“CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE SIXTH KIND” and More Terrifying True Stories! #WeirdDarkness
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IN THIS EPISODE: In 1908, Charles Luard found his wife Caroline shot dead at a neighbor’s country house. But who killed her? (The Seal Chart Murder) *** We’re all familiar with, thanks to Stephen Spielberg, the concept of a close encounter of the third kind. That’s when you not only see a UFO, but you also see the extraterrestrials. The fourth kind of encounter is when you are abducted. A close encounter of the fifth kind is when you communicate with the alien – either verbally or telepathically. But then there is a close encounter of the sixth kind – the kind of encounter not even die-hard Ufologists and lovers of anything extraterrestrial want to experience… because nobody comes back from it alive. (Close Encounters of the Sixth Kind) *** Madame Delphine LaLaurie, made popular by Kathy Bates in TV’s “American Horror Story: Coven” was a first class monster. A figure of high society, she was well known for her mistreatment of slaves. But no one knew just how sick she truly was. So much so that even after leaving the mansion and it burning down, there are still terrors taking place there, thanks to Madame Delphine LaLaurie, the Monster of Royal Street. (The Monster of Royal Street)
SOURCES AND ESSENTIAL WEB LINKS…
“The Seal Chart Murder” by Elisabeth Tilstra for TheLineUp.com: https://weirddarkness.tiny.us/envbsb3k
“The Monster of Royal Street” posted at TheScareChamber.com: https://weirddarkness.tiny.us/kt9ktkpj,https://weirddarkness.tiny.us/3aprfmpa
“Close Encounters of the Sixth Kind” by Marcus Lowth for UFOInsight.com: https://weirddarkness.tiny.us/pkvf6cdc
BOOK: “From Deep Within The Archives Of UFO Insight: History’s Most Bizarre, Outlandish, And Controversial UFO And Alien Encounters!” by Marcus Lowth: https://weirddarkness.tiny.us/9xeyhz8
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Hey, Weirdos. If you played “IDENTIFY THE IMPOSTER” in the Weird Darkness Weirdos Facebook Group for this episode of the show, the story title that was a hoax and is not one of the stories tonight is: “The Summoners of Pazuzu”.
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…
In 1908, Charles Luard found his wife Caroline shot dead at a neighbor’s country house. But who killed her?
We’re all familiar with, thanks to Stephen Spielberg, the concept of a close encounter of the third kind. That’s when you not only see a UFO, but you also see the extraterrestrials. The fourth kind of encounter is when you are abducted. A close encounter of the fifth kind is when you communicate with the alien – either verbally or telepathically. But then there is a close encounter of the sixth kind – the kind of encounter not even die-hard Ufologists and lovers of anything extraterrestrial want to experience… because nobody comes back from it alive.
Madame Delphine LaLaurie, made popular by Kathy Bates in TV’s “American Horror Story: Coven” was a first class monster. A figure of high society, she was well known for her mistreatment of slaves. But no one knew just how sick she truly was. So much so that even after leaving the mansion and it burning down, there are still terrors taking place there, thanks to Madame Delphine LaLaurie, the Monster of Royal Street.
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 MONSTER OF ROYAL STREET, PART 1 of 2=====
Delphine LaLaurie was born Marie Delphine Macarty on March 19, 1787 in New Orleans, Louisiana, as one of five children in Louisiana’s Spanish-occupied territory. Her father, Louis Barthelemy McCarthy was an Irish immigrant, and her mother, Marie-Jeanne was a French woman. Louis shortened the family’s surname to Macarty, and together they all emigrated to the United States in 1730. They lived in the White Creole Community, and engaged in many profitable ventures. One of Delphine’s uncles, esteban Rodriguez Miró was a governor, and her cousin, Augustin de Macarty became Mayor of New Orleans from 1815 to 1820. Remaining family members were wealthy merchants, army officials, and slavers.
Delphine was beautiful, and men were quite interested in her. When she hit the tender age of thirteen, it wasn’t hard for her family to find her a suitable groom. She was married in June 1800 to a high ranking Spanish official by the name of Don Ramon de Lopez y Angulo. A major part of New Orleans was under Spanish occupation, so when Don was appointed consul general of Spain, Delphine became one of the most powerful women in the state.
In 1804, Don Ramon received a letter with a royal command stating that the young Spanish officer was “to take his place at court as befitting his new position.” Don Ramon and a very pregnant Delphine departed the United States and paused in Havana, Cuba. While there, Don Ramon became very ill, and died, just days before his daughter was born. She was named Marie Delphine Borja Lopez y Angula de Candelaria, but became best known in later years as “Borquita,” meaning “Little Borja,” from the fact that she was named after her father’s grandmother.
Widowed, and with a newborn baby, Delphine returned to New Orleans where she lived comfortably in her mansion. In 1808, she married a second time to one of the richest men in the region, who was also a well settled merchant, banker, and lawyer. Jean Blanque bought them a house on Royal Street, which became known as Villa Blanque. He and Delphine had four children, Marie Louise Pauline, Louise Marie Laure, Marie Louise Jeanne, and Jeanne Pierre Paulin Blanque. Delphine remained a figure of high society, spending time with the other socialites.
Her marriage to Jean Blanque did not last long, albeit longer than her marriage to Don Ramon. In 1816, Jean Blanque died, after just eight years of marriage.
She remained a widow for the next nine years, and that was when she met Dr. Leonard Louis Nicolas LaLaurie. He had come to New Orleans from Villeneuve-sur-Lot, France, and was ready to setup a practice. Although he was much younger than Delphine (twenty years), the couple were married on June 12, 1825.
