When Jensine Eckwall approached me for a submission to the “creepypasta” zine she was co-curating with Peter Schmidt, I hadn’t heard the term before but had come across plenty of urban legends proliferated on the internet that would certainly qualify.
The thing is, I hear about the truly horrifying shit real people—real, actual people with names and social security numbers and families—do to other human beings that urban legends can seem…..quaint by comparison. My aunt’s first husband kept her trapped in their house for years and the day she decided to escape he jumped off a building on live television, just to punish her. A family friend of ours discovered her husband was planning to kill her and her children while they slept and got out just in time. Her best friend, a pianist, was later murdered by her husband moments after their last phone call, during which my friend sensed something wasn’t right and begged her to leave the house. He cut off her fingers before strangling her to death, and then hung himself. What urban legend is really going to frighten me more than the knowledge that human beings are fucking evil sometimes?
I wish urban legends scared me. I am so thrilled at the excellent art featured in Jensine and Peter’s zine by people with the talent (and perhaps the innocence) to really capture the spirit of the stories and myths they chose. Seriously, there is so much amazing art going in to this thing, I can’t wait to own my copy. But I hesitated, because I wasn’t sure if I could get into the spirit of things. So I asked Jensine if it would be alright to do a real story, something true and traceable, but with that haunting “there but for the grace of God go I” atmosphere that, in my opinion, distinguishes the best creepypasta.
I got the go ahead, so I chose this story, told by Jay Roberts, who met a handsome stranger on the beach one glorious day and decided to follow him back to his motel room for some beers and stimulating conversation. From Captain Awkward, who first introduced me to this story:
“(Randy Kraft) got Roberts, a straight, strapping male Marine to pose for sexy photos and even consider a sexual encounter, and he did it by making the guy feel, in his own words, *loved.* Such was Kraft’s charisma that years later, despite evidence that AN EXTREMELY BIG NUMBER OF OTHER TIMES this guy murdered people exactly like the writer in situations exactly like that one, even recognizing that the guy was manipulating him, had likely stalked & selected him as a good victim, he *still* questions whether that “really” would have happened to him and still has complicated feelings about the guy.”
This story gives me The Fear. If you read Randy Kraft’s wikipedia article, you can get an idea how close Roberts was to becoming a special guest star in Randy’s nightmarish sexual death game, but Randy chose to let him leave that motel room alive that day none the wiser. And yet, he didn’t—it’s clear from reading Robert’s account that Randy made him feel things he’d never felt before: adored, worshiped, sexy. Being the object of another’s gaze catches some straight men off guard, when they’re so accustomed to being the ones who do the looking. Randy didn’t need to butcher Roberts to get under his skin, and I think a part of him lives there even now.
“Based on what I knew about Marines, I told him that approaching them for gay sex seemed like a foolproof way to get a right proper ass-kicking.
He responded with a line I remember more than anything else said that afternoon, and I was struck by how casual, confident, and analytic he was about the thought: “No, you just have to get them away from their friends.”
Larry Bittaker - hair thief and murderabilia collector
Randy Kraft does not approve of murderabilia and Larry Bittaker knows that. That didn’t stop Bittaker from stealing locks of Kraft’s hair and giving it to people to sell!
From an interview with Bittaker where the interviewer asks if he has any serial killer friends in prison:
Randy Kraft. He was in my yard. He would get his hair cut out there. And I would pick it up from the ground and give it to one of my collector friends on the outside, and he would sell it. In return, these guys on the outside would send me smut magazines or stamps. Randy found out I was giving away his hair. He doesn’t talk to me any more.
Known as the Freeway Killer, Kraft was convicted of 16 killings, but his own accounts and evidence link him to more than 50 other murders. He was sentenced to death and is currently on Death Row in San Quentin State Prison.
Kraft was born in California, the only son in a family with three daughters. His school years were described as bright and scholarly. He joined the Air Force in 1968 and because of his very high scores on I.Q. tests, he was given increased security clearances. After his discharge from the military, Kraft was back bartending like he did during his college years. Kraft’s first victim was said to have been in September 1971, a gay bartender that was found alongside the highway.
