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Yes, the following is a true story, and perhaps a sample of how truly exotic and frightening the tiki scene was to those who lived far from Southern California.

In December 1961, a woman living in Liverpool, England, was murdered. Police investigators initially blamed the murders on a new tiki cult - people who worshipped wooden idols and made sacrifices during the Winter Solstice.

I was able to find the following article on the website for a Wales/Lancaster newspaper. Either go to the following address and search for 'tiki' ..... http://icseftonandwestlancs.icnetwork.co.uk ....or just continue reading below.

I've bolded the content that has specific mention of tiki.


The 'full moon' slayings
Local Mysteries with Tom Slemen, Maghull & Aintree Star

ON THE morning of December 20, 1961, at 8am, 33-year-old Brian Dutton took a cup of tea upstairs to his wife, 27-year-old Maureen Ann Dutton, who was in bed, then left his semi-detached home at 14, Thingwall Lane, Knotty Ash. Brian embarked on a long and hazardous journey through thick fog to Widnes, where he worked as a research chemist for ICI.

At home with his wife were his two sons, David, aged two, and a 22-day-old baby who had not yet been christened. At 11am, Maureen's mother-in-law called at the house, and left at noon, saying she'd be back in the afternoon to babysit, as Maureen wanted to show her two-year-old son the Christmas Crib at Childwall Parish Church.
However, at 1.30pm, Maureen's mother-in-law phoned from Broad Green Road to say she wouldn't be able to babysit as it was too foggy to get to the house.

At around 6pm, Brian Dutton returned home and found his wife dead in a chair. She had been stabbed 14 times in a frenzied attack. Nothing had been stolen and there were no signs of a forced entry. Maureen's two-year-old son had witnessed the brutal murder but was too incoherent to give police any clues, although he and his baby brother were unharmed.

Chief Superintendent James Morris, head of Liverpool CID, led the investigation into the "Knotty Ash Murder" and Old Swan Police Station became the murder squad HQ. A gaggle of news reporters were allowed in the murder house days later to interview Deputy Chief Constable Bert Balmer.

**The senior policeman showed the pressmen a wooden figure of the Polynesian idol Tiki and stated that the murder of Maureen Ann Dutton had been a ritual sacrifice, carried out by Tiki worshippers, and that such sacrifices were carried out at the time of a full moon on the winter solstice.

Balmer's bizarre theory was met with disbelief by junior members of the Lancashire police, but the Deputy Chief Constable began to visit Polynesian clubs and restaurants, and even listened to "Tiki music" on vinyl records. At that time in Liverpool, a number of Polynesian restaurants had opened, and "Tiki" food became a fad. Balmer somehow regarded the fad as a "cult" and actually believed Maureen Ann Dutton's murder was a sinister offering to the Polynesian Idol. **

Several residents on Thingwall Lane said they had seen a youth in a leather jacket, wearing a green jumper, on the afternoon of the murder, and Balmer sought the help of Interpol to find this character, without success.

This man telephoned me 40 years later at Radio Merseyside. He had been working for a delivery firm when his van had broken down on Thingwall Lane. He walked to a phone to get help from a friend, but when he came back he found the engine had merely been affected by the freezing fog, and it started first time.

When the man saw his photo fit in the newspapers, he got rid of his jacket. "Knowing the reputation of Balmer," he told me, "I thought I'd end up hanged. I was too scared to come forward, and I certainly wasn't some Tiki-worshipper."

Just under a year later, a 12-year-old schoolgirl on Childwall Valley Road was brutally murdered, and Balmer believed Maureen Dutton's killer - inspired by the full moon - had struck again. On this occasion, many witnesses saw two men running from the scene of the crime towards Gateacre. Two murder weapons had been used to kill the girl; an ashtray stand and a knife, which suggesting two people were responsible.

Balmer's squad ended up arresting a 15-year-old boy with mental problems. He was found guilty of manslaughter and detained for life. The boy had no connections with any Polynesian cult and had never heard of Tiki.

The Knotty Ash Murder is still considered unsolved.

I've also located the following website, which provides some more detail and bizarre twists on the case- the tiki cult members had small swastika tattoos on their upper arms!

http://members.fortunecity.com/slemen/knotty.html

Vern

[ Edited by: ikitnrev 2008-03-29 18:18 ]

Wow! Here is my take on what happened:

Bert Balmer, (of German descent?), had become fond of Polynesian cocktails, because:

"At that time in Liverpool, a number of Polynesian restaurants had opened, and "Tiki" food became a fad."

