Based on a true story — except, not Texas. Not a chainsaw. Not a massacre.

Nota bene: Be sure to see update, here.

First, there was the woman who squealed in class when I mentioned Travis County, the Texas county in which resides Texas’s capital city, Austin. She said later she had thought it was a fictional county. By the way, she asked, was the rest of the “Texas chainsaw massacre” story true, too? (I have never seen any of these movies; I understand the 2003 version was set in Hewitt, Texas, which is a real, small Texas town near Waco, between Dallas and Austin — but not in Travis County. I’m not sure what Travis County has to do with any of the movies.)

Logs awaiting processing at a sawmill in Nacogdoches County, Texas - Ron Billings photo

Victims of a real Texas chainsaw massacre: Victims await “processing” at a sawmill in Nacogdoches County. Photo by Ron Billings, Texas Forest Service.

Since then, in the last couple of weeks I have had at least a dozen requests to teach the history behind the movie, the “true story.” The movies are all highly fictionalized, I note. Perhaps I should plan a day to discuss real Texas murders, and just what fiction is, especially from Hollywood.

According to, one of my favorite debunking sites, there was never a Texas chainsaw massacre. There was a Wisconsin farmer who stole corpses from the local cemetery, and upon whom was based the earlier Alfred Hitchcock movie, Psycho. There was the chainsaw exhibit at Montgomery Ward seen by writer/director Toby Hooper, when he needed inspiration to finish a screen treatment. That’s about it.

But it’s nearing Halloween, and the studios in Hollywood hope to make money.

There are real Texas crimes that would be good fodder for movies, in the hands of intelligent and creative people. One wonders why more movies aren’t done on the real stories.

Historian Kent Biffle has a weekly column on Texas history matters in the Dallas Morning News, for example — and last week he featured a murder mystery from 1847, in which guests at a wedding were served cake laced with arsenic:

No matter how you sliced it, the luxurious dessert served to 60 East Texans in May 1847 was the wedding cake from hell. A few toxic bites sent guests into convulsions. At least 10 died.

Lacking autopsy tests, backwoods folks blamed arsenic poisoning.

The nuptials united a young couple on a Shelby County farm near the Sabine River settlement of East Hamilton, which today is little more than a cemetery where historian Bill O’Neal suspects several cake-eaters lie.

Author O’Neal links the mass poisoning to what he concludes was “Texas’ deadliest feud” in his new book, War in East Texas: Regulators vs. Moderators. Vigilantes organized as “Regulators” to punish suspected outlaws, usually by flogging. Soon enough they traded in their whips and canes for a lynch mob’s nooses and shotguns. Moderators claimed they arose to regulate the Regulators. As usual, in applying folk justice, vigilante leaders tended to target their personal enemies along with real outlaws.

“Four years or so of Regulator-Moderator warfare, along with a lethal aftermath, produced more than 30 deaths – more than 40 if the poisoned victims of the wedding feast are added,” said the Panola College professor O’Neal. He was in Nacogdoches last weekend to describe the Regulator-Moderator insurrection to members of the East Texas Historical Association.

It was full-out range war. One of the leaders of one faction got so good at killing, he thought he’d raise an army and take over Texas. Texas President Sam Houston personally intervened and brought the warring sides to the peace table (shades of the Camp David Accord). Then one was killed in a duel brought about when his mistress exchanged slurs with a physician’s wife.

Texas history is often the stuff of movies. The real stuff would make better movies that a lot of what gets made into movies these days. And for a lot of it, the stories are in the public domain. Fewer writers to pay.

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104 Responses to Based on a true story — except, not Texas. Not a chainsaw. Not a massacre.

  1. Ed Darrell says:

    Did you read the story?

    “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” is fiction. There never were any Hewitts.


  2. chae says:

    Are ed gien and thomas brown Hewitt the same ppl.and is thomas leather face Hewitt in a prison in is siad Edwards gien.died in 1984 in a mental institution in confuse.are there two people.and did these murders happen in Texas or Minnesota.


  3. […] Based on a true story — except, not Texas . Not a … – Oct 08, 2006 · Since then, in the last couple of weeks I have had at least a dozen requests to teach the history behind the movie, the “true story.” The movies are …… […]


  4. kiany says:

    SCARYYY lol sike


  5. kiany says:

    the movie scares me lol


  6. Ken Avin says:

    Mr Ed. I saw a “documentary” on a Texas taxidermist that the “Texas Chainsaw massacre” was supposedely based on. I think it was one of those Bill Curtis shows, but I can’t find anything on it. Can you tell me what it is, and if it has any similarities to the TCM? Also, I really wanna visit yer state some day, being a big Townes Van Zandt, Guy Clark, Steve Earle fan..basically, anyone from “Heartworn Highways”..esp Townes!!! Take care n best wishes from South Carolina!!!


  7. Hi Ed thank you for clarifying my questions but if Charlie ever does write back i would appreciate it if you would ask him my following questions about Thomas Hewitt his grandpas cellmate: Did his grandpa explained what he looked like? is there a known photo of him anywhere and please also tell him to send his answers to my email at Thank you


  8. Ed Darrell says:

    Mr. Patnode, I was quoting the commenter Charlie. Charlie never wrote back.

    I have nothing to add.


  9. Dear Mr.Ed Darrell,
    i have read your comment about how “Thomas Hewitt was your grandpas cell mate at Hunstville Prison” Did your grandpa say what he looked like? Is there a known photo of this Thomas Hewitt? i would appreciate it if you would answer my questions at


  10. LadyRhian says:

    No idea if Tobe Hooper knew the supposed story of Sawney Bean. Although it’s fairly popular in England , and is based on another story, this from the 15th Century. No idea what that one was called. I suppose, though, that humans remain fascinated by cruelty and man’s inhumanity to his fellow man.


