HOME | CATALOG | DOWNLOADS | LINKS | EDITORIALS | DISCUSSION | CONTACT

An Unfinished Story...Or Something

Topics | Last Day | Last Week | Tree View | Search | User List | Help/Instructions | Log Out | Edit Profile | Register
Night Shade Message Boards » Shepard, Lucius » An Unfinished Story...Or Something « Previous Next »

  Thread Last Poster Posts Pages Last Post
  Start New Thread        

Author Message
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Lucius
Posted on Friday, April 13, 2007 - 09:08 pm:   

My friend Sandy down in New Orleans is a guitar maker and an aficionado of garage sales. He was driving around one morning and he spotted a pile of stuff out on a lawn belonging to this guy he knew, Mike DiMonico, with a sign stuck on it reading $100—Take It All Away. In among the stuff was a Yamaha drum kit, and so Sandy says to DiMonico, “I’ll give you a hundred and fifty bucks for those drums.

“Naw,” says DiMonico. “It’s a hundred bucks for everything…or nothing.”

Sandy doesn’t want to carry all his trash away, so he tries to tell DiMonico that he can still get his hundred from someone else—the hundred and fifty is a bonus. DiMonico digs in his heels. “Take the junk or no drums.”

Now Sandy can live without the drums, but he’s invested a moderate amount of time in hassling with DiMonico and he figures, what the hell, he might as well do it. So he starts loading the stuff into his van and just as he’s fininshing up DiMonico comes out of his house with a box and say, “Here. Take this, too.” Sandy does as told—one box more or less doesn’t make any difference.

It should be mentioned that DiMonico and his wife are both junkies and were binging on the morning of Aug 29, 2006, and had been oblivious to the outside world for several days before that. When they fell asleep everything was cool; when they woke the following evening, they were shocked to find their neighbors were dead and the neighborhood was under five feet of water. They had slept through Katrina. This earned the DiMonicos a certain measure of fame in New Orleans, being generally thought to rank slightly higher on the scale of junkies-falling-asleep stories than the time Dr. John and his wife, who had been chosen King and Queen of the Mardi Gras, slept through the entire Fat Tuesday parade while riding on a float.

Also of note is the fact that Mike DiMonico did a stretch in Angola for grave robbing. He was in the habit of stealing statuary (including a six-foot marble likeness of the Blessed Virgin) from old cemetaries and selling them to a gay art dealer in the French Quarter. Neither of these anecdotes pertain to this story, but they perhaps bear upon its character.

So Sandy gets the junk unloaded into his basement and a couple of days later he’s going through it and he comes across the box.
He opens it up—inside is a smallish lamp with a yellowish shade from which depend little pompoms. He lifts it out of the box and looks at it. He touches the lampshade and jerks his fingers back. The shade feels like it’s made of skin. He gets a creepy feeling and puts it back into the box.

The next few days, Sandy tries to get someone to examine the lamp, but to no avail. Folks in New Orleans are leery about that sort of thing. So what’s he do? He sends it to me. I’d been privy via phone calls to the story as it developed and when I got the box, first thing I do is call Sandy and say WTF? He says, “I didn’t want the damn thing around.”

“And you think I do?”’

In the background, I hear Sandy’s wife yelling at him—I get the picture.

“I thought you could find out about it,” he says.

I agree to try, pack up the lamp, which is one gruesome yet absurd-looking item, with little red pompoms dangling off a possibly human skin shade and a bulbous mauve ceramic base.

To cut a long story short, I found out the lamp’s base was made in the 1930s in Wisconsin. I called the ME’s office and found someone interested enough to take a look at the lamp. He was a Jewish guy and, after examining it a minute, he sat down and started breathing hard and said, “This should go to the Holocaust Museum.” I pointed out that we didn’t even know for sure if the lampshade was human skin, but all he kept saying was that it should go to the Holocaust Museum.

Subsequently a DNA test proved the shade was human skin, however the DNA was so degraded that no markers remained capable of establishing the race of the person whose skin it was.

I spent a lot of time and more money than I ought to pursuing this story and I still don’t know whether the shade is the skin of someone who died at Buchenwald or that of a Wisconsin hitchhiker or someone unexpected. I’m tempted to chuck the pursuit of knowledge and just make a story out of what I know. On the other hand, the story could make a cool little non-fiction book and I could return to New Orleans and begin by interviewing the grave robber, DiMonico, and perhaps unearth the rest of the story.

