“An Accidental Mass Murder at Oregon State Hospital” and More True Macabre Stories! #WeirdDarkness
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Listen to ““An Accidental Mass Murder at Oregon State Hospital” and More True Macabre Stories! #WeirdDarkness” on Spreaker.
IN THIS EPISODE: It was 1973, and the small town of Murphysboro, Illinois had quite a scare with numerous people encountering what many described as a large gorilla-like creature. We might call it Bigfoot or Sasquatch – they called it a “Big Muddy Monster”. (A Big Muddy Monster) *** In November, 1978, four employees at a hamburger restaurant are kidnapped and murdered. Almost forty-five years later, seven employees at a fried chicken establishment are found slain – their bodies found in the restaurant’s walk-in freezer. One case found justice… the other is still waiting. (The Burger Chef and Brown’s Chicken Murders) *** In Germanic and Scandinavian folklore, a child murdered by their mother is known as a Kindermorderinn – and if that child is a boy and decides to appear from beyond the dead, he’s considered a “Radiant Boy”. And there are numerous stories of their hauntings. (Radiant Boy) *** Grace Stevens was excited to attend her company’s annual picnic with friends and co-workers, dressing for the occasion, hoping to possibly meet her future Prince Charming. Her company was splurging and inviting everyone to take a ship from Chicago across Lake Michigan to attend the party in Michigan City. They never arrived. (Grace Stevens And The Tragedy Of The U.S.S. Eastland) *** In 1947 a woman jumped to her death from 86th floor of the Empire State Building… yet today, her ghost still needs to use the building’s bathroom facilities. (The Haunted Empire State Building Bathroom) *** But first,, the governor called it “mass murder” in 1942 when forty-seven patients died at the Oregon State Hospital – all within hours. All of them, poisoned. Finding the murderer and motive would lead to an unexpected conclusion, and to an unrelenting haunting. We begin with that story. (An Accidental Mass Murder at Oregon State Hospital)
SOURCES AND REFERENCES FROM THE EPISODE…
“The Haunted Empire State Building Bathroom” by Erin Taylor from the book, “Unfinished Business: Tales of Haunted Restrooms and Bathrooms”: https://amzn.to/3rCp9qU
“An Accidental Mass Murder at Oregon State Hospital” by Capi Lynn for The Statesman Journal: https://weirddarkness.tiny.us/4swhcvt2; and Macabre Mary at Puzzle Box Horror: https://weirddarkness.tiny.us/4k53fxa4
“Radiant Boy” by Lux Ferre for Occult World: https://weirddarkness.tiny.us/j75fc2w8
“Grace Stevens And The Tragedy of the U.S.S. Eastland” by Kathi Kresol for Haunted Rockford: https://weirddarkness.tiny.us/2p8cn6sk
“The Burger Chef and Brown’s Chicken Murders” by Lexi Kakis and Andres Cipriano for Uncovered.com:https://weirddarkness.tiny.us/ycxh4r32, and Eric DeGrechie for Patch.com: https://weirddarkness.tiny.us/yc55dubz
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OTHER PODCASTS I HOST…
Paranormality Magazine: (COMING SOON!) https://weirddarkness.tiny.us/paranormalitymag
Micro Terrors: Scary Stories for Kids: https://weirddarkness.tiny.us/microterrors
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Church of the Undead: https://weirddarkness.tiny.us/churchoftheundead
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(Over time links seen above may become invalid, disappear, or have different content. I always make sure to give authors credit for the material I use whenever possible. If I somehow overlooked doing so for a story, or if a credit is incorrect, please let me know and I will rectify it in these show notes immediately. Some links included above may benefit me financially through qualifying purchases.)
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Built in the 1800s, the Oregon State Hospital has a reportedly insidious past that went on for years. Once an insane asylum, it is said that terrible malpractice occurred within its walls and that it had a secret tunnel that connected the buildings which shrouded these terrible experiments that were rumored to have been conducted on its patients. Today, part of the hospital has been preserved as a museum, and even now visitors to the hospital claim to have experienced paranormal activity, where they feel as if they are being watched, while on the premises.
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…
It was 1973, and the small town of Murphysboro, Illinois had quite a scare with numerous people encountering what many described as a large gorilla-like creature. We might call it Bigfoot or Sasquatch – they called it a “Big Muddy Monster”. (A Big Muddy Monster)
In November, 1978, four employees at a hamburger restaurant are kidnapped and murdered. Almost forty-five years later, seven employees at a fried chicken establishment are found slain – their bodies found in the restaurant’s walk-in freezer. One case found justice… the other is still waiting. (The Burger Chef and Brown’s Chicken Murders)
In Germanic and Scandinavian folklore, a child murdered by their mother is known as a Kindermorderinn – and if that child is a boy and decides to appear from beyond the dead, he’s considered a “Radiant Boy”. And there are numerous stories of their hauntings. (Radiant Boy)
Grace Stevens was excited to attend her company’s annual picnic with friends and co-workers, dressing for the occasion, hoping to possibly meet her future Prince Charming. Her company was splurging and inviting everyone to take a ship from Chicago across Lake Michigan to attend the party in Michigan City. They never arrived. (Grace Stevens And The Tragedy Of The U.S.S. Eastland)
In 1947 a woman jumped to her death from 86th floor of the Empire State Building… yet today, her ghost still needs to use the building’s bathroom facilities. (The Haunted Empire State Building Bathroom)
But first,, the governor called it “mass murder” in 1942 when forty-seven patients died at the Oregon State Hospital – all within hours. All of them, poisoned. Finding the murderer and motive would lead to an unexpected conclusion, and to an unrelenting haunting. We begin with that story. (An Accidental Mass Murder at Oregon State Hospital)
If you’re new here, welcome to the show! While you’re listening, be sure to check out WeirdDarkness.com for merchandise, my newsletter, to 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: AN ACCIDENTAL MASS MURDER AT OREGON STATE HOSPITAL=====
Located in Salem, Oregon many of the original parts of the State Hospital still remain in use, while other parts are closed off due to severe disrepair. A new wing was constructed in 2011 where most of the patient care takes place now—the grounds look fairly inviting from the outside, there is unfortunately very little indication of the kind of horrors that took place within.
When the facility was originally built, it was intended to serve all patients, but it soon became overcrowded and due to this, it became a more specialized facility that served the criminally insane and the mentally handicapped. Visitors are free to tour the campus as well as the interior of the hospital, where they learn that an estimated two-thirds of the population was found to be both mentally insane and found guilty of a crime.
