“THEY MADE DEALS WITH THE DEVIL” and More Terrifying True Horror Stories! #WeirdDarkness
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IN THIS EPISODE: In the summer of 1988, a terrifying creature began haunting the woods and little towns of Lee County, South Carolina – it quickly became known as Lizard Man. *** Governor Daniel G. Fowle ordered the construction of an oversized bed – but a later inhabitant of the governor’s mansion found the bed that gave Fowle such comfort to be the source of a strange series of encounters. *** Five stories of real people who supposedly made deals with the Devil himself.
TRANSCRIPT FOR THIS EPISODE…
(Scroll to bottom of blog post):
LINKS AND RESOURCES MENTIONED IN THE EPISODE…
BOOK: “Lizard Man: The True Story of the Bishopville Monster” by Lyle Blackburn: https://amzn.to/2Exqoga
BOOK: “North Carolina Legends” by Richard Walser: https://amzn.to/2H2MlFw
STORY AND MUSIC CREDITS/SOURCES…
(Note: Over time links can and may become invalid, disappear, or have different content.)
“They Made Deals With The Devil” by Erik: http://www.paranormalscholar.com/5-sinister-legends-of-real-deals-with-the-devil/
“Lizard Man, 30 Years Later” by Nick Redfern: https://mysteriousuniverse.org/2018/07/lizard-man-30-years-later/
“The Ghost in The Governor’s Mansion”: https://northcarolinaghosts.com/piedmont/governors-mansion-ghost/
Music provided by Midnight Syndicate http://amzn.to/2BYCoXZ and Shadow’s Symphony http://www.facebook.com/shadowssymphony/ – all music used with permission. All rights reserved. All other music provided by AudioBlocks.com with paid license.
Weird Darkness opening and closing theme by Alibi Music Library. 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), and/or Nicolas Gasparini/Myuu (https://www.youtube.com/user/myuuji) used with permission.
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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.
“I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.” — John 12:46
Find out how to escape eternal darkness at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2IYmodFKDaM
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The devil has always been a source of fascination in Judeo-Christian belief. He is seen as an all powerful entity, second only to God. Even Jesus, in the Gospels, refers to him as “prince of this world”. In fact, according to scripture Jesus himself was offered the greatest bargain by the devil when he fasted in the desert. The devil stated that he could give to Jesus “all their [man’s] authority and splendor”, proclaiming that “it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to.” If Jesus agreed to “worship” the devil, it would all be his. “If you worship me, it will all be yours” came from the Devil’s lips. Jesus refused to be tempted and said no. However, it is claimed that many others after him have said yes, and have made deals with Satan himself.
…I’m Darren Marlar and this is Weird Darkness.
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Welcome, Weirdos – this is Weird Darkness. Here you’ll find stories of the paranormal, supernatural, legends, lore, crime, conspiracy, mysterious, macabre, unsolved and unexplained.
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Coming up in this episode of Weird Darkness…
In the summer of 1988, a terrifying creature began haunting the woods and little towns of Lee County, South Carolina – it quickly became known as Lizard Man.
Governor Daniel G. Fowle ordered the construction of an oversized bed – but a later inhabitant of the governor’s mansion found the bed that gave Fowle such comfort to be the source of a strange series of encounters.
Five stories of real people who supposedly made deals with the Devil himself.
Now.. bolt your doors, lock your windows, turn off your lights, and come with me into the Weird Darkness!
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THE DEVIL AND POPE Sylvester II
Born Gerbert of Aurillac, Pope Sylvester II was a Renaissance man hundreds of years before the time, having been born in 946, and dying in 1003.
He was a humanist scholar before that was even a term, being well-read in classic literature, and having been an early advocate for the use of the Hindu-Arabic numerals that we use today, in a Europe that had no mathematical writing system.1
Amongst his many scholarly accomplishments, he is known for having reintroduced the abacus – an ancient calculating tool used before written numerals – to Europe, and is even noted for having constructed a hydraulic-powered brass organ which was hailed as having surpassed all previously built musical instruments.
It was for this and other accomplishments that Gerbert was hailed as one of the pre-eminent scientists of his day. Alongside his fame as a scholar, however was a belief that he was a sorcerer. It was whispered that he had acquired such occult knowledge during his time spent in the Iberian-Islamic kingdom of al-Andalus.
