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Bonnie M. Wells

This story is part of the Panned-Out Dreams Series:


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Winstanley's Pet Case


I knew the Burkhammer case was Detective Winstanley's "pet case," just as the Roach case was mine. This didn't mean we ignored the other cases, but simply meant that certain cases get under your skin, close to your heart and are always with you.

Many times I'd offered to assist on the Burkhammer case, but no one ever seemed interested in my help. Actually it didn't matter much because I was working at least a dozen other cases, with very little information on any of them. Besides, I figured it was Winstanley's job to know where the pieces of information belonged....into which case they fit. If I had to take out the time to study each case history, I never would have had time to do the psychic work that was involved. So, I just kept track of any and all clues that came to me, and I passed them on to Winstanley.

After all, he had said ..."Keep me informed." I tried.

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An Early Clue


Perhaps one of the earliest clues I received in Lisa's case was the dream titled The Rusty Nails. It was one of my own dreams and I didn't bother to do an interpretation for the dream because I felt that it was a personal message to me and had no valuable information as far as solving a crime was concerned. I simply wrote the dream down and sent it to Winstanley who was a Detective with the Washington County (Ohio) Sheriff's Department in 1994.

Winstanley didn't normally wear a uniform.....in fact I'd never seen him in a uniform......but he sure looked sharp in his jeans! One of my friends called him "the silver fox," and I just smiled.

He was that......and a whole lot more......in 1994.

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The Rusty Nails Dream


Six ladders leaned against the front of a house or building. Five slanted outward at the bottom to accommodate a quick and easy climb, but the sixth one (the third one from the left) was nearly straight up and down. Six people stood in perfect alignment approximately ten feet behind the ladders. All wore sheriff department uniforms except me. I wore cut off jean shorts, t-shirt and a pair of cheap, canvas tennis shoes, and stood in alignment with the straight up and down ladder.

Winstanley was also there, in the rear and off to the right of me, and he too wore a uniform and held a stop watch in his right hand.

"Get ready.....get set..." Winstanley instructed.

I glanced over my shoulder and our eyes met briefly before his voice cracked...


Everyone raced for their ladder. The officers scurried right up their ladders but I had extreme difficulty in climbing mine. It wanted to flip over backward with me and I had to inch my way up it and onto the roof at the top. The roof presented yet another problem. Although the cops had cleats on their shoes, mine were as slick as the palm of my hand! Every time I took a step or two, my feet flew out from under me and down I went onto the gravel type surface of the roof. Each landing brought more pain as the small chunks embedded into my hands and legs.

I could see the "rewards, or prizes" lined up across the peak of the roof. The cops all had silver urns that glistened in the sun. They were beautiful. My prize was a rusty coffee can with no rim on it! The bright metal edge, where the rim had once been glistened in the sun too, and I felt privileged to be included in such an event.

By the time I reached my coffee can the officers had long ago reached their silver urns and were removing things from them. One urn contained gold screws, another gold bolts, another the nuts for the bolts, another contained gold washers and the last one contained gold drill bits! The officers held their prizes up piece by piece so Winstanley could see them. They were quite proud of them. I thought they were awfully pretty too, but I was still trying to get to my coffee can so I could see what was inside it!

I was shocked to discover my can was filled with old, rusty nails! Off to the right of the can lay an old hammer and an old leather tool pouch. The pouch contained a pair of pliers, a screw driver and a wrench. The tools, although still usable were as old and rusty looking as the nails.

Undaunted by the difference in our "prizes," I scooped the tool pouch up, flung it over my right shoulder, stuck the hammer through the loop on the pouch, let it dangle down the front of my right shoulder, and picked up the can of rusty nails before turning to begin my retreat down the roof.

The officers had long since made their way back to their ladders and down to where Winstanley stood speaking with them. I could see a pile of two by four lumber and some plywood stacked neatly behind Winstanley. I inched my way down the roof only to discover getting back on the ladder was nearly impossible. I finally did it though and managed to reach the ground without killing myself, although my hands and knees still trickled blood from the wounds received from falling on the roof so many times. Didn't matter to me. Winstanley waited and I was on my way!

"Okay," Winstanley barked as I reached the ground, "The objective here is to see how quickly you can put the case together.

The officers dove into the project with gusto. Each carried plywood, and bits and pieces much like they were working a jigsaw puzzle. I stood at the base of the ladder and watched as Winstanley encouraged the cops to fit the pieces together.

"We need nails. We can't put this together without nails," one of the cops spoke up.

"Where are the nails?" Winstanley demanded.

"I have them .....they are kind of rusty, but I think they will work," I replied.

"Get them over here immediately," Winstanley barked without as much as glancing my direction. And I did. Item by item .... and piece by piece I handed over the things I'd carried down from the roof with the exception of the old tool pouch and the little pair of pliers.

I stood off to the side, out of the way, and watched as the "case" took shape. It looked like a wooden box to me, but Winstanley kept calling it "the case" and I guess that was okay.

