con-sara-cy theories

Episode 23: The Son(s) of Sam?

June 26, 2024 Episode 23
Show Notes Transcript

Transcription by  Please forgive any typos!

Welcome to con-sara-cy theories. Are you ready to ask questions you shouldn't and find information you're not supposed to know? Well, you're in the right place. Here is your host, Sara Causey.


Hello, hello, and thanks for tuning in. In tonight's episode, I will be talking about Maury Terry's book The Ultimate Evil and his central thesis that David Berkowitz did not act alone. In other words, there was not a singular Son of Sam killer. But rather, there was a network of killers that could be called the sons of Sam, plural. Buckle up. Get a frosty beverage, and we will saddle up and take this ride. Back in the 70s in New York, there were a series of murders that took place that appeared to just be random, senseless acts of violence, not crimes of passion, not situations where people knew each other. It was a business deal gone wrong. Someone comes in and catches their spouse in bed with somebody else. Two people could just be sitting in a car. They could be standing outside their house, and a shooter could come up and murder them. It was a time of terror. Who does this to people? Who is this guy? Why haven't the cops caught him yet? Because the Son of Sam killings stretch out over a period, not just of months, but actually years. And after two years of these senseless murders, on August 10, 1977 the police arrest a man named David Berkowitz, and on August 11, David Berkowitz makes a confession, and it's an awfully weird confession. I'm gonna go over now to Wikipedia, just because they condense information down very well. Under the confession August 11 heading, we find Berkowitz was interrogated for about 30 minutes in the early morning of August 11, 1977 he quickly confessed to the shootings and expressed an interest in pleading guilty. The investigation was led by John Keenan, who took the confession during questioning, Berkowitz claimed that his neighbor's dog was one of the reasons that he killed, stating that the dog demanded the blood of pretty young girls. He said that the Sam mentioned in the first letter was his former neighbor, Sam Carr and that Harvey Carr's black Labrador was possessed by an ancient demon which issued irresistible commands that Berkowitz kill people. A few weeks after his capture, Berkowitz was permitted to communicate with the press. In a letter to the New York Post dated September 19, 1977 he alluded to his original story of demonic possession, but closed with a warning that has been interpreted by some investigators as an admission of criminal accomplices. There are other sons out there. God help the world. At a press conference in February 1979 however, Berkowitz declared that his previous claims of demonic possession were a hoax. Berkowitz later stated in a series of meetings with his special court appointed psychiatrist David Abrahamson that he had long contemplated murder to get revenge on a world that he felt had rejected and hurt him. End, quote, so this picture emerges of this man, this lone gunman, which, let's think about it, we always get that narrative. It's a lone wolf. It's a lone crazy. This lone gunman goes out in the night and kills young people for absolutely no reason, except he says that his reason is that the neighbor's dog is possessed of an ancient demon who tells him to kill and the demon must be satisfied with blood. Okay, sure. Maury Terry's book The Ultimate Evil opens up with the story of ARLIS Perry. And as the reader, you're thinking, if I'm reading a book about David Berkowitz and the so called Son of Sam murders, what does this have to do with a girl who was killed in California? I mean, he gets there, but it is one hell of a complicated, crazy web. I would compare it in some ways, to reading about the murder of JFK or the death of Dag hammershold you pull on one thread, and it leads to another, and it leads to another, and it leads to another, and the next thing you know, you're like, I don't even know what to do with all of this information, but Maury Terry definitely tried to make sense of it all, and apparently it just became an absolute passion, An absolute life's work for him, to the point where even when he was on his deathbed, he was telling his assistant about things that needed to be investigated, he just never really let the story go. So it opens up with this terrible, awful murder of ARLIS Perry. There is a Wikipedia page devoted strictly to. Two ARLIS Perry's murder. I'm not going to get into all of the gory details here, because they are pretty horrific. Suffice it to say, this young woman who was only 19, she was a newlywed, was murdered inside the Stanford Memorial Church on the grounds of Stanford University. I won't get into the things done to her body, but it was sacrilegious. The types of things that were done very weird. So there's this alleged link to the sons of Sam and in fact, there was a letter that had been written about ARLIS Perry by David Berkowitz to Maury Terry, the author of this ultimate evil book where Berkowitz says something like ARLIS