Imaginary Murders on the Rise

On May 12, 2015 a man in Jacksonville, Florida turned himself in to the local Sheriff for the murder of his best friend. Thirty-seven year old Geoff Gaylord stabbed his friend of seven years repeatedly with a kitchen knife before dismembering the body with a hatchet and burying him in the backyard. Geoff Gaylord told police of the murder, “It was an overreaction. I should have listened to the neighbor lady and got us into counseling, but no, I did the unthinkable and killed my best friend. I’m a terrible, terrible person and I need to be punished.”. Despite his gruesome confession for the murder, Mr. Gaylord will not be charged with homicide because the friend he killed happens to be imaginary. Geoff’s imaginary friend, Mr. Happy, was suffering from drug and alcohol addiction at the time of his murder and it became too much for Gaylord to handle. According to the statement given to police, the two friends had not had a “real conversation” in at least a year and had begun to drift apart as Mr. Happy’s addictions intensified. Geoff Gaylord claimed, “His room was a mess all the time with his toys and dolls. He left his empty vodka bottles all over the kitchen… Never picked up his empty cocaine baggies… He messed up my apartment to the point where I just couldn’t get it clean… Before Hap started doing drugs and acting weird he was my BFF… We’d go dancing, play on the children’s park equipment, both huge fans of doom metal- listened to it for hours with the lights turned off.” and that Mr. Happy “left the toilet seat down when he peed.”. The breaking point came when Mr. Happy crashed Gaylord’s Nissan ALTIMA after the two had been out celebrating Mr. Happy’s birthday at a local Hooter’s. Geoff Gaylord was ultimately arrested for the incident despite the fact that his imaginary friend had been the one driving. Gaylord stated, “That drunk driving incident I got unfairly blamed for and just how messy he had become put me over the edge and I murdered him.”. Horrified by his own crime, Mr. Gaylord, who was incredibly intoxicated at the time of his confession, insisted upon the death penalty “right now” and threatened police when they refused to sentence him as he desired; Instead he was arrested for threatening police, possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of an illegal machine gun discovered inside his home. Disappointingly, it is more likely than not that this story which was originally published on is nothing more than a hoax. Geoff Gaylord’s mug shot is in fact a photo of a man named Billy Southern which appeared in a gallery of “Crying Mugshots” that went viral in 2011.

  Recently, fake stories on imaginary murders have become somewhat popular. According to a fake story published in 2013, Doug Byron, a resident of Bangour, Maine went to his local police station and confessed to the murders of eight people who he claimed had occurred over a span of two years. M. Byron led police to eight shallow graves just outside the town of Milford and turned over journals in which he detailed how he had selected and stalked his victims before murdering them. The descriptions of the killings were so detailed and gruesome police believed him to be a serial killer… Until they dug up the graves of his victims and found nothing but dirt. Police Chief Lou Foster stated, “This is weird even for Maine. I mean, he’s so sure he committed a crime, but he hasn’t. He led us to eight graves in the woods, but all he’d done was dig a big hold and then refilled it. The journals are packed with grisly details, and I probably wont sleep for a week, but they’re just works of fiction.”. Although these stories are just as real as the victims, let’s pretend for a moment Geoff Gaylord and Doug Byron did murder and dismember the bodies of their imaginary friends. As we all know, it is perfectly normal for children to have an imaginary friend or two or ten. During childhood, imaginary friends are used as a device to experiment with early socialization. In the hypothetical case of Geoff Gaylord, it seems Mr. Happy began as a substitute for authentic socialization. As Gaylord recalled, he and Mr. Happy spent a lot of time going out dancing and listening to doom metal music together. While it seems Mr. Gaylord did in fact have some underlying mental and/or addiction issues, many mentally stable adults have imaginary friends to help them cope with loneliness and social anxiety. As Geoff Gaylord’s struggle with addiction and hoarding intensified, it was easier for him to blame Mr. Happy than to face his own problems. In killing his imaginary friend he was, in a way, “killing” the bad habits which he had projected onto Mr. Happy; If Mr. Happy dies, there will be no more DUIs, no more drugs or trash in the apartment. Murdering Mr.Happy may have also been an indirect attempt by Gaylord to punish himself for the bad behavior which he is, at the very least, subconsciously aware he is responsible for. He permanently ended the illusion of Mr. Happy by “murdering” his imaginary (and possibly only) friend. Doug Byron, it seems, had different motives behind the manifestation and murders of his imaginary friends. Despite his confession and remorse for committing the murders, they were all meticulously pre-meditated. Usually, serial killers who get away with their crimes are highly intelligent; Perhaps planning and “getting away with” killing was gratifying for Doug Byron’s ego. He may have begun killing in hopes it would boost his self-confidence. Murders often claim the “god-like” feeling they experience from having control over another human’s life and death is their primary motivation to kill. For Mr. Byron, creating imaginary people to murder  may have been a way to replicate this feeling of total control without actually having to harm anyone. As with any serial killer who turns themselves in, Doug Byron would have only done so after he felt, for whatever reason, he could no longer continue his way of life. The eight innocent, imaginary people Doug Byron created and killed were very likely created based on who he pictured as his ideal “type” to kill. As police stated, his journals detailed how he selected and murdered his victims. For Doug Byron, the journals were a way to document and relive his imaginary fantasies over and over, each time making them just a little better, by his standards; Very similar to an actual killer. Since these stories were just hoaxes, sadly we will never have the opportunity to read the detailed journals of this mind-boggling “murderer”. But it we just close our eyes, we can imagine all the bizarre and unbelievable things it would say…

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