“WENDIGO PSYCHOSIS” and 4 More True, Macabre Stories! #WeirdDarkness

WENDIGO PSYCHOSIS” and 4 More True, Macabre Stories! #WeirdDarkness

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#paranormal #truestories #paranormalstories #ghoststories #horrorstories #truecrime #cryptids #wendigo #myths #rockfordil #unsolvedmurder #backfromthedead #wendigopsychosis

Listen to ““WENDIGO PSYCHOSIS” and 4 More True, Macabre Stories! #WeirdDarkness” on Spreaker.

IN THIS EPISODE: Lauretta Lyons was killed in her own home on June 9th, 1966. And now, so many decades later, authorities are still at a loss as to who committed the murder. (It Was Just An Ordinary Day) *** What does it feel like to die? We obviously won’t know personally until we die ourselves, as it’s hard to talk to someone about their experience of dying if they are… well… dead. But Reverend J.T. Mann can describe it – as he was hanged… died… and then came back to life to tell the story of what happened to his soul while he was gone. (He Was Hanged As a Spy But Came Back to Life) *** The Wendigo is terrifying enough – with its backstory claiming it is the creation of a person who chose to become a cannibal, and ended up twisting up into the legendary monster. But that’s just it – so far, it’s only just a legend. We have no solid proof of its existence. But even more horrifying than the Wendigo is Wendigo Psychosis – something that is not a legend at all. (Wendigo Psychosis) *** We’ll look at a few other legendary creatures and cryptids that have some interesting stories attached to them! (More Mythological Monsters)
SOURCES AND ESSENTIAL WEB LINKS…
“Wendigo Psychosis” by Kathy Weiser for Legends of America: https://weirddarkness.tiny.us/ymvwr3cr
“More Mythological Monsters” by Estelle for ListVerse: https://weirddarkness.tiny.us/dd9dy63a
“It Was Just An Ordinary Day” by Kathi Kresol for Haunted Rockford: https://weirddarkness.tiny.us/ysmfm8ap
“He Was Hanged As a Spy But Came Back To Life” by Robert A. Waters for the website Kidnapping, Murder and Mayhem: https://weirddarkness.tiny.us/82vvt58p
“Hell House” by Weirdo family member, Reverend Terry Wheless – submitted directly to WeirdDarkness.com.
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PARTIAL TRANSCRIPT…..

According to Basil Johnson, an Ojibwe teacher and scholar in Ontario, Canada: “The Wendigo was gaunt to the point of emaciation, its desiccated skin pulled tautly over its bones. With its bones pushing out against its skin, its complexion the ash gray of death, and its eyes pushed back deep into their sockets, the Wendigo looked like a gaunt skeleton recently disinterred from the grave. What lips it had were tattered and bloody. Its body was unclean and suffering from suppurations of the flesh, giving off a strange and eerie odor of decay and decomposition, of death and corruption.”

I’m Darren Marlar and this is Weird Darkness.

STORY: WENDIGO PSYCHOSIS==========

According to Basil Johnson, an Ojibwe teacher and scholar in Ontario, Canada: “The Wendigo was gaunt to the point of emaciation, its desiccated skin pulled tautly over its bones. With its bones pushing out against its skin, its complexion the ash gray of death, and its eyes pushed back deep into their sockets, the Wendigo looked like a gaunt skeleton recently disinterred from the grave. What lips it had were tattered and bloody. Its body was unclean and suffering from suppurations of the flesh, giving off a strange and eerie odor of decay and decomposition, of death and corruption.”

In the north woods of Minnesota, the forests of the Great Lake Region, and the central regions of Canada is said to live a malevolent being called a wendigo (also spelled windigo). This creature may appear as a monster with some characteristics of a human, or as a spirit who has possessed a human being and made them become monstrous. It is historically associated with cannibalism, murder, insatiable greed, and the cultural taboos against such behaviors. Known by several names — Windigo, Witigo, Witiko, and Wee-Tee-Go — each of them roughly translates to “the evil spirit that devours mankind”.

This creature has long been known among the Algonquian Ojibwe, Eastern Cree, Saulteaux, Westmain Swampy Cree, Naskapi, and Innu peoples who have described them as giants, many times larger than human beings. Although descriptions can vary somewhat, common to all these cultures is the view that the wendigo is a malevolent, cannibalistic, supernatural being that is strongly associated with winter, the north, coldness, famine, and starvation.

The Algonquian legend describes the creature as, “a giant with a heart of ice; sometimes it is thought to be entirely made of ice. Its body is skeletal and deformed, with missing lips and toes.”

The Ojibwa describe it: “It was a large creature, as tall as a tree, with a lipless mouth and jagged teeth. Its breath was a strange hiss, its footprints full of blood, and it ate any man, woman or child who ventured into its territory. And those were the lucky ones. Sometimes, the Wendigo chose to possess a person instead, and then the luckless individual became a Wendigo himself, hunting down those he had once loved and feasting upon their flesh.”