Although these days, the original hospital and asylum are no longer taking patients, the Oregon State Hospital is still in business—but now mostly as a museum, perhaps as a monument to the way we used to treat those who had mental turmoil or abnormal conditions. Taking a tour of the hospital provides those interested with a fairly accurate perspective at the people who were once housed there, as well as the insanity that they actually endured at the hands of doctors who did not have their patients’ best interests at heart. The hospital was built in 1883 and for only having existed for almost a century and a half, the building has a lot of stories to tell. Like any old-fashioned asylum, patients fell victim to things that would never be acceptable by today’s medical practice standards. Over the years that these terrible experiments, abuse, and torture felt at the hands of both staff and fellow patients, it’s estimated that hundreds if not thousands of patients died within the asylum—it’s not incredibly surprising that it has the reputation of housing so many tortured souls.
If you take a tour of the facilities, you’ll find the museum is certain to educate people on the terrifying experiences that patients lived through in their time within the hospital. Exhibits fill the halls that were once filled with patients and the location was made popular when it was used as the filming location for One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. Surprisingly it functions still as the state’s sole psychiatric hospital. Within the exhibits, visitors can see the entire overview of how procedures for treating mentally ill patients has changed over the years, from its opening in the late 1800s to the present day. Even though the rooms were all remodeled, there lingers an intensely creepy presence throughout the museum.
One of the more ghastly stories that haunt the walls of this old facility happened in 1942, when forty-seven people were killed and hundreds more were struck incredibly ill after they were served their daily breakfast.
A ghastly scene unfolded that morning at Oregon State Hospital.
Patients began dropping like flies after eating a batch of poisoned scrambled eggs, vomiting blood and writhing on the floor in agony.
Some died within minutes, others succumbed hours later, 47 people in all. Officially, there were 263 cases. Newspapers, however, reported more 400 others were sickened.
Gov. Charles A. Sprague called it “mass murder.”
Sabotage was initially suspected, what today we would call a terrorist attack.
This happened in 1942, with the country engaged in World War II. Fears of sabotage were real, especially on the West Coast. The food supply was considered a vulnerable target.
The eggs used at the state hospital came from federal surplus commodities distributed by the U.S. government, part of a shipment received six months earlier and divided between state institutions, schools and other programs in Oregon.
Gov. Sprague immediately ordered all institutions to stop using the eggs, which came packed frozen in 30-pound tin cans. The federal government issued a similar order.
Investigators from the Army, the American Medical Association and the Food & Drug Administration rushed to the state hospital campus in Salem, Oregon.
Dr. Howard Baumann recently set the scene in November 2017 in one of the exhibit rooms at the Museum of Mental Health, which is dedicated to telling the stories of those who have lived and worked at the hospital.
Nov. 18, 1942 was a tragic day for patients and staff. The death toll was staggering, but it could have been worse. The hospital housed an estimated 2,700 patients at that time, more than five times the number today.
Survivors and witnesses are long gone. First-hand accounts are limited to what can be found in newspaper archives and a report submitted to the Journal of the America Medical Association by three doctors, two from the hospital and one from an Oregon State Police crime lab in Portland.
Dr. William L. Lidbeck, a pathologist, was one of those doctors. On call and living in a cottage on the hospital campus, he was one of the first to respond to the horrific scene.
Baumann, a retired gastroenterologist, portrays Lidbeck in reenactments at the museum. While sharing Lidbeck’s perspective, he stands in front of historic photographs of the hospital’s dining room and kitchen. Next to him is a large stainless steel vat with giant ladles hanging from above, much like what would have been used to mix and serve the scrambled eggs that day.
When Lidbeck arrived, patients were suffering extreme nausea and abdominal cramping. Many were vomiting blood, having seizures and struggling to breathe. Others were experiencing paralysis.
Baumann can speak with authority about symptoms that would be experienced after ingesting such a virulent poison. His specialty, during his 35-year career at Salem Clinic, was gastroenterology, the branch of medicine focused on the digestive system.
“Even today, if this happened, probably the best we could do is support them,” Baumann says. “The trouble is, it happens so rapidly.”
He presumes those who ate the most eggs would have died the quickest. For others, death would have been prolonged.
The tiny morgue at the hospital could handle only the first few victims. Before the night was over, shrouded bodies were crammed into the chapel and lined up in hallways.
More might have died if not for the discerning taste buds of some patients and the heroic actions of one staff member.
Many patients put their spoons down after complaining the eggs tasted salty or soapy and experiencing immediate symptoms.
One survivor, only able to whisper through lips swollen and blue, described it this way in the Daily Capital Journal: “My face became numb. My teeth began to ache. Pretty soon my legs became paralyzed.”
Nurse Allie Wassell took one bite of the eggs after dinner trays were brought to her ward and the taste was so off, she refused to let her patients eat them.
Wassell became ill but survived and was credited with saving many lives by her actions.
The investigation was swift, considering the rudimentary technology that would have been available. This happened long before email and cell phones, and equipment would have been archaic compared to what we have now.
Autopsies were done on six patients. Samples from the cooked eggs and stomach contents were sent to the lab in Portland.
Bits of eggs, both from the plates of patients and from the hospital’s unused supply, were fed to rats. Those fed the cooked eggs died within a few minutes.
Surplus eggs were tested up and down the coast.
Within 22 hours, according to the report submitted by Lidbeck and his colleagues, the poison was identified as sodium fluoride, and it was found only in cooked eggs at Oregon State Hospital.
Sodium fluoride is commonly used in insecticides and in rat and cockroach poisons. It is a quick-acting white substance that might easily be mistaken for flour, baking powder, or powdered milk. Ingesting a minuscule amount can be fatal.
But how did it get in the eggs? And was it intentional or accidental?
The story unraveled when the hospital’s assistant cook stepped forward with a confession. He had sent a patient to a basement storeroom for powdered milk and the patient mistakenly brought back roach poison that was mixed in the scrambled eggs.
Similar tragedies happened elsewhere before modern food safety regulations were adopted. In 1940, at a Salvation Army shelter in Pennsylvania, 12 men died and 48 others were sickened when roach powder was mixed into pancake batter.
The vocational rehabilitation services program at Oregon State Hospital is robust, exposing patients to a variety of work-experience opportunities that enable them to improve self-esteem, feel productive and earn a wage.
Jobs can be had in janitorial, landscaping and library services. And yes, food services, too.
“They’re not working where the food is actually being prepared,” says Tom Anhalt, director for vocational and educational services. “Where they’re really working is in the back, washing dishes, cleaning up and preparing for the lines.”
A grave mistake like the one with the scrambled eggs couldn’t happen today for many reasons, the most important of which is constant supervision.
