I was reading this today, thinking that this would be a great idea for a movie. You’ve got murder, corruption, atheism, betrayal, theft, gold and missing persons. Then the best part comes at the end:
In addition to solving the murders of the O’Hairs and Danny Fry, agents were finally able to track down the missing gold coins. It turned out that a group of thieves from San Antonio, who had a master key to the type of lock Waters used, came across his storage locker. To their utter amazement, they had found a suitcase full of gold coins, which they promptly fell to spending. Only one coin was recovered by police. The theft of the coins seems so bizarre, so improbable, that merely calling it “coincidence” or “chance” seems too feeble, but federal agents and the thieves themselves swear that this is precisely what happened.
Gary? Somebody? Please make this movie. And while you’re at it, get Kathy Bates to play Madalyn, ok?
Oh, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. There are some real gems on Wikipedia:
In 1945, while posted to a cryptography position in Italy, she began an affair with an officer, William J. Murray, Jr. Murray was a married Roman Catholic, and he refused to divorce his wife. Mays divorced Roths and began calling herself Madalyn Murray and gave birth to a boy she named William J. Murray (Bill).
This makes even my fucked-up love life seem normal by comparison.
… she failed the bar exam and never practiced law. In later writing for American Atheists, she referred to herself as “Dr. O’Hair,” likely with regard to her law degree, a juris doctorate (although most lawyers outside of academia do not use the title “Doctor”).
Feeling the need to compensate?
…She and her two children traveled by ship to Europe with the intention of defecting to the Soviet embassy in Paris and residing in the Soviet Union.
Probably more kooky in retrospect than it seemed at the time. Most people in the USA believed the power in the USSR was very real during the Cold War, and that majority was divided between those who believed we should resist and those who believed we should surrender. Obviously the prophets who predicted their fall get all the air-time nowadays, but let’s not forget that their propaganda was very real way back when.
Of course, I was branded a “kook” the last time I suggested such a thing; and if you think that, then this is just as kooky as it looks.
Thereafter, she declared herself to be the leader of the movement to remove prayer from public schools. However, her son William later noted that there were several similar cases before the Supreme Court at the same time, and her case simply happened to be decided first.
This at least puts her ahead of Michael Moore, who claims credit for revealing things to people who already agree with him things that they already knew – even if he has to take quotes out of context to do so. :)
Murray left Maryland in 1963 after allegedly assaulting five Baltimore police officers who came to her home to retrieve a runaway girl, Bill’s girlfriend.
Well, … maybe her parents were Really Bad People, you know? Like Christians or something.
O’Hair wished the courts to ban US astronauts—who were all Government employees—from public prayer in space. The case was rejected by the US Supreme Court for lack of jurisdiction.
I love the idea that space is outside SCOTUS’ jurisdiction.
She described herself as a “sexual libertarian” and stated that children in sixth grade should be given sex education and that humans should be allowed to engage in intercourse as soon as nature intended, as cattle and flowers do.
Her son, William, described her as, “profane and vulgar,” and said his mother had several grotesque statues of mating animals displayed in her home.
There’s no accounting for taste. At least she didn’t have Silent Kimbly paintings on the walls. (I realize that this is impossible.)
“She stole huge amounts of money. She misused the trust of people. She cheated children out of their parents’ inheritance. She cheated on her taxes and even stole from her own organizations. She once printed up phony stock certificates on her own printing press to try to take over another atheist publishing company…”
Neither did I. I had read a great deal about this a while back, mainly because she was a former Baltimoron and quite an interesting (and very bizarre) character. I had always wondered what had really happened.