“BURNING, BOUNCING, BLOOD-SUCKING BEDS” #WeirdDarkness

The bedrooms of our homes are a place of comfort, warmth, security, and sometimes even luxury. They are a place of respite from a long, weary day. Even as children, the bedroom had some comforts, as we could curl up, head under the covers, blocking out the entire world. But then sometimes things happen to people in bed.  Terrible, horrifying things. Some wake to see ghosts looming over the foot-board, or an old woman standing directly above their head and pillow. Others swear they’ve been snatched by aliens, or taken by the fairies. There are also stories of haunted beds, a tale of a vampire bed, and let us not forget the rarely seen, but still-feared, monster under the bed. Some ghosts have been known to bounce beds – and in one case, even set beds ablaze. It might be best to not listen to this episode under your covers.

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STORY CREDITS AND/OR SOURCES…

”Bouncing Beds” by Chris Woodyard: http://hauntedohiobooks.com/news/ghosts-news/bouncing-beds-15423/

“Burning Beds” by Chris Woodyard: http://winsham.blogspot.com/2015/09/wednesday-weirdness-burning-beds.html

“The Fairy Kiss” from The Occult Review: http://hauntedohiobooks.com/news/the-fairy-kiss-13871/

“Vampire Furniture” by Mary Trevelyan: http://hauntedohiobooks.com/news/vampire-furniture-of-wales/

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Psalm 23:4 ESV = “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”

*** Learn how to escape eternal death: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2IYmodFKDaM

 

#poltergeist #vampire #haunted

 

 

====================TRANSCRIPT OF PODCAST====================

The bedrooms of our homes are a place of comfort, warmth, security, and sometimes even luxury. They are a place of respite from a long, weary day. Even as children, the bedroom had some comforts, as we could curl up, head under the covers, blocking out the entire world. But then sometimes things happen to people in bed.  Terrible, horrifying things. Some wake to see ghosts looming over the foot-board, or an old woman standing directly above their head and pillow. Others swear they’ve been snatched by aliens, or taken by the fairies. There are also stories of haunted beds, a tale of a vampire bed, and let us not forget the rarely seen, but still-feared, monster under the bed. Some ghosts have been known to bounce beds – and in one case, even set beds ablaze. It might be best to not listen to this episode under your covers.

 

…I’m Darren Marlar and this is Weird Darkness.

 

 

Welcome, Weirdos. This is Weird Darkness. Here you will find stories of the paranormal, supernatural, legends and lore, mysterious, macabre, unsolved and unexplained. If you have a dark tale for me to tell (fact or fiction) you can share it with me at WeirdDarkness.com. If you are new here, be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss a single episode!

 

Now.. bolt your doors, lock your windows, turn off your lights, and come with me into the Weird Darkness!

 

 

By way of introduction, a brief bedtime story:

I was told by a librarian that an older gentleman had visited at the reference desk wanting to know about the history of his house. He was certain that it was haunted–because his bed kept moving up and down. Research turned up the logical, if x-rated explanation that  his house had once been a brothel.

It is doubtful that the following stories have such an interesting back-story, but they all feature bouncing beds.

***I will tell of my experience about sixteen years ago: I moved into a house situated on D__ street, Waco, Texas. My daughter and myself went upstairs and entered the room on our left. She shivered and said: “How queer I feel; the place must be haunted.” It so happened that I chose the room for my bedroom.

The next day after getting things pretty well arranged, feeling rather tired, I lay down in my room to rest. It was but a short time until my bed began to rock like a cradle being gently rocked. It moved thus several times, then each side seemed to vie with the other in rocking the hardest (which threw the rough part in the middle) and made me feel very much like I was about to be ousted. When my husband came home that evening, I told him that I was afraid we had made a mistake in getting the place, for the wind did not seem to blow very hard, yet the house was so tall and I feared was poorly built, for it made the bed shake until I could scarcely lie on it. He looked at me with a questioning eye and said: “Now, of all women on earth, you are the last one that I ever expected to hear such foolishness from.” (He had heard of the reputation of the house.) At the time I did not understand why he was so displeased. The rocking continued, but only during the day, so I said nothing more about it, as I did not care to hear his criticism.

