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New Releases for May 15: Texarkana Moonlight Murders, May Day

The Texarkana Moonlight Murders: The Unsolved Case of the 1946 Phantom Killer by Michael Newton

In 1946, years before the phrase “serial murder” was coined, a masked killer terrorized the town of Texarkana on the Texas-Arkansas border. Striking five times within a ten-week period, always at night, the prowler claimed six lives and left three other victims wounded. Survivors told police that their assailant was a man, but could supply little else. A local newspaper dubbed him the Phantom Killer, and it stuck. Other reporters called the faceless predator the “Moonlight Murderer,” though the lunar cycle had nothing to do with the crimes.

Texarkana’s phantom was not America’s first serial slayer; he certainly was not the worst, either in body count or sheer brutality. But he has left a crimson mark on history as one of those who got away. Like the elusive Axeman of New Orleans, Cleveland’s Mad Butcher of Kingsbury Run, and San Francisco’s Zodiac, the Phantom Killer left a haunting mystery behind. This is the definitive story of that mystery.


May Day Festivals in America, 1830 to the Present by Allison Thompson

Starting in the early 1830s, American girls and women began to hold Old English May Day festivals, complete with maypole dances, the crowning of a May Queen, and romantic plays and pageants. These festivals accelerated in popularity after 1900 at colleges and universities across the country. An important part of the traditional college experience for many women, the celebrations played a surprisingly influential role in the Progressive reform movement.

This thorough history examines the creation and development of the traditional American May Day festival. It also provides an overview of May Day celebrations at 80 specific college and universities, eight of which continue to celebrate the festival annually.