Editor’s Forward: The Funhouse Mirror – Missouri Horror Story

After releasing part two in the series ‘Missouri Horror Story’, a lot of folks said they were confused by what they were reading. As a writer, that is never a good thing. If you have a point to make, make it so people can understand it. Otherwise, it sounds like gibberish in the nonsensical language of politicians.

It was not my intent to confuse or mislead.

Brandon Ellingson entered my life the evening of May 31, 2014. The moment he was first targeted by Tony Piercy while at Coconuts, we became brothers of a fraternity whose numbers are swelling every minute of every day.

When he was pulled over for questionable cause and put into handcuffs, we were shackled by chains of the same criminal racket.

I have been reporting on the corruption at the Lake of the Ozarks since 2012. When I use words like syndicate, cult, illegitimate and criminal to describe the actions of people ‘serving’ in public office and their employees, it is based on a preponderance of the evidence we have uncovered in these investigations.

Since 2013, americanspring2011.com and the community activist group Citizens for a Better Camden County have unearthed more fact and brought forward more stories than any other ‘news outlet’ in our state. Community sourced journalism, neighbors talking to neighbors, is the only vehicle in today’s media environment for the truth.

The majority of media across the state of Missouri is under the direct influence of those committing these crimes. There are a few exceptions to this rule, but very few. Even those who would offer the occasional dissenting view do so carefully, so as not to step too far over the company line. The truth is a rapidly fading notion in today’s media.

If it were up to them, people in the state of Missouri would be led to believe that Brandon Ellingson was a raving, coked-up drunk punk who deserved what he got. The first narrative that was offered up through the pipeline is what we heard.

This is the trickle-down effect of State Controlled Media. The MSHP whispered in the media’s ear. POOF! Jim Bascue appears to paint a sympathetic picture of Piercy as a ‘hero’ who nearly drown himself trying to rescue Brandon. Brandon stood up on the boat and ‘jumped or fell’, they said. And on and on….

The echo chamber repeats itself and largely, still is. The system protects itself and it is the system that mandated Brandon be arrested. Grant money has made sure the industry of private for-profit probation services in the state receives plenty of customers, each new case feeding the bottom line. This business opportunity creates so much dirty money that officials in Missouri government, even political enemies, won’t really challenge the system. Rocky Miller, a Republican, was evidence of that at the second ‘hearing’ into the mergers of the State Highway and Water Patrols. Even when provided the opportunity to take apart the Democrat Governor responsible for the merger, he feigned ignorance. The answer to how the merger has performed financially are online. They have been audited. The handwriting is on the wall. The system protects the system, after all. And there is huge money to be made. That system targeted Brandon long before Piercy himself did.

Targeting Missourians for profit taking by this syndicate is the new norm. It is not simply law enforcement offices, Prosecuting Attorney offices and Courtrooms and lawyers that feed off this system. It is also our schools, their lawyers and the same “good ol boy’s” who run our local governments. They are targeting our children. They all get a piece of the pie.

The Lagares case is the other side of the coin. Where children have been targeted through a different apparatus with the same goal. Their case is a twisted reflection in the same funhouse mirror as Brandon’s.

After investigating these cases, and the dozens of others that are results of the same system, it became impossible to deny the overwhelming evidence. These systems have been twisted beyond recognition. They have become the nightmares of every parent and citizen and evidence of this is all around our state and, for that matter, all around the country.

This picture is one we don’t get to see if we rely on what we are being fed as ‘news’. The reason people have tuned it out? We know bullshit when we hear it.

That’s why we are all here.

This system and the public relations department of our media wants these stories to go away. They don’t want the exposure. Exposure of what is going on might mean people expect true justice. That isn’t good for ‘business’. These “good old boys” understand that it the truth were told and justice weren’t up to their discretion, they would go to prison.

The stories of Brandon, of Kyle and Nicole, are related. So are the stories of David Norman, Theresa Townsend, Jeff Pratt, Stacy Shore, Donnie Erwin and so many, many others. It shows a pattern of behavior across our state, a very clear picture of what has happened around us without our consent.

It is a stark reality.

As a writer, I decided to use satirical “Breaking News” announcements at the beginning of each, although they aren’t as fictional as you think.

I also felt that in order to understand how this has been conducted, we have to understand how it happened. The role of the media is a part of that. They have enabled these criminal activities to go unreported and unpunished.

I have seen the facts. I have had no choice but to come to the inescapable conclusion.

‘Missouri Horror Story’, taken in parts, would almost certainly be confusing. It is when you take it as a whole, that it begins to make sense. We need to look at the bigger picture to understand why there is no justice, for Brandon, Kyle, Nicole and all the rest of us.

I am asking you to go on a walk with me, down the dark path that is our new reality. Take a look at the bigger picture.

Come under the big top of the great and secret show and peer into the funhouse mirror.

Tell us what you see…


Missouri Horror Story Part II: The Great and Secret Show


The Great and Secret Show is going on behind the scenes and in plain view.

The Great and Secret Show is going on behind the scenes and in plain view.


