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IN THIS EPISODE: Is there really such a thing as coincidence? One girl used to think so – but a strange paranormal experience has her now thinking there’s no such thing as happenstance. (More Than a Coincidence) *** Is it possible that the real reason for the USA-Iraq war had nothing to do with weapons of mass destruction, and everything to do with the appropriation of other-worldly alien technology? (Saddam Hussein’s Stargate) *** Weirdo family member Heather Circle brings us a terrifying story that starts, innocently enough, with her child’s missing plastic drinking cup. (A Little Pink Sippy Cup) *** Rebecca Schaeffer was destined to be a star. But before she had the chance to make it in Hollywood, she was murdered by an obsessed fan. (Hollywood’s Sweetheart Killed By a Stalker) *** With the internet’s recent obsession with Black Eyed Kids encounters and “Shadow People” visitations, you might not notice another phenomena that’s quickly becoming part of the paranormal pop-culture consciousness: The Hat Man. Reports of the strange “Hat Man”, a mysterious entity dressed in a long-brimmed hat, continue to pour in from all over the world. Who is the Hat Man? What does he want? Why have so many people around the world been visited by this strange entity? (The Hat Man And Shadow People)
MENTIONED LINKS AND EPISODES FROM THE CHAMBER OF COMMENTS…
“Penpal” creepypasta episode: http://weirddarkness.com/archives/4730
“The Fear of Friday the 13th” episode: http://weirddarkness.com/archives/4724
STORY AND MUSIC CREDITS/SOURCES…
“The Hat Man And Shadow People” by Greg Newkirk (http://bit.ly/36DLMwg) and Dana Matthews (http://bit.ly/33oEfiJ) for Week In Weird.
“More Than a Coincidence” is by Cherubim and was posted at YourGhostStories: http://bit.ly/2JXuCQC
“Saddam Hussein’s Stargate” by Michael Moran for The Daily Star: http://bit.ly/2pNfVst
“A Little Pink Sippy Cup” by Weirdo family member Heather Circle
“Hollywood’s Sweetheart Killed By a Stalker” by Natalie DeGroot from All That’s Interesting: http://bit.ly/2NoBbh9
Background music provided by EpidemicSound and AudioBlocks with paid license. Music by Shadows Symphony (http://bit.ly/2W6N1xJ) and Midnight Syndicate (http://amzn.to/2BYCoXZ) is also sometimes used with permission.
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“I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.” — John 12:46 *** How to escape eternal darkness: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2IYmodFKDaM
THE HAT MAN AND SHADOW PEOPLE
If the countless online accounts of paranormal investigators have taught us anything, it’s that there’s no shortage of terrifying supernatural entities to fear. Two of the darkest – literally darkest – are Shadow People and, more specifically, The Hat Man.
A recent witness report comes from a man named Brian, who met the Hat Man in his childhood home in Virginia long before the phenomena had ever been widely reported. According to Brian, the shadowy entity even brought along a few ghosts that took up residence in his closet. Here is the story in his own words:
*****I grew up in a mostly well-adjusted family. My father was an Air Force officer, my mother a stay-at-home mom and I have one older sister. In 1969, my family was relocated from Colorado to Northern Virginia. My dad had recently returned from a long tour in Southeast Asia. While waiting for a new home to be built, my family moved into a rental house in a typical suburban NoVA neighborhood.
The rental house was a two story deal with one bedroom downstairs and three up. Since my sister had seniority, I was assigned the downstairs bedroom (the third upstairs room was designated a “guest room). For a while everything seemed fine. I liked having my own space where I could hang out with friends and also use the unfinished basement to work on model airplanes.
About four months into our time there, I started having problems sleeping through the night. After falling asleep I would sometimes be awakened by sounds seemingly emanating from my closet. The sounds were really weird, almost like the muffled conversations of a large group of people, almost like a ghostly dinner party or something similar. I was so frightened by these sounds but I just lay there in bed not moving. It happened to me several times and I told my parents, but they laughed and told me I must be having nightmares.
Finally, on one such night, I was so frightened by the noises that I left my room, went up the stairs, and lay down in the guest bedroom. I was very tired but still too scared to sleep.