  11. Ed Darrell says:

    I wonder whether the creators of the “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” knew of Sawney Bean?

    As they say, Lady Rhian, Google will give you an answer — but it takes a librarian to get the right answer, and the whys and wherefores and history.


  12. LadyRhian says:

    Sorry for Necro-ing this particular story, but the whole “Family of Cannibalistic Serial Killers” probably has its origins in the story of Sawney Bean, a legend of Scotland, which people, just like with the supposed tale of Leatherface, still believe was true. According to Legend, Sawney Bean and his family (which grew to 48 members) killed over 1000 people and cannibalized the bodies over a period of 25 years. And to me, honestly, that number seems low to feed that many people for that long… even with kids, and grandkids in the mix (eight sons, six daughters, eighteen grandsons and fourteen granddaughters).


  13. Ed Darrell says:

    Leatherface known as Thomas brown Hewitt really did do all the mass murders in Travis county.

    Got a citation for that? It’s not recorded in the archives of the Austin American-Statesman, the biggest daily newspaper in Travis County. I can’t find it in the Handbook of Texas History. The original screenplay author says he made it up.

    Got any documentation at all?

    Thomas brown Hewitt was my grandpas cell mate in huntsvillie Texas state prison.

    We can surely check that source: What is your grandfather’s name, and who did he murder, where, and when, to share a cell with another murderer at Huntsville? What was this alleged Mr. Hewitt in for?

    Why doesn’t Huntsville have any record of this guy, Hewitt? Tell us the details about your grandfather, so we can check it out and correct the history books.

    So for all u folks saying it was based on ed gein are wrong he didn’t come along till the 1980′s unlike Thomas brown Hewitt. I’ve seen the house I’ve seen the little store I’ve heard stories from the older folks of Travis county.

    What town in Travis County did these murders occur in? Maybe it’s in the local newspapers — but in any case, tell us which town.


  14. Charlie says:

    Leatherface known as Thomas brown Hewitt really did do all the mass murders in Travis county. Thomas brown Hewitt was my grandpas cell mate in huntsvillie Texas state prison. So for all u folks saying it was based on ed gein are wrong he didn’t come along till the 1980’s unlike Thomas brown Hewitt. I’ve seen the house I’ve seen the little store I’ve heard stories from the older folks of Travis county


  15. Ed Darrell says:

    Tanisha, Joseph Gross hasn’t come back to defend his claims in five years. He’s not coming back. He doesn’t have any articles.


  16. tanisha says:

    Hi Joseph Gross. Please send me the articles….thanks


  17. JamesK says:

    Ed writes: Texas has 254 counties, 254 “sheriffs” departments. Which one did you check with?

    Apparently the one in Madeupcrapicopa County.


  18. Ed Darrell says:

    Texas has 254 counties, 254 “sheriffs” departments. Which one did you check with?

    Who is your professor? I’d like to talk to the guy.


  19. ALi says:

    just to inform u…have u called the texas sheriff department to make sure…probabley not…now me on the other hand i did bc i was writing a term paper on Murders…now i called them n they said that Thomas Hewitt”leatherface” is very real…and that the massacure was very real..the video that was in the movie is very real…Thomas Hewitts, mother, brother and nephew were taken into police custody shortly after there was a complant about the meat the Hewitt family was shipping off to chili producers…wonder wat the complant was…see the hewitt family would skin the people give the skin to thomas and us the meat for chili that was shipped all over the usa…now the complaint was that there was a fingernail and hair wit scalp still attached to it in said chili…now pllease explain to me how u can sit here and make up lies just bc u probabley knew that the caught thomas’s family but never caught him…n wen the masscure happend Thomas was around 18 almost 19 years old…so he would be around late 40- to mid 50’s or dead bc he did/does have skin diasease that caused his skin to deca off his body…now thank u…btw on my term paper i got an A bc my professor called the sheriff office also and the sheriff’s office comfirmed it :) thank u n have a nice day.


  20. brooke reddy says:

    chainsaw massacre is not real thats what i personly think…………………… they say that to scare people and i dont think its real at all;@


  21. Oh let me guess. He took exception to my treating him like a ping-pong ball? And he somehow thought that some further unintelligble blather of his would teach me?


  22. Wow, Zach, I have 5 year old cousins who are smarter and can type better then you.


  23. To quote:
    ok first of all you guys are f—–g dumb asses and have no clue wat ur retarded selves

    Anyone who thinks “wat” and “ur” are words in the english language has absolutely no business calling anyone else a dumb *** or retarded.

    Go back to school little boy and this time try to learn. It will save you from a life of pathetic misery.

    And only a immature little brat thinks tossing around the word “gay” is an insult and only a very immature little brat thinks that an 8th grader is in any position to tell off adults smarter and wiser then him.


  24. Ed Darrell says:

    Oh, I’m sure there’s just one big anal orifice there, ZW.

    I see by the spam alerts you’ve posted a couple more things, but you didn’t figure out that the spam filters would get profanity. Once the spam filters get hold of your handle, not much I can do other than save your posts manually. I don’t feel much inclined to do that for such profanity. Grow up. Get a dictionary. Get a Strunk and White. If you’re incapable of class, at least get the style right. “Spelt.” Heh.


  25. zach wincentsen says:

    ooh and you spelt my name wrong a– hole


  26. Ed Darrell says:

    My error, Zack. You write like at 8-year old, and you curse like a 7-year old. Your spelling and grammar also are way below 6th grade level. Get a dictionary, take your profanity elsewhere, thank you.


