The Case of Sheila LaBarre in Epping

I believe Sheila LaBarre symbolizes the absolute worst in humanity. Her depravity is deeper and more shocking than these pages can convey. She also represents an opportunity lost, a waste of what could have been an extraordinary life. She had raw talent, remarkable intelligence, ravishing beauty and spirited drive. She had the makings of a compelling celebrity, the kind of person whom childhood friends tell biographers they all new would overcome, persevere and become famous some day. Instead, her rage and disappointment ate away at her star quality, channeling her power in a methodically diabolical fashion.

Kevin Flynn

This reflection is from Kevin Flynn in his book Wicked Intentions: A Remote Farmhouse, A Beautiful Temptress, and the Lovers She Murdered, which is about the murder of a man named Kenneth Countie by black widow-style serial killer Sheila LaBarre.

To summarize this case, Labarre herself had seen a lifetime of violence, abuse, and manipulations–received and projected onto others–from early childhood to intimate relationships in Alabama, Tennessee, and New Hampshire.

After a response to her dating personal ad, LaBarre began a relationship with a NH chiropractor, moving in soon after. When the doctor passed, Labarre got the farm, and the next partners in her relationships began to disappear as quickly as she replaced them; it was the last missing partner, Countie, from his mother’s concerns, that put law enforcement on the trail to discovery of LaBarre’s macabre pattern.

This book is a very good resource for mining archetypal/astrological impressions about LaBarre, as is any goodtrue crime worth its salt.

However, as Flynn provides LaBarre’s birthday and her birth place–Ft. Payne, AL–we do not have her actual birth time–the birth time is critical to assessing a birth chart, as it identifies the rising sign.

It is from these archetypal impressions in the book we can rectify LaBarre’s birth chart to a specific time. The following things stood out for me as I read from Wicked Intentions:

Sheila Kay Bailey was born on July 4, 1958, destined for larger things than her small hometown could contain…because she was born on the Fourth of July, Ruby Bailey gave her the nickname “Firecracker.” But the moniker also seemed to fit the child’s explosive personality.

Kevin Flynn

On July 4, 1958, Mars was in Aries (Richard Tarnas’ Cosmos and Psyche description of Mars below), and Mars placed in a characteristic place like its domicile in Aries is notable for “firecracker” behavior:

Mars: the principle of energetic force; the impulse and capacity to assert, to act and move energetically and forcefully, to have an impact, to press forward and against, to defend and offend, to act with sharpness and ardor; the tendency to experience aggressiveness, anger, conflict, harm, violence, forceful physical energy; to be combative, competitive, courageous, vigorous; Ares, the god of war.

Richard Tarnas

Also, Jupiter was opposed Mars in Libra (Jupiter description from Tarnas):

Jupiter: the principle of expansion, magnitude, growth, elevation, superiority; the capacity and impulse to enlarge and grow, to ascend and progress, to improve and magnify, to incorporate that which is external, to make greater wholes, to inflate; to experience success, honor, advancement, plenitude, abundance, prodigality, excess, surfeit; the capacity or inclination for magnanimity, optimism, enthusiasm, exuberance, joy, joviality, liberality, breadth of experience, philosophical and cultural aspiration, comprehensiveness and largeness of vision, pride, arrogance, aggrandizement, extravagance; fecundity, fortune, and providence; Zeus, the king of the Olympian gods.

Richard Tarnas

Jupiter was not only conjunct Rahu (the North Node of the Moon), but Jupiter was conjunct the fixed star Spica, which is something unique individuals in the focus of creativity vs. criminality seem to exhibit, as this is the primary focus of this blog.

What I’ve come to find with creatives and criminals with a prominent planet conjunct Spica is a life focus on certain inner influences that are unexplainable to the native or others, like a drive where assessment of the intent of the drive is not easily understandable. I seem to find mental health-related issues when the ruler of the ascendent is conjunct Spica in a problematic house in the chart (i.e., the houses in aversion to the ascendent: 2nd, 6th, 8th, and 12th).

