This story’s story is a funny one. I submitted it for an anthology of fake tabloid news, the gorier the better. But the anthology never happened. The editors said the stories were so diverse they couldn’t organize them in any coherent way. So, here it is, my gory story. 18+, I guess.
Sept 21 – Goryville – Police yesterday arrested pediatric nurse Neila Banger for the murder and partial consumption of her husband, Josh. The arrest is part of a covert operation against several survivalist groups in the city that resulted in a dozen arrests but Neila’s crime is by far the most gruesome.
What makes the nurse’s story a real blood-curdler is that Neila, 39, didn’t just kill her husband with a gun or a blunt object in a fit of rage. She slashed open Josh’s skull with a specially bought hatchet, quartered the corpse and ate parts of it before the Goryville police discovered the heinous crime.
When Josh Banger came home after his long shift at the body shop last Monday, he expected a home-cooked meal and a quiet night with his wife. That’s how things usually went in the Banger household when Neila, who worked in the neonatology unit of the Goryville Mercy Hospital, wasn’t on a night shift. But that Monday, things changed suddenly and irreversibly. Instead of having dinner, Josh became dinner for his survivalist-gone-too-far wife.
On that fateful night three days ago, the Goryville Reporter learned, Neila took a hatchet she’d ordered on Ebay two months ago and attacked her husband while he was having a shower. There was no apparent reason for this twisted imitation of the iconic “Psycho” shower scene, according to the police.
One hard blow to the head was all it took, despite the fact that Neila was not a particularly large woman at 5 ft 2 in and 110 pounds. But she had chosen her weapon well. Forensic investigators said the hatchet hit Josh’s skull front and center, splitting it open and slashing his nose in half, too. After that, Neila used a butcher’s knife to open her husband’s carotid artery and jugular vein and watched the body bleed out in the shower.
The pediatric nurse, who had spent years in care for newborns and infants, then used the hatchet again. She hacked off the top of the skull of a man she once must have loved and scooped out the brain. She sampled that first, according to her own confession, before putting it away in a Duralex bowl, which the police found in the fridge. The brain was the most nutritious part, Banger told the police. Yet, it was not all she was after. Far from it. The brain was to be savored, kept for later, she said.
Using the convenient combination of bath tub and running water, Neila eviscerated the corpse, disjointed the arms and the legs, and split the torso in two, using the hatchet and a collection of professional knives she’d asked Josh to buy her for her birthday in June.
The cannibal nurse set aside her husband’s left upper arm for dinner and stored the rest of his remains in the industrial freezer she had insisted the family buy a couple of months prior to the savage murder. The internal organs and intestines she buried in the backyard. When asked how that “wasteful” action fit in with her survivalist beliefs, Neila told the detectives on the case, ‘I could never eat innards.’
She had nothing against human limbs, however, as evident from her choice of a dinner meal. Neila skinned Josh’s upper arm thoroughly before removing the bone and the ligaments, and treated herself to the lean muscle tissue, raw. Police, who raided Neila’s house on Tuesday early morning as part of their large-scale investigation into survivalist groups, found the remains of her grisly dinner in the fridge, covered with fresh foil, next to the Duralex bowl containing the brain of the husband.
Asked why she didn’t start with the brain because of its nutrition value, Neila said she ‘felt more like lean meat’ that night. So far the nurse has not shown any signs of remorse, police sources told the Goryville Reporter. They added the results of a psychological evaluation should become public by the end of the week. One officer who wished to remain anonymous admitted he’d never seen anything so gruesome in his life.
Whatever the results of the psychological evaluation reveal, the precision with which the nurse carried out her bone-chilling pseudo-survivalist plan is a clear sign that she had had a lot of time to practice, one of the detectives on the case told the Goryville Reporter. Neila had been training her killing skills on dogs and cats for weeks, Det. Paula Stern said.
The evidence of this training were buried in the back yard of the Banger place, where the police discovered a pet cemetery that would have made Stephen King proud – a patch of land full of bones and decaying hides that, one forensic investigator said, stank to high heaven when the team unearthed them. Neila confessed to eating the animals, adding they tasted ‘quite nice, actually.’
Preliminary analysis of the remains in the pet cemetery by the forensic crime scene unit of Goryville police department suggests Neila killed and likely ate a staggering 15 cats and 12 dogs before she went for her husband. One CSU source who wished to remain unnamed said she may have fed Josh some cats and dogs, too, passing them off as rabbit or chicken.