Perry hunted, stalked and slain, followed to California, at Stanford University. I'm going to read now from the Wikipedia page, Terry interviewed Perry's friends in Bismarck, discovering that someone on the Stanford campus had taken a telephone listing under Bruce Perry's name. The resultant confusion when Perry's best friend and Bruce's mother attempted to reach the Perry's at the fraudulent phone number apparently led Perry to call the number herself and speak to someone in residence there in a September 27 1974 letter to her friend, Perry wrote, I had to laugh about your call to Bruce Perry. Mrs Perry made the same mistake she called them too. But the strange part of it is that his name is not only Bruce Perry, but it is Bruce D Perry. And not only that, but it is Bruce Duncan Perry, and he attends Stanford University, and he just got married this summer. One thing, his wife's name is not ARLIS. Anyway, next time you get the urge to call the number is which has been redacted this time, I guarantee you'll get the right Bruce Perry, end quote, so it's a little bit strange here that you have David Berkowitz, who's in New York. David Berkowitz has been deemed responsible for the Son of Sam killings in New York, but he's telling Maury Terry about the murder of this girl who was originally from North Dakota, and she was killed inside the Stanford Memorial Church out in Stanford, California. So it becomes this early mystery in reading the ultimate evil of how do all of these things connect? Why would David Berkowitz know anything about that? And then why would he be telling it to Maury Terry in ultimate evil. Maury Terry goes down so many rabbit holes. It's honestly impossible for me to sit here within the confines of one episode of this podcast and uncover everything that he talks about. You could have an entire podcast series that was devoted to nothing but just chapter by chapter, story by story, going through the various connections that Maury Terry makes, I'm just really going to strive to hit the high notes in this episode. Otherwise we could be here honestly all night.


Maury Terry makes some connections between the Charles Manson murders as well as this group called the process Church of the final judgment, which appears to have been a pretty odd group, supposedly their logo, and I'll drop a link to this Wikipedia page, and you can go and look at this for yourself, but supposedly their logo is like based on a Nazi swastika, which that, in and of itself, tells me it's not anything that I would want to be involved with. And the two founders initially met one another when they were members of the Church of Scientology. Now that's a whole other wormhole that we could go down some night talking about the history of Scientology and then the relationship that had existed between a man named Jack Parsons and L Ron Hubbard, because there was this whole like weird little web that occurred between Jack Parsons, who was a rocket scientist, I shit you not, and Aleister Crowley and L Ron Hubbard. So the two founders of this process, Church of the final judgment, initially met when they were members of the Church of Scientology. And there are some people who believe they got the idea of, well, we shouldn't have to just be members in a group like this. We could really start our own thing and make more money. That's a claim that we see throughout Maury Terry's book, is that some people are not really true believers in anything paranormal, supernatural or occultic. It's really just that they're there for the money. They're there for the power, for the notoriety, for the fame and for the money, and they have these little minions that do their bidding. So Maury Terry makes this connection between what was going on allegedly in New York, and then what was going on allegedly with this process group and the Charles Manson were. Dollars, because he's getting these stories from Berkowitz about satanic cult activity. And of course, we're looking at this with a lot of hindsight, especially having lived through the 80s and the Satanic Panic that happened then, you know, I did the episode about that documentary Satan wants you, and the book Michelle remembers, because we have to talk about these things. We have to acknowledge that not everybody that comes out with a book and says, Oh my God, these horrific things happen to me. Maybe they're not telling the truth. Some people are. Some people aren't. And we have to be willing to ask these questions. So if we go to the Wikipedia page for the process Church of the final judgment, there's a paragraph I want to read here in his 1972 book, the family Ed Sanders alleged that Manson had been a member of the process church as evidence, citing the fact that Manson once lived in the same road as the church's San Francisco location. That year, the church took legal action against Sanders and his us publisher, E P Dutton, in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, the allegation was subsequently retracted from future printings of the family. It also brought legal action with the book's British publisher, although in a British court, the publisher won