Listeners who plowed through S-Town were left with plenty of questions about the enigmatic John McLemore, and now there are some post-podcast spoilers about the motivations, net worth, and buried treasure of the mysterious man.
[WARNING: There are some very significant S-Town spoilers ahead.]
The podcast from the team that created This American Life and Serial tells the story of McLemore, an eccentric resident of Woodstock, Alabama, who has a tale to tell about a potential murder. McLemore reached out to This American Life to investigate the son of a wealthy family who McLemore claimed was bragging about committing a murder.
But S-Town listeners soon found out that the true mystery was John McLemore himself — how he turned a clock-making operation into a small but unknown fortune and ultimately left a potential hidden treasure.
McLemore is seen as an erratic man who deeply hates the small Alabama town (he calls it “Sh** Town,” which is how the podcast gets its name).
— Stephen Dethrage (@sndethrage) March 28, 2017
— The Tuscaloosa News (@tuscaloosanews) March 28, 2017
The story of S-Town takes an abrupt turn at the end of the second chapter, when John McLemore committed suicide by ingesting cyanide. As Esquire noted, McLemore hinted before his death that he had a fortune hidden somewhere on or around his property.
“McLemore also was candid with those close to him about committing suicide, even telling Reed that emailed a suicide note to the Woodstock Town Hall and also his lawyer with information on who to contact, what to do about his dogs, and information on ‘where the money is hiding — but not all of it.’ The assertion alone is reason enough to believe that no one will truly know what McLemore’s net worth is, especially if he’s taken to keeping his money hidden.”
McLemore had left some instructions on what he wanted to happen to his fortune, with $100,000 going to PETA and a “sh**pot full of money” to two of his friends, Jake and Tyler. But because he left no will, it’s not clear what happened to John McLemore’s money after his death.
It’s not clear what John McLemore’s exact net worth could have been, the the S-Town podcast offers some potential spoilers. He claimed to have at least $400,000 in antiques in his home, but podcast host Brian Reed said he’s not sure whether this was true. If the figure is anywhere close to correct, it’s plausible that McLemore had a fortune of $1 million or more.
As Al.com noted in a preview of S-Town and a potential spoiler, John McLemore added to the mystery by building a maze on his property.
“He lives in a large, stately old house in the woods with his mother,” the report noted.
“He uses his time to restore old clocks, to build a maze in his garden (a representation of that can be seen in the ‘S-Town’ artwork), and to research his favorite topics. He takes care of his mother, and gives handyman work to a young neighbor, Tyler.”
So where is John McLemore’s hidden treasure?
Unfortunately, S-Town listeners will never know. Though the hunt for his treasure is a major part of the final chapters, especially as Tyler hunts down some locations that John left, there whereabouts of his reported gold and other treasures are never actually revealed.
John McLemore’s abrupt suicide left many other questions and leads to some unanswered S-Town spoilers. Those who want to hear the complete story can click here to listen to the entire seven-part series.
[Featured Image by Sjoerd van der Wal/iStock]