Tarot after Dark...
I use tarot for many things, including personal exploration, and for character and plot development. So, I'm actually a little surprised at myself that it took fellow writer and Villisca investigator Katie to suggest that I attempt a tarot reading in the Villisca Axe Murder House. But, a brilliant suggestion! I'm alone in a house where eight people were bludgeoned to death, and the crime has never been solved.
I spent a few minutes with my eyes closed, just meditating about the murders. I didn't really know what "question" to pose." What I ended up asking was something along the order of, "Help me understand what happened here."
Here's what I got, and my interpretations. Feel free to make your own conclusions. Leave me your comments :)
Spread: Celtic Cross with clarification spread
Situation: 10 of Pentacles: This card speaks of financial security and happiness. At first, I thought this represented the Moores. They owned a business, and seemed at least outwardly happy. But as I got further into the reading, the more I became convinced that the meaning of this card was a motive. This was a kill for hire. The motive was MONEY. The killer thought he'd get happiness and security, along with financial rewards. A treasure chest.
Crossed by: XIII Death: Normally, the death card signifies a sudden change, bringing about a new beginning. In this case, I think the Death card means--well, death. But, along the same lines as the situation, for the killer, I think that he sees this as a way to a new beginning.
Subconscious/root of the situation: XIX Sun: Now this card threw me. The Sun is usually a really positive card. It tells us to look for the positive in everything. It took me a while to remind myself that this is the KILLER's subconscious. And he does see a positive here. He believes he will gain financial rewards. Plus, most mass murderers crave the attention. They want and NEED people to remember them. To talk about them.
Past Influences (relative to the crime): 8 of Wands: In the year 2010, I would say that this means a sudden burst of energy, and most likely travel by air. Not likely in 1912. But, I think this card is saying that the person responsible for this crime arrived suddenly before the murders, and the closest thing to flying in Villisca in 1912 would be by train.
Conscious thoughts about the situation: III Empress: Ahh the archetypal mother card. The killer is thinking about Sarah Moore. Whether she is the intended target or not, this is what he's thinking about. He did have a hiding place in the barn with a peep hole to spy on the family. Perhaps he took more time watching Sarah Moore? Then there are the theories that this was a killing for hire, perhaps a result of an affair of Mrs.Moore.
Future Influences: (relative to crime): Knight of Cups: As an event, a romantic invitation or proposal of marriage? Now this can go a couple of ways. Either the killer was obsessed with Sarah Moore, or perhaps the affair was going to interfere with another relationship for whomever hired the murder out.
This is how "you" view things: 9 of Wands: He feels as though all of his energy has been spent. He doesn't feel like he can go another step. But he believes if he can stop and regroup, and persevere, he will win. He can't come this far and stop now.
This is how the "others" will view you: 10 of Wands: What once seemed like a good idea is now a heavy burden. He's bitten off more than he can chew. But, he hasn't given up.
Hopes and Fears: 9 of Pentacles: This indicates financial success and security usually attained through one's own means. The figure in the card is depicted alone. So, this could represent both hopes and fears. He hopes for financial security, but fears being alone.
Outcome: XI Justice: Well, I'd like to think there was some kind of justice for the eight people murdered in Villisca on June 10, 1912. If not in this life, certainly in the next. Call it Divine Justice, Karma, the Wiccan Rede, Judgement...
But since I sense that I'm reading the murderer's thoughts, this also speaks to the fact that he believes that somehow justice is being served by his actions. I don't begin to fathom how someone can think that eight people deserved to have their heads bashed in with an axe. But, since the estimates are that each person was struck in the head between 20 and 30 times, the math says the killer struck between 160 and 180 blows. That's a lot of work. There had to be something that kept him swinging. Maybe I'm just lazy, but this is serious overkill (pardon the pun). This excessiveness, along with the other details of the crime (lamp chimneys placed on the floor, mirrors all covered, heads covered, bacon on the floor??? would indicate a serious level of obsessive-compulsive disorder as well. The balance of the Justice card would also speak to the release of relieving those compulsions.
I drew three clarification cards as well.
Knight of Pentacles: Very methodical approach to things. In this context, it reminds me of a horror movie, where the victims are running, running, running, and no matter how fast they run, the killer is always right behind them, even when it's a plodding zombie. It kind of fits with Mr. OCD Killer.
7of Cups: So many choices. Who to kill first??? Who to kill next??? Once someone has committed a crime of this magnitude, it isn't likely that he will want to stop. He'd continue to crave the high that can only be obtained by perpetrating even larger killing sprees.
6 of wands: Recognition for his accomplishments. Now this seems really odd, until you get into the mind-set of a mass murderer. This is a person who wants--no, make that needs--recognition. And think about it. Nearly a century later, we are still talking about him.
Summation: I'm seeing a murder-for-hire by a guy who has plenty of mass murder OCD tendencies (wouldn't he have to??) Someone who came to Villisca right before the crime. The reason is centered around Sarah Moore. And in case it wasn't apparent... he is nuts.
The thing I haven't done as of yet is to listen to the audio recordings from our night in the Villisca Axe Murder House. I had a digital audio recorder running the whole time I was doing this spread, so I'll update my findings if the spirits had anything to add.