My Fucked Up Family True Crime Story

DISCLAIMER: This is an awful story, but it is going to be submitted to the My Favorite Murder podcast soon. It’s a dark and macabre story from within my own family that gives me goosebumps. For people who don’t like true crime or morbidity, move on. For those who thrive off true crime stories, read on.
 
It was the 1970s, and she (“she” being a cousin by adoption/weirdness within my family) had gotten herself into quite the amount of trouble. Despite being a loved, and lovely young woman, she had fallen into a sketchy crowd, gotten into drugs, and had an extremely abusive boyfriend that made her life miserable.
 
They were driving down a country road in a truck, at top speeds, like teenagers do. Having a good time, hanging out the back of the truck, hooting and hollering. All of the sudden she was gone.
 
Her body was flung out of the truck and onto the dirt road at top speeds.
 
She had died from suicide. Her relationship, and the mental torment that she had gone through had whittled her down. She saw no hope, and saw her opportunity — a life lost too early.
 
My parents, who were living in Alberta at the time, came home to Sarnia to see the young, beautiful, tortured soul laid to rest.
 
When they returned to Alberta, their friend asked them, “Weren’t you just at a funeral for a young relative?”… Hesitantly my parents said yes, and were told the news.
 
Her friends had been caught at the graveyard, digging up the body of the young, beautiful woman. They didn’t get too far before being caught. Luckily, because what they were intending to do was morbid, macabre, and sick.
 
Their plan was to exhume her, and place her dead body on the lawn of the boyfriend who had tormented her so much, in a sick act of revenge.
 
They were charged, and the story made the national news. I am going to try to find the archive some day.
I only heard of this story a couple years ago, and naturally, my sisters and I sat there, jaws dropped in disbelief. Of course, while this story is fucked up, sick, and sad, my true crime obsessed feelers went into overdrive, and this is why I’m telling you this story today.

My Lego Babies

When I was about 3, I had imaginary friends. Except unlike other children who had imaginary friends as companions, my imaginary friends lived in my tummy.
 
I’d always talk about my babies in my tummy. They were named “Crowdy” and “Chairclean”.
 
Some of my earliest memories of life were of family discussions around Crowdy and Chairclean. In my imagination, they looked like Lego people and lived beside my belly button.
 
I don’t ever recall an issue with swallowing Lego people which could be a logical explanation for their existence, but just that Crowdy (the first baby) and Chairclean (the second one) were fully manifestations of a 3-year old imagination.
 
My sisters used to ask me what my babies names were, and I’d respond “Cwowdy” and “Chaiwcwean” in my little baby voice. “Where are they?”, they’d ask, “In my tummy,” I’d say matter-0f-factly.
 
One day I must have just forgotten about the Lego babies that lived in my tummy. It’s been almost 35 years since I was mother to Crowdy and Chairclean.
 
My sister who works in hospitality said that whenever she is cleaning chairs in her job, she always thinks about “Chairclean” and will laugh out loud.
 
While I don’t think I’ll have any real babies in my “tummy” in this life, I will forever get a chuckle about the one time I thought I was bearing Lego babies when I was 3 years old.

The Day I Saw a Sea Monster

1995, Lake Champlain, Vermont
Imagine three pre-teen girls in a boat, enjoying the freedom of getting away from their families at their “boring” Vermont cottages, to be able to sit in a boat in the middle of Lake Champlain.
They were the grand-daughters of my grandmother’s cottage neighbors. After a few weeks of boredom and black and white TV, I was so relieved to have someone my age to hang out with.
I’d heard about Champ my whole life having a family cottage in Vermont.
In the previous summers, my Dad would take me out on our rowboat into the middle of the mirky, and seaweedy Lake Champlain that the cottage that had been in my family for decades had been on, and he’d tell me stories.
He’d tell me about “Cloak Island” which was an island off in the distance from our cottage, where a man had gone to look for his lost love, but disappeared, only to have his cloak left behind, giving the small island its namesake.
Then there were the stories about Champ.
I’d squirm with discomfort and fascination as he told me about the Lake Champlain Sea Monster. Apparently, Samuel de Champlain had first recorded seeing the “20-foot serpent with the horse shaped head and a body the size of a keg” upon “discovering” the lake that would later bear his name.
I’d try to forget about Champ whenever we’d go into the paddle boat, but of course, he was always top of mind.
That hot summer’s day with those two fellow- 12 year olds, we were ambitious and decided to paddle the boat as far away from the cottages as possible with our new found independence.
In the middle of the lake, we talked about what girls of that age talked about. Shaving our legs, boys, and all those awkward things in that super awkward stage of life between 12 and 13. I can remember that whole summer being just strange and transitional, like the ones you’d read about in a Wally Lamb book or see in a movie like “Now and Then”.
All of the sudden, I saw something approaching underneath us.
“No,” I whispered under my breath, “It can’t be.”
“What?” the girls innocently asked, seeing my face go white and my eyes grow wide.
The girls looked down wide-eyed and saw what I was seeing, as a large, white-ish-grey-ish-green-ish mass of sea creature swooshed under our boat. It never came up close to the surface, but the size, the color, told me all I needed to know.
“CHAAAAAAAMMMMMPPPPPP!” I screamed at the top of my lungs. “The sea monster!”
The girls and I stood up and for some reason began stamping our feet on the bottom of the boat. The three of us screamed, the shrillest kind of pre-teen girl scream you could ever hear coming from a paddle boat from the otherwise tranquil Lake Champlain.
Our parents who had congregated at the shore for relaxing cottage time said all they could hear was screams as we paddled back to our cottage docks so fast we basically hydro-planed our way there.
“We saw CHAMP!” we all screamed to our parents when we arrived, tired, scared, and kind of excited too.
I don’t know what they were trying to do, whether they just wanted to calm us down, or just thought we were being silly kids, but they tried to convince us that all we had seen were snapping turtles.
I am a bit of a realist in my adult age, but no matter what new evidence comes out, or no matter how my memory fades, for life I’ll consider that day in 1995 as the day I saw a bona fide sea monster.
(Photo is from the 1970s of a photo of Champ himself.)