Sunday, November 1, 2009

The Dungeon Master

I recently finished reading a book called The Dungeon Master by William Dear, which gives the firsthand account of the search of missing child prodigy James Dallas Egbert III, age 16. Dallas, as he was called by all who knew him, went missing from the MSU campus on August 15th, 1979. It was known that some MSU students had been playing a live-action version of Dungeons & Dragons in the steam tunnels that ran underneath the entire MSU campus. During his investigation, private detective William Dear, who was hired by the boys parents, discovered that Dallas had participated in these underground games and believed Dallas may have been hurt during one of these games and most likely lay dead somewhere underneath the campus.

Dallas had in fact descended into these tunnels on August 15h, but not to play any game - his intentions were to kill himself. Suffering from what looks to be a suffocating case of depression, drug addiction and academic pressure from (mostly) his mother, and a short lifetime of loneliness and ostricism from his peers, Dallas had "been planning to disappear for a long time," he later told Dear. Manny close to Dallas including professional psychiatrists also claimed that Dallas was "socially retarded" due to not being around his peers. Dallas was also gay, which I think was another obvious major factor, given the less tolerant atmosphere than of todays. Armed with a bottle of Quaaludes, a blanket and some snacks Dallas headed into the tunnels to a small alcove and sat for hours thinking and crying. Then he swallowed what he though would be enough pills to be lethal, and the rest of the story is well, history.

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