We had been there only a short time when my brother, A.J. Pratt, came to make me a visit. I arranged for him to occupy this room while there. I went with him to his room the first night and he made the same remark my daughter had made. He came to stay two weeks, but for some unknown reason he stayed only four days, and his cousin, David Gound of Granger said my brother told him that he was ashamed to tell us, but he just could not sleep another night in a bed that rocked as that did.

Shortly afterward Miss R__, who occupied the room on the right, was preparing to go to early mass. She needed some assistance, and I sent Annie King (who was cooking for me). It was only a few minutes until Miss Mary came down where I was, her whole body quivering, her arms jerking so hard that her hands coming up against her breast could be heard across the room. Her lips were purple; her eyes bulged out; her expression one of entreaty. I was shocked at her condition. I called her by name several times, took hold of and shook her, trying to get her to speak, but she could not. By this time Annie came and I said: “For mercy sake, Annie, tell me what is the matter with Miss Mary.”

She said: “I was fastening her dress when there seemed to be such a queer light pass thru the room and rustled as tissue paper, and Miss Mary threw up her hands and said, ‘Oh, my God! What eyes!’ Then she ran down to you.” By this time Mary’s voice returned, and she said: “How beautiful, but O! what eyes!” Upon being asked what was beautiful, she said: “I saw the most stately and beautiful woman with large beautiful eyes with O such an expression! O Mrs. Paxton, I’m sure they were pleading for help! O I can see them yet!” She covered her eyes with her hands to shut out the vision, and said: “Mrs. Paxton, I love you and would like to remain with you, but I cannot. I cannot sleep in that room another night.” Upon being told that she could room with Miss M__, she accepted the offer and remained with us until she returned to Dallas.

Some young ladies came to spend the night, nothing more being seen or heard since Mary’s fright. I put them, with two of my daughters, to sleep in her room. There were so many noises and flashes of light, which came at intervals, that they all suddenly became of one mind, and that was, to go downstairs. My husband and I, looking up to see who was descending in such haste, saw them.

About two weeks later, one morning my husband said his back hurt him so that he could hardly move and asked me to make the fire. I had just about completed getting the ashes out when I heard him call, “Manda, O Manda! Bring the light here (I was laughing already). I called back, “What’s the matter?” when he said, “Well, come on if you are going to,” and heard a noise as if someone was coming down the steps. I had started when I answered, but I suppose I was too slow, for when I entered the room from which the stairs went up, there stood my husband, his trousers on one arm, his shoes in the other hand, and he never said a word about his back. When I asked as meekly as I could, “What’s the trouble?” he only said, “That blamed old bed tried to rock me out. You can just bring our bed downstairs. I’ll not sleep up there another time.” I began to speak to my neighbors about it. They were surprised to hear that I did not know the house was haunted, and said that frequently families would pay a month’s rent, move in one day and out the next.

There are others I can refer you to if you wish to know more about the ghost story.

My husband made the fire while I enjoyed my laugh.

Mrs. A.J. Paxton

958 Helen avenue.

Fort Worth [TX] Star-Telegram 20 December 1907

 

The following narrator sounds like she would have been a delightful house-guest. She certainly had nerve or she wouldn’t have been such a good sport about resident ghosts.

 

***I have stayed in a good many houses supposed to be haunted. Of one house which I have visited, but never stayed in, the hostess says cheerfully: “We have three ghosts, so you can take your choice. There is the Clammy Hand, which is felt but not seen. You may wake at night to its touch. There is the gentleman in blue velvet. It is really true that one of our guests met him on the stairs one morning as she came down to breakfast and remarked as she came in, ” What a very picturesque footman you have!” The third is an old lady—a great-great-aunt of my husband—who steals about in the twilight, looking for something.”

I certainly should not have picked the Clammy Hand of those three ghosts.

But in our visitings we have had one experience, not at all a terrible one, for which we have no explanation. We had arrived at a house, very tired after a long journey, and “in the pink” as to nerves and health, for we had been holidaying for some time. Our rooms were oak-panelled and tapestried, which made them very dark, and there was the usual four-poster bed in the principal room of the suite, belonging at latest to the eighteenth century, its pillars very tall and slender, its curtains and coverlet decorated with the beautiful embroidery of the eighteenth-century ladies. In that room there were eleven electric lights, but when they were all switched on they only made the room appreciably darker. The first night I fell asleep with the thoroughness of healthy fatigue, only thinking to myself lazily before I slept that the tapestried wall on which my sleepy eyes rested was certainly very dark.