Missouri Governor Jay Nixon held a press conference early Monday morning, to address what he termed ‘acts of terror’ being committed against families across the Show Me State. Select members of the press were invited to attend the event, held in an undisclosed, secure location.

Members of the media were told in advance that the Governor would not be taking questions after making a prepared statement.

“Evidence has emerged of a terror plot being carried out against the citizens of our state. These attacks are escalating, both in number and in severity. They represent a clear and present danger to Missourians and a dire threat to our way of life.”

“These acts are random, as are their victims. They are being committed with bold audacity and ruthlessness and are being executed in such a way so as to maximize their effect. The citizens of Missouri are the targets of a campaign of terror, being waged against our very way of life.”

“In the wake of these attacks and in order to protect the citizens of our state, I am enacting the following measures as Governor, effective immediately.”

“I am mobilizing the Missouri National Guard, the Missouri State Highway Patrol and all local law enforcement. These agencies will have a clear mission: To aggressively apprehend and detain suspicious individuals for interrogation. Citizens are asked to remain calm and above all, to cooperate with authorities during this time of crisis, so that they can effectively do their jobs and keep Missouri safe.”

“Also, beginning today, a mandatory curfew is in effect. All residents of Missouri will remain off the streets between the hours of 6 PM and 6 AM.”

“Those residents who have legitimate reasons for being out during these restricted hours, such as work, school, etc. will be identified by the Missouri Registry Database. These citizens will be permitted to travel during the hours of restriction, though that travel will be limited to routes to and from approved destinations only.”

“We ask that all residents remain calm during this challenging time. Complete cooperation is necessary. The authorities of the state of Missouri will find the evil-doers responsible for these attacks and we will bring them to justice.”

“These attacks on our way of life will not be tolerated. We will not give in to these terrorists. We will rise above and we will bring swift retribution to those who would wage war against our citizens.”

The gravity of the Governor’s remarks resonated from the concrete walls of the secure location. The seriousness of the situation was reinforced by the several armed guards who took flanking positions around the room.

At the end of the Governor’s remarks, a reporter from the Associated Press attempted to ask a follow up question, in spite of the clear instructions given prior to his statement.

“Governor, what do you say to reports and eyewitness accounts that point to these crimes are being carried out by cultists using various government offices?”

Before the question was fully formed, two armed guards rushed the reporter, each taking an arm. They escorted her through a side corridor and a heavy steel door slammed behind them. Her loud protests could be heard as they drug her away.

Immediately following this surreal event, the Governor left the room and his press secretary ushered the media out of the secure location, shoving copies of the Governor’s statement into the hands of the press corps with stone faced silence.

Her stern gaze indicated that she would not be answering questions either.

We will continue to bring you more on this story, as it develops.

Stay tuned…




In comparing the accounts of witnesses and survivors of the attacks that are occurring around Missouri, several commonalities can be found in their varying accounts.

Most, like the friends and families of Brandon Ellingson, Donnie Erwin and David Norman never saw it coming. They assumed that the nightmares they are trapped in were the stuff of invention and fiction, safely contained in Stephen King novels or fright night movie marathons. For them, things that go ‘bump in the night’ aren’t real and true terror only happens in lands far, far away from the neon lights of America.

Others, like the Shore family and the Lagares family, knew monsters lurked under the Midway. They heard their claws scratching at the door. They had glimpsed the outline of the shape under the sheet. They knew that these abominations were creeping in the shadows, eager to feast on the innocent.

Universally, the cold feeling of uneasiness that has worked its way up a growing numbers of spines across the Show Me State, is due to a dark knowledge, an irrational certainty, that something wicked this way comes…and it is hungry.

In every neighborhood, down every street, down well traveled roads, an identical mirage has been seen, shimmering into shape. It warbles in and out of plain sight, there one minute, gone the next. What follows these sightings is a scratching of heads and a rubbing of eyes. The mirage disappears almost as soon as it appears, fading back into the mist of disbelief. It leaves those who see it questioning their own sanity, before they relegate it safely away under the heading ‘imagination’.

Still, doubts linger like a fog in a hollow.

Was it possible? Did they really see it? Do they need to up their dosage of denial?

It tickles at the base of their brain like an incessant mosquito, buzzing, buzzing. They know what they saw, unbelievable as it might seem. They know.

They could smell the popcorn and sawdust. They could hear the organ music. They could see the red and white tent, the lunatic lights that adorn it.

The Great and Secret Show, the dark carnival, has come to their town.


Missouri has always been a battleground.

Today, in New Republic, the ‘Battle of Who-Could-Care-Less’ is being fought in Missouri’s fields, in its cities, its valleys and hills. It is a campaign being waged by those in power who have a disdain for our values and our freedom. This war is being fought on multiple fronts and the mission is a simple one:

Obscure the truth at all costs.

Disinformation, manipulation and outright lies are the ammunition employed by those fighting it. For them, it is necessary to pull the wool over the eyes of skeptical Missourians in order to do the unthinkable.