As a busy doctor, Leonard was not at Delphine’s side often. In 1831, Delphine purchased a three-story mansion at 1140 Royal Street in the French Quarter, complete with attached slave quarters. She lived there with Leonard, and two of her daughters (as her other children had moved on and married), while maintaining her central position in New Orleans society.
The LaLaurie’s maintained several slaves in their attached quarters. While out in public, Delphine was often observed being generally polite to black people, and even concerned for her slaves’ health. She had even manmuted two of her slaves, Jean Louis in 1819 and Devince in 1832. However, other accounts of her treatment of slaves was not so kind. For example, British social theorist and Whig writer, Harriet Martineau, wrote in 1838 that she had witnessed Delphine’s slaves to be “singularly haggard and wretched.” She also wrote that public rumors about Delphine’s mistreatment of her slaves were so widespread, that a local lawyer had to visit her home to remind her of the laws for the upkeep of slaves. However, during his visit, he found no evidence of wrongdoing or mistreatment of slaves.
Beyond the treatment of her slaves, Delphine was having marital problems. Neighbors reported hearing loud arguments and noises coming from the home. In 1834, the couple officially called it quits, and Leonard moved out of the house. It is said, that after three tragic/failed marriages, Delphine went mad.
Rumors spread about Delphine’s slaves living in constant fear as she mistreated them a lot. One rumor claimed that she kept her 70-year-old cook chained to the stove, starving. Another claimed she kept secret slaves for her husband to practice Haitian voodoo medicine on.
Two reports of mistreatment are on record as being true. One slave, terrified of punishment from Delphine, threw himself out of a third-story window, preferring death over torture. The third story window was then cemented shut, and remains so to this day. The other report was regarding a twelve year old slave girl named Lia. Lia was brushing Delphine’s hair, and pulled just a little too hard. Delphine flew into a rage and whipped the girl. To escape further punishment, the girl climbed out and onto the roof, where she leapt to her death.
Delphine was witnessed burying Lia’s corpse, and police were forced to fine her $300, and made her sell nine of her slaves. However, mistreatment of slaves by the wealthy and socially connected was not a matter for the police at the time, so they didn’t flinch when she bought her nine slaves back.
Then, on the afternoon of April 10, 1834, the LaLaurie Mansion went up in flames. When police and marshals barged into the house to get the fire under control, they found a 70 year old slave woman chained to the stove, while Delphine frantically tried to save her valuables. The police set the woman loose, and she led them up to the attic, where it was believed that slaves would go and never return. There they found seven slaves, tied with spiked iron collars. As the authorities were releasing the slaves, they discovered that their bodies were badly mutilated with their limbs deformed, and in some cases, their intestines had been pulled out of their bodies and tied to them. They also discovered discarded corpses and mutilated body parts.
Other slaves were found chained in their quarters. Once the fire had been extinguished, the 70 year old woman confessed to setting the fire, because she was afraid of the punishment Delphine was going to give her. Those that had helped free the chained up slaves were indignant, and on April 15, a mob charged the LaLaurie mansion and began to wreck it. They were only dispersed when a company of United States Regulars (of the Regular Army) were called out by the helpless sheriff.
During the chaos, Delphine and Leonard took to their carriage and escaped the city with their Creole black coachman, Bastien driving. It was written in 1838 by Harriet Martineau that they fled to a waterfront, and boarded a schooner. They traveled to Mobile, Alabama, and then to Paris.
While the LaLaurie’s made their escape, a mob of nearly 4,000 townspeople ransacked their mansion, smashing windows and tearing down doors. The slaves were taken to a local police station where they detailed the atrocities carried out on them. They told takes of Delphine performing medical experiments on them, including removing their skin, breaking bones and setting them into peculiar positions, amputating limbs. They were forced to wear spiked collars, spoke of an exposed brain being stirred with a stick, and of a friend having their lips sewn shut after Delphine placed animal feces in their mouth.
The slaves were then presented for public viewing, which fueled the rage already burning within the townspeople. By the time it was over, the LaLaurie mansion was in ruins.
Neither Delphine, nor Leonard ever returned to New Orleans. She was respected and lived a good life in Paris, until the day s he died. Her death is somewhat of a mystery, however, with some claiming that she died during a boar hunting accident, and others claiming she secretly returned to New Orleans to live a secret life of anonymity. Looking through official documents, you will find that Paris has recorded her death as December 7, 1849.
Unsettling, however is the old, cracked copper plate found in the late 1930’s in the New Orleans’ Saint Louis Cemetery, bearing the name “LaLaurie, Madame Delphine McCarty.” The inscription, in French, claims that Madame LaLaurie died in Paris on December 7, 1842. To this day, the remains of Madame Delphine LaLaurie have never been found.
The horrifying rein of Madame Delphine did not end with her death. Wait until you hear what happened to property later – and what people saw in the shadows!
Plus… in 1908, Charles Luard found his wife Caroline shot dead at a neighbor’s country house. But who killed her? These stories and more when Weird Darkness returns!
STORY: THE MONSTER OF ROYAL STREET, PART 2 of 2=====
Imagine if you will, being a young girl, a student at an all-girls school in New Orleans, Louisiana. This was a new school, a primary school for young African-American ladies. A place to learn and grow. But unfortunately, that’s not all that would happen. You would be physically assaulted, running to your teacher with your sleeve rolled up, showing your forearm, scratched and bruised. You can’t help but cry, and when the teacher would ask, “Who did this to you?” the only thing you could say was, “That woman.” What woman would do such a thing? Who, or rather what, was in that school? What if I told you, that the school was once known as the LaLaurie Mansion?
The LaLaurie Mansion, located at 1140 Royal Street in the French Quarter, was once home to Madame Delphine LaLaurie.
On the afternoon of April 10, 1834, the LaLaurie Mansion went up in flames.