As I lay there trying to relax, I suddenly noticed a tall, dark shape at the foot of the bed. The shape was silhouetted by a window behind. It was the shadowy outline of a tall, thin man in a large brimmed hat. The shape wasn’t moving much, just kind of hovering near the bed, but the figure was very well defined, sharp against the moonlight coming through the window. I couldn’t see his eyes in the darkness but I could tell he was looking at me. I was petrified! I started to scream, waking my parents and my sister who jumped out of bed, ran into the room and turned on the light. The man in the hat was gone.
My family had no explanation for the story I told them, but they weren’t laughing anymore. Although they had seen nothing, they knew I had seen something – real or imagined – and it had scared the daylights out of me. They were probably questioning my sanity at that point. I had been studying South America in school and the story I relayed to them was that I had seen the outline of a gaucho – the South American cowboys with brimmed hats. No one else in my family had ever had any strange experiences in that house. I had no more strange experiences after that night.
So it wasn’t until a few years ago that I finally heard about the Hat Man on a paranormal podcast. Hearing the descriptions of other people who had seen something similar made the hair stand up on the back of my neck. I did a quick internet search and found the stories on Week in Weird and artists’ conceptions of the Hat Man. It was him! At long last I knew that what I had seen all those years ago wasn’t just a figment of my imagination- lots of other people had seen the same figure.
My family now believes that I saw something that night in 1969, because ever since that night, even before there were such things as podcasts or the glut of paranormal shows on television, I’ve always told people that story of the shadowy gaucho who appeared in front of me. But now I know that it wasn’t a gaucho. It was the Hat Man. And I really did see him! I know he really does appear to people in the night.
We moved out of that house in 1970 and I’ve never seen another strange apparition like that since. I believe that what happened to me that night jump-started my extreme interest in the paranormal, a subject I’m very much interested in to this day.*****
Brian, of course, is not the only person to meet a Shadow Person, or even the Hat Man himself.
Shadow men came into the paranormal spotlight around 2001, and that was all thanks to the world’s most prolific paranormal radio personality: Art Bell. Anyone unfamiliar with Art Bell, firstly, should be ashamed of themselves, and secondly, should go listen to every episode of Coast to Coast AM that you can get your hands on.
There are plenty of authors, bloggers, and investigators who would love to take credit for uncovering the mysterious Shadow Man phenomenon, but their first real public mention goes back to April 12, 2001 when Art interviewed Thunder Strikes, First Nation elder, teacher, and co-founder of the Deer Tribe Metis Medicine Society. During that episode, the pair talked at length about the topic of Shadow People, and even encouraged listeners to send in their own drawings of the terrifying phenomenon. As it turns out, way more people than anyone could have anticipated were experiencing these frightening encounters.
Over the years, there’ve been plenty of debates about whether or not these “Shadow People” are good or evil, with many landing on both sides of the fence. Dead Files’ resident physical medium Amy Allen has spoken quite publicly about her belief that Shadow People are inter-dimensional entities that fall on the side of evil time and time again.
Since that fateful episode of Coast to Coast AM aired, there have been countless stories, photos, and videos of Shadow People uploaded, but what most people don’t know is that while many were being tormented by Shadow People, a select group were experiencing something similar, but just a little bit different: the “Hat Man” syndrome.
The Hat Man appears much in the same way that Shadow People do, but unlike the phenomena that was made popular by Art Bell and Thunder Strikes, the Hat Man encounters bear a few striking differences that set it apart. When he appears, often during the night, the Hat Man is always seen wearing a wide-brimmed hat, and though most people are unable to make out any distinct facial features, he is usually described as a solid black mass. Witnesses are often unable to describe the Hat Man’s lower body, as if he seems to float silently above the ground.
According to Tim Brown from The Hat Man Project: *****I saw a tall human-like figure and the figure looked like that of a man. The man had no distinguishable features whatsoever. I could see no eyes, no nose or mouth, only blackness. He looked like a shadow, only darker–much darker. He had a very wide brimmed hat and a long trench coat that flowed as he moved… He stood there for what seemed like an eternity, He then moved very slowly and without sound back into the hallway just out of view.*****
The phenomena seems to center around basements and, according to the experiencers, appears to manifest in situations of intense negativity and family disfunction. In fact, many times if one person in a household has started experiencing visits by the Hat Man, it’s almost guaranteed that another family member will begin seeing the strange shadow man soon afterwards.