In this, the advocates of the New Republic have largely been successful. The proof is all around us.

Last week, in an editorial from the St. Louis-Post Dispatch:

On Friday, Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander predicted that 39.81 percent of the state’s voters would turn out Tuesday. That compares with 47 percent in 2010, the last midterm election, when there was a high-profile U.S. Senate race on the ballot, and 53 percent in 2006, when there was not only a Senate race, but three hotly contested ballot issues.

Why would Missourians not exercise their right to vote? The answer can be found in this article, from David Sirota, journalist for the International Business Times:

On a warm October night toward the end of the 2014 campaign, almost every politician running for a major office in Colorado appeared at a candidate forum in Southeast Denver. The topics discussed at the local synagogue were pressing: a potential war with ISIS, voting rights, a still-struggling economy. But one key element was in conspicuously short supply: the media.

This is increasingly the reality in much of the country, as campaigns play out in communities where the local press corps has been thinned by layoffs and newspaper closures. What if you held an election and nobody showed up to cover it? Americans are now discovering the answer.

Between 2003 and 2012, the newspaper workforce shrank by 30 percent nationally, according to the American Society of Newspaper Editors. That has included a major reduction in the number of newspaper reporters assigned to cover state and local politics. Newspaper layoffs have ripple effects for the entire local news ecosystem, because, as the Congressional Research Service noted, television, radio and online outlets often “piggyback on reporting done by much larger newspaper staffs.” Meanwhile, recent studies from the University of Chicago and the Federal Reserve Bank suggest the closure of newspapers can ultimately depress voter turnout in local elections.

Colorado is a microcosm of the hollowing out of local media. In 2009, the state lost its second-largest newspaper with the shuttering of the 150-year-old Rocky Mountain News. The state’s only remaining major daily, the Denver Post, has had rolling layoffs. According to Post Editor Gregory Moore, in this election cycle the paper has only 7 reporters covering elections throughout the state — a 50 percent reduction in the last 5 years.

“We just don’t have the resources to do what we were once able to do,” Moore told International Business Times. “We try to select the competitive races that we really need to pay attention to, but in terms of having a body on every race, we just don’t have the resources to do that.”

For the 2014 election, Moore said the paper produces a voter guide providing at least a summary of almost every state and county race in the state. There’s also one full-time reporter assigned to the U.S. Senate, one assigned to the gubernatorial races and one covering the hotly contested 6th district congressional race between Republican incumbent Mike Coffman and former Democratic House Speaker Andrew Romanoff.

Challengers in districts that the Post isn’t covering say the media’s decisions about resources may help determine election outcomes.

“It creates a self-fulfilling prophecy. When the local press assumes a race can’t be close, then they don’t cover it, and then that suggests to voters a candidate isn’t credible,” said Martin Walsh, the Republican congressional candidate challenging Denver’s Democratic representative, Diana DeGette. “Ultimately, that guarantees that the race won’t be close.”

Even stories that do get published may have less of an impact without other journalists around to track reaction or do follow-up stories.

“With so many newspapers and news outlets in general having fewer resources, there’s no pressure or incentive for candidates to engage with the press and there’s no echo chamber that makes candidates feel like they have to respond to anything,” Fox 31 reporter Eli Stokols told IBTimes.

An investigative scoop might get reinforced by an opposing candidate’s ads, Stokols said. But, “there’s not a critical mass of media large enough or competitive enough to amplify scoops or gaffes or big stories. If it happens, it comes from national media from D.C. journalists recognizing something and blogging about it. But until it’s on local TV or radio, it’s probably missing most of the persuadable low-information voters out there.”

In the age of a shrunken press corps, there is now little risk for well-financed, top-ticket candidates when they avoid the few media outlets that consistently cover the campaign. Any flak they might get for shirking the press is far smaller than the risk of an interview clip going viral (like the now-famous one of Coffman trying to defend his allegation that President Obama is not an American).

Republican Senate candidate Cory Gardner, for example, rarely appears in unscripted settings with journalists, preferring to blanket the airwaves with ads.

“If you are a candidate with a lot of money, you can just hide out, maybe write a few op-eds, and then go back into hiding, knowing that any bad story someone might write about you being unavailable will just disappear after a day, because there’s no press to hound you,” Stokols said. Gardner doesn’t even put out media advisories letting the press know ahead of time where he might be, said Stokols.

Gardner’s campaign did not return IBTimes’ call seeking comment for this story.

Romanoff, the Democratic candidate in the 6th district, said that what little campaign coverage there is often ends up being about the candidates’ ads, because that requires minimal time, travel and expense to cover. And with a record $89 million worth of political ads purchased in the state this election cycle, there is no shortage of new spots to review.

“It’s not quite a Seinfeld episode, it’s not a show about nothing, but the coverage has become a show about a show,” he said, adding that it is a marked shift from his time only a few years ago as a state legislator. “Back then, there was a press corps that covered the capital, and there was news being made every day because you are voting on bills, you are amending them and there was a more robust corps of capital reporters. But on the campaign trail these days, the primary way to get to voters is through paid media and a grassroots field operation.”

