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IN THIS EPISODE: (Dark Archives episode previously released July 30, 2018) *** Historic Mounds Theatre, has long been rumored to be haunted. Three ghosts are said to reside there – including one who has performed onstage for the guests. (The Ghosts of Mounds Theater) *** Nurse Sarah Koten would take the abuse no longer – she was raped and impregnated by her boss and felt she had no other choice but to kill him. But how would the press and public see that in 1908 New York City? (It Was My Duty To Kill Him) *** He was born deformed, found fame as a side show attraction, even found love on the carnival circuit – but then Grady Stiles – the Lobster boy – turned as ugly on the inside as he was shocking to look at on the outside. (Grady Stiles: The Evil Lobster Boy) *** A dark bridge. A screaming baby. Apparitions in the night. The country is full of “crybaby bridge” legends, but is there any truth to the disturbing tales? (Legends Of Crying Babies Haunting Bridges) *** His IQ was that of a genius – but that didn’t keep Patrick Kearney from murdering people and having sex with their corpses. (The Twisted Morality of an Evil Genius) *** A mother comes home from work to one more child than she expected. (We Call Her Abigail) *** Is it true that Jesus Christ once cursed a man to roam the earth, immortal, until His second coming? (The Immortal, Wandering Jew)
STORY AND MUSIC CREDITS/SOURCES…
“Grady Stiles, The Evil Lobster Boy” by Jim Harper: http://bit.ly/2skudli
“Legends Of Crying Babies Haunting Bridges”: (link no longer available)
“It Was My Duty To Kill Him” by Troy Taylor: http://bit.ly/2OQBGQw
“The Immortal Wandering Jew” by David Tee: http://bit.ly/35wrDqy
“We Call Her Abigail”: http://bit.ly/2QP6oMG
“The Twisted Morality of an Evil Genius” by Matt Redd: http://bit.ly/33q2V9Q
“The Ghosts of Mounds Theater” by Joey Peters: http://bit.ly/2DkjJo9
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
IT WAS MY DUTY TO KILL HIM
In 1907, Sarah Koten was working at a sanitarium in New York City. Like many staff members of the day, she also lived at the hospital. She was training to be a nurse under Dr. Martin Auspitz. He was bullying, aggressive, and threatening to her but Sarah was determined to stick it out. Dr. Auspitz promised her that she would become a trained nurse if she stayed in his employ. “I was frightened and did not want to stay,” she later explained, “but the doctor wanted me to stay.”
One morning, Auspitz broke into Sarah’s room. He chloroformed her and while she was unconscious, he raped her. The rape resulted in a pregnancy. When he found out that Sarah was pregnant, the doctor pressured her to have an abortion. Sarah refused and quit her job but struggled to find new work. She had immigrated from Russia in 1902, and now she was an unmarried, pregnant woman with no means to support herself.
In 1908, she took Auspitz to court. She brought a suit charging him with rape and demanding financial support for the unborn child. Auspitz denied the accusation and used his brother and brother-in-law to attack Sarah’s reputation. They claimed she had a poor character, implying that she had seduced Auspitz and initiated a sexual relationship with him.
The judge ruled in favor of the doctor and dismissed the case. Sarah then went to the police for help, but they turned her away. She then visited the district attorney, who told her that there was no legal recourse that could be taken against Sarah’s rapist.
That’s when Sarah decided “to be my own judge.”
On June 8, she lured her rapist to the home of a pretend patient. When Auspitz arrived, she shot him through the heart. She didn’t protest when the police took her away. Never did she proclaim her innocence. She simply stated that her actions had been justified – she’d done it to protect other women.
She was correct, at least as far as that went. Sarah had not been Auspitz’s only victim. It was later discovered that Auspitz had a history of “wronging” women. Before Sarah killed him, at least two other women brought complaints against the doctor. One woman, Agnes Deffa, tried to attack Auspitz in court when he claimed that she had initiated a sexual relationship with him. The other woman, Anna Jensen, had been a patient at Auspitz’s sanitarium. After Auspitz raped her, she burst into his office with a gun. She tried to shoot him but the cartridge in her revolver failed to fire. This attempted murder happened only a few months before Auspitz raped Sarah.
The police had been aware of the incident and yet, still did nothing to help Sarah when she lodged her complaint against the doctor.
As Sarah waited in prison for her trial, her case became a media sensation. At first the stories were negative – she was called “wretched,” “a frenzied girl,” and “a total wreck.” The stories painted a picture of “hysteria and criminality,” an immigrant who was naturally a vicious killer. But all that changed after she gave birth to her son, Abraham, in prison. The newspaper now told a new story of a women who must be innocent. Abraham was the proof of her story. The evil doctor had tried to pressure her to abort the baby and Sarah’s refusal made her popular with the public. She was a model mother, they said, who was only defending her honor.
