“THE MOST DREADFUL EXECUTION OF THE SALEM WITCH TRIALS” and More True Horrors! #WeirdDarkness

THE MOST DREADFUL EXECUTION OF THE SALEM WITCH TRIALS” and More True Horrors! #WeirdDarkness

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IN THIS EPISODE: Like many desolate places, the Arctic has its share of ghost stories and haunted legends floating around the frigid, wild areas of its domain. It might be the frights rather than the cold that gives you goosebumps. (Ghostly Shivers of the Arctic Circle) *** Weirdo family member Joy Cruz remembers something her mother told her as a child… and it quite possibly saved her soul. (I’ve Seen The Devil) *** You never know what might be lurking just out of sight – in the shadows, behind a door. I’ll share a few true stories that might make you double-check the locks at night and check the closet before going to bed. (Never Trust The Dark) *** A 5-year-old boy having the time of his life at a carnival suddenly goes missing – and when found later there is no evidence whatsoever as to how he got where he was, who took him there, or what happened to him before he was found. (The Disturbing Case of Little Stephen McKerron) *** When you think of the Salem Witch Trials, you typically think of women being burned at the stake, innocently accused of witchcraft. There are two incorrect assumption about that mental picture. First, most of the accused were hung, and none have been truly verified to be burned alive. And second, sorcery and Satan worship were not seen to be bound by gender, and so either a man, woman, boy, or girl could be a witch. And one of those unfortunate men was Giles Corey – but his punishment went beyond the norm, and into the gruesome. (The Most Dreadful Execution of The Salem Witch Trials)

TRANSCRIPT FOR THIS EPISODE…
Find a full or partial transcript at the bottom of this blog post.

MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE…
“The ‘Alone’ Reality Show Coverup” episode: https://weirddarkness.com/archives/6756
Weird Darkness AfterWord, “God, Ghosts and Aliens”: https://youtu.be/QV7y1OqAEAU
“I Drive For Cerber” episode: https://weirddarkness.com/archives/6717

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(Over time links can and may become invalid, disappear, or have different content.)
“Ghostly Shivers of the Arctic Circle” by Jodi Smith for Ranker: https://tinyurl.com/yc9ymjyx
“The Most Dreadful Execution of The Salem Witch Trials” from Sometimes Interesting: https://tinyurl.com/y979qn8e, and Evan Corey for History: https://tinyurl.com/y7qt45kx
“I’ve Seen The Devil” by Joy Cruz for Weird Darkness: https://WeirdDarkness.com/submit
“The Disturbing Case of Little Stephen McKerron” from Strange Company: https://tinyurl.com/ydf4w6ce
“Never Trust the Dark” from The Line Up: https://tinyurl.com/y7bgdq5z
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TRANSCRIPT:

In January 1692, a group of young girls in Salem Village, Massachusetts became consumed by disturbing “fits” accompanied by seizures, violent contortions and bloodcurdling screams. A doctor diagnosed the children as being victims of black magic, and over the next several months, allegations of witchcraft spread like a virus through the small Puritan settlement. Twenty people were eventually executed as witches, but contrary to popular belief, none of the condemned was burned at the stake.

The myth of burnings at the stake in Salem is most likely inspired by European witch trials, where execution by fire was a disturbingly common practice. Medieval law codes such as the Holy Roman Empire’s “Constitutio Criminalis Carolina” stipulated that malevolent witchcraft should be punished by fire, and church leaders and local governments oversaw the burning of witches across parts of modern day Germany, Italy, Scotland, France and Scandinavia. Historians have since estimated that the witch-hunt hysteria that peaked between the 15th and 18th centuries saw some 50,000 people executed as witches in Europe. Many of these victims were hanged or beheaded first, but their bodies were typically incinerated afterwards to protect against postmortem sorcery. Other condemned witches were still alive when they faced the flames, and were left to endure an excruciating death by burning and inhalation of toxic fumes. Fortunately, that barbarity did not come to the shores of America. But that does not mean that America didn’t create its own barbarities.

Back in Salem Village, Massachusetts, in accordance with English law, 19 of the victims of the Salem Witch Trials were instead taken to the infamous Gallows Hill to die by hanging. Still more accused witches and sorcerers died in jail while awaiting their trials. But the elderly Giles Corey, meanwhile, was to suffer a much greater, much more horrible fate. A death which would later cause this accused sorcerer to be seen not as a criminal, but as a martyr.

