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ESP, Murder, and a Kook
A Rabbit Hole Mystery
OK. I have to see where this goes, and I want you to come along with me. I’m going to start with a summary of this story. Eunice (Goyen) Boeve, who always has had ESP, kept the fact to herself until her husband died in 2018. Then, since he was in heaven anyway, there was no point keeping it secret anymore, especially after he started using her ESP powers to talk to her from heaven and proposed they write a book together.
I swear, check for yourself.
The entire feature reads like a follow-up story profiling a serial killer, but it instead is a press release promoting her book, The Thin Veil Between Us.
I don’t know why I’m compelled to debunk people who are clearly liars or nutballs, but it’s my curse. Even before the internet, I would spend hours in the library reading indexes for clues. Now that it’s easy, though, I do it way more often. That’s how I spent my Tuesday evening researching Eunice’s father, Harry Goyen of Libby, Montana.
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So, in case you didn’t follow the link and read the story, here’s the critical part for now (reproduced exactly):
“Her first remembered premonition at the age of 5 that her father was leaving them and circumstances at the time of his death four months later, led her to believe that evil people had come in the night while they slept and killed him.”
It went on to say that her mother had a mental breakdown following the incident.
Father murdered in his sleep and mother driven mad? AND a psychic child who foresaw it all? There’s got to be a story behind that.
I found the father’s obit pretty easily:
It was odd that they didn’t mention the murder because this is an era where they totally would have. The next guy on the page died after a long illness. The notice after that was about an out-of-town death. It said that former local, 32-year-old Claud E. Forester of Lowell, Oregon, had returned home. Two things stuck out. His age and his name.
Even as I conducted a search for “Claud E. Forester” I knew I should be searching for Claude Forester. The poor bastard’s name was misspelled in all the out-of-town papers. I get that it’s an obit, but I feel like the odds of someone spelling a common name oddly AND having the same middle initial as the more common spelling of their name are infinitesimal. It should have rung someone’s bell.
So it turns out Claude hanged himself, leaving behind a wife and three children. One of the obits I saw added that he was a shovel operator at the McDowell Creek Logging Company. I couldn’t find any more on this Claude, although I discovered a different Claude Forester in the society pages taking trips with his wife and being entertained at other society homes. I also found Claude getting fined for peddling porn in the 1950s. I hope they were the same guy; that’s a good story (for another rabbit hole).
Or maybe there were three Claude Foresters living in the area in the 1940s and 50s.
The point is, cause of death used to be included in the obits as often as not. Continued digging into Harry’s murder returned no results. There were no home invasion murders in Montana the week of Harry’s demise.
A broader search, though, led me to an earlier essay by our modern-day Madam Blavatsky. In that one, collected in Montana Cowboy: An Anthology of Western Life, by Wanda Rosseland, Eunice said her father died of a known respiratory ailment that had been plaguing him in the days leading up to his absolutely natural death.
I want to reproduce part of Eunice’s final paragraph about her cowboy daddy for you:
“Although my father, along with many of the old-time packers, is gone now, if I place called heaven exists, you can bet he has not opted for the use of a harp or a trip on the golden stairs, but a good saddle horse, long stretches of uninhabited land, and, yes, sure, a short string of pack ponies would be just fine.”
IF? a place called heaven exists? Aren’t you secretly being haunted by the supernatural?
Sidenote: I didn’t make any effort to find out if her mother really went mad. If she did it runs in the family (although the tantalizing notion that she suffocated her no-good husband with a pillow before he could split on his seven (7!) children is worth considering for gruesome kicks).
Why Pick on a Crazy Old Lady?
At this point, I’m three or four hours into my research debunking a press release that almost no one else saw or cared about. Worse, I have been within spitting distance of finishing my next book for about three months and have a looming deadline at work. I have better ways I could spend four productive writing and research hours.
If you’re new here, I wrote a book about a Christian internet cult. The research opened my eyes to how obvious lies and vicious behavior are always acceptable if they come from God. Any liar or psychopath is free to follow their bananas bliss as long as they’re on a mission from God. In fact, it’s a miracle that the Blues Brothers went to jail.
There is a pattern here directly related to my book, and I want to call it out.
Montana Cowboy was published by Rowman and Littlefield in 2011. Rosseland’s follow-up work in 2017, Angels Among Us: Extraordinary Encounters with Heavenly Beings, was self-published.
In publishing, when the truth fails, put out something supernatural and the congenitally gullible will eat it up. Eunice has been cranking out YA fiction for more than a decade. Her last book (coincidentally, in 2017) was the second in a series about a guy who sounds a lot like her father.
I’m not saying she stole the idea about being psychic and writing a book about it from Rosseland, I’m saying that this happens all the time. Failed and bad fiction writers all find their way into “nonfiction” with supernatural claptrap. That’s not even much of an insight. But let’s play out a different scenario.
An old woman who can’t even recount her first ESP experience claims second sight upon the death of her husband. She tells the people in her life that her dead husband is now regularly LITERALLY speaking to her from heaven, and no one bats an eye.
It is and always will remain baffling to me that when people hear voices in their head we’re fine with it as long as it’s God, Jesus, or a dead relative talking. Yet, we’re somehow surprised when people slaughter one another over a couple of square miles of magic sand God told them they could have.
There is a creeping madness among the very religious and a feverish cash grab among (let’s call them) the mercenary religious—those who are happy to set people of faith upon one another with vile words and weapons as long as it means they don’t have to get a straight job.
I’m working on a story now about a guy who woke up from a dream where God told him to go kill his brother, so he went upstairs and shot him in the head. Why do we think that man is probably crazy or lying and this old crone is somehow harmless? Is it really because God hasn’t had her kill anyone yet? Is that genuinely the only time we don’t believe God’s commanding a follower?
Along those lines: how the H. E. double hockey sticks is this priest still walking around free?
What I guess I’m asking (and what I wrote about in my very interesting book that you should buy here) is to start taking people at their word when it comes to their beliefs. Those who literally hear voices in their head telling them what to do are insane or they’re lying. There is no third option.
I’m open to a conversation about inspiration and faith, or about intuition and belief, but accepting as a premise that someone who listens to voices ordering her to write a book is somehow materially different from someone who listens to voices and shoots his brother or organizes a terrorist attack just doesn’t scan.
Keep the Faith,
I don’t plug my book as often as I know I should, so let me do it again here. I recorded my own audiobook and I think it’s pretty good. If you have Audible, maybe consider choosing it for your “free” book this month. It’s also available on Spotify.
Speaking of Spotify, I also have a playlist that goes along with the book, it’s probably worth a listen just for “Orgone Box” but you can hear it here or on Apple.
Speaking of which…
I also brought the book up because I’ll be on a nonfiction authors panel 6-7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 8 at the Ocean Pines Branch of the Worcester County Library. Click here for the same details but on their website.
I’m excited to have been asked and am looking forward to talking about the Shrinerites once again.
Tony the Noodge
These are some of my favorite recent posts on Notes. I’m telling you you’re missing out.
Finally (and I hope you stayed for this) it is my full intention to deliver my first video notebook dump tomorrow morning. My wife said “notebook dump” is ill-conceived. Maybe I’ll come up with one before I record.
The thing is, I have more story ideas than I have time to write them so little insights and other things that don’t need actual reporting are going on video. I think I’ll probably do it first thing in the morning, robed and unshaven. We’ll see how things go for my Thursday night.