Our childhood comprised of certain do’s and don’t’s. “Do not talk to strangers,” or “Don’t take candies from them,” were the golden rules of parenting which are valid even to this day. But do you know how this phrase came into being?

Well, many years ago, when the United States of America was not a super power, the story of two brothers, Charlie Ross and Walter Ross, unfolded. Collectively, they were soon to be known as the reason why you must not accept candies from strangers. 

Whether it is the fruity lozenge or chocolates, candies have always been our favourite treats as kids. They are also a perfect item to lure children, and remains the wicked minds’ guidebook to abduct them. 

Sadly, Charlie and Walter were the first ones in the history of America who fell into the trap.

 In the summer of 1874 in Philadelphia, the brothers were playing in their front yard.


Their mom and elder sister had to visit Atlanta city, so the boys were completely their father, Mr Ross’ responsibility. While playing, two strangers approached the kids with candies while their father was at work. 


They reported the incident to their father who later warned them never to accept any treats. A few days later, Ross decided to surprise the boys with firecrackers to celebrate the 4th of July.

He came home early that day but the boys were nowhere to be seen.


He searched for them madly in the entire neighbourhood, knocking every door but couldn’t find them. On his way back, he finally found Walter, but Charlie was still nowhere to be seen. The 5-year-old was so frightened that he couldn’t respond to any question. Apparently, the strangers stranded him in the middle of the road. 


Walter later confessed that they had been lured into a carriage as the strangers promised them fire crackers. If only they’d waited for their father to come back from work. 

Ross, frustrated with the inefficient police, began his own search. The news of the missing boy spread like wildfire.


And soon hit the front pages.


A few weeks later, in the hope of extorting money, the kidnappers began to send ransom letters asking for $20,000. But Ross couldn’t afford that kind of money.

The police, detective agency and the entire neighbourhood together failed when it came to Charlie’s rescue. The heartbroken father penned down all the details in his book, The father’s story of Charley Ross.

The kidnappers were later shot by the police in a different robbery encounter. But even in their last breath, they did not reveal where Charlie was. 


Now you know why we were warned about strangers offering candy! Keep safe.