|Mad Gasser of Mattoon|
|Also Known as||Mad Gasser |
|Appeared in||Series 4|
The Mad Gasser of Mattoon is monster #110. Released as part of Series 4, the monster has a points value of 80. A later rerelease in the United Kingdom named the figure simply as Mad Gasser; this was also the name used in the 2006 remake series. The monster is depicted as a gas-masked humanoid figure with pincer-like hands, wearing gas canisters strapped to its back.
Background Information[edit | edit source]
The Mad Gasser of Mattoon, (also known as "The Anesthetic Prowler", "The Mad Anesthetist", and "The Phantom Anesthetist", "The Mad Gasser of Roanoke", or simply "Mad Gasser") was the name given to the person or people believed to be responsible for a series of apparent gas attacks that occurred in Botecourt County, Virginia, during the early 1930s, and in Mattoon, Illinois during the mid-1940s.
Most contemporary descriptions of the Mad Gasser are based on the testimony of Mr. and Mrs. Bert Kearney of 1408 Marshall Avenue, the victims of the first Mattoon case to be reported by the media. They described the gasser as being a tall, thin man dressed in dark clothing and wearing a tight-fitting cap. Another report, made some weeks later, described the gasser as being a female dressed as a man. The Gasser had also been described as carrying a flit gun, an agricultural tool for spraying pesticide, which he purportedly used to expel the gas.
The first recorded incident attributed to the Mad Gasser involved the Huffman family of Botetourt County, in December 1933. A strong, sweet odour permeated the Huffman household, causing nausea, headaches, dizziness, faical swelling and constriction of the throat. Numerous similar incidents followed over the next few months, occasionally accompanied by sightings of an unidentified prowler. The incidents were not officially deduced to be either attacks or natural or chemical occurances. Rumours began to spread that a secretive individual was deliberately gassing the populace.
Over ten years later, the first incidents in Mattoon, Illinois were recorded, including those of the Kearney's, which provided the aforementioned physical description. The effects of the gas were more severe, sometimes including temporary paralysis of the victims. Public hearsay and newspaper reports led to numerous incidences of false alarms, increasing unrest further. Circumstantial evidence, such as chemically soiled fabrics, supposedly from tge Gasser's garments, was recovered at some scenes. On September 12th, 1944, the police announced that the incidents were the result of public unrest and hysteria, after the which the 'attacks' declined.
There is disagreement cocnerning whether the events were caused by mass hysteria, natural or industrial chemical pollutants, by a genuine assailant, or by a combination of the above. One suggestion is that the Botetourt events led to a spate of copycat attacks in Mattoon; a case of the legend creating the monster. However, the limited publicity from the original incidents and the time and distance between locations calls this into question.
The identity of the Gasser, if (s)he existed, is also a matter of speculation. Most theories preseme that the attacker was a disturbed member of the public; however, more fanciful tales of paranormal or extraterrestrial entities are also popular.
2006 remake[edit | edit source]
Mad Gasser is monster #30 included in the 2006 relaunch series. Here, the Gasser is represented quite differently to the original figure, as a thin being in a cowl, with greenish skin, holding a chemical phial. The Mad Gasser is grouped as one of The Maniacs. The description on the Mad Gasser collectable card (number 030/230) and website is as follows:
"This mysterious maniac, the Mad Gasser, haunts the night, releasing a strong,nauseating and paralyzing gas into the homes of his innocent victims and they sleep! He has never been identified or clearly seen. The only proof he exists is a trail of blue vapor and poisonous fumes. DON'T INHALE!"