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Old 07-08-2011, 10:57 PM   #1
XCalibur
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Default John Hardin, the murdered man and alleged ghost, my thoughts

For those who forgot, John Hardin was the guy whose ghose they thought was haunting this old house. The lady said she was having dreams about walking outside.

Then of course later they found out the man who previously lived in the house was John Hardin, and that someone set his vehicle on fire apparently to lure him out of the house and shot him.

Now, I'm not really going to focus to much on the ghost story. I've always had mixed feelings about ghosts since my religous beliefs teach that people either go to Heaven or Hell when they die, although I do believe there is something to ghost sightings even if its not neccessarily the spirit of a dead person. But I know others have mixed feelings about that as well.

But, what intrigued me more about this case was the murder. The Farina episode did not go into as much detail, but in the Robert Stack segment it seemed that I remember that it made it seem like John Hardin left his first wife for another woman pretty much out of nowhere. But yet they could not figure out a possible motive for his murder? Did they even look at the ex-wife? Seems like she had about as strong a motive as you could ask for.

Did anyone else find something a little strange about the ex wife? She was interviewed on the segment talked about what a wonderful guy he was, and yet it made it seem like he apparently just out of nowhere told her he was leaving her for another woman, does this seems strange to anyone else? Odd things to say about a guy who did that to you, makes me wonder if she wasn't just covering up her anger with him and had something to do with his death.

The murder itself was obviously very well planned, almost the caliber that you would expect from a professional hitman. I don't recall it saying much about John Hardin's profession or any bad business deals.

But does anyone else find it strange the police said they could find no motive for anyone wanting to kill John Hardin when the ex wife clearly had one? And her saying what a great guy he was if he left her cold?

Am I the only one that found this strange?
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Old 07-08-2011, 11:23 PM   #2
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I can't say for sure, but I can't imagine the police not investigating her, since it would be an obvious motive. I never got the impression that she had anything to do with it. I think she was genuinely in love with him and still cared about him a great deal.
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Old 07-09-2011, 03:39 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Apostapler
I can't say for sure, but I can't imagine the police not investigating her, since it would be an obvious motive. I never got the impression that she had anything to do with it. I think she was genuinely in love with him and still cared about him a great deal.

It seems to me in the interview she claimed not to know where he was at the time.
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Old 07-09-2011, 01:50 PM   #4
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I wonder why UM didn't go into the murder more. I think the wife is very suspect, but if it wasn't her it was extremely likely someone he knew.Hasn't it been 30 or so years since the murder? It [i]seems[i] like all the investigators would have to do is go down the list of everyone the family knew. I just think it is very unlikely it was a random murder because the killer set the mans car on fire- the killer knew who's it was and the killer got who he wanted down there and shot his/hers intended target.
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Old 07-10-2011, 12:37 AM   #5
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Did the other woman in his life have a significant other who might have done this?
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Old 07-10-2011, 11:13 AM   #6
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I will concur in the sense that I always thought Hardin's wife's appearance on the program was very odd. Not so much in a "had something to do with his death" kind of way...more like why would she agree to be interviewed for a program the focus of which is the ghost of her dead ex-husband?

I just found it unusual and can't imagine how I would react if someone seriously came to me out of the blue and said that one of my dead relatives was haunting some location and they wanted my thoughts on it.

As far as who killed Hardin - unfortunately, since the segment was so focused on the paranormal aspects we really aren't told much about Hardin or his life. I can't recall if it was even mentioned what he did for a living. That being said, it is difficult to come up with any solid deductions. I do think the murder was extremely well planned - either the work of a hitman or someone who just really give it a lot of thought. It was so obviously premeditated and not random, so Hardin pissed someone off. Unfortunately, since we are told next to nothing about Hardin it's difficult to ascertain who in his life would have had a reason to kill him.

For some reason, he struck me as a womanizer, or at least someone who had trouble forming healthy relationships with women, but that's just a gut feeling I got from the segment. I don't have much to base it on.
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Old 07-10-2011, 11:26 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sffan
I wonder why UM didn't go into the murder more. I think the wife is very suspect, but if it wasn't her it was extremely likely someone he knew.Hasn't it been 30 or so years since the murder? It [i]seems[i] like all the investigators would have to do is go down the list of everyone the family knew. I just think it is very unlikely it was a random murder because the killer set the mans car on fire- the killer knew who's it was and the killer got who he wanted down there and shot his/hers intended target.

