“PHANTOM GRAVEYARD OF THE GREAT DISMAL SWAMP” and 6 More Disturbing True Stories! #WeirdDarkness

PHANTOM GRAVEYARD OF THE GREAT DISMAL SWAMP” and 6 More Disturbing True Stories! #WeirdDarkness

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Listen to ““PHANTOM GRAVEYARD OF THE GREAT DISMAL SWAMP” and 6 More Disturbing True Stories! #WeirdDarkness” on Spreaker.

IN THIS EPISODE: North Carolina’s Great Dismal Swamp is full of horror stories – but the worst might be the fact that the swamp appears to swallow people alive. (Swallowed Alive In Great Dismal Swamp) *** A weeping man called the police to tearfully apologize for murdering his victims… but that didn’t stop him from continuing to kill again and again. (The Weepy Voiced Killer) *** In Hindu culture, it is believed if certain post-death rituals are not conducted on those who have passed away, the deceased’s family would not prosper and there would be misfortunes aplenty. One family in Bhutan had to learn that the hard way. (The Stoning Ghost of Sombek) *** An apparent incident involving a “gigantic cigar-shaped UFO” somewhere over the Atlantic Ocean in May 1963 wasn’t reported for almost 20 years, when a witness to the event finally came forward through a written letter of the incident. (The Atlantic UFO of 1963) *** In a beautiful little town in North Wales, children ran through the graveyard, searching for little men with big eyes and long ears. They were searching for strange fairy folk – the ‘brownies’ of Bangor. (The Brownies of Bangor) *** Serial killer Ed Gein was caught and arrested for his crimes in November of 1957 – but that didn’t mean Gein’s neighbors would see the end of his influence on their lives. (Selling Ed Gein) *** Four people take a trip to France and stay at hotel that appeared too good to be true – because it was. (The Hotel Out of Time)
SOURCES AND ESSENTIAL WEB LINKS…
PODCAST: Our True Crime Podcast: https://www.ourtruecrimepodcast.com
“Selling Ed Gein” by Romeo Vitelli for Providentia: https://weirddarkness.tiny.us/uypuz8um
“Swallowed Alive In Great Dismal Swamp” by Eric Luis for Graveyard Shift: https://weirddarkness.tiny.us/vd3sp6yw
BOOK: “Dred: A Tale Of The Great Dismal Swamp” by Harriet Beecher Stowe: https://amzn.to/3cewYfe
“The Weepy Voiced Killer” by Orrin Grey for The Line Up: https://weirddarkness.tiny.us/29w99jdc
“The Hotel Out of Time” from Strange Company: https://weirddarkness.tiny.us/jhnzy2bc
“The Atlantic UFO of 1963” by Marcus Lowth for UFO Insight: https://weirddarkness.tiny.us/z2j2zp88
“The Stoning Ghost of Sombek” by Rajesh Rai for Kuensel Online: https://weirddarkness.tiny.us/d5hxz7cw
“The Brownies of Bangor” by Dr. Beachcombing for Strange History: https://weirddarkness.tiny.us/3dbx7p85,https://weirddarkness.tiny.us/42a8v9nu
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PARTIAL TRANSCRIPT…..

Hey, Weirdos…

I had an absolute blast in Champaign, Illinois at the Dark History and Horror Con and I even told them before the event was over that I want to be included next year. I met so many great people – listeners and people whom I hope will become listeners – podcasters, artists, authors, experts, it was really a lot of fun. But after trying to broadcast live during the event many of you messaged me saying that the background noise was so distracting that you just couldn’t listen. So I’m recreating the episodes from those two days in order to bring you more traditional episodes with the stories I told. Today I’m bringing you the stories I shared on Friday, August 19th at the Dark Horror And History Con – and tomorrow I’ll post the stories I shared on Saturday, August 20th.

SHOW OPEN==========

Welcome, Weirdos – I’m Darren Marlar and this is Weird Darkness. Here you’ll find stories of the paranormal, supernatural, legends, lore, the strange and bizarre, crime, conspiracy, mysterious, macabre, unsolved and unexplained.

Coming up in this episode…

North Carolina’s Great Dismal Swamp is full of horror stories – but the worst might be the fact that the swamp appears to swallow people alive. (Swallowed Alive In Great Dismal Swamp)

A weeping man called the police to tearfully apologize for murdering his victims… but that didn’t stop him from continuing to kill again and again. (The Weepy Voiced Killer)

In Hindu culture, it is believed if certain post-death rituals are not conducted on those who have passed away, the deceased’s family would not prosper and there would be misfortunes aplenty. One family in Bhutan had to learn that the hard way. (The Stoning Ghost of Sombek)

An apparent incident involving a “gigantic cigar-shaped UFO” somewhere over the Atlantic Ocean in May 1963 wasn’t reported for almost 20 years, when a witness to the event finally came forward through a written letter of the incident. (The Atlantic UFO of 1963)

In a beautiful little town in North Wales, children ran through the graveyard, searching for little men with big eyes and long ears. They were searching for strange fairy folk – the ‘brownies’ of Bangor. (The Brownies of Bangor)

Serial killer Ed Gein was caught and arrested for his crimes in November of 1957 – but that didn’t mean Gein’s neighbors would see the end of his influence on their lives. (Selling Ed Gein)

Four people take a trip to France and stay at hotel that appeared too good to be true – because it was. (The Hotel Out of Time)

If you’re new here, welcome to the show! While you’re listening, be sure to check out WeirdDarkness.com for merchandise, my newsletter, enter contests, to connect with me on social media, plus, you can visit the Hope in the Darkness page if you’re struggling with depression or dark thoughts. You can find all of that and more at WeirdDarkness.com.

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

 

