Today we’re finally covering a long time queer favorite – Rocky. And if you think we’re talking about a down on his luck, Philadelphia boxer, who constantly walks around with blood running down his face calling out for “Adrian!!!” – well then you’re probably straight and have stumbled upon the wrong podcast. But if you’re queer then there’s only one real Rocky in your horror book. And of course, that’s the cult classic The Rocky Horror Picture Show. With the doom and gloom of the upcoming election in America, we thought we’d lighten the mood a bit by heading to Transylvania… or Denton if you want to get technical. And before we begin we just want to let our listeners know that we will be using some outdated language in accordance with the terminology used during the show. This does not mean it is appropriate to use this language today and there are many ways in which Rocky could be perceived as offensive today. But when we remember it in the context of its time, we can see how Dr. Frank-N-Furter certainly inspired a generation of LGBTQ+ people to celebrate their queer identity. So now let’s “come to the lab and see what’s on the slab!”
Today we are finally covering the woman that many have dubbed the “First Female Serial Killer in America”. While this statement is inaccurate and in fact cannot be measured as the term “serial killer” was not even coined until the 1970s, we can say that Aileen was the first notorious female serial killer in American history. Most of this was due to the fact that Aileen’s case came to light just as the country was riding a wave of high profile serial killers. The 1980s saw a peak in serial killings before advancements in forensic and investigative sciences changed the landscape for mass murderers. Killers such as Jeffrey Dahmer, Richard Ramirez, Gary Ray Bowels, and the duo Henry Lee Lucas and Ottis Toole all were active during this time period. It is estimated that more than 200 serial killers were active during the decade, and of these only a very few were women. Such a small pool made it easy for someone like Aileen to stand out as a star.
As we launch into October there are many things to celebrate. It’s LGBTQ+ history month, we’re just a few days before National Coming Out Day on October 11th, and also October serves as the original ‘Pride Month’. But all of that aside, what we really care about is Queer True Crime and October is Your Queer Stories True Crime month. So we thought what better way to kick the month off than to start with the underrated serial killer The Last Call Killer. Before we begin we want to put out a trigger warning for the entire month of October. We will be discussing blood, gore, violence, assault, sexual abuse, homophobia, queerphobia, transphobia, and more. So if you’re not up for any of that then please check out some of our past episodes. Last year’s Halloween episode discusses why October was the original Pride Month and our History of Drag episodes discusses the art behind many of the fabulous looks that are sure to be revealed this year. But for those of you still hear and ready for that queer true crime, let’s get into the life and mind of serial killer Richard Rogers, nicknamed, The Last Call Killer.
We are in our final week of honoring Queer LatinX culture and history and it seems fitting to go out with the infamous Walter Mercado. The icon was an astrologer and T.V. spiritual advisor who held daily shows to over 120 million viewers at the height of his career. His charisma and charm captivated his followers while his androgynous identity baffled his critics. In a culture overrun with Catholicism and gender roles, Walter Mercado became a beacon of hope for many LatinX viewers who were also gender non-conforming. His defiance of the norms broke the barrier of sexuality and even at age 87 he couldn’t suppress a grin when folks questioned whether he still held onto his V-card. So let us dive into the mystical world that is Walter Mercado or - Walter of the Miracles.
Our episode today will first air on Bisexual Visibility Day so we want to wish all of our favorite bisexuals a proud, and happy day of visibility. And in honor of both Latin history month and Bixsexual Visibility we have invited Vima Manfredo, our favorite, bisexual Latina, to join us today. We also have David Rivera, Paul's fiance! Before we get to the story of the incredible Joan Baez, we are going to have a brief discussion around the usage of the term Latinx.
For the next few weeks, we will be celebrating LatinX history month. September is chosen to remember LatinX history because of the significance around the Mexican War of Independence. This defining, 11-year war, both began and ended in the month of September. And it was through this struggle that Mexico gained independence from the colonization of Spain. For over 300 years Spanish military and priests had worked to eliminate the rich history of what is now known as Central and South America. The glory of the Aztec and Mayan empires of Mexico were erased along with the Incan kingdom of modern-day Peru. But these grand atrocities were only the beginning as countless smaller civilizations and tribes were killed off or enslaved during centuries of Spanish rule.
Today we finally are touching upon queer culture in the Pacific Islands. Specifically discussing the Hawaiian Islands and the variance in expression and openness today from island to island. Before we begin we want to lend credit to two of our main sources. A paper written by Professor Aleardo Zanghellini and published by the University of Reading’s School of Law was actually our main source. We have linked the article on our script along with the free-access PDF for anyone who is interested. We also want to praise the work of Eleanor Kleiber, a University specialist librarian, and former intern D. Kealiʻi MacKenzie. Who both compiled queer Pacific Island resources for the Univerisity of Hawaii at Manoa, and made those resources public to us and the rest of the world.
As Hyles star began to fade in the 1990’s, a new surge of anti-LGBTQ+ activism was on the rise in Topeka, Kansas. Fred Phelps was born a few years after Jack Hyles but his infamy wouldn’t come until much later in life. Unlike Norris and Hyles, Phelps grew up in a middle class family in Meridian, Mississippi. His mother passed away when he was 6 years old and his aunt helped Fred Sr raise the two children. Phelps graduated in the top of his high school class and was prepared to enter West Point when a revival meeting changed his plans. Instead, Fred went off to the Baptist super college, Bob Jones University. But quickly became disillusioned with the school that he considered too watered down and liberal. So he headed to California and took up street preaching for several years before meeting his wife Margie and settling down.
A Norris fanboy and good friend of Roloff was already well on his way to IFB stardom when Roloff passed. Jack Hyles was born the same year J. Frank stood trial for murder in 1926. Hyle’s early life seemed to mirror that of Norris. Jack was born in poverty, the son of an alcoholic who beat him severely and eventually left the Hyles family all together. Like Norris before him, Hyles found comfort in the world of the fiery Baptist preaching. After serving in the Army during World War II, Hyles returned and attended East Baptist Bible College in Marshall Texas. He then pastored a few churches in Texas and his success drew the attention of a large congregation in Hammond, Indiana. Seeing the potential, and the money, of the wealthy and well-respected church, Hyles took the position at First Baptist Church of Hammond, Indiana in 1959. By age 33, he had become somewhat popular in the South, yet the move to Hammond was the real catalyst for Jack Hyles’s career. It was here that he created an empire and a worldwide name - as far as the IFB goes. It was also here that he created what most experts have classified as a cult.