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The Obituary of Bluto Hansen

The Obituary of Bluto Hansen


Estimated reading time — 19 minutes

Copy and pasted from reddits paranormal board is the following post, posted by user itdwellsstill. The text is rendered from a 2013 copypasta that has been traced back to the somethingawful forumn. It was posted on the subreddit with the suggestion that it would make a decent ghost story for that year’s Halloween story contest.

As the story suggests, a legitimate obituary for Mr. Bluto Hansen is nearly possible to come by online, but that is to be expected when the source is most likely fiction.

Please enjoy.

With all due respect, I think you guys have pretty vanilla urban legends posted here. I thought OP asked for your SCARIEST hometown stories? I’m not trying to dog on you folks too much, but there’s a lot of “man door car hook hand” kind of tales here, and I think we’ve heard almost all of these at least once.

Up here in the northern part of Oregon, we’ve got a few nasty little stories that people pass around. Of course you’ve got your classics, an escaped mental patient with a knife out on make-out point, bloody Mary waiting for kids to say her name three times, etc. But we have a few that are kept a bit closer to the chest between people. Hell, a few years back we had a full on massacre on new year’s morning, the whole trailer park went up and we lost a few cops to some loser who’d lost his mind.

Then, we’ve got Mr. Harley and his creepy, crawly church in the woods. There’s a few like that, ghosts and bad memories. But I think I’d like to separate this special one from the pack. When I was a boy, this was by far the scariest and I remember waiting up all night sometimes just in case I saw a stray cleaver waving around my house at night.

I think you guys will get a kick out of this one. Even before I was a kid, people have been whispering about Ribbon County’s own little boogeyman every Halloween. You go up to any of the kids here and I’ll bet you five bucks that any one of them pipes up with two words: Bluto Hansen.

It used to be a harder story to come by, that kind of thing used to make people real nervous whenever you brought it up. But over the last decade or so, it’s become almost a meme.

My Grandpa couldn’t help but gather us Little kids around his sofa chair every year for it, feeling the urge to scare the daylights out of us.

So, the year is 1976. My Grandpa, Gerald O’Bannon, is a newly appointed Deputy in Weinwick. We’re a shitty town with even shittier people, but much more so then.

This is a good Oregon fall, we’re talking Scary movies on every TV set, witchy decorations on every door and porch.

Back then it was usually re-runs of Vincent Price movies that got people all flustered, but this year it would be much, much different.

My Grandpa is standing by the water cooler in the jailhouse, discussing business around town with some other beat-cops, probably bake-sales and PTA meetings. Just then though, the department gets a call. The secretary answers, but she’s talking to the person on the other line like there’s a huge emergency or something. So here she comes, hollering and sweating up a storm, begging the guys to head out to an old car dump on the outskirts of town.

Apparently, there’d been an accident and somebody was busted up real bad. Now, my grandpa didn’t know exactly how bad just yet, but when everybody got out there, he’d had half a mind to cry.

So all these blue boys are sitting there gawking at the scene, watching paramedics wrap up this boy. They had no clue who it was, even though his face was right there in the open. Grandpa said that whatever had happened, this guy ended his Week being set on fire. He found the fella leaning against the hood of a car, the skin charred and sticking to the rusty old grill. There was still smoke smoldering out from underneath the fellas clothes, his insides still burning.

That’s pretty much how every version of the story starts, with old Bluto having been found like that.

But most folks who tell the story didn’t have my Grandpa to give a legitimate recollection, do they?

Bluto was a seventeen year old high-school kid. He played shortstop with the Wombats, he was a chemistry wiz, and he had good nuclear-family American parents.

The case was juggled around for a while between the boys until eventually some poor fella had to go around talking to folks that knew Bluto. My grandpa was happy that it hadn’t been him. He was only five years into his job, and he had yet to see something THAT gruesome. He said that the image of that kid sitting on the ground like that would still float around his head ever so often, and it messed him up for a while.

So two days pass, and Halloween is just simmering down in the wee hours of morning. My old pops is still running through parking tickets in the office, stuck being the only one to work the night. Grandpa hadn’t had my dad yet, so he picked the short straw on working holidays usually.

