Georgia Rudolph

The Bizarre Mysteries of Georgia Rudolph

In 1996, Jenifer Lee Barrett McCrady was living in Belpre, Ohio (a short way downriver from Marietta) and living a decent life, according to friends. After she graduated from college, she worked as a nurse and seemed to truly enjoy her job. Her husband was a State Trooper, and the couple were raising two kids. But, on September 19th of that year, she disappeared. Two days later, her husband reported her missing.

In the days that followed, Jennifer’s disappearance was the talk of the town. Everyone wanted to know where such a lovely person had disappeared to. One person who claimed to know at least a few things was Marietta psychic Georgia Rudolph. She would tell the police a number of things she learned from her psychic intuition: Jennifer was shot in the back of the head; Jennifer’s killer was “like a cop”; and Jennifer would be found on a road with the number 298.

The following day, some State Troopers were following up on a report that said there had been a State Trooper’s vehicle on the side of State Route 298 and there were no people in sight. By the time the troopers got there the following day, the vehicle was gone. However, the trooper did stumble upon a lifeless body on the ground that later proved to be Jennifer McCrady.

When investigators questioned Jennifer’s husband, Jack, they quickly became aware that some of the details he gave after her body was discovered were different from what he had said when he reported her missing. During a second interview, some of those details changed again. It didn’t take long for the detectives to realize that Jack had killed his wife and soon he was slapped with those metal bracelets and hauled off to jail where he would eventually stand trial and be convicted of murder.

All things considered, there wasn’t much of a mystery surrounding Jennifer McCrady’s disappearance and death. The story made headlines for a week or two then pretty much became just another story of a man killing his wife. Nothing all that special.

What’s Up With Georgia Rudolph?

Except there was one person who did think it was special: Georgia Rudolph, a psychic. And she wanted to let everybody know that her predictions were correct and that she did help the police crack the case. The way she told the story, she tried to make it sound like her information was what solved the mystery. She even said that she had been working with Law Enforcement, solving crimes psychically, for over twenty years. The only problem is – there is no evidence in the official records that supports any of this. And, in the McCrady case, there is nothing that says that the psychic information she provided was even used by law enforcement.

There has been a long history of various forms of psychics trying to help law enforcement solve crimes and the nature of their involvement is as varied as they get. There are a few psychics who claimed they helped law enforcement when all they really claimed to do was submit a tip, usually with information that turned out to be somewhat correct. Others managed to develop relationships with detectives and passed along their psychic information directly.

From the late 1980s through the 1990s, there was one psychic that sometimes seemed to be everywhere – Sylvia Browne. She was a regular guest on afternoon talk shows (especially The Montel Williams Show and Larry King Live) where she would often comment about current headline-grabbing mysteries. She would often give information that was excessively vague or that could be interpreted several different ways.

Browne’s accuracy level, however, left a lot to be desired as she was proven wrong in a number of high-profile cases. Doubt about her abilities was further questioned after it was determined that she refused to participate in James Randi’s One Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge, and then was caught lying about her refusal. There were also questions raised during some cold readings on The Montel Williams Show when several of the audience members were discovered to be plants (people she had prearranged to be in the audience).

Around this same time, Allison Dubois was having fun in (and around) Arizona, also occasionally helping law enforcement solve crimes (and working as a Jury Consultant). In case that name sounds familiar, she is the woman the NBC and CBS show “Medium” is based on (and I guess having Patricia Arquette play you on TV has got to be pretty cool.)

It was also during this period that other names, such as John Edward were making rounds on daytime talk shows, offering “readings” to the live studio audience, often with mixed results.

So, the idea that Georgia Rudolph, maybe, had spent twenty years working with law enforcement, and helping them to solve crimes wasn’t entirely a foreign concept. Yet, when several law enforcement agencies were later questioned about Rudolph’s involvement in any crimes, they could not come up with a single example of when they had worked together, or when her psychic readings proved to contain any relevant information. Most agencies, however, claimed not to even know who she was.

Wait, Haven’t I Heard That Name Before?

If you’re reading this and thinking that the name Georgia Rudolph sounded familiar, that maybe you’ve heard that name before, I wouldn’t blame you. After all, she was featured not once, but twice on Unsolved Mysteries.

On an episode that aired on February 14, 1990, viewers first heard the tale of a West Virginia woman, Georgia Rudolph, who claimed that since she was a little girl, she had visions of her past life. The reincarnation story was updated on Halloween, later that year, with some new information that managed to make the story way more interesting.

Georgia Rudolph, The Reincarnated

Starting when she was about five years old, Georgia Rudolph discovered that she liked to draw. Those who knew her seemed to think she was compelled to draw. However, there was something a bit different about her, and her drawings.

