“THE MURDER OF BONNIE LEIGH SCOTT”, “TRUCKSTOP HORROR STORIES” and More True Scares! #WeirdDarkness
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IN THIS EPISODE: (Dark Archives episode with stories from October 5-6, 2018) *** Did lost cosmonauts make it into space before Yuri Gagarin? (The Tombs in Space) *** Don’t take a gift from Gracie Watson’s grave… or her life-like statue might cry tears of blood. (Gracie’s Ghost) *** A latchkey kid comes home to an empty house… or so they thought until they heard footsteps in another room. (The Laundry Room) *** People often encounter strange and frightening things when they experience sleep paralysis – but in one particular story, the horrors began well before going to bed. (Sleep Paralysis in Bangkok) *** Did Bonnie Scott run away? Was she kidnapped? Murdered perhaps? All anyone knew was that no one had a clue where she was. She had simply disappeared without a trace. (The Murder of Bonnie Leigh Scott) *** Samuel Joselyn was buried in 1810 in a North Carolina cemetery. Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear that Samuel was actually DEAD at the time of his burial! (Buried Alive in Wilmington) *** in 1894 Rosa Lochner was a witness to murder, but she had been deaf since birth and her spoken vocabulary was limited. So how could she testify against the accused? (Murder In Pantomime) *** A boy wakes to find his previously closed curtains now open – and the only explanation involves a previous resident of the house he’s now living in. (Strange Manifestations) *** Mention the word “Chupacabra” and most people will think of a strange, hairless dog-like animal. They are never described as having the ability to fly… until now. (Winged Chupacabras) *** These UFOs aren’t shiny metallic discs or cigar-shaped spaceships. They are humanoid – and they fly without the help of a jetpack, wings, cape or even a broom to sit on. And the sightings are still coming in all throughout Mexico. (The Flying Humanoids of Mexico) *** The North Carolina Cherokee have a story about how dangerous it can be even near a calm river – where the waters can suddenly foam and a giant beast can appear on the rocks. (James and the Giant Leech) *** Supernatural women, shadowy men, odd animal sightings, and more… they can all be found at late-night truck stops if you’re not careful. (Truck Stop Horror Stories)
STORY AND MUSIC CREDITS/SOURCES…
(Note: Over time links can and may become invalid, disappear, or have different content.)
“The Tombs in Space” (posted at The Unredacted): http://ow.ly/nW5U30mwbWw
“Gracie’s Ghost” by Gary Sweeney: http://ow.ly/arFz30mwaLc
“The Murder of Bonnie Leigh Scott” by Troy Taylor: http://ow.ly/v6wX30mwbwW
“The Laundry Room” submitted anonymously to WeirdDarkness.com
“Sleep Paralysis in Bangkok” by MarkiO: http://ow.ly/FUOD30mwc0C
“Truckstop Horror Stories” by Erin McCann: https://tinyurl.com/wldxxnl
“Buried Alive in Wilmington”: https://tinyurl.com/rr4cvoh
“Murder in Pantomime” by Robert Wilhelm: https://tinyurl.com/y97rswf5
“Strange Manifestation” by Brian Abraham: https://tinyurl.com/wmlzd22
“Winged Chupacabras” by Nick Redfern: https://tinyurl.com/th8p7ox
“The Flying Humanoids of Mexico” by Brent Swancer: https://tinyurl.com/urxujoc
“James and the Giant Leech” by James Mooney: https://amzn.to/2JHpUFo
Weird Darkness opening and closing theme by Alibi Music Library. Weird@Work music bed by Audioblocks. Background music, varying by episode, provided by Alibi Music, EpidemicSound and/or AudioBlocks with paid license; Shadows Symphony (http://bit.ly/2W6N1xJ), Midnight Syndicate (http://amzn.to/2BYCoXZ), Tony Longworth (http://TonyLongworth.com) and/or Nicolas Gasparini/Myuu (https://www.youtube.com/user/myuuji) used with permission.
MY RECORDING TOOLS…
* MICROPHONE (Neumann TLM103): http://amzn.to/2if01CL
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* HARDWARE (iMac Pro): https://amzn.to/2suZGkA
I always make sure to give authors credit for the material I use. If I somehow overlooked doing that for a story, or if a credit is incorrect, please let me know and I’ll rectify it the show notes as quickly as possible.
***WeirdDarkness™ – is a trademark and creation of of Marlar House Productions. Copyright © Marlar House Productions, 2020.
“I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.” — John 12:46 *** How to escape eternal darkness: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2IYmodFKDaM
MURDER OF BONNIE LEIGH SCOTT
The story of Bonnie Leigh Scott is a forgotten Chicago tragedy. Bonnie vanished on September 22, 1956. That evening, around 6:30 p.m., she left the home where she lived in Addison, Illinois, and told her grandmother that she was going out to look for a blouse. Bonnie lived with her aunt and uncle, Mrs. Robert Schwolow; their daughter, Sue, 15; and Bonnie’s maternal grandmother, Mrs. Doris Hitchins. Her parents were separated and in the midst of a divorce. Bonnie was an ordinary girl, a sophomore at York Community High School and a babysitter for many of the young children who lived in the quiet suburban community. The five-room, newly built ranch house where she lived was virtually identical to all the others on the street. Before the night of September 22, Bonnie never caused a problem, never drew much attention, and seemed like every other girl her age. But that night, she became a mystery. As the police began tracing her steps, assuming that she was a runaway, they managed to find four teenagers who saw her at a diner in Addison around 7:30 p.m. that night. She was also seen at a surplus store, located next door to the town’s police station. After that, she had apparently vanished into thin air.
It turned out that Bonnie was not exactly the ordinary high school girl that everyone assumed she was. Her family troubles had made her restless and the police initially assumed she was a runaway because she had done it before. One weekend she disappeared with another of her friends and spent the weekend in the city. She also occasionally skipped school. Once, after she was caught in the company of another truant, her friend told her that they had better “knuckle down and take their schooling seriously so they wouldn’t end up like the Grimes sisters.”
On September 23, a man named Charles Melquist telephoned Bonnie’s home. The 23-year-old stone worker from Villa Park told Jean Schwolow that he had received two telephone calls concerning a man with whom Bonnie Leigh had quarreled. Jean called the police and reported the information.
Melquist, repeating his story for William Devaney, an Addison police detective, said that Bonnie had called him at 8:15 on the evening of her disappearance and said that she had misgivings about the man she was with. She hung up on him abruptly after Melquist told her that it was her own problem. Melquist told police that he and Bonnie were friends and that she often consulted him as a sort of “big brother,” and that he regretted not being more patient with her call. He also told Detective Devaney about the second telephone call, which came that night around 11:00 p.m. from a young man that he didn’t know. The caller said that Bonnie had gotten out of his car near Mannheim Road and U.S. Route 66 after an argument and wanted Melquist to bring her home. Melquist said that he went to the spot, but found no trace of the girl.
Police detectives continued the search for the girl, but what few clues they had led nowhere. They searched for the young man that Bonnie was allegedly out with that night, trying to trace the names that were in a small white address book found in Bonnie’s room. They questioned thirty-eight young men (two of them were later given lie detector tests) but the trail soon petered out and went cold.
Then, on November 15, 1958, a group of Boy Scouts on a nature hike in the Argonne Woods forest preserve made a gruesome discovery in a gulley off La Grange Road — the nude, decapitated body of a young girl. The dump site was just a few miles from where the nude, frozen bodies of the Grimes sisters had been discovered less than two years before.
The body turned out to be that of Bonnie Leigh Scott. She had been killed with a large knife – stabbed several times and then her head had been removed. There was no sign of her clothing.
The investigation geared up once again. On top of the interview list for the police was Charles Melquist, the “helpful” witness who claimed Bonnie had called him for help on the night she disappeared. Detectives spent Sunday afternoon, November 16, trying to track down his whereabouts. When he heard that the police were looking for him, he walked into the station voluntarily around 11:30 p.m. to answer questions. He sat down with detectives and he went over his statements. When he left, they told him that he was merely helping with the case. He was not s suspect, they told him – but they lied. While he was kept busy at the station, the police were impounding his 1958 silver Chevrolet.
It was later discovered to be the car that he killed Bonnie in.
Melquist was brought back to the station on Monday morning. He told the same story over again and detectives were now convinced that he had memorized it. Chicago detectives offered to send for a polygraph machine and it arrived at the station later that day. Melquist was given the first of two lie detector tests. He failed miserably the first time and so detectives agreed to a second examination at the offices of John Reid, a polygraph expert and police consultant. On the way to Reid’s office, Melquist and the detectives stopped for a meal and while he ate, he made the comment to one detective that the “jog was up.” He failed another lie detector test and decided to confess to Bonnie’s murder. He wrote a seven-page confession and by 10:00 p.m. that night had been officially booked for murder.
As word reached the newspapers that Melquist had confessed to the murder, neighbors began to speak out about the man — and disturbing information came to light about Melquist’s contact with Bonnie and scores of other young girls, whose names and telephone numbers were later found in his possession. His history soon revealed a troubled past, dating back to high school, and scores of inappropriate contacts with young women. There were obscene telephone calls, stalking incidents, and worse. A young woman named Arlene Rullo told police that Melquist tried to choke her while she sat in a parked car with him. Two other young woman also came forward to allege that Melquist had also tried to choke them while on dates. Both attacks had taken place within the last eighteen months.
But nothing that the police learned was as chilling as the words that came directly from the mouth of Charles Melquist. On Tuesday, the lanky young man re-enacted the gruesome crime, telling the police that he had killed her in the driveway of his Villa Park home. They had been on a date and stopped by his house. When they returned to the car, they were “goofing around” and “wrestling.” Melquist put a pillow over Bonnie’s face and “accidentally” smothered her with it. He had then taken off her clothing, stuffed it under the car seat, and set out to find a place where her body could be hidden where there was little chance it would be found. Driving south and east, he followed to LaGrange Road, about a mile south of 95th Street, where he dumped her body in a gulley where the Argonne forest preserve bordered the highway. He dumped her body over the guardrail, hoping it would be hidden by the brush.
But Melquist couldn’t stop thinking about it. He came back on the Friday after the murder “just to make sure she was there,” and then returned three weeks later with a knife and a pitchfork. He said that he planned to dig a grave. Instead, he cut off Bonnie’s head and kicked it a few feet away. Then, he had “an urge to cut” and mutilated the corpse. He said that he threw the knife and the clothing into the woods, but they were never found.
