Thursday, March 15, 2007

On Being "Original"

In preparation for "Zodiac," I sunk more than a sane amount of time reading into serial killers of various levels of renown. The notion that a person could be a serial killer and yet failed to grab the nation's attention.

For example: the Original Night Stalker.

Not to be confused with "Kolchak: The Night Stalker," Kruder and Dorfmesiter's "Original Bedroom Rockers, or Richard Ramirez, the other Night Stalker and the only one of these three who actually killed people, the Original Night Stalker was the killer implicated in four murders in the Goleta area. Strictly speaking, the Original Night Stalker is linked by DNA evidence to slayings in Ventura, Dana Point and Irvine. However, some theorize that the same individual is responsible for a series of home invasion rapes and murders between 1979 and 1981.

Creepy, yes. However, what strikes me especially about this particular figure — other than his local connection — is his name. I don't want to seem to trivialize the matter, as quite a few Santa Barbara residents read this blog and could have theoretically known people involved in the matter. But seriously, "The Original Night Stalker"? As far as nicknames for serial killers go, that one sucks. On a verbal level, "The Original Night Stalker" seems to be straining to distinguish the person it refers to from someone else. It's West Virginia. It's Coca-Cola Classic. It's the various George Foreman offspring with their various initials. I have to assume the "original" comes from either a retroactive implementation needed to differentiate this killer from Richard Ramirez, who murdered in 1985 or an at-the-time necessity to distinguish between the killer and the aforementioned "Kolchak: The Night Stalker," a 1974 TV show about a journalist who hunts vampires.

Fortunately, I can't read a Wikipedia article on anything without looking into every connecting page. And upon reading an extensive list of other serial killers, I've decided that "Original Night Stalker" maybe isn't so bad.

A list for your perusal:

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