According to the legends, a Wendigo is created whenever a human resorts to cannibalism to survive. In the past, this occurred more often when Indians and settlers found themselves stranded in the bitter snows and ice of the north woods. Sometimes stranded for days, any survivors might have felt compelled to cannibalize the dead in order to survive. Other versions of the legend cite that humans who displayed extreme greed, gluttony, and excess might also be possessed by a Wendigo, thus the myth served as a method of encouraging cooperation and moderation.

Native American versions of the creature spoke of a gigantic spirit, over fifteen feet tall, that had once been human but had been transformed into a creature by the use of magic. Though all of the descriptions of the creature vary slightly, the Wendigo is generally said to have glowing eyes, long yellowed fangs, terrible claws, and overly long tongues. Sometimes they are described as having sallow, yellowish skin and other times, depicted to be covered with matted hair. The creature is said to have a number of skills and powers including stealth, is a near-perfect hunter, knows and uses every inch of its territory, and can control the weather through the use of dark magic. They are also portrayed as simultaneously gluttonous and emaciated from starvation.

Wendigos are said to be cursed to wander the land, eternally seeking to fulfill their voracious appetite for human flesh and if there is nothing left to eat, it starves to death.

The legend lends its name to the disputed modern medical term Wendigo psychosis, which is considered by some psychiatrists to be a syndrome that creates an intense craving for human flesh and a fear of becoming a cannibal. Ironically, this psychosis is said to occur within people living around the Great Lakes of Canada and the United States. Wendigo psychosis usually develops in the winter in individuals who are isolated by heavy snow for long periods. The initial symptoms are poor appetite, nausea, and vomiting. Subsequently, the individual develops a delusion of being transformed into a Wendigo monster. People who have Wendigo psychosis increasingly see others around them a being edible. At the same time, they have an exaggerated fear of becoming cannibals.

The most common response when a person showed signs of Wendigo psychosis was a curing attempt by traditional native healers. In cases of the past, if these attempts failed and if the possessed person began either to threaten those around them or to act violently or anti-socially; they were executed. There have been reports regarding this psychosis dating back hundreds of years.

A 1661 Jesuit Relations document stated: “What caused us greater concern was the intelligence that met us upon entering the Lake, namely, that the men deputed by our Conductor for the purpose of summoning the Nations to the North Sea, and assigning them a rendezvous, where they were to await our coming, had met their death the previous Winter in a very strange manner. Those poor men (according to the report given us) were seized with an ailment unknown to us, but not very unusual among the people we were seeking. They are afflicted with neither lunacy, hypochondria, nor frenzy; but have a combination of all these species of disease, which affects their imaginations and causes them a more than canine hunger. This makes them so ravenous for human flesh that they pounce upon women, children, and even upon men, like veritable werewolves, and devour them voraciously, without being able to appease or glut their appetite – ever seeking fresh prey, and the more greedily the more they eat. This ailment attacked our deputies; and, as death is the sole remedy among those simple people for checking such acts of murder, they were slain in order to stay the course of their madness.”

Another documented case occurred in 1878 when a Plains Cree trapper from Alberta, named Swift Runner, suffered one of the worst cases known. Swift Runner was a trader with the  Hudson’s Bay Company who was married and the father of six children. In 1875, he served as a guide for the North West Mounted Police.

During the winter of 1878-79, Swift Runner and his family were starving, along with numerous other Cree families. His eldest son was the first to die of starvation and at some point, Swift Runner succumbed to Wendigo psychosis. Though emergency food supplies were available at Hudson’s Bay Company post some 25 miles away, he did not attempt to travel there. Rather, he killed the remaining members of his family and consumed them. He eventually confessed and was executed by authorities at Fort Saskatchewan.

A Wendigo allegedly made a number of appearances near a town called Roseau in Northern Minnesota from the late 1800s through the 1920s. Each time that it was reported, an unexpected death followed and finally, it was seen no more.

Another well-known case involving Wendigo psychosis was that of Jack Fiddler, an Oji-Cree chief and medicine man known for his powers at defeating wendigos. Fiddler claimed to have defeated 14 wendigos during his lifetime. Some of these creatures were said to have been sent by enemy shamans and others were members of his own band who had been taken with the insatiable, incurable desire to eat human flesh. In the latter case, Fiddler was usually asked by family members to kill a very sick loved one before they turned wendigo. Fiddler’s own brother, Peter Flett, was killed after turning wendigo when the food ran out on a trading expedition. Hudson’s Bay Company traders, the Cree, and missionaries were well aware of the Wendigo legend, though they often explained it as mental illness or superstition. Regardless, several incidents of people turning wendigo and eating human flesh are documented in the records of the company.

In 1907, Fiddler and his brother Joseph were arrested by the Canadian authorities for murder. Jack committed suicide, but Joseph was tried and sentenced to life in prison. He ultimately was granted a pardon but died three days later in jail before receiving the news of this pardon.

Among the Assiniboine, the Cree and the Ojibwe, a satirical ceremonial dance is sometimes performed during times of famine to reinforce the seriousness of the wendigo taboo.

