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IN THIS EPISODE: (Dark Archives episode previously released July 27, 2018) *** Want to be sure you’ll have a paranormal experience? Simply walk into a known haunted house to spend a few nights, all the while saying out-loud “I don’t believe in no dang ghosts!” That’s what did it for one woman. (Cousin Evie And I Know The Truth) *** How would you react if your two-year-old came running into the room, saying he’s scared of a creepy image of a man in the mirror? (Creepy Memories) *** An innocent game of hide-n-seek at their grandparents’ house turns into terror. (Hide And Seek) *** Three children left for a sunny day at a south Australian beach and were never heard from again. (The Mysterious Disappearance of the Beaumont Children) *** American Airlines Flight 191 crashed in 1979, killing everyone on board – and it left something of the paranormal once the debris was cleared. (Flight 191 Disaster) *** On July 26, 1948, infamous Illinois gangster Bernie Shelton – by then acting leader of the Shelton Brothers gang – was shot to death at the Parkway Tavern, a roadhouse that he owned outside of Peoria. For years after, Bernie’s ghost was said to haunt the tavern, unable to move on after a lifetime of violence, murder, and regret. (Last Drink at the Parkway Tavern)
STORY AND MUSIC CREDITS/SOURCES…
“Last Drink at the Parkway Tavern” written by Troy Taylor: http://bit.ly/37dP1uy
“Cousin Evie And I Know The Truth” submitted by Michell Morgan at WeirdDarkness.com
“Creepy Memories” submitted by DMR at WeirdDarkness.com
“Hide and Seek” submitted by Amy at WeirdDarkness.com
“The Mysterious Disappearance of the Beaumont Children” by Steven Casale for The Line Up: http://bit.ly/2Qy7NXX
“The Flight 191 Disaster” written by Troy Taylor: http://bit.ly/2NTiRwM
Background music provided by EpidemicSound and AudioBlocks with paid license. Music by Shadows Symphony (http://bit.ly/2W6N1xJ) and Midnight Syndicate (http://amzn.to/2BYCoXZ) is also sometimes used with permission.
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“I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.” — John 12:46 *** How to escape eternal darkness: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2IYmodFKDaM
During the Prohibition era, the Shelton brothers – Carl, Earl, and Bernie, farm boys from Wayne County who established a profitable enterprise supplying alcohol to area saloons and roadhouses – first fought on the side of gangster Charlie Birger against law enforcement and the Ku Klux Klan and then fought against him in a war for the Southern Illinois liquor market. By the time the dust of Prohibition had cleared, the Sheltons had established themselves in East St. Louis. They continued with their gambling, prostitution, and liquor business until a sheriff drove them out, unfortunately making room for mob organizers to turn the city into a major gambling spot.
The Sheltons then moved north to Peoria, which they found to be much more hospitable. During the late 1930s, they established themselves and began an operation that comprised most of the illegal rackets in downstate Illinois.
In those days, Peoria was a city that welcomed vice with open arms. It was a place that offered a safe haven for gamblers and prostitutes and a good number of the residents took advantage of the city’s tolerance for gambling dens and brothels. When Carl Shelton established the brothers’ operations there, illegal wagering was welcomed with open arms, especially by politicians and cops, who saw it as a great way to make a little extra money. Not surprisingly, the Sheltons soon became immune to prosecution.
By the 1940s, the Sheltons were making more money than ever before – but it only lasted for so long. The brothers lost their hold on Peoria after the 1945 elections. A new reform mayor, Carl O. Triebel came into office and began cracking down on gambling, prostitution, and anything else that stained the reputation of the city.
Just before he took office, Triebel held a meeting with Carl Shelton and informed him of his plans. When Shelton realized that Triebel meant business, he shrugged and simply said, “Well, I guess that’ll give me more time to farm.” Triebel, who also owned farmland, sat with Shelton for almost 30 minutes, talking about agriculture. Then, they shook hands and Carl left his office, never to see the new mayor again. He really did want to retire to his farm and oil interests in Wayne County.
Peoria was now off limits to gambling but the county wasn’t. After Carl retired, his brother Bernie stepped in and announced that he planned to run things his way. Bernie was a rough, violent brawler with a terrible temper that struck fear in the hearts of friends and foes alike. He knew which county officials to bribe, got rid of any lingering competition and moved the Shelton gang headquarters from downtown Peoria to Parkway Tavern, an unimposing bar on Farmington Road, just outside the city limits.