The dogs, based on the bones discovered, ranged in size from a pincher to a cocker spaniel. Neila stayed away from the larger breeds because, again as per her initial confessions, she was scared of large dogs.
She also hunted her prey outside her own neighborhood – a grim but indisputable indication that her actions were carefully planned and executed, which, one attorney told us, greatly diminishes her chances of claiming temporary insanity in court.
With so much background, it’s truly mystifying how Josh Banger never got an inkling of what was about to happen to him. Neila had joined her survivalist group a year before her savage final act and, neighbors told us, had started changing almost immediately. Josh, however, remained oblivious to the changes or perhaps he was too busy – his business was going through rough times, one neighbor, who knew him well, suggested.
When they married and moved into the neighborhood, the Bangers were the perfect couple, if we are to trust their friends and neighbors. Neila was an amicable, sweet girl who was always ready to help those in need and who everyone in the hospital loved.
Josh was the same, their friends said, always ready to lend a hand and, ironically perhaps, great at making barbecue. The Bangers had no kids but planned three. It boggles the mind what would have happened if Neila had become a mother before the events from this September.
All the people we spoke to as part of our own investigation into the story said that there was nothing unusual or suspicious in the Banger family. Yet this changed after Neila became interested in the Apocalypse.
How does a loving wife and pediatric nurse—someone who cares for the most precious and vulnerable of all humans—turn into a bloodthirsty cannibal? That’s the question anyone would ask so we asked it of some of Neila’s closest friends and co-workers.
One neighbor and friend, Laura Fincher, told the Goryville Reporter that a couple of years ago Neila started reading apocalypse literature. She got hooked on “World War Z,” Ms Fincher said, and from there proceeded to get her hands on everything available in the genre, which, needless to say, has been enjoying huge public interest lately.
Initially, Josh and Laura alike took this as just another phase in Neila’s reading habits. She had been obsessed with romance a few years previously and had then moved on to crime and mystery novels before losing interest in these in favor of stories of the Apocalypse.
‘Neila was a serial reader,’ Ms Fincher said. ‘She got her fill of a genre and then moved on. I never thought the Apocalypse thing could turn into something so horrible.’
Neither did Josh, it seems. In fact, according to Ms Finch and a close co-worker of Neila’s, Jennifer Pierce, Josh supported his wife throughout her transformation from a valuable member of the community into a paranoid killer. Why he would do such a thing will forever remain a mystery but everyone the Goryville Reporter spoke to noted how much Josh loved his wife and how guileless he was.
Based on friends’ accounts, it was perhaps Josh’s deep feelings for his wife that sealed his fate without him ever suspecting the size of the tragedy looming over the family. But there is also a darker explanation, in the field of pure speculation. Perhaps Josh knew what was going on but did not know how to stop it.
He saw his wife every day – he must have felt the change she was going through. Could this change have been so horrible that he wouldn’t even think of interfering? Or he chose to look the other way, hoping it would all go away on its own? One wonders how many undiscovered Neila Bangers are out there, planning their meals.
The original Neila stuffed herself with stories about post-Apocalyptic survival for months and binge watched shows like the Walking Dead, Revolution, and Z-Nation. She gradually became utterly convinced the end of civilization was near and started looking for ways to prepare for it.
According to Ms Pierce, her co-worker started coming to work looking tired, as if she didn’t sleep enough. When Ms. Pierce asked Neila if everything was all right at home, Neila told her she was training herself for the end of times. Initially, Ms Pierce thought Neila was joking but after a couple of days she confronted her about being unusually distracted and ‘not herself.’
They were on night shift and had time to talk, Ms Pierce told us, so Neila finally opened up. She told Ms Pierce she was worrying about the coming Apocalypse and although she wasn’t certain what form it would take, she was determined to survive it. She read survivalist guides voraciously, which is why she didn’t get enough sleep and was distracted at work. Ms Pierce suggested she join a survivalist group. It couldn’t hurt, could it, the veteran nurse thought at the time.
Today, Jennifer Pierce regrets her suggestion deeply. Neila Banger joined the Eaters group in June last year, Laura Fincher said, and started changing fast. Open and funny before, now Neila gradually became withdrawn, anxious, and obviously uninterested in communicating with anyone, unless the topic was post-apocalyptic survival. Interestingly, when Ms Fincher asked Josh how things were at home, he invariably said everything was all right.
‘Before, we used to go out for drinks once a month, a girls’ night out. That was our de-stress program, as we called it,’ Ms Fincher recalled. ‘After she joined the Eaters, she stopped going out. When I asked her about our regular meet-up that first month, she said she had too much to do.