So he needed a good official excuse to be seen with umbrella drinks, and pretended to go "underground":"Balmer's bizarre theory was met with disbelief by junior members of the Lancashire police, but the Deputy Chief Constable began to visit Polynesian clubs and restaurants, and even listened to "Tiki music" on vinyl records."

Perhaps he even listened to Martin Denny ....backwards!!?

This statement "At that time in Liverpool, a number of Polynesian restaurants had opened, and "Tiki" food became a fad." calls for some serious research by Britiki agents, for sure!

And maybe little David Dutton, now a grown up man, remembers something about the act now. Just don't say you're from Tiki Central!

PS: Sorry, that last one was a bad taste joke!

[ Edited by: bigbrotiki 2008-03-29 19:11 ]

K
Kahu posted on Sat, Mar 29, 2008 8:04 PM

Wow, that was just bizarre sounding.

I just tried to come up with some connections between the opposing forces of :

Liverpool in the early 60s - A Tiki Cult - The Beatles - Hamburg and its sailor bars

...and utterly failed, some times parallel realities just pass each other in the night. :)

[ Edited by: bigbrotiki 2008-03-29 20:22 ]

K
Kahu posted on Sat, Mar 29, 2008 8:56 PM

On 2008-03-29 20:20, bigbrotiki wrote:
I just tried to come up with some connections between the opposing forces of :

Liverpool in the early 60s - A Tiki Cult - The Beatles - Hamburg and its sailor bars

...and utterly failed, some times parallel realities just pass each other in the night. :)

[ Edited by: bigbrotiki 2008-03-29 20:22 ]

Ah, are you trying to do that sober? Sounds like a job for a Mai Tai or 3. LOL

"Balmer's bizarre theory was met with disbelief by junior members of the Lancashire police, but the Deputy Chief Constable began to visit Polynesian clubs and restaurants, and even listened to "Tiki music" on vinyl records. At that time in Liverpool, a number of Polynesian restaurants had opened, and "Tiki" food became a fad. Balmer somehow regarded the fad as a "cult" and actually believed Maureen Ann Dutton's murder was a sinister offering to the Polynesian Idol."

I think this case predates all those Ozzy Osborne AC/DC murder suicides
where the character hears the message of the music and carries out the crime leaving the artist as the fall guy. I’m only glad the constable didn’t make the connection or this genre might have been halted before it caught on and we never would have seen the release of Les Baxter’s soundtrack of The Dunwich Horror with such tracks as Sacrifice Of The Virgin, Cult Party, and Devil Cult.

It's almost like the film Blood Feast but with poi.

On 2008-03-29 18:55, bigbrotiki wrote:

This statement "At that time in Liverpool, a number of Polynesian restaurants had opened, and "Tiki" food became a fad." calls for some serious research by Britiki agents, for sure!

[ Edited by: bigbrotiki 2008-03-29 19:11 ]

When I was researching my ancestry, I discovered that every major town/city had directories or gazetteers published, many by a company called 'Kelly's'. They are essentially street and business indexes. I have used them to track down former homes and premises of ancestors. It hadn't ever crossed my mind to read them for tiki-type business names at the same time! But how obvious is that now? :lol:

Liverpool had business directories published for 1766 - 1970... So, any bars around in 1961 should be documented. These books should be available in Liverpool Central Library to view.

Any agents close to Liverpool?

Aaah, it's drifting into forgetting....I fear there aren't any Liverpoolers on TC. How far is Liverpool from London? Thanks about that tip about the Kelly directories, that should turn up a list of the local Tiki havens....but imagine what the POLICE REPORTS might yield: Descriptions of 1960s Polynesian bars written by a British Constable, looking for cult-like clues in these places!!! That source could possibly yield some priceless copy! And his report about "Tiki music"? Oh boy!

Also, if the local press was not totally dull, they should have gone to some of the Tiki bars and interviewed the personnel about how it felt about these Tiki cult allegations....just imagine :lol:

OK.

I'm picking up the challenge with the assistance of a crimewriter friend, who knows her way around old police reports. We're meeting on Sunday to make a plan.