During a recent get-out-the-vote rally featuring Hillary Clinton, former three-term Denver Mayor Wellington Webb reminisced about the city’s legendary newspaper wars between the Post and the Rocky, when six reporters were assigned just to cover city hall.

“It was a whole different game back then,” Webb said over the din of blaring music, as volunteers stopped to take pictures with him. These days, candidates running for local office have to be more focused on old-school door-knocking campaigns.

“The public is smarter than what you give them credit for, and you have to go out and be hungrier than anyone in terms of going door to door,” he said. “But the question is, can you get to enough voters to make that choice?”

That’s a particularly acute problem for candidates in down-ballot statewide races.

A local candidate for legislature or city council can hope to meet most voters in an election. Top-ticket statewide candidates can attract at least some media coverage. But the candidates for constitutional offices like attorney general, treasurer or secretary of state face a triple whammy: They are running in races with too many voters to meet; they get almost no coverage; and that makes it difficult for them to raise their profiles to enable them to do the fundraising needed for expensive television advertising.

One alternative, said Rick Ridder, a campaign consultant for the Democratic attorney general nominee Don Quick, is to be innovative with ads on social media and cheaper cable TV outlets.

“On our limited budget and with no press coverage, we have to try to niche-target ads to key voting blocs,” Ridder said.

But while some smaller news outlets have shown signs of life — even of profitability — it’s not clear they can power a political campaign.

“I have yet to see someone master all the alternative media out there in a way that really lets an underfinanced candidate compete,” said James Mejia, a former Denver school board member who narrowly lost a bid for mayor in 2011. “All the digital media, the blogosphere, the neighborhood weeklies — all of them are growing and getting a larger audience, as opposed to the bigger papers, which are shrinking. But they have yet to have a major political impact because they are so diffuse.”

Although his newspaper doesn’t “have the bodies to do as much as we used to do, that doesn’t mean the work isn’t being done” by others in the alternative press, said Denver Post editor Moore. “What I fear with limited resources is that we miss something,” he said.

That concern is well founded. Only four years ago, the New York Times published a front-page expose on Colorado’s Democratic Senator Michael Bennet engineering a complex financial scheme that ended up enriching Wall Street firms while costing the city’s school system more than $177 million dollars. The story, which came out days before a closely contested senate primary between Bennet and Romanoff, was largely missed by the Post, even though it involved a candidate in one of the highest profile races in the state. There was no Rocky Mountain News to cover it, either. Bennet, the front-runner, narrowly won the primary.

The media drawdown doesn’t make an upset impossible, though. Earlier this year in Virginia, most of the local and national media ignored the primary challenge to House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, only to see him unseated by little-known college professor David Brat. It’s the kind of upset that gives a candidate like Republican George Leing hope.

Running in Colorado’s second congressional district against millionaire Democratic incumbent Jared Polis, Leing has been largely ignored by the local media.

“I am realistic and I know it is getting tougher and tougher for traditional newspapers as they don’t have the same- size staffs they used to have, and they have to make choices,” Leing told IBTimes, noting that he had received an endorsement from the Ft. Collins Coloradan.

“But this race is more competitive than many people think, both on a strictly numbers basis and on the merits. It is more difficult to compete if you don’t have the ability to get that message out broadly. But I think I’m going to win and shock everyone. We’ve seen it happen before, and I think we will be seeing it a lot more in the future, whether or not the local media covers these races.”

While this piece focuses on Colorado, investigations done by americanspring2011.com in 2012 addressed the dissolution of Missouri’s own local press in two series’ of articles titled ‘Missouri’s Ministry of Truth’ and ‘Rural Missouri’s Media Gatekeepers’.

A direct fundamental shift has taken place in the Missouri media landscape. The end result of this has allowed the unthinkable to occur in the Show Me State.

This migration in media goes beyond the simple disintegration of newsrooms. It has created a virtual echo chamber for propaganda promoted by those in power, allowing the Great and Secret Show to continue unchallenged.


Examples of this can be found in the Brandon Ellingson case, where local media quickly put out a sanitized version of the events surrounding his death. Two days after his death, on cue from the Missouri State Highway Patrol, the account of Jim Bascue became the foundation for a myth. This account, reproduced in the echo chamber of Missouri media, became a part of the narrative heard around the country, as this USA Today article reflects.

The Ellingson Family.

The Ellingson Family.

This goal narrative was a simple one. Turn the perpetrator of the crime into a sympathetic victim. Transform the victim into someone who deserved what he got. This sideshow alchemy has worked to completely obscure the crimes committed against Brandon Ellingson. It is part of a continued illusion, meant to conceal the Great and Secret Show.

The same is true in the Lagares case.

The abuse to Kyle intensifies.  His eye is shown here, swollen shut.

The abuse to Kyle intensifies. His eye is shown here, swollen shut.

Despite being presented with multiple facts and irrefutable proof of the attacks being waged on the Lagares family and Kyle and Nicole, the two-bit media magicians in the Lake area have continued to ignore the crimes being perpetrated in their community against the innocent. Local media simply has no willingness to challenge their benefactors, the advertisers, and their company line.

