Lost and Gone Forever: In Which I Totally Solve a Historic Serial Killing

A life cut short by a 19th-century SOCIOPATH.

I was thinking today about childhood. Specifically, about the morbidity of children’s tunes. Does this at all make you wonder how my mind works? Here. I’ll give you a little comparison, you know, for funsies.

Normal person’s mind:

Hears “Oh, My Darling Clementine” – thinks, “aw, cute!” – continues on with his or her day.

My mind:

Hears “Oh, My Darling Clementine” – thinks, “man, but do I hate citrus fruit” – thinks “but Clementine is certainly a fantastic name for a child” – thinks, “wait, ‘lost and gone forever,’ that’s totally dark, let’s look up the lyrics to that and analyze them and figure out what the hell’s going on here”

I’m not passing judgment on either mind. Just saying, there’s normal, then there’s shiny, ADD, and possibly a little crazy, that’s all.

OK, so “Oh, My Darling Clementine.”  You think you know this song? HOLY HELL but there are a shitload of verses. YES I researched this, you thought I wouldn’t? Shame on you.

You can totally sing along, if you want. I won't judge.

In a cavern, in a canyon,
Excavating for a mine
Dwelt a miner forty niner,
And his daughter Clementine.

OK, so far, so good. We have a miner and his daughter, Clementine. No problems. Cool cool cool.


Oh my darling, oh my darling,
Oh my darling, Clementine!
Thou art lost and gone forever
Dreadful sorry, Clementine.

Well! Now we have some foreshadowing. OBVIOUSLY something bad’s about to happen to Clementine, whom we have just met, like, twenty SECONDS ago. And we know the singer loved her. Also, “lost and gone forever” is really, really dark. But also really poetic, and I love it a little. Also, were you aware that Clementine, the character in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, was so named because of this very line in this very song? Because the procedure would, hypothetically, make her lost and gone forever to Jim Carrey’s character? Isn’t that lovely? I thought so. Also, so the woman you love dies, and all you can muster is “dreadful sorry?” You seem like a shitty suitor, sir. And possibly a sociopath.

Also. ALSO. Why are you singing kind of a boppy-ish song about a dead girl? It’s not even dirge-like. It’s catchy. Worrisome.

Light she was and like a fairy,
And her shoes were number nine
Herring boxes, without topses,
Sandals were for Clementine.  

I like that she was light like a fairy, but also had what were, apparently back in the day (this was written in the late 1800s) HUGE HONKING FEET. I always liked this stanza, because those feet seemed so gigantic, and boxes “without topses” (hee! cute, and a nice way to do a slant rhyme!) as shoes was a funny visual. Karma, who did not like me laughing at imaginary women, gave me size nine feet once I finished growing. THEY’RE NOT THAT BIG SHUT UP.


Drove she ducklings to the water
Ev’ry morning just at nine,
Hit her foot against a splinter,
Fell into the foaming brine.

So…the miners had ducklings? That they…herded? People herded ducklings? That seems silly. And virtually impossible, honestly. Like herding cats. Why didn’t they just KEEP them down by the water? Hmm. Also, ducklings are small, you couldn’t stick them in a burlap bag or something for your walk down to the water? And why at nine? Why such a rigid schedule for duckling-herding? “JUST at nine.” What would happen if she herded at 9:15? Like, would a meteor crash to earth or something?

Then she hit one of her gigantic honking feet against a “splinter” (yeah, I don’t know) and fell into the water. It’s “foaming brine.” So you were putting your ducklings into an oceanic waterfall pool or something? This duckling plan seems very ill-thought-out, Clementine.


Ruby lips above the water,
Blowing bubbles, soft and fine,
But, alas, I was no swimmer,
So I lost my Clementine. 

So here she is, only her lips above the water, apparently with that lipstick on them that stays on NO MATTER WHAT YOU EAT OR DRINK (bee tee dubs, that stuff dries out your lips like a mofo, no joke, and always gets in the little cracks in your lips so you look deranged, stick to Dr. Pepper Lipsmackers, just a tip from me to you, and hey, Bonne Bell, I’ll gladly take any free product you want to send my way and review it GLOWINGLY here, just saying, I’ll whore myself for some Lipsmackers, anytime, anyplace!) and she was “blowing bubbles soft and fine” but lover boy can’t swim so she drowns. OK, so he has time to observe all the minutiae of her dying – her lips, her bubble-blowing, etc. – but he can’t call for help? He can’t scream, “CLEMENTINE IS DROWNING!” He can’t throw her a branch or a rope? Weren’t there other miners? I highly doubt the whole mining operation was run by Clementine and her dad. THIS IS THE WORST BOYFRIEND EVER. And also most definitely a sociopath, who likes to watch people suffer and die.

And he keeps singing his cheerful death-ditty. As sociopaths do.


Then this stanza happens. Now, Wikipedia tells me that this stanza is often left out, because it is “morally questionable.” I think that’s the least of our concerns here, Wikipedia. This dude let Clementine drown while he observed her death throes. SOCIO-EFFING-PATH. I think you might want to check his fridge for missing women’s body parts. Or whatever they had back then. Icebox, maybe?