But I feel the following narrative excerpts helped me rectify LaBarre’s birth time most accurately by assessing the Sun and Moon by location and aspect to domiciles, as well as assessing the ruler of the ascendent and its location. Starting below with Tarnas’ description of the Moon archetype:

Moon: the matrix of being, the psychosomatic foundation of the self, the womb and ground of life; the body and the soul, that which senses and intuits, the feeling nature; the impulse and capacity to gestate and bring forth, to receive and reflect, to relate and respond, to need and to care, to nurture and be nurtured, the condition of dependence and interdependence; the diffusely conscious and unconscious, the anima, the immanent, the centripetal, the home, the fertile source and ground; the cycle of manifestation, the waxing and waning, the eternal round; the ruler of the night sky, of the diffusely visible and the invisible, multiple sources of luminosity within the encompassing darkness, the polycentric; yin; the whole that contains the part in potentia; Luna and all lunar deities, the Great Mother Goddess, together with aspects of the Child (puella, puer), constituting the relational matrix of life.

Richard Tarnas

From Flynn:

[Assistant Attorney General Peter Odum] seemed deep within himself.

‘How does she do it?’

‘What?’

‘Sheila. How does she do it? How is she able to manipulate people into doing anything she wants? Control them? Convince them of her innocence?’

It was more than mere Southern Charm. It was like how Bram Stroker’s villain could control the mist, the flies and the animals to do his bidding. How he preyed on the weak-minded and made them his servants. There was something unholy about it.

Sheila had unusual taste in men. She seemed to fancy adults who were developmentally disabled—semi-retarded. They were grown men living at home whom Sheila drove to her farm to work the land. She paid them in beer and cigarettes. Perhaps, some hypothesized, she paid them with something else—some of the men went home with bruises or fire engine red slap marks on their faces.

Kevin Flynn

The Moon on this day moved from later degrees in the sign of Aquarius, crossing into Pisces in the late evening. Given LaBarre’s choice in men and her abilities to manipulate others, the Moon seemed to be in a place where it would indicate this effect: her ability to reflect. Indicators of this emotional ability are often strong placements at angles, such as the 1st, 10th, or 7th houses, specifically, and they would be demonstrated in life anecdotes.

Both the Moon and Venus were in air signs, Aquarius and Gemini, respectively, earlier in the day, and an Aquarian Moon seems less concerned with matters of the mind (air) than of the emotions (water), characteristic of a Piscean Moon.

This determination, as she had Saturn in Sagittarius, makes sense because Sagittarius by sign opposes Gemini where her Venus was. From Tarnas:

Venus: the principle of desire, love, beauty, value; the impulse and capacity to attract and be attracted, to love and be loved, to seek and create beauty and harmony, to engage in social and romantic relations, sensuous pleasure, artistic and aesthetic experience; the principle of Eros and the Beautiful; Aphrodite, the goddess of love and beauty.

Saturn: the principle of limit, structure, contraction, constraint, necessity, hard materiality, concrete manifestation; time, the past, tradition, age, maturity, mortality, the endings of things; gravity and gravitas, weightiness, that which burdens, binds, challenges, fortifies, deepens; the tendency to confine and constrict, to separate, to divide and define, to cut and shorten, to negate and oppose, to strengthen and forge through tension and resistance, to rigidify, to repress, to maintain a conservative and strict authority; to experience difficulty, decline, deprivation, defect and deficit, defeat, failure, loss alienation; the labor of existence, suffering, old age, death; the weight of the past, the workings of fate, character, karma, the consequences of past action, effort and guilt, punishment, retribution, imprisonment, the sense of ‘no exit’: pessimism, inferiority, inhibition, isolation, oppression and depression; the impulse and capacity for discipline and duty, order, solitude, concentration, conciseness, thoroughness and precision, discrimination and objectivity, restraint and patience, endurance, responsibility, seriousness, authority, wisdom; the harvest of time, effort, and experience; the concern with consensus reality, factual concreteness, conventional forms and structures, foundations, boundaries, solidity and stability, security and control, rational organization, efficiency, law, right and wrong, judgment, the superego; the dark, cold, heavy, dense, dry, old, slow, distant; the senex, Kronos, the stern father of the gods.

