The Myth of Damien Echols: Fact, Fiction, and Fantasy
Despite being only one third of the trio accused of brutally murdering three 8-year-old boys in West Memphis, AR, in 1993, Damien Wayne Echols and his legend have eclipsed much of the case and its subsequent trials, often to the point where the lines between fact, fiction, and fantasy have become hopelessly blurred. Echols himself seems to have trouble articulating his personality as a teenager, though many times over the years he has attempted to downplay or ignore various accusations and facts so as not to hurt his innocence campaign. Thankfully, independent and unbiased sources have provided the astute researcher with all the information they need to answer the burning question: who was Damien Echols in May 1993? Was he simply a troubled young man afflicted with the same issues of angst and depression thousands of people his age have, or was something far more sinister going on in his mind?
Damien Wayne Echols was born Michael Wayne Hutchison on December 11, 1974. His mother, Pam, was only fifteen and had a number of health issues while pregnant with him. She told a defense appointed psychiatrist that Echols was a withdrawn, quiet baby who was delayed in reaching many of his developmental milestones, and admitted she did little to alleviate his asthma problems and heart condition as a child.
Growing up, Echols’ childhood was marked by frequent moves, parental neglect, and terrible poverty. Often the family did not have enough money to pay rent or buy food, and relied on donations from charities to get by. After the birth of his younger sister, Echols parents divorced and Pam married Jack Echols, who adopted the children and gave them his surname. Echols remembered his stepfather as a miserly, fanatically religious man who would abuse him verbally over the slightest provocation.
At one point, the family lived in a clapboard shack in the middle of a field that was regularly doused in toxic pesticide. There was no electricity or running water, and the unsanitary conditions and isolated location was a source of great pain and annoyance to Echols. He took solace in Stephen King novels and skateboarding, and it was around this time he started dressing all in black and growing his hair long.
After legally changing his name from Michael to Damien, Echols began a relationship with a young girl whom he identified as a Wiccan, or witch. The girl introduced him to her occult beliefs and encouraged him to expand his beliefs beyond the insular, evangalical Christian religion of their home town. Their relationship ended when she and Echols attempted to run away, and this incident led Echols to be formally charged and sent to a mental institution, apparently for threatening to eat his parents alive and other disturbing statements.
Echols would be hospitalized three times over the course of two years. During all these stays it is noted by staff that Echols was suffering from severe depression, aggression, volatile emotions, and psychotic thinking. Once, when a fellow patient cut his wrists, Echols grabbed the patients arm and proceeded to suck the blood from it, showing no remorse after being removed. He also claimed to various staff members he was a vampire, and could see cameras and microphones behind the mirror in his room. His self assesment questionaire revealed a number of disturbing thought patterns; often Echols wrote he did not feel anything, was often bored, enjoyed having power over others, and that he “hated the human race”.
Echols’ did not attend school in the year prior to the murders, and his record reveals that he was suspended 7 times in his most recent school year for trying to claw a classmates eye out, setting his classroom on fire twice, and general delinquent behavior.
A few weeks before his arrest, Echols mother separated from Jack Echols and entered a relationship with his biological father, Joe Hutchison. At this point, Echols was deeply involved in the Wicca religion and dressed in alternative style. Alongside best friend and fellow accused Jason Baldwin, Echols wore black, listened to heavy metal bands such as Metallica and Megadeath, and carried knives. He had also impregnated his current girlfriend, Domini Teer, and gotten a part time job with a roofing company. He had applied for and recieved full Social Security disabled status on the basis of his mental illness.
Perhaps one of the biggest distortions about this case and Echols himself concerns the extent and severity of his mental illness in 1993. Being mentally ill in no way makes you guilty of murder, BUT in Echols case he tries very hard to deny he was mentally ill at all, an assertion that can be very easily demolished once you consider his history of violence, his record of hospitalization, and, most tellingingly, Echols application for disability benefits ON THE BASIS OF HIS MENTAL ILLNESS. In his own handwriting, Echols listed the symptoms of his mental illness as being the reason he couldnt work, and among the symptoms listed there was “drug and alcohol abuse”, “sociopathic”, “suicidal”, “paranoid shizophrenia” and - wait for it - “homicidal”.
Yes, thats right. Damien Echols actually wrote down that his homicidal feelings were a disability that prevented him from working….and his disability was granted to him.
In later years Echols would do a 180 and say, while he was depressed and often felt angry, that these problems were well within normal realm, and his troubling behavior was just ‘typical teenage stuff’. A compelling idea, but one that is sadly overshadowed by the sheer volume of evidence that suggests otherwise - evidence that Echols himself exploited at one point for disability benefits.