Many who report experiences with the Hat Man believe that the entity has been present with them since their childhoods. I, myself, have a very vivid memory of having a run-in with I can only describe as a Hat Man. As far as my memories go, I would always spot him in the same long hallway in my basement, usually paying me no mind whatsoever. I continued to have these harmless encounters for a year before he disappeared altogether.
According to the Hat Man Project: *****All of a sudden this black -two-dimensional being appeared. it just walked right through the door. I was paralyzed with fear. I sat there looking at it and hoping it would not notice me because i was in the dark area. It stood for a moment and I could see the very detailed contours of its form. It wore a derby, carried a briefcase and a cane . It appeared to be dressed like someone on business or a traveler.*****
At first glance, it’s easy to want to clump the Hat Man into the same category as Shadow People, but once you do enough searching, you quickly discover just how many people are having their own truly unique experiences with this strange entity, to the point where there’s no doubt that the Hat Man is a separate phenomena.
MORE THAN A COINCIDENCE
I’ve often wondered about coincidences… Are they really? Someone once told me there are no accidents or coincidences. This made me reflect on past memories. One my mind keeps going back to is of my aunt. We were only 9 years apart so she insisted that I call her by her first name. She was so much fun with a witty sense of humor. She was my favorite aunt out of the 3 that I had.
When I left North Carolina with my grandmother for California she’s who we stayed with. She had left the south and joined the army and was living there at the time. It really was a culture shock for me because now I was in a big city and I was just a small town country girl. My aunt took me everywhere. We went to Disneyland and I never wanted to leave, I loved it. She took me to the Anaheim baseball stadium and many Roller Derby games. She was really in to that. With her help I was able to settle in to city life. All was going well.
Then the phone call came, my aunt was dead from a brain aneurysm at the age of 28. My world crashed, she was the main adult in my life that ever took me places and showed she cared about me except for grandma. Her death left a void in my life that no one could ever fill. No one told jokes like her or could make me laugh so hard, I missed her so much!
Which brings me to coincidences. A year after her death some friends wanted to go hang out at this apartment building. I didn’t know who the people there were but went along. I was stunned when we pulled in the parking lot. It was the apartment building my aunt lived in when I had left the south to stay with her! Memories came flooding back as I got out of the car and slowly started walking up the stairs. I couldn’t believe we were also walking into the same apartment as well. What are the odds of that?! I don’t remember a thing said or who we met that day, in my mind I was reliving some of the happiest times I ever had with my aunt. I could feel her presence there and got goosebumps.
Fast forward ten years later. I was in this city I didn’t know well. My car broke down and there were no phone booths around, just a bus stop so I went and sat on the bench. No one had cell phones that I knew of in the 70’s. I figured I go to my cousins house, he’d help me with the car. I must have sat there well over an hour before I realized no bus was ever going to come. I got really depressed and didn’t know what to do. As I got up from the bench and turned around I realized I was at Rose Hills Memorial Park where my aunt had been buried?! I didn’t recognize it when I sat at the bus stop. It has a huge brick wall around it.
I walked through the gate and up to my aunt’s grave and began to cry. I told her I was so lonely without her, and that I was stranded and didn’t know what to do. I apologized for not having any flowers for her. I touched all the letters on her grave and told her how much I loved her and hoped to see her again someday. Then a calmness came over me as I got up to leave. I just started walking down the road to where I didn’t know. I turned a few corners without thinking about where I was going and there was a phone booth! I was so happy to have stumbled on it, what a coincidence… Or was it? I like to think my aunt showed me where the phone booth was and she was at the old apartment building we once shared. It was meant for me to go with my friends that day so I’d know she was thinking of me too. I’m convinced there are no accidents or coincidences after all.
A LITTLE PINK SIPPY CUP
My aunt Amy spent more than a week searching every inch of her home for her two year old’s favorite sippy cup. It went missing along with her television remote. A few days after she had given up the search, my uncle John went away on a business trip to Alaska. In the middle of the night, alone in the house with her two young children, Amy was frightened awake. She heard a loud thud in the hallway directly outside of her bedroom. As she sat up in her bed and quickly rubbed the sleep from her eyes, she saw an enormous black figure standing in her doorway. She described it as reaching nearly seven feet tall. The room was extremely cold and the overwhelming stench of rotting flesh filled the air around her. Frozen with pure terror, she tried to scream, but no sound came out. As her eyes adjusted, she could see the creatures face. It had a very small head, about the size of a grapefruit, on its enormous shoulders. Its face was wrinkled and saggy, shriveled like a rotten apple. The eyes were like jet black dimes. It was draped in, what my aunt described as, an eskimos coat, thick with fur lining. In its gloved hand, it held a little pink sippy cup.
