We study historical hedge fund performance characteristics with a particular focus on the 2007 – 2009 Financial Crisis (the “Crisis”). Using the Credit Suisse Hedge Fund Indexes as proxies for broader hedge fund industry performance, we apply a factor model based on common investment strategies to determine if the broad industry or any particular hedge fund strategies have been able to deliver excess returns, or alpha. We find evidence that the broad hedge fund index did deliver statistically significant excess monthly returns of 0.39% (4.67% annualized) over the period January 1995 – January 2016, with seven of ten individual strategy indexes contributing. However, our results indicate that these excess returns were delivered primarily during the pre-Crisis period of January 1995 – November 2007. Over this period, the broad index delivered statistically significant monthly excess returns of 0.49% (5.93% annualized), with six of ten individual strategy indexes contributing. Our results do not indicate, however, that hedge funds delivered statistically significant monthly excess returns over the period December 2007 – June 2009 or over the period December 2007 – December 2012, which takes into account the uniquely drawn out recovery from the Crisis. We find that the broad index delivered statistically significant excess monthly returns of 0.23% (2.74% annualized) during the post-Crisis period, though these returns are less than half of the pre-Crisis period returns and only three individual strategy indexes contributed. We posit that this apparent shift in performance characteristics might be the result of a shift in the risk tolerances of hedge fund investors and managers following the Crisis. We conclude that, while hedge funds might certainly serve legitimate purposes in financial markets, they are not immune to financial crises, especially those as severe as the Crisis.