I was there when Bill died. It was not "racially charged"
The fight on Dyer Lane that tragically ended the life of Bill Mullen was charged with bigotry, but not technically racism. I was not expecting to see it being called "racially charged" when I stumbled across this, so many years later. It startled me that it was described this way and I felt I should post. It just didn't seem right to Bill's memory to leave it described it incorrectly.
I was there and saw it all happen. I think the record should be set straight. It is true it was a bunch of "normal, white, jock and redneck" types (as in, the violent bullying variety, looking for a fight with anyone different than themselves) who decided to kill some "freaks and geeks".
Basically anyone who did not dress like these "normal" people, or who were "too smart", or "might be gay", or..you name it..basically if you weren't into sports, beating your chest (or your girlfriends), "date" rape, or harassing people with muscle cars, odds are you were bullied and targeted by these people. If you were a guy and pierced your ear, if you were a girl who wouldn't sleep with them, or anyone at all that dared dye their hair a "weird" color, hate and pain would frequently ensue.
I am not saying they weren't also racist people. Most of them were. Absolutely. Some were of the actual KKK variety. But this particular fight did not happen because of race. The person killed was a white male, and most of the people involved were white. It was not white against brown or black or anything like that. It was just a "you wear your hair funny-lookin' and you wear a different brand of shoes than me and listen to different music and get good grades so we hate you" kind of thing.
I will attest to the creepiness of Dyer Lane. I could feel it when we first got there. It was actually palpable. I remember one of the buildings especially creeping me out and learned later it had been a slaughterhouse, and people would say you could still hear the cows screaming late at night even though it had been defunct for some time. I didn't hear any screaming, but it definitely was sinister-looking and I did not even know what it was at the time.
I also heard there had been lynchings there. And that there was satanic graffiti there as well, but, although I did glimpse graffiti on a shack-like structure, it was very dark and I do not remember if it was satanic or not. There was a lot going on that night and it was very dark so it was hard to see. I got a really bad feeling about being there and said we should leave, but it was too late. These bigoted, violent people ambushed us by trapping us from both ends of the road (behind us and ahead of us) with their cars/trucks and turning their headlights on high so we could not see. If you are on the road it turns in a vague S or Z shape, so once you get to the middle stretch, cars can come from behind and from the front, trapping whoever is in the middle so they can't get past. That's when they jumped out with weapons. Chains, bats, knives, machetes, and even an ice pick, which is what killed Bill (who was a wonderful person and in no way deserved anything remotely like this). It was madness and the outcome was devastating.
I do not know what the place is like today, but there have definitely been dark things that have happened there and if violence can leave a "dark mark" on a location, I would say it is extremely likely it has left it's mark there. I would not go there as a curiosity-seeker, myself. It feels.. very bad there. But that is just my personal experience.