The popular urban legend of The Hookman tells the story of a "hook-handed lunatic" who escapes from a local institution in Pennsylvania, USA.
The terrifying campsite story began circulating in the 1950s and has many variations, but the basic story has remained the same, give or take a few elements.
The tale of The Hookman starts with a young couple who goes for a drive and gets to know about the escaped hooked man on radio. Later, the couple returns home only to find a hook embedded in the back of their car.
It is believed that The Hookman kills innocent people, especially young couples, roaming around at night. Historians have been trying to find out the origin story of The Hookman for many years.
The mythical story became very popular among American teenagers by 1959, and continued to expand into the 1960s.
According to some writers and investigative journalists, the urban legend is linked to a few infamous murder cases, including the 1946 Texarkana Moonlight Murders.
Folklorists have interpreted the long history of this legend in many ways. In 1960, the story was reprinted in the acclaimed advice column "Dear Abby" and referenced in various horror films ever since.
A few lines from the column in "Dear Abby" reads: "A fellow and his date pulled into their favourite "lovers' lane" to listen to the radio and do a little necking. The music was interrupted by an announcer who said there was an escaped convict in the area who had served time for multiple criminal charges. He was described as having a hook instead of a right hand.
The couple became frightened and drove away."
This popular urban legend has been adapted into many films and television series. For example, 1997 horror film "I Know What You Did Last Summer" features a killer stalking teenagers with a hook while the main characters gather around a campfire and recount the Hook legend.
Slasher film "Lovers Lane" (1999) also features a killer who murders teenagers at a lovers' lane with a hook.
Popular TV show, "Supernatural" features a Hookman as the villain in the seventh episode of the first season.
Author Alvin Schwartz used a version of the story in the 1981 collection of short horror stories for children, "Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark".