This Week in Macabre & Mysterious Media: June 28 – July 5


Johnny Cash & Joni Mitchell – The Long Black Veil

My most heartfelt recommendation this week:




A few favorites are LEAVING Netflix streaming soon, so catch them while you can:

Stephen King’s The Stand (1994) TV mini-series

Leaving Netflix streaming on July 1st.
This is a great (Gary Sinese) and terrible (Molly Ringwald) adaptation. I’ll recommend it, but I admit it’s mostly about nostalgia, and love for the book.
On IMDb here.

Also leaving, The Langoliers.

Natural Born Killers (1994) Director’s Cut NR

Leaving Netflix streaming on July 1st.
What a cast: Juliette Lewis, Woody Harrelson, Robert Downey Jr., Tommy Lee Jones. Written by Quentin Tarantino. A brutal movie, but a great one. (I have not seen the director’s cut, which is most likely MORE bloody and brutal than the theatrical release — though I’m hard pressed to imagine how.)
On IMDb here.

The Manchurian Candidate (2004) R

Leaving Netflix streaming on July 1st.
Another great cast: Denzel Washington, Liev Schreiber, Meryl Streep.
On IMDb here.

Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow (2004) PG

Leaving Netflix streaming on July 1st.
I missed this completely when it came out, then forgot all about it. Is it worth a watch?
On IMDb here.

Mission Impossible – seasons 1-7 (1966-1973)

Leaving Netflix streaming on July 1st.
Well damn. I wish I’d realized this was available to me before it was too late to make any real headway.
On IMDb here.

Knight Rider – seasons 1-4 (1982 – 1986)

Leaving Netflix streaming on July 1st.
And the same goes for this one.
On IMDb here.

Clearly, I need to do some research into what’s already out there, when it comes to great old TV shows. (I sense a special edition of M&M Media in the near future.) And now for the recent releases:

Underworld (2003) R AND Underworld: Evolution (2006) R 

Underworld: Evolution becomes available on streaming on July 1st. Underworld is already there.
This is a great opportunity to see the first and second installments of the Underworld series. If I remember right, Underworld is a fun adventure movie–not great art, not great horror, but a fine way to spend a couple of hours. I’ll rewatch and, if I still like it, I’ll give the sequel a go.
On IMDb here.

Ascension (2014) TV mini-series

Available on Netflix now.
This was a three-night mini-series on SyFy, in December. I’m a sucker for a good period piece and the reviews look promising.
On IMDb here.

The Secret of Roan Inish (1994) PG

Coming to Netflix on July 1st.
I can’t find a decent trailer, which does not bode well. Still, I think I liked this when it came out. I’m not going to give it a color rating yet, because I don’t really remember it. If I give it a go, I’ll come back to update my opinion.
On IMDb here.

This week, Redbox will be getting in a couple of things worth mentioning too:

Maggie (2015) R

(Click here for original listing w/ trailer.)
Available in Redbox on July 7th, but you can add it to your wishlist now.
It came and went so fast that I didn’t get a chance to see it in the theater. Now I’ve got it pre-reserved at Redbox. ‘Still looking forward to it.

The Houses October Built (2014) R

Already  available on Netflix streaming.
Coming to Redbox on June 30th.
Saw it. Eh. I liked the first third best, and the ending felt rushed. Neither as suspenseful (which would have been good) nor as gory (which would have been bad) as it could have been. Also, this is one of those movies where you end up thinking they are all idiots, who could have walked away at any time. I’ll add it as an alternate to the Halloween movie list, because it’s not horrible and it does capture something about Halloween. I will say that it made me realize I’m awfully trusting (too trusting?) when it comes to haunted attractions.
On IMDb here.



Terminator Genisys (2015) PG-13

In general release on Tuesday, June 30th.
Boy, this one cries out for a drive-in screening, doesn’t it?
On IMDb here.

Max (2015) PG

In general release already.
Here’s my complete outlier for the week. We saw the preview for Max while waiting for Inside Out to start. All three of us choked up. (The 19 year old boy, the Ogre and me.) Way to hit me in multiple tender spots, movie-maker-people. As soon as we all have a day off again, we’re going to see it. I will bring a purse full of Kleenex. Can someone reassure me that the dog doesn’t die? Please?
On IMDb here.

Speaking of movies that hit me right in the heart:


If you can, go when the theater has a mixed audience of adults (male & female) and kids. For more thoughts about this movie, visit its updated listing here.


Humans | AMC | Sundays | 9/8c | June 28th

This show premiered on SUNDAY the 28th. If you can’t On Demand it, you can watch it at AMC.
From IMDb:
“In a parallel present where the latest must-have gadget for any busy family is a ‘Synth’ – a highly-developed robotic servant that’s so similar to a real human it’s transforming the way we live.”

I’m especially vulnerable to emotions inspired by the ethical problems inherent in A.I. (The movie did a number on me.) I just saw Ex Machina, though, and I liked that. Perhaps I’m too sensitive about the topic when it involves a child robot. I’ll absolutely give Humans a shot. I think shows like this can be a good way to get people thinking about, and talking about, the potential consequences of bringing artificial intelligence into the world.

Zoo | CBS | Tuesdays | 9/8c | June 30th

From IMDb:
“A young scientist searches to find out what’s causing a rash of violent animal attacks.”

From James Patterson. Hmm. Not sure about this. I hate seeing animals killed, even in fiction. I’ll probably give it a go, but I’m skeptical.


Recent Macabre & Mysterious Media links here.

The color of the title is keyed as follows:
Black = Have not yet experienced. I’m interested … or I think you’ll be interested.
Red = Have experienced. Not recommended. Worse than the reviews or buzz indicated.
Orange = Have experienced. Recommended, with reservations or cautions.
Green = Have experienced. Recommended. Good (or great) work that lives up to its potential.

A Roy G. Biv gallery, by the book.

The photo prompt for this week’s challenge became available last Friday. I wasn’t sure I’d participate because I was feeling under the weather.

But then: serendipity. On Sunday, Ogre and I stopped at the library to pick up a book he’d reserved. I decided I wanted to just browse the psychology section. I wasn’t thinking about the challenge at all when this book title popped out at me:

Sometimes the universe makes my life so easy.

All I had to do was go through my photographs to find the ones that most closely approximate the shades of Roy G. Biv — as illustrated by the book. (Yet I’m still posting it on the last possible day. Sheesh. It was a rough week.)

I'm part of Post A Week 2015

Click here to visit the Post a Week home.

Here are some of my favorite entries for the Roy G. Biv prompt  from others:

(I’m still adding as I find them, so feel free to check back.)

A Rainbow in Winter | Light as a Feather | wife at the end of the rainbow | Street Art [Rendition] | a setting sun in Scotland | wet tarmac | Peggy Lee sings a rainbow (must listen to song)Roy G Biv and his shy twin Vib G Yor | in black and white | a lovely misty spectrum | a crisp spectrum (love the oranges) | rainbow jello (and hair) | shop front | including fire & ice | just the ice, as prisms | in one shot, at Epcot | round rainbow through the trees (gorgeous) | hand-painted silk scarf | ghosting orb | inspiration for a rainbow of (unprintable) words | an ode to indigo |

Photographing memories, off-season and on.

If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, you probably already know that I’ve been taking more photographs lately. (It’s easy to take a lot of pictures in the good seasons–any season except winter that is–because I actually go out and about instead of huddling like a post-apocalyptic survivor in my home.)

My new (nearly) daily practice makes me more aware of my surroundings and it entertains my muse. Some of the shots are artistic, some are just personally meaningful, but they all capture something about my life that I’d like to remember.

Today I started a Flickr album just for those pictures, because I realized they will get buried in my social media feeds and eventually disappear. I might do something with them here at the blog too, but for now–if you want to see them all in one place–feel free to pop over to my hauntingphotoaday album at Flickr.

