The Man Behind Irene Miller


Full-body shot of Irene standing next to Edward and behind her three children. All of their eyes are censored with a thin black bar.

Close-up of Irene’s face.

Barbara (voiceover): She was… she was always an odd woman. Even before everythin’ happened, there was just-there was just a lot of pain in her heart, and she really wore that on her sleeve. God bless her.

Fade-out to black

Fade-in text

Text: From 1958 to 1965, Irene Sylvia Miller is believed to have murdered and eaten eight men.

Fade-out text

Cut to a medium shot of Shirley Musial sitting in a chair.

Shirley: She was always an interesting woman, I’d say. We were very close, you know, since high school. She always had something to say, and she would say it with her entire chest, too, at least around me. Around the other gals, she was all twitchy and quiet. But you could see the bitterness in her eyes. Anyone could, really. She was quick to see the suffering in others. I think in a strange, demented way, she cared for me because of what I was going through. I think that’s why she-that’s why she...

Shirley: (sniffles and wipes away her tears)

Shirley: Sorry, I just… sometimes I still can’t believe Vernon’s dead. I can’t believe she did that to him. It’s not right. The signs were so obvious, too! How could have I missed them?

Interviewer: What do you mean by that?

Shirley: Well, she wasn’t fond of men, that’s kind of given. What no one talks about is why she hated men so much. Everyone just brushes that off as her having gone crazy from eating people, but I think it goes deeper than that. I-I remember one time we were discussing her former husband, Connor Mallory, and she thanked me out of the blue. I told her, “What are you talking about?” And she told me, “For freeing me from him. Your drugs were all it took to do the trick. One of these days, I need to repay you.” I didn’t know what she meant, but now it makes sense.

Cut to a full shot of a photograph of Irene and Connor at their wedding.

Narrator (voiceover): Connor and Irene had a typical love story for the time. They met as teenagers, fell in love, and got married in 1946 in San Francisco, California, during Connor’s military leave.

Cut to medium short of Shirley sitting in a chair.

Shirley: I remember it completely devastated her when they drafted Connor. Whenever I went to visit her at her father’s house, I saw how often her eyes were red and puffy from crying so hard. She didn’t know if he was going to make it back home or not. So I think that day when he returned was one of the few moments in her life she was happy.

Interviewer: Do you think her marriage was doomed from the start?

Shirley: Oh, well, I’m not too sure, but I know for a fact Irene would say so.

Interviewer: But what do you think?

Shirley: I… maybe. Maybe it was. I don’t know.

Narrator: Despite the facade the Mallory family put on for their neighborhood, Connor and Irene’s marriage was not known for being a happy nor functional one to those close to the couple. According to Barbara, a former neighbor of theirs, this may be due to a lack of communication in their marriage, and a lack of wanting to understand each other’s struggles.

Cut to medium short of Barbara sitting in a chair. 

Barbara: Irene and Connor had just about the strangest relationship I’d ever seen. 

She glances into the direction of the camera and fluffs her hair.

Barbra (cont.): They were so… dependent on each other, y’know? But so distant towards each other, too. It was like they had no one else to drag down but each other. At the end of the day, Irene never had anythin’ nice t’say about him, and neither did he. They both were stone cold people ‘n general. No wonder they were so drawn towards each other. Heck, I still remember when they first moved into the neighborhood, and they were both unpackin’ their boxes. I came up to ‘em and gave ‘em a warm greeting, tellin’ ‘em howdy and all of that, and they both just glared at me for a second. Then it was like some switch in ‘em went off, and they got this real friendly attitude. Connor gave me the biggest grin a mean ol’ lynx like him ever could, and said somethin’ ‘mong the lines of “A pleasure to be acquainted with you, Mrs. Wellard.” ‘Course, I wish I never said anythin’ t’him at all.

Interviwer: What makes you say that?

Barbara: Oh, Connor was real mean, real troubled too. Gave me all sorts of gifts: jewelery, clothes, perfume… tryna’ get me to worm my way into his pants. ‘Course, I never fell for it. One, I ain’t stupid, and just ‘cause I’m a rabbit don’t mean I gotta be promiscuous like that. 

She coughs and looks away, before she gives a flustered look to the interviewer. 

Barbara: Don’t get me wrong, he could be so gentlemanly when he wanted to be, and I liked the attention at the time, but there was so much wrong with that man once you got to know him. No wonder his wife turned out the way she did. If I had to put up with him all the time, I woulda’ gone mad, too. His poor kids, I felt so bad for ‘em once the news with Irene came out. I felt so much guilt at Connor’s funeral too, for not doin’ more about his whole situation.