STORY: THE HOTEL OUT OF TIME==========

”Time slips” – suddenly finding yourself in a much earlier era – is an interesting Fortean phenomena. Unfortunately, the ephemeral nature of these alleged experiences usually makes it virtually impossible to confirm or refute the validity of these claims. Did someone really – through a way we can’t come close to understanding – “visit” a much different time and place? Or is it that our collective legs are being pulled? That is usually up to you to decide when I share such stories here on Weird Darkness. This uncertainty is particularly frustrating with the following tale, which, if true, would amount to one of the most astonishing adventures on record.
In October 1979, two couples, Len and Cynthia Gisby and Geoff and Pauline Simpson, left their homes in Dover, England for an end-of-summer road trip. They would ferry across the Channel and spend two weeks driving through the countryside of France and northern Spain.
The excursion progressed in a pleasantly uneventful fashion. On the night of October 3, the travelers were on the freeway north of Montelimar, France, looking for a place to spend the night. Before long, they came across a motel that looked promising. Unfortunately, when the foursome went inside, the staffer they encountered in the lobby–a man in an unusual plum-colored uniform–informed them that there were no vacancies. However, he said that if they took a certain road off the freeway, they would find a small hotel. He was sure that this establishment would have rooms.
The party had no trouble finding the road. They were interested to see that it was lined with old buildings, plastered with posters advertising a curiously vintage-looking circus. The road itself also seemed from another era; cobbled and narrow, clearly not built for the automobile. After a short time, they came across the only building they had seen on this road which showed signs of life. It was brightly lit, with some men standing outside. However, after inquiring inside, they learned this was not a hotel, but an inn. So on they went. They eventually found two other buildings; one a police station and the other sporting a large sign reading “Hotel.” It was, for our modern era, an unusual-looking hotel; only two stories, and with a decidedly old-fashioned look. But the place looked decent, and the two couples were too tired to be fussy. They were relieved when, as the motel employee had promised, they were able to get rooms.
As none of the four travelers spoke French, and the manager spoke no English, communication was necessarily limited, but the foursome made themselves understood enough to be shown to their lodgings. They noticed that the inside of the hotel was even more anachronistic than the outside. Everything was made of old-looking, heavy wood. The dining room tables had no tablecloths. They did not see any telephones, elevators, or anything else to remind them that this was the year 1979.
Their rooms were in keeping with the rest of the hotel. Large heavy beds with bolsters instead of pillows. The doors had only wooden catches for locks. There were just wooden shutters over the windows, not glass. The bathroom shared by the foursome had vintage plumbing. Still, the rooms seemed clean and comfortable, and the outdated feel of the place gave it a quaint charm.
It was certainly a novel experience.
After unpacking, they went to the dining room, where they were served a simple but satisfying meal of eggs, steak and potatoes, washed down with lager. After such a meal, the four had no problem settling down in their rooms for a long, untroubled sleep.
The next morning, the travelers returned to the dining room, where they had a breakfast of bread, jam, and thick, strong coffee that they found virtually undrinkable. As they ate, they noticed that the other guests looked as oddly retro as the hotel itself. Opposite them was a woman wearing a silk evening gown and carrying a small dog under her arm. Two gendarmes came in wearing curious uniforms unlike any other they had seen in France.
The travelers, enchanted by the strangeness of it all, decided they needed a memento of their visit. Geoff photographed Pauline standing by the windows, while Len took a picture of Cynthia inside the hotel. He took an additional photo of the hotel itself.
After their picture-taking, Len and Geoff tried to ask the two gendarmes how to take the freeway to the Spanish border, but the policemen–clearly puzzled by the Englishmen’s terminology–just gave classic Gallic shrugs. Finally, the Frenchmen comprehended that the visitors wished to go to Spain, and told them to use the old Avignon road. Len and Geoff knew enough of the local area to think this was an unnecessarily roundabout way of getting to their destination. They decided to retrace the way they had come to the hotel in order to return to the Montelimar freeway.
When the two couples were ready to leave, Len went to the manager to pay their bill. He was flabbergasted to see that he was being charged only 19 francs (about $3 in 1979 dollars.) Certain that the manager did not understand, Len endeavored to communicate to him that he was asking for the bill for all four of them. Four people who had eaten meals there. In response, the manager just continued to nod. Len showed the bill to the two gendarmes, seeking confirmation. They just smiled. Yes, yes, that was the correct amount.
The cobbled little road was just as deserted of other traffic as it had been the previous night. They had no trouble finding their freeway, and went on to spend a very pleasant two weeks roaming around Spain.
On their way back across France, our tourists decided to make another stop at the same hotel. You certainly couldn’t beat the prices. They found the turnoff, and drove down the cobbled road with the buildings promoting the same circus. It was definitely the right road.
Except…the hotel was gone. Puzzled, the travelers went to the motel by the freeway to ask for directions. The employee they questioned had never heard of any such hotel. And they had never had anyone working there who wore a plum-colored uniform.
This was all getting way too weird. The two couples drove along the cobbled road several times, desperately trying to find the hotel. But it was as if it had evaporated, leaving no trace behind. One of the four suggested that it had been demolished. Certainly, at the rates they charged, the establishment couldn’t stay in business for long. But Geoff pointed out that it was impossible for the building to vanish completely in a mere two weeks.
The shaken and confused couples finally gave up, and found lodging at a hotel in Lyon. Which cost them a very modern 247 francs.
The four travelers were puzzled by what had happened, but they assumed there was a rational explanation. At least, that was what they assumed until the photographs they had taken on their vacation were developed. The three snapshots of the hotel were in the middle of the rolls of film used by Geoff and Len. But none of those images came back from the developers, even though each roll of film had its proper amount of photographs. The negatives of those hotel shots had not been defective. They had just disappeared as thoroughly as the hotel itself.
Now more confused than ever, the Gisbys and the Simpsons resolved to tell no one of their adventure outside of family and close friends. A friend of Len’s who was an amateur fashion historian, pointed out to him that the odd uniforms the gendarmes had worn matched the description of those used by the French police–in the very early 1900s. Another confidante suggested that they had experienced a “time-slip,” and, without knowing it, spent the night at a hotel that had not existed for decades. While the Gisbys thought there might be something to that theory, the Simpsons opted to just put the whole strange affair behind them.
Geoff and Pauline did not get their wish. Word of their story reached a reporter at their local newspaper. In 1982, she published a story about their alleged brush with The Weird, and before the two couples knew it, they were famous. From that day to this, paranormal researchers have scrutinized the case–it is now among the most well-known “time-slip” stories–but it is, of course, impossible to come to any definitive conclusions. In 1985, Geoff Simpson told paranormal investigator Jenny Randles (who subsequently wrote an article about the mystery for “Fate” magazine,) “You tell us what the answer is. We only know what happened.”
So. Either the Simpsons and the Gisbys had the vacation that could truly be called “out of this world,” or these two middle-aged, seemingly sane couples pulled off an epic hoax. It’s impossible to say for sure which was the case.
Either way, it’s a heck of a good story.

 

BREAK==========

When Weird Darkness returns…

In Hindu culture, it is believed if certain post-death rituals are not conducted on those who have passed away, the deceased’s family would not prosper and there would be misfortunes aplenty. One family in Bhutan had to learn that the hard way. (The Stoning Ghost of Sombek)

In a beautiful little town in North Wales, children ran through the graveyard, searching for little men with big eyes and long ears. They were searching for strange fairy folk – the ‘brownies’ of Bangor. (The Brownies of Bangor)

Plus… serial killer Ed Gein was caught and arrested for his crimes in November of 1957 – but that didn’t mean Gein’s neighbors would see the end of his influence on their lives. (Selling Ed Gein)

These stories and more still to come.