Patients are assessed before leaving their living unit and heading to work. Supervisors are required to always have a line of sight on patients, escorting them to and from the kitchen area.
“There’s no way they can go somewhere without supervision, not even to the bathroom,” says Kent Hunter, director of food and nutrition services for the Salem campus.
Patients who work in food services today must have a food handlers card and go through additional safety and sanitation training.
“We follow higher standards than what Marion County requires of us,” Hunter says.
Both he and Anhalt agree it would be next to impossible for someone today to mistakenly grab rat poison or any other dangerous substance and add it to a meal.
“None of those chemicals are even allowed anywhere near kitchen and food services,” Hunter says.
George Nosen admitted himself to Oregon State Hospital in the summer of 1942. He was 27, paranoid schizophrenic, and assigned to kitchen work detail.
He was the one sent to the basement and unknowingly scooped up roach powder instead of powdered milk.
Assistant cook Abraham McKillop needed the ingredient to mix with the eggs that day and apparently didn’t have time to fetch it himself. The investigation found the institution to be understaffed and noted that the hospital dietician, responsible for the storing of foodstuffs, had recently left to work at Camp Adair.
The war took a toll on the staff. According to a timeline exhibit at the Museum of Mental Health, Oregon ranked second-to-last in the nation among staff-to-patient ratios at state institutions in 1939. Due to the number of employees drafted, it averaged one staff member per 10.4 patients.
On that regretful day, McKillop handed Nosen the key to a storeroom, a violation of Rule 8, which was established at the hospital in 1908, forbidding the entrusting of keys to patients.
Nosen reportedly had accompanied kitchen staff to the basement storerooms before. But there were two described in grand jury testimony as 11 feet apart and opened by the same key.
Nosen entered the wrong one and retrieved the wrong white powder.
As patients were dying before their eyes, McKillop and the chief cook, Mary O’Hare, retraced Nosen’s steps and discovered what had happened. They kept silent before cracking under the pressure of repeated questioning by investigators.
“We were both scared so bad we didn’t know what to do,” McKillop later testified.
On Nov. 23, five days after the deadly dinner was served, the two cooks were arrested. McKillop was charged with involuntary manslaughter. O’Hare was charged with accessory after the fact.
After a lengthy probe, charges against the two cooks were dismissed, but there was plenty of blame to go around.
To hear Baumann reenact the story, the media pointed fingers at the hospital for failure to follow safety measures, and hospital officials pointed fingers at the legislature for failure to support an institution that was understaffed and overcrowded.
“Some good things did come out of it,” Baumann says.
The tragedy had ramifications beyond the hospital. It brought about reforms in food safety. A poison label law was introduced during the next legislative session and eventually was adopted. It also contributed to major changes being made at mental hospitals across the country, including increased staffing and funding.
McKillop died in 1946 after a long illness. His obituary in The Oregon Statesman notes he was employed for 11 years at the state hospital.
No obituary could be found for O’Hare.
Nosen died in 1983 at the hospital after an altercation at the institution. The official cause of death was heart disease. He had a reputation of being combative and getting into fistfights with fellow patients, who never stopped blaming him for the poisoning.
It haunted him for the rest of his life.
But the most heartbreaking chapter of this tragic tale is about the 40 men and seven women — ranging from age 18 to 80 — who died from eating the contaminated eggs.
The cremated remains of 13 of them have yet to be claimed at the hospital.
It should probably be no surprise that there is talk of some spookiness lingering at the hospital. Visitors to the hospital and museum claim to have experienced paranormal activity, where they feel as if they are being watched, while on the premises.
What remains within the walls of the Oregon State Hospital, including the intimidating and creepy underground tunnels, has created an environment where those who have investigated have felt an overwhelming sense of evil. The brave souls who willingly explore the tunnels and other areas of this haunted asylum are undeterred by the stories about patients allegedly being transported in the tunnels below the facility, or the evidence that suggests they were used for immoral, unethical, and barbaric medical experiments; this all took place so deep underground that their screams could not be heard. Phantom footsteps, doors opening and closing on their own, screams, and cries from former patients can all be experienced at the Oregon State Hospital.
A lot of the unrest that can be found here can also probably be attributed to the controversy of the hospital staff having lost over 1,500 cans of patients’ cremated remains.
Coming up… Grace Stevens was excited to attend her company’s annual picnic with friends and co-workers, dressing for the occasion, hoping to possibly meet her future Prince Charming. Her company was splurging and inviting everyone to take a ship from Chicago across Lake Michigan to attend the party in Michigan City. They never arrived. (Grace Stevens And The Tragedy Of The U.S.S. Eastland)
But first… in Germanic and Scandinavian folklore, a child murdered by their mother is known as a Kindermorderinn – and if that child is a boy and decides to appear from beyond the dead, he’s considered a “Radiant Boy”. And there are numerous stories of their hauntings. (Radiant Boy)
These stories, when Weird Darkness returns.
STORY: RADIANT BOY=====
A radiant boy is the glowing ghost of a boy who has been murdered by his mother and whose appearance portends ill-luck and violent death. Radiant boys appear in the folklore of England and Europe, possibly originating with the Kindermorderinn (children murdered by their mothers) of Germanic folklore.
There are numerous radiant boys stories in the Cumberland area of England, which was settled by Germanic and Scandinavian peoples in the 9th and 10th centuries.
A radiant boy once haunted the Howard family’s Corby Castle in Cumberland, making its most famous appearance in 1803. The castle—really a manor house— stands on a fortification site once used by the Romans. Part of the old house adjoins a Roman-built tower.
According to an account written in 1824, the radiant boy haunted a room in part of the old house adjoining the tower. The origin of the ghost is not known, but he plagued many an overnight guest with his appearances and noises. The room had an air of gloom which Howard sought to dispel by changing some of the furniture. Howard recorded in his journal that an incident took place on September 8, 1803 involving the rector of Greystoke, who, with his wife, was among the guests staying at the castle.
The rector and his wife had planned to stay several days, but after their first night they announced at breakfast that they intended to depart. The Howards were stunned. Some time later, the rector confessed the reason.
Howard quoted him as saying:
“Soon after we went to bed we fell asleep. It might be between one and two in the morning when I awoke. I observed that the fire was totally extinguished; but although that was the case, and we had no light, I saw a glimmer in the middle of the room, which suddenly increased to a bright flame. I looked out, apprehending that something had caught fire; when, to my amazement, I beheld a beautiful boy clothed in white, with bright locks resembling gold, standing by my bedside, in which position he remained some minutes, fixing his eyes upon me with a mild and benevolent expression. He then glided gently towards the side of the chimney; where it is obvious there is no possible egress, and entirely disappeared. I found myself again in total darkness, and all remained quiet until the usual hour of rising. I declare this to be a true account of what I saw at Corby Castle, upon my word as a clergyman. It is not known if anything ill befell the rector; some 20 years later, he was still talking about the ghost. The radiant boy no longer haunts the castle.”