The Sheltons were now running numerous gambling operations all over rural Central Illinois but this didn’t stop rival gangsters from trying to move in on their territory. After years of a hands-off policy toward the Sheltons, the Chicago Outfit finally decided to curb the independence that had been given to them. The Outfit instructed their St. Louis emissaries to offer the Sheltons a deal that would bring them peacefully into the Syndicate. If that didn’t work, the Outfit certainly had other methods at their disposal – methods that became necessary when the Sheltons refused to deal.
After taking over operations in St. Louis, the Outfit inherited the services of a number of gangsters who had formerly worked with the Sheltons. Two of the most prominent were “Blackie” Armes and Frank “Buster” Wortman.
The defection of Armes and Wortman occurred in the early 1940s after the end of their prison incarceration for assaulting federal agents during a raid on a still in Collinsville in 1933. When the two were inmates at Alcatraz, the Outfit managed to make things more bearable for them on the inside, which earned their loyalty. In addition, when the two were released from prison, they claimed that Carl Shelton did nothing for them. Wortman soon went on to build an empire for himself in southwestern Illinois, but Armes was gunned down in a nightclub in Herrin in late 1944.
Word soon circulated that either Carl or Bernie was worth $10,000 to anyone who brought them to Chicago alive. But no one could get close to the Sheltons, who refused all contact with both St. Louis and Chicago gangsters. Soon, the reward was changed. It was still $10,000 but it was now for either of the Sheltons – dead or alive. Spurred by the reward, a gang of Chicago gunmen set a trap to ambush Carl and Bernie at the Parkway Tavern. Carl got wind of the plans, though, and several carloads of Shelton gunmen showed up the bar instead of the brothers.
The Outfit gunmen soon returned to Chicago, but they, or someone else with murderous intentions toward the Sheltons, would be back. In 1946, a number of Shelton associates were slaughtered. Frank Kraemer, a slot machine operator and tavern owner, was shot to death by an unknown gunman in February. Seven months later, the body of Joel Nyberg, who worked as muscle for the Sheltons, was found shot to death on a local golf course. A month after that, Phillip Stumpf, another slot machine operator, was gunned down while driving home from a bar on Big Hollow Road. With each murder, the level of protection afforded the Sheltons grew smaller and when the killing went unanswered, many came to believe that the Sheltons were unable to defend their friends. More defections followed, but the Sheltons continued their operations, defying the St. Louis and Chicago gangsters.
Carl’s defiance didn’t last much longer. On October 23, 1947, he was shot to death on his farm in Wayne County, outside of Fairfield. The killer was never identified. In addition to Outfit gangsters, Carl was also feuding with some of his neighbors. The suspect list was long, but the murder remains unsolved to this day.
Many suspected that Carl’s death would close down the Sheltons’ operations, but they were wrong. They did shutter some of their operations in Southern Illinois but remained strong in Peoria, where Bernie was still running the family’s gaming enterprises in the same way that he had been. He made it widely known that he was in firm control of the area and actually planned to expand the operation across Central Illinois. This news caused a ripple of unrest among the Chicago and St. Louis gangsters, who had taken it for granted that the Sheltons would crumble after the death of Carl. They approached Bernie with offers of peace, but he rebuffed their advances. The Outfit’s response was predictable. Bernie had been a marked man before Carl’s death and the reward that had been offered for his life was still very much available. The Outfit wanted someone to collect it.
Throughout the early months of 1948, Bernie showed no signs of backing down. He continued his operations, kept up his payoffs to those who offered political protection, and made sure that he stayed very visible to those who might have some idea of moving in on his business.
However, it was a tavern brawl that almost tripped him up. Bar fights were old, bad habits for Bernie. He was lucky to have escaped prison time in the late 1930s after beating and shooting a man named Frank Zimmerman during a fight in a Cahokia bar. The fight at the Parkway Tavern on Memorial Day 1948 would turn out to be much more serious.
The fight reportedly started when Richard Murphy, a Navy veteran from Peoria, began mouthing off about the ejection of a drunken patron from the bar. A fistfight started in the parking lot, resulting in Murphy being pummeled by Bernie and a couple of his men. One account from witnesses claimed that they pistol-whipped the man. During the fight, A.L. Hunt, the proprietor of a popular drive-in that was located across Farmington Road from the tavern, came over to try and break things up. Hunt, who was no friend of Shelton’s, claimed that Bernie shoved a pistol into his back and marched him back across the road with dire warnings about minding his own business. As a result of the brawl, a Peoria County grand jury returned indictments against Bernie and the other two men for assault with intent to kill, a felony.
