Let’s not play “pretend”; we have already established, I have a chronic, keen, and an acute awareness to curses and the cursed, the damned and the unrested. So, let’s begin with the caution tape already surrounding this scene of the crime we call every year upon Halloween time. Watch where you step! There’re people down there, “sleeping”, let’s hope. Do not disturb, take heed, and tread lightly! You’ll be throwing-up those shoes and “cookies” later, I promise. Hopefully, they’re still with you by the end of the night and before dawns early light.
“Pumpkin” (yah, you), bring your flashlight, travel Bible, passport, ID, Holy water, your purse, sneakers and jeans; for this jaunty, stealthy, trickery filled fright fest. Layer and limber up, our costumes aren’t ready just yet!
Squawking prominently from my front porch atop my mysteriously appearing annual holiday fruit/guest, “Pumpkin”, our “otherworldly” tour-guide from the other-side, for this specific, “jacked-up”, and festive tale; be-a jet-black crow by name, plight, and flight, “CC”. No, not devil or deVille, but that’s another day, same time period and haircut to boot. Writing about all things glam rock, all hallows eve induced sugar comas, hauntingly over-priced houses, and ghoulish hairspray with “harry” extensions of stories, miseries, and warranties with no faces or names permanently affixed.
Told ya, hearing impaired from birth; so, let’s unpack that “carry-on” backage. Albeit, an actual location, convertible, a census, an egg, an ogre or wicked person, or slang; crying for absolutely no reason whatsoever, the name Deville is of Norman origin. “A habitational name from Déville in Seine-Maritime, France, probably named with Latin dei villa’ settlement of (i.e., under the protection of) God’.” Not traveling to France this holiday (God willingly someday soon), but under the protection of God, we’ll willingly re-tell an actual living hell. We’ll fly by the crow’s feet and feather light ether to Sacramento, California.
Located in my childhood hometown and literally a stone’s throw away is considered Downtown Sacramento on the south side of F street between 14th and 15th street. Although, originally painted a picturesque, wholesome (nonthreatening) light sky blue in 1968, this house has sense been repainted to a more subtle neutral cream color and worth a smidge shy of $666,000 today. The yard to the left of the home is where “she” buried her victims and has sense been turned into a concrete patio with artificial fake grass. Previously a garden of unspeakable horrors. Perched high above the top of a telephone wire in the still of the dark, one black crow witnessed the disturbing spectacle from possibly an out-of-body experience, or a deceased ancestor “passing” through.
Spookily quiet, eerily dark and twisted, disorientating, hazy shades of green, foggy, queasy, and not that long ago, “McCheesy”! (“McCheese: To state with absolute certainty that you will be at an event, then fail to show up without canceling. Usually characterized by also failing to respond to any attempts at communication by those who are waiting. Differs from other forms of flaking or canceling late, as the offending party does not communicate their non-attendance, and does not respond to any attempts to figure out where he is.” (Source Urban Dictionary, heavenly mac-n-cheese, mayors, sinful burgers, ghosting and ghosted, foul-play, and mysterious abductions, whilst coasting along the California coastline.)
The eighties to be exact! Shh, keep your voices down; we must whisper softly, for our murmurs carry, and we want to be super respectful. Never speak ill of the dead, and leave the “judgy” eyes, bleeding ears, silver and forked tongues for judgement day. I didn’t set a google reminder and it hasn’t appeared just yet on my end of year calendar. Just be glad this is not that day, … or is it?! Say a prayer for the rest to come.
Back to the story and you must eat all your greens before the tricks, treats, and freaks come out at night. Some say, CC is short for Chief Crow, or maybe because he “see’s” everything, more likely; a tortured fallen soul who met the demise or “fallout” of evil incarnate and on an evening just like this.
“While on average most people call a group of birds a flock, crows, in particular, have been known by a number of unique terms. The most popular, being of these is known as a murder, but a group of crows can also be called a horde, mob, muster, or parcel.” (Source worldbirds.com, morbid fascination, the Annunaki, ancient “aliens”, angels, classic rock music, “family”, and feathered friends.)
This omen truly an amazing sight to behold around dusk downtown. The swarms and sheer enormity of so many black crows circling the high rises are God smacking! This is the time to look up (do your research) many an origin story pertaining to the black crows and hark the raven evermore. The day begins to end by way of shadows overpowering the dazzling golden twilight hour. Shimmering and reflecting dimmed sparks of light off the wisping trees and within the endless buildings of glass and concrete. Hundreds of birds gather, swooping through the air like they just don’t care, but in a hellraising kinda way, and before the gorging in the golden fields commence. Que the dramatic orchestra.
To properly describe how the light can be so blindingly bright off the streets (and loud) from the blazing sun, and not a couple hours later, but for the grace of God a streetlamp to barely see 4 feet in front of your face (and deafeningly dark), is difficult to transcribe. In addition, this city of trees gets cold (more ways than one) once the sun goes down. There’s many a cavity, terrifying alley, sinister-echoey parking garage, and weird nooks and unexplained crannies to get lost in and right around the turned-around corner. I swear it was over there, just a second ago! Shadows creating doors, that were never there before!
Surrounded by five parks, tram system (Light Rail), city hustle and bustle life, cafes, shops, markets, offices, banks, hordes of people, busses, and a twenty minute fast walk from the Capital is a quaintly tree lined idyllic all American looking street, that stands a “homey” appearing boarding house. “Looks” can be deceiving. Where have I heard that “echo” before?
