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Episode 131 Otto Wood: The Hillbilly Houdini

Otto Wood was a self–proclaimed one armed-bandit from North Carolina. He made a name for himself as a bootlegger who loved stealing from the rich. Being sent to jail only heightened his fame. He escaped prison so many times he was nicknamed the Hillbilly Houdini.

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Recommended Reading

Episode Sources

‘They started popping bullets’: Eyewitness recalls the day Otto Wood died. Salisbury Post. January 2015. Accessed August 1, 2023.

Wood, Otto.  Life history of Otto Wood: inmate, State Prison. Raleigh, N.C.: 1926. 

Otto Wood: North Carolina’s One Man Crime Wave. Old Hat Records. Accessed August 3, 2023.

The not too well-known desperado. Accessed August 3, 2023. 

McKenzie, T. (2021). Otto Wood, the Bandit: The Freighthopping Thief, Bootlegger, and Convicted Murderer behind the Appalachian Ballads. University of North Carolina Press.

Episode Music

The Colonel by Zachariah Hickman. Licensed under Creative Commons; Otto Wood: The Bandit by The Carolina Buddies, Columbia Phonograph Recordings, 1931. Theme Song “Dark & Troubled” by Pantherburn. Special thanks to Phillip St Ours for permission for use.