Richard Tarnas

And a Venus in the 4th house would be attracted to the esthetics of the home, while a Saturn in the 10th, especially opposed by sign to Venus in the 4th, would continually mark a location in the native’s life that experiences limit and constriction. The Sun in the 5th concerning creativity of the expressive emotional Cancer is a cue to LaBarre’s writing interests, but non-writing/publishing drive (Tarnas below):

Sun: the central principle of vital creative energy, the will to exist; the impulse and capacity to be, to manifest, to be active, to be central, to radiate, to ‘shine’; to rise above, achieve, illuminate, and integrate; the individual will and personal identity, the seat of the mind and spirit, the animus, the executive functions of the self or ego, the capacity for iniitatveand purposeful assertion, the drive for individual autonomy and independence; directed and focused coinsciousness and self-awareness, the centrifugal expression of the self, the trajectory of self-manifestation, ascent and descent; the ruler of the day sky, of the clearly visible, the single source of luminosity that overcomes the encompassing darkness, the monocentric; yang; the part that contains the whole in potential; Sol and all solar deities, the archetypal Hero in its many forms.

Richard Tarnas
Sheila LaBarre’s birth chart

LaBarre then at 10:30PM on July 4, 1958, in my opinion, would have the rising sign Pisces. I think this is the best speculation at an estimated time. Consider Cancer by its tarot card, “The Chariot,” when reading more of Flynn’s descriptions of LaBarre and writing.

Sheila came from modest means, but always seemed to wear nice outfits. She entertained dreams of being a fashion model or a photographer…writing was a talent that Sheila possessed. She dealt with adolescence by jotting down free-flowing poems. They were always written quickly, usually late while sitting in the Baileys’ front parlor or while alone in her room.

On the page, Sheila worked out the troubles in her head and sketched rough drafts of her life. In her mind, she dreamt of being swept away by a rich man, someone who would take her away from the life she had been living. But the verses were also filled with angst and longing. Love notes were marked by desperate pronouncement; poems of love lost burned like torch songs. To read between the lines, one might assume the woman believed herself to be fragile and misunderstood.

Kevin Flynn

The expression of words of hopeful comfort of love and abundance, Cancer is symbolized in history as “The Chariot” or the crab because it was traditionally observed as an energy of a hardened shell protecting a soft interior, and the house where Cancer is placed will demonstrate just where this occurs. Venus is the planet exalted in Pisces; however, it’s squared it’s exaltation, squared the Moon, but still in a strong angle.

Flynn expresses that Sheila “also represents an opportunity lost, a waste of what could have been an extraordinary life.”

With no aspect to the Sun’s domicile, Leo, which is in the 6th house of bad fortune, planet and sign just don’t communicate from neighboring signs, so LaBarre cannot access the executive functioning strengths of an active left-brain archetypal function in reference to subordinates, service, and duty (areas the 6th is concerned with in modern rulerships). The 6th also deals with pets, and I think as an owner is concerned with the helplessness and vulnerability of pets, one too is attracted to peers that also are vulnerable, like ones disabled. We often seen this with the service concerned between the 1st-7th axis of Virgo-Pisces.

This alone shows that LaBarre’s ego and vitality is expressive of the irrational and emotional above all else: Sun and Moon are trine in water signs in strong 1st-5th house relationship. This would come out in verbal expression.

LaBarre’s Sun is squared both to Mars in domicile in the 2nd–the lesser malefic in the house of personal income.

But it’s Jupiter in Libra in the 8th that stands out the most, given this placement, but also the Mars opposition–it’s a tension from a force towards acting on personal income and possessions, or the objects of value in the native’s life.

Jupiter, the ruler of the ascendent since Jupiter rules Pisces, is peregrine in Libra; and Jupiter also affects the drive of Saturn in Sagittarius since Jupiter rules this sign as well. So, by placement in Libra, which is the sign of partnerships, all Jupiterian drives will have a partner-oriented theme in LaBarre’s life; yet, Jupiter as archetype, is concerned with the expansion of intimate partners/death/inheritance/taxes.

Jupiter conjunct Spica–the big theme I’m attempting to unravel with these blog posts–reveals an introduction of something foreign, supernatural, and bizarre, in presence, in LaBarre’s life.

Only months after signing off on her divorce from John Baxter, Sheila and Ronnie eloped. The couple found a judge in Georgia to perform the ceremony. It was a quick and private affair, one that Jennings thought his bride truly wanted. Marriage had been her idea, and he knew her well enough to realize she would eventually get whatever she wanted.

