Un­ex­plained

Who knew what was hap­pen­ing be­hind the closed doors of Cir­cleville?

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The anony­mous let­ter ar­rived out of nowhere. And Ron’s wife Mary de­nied the ac­cu­sa­tions in it. She wasn’t hav­ing an af­fair. But the let­ter de­manded Ron take ac­tion against his cheat­ing wife.

It was 1976, and Mary had been get­ting sim­i­lar let­ters for months, but had told no-one.

I know where you live, read the first. I’ve been ob­serv­ing your house and know you have chil­dren. This is no joke.

Quiet, re­spected Mary drove the lo­cal school bus in Cir­cleville, Ohio.

The let­ters, ac­cus­ing her of hav­ing an af­fair with the school su­per­in­ten­dent, were all writ­ten in black ink, with a post­mark of Colum­bus, 28 miles from Cir­cleville.

Mary had hid­den the let­ters ini­tially. But now her

hus­band Ron had re­ceived one. Then another…

You have had two weeks and done noth­ing. Ad­mit the truth and in­form the school board. If not, I will broad­cast it on posters and bill­boards un­til the truth comes out.

More let­ters ar­rived for Mary and Ron Gille­spie. Some full of vul­gar lan­guage, oth­ers with crude di­a­grams of sex acts.

Then, on 19 Au­gust 1977, Ron Gille­spie an­swered a phone call at the house.

Some­thing was said that an­gered Ron so much, he stormed off… gun in hand.

Later that day, his car was found crashed into a tree, his dead body in­side.

The author­i­ties found Ron had been drink­ing – ex­cept he was nor­mally tee­to­tal. And his gun had been fired once…

The death was ruled a drunken ac­ci­dent. But who­ever had writ­ten those let­ters to Ron and Mary dis­agreed.

Now, peo­ple all over Cir­cleville started get­ting let­ters, all claim­ing Ron’s death wasn’t an ac­ci­dent…

Mary de­cided to come clean and ad­mit­ted the af­fair. But the let­ters didn’t stop. Fi­nally, in 1983, the writer car­ried out that prom­ise to shame Mary Gille­spie in pub­lic.

A bill­board ap­peared along her bus route, de­tail­ing her af­fair, threat­en­ing her chil­dren.

See­ing it, Mary went to tear it down.

But, at­tached to the bill­board she found a string, at­tached to a post, at­tached to a box… in it, a pis­tol rigged to fire in her face.

Luck­ily, it hadn’t gone off. Now, though, po­lice had a clue.

The gun’s se­rial num­ber led in­ves­ti­ga­tors to Paul Freshour, Ron’s brother-in-law.

Paul was ar­rested. He claimed the gun had gone miss­ing years ear­lier, de­nied be­ing the let­ter writer. But Paul was close enough to the fam­ily to know their se­crets...

He was given a hand­writ­ing test. But ex­perts couldn’t agree if he’d writ­ten the let­ters. The ev­i­dence against him was cir­cum­stan­tial.

Yet he was con­victed of the at­tempted mur­der of Mary Gille­spie and sen­tenced to seven to 25 years in prison.

Paul de­nied any in­volve­ment and the let­ters con­tin­ued, even though he was be­hind bars.

Two years on, Paul re­ceived a let­ter… Now when are you

More let­ters ar­rived, some with di­a­grams of sex acts

go­ing to be­lieve you aren’t go­ing to get out of there?

The let­ter writer was wrong. Fi­nally, 10 years later, Paul Freshour was re­leased and main­tained his in­no­cence un­til his death in 2012.

To this day, no-one knows who sent those let­ters or why.

Or what re­ally hap­pened to Ron Gille­spie.

The last known let­ter was sent to Ohio’s lo­cal TV sta­tion on 11 Novem­ber 1994, 17 years af­ter Ron’s death.

For­get Cir­cleville, Ohio, the let­ter said. If you come you el sickos will pay. And it was signed… The Cir­cleville Let­ter Writer.

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