If any of you have an opinion on the subject, or a comment, I’d be interested to hear it.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

PM
Posted on Friday, April 13, 2007 - 09:26 pm:   

I'd pay money for it...the story/book whatever it becomes.

But even if it goes no further it was a good read all by itself.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Lucius
Posted on Friday, April 13, 2007 - 09:43 pm:   

Gracias, PM
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

PM
Posted on Friday, April 13, 2007 - 09:46 pm:   

Yeah, I'm something of a whore when it comes to your work :-)

Just hope that it wouldn't go in a genie direction though I suspect that even if it did I'd still like it.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Lucius
Posted on Friday, April 13, 2007 - 09:53 pm:   

No. No genies.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

PM
Posted on Friday, April 13, 2007 - 10:01 pm:   

Yah!

Would you be interested in doing it both as fiction and non-fiction? Or would that be too tiresome?
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Lucius
Posted on Friday, April 13, 2007 - 10:16 pm:   

Possibly as a book with a bifurcated ending, one fictional, one not....
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

PM
Posted on Friday, April 13, 2007 - 10:22 pm:   

Liking that even better!
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Alan frackelton
Posted on Saturday, April 14, 2007 - 04:00 am:   

Wow - I'm hooked.

They do say truth is stranger than fiction, and by anybody's standards, that's pretty damned strange. If you go down the non-fiction road, who knows where it might lead you...

But in terms of fiction, there are a whole bunch of interesting questions you might consider. Here's what occured to me. Who made the lamp? Why? What happened to the rest of the skin? Say the lamp was stolen - what if the lamp maker decides he/she wants it back? And what kind of weird light would you get from a shade made from human skin - what kind of things would that light illuminate?
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Lucius
Posted on Saturday, April 14, 2007 - 07:54 am:   

Good suggestions, Alan. I'll keep them in mind. Right now, the main question on my mind is who owns the lamp, the Jewish people or the family of a serialist's victims of someone else. Maybe I can find out.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Bruce Chrumka
Posted on Saturday, April 14, 2007 - 08:00 am:   

'...and perhaps unearth the rest of the story.'

Unearth, indeed! Very chilling way to start the morning. I'm definitely hooked as well, Lucius...the bifurcated ending, or an afterward to a short novel sounds brilliant.

There's probably some twisted collector that has a house filled with such knickknacks.

Cool ideas, Alan.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

david h
Posted on Saturday, April 14, 2007 - 08:42 am:   

Lucius, I say you gotta go with factuality on this. The nonfiction pursuit of the history of that lamp sounds like it's totally worthy of your time and efforts. Plus, and not to sound all esoteric, there's a fine and extremely blurry line between fiction and nonfiction anyway.

Goddamn, what a sory though.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Lucius
Posted on Saturday, April 14, 2007 - 09:14 am:   

"Plus, and not to sound all esoteric, there's a fine and extremely blurry line between fiction and nonfiction anyway."


That's why I like the bifurcated ending, because it may establish a difference, sorta...
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Alan frackelton
Posted on Saturday, April 14, 2007 - 09:29 am:   

"Right now, the main question on my mind is who owns the lamp..."

Lucius, have you considered posting a picture of the lamp online? It may be a longshot, but you might get lucky and attract the attention of someone who knows something about it, or someone who may already be looking for it...
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Lucius
Posted on Saturday, April 14, 2007 - 09:45 am:   

Hmm. I suppose it's possible. But I don't have a camera, and the lamp's in a storage facility, and I'm leaving Monday for a week, so that'll have to wait.

Then again it might generate a lot of weird email I don't want. I'll think about it.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

PM
Posted on Saturday, April 14, 2007 - 09:47 am:   

Ask Ellen to do it :-)

Weirdos abound :-)
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Lucius
Posted on Saturday, April 14, 2007 - 09:56 am:   

Yup.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Alan frackelton
Posted on Saturday, April 14, 2007 - 10:06 am:   

Well I'm weird, but I haven't earned my 'o' yet. :-)
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Lucius
Posted on Saturday, April 14, 2007 - 10:17 am:   

I have confidence you will. :-)
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Alan frackelton
Posted on Saturday, April 14, 2007 - 10:25 am:   

It's hard work, but nobody said it would be easy. I'll get a cool badge too.:-)
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Lucius
Posted on Saturday, April 14, 2007 - 10:33 am:   

Yup..

