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Man who killed his son and Halloween


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I'll never forget the Halloween in the mid 70's in Houston because a guy named O'Bryan had laced some candy with poison and gave it to both of his kids for the insurance money. Luckily the daughter did not consume the fatal treat, but the son did. I think he was from Deer Park or Pasadena (Houston Area).

All of this sucked because of the unrightiousness of O'Bryan, the death of his son, the marks for life for his daughter and family, the fact that O'Bryan received the glorious nickname "the candyman," and the fact that O'Bryan was The Man who killed halloween that way it used to be.

What hit me the hardest was O'Bryan's son was one year younger than myself.

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yep..definately took a lot of the fun out of halloween.

http://www.chron.com/CDA/archives/archive....id=2004_3813766

The 8-year-old Deer Park boy died Oct. 31, 1974, after eating trick-or-treat candy laced with cyanide. Within days, his father, Ronald Clark O'Bryan, stood accused of staging the crime as part of a life insurance scheme.

With his wife testifying for the prosecution, O'Bryan was convicted and sentenced to death. Dubbed the "Candy Man" by fellow prisoners, he was executed by lethal injection in 1984.

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yep..definately took a lot of the fun out of halloween.

http://www.chron.com/CDA/archives/archive....id=2004_3813766

Exactly! Halloween the way we knew it was gone! Especially in Houston. I was getting to the age where it was debatable whether I would dress up or not, but my brother was devastated. We were forced to start having home parties with the people we knew. No more "Trick or Treat."

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Exactly! Halloween the way we knew it was gone! Especially in Houston. I was getting to the age where it was debatable whether I would dress up or not, but my brother was devastated. We were forced to start having home parties with the people we knew. No more "Trick or Treat."

luckily we lived on a close knit street and knew a lot of the neighbors.

it did cut down on outside kids coming onto our street.

i remember it being pretty deserted on a lot of halloweens after most of us kids on the block got older.

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I once interviewed a TDCJ inmate who was in prison for murder. He was taken in about the same time Ronald Clark O'Bryan was arrested (or sent to prison, I can't remember). Either way, he knew him back in the '70s.

He said O'Bryan was often a victim of beatings at the hands of other prisoners. Inmates don't take too kindly to crimes committed against kids and women, from what I was told.

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I was raised in Deer Park. I remember that it was just about illegal to trick or treat. You had to go to the Civic Center or to the mall in Pasadena. Over time, people sort of forgot and have let up on it all. I remember working at a Deer Park grocery store in high school and them not stocking extra candy around Halloween- and that was in 1997! You can easily find candy, as it pretty much has been pushed to the back of everyone's minds. Personally, I like Pixie Sticks, even as early as last year, Wal-greens wasn't too keen on selling/stocking extra supplies of them during the month of October.

BTW, although it's moved location a few times, the Wal-greens is the only store in Deer Park still around that sold candy in 1974. The Wiengartens became a Gerland's (now a Food Town), and everything else kind of died away.

Edited by lunchbox
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I can remember reports of razor blades and glass inside of candy apples and popcorn balls back then also. I remember never eating candy that wasn't wrapped, I remember throwing away the candy that was in the orange and black wrappers because they were terrible. I remember that people that gave change instead of candy got a "trick".

My only question is that this is August, what the heck brought this on Enviro ?

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My only question is that this is August, what the heck brought this on Enviro ?

I was looking through some old pics and saw a photo of one of the Halloween Party's that took the place of Trick or Treating after that happened. The pic just sparked a sad memory. It's sad that everybody had to suffer because of that tragedy!

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  • 2 weeks later...

O'Bryan was supposably once worked at the TSO

in Meyerland. That where I first got specs when I moved

to Houston. I might have even seen the guy at some

point.. The boat shed where a lot of the Dean Corll

bodies were dug up is not far from here.

Yep, halloween went dead after pixie man did his deed..

But also.. The 4th of July has always been lame in

Houston. Why? Cuz ever since I've lived here, fireworks

have been illegal. In KS, etc when I was young, we could

and did shoot fireworks anywhere we danged well pleased.

That all ended when we moved to Houston. They had

banned fireworks in like 68? or something like that

due to too many houses burning down. And much of

that was due to the dangerous wood shake shingles

many houses used back then.

MK

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O'Bryan was supposably once worked at the TSO

in Meyerland. That where I first got specs when I moved

to Houston. I might have even seen the guy at some

point.. The boat shed where a lot of the Dean Corll

bodies were dug up is not far from here.

Yep, halloween went dead after pixie man did his deed..

But also.. The 4th of July has always been lame in

Houston. Why? Cuz ever since I've lived here, fireworks

have been illegal. In KS, etc when I was young, we could

and did shoot fireworks anywhere we danged well pleased.

