Maura Murray left her dorm at the Umass Amherst on the afternoon of February 9th, 2004, and wound up on a rural road in New Hampshire about 4 hours later, and that was the last time anyone saw her. For 17 years, this mystery has remained unsolved. Listen to this episode for the story and the clues that Astrology can provide about what happened the night she disappeared and where she may be now.
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Hi Everyone, welcome back to Killer Astrology. I’m your host, Laura, and today we’re exploring a case that I’ve been dying to cover for quite a long time. The Disappearance of Maura Murray has stumped us all for 17 years, so to get some of our questions answered I’m doing something a little different. We’re going to cover this case extensively, and it’s going to take us two episodes to do it. In addition to going over the story and the astrology, my guest, Valerie from Llamada is going to do an intuitive tarot reading for us in part two of this exploration.
Before we get to the episode, let’s talk briefly about what’s upcoming in the sky for us now, on the heals of the great conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn in aquarius. Today, December 27th, 2020, we’re working with a trine between the sun and uranus. The sun represents our identity, and uranus represents spontaneous change. This is a time when it my be easy to make some much needed changes in your life. Who do you want to be, and what can you change to be more aligned with that path? It’s a good time to ask yourself that question. Coming up in a couple of days, we have a full moon in Cancer, the sign that rules our emotional security. This will be a good time to release some extra emotional baggage you’ve been clinging to in order to move forward in your desired direction, less burdened by feelings and attachments that may have been holding you back. What do you need to let go of in order to make the changes in your life that you desire? You’ll have time to ponder these questions and many more after we explore this case, which we’ll do right now.
Maura Murray was born May 4th, 1982 to her parents, Frederick and Laurie Murray. She grew up in Hanson, Massachusetts, a small town between Boston and Cape Cod. She was one of 5 children, sharing her home with 2 sisters, Julie and Kathlene, and two brothers, Kurt and Fred Jr. When Maura was 6, her parents divorced divorced and she lived with her mom, but she and her siblings got to spend lots of time together with their dad, who was a very active participant in their lives, coaching their sports teams and taking them on adventures when he could. Given that Maura was from a large family of 7, the family didn’t have a lot of extra money to go on vacations, so they spent their off time on outdoor excursions.
They would go camping and hiking in New England, spending most of their outdoor time in Eastern New Hampshire, in a town called Bartlett. In a documentary series on Oxygen, “The Disappearance of Maura Murray”, Kathlene, Maura’s sister, remembers Maura always being the leader of the pack, the first in line on their hikes through the woods, and everyone else would follow in her footsteps. And she didn’t just have this energy on her family excursions: she carried her energy and perseverance through everything she did.
Maura grew up playing sports with her sister, Julie. Together they played basketball and ran track, and they were always in competition with each other. A healthy competition, it seems. Julie was a year older than Maura, and they were always seeking to break each others’ records. Their father would coach them in their favorite sports, always pushing them to succeed. In high school, Maura won the fastest mile in her district and was recruited by multiple division 1 schools, including Ivy leagues, and she chose to go to West Point, the military college in Annapolis, Maryland. She was there for two years studying chemical engineering, and it was there that she met her boyfriend, Bill, who she dated long distance when she transferred out of West Point to study her mother’s profession, nursing, at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst.
Maura lived on campus at the Umass, and although she was back in her home state, she was still pretty far from home. Her hometown of Hanson, Massachusetts, was just south of Boston on the east coast of the state. Umass Amherst is about an hour and 45 minutes west of Boston, so she was far enough away to be on her own, but close enough that her parents could easily come visit when they had reason.
In early February of 2004, Maura’s dad drove to Amherst to visit Maura and help her purchase a new car. He withdrew 4,000 dollars from his bank account and drove to see her for the weekend to visit some car dealerships and shop around. It turned out that there were no cars they could buy within their price range, so they didn’t take anything home. This meant that Maura was using her dad’s car to get around the rest of that weekend to avoid driving her own.