The frequency of Wendigo psychosis cases decreased sharply in the 20th century as the Native Americans came into greater and greater contact with Western ideologies.

However, Wendigo creature sightings are still reported, especially in northern Ontario, near the Cave of the Wendigo, and around the town of Kenora, where it has allegedly been spotted by traders, trackers, and trappers for decades. There are many who still believe that the Wendigo roams the woods and the prairies of northern Minnesota and Canada. Kenora, Ontario, Canada, has been given the title of Wendigo Capital of the World by many. Sightings of the creature in this area have continued well into the new millennium.

BREAK==========

Of course, Wendigo aren’t the only legendary creature stalking the earth. Up next, we’ll look at a few other legendary creatures and cryptids that have some interesting stories attached to them!

<COMMERCIAL BREAK>

STORY: MORE MYTHOLOGICAL MONSTERS==========

Before it was revealed that the Cottingley Fairies were just cardboard cut-outs, people were mesmerized by these delicate little creatures who were seemingly stumbled upon by two young girls who presented five photographs they claimed to have taken of the fairies. There is something awe-inspiring about creatures of myth, whether it be their sheer size, their magical powers or simply their beauty. Mythical creatures and monsters are woven into the fabric of our modern-day lives; just think of the elves in Iceland and the ever-elusive Nessie supposedly roaming the waters of Loch Ness in Scotland.

Not to mention the massive creature that roams the deep of the oceans. No… not that creature. While most people have likely heard a thing or two about the much-feared Kraken of yore, many may never have heard or read about the sea serpent straight out of Scottish Gaelic folklore: Cirein-cròin. This humongous sea monster lived alongside dinosaurs and could eat a total of 7 whales in one day. Cirein-cròin behaved in a devious manner by transforming itself into a small silver fish and allowing local fishermen to catch it. As soon as it was on board their boat, Cirein-cròin would change back into its usual form and devour everyone and everything within reach. Some versions of the tale says that Cirein-cròin wasn’t a sea serpent but a large land-based dinosaur that hunted other creatures and humans both on land and in the ocean.

Mermaids are commonly depicted as aquatic creatures, half fish, half human, both beautiful and terrifying, both full of compassion and murderous. This is because before mermaids took over the legends with their beauty and magic, there were sirens. Sirens were said to have taken the form of a combination of a woman and a bird, which meant they had large human heads, bird feathers and feet covered in scales. They sang enchanting songs to lure sailors and mariners which drew them into approaching the sirens, after which the creatures got into their boats and killed them. These bird-women were said to have inhabited a remote Greek island, and a popular legend has it that before they acquired their half-and-half forms, they were handmaidens to the goddess Persephone. After Hades kidnapped Persephone, the handmaidens were given golden wings by Demeter to help search for her. But since Persephone was being held in the underworld, the maidens were unsuccessful in their search efforts. Demeter became enraged at their failure, banned them to the Greek island and cursed them. The curse meant they would remain in half-bird form until someone passed their island without stopping first. They were also fated to die if a human heard them sing and survived. When Odysseus passed their island without incident, the sirens hurled themselves into the ocean in defeat.

Persian and Greek mythology speaks of a creature similar in looks to the Egyptian sphinx, with the head of a human, the body of a lion and a tail made up of spines filled with venom. Some versions of the legend of the manticore depicts it with the tail of a scorpion. The manticore was said to be invincible and able to kill and devour every animal in the jungle, with the exception of elephants, using its three rows of teeth. Much like a siren, the manticore had a beautiful voice with which it lured its human victims to their deaths. It swallowed humans whole after paralysing them with poisonous spikes shot from its tail. In modern times, the manticore can found in the popular game, Dungeons & Dragons, in which it appears with added dragon wings (or bat wings). The beast was first introduced to the game in 1974.

Gargoyles, those terrifying-looking creatures squatting on the corners of many old European buildings, were popular in Gothic architecture between the 12th and 16th century as spouts that allow water to drain away from buildings. They were so popular, in fact, that they were even added to cathedral roofs. But, of course, gargoyles and their decorative counterparts, grotesques, have their own place in mythology as well. They were believed to have been made of animated stone which gave them the ability to come to life when darkness fell. Some also believed that these fantastical monsters guarded the buildings they sat on and frightened evil spirits away. Others, however, feared the gargoyles and believed that they could be possessed by demons and as such used for sinister purposes. During the 19th century, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in the US, fully embraced Gothic architecture and to this day the city sports over twenty authentic gargoyles and hundreds of grotesques.

While the hippocampus is a brain structure found in the temporal lobe, it is also the name of the mythical seahorse said to have pulled along the chariot of Poseidon, the Greek god of the sea. The hippocamp is depicted as having the upper body of a horse and lower body of a fish, wings protruding from its sides and said to appear in both fresh water and salt water, with its fin-mane and fin-hooves helping it to swim. Hippocamps are described in mythology as having a personality like that of horses found on land and forming close relationships with both mermen and sea elves. When attacked, the hippocamps use their teeth and tails to fend off their attacker, but then swim away to avoid further fighting. Legend also has it that hippocamps only return to the ocean surface when their food source, seaweed, is in short supply in the deeper waters. They don’t require air to live and must stay under water or they will die.

Unicorns make for cute outfits, cakes, and memes, but this mythical creature is a lot more than just a chubby white horse with a rainbow-colored mane and tail. The first written description of a unicorn came from a Greek doctor named Ctesias who travelled through Persia in the 4th century. He wrote of ‘wild asses as large as horses’ with white bodies, red heads and blue eyes. The wild asses also had horns on their foreheads that were about a foot and a half in length. Ctesias further wrote that the animals were faster and stronger than any other creature. The lure of the unicorn remained throughout the centuries, with Scotland even naming the beast their national animal. Unicorns are mentioned in the Bible nine times, in the books of Numbers, Deuteronomy, Job, Psalms and Isaiah, although many take exception to the translation of the Hebrew word re’em to unicorn, as they believe the word referred to an ox or rhinoceros instead. This belief has been somewhat backed up by the discovery of a skull fossil in Kazakhstan in 2016. The skull belonged to “Elasmotherium sibiricum” or a ‘real-life unicorn’ that lived around thirty thousand years ago and resembled a rhino. Also known as the Siberian unicorn, the creature had longer legs than a traditional rhino, a horse-like gait, and a massive horn on its nose. Experts also believe that the Siberian unicorn may have lived at the same time as modern humans.

The most well-known mythical monsters of Africa are the Popobawa, the Mokele-mbembe and perhaps most infamous of all, the Tokoloshe. But have you ever heard of the Inkanyamba? In KwaZulu Natal, on the Umgeni River, lie the majestic Howick Falls. The pool at the bottom of the waterfall is home to the Inkanyamba, according to legend. This creature, a giant serpent with fins on its horse-like head, is said to have a terrible temper that causes seasonal storms in the summer time. Only traditional healers (sangomas) are brave enough to approach the falls and are the only ones who can do so safely. Once they stand in front of the falls, they offer prayers and sacrifices to the Inkanyamba and ancestral spirits. The Xhosas in the area believe that the Inkanyamba transforms into a tornado once every year and whirls off in search of its mate. In 1998, residents in the surrounding area tearfully blamed the Inkanyamba for the violent storm that cost thousands their homes.

It’s not uncommon to see gnome figurines decorating gardens, as these mythical beings are said to be good-luck charms, able to enrich soil and causing anything that is planted in it to flourish. People have placed gnomes in their gardens since the early 1800s, starting in Germany and soon the tradition spread to England. By the 1870s, mass production of clay garden gnomes was in full swing, but it was just about wiped out with the start of WWI and then WWII. By the 1960s, plastic gnomes were manufactured but they were nowhere near as popular as their predecessors. Gnomes, according to legend, lived underground and guarded golden treasure. They could be found all over Europe including Spain, England, Denmark, and Norway but under different names. Sometimes they are called goblins or dwarves because of their depiction as small, deformed ‘old men.’ Gnomes have been tasked with protecting the elements of air, fire, water, and earth from humans. They are said to be sensitive to sunlight and will turn to stone if exposed to it for too long. A gnome’s advice is to be taken to heart as it is claimed it could make rich anyone who listened to it. In recent times, gnome-napping has become somewhat of a thing. It involves ‘kidnapping’ a garden gnome from any given garden and taking it on an adventure that includes a lot of picture-taking and then sending the photos to its owner.

Ogres don’t exactly look like Shrek. Or at all like Shrek. In mythology they are described as being extremely large, with even larger heads that sprout abundant hair, off-colored skin and a strong appetite for humans, especially children. Ogres have appeared as characters in many fairytales. For instance, the witch in Hansel and Gretel is presumed to be a female ogre (ogress) because she eats children. The wolf in Little Red Riding Hood also resembles an ogre. In Japan, ogres are called oni and portrayed as having sharp claws and two horns protruding from their heads. Some have an odd number of fingers, toes or eyes and their skin can take on any color, but they commonly appear as blue, black, brown, white and particularly red. Oni are said to be born after evil humans die and end up in one of the Buddhist Hells. There they are transformed into oni and become servants of the ruler of Hell. Part of their job is to crush the bones and peel the skin off wicked humans. When a human is too evil to be redeemed, he is transformed into an oni on Earth and remains there to terrorize those around him who are still alive.

And finally… There are a lot of truly fascinating Maori legends about mythical beings. These include the tale of the god of weather, Tawhirimatea who sent his children, the four winds and clouds, to cause devastation on Earth, as well as the story of Taniwhas, which are reptile-like creatures that sometimes take on the form of sharks and whales and lurk in rivers and other bodies of water. Then there is Mangaroa, the shark placed high up in the sky by the demigod Maui to look after the Maori tribes on Earth from its vantage point in the ‘sea of the sky.’ Another legend says that the sea in the heavens, better known as the Milky Way, was formed when the god Kiho-tumu formed a ship and sailed across the sky. The ship, named The Long Shark, protects the Maoris and they believe that the dark parts of the Milky Way represent the Long Shark travelling through it, while the white patches are from the waves it creates as it sails through the sea in the sky.

BREAK==========

When Weird Darkness returns… What does it feel like to die? We obviously won’t know personally until we die ourselves, as it’s hard to talk to someone about their experience of dying if they are… well… dead. But Reverend J.T. Mann can describe it – as he was hanged… died… and then came back to life to tell the story of what happened to his soul while he was gone. (He Was Hanged As a Spy But Came Back to Life)

But first, Lauretta Lyons was killed in her own home on June 9th, 1966. And now, so many decades later, authorities are still at a loss as to who committed the murder. That story is up next on Weird Darkness. (It Was Just An Ordinary Day)

<COMMERCIAL BREAK>

STORY: IT WAS JUST AN ORDINARY DAY==========

Looking back later there was nothing to indicate the day would be any different from others.  It started out as just another typical day.  It was June 9, 1966 and the weather that day was overcast with an occasional drizzle.

Edwin Lyons and his wife, Lauretta had breakfast together before he left for work that day.  They had been married in Dubuque, Iowa on October 20, 1939. Lauretta was only 20 when they married. She had been born and raised in Rockford, Illinois and it was here that they decided to make their home.

Both Lauretta and Edwin were considered successful.   She had been a secretary but quit her job at the Block and Kuhl Department store to open her own pet accessory store.  Edwin and Lauretta were partners in this venture.  They had a little shop on Mulberry Street in downtown Rockford called the Lyon’s Den.  They also traveled to fairs to display and sell the fancy dog collars from their shop.

Lauretta was a member of the Emmanuel Episcopal Church, the Rockford Women’s Club, Rockford chapter of the Order of the Eastern Star.  She was also a member of the American Kennel Club and the Canadian Club.  She had been a member of the Business and Professional Women’s Association. Lauretta also volunteered in her spare time.  She was a pink lady at Rockford Memorial Hospital.

Edwin worked as a chemist at the Rockford Drop Forge Company.  Edwin’s father was well known in Rockford.  He owned the  Brown’s Business College.  Edwin and Lauretta had operated the school for a while before it was sold in 1942. The school would eventually become the Rockford School of Business.

Edwin left shortly after breakfast, right around 7:30a.m.  The Lyon’s house was a little off the beaten path out on Latham Road where it intersects with Owen Center.  It sat back a little ways from the road and was surrounded by trees and cornfields.  It was not visible to any of the other houses.

Later that day when they were interviewed, the Lyon’s neighbors claimed that they did not know them very well.  Richard T Hare stated that he very rarely saw them.

Before Edwin left, he and Lauretta made plans for lunch.  He was going to meet her at the shop.  When Edwin left for work he had no way of knowing that this seemingly ordinary day would turn out to be anything but that.

Lauretta was next seen by Julian Cwyman, a 38 year old telephone repairman.  He told deputies that he saw Lauretta with her three dogs walking around her yard.  They had spoken briefly and Lauretta even showed Cwyman some of the tricks she had taught the dogs.  He left the area around 9:20a.m.

Edwin went to the shop for his lunch date with his wife.  He was surprised when she wasn’t there.  He tried to phone but received no answer to his attempts.  So he decided he better check on her to make sure everything was well.

He arrived home around 12:30p.m. Edwin noticed that the doors were locked and the dogs were all inside.  He stated he walked into the living room and saw his wife lying on her stomach on the floor in a pool of blood.  There were several of his neckties around her, one was even clenched in her hand.

He immediately called the sheriff’s department and an ambulance.  In the long moments it took help to arrive, he desperately searched for a pulse.  Lauretta’s favorite dogs was curled up next to her and Edwin had to pick him up to get close to her.  He noticed that its fur was still damp from an earlier walk.

Help finally arrived but even though Edwin pleaded with the ambulance crew to “Save her, save her” there was nothing to be done.  They loaded Lauretta in the ambulance and drove her to Rockford Memorial where she was pronounced dead.

Police arrived in full force with the lead investigator, Sheriff’s Lt. Michael Iasparro,(father to Dominic Iasparro) over seeing the investigation.

Police noticed that the doors were all locked and that nothing was taken even though there was a large amount of money in the home and a valuable stamp collection.

There were signs of a struggle.  Furniture had been disturbed, a curtain was ripped down and there was blood on the floor by the front door.  This told investigators that Lauretta had fought her attacker.  When Coroner Carl Sundberg conducted the autopsy on Lauretta he reported that her jaw was swollen and that her lips and tongue were cut.  She had not been raped.  But she had been brutally strangled with one of her husband neckties.  The tie had gouged into her neck.  Lauretta had another tie in her right hand and police discovered it had been cut off cleanly apparently with scissors.  They searched the entire house looking for the missing tip.  It was never located.

Police theorized that someone might have come into the house while Lauretta was out walking her dogs and was there waiting when she returned.  They fought in the living room and Lauretta broke free and made it to the door.  She was then strangled from behind and left there for hours until her husband found her.

