The legend of Crooked Faced Edgar is fairly recent, as far as legends go. Stories of a man with a horribly deformed face began circulating the Eastern coast of the United States in the late 1960’s. Sightings were usually reported by late night motorists passing through the area. A driver or passenger would report seeing a ghostly looking man. They also all reported that his face was terribly disfigured, although those descriptions often varied. The one constant feature reported was the man’s (or ghost, or demon, depending or who was talking) face was slanted, but only on one side. This is why locals began calling him Crooked Faced Edgar. Edgar’s story was a convenient tale to tell to children to get them home before curfew.
If someone got a good look at him while driving, they would often have to do a double-take. Those who were not frightened by him usually called the police to report a wandering person, fearing the traveler was lost. He was always strolling down the side of a busy highway near the guardrail, or walking down a nearly abandoned country road. Once someone got a good look at his face, they refused to stop for him, regardless of their good intentions.
In the early 1980’s, the reported sightings of this strange man began to escalate. The times of the calls varied depending on the year, as he was only seen after sun-down. One night in 1983, a young woman from Boston called 911 to report a wandering person. She stated she had pulled up to the man to ask if he needed a ride, and was greeted by a grisly sight. She relayed to the 911 operator that the man might need some serious help. His face was partially frozen in a state of fear – half of his mouth was agape in terror. His right eye was opened wide in surprise. It was as if he was a doll whose painter could not decide which expression to give to his creation.
The woman continued to describe the man. She said he was quite disheveled. The clothing he wore was intact and clean, but clearly dated from a previous era. He did not seem confused; he walked with purpose. What had frightened her – and what ultimately caused her to call the police – was the other half of his face. It was weather beaten, and frowning. When her headlights had bounced off of his face, he shielded himself from the bright light. Half of his face instantly twisted up, squinting to avoid hurting his eyes. The other half, remained a perfect expression of horror. She worried he needed medical attention, and feared he could be having a stroke.
The dispatcher sighed. This was not the first call that evening reporting this man. He took the woman’s information and assured her an officer would check on the individual. Satisfied, the young woman ended her call and went about her evening. Little did she know what her one phone call would spark.
The dispatcher relayed to the local police department that a man was wandering the side of Country Road A and may require medical attention. The police confirmed the request and sent a unit to investigate. A young office, new to the force, was sent to find the wandering man. It was a rite of passage within the department for rookie’s to investigate the Crooked Faced Edgar. Few officers believed he was real, and those that did believe, thought he was just a vagrant. None had encountered this mystery faced man on patrol, regardless of the hour.
The rookie climbed into his car and headed to the country road. He was actually relieved to get out of the building and away from the veteran officers who hazed him relentlessly. He did not believe he would find a mysterious man, or ghost, or really anything at all. He reveled in the silent drive and decided to use this time to relax a little before heading back to the office empty handed.
The young officer drove his car along Country Road A. He drove with his bright lights on. The headlights illuminated the dark and barren road. Shadows of rocks lining the side of the road cascaded into the open fields behind. The unnatural florescent light from the car draped the country road in an eerie off-white. At the edge of his field of vision, he noticed a shadow obscuring the end of his headlight. He slowed his car and strained his eyes. As the vehicle advanced, he noticed a figure solidify within his headlights. The back of a man was right in front of him.
The officer turned on his police lights, but did not turn on the siren. He knew the different colored lights would bounce off the pavement and more than likely force the man to turn around and evaluate his surroundings. The man continued forward, unnerved by the flashing lights. In a last ditch effort to get the person’s attention before getting out of his vehicle, he let his siren ring out shortly.
The man before him seemed to jump. His left hand shot up to cover his ear, but his right-side remained unchanged. He turned to face the police officer, and his left arm now extended over his face to shield his eyes. His face was just as the caller described. His right side was completely still, but it was unlike anything he had ever seen. He did not resemble a stroke victim – his face did not droop, nor was his expression blank. Instead, it was as if he was frozen in fear. Terror etched the left side of his face. His left arm dangled, and from the end of his wrist was a mangled hand. Neither moved in reaction to the man’s body. He wore a pair of pants from an old suit, and a mismatched pair of shoes. He wore a dark and wrinkled button down shirt. His hair was neatly pressed against the top of his head.
The contrast between the sides of his face was more than unsettling. The office gathered his composure and pulled his car to the side of the road. The man stood in place, looking past the officer into the distance. The officer tried again to get his attention, but the perpetrator’s gaze would not meet the young police man. The rookie officer quietly radioed into the station that he had found the man in question.
He approached the man, who was now facing the officer. The man still did not acknowledge his presence beyond the flashing red and blue lights or the brief blare of the siren. He tried to address the person standing on the side of the road, but no amount of words seemed to catch their attention. They were in their own world. A world that was briefly startled by reality. The man ignored the officer, turned away from the lights, and continued down the road.
The police department had responded to the radio call, though not in the way the rookie intended. He was met with resounding laughter, and a few of the men yelling through the frequency that it was impossible for him to have seen the man in question. They had been on the force for years, and no one had come face to face with this person. He was so elusive it became a running joke among the department that this Crooked Faced Edgar was a ghost.