Reporters compared her case to the “unwritten law” that applied to gentlemen in the nineteenth century. If a woman’s honor was at stake, gentlemen were allowed to retaliate, even if it violated the law. By the turn of the twentieth century, that same law began to apply to women themselves. Women had little power to stop men’s aggression and violence, the unwritten law argued, so it was acceptable for women to protect themselves in any way they could – even with a gun.
At the end of Sarah’s trial, Judge James A. Blanchard accepted her plea of insanity. He gave her a suspended sentence, sending her to the care of the Council of Jewish Women.
Sarah’s defense inspired other women. In early 1909, a woman named Elizabeth coerced Charles Schmidt into marrying her, saying if he didn’t, she would “blow out his brains like Sarah Koten did.” Sarah Comiskey attempted to kill her father for abandoning his family. Nellie Walden killed her ex-boyfriend for running off. These women claimed they were inspired to violence because of Sarah Koten.
As for Sarah herself, she walked out of prison after her trial and vanished from history. The Council for Jewish Women helped her to find a suitable home “where she might change her name and rear her child in ignorance of the crime its mother had committed.” The Council concluded its statement on Sarah’s case with this:
“While no one can consistently condone murder, or any other offense against the law, it is gratifying to know that this suffering woman is not to be cast into prison for a crime that she primarily was not to blame for.”
Born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1937, Grady Stiles Jr., also known as Lobster Boy, led an interesting life and suffered a death that was just as intriguing. Grady was born with a rare medical condition known to run in his family called ectrodactyly. More commonly known as Lobster Claw Syndrome, ectrodactyly is a condition in which the middle fingers are missing and the fingers on either side of where they should be are fused together. The result is that the hands look like lobster claws. The feet are also sometimes affected, as was the case with Grady. Grady’s father also suffered from the condition and toured the country in sideshows as the Lobster Man. He wasted no time introducing Grady to show life, billing him as the Lobster Boy and starting him in the freak show business at the tender age of 7.
Grady Stiles was an instant hit on the carnival scene and grew up to be quite strong. Though he could not walk, he pushed himself around in a wheelchair and learned to crawl on his limbs, which led to him developing incredible upper body strength.
While working the carnival circuit, Lobster Boy met a young woman named Mary Teresa. Though she did not suffer from any mutations, she ran away to join the carnival at 19 and fell in love with Grady. The two married and had several children together, two of which inherited Gray’s ectrodactyly. For awhile they toured as the Lobster Family, but life turned ugly when Grady began drinking. Reputed to be a mean drunk, Lobster Boy reportedly beat his wife and children for years until one night in 1973. On that night, Grady fought with Mary, threw her to the ground and ripped her IUD out of her body with his bare hands. She promptly divorced him. Grady Stiles eventually remarried, though his second wife, too, divorced him.
Though still a mean drunk, Grady Stiles lived a relatively quiet life until 1978. At that point, he thrust himself into the spotlight again. When his eldest daughter fell in love with a man Grady did not approve of, he killed her would-be groom with a shotgun the day before the wedding.
There was no doubt about Grady’s guilt as he freely confessed to the crime, but he never served time for the crime. Though he was found guilty in 1979, Grady’s life of alcoholism and cigarette smoking had taken a toll. He had cirrhosis of the liver and emphysema in addition to his ectrodactyly. Therefore, it was determined he would not receive adequate medical care in prison. Although he was convicted of murder, Grady was sentenced to only 15 years probation.
Escaping prison made Lobster Boy cocky, and he reportedly told others he could kill them and get away with it since he already had. The verdict had a large impact on Grady’s first wife Mary, who inexplicably remarried him in 1989. His ill-tempered drinking coupled with a feeling of invincibility from getting away with murder made Grady even more abusive than he was before.
In 1992, Mary decided she had enough of Grady’s abuse. She paid her friend and neighbor Chris Wyant $1,500 to kill her husband. Wyant committed the murder, shooting Grady in the head while he watched television in his Florida home. Like Grady Stiles, Wyant went to court for the murder and was found guilty. Unlike Grady Stiles, Wyant was sentenced to 27 yeas in prison for the murder. Mary also stood trial and received a sentence of 12 years in prison.
And the Lobster Boy? In death, his reviews have been mixed. Some in the carnival community confirm that he was an ill-tempered man and go so far as to compare him to Satan. Others revere him as a smart businessman who went from appearing in sideshows to owning them. These people contend that Mary should simply have walked away. Perhaps the final verdict lies with his children. Several of them admit that shedding a tear for their father.
