Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Defying "The Claw"....


You may remember this old urban legend from the 1950's, as recounted on the website http://urbanlegends.about.com....

A teenage boy drove his date to a dark and deserted Lovers' Lane for a make-out session. After turning on the radio for mood music, he leaned over and began kissing the girl.

A short while later, the music suddenly stopped and an announcer's voice came on, warning in an urgent tone that a convicted murderer had just escaped from the state insane asylum — which happened to be located not far from Lovers' Lane — and that anyone who noticed a strange man lurking about with a hook in place of his right hand should immediately report his whereabouts to the police.

The girl became frightened and asked to be taken home. The boy, feeling bold, locked all the doors instead and, assuring his date they would be safe, attempted to kiss her again. She became frantic and pushed him away, insisting that they leave. Relenting, the boy peevishly jerked the car into gear and spun its wheels as he pulled out of the parking space.

When they arrived at the girl's house she got out of the car, and, reaching to close the door, began to scream uncontrollably. The boy ran to her side to see what was wrong and there, dangling from the door handle, was a bloody hook.

Well, at least when I was in high school, these kinds of stories were still being told. And we took full advantage of them, creeping ourselves out and then laughing hysterically.

Now, at our local amusement park there was a merry-go-round that had a chicken you could ride on that had big, nasty looking claws. I know... chickens instead of horses on a merry-go-round is a stupid idea, but that's what it was! To be fair, they also had a deer with antlers and a goat. Hey, it was Iowa for god's sake! Can I help where I was born?

(Image from Carousels USA, San Antonio Roller Works)

Anyway, as teenagers we started changing around the infamous "hook" story to incorporate "The Claw" as inspired by the merry-go-round chicken. (Yeah, we had lots of time on our hands.) We made up one story in which "The Claw" lived in a local cemetery and lurked in a tree to surprise unsuspecting mourners who sat on a bench beneath it. Those who sat there risked having their eyes gouged out and their throats slit by the clawed hand that would come sweeping down out of the tree.

So one summer night, a friend and I were out for a drive in the country in his mom's 1968 Mustang convertible. We had the bright idea to go to one of those little country cemeteries where we would "defy the claw" by sitting on a bench under an old gnarly oak tree. To further create the ambiance we were looking for, we had waited until it was a new moon so that it would be totally dark.

We backed into the cemetery lane for a quick get-a-way. We turned the engine off, killed the lights and took the keys with us... wouldn't want anyone sneaking up and stealing the keys while we were away from the car, after all! The rule was you couldn't resort to using a flashlight because that would be cheating. Cautiously, and giggling hysterically, we crept past the tombstones to reach the bench. We had previously determined we would have to sit there for at least 15 minutes for it to count as having "defied the claw." We sat down, but we dared not look up into the overhanging branches of the tree.

Just as we were getting settled down from our giggling fit, we heard something...

A loud shout and a scream came from the back of the cemetery! We screamed in return and leaped off the bench, pushing each other out of the way to be the first back into the car. Luckily we had the top down, so no time was wasted opening doors. As the engine roared to life, lights came on behind us and another car roared into action! We peeled out of the cemetery as fast as the car would go, our hearts beating wildly and our eyes streaming with tears as we laughed uncontrollably...

Turns out we weren't the only ones "defying The Claw" at the cemetery that night. And I'll bet we weren't the last either!

20 comments:

The Vegetable Assassin said...

I am chomping at the bit to make an "I love riding giant cocks!" joke but I'm too ladylike for such a thing. However, riding on a giant carousel chicken sounds like a good time to me. No one in Iowa needs mushrooms or LSD with carousels like that!

Quirkyloon said...

Dang woman!

The next thing I know you're going to have the Deliverance song playing in here!

Yeesh!

Spooky!

The Peach Tart said...

creepy

KaLynn said...

We had a glowing headstone that if you laid on the grave would feel like ants were biting you. Of course, one of my childhood buddies had to try it out. We were on a double date and made it to the cemetary we had to watch him lay on it. Then he started screaming that it hurt and we all ran and ran to the car. He was such a prankster! But I have NEVER been back to there at night again! It's been 40 years and I don't think I have missed it at all! =0)

Moooooog35 said...

"..and to this day, McNuggets horrify me."

idifficult said...

Chickens on a merry-go-round? So traditional! Ah well, more seating space than a hamster I suppose.

Summer said...

You're going to scare us all week. Aren't you?

Eternally Distracted said...

*shiver*

Lee the Hot Flash Queen said...

That is a GREAT story!! I never would have tried to defy the claw!! LOL!

CatLadyLarew said...

Veggie Assassin: "I love riding giant cocks..." Always a ladylike statement! Love it! And so apropos! Tee hee! I left Iowa behind about 30 years ago, so haven't been back recently to check on the claw.

Quirky: So you wanna hear about my Deliverance canoe trip next? Nah, just kidding... I scared the beejesus out of you enough for one week!

Peach Tart: Creepy indeed... perfect teenage thing to do. Now that I'm mature I would never think of doing such a thing... or would I?

KaLynn: Aw... you never went back? Has that guy been in therapy ever since?

Moooooog: McNuggets are definitely off the menu!

idifficult: I tried sitting on the invisible zebra, but I kept falling off.

Summer: Not to worry... I'm plum out of scary stories... besides, I'm too scared to write them now anyway!

Distracted: *shivers* along with you!

Lee: I'll call you the next time we go & you can come along!

rxBambi said...

AHahahaha! Very creepy! I'd do it tho... at least I would have when I was in high school. Maybe not so much now...

IndigoWrath said...

We had the Green Hand when I was a kid, and scared each other at school by saying it lived in a particular tree... boogieboogieboogie! It was always daylight when we did this, but it still scared us. We were dumb kids.

CatLadyLarew said...

Bambi: You, me, a '68 'Stang and we're in business! (But I'll warn you, I don't move as fast as I used to!)

Indigo: I'll be on the lookout for the Green Hand! OOooooOOOOOooooOOOo! Did you ever read the book Tom by Tomi DePaola? It's a kids' book where he tells about using cut off chicken legs to scare people. Hilarious!

sandbox gems said...

We used to spook ourselves out by pitching a tent in my friends back yard for a sleepover and then watching "Halloween" and "Friday the 13th". We never lasted the whole night in the yard.

CatLadyLarew said...

sandbox gems: What the hell... I still can't make it all the way through "Halloween" or "Friday the 13th", let alone a night in the tent on Halloween!

ReformingGeek said...

It's smart to stay away from cemeteries.

;-)

Brian Miller said...

oh...i love that story...bwahaha!

Phillipia said...

Another night without sleep - thanks CatLady:(

Canadian Blend said...

Our version of the hook story took place at Camp Hook, a Boy Scout camp not too far from where I grew up.

One of the little towns near us had a road called "Weir Road" where odd things were supposed to happen. Some buddies and I drove down it a couple of times but never encountered anything too mystical. (You couldn't have paid any of us to go into a cemetery at night.)

CatLadyLarew said...

Reffie: I'll go to cemeteries, but not on Halloween!

Brian: Bwahaha wasn't exactly what we were saying at the time!

Phillipia: Sorry about that! Won't G-man protect you!

Canadian Blend: Camp Hook! I like it!

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