How I missed her! How I missed her,
How I missed my Clementine,
But I kissed her little sister,
I forgot my Clementine.

WHAT? Yeah, it’s not so much “morally questionable” as it is “you are a gross creepy creeper.” Why are you obsessed with the Clementine family? So, you watched Clementine drown, while standing on the bank ankle-deep in ducklings, and then you were all, eh, whatevs, bored now, and you wandered off, and then you were like, “NEEDS ME SOME LOVIN’” so you went and macked on her little sister Tangerine? And how old, exactly, IS Tangerine? YOU ARE GROSS.

Where is Clementine’s dad in all of this? I think he’d put his miner 49er foot down and be all, “I’m pretty sure you could have saved my other daughter, gross creepy creeper, so how about you get away from my other fruit-named daughter, I’ve promised her to a suitor WHO TOTALLY CAN SWIM, sheesh. And is not a SERIAL KILLER OF LADIES.”

Now, in place of the gross “I totally humped her little sis on her grave when the ground was still soft” stanza, Wikipedia said these can be used as alternate lyrics, THANKS FOR THE PERMISSION WIKIPEDIA:

Then the miner forty-niner
He began to weep and pine
For his darling little daughter
Now he’s with his Clementine

So apparently in this alternate lyric, her dad died of…sadness? I guess? Whatever, that’s depressing, I hate that.

In a corner of the churchyard,
Where the myrtle boughs entwine,
Grow the roses in their poses,
Fertilized by Clementine.

EW. This gross suitor. Of COURSE he would think of the flowers being fertilized by Clementine. I’m pretty sure he has a box of “souvenirs” under his bunk. He seems like the type. GROSS. Also, “grow the roses in their poses?” Roses POSE?Are the roses contestants on America’s Next Top Model? Is Tyra going to tell them to smize?

Then the miner forty niner,
He began to peak and pine,
Thought he oughta join his daughter
Now he’s with his Clementine.

I assume in this one, the dad committed suicide. Or that’s what the unnamed suitor wants you to think. I’m pretty sure the suitor killed him and then made it LOOK like a suicide. I mean, there was no CSI then. Who would know? This guy was totally a serial killer and then WROTE SONGS ABOUT IT. I just solved a little-over-125-year-old serial killing. THIS IS VERY EXCITING. I mean, I don’t know about you, but I didn’t even think this post was going this way when I started it. Who thought they’d make a huge difference in the world today? Not this lady, that’s who. I should totally be invited to join Dr. Spencer Reid’s team any…minute…now.

And, AND, how better to cover up a total double psychomurder than to act like you’re totally sad and start singing a song about “oh, boo hoo, my DARLING Clementine, I LOVED HER SO” and then all the ladies in their old-timey hoopskirts and whatever would be all “he’s so TORTURED and so EMO” and then you’d totally get away with – yeah, I’m going to say it – MURDER plus get all the old-timey clandestine love action. This guy had a PLAN, you guys. This guy was SLY.

Also, when poking around online like a total weirdo with nothing better to do, I found this:

You can see that subtitle under the band name, right? CLICK IF YOU CAN'T. It's important.

So this band, NAMED My Darling Clementine, has an album called “How Do You Plead?” This is TOTALLY a clue. KILLERS ARE THE ONES WHO PLEAD. That points me DIRECTLY to the fact that Clementine’s suitor is a serial killer. I cracked this case so wide open you could drive an effing SEMI through it, yo.

In my dreams she still doth haunt me,
Robed in garments soaked in brine.
Though in life I used to hug her,
Now she’s dead, I’ll draw the line.

THIS ONE IS MY FAVORITE. Because the GHOST of Clementine is totally haunting the suitor/killer’s dreams. With her reeking, soaking garments. LOVE THIS. I wish she’d eat his face off with her snaggly dead teeth and be all, “Clementine wants to play WICHOOOOOO” like this was the Pet Sematery of the Gold Rush. I WOULD TOTALLY DIG THAT ENDING.

So, as you can see, I am the best serial killer profiler ever. Now, I can hear you there, saying, “Um, Amy, you ARE aware this song is FICTIONAL and that you didn’t really solve anything and…um…I think you might be losing…your…mind…” and to YOU I SAY, you can just BITE ME. I am the BEST AT THIS. Clementine is now AVENGED. As is her father, who we KNOW did not commit suicide. I just regret that I was too late to save poor orphaned Tangerine. If you have any other centuries-old mysteries you’d like me to solve, please send me a proposal. I’m probably going to be inundated so you might have to wait. I’ll get back to you. Eventually. I’ll be in pretty high demand. Don’t worry. I’ll remember you all once I’m totally the most famous. Dr. Spencer Reid and I will be very happy? So I’m sure I’ll be very, very busy? But I won’t forget you. TOTAL PINKIE SWEAR.