I can't recall what year they said the murder took place, but it has been awhile. Probably at least since the early 80's, maybe further back.

I doubt it will ever be solved unless someone confesses.

Or unless John's ghost tells who did it. It happened in the Alan Shaury case. (I know I didn't spell his name right, but he is the black guy who killed that Asian woman for her jewelry.)

Then again, its possible John never saw who the shooter was.

I may google this and see if I can find at least what year it took place.......I'll get back to you all.

Although I'm
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Old 07-10-2011, 11:34 PM   #8
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Well I googled it, but just as soon as I did I remembered John Wesley Hardin the gunslinger so most of what I came up with was about him. Its always hard to find info on more obscure cases when they happen to have a name of someone more famous don't you all think?

But I did find an article someone posted on this message board awhile back and was able to find out the year of the murder which was 1975.

So its been 36 years which means the killer could definitely still be alive, but he's in his upper 50's at least and probably older.

Not out of the realm of possibility it could be solved, but pretty unlikely.
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Old 07-11-2011, 06:35 PM   #9
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This was one of the more memorable ghost segments for me. I thought June Ferris' dreams and all the family accounts made for an interesting story. I also thought it was interesting how Robert Stack himself said that he and the Unsolved Mysteries crew witnessed some pretty crazy things that couldn't be explained in that house while they were filming the reenactment.

They probably chose to focus more on the ghost aspect because it wasn't until after the reenactment was filmed that the John Harden case was reopened by the Clermont Police. As for the murder itself, if Harden was a womanizer, it would have been very easy for him to make some enemies. Or maybe his second wife left a boyfriend or husband to be with Harden and the guy swore revenge. There could be more suspects than just the first wife.

Here are the pictures of the house that I put in the locations thread.



The right side of the house shows the driveway where John Harden was murdered.

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Old 07-11-2011, 09:47 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dynoguy88
This was one of the more memorable ghost segments for me. I thought June Ferris' dreams and all the family accounts made for an interesting story. I also thought it was interesting how Robert Stack himself said that he and the Unsolved Mysteries crew witnessed some pretty crazy things that couldn't be explained in that house while they were filming the reenactment.

They probably chose to focus more on the ghost aspect because it wasn't until after the reenactment was filmed that the John Harden case was reopened by the Clermont Police. As for the murder itself, if Harden was a womanizer, it would have been very easy for him to make some enemies. Or maybe his second wife left a boyfriend or husband to be with Harden and the guy swore revenge. There could be more suspects than just the first wife.

Here are the pictures of the house that I put in the locations thread.



The right side of the house shows the driveway where John Harden was murdered.


Wow, good finds there, are those recent pics? Is Harden's house still standing today?

Kind of gives you cold chills, knowing about the murder and the hauntings.
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Old 08-31-2011, 10:57 AM   #11
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Default your question about Hardin's wife

How I understood the wife's account was that Hardin walked away one day but communicated to her beforehand that he needed to leave for some reason he chose not to disclose to her. I perceived it was due perhaps to a money or substance abuse problem he was having although I don't think she or UM specifically mentioned possible theories as to why he left.

I think she sort of understood that he was telling her in so many words he was going to be leaving and for whatever reason, she chose not to press him on it. She seemed like a sweet person who really loved him and just accepted it. She described him as being a wonderful type of person and didn't seem to have any complaints about him.

I was under the impression that he had walked away from his life there and only later, taken up with another woman, but not one he had left his first wife for.
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Old 08-31-2011, 05:50 PM   #12
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I can't believe that I never heard about this when I lived there. It was only about 15 miles( if that) far west of where I lived. But Clermont was like another world...we did everything in Winter Garden which was east of us. I lived about halfway inbetween Winter Garden and Clermont. HWY 50 runs straight through both towns. I would love to read more details about the case.
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Old 08-31-2011, 09:01 PM   #13
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This might be one of those threads where it would be nice to have a relative of either John Hardin, his ex wife, or even the woman he was living with show up. Someone who knew these people might be able to shed some light on what Hardin was like and why he might have left his wife, or even who might have killed him.

Of course this was in 1975 so many people who knew them are no longer with us, but its certainly possible.
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Old 09-01-2011, 01:05 PM   #14
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Don't know if this article has been posted before or not, but it's one of the few things I can find on the murder of Harden, and not so much the supernatural element of the case:

http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/...-police-hatley

Seems like police did have some possible suspects in mind, just not enough evidence to convict. I don't think the murder will be solved without a confession or possible break in DNA though.
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Old 08-30-2017, 08:42 AM   #15
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BUMP

This article goes into more detail about the actual murder, and not so much the supernatural aspects of the case.

