An In-Depth Look At Serial Stowaway Marilyn Hartman

Filed Under: Media

I’ve written extensively about Marilyn Hartman, the Bay Area based “serial stowaway” who has made a bizarre habit of sneaking onto flights.


For those of you not familiar, here are some posts I’ve written about her:

The stories of her are both intriguing and sad. On one hand, it’s clear she has some mental issues, and as a society we don’t have a system in place to deal with that. She keeps getting arrested and released, yet keeps doing the same thing over and over. She doesn’t seem to have family and didn’t want to go to a treatment facility, so there’s no way she can really be helped under the current system.

But just as much as stories of her bring me sadness, they also intrigue me. What’s really behind her constantly sneaking onto planes? What’s really going on in her mind?

Well, SFGate has a fascinating look into her life, per an article which was published in the July 2015 issue of San Francisco Magazine. It’s a long read, but if you have the time, absolutely worth it.

As a teaser, here’s the first paragraph:

The telephone rings and a disembodied voice announces a collect call from a Florida correctional facility. Marilyn Jean Hartman wants to talk. And she’s not happy. “I’m in redneck country,” she blurts. For Hartman, jail is jail, and she’s experienced more than a few. But Florida is something else. “They have very Christian values,” she says. “People here don’t worry about justice on Earth; they’ll get justice in heaven. It’s very scary.”

Remember how Marilyn Hartman wanted to get on a plane to Hawaii because she feared she had cancer and wanted to die there? Well…

“All I wanted to do was go to Hawaii,” she told San Francisco cops after being nabbed on a plane at San Francisco International Airport last year without a boarding pass. She told the authorities that she feared she had cancer and just “wanted to go to a warm place and die.” But Hartman later said she does not have cancer. Nor does she particularly want to end up in Hawaii; several years earlier, she was busted sneaking onto a flight in Hawaii, telling the arresting cop that “she really wanted to get off the island.” The sad truth is that the Serial Stowaway doesn’t seem to know where she’s headed, or why.

Anyway, if you have the time, give the whole story a read. I’m even more intrigued by her now than I was before, if that’s possible. I guess it shouldn’t surprise me, but it’s incredible how calculated this all is, and in many ways how self aware she seems to be. Fascinating stuff!

Has this story changed your impression of Marilyn Hartman at all?

  1. this woman is clearly schizophrenic. she needs medication, not incarceration. but the real issue is how she keeps sneaking airside without a valid boarding pass.

    another similar case is that of darius mccollum, the autistic man obsessed with the nyc transit system who has been repeatedly busted posing as an MTA worker. fascinating stuff.

  2. This story reminds me of the old “Greyhound” treatment urban authorities employed several years ago to rid themselves of a “problematic” homeless population that sullied the popular tourist areas in some cities.

    They would identify mentally challenged individuals who suffered from substance abuse issues. Then they would offer them a full new bottle of spirits, $50 and a bus ticket to parts unknown… way.

    Of course the practice was immoral, if not illegal, but as long as mental health care is not addressed in the country, I wonder if it really made any difference those hapless people where they ended up.

  3. @Pavel – Before labeling people you do not know, why don’t you educate yourself by reading the DSM. Then maybe we can have an adult discussion.

    Peace out.

  4. @Bobby an adult discussion? Is that like where you continue to talk down to me like a condescending piece of shit? No thanks I’ll pass. Schizophrenia was referenced in the article btw.

  5. @Bobby – Ok you don’t like her being labeled as a schizophrenic. How about “kook?”

  6. This woman needs help badly! She is lost in the system. Maybe setting up funding to help her get treated, therapy, medication or whatever and find her a home where she can live in peace. I feel sorry for her. Mental health is no joke!

  7. She needs to live in sa place with a nurse to talker care of her. She’s wandering aimlessly probably has Alzheimer’s please someone help her

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