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Outlandish Extra: Oubliette

Appalachian Mysteria

Jam Street Media

Documentary, True Crime, Society & Culture

4.82.6K Ratings

🗓️ 22 February 2023

⏱️ 32 minutes

🧾️ Download transcript


In this episode, we take a step back in time to the week Cathy Thomas and Becky Dowski were murdered in the first of several Colonial Parkway murders. As the crime scene tape still hangs from Becky Dowski’s doorway at William & Mary College, another headline hits the student paper: Three men are being charged in the campus gang rape of another student. Our guest for this episode was directly involved in that incident, and she helps us use it as a lens through which we can examine some failures of response to sexual assault -- some of which are still problems today. We also examine an astounding survey of college students published the year before the incidents at William & Mary, which suggested more than 25% of college women have experience rape or attempted rape since the age of 14. Description/Notes: To best understand the context of this episode, be sure to listen to Season 3 Episode 4, Exploring Substantial Similarities. In that episode, we speak with Bill Thomas, leading authority on the Colonial Parkway murders and brother of Cathy Thomas. If you decide to go down the Colonial Parkway rabbit hole, make sure to check out Bill's podcast covering every aspect of the cases, Mind Over Murder. You can also check out the Oxygen series titled "The Lover's Lane Murders", for which Bill served as a consulting producer. If you're interested in learning more about sexual assault on campus, you can check out the RAINN statistics page on campus sexual violence. The website also has an anonymous live chat and a help line number if you need to talk with someone. Thank you to our sponsor Ritual! Visit ritual.com/MYSTERIA today and get 10% off your first 3 orders. Thank you to our sponsor HelloFresh! Go to HelloFresh.com/mysteria65 and use code mysteria65 for 65% off plus free shipping! Thank you to our sponsor Shopify! Sign up for a one-dollar-per-month trial period at Shopify.com/mysteria. Thank you to our sponsor Love & Pies! Free to download in the App Store or Google Play. Thank you to our sponsor Credit Sage! Go to CreditSage.com/mysteria or call (844) 925-0258 to get $50 off your credit repair service. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

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Hey listeners, Kendall here with a quick update episode, but first let me assure you that Sarah and I have now read every single email you folks sent to us with stories for season 4.


We've made notes, we're narrowing things down, and some of you may be getting emails or texts about helping us open the episode by letting us know how you heard about the story and why it stuck with you.


Also, we have an entirely new standalone podcast coming about an international WVU student found dead behind the Morgantown police station.


It's a case that has stuck with me ever since I was working with insight of where the body was found, and I was told this by a private investigator.


Now I want to run you, be very careful what you're doing because you could wind up dead. If you get into the wrong people, they're going to shut you up.


That specials coming up in less than one month, probably closer to two or three weeks, so watch for that to pop up in your feed, and then it's on to season 4 my friends, and now on with the show.


You're listening to an extra episode for season 3 outlandish. This is going to be a little different than what we usually cover, but we hope you'll find it as important as we do. We will be discussing incidents of rape, we won't use graphic depictions, but listen at your discretion.


If you've not listened to season 3's episode, exploring substantial similarities about the colonial parkway murders, you might want to before you dive into this episode.


But to quickly recap, in 1986, a string of murdered couples dotted the colonial parkway in Virginia authorities approached the cases as the work of a serial killer.


In total, eight people were slain, and their killer or killers have never been caught. The first victims were Kathleen Thomas and her girlfriend Rebecca Dowski, usually referred to as Kathy and Becky.


The women were discovered in Thomas' car at the Cheetahm Annex overlook, they'd both been strangled, and their throats were slashed.


At the time of her murder, Becky Dowski attended William and Mary College. The senior's violent end, of course, was very big news on campus.


Under the heading, information sought in death of Rebecca Dowski in the campus's weekly newspaper. There was also an article on a separate incident that had occurred only eight days prior, the rape of William and Mary student on October 4.


So I'm going to call the other victim, Jill, just so I can speak to a name that's not her real name. I did not know her. It was October of 1986. I was a sophomore at the college.


This is the voice of Lori. After listening to the first couple of episodes of Outlandish, she reached out in anticipation of an upcoming episode on the colonial parkway murders.


We hadn't mentioned that we would be covering the colonial parkway. She just knew the next part of the story because she had lived through it as a student at William and Mary.


Becca lived in the dorm next to mine. You know, every time I walked down that street to go to my dorm, you could see the crime tape on her doorway.


William and Mary is the second oldest higher learning institution in the United States. It boasts that it's the first US institution with a royal charter, the first Greek letter society, the first student honor code, the first college to become a university, and the first law school in America.


It's more famous alumni include President Thomas Jefferson, James Monroe, John Marshall, John Stewart of the Daily Show, an Academy Award nominated actress Glenn Close.


Lori says it's what you would think of as preppy Williams, but there's a small town, you know, in the campuses, the center of the town, you know, really.


In the first episode of season three, we asked Barry Yoman, a writer for Out magazine in 1986 about the culture of acceptance for college gay and lesbian folks at the time, just to get a sense of what campus life might have been like for Becky. He told us this.


You know, this was such a liminal moment in gay history on one hand, it was much better than when I came out in the late 70s, early 80s, but in most places, gay sex was still a felony.


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