During the chaos, LauLarie escaped the city with her Creole black coachman, Bastien driving. They traveled to Mobile, Alabama, and then to Paris.
The Mansion sat in decay and disrepair for the next several years. Once renovations began in order to restore the home, more horrors were discovered. Skeletal remains were uncovered under floorboards and in the yard. Those who walked past the building often remarked that they could hear the cries and screams of agony coming from within. There were even reports of ghost sightings appearing and then disappearing from the iron-lined balconies.
The renovations made it possible to turn the mansion into an all-girls primary school for african-americans. Teachers became concerned that Madame LaLaurie’s ghost was haunting the school. Girls were being attacked, bruises, and whip marks – the whip being one of LaLaurie’s preferred devices for use on her slaves.
The Mansion was converted into apartments. Unfortunately, the previous tenants hadn’t left, and they made their presence known. New tenants had confrontations with the previous and never stayed for long. One such confrontation included a resident being attacked by what appeared to be a naked man, bound in chains. Another resident woke to find a dark figure, presumably a woman, standing over a baby’s crib.
The Mansion is home to endless cries, moans, screams, and even phantom footsteps. But it was never just minor assaults and scares as one man discovered in 1894. The man had lived in one of the converted apartments when he was brutally murdered. His home had been ransacked, as though someone had been searching for something. His death appeared to be the result of a robbery gone wrong. What’s interesting though, is how the man had spoken to his friends and neighbors. He confided in them that he believed he had a demon in his house. A demon who would not rest until the man was dead. Could this have been a robbery gone wrong, or the result of a robber being influenced by the demon in the apartment? We may never know.
The Mansion has passed from owner to owner over the years. Probably the most note-worthy being actor Nicholas Cage, who purchased it in 2006 for $3.4 Million. The property was foreclosed on in 2009, and was purchased by Michael Whalen, an energy trader from Houston. Whalen took up the task of renovating and restoring the house, and visits it about once a month.
To those who love to visit a good haunted house, I have some bad news. Since Whalen purchased the LaLaurie Mansion, he has not allowed any paranormal investigators inside, nor has he allowed tours. Fortunately for those who still wish to see it, Ghost City Tours of New Orleans does provide a few options that will take you to the house, just not inside.
STORY: THE SEAL CHART MURDER=====
Caroline and Major-General Charles Luard were upstanding members of their community in Kent, England. Then, tragedy struck, robbing them of the life they had built and enjoyed together.
First, Caroline was found murdered at a neighbor’s country home in Seal Chart, Kent. Just weeks later, Charles took his own life. And though there’s been much speculation, the case, widely known as the Seal Chart Murder, was never conclusively solved.
Charles Luard was a former military man, a golfer, and a local politician who had founded the Patriotic Party. Caroline Luard was a well-liked friend, neighbor, and frequent volunteer for charitable causes. The parents of two grown sons, the couple was settling into the golden years of their life. Their social standing, as upper class members of late Victorian society, made their untimely deaths particularly shocking and notable.
The series of events began on August 24, 1908, a typical summer’s day for 58-year-old Caroline and 69-year-old Charles. They left their home together, on foot, at 2:30 p.m. Charles was headed to the golf club to retrieve his clubs, while Caroline was planning to enjoy some exercise before returning to the house for afternoon tea with a friend. At 3:00 p.m., they parted ways at a particular gate. She headed through the gate and down a path that would take her through the woods, past their neighbor’s mostly unused summerhouse, and back to their home. Charles traveled onward to the golf club.
Little did the couple know it would be the last time they ever bid each other farewell.
Various townspeople saw the Major-General over the next 35 minutes as he made his way to the club. At around 4:05 p.m., after leaving the club, the local vicar, driving in the opposite direction, promised him a ride home after completing an errand. The reverend made good on this word, driving by again and picking Charles up at 4:20 p.m. and depositing him at his home at 4:25 p.m.
Arriving at home, Charles was surprised to find Mrs. Stewart, the friend Caroline had promised to host for tea, waiting patiently for his wife’s return. Upon realizing Caroline was missing, Charles set off in search of her at 4:30 p.m. Forty-five minutes later, his search ended when he found her lifeless body on the verandah of their neighbor’s summerhouse.
She had been shot in the back of the head, twice, and her purse and rings were missing. No cartridges could be found; in fact, there was no evidence of the killer at all, save for a few footprints.
In the aftermath of Caroline’s murder, many strangers and self-proclaimed experts determined that Charles had killed his wife, despite his tight alibi. He could account for his whereabouts at 3:15 p.m., the estimated time of the murder based on the accounts of a neighbor and a gardener, both of whom heard three shots fired in the general direction of the summerhouse.
Furthermore, the Major-General offered up all three of the revolvers he owned to the authorities, and none matched the bullet holes found in Caroline’s skull. Still, rumors proclaiming Charles’ guilt spread. Some believed that Caroline’s missing rings had in fact been taken by Charles, to throw police off of his trail. Soon, Charles was receiving hate mail from people vehemently accusing him of his wife’s murder.
As the days progressed with no new evidence leading to any likely suspect, Charles’ hope of finding Caroline’s killer dwindled. Devastated, and a pariah in his community, he put his home up for sale.
A member of Parliament, Colonel Warde, offered Charles a place to stay. On September 17, as soon as the official inquest had ended, Colonel Warde collected the Major-General and took him home. Additionally, the Luard’s son, stationed in South Africa, had finally gotten news of the family tragedy. He was en route to England to be with his father the following day.
On the morning of September 18, the day his son was due to arrive, Charles Luard woke up, showered, and walked to the local train station. There, he hid in the bushes beside the track, then committed suicide by jumping in front of a passing train. The General-Major met his tragic end less than a month after his wife met hers.