In the tenth and eleventh century, the kingdom of al-Andalus was the most enlightened and prosperous kingdom in continental Europe, containing knowledge from across the vast contemporary Islamic world and of the Ancient philosophers. To the Christian powers in the rest of Europe, this Arabic kingdom was not only an exotic place, but also a dangerous one. Yet, even then, some Europeans, regardless of their religion, recognised al-Andalus as the only place to acquire a true education.
Such was this recognition, that in the cathedral school in Vic, Catalonia, there were many works imported from the enlightened kingdom. It was there, in Vic, that Gerbert acquired his first taste of Arabic culture. From here he would embark on his travels, journeying through the Muslim lands so as to gain the knowledge that would make him famous.
Many tales of Gerbert’s genius circulated during and after his lifetime.
In the twelfth century, the English monk-historian William of Malmesbury wrote that during his time in al-Andalus, Gerbert acquired a book of spells from an Arabic philosopher. Contained within this book, it was said, was the knowledge to subdue the devil. According to Malmesbury, the philosopher refused to part with his beloved grimoire. He would sleep with it under his pillow so as to protect it. Gerbert, however, was determined to possess the great tome, so he seduced the man’s daughter and learned its whereabouts. It was then just a simple matter of getting the philosopher drunk and stealing the book. Yet, the man was cunning and had the knowledge to track all things on earth or water. Gerbert, however, was wiser still, and was able to trick the man and escape by hanging off a wooden bridge, and thereby touching neither earth nor water. 3
With the book of magic now in his possession, it is said that Gerbert was able to contact demons and sell his soul to the devil. This is how, at least according to legend, Gerbert gained the papal throne.
According to the tale, there was a caveat to Gerbert’s deal with the devil: should he ever hear mass in Jerusalem then the devil would come to claim him. With this knowledge, Gerbert, now Pope Sylvester II, was easily able to reject any offers of pilgrimage to the holy city of Jerusalem. With that potentially problematic scenario avoided, he was able to dedicate himself to the luxuries and indulgences afforded to him by his office. Yet, a man of Sylvester’s wisdom should have known that a deal with the devil is never so simple to negotiate. One day, upon hearing mass in a church in Rome that he learned too late was called the Holy Cross of Jerusalem, he knew that he was doomed, and soon after fell mortally ill. 5
In another version of the legend, the devil came for Sylvester in person, accompanied by a horde of demons. The wayward Pope met a grisly end in front of the whole congregation, with Satan’s minions given his gouged out eyeballs to play with. In both variants of the legend, the devil’s price was paid.
According to the lore, to this day Pope Sylvester’s very bones are cursed, and are said to rattle in his tomb whenever a pope is about to die.
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THE DEVIL AND DOCTOR JOHN FIAN
In 1589, King James VI of Scotland, later James I of England, was due to marry Princess Anne of Denmark. As the princess sailed to Scotland, fierce storms raged and forced her and her company to find shelter in Norway.
Although James and Anne were eventually wed, the tempest was blamed on malevolent witches, who were said to want to thwart their royal union. Thus, both in Denmark and Scotland, large scale inquisitions were instigated against suspected sorcerers for two years, with King James himself supervising some of the tortures and examinations that occurred.1 History would come to remember this inquisition as the North Berwick witch trials. They ran for two years and implicated over seventy people. Amongst those said to be witches, was Doctor John Fian.
Fian, who went by the alias Cunningham, was discovered with the aid of another, Gillis Duncan, who confessed to the authorities that he was a fellow practitioner.2
At first Fian said nothing at all. The inquisitors then began the customary torture, starting with one of their milder punishments, which involved thrashing Fian’s head about with a rope around it. After that, he started to talk. Yet, he provided no coherent confession that satisfied his tormentors. Thus, a torture method known as the “boots”, which King James described as “the most severe and cruel paine in the world,” was employed.3
Whilst there are many variants of the “boots” torture to have been used and recorded around the world, they all seem to agree on a singular principle: the inflicting of excruciating pain to the lower legs, either by crushing the bones therin or by searing the flesh off them with boiling water. 4
Still, Fian was resolute – he would not confess to witchcraft. This prompted a further examination of his body, where it was found that two pine needles had been placed under his tongue. Supposedly, this was a spell cast to prevent him from confessing under torture. With the needles removed, Fian confessed to everything.
