There’s a reddish stain on the basement wall that might be a remnant of Herb Clutter’s blood — or it might be just an urban myth.
Getting access to it and the rest of the “In Cold Blood” farmhouse in Holcomb, Kan., where four members of the Clutter family were brutally murdered, is rare.
But in 2006, the then-owners of the house put it up for sale, and there was an open house.
Denny Foreman was there for several hours, with his camera. The Lenexa man was a child of the 1960s and remembers well hearing the story and seeing the 1967 movie by Richard Brooks that was filmed, in part, within the house.
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“When you walk in that front door, if you’ve seen that black and white movie, you know it was shot in that house,” Foreman said.
The Nov. 15, 1959, murders of Herb and Bonnie Clutter and their 16-year-old daughter, Nancy, and 15-year-old son, Kenyon, have been getting renewed attention. Last weekend the Sundance TV channel showed a new, two-night documentary about the crimes that were the subject of Truman Capote’s celebrated book. The 60th anniversary is two years from now.
Killers Dick Hickock and Perry Smith were hanged in 1965.
“In going through the entire house and looking back, it is so surreal,” Foreman said. “It was a most memorable experience to say the very least.”
He recalls there was a condition in the real estate documents that said any buyer could not sensationalize the house or exploit it, such as turning it into a bed and breakfast. The house didn’t sell, anyway.
Each of the Clutters was shot in the head. Bonnie and Nancy were killed in their beds. Herb and Kenyon were killed in the basement. Herb Clutter’s throat was cut, also.
As for that reddish stain, “multiple sources online claim it is a remaining blood stain from Mr. Clutter,” Foreman said. “I can neither confirm or deny this claim.”