Neighbors were questioned. Edwin was interrogated but his alibi of being at work held up.  He told investigators that he had pulled his wife’s car out of the garage for her before he left for work at 7:30 a.m.  Sheriff Kirk King was surprised when five people came forward to state that while they were driving by the home the morning of the murder, they had seen another car in the Lyon’s driveway.  It was described as a 1957 maroon ford.

This case was never solved.  The closest the police came was a few weeks after the murder when there was another attack on a woman.

Charlene O’Brien had finished her shopping at the Colonial Village Mall and walked back to her car.  It was there that 43 year old Sanford Harris forced her into the car and kidnapped her.  She was found 40 hours later, brutally beaten and abandoned along a farmer’s lane near Perryville Road.  Charlene was able to describe her attacker as a middle aged negro man and police quickly picked up Harris.

He was living with his common law wife, Mary Ann Walker.  Walker told police she was 21 but they found out later she was only 15 years old.  Harris was on parole from the state of Michigan.  Harris had killed a 41 year old woman and received a life sentence but was later paroled.

When people were asked to look at Harris and his car, they identified him as being the one they saw around Lauretta’s house the day she was killed.

This story has made the paper several times, always listed as one of the unsolved crimes of this city.  According to the latest article written in the Rockford Register Star in 2007, Rockford had formed a new cold case squad and Deputy Chief Dominic Iasparro has a special tie to this case.  Sheriff Lt. Michael Iasparro was his father.  Dominic Iasparro is quoted in the 2007 article.  He states that “There was significant focus on one suspect but there was never enough evidence to charge that one individual.”

It has been 47 years since Lauretta Lyons was killed in her own home.  Almost as much time has passed since her death as she was on this earth.  The chances are very slim now that her killer will ever be brought to justice. Her family must feel a little comfort that she has not been forgotten.  It must bring them a little peace that the torch has been passed from the original officer to his son who has now made it his mission.

STORY: HE WAS HANGED AS A SPY BUT CAME BACK TO LIFE==========

On June 22, 1906, Rev. J. T. Mann gave an interview to a reporter from the Pensacola Journal describing the sensations he felt as he was being hanged 42 years earlier. This interview was made into a booklet that Mann sold as he traveled about telling his story. A copy of the booklet found its way to the Florida Memory Project. I felt his story was interesting enough to excerpt some quotes from it for the show…

“You ask me to tell you how it feels to be hanged,” said Rev. J. T. Mann. “Well, I suppose if there’s anyone qualified to do so, it is myself, as I spent four minutes of my career at the end of a hangman’s rope near [Pensacola, Florida] during the civil war. It occurred at Fort Barrancas where I was captured as a Confederate spy, and but for the fact that a sergeant ordered me cut down as he thought the wrong man was being executed, I would not now be here telling you of the sensations a man feels dangling at the end of a rope.”

Soon after the Civil War broke out, Mann enlisted in Company C, Bogart Guards, of the Third Louisiana Battalion (CSA). He quickly learned the realities of war. In the Seven Days’ Battle he received a “slight” wound in the hand, then at the Battle of Gaines’ Mill, Mann was shot in the neck. In the Second Battle of Manassas, he was wounded in the right hip and left thigh. After being released from the hospital, Mann became a spy for the Confederacy. Near Fort Barrancas, Florida, he joined a group of union army Vermont Volunteers, posing as a Confederate deserter. He became close friends with a Vermont sergeant and was able to obtain and relay information to General D. H. Maury (CSA) about Federal gunboats in Mobile Bay.

Learning that a ship carrying a Union payroll would be arriving near Fort Pickens, General Maury and Col. Page Baker (CSA) decided to try to capture it. The plan quickly went awry and Mann was captured by the Vermont troops.

“I tried to escape back to the Confederate lines,” Mann said, “but I was captured and taken back to the fort.  There was where I had the experience of being hanged. A crowd of infuriated [Union] soldiers surrounded me, and realizing they had captured a Confederate spy, proceeded to hang me without further ado. A rope was slipped around my neck and the other end suspended over a projecting joist of a building one and a half stories high over which they pulled me up by hand until I was about a finger’s length above the earth.

“…When life was nearly extinct the Vermont sergeant interfered, and ordered my body let down, insisting I was the wrong man. Restoratives were applied and by vigorous friction I was resuscitated.”

Mann recounted to a reporter of the Pensacola Journal about how it felt to be hanged. “The first sensation,” he said, “was as near like that of a steam boiler ready to explode as anything I can call to mind. Every vein and blood vessel leading to and from the heart seemed to be charged with an oppressive fullness that must find an avenue to escape or explode. The nervous system throughout its length was tingling with a painful, pricking sensation, the like of which I had never felt before or since.

“Then followed the sense of an explosion, as if a volcano had erupted. This seemed to give me relief, and the sensation of pain gave way to a pleasurable feeling—a feeling to be desired by everyone could it be arrived at without hanging. With this sensation, a light broke in upon my sight, a light of milky whiteness, yet strange to say, so transparent that it was easier to pierce with the eye than the light of day. Then there came into my mouth a taste of sweetness the like of which I have never known. Then I felt as if I was moving on, and leaving something behind, but there was a consciousness which seemed to say goodbye to my body…”

Mann claimed to have had a religious experience in which he heard voices singing hymns.