‘She always had too much to do and she never wanted to talk about anything else but her survival plans, so I finally stopped calling her. It was exhausting, listening to these apocalyptic stories all the time.’
Based on the evidence collected so far and on witness testimonies, the gruesome murder was the sad but expected consequence of Neila’s obsession with survivalism. Again, it beggars belief why Josh didn’t try to draw his wife away from a cult—because the Eaters were a cult—that prescribed learning to eat anything that has even a minimal nutritious value, including tree foliage and scraps.
More importantly, the cult prescribed always looking for the most nutritious foods, one ex-member of the group told the Goryville Reporter. Based on the evidence unearthed so far and on witness testimonies, it seems the combination of Neila’s obsession with survival and the preaching of the cult’s leader that eventually led to the tragedy.
The ex-member of the Eaters we spoke to said she quit the cult after its leader mentioned eating human flesh for the first time. ‘That was too much,’ the woman said. ‘I could get used to the dogs and cats, and guinea pigs, but eating people? That I could not live with,’ she said. The person wished to remain anonymous for fear of persecution from the cult, even though all its members are behind bars.
The police busted the Eaters earlier this week during an investigation into the dubious practices of three of the survivalist groups that have been popping up all over the country like mushrooms after a rainy day.
Seven members of the first group, The Final Hour, were charged with extreme animal cruelty for their dog training practices. The training, they said, was supposed to prepare the animals for a post-apocalyptic environment. According to the police, The Final Hour was actually a dog-fight betting joint under the cover of a survivalist group.
The other group, Power-Free, turned out to be just three young people preaching against electricity online. The police found no evidence of criminal activity.
The Eaters were the big fish in the catch. As we reported yesterday, the police last Sunday unearthed a mass grave in the back yard of the group’s leader, Sean Baldwin. Baldwin and all but one of his 12 followers are in custody, awaiting trial for their horrible crimes. The last Eaters member was shot during the police raid of the Baldwin mansion. Yet no one arrested so far as part of this investigation has been found to have done anything as monstrous as what Neila Banger did to her husband.
Baldwin, a retired FBI agent, lured in Neila Banger and the other members of the group with his personal charisma and conviction that the world was about to end. The only way to prepare for the coming Apocalypse, he told them, was to learn to survive in a world where food is scarce. To do this, Baldwin told his followers, they had to teach themselves to eat anything that had nutritious value.
Perhaps the group started off with the genuine intention to prepare its members for the collapse of civilization but it pretty soon degraded into a cannibalistic cult. Baldwin taught his 13 followers that humans were nothing more than a source of sustenance in the post-Apocalyptic world. Their fellow Eaters were the only exception to this rule.
Baldwin, who had retired with honors five years earlier, was nothing if not thorough. After letting the idea of eating human flesh sink in, he took things one big step further, by devising what he called ‘a processing procedure’ for humans to be used as food and trained his followers in it. It was precisely this procedure that Neila followed on the night when she killed her husband.
Neila was the best pupil Baldwin could hope for, the confessions of other cult members suggest. The nurse earned Baldwin’s praise on several occasions, they said, and he wasn’t one to dispense praise generously. She was responsible for half the killings that occurred in Baldwin’s mansion as part of the “training”, the police said, quoting several cult members.
So far, the remains of nine people have been identified. All but one of these victims were homeless. The last one was Jerry Minor, an 18-year-old star athlete from Lake View High School. One cult member told the police Baldwin instructed the group how to kidnap people and use them to practice the processing procedure.
Initially, they targeted the homeless population of the city to minimize the risk of getting discovered and persecuted as they “learned”, one cult member told the police. And yet they didn’t waste time: the nine persons identified so far were kidnapped over a period of 10 weeks.
As the cult members got better at the “procedure”, one of them told the police, Baldwin encouraged them to move on to riskier kidnappings of people who had homes and families. The meat was better, he told them.
There are five more sets of remains yet to be identified, Det. Stern said, adding that they may hold the key to two recent disappearings. The detective declined to provide any further details but our readers will recall that a week ago we reported the disappearance of an elementary school teacher, Madeline Wexsler, who never came home from work on September 10th. Last Friday, we carried the story of another disappearance – that of social worker Ben Kingston, who never showed up for work last Monday and his partner filed a missing persons report the next day.
Sean Baldwin is refusing to speak to the police but he has been charged with murder alongside his disciples. The investigation continues.