Monday, April 30, 2012

As May Approaches-- So Do Thoughts of Bonnie & Clyde

If you've ever visited the Bonnie & Clyde ambush site at this time of year, besides the sweltering Spring heat-- the 1st thing likely to jump out at you, is how little that area of Bienville Parish, Louisiana has changed since 1934.  In viewing local demographics over time-- if anything, that rural scene is less populated now with less viable financial opportunity than existed years ago.  

Indeed photos of Gibsland in the 1940's showed a bustling industrial area-- however now, it's industry is unfortunately long gone.  And that desolate road leading out of town (now called Louisiana Route 154)-- somehow seems just as quaintly situated as it did when Bonnie & Clyde made their fateful trip through the whispering Pines.  Oh-- the trees were surely more dense then, and that gravel covered road likely kicked up dust with each turn of the tires-- but none the less, to this day-- that's still a conspicuously lonely trip out of town.

And as you near the ambush site-- somehow it's hard not to project yourself back in time, and attempt in vain to warn Clyde & Bonnie of their impending doom.  But just as in a dream, where you're sometimes powerless to affect any difference-- when you take that final turn and view the ambush site in the distance (just as you know Bonnie & Clyde did that fateful day)-- there's no changing history.  Alas, for those intensely hunted lovers responsible for so many deaths-- the end was swift and sure.  But in stopping upon that hill and exiting your car-- for you, the adventure in sharing that hallowed ground with those you know both stood there victoriously and also died such a horrible death-- will stay with you forever.  To experience that location in person-- I surely recommend as a priority for every Bonnie & Clyde aficionado, so wonderfully and uncontrollably hooked on this history.

For reference, these photos taken by me a few years ago-- show a couple of key views of the ambush location.  The 1st pic shows the view from the ambush site, back upon the famous final curve Bonnie & Clyde traveled in approaching their demise.   If all was as reported??-- the Methvin truck would've been located in the Southbound lane (to the left)-- and The Barrow car (when the bullets started flying)-- would've stood in the Northbound (right hand) lane facing the camera.  Although the road's been altered a bit over time-- this pic was taken quite close to ground zero.  

Pic 2 is just about the closest you can position yourself today, as if within the posse laying in the weeds-- in viewing the oncoming approach route.  Unfortunately, the actual spot from '34 within the blind-- has now been removed and replaced by a Conoco gas pipeline road.  My position for this photo was as close to that spot as possible now.  Also note, it's obvious from photos at the time-- that the surrounding Pine Forest and undergrowth were uniquely thick, and not nearly as sparse as is the reality today.                 


Joe said...

somethings never change. one can almost imagine B&C making that final turn at the top of the hill and the ambush team starting to raise their guns

this time Clyde would take no lives

A. Winston Woodward said...

To look at photos from that time-- the ambush posse wouldn't have been able to see Clyde & Bonnie take that final turn, as the forestation was much too thick and cut close to the road. Ambush accounts note their ability to hear a car approaching from a distance, which then would've only been visible in that final straightaway approaching the crest of the hill. In Washington, I'll have with me numerous pics taken after the ambush-- of the ambush site, roads and surroundings. I'm sure I'll also address, the many controversies & inconsistencies concerning ambush accounts-- including new and fantastic claims and rumors espoused, but as yet unpublished.

Jim from Atlanta said...

Dear Winston,

Just here to catch up on the latest on B&C. And, I wanted to commend your dedication to not just B&C but the era of the 1930's in general.

I wish that the coroner had performed a modern autopsy--and that modern forensics were employed at Gibsland.

I believe that Bonnie may or may not have been pregnant. It was just as easily the strain from her many injuries and the constant fear of being ambushed again, caused her to have secondary amenorrhea. That is brought on by stress, depression, drugs, on-going illness, etc.

We only have her story claiming to be pregnant to Methvyn's family--I do not recall the Barrow or Parker family ever mentioning it.

Also, I made a mistake on comment regarding the death car--the year I saw the car was 1969--my last year of high school--in front of Arlan's Department and Groceries--Memorial Drive, Dekalb County, Ga.

There is no doubt in my mind that Hamer insisted on shoot first at the B&C ambush site. Mr. Oakley was just following directions by taking the first shot as it became available.

Further, if you carefully view the death car photos, pay attenton to the front windshield--there are obvious exit holes fired from through the rear of the car's glass on Bonnie's side only--makes you wonder who the target was at that moment--of course it's just an observation.

Also, I met Mr. Boots Hinton in Gibsland many years ago while traveling from Texas to Georgia and back. He was a very interesting fellow with gritty down to earth descriptions of B&C and story of his father.

Your friend, Jim

A. Winston Woodward said...

Hello Jim-- To my mind, there are just too many unrelated references to a Bonnie pregnancy-- not to pay attention to this very real possibility. It's not just the Clemmie Methvin story in play here. Supposition can be a dangerous thing-- but my belief is one of those shots from the rear (likely from Ted Hinton trailing the car)-- may have severed Bonnie's spinal cord. "Boots" has told me, those were .45 caliber pistol shots from Ted. Bob Alcorn had admittedly flanked the car and ended up on Bonnie's side firing toward her door. Although he fired high (as the only entry holes on the passenger side are visible above her door)-- I've wondered with Alcorn likely a good shot, why his shots from point blank range were errant?? Compassionate misses?? Hmmm.

Jim from Atlanta said...

That does not explain that Bonnie's left hand clung to her sandwich after being shot so many times----I believe she was paralyzed at the first shot--autopsy report lines up with this theory noting the Clyde head wound and Bonnie's shoulder wound to the spine.

A. Winston Woodward said...

Too many wounds to discern which shots did what. Also the undertaker's records revealed many if not most of the bullets were left in the bodies. And I put little credence in Jeff Guinn's shot by shot ambush analysis, based on the Jones/Fischer report he used-- which I am familiar with. Also not to be too critical-- but you as many, often refer to an "autopsy" performed by Dr. James Wade. In fact, there was no autopsy performed. The Coroner's Inquest which was performed, although noting bullet holes, entry & exit wounds, scars, other new & old injuries and items of reference such as tattoos-- went no farther than that. Unless additional notes should exist-- beyond the detail of Dr. Wade's report made that day-- any additional analysis is supposition.