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.

While you’re listening, you might want to check out the Weird Darkness website. At WeirdDarkness.com you can find transcripts of the episodes, paranormal and horror audiobooks I’ve narrated, 24/7 streaming video of Horror Hosts and classic horror movies, shop the Weird Darkness store for Weirdo merchandise, plus you can visit the “Hope In The Darkness” page if you are struggling with depression, anxiety, or thoughts of suicide. You can find all of that and more at WeirdDarkness.com.

Coming up in this episode of Weird Darkness…

Like many desolate places, the Arctic has its share of ghost stories and haunted legends floating around the frigid, wild areas of its domain. It might be the frights rather than the cold that gives you goosebumps.

Weirdo family member Joy Cruz remembers something her mother told her as a child… and it quite possibly saved her soul.

You never know what might be lurking just out of sight – in the shadows, behind a door. I’ll share a few true stories that might make you double-check the locks at night and check the closet before going to bed.

A 5-year-old boy having the time of his life at a carnival suddenly goes missing – and when found later there is no evidence whatsoever as to how he got where he was, who took him there, or what happened to him before he was found.

When you think of the Salem Witch Trials, you typically think of women being burned at the stake, innocently accused of witchcraft. There are two incorrect assumption about that mental picture. First, most of the accused were hung, and none have been truly verified to be burned alive. And second, sorcery and Satan worship were not seen to be bound by gender, and so either a man, woman, boy, or girl could be a witch. And one of those unfortunate men was Giles Corey – but his punishment went beyond the norm, and into the gruesome.

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

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THE MOST DREADFUL EXECUTION OF THE SALEM WITCH TRIALS

Giles Corey was killed during the Salem Witch Trials in 1692. These trials were a series of events that have since become renowned for their gory, shameful, and unjustified proceedings. In the strict and ultra-religious Puritan society of the new American colonies, citizens viewed witchcraft in Massachusetts as something utterly profane and inexcusable.

They believed witches to be followers of Satan, and the idea of witches living in the area caused mass hysteria and societal breakdown, despite being entirely based on lies and fear.

Trouble started within the village of Salem when the two daughters of minister Samuel Parris began having fits of convulsions and screaming. The cause was diagnosed as bewitchment and blamed on Tituba, a slave woman brought from Barbados who was working in the household.

Other young girls in the village began to exhibit the same symptoms, and more people were consequently accused of witchcraft and dealing with the Devil, and so began various investigations, hearings, convictions, and even executions of these supposed “witches.”

Several of these accused “witches” themselves accused others in an attempt to lessen the punishment thrust upon them. Paranoid frenzy spread like wildfire as more girls joined in on the accusations, finding ludicrous ways to show evidence, such as claiming specters of the accused visited them at night, forcing them to sign the Devil’s book.

Sorcery and Satan worship were not seen to be bound by gender, and so either a man, woman, boy, or girl could be a witch. Giles Corey was one such village citizen who was unfortunate enough to get caught up in the unjust consequences of the delirium.

Giles Corey was born in 1611 in England. He immigrated to Salem, where he lived until 1659, at which point he bought a large piece of farmland in Salem Farms, just outside of Salem Village. He did not get on well with some of his fellow villagers, clashing with many because he was considered to have lived a “scandalous” life.

He did, in fact, have a few run-ins with the law, proving him to be not such an upstanding citizen. He was accused of stealing twice, and in 1675 he pummeled a farmworker named Jacob Goodell to death for stealing apples, though he claimed Jacob had fallen from a horse.

He was put on trial, found guilty, and ordered to pay a substantial fee in place of imprisonment. From all this, he earned a horrible reputation, causing villagers to sometimes blame him for other crimes, like when John Proctor’s house burned down. This most likely helped to contribute to his being accused as a witch.

He married a woman named Martha, who was devoted to the church, and he then, at the age of 80, applied to be a member of the church as well. He was asked to repent for his sins for a month and was then accepted back to the brethren. After marrying Martha, Giles never committed another crime, and the village saw Martha as an impetus for change in his life.

It, therefore, speaks to the amount of fearful panic and deranged paranoia running rampant that Martha of all people was accused of witchcraft. When giving testimony in court, she was so calm about her denial of it that the judges mistook her demeanor for evil intentions.

