Last month, we set out to explore the weirdest, most inexplicable, and truly bizarre crimes that are lurking in each state’s history. In Part One, we discovered a case of spontaneous combustion, an unkillable man, a boy hiding inside walls, and other notorious cases. Read on to see if your state is on the list. And if yours isn't here, stay tuned: we’ll keep going with the series until we’ve uncovered the most baffling crimes to ever take place in every single state.
Mississippi—William A. Dolan and the Phantom Barber
On June 5, 1942, an unidentified stalker broke into Our Lady of Victories Convent and cut the hair of two girls while they slept. The Phantom Barber would strike usually on a Monday or a Friday, all cutting the hair of young blond girls. Sometimes he would only take a lock or two, but other times, he’d take nearly all their hair—but never touching them otherwise—and the only evidence he left behind was a single footprint.
After terrorizing the community with eight more attacks, the stalker broke into the home of an elderly couple and brutally attacked them. Police eventually charged William A. Dolan after finding a collection of human hair near his home. He was only convicted of attacking the couple and many believe that the incident wasn’t related to the Phantom Barber. Even though the attacks stopped after Dolan’s arrest, there’s no evidence that the Phantom Barber was ever caught.
Related: 5 Creepy Unsolved Mysteries You’ve Likely Never Heard About
Tennessee—Nina Craigmiles' Bloodstained Crypt
After seven-year-old Nina Craigmiles was killed on August 18, 1871, her father spared no expense to ensure she would be remembered. He purchased the land both Nina and her mother had been born on in Cleveland, Tennessee—just blocks from where Nina had died—and built a Gothic revival style church on the property. He also spent the same amount to build an elaborate tomb made of imported Italian white Carrera marble.
Cleveland wasn’t kind to the Craigmiles family. After Nina’s death, her father died slipping on ice and her mother was hit by a car. They were both interred in the tomb with Nina. Shortly after the entire family was at rest, mysterious red blotches appeared on the crypt. No matter how frequently they’re scrubbed away, the stains reappear and are still visible today.
Related: 16 Unsolved True Crime Cases that Haunt Our Readers
Oregon—The Missing Multi-Million Memorabilia Collection
Dennis Walker began an investment company in Medford, Oregon, in June 1980. Over the years, he gained the trust of multiple wealthy investors and even convinced his employees to invest their hard-earned paychecks with him. But rather than using the money investors gave him legally, he began to buy rare and expensive sports memorabilia, even going so far as to open a museum in the mid-1980s.
Police began investigating his activities and charged him with fraud and racketeering in April 1986, even though not a single investor would testify. Believing police would seize his collection, Walker packed it into a van and disappeared. Over a year later, his body was discovered in a Las Vegas hotel room. To this day, only $120,000 of the reported $10 million collection has been recovered.
Related: Hands Up! 10 Heists that Netted Millions (and Billions)
Indiana—The 63-Hour Hostage Situation
In 1977, Anthony “Tony” Kiritsis fell behind on his mortgage payments to an Indianapolis, Indiana bank. When the bank failed to give him extra time to pay, Kiritsis became obsessed with the idea that Richard Hall, the bank president, wanted the property for himself. On Tuesday, February 8, Kiritsis went into Hall’s office and wired a shotgun to the back of Hall’s head with another wire connecting his hand to the trigger.
Kiritsis marched Hall out of the bank and through downtown Indianapolis, warning everyone to stay away from the pair. For the next 63 hours—most of which were spent in Kiritsis’ apartment—he held Hall hostage. Because Kiritsis was in frequent contact with a local radio station, almost the entire kidnapping was broadcast before Kiritsis agreed to let Hall go if he admitted to wrong-doing and paid him $5 million. He was immediately arrested but found not guilty by reason of insanity.