The Lagares family has been under siege as a campaign has been waged against them.

The Lagares family has been under siege as a campaign has been waged against them.

Their willingness to abandon the truth and act as carnival barkers spouting sales pitches has allowed for these crimes to go unchallenged and their perpetrators to walk freely. They are directly responsible for the continuation of the atrocities being committed around the state. Without their compliance, the guilty would be punished. Instead, these monsters are allowed to continue their crime sprees, and they are growing more and more bold.

The Great and Secret Show, the truth under the illusion, would not be allowed to continue, if the people knew the truth. These gross acts would be met with true justice instead of being issued a free pass to continue their serial attacks on the families across the state. Instead, these media outlets have traded their credibility for pennies on the dollar and sold out the citizenry in the rush to cash the check.

They have lied to us. They have tried to pretend it isn’t happening. They have tried to cover up the truth that so many families already know.

The dark carnival is here.

Missouri Horror Story Part I: Something Wicked This Way Comes…


Missouri Horror Story #JusticeforBrandonEllingson #ChildTraffickingandMissouriSchools

Missouri Horror Story
#JusticeforBrandonEllingson #ChildTraffickingandMissouriSchools




A phenomenon is occurring in Missouri. Dozens of citizens in every region of the state are coming forward with horrifying reports. Scores of child abductions are pouring in daily from around the state. These disappearances are occurring in broad daylight, in classrooms, hospitals, in their own homes. Abductions aren’t the only crimes associated with the phenomenon.

A host of crimes are being committed in what the Governor is terming ‘acts of terror’ against the citizens of the Show Me State.

No details of the official investigation have been released by the Missouri State Highway Patrol. The MSHP assumed command of the investigation on the orders of the Governor. No comments were made regarding any of the cases. A brief statement was issued by the MSHP. Due to their ongoing investigation, they are unable to make any comment in any of the cases at this time.

Independent investigators familiar with the bulk of cases say that while there is a wide variation in the cosmetic and geographic details of the individual cases associated with these acts, each bears the same diabolical hallmarks. Evidence of ritualistic brutality, torture, sadism and cruelty are evident at each crime scene, causing at least one investigator to conclude these acts should be taken as a whole, part of a sinister pattern.

“These cases are mirror images of each other,” said one investigator, who agreed to go on the record anonymously. “Each one is a twisted reflection of the last and connected to a dozen more. I’ve never seen anything like it.”

The Donnie Erwin Case

The Donnie Erwin Case

He pointed to a dark brown file on a desk. One of dozens that piled his desk. Behind the desk, a map of the state was literally covered in push pins stuck seemingly with no rhyme or reason. The file he pointed to was a drowning death, cause marked with a rubber stamp. ‘Accidental’.



He then picked another from the pile. It was thicker, stuffed with reports and official documents.

Kyle Lagares

Kyle Lagares

“That’s a child custody case. You wouldn’t think there was any chance the two could be related.” He paused. “Yet, they are.”

Nicole Lagares

Nicole Lagares

He continued, “The most heinous acts, the most despicable, vile kinds of atrocities are being committed against families all over the state. They appear to be random incidents with different circumstances, but they all have the same essential elements, the same M.O.”

“This is like something out of a horror novel. It would be unbelievable, if it weren’t for the overwhelming evidence that proves it’s true, this really is happening.”

“The nightmare is real.”

Authorities are asking that all Missourians remain calm in the wake of these events. The Governor has asked residents to help the State’s efforts to apprehend the people responsible for these crimes. He asked residents to return to their homes so that police resources may be devoted to ‘find those responsible for the commission of these acts of terror’ against Missourians. The Governor also mobilized the Missouri National Guard to help maintain order and provide protection during this time of crisis and confusion.

We will have more on this story, as it develops.

Stay tuned.

As I’m sure you might have guessed, there are some fictional elements in the BREAKING NEWS piece above. The phenomenon described is real. The kidnapping, torture and ritualistic abuses described above have occurred and are happening right now, this very second in the county or town you call home. Overwhelming evidence exists to prove each claim.

It doesn’t matter. No one is coming for them. There is no one to save them from their predetermined fate.

‘No comment pending our ongoing investigation’ is a page straight out of the MSHP’s Brandon Ellingson Playbook. ‘Cause, mums the word, see? Nobody talks, see? We know how to deal with rats, see?

If that sounds more like gangsters than officers of the law to you, then congratulations! You win the golden sarcasm award…the prize is in the mail.

No, before you ask, Governor Nixon did NOT call these crimes ‘acts of terror’, although he should. You can rest assured that Governor Nixon won’t say anything at all. He has ‘skin in the game’, to use the oligarchs yellow language.

Nor did he call for marital law, or its politically correct, market-tested step-sister ‘shelter in place’. Although ordering an ice cold Martial Law Lite IS in the Governor’s wheelhouse (See Ferguson).

