Listen to ““ANCIENT CURSES TO USE AGAINST YOUR FOES” and More! #WeirdDarkness” on Spreaker.
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 the early morning hours of July 16th, 1963 a Charlton police officer gasped at the sight of an orange light streaking across the sky. At the same time, a farmer heard a loud boom in the distance. Then several hours later another man found a huge crater near his farm. Was the Charlton crater UFO incident a genuine alien landing, or an elaborate hoax? (The Charlton UFO Landing Site)
Did someone steal from you? There’s an ancient curse for that. A rival stressing you out? There’s a curse for that, too. As it turns out, cursing one’s adversaries is pretty timeless, and I’ll share a few real curses you might consider using against your own enemies. (Curses To Use Against Your Foes)
“I never would have believed that Viola could do such a thing. She never had much to say and always did what she was told. She went to church regular, loved gospel music and was a hard worker.” That’s what one of Viola Hyatt’s relatives said after she committed a bloody double murder. (The Alabama Ax Murderess)
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STORY: THE CHARLTON UFO LANDING SITE==========
Perhaps the interesting thing about the alleged UFO incident in Charlton in July 1963 is that it went from a story of intrigue that even the BBC covered, to being nothing but a hoax that a local resident “confessed” to, to be an account that all of a sudden wasn’t a hoax when the resident in question retracted his confession.
There have been many UFO researchers who have investigated the case over the years. And it is easy to see why. Was this a case of an alien craft landing before taking off again and leaving evidence of its visit? If so, why would someone then claim it was a hoax only to quickly retract the statement? Does this point to an attempt to suppress the real events of that late summer night over half a century ago?
Quite possibly one of the best accounts can be found in Cosmic Crashes by veteran UFO researcher and author, Nick Redfern. It is from his research that much of what follows is based.
It was some time shortly after midnight, in the opening hours of 16th July 1963 when several residents of Charlton noticed strange lights and movement in the skies overhead. One such witness was a policeman who would claim to have seen an “orange light streak across the sky”. Another, a farm laborer at Manor Farm would hear a strange explosion somewhere in the distance around the same time as the officer’s sighting.
However, the most important discovery would come several hours later, when another worker on Manor Farm found a huge crater near to where he worked. The witness, Reginald Alexander, would immediately run to inform the farm owner, Roy Blanchard, of what he had found. Blanchard would follow Alexander to the spot where the strange crater was.
He would later recall that the indention was around eight feet across and approximately three feet deep. More intriguing was the “outwardly spreading spoke marks” that were clearly defined. Indeed, it appeared to the two men that a solid object had made the impression upon they each stared in wonder.
From here, the pace of the event picked up somewhat. Blanchard would inform the local police, who after inspecting the area for themselves would speak to the military. They would arrive on the scene shortly after, including a member of the Bomb Disposal Unit, Captain John Richards.
Perhaps given the sudden arrival of police and armed forces to the Charlton countryside, it didn’t take long for chatter to circulate of something out of the ordinary taking place near Manor Farm. Nor for this chatter to reach local newspapers and television stations, one of whom was the BBC.
The media would soon seek out the witnesses for comment, in particular Blanchard and Richards. As stated in Cosmic Crashes, Blanchard would offer the media that there wasn’t a “trace of the potatoes or barley that was growing where the crater is now”. He would continue that whatever the object that made the crater was, it was “heavy enough to crush rocks and stone to powder” before elaborated that it was his belief the object was “a spaceship from another world”.
Richards, while much more reserved and measured would also state that he and his colleagues were “baffled”, adding that they could find no evidence of an explosion or of burn or scorch marks.
As Redfern notes of his research into the case, the military maintained an intense interest in the encounter for some time after the incident. They would send several units with different areas of expertise to examine the location. And following these examinations, various theories surfaced, including that the crater may have been the result of a previously unexploded bomb left over from the German bombing campaigns of the Second World War.
However, things would take a new twist when, according to since released files, the military discovered “something tangible” within the crater itself. Initial reports were that the bebris was metal in nature. This would suggest that whatever the object was, it had perhaps left something more solid than a mere crater. This might explain, then, the overly intense interest the military had with the incident.
When this discovery leaked out to the media, a surge of stories would appear in newspapers claiming that the disturbance near Manor Farm was an “alien spacecraft” and then proof of the otherworldly object had been discovered. Such stories only galvanized public interest in the case.
An already strange and intriguing account then took an even stranger turn when the military would claim that the discovery was, in fact, a meteor. They would send the rock for analysis at the British Museum. However, they would state that the rock was simply ironstone, which was found all over the south of the country.
Was this an innocent error? Or was this a first attempt to distance the public from the true goings-on at Manor Farm? Whatever the truth of the matter, the military now appeared to wish to draw a line under the investigation, admitting that it remained unexplained.