<COMMERCIAL BREAK>

STORY: THE BROWNIES OF BANGOR==========

There follows a peculiar little story, from 1909, which has certainly not got the attention that it deserves from fairyists or from students of mass hysteria.  Bangor, for those outside the UK, is a pretty town in North Wales. Brownies, meanwhile, are solitary fairies, typically, associated with houses in the north of England and parts of Scotland, NOT Wales. Note though that the word had been popularized by the late 1800s, above all, by the appallingly twee Juliana Horatio Ewing, who lent the word to Baden Powell, who used it for his girl guide movement. In any case, back to Bangor and let’s travel to the cemetery there. This is an extract from the Manchester Guardian:

“Bangor people probably never realised before that the town contained such a number of children as were visible about eight o’clock, gambolling and shouting in both fear and delight in a disused cemetery in the middle of the town. The attraction (a correspondent writes) was a story which spread among the juveniles, though their elders had heard nothing of it, to the effect that little men with big eyes and long ears had been seen playing amongst the tombstones, and with one accord the children in hundreds trooped gaily to the cemetery and searched eagerly for the ‘brownies.’ Needless to say none of the fairies was seen, but the children, with shrieks and cries, searched every nook and corner of the old cemetery, peeping fearfully round every tombstone and under the dark yew trees. At last the din became so great that the police had to chase the children out of the enclosure.”

This extract appeared in the Manchester Guardian (19 May) and it would be better to have a North Walian version to rely on.  For example, was the word ‘brownie’  really used by the Bangor children or is this a Mancunian gloss (note that brownies were not traditionally found in Manchester either)? There is also the rather unusual description of big eyes (of course, folklore has lots of creatures with ‘eyes as big as saucers’) and more curiously ‘long ears’.

However, the single most fascinating thing here is the striking parallel with a famous Leprechaun case from Liverpool, 1964.

30 June 1964 children (number unspecified) saw ‘little men’ (numbers variable) in Jubilee Park near that vortex of northern necroticism, ‘the bowling green’. Quite what the children saw has been much debated. ‘White hats’ on the little men were noted, as were their antics in throwing sods at each other. What is documented is that very rapidly the little men were interpreted (by the press?) as being leprechauns.

Leprechauns are, of course, an Irish solitary fairy known for shoe-making and vast wealth: Beach’s daughter recently shared with him the insight that the leprechaun might be rich because he sells lots of shoes. Legend claims that if you grab and hold a leprechaun you will be able to claim the fey’s treasure. So was ‘leprechaun’ just a reflex word picked up by a local journalist: leprechaun are always male, the connection might have been as simple as that? Or do we have here third of fourth generation Irish children living the stories told them by their grandparents? And in either case was this all hysteria? Beach’s belief system requires him to nod sagely here. But some modern Liverpudlians have memories. Make what you will of the following two.

“I was one of the school children that saw those leprichauns I attended Brae Street School and we all saw them popping in and out of a window overlooking the school yard, there were about 4 of them all tiny dressed like a school book idea of a typical gnome and they sat swinging their legs on the window ledge getting in and out. What they were I don’t know I only know what they looked like. I’d love to know the truth!!!

I certainly [remember leprechauns], and I actually saw a few of them on Kensington Fields, close to the library, but my parents and other adults tried to convince me that I’d been seeing things. This would be one afternoon in early July 1964, around 4.30pm, and I remember it as if it were yesterday. I was 10 at the time and on my way to play football with my mates and saw these little (I’d say just a few inches tall) men dressed in red and black, standing in the grass, looking at me. I’m sure one of them had some type of hat on. I panicked and ran all the way home. My mum said there had been reports of leprechauns and little men on Jubilee Drive and Edge Lane the day before. That same evening crowds turned up on Jubilee Drive, and I remember a girl with a jam jar that she was going to put the leprechauns in!”

By the 1st word was spreading among the little folk (the children not the fairies) and swarms descended on Jubilee Park to see for themselves.

“It was all too much for Irish parks constable James Nolan. ‘I don’t believe in leprechauns myself’, he said. He called in the city police. Police in cars and on motorcycles arrived. They cleared the hundreds of youngsters from the bowling greens — the reported playground of the wee folk — closed the gate, and stood guard.  But beyond the bowling green gates the youngsters milled, tiny tots to 14-year-olds. They crammed the top of the covered reservoir for a better view of the bowling green. Tolerant bobbies wandered about trying to get the youngsters on the move. But the kids would not believe that there were no little green men. It was not until after 10pm that the park was cleared. How the story started was not known, but last night was the second night running of the leprechaun hunt. And how did those little brownies who help the Irish housewife with her chores come to arrive in Liverpool? Maybe they flew from old Ireland. A woman resident in Crosby last night reported seeing ‘strange objects glistening in the sky, whizzing over the river to the city from the Irish Sea’. 1 July 1964”

The Crosby UFO and perhaps the ‘green’ men can be dismissed. They both sound like a journalist’s fugue. But by 10 July rumour had come to nearby Kirkby where children believed that there were fairies in the churchyard of St Chad’s there. It took ten days and the intervention of clergy and policemen to get the children out from among the graves. Beach wonders very vaguely if the ‘hunting’ element, children with jam jars and (by some accounts) air rifles (!) were responding to the idea of capturing the leprechaun and his treasure.

Beach should end by noting that rational explanations have been offered up, as they always are in these cases. There is the circus school that claims that the leprechaun scare began with a household of travelling midgets. There is the James Nolan school that claims that Nolan (the park constable) set up the rumour mill as a prank: evidence includes the testimony of a colleague. Then there is the diminutive gardener, Brian Jones, who may have set off the leprechaun fever and who claimed as much in a Liverpool newspaper in 1982. In any case, the Liverpool-Kirkby kerfuffle would make a great final chapter for a book of modern fairy.

STORY: SELLING ED GEIN==========

Even after police arrested 51-year-old Ed Gein on November 17, 1957, his Plainfield, Wisconsin neighbours likely failed to realize that their lives would never be the same again.

While Gein had a reputation for being a weird loner, he was still regarded as generally harmless.   In fact, he often served as an occasional babysitter for many of the families living near the 160-acre farm where Gein had been living alone since the death of his mother, Augusta, in 1945.   While one local boy tried to tell his family about he collection of “shrunken heads” that he had once seen in Gein’s farmhouse, people generally dismissed what he saw as yet another of Ed’s crazy pranks.  If neighbours were put off by his fascination with taxidermy, they largely kept it to themselves.

But, after police discovered the body of local hardware store owner, Bernice Worden, in a shack connected to Gein’s farmhouse, they soon discovered more about their quiet neighbour.  Much more.

Though the Gein farmhouse was largely dilapidated (Ed only lived in two small rooms and rest of the house was sealed off), police kept making bizarre discovery after bizarre discovery as the searched the farmhouse and surrounding grounds.  Not only had the headless body of Bernice Worden been strung up by her heels, they also found cereal in a bowl made from a human skull, lampshades and wastebaskets formed from human skin, a shoe box filled with the sexual organs of women, a belt with human nipples attached, a loose collection of noses, and a human heart.  But their most grotesque discovery was of a “woman suit” made from the sewn-together skins of Gein’s various victims which he would later admit to wearing to make himself feel as if he had breasts and female genitalia.