Melquist signed a 45-page, second confession about Bonnie’s murder, but then, as soon as he had an attorney, immediately denied it, claiming that he had been “hypnotized” into confessing by John Reid. The case went to trial in April 1959 and the defense rested its case after Melquist took the stand and testified to being under a hypnotic spell during the confessions.
The jury was not impressed with his story. On May 2, they found him guilty of Bonnie’s murder and on June 12, Melquist was formally sentenced to 99 years in prison. Judge Mel Abrahamson of DuPage County Circuit Court imposed the sentenced after denying a motion for a new trial for Melquist. The former construction worker gulped nervously several times as Judge Abrahamson ordered him incarcerated at Joliet Penitentiary. When asked if he had anything to say for himself, he whispered, “No.” Of his 99-year sentence, Melquist only served just over 11 years. He was paroled and later got married and had two children. He died in 2010, 50 years later than he deserved for the heinous crime for which he was convicted.
Melquist was convicted of Bonnie’s murder, but did he get away with other murders that he was never even questioned about — including those of Barbara and Patricia Grimes? As far back as 1958, Melquist was being linked to the Grimes murders. There is no question that there were some eerie similarities in the cases and some disturbing connections between Melquist and the Grimes case. Coincidences? Perhaps, but these links cause many to believe that Melquist was also the Grimes killer.
In addition to the basic facts in the case — young girls gone missing, found stripped naked, possibly smothered to death, dumped in a wooded area on Chicago’s Southwest Side — the police also discovered another link — Melquist had the telephone numbers of two girls who were neighbors of the Grimes’ sisters. It’s a tenuous link, but it’s there.
Like Bonnie, the Grimes sisters were found naked and their clothing was never found. Bonnie’s body was too decomposed when it was found for pathologists to determine a cause of death. In the Grimes case, because no cause of death could be found, the autopsy reports were altered to say that they froze to death. According to Melquist, Bonnie had been smothered. It’s been suggested that this could have happened to the Grimes sisters, too. The site where Bonnie’s body was found is in the same general area on the Southwest Side as the place where Barbara and Patricia were found. Not far from both sites is Santa Fe Park, which was searched thoroughly for clues in the Grimes case. Melquist told investigators that he frequently went to the races in that park.
Was Charles Leroy Melquist, convicted killer of Bonnie Scott, also the man who killed the Grimes sisters? Some historians believe that he was and there ARE similarities.
Whatever else Melquist was, he was a disturbed individual and a coward. He stalked women with anonymous telephone calls, he choked them into unconsciousness so that he could have sex with them, and when the police caught up with him, he fell apart. Investigators weren’t fooled by his obviously rehearsed story and before long, he had confessed to everything. Even though he later repudiated the confession, it was the truth, or at least as close to the truth as Melquist could manage. Melquist may – or may not have – also killed the Grimes sisters but who knows what other horrific crimes that he would have committed had he not been sent to prison (for a laughably short number of years) for the murder of Bonnie Leigh Scott.
It’s too bad that it took the tragic death of one young girl to save the lives of possibly many others.
TOMBS IN SPACE
On Wednesday April 12th, 1961, the Soviet Union announced that cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin had become the first man to journey into outer space.
Overnight, the 27-year-old became a national hero and the most famous man in the world, his achievement recognized in front page headlines from Washington to Beijing.
For the Soviets, this was a spectacular validation of the communist system. They had beaten the capitalist Americans to yet another crucial space milestone and demonstrated their technological supremacy to the world.
Gagarin was the perfect face of the USSR. A committed communist, he was also young and photogenic. For Russian leader Kruschev, this major propaganda coup could hardly have gone better.
But not everyone was convinced. Right from the first announcement, there were question marks about the story the Soviet press agencies were putting out.
Several days previously, Western correspondents in Moscow had been tipped off that a successful flight had already taken place. Soviet state TV cameras had even moved in to film them reporting the news.
But the news never came, not until Gagarin’s flight was announced on the 12th. The notoriously secretive Soviets seemed to be spinning the story.
Then the Daily Worker, a British communist newspaper with connections in the Kremlin, reported on the 12th that the launch had actually occurred the previous Friday.
The newspaper claimed, according to its sources, that the flight was a success, but the return to Earth had gone wrong and the cosmonaut had landed far off course and was badly injured.
Was this the reason for the cover-up? Unlike their rivals at NASA, the Soviet space program was run on a military basis and operated under intense secrecy.
It also had a history of covering up its mistakes. It seemed unlikely the Soviet leadership would want to invite the eyes of the world on its achievement if it had gone partially wrong.
If this earlier flight had succeeded in putting a man into orbit, then who was he? Numerous press reports at the time intimated it was a famous test pilot called Vladimir Ilyushin.
Unlike the rookie Gagarin, Ilyushin was the USSR’s most experienced and decorated test pilot. His father was also a famous aircraft designer with close ties to the Kremlin.
Ilyushin, rather than Gagarin, was the obvious choice for such a prestigious mission. But what if the mission was not entirely successful?
In a climate of propaganda and secrecy, could the Soviet leadership really countenance such a perceived embarrassment been revealed to the world?
It is therefore not far-fetched to suggest that Illyushin’s conjectured and ill-fated flight was therefore airbrushed out of official Soviet space history.
But could the truth be far darker than mere cold war paranoia?
Just weeks before Gagarin’s supposed first space flight, two Italian brothers based at an experimental listening station in Turin claimed to have picked up something truly chilling.
It was the sound of a cosmonaut suffocating to death as his capsule spiraled off into space. If genuine, the first man in space never even made it back to Earth.
As for Yuri Gagarin, he never flew into space again. After his initial fame faded, his life begun to spiral out of control. He started to drink and his behavior at official functions was often an embarrassment to the party.
Gagarin died in a mysterious jet crash in 1968, itself subject to many conspiracy theories. Was his sad downfall a consequence of living with a terrible lie?
Had a lost cosmonaut beaten him to the crown of the first man in space?
Whilst the Soviet Union trumpeted its achievements in space around the world, it was studious in concealing its mistakes.
From huge disasters to minor indiscretions, the leadership would airbrush anything regarded as embarrassing, figuratively and often literally, out of the historical record.
In October 1960, at least a 150 people were incinerated on a launchpad after an explosion of an R-16 ballistic missile.
The disaster, later named the Nedelin catastrophe after the chief marshal of the artillery who was killed in the accident, was quickly shrouded in a veil of official secrecy.
It wasn’t until 39 years later, in 1989, as communism began to fall, that the truth was finally acknowledged by the Soviet government.
The death of young fighter pilot Valentin Bondarenko in a fire during cosmonaut training in 1961 was also concealed by the USSR until 1986.
At the other end of the scale, Cosmonaut Grigory Grigoryevich Nelyuboff was expelled from the program for brawling, and his image was subsequently airbrushed out of official photographs.
There were also numerous reports of pre-Gagarin cosmonauts perishing in attempted manned space flights.
In 1959, renowned German rocket scientists Hermann Oberth, then working for the US, quoted American intelligence reports detailing a number of failed manned space launches.
According to the reports, at least 1 cosmonaut died in 1957 or 58, and possibly others in 1959. This coincided with intelligence coming out of Czelovakia which told a similar story.
According to the Czech leak, 4 cosmonauts perished in doomed launches — Aleksei Ledovsky, Andrei Mitkov, Sergei Shiborin and Maria Gromova.
The possibility that these unfortunate men and women may still be floating in the cold of deep space, their capsules having become their tombs, is a deeply disturbing one.
But some extraordinary evidence that emerged from Italy appeared to support this unsettling prospect.
In the late 1950s, two Italian brothers, Achille and Giovanni Judica-Cordiglia became fascinated by the early space endeavors of the Soviets and Americans.
The pair, keen amateur radio buffs, were excited about the prospect of trying to capture and record transmissions from these early missions.
Using borrowed and scavenged equipment, they set up a listening station in an old WW2 bunker on the outskirts of Turin that they dubbed Torre Bert.
Over the coming years, the station would record thousands of hours of flight telemetry and voice communications from Sputnik, Vostok, Explorer and numerous other Soviet and American programs.
In 1960, the brothers made headlines in Italy and around the world with their claim that they had heard communications from secret, clandestine Russian space launches.
What made this so sensational was, according to the brothers, the cosmonauts involved had died in space.
In May 1960, they first picked up communications from what appeared to be an unpublicised manned Soviet flight. If so, presumably it had failed to return its occupants to Earth alive.
Interesting corroboration for this came from writer Robert A. Heinlein, who heard of such a manned attempt from Russian soldiers whilst traveling in Vilnius in May 1960.
Later that year, Torre Bert tracked a faint SOS signal from a craft that seemed to be departing Earth’s orbit. Again, if this recording was genuine, we would have to assume the men had not survived.
Then, just weeks before Gagarin’s putative flight, the brothers claimed to have captured the forced breathing and rapid heartbeat of a dying cosmonaut as his spacecraft faltered in Earth’s orbit.
Were these lost cosmonauts, like those mentioned in the earlier American and Czech intelligence reports?
The station in Turin continued to pick up broadcasts of apparently doomed Soviet missions for the next few years, including the desperate last words of a female cosmonaut before she burnt up on re-entry.
In 2001, a senior engineer on the Soviet space program came forward to confirm what the brothers had seemingly caught on tape.
Mikhail Rudenko told Pravda that spacecraft with pilots named Ledovskikh, Shaborin and Mitkov were launched from the Kapustin Yar cosmodrome in 1957, 1958 and 1959.
“All three pilots died during the flights, and their names were never officially published,” Rudenko said.
But not everything the listening station picked up was so horrific. One transmission seemed to suggest someone else had made it into space and back just days before Gagarin’s official flight.
Vladimir Sergeyevich Ilyushin was Russia’s greatest test pilot and holder of multiple speed and altitude records.
For those skeptical of Yuri Gagarin’s claim to be the first man to travel into space, Ilyushin is the most likely alternative. Or, at least, the most likely alternative that made it back to Earth alive.
Ilyushin was named as the ‘true’ first man in space by foreign journalists in Moscow in the days surrounding Gagarin’s purported historical flight.
Denis Ogden of the British Daily Worker and French journalist Eduard Bobrovsky were amongst the first to identify Ilyushin and many others soon followed, supposedly on the basis of inside information.