The matter had already been discussed in parliament, and following the intense and continued media scrutiny, it would return there following the announcement of the non-meteor discovery. It was during this second parliament mention that it came to light that as well as the army, the Air Force had also been investigated the incident.
Did this Air Force involvement suggest that the case was indeed one of a UFO? It very well might be the case. However, then the story took another twist when a man would volunteer to the media that he was responsible for the strange crater. It is to this gentleman that we will turn our attention to next, a 37-year-old TV repairman from Middlesex, John Southern.
Southern would claim that he, along with two friends (who still wished to remain anonymous) had planned to dig strange holes all over the country so as to make it appear the spaceships were landing all around the UK.
After doing this, as well as setting up a car with the door open and a single trainer left inside so as to push the idea of an alien abduction, Southern planned to “disappear” for several days. His friends would make it known that he was missing so as to generate publicity, before he would then appear with a story of alien abduction, during which he was taken to a mothership or space station.
After preparing several “craters” in various places, they prepared the crater near Manor Farm. However, according to Southern, as interest began, he suddenly backed out of the plan. And despite his friends wishing to continue, he no longer wanted any part in the hoax. He would further state that his friends also lost interest following this as they had “no more holiday time allowed to them” from their respective jobs. He would also state that the reason he was coming clean was that he felt that has “been a fool”.
However, as Redfern explores, despite the military willing to draw an even firmer line under the events, there are a “variety of problems” with Southern’s strange admission. Not least that he would eventually retract everything he had said.
Perhaps of most suspicion is the fact that the friends Southern claimed had assisted him at no point appeared to back up the account. Furthermore, the explosion heard by the farmworker and the streak across the sky witnessed by the police officer were still left unexplained – remember, the notion that it was a meteor had all but been dismissed. And, as Redfern again highlights, what should be made of the mystery metallic object the army claimed to have detected.
Even Blanchard, the farm owner would claim that he didn’t believe the claims of the crater being hoax. He would be seemingly proved correct when Southern surfaced once more in the public domain. This time, the TV repairman claimed that he and his friends were not at all responsible for the hoax. However, he had made the claim in the hope that the real hoaxer would come forward.
Even stranger, following no “real hoaxer” stepping forward, Southern would state that he believed the crater had been caused by a UFO from elsewhere in the universe.
What should we make of Southern’s constantly changing statements? Was he telling the truth that he was attempting to lure out the real person behind the apparent hoax? Or did he simply realize the bizarreness of his previous statement and wished to distance himself from it?
Might it even be possible that he was “convinced” to issue such a statement in order to draw attention from what the real truth of the matter might be? If this was the case, then suspicion for this speculative coercion would surely fall on the military. However, there appears to be no evidence of that, only that the military appeared quietly grateful for the “get out” card Southern’s confession offered them.
Perhaps most intriguing of all, however, and what might prove to be the crucial missing piece of the whole episode, was the discovery by Wallace Binns of a crop circle only no more than 200 yards from where the crater was discovered. What’s more, also with him was astronomer, Patrick Moore, who would write a letter of the discovery to New Scientist in August 1963, less than a month after the incident.
The letter would state that the area in the wheat field was “circular or elliptical” and the wheat itself had been “flattened”. Furthermore, there was “evidence of spiral flattening”, something that comes up a lot in crop circle discoveries.
What is also perhaps interesting is that before their discovery, many witnesses speak of strange orbs or balls of energy near the fields themselves. Might this have been the case here? Might the streaking orange light have been this bizarre energy globe and might it have been responsible for the strange circular markings in the field near to the crater.
Perhaps, unfortunately, crop circles wouldn’t really come to the forefront of peoples’ minds until the following decades. Consequently, many of the people at the location would simply step on and over the markings in order to investigate the crater. Consequently, its pattern and shape were severely compromised before further investigation could go ahead.
The Charlton crater case remains one of the most intriguing UFO encounters, certainly on the records of the United Kingdom. It would seem apparent that the claims of a hoax are themselves on shaky ground. And while the military was happy to accept such claims, their intense interest is also an area of concern for some researchers. Might the whole thing have been some kind of military experiment? In this case, it appears quite unlikely.
With that in mind, then, was this a case of an alien craft landing in the countryside of the UK? If so, was that landing out of necessity, or was it a purposely planned mission, perhaps a fact-finding mission of sorts?
Maybe of most interest, though, is the apparent connection of the case to crop circles, and if that might have been what was happening here. After all, the discovery of the crater did not occur until the early hours of the morning, several hours after the explosion, and the flash seen by the respective witnesses.
And when we consider that, according to research by those who investigate them, some crop circles are said to appear in a matter of minutes, there was ample time for this to have been performed by whatever intelligence is behind them.