Interviewer: What situation?

Barbara: Oh, you know… it’s what people these days are startin’ to call PTSD. ‘Course, I had no idea what it was at the time. I just knew he was deeply disturbed and a sad man. He’d pull me aside at some party and just… talk at me and sob to me about his marriage problems or about some battle he’d fought in or how he didn’t feel like a “real man”. I felt obligated to listen ‘cause I knew for a fact his wife never did. I don’t think she ever cared.

Interviwer: What else would you say was wrong with Connor?

Barbara (solemnly and quietly): Everythin’.

Fade out.

Fade in to a full shot of Connor standing with Frank, Vernon, and Ronnie on a golf course.

Interviewer (voiceover): What do you remember about your father’s relationship with Irene?

Cut to a medium shot of Ronnie sitting in a chair.

Ronnie: Well… it was… from what I remember, it was bad. They fought a lot. Whenever they would get into a shouting match, I would get scared and run to my room. Sometimes I would have to stay there for at least half an hour, maybe more, because their arguments were so intense. I could often hear thumping against the wall or floor, and it scared me because I didn’t know what was going on. When I came out of my room, Connor was always smoking on the couch, eyes glued to the TV, while Irene was outside in the rose garden. Both of them were always bleeding somewhere, but especially Irene. They would just go about their day after that. Neither of them would act like anything happened. It just kept happening, day after day, over and over again.

Ronnie shifts in his seat, a look of discomfort on his face.

Ronnie: Sometimes he did really bad things to her. There was… there was one time… he poured hot coffee all over her face during breakfast. He wouldn’t stop yelling about his shirt being ruined. He just pulled her by her hair and…

His voice drops to a hushed whisper.

Ronnie (cont.): Right in front of all of us. I can still hear her screaming.

Ronnie’s voice goes back up to a normal volume.

Ronnie: Over time, they stopped being so… violent towards each other. But I don’t think they learned to love each other. I don’t know if they ever did to begin with.

Interviewer: How would you describe Connor? As a person?

Ronnie: What can I say? Dad was, well, dad. Very tough man, I remember he used to yell at me a lot. He did some things that still leave me awake at night.

Interviewer: Could you give some examples?

Ronnie: There were multiple times he tried to put me in a chokehold and called me a Jap. 

Jap is bleeped out.

Ronnie (cont.): I can still see his eyes, how… how distant they were. It was like a thousand yard stare that went past my soul. But he still loved me, I know that much. He took me everywhere, just me and him: to the golf course, out to eat, hiking near the Golden Gate; he was big on the idea of me building life skills and shaping me into a proper, patriotic, God-fearing American man. I don’t know if it worked. 

He laughs nervously.

Cut to a book cover of “Defying My White Lies”.

Narrator: According to Michiko Yoshida, author of the controversial memoir “Defying My White Lies”, Connor had a tendency to push his issues onto others, often at the cost of his or her mental health. Michiko is no different as a victim of his in this regard.

Michiko declined to be a part of the documentary. When asked to participate, she sent out a statement, which when translated to English, roughly means the following:

(Text appears on the screen)

Female voice-over: I have said enough about that wretched man. Everything that can be known about him can be found through my memoir. I am not saying this to gain a bigger readership, I am saying this so I am not longer defined by my trauma and my trauma alone. I am tired of talking about him. I do not care. I want to concentrate more on my life as it is now, and how I am growing as a person. I no longer desire to focus on the person I was in the past.

(Text disappears.)

Narrator: Connor was born in February 4, 1920, in Fort Benning, Georgia.

The screen shows a picture of Fort Benning.

Cut to a picture of the Mallory family.

Narrator: His father was an Eurasian lynx and a WWI veteran, his mother an American Shorthair cat and a housewife. He was their only son. He has an older sister, whose whereabouts are currently unknown. As military families do, the Mallory family moved around the country constantly during his childhood, before settling in The Royal Fortress of Saint Francis in 1940. According to his mother, Frances, Connor had a troubled childhood, marred with bullying from his status as a mixed-species animal.

Cut to a shot of Frances. She is hunched over in her armchair, which has been swapped out for a more comfortable one.

Interviewer: How would you say being a hybrid species affected his life?

Frances: Why are you… why are you asking me this?

Interviewer: It’s just a simple question, m’am.

Frances (softly): I think it affected him greatly. So many times he’d come home, crying with bruises and cuts, telling me the kids at school had caught up to him and hurt him. Just for existing.

Frances gives a stern look to the interviewer.

Frances: Look, my husband and I were well aware of the risks of marrying and having children, but we decided to do it anyway.

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