Thursday, January 21, 2010

Hollister, CA

As I was picking up my husband just outside of Hollister, CA this woman came up and asked if we could give her ride to Watsonville, (a town about 30 miles away). She was over weight, older and dragging a big black suitcase, so I thought she looked pretty harmless and I let her in the car, against my husband's wishes. I told her I wasn't going her way but I would take her part of the way and she said anything was fine. She did seem a little odd so we tried not to talk to her. She didn't say too much but did tell us that she was coming from the Emmaus House, (which is a shelter for battered women in Hollister), and that she was on her way to the woman's shelter in Watsonville. I didn't ask any questions but was wondering if she was staying at these shelters or if she was just "preaching" to them. She handed my husband a flyer, (since I was driving), and told him to put it in my purse. Since she was so determined and specific my husband did what she asked. When my husband got out of the car to get her suitcase after we stopped, she put another flyer in my hand and insisted that it was for me and I needed to read it. As she left she muttered something about white sisterhood and white brotherhood...and I don't know what, we just wanted to leave. She and her flyer really struck us as odd so here I am two days later looking her up on the internet and I find that many others have shared our similar experience. From the description of her and the flyer, (which is so hard to make sense of), I believe this was Marilyn Gibbs. After reading this blog I told my teenagers that I did the wrong thing and no matter how harmless a hitchhiker may look they should never give a stranger a ride. I am glad my husband was with me because I think his presence was a deterrent causing her to stay fairly calm and quiet.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Watsonville, CA

I was getting lunch in Watsonville, CA on Monday Jan 18 2010, when Marilyn approached me and politely asked if I knew where the battered woman's center was. I was immediately concerned, but said I didn't know because I didn't live in the area. She then asked where the library and post office where, so I pointed her down main street in the right direction. She asked if there was a battered woman's center in my town and if I could deliver one of the copies of her letter there. I agreed and put the letter into my bag without reading it.
About three minutes later she approached me again, but didn't seem to remember our previous conversation. She handed me another copy of the letter and said, "a protest for Martin Luther King". I told her she had already given me a copy and handed it back. She then left the building and I didn't see her again.
After reading the letter, I googled Carl Wyman to see if there was something more than just crazy rambling to her story. I thought maybe she had internalized something in the news or had fragmented memories of a crime she witnessed long ago. That's what led me to this blog.
Like most people with posts here, I wish I'd asked more questions and offered more help. Even though she's obviously disturbed and I do worry about her safety, I don’t think anyone should keep her from her journey. She has the right to deliver her confusing message and touch people in her strange clandestine way. It's Martin Luther King Day today and I can't help but feel like my compassion was tested. It’s easy to pass her off with a laugh, and granted a lot of her ramblings are hilarious, but her feelings are real and worth respecting.
Good luck to you, Marilyn. I hope you find what you're looking for.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Monterey and Watsonville, CA

Today I went to a Peet's coffee after some some diving in Monterey. It was raining, and there were a number of people one might call itinerant taking shelter outside from the rain - dreadlocked drifter kids with guitars, etc. I live in San Francisco where there's some amount of that sort of thing so I didn't pay it much mind. Inside while I was standing in line waiting to order I noticed a woman with a piece of photocopied handwritten paper put inside a plastic protector sheet, along with a FedEx receipt, safety-pinned to her back. Odd, but again I see weirder things that that almost daily in my own neighborhood. But I was gazing in her direction when she looked at me. She smiled and said hello. I said hello back.

She asked me if I knew how long it took to get to Watsonville from Monterey. As it happened, I was going to Watsonville for the first time myself on an errand that afternoon, and I mentioned that and that I thought it took about 45 minutes. She said 'Oh, can I get a ride with you to Watsonville?' I hesitated, partly because she seemed odd and partly because my car was full of gear and I wasn't sure there'd be room. She said 'Please say yes,' and against my better judgement I agreed. She seemed harmless enough, and I figured it would be an interesting story if nothing else. As I got my hot chocolate and we were leaving, she handed a piece of newspaper to the guy behind the counter and encouraged him to get 'her letter' posted in the local paper. He looked confused and tried to refuse but another worker told him to just take it.

I brought her back to the car and made room for her. She told me that we needed to go over to the bus stop to pick up her suitcase. As we pulled out of the parking lot she said 'I've got man trouble. I'm suing 3 men in Miami, FL. Identity theft.' I just said 'uh huh' and we drove over to the bus stop. She wanted me to go get her suitcase but I wasn't prepared to leave her in my car with the engine running. She rolled down the window and yelled at some one standing there 'Excuse, could you please get my bag? it's the green suitcase over there.' The guy looked confused but brought the bag over, and then wandered off. She took a photocopy of the same handwritten page, wrapped it up in some newspaper, and called another person over and asked him to hand it to the man who had brought her suitcase, and to tell him to get it published.

She told me she was happy that I was driving her because it was easy for the men from the Brotherhood to find her when she was on foot, and that the Brotherhood does the Devil's work. I didn't say anything.

We drove off. I had to head into town to a scuba shop to return some gear I had rented. I asked her some very basic questions, and found out she'd stayed in Pacific Grove the night before, and was on her way to Davis, CA. She asked me if I lived in Watsonville and I told her no, San Francisco, and she immediately started trying to get me to take her to San Francisco. I wasn't prepared to be in the car with her for 2.5 hours, so I fudged a story about needed to see a friend in between. She continued to probe and asked if I could pick her up when I was done, and I hedged and said probably not. She told me that if I read her letter it might make me change my mind. I told her I was driving and I couldn't read her letter right now. She said that driving was good thinking time and she hoped I would use the time to think about it.