Ilyushin had the perfect credentials for the part. He was the son of a legendary aircraft designer — Sergei Ilyushin and a decorated test pilot in his own right. The family also had impeccable links to the Soviet establishment.
His whereabout around the time of Yuri Gagarin’s flight were shrouded in mystery. In all the fanfare and pomp surrounded the Gagarin triumph, Ilyushin — one of the countries great heroes, was nowhere to be scene.
The official story had it that his absence was because he had had a car crash the previous month and was recovering in hospital. However, this was only the first of many stories.
Throughout the aftermath of the Gagarin flight, the Soviet state press agencies, so adept at propaganda, seemed unable to give a consistent account about Ilyushin.In reaction to the foreign press stories that he had been the true first man in space, the Soviets simply denied he was even a cosmonaut.
However, in the month’s before Gagarin’s flight, news that Ilyushin was in cosmonaut training had already made it to the Soviet press. There was even a photograph of him in a space suit published in the newspapers.
The details of Ilyushin’s supposed crash also changed numerous times. Now it was so serious that it had put him in a coma for almost a year, making it impossible for him to have undergone the cosmonaut training at all.
This too was undermined by another photograph that appeared showing him looking decidedly conscious and healthy during this time whilst receiving the Hero of the Soviet Union award.
The reason for his prolonged pubic absence also evolved. The new story had Ilyushin recuperating from his car crash in China, an explanation that raised many eyebrows amongst seasoned foreign correspondents in Moscow.
The Soviet healthcare system in 1961 was extensive and of a high standard. It sounded deeply unlikely that it would send such a prestigious figure to a foreign country for treatment.
Where these unconvincing and shifting accounts simply a cover for the truth the journalists had been reporting all along?
And was the strange story of Ilyushin’s absence designed to hide the embarrassing fact that, whilst he had made it into space and back, he had landed miles off course in mainland China?
The famous Judica-Cordiglia recordings represent perhaps the most compelling evidence for the theory that other cosmonauts made it into space before Gagarin.
The brothers became extremely famous in the Italian press because of their recordings and were subject to many national and international newspaper reports.
However, some science writers and space experts who have examined the Italian brother’s evidence have cast doubt on the veracity of their claims.
Several aspects of the brothers recordings did not match known technical and operational details of the Soviet space program, such as the correct communications protocols used by the cosmonauts.
Their recording of a craft leaving Earth’s orbit was obviously suspect as the Soviets had no ability to leave orbit in 1961. They did not achieve this capability until 1969.
The famous tape with an audible heartbeat supposedly from a dying cosmonaut is also unlikely to be genuine, as the Russians did not broadcast such information across audio channels.
But perhaps the biggest problem with the brother’s claims is the fact nobody else was able to reproduce them.
Whilst the set up at Torre Bert was superb for amateurs, it paled in significance compared to the far more sophisticated radio monitoring arrays set up by the Americans, British, French, and Germans.
Yet such powerful installations as Jodrell Bank in the UK and the American’s huge listening station in Turkey had not observed the Russian failures claimed by Torre Bert.
Bernard Lovell, director at Jodrell Bank, wrote in 1963 — “We have no reason to believe that there have been any unsuccessful manned space attempts by the USSR”.
We could surmise that Lovell was lying, but to what purpose? For the West to forgo the immense propaganda value of exposing Russian lies and failures at the height of the cold war seems improbable.
By the early 1960s, the Americans were lagging far behind the USSR in the space race and such an opportunity to exploit the reckless indifference to human life of the Soviets would have surely been taken.
The obvious conclusion is the Judica-Cordiglia brothers had, at best, made a mistake. Some have suggested that their recording of a dying cosmonaut was actually one of the many dogs the Soviets sent up into space.
A less charitable explanation is the brothers had fabricated the communications and the whole thing was a hoax. Some of the events they claimed to have captured tended to support this.
In particular, the recording purporting to be a female Cosmonaut’s last words as she burns up on re-entry contains poor Russian, broken grammar and many gibberish phrases.
Soviet cosmonauts were renowned for been extremely well educated and the idea that they would send someone into space with such a poor command of their own language is unlikely.
In contrast, the Judica-Cordiglia brother’s own sister had begun to learn Russian in order to help them with translations of the tapes. Her level of Russian was much more consistent with the voice on the tapes than a genuine cosmonaut.
Whilst there is no doubt the brothers had made genuine recordings, had they fabricated the more sensational tapes in order to keep themselves in the limelight?
One curious fact seriously undermines the idea that the Soviets had covered up earlier, failed manned space flights.
If they were so intensely paranoid about even minor failures becoming public, would they have alerted the world to Gagarin’s flight whilst he was still in orbit?
The Soviet space authorities actually announced Gagarin’s feat 30 minutes before the landing, and even prepared press releases in case his flight landed off course and they would require international assistance.
Clearly, the Kremlin took a pragmatic view of the prospect that a cosmonaut’s re-entry into Earth may go wrong, especially with the possibility that they may end up in a foreign country.
It therefore makes little sense that they would have gone to such lengths to cover up Ilyushin’s supposed off course landing just 5 days before.
Some critics have questioned the original source of the story that Vladimir Ilyushin was the real first man in space.
Since 1961, almost every version of the theory has been based on the same April 11th newspaper article in the British communist newspaper the Daily Worker.
Journalist Dennis Ogden was responsible for the story, and always claimed to have based it on a reliable inside source. But since he refused to name it, it was impossible to verify the information.
Many critics think Ogden’s source was really a figleaf to cover the fact he had jumped to a rather embarrassing conclusion.
Ogden was a neighbor of Ilyushin and had noted his public absence. When, a few days before Gagarin’s flight, he had heard rumors of a launch, he simply had a journalistic hunch it was Ilyushin on board.
The story was little more than a guess on Ogden’s part. A guess that was reported around the world and is still cited as evidence of a cover-up 50 years later.
That Ogden himself had little confidence in his own scoop is obvious. The very next day he wrote a story in the Daily Worker proclaiming Gagarin as the first man in space after all.
Savannah’s Bonaventure Cemetery is known for its lush scenery and striking monuments to the dead. Yet there is one particular headstone that stops visitors in their tracks. Surrounded by a long iron fence, sitting pensively with her right hand resting on a tree stump is the statue of a little girl.
Her name is Gracie Watson, also known as Little Gracie.
She was the only child of Wales (W.J.) and Margaret Frances Watson. Wales took over management of the luxurious Pulaski Hotel in the 1880s, though the Watsons found themselves largely ignored by the city’s upper class. Margaret longed to integrate herself into the community and began giving away food and drinks at their hotel. Soon, the family’s social status improved. Numerous parties were held at the Pulaski, to which Gracie was often invited.
The little girl charmed guests with her lovable personality, taking on the role of an adorable hostess. When she grew tired of mingling with the adults, Gracie would often slip away to play beneath the back stairwell. Her disappearing act became a running joke with the partygoers, who would ask aloud “Where’s Gracie?” as a way of acknowledging the lateness of the hour.
Then, just two days before Easter in 1889, Gracie Watson died of pneumonia. She was six years old. Wales and Margaret were inconsolable; a grief-stricken Margaret claimed that she could still hear Little Gracie laughing and playing under the back staircase. Soon there after, Wales moved his wife into the newly-opened DeSoto Hotel to escape their painful memories. But over the years, different staff members insisted that Gracie’s voice could still be heard near the stairs. Other staff members refused to go into the basement due to the ominous sound of low moaning and clanking metal.
Wales Watson, in a final tribute to his daughter, hired sculptor John Walz to carve a life-sized monument of Gracie using a photograph as a reference. The finished work became the marker of her grave in Bonaventure Cemetery. It is said to be eerily accurate all the way down to the shape of her mouth.
And as the years passed, tales of Gracie’s life—and her haunting gravestone—grew.
Visitors to Gracie’s grave often leave toys and objects for her to enjoy. Some say Gracie’s statue cries tears of blood if these gifts are removed. Numerous witnesses have claimed to see what they perceived to be a real girl in a white dress skipping through the cemetery grass before vanishing into thin air. Others have seen Little Gracie playing in Johnson Square, a public space near the Pulaski Hotel’s former location. At least one person has seen a young girl staring from the window of the building at the corner of Bryan and Bull Street, where the Pulaski stood until it was demolished in 1957.
In the spring of 2002, a Savannah tour guide led a group past the Pulaski’s former site and began to tell Gracie’s story. Suddenly she noticed an unfamiliar four-story structure reflected in the window of the building she faced. The guide spun around but saw no such building. She continued to see the same reflection in other buildings until she finished Gracie’s story. Later, after seeing a historic photo of the Pulaski Hotel, the tour guide went pale and confirmed it was the reflection she had seen.
Gracie Watson’s grave is one of the most heavily trafficked in Bonaventure Cemetery. The iron fence was specifically added to prevent damage to the sculpture. Yet if the aforementioned sightings are to be believed, Gracie Watson herself is also watching over her resting place.
So, if you are ever in Savannah, Georgia and decide to visit the beautiful, 160-acre grounds of Bonaventure Cemetery, keep your eyes and ears open for a little girl in Victorian clothing. She may just be coming out to play.
THE LAUNDRY ROOM
While yes, this isn’t the absolutely most terrifying or horrific story, it is the strangest and scariest thing that has ever happened to me.
So, this happened when I was around 10. I’ve always taken the bus home from school, and I had gotten a home key for my 8th birthday. This was because most of the time, neither of my parents was home when by the time I arrived.
Today was a day like normal. I got home at 2:45, unlocked the back door with my home key and walked into the house. I have always felt slightly uneasy about being home by myself, mostly because of many late nights listening to creepy YouTube videos, but today I just felt terrified as I stepped into the house. I brushed off the uneasy feeling, dropping my backpack on the floor and starting on my homework.
About 30 minutes in, the longest that my parents had ever been gone, I heard small, faint footstep like sounds upstairs, coming from the laundry room and going towards my mom’s desk. My mother’s office is right by the laundry room, and you can access it through a door. I work at the kitchen table, and my mom’s office is on a bit of a balcony above. Then, I heard the sound of rustling papers. This terrified me out of my mind.
I froze up. My pencil stopped moving, and my entire body froze in fear. I couldn’t move a muscle, not even if I had wanted to. It was only 20 more minutes later, when my dad came home, that I could slightly relax again.
