(TRANSCRIPT) “DO YOU LIVE NEAR ONE OF THESE DOORS TO HELL?” and 4 More True Dark Stories! #WeirdDarkness

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Most people believe in some form of Heaven and Hell. They believe that if they are good people, they will go to Heaven. If they are sinners, they will go to Hell. Others believe that Heaven and Hell are just stories, told on television and in movies. Some people honestly admit they simply just don’t know if Heaven and Hell exist. Regardless of your beliefs, there are real places on Earth that look as though they could be the entrance to fiery pits of Purgatory. Some people who have explored these various places on Earth believe they have found secret entrances that lead to the underworld.
I’m Darren Marlar and this is Weird Darkness.

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…

A king, a gossoon and a bear walked into a bar. No, this is not the first line of a joke, but a common occurrence in Potrero Hill in San Francisco, California, during the 1880s. The king was Frank McManus, the gossoon was Frank’s baseball-playing brother, Cornelius, and the bear was a large inebriated ursine. (King of the Irish Hill)

Why are some people suddenly vigorous, alert, and feeling much better shortly before they pass away? It is something that has happened since time began, but medical experts are still baffled by it. (Terminal Lucidity Phenomenon)

Two men were found dead in the bushes, beheaded… and emasculated. But that was just the beginning of the Mad Butcher’s killing spree. (The Cleveland Torso Murders)

While many say the most haunted hotel is the one in Colorado that was used in the film “The Shining” – there is evidence that one in Eureka Springs, Arkansas deals with even more paranormal activity. (The Crescent Hotel)

Seeing reptiles in Oklahoma isn’t all that uncommon – even dinosaur fossils are found in the state. But there have also been reports of something much stranger – a snake/human hybrid creature more terrifying than it sounds. (Oklahoma Snake Man)

Of course a lot of people likely don’t believe in heaven or hell and many will dismiss such things as mythical tales or folklore. However there are places on Earth that could be considered hell – no not Detroit or Wichita. We’re talking about actual places that look like the entrances to purgatory. And perhaps they really are. (Secret Doors to the Underworld)

If you’re new here, welcome to the show! And if you’re already a member of this Weirdo family, please take a moment and invite someone else to listen. Recommending Weird Darkness to others helps make it possible for me to keep doing the show! And while you’re listening, be sure to check out WeirdDarkness.com where you can find the show on Facebook and Twitter, and you can also join the Weird Darkness Weirdos Facebook group.

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


#1 Cape Matapan Caves
There is a place located in the southernmost tip of the Greek mainland. Some believe that it is actually the gateway to Hell. It is also known as Cape Tanner, situated on the end of the peninsula known as the mani cave. They open up at sea level into a cliff. The area is marked by the ruins of a Spartan temple. Several entrances exist that the ancient Greeks say was the entrance to Hade’s cave. Many Greeks believe that this is the place where Hercules began digging into the caves to enter the underworld. Hades was known as the God of the Dead, and this area is linked to those beliefs. There are plenty of cave networks in this area. Within the ruins are the remains of a temple that was said to be a temple dedicated to the sea God Poseidon. The ruins are located on a hill directly above the cave to Hades. In the area, there is also a statue of the poet Arion. He escaped from pirates by being carried ashore by a pot of dolphins. The statue is bronze, and it resembles the poet riding a dolphin that stands at the crest of the Cape far from the ruins of a temple that was raised in honor of the Sea God Poseidon. The caverns below contain stalactites and stalagmites, and they can be seen below water level. You can visit the caverns by boats, and you can pass through the “gate of Hell.”

#2 Fengdu Ghost City China
This city is nearly 2,000 years old. It is located on the Ming Mountain in Fen Du City. The area is also known as the City of Ghosts, and it is located in Chongqing municipality. It is believed that this is the place where the dead makes a stop before moving onto the afterlife. It said that this is where you go when you are waiting to find out if you are moving to Heaven or Hell. In the area are many Buddhist and Taoist temples. Legend says that these temples are surrounded by immortal spirits that torment the souls of the dead. When a freshly dead soul arrives at the City of Ghosts, they must cross a bridge where their soul is judged for its virtue. If it is found that the soul is not virtuous, it would be tormented by the immortal spirits that haunt the area. If you want to test your virtue, the King of Hell in China will be there to determine whether or not you are virtuous. This is a very popular tourist area for people traveling on cruises through the length of the Yangtze River. In 1994, work in the area caused the water level to rise. This caused the City of Ghosts to become and island. According to the legend, two individuals lived during the Han Dynasty. Their names were Yang Chang Chen and Wang Feng Ping. They both quit their jobs at the Imperial Court and moved to Ming Mountain. There, they practiced self-cultivation in accordance with the teachings of Taoism. As a result, the two men achieved immortality. Then men’s last names are said to translate to the King of Hell.