Without further information coming to light, however, the mystery and intrigue surrounding the Charlton crater cases of 1963 remains. And will undoubtedly draw the attention of UFO researchers for some time.
When weird Darkness returns… “I never would have believed that Viola could do such a thing. She never had much to say and always did what she was told. She went to church regular, loved gospel music and was a hard worker.” That’s what one of Viola Hyatt’s relatives said after she committed a bloody double murder.
Do you have a true paranormal story that has happened to you or someone you know? Share it by clicking on TELL YOUR STORY at WeirdDarkness.com. Or you can call the DarkLine toll-free at 1-877-277-5944, that 1-877-277-5944. I might use your story in a future episode!
STORY: THE AX MURDERESS==========
The story I’m about to relate is an account of actual murders that took place in Alabama in 1959. Viola Hyatt is dead now and left no descendants. Since the other principals in the story have also passed on, the actual names are used. There seems no reason to detract from the “fifteen minutes of fame” they received from this notorious case. Much of it follows what was widely reported to have occurred, but several portions are fabricated and only speculation on the part of the author. Part of the dialogue is actual, but some is added for dramatic effect and interest. The story is written by Elton Camp who lived a short distance from where the events occurred and says he remembers it all very well. Here is the story he has written…
Almost all babies are cute, but even as an infant, Viola Hyatt wasn’t. A chubby, red-faced, fussy baby, she grew into an obese youngster whose features, even charitably, could only be described as plain. Her long, black hair was coarse and resisted attempts to keep it groomed. Her skin, studded with moles and blemishes, was equally unattractive. Clear, blue eyes were her best feature, but they were marred by frequent redness due to infected lids.
Her family was desperately poor. Martin Hyatt eked out a living as a hog farmer on a small spot of inherited land near the community of White Plains in east central Alabama. Their frame farm house was unpainted. A barn and other outbuildings stood on the grounds. It was not a pleasant place to live, but the Hyatts had no choice. Ironically, locals called the community “the Garden Spot of the World.”
Stranded on an isolated farm, Viola had little chance to interact with other children, but when she did, her sullen demeanor and sudden outbursts of explosive rage caused her to be disliked.
“Viola’s mean and ugly,” a girl her age said in a mocking voice to the other children at a family gathering. “It’s no wonder nobody likes her or wants to play with her.” The others added their own disparaging remarks. They didn’t care that Viola was hearing every word. The taunts were like stabs into her heart, but she maintained a stoic expression and made no reply.
Mrs. Hyatt was a slightly built woman, entirely different from her daughter in appearance. Her long, blond hair was silken; she spent an hour each evening carefully brushing it. She had fair skin and pleasing facial features. In her youth, she had been a beauty, but penury and sickness had taken their toll. She coughed deeply even as she lit yet another cigarette. The woman bitterly resented her lot in life.
“I don’t know why God is punishing me by sending me a husband like your paw and girl like you,” she complained to her daughter. “I ain’t done nothing to deserve it, far as I can see. He can’t make a proper living and you’re ugly as hell. When I think of the men I might have married, it just makes me sick to my stomach. Some day you’re going to come home from school and find me gone. I don’t know why I’ve put up with the two of you as long as I have. There’s plenty of men with money that’d be glad to have me.”
Viola had heard it all before, over and over. When she was younger, she often cried herself to sleep at night because of her mother’s cruel words, but she had no more tears to shed. A consuming hatred filled her soul.
“I don’t care if you leave. I hope you die!” the child spit out as she ran out of the room and slammed the door behind her. Viola’s wish was soon fulfilled.
Mr. Hyatt was ill prepared to function as a single parent to a young girl, but he did the best he could. Eventually, he wed Jessie Wheeler, a woman in her mid thirties who had never been married. She was unable to control her step daughter who was accustomed to getting her way. Mr. Hyatt refused to back up his wife in her attempts to discipline Viola. She came to be in abject fear of her.
Over time, Viola learned to cook reasonably well and to keep the house as clean as its condition permitted.
The two-dozen pigs her family kept in an enclosure between the house and barn only added to the misery. Especially in the hottest days of summer, they produced a stench that could be tasted as well as smelled. Viola hated the hogs, both for their odious odor, and for the hard work required in feeding and cleaning up after them. Yet, the income they generated was essential to the family’s survival.
“When’s it going to be time to kill hogs?” she demanded of her father as soon as they began to approach market size. “I want to watch when you do it and if you’ll let me, I’ll help with it.”
“You’ve already seen how I do hit,” he said. “Most don’t cut them up with an axe like I do, but that’s the way my father learned me. You can’t do nothing. That’s not a fit work for a girl your age,” he responded. “You’re only in the seventh grade. Go on in the house and help your mother cook supper.”
