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In this era, podcasts are re-opening cold cases of murder and mystery with sometimes surprising results. Recently the series Serial was the center of attention. In this case Adnan Syed, the subject at the center of the podcast, was sentenced to prison for the murder of a high school classmate. However the evidence seemed to point in multiple directions. Many who heard the podcast believed him to be innocent – or at least not guilty to the standard of “beyond a shadow of a doubt.”

And in the summer of 2022 Syed was released from prison as a judge determined that the case against him was insufficient to prove his guilt.

We know these stories are true, but the slasher films like Friday the 13th, Halloween, and Nightmare on Elm Street? They HAVE to be made up, right?


There’s a kernel of truth in the Nightmare story

The wildly imaginative mind behind the Nightmare series is horror legend Wes Craven. Known for the classic horror films Scream and the Nightmare series, there are few names better known in the horror genre. And few would doubt him if he said he invented the story.

But that’s not what he said, when he was asked. It turns out that he read an article in the LA Times in 1988 that inspired the series.

There was a series of unexplained deaths that was reported in the article. The mystery was not just that these mysterious deaths were happening to southeast Asian immigrants, all but a few of them men. The even greater mystery was that the deaths all happened at night while the men were asleep.

A rash of unexplained deaths – 104 of them – defied medical explanation and left doctors scratching their heads.

And while doctors were supporting issues related to diet or genetic defects, Craven proposed an alternative answer.

In his version, they were hunted in their sleep and murdered by a man with a taste for violence and a hand of razor-sharp knife blades. The man we know today as Freddy Krueger.

Next Halloween, when you are asking yourself if you want to go to sleep, you can’t tell yourself it’s all fiction – because it isn’t!

Photo by Craig Adderley:

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