Luard’s suicide fanned the flames of the Seal Chart Murder mystery. In the ensuing years, investigators came to believe the crime was committed by someone Caroline knew, rather than by a random passerby. They thought her rings had been taken in an attempt to mislead the authorities to the true motive of the murder.
In 1914, Sir Sidney Orme Rowan-Hamilton, who went on to serve as Chief Justice of Bermuda in the 1930s, wrote a book about the unsolved murder that explored this line of thinking. He put forth the notion that Caroline’s killer was a man named John Dickman. Dickman was sentenced to death in 1910 for murdering a man on a train. Roman-Hamilton asserted that Dickman was connected to Caroline Luard through an advertisement the former placed in The Times.
He believed that Caroline responded to John Dickman’s advertisement, asking for financial help, by sending him a check, which Dickman then forged, possibly by changing the amount. Upon discovering the forgery, Caroline contacted the man and arranged to meet with him, without telling her husband. So the theory goes, Dickman then murdered Caroline at this meeting to cover his tracks.
This is just a theory, however, and has never been conclusively proven. To this day, the Seal Chart Murder case remains unsolved.
We’re all familiar with, thanks to Stephen Spielberg, the concept of a close encounter of the third kind. That’s when you not only see a UFO, but you also see the extraterrestrials. The fourth kind of encounter is when you are abducted. A close encounter of the fifth kind is when you communicate with the alien – either verbally or telepathically. But then there is a close encounter of the sixth kind – the kind of encounter not even die-hard Ufologists and lovers of anything extraterrestrial want to experience… because nobody comes back from it alive. That’s up next on Weird Darkness.
STORY: CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE SIXTH KIND=====
While most people who witness a UFO, even those who claim to have been abducted, live to tell their tales, others are not so lucky. For some, these seemingly out of this world encounters appear to have killed them – either at the scene of the sighting or in the immediate hours or days following.
These deaths are referred to as close encounters of the sixth kind. And there are more than you might think.
Zigmund Adamski, for example, was found dead in June 1980 on top of a large pile of coal in Yorkshire in the United Kingdom, having been missing for five days. There were no coal marks on his clothes – as if he had been placed on the coal pile from above – and there was also the presence of an unidentified gel on the back of his neck.
Frederick Valentich literally appeared to vanish into thin air in October 1978 as he was flying his small aircraft over the Bass Strait in Australia. He had reported to the radio tower of seeing a strange metallic object flying above him. His final moments were caught on the radio exchange recording at the tower. It is truly one of the most harrowing yet intriguing cases on record. Not least as Valentich remains missing and the case remains unresolved. The incident has been examined and investigated by multiple UFO and aviation researchers, and Timothy Good included an in-depth analysis in his book Beyond Top Secret.
We will move on to the Valentich case in detail shortly, as well as several other similar encounters. First, though, we will turn our attention to Hynek Scale and what it means.
J. Allen Hynek is an important figure in the UFO community, even now thirty years after his death. Not only was he one of the first “serious” scientists to show a level of respect and interest in the UFO phenomena (despite his initial skepticism), but he also devised a system with which researchers and investigators could better log and catalog such sightings. His research and theories resulted in the Hynek scale – something that is still utilized by ufologists and researchers today.
Hynek’s scale originally had three “levels” but as more and more research into the UFO phenomena is carried out, more “extensions” are added.
In short, the Hyneck Scale is as follows:
- A close encounter of the first kind is a visual sighting.
- A close encounter of the second kind is where there is some kind of interference (perhaps electrical) or there is damage to vegetation or the ground where the event took place.
- A close encounter of the third kind is where an actual “pilot” or and “animated creature” are seen during a UFO sighting.
- A close encounter of the fourth kind is where a person is abducted by the UFO.
- A close encounter of the fifth kind is one where communication takes place between humans and extra-terrestrial intelligence – this includes the much reported telepathic communication.
- A close encounter of the sixth kind is where a death of a human (or an animal – including cattle mutilations) has resulted during or because of a UFO event.
- A close encounter of the seventh kind is the creation of an alien/human hybrid.
- A close encounter of the eighth kind is a reference to any individual’s unique event that may include several of the first kinds of encounters together.
On the evening of 21st October 1978, 20-year-old Fred Valentich set out in his Cessna 182L aircraft from Moorabbin Airport in Victoria, Australia on a routine training flight. A relatively inexperienced pilot, Valentich had around 150 hours of flying time to his credit but was also qualified to fly at night as well as day.
We should perhaps also note, that Valentich had drawn the attention of aviation authorities several times prior to the fatal flight that evening in 1978. For example, there was considered prosecution for “flying blind into a cloud”, as well as receiving a warning for flying in restricted air space. What’s more, he had only had his private pilot license for a little over a year, having obtained it in September 1977.
He left the runway at just short of 6:20 pm. A little over 45 minutes later what was a non-eventful flight changed drastically. At 7:06 pm, at an altitude of around 4,500 feet, Valentich would radio the control tower in Melbourne asking if there were any other aircraft in his airspace. After the control tower replied that no traffic was in the same airspace as he was, he would report that he could clearly see an unidentified aircraft approaching. He would further describe that it appeared to have four bright landing lights.
Valentich would continue that the aircraft had passed over the top of his vehicle at high speed. So fast, that he couldn’t focus on the details of its shape. After several moments, according to the tapes of the transmissions, Valentich would offer: “…it seems to be me that he is playing some sort of game…he’s flying over me at two to three times at a time at speeds I can’t identify…”
Then, things turned even stranger. The control tower continued to request information about the strange craft Valentich claimed he could see. At 7:09 pm – three minutes after first contacting the control tower – Valentich would state with a distinct sound of panic in his voice that the vehicle was “not an aircraft” before his microphone remained open for several seconds.
