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Twin Peaks Is Loosely Based on The Hazel Drew Mystery

Updated on December 27, 2018
Patrick Patrick profile image

Patrick has been working as a freelance writer on fiverr for the past 2 years.

Twin peaks vs the Hazel Drew mystery


Brief introduction

Twin Peaks, directed by David Lynch has continued to captivate audience since it first aired on the 8th of April 1990. Many critics and fans consider it to be one of the best, if not the best television series of all time citing great and unforgettable characters (cast), the style, the intrigue and of course the music. While Twin Peaks is indeed a great show that has only gotten better (at least from my point of view) there are many differences between the story and the characters in the show and the events that took place in Sand Lake. The following are brief “biographies” of some of the people involved in the events of Sand Lake.

Hazel Irene Drew (Laura Palmer in Twin Peaks)

19 years old (some sources say 20) Hazel Irene Drew was the daughter of John and Julia A. Drew. She had several brothers and sisters and, according to a number of sources, was very beautiful and popular in her small town. According to a copy of The Kinston Daily Freeman (a historical newspaper -14th July 1908), no one knew whether Hazel had enemies or even a boyfriend that may have killed her. Like Laura Palmer, she was considered by those close to her to have been a good and hardworking young lady who loved her job as a domestic servant for a local family that reportedly loved and admired her. However, like Palmer, Hazel was not the nice young lady that people thought she was. According to a number of other resources, an autopsy and further investigation revealed that Hazel had been using drugs (cocaine) and was seeing a number of older men and engaging in romantic affairs with multiple partners.
After spending a weekend with some of her cousins, Hazel abruptly quit her job and her body would be discovered five days later in a Teal's pond about fifteen miles away. Although it was first thought by some that she was hit by a reckless driver in a car accident, investigations concluded that she was killed and her body dumped into a pond.

Historian Bob Moore


Some of the main suspects included:

Her uncle William Taylor who lived near the pond and was said to be suicidal

Frank Smith - a 17 year old farm hand said to fancy Hazel

Rudolph Gunderman - Frank's friend (the two had reported seeing her s few days earlier)

A dentist (unnamed)

Professor Edward Cary (her former employer)

A son of a local widow (who was said to torture animals)

A few other local people including a hypnotist

Her uncle and Edwin Knauff (the dentist)

Hazel's uncle, William Taylor, and the dentist were some of the suspects. Taylor was recently widowed and has repeatedly been described in various sources as having been very depressed. These, in addition to the fact that he lived near the pond, are some of the factors that made him a suspect. According to local historians Ron Hughes and Bob Moore, Taylor as well as Minnie (Hazel's aunt) may have known about her death than they let on. The dentist also became a suspect because investigations found out that he repeatedly pursued her despite being married. As mentioned, Hazel was a very beautiful and attractive young lady. It was for this reason that the dentist fell for her and often tried to woo her while still married.

Frank Smith and Rudolph Gunderman

Frank Smith has in many sources been described as having a "dimwitted teenager" The seventeen-year-old, is also said to have fancied Hazel and had met her on a number of occasions. Rudolph Gundrum, on the other hand, was a 35-year-old charcoal peddler who owned a horse-drawn wagon, which he probably used to transport and sell his charcoal. On the seventh of July the same year, Frank and Rudolph met Hazel as the two were traveling together on the horse-drawn wagon (Rudolph was giving Frank a ride) around 7:30 p.m., and this was their statement to the investigators. Given that the two may have been the last people to see her alive, according to a number of historians, it is fitting that they were among the primary suspects. In particular, Frank Smith was highly suspected not only because he was known to have high affections for Hazel, but also because his statements proved contradictory to the investigators. This led many to believe that he may have been responsible.




Like in Twin Peaks, events surrounding the murder of Hazel Irene have also been said to have been surrounded by some mysterious and disturbing things. For instance, individuals like the unnamed dentist recommended Hazel to various older men like a train conductor, a millionaire from Albany and an individual by the name Henry Kramroth who was reported to have been running a resort where disturbing things happened and where girls were said to have been held against their will. Sources state that Hazel was seeing all these types of men, which made it difficult to really pin down who may have been involved in her disappearance and death. As to the mysterious happening in the film, Frost explains that he grew up hearing of stories about people in the town's mountains who were out of the ordinary. Frost also explained that he could remember a time when his grandmother would tell him stories of a young lady that was said to haunt the woods near their home in the area. To date, the case remains unsolved.

Similarities and differences between twin peaks and the Hazel Drew mystery


Both were murdered and their bodies washed ashore

They both had a complicated double life and were not as innocent as they may have appeared to their friends and parents


Drew Hazel was 20 years old when she was killed while Laura Palmer was 17

The Dazel Drew mystery was never really solved

The body of Hazel Drew was not wrapped in plastic

© 2017 Patrick


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    • Patrick Patrick profile imageAUTHOR


      20 months ago from Nairobi

      Thank you John. I will make some modifications (as I need to do with many other articles). I will add another section for the differences :) had not thought of that.

      It is one of my favorite TV shows, and I hope there is one more season :)

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 

      20 months ago from Queensland Australia

      This was interesting. I used to enjoy Twin Peaks as it was a very different TV series for its time. It may have ben good if you included a few more of the differences between what occurred in the the TV show and real life events, especially for those who haven’t seen it. Also your article needs a little proof reading as I noticed a couple of typos here and there. Good job though, keep writing.


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