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Short Stories: November 28, 2018 Issue [#9229]

 This week: From DNA to OMG
  Edited by: Shannon
                             More Newsletters By This Editor  

Table of Contents

1. About this Newsletter
2. A Word from our Sponsor
3. Letter from the Editor
4. Editor's Picks
5. A Word from Writing.Com
6. Ask & Answer
7. Removal instructions

About This Newsletter

Welcome to the Short Stories Newsletter. I am Shannon and I'm your editor this week.

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Keep reading for your chance to claim an exclusive trinket!

Word from our sponsor

Letter from the editor

This summer I submitted my DNA for genetic testing. I was curious where my ancestors originated from (66% England, Wales, and Northwestern Europe; 14% Ireland and Scotland; 10% Germanic Europe; 6% Sweden; 4% Norway).

But what if my DNA sample revealed something I didn't want to know?

Earlier this year authorities submitted EARON's (East Area Rapist/Original Night Stalker) DNA (gathered from a 1978 crime scene) to the online testing site GEDmatch. Once the analysis was complete authorities searched the perpetrator's DNA matches, zeroed in on their suspect, surveilled him, collected discarded samples of his DNA and matched them with samples taken from various crime scenes, eventually arresting 72-year-old ex-Auburn police officer Joseph James DeAngelo Jr., who is better known as the Golden State Killer.

Using DNA websites to catch criminals is controversial. The opposition says it's not only a violation of our privacy but a violation of everyone's privacy who is related to us; law enforcement argues it's a matter of justice--a way to keep the community safe by getting the baddest of the bad guys off the streets.

“It’s always creepy when the police investigate people close to you, but you have to ask, who is hurt and who benefits? This is such an obvious way to solve a crime when you have a string of rapes or murders. You have to try.” ~ Greg Hampikian, Boise State University professor, director of the Idaho Innocence Project, and expert in forensic DNA. 2

"Imagine the following scenario as you are exiting your local bank, a man you do not recognize stops you with a hearty 'hello' and a handshake. Soon, the man realizes he has mistaken you for someone else and continues into the bank. Later that day you hear that there was a robbery at the very bank you visited. A few days later, the police are knocking on your door ready to arrest you for the robbery. The police even have your DNA at the crime scene. In fact, it was found on the pen used to write the robbery note. You are certain you never touched that pen so how could this be possible? Perhaps you didn't. But, that man at the entrance to the bank that shook your hand? Well, he did touch the pen. And the DNA you transferred to his hand via the handshake, he then transferred to the pen." 3

It's terrifying to think how much of ourselves we leave behind everywhere we go: picking through the fruit in the supermarket, gripping the banister as we climb the stairs instead of taking the elevator, turning off the tap in a public restroom, punching in our pin number at the checkout stand, hugging someone and leaving a strand of hair on his coat. To think someone could touch an object we've touched, then commit a crime and transfer our DNA to the scene is worrisome and sobering.

Have you written a story about forensic science? Was your protagonist falsely accused and/or imprisoned? Do you or someone you know work as a forensic analyst? If so, have you witnessed firsthand a case of secondary/passive DNA transfer and/or lab contamination? Share your thoughts about this week's editorial and I will include them in next month's newsletter.

Thank you for reading.
A swirly signature I made using the Mutlu font and a drop shadow.
Newsletter Archives  (E)
A listing of all my newsletters in one easy-to-find place.
#1555482 by Shannon

P.S. Every registered author who shares their ideas and/or creative endeavors relating to or inspired by this week's topic will receive an exclusive trinket. I will retire this month's limited-edition trinket at 11:59 p.m. WDC time on Christmas Day, Tuesday, December 25, 2018, when my next short stories newsletter goes live.

Further reading:
1. DNA profiles from ancestry websites helped identify the Golden State Killer suspect  
2. What the Golden State Killer Case Reveals About Your Genetic Privacy  
3. Transfer Theory in Forensic DNA Analysis  
4. Secondary Transfer: A New Phenomenon in Touch DNA  
5. How an Innocent Man's DMA Was Found at Killing Scene  

Editor's Picks

I hope you enjoy this week's featured selections. I occasionally feature static items by members who are no longer with us; some have passed away while others simply aren't active members. Their absence doesn't render their work any less relevant, and if it fits the week's topic I will include it.

Thank you, and have a great week!

"You Can't Leave Me!"  (18+)
"You don't want to leave me." I turned the knob, making sure he was locked in
#981755 by Intuey

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This item number is not valid.
#974633 by Not Available.

 Another Storm  (13+)
Storms and nightmares foretell horror.
#848247 by Vivian

The Game  (ASR)
Two best friends in 1978 Alaska discover the world can be a very scary place
#1231930 by Shannon

David's Tale  (18+)
Memoirs of a stolen childhood and innocence lost
#1133601 by iKïyå§ama

 Freddy's Friends  (13+)
Crime and PUNishment School boys' adventure
#893729 by Prier

 Fade Away  (ASR)
A story of loss.
#1839365 by Lightbringer

Submit an item for consideration in this newsletter!

Word from Writing.Com

Have an opinion on what you've read here today? Then send the Editor feedback! Find an item that you think would be perfect for showcasing here? Submit it for consideration in the newsletter!

