Episodes 15 & 16 – 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.


17 thoughts on “Episodes 15 & 16 – 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!

  3. I do appreciate the podcast. I have been interested in this case for a long time. I do appreciate the need to set the stage and provide cultural context, but I do think it could be done a little more accurately and detailed. Ashley especially seems to make these crazy blanket statements without a ton of factual basis – like there were no security systems, cameras, answering machines, etc., in the 1990s. Also the weird statement that the Internet was around in 1992 but not in Gilmer. It is reasonable well known that the WWW did not really proliferate beyond universities / institutions until the mid-90s. These kind of wacky statements (also like randomly claiming the GPD has four officers that oddly report to the sheriff) make me wonder if you guys are lazy or just stupid. So I don’t trust anything else.

    1. First of all, thank you for taking the time to leave a comment and thank you for appreciating the podcast. The first part of this two-part episode has certainly gotten more negative feedback than my other episodes. If I could re-record one episode, it would certainly be this one! I’ll make an attempt to respond to your criticisms. Ashley did not say that there were no security systems, cameras, answering machines, etc., in the 1990s. She stated that many fewer businesses had cameras installed in those days compared to our modern era, especially in a small town like Gilmer. In fact, security camera footage played a major role in this case. While you are certainly correct that the WWW was launched in the early 90s and did not extend much beyond closed intranet systems until several years later, the point of that comment was to help describe the close-knit community of a small town at that time that was prone to gossip, but I can understand why that statement sounded a bit off. As for the statement I made that the GPD, quote, “probably had four officers”, that was a joke (not a good one) on my part about the fact that Gilmer is a small town with an accordingly small law enforcement office. It was certainly not a claim of fact, it was a gibe at a small town from a person (myself) who has grown up in very small towns. In part 1 and part 2 of this episode, we go into detail about the specific officers from Gilmer who worked this case. I can assure you that I am neither lazy nor stupid and I spent a great deal of time researching this case in detail. However, I can understand your criticisms and if you have reached the conclusion that I am either lazy, stupid or both based on a couple of bad jokes or confusing statements in one 15-minute part of a much larger episode, and if that conclusion has made you unable to trust my research, then I doubt anything I have to say here will convince you otherwise. Again, I thank you for showing interest in the podcast and for leaving feedback, as it does help, even I don’t agree with it 100%. I wish you luck finding other podcasts to listen to, there are many great ones out there.

      Have a good one,

  4. Lucas – thank you for your response. You certainly do not owe that as it is your podcast and you may say what you choose, so I am grateful. I did listen to the second episode. I do think that even though our culture is trying to understand ethically how to think about new media, my opinion is that you have a ethical obligation to not only your listeners but also society to not share mis-information (like Making a Murderer or to a lesser degree Serial). I just find it funny when your silly sidekick throws out unsubstantiated b.s. like child molestation is rampant in small towns more than anywhere else. I mean maybe, but can she do basic research and cite a source? It also is funny to listen to her make fun of Gilmer for gossiping while her contribution seems to be limited to unsubstantiated opinions and gossip from her husband (who apparently is an expert on the lumbar yard and can guarantee they were not involved). But we can toast as any educated person appreciates irony. However, if I am honest, I doubt I could do much better. Thanks again for letting me bust your balls and for the good laughs. It is a fascinating case – I hope true crime podcast one day gives it a serious treatment (not intentionally being a dick – I realize how difficult it is to do a robust podcast a la Dan Carlin, it is a full time gig).

    1. You certainly raise a good point about the importance of being thorough and ethical when presenting a case, especially on a case that involves a serious crime. It’s true that creating a podcast is hard work and I know better than anyone that I fall short, and not just on this episode alone. I appreciate it when listeners take the time to call me out when I don’t hit the mark. While I don’t think of myself as an expert on anything other than curiosity, I do my best to improve where I can. Thanks again for your input and if another podcast does a better job of covering this case, I’ll be the first to listen to it. Cheers.

  5. I have a huge interest in this case and my most recent searching brought me here. I’m still going through many of the posts and podcasts but am already a fan. I’m trying to find contact information to talk in a less public area…

    1. Hello John,

      Thank you very much for listening and being a fan, I really appreciate it. If you would like to contact me to talk about this case, you can send an email to nowhere.dispatch@gmail.com. All communication is kept private by me. Thank you again for taking the time to leave a comment.


  6. I really enjoyed listening to this podcast, as someone who has read into Kelly’s case a LOT, and also lives in Longview/works in Gilmer. You mentioned not being able to find the bank footage, which I remember watching a few months back. I tried to go back and find it, but it seems the forum it was on has been deleted. I should have saved that footage. I also emailed Dateline/NBC about their episode, but never received a response.

    1. Thank you so much for leaving a comment! Wow, I never expected that the footage would show up anywhere, we spent so much time looking for it. Do you remember the name of the forum where it was posted? That would be interesting to know, even if it has been deleted. Thank you again!


      1. I haven’t listened to your pod-cast, but I remember the case because my husband, who was part of V.O.C.A.L. Was consulted and became somewhat involved when Officer Brown was wrongly accused of some pretty vile things. It was extremely sad that Miss Wilson went missing but the fact that many lives were disrupted and almost destroyed over the case was just as sad. For example, when a child from a particular family was placed in foster care, his foster parents, through negligence or just plain abuse, was thrown down the stairs and from that day on, lived in a coma due to a severe brain injury. There are many twists and turns to the case, as you said.

        1. Thank you for your comment. Yes, the case was truly sad because so many lives were negatively affected. Hopefully, there may be some more answers in the future.

  7. I wrote my first book based loosely on this case in (2011), tittled; “The Dark Mist of Autumn” About a lone cop, trying to protect a young woman from a secretive Satnaic Cult… I self published it, as I have been working with Holywood producer, David Sheldon… Best known the for (1976) feature movie, “GRIZZLY” on trying to make it into a feature movie… I first heard about the case when I was in the Army, in 1998…. From a friend in my company, whom grew up in the area of Gilmer, Texas… As even if it wasn’t the Satanic Cult that abducted and sadly killed her, or the most likely the ex-boyfriend who killed her… I was just passionate about writing a book, of the cop trying to protect a lone woman, in an action / mystery / horror novel… It’s availible on Amazon.com

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