Saturday, December 12, 2009

Lindsey Baum and the Belly of the Beast

It's frustrating to have only rumor and probable coincidence to report about missing 11-year-old Lindsey Baum.

Around 9:15 pm on June 26, Lindsey J. Baum, then a 10-year old from the tiny town of McCleary, Washington, disappeared while walking from a friend's house to her home, only four short blocks away. Two of those four blocks are reported to be somewhat industrial -- though we are talking *rural* small town.

One block away is access to a major highway.

She'd just had an argument with her brother, but most everyone notes that she wasn't storming off mad. She didn't have the accoutrements you'd think of when thinking of a runaway -- no money, no cell phone, no change of clothes.

Some friends set out with her, so she was accompanied for a while before they peeled off to go to their own homes for dinner, or homework, a bath or shower, whatever.

Despite an intensive police search including the FBI and high-tech tools, along with frequent weekend searches conducted with volunteers from her hometown -- the case remains unsolved.

Some housekeeping items:

Family, friends and law enforcement officials hope that raising the amount of the reward for information about Lindsey Baum will encourage tips in the case. Currently, the reward money amounts to $10,000. If you would like to help in this effort, donations for the reward can be mailed directly to Sterlings Savings Bank at the following address:

Lindsey Baum Reward Fund
P.O. Box 600
McCleary, WA 98557

[In a formal and highly scientific study, I compared, via statistics, the number of (tweeted) hits that two nearly identical statements about Lindsey received. The difference? One statement mentioned the reward, and the other did not. The remark including the monetary reward received approximately 20% more attention. I've conducted the "experiment" three times now, alternating the order of presentation and attempting to publish each statement quickly, one right after the other.]

Yesterday, a local news station,, updated an earlier story about what one hopes is a terrible coincidence involving Lindsey Baum's relatives:

OLYMPIA, Wash. - Relatives of Lindsey Baum, the McCleary 10*-year-old girl [*11]who vanished in June, called Olympia police last month to report a stranger in their backyard.

The homeowner said the man was crouching beneath the bedroom window of Baum's two female cousins, who are 9 and 12 years old.

Olympia Police said any connection between the two cases is coincidental, but Grays Harbor County investigators have been in touch with Olympia Detectives about the Nov. 13 incident.

Investigators in the Baum case have not identified any suspects in the girl's disappearance.

"It's scary," said Derric, the father of the girls who did not want his last name published. Derric said he and his wife were already nervous about their kids' safety after what happened to his niece.

"It even makes you more cautious about your own children," said Derric.

Olympia police have released a sketch of the suspect from the case in the backyard break-in. Detectives said the man may be responsible for two attempted luring cases in Olympia in November.

On Nov. 10, about eight blocks from the house where the man was seen, a man approached a 10-year-old girl and asked if she needed a ride. She ran home and police were contacted.

On November 24, about two miles from the home, a 9-year-old girl said a stranger asked her if she could help him load groceries into her car. She said no and ran away.

In both incidents, the man was reportedly driving a silver car.

Detectives said the girls did not think the man in the sketch released by police was the man that approached them, but police said it's possible he could be responsible for all three incidents.

When Derric confronted the man in his backyard , he asked what the man was doing. Derric said the man told him he was a building inspector. Derric said when he asked the man for his I.D., the man walked quickly to his car, and drove off. Derric told police the man was driving a silver Mazda.

[NOTE: The video at King5 TV site includes a sketch of the suspect (and the rather remarkable hole in his right ear lobe!)]

I will spare you the explicit details that the "forensic astrologists" have come up with, as well as the conclusions of a witch living in Japan who has been gifted with dreams containing the name of a suspect (or three). It is disconcerting to note the degree of specificity these folks manage to come up with, and how deftly they incorporate real factoids into their fictions. I have found myself with a racing heart, and hope near at hand, while reading their insights -- forgetting that I'm not dealing with people well-grounded in reality. What? Why, yes, I *do* have a slightly pejorative opinion of the occult arts. How ever did you know?

If the belly of the beast interests you, or if you just want to "learn how forensic astrology works and gathers critical details and key actions pertaining to crimes," visit the mentalists at Websleuths. If you are a practitioner, please leave a blank comment to help me understand...

The self-described "Eclectic Wiccan Pagan - Former U.S. Goth - Japanese Language Speaker," goes by the Twitter name of "ren1999 ." S/he also goes by Kira3696 on other sites. S/he coyly announced, back on 16 July: "I am a psychic detective working on the case of Lindsey Baum. No really. Did you know that about me?"

