188: Order of the Solar Temple

Episode 188: In early October of 1994, during a bizarre, nearly simultaneous sequence of murder / suicides, in Quebec, and across the Atlantic in Switzerland, 53 members of the Order of the Solar Temple were found dead in burned out buildings. The deaths fulfilled what the cult’s leaders claimed was the group’s “final transit” or return to Unity with God required before the impending end of the world. Even though it appeared to be over, more cult members were yet to die. Over a year later, in December of 1995, sixteen members of the cult died in France. More than a year after that, in march 1997, another five cult members died in Quebec bringing the death toll to 74. The cult’s two founders, Luc Jouret and Joseph Di Mambro, were among the dead in 1994, however, some fear there may be future related mass murder / suicides by followers still practicing in secret.

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186: Canadians and the September 11, 2001 Attacks

Episode 186: Twenty years ago, on the morning of September 11, 2001, as the world watched in horror, 19 radical Islamist al-Qaeda terrorists launched a group of coordinated attacks using four commuter planes as weapons, hitting several preplanned targets in the eastern United States. Two of the airliners were flown deliberately into each of the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City, a third plane smashed into the U.S. Pentagon. A fourth plane believed to have been bound for the U.S. Capitol building crashed into a field in Pennsylvania after passengers aboard the flight fought back against the terrorists who’d taken over the flight.

Among the 2977 people who died as a direct result of the attacks, 24 of those were Canadian. As with many other countries, Canada stepped up to help in the immediate aftermath. What follows are details of the initial attacks and then some of the stories from that day and its aftermath.

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185: She Told Me To: The Blackman Family Tragedy

Episode 185: RCMP officers arrived at the Blackman family residence on Spuraway Avenue in Coquitlam, B.C.’s Ranch Park subdivision in the early morning hours of January 18th, 1983. A neighbour had called 911after hearing screams and then witnessing what appeared to be a domestic argument next door that escalated into a shooting. Inside the eerily silent home as the cold winter rain fell, the responding officers found a horrific and bloody scene; six members of the Blackman family were dead.

The deceased were Richard Blackman, 50, his wife, Irene Blackman, 49, their daughter, Roberta Lynn Davies, 28, Roberta’s husband, John Iowerth Davies, 39, Karen Dale Rhodes, 25, another of the Blackman’s daughters, and the youngest of the Blackman children, 16-year-old son, Rick Blackman. Just outside the home, police had detained a young man, 22-year-old, Bruce Alfred Blackman, another of Irene and Richard’s sons. Bruce, who’d been picked up as police arrived, was acting bizarrely, telling the RCMP officers that he was the Antichrist and that the world was going to end on January 31.

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184 – Monster in Mississauga: The Murders of Candace Dickey and Neda Novak

Episode 184: In Mississauga, Ontario in 1973 and early 1974, the discoveries of the murdered bodies of two young women, Constance Dickey, 19, and Neda Novak, 18, only months apart, left the community shaken. Both women, it appeared, had been abducted, sexually assaulted, then murdered and dumped by a yet unknown killer. On August 19, 1974, after being sexually assaulted and left for dead, a sixteen-year-old girl, Julia Sheldon, identified a twenty-four-year-old, married father of two named Henry Robert Williams as the man who’d brutally assaulted her. It soon became clear that Williams had also committed the two previous murders.

Read more184 – Monster in Mississauga: The Murders of Candace Dickey and Neda Novak

183 – Sins of the Father — The Delorme Affair

Early on a cold morning on January 7, 1922, two Montreal city Public Works Department employees, on their way to their works shed, discovered the body of a man laying on the frozen ground near the corners of Coolbrook and Snowden Street. The man, who’d been shot was later identified by a Catholic Priest named Adélard Delorme as his half-brother, Raoul Delorme. When police investigated they were surprised that their evidence pointed to one, very unusual suspect. This case would become important, not only for the oddity of its perpetrator and the groundbreaking forensics used to break the case but also for its shocking outcome.

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182 – Sundown — The Death of John Belushi

This is a story of two talented people whose final interaction would lead to the death of one of comedy’s rising stars and a notorious place in Hollywood history for the other.

On March 5, 1982, after an all too brief but stellar career in film and television, actor and comedian John Belushi, 33, was found dead in his bungalow at the infamous Chateau Marmont on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood, California. Investigators soon discovered that a Canadian woman, Catherine Evelyn or Cathy Smith, was the last person with the star and had been the person who had supplied and shot him up with the fatal overdose that killed him.

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181 – The Headless Men of the Nahanni Valley

The region in the South Nahanni River played host to several unexplained and disturbing occurrences in the first half of the twentieth century. Between1905 and 1945, in the remote and rugged wilderness in the lower west corner of Mackenzie Mountains in the Northwest Territories and other unexplained events, there were at least 44 people who went missing under mysterious circumstances.

Most unsettling of all were the four bodies that were found during that time in three separate incidents. All of the corpses had been decapitated, and their heads were never recovered, earning the area the ominous nickname, the Valley of the Headless Men. No one knows who was responsible for these horrific mutilations or what became of the other missing people.

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180 – Renfrew County Rampage: Carol Culleton, Anastasia Kuzyk and Nathalie Warmerdam

On September 22, 2015, in Renfrew County, Ontario, 66-year-old Carol Culleton was murdered in her home by her one-time handyman. The man, who’d become obsessed with the recent widow before killing her, then stole Culleton’s car and drove to the home of an ex-girlfriend, Anastasia Kuzyk, 36, and shot Anastasia there with a shotgun as her sister fled the home. However, the killer was not done settling the scores he had cooked up in his head and then drove to the home of another ex-girlfriend, Nathalie Warmerdam, 48. As Nathalie’s son ran from their home, in fear of his life, he heard the gunshot that ended his mother’s life.

The killer, Basil Borutski, 58, a former millwright, then fled, and a brief search ensued that ended in Borutski being taken into police custody. Later on, in a 5-hour long taped police interview, the killer admitted to what he’d done, laying the blame for his spree squarely on his victims.

Read more180 – Renfrew County Rampage: Carol Culleton, Anastasia Kuzyk and Nathalie Warmerdam

179 – Tragedy in the Amazon: The Ayahuasca Murders

On April 19, 2018, in the village of Victoria Gracia, a community close to Pucallpa in Peru’s central Amazon region of Ucayali, a man got off his motorcycle. He walked toward the home of Olivia Arevalo Lomas, an 81-year-old shaman and respected elder in her community. The man was irate over a debt owed to him by the woman’s son. After firing a warning shot that drew a crowd of neighbours, the elderly healer came out of her house. After a bit of yelling back and forth, the man gunned the woman down with two shots from his pistol, killing her in broad daylight.

The man, later identified as Sebastian Paul Woodroffe, a 41-year-old British Columbian in Peru as an Ayahuasca researcher, was pursued by villagers who publicly lynched him. A cellphone recorded his killing, and the user later posted the video to Facebook. Woodroffe’s body was buried in a shallow grave. Two Peruvian men were later arrested for Woodroffe’s slaying.

What led this man, known to his friends as a gentle, helpful soul, to such a brutal crime?

Read more179 – Tragedy in the Amazon: The Ayahuasca Murders