And when it was finished, all the cops congratulated one another on what a fine job they had done on the case. I had to admit, it was a nice box.

I had not actually helped to build the box, but without the tools supplied by me, they wouldn't have built it either! Still, no one congratulated me. No one thanked me for my effort and determination. And no one cared as I slowly limped away, and took with me the old leather pouch and pliers. No one said goodby, not even Winstanley, although I'm sure he noticed.

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Lisa Burkhammer disappeared in September 1984. By the time I had the Rusty Nails dream, she'd been gone for one month shy of ten years.

Marietta PD's Chief of Police was Roger Phyllis. He'd been telling people for years that Lisa Burkhammer was a run-a-way. He told me the same story when I called him. I disagreed with him and told him the same thing I'd always told Winstanley....."She's dead. She's cold as ice, right here in her own county and dead. She was murdered."

Phyllis paid no more attention to me than anyone else had ever paid. Didn't matter to me. Lisa was dead and that was that.

By the time Lisa was found dead....right here in Washington County ... a murder victim....in March of 1997, I'd already contacted Winstanley on numerous occassions, Lt. Vern Castle of the Athens County Sheriff's Department (Vern is now the sheriff in Athens) and several other cops concerning many cases. And, by the time Lisa was found, John Winstanley was no longer a detective with the sheriff's department but remained active as a deputy, in which case he wore a uniform!

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Some Of The Nails


Lisa's case was one of the oldest cases in Washington County. Surpassed only by the {still unsolved} 1975 murder case of nine year old Anna Marie Brown.

Probably one of the most amazing "nails" that I contributed to the Burkhammer case came in the form of information gained one night while my friend Mysde and I spoke to a news reporter. The reporter wanted to do a story on me and my work, but between the sheriff's department and the editor of the paper she was never permitted to do the story. In fact, one week after she met me she didn't work here anymore! She was transferred out of the area. I was accustomed to that. If they spoke to me once, someone came along and did something to prevent them from ever speaking again. I didn't know who was behind the "conspiracy to silence," but I was well aware that there was one.

I phoned Winstanley and told him that while we were working on the unsolved murder cases, especially concentrating on the "Sparks" case, I had come up with several pieces of information that I felt he should have. I did not know where the pieces went, but felt he would know. I asked him if the following list of words meant anything to him or if they fit into any case that he was aware of.

"Sparks / one shoe / dead girl / cemetery / Ohio / and rinks."

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Winstanley said the clues meant absolutely nothing to him and that he knew of no case in which they fit.

After Lisa's case was solved, I was shocked to realize that each and every clue had not only fit the Burkhammer case, but had panned-out to perfection, including my words to Winstanley and Phyllis.

Lisa was murdered by a man named

*** Dale Sparks.***

Sparks took detectives to the old

*** cemetery ***

where he'd killed Lisa and left her lying.

The first thing the cops saw was

*** one of her shoes.***

Dale Sparks had formerly been a security guard at

*** Rinks *** Flea Market

where John ** Winstanley's ** father had a shop and sold collectable glassware.

Lisa was found in

*** Washington County, *** Ohio ***

*** just north of Marietta.

She was dead....cold as ice, had been my words .... and lying right here in the county she grew up in and disappeared from. For more than a dozen years she had lay in plain sight of anyone who might have been looking for her, and no one noticed.

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If The Creeks Don't Rise


In 1995, I sent Winstanley some information and included another of my prophetic little quips that in most cases I didn't understand myself until they panned out and everyone could see and understand them. I said....."If the Lord be willing, and the creeks don't rise, perhaps by mid spring we shall have the answers to more than a dozen years of questions."

When I sent this statement, Lisa Burkhammer had been missing for about eleven years. She disappeared on September 15th, 1984. By the time she was found, on March 13th, 1997, the creeks in that area had recently overflown their banks due to the early spring rains in the area. She had been missing for more than a dozen years.

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November 4th, 1996,


Winstanley wasn't the only cop I was writing to in an effort to get some of our cases solved. On Nov. 4th, 1996 I sent Detective Castle of neighboring Athens County a warning which was based on a vision that I had and that was witnessed by my daughter....."The next murder victim/woman will have shoulder length brown hair. She will be wearing a blue sweat shirt and blue-jeans. She will be dragged from her home, car, whatever and clubbed over the back of the head. Most of the damage will be to the lower skull area, right side. The impact of the blow will take her down on the first swing. She will live only seconds after she hits the ground. It will be after dark, and in a graveled turn-around area, drive-way or parking spot.She will be left lying face down, with her head turned to the right. She will be found in a weedy, brushy area and will be wearing a ring or something on her left hand. This may be an indication that she is married, however, if so, her killer will not be her husband, boyfriend, etc."

Of course I received no more response from Castle than I'd ever received from Winstanley or anyone else. Never the less, I kept close track of my predictions and I didn't have any trouble at all in recognizing them when they were fulfilled.