  27. zach wincentsen says:

    no ed no young child hacked my acount i rele am only 14 how old and my facts are right other wise they wouldnt be facts dick but you no u hve ur own oppinions so yea shove u head up ur a– bye ur gay


  28. Ed Darrell says:

    Zach Wincentsen, some young child has hacked your account and is posting rude things in your name. You may want to change your password. And buy the poor kid a dictionary and show him how to use spell checkers, eh?


  29. zach wincentsen says:

    ok first of all you guys are f—–g dumb asses and have no clue wat ur retarded selves are sayin geta job and look this sh*t up or amby jus got to the places ur self and ed gein was born in plain feild, wisconsin i know this cause my grand parents live there and i also seen where he used to live its a g– d— feild ooh and no thomas hewitt had no clue who ed was cause he was fucking retarded oooh and electra blows ur kool ed darel ur f—–g retarded gp geta job you old man or wait better off go get thomas for me and shove his head up ur damn — and get some aarp peace out by the way the patterson film is fake to but big foot is ral good night ooh one more thing iim younger then every one here im only 14 =o you all got told off by a 8th grader c ya a– holes on doctor phill


  30. almas says:

    I think Americans are more interested in imaginary crime stories than the real ones.I was not able to watch the whole movie.


  31. Ed Darrell says:

    Three or fewer deaths is opera, more than three is grand opera. Massacres have more marquee value.


  32. almas says:

    why massacre is more intriguing for hollywood-


  33. Ed Darrell says:

    No, I meant real documentation, not an urban legend. Give us the information about the crime, the date it was supposed to have occurred, and real citations to the evidence. Was it in a newspaper? Which one? Which date? What page?

    I suspect you have a review of one of the movies. The original screenwriter and directors have all been quite clear that the movie is fictional, not based on any real Texas event. My quest to find similar Texas crimes has been unfruitful — there are plenty of Texas crimes, plenty of Texas murders, but nothing that matches up with the movie. Hewitt is a no-longer-small town south of Waco on Interstate 35, probably never the sleepy, semi-abandoned town portrayed in the movie. It’s in McClennan County, not one of the five Texas super counties, but big enough that news would not be relegated to the back pages of small-town weeklies.

    You claim it’s a real event? Please offer real documentation.


  34. mountain man says:

    That was. A cut and paste. From. A newspaper


  35. Ed Darrell says:

    Mountain Man, got any documentation to corroborate that story? Anything at all?

    I mean, why should we take your word over the word of the guy who actually wrote the story?


  36. mountain man says:

    Leatherface’s real name is Thomas Brown Hewitt; his mother Sloane dies giving birth to him on August 7, 1939 at the Blair Meat Co


  37. Ed Darrell says:

    Why Texas? Because Tobe Hooper knew Texas is weird enough that if he told you a family of inbred weirdos were down here hacking up people into BBQ with a chainsaw you would believe it.

    Not sure whether I should be insulted as a Texan, or not.

    The BBQ aspect would be more believable in North Carolina, though, where they use pork shoulder. We use beef brisket here in Texas, so tastewise, the difference would be noticable.

    Don’t forget Fannie Flagg’s story, Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistlestop Cafe, which became the movie “Fried Green Tomatoes.” But, then, it was set where pork was used, too.


  38. Död Kärlek says:

    There’s plenty of real scariness here in Texas.

    The Texas Slave Ranch was real.

    The Chainsaw thing was just a movie, sorry folks. Ed Gein was real, but he lived in Wisconsin and only killed 2 people (maybe 3, if you believe he killed his brother), barely even qualifying him as a serial killer, definitely not a massacre. He wasn’t fond of chainsaws.

    Why Texas? Because Tobe Hooper knew Texas is weird enough that if he told you a family of inbred weirdos were down here hacking up people into BBQ with a chainsaw you would believe it.

    The BBQ aspect would be more believable in North Carolina, though, where they use pork shoulder. We use beef brisket here in Texas, so tastewise, the difference would be noticable.


  39. Ed Darrell says:

    Details, Rach? Where was the massacre? When?


  40. Rach says:

    The Movie Texas Chainsaw Massacre is in most part fake. Did a massacre however occur in the state of Texas in the 70’s? Well my parents remember one.


  41. Ed Darrell says:

    Sure it’s true. And you know this because you read it — where? And you can give us documents, or scans of documents, or links to websites? And they will contradict the screenwriter and the director of the movie?

    Show us your documentation.


  42. Star says:

    i will say this f—in now….u need to stop tellin lies it was in texas n everything was real from the first on they made


  43. Ed Darrell says:

    Riiiiiiigggggghhhhhhtttt, Justin. You have clippings.

    You’ve scanned them and sent them to me, right? After all, you wouldn’t make this stuff up.

    It’s fascinating to me how many people in this thread and every thread on the imaginary Texas chainsaw massacre claim that their family kept news clippings (which somehow never can be found, and somehow always come from a newspaper that doesn’t exist or was published without dates or page numbers).

    I mean, do you keep clippings of murders from today? Why would anyone keep such stuff?

    In the meantime, Justin, we’ll wait for you to prove you’re not the “dumb f—” and that you can find a scanner and send the clips. Until we get your clips, I’ll take the word of the director and screenwriter of the movie, who say it’s almost total fiction, based on no story from Texas, ever.


  44. justin says:

    hi umm i would just like to say that if you and your decendants were raised in texas you would know the story. it really did happen. you can say all u want above proof, but ik it happend. i have newspaper clipping, pictures(since my grandmother WAS friends with the family.) and if she was still aalive she would rip you a new asshole for being so ignorant. and no, u probably wont find hard core proof, because trust me. its not that hard to cover up something like that, in fact it happens every day. serial killers, rapist, and kidnappers are hardly ever found. and the evidence is minimal. so go shove it you ignorant f—.