On February 7th, which was a Saturday, Fred and Maura went out to dinner in her small college town, where they ran into one of Maura’s friends, who invited her to a party that night, and she went. She left the party between 2:30 and 3AM, and was driving her dad’s car home. On her way back to her dorm, she got into an accident, hitting a guard rail on a street in Hadley, Massachusetts. The police were called and and accident report was drawn up, but Maura didn’t get in any serious trouble. Still, she was upset that she had crashed her dad’s car, but her dad wound up being pretty understanding, considering the circumstances. It was a relief that the damage would be covered by insurance, as long as Maura retrieved an accident report in the next couple of days, and it seems that she did, because those papers were later found in her car. But when she picked up those papers is unclear, because the timeline of her next steps is relatively short.
The party that she went to on February 7th is one of the last places in Massachusetts that Maura was seen. Two days later, on Monday, February 9th, 2004, Maura went missing about 150 miles from her college in North Haverhill, New Hampshire, where she had driven on her own car on her own accord.
There are many things we don’t know about Maura’s actions on February 9th, but there are a few key points that are clear. We know that Maura was up late on Sunday night completing a homework assignment, which she emailed to her professor at 3:32AM on Monday. Later on Monday, she emailed her professors saying there was a family emergency and she would be out of school for a week. Then, she started reaching out to hotels in the area of Stowe, Vermont, but she didn’t get in touch with anyone, she was just receiving automated recordings. Also on february 9th, Maura got in touch with a friend who she borrowed clothes from and said she wanted to drop those close off by her dorm room before she went home to deal with her emergency. She dropped those clothes off by her friend in the afternoon, just before she left campus for good. She also left her boyfriend, Bill, before leaving campus, leaving him a voicemail and saying she’d call him later.
About 12 hours after she sent the email to her professors saying she’d be gone for a while, Maura got in her car and drove to a shopping center, where she drained her bank account at an ATM and then headed to a liquor store, where she bought about 40 dollars worth alcohol. Then she started her journey to New Hampshire.
From the liquor store, it took Maura about 3 hours to get to the spot on route 112 in North Haverhill where she was last seen. 3 hours the make a drive that should have taken 2. And on that road in rural New Hampshire, Maura crashed. Police estimate that the time of the crash was about 7:25.
Two minutes later, a resident of one of the properties on 112 saw Maura’s disabled vehicle and called police. Three minutes later, a different neighbor, who was a school bus driver, was coming home after his rounds and stopped to ask Maura if she needed help. He said he would call the police for her, but she said no, saying that she had already called AAA and was waiting for them to arrive. The problem with this statement was that Maura couldn’t have called AAA because this remote area in rural New Hampshire didn’t have any cell service. So this bus driver was suspicious, and when he got home he called the police on his own accord. That was at around 7:40. When he called dispatch, the lines were tied up and he couldn’t get through. They called him back at 7:43 and got his wife, who said she “had no idea” where the girl who had crashed was. At 7:46, police arrive to see the clear evidence of an accident: Maura’s car had hit a tree and turned all the way around, so the front of the car was facing the wrong direction. They found things they would typically expect to see in a college student’s car, like candy and makeup and school supplies, but they also found a box of red wine, Baileys, 8 wine coolers that had originally been part of a 12 pack. They found all these things, but they didn’t find Maura. When EMTs arrived on the scene 10 minutes later, at 7:56, there was still no Maura.
And that’s the mystery. She just disappeared. After the crash, police came back to the scene with dogs, who were only able to track Maura’s scent to the middle of the street, where it dissolved. They found no footprints in the snow in the woods surrounding the area. There was no evidence of where she went. So, naturally there are lots of theories. Online forums hold thousands of ideas about what happened on the night of February 9th: maybe she killed herself, maybe she hitchiked off the scene, maybe she was kidnapped by a serial killer. But many people think she left on her own accord, and here’s why. Let’s backtrack to the events leading uo to Maura’s disappearance.
