The Tinsel Murders

📅 Published on January 12, 2022

“The Tinsel Murders”

Written by Charlotte O'Farrell
Edited by Craig Groshek
Thumbnail Art by Craig Groshek
Narrated by N/A

Copyright Statement: Unless explicitly stated, all stories published on CreepypastaStories.com are the property of (and under copyright to) their respective authors, and may not be narrated or performed, adapted to film, television or audio mediums, republished in a print or electronic book, reposted on any other website, blog, or online platform, or otherwise monetized without the express written consent of its author(s).

🎧 Available Audio Adaptations: None Available

ESTIMATED READING TIME — 6 minutes

Rating: 10.00/10. From 1 vote.
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People think true crime writing is a glamorous job. And it is when it isn’t swallowing you wholly into its dark heart.

There’s an old true crime cliché – “the husband did it!” You know, ninety-nine times out of a hundred, the husband did do it. Or the boyfriend. Or the wife, girlfriend, lover. We’re addicted to the stories where the unbelievable happened – the never-caught serial killers or the unlikely victims dying ten stories up in an abandoned building where the security cameras didn’t pick up anything else. We like drama and intrigue. But most of the time? You have a body, and the person closest to their heart stopped that heart.

Usually for some dumb reason like sex, jealousy or greed. Most murders are not only a shocking waste of life. They’re boring as fuck.

The rare exceptions attract the human mind like flies around, umm, sugar. But hey, I’m not judging. I tried to make a living as a literary writer before turning to true crime, and guess which one pays better? I profit off it, I mean, so I have no room to sneer at it.

Truth be known, I very rarely make an emotional connection with the cases I write about. I like it better that way. I can write about the blood and gore, the sick details we all crave, then move on to the next without spending too long haunted by the lives cut short, the devastated families, the permanently traumatized towns. I can make a clean-cut narrative out of the chaos. The victim’s slain, the bad guy’s caught and goes to jail, everyone moves on.

But there is one case that’s been in my head lately. I mean, I don’t want to make this all about me, you understand – not yet, anyway. The true-crime writer shouldn’t become their own story – not unless they die, of course. But this one has got under my skin, and I need to tell you why. If you’re reading this, chances are it’s already too late for me.

I learned about it by chance years ago by hearing a talk on it at my local library and subsequently by reading snippets of my old hometown paper. I come to a tiny town of a few thousand called New Mortby. Haven’t you heard of it? No, nor has anyone except those of us who were born there.

I’ll try to put this together for you in a way that makes sense. It’s mainly cobbled together from old articles, police reports, and eyewitness testimonies of a few people I interviewed. It’s the only way you’ll understand what’s happening to me. It happened sixty-five years ago. Christmas Eve. A white Christmas, as it happened.

Now New Mortby was never known for a lot of things. But back then, one thing that did put it on the map was its Christmas decorations factory. People called it “the Christmas village” because kids would get broken decorations their parents brought home from the factory and hang them around their houses, even in the summer. So when the actual Christmas came round, it felt like the whole world was imitating little New Mortby for a few weeks.

That white Christmas sixty-five years ago, they must not have felt there was much to celebrate. The railway station had closed down three weeks before. That was New Mortby’s only actual link to the outside world. It’s five miles from the next town over, a good twenty-five to the nearest city. Even in my childhood, buses didn’t pass through all that often; it must’ve been even worse then. Those people must have felt like the whole world had abandoned them to their own devices.

The few people in New Mortby who didn’t already work at the decorations factory had no choice after that. One of them was the guy who used to be the cleaner at the station, old Charlie Dockett.

Charlie was a loner. His folks died when he was young, and, from what I can gather, he more or less brought himself up after that. The interviews in the aftermath of the tragedy all said more or less the same thing: “he kept to himself,” “he didn’t bother anyone,” “he never said a word to me,” “you would never have guessed what he was planning.” But another thing true-crime writing tells you is that these sorts of testimonies are permanently colored by hindsight. If old Charlie Dockett had just been run over by a train – should such a thing have still been going through New Mortby – or dropped dead of a heart attack, the paper would have been full of glowing reviews. “Loner” would have become “unassuming, modest” – “gentle,” even. “Old Charlie would’ve never harmed a soul.”

The reports are unanimous in one thing: Charlie hated that factory. His supervisor was a bully boy who humiliated him in front of everyone more than once. He missed the freedom and fresh air his railway job had offered him, and on the few occasions he opened up to his colleagues, he talked about it incessantly.