Martha incriminated herself further when she tried to go to Ann Putnam’s house, where Ann and her mother acted as if Martha was torturing them. Moreover, the village girls began to mimic Martha’s movements as if she was controlling them, cementing her guilt in the eyes of the jury.

Giles defended his wife and was then swiftly accused of witchcraft as a result. The fact that he was a stubborn man who very likely expressed skepticism and criticism of the whole situation might have also made him seem guilty. There was no substantial evidence against him, other than his previous murder conviction.

He was alleged to have been at a witches’ sacrament, torturing girls. Giles was arrested and put in jail with his wife, then left there for five months awaiting trial.

At his trial on September 16, 1692, he attended only to plead “not guilty” and then, being a proud man, refused to put himself fully on the court to be judged by a jury, as he knew they had already decided on his definite guilt. He was ruled as a “standing mute” because he denied being tried, and was thus sentenced to death.

He was given the atrocious death sentence by way of peine forte et dure, which meant having heavier and heavier stones placed on your body until you were crushed to death. This practice was actually determined to be illegal in the colony by the governor of Massachusetts because there was no law permitting it, and it went against the Puritan code that disallowed “barbarous punishment.”

Nevertheless, his sentence was carried out. He was placed in a pit in the field next to the jail where all his neighbors could see. They positioned a large board across his body and heavy stones set on top. He is famously known for continuing to utter the words, “more weight,” in an attempt to seem obstinant and quicken his death.

Over the course of two days, his request was granted with more and more weight, until finally he was pressed to death at the age of 81 on September 19, 1692. Until this day, he is the only person in the history of the United States to be given a court-ordered death sentence via pressing.

Giles Corey’s tale led to him being perceived as a martyr willing to die for what was right, or at least as someone who fought against the ridiculousness of what was happening in his society.

At the time, his death influenced others to see the light about the unfairness of trials, seeing as the way he acted during his punishment did not reflect someone who was indeed guilty of being a witch. To this day, he is viewed as one of the faces who stood up against the immoral and unwarranted proceedings.

By the end of the events, 25 people had been killed – 19 by hanging. Martha, Giles’ wife, was hung to death on September 22, only three days after her husband died, and was buried along with him and all of the other convicted people on the part of town that became known as “Gallows Hill.”

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Up next…

Weirdo family member Joy Cruz remembers something her mother told her as a child… and it quite possibly saved her soul.

And, you never know what might be lurking just out of sight – in the shadows, behind a door. I’ll share a few true stories that might make you double-check the locks at night and check the closet before going to bed.

These stories and more when Weird Darkness returns.

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GHOSTLY SHIVERS OF THE ARCTIC CIRCLE

The Arctic Circle is a frozen region in the northernmost part of the globe, spanning Canada, Greenland, Alaska, and various other icy lands. Like many desolate places, the Arctic has its share of ghost stories and haunted legends floating around the frigid, largely wild areas of its domain. It has long been a popular site for exploration, with early expeditions seeking to uncover the realm’s many secrets and study the strange animals living within it. Alas, with the exploration of such freezing, wild lands, comes the expiration of its visitors – and the basis for the creepy tales that emerge from it. According to some, spirits still hold court over specific locations, unleashing their power upon the unfortunate and uneducated who dare trespass upon their territory. From haunted hotels built on centuries-old land to ships facing misfortune at sea, more than a few lingering souls remain desperate to make their presence felt throughout the Arctic Circle.

The cargo ship Octavius met its demise in 1761 after leaving China and setting sail for Britain via the Northwest Passage. No ship had ever successfully navigated the Northwest Passage at that time; the Octavius disappeared, proving it was no exception. A whaling ship came upon the damaged remains of Octavius on October 11, 1775, boarding it to look for survivors and cargo. When the whalers ventured into the below-deck quarters, they found the ship’s captain frozen at his desk, mid-entry in the ship’s log. The rest of the crew were similarly encased in ice throughout their rooms. The whalers snatched up the ship log and fled the Octavius, leaving behind all, including the first and last entries, which were unyieldingly stuck to the captain’s frozen desk. The log revealed that the Arctic temperatures and ice captured the Octavius 250 miles from Barrow, AK, where all those aboard perished on November 11, 1762. The whalers, however, found the boat near Greenland, meaning it somehow made its way through the Northwest Passage – even with its crew frozen solid.