  45. Ed Darrell says:

    Still waiting for any citation to any claimed Texas case. Identities of murderers cannot be hidden, by law — who was the guy, when was the death warrant signed . . . where are the news stories?

    Not saying you’re wrong, just asking you to show some evidence.


  46. K.M. McNeese says:

    Let me set the record straight. I was born and raised in Texas. My mother grew up here as did my father all born and raised Texans. While Im quite sure most if not all of you may either doubt me or the story and prolly wont believe a word I say, the story is in fact true. It actually took place in Longview. While the family that committed the horrible murders had long since been caught and put away, my grand father (mom’s dad) tried to get the 3 of us (mom dad and myself) to eat at the restaurant which mind you is now closed and torn down. That at one time was a slaughter house for cattle. Which is where it all took place and the meat from the bodies was sold as BBQ. As for “Leatherface” he too was real and just a few years ago put to death. Though his name was not Hewitt (last name) his true identity was never really revealed to the public due to the publicity from the movie. Believe what you will folks but the story is very much true. I know as my mom and dad had the newspaper clipping to prove it. And as they always do with movies the names of the teens were all changed.


  47. Ed Darrell says:

    Dear Fahad,

    Read the post, above. It contains all the information you need. See the update at the top of the post, too.

    No, none of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre movies is based on a real Texas event, nor on a real chainsaw murder, nor on a real serial killing event, nor on a real massacre.


  48. Fahad says:

    I want to know is this movie based on true story ?
    I Search about it alot… But never get any Info :S


  49. Jim says:

    Ed says,”Was there any punctuation in the 2003 version?”

    Oh, sometimes you are just plain naughty.

    But I love it!



  50. class of fitness says:

    funny thing is, i don’t think the public even know what ‘THE PUBLIC DOMAIN” means. which why know one have tried to get movies ideas from there?


  51. Ed Darrell says:

    Was there any punctuation in the 2003 version?


  52. aaron317 says:

    ok to set the story on this one it is correct there is no evidence(unless it is a deep dark secret hiddin by the government that might have got leaked lol) that there ever was a texas chainsaw massacre but as a collector of the films i would like to point out were there is a correction to be made the movie relesed in 2003 was not in hewitt texas hewitt was the name of the family in the film it was in travis county


  53. Ellie says:

    Jim, I was going to recommend Brunvand, but I see Ed already did. Most of his books are probably available at your public library. I’m just seconding his recommendation, and as a matter of fact, for my current “relax before bedtime” reading, I am rereading Curses! Broiled Again (which refers to the UL that women cook themselves from the inside out at tanning salons).


  54. Ed Darrell says:

    I wonder if a book has been written, compiling them and attempt to divine their origin. The escaped lunatic sporting a giant hook where his hand used to be…the deranged motorist who turns around, looking to do bodily harm to whomever just flashed their high-beams at him…and a thousand more. And do we ever have our urban legends about parking lots!

    Jan Brunvand wrote ’em. The Vanishing Hitchhiker. The Choking Doberman. The Mexican Pet. And probably a half dozen others.

    The story of the vanishing hitchhiker was memorialized in the song “Bringing Mary Home,” made a hit by Red Sovine, done well by John Duffy (here on mandolin with the Country Gentlemen at their 1992 reunion — he also recorded it with the Seldom Scene).

    So millions of people have heard this song. Once at the Birchmere on the Seldom Scene’s regular Thursday night gig, the table next to me broke out in heated discussion about how the song was based on a real story from Alexandria, Virginia.

    Brunvand needs a new chapter now, on urban movie theatre legends — movies that people now swear were true stories. There would be a whole chapter on Ronald Reagan’s movie memories. (Hey, maybe he’s already written it.)

    The Texas Chainsaw Massacre would be a star in that section. We know it’s fiction, because the writer told us so. Who are you going to believe, the image on the screen, or that lying screenwriter?


  55. Jim says:

    Hi Ed!

    We do adore our urban legends, don’t we?

    Many of these take the form of campfire stories. I wonder if a book has been written, compiling them and attempt to divine their origin. The escaped lunatic sporting a giant hook where his hand used to be…the deranged motorist who turns around, looking to do bodily harm to whomever just flashed their high-beams at him…and a thousand more. And do we ever have our urban legends about parking lots!

    I see many of these beginning as innocent fun. Perhaps there is some kernal of reality that the first “teller” just couldn’t help but embellish. You know…the police actually DO issue a warning to shoppers about purse snatchings in mall parking lots. But, not unlike playing the “telephone game”, the story is transformed from a helpful reminder into a dire warning. Eventually, the story ends up on Snopes and dozens of our relatives feel just plain foolish for sending along that chain email. Or, like one relation of mine, they send it anyway. Because Snopes is run, they suspect, by “liberal elites” who want to supress the truth. (Several of my relatives regard anyone who likes books and has anything above a Bachelor’s degree to be “liberal elites”.)

    “What’s the harm”, they wonder? After all, if these scary stories make senior citizens or single women more cautious in shopping plaza parking lots, perhaps they serve us well. I suppose. Perhaps.

    Except that sometimes, maybe even frequently, these stories absorb the hatreds, fears and biases of so many “tellers”. Do a Google or Yahoo search sometime using the phrase “giant negro”. You’ll run into a shocking number of newspaper accounts of unsolved crimes that occurred in the pre-Civil Rights era. The only fact “witnesses” were certain of is that a “giant negro” was spotted fleeing the scene of the crime. In certain locales, the offender is a “drunken Mexican” or a “shifty Chinaman”.