He stated that his soul belonged to the devil, after having made a covenant with him long ago. It was by serving him that Fian had gained his powers of witchcraft. It was recorded that amongst his powers was the ability to bewitch a gentleman and send him into fits of lunacy.
One man, who supposedly suffered in this manner, was brought before the King’s presence on 24th December 1590. What the man allegedly did under Fian’s command is described in King James’ own book, Daemonologie. *****“[…] suddenly he gave a great screech and fell into a madness, sometime bending himself, and sometime capring [gesticulating] so directly up, that his head did touch the ceiling of the Chamber, to the great admiration of his Majesty and others then present.”*****
When the man was finally worn out by his supposed bewitchment, it took an hour for him to come to his senses and be brought back before the King, only to admit to having no memory of the event.
Fian continued to tell other tales of his nefarious witchcraft, which were verified by witnesses in the court. Supposedly, Fian had attempted to enchant the girl with a spell of seduction. When the spell backfired, after being sabotaged by the girl’s mother (who was also a witch), Fian ended up seducing a cow instead. Records state that inhabitants of the town confessed to having seen this cow follow Fian wherever he wen
Eventually, Fian promised to recant his evil ways. He testified that the devil had come to visit him the night before with a white wand in his hand, trying to persuade him to keep his vow and serve him. Fian said that he castigated the arch-fiend, telling him, “I utterly forsake thee.” 6
The devil then supposedly broke the white wand and said, “That once ere thou die thou shall bee mine.” 7
Soon after this, Fian managed to steal the keys from his jailer and escape. His freedom did not last long, for the king’s men soon caught up with the supposed malefactor and detained him. John Fian then endured more horrendous tortures. This time, however, he confessed to nothing, even after his feet were completely pulverized.
*****“His nails vpon all his fingers were ruined and pulled off with an instrument called in Scottish a Turkas, which in England wee call a pair of pincers, and under every nayle there was thrust in two needels ouer euen up to the heads. At all which tormentes notwithstanding the Doctor neuer shronke anie whit, neither woulde he then confesse it the sooner for all the tortures inflicted vpon him. Then was hee with all conuenient speed, by commandement, conuaied againe to the torment of the bootes, wherein hee continued a long time, and did abide so many blowes in them, that his legges were crushte and beaten togeather as small as might bee, and the bones and flesh so brused, that the bloud and marrowe spouted forth in great abundance, whereby they were made unseruiceable for euer. And notwithstanding al these grieuous paines and cruell torments hee would not confesse aniething, so deepely had the deuill entered into his heart, that hee vtterly denied all that which he had before auouched, and woulde saie nothing.”*****
When the inquisition felt nothing else could be gained from their examination, Fian was put to death.
Later, King James would become more sceptical of the purported abilities of witchcraft. Speaking of witch trials in a letter to his son, Henry, James expressed that, whilst he believed some witches existed, many “miracles now-a-days prove but illusions, and ye may see by this how wary judges should be in trusting accusations”
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THE DEVIL AND BERNARD FOKKE
In the 17th century, the Dutch were obsessed with speed. Their empire expanded across the world, with colonies on most major continents. One of their most lucrative colonies was in Batavia, modern day Jakarta, which had a highly profitable trade in spices. At the time, spices were extremely valuable, being used not only for culinary purposes but to disguise bad odours and make medicine. 1
Thanks to the spice trade, the Dutch became a very wealthy empire. However, they were in intense competition with Portuguese and English merchants. Thus, if they could find the fastest routes, and employ the most able captains, it would help secure their dominance of the spice trade.
At the beginning of the century, a journey from the Netherlands to Indonesia would take around one year. Yet, in 1678 Captain Bernard Fokke, made that trip in just over three months. At the time there was no Suez canal to cut through, so this meant that he had somehow sailed around a large portion of Europe, along the entire length of Africa, and across the Indian ocean, in a cumbersome wooden ship, in a meagre amount of time. This was a speed that would only be beaten in more modern times. For the seventeenth century this speed seems unbelievable. However, the sail time was verified by the dates stamped on the letters the captain delivered. 2
After his feat, ominous stories started to circulate about the captain, describing him as a severe taskmaster who made serving under him a misery. Then there was an allegation of diabolical treachery: Fokke had sold his soul to the devil to be the fastest sailor in the world. It is said that in return for his soul, the devil turned the masts of his ship from wood to iron and thus he was able to change sails during even the fiercest of storms, something which a wooden mast made very difficult. Thus, with the devil’s supposed help and his unyielding leadership, Fokke performed one of the fastest voyages of the age.