I had left an electric light on beside my bed, in the shadow of the curtains. I awoke to find it out, or I dreamt I did, and switched it on again. I certainly awoke later and found the light out. This time I felt almost too alarmed to stir. While I hesitated, with a quaking heart, somewhere in the house was a violent noise, as though a window had fallen, and, immediately following, the clock in the stable-yard struck two.

I was never very happy in that room, though it was a beautiful room, nor was Pamela in her room adjoining. I did not like even writing there by daylight, and found myself looking over my shoulder when I forced myself to do it.

We asked one day at the luncheon-table if there was a ghost, and our host said No: part of the house dated from the fourteenth century, so it could hardly escape a ghost. Our hostess said: “There is something like a ghost in the Peacock Room, or at least something very odd happens there. The bed goes up and down with you in the middle of the night.”

The men present laughed, but she persisted.

“Oh, but I felt it when I stayed here before I was married. You know”—to our host—”that we had to give up using that room because so many people felt it.”

Later on we asked another guest where the Peacock Room was situated. He answered vaguely that it was over there, waving his hand in a direction where our rooms were not.

Across the corridor from us there was the open door of a room in which we could see our trunks. One day one of us had occasion to find something which had not been unpacked. Lo and behold, it was the Peacock Room!— wonderfully embroidered peacocks on the curtains, the coverlet, and the chair covers, peacocks flaunting themselves on the carpet, peacocks in the beautiful old tiles of the grate. The room was entirely dismantled and out of use, though the beautiful furniture of buhl and ormolu remained. Its only use for the moment was to receive the empty trunks of the occupants of the opposite suite.

We went there a year later. Our host said to us: “We could not give you the rooms you had last year as they are occupied.”

We were shown to our rooms. As soon as we were left alone there we turned and looked at each other. We had the Peacock Room.

Oddly enough, we were not at all frightened there, though we had come much less physically fit than the year before. But all the same I would not sleep alone, so Pamela shared the spacious couch. She was awakened the first night, somewhere about the middle of the night, by a gentle swaying movement of the bed which lasted for some minutes. She did not feel at all frightened. She considered whether she should awaken me, but decided not to and went asleep. She said nothing about it the next day, fearing I should be frightened; but two or three nights later I awakened to the very same gentle swaying of the solid four-poster bed. One might have been in a hammock being swung very gently to and fro. I only felt a vague interest as to how long the motion would last. When it ceased I went asleep like a lamb.

I spent some of the morning hours in the Peacock Room at my daily work after that experience; but it never occurred to me to look over my shoulder. I feel sure that if “anything had happened,” it was in the Tapestry Room, not the Peacock.

The Wandering Years, Katharine Tynan, 1922

 

This story comes from a much longer report from the Society for Psychical Research about a “haunted house,” whose location is not given:

***There are several reports of a howling or screaming noise being heard, generally by daylight. This noise does not seem to be in any way connected with the wind, being heard as often in calm weather as during a storm. Many people complain that they wake in the night with an unpleasant feeling that somebody is bending over their bed. Sometimes they feel touches on the bedclothes.

“Mrs Westfield” writes:

” About 5 years ago or less I was really terrified. I was very tired and in a deep sleep when I was awakened by my bed shaking and vibrating as if someone was trying to move it backwards and forwards. I half woke and heard someone shuffling round the bed. The person bent over me, and it seemed that someone touched my feet and then began to grope their way up to my face. I was frozen with terror and seized a match box, and as soon as I got a light it stopped. I got out of bed and with a powerful torch searched the room and the whole house, but there was nothing to account for it. It was a dead calm moonlight night.

“Exactly the same thing happened about three years later, when someone seemed to grope round my bed, and actually feel their way up to my face and press their face close to mine.”

Journal of the Society for Psychical Research, Vol. 29: 1935-1936

 

That last bit would have done it for me…

What explanation is there for these bouncing beds? Is it misfiring neurons causing tremors? Is it poltergeist activity? Is it settling foundations or earthquake activity? There is a theory that some polts are connected with sexuality: burgeoning, repressed, failing, or unwanted, as in the case of the burning beds (which we’ll look at momentarily). Then there is this little anecdote:

A few years ago a friend of mine was called in on his first case of paranormal investigation. The primary complaint, made by the woman who called, was that her bed moved. She had set up some crude (and ineffective) instruments to monitor this effect, which my friend never saw for himself. She reported other phenomenon, which seemed to follow the pattern of poltergeist behavior. It turned out that the bed was about 20 years old and had been used by her ex-husband and his mistress during their trysts. The woman was still quite bitter about the affair and the divorce.  My friend suggested that the bed’s associations were causing some telekinetic phenomenon and she might want to get a new bed. For some reason, this did not satisfy her and there the matter rested. Or rather, didn’t rest.

