A newspaper article dated November 1, 1959 serves as the only surviving firsthand account of what happened inside the house at 821 Hyde St. on a night now known for the Hyde Street Massacre.
Details are limited to a few words uttered in a hospital emergency room by a man who, nurses would later say, was missing his face and at least one limb. Police reported that the scene was grisly and that the house looked like a twisted, sickening carnival exhibit gone horribly wrong. Some neighbors saw it coming and can still recall how the bloodshed began
The year was 1933. The Great Depression was changing America’s economic landscape, and money was tight. Groceries were hard to come by, so it wasn’t surprising that children in small towns weren’t spending money to make Halloween costumes. Ten-year old Otis Hatcher loved Halloween, though, and found ways to bring it to his neighborhood. Otis found scraps of cardboard, pumpkins, old metal signs, sticks and torn sheets to make scarecrows and other scary decorations for his yard. He even did odd jobs just so he could buy penny candy to hand out Halloween night. The children came, and their parents praised Otis for his generosity in providing a little Halloween fun during such depressing times. Otis was very happy. Years went by, then decades. Otis’ father mysteriously died and Velda, his mother, became a gypsy, so Otis lived in his childhood house alone.