INVITATION TO THE SHEPPARD EXPERIENCE 1954
We want to present a true story on this site. This is a story that began in the early morning hours of July 4th, 1954, in Bay Village, a small hamlet just west of the City of Cleveland, Ohio.
From this present time, 65 years after the murder of my mother, in a hyper-digital jungle of super knowledge, and unrelenting competition, sensationalism and scramble for attention, I invite you to slip back through a window of time to 1954. Let this story tell itself in a succession of days, weeks and months. Day by day, this is a time-travel experiment in suspension, sensation, mystery and question.
I was in the vortex of the story itself as a bit player, a child of seven. (You know, children, they don’t know anything…. far from it! But that is another tale in itself .) I was moved into another household, and then another, to live with an aunt and uncle and their daughters, where we calmly went to school as the adults guided us to do. And yet, we were in the eye of the storm.
This story spawned mystery, death and suicide, fortunes for the media, fame and infamy on many levels. In this information age we could toss together a new salad of facts, figures, conjectures, a list of the books, movies, and articles depicting the disappointments, victories and confusion of the time. But does this give us knowledge? Hardly.
I would suggest that we resist the temptation to just turn the page to another outrage, and another emotional event with a media that too often does not take the responsibility of constraint or engage in serious methodology to seek the truth in an earnest manner.
With this project, I ask that we slow down, pause and let the information presented evolve in the time-widow of 1954. 65 years ago, day after day, week after week, and month after month, this story was told through the natural media of the day – the daily newspaper. The Cleveland Press, one of the three newspapers extant in the City of Cleveland at the time, was an afternoon paper. People waited every day to consume the next chapter in what to most was a salacious soap opera playing out in their own city.
I myself will be seeing most of the information we shall provide for the very first time, in the slow manner of the past. Each calendar day corresponding to the original publication date (not the day of the week), we will unfold this story in a simple presentation of the headlines on the front pages of one newspaper. We are presenting the actual words, facts, distortions and sensationalism just as subscribers saw it. Without adornment or comment, I invite the world to experience with me the actual presentation in print just as it was in 1954, one day at a time. I expect this will play out like a pulp fiction crime novel, a “who-done it?” that survives to this day.
I urge myself, and you dear reader, to slow down, to let the story unfold as it was in 1954, a bare sliver of 6 months to set the stage. There will be plenty of time review and discuss this tale of what I would call… Ah! But I catch myself! There is a temptation to spill a conclusion of my own, a conclusion that I shall share with the real world at the planned curtain of our presentation of THE SHEPPARD PROJECT 1954, come the New Year of 2020.
Thank you for taking this journey with me.
Sam Reese Sheppard
July 5, 2019