Sunday, August 23, 2009

Where is Beverly Potts?


Friday August 24th 1951, 10 year old Beverly Potts vanished from her Cleveland neighborhood...Never to be seen again...The case is still open...And even though it has nothing to do with me...It haunts me...

She had disappeared after attending a showagon at Halloran Park....The showagon was a group of singers dancers, and other performers, that went from park to park near the end of Summer...Halloran Park was at the corner of Beverly's street, Linnet and 117th...

Beverly had gone there with her best friend and next door neighbor, Patsy Swing...Beverly was told she stay for the whole show...Patsy had to be home by dark...When it got close to 9:00 PM...Patsy left...She tried to get Beverly to come with her...But Beverly wanted to stay...And did...

Once it was 10:00 PM, Beverly's parents, and older sister became worried...Her father and sister went to the park to look for her...They came back with no signs of Beverly...They checked again...Her mother called the police...Later, after the police hadn't shown up...Her sister called the police again...It was now after midnight...The search was on...Her father Robert searched the neighborhood...Neighbors began to realize something was wrong...And started searching also...

By all accounts, Beverly was extremely shy...Especially around boys, and men...Even men she knew...So the thought that she would have left willingly with some one was highly doubted...Yet no one at the park had noticed any type of struggle, or anything alarming...It's estimated that there was 1500 people there...

Then Saturday morning came...No sign of Beverly...The neighborhood was in shock...The Cleveland police was working non-stop, lead by Chief of Detectives, James E. McArthur...Every lead...I stress every, was checked out...Hot lines were setup...All three Cleveland papers were covering the story, non-stop...

One of the scariest things to me, is the number of stories that came out...A woman down the block from the Potts house hearing a girl scream "I want to go home!" as a car sped by...A man seeing a young girl in a car with an older man...And then seeing that car in a field a short time later, about a mile or so away...The man beating the girl...A cab driver picking up a suspicious looking man and a young girl on 117th, and taking them to the bus station...These are just a few...You can't be sure what is true, and what isn't...But if any of them are true, why the hell didn't some one do something, or speak up sooner...

There was also many reports of people seeing a particular type of car...With a creepy looking person...Some accounts saying two people...Trolling around the park during the Showagon...

It's all so sketchy...Especially almost 60 years later...Yet...Even today...If a tip comes in...It's checked out...It's still an open case...Nothing has ever been found...

"The earth might as well have opened up and swallowed the child. She has vanished into nothing." -Ben R. Tidyman in the Cleveland Plain Dealer, 9-4-'51

The Potts family was investigated...Neighbors interviewed...Classmates interviewed...Every know sex offender questioned...I was surprised to read how well the police kept tabs on sex offenders back then...Over the years, there have been many promising tips, that have just never panned out..

In 2001 letters were received at the Cleveland Plain Dealer...A dying man confessing to the disappearance, molestation, and murder of Beverly...On the 50th anniversary of the disappearance, he was going to turn himself in at Halloran Park...Then he sent another letter, just weeks before...Saying he has become to sick, and was being put into a nursing home...The Police checked everything and anything they could...The man was never found....Beverly has never been found...No trace of her has ever been found...

It's been said, that after Beverly's disappearance, Her mother Elizabeth, "seemed to be crying softly virtually all the time." I can only imagine. Elizabeth Potts died 5 years later, in 1956...

I said at the beginning that this story haunts me...I'm not sure why...I do know that it bothers me even more, now that I have kids of my own...My father grew up at Halloran Park...It was just steps from his childhood home...He knew of Beverly Potts...He's a few years older then her...She was friends with my aunt...

I had spent plenty of time at Halloran Park when I was kid...We'd walk up there when we were visiting my grandfather...I didn't find out about the Beverly Potts story until I was in high school...Although I didn't think much of it...But I always felt uneasy at the park after that...I took my wife there once...It was our first date that didn't start in a bar after work...We went ice skating there...But I still felt strange...I drive past Halloran everyday...And I think about what may have happened to that little girl...

I always think about how much better things were in our society, when i was kid...I knew there were kid touchers, and evil people...I was prepared for it...But it didn't seem to be too bad...Then I would think about when my parents were growing up, and how much better a time it was in the world...There couldn't be this much bad sh!t...Then I learned about Beverly Potts...And her story leads you to so many more horrible stories that happened back then...Clearly, this world has always been f**ked up....