After a minute of the creature’s unsettling stare, it dropped the sippy cup onto the floor and walked away. When Amy received motion again, she grabbed John’s hunting rifle and cautiously cleared the house. She checked the children, who were still asleep in their beds and then called her husband and my mother. The next morning, she found the sippy cup and her remote laying in the middle of her hallway.
Amy described to my mother that the creature that visited her felt like “death”. Two weeks later, at the age of 25, Amy was diagnosed with terminal cancer.
My mother and I spent a lot of time in the following months taking care of my aunt and her children. One night, I was warming up my mother’s car. It was cold and dark outside and I had the headlights on. The headlights beamed right into my aunt’s bedroom window. I saw the curtains move and at the very top portion of the window, I saw a face looking out at me. I saw a small wrinkled head with little, shark like, eyes. It grinned at me and then disappeared behind the curtains. Within seconds of seeing the creature, the car began to shake violently. I had never been more horrified. I screamed for my mother. As soon as my mother walked out of the front door, the car suddenly stopped. As soon as my mother got into the car, I cried and tried to explain what happened. I couldn’t speak right. I stuttered. The words wouldn’t flow. As we drove down the street, the car seemed to be pulling from one side of the road to the other. It felt like we had a flat tire. My mother pulled the car over and inspected the wheels. The lug nuts on all of the tires were loosened to the point of almost falling off. I knew right then that the creature that I saw staring at me through the window did this. It was trying to kills us.
At the age of 26, my aunt Amy passed away. I know now that the creature that visited my aunt and showed itself to me was the Grim Reaper. It has been twenty years since this all happened, but I still find myself thinking about it all of the time. I’m always wondering when I’ll see the Grim Reaper again.
SADDAM HUSSEIN’S STARGATE
Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) were one of the main reasons for George W. Bush’s invasion of Iraq in 2003.
But those weapons were never conclusively found – and the questionable underpinnings of the second Gulf War have blighted the reputations of both Bush and his UK counterpart, Tony Blair, ever since.
Why would two men who were so focused their political reputation and legacy launch such a dangerous operation on such an unreliable pretext?
Salla claims that aliens that he identifies as being from the mysterious 10th Planet of the Solar System, Nibiru, had a long-running relationship with the people of the Iraq / Iran region.
In a paper entitled Exopolitical Perspective on the Premptive War Against Iraq he says that there is evidence for a long-term alien involvement in the area, dating back to the earliest days of the Sumerian civilization that once dominated the fertile lands along the banks of Euphrates.
He cites the claims by historian Zecharia Sitchin of the ‘Nephilim’, a group of some 200 aliens who rebelled against their superiors, the ‘Elohim’ and interacted with – perhaps even created – early civilization on Earth.
These claims centre around the idea that Nibiru has a highly eccentric orbit that sometimes brings it close to Earth – in an orbit somewhere between Mars and Jupiter, but most often leaves it lost in the blackness of the outer Solar System.
The Nibiru hypothesis is partially supported by the work of astronomers Chad Trujillo and Scott Sheppard who in 2014 demonstrated the possibility of a large planetary body lurking on the outer reaches of the Solar System.
Their hypothesis doesn’t, though, allow for the super-Earth sized planet wandering into the Asteroid Belt.
Nevertheless, Salla is sure that these two groups of aliens, who he collectively calls the Annukai, periodically visit humanity, in a 3,600 year cycle that coincides with its nearest approaches to Earth.
It was on one of these missions, in 1991, he says, that an Annukai saucer was accidentally shot down by a US Air Force F-16 during the first Gulf War.
A UFO that the US administration was very keen to secure for themselves.
Its mission, he theorizes, was to activate a ‘stargate’ hidden in Iraq, possibly beneath the “Dark Ziggurat” of Enzu, which once was the lair of notorious Sumerian sorcerer Gimil-ishbi.
“It’s kind of like an instantaneous space-time means of travel where people are instantaneously teleported from one area to another,” he explained.