#3 St. Patrick’s Purgatory
St. Patrick’s Purgatory is located on a small island in the middle of an Irish lake. According to legend, the area dates back to the 5th century. Christ showed St. Patrick a cave that is often referred to as a pit on Station Island that was the entrance to Hell. It is a place where souls before being sent to Heaven. Christ directed Patrick to a cave on the island. During his stay, he received visions of the torments of Hell so that justice could be created. The area is known to be a place where unworthy souls would be cursed or punished. The Pagans in Ireland believed that this is a place where the devil actually exists. St. Patrick’s Purgatory consists of holy wells and other sites. The area was once a pilgrimage spot; however, it was shut down due to an increasing number of serious incidents that were occurring. There are areas that are still open to the public, and many people use the purgatory and its legend as an excuse to get drunk.

#4 The Gates of Guinee
The Gates of Guinee is said to be the entrance of the Voodoo of the underworld. The gates are located in New Orleans through the seven gates that are scattered throughout the French Quarter. According to the Voodoo legend, the souls of the dead reside in a part of the underworld known as Guinee. This is not a place where torture or punishments are handed out. It is actually a murky plane where spirits must pass before they can reach the deep waters, which is the area where they would be reunited with their family. The area is presided over by Baron Samedi. He is a skeleton corpse that is painted and dressed in a top hat and tails. He is a symbol of death and rebirth. The actual theories of the area vary based on the Voodoo practitioner you are talking to. Many see the seven gates as a metaphor for the seven days after death. It is believed that the soul will remain close to the body for the first week. This is the time where there is a great risk of the body becoming a zombie thanks to hoodoo magicians. During the seven days, the soul will pass through each of the gates to finally be met by Baron Samedi. Then, the soul will be taken to the land of the dead. There are other practitioners in New Orleans who claim that the seven gates are located in various cemeteries scattered around Canal Street in the French Quarter. The gates must be opened in the right order during seven nights when seven moons are above. Also, proper respect must be paid to each Guardian before entering each gate.

#5 Houska Castle
The Houska castle has a terrifying background and is said to be haunted. It is one of the world’s gateways to hell, and it has a very scary urban legend attached to it. The castle is 762-years-old, and it is a Gothic castle. It is said to have been built in order to seal up the real-life entrance to Hell. It is believed to have been built between 1253 and 1278, and it is located in the Czech countryside. Legend says that the location of the castle was chosen so that it could cover the bottomless pit where the demonic creature would enter our world when the sun would go down. These creatures are believed to be black winged creatures that were half animal and half human. At night, villagers would be too scared to leave their homes and go anywhere near the hole. Even during daylight hours, people would avoid the area. Before the castle was built, this is the area where prisoners sentenced to death would be sent. Legend says that they would be tossed into the pit. If the prisoner were able to get out of the pit alive, they would be forgiven and set free. This didn’t happen very often. There is one legendary story about the first man who was ever lowered into the pit. The second that he was out of view of the people above, they pulled him out of the darkness. When he was pulled up, he had aged 30 years after just a few minutes, and his hair was white. People say that the demonic creatures would walk the town during the night and they would drag people to the bottomless pit. Finally, the fear became too much for the villagers, and they decided to build the Houska Castle to close up the hole forever. When the castle was built, people who were visiting the lower floors claim to have heard the creatures from Hell scratching on the floor trying to find their way out.

#6 The Royal Air Force Station Menwith Hill
If you look at the area from above, you would think that you were at a giant golf course because there are structures in the area that look like huge golf balls. The area, which is located in the UK, actually belongs to the National Security Agency (NSA). The NSA has been around much longer than people think. For a while, it was a secret. People didn’t find out about the agency until Edward Snowden leaked the information about the secret government organization. It was actually established by President Truman in 1952. Many people believe that all of the NSA buildings are stationed in the United States, but they are wrong. This place is supposed to be a secret, but with such strange structures, it is hard to keep this place a secret. The place has been used by the United States since the 1950s. It looks like an Air Force base, but it isn’t. Originally, there were four golf ball structures in the area. Today, there are over 30, and they are pieces of high-tech satellite equipment that can gather and intercept communications. This is not a place the public can visit. The U.S. military is stationed there are they won’t let you in, and they won’t talk about their jobs. They won’t tell anyone what they do there.
The base is known as the American Death Star. It is said to be carrying out all types of illegal spying. There are plenty of crazy stories and theories about this place, and we may never know the truth about any of it.

