The Strange Circleville letters were frank, menacing, and disclosed some of the deepest secrets of Circleville residents. These letters were anonymous, and neither the sender’s name nor the return address were included. To this day, the identity of the letter writer is shrouded in mystery!
Circleville, Ohio, is a small community where everyone knows everyone. Strange letters, however, began to bother Circleville residents in 1976. These explicit and threatening letters contained personal information that only the recipients were aware of.
The letters had no return address and were postmarked from neighboring Columbus, Ohio. To conceal the letter writer’s handwriting, the Circleville letters were written in block letters and a similar style.
Letters are addressed to Mary Gillespie of Circleville, Ohio
Despite the fact that the anonymous writer targeted numerous Circleville residents, Mary Gillespie was picked out and bothered the most.
In Circleville, Ohio, Mary Gillespie drove a school bus. Her life was going well until she received her first anonymous letter – the strange Circleville letter!
The letter writer was enraged because she was having an affair with Gordon Massie, the local school administrator. The letter also warned Mary to terminate her alleged illicit affair with Gordon as soon as possible. Mary got another letter a few days later. For as long as she could, Mary kept these letters hidden from her family.
Mary’s husband gets the vile letter
Mary’s husband, Ron Gillespie, received a similar letter two weeks after the prior letter. “You have had two weeks and have done nothing,” the letter added. Make her confess the truth and notify the school board.” Before concluding, the author threatened the Gillespies with going public with the alleged affair on TV, radio, and billboards until the truth was revealed.
Paul Freshour receives the letter from the Gillespie couple
The letters were exchanged by Mary and Ron Gillespie with Ron’s sister and her husband, Paul Freshour.
Mary had a thought about who might have authored these letters. She forced Ron to write letters to the suspect in which he revealed the name of the hidden letter writer. The letter demanded that the suspected suspect stop sending anonymous letters immediately.
The ruse appeared to work at first, as the mystery Circleville letters ceased for a while. The Gillespies sighed with relief. Their lives were returning to normal until one afternoon in August of 1977, when Ron received an unexplained phone call.
Ron Gillespie receives a strange phone call
Ron suspected the caller was the same person responsible for the anonymous Circleville letters. The phone call enraged Ron. Ron grabbed his pistol and stormed out of his house shortly after the phone call. Ron told his children that he was going to face the horrible letter writer before leaving. Then he got into his pickup truck and drove away. Mary, however, was not at home at the time.
Ron is found dead under strange circumstances
Later that evening, Ron’s body was recovered inside the truck, which had collided with a tree. Strangely, his gun had been discharged, but the reason for the firing is unknown. He had about double the legal limit of alcohol in his blood at the time of his death. However, Ron was not a heavy drinker, according to relatives and close acquaintances.
Police rule that Ron’s death was not an accident
Dwight Radcliffe, the sheriff, controversially declared it to be an accident brought on by drinking. Letters accusing the Sheriff of a cover-up started to arrive in the mail to Circleville residents not long after the sheriff declared the death to be an accident.
Gordon Massie and Mary Gillespie acknowledge their affair
Mary Gillespie and Gordon Massie, the school’s headmaster, confirmed the relationship after Ron passed away. They asserted that their relationship only begun following the start of the offensive letters.
The Strange Circleville letters continue
Through the 1970s and the beginning of the 1980s, the letters persisted unabatedly. There were also some letters written to Mary’s daughter.
Mary has a close shave
The strange writer even started placing signs along Mary’s bus route in 1983. One day, Mary stopped her bus, got off, and attempted to tear down the sign because she had had enough. But to Mary’s complete surprise, she discovered a box fastened with a string to the signpost. Mary examined it closely and saw that it was a crude booby-trap set up to fire the gun at her.
Are the Circleville letters the work of Paul Freshour?
Mary called the police and reported the incident. The police located the weapon at Paul Freshour, Mary’s brother-in-law, after conducting an investigation. Freshour argued that his gun had long since vanished and insisted that he was innocent. Paul was nevertheless found to have written the letters under false names and tried to shoot Mary with a gun that had been modified with booby traps.
The letters went on even after Freshour was imprisoned. Even Paul himself received a letter.
After being released from prison in 1994, Paul spent another ten years behind bars. The enigmatic letters had stopped by that point.
Paul Freshour never acknowledged that he was the author of these letters. Paul insisted on being innocent up until his passing in 2012.
Even after 45 years, no one has ever been able to pin down the identity of the Strange Circleville letter writer.