Updated: Jan 12, 2021
For those of you who've been following along with me as I dig into this bizarre mystery, something extremely interesting happened today on Twitter - where nothing interesting ever happens. *wink wink* I was going about my day when I got tagged in this tweet.
For clarification, @userbits is me. I've blurred out everyone else's Twitter handles aside from mine and the OP. You may note that "bokaledo," the poster of the original tweet, is the same internet handle as the person who contacted my website over the weekend.
So, @bokaledo posts an image of "Rex Garrote" with the message "DO YOU KNOW THIS MAN? Hundreds of people remember reading his cult horror novels in the '80s and '90s but the internet says he doesn't exist. #whoisrexgarrote?"
According to this tweet, "hundreds of people remember" Rex Garrote, but his books don't exist. I'm getting a real Sutter Cane vibe here.
First of all, I find it interesting that this @bokaledo has only joined Twitter this month but in their profile they claim to be a New Yorker contributer. I find it highly unlikely that someone who contributes to such a prestigious publication would have such a low-profile Twitter account - unless this is a "burner" account in order to protect their identity.
Second, the "bokaledo" I spoke to on Facebook did not present herself as a reporter. I suppose it's entirely possible she could have been baiting me - or using information which she had already gleaned from other sources in order to figure out what I know. I've been fooled before.
But as I scrolled through the thread, something caught my eye.
Rex Miller is not a name I'm immediately familiar with, so I hopped over to his Wikipedia page to look him up. He wrote the novel Slob, for which he was nominated for a Bram Stoker Award for First Novel in 1987. Here's their two author photos side by side. Decide for yourselves.
There are definitely some similarities there, particularly the mustache and hairline. He doesn't look completely like Garrote, but I suppose with about twenty years and a few extra pounds it could be him. Miller passed away in 2004. Garrote died in 1999.
It's clear at this point that much of Garrote's "life" is fictional. His name isn't available on the list of Stoker Awards nominees, for one thing, and Best Screenplay wasn't a category in 1994, when Garrote allegedly won. I'm seeing now that it's entirely possible Garrote's biography was entirely fictionalized.
But I wonder: could Rex Garrote have been
a defunct pen name of Rex Miller?
Now I don't want to claim that I believe this. I would have to read their work together to see if there are any similarities of style, word usage, etc. Frankly, I doubt someone would have gone to the trouble to make all that up in his day, though I suppose Stephen King really did keep up the "I'm not Richard Bachman" schtick for quite some time.
As of now, I'm pretty sure I'll never see that book promised by "bokaledo," whoever she (or he) may be. It's still highly possible, though! A lot of folks have told me the book may be haunted and/or cursed and that I should watch out, that I might be playing with fire. Some are pointing to my recent unexplained black eye as a sign that Garrote is already messing with me from beyond the grave, though I have sincere doubts about that!
However, there has been a major breakthrough in the story. Someone on Facebook sent me a message to check Rex Garrote's "Official website" listed on his Wikipedia page again. It's still linked to something called Ghostlandpark.com. But now it looks like it's been updated. Before there was some strange, old-timey-looking device the size of a whole room as the background, along with the words COMING SOON. Now there's an image of a creepy old mansion, with some midway rides and fun park booths in the background.
It actually looks like it might be some kind of promotional image
- for this park itself, maybe? Is that what Ghostland is/was?
Some kind of haunted theme park?
Rest assured, I will get to the bottom of this.
Because if Ghostland is a real thing, whatever it is, you can bet your ass I'm going to be there on opening day!
Edit: final post: The Rex Garrote Mystery revealed!
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