But, he was no ghost. The greenhorn officer stood face first toward the man. He called out to him, demanding that the advancing figure stop walking forward. He threatened to use force, but the man continued on his way. The rookie called out again, this time drawing his gun from its holster. He did not plan on shooting, but knew it might intimidate this person if they knew the officer was ready to pull the trigger. However, the unidentified male remained steadfast on his journey and followed the road ahead of him, his body swaying in an uneven fashion as he moved.
Frustration bubbled up within the rookie. He was tired of the other officers and the way they treated him. He never received the respect he deserved. Now this civilian, even under threat of gunfire, would not respect his authority. The officer remembered the man’s terrified expression, half tattooed onto his face. Fear of the unknown person, anger at the situation, and frustration with his career all culminated at that moment. He called out to the walker one more time. Slowly, the man turned to face the police man, and his right arm slowly swung across the front of his body with the force of his turn. The rookie, in his altered mind state, mistook his gesture for a threat. He believed the man was reaching for his own weapon. Before he knew it, he pulled the trigger.
Time seemed to slow in that moment for the officer. Regret instantly flooded his mind. He felt as if he watched the bullet fly towards his target in slow motion, and he wished and prayed he could stop it mid-trajectory. He looked at the face of the man as the remorse settled into his brain, seeping into the lobes of his consciousness. His expression was finally whole. His entire face was arched in surprise and terror. His mouth was open, forming a silent scream. The flash of the gun had illuminated more of his features, and in this moment, the rookie saw a normal, terrified man.
Both men were helpless. One, staring straight into a bullet, helpless to save his own life. The other, staring straight into the face of horror, helpless to save the man from his own actions. Time flashed forward after the officer realized what he had done. In a split second, the man before him dropped to the ground, bleeding and gasping for air.
The office ran over to the man and knelt down beside him. He could not help but stare at the atrocity before him. Half of the man’s face was still frozen, a cruel reminder of the terror the officer had instilled in his target. The other half (the side that moved) was now drooping. His mouth fell to the side, blood slowly draining onto the harshly lit asphalt. In stunned horror, the young officer looked on as the man lay dying before him.
This ghost of a person now writhed on the ground, struggling with the white hot pain of the bullet in his torso. Sputtering and heaving, his eyes met the young officer for the second time. For a moment, it seemed as if his whole face softened. His eyes transmitted a feeling of understanding. He grasped at the breast pocket of his button down. The officer believed he was clutching his heart. The man, grasping at something in his front pocket, gave a final look at the officer. He pointed to his pocket with his good hand, although it was now much weaker than before. He looked at the officer one last time, as the expression from the good half of his face faded. The other half, was still painted in permanent terror.
The target of his investigation – the reason the police were contacted at all – was not dead on the side of the road. His face was like two sides of a coin; one side forever etched in fear, the other was fallen and floppy without life. The officer kneeled down next to the now deceased individual and inspected the pocket to which he had been pointing. Within the pocket was a small note, obviously written by someone using their non-dominant hand.
It read as follows:
“To Whom It May Concern,
My name is Edgar, as I’m sure you have guessed. I suffered an unfortunate accident while working in my younger years, and I was left deaf, disfigured, and partially paralyzed. I walk the streets at night for exercise. The cover of night seems to hide my frightening face most of the time, although an occasional motorist does stop and check on me. If you happen to find me, or this note, please return it and any of my belongings to my mother, Kathleen. Please see the address below my signature
Signed, Edgar Mallot.”
The officer’s hands trembled as he held the paper. This man was no ghost. He was not even a criminal. The greenhorn, in his hasty fear, had shot an innocent disabled man. All this poor person had tried to do was go about his life and not scare the public with his tragic fate. He looked upon the scribbly address, barely legible now. Blood had seeped in from the man’s chest onto his clothes, licking at the edges of the paper like waves to the beach.
Quickly, his remorse turned to panic. He paced around the man’s body, wondering what his next steps would be. He thought of radioing the station, but knew he would only be chastised or teased. He did not want to go to jail or be removed from the force for his itchy trigger finger. At the time, he really was afraid for his life. If only someone had been there with him; no one would believe that a partially paralyzed deaf fellow would try and harm a member of the police force.
He grabbed the man’s body and pulled it closer to the side of the road. He tried to splay the man on the ground in a manner that appeared he had been hit by a vehicle. He knew that if the death appeared like an accident or seemed random enough, his lazy colleagues would not dig deeper. The force could use it as a win! The dangerous wandering man was captured by police, now completely removed from society. Joggers could finally run at night again. Kids could play in the park after sundown. He could see the headlines in his mind; he dreamed of the perfect spin on the story. After examining his handiwork, he decided the scene was set well enough to fool his coworkers and headed back towards his vehicle.
The officer pocketed the note. He would dispose of it at a later time. He knew that if people got wind the poor man was not a threat, they might not be so quick to side with the police. That night, the rookie officer perfected the art of covering up a crime. He felt empowered. He painstakingly perfected the crime scene, making sure no trace of his police issued bullets or his car’s tire tracks were left behind.
He now had an ace up his sleeve. He wouldn’t have to take the flack he got around the department – he could clean that up just like this night prowler mess. That night, one innocent man (believed to be a monster), was murdered. In his place, a real monster was born of a once innocent man.
Written by BlizzardLemon