The couple left the ceremony hand in hand. They strolled blissfully back to their car. No sooner had Jennings slammed the driver’s door than Sheila broke down into tears.

‘We shouldn’t have done it! We shouldn’t have gotten married!’

The change of heart wasn’t as discouraging to Jennings as it was disturbing. He had not seen that reaction coming. On their quiet drive home, he started connecting some of the things he’d seen, the flashes of irrational behavior he’d witnessed and wondered if his new wife had deep problems he hadn’t recognized before.

For his part, Ronnie Jennings was becoming more and more nervous about the mental state of his wife. His perceptions of their days together were not the same. He found Sheila to be unreasonable and bossy. He remembered himself as the victim, not the perpetrator, when things got physical between them. Some of his emotional distance was due to his uncertainty about her sanity.

Kevin Flynn

It would not be surprising that LaBarre developed her irrational egoic view of the world primarily based on early life conditioning.

Manuel Bailey had perhaps the most influence on his daughters’ young lives. Both Lynn and Sheila remember the man as sometimes being loving—however there was an unspoken, everlasting fear throughout the house about him. He was, as Lynn Noojin put it, ‘pretty bad in to drink on the weekends.’

One time, Manuel came home with a load on and a chip on his shoulder. It wasn’t uncommon for him to be violent when he stumbled home, but something had launched him into a wild tantrum.

Manuel Bailey started tearing up the house. He toppled the iron stove the family used to heat their home in the winter months. He grabbed on to the refrigerator, but the huge icebox would not go over. Instead, he opened its door and began tossing its contents across the kitchen.

Ruby Bailey came out in her dressing gown and watched the spectacle with chagrin. Lynn, about ten years old, and Sheila, around six, got out of their beds only to see a nightmare before them. Their father began throwing eggs and other food from the fridge at them. Ruby ushered her children to quickly get their shoes and escape out the back.

Lynn grabbed the keys to the family’s car and handed them to her mother. Ruby had scooped up Sheila in her arms. The girl was small for her age; she was always small. The three of them crawled onto the front seat bench. Ruby engaged the clutch and turned over the engine.

The rev of the motor brought Manuel out to the carport. He appeared in the headlights of the car, stumbling out of the house. The little girls screamed when they saw their drunken father’s face. Ruby tried to balance the gas and clutch as the car rolled in reverse, but she took her foot off too soon and the engine bucked and died.

Manuel Bailey came around to the driver’s side and reared back to smash the window with his hand. He was too hopped up to notice the window was already rolled down, so the momentum of the shot carried his body into the front seat. The mother and daughters scrambled to get out on the passenger’s side while Manuel fumbled to free himself from the window.

The father went back to the carport and grabbed the first thing he saw. It was a metal can of antifreeze. He swung the container at the three fleeing females.

Ruby had been pulling Sheila’s hand. Sheila put up her other hand to cover her face. The can flew on a smooth trajectory right at them and struck the child in the head. The can hit with such force that its bottom edge left an indentation on Sheila’s four fingers.

The father ran right to that spot and reached down to pick up the metal can again. Sheila was screaming in pain and fear. Ruby had to go back for Sheila who, upon being struck, had let go of her mother’s hand. Another blow from the can at that close range could have been fatal.

As Manuel bent over to grab the antifreeze can, Lynn jumped on his back and grabbed hold of this neck. He was stronger, but not so coordinated in his drunken state that he could throw her off his back. They wrestled a little bit. Lynn knew she had no chance of pinning her father, but thought the unexpected counterattack would buy Mother and Sheila enough time to get around the front of the house and across the lawn.

When he finally separated himself from his daughter, Manuel watched Lynn sprint around the house and into the darkness. She ran to the edge of their property, which was lined by a cornfield. The weather was warm and the stalks were high. Lynn dove headfirst into the field, rolled to one side, and then froze in terror.

She held her breath as her father made his way to the edge of the cornfield. She could hear his heavy breathing. Lynn prayed that the night was dark enough and her father’s eyes were poor enough that she would not be discovered. Manuel rustled some of the seven-foot stalks, cursed for his daughter to come out. It was hopeless. She might have only been a few feet from him, obscured by a few corn plants, but it was as if she had dived into the ocean.

