Urban Legends Wednesday – The Mad Gasser of Mattoon

The Mad Gasser of Mattoon

The Mad Gasser of Mattoon

At approx. 11pm on the 31st of August 1944 Mrs Bert Kearny woke to find that her bedroom had a sickening sweet smell, it was after that, the terror gripped her as she realized she was completely paralyzed from head to toe. The smell grew stronger and fear caused her to scream out. At that moment her husband was returning from his night shift job when he noticed a figure standing outside their bedroom window. He shouted and then gave chase, but the person was far too quick to catch and made a quick getaway. A short time after the fragrance that filled the room began to dissipate and Mrs Kearny regained the function of her body once again.

For the next 11 days this type of incident became commonplace around Mattoon. All witnesses who seen the entity described it as tall, think, dressed in black and with a tight fitting cap. The entity soon became known as “The Mad Gasser of Mattoon” All of the “attacks” where similar in nature, the assailant would spray the sickening fragrance through the victims bedroom window and they would all become paralyzed, some would feel sick, other would have burning sensations on their skin.

During its 11 day reign of terror it was mainly active in the evening, though like in Mrs Kearny’s case there was a few daytime reports. It was completely elusive to all attempts from police to capture it until after 11 days the local police put out a statement claiming that the reports of the gasser had been faked and that local hysteria was to blame.

The local people who claimed to have been attacked claimed that the police where merely covering up their own incompetence in being able to capture the gasser and had simply tried to sweep the whole thing under the carpet. What did the victims, or at least the first reporter Mr Kearney have to gain from inventing a story like this, and also who did her husband see at the window and give chase to?

What do you think? Is this simply an urban legend? or is there more to this story than mets the eye. Let us know in the comments below.

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