#7 Bohemian Grove
The Bohemian Grove is hidden in the ancient Redwood Forest in Northern California. It was originally built as a camp for the most powerful and rich men in the world. Since 1923, every U.S. Republican President has been an exclusive member of this camp. Nixon, Reagan, Eisenhower, and both Bushs have been to this place which has a lot of history behind it. There are plenty of stories surrounding the area and the biggest one involved the Manhattan Project. This is a secret operation that was planned back in 1942, and it was the code name for the operation that created the atomic bomb. This is a place where the rich and the powerful gather in what is like a summer camp. There are also some pretty strange things in the grove such as a 40-foot owl statue that has something to do with a secret ceremony that takes place on the first night that everyone arrives. The ceremony begins with everyone wearing dark hoods as a small boat crosses the artificial lake that is located in front of the huge owl. The leaders of the group pretend to offer a human effigy that comes from ferrymen of the boat which they set on fire at the foot of the shrine. While all of this is taking place, a scary voice comes from the speakers that are hidden in the statue. Next, fireworks go off, and the ritual is over. Conspiracy theorists have a lot to say about the area. At one point, Alex Jones and his cameraman snuck in to see the ceremony, and they filmed the whole thing. He made a documentary with his footage and called it The Dark Secrets Inside the Bohemian Grove.

#8 Bureau 39
These days, North Korea is in the news quite often. North Korea is also known as the Hermit Kingdom because the leaders have cut themselves off from the rest of the world using threats and intimidation. Due to these cut ties, there are plenty of mysteries surrounding North Korea and not much is known about the place because the leader keeps everything tightly controlled. North Koreans have one channel on television to watch, and they are shown constant propaganda. The people of North Korea are not allowed to hear about what is going on in the world unless it is sanctioned by the government. They also are not allowed to speak about what their everyday lives are like to anyone living outside the country. Anyone who is caught talking can wind up in labor camps along with their whole family. In severe cases, they can face execution. Because everything is a secret, people wonder about Bureau 39, also known as Room 39. The organization was founded in the ’70s. According to many, it is a place where the state’s money is laundered through some very classified accounts in Switzerland and China. These rumors have never been proven due to the sanctions that are set. Since the country needs some type of income and they avoid trade and the rest of the world, it is believed that they make money through fraudulent transactions such as drug trafficking and arms smuggling. The North Korean government will never admit that this is happening and they will never admit that Bureau 39 even exists. Nobody knows where the place is located, but they do say that there is a printing press capable of printing counterfeit US money. Since we literally know nothing about the area, there is no way of knowing if the rumors are true and it even exists. Since the government does have money and they are not involved in any trade embargos with any other country in the world, there is a good chance that Room 39 does exist.

#9 Area 51
Area 51 is a United Air Force base that is highly classified, and it is a detachment of Edwards Air Force Base. It is located in Nevada in the Nevada Test and Training Range. The purpose of this base has an amazing story behind it, partially due to the fact that the U.S. government denied its existence between 1950 and 2013. For several decades, the government claimed that the area didn’t even exist. Although the government was denying its existence, people were talking. It is believed that an alien craft crashed in the desert of Nevada and the U.S. government found it. People say that they have the alien’s body and its aircraft stored there and they have been studying it for years. This is part of the reason that UFO enthusiasts make it a point to visit Area 51 or as close as they can get to it. To make the place more mysterious, the people who work there aren’t allowed to talk about what they do even to their family members. The people who work there aren’t even allowed to talk to their coworkers about what they do. In a typical work setting, you know exactly what you coworkers do during the day. This is not the case at Area 51. Two people who work in adjoining offices don’t even know what their neighbors do all day. This just goes to show you how mysterious the dealings at Area 51 are. When the government is so secret about something, there certainly is something to hide. They may say that they are working on high-tech aircrafts, but most people don’t believe it.