In the centuries since, some have claimed that Fokke was the inspiration for the legend of the infamous ghost ship, the Flying Dutchman. It is said that this swift captain was later ensnared by the devil and made to sail the world’s oceans forever under his command.
The oldest known print reference to the phantom ship can be found in Travels in Various Parts of Europe, Asia and Africa, which was published in 1790 by John MacDonald. In one of the chapters, he describes sailing around the Cape of Good Hope, in South Africa, when his ship ran into bad weather.
*****“One of our best seamen was easing himself on the head, and a sea washed him away. He called out, A rope, a rope, Captain; but he disappeared, and was never seen afterwards. “The weather was so stormy that the sailors said they saw the flying Dutchman. The common story is, that this Dutchman came to the Cape in distress of weather and wanted to get into harbour, but could not get a pilot to conduct her, and was lost; and that ever since, in very bad weather, her vision appears.”*****
Was Bernard Fokke, the captain who supposedly sold his soul to Satan, the inspiration for this eerie tale?
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THE DEVIL AND Christoph Haizmann
On 29th August 1677, Christoph Haizmann was found on the floor convulsing violently whilst he was working in a small castle in Potterbrun, Austria. The authorities took him in for questioning, initially believing him to be bewitched and that he himself was possibly a witch. 1 There was a reason for the authorities’ paranoia. This was the age of witch hunts. In nearby Salzburg, such inquests were commonplace, and would continue to be until 1690, claiming more than a hundred lives in the process. 2 Haizmann was initially in very real danger. Yet, the story that he told the authorities quickly made them reassess the situation.
He claimed that he was not bewitched, but rather that he had made a deal with the devil and was now demonically possessed.
Haizmann explained that nine years ago the devil appeared to him whilst he was an impoverished painter. The devil tempted him repeatedly, hounded him, offering him money, power and women, until, finally, he succumbed on the ninth temptation. The reason he finally agreed to strike a deal was because the devil promised to cure his depression, which he had suffered since the recent loss his father. Two pacts were then supposedly signed between him and the devil: one in ink, the other in blood. Haizmann pledged in those agreements that in return he would give himself, body and soul, to the devil in nine years’ time, on 24th September. At the time of his arrest, this was only a few weeks away.
When the local Catholic priest, Leopold Braun, heard Haizmann’s story, he took pity on him, describing him as a “miserable man”. The priest wrote to the abbey of Mariazell and asked them to assist him. They in due course accepted Haizmann and the monks there started to perform severe exorcisms.
Haizmann was a dutiful penitent and did everything the monks told him. Yet, at midnight on 8th September, he met the devil again. The monks attested that, whilst holding him in a state of agony, Haizmann freed himself and ran to their chapel, only to return with a piece of paper some time later. Haizman claimed that the piece of paper was the contract written in blood many years ago. He said that he had snatched the accursed pact from the very claws of the devil, who appeared to him in the form of a winged dragon. 4
The monastery popularised his case as a miracle. However, it was not to last.
By 11th October Haizmann’s convulsions were back. Not only that, they were worse than ever, sometimes leaving him entirely paralysed. During these episodes, he kept a diary and testified to being tormented not only by the devil but by the Virgin Mary and Christ, the devil with his customary temptations, and Christ and Mary demanding he renounce worldly possessions and become a man of God. Again, Haizmann underwent exorcisms. In 1678 he supposedly retrieved the pact he had made in ink from the devil.
Some time after this Haizmann joined a monastery in Bohemia and became a Brother Hospitaller. There, he completed several paintings of the devil in his different incarnations, including an especially grand piece in which he painted the Virgin Mary helping him get the pact written in ink from the devil.
The torments, however, never stopped. They would plague Haizmann for the rest of his life until he died in the year 1700, “peaceful and of good comfort”.
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THE DEVIL AND TOMMY JOHNSON
One of the most prominent Blues musicians of the early twentieth century was Tommy Johnson. He was part of a musical movement known as the Delta Blues, so called for having originated in the region of the Mississippi delta of the United States. This movement was also known by another name, the “Devil’s Blues”, for many believed that the music and its artists were closely associated with the devil. Some had even come to believe that artists, like the unrelated blues’ musician Robert Johnson, had to have sold their souls in order to gain such mastery over the guitars which made them famous.