Other bouncing beds? There was a case in 1938 Virginia where a young girl made her bed move by twitching one set of muscles below the blanket without showing any effort above. Her family thought she was bewitched until researchers put controls in place.

 

In studying that most elusive of supernatural creatures, the poltergeist, it becomes obvious that poltergeist manifestations go far beyond the species’ signature rappings. While some poltergeists knock, others throw and break objects or make them vanish. “Stone-throwing devils” hurl mysterious showers of stones that never do more than lightly bruise. Still others, less benign, slash clothing and set fires.

 

In 1880 a German family living in Cleveland, Ohio found themselves at the centre of an extraordinary and terrifying incendiary poltergeist incident.

 

IS IT WITCHCRAFT?

MYSTERIOUS FLAMES IN A CLEVELAND DWELLING.

 

“Cleveland, Ohio, April 28th. An extraordinary series of mysterious fires has occasioned an unusual sensation in one of the outlying wards of this city, and as yet no solution to their strange cause has been furnished. Bedding and articles of domestic use have caught fire from no apparent cause, and an entire family has not only been kept in constant terror of flames, but has been subject to pecuniary loss that falls hard upon a man who can ill afford to lose even so much as a dollar.

“A short time ago there came to this city from North Amherst, a hard-working and honest German named John Busch, whose principal worldly goods were a “poor man’s blessing” of eleven children. Two of these latter were twins at their mother’s breast…

 

Shortly after Busch removed to Cleveland his family began to be troubled by fires breaking out in various parts of the house without any apparent cause. Busch was living in a house on Lincoln Avenue, and, becoming imbued with the belief that the place was haunted, he removed to 77 Lussenden Avenue, where he thought he would find relief from the annoyance…”

 

The new house was a small one and the front parlour was set up as a bedroom with three beds for children, as well as a baby’s crib in one corner. On Sunday, April 18th, shortly after moving in, the parents, several children, and a few friends were sitting in this room chatting, when someone noticed a thread of smoke coming through the key-hole of an unused closet behind one of the beds. An old suit of clothes—the only garment in the closet—was found burning briskly. The fire was quickly put out, but the family was baffled as to how it had started. Worse was to follow.

 

“On Monday when Mrs. Busch, in going about her domestic duties, entered a pantry used for dishes, she was startled to see flames rising from the shelves. In a moment the paper which had been used for lining the shelves was consumed, and nothing remained but the ashes, while the dishes were blackened with the smoke. Some relatives were summoned to the house by one of the children, and while they stood in the kitchen discussing the strange occurrence the child’s crib in the front room began smoking, and upon their hastening to extinguish it a hole was found burned clear through the bed-tick.”

In the next few days fires flared up in several rooms of the house. After yet another mattress was consumed by fire, the terrified family fled. But the first day at the new house, one of the beds was burned to ashes; the next day a hen’s nest in the back yard was consumed.

 

“Saturday, while Mrs. Busch was in the coal-shed adjoining the kitchen, she saw smoke rising from an old coat that was hanging on a nail. She says that the fire seemed to begin about the middle of the back. It was ruined before she could put the fire out.

 

“The terror of the family increased day by day. The children were kept out of school to watch for fear the house would be burned. On Sunday a number of friends and relatives stayed during the day with the terrified people… Shortly after the bed caught fire, and was burned for a space of several feet before it could be extinguished. The stock of straw-beds was now exhausted, except one which on Monday met with the fate of the others.”

 

A correspondent for the Cincinnati Enquirer visited the family and found the family in a “pitiable state,” while the Busch’s friends and neighbours corroborated their incredible story. The mysterious flames were reported to be a hellish blue and they had a particular target: the household beds. As an aside, would it be possible for straw-beds to spontaneously combust? Straw was usually thoroughly dried before being stuffed into ticks.