#10 The Jiangsu National Security Educations Museum
In 2009, China opened what could be considered a spy museum. Within the museum are stories and facts surrounding Chinese security and intelligence methods. Most of these facts date back to 1927. Inside the museum are high-tech spy gadgets and many other secret service Chinese paraphernalia.  Many of the things found in the museum are outdated. Fountain pens have been in existence forever, but you will find some in the museum. The same is true with lipstick. Even more interesting are maps that are disguised as a deck of playing cards to hide the information just in case the maps are recovered by enemies during times of war. They even have confidential, secret service documents that are hidden in hollowed out coins. In the museum, you can learn how wiretapping is done, and you can see the uniforms that intelligence officers once wore. There are plenty of things to see at the museum. You may be wondering why a museum like this would be added to a list that contains secret gateways to Hell, rituals designed only for the rich and famous, and the United States’ best-kept secret. The reason that we have listed the Jiangsu National Security Educations Museum on this list is that unless you are a resident of China, you cannot visit the museum. It is off-limits to all foreigners, no exceptions. In order to get in, you must have Asian features, and you cannot resemble a westerner in any way. If you aren’t Chinese, you cannot even look through the windows of the museum. What makes things even more strange is that the people who work at the door of the museum don’t check any type of identification. They only thing that they go by is your appearance. If you show up at the museum, you won’t even be asked for identification. The people at the door will go by your facial features and what you are wearing. What is more strange than that?

Up next…
A king, a gossoon and a bear walked into a bar. No, this is not the first line of a joke, but a common occurrence in Potrero Hill in San Francisco, California, during the 1880s. The king was Frank McManus, the gossoon was Frank’s baseball-playing brother, Cornelius, and the bear was a large inebriated ursine. (King of the Irish Hill)
Why are some people suddenly vigorous, alert, and feeling much better shortly before they pass away? It is something that has happened since time began, but medical experts are still baffled by it. (Terminal Lucidity Phenomenon)
Two men were found dead in the bushes, beheaded… and emasculated. But that was just the beginning of the Mad Butcher’s killing spree. (The Cleveland Torso Murders)
These stories and more when Weird Darkness returns.

Frank McManus’ kingdom was Irish Hill, a 10-square-block area between 20th and 22nd streets and Illinois Street and Pier 70 in Potrero Hill. Irish Hill was aptly named, with the vast majority of its inhabitants born in the emerald isle. Six feet tall and 230 pounds, Frank earned his crown by becoming the master of politics, drinking and fighting — three of the major Irish arts. In those days, drinking and fighting were both a pastime and an entertainment.
On Saturdays, instead of going to a music hall, the patrons of one saloon would fight the patrons of a different saloon in a roped off area. After the fights, the victors would buy the losers a nickel beer in their saloon.
As the owner of the Union Boarding House, which included a saloon, Frank provided beds, drinks and jobs for hundreds of workers at the Union Iron Works and Pacific Rolling Mills. In exchange, they gave him their fealty and votes.
Frank was often accompanied by an entourage of 10 to 20 brawlers, ready to do his bidding. With the ability to deliver up to 1,000 votes, Frank became a major power broker in the Republican Party.
He soon brought his family over from Ireland to help him rule his kingdom. His favorite was his younger brother, Cornelius — Con, for short — who he named “the gassoon,” an Irish term for a youth.
As “King of the Potrero,” Frank McManus held himself above the law of the common people.
He was often arrested for drunkenness, fighting and attempted murder, but he always got the charges dismissed — either through fear or political power. As a kind of noblesse oblige, he would plead guilty for using bad language and pay a $10 fine.
Instead of a jester, Frank had a 300-pound black bear, chained in his back yard, as part of his retinue.
The bear participated in the numerous drinking bouts of the royal court. After one of these bouts, the besotted bear ripped his chain loose, wandered into the second floor of a nearby rooming house and got into bed with a man who was similarly soused. The man, thinking his friends were joking with him, started hitting the bear until the bear returned the favor. Suddenly, the man awoke and, realizing the bear was not a hallucination, started screaming.
His screams woke the rooming house, and the bear was returned to the king without causing any serious injuries.
Around 1890, Jack Welch and his brothers, fellow Irishmen who had honed their political skills in the rough-and-tumble world of Tammany Hall politics, arrived in the Potrero. Jack and his brothers opened a boarding house around the corner from Frank’s place.
Jack, who was a Democrat, attracted a large group of men who had been chafing under Frank’s rule. Thus began the “Blue Mud Wars,” named after the blue rocks that would turn to mud during the fighting. This war was won during the bloody 1891 primary, when the Welch faction decisively defeated the MacManuses, and the Democrats won the day. More than 100 men were involved in the fighting that day.
King Frank, however, refused to accept defeat, and a war of attrition followed.
On June 25, 1892, Frank and his followers dragged Jack out of the carriage he was riding in on 3rd Street. Con McManus stabbed Welch, and Welch pulled out his pistol and shot Con three times. Though seriously wounded, both men survived.
On June 14, 1894, fellow ballplayer Charles Sweeney was attacked by Con in a 3rd Street saloon. During the fracas, Sweeney shot the gossoon three times, killing McManus. The death of his brother drove Frank wild. He tried to get into Sweeney’s hospital room to kill him and had to be restrained by six policemen.
When the priest refused to perform a high mass during Con’s funeral services, Frank threw a brick through the church’s window and threatened his life. Despite testimony that Con had been the aggressor, Sweeney was convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to eight years in prison.
The death of his brother devastated Frank and caused him to increase his already Herculean drinking. Within two years, he had wasted away to 130 pounds and died of congestive heart failure. Irish Hill disappeared after World War I, when industrialists bought the hill to expand their businesses. The hill was leveled and dumped into the Bay.

