A Daily Updating Blog of Important Events In History That Never Occurred Today.
Imagine what would be, if history had occurred a bit differently. Who says it didn't, somewhere? These fictional news items explore that possibility. Written by Alternate Historian
'Salems Lot' by Guest Historian Chris Oakley Guest Historian Chris Oakley says, in this thread we explore a Salems Lot ALT. If you're interested in viewing samples of my other work why not visit the Changing the Times web site.
On this day in 1973, as part of research for his book Jerusalem's Lot, author Stephen King interviewed the retired Maine state trooper who supervised the exhumation of the bodies of Charles Boone and Calvin McCann in 1950.
That same day he got a letter from a Seattle woman who indicated that she had evidence an offshoot of the demonic cult to which Philip Boone had once belonged might have been involved in the unexplained disappearance of society woman Ellen Rimbauer in 1948.
On this day in 1950, Maine state police carried out a court-ordered exhumation of the bodies of Charles Boone and Calvin McCann in preparation for an autopsy to determine whether there was any truth to the allegation that both men had been murdered by Charles' grandfather Robert.
On this day in 1961, James Robert Boone, young author and last surviving male member of the Boone family, inherited an old map of a deserted town called Jersualem's Lot just a few miles outside Preacher's Corners, Maine. This town was once the headquarters of Philip Boone's demonic cult - though James didn't know it at the time he inherited the map - and the town's name would later be adopted as the title for Stephen King's bestselling history about the Boones.
On this day in 1973, author Stephen King left for Seattle to meet with the woman who had sent him the letter tying a branch of Philip Boone's demonic cult to the disappearance of Ellen Rimbauer in 1948.
That letter and the Rimbauer case in general would figure prominently in Jerusalem's Lot and King's follow-up book, Rose Red.
On this day in 1973, author Stephen King visited Rose Red, the one-time home of the Rimbauer family, to explore first-hand the grounds where Seattle society woman Ellen Rimbauer had disappeared in 1948.
The visit was part of research for his books Jerusalem's Lot and Rose Red.
On this day in 1973, Stephen King returned home from his visit to the Rimbauer estate in Seattle.
That same day, Preacher's Corners resident Harold Parkette was murdered by a sociopathic drifter posing as a professional landscaper; Parkette and his killer would later both become subjects for King's third book, The Lawnmower Man.
On this day in 1973, author Stephen King drove to the ruins of Jerusalem's Lot as part of his research for his book on the history of the infamous Boone family.
That same day, up in Gates Falls, Maine, the serial killer known as 'the Lawnmower Man' committed his second and third murders, killing mill worker John Hall and Hall's boss Henry Warwick. In King's book The Lawnmower Man the Hall and Warwick murders would be dealt with at length in a chapter titled (appropriately) 'Graveyard Shift'.
On this day in 1973, the Lawnmower Man, after laying low for more than a week, resurfaced in Maine to commit five more murders, this time striking the town of Castle Rock.
Among his victims were author Thad Beaumont, sewing shop proprietress Polly Chalmers, and Castle Rock sheriff George Bannerman; it was the Bannerman murder that particularly enraged the citizens of Castle Rock and prompted the FBI to offer a 500,000 USD reward for information leading to the Lawnmower Man's arrest.
That same day, the mill in Gates Falls where John Hall had once worked was shut down after a massive colony of rats was discovered in the mill's sub-basement; also, Castle Rock resident Johnny Smith woke up in a Portland hospital after a four-year coma and began having premonitions about where the Lawnmower Man would strike next.
The Castle Rock murders, and Smith's visions, would later become the basis for a chapter in The Lawnmower Man titled 'Needful Things' and a documentary film, The Dead Zone.
On this day in 1950, members of the Preacher's Corners Historical Society in Maine made the horrifying discovery that one of their town's most distinguished historical figures, Philip Boone, was a serial killer and devil worshipper who might have been involved in the mysterious deaths of his grandson Charles and Charles' friend/assistant Calvin McCann on this very same day a hundred years earlier.
Their suspicions of Philip's complicity in Charles Boone's death were heightened when Maine state police uncovered a mass grave near the Boone ancestral homestead, Chapelwaite. Author Stephen King would later recall the Boone family's macabre history in his book Jerusalem's Lot.
On this day in 1973, author Stephen King began research for his best-selling and highly controversial book about the Boone family, Jerusalems Lot. One of the first people he interviewed as part of this research was fellow author - and last remaining male survivor of the Boone line - James Robert Boone, who less than two years earlier had taken up residence in Chapelwaite in an effort to understand what could have driven Philip Boone to kill his grandson Charles and Charles friend/helper Calvin McCann.
On this day in 1973, George Bannerman's former top deputy, Alan Pangborn, was officially sworn in as Castle Rock`s new sheriff and made it his top priority to solve the murders of Bannerman, Thad Beaumont, and Polly Chalmers.
On this day in 1973, Johnny Smith got a premonition that the Lawnmower Man would commit his next murder in Stratford, Connecticut. He turned out to be right; the next day the body of Stratford High teacher Jim Norman was found in a deserted alley less than two blocks from the school. In his book The Lawnmower Man author Stephen King would describe the Norman case and the Lawnmower Man's hidden connection to one of Norman's students in a chapter titled `Sometimes They Come Back`.
On this day in 1973, author Stephen King visited the Preacher's Corners Public Library to obtain information about the Boone family tree as part of his research for his book Jerusalem's Lot.
