She'll Get You

"Be home when the street lights come on!" Was an oft heard directive during many of our childhoods, as we anxiously ran out into the world to play. However, in my neighborhood and for most of us who lived out our childhoods on the East Side of Los Angeles, we also heard, "Or, she'll get you."

Six year old me would warily begin to eye the diminishing light and sneak glances at the streetlights between games of tag and our cherished game of "circus." When the lights turned on I was running up the stairs and into the house at full speed. Sometimes, I would dare to look back half hoping to see her - a woman all in white, her long, dark hair wild and blowing out behind her. She would be clutching a claw hammer and you would hear her coming for you, screeching like an owl, her countenance contorted in a mask of insanity and looking for kill.

The stories vary. Some say a local woman in the 20's or 30's had gone mad and killed her children with a hammer. They caught her up in the hills around my neighborhood, (El Sereno). As these stories so often go, the woman escaped and is still roaming the hills seeking her next pint sized victim.

As we grew up, we obviously recognized it as a cautionary tale, but, as I am sure you know, sometimes  the truth can be found in our elder's stories.

In the 1920's, Clara "Tiger Girl" Phillips, a 14 year old chorus girl was wed to Armour Phillips. She was a suspicious and jealous girl who frequently accused her husband of infidelity. Her suspicion turned to Alberta Meadows, a 20 year old widow who she considered a "love rival." Clara set her plans in motion.

Clara, along with her friend, Peggy Caffee, convinced Alberta to give them a ride. At some point during the drive Clara asked Alberta to pull over so that they might converse privately and proceeded to brutally beat her with a claw hammer and then a rock. With her rival now out of the way, Clara returned home to her husband, where she informed him that she would make him the best dinner he'd ever had.

Thanks to Kim Cooper - who first proposed the possible link to this urban legend -

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