Terminal lucidity is a puzzling phenomenon that has been known since ancient times, but it’s only recently that scientists have started to pay attention to this unusual condition that could shed new light on near-death experiences and unravel some of the many mysteries of human consciousness.
Terminal lucidity occurs to only a small percentage of people, but recorded cases show that is still plenty we don’t know about the human brain. Those who are in the terminal stage of the disease experience, often shortly before dying suddenly show unexpected visible signs of health improvement.
People who should be dying are instead full of energy and strength.  This is terminal lucidity, and this condition lasts from a couple weeks to minutes before death. Relatives who have seen their loved ones recover shortly before death with their memory being intact have been shocked.
Why people suddenly experience mental clarity and memory just before passing away is still unknown.
The term terminal lucidity was coined in 2009 by Dr. Michael Nahm, a biologist who also works at the at the Institute for Frontier Areas of Psychology and Mental Health in Freiburg, Germany.
Being curious about unexplained riddles about life, Dr. Nahm started to investigate an unusual biological phenomenon that he later called terminal lucidity. Today his findings have become of interest to other scientists. Doctors who observed this peculiar condition in dying patients have been surprised because it doesn’t make any sense, and yet it is real.
In many of the recorded cases it should be impossible for patients whose brains were destroyed by tumors and Alzheimer’s disease to return to ordinary intellectual activities. Dr. Nahm says there are several astonishing examples of terminal lucidity.
For example, he recalls a 91-year-old woman who suffered from Alzheimer’s disease. The sick woman, who had been cared for by her daughter couldn’t recognize anyone for the last five years. All family members, friends and people she previously knew were complete strangers to her.
Then, suddenly one evening she behaved like a healthy human being again. She had a normal conversation with her daughter and revealed her fears of death. The old woman explained what problems she had with other family members in the past, and everything seemed fine, almost like a miracle. Sadly, she died a few hours later.
Her sudden improvement in health and mental abilities is a perfect example of terminal lucidity.
Anna Katharina Ehmer, a German woman who lived from 1895 to 1922, is a another curious cased that has baffled scientists. Anna was born with several mental disabilities and she spent all her life in an institution. She couldn’t speak a single word, gorged her food, and fouled herself day and night. Her behavior changed on the day she died from tuberculosis.
Dr Wilhelm Wittneben and Friedrich Happich (1883–1951), a Protestant theologian were stunned when they saw what Anna was suddenly doing.
“When we entered the room together, we did not believe our eyes and ears. [Ehmer], who had never spoken a single word, sang dying songs to herself. Specifically, she sang over and over again “Where does the soul find its home, its peace? Peace, peace, heavenly peace!” For half an hour she sang. Her face, up to then so stultified, was transfigured and spiritualized. Then, she quietly passed away. Like myself and the nurse who had cared for her, [Dr Wittneben] had tears in his eyes,” Happich recalled.
Dr. Nahm and Bruce Greyson from the University of Virginia said that Anna’s story represents ‘one of the most intriguing cases’ of the phenomenon.
According to Dr. Nahm about 42 % of all people who had flashbacks died on the same day.   How can sick people gain mental clarity just before they die? Why do patients who suffered from Alzheimer’s disease, brain tumors or stroke suddenly, for a brief period exhibit normal behavior?
Terminal lucidity is currently a medical mystery, and one of those ‘anomalies’ that neuroscience cannot explain, at least not yet.