Lynn closed her eyes and held her breath for an eternity. She knew her father had given up looking for her, because she could hear him on the other side of the property, kicking the house and cussing. The night was dark and she realized she was alone under a blanket of leaves and growing produce.

‘Mother?’ she whispered. ‘Where are you?’ She felt around with her hands as if she were blind. ‘Momma?’

Suddenly, a hand grabbed Lynn’s wrist and pulled it. The child gasped. It was Ruby, carrying Sheila on her hip.

‘Come on. We’re going to your brother’s.’ They continued on through the cornfield and across the Alabama farmland to get to his house, forgoing the sleeping homes of friends and neighbors during the five-mile walk. Ruby never pressed charges for the assault against her and her daughters.

The girls knew two things about their parents: that they were never safe around their father and that their mother was powerless to stop him.

Kevin Flynn

Supernatural horror writer and H. P. Lovecraft bibliographer, S. T. Joshi, was born twelve days before LaBarre, so the Sun was 11 degrees away and the Moon was in Virgo. Based on the following factors, as his birth time is also unknown, I rectified his birth chart to 1:00PM (I include his chart below with modern discoveries Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto, as they are generational and would not have changed much in twelve days between both natives):

  • The structure in his life seems to be based on Lovecraft’s writing (Saturn in 3rd)
  • His energy seems to go to his own authority and gravitas in his field publicly (Sun in 10th)
  • His initial appearance and interactions are wise and enthusiastic (Jupiter in 1st)

I began my study of Lovecraft as early as 1975, when, as an eager teenager just about to enter my senior year of high school, I embarked upon the grandiose plan of assembling an anthology of Lovecraft criticism–the volume that eventually became H. P. Lovecraft: Four Decades of Criticism (1980).

S. T. Joshi
A recent interview

Actor Bruce Campbell–yet another individual intimately involved with Lovecraftian themes in his acting roles as Ash Williams in the Evil Dead franchise–was born the same day as Joshi. How bizarre is it that an enduring literary ensemble like Lovecraft’s Necronomicon, the Book of the Dead in his mythos, was a very important plot device for Williams? And what does this elude to the inner mechanisms given LaBarre’s criminal behavior? Well-documented lives like Lovecraft’s, Joshi’s, or Campbell’s allow subtle observers to gain impressions of their drives, but the mysterious elements of LaBarre’s lead to horrors of the imagination.

Joshi’s chart, as well as his life, is radically different than LaBarre’s. Yet, like Lovecraft, having a planet conjunct the fixed star Spica in the 1st house of self/body—as opposed to the 8th house like LaBarre—there seems to be more ability or sense to use that Spica principle towards a goal, rather than be absorbed by it. Lovecraft had his Moon conjunct Uranus at Spica as well. Joshi and LaBarre have their Jupiter there.

What got me most interested in Spica was reading the many narratives from ancient astrologers about this region of space, to include fixed star Foramen (from astrologer Marina from Darkstar Astrology’s book Wheel of Stars):

Libra 22⁰ 09’ ~ Foramen in the keel of Argo Navis the Great Ship

Foramen used to [be] one of the most noted objects in the heavens since it was the 2nd brightest star in the sky. It has dimmed since then but it is still significantly bright. This star, situated in the keel of the great ship has been associated with Eridu, the Lord of the Waves, the mysterious human fish god. This star lies at the heart of the Keyhole Nebula, so it is surrounded by an enchanting glowing dust cloud. Again we see the transformation from fish to man.

Libra 23⁰ 50’ ~ Spica in the ear of wheat held by Virgo the Virgin

I see Spica as signifying the Ceres/Demeter archetype. “spicifera est Virgo Cereris” (The Virgin with her sheaf belongs to Ceres). Spica can signify the one who has taken the bite of the apple. The person has acquired wisdom from life experience. Spica blends this with a rigorous intellect that will also crave higher learning.

Marina

It seems that this area in the zodiac has much to do about birth, death, and regeneration. In fact, in the sidereal zodiac, Spica is roughly where Libra begins. So, when the Sun rises in the east—the first day of spring occurs today as the Sun enters the first degree of Aries at the Spring Equinox on March 21 in the tropical zodiac; fall starts on September 22 exactly opposite—it would symbolically “die” as it set in the west. That would make the equinoxes in the sidereal zodiac in ancient times around April 14 and October 15 based on the 22-23 degree precession wobble of the Earth since then.