All told, police found the remains of eleven women though Gein would only confess to murdering two of them, Bernice Worden and a second woman, Mary Hogan, who had gone missing some time earlier.   The other bodies had been taken from the local cemetery, something that came as an unpleasant revelation as the fellow townspeople who had no idea that the graves of their loved ones had been desecrated.   Police had trouble believing that Gein could have stolen the bodies undetected.  To bolster their case, they took him to the Plainfield cemetery to show them which graves had been opened (this would be a controversial move when it came out).

Prosecutors quickly charged Ed Gein with first-degree murder for the deaths of Bernice Worden and Mary Hogan but any hope the locals had of avoiding publicity ended when news of what police found at the Gein farm hit the newspapers.  Ed Gein and Plainfield, Wisconsin become household names with curiosity-seekers descending on Plainfield from across the country.  Many of the locals grudgingly gave media interviews but most of them hoped that things would blow over in time.   As for Ed Gein, he was assessed by doctors at the Central State Hospital for the Criminally Insane in Waupun, Wisconsin (now the Dodge Correctional Institution), and soon diagnosed him as a “sexual psychopath”.  They also recommended that Gein be kept in hospital for the rest of his life.

Even as prosecutors and defense attorneys wrestled over the question of Gein’s sanity, a battle of another kind was already taking place elsewhere.   When an auction house offered up the contents of Ed Gein’s house at a public  sale, thousands of people from all over the country came to Plainfield to acquire souvenirs.   Even before the auction began, the auction house offered tours of Gein’s house and farm for fifty cents apiece,   Though the outraged families of Gein’s victims tried to stop the sale, it still went ahead as scheduled.   The farm itself was sold to a local real estate dealer who announced plans to turn the property into a tree farm.   As for the 1949 truck that Gein used to cart bodies to his farm, it was sold to junk dealer Chet Sales for $215.   While Sales told reporters that he would keep the truck as a souvenir, he later sent the truck on tour with the carnival circuit where it was billed as “Gein’s Ghoul Car”/  It would be a familiar sight at carnivals for years afterward.

Considering the simmering anger that the people of Plainfield had over the industry that had sprung up around Gein and his crimes, nobody was really surprised when the local Volunteer Fire Department was called to a fire at the Gein farm on March 20, 1958.   While no one took credit for setting the fire, just about everyone in town, including the firefighters, simply stood and watched as the sinister house burned to the ground.   And so, with Ed Gein in the hospital where he would remain for the rest of his life and the last physical trace of his life in Plainfield gone up in flames, his former neighbours must have felt some hope that the “Butcher of Plainfield” would be slowly forgotten.

And that might have actually happened had it not been for Robert Albert Bloch

Already well-known for his work in crime, horror, and fantasy, the Wisconsin-born Bloch had been living in nearby Weyauwega when Ed Gein’s crimes were revealed and he followed the case with more than professional interest.   Bloch had long been fascinated by abnormal psychology and he had already written several stories about killers with dissociative identity disorder (known as multiple personality disorder in those days).   Drawing on his research into Ed Gein’s life as well as some related cases, Bloch wrote the book that would be forever associated with his name:  Psycho.    Published in 1958, Psycho told the story of Norman Bates, a motel owner-operator who was also an amateur taxidermist with an abnormal fascination with his mother,   Still, while Bloch had no hesitation about depicting Norman as a murderer, it likely says a lot that the bizarre psychosexual urges that inspired Ed Gein were carefully omitted (Bloch knew his audience).   To be fair, Bloch never claimed that his book was based exclusively on Gein but rather on the idea that he represented:  a mass murderer living undetected and unsuspected in a typical American town.   Since its publication, Psycho has since been recognized as one of the great horror classics of the 20th century and, not surprisingly, generated renewed interest in Gein and his crimes.

But the book gained even greater fame when director Alfred Hitchcock managed to secure the film rights for a modest sum (largely by using a fake name, something which Bloch would complain about for the rest of his life).   While the eminent director faced major opposition in getting funding for a full Hollywood production over such a controversial project,  he managed to produce the film for a modest $800,000 by using the production crew from his then-television show.  The screenplay, which was faithful to the book, carefully downplayed any suggestion that Norman Bates was a “sexual psychopath” like Gein. Filmed in black-and-white due to limited funding, Psycho, released in 1960, was a hit from the very beginning and made a star of Anthony Perkins playing Norman Bates.  Even with lukewarm reviews by critics (some of whom condemned it as a “gimmick film”), Psycho proved to be one of Hitchcock’s most profitable productions and has since been recognized as a movie classic and one of Hitchcock’s most memorable films.

The film appeal came from its shock value, largely because Hitchcock managed to defy censors trying to enforce the Motion Picture Production Code that had been in force in Hollywood for decades.  While the Code was already fraying badly by 1960, the film’s bold portrayals of sexuality and violence (including the controversial shower scene) helped  open the floodgates to a host of copycat films that attempted to trade on Psycho’s success.   This meant the introduction of “splatter films” which largely focused on violence and gore rather than the bizarre sexual aspects of Ed Gein’s crimes.   It would still take decades for Hollywood to “catch up” with Ed Gein with films such as The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) and The Silence of the Lambs (1991).

As for Ed Gein himself, he seemed quietly unaware of how his crimes had influenced American culture.  By all accounts, he was thoroughly content with his new life at the Central State Hospital.  A model inmate, he never required sedation or restraints, and he spent his time reading books, chatting with staff and other patients, and carrying out his chores without complaint.  Aside from his disturbing habit of staring at female staff and avoiding them wherever possible, Gein’s life seemed idyllic until his death from cancer on July 26, 1984.   He was buried between his mother and brother in Plainfield Cemetery, not far from the graves he had desecrated decades earlier (which must have horrified the families involved).

Along with the films he helped inspire, Ed Gein continues to fascinate true crime buffs, many of whom still descend on Plainfield seeking out physical traces of his crimes.  While the remains of his abandoned farmhouse and the hardware store where Bernice Worden was murdered are still accessible, visitors to Plainfield seeking out Gein’s grave might be surprised to find that it is unmarked.  The 150-pound tombstone that used to mark the site was stolen in 2000 and, despite being later recovered by police, was never returned to the cemetery and has been kept in the basement of the Plainfield police department ever since.   There is a noticeable hole on Gein’s gravesite (visitors often steal dirt as a souvenir) but little else to mark his existence of Plainfield’s most notorious resident and the man whose crimes inspired some of Hollywood’s most memorable movie monsters.

STORY: THE STONING GHOST OF SOMBEK==========

In December 2019, the ghost returned from its hideout to terrorize the Ghalley family of Sombek in Sangachholing, Samtse, in Bhutan.

A barrage of stones land on the roof every now and then; family members have been hurt.

A shaman had visited Sabir Ghalley’s house to conduct ghost-beating rituals. The quiet did not last however. The next day, on December 4, Sabir’s mother, Man Kumari Ghalley, 75, was hit with a stone on her temple.

