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Kurt mcfall1

Kurt McFall

Real Name: Kurt Thomas McFall
Case: Suspicious Death
Location: San Francisco, California
Date: September 8, 1984


Details: Seventeen year-old Kurt McFall lived with his father, Tom McFall, in Concord, California. On Saturday, September 8, 1984, he left his home and drove across the Bay Bridge into San Francisco. He planned to spend the night with a friend and return home Sunday evening. Two days later, on Monday, September 10, two men went bird-watching on some rugged cliffs at Land's End in a remote area of San Francisco Bay. On the isolated beach below, they discovered Kurt's bruised, half-naked body.
Although the police are skeptical, Tom is certain that Kurt was murdered. He wants the case to be investigated. He does not believe Kurt fell to his death. He is certain that Kurt would have been able to handle himself in the cliff area because he was an experienced mountain climber. Tom also does not believe Kurt drowned because he was a diver.
To outward appearances, Kurt was a bright and popular senior at Clayton Valley High School. He was in the school's newspaper and yearbook clubs and enjoyed math and science. He talked about joining the military after graduation. He also loved the outdoors. He was known to make friends easily. Friends describe him as confident, energetic, and intense. They knew he sincerely cared about them.
Tom has learned that there was another side to Kurt. The day after Kurt disappeared, Tom called one of Kurt's friends. The friend said that about a week earlier, Kurt had told him that he was involved in a satanic cult that dabbled in black magic. He said the members were trying to control him.
Kurt told his friend he was "in over his head" and wanted to leave the cult. However, he was afraid that the members would kill him if he tried to leave. He said that if anything should happen to him, the friend should tell the police about the cult's two leaders.
Tom now believes that Kurt strayed from a suburban middle-class background into a world of witchcraft, mysticism, and possibly murder.
Alarmed by the phone call, Tom searched Kurt's bedroom. He wanted to gain all the information he could about Kurt's disappearance. In Kurt's room, Tom discovered a black leather bag that contained a knife made from a deer's hoof, a necklace of stone and feathers, and a candle. He also found books on the occult and drawings of witchcraft and violent fantasies. These seemed to be further proof that Kurt was leading a double life.
At the age of ten, Kurt became interested in the medieval fantasy game Dungeons & Dragons. It was the beginning of a voyage into a subculture that would dominate him.
A year before he died, Kurt joined the Society for Creative Anachronism, or SCA. Its members enjoy reliving medieval customs in the actual costumes of the period. Once a week, they practice jousting and sword fighting in the parking lot of an Oakland subway station.
SCA President Hilary Powers recalls that Kurt was there about twice a week in February and March 1984. While there, he learned how to fight. She thought he was good, quick, and talented and was going to be good at the game. She and the others were pleased with him. She does not believe his death had anything to do with his participation in the SCA.
As Kurt became increasingly interested in medieval rituals, he joined a separate group that initiated him into pagan religion. One of his high school friends, "John", feared this new group and contacted Tom. He had become concerned for Kurt and now fears for his own safety.
According to John, Kurt's attitude towards other people changed drastically over a six-month period. Kurt moved from just studying with an interest in medieval religion to adopting that religion as his own. He lost a lot of his friends as a result.
Kurt studied pagan religion with Gabriel Carrillo, who uses the ancient Welsh name "Caradoc". He notes that the religion, which is part of the Feri Tradition, is also an art and a craft and has techniques that are, at their essence, magical. He met Kurt because Kurt had shown an interest in magic. He describes Kurt as bright and curious about everything.
John compares Kurt's involvement with the group to that of a drug addiction, where he began thinking that he had it under control and could "take it" when he wanted it. But gradually, he lost the sense of knowing when to stop until he became a "junkie".
Caradoc claims he does not control people's lives. He notes that people are free to come and go at their discretion, just as Kurt did. He claims he tries to emphasize people taking control of their own lives.
On Saturday, September 8, 1984, Kurt left home to spend the night at Caradoc's apartment in San Francisco. They had dinner and went to a movie. Around midnight, Kurt went swimming at Ocean Beach, a few blocks from Caradoc's home.
Later, Kurt was restless and could not sleep. According to Caradoc, Kurt knocked on his door at about 3am. He said it was too hot inside and that he was going back to the beach. He took a blanket with him. He was never seen alive again.
Caradoc guesses that Kurt took "one too many chances." He thought Kurt might have gone swimming in the ocean and been pulled out by the undertow. He also thought that Kurt might have gone climbing on the cliffs at Lands End and slipped and fallen.
The following evening, Sunday, September 9, Kurt's car was discovered abandoned on a golf course overlooking the ocean. There were several puzzling clues. His driver's license was on the floor. His car keys were on the seat. A $20 bill was in the glove compartment. The prized suit of armor, which he had made for his SCA sword fighting, was missing from the trunk.