Wrote the reporter: “The fire had absolutely burned all of their bedding except a couple of feather-pillows and a feather-tick. The mother was almost distracted, while the father acted like a man bereft of his senses.”

Enter an accusation of witchcraft:

 

“A rather strange feature of the mystery was called out by the declaration of an old German lady that if they would look in the feathers of the feather tick they would find a solid wreath of feathers, which was “the witch” that was causing the trouble. She said that if they would boil this “the witch” would be destroyed and they would suffer no more annoyance. Acting on her advice, they ripped open the tick, and, sure enough, there was a wreath of feathers several inches thick, forming a ring about ten inches in diameter. On Monday they gave it a vigorous boiling, but it did not prevent the return of the fires.

 

Mr. Busch has had to abandon his work to watch over his family, all of whose members are in constant dread of some serious calamity.”

 

The “wreath of feathers” or feather crown, was a well-known sign in German lore that the family had been bewitched. Boiling the crown was supposed to either bring the malefactor to the house so they could be forced to remove the curse or neutralize the witch’s power.

 

Although the wreath-boiling did not work immediately, apparently the fires ceased without any of the family being incinerated, for here the story ends, as far the newspaper coverage goes. According to the census, the Busch family was still alive and well in 1900 Cleveland.

 

What was termed “witchcraft” in an 1880 German community today might be labelled “telekinesis” or “poltergeist activity.” Some who study poltergeists say that the attacks are highly symbolic and often reflect—quite literally—difficult family dynamics and stressors. What the mechanism might be is not specified.

 

If we care to play psychologist, we might note that the family bedding was the main target for the fires. Perhaps Mrs. Busch, who was about 37 at the time of the fires and went on to have at least two other children, was exhausted by fulfilling her marital and maternal duties. No beds, no bedclothes, no “bedding,” and no more babies? It’s a theory impossible to prove. Poltergeist activity has also been linked to adolescents–possibly one of the eleven children was a fire-starter in a very real sense. But whether witchcraft or a Fortean “wild talent,” the mystery, I fear, is long past solving. Ashes to ashes…

 

More bone-chilling, blood-curdling bedtime stories coming up, when Weird Darkness returns.

 

**********BREAK

 

Are the Fairies (or Fae) friend or foe? Well, that depends, as we see from this story from an Irish country house, of a visit from the Gentry to a grieving woman.

***Here follows what some may scoff at as much as they please ; and most folk are easily pleased at their own imagined superiority. But it is true, for all that. Indeed, of the various tales recorded here, this fairy tale is the most genuine to my mind —because of my trust in her who told it me. Of all my acquaintances and friends, she who is a near and dear relation, is the most free from all least exaggeration; is careful as Boswell himself only to set down that which was said, heard or seen, to the minutest trifle. Doctor Johnson would truly have approved of her, as contrasted with the flights of fancy of Mrs. Thrale, whom he so often reproved, because

Inaccuracy is worse than fibs.

This story was told me immediately after the episode happened some few years ago in Ireland. Eileen, as we may call her, had been giving me the sad details of a death in which we were both concerned. She went on to tell how, leaving the house of mourning, she went a short journey to stay with some friends who wished to give her a much needed rest and change of air.

Arriving on a June night, she found a warm welcome coupled with understanding sympathy. The room to which her hostess led her was so spacious and evidently new in its furnishings that Eileen remarked how large and pleasant it was.

“Yes. This is our best bedroom,” answered the hostess. “It was built over the new sitting-room below, by my father-in-law, as the house needed enlarging. Unfortunately this new wing has encroached on the lawn of which the family have always been proud. It is a really virgin piece of old turf.”

Then hospitably urging her guest to take a good long rest, and not come down until after breakfast next morning, the hostess bade good-night. Through the open window stole the sweet warm air of a June night, and as the tired traveller looked out moonlight silvered the greensward below into a court of sylvan fairy beauty, guarded as it were by some gnarled ancient May trees, to which still clung snowy patches of belated fragrant blossom.

Wearied by recent sorrow, Eileen soon slept and that soundly. It was past daybreak when she awoke with a start. Curious! The bedclothes had slipped off her, and were almost on the floor. Just as she drowsily grasped at them, a decided twitch pulled them out of her fingers; and they went down in a heap on the floor.