Being brought back to life, Mann stated, was just as excruciatingly painful as being hanged. He was court-martialed but the Vermont sergeant testified in his behalf and he was acquitted.

After the war, Mann settled in Fitzgerald, Georgia and became a Baptist minister. Later in his life, he traveled the country telling his story. Before visiting a certain city or town, he would enlist newspaper reporters to interview him and write stories that would draw crowds to hear him. He charged a dime for each booklet.

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I have a story from one of our Weirdo family members to share with you up next on Weird Darkness!

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STORY: WEIRDO==========

We received a story from Weirdo family member Terry Wheless that he calls “Hell House” – and here is the true story in his own words:

I was hoping maybe one day you could tell my story about my experiences.
This dates back some years ago when we had to move to Orange Texas and we had a house in Logansport Louisiana as well my dad got a phone call that the house in Logansport had been broken into and so they went up there to check out what had been messed up our stolen or destroyed so when they arrived they started going through things and seeing what all was missing and cleaning things up. While cleaning things out of my sister’s room they found an old Ouija board that was given to her when she was a young girl (she was in here mid 20s when this happened) buy a step aunt
that gave it to her one year for her birthday so my family being a very religious family. my dad decides that he’s going to get rid of it and he had always heard that if you threw it away they would always return back to the owner and so he decided that he would burn it as he went up to my grandmother’s( his mother) house to find the stuff to burn it with. He commenced to lay it on the ground and tried to light it with a match and the match went out. He then went into the garage and found some charcoal lighter fluid, he proceeded to pour it onto the box and tried to light it needless to say it wasn’t lighting. He used almost a whole bottle and a box of matches but it didn’t work. So my dad being a believer in prayer he began to pray asking God for help and guidance. He walked back into the garage and found some lawn mower gas and took the lid off the box and laid the board on top cross ways and filled the bottom of the box with gas and a bit on the board as well the then began to pray and struck a match and held it to the board gas usually ignites from the fumes but he still had to hold it to the board as he prayed the board began to burn in the center not on the edge where the match was , so he and my sister backed away as the board was burning and without warning the fire exploded straight up into the air 15′-20′ with a loud scream coming from inside the board louder and louder it screams and the fire goes into the ground with a rumble and then smoke as black as night blacker than an outer space void, it began to scream and moan and moved toward my dad every direction he went the smoke came at him. He even put the wind at his back and the darkness followed him with one final scream it was gone. The board and box were just gone as well may a small bit of ashes and an indention in the ground where the board was. Well they came home to Orange Texas and we went to church the next day everything is good so we thought. When we got home we got out and walked to the house and none of the keys would work on any of the 4 doors we had that we could enter into our house. My dad thought of the one door that lead to the kitchen that was not in the best of shape he could just bust in and replace it later. So my dad proceeded to push on the door to gain access and when you push on things they tend to fall away from you but as he pushed on the door the window shattered out onto him like something was thrown out of it. We go inside and my dad feels like something is on his leg like running down his leg so he sits in the recliner and removes his slacks he wore to church and blood was pouring out of a wound on his leg that he never felt any pain from it had bleed so much you could pour the blood from his shoe like you were pouring a drink. He had no snag in his slacks , no blood on any glass, no meat from the wound ( by the way it was 2″-3″ long an 1″ wide and at least 1″ deep that is not just a cut) so we bandage him up and try to make the best of the rest of the day . Little did we know it was the beginning of a lifetime of hell on earth. The demon house is what we called it we had no way of moving because we had rented this place from my step grandfather because my dad’s job relocated him where they needed him, so we lived with it for best I can remember another 5 or so years till we were older and out of school. My dad will not talk about it to this day and he is in his 80s when I ask or even mention the indecent he begins to pray and walks away. My sister is the same way. I have learned to deal with a lot from spirits, shadow’s, dreams, and even demons. I’m 46 as I write this to share with you. Funny how I can see these events play in my mind over and over but I can barely remember my own birthday sometimes. I’m a preacher now have been for about 5 years. Still have things happen that I talk to my dad about and more to share if it interest you at all from dreams of being crucified by demons to my house burning down just last year and things that happened in that house before that day. It feels like I’m reliving each moment as I type them on my phone.