I guess all we can do is prepare our children for the bad as best we can...While not forgetting to show them the good...

Many times you hear questions like, 'If you could ask God one question...What would it be?' Or some silly sh!t like that...I'd ask, WHERE'S BEVERLY POTTS?

Not that it would do any good for her family...They're all gone...Maybe it's just my Catholic upbringing that just wants that poor child's soul to finally rest peacefully.




For more on Beverly Potts case...There is a great book called "The Twilight Of Innocence" by James Jessen Badal.

Beverly's page at The Charley Project... http://www.charleyproject.org/cases/p/potts_beverly.html

National Center for Missing and Exploited Children... http://www.missingkids.com/missingkids/servlet/PublicHomeServlet?LanguageCountry=en_US

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9 comments:

-A said...

Have you ever seen Changeling? The Clint Eastwood movie that came out last year with Angelina Jolie. This post made me think of it, because that is also a true story.

I've heard of Beverly Potts. There was always a suspicion that she went off with one of the Carney groups. One interview said that she met a midget and was a bit enamored by the woman, that's why she decided to stay at Halloran park.
I never knew about the letters in 2001.

Maybe you should check the case out. Cleveland's records people are actually very nice, I've worked with them in the past on research projects.

The guy who wrote Changeling actually used some transcript notes, so some of the actors dialogue was the actual persons words.

Great post. I hope, because I like happily ever after, that when you get to ask that question - God will tell you she grew up and was happy.

The BEEZE said...

I could have written so much more on this...I just didn't want to get too long winded...There were so many different stories that came out the days after she vanished...and they continued for years...

Fake ransom notes...A fake confession from one creep, who was looking for a freeride from LA, back to Cleveland...Wives making up stories, saying their husband did it...Just to get back at him for being an asshole...

I'm okay with happily ever after...But then you have to ask, why would she put her family through that...What had happened, that would make her willingly leave in that way...Then there's a whole new mystery...

It's strange how this little girl seems to haunt me.

Sustainable Farmer said...

I also remember the case well. I was one of the Showagon performers that summer (toe dancing with shoes that had taps at the end), so we were frightened at the thought a kidnapper was out there somewhere. I remember another rumor that parts of her body had been found in the sewers. Like you, I remember Beverly whenever people say that these kinds of things didn't happen in the good old days. I also remember what a racist and sexist era it was, so they weren't the good old days from my perspective.

The BEEZE said...

SF, there were countless rumors, and nothing panned out...And there are some things I think the police didn't dig into enough...I have a couple theories, one I'm trying to research...We'll see...I hope.

pulaskipro said...

Just read your posting and enjoyed it. I was a kid of 13, living on the opposite side of Cleveland (off E. 116th) when Beverly went missing. Like you, it has always haunted me. In fact, I used to dream (for no apparent reason) that she was buried between our backyard fence and our neighbor's garage.
I just watched the PBS program, DUSK & SHADOWS that deals with the case. If you've never seen it, try to do so by all means. It eerily took me back 60 years to when she went missing.
Although Beverly has never been found, she has hopefully found happiness in Heaven!
John

Cinda said...

I too lived in that neighborhood although a bit after Beverly. But I can still remember my mother warning me about Halloran Park and being care so I would not "end up like Beverly Potts".

Bella Lombardo said...

My grandmother told me the story about Beverly. She said when Beverly turned up missing that every little girl was told NOT to dress like her or in alike clothing. What is so messed up is that THOUSANDS of people attended the Showagon and NO one really saw her or can account for her whereabouts. My grandmother also told me Betty Potts (Elizabeth) died of a broken heart just a few short years after her daughter disappeared. She was so worn down from the stress and worry that it killed her.

Here read this article: (its quite interesting!)
http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=799&dat=19800818&id=KqdPAAAAIBAJ&sjid=mFEDAAAAIBAJ&pg=6512,4026895

fish said...

I was at Halloran Park the evening Beverly Potts disappeared. I was only 5 years old, but I still remember the following day, Saturday, the police went door to door on our street, asking if anyone had seen Beverly at the park. I was considered too young to question.....and I had not seen anything.....but they did talk to my 7-year old sister. She hadn't seen anything, either. Still, this story has stayed with me all of my life.

Buster McNamara said...

we need these reminders