We know that Maura was a student at West Point, where she studied and ran track for 2 years before transferring to Umass. While she was a successful athlete and student, there was an incident that, in the law’s eyes, made her less than a model citizen. On a trip to Fort Knox with her class, Maura wound up stealing small items from a department store, something like nailpolish and a lipstick, things that she later said she had the money to buy but felt compelled ot take nonetheless. This incident led to a hearing at her college, the results of which forced her to leave. In order to avoid being kicked out of West Point, Maura was allowed to transfer out, and that’s when she chose Umass.
But at Umass, Maura didn’t stay out of trouble. In November of 2003, she was caught stealing again, sort of. Maura was using stolen credit card numbers to order food. One night, she ordered a Pizza. Umass police, who had received a call from a woman whose credit cards had been compromised, followed the pizza delivery guy into the Kennedy dorm where Maura lived. When they saw Maura come down for the pizzas that had been purchased using someone else’s credit card, they knew she was the culprit. Maura was cited for this offense and went in front of a judge, who put the charge on her record but stated that it would be removed if she kept herself out of trouble for three months. She made it two months. Her next incident was on February 7th, the same day that her dad was in town to go car shopping. That night, when she took her dad’s car to that party, she got in an accident on her way home in the early hours of the morning. This was 2 days before she left Massachusetts.
Another complicating factor is not legal, but familial. On February 6th, presumably before her dad arrived on campus, Maura was at work, where she received a call from her sister, after which she hung up crying. She was so distraught that her supervisor walked her back to her dorm. We don’t know much about the details of that phone call. Maura’s sister says that at that time in her life, she had just gotten out of rehab for alcohol, and that she had started drinking again almost immediately after her release. Could it be that Maura was upset that he hadn’t stayed sober?
The last complication to this story is about Maura’s boyfriend, Bill. After she went missing, packed boxes were found in Maura’s room. On top of one of them was a letter from Bill that explained that he had cheated on her. Was this infidelity, coupled with the legal issues Maura was facing and the issues with her sister, enough to make her voluntarily leave?
We may never know. But we can look to astrology for some clues.
I mentioned at the beginning of this episode that we’re exploring this case extensively. I’ve been reviewing the astrology of this case for a while now, and I’ve gone over it with my mentor, Alan Oaken. There’s a lot to dissect. For this episode, I’m going deeper into the astrology than I ever have before, and I’m going to get more advanced than usual because the mystery of this case demands a really deep dive. I’ll do my best to break things down so they’re easily understandable, and I’ll make sure to give you my conclusions about what I’m seeing at various points along the way.
Let’s start with Maura’s birth chart. Maura was born on May 4th, 1982 at 3:40AM in Brockton, Massachusetts. She has a Taurus sun, a Libra moon, and a Pisces ascendant. Her taurus sun makes her a hard-worker and undoubtedly contributes to her stamina for physical activity. Taurus is generally very gentile; connected to the earth and loving toward loving creatures. But Taurus has another side that is completely immersed in self-preservation. Taurus is represented by the Bull. It is strong and steady, and of course a bit stubborn, and when it’s triggered, it can become relentless and use it’s strength to withstand blows from the enemy in a threatening situation. Think of a rodeo: where competitors essentially risk their lives to try and wrangle a bull that doesn’t want to be tamed. It’s tough work that shows you just how much strength lives inside the bull. How much energy has been stored in its muscles. And Maura had big stores of internal energy.
Interacting with her Taurus sun is her Libra moon, which is always seeking emotional balance, justice, and fairness, particularly in relationships, and this attention toward keeping other people happy can sometimes make it more difficult to form one’s own opinions and know how to satisfy one’s own needs. It may have made Maura’s understanding of her identity complicated, because her identity was so wrapped up in other people.