Once my dad started on his work I went upstairs to my mother’s office, and the sight there shocked me. My mother’s work papers, generally organized in neat stacks, was scattered across her loft. Freaked out, I quickly stacked the papers, and put them back where they belonged, or at least where I had assumed that they belonged.
That laundry room has scared me ever since. However, the mystery of who or what was up there that day will forever haunt me. for now, however, I’m just glad I don’t live in that house anymore.
SLEEP PARALYSIS IN BANGKOK
I’m pretty sure many of you are familiar with the term sleep paralysis. I, unfortunately was a victim of it. Moreover, it happened to me on New Year’s Day of 2015.
Me and my girlfriend were in Bangkok for a short New Year’s countdown holiday. This trip was actually an impromptu one; having booked air tickets and accommodation on the last week of December 2014. Due to the Christmas and New Year holiday period, most hotels were already fully booked and we had to stay in three different hotels over the six days we were there.
This incident happened during our stay on the second hotel: a 4 star service apartment at Thong Lor area and adjacent to Ekkamai road where all the local hip clubs are. The hotel looks decent enough, not the sort of place you would expect to be haunted. Amenities around the vicinity of the hotel were pretty good; many good restaurants and supermarkets. Reviews were good as well, with minor complains on the quality of the room and it being a little worn down.
It was supposed to be a 2 night stay at this hotel until we switched again. We checked into the hotel on the 30th of Dec. 2014. The receptionist gave us the key to a room on the fifth floor. As I travel quite often and also being a ‘be safe than sorry’ kind of person, the first thing I always do before I enter a hotel room is to always knock on the door three times or ring the door bell (if there was one) as a polite gesture to ‘notify the occupants’ that I will be entering and staying. I vividly remembered, immediately after I opened the main door, the door to the bedroom opened itself! I’m pretty sure it wasn’t because the chambermaid did not close the bedroom door properly after cleaning the room and the draft and pressure from the opening of the main door had caused the bedroom door to creep open, but because I heard the sound of the bedroom doorknob being turned. I could have swore also that I saw a shadow darted quickly into the bedroom instantly.
My girlfriend was standing behind me so she didn’t see the ‘shadow’ but she did witness the bedroom door opening by itself. Both of us looked at each other and both of us had the same thought. We went down to the reception and after explaining the situation, with dismay and disbelief from the hotel staff of cause, politely requested a room change, but due to the peak holiday period the only available room left was at the corner on the ground floor and we are left to no avail but to accept it. Come to think about it, I suspect that that room might be a room most typical hotels leave vacant for ‘regular occupants’.
The room seemed okay and after we settled our barang barang, we headed out for our activities for the day and came back quite late as we went to a nearby club to party. Nothing happen during the first night.
We woke up in the afternoon, showered, changed and went out. We ended our countdown at Asiatique and went back to our hotel around 1 am. Now apart from the first night which was okay, the first thing I noticed immediately after I entered the room was the warmth and stuffiness I felt. I adjusted the air con’s temperature in the bedroom as well as the living room but the funny thing is, moments after that the room will be very warm and then gradually feels cold again and sporadically feels warm again. Thinking that it might be attributed to the fact that we have been out the whole day and the tiredness is starting to creep in, I shrugged it off as being weary.
So to cut the long story short, after we showered and were getting ready for bed, I started to hear faint tapping noise like fingernails tapping on wooden hollow planks or cheap plywood. The tapping noise sounded random and inconsistent, e.g. 2 taps* pause* then a few short burst of taps* pause* etc. I cannot pinpoint the location of the tapping as firstly it was faint and distant and secondly, being in a room situated on the ground floor, the outside ambiance noise was drowning it out.
I tried not to think about it and I also did not wish to further freak my girlfriend out. But I paid close attention to it nonetheless. Within 20 minutes my girlfriend was fast asleep, but I, on the other hand cannot sleep at all.
I felt very uneasy as if there was something or someone watching us. Furthermore, the difference in temperature made me sweat and froze as the same time, it also felt nauseating just to be in the room. I felt heavy and ‘weighted down’. The tapping noises were also beginning to feel or sound louder and this time I can pinpoint it being on or around the wall dividing the bedroom and the living room. I was beginning to feel really tired and sleepy but every time I closed my eyes, I would feel the uneasiness weighing heavily on me and my inner voice was telling me to stay awake.
At around 3+ am, and I can honestly say that I do not know whether I was sleeping or if it was a dream, it felt as if I was sleeping and awake at the same time, it was a very surreal kind of feeling. In the dream, I awake to find the toilet light switched off (which was actually on with the door slightly ajar), the room was dark with faint light shining in through the window from the parking lot outside and I can make out the area in the room. I felt petrified and wanted to get out of the bed to check out what was wrong. This was when the ‘thing’ appeared. It appeared on the side the bed on my right, it was dark and shaped like a person. I could shout, I wanted to get up but it sat on me (it felt distinctly as if it was a person’s butt sitting on my stomach, literally feeling the shape and softness of the buttocks and hardness of the hip bone kind of feeling). With my hands on the blanket, I tried to spring myself up from the bed using my elbows on the bed as support. The ‘thing’ grabbed both my wrists (I swear I literally felt fingers digging into both my wrist and its grip tightened) and pushed me down on to the bed. I panicked and uttered so loudly Buddhist chants that I woke up (or was I already awake) to find my girlfriend, eyes wide opened, stunned, paled face staring at me.
That ‘thing’ was nowhere in sight and I could move again. I did not tell her my experience immediately but instead got up, switched on all the lights in the bedroom and living room and starting cursing and swearing (I read somewhere or was it someone who told me, can’t remember, that if you do that, ‘they’ will be scare off by the anger and the earthly presence) while pacing up and down the living room and searching through Agoda for hotel rooms.
I booked a new hotel and managed to pacify my girlfriend back to sleep, packed our bags and I stayed awake until 6 am in the morning. We checked out and left the place. The receptionist still asked me if everything was okay, I didn’t even bother to explain, I just wanted to get out.
After we checked into the new place, I told my girlfriend what happened. Guess what? She also felt uneasy but did not want to alarm me as she thought it might be due to her weariness as well. Furthermore, she said while she was asleep, she can feel hand or hands caressing her body in a sexual way, she thought it was me being cheeky. After what she told me, the fear actually turned to anger.
TRUCK STOP HORROR STORIES
These creepiest things people have seen at truck stops were described on Reddit, and they include the paranormal, the bizarre, and the downright strange. Like rest stops and the murders they get associated with, truck stops do sometimes live up to their reputations as places you might not want to find yourself alone. With tales about other truck drivers committing crimes, supernatural women, shadowy men, and some odd animal sightings, these creepy truck stop stories will ensure you use the restroom before you leave the house.
“I had just pulled into a truck stop inside Billings, Montana… I was playing slots and a beautiful American Indian girl was serving drinks. After quite a few drinks I started chatting with her on a more personal level.
“She told me that her shift ended in a few hours and that she would be behind the truck stop with a case of beer if I felt like partying (I did). I hung around the front of the building, and when everyone started filing out of the doors, I went around back to meet her. I couldn’t find her, but I found an older, Mexican woman who seemed to know my name and acted as if I had just been talking to her inside. I was buzzed, but not drunk, or stupid. I knew this wasn’t the same person. What also struck me as odd is that she had no personal belongings besides the clothes on her back. No purse, or key ring, nothing. I, starting to feel a little ‘tripped out’ because of this, began to act like I didn’t know her and didn’t want anything to do with her. She became cold and stopped trying to talk to me… okay, well that was freaking weird.
“I walk all the way back out to my truck, climb in the back, change into my sleep wear and laid on the bunk to re-read a book. Only a few minutes into the book I hear three loud bangs on the side of my sleeper, I’m talking ‘Holy-Crap Your Truck’s On Fire You Have To Get Out NOW’ loud! I opened the curtains and rolled down the window and saw that the young American Indian woman I had been speaking with was standing next to my truck. I immediately picked up something wrong about her. It wasn’t her lack of speech, odd, disheveled look, or rigid body movements. It was her eyes that got to me. Solid black.
“I could say that the dark night coupled with a few drinks could make me think her eyes were black, but I’m not. When I hit a switch in the back of my truck, the inside lights up like a baseball stadium. Her eyes seemed to be pulling the light into them, like miniature black holes, it reminded me of when a woman wearing mascara cries and she kind of looks like a raccoon, afterwards. It looked like she had rubbed charcoal around her eyes.
“It also felt like my body was acting of its own accord, like my body was screaming at my fragile psyche to open the door and let her into my truck, despite the fact that she looked freaking terrifying and hadn’t said a single word to me since meeting her again. I remember having to choke out the word ‘No.’ It reminded me of when you’re on the verge of tears, but you choke through them to speak to someone.
“I was too damned terrified to look out my side vents to see if she was still standing outside, I was too terrified that I might have ended up looking back into darkness, only to know, in my mind’s eye, that she could be staring right back at me. I’ve got the shakes just from remembering that. ”
“I live in a smallish town about an hour south of Salt Lake City Utah. I am a 15-year-old male and professional mountain biker. I live on the south side of town, but the town is small enough I can ride my bike from one end to the other in around 30 minutes. Anyway this story happened about a year ago.
“I got in a fight with my parents about not being able to have a sleepover that night, and rode off to help get over it. As I rode up a hill to the rode that goes all the way through town, I thought of were to go. I decided I was going to go to a closed down Flying J on the other side of the town. I took off, and got there about 30 minutes later. As I was approaching the Flying J, I got an uneasy feeling. I didn’t think much of it and shook it off. But as I rode onto the property, I had another uneasy feeling. Trucks still park there at night and I had seen drivers in them as I drove past several times. ”
“The first thing I noticed was none of the trucks were running and none of them had a light on. Now note it was only about 8:30 PM so it was just past dark and that’s when most trucks pull in. I know this cause my dad is a truck driver, and I had spent two months with him on the truck that summer. I started just riding around to the back of the parking lot with that uneasy feeling getting stronger the farther I went into the parking lot. About half-way through I noticed a dark figure standing by one of the trucks. I couldn’t tell if it was looking at me or not but I thought it was just a driver getting some fresh air. As I started getting closer I noticed I could see through the figure and see the air intake on the side of the truck. For those of you who don’t know where that is, it is right in front of the doors on both sides, and looks like a big barrel.