“Why! What on earth?” wondered the late sleeper, whose wits were hardly fully roused. It was as if a puppy or a kitten were playing a little game ; so she looked over the edge of the bed to see. But no four-footed playmate was visible. So, yawning, she retrieved her blankets and sheets ; and sleepily supposing she had herself been restless, lay down again.

Five minutes passed, and sleep had not yet returned, when —Twitch! All the bedclothes were sharply pulled off again.

This was really annoying; startling. Fully persuaded there was certainly some playful puppy under the bed, Eileen started up and looked, prepared to be indulgent; for she loved animals; still, this one must be put in the passage.

Nothing there. But now, really awake, she searched round the room, that was quite bright as the early sun filtered through the blinds. She drew them up to look out at the morning freshness of delicious June. Then soothed by the sight of a dew-washed world, cleansed and sweet, awaiting the working day, she once more rearranged her bed, and lay down. The birds had hardly yet begun their morning songs. Only a few stray chirps and twitters came from here or there. . . .

But though Eileen closed her eyes, she could not sleep. It was in her mind that, as certainly she had been roused, her nerves must be out of order. Could the late sorrow have affected them so greatly, that self-control | deserted her in spite of reason ? That vexed her. Next, naturally, thought turned to the cause of her sadness. No time like the early awakening for the heart’s pain to wake and cry . . . scenes, words come back, sharp, clear, as if just heard and lived through . . . and so (she told me) some few tears slowly “might have slipped” through closed eyelids.

There came a kiss on her cheek!

At that Eileen lay quite still; awed but ineffably comforted. Whether the unseen presence was the spirit of one recently mourned, or some other loved one passed over, she did not seem to inquire. Enough that some sympathy understood, sought to console her. And so she went to sleep.

When full morning shone, the hostess came, rejoiced to find her guest refreshed. “You must have slept well . . . What! the bedclothes kept sliding off? Ah!. . . Twice, you say? And did nothing else happen ?”

The tone of the question was peculiar; not grave, rather made with a light significance, but expecting more to follow.

Surprised, Eileen told of the kiss, falteringly; her friend would— ? She did understand.

The two incidents went together, the latter explained; or so she believed. “Perhaps I ought not to have put you in this room ; but there really was no other to spare. I may tell you that you are lucky. Some persons have been pinched. To be kissed—that is an honour!”

Then in answer to astonished questioning—and no wonder— the lady of the house that, though not haunted, yet had its oddities, gave the only reason, however unreasonable sounding, that was current among the inmates and surrounding peasantry.

All the countryfolk believed from time immemorial that the lawn at this house was old fairy ground. May trees, especially old ones, are sacred to the little green people. So when the new wing was built over what was supposed to be a fairy palace there was quite a deal of talk and ill-feeling through the countryside. The people declared that ill luck would come of it. Therefore twitchings and pinchings of the guests in the room overhead surprised none of those who knew what to expect and what was due to the “good” gentry who are not to be spoken of lightly.

Other instances of the living belief in fairy existence in Ireland have been told me ; but this is the only one come firsthand. Many persons will scoff at the supposed revival of so antiquated a belief as that in spirits of trees, fire, earth and water, in fact, what were called dryads, naiads, and so forth, in classic lands, and gnomes, trolls, and fairies in the North. Yet the “winged ones” understand and know.

The Occult Review June 1919

 

A sweet if atypical story of the sympathy of the Good People to human suffering. Or perhaps it was the Gentry twitching the blankets and the spirit of the late loved one who gave the kiss. Having the covers pulled off the bed is also a fairly standard ghost trick. You clutch and clutch, but eventually the spectral hands win.

To suggest a far grimmer possibility, fairy kisses are also delivered by a fairy mistress. She visits young men in the form of a beautiful, if malignant woman and her kiss seals the man’s doom forever: he will waste away and die. Might the fairy mistress also prey on women?

Pinches and twitched bedclothes were as nothing to the more usual scenario where an unwitting human builds on a fairy dwelling or path, and finds himself cursed with terrible luck. The People of Peace are jealous of their properties (one might call this “Gentrification.”) and the mortal who defied them was normally visited with poverty, illness, and death.  And woe to any who cut down a May tree—the hawthorn.  Sometimes the fairy tenant would approach the builder and try to reason with him to either move the site of the building, or stop pouring dirty household water on the tenant’s property. There is a famous farmhouse with one sharply clipped corner: it was blocking a fairy path and once the corner was knocked off, luck returned to the house.