The tall, powerfully built Viola, due to strenuous farm work in addition to household chores, developed considerable strength, especially in her arms and hands. Over the years, her dislike of the hogs only grew.
“Things like them don’t deserve to live,” she told her father. “The dirty, stinking varmints lay around and expect to be waited on and fed. Sometimes they even bite me when I pour their slop into the trough. I’m glad when they finally have to pay for their keep.”
He continued adamantly to refuse to allow her to help process the hogs.
One fall, she sat at the grindstone sharpening her father’s axe. Sparks flew as the rough stone honed the blade. She felt the edge with satisfaction at a job well done. It was razor-sharp and ready for use. Viola imagined, with pleasure, the hard steel slicing through the warm flesh of the hogs.
Saturday morning, Mr. Hyatt was jerked awake by a loud squeal followed by silence. “Something’s bothering the hogs,” he thought. Customers would be expecting their usual meat deliveries soon, so he got up to investigate. When he reached the hog pen, he made an astonishing discovery.
The largest hog lay on its side in a pool of blood, its head almost severed from its body. Viola, covered with gore, had forced another animal into a corner of the pen and was already swinging the axe downward with violent fury. The hog died instantly.
“Daughter, what are you doing?” he demanded. “I told you I’d take care of butchering them hogs.” She turned to face him, with a strange look. Blood dripped from her face and ran down her dress to its hem.
“You’re getting old, Paw. It’s time you had some help,” was all she said.
After that, Viola not only killed the hogs, but also chopped them into salable parts. She learned quickly and did expert work so that he no longer objected when hog killing time came around. By the time she was eighteen, she did all the butchering. He only had to market the pork.
Ready to take advantage of an opportunity to increase his income, Mr. Hyatt made what he considered to be a cagey deal with two men, Emmett Harper and Lee Harper. The middle-aged men had been in World War II and one of them on the Battan Death March. They worked with the construction company building the new road to Jacksonville.
“Since we live at Rabbittville, we need a place to stay while the work’s going on,” Lee, who was the older of the two, explained. “We’ll pay you rent for your trailer and if your daughter wants to cook for us, that’ll be extra money. My brother, Emmett, and me will split the cost so it’ll work out good for you and for us.”
The deal was made and the men moved a small box trailer belonging to Mr. Hyatt. Looking somewhat like a well-made shed, it stood on cement blocks on a level spot about fifty feet behind the Hyatt house. The extra money was a windfall for the father and daughter, although it greatly increased her workload. Viola was strong and didn’t object. Emmett and Lee, however, had in mind a modification to its terms. “Viola ain’t very good looking,” Emmett remarked, “but she’s better than nothing.” Lee winked in agreement.
“You can meet us one at a time at the barn or take us both on at once here in the trailer,” the two informed Viola. “Of course, there’ll be a little something extra in it for you.” Over the following weeks, the two gradually began to treat her with contempt and to criticize everything she did.
“You’re lucky we have anything to do with an ugly old thing like you,” Emmett sneered. “Really, you ought to be paying us.” Lee smirked in agreement.
When her father comprehended the situation, he reacted with outrage. “You men leave my daughter alone,” he ordered. “I didn’t agree to nothing like this.”
“Don’t try to tell us what to do you old billy goat,” Lee replied. He struck the elderly man a stunning blow to his midsection and followed it with a fist to his jaw. He dropped to the ground, moaning in pain. Viola watched from a distance, an angry scowl on her face. For some months, Viola silently submitted to their verbal and physical abuse, but with growing rage.
The brothers became particularly mean when they were drinking which was often. “Be down at the barn in about ten minutes,” Emmett ordered with a drunken slur to his voice after he had wolfed down the supper Viola had prepared. “We got a busy day tomorrow and need to get to bed early. Randall will be down afterwards. Hurry up there, woman.”
Viola complied with their demands once again. Afterward, she had a simple request. “I’ll need to use your car Saturday to go to the grocery store. Our old truck won’t start.”
“Hell no, you ain’t using it,” Lee stormed. “The more we do for you, the more you expect. You can hoof it or hitch your way into town.”
Viola had had all she was going to take. Early the next morning, June 27, 1959, she loaded her father’s shotgun, walked to the trailer, and knocked loudly. “Get up you two bastards. I have something to settle with you.”
“What do you mean waking us up this early?” Lee demanded as he opened the door and stared out groggily. “Get gone and call us when you have breakfast ready.”
Suddenly, the man spotted the leveled shotgun. He yelled in fear, “What do you think you’re doing, Viola! Emmett, get in here. We got trouble.” He slammed the trailer door and locked it. Seconds later, a blast from the weapon ripped several holes through the flimsy barrier. Viola jerked it open and blasted Lee full in the face as he backed away in abject terror. Emmett emerged from the bedroom to receive a similar shot to his face. Both men lay dead, pools of blood rapidly expanding on the floor.