He would further offer that the object appeared to be a “long shape” before stating: “…it seems like it’s stationary…what I’m doing right now is orbiting and the thing is orbiting on top me…also, it’s got a green light and a sort of metallic…it’s all shiny on the outside…”
As the time turned to 7:12 pm, the control tower asked Valentich where he was intending to fly to. He would reply that he was headed to King Island before continuing that: “…the strange aircraft is hovering on top of me again…it is hovering and it’s not an aircraft!”
Around 30 seconds later, after the open microphone captured the scraping metal sounds, the transmission ended. Shortly after, an extensive search would get underway. It would last four days and would involve RAAF and civilian aircraft.
In total, over 1,000 square miles were searched but no sign of the wreckage or Valentich himself was ever found. Even the radio survival beacon that was on board the plane failed to identify its location.
However, further investigations into the incident would leave people divided as to what happened. Did Valentich have the misfortune to run into a UFO? Or did he simply become disorientated due to his inexperience?
According to Timothy Good, those taking part in the search were asked by the military to report any incidents of “UFOs or strange lights” to them only, and not to speak publicly of any potential sightings. What’s more, any planes who were airborne at the time were told to keep any communications they might have heard on the frequency wave out of the public.
Whether these orders – if indeed they were issued – were done so in the knowledge of UFO activity in the region or not, or whether it was simply an order given to prevent panic or sensationalizing of the incident, remain open to debate.
There were several tentative sightings – one of an oil slick, and one of apparent wreckage in the water – but neither appeared to be connected to Valentich’s Cessna, with the wreckage itself not officially confirmed.
The eventual findings of the report, released in 1982, would state that “the reason for the disappearance of the aircraft has not been determined”. They did, however, presume that the result was “fatal” to Valentich.
Despite the mystery, perhaps the most convincing evidence that something very much untoward did indeed take place that evening in October 1978 over the Bass Strait, are the words of Steve Robey, the person on the radio control in Melbourne. He would state that he didn’t for one minute believe that Valentich was attempting to carry out a hoax incident.
Robey would elaborate that in the final moments “he was definitely concerned for his safety”. He would further describe this communication as “rushed” and “as if he was startled”.
In light of the report, there was an abundance of theories and claims as to what might have happened to Valentich.
Some claimed that it was likely that Valentich had become disorientated, possibly due to the reflection of the setting sun off the water shining back at him. Further suggestions asserted that due to this disorientation he very well could have ended up flying upside down, perhaps even mistaking the lights from his own aircraft reflecting off the water, in the seconds before crashing into the water.
There have also been suggestions that the “long shape” that Valentich reported was actually his perception of the planets Venus, Mars, and Mercury, as well as the star, Antares (which is particularly bright).
However, while these suggestions are certainly possible, surely such a scenario would have led to a discovery of wreckage in the vicinity. After all, a search mission was in place almost immediately. Even though Valentich did have an active interest in UFOs, it is also surely a little bit of a stretch to think that he imagined the metallic exterior after mistaking planets and stars for its lights.
Of course, at least to UFO researchers, it was likely that the unfortunate pilot was the victim of alien abduction. And what is more, there is some apparent evidence to at least support the notion that a strange aerial object was in the area that evening.
Aside from the declaration that the object was “not an airplane”, as well as the horrendous metallic scraping noise, there is the fact that Valentich and his plane had seemingly vanished into thin air. Not a trace of wreckage was discovered at the time of the search, and nothing has washed to shore or floated to the surface in the decades since.
There were several residents who would inform UFO researcher, Paul Norman, a little over a decade after the incident, that they had witnessed “an unusual green light flying just above an aircraft” on the night in question. And we should remind ourselves that there was – at least officially – no other aircraft in the region other than Valentich’s.
There is also the intriguing photograph captured by Roy Manifold over the Bass Strait around 20 minutes before the disappearance of Valentich (you can see that picture below).
Not only the picture but his son, Jason, remained outside after his father returned inside and recalled hearing the sound of a small aircraft in the distance. He would listen to this for several moments before realizing it had suddenly stopped “as if someone had turned it off”.
Had Roy Manifold captured the object that was responsible for Valentich’s disappearance on film? And did his son, Jason, hear those final moments play out?
There are other intriguing theories that we should examine, however. For example, some researchers and investigators assert that Valentich had orchestrated the whole affair in order to disappear and then begin a new secret life, possibly in Cape Otway. And while such claims are perhaps outrageous, there are some intriguing details to examine.
We know, for example, that Valentich had a keen interest in UFOs. And we also know that his run-ins with the aviation authorities led to deliberation as to whether he was to face charges at the time of his disappearance.
He also gave two different reasons for being in the air that evening, telling flight officials that he was traveling to King Island to pick up some friends, while telling others he was making the journey to pick up crayfish. Furthermore, it would later come to light that he had not correctly informed King Island Airport of his intention to land there.
In truth, despite apparent sightings of Valentich in the area over the coming years, it is highly unlikely that Valentich did fake the incident. Perhaps the tape recording alone dismisses such a notion. Aside from the obvious panic in his voice, he also appears confused, particularly when he first reports the strange craft when he claimed the lights were the landing lights of an aircraft before realizing he was mistaken.
Unless Valentich’s acting skills were of the highest caliber and his ability to plan such details as mistaking the lights for landing lights was so intricate, we should probably push the staged disappearances to the very back of the backburner.
Despite the proposed explanations on one side and the assertions by those in the UFO community that the incident is one of alien abduction, and certainly a UFO encounter, on the other, the disappearance of Fred Valentich remains unexplained and just as mysterious today as it did almost half a century ago in October 1978.