I’ve been getting so much satisfaction from this practice that I’ve decided to plunge in just a little bit deeper, by starting to participate in the WordPress sponsored photo a week challenge, which you can read about here:

I'm part of Post A Week 2015

Click the badge to go to the homepage.

“Off-Season” is this week’s photo prompt, which gives me a fine opportunity to embarrass myself. I would have liked to start off with something more like actual photography than the following very-snapshot-y pics, but you get what you get when you’re responding to a prompt.

When I was organizing photos last week, I came across one, taken back in April, in which I am giving the photographer (probably Ogre) The Look. It’s not one of my favorite photos of me, but it nails that particular expression we are all guilty of. It amused me, so I put it up on my personal Facebook page. Here it is:

The Look

Within seconds, I got this comment from a woman I went to high school with: “Is it still Christmas at your house?”

That’s when I saw, for the first time in months, that gold garland hanging on the wall. Oops.

Regular readers know that I’m not a fan of holidays (other than Halloween) and that our family doesn’t do much in the way of decorating for Christmas. This last Christmas, though, I got caught up in the holiday spirit and spent a whole day lining the ceiling in our living room with multi-colored “firefly” blinky lights and garland.

We fell in love with the way the lights reflected off the ceiling and made the room glow when all the lamps were turned off. After Christmas, we still wanted and needed the cheerful lights to get through the winter. So we left them up. When spring came, we discovered we STILL liked the way they looked at night, when we were curled up watching TV or working on our individual projects.

Now it’s summer, and they are still up.

off season

Last night, we noticed that one of the strings is dying. In the next couple of days, I will take them down, because there’s little more depressing than a half-dead string of twinkle lights. If they were still burning brightly, though, I wouldn’t touch them.

So how’s that for off-season?

Edit: I’m doing the neighborly thing and taking a peek at other participant’s responses. Here are some of my favorites:

Off course | And in walks …(An artistic) Christmas Lights in June | Doormats | California Polar Bear Plunge | Off-Season DQ | East Harlem | Long Beach Island in September (These remind me of NC.) | Last of the summer blooms | Chicken Season | Frost Rose | “A rose garden is a still, expectant place in England in late May.” | Lonely Sailor | Germany’s North CoastCougar feasting on carcass (reminds me of working at the wolf center) | TomatoesSummer Cabins, Closed for Winter | South England | Rain Gauge in the Sierra Nevada Foothills |

And the challenge led me to a blog that features “Life & Death in a Small Town (including cemetery photos.)

This Week in Macabre & Mysterious Media: June 15 – 21, 2015.


Ella Henderson – Ghost

This week, I think I’m most interested to give this a go:




Before I Go to Sleep (2014) R

Available on Netflix streaming here.
Colin Firth & Nicole Kidman.
“After surviving a brutal assault, a woman awakens each morning incapable of remembering anything about her past, including the previous day.”
I don’t think this is a new listing, but I just noticed it and I do want to see it.
On IMDb here.

Practical Magic (1998) PG-13

Available on Netflix streaming here.
This one is LEAVING the Netflix streaming line-up on June 20. I don’t have to catch it before it goes, because I own a copy. If you don’t, and if you’re in the mood for a chick-flick or have some nostalgia for the movie, watch it this week before it’s gone. 
On IMDb here.


Inside Out (2015) PG

Opens in general release Friday, June 19th.
On IMDb here.

I don’t get excited about a lot of animated films but this one has been on my anticipation list for months. Just watching the trailer makes me smile. Also, there’s a personal little prize for me because the family is apparently moving from Minnesota to California. (I know it’s not remotely macabre or mysterious, but sometimes I’m just a big child.)

UPDATE Here’s your Oscar winner for animated film, 2015. Go. See. This. Movie.

