Creepy Things That Seem Real But Aren’t is a series that explores modern urban legends, bringing you a new tale each week.
The homepage of the website contains only this:
Jennifer, friends and family of Mark,
As promised, here are copies of the correspondence I received from Mark over the course of the last month. For the most part, I have merely copied and pasted them from my email application.
As you’ll read, he requested this, in hopes that you’ll better understand why he did what he did.
I made this site because it’s the most efficient way to share Mark’s emails with all of you. I’m not advertising this to anyone. But I do think it would be wise to pass this URL along to anyone who may help with the investigation. As I collect more information, from various sources, I’ll update this site to keep it an accurate record. I’ll have that link at the end of the series as well.
If you need to speak with me, Jen has my number. Thank you for your patience, and again, I am profoundly sorry.
Who is Mark? What did he do? All I can tell you is that it involves a house. And that house is
THE DIONAEA HOUSE
It begins with a newspaper article. The email in this tale is timestamped. Monday, September 6, 2004 at 8:17am. In it, Mark Condry contacts Eric Heisserer, clearly for the first time in a number of years. After some introductory small talk, Mark gets to the heart of the matter: He’s emailing because he got a newspaper article in the mail about someone named Andrew– sometimes shortened to Drew– that both Mark and Eric, along with another friend named Travis, used to have board game nights with back when they all lived in Houston. Mark says he’d forgotten entirely about Andrew until he got the article in the mail– maybe Eric got one, too?– and it’s disturbing him. “Do you know what happened?” he asks Eric. “Did you hear about it already?” Mark goes on to say that he’s going to try to track down Travis and another guy named Dave, and that he’d like to talk with Eric about what might be going on.
In his next email, Mark transcribes the article:
GUNMAN SHOOTS TWO, KILLS SELF IN BOISE RESTAURANT
Diners at the Roadside Breakfast Café on Interstate 84 fled to the parking lot in a panic yesterday afternoon when a man entered and began shooting patrons inside, killing two.
The couple – John and Lucy Madson – were having lunch when 26-year-old Andrew Hughes entered, wielding a Smith and Wesson 59 pistol, according to police. Witnesses claim the perpetrator was muttering to himself as he approached the smoking section and opened fire into the first occupied booth, fatally wounding the Madsons. Soon after, he turned the weapon on himself.
All three were taken by paramedics to St. Alphonsus Regional Medical Center, where John Madson and the shooter were pronounced dead. Lucy Madson, 37, remained in critical condition for several hours but did not survive the night. Police are investigating Hughes’ work and personal background, but as of this morning a motive for the attack is unknown.
What was Drew doing in Boise? With a gun? Mark doesn’t know, but it’s freaking him out. Eric’s response– quoted in Mark’s next email– asks if Mark had considered that it all may be an elaborate prank. It had, Mark says, but he called up Saint Alphonsus to check whether a patiend named Andrew Hughes had been admitted. He found him as a DOA: August 28. Gunshot wound to the head. Pronounced dead at 3:14pm. Furthermore, Mark has figured out that something else was niggling at him: Shortly before Andrew stopped showing up for game night, his stepfather had asked him to house sit for ten days while he and Drew’s mother went on vacation. Drew didn’t want to do it– something about the house bothered him (“It’s too cold,” he said)– and though he asked his friends if someone would come out and stay with him while he was there, no one did. The first game night Andrew showed up at after those ten days, he would only speak in quotations– Mark describes it as like having a television on, the quotes were that accurate. Something changed Andrew during those ten days, but none of them would ever find out what; he dropped off the face of the Earth shortly thereafter.
On Sunday, September 12, Mark informs Eric that he intends to drive to Houston to go investigate the house Andrew’s stepfather made him watch. That Wednesday, he managed to dig up an address. On Thursday, he checked it out: It wasn’t in great repair, and he couldn’t get inside, but he was able to talk to a neighbor. The house had apparently belonged to Andrew’s stepfather’s clients, but that they hadn’t stayed there long; after a variety of electrinagcal and heating problems, they drove off in an RV, leaving most of their furniture behind.
The clients names were John and Lucy Madson.