“As I got even closer to the figure, I suddenly felt like someone had slugged me in the gut with dread. I looked back up at the figure and it was gone…I looked back where I was going and a seven-foot tall completely black figure stood in front of me and had red eyes like fire balls floating in mid air. My quick mountain-biking reflexes made me swerve to the side of the figure. I started peddling as fast as I could and went around a row of trucks. I looked back and the figure was chasing me. I changed to a higher gear and started to get away from the figure. As I rode past the fence I looked back, and it was stopped right behind the fence.
“I rode back home as fast as I could. I didn’t tell my parents cause they wouldn’t believe me. The next day I was hanging out with some friends and told them about it. One of them said they knew kids who used Ouija boards and did really bad stuff there at night. I shook it off, until this year when my dad’s trucking company bought the lot. I have to go there late at night to help my dad unload and tarp trucks. Almost every time I’m there, I see that figure standing by something, staring at me.”
“My uncle was a truck driver for many years… He spent several years doing cross-country trips, often loading up his trailer in the middle of the night. While he waited for his trailer to be loaded he’d make his way over to a nearby truck stop, have a late night meal, and shoot the sh*t with any other drivers there. After a while, he would make friends with drivers that were on a somewhat similar schedule. He befriended this particular guy that he would run into about once a month or so.
“One night the guy invites him back to his semi. He wants to show him something he’s built. This guy’s semi has a sleeper on the back, so it’s pretty big. Basically it’s a semi-truck with a small room right behind the driver to sleep in. My uncle is intrigued by what kind of custom work this guy has done so he goes along with him.
“Once they’re in the truck the guy show him what he’s built in the sleeper of his semi. It’s a big, heavy duty box. Apparently it has hydraulic arms on either side so he can open and close it with the push of a button. He says once he pushes the button it seals shut, it can’t be opened. My uncle is kind of weirded out by this and cracks a few jokes about the box. The guy starts to get a little agitated. My uncle realizes this and decides it’s time to leave this guy’s semi.
“A few months later he finds out that the guy was a serial killer stuffing truck stop hookers and others into this custom hydraulic box. At this point in the story his hand starts shaking and he can barely drink his beer. ‘That guy was massive,’ he says. ‘His hand could cover most of my head. He could’ve stuffed me in the box and there’s nothing I could’ve done to stop him. Or sh*t, maybe there was someone in there already!’ He says he still has nightmares about it years later.”
“Given the nature of their work, truck drivers can be pretty unhealthy and will sometimes die in their sleep at rest stops. The sad (and gross) thing is that they can go unnoticed for a decent amount of time.”
“There was a story on here a while back by a trucker who shared his creepiest experience while out on the road. It was getting very late (and very dark) so he pulled into a rest area off the highway in the middle of nowhere. The place was totally empty, meaning there weren’t any other vehicles or people there. While he was getting some shut-eye inside his truck, he heard a faint sound of a barking dog that seemed to get louder and louder as time went by.
“Eventually the nasty barking sound was coming from right outside his driver-side door. As he got up to look in the window, he didn’t see a rabid dog but instead it was some crazy-eyed person looking directly at him, growling and trying to get in. He started the engine and got the heck out of there.”
“Pulled over to stay the night near the Arizona welcome center on I-40. I hear a light knocking on my door. An old lady wearing nothing but an oversized sweatshirt is standing outside. I roll down my window and ask what’s up. In the tiniest, creepiest little voice she says that there’s something in her car making a weird noise and that she needs help with it. I didn’t help her.”
“All growing up, my dad was a semi truck driver. He drove full-time, all over the country. We didn’t get to see him very often, but he used to call home almost every night, and in the summers, my sisters and I got to travel with him for a week or two. We called it ‘trucking.’
“This story happened when I was really little, probably four or so, and I don’t really remember it. I was trucking with my dad, and he was experiencing some minor engine trouble. Before he was a truck driver, my dad was a mechanic, and did most of his own truck repairs. He had pulled over in a small truck stop to work on the truck. There was a tree next to the parking lot, so he sat me down underneath it with my doll, and he worked on the truck right next to me.
“It was really hot, and while he was laying underneath the hot truck, my dad blacked out. Who knows how long he was out. He was having a heat stroke. He finally came to with a splitting headache. He looked over to the tree to check on me, and I was still just sitting there playing with my doll. But there was a guy creeping up behind me, reaching out to grab me. I don’t know how, but with the little energy my dad had left, he jumped out from under the truck yelling and swinging whatever tool he had nearby. The guy ran off, and my dad collapsed.
“A lady working inside the truck stop saw the whole thing, and came running out. She got me and my dad inside, and took care of me while he cooled down.
I don’t know what would have happened if my dad hadn’t woken up when he did.”
“My friends and I drove out to the Greyhound station along the highway to drop one friend off. There were five of us in total, with me sitting in the middle seat in the back. The station is adjacent to a truck stop, with the parking spots for the station perpendicular to the spots for the trucks. It just so happened that the spot we were parked in was in line with the cab of the truck parked perpendicular to us.
“We were just sitting there in the car waiting for the bus, and my two friends in the front were turned so that they faced us in the back. Nothing special was going on, just general chit chat. With me being the only one with a clear view out the windshield, I happened to look up at the cab of the truck in front of us. I noticed a blinking little red light that seemed out of place at the bottom of the window. I look a little closer and realize that the little red light belong to a camera the trucker was holding that was pointed unmistakably directly at us. After I pointed this out to my friends and all attention turned to him, the camera and creeper holding it quickly disappeared from sight. Needless to say we also disappeared from sight, moving to a space as far away from truck parking spots as possible.
“Not the worst thing that could have happened, but definitely creepy. I just don’t understand what he was wanting to get out of filming us. I mean we were just sitting in a car, chatting. I just don’t get it.”
“When I was a fresh faced 18-year-old college student, I worked at a fast food restaurant near a truck stop. I had just moved from a relatively small town of around 3,000 to a city of around 65,000, not including the college kids. Somehow I was not familiar with creepy men.
“So it’s my second or third week there on cashier duty and it is busy dinnertime. Everything is going fine and I’m doing pretty well because I’m a relatively friendly person while still making sure the line went through smoothly. A lot of truckers come in and a relatively heavy set gentleman with the typical trucker’s outfit (jean jacket, dirty jeans, so much denim!) is next at my register. He’s at least 45 and smells like the worst BO ever. He orders and I tell him it will be a few moments. I look behind him indicating that it is time to move on because I’m going to help the person behind him. Then it starts.
Trucker: ‘You look pretty young to be working.’
Me: (awkward laugh) ‘Yeah, this is my first college job.’
Trucker: ‘No, no way are you in college, you are just a baby.’
I spurt out more awkward laughing and I address the person behind him. He still doesn’t move.
Trucker: ‘You look tired.’
Me: ‘Yeah, I had a long day of classes.’
Trucker: ‘I’m tired too. Want to take a nap with me in my truckbed?’
“Yeah, okay, moving on. I readdress the person behind him and even move a little to the side so the customer can see me. Luckily his food comes up and he disappears. Good thing too, because he was making me uncomfortable. My manager, who saw the whole thing, started asking if I knew that guy and if he was bothering me. I told him that I didn’t know him but he’s gone now so it’s no big deal. I figured that would be that. Nope.
We begin closing up around 10 PM as we close at 11 PM. I’m doing some light cleaning up when we get a drive-thru. I have a headset and my manager has another along with the grill cook. Right now it is just us three there for the night because our store was famous for being understaffed. My manager takes the order and does the standard greeting. Instead, we get the familiar voice of the ‘Trucker.’
Trucker: ‘What time is the cashier girl done?’
“My manager turns to me. I’m completely frozen and not sure what to say. My manager turns the headset off and asks again if I know this guy. I say no and I can tell he is immediately in attack mode.
Manager: ‘I’m sorry sir, we have many females on registers throughout the night and I’m not allowed to give out – ‘
Trucker: (After interrupting him) ‘The baby faced girl, I know she is still there, I told her I would give her a ride.’
Manager: ‘I cannot give out that information.’
Trucker: ‘Tell her I’ll be waiting.’
“He then drove off. My manager immediately runs in back and leaves me and the grill cook standing there confused and scared. In 15 minutes the GM comes in and asks me various questions such as if I’m sure I don’t know this man and then tells us to shut down lobby and just keep drive-thru open. They both go in the back room and shut the door. At around 10:45, the grill cook, who came up to talk to me as I was visibly shaken, notices an unmarked police car sitting in our parking lot. At 10:55 my manager comes back out and tells us to just shut the store down.
“Around 11:45, we are finished and I grab my coat from the break room. Normally, just myself and the grill cook would have just walked out together but instead both the manager and GM both walked us out. Sure as hell, there is an 18 wheeler, with his lights off, waiting outside of the normal parking in the truck stop and instead in our parking lot as if no one would notice the big truck. As we make our way to our cars, the trucker turns his lights on and starts his engine. The undercover gets out and walks up to us and then walks with us to our cars. Trucker must have seen the cop and the manager and GM and instead drove away. Although nothing happened, it changed our store’s policy on how the closers could leave the store. Now they had to go in packs of three and couldn’t leave until everyone’s cars started and their lights were on.”
“Not a trucker, but my neighbor’s son was. One night he was parked and asleep in his cab when someone stole his load. Then they set fire to the truck with him in it still asleep. He didn’t get out in time.”
“Just an empty bathroom with a wheel chair inside.”
“I stop one day, and I need to take a piss. I don’t know why I didn’t stop in Van Horn. So I pull off, and I roll up to the empty lot across the street. Kent, Texas, is an abandoned town. I walk up to the bush line and notice a makeshift fire pit. The wood is somewhat burnt, but not all the way. The weird thing is that there’s an unscathed dollar bill stuck in the wood. For a second I was like ‘Ooo piece of candy!’ but then this sudden feeling of NOPE came over me. So I left it alone and pissed in the bush.
“As I’m walking back, I get a real negative feeling. I look to the ground in front of me and bam, there’s a rattlesnake looking right at me. I stop dead in my tracks, and walk carefully around it, and it keeps staring at me. I ran as fast as I could back to my truck, feeling like somebody was behind me. I kicked up a lot of dust getting out of there, and have never stopped in Kent since.”
