Thursday, October 16, 2008

A Morbid Bit of History

Last Friday night I ventured out into the pleasant Ft. Smith evening to enjoy an evening of chills and thrills on the Murder and Mayhem tour offered by the Fort Smith Museum of History. Though most of the stories were harmless and far from frightening, there was one that made my stomach churn and my hair stand on end:

*warning: the following story is graphic and disturbing in nature*

In 1958 Bobby Joe Burns was a 28 year old paranoid schizophrenic with a drug habit. After being admitted to a state mental hospital for a second time, Bobby Joe's mother, Edna, requested his release. Little did she know that this would lead to her gruesome death at the hands of her troubled son.

On Monday, January 27, 1958 the severed head of Edna Burns was found at Immaculate Conception Church inside one of the vestibules. Bobby Joe, claiming he received consent from his mother, proceeded to drug and mutilate her. Later claiming that he was performing an ancient Aztec ritual, Bobby Joe removed her tongue, part of her nose, one of her eyes and then decapitated her. ( One version of the tale claims that he then plugged a radio into her neck.) He also made references to Revelations 20: 9-11 ("They invaded the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of the holy ones and the beloved city. But fire came down from heaven and consumed them. The devil who had led them astray was thrown into the pool of fire and sulfuf, where the beast and the false prophet were. There they will be tormented day and night forever and ever. Next I saw a large white throne and the one who was sitting on it. The earth and the sky fled from his presence and there was no place for them."). Bobby Joe Burns spent the remainder of his years in a mental hospital. Although unconfirmed, he is believed to have passed away some time during the 1980's.
For more information on this and other bits of Fort Smith history, visit the Fort Smith Historical Society.

I told you it was disturbing.

Immaculate Conception Church:

Bobby Joe Burns:

a letter from Bobby Joe Burns


  1. that's one creepy story Alli!!!

    your blog is now listed in the Top Artists Directory....
    you will find a selection of codes for badges there too :)
    enjoy your weekend :)
    cheers Kim aka laketrees

  2. I can't see the name "Bobby Joe" without thinking of Evil Dead!

    Cool story.

  3. Kim:

    creepy, indeed...*shivers*....
    Thank you for including me in your marvelous directory :)

    Hope you have a spooktacular weekend ;)

  4. chris:


    "It's like the woods just swallered her up..."

    I knew there was a reason we get along so well ;)