"Carnies built this country. The carnival part of it, anyway." - Homer Simpson


Everything I know about carnies I learned from The Simpsons and barkers luring me into wasting money on rigged games to win giant teddy bears for girls.

Imagine my shock when I saw the words "carnival mafia" in an Associated Press article.

Our partners at News 10 shared the story of 39-year-old Christine Tenney, who pleaded guilty Tuesday to aggravated robbery and obstruction of justice in connection to an alleged initiation ritual in which two people were killed.

The victims - Alfred "Sonny" Carpenter and Pauline Carpenter of Wichita, Kansas - were vendors at the Barton County Fair in Kansas in July of 2018. In December of 2018, the AP reported that the pair were selling handmade crafts, jewelry, and purses.

According to the AP, a woman named Kimberly Younger posed as a carnival mafia boss named Frank Zaitchik and sent text and Facebook messages instructing fellow suspects Michael Fowler Jr. and Rusty Frasier to kill the Carpenters and hide their bodies.

You read that correctly. A woman posing as a carny mafia don reportedly convinced two people to end two human lives and dispose of their bodies.

Kimberly Younger - Crawford County, Arkansas Sheriff's Department Photo

Tenney reportedly entered the picture after the murders. Police say she helped hide the Carpenters' bodies, which were found in a shallow grave in Arkansas. According to the Washington Post, she was found inside the dead couple's camper after her sister reported her kidnapped. She insisted everything was fine, but police took a look in the camper and saw bullet holes, blood, and trash bags - clear indicators that things were less than fine.

Still with me here? I know. It's crazy.

Police say the carnival mafia is "definitely something [Younger] made up", but Younger insists it's all real, and that the organization specializes in money laundering and murder.

We know the "Amish mafia" was fake and an excuse for a tacky reality TV show, but I don't know how to feel about the carnival mafia. It's most likely fake, but it's so easy to imagine it being real, isn't it?

Whatever the case, I hope this story doesn't lead to unfair stereotyping of carnies, for they are truly kings among men.