Long-ago comment: close encounter with a serial killer, Vancouver? June 16, 2021 9:45 PM   Subscribe

I wonder if anyone can help me dig up an ancient comment, probably at least a dozen years old.

Someone described a run-in with someone who later turned out almost certainly to have been a notorious serial killer. The person had a harsh, metallic, nauseating smell. I think the encounter was in Vancouver.
posted by tangerine to MetaFilter-Related at 9:45 PM (18 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

If it was Vancouver, my guess it would be Pickton? It might be among these search results.
posted by juv3nal at 10:56 PM on June 16 [4 favorites]


GuyZero's 2009 FPP: "My date with Willy Pickton. Robert Pickton that is, Canada's most prolific serial killer." From that "date" link:

Two: he stank to high heaven. My family has farms, I know what pigs and pig farming smell like, and I know what a shower can do for that. I also know, from my other researches, that serial killers are associated with a particular smell. Willie didn’t smell like pigs, he smelt like something that is nearly impossible to describe. If metal could rot, that would be the smell of it; it was tangy, it seemed charged with negative ions, it nearly made my eyes water, and it was physically repulsive in the extreme.
posted by Iris Gambol at 11:06 PM on June 16 [11 favorites]


Willie didn’t smell like pigs, he smelt like something that is nearly impossible to describe. If metal could rot, that would be the smell of it; it was tangy, it seemed charged with negative ions, it nearly made my eyes water, and it was physically repulsive in the extreme.

Fascinating, Iris Gambol -- this is very, very similar to descriptions I've read of the body odor of a person who has been inadvertently exposed to selenium. Or deliberately for that matter; one of the rougher pranks chemistry grad students used to play on one another was to dose someone with selenium. It only took a tiny amount, the effect was apparently overwhelming, and it took weeks to wear off.

When I googled 'hog farming selenium' I didn't expect to find much, but I was wrong:
Selenium is an essential trace mineral that is routinely added in all swine diets via trace-mineral premixes. Pigs require selenium as a component of an enzyme (glutathione peroxidase) that protects membranes at the cellular and subcellular level against lipid peroxide damage. Selenium also has been shown to be involved in the metabolism of thyroid hormones, which play a central role in the regulation and coordination of metabolism.
So I think chances are good Pickton contaminated himself with trace-mineral premix.
posted by jamjam at 12:26 AM on June 17 [17 favorites]


Tangent, but I met Paul Bernardo when I was a teenage girl, right in the middle of his rape spree (brrr) and the encounter stood out because I felt ill for the entire brief conversation. I don't remember it as a smell though and he definitely was not a pig farmer.
posted by warriorqueen at 6:01 AM on June 17 [19 favorites]


Ah, that was it! I'd obviously remembered it as a comment, not an FPP, but that's definitely the story. Thanks, everyone.

And that's fascinating about selenium.
posted by tangerine at 7:41 AM on June 17 [1 favorite]


I think there is a first person metafite comment(s) (minus the smell) about a date with maybe Picton on the site as well.
posted by Mitheral at 10:29 AM on June 17


GuyZero's 2009 FPP: "My date with Willy Pickton. Robert Pickton that is, Canada's most prolific serial killer."

Wow. The 2009 FPP is a fascinating, harrowing read and yet, that thread is filled with abhorrent, dismissive, misogynistic comments. Metafilter has certainly changed for the better.
posted by Ahmad Khani at 10:58 AM on June 17 [13 favorites]


I also know, from my other researches, that serial killers are associated with a particular smell.

This was a hell of a sentence to just leave dangling there with no further elaboration.
posted by Atom Eyes at 11:30 AM on June 17 [17 favorites]


Where would you even find selenium?


And yes, super creepy. Not super into the writing but I don't doubt the experience.
posted by firstdaffodils at 1:45 PM on June 17


In this FPP about an article describing an encounter with Randy Kraft, the author joined the conversation.
posted by carmicha at 1:52 PM on June 17 [4 favorites]


Where would you even find selenium?

It's available as a supplement in your better stocked supplement stores.
posted by Mitheral at 6:24 PM on June 17




I don't think I saw that article about meeting Randy Kraft when it was first posted in 2013. I loved the writing, in particular the courage it might take for a straight marine to say things like, "I was enchanted," and "I was in love with him for an afternoon." I thought it was a brave and insightful piece of writing.
posted by Orlop at 9:21 AM on June 18 [6 favorites]


I also know, from my other researches, that serial killers are associated with a particular smell.

This was a hell of a sentence to just leave dangling there with no further elaboration.

I just typed serial killers sme into google and it autocompleted to serial killers smell like sour milk so I guess that's the answer.
posted by rodlymight at 5:43 PM on June 18 [1 favorite]


Wow. The 2009 FPP is a fascinating, harrowing read and yet, that thread is filled with abhorrent, dismissive, misogynistic comments. Metafilter has certainly changed for the better.

Oh yeah, I remember those days well. Any kind of personal essay written by a woman was automatically dismissed as trash by the great intellectuals of Metafilter.
posted by Jess the Mess at 8:16 PM on June 18 [7 favorites]


Yep. The great intellectuals of Metafilter couldn't be arsed to commit any (even one) of these women's names to memory:

Marlene Abigosis
Sereena Abotsway
Sharon Abraham
Elaine Allenbach
Angela Arsenault
Sherry Baker
Cindy Beck
Yvonne Boen
Andrea Borhaven
Heather Bottomley
Heather Chinnock
Nancy Clark
Wendy Crawford
Marcella Creison
Dawn Crey
Sarah de Vries
“Jane Doe”
Sheryl Donahue
Tiffany Drew
Elaine Dumba
Sheila Egan
Cara Ellis
Gloria Fedyshyn
Cynthia Feliks
Marnie Frey
Jennifer Furminger
Catherine Gonzalez
Rebecca Guno
Michelle Gurney
Inga Hall
Helen Hallmark
Ruby Hardy
Janet Henry
Tanya Holyk
Sherry Irving
Angela Jardine
Andrea Joesbury
Patricia Johnson
Debra Jones
Catherine Knight
Kerry Koski
Maria Laliberte
Stephanie Lane
Kellie Little
Laura Mah
Jacquelene McDonell
Diana Melnick
Leigh Miner
Jacqueline Murdock
Lillian O’Dare
Georgina Papin
Tania Petersen
Sherry Rail
Dianne Rock
Elsie Sebastian (Jones)
Ingrid Soet
Dorothy Spence
Teresa Triff
Sharon Ward
Kathleen Wattley
Olivia William
Angela Williams
Taressa Ann Williams
Mona Wilson
Brenda Wolfe
Frances Young
Julie Young
The Women Identified as the Victims of “The Valley Murders”:
Tracy Olajide
Tammy Pipe
Victoria Younker
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 8:20 PM on June 18 [8 favorites]


That list is .. so.. long.

Er, to be fair, I think the context is interesting but the writing comes off as super campy, which doesn't necessarily lend respect to the experience.

In approaching in differing perspectives:
If the writing is casually addressed as an extension of the person's actual character (eg this is just the manner of the person in real time, written or non), it's less so.

If it's a person's approach toward creative nonfiction writing or journalism, I think the effect they're reaching toward can be done differently.
posted by firstdaffodils at 11:42 PM on June 19


Mod note: Hey folks - this thread is not that FPP. If you'd like to make a new FPP on this topic, please feel free otherwise don't have a MeFi conversation in a MeTa place please.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 10:05 AM on June 20 [3 favorites]


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