The Texarkana Moonlight Murders

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The Texarkana Moonlight Murders

Post by ophion1031 on December 16th 2017, 11:57 pm

Then in 1946, a string of double-murders terrified a small town in Texas. The Texarkana Moonlight Murders, as they had come to be known by the media, caused a hysteria so intense that gun stories sold out of weapons and ammunition, and the streets were completely empty by nightfall. Eight people were killed over less than three months, all couples that hard parked at local lover’s lanes, all assumed to have been killed by the same masked man. This man would come to be known as the Texarkana Phantom. More reckless teenagers turned themselves into vigilantes and sought to bait the murderer themselves by parking together and waiting with a weapon.

The first two victims were Jimmy Hollis, 25, and Mary Jeanne Larey, 19. It was around midnight on February 22 that a man approached the couple as they were parked on the local lover’s lane. He shined a bright flashlight into the face of Jimmy and told him "I don't want to kill you fellow, so do what I say." He ordered them out of the car and then ordered Jimmy to take down his pants, which he did, and was then hit over the head with a hard object, cracking his skull. He attempted to steal money from Jimmy’s wallet and then from Mary, hitting her over the head as well. He then told her to run, and while she did she could hear him continue to beat Jimmy. Her high heels gave her so much trouble running that the man was able to catch back up and then sexually assault her. Both victims survived the attack and gave descriptions of a man who appeared to be under 30 years old. Mary saw something that Jimmy had been unable to see due to the binding flashlight: the man was wearing a white mask with eye and mouth holes cut from the fabric.

The next attack came almost a month later. Richard L. Griffin, 29, and his considerably younger date, Polly Ann Moore, 17, were parked on Rich Road, another lovers' lane in the area. A passing driver noticed the car and thought the couple had fallen asleep, but upon inspection saw that they had been shot and killed, with Richard’s pockets turned inside out. Both had been shot in the back of the head and were fully dressed.

The next double murder took place on a remote dirt road in Texarkana. Sixteen-year-old Paul Martin and fifteen-year-old Betty Jo Booker were killed on a remote road. And then a couple in their thirties were murdered in their home. The killer has never been identified.

These murders spawned the famous 1976 horror movie The Town That Dreaded Sundown, which claimed to retell events exactly as they happened, with only the names changed. In reality, the film did not follow events very closely, and led to more sensational recollection of these murders. The posters claimed that the killer still stalked the streets of Texarkana, and though neighboring cities protested to get the tagline removed, it remained, sparking a new wave of anxiety for the area.
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