History So Interesting
It's Criminal

From DNA testing to the Dixie Mafia, we bring you new stories of true crime in American history. Join writer & host Benjamin Morris for exclusive interviews with authors from Arcadia Publishing, writing the hottest books on the most chilling stories of our country’s past.

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Missouri's Wicked Route 66: An Interview w/ Lisa Livingston PT 2

Missouri's Wicked Route 66: An Interview w/ Lisa Livingston PT 2

Tracing Route 66 through Missouri represents one of America's favorite exercises in nostalgia, but a discerning glance among the roadside weeds reveals the kind of sordid history that doesn't appear on postcards. Along with vintage cars and picnic baskets, Route 66 was a conduit humming with contraband and crackling with the gunplay of folks like Bonnie and Clyde, Jesse James and the Young brothers. It was also the preferred byway of lynch mobs, murderous hitchhikers and mad scientists. Stop in at places like the Devil's Elbow and the Steffleback Bordello on this trip through the more treacherous twists of the Mother Road.

Lisa Livingston-Martin is a lifelong resident of Missouri, living in Webb City with her children. She has practiced law in Southwest Missouri for more than 20 years, and has longstanding interests in history and the paranormal. She is the author of Civil War Ghosts of Southwest Missouri and Haunted Joplin, also published by The History Press.


[00:00:01.510] - Ben

Welcome back to crime capsule. Lisa, it is so good to have you with us.

[00:00:05.160] - Lisa

Thank you for having me.

[00:00:07.490] - Ben

So picking up where we left off last week, we were talking about route 66, its place in the and the national mythos. We were talking about road trips and about people such as bonnie and clyde who make road trips with back seats loaded with tommy guns and bags of diamonds. Everything you might need, right?

[00:00:31.620] - Lisa


[00:00:33.530] - Ben

Today I want to ask you about a few other cases in your book. Let's start with wild bill hickok. I'm cheating a little bit. Okay. Because your chapter on wild bill, you sort of fess up right at the very front that route 66 was, in fact years away from being built when he had his famous shootout. But the location springfield maps right on to where the highway would later run.

[00:01:08.130] - Lisa

Oh, yeah. And that's the thing about route 66. It just codified what was already there. And so it was the main road, and that shootout happened on the square. Square is still there. You can go and you can go and stand where bill stood and stand where dave tet fell dead. So it's very interesting, and it's a good illustration of the american mythos that we think about in this context. The wild west and the western, the walk down, call out, shoot out. And the closest event that matches the hollywood standard is the hiccup fight. That's really the only place that ever happened.

[00:02:05.150] - Ben

So many of the ones which have come down to us have acquired more legend than fact. Right. And there were not nearly as many contemporary news accounts or witnesses that are reliable in those, such as, say, jesse james, different encounters with police. In this case, you write that there were actually a startlingly large number of witnesses because it did happen in broad daylight, and it was announced, and it was the sort of public spectacle and so forth. What had led to this encounter? Why was there a murder in public right then and there?

[00:02:46.280] - Lisa

Well, the interesting thing is, like all good stories, there's a little bit of pride there's honor, and there's a girl. You have to look at it. It's july, 1865. This is before, quote, the wild west really started. We are three months after the end of the civil war. Springfield had been a major military center there, and wild bill hickok had been a scout for the union army, and davis tutt had been a confederate soldier. Now, they had known each other for quite a while, and they were actually best friends, which you throw that one in there, too. And ironically, it has a little bit of fate and destiny thrown in, too, because davis hutt came from yaleville, arkansas, and his father died in the tut everett family feud. It was kind of like the hatfields and McCoys, and it was all over politics. And so his father had died other family members had died. And so here he is. They get past the war, everyone's celebrating, and he and Hickok spend a lot of time at the card table. And what started it was one, they were kind of feuding over a girl a bit.

She had seen Ted, and then she was seeing Hickok. And so they were kind of fussing and feuding over that. And then they had a large card game, and Hicock lost $25, which doesn't sound like much, but in 1860, $5, it was a very large sum of money, and so it had gone on for a little bit, and he hadn't paid Dave Tutt yet. So they're sitting at the car table again, and at some point, Hickok places his pocket watch on the table, and it had been his father's pocket watch. And Tutt reminds him he still owes him $25, but he's seen her playing poker before. The night's over, Tutt reaches over and grabs the pocket watch, and Hickok tells him, don't wear that watch in public. So basically, you also have to view this through the lens of honor culture, scotch Irish honor culture. And at that point, Tutt had a choice. He could agree he could not wear the watch in public, and he was going to be considered a coward, or he would wear the watch, and it may lead to trouble. Another thing to consider is this is before Wild Bill was a legend, and this is before he was known as the best shot in the west.