The bar fight might have been dismissed by most as a minor altercation, but not by the man who led the grand jury investigation, Roy P. Hull, the state’s attorney for Peoria County. In the Illinois primary elections of that year, Hull had been defeated in his bid for nomination for re-election to his post in the upcoming November election. One of those who helped to oppose Hull had been Bernie Shelton, which did not sit well with Hull. As a result, the indictment would plague Shelton for the rest of his life.
A life that was soon to come to an end.
The first attempt on his life was to have occurred while he was on his way to Muscatine, Iowa, to sell some horses. Two cars filled with gunmen had waited for him along a highway near Galesburg, but Bernie never showed. By chance, he took another route to Muscatine and thwarted the plan.
The next attempt to kill him was planned for July 26. Bernie left his home at 10:00 a.m. on that hot Monday morning and drove to the Parkway Tavern to meet with a bartender named Alex Ronitis. Shelton wanted the bartender to follow him to a Peoria auto agency, where he planned to leave his car for some work. Ronitis would then return Shelton to the tavern.
Shelton spent about 45 minutes handling some paperwork in his private office and then he and Ronitis started to walk out together. However, Ronitis stepped back into the bar to get a pack of cigarettes, leaving Shelton to walk alone to his sedan in the parking lot. Bernie was unaware that, as he approached the car, he was in clear view of a man who was hiding in the brush at the bottom of a wooded hill behind the Parkway. The man had a .351 caliber Winchester automatic rifle in his hands and he fired a single shot. The bullet slammed into Bernie’s chest and he fell forward, slumped against his car. Witnesses later stated that they saw a well-dressed man run from the brush and jump into a green Chevrolet, which drove quickly away.
Ronitis was about to open the tavern door and come outside when he heard the rifle shot. After hesitating for a few seconds, he opened the door and saw Bernie kneeling next to his car. Ronitis started to move toward him, but Shelton waved him back. He held the door open as Bernie stumbled across the parking lot and into the tavern. He heaved himself onto a barstool and told Ronitis and another bartender, Edward Connor, “I’ve been shot from the woods.” He was bleeding badly from a chest wound.
Connor called for an ambulance and when it arrived, Bernie insisted on walking to it. He collapsed on a stretcher inside and was driven to St. Francis Hospital. When he arrived in the emergency room, he asked an attendant to remove his shoes and his trousers, predicting that he was going to die.
And he did, just a few minutes later.
As with the killing of Carl Shelton, Bernie’s murder was never solved. The assassin had discarded his rifle while making his escape and a cartridge from the fatal bullet was found lying in the grass. The rifle was subjected to fingerprint and ballistics tests, but they offered no information.
The death of Bernie Shelton brought an end to the era of the gang in Peoria. It also led to the end of the Shelton gang itself, or what was left of it, in Illinois. Talk was heard about some of the Sheltons’ most trusted men continuing the operations, but it never amounted to anything.
After Bernie’s death, Earl, the last of the feared Shelton boys, was reluctant to venture too far away from Fairfield. As it turned out, though, trouble came looking for him. He survived several shootings and an attempted bombing before he decided to call it quits. After his house burned down, he and his family left Illinois for good. In 1951, they moved to Florida and settled in Jacksonville, a favorite hangout for the Sheltons during their bootlegging days.
While the lives and crimes of the Shelton brothers became a part of the legends and lore of Illinois history, the story of Bernie Shelton became another part of Illinois lore altogether. There are many who insist that, while his life ended violently in July 1948, he simply refused to depart from this world. The criminal empire of the Sheltons came to an end, but Bernie did not end with it.
For the next 50 years, his ghost was reported to haunt the Parkway Tavern. Numerous staff members and customers claimed to have eerie encounters with his powerful presence. They spoke of incidents involving opening and closing doors, lights turning on and off, and objects moving around. Others told of flying jars of hot sauce, slamming restroom doors, and staff members who felt they were being watched. The haunting continued until 1998, when a gathering at the tavern convinced the restless spirit to move on.
Bernie Shelton was finally gone, and the infamous gangster finally had the chance to rest in peace — whether he deserved it or not.
Glenelg is a popular seaside suburb in Adelaide, south Australia. The town’s sunny beaches provide relief from the urban bustle, and crowds come to relax there during the summer months. But on one bright day in January, darkness gathered at Glenelg’s shores.
