A Sac-Crow-Mental Tale

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.

“Night creatures callin’
The dead start to walk in their masquerade
There’s no escaping the jaws of the alien this time
(They’re open wide)
This is the end of your life
They’re out to get you
There’s demons closing in on every side
They will possess you
Unless you change that number on your dial
Now is the time
For you and I to cuddle close together, yeah
All through the night
I’ll save you from the terror on the screen
I’ll make you see
That this is thriller
Thriller night”

“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!

“Stingy Jack O’Lantern, also known as Jack the Smith, Drunk Jack, Flaky Jack or Jack-o’-lantern, is a mythical character sometimes associated with All Hallows Eve while also acting as the mascot of the holiday. The “jack-o’-lantern” may be derived from the character.”

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.

“Oh my god, look what the cat dragged in
Livin’ my life, sin after sin
Night rolls up and I do it again”

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.

“What does it mean when someone says there’s a lot to unpack? It’s an idiomatic phrase that means there is a lot of information to digest or analyze.”

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.

“The meaning of “a stone’s throw away” is just that.”

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.)

“In Celtic mythology, the warrior goddess known as the Morrighan often appears in the form of a crow or raven or is seen accompanied by a group of them. Typically, these birds appear in groups of three, and they are seen as a sign that the Morrighan is watching; or possibly getting ready to pay someone a visit.” (Source Learn Religions)

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.

“Throughout the Bible, it is affirmed that people must answer to the judgment of God by which moral acts are encouraged and evil deeds are condemned. The day of judgment is the determination of whether you lived a life of righteousness or wickedness.” (Source openbible.info)

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.

“The Crow; Alex Proyas’s 1994 cult film about a man brought back from the dead to avenge the murder of his fiancée, was marred by tragedy when its star, Brandon Lee, was killed in an on-set accident just days before the film was scheduled to wrap, and not long before he was to be married.” (Source mentalfloss.com)

“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.)

“She never mentions the word addiction
In certain company
Yes, she’ll tell you she’s an orphan
After you meet her family”
(The Black Crowes, She Talks To Angels)

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.

“Late at night, I close my eyes
And think of how things could have been
And when I look back
I remember some words you had said to me
It’s better to have lost at love
Then never to have loved at all
I won’t forget you, baby (I won’t forget you)”

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!

“I drive by the homeless sleeping on
A cold dark street
Like bodies in an open grave
Underneath the broken old neon sign
That used to read
Jesus Saves
A mile away live the rich folks
And I see how they’re living it up
While the poor they eat from hand to mouth
The rich is drinkin’ from a golden cup
And it just makes me wonder
Why so many lose, so few win
And give me something to believe in …”

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?

“A boarding house is a house (frequently a family home) in which lodgers rent one or more rooms on a nightly basis, and sometimes for extended periods of weeks, months, and years. The common parts of the house are maintained, and some services, such as laundry and cleaning, may be supplied. They normally provide “room and board,” that is, some meals as well as accommodation.” (Wikipedia)

“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)

“1980 Portable Color TV Price: $589.95 Attractive wood grain high-impact plastic cabinet has rounded corners for a modern look. Television has a 19-inch screen.”

“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)

“The number of active missing person cases averages around 20,000 in California.”

“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.”

“Schizophrenia is a mental disorder characterized by continuous or relapsing episodes of psychosis. Major symptoms include hallucinations (typically hearing voices), delusions, and disorganized thinking. Other symptoms include social withdrawal, decreased emotional expression, and apathy. Symptoms typically develop gradually, begin during young adulthood, and in many cases never become resolved.”

“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)

The brain’s natural affinity towards codeine’s effects sets the stage for the most dangerous side effect of codeine, namely overdosing. While the brain’s tolerance levels will continue to rise for as long as a person keeps using, other areas of the body have a lower rate of tolerance for codeine’s effects. This difference in tolerance levels can be a potentially deadly side effect of codeine since the body’s respiratory or cardiovascular system will likely shut down long before the brain’s tolerance for codeine has been met.”

“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.”

“As one of the states to produce the most serial killers nationwide, over 1,600 California residents have been murdered by a serial killer since 1900. Between the 1960s and 1980s, serial killings more than doubled in California and throughout the United States, instilling terror into the general population.”

“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.”