What’s important to note about Maura’s Taurus sun and her Libra moon is that they are both ruled by Venus. Each Zodiac sign has a planetary “ruler”, and that ruler’s position in the birth chart is very important for understanding that area of life. So Venus in Maura’s chart is very prominent on the basis that it rules the signs occupied by her sun and moon, arguably the two most important planets in the birth chart. But Maura’s venus is even more predominant than, say, the venus of another person who has a taurus sun and a taurus moon, and that’s because her venus is in the first house. The first house contains themes of personality, appearance, and attitude toward new beginnings. It’s themes govern how we present ourselves to the world, and any planet in this position carries extra weight. So in understanding Maura’s story, we really need to understand Venus.
Venus is, of course, known as the planet of love, but it’s themes go deeper than that. Venus is about our values, what we desire, what makes us feel stable, and from that, our relationship to money. It is also connected to themes of attraction, and having Venus in the first house of appearances likely made Maura pretty attractive to men. With Venus in the first house, she was called to be really attentive to her own values, her own sense of stability, but with Venus opposite her libra moon, she had a tendency to move in the other direction. It’s a pretty straightforward duality: do I pay attention to my own needs, or do I put more stock in the needs of others? With this opposition, balance is possible, but it takes time to get there. In Maura’s case, she had a number of planets in her 7th house which gave her a heavier focus on relationships, and the most important planet there is mars, which is exactly conjunct her moon at 0 degrees Libra.
What can this conjunction tell us? Well, first it can tell us a bit about Maura’s relationship with her mother. In the coverage of her story, we hear a lot about her relationship with her father, but we don’t hear much about her relationship with her mother. I think that could be because she was closer to her father. It was easier for her to connect with him because there was less pressure involved in that relationship. Her mom could have been pushy or assertive, and that’s not always the most comfortable relationship. But it does mirror Maura’s internal world.
The position of the moon in the birth chart identifies where we go to retreat, to heal, to regenerate after a long day or a difficult situation. With Mars so close to her moon, Maura’s place of retreat wasn’t calm. It was full of action and intention and forward motion. It wasn’t quiet. And it could be that Maura didn’t often let herself have time to regenerate, to stay still. We know she was a runner, and this was probably great self-care for her. But outside of running and exercise, where did she go to let off her steam?
Let’s go back to Maura’s venus for a second, because there’s another very important theme we need to understand that’s connected to that placement. Maura’s venus is in her first house in 29 degrees pisces, and it’s square to neptune at 26 degrees sagittarius, which is also square to Maura’s Libra moon and Mars. Venus is about values and money but also romance and love, neptune is about fantasy, and the Libra moon here shows that Maura sought comfort in relationships. So with this T-square, Maura had a tendency to romanticize people and relationships, or to put a lot of stock into a false sense of security. She was able to see what she wanted to see in people, and even to ignore problems that presented themselves in relationships because she was so focused on the ideal. It made her vulnerable to being taken advantage of, or to staying in a relationship longer than she should have. We also have an additional factor in this configuration, and that’s uranus, the planet of shock and surprise, making a trine to venus from the 8th house. So this indicates that while she’s in her romanticized relationship, living the fairytale, so to speak, there’s the potential for her partner to initiate unexpected surprises to shake things up, for better or for worse.
That uranus also affected her life in other ways, since it is opposite to Mercury. Mercury placements describe how we think, how our brain works. And Uranus thinks outside of the box. This opposition makes her smart, gives her powerful, creative thoughts, but doesn’t always make for drawing clear conclusions because things don’t get adequately thought through. It’s easy with this aspect to jump to conclusions, to miss what others are saying in conversation because your own thoughts are racing. This opposition is noncommittal. Maura may have easily jumped to conclusions, spontaneously acted on her thoughts, and then had another, better idea in the moment and switched to another lane. I also think there are implications related to driving with this aspect, with Mercury ruling short-distance travel. As we’ll see later on, this opposition was being activated on the day Maura went missing, and I think it contributed to her accident.