It was Australia Day, January 26, 1966, and scorching hot in Adelaide. The Beaumont children were en route to the beach for a day’s swim. Jane, the oldest at age 9, was responsible for her younger siblings, Arnna, age 7, and Grant, age 4.
The siblings had boarded a public bus at 10:00 A.M. for a five-minute ride to the beach—a trip they completed only yesterday. Their mother Nancy spent the morning with her friend, while her husband Jim was at work. Nancy told her children to return home by 2:00 P.M. for lunch.
When the scheduled time came and went, Nancy assumed her children simply missed the bus. But when the next bus arrived and the children were nowhere to be seen, the mother grew concerned.
She called the police soon thereafter. The following day, the Beaumont children were officially declared missing.
Beachgoers who spotted the Beaumonts on the fateful morning of their disappearance claimed the children left the beach around 10:15 A.M. The next sighting occurred approximately 45 minutes later; a geriatric woman said she saw the Beaumont children playing near a sprinkler. According to this witness, however, someone else was present at playtime: a blond man with a trim build who was dressed in a blue swimsuit. At first, this mystery man had been lying on the ground, watching the children play. Soon thereafter, however, the blond man got up and joined the Beaumonts in their revelry.
The children were next seen at a nearby cake shop at approximately 11:45 A.M. Here they purchased sweets, and paid for the treats with a £1 bill. For authorities, this was the first serious clue that something was awry— the children’s parents did not send them off with that much money. Someone must have joined them, and provided the cash.
The final sighting came courtesy of a local postman who was familiar with the Beaumont family. He claimed he saw the children at approximately 3 P.M. walking along Jetty Road, away from the beach. According to this witness, the Beaumont siblings appeared in good spirits; the youngsters even stopped to say hi. Authorities did not suspect the postman of misleading them. Yet they were puzzled by the late-afternoon timestamp, as it clashed with the order of prior sightings. They considered the possibility that the postman had misremembered the time of his sighting, and that it actually occurred earlier in the day.
In either case, after postman’s reported encounter, the children’s trail went cold.
The disappearance of the Beaumont children stunned Australia, and triggered one of the largest missing persons investigations in the nation’s history. Drowning was ruled out, as all their belongings were also missing. An appeal from Jim Beaumont was broadcast on national TV. Authorities followed every lead, but every lead led to nowhere.
Even paranormal investigators were called in for assistance. Gerard Croiset, a renowned Dutch parapsychologist and psychic, was flown to Australia from the Netherlands. His visit caused a media circus. Croiset claimed his sixth sense led him to a warehouse where he believed the bodies were buried. The warehouse’s owners, reluctant at first to participate, finally raised $40,000 to have the building demolished. An excavation commenced, but no bodies were found.
Some two years after the disappearance the Beaumont parents received a series of mysterious letters claiming the children were held captive. The anonymous author said he would return the children at a designated time and place. Ecstatic, the Beaumonts traveled to the pre-arranged spot, only to be met by no one.
A second letter arrived shortly thereafter, stating that because an undercover detective had been present, the author withheld the children, and would now keep them forever. Twenty-five years later, forensic analysis concluded the letters were a hoax.
The investigation remains open to this day. A $1-million reward is offered to anyone with information that might crack the case.
Nearly 50 years later, the question remains: What happened to the three Beaumont children that hot day at the beach?
COUSIN EVIE AND I KNOW THE TRUTH
The old house looked fine in the day, sitting far removed from any signs of civilization although the city of Cincinnati, Ohio was just across the river. The long, twisting driveway wound it’s way up a hill that was guarded by bushes and trees that had been planted some two hundred years previously when the first horticulturalist in America carved his home on this high hill in Indiana. At least that what I was told as we made our way to see my Mom’s sister and her husband. I took everything with a grain of salt that had to do with Aunt June for she something of a character as were all of my mother’s sibling but Uncle Kirk seems a reasonable and practical man and he had never disagreed when Aunt June told the family of doors slamming and windows opening on their own accord. Uncle Kirk was a carpenter and had been hired as caretaker to the three story house and tended 50 plus acres that surrounded the lonesome abode. It was a well built home and upon entering the large foyer with it’s parquet floor, one could tell it had been erected by someone with taste and enough money for every modern convenience that was available back in the day, including a cistern on the third floor that had fed water to the bathroom on the second floor and the kitchen on the first floor. A grand staircase was to the left off the foyer that led to the second story where the original owners had two bedrooms that were separated with 10 foot tall pocket doors, husband and wife having connecting bedrooms was not uncommon in their time. Another large bedroom lay across the hall and the only bathroom completed that floor. A smaller staricase led to the third floor which housed five smaller bedrooms and the cistern. At the back was a narrow and steep staircase that turned and wound down to the kitchen for one of the bedrooms next to the cistern room was for the servants originally and, back then, one did not wish to see the maid or cook in the front of the house. In the foyer and past the three floor to ceiling windows that shone on the pattered floor was a huge door that opened into the grand reception room. Light streamed in and shone the scrollwork on the wooden door jambs. To the left was another large door which was the dining room. A serving nook, which housed the china, cutlery, glasses, pitchers and linens led into the kitchen from the dining room. Back in the reception/living room and straight ahead was another parlor that my aunt and uncle used as a bedroom.