So, knowing all this, can we REALLY say that Damien Echols was just your average teen with average teenage issues? It would be a stretch in this writers opinion.
Pam hissed in pain as her mother tugged at her hair with the brush. Even though she had short hair, tangles couldn’t escape her.
“I’m sorry, mijita,” Pam’s mother apologized as she continued to brush her hair. “You’ve just got a lot of tangles today for some reason.”
Pam was dressed in a periwinkle dress that went all the way to her knees. She wore white stockings and black flats. And a gold bracelet around her wrist, with a single pendant–a cross.
Pam could see out of the corner of her eye her older brother, Jacob, buttoning up his grey shirt, choking as he adjusted the collar of the shirt. Pam’s youngest brother, Benjamin, whined as his father began to fidget with his hair.
Pam sighed as her mother began to brush away at her clothes, brushing away the loose strands.
“There. You look beautiful.” Pam heard her mother say behind her.
“The train is here.” Pam’s father spoke in a voice that trembled.
Pam, Jacob, and Benjamin all looked at him. Their father was never the one to cry, but as they looked at him they saw the sorrow in his eyes. Their father had to watch them leave, his own three children. Pam and her brothers rushed over to him, hugging him and holding in their tears. Pam could smell the familiar smell of hay on her father. The last smell of District 4 she’d ever smell, before leaving off to The Choosing.
“Jorge…they have to leave.” the voice of Pam’s mother sounded loaded with sorrow as well.
Pam’s father released his children, nodding as he gave a quiet sniffle. The siblings turned to their mother, who held out her arms out. Hesitantly, they all hugged her and tried not to cry as well.
Soon their mother released them and both parents watched as their well dressed children walked out of the house, joining the rest of the departing children.
Pam looked around, recognizing most of the children from the Mammal coops or school. Pam then thought she saw Four, but the crowd surrounding them kept blocking her sight. Pam felt Benjamin slip his hand into hers, squeezing it tightly. The 14 year old didn’t hesitate to squeeze her little brother’s hand back, staying close to Jacob as they all soon found themselves in front of the train.
The train that would lead them to The Choosing.
Pam wished the train ride took longer. She wanted to just stay on that train and not go to The Choosing. But here she was, walking to the sign in sections. Pam’s eyes were focused on the needle in the hands of the uniformed people.
Pam watched as Jacob and Benjamin were separated from her due to age differences. Jacob to the 18 year olds, Pam to the 14 year olds, and Benjamin to the 8 year olds.
“Next, please.” a woman in the grey uniform called out, holding her hand out.
Pam stuck out her shaking hand to the uniformed woman, watching as the woman pricked her index finger with the needle. Pam winced as she felt blood began to fall from her index finger. The woman pressed the bleeding index finger to a sheet of paper with other blood prints. Then the uniformed woman used some sort of scanner to scan the blood print of Pam. Then Pam heard a soft woman’s voice come from the scanner.
“Alright. Next!” the uniformed woman called out, motioning Pam to leave. The young girl walked away, searching for Four or her brothers. As she looked around, she took in all of her surroundings. They were in the Main Square of District 4, which was hours away from the small village Pam and the others lived in. Pam could see at least 25 guards surrounding the area, each holding a gun in their hands.
Everyone shoved into each other to find a spot to stand in for The Choosing, Pam being pushed aside multiple times. Finally, after pushing back, Pam found a spot within the crowd. She was able to see a bit, as her and the crowd faced the huge stage upon them. Pam saw a single microphone in front of huge wooden double doors of the building connected to the stage. Pam also saw screens everyone, showing everyone’s faces within the crowd as cameras changed from person to person.
Pam then heard the doors open and her attention was brought back to the stage and she saw a man walk out.
He was an African American man, his skin tone almost similar to a milk chocolate color, he was clothed in a black suit with black boots and a sparkling blue-purple trench coat over the suit. His curly dark brown hair tied up in a ponytail, black eyeliner on his eyes, and he wore gold eyeshadow.
He walked up to the microphone, a huge smile on his face. He cleared his throat before talking into the microphone.
“Good evening. And welcome to the 24th Anniversary of The Games,” he beamed, as if it was someone’s birthday. “I am your announcer and escort, Tobias Louis Paris. And today, we will be choosing 2 brave Tributes to fight within The Games. But, before so, we have brought a special video for you. All the way from your president, President Stone.”
And with that, on all the screens, a video began to play. Pam sighed, as she remembered the video they always showed. Pam basically had every single line memorized.
“Blood. Violence. War.” a deep male voice began to speak from the video. “All from the start of a rebellious group. But, we from The Capital, have since prevented this ever happening. Thanks to our president, President Stone, we’ve seen to it that no more of a rebellion shall ever happen. For the safety of our lives. Our children’s lives. And generations soon to come.”