The owner of the house who built on that “virgin piece of old turf” must have had to import workmen to do the job; locals would have shied away from such trespass.  They were fortunate that the wing did not collapse. All told, the house and the family seems to have got off lightly, except of course, that the hostess’s father-in-law died sometime after building the wing. Coincidence? The locals would say not….

 

Vampires were said to be dead men doomed to join Arawn. They visited the earth to suck blood from people and corpses. An old dower-house, long since turned into a farmstead in Glamorgan, had a vampire story attached to it. The house was evidently enlarged in Tudor times, and had some additions made in the reign of Queen Anne. In the reign of George I. it ceased to be a dower-house, and became a farmstead. Part of the premises were shut off at first, but when the next tenant came all the rooms were in occupation. Some of the old furniture that was bought by the ingoing tenant when the place ceased to be a dower-house remained. This furniture was distributed in various rooms, but one apartment, used as a guest-chamber, was wholly filled with it.

A very pious Dissenting minister visited the farm in the eighteenth century, and as an honoured guest he was given the best bedroom. He was to stay there three or four days on his way to Breconshire. In those times people travelled on horseback everywhere, and the minister arrived on a Friday night, riding a grey mare. A service was to be held in the house on Saturday evening, and two were to be held on Sunday. On Friday night the minister went early to bed, and on Saturday was up “with the lark.” Not wishing to intrude upon the early domestic arrangements, he sat in an old armchair of quaint design beside one of the windows which commanded a fine view of the surrounding country. There he remained for some time, reading the Bible and musing over his sermons for Sunday.

When he got up from the chair to go downstairs, he observed that the back of his hand was bleeding freely. He immediately dipped it in his washing-basin, but it was quite a few minutes before he could stanch the blood, and the scar resembled teeth-marks more than anything else. The marks were on his left hand. This he bound with his handkerchief, and when he reached the breakfast-room the hostess kindly asked how he had slept.

“Very excellently, I thank you,” was the minister’s reply. “The room is handsomely furnished, and the furniture is valuable, but I fear me there is a nail in the old armchair by the window ;” and he held forth his hand.

“I quite forgot to have it overhauled,” said the hostess,” for more than one visitor has complained of having scratches in that chair.” She examined the hand, and then exclaimed: ” But this is in the back, and not on the palm. The other persons had scratches on the palm.”

Nothing more was thought of the affair until Monday morning, when the minister was disturbed in his sleep long before dawn by a gnawing sensation in his left side. He described it “as though a dog was gnawing my flesh.” There was much pain in his side, and he had some difficulty in striking a light. When he got up and examined his side, all across his ribs he discovered marks similar to those upon his hand, and they had been bleeding freely. It took some time to stanch the blood, and then the minister dressed himself, and, reading the Bible, awaited the dawn. After breakfast he went to see his grey mare, and when he stroked its fine head he was surprised to find marks on the left side of the neck similar to those on his own hand and side. These he quickly bathed, and went indoors.

Before leaving the house he mentioned these occurrences to his hostess, adding: “Madam, you may not know it, but I believe a vampire frequents this house. The dead man who owned the furniture comes to suck the blood from intruders, even to the grey mare in your stable. And probably he is not pleasantly disposed toward ministers of the Gospel.” “It has happened to two ministers before,” said the goodman of the house, “but not to the ministers’ nags.” The descendant of this minister who related the story said that long after her great-grandfather died, other ministers who slept in the same room had suffered alike. “It was supposed that a Christian minister had effectually laid the vampire,” said the narrator, “but in the year 1850 a dignitary of the Church of England had the same unpleasant experience so far as his left hand and left leg were concerned. Science failed to account for these occurrences, and it was not until a year later the old vampire story was remembered. The house is still occupied by a farmer, but the outgoing tenant had a sale of all the antique furniture and effects, and nothing more was heard about the vampire.

A handsome Elizabethan chair of genuine sixteenth-century workmanship was bought in a sale in South Wales, in the year 1840. The purchaser wanted to complete a set of similar chairs. After it had been in use for some time one of the chairs was set in a corner apart from the others, because people complained they were always scratching their hands until they bled whenever they sat in it. This could not be accounted for, because the chair was absolutely free from nails. In the course of time the set of chairs was sold for a high price to a rich merchant. His family, in turn, complained about scratches received when sitting in one of the chairs. At his death the offending chair was separated from the others, and given to a lover of antique furniture, who valued the old Elizabethan article because he considered it to be a “vampire chair.”