I had heard a few stories prior to my visit, but being a worldly 20 year old, rolled my eyes as I listened to my aunt tell mother as she pointed to the reception/living room door that it refused to stay open and how she had propped it open with a ten pound bag of potatoes so she could haul groceries into the kitchen only to find, on her last trip through, that the door was shut and the potatoes flung across the room. I listened with boredom as she discribed the owner’s visit the year before when he discussed his plans to turn the acreage into a golf course and making the house the country club. Aunt June went on to relate how the noises started that night.
“Voices, moaning as if in pain throughout the night and the rattling of chains. Kirk can’t hear them but he’s deaf as a post after he takes his hearing aids out. I got used to the noise and told them it was out of my hands, go haunt the owner if they were that upset.”. June, a handsome woman who looked much younger than her 65 years, shook her blond at the memory but her smile waned when we went into the kitchen. “But, I tell you, I lost patience when I was in here cooking one evening and what looked like blood began trickling down the walls. I shook my spatula at them and told them to knock that shit off! They did the noise continued for two weeks until the owner returned and told us the financing for the golf course plans fell through. The noises stopped that day.”
We were shown upstairs to the second floor where Mother took the bedroom on the east side. A fireplace on the southern wall was still operational but she wouldn’t need it this last Summer night. A brass bed, brightly bedecked with one of Grandmother’s cheery quilts sat upon an oval braided rug that was at least nine foot in diameter at it’s largest point. June pointed at the carpet. “This is rug that nearly killed cousin Evie.”. Cousin Evie was an incredibly large and loud woman I tried to avoid since the age of eight when she had cursed at me for being a rude little girl when I had passed on the offer to be allowed to rub her feet so I hid a secret smile that a cheerful rug had almost broken her neck. June continued “Kirk and I were bringing up her suitcase as she lumbered along behind us she yelled out ‘I am not afraid of any old dang ghosts!’. And she wasn’t until she got up to use the bathroom in the middle of the night and tripped over something. I heard the crash and her crying out and got up here as fast as I could to see what the fuss was about. I flipped on the lights and there she was, laid out like a walrus on ice and under her was that rug, rolled up and lying two feet from the bed. Something had picked her bed up, pulled that rug out and rolled it into a Cousin Evie land mine. Even if we had wanted to do it, can you imagine me and Kirk lifting about 300 pounds and a bed without waking her? Let me tell you, she left here with a sprianed ankle a new belief in ghosts!”
She showed the bathroom which was the size of most modern day bedrooms and pointed to the large window with wide wood trim. It was open. “Don’t bother trying to close. They won’t leave it shut. See these nails?”. She pointed to four nails that were at least five inches long. “Kirk got sick of the draft last winter so he came up here and nailed that window shut with these nails. The next morning we found them laid out on the floor. They are still straight. There ain’t any way someone could have pried them out without bending them.”. They were indeed straight but the heads showed marks of a hammer.