Khadka Singh Ghalley, a neighbor and a relative, rushed to the scene. Man Kumari’s grandson Sunil Ghalley (Sabir’s son) is hiding behind the altar, trembling with fear.

“An eerie quiet followed,” Khadka Singh Ghalley said.

Kumari has gathered seven stones that came straight her way. A huge flat stone has landed on the edge of the roof. A crowd has gathered. They wait for the stone but it doesn’t come.

It all started on the night of November 19, 2019. Sunil Ghalley, 15, was with his grandfather Bhagilal Ghalley, 76, in a makeshift hut with cattle far from home in the woods. At around 7pm when they were sleeping, stones hit the roof of the hut. It would not stop and continued through the night.

They made way to a relative’s hut nearby. But the pelting continued so they went to a nearby village for the night.

“I went to the grazing land next day,” Sabir Ghalley said. “The pelting started at 3:30pm. I was shocked.”

Sabir and his son stayed at the hut until 5pm that day and went to their relative’s hut. Pelting continued with bigger stones this time. They had to run home.

“Something was chasing us. It followed us all the way,” he said.

The next day, Sabir was accompanied by his father, son, and wife. The pelting started at noon. The following day, it started at 7am.

One time, when Sabir Ghalley was in his paddy fields, Sunil called. His son was unconscious with an injury to his head.

Sunil said the pots and pans went flying out in the open.

“I saw it with my eyes. It was terrifying,” he said.

People began to notice something about this affair. The pelting happened wherever the 15-year-old Sunil was around. One time, Sunil was returning from market with his uncle in a Bolero. The windows were closed. There were people in the vehicle. Stones hit Sunil even inside the Bolero.

The Bolero driver, Tandin Dorji, attested to it. There were several stones in his vehicle when they reached home.

A shaman was invited to figure out what was behind all this. A stone hit him and he left to invite his master instead. After the news reached the Sangachholing gewog office, 10 monks and a lam were also sent to Sombek to conduct rituals.

There were more than 40 people in the Ghalley home but to everyone’s disbelief, stones kept falling on the roof.

Sher Bahadur Ghalley, 30, a shaman, lives in Sipsu. After ritual, he had informed the family that stone pelting would return.

“I told them to conduct the rituals three times but they failed to come,” he said.

Sher Bahadur Ghalley had never seen something like this before. Before he was invited, the Ghalley family had sent one of the stones to his place. He still has the stone at his home in Sipsu.

“This stone sparked and became like a magnet when I put it on a bronze plate for a ritual,” he said. “Then I knew there was something wrong and decided to go to Sombek.”

Sher Bahadur Ghalley said behind all this is Sabir’s great grandfather. The shaman began narrating the story from four generations ago.

“He was a great shaman but had renounced shamanism to become a sadhu,” Sher Bahadur said, adding that he could not become an accomplished sadhu. “When he died, his family had not conducted the death rites properly. That is why he is haunting his family.”

In Hindu culture, people often conduct some rituals and offerings in the name of their dead ancestors. It is believed if such rituals are not conducted, the particular family would not prosper and there would be misfortunes aplenty.

“The lam also had said that a great shaman in their family had died in the past and rites were not performed,” shaman Sher Bahadur Ghalley said. “I will have to do this the shaman way to set him free.”

The Ghalley family also has a budding shaman among them. Sunil dropped out of school after it was discovered he had some special powers. He would suddenly go in trance-like state.

Village coordinator Khadka Singh Ghalley said the size of stone that come flying sometimes could kill a person. He said stones falling on the roof when the monks were conducting rituals inside the house was scary.

“I am yet to understand what it is,” he said.

BREAK==========

Coming up…

North Carolina’s Great Dismal Swamp is full of horror stories – but the worst might be the fact that the swamp appears to swallow people alive. (Swallowed Alive In Great Dismal Swamp)

But first…

An apparent incident involving a “gigantic cigar-shaped UFO” somewhere over the Atlantic Ocean in May 1963 wasn’t reported for almost 20 years, when a witness to the event finally came forward through a written letter of the event. (The Atlantic UFO of 1963)

That story is up next.

<COMMERCIAL BREAK>

STORY: THE ATLANTIC UFO OF 1963==========

An apparent incident involving a “gigantic cigar-shaped UFO” somewhere over the Atlantic Ocean in May 1963 would remain unreported for almost 20 years until the editorial team behind Flying Saucer Review magazine received a letter in late 1980 from the witness to the affair.

Part of the reason the witness left the incident unreported for so long was simply that the witness had very little knowledge of UFO reports, as well as the fact that she found the entire episode “terrifying”. Only after reading about the subject – purely by chance – did she begin to realize just how extraordinary the incident was.

Although the incident is not one of the most exciting on record, it is another incident that has a connection with such official organizations as NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization), who have a small plethora of UFO accounts attached to their name. If we assume these strange crafts are piloted by intelligent beings from another world, would it make sense that they would take an interest in such key organizations?

The details of the witness have been withheld from the public domain. We know that she is female and from a country in “Western Europe that are members of NATO” and was married to an Englishman at the time she gave the report. According to investigators at Flying Saucer Review, she is an incredibly credible witness meaning, in turn, that the account is likely equally credible.

They would eventually release details of the encounter in their November 1981 edition (Volume 27, No. 3). It is that from that report that we base the following account on. Just what did the witnesses see that day somewhere in the north Atlantic? And for what reason were these apparent visitors here in the first place?

According to the witness, the following incident “took place in the first or second week of May 1963”. The witness was a NATO employee in the capacity of an English language secretary normally based in Paris, France. On the day in question, she part of 50 NATO employees who were about to board a flight to take them to Ottawa in Canada for NATO Ministerial Meetings. It was around 10 am when the DC-8 left the runway at Orly Airport in Paris. The weather was perfect with clear visibility as the pilot took the plane to just over 35,000 feet.

The witness recalled that there appeared to be a feeling of military control on the plane that day, although the fact there was only 50 NATO staff on board the plane appeared decisively empty. Because of this, passengers had an array of seats to choose to settle down in for the majority of the journey. The witness chose to sit next to one of the windows, which she recalled was a lot larger than a standard commercial airliner window.

It was as she was preparing to settle in her seat with her book, with the cold waves of the Atlantic Ocean below them, that she noticed a strange object below them. She would describe it as “something dark and absolutely tremendous”. What’s more, it “stood out in vivid contrast to the brightness” of the early afternoon sky. When she moved her face as close to the window as possible so as to get a closer look, she would see the object appeared to be a “gigantic dark grey ‘torpedo’”. She would elaborate that the object appeared “menacing and frightening” as she continued to watch it.

She continued to observe the strange object for several minutes. She was unable to see any wings, windows, or any apparent propulsion systems or engines, although she would describe what she believed was the back of the object as “cut off sharply and squarely”. The witness would estimate the object was around 6,000 to 7,000 feet below them.