“Dorothea Puente’s case made national headlines in the late 1980s when she was accused of killing nine individuals over the course of six years. Puente had made it her mission to take in the hard cases, the people whose disabilities or substance-abuse issues made them otherwise impossible to find homes for.” (Source: Call Me Grandma, Netflix; Worst Roommate Ever)
“Suspicion was first aroused when neighbors noticed the odd activities of a homeless alcoholic known only as “Chief”, whom Puente stated she had “adopted” and hired as her handyman. Puente had Chief dig in the basement and cart soil and rubbish away in a wheelbarrow. At the time, the basement floor was covered with a concrete slab. Chief later dismantled a garage in the backyard and installed a fresh concrete slab there as well. Soon afterward, Chief disappeared.” (Wikipedia)
“On November 11, 1988, police inquired after the disappearance of tenant “Bert”, a developmentally disabled man with schizophrenia, who had been reported missing by his social worker. After noticing disturbed soil on the property, they uncovered the body of another “tenant”. Seven bodies were eventually found buried on the property.”
“Puente was charged with a total of nine murders. According to investigators, most of her victims had been drugged until they overdosed; Puente then wrapped them in bedsheets and plastic lining before dragging them to open pits in the backyard for burial. During the initial investigation, Puente was not immediately a suspect, and she was allowed to leave the property, ostensibly to buy a cup of coffee at a nearby hotel. Instead, after buying the coffee, she fled immediately to Los Angeles, where she befriended an elderly male pensioner whom she had met in a bar. Unbeknownst to Puente, the pensioner recognized her as the woman he saw on television news reports. The pensioner contacted local law enforcement who then quickly arrested Puente.” (Wikipedia)
“Trial began in October 1992 and ended a year later. The prosecutor, John O’Mara, was the homicide supervisor in the Sacramento County District Attorney’s office. O’Mara called over 130 witnesses; he argued to the jury that Puente had used sleeping pills to put her tenants to sleep, then suffocated them, and hired convicts to dig the holes in her yard. Clymo concluded his closing argument by showing a picture commonly used in psychology that can be viewed in different ways and saying, “Keep in mind things are not always as they seem.” The jury deliberated over a month and eventually found Puente guilty of three murders. The jury was deadlocked eleven to one for conviction on all counts, and the lone holdout finally agreed to a conviction of two first-degree murder counts, including special circumstances, and one second-degree murder count.”
“The defense called several witnesses, who showed Puente had a generous and caring side to her. Witnesses, including her long-lost daughter, testified how Puente had helped them in their youth and guided them to successful careers. Mental health experts testified of Puente’s abusive upbringing and how it motivated her to help the less fortunate. At the same time, they agreed she had an evil side brought on by the stress of caring for her down-and-out tenants.”
“Under the law, Puente received life without the possibility of parole. She was incarcerated at Central California Women’s Facility (CCWF) in Chowchilla, California. For the rest of her life, she maintained her innocence, insisting that all of her boarders had died of “natural causes”. Puente died in prison at Chowchilla on March 27, 2011, from natural causes; she was 82.” (Source Deadly Women, Wikipedia, Crime Stories, and right outside my window.)
“In 1998, Puente began corresponding with Shane Bugbee. The result was Cooking with a Serial Killer (2004), which included a lengthy interview, almost fifty recipes (apparently, “Puente’s recipes; chipotle ketchup, Mexican chicken-gizzard soup, veggie burgers, tamales prison-style, and “amazing” potato stuffing with kielbasa and mushrooms”), and various pieces of prison art sent to Bugbee by the convicted murderer. Jodi Picoult mentions Puente’s crimes and cookbook in her novel House Rules.” Now that I ruined your appetite …
“The boarding house at 1426 F Street in Sacramento was included in the 2013 home tour held by the Sacramento Old City Association. It was then the subject of the 2015 documentary short The House Is Innocent and was again opened to tours for one day in conjunction with a local film festival’s showing of the film. In 2015, the Ghost Adventures crew investigated the house, due to reports of hauntings by the victims and Puente herself. In April 2020, the house and current owners were showcased in the Quibi series Murder House Flip.”
Of course, this has a new meaning or take on Only Murders in the Building, especially if no one is alive to podcast. No, I don’t believe this black widow was being helpful, Christianly, or working sacrificially. Are they ever? I can’t help but wonder about the crows, their ancient folklore, and the many “lost” “voiceless” souls. Much a moral dilemma we could dissect. I’d rather feed the birds!
Sacramento has its origins in the Latin language. The name’s meaning is ‘consecrated’; having been made or declared sacred. When we have more time; we’ll stroll the sidewalks, talk shop, uncover an entire town below downtown, evaluate conspiracy theories, buy antiques with unique stories attached, sift through beads galore, and sip hot chocolate forevermore. I’ll treat to a barrel of Jelly Belly’s, and mull over the weird and eccentric mystifying stores. Oh, and gorge on pizza for sure!
CC is a cautionary tale … One that I definitely keep a side-eye on every crow since. Birds of a feather flock together, beware and safety in numbers, I heard him exclaim (cackling). His birds-eye-view tells an eerie reminder, horrific secrets, omens, “mad” “doctors”, deranged land ladies, concocted pills, deadly treats from the not-so sweet.
CC loves the downtown lunch crowd, hot-dog stands, ball games, fields of plenty, and the plethora of trees. He’s not alone anymore and so, Pumpkin and I must pay adieu. Jetting on the light rail station, we’ll make our way, breaking barriers, glass ceilings, the veil, and speed limits … more Halloween to come!
One thought on “A Sac-Crow-Mental Tale”
Beautiful 🥰 well shared ❤️
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