Spooky Mysteries of Arkansas! | McLarty Daniel CDJRF of Springdale
As the nights grow long and cool in October, it’s a perfect time for sitting around the campfire or a warm house, contemplating the plentiful mysteries of this state we call home. Arkansas has more than her share of spooky head scratchers, and with Halloween just around the corner, we thought it would be fun to share some of our favorites. Seen below are four Arkansas Mysteries that may well never be solved, from the disappearance of a well-known attorney to the sighting of an “airship” on a mountain near Hot Springs, long before the advent of powered flight.
We here at McLarty Daniel CDJRF of Springdale love swapping tales like these in October. If you’re in need of a great new or used car to help you get out there and find your own spooky adventures, come see us for a test drive, or check out our big selection online right now!
THE DISAPPEARANCE OF MAUD CRAWFORD: Maud Crawford seemed to have her life well and truly together, right up to the moment when she disappeared off the face of the earth. A prominent attorney in the small town of Camden in Ouachita County, Crawford had graduated at the top of her class at the University of Arkansas law school, becoming one of the pioneering female lawyers when women were still rare in the profession. A local community leader and socialite, Crawford had also served on the Camden City Council. Then, on the evening of March 2, 1957, Crawford simply disappeared from her large home on Camden’s quiet Clifton Street, leaving behind her car, car keys, and her purse containing $149 in cash. Though an extensive search was conducted, she was never seen again. Investigators in the case noted that at the time of her disappearance, Crawford’s former law partner and Camden resident Arkansas U.S. Senator John L. McClellan was chairing hearings on the influence of the Mafia over organized labor, with suggesting that Crawford was kidnapped as part of an effort to intimidate or influence McClellan. No confirmation of that theory has ever emerged, however. Neither has any trace of Maud Crawford, who was declared dead by the courts in 1969.
THE HOT SPRINGS AIRSHIP OF 1897: UFO sightings in Arkansas have been plentiful over the years, but the presence of all manner of low-flying aircraft have provided a handy explanation for most tales of flying saucers spotted by eyewitnesses in the 20th Century. That explanation doesn’t fit, however with the Hot Springs Airship of 1897, which was spotted six years before the Wright Brothers first took to the air. On May 7, 1897, a deputy sheriff and local constable were investigating reports of cattle rustling near the small town of Jessieville, just outside Hot Springs, when they reportedly saw a bright light in the sky that soon disappeared behind a mountain. The two men went to investigate and claimed they came upon what they described as a cigar-shaped craft approximately sixty feet long that had landed by a stream near Blue Mountain. As they approached, they saw a man, who later identified himself as the pilot of the craft, using a long, flexible hose to suck water into the ship. Described as tall and rail thin with a long black beard, the pilot reportedly said he and two companions were touring the country in the flying machine. He invited the lawmen aboard for a ride, which they cordially declined. When they happened back by the location later in the evening, both the craft and the man they’d seen had disappeared. It was just one of dozens of sightings of cigar-shaped flying craft across the country in 1897 and 1898, including sightings in Texarkana, Mississippi, and the famous Aurora Airship Crash of April 17, 1897, in which residents of the tiny town of Aurora, Texas claimed an airship very similar to the one reported near Hot Springs hit a windmill and crashed, with residents of the town saying they buried the alien bodies recovered from the craft in the local cemetery.
THE TEXARKANA MOONLIGHT KILLER: Today, Texarkana is a bustling way station on busy I-30. Back in the winter and spring of 1946, however, it was a town in the grip of terror, whipped into a frenzy of fear by the Phantom Killer, a stealthy, masked gunman who struck by night and evaded all attempts to catch him. The Phantom’s first victims were a pair of teenagers, Jimmy Hollis and Mary Larey, who were shot in a car on the secluded “lover’s lane” on February 22, 1946. Though badly wounded by several shots from a handgun, Larey and Hollis both managed to survive. The next couple, Richard Griffin and Polly Ann Moore, were not so lucky. Exactly four weeks after the assault on Hollis and Larey, Griffin and Moore were shot in their car near where the first attack had occurred. Over the course of the three month rampage, five people would be killed and three wounded, despite the best efforts of Arkansas State Police investigators and members of the Texas Rangers, who joined forces in the hunt for the cross-border killer. The last murder attributed to the Phantom was that of farmer Virgil Starks, who was shot inside his home on May 3, 1946, with Starks’ wife, Katie, being severely wounded. Though the murders caused panic in the town, with sales of firearms skyrocketing and roving, armed posses staging decoys on lover’s lane and laying ambushes for the killer, the perpetrator was never caught, and apparently never killed again in the area after the Starks murder. A movie based on the case, “The Town That Dreaded Sundown,” was released in 1976.
Whew! That’s a lot of mysteries! We’ve only really scratched the surface of these cases here, so if you’d like to dig a little deeper, there’s plenty more information to be had online. One thing that’s not a mystery, though, is where to go for the best deals on cars, trucks, vans and SUVs, and the best service after the sale: McLarty Daniel Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram Fiat of Springdale! With a sales lot, body shop and fully staffed service center under one roof, we’re one-stop shopping for all your automotive needs. Stop in today for a test drive, or check out our big selection of new and used vehicles online right now! Happy Halloween!