I mean, to be perfectly honest, throughout the Old West era, everyone was compared to Wild Bill, that he was the best shot ever. But at this point, he didn't have that reputation. He and Dave Tutt were both veterans of the war, and we're both very deadly men. And so to be honest, on that day, it was anyone's guess what might happen. So Tutt ends up wearing the watch in public, and Hickock calls him out for it, calls him out to the square the next day to defend his honor, basically. And so they end up on the square. There's about 25 people there, at least, because everyone has heard about it. Everyone wanted to know whether or not was going to show up. And basically, Hickok stands on the southeast corner of the square. It's an open central square, and Tut is standing on the northwest corner in front of what was the courthouse at the time and had been a military headquarters in hospital during the Civil War. And they both drew. They both shot, touched, went a little wide, and Hickok shot him in the heart. And he ran over to the steps of the courthouse, said, Boys, I'm dead, and fell over dead.

[00:08:03.690] - Ben

I wanted to ask you about this. Your account is interesting because there is some debate over the weapon that Hickok used. Some people say pistol, some people say rifle. And it just kind of struck me with that many observers and contemporary witnesses, how was that not accurately noted? It's not like you're kind of able to say, well, was it a smith and wesson, or was it, I don't know, like a ruger? Even though that didn't exist at the time, it wasn't like, which model of pistol was it?

[00:08:39.240] - Lisa

Right. To be perfectly honest, hickok might have been carrying both, to be honest, but to be honest, likely it was a pistol. During his time in springfield is when he honed his marksmanship on a pistol. He'd used a rifle for years as a scout and buffalo hunter, et cetera. But there are differences, and I think part of that is the witnesses all decided. One, I don't think anyone really thought it was going to end up in a murder trial because we're three months after the war. These kind of things happen all the time. And in southwest missouri during the war, it had the worst guerrilla warfare of anywhere in the country because people had gotten used to people getting shot all the time. And so now suddenly, now we have someone dead and we're actually charging murder. And so you had, I think it was 24 witnesses that were called in the trial, and they basically all said, you, I heard a shot, but I didn't see anything. No one wanted to put wild bill in prison over this because they probably.

[00:10:14.870] - Ben

Wouldn'T see the next shot, which would be coming for them.

[00:10:17.520] - Lisa

Let me ask you this.

[00:10:22.130] - Ben

One last question I had for you on wild bill was, you know that reenactments of the shootout are fairly regular even today, and I just could not help but wonder who gets to play which role. Do you draw straws? Who gets the honor of falling down dead on the steps? Right.

[00:10:41.950] - Lisa

Yeah. I'm not sure how they decide who plays who, but they do a reenactment of of it, and they do a reenactment of the murder trial.

[00:10:49.430] - Ben

Oh, interesting. Okay. Yeah.

[00:10:55.350] - Lisa

Good. But interesting, though, wild bill became the first celebrity of the old west because of that, and it was because of harper's weekly. Shortly thereafter, a reporter for harper's weekly shows up in town. He hears about this and starts talking to people. He talks to wild bill. And wild bill was very good at being his own spin doctor, and so he spent a very good yarn, and suddenly he was basically the first celebrity of the wild west.

[00:11:36.310] - Ben

Bloody roots run deep in route 66.

[00:11:39.650] - Lisa


[00:11:41.230] - Ben

Forgive me, but I had to there's another figure who looms large in your book move to our second case of the day is billy cook, who was born in the area southwestern missouri, but whose life of crime actually took place on the road largely elsewhere. I'd like you to tell us a little bit about billy, but I have to say to our listeners that the murders that billy committed while on the road, they were pretty grisly and they were pretty shocking.

[00:12:23.050] - Lisa

They were.

[00:12:24.310] - Ben

So be warned, listeners, it's not pretty and it's kind of unusually not pretty compared to some of the other crimes that we've been talking about. But it is important for us to understand what was taking place at the time. So tell us about Billy Cook.

