Crazy Harry

By Ralph Bland (Author of several books sold at East Side Story)

It was on those October nights after dinner and just before Halloween back in the day when Mrs. Glowaski would sit on her front porch and tell us stories that made our eyes get wide and start looking around at what might be watching us out there in the dark.

There was the story about the Old Striped Woman and the Killer Clown from the circus, but our favorite was always Crazy Harry, who, Mrs. Glowaski said, had escaped from the asylum and now lived down on the banks of the Cumberland River catching fish and possums and rabbits for food and murdering anybody who came near him; which was the thing he liked doing best.

“Oh, the police tried to catch him for years,” Mrs. Glowaski said, “but he was just too smart for them. He’d kill some fisherman and they’d all come out looking for him, but he knew where all the caves were, and sometimes he’d even leave the river and live in people’s garages and barns. They even said he lived over at Spring Hill Cemetery for a while. People would see some man in an old army jacket with a hat pulled over his eyes down by the tombstones at sunrise or sunset, but all you had to do was blink and he’d be gone, and you’d wonder if you ever really saw something to begin with.”

“But he was there, all right,” Mrs. Glowaski would tell us. “You just ask that boy and girl who went down there to park one night and be alone with each other like couples do. You could ask them about Crazy Harry and if he was anywhere around, but the thing of it is they couldn’t tell you.”

“Why?” we’d ask. “Why couldn’t they tell us?”

“Cause they can’t talk no more,” Mrs. Glowaski said. “Cause they’re dead. Cause the police found them the next morning hanging from a tree with their eyes cut out. And the police and the newspapers and the TV news never said nothing about it at all because they didn’t want everybody knowing Crazy Harry was out there loose and nobody could catch him.”

And she’d look us all over, up and down, making sure we knew.

“And they never did catch him,” she said. “He’s still out there, down on the Cumberland’s banks, or roaming around Spring Hill, or maybe in your garage … waiting for one of you to come along.”

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