In the warped reflection of the Funhouse Mirror however, things aren’t quite what they appear to be. The Faux News account above could be a very real one in the blink of an eye. The crimes described in the piece above are real and they are happening. The official response to these crimes has been the chirping of crickets, contempt and inaction.

This is the Missouri Horror Story and it is only beginning.

Protect the system. Serve yourself.

The strange things you see when you look in the Funhouse Mirror…




Across Missouri, leaves are turning and the snap of the coming frost has begun to chill the air. Pumpkins have been carved, candy bought, costumes purchased. Grade cards have been issued, Parent/Teacher conferences have been held and high school football season is at its peak. October means pumpkin patches and apple cider. This year, for the first time in almost three decades, October meant Royals playoff baseball and smiles of pride on the faces of steadfast fans of the hometown team.

Halloween is the season of false faces, deception and disguise. It is the time of werewolves and vampires, ghosts and goblins, SpongeBob and The Flash. The kids love it. They can pretend they are their favorite character for a few days, dress up and walk around collecting candy simply by ringing doorbells and saying ‘Trick or Treat’. If you’re a kid, or a kid at heart, it can’t get any better.

Adult opinion varies, depending on who you ask. Some dress up right along with the kiddies, partaking in the fun. Not everyone likes Halloween. Some think it is an annoyance, others view it as a candy extortion racket, cooked up by a Willy Wonka wannabe. Others are just Scrooges year-round and have an equal opportunity policy when it comes to holidays.

There are plenty of folks who don’t think there is anything redeeming about Halloween at all. They believe that it is a blasphemous pagan ceremony, celebrating evil in all its contorted forms. In their view, Halloween is Christmas for Satanists. They believe is that it is when the Devil does his best work.

This year in Missouri, quiet trembles, shivers and goosebumps are being felt in neighborhoods all across the Show Me State. An ominous fog of creeping dread has rolled into every city, town and village. It cannot be seen, but it is definitely felt. The weight of it is draped around every set of shoulders and has pulled the corners of smiles down into strained lines.

For no rational reason, parents are jumping at shadows. They are shushing their children emphatically as they lay them down to bed, as though someone, something, were crouching in the closet, waiting to pounce, rend and devour. Fingers of irrational fear are tickling bases of spines, raising pulse rates in anticipation of…something.

Most folks can dismiss this as a foolish condition of Halloween, a childish reaction to the constant stream of advertisements for scary movie marathons on TV. They shrugged off with a nervous chuckle and a furtive last look over shoulder before running to the safety of the first available distraction.


Something is blowing on the cold autumn wind. Uneasiness is felt in every home on every street in every town. Urgent prayers are uttered into pillows as people brace themselves for whatever is coming. It is the nervous calm before a terrible storm.

No one can put their finger on why, but a collective nervousness surges through the conversations of friends and coworkers. Worry is scrawled in the deep lines of tense faces and frightened eyes dart around in quick paranoid glances. Everyone feels it, even if no one can tell you what it is. There is no reasonable explanation, no way to rationalize it. Call it gut instinct or intuition, it is nothing if not persistent.

Most folks have tried to stuff that sinking feeling in a mental drawer and shut it tight. They try their best to drown it with white noise. With a little determination, you can tune almost anything out. Using coping mechanisms to avoid uncomfortable truths has become a part of the new way of life. Institutionalizing apathy in the masses is big business.

Thinking too much??? Life got you down??? Would you like to turn your brain off and float on a fluffy cloud of forgetful bliss? Then ask your doctor if (insert drug here) is right for you. Pay no attention to the laundry list of side effects, those are for sissies. Take two of these babies and *snap*! Off goes the light bulb. It’s just what the doctor ordered!

Most people these days tend to want to forget bad news as soon as we hear it. We are caught in the daily grind and the struggle of trying to make ends that are getting shorter all the time, meet. We are hostages to our responsibilities, raising kids, cutting the grass, going to the grocery store and returning emails. Most people don’t have time to catch their breath, much less take a moment to look at what’s going on around them. Bad news is relative when you’re living paycheck to paycheck. When you are one hiccup away from not paying the light bill, the monster under the bed is the least of your concerns.

They pull down the shades, lock the door, strap on the blinders and pretend none of it is happening. After all, most Missourians were raised on the mantra of the farmer, keep your head down and plow through. They mind their own business, keep their mouths shut and they expect you to do the same. They are just trying to get through the day without a major malfunction. That can be a frightening enough proposition all by itself.

Then there are the witnesses. Those who have seen. Those who know the truth. They received personalized invitations, golden tickets, to the Great and Secret Show.

The families of Brandon Ellingson and Kyle and Nicole Lagares weren’t allowed to look away. They can no longer tell themselves that boogeymen aren’t real. They can’t float away on prescription anesthesia or get lost in ‘reality’ shows. For them, nothing can dim the memories of the horrors they have witnessed, no amount of white noise can silence the screams of despair echoing in their heads.

For them, the nightmare of their endless suffering has just begun.

