It was an Autumn afternoon like any other. The date was October 24, 1961, and Joan Carolyn Risch had just returned with her daughter from shopping after a dentist’s appointment earlier that day. Her husband Martin had traveled to New York on business, leaving at home Joan alone while her infant son slept upstairs, and her daughter Lillian played across the street at the home of their neighbors, the Barkers.

At around 2:15, Barbara Barker said she saw Joan across the street wearing what appeared to be a long trench coat, and perhaps carrying something red. The children playing nearby said they thought Joan had probably been chasing little David, who might have run out into the driveway. Mrs. Barker would have never guessed that this would be the last time she ever saw Joan Risch… a woman whose disappearance would remain one of the strangest and most disturbing events in Massachusetts history. 

This week we are joined by Michael C. Bouchard, an author with decades in law enforcement whose book Masquerade examines the strange events leading up to the unsolved disappearance of Joan Risch. 

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Show Notes

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Music featured on The Micah Hanks Program includes songs composed by Caleb Hanks (The Clerk Chronicles), Decepticons (Dreamland, Start the Machine) and Micah Hanks. All songs are either in the public domain, Royalty Free, Creative Commons Attribution 3.0, or are used with permission of the creators. Please note that some links to books and other items on this page may feature Amazon Associate links.

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Author: Micah Hanks

Micah Hanks is a writer, researcher, and podcaster. His interests include areas of history, science, archaeology, philosophy, and the study of anomalous phenomena in nature. He can be reached at

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