On Father’s Day, my Ogre and I went, with our 19 year old son, to see Inside Out. The theater was more than half full. There was a little girl sitting behind us. It was a perfect movie-going experience. If you can find a similar crowd, do listen to who is laughing at any given time. This really is a family movie with stuff for everyone. By the way, I don’t think you have to be a parent to appreciate it. Though I did think about raising my kids while watching, I was also thinking about what it was like to grow up. Even now, as I think about the way they expressed how memories and emotions work together, I am tearing up. If you have ever struggled with depression or melancholy, there’s something very important here for you.

I’d better back up here a little. This is NOT a sad movie, overall; in fact it’s lovely. But I suspect you will cry.

Inside Out is everything the critics are saying about it. We are seriously thinking about going to see it again, while it’s still in theaters. We suspect we missed a lot of the fine detail that Pixar is famous for. I’ll end with a quote from our son, who said after the movie, “During [that one part] I was holding my breath, because — in a theater full of children — I didn’t want to be the first to sob out loud.”


Proof | TNT | Tuesdays | 10/9c | Series premiere June 16th.

From the homepage:
“Jennifer Beals plays Dr. Carolyn Tyler, who has suffered the recent, devastating loss of her teenage son, the breakup of her marriage and a growing estrangement from her daughter. Carolyn is persuaded by Ivan Turing (Modine), a cancer-stricken tech inventor and billionaire to investigate cases of reincarnation, near-death experiences, hauntings and other phenomena, all of it in the search for evidence that death is not the end.”

I haven’t watched anything from TNT for a while, but this one SOUNDS like it’s right up my paranormal alley. It’s not high on my list, but I may give it a go. (It’s good to see Jennifer Beals working.)


Recent Macabre & Mysterious Media links here.

The color of the title is keyed as follows:
Black = Have not yet experienced. I’m interested … or I think you’ll be interested.
Red = Have experienced. Not recommended. Worse than the reviews or buzz indicated.
Orange = Have experienced. Recommended, with reservations or cautions.
Green = Have experienced. Recommended. Good (or great) work that lives up to its potential.

This Week in Macabre & Mysterious Media: June 8 – 14, 2015


Sharp Was the River Bending by Jus Post Bellum

This week, I’m most excited about this:

movie poster jonathan strange & mr norrell



Nightcrawler (2014) R

Will be available on Netflix streaming June 10th.
I’ve enthusiastically recommended this fantastic movie before, and now it’s coming to streaming. You have no excuses. :)
On IMDb here.


Jurassic World (2015) PG-13

Opens in general release Friday, June 12th.
On IMDb here.


Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell – BBC TV SERIES

BBC AMERICA | Saturdays | 10/9c | Series premiere June 12th.
From the homepage:
“1806. England is beleaguered by the long war with Napoleon and centuries have passed since practical magicians faded into the nation’s past. However, scholars of this glorious history discover that one remains — the reclusive and skillful Mr Norrell (Marsan). His displays of magic soon thrill the nation. In London, he raises the beautiful Lady Pole (Englert) from the dead and summons an army of ghostly ships to terrify the French.”

Oh, my! I didn’t know this was coming. I can’t wait. (Did you read the book?)

UPDATE: I watched the first episode and set my DVR to record the next. I am intrigued by the story. The acting and settings are both appealing. My caution comes from two things: I’m not convinced by the special effects and I have trouble following some of the dialog because of the heavy accents of some of the characters. (The street magician / prophet, for example.) This is a personal failing. I can’t decipher “street” (cockney?) English very well. 


Recent Macabre & Mysterious Media links here.

The color of the title is keyed as follows:
Black = Have not yet experienced. I’m interested … or I think you’ll be interested.
Red = Have experienced. Not recommended. Worse than the reviews or buzz indicated.
Orange = Have experienced. Recommended, with reservations or cautions.
Green = Have experienced. Recommended. Good (or great) work that lives up to its potential.

This Week in Macabre & Mysterious Media: June 1 – 7, 2015


20 Styles of Thriller by Anthony Vincent

This week, I think I’m most interested to give this a go:

tv poster The Whispers




Will be available on Netflix streaming June 5th

From the homepage:
“One gunshot, one death, one moment out of time that irrevocably links eight minds in disparate parts of the world, putting them in each other’s lives, each other’s secrets, and in terrible danger. Ordinary people suddenly reborn as “Sensates.”

