Circleville, OH

Author of Menacing Letters Terrorizes Entire Town for Decades

Zoe Dixon

For decades, the citizens of an Ohio town have been living in fear due to a sinister figure who has sought to expose their darkest secrets through anonymous letters. To this day, the identity and motives behind these disturbing messages remain shrouded in mystery.

In 1976, the small Ohio town of Circleville experienced a mysterious affair.

Residents were baffled as threatening letters began to arrive in their mailboxes, written in such disguise that it was impossible for them to identify its source - or who would be next on the list if they failed to heed the warnings within.

The small town was in shock. Its residents kept receiving letters making serious threats against one of their own.

The main target of the letters was one Mary Gillispie, a school bus driver in the area. The letters were warning her to end her presumed affair with local school Superintendent Gordon Massie.

As tension grew around her safety and that of family members close to both parties involved, everyone wondered who had sent this sinister campaign - and whether it would be followed through.

After reports of letters and a menacing phone call, Ron Gillispie, Mary’s husband, decided to take matters into his own hands.

In an unwavering attempt to find the alleged writer, he took his gun and drove off in a search that proved to be a very bad idea for him and his family.

The furious attempt at finding the writer of the letters culminated with him becoming fatally involved in a car crash while allegedly under intoxication, according to Pickaway Sheriff’s department. This made the sheriff label Ron’s death an accident.

An oddity amongst all this: one fire was shot, but no bullet case was found at the scene, leaving many questions unanswered as to what exactly befell Mr. Gillispie that fateful day.

Despite the events, the letter writer continued to reach out to local citizens with his violent ill-intended writings. One of his efforts was targeted at exposing Sheriff Radcliff for his involvement in the alleged cover-up of Ron’s perish.

The turmoil went on for years.

In a stunning turn of events, the superintendent and Mary have admitted to having an affair, bringing much-needed reprieve from all the tension in letters.

In 1983, after years of facing the menacing letters, signs began to appear along Mary’s bus routes that took it one step further with the harassment.

Mary had had enough! She attempted to take matters into her own hands.

But just like with her deceased husband, it quickly turned violent when she discovered one of the signs along the path was booby-trapped with a gun - meant to shoot and kill if anyone tried to tear down the sign.

Despite the suspect attempting to mask his actions, Pickaway Sheriff's Department was still able to uncover a crucial piece of evidence - an undamaged serial number on the firearm.

This led investigators directly to Ron Gillispie's brother-in-law Paul, who owned the gun and would later be found guilty in Mary’s attempted murder trial; though he wasn't charged for writing death threats as part of that crime.

The mysterious case may have come to a seeming close when Paul was arrested and sent to prison.

But astonishingly, the letters continued!

Although Paul wasn’t allowed pen and paper, and although he spent some time in solitary confinement, the letters kept going. What’s even more puzzling is that Paul’s writing was deemed to match the one in the letters. And that some of the letters that were sent while he was in prison had his fingerprints on them!

This led some investigators to suspect that other individuals were sending them in his stead, but then how to explain the fingerprints?

Individuals connected with both Mary Gillispie and the superintendent from the beginning of this strange story were all under suspicion, but mystery still remained surrounding the strange letters.

One speculation was that even Mary Gillespie herself may have been behind the letters; some suggest she used stories from kids on her bus route before using Paul's gun in an attempted suicide – a ploy to throw off any investigation into her actions.

Mystery still shrouds the identity of "The Circleville Letter Writer" and the anonymous correspondence. While a few believe that it was Mary, manipulating a deadly scandal, others are convinced it was all Paul’s doing, while others are still waiting for a mysterious unidentified figure to show up and make light of the whole case. The truth is yet unsolved as conflicting theories abound over 45 years later.

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Quite bizarre.


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