“I had a hooker climb into my truck while I was sleeping. My truck’s passenger’s side door wasn’t locked as well as I thought. I’d been hit in a parking lot by another truck and it bent the door in a little. I tested the lock and it seemed to lock and unlock fine, but that turned out to be wrong. It was around 1 AM, and in my sleep I sort of vaguely heard my door open, so I was already starting to wake up, then someone shook me by the shoulder. I jumped up and hit her in the face with my laptop, we got in this weird hair-pulling slap fight, and physically pushed/kicked her over the passenger’s seat and out the door onto the pavement. I stood there half-awake blinking at her through the windshield when she jumped up, flashed me her boobs, flipped me off, and ran away. I went back to sleep, sort of.
“Woke up an hour or so later with someone knocking on my door. It was the police. She called them and told them she was my girlfriend and I’d beat her up and thrown her out at a truck stop. I believe they were getting ready to handcuff me when a few drivers from other trucks came over to explain she’d been knocking on truck doors all night and was there most weekends either knocking on doors or trying to climb into unlocked trucks. The cops didn’t really say anything else to me, they just handcuffed her and drove away with her in the back.
Plot twist: I’m female and I look nothing like the stereotypical ideal of the manly female trucker. She looked like a greasy beach ball with dead caterpillars for eyebrows..”
“I am waiting out front of a truck stop back in the mid ’80s. Sitting on a park bench with a guy that has a big Rottweiler kinda dog on a leash with him. I try to make small talk but he was quite a sourpuss. So we sit in silence for a few minutes until the most unexpected thing I have ever seen, happens right before my very eyes.
“While we were sitting there a big 18 wheeler pulls in without a trailer (bobtail) so he parks right up front like a normal car would. Inside the cab of the truck with the driver is a little monkey, the dance for the organ grinder kind. I think they are called Rhesus monkeys. Well, the dog spots this lil monkey and proceeds to go apesh*t over it, lunging at the end of his leash and barking at the top of his lungs. Generally making a real spectacle of himself to say the least.
“The driver is obviously upset, but not nearly as much as the monkey is. Actually upset may be the wrong adjective to use for the monkey, though. In retrospect I think ‘eagerly aggressive’ may be a more appropriate description for his disposition. He was pacing the dashboard back-and-forth, never taking his eyes off of this very aggravating dog.
“The driver opens his little triangle window that they don’t make on cars anymore, the ones made for smokers back in the day. He yells out to this d**chebag to call his dog off because it is upsetting his monkey. The guy laughs and says no way, says that his dog ain’t bothering nobody. The dog hasn’t shut up since he laid eyes on the monkey. I promise you he is bothering everybody for several blocks around.
“Now here’s where things start to get interesting. The driver says that if he doesn’t call his dog off he’s gonna let his monkey loose on that dog. D**chebag laughs and says that his dog would eat that monkey alive. Upon hearing this the driver leans over and reaches into his glove box I guess. Pulls out one of those tiny baseball bats like you used to get at Astroworld or carnivals, and places it in the monkey’s hand.
“The monkey obviously knows what’s about to go down because he is now trying to squeeze out of that little triangular window I mentioned earlier. This monkey has murder in his eyes if I have ever seen it. Driver hollers ‘Last chance to save your dog’s a**, man.’ In response d**chebag lets his dog off of the leash. Now we have a situation that has escalated to the point where we have a dog jumping up at the window and a monkey screaming profanities right back at him.
“Well, the driver finally rolls down the regular window and out leaps all kinds of miniature primate hell. The dog never knew what hit him. Quick as a flash this monkey is riding on the back of this dog’s neck. His two back feet all wrapped up in his neck fur with one hand hanging onto an ear. The other hand as you may have guessed by now is steadily and mercilessly raining down blows about this dog’s head and face. I mean hard blows. You can hear them whap whap whap.
“Well it only takes a moment for the dog to realize he is in way over his head. He bolts yelping bloody murder as he runs away at full speed. I mean this dog is running so f*ckin hard he’s throwing up tufts of grass and dirt as soon as he leaves pavement. The monkey still riding him and beating on him the whole time. D**chebag acts like he wants to fight now but several people including myself stepped in to stop that nonsense. In a couple of minutes or so the little monkey comes loping back with his little bat still in hand, and leaps up into the still open window of the truck to await his master who has gone on into the store.
“That w*nker runs off to try to go find his dog, but I don’t know if he ever did. My ride shows up and I go. Never again in this lifetime will I see something so totally crazy and unexpected like that. I am both fortunate and humble to have been so privileged to be present for such an event.”
In Wilmington, North Carolina there is a small, historic cemetery located behind St. James Episcopal Church.
You won’t find a tombstone with his name on it, but records to indicate that a young man by the name of Samuel Joselyn was buried in this cemetery back in 1810. Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear that Samuel was actually DEAD at the time of his burial!
Samuel came from a wealthy family, which afforded him the opportunity for a good education and the leisure time to get together with young men of similar means and discuss philosophical and academic ideas. One rainy evening, the discussion turned to the topic of the afterlife and the survival of the soul after death. Samuel and his best friend, Alexander (Sandy) Hostler made a pact: whoever died first would come back and contact the survivor.
The two young men probably weren’t thinking much about that pact on July 4, 1809. On that date, Samuel married Mary Ann Sampson of another wealthy Wilmington family, and settled down with the intent to open his own law practice in town. Unfortunately, his marriage would be a short one.
On March 16, 1810, The Jocelyn’s and several other wealthy families were vacationing at one of their nearby hunting lodges. Mary Ann and Samuel apparently got into a fight that evening, and Samuel, in a rage, fled the hunting lodge wearing only a thin coat. Due to the poor weather and Samuel’s apparent poor state of mind, a search party went looking for them. It wasn’t until two days later that he was found in the swamp, lying in 4 inches of icy cold water. He had apparently fallen or was thrown from his horse.
Family and friends were distraught as Samuel was laid to rest at St. James’ graveyard soon afterward. Sandy Hostler took the loss of his friend especially hard. The grieving Sandy was horrified when on the night of Samuel’s funeral, an apparition of the deceased young man appeared before him. The apparition spoke, imploring Sandy to “dig up my body.” Sandy, shaken by the vision, assumed that the ghost was nothing more than a product of his grief and his sleeplessness. And then, the apparition appeared twice more. At a loss of what to do, Sandy sought the advice of Louis Toomer. Louis reminded Sandy of the pact that Sandy and Samuel had made, which Sandy had completely forgotten about.
Louis further theorized that Samuel had somehow hidden in the coffin some sort of proof of life after death, and that’s why he was so insistent that Sandy open his coffin. So, after much deliberation, the two young men decided that it had to be done. They would exhume their friend’s body themselves.
The night came and the two met just outside the graveyard’s gates. As they completed their grisly task, it finally became apparent that Samuel had not hidden any proof of the afterlife in his coffin. It was much, much worse.
Samuel’s ghost DID contact Sandy that first night, and on two subsequent nights, but it wasn’t to share proof an afterlife. It was an attempt to SAVE his life. Samuel’s face wore a twisted look of sheer terror. His fingers had scratched the coffin lid until they were nothing but bloody stumps, bones exposed. Samuel hadn’t died in the swamp; he had died a horrifying death buried alive. Perhaps by the time his apparition had come to Samuel, it had already been too late. Or, perhaps what was his ‘ghost’ was actually his soul temporarily leaving his body in order to seek help.
Sandy is also long gone now, but Samuel’s ghost is still scaring the residents of Wilmington. Before the fence and the security cameras, locals would scare themselves by daring each other to lie atop of Samuel’s grave, ear to the ground, for one hour. Legend states that no one was ever able to last the entire time without fleeing. Others refuse to even walk past the graveyard at night fearing they might hear the muffled cries of Samuel Jocelyn, reliving the horror of being buried alive.
MURDER IN PANTOMIME
Lizzie Lochner returned home from a night on the town sometime after midnight the morning of June 2, 1894. Her husband Joseph, who stayed home with the children—4-year-old Rosa and her infant brother— berated Lizzie for her for coming in so late. They began to loudly argue the matter as they had done many times before.
Their lodger, Gus Englund, was used to being awakened by the Lochner’s arguing but this night was different. The voices grew to a crescendo followed by a few minutes of silence, then the sound of a gunshot. Joseph Lochner burst into his room and said, “Oh, Gus, Gus, I have done it. I have killed my wife.” He then ran out of the building by the back door.
Englund went into the other room and found Lizzie Lochner lying on the floor, a puddle of blood by her head. The baby was still on his mother’s arms and Rosa stood over her dead mother, trembling in fear. Englund sent for the police and the children were taken to the home of Lizzie’s half-brother, Abe Slupsky.
Rosa Lochner was a witness to the murder, but she had been deaf since birth and her spoken vocabulary was limited to the words: mamma, papa, baby, and bye-bye. It appeared that she would not be able to supply any information. However, after she regained her composure Rosa gave Mrs. Slupsky a detailed account of what happened in pantomime. Her mamma rocked the baby to sleep, then papa woke her up, pointed a revolver at her head and fired, mamma fell dead on the floor, papa took off her rings, then fled.
Mrs. Slupsky notified the police, and after some coaxing Rosa repeated the show for the police and reporters. The St. Louis Post sent an artist who drew Rosa’s motions and his series of pictures was printed in the paper.
The police found Joseph Lochner at his brother’s house at around 2:30 the morning of the murder. He surrendered quietly to the police and admitted to killing his wife, but said she was unfaithful, and he had no regrets over shooting her.
Lochner was 38-years-old and had come to America from Bavaria as a young boy. He had worked hard and saved enough money to open a small bakery in St. Louis. Around the same time, he married Lizzie Rosenstein—ten years his junior and daughter of a well-to-do painter. Lochner’s business failed and his marriage grew cold. Lizzie was young and full of life, but Joseph had not the time, money or inclination to take her out. Despite his admonitions, Lizzie went out anyway and came home late.
While in police custody, Lochner gave a sworn written confession to the murder of his wife. She had gone out that night as she did very often, leaving him at home with his heart full of anger and sorrow. When she returned he asked where she had been, and she told him it was none of his business.
He responded, “Lizzie, if you go on like this I will leave you in the morning.”
“Good you ——-,” she said, “Oh, I am so glad. Go to-night for all I care.”