Shamans in the Eskimo culture speak of eight physical worlds that exist on the edge of their own reality. YouTube channel XenoHunters shared the story of an unnamed tribal elder that, as a young girl, mistakenly fell into one of these alternate planes for three days. At the age of 8, the girl was playing with her father outside, when suddenly the world seemed to shift and change around her. In a moment, the world looked somehow different, ensconced in tall grass and a strange dreamlike feeling. After spending around 20-30 minutes examining and exploring this world, the young girl decided to clamp her teeth on her hand to awaken herself. Blood poured down her hand, alleged to have a scar to this day, but the world she knew slowly shifted back into focus. Upon finding her father searching for her, the girl found out the half-hour she experienced was three days in our world.

The SS Baychimo was built of steel and powered by steam in 1914 Sweden. Weighing more than 1,300 tons, the ship took cargo from Sweden to Germany and back again until WWI, when it was sent to the Hudson’s Bay Company in Scotland. The ship once again carried trade goods across the ocean, but to Canada and Alaska instead of Europe. On October 1, 1931, the Baychimo was caught in a perilous storm as it sailed for British Columbia. As the vessel became trapped in ice, the captain and crew evacuated to wait out the storm in nearby Barrow, AK, before relocating to a frosty outcropping closer to the ship. They waited for the Baychimo – alternately trapped in ice or drifting at sea – until October 15, when the Hudson’s Bay Company rescued 22 crew members. The remaining captain and sailors stubbornly refused to abandon their ship; they stayed in their camp, subsisting on supplies from their employer until November 24, when Baychimo disappeared from view. With the vessel considered lost, an Inuit spotted it in the ice 45 miles from its last known location. The ship, badly damaged by the winter, was boarded by the captain and crew to retrieve the more expensive cargo, and then left to sink in the ocean. Instead of sinking, the Baychimo became a spectral legend of the North Atlantic, spotted in the waters repeatedly over the years, with the ship avoiding most would-be explorers with the deftness of a manned vessel. Those who manage to board the cursed ship find themselves surrounded by ice floes seemingly summoned by Baychimo itself, unable to collect any cargo still on board. In 1933, a group of Inuit scavengers got trapped on the ship for 10 days while a frigid storm raged around the ship. Last spotted in 1969, the Baychimo is assumed wrecked and resting on the bottom of the Atlantic – although there are no plans to prove it with a diving expedition.

On March 15, 1853, fur trader Augustus Richard Peers passed while working as a post manager for the Hudson’s Bay Company’s Fort McPherson. It was known that Peers wished for his remains to be interred at any location other than Fort McPherson; his supervisor, Roderick MacFarlane, ignored that wish and buried him in the same place where he passed. Around December 1859, MacFarlane received prompting from Peers’s widow to dig Peers up and relocate his body. After finishing a sturdier coffin to securely transport the body, workers unearthed Peers and found him looking much as he did during his life – free of six years’ worth of decay and decomposition. The group was unnerved. Traveling via dog sled, the team began their journey with Peers to Fort Good Hope, 300 miles from Fort McPherson. On March 21, 1860, Peers and his transportation made it to Fort Good Hope, but not without incident. Six days before reaching their destination, they heard a voice – conspicuously reminiscent of that of the departed – warning of approaching wolves. Three days later, the voice spoke out again in MacFarlane’s encampment, alerting the crew of a wolverine supposedly intending harm on the in-transit body. Two days after arrival, Peers found his final resting place while MacFarlane prepared to return to Fort McPherson. At one point, MacFarlane recalled feeling the spirit of Peers surround him. Later that night, MacFarlane awoke to find the ghost of Peers staring at him and his roommate as they slept. Both men saw Peers before them, but covered their heads and tried to will the specter away instead of daring to interact with it.