We haven’t talked much yet about Maura’s ascendant. So we should do that now before we move on to her transits and progressions. The ascendant is one of the four angles of the birth chart, along with the descendant, that describes how we view other people, our Nadir also which I’ll refer to as the I.C., which describes where we’ve come from, and the midheaven, which describes where we’re going. These angles form the frame within which we live our lives, and the modality of these angles provides insight into how that frame shifts over time. All of maura’s angles are in mutable signs, adaptable and changing signs. As she moved about her life, her framework supported her flexibility, helping her change her circumstances more easily. When I discussed this chart with my mentor, Alan, he noted that on the day Maura went missing, there was a reversal of her angles in the transits. The ascendant was in 21 degrees Virgo and the Midheaven was in 19 degrees Gemini. This is almost exactly opposite Maura’s natal configuration and signifies a shift in her life’s framework. But I digress...
With a Pisces ascendant, Maura was sensitive and intuitive, but had the potential to be easily overwhelmed by the burdens of her daily life. This is a critical point to understanding how she made decisions. For Pisces-heavy people, living in the physical world can be a real challenge. It takes a lot of energy to be here on this planet, to be present, to be an active participant in the menial, mundane requirements of living. And yet all that is necessary. But sometimes, pisces people yearn to be saved, or to escape somehow. Maura had the ruler of pisces, Neptune, conjunct her midheaven, the line that represents where her life is taking her. This is the aspect that for me, validates Maura’s entire story. When we talked about Xavier DuPont de Ligoness, who also disappeared without a trace, we talked about Neptune being confused, like the fog, where nothing seems tangible or clear. Just like in Xavier’s story, Neptune helped Maura become unseen. It helped her disappear. Ending up in a mysterious place was her destiny. With neptune on the midheaven, she was meant to live a life that was a mystery to onlookers, the details of which couldn’t be pinned down. And that certainly happened.
I need to take a minute to acknowledge the similarities between Xavier Dupont’s case and Maura’s case because they’re truly astounding. Both missing people had a pisces ascendant with Venus in Pisces. Both had a gemini I.C. and a Sagittarius midheaven, and They also both had Libra moons in the 7th house. On the day that Xavier went missing and on the last day Xavier was seen, he had neptune transiting aquarius in his 12th house, and the same is true of Maura Murray. Coincidence? I think not.
So, with that, let’s get into Maura’s transits on the day she went missing. When I first reviewed this case, I came in with a lot of bias. I truly thought that Maura had left Amherst on her own accord, with the intention of leaving her life behind. The deeper I looked into this astrology, though, the more I was swayed in a different direction. I think you’ll see why.
We’re going to start by looking at Maura’s progressions for February 9th, 2004, the day she disappeared. Progressions are different from transits because they represent life themes that were going on for a period of time. When we talk about progressions, we’re not talking about acute events, we’re talking about energies. Anything that happened in the transits at the time would represent the acute events that happened to carry out the themes in the progressions.
Here’s what comes up. The themes that Maura was experiencing when she went missing were:
The conclusion I draw from these elements in the progressed chart is that Maura was being pulled to examine her life path more closely, and that something needed to change to propel her forward. She was going to be led by her emotions to that place, to making that choice, and it would involve going outside of her comfort zone. This was going to be linked with taking responsibility for things she wasn’t proud of. So, this conclusion would lead someone to believe that Maura left on her own accord. But it’s more complicated than that. The other things we see in her progressed chart is that she was reckoning with some serious relationary trauma, as demonstrated by an opposition between progressed venus in aries and pluto in libra. Furthermore, on the day she went missing, her progressed mars was exactly opposite transiting venus, indicating some kind of difficulty, maybe even sexual violence, that led up to her disappearance. And with this, it’s not so clear cut anymore. Let’s look at the other transits, now, to see what we find.