WE CALL HER ABIGAIL
I live in an old Victorian house in a very small town. My seven year old Son and I were the only ones home one evening. My Wife had to work late and my five year old daughter was at a friends house. It was a chilly winter evening and this was before we had satellite TV, so my son was playing with legos and I was reading a book.
My Wife always plays this certain game when she comes home from work. When the kids hear the commotion when she enters the door, they take off running and hide. My Wife makes a big deal about looking for them to prolong the fun, then when she finds them she tickles and kisses them.
Things turned out differently this evening though.
As she entered the door with the sound of keys jangling and stomping snow from her boots, my Son took off running into a small room by the front parlor. I was still reading, but I saw a girl in a frilly white dress run past me and follow my Son. I thought it was my daughter maybe having come home with my Wife, but the chilling voice that came from the room proved otherwise.
The voice was not that of my daughter. I scrambled out of my chair just as my Son bolted out of the room. We both stood there for a moment looking into the dark room as my Wife said “Wow, that didn’t sound like…” She saw the looks on our faces and immediately realized what had just happened.
I walked into the room, no girl. Nothing.
It was absolutely one of the most amazing things I had ever witnessed, and I was really grateful that she allowed us to see her.
We call her Abigail.
From a young age, it was clear that there was something strange about Patrick Kearney. At thirteen, his father taught him to slaughter pigs by shooting them behind the ear with a pistol. Kearney instantly took a liking to the task and began killing pigs that weren’t meant to be slaughtered on his own.
It was the blood and the organs he liked so much. And when he thought no one was around, he would kill the pigs so that he could roll around in their intestines.
Small and strange, Kearney was a target for bullying at school. The bullying left a lasting impact on Kearney’s personality, and he began fantasizing about killing the people who wronged him.
After school, Patrick Kearney joined the Airforce. During his time in the military, Kearney met David Hill. Though Hill was married, he and Kearney began a love affair. After Kearney’s discharge from the military, the two moved to California.
There, Kearney and Hill began to argue frequently. Eventually, Hill left and went back to his wife.
Kearney, meanwhile, began cruising gay bars in southern California and Mexico. But what Kearney really wanted was something far darker than casual sex.
In 1962, Kearney picked up a 19-year-old hitchhiker on his motorcycle. After driving the young man to a secluded spot, Kearney shot him behind the ear, the same way he had killed pigs. After the victim was dead, Kearney sexually assaulted his body.
Kearney’s next victim was the young man’s cousin, who had seen Kearney pick his victim up on his motorcycle. Kearney realized that he could silence a potential witness and indulge his need to kill at the same time. The method was the same. Kearney lured his victim to a remote area, shot him in the head, and assaulted his corpse.
There was just one more victim that year, another teenage boy that Kearney picked up off the street.
The next year, Hill left his wife again and returned to Kearney. The pair settled into a home in Culver City, California. The next murder wouldn’t come until 1967 when Hill and Kearney visited one of Hill’s friends in Tijuana.
Kearney couldn’t resist the opportunity. He snuck into the man’s room and shot him between the eyes with a pistol. He then dragged the body to a bathtub, where he assaulted it and began dismembering it with a knife.
He then pulled the bullet out of the man’s skull with the knife and buried the body behind the garage before returning to California.
There seems to have been something about Kearney’s relationship with Hill that let him resist his urge to kill. So when Hill left once again in 1971, Kearney began looking for victims.
By now, Patrick Kearney had refined his procedure. He began picking up hitchhikers, prostitutes, men from bars, and children as young as eight. Often, he would target people who bore some resemblance to the people who had bullied him in school.
Once he had them in his car, he would drive with his left hand, making sure to keep to the speed limit to avoid being pulled over. Once he was sure no one could see the car, Kearney would shoot the victim in the head with his right hand.
Leaving the body sitting upright in the seat to look like a passenger, Kearney drove to a secluded spot. There he assaulted the bodies before cutting them up into pieces with a hacksaw. The dismembered parts were then placed in trash bags and dumped in different places around the area, usually freeways.
But while Kearney was careful about disposing of the bodies, he wasn’t careful enough.=
Police were able to draw links between the body parts that began showing up on the side of the freeways and identify the victims. The identity of one of those victims, John LaMay, led police back to Kearney in 1977. Police visiting Kearney’s house were then able to gather hair samples that they linked to the trash bags that LaMay’s body was dumped in.
An arrest warrant was put out for Kearney and after a brief period on the run, he turned himself in.