We went outside and walked the grounds, the sun beginning to lower as the stone home looked benevolently over us and other things were discussed, the ghosts forgotten until the sun disappeared over the horizon and house took on an oppressive look. I slipped out after dinner to sneak a cigarette and looked up at the silhouette of the grand home. I almost decided to sleep in mother’s car but shook off the foreboding and decided to go to my room for the night, which was the room designed for the first lady of the house. My aunt, for whatever quirk, had place the bed against the fireplace which had been boarded up but it did give the look of a headboard for there was none on this bed which just sat on a frame. I had a view that led into the master bedroom for the pocket doors were open as were the windows to the west for air circulation. I read for a while then switched the lamp off and rolled to my stomach, my preferred way of sleeping. I could sleep upon my sides but never, ever had been able sleep prone upon my back so I was confused when I awoke sometime later by a pain in wrists, a tension or twisting had awoken me and I discivered I was flat on my back with arms straight above me and my palms pressed against the plywood that sealed the fireplace off. I did not panic although my first thought was that something or someone was trying to pull me into the chimney. Before I could pull my hands down, I knew something was staring into the window off to left. It was floating there and all I would have to do was turn my eyes and see what was there but I sensed that if I did, life would never be normal again. So i laid there motionless while whatever it was silenting conjoled me to cast an eye it’s way. I could feel it’s glowing red eyes and saw in my mind a creature with a pig’s snout and bloody fangs begging for me to look upon it’s horrible face but I knew if I did it wanted to climb into my soul. I stared at the ceiling and repeated what Mother had said to Aunt June’s story of Cousin Evie; “Greater is he who is in me than he who in the world.” until, after what felt like several years but what was more like 5 minutes, I felt thing slowly give up the ghost and depart whereupon my arms relaxed. I did nit roll over on my stomach. I sat upright and clutched my pillow until dawn in a protective ball. I was in the kitchen before anyone else the next morning and Mother finally breezed in, smiling and cheerful after a pleasant night passed in blissful unawareness of the entity lurking around the second floor trying to steal her daughter’s soul. I volunteered to drive the three homes and raced down the driveway. I did not care that Mother was oblivious, Aunt June pragmatically accepting, Uncle Kirk stoic and resigned because Cousin Evie and I knew the truth. Something evil dwelt there. Postscript, after hearing my tale my Dad expressed interest in visiting to see for himself the haunted house high on the horticulturalist’s hill but before he had the opportunity, Uncle Kirk, upon leaving early one morning for a carpentry job, discovered a burning car hidden under some trees halfway up the drive with a young woman inside. She had been kidnapped, taken to the property where her abductor raped, murdered then set her on fire. The papers reported he chose that spot because he had always felt drawn to it. I almost saw the thing that drew him there and was relieved when my aunt and uncle moved out shortly there after. Dad would have to comfort himself with nothing more than second hand tales and the occasional visit from Cousin Evie.
So I’ve lived in the same house to the current date and we’ve had some strange things happen. I can only recall a few that I have experienced personally and can still remember as some of them happened when I was very young.
To start from the beginning, I remember my mom telling me that when I was between 1-2 years old, I would be playing with my toys in the living room being quite happy and content, and then after a while, I would run to her scared asking if she sees the man in the corner. She couldn’t see anyone, but I refused to play in that room for a while. Eventually I’d go back in, play, and see the man again and go find my mom. From what she’s told me this went on for a few months. Also around that time we’d experience doors being open that weren’t supposed to be, windows open which we would close only to find them open again.
Eventually it all came to an end on it’s own as far as I know. I think we did have a pastor come pray over our house, but I don’t know if anything else was done.
My dad on a few occasions woke up in the middle of the night and saw a shadow figure at the front of the bed. It never did anything, but it wasn’t a pleasant feeling. Being sensitive to spiritual things is not exactly my thing, I don’t know if that’s because of my logical nature and searching for a rational explanation or not, but my dad has said about feeling some disturbing presence in this house from time to time.
Now onto the time that I did experience, remember, and even tried to find an explanation for. When I was about 13, I remember for a few months whenever we’d leave the house and come back there would be red markings on the wall that looked like a liquid was splattered on in and left to run down the wall. The first few times we didn’t think much of it, but it kept happening and I noticed a pattern of it always being in the hallway. One day before we left, I checked the wall to make sure it was clean, we left, and when we returned the marks were there again. So the dog was inside so I thought maybe the dog cut herself somehow or got something on her fur and maybe walked against the wall. So the next time we were about to leave I checked the wall and made sure the dog was outside so that there was nothing in the house that could put the red marks on the wall. We came back and they were there again. I didn’t know what was causing it, but it too eventually went away.
A few years later I remember sitting in my room, which is at the front part of the house, and I remember was sounded like someone starting a chainsaw right outside my window. At first I thought someone was trying to break in and throw all the rules about being quiet out the window. So me and my dad got some weapons and went outside to check it out. The sound had stopped shortly after it started, but when we went outside we couldn’t find anything disturbed. No footprints or oil residue from the chain running. Strangely enough our neighbor was sitting on their front porch right across the street from our house and we asked him if he heard or saw anything. He said he heard something like a chainsaw but didn’t see anyone.
As of right now my family is in the middle of a move into a house that is over a hundred years old, so I’ll update you on any strange occurrences once we’re moved in.