The room, called “the Ghost Room,” is a study. Lord Castlereagh, second Marquis of Londonderry and one of England’s most illustrious statesmen in the early 19th century, allegedly saw a radiant boy years before he committed suicide. There are different versions of the story. According to one, the episode occurred when he was a young man, Captain Robert Stewart.
He was posted in Ireland, and one day he went hunting and became lost. With darkness coming on, he sought lodging at the home of a gentleman. There were other guests in the house, and Stewart was invited to stay a few days and join their hunt. He agreed. When it came time to retire, Stewart was taken to a room with little furniture and a blazing fire. He fell asleep and was awakened suddenly by a bright light in the room.
At first he thought it was the fire. The fire, however, had gone out, but the light seemed to emanate from the chimney. Gradually Stewart became aware of the glowing form of a beautiful naked boy, surrounded by a dazzling brilliance. The boy gave him an earnest look and then faded away. Stewart thought he had been played a joke and was mightily offended.
The following morning, he brusquely announced his departure. The host managed to pry the details out of him, and gave the butler a tongue-lashing for putting Stewart in “the Boy’s Room.” The butler protested that he had lit a fire “to keep him from coming out.” The host explained to Stewart that according to a tradition in his family, whoever saw the radiant boy would first rise to great prosperity and power and then suddenly die a violent death. Stewart, the second heir in line in his family, was unconcerned.
Within a few years, however, his older brother drowned in a boating accident. Stewart left the army and entered politics, rising quickly. He was influential in creating the Act of Union between England and Ireland in 1800. He served as secretary of war in 1805 and 1807, and as foreign secretary from 1812 on. Despite his success, he was not well liked and was even hated by many for his cold demeanor. In 1821, his father died, making him Lord Castlereagh, second Marquis of Londonderry.
In 1822, Lord Castlereagh’s fortunes abruptly began to dim. He suffered from gout, and the stresses of his career began to take a heavy personal toll. He became paranoid and suspicious and acted strangely, and was feared to be losing his mind. He was confined to his country house, North Cray Place, and forbidden to have razors, lest he do something foolish.
On August 12, 1822, he took a penknife and slashed his throat, killing himself. Author Edward Bulwer-Lytton later advanced another story as to how Castlereagh came upon a radiant boy. Bulwer-Lytton said that Castlereagh had stayed at Knebworth, the Lytton family seat, at a time prior to his confinement. One morning he appeared at breakfast looking very pale, and said that a strange boy with long yellow hair had appeared in his room, sitting in front of the fire. The boy had drawn his finger across his throat three times and then vanished.
That story is considered by many to be one of Bulwer-Lytton’s inventions. He often would invite guests to sleep in the “haunted room” and then sneak upstairs and scare them.
STORY: GRACE STEVENS AND THE TRAGEDY OF THE U.S.S. EASTLAND=====
On July 24, 1915, Grace Stevens was more excited than she could remember. She was getting ready for her company picnic. Grace worked for the Chicago based Western Electric Company for the past three years and considered herself lucky to have secured such a position.
Grace was born in 1891 in Fond Du Lac, Wisconsin. Her family moved to the Rockton, Illinois area where her parents, Winfield and Belle rented a farm. Winfield passed away in 1907 when he was 48 and the family moved to Rockford to look for work. Grace’s brother Alvey seemed to have trouble finding a job. It must have seemed like the family’s fortunes had finally turned when Grace got the job with the Western Electric Company in 1912. The family moved to Chicago when Grace was offered the job.
Western Electric had quite a reputation for splurging on their employees for their annual party. This was a highlight of the year for most of these workers. It meant a special treat for the whole family for the married folks. As far as the non-married employees were concerned, it was an opportunity to meet other eligible men and women. The single women got together to shop for new dresses and hats. They also would help style each other’s hair and to dress.
The company hired five boats to carry their workers across Lake Michigan to Michigan City for the day. They warned folks to arrive early, and Grace took the warning to heart. She waited for her turn to walk up the gangplank and board the U.S.S. Eastland, the first boat scheduled to leave the dock from downtown Chicago. Even though it was just a little after 7:00 in the morning, the celebration had already begun. There was a band playing as the passengers walked onboard. People boarding were shouting and waving to folks already on the ship.
Over 7,000 tickets were sold for this day-long excursion and the crew of the Eastland made sure that every available space was filled. They were even federal inspectors along to make sure of the count for each ship. The 275-foot boat normally carried 2,500 passengers plus the crew but on this day the number reached higher.
Some of the families with younger children headed below decks so the little ones couldn’t wander off in the party-like atmosphere on the deck. Up top, folks were scrambling for seats and leaning on the rails to wave to the people left on the dock.
By 7:15 a.m., the ship was filled to capacity and though the passengers didn’t notice, it had begun to list away from the wharf. The ship listed only for a short while this time but within a few more minutes, the first of a long list of small warning signs began.
By 7:23 a.m., the Eastland began to list once again. This time, water started to enter the engine room and some of the crew climbed up ladders to the main deck. Within a few more minutes, the list had shifted to 45 degrees. Furniture began to slide, causing injuries to some of the passengers. Water also poured into the portholes in the cabins below. Each of these incidents would lead to one of the worst shipwrecks in the history of the Great Lakes.
The next time the Eastland started to list, she didn’t stop. The boat rolled slowly onto its side, the people on deck were thrown into the water. Their clothes soon weighed them down making it impossible to tread water. Folks below deck were trapped in their rooms, as doors and passageways were blocked by shifting furniture. Whole families tried to make their way off the sinking ship as the water poured inside.
One eyewitness said that after the boat flipped there was a full minute of silence, like no one could believe what they had just seen. Then the screams began. By 7:30 that morning, the boat was completely on its side in 20 feet of water, still tied to the dock. It had rolled over so quickly, there was no time to use the life-saving equipment that was on the Eastland.
This was a busy Saturday morning and hundreds if not thousands of people were on the docks conducting business. They quickly began to pull folks from the water almost immediately. There was no lack of heroes on this day.
The water was a mass of people trying to stay afloat. There was a lot of chaos as the air filled with shouting and screaming. One eyewitness, Harlan Babcock, was a reporter for the Chicago Herald. He stated in his article about the tragedy, “In an instant, the surface of the river was black with struggling, crying, frightened, drowning humanity. Wee infants floated about like corks.”