Calmly and deliberately, Viola took the car keys from an end table beside the couch. After returning the shotgun to the rack in her living room, she cranked the 1957 Ford Galaxy and drove it as close to the trailer door as the rough terrain would allow. After raising the trunk lid, she dragged Lee into the yard, but found it too difficult to heft his limp body into the car’s trunk. Viola knew just what to do. She went to the barn, selected a double-edged axe, clunked it into a metal wheelbarrow, and rolled it alongside the man. With powerful strokes, she severed his arms and legs. It was then easier to load him into the wheelbarrow for transport to the waiting vehicle. His brother met a similar fate.
“Paw, go back into the house,” she ordered when she saw her father, aroused by the gunshots, appear on the back porch. “I’ll take care of this.” Shaken, but not knowing what else to do, he meekly obeyed.
Viola used the phone in the mens’ trailer to call the Ace Construction Company. “Emmett and Lee told me to let you know they won’t be in for a few days. They’ve gone to see their maw because she’s sick.”
She slammed the trunk and then hurriedly buried the bloody axe in a field a few yards from the trailer. The essentials cared for, Viola quietly made her way to a spot concealed in the midst of a cluster of pine trees. Standing alongside a small, rectangular pile of dirt with a fieldstone at each end, she whispered, “I made them pay for what they did to you, just like I promised when I put you here.”
With the protection provided by nightfall, she proceeded to carry out a plan she had worked out in her mind.
Easing away in the sedan so as not to draw attention, she commenced a nightlong drive from White Plains toward Gadsden, eventually passing through three counties, Calhoun, Etowah, and Cleburne. She threw out two legs in some brush beside a road in Etowah County. Viola drove through the Talladega National Forest into Cleburne County and tossed two legs into the Tallapoosa River. An arm she slung into a roadside tangle of briars where a horrified blackberry picker found it. Later, another arm was found about a mile away, several miles from where the legs were found. Miss Hyatt told authorities that she discarded two arms on Sadler Mountain near Piedmont, Alabama although they were never located. O.T. Holladay found one torso on June 28th in a dirt driveway alongside an abandoned shack just off Hwy 11 near Attalla. The other was discovered about ten miles away by a rural housewife in the woods near her house on June 29th. The entire area was thrown into panic as all speculated as to what kind of deranged man could do such a thing. For the first time, people began to keep their house doors locked.
Police, unable to identify the battered remains, named them Mr. X and Mr. Y. When the bodies were delivered to a funeral home in Gadsden, the owner balked. “You can’t bring something in such bad shape inside. Nobody’s ever gonna want to use this place again.”
When the state toxocologist arrived, he finally agreed to perform the autopsies in the parking lot despite the blazing summer temperature and scorching sun. The chief of police, who had furnished security, gratefully treated the man to a spaghetti meal at locally popular Tony’s Place. “Not eating, chief?” the official asked as he cut a meatball in half and popped it into his mouth. The man made a halfhearted reply and pushed the food around on his plate as he tried to drive from his mind the horrific images and odors of the day.
“There’s not a lot to go on,” commented the sketch artist as he attempted to create what he thought the men looked like based on photographs. The resulting line drawings were distributed across north Alabama. The bodies were buried and then dug up a few days later when no progress was being made on the case. For seventeen days, the police were stymied with dozens of tips and fruitless leads.
“Look at this,” the sheriff said to one of his deputies. “Ace Construction says two of their men have disappeared and can’t be located. Here’s where they were living.” Sirens sounding and light flashing, they rushed to the Hyatt farm on a moonless night. The search for evidence continued all night and into the next day.
That Viola’s role would be uncovered was inevitable. Her incriminating phone call, blood and hair in the trunk of the mens’ car, the damaged trailer door, and bloodstains in and in front of the trailer showed her guilt. Discovery of the axe under recently disturbed dirt removed any doubt. All were shocked that a woman could commit such a heinous crime.
Authorities initially took both Viola and her father into custody, but soon released him when it became clear that he had nothing to do with the murder. They questioned her for six hours before she broke down and began to relate what happened.
At the behest of her court-appointed attorneys, R.A. Norred and John Phillips, she was transferred from Calhoun County Jail in Anniston to Brice Mental Hospital in Tuscaloosa for evaluation to determine sanity. They explained, “She appears to be unable to understand the nature of the charge and proceedings to be had against her and she appears to be unable to cooperate and assist in preparation of her defense.”
