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From the Vault

By Staff | Oct 23, 2015

Oct. 17, 1935

Several early risers in this fair village got the scare of their lives Tuesday morning when they came down town and saw what appeared to be the body of a man swinging from the crosspiece of a temporary 12-foot scaffold, north of the Presbyterian church, erected for the purpose of hanging the village bell thereon – if ever the village dads get around to it.

The original discoverers of this gruesome and nerve-racking object greatly feared that some of the boys and girls – who are regular cutups – had gone a trifle too far, and in their innocent playfulness had actually hanged a man (Something that is not considered en regle -Irish for “according to Hoyle” – in the best families.).

A closer inspection, however, showed that the swinging object was only a pair of overalls, a shirt and a hat, all stuffed with paper, rags and straw, while on its breast was, not a turtle dove, as the old song has it, but a placard, bearing the words, “Our Village Cop.” Now, that was nice.

The effigy was unmolested until a couple of the village fathers put in an appearance. And did they get angry, or did they wax exceeding wrath at their nefarious act of lese majeste? Dunt esk! They did both, and vowed by the great horn spoon that the perpetrators of this ghastly episode should answer for it at the bar of justice- or any other old bar that might be handy. They then unstuffed the corpus delicti and burned the remains.

Down to date, nothing sensational has happened.

– “Village Cop Hanged in Effigy Monday Night”

Written by Knox Advocate:

Oct. 20, 2015.

For many in the community, 1935 was a difficult time. And a prank like this was uncalled for because of its timing.

At the beginning of that year, Pierce County witnessed a stockman murdered over 150 gallons of liquor. By the end of August, our own infamous ax murders had occurred in a Rugby home. A prank like this was distasteful given the prior local events.

This prank was made in the spirit of Halloween, but not in common sense. This is another example of the challenges communities are faced with each year during Halloween. Sometimes pranks that are pulled are irresponsible, and some events cause paranoia that can force us to confront traditions.

This year our concerns come from trick-or-treating. We didn’t go to such extremes as to ban trick-or-treating like multiple North Dakota communities have done in the past. But people fear another “Candy Man” like Clark O’Bryan, someone who tampers with Halloween candy and then hands it out to unsuspecting children. This fear caused multiple communities to close off trick-or-treating.

I believe Rugby had a fantastic idea on how to deal with this concern. Instead of outright banning trick-or-treating, some people in the community started a Trunk-or-Treat. So instead of worrying about the littlest kids on Halloween, parents have the option of bringing their children to the Trunk-or-Treat to make sure they have better supervision.

Halloween has always had traditions of trick-or-treating and pranks. I hope they continue, but these traditions must have a form of common sense if they wish to continue unhindered.

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