For some of us, October 31st is the most fun day of the year. And, for others, it’s the spookiest.
Bad things always happen on Halloween, in a variety of horror movies, but that’s just movie magic, you think, because Halloween is actually just like any other day. And, most of the time, that’s true, but not in these cases.
Famed magician Harry Houdini claimed he could take a blow to the abdomen without being taken down.
It was October 22, 1926, when a student at McGill University asked if he could prove it.
Houdini, who’d been sitting in his dressing room during an engagement at the Montreal university, obliged and, although he had allegedly braced himself, the student’s four punches left the performer with a great pain. After suffering for two days, Houdini decided to seek medical help, but at that point he already was suffering from a severe fever and acute appendicitis. Defying doctor’s orders, he performed instead of undergoing the recommended emergency surgery and, when the curtains closed, the magician collapsed. Despite having his appendix removed afterward, he passed away on Halloween, surrounded by his family.
On Halloween Day in 1955, Marilyn Damman went to a Food Fair on Long Island to do some shopping. She brought her children, two-year-old Steven and seven-month-old Pamela, with her.
Telling Steven to be good and watch his little sister, she left the children outside while she went into the store. When she returned, ten minutes later, her children had disappeared, stroller and all. Pamela’s baby stroller, with the unharmed seven-month-old inside, was found a short distance away, but Long Island police were never able to recover Steven. What happened to him remains an unsolved mystery.
It was 1957, Halloween night. A couple was getting ready for bed when the doorbell rang. Despite It was late, the husband answered the door, ready to dole out more candy.
Instead, an adult wearing a mask shot him in the chest, killing him. Was it a trick-or-treater? Not quite.
The murderer, it turns out, was the girlfriend of a woman who had had an affair with the murdered man’s wife. The woman convinced her girlfriend to do away with the husband in order to have the wife for herself…
Years later, on Halloween day in 1963, the Indiana State Fair held a “Holidays on Ice” skating exhibition for a crowd of hundreds.
However, the grand finale was not what anyone had expected: unbeknownst to organizers at the Indiana State Fairgrounds Coliseum, propane gas had been leaking from a nearby tank into the poorly ventilated room. And so, during the final act called “Mardis Gras,” the propane gas caught fire, leading to a horrific explosion that propelled onlookers from their chairs. The death toll was 74, and 400 additional people were injured.
It’s every parent’s nightmare: Your child comes home from a night of trick-or-treating with bad candy.
One of the Halloween stories that helped propel this fear was the murder of Timothy O’Bryan in 1974.
The eight-year-old child from Deer Park, Texas, died Halloween night after ingesting poisoned candy. Making this crime more horrific is the fact that the perpetrator was not a neighbor or a psychopath, but his own father, who sought to cash in on his son’s life insurance….
David Berkowitz became infamous in the 1970s as the “Son of Sam” serial killer. But not many people know that he could also predict the future. Well, sort of. He was incarcerated when 39-year-old Ronald Sisman and 20-year-old Elizabeth Platzman were beaten and shot to death in their Manhattan home in the early morning hours of Halloween in 1981. A fellow prisoner claimed that the Son of Sam had previously told him that a cult was planning to carry out just such a massacre. He was allegedly even able to describe the victims’ apartment to a tee—but police didn’t have enough evidence to charge him with involvement in the murders, which remain unsolved still today.
In 1992 Yoshihiro Hattori, a 16-year-old Japanese foreign exchange student in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, paid the ultimate price after accidentally ringing the wrong doorbell on his way to a Halloween party. He had been unfamiliar with the neighborhood when he and a friend arrived at the home of Rodney Peairs, a nearby neighbor who opened the door armed with 44 Magnum revolver. Although Yoshihiro allegedly said, “we’re here for the party,” Peairs claimed he feared for his life and ordered the student to “Freeze!”
When Yoshihiro misunderstood the command and kept approaching, Peairs shot him. After being questioned, he was arrested but later acquitted of manslaughter.
The tradition of throwing eggs at people on Halloween is, at best, a harmless prank.
At worst, it can turn deadly.
That was the case for Karl Jackson, a 21-year-old data entry clerk who usually never left the house on Halloween, as he thought it was dangerous. And in fact, on October 31, 1995, his worst fear became a reality: he had decided to venture out to pick up his girlfriend’s son from a party and, along the way, a group of teens pelted his car with eggs. He got out to confront them but, as he was getting back into the car, one pulled a gun and fatally shot him in the head.
Something similar in 1998, when a Bronx man was in the car with his girlfriend to pick up her nine-year-old son from a Halloween party. When a group of teens started egging the car, the man got out and an argument started. After he sat back down in the car, however, one of the teenagers shot him fatally in the head.
Still today, no one knows what happened to Hyun Jong Song, a 39-year-old grad student at Penn State Univesity who disappeared without a trace after leaving a Halloween party after midnight in 2001. She had stopped by a friend’s home in the early morning, still decked out in her bunny costume, and accepted a lift home at about 4:00 a.m. Slightly intoxicated, she managed to get inside her home and drop off her belongings, including her backpack and mobile phone. She’d even removed her false eyelashes, but she was never seen again. Investigators found no evidence of foul play and no activity on her credit cards or cell phone. The case eventually went cold.
If there were an award for the most realistic Halloween decoration in Frederica, Delaware, in 2005, it would have gone to a regular body hanging from a tree. It would have beaten out everything, from the fake skeletons to jack-o-lanterns that dotted the city and in fact, for hours, people passed by admiring it.
But it had an edge over the other decorations.
Because this was a real body. Police believe it was that of a woman who had committed suicide the night before….
Candy might be important at Halloween, but it’s certainly not worth your life.
It was 2011 when a 55-year-old Chicago resident realized his candy bag was missing. He blamed a neighbor for the missing sweets and took his revenge stabbing her to death with several steak knives.
Remember: not everyone’s wearing a costume on Halloween.
A year later, in 2012, in the early hours of the morning, a tutu-clad Marine spotted a uniform-clad man in a wheelchair and thought the man’s costume was a bad attempt at mocking the military. So he attacked him.
As the Marine learned upon his arrest, the man’s outfit was not a costume as he was, in fact, a disabled veteran.
It’s macabre enough to have collapsed and died alone on your own porch steps. But adding insult to injury, the morning after this 2012 Halloween tragedy, the mailman, assuming the body was an amazing Halloween decoration, sidestepped him on his way to delivering the corpse’s mail.
And sometimes, a costume is just too good. In the same year, a nine-year-old wearing a black outfit and a black hat with a white tassel was mistaken for a skunk by a relative and shot.
The fact that real dead bodies could be Halloween decorations seems to be a classic in these stories.
However, in 2017, the opposite actually happened.
In mid-September, police in Green County, Tennessee received a panicked phone call from a man who believed there was a beheaded corpse in his neighbor’s driveway. Police arrived on the scene only to find that the owner of the home had actually just put out his creepy Halloween puppet a little early.
“Do NOT call 911 reporting a dead body,” the police department’s Facebook page wrote.
“Instead, congratulate the homeowner on a great display.”
Images from Web – Google Research