During the 1970’s and early 80’s, dozens of homicides occurred along the freeways of California, with some bodies being discovered in the state of Oregon. The victims were strangled, shot or killed by means of torture and drug overdoses, but all were sadistically abused. Kraft was almost arrested in 1975, when a victims head was found near Long Beach, evidence pointed to the victim having been in Kraft’s car at some point, but prosecutors felt they didn’t have enough evidence to arrest.
His killings continued until 1983 when he was carelessly pulled over on the San Diego Freeway. After failing a field sobriety test, the office checked inside the car and found the dead body of Kraft’s final victim. The investigation uncovered a list of apparent victims, but it was written in a form of code that has never been fully understood. It is believed that the list may identify a total of 66 victims in all.
This unidentified man was found nude on the 6th of February 1973, dumped in a ditch beside the Terminal Island Freeway in Wilmington, Los Angeles County, California. Investigators believe he was a victim of notorious serial killer Randy Kraft, aka the Scorecard Killer.
The decedent is believed to have been murdered 1 - 2 days prior to his discovery. He is described as a white male, aged 17 - 25 and between 5'7" - 5'8". He had brown eyes, brown hair and numerous thin old scars on his lower right leg.
Anyone with information on this case can contact the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office on 323-343-0754 or 0512 and ask for Daniel Machian.
Shortly after 1 a.m. on May 14, 1983, highway patrol officers in Orange County, California, stopped a weaving motorist suspected of intoxication. The driver Randy Kraft, immediately left his vehicle, all smiles as he approached the cruiser to conduct his business. Growing more suspicious by the moment, officers walked Kraft back to his car, where they found Terry Gambrel, a 25-year-old Marine, slumped dead in the passenger’s seat. He had been strangled with a belt, and Kraft was booked on suspicion of murder, held in lieu of $250,000 bail.
A background check on Kraft revealed a l966 arrest for lewd conduct in Huntington Beach, with charges dismissed. He graduated from college a year later, with a degree in economics, and spent a year in the air force before he was discharged on grounds related to homosexual behavior. In 1975, Kraft was arrested in Long Beach for lewd conduct with another man; on conviction, he spent five days in jail and paid a $125 fine.
The search of Kraft’s impounded auto turned up forty-seven color photographs depicting several young men, some of them naked, some apparently unconscious – or worse. A briefcase in the trunk contained a notebook, filled with more than sixty cryptic messages in some personal code. A tour of Kraft’s home uncovered further evidence , convincing the authorities they had a most prolific killer on their hands, Kraft’s photographs depicted three young men whose deaths were still unsolved in Southern California. Robert Loggins, a teenaged Marine, had been found dead in September 1980; now, police examined snapshots of his naked body, stretched out on a couch recovered from Kraft’s home. Roger De Vaul, age 20, was last seen alive while hitchhiking with a friend, Geoffrey Nelson, on February 12, 1983. Nelson’s body was found in Garden Grove that afternoon; De Vaul’s had turned up the following day. Eric Church, another chronic hitchhiker, was found dead in Orange County on March 27, 1983.
Randy Kraft is a serial killer who was homosexual and targeted men - most of whom were also gay. He was born in Long Beach on March 19, 1945. When he was three his family moved to Westminster where he graduated from Westminster High School in 1963, 10th in his class. He was awarded a scholarship to Claremont Men’s College. In 1964 he had his first known gay relationship, with a “black guy named Mike.” In 1965 he was arrested after offering to have sex with a guy at Huntington Beach Pier. The man was a vice officer. He was released, being a first offense.
In 1968 he joined the air force and began painting test planes. He also campaigned for Kennedy. The following year he told his family that he was gay. They disapproved and he became distant, and the air force discharged him for “medial reasons” when they also learned of his homosexuality. Kraft upgraded from valium, which he started taking in college, to speed - in order to lose weight.
It seems like it was these changes in his life - the world not accepting who he was, and his progression into heavier drugs - as well as some other underlying mental disorder - that moved him to kill the first time in 1970.
Kraft managed to have further relationships with men - Jeff Graves in 1971 and Jeff Seelig from 1972 to 1980. But despite this he continued to kill. The total number is unknown but is suspected to have been between 14 and 61 young men between the ages of 17 and 25.
Kraft was finally arrested on May 14, 1983 and convicted and sentenced to death row on November 29, 1989. The sentence was upheld by the California Supreme Court on April 11, 2000. He is still alive and currently completing his life sentence at San Quentin State Prison in California.