On February 9th 2004, Venus was about a degree and a half past it’s natal position in Maura’s chart. This means she had just finished a venus return, which would be a clarifying of her goals over the past year, and perhaps more importantly, the start of a new journey toward finding stability. This new journey would impact not only her personality, since venus is in the first house, but how others saw her. Also at this time, Uranus was square to its natal position. Uranus, along with being linked to surprises, it associated with individuation. We all experience a uranus square around the age of 21, and this is a time when we’re forging our own path, becoming who we want to be in our own image, separating ourselves from the ideas of who we should be. So this would be evidence of her leaving her past behind and creating a new identity, right? Well, as it did before, it get’s more complicated than that. On the day of her disappearance, Uranus was in a square to Maura’s natal Mercury and Natal uranus. This is the interference I mentioned earlier in my astrological assessment that activated Maura’s natal mercury-uranus opposition. Mercury, as we’ve discussed, rules short-term travel and also the mechanics of cars. Squares are tension. So here we have uranus coming along and shaking up travel, intercepting her drives and causing accidents. I don’t have a doubt that uranus’s position in the transits was associated with the multiple accidents Maura experienced leading up to her disappearance, including the final one that we know of. It also has other indications that describe what happened to her.
Since Uranus is natally in Maura’s 8th house, it has a lot to do with how she gets involved with other people. There’s a level of mysterious spontaneity that exists in her relationships. On the day that she went missing, Uranus was transiting her 12th house: the house of hidden enemies. So, it would make sense if another person, representing the energy of uranus, showed up out of the blue on the day she disappeared, intercepted her drive and contributed to her disappearance. What about that guy who was seen smoking a cigarette in her car after the accident? Where did he come from?
There’s one more critical element in the transits that we need to explore. When someone goes missing, we can generate a chart for the last time they were seen and we can draw conclusions from that chart independently, without matching it up to the natal chart. At 7:46 on the day Maura disappeared, Venus was at 1 degree aries in the missing chart’s 7th house. Since Venus is so central to Maura’s identity, I delegate venus as her representative. In other words, I think venus represents her in this chart. Here, Venus is in the 7th house is the house of other people, and I see her being handed over to someone else, placed in someone else’s care, but it’s not compassionate care. This venus is in aries. It’s a dominant care. We’ll actually just go ahead and put “care” in quotes. But the bottom line is that there’s someone else involved here. And her transits indicate that this was a time when she could easily have been taken advantage of by someone else. She had neptune, the ruler of her chart, in her 12th house: the house of hidden enemies, and it was exactly square her sun at 13 degrees. This square is difficult. It’s kind of like an existential crisis. It enhances feelings of guilt and creates a unique vulnerability, because it can accentuate the desire to be saved. It can also indicate a period of alcohol use, again from the desire to be taken out of the pain of a situation. So: it seems clear that someone else was involved in Maura’s disappearance, but in my mind, it’s not as clear cut as “someone abducted and hurt her”. I think there was some combination outside harm and intent, and I think Maura was on her way to what she would consider a safe place, whether her intention was to stay for a short or a long while. But I don’t think she’s dead. In her transits, she has pluto approaching her midheaven. While Pluto can mean death, in this circumstance I associate it with transformation: a rebirth without death, which would have been complete a couple of years after the disappearance in a new location, given that Pluto was in sagittarius.
If Maura did restart her life after her disappearance, where would she go? Well, I think she’d go somewhere woodsy to satisfy her nature-loving taurus sun. She would have gone somewhere with clean air to satisfy her libra moon, and she would have gone somewhere far away from her home to satisfy her sagittarius midheaven. Somewhere that mimicked the environment that she was travelling in in New Hampshire, but in a different part of the country or world.
Let’s see what Valerie deduces when she does her tarot reading. Was someone with her when she disappeared? If so, who? And what happened afterwards? Listen to the next episode to find out. But before you go, please take a minute to give the show a 5 star rating on your favorite podcast platform, and follow the podcast on social media using the information in the episode description. I’ll see you soon for part 2: and until we get there, remember: people may lie, but the stars never do.