Whilst many claim that it was Robert Johnson who began the legend of selling one’s soul to the devil to play the blues, one of his biographers, Tom Graves, stated in 2008 that this story actually originated with Tommy Johnson, and was later ascribed to Robert. 1
And, Tommy was indeed a perfect candidate for such a damnable pact. He was a troubled soul and a chronic alcoholic. He had, however, been somewhat commercially successful during his lifetime, with hits like Canned Heat Blues, a song about drinking methanol from the cooking fuel Sterno.
His live performances were legendary, inspiring the flamboyant antics of later Rock ‘n’ Roll artists. He was known to play the guitar behind his neck, in between his legs, and in mid-air. Asides from his guitar, Tommys’ voice was unique and incredibly difficult for anyone to imitate, for he was able to express a wide range of vocal tones effortlessly. People at the time started to believe that such great ability must have come from the devil himself. This idea became all the more popular when Tommy himself began to confirm the claim.
Sometime after Tommy’s death, in 1966, his brother LeDell Johnson stated in an interview with Tommy’s biographer, David Evans, that Tommy had in fact told him about his pact with Satan personally. Not only that, Tommy had supposedly described how anyone could sell their soul to the devil.
*****“Now if [Tommy Johnson] was living he’d tell you. He said the reason he knowed so much, said he sold hisself to the devil. I asked him how. He said, “If you want to learn how to play anything you want to play and learn how to make songs yourself, you take your guitar and you go to where a road crosses that way, where a crossroads is. Get there, be sure to get there just a little ‘fore 12:00 that night so you’ll know you’ll be there. You have your guitar and be playing a piece there by yourself […] A big black man will walk up there and take your guitar, and he’ll tune it. And then he’ll play a piece and hand it back to you. That’s the way I learned to play anything I want.””*****
LeDell Johnson had been a blues musician himself, occasionally performing with his brother. In his older years, something about the music and his lifestyle made him turn to the Church and become a man of God, believing, like many in the area, that blues was the work of the devil.
Whilst Tommy only left behind a small number of recorded works, they are considered masterpieces, with the vinyl records he released at the time now considered precious treasures. In 2013, one of his original singles sold on eBay for over $37,000, making it the most expensive 78rpm record ever sold at the time.
It would seem, that at least in the case of Tommy Johnson, the devil certainly held up his end of the bargain.
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In the summer of 1988, a terrifying creature began haunting the woods and little towns of Lee County, South Carolina – it quickly became known as Lizard Man. Governor Daniel G. Fowle ordered the construction of an oversized bed – but a later inhabitant of the governor’s mansion found the bed that gave Fowle such comfort to be the source of a strange series of encounters.
These stories when Weird Darkness returns!
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In the summer of 1988, a terrifying creature began haunting the woods and little towns of Lee County, South Carolina – and specifically the Scape Ore Swamp area. It quickly became known as Lizard Man, as a result of its alleged green and scaly body. A bipedal lizard roaming the neighborhood? Maybe, yes. It all began – publicly if not chronologically – when on July 14, 1988 the Waye family phoned the Lee County Sheriff’s office and made a very strange and disturbing claim. Something wild had attacked their 1985 Ford. It looked as if something large, powerful, and deeply savage had viciously clawed, and maybe even bitten into, the body of the vehicle – and particularly so the hood.
Somewhat baffled, the deputies responded to the call, nevertheless. Sure enough, the Wayes were right on target: their vehicle was battered and bruised in the extreme. In addition, there were footprints across the muddy area. It was clearly time to bring in Sheriff Liston Truesdale. There was a strong probability that the prints were those of a fox. Larger prints, also found, were suspected of being those of a bear – although some observers suggested they had human qualities.
In such a close knit neighborhood it didn’t take long before news got around and numerous locals turned up to see what all the fuss was about. It’s notable that Sheriff Truesdale told Bigfoot investigator Lyle Blackburn, who wrote the definitive book on the affair – titled, of course, Lizard Man – that: “While we were there looking over this situation, we learned that people in the Browntown community had been seeing a strange creature about seven feet tall with red eyes. Some of them described it as green, but some of them as brown. They thought it might be responsible for what happened.” A mystery – and a monster – was unleashed.