On September 23, 1935, in the Kingsbury Run area of Cleveland, Ohio, two male bodies were found in the bushes. Someone had beheaded and emasculated both of them. The police arrived and conducted a preliminary investigation during which they found both heads. One of the bodies bore additional evidence of chemical treatment which turned the skin leathery and red. This was the beginning of the Cleveland torso murders — the work of one of the most heinous and brutal serial killers in U.S history, also known as the Mad Butcher.
There was no blood at the scene, and this led detectives to conclude that someone committed the murders elsewhere and transported to the bodies to the site. One of the bodies remained unidentified, but the other body was that of Edward Andrassy, who the police already knew as a petty criminal. Curiously, police determined that the other anonymous man died several weeks before Andrassy.
Police work began in earnest and the workload increased when the body of a female showed up in January of 1936. Her murder had occurred in a similar manner as the two men. It was surprising to the detectives that the killer had changed the gender of his victims, which was unusual. Someone soon identified the body as Flo Polillo, a frequent patron of bars in the area.
At this point, the famous Eliot Ness became involved, as he was Cleveland’s chief of Public Safety. He added himself to the growing number of law enforcement working on the case.
In June of 1936, a male body surfaced that featured six notable tattoos strewn across his body. Police displayed the morgue reports and the victim’s death mask at the Great Lakes Exposition that year to thousands of people. However, not a single person knew the tattooed man. His identity is still unknown.
n September, a partial body lay with a hat nearby that authorities later identified as one given to a homeless man by a local woman. This reinforced the theory that the Cleveland torso murders involved only people from the lowest rungs of society.
There was a slight lull in the murders. Although the investigation continued at a frantic pace, the Mad Butcher of Kingsbury Run remained at large.
Cleveland’s serial killer apparently took six more lives before the last canonical victim emerged in August of 1938 (like Jack the Ripper, there was some disagreement among law enforcement as to the number of murders the Mad Butcher committed). He had surgically decapitated all of them.
The Kingsbury Run shantytown emerged as a result of the ’30s Great Depression. During this time, many people lost their jobs and suffered major economic hardships, especially immigrants and minorities. Vacant areas within the industrial zone of Kingsbury Run provided homeless and downtrodden individuals a place to set up makeshift residences. A number of the Cleveland murders surfaced in the Kingsbury Run shantytown.
In 1938 Eliot Ness headed the raids of Kingsbury Run. He evicted about 300 individuals and burned down roughly 100 shanty homes.
The hunt for the murderer hit one dead end after another. Investigators were hopeful when they identified a man named Frank Dolezal who frequented a bar that several of the victims also patronized. People described him as prone to anger and threatening when drunk. Police took Dolezal into custody and, after some time, he confessed to one murder. Unfortunately, he hanged himself before they fully questioned him about the other murders. Suspiciously, after his death, his autopsy revealed several broken ribs, which acquaintances of the man said he didn’t have when police took him into custody. This led the press and general populace to believe his confession was worthless because it appeared that police had obtained it under physical force.
Later, Ness himself oversaw the pursuit of Dr. Francis E. Sweeney, who had served as a military doctor in WWI. During his time in the war, he conducted amputations of wounded soldiers. He later developed mental illness. Police brought him in, and the doctor failed a lie detector test. Ness felt he was finally on the path to the killer and continued to press the medical man. Unfortunately, Francis Sweeney was related to the U.S. Representative, Martin Sweeney, which complicated matters for Ness. The suspect voluntarily committed himself to a mental institution, which placed him out of legal reach of Ness and his team. Had Ness pursued the doctor further, the doctor had an insanity defense virtually locked in place.
Coincidentally, the Cleveland torso murders appeared to stop after the doctor went into the mental hospital. Cleveland police continued to investigate the crimes. However, they made no convictions and the murders remain a cold case. Perhaps with new evidence or technology police may solve the murders in the future. Or they may remain a puzzle from the realm of 20th century true crime.