She began singing and dancing in her joy. Lochner was outraged, became crazy and determined to kill her. When she sat down and began to rock the baby he took his revolver and shot her in the head. Lochner was now remorseful and sorry that he killed her telling the police that he wanted to hang, as he had nothing more to live for.
It looked like an open and shut case of first-degree murder—the prosecution had Lochner’s sworn confession, the testimony of Gus Englund, and Rosa’s eye-witness account. Rosa Lochner’s pantomime of the murder was sure to gain the jury’s sympathy.
But there was sympathy for Joseph Lochner as well; his friends in the Bohemian community raised $4,000 for his defense and hired Col. Robert S. MacDonald to represent him. Not to be outdone, Abe Slupsky retained Judge Chester H. Krum to assist the prosecution. Lochner agreed to plead guilty to second-degree murder. Without consulting Krum or Slupsky, Circuit Attorney Zachritz accepted the plea and sentenced Lochner to ten years in prison. There would be no trial.
Krum and Slupsky were livid. Lochner’s sworn confession had mysteriously disappeared from the police station, prompting Slupsky to publicly question who had received the $4,000 raised for Lochner and how it was spent. However, nothing could change the outcome.
On a positive note, Abe Slupsky agreed to adopt his half-sister’s children and planned to take Rosa to Chicago where he was confident that her deafness could be cured.
This experience goes back to when I was about 12-years of age, living back in my hometown of Liverpool, Merseyside. We had moved into a Council House in Fazakerley sometime around 1974. The house was fairly new, and to my knowledge only had only one previous occupant, who had left sometime before we took up occupancy.
The house was fairly unkempt when we moved in and it took a few weeks decorating it before it was habitable. I got a eerie feeling from this house the moment I walked into it and never liked the place at all. Anyway we had been living there some time, and I would usually go to sleep at night leaving the hall light on, and keeping my curtains closed in the bedroom, and window, due to the night noises. I would hear there like footsteps walking up the stairs and noises in the garden. It was summertime, and I went to bed in the usual fashion, leaving the hall light on and making sure my curtains and window was closed in my bedroom. Subsequently I fell asleep. I remember waking up in the early hours of the morning. It must have been about 2-3am when I woke up. To my utter shock my curtains were drawn back, window wide open and the net curtains were blowing gently in the summer night breeze. I could see the silhouettes of the houses at the back of the house and the light, which was broken and partly lit, from the police station also at the back of the house.
I managed to run into my Dads bedroom and wake him up, telling him that I thought that we had an intruder. He suggested I go back to bed, but I was so persistent that he came with me. He did. When I got back to my bedroom everything was as normal, curtains closed and window also closed. I was shattered, anxious and afraid. I managed to peep through the curtains, and there I could see the silhouetted houses, and broken light at the police station. That night I think I cried myself to sleep.
When I was chatting to our next door neighbor’s girl, she was telling me that the family before had a little boy who by accident fell from an open window at the back of the house, my bedroom. Whether it was a fatal accident I do not know. I never got around to discussing it any further. The house was never ‘right’.
I would even hear piano and harp music at night being played. My mother would tell me it was wind blowing in the plumbing. My Dad would account for the footsteps on the stairs as the house settling.
I always had the impression that I was being watched and never alone. I was a fairly sensitive child, but the room incident, was not as a result of a dream. I was wide awake and know exactly what I felt and saw.
Mention the word “Chupacabra” to most people and it will almost certainly provoke imagery of strange, hairless dog-like animals mainly seen in the southwest area of the United States. They are actually coyotes with a few genuinely odd issues that go beyond just mange. It should be noted, however, that what passes for the Chupacabra today is very different to the original Chupacabra that surfaced on Puerto Rico in the mid-1990s. One of the most striking things about the Puerto Rican creature is that in more than a few cases it has been described as having wings. This is, of course, nothing like what has been seen in Texas, Arizona, New Mexico and Oklahoma. I’ll share with you a few examples from my own files.
In 2004, I headed out to Puerto Rico with a team from the SyFy Channel to make a show on the Chupacabra. The show was titled Proof Positive. One of the witnesses was a woman named Norka, whose encounter occurred midway through 1975, twenty years before the Chupacabra phenomenon began. It was dusk, on a stiflingly hot, weekday night and the atmosphere – as day began to surrender to nightfall – was as normal and tranquil as it had ever been. It wasn’t long, however, before normality and tranquility gave way to something hideous. As Norka drove carefully and slowly along the twisting, climbing road, something suddenly surfaced from the huge, dense trees that stood proud and tall, like gigantic green curtains, and which dominated each side of the road.
Doing barely twenty miles an hour to begin with, Norka was easily able to slow down as a curious beast loomed into view. Norka, looking into the cameras of the SyFy Channel, said that only about twenty feet in front of her was the strangest, most terrifying animal it had ever been her misfortune to encounter. For all intents and purposes, it looked very much like a bat. Except, that is, for one astonishing thing: the abomination was around four to five feet in height.
Not surprisingly, Norka could scarcely believe her eyes as the monster shuffled slowly across the road, its muscular legs taking slow but deliberate strides across the hot tarmac. With her eyes transfixed on the beast, Norka could see that its body was dark brown in color. Two large wings were folded tight against its back. The clawed fingers on its hands – that drooped in curious, limp fashion from its bony wrists – were of a distinct, white-yellow hue. Of a near-identical color were two enormous fangs that protruded from its gaping, almost slack-jawed, mouth. Most frightening of all to Norka were the eyes of the creature: focused intently on Norka herself, they were almost blazing, like red hot coals. It was soon gone from sight.
While I was on Puerto Rico in the summer of 2004, I gave my phone number to all of the Puerto Rico-based crew-members on the Proof Positive shoot, just in case any of them got any leads of the chupacabra variety. As a result, and late one morning not long after I returned home, I received a phone call from a woman I’ll call Rosa. I listened both carefully and intently as Rosa told me how, on a Friday night, around thirteen years previously, she was having a night on the town, in Old San Juan, with one of her girlfriends. The evening was normal, fun and just like any Friday night anywhere on the planet. At least, it was until they decided to head home.
For reasons which neither Rosa nor her friend could ever fathom, both developed a sudden and overpowering urge to drive to El Yunque. It was, said Rosa, as if the pair was in a kind of hypnotic haze. Around 1.00 a.m. they arrived at the base of the rain forest and took a long and winding road – one that I know very well – into its depths. They had driven along the compact, coiling road for around fifteen minutes when they encountered something that was as remarkable as it was terrifying: a very strange animal making its slow way across the road.
Whatever the creature was, it was certainly no regular resident of Puerto Rico. Somewhere in the region of four and a half feet in height, its color was gray, it moved across the road in a curious, tentative fashion (as if, said Rosa, it wasn’t even used to walking), and sported a pair of what were undeniably wings on its hunched back. The wings, she added, were so long, they dragged on the ground for a couple of feet behind the beast. There was one more thing: the animal had a pair of self-illuminating red eyes. That much was apparent when it stopped in its tracks and gave the friends an icy stare, after which it continued on its odd, clumsy, penguin-like walk to the left side of the road and vanished into the trees.
Then there was my 2005 trek around Puerto Rico with Paul Kimball’s Redstar Films team from Canada. A resident of a small village that was home to a cool-looking church, one which rather reminded me of an old English castle, our source had an encounter in early 2005 with…well…something. It clearly wasn’t your average chupacabra, but it did end with multiple animal mutilations; so, in that sense, the story has relevance. The month, the man thought, was February, and the time, definitely late evening. He was walking past the old church when an ear-splitting roar filled the air. It came from an area dominated by tall, thick trees and barely fifty feet away. Frozen rigid in his tracks, he stared intently at the woods.
Suddenly, something terrifying happened: a huge, feathery beast burst through the trees and took to the skies. Whatever the creature was, it was no ordinary bird; the incredible size of it, somewhere in the region of a man, made that abundantly clear. The man could only stare in awe as the infernal thing flapped its mighty wings and vanished into the distance.
To keep matters balanced, it’s very important to read the words of Ben Radford on the matter of the Puerto Rican Chupacabra. He said that: “…the origin of the mysterious vampire beast el chupacabra can be traced back to a Puerto Rican eyewitness who saw the 1995 film Species, which featured a nearly identical monster. Though both vampire legends and ‘mysterious’ animal predation date back many centuries, there seems to be no evidence of any blood-sucking ‘chupacabra’ before the 1990s.”
Ben also says: “The chupacabra has two origin stories invoked to help explain its sudden appearance: the first is that the creature is an extraterrestrial brought here by visiting aliens; the second is that the chupacabra is an escaped entity created in a top-secret U.S. government genetics laboratory experiment gone wrong—essentially a classic conspiracy-laden Frankenstein scenario. Not coincidentally, these two origin stories are identical to those of Sil, a chupacabra-like monster in the film Species.”
Ben notes too that in some cases wings have been reported, as have feathers on the backs of the animals. Ben, however, is strongly of the opinion that Species played a major role in the development of the phenomenon. I’m not so sure, primarily because (a) there are cases that predate the 1990s by not just years but by decades; and (b) during the course of my now-eleven trips to Puerto Rico I have had the good fortune to speak to a lot of witnesses to the Chupacabra, and who come across as very credible. What’s important, though, is that whatever your opinion on the undeniably controversial matter of winged-things versus odd-looking coyotes, the Puerto Rican beast is nothing like the one that roams the southwest. And it never has been.
FLYING HUMANOIDS OF MEXICO
A very odd phenomenon that happens to stretch back well into history from places all around the world is that of flying humanoids. I am not talking of bat-like creatures or winged avian anomalies, but rather exactly as I said; human figures just up there flying about, with seemingly no means of doing so and not a care in the world. It seems almost ludicrous, but there have been many, many reports of flying people, often by very reliable witnesses, and one place where flying humanoids seem to reign supreme is in the country of Mexico, where they have long been a feature of the world of the weird.
The whole bizarre phenomenon goes back to the year 2000, when witness Salvador Guerrero saw something strange indeed over the Mexican town of Colonia Agricola Oriental in March of that year. Guerrero had actually been out on a rooftop that evening for the purpose of sky watching for UFOs, but what he ended up seeing this night was perhaps every bit as weird, if not weirder. As he gazed out over the darkening sky, his attention was drawn to something very odd out there floating about, which seemed to be neither bird, plane, nor a typical UFO, and he used his video camera to zoom in on the anomalous object.