Most of her early drawings would feature a house and Georgia could spend hour after hour getting the house exactly right. When she made an error or two, she would become visibly upset, crumpling the paper into a wad and throwing it away. The house was always the same, with the same roof, the same porch, the same walkways, the same trees.

Her drawings also featured a lady, sometimes as a girl, sometimes a young woman. And again, she would spend hours drawing and after making any mistake, she would throw it away and start again.

When asked, Georgia said she was having dreams of that house, and that those dreams were so vivid she felt like they were real to her.  Sometimes, she said they felt more like memories than dreams. Sometimes, she said she could hear horses trotting down the street. In other dreams, there was a large river, and she could see herself on some kind of boat. Eventually she started seeing another young man in her dreams.

The older Georgia Rudolph got, the more she became obsessed with the house and the girl she had spent nearly her entire life drawing. Finally, well into adulthood, she decided it was time to see a professional: psychologist Dr. Douglas Smith. Upon hearing her story, Dr. Smith believed that she was experiencing some form of repressed memories from childhood, and he knew just what to do – hypnosis.

Once Georgia was successfully put under hypnosis, she claimed her name was not Georgia, but Sandra Jean Jenkins. She knew she was born in 1895. The man in her visions was named Tommy Hicks, and he was her fiancé. And the area where all this was going on – Marietta, Ohio.

In later sessions, she told how her fiancé, Tommy, had died when he fell overboard on the river. A short while later, she discovered she was pregnant with Tommy’s child, so she killed herself. Because suicide was frowned upon, she could not be buried in the local cemetery, her final resting place being an unmarked grave nearby.

There was just one problem … There was no record of anyone named Sandra Jenkins anywhere around Marietta, Ohio.

In 1985, Georgia made the decision to visit Marietta in hopes of finding some clue as to her dreams or visions. There, she met up with a man named Ted Bauer (an employee of the local newspaper) who asked if he could give her a tour of the town. Georgia felt like she knew the town, and countered his offer – she would take him around town and tell him what she knew of the town.

Ted was amazed at how well Georgia knew her way around town, pointing out where various businesses were along the main street, but there was one place that stuck out to him. One building, currently an insurance company, she claimed had been an ice cream parlor. She was able to recall the layout of the place, remembering exactly where the counter was, and how ice cream was served. Ted was unfamiliar with this building, so he had to ask a friend of his who would know more than he did. As it turns out, that building had once been an ice cream parlor, however, it went out of business several years before Georgia was born and nobody had any logical explanation as to how she would have known about it.

They also searched for any reference they could find for Sandra Jenkins, but those searches provided no answers.

On a whim, the pair traveled to a nearby town called Newport, a small farming town about twenty miles away. No sooner than they had arrived in town than she saw it – the house she had been drawing. Instinct took over and Georgia walked down the street, following a certain path through the graveyard to what she claimed was Sandra’s grandmother’s grave. The name on the headstone read Mary Bevan Greene. Then, she led her new friend a short distance away to an unmarked grave, stating this was where she was buried.

Further investigation revealed that the house she had been drawing had belonged to the Green family. They were also able to find records of Thomas and Jennifer Hicks, who Georgia believed to be her fiancé’s parents.

Georgia was able to track down some members of the Green family, one of which had many old family photos. One photograph, taken in 1908, featured a very familiar face – the one Georgia had been drawing her whole life. None of the living Green descendants knew who the girl was, however. All they knew was that she was a relative, and that she had killed herself in the river after her fiancé’s death.

When Unsolved Mysteries updated the reincarnation story of Georgia Rudolph-Sandra Jean Jenkins, we learned that a viewer named Jack Turnock had contacted the show with an update that took this story to the next level.

He said that in his past life, he was known as Tommy Hicks, and he’d been dreaming about a girl named Sandra.

Examining Unsolved Mysteries

Before we get into this, a side note is in order. Both the Georgia Rudolph segment of Unsolved Mysteries, and the update featuring Jack-Tommy were aired in the 1990 calendar year, and in some fundamental ways, the world was a much different place. The internet, as we know it today, was in its infancy back then, so it wasn’t like anybody could easily do a google search or two or spend countless hours going through digitized newspapers or various county records.

Unsolved Mysteries always tried to be accurate and was known to fact check everything they could. This was especially true for segments that involved crimes or historical mysteries. For these, they would work with law enforcement agencies, journalists, lawyers, and other professionals so that nothing untrue would be aired. Most of these cases were also complex stories and limiting each segment to anywhere from five to ten minutes often meant that sometimes certain aspects were either only briefly mentioned or not covered at all.