We'll keep you posted with anything else we find out about.

I needed to visit the Liverpool archives to find out some family history stuff anyway, so now it's just a bit sooner than expected!

Fantastic! What a great cover story for Pocketiki Magazine! Or for the tabloids! Hell, the sky's the limit: a great concept for a British movie comedy! ...and work in the Beatles angle. :)

Damn Vern, where do you dig this stuff up??

Tiki Cults listening to Tiki Music in 1961!!!!!!!!!!

Whooaaaa, this is going to be good!!!

Cheers and Mahalo,
Jeff

Thought this one - from the 'Tiki Cold Case Files' - deserved a bump.
So, whatever happened, research-wise? Was any information uncovered about the "Polynesian clubs and restaurants" of Liverpool, circa 1961?

Those links, posted above, are no longer functional, but I think I found the same material by writer Tom Slemen, posted or archived here. Here's an excerpt (emphasis added):

Balmer, the deputy chief constable of Liverpool was enlisted in the search for the killer, and his investigations led him to consider that Mrs. Dutton had been killed by members of a Polynesian cult called Tiki-worshippers. Balmer and other detectives had come to this bizarre possibility after interviewing scores of people who had visited the Dutton home in recent months. Many of these people claimed they were members of a strange South Seas Cult who made sacrifices to Tiki during the winter solstice - and Balmer discovered that Mrs. Dutton had been murdered during this period.
Balmer and his men read up on the activities and customs of the Tiki cult, and learned that Tiki-worshippers had a reversed swastika tattooed on their upper left arms.
Shortly afterwards, reports came in of a man who was visiting women who, like Mrs. Dutton, had recently given birth. This man professed to be a doctor and had just visited a Halewood woman at her home and had told her to undress so he could examine her .... The bogus doctor was finally captured, and was found to have a reversed swastika on his upper arm - the sign of a Tiki member. He turned out to be a male nurse, and was subsequently found not guilty of murder at Liverpool City Magistrate's Court...

Most of this info seems to come from Tom Slemen, who writes about the paranormal, along with unsolved crime. On his website, at the bottom of this page, is the following (emphasis added):

The Bureau, Rodney Street
Tom Slemen has an archive of the many thousands of tales and reports on supernatural phenomena stored in a room at his private office on Rodney Street, which he calls the Bureau, accessed by a secret sliding door in the panel of his library. Amongst the thousands of reports and 169 unpublished stories and rare photographs of Liverpool, there is a collection of intriguing articles and artifacts that include old statues of the Polynesian god Tiki (used by members of the 1960s Liverpool Tiki cult), the alleged skull of a vampire,... "

Here's another article about the crime, in the Liverpool Echo, but it has no additional facts.

Coming back to this: *"Many of these *[scores of interviewed] people claimed they were members of a strange South Seas Cult..."! Really?

So,... WAS there actually a Liverpool "tiki cult", active in 1961? What tiki cult-related information is in those police interviews?
As mentioned earlier, we need a Liverpool agent to review the police files (if possible), or at least to contact Tom Slemen for more details of the "Tiki Cult".


"The rum's the thing..."

[ Edited by: Limbo Lizard 2012-07-11 11:06 ]

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Here is the first article I found, that led to my interest in this story. From the Jan 5, 1962 edition of the Star-News, some newspaper in the southern California / Pasadena area

I'm probably going to show my ignorance here, but I thought "tiki music" was a term coined recently since the Tiki Revival?

Still unsolved after all these years but some new sources of information and a picture of the tiki in question..

74198c14-bf72-431b-bfce-a6aacfcfa150-3258-000002d4ee2d5f29_file036af49a-5d62-44e0-8163-05e86598f74d-3258-000002d43bad4d97_file

https://pennylanedreadful.wordpress.com/2021/12/18/ritual-of-the-savage/

http://slemen.fortunecity.ws/knotty.html

Many of today's Tikiphiles murder the high aesthetic standards of mid-century Tiki, but the only cult still in existence is the Fraternal Order of Morons. Hmmm...

Since Tiki Central has returned I've taken the opportunity to review and try to update threads that could benefit from new information or links to the same.

If you want to discuss the age old complaint that newbies are ruining the scene, there are dozen on this site and are personally what I hate about tiki central.

Now what do you think about the tiki? That short head looks Marquesan but without the dome of that style.

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