Fear and horror in a small town: The legacy of the disappearance of Marilyn Wallman

Morrissey, Belinda and Davis, Kristen (2010). Fear and horror in a small town: The legacy of the disappearance of Marilyn Wallman. In Stephen Hessel and Michele Huppert (Ed.), Fear itself: Reasoning the unreasonable (pp. 175-188) Amsterdam, Netherlands: Rodopi.

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Name Description MIMEType Size Downloads
Author Morrissey, Belinda
Davis, Kristen
Title of chapter Fear and horror in a small town: The legacy of the disappearance of Marilyn Wallman
Title of book Fear itself: Reasoning the unreasonable
Place of Publication Amsterdam, Netherlands
Publisher Rodopi
Publication Year 2010
Sub-type Research book chapter (original research)
Open Access Status
Series At the Interface/Probing the Boundaries: Fear, Horror and Terror
ISBN 9789042028067; 9042028068; 9789042028074; 9042028076; 1570-7113
Editor Stephen Hessel
Michele Huppert
Volume number 61
Chapter number 10
Start page 175
End page 188
Total pages 14
Total chapters 10
Collection year 2011
Language eng
Formatted Abstract/Summary
On 21 March, 1972, fourteen-year-old Mackay schoolgirl, Marilyn Wallman, rode her bike down a country lane which led from her house to the main road where she usually caught her school bus and vanished a mere 180 metres from her home. Her two brothers, walking only ten minutes behind their sister, found her bike lying in the road, its front wheel still ominously spinning. Her school bag was flung on the ground, its contents scattered in the dust. Her school hat lay a few metres away, resting in the six feet high sugar cane which lined both sides of the track. No trace of Marilyn has ever been found. This paper will demonstrate how this inexplicable event altered the social fabric of the small town of Mackay both at the time of the disappearance and into the present. Using interviews with witnesses to the crime, Marilyn's family, and residents of the town, it will show that Marilyn's vanishing sent shockwaves into her community that still reverberate, creating a lasting climate of horror and fear. The people of Mackay continue to speak of pre-and post-Marilyn, and even though the town has more than quadrupled in size, the legend lingers on, poisoning all suggestions of safety and ruining all illusions of autonomy for the children of Mackay. The freedom in which other children in small country towns live their lives is, for these children, only a treacherous dream. Instead, the fear of the 'bogeyman' is entirely real for these citizens; they know what it is to have a child gone forever, to never have the comfort of closure through an arrest, to live the endless waiting for 'normality', for 'pre-Marilyn', life to return. Fear and horror have become ordinary, an everyday state of being, as indeed they have been for 35 years and continue to be as the nightmare tale of 'Marilyn' continues to haunt the populace.
©Editions Rodopi B.V.
Keyword Community
Q-Index Code B1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ
Additional Notes Chapter in Part V: Societal fear. Description: xiii, 187 p. ; 23 cm. This book is a themed volume of selected papers from "1st Global Conference: Fear, Horror and Terror", Oxford, U.K., 10-12 September 2007.

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Created: Mon, 21 Mar 2011, 13:02:50 EST by Dr Kristen Davis on behalf of Institute for Social Science Research