Texas—Lisa Nowak, the Star-Crossed Astronaut
Lisa Nowak was a Navy Captain and astronaut who went to space in July 2006 for twelve days. But after she came back to Earth, her marriage disintegrated thanks to an extramarital affair. Unfortunately, that too fell apart when the man she was seeing began dating someone else. Rather than walk away, Nowak stalked the other woman for weeks.
On February 4, 2007, she loaded her car with zip-ties, a knife, latex gloves, a drilling hammer, pepper spray, and more. She donned a black wig, a trench coat, and allegedly wore adult diapers as she traveled nonstop from Houston to Orlando where she attacked the woman with pepper spray in an airport parking garage before being arrested and charged with attempted kidnapping, battery, attempted vehicle burglary, and destruction of evidence.
California—The Tunneling Burglars
When an alarm was triggered at the Hollywood First Interstate Bank on the evening of June 6, 1986, the police on call didn’t identify any signs of a break-in. But when employees opened the bank on Monday, they were shocked to discover a hole in the vault floor and over $2 million was missing. Someone had tunneled over 30 yards, stopped directly under the vault, and cut through reinforced concrete with hand tools.
Investigators discovered that the thieves had used the underground sewer tunnels to tunnel undetected into the vault. They left no clues other than how structurally sound their work was. Over a year later, they struck again but triggered the alarm mid-robbery. During the investigation, a third, unused tunnel was discovered directly below another bank. No one was ever named as a suspect or arrested.
Related: The 10 Scariest Tunnels in the World
Utah—Jean Baptiste, the Missing Grave Robber
In January 1862, police discovered a recently buried corpse was missing his clothes and personal effects. Their investigation led them to question the gravedigger, Jean Baptiste. Suspicious over a number of stacked boxes in his home, they were shocked to find clothing for men, women, and children, jewelry, over 60 pairs of shoes, and personal items from over 300 graves.
He was convicted of grave robbing, but the town was so outraged, that they had to move him to a remote island in the Great Salt Lake to avoid lynch mobs. But three weeks later, Baptiste was gone without a trace. Years later, they found human remains with an iron clamp on its leg, but Baptiste had never been shackled so it’s unclear whether he escaped or was murdered.
Oklahoma—The Kidnapped Accomplice
Bobbi Parker is the wife of a deputy warden Randy Parker who lived next door to the Oklahoma State Reformatory. She worked with prisoners over the years in various rehabilitation programs, so it wasn’t unusual when Parker began working with Randolph Dial in a new art program.
On August 30, 1994, Bobbi left a sandwich with a note that she went shopping. When she didn’t come home later, it was also discovered that Dial never reported back to his cell. Outside of a few phone calls, no one heard from her until she and Dial were found on a chicken ranch in East Texas. She was charged and convicted of aiding and abetting in Dial’s escape but maintains she was held, hostage.
Alabama—Naked Ronald Reagan Peeping Tom
Reality television star Danielle Yancey was enjoying a quiet evening on New Year’s Eve with her husband in their Alabama home when the unimaginable happened. They noticed movement on their back porch and saw a man wearing nothing but a sock on his genitals and a Ronald Reagan mask.
They printed photos from their security camera and eventually, the culprit came forward. A group of teenage boys had been streaking through the neighborhood as a prank, but when the masked man was caught on camera, he decided it was best to come clean and apologize.
Vermont—The Bennington Triangle
Between 1945 and 1950, five different people on five unrelated and separate occasions vanished in the exact same area without a trace. Varying in age from eight years old to seventy-four years old, these individuals disappeared under strange circumstances and have yet to be found despite having several hundred National Guard troops search for several of them.
To this day, these cases continue to baffle people and cause endless speculation. New England author Joseph Citro named the area the Bennington Triangle and attributes the disappearances to local folklore and possible paranormal events. Some claim they’ve seen UFOs in the area while others believe they’ve seen the legendary Big Foot roaming the mountains. The most logical arguments say it has to be the work of a serial killer who then moved on before getting caught.
Featured image: Morgan Lane / Unsplash