the case by the late 1970s when the church itself had disbanded. It was common for anti satanist literature to allege that Manson was a member of the group and that both were linked to blood sacrifices all but in long enough to say we're already seeing the opening volley of the satanic panicked blood sacrifices, weird abductions and murders, Manson is always involved. I'll continue to read. In his 1974 book, America Bewitched, author Daniel Logan cited the process church alongside Manson, the Church of Satan and British occultist Aleister Crowley, journalist Maury Terry linked the process church to the Ordo Templi Orientis, and claimed both as part of a grand satanic conspiracy. In his 1987 book, The Ultimate Evil critics were skeptical of Terry's claims. Badly described Terry as a sensationalist reporter with a nose for good scare stories. End Quote, so we have Maury Terry pointing out potential connections between Charles Manson and the process church and this satanic cult that was operating in Yonkers allegedly, really want to use words like allegedly and supposedly here, there was also a connection to North Dakota. So here's where we start coming back to ARLIS Perry, who was at the beginning of the ultimate evil we learn about her horrible, sadistic murder, and we think, Well, what does this have to do with a woman who's killed in California and was originally from North Dakota. Then we get into the car family, I'm going to hop over now to an article on Pop Sugar. Did the Son of Sam, aka David Berkowitz, really act alone, according to Netflix's the sons of Sam a descent into darkness. That was the narrative that the NYPD was trying to sell after a shooter were shooters with a 44 caliber Boomstick killed six and injured seven between 1976 and 1977 in New York City, investigative journalist Maury Terry didn't buy this story, it didn't seem feasible to him that Berkowitz acted alone. One of the key suspects for Terry was a man named John Carr who died from a gunshot wound in 1978 officials initially considered his death a suicide, but Terry believed there was more to his story than detectives ever investigated. I will butt in here and say Netflix's documentary The sons of Sam, that is about Maury Terry as well. I mean, it's based loosely on, like, the story of Maury Terry, how he devoted his life to trying to figure out what was going on with David Berkowitz and the so called sons of Sam, plural. I'll continue to read who was Sam Carr. So who was John Carr? We'd first have to talk about Sam Carr. The media pushed the sensational story that a dog belonging to his neighbor, Sam had commanded Berkowitz to murder his victims, while Berkowitz confessed. Terry didn't believe he acted alone, even though the NYPD wanted to close the case first, the timing wasn't quite right during one of the shootings, Berkowitz was five blocks away from the crime scene, and it didn't seem possible for him to be there just two minutes before the shooting unfolded. Terry also noted that Berkowitz didn't match several eyewitness accounts of the shooter, who they described as tall and blonde, but the person who did match this profile was John Carr How was John Carr connected to Berkowitz? The sons of Sam. Takes a closer look at how John Carr, the literal Son of Sam, had connections with Berkowitz. Since Terry lived near Berkowitz, he decided to look into John, and found that he had actually had homeroom with him in school. There were many stories about Sam being abusive as John and. His Michael. His brother, Michael grew up observing the ominous Son of Sam letters sent to authorities during the murders. Terry noted references to the abuse. Terry decided to probe into the case even further. So he found a local teen who guided him on a path stretching less than a mile behind the car and Berkowitz residences on the old Croton aqueduct. His findings were horrifying. Along the trail, there were dead dogs and an old building with blood everywhere. The hiding spot was called The Devil's Cave, and was reportedly the meeting place of a cult called the children. Right after Berkowitz arrest in 1977 John Carr went missing. In 1978 a deputy officer heard about someone trespassing at a housing unit on the Minot Air Force Base. When he looked into the situation, he heard a gunshot fire off and found John dead. Following John's death, investigators learned that there were people who had discovered him scribbling the Son of Sam symbol on telephone books, and those who had said he was the local cult leader in North Dakota, a mental health counselor who saw John also reported strange confessions. John believed that someone was trying to kill him and that he might be in trouble with the law. Back in New York, he also talked about having a connection with Berkowitz and participating in witchcraft. Suspiciously, John, John's brother Michael, died soon after in a car accident where it appeared someone ran him off the road. Over the years, police would come to believe that John's death was probably a homicide. What did Berkowitz say about Sam Carr in 1997 Terry interviewed Berkowitz about the killings. Berkowitz said that he