The Forum ran today a peculiar Associated Press story by way of the Jackson (Mich.) Citizen Patriot. The story was titled, “Michigan woman watched NASCAR with companion’s corpse.” Apparently watching NASCAR doesn’t require a lot of brain activity.
The woman, 72 year old Linda Chase, kept her male companion, Charles Zigler, clean and dressed in a chair for what officials believe was about 19 months. She says there wasn’t a bad smell and she only kept him there because she didn’t want to be alone. According to Linda, Charles was “the only guy who was ever nice to me.” Charles is believed to have died of natural causes in December 2010 at the age of 67.
Charles’ son Wally Zigler reports that he tried to visit his dad at the residence that he shared with Linda, but she wouldn’t let him in. It is unclear how long that went on before Wally became suspicious and involved police. Of course Wally is unsettled that his dad sat there all that time – even if Linda did it out of some misguided need for companionship.
There is one other thing though – Charles received Social Security, pension checks, and veteran benefits that Linda continued to cash after his death. His utility obviously extended beyond being someone to talk to while Linda watched NASCAR. Linda is currently being investigated for financial fraud and acknowledged to the local reporter that she spoke with that she was probably going to prison.
Wow. What a story. I wish I could communicate with the deceased as I would love to hear what Charles has to say about all of this. Is one honored when this type of thing happens with one’s corpse or horrified? Did Charles sit and watch NASCAR with her when he was alive or was this a post-mortem treat? Whatever did she say in these chats with Charles? Did Charles lack of response at time irritate her? Oh Charles, if only I could hear from you…this story would be so much richer.
If Charles could elaborate, perhaps he would tell us that this really wasn’t as much about companionship as it was about money. Perhaps we would have a better understanding of why someone would do something like this. Linda says it was because she didn’t want to be alone. If that truly is the case, this is a sad commentary on how debilitating isolation and loneliness can be. Never fear Linda, something tells me you won’t be lonely too much longer having cashed all of Charles’ checks since his death. One thing is for sure – you’ll definitely be able to find someone to talk to while watching NASCAR…at least there is that.
Day one thousand one hundred and two of the new forty – obla di obla da