About lucysfootball

I'm not the girl with the most cake. Someday. SOMEDAY. View all posts by lucysfootball

24 responses to “Lost and Gone Forever: In Which I Totally Solve a Historic Serial Killing

  • Em

    Well, I have a theory. Miners usually worked alone, because they didn’t want to share their stakes in case they hit big. And the 49er, aka dear old dad, had made a strike and this guy had noticed him turning in small gold nuggets at the store to get weighed and exchange for ducklings and sandals.

    So the creepy suiter guy follows him and realizes the 49er has a daughter and decides to court her as a way of getting cut in on the mine. But it doesn’t work out and the dad is basically “I’ll cut her off if she ends up with you, get lost.” And forbids her to see him. But the creepy guy approaches Clementine when she goes to the water with the ducks and pushes her in because that will destroy the father. And with them both out of the way, he can take up with poor little, clueless Tangerine and get the mine to himself.

    You’re right. It’s totally creepy. Also, it goes to show that punctuality is over-rated. Because if she’d gone with the ducklings at 9:30 or, even better, 10:30, then it might have ended up a whole different way. Being late could have saved her life!


  • Rich Crete

    Damn, you crack me up.

    This kind of wrote itself:

    Got away with double murder
    For a very long ass time
    Until Amy from Lucy’s Football
    Went and solved the effing crime


  • Andreas Heinakroon

    Re Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind: I did not know that. But I do now. Thanks! :)


    • lucysfootball

      I think I need to rewatch the movie. I was mad at it, the first time I watched it. But I also liked it, and it was visually so stunning. I need to rewatch and see what emotions it puts me through the second time.


  • Andreas Heinakroon

    ‘Tangerine’! Awesome! I LOLed.


  • Roz

    I had to stop at “YOU ARE GROSS” to catch my breath. Everyone, please, DO YOUR PART! RETWEET THIS POST! Post it on Facebook!

    Another aspect of the killer’s personality can be divulged from the lyrics:

    Though in life I used to hug her,
    Now she’s dead, I’ll draw the line.

    From this admission, we know he’s not a necrophiliac.


  • lynnettedobberpuhl

    Did they have Rough on Rats in 1849? If so, it might have something to do with the miner’s death.

    I think your harsh skepticism of the duckling herding could be because of your long-standing and well-documented aversion to birds that aren’t kookaburras or penguins.

    These old songs are the twistiest. You get a happy sounding song, like “You Are My Sunshine” and “Big Rock Candy Mountain,” and then listen to them and they are full of sad and awful. Also “Ring Around the Rosie” and “Rockabye Baby,” are like the Grimm Fairy Tales of music. They sound like they are for kids, but dark things are happening. Enjoyed! Thank you!


    • lucysfootball

      Oh, no, I actually looooove ducks. I am the duck-whisperer, actually. I once had a huge flock of ducks following me when I was feeding them saltines, to the point that I was kind of freaking out and giggling at the same time. :)

      Ooh, yes. Rough on Rats may WELL have played a part in this. Damn you, Rough on Rats!

      I had grand plans to talk about a lot more upsetting children’s songs but then got waylaid with how awful “Clementine” was. I’ll probably do more later. SO MANY TO CHOOSE FROM! :)


  • kitchenmudge

    You young whipper-snappers might not be familiar with Tom Lehrer’s rendition of the song:


  • renni

    Where was Tom Dooley at the time?


  • Kris Rudin (@krisrudin)

    “OBVIOUSLY something bad’s about to happen to Clementine, who we have just met,”

    Ummm, do you not mean “WHOM we have just met”??!!! Perhaps the heinousness of the crime momentarily interfered with the grammar portion of your brain, so I will forgive you, THIS time. But you’d better be careful in the future, missy – the grammar police are watching you!!


    • lucysfootball

      I fixed it. Who/whom = not something I’m ever going to be good at and I’m sure something I’ll screw up again.

      There are probably a lot more instances of grammar atrocities in my posts, and will continue to be, so the grammar police should probably just resign themselves to the fact that I am, in fact, human, and, as such, make errors.


  • elaine4queen


    i, too, like the idea of the little sister being called ‘tangerine’. good good good.

    now, i have two things for you, the first is a TRUE LIFE MURDERY THING http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Surgeon_of_Crowthorne which you would most certainly enjoy, and i think you would like his other book which is about the writing of the oxford english dictionary. you would geek right out at that, methinks.

    and my other thing is – do you know about shockheaded peter? i saw the musical with the tiger lilies in the west end, must have been 15 years ago. the originals are in german and were written by a chap for his children. not very nice cautionary tales the lot of them. http://youtu.be/UmlIUvlaB_Y


  • Anonymous

    I was always a little confused about why he was sorry when I heard this song, but now I get it he is sorry he killed her because he see’s her ghost every time he sleeps. did you also notice he is totally dumping her ghost because he says you are dead I draw the line or dude your dead I don’t like you anymore this is the end.

    P.S. I think babies are able to tell how evil this is because when I played this song for my one year old niece she started balling. It was even an upbeat happy version.


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