HIDE & SEEK
When I was a young girl I stayed with my grandparents often. I had a lot of friends on her block and we would play in and out of grandmas house all the time. My grandmothers house was built at the top of a small hill. It was arranged so that if you looked at it from the street it would look like a small single story home, but if you were in the backyard looking at the house you could see the main level and the windows in the basement level of the house. On the sides of the house there were only a couple of small windows on the basement level and if you were inside the house they were at ceiling level in my grandmothers laundry room. If you were outside looking in you had to crouch down and look in the window just barely above the ground. When my friends would come over one of our favorite games to play was hide and seek. With a small shed out back, a large yard with plenty of big trees and a row of bushes in the front and back of the house grandma’s house was never lacking for hiding places and that was if you only stayed outside. Usually one of my friends, most likely the neighbor boy Tyler, would outlaw hiding inside the house as he didn’t like going in there. Grandma and Papa had a tendency to stop any kid coming through the room they were in and make them have a conversation that would get them caught early on in the game. One day we were playing hide and seek and Tyler had forgotten to say anything about not hiding inside so when it was his turn i ran in the backdoor down the stairs and into the laundry room. It was the perfect hiding place. If anyone came inside I could hear them coming down the stairs and hide in the small space behind the washing machine that no one ever looked in. If they stayed outside i could watch for feet running past in the tall window. To see out this window I had to climb on top of an old long dresser that grandma kept in the basement for storage and then I had to stand on my tip toes and hold the bottom of the window still and still I could only peek over the edge of the window frame. It was really high up for a little kid. I was standing on this dresser and watching the feet run back and forth in front of the window and then I heard my friends call out that they gave up. So up the stairs I went and out the back door then around the to front so I could keep my perfect spot a secret. About that time two of my friends got called home for dinner and left just me and Tyler. He said he wanted to try one more round before he went home even if it was just the two of us. So I said I would be it and he went to hide. Tyler was younger than me by a few years and much shorter. He was the younger brother of one of my friends but he was always playing with us so he was just another one of the group. He went to hide and after counting to 20 I went in search of him. After checking all the spots that he could reach and waving hi to my grandpa who was working in the garage I moved around to the side of the house and peeked in the window out of habit. There pressed fully up against the glass was a mans face. His eyes were completely red and his hair was solid black. His hair was in a crazy mess all around his face as if he had been pulling at it. I will never forget the look on his face for the rest of my life. His mouth was pulled up in a horrible smile, it was almost like he was laughing at me in a crazy way. I screamed and fell back on my butt and a hand apeared next to the face waving at me slowly. I jumped up and ran down the hill into the backyard as fast as I could. I almost ran into Tyler when I jumped behind a large tree in the back yard and i sat there for a minute unable to talk. Finally I told Tyler what I had seen in the window. He said it must have been my grandpa playing a trick on me or wearing a mask. I said that he was in the garage out front. So he said he would go look into the window and see if he saw anything. We walked back up to the window together and nothing was there now. Tyler convinced me to go in the house and down to the basement with him to check the room. I didn’t really want to but he kept egging me on until I agreed. We went down into the basement together and there was nothing in the room. To this day Tyler doesn’t believe me that I saw anything in that window but whatever it was it had to be big, because when we went down those stairs we found the laundry room all normal except grandma’s old storage dresser pushed up against the wall on the opposite side of the room. Who ever had looked out that window at me had to have been 9 feet tall or had been floating in mid air. I never went back down into that basement again, and I NEVER went anywhere even close to that window!
On May 25, 1979, one of the most horrifying disasters in Chicago and American history took place at O’Hare International Airport when American Airlines Flight 191 literally fell from the sky, killing all of the 271 passengers and crew on board. The flight was meant to be a non-stop journey from Chicago to Los Angeles, but it never left the Windy City – and it left an eerie haunting behind.
It was a beautiful holiday weekend in Chicago and the sunny skies gave no indication of the horror that was about to take place. The passengers of Flight 191, including a number of Chicago literary figures bound for Los Angeles and the annual American Booksellers Association conference, mixed with the throngs of people at O’Hare airport. They boarded the McDonnell-Douglas DC-10 just before 3:00 p.m. The DC-10 was a top-of-the-line aircraft and this particular model had logged more than 20,000 trouble-free hours since it left the assembly line. The crew was top-notch as well, including Captain Walter Lux, an experienced pilot who had been flying DC-10s since their introduction into service eight years before, and First Officer James Dillard, and Flight Engineer Alfred Udovich, who had nearly 25,000 flight hours between them.