“Clymo responded by evoking Dorothea the child and caregiver. Peter Vlautin addressed the jurors in confidential tones, contrasting with O’Mara’s shouting:
We are here today to determine one thing: What is the value of Dorothea Puente’s life? That is the question. Does she have to be killed?” Vlautin spoke gently about Puente’s childhood touching on the traumatic aspects that shaped her life and urged the jurors to see the world through her eyes. “You have heard of the despair which was the foundation of her life, the anger and resentment…If anyone in the jury room tells you it was not that bad, ask them would you want that to happen to yourself? Would you want that to happen to your children? … I am led to believe if there is any reason for us to be living here on this Earth, it is to somehow enhance one another’s humanity, to love, to touch each other with kindness, to know that you have made just one person breathe easier because you have lived. I submit to you ladies and gentlemen that is why these people came to testify for Dorothea Puente … I think you can only truly understand why so many people testified and asked you to spare Dorothea’s life only if you have ever fallen down and stumbled on the road of life and had someone pick you up, give you comfort, give you love, show you the way. Then you will understand why these people believe Dorothea’s life is worth saving. That is mitigating. That is a human quality that deserves to be preserved. It is a flame of humanity that has burned inside Dorothea since she was young … That is reason to give Dorothea Puente life without the possibility of parole.”

“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.)

“Was it somethin’ I said or something I did?
Did my words not come out right?
Though I tried not to hurt you
Though I tried
But I guess that’s why they say
Every rose has its thorn”

“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 …

“ART THAT KILLS examines the point where art meets crime. The book documents a diabolical era, 1984-2001. It chronicles the evolution of a new aesthetic movement, a terrifying fringe of Underground Art where enlightenment and depravity combine.”

“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.”

“Many jurisdictions recognize several forms of stigmatized property and have passed resolutions or statutes to deal with them. One issue that separates them is disclosure. Depending on the jurisdiction of the house, the seller may not be required to disclose the full facts. Some specific types must always be disclosed, others are up to the jurisdiction, and still others up to the realtor.
Murder/suicide stigma: Some jurisdictions in the United States require property sellers to reveal if murder or suicide occurred on the premises. California state law does if the event occurred within the previous three years. To protect sellers from lawsuits, Florida state law does not require any notification. In North Carolina, sellers and agents do not have to volunteer information about the death of previous occupants, but a direct question must be answered truthfully.
Phenomena stigma: Many (but not all) jurisdictions require disclosure if a house is renowned for “haunting”, ghost sightings, etc. This is in a separate category from public stigma, wherein the knowledge of “haunting” is restricted to a local market. Perceived paranormal activity is an indicator of a possible air quality hazard, such as carbon monoxide or toxic mold.
Public stigma: when the stigma is known to a wide selection of the population and any reasonable person can be expected to know of it. Examples include the Amityville Horror house and the home of the Menendez brothers. Public stigma must always be disclosed, in almost all American and European jurisdictions.” (Wikipedia and licensed to thrill)

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!

“The city of Sacramento saw significant increases in 2021 over 2020 in murder, rape, assault, and gun-related crimes compared to previous years, according to the Sacramento Police Department. Sacramento had 58 homicides in 2021; a 31% increase over the 44 homicides in 2020, the Globe reported in June. By the end of August 2022, SacPD reports there have been 480 shooting reports, 119 victims shot, and 959 firearms seized. However, SacPD only reports the murder totals through April 2022. They report 22 murders through April, 87 rapes, and 388 robberies. What about May, June, July, August, and September 2022?” (Source californiaglobe.com)

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!

“Raise a Fork (or a Glass) to the Sacramento Region!
Get ready for a festival experience unlike any other. This is a celebration of the people who are bringing delicious food and drinks to our tables every day.” (Source farmtofork.com)

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.

“The One in Paradise” by Edgar Allan Poe
This grief poem by one of America’s most famous poets ends with the following stanza:
“And all my days are trances,
And all my nightly dreams
Are where thy gray eye glances,
Amid where thy footstep gleams–
In what ethereal dances,
By what eternal streams.”

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!

“It’s close to midnight
Something evil’s lurkin’ in the dark
Under the moonlight
You see a sight that almost stops your heart
You try to scream
But terror takes the sound before you make it
You start to freeze
As horror looks you right between the eyes
You’re paralyzed
‘Cause this is thriller
Thriller night
And no one’s gonna save you
From the beast about to strike
You know it’s thriller
Thriller night
You’re fighting for your life
Inside a killer, thriller tonight ….”

Published by SiriusSea

Many moons ago and in a faraway land, I used to write about all things wonderous to the world and I am back to stir the seven seas of wonderment once more. As the storms pass through, I set my compass and my sights upon and beyond Sirius Sea! Welcome aboard!

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