The psychiatric records for Damien Echols collected in Exhibit 500 cover the period from spring 1992 to May 5, 1993. The Damien Echols profile in this site’s case history section likewise ends on the day of the murders. But what about after the murders? After the arrests?
No psych records from that period are publicly available, as far as I know. The Callahan case archive does contain a collection of letters from Damien Echols to Glori Shettles, written in jail while he awaited trial. (Shettles was an employee of Inquisitor, Incorporated, the private investigation firm owned by Ron Lax working for the Echols defense.) The centerpiece is a long letter dated August 27, 1993, spanning pages 7-13, 15-16. It’s a fascinating glimpse into Echols’ mindset after his arrest.
Well, now I’m sitting in jail waiting for my trial. So I thought I would write my life story or as much of it as I can remember. I remember bits and pieces of my early childhood but not all. I will put the parts I can remember in spots where they seem appropriate. I always knew I was different from all other children. I could always tell that my thought process was different. I always thought other children were crazy or stupid. I was always content just to watch people. The things that they did sometimes just kept me amazed for hours. Even all the way up until now, I still like to just watch people. I knew ever since I was really young that I was destined for greatness. At first I thought maybe I was an alien. I don’t know why it just seemed natural. I had a very sad and deppresing childhood. I was always sad for no apparent reason. I cried constantly. I was always scared of everything. I tried to follow every rule exactly. When I would do something that didn’t turn out exactly right I would be horrified. Sometimes I would be so upset I would make myself sick. I was always sick with something or other. I was always completely serious and thought everyone else was better than me. I would never stand up for myself. No one paid a lot of attention to things I said because they would all just say oh, that’s just Michael be nice to him, he has problems. They acted like I didn’t know what they meant or something. Even my mother thought that sometimes. I remember when I was very young one night I woke up and there was someone in my bed. It scared me so bad I couldn’t even move. When I snapped out of it, I jumped out of bed and ran to my mother’s room. I told her and she went to my room and looked. She said there was nobody there. She said there was no way someone could have gotten in without her knowing it. I still wouldn’t go back to bed so she got mad and made me sit on the sofa and just stare at the wall. Finally I agreed to go back to bed because I didn’t want her to get any more angry. I didn’t go to sleep all night. I just laid in bed scared stiff. I can remember one night when I was a little older and I woke up to see a man standing in my room. It paralyzed me. I wouldn’t even blink because I knew as soon as I opened my eyes he would be right in my face. I guess later I must have passed out because the next thing I knew it was the next morning. Anyway as you can probably figure no one believed me. These things always happened at night. For awhile I thought people may be right. But I changed my mind one night when there was an old man in my room. I thought if I just ignored him he would go away. But when I looked again he was right in front of me. He licked my hand and said “Does that feel like a dream to you?” He talked for awhile of things that aren’t important yet. Anyway. I have been in three “mental health hospitals” (hell) and later finally fell in love and found out I was a father. I finally thought my life was going to change for the good. Things were finally starting to look better. Then one night while sitting at home watching T.V. the police came and arrested me for something I did not do. I listened for the first time to the sound of my surroundings. I saw the truth for the first time. I opened my eyes to see a discovery. I was the God of the New Eon, the Beast of the Apocalypse. Everyone saw it before me. I was the last to know. Now I know these idiots can never touch me. I will not stop until they have all paid for this. I did absolutely nothing. Now I’ve decided to prove myself to everyone. I will slay myself. But I will be back, I will rise again in three days, just like the first God. Only my message won’t be of peace. It will be of war. It will be a time when everyone must pay for their mistakes. It will be the Armageddon. Well, the first thing that comes to mind to talk about is when my mom and dad got divorced. I guess I should have been sad but I wasn’t. At the time I really didn’t even really care. Me and my mother and sister moved in with my grandparents. My father came to visit for awhile but then he just disapeared. I didn’t really care about that either. Then my mother started seeing a man named Jack Echols. He was really nice at first untill him and my mother got married. Then he changed. He got very, very angry over the smallest things. I think he hated me. I could not stand him. I hated him more than anything on this Earth. No matter how I tried, it was like I could never get away from him. Around this time my grandfather died. I guess that’s another time I should have been sad, but I wasn’t. Me and him were never really close. I think he hated me also. I didn’t care. I never could get along with him. He was an asshole. Jack always made me go to church every fucking sunday. I hated it there, every one stared at me like I was some kind of freak. Some times I expected them to throw peanuts. Everyone knew I didn’t belong there. They all called me Jack’s boy. I was not his boy and I hated to be called that. He was a sorry cheap bastard. He always bought shitty little car and waited untill they completely broke down to find another one. I never could figure out how he could be a christian and still hate me. Now I have finnaly figured it out. Just now. I can finnally understand. It’s because of the same reason all christians hate me, the reason they put me here. Because they hate me because God hates me. Because he knows I can beat him so he tries to kill me. Every chance he gets. They all wear their little mask and pretend their good people and are here to help. Unmask, Unmask …. and the Red Death held sway over all. She finnally divorced him when she found out he had been abusing my sister. Around this time I got put in the hospital. By the time I got out my mother and real father got back together. We moved straight to Portland, Oregon. I became really depressed and suicidal. They put me in another hospital. Wheneve I got cut I came back to Arkansas where I fell in love and found out I was a father. It was the happiest I had ever been in my life. Then this shit happened. They don’t understand. They can’t beat me and God still tried everything he can to kill me but he can’t. Death can’t stop me. I would be only the third person in history to raise from the dead. Lazarus, Jesus Christ, Damien. I will prove it very soon. Afterwards I will come to power and nothing will stop me. I wrote all this down because it is easier than trying to tell people who wouldn’t believe it anyway. They will all believe it very soon. Unmask, Unmask …. And the Red Death held sway over all. Now they take their medicine. They’ll take it and they’ll like it, the stupid little shits, or they’ll have their brains bashed the fuck out. The fucking idiots, they think we’re out to get them all. They peek through the cracks in the doors and act superior. They think we want them all. Well they’ll take their medicine now. They think I don’t know they’re watching me. They think I don’t know about the spies and bugs. I do goddamn it. Believe me I’ll know. I’ve got spies too. I can end all of you anytime now, you stupid fucks. I can see physical changes happening in my body. I can tell it’s getting ready. The abonations have already begun to be spit forth from the Earth. I have seen some of them. I will become one soon. I will be the king of freaks. I see a perfect explosion, God’s amunition dump going up in the flames of righteousness, Satan storming heaven, his artillery captain a fiercely grinning fool with red flayed cheeks, Damien by name, never to be Michael Hutchison again. The end is here. Kiss your ass goodbye. People could see if they would open their eyes and see. There are many similarities in the First and now the Second Coming. Jesus was imprisoned and executed for nothing. People even accused him of being Satanic. When he was praying for a man and the people said he cast out devils because he was the prince of devils. Look people, it’s time to pay up. Now is the Judgement. I am the Judge.
If you notice any mistakes in my transcription, please point them out in the comment thread.