Fingernail Freddie

That monstrous fiend of seven "Nightmare on Elm Street" movies, Freddy Krueger, may have been born in legends told around the campfires of Camp Ker-Anna in Cumberland, near Diamond Hill Road--quite a distance from the cinematic setting of Elm Street in Springwood, Ohio. The oral stories about Fingernail Freddie go back at least to the mid-twentieth century and, reflecting the vagaries of an oral tradition, Freddie is frequently intertwined with another local villain. A former camper told it this way: "He was a guy that lived in the woods and because he lived in the woods for so long, his nails grew really long. And he didn't like all the noise the campers made, so they used to say, 'Don't make noise at night, because Fingernail Freddie is gonna come in and claw you with his fingers, with his nails.'" In some versions, especially in the more detailed variants of the legend, Fingernail Freddie is known as Hot-Shot (or even Ha-Cha) Charlie. Another former camper (and counselor at the camp) related this story:

"Hot-Shot Charlie was a man named Charles Torrie (I'm not sure of the spelling) who lived in the area of Camp Ker-Anna many, many, many years ago. He was a homesteader with his wife and two daughters and he had a small log cabin and plenty of fields to grow his food. And he was always troubled by vandalism from kids who would come from the city on weekends. They'd let his cows out and knock over his crops and give him a lot of grief. So Charlie finally got himself a shotgun and filled it with rock salt. The next time the kids came, he fired at them and hit them with the rock salt. Of course, it burned and hurt--and they decided to get even. They went back and set Charlie's cabin on fire while he was out in one of the barns. When he saw the flames, he went running into the cabin, knowing that his wife and two kids were in there. He tried to save them but couldn't, and he was severely burned. His face and much of his body was so badly disfigured that he stopped going into town and became like a hermit. To get his revenge, if any kids go into the woods near his house, he kills them. "He lived just a little bit north of the camp property. There's still a foundation. If you look, you can still see it, all covered over and buried. No one's sure exactly where Charlie stays, but he lives in the forest. He's out there somewhere, always lurking and waiting." Some people believe that the cemetery in this photograph contains the grave of the real Freddy Krueger.