The publicity afforded the Waye incident prompted someone who ultimately became the key player in the matter to come forward. His name was Chris Davis, at the time seventeen years of age. Chris’ father, Tommy, had seen the sensationalized coverage given by the media to the attack on the Hayes’ vehicle and contacted Sheriff Truesdale. Specifically, Tommy took his son to tell the police what he had told him. It was quite a story.
Back in 1988, Chris was working at a local McDonald’s. On the night of June 29 – roughly two weeks before the Haye affair exploded – Chris was on the late-shift, which meant he didn’t finish work until after 2:00 a.m. His journey home ensured that he had to take a road across the swamp – and specifically a heavily forested part of the swamp. It was just minutes later that he had a blowout. Chris pulled up at a crossroads and, via the bright moonlight, changed the tire. As he finished the job and put the tools back into the trunk, Chris saw something looming out of the trees. Large, human-like in shape, and possessing two glowing, red eyes and three fingers on each hand, it was something horrific. Chris panicked and jumped in his vehicle and sped off. Based on what Chris had to say next, that was a very wise move:
“I looked back and saw something running across the field towards me. It was about 25 yards away and I saw red eyes glowing. I ran into the car and as I locked it, the thing grabbed the door handle. I could see him from the neck down – the three big fingers, long black nails and green rough skin. It was strong and angry. I looked in my mirror and saw a blur of green running. I could see his toes and then he jumped on the roof of my car. I thought I heard a grunt and then I could see his fingers through the front windshield, where they curled around on the roof. I sped up and swerved to shake the creature off.”
The reports didn’t end there. Sheriff Truesdale received more and more reports, to the extent that a near-X-Files-style dossier was compiled. It was an official police dossier that contained the fascinating account of Johnny Blythers, who, on July 31, 1990, described for the Sheriff’s department the events of the previous night:
“Last night about 10:30 p.m., we were coming home from the Browntown section of Lee County. It was me, my mother (Bertha Mae Blyther), [and] two sisters…I started talking about the time we passed the flowing well in Scape Ore Swamp. I said ‘they ain’t [sic] no such thing as a Lizard Man. If there was, somebody would be seeing it or caught it. We got up about a mile or mile and one half passed the butter bean shed, about 50 feet from the dirt road by those two signs, my mother was driving the car.
“It was on the right side, it came out of the bushes. It jumped out in the road. My mother swerved to miss it, and mashed the brakes and sped up. It jumped out of the bushes like he was going to jump on the car. When my mother mashed the brakes, it looked like it wanted to get in the car.”
Johnny’s mother, Bertha Mae, gave her own statement on that terrifying drive through the spooky swamp: “This past Monday night I went to my mother’s house in Browntown to pick up my son. We went to McDonald’s on Highway 15 near Bishopville to get something to eat. We left there about 20 minutes after 10:00 p.m., was headed home and came through Browntown and Scape Ore Swamp…
“We passed the bridge and was down the road near a mile. I was looking straight ahead going about 25 M.P.H., and I saw this big brown thing, it jumped up at the window. I quickly sped up and went on the other side of the road to keep him from dragging my 11 year old girl out of the car. I didn’t see with my lights directly on it. It nearly scared me to death.”
Then there was the statement of Tamacia Blythers, Bertha’s daughter: “Tall-Taller than the car, brown looking, a big chest had big eyes, had two arms, Don’t know how his face looked, first seen his eyes (Never seen nothing like it before. I didn’t see a tail. Mother says if she hadn’t whiped [sic] over he would have hit her car or jumped on it. Mother said she was so scared her body light and she held her heart all the way home.”
In addition, Lyle Blackburn has uncovered other reports of the beast – dating from 1986 to well into the 2000s. Two of the key players in this saga are now dead: Johnny Blythers and Chris Davis. The former in a car accident, in 1999, and the latter from a shotgun blast, the result of a drug deal gone bad, almost a decade to the day after Blythers’ death.
As for the legendary Lizard Man, what, exactly, was it? Certainly the name provoked imagery of a malevolent scaly, green monster. On the other hand, let’s not forget that there were references to the beast having a brown color. All of which leads us to Lyle Blackburn’s conclusions. To his credit, Blackburn undertook a personal, on-site investigation with his colleague, Cindy Lee, and studied all of the evidence in unbiased fashion. Blackburn noted that, despite the undeniably memorable name, the various descriptions of the beast as being brown in color simply did not accord with anything of a reptilian nature.