A Cardiff family possessed an old four-posted bedstead of the reign of James I. It was bought at a bankruptcy sale, and has been described as a ” handsome but heavy piece of furniture.” The man who bought it for the proverbial “song” set it in his best bedroom, and was proud to exhibit it to his friends. After it had been in his possession for some months, it was found necessary to take up a portion of the flooring of the room usually occupied by the man and wife, and the latter, as her husband was away, decided to sleep in the best bedroom.

The young people had one child, an infant of four months old. The first night when the mother and child slept in the best bedroom the infant was restless. The second night the child cried out violently, and the mother could not pacify it for some time. In the morning she sent for the doctor, and he prescribed for the infant. That night the babe was more restful, but still uneasy. The fourth night the child screamed, and the mother immediately got up and took the infant in her arms. A few moments later it was dead. The mother saw at the throat of her babe a large mark with a red spot in the centre, through which blood was oozing. When the doctor came he examined the affected part carefully, but could not account for the extraordinary mark. He said: “It is just as though something had caught at the child’s throat and sucked the blood, as one would suck an egg.”

Time passed, and the mother gave birth to another child. On this occasion the husband occupied the best bedroom. The first night he was awakened by feeling something clutching at his throat, and he believed himself to be a victim of nightmare. The second night he had the same experience, and was troubled in mind about it, but said nothing. The third night he was almost suffocated. He sprang out of bed, and went to the looking-glass. There he saw reflected a large space of skin as if it had been sucked, and from the centre blood was oozing. He mentioned these occurrences to a friend, who asked to sleep in that bed. He did so, and his experiences were exactly like those of the babe and its father. A person who was acquainted with folk-lore told him it was a “vampire bed.”

The bedstead still stands, but is never used, and is regarded as an “uncanny piece of furniture.” In many parts of Wales people believed that vampires came to suck corpses.

Folk-lore and folk-stories of Wales, Marie Trevelyan

 

For an added dose of fun today, I’ve included a crossword puzzle and a word search in the show notes with clues based on this episode.

 

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Karen left a review in Apple podcasts saying: Love the podcast!  So I was just listening to my podcasts one day and ran out of material. I did a quick search for scary stories and came across “Weird Darkness”. I subscribed and have been hooked ever since. I love the podcast and now the last episode i listened to pointed me to the app and now I have it too. Wonderful voice. Very informative as well as entertaining. Thank you for all you do to keep me and others well entertained.

 

(Penelope Goof in Sweden sent me an Email) I wish you a happy new year, Mr. Marlar! Thank you for an incredible creepy and scary podcast and thank you for raising awareness of depression and suicide. You’re doing an amazing job! Keep it up!

 

(I received another email from Rev. Ronald E. Beery) Darren, I just discovered your podcast a couple weeks ago and I absolutely love it. My day starts at 4:30 a.m. and usually ends around 9:30 a.m. and then starts up again at 3 pm and ends around 6:30pm the whole time I’m on my bus me and my participants are listening to you and they love it too. My participants are high-functioning mentally challenged young adults and they really get into the stories as well as me. I love the Bible passages at the end of each show.  Please keep up the good work love your voice I don’t find it robotic are hypnotic I find it awesome.  Thank you again for what you do. Your new fan!

 

You can email me at darren@weirddarkness.com, and if you’d like to send me something physical in the mail you can find my mailing address on the Weird Darkness CONTACT page.

 

The following stories from this episode are purported to be true, and you can find source links or links to the authors in the show notes:

 

”Bouncing Beds” by Chris Woodyard

 

“Burning Beds” by Chris Woodyard:

 

“The Fairy Kiss” from The Occult Review

 

“Vampire Furniture” by Mary Trevelyan

 

Music in this episode provided by Midnight Syndicate and Shadow’s Symphony. Find links to both in the show notes.

 

Now that we are coming out of the dark, I’ll leave you with a little light…

 

Proverbs 16:32 = “Better a patient man than a warrior, a man who controls his temper than one who takes a city.”

 

I’m your creator/host, Darren Marlar. Thanks for joining me in the Weird Darkness.

 

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