That all ended when we moved to Houston. They had

banned fireworks in like 68? or something like that

due to too many houses burning down. And much of

that was due to the dangerous wood shake shingles

many houses used back then.

MK

Houston outlawed fireworks in the early 70s, after an especially hot, dry and horrible Fourth of July, when more than two dozen houses burned down IN ONE DAY. Investigations showed ALL the fires were started by bottle-rockets and other fireworks that landed on wood shingle roofs. That was the last straw for fireworks in Houston. It's been illegal to sell and even possess them ever since.

It took a few more years and more big fires for City Council to finally outlaw wood shingle roofs. That happened in the mid 80s, after the Woodway Square Apartment complex fire. The entire complex at Woodway and Voss had wood shake shingles and it burned to the ground -- hundreds of units. After that, City Council changed the city building code, and said no new houses could be built with wood shingles. Existing wood shingle roofs were grand-fathered, but they could be replaced only with composition shingles.

Personally, I don't miss fireworks one bit. They're much too dangerous for children -- ask any hospital emergency room doctor or nurse to describe some of the fireworks injuries they treat. They're also a gigantic nuisance for people who don't enjoy them having to put up with inconsiderate neighbors shooting them off far into the night. Adults who do that, or allow their kids to do it, really need to grow up. Professional fireworks displays are enough for me.

Edited by FilioScotia
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Personally, I don't miss fireworks one bit. They're much too dangerous for children -- ask any hospital emergency room doctor or nurse to describe some of the fireworks injuries they treat. They're also a gigantic nuisance for people who don't enjoy them having to put up with inconsiderate neighbors shooting them off far into the night. Adults who do that, or allow their kids to do it, really need to grow up. Professional fireworks displays are enough for me.

I think fireworks displays are absolutely beautiful. However, the primary chemicals used to make them are terrible for our environment. And the secondary the air pollution and heavy metals fallout caused by them is even worse for our environment and us as well.

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I'll never forget the Halloween in the mid 70's in Houston because a guy named O'Bryan had laced some candy with poison and gave it to both of his kids for the insurance money. Luckily the daughter did not consume the fatal treat, but the son did. I think he was from Deer Park or Pasadena (Houston Area).

All of this sucked because of the unrightiousness of O'Bryan, the death of his son, the marks for life for his daughter and family, the fact that O'Bryan received the glorious nickname "the candyman," and the fact that O'Bryan was The Man who killed halloween that way it used to be.

What hit me the hardest was O'Bryan's son was one year younger than myself.

I remember it well since I grew in Pasadena. Before OBryan we were able to visit strangers houses, host halloween games and parties in your garage, enjoy homemade treats, etc. Then nothing.

I'm in another forum that is national. Some how this topic came up on that forum last year. I was surprised that the majority of people had always thought that this story was an urban legend since they were much younger than me and not raised in Houston. They didn't know that Halloween died because of a real case and a real child's murder. One girl called her mom to apologize for calling her paranoid every Halloween.

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I'm in another forum that is national. Some how this topic came up on that forum last year. I was surprised that the majority of people had always thought that this story was an urban legend since they were much younger than me and not raised in Houston. They didn't know that Halloween died because of a real case and a real child's murder. One girl called her mom to apologize for calling her paranoid every Halloween.

Your kidding! An urban legend.....I thought this case hit nationaly news. You would think so anyway. How about that media?

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Your kidding! An urban legend.....I thought this case hit nationaly news. You would think so anyway. How about that media?

Well, it has been more than 30 years. That's a generation. It happened before the entire generation of today's adults under the age of 30 was even born. It's easy to understand how something as grotesque and horrifying as poisoning your own children on Halloween could spill over into the world of urban legends. I'm not justifying it. Just trying to explain it.

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Exactly, the people I'm speaking of were probably 33 at the oldest and not necessarily from Houston or Texas. So to them it wasn't news. They weren't born yet or were very, very young.

To us 39 year olds living where it happened, it was all too real.

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luckily we lived on a close knit street and knew a lot of the neighbors.

it did cut down on outside kids coming onto our street.

i remember it being pretty deserted on a lot of halloweens after most of us kids on the block got older.

All is know is before the candy poisoning incident we used to literally fill up a paper grocery bag full of candy on Halloween. We had so much candy the bag would be ripping apart by the time we got home. Good times, good times... :lol:

Then, the pixie sticks... :(

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  • 3 weeks later...

So this O'Bryan is the one who killed Halloween?