Blackburn suggests that if a Bigfoot lived in watery bottomlands, where it might become “covered in algae-rich mud or moss, this could explain its green, wet-like appearance. It doesn’t explain the three fingers, but greenish mud which has dried and cracked could certainly give a scaly appearance.”
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The North Carolina Executive Mansion, commonly called the Governor’s Mansion, is a stately Queen Anne style home sitting in Burke Square on Blount Street in downtown Raleigh. Construction on the building began in 1883, using materials that mostly originated in North Carolina. The lumber for the oak and pine frame came from across the state, the marble for the steps was mined in Cherokee County, and the sandstone trim originated in Anson County. The bricks that form the mansion were also molded from North Carolina clay, and made by prison labor. Many of the men whose forced labor helped build the mansion inscribed their names in these bricks, signatures which are still visible today. The mansion was completed in 1891, and the first governor to inhabit the building was Governor Daniel G. Fowle. And some say he never left the building.
The Daniel G. Fowle bedroom sits on the second floor of the building. Fowle was a widower with four children when he took office, and his youngest son had the habit of climbing into bed with him at night to sleep. Fowle, already a substantially-proportioned man, found the original bed in the room to be too small to accommodate himself and his child. Not wishing to lose his focus on the affairs of state because of a lack of sleep, Fowle ordered the construction of an oversized bed that would allow him to comfort his son and get some sleep. Unfortunately, he didn’t get to enjoy the bed for long. Fowle died before completing his term.
But a later inhabitant of the mansion found the bed that gave Fowle such comfort to be the source of a strange series of encounters. Governor Bob Scott, who served in the office from 1969 – 1973, spoke to North Carolina Folklorist Richard Walser for his delightful book North Carolina Legends about the strange experiences he had living in the mansion.
According to Governor Scott’s account, he he chose the Governor Fowle room as his bedroom when he moved into the mansion. But Scott was considerably taller than Fowle, and he found Governor Fowle’s bed to be uncomfortable to sleep in. There just wasn’t enough from for his feet. Scott insisted on purchasing another North Carolina made bed, this one from Craftique Furniture in Mebane, and being in age of less extravagant government expenditures, paid for it with his own money. He had the Governor Fowle bed moved to of the room.
Shortly after moving the bed, Governor Scott and his wife were reading in bed when around 10 O’clock they heard a strange knocking coming from the wall behind them. Scott and his wife thought little of it, assuming that it was just water running through what were almost century-old pipes. But the next night, the knocking returned at the same time. And the night after. And the night after that.
Scott asked for the maintenance staff to see if something could be done about the pipes. He was surprised to discover that there were no pipes running behind that section of the wall. And even if there were, there was no one running the water at the time the knocking occurred.
Governor Scott and his wife remained puzzled by the knocking, until the day when Governor Fowle’s daughter came calling. The late Governor’s elderly daughter had been living just down the street for many years, and it was her habit to pay a courtesy call on new Governors when they took office. And, according to Governor Scott, part of the social call involved her demanding an answer to the question “Is father’s bed still in his room?”
Did the late governor’s daughter know that her father’s spirit may still have been gliding around the mansion? Did she think that everyone, even a ghost, deserves a comfortable bed?
While insisting that he did not believe in ghosts, Governor Scott nevertheless confessed that he had named the knock which occurred every night at 10 O’clock as the ghost of Governor Fowle. He and his wife speculated that it was Fowle asking that his bed be moved back into his room.
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All stories in Weird Darkness are purported to be true (unless stated otherwise), and you can find source links or links to the authors in the show notes.
“They Made Deals With The Devil” by Erik from Paranormal Scholar:
“Lizard Man, 30 Years Later” by Nick Redfern for Mysterious Universe:
“The Ghost in The Governor’s Mansion” from North Carolina Ghosts:
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If you’d like a transcript of this episode, you’ll find a link in the show notes.
Now that we’re coming out of the dark, I’ll leave you with a little light… Jeremiah 29:11 = “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
And a final thought… Always listen to people when they are angry. That is when the truth comes out.
I’m Darren Marlar. Thanks for joining me in the Weird Darkness.