at her family home in Boulder, Colorado on December 26th. Local law enforcement was ill-equipped to handle such a high-profile, highly sensitive murder and made several mistakes during the hours immediately following the discovery of the little girl’s body. The tragic case divided the country between those who suspected her parents were involved and those who believed Patsy and John Ramsey had nothing to do with the crime; a slew of investigators in the twenty years since the murder have found compelling evidence for both scenarios, rendering the case one of the most mysterious in American history.
3 – The Disappearance of Tara Calico
Nineteen-year-old Tara Calico was last seen on the morning of September 20th, 1988, leaving her home for her daily bike ride along New Mexico State Road 47. She never returned. The only trace of Tara that remained were pieces of her Walkman, which were found discarded along the road. Almost a year later, a Polaroid photo of a girl and boy bound and gagged in the back of a van was discovered in the parking lot of a convenience store in Florida. The girl bore a resemblance to Tara – enough of a resemblance to convince Tara’s mother that it was, in fact, her daughter. Tara’s whereabouts have never been discovered; the photo’s origin has never been traced, and the identities of the girl and boy have never been confirmed. Whether the photo is the intersection of two similarly mysterious but unrelated cases, or whether it is, in fact, Tara Calico, remains to be seen.
4 – Jack the Ripper
The nom-de-guerre “Jack the Ripper” has become so associated with the melodramatic Victorian pantomime that it’s sometimes easy to forget the series of brutal, shocking murders behind the caricatures. For a 2017 audience, Jack is regarded as little more than a folk legend; but for the residents of 1888 London, he was all too real, an elusive, spectral figure haunting the shadowed alleyways of Whitechapel. Although he only killed a small number of victims, Jack the Ripper ranked as one of the first sensationalized serial killers, unfortunately lighting the path for a number of disturbed individuals who would follow his bloody footprints throughout the twentieth century. Of course, despite numerous suspects, the famous coda of the Ripper mythology is that he was never caught – though there are many who continue to hunt him to this day.
5 – The Zodiac Killer
Possibly the most notorious case in the annals of American crime, the Zodiac Killer stalked the streets and suburbs of San Francisco in the late sixties and early seventies. Like Jack the Ripper, his victim tally was in the lower regions compared to some of the more industrious serial killers; but what cemented his lofty status in the true crime pantheon was the taunting, chilling letters he sent to the San Franciscan newspapers and police. These correspondences were often accompanied by bizarre ciphers that he challenged the authorities to crack, one of which remains unsolved to this day (though it could, in fact, be rambling nonsense), much like the crimes themselves; despite several strong leads and suspects, the series of murders, frustratingly diverse in MO, remains a mystery. David Fincher also made a film about the enigmatic maniac; Zodiac is worth checking out if you’re a Mindhunter fan!
Hopefully, that list has got you right into the true crime mood. If you’ve already binged Mindhunter and crave somewhere to discuss the intricacies of the show, why not put the call out on BUCKiTDREAM and see if you can uncover any like-minded fans? And if you haven’t seen the show, then this gruesome little rundown should have put you in exactly the right frame of mind… Disturbed as it may be!