After his arrest, Kearney eventually confessed to 35 murders. If true, then it means that Kearney was one of the most prolific serial killers in American history.
A psychiatrist who interviewed Kearney after his arrest determined that he had an IQ of 180, well above what’s considered a “genius.” To put it in perspective, Dr. Manahel Tahbet, an economist widely recognized as one of the smartest people alive, only has an IQ of 168.
This could explain why Kearney was able to get away with so many murders before he was arrested. He knew how to cover his tracks and avoid the police.
Due to his cooperation in confessing, Kearney was spared the death penalty. Instead, he was given life in prison, where he remains today.
Historic Mounds Theatre, a movie theater and entertainment venue on St. Paul Minnesota’s East Side, has long been rumored to be haunted. Three ghosts are said to reside there: Red, the theater’s longtime projectionist; Jim, who worked on the main floor as an usher; and Mary, a little girl whose apparition often appears on stage, performing for the guests.
Since the theater’s 2003 reopening, scores of paranormal investigators have visited the space. Dan Amitrano, from the Ely-based Northland Paranormal, visits on a cool summer evening with hopes of meeting Red.
A local pro wrestling league is here tonight. As athletes prepare, Amitrano walks away from the noise to the projection booth—the perfect spot to measure what paranormal investigators call “cold spots.”
“Cold spots are generated by a spirit when it wants to be able to manifest because it’s putting all the energy into one particular area,” he explains.
As the story goes, Red spent much of his life working in the projection booth during the theater’s initial run from 1922 to 1967. One legend says he had a crush on a lady moviegoer, which prompted him to jump from the balcony to the aisle to impress her. Instead, he broke his leg. Red died one year after the theater shut down.
Chanel Huston, who volunteers at Mounds Theatre as a concessionist and tour guide, has developed what she laughingly calls “a fun history” with Red. His voice is gruff and he swears a lot. He also gropes her on occasion.
“He likes to touch people, and I tend to be one of the people he touches a lot,” she says.
Inside the projection booth, Amitrano turns on the EMF meter, which measures electromagnetic activity. A small light on the device turns green. Ghost activity makes the light turn red, he says.
“Red, I’m going to ask you if you can make this EMF meter go red for me,” Amitrano says to the spirit. “No pun intended.”
The meter turns yellow numerous times, but not red. Amitrano says the yellow could indicate ghost communication, but could just as easily signal routine activity like the electricity powering the air vents above. Roughly 90 percent of the time Amitrano doesn’t find anything. He does these ghost probes as a hobby, free of charge.
During this session, the video camera shuts off several times, despite the battery being at 70 percent. It’s unusual, but not enough evidence to convince Amitrano.
Other paranormal groups have had better luck. Justin Minor, who works with Johnsdale Paranormal Group, conducted an investigation five years ago. His strongest piece of evidence came from an EVP device, which captures electronic voice phenomenon. Minor had set up Scrabble letters in the women’s bathroom in hopes that an apparition would spell out words.
“What’s going on in here?” a male voice says. “You’re overwhelming me.”
Minor says this recording is the best EVP voice his group has ever caught.
But is that enough to convince him that Mounds Theatre is haunted?
“There’s definitely something out of the ordinary going on,” he says.
As Jesus sank beneath the load, He turned his pitying eye to the unfeeling child of Israel, and, pointing up on high, said, “yes, I go for it needs must be, but until I do return, thou must go, to and fro…” (Eugene Sue, 1881)
With these words, the sage of the wandering Jew begins its journey. It is said that the story is based on Matthew 16: 28 which reads: “Truly I say to you, there are some of those who are standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom.”
To some this idea is legitimate. Over the centuries it has been said that many of the early believers did not see death. Joseph of Arimathea was said to be still alive living in Arimathea in the 13th century AD.
Others stated that Jesus’ words meant that John the apostle would stay alive until Christ’s return. But no one ever offers any real proof of these claims or that those men lived beyond their normal years.
While it was Eugene Sue who penned the original words, some readers over the centuries felt that it lacked something. Great writers like Goethe, Dumas and Hans Anderson, to name a few, tried their hands at making this story into a literary masterpiece. They all failed.
It was usually the unknown writers who had better luck bringing more drama to the scenario and make it a better read. Most failed because the story lacked drama. It was about a Jew who wandered endlessly. Most attempts to spice up the work failed because they devolved into geography or history lessons. These topics failed to ignite the interest of the general public.