Quote:
Back in 1975, the house was owned by one Victoria Mango Hardin. She lived there about a year until her husband was killed in the backyard. After that, she reportedly never spent another night in the house. The March 22, 1975, death of John W. Hardin remains Clermont’s only unsolved murder.

At the time of the murder, the Hardin family -- husband, wife, 9-month-old baby boy -- had been in Clermont for about a year. Victoria Hardin had apparently inherited the property and had entered into a contract to sell it. In the meantime, the little family moved down from Jacksonville and stayed in the old house.

According to Hatley [new owner of the house], who met Victoria Hardin during the “Unsolved Mysteries” filming, John Hardin left an ex-wife and three children back in Jacksonville when he came down to Clermont. He was 32 when he died. Hatley puts Victoria Hardin’s age at the time at barely 20.

John Hardin opened a commercial/industrial refrigeration business in Clermont. He named it Mango Refrigeration after his wife. He did business with the city of Clermont. He did business with local restaurants. More than likely, he also did business with some of the many fruit growers, processors and distributors that flourished in South Lake County at that time.

On the night of his death -- a Saturday night -- he received an emergency call from a restaurant in Groveland. So he and his wife and baby all piled into the truck and went out to the Y-Ette Drive-In. E.B. Hart Jr., now living in Clermont, was the proprietor of the restaurant.

Speaking recently, Hart says that Hardin “worked on my chicken machine. It’s what I used to fry the chickens. It needed a part . . . Oh, yeah, it was legitimate, on my part at least. The next day, his wife came over and said he’d been killed.”

While the Hardins were in Groveland, someone cut the telephone lines to the house back in Clermont. The Hardins returned from Groveland at about 10:45. Hardin pulled his work truck into the driveway, which has a turn-off into the backyard, pretty close to the back stairs that lead to a porch. If the Hardins took the back steps onto the porch, then they may well have walked by John Hardin’s killer.

Hatley reports that the shots that killed Hardin were fired from the bushes that are right by the back stairs and that pellets from the shotgun blast are still imbedded on the wall of the house next door. The initial police report indicates that a 20-gauge shotgun was found in the bushes the day after the murder and that shotgun pellets were found in Hardin on autopsy. Hardin was shot in the back.

Shortly after returning home, Hardin took a shower in the second-floor bathroom by the bedroom he and his wife were sleeping in. He walked back into the bedroom, looked out the window and saw his truck was on fire. He went out to fight the fire, dressed in jeans and a flannel shirt -- the same as the ghost -- and grabbed a fire extinguisher on the way. It apparently was not an extensive fire because two neighbors who had rushed out to help had the fire substantially extinguished by the time the fire truck had arrived.

It’s not real clear who first noticed that John Hardin was lying by the area of the fire, seriously injured, and it’s not clear if Hardin had already been shot by the time the neighbors arrived. The emergency call to dispatchers came in as an explosion, and contemporary news accounts indicate that Victoria Hardin thought the truck had exploded.

Fire personnel were on scene one minute after the explosion call came in, according to the police report.

Hardin was transported to South Lake Memorial Hospital, and died there soon after at about 11: 25. Hardin’s killer had an easy escape route. While there’s no way of knowing where the killer went immediately after shooting Hardin, the house is only two blocks from Lake Minneola, right about where an old boat ramp used to be. A casual walk down a tree-lined street, late at night, down to the waterfront . . . who would notice someone launching a rowboat while the neighborhood’s attention was pulled to the truck fire and explosion?

John Hardin was murdered Saturday, autopsied Sunday and buried Tuesday. The incident now resides in the cold-case file at the Clermont Police Department, and Hardin’s body lies in Montverde Cemetery -- under a military-issue grave marker with the last name misspelled and the year of birth listed as one year too early.

Whoever murdered him had to have been stalking him for a decent portion of the night, because he left to go to an emergency service call and that's when the phone lines were cut. I don't think the service call had anything to do with his murder. Just an odd coincidence that bought the killer some time. I have to admit that when I recently saw this, my first thought echoed what XCalibur alluded to above: his ex-wife had a strong motive to want him dead. But then again, next to nothing is known about his 2nd wife other than she was much younger than Hardin. Perhaps a jealous ex-boyfriend of hers was the one responsible?
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