“Oh, I just love that!” Tobias beamed, smiling wide enough to show his white pearly teeth. He seemed to be the only one excited, whilst everyone was silent as if they were at some funeral.
“Now, as you all know,” Tobias began. “We will choose from the Bowl of Names to select 2 brave Tributes. No matter what age or gender we choose, you must step up. Or else, has rules go, you will be shot on sight if you struggle with our guards.”
Pam gulped, remembering the last death she saw. A young boy had been chosen, his name was Daniel Joseph. He had been dragged out of the crowd, crying as he tried to struggle against the guards who were pulling him out. And when he gave a punch to one of the guards, they shot him right in the head.
The 14 year old’s thoughts were broken as she someone elbowed her arm, maybe by accident or so. Pam looked up, watching as a large clear glass bowl was brought on stage. Tiny little sheets of white paper were filled up in the bowl, Pam knowing that her name was at least on one of those pieces of paper.
Tobias reached a hand in the bowl, digging around in the cluster of names. Then, he stopped. He smiled as he slowly pulled out his hand, along with a small sheet of paper in his fingers. Tobias walked back to the microphone, smiling as he opened up the sheet. Without taking his eyes off of the rectangular sheet of paper, he spoke into the microphone.
Pam’s heart stopped.
She knew who that was.
But she hated that name.
Pam looked out into the crowd, searching for her. Then, she saw her.
Everyone parted as a Four made her way to the stage, emotions of anger and a hint of fear in her eyes. Five guards came up to her, leading her to the stage. Pam tried to to cry as she watched her best friend be brought up to the stage, next to the smiling Tobias.
“Well well,” he chimed. “We have our first tribute here. Hehe, I’m so excited!”
Four looked at the man, her expression completely different from when her name had been called. As if she felt a little bit safer up there.
“And now,” Tobias gleamed. “Our 2nd tribute!”
Tobias went back to the bowl and repeated the same process; he dug his hand in the bowl, searched for a card, and pulled out the small sheet. He went back to the microphone, took a look at the name on the paper, and smiled.
Pam’s eyes went wide. There was no way he just called her little brother’s name. Pam looked up to see a small boy, who looked almost like her, slowly walk out of the crowd. His face full of fear as the guards approached him, his hands were shaking in fear. Pam couldn’t let him go in The Games. He was still 8 years old. He wouldn’t make it. Before Pam knew what she was doing, she pushed past the crowd and began to run to her brother.
“Benjamin!” she called out, catching the attention of the guards and everyone else.
Two of the guards came up to Pam, trying to push her back. But she knew there was only one way to save her brother.
“I volunteer! I volunteer!” Pam screamed out.
The guards stopped and stared at her, Benjamin’s eyes went wide, and Four looked at her best friend with shock.
“I volunteer as tribute.”
Everyone was silent, Pam was sure she was the center of attention now. But Pam didn’t care as she ran up to her brother, hugging the sobbing boy as he hugged her back.
“Pamela, no!” Benjamin cried.
“Benji, listen to me,” Pam whimpered. “It’s gonna be okay. Just stay strong you’ll be alright.”
Someone took Benjamin away from her, which made him begin to scream out to her. Pam looked up to see Jacob, tears in his eyes as he took Benjamin away.
“No! NO NO! Pamela! NOO!!” Benjamin cried out as the guards took Pam away and Jacob took him away.
“My my,” Tobias called out. “It seems we have a turn of events here as we have a volunteer in District 4.”
The guards led Pam up to the stage, her on the right of Tobias and Four on the left of Tobias.
“Tell me, what is your name?” Tobias asked the 14 year old.
“…Pamela Aliena…” Pam muttered into the microphone.
“Well, upon my word! I take it that was your little brother?”
“…Yes…and my big brother is with him now…”
Tobias giggled as if he had just been given an early birthday gift. “This is so exciting! Now let’s give a hand for our volunteer–Pamela Aliena!”
Tobias was the only one to applaud. But everyone else, except for the guards, lifted their right hand to their chests and placed their index finger on their chests, right on their heart. It was as if they were pointing to their hearts. Pam recognized what they were doing; it was their salute. Their salute meant that someone was with them in their hearts, that what they’ve done wouldn’t be forgotten, that they were brave.
Pam tried to hold back tears as she saw Jacob doing the same, but Benjamin had his face buried in Jacob’s clothes. Pam stared at Jacob, his face full of fear and dread.
“We praise our two Tributes,” Tobias told the two girls. “Happy Anniversary of The Games! And may the best Tributes win!”