She watched it for several more moments until it disappeared into the clouds. She suddenly looked around the plane. It appeared she was the only person who had noticed the strange object below. She would debate with herself whether to mention what she had seen. However, she feared they would not believe her.

As she sat back into her seat, she began to ponder whether the object had any connection to nuclear weapons. Although she would indeed remain quiet for the time being, she resolved that she would speak to a colleague in Paris with expertise in nuclear matters. However, as she would later reveal in her report, she would decide against mentioning the incident.

It was while she was considering these things that the plane suddenly began to “shudder and pitch up and down violently”. Although she told herself that this was just normal turbulence, she knew that she had not experienced anything as intense, or as prolonged as this disturbance appeared to be. And what’s more, she couldn’t shake the feeling that the disturbance to the flight was due to the object that very well might still be below them.

She would begin researching what the object might have been. She would do this privately before finally issuing her report to the UFO magazine in 1980.

It is unfortunate that there were no other corroborating witnesses to an otherwise intriguing account. And while this is something that skeptics to such accounts will use to their advantage, aside from the apparent credibility of the witness, as well as the credibility of those behind the one-time UFO publication, the fact that the account not overblown or dramatic in any way would suggest it to be authentic.

And, it is certainly possible that there were other witnesses on the DC-8 that afternoon. It is also equally possible and plausible that they too opted to keep the sighting to themselves in the belief that they were the only person to have seen the strange object. As we have discussed before, there are very likely a whole host of UFO sightings that go unreported simply because the respective witnesses fear being labeled “crazy” or simply a liar.

What perhaps makes this account credible is the details that show up in other, similar UFO reports. Not least the shape of the object itself. While a great many UFOs are disc-shaped or even triangular, a great many sightings of cigar-shaped objects can also be found in the mountain of UFO reports. What’s more, so can the detail that there appeared no obvious source of propulsion.

What is also interesting – and often overlooked – is the fact that the incident occurred over the water. Many UFO sightings occur on or near water, and at least according to researcher Gordon Creighton, many of the objects witnessed over the seas and oceans of the planet are cigar-shaped craft. Might this be to do with their potentially aquatic environment, perhaps as such a shape would likely cut through the water all the easier? What the connection between such craft and water is, however, remains a mystery.

Whatever the object was that the witness saw from her plane seat that afternoon over the Atlantic Ocean, we know that the details offered are very much in line with other sightings – both before and since. And undoubtedly, there will be other sightings, both in the contemporary era or from years ago that have yet to surface which will also likely contain similar details.

Should we take the incident as credible? Considering the people involved with the Flying Saucer Review magazine, we should perhaps state yes. And that such a mysterious craft – or more specifically, the intelligence behind it – should take an interest in a NATO military plane is perhaps not too surprising to many in the UFO community. For example, during the latter months of the Belgian Wave, there was an increased NATO presence in the region. And there are multiple accounts on record of UFO sightings and incidents during NATO training exercises.

Might we even consider that the strange craft was not of extraterrestrial origin at all but a secret world military craft? One which discreetly made the journey under the “cover” of the NATO flight? Admittedly this is pure speculation here on our part.

With all of that said, all we can do with the account is leave it on our mental backburners, ready to bring it to the forefronts of our minds when we spot similarities with other incidents. Or indeed, if further witnesses suddenly step forward to tell their version of events.

STORY: SWALLOWED ALIVE IN GREAT DISMAL SWAMP==========

On the border of North Carolina and Virginia, there is a swamp. To call this swamp “unholy” might be a stretch, but the stories that bubble up from this region are far from sanctimonious. Even the settlers who named the swamp seemed aware of some malignant evil festering in this boggy wilderness. They named it the Great Dismal Swamp, and the name has stuck.

There are all sorts of horror stories about these eerie wetlands. Those brave enough to enter the mire risk being lost, vanishing without a trace. You might be accosted by ghostly lights in the dark, or stumble onto a graveyard that isn’t on any map. The fen is said to be the home of half-living witches and Native American curses, and darker entities may roam the reeds. Are you brave enough to tread the miry ground of the Great Dismal Swamp? You better be, because the swamp is ready for you.

People have definitely passed on in the Great Dismal Swamp, but you don’t have to be deceased to accidentally end up in the swamp’s most notorious graveyard. As the legend goes, there is a graveyard in the swamp that only appears to those who have lost their way. Explorers looking for the graves won’t find them; they can only be discovered by those not explicitly searching for them.

Some believe this is the work of benevolent spirits trying to warn the lost they’ve strayed from their path. The graveyard is not locked to one location and can theoretically appear anywhere in the swamp as long as a lost soul is in the area.

Creepy stories may be true or false, but you can’t argue with the facts. According to the park manager, the swamp has a long history of swallowing up explorers. People enter and just seem to vanish, and it’s not entirely clear why. It might be part of the nature of the swamp, as there are those who say the swamp has a habit of making one confused and frightened. It’s easy to get lost and near impossible to find your way again.

One story about William Drummond, a colonial pioneer after whom the swamp’s Lake Drummond is named, entered the swamp with a large hunting party. History tells us the group got lost, and after several days in the wilderness, the only person to emerge alive was Drummond himself.

If you think the swamp is creepy during the day, just wait until night falls. The Great Dismal Swamp is known to get extremely dark at night, so much so that park officials have gone on record to caution people about it. A park manager described nighttime in unequivocal terms: “It’s pitch-black dark. It’s scary dark.”

The park is closed at night for obvious reasons, but it’s open during the day to anyone brave enough to explore it.

The Great Dismal Swamp is home to many legends and myths, including the sad tale of the Lady of the Lake. This Native myth refers to a young bride-to-be who passed on shortly before her wedding. Her suffering soul now resides in the swamp, paddling a white canoe aimlessly through the marshes.

During the dark nights, she can be seen by the light of her lantern. Inside the lantern is said to be a collection of fireflies she uses to light her way. Reports of lights are common throughout the area, leading some paranormal enthusiasts to believe the Lady of the Lake might be real.

You don’t have to be captured by a ghost to disappear in the Great Dismal Swamp. It’s a treacherous place, even for those survivalists who know what they’re doing. Snakes, bears, and other wild animals call the swamp their home. Even the water itself is lethal, as parts of the swamp are much deeper than they seem.

It’s possible to get stuck in a boggy mire and find yourself unable to crawl out of the water. Many people have drowned over the years, adding fuel to the fire that this swamp is haunted.

The Great Dismal Swamp is purportedly so haunted that even the animals are spooky. There are plenty of ominous rumors about the swamp, but that hasn’t stopped hunters from taking their chances anyway. There are stories that say even the most successful hunters can go home empty-handed when preying upon the animals of the swamp. Wounded and deceased animals are said to vanish without a trace, leaving hunters confused and perturbed.

