Skip to comments.That Time I Was Mistaken For Son Of Sam
Posted on 08/10/2017 10:19:34 AM PDT by nickcarraway
Back in 1977, New York City was gripped by a fear unlike any other I have witnessed, except, of course, during the aftermath of 9/11. It was a reign of terror that saw six people murdered and seven others wounded. Most of those who were attacked were young women. The conventional wisdom was that the killer was looking for ladies with long, dark hair, causing many women to cut their hair short.
The attacks began in 1975, but it wasnt until the summer of 1976 that women started being shot to death, execution style. By then, we learned that the killer was leaving notes taunting the police that said he would murder again, and the content of those notes led him to be known as the Son of Sam.
In the spring of 1977, the police brought me in for questioning. Someone had told the police that I had confessed to being the Son of Sam. The police had been following me for months and knew everything about my entire life. They took my photo to show to women in the Forest Hills section of Queens, where one woman had been killed. It was a few blocks away from where I lived.
This put a damper on my dating life, which wasnt much, anyway; however, it also brought me a sort of perverse respect in the neighborhood, because it elevated me from nerd to possible killer. On August 10, the police finally caught the real killer, David Berkowitz. Even though he was now in custody, I remained a bit of a local celebrity.
Forty years later, my friends still enjoy bringing it up, especially when someone is with us who isnt aware of my history. The truth is that I still enjoy telling people about it, too.
Every time, the reaction is either fascination or disbelief or a mixture of the two. People often smile, but sometimes the smiling is clearly mixed with a bit of uneasiness. Some will say, They got the real guy, right? Then they smile again, waiting for me to assure them that I am not the real Son of Sam.
Once I went out for drinks with a group of co-workers. I had been working with them for about a year. This group had been together a long time and they had no interest in welcoming newcomers.
They each told what to them were outrageous stories about themselves, and the group would laugh. When everyone had finished, I told my Son of Sam story. It was met with silence. I said goodnight and left, very pleased with myself. Eventually, some of them became friendly to me. I found it odd that was the story that loosened them up toward me.
Another time, I went on a dating site and met a lady. She suggested I meet her at a party the following night. I thought it an odd way to meet for the first time, but odd has never bothered me.
I showed up and about 20 people were there. However, there was no sign of her. It turned out to be a cult meeting. They played games at every meeting. In one of the games, a person would sit in the center of the room while the others asked him questions. You had to answer truthfully. At least that was the rule.
After a few people were questioned, I volunteered. No one knew me. One person asked me what could I tell them about myself that might shock the group. Of course, I told them of being questioned as a potential serial killer. They all tried to act cool and calm, but watching all of them strain into the backs of their seats was great fun.
When I was first brought in for questioning, the frightened and respectful reactions I got made me feel good, because I had never gotten that sort of feeling from anybody before. While most of the time when I tell the story, the mood is light and fun, sometimes I like recalling my feelings of being evil and dangerous, even though the reality is very far from it.
David Kempler is a New York-based film critic.
That would be a lot of fun. Unfortunately for me, even though I have a better story, they gave me strict instructions at the Earth Observer Project orientation meeting that I must keep a very low profile here for my entire 300 year assignment.
But you can ask me about my cat.
You have a CAT?
Son of Sam. The worst mass murderer the post office ever produced.
I have six cats. In fact, we gave one to a neighbor over a mile away right after it had three kittens to keep mice out of his barn and, three months later, she shows up at our doorstep with the kittens. All six now get along fine and it appears that our mole problem has gone away.
Don’t feel bad. A majority of people thought Ted Cruz was the Zodiac Killer.
I’m Henry the 9th, I am.
Did I miss a picture of the author, David Kempler, circa 1975? What’s the point of the article with out a comparison to Berkowitz?
I used to carpool to school with the daughter of Florence Gooding, who turned out to be a serial arsonist who fled and wound up on America’s Most Wanted. Though she was an easy and habitual teller of tall tales, I had no idea that as a Merrill-Lynch realtor she would sell houses that weren’t hers to sell, and set them on fire to buy time to keep the deposit. Her husband was a school principal and all-around decent guy from what I could tell.
Just goes to show you never know.
There was a time not a night went by when I wasn’t mistaken for Harry Reems.
The movie Summer of Sam also has a character mistaken for Son of Sam. Great soundtrack, especially the chilling use of Won’t Get Fooled Again in the climactic scene where the character gets beaten up by his former buddies before they find out that the real killer has just been caught.
Guess any kind of attention is better than no attention.
I find that unlikely, as Ted Cruz was not even born when the killing started, and never lived in California. He also was never in the military, and doesn’t have a buzz cut.
Since when has such information ever dissuaded the anti-Cruzers? They’ll believe anything as long as it denigrates him.
Newman: Boy were there a lot of dogs on that route
Earl: Any of them talkin’ to you?
Newman: Just telling me to keep off the snacks.
Maybe here - it can only be linked since it is Getty
Thanks, I suppose so.
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