The Hookman story begins with a young couple who goes for a drive and learns about the escaped hooked man on the radio. Later, the couple returns home with a hook embedded in the back of their car.
A popular urban legend — The Hookman — tells the story of a “hook-handed lunatic”, who escapes from a local institution in Pennsylvania, USA. It is the main antagonist of The Hook – an urban legend.
The terrifying story began circulating in the 1950s. There are many variations, but the basic tale has remained the same.
Basic description of The Hookman
The Hookman murders innocent people and it is believed as a legend. He especially targets young couples, roaming around at night. The historians have been trying to find out the origin of the Hookman story for many years. It has become very popular among American teenagers by 1959. And later it continued to expand into the 1960s.
Some writers and investigative journalists say The Hook is linked to a few infamous murder cases, that include the 1946 Texarkana Moonlight Murders.
Folklorists have narrated the long history of this urban legend in many ways. “Dear Abby”, an American advice column, reprinted the story in 1960 and since then referenced it in various horror films.
Here are few lines from the column in “Dear Abby”: “A fellow and his date pulled into their favorite “lovers’ lane” to listen to the radio and do a little necking. The music was interrupted by an announcer who said there was a convict who escaped an institution which is nearby. The convict had served time for multiple criminal charges. The announcer described the man having a hook instead of a right hand.
Hearing this, the couple became frightened and drove away, according to the “Dear Abby”.
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Other versions of The Hookman
In an alternative version of the tale, the couple drives through an unknown part of the country. At a time, they decide to stop the car in the middle of the woods at night. Because the man has to take rest. Or their car breaks down and the boyfriend/husband goes for help. The wife or girlfriend, waiting for him to return, turns on the radio and listens about the Hookman. She notices that her husband/boyfriend has not returned yet. At the same time, she is disturbed many times by a loud thumping on the roof of the car. When she exits her vehicle and witnesses the crazy man on the roof of the car. The man holds her husband’s decapitated head in his hand and hits the roof with it.
Another variation describes that the wife or girlfriend sees her husband/boyfriend’s butchered body suspended upside down from a tree. She finds the body down from the tree above the car with his fingers dangling just above the roof.
The most common version has a happy ending. The story sees the couple driving off when it sounds like the Hook is approaching the car. They assure themselves that it was just their imagination. But, when they return home and exit the car, they see the Hook stuck in the door.
Hookman is characterized in films and TV series
The Hookman has been adapted into many films and television series. For example, “I Know What You Did Last Summer”, a horror film made in 1997. The movie features a killer stalking teenagers with a hook and the main characters gather around a campfire and recount the Hook legend.
The slasher film “Lovers Lane“, in 1999, also features a murderer who kills teenagers at a lovers’ lane with a hook.
Apart from this, the popular TV show, “Supernatural” features a Hookman as a villain in the 7th episode of the first season.
Author Alvin Schwartz used a version of the story in “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark” in 1981 collection of short horror stories for children.