When Weird Darkness returns…
While many say the most haunted hotel is the one in Colorado that was used in the film “The Shining” – but there is evidence that one in Eureka Springs, Arkansas deal with even more paranormal activity. (The Crescent Hotel)
Seeing reptiles in Oklahoma isn’t all that uncommon – even dinosaur skeletons are often found in the state. But there have also been reports of something much stranger – a snake/human hybrid creature more terrifying than it sounds. (Oklahoma Snake Man)
These stories are up next.

In Eureka Springs, Arkansas overlooking a valley sits The Crescent Hotel and Spa. Opening its doors on May 20, 1886, it began its rich and haunted history which eventually gave it its nickname of America’s Most Haunted Hotel. Designed by Isaac L. Taylor and built by The Eureka Springs Improvement Company headed by the governor of Arkansas, Powell Clayton in hopes of taking advantage of the springs surrounding the hotel that were touted as healing waters, stonemasons from Ireland were brought in for construction and brought the 78-room resort to life boasting numerous towers, chandeliers, beautiful gardens and wooden pathways. People flocked to The Crescent Hotel but when they realized that the springs held no healing power they stopped coming and the hotel closed its doors.
It reopened and ran as the Crescent Women’s College and Conservatory from 1908-1924 but when tuition couldn’t maintain the cost, they closed it. In 1937 The Crescent reopened, this time as a cancer center run by a man named Norman Baker who advertised a miracle elixir that cured cancer. Sadly, he was a fraud, gaining $4,000,000 from his unsuspecting victims and ending in his arrest in 1937. From 1940-1946 the building sat empty. In 1944, four businessmen bought it and restored it but in 1967, a fire destroyed most of the fourth floor. It passed through many owners until May 1997 when Marty and Elise Roenigk bought it restoring it to its former glory. In September 2002, renovations were finished.
With such a rich and sometimes, sordid history, it isn’t surprising to find some ghostly activity. With the smell of pipe tobacco, orbs, and the appearances of pools of blood, the haunted history of The Crescent is already ripe with paranormal activity and that is without the full-bodied apparitions.
The most notorious ghost is that of a womanizing Irish stonemason named Michael, who allegedly fell through the roof into room 218 during construction, hitting his head and killing him instantly. Loud thuds can be heard and sometimes, his apparition appears in the room staring at the floor. He’s also been blamed for ghost hands reaching out of the mirror, orbs, and blood on the wall.
Theodora is another ghost. She was a cancer patient and one of the victims of Norman Baker who has appeared in full body apparition in room 419. Another ghost is that of a young woman who lived there while the building was a college. She was either pushed or jumped to her death. She often wakes guests as they sleep by touching them and her apparition has been seen. Sometimes, her screams can be heard as she falls reenacting her death.
There is also the ghost of a man dressed in hat and tails that is thought to be the ghost of Dr. John Freemont Ellis, a frequent visitor of the hotel. Another apparition dressed in a top hat with a full beard has also been seen. The ghost of Norman Baker, the con artist, is usually at fault for moving objects and loud footsteps. Also, the apparitions of two nurses have been seen pushing empty wheelchairs or carrying clipboards. There is also the apparition of a waiter carrying butter through the dining room as well as the ghosts of a bride and groom which appeared in a mirror but not in the dining room itself. There have also been sightings of a little boy and a little girl.
So, if you’re seeking ghosts, this would be the place you’re most likely to find them and for those brave enough, they offer daily ghost tours. With all the paranormal activity, The Crescent earns its nickname as America’s Most Haunted Hotel.