[00:12:44.570] - Lisa

Billy Cook is sort of the ultimate cautionary tale. Billy Cook could be anybody is sort of the moral of the story in the end. And it's the moral of the story that people don't like to look at. Billy was born in 1928 in Joplin, Missouri. His father was a minor, sometimes minor. He wasn't good about keeping a job and he was an alcoholic. He had an older set of kids from a first marriage. And then there were two daughters and Billy from his second wife. And they lived in a mine shack in town. And then it's very obvious things weren't good to begin with. And then when Billy was the youngest, he had been born with a birth defect as well that paralyzed one eyelid, so he could not close one eye even when he was asleep. And so one of his nicknames that he got over time was Cockeyed Cook. And there was an operation trying to correct it when he was a child and actually made it worse when he was four, his mother died under very suspicious circumstances. Basically. She was found bludgeoned to death in the home and Billy would tell the story, oh, I was at the yellow house, and came home and his mother was dead.

Later on, after the killing spree, the psychiatrists that reviewed the case and talked to Billy pretty much all concluded. They think that Billy probably watched his father kill his mother, right? And so that was sort of step one down the road. Then shortly later, Billy was five, his father abandoned him and his sisters in a mining shaft. Just left them, didn't want to deal with it.

[00:15:00.330] - Ben

It's kind of hard to hear that phrase now. It's kind of like when you say that we're so desensitized to so many terrible things, but still those words in that order, left his children in a mine, abandoned his children in a mining shaft. That still has the power, I think, to send chills down our spine, doesn't it?

[00:15:20.110] - Lisa

It should. It really should. They were found, they were put into foster care. And for whatever fault that foster care has today, it is much better than it was then. And ironically, improvements to the foster care system came about because of this case. Later on, the kids were separated. The families that took the daughters did not want Billy, and one of them even sighed because of his deformity. So he ended up at the home of a foster mother. Her husband was there too, but he was an invalid and she took in lots of children. Basically, this was their means of support. And over time it came out that the kids were physically and sexually abused. Billy also was small for his age. Even when he was grown, he was only about five and 100 and maybe £25 soaking wet. So he was small for his age and he kind of got the brunt of a lot of this. Ironically, in some of the live events that I do. I spoke with a woman last year, about 18 months ago now, that her mother was best friends with one of his sisters that was also in foster care.

[00:16:47.410] - Ben

How about that?

[00:16:48.350] - Lisa

And she said her mother would tell the stories that his sister Pearl, they figured out where Billy was at. And Billy's foster mother would not let him see any of the family at all, even his siblings. And so her mother would go with Pearl and they would stand in the alley. There was a wooden board fence around the backyard. And Billy had to do a lot of the chores in the house and clean the laundry. And even though he was very small, she would tell the story about there was a knot hole in the fence that they could look through, and he would have to jump and try to throw clothes over the clothes line to hang up the laundry. And Pearl would stand there at the fence and talk to him. And he was too short to actually see through the hole, so he didn't actually get to see her even, but she would talk to him. And that was the only communication they had for years, actually. So that kind of gives you an idea. By the time he was twelve, he was running away and getting in trouble on purpose, trying to get sent to reform school so he wouldn't have to stay there.

Eventually they did send him. Unfortunately, what that did is basically teach him how to steal cars and a few things like that. He ends up back home when he's about 17. He's trying to get things together. One of his older sisters brothers gives him a job, then steals his first paycheck. Another brother in law basically invited him along to do something, while the brother in law actually committed a petty robbery, which got Billy in trouble for being on probation. And then he went to the state penitentiary in Jefferson City and the Missouri State. Penn was known as the most violent penitentiary in the country. In fact, it was called the 47 Bloodiest Acres in America. And so Billy was thrown in with all of these very hardened criminals, was raped, beaten up, etcetera. And just went through an awful lot.

[00:19:16.850] - Ben

Right when you learn about his back story, the murders that he committed once he was out west, I mean, it's almost like did he ever have any shot at all at a normal life? The answer is no. The answer is absolutely not.

