I had come to Denver merely to meet this man and to satisfy my curiosity about him.
The reason for purchasing this motel was to satisfy my voyeuristic tendencies and compelling interest in all phases of how people conduct their lives, both socially and sexually. Married couples traveling from state to state, either on business or vacation. Also, the opening line of my 1969 book about the , “The Kingdom and the Power,” was: “Most journalists are restless voyeurs who see the warts on the world, the imperfections in people and places.” As to whether my correspondent in Colorado was, in his own words, “a deranged voyeur”—a version of Hitchcock’s Norman Bates, or the murderous filmmaker in Michael Powell’s “Peeping Tom”—or instead a harmless, if odd, man of “unlimited curiosity,” or even a simple fabulist, I could know only if I accepted his invitation.“I hope you’ll not mind reading and signing this,” he said.“It’ll allow me to be completely frank with you, and I’ll have no problem showing you around the motel.” It was a typed document stating that I would not identify him by name, or publicly associate his motel with whatever information he shared with me, until he had granted me a waiver. I had already decided that I would not write about Gerald Foos under these restrictions.With the assistance of his wife, he cut rectangular holes measuring six by fourteen inches in the ceilings of more than a dozen rooms. He went on to say that although he had been wanting to tell his story, he was “not talented enough” as a writer and had “fears of being discovered.” He then invited me to correspond with him in care of a post-office box and suggested that I come to Colorado to inspect his motel operation: After reading this letter, I put it aside for a few days, undecided on whether to respond.Then he covered the openings with louvred aluminum screens that looked like ventilation grilles but were actually observation vents that allowed him, while he knelt in the attic, to see his guests in the rooms below. I did this purely out of my unlimited curiosity about people and not as just a deranged voyeur. As a nonfiction writer who insists on using real names in articles and books, I knew that I could not accept his condition of anonymity.At the age of nine, he said, he started watching her. She often walked around nude in her bedroom at night with the shutters open, and he would peer in from below the windowsill—“a moth drawn to her flame”—for an hour or so every evening.