And with that, Pam and Four were lead through the doors and away from the crowd.
So! Doc Hopper was actually Pammie’s fault haha ;) She was spending an afternoon with Jervis working on some theories and mixing up a few concotions, Jervis with his rabbits and Pam with her plants. Jervis had to go out for a moment and Pamela’s growth serum accidentally spilled on one of the rabbits, Doc Hopper.:’)
Crane stopped by a few days later and was greatly disturbed by the ginormous bun-bun. :)
one thing i really love about The Office is that Jim was never, like, the “friendzone guy”
Jim knew that his feelings for Pam would complicate their friendship, so he tried to ignore them to make her more comfortable
when he realized he wasn’t emotionally capable of sitting by while Pam married another man, he made arrangements to leave, and then told Pam about his feelings, not expecting her to reciprocate, telling her she was in no way responsible, and apologizing to her for his feelings
like, he probably shouldn’t have kissed her out of nowhere, but over all, Jim respected Pam’s autonomy in 2005 more than many TV men do in 2015
44 years ago today, James Douglas Morrison died in his apartment while in Paris. Here is a picture of him with his long-time partner Pam Courson, shot in Paris. Probably one of the last few photos of him ever
While it may seem odd that Michael would be a hufflepuff after some of the things he’s done, it’s very clear that he’s no stranger to hard work and is very loyal to Dunder Mifflin.
Dwight Schrute - Slytherin
Dwight does whatever it takes for him to get to the top. Obviously, Dwight’s not as bad person as he’s painted to be on the surface, but there’s no question that he’s ambitious.
Jim Halpert - Ravenclaw
Jim’s very clever, all of the different pranks he pulls on Dwight require a great amount of skill and he’s obviously very witty in his retorts and replies to his office-mates.
Pam Beesley - Gryffendor
Pam is very much like Neville Longbottom; she saw herself as weak and an underdog until she finally got the courage to end things with Roy. Her bravery is especially apparent when she leaves Dunder Mifflin and join Michael Scott Paper Company when she believes Michael is being treated unfairly by the company.
Ryan Howard - Slytherin
I believe Ryan could have been a hatstall between Slytherin and Ravenclaw but ultimately Ryan screwed over his friends to get a promotion and once he was in that position of power, he thoroughly exercised his authority to get what he wanted. Ryan didn’t seem very clever, just unadulterated ambition.
Andy Bernard - Ravenclaw
Andy is very smart and knows a lot - he was smart enough to get through Cornell mostly drunk with As and Bs, however he is contradictory to the ‘smarts-only’ stereotype in the fact that he constantly does things that label him as an idiot.
Angela Martin - Slytherin
Like Ryan, Angela isn’t afraid to step on some toes to get what she wants. There is speculation that she’s related to the Malfoys.
Kelly Kapoor - Gryffendor
Kelly is very brave, and sometimes does rash things for attention. While she can sometimes be braggy and annoying, I believe she is genuinely a good person.
Oscar Martinez - Ravenclaw
Oscar often bases most of his conversations and arguments on hardcore facts, always staying on the logical side of things. He tries not to let office silliness affect his work.
Erin Hannon - Hufflepuff
Erin is always willing to do whatever her boss asks for her, she is a very dedicated hard worker and just wants everybody to be happy.
Kevin Malone - Hufflepuff
Like Erin, Kevin just generally wants everybody to be happy. While he’s sometimes labeled as lazy, he’s always trying to do what’s been asked of him.
Phyllis Lapin - Gryffendor
Phyllis stands up for what she believes in. She stood up to Angela bout the PPC, and even to Dwight Schrute after he left her in the bad part of town.
Stanley Hudson - Slytherin
Stanley’s just there to do work, get paid, and leave. He thinks he’d be a better manager than anybody else ever.
Meredith Palmer - Gryffendor
Meredeth has been through a lot. She even got rabies and hit by a car while at work and is a pretty good sport about it. Not much is known about Meredith, but I have a gut feeling she’d be a Gryffendor.
Creed Bratton - Ravenclaw
Who is Creed?? Nobody knows. He’s maintained multiple identities over the years. His wit may be fading, but the man’s obviously got some smarts.
The Final Pam- The ultimate Mom. Dear god when she meets Agnus for the first time she cries because she has grandkids. She's a grandma, she is the best mom ever and this small tiny child is proof of that. She asks which one of the boys is the mom and Magnus and Merle just point to Taako. Taako is confused because Pam or whatever the fuck they really are is hugging them and crying. "TINY SON IS NOW MOMMA OF HIS OWN, PAM IS SO PROUD." Meanwhile Magnus and Merle make a run for it, taking Ango with