Upon zooming in, it became very evident that this was not a typical unidentified object, as it seemed to be in fact a humanoid figure inexplicably hovering in the air. There were no wings, no parachute, no obvious means of propulsion or way this mysterious individual could have possibly been keeping himself aloft, yet there he was suspended in midair, reportedly spinning slowly while holding his arms outstretched. As Guerrero stared in awe, the figure began to move off until it was out of sight behind a building, its origin and destination unknown. The whole enigmatic thing was dutifully captured on video, and has proven to be an oft debated and controversial piece of footage.
When the story of this apparent flying man came out there were almost immediately other reports of something similar in the skies of Mexico, and the sightings began to come in steadily from all over the place. One particularly well-known such report that technically occurred before the Guerrero sighting is that of an Amado Marquez, who came forward to claim that he had also seen something very peculiar in February near the town of Cuernavaca. Marquez explained that he had been out one evening and noticed a dark shape bobbing through the sky.
As with Guerrero, he zoomed in with a video camera and saw that it was a humanoid figure cruising along through the air in a horizontal position with his legs outstretched. Again there was no sign of wings, glider, or any way to remain up in the air, yet he steadily moved along nevertheless until he was out of sight. Marquez would claim that he had kept his sighting and the video he took of the event secret, finally deciding to come forward when Guerrero made his report.
Later that year, in July, there was another report, in which the witness, Gerardo Valenzuela, filmed a tall dark humanoid object descend from the sky to disappear behind a hill in a valley near the active volcano in a place called Tepoztlan, in the Mexican state of Morelos, located between the Nevado de Toluca and Popocatépetl volcanoes. The strange flying man was filmed and again the video has been picked apart and debated as to its veracity. Then in October there was a sighting made by an airline pilot and co-pilot while preparing to land in Mexico City. The figure was described as a “little flying man” wearing what appeared to be a backpack and who matched the altitude and speed of the aircraft for some time before flying off. This is a notable sighting in that these were trained pilots who would have been familiar with aerial phenomena and not prone to making up wild tales.
A particularly bizarre report that seems to deviate from the typical report, yet seems as if it may be connected, occurred on February 14, 2004, when an Ana Luisa Cid and two others witnessed a decidedly unearthly sight above Mexico City. They saw in the sky a rather strange object that at first looked to be some sort of mechanical, vibrating machine on top, under which dangled what looked like a large black humanoid shape, the whole of which seemed to be hovering in the same position.
To make matters more bizarre, a smaller object was allegedly seen to drift up from below to merge with the larger figure, after which it detached from the upper structure and revealed itself to be what appeared to be some sort of humanoid wearing a cloak or cape of some sort, while the thing above it now in fact looked like a living winged beast of some kind. It is then reported that the smaller object broke off from the cloaked creature to fly off, after which the cloaked one reattached to the winged monster and the whole surreal thing took off out of sight. What in the world was this thing? Whatever it is, what has come to be known as “The Entity Reunion in the Sky” remains one of the strangest sightings ever to take place in Mexican skies.
In 2004 yet another video of these things emerged from near Cerro de la Silla, which showed a dark object with a humanoid form floating through the air at great speed while hunched over. The video of course has generated a whole bunch of debate as to what it could be, with many saying that it is merely a cluster of balloons or some garbage blowing through the air. The next year, on June 17, 2005, witness Horacio Roquett would also film a flying humanoid in a seated position atop some type of device over Mexico City. Roquet was out with his sister at Unidad Habitacional Lomas de Platero in the middle of the afternoon on a clear day when they both saw a tall humanoid figure cruising through the air and leering at them menacingly. In this case the figure seemed to be perched atop some sort of gravity-defying vehicle that emitted a strange red glow, with its legs dangling underneath. The video they took has become one of the most famous pieces of footage ever taken of one of Mexico’s flying humanoids.
Also in 2004 we have perhaps the weirdest and most harrowing encounter of them all. A police officer in the city of Monterrey by the name of Leonardo Samaniego claimed that he had been out on patrol in the early morning hours of January 16, 2004, when he had had a rather violent encounter with something not quite of this world as we know it. The officer said that his patrol that evening had taken him to the Benito Juarez borough of Mexico City, when he had turned onto a quiet tree-line street to see something large and black fall from a tree, yet begin to levitate right before it hit the ground.
The puzzled officer drove his patrol car closer and that was when he could see that this dark shape was in fact was a “flying humanoid entity” that looked like a floating old woman, dressed all in black and with dark skin and eyes that were “just black sockets, without eyelids.” This startling apparition then apparently flew over to hover right in front of the vehicle and the stunned occupant within. He could see it better at this time, and noted that it was a hideous old woman that “resembled a witch.” Apparently annoyed by the car’s high beams, the wench then reportedly covered her face with some sort of cloak and then flew right into the vehicle’s windshield, causing the dumbfounded officer to go speeding back in reverse. He would explain the terrifying events thus: ***As soon as I realized it was a kind of woman being, or a witch, very strange standing there trying to cover her face, she threw herself against my car very fast, falling on the car and hitting the windshield. She was flying very fast and it took only a second to hit the windshield glass. I was so shocked by this action that I put the car in reverse and pushed the accelerator trying to get away while requesting backup assistance by radio. It was a woman with big black eyes, everything was black, no eyelids. Her skin was dark brown and her expression was horrible. She was furiously trying to get me with her claws while I was running away in reverse calling desperately for backup assistance to any units around.***
He was able to shake the ferocious witch off the car before smashing into a wall and losing consciousness. When he next awoke it was to the sight of other officers who had arrived to assist him, none of which had seen the surreal entity that had attacked him. Samaniego told them all what had happened, and he would subsequently be put through drug tests and psychiatric tests as no one believed him, which would turn up negative.
Some people obviously did believe him, because other reports would filter in after he had come forward with his own, from people all around the vicinity. One witness named Norma Hernandez claimed that just 2 weeks before Samaniego’s strange account she had been out hanging laundry when she saw the black form of some humanoid figure flying about in the sky above. Other locals would claim to have seen a similar entity stalking about through the air.
In 2006 another police officer came forward with his own odd encounter, when in September of that year an officer Gerardo Garza Carvajal was on patrol in his hometown of Santa Catarina when he had seen two “witches with faces like old women with black hats” flying around near a local cemetery. He would describe one of the entities thus: ***[Her] height was a meter, meter and a half, at most…[she] was dressed like a bird, with feathers, you know, she had feathers…seeing her face, it was an old lady’s face, wrinkled, red eyes, black hair. What I really noticed were her black claws… and the hair. In other words, that’s what shocked me the most. It was a bird’s body and a face like a human’s. The witches flew off but the police officers who came to my aid saw what I saw.***
The sightings of such strange entities continue to come in, and no one is really sure of what we could possibly be dealing with. The rational explanation is that these are hoaxes or mis-identifications of balloons or some aerial phenomenon, but this doesn’t seem to be adequate to explain all of the cases, and some have been given by traditionally reliable witnesses such as police officers and airline pilots. Considering the nature of these things being basically flying humanoids, they don’t seem to fit in with cryptozoology, as it is unlikely they are some undiscovered species or creature. Theories have ranged across the spectrum, that they are aliens, witches, warlocks, inter-dimensional beings, or some sort of mad inventors testing out some inscrutable tech, but we don’t have the slightest idea. All we know for sure is that something very strange seems to be going on in the skies of Mexico.
JAMES AND THE GIANT LEECH
This story is adapted from James Mooney’s 1900 Myths of the Cherokee. Mooney was an anthropologist who worked for the Smithsonian Institution’s Bureau of American Ethnography. Mooney learned to speak, read, and write in Cherokee, and spent years among the Eastern Band in North Carolina compiling books of the religious and cultural practices of the Cherokee nation. It’s a true story related to him by the Cherokee people.
There’s a spot near Murphy, at the far western edge of the state, that the indigenous Cherokee named Tlanus’yǐ, “The Leech Place”, because this seemingly quiet spot on the Valley river was where something dangerous and strange could be found.
The story begins a long time ago, at a place in the Valley River just before it joins the Hiwassee. Here, there’s a thin ledge of rock running across the river which is just passable as a bridge. But just below this natural bridge, there’s a deep hole in the river, a place where the water disappears into cold darkness. All of this is overlooked by a high ridge on on the south bank, with a trail running across it that offers a clear view down into the river.
It’s along this path that one day a small group of Cherokee men were walking. As they looked into the river below, they noticed something strange. It was a large, red, something, as large as a house, sitting on the rock ledge in the river. As they wondered what it was, they saw it slowly began to move and unfurl. It stretched out its long, flat, fleshy body along the ridge like a ribbon, until that could see that it looked like a leech. A giant leech, whose body covered almost the whole of the ridge that bridged the river. It was a bright red, with white stripes running along its body. The thing lay on the rocks for some time, and then slithered down into the deep hole in the river.
The men were astounded, and even more so when the water beneath them began to bubble and foam, almost as if it were boiling. And then a giant waterspout shot up from the pool, strong enough that it would have swept the men into the river if they hadn’t been wary and ran as soon as they saw it coming.
This was the leech’s trap. It would wait in the depths for unsuspecting people to walk along the ridge, and then send out the waterspout and suck them down into the river. Many unwary people died this way, and their bodies would be found later lying by the side of the river with their noses and ears eaten off.
The Cherokee who lived in the area soon began to avoid taking that path, out of fear of becoming the creature’s next victim. But not everyone was so cautious. There’s the story of a young woman who was walking with here baby by the river and decided she wanted some fresh fish to eat. She walked out along that ridge in the water and sat her child down on the exposed rock, preparing to cast her line into the water. But the river began to bubble and foam, and she grabbed her child and ran out of the way just as the whole ridge was engulfed in angry, foaming water.
Another story tells of a young man who wan’t so lucky. He laughed at the story and said he would show everyone in the town that it was nonsense. So he set off towards that spot on the river, singing about how he would wear leech skin leggings when it was all done. He walked boldly across that ridge overlooking the river, with many people from the town gathered to watch and see what would happen. He got halfway across before the water started to bubble and foam, and a waterspout shot up, dragging him down into the river. He was never seen again.
The place the Cherokee called Tlanus’yǐ is still there. It’s said that even today you can look down into the river and see something moving in that deep hole in the water. But if the water starts to bubble, best to move out of the way, and fast.