5 More Of The Wildest Theories Connected To True Crime Cases

Welcome to True Crime Tuesday where we review, recommend and generally obsess over everything crime-related.

Unsolved cases are ripe for conspiracy theories to run rampant. Since there’s no concrete explanation for what happened, it’s only natural for people to attempt to fill in the gaps in a range of creative ways. From claims that U.S Senator Ted Cruz is the Zodiac Killer to theories that H.H. Holmes was also Jack the Ripper, the internet is full of theories that people actually manage to make sound plausible.

Something that many of us—and sometimes the police, too—are guilty of is latching on to a theory and then twisting the evidence or only paying attention to evidence that fits that theory. Confirmation bias can be a real problem, especially in the investigation of a crime that seems to make no logical sense. Generally, trusting Occam’s Razor—the idea that the most likely theory is probably the correct one—is the way to go, but that doesn’t mean reading about these crazy theories isn’t entertaining. Here are five (more) of the wildest theories connected to well-known cases.

Johnny Gosch is alive and in hiding
Johnny Gosch was only twelve when he vanished while he was doing his paper route in 1982. There were very few leads and he hasn’t been seen or heard from since—unless you ask his mother, Noreen. Since her son’s disappearance, Noreen Gosch has publicly claimed that her son is alive but living under a different identity. How does she know this? Because he came to visit her once. According to Noreen, Johnny, who would have been 27 at the time, knocked on her door in the middle of the night in March 1997. She recognized him immediately, and the two talked for hours.

In the self-published Why Johnny Can’t Come Home, Noreen presents her theory on what happened to her son. The theory is based on his visit and research done by various private investigators and it claimed that Johnny was kidnapped by a pedophile organization. Although he was eventually released when he got too old, he doesn’t believe it’s safe to return home, so he is in hiding. No one else can corroborate Noreen’s story, and not even her now-ex husband is sure the visit actually occurred.

Kathleen Peterson was killed by an owl
Widely known as “The Owl Theory”, the idea that Kathleen Peterson’s death occurred after she was attacked by an owl didn’t come up until 2009, six years after her husband Michael Peterson had already been convicted of her murder. The theory was raised by a neighbour of the Petersons who was also an attorney after he read the evidence list and saw that a “feather” was listed. Turned out, the crime lab had found a microscopic owl feather and a wooden sliver from a tree limb clutched in Kathleen’s hand.

Although the theory was immediately disregarded by authorities, many people believe it to be plausible. Other evidence supporting the theory include the fact that Kathleen’s scalp wounds were consistent with marks that could be left by talons, and bloody footprints indicated that Kathleen was already bleeding before she made it to the staircase where her body was found. Experts agree that it’s not uncommon for owls to attack humans, so even though the owl theory sounds crazy, it is possible that Kathleen’s death really was a freak animal attack and not murder.

The Eriksson twins were an MKUltra Experiment
Twin sisters Ursula and Sabine Eriksson were on their way to Liverpool in May 2008 when they began acting erratically. The bus driver refused to let them reboard the bus after a rest stop on the M6 motorway and not long after, but Ursula and Sabine ran across the road, attempting to dodge traffic. Ursula made it across but Sabine was hit. The police were called, but rather than accept help, both women tried again to run across the busy highway, this time, both getting hit. Ursula was taken to hospital but Sabine was treated and released. While she wandered the street looking for her sister, she came across a man named Glenn Hollingshead who, concerned about her well being, let her stay the night at his house. To express her gratitude, Sabine stabbed Glenn to death the very next day.

There was no evidence of drug or alcohol in the twins’ systems, and Sabine’s defense team argued what happened was caused by an episode of folie à deux (or “shared psychosis”), a rare disorder in which delusional beliefs are transmitted from one individual to another. There are a number of conspiracy theories including they were possessed with demons, but one of the most interesting is that the twins were test subjects of the CIA mind control experiment called MKUltra. BBC’s documentary Murder in the Fast Lane goes into detail about the twins’ and what could have caused them to do what they did.

Katy Perry is JonBenet
Claiming that JonBenet Ramsey is alive and well is far-fetched enough, but to say she actually grew up to be one of the most well-known pop stars in the world is pretty much ridiculous. The theory claims that JonBenet didn’t actually die, but was instead kidnapped—by none other than the Illuminati, the secret society central to probably hundreds of conspiracy theories involving celebrities.

While saying Katy Perry resembles what a grown up JonBenet might look like isn’t that weird, theorists have gone so far as to analyze and match very specific parts of her face, particularly her eyebrows. As if that could possible prove anything. One of main pieces of evidence that Katy Perry couldn’t possibly be JonBenet is the fact that Perry is 33, and JonBenet, if alive today, would only be 28.

Diane Schuler crashed her car because she had a tooth ache
In the HBO documentary, There’s Something Wrong With Aunt Diane, we learn about the tragic accident that killed Diane Schuler, and seven more. Diane was driving a van with her daughter, son, and three nieces as passengers when she turned around and purposely started speeding down the wrong way of the busy Taconic State Parkway. After traveling 1.7 miles in the wrong direction, the van collided with an SUV, killing everyone except her 5-year-old son in the van and three more in the SUV. The toxicology report revealed that Diane was extremely intoxicated on both marijuana and alcohol at the time of the crash. Despite this evidence, her husband Daniel has publicly defended her claiming that she didn’t have a substance abuse problem.

Daniel believed his wife must have suffered a stroke, an aneurysm, or a heart attack which caused her to drive erratically, but the autopsy showed no signs of any of those things. In the HBO documentary, the theory that Diane was suffering severe pain from a tooth abscess and may have used drugs and alcohol to self-medicate is put forth. Everything combined may have put her into a temporary state of delirium which is when the crash occurred. Again, the autopsy turned up no signs of a tooth abscess so bad it would cause Diane to act so erratically.

RELATED:
5 Crazy Conspiracy Theories Surrounding Famous Cases

Courtney Hardwick

Courtney Hardwick

Courtney Hardwick is a freelance writer based in Toronto. Her work has appeared on AmongMen.com, 29secrets.com, therichest.com, and ELLECanada.com.  When she isn’t writing about relationships, and the best TV shows and books you should really already know about, she is working on her novel. She hopes to have it published by 2025. You can follow her on Twitter @Courtooo.

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