I’ll be honest. When I was planning out this week’s posts, this topic was not one of the topics I had originally researched and planned out but when I read about this urban legend in Texas, I had to look into it. It was something I had never heard of before and the fact that it is rooted in truth made me really interested in the topic. So, sit back, grab something sweet to nibble on, and let’s dive into the story of the The Candy Lady of Terrell, Texas.
From 1903 to 1913, eight kids went missing from the small town of Terrell, Texas. The adults didn’t understand how the kids disappeared in the middle of the night until some of the older children confessed a secret they had been keeping for years. These kids would tell their parents that occasionally when they would wake up, they would find candy sitting on their window sill. Either written on the candy’s wrapper or on a piece of paper left with the candy was a message saying: “Can you come out to play? From The Candy Lady”. Worried that if they said anything, the candy would stop coming, so the kids stay quiet about it for years.
While searching for the missing kids, some odd things happened. The first weird thing to happen was when a farmer was working in one of his fields found a random candy wrapper on the ground. When he picked it up, he was horrified to find it was filled with rotten children’s teeth. The next odd thing to happen was when a police officer disappeared while investigating the disappearance of the children. A few weeks later, the body of the police officer was found in a ditch. The officer’s pockets were fully of candy and both of his eyes had been stabbed with forks.
So who was the Candy Lady and why was she taking kids? Many of the townsfolk assumed the Candy Lady was Clara Crane. Clara Crane was born in 1871. In the mid 1880s, Clara married an older man named Leonard Gilbert Crane and quickly gave birth to their only child, Marcella. The three of them lived on a farm on the outskirts of Terrell. When Marcella was 5 years old, she went out into the fields with her father while he worked. Tragically though, one day in 1893, she didn’t come home. Marcella was killed in a farming accident while under the supervision of her father. Clara blamed her husband, Leonard, for Marcella’s death. Clara stewed in her anger and hatred of her husband for two years before deciding on her revenge. Clara made some special caramels for her husband that were laced with a poison.
After his death, Clara was charged with first degree murder. Instead of going to jail, the court sentenced her to North Texas Lunatic Asylum where she stayed until 1899. During her stay at the asylum, Clara’s doctors noted that she had shredded her bedsheets and made a doll out of the fabric which she called Marcy (her daughter’s nickname). Clara would speak and sing to her doll as if it was her true daughter. In a letter to her sister, Clara talked about her life at the asylum and how she would be released soon. The quote below is a portion of the letter she sent to her sister.
“Dearest Aggie, I am elated! I have been informed by Doctor Matthews that Marcy and I will be returning home in less than three weeks! As you can imagine, Marcy can barely contain her excitement. Every night she asks “Is tomorrow the day when we go home, Mother?” Very soon I will be able to tell her “Yes”. Our stay here has been somewhat of a trial, though I have been grateful to the good Doctor and his staff in their dedication to our treatment and recover. Leonard’s death had put us in such a severe state of melancholy that I feared we would never escape it. These past few years have been more difficult than any in my life. And my dear Marcella, after all that she has had to endure, has become my strength, my flame of hope…”~Clara Crane
In 1899, Clara was released from the asylum due to overcrowding. Since Clara was considered to be well behaved and soft spoken, her doctors felt that she wouldn’t be a threat to anyone outside of the asylum. After she was released from the asylum, no one knows what happened to Clara.
So was Clara the Candy Lady? Do you think she took the children to try and replace her own daughter? What do you think? Let me know in the comments below. During my research, I heard that many older folks would warn naughty children to not take candy from strangers or else the Candy Lady would take them. To me, this sounds like a creepy twist on the tooth fairy legend. Do you know of any other creepy urban legends? I would love to hear about them.