Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Better Safe Than Sorry - Another John Norman Collins Anecdote

John Norman Collins - 1969
Over the last couple of years doing research for my The Rainy Day Murders true crime project, I have received many anecdotal accounts from people about encounters with John Norman Collins, alleged serial killer.

I even have a couple stories of my own, having lived a block up the street from him during those frightening days.

After speaking with several of these people, I have their permission to share their stories over the next few weeks.  The original emails are slightly edited for clarity.


Ypsilanti, Michigan

"At fifteen years old, which would have been 1966/67, I worked at Superior's (an ice cream place) on Cross Street. Walking home from work one summer evening, a car slowed behind St. John's parking lot and a nice, clean cut looking young man asked if I could give him directions to one of the dorms on Eastern Michigan University's campus.

"Since I had lived in the campus area most of my life at the point, I gave him the requested directions. He asked me if I could ride with him to show him the way, and he would then bring me back to my destination. He claimed he was from out of town and didn't know his way around. 

"I declined and continued my walk home. I lived on Olive Street one block over but accessed my house via an alley that sat adjacent to it. As I walked down the alley, I saw that he was driving down my street very slowly. I ran to my back door and entered my house.

"Several weeks later, this same guy came into Superior's with a group of guys from Theta Chi (an EMU campus fraternity). One of the guys looked familiar to me, and I asked if I knew him. The guy from the car asked if I remembered him and I told him 'No.'

"When they (the Michigan State Police) arrested him (Collins) and his picture was broadcast, I remembered him as the same guy who tried to pick me up. It was just a couple of weeks before the first victim was found!

"I believe my instincts and warnings to never get in a car with a stranger may have saved my life!

- Dianne Ellis -