[00:19:30.530] - Lisa

At what point was that final straw? We're not sure. Yeah, he leaves yeah, he ends up getting out of prison. He's 20. He comes back to job one and he can't get a job. Things just aren't working. So he ends up telling his family that he's going to hitchhike to California. And he does. He ends out in the desert, in a little desert town called Blythe. Kind of just a little white spot in the road. Gets a job at a diner washing dishes and he's there for eight or nine months. Things seem to be going well. Basically, this is the best time of his life. And then no one really knows what happened. Something snapped and he went hitchhiking again. He ended up in Texas. He ends up buying a handgun and he kidnapped a fellow at gunpoint who was a mechanic. And he puts the guy in the trunk of his own car. And at some point Billy slows down to go around a corner and the guy is able to get the trunk lid open and jump out. And this is late 1950. That's when this is happening. But he's heading back to Joplin.

He's heading this way. He's coming up Route 66 through Oklahoma and he ends up getting picked up by the Moser family. The Moser family were on vacation out of Illinois. They were heading out west and young couple, early thirty s, and they had three children. And the family dog was in the car. So they pick him up, give him a ride. He holds them hostage. They ride around for three days. And at one point Mr. Mosure tried to grab the gun away from him and they fought over it. And Billy ended up with a gun. Back on the third day, at some point, the kids start crying. Mrs. Moser starts crying, the dog starts barking, and Billy starts shooting. He kills everybody. Then it's a matter of I've seen debate about where the murders actually did they actually occur in Oklahoma? Had they gone over into Arkansas where they actually back up in Joplin? Because he did dump the bodies in a mine shaft. Here and again, stories that have come to me personally with oral stories at events have filled in some details that I haven't seen published anywhere. I was at a book signing three or four years ago and a fellow and his wife came and he said that his dad was one of the officers who found the Moser family body.

Goodness, he goes, but he says Billy was in town and came to their house. They had a farm just on the edge of town, had come to their house because he knew his dad, because his dad had arrested him before. And knocks on the door and asks if he has any feed SATS that he could have. And his dad tells him, I'll get the hell out of here, billy but doesn't think much about it. And then later they find the bodies and his dad realizes he probably had the bodies in the car, in the driveway when he asked about it, another fellow at an event that I did and he was in his late eighty s, I guess he speeds up and he said I saw Billy Cook the night he dumped the bodies. And I said what do you mean? And he goes, Well, I'm sure it was that night. And he said he and a friend, they were about 14, he said were playing cards in a mining shack out in the mining field. And they were out there because their parents went and catch them. So they're playing cards and everything and the door opens and this guy walks in and he said and he describes he didn't know Billy personally or anything.

And of course at that point they hadn't figured out that Billy was the murderer. They were still looking for the bodies they were missing. And so he said he introduced himself and told them his name, he was Billy Cook. And asked him, what are you doing here? And he's like, Oh, we're playing cards. And he goes, I don't know why I said it. Something just told me to say it. And I said, yeah, our folks will be looking for us before long. And he said Billy just talked to them for a minute and turned around and walked out. And he goes after they found the bodies and he said, stones throw from the shack they were in. He said, I've thought ever since that me saying our folks might be coming any minute might have saved our lives that night.

[00:24:56.030] - Ben

Yeah, for sure. Spooky. Very spooky. It's interesting because Billy, you detail that he basically continues hitchhiking in California for a little bit. He hitchhikes there, he kills some more people who have helped him. But one thing that came up, he goes on a spree, people will pick him up, he'll kill them and then keep going. But it struck me he doesn't actually murder all of the people who helped him, just some of them. And why is that?

[00:25:29.690] - Lisa

Well, what he said to the psychiatrists and what he said to the FBI and police officers when he was arrested was that he didn't want any trouble. But when they gave him trouble, he got rid of them. He didn't understand what the big deal was. It was that disconnect at that point. So you end up with the story of Deputy Walter back in Blight because he actually hitchhiked right back to the town that he had been working in. And when they do find the Moser family car that he had dumped in Oklahoma on, they found the receipt for the handgun that he bought in Texas. So they had his name right. And that's when the manhunt started. Actually, it was the largest manhunt in US. History until Osama bin Laden. Wow. With, I forget how many thousands of people involved, but FBI, US. Marshals officers in 22 states and in mexico. It was huge. Once they figured out it was him, the APB goes out everywhere. And Deputy Walter Up out in Blythe, APV came in that morning, and he knows Billy because his wife works at the diner. And he knew that when Billy worked there, he stayed at a roadside motel and shared a room with this guy.