I thought it was an urban legend as well. But I always check mine and my younger brother's candy before anyone eats them. But every year there are less and less people giving out candy, and less and less people out on the streets. Infact, last year, I only saw 2 other parties trick-or-treating.

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My Webpage

This not "my" personal webpage, it was the only way to link the site. This would scare any kid...freaked me out :o

Not to re-direct the topic...but Wayne Henley hung out at Oak Forest Park during the summer. I was much younger than him, but remember him in the "Park House" that use to be in the park. Him and some other "thugs" would run us kids out. First time I ever smelled pot.

A friend of mine lost his brother during that time. They lived in the Heights. His father spent every weekend searching beaches with his shovel trying to find his son. I think it was Henley that said he was buried there. I don't think he was ever found.

It was called the Houston Mass Murders. I read the book probably 20 years ago. Very scary stuff, especially when you know it was going down in your own back yard.

In the early 70's there was a bad guy referred to as the "Purple People Eater". He attacked girs in purple clothes...anyone remember that?

Edited by MarthaG
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In the early 70's there was a bad guy referred to as the "Purple People Eater". He attacked girs in purple clothes...anyone remember that?

Purple People Eater, not to be confused with "portable people meter."

PPE is personal protective equipment in my line of work. That might have been handy when the purple people eater was striking victims!

I remember that story in the news back in the day, but am unable to locate any information via internet. I'm sure someone out there can track something down.

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All is know is before the candy poisoning incident we used to literally fill up a paper grocery bag full of candy on Halloween. We had so much candy the bag would be ripping apart by the time we got home. Good times, good times... :lol:

Then, the pixie sticks... :(

That's it. The whole point is that the spirit of Halloween (including collosal bags of candy) was deminished. And my kids don't get the whole effect that I used to get as a kid.

Scary enough, the kids will look for alternative methods of obtaining pleasure on this date now.

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I saw a life-size dancing skeleton singing ZZ Top's LaGrange. I have to admit, that was pretty cool. It amazes me to see what's going to come out next. I like the large globes there making now too. Wish I would've thought of that!

It is mind-boggling that we have even come this far in technology. It would have never come to mind that someday I could buy a life size figure that was frightning and could talk. I would have laughed and thought someone was crazy! Maybe on the Jetson's. but not in REAL LIFE.

I used to have a closet door size poster of Frankenstein which I was soooo proud of to my friends 1969-73. I tore it down when my girlfriend didn't like it. But it was LIFE-SIZE or biger, which was all the intimidation we had at the time.

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  • 6 months later...
Dean Corll was the "Candyman"

Dean Corll was originally from Vidor, eight miles east of Beaumont. He had that guy named Elmer Wayne Henley procure "good-looking" young boys for him. After he "got his fill," he killed them and buried most of them down on the beach on State Highway 87. The killing ended only because Henley had enough and he killed Corll. This happened at about the time time that the Candy Man (who was not Corll) poisoned his son by lacing a Pixy Stix powdered candy with cyanide.

I remember Henley being sentenced to 594 years in prison. The Candy Man was sentenced to death. I remember reading about his execution. The newspaper said that he had a super huge last meal and that he ate almost all of it. The Candy Man was so fat that it took a second lethal injection of chemical to put him to death.

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Dean Corll was the "Candyman"

I think that I might have been both right and wrong. I just read that Corrl was indeed called the Candyman because he would give young boys candy which he got from his family's candy-making business. But I also remember that the guy in Pasadena who poisoned his son with Pixy-Stix candy was called the Candyman by his fellow inmates in prison.

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  • 2 months later...

Ronald Clark's son, Timothy O'Bryan, was my friend when he was murdered. We played together everyday...

We lived in Parktown Townhomes, in Deer Park. Our house number was 762, and his was whatever was across the courtyard. I never really trusted adults again after that. Never Trick-or-Treated again either. Ronald always gave me the creeps, even as a yound kid.

Ronald Clark was (I believe) the third execution in Texas after the death penalty was reinstated, and always denied killing Timothy.

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The x-wife still lives in the area, according to research I did last year.

I was able to pinpoint her because of the marriage records on HCTX. She remarried after O'Bryan and

was under that name (which I do not recall now). The neighborhood behind Parktown is where

she lives...between Red Bluff and Pasadena Blvd.

If I was her I think I would have moved further away...that is just so creepy.

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I think that I might have been both right and wrong. I just read that Corrl was indeed called the Candyman because he would give young boys candy which he got from his family's candy-making business. But I also remember that the guy in Pasadena who poisoned his son with Pixy-Stix candy was called the Candyman by his fellow inmates in prison.

I remember the Pixie-Stix dude...seems like after that is when people really started checking their candy and it seems trick or treating was quite the same after that for years...

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