A man named William shared an encounter that transpired when he and a cousin chose to camp and fish near a lake said by elders to be filled with “bad spirits.” After reaching the spot and setting up camp, the two men had a few drinks while sitting by their fire. All of a sudden, William’s cousin lunged at him and attempted to start a fight. William fought him off but noticed the light of the fire illuminated the outline of two shadowy, raven-like wings on the cousin’s back.  Throughout the night, the cousin’s eyes remained completely black as he tried time and time again to harm William, even attempting to lure him into the lake to drown him. With the help of his dog – and with a defensive measure taught to him by his grandmother firmly in mind – William fought off the possessed cousin repeatedly. He called on all of his ancestors that shared his name to assist him in keeping the evil spirit within his cousin at bay, while his dog alerted him to incoming strikes and kept the man beside the blazing fire. When the sun rose, William ran back to his village. His cousin’s wife asked what happened, as her husband had returned muttering about seeing something by the lake. A conversation with his mother led William to believe that a spirit known as Evil Raven inhabited his cousin’s body. They determined his cousin’s late father accidentally brought the spirit back with him after visiting another cursed location alone, leaving Evil Raven free to attach itself to the son after the father passed.

Another man named William shared tales of his strange encounters during hunting and fishing trips around Alaska. In order to get to his regular cave-side camping spot in a valley he frequented, William had to traverse a tricky path that bottlenecks down to about a 12-foot width. During one visit, he began his trek toward the bottleneck, as usual, when a robin suddenly began dropping sticks and rocks onto his head – as if to get William’s attention. He eventually decided to follow the robin, which took him to a cliff that overlooked the path. After detecting the strong scent of scat, William realized a bear – one known to locals as Scarface – stood directly in the bottleneck area of the valley. Sporting a large scar over part of its face, the bear would have easily overpowered William and his .22 in such a narrow area. After saving William from such an unwinnable altercation, the robin disappeared, leading him to believe it was a guardian spirit protecting him.

In November 1930, a Canadian reporter named Emmett E. Kelleher wrote a piece about a trapper named Joe Labelle who discovered a ghost town on Lake Angikuni. Hundreds of kilometers from civilization in Manitoba, Canada, Labelle stumbled upon the supposed village and found it empty of all human life – with only two starving Husky dogs in residence. Labelle claimed to see abandoned tents made of animal hides, seven dog cadavers, multiple warm coats, and other signs of previous tenants in the encampment. There was no trace of human remains, but Labelle said a traditional grave covered in stones was disturbed. Labelle wandered the area for an afternoon, noting that, while nothing showed signs of a fight, there was something in the air. After feeding two freshly caught fish to the dogs, Labelle returned to civilization to share his tale about the village – and his inkling that an evil spirit named Tornrark may have had a hand in its demise.

Labrador, Canada, is the home of The Phantom Trapper, a specter cursed to drive a team of 14 “pure white huskies” across the barren landscapes of winter for all eternity. His real name unknown, the Trapper appears dressed from head to toe in furs and skins as he endlessly speeds his way through the afterlife. Legend has it that, in life, the Trapper sold toxic alcohol to the indigenous population and assaulted many women before meeting his end from natural causes. Since the Trapper evaded legal retribution during his life, he never paid for his acts – or asked for forgiveness. That lack of earthly punishment prompted his unending mission to assist those lost in the snow and guide them to safety – an eternal penance.

A woman known as Maryjane told YouTube channel XenoHunters about a strange experience from her youth. She and a friend set out to find berry bushes to pick salmonberries; when they came upon a hill along their path, they were greeted by an elderly couple. The couple warned the girls that a grizzly bear was prowling the road on the other side of the hill. After checking for signs of the supposed animal, the girls decided to walk over the hill and down to the road. Once over the hill, Maryjane and her friend began to pick berries, checking every few minutes for the grizzly. After her companion wandered away, Maryjane noticed a long, white cloud hovering above – and seemingly following her, just 30 feet over her head. Emerging from the cloud were the voices of two elderly women, frightening Maryjane and prompting her to check her surroundings. That’s when she finally found the grizzly bear, working on the carcass of a reindeer and paying her no mind. Maryjane raced back up and over the hill to safety.