UPDATE: I’m more than half-way through the season now, and I am hooked. Be aware this is R-rated NC-17 television. (I was shocked by the strap-on scene in the first episode. NOW are you taking my warning seriously?) That said, I am fascinated by the show.

I was deeply confused while watching the first episode, and a second watch (when I shared it with Ogre) really helped me get a handle on the plot. 

This is a LGBT-friendly story … in fact, of the eight “linked sensates” one is a transgender woman involved in a beautiful romance with her lesbian partner, and another is a closeted gay man who is also involved in a (slightly less) loving relationship. Sens8 also strives to be multicultural, and part of the fun is seeing how Nairobi, Seoul, San Francisco, Mumbai, London, (and Iceland,) Berlin, Mexico City, and Chicago are portrayed.

I am pretty fuzzy on the details of the reason for sensates, and how a cluster is created, but I’m holding out for the answers.

I am giving Sens8 a green rating based on quality. If you will be offended by depictions of creative sex that stop just shy of pornographic, and by full frontal nudity, consider it an orange.

On IMDb here.

R.L. Stine’s ____ (2008) PG

Apparently Netflix is releasing some of R.L. Stine’s works to streaming. Here’s one. Also type “R.L.” into the search to find more.


Insidious: Chapter 3 (2015) PG-13

Opens in general release Friday, June 5th.
On IMDb here.


The Whispers – TV SHOW

 ABC | Mondays | 10/9c | Series premiere tonight.
From the homepage:
“We love to play games with our children. But what happens when someone else starts to play with them too? Someone we don’t know. Can’t see. Can’t hear. In The Whispers, someone or something — is manipulating the ones we love most to accomplish the unthinkable.”

Stephen Spielberg is one of the producers for this, and Lily Rabe (from American Horror Story) is one of the stars. I’ll be either watching or recording it.

UPDATE: So far, so green.  :) I’ve only caught one episode, but I like the story and I love the cast. I’m seeing much better acting from the children than I’m used to.

Hannibal – TV SHOW

NBC | Thursdays | 10/9c | Returns June 4th.
(3nd season)
Seasons 1 & 2 are available on Netflix DVD.
This one got away from me sometime in its first season. Just thought I’d share the premiere info for you fans.


Recent Macabre & Mysterious Media links here.

The color of the title is keyed as follows:
Black = Have not yet experienced. I’m interested … or I think you’ll be interested.
Red = Have experienced. Not recommended. Worse than the reviews or buzz indicated.
Orange = Have experienced. Recommended, with reservations or cautions.
Green = Have experienced. Recommended. Good (or great) work that lives up to its potential.

Investigating a Haunting: Carlos Avery WMA, MN – part three

I’m in the early stages of my investigation of a suspected haunting in the Carlos Avery Wildlife Management Area, a local nature preserve. So far, I’ve shared the Facebook conversation which inspired me to begin this series, as well as brief sketch of the park’s history (both mundane and murderous) in PART ONE of this series. I’ve shared my personal history with dead things and predators in one area of the park, as well as the preserve’s paranormal legends in PART TWO. Today I’ll provide the details of the most recent murder that occurred on the property.

If you are reading this page because you searched for information about Carlos Avery after encountering something unexplained in or near the preserve, please contact me to share your story. To remain anonymous, send me a PRIVATE message at my Facebook page. Our conversation will be confidential, and you will determine how you will be identified if I quote you or include your experience in this series.


Finding my location, in both time and place.

I’ve been putting off writing this installment of the Carlos Avery series. The truth is, I don’t want to do it, because the crime itself makes me so sad. In this story, two children and a teacher are the victims of a pathetic, maladjusted man with life-long psychological problems. In this part of Carlos Avery’s history, there is no tragic swashbuckling, and no mystery. Only the brutal death of a six year old boy in a remote, randomly chosen corner of Anoka County.