Ren1999 has deleted this tweet from 3 October, in which a suspect is identified. Soon thereafter, I believe, something was said about a vehicle, but I failed to copy that communication.

D*le Allen Walt*rs G*lder. His online nickname may be "Alice Waters" and possibly indicates he posted to missing Lindsey Baum's website.

Ren/Kira frequents the Wicca Online Community, where he has his own page with a profile name of "Jon Tomas." There, Ren/Kira has the assistance of one "Lady Ella HPS" and sidekicks "Catt" and "Pat P 53" -- who join in discussions about Lindsey in one of their forums.

I am not sure how {whistle::whistle}, but investigators are well aware of this individual. Of course, it is barbaric, the pain this sort of thing is causing for Lindsey's parents, family, and friends, not to mention the amount of time law enforcement has to waste in investigating these "findings" -- and their "finders." Because, of course, one's initial impulse is to wonder if these psychic sleuthes might not include the actual kidnapper, who is enjoying a bit of Twisted Sport.

Lady Ella, on 15 July:
MM A ten year old girl has been missing for over two weeks in McCleary Washington. I have gotten some visons about the situation, and they are being acknowleged, however we all got together for Purple Owl and had great results. Everyones help is needed desparately. do you think that we could put our differences aside amd do a spell to help find her, this has Nothing to do with me, but a child. Please soften your hearts and help find her ..............Blessed BE, The Lady Ella

Catt answers: Do they have anything to go on? Did anyone see anything. The more information I have the better. We could do a spell very like the one we did for Purple Owl. Does everyone remember what we did? You can go look at the discussion called Bring a Rapist to Justice. We just need to change the who and it will work the same. Do you think she is still alive? Do you think she was kidnapped or is she lost? I'll be happy to help.

Lady Ella ramps things up with: MM Appearently she left her friends house sometime after 9 pm and had to walk 4 blocks to her home, alone......She never made it home..........In my visions I saw an older model white van, the type with the doors on the back,,,,,,,,,,I saw woods and then I saw a body of water with a bridge spaning it.......Here's the best part, I saw a white male in his 30's, his head was shaved and he had a goatee. The shirt that he was wearing had the sleeves cut off. I can see his face a clear as day and could pick him out of a line-up or photo. Sadly, I don't think that the little girl is still alive. I also feel that this monster is known by the family...............This is all that I have gotten so far but I'll let you know if more should come to me. Thank You very much . Blessed Be, The Lady Ella

Anyway, it goes on. And on.

Ren/Kira fuels the fire, and soon the visions and suspects are, blessed be, practically climbing out of the woodwork. I confess to being especially defensive about ren1999's invocation of "Alice Waters," as I am a longtime fan of the lady, and her food!

In fact, let us pause in the abundance of our lives, and dégustons today's menu at Chez Panisse:

Saturday, December 12
An apéritif
Warm spiny lobster salad with cardoons and artichokes
Monterey Bay squid ragout pasta with zinfandel and leeks
Grilled rack, loin, and leg of James Ranch lamb in zinfandel sauce with roasted vegetables
and braised endives and greens
Meyer lemon soufflé

There is much more nonsense out there than I can stomach, and to have it be associated with the task of finding missing children makes it especially odious. Each time I post an "update," I make myself revisit these urchins, and sometimes find new visionaries and charlatans, all the while wondering if Lindsey Baum could even begin to fathom herself as the lead topic in the "Crones and Elders" section of an online Wiccan Community, Please note, I've nothing against wicca. I'm sure to have mentioned at some point that The Fredster is a druid, no?

Still? Seeing just some of the weirdness out there, I worry about an important but small detail escaping notice.

What kind of monster took Lindsey? And do I have the right to denigrate anyone who is working against him? I need to go back and leave my overly-developed ego at the door.


  1. It does seem well-intentioned but intellectually lazy to try to divine these sorts of things. The detectives and forensic scientists deserve much more credit for their contributions to justice and crimes solved. "Medium" makes for good prime time television I guess...

  2. i confess to having little sympathy for these efforts, not being able to name them "well-intentioned." the detectives et al have spent an inordinate amount of time chasing rumors and false leads, and i do begrudge the authors of those things every minute that might have been spent on that which is worthwhile.

    but all along, dr. charles, i have suspected that you are just an out-and-out nice person; i know that i am not.


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