Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Cannibalism and the Strange Case of Nathaniel Bar-Jonah

Great Falls

Great Falls, Montana commerical district
Great Falls, Montana commerical district

Businessman Paris Gibson founded Great Falls in the summer of 1883. Gibson, who had gone broke in Minnesota before deciding to move on to Montana, envisioned Great Falls as a new Minneapolis. When railroad man and friend James J. Hill visited the newly-formed town and announced that he would run his Great Northern rail line west through Great Falls, it looked like Gibson's vision might become a reality. The city grew in population, doubling every year or so for the first few years, but it never became the new Minneapolis that Gibson had dreamed. Hill backed out of his plan of running his railroad line through Great Falls and instead ran it through Havre, and while the city still grew it did so at a much slower pace. Nonetheless, in part because of Gibson's insistence, Great Falls blossomed into a beautiful city with wide streets lined with a variety of tree species and an abundance of parks.

Businessman Paris Gibson, founder of Great Falls, Montana
Businessman Paris Gibson, founder of
Great Falls, Montana

Great Falls today is a quaint, yet somehow modern, city that seems to possess the best of both worlds of peace and tranquility and prosperity. The people of Great Falls are by and large very friendly, hardworking folks with reasonable and simple needs, willing to go out of their way to help a neighbor in need or to assist a stranded motorist on the highway. Madness on the highways seems unknown; on any given day at just about any given hour one can easily enter Interstate 15, the north-south freeway, without having to yield to the traffic coming up from behind — because there is none. Unlike other cities across the U.S., most drivers are actually courteous to one another in Great Falls, possibly because rush hour traffic doesn't amount to much and because most people aren't in a hurry. People are most certainly of a different stock there, and exhibit a great deal of respect for their fellow citizens. Even at Sunday worship, instead of playing the common game of "beat the pastor" out of the church at the end of the service, a pet peeve of many clerics, people remain inside at their pews until the priest or pastor has has walked up the aisle and gone outside. With these traits it is little wonder, then, that the residents of Great Falls were so upset when they discovered that they had a pedophile with a long criminal history and an alleged penchant for taboo culinary tastes living in their midst.

Great Falls, Montana Residential Road
Great Falls, Montana Residential Road

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