Talkeetna, AK, is a small town with the haunted Fairview Inn within its city limits. Built in 1923, the homey inn once played host President Warren G. Harding and an extramarital affair. Soon after his illicit stay in the hotel, Harding suffered a heart attack. The room he occupied at the time has since been labeled “cursed.” The walls of the Fairview Inn bear photographs of departed townspeople; many believe the ghosts haunting the hotel are, or were, among them. Rocky Cummins worked in the town as a miner and trapper; in his spare time, he liked to party. Jim Schaff had ties to the military through his work and enjoyed gardening – as well as hanging out with Cummins. The duo is thought to be behind both the random flushing of toilets in guest rooms and the mysterious faucets that turn themselves on when no one is around. Many also suspect Cummins and Schaff lock doors on guests, throw around beer cans and napkins, and generally make merry in the Haunted Room – Room 1, where the pair hung out during their lifetimes. Pounding sounds, rattling doorknobs, and creaky footsteps on the floorboards can be heard in the Haunted Room. Visitors have reported seeing apparitions in the halls while making their way between rooms – despite the inn being presumptively unoccupied.

Located in Central, AK, the Arctic Circle Hot Springs Resort is the site of a 400-gallons-per-minute hot spring of crystal-clear water first discovered by a prospector in the 1890s. By 1918, Franklin Leach gained ownership of the spring and patented it, with 320 acres of land surrounding it. Leach and his wife expanded the property to a resort with gardens and a restaurant and made various upgrades over the years until Leach’s passing in 1955. Robert and Laverna Miller bought the estate in 1980 and kept the resort open until 2002 when financial setbacks forced the business to close. While the history of the location is rich already, the creepy encounters reported by staff and visitors only add to the intrigue. The third-floor library is supposedly home to a female ghost that roams the premises. A staff of kitchen workers under the Millers heard repeated whistling noises they couldn’t account for, even after following the sound outside the resort into the surrounding acreage. On another occasion, a teacher from California visited and recorded an attempt to contact the late Mrs. Leach from the fourth floor. He caught doors opening and closing on their own and described feeling the presence of Mrs. Leach around him. Laverna Miller saw chandeliers in the hotel swinging – without the aid of wind – and shared other accounts from visitors who heard unexplained footsteps on the stairs during their stay. Averse to changes to the building, the spirits are allegedly more active during construction and enjoy moving objects or even bringing paintings on the wall to life. In 2012, a Travel Channel ghost hunting series visited the resort.

The 1845 expedition of Captain Sir John Franklin – and his subsequent disappearance – features several elements of the mystical and spiritual, with clairvoyants and mesmerists taking part in the search for him. It was Franklin’s fourth time exploring the Arctic. He took his ships Erebus and Terror to seek a Northwest Passage, an attempt to reclaim his positive reputation after nearly starving on a prior journey. Instructed to travel north, the Franklin expedition was last glimpsed outside Lancaster Sound before disappearing. One of the rescue groups sent out in 1850 to recover the lost Franklin crew and ships was headed by Commander Edward Belcher. Supposedly, one of Belcher’s friends was a member of the Franklin Expedition, leading him to write about an encounter with a “charmed” wolf he felt might be his fallen comrade: “It is a ridiculous feeling; yet who is free from it? Indeed, I have been so far, at times, a victim to some such feeling, as even to attach the name of one of my friends to this cunning visitor!”

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I’VE SEEN THE DEVIL

I was born and raised in Brazil and unfortunately, not in a “nice” or “safe” neighborhood. Being the youngest child, I was raised by my 4 brothers, more specifically, my brother Cesar, whom took care of me while my parents worked all day. I loved my brother more than anything in the world but unfortunately, on February 14th 2001, he was taken from me. At the young age of 21, my brother was shot 12 times two blocks down the street where I grew up. I was only 12 years old and to make things worse, I was forced to see and recognize my own brother’s body in a pool of blood laying on the streets while people, surrounding his body, didn’t seem to care at all. My world ended there.
But…time went on and I was “forced” to accept the fact that I would never see him again.
Moving on, I used to go to church with my family every weekend and my mom, being very religious, I’ve always heard my mom saying:
“Ghosts doesn’t exist, Joy. But the Devil, he’s real and he uses your weakness to manipulate you and make you believe that ghosts are real; especially when it takes the form of someone you love”.
I heard that when I was 8 years old because I’m “used” to experiencing the paranormal – my mom did too…
So, 3-4 years has passed after my brother passed away and I almost forgot what his smile was like, until one morning…I woke to someone touching my feet. In the “sleep stage” I was in, I thought it was my mother waking me up to get ready for school. I opened my eyes just to be surprised…just to see my brother Cesar, sitting by my feet, looking down on me. I closed my eyes again to think I was dreaming and at that very moment, I started praying just to be…just that, a dream