If this stargate could have been switched on, Salla wrote, it would give to Saddam a conduit to Nibiru and to the advanced extraterrestrial weaponry wielded by the Annukai.
And it was the threat of this stargate, according to Salla, that led to the US and UK drafting the ‘dodgy dossier’ as a cover for an interplanetary war.
“The Bush administration recognized that Hussein had some very, very valuable relevant information concerning the ancient history of the planet,” claimed Salla.
“Either technology or texts basically confirming this and he was going to release this to the general public.” “I think that was a big part of the reason why the Bush Administration went into Iraq, to stop Hussein from revealing this information and to also get control control themselves.”
Salla says that other powers had their own teams looking for the stargate.
He said: “Hussein controls the ground in Southern Iraq, and is permitting the German led excavations in Uruk, while the US led coalition controls the sky and is monitoring the situation.
“The Bush administration wants control of Iraq territory to take control of excavations of Uruk to uncover its buried Stargate, and closely monitor and control it. In contrast, Hussein wants to find and activate the Stargate for his greater glory and presumably the benefit of humanity.”
But, of course, the month-long blitzkrieg of Operation Iraqi Freedom marked the end of those excavations, and the end of Salla’s hypothetical subspace corridor between Earth and Nibiru.
Did it ever exist? Of the few people that were in a position to say for certain, most on the losing side are now dead and the victors – Bush and Blair – are highly unlikely ever to confirm the existence of such an interplanetary-scale cover-up.
HOLLYWOOD’S SWEETHEART KILLED BY A STALKER
Twenty-one-year-old model and actress Rebecca Schaeffer was well on her way to becoming a star. By 1989, she had already appeared in several movies and TV shows.
However, the day she was set to audition for a part in The Godfather III, her life was horrifically cut short by an obsessed fan.
Rebecca Schaeffer paced her West Hollywood apartment on her final morning, July 18, 1989. She awaited the delivery of The Godfather III script which she would be reading before Academy Award-winning director Francis Ford Coppola. Schaeffer was auditioning for the part of Mary Corleone, Michael Corleone’s daughter; a role that would surely change her career.
When the doorbell rang, Schaeffer rushed downstairs, but she was not greeted by the courier she was expecting. The man on her doorstep was carrying a bag containing a copy of the book The Catcher In The Rye, an autographed photo of Schaeffer, and a card he had received from her in response to a letter he had written. Schaeffer’s card to him read, “Yours was one of the nicest I ever got.”
Schaeffer smiled sweetly and told him she needed to get ready for an appointment. She said to the man, “Please take care,” shook his hand, and closed the door.
The man, Robert John Bardo, had traveled 500 miles from Tucson, Arizona to West Hollywood to see Schaeffer. After the short interaction on the doorstep, Bardo walked to a diner and ate breakfast. He realized he had forgotten about the compact disc and letter he had also brought for Schaeffer, so decided he would return to her apartment.
This time, Schaeffer was not as patient; she was visibly annoyed and, according to Bardo, said: “Hurry up, I don’t have much time.”
Bardo responded, “I forgot to give you something.” He proceeded to pull out a .357 Magnum handgun and shot Schaeffer in the chest. She screamed, uttering, “Why, why?” Bardo turned and ran, leaving Schaeffer bleeding on her doorstep.
On hearing a gunshot and screaming, a neighbor called an ambulance, but it was too late. Schaeffer died shortly after arriving at the hospital.
Rebecca Lucile Schaeffer was born Nov. 6, 1967, in Eugene, Oregon, to Danna, a writer and teacher, and Benson Schaeffer, a psychologist.
Schaeffer was the couple’s only child. The family was dedicated to their Jewish faith and Schaeffer even considered becoming a Rabbi at one point. The family was also close, and Schaeffer said of them once, “No matter where we are in the world, we are like a three-legged stool.”
When the family moved to Portland, Schaeffer attended the prestigious Lincoln High School. She excelled socially and academically.
At the age of 14, Schaeffer was referred to talent agency Troutman Profiles Inc. by her hairdresser, Rick Putro. It wasn’t long before she was featured in department store catalogs modeling outfits for the back-to-school season. Schaeffer took to modeling and was determined to progress. The ambitions she once had of becoming a Rabbi were now behind her.