This would be a little frustrating, especially when he was interrupted by a phone call somewhere around 1 AM.

My grandpa answered in the usual way, or at least, he tried to. The person on the other end hadn’t let him get too far before exploding in tears and screaming for someone to help them.

He said that their frantic yelling got under his skin, and he hated the few words he could actually make out from their story, words like “There’s blood!” And “Oh God, she’s dead!”

It took a while to pull an address out of them, but grandpa committed to the call before pulling on his jacket and driving out into the night.

That night, three more highschool kids had lost their lives. Doris Buchanan, 16, was found floating face down in her own swimming pool, missing a few fingers and with signs of serious knife trauma. Alexi Buchanan, her brother, was found with his head underneath the front wheel of his own Ford pick up truck. Finally, Robert Lawler, age 17, was found with his own insides shoved in his own mouth, sitting atop the Buchanan house on Liepolt Way.

Strangely, my grandpa was surprised to see that the Buchanan’s little brother Paulie was completely fine. Well, scared and crying and with newly soaked pants, but mostly okay.

The entire scene was almost incredible to my pops, he said that it was like a real horror movie just shooting out in the open. He half expected the kids to sit up at some point and laugh off their macabre little prank. But they didn’t.

Grandpa called most of the department from their warm beds and the entire department stood around staring at the mess.

Of course, all of the boys left pops to talk to the incredibly frantic mother of Doris and Alexi. Grandpa isn’t the best at comforting someone now, let alone back the when he was just a young fella. So there she is, just berating my grandpa right there on the sidewalk. Gramps always thought that the mother was a strange bird, he said that she seemed far more upset with him rather than the unfortunate murder of her children.

Sure, he said, there were tears in her eyes. But she wasn’t sad as much as she was absolutely furious.

Nothing proved that to grandpa more, then when he caught Mrs. Buchanans eyes drift behind his shoulder. She let out an absolutely horrid scream, full of anger and very, very harsh words.

Grandpa Gerald turned, and followed her index finger to a young face standing in the dark across the street, dressed in blue jeans and a letterman jacket.

The boy watching them from just a few yards away was named Howard. Howard belonged to one of only two black families in town limits, having been there for at least four generations or so, as hard and those old timey bastards tried to chase them away.

Mrs. Buchanan was evidently not a fan of Howard being there, even so far away. She explained that if my grandpa didn’t swat the kid away, that she was going to do so with her husband’s hunting rifle.

“That’s the second time he’s been here in a week, deputy!”

“I called you idiots last time he was here and I didn’t see a cop for hours! Maybe you could’ve done something the other night when he was harassing my daughter at my own damn door!”

Then she was hollering at Howard.

“They’ll get you, boy! I know how you folks are, I know you did this to my babies! She was just a girl, and you couldn’t help yourself could you, mister!? Get away from my fuckin’ house before I paint the asphalt with your brains! I’ll see you in goddamn chains, you bastard!”

My grandpa was likely trying to calm her, but I always picture him standing there with a finger in each ear to not go deaf from her screaming.

Grandpa was watching the way the neighbor folks were turning towards little Howard, and he didnt care much for the sneaky way they were whispering to one another. So my grandpa hands off the old monster to another one of his police buddies, and takes a quiet stroll across the street to talk to Howard.

Now Howard, for one reason or another, doesn’t live in town anymore. He might even have passed for all I know. So I’ve never seen him, but my grandpa described him as a tall, slender black guy with good looks. At least, he usually was prettier on the eyes. That morning though, Howard looked sunken around the eyes, and his mouth was draped over his chin like a limp dishrag.

Howard didn’t look my pops in the eyes when he spoke to him, just staring at the misery across the street like it was a carnival act.

“That lady doesn’t seem to like you much, Mr. Howard.”

Howard didn’t say anything.

“She said you’d come around the house to talk to her daughter a little while back, can I ask what it was about?”

Howard spoke in a guttural whisper, like he was holding a frog in his throat.

“Nothing in particular. Just wanted her to tell the truth.”

My grandpa raised a brow there, and gestured for Howard to kick back on the sidewalk with him.

“What did she need to be honest about, Howard?”