Consider below the differences between the tropical and sidereal charts and Spica’s proximity to the ancient location of where the Autumnal Equinox/start of Libra, given the screenshot examples of Lovecraft’s own birth chart (tropical on top, sidereal following):

Tropical zodiac
Sidereal zodiac

Zecharia Sitchin’s The 12th Planet, although controversial, adds more insight regarding Eridu:

The three Greek historians through whom we know what Berossus wrote, reported that such divine fish-men appeared periodically, coming ashore from the ‘Erythrean sea’–the body of water we now call the Arabian Sea (the western part of the Indian Ocean).

Berossus transmitted legends regarding Oannes, the ‘Being Endowed with Reason,’ a god who made his appearance from ‘Erythrean sea which bordered on Babylonia,’ in the first year of the descent of Kingship from Heaven. Berossus reported that though Oannes looked like a fish, he had a human head under the fish’s head, and had feet like a man under the fish’s tail. ‘His voice too and language were articulate and human.’

They named it E.RI.DU (‘house in faraway built’).

Zecharia Sitchin
Oannes

More information on Oannes here: https://grahamhancock.com/dmisrab14/

Johfra Bosschart’s painting of Libra below symbolizes many of these themes:

Libra by Johfra Bosschart

In Lovecraft and a World in Transition: Collected Essays on H. P. Lovecraft, by S. T. Joshi, there is a passage that reveals more about Foramen (perhaps influence from Eta Carinae, or the Keyhole Nebula), but in reference to a letter Lovecraft submitted to a magazine:

[H. P. Lovecraft’s] next published letter appearing in the 8 February 1913 issue of the All-Story Cavalier, is a praiseworthy comment on Irving S. Cobb’s magnificent tale of a half-man, half-fish hybrid, ‘Fishhead.’ It is my feeling that this powerful tale lodged in Lovecraft’s mind and would form a significant influence on ‘The Shadow over Innsmouth’ (1931), which similarly treats of the union of fish and human beings.

S. T. Joshi

With a Moon-Uranus conjunction to Spica, near the Ascendant for Lovecraft, and Joshi’s/LaBarre’s Jupiter in the same spot—see Moon and Jupiter archetypal descriptions above, Uranus from Tarnas below—we begin to understand better the influence of Eridu, the Lord of the Waves, as an archetypal principle for this region:

The extant astrological literature does not reveal the precise basis originally used to determine Uranus’s astrological meaning in the course of the nineteenth century, when astrologers were few and texts rare. Texts from the beginning of the twentieth century imply that consensus on the basic themes and qualities had already been achieved some time before. It is possible that the unique (and, indeed, Promethean) character of the planet’s discovery itself had suggested the nature of the principle involved: the sudden breakthrough from the heavens, the unexpected and unprecedented nature of the event, the crucial involvement of the technological invention (telescope), the radical disruption of astronomical and astrological tradition, the overthrow of past limits and structures. However, the earliest nineteenth-century texts to discuss Uranus in detail referred mainly to certain qualities in persons born with Uranus prominently placed (inventiveness, independence, eccentricity, proneness to sudden unexpected changed), implying that the study of natal charts had served as the principal basis for arriving at a definition.

Richard Tarnas

So, if Lovecraft’s Spica Moon influence (Moon conjunct this area in his 1st house, Cancer in his 10th) aided in his creation of new literary species and worlds in reflection of the Oannes/Eridu Sumer myth, how will this look in other natives’ charts?

Lovecraft was also fascinated with this specific ancient era and wrote stories about it, as well. Colin Wilson described Lovecraft in The Strength to Dream—“since he so determinedly created an unreal world in opposition to the real world”—is this what individuals with strong placements here are doing?

Would Joshi’s Jupiter as archetype of learning and wisdom in close proximity/conjunction to Spica assist in Joshi’s own life to find another individual like Lovecraft that has revealed the “Lord of the Waves’” secrets, resulting in an expansion of Lovecraft’s own work in the process?