Their eyes were spread wide by force, held open by needles, and they were made to bear witness to the unholiest of rituals. Their ears were filled with seething curses. Their mouths were sewn shut with slow, precise stitches. Their limbs were bound with hooks and chains. They were unable to turn away when the show, and the screams, began.

These men and women were forced to watch as their loved ones were victimized by a parade of vile monsters, each more hideous, more foul, than the last. These witnesses watched while unspeakable appetites were sated, as one after the other took their turns.

The witnesses know the truth most of us can feel, but are afraid to see. They know that something truly evil is stalking prey from Missouri’s shadows. They have seen it first hand.

The Ellingson and Lagares families know that monsters exist.

These monsters walk among us, wearing public masks and false faces.


Missouri has always been a battleground.

The history of the state is echoed by its geography, where two mammoth rivers collide. The Missouri River cuts across the center of the state, dividing North from South, while the mighty Mississippi severs the skyscrapers from the East from the frontier of the West.

The state is the true geographic center of the United States and is bordered by more states than any other. It sits in the middle of America, a state constantly on the border. This is not simply a function of coordinates.

Missouri has historically been on the political divide, balanced precariously along party lines and ideologies. In the days when elections still mattered and votes still counted, Missouri served as a barometer that could be used to predict results in Presidential elections. The majority of Missouri voters have been able to ‘pick a winner’ more accurately than any other state, but that shouldn’t come as a surprise. Rural Missouri has a vast constellation of small communities that were founded around agriculture and farming. Farmers are skilled at reading the signs and predicting changes in the weather. They have to plan their entire livelihoods around it. That ability, combined with the ‘Show Me’ attitude have allowed Missourians to consistently select the least noxious clown on the political Midway.

Historically, Missouri’s elected officials have reflected the state’s diversity, with neither wing of the political party gaining an appreciable or long lived advantage. Currently, Missouri has one US Senator from each wing of the party.

The US House reflects a different make-up, with six Republican Representatives and two Democrats. This conservative slant magnified and repeated in the State Congress, firmly under the control of the ‘Republican’ party. ‘Democrats’ occupy the executive branch, led by the Governor and Attorney General. Not by accident, Missouri’s political makeup is the same brand as that worn in Washington, DC.

Once upon a time, that similarity would have been a sign attributed to a healthy republic. The Federal Government should echo the pulse that beats in America’s Heartland. The central government should reflect the mood and mindset of the people it serves. But we live in the age of the New Republic and it has no interest in honoring Midwest values. Instead, the New Republic sees the ‘fly over states’ and their wayS of life as obstacles on a road ripe for exploitation.

As natives know, a tour of the Show-Me State is like flipping pages in a treasured scrapbook. The collection of images from around the state can be viewed as a living history of the once Great Midwest, America’s Heartland. The spaces between Kansas City and St. Louis are home to a patchwork quilt of communities small and large, set against vast fields and spacious pastures, rolling ranges and roaring rivers. Together, these snapshots form a uniquely American portrait, once celebrated in the art of Norman Rockwell in the Golden Age following World War II. Rockwell’s sincere and earnest depictions of the sweet simplicity of small town life became unofficial advertisements for the good life, the American Dream.

Today, you would be hard pressed to find Norman Rockwell in Missouri’s small towns. Now, depending on the time and day of the week, you might have trouble finding an open Post Office, much less an operating gas station.

America’s heartland is withering and dying. It is diseased by the trickle-down effects of a hand-it-over economy. Businesses that used to serve these rural communities have shuddered, casualties of a silent war. Main Streets of rural Missouri are mostly ghost towns, with empty storefronts serving as tombstones for prosperity.

Missouri was born along on the border of the Establishment on the cool banks of the Mississippi River, far from the reach of shadows cast by the hulking industrial giants of the East and South and French ports in the Gulf. Missouri was formed away from the direct influence and control of government authority, on the stoop of the American frontier. Those who first settled here, did so with a collective thumb of the nose at the thought of living under the yoke of the system as another cog in someone else’s machine.

Missouri became a state in 1820 as part of an agreement on slave labor that would become known as the Missouri Compromise. The Missouri Compromise laid out new regulations for slave ownership, restrictions which did not apply in newly minted Missouri. The state’s birth certificate, in the document bearing its name defined a border between North and South that would come to eviscerate the country in the Civil War.

Rich fertile dirt and unforgiving red clay were plowed with equal enthusiasm by Missouri’s early pioneers and a constellation of communities grew on the isolation of Missouri’s wilderness and prairies. These townships sprouted from seeds planted according to a moral compass in rows shaped by shared challenges, backgrounds and beliefs.

If the United States is the ‘great melting pot’, then Missouri provides the very best ingredients, the proverbial ‘meat and potatoes’ of our unique American Stew.

‘The Show-Me State’ is simple nickname, although it speaks volumes about who Missourians are. The families, friends and neighbors that make up Missouri’s cities, towns and communities are fruits of the same field, grown on common ground. Natives exchange quick waves of acknowledgement randomly, the secret handshake that represents Heartland values. We are friendly by nature and don’t consider that a weakness. Simple values.