    Our newspapers and other media usually don’t use such awful nomenclature today. I say, “usually”, because there is always “Stormfront”, “Newsmax” and the Council of Conservative Citizens. They do manage to keep alive our hideous and prejudicial past as though it is something to be proud of.

    But nevermind the media for a moment. What of those stories served up around water coolers, at fireside or across the back fence? Here in Fort Wayne, we used to have a lovely shopping mall on our side of town. When Carrie and I first moved here, business was booming. It wasn’t as posh or trendy as the upscale mall on the north side. But it attracted thousands of shoppers…from nearby rural areas, small towns, suburban neighborhoods and yes, the inner city. As a journalist, I reported on crime rates in various quadrants of the city. And yes, there were purse snatchings, fights, an occasional mugging and even one sexual assault at this mall. The very same crimes were committed at the chic mall up north. And I daresay, with equal or even greater frequency. But our mall, because it was known to have a significant number of African-American and Latino customers, became known as a “gangbanger paradise”.

    One famous urban legend (perhaps you have heard similar stories about specific sites where you live) posited that “dangerous black gang members” hid underneath your car while you shopped and patiently waited for you to return to your vehicle. As you opened your car door or your trunk (the story varied), said black gang member would cut your achilles heel with his trusty switch blade so you would be disabled and in too much pain and confusion to fight back. Some stories had the “giant negro” stealing whatever purse or billfold he could get his hands on. Others went into disgusting detail about how he would rape and violate female victims of the crime. You know Ed, it didn’t matter that the police repeatedly stated that no such crime had ever occurred. No. You see, someone’s uncle has a friend at church who heard from his barber that…

    And God knows, that’s as good as Gospel truth. Especially where “giant negroes” are concerned.

    Eventually, the rumor mill destroyed that once-prosperous mall. Anchor tenants left piecemeal, followed by smaller chain stores. Eventually, whole wings of the massive facility were closed and what was left open contained a bizarre array of storefronts run by locals peddling incense or “Elvis on velvet” paintings. Some churches held meetings there on Sundays. Finally, it was closed and bulldozed.

    What’s there now? Well, after sitting empty for awhile, our friends from Wal-Mart came calling. They built on the site — a gigantic “Super Wal-Mart”. It’s thriving. It’s one of a dozen Wal-Marts in the area, all of which are doing just fine.

    I did get an email the other day, however. Just a friendly reminder to be careful when I shop at that one particular Wal-Mart. The one by my house. Evidently, there is a “giant negro” on the loose again. He does show up at the strangest times, doesn’t he?

    And so it goes…


  56. Ed Darrell says:

    Cris, if the story is accurate, where are the records to corroborate it?

    It ain’t history if it ain’t written down, or at least put into oral history, in some verifiable fashion. This story is fiction — according to the producer, director and screen writer.

    Why should we take your word, without corroboration, over their testimony?


  57. Cris says:

    Ok lets get one thing straight ppl, every state has there own massacre stories but u dont read about all of em on the internet. The internet doesn’t have everything on it. Yes Thomas Hewitt is real, yes the story is real, and if you grew up in texas as i did then you would hear the stories. My grandma, mom, and uncles where all around during this time and have the news paper articles. They know the true story. To say it didnt happen is a insult to Texas history. Not everything is in history books. Do you really think they would put that in books that children read for projects? Im sorry but anybody who doesnt believe this happened is f—ing stupid! (and yes im talking to you mr. ed darrell) just because you cant find shit on it doesn’t mean it didnt happen you dumb ass!!!!!!


  58. Durim says:

    its really hapenned or is dosn t really ????


  59. Ed Darrell says:


    I’m up for any correction. Got any documentation? Town? Year? Any hint of the facts?

    Even on the urban-legend-friendly internet, you’ll not find much corroboration for claims of mass murder in Texas, especially by chain saw.

    Archives at the state, and local historical societies, are even less friendly.

    Lynchings, pogroms against Mexican heritage citizens, range wars between ranchers and farmers, just plain old political grudges, and family-feud-style multiple killings, you’ll find evidence to support.

    As I noted above, about the 1847 arsenic-laced cake story, sometimes the true stories are more interesting than the fiction. Why not look some of those stories up?


  60. misty spencer says:

    I think none of u know what ur talking about. i have heard the story all my life and my hubby is from texas and says part of the family still lives there. gein was not even a serial killer. killing 2 pple is not cosidered “serial”. he was simply a graverobber that had a twisted fetish. everyone believes it really happened and if it didn’t, so what. theres no need to crush everyones favorite urban legend. the movie “the town that dreaded sundown” really did happen in texarkana texas. anyone want to argue?


  61. Ed Darrell says:

    Gein’s story is real. Follow the links if you care to read it. That true story occurred in Wisconsin.

    The “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” is fiction, with a chainsaw and a few other touches added to make the story more macabre, with more bodies added to make it more sensational — all the better to sell tickets and popcorn.

    If you won’t trust the guy who wrote the screenplay when he says it’s fiction, why bother to check at all?

    “Thomas Hewitt” in a video? It’s another movie.


  62. brihanna says:

    Look im lost here so is it true or not?? i mean there is a video where there are 2 investigators video taping the scene and well “Thomas Hewitt” pops out like nothing.. so someone explain that please!! and well they shouldn’t say that it was based on a real story when it really isn’t well if it’s not..

    so they are saying that this kind of story happened in wisconsin and im realy lost..

    i thought it was true but now im 50/50…


  63. Amanda says:

    Judging from all the comments i’ve read, the movie, “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” was not based on a true story. There could have been incidents that were similar(by a stretch of the imagination) but the inspiration it self was not based on any facts.


