John Wayne Gacy is perhaps one of the best known American serial killers of all time. Lacking remorse, repeating serial style abductions, killings, and sadistic torture procedures, Gacy claimed enough lives to be put to death. Twisted desire and corrupted behaviour gave way to private perversions of rape and murder performed on male captives his clown costume and people-friendly demeanour deceived. Wife swapping early in his marriage degenerated into homosexual activities with strange men. In a time when most things of this ilk were not spoken of, Gacy pursued stag films, prostitute led orgies and private homosexual encounters.
Many know Gacy for his propensity to wear a clown costume during block parties, but there is much more to this serial killer.
A socially aggressive man with a knack for cooking, Gacy personifies the ugly stereotype of the hidden psycho killer lurking within us all. A sickly child whose maturity hid a frightening alter ego, Gacy existed as a social curiosity who committed murders while belonging to social organizations and enjoying a social personality. The Junior Chamber International was the type of service club that Gacy might have earned the respect of his father for leading, if the known proclivity wasn’t stag parties, dirty movies, and paid women to bring in new members.
John Wayne Gacy became JayCee president despite known homosexual teenage tendencies. His history had already included incidences of accusations for kidnapping, sodomy, and other crimes. But Gacy’s white male status and Jaycees reputation formed a confidence that convinced even visiting police all was well. With a custom built crawlspace under his house and his wife and mother out of the way, Gacy pursued the serial killings and amassed a stack of ID’s, personal possessions, and torture trophies from the murders.
Gacy’s encounter with Donald Voorhies caused a prosecution for sodomy to occur. But Gacy may have been eyeballing young teenage men years before that, as the sub-basement full of corpses found later would attest. Gacy’s spree of abduction, homosexual assault, strangulation and death by asphyxiation, and storage/removal of bodies kept a steady flow of young men abused and/or missing from the area in the years 1972 to 1978. These were the crimes for which he was executed in 1994.
Gacy was the first son of a humble American machinist in Chicago environs who was of Polish extraction and a war veteran besides. Illinois was a humble place to grow up but not big enough for room between father and son in the Gacy household. Could Gacy’s father have been more accepting of his son’s tendencies? Would lives have been saved if the era had not been so homophobic? Would the later Gacy’s rage have been manageable? None can say.
The distance between the father and son grew with the years, when instinctive leanings toward cooking and gardening rubbed the father the wrong way. named for the mother’s favourite movie star. Gacy’s heart condition caused blackouts during sports and mechanized work activities, and as a high school dropout he began a career in sales. Nunn-Bush shoes was his career after a stint in Nevada failed to yield a high school diploma, yet Gacy was sharp enough to pursue a business degree later at Northwestern Business College.
John Wayne Gacy was abused emotionally by his father and rejected as being a “wimp”, while closely associating with his mother. Childhood friends relate that he had an inordinate appetite for cross-dressing and feminine type activities which resulted in him being all but alienated from his father. His public response to the sodomy charge included a failed lie detector test and his wife leaving him with the two children. Other allegations surfaced after the sodomy prosecution, yet it’s possible these encounters were consensual.
The 1950’s and 1960’s were a time of growth and change for John Wayne Gacy. His job as his wife’s relative’s manager of the Kentucky Fried Chicken manager had given Gacy a chance to shine as a cook. With the social parameters of a prison stint fulfilled by cooking in the prison kitchen and the social components served by commingling with inmates, staff, and warden, Gacy’s father’s death hit John Wayne Gacy hard. Prison was a difficult place to withstand both the desire for homosexual encounters and the sight of them, as violent encounters proved.
John Wayne Gacy became a different individual after prison and the death of his father. A brilliant social player, Gacy returned to Chicago. At 28, Gacy faced a divorced family and children he would never see again. Using the social skills he had mastered to cover his tainted urges, Gacy forged a new life. Short order cooking while living with his aging mother, Gacy resumed the life of “normalcy”. By 1971 he was in business for himself, manifesting a painting and decorating company. Gacy’s suppressed homosexual tendencies would surface paired with fits of rage and the urge for subjugation of the victim and their sexual humiliation.
Carol Hoff and her two daughters welcomed the relationship with Gacy, who formed a family with them. Yet the hidden compulsion for teenage youths Gacy preferred in a sexual manner could not be stoppered. Gacy picked up a young man at a bus stop and engaged in an homosexual encounter with him. This was followed with an impulsive swing of a kitchen knife. Thus Gacy created a a murder where a mere moral crime had been. On January 2, 1972 Tim McCoy had got into the wrong car and ended up with his remains hidden in a crawlspace behind Gacy’s home.
It should be known that Gacy’s encounters were not simply homosexual episodes, but homosexual incidents of torture and violence as well as sexual assault. Gacy’s marriage to Carol Hoff involved Gacy’s mother to move out. Gacy had learned to eliminate grounds for charges as well as empowering himself to act in power. In concert with sexual needs Gacy could exorcise the stigma of taboo fantasies under private conditions and enjoy suppressed urges and childhood rage at his father.
By the time of Gacy’s arrest in 1978, he had aggressively framed a harassment case against local police. The leads in the case led to the marijuana arrest that kept Gacy in custody while investigators surveyed the crime scene and corpse storage area at Gacy’s home. The twenty-nine bodies found there and the others found in the Des Plaines River created a media and public sensation. In all John Wayne Gacy was responsible for raping and murdering a shocking 33 young men and boys.
Article by Roy Whyte. Visit his Google+ page for more.