But when it came to the other mysteries, the ones that dealt with paranormal subjects, UFOs (or UAPs as we call them now), ghosts, or (in this case) reincarnation, the line between what is real or true and what isn’t was a bit more blurred. To be fair, the show never said explicitly that ghosts, UFO Aliens, or The Loch Ness Monster honestly existed, or that reincarnation really happened. All they could do was present what someone (in this case, Georgia Rudolph) said. Producers of the show tried to evaluate as much information as they could and had anything at that time been believed a hoax, they never would have aired the segment.

It makes me wonder though just how much research they did on what Georgia Rudolph was saying because some parts of her story don’t work.

For example, Rudolph says in her visions she saw Sandra Jean visiting her grandmother’s (Molly Green) grave. The problem with this is that she also said Sandra was born in 1895 and died around 1914, but Molly Green died in 1939, twenty-five years after Sandra.

Speaking of dates, if Sandra was born in 1895, and if Molly was her Grandmother, we can look through the genealogical records to try and find her. But first, we would need to find one of her parents. Molly’s first child, Olive, was born in 1880, which means that if she was the mother, she’d have been fifteen years old when Sandra was born. While that’s not, in and of itself, out of the realm of possibility, it does start to raise some doubts. While we don’t have a lot of public records on Olive, it’s enough to cast serious doubt on her being the parent. Molly’s second child, Myrtle, would have been thirteen at the earliest when Sandra was born, and her third child would have been nine. While none of this completely eliminates the possibilities, it certainly does cast a lot of doubt.

Another major element of this story was the death of Tommy Hicks on The Ohio River. Any time a boat sank, especially if there were people on board who lost their lives, it would have been major news in at least a three state radius, yet there were no mentions of any accidents that could have fit the bill.

The more we look at what was said, the more issues come up. So, maybe we ought to take a second approach.

A Second Look At The Evidence

Even though some of the things Georgia Rudolph said turned out to be questionable (at best) some of what she said turned out to be true. I am only referring to the things she said before she claimed she first set foot in Marietta, so statements she made like how Molly Green was her grandmother I’m not considering here.

Part of the Unsolved Mysteries segment discussed how Georgia Rudolph had never been to Marietta before, nor the town of Newport. It was there she found the house she had been drawing, she knew where locations had been even though one had been closed a long time. But, the thing is, we only have Georgia’s word that she had never been there before. There is no way anyone can prove, one way or another, if that’s true or not. However, everything Georgia said was something that would have been in multiple public records and easy enough to find with a little investigation, historical or genealogical research.

On the other hand, there is no proof that Sandra Jean Jenkins ever existed. The same can be said for Thomas Hicks. And, when it comes to the genealogical side of things – there is no reason to believe she ever did.

Two Georgia Rudolphs?

Is Georgia Ann Rudolph, the (possible?) reincarnation of Sandra Jean Jenkins … and Georgia Anne Rudolph, the psychic who (possibly?) helped solve the murder of Jennifer McCrady the same person? That, somehow, isn’t as easy to answer as it should be.

The two do have a lot in common, beyond their names (except one seems to spell her middle name Ann, the other Anne, but that’s not saying all that much). Both were about the same age (unless a woman was lying about her age, which NEVER happens), both were nurses, and were about the same height, same hair color.

There are a few differences, however, but most of those could have an explanation. For example, the first Georgia (reincarnation) was a bit heavier than the other Georgia (psychic) – however, it’s not unheard of that someone could have lost some weight over a ten year period.

Both Georgias earned a credit on The Internet Movie Database (IMDB), one from her appearance on Unsolved Mysteries, the other appearing on a show called Psychic Investigators. According to IMDB, they are two different women, however both have a single credit to their names, so it is entirely possible that fact is meaningless.

The Psychic Georgia claimed she was born in Columbus, Ohio, lived in Parkersburg, West Virginia for some time before relocating to Marietta, Ohio, then Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. Reincarnated Georgia claimed to have been born in Parkersburg, West Virginia before moving to Marietta, Ohio.

Both Georgias died in 2013.

For me, personally, there’s just too many similarities and nothing that indicates that they’re different people.

Finally … and I know I have sworn to many people that I wouldn’t use AI for The Ohio Project, I decided to try something. I used a couple of AI programs to compare photos of both the Georgias and both came back with (almost) the same result. One claimed that there was 89% similarities between pictures of both ladies, the other raised it to 91%. Then I tried to compare their voices using samples from both shows. There was a 93% match. I’m hardly an expert, but I would think that was as close as I could get to proof they were, in fact, the same person. (Perhaps the results would have been more conclusive had there not been ten years between samples.)

If they are the same person, it does call into question everything about both stories. Psychic Georgia claimed to have worked with Law Enforcement as a psychic for twenty years, which would have included the time she was discovering the reincarnation story yet the two subjects didn’t ever seem to meet.

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