Howard still stared passed my grandpa, and said-

“Sometimes people get away with really horrible things. They do things to people they don’t like because they can, because they think they can. All I wanted was for her to tell the police what she’d done.”

Grandpa was silent, just staring at the side of Howard’s head.

“She burned a boy alive. Her and her stupid friends. They didn’t like him, or me. They didn’t like us doing what we were doing, even though it wasn’t wrong. We weren’t hurting anybody. We just…got along… is all.”

Howard was telling my grandpa that Doris Buchanan and her disciples took a gas can and dumped it over Bluto Hansen’s head and set him alight. He was saying that because Bluto and Howard were “friends”, that Doris saw an opportunity to rid her town of a little black spot.

Howard said that she’d laughed and laughed while they were throwing bluto around. She kept barking at her brother to “kick him there”, “knock him to the ground”.

So my grandpa asked him-

“Howard, did you kill these kids?”

Howard didn’t say anything. That pretty much settled it for my pops, and he asked Howie to stand up, and cuffed him. He was taking Howard in for a conversation down at the station.

So there they are, under bright flourescent lights, two Styrofoam cups between them filled with coffee.

My grandpa asks Howard to please tell the story as he remembers it, and to be honest.

Howard tells my grandpa that he won’t believe him, and my grandpa acknowledges that he might not, but he needs to hear it anyway.

And so-

Howard and Bluto were fooling around with each other at the scrap yard, as they normally did every week. There isn’t really a place to kiss and hold hands around town when you’re two fellas, so they wanted to do it where no one would likely pull out a gun or a bible or something.

This time though, they failed to hear the brakes of someone else’s car squeal as they entered the lot.

Doris had tagged along with her brother and his friend so that they could shoot at some bottles with Alexi’s new hand-cannon.

Just as they rounded the corner and drive in, they’d noticed Howard’s plymouth parked right there next to a stack of busted old TV sets.

Howard and Bluto were…busy, and this was such an odd sight that it pissed the Buchanan clan off royally.

“No queers in our town!”

“Come here, you fucking cocksucker!”

They’d wrenched the car doors open and pulled both boys out.

After beating the daylights out of Bluto, and making Howard watch, Alexi got the bright idea to solve the problem in a more…explosive way.

So he siphoned off some gas from Howard’s plymouth and poured a coffee can’s worth atop Blutos head.

My grandpa knew this part, though. He asked Howard to maybe skip along to the aftermath.

Howard thought this was bit cold, and told my grandpa that he was so sorry that this boys murder was such an earsore for him. Grandpa seemed to feel a bit bad for the way he’d conducted himself at the time, and I don’t blame him. Howard should’ve punched him, in my personal opinion.

So Howard watches this happen right in front of him. The light, the screaming, the SMELL. The group doesn’t laugh or jeer once the fire starts. They seemed to not have realized exactly what they were doing. They just stood there, even Doris covered her ears once Bluto started to scream.

He said it sounded like a wounded dog would if you cut off its leg and pressed a red hot iron into the stub. Horrible, viscous moans and groaning.

The sounds faded though, slowly but surely. Every so often there’d be another moan as the flames lapped around and his clothes crackled and charred.

They left Howard there, on the ground. It was too much for them to see what they had done. They didn’t say anything as they left, they just packed up in a hurry. Guess it wasn’t as fun as they’d thought.

Howard laid by the remains as close as he could while the fire still cooked his lover. He didn’t know what to do either. He didn’t know if he loved this boy, they hadn’t been together that long. But maybe they were close to being in love. Just so close, and now so far.

Howard didn’t drive to the police office. Instead, he’d sped over to the Buchanan home, barely making it to the doorstep before the tears started again. The windows were shuttered and the house was silent, but Doris came to the door, furious to see Howard again. She told him to leave, and he begged her to come with him to the police, to get help maybe. But Doris was far too scared. She instead pretended not to know why he’d want to do so. She said that they were just doing what was right, that there was no reason to tell the police anything. And if Howard decided to do so, he’d be facing the Buchanan family in court. Then, she shut the door in his face.

Howard drove home. Howard kicked his own door open and fell onto his mother’s lap in a heap, crying and smelling like cooked meat.