Christmas morning came. The snow arrived. And yet, not a single soul had left the factory after the night shift. This was strange; ironically, Christmas was a quiet time for the factory since most places had already brought their stock for the year, so overtime was unlikely. They were making the baubles and tinsel for the next Christmas. Little did they know, Christmas in the real sense wouldn’t come to New Mortby for a long time.

Early details were sketchy. The first newspaper report said: “TINSEL TERROR AT TOWN DECORATION FACTORY: MANY DEAD”. Conflicting eyewitness statements described a rampage, a massacre, but didn’t go into detail. Nobody could agree what had happened precisely on that fateful Christmas Eve night.

One of the first police officers on the scene, Michael Stack, released a memoir about the case twenty years on. Of the eight emergency crew on the scene, he was the first and only one who ever dared to tell the story. All of those eight eventually left their jobs through stress, took on less demanding roles, or committed suicide. This case made ripples through so many lives.

As Stack tells it, as soon as the officers dropped by the factory, they knew something was very wrong.

They had to push open the doors of the place. And when they did, they were hit by that surprisingly sweet smell all officers come to know so intimately: the stench of bodies beginning to decompose. The machines had all got jammed and were beeping, not running anymore. The twelve people who were supposed to be operating them? All dead.

The bodies were placed back to back in the center of the factory. They were all wearing party hats, dead eyes staring straight ahead. Someone had put paper plates in front of them and placed decorations on them, arranged as if they were food. One or two of them even had crackers stuffed into their dead hands. It looked like they were at a macabre Christmas party.

Every one of them had been strangled with tinsel.

They found Charlie Dockett not far away, hanging from a few bits of tinsel he’d strung together to make them strong as rope. He was wearing a Santa hat, and his face was locked in a horrified glare as if he’d been scared to death. The flies were already buzzing around all of the bodies. Perhaps, after years of being lonely, old Charlie had finally got to be around people for Christmas.

It was a grim festive period after that. It made the national papers, but, at that time of year, nobody wanted to dwell on it. A few well-wishers sent money to the grieving families. The town was inundated with sympathy cards. But the police and the townsfolk seemed most eager to forget all about old Charlie Dockett and his little Christmas massacre.

By the time I was born, Charlie Dockett and his victims lived on in only three ways. There were the skipping rope rhymes that mentioned him “coming to kill you, whether you’re naughty or nice” and warned listeners to “listen out for him in December – you’ll hear him hanging in the wind.” Nice, eh? There was the dilapidated building, long since burnt out and left to rack and ruin, that locals referred to casually as “the old factory.”

And there was a group of local history buffs ran the “Justice for Dockett” group that gave poorly attended talks at the local library. It was one of those that led me to the case in the first place, years ago. The woman giving the talk asked a series of questions: why would Charlie do such a thing – what was the motive? Was there any physical evidence against him, or was it just that he was hanging away from the others?

And – most chillingly to my mind – how was he able to kill twelve able-bodied people with seemingly minimal struggle?

To that last one, there has never been an honest answer.

For years, I’ve been able to put the so-called Tinsel Murders to the back of my mind. But not this year. Because I’ve heard some strange things, and am seeing some peculiar things.

First off, I don’t know where this tinsel came from. I find it in my living room every morning, and I throw it away. But the following day, I come downstairs, and it’s back. The red shine on it? I think that’s blood. Nobody can get in or out of this house. No- one knows I’m staying here to write my new book. So who the hell keeps leaving it there?

And every night for the past two weeks, I’ve heard a swinging, creaking noise outside. I keep telling myself I imagine it. But when I looked out last night, I swear I saw a figure hanging from my garden tree. I ran down to see what it was, and by the time I got there, there was nothing.

I’m not going to run from a ghost. But something tells me I won’t be making it past Christmas. So just in case, something happens, here’s my story. Because if I’m going to go out, I want to be part of a true-crime story – even a supernatural one. It’s the only fair payback. And if it’s my time, I don’t want to go out in some dull, easily forgotten “the husband/wife did it” scenario. If you hear this, I was killed by a ghost from Christmases long past. Pass it on.

Rating: 10.00/10. From 1 vote.
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🎧 Available Audio Adaptations: None Available


Written by Charlotte O'Farrell
Edited by Craig Groshek
Thumbnail Art by Craig Groshek
Narrated by N/A

🔔 More stories from author: Charlotte O'Farrell


Publisher's Notes: N/A

Author's Notes: N/A

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Copyright Statement: Unless explicitly stated, all stories published on CreepypastaStories.com are the property of (and under copyright to) their respective authors, and may not be narrated or performed, adapted to film, television or audio mediums, republished in a print or electronic book, reposted on any other website, blog, or online platform, or otherwise monetized without the express written consent of its author(s).

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