One can only imagine the horror of the moment as parents tried to save their children and spouses, only to watch as they slipped under the water for the final time. Later, many of these family members would be found clasped in each other’s arms. The survivors would mention the sounds of people’s screams. Even years later, they would talk of hearing those screams in their nightmares.
Men with boats launched them to save as many survivors as they could reach. Others pulled the injured ones from the wreckage and commandeered cars and wagons to take them to local hospitals.
One of the many selfless helpers on this July day was Helen Repa. Helen was on the way to the docks to catch one of the boats for the outing. She was a nurse who worked for Western Electric. She jumped aboard a passing ambulance and made her way quickly to the docks. She, too, mentioned the sounds of screaming. Helen rushed onto the hull of the overturned ship to help pull the survivors from the water and through the portholes of the ship. Some were badly injured. Helen arranged for blankets to be sent from the nearby Marshall Fields Store. She also called local restaurants and had them bring soup and hot coffee to the scene and to the hospitals for the staff.
In the end 844 people died in the disaster, including 22 whole families. The dead were carried to the Second Regiment Armory which had been turned into a makeshift morgue. The dead were lined up rows so their family members could walk down the aisle to find their loved ones. Unfortunately, some folks who came through were more interested in grabbing jewelry from the corpses than helping identify them.
One of the dead was Grace Stevens. Her mother and brother had to walk up and down the aisles of the dead until they could find her.
The investigation of the sinking of the Eastland started even before all the dead were removed from the area. There were many aspects to the investigation of this ship. This was only a few years after the sinking of the Titanic. One of the changes that had resulted from that tragedy was that every boat needed enough lifeboats to carry 75% of the people onboard. The Eastland carried 11 lifeboats, 37 life rafts and 2,570 life preservers to accommodate for their passengers. Since the boat had been made in 1902, before this new rule, all these items needed to fit somewhere. The crew eventually stored all these items on the deck causing it to become top heavy.
This would surely have contributed to the sinking that day, but the Eastland had its share of issues even before the new rules. In fact, some sailors claimed the ship was cursed from the start and called her a “hoo doo vessel”. Several good books have been written about the sinking and mention close calls through the years. One such near disaster took place in 1904, when she had 3,000 people onboard and another in 1906 with 2,530 passengers. One crew member described the Eastland like riding a bicycle, “wobbly at first, then steady as she got underway.”
Donations for the families poured into the American Red Cross and they disbursed the money to the family members after an interview with each family. Belle and Alvey Stevens were given $102.00 from Grace’s life insurance, $126.00 from Emergency Relief, and $630 from donations. (In today’s money it would be about 20,000.)
The Western Electric Company also changed its hiring practice after the tragedy and gave first priority to anyone who had a family member killed in the accident. Alvey was given his sister’s spot in the company.
The headlines of the local newspapers mentioned this hometown girl who had been killed in the horrible tragedy. They also mentioned that her mother and brother traveled with Grace’s body so they could lay her to rest beside her father in the Rockton Cemetery.
Despite research, there are no records to tell of what happened to Alvey and Belle after Grace’s death. Neither is mentioned in the records for the Rockton cemetery.
When Weird Darkness returns…in November, 1978, four employees at a hamburger restaurant are kidnapped and murdered. Almost forty-five years later, seven employees at a fried chicken establishment are found slain – their bodies found in the restaurant’s walk-in freezer. One case found justice… the other is still waiting. (The Burger Chef and Brown’s Chicken Murders)
Plus… it was 1973, and the small town of Murphysboro, Illinois had quite a scare with numerous people encountering what many described as a large gorilla-like creature. We might call it Bigfoot or Sasquatch – they called it a “Big Muddy Monster”. These stories are up next. (A Big Muddy Monster)
STORY: THE BURGER CHEF AND BROWN’S CHICKEN MURDERS=====
On Friday, November 17, 1978, four employees of a Burger Chef restaurant in Speedway, Indiana, went missing. Originally it was believed that this was a simple case of petty theft that scared away the employees. However, the next day, it became clear that this robbery-kidnapping escalated into a quadruple homicide.
By Sunday, November 19, 1978, the murdered bodies of Jayne Friedt, Daniel Davis, Mark Flemmonds, and Ruth Ellen Shelton were discovered in the rural woods of Johnson County — 40 minutes away from the restaurant.
On that fateful night, four young employees were going through the closing routine at the Burger Chef at 5724 Crawfordsville Road. Three of the workers were still in high school, probably talking amongst themselves about upcoming projects and homework they still had to complete for class.
The employees onsite were:
Jayne Friedt, 20 years old. Jayne was an assistant manager for the Burger Chef Restaurant. She had recently transferred to the Speedway location after working for three years at another Burger Chef location. She was known for being involved in many activities and was considered a hard worker. She was kidnapped and murdered.
Mark Flemmonds, 16 years old. His friends and family say he was funny and friendly. Mark was the youngest of seven children and grew up as a Jehovah’s Witness. As a sophomore who attended Speedway Indiana High School, Mark was happy to be a member of the school’s band. He too was kidnapped and murdered.
Daniel Davis, 16 years old. Daniel (or Danny as his friends called him) had just started his job as a cook and had not even collected his first paycheck from Burger Chef. Danny attended Decatur Central High School. He was a sophomore and a member of the school’s Latin Club. He expressed an interest in photography and wanted to join the Air Force after high school. He was quiet and kept his circle of friends small, but was enthusiastic about his interests. He was kidnapped and murdered as well.
And finally, Ruth Ellen Shelton, seventeen years old. She was on the honor roll, and her family said she was brilliant and driven. Ruth had dreams of becoming a computer scientist. She was attending what is now the University of Indianapolis to earn some early college credits. Ruth also enjoyed music, as she was a member of the Westside Church of the Nazarene choral group. Like the others, Ruth was also kidnapped and murdered.
It was about 11:00 pm when the perpetrators slipped through the back door and ambushed the four employees present.
Little is known about what went on inside the restaurant when the two perpetrators broke in, but investigators have come up with a substantial timeline regarding what else happened that night.
The Burger Chef restaurant closed at 11:00 pm like usual. The four employees were still scheduled to stay a few more hours to go through the closing routine, clean, and prepare the restaurant for the next day’s opening shift.
Initially, Mark Flemmonds was not scheduled to work but decided to cover his co-worker, Ginger Anderson, who went on a date with another employee, Brian Kring.