His mother held him for an hour or so, crying with her son as he told her what had happened. He couldn’t tell her exactly WHY the group had done what they did, but just what they had done. He wasn’t ready to break that bit of news to her just yet.

His mother had put him to bed soon after, his dinner and a glass of water was left on his bedside table, and he was left alone in his own dark room.

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As he lay there in the dark, he heard the back door of his house slowly creak open. He did not know where his mother went. He did not know what she was doing, or how she had planned to help, but this bleeding heart teenage romantic didn’t care.

He wanted consequences. And he stayed up the whole night, picturing Doris Buchanan’s face on a missing poster, or printed on the back of a milk carton.

That night, when he had reluctantly fallen to sleep, he found himself opening his eyes in the dark. There was a noise in his room, quiet, but still there. It was the sound of shifting weight on the old house’s floorboards, like a person trying to stay silent, but leaning too hard on the weak wood.

Howard slowly turned his head toward the ceiling, thinking that maybe he’d hallucinated it.
But when when he sat up, pulling the covers from his torso, he’d looked up.

There, in the dark, were two faint red lights.

They floated about six feet from the ground, only a few inches away from one another.

Howard could see the wall and window behind them in the pale moonlight that shone through his window, but they were there just the same. Two eyes, he thought. Two red, glowing eyes staring at him. A beam of light from outside cast against them, and against the wall just to the left of the eyes, was the shape of a man.

He could see the details of curly, mop headed hair. He could see the broad shoulders slumped over in a hunch. In the shadows hand, there was something flat and square, and when he turned back to the invisible thing with the glowing eyes, he saw what it was holding.

An old, beaten cleaver floated just below the waist of the thing. The handle was aged brown wood, and the blade was battered and dented, and a cascade of dried brown liquid congealed to its silver face.

Howard didn’t speak, and even though he wanted to cry, he’d used up all the tears just a few hours earlier.

He’d known that shadow, of course. Or at least, who it had belonged to.

And here he was, standing in Howard’s bedroom. Not a person anymore, but something else, something wrong.

Howard thought that he had to be dreaming, but no one is as stupid as that. It was here, and he was here too, and now he was seeing something that shouldn’t be in a very real way.

He stared into the lights, and they stared back. The quiet between them was cold, like a half formed memory. The eyes seemed to watch him weirdly, like they couldn’t quiet remember why they were staring at him to begin with.

Howard didn’t speak, but when he watched the invisible thing lurch toward him with a single footstep, a pathetic whimper bled out from between his lips.

The thing stopped, seeming to regard Howard’s reaction with confusion. The thing froze, the cleaver though twisting around in its unseen fingers.

Then, Howard heard it make a noise. It wasn’t words, just a peetering squeal. It was drawn out, and it grew louder as Howard recognized that this thing, this being that was Bluto, was laughing.

It was chuckling at him, though it sometimes seemed more like the aching cries of a baby. The laugh rode up into Howard’s ears, and continued as the thing turned from the end of his bed, and slowly strode to the door. Howard watched it as the doorknob twisted by itself and the door swung open. He watched it still as the eyes took one last look at him, and the shadow behind them showed a single hand raised toward the sky. The fingers twitched, curling in a sad, pathetic wave. And then, the door shut, and the thing that was Bluto Hansen, was gone.

He heard footsteps glance down each step of his stairs, and he heard his back door open once again. Howard stood and went to his window, hesitantly watching for the thing.

He saw it, standing in his backyard with cleaver in hand, eyes burning like coals. He saw the impressions of bare feet appear in the dried dirt of backyard as it walked to the edge of his property.

He saw it walk to the treeline, just where the mouth of weinwick national forest would begin, and then it dissapeared in the shadow of the trees.

That was Howard’s story.

My grandfather didn’t know what to say, and even now I’m sure he’d still struggle for a good reply.

Frankly, Grandpa probably thought he was absolutely, unequivocally insane. But there was a good chunk of the story that suggested that maybe Howard’s hands here weren’t as clean as he made them out to be.

“How come he left the little Buchanan alone, Howard? If he was out there for revenge, I mean.”

Howard looked up to my pops, and spoke with tears in his eyes.

“Mom told him not to. The boy didn’t do anything, he didn’t deserve any harm.”

