The Story of Bonnie & Clyde by Allie Michelle
You’ve read the story of Jesse James,
of how he lived and died.
If you’re still in the need
of something to read,
Here’s the story of Bonnie and Clyde.
– From the The Trail’s End by Bonnie Parker
Many may know their names, but what does the world remember about the infamous couple, Bonnie and Clyde ? Back during the Depression, these two went on a rampage of murder and robbery, leaving a trail of blood behind. Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow sent over a dozen people to their early graves before spiraling out of control only to meet the same fate themselves.
Bonnie Elizabeth Parker (1910-1934) was born in Rowena, Texas, as the second of three children. After her father died, the family moved to a city nearby Dallas. Bonnie excelled in school, with a particular fondness in writing poetry. Many of the poems that she wrote later in life depict her escapades with Clyde, such as The Story of Suicide Sal and The Trail’s End, commonly known as The Story of Bonnie and Clyde.
Bonnie married at age 16 to a man named Roy Thornton before dropping out of school. As a symbol of their love, she got a tattoo of two hearts above her right knee. The marriage lasted 3 years until the couple split, never to see each other again. A criminal himself, Thornton went to prison for burglary where he was later killed during an attempt to escape. Bonnie wore his wedding ring on the day she died.
Clyde Chestnut Barrow (1909-1934) came from a poor family and grew up outside of Dallas, Texas. A trouble maker at a young age, Clyde constantly had scrapes with the law; stealing cars, shoplifting, cracking safes, and robbing stores. He ended up in jail several times where he continued to stir up trouble. In April 1930, Clyde beat another inmate to death for sexually assaulting him.
In January 1932, Clyde decided he could no longer withstand the relentless work and brutal conditions at the notoriously rough Eastham Prison Farm. In the hopes of transferring to a less harsh facility, Clyde severed two of the toes on his left foot with an axe. The self-mutilation, which permanently crippled his walking stride and prevented him from wearing shoes while driving, ultimately proved unnecessary as he was released on parole six days later. His imprisonment didn’t seem to straighten him up at all as Clyde continued robbing grocery stores, gas stations, and at least 15 armed bank robberies.
Want more vintage mugshots? Check out the Soap Maker of Correggio, who turned her victims into soap and tea cakes.
Partners in Crime
Bonnie and Clyde met in January 1930 at a mutual friend’s house in Texas. They fell in love at first sight, instantly becoming partners in crime. Not long after they met, Clyde was arrested for a burglary and sent to jail. He escaped using a gun Bonnie had smuggled to him. Eventually, the police recaptured Clyde and he returned to jail. Clyde left on parole in February 1932, at which point the couple reunited to pursue a life of crime.
Now Bonnie and Clyde are the Barrow gang
I’m sure you all have read.
how they rob and steal;
and those who squeal,
are usually found dying or dead.
Soon after the couple traveled throughout Texas and Oklahoma with a gang of outlaws that included Clyde’s brother and sister in law. They embarked on a series of robberies which began to attract the attention of the public across the country. Their armed robberies and shoot outs with cops made headlines across the country.
Later on in January 16, 1934, Bonnie and Clyde assisted five prisoners and a fellow bank robber to escape from Clyde’s former prison, the Eastham State Prison. As the prisoners ran, Clyde covered their retreat with bursts of machine-gun fire and shot two guards.
On Easter Sunday in 1934, the couple ran into two highway patrolmen near Grapevine, Texas. The patrolmen approached the car where Bonnie and Clyde sat laughing and drinking whiskey. As the officers approached, Bonnie and Clyde shot them both in cold blood before they could even pull out their guns. Bonnie walked over to one of the officers, rolled him over with one foot, and fired her sawed off shot gun twice, point-blank, at the officer’s head yelling, “look-a-there, his head bounced just like a rubber ball.”
Less than a week later, they went on to kill a constable in Miami, Oklahoma and soon thereafter abducted and wounded a police chief.
The Trail’s End
Throughout their crime spree, the two managed to elude the police for several years. However, as their crimes became more violent, they became an even bigger target for the feds. Eventually, Bonnie and Clyde made their way right up to top of the FBI’s Most Wanted List.
The FBI tracked them down driving a stolen car near New Orleans. The witch hunt for Bonnie and Clyde ended on a road deep in the piney Louisiana woods. Just before dawn on May 23, 1934, Louisiana police officers and Texas Rangers concealed themselves behind bushes along the highway, awaiting the couples’ arrival. In the early sunrise, police opened fire on Bonnie and Clyde, pumping more than 100 rounds of steel-jacketed bullets into their stolen Ford V-8.
Some day they’ll go down together;
And they’ll bury them side by side,
To a few it’ll be grief—
To the law a relief—
But it’s death for Bonnie and Clyde.
With the smell of gunsmoke still lingering in the air, the police approached the bullet riddled automobile to find the dead corpse of Bonnie Parker slumped over Clyde’s. Some souvenir hunters tried to sneak in and cut off parts of Bonnie and Clyde at the scene of their death. One man tried to cut off Clyde’s ear with a pocket knife while another attempted to sever his trigger finger before the police intervened. One person in the crowd however managed to snip off locks of Bonnie’s hair and pieces of her blood-soaked dress.
According to reports, officers shot Bonnie and Clyde more than fifty times, with 17 entrance wounds on Clyde’s body and 26 on Bonnie’s, including several headshots on each and one that snapped Clyde’s spine. The Undertaker, C. F. “Boots” Bailey had difficulty embalming the bodies because the fluid kept leaking.
Gone, But Not Forgotten
Despite their request to be buried together, Bonnie’s mother, who disapproved of the relationship, buried her daughter in a Dallas cemetery. More than 20,000 people attended her funeral. Clyde’s grave sits next to his brother Marvin’s, with the epitaph reading “Gone, but Not Forgotten”.
Although the families denied the couple their final resting place side by side, many claim that Bonnie and Clyde continue to terrorize together in death. Ghostly forms appear in photographs taken near the marker where the police ambushed and killed the two. Others claim the two haunt the bullet ridden, blood spattered V8 Ford “Death Car” displayed today at Whiskey Pete’s Casino in Primm, Nevada.
Many say the pair still lingers in the hallways of The Baker Hotel in Mineral Wells, Texas where Bonnie and Clyde stayed during their crime spree. Guests at the hotel report seeing apparitions, most often in the Hotel Ballroom and Brazos Room. When asked to identify the ghosts, they always choose the picture of Bonnie and Clyde.
Want more stories of the paranormal? Check out Haunted New Orleans.