Suspicion of Foul Play in the Erat Case at Holyoke

by Laurel | January 24th, 2014

23 Jan 1922

Second Level Canal

Second Level Canal
Looking South From Dwight Street
Holyoke, Massachusetts

Belief Mt. Tom Man’s Body Not in Canal —
Auto Accident at Bridge Peculiar —
Police Work on Mystery

Holyoke, Jan. 22 — A possible murder case may grow out of the mysterious disappearance of Julius D. Erat, 19, of Mount Tom Junction, whose automobile was found on the Sargeant street bridge late Friday night. The family and friends of the family are now working on that hypothesis. Today the Holyoke police department was called up by them and inquiry made for bloodhounds to be used in tracing him. It was stated that the young man, who is an electrical contractor, became involved in a heated argument with two men a few weeks ago and it was suggested that this may have some bearing on his sudden disappearance.

Strange Auto Accident

Holyoke police officials were unable to formulate a reason why a man, who never frank, was not subject to fits or dizzy spells, should leave the center of the road in his automobile and drive diagonally to the righthand side of the bridge. The question at once arises whether the car was at that time occupied by Erat at all or had it been allowed to go at low speed by some party or parties unknown who had for purposes of their own seized Erat and made away with him

Application is to be made to the Easthampton or Northampton authorities for an investigation, it is understood here. Allowing a full hour for Erat to reach Holyoke there are about two hours of unaccounted time from the time he let Mount Tom until George Buckley was awakened by a crash about 11:30 at the Sargeant Street bridge.

Water Not Drawn Out of Canals

Holyoke police officials are inclined to regard the automobile accident itself as “phony.” The position of the car and the fact that from the circumstances it was traveling at low speed inclines them to the belief that thee is much to be explained before the theory of Erat’s body lies in the canal is accepted.

Can’t Trace Erat

So far as police investigations have been made public there is nothing to show what Erat did from the time he left Mount Tom until his car was found at the bridge. Furthermore the car wasn’t headed for home. It was headed for Springfield by way of Sargeant Street at an hour when it wold be expected that he would be going home.

It has also been suggested as possible that Erat wanted to make a disappearance for some reason best known to himself and took this method, but there is nothing to back up such a theory.

Sargeant Street is often nearly deserted at that hour, but it is difficult to to believe that it would be a place that anyone would be likely to blackjack a man and throw his body in the canal. It is possible, but not believed probable.

Adapted from The Springfield Republican.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.


Suggested Holyoke Books

Mountain Park -- The Holyoke destination we all loved.

Mount Holyoke College

Mount Holyoke College, Postcard History by Donna Albino. Many Holyoke women have attended Mount Holyoke. Author also maintains an amazing MHC website based upon her personal collection.

Holyoke - Chicopee, A Perspective

Holyoke-Chicopee: A Perspective, by Ella Merkel DiCarlo. DiCarlo, a former Transcript columnist offers a fascinating compilation of her essays. Published in 1982, this out-of-print book is worth looking for in the aftermarket.


Holyoke, by Craig Della Penna. The first Holyoke book in the Arcadia series, published in 1997.

Belle Skinner Collection

Belle Skinner Collection, by Ruth Isabel Skinner. Published in 1933, this book is long out of print but copies are still available in the aftermarket.

Mitch Epstein: Family Business

Mitch Epstein: Family Business Published in 2003, available in the aftermarket. Epstein's furniture.