And so, grandpa left the room with his coat around his shoulders, and booked Howard in for the moment. He arranged a nice little sleeping cot and my old man walked out to his car, and started the engine.

My grandfather drove his little patrol car up Anderson Boulevard, over Bellenshamp Heights, and slid slow over the muddy ravines towards the west end of Weinwick limits.

Howard’s family had been here a long time, longer than most families in town. Despite their race, most folks paid them no mind that way. Not unless a yuppie were to commit to a house downtown for retirement. Though, usually we could ease any prejudice out of a fella within a couple years of being around us.

But being here that long, if anyone knew the exact count, ment that they’d inherited quite a bit in the years since the Civil War.

Among the bits and bobs and heavy inheritance, came the Meyer’s Plantation home. It was out of place in this country, and though it’s still standing now, it hasn’t grown any more familiar since.

But there grandpa was, pulling up that tiny car to the great yellow pillars standing on the front porch.

As he shut the door, he saw the big arms of the cottonwood trees reaching down for him, and creamy blue fog crawl through the thickets around the woodline.

He told me that this part of the town never felt quite right, especially at night. It felt how he imagined Frankenstein’s castle to feel like in that old black and white movie.

But he walked towards the big old doors just the same, but stopped when he saw the flickering of candle light come out from behind one of the pillars.

An older woman, maybe 40, 45 years old, stepped out into the moonlight and into my grandpa’s field of vision.

It was Bedilliah Masterson, mother of Howard. She was in an elegant night dress, seemed to be perfectly new and likely bought from the Goldwaters in town. Her hair was bunched in a heap of curlers, and her eyes were tired and heavy.

She looked at pops like he was late, and seeing as she seemed to know that he was on his way, he figured that maybe he was.

She didn’t let my grandpa into the home. No amount of “Police business” seemed to affect her determination.

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He would speak his “business” out there, or he would speak nothing at all.

So, he explained that her son was in police custody, and that he was obliged by law to tell her so. But Bedillia shook her head, knowing that that was something you said by phone call, not the kind of thing you do so early in the morning in person.

“He didn’t kill anybody, Officer.”

“That’s what he said. How about you, Ms. Masterson?”

“I didn’t kill anybody either. Those kids killed themselves, that’s all.”

Grandpa stepped back from the lady, deciding that maybe he should start over a bit.

“He told me a story, Ms. Masterson. “

“…And did you believe it?”

Grandpa didn’t reply, only using the moment to nervously tap his boot.

Bedillia stepped closer to Pops, her hand holding the candle just under his chin, the red light casting weird shadows beneath both their faces.

“There are things everywhere, Officer. Things that only act when you ask. They’re not cheap, god are they expensive, but they work. They work when nothing else does. Howard needed help, and I’m ashamed that I had to ask and that it had to be so gruesome, but that’s just the way things go. I didn’t give particulars, I didn’t give methods of execution, all I did was ask for that boy to take back what he deserved, what Howard deserved. “

My grandpa was beginning to feel a strange itch in the back of his head and he realized how disturbingly convincing this all was starting to sound.

“So you brought Bluto Hansen back from the dead, is that it Ms. Masterson? Some “voodoo” magic just pulling him around like a marionette?”

“Oh, was that his name? Howard never told me his name. I think it’s a shame, I would have liked to have met the boy.”

She looked down at the blades of river grass poking through the rocks in her front yard.

“I’m not from Louisiana, Officer. Nor am I anything other than American. I think it would be very foolish of you to misunderstand me now. I don’t need “voodoo”, there is magic just as old and unfamiliar as that right here, right in this soil. Nothing funny about it. You just have to know how to ask, is all.

As for the boy, he’s not alive. That’s over now, now he’s just something. A witchy engine running on its own. If you ask me where he is, I don’t know what to tell you. I don’t know where they go, but I don’t think they leave. He’s out here, and I think he’ll be here a long, long time. What I didn’t know then was the price for the request, and that’s my fault. But if I did it for Howard, then I suppose that’s my duty to take on. But that thing is not Mr. Hansen, just a watercolor painting of what it thinks he might have been like.

