The Hatchet Man

Here's a scary story about one of Ohio's first homicidal maniacs. The story is related very well by Chris Woodyard in Haunted Ohio V, which you can buy here.

This is what happened. Around 1815, a tailor named Andrew Hellman emigrated from Germany to Virginia. He took Mary Abel as his wife, and together they moved at least twice, first to Carroll County, Ohio, then to Logan County. Along the way the two of them had three children--Louisa, born in 1822; Henry in 1824; and John in 1828.

All sounds pretty normal, right? In actuality, Hellman was a lunatic who beat his wife mecilessly. When his first son was born he disowned him because he thought his wife was cheating on him with someone else. He tried to poison her but was unsuccessful.

Finally, in 1839, Andrew Hellman had his first success with homicide. He used poison again, and this time, his childer Louisa and John succumbed. Henry lived only because of Mary's valiant efforts to resuscitate him.

One can only imagine what a horrible life the Hellmans had at a time when beating your wife wasn't considered a big deal. Even the dead children didn't do much to raise the alarm, apparently, because Andrew was still free when, on September 26, 1839, he hacked his wife to death with an axe. Henry once again slipped past by having the good sense to stay away that day.

They finally arrested Hellman for the hatchet murder, and they took him to jail in Bellefontaine. He then proceeded to escape before he could be tried and ride his horse to safety. He fled to Baltimore, Maryland, in 1840, and began the next chapter in his weird, psychopathic life.

In Baltimore, he took a new name (Adam Horn), married a new woman (Malinda Hinkle) and moved into a house with her. They had just a couple of years to enjoy each other's company before Hellman/Horn got sick of her shit, and once again chopped his wife into pieces with a hatchet, in March of 1843. He spread pieces of her all over the property, including an upstairs room and in a shallow grave near the orchard. Her head was never found at all. They say he saw ghost lights around the places where he hid her body parts and was scared into fleeing, thereby revealing himself.

They hung him, finally, on January 12, 1844. He was buried next to Louisa and his kids in Logan County's Harrod Cemetery, near Huntsville, where his tombstone is said to glow with spectral light.

But the real legend is about Andrew Hellman himself, who haunts the area where he once terrorized his first family. Specifically, he roams the very rural McArthur Township Road 56, just northwest of Bellefontaine, with his hatchet in hand, ready to kill anyone unlucky enough to be in his area at night. (He particularly hates women.) So if your car breaks down on Township Road 56 some afraid.



Woodyard, Chris. Haunted Ohio V. Dayton: Kestrel Publications, 2003.