I’ve been busily collecting resources and pre-writing for the other tragedies that have occurred in or near the preserve, but as I sit down to write this, I realize I have been shying away from what happened in the spring and summer of 1980. Part of the problem is that this time period feels so recent to me. As I look into other events connected to the Carlos Avery WMA — like the O’Kasick manhunt of 1957 and the Dygart murders of 1911 — I am partially insulated from my feelings by the patina of age that surrounds those stories. They happened in what feels like an entirely different world, and they involved people who seem almost like characters in a novel. I don’t feel a sense of personal juxtaposition. How could I? I wasn’t even born when they happened.

On the Friday when Jason Wilkman was being kidnapped and murdered, though, I know I was just getting ready to turn 13. I was finishing up my 7th grade year … my first year of junior high. We were living in the town of Anoka then, in a house directly across the street from the school I attended. According to the records of KMSP’s weather history, it was a seasonably warm day in the 60s, there was a variable wind, and the skies were overcast. By 10 pm that night, a light rain started.

I don’t remember any details from that day, but I do know I had no awareness of the terrible things that were happening within a 25 mile radius of my home … not that day, and not later, as the story unfolded in the news.

NOTE — MAY 16th: I’ve been trying to get this installment done for more than a month. In the last week, I’ve been determined to finish it and move on, so I’ve been chipping away at it every day. I didn’t realize, until I was putting the last pieces in place tonight, that it will go live on the 35th anniversary of Jason Wilkman’s death. The delay was not intentional.

The insanity of Ming Sen Shiue:

Before we get to what happened to Jason Wilkman, in the Carlos Avery Wildlife Management Area on that afternoon in mid-May, 1980, it’s important to understand the history of the man who killed him.

Ming Sen Shiue was born on October 15th, 1950, in Taiwan. He moved to Minnesota with his mother and his two brothers, to join his father, (who was a professor at the University of Minnesota,) when he was eight years old. Starting in his early years, Shiue was reportedly abusive toward his younger siblings.  In adolescence, he severely beat one brother with a broken belt, and put the other in the oven, which he then turned on. Within three years of the family’s move to Minnesota, Shiue’s father died. Shiue exhibited inappropriate, sexualized actions toward his mother throughout his life, and one psychological report describes his behaviors as “indicative of blurred boundaries and psychosexual disturbance.”

Shiue came to the attention of the justice system in 1964, when he started fires in the apartments of three different individuals. (He also threw rocks at cars.) He was ordered into psychotherapy for the arson at the age of fourteen. At that time, Shiue’s mother reported to his therapist that her son was a frequent liar and that he was very concerned with being right. She also revealed that his was out of her control and that she feared him. She said she believed he was someone who was absent of feelings, “like a dog.” For a short time, Shiue was placed in a detention home. He was caught peeping into neighborhood houses while living there. After he returned to his mother’s house, and his juvenile probation was up, he did not continue with therapy.

The genesis of the nightmare:

In the 1965-66 academic year, when Shiue was in the ninth grade at a Roseville, MN high school, he took an algebra class from a teacher named Mary Stauffer. He became obsessed with Stauffer and admitted (in his testimony at his 1981 trial) that he had violent sexual fantasies about her from then on.

Sometime in the next ten years, between 1965 and 1975, Shiue decided to kidnap Stauffer so that he could act out some of these fantasies.

In 1975, Shiue came to believe that Mary Stauffer was living in Duluth, MN. (She was, in fact, living in the Philippines doing Christian missionary work with her family.) He broke into a residence in search of her but found, instead, Stauffer’s inlaws. He tied them up at gunpoint, then threatened to kill them if they every reported his break in. They did not. He continued to look for Stauffer for another four years.

In 1979, Mary Stauffer, her husband and their two children returned to Minnesota from the Philippines. They intended to go back, to continue their missionary work, the next year.