  64. Ed Darrell says:

    What in the world does the Bill of Rights, or the Civil War, have to do with the story of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre?


  65. Strivingforaccuracyinhistory says:

    mhm and what about our 9th and 10th amendments what really went on with the civil war and “our” federal government. is it becoming a imperialistic type government?


  66. Shea butter hesed says:

    Oh dear that’s a grand statement “Striving for accuracy in history.”
    Lets just say your about to have the biggest job in history cause its ALL LIES
    Do you know that the US never won the battle of independence.
    How about the true contract between the Moorish empire and the Us
    symbolized on the dollar bill.
    ha ha, what about the hidden Islamic presence in America before Columbus.
    May as well forget it.


  67. You really have a great blog going! Keep up the awesome work! Here is one of my favorite sites. Classifieds East Texas


  68. Bryson says:

    The massacre was real the guy who did it was in the Florence Federal Correctional Facility in the small town of Florence Colorado. I know this for a fact because my mom and uncle are both correctional officers and have looked him up. I do believe that he was euthanized around the 1990’s but I’m not sure.


  69. Ed Darrell says:

    Solo fue una pelicula inventada.


  70. Constanza says:

    La matanza de texas?
    Ocurrio realmente ?
    o solo fue una pelicula inventada?
    porfavor necesito la respuestaaaaa!

    gracias adios


  71. Samantha says:

    Well mr. “Ed Darrell”
    You sounds like a load of bull—-, Clearly, America is trying to block out this event because it will not look good on paper. Like how most germans deny the holocaust.
    Mhm, Thats just me though.And cha, I live in texas.


  72. Yassin says:

    Why did the producers of this godforsaken movie claim it was based on a true story? If it wasn’t for that i probably wouldn’t have seen it. I kinda answered my own question there. Overall i feel violated for dignifying this hoax by trying to verify it.


  73. Ed Darrell says:

    Surely, were that so, someone would have written about it somewhere. Any references at all?


  74. Luciano Gayton says:

    Never understand why wrong people are printed. Is it just spin?

    I am from the heart of Texas. As a boy I notice from time to time when folks just disappeared. Then it was discovered the winning fella following the barbecue circuit across the country had a secret ingredient.

    That fella lived in Old McNeil, Texas, Travis County. Of course he probably was related someone who did not like the news show.

    Google Scarecrow Labs hydrogen to save the planet.
    Liars and fools need not respond.


  75. Mary A says:

    I spent the first 30 years of my life in Wichita Falls, didn’t see the “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” until recently but heard all the stories about it from friends. Never understood why I had a natural aversion for many of the “suburbs” other than strange people seemed to collect in those towns. Wichita Falls is a fine town to BE FROM, still glad we got out.


  76. I hate electra says:

    Ok well I would like to agree with electra blows I live here everything he said is true there isn’t anything here except speed freaks and f—ed up speed freak police and yes proud to say f— the police as far as chainsaw goes don’t have any proof but I would like to think it happend I mean if u lived here u would understand how some one could do that and still miss gettin put into any books of any kind or any data bases nothing is here and the dude that made this town sound so nice should go f— himself cuz obviously he’s never been here mabe in like 1914 is was a nice town but now almost all the buildings are abandoned or falling apart or both I advise u if leather face doesn’t scare u the chill in ur spine when u come to this city will electra is where serial killers are raised


  77. Ed Darrell says:

    Fantastic, Thomas! Got any way we can check it out? Somehow that story seems to have escaped all the Texas history books, and the internet, too!

    So, the complete lack of corroborating evidence, plus the statement from the author of the screenplay that the movie was based on a Wisconsin case, leads me to believe you are in error, or trying to prank someone you know named Krenick.

    Which is it? If you have sources, I’d love to check it out. If you have anything to connect a real case to the movies, that would be gold. Got it?


  78. thomas says:

    The texas chainsaw killing is true. the way I know is “leather face” Thomas Allen Krenick is my great uncle. He was born with severe downs syndrome and could not help what he did. His mother was a manic depressive and abused him all the time. she was commited to San Antonio state hospital in 1947 for self mutilation and child abuse. Thomas is still in prison with a life sentence and medicated to the point of stuper.The story got alittle out of hand though on the number of deaths for the movie appeal.
    6 people were killed.


  79. Carolyn says:

    I think Electra Blows did it! I mean you can tell he hates where he lives – and hates the people who lives there – and he has very unusual feelings toward the police department. Notice how he says the town should be destroyed and is dying….hmmmmm and also notice how he lives in the drug capital of the world!


  80. Danielle says:

    I would just like to say how dissapointed i am, because when I was younger I thought it was a true story and here I am at 30 now and finding out its not true.Oh well, it was a good story while it lasted!!!!


  81. Jerry Turner says:

    The Chainsaw Massacre is taken from the Ed Gein episode in Wisconsin. The producers decided on “Texas” belongs it lends a bit more excitement than say, “Iowa Chainsaw Massacre.” In the Texas Prisons even today, officers and convicts swear that the murderer is locked up. No one knows where, but they know he is somewhere in the system. While I was researching the story years ago, some told me that they saw him and “he still had his leather mask.” Prison is a hotbed of rumor and convicts are among the gullible. The whole story other than Ed Gein is fiction.


  82. Christina says:

    Mr. Bill…
    If you’re so curious about those 33 murders (which you’re so sure happened), try googling it yourself. I’ll bet you every website you find will be connected to the movies.

