Folklore Friday: The Candy Lady
Hey Bookworms! Halloween is just around the corner and I am so excited. Halloween is my very most favorite holiday so I thought I would talk about candy this week. Not just any candy. Spooky window candy. I’m sure most of y’all have heard of/been traumatized by the Candyman, but have you heard the story of the Candy Lady? Grab yourself some milk duds kids. It’s story time.
It’s hard to say which child discovered it first, but the kids in Terrell, TX began receiving gifts of candy. Someone would creep up to their windows at night while they were sleeping, close enough to just slip an arm in, and leave a piece of candy on their windowsill. The kids didn’t have any idea why the candy began coming, but they were sure happy about it.
Now, no doubt, this is the sort of thing a child should report to a parent right away, but it was 1903, candy was pretty hard to come by and kids can be pretty dumb. So, they decided they wouldn’t tell any grown-ups because what if that made the candy stop coming? After a couple of weeks, the kids started to find notes attached to the candy wrapper. “Come play” was all that it said and the handwriting was so pretty. Surely, no bad guys could have handwriting as beautiful as that.
It really is a shame no one told their parents. So many lives could have been saved. Of course, the children were too young to remember Clara.
Clara Crane was convicted of murdering her husband in 1885. Their daughter Marcy died in an accident while he was supposed to be watching her and Clara never could forgave him. She did what any grieving prairie wife would do; she cooked up a batch of poison laced caramel and let him eat his fill.
She plead guilty due to grief related insanity and was institutionalized for four years. Other than that one murder she was a real nice lady, so she was released in 1889. There isn’t any record of where she went after that but a whole lot of people think she came back home to Terrell.
Then, in 1903, the first child disappeared. He went to bed and when his family woke up the next morning he was gone without a trace. Soon after, several other children disappeared. Finally, one little boy told his momma the truth and all of the adults just knew it was Clara. She was famous for murder and candy after all. They searched the Crane farm from top to bottom, but no one had lived there for years.
One terrible morning Jeb Smith was working his fields when he noticed something glinting in the sunlight near the fence. Puzzled, he walked over to investigate and saw that there were no fewer than ten candy wrappers strewn along the ground. What the heck? He bent to pick one of the bundles up and nervously untwisted the brightly colored wax paper. Inside he found two small, bloody teeth. Frantically he opened another wax parcel and then another. Each one held teeth. Some were jagged or cracked as though they had been torn violently from an unwilling mouth. Jeb was appropriately horrified and ran to get the sheriff.
The town sheriff had been working himself to the bone to find the missing kids. He swore to the town he would find the monster responsible. I suppose he kept his promise, he just didn’t survive the encounter.
His body was found two days later in a ditch. He had been stabbed through each eye with a metal fork and, when they loaded his body into a wagon to bring back to town, they discovered his pockets were filled with candy.
That was the end of it. No more children disappeared after that day. Perhaps the sheriff’s life was enough to satisfy the Candy Lady. Had Clara gone completely mad and taken the town’s children to replace her lost daughter or was it someone or something else entirely?
Eventually life went back to normal in Terrell. People were finally able to relax and breathe. Still, they would warn their kids, “Behave yourself or the Candy Lady will come get you and never bring you back!” The Candy Lady became a legend. A new boogeyman meant to keep children in line. Nevertheless, in 1903 she was very, very real.
I hope you have the happiest Halloween, Bookworms. Just remember to lock your windows. And, for heaven’s sake, if you find any strange candy on your windowsill don’t eat it. Even if it’s a mini Kit-Kat.
Want more information on the Candy Lady? Get it here.
Did you miss my last folklore blog? What are you even doing with your life? Read it here!