participated in all of the killings, but he wasn't necessarily a trigger man at each crime scene. He also talked about being involved with the occult, and said that the Carr brothers participated in the killings with him as shooters. Terry wasn't alone when it came to his multiple gunman theory. A few former detectives, survivors and victim family members also believed that Berkowitz wasn't the sole perpetrator. Despite exploring Terry's dead ends and tenuous connections, the sons of Sam also makes a convincing case that the cars were likely involved with the murders. End quote. So in the book, we begin to see this weird connection going on between what's happening in New York, things that are going on out in California, and then also a web of activity in North Dakota. Now Terry goes on in the book to talk about some other locations around the country as well, and he gets pulled into another super weird story about Roy Raton, and you're sitting here again as the reader, like, how do we keep hopscotching around through all of these topics? I'll return to another article on Pop Sugar titled The sons of Sam, who was Roy Raton, how he was potentially linked to David Berkowitz. You might know convicted serial killer David Berkowitz as the notorious Son of Sam behind the shootings that terrorized New York City between 1966


excuse me, 1976 and 1977 but Netflix's the sons of Sam, and descent into darkness explores the possibility of more than one perpetrator behind the deadly attacks. Following the thorough research of investigative journalist Maury Terry, the true crime Docu series, looks into berkowitz's connection to a widespread satanic cult across the nation, I will butt in and say that's one of the reasons why Maury Terry is trying to close in all these loops about these weird locations around the country where there's supposed serial killer activity, supposed satanic cult activity, because it's supposed to be the sons of Sam could be this widespread satanic cult that spans the gamut of the country. One lead that Terry fell into was that of Roy Raiden, an unsavory producer who was rumored to be a cult leader. So who was Raiden and what happened to him? Here's what you need to know about him. In the Docu series, Michael Zuckerman, a former reporter at Gannett newspapers, explained that he had received a letter from a prison informant named Vinnie. Vinnie served time with Berkowitz and claimed to know about the cult Berkowitz was a part of, according to Vinnie, the murder of Stacy Moskowitz, the last victim of the Son of Sam shootings wasn't just a random act of violence, it was orchestrated as a snuff film, allegedly a man named Ron sisman, who was later fatally shot with a student named Elizabeth platzman operated the camera. The murders have remained unsolved, but Vinnie did connect sissman with a wealthy man in Long Island coded as RR, a mysterious figure who had a penchant for strange videos. Zuckerman and Terry immediately thought of Roy Raiden, a millionaire producer who lived in a 72 room Long Island mansion. Raiden had a reputation for throwing drug fueled sex parties at one of them, actress Melanie holler said she was brutally raped and beaten after refusing to participate in an orgy. She also said that the incident was filmed, which piqued Terry's interest, as he connected this back to the sisman murder. Vinnie claimed that RR had a significant role in berkowitz's cult. Zuckerman didn't think that it was possible to get any payoff from the information. Terry wanted to further explore the idea that Raiden was a cult leader. Raiden, at the age of 33 was found dead in a dry creek in California on June 10, 1983 after going missing for nearly a month, when Terry scoped out the crime scene, he found a Bible near where raidens body had been, and became convinced that this was proof of cult activities. I will butt in and say like the Bible had been defaced, and it was open to a certain passage there that seemed relevant to the murder. So it wasn't just he found a random Bible that was intact. There were some other elements to the story there, but Terry's theory took a blow a few years down the line. In 1988 four people were arrested after investigators discovered the murder for hire plot behind raidens death. The official explanation regarding Reagan's death boiled down to a financial dispute over the production of Francis Ford Coppola's The Cotton Club. The revelation about Reagan's murder weakened Terry's cult theory, but that didn't stop him from looking into Berkowitz as cult connections. Terry would publish his book The Ultimate Evil soon after, and talk to Berkowitz come the 90s. End quote, so this is a really far reaching book, and just when you think it can't get any crazier or the story can't get any more complicated, it always does in the Epilog. Maury Terry also tells the story of this man he calls Mr real estate, who was a wealthy, well connected person that allegedly was involved with this cult, the same cult that David Berkowitz was supposedly a part of. And a detective pretends to be a mourner and goes into this Mr real estate man's funeral, and he sees that