    Mr. Ed…
    I’m glad I found your website… I’m a bit of a chicken and I had the “bright” idea of watching the original movie on the bus ride returning from my vacation, coming back to my empty house. When a movie really scares me (not a hard thing to do) I like googling debunking information on it, thus making it less real (I never fully believe the movies, but I have an active imagination) and therefore easier for me to sleep at night. :)


  83. Electra Blows says:

    The only thing that Electra, Texas has to offer the world is being one of the top meth producers of the world. Not only is it not historic but it should be burned to the ground. It has nothing to offer and the dude who says it is a great town, should live here. As for Massacres here doubtful. Not only is there no youth in this town and the police is more corrupt than any other I have seen but this is a dieing town and should be whiped off the map. Live here then decide how “great” this scum pile is worth.


  84. Catherine says:

    Hey Mr. Bill,

    Perhaps those 33 murders that the movie is referring to is fictional. Did that thought occur to you? Just because you see it on a movie screen doesn’t make it real.


  85. Ed Darrell says:

    What 33 murders? It’s fine to doubt a website, skepticism is good — but one generally must have fact to rebut.

    What 33 murders are you talking about? There is no record in Texas of such stuff that I have found.


  86. Mr.Bill says:

    Dear Ed,

    Your responses to these people are all fine and dandy…..i mean it does sound like your the unofficial chainsaw massacre master.I’ve looked up and seen everything your talking about,my only problem is….just because a website says its true or false,doesnt make it so.Im not saying your wrong….i saw what the director said.I dont really care about the movie as much as i do about real facts.Sure he says it was based on Ed Gein….but Ed’s “only” murders…i say only,because i believe he murdered more than that.If we had the technology in the 50’s as we do now,im sure the story of Ed Gein might be a little different.Back to my point,Ed Gein’s murders…only two of which are known,happened in 1954 and 1957.So if leatherface is based off of Ed,does that mean the 33 murders which did happen in Texas……are based off two murders and a house full of skin furniture? I want to know who committed the 33 murders in Texas between 1969 and 1973.Ed was in a straight jacket in Wisconsin while the tail end of these Texas murders were still happening.Get back to me if you find any actual facts about the 69 to 73 murders.Those murders are real and i want to find out who really committed them…..


  87. Danilo says:

    It’s Reale?


  88. Ed Darrell says:

    What is it you want a reply for, Chris?

    No such event occurred in Texas. No such series of events occurred in Texas. Hewitt, Texas, is in McLennan County, about two hours’ drive north of Travis County.

    Have a happy Halloween.

    P.S.: Why not dress up as Sam Houston, or William B. Travis, or Davy Crockett, or Jim Bowie?


  89. chris says:

    ok, i don’t understand, i watched “texas chainsaw massacre: the begining”

    the movie said it was in a place called hewitt, but leatherface’s real name is thomas hewitt, but i also found that it is in travis county, texas, and also at the end of the movie, it said the him and his family killed 32 people between 1969-1972

    plz tell me whoever, reply and say to me, i wanna be leatherface nxt halloween, i’m not evil, but i respect him for a halloween character, plz don’t think i’m evil, and all i need is a chainsaw lol

    thx and plz reply.


  90. Ed Darrell says:

    Jess, Katie — click on the “UPDATE” box at the top of the post.

    Ed Gein died in 1984. There is a photo of Ed Gein at


  91. Katie says:

    Hey so is there any pics of him?is he still alive?


  92. Jess says:

    Hey If anyone knows if there Really any true info on the texas chainsaw massacre PLEASE PLEASE email me at thanks


  93. thomas says:

    Electra, named after the feisty daughter of cattle baron W.T. Waggoner, is located in the western edge of Wichita County. The Waggoners were pioneers in the area when they established their cattle headquarters here in 1878. Their property almost completely surrounded the original townsite. Confusion over the delivery of Waggoner mail and the name Beaver for nearby Beaver Creek led residents in 1902 to circulate a petition changing the name of the city to Electra in honor of Electra Waggoner. The townsite opened in October 1907. In 1911 an oil company leased a tract of land from W.T. and the famous North Texas Oil boom was begun as fortune seekers came to stake their claims.

    Today, Electra continues its agricultural and oil impact in North Texas. Farm and ranch land surrounds the town and most every field is punctuated with an oil well. Manufacturing is another strong economic force to the city.

    An industrious and enthusiastic city government and school system make Electra an exciting city to live in and raise a family. A progressive hospital offering a plethora of services, a physician clinic, family practitioners, internist and general surgeon assure the best of healthcare services not found in many small cities.

    The Chamber of Commerce is extremely active. The annual Electra Goat Barbecue is one of the busiest and most exciting events hosted by the Chamber. There are also the annual homecoming events, semi annual City Wide Garage Sales, Scarecrow Festival, and an annual visit from Santa Claus. Restoration of the historic Grand Theatre built in 1919 is underway as a citywide project.

    For over 90 years Electra has been a vibrant community rich in history and ripe in personality and was designated a Main Street City in 1998 and a National Main Street City in 2000.


  94. […] traffic to the post I did a while ago noting that the movies are not based on any Texas incidents (see “Based on a true story, except . . .). The original movie, in 1974, was billed as “based on a true story.” “The film […]


  95. wisconsinite says:

    ghein murdered 2 women… get your gory wisconsin history right


  96. wisconsinite says:

    texas has nothing to offer the world in the way of interesting movie fodder…..
    a laced cake? arsnic and old lace~! wow i cant wait to blow my cash seeing the wedding poisioning movie~!! = D what about a movie about a stupid dirt eating people? buahahahahahhahaha
    trying to bbe tough using a gory movie to back themselves up…they were unable to see the whole country LAUGHING at them… cause that movie was a composite of eddie ghein
    you are just too rich~!!