Then, the story’s main character changed with almost every rendition. Some authors had Ahasuerus as an old man. Others made him out to be a young male. Still others had him age then was rejuvenated and returned to a young age when he got too old. Finally, some wrote that he died but was reincarnated. Who exactly was this wandering Jew? That was a question all authors failed to identify. The failure to add dramatic situations also doomed all attempts to punch up the story. There are none in the original as Ahasuerus was given just two by Mr. Sue. The actual time of the curse and the end of his wandering at doomsday.
It is also said that Ahasuerus made an appearance to the Bishop of Schleswig in 1542. The Bishop gave a description of the man he saw in the church. As the men conversed, the Bishop was surprised to hear a first-hand account about the sufferings of the original apostles.
Over 30 years later another sighting took place in Spain. Schleswig ambassadors to Spain reported back that they had seen the man the Bishop had talked to 3 decades earlier except that he spoke perfect Spanish.
The different authors who wrote about the Wandering Jew, Chaucer to Cervantes, from Rodrigues Lobo to Mark Twain, from Eugène Sue to Fruttero and Lucentini, added to the legend and had Ahasuerus embellished to mythical proportions. One example, he was given the ability to speak all earthly languages.
It is inevitable that there would be some comparisons with Cain. Like the wandering Jew who was cursed by Jesus, Cain was cursed by God. Genesis 4:12 says- “When you cultivate the ground, it will no longer yield its strength to you; you will be a vagrant and a wanderer on the earth…”
The only difference between the two curses is that we have record of God’s curse on Cain. We do not have any record of Jesus’ curse on Ahasuerus. The life of Cain is not really known after he takes his wife and leaves his family.
All we know is the name of a few of his descendants and that he built a city. Gen. 4:16 to 17 give us those details. But there is no mention of how long Cain would live in his curse. It can be concluded that he died in old age, but we cannot be sure.
Ahasuerus was given a life sentence and said to have been condemned to live until Christ returns. No one knows when that event will take place. If Ahasuerus was a real person, then he should be alive today and spotted more frequently than just to times in 2,000 years.
When examining the story of the wandering Jew there may be elements that will hold some importance to some groups of Christians. Since it is a work of fiction, not all Christians would agree that the story holds any significance for them.
The story may come from Christian traditions but again those traditions are not the same for every segment of the faith. One lesson that can be gleaned from the encounter of Ahasuerus with Jesus would be the consequences of sinful actions.
Ahasuerus decided to mock and sin against Jesus whereby he was given an immediate judgment and sentence. But even with that moral lesson the story does not fit with the nature and character of Jesus who forgave his tormentors and executioners.
Surely, they were more eligible for such a curse than a lowly shoemaker who only said a few words to Jesus as he passed by. The curse by Jesus also goes against his teaching found in the Gospels.
The legend of the wandering Jew may continue to wander through literature and be expanded, altered and embellished. It is highly likely that more writers will take on the story to see if they can add more moral lessons, drama and so on.
As it stands, it is a legend only. One that does not fit the nature of New Testament thinking or teaching.
Depending on where you live, the crybaby bridge legend goes something like this: A woman is traveling with her baby (or small child) when disaster strikes. Perhaps it’s a tragic accident that results in mother and child plummeting over the side of the bridge. Perhaps the mother is angry or distraught and hurls her baby into the creek below. Perhaps there’s more than one child. Perhaps there’s a murderous father. Though multiple versions of the legend exist, they all agree on one thing: a baby dies near a bridge and its ghostly wails now haunt the tragic site. At times, the mother’s grieving ghost appears in the woods nearby, sobbing and calling out for her lost child.
So are the stories true? Probably not. Like many well-known ghost tales, there’s little-to-no evidence to support the tragic back story. Many of the murders or accidents are said to have happened at indeterminate times to unknown people. However, if an event so shocking as a woman throwing her baby off a bridge or a horrific accident had truly happened, there would almost certainly be an official record. Yet there are none (that I know of). The lack of evidence and ubiquitous nature of the stories suggest that the crybaby bridge accounts are nothing more than urban legends.
While the traditional crybaby bridge legends lack historical evidence, there are modern reports of parents throwing their children from bridges. In 2011, a New Jersey man tossed his 2-year-old daughter into a creek while she was still strapped in her car seat. In 2015, a father in Florida threw his 5-year-old daughter from the Sunshine Skyway Bridge. In 2014, a woman in Oregon hurled her autistic son off a bridge. And of course, there have been tragic bridge accidents involving mother and child. Early last year, a frantic voice led emergency officials to a vehicle partially submerged in a Utah river. When rescuers searched the wreckage, they found an unconscious 18-month-old girl and her deceased mother. The mother had been dead for several hours, so it’s not clear who, or what, called for help.