Legend of the Greasy Man

Legend of the Greasy Man


How often do we remember with vivid acuity scary stories and non-fugacious legends from our youth? Such is the case with Poor William and the Delta legend of the Greasy Man. As a child, spending summer nights at the Peay clubhouse on Moon Lake, across the street from historic Kathryn’s Restaurant, in the heart of the Mississippi Delta, I would lie awake in the dark, in the upstairs room on the left–full of beds and boys, sweating with thoughts of the Greasy Man.

Photo by The Delta Bohemian

Photo by The Delta Bohemian

This nefarious entity, pictured by Poor William as a naked, skinny white dude, pale as a possum’s face, slinking in and out of reality, covered in translucent grease, grinning sardonically from the recesses of a room shrouded in darkness, with wooden walls as a backdrop, would make Poor William yearn for morning, when light would filter through curtain cracks, showering a dimly lit room with dust particles, waltzing like fruit flies above an overly ripe banana.

How many nights did Poor William lose countless hours of clubhouse sleep, while two sets of twin Peay brothers slept soundly, with the knowledge that the Greasy Man would pervasively interrupt my restive awareness?

Legend has it that the Greasy Man would sneak into houses at night, laden with grease, unable to be captured due to his slick nature and wispy physique. It was never really clear why he broke into homes, other than to scare the bejeezus out of half-asleep occupants, already awaiting his presence.

Freddie Kruger might haunt the dreams of those fearful of slumber, but the Greasy Man did not wait for sleep. The spectral illusion would fringe a room with promises of an appearance long before the cock crowed twice, but only after dusk was a recent, hazy memory.

The Greasy Man began the haunt and the hunt prior to twilight’s last gleam, but he grew in strength and presence as the night darkened and the story teller’s rhyme and cadence methodically chipped away at any daylight inoculations against the fear of his coming.

My elementary school students told me they had indeed heard of the Greasy Man—in fact, they had many relatives who had seen him. According to the imaginations of these kids, the Greasy Man was swarthier, rural-bound, and not as svelte as his Moon Lake equivalent, but he was just as real, ominous, and ubiquitous.

Poor William knows not where he holes up during the day, nor how he travels at night. He assumes the Greasy Man never dies, but lies dormant, waiting on his expeditious resurrection in the form of post-twilight apperception. He only holds fear for those who fear him.

Poor William fears him no longer, or does he?

The Greasy Man III

The Greasy Man I

The Greasy Man II

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  1. Mother’s house keeper, Fanny Collins, swore to us that he was in the Brickyard area of town one night and was killed by a single blast from a neighbor’s 12 gauge shotgun while attempting to slip out of his neighbor’s window about four feet away.

    I believe he was also known to sometimes run with “The Voodo Man”.

  2. My momma used to talk about the “Greasy Man” and said he would “slip” into houses at night. She was born and raised in Coahoma County, “The Delta”.

  3. Dennis Rodfrok says:

    this is true the greasy man

  4. This is true, my dad was the person that shot the greasy man.

    • Jeff Hogue says:

      Hi Lawrence. I don’t know what in the hell made me google this but here since I am. This was very real and frightening when we were kids. My dad was Dr. Hogue. After he was shot they took him to the old hospital across the old Yazoo river and had my Dad save his life. He told me that they had Policemen around him while he was doing surgery to make sure that he wouldn’t kill the guy. I remember that he rumor was that rape had been involved and your dad was a hero. Maybe this guy was a copycat of this old legend of the guy from Wolf Lake.

      • Michael K says:

        Do you by any chance know the approximate year this happened and/or the name of the old hospital? I’m doing some research for a history project and this story came up; I am trying to track down potential newspaper articles about it to understand the broader context. It must have been terrifying to live through and my heart goes out to you.

        • Hi! Just saw this! My story was fictional but the Greasy Man was real! We just grew up with the story, but I think the Clarksdale Press Register back in the day ran an article on someone who was arrested! You might check with them?!

  5. Ada-Luz Rivera says:

    My mom grew up in Trinidad 🇹🇹 in the 1950s and she remembers the greasy man. I was looking for the Trinidad legend and was surprised to find this in the Mississippi Delta!

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