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Friday, 17 January 2014

The Moonlight Murders


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The sleepy town of Texarkana was shaken by a series of vicious slayings in the spring of 1946. The white-hooded “Phantom Killer” preyed on young couples who escaped to secluded areas late at night. He was only active for a three-week period between April and May, but in that span, he attacked eight people, killing five. In an effort to halt the violence and capture the suspect, police put the city under lockdown each day at dusk, patrolling the streets in heavily armed patrols.
Just as mysteriously as the killings started, however, they subsided. Police quickly orchestrated an intense investigation. Key witnesses were examined, leads were hunted down, evidence was poured over—but nothing concrete ever came from it. All investigators could confirm was that the killer was a man who wore a white hood, preferred to attack young people late at night in isolated areas, and often used a gun to kill his victims.
Relatively little new information ever surfaced in subsequent years. Adding to the creepiness of the case, some self-proclaimed web-sleuths havetenuously linked the Phantom with San Francisco’s notorious Zodiac Killer. They cite both killers’ specific victims, method of operation, preferred murder weapon, and the similar—albeit stretched—time period as evidence of a connection.
Nearly three decades after the investigation hit a dead end, Texarkana’s Charles B. Pierce made a movie loosely based off of the events, titled The Town That Dreaded Sundown. A remake is tentatively scheduled to start production later this year.

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