And he knew the guy still was there, so he thought, I'll go out there and see if he's heard from Billy. And so he goes out to the hotel, knots on the door, door opens, and it's not the other guy. Billy opens the door and get the drop on him, kidnaps him in his own patrol car, puts him in the trunk. Deputy later drove around for about 45 minutes, stopped, popped the trunk, told him to get out and lay down face down in the ditch. And he thought, this is it. I'm dead. And he said Billy stood over him for a couple of minutes and then got back in the car and drove off. And after he was arrested, they asked him why he didn't shoot him. And his answer was, his wife was the only person who was ever nice to me.

[00:28:05.350] - Ben

Which really you say that he is the kind of cautionary lesson, the cautionary tale. But it's interesting because there's a lesson there too, in that always be kind to people that you meet right. Because you have no idea how it's going to come back to you. The opposite are cautionary tale.

[00:28:24.930] - Lisa

Yeah, exactly. Who would have thought just her being herself saved her husband? So it just wasn't that simple. But then ultimately the end of the story was he kidnaps two fellows on a hunting fishing trip, and he takes them down into Mexico because he's got a plan to escape. He wants to get down to Santa Rosalia, that's on the west side of Baja California. And then there's a ferry that went over the mainland in Mexico. And so he planned on getting away that way. But by that time, of course, they're looking for him too. And the local police chief had the APB, and he's walking around the town market in Seasbilly and walks up and grabs the gun out of his belt before Billy has a chance to react. And that's how he got caught.

[00:29:29.450] - Ben

And he meets his end in the gas chamber, but very shortly thereafter. But you write and it's kind of interesting coda to his story that Billy actually had a strange afterlife, and he had sort of two afterlives he had an afterlife, both in his physical body with what happened to his cadaver, his corpse, and then he also had an afterlife in the legacy that he left behind. And the way that his story became an inspiration for other media.

[00:30:07.030] - Lisa

Yes. Basically, he gets convicted of the Mosure family murders in Oklahoma, is sentenced to life in prison because he's found insane. The judge actually in pronouncing sentence states that we created this monster. Society is responsible for this monster, which I think the judge was pretty accurate. There were a lot of places, I think that something could have happened and maybe this wouldn't have gone this direction. But then California files charges on one of the murders out there, and he's convicted, sent to San Quentin, and executed in the gas chamber, as you said. And then there was a mortician in Comanche, Oklahoma that had basically no connection to any of this. But he'd been around long enough that he remembered some of the outlaw, the gangsters in the 30s when they would get murdered, that they would put their bodies on display and charge money. That happened with the Barker boys, et cetera. So he came to Joplin and found Billy's dad and got his dad to agree to let him go, claim the body and do whatever he wanted, basically for $50. And so he drives out to San Quentin in his hearse, picks up the body, brings it back to Comanshee, Oklahoma, puts the body on display, and charges $0.50 ahead and make like $6,000.

[00:31:43.400] - Ben

Makes a killing, right?

[00:31:44.470] - Lisa

I'm sure, yeah, at this point. And so one of Billy's sisters hears what's going on. She hires an attorney, and they get a court order to get his body back. So it's brought back under police escort. And they stop in Galina, Kansas, just on the other side of the state line, and they wait until after dark. The grave had been opened in the family plot and Peace Church Cemetery. So they wait until almost midnight, midnight, of course, and come on over. And the family minister is there, and he's there with his wife and baby daughter and basically the officers and the couple of cemetery workers and the minister and his wife and daughter, they're the only ones there. The family didn't go at that time because they were afraid people were going to make a scene, and so they buried him by the headlights of the cars. Interesting note is that there is a legend that the cemetery is haunted anyway. But one of the legends of the cemetery is people will hear a crying baby, and no one's really figured out why they hear a crying baby there. There's no story that anyone could put with it.

[00:33:22.520] - Lisa

And again, this was at a public event I did the elderly woman and her daughter were there, and at one point she says to me, the older lady, she says, I think I'm the crying baby in Peace Church Cemetery. And I said, what do you mean? Yeah, what do you mean? Why do you think that hold up. And she said she was the minister's baby, and she said that she and her mother were in the car the whole time and that her mom and dad always said that as soon as they pulled in the cemetery, she started crying and never stopped until they left and then she stopped crying. And she goes, I don't know why, but whenever I hear that story, I just wonder if it's me that they hear crying. So who knows?