  97. Ed Darrell says:

    By the way, Mr. Gross has not returned with any sort of verification of his claims above, that the movie is based on incidents in Elektra, Texas, a town that is probably fictional, too.
    Ooops. See update, in my comments above. Spell it right, “Electra,” it’s findable.


  98. Ed Darrell says:

    No, not true.

    No masscre.

    No serial murderer doing hitchhikers.

    No cannibal family.

    As I noted above — “based on a true story,” but it didn’t happen in Texas, there was no chainsaw, no massacre, and perhaps nothing more than desecration of corpses. Allison’s quoting from the website covers it well.


  99. karen says:

    hello did a massacre really happen or was it just made up
    was there even some1 who killed many people n waz there a cannibal family?????


  100. karen says:

    so is the true or not??


  101. Allison says:

    Here is some additional debunking info I found….enjoy. [From]

    So, true story or not? Certainly there was no real family of cannibalistic chainsaw murderers slaughtering people in Texas, nor any actual series of chainsaw-related killings. Writer/director Tobe Hooper said the inspiration for the film came from his spotting a display of chainsaws while standing in the hardware section of a crowded store:

    I was in the Montgomery Ward’s out in Capital Plaza. I had been working on this other story for some months — about isolation, the woods, the darkness, and the unknown. It was around holiday season, and I found myself in the Ward’s hardware department, and I was still kind of percolating on this idea of isolation and such. And those big crowds have always gotten to me. There were just so many people to go through. And I was just standing there in front of an upright display of chainsaws. And the focus just racked from my eyeball to the people to the saws — and the idea popped. I said, “Ooh, I know how I could get out of this place fast — if I just start one of these things up and make that sound.” Of course I didn’t. That was just a fantasy.
    Hooper has also said that he based the character of Leatherface on Ed Gein, a Wisconsin farmer who robbed graves (his own mother’s supposedly among them), allegedly engaged in necrophilia and cannibalism, and murdered at least two women in the 1950s (one of whose corpses was found hanging naked — decapitated and disembowelled — in Gein’s residence). As Gunnar Hansen, the actor who portrayed Leatherface, notes in his Texas Chainsaw Massacre FAQ:

    Here’s what Tobe (director) and Kim (writer) told me themselves one night during the filming. They had heard of Ed Gein, the man in Plainfield, Wisconsin, who was arrested in the late 1950s for killing his neighbor and on whom the movie Psycho was based. So when they set out to write this movie, they decided to have a family of killers who had some of the characteristics of Gein: the skin masks, the furniture made from bones, the possibility of cannibalism. But that’s all. The story itself is entirely made up. So, sorry folks. There never was a massacre in Texas on which this was based. No chainsaw either. And, in spite of those of you who have told me you remember when it happened, it really didn’t happen. Really. Believe me. This is an interesting phenomenon. I’ve also had people tell me that they knew the original Leatherface, that they had been guards at the state prison in Huntsville, Texas, where he was a prisoner. Maybe they knew somebody who dreamed of being Leatherface. It is, I suppose, something to aspire to.
    Police eventually discovered the remains of 15 different mutilated female bodies in Gein’s filthy farmhouse, parts of which (mostly skin and bones) had been fashioned into a variety of bizarre objects (including drums, bowls, masks, bracelets, purses, knife sheaths, leggings, chairs, lampshades, and shirts), as well as a refrigerator full of human organs.

    Gein later admitted to killing two women, one in 1954 and one in 1957. He was suspected of involvement in the disappearance of four other people in central Wisconsin (two men and two young girls) between 1947 and 1952, but the remains found in his farmhouse all came from adult females, and none of them matched up with any of the four missing persons. (Gein maintained that with the exception of the two women he had admitted killing, all of the body parts in his farmhouse had been taken from corpses he dug up in the local cemetery.)

    Gein’s story inspired (at least in part) the Norman Bates character — a young man who murders women out of a twisted sense of loyalty to his dead mother — in the classic thriller Psycho, and the Buffalo Bill character — a transvestite serial killer who murders women to make use of their skin — in the horror novel Silence of the Lambs. Although the Leatherface character and the events depicted in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre differ in many substantial ways from what is known about the life and activities of Ed Gein (most notably in that Gein was apparently far more a grave robber than a murderer, and he didn’t go around slicing up live victims with a chainsaw), there are definite similarities between the film and the Ed Gein story as well (e.g., hanging a murder victim’s corpse in the house, making functional use of the skin from dead bodies, elements of cannibalism). Whether these similiarities are sufficiently close to justify the statement that The Texas Chainsaw Massacre was “based on a true story” is up to filmgoers to decide for themselves.


  102. Ed Darrell says:

    In a private e-mail I’ve asked for citations for the newspaper clippings, and I am rather excited about getting them. Among other things, I can find no evidence there ever was a town called Elektra in Texas.

    Documentation trumps speculation. I look forward to seeing what Mr. Gross can produce.

    Update, August 1, 2007: I’ve been by the town of Electra, Texas, a couple of times in the past six weeks. It’s in Wichita County, northwest of Wichita Falls, near the Oklahoma border — and a long, long way from Travis County, or Hewitt, in McLennan County.


  103. Joseph Gross says:

    How could you say that “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is not real”? I mean for god sakes my great great grandparents, my grandparents, and my mother lived during this Massacre… It happened around Elektra, Texas between 1969-1973, and if that doesn’t sound right I have newspaper clippings from when it happened… So how can you say it didn’t happen it Texas???


  104. Joe Shelby says:

    Real crimes ARE being used in fiction – just not in the movies. Law and Order’s franchise has had plenty of “based on real situations” stories, as had CSI and E.R..


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