Most curious of all, there were beer bottles scattered in and around the car. Tom believes the scene was staged because Kurt did not drink beer. Also, the autopsy report showed that there were no signs of alcohol or drugs in Kurt's body.
At 10:15am the following morning, Monday, September 10, National Park Service lifeguards recovered Kurt's body. It was lying in a cove less than two miles from Caradoc's home, just below the cliffs at the golf course where Kurt's car was found. When lifeguard Brian Cameron came upon Kurt's body, he noticed it was in relatively good condition. It was pale, which is usually a sign of being in the water for an extended period of time. There was no obvious external trauma. The body looked "pretty clean" other than a few small abrasions.
Kurt's body had no shoes, socks, or shirt. His back and shoulders were scored with cuts and abrasions. And strangely, the belt he wore was missing its buckle. Chief Petty Officer Ron Wilton of the U.S. Coast Guard cannot say for certain where Kurt entered the water. He guesses that Kurt simply fell off the cliff.
The coroner's report determined that Kurt died from multiple traumatic injuries and severe blood loss. But no one knows what caused those injuries. He may have drowned, but that would not explain his cuts and abrasions or the acute loss of blood. It appears that he fell from the treacherous cliffs. But it is not known if he fell accidentally or if he was beaten and pushed.
Tom asked the coroner what he thought happened to Kurt. The coroner thought the most probable cause of Kurt's death was homicide. However, he said he did not have enough evidence to testify to that in a court of law. So, he sent it up to homicide, classified as "unknown". Tom, however, cannot accept that.
The San Francisco Police Department investigated Kurt's death but found no evidence to classify it as a homicide. The case remains open, but there are no suspects. Although he has no proof, Tom still believes Kurt was murdered.
Tom suspects Kurt uncovered something in his group and told other members that he would expose this information. Tom feels that "all of these things" contributed to them wanting to do away with Kurt.
John theorizes that Kurt stumbled on information he was not supposed to know about. According to John, these types of organizations do not make threats; they make actions.
Caradoc notes that if he wanted to kill someone, the last person he would kill would be someone who was staying at his house (and whose father knew he was staying there). He feels the whole thing is stupid. He understands that Tom went through a great deal of pain about Kurt's death and needed someone to blame. He understands that he was a convenient person for Tom to blame. But he maintains that he was not responsible for Kurt's death.
Tom feels frustrated that he has the information that would indicate that Kurt was murdered, and yet, to date, the police have virtually closed the case. He is bound and determined to get the case investigated. He thinks Kurt deserves an investigation. He does not think Kurt deserved to die in this manner.
Currently, Tom is the only person investigating Kurt's death. If Kurt was murdered, Tom hopes that someone will come forward with new information – new evidence that could reopen the investigation and provide peace of mind for himself and justice for Kurt.
Suspects: Caradoc was the last person to see Kurt alive. A week before his death, Kurt told a friend that if something should happen to him, the friend should tell the police about Caradoc and another group leader. However, Caradoc denies being responsible.
Tom and John believe that Kurt stumbled upon some information in the pagan group that he was not supposed to know about and that group members killed him as a result. Tom has also theorized that Kurt was killed as a part of a ritual.
Two months after Kurt's death, a woman told Los Angeles sheriff's deputies that she feared for her life. She claimed to have been involved in a statewide "coven" and named two people who were threatening her. These were the same two people (one being Caradoc) that Kurt told his friend about before his death.
Tom also received a letter from someone who said that "witches" latched onto Kurt. The letter stated that Kurt was bludgeoned with jousting poles and then thrown from the cliffs to his death. The letter also named the same two people, calling them murderers and saying they were "evil beyond belief."
Extra Notes:

  • This case originally aired on the February 5, 1988 Special #5 episode of Unsolved Mysteries.
  • It was later re-profiled in the Dennis Farina hosted series on the July 17, 2009 episode.
  • Fearing for his safety, Kurt's friend, "John", was interviewed in silhouette.
  • The San Francisco Police Department declined to be interviewed.
  • It was also featured on "The Trail Went Cold" podcast.
  • It is not to be confused with the case of Kurt Sova.
  • It is one of the many cases attributed to the "Satanic Panic" of the 1980s. Other cases include Son of Sam, Shane Stewart and Sally McNelly, Eric and Pam Ellender, and Michael Johnston and Rochelle Robinson.
  • David Labrava of "Sons of Anarchy" fame appears as a member of the cult wearing a black and white checkered shirt and sitting in the chant circle scene.
  • The show incorrectly stated that Kurt disappeared on September 10. Some sources state that: Kurt's injuries were caused by a "long, blunt object"; his injuries could not have been caused by a fall; Tom received an anonymous call the day after Kurt disappeared; and the caller said Kurt wanted to escape from a cult and feared for his life.

Results: Unsolved - On January 1, 2007, Caradoc passed away at the age of fifty-eight.