Urban Legends and Beliefs

The hook on the car door

The story: A young couple were parked on a lonely lovers' lane by a river, listening to dreamy, romantic music on the car radio. Suddenly the mood was shattered by a news bulletin. An escapee from a hospital for the criminally insane had escaped. People are told that they should be on the lookout for a tall, gaunt man with a pronounced limp and a hook instead of a left hand. The announcer concluded the bulletin by warning the radio audience

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that the man with the hook was a serial murderer and was last seen making his way out of town.

The thought of a mass murderer with a hook for a hand coming upon them as they sat there in lovers' lane completely destroyed the romantic interlude for the young woman, and she asked to be taken home. Her boyfriend was decidedly unpleased with her decision. He argued that the murderer was undoubtedly far away and would certainly never wander out to a lovers' lane. Although he persisted and tried to dissuade his frightened sweetheart, she once again repeated her wish to leave the dark and lonely place at once.

Angered and frustrated, the young man started the engine and roared out of the parking place by the river. Pouting and disappointed, he refused even to speak to his girlfriend as he drove directly to her home. Stubbornly, he remained seated behind the wheel and silent while she got out of the car to walk to her front door.

Just as she was about to slam the car door, she screamed in horror. Jolted from his pique, the young man got out to see what had caused his girlfriend to go into hysterics.

As he walked to the passenger side of the car, he, too, is startled to see a prosthetic forearm dangling from the door handle, a steel hook gleaming in the light from a street lamp. The murderer had been about to open the door on the passenger's side of the car when the young man had given into his girlfriend's demands and peeled out of the parking place, tearing off the killer's hook in the process.

This is a classic urban legend, dating back at least to the 1940s. The familiar tale is most often told as having happened to a friend's college roommate or high school classmate, and the story of the murderer's hook on the car door has long been a favorite at slumber parties and around campfires.

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