Circuit Solicitor R. Clarence Williams didn’t object to the procedure, so Circuit Judge Leslie Longshore ordered the examination. Dr. J.S. Tarwater, director of Brice, replied to a reporter’s phone call, “She was admitted just before noon and will probably stay three weeks to a month.” He was overly optimistic. After five months examination, the mental hospital returned her to Anniston with the finding that she was presently sane and they believed she was sane at the time of the murders.
“Here she is,” shouted a reporter as the sheriff’s cruiser pulled in front of the jail. Viola emerged on the crisp fall day, wearing a blue coat that extended below her dress. Although her hair was unkept and she wore no makeup, she paused, a half smile on her face, and turned toward photographers as flashbulbs went off in rapid succession. “Viola, how’d you like Brice?” a newsman called out. “The food wasn’t bad, but too many crazy people there,” she quipped. “How about you, Viola? Are you crazy?” he returned. “They say I’m not, but I could have told them that without spending all that time and money,” she retorted with a grin. Over the next few days, she agreed to a number of interviews, including one with a minister who came to offer spiritual aid.
Her attorney commented, “She’s willing to talk to anybody but us.” Norred rightly complained, “It’s the first time I’ve had a client who won’t tell me what happened. I’ve had them lie to me before, but, but she talks until I ask her the facts about what happened then she won’t talk.” When he attempted to interview her immediately after he was appointed, she wouldn’t sit down and stood for two hours. “How are you going to justify a killing when your client won’t give a reason?” Norred added in exasperation. “All she would say was that she had the best reason in the world. I never did learn what that reason was. She didn’t deny that sexual abuse was involved, but she indicated that was not the main reason. She said it was worse than that.” The attorneys had little option but to base the case on a challenge of the sanity ruling and lined up witnesses. Viola wouldn’t agree to an examination by an independent psychiatrist.
Trial was set in March term of circuit court. People commenced to gather at the courthouse over an hour before the proceedings were to begin. Soon all the seats in the courtroom and its balcony were filled and people stood around the walls and in the back. “I’ve never seen a crowd like that,” a guard reported to Judge Longshore. “It’s got to be against fire regulations.” The judge replied, “Don’t let any more come inside. They’ll have to wait downstairs in the lobby or just go home. Tell them I said so.”
A roar of excitement arouse from the spectators as they caught sight of Viola being escorted across a skywalk from the jail to the courtroom. Several reporters leaped to their feet and called out as they pointed cameras in her direction. Viola looked straight ahead and seemed not to notice them as she entered and made her way to the defense table where she seated herself between her attorneys. She wore a charcoal dress, gold colored earrings, red high heel shoes, hose with seams, and far too much bright red lipstick. In her right hand, she held an unopened pack of Camel cigarettes. Her 72-year-old father, in dress trousers and a long sleeve white shirt, sat near the bench with his head down and appeared calm. She looked in his direction, but said nothing.
Jury selection proceeded at a slow pace, interrupted at intervals by groans and catcalls from the spectators. “Any more of that and I’ll order the courtroom cleared,” the judge declared with a sharp rap of his gavel. The crowd remained quiet. They’d come for a spectacle and didn’t intend to miss out on it.
After the jury of twelve, all males, was selected, the judge ordered a recess that continued for an hour before the judge reconvened the court and announced that an agreement had been reached in the case. The spectators moaned in surprise and disappointment. They had wanted to hear the gory details of the case discussed and hoped that Viola herself might testify. The judge ignored the disturbance. The woman had changed her plea to guilty. The State was willing to settle for a life sentence so the attorneys accepted the offer to eliminate the possibility of the electric chair. She, however, made the final decision. “We had hinted around at the possibility of an agreement for some time,” one of her attorneys later recalled. About two weeks before the trial date, they asked her if she would accept it if they could get her life and she agreed.
When she told her father she intended to accept the deal, he “guessed that it was the best thing to do,” Norred said. The attorneys felt that her having cut up the bodies would have had a strong effect on the jurors. “If we were just concerned with the shooting, there would have been some danger as far as the State was concerned,” Norred added.
As Viola left the courtroom to return to her cell, she stopped and spoke quietly to her father. When she moved on, a reporter asked Hyatt if he felt the deal was the right thing to do. “They told me not to tell nothing,” he replied sharply, “So you can go your way and I’ll go mine.”
“I never would have believed that Viola could do such a thing,” a relative avowed. She never had much to say and always did what she was told. She went to church regular, loved gospel music and was a hard worker.”
A chant about an earlier axe murderess, Lizzie Borden, was revised and used for a short time.
Viola Hyatt took an axe
And gave her lover forty whacks.
When she saw what she had done,
She gave his brother forty-one.
Will the full details of what happened ever be known? Attorney John Phillips speculated, “Unless she changes, she will take it to the grave with her.” So it proved to be.