While the family was in Minnesota, Shiue discovered they were living on the campus of Bethel College, in Arden Hills, a town close to his own home. He began to stalk them in earnest. He attempted to break into their apartment three times. (His attempts included burning the area around the patio door and drilling holes into the floor beneath Stauffer’s bed.)

I can’t tell, from the news coverage that I’ve found, if Stauffer knew someone was stalking her, nor can I determine if she was aware that the 1975 break-in at her in-laws’ home was related to her.

May 16th, 1980:

Shiue was living alone in a house in Roseville when he finally decided to go through with his plan to abduct Mary Stauffer. According to newspaper accounts, he saw Mary as she exited a Roseville beauty salon with her eight year old daughter, Elizabeth.

I don’t know if he stalked her to that location or if he just happened to see her exiting a shop while he was going about his business in his own town. As unlikely as the second scenario is, it’s not hard to see how that kind of coincidence could trigger Shiue to act in that particular moment.

Shiue approached the Stauffers with a gun. He instructed them to get into Stauffer’s car, then forced Mary to drive by holding the gun to Elizabeth’s head. When they had reached a “deserted area,” he had Mary pull over so he could bind both females and put then in the trunk of the car. He then continued to drive. Twice he heard noise coming from the trunk as the Stauffers tried to escape or attract attention to their plight. Each time he pulled over to quiet the captives by adding more restraints in the form of ropes and duct tape.

On the second stop,  while he had the trunk open, a six year old boy named Jason Wilkman approached the car to see what was happening. According to a young witness at the scene, Shiue tossed the boy into the back seat of the car and fled the scene. Mary Stauffer later testified that a boy named Jason was put into the trunk with her and Elizabeth.

Jason Wilkman

Shiue then drove to Carlos Avery, which is 30 miles north of the Roseville abduction scene, where he killed Jason Wilkman and dumped his body. After the murder, he returned to his house in Roseville, where he kept Mary and Elizabeth Stauffer captive until July 7th.

I don’t understand where Shiue was going with all this driving. If he had a house in Roseville, and he abducted the Stauffers from a beauty salon in Roseville, how and why did he end up Carlos Avery? Why was he headed away from the home where he intended to imprison Mary and Elizabeth Stauffer? Newspaper accounts indicate that Jason Wilkman was abducted about two hours AFTER the Stauffers. Why was Shiue still driving around with the Stauffers in the trunk? 

Jason Wilkman he was taken from Hazelnut Park, less than one mile from the beauty shop where the Stauffers were abducted. Both the beauty shop and Hazelnut Park are less than five miles from Shiue’s house … which is south of the abduction sights.

So. It appears Mary Stauffer / Shiue drove around the neighborhood for two hours before Jason Wilkman was put first into the back seat of the car, then the trunk. Then Shiue headed north approximately 30 miles to the northern edge of Carlos Avery, where he killed Jason Wilkman. Then he turned around and went back home.

This is a static screenshot, but if you click it, a window will open with an interactive map.

This is a static screenshot, but if you click it, a window will open with a fully functional, interactive map.

Carlos Avery - Jason Wilkman map key

What happened to the Stauffers?

I’ll get back to Jason in a moment, but it wouldn’t be fair to leave the fate of the Stauffers a mystery, even though nothing else in their story is associated with Carlos Avery.

When Shiue arrived home with his captives, he told Mary that he had released Jason Wilkman in a place where he would be found. He then confined Mary and Elizabeth to a small closet he had prepared for the purpose. Later that night, he brought Mary out into the living room and told her that she had ruined his life by giving him a poor grade in Algebra. He claimed he’d lost a scholarship and was consequently drafted into the Viet Nam war, where he was captured and held as a prisoner of war. His entire tale was a lie. He then violently raped her for the first time. During the next seven weeks, the rapes continued.