We parked near the shop, and I asked her to come with me - again, I wasn't prepared to leave her in my car. As I brought my gear to the shop, she followed behind me some, smiling. When I got to the door I looked back, but she was approaching somebody on the sidewalk, handing them another one of the letters wrapped in newspaper. I went into the shop and was returning my gear when I noticed she'd come into the shop and was just hanging back, not speaking to the counter people. When I finished up, she stepped up to them and offered them a letter/newspaper package, again asking them to publish it in the paper. She then asked if I was done and I said yes and we moved on.

Back in the car, I asked her if she had friends or relations in Davis. She said yes, 'I'm going to see a Jewish sister there who's an expert on the tracking microchips that the police put in everyone they detain. Which of course they do.' This wasn't exactly a conversation starter, so I asked her again about when she'd gotten to town. She said again she'd stayed in Pacific Grove last night, and that her hotel was paid for by some Seventh Day Adventists. She said that Pacific Grove was really beautiful, and we had some idle chit chat about that. I obviously thought she was nuts, but again on an interpersonal level she was mostly very nice; not threatening, not saying anything rude or completely non-sensical exactly. I asked her where she was from and she said 'I like to tell people I'm from Davis.' I asked her if that was where she was really from and she said no, she was born in Tennessee, but she was from Davis.

We headed north. She offered me some oranges and I declined. She asked me if she could use the mirror and I told her of course she could. We'd alternate between silent periods and then she'd make a conversational gambit. She asked me if I was married or had children. I told her no, and then added that it wasn't legal yet (I'm gay). She laughed and asked me how old I was (35). She said 'I know about guys like you. You get to about 40 and then you find some young girl and you get married. Oh yes, I know lots of young girls who marry the older men. You'll find your girl someday.' I asked her if she had any children and she got a little terse and said no, no children. She had never been married. She stated that a few times.

We passed a sign for Nashua, CA and she said 'Nashua, NH. It's a nice town.' I told her my brother lived in Exeter, NH, and she said that was a nice place too. We talked geography a bit, and I mentioned she seemed to be a long way from Miami and from her troubles. It got out that she'd really traveled quite a lot, and she seemed to know a lot about different areas of the country.

Eventually we got to Watsonville. She asked me a few more times if I wouldn't take her to San Francisco, but I was firm. She had originally told me she wanted to get to Watsonville because it was a better place to get a bus to Davis, so I told her I would help her find the bus station. She told me to ask the drive-in at any McDonald's or Burger King; they always knew where the bus station was. We happened to pass a Burger King right then, so I went into the drive-in and asked about the bus station. This confused them a fair bit, but eventually someone in there was able to give us directions. As I drove her towards the station, she asked me if I would be willing to donate to her photocopy fund so that she could make more copies of her letter because there were only 30 left. I declined.

As we got close to the station she asked me what direction the station was in. I told her and she said to pull over right there, 2 blocks from the station; she was going to get out and give out more of her letters first. She had motioned to the parking lot of a sketchy-looking taqueria. So, I decided to do as she asked. As she gathered her things, she encouraged me to take the letter back to San Francisco and have it published in the newspaper there. She also said 'If you find those 3 men and put them in the cemetery, you can keep the money. And it's a LOT of money.' As she got out and gathered herself, I told her to take care of herself. She looked me straight in the eye and said: 'Don't say that. Don't say take care. If 3 men are police officers, and are black ministers, and they tell you they're married to you and take all you're money, and try to put you into a mental hospital because they say you have poor mental hygiene and are unfit to take care of yourself...that's RAPE.' I didn't really know what to say to that, so I just wished her well and drove off. As I looked back she was already giving her letter to someone else in the parking lot.

About 30 minutes later I got a call from the scuba shop, asking about that African American woman that I'd been in the shop with earlier that afternoon. It turned out that one of the store employees had read the letter, been very perplexed and intrigued and weirded out, and googled her. He found the information on this site and other sites about Marilyn, and had read about her run-ins with the police and such. He called to check in that I was OK and that I knew what I was dealing with. I had already left her, so we ended up just trading stories, he telling me what he'd read and me telling him my part of the Marilyn epic.

I've attached her letter, which includes a copy of the letterhead of the hotel she stayed at and a copy of her room key, apparently. It's almost like she wants people to follow her. A friend of mine thinks it's very elaborate performance art. I'm not sure, myself.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Paso Robles, Ca.

Sighted in Paso Robles, CA

Saturday, January 2, 2010

San Luis Obispo, CA

Today, a well-dressed black woman came into my work. (a copy shop in San Luis Obispo, CA.) Speaking to me, she was very polite, if a little needy. Many of the customers here are just as needy and not at all polite, so she made a good impression right away. After a miunte or two of talking to her though, something seemed off. Confiding to me that she had been a victim of identity theft, she handed me a nearly illegible handwritten paper, asking for 200 copies.
When the job was finished she paid in cash, using a bill on which she had written "Race Separation Black Race Abuse".
Before she left, she approached the counter again to give me one of the copies I had made for her. She had highlighted part of it in blue ink. She then told me that "they" can implant microchips in people, that she was dealing with at least three crooked black cops, and that their wifes were even worse. "They have the ability to make you a sex slave." she told me, "You stay away from those bad women." Then she left.
Reading the copy, I became concerned by its mention of people by first and last name, including, in one case, a car's liscense plate number. I Googled one of the names and almost immediately found this blog. My co-worker and I were blown away by the amount of information on Marilyn, how many people have encountered her, and how far she has travelled.
Attached is a scan of the aforementioned paper, with surnames and liscense plate number obscured.