By 11:45 PM, Brian and Ginger were in the area, so the pair drove past the restaurant and noticed Jayne’s car wasn’t there — despite the lights and the back door being ajar. At first, Brian didn’t think anything of it, so he proceeded to drop Ginger off back to her house, and then drove back to the Burger Chef location to check up on his friends and co-workers.
Upon his arrival, Brian noticed that all four employees were nowhere to be found.
Walking through the restaurant, he saw that the cash register was on the floor — empty — and there were the personal affects of his co-workers left in the office. Brian knew something was wrong, so he called the police. When investigators arrived, a report was filed, but the scene was never properly processed. Since Jayne’s 1974 Chevrolet Vega was not in the parking lot and the register was cleaned out, the investigators assumed that the employees skipped out on work, banned together to steal money, and got into Jayne’s car to make a “clean getaway”.
So, instead of processing the scene and treating everything as suspicious, the restaurant was cleared to open for business the next day. The investigators failed to consider the essential clues like the employees’ belongings left behind, and the back door to the restaurant being left open… a door that was rarely ever used by employees.
Any vital evidence of what actually took place was accidentally destroyed in the cleaning process, and no photos were taken that night because they simply didn’t believe it was a crime scene.
Buddy Ellwanger, an investigator with the police force is quoted as saying, “We screwed up the investigation from the beginning” – referring to how the scene was handled.
To add insult to injury, we know the only photo taken of the restaurant was one that morning shift employees took after the restaurant was wiped clean before customers began arriving, making the photo completely useless.
By 4:00 AM that following morning, Jayne’s unlocked car was discovered near the Speedway Police station, filled with unusual cigarette buts. Suddenly, the police begin to suspect foul play, and a widespread search was launched.
It isn’t until November 19, 1978, two days later, when the bodies of all four victims were discovered near Johnson County Woods by a couple who lived in White River Township, located approximately 15 miles from the Burger Chef location.
Each of the young adults were still wearing their brown-and-orange polyester Burger Chef uniforms… with the blood on them all dried up.
Ruth and Danny were found lying facedown just off a gravel path. Both had been shot execution-style in the head and neck with a .38 caliber revolver. They were discovered side-by-side, indicating to officers that they were killed at the same time.
Police theorize that after Ruth and Danny were shot, Jayne and Mark ran for it.
Jayne’s body was found 50 to 75 yards away. She had been repeatedly stabbed so violently that the knife’s blade broke off inside her chest — with the handle nowhere to be found.
Mark was found farthest from the others, and closest to the main road. He was on his back near a creak. Mark had sustained blunt force trauma to his face and ultimately choked on his own blood. The police believe Mark was disoriented and may have ran into a tree, accidentally stunning him before being beaten with an unknown chain-like object.
Police have been wrestling with what would turn the perpetrators from trespassers to thieves, to kidnappers, to killers. Did one of the workers recognize one of the men? Was this premeditated or a crime that spiraled out of control?
Interestingly, the crime scene investigation team found watches and money still on all of the victims, leaving police to wonder if there was another motive beyond robbery.
There are still too many questions left without answers.
By November 23, Indiana State Police created a designated tip-line which created an outpouring of tips but not of them were credible leads.
However, the police had one thing to go off of — an anonymous eyewitness came forward and gave descriptions of the two men they saw suspiciously hanging around the Burger Chef restaurant before the attack. The next day, police released clay busts of the two potential suspects. This marked the first ever time that Indiana State Police used this method to aid an investigation.
Then, in 2018, Indiana State Police released an image of the knife’s blade that was used in the crime.
While there were several suspects and arrests made during the investigation, the case remains unsolved.
Almost 45 years later, and just over 200 miles away, a similar tragedy took place in Palatine, IL at a Brown’s Chicken restaurant.
Many crimes get media attention for a short time before seemingly disappearing into the annals of time. That is not so for the infamous Brown’s Chicken massacre, one of the most gruesome and horrific events to ever occur in Chicagoland.
Seven people working at the fast food chain were found dead in a freezer at the restaurant in Palatine.
All seven employees had been executed. The crime, which remained unsolved for nearly a decade, sent the community into a frenzy and puzzled the local police force.
The deceased included the owners of the restaurant, Richard E. Ehlenfeldt and his wife, Lynn W. Ehlenfeldt, of Arlington Heights, Illinois. Also dead were five of their employees: Guadalupe Maldonado, 46 years old; Palatine High School students Michael C. Castro, 16, and Rico L. Solis, 17; and Thomas Mennes, 32, and Marcus Nellssen, 31. Six were found shot to death, while another had been brutally stabbed. The bodies of the seven victims were discovered piled on top of one another.
Two men — James Degorski and Juan Luna — were eventually charged with the crime at Brown’s Chicken and Pasta and as of this recording are currently serving life sentences behind bars.
But the case remained unsolved until 2002 despite numerous leads over the years that followed. That’s when investigators got a break in the case as the ex-girlfriend of one of the killers came forward to police. Anne Lockett said she had been threatened by Degorski not to go to the authorities with the details of what had happened, or she would also be killed. Eventually, though, Lockett did tell police what she knew, and it led to the arrests of Degorski and Luna, who was a former employee of the restaurant.
“I think it was honestly the guilt,” Lockett told the Daily Herald newspaper. “It wasn’t necessarily that they got away with the crime. It was the fact that these people, the victims’ families — their kids, their parents — were suffering.”
Human DNA extracted from a preserved piece of chicken found at the murder scene also helped solve the case.
Retired Palatine Police Officer Byran Opitz said in an interview, “Ultimately, the chicken is what saved us in terms of, you know, we had the foresight to freeze that… it took six years before we got the DNA, but it took another three years after that before we figured out whose DNA it was.’
The case has been featured on numerous true-crime podcasts and television news programs over the years. It also drastically hindered the bottom line at the entire Brown’s Chicken franchise, based out of Elmhurst, which saw sales plummet, bankruptcy and eventually the closure of over 100 restaurants across Chicagoland – including the Palatine location where the slayings took place.
Following its closure, a dry-cleaning business took over, but it was short-lived. The building was eventually demolished in 2001, and the site remained vacant for another decade until a Chase Bank opened there.
Still, at least these families have some justice and closure in that the murderers were caught and are serving life sentences. We can only hope that someday the families of the Burger Chef victims in Speedway, Indiana can find the same.
STORY: A BIG MUDDY MONSTER=====
Many creatures have called the swamp their home. Whether it be lizards, big hairy men, or sea monsters, the swamp is a biome surrounded by legend and fear. The beasts that inhabit it are known to be twisted and terrifying with horrid appearances and even more terrible tales. So I’m sure when you hear the name “Big Muddy Monster” you get the chills, right? A sinking feeling in your stomach or a shiver out of terror? Yeah, I didn’t think so. Any legend with the name of something out of Sesame Street doesn’t have much of a reputation for scaring people. Despite this, the legend of the Big Muddy Monster is pervasive throughout Southern Illinois, and its significance is undeniable.
