Haunted by the Demons Within Her: One Woman's Story of Psychological Terror
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 The painful story of a Wichita, Kansas, woman who learns through psychotherapy that the homicidal maniac stalking her resides in her subconscious self, a product of repressed, long- buried memories of sexual child abuse. With her full cooperation, journalist Stone recounts Ruth Finley's life from the day in 1977 when she received the first nasty phone call to June 1988, when she attended her last therapy session. Finley's husband, Ed, had gone into the hospital at about the time a Kansas serial killer resurfaced. According to her analyst, Dr. Andrew Pickens, those events jarred Finley's subconscious into creating ``the Poet,'' a vicious man who harassed her for the next several years by letter and phone, who threw eggs at her house and left all manner of things on her porch--rocks, feces, a red bandanna, a Molotov cocktail. He cut her phone lines and accosted her on the street and at the mall. Then, in November 1978, Finley reported that she was abducted by two men who took her paycheck and other items. She got away, but on another occasion, the Poet attacked her in a mall parking lot, stabbing her repeatedly. She managed to escape and drove home with the knife still stuck in her side and one of the assailant's gloves hanging from a window. All very real to Ruth Finley, but police chief Richard LaMunyon doubted her stories; his department had kept her and ``the Poet'' under surveillance for years, without result. (LaMunyon still contends that Finley was fully cognizant of her actions and therefore criminally liable.) Finley began intensive therapy with Dr. Pickens, who suspected that she suffered from a ``dissociative disorder,'' divorcing her conscious self from painful experience. Through therapy, Finley allowed ``negative memories of her childhood to slip out.'' Referring to herself as that ``little girl,'' she brings forth recollections of brutal sexual assaults by an unnamed neighbor when she was three years old. Stone's evenhanded, serious treatment of this material keeps it from being unbearable or cheaply sensational. (8 pages b&w photos--not seen)

Pub Date: April 1st, 1994
ISBN: 0-671-78085-9
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15th, 1994