This informant is a sophomore at USC in the Naval ROTC program. Very soft spoken and polite, she grew up in Anaheim California. Considering herself a typical teenager through high school, she had a fondness for the urban legends that circulated throughout the school.
“Something my friends did in high school as almost an initiation type deal was the ‘candyman game’. It’s a lot like that ‘bloody Mary’ thing except at my school it was the candyman. What we did is we’d take turns going into the bathroom alone with a flashlight, look in the mirror, and say ‘candyman’ 3 times. If you did it right, you were supposed to see a blood covered black guys with a hook for a hand standing behind you. I don’t know why he was black though. I think they made a movie about it and he was black so we just picked up on it. I don’t know. Anyways, we would scare the heck out of each other. Either the people would bang on the door scaring the person on the inside, or the person on the inside would scream scaring the people on the outside. It was actually really fun. obviously nothing happened to us, but on a couple occasions one of us would freak out, saying they saw something behind them. It never happened to me though.”
The story of the candyman’s origin has a variety of stories with the common theme of him being slave in the 1800s who had sex with a plantation owners daughter and was viciously murdered because of it. The variations come with the nature of his relationship with the plantations daughter and the way in which he was killed. In regard to he and the woman’s relationship, some stories suggest they were in love, and others suggest she was raped. As to his death, the stories generally involve some form of animal, mainly death by killer bees or by vicious dogs. The most widely accepted origin is about a man by the name of Daniel Robitaille, a slave who was told to paint the daughter of his plantation owner. Because of their time together, Daniel began to fall in love with the woman. When her father found out, he sent a mob to track him down and kill him. His death involved getting his hands cut off and was covered in honey to be stung to death by killer bees. His last words were a curse on the men that killed him and that he would come back to have his revenge. This tale is interesting as the subject is a very serious historical topic about the abuse of slaves, yet its played by middle to high school girls. It is unclear how the myth began to involve the mirror or how he got the name “candyman,” though this could be attributed to him being covered in honey. Though candyman is a timeless legend, it gained popularity in 1992 when the movie “Candyman” came out, thus regenerating the story.