It all began back in 1973. And the story is probably best-told by an article printed in The New York Times of that year entitled “Yeti-Like ‘Monster Gives Staid Town In Illinois a Fright.” Here is that newspaper article, printed so appropriately on Halloween of 1973…
MURPHYSBORO, Ill., Oct. 31—Mrs. Nedra Green was preparing for bed in her isolated farmhouse near here the other night when a shrill, piercing scream came from out by the shed.
“It’s it again,” she said.
Four-year-old Christian was in his back yard chasing fireflies with a glass jar. He ran in the house. “Daddy, Daddy,” he said. “there’s a big ghost out back.”
Randy Creath and Cheryl Ray were talking on her darkened porch when something moved in the brush near by. Cheryl went to turn on a light; Randy went to investigate.
At that moment it stepped from the bushes.
Towering over the wideeyed, teen-age couple was a creature resembling a gorilla. It was eight feet tall. It had long shaggy matted hair colored a dirty white. It smelled foul like river slime.
Silently, the couple stared at the creature and the creature stared at the couple, 15 feet apart. Then, after an eternity of perhaps 30 seconds, the creature turned slowly and crashed off through the brush back toward the river.
It was the Murphysboro Monster, a strange creature that has baffled and frightened the police and residents for weeks now in this southern Illinois town on the sluggish Big Muddy River.
It is a creature that has brought a real kind of Halloween to Murphysboro’s 10,000 citizens. And although the hobgoblin is so far benevolent, no one here is taking any chances. Many have armed themselves and a good number of God-fearing families decided to curtail traditional Halloween trick-or-treating rounds.
Such monster sightings are bizarre indeed for an old farm county seat where brightly colored leaves fall on brick streets and high school majorettes practice baton twirling for the Red Devils’ upcoming football game with Jonesboro’s Wildcats.
“A lot of things in life are unexplained,” said Toby Berger, the police chief, “and this is another one. We don’t know what the creature is. But we do believe what these people saw was real. We have tracked it. And the dogs got a definite scent.”
It all began shortly before midnight June 25. Randy Needham and Judy Johnson were conferring in a parked car on the town’s boat ramp down by the Big Muddy.
At one point the couple heard a loud cry from the woods next to the car. Many were to describe the sound as that of a greatly amplified eagle shriek.
Mr. Needham looked out from the front seat. There, lumbering toward the open window was a light-colored, hairy, eight-foot creature matted with mud.
At that point, the police report calmly notes, “complainant left the area.” He proceeded to the station and filed an “unknown creature” report.
Judy Johnson was married at the time, according to the police, but not to Mr. Needham. So when the two reported the monster, the authorities took it seriously. “They wouldn’t risk all that if they weren’t really scared,” said one.
Later, as Officer Jimmie Nash inspected some peculiar footprints fast disappearing in the oozing mud left by the receding river, he became a firm believer.
“I was leaning over when there was the most incredible shriek I’ve ever heard,” he said. “It was in those bushes. That was no bobcat or screech owl and we hightailed it out of there.”
Officers searched the riverbank for hours, following an elusive splashing sound like something floundering through knee-deep water. They found nothing.
Plains folk hereabouts do not excite easily. So the next day on page three The Southern Illinoisan published a 200-word account of the “critter,” omitting the embarrassed couple’s names. That presumably was the end of the case.
But the next night came young Christian Baril’s encounter and the experience of Cheryl Ray and Randy Creath, the 17-year-old son of a state trooper, who drew a picture of the creature.
That did it for Chief Berger. He ordered his entire 14-man force out for a nightlong search. And Jerry Nellis, a dog trainer, brought Reb, an 80-pound German shepherd renowned for his zealous tracking.
With floodlights officers discovered a rough trail in the brush. Grass was crushed. Broken branches dangled. Small trees were snapped. On the grass Reb found gobs of black slime, much like that of sewage sludge in settling tanks on a direct line between the river and the Ray house.
Reb led Mr. Nellis and Officer Nash to an abandoned barn on the old Buller farm. Then, at the door, the dog yelped and backed off in panic. Mr. Nellis threw it into the doorway. The dog crawled out whining. The men radioed for help. Fourteen area police cars responded, but the barn, it turned out, was empty.
Ten days later the Miller Carnival was set up in the town’s Riverside Park, not far from the boat ramp. At 2 A.M. July 7 the day’s festivities had stopped and the ponies that walk around in circles with youngsters on their backs were tied to bushes.
Suddenly they shied. They rolled their eyes. They raised their heads. They tried to pull free. Attracted by the commotion, three carnival workers—Otis Norris, Ray Adkerson and Wesley Lavender — walked around the truck and there, standing upright in the darkness was a 300-to 400-pound creature, hairy and light colored and about eight feet tall.
With no menace, but intent curiosity, the creature was watching the animals.
The men ran for help. The creature left. But an hour later Charles Kimbal saw it again peering over the bushes, its head cocked, watching the ponies.
The creature report, which carnival operators delayed filing to avoid hurting business, was the last official note of the Murphysboro, Monster. However, there have been many incidents that have not been reported for fear, not of the monster, but of the hundreds of humans who flock to each sighting with rifles and shotguns.
Somehow, no one has shot anyone else yet, but the police had to close the park one night. It was crammed full of hunters and curious campers.
“This is no hoax,” said Tony Stevens, the newspaper editor, “this is hunting country, you know, and anyone who goes around in an animal costume is going to get his butt shot off.”
Local officials are not really sure what to do. They invited Harlan Sorkin, a St. Louis expert on such creatures, down for a spell.
Mr. Sorkin said the descriptions matched those of over 300 similar sightings in North America in the last decade, one of them on an Ohio River levee not far from here. There has even been a movie, “The Legend of Boggy Creek,” made about a similar creature in Arkansas.
Mr. Sorkin says the creature is probably a Sasquatch, believed to be a gene deviation in a large ape that has produced a creature that Tibetans call the Abominable Snowman or Yeti and Rocky Mountain Indians call Big Foot.
Typically, he said, these creatures are very shy and favor riverbottoms for their ample vegetation. Even in winter here in Southern Illinois, which is farther south than almost all of Virginia, plenty of plant life is available, especially in the vast Shawnee National Forest that straddles the state 400 miles south of Chicago.