Stories of bears and deer being shot only for the hunters to find no hint of the animal – not even blood – are common. This could be related to the story of the cypress trees in the swamp, as legends tell that some animals can transform into these trees when pursued by hunters.

There are quite a few terrifying tales about the swamp that were passed down from Native cultures. One such story centers around a mysterious cypress tree along the shores of Lake Drummond. There are at least two different versions of the tale, but both tell of a creature fleeing from vicious predators. In one telling, the story follows a deer being chased by hunters. While the deer ran in terror through the swamp, the swamp decided to intervene. It turned the deer into a tree, leaving the hunters confused. They halted the chase, but the deer was forced to remain a tree forever.

The other version of this story is about a witch coming across a group of hunting dogs in the swamp. She teased the animals, but they quickly turned on her. They chased her into the lake and, as a last-ditch effort, she turned herself into a tree. Unfortunately, she was unable to reverse the trick.

One of the most widely reported phenomena in the Great Dismal Swamp is the appearance of ghostly lights at night. Even today, reports of lights are fairly common from those brave enough to enter the park after dark. There are all sorts of explanations for these lights, including the Lady of the Lake and UFOs. While these eerie explanations are great for campfire stories, the real reason behind the lights is likely rooted in science.

There are three leading theories about the origins of the swamp lights. The first is foxfire, a bioluminescent phenomenon that occurs when wood is decomposed by certain species of fungi. The second explanation is that methane gas from decomposing plant matter will occasionally ignite and create transient flashes of light. The last explanation: Smoldering peat moss is responsible for the lights.

The eerie tragedy of the Lady of the Lake is a haunting tale, one that inspires a lot of emotions. Famed writers Edgar Allan Poe, Edward Gorey, and Thomas Moore were all so taken by the story, they decided to create their own renditions in tribute.

Moore’s poem, “A Ballad: The Lake of Dismal Swamp,” captured the ghostly essence of the swamp so well it instigated a flood of tourists visiting the region. His version suggests the Lady of the Lake’s lover took to the swamp in grief to search for her, only to become lost himself and reunite with his lost love on the other side.

Here is Moore’s poem…

A Ballad: The Lake of the Dismal Swamp

By Thomas Moore

Written at Norfolk, in Virginia

“They made her a grave, too cold and damp

For a soul so warm and true;

And she’s gone to the Lake of the Dismal Swamp,

Where, all night long, by a fire-fly lamp,

She paddles her white canoe.

“And her fire-fly lamp I soon shall see,

And her paddle I soon shall hear;

Long and loving our life shall be,

And I’ll hide the maid in a cypress tree,

When the footstep of death is near.”

Away to the Dismal Swamp he speeds—

His path was rugged and sore,

Through tangled juniper, beds of reeds,

Through many a fen where the serpent feeds,

And man never trod before.

And when on the earth he sunk to sleep,

If slumber his eyelids knew,

He lay where the deadly vine doth weep

Its venomous tear and nightly steep

The flesh with blistering dew!

And near him the she-wolf stirr’d the brake,

And the copper-snake breath’d in his ear,

Till he starting cried, from his dream awake,

“Oh! when shall I see the dusky Lake,

And the white canoe of my dear?”

He saw the Lake, and a meteor bright

Quick over its surface play’d—

“Welcome,” he said, “my dear one’s light!”

And the dim shore echoed for many a night

The name of the death-cold maid.

Till he hollow’d a boat of the birchen bark,

Which carried him off from shore;

Far, far he follow’d the meteor spark,

The wind was high and the clouds were dark,

And the boat return’d no more.

But oft, from the Indian hunter’s camp,

This lover and maid so true

Are seen at the hour of midnight damp

To cross the Lake by a fire-fly lamp,

And paddle their white canoe!

Gorey worked on adapting Moore’s poem into an opera, but passed before it could be completed. Poe’s poem, “The Lake,” was featured in the collection Tamerlane and Other Poems. It’s a short poem, so I’ll share it here as well…

In youth’s spring it was my lot

To haunt, of the wide earth a spot

The which I could not love the less,

So lovely was the loneliness

Of a wild lake, with black rock bound,

And the tall pines that tower’d around.

 

But, when the night had thrown her pall

Upon that spot, as upon all,

And the wind would pass me by

In a stilly melody,

My boyish spirit would awake

To the terror of the lone lake.

 

Yet that terror was not fright,

But a tremulous delight,

And a feeling undefined

Springing from a darken’d mind.

 

Death was in that poison’d wave —

And, in its gulf, a fitting grave

For him who thence could solace bring

To his lone imagining,

Whose solitary soul could make

An Eden of that dim lake.

The swamp has a long and complicated history with humans. It was originally inhabited by Native Americans, but with the era of colonialism came great changes. One of the most significant changes was the arrival of slaves from Africa, and the Great Dismal Swamp became massively important to them. It became a wilderness refuge for escaped slaves, and they set up hidden communities in the mire.

Living off the land, they were able to thrive away from their colonial masters. They were known as Maroons; Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote about them in her novel “Dred: A Tale of the Great Dismal Swamp”.

BREAK==========

When Weird Darkness returns…

A weeping man called the police to tearfully apologize for murdering his victims… but that didn’t stop him from continuing to kill again and again. I’ll tell you about the Weepy Voiced Killer, coming up. (The Weepy Voiced Killer)

<COMMERCIAL BREAK>

The story of the Weepy Voiced Killer is up next – but before we get to that story, this episode is a retelling of the stories I shared on Friday, August 19th at the Dark Horror and History Con in Champaign, Illinois – and I had the opportunity while there to interview a couple of great gals who have a podcast that I really liked after listening to it, so I thought while I was there I’d invite them over and have them be a part of the show. Here is that interview…

<INTERVIEW #2>

STORY: THE WEEPY VOICED KILLER==========

Between the end of 1980 and August of 1982, three women were murdered and two others attacked in Minnesota’s Minneapolis–Saint Paul area. The assaults turned out to be the work of the same man—a shadowy figure who contacted the police himself after most of his crimes, begging them to stop him before he killed again. “I just stabbed somebody with an ice pick,” the high-pitched voice sobbed into the phone. “I can’t stop myself. I keep killing somebody.”

His tendency to call police and tearfully confess his crimes led authorities to dub the assailant the “Weepy Voiced Killer.” But who was he, and what drove him to commit these heinous deeds, only to express such emotional remorse afterward?

Born in 1944, Paul Michael Stephani was the second of 10 children, raised in what has been described as a “highly religious household.” He made his way to St. Paul, Minnesota in the mid-1960s, where he variously worked as a shipping clerk and a janitor. He was employed at Malberg Manufacturing Company before being fired in 1977. Three years later, his first victim was found near the machine shop at Malberg Manufacturing. Stephani was married for a time and fathered a daughter before getting divorced.

