Nightmare At Goodwater & Stories From The Shadows

Nightmare At Goodwater & Stories From The Shadows

In the early 1950’s, Goodwater, Arizona was the proverbial wide spot

in the road. Located on Route 66 in eastern Arizona, there was little more in Goodwater than a service station and small cafe. It didn’t even warrant mention in A Guide Book to Highway 66 penned by Jack Rittenhouse in 1946. Obscurity was erased in December 1953 when a brutal murder put this diminutive community on the front pages of newspapers throughout the country.

In appearance there was nothing to indicate that Carl J. Folk was a monster. His arrest record, however, gave clues to the darkness that he harbored in his soul. In DeKalb, Indiana, in 1930, he was arrested after car jacking a young couple, and attempting to rape the woman at gun point. In July of 1949, in Albuquerque, he was arrested for rape and “contributory delinquency.” In between the two arrests were a string of incidents, none of which resulted in conviction, for stalking, peeping in windows, and accusations of public exposure. For the 1949 incident he was committed to the New Mexico State Insane Asylum in Las Vegas. Unfortunately for Betty Faye and Raymond Bruce Allen, he was released in February 1950.

According to the testimony of Raymond Allen, the couple traveling with their ten month old son from Pennsylvania to California first encountered Folk at Cline’s Corners in New Mexico. Investigators later determined that Folk then began stalking the family. He would pass them on the highway, stop at a cafe and wait until then drove by, and then repeat the process. Sometimes he would back track to catch them. On the evening of the murder at Goodwater, Folk had stopped at Young’s store in Chambers, Arizona, and at a gas station in Navajo.

After spotting the Allen’s truck and trailer at Goodwater, he drove ahead a short distance, found a ranch road, parked his car and waited in the darkness. The Allen’s had stopped for gas and dinner, and driven a mile or so west where they found a place to park for the night. The location chosen was in site of Folk’s hideaway. Sometime around midnight on December 1, Folk surprised the Allen’s, and announced that his intent was robbery. He tied them ankles to wrist from behind, and then drove the truck with trailer to where his car was parked. After dragging Raymond from the trailer, he methodically set about raping and torturing Betty Faye.

Early the next morning, sometime around 6:30, Raymond freed his feet and staggered to the highway where he was able to flag down a truck driver. Even though his hands were swollen from being tied all through the night, he returned to his truck, recovered a gun from under the seat, and when Folk stepped from the trailer, fired six times striking Folk in the chest.

Folk would recover from his wounds and be executed by the State of Arizona. Betty Faye had died from strangulation. The child was unharmed but there is little doubt that he and Raymond were forever haunted by the nightmare at Goodwater.

The current book project has taken me into some very dark places on the Main Street of America. From traffic accidents to serial killers, from gangsters to natural disasters, this has been an endeavor that will never be forgotten.

A Hearty Thank You, An Apology & An Expression of Frustration

A Hearty Thank You, An Apology & An Expression of Frustration

Are you familiar with the new Facebook Live Creative Kit? It is an

amazing program that provides everything needed to transform a Facebook live broadcast into a nice, clean, studio quality production. It is exactly what I needed to take the Adventurers Club programs to the next level, and to provide business owners that  support the crowdfunding initiative with a promotional bang for their investment. That was my thought before discovering that in its current configuration it is one of the most insidious time consuming projects ever devised, an endless source of frustration, and in my humble opinion about as worthless as teats on a boar. Needless to say, I am not pleased. I am, however, thankful that the whereabouts of the designers are unknown to me. (more…)

Edsel Ford Slept Here

Edsel Ford Slept Here

In my world the past and present blend seamlessly. There are

days when I spend hours reading century old journals, perusing old newspapers,  and then write about a trip across the Mojave Desert in 1915. In my office, all around me are tangible links to an earlier time that stand in stark contrast to the computer and keyboard.  I even start my day by shaving with a circa 1940 razor (do you know how hard it is to find simple double edged blades today?). There are rare occasions when a bit of the future gets tangled into the mix, such as when I work with the members of the Historic Electric Vehicle Foundation and their ongoing efforts to establish a dedicated museum that will chronicle the evolution of the  electric vehicle.

On occasion, when there is time for meditation on a long morning walk, I envision my work as the crafting of a time a machine. As an example, on our premium content crowdfunding site,  I am launching a new series. Every Saturday morning, commencing on March 10, I will be sharing one entry, verbatim, with original photos where possible, from Edsel Ford’s daily journal written during his adventure to California along the National Old Trails Highway during the summer of 1915.  (more…)

Nightmare At Goodwater & Stories From The Shadows

Missing Tourists, Stepping Into the Future & An Update Or Two

It was the late spring of 1935 when George Lorius, his wife Laura, and

The Dark Side

Another dark chapter in Route 66 history courtesy Mohave Museum of History & Arts.

their good friends Tillie and Albert Heberer set out on their fun filled vacation holiday. Leaving East St. Louis they motored west on U.S. 66 making stops in Sayre and Miami, Oklahoma where they mailed postcards home to family and friends. On May 21, they checked into the Vaughn Hotel in Vaughn, New Mexico. They had breakfast at the hotel the following morning, checked out, and vanished.

The story that will be detailed in the forthcoming book from Rio Nuevo Publishing is one of many uncovered in my quest to document the dark side of Route 66. As unnerving and puzzling as this mystery is, there was one particular note found in my research about this disappearance that really grabbed my attention. Even though the FBI tirelessly investigated this disappearance and created a file almost six feet in height, it remained unsolved, along with fifty other cases of persons who went missing while traveling in the southwest between 1934 and 1936. To say the very least, the current project has altered my perception of Route 66.  (more…)