It is perhaps also interesting that the incident took place over the Bass Strait – a stretch of water, as we have examined previously, has a long history of strange disappearances, bizarre lights, and UFO sightings. Might Valentich not have been a victim of alien abduction but of something more akin with the unknown fate that meets those who are lost in such mysterious locations as the Bermuda Triangle? Or might the two even be connected?
If we return our attention back to Roy Manifold’s photographs for a moment (which you can find online by doing a simple search of “Roy Manifold UFO” it is perhaps interesting to note that some UFO researchers claim they show the object – fast moving and of a triangular-type shape – leaving the water. Might this suggest some kind of alien base under the Bass Strait off the coast of southeast Australia? And might this potential extraterrestrial facility be where Valentich was taken?
While it is unlikely that the Valentich case will be officially reopened or investigated in the near future, many researchers of UFOs and strange, unsolved events remain fascinated with the incident. Indeed, it is only through further investigation and examination of the case that we can hope to get to the truth of what happened that October evening in 1978.
In his 1990 book Confrontations, Jacques Vallee – an associate of the previously mentioned Allen Hynek and himself a respected ufologist – told of many UFO sightings that had resulted in the deaths of the people who had witnessed them.
Perhaps one of the most chilling – and the incident that made Vallee take a look at such UFO sightings – was an event that had occurred in August 1966 in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil.
A local teenager came upon the corpses of two men while looking for his kite. The scene was puzzling. Both men lay on their backs with no signs of having put up a struggle. Both were dressed in neat raincoats and suits, and both had lead masks near to their heads. Examination of them appeared that they had died from a heart attack, which by itself would not be anything out of the ordinary. However the fact that two men, both dressed the same, with makeshift protective headgear both suffer a heart attack in the same spot, at the same time.
When Vallee studied the case notes, he surmised that the two men had been witness to a UFO. He even went as far as to state they were at least hopeful, if not expecting, to witness such a craft due to the lead masks that he theorized they had used to offer some kind of protection from any harmful rays. They were identified as Jose Viana and Manuel Pereira da Cruz – both local television transmitter engineers.
When the deaths of the two young men were announced, others came forward to tell of strange sightings around the area their bodies had been found. Usually reported was an oblong-shaped object that appeared to “glow orange” and emitted strange beams to the ground. Had this been the craft that the two television transmitter engineers had been hopeful of seeing?
You can read a more in-depth account of this incident in the book, “From Deep Within The Archives Of UFO Insight: History’s Most Bizarre, Outlandish, And Controversial UFO And Alien Encounters!” by Marcus Lowth. I’ll place a link to the book in the show notes.
Upon visiting the site of Viana and Cruz’s death as part of his research, Vallee was soon bombarded with other strange stories and tales from the region – some dating back two decades prior.
In 1946 Prestes Filho was returning to his village of Aracriguama at a little after 7 pm from a fishing trip when a strange object appeared overhead, shooting out a strange beam of light as it did so. The light “hit” Filho, who barely managed to get to his front door and inform his sister of what had happened.
Within hours his condition had worsened dramatically. Vallee wrote that he had learned from the reports, “his flesh had literally detached itself from the bones. It was as if he had been boiled in hot water for a very long time, so that his skin and underlying tissue fell!”
By the time Filho had reached the local hospital, he was dead. Bizarrely his skin continued to come away from his bones after death.
Another account took place three years after the original incident that Vallee had traveled to Brazil to investigate – this time in the small town of Anolaima in Colombia. Just after 7 pm on 4th July 1969, two children saw a strange bright object land in a nearby field of a local farm.
One of the main witnesses, Mauricio Gnecco, had arrived at the farm with his Aunt Rosa, whose cousin was the owner. There were several other children, who were also part of the family and had arrived to spend several nights at the farm.
One evening during the stay, Mauricio along with three cousins, Andres, Marina, and Enrique, had ventured on to a hill to look at the stars overhead. It was as they were doing so that they first noticed the strange light, different from the stars, appear overhead.
The children remained where they were and watched the light as it moved. As they did so, they could clearly see that it was growing steadily larger, as if it were approaching. Bizarrely, though, they noted between themselves that no sound could be heard, even as the object continued its approach.
As Mauricio continued to watch, the other children began calling to the other family members to come and see this bizarre and unnerving light.
Grabbing their torches, they began to flash and signal in its direction. The object responded and came rapidly closer to them. The rest of the family – the three adults and the six younger children – now alerted by the children’s terrified cries, came out to witness the bright craft.
In all, there were 13 family members who saw the object overhead. They would describe it as approximately the size of a car and a sphere-like shape. Furthermore, it glowed a particularly bright amber color which lit up the area below. Then, it began to move again back toward the main house over the field of blackberry crops.
Arcesio snatched a torch out of his child’s hands and made off in the direction the brightly lit craft had gone. He quickly disappeared into the blackberry crops that lined the field. The children followed, a little less eager than Arcesio. As they did, they could hear the general distress of the cattle and chickens, as well as the apparent agitation of the family’s dogs.
They suddenly arrived at one of the outbuildings behind the main house. There, in front of them was Arcesio, and across from him was the glowing object, hovering only ever so slightly above the ground.
They watched for several minutes as Arcesio and the strange object remained opposite to each other, as if in a bizarre stand-off. Then, it rose into the air and suddenly took off at breakneck speed into the night sky. Mauricio would recall how it was like something “seen in a science fiction movie”.
They all would return home. And although they would turn into bed as normal, no one in the house slept at all that evening.
The next day the children were to return to their respective homes following the stay. Before doing so, they went to find their uncle (Arcesio) to thank him and bid him farewell. However, he had remained in bed due to waking up feeling extremely ill.
Then, three days later, things took an even more dramatic turn. Mauricio’s mother received a call from his aunty. She needed her to come back to the farm and take Arcesio to the hospital.