In August 1984, at 16, Schaeffer finished an internship in New York City. The city was a good fit for her; she loved the fast pace of life and endless opportunities the city had to offer. Instead of returning to Portland to complete her high school education, Schaeffer decided to return to New York.
She would attend the Professional Children’s School while looking for modeling and acting jobs. Not long after moving, Schaeffer landed the role of Annie Barnes in the soap opera One Life To Live.
Schaeffer had trouble finding modeling jobs due to her height. At five foot, seven inches tall, she was two inches shorter than the average fashion model. So she went instead to Japan, hoping she might have more luck there. Still unsuccessful, Schaeffer returned to New York and turned her attentions to acting.
Acting jobs were steady for Schaeffer and it wasn’t long before the 18-year-old landed her biggest part yet, a leading role in the CBS sitcom My Sister Sam. In the show, charming 16-year-old Patti Russell (Schaeffer) goes to live with her sophisticated older sister, 29-year-old Sam Russell (Pam Dawber), a successful photographer in San Francisco.
Schaeffer wasn’t thrilled about moving to LA given how much she enjoyed living in New York. However, she fit right in on the set of My Sister Sam where her fellow cast members became her extended family.
In 1987, Schaeffer began dating 23-year-old Brad Silberling, a graduate student studying filmmaking at UCLA.
Schaeffer was beginning to get more of a feel for the celebrity lifestyle. The first season of My Sister Sam, which originally aired in October 1986, was a hit from the start. Schaeffer was idolized by readers of Seventeen magazine and was featured on the cover of the March 1987 issue.
She also began to receive fan mail.
Schaeffer told Judy Crown, a hairstylist on the set of My Sister Sam, how excited she was about this, but it set off alarm bells in Crown’s mind. She recalled telling Schaeffer not to respond to mail or gifts she received from fans as people could be crazy.
Crown told the Television Academy Foundation in an interview that Schaeffer was “very beautiful, very sweet, a little bit naive.”
My Sister Sam was canceled after two seasons. The final episode aired April 12, 1988. Later that year, however, Schaeffer was cast in Scenes From The Class Struggle In Beverley Hills directed by Paul Bartel. A sexy and sophisticated black comedy, the movie was different from anything Schaeffer had done previously and brought her to a new level of stardom.
Enter Robert John Bardo. Bardo fell hard for Schaeffer the first time he saw her in My Sister Sam, but this wasn’t the first time Bardo had fallen in love with a fresh face on screen.
Bardo had previously become obsessed with Samantha Smith, a 10-year-old American schoolgirl and peace activist.
Smith was known for writing a letter to Soviet leader Yuri Andropov hoping to better understand the tense Soviet-US relations. At Andropov’s request, Smith even traveled to the Soviet Union where she met and spent time with locals.
Meanwhile, Bardo traveled to Smith’s home state of Maine to try and find her. Tragically, Smith was killed in an airplane crash on Aug. 25, 1985.
Bardo then began to write letters to Schaeffer. He became increasingly convinced that he was connecting with her with each letter he sent. He wrote that he was “a sensitive guy” and that he related to Schaeffer’s character in My Sister Sam.
He knew nothing of Schaeffer outside of her TV show. When Schaeffer responded to one of Bardo’s letters saying, “Yours was one of the nicest I ever got,” Bardo only felt more convinced that she reciprocated his feelings.
On receiving the letter from Schaeffer in the summer of 1987, Bardo caught a flight to Burbank from Tucson. He made his way to Warner Brothers Studios clutching a bouquet of flowers and a giant teddy bear.
Security Chief Jack Egger remembered Bardo pleading with him to be let in, “I gotta see her. I love her. If I could just see her for a minute.” Egger felt bad for Bardo who he saw as nothing more than a lovesick teen and offered Bardo a ride back to the hotel where he was staying. Bardo accepted.
The two talked during the car ride and Egger told Bardo it would be best for him to return to Tucson. Bardo said he would. But Bardo returned a month later with a knife. He was prevented from entering the studio this time.
The movie Scenes From The Class Struggle in Beverly Hills was released June 3, 1989, and no one was more anxious to see it than Bardo. However, on finishing the movie, the usual warmth and affection he felt for Schaeffer when watching My Sister Sam had vanished and were replaced with resentment and disgust.