On April 15, 1970, after years at Julia Tutwiller Prison for Women, The State Pardons and Parole Board unanimously voted to parole Viola. She returned to the area where she lived in a trailer park, quietly and in isolation, until her death in a hospital in Jacksonville in 1992. She never discussed her experience, even with family, and refused to grant interviews.
Did someone steal from you? There’s an ancient curse for that. A rival stressing you out? There’s a curse for that, too. As it turns out, cursing one’s adversaries is pretty timeless, and when Weird Darkness returns, I’ll share a few real curses you might consider using against your own enemies.
If you or someone you know struggles with depression or dark thoughts, I’d like to recommend the Hope In The Darkness page at WeirdDarkness.com. There, I’ve gathered numerous free resources to help you fight depression, including the 7Cups app, the Suicide Prevention Lifeline, iFred.org, and more. These resources are absolutely free and there when you need them on the Hope In The Darkness page at WeirdDarkness.com.
STORY: CURSES TO USE AGAINST YOUR FOES==========
Ancient cultures used curses to invoke deities, to bring punishment upon enemies, and to express dissatisfaction with someone or something. Curses were written on tablets made of thin pieces of metal that were then folded or rolled. After that, the curse tablets were buried, placed into a well or a pool, or even hung on the wall of a temple. Extant curse tablets reveal a lot about ancient peoples – everything from their concerns and hopes, to the style of language they used. Numerous curse tablets have been located at the Roman Baths to the goddess Sulis Minerva in Bath, England, with additional finds in Greece and other areas throughout the Mediterranean. While many of the ancient curses used by Greeks, Romans, and the like may not apply to the modern world directly, many useful ancient curses can be applied to contemporary situations.
We’ll begin with the shortest of the curses…
***I Curse You To Be Called Putrid Gore
The Curse: “Tacita, hereby accursed, is labeled old like putrid gore.”
Whoever Tacita was really made someone angry, prompting that individual to leave a curse tablet in a cemetery in modern-day Baldock in Hertfordshire. The tablet, written some time between 100 and 500 AD, was found in 1930. As a general curse, labeling someone “putrid gore” may have a lot of creative uses.
***I Don’t Care Who Or What Gets Tormented, Just Make My Enemy Go Away
The Curse: “I implore you, spirit, whoever you are, and I command you to torment and kill the horses of the green and white teams from this hour on, from this day on, and to kill Clarus, Felix, Primulus, and Romanus, the charioteers…”
This 3rd century curse from Hadrumetum in North Africa goes after all aspects of an opponent in a chariot race. The curse works next time you wager on any type of race, naturally, but can be used against a rival of any kind. Additionally, the next time a loud car passes by, someone hoots and hollers at you, or something comparable takes place, this curse can be called out with reckless abandon.
***To Whoever Took Her From Me, May You Go Dissolve
The Curse: “May he who carried off Vilbia from me become as liquid as water. (May) she who obscenely devoured her (become) dumb.…”
Discovered in Bath, England, in 1880, this curse is a scathing invocation of the gods to destroy whoever convinced Vilbia to withdraw her affections. It’s not clear exactly who Vilbia was, but the implication is she was a love interest of some kind. When a bad breakup happens, this curse is an option.
This one is ultra-specific, and quite vindictive for the offense…
***Return My Gloves, Or Lose Your Mind – And Your Eyes, Too
The Curse: “Docimedis has lost two gloves. He asks that whoever took them lose their minds and eyes.”
Theft was not a minor offense in Roman Bath, and Docimedis went to Sulis Minerva to request retribution after his gloves were stolen. While the identity of Docimedis is unknown, the curse tablet seeks serious vengeance. Basically, it’s a message to thieves of beloved items, big and small: BEWARE!
From ultra-specific to non-specific…
***May A Bear Escape Your Grasp – Soon
The Curse: “Entangle the nets of Vincenzus Zarizo, may he be unable to chain bears, may he lose with every bear, may he be unable to kill a bear on Wednesday, in any hour, now, now, quickly, quickly, make it happen!”
Written in Greek and Latin, the curse tablet about Vincenzus Zarizo doesn’t specify his offense, but makes it very clear that something bad needs to happen to the bear-hunter. The tablet, found in Northern Africa, is aimed at a 2nd century gladiator and may use “bears” as a symbolic word – or could just be someone who had placed a bet on an upcoming gladiatorial match and really needed to win. Whether you need your favorite team to win or you have it out for someone who finds him or herself in a dangerous situation, an actual or metaphorical bear might come in handy.