this, Mr real estate, is holding a rosary, but it's positioned on purpose so that the crucifix would be inverted and the only flowers in the room were either black or very, very dark purple, and that the Holy picture mementos were replaced by cards with a Celtic cross that was supposed to represent Druidism rather than Christianity, and supposedly this Mr real estate went by the name Moloch within the cult because he wanted it to signify the ancient deity who was worshiped by the sacrifice of children. Now, is any of that true? I have no idea. I wasn't there. I don't know who Mr real estate was. There's speculation you can find online. So to me, some of this definitely gets into the realm of Satanic Panic, and it also gets into the realm of jailbirds and people that are willing to confess for goodness knows what, reason for fame, for notoriety, hoping that maybe they can get out of jail early for good behavior. Maybe they can make some money off of it. For me, the most significant part of it is, what if there was more than one Son of Sam, regardless of the satanic cult stuff and the supposed talking dog that was possessed of an ancient demon, put all of that stuff to the side when we're reading what Maury Terry is talking about eyewitnesses who talk about the shooter not looking anything like David Berkowitz, and then seeing David Berkowitz on television after the arrest, or seeing his picture in the newspaper and saying, Well, that's not the guy that may have been the guy who did some other shootings, but the one that I saw was a man who was tall and blond. You're not going to mistake David Berkowitz for a man who's tall, thin and blonde. There was another one of the shootings that actually may have been perpetrated by a woman. I mean, then you start going, Okay, well, wait a minute. Now we're into sort of like the JFK pop, pop territory. Of, it's a conspiracy by definition, when we get out of the narrative of, it was just one crazy lone pop popper by himself who was a wing nut. And you start to think, well, there was at least one other man, and then potentially a woman who was involved in this. How many people were there? Mean, that would make at least three. And then why were they doing this? Mean, just because someone might hear the story and say, I don't believe a demon possessed dog told him to do that. There are crazy people in this world. You know what? Maybe Maury Terry is closer to the truth than we would ever want to admit. Maybe there was some crazy dude named Mr that he calls Mr real estate, who called himself Moloch and wanted children sacrifices and was buried intentionally with an upside down cross. Maybe there were creepizoids that went into this cave behind an aqueduct and murdered dogs. I mean, they did find dead dog carcasses there. Maybe these people were doing weird occult rituals. Whether you and I believe that they were actually conjuring anything or not, is really beside the point. If they believed that they were conjuring something and they were drinking. Blood and murdering animals. That's pretty jacked up, pretty creepy. I'm going to go now to an article that was published on the Guardian titled, I want people to understand what really happened. Did the son of Sam's serial killer act alone? The arrest of David Berkowitz on August 10, 1977 brought it into the largest manhunt yet in New York City police department's history and the notorious summer of fear, the city was at the mercy of the so called Son of Sam's serial killer who terrorized the city with random shootings over the course of a year, six dead, seven wounded, all with a 44 caliber Boomstick and mostly ball parked in dark lovers lanes. The 24 year old postal worker confessed to a string of brutal crimes, furiously discussed in the press, which published taunting, deranged letters from the killer and metabolized widespread panic, anxiety and fear news footage from the time replayed with the new new the new Netflix Docu series The sons of Sam, a descent into darkness, shows women in the salons getting rid of the long brown hair, believed to be preferred by the killer. Berkowitz's booking took place amid a flurry of police, of press and a leering, raucous crowd. So the director of the series, Joshua Zeman, is talking about kind of the basics of the case. Berkowitz was the alleged Son of Sam he claimed to receive orders from a 6000 year old demon that was inside his neighbor's dog. This inflames the Satanic Panic, which, you know only gets worse as we go into the 80s, and we have the Michelle remembers book and all of that. I'll read just a little bit more over four meticulous hours. Sons of Sam descends into the maze of explanations, conspiracy theories and mostly circumstantial evidence amassed by this original armchair detective who tried to change the narrative of one of the greatest crimes in New York history. Said Zeman Terry had a preponderance of evidence, but no one would believe him, which prompted the longtime True Crime filmmaker to wonder what that must be like and how that drives you crazy. So I'm going to scroll down a little bit more, because Zeman is talking about the book, the