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Ask & Answer

The following is in response to "Things That Go Bump in the Night:

*Vignette5* ~

Quick-Quill writes: Horror isn't my favorite genre. At an early age(late 50's and early 60's) Rear Window, The Birds, Psycho. While I love the first two now, I cannot sit through the whole movie. I'm terrified when the music changes and I know something is coming. What I find is that nowadays the sensitivity to what scares us becomes hard. Like a drug addict, the scare factor has to be more gory, more shocking, escalating. Can we ever unsee something? Once we do and we continue to see those movies our brain becomes accustomed to it.

*Vignette5* ~

Whata Turkey writes: “I don't fear death so much as I fear its prologues: loneliness, decrepitude, pain, debilitation, depression, senility. After a few years of those, I imagine death presents like a holiday at the beach.” ~ Mary Roach

I ADORE Roach. She's hilarious. Have you ever read her Medical Examiner book? It's not the title but she wrote at least one, and it's very entertaining.

On a more serious note, I totally agree with the quote, that by the time all that hits I'll be more than ready to go. Only one left to go is senility. That should be fun, then I might have more excuses for my faux pawssss *Ha*

Oh, and Dressed to Kill, that movie still freaks me the heck out. I have never written any horror. I'm trying to psych myself into trying for a couple contests ending tomorrow, but the muse isn't feeling it... yes, I listen to her... I know. Not very disciplined am I. Always enjoy your newsletters Shannon, thank you! ~Adrie

*Vignette5* ~

Princess Megan Rose 21 WDC writes: A good newsletter and movie trailers. Guess all I can handle is the Twilight movies and old Dark Shadows series and comedy shows about supernatural creatures. Spooky newsletter and the one film about circus freaks. Wow. Too close for comfort. Thank you for sharing and making us aware of these weird, creepy movies. Great job.

*Vignette5* ~

dragonwoman writes: Things that go bump in the night are perhaps more scary at Halloween because we expect them to be. Bumps in the night can still be scary at any other time too. One thing that truly terrified me when we lived on Vancouver Island was the night the hurricane came through. It truly does sound like a speeding freight train. We didn't have a basement so we headed to the bathroom!

*Vignette5* ~

Jeannie🦋 writes: When I was younger, I remember reading a book called "The Haunting of Hill House" by Shirley Jackson. I don't mind saying it gave me nightmares. Recently, I've noticed that Netflix has episodes of this very story, and I'm considering if I want to watch it or not, bringing back all those memories again. I love a good scare, and I sure got it when I crossed paths with this book.

*Vignette5* ~

Peacerose writes: The newsletter was informative, but I'm not into mystery that much.

*Vignette5* ~

gingerlyme writes: Ooh, how exciting to see my story, The Right Thing To Do, featured in your newsletter! Thank you!

*Vignette5* ~

Jeff writes: My favorite horror story is "The Tell-Tale Heart" by Edgar Allan Poe. There are a lot of other horror stories I love, but that one just packs so much into so few words. A close second is "The Screwtape Letters" by C.S. Lewis, although I'm not sure if that's truly horror in genre as much as horrific in its implications. *Bigsmile*

*Vignette5* ~

BIG BAD WOLF 34 on June 3 writes: I like creature features - mutant animals and such- as well as zombies, among others. Not a fan of slasher or demonic horror though.

*Vignette5* ~

sindbad writes: Hi
I have been fascinated with supernatural and non conforming things since childhood. My favourite authors are indeed Lee Childs, Micheal Connolly. I enjoyed reading your newsletter and find so many things I find fascinating. There are different cultures some modern some ancient they all believe in supernatural and so advocated righteous living and passion for life. Indeed an educational endeavour..sindbad

*Vignette5* ~

Cubby writes: Great newsletter! For the first time in years, I remembered an old movie I watched as a child with one particular scene embedded in my brain. The scene took place at a circus (I think) and there was a light bulb for someone's head encased in glass. Of course I was little, so maybe I've got it wrong, lol, but that always creeped me out! Then there were the earwigs that ate through ear wax and had babies in the person's brain... the worse death ever. LOL! Maybe these were Night Gallery or Twilight Zone episodes, I don't know. I need to find out now! Again, great newsletter, Shannon!

*Vignette5* ~

Lisa Noe writes: Hi Shannon I found your research about fear to be well founded and it was well researched by you. I thought it was interesting about the so called freaks how they used to scare people, I guess it is true, we are afraid of what we do not understand or that which is different than ourselves. My most frightening horror movie was a toss up between the incredible Dr. Phibes with Vincent Price or the Nightmare on Elm Street. I believe the first one scared me the worst because I was just a kid when I saw it.

*Vignette5* ~

eyestar~* writes: Oh Wow! I really enjoyed your research into Fear and the entertainments that stike our hearts. It is so true that the mind with that fear repsonse does not distinguish whether the experience or thought of fear is real or not. We need to train and be conscious. LOL I always wondered why any one would want to go to a scary show myself. I was freaked out by the movie Hannibal, especially as it was so psychological. I would not go to the sequel. The joker in the Batman movie was freaky too. I did not see the newer Batman movie and hear that joker was insane. LOL I have seen the Elephant Man and agree it was sad...have we got any better at how we treat people? We tend to fear what is different sometimes. Thanks for sharing the movie clips. I have never heard of the Child of Glass. May look it up! Not sure I care to see any of the oldies and wow they were vivid. *Shock* Great topic!

*Vignette5* ~

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