How a School Assignment Led to El Paso Woman Becoming Pen Pals with The Night Stalker
I love watching true-crime shows and serial killer documentaries. It’s a strange thing to like to watch, I know, but I do. And clearly, based on how many people have viewed and continue to stream the Netflix release Night Stalker: The Hunt for a Serial Killer I’m not the only one with an interest in that kind of TV fare
Because of that crime doc and because his likeness was used as a fictional character in the most recent season of American Horror Story: 1984, there’s been a resurgence of interest in serial killer and El Pasaon Richard Ramirez.
Ramirez, as any longtime El Pasoan knows, grew up and went to school here so no doubt if you ask around someone knows someone who has a brother, cousin, uncle, or co-worker who has a story about him.
But I promise you no one has a more compelling and unusual connection to him than Heather Shade.
What started as a college paper assignment for Shade, founder and lead ghost tour host of Lost El Paso Paranormal and the author of Weird Texas, ended up becoming a yearlong correspondence with one of the most notorious serial killers in American history.
In an on-air interview on Mike and Tricia Mornings, she details how she found herself thrust into the bizarre world of the Night Stalker over 20 years ago after a classmate suggested she get in touch with a relative of hers who was doing time in San Quentin.
“This was back in ’97 when I was in college, and I was writing a paper at the time,” Shade told us. “The theme of it was American crime and crime statistics. So, one of my classmates just happened to mention to me, ‘oh, I have a relative of mine who is serving time in San Quentin. Perhaps you could write to him and do a little interview with him for your paper.”
Over the course of the transfixing and captivating interview with Heather we learned how Ramirez preferred to be addressed (Spoiler alert: it wasn’t Mr. Night Stalker), and got to the bottom of the often-repeated rumor that Ramirez slept and performed satanic rituals in Concordia Cemetery.
Interview segments are posted below.
One thing Heather stressed to us a few times during the interview was that she was not one of these crazy serial-killer fans like the ones noted in the Netflix documentary. She said she never forgot what her pen pal did and why he was serving the rest of his life in prison.