I didn’t know it would be like that. How could I? But now I hate to think that maybe the boy is still in there someplace, being made to watch the things he did. But I won’t tell Howard. He’ll never know, just as long as both of us keep our mouths shut.”

My grandpa was beginning to step away, though he wasn’t meaning to. He didn’t like the way the air began to feel around him.

“That’s…Ms. Masterson, that’s nonsense. I can’t believe that, I can’t write that down in an actual report, you have to underst-“

Ms. Mastersons shadow shown against the pillar large and dancing in the candlelight, and she only whispered to my grandpa now-

“No, Officer, you must understand. Understand that Howard and I were in with little Juniper last night from 7 to midnight, carving pumpkins and baking cookies. I have two rolls of film sitting on my kitchen table that will show you just that, could you believe that? Could write that down in your report?”

Grandpa could. But even without the photos, grandpa mightve believed her anyway. By then, he was so caught up in her eyes, in the way she spoke, that he found himself accepting the story just as it was. Would he tell her that? Would he tell anyone that? Absolutely not.

Not till his own kids had had kids and he was off the force and comfortablely into retirement.

Now, it’s as good as a ghost story. Too old to care about the details and the names, but the blood and the spookyness of it all still stood tall in his head.

Howard Masterson would not go to court. In fact, from what I understand, Alexi Buchanan was a prime suspect in the case of the Buchanan murders. There’d already been stories of the way him and his sister would take neighbors pets out to the dump for target practice, and plenty of kids at the school had a vendetta or two against the siblings.

Grandpa doesn’t answer when I ask him if he filed anything he’d found. The most I’d gotten out of him was that little Howard was booked that night for public intoxication, just being a good ole boy.

I suppose he’s still out here somewhere, but with the way the town has grown since then, familiar faces are a little harder to come by lately. I guess he must be, his family wouldn’t have moved, not from that old plantation house.

Grandpa has had a lot of stories to tell us when we were little. A couple of guys jumped in the old poolhouse a while back and just disappeared, nearly 5 children just up and vanished from backyards all over town since he was promoted to Sheriff, there’s always stories to pull out of him if he’s feeling wierd enough to tell them.

But Bluto Hansen is by far the scariest to me. Me and friends have been in and out of Ribbons County forest more times than I can count looking for any sign of those bright red eyes or that old wood cleaver.

It used to be that a few of us would gather round and sit on some of the rubble out at the scrapyard, lighting candles and telling the story for that Halloween spirit. That must have been ’93? ’94? Something like that. There’d be pictures we’d draw or even Polaroids that the boys would bring to us, screaming their heads off that they’d seen him, they’d seen THE Weinwick Boogeyman.

Wasn’t even just us kids, even grown adults would scream and holler about catching those eyes peeping in at them. Usually after a hefty bar tab was built up the hours before, though.

Far from the noise and the season of the witch, I’d caught myself going through any newspaper scrap I could find down at the library. 76, 77, 78, layers and layers of laminated newspaper ink that could go on for miles.

I found the murders, sure. Even a court date or two mentioned or updated in the years after. But not a single blip about poor old Bluto.

He never got an Obituary. It seemed silly then, but I don’t think it was now.

See, I could see the word of what happened getting away from Ms. Masterson, or Howard, or even Grandpa. People whispering to each other in schoolyards or over picket fences, telling just what they heard about those kids and that “bluto” fella. I’m sure it tore his parents apart to hear that kind of gossip, maybe they’d even skipped town.

But a little whisper like that can light fires in these neighborhoods and these people. It can weigh a little heavier than the citizens right to a little block of text on a newspaper. Maybe one was never written, or maybe he never existed at all. But there is no Obituary because no one wanted to give him one.

I guess, in the end, the joke is on all of us. Because he made his own. Or rather, if Ms. Masterson wasn’t joking, the unnamed thing that stole his shadow did.

Those kids took Bluto, and they got what they deserved. But Bluto didn’t get to be remembered as the kid he was, not at all. Instead, he’s just a monster in a closet. He’s just a bad memory, with big red eyes, ment to scare stupid kids.

Now he’s out in the woods, plenty of places to hide there. Maybe he’s found a nice little hole to bury himself in until someone does something that he wakes up to make right.

Credit: Samuel Giest

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