That same day in New York City, tennis instructor Stan Norris became the Lawnmower Man's latest victim, being thrown to his death from the roof of an apartment complex in Manhattan. Norris' demise was covered in The Lawnmower Man in a chapter entitled 'The Ledge'.
On this day in 1973, a multi-agency task force was organized to apprehend the notorious serial killer known as the Lawnmower Man.
The previous day, the Lawnmower Man had returned to Preacher's Corners to commit his latest murder, this time strangling tavern owner Herbert Tooklander; the Tooklander killing would be the subject of a Lawnmower Man chapter titled One For The Road.
On this day in 1973, toy company owner Hans Morris was found shot to death near his company's corporate headquarters in Miami.
At first there were rumors it had been the work of the Lawnmower Man, but ballistics analysis subsequently proved that the murder had actually been the work of Jason Renshaw, a contract hit man who'd been on the FBI's Most Wanted list since 1969. Renshaw was himself later killed in a shootout with federal agents at his apartment; the story of that fatal confrontation would later be told in Stephen King's fourth book, Battleground.
On this day in 1973, widower Lester Billings became the latest victim of the infamous serial killer known as 'the Lawnmower Man'; he was stabbed to death while walking to an appointment to see his psychiatrist.
Billings' murder was chronicled in a chapter of Stephen King's book The Lawnmower Man titled 'The Boogeyman'.
On this day in 1973, vacationers Burt and Vicky Stanton were murdered in the town of Gatlin, Nebraska by the Lawnmower Man. Their deaths would later be the subject of a Stephen King-narrated documentary, "Children of the Corn".
On this day in 1973, Marcia Cressner, wife of a notorious East Coast drug kingpin, was gunned down just three blocks from the same Manhattan apartment complex off which Stan Norris had been thrown to his death on July 6th; initially it was believed that her husband had slain her after finding out she'd had an affair with the late Mr. Norris, but fingerprint tests later confirmed that she had in fact become the Lawnmower Man's latest victim.
On this day in 1973, Castle Rock sheriff Alan Pangborn and his chief deputy, Norris Ridgewick, found the badly decomposed bodies of town councilman Danforth Keeton III and Castle Rock Public Works employee Hugh Priest in shallow
graves near the city limits.
Keeton and Priest had disappeared around the same time that Thad Beaumont, Polly Chalmers and George Bannerman were murdered; examination of fibers found on the corpses of Keeton and Priest would eventually link their deaths to the Beaumont, Chalmers, and Bannerman murders.
On this day in 1973, Johnny Smith got a psychic premonition that the Lawnmower Man was hiding somewhere in the vicinity of Las Vegas, Nevada.
His hunch would once again prove to be right; two days later, FBI agents and Nevada state troopers finally caught the infamous serial killer in the mining town of Desperation. The Lawnmower Man's arrest would be detailed at length in a chapter of The Lawnmower Man titled (appropriately enough) 'Desperation'.
On this day in 1973, the Lawnmower Man - identified by FBI agents as one George Stark - was indicted on multiple murder charges in a Las Vegas courtroom.
Watching the news coverage of Stark's indictment, a friend of author Stephen King was moved to observe that Stark looked like "the dark half of Thad Beaumont", a comment that would later provide the inspiration for King's fifth book, "The Dark Half".
On this day in 1973, opening arguments were heard in the trial of accused serial killer George Stark, a.k.a. 'the Lawnmower Man'.
Leading Stark's defense team was a former Bible salesman-turned-celebrity attorney, Greg Stillson; before the Stark trial was over rumors would begin to circulate that Stillson was almost as unstable as his client.
On this day in 1973, the mystery of Ellen Rimbauer's whereabouts was finally resolved after 25 years when her skeleton was discovered to have been buried on the grounds of the Rose Red mansion in Seattle.
Post-mortem analysis of the skeleton showed that she had been struck over the head with a heavy blunt object, indicating her death was a homicide and lending new credence to the theory that an offshoot of Philip Boone's devil-worship cult had played a role in her demise.
On this day in 1973, contract assassin Jason Renshaw, who'd been on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted list since 1969, was killed in a shootout with federal agents at his San Francisco apartment. The shootout began when he tried to escape arrest and lasted more than half an hour; before it was over, not only would Renshaw die but a federal agent would also be killed and two agents wounded. The shootout, and Renshaw's career as a hit man, would both be dealt with at length in Stephen King's book Battleground.
On this day in 1973, against the better judgement of his attorney Greg Stillson, accused serial killer George Stark took the stand in his own defense.
On this day in 1973, after four days of deliberations, the jury in the trial of suspected serial killer George Stark-- also known as 'the Lawnmower Man' - convicted Stark of multiple counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted murder for his stabbing of Nevada state trooper Collie Entragian, one of the law enforcement officers involved in his arrest. Stark was later sentenced to death in the gas chamber at the Nevada State Prison in Carson City.
On this day in 1976, Maine teenager Carrie White, an admirer of the late George Stark, was arrested on multiple counts of murder, attempted murder, and arson after setting fire to her high school's gym during a spring dance in an attempt to emulate her idol. White's homicidal spree and subsequent trial would later be chronicled in the Stephen King book Carrie..
On this day in 1976, Stephen King began work on his second draft of Rose Red. That same day Harry Wisconsky, a former co-worker of the late John Hall, contacted Gates Falls police to tell them he had found evidence suggesting George Stark may have had an accomplice in Hall's murder.