In the coming days, Arcesio became increasingly ill. Dark blue spots had appeared on his skin and he had a constant feeling of nausea. A week after the sighting, he had died. The official explanation for his death was put down to gastroenteritis.
The doctor in charge of his case, however, did note that he could not explain his very low body temperature. In fact, according to some reports, so cold was Arcesio that nurses were not able to take blood samples due to crystallization having occurred.
Perhaps even stranger is the account from Mauricio’s mother, who claimed that on the way to the hospital, Arcesio leaned on her for a moment. Not only could she feel how disturbingly cold he was, but that cold feeling remained on that side of her body until he passed away three days later.
Some reports even state that Arcesio had claimed to family that he had witnessed a “strange creature” in a clear part at the top of the craft on the night of the sighting. He had shone his light on it and alerted it to his presence, causing the object to light up once more and vacate the area entirely. How true this claim is, however, remains open to debate.
This truly bizarre and tragic case, though, doesn’t end there.
We should also note, as highlighted by UFO researcher, Scott Corrales, that far from being a strange case that no one has heard of, the incident drew national and international attention for a brief period in 1969, with several publications running stories and reports on it.
In fact, one of the leading UFO organizations at the time, APRO, would send several field investigators to examine the incident. It was their general opinion that Arcesio had arguably been exposed to large amounts of radiation due to his close proximity to the UFO.
They would seek permission from the family to have his body exhumed in order to perform tests. The family would, incidentally, refuse. However, several years later, when they eventually agreed to exhume the body, the situation turned even more disturbing.
Upon opening the coffin, all present would discover that the body was gone. What’s more, there has never been a satisfactory explanation as to what happened to it, or who might have taken it. Might we suspect that there was a military involvement in the removal of the body? Or perhaps even a discreet foreign intelligence? Especially given the attention the case received. One particularly outlandish suggestion was that whatever intelligence was behind the strange craft had returned to retrieve his body for study.
There has, however, been much speculation about the grim theft.
Perhaps the claim that rings truest, though, is one that the family themselves learned through their own investigations in the local community. According to what they were told, several strange men had offered a substantial amount of money to one of the gravediggers of the churchyard where Arcesio was buried in return for allowing them to dig up and remove the body. Who these men were, however, is not known.
The tragic case of Arcesio Bermudez is one that still frustrates UFO investigators and enthusiasts around the world. And while the truth coming to light might be unlikely, perhaps the fact that Arcesio’s body was taken by a mysterious person (or persons) leaves open the possibility of a disclosing or leaking of information regarding the case.
We should, though, collectively keep the case alive through research, investigation, discussion, and the exchange of ideas and theories. Perhaps not least as the incident is one that appears credible and genuine. From the number of witnesses to the event, the official records of the treatment of Arcesio at the hospital in the days that followed the incident, as well as the attention it received in the press and across borders.
The main witness to the incident, Mauricio, has maintained an interest in the events of that July evening in 1969, events he would describe as life-changing. And he has also suffered a certain amount of ridicule and even “bullying” over the years for his open-minded approach to ascertaining just what did happen to his uncle.
We’ll cover more about close encounters of the sixth kind in just a moment on Weird Darkness.
STORY: CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE SIXTH KIND, CONTINUED=====
Vallee concluded from his research in Brazil that many of the victims who had witnessed UFOs had died from “high-power pulsed microwaves” – essentially as if they had been placed into a large microwave and “cooked!”
Whether these deaths were intentional or just a result of someone being in the vicinity to such a strange craft is open to debate. As is who the people behind these “microwaves” might have been.
Were they extraterrestrial visitors from another world? Or might they have been secret government weapons being tested somewhere far away from home soil? Although the official word is that the US government for example was working with the beginnings of such technology in the 1960s, it is widely accepted that behind closed doors, they are generally twenty or thirty years ahead of their official position.
Dr. Steven Greer is just one of many people who believe this to be the case. He also firmly believes, that at least in part, recovered and back-engineered alien technology is the reason for this. In an extensive interview he gave in 2005, he stated to having in his possession “leaked papers” that showed the United States government alone monitors around five-hundred UFOs that enter the Earth’s atmosphere every year – these UFOs are codenamed “fast-walkers.”
The CEO of Lockheed Skunkworks – a company who oversees many secret government projects – is famous for having brashly stated to the media, “…anything you can imagine, we already have the technology to do, but these technologies are locked up in black budgets!”
The US secret government and military off-shoots are certainly not the only government to have at least come under some suspicion of such activities. In 1959 in the far northern reaches of the Soviet Union, following the discovery of nine missing, but experienced hikers, questions began to be asked if such weapons tests had contributed to their deaths.
The incident is commonly referred to as The Dyatlov Pass Incident and is one of the most bone-chilling mysteries of the twentieth century. Their final campsite was discovered in late February 1959 over three weeks after their last entry was made. Their tent had been cut out from the inside and it appeared that many of the hikers had left the tent unclothed and barefoot. Footprints were noticed in the snow but they stopped suddenly in the middle of nowhere.
A short distance away, the first group of four hikers were discovered. It was a further three months before the remaining five were found.
Examinations on their remains led to an official ruling of accidental death due to the extreme elements they were exposed to. However, all of the hikers had signs of radiation, and perhaps more telling, all of them had internal injuries that were more reminiscent in people who have been struck by a high-speed vehicle, despite no external injuries to suggest such a collision.
Was the Soviet military testing secret pulse weapons that evening? The area the hikers were found was close to land where such weapons tests had previously taken place.
Of course many also firmly believe that UFO activity – which was recorded by locals the evening of the group’s last recorded diary entry – is purely responsible for their deaths. There was also said to have been considerable damage and burns made to a tree overhead where the first four hikers were found – said by some to have been caused by an object that had descended on the group.