Do you know off hand what time it is now in Moscow?
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Alan frackelton
Posted on Saturday, April 14, 2007 - 10:37 am:   

No, sorry. It's 6:35 p.m. in the UK, but I'm not sure how far ahead/behind Moscow is...
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Lucius
Posted on Saturday, April 14, 2007 - 10:41 am:   

I figure it's at least two-three hours later. Thanks.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Alan frackelton
Posted on Saturday, April 14, 2007 - 10:55 am:   

I checked - Moscow's GMT +3 hrs, so that makes it around 10 p.m.

Anyway, I hope you'll keep us all posted on the lamp-shade-made-of-human-skin story. As grim as it is, it's certainly fascinating.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Nathan Ballingrud
Posted on Saturday, April 14, 2007 - 07:27 pm:   

Jesus Christ. Mike DiMonico ... why does that name sound so familiar to me? I'm pretty sure I'd remember the guy if I'd met him. Maybe I heard his name mentioned in the bar once or twice. Not sure. Damn it.

But this could make a GREAT nonfiction piece!
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Lucius
Posted on Saturday, April 14, 2007 - 07:32 pm:   

Fiction or nonfiction, it's pretty great.

You ever hear of guy named Dick DeMedici?
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Nathan Ballingrud
Posted on Saturday, April 14, 2007 - 08:15 pm:   

No, that one doesn't ring a bell. Who is he?
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Lucius
Posted on Saturday, April 14, 2007 - 08:50 pm:   

DiMonico's partner. A couple of grave robbing Eye-Ties. :-)
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Ellen Datlow
Posted on Saturday, April 14, 2007 - 09:18 pm:   

I'd love to see a fiction piece written about it and also a nonfiction article/book if you could track it all down.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Lucius
Posted on Saturday, April 14, 2007 - 09:49 pm:   

I'm gonna give it a shot, Ellen. Like I said, I can't do any work on it now, but El Lampo and DiMonico aren't going anywhere.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Byron Bailey
Posted on Sunday, April 15, 2007 - 01:30 pm:   

I think I've read this story or at least one very much like it in one of Ellen's _The Years Best..._". It doesn't have a happy ending. Get rid of the lamp ASAP.

With that said, there's no reason that some good can't come out of it. Just slap a piece of paper that says "Shepard Award for Excellence in Football" on it and then ship it to Peyton Manning. If Peyton Manning asks why the lamp looks funny, tell him because it's made out of genuine pig skin because it's a football award. He'd buy that. Then sit back and watch the fun.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Byron Bailey
Posted on Sunday, April 15, 2007 - 01:42 pm:   

"They do say truth is stranger than fiction, and by anybody's standards, that's pretty damned strange. If you go down the non-fiction road, who knows where it might lead you..."

Yeah with a name like DiMoniko which sounds awfully like "Demonico" and the thread starting out on Friday the 13, definitely stranger than fiction or at least strange for fiction. Whatever the case, cool story.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Lucius
Posted on Sunday, April 15, 2007 - 03:33 pm:   

Well, it's been going on a few months, so the whammy's off. The lamp is in a storage facility.

Like I said, I think I'm doing both...if I can afford the time.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Robert Devereux
Posted on Sunday, April 15, 2007 - 04:28 pm:   

Fiction based on it sounds interesting, but curiosity has gotten ahold of me and I'd like to know the real story.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Lucius
Posted on Sunday, April 15, 2007 - 05:01 pm:   

Well, mne too, but it may never cone out. I'm gonna give it a shot, though.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Dave G.
Posted on Monday, April 16, 2007 - 06:52 am:   

Lucius, you had the same idea I did...when was Ed Gein active in Wisconsin?

Something about the idea of a Medici robbing graves in New Orleans really tickles me.

Wonder what an original Ed Gein lamp would sell for on eBay? Would they allow it to be auctioned?
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Lucius
Posted on Monday, April 16, 2007 - 07:00 am:   

I not selling it,I'm burying the sucker. Or destroying it.

Don't know when Gein was active...will check.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Dave G.
Posted on Monday, April 16, 2007 - 07:45 am:   

Gein was born in 1906, which would put him in roughly the right timeframe. The murders they pinned on him were 1947 and 1954, but who knows what he was up to before then. According to Wikipedia, he used to exhume bodies from recent graves and make things with the skin. Perhaps this was an early experiment?

Wow. Creepy.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Lucius
Posted on Monday, April 16, 2007 - 07:59 am:   

Yeah. No shit. I can't think about it now. When I get back. But I can't wait to get rid of the thing.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Dave G.
Posted on Monday, April 16, 2007 - 08:51 am:   

Man Puts Ed Gein Property Up For Sale
(AP) PLAINFIELD, WI The property where one of Wisconsin's most notorious killers was arrested -- and where body parts and clothing made from human skin were found -- is up for sale.

