Now that Halloween is over, we can ponder the magic of this macabre day where getting a bit spooked is all in good fun. However, the dark side has this habit of taking over, and over the years, some absolutely horrifying things have happened on Halloween. Murders, disappearances, and other freak accidents that cannot be explained have notoriously occurred on this day, rendering the end of October more bone-chilling than usual.
1. ‘Orange Socks’, Georgetown TX, 1979
An unidentified body was found in a stream in Georgetown, Texas on the 31st of October, 1979. The nickname ‘Orange Socks’ was derived from the fact that the body was found completely naked, save for a pair of orange socks on the victim’s feet. Forensic inspection revealed that the unidentified body was strangled to death only a few hours before it was discovered.
Further inspection of the victim’s corpse revealed that ‘Orange Socks’ was sexually assaulted multiple times. Her body was bruised, both from being strangled and assaulted, and having been thrown from the overpass. Her legs were unshaven, her nails long and painted, and she had a distinctive scar under her chin. Despite this, she remained unidentified.
However, her murderer was soon found. Serial killer Henry Lee Lucas confessed to the murder, despite there being no physical evidence linking him to the crime scene. After interrogation, Lucas revealed that he had picked up ‘Orange Socks’ in Oklahoma, where they had sex. Afterwards, as Lucas was driving, he demanded that they have sex again, at which point the victim refused. Lucas got upset, then proceeded to murder and rape her corpse. He even showed police officers how he had dragged her body and where he had thrown her over the guardrail, which was consistent with where the body was found.
But the mystery surrounding the murder was not really lifted. Lucas was notorious for freely admitting to murders he never actually committed, and evidence later came about indicating that he was probably working in Florida on the day of the murder. Sadly meaning that the true murderer and the victim remain, to this day, ambiguous.
2. Marvin Brandland, Fort Dodge IA, 1982
Marvin Brandland and his wife, Ethel, had their bowls of candy ready and waiting. It was Halloween, and the children of the neighbourhood were trick-or-treating. Later into the evening, Marvin and his wife heard a knock on the door and went to open it.
The first thing they heard was, “Trick-or-Treat! Give me your money or I’ll shoot.” They looked up and saw someone in a homemade mask, made out of a pillow-case, with the eyes cut out. Marvin and Ethel laughed, thinking it was a Halloween prank being pulled on them by a friend or family member. That was until the person produced a gun and ordered them to lead him to the safe – a safe which few knew existed.
Marvin and Ethel laughed uneasily. How did this person know about the safe if he wasn’t a family member? Still convinced that this was an elaborate and unfunny prank, Marvin reached for the gun and tried to wrestle it out of the person’s hand. The attacker, in the tussle that followed, shot Marvin Brandland in the throat. Panicking, the shooter then took off his homemade mask and made a dash towards the door.
3. Timothy O’Bryan, Deer Park TX, 1974
Do you know how your parents used to nag us about being careful from whom we take candy, only for us to dismiss them as being too paranoid? Well, in the case of Timothy O’Bryan, your worried mother was right.
It was the year 1974 and Timothy sat happily munching on his sweets after a bountiful night of trick-or-treating. Less than an hour later, he met his fate after a series of violent convulsions. Deer Park went into a state of chaos, and police began frantically investigating the murder of the eight-year-old on Halloween night. The investigation pointed towards some of the pieces of candy. More specifically, the Pixie Sticks- they were laced with cyanide. But who would commit such a horrific crime?
His very own father, it turns out. Ronald O’Bryan, in a desperate bid to pay off his mountain of debt, took out hefty life insurance policies on his children and then attempted to poison them. He gave the same candy to his other children, but only Timothy was unfortunate enough to have begun eating it. Ronald was later charged with murder and executed.
4. Nima Louise Carter, Lawton OK, 1977
It was Halloween night, and Nima Louise Carter’s exhausted parents finally lay the 18-month-old to sleep in their Oklahoma home. To their horror, she wasn’t there the next morning. Creepily, the windows of the room that Nima was in were locked that night, meaning that whoever abducted her must’ve been hiding in the closet when her parents placed her in the crib.
Almost four months later, some children were playing in an abandoned house in the same neighbourhood as the Carter household. As they opened the door of the house’s refrigerator, they were beyond shocked to find the remains of an 18-month-old baby, who was identified as the missing Nima Louise Carter. Forensic inspection revealed that the child died of suffocation.
Horrifically, the exact same situation had occurred the year prior. Three-year-old twin sisters were lured out of their homes by a young woman and abducted, being stuffed into the fridge inside another abandoned home in Lawton, Oklahoma. One of the sisters, unfortunately, met her fate, the other miraculously survived despite being locked in the fridge for two days. The survivor was able to identify her abductor as Jacqueline Robideaux, a local teenage babysitter. But because of the girl’s young age and lack of other evidence at the time, Jacqueline was never indicted. And as fate would have it, Nima Louise Carter’s babysitter was none other than Jacqueline Robideaux.
Obviously, Jacqueline was a prime suspect in the kidnapping and murder of Nima Carter, but again, there was not enough evidence to press charges. Years later, she was finally arrested and formally indicted with the murder of the aforementioned twin sister, and given a life sentence. She died in 2005 after being diagnosed with liver cancer in jail.
5. Ronald Sisman and Elizabeth Platzman, Manhattan NY, 1981
It was the early hours of Halloween in Manhattan, New York when Ronald Sisman and Elizabeth Platzman were burgled and murdered. The couple were severely beaten and injured before being shot in the head at close range. Ronald was rumored to be involved in shady drug deals, so from an outsider’s perspective, the motive seemed pretty clear.
What makes this whole ordeal very creepy is the fact that this murder was foretold by a prison inmate a few weeks before it took place. And that man turned out to be none other than notorious serial killer David ‘Son of Sam’ Berkowitz, who was speaking to a prison informant.
In 1977, David Berkowitz was convicted of shooting and murdering six people and injuring seven others and was serving multiple life sentences in jail. It was always widely speculated that Berkowitz had been part of a satanic cult and that he didn’t commit all six murders he was serving sentences for. According to the prison informant, Berkowitz accurately described the crime scene, saying his cult was planning to break into a Manhattan home on Halloween. No one really knows if the murders of Sisman and Platzman had anything to do with Berkowitz, but the murder case remains unsolved to this day.
It must be something in the Halloween air
These five stories are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to creepy occurrences on Halloween. Stories of people disappearing without a trace, freakishly good decorations that turn out to be actual dead bodies, and stories of unsolved murders fill the unsung corners of the internet. Things were far more terrifying than any vampire, ghoul or monster your brain can conjure. And of course, the added creepiness of Halloween makes it that much spookier…