***I Curse Your ‘Sacred Organ’ Along With Everything Else
The Curse: “I give over to you the head of Plotius… his breast, liver, heart, and lungs, so that he may not be able to discover the source of his pain; his intestines, stomach, navel, and sides, so that he may not be able to sleep; his shoulder blades, so that he may not be able to sleep soundly; his “sacred organ,” so that he may not be able to urinate; his rump, anus, thighs, knees, shanks, shins, feet, ankles, heels, toes, and toenails, so that he may not be able to stand by his own strength. No matter what he may have written, great or small, just as he has written a proper spell and commissioned it (against me), so I hand over and consign Plotius to you, so that you may take care of him by the month of February. Let him perish miserably. Let him leave life miserably. Let him be destroyed miserably. Take care of him so that he may not see another month.”
The target of this curse, Plotius, was a slave of Avonia – and someone whose insides and outsides were listed off as needing destruction. Written to Proserpina Salvia, goddess of the Underworld, the curse runs head to toe in its articulation of body parts, and identifies the ideal outcomes of each torment. It also seems to be in response to a curse levied at the author, indicating a romantic relationship gone very, very wrong.
***I Commend Every Part Of You To Decay – And Hell
The Curse: “I beg you, holy angels/daemons. Just like this soul is enclosed inside, imprisoned, and sees no light and has no recreation, so may the soul, mind, and body of Collecticius, whom Agnella bore, be equally enclosed, may it burn and fall into decay. Lead Collecticius, whom Agnella bore, away all the way to hell.”
As a curse from the 4th or 5th century CE, this somewhat nonspecific curse could be part of some love triangle or another rivalry. It was found in Rome, thought to have been placed in a grave, and really leaves nothing to chance in terms of everything about the target to go to Hell.
***May Your Innards, Limbs, And Marrow Be Torn Up And Burned
The Curse: “Dispater, divine Proserpina, Ogre’s Dogs, infernal Burners, Destroyers of bones, Larvae, Furies, Maniae, nocturnal Birds, Harpies, Ortygiae, Virga, Chimaera, Geryon, Sirens, Circe, Giants, Sphinx: to you [he] prays and implores, to you [he] begs, powers of the gods of the Underworld, who have been mentioned above, that you, Dispater, knock down that Caecilia Prima – or any other name she has – and that you assail her with bad pains and take her away with you… suck the blood from her veins, tear up the body and living breath of that Caecilia Prima… devour the liver of that Caecilia Prima, her lungs, her heart with its veins, her innards, her limbs, her marrow, may you tear them to pieces, may you pull out the eyes of that Caecilia Prima and… may you set fire to the eyes of that Caecilia Prima, to her stomach, heart, lungs, to her fat and to all other body parts of that Caecilia Prima, may you set on fire, burn to ashes, so that she cannot live or be healthy…!”
This lengthy curse to Proserpina, a goddess of the Underworld, and to a host of other deities, was found in Rome. It clearly directs a hefty amount of rage at Caecilia Prima. Dated to the late 1st century AD, the curse was likely written by a man and targets a former love interest. It repeats cursing her heart and lungs, requesting more than once that everything be destroyed by fire. Without a doubt, a curse to be used cautiously.
***Nothing But Worms, Cancer, And Maggots To Whoever Stole My Stuff!
The Curse: “The human who stole Verio’s cloak or his things, who deprived him of his property, may he be bereft of his mind and memory, be it a woman or those who deprived Verio of his property, may the worms, cancer, and maggots penetrate his hands, head, feet, as well as his limbs and marrows!”
Calling out a human specifically – just in case – for the theft of Verio’s possessions was serious enough to prompt a request for extreme physical harm. The curse tablet, found in Germany, is especially harsh. It can be used pretty much whenever “Give me back my stuff!” doesn’t get the job done.
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! You can email me anytime with your questions or comments at email@example.com – and you can find the show on Facebook and Twitter, including the show’s Weirdos Facebook Group on the CONTACT/SOCIAL page at WeirdDarkness.com. Also on the website, if you have a true paranormal or creepy tale to tell, click on TELL YOUR STORY – or call the DARKLINE toll free at 1-877-277-5944. That’s 1-877-277-5944.
All stories in Weird Darkness are purported to be true (unless stated otherwise) and you can find source links or links to the authors in the show notes.
“The Charlton UFO Landing Site” by Marcus Lowth for UFO Insight
“Curses To Use Against Your Foes” by Melissa Sartore for Weird History
“The Alabama Ax Murderess” by Elton Camp for WritingRoom.com
Again, you can find link to all of these stories in the show notes.
WeirdDarkness™ – is a production and trademark of Marlar House Productions.
Now that we’re coming out of the dark, I’ll leave you with a little light… “Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.” – Romans 12:16
And a final thought… “If you light a lamp for someone else it will also brighten your path.” – Buddha
I’m Darren Marlar. Thanks for joining me in the Weird Darkness.