“What’s that scrapping noise?” Stop right there! Seriously, don’t get out of the car, it might be the Hook Man.
And… of course, he’s getting out of the car. Well, that’s the last time we see that guy.
If you find yourself young and in love, there are many cautionary tales that warn you of the dangers of premarital sex. Pregnancy is a big and then theres STDs of course. But I’m talking about a completely different warning. This one in particular often takes place in the most romantic of location for overly hormonal teens. A parked car in a deserted parking lot preferably on a hilltop overlooking the city. Romantic right? Sure, until the Hook Man shows up to kill you for your sinful ways.
This urban legend can be easily traced back to the 1950’s. A time when parents were actively trying to prevent mischievous teens from having to much fun. The big plan was to scare them into thinking that anyone not married and even thinking of trying to have sex would be brutally murdered. Parents enlisted the aid of a hooked avenger as the mascot for this gruesome tale.
The talk from your parents usually went like this: “I heard the barbers nephew had a second cousin that lived the next town over brought his girlfriend up to Lovers Lane. They were both found dead the next morning! Body parts everywhere. The deputy had problems figuring out which part went with who. It isn’t safe to take your date up there. Good kids don’t find themselves dead.” It wasn’t exactly easy to Google the story to see if it was true. That was the point. They just wanted to scare the hell out of you.
When the Hook Man legend started off, he was flesh and blood. A horribly hateful man that would hunt and dismember his victims. Before the internet, the world felt a lot smaller. Word of mouth was how news traveled. The first recorded mention of Hook Man was from a Dear Abby. The story goes that two teens were making out in a popular make out location. The music from the radio is abruptly cut off by an announcement warning that an escaped convict was in the area. This news scares the couple and they decide to leave. When they arrive at her place, the boyfriend goes around the car to open the passenger side car door for his date, where he finds a bloody hook dangling from the door handle. The horrifying realization dawns on them that they have just narrowly escaped death.
Later accounts of the Hook Man legend often do not end as well for the couple. You will find many versions where they hear the sound of metal being scrapped, presumably by the hook, and this is what finally scares the couple enough to leave. Other versions the male in the car is killed in front of his screaming girlfriend. Some versions, neither one survive the attack.
The Hook Man became a perfect fodder for the growing popularity in horror fiction. Movie screens showcased the Hook Man as more than a man, a ghost that could materialize anywhere. He was no longer trapped to terrorize teens in cars, though he still always seemed to prefer this location. Old habits die hard.
Horror books and TV series have also burrowed heavily from this chilling tale.
How did the Hook Man lose his hand in the first place and why would he be so upset with teens making out? There are many variations to this urban legend. Here’s my favorite version.
Pre-Hook Man and his girlfriend get into a horrible accident on a back road in which his true love dies. Not only does he loose the love of his life, but also his hand. He is so hurt and tormented he can’t stand to see others happy and in love where he became so miserable and alone. He starts to kill lovers who make out on the same road he lost everything. He chooses a hook for his hand as a symbol of his now dark twisted heart.
What’s better than a man with a hook for a hand killing misbehaving teens? A ghost with a hood for a hand killing misbehaving teens!
The legend of the Hook Man even appears in a hit TV series ‘Supernatural‘. In season 1 episode 7 Sam and Dean, the main characters in this thrilling show, encounter the ghost of the Hook Man and have to destroy the silver hook he once used in life to kill 13 prostitutes. I wont spoil the episode for you in case you haven’t gotten around to seeing it yet, but of course, it was harder to do than they first expected it would be. Isn’t it always the way?
The Hook Man has been around for a few decades and I would bet good money that he will be around for many more. He will continue to invade the movies we watch, the books we read and the horror stories we listen to around a campfire on dark moonless nights. He is a fantastic thrilling cast member who comes with his own props.