Dirty John Meehan And How 'The Walking Dead' Saved a 25-Year-Old Girl's Life

So apparently binge-watching The Walking Dead may one day save your life.

But first, a spoiler alert: if you haven’t finished listening to The L.A. Times‘ podcast “Dirty John” STOP READING NOW. Major spoilers ahead.

You with us?

So in case you haven’t been listening to “Dirty John,” here’s the situation: the podcast tells the true story of a sociopath conman named John Meehan (nicknamed Dirty John) who wiggles his way into a fifty-something divorcee’s life. Her daughters Jaqueline and Terra are suspicious of him from the start but the woman, Debra, is charmed by him. After two months they get married in Vegas but soon all his lies start to unravel (a reminder: this is all true).

He turns out to be a complete nutcase who has run similar cons on women before just to steal their money.

After a little over a year of marriage, Debra decides to leave him, but it soon becomes clear that he’s stalking her and her daughters in hopes of getting revenge.

This is where The Walking Dead comes in. She told The L.A. Times that she picked up on small fighting techniques, like how to properly hold a knife and potentially using your teeth as a weapon. And most importantly she took the moral of the show to heart: kill or be killed. She said,

“The world ends and those who are fit to survive will survive.”

So when John surprised her outside her apartment building and attacked Terra with a knife, she was ready to fight for her life. He stabbed her numerous times and the two wrestled to the ground. Despite being more than a foot shorter than him, she was able to knock the knife out of his hand. She was then able to stab him 13 times, saving her life and ending his.

Of course, nobody knows what they would do in a situation like this. And some say that natural instincts kick in, but Terra credits her obsession with the show for her survival. Regarding her final stab to John, which went straight through his eye to the brain, she said,

“I guess that was my zombie kill. You need to kill their brain. That’s what I did.”


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Lena Finkel
Lena Finkel is the Editor and Founder of Femestella. Prior to starting Femestella, she worked at People, InStyle, Tiger Beat, and Sesame Workshop (aka Sesame Street). She loves all things Real Housewives and Vanderpump Rules. When she's not busy binge-watching TV, you can find her hanging out with her tuxedo cat Tom.