The Letter Writer is a strange and baffling unsolved mystery. The story involves anonymous poison pen letters and attempted murder. It was featured on an episode of Unsolved Mysteries.
Circleville is a small town in Ohio. It was the location of a mysterious case of poison pen letters known as the Circleville Letter Writer.
Starting in 1976, people living in Circleville began receiving mysterious, and vindictive anonymous letters. Thousands of letters, all of them written in block letters, were sent to residents city officials.
The first person to receive the letters was the school bus driver, Mary Gillespie. The letters accused her of cheating on her husband and having an affair with a school official. One letter read: “I know where you live. I’ve been observing your house and know you have children. This is no joke. Please take it serious.”
On August 19, 1977 Mary’s husband Ron Gillispie received a phone call that seemed to indicate the identity of the letter writer. He told his children he was going to confront the person and left the house with his gun.
A few minutes later, Ron’s car was found a short distance from his house. He had driven off the road and crashed into a tree. Ron was lying dead in the front seat and his gun had been fired once. Police determined that he died as a result of injuries sustained in the crash, but they couldn’t figure out why he fired the gun.
Nobody could tell if it was an accident or if it was murder.
After Ron’s death, the letters kept coming. His wife, Mary, eventually admitted that she had been cheating on him. One day, while she was driving the school bus, Mary saw signs along her route harassing her. She went to take one down and discovered a booby-trap meant to fire a gun at her.
The police determined that the gun belonged to her former brother-in-law Paul Freshour. Freshour was convicted of attempted murder and was thought to be the Circleville writer. However, while he was in prison, the letters continued despite him being in solitary confinement without access to letter writing material and his mail being monitored.
He was denied parole because of the letters and received one himself after his parole was denied. It read, “…you aren’t going to get out of there…”
When the TV Show Unsolved Mysteries investigated the case in 1993, a postcard arrived at their offices, threatening them not to broadcast the story. It read: “Forget Circleville, Ohio… If you come to Ohio, you sickos will pay.” It was signed, “The Circleville Writer.”
The Circleville letters eventually stopped, but many questions remain. Who actually wrote the letters? Was Ron Gillispie’s death an accident or was he murdered? And, who made the booby-trap found by Mary Gillispie?