In order to better control his captives, Shiue sometimes took Elizabeth with him when he went to work at his repair shop. (He would leave Elizabeth bound in his vehicle.) Over time, however, Shiue relaxed into a fantasy that the three of them were a family. Eventually, in order to keep her daughter healthy, Mary requested fresh food and, under close supervision, she was allowed to prepare meals for the three of them. In early June, Shiue took the Stauffers with him to the Chicago area so that he could attend a job fair. (He kept them tied up in an RV.) For Father’s Day, Shiue took the Stauffers to a pay phone so they could call home to let Mary’s husband know they were alright. On the 4th of July, he took them to a park so they could watch the fireworks.

On July 7th, Shiue left both Mary and Elizabeth at his house, confined in a different, slightly larger closet, when he went to work. Mary was able to pry the bolts from the door hinges. The Stauffers were bound together with a cable, but they were able to get to the phone and call the police. They managed to get outside where they hid behind a car until a squad arrived. Officers asked if Jason Wilkman was still in the house. It was then that Mary first knew for sure that the boy had not been found.

The police had no trouble arresting Shiue at his shop. In September of 1980 he was tried in federal court on kidnapping and rape charges. He was found guilty on all counts and sentenced to life in prison, with a minimum of 30 years served before becoming eligible for parole.

In February of 1981, Shiue was tried for the murder of Jason Wilkman. During those proceedings, while Mary Stauffer was testifying, Shiue broke away from the defendant’s table and attacked her with a pocket knife he had somehow concealed. He slashed her face before he was subdued by six men. The cut required 62 stitches to be repaired.

A slideshow of  photos, from ABC NEWS, including the house and closet where Stauffer and Elizabeth were held.

And what about Jason?

In October, 1980, Shiue agreed to show the FBI where he had left Jason Wilkman in exchange for a second-degree murder charge rather than first-degree. (At least one newspaper article indicates that he was still claiming that he’d simply left the boy in the woods alive.)

The Carlos Avery WMA is so large and difficult to navigate that, even with forensic clues taken from the under-carriage of Stauffer’s car and the cooperation of Shiue, several days of searching had to conducted before the boy’s skeletal remains were found.

Shiue was convicted of second-degree kidnapping and murder in 1981. For these crimes against Jason Wilkman, he was sentenced to 40 years, to be served concurrently with his federal conviction for his crimes against the Stauffers. He would become eligible for parole on July 6th, 2010.

On October 16th, 2009, a petition to commit Shiue “as a sexually dangerous person and as a sexual psychopathic personality” was filed. The petition was granted on September 29th, 2010 (and a later appeal by Shiue was denied.) This means that, if Shiue is ever paroled, he will likely spend the rest of life incarcerated in the Minnesota Sex Offender Program.

The 25-page, 2010 Anoka County Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law and Order in the matter of the Civil Commitment of Ming Sen Shiue is interesting reading if you want to discover more details about Shiue’s behavior and psychology. I’ve extracted one piece from it below, because it directly speaks about Jason Wilkman.

From the Finding of Fact:

Finding 21.

[Shiue] drove to Carlos Avery Wildlife Refuge in rural Anoka County, removed Jason Wilkman from the trunk and murdered him. An autopsy of Jason Wilkman revealed several fractures to his skull. The pathologist who examined Jason Wilkman’s remains indicated that the cause of death was severe cerebral trauma caused by at least two blows to the head delivered by a blunt instrument with a great deal of force. During [Shiue’s] trail for the murder of Jason Wilkman, [Mary Stauffer] testified that [Shiue] took a one-and-half-foot metal rod with him when he removed Jason Wilkman from the trunk.

Jason Wilkman probably died quickly from the blows. His body was left exposed to the elements.

On the night he was killed, a light rain fell in Carlos Avery. On the day his body was found, the sky was partly cloudy, there was a fitful breeze, and the temperature never rose above 41 degrees. In between those events, 165 nights passed, and the season changed from spring, through summer, to deep autumn. I didn’t know he was out there when I was busy being 13, but I do now. The knowledge makes me terribly sad.

I keep thinking about how cold most of those nights must have been. When I go out to the preserve again, I think I’ll take a blanket with me and leave it in the area where he lay for so long.


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