Over the course of less than two years, Stephani killed three women and brutally assaulted two others. Each time, with one exception, he called the police afterward to tearfully confess to his crimes—though never giving them his name, or any other information that could identify him.
In the calls that led the media to dub him the Weepy Voiced Killer, Stephani apologized for his crimes and begged police to stop him. “I couldn’t help it,” Stephani said in one of his calls to the police. “I don’t know why I had to stab her. I’m so upset about it.”

At three o’clock in the morning on New Year’s Eve, 1980, police received the first-ever phone call from the Weepy Voiced Killer—though they didn’t know that at the time. All they knew was that a nearly hysterical, high-pitched voice directed them to a spot near the Malberg Manufacturing Company machine shop off Pierce Butler Road because there was a “girl hurt there.”

Police found a gruesome scene when they arrived on the scene. 20-year-old Karen Potack was lying naked in the snow. She had been bludgeoned more than 10 times with a tire iron, the beating so bad that it cracked her skull and left her brain exposed—yet she somehow survived.

Potack had come into St. Paul for a New Year’s Eve party with her sisters, but had left the party around midnight. She wandered around the city intoxicated until she had the misfortune to cross paths with Stephani. However, the damage from her assault was so severe that she was left with multiple brain injuries, and couldn’t identify her assailant. For now, the Weepy Voiced Killer was free to stalk more victims.

Tragically, the Weepy Voiced Killer’s other victims weren’t so lucky. In 1981, 18-year-old Kimberly Compton got off a bus in St. Paul, Minnesota. Within hours, she was dead, stabbed with an ice pick more than 60 times.

Stephani called police multiple times after the murder of Compton. Two days after her death, he called to say that he was sorry and that he would be turning himself in—but he never did. The next day, he called to correct some of the media coverage around the attack. Then, on June 11, eight days after the brutal murder, he called the police again and, in a barely coherent voice, cried, “I’m sorry for what I did to Compton.”

Sorry or not, though, Compton wasn’t the Weepy Voiced Killer’s last victim. In July of 1982, 33-year-old Kathleen Greening was found drowned in her own bathtub at her home just outside St. Paul. At the time, police didn’t connect Greening’s death with the Weepy Voiced Killer. The attack was much less brutal than the other slaying, and no phone call was made following her death.

Then, in August, Barbara Simons met Stephani at Hexagon Bar when she offered him a cigarette. Stephani offered her a ride home. Unfortunately, that ride would be her last.

A newspaper carrier found Simons’ body alongside the Mississippi River the next morning. She had been stabbed more than 100 times. Shortly thereafter, the police received another phone call. “Please don’t talk, just listen,” the now-familiar voice of the Weepy Voiced Killer said. “I’m sorry I killed that girl.”

The police now had a description of Stephani, thanks to eyewitnesses linking him with Simons on the night of her death. However, he wasn’t brought in just yet. Instead, he picked up Denise Williams, his final victim, on August 21. They met on Hennepin Avenue in Minneapolis, where he offered her $100 to “have some fun.”

Williams, a 19-year-old sex worker, rode with Stephani to his apartment in St. Paul, where they engaged in a sex act before he offered to drive her home. Williams would later state that she realized something was wrong when Stephani eschewed the freeway in favor of back roads through suburban neighborhoods.

When they reached a dead-end, Stephani began stabbing Williams with a screwdriver before she was able to bash him over the head with a glass bottle she found on the floor of the car. Her screams drew the attention of a neighbor, who confronted Stephani before the killer fled the scene.

Upon arriving home, Stephani realized that he was injured quite badly, and called the St. Paul Fire Department for medical assistance. Authorities recognized his voice as that of the Weepy Voiced Killer, and Stephani was finally brought into custody.

Paul Michael Stephani was convicted of the murder of Barbara Simons and the attempted murder of Denise Williams. Though his own sister and ex-wife testified in court that they believed Stephani’s voice matched that of the Weepy Voiced Killer, there simply was not enough evidence to conclusively link him to the other attacks.

He received a sentence of 40 years in prison. In 1997, Stephani was diagnosed with skin cancer, and given only about a year to live. With the diagnosis functionally a death sentence, Stephani told authorities that he wanted to confess to his other crimes and apologize to the families of the victims.

“To this day, I can’t believe it,” Stephani said of the murders he committed. “I wake up in the morning thinking and hoping I’m dreaming all this.” It was only when Stephani confessed that any connection was made between the Weepy Voiced Killer and the drowning death of Kathleen Greening, which had gone unsolved for over 15 years. In all, Stephani confessed to three murders and two vicious assaults.

“I don’t know what to do except say I wish I could turn back the clock,” the Weepy Voiced Killer said in his confessions. The next year, Paul Michael Stephani, who had caused so much pain and havoc, was dead from skin cancer at the age of 53.

So did Paul Michael Stephani truly regret his crimes, or were his tearful phone calls to police and the media just an attention-seeking ploy? We may never know, but Stephani insisted his apologies were genuine. “All I can say is I’m sick and I’m sorry,” Stephani said before he died, “if sorry means anything after 15 years.”

SHOW CLOSE, CREDITS, A LITTLE LIGHT, AND A FINAL THOUGHT==========

Thanks for listening. If you like the show, please share it with someone you know who loves the paranormal or strange stories, true crime, monsters, or unsolved mysteries like you do! And please leave a rating and review of the show in the podcast app you listen from – doing so helps the show to get noticed! You can also email me anytime with your questions or comments through the website at WeirdDarkness.com. That’s also where you can find all of my social media, listen to free audiobooks I’ve narrated, shop the Weird Darkness store, sign up for the email newsletter to win monthly prizes, find other podcasts that I host, and find the Hope in the Darkness page if you or someone you know is struggling with depression or dark thoughts. Plus if you have a true paranormal or creepy tale to tell, you can click on TELL YOUR STORY – or call the DARKLINE toll free at 1-877-277-5944. That’s 1-877-277-5944.

All stories in Weird Darkness are purported to be true (unless stated otherwise) and you can find source links or links to the authors in the show notes.

“Selling Ed Gein” by Romeo Vitelli for Providentia
“Swallowed Alive In Great Dismal Swamp” by Eric Luis for Graveyard Shift
“The Weepy Voiced Killer” by Orrin Grey for The Line Up
“The Hotel Out of Time” from Strange Company
“The Atlantic UFO of 1963” by Marcus Lowth for UFO Insight
“The Stoning Ghost of Sombek” by Rajesh Rai for Kuensel Online
“The Brownies of Bangor” by Dr. Beachcombing for Strange History

 

Again, you can find links to all of these stories in the show notes.

WeirdDarkness™ – is a production and trademark of Marlar House Productions. Copyright, Weird Darkness, 2022.

Now that we’re coming out of the dark, I’ll leave you with a little light… “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” – Ephesians 4:29

And a final thought… “Begin every day with gratitude.” – Unknown

I’m Darren Marlar. Thanks for joining me in the Weird Darkness.

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