Creepy Sh#t Part 15: The Devil in the Pines

The events of this story are as convoluted as anything I’ve discussed before on the Dispatch. I never imagined that something so bizarre could have happened so close by and when my friend Ashley and I started poring through newspaper articles and websites, we saw how deep the confusion really goes.

Rumors are dangerous. They can send people to jail, let criminals go free and they can obscure the truth for years. Words are much more powerful than we often give them credit for.

Kelly Dae Wilson disappeared from Gilmer, Texas on the night of January 5, 1992. 25 years later, she has never been heard from again. While investigating her case and some other, seemingly unrelated, claims, rumors of witchcraft, cannibalism and Satanic rites began to appear. These wild accusations entwined themselves with the search for Kelly.

The case received national attention and endless coverage in local papers. TV shows like “Inside Edition” and “Dateline NBC” covered the case multiple times. It was a weird time in America, and the Satanic Panic that was sweeping the country would have serious consequences for the Kelly Wilson disappearance.

It was a strange, sordid and confusing investigation. This article provides a decent summary. In this case especially, the devil was most certainly in the details. Even with splitting the podcast into two episodes, there was no way Ashley and I could have covered everything we found. We spent weeks researching before we finally sat down to record.

Reading an article and listening to the podcast is a good way to get familiar with the case, but what really struck me about this whole process were the weird outliers we bumped into while researching.

A secret Stonehenge in the middle of the woods in small-town Texas, with no certainty as to how or why they got there? Check. (Rumored to be the site of Satanic activity, including the activity in the Kelly Wilson case, you can see the Standing Stones on Google Maps here.)

A creepy old house in the middle of town that was rumored to be involved with Satanic activity, due to upside-down “crosses” in its construction? Check.

The house has multiple chimneys, all with this strange “upside-down cross” feature.

 

To this day, people are still searching for Kelly Dae Wilson. The fantastical claims of Satan worship and ritual sacrifice have long since died down in the mainstream press, but some people are still making wild accusations online.

The fact is that Kelly is still missing and the best hope for finding her was lost to mass hysteria and a literal witch-hunt. These days, the Internet and constant communication has taken these kinds of problems mainstream. You only have to log onto any social media platform to see unfounded rumors and bizarre accusations being tossed around. If nothing else, the case of Kelly Dae Wilson reminds us that humans have an endless capacity for suspicion and mistrust and those base instincts can sometimes blind us to the necessity of doing the right thing.

Listen in, Nowhere wanderers.

 

4 thoughts on “Creepy Sh#t Part 15: The Devil in the Pines

  1. Maybe instead of telling people about the “yam fest” and the absence of the internet for 15 shitty minutes it might be better to talk anout the actual events? Maybe I’m wrong here, but most people would like to know what happened first before telling us the suspects were never on convicted.

    1. I have to admit I’m a little confused by your comment. If you think I went on a few “shitty minutes” too long with the setup, then I understand that. But it’s a two-part podcast. Part 1 talks about the disappearance of Kelly Wilson and how no convictions were reached. Part 2 talks about the investigation, rumors and gossip that occurred before suspects in her disappearance were taken to trial. The majority of the information about “what happened first” is contained in part 2 of this episode. I tried to structure this episode in roughly chronological order, from 1992 to 1994, with some references to preceding events in 1990. Some of the original suspects that weren’t convicted were investigated in ’92, others in ’94. All of that setup about the lack of Internet access in a small town is a direct reference to the atmosphere that created the rumor-filled conditions that threw the case off balance between 1992-94. Again, I’m not sure how you mean that I should “talk about the actual events” since I talked about them for over an hour, mostly in part 2. If you have any questions about the events or if you feel I didn’t cover something in depth enough in these two parts, I’d be happy to answer any questions that you might have. This blog also contains links to secondary and tertiary sources about the case, if you want to check it out further.

  2. I’ve just discovered your podcast and, unlike Bobby over here, I did appreciate the extra information on setting. Perhaps it is because I come from a place that feels so far removed from small-town Texas in the nineties, but I felt it was helpful in fleshing out the story, in providing listeners who are unfamiliar with the area with more context. I also like the fact that it felt like a very natural conversation between friends, as opposed to an overly scripted dialogue, or a battle for airtime as two people interrupt each other constantly (like some other podcasts).

    I had read about the case on reddit, but this was far more information than what I had seen previously. I’ve spent most of my life in big cities as well as a few years in a tiny town in Northern Canada: though rumours and gossip were a huge issue, I’m thankful it was never to this extent… congratulations (?) on sifting through all of it and creating something cohesive, informative, and entertaining for your listeners.

    Good work on the research, and keep it up!

    1. Thank you so much for your comment. I am very glad to know that you found this podcast entertaining and informative. When my friend Ashley and I decided to tackle this episode, we were almost overwhelmed by the amount of information we found during research. So, we decided to put extra emphasis on the setting and the few facts that were definitively proven (although these were few). This, we thought, would help to highlight the extreme confusion, paranoia and rumors that contributed to the case’s tragic conclusion. I’m glad that this helped to flesh out this story, as it is always my intention to make episodes that convey a sense of realism.

      I’m pleased to know that the podcast provided you with extra information about this sad, but fascinating, case. Welcome to the Nowhere Dispatch and stay tuned for many more episodes in the future. As always, if you have any questions about an episode topic, I’m always happy to share additional information when I can. Thanks so much for listening!

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