The Phantom Barber: The Strange Crime Spree That Will Have You Scratching Your Head

In 1942, the Mississippi coastal town of Pascagoula was the site of a strange and creepy series of crimes that left the police pulling their hair out. Pascagoula's "Phantom Barber" didn't rob, kill, or attack anyone - he just cut their hair.

The Phantom Barber

The Phantom Barber's first attack took place at the convent of Our Lady of Victory, where two young girls, Mary Evelyn Briggs and Edna Marie Hydel, were awakened by the sound of a man crawling out of their bedroom window. None of the girls were injured, but they were horrified to see that the locks of her hair had been taken away. Briggs told police about the man, but a few days later, six-year-old Carol Petty learned that her hair was missing. When her parents and the police investigate, they find that the window screen of Carol's bedroom was cracked.

Attacks Continue
The next incident was even more bizarre. A few days later, Terrell Heidelberg and his wife are woken in the night by an intruder whom Mr. Heidelberg attempts to fight, but the criminal hits the couple with an iron pipe and escapes without a hair. The assault was blamed on the Phantom Barber, although it may have been an unrelated crime. In the end, the Phantom Barber definitely killed Mrs. Taylor, who was choked with chloroform while getting her hair cut. No one has ever seen the Phantom except Briggs.

William Dolana

After weeks of terror, police capture William Dolan, a German-born chemist. According to reports, he recently had a disagreement with Heidelberg, which may have led to his attack. Police also discovered human hair near his home, and, of course, in the 1940s with no DNA test available to determine the origin of the hair, its presence was enough to make Dolan suspicious. He was arrested and charged with assault and attempted murder, but maintained his innocence, insisting that as an outspoken German sympathizer, he was targeted for his political views. It is true that many in Pascagoula suspected that he was a Nazi operative sent to sabotage American infrastructure, although it is unclear how cutting the hair of little girls would disrupt the American war effort.

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