The Town That Dreaded Sundown
Terror In Texarkana Twilight
Silvery, Cold Moonlight and Night Conspire To Create an Eerie Sense of Foreboding and Terror.
For the night stalkers of the world – the serial killers, the sexual predators – a moonlit night provides just enough illumination to see the prey, but not so much light that the victim can easily identify the assailant.
Presuming the victim remains alive, of course.
Texarkana was a throwback village in the mid 20th Century. The town not only straddled two state lines (Texas and Arkansas) it also straddled two distinct states of mind: the wild, lawless Texan and the hillbilly fussin’ of Arkansawyers.
Taxarkana .. The enduring legend began not with death, but with a frightening and vicious attack on two young lovers who managed to survive.
On a February night in 1946, 24-year-old Jimmy Hollis and his girlfriend Mary Jeanne Larey, 19, had attended a downtown movie, then decided to prolong the evening with a romantic visit to a secluded lane on the edge of town. They had, according to the story the young woman would later tell authorities, been parked no more than 10 minutes, when a man, his face hidden beneath a white hood, approached the car, pointing a flashlight and pistol at them.
She would recall the assailant telling her boyfriend, “I don’t want to kill you, fella, so do what I say.” He then ordered both of them out of the car, angrily demanding that Hollis remove his trousers. Then, with the young man clad only in his boxer shorts, the attacker hit him twice in the head, knocking him unconscious. When Larey tearfully tried to convince the gunman that they had no money, even pulling a billfold from her date’s discarded pants to show him, she, too, was struck in the head. Bleeding and dazed, her screams echoed through the woods as the man then sexually assaulted her with the barrel of his gun.
It was when Hollis began to regain consciousness that her attacker’s attention was diverted long enough for the young woman to get to her feet and run. The intruder quickly caught up to her and hit her in the head again. “I remember looking up at him and saying, ‘Go ahead and kill me,'” she later said. Then, for reasons she would never know, the masked man suddenly turned away and disappeared into the darkness.