Is this an example of “escapist imagination,” as dubbed by Wilson, or something else? And what does this reveal about someone like LaBarre having this same Jupiter influence, but in a less fortunate, more detrimental region of the birth chart?

I believe more descriptions from Flynn’s book reveal more about how Spica influences individuals where personal planets are conjunct, especially the story of Daniel:

‘Sheila Jennings’ did not sound like a suitable stage name, so she adopted a new moniker. She took the name Cayce. The name came from both a young niece who had mangled Sheila’s name until it came out like ‘KC’ and in honor of author and mystical psychic Edgar Cayce, whose writings about visions of angels fascinated the young woman. Since Sheila had appropriated her lover’s last name, she introduced herself to Tennessee musicians as ‘Cayce LaBarre.’ (Ten years later, she used the alias ‘Cayce Washington’ when hiding from police during a murder dragnet.)

I feel the answer to how Sheila LaBarre became a homicidal maniac is probably as simple as the fact that she just is one. Never had I encountered one person who has destroyed so many lives, bewitched so many people. Yet I’ll always have some sympathy for her, knowing exactly how much pain fuels her own fiery furnace of hate and violence.

Investigators discovered that Sheila had indeed been keeping a journal since her youth. It filled dozens of notebooks and legal pads. Most entries were poems and song lyrics that she wrote and tried to sell, but there were also the occasional letter or postcard meant for loved ones.

On one page of a journal, dated July 2005, there was a sketch of what appeared to be a horizontal body made of circles. Under the sketch were the following notes:

110 lbs 5’5”; incinerated-burned-ashes flushed scatter; water-; Bury c shovel; private pilot/helicopter/boat; DEATH; Torch

The word ‘DEATH’ was circled. Aside from the fact the note pre-dated his appearance on the farm by more than seven month, Kenneth Countie was neither 110 pounds nor five-foot-four. On the next page of the notebook, [the detective] read:

Daniel 3; the fiery furnace; Hotel furnace? crematoriums? 4000 F

What did this mean? The name ‘Daniel’ did not appear in any other journal as a person whom Sheila may have known, so investigators thought the notation might be a different kind of reference. [A detective] looked up the third chapter of Daniel in the Old Testament. The passage was about the deliverance from ‘the Fiery Furnace.’ In it, King Nebuchadnezzar says all people must worship the gods of Babylon or be thrown into the fiery furnace. When three devout Hebrews refuse to renounce God, Nebuchadnezzar’s soldiers dispatch them into the inferno. But the king turns to see the three men and the Son of God walk out of the blazing furnace:

‘They saw that the fire had not harmed their bodies, nor was a hair of their heads singed; their robes were not scorched, and there was no smell of fire on them.’ (Daniel 3:27)

Had this meant something to Sheila, and if so, why had she referred to it in her journal? What kind of fiery furnace had Sheila LaBarre created as a test of faith?

Peter Flynn

Or perhaps was LaBarre was focusing less on Daniel, more on the role that King Nebuchadnezzar played in the story? (below from Astrology in Ancient Mesopotamia: The Science of Omens and the Knowledge of the Heavens by Michael Baigent):

In the book of Daniel it is recorded that King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon was troubled by a dream. He wished to understand its meaning and so summoned all the court astrologers and magicians. He not only demanded an interpretation of the dream, but threatened—should they fail him—to execute all his diviners and to destroy their houses. The astrologers asked the king to describe the dream so that they might give an interpretation. Nebuchadnezzar, evidently cynical in his dealings with advisers, refused. He said simply that, in order to remove the possibility of fraud, the astrologers should not only be able to interpret the dream but should also know, in advance, its contents. Only in this way, he explained, could he have confidence in the interpretation. The astrologers and diviners again asked to be told the dream. At this point the king became angry and accused them all of simply playing for time, of being unable to comply with his request. Finally, his diviners confessed that his accusations were correct and admitted that the task was beyond them. They added, however, that no other king would ever think of putting such a difficult question to them. Frustrated, the king flew into a rage and ordered them all to be executed—including Daniel, who, under the Babylonian name of Belteshazzar, 19 was an astrologer attached to Nebuchadnezzar’s court. This incident allowed Daniel (or whoever this story is based on) a chance to show his abilities.

Michael Baigent
Saddam Hussein’s seal alongside King Nebuchadnezzar II

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