Ed Gein, the grave robber and murderer whose story inspired the movie "Psycho," lived on the central-Wisconsin property, where he was arrested in 1957.

Mike Fisher said he grew up hunting and hiking on the land with his grandfather, who bought the property in an 1958 auction.

Now Fisher, who inherited the land from his grandfather, is trying to sell the land for $250,000. Fisher listed the 40-acre property on eBay under the heading, "Ed Gein's Farm ... The REAL deal!"

The listing says the property "includes site of Ed's home, outbuildings, well, private dump & other artifacts of Gein's life & horrific crimes."

"This is not a joke. Serious purchase inquiries only," the listing says.

Fisher, a real estate appraiser, said a similar piece of property would have a value of $80,000 to $120,000.

"As you can see from the ad I'm asking $250,000 because I'm guessing there's some kook out there willing to spend the money for his 15 minutes of fame," he said.

Gein was arrested in 1957 for murder when the headless body of a hardware store owner was found hanging at his farm home. The woman's body was dressed out like a deer carcass. Investigators also found parts of other bodies.
They concluded Gein had robbed graves and may have murdered other people.

A fictionalized account of Gein by writer Robert Bloch led to the Norman Bates character in Alfred Hitchcock's 1960 film classic "Psycho."

Gein, eventually ruled guilty but criminally insane, died in a mental hospital in 1984 at the age of 77.

Andy Kahan, who is leading a national campaign against sales of serial killer memorabilia, said Gein memorabilia is valuable to collectors of gruesome artifacts.

"You're not selling the property for the property sake itself. You're using the ill-gotten notoriety of one of the country's most famous serial killers to jack up the price," said Kahan, victim rights director in the Houston mayor's office.

But Fisher said he tried not to capitalize too much on Gein.

"The wording (on eBay), I tried to keep it kind of minimal. I didn't want to add any fuel to the fire that mentioning his name brings in that area," Fisher said.

Fisher's grandfather, Emden Schey, bid $3,883 for Gein's farm plus another $775 for the homestead site, outbuildings and 40 acres in 1958. The farmhouse on the property burned down before the auction.

Schey later sold off some of the land, and the 40-acre homestead site was passed down to Fisher and his brother.


(© 2006 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Robdev
Intermediate Member
Username: Robdev

Post Number: 1367
Registered: 04-2006
Posted on Sunday, September 12, 2010 - 02:05 pm:   

A friend of mine posted a link to Facebook
http://nymag.com/news/features/67963/

The basic story is the same. Names and small details are different though.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Francesgrimble
New member
Username: Francesgrimble

Post Number: 35
Registered: 05-2007
Posted on Wednesday, September 22, 2010 - 12:59 pm:   

Although I sympathize with motives of the guy who wanted the shade donated to the Holocaust Museum, if it's in good shape it was probably covered fairly recently.

There is no reason the lamp base, the frame, and the covering of the frame all have to be the same age. Plenty of people re-cover lampshade frames with translucent paper, crocheted lace over silk, etc. You can find instructions on the Web. It's easier to buy an old base and shade at a garage sale and then re-cover the shade, than to make a new wire shade frame of the perfect shape.

Getting back to the age of the shade: Leather does not last as well as fabric, especially when subjected to dryness and heat. If the lamp was used regularly, and the leather is in good shape (which I'm not clear on) I'd say it's maybe 10-15 years old, 20 years tops. Silk lasts better and silk shades, from my observation, come apart after 20-25 years.

I'd send it to the local police department, myself.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Francesgrimble
New member
Username: Francesgrimble

Post Number: 36
Registered: 05-2007
Posted on Wednesday, September 22, 2010 - 01:11 pm:   

Oh yes--no reason the pompons had to be put on at the same time the shade was covered with the leather. If they replaced fringe or something that was put on originally, the former holes will still be there. Or the shade may not have had any pompons originally, and they were put there later by someone who had tacky taste but no idea what the shade was made of.

I see someone has already written a book about it. I hope he consulted a textile conservator, who might have been able to more or less date the covering.

Add Your Message Here
Post:
Username: Posting Information:
This is a private posting area. Only registered users and moderators may post messages here.
Password:
Options: Enable HTML code in message
Automatically activate URLs in message
Action:

Topics | Last Day | Last Week | Tree View | Search | User List | Help/Instructions | Log Out | Edit Profile | Register

| Moderators | Administrators |