Mr. Sorkin speculates that this year’s flooding forced the creature from its natural home, perhaps a cave down river.
Generally placid creatures, the Sasquatch is said to have killed some hunting dogs during chases. And there are stories of wilderness loggers in the northwest found crushed next to their emptied rifles.
“These creatures have the strength of five men,” Mr. Sorkin said, “and when frightened, they take five‐foot strides.” To skeptics Mr. Sorkin replies, “you know the gorilla as we know it today was not discovered until the early 1800’s. Can you imagine what people thought when they first saw it?”
Whatever it Is called, the exotic new inhabitant here is real to residents of Murphysboro, a “hospitable” town which, the Chamber of Commerce, says, “welcomes newcomers in a way that makes them happy to be living here.”
These are good honest people,” said Chief Berger, “they are seeing something. And who would walk through, sewage tanks for a joke?”
“I know it’s out there,” said young Randy Creath, “it would be fascinating to see it again and study it. But, you know, I kinda hope he doesn’t come back. With everyone running around with guns and sticks, he really wouldn’t have much of a chance, would he?”
It has been a long time since that article was written and printed in 1973 – but the Big Muddy Monster is still a key part of the culture in Murphysboro, Illinois today. Despite the lack of recent sightings, people still come from all over to the marshland near Murphysboro in an attempt to receive glory for capturing the beast. Illinois is filled with game hunters and other rifle-owning townspeople ready to take a shot at whatever is plaguing the locals. No shots have been fired as of now, but the police have had to close off the area on multiple occasions due to the sheer amount of people crowded around.
So what is this massive, mud-loving creature? Well, the conclusion of most townspeople and cryptozoologists is similar to what was concluded in the 1973 newspaper article; the animal is a Sasquatch. The shy yet powerful creatures have been hunted for decades, with countless spin-off creatures taking after their legacy, and this Big Muddy Monster might yet be one of them. If you wish to visit Murphysboro, Illinois, try not to go while covered in mud, as some locals might be ready to file a police report on their odd encounter with you… and possibly take a shot hoping to gain Muddy Monster glory.
When Weird Darkness returns… in 1947 a woman jumped to her death from 86th floor of the Empire State Building… yet today, her ghost still needs to use the building’s bathroom facilities. (The Haunted Empire State Building Bathroom)
STORY: THE HAUNTED EMPIRE STATE BUILDING BATHROOM=====
A staple in the Big Apple, the Empire State Building was constructed in 1930-1931. A building for corporate America; it was the tallest in the world at 102 stories. The 1933 film King Kong featured the building as the giant gorilla climbed up to the top, holding the gorgeous Fay Wray as his captive.
The building also attracted other young women over time. Evelyn McHale kissed her fiancé goodbye in Pennsylvania, giggling about the wedding. She gave him no indication that she wouldn’t see him again. Instead, she returned to New York City and proceeded to the 86th floor of the Empire State Building. She looked over the ledge, placed her coat on the parapet, and her suitcase beside her on the ground. And the 23-year-old jumped.
Her body landed on a limousine. A photographer captured her lying on the crumpled roof, clutching her pearls as if she were ready for the photo. Witnesses claimed her red lipstick was untouched. People were amazed that her body was intact after such a fall. It was called “a beautiful suicide” by LIFE magazine on May 12, 1947.
A suicide note was left behind. She asked for cremation so no one could see her. Evelyn said she wouldn’t make a good wife for her fiancé; to tell her father she was much like her mother. Evelyn’s mother divorced her father without reason and suffered from a mental illness.
In the over 90 years of standing, the building has witnessed 30 deaths from the observation deck of the 86th floor. In 2009, a woman committed suicide by jumping out the 39th-floor window. Today, there are guards and tall fences in place that prevent more suicides.
With all these deaths from the building, it may be that the trauma replays repeatedly. Perhaps some of the distressed spirits are aware of the living. Stories are told of a woman in a 1940s-style dress muttering to herself, crying with a despondent affect, then jumping off the building. These shocked individuals might later see her in the deck’s women’s bathroom. Perhaps she is reapplying the red lipstick she is often seen wearing. Could this be Evelyn?
However, a story tells that the spirit is observed crying, mourning her husband, who died in the war. Others believe the spirit might be of a World War II widow who took her own life. She also places her belongings on the side and jumps—the baffled witnesses head to the bathroom, where the spirit is reapplying makeup. She then tearfully drifts through the deck fences and jumps again. We know this is not Evelyn, as her fiancé survived her. There was a flurry of suicides in 1947, so it’s possible another woman could be this energy. But who is the woman in the bathroom?
I have not been able to find any firsthand experiences, so I might guess this is legend more than evidence based. You never know though, especially if you go up to play tourist and get distracted. Remember that you might be with others the next time you go up to see the views (or to create the scene from Sleepless in Seattle) on the 86th floor of the Empire State Building. You might need to pause in the women’s restroom as you’re cleaning up; look around, perhaps she’s there, preparing for her next jump.
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. WeirdDarkness.com is also where you can find all of my social media, listen to free audiobooks I’ve narrated, visit the store for Weird Darkness t-shirts, hoodies, mugs, phone cases, and more merchandise, sign up for monthly contests, find other podcasts that I host like “Retro Radio – Old Time Radio in the Dark”, “Micro Terrors; Scary Stories for Kids”, “The Church of the Undead”, and more. WeirdDarkness.com is also where you can 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 Haunted Empire State Building Bathroom” by Erin Taylor from the book, “Unfinished Business: Tales of Haunted Restrooms and Bathrooms” which you can find on Amazon, Kindle, and audiobook – I’ve placed a link to it in the show notes.
“A Big Muddy Monster” by Bridge Vaughan for The Patriot Press; and from The New York Times archives
“An Accidental Mass Murder at Oregon State Hospital” by Capi Lynn for The Statesman Journal; and Macabre Mary at Puzzle Box Horror
“Radiant Boy” by Lux Ferre for Occult World
“Grace Stevens And The Tragedy of the U.S.S. Eastland” by Kathi Kresol for Haunted Rockford
“The Burger Chef And Brown’s Chicken Murders” by Lexi Kakis and Andres Cipriano for Uncovered.com; and Eric DeGrechie for Patch.com
WeirdDarkness® – is a registered trademark. Copyright, Weird Darkness.
Now that we’re coming out of the dark, I’ll leave you with a little light… “Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD.” — Leviticus 19:18
And a final thought… “It’s a good thing to have all the props pulled out from under us occasionally. It gives us some sense of what is rock under our feet, and what is sand.” — Madeleine L’Engle
I’m Darren Marlar. Thanks for joining me in the Weird Darkness.