Destination Orlando: The Fascination of the Casey Anthony Case

Theories about the trial's popularity

The eyes of the world are focused on the 23rd floor of the Orange County, Fla. courthouse. It is a surreal scene that has repeated daily during the trial of Casey Anthony, a 25-year-old Orlando mother, charged with the murder of her 2-year-old daughter.

The fascination with the murder trial leaves little doubt as to why the case is smattered on the television networks and talk shows every day and night. It seems as though every news channel is airing the trial highlights in a continuous loop.

We hear about the eager folks rushing through the halls to get a seat in the courtroom so they can witness the drama firsthand.

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Since the case started in 2008 and into the ongoing testimony – we are hearing about stomach churning details, decomposing body odor, skeletal remains, bugs eating flesh and a dead child found in a garbage bag – the public can’t get enough of it.

Millions seem to be transfixed into following the daily legal grind of the case.

Many talk show hosts, legal counsels, and even psychologists are weighing in to share their opinions on why the public is so deeply fascinated with the case.

If convicted, Casey Anthony could face the death penalty.

When the events began to unfold, the lead actors in this great soap opera immediately started to fascinate the American public.

The public arena seems to realize what is at the core of all this. Those following the trial wonder if this endless case solves the mystery of who did it – who covered it up and – why it really happened.

Bottom line, Casey Anthony looks normal and by all accounts and her precious looking 2-year-old girl is dead. But, the lives of a family are forever altered.

The world is watching and trying to figure out one of the biggest “who dunnits” since the O.J. Simpson trial.

As the murder trial continues, a new level of weirdness has settled in around the case with twists and turns reported daily.

Waves of obsessed court watchers, fanatics, and reporters are trying to inject themselves into the story, only adding to the circus atmosphere.

According to Jungle Red, a website with eight murder mystery writers, the reason why the case has captivated the world is because it’s the lack of the ”randomness of it all.”

"In real-life murders, people disappear, die at the hands of strangers, and are in the wrong place at the wrong time. It’s horrifying to imagine a brutal death at the hands of a stranger. The Casey Anthony trial is nothing like that," according to its website.

Pictures of Casey Anthony partying with friends during her daughter’s disappearance, her failure to report her daughter’s alleged kidnapping, her lies to her parents and to the police are all actions that most people, especially parents, cannot relate to. In a strange way, it makes people feel safer.

They think, "This horrible crime and it could never occur in my family."

The case reminds us of the O.J. Simpson murder trial because of the notoriety of it all. This trial is taking the place as the most publicized case in U.S. history, according to recent statistics.

The Simpson case was the longest trial ever held in California, costing more than $20 million to fight and defend, running up 50,000 pages of trial transcript in the process. Reports say the Casey Anthony trial will far exceed these numbers.

There were 150 witnesses called to give evidence before a jury that was sequestered at the Hotel Intercontinental in downtown L.A. from January until October.

Records show an incredible 91 percent of the television viewing audience watched it and an unbelievable 142 million people listened on radio and watched television as the verdict was delivered.

One study estimated that the U.S. industry lost more than $25 billion as workers turned away from their jobs to follow the trial.

Thomas L. Jones of Trutv reported that 2,000 reporters covered the trial and about 23 newspapers and magazines were represented throughout the case.

There are theories touted that the interest in that case and the Casey Anthony case is due to morbid curiosity. Other think tanks believe the fascination with the Anthony case is similar to that of O.J. Simpson because nobody knows the real truth.

What really happened when the eyes of the world were not watching?

Social networking sites are exploding with daily news about the case and the average citizen has turned into mock detectives to figure out the chain of events.

Dr. Karyl McBride, a published psychologist, said she studied maternal narcissism for years and there is a familiar feel to some of the dynamics in this story.

“Not all mothers fit the saintly archetype that is seen and felt in the sacred institution of motherhood,” McBride wrote in a recent article on the subject.

“We want so badly to hang onto the belief system that mothers don't harm children. It's fascinating that the defense in the Anthony case found a way to blame the father. While we don't know what is true and maybe never will, it is worth taking a look at the narcissistic family when maternal narcissism rules the roost.”

McBride said Casey Anthony is a beautiful white woman and the fact that the case includes such things as sex, lies, and videotapes makes it irresistible.

“There seems to be an underlying theme to the trial related to the concept of narcissism and many are scratching their heads to understand,” she said.

“It's also obviously difficult to believe that any mother would harm her child and particularly to the degree of taking the child's life.”

Recent statistics show that children under the age of 5 in the United States are more likely to be killed by their mother than anyone else. Contrary to popular mythology, they are rarely killed by a sex-crazed stranger.

FBI crime statistics show that parents were responsible for 57 percent of child murders, with family friends and acquaintances accounting for another 30 percent and other family members accounting for eight percent.

Crime statistics further reveal that of the children under 5 killed, most were murdered by their mothers. More FBI studies have been used to prove that murderous mothers are "sick" and can be used to support the theory that mothers consider children to be their property.

“When listening to various media spins on this story, there is little discussion about ‘why.’ But understanding the reasons makes it easier to get our heads around such tragic information," analyzes CNN.

Reports show that Joy Behar, on HLN's The Joy Behar Show, does ask about the "why" in her interviews. She asks about the aspect of mothering problems and the home environment.

As the case continues, most analysts agree that the public’s fascination will not end anytime soon.

What really happened behind closed doors will probably only be answered in that – not so distant – tell-all book.

The Miami Herald reports that the story of Casey Marie Anthony, and her daughter, Caylee Marie, has evolved into a "breathless soap opera with tabloid twists and turns, characters brought to life by lies, a phantom nanny accused of kidnapping the child, incest claims, the specter of a death sentence – and a rapt American audience that can’t seem to get enough of the spectacle playing out in Orlando, land of The Mouse."

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