Several of the hikers appeared to have precise cuts to the mouth, eyes, and tongue – very much in the same way that cattle mutilations are carried out. This is interesting in itself, given that a much-debated topic of the cattle mutilation phenomena is just how the animals are “tamed” to allow such procedures to take place with no struggle. Might they also be subjected to “pulse” technology?
A possible UFO encounter that resulted in someone’s death in more recent times is the unsolved and unexplained death of Todd Sees in 2002. Sees would leave his home where he lived with his family to embark on a morning scouting deer. He wouldn’t return home, however, and his body was eventually discovered only a short distance from his home in a place that had already been searched.
This last detail perhaps might remind us of other similar accounts from the Missing 411 research of David Paullides. However, when it came to light that there were several witnesses in the town that had seen strange objects over the area on the day of Sees’ disappearance, including one that would even claim to have seen a person trapped in a strange beam over the area where Sees vehicle was eventually found, investigators and researchers in UFO circles began to take a serious interest in this tragic affair.
Many such researchers and investigators of the paranormal have examined the Sees case, with Butch Witkowski perhaps conducting some of the most extensive research.
We should also note that the case is that of a real person with a real family who are undoubtedly more distressed and upset than anyone at Todd’s death. There are, though, it would appear, legitimate reasons to research and investigate the case and the links to UFO activity in the area.
It was around 5 am on 4th August 2002 when 39-year-old Todd Sees left his home in Montour Ridge in Northumberland County, Pennsylvania. He planned to scout deer, something he had done many times previously, with this family expecting him home around noon. He would set out in his 4WD truck, perfect for the rough terrain where he was headed.
However, when noon came and went without his return, his family became immediately concerned. They would soon notify local police of his disappearance and a search operation was put into action. This involved local and state police, search and rescue personnel, as well as around 200 volunteers. Furthermore, highly trained sniffer dogs and helicopter units would take part in the search efforts.
The entire area was searched, including the family property itself and the woodlands adjacent to it. Also searched was a pond that was around 70 feet from the family home. In fact, because of the small body of water and its close proximity to the house, this particular area was searched extremely thoroughly. No sign of Todd Sees was discovered; however, his truck was found around two miles from his home at a ridge where he had stated he would be that morning.
Around 36 hours into the search, by pure chance, something in the bushes near the aforementioned pond caught the attention of one of the searchers. They would go to investigate further and make the grim discovery of Todd’s body. Quite how it could have been missed only the previous day has not been explained. Equally baffling is the eventual official ruling of “fatal cocaine toxicity”, despite obvious areas of concern in circumstances surrounding the case.
In fact, it would be only the first of many controversial circumstances surrounding the death of Todd Sees.
We should perhaps start by highlighting the distance between Sees’ truck and the location of the pond where his body was discovered – a total of 3 miles. Had he attempted to walk home, leaving the truck on the ridge? If so, why? It was a particularly hot day when he disappeared, and such a walk, while not a great distance, relatively speaking, is still a fair distance on such a day.
What’s more, given that the cause of death was already established and no one was being sought in connection with it, why did the FBI seemingly have an involvement in the case?
Perhaps even more perplexing is that, according to a member of the search team in response to Butch Witkowski’s question on the state of the body, there was no sign of injury or bitemarks that would indicate an animal attack. In fact, his body was “intact”.
However, when then asked why his family had not identified the body Witkowski was informed that they were to be spared from witnessing his “emaciated remains” as he (Gary Steffen, the Northumberland County’s Chief of Police) knew Todd Sees well. If Steffen was indicating that Sees’ body had suffered from decomposition, why had this seemingly happened so quickly in a little over 24 hours?
This confusion was seemingly compounded when the coroner, James Kelley, referred to Sees’ body as “the remains”, indicating that something physical had indeed injured Sees.
Perhaps above all else, why was his body missed the day before? Was he somewhere wandering around the woods seemingly “missing” the searchers as he did so? We have to think that is unlikely, especially given how well he knew the area and the close proximity to his house.
There were, of course, at least two UFO reports around the same time as Sees’ disappearance. Each would claim to have witnessed a “saucer-shaped object” over Montour Ridge – the location where Sees’ car was discovered.
Of even more concern, though, was the detail that a light beam had seemingly snared a human being and was moving it through the air and toward the disc-like object overhead.
It is perhaps also worth noting that the area – like much of Pennsylvania – has a long history of UFO sightings. And these sightings continue as we enter into the 2020s.
Was Sees the extremely unfortunate victim of alien abduction, and even that, on this occasion, turned deadly? If not, what was the reason for the apparent secrecy and closed nature of the authorities on the circumstances of his death?
It is a fine line to tread for those in the UFO community who wish to examine this case. On the one hand, there is the very real death of a young man with a family. On the other, there is a whole host of unanswered questions and reasons for suspicion, not to mention the claims of UFO sightings in the area on the day of Sees’ disappearance.
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! You can email me anytime with your questions or comments at email@example.com. WeirdDarkness.com is also where you can find all of my social media, listen to audiobooks I’ve narrated, shop the Weird Darkness store, sign up for monthly contests, 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. Also on the website, if you have a true paranormal or creepy tale to tell, you can click on TELL YOUR STORY. You can find all of that and more at WeirdDarkness.com.
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.
“The Seal Chart Murder” by Elisabeth Tilstra for TheLineUp.com
“The Monster of Royal Street” posted at TheScareChamber.com
“Close Encounters of the Sixth Kind” by Marcus Lowth for UFOInsight.com
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… “‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.” — Mark 9:23
And a final thought… “In the end, people will judge you anyway. So don’t live your life impressing others. Live your life impressing yourself.” – Eunice Camacho Infante
I’m Darren Marlar. Thanks for joining me in the Weird Darkness.