Do unto others and all that…

Simple doesn’t mean stupid however. Far from it.

From statesymbolusa.org:

The nickname for Missouri is The Show Me State. There are several stories concerning the origin of the “show me” slogan. The most widely known story gives credit to Missouri’s U.S. Congressman Willard Duncan Vandiver for coining the phrase in 1899. During a speech in Philadelphia, he said:

“I come from a state that raises corn and cotton and cockleburs and Democrats, and frothy eloquence neither convinces nor satisfies me. I am from Missouri. You have got to show me.”

The phrase is now used to describe the character of Missourians – not gullible – conservative and unwilling to believe without adequate evidence.

Meat and potatoes. Missourians know this is the foundation for any good stew. It’s not complicated.

The state’s nickname is the embodiment of what it means to be from the ‘Show Me State’. We don’t fool easily. Missourians are used to abrupt changes in the weather. After all, the state borders (naturally) infamous ‘Tornado Alley’. A common phrase can be heard across the state, uttered in the native language of understanding:

“If you don’t like the weather, wait five minutes. It’ll change.”

Missourians are products of the gardens they are planted in. The weather here changes, sometimes without calling ahead and making an appointment. Generations of farmers have toiled this ground. We can read the signs and are savvy enough to understand them. It’s not that complicated.

We know when bad weather is heading our direction and have the good sense to take shelter when necessary. Missourians don’t need outside interpretations of what is plain for us to see. We don’t have to rely on the best guesses of today’s digitally enhanced fortune tellers, thank you kindly. Save the sales pitch for someone in the market for it. Besides, folks from the ‘Show Me State’ recognize horse shit when we smell it. It’s not that complicated.

Missourians have developed a shrewd eye for the truth. Missouri became a state because of a border. From its birth in a border, Missouri has had borders on all fronts at all times. Always on the border, never in a camp, Missourians have relied on their keen sense of skepticism and the steady hand of conscience to guide them to their own conclusions. This mentality comes from being, quite literally, the center of the bullseye.

‘The buck stops here.’ This phrase was made famous by former President and Missourian Harry S. Truman, who displayed it on his desk in the Oval Office. Accountability and responsibility. Simple principals proudly displayed by a ‘Show Me State’ leader. It wasn’t complicated.

With openness and honesty, accountability and responsibility will naturally follow. The simplest of formulas, made from common denominators taken from values every Missourian holds dear to provide the common sense solution to any problem.

Give me the truth, present the facts and solve the problem.

It’s not that complicated.

Meat and potatoes.

Don’t piss on my leg and tell me it’s raining.

‘Show Me’.

Without the meat and potatoes, you can’t have an American Stew. If truth and honesty, accountability and responsibility aren’t ingredients in the mix, the result is bland assembly line gruel, tasteless and utterly unsatisfying.

‘Show Me’ the facts and action will follow.

The Show Me State, was a nickname chosen to proclaim the willingness to question authority and the company line. Missourians would rather not take your word for things.

Missouri has been in the crosshairs for decades. Missourians live in the heart of America. They rely on common sense and a clean conscience. They have a low tolerance for bullshit.

In the twisted reflection of the Funhouse Mirror, that way of life, that way of thinking, those values, are Enemies of the State.


During the ongoing investigation, ‘Child Trafficking and Missouri Schools’, we have reported the case of the Lagares family. Their story, and the insidious plot that has been orchestrated to rip Kyle and Nicole Lagares from a loving home, has been well documented. The collusion between the Lebanon school district, the Department of Family Services and the 26th Judicial Circuit would be unbelievable, if it weren’t for the thorough and careful documentation the Lagares family has collected throughout this saga.

Thankfully, for parents across the state of Missouri and the country, this documentation DOES exist and it stands as ironclad proof of the multiple crimes that have been committed against this family. What you are about to read is not just their story. It is our story, as every parent across the state of Missouri now is facing the very real, very clear and present danger these agencies, acting in collusion, represent.

The case of Brandon Ellingson is a twisted reflection of this condition.

Following a questionable stop by MSHP Trooper and Versailles school board member Tony Piercy, Brandon was taken into custody on suspicion of drinking while piloting a boat. His hands were cuffed behind his back. A life jacket was stuffed over his head. Piercy hit the throttle and the Donzi sped off into the rough water.

This was the last time Brandon’s friends would see him alive.

Controversy swirls around the ‘investigation’ into Brandon’s drowning, the motivations that led to his arrest and the decision not to press charges against the man responsible for killing him. The disturbing questions surrounding Brandon’s death are mirror images of those being asked in the Lagares case. So too, are the efforts to protect the system at all costs.

These unanswered questions are a solitary common thread in the web that links the cases of the Lagares children and Brandon Ellingson. There are many, many more.

For residents of the Show Me State, skepticism is an inherent trait. A disturbing pattern of wickedness and deceit has emerged from the shadows.

The maniacal eyes of a thousand hungry predators, lurking just outside their door.


The Great and Secret Show