Lisa Burkhammer had "shoulder length brown hair," and was wearing "a blue button down shirt over top of a blue t-shirt," along with "blue jeans" and tennis shoes. Lisa was not married and it was not her boyfriend who had murdered her. She played ball and wore her ball glove on her "left hand."

Reports said she had left her ball glove in Dale Sparks' vehicle the night he killed her. This was something I had not known. In fact I'd never known about Dale Sparks until the case was solved. Sparks told detectives that he had "dragged Lisa from his car," "struck her from behind," and that the "first blow took her down and she lived only seconds after she hit the ground."

I was astonished to read these words in the news paper. The man had used my exact words to describe what he had done to Lisa, and yet, not one cop ever opened his mouth and told anyone that Lisa was indeed the next murder victim found after my letter to Castle, that my clues were 100% accurate, as was the description of her and what happened to her.

Apparently, Dale Sparks had taken Lisa to the cemetery at "Lower Salem"....which reminded me of my "lower skull" words of prediction..... to decorate the grave of his deceased father. And that's where he turned on the girl and murdered her. After she was dead, he tossed her lifeless body into "the brush and weeds" that lined the cemetery, and there, within 1000 feet of his father's grave, Lisa lay for more than a dozen years, while the chief of police tried to convince everyone who would listen that the girl had ran away from home because her father was molesting and mistreating her.

This rumor persisted until Lisa's father died, and only after the man had died under such horrible accusations did anyone actually work the Burkhammer case.

The cemetery at Lower Salem (Ohio) has a "graveled drive way" that twists and turns its way through the small cemetery. It is located directly across the street from the fire department.

After Sparks confessed, reports surfaced that he had been a suspect since day one in the case....as far as the sheriff's department was concerned. It was reported that he had been picked up for questioning in the case immediately after she disappeared. He'd told the police that he'd taken her to the cemetery with him and then dropped her off on the corner by her home while he continued on to another appointment.

Perhaps if another report had never surfaced I wouldn't have felt so ashamed. But it did surface, and I just couldn't imagine what was wrong with men who were supposed to be trained to solve crimes.

According to news reports, Dale Sparks' vehicle caught fire the night he murdered Lisa. (Personally, I considered this an "act of God,"......one in which would have.....should have.....caught a killer almost instantly....but...) According to the reports, the fire department had seen the fire and came over to put it out. However, the fire damaged the vehicle to the point that it could not be driven and one of the firemen offered Dale Sparks a ride back to Marietta, where he rented a trailer from Lisa's father. Sparks declined the offer and told the fireman that he would walk back to Marietta. And supposedly he did walk....and he walked alone. Lisa was not with him.

All that I could think was .. why in the world were these two contradicting reports never compared? Sparks' story about dropping Lisa off on the corner was virtually impossible. The kid had disappeared from a damned ball game. When her ball glove was discovered in Sparks' burned out vehicle, someone.....everyone should have become suspicious right then and there. And why on earth had no cops ever.....in more than twelve years.....gone to that cemetery and looked around for Lisa?

Worse yet, when they knew for a fact that I was tunning in to ** Ohio, ** old cemeteries, ** dead girls and the name ** Sparks.......... why in God's name did no one breathe one word to me about the fact that Dale Sparks was a suspect in Lisa's disappearance and that he had taken her to a cemetery in Lower Salem? Why?

I would have gone to that cemetery. I went to several others. I would have gone and looked for Lisa, and I would have found the girl "before" her father died with such horrible accusations hanging over his head. They said his last words were for Lisa. I never knew him, and I never knew Lisa, but I certainly saw all the "golden rewards"/ pay increases, promotions, etc.that were passed out to the "uniforms" after they "put the case together." / had the box handed to them - confession

And I read the glowing reports about the good police work that solved the case and how former detective John Winstanley and Marietta patrolman Matt Hickey had been working together on the case for "the past two years."

So I went back to my files and counted to see how long it had been since I'd sent the clues that meant nothing to anyone........had fit into no case that anyone was aware of. The clues that no one cared a damned about before an innocent man went to his grave in shame.

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It had been two years.


And I wiped away the tears

As I read Detective Seevers' quirk

"The Burkhammer case was solved

due to persistent police work."

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An Old Leather Pouch & Pliers


I have laid out the dream, the vision and the Burkhammer case so that everyone can see for themselves how they fit together. The only thing remaining from the dream is the leather pouch and the pliers. The pouch represents the mailman's leather pouch in which most of my information was carried to Winstanley and others. I usually mailed my information and paid all my own postage, which has been considerable over the years, in case anyone cares. I no longer send the amount of information that I once sent to the local cops. I guess you could say the little old pouch is empty now days .... at least as far as my mail is concerned:

Pliers: The dictionary says ...."Plier = a person or thing that plies." Pliers = small pincers in any of various forms, often with serrated jaws, for gripping small objects, bending wire, etc."

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Bonnie M. Wells

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Dreams Panned Out Series - Homepage

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The White Wolf II

PC Book #13 / Many Arrows

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Page updated 9/23/03: 2-26-04: 8/28/07 // BMW