An ice storm, the flu, and a computer virus have kept me out of the blogsphere for a while—when it rains, it pours (and in this case it rains ice). But one good thing came out of trekking twice a day to the only outlet still serving food: about two days into the storm one of my fellow refugees approached me during dinner with a very strange story.
Adam Meirs of Kansas, Oklahoma (another in a long line of creative Okie names) had an encounter of the slithery kind in the summer of 2005.
Kansas is a small town in Delaware County, just off the Cherokee Turnpike. It has a population of 685, according to the last census. Meirs states:
“I was riding my four-wheeler at dusk behind my uncle’s house where there’s a lot of trees. Back behind his house there’s a dip that leads to a pond that he also owns and before you reach the pond there’s a turnaround point.”
It was dusk, and Meirs began to get spooked. He continues:
“I turned around and right at the dip my four-wheeler immediately shuts off. I’m trying to pull-start it, and I started getting a little more freaked out because I heard some rustling off to the side. I look over and see a human-like shadow standing off to the side, but instead of being a normal human he had a snake-like head.”
The being approached Meirs, who struggled more and more frantically to start his vehicle:
“I gave one final pull on the starter while pressing on the gas at the same time and my four-wheeler starts, and I haul out of there and go tell my friend Joe what I seen.”
Joe took the four-wheeler and returned to the site, but headed back to the house after hearing a noise that “did not seem normal”.
The most interesting thing about Meirs’s snake-headed humanoid is the resemblance it bears to the Seminole tribe’s “human snakes”, legendary malevolent creatures that lived in dens full of giant snakes. I asked Meirs if he was familiar with the legend, and he said he was not. Human snakes are either half-snake half-human or can shape shift between the two.
Human snakes aren’t the only breed of strange snake the Native Americans believe in. The Cherokee tribe tells of Ukena, giant horned reptiles that live in the water, and perhaps most interesting are the Creeks’ tie-snakes, strong, dark snakes that live in caves alongside riverbanks and are capable of pulling unsuspecting humans to a watery death.
Of the forty-six species of known snake native to Oklahoma, only a few are aquatic, and none are powerful enough to prey on humans. The Western Diamond-backed Rattlesnake and the Coachwhip hold the title of OK’s largest snakes, both clocking in just shy of seven feet long.
But could there be monsters hiding in the forests and lakes, as the Native legends hold?
Snake Creek, near Tenkiller Lake, appears to have been named for good reason. Edna Stubblefield recalls in the Stubblefield memoirs that sometime in the 1890s she and her family spotted a snake at the Creek that “looked like a big old fence post” crawling across the road.
A nine-foot Burmese python turned up in a Tulsa driveway, and on October 25, 2001, another Burmese python, this one seven feet long, appeared in a Stillwater neighborhood.
While we’re on the subject of out of place reptiles, how about rampaging alligators? The official range of the American alligator is restricted to extreme Southeastern Oklahoma, particularly Choctaw and McCurtain counties, and yet they just seem to keep turning up in other parts of the state.
In August 2002 a South American caiman, of all things, was netted in Lake Tenkiller. Another caiman, this one two to four feet long, appeared in a Tulsa backyard in February 2004. And in July 2006 animal control officers spent two days trying to capture a four-foot-long alligator that appeared in the Battle Creek Golf Course in Tulsa. The gator was never caught, and apparently vanished. (Note of interest—the Battle Creek housing edition was also home to another out-of-place creature in 2005—a “mountain lion” reportedly terrorized the neighborhood, preying on household pets. It was also never caught and eventually just faded away.)
And of course the strange case of the “fugitive” gator. In the summer of 2003 a 350-pound reptile dubbed the Truck Traveling Alligator was caught in a pond, sent to a breeder, and then sent to Safari Joe’s, a wildlife sanctuary in Adair. The gator promptly vanished from its pen and reappeared in a pond just south of Interstate 44, and then turned up in yet another pond, this one behind the Big Cabin Truck Plaza, where he was finally recaptured. He was relocated to prime gator habitat in McCurtain County.
Granted, giant reptiles are nothing new to Oklahoma. The Sam Noble Museum in Norman hosts the world’s largest Apatosaurus, 93 feet long, found in the Panhandle. And if that’s not big enough for you, the world’s largest dinosaur to date also once called Oklahoma home. In 1994 fossils that were first thought to be tree trunks were discovered. The “trunks” turned out to be neck bones, each four feet long. The sauropod the bones belonged to stood an estimated 60 feet and weighed 60 tons, and was dubbed Sauroposeidon—the “earthquake God lizard”.
This monster went extinct 110 million years ago, but perhaps some of the God lizard’s smaller cousins stuck around.

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 darren@weirddarkness.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.

“Secret Doors To The Underworld”, from Facts Verse
“King of the Irish Hill” by Paul Drexler for Crime Traveller
“Terminal Lucidity Phenomenon” by Cynthia McKanzie for Message to Eagle
“The Cleveland Torso Murders” by Doug MacGowan for Historic Mysteries
“The Crescent Hotel” by Amanda Penn for Vocal Media Horror
“Oklahoma Snake Man” by Bab Salam

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

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

Now that we’re coming out of the dark, I’ll leave you with a little light… “You will eat the fruit of your labor; blessings and prosperity will be yours.” – Psalm 128:2

And a final thought… “The key to living a good life is recognizing that there are no doors, no confines, no origin or destination. There is only the journey.” – Cyndi Dale

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

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