ultimate evil, while police vigorously denied any accomplices. Terry burrowed further down the path of satanic conspiracy, eventually compiling his research and theorizing into a book, The Ultimate Evil, published in 1988 the book honestly scared the shit out of me, said Zeman, it was creepy. It was suburban New York City, sex, sin, horror, creepy. It had a Manson vibe to it, going down with a New York flair. Yeah. I mean, it is a creepy book. Zeman also says he sees the series as a cautionary tale who was right, the cautionary tale of a guy who was right and wrong, the first part of Terry's investigation, which interrogated the police's dubious official narrative of a single killer was right on, said Zeman, but he was called a crackpot, so he doubled down. He makes this kind of deal with the devil, and it ruins his credibility. Terry went on to publish numerous highly read dispatches on the case's holes in Gannett newspapers, and in later years, peddled increasingly complex and unhinged satanic conspiracy theories on tabloid programs such as inside edition and Geraldo Rivera's talk show. End quote, I think that's a really good way of putting it, a cautionary tale of a guy who is right and wrong. He doubts the police's dubious official narrative of a single killer and he's right on. But then, because he gets called a crackpot, he doubles down and he makes this sort of deal with the devil, no pun intended, I'm sure, and it ruins his credibility, because he's getting into Satanic Panic, and he's going on inside edition, he's going on Geraldo, and he sort of makes himself look nutty. And then you have all of these other theories, the MR real estate guy with the upside down cross and Roy Raiden, and the drama that went on, supposedly between him and Robert Evans and then Roy Raiden is found dead in a riverbed in California. But somehow this all relates back to the sons of Sam cult that was going on in Yonkers. You'll have to read ultimate evil for yourself and draw your own conclusions, as I said, and what Zeman is talking about here, I think, is right on. I am not convinced that David Berkowitz was the Son of Sam. I'm not convinced that he acted alone. You have too many witnesses saying he does not match the person we saw. You even have people who survived the attempted murder, saying it wasn't that guy. That guy's not the one who did it, as we're talking about, there were times where David Berkowitz couldn't physically have been there if he was five blocks away when somebody was popped. How could he have been the one that did it? And it seemed like the police were on a mission to solve the crime, to get people to stop being afraid, get people back in the discos, going out to restaurants, and to not have this manhunt making them look like they were futile to stop the killer, they had to get a guy. And who better than this stone cold weirdo who starts talking about a demon? Possessed dog. One of the things that Terry covers in the ultimate evil is this idea that Berkowitz was going to be bailed out if he just claimed insanity, if he got caught and he was the Patsy. Hi, hello. Don't we always hear this? If he gets caught and he's the Patsy for these murders, it will be okay. Someone will get him out of jail. He'll get out on a technicality. He can get an insanity plea, he can be taken to an institution, and he'll be broken out. I think Terry talks about a time where somebody actually mailed a weapon to Berkowitz, but it was confiscated. It was found and confiscated before he could use it to institute a jailbreak. There are some very weird things about this case. Are they circumstantial? Sure? Some of them are. Some of them really aren't. If you have a witness to the crime saying that guy is not the guy, you have somebody else saying, I actually think it was a woman who pulled the trigger, and then you arrest a man that looks nothing like that, and try to say, Nope, they were all him. It was him by himself. Case closed. Go out party, do your stuff. The reign of terror is over. That's problematic. So I think whatever you make of the satanic cult theories, and is there a widespread satanic network that goes from Yonkers to Minot to Stanford, whether you believe any of that's true or not, or that Roy Raiden was some kind of great occult magister in the midst of this, and Mr real estate was Moloch and getting child sacrifices. We could put all of that to the side if we just focused on the idea that there wasn't a Son of Sam. There were sons of Sam, plural that committed these murders, I think the public deserves to know, especially people who are related to the victims, or victims that may still even be alive today, that survive their attacks. They have a right to know who actually did it, and to see those people brought to justice. If those people have already died, then at least you would know, as David Lifton says in best evidence, it may be too late for justice, but it's not too late for the truth. Read ultimate evil. Check it out for yourself and see what you think. Stay a little bit crazy, and I will see you in the next episode.


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