What changed Bardo’s attitude towards Schaeffer was a scene featuring her character in bed with one of her male co-stars.
Bardo made his way to Anthony Agency, a Tucson private investigation firm, with a photo of Schaeffer. He told the private investigators that Schaeffer was an old friend of his and that they had corresponded in the past but he needed her current address so that he could send her a gift.
Gaining access to Schaeffer’s home address proved to be incredibly easy. Bardo paid $300 to this private investigator and they got in touch with the California Department of Motor Vehicles on his behalf. The California DMV, in turn, provided the P.I. with Schaeffer’s home address. This was all perfectly legal, given driver’s license information was public record at the time.
Bardo attempted to buy a gun, too, but the owner of the shop refused to sell one to him when he found out about Bardo’s history of mental illness. Bardo then asked his brother, Edward, to buy one for him and Edward agreed as long as his brother promised only to use it when they were together for target practice.
Shortly before Bardo boarded a Greyhound Bus headed for L.A., he wrote a letter to his older sister in Knoxville, Tennessee.
In the letter, he wrote: *****“I have an obsession with the unattainable. I have to eliminate [what] I cannot attain.”***** He did not specifically mention Schaeffer, however.
The day after Bardo murdered Schaeffer, he was located in Tucson attempting to kill himself by running in and out of traffic. He was yelling that he had killed Rebecca Schaeffer.
Authorities in Tucson arrested Bardo and held him on a one-million-dollar bail. They contacted the LAPD and told them that they were holding Robert John Bardo, and faxed his photo over.
LAPD showed the photo to witnesses who had come forward saying they had been approached by a man asking where Rebecca Schaeffer lived the morning she was murdered. Witnesses confirmed it was the same man in the photo.
Discarded just blocks from Schaeffer’s apartment, LAPD found a yellow shirt, a gun holster and a copy of The Catcher In The Rye. LAPD also received a phone call from a Tennessee Highway Patrol Officer. The officer informed them that Bardo’s sister had gotten a phone call from her brother the morning of the shooting.
Bardo had told her he was just one-and-a-half blocks away from Schaeffer’s apartment at the time.
Bardo’s public defender, Stephen Galindo, argued that Bardo was incapable of planning the murder due to mental illness. Bardo’s brother, Edward, added in court that his brother had spent time in a psychiatric hospital when he was younger.
While in jail awaiting trial, Dr. Park Dietz, a forensic psychiatrist, interviewed Bardo and the young shooter told him “there was something very special about Rebecca, and I just couldn’t let go of her.”
Bardo explained that he identified with Mark David Chapman, John Lennon’s killer. Indeed, both Chapman and Bardo were carrying a copy of The Catcher In The Rye when they killed their victims.
Bardo also told Dietz that the song “Exit” by U2 gave him the idea to kill Schaeffer. During the trial, Galindo played the song. Bardo was transformed by the music, he sang along, tapped his feet, and bobbed his head to the beat.
Dietz testified finally that though Bardo was a schizophrenic since childhood, he was not legally insane.
Prosecuting Bardo’s trial was Marcia Clark, who would later prosecute OJ Simpson. Clark argued that Bardo could not be simply insane given that he had stalked Schaeffer for two years before going on to murder her.
Judge Dino Fulgoni sided with the prosecution. On Oct. 29, 1991, Bardo was convicted of first-degree murder. He was subsequently sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Bardo is currently incarcerated at Avenal State Prison in California. In prison, he spends much of his time drawing celebrities. A number of his drawings are available for purchase online.
In honor of Schaeffer, the cast of My Sister Sam gathered to make a PSA about preventing handgun violence. Pam Dawber even testified before Congress on the issue of implementing common-sense gun laws.
If anything positive came out of Schaeffer’s death, it was the anti-stalking movement which led to several changes in the law.
In 1990, California passed the first anti-stalking law in the country and officially labeled stalking a crime. There was also a strong push from the Screen Actors Guild to protect personal information held by the DMV; California was the first state to restrict access to this information.
In 1994, the Driver’s Privacy Protection Act was passed by Congress which required every state to do the same.
Rebecca Schaeffer was buried at Ahavai Sholom Cemetery in Portland, Oregon.
Over 200 mourners attended the service. Condolences poured in from the many people whose lives were touched by Schaeffer during her short time on earth.