[00:34:16.330] - Ben

That is a lot. That's a lot. We're going to just roll with that. Okay. Interesting.

[00:34:26.170] - Lisa

And then it inspired a classic movie. And really, Billy Cook is the reason that your mother told you not to pick up hitchhikers?

[00:34:34.570] - Ben

Pick up hitchhikers? Not to pick up hitchhikers. I've done a little bit of that in my day and have been very fortunate to meet some good ones. But there's a little free song that goes down the spine every time you stop and you just wonder. Lisa, your book is a real smorgasbord. You've got mad scientists, you've got mad doctors, you've got mad brewers, you've got mad lynch mobs, you've got mad gangsters, you've got mad hitchhikers. It seems like everyone who travels down Route 66 is touched in some way, aren't they? And listeners who want to learn more about all of these mad people who do terrible things can absolutely pick up a copy and find out just how touched these people are. But before we go, I wanted to ask you a little bit about an aspect of your work that we mentioned last week. Normally when we finished talking about our cases, I like to ask about sort of Aftermaths and epilogues. Well, for you, aftermaths and epilogues take on a very specific and unusual dimension. You are not just a historian and an attorney. You are also a paranormal investigator, which means you were going out in direct pursuit of those ephemeral, ethereal aftermaths that haunt the roadsides and the byways of southern Missouri still today.

I mean, for you, the aftermaths are the ghosts that you are going out looking for yourself. So just tell us.

[00:36:23.810] - Lisa

Well, okay. I've always been interested in the supernatural. I grew up on a farm outside of Joplin that was the side of a Civil War battle and had activity. And basically I've seen things, I experienced things that I accepted. These things happen. I don't know why. And I'll be really honest, what got me going in this direction is I was looking at a house to buy, let's see, about 22 years ago now, actually a block and a half from the house I'm in now with my ex husband. And it's a turn of the century arts craft home. Very beautiful. We walk in and we've been upstairs with the agent, and she and I had walked back down to the living room, and there was a four flight switchback staircase going from the living room upstairs. And we're standing there talking and ghosts or something like that. The furthest thing from my mind. I've got numbers in my head trying to think about this house. And my ex husband, he's walking down the steps, and I start noticing he'll take a step or two and stop. Step two, stop. Starts looking over his shoulder and so on and so forth.

And he finally gets down. I mean, it takes him probably two minutes to get downstairs. I'm thinking, what in the world is wrong with you? And he's like, did you guys hear that? And we're like, no. So then we're down in the basement a little bit later, and there's a central room and then a couple of side rooms, and the central room is massive bitfit walls, et cetera, and the old boiler is still standing there. They had wandered over to one of the side rooms, and I was just lingering for a second, kind of looking over at the boiler. All of a sudden, I had the distinct impression of cold, and I mean ice cold, of a thumb being laid on one side of my neck and then 1234 fingers on the other side.

[00:38:34.520] - Ben

My goodness.

[00:38:35.470] - Lisa

And then it goes through the back of my neck, and it was like, okay, that's a little up close and personal. Not sure I do my laundry here with someone doing that. So I walk over to the door to the room that they're standing in, and I hear the agents say, now, I don't know what this room would have been used for. And I looked in the room, and there's one wall of old apothecary cabinets, seven metal sinks on one wall, and the largest drain in the floor that you've ever seen.

[00:39:10.370] - Ben

It's promising. Yeah.

[00:39:13.490] - Lisa

I said, I'll tell you what it is. It was the embalming room. And I turned around and walked to the stairs, and I can still hear her stiletto heels clicking on the concrete, following me really quickly. And she goes, well, I guess I should tell you this was a mortuary in the I figured that out. Yeah.

[00:39:30.460] - Ben

Was that on the disclosures for the new buyer? Yeah, I don't think so.

[00:39:35.870] - Lisa

But that was that experience. I started, okay, I want to find out why these things happen. And so I started researching, started investigating, started working with historic sites, which led to writing books, and here we are. And I do public events and so forth. I have a research team, paranormal science lab. I have another project, dark OzArts, which is a TV show and free development that is all about the dark history and legends and folklore, the ozarks region. So all from looking at a house, I guess.