After my father was attacked, after the ouija board was burned that’s when strange things began to happen. We lived in a duplex that my step grandfather let us rent from him. They were old navel berric houses that he purchased. We rented both sides and made it one big home. Sometime after we noticed that weird things was happening around the house. It was late one night and my dad and I were in the living room sitting on the couch watching TV we heard clicking coming from what we thought was the wall, the couch was located next to front door of the main entrance to the home. It was winter time and all the house was closed up and sealed because of drafts and these were old houses. We covered the windows with plastic wrap and duct tape. Well there was one radiator heater that we used because of natural gas prices. The clicking got louder and louder and the front door just opened the main lock was still locked sticking out not bent not broken just like it was locked but not shut , thing is it’s a barrel lock you lift and slide to latch . My dad got up and wosh like this blast of cold air went through him but the glass outer door was closed. He stumbled back and looked at me and was confused by what had happened. He closed the door again and locked it sat back down , that’s when he took a piece of paper and put it in the doorway of my sister’s room to check for drafts . We sat down on the couch and watch tv. My dad says to me watch the paper it’s moving and when I turned my head to watch the paper it wasn’t moving I thought my dad was messing with me and trying to spook me . So I said sure and turned back to watch tv , again my dad said the paper was moving. I turned to look at the paper and nothing, he said watch it out of the corner of your eyes don’t move your head. He was right it moved a lot but when we moved our heads it stopped, so my dad says just stare at it and see what happens , the paper goes absolutely insane swinging around violently then it stops and starts to spin like a top my dad gets up to see if there was a draft and it stopped and no draft anywhere then the door fly open the barrel latch still in lock position. That night after family gets home , we go to bed and my brother comes to my room and says to leave him alone and go to sleep I had already been sleeping and had no idea what he was talking about he said how did you get from Tim’s room so fast away, I said what are you talking about you were jumping on my bed and when I turned over you ran into Tim’s room (Tim is a cousin that lived with us) . I told him to go back to sleep he was having a bad dream he stated how can it be a dream when I’m awake ? We all go back to bed, when I hear him run into Tim’s room and flick the light on and start yelling at me and Tim . I walk down the hall and ask what now? He says someone is jumping on his bed. We look around and nothing. So I go and lock my door and go back to bed, as I lay there trying to sleep with my music playing on my headboard, I noticed that my door began to rattle, I yell at the door and tell them to leave my door alone it stops and I lay there some more trying to fall asleep and it shakes violently this time and I yell out to stop and I hear glass shattering, I get up to turn my light on and see that my full length mirror is shattered, spider webbed like something or someone had punched it! Although nothing else happened that night I didn’t sleep either. I told my dad about it but I never took it down. So the next day was Saturday and my brother my cousin and I were at the house alone and I was smaller then and when the heater went off and cooled enough I would sit on top of it , but that day I chose to lean against it and was making my mother’s owl wind chimes ring out they were ceramic so it was a peaceful tone, suddenly we heard a loud crash in the back part of the house and we walked to our rooms to see what it may have been, nothing in my room and nothing in my cousin room, but my brother calls us to come and see , let me paint this picture for you my brother made the other living room his bed room and the other kitchen was storage now his room was larger than a regular bedroom and he had a lot of figurines of eagle’s and trophies on top of his chest of drawers he placed a mirror that was for a dresser the dresser no longer existed well the mirror took two people to put on the chest of drawers and it was across the room in a chair face down not broken just out of place and none of the trophies or figurines had been moved we know that because my brother never dusted anything and nothing else was out of its dust. It was over whelming to say the least but we dealt with it dad was the only person hurt by whatever this was. Well unfortunately I was the next target, not much was happening out of the norm of lights being turned on by them selves or stuff being moved. One night I had my first encounter with sleep paralysis and it wasn’t fun scared me, I had fallen asleep with my lights on and had awakened in my bed but I couldn’t move I could look around with my eyes but not move my head , I noticed black spots floating all around the room on the bed, the walls, the ceiling , all over, all of a sudden my arms shot straight out to the side of the bed pulled tightly and my legs stiffened and placed one on top of the other foot propped on top of the other and I saw a huge black shadow floating from my feet just up to my face and it rolled to show a skeleton face, laughing like I had never heard before and my head fell to the left side and then agonizing pain in my hands and feet the pain was intense and before I blacked out from the pain my side began throb with such pain I cried and then it was like when you come up out of water gasping for air and I was trying to catch my breath and the pain was still there it was days before it went away. I told my dad what had happened and he said you were crucified. They are after you for some reason. We stayed in that house for about 8 or 9 years dealing with things . My sister moved and my cousin moved back to his mom and dad home. My brother graduated and I quit school, my mom dad and brother moved back to Louisiana to the old home place. I stayed with friends for another year or so. As for the hell house my step grandfather sold it the people moved out a year later had the house burned and refused to sell the land, they wouldn’t say why but I think I know. To this day I have dreams about Angel’s and demons about ghost and the hell house. Things tend to follow me but it doesn’t scare me like it use to. Did I mention that I am a clergyman now, but that doesn’t stop them.

I’m so glad I found your show I listen as often as I can . I can’t get enough of it. I live these things day by day I have scars on outside and wounds on inside. God heals all things but he knows that I can overcome because Christ overcame the world. Maybe I should write a book on my paranormal life? God bless you my brother and keep up the good work. Your brother in Christ – Rev. T. Wheless

Thanks for the story, Reverend. And yes, I think you should write the paranormal book! That could make for a very unique and engaging evangelizing tool! If you’d like to send a story to me in text form as Reverend Wheless did, just visit WeirdDarkness.com and click on “Tell Your Story”.

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