Atlanta Monster Podcast | S1/E1: BOOGEYMAN (Transcript)
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Atlanta Monster Podcast | S1/E1: BOOGEYMAN (Transcript)
Length: 46 mins
MKP‚Ää‚Äî‚ÄäMonica Kaufman Pearson
EC: And at that time, it was just so‚Ä¶ Just to think back, everybody was scared. It was always, ‚ÄúBe careful. Everywhere y‚Äôall go, go in groups,‚Äù you know what I‚Äôm saying? It was like everybody was scared and definitely, the people from where we grew up. Where we‚Äôre from, everybody over there was scared because that‚Äôs where they were getting the kids from. It was crazy, man. That time was like the boogeyman.
EC: Literally, somebody is going around taking kids and they would find them in Chattahoochee, they would follow them behind buildings. That was just our life. When you living through something like that, it‚Äôs kind of different. It was just something we had to deal with. Watch for the boogeyman!‚Äù
JC: My name is Jasper Cameron. We are in the ATL, Atlanta, Georgia, and I‚Äôm from Atlanta Georgia, born and bred.
EC: And I‚Äôm Eric Cameron and I‚Äôm from Atlanta Georgia also. West side, to be exact.
JC: Yep, he the big brother.
JC: That‚Äôs the little bro.
EC: The area we from is where the kids, most of the kids were getting missing from. So the area we‚Äôre from, the west side of Atlanta, so it was almost like, you got to be real, real careful, can‚Äôt stay out, you always be with somebody. I was real, real little, so most times, I was with him anyway, with my big brother, but‚Ä¶
JC: That was a really trying time because we couldn‚Äôt hang out. I mean, it‚Äôs a lot different now, man, times are different now. Back then, everything was about going outside. Everything was about going outside. I mean, now everything is about being inside playing on computers and games or whatever, but it was just a different time. They snatching kids. Somebody‚Äôs getting kids, so you stand a better chance of not getting snatched if it‚Äôs more than one, if you‚Äôre with somebody. It was just unthinkable. Who could do this?
MKP: It‚Äôs 10 p.m. Do you know where your children are?
MR: It‚Äôs 10 p.m. Do you know where your children are?
EC: I still remember that, literally remember that. Talking about keeping your kids safe and what other things you could do to keep them safe. I still remember that. Wasn‚Äôt that Channel 2? What channel that was? Yeah, Monica Kaufman I think. It was on channel 2 they would say that? ‚ÄúWhere are your kids?‚Äù
MKP: ‚ÄúIt‚Äôs 10:00. Do you know where your children are?‚Äù That statement became a nightly statement. I was Monica Kaufman. I‚Äôm now Monica Kaufman Pearson. I anchored the 5, the 6, the 11, and the 4 o‚Äôclock news at Channel 2 WSBTV. It‚Äôs the city‚Äôs oldest television station. People needed to know that they needed to keep an eye on their boys, in particular, because boys were being, literally, picked up off the streets.
MKP: So there was this fear that, unless you reminded people to ask where‚Äôs your child, do you know where your child is at this time, at 10 o‚Äôclock, your child should be in your house, that people needed to be reminded there was a monster on the prowl in metro Atlanta. It was scary. It was very scary.
MR: 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, and a happy 1979!
PL: The year is 1979. Jimmy Carter is our president. The Vietnam War ended just four years ago and it‚Äôs been barely over a decade since the Civil Rights Movement. My name is Payne Lindsay. I‚Äôm a documentary filmmaker. I was born in 1987 and I‚Äôm from a small town called Kennesaw, northwest of Atlanta. In 2016, I made a podcast called Up and Vanished where I spent nearly two years investigating an unsolved disappearance of a high school teacher and beauty queen from south Georgia named Tara Grinstead. Tara vanished from her home in 2005 and the case remained ice cold for more than a decade. But six months after I started making the podcast, something crazy happened.
PL: The police arrested two suspects in connection with Tara‚Äôs murder and for the first time in nearly 12 years, this small town community had some answers.
PL: Since then, I‚Äôve been looking into other cold cases. What began as just an idea became something more like an obsession. A few months ago, I was in my office and my business partner, Donald, mentioned a case I‚Äôd never heard of; the case of Atlanta‚Äôs missing children. I started doing some research on my own time, reading old articles and watching news clips and what I found was captivating.
PL: A twisted tale that‚Äôs haunted Atlanta for over three decades. As far as the documentary goes, I didn‚Äôt really have a plan but I just sort of talking to people and I made sure I recorded everything. Okay, let‚Äôs go back to 1979.
KL: So you think about the late 70s, it‚Äôs post-1960 soul and stacks and all that stuff. Now, you‚Äôre sliding into the disco era. This is an era where cable is a new idea. Ted Turner hasn‚Äôt even really done his thing with CNN. That‚Äôs what we‚Äôre talking about. There was no 24-hour news network or news cycle at the beginning of this.
PL: This is nearly 40 years ago now, so needless to say, in many ways, things are very different. The first thing I did was try to soak in as much as possible about this time period. This is‚Ä¶
KL: Kalinda Lee. I‚Äôm the vice president for Historical Interpretation and Community Partnerships at the Atlanta History Center.
KL: So certainly, what you‚Äôre looking at, by the late 70s, early 80s, is that first generation of African-Americans who had actually benefited from school desegregation, for example, at both a secondary and collegiate level by then, right? So people who were segregated maybe in primary schools and still had those memories, but were professionals by the early 80s.
KL: African-Americans are prospering to some degree, still definitely hard hit by the recession, but compared to the ways in which they have been disadvantaged before, prospering to some degree largely as a byproduct of Affirmative Action.
PL: Kalinda described a time of fear and helplessness. All around her, kids were gradually going missing, one by one. To kids her age, there was this idea there was a real-life boogeyman out there and the sense that no one was really trying to protect them.