[00:40:16.710] - Ben

I've got a friend here in New Orleans. We're pretty accustomed to stories like this in New Orleans, as you might imagine. And I have a friend here in town who lived for a while in a house that was absolutely, 100% haunted by an old civil war soldier whom she saw one night just in the hallway. She told me a story, and it's not exactly normal, but it definitely, in some places is not abnormal. Right? It's just kind of part and parcel of certain inhabited landscapes.

[00:40:51.090] - Lisa

Well, I think the paragraph is actually more normal than we think. Actually, my co producer in Dark, OzArts, he's fond of saying that actually the paranormal is very normal. It happens and it's people's reaction and you can accept it as this is just a part of life, or you can be startled and frightened and consider it the boogeyman.

[00:41:17.490] - Ben

I do have one question for you about this and we're going to have to have you back on. I'm trying very hard still a few beans for our listeners here, but I'm trying very hard to propose to our team that we can do some spooky crimes this fall for Halloween. Ghost crimes. There's just such good stuff, right?

[00:41:39.980] - Lisa

Yes, there are.

[00:41:40.600] - Ben

We're working on it early days and we'll see how it goes. But my hope is that we can put something like that together and we'll definitely have to have you back to tell us more about it. One question I do have for you in semi seriousness is what are your methods when you encounter a new site, when you encounter a new incident that you want to investigate? What typically do you do when you go in search of one or what? I love spy movies, so I want to ask about tradecraft. Like what are the tools, what are the gadgets that you bring? What do you got?

[00:42:25.620] - Lisa

Well, first and foremost, it's a lot like writing. Research is the biggest tool, finding out everything you can, but interviewing people, going on site observation, our approach is to observation and documentation and yeah, we use all kinds of different kinds of photography, videography, audio, and there are some gadgets, to be perfectly honest. Most of the quote gadgets that are used on the reality shows are less than best methods, but it makes good TV. But our approach is to document everything that we can. And we've got some fantastic photos, video, EVPs, electronic Voice Phenomena, things like that. But 99% of what you see out there on the Internet when people say, oh, I caught this or that, it's not what they think it is. And you can take 10,000 photos and if you're lucky, you get one that has an anomaly in it that can't be explained.

[00:43:45.830] - Ben

Yeah, you mentioned in your chapter on Billy Cook and Peace Church Cemetery that that is a particularly productive site and that you have gone out sort of looking for. I think you called them something like shadow people or what is that?

[00:43:59.510] - Lisa

Shadow people are seen there. Shadow people basically think of an apparition, but instead of the image of a person and the flowing the lady in white kind of image, shadow person is a shadow that is darker than it should be, is the only way to describe it. I mean, it's darker than darkness. It's like an absence of light versus a shadow that tends to be in a human form.

[00:44:31.370] - Ben

Interesting. And you have footage of that or photography of that.

[00:44:36.130] - Lisa

Yeah, we've got show people in a number of places.

[00:44:42.270] - Ben

I don't want to stop talking about this because this is kind of the most interesting thing, but unfortunately, we are just about that time. We're going to have to have you back, Lisa, because there's just such a lovely metaphor there, too, for the victims of these crimes. Right. They have become shadow people in a way, and for all of us who are interested in sort of reclaiming those stories. Right. I mean, you're doing a wonderful job of bringing these shadow people like the Mosure family back to light, and so we very much appreciate you're doing that. I guess I would just have one last question for you. Do you have any advice for the aspiring Moulders and Scullys out there, the want to be ghost catchers?

[00:45:28.290] - Lisa

I would find someone that has experience and see if you can go along. Some different investigators are looking for new members or go to public events and try different teams because different people have different approaches. And they may not all be for you, but find out as much as you can. Don't just jump into it. Because I have seen people that have had some negative repercussions because of doing foolish things.

[00:46:04.690] - Ben

Life lesson there one more cautionary tale. Don't do foolish things. Never get lisa, thank you so much for joining us. This has been a total joy, and I really appreciate all the work that you have done to tell these stories, both for the victims ourselves, both for the victims themselves and for our edification. So I really appreciate it.

[00:46:25.020] - Lisa

Well, I enjoyed talking with you. This was a pleasure. Thank you very much. And I'd be happy to come back.

[00:46:33.010] - Ben

Thank you, Bill.

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