At 2:59 p.m., the plane was cleared to begin its taxi onto the runway and then, at 3:02 p.m., Flight 191 started down the runway. All went smoothly until the aircraft reached a point about 6,000 feet down the runway. The tower controller saw parts of the port engine pylon falling away from the aircraft and a “white vapor” coming from the area. A moment later, the plane pitched into rotation and lifted off. As it did so, the entire engine and pylon tore loose from their mounting, flipped up and over the wing, and crashed down onto the runway. Immediately, the tower controller tried to raise the plane on the radio: “American 191, do you want to come back? If so, what runway do you want?”
There was no reply from the aircraft but it proceeded to climb normally, only dipping the left wing for a moment. It quickly stabilized and the plane continued its descent. About 10 seconds later, at a height of around 300 feet, the aircraft began to bank to the left, first slightly, then sharply. The nose of the plane dipped and as the aircraft began to lose height, the bank to left increased until the wings were past vertical — then fell to the earth.
The left wingtip hit the ground first and the sound of tearing metal was followed by a massive explosion. The rushing fireball swept across the field, traveling about a half-mile northwest of O’Hare and roared into an abandoned hangar on the site of the old Ravenswood Airport on Touhy Avenue, just east of a mobile home park. The burning plane crossed mostly open ground, narrowly missing some fuel storage tanks on Elmhurst Road and the crowded I-90 Expressway. Two people on the ground were killed and several mobile homes were damaged, but the entire crew and all of the passengers on the place were killed instantly.
The disaster stunned the entire country, leading to scores of questions about the DC-10 aircraft and how the loss of only one engine had sealed the fate of Flight 191. The findings of a long and grueling investigation by the NTSB were released on December 21, 1979. It attributed the cause of the crash to an engine pylon that had been damaged at an American Airlines maintenance facility in March 1979. The engine had needed some routine maintenance and to save time and costs, American Airlines, without the approval of McDonnell Douglas, had instructed their mechanics to remove the engine and pylon as a single unit. A large forklift was used to support the engine while it was being detached from the wing. This procedure was extremely difficult to execute successfully, because the engine assembly had to be held perfectly straight while it was being removed. This was almost impossible to do without causing a crack. After the accident, cracks were found in the bulkheads of many other DC-10s.
The fracture in the plane used for Flight 191 went unnoticed for weeks, getting worse with each flight. During Flight 191’s takeoff, enough force was generated to finally cause the pylon to fail. At the point of rotation, the engine detached and was flipped over the top of the wing. A tiny crack had caused the flight to end in disaster.
A number of ghost stories followed in the wake of the crash. According to Des Plaines police officers, motorists began reporting odd sights within a few months of the crash. They called in about seeing odd, bobbing white lights in the field where the aircraft had gone down. First thought to be flashlights carried by ghoulish souvenir hunters, officers responded to the reports, only to find the field was silent and deserted. No one was ever found, despite patrols arriving on the scene almost moments after receiving a report.
More unnerving, though, were the accounts that came from the residents of the nearby mobile home park, which was adjacent to the crash site. Many of these reports came within hours of the crash, when residents claimed to hear knocking and rapping sounds at their doors and windows. Those who responded, including a number of retired and off-duty police and firefighters, opened their doors to find no one was there. Dogs in the trailer park would bark endlessly at the empty field where the plane had gone down. Their owners could find no reason for their erratic behavior. This continued for weeks and months and even escalated to the point that doorknobs were being turned and rattled, footsteps were heard approaching the trailers, clanging on the metal stairs, and on some occasions, actual figures were confronted. According to some reports, a few residents opened their doors to find a worried figure who stated that he “had to get his luggage” or “had to make a connection” standing on their porch. The figure then turned and vanished into the darkness.
The tragedy, and the strange events that followed, caused many of the residents to move out of the park but when new arrivals took their place, they too began to report the weird happenings. One sighting was described by a man out walking his dog one night near the area where Flight 191 went down. He was approached by a young man who explained that he needed to make an emergency telephone call. The man with the dog looked at this person curiously for he seemed to reek of gasoline and also appeared to smoldering. At first, he just assumed the man had been running on this chilly night and steam was coming from his clothing, but when he turned away to point out a nearby phone and then turned back again — the man had vanished. The man with the dog had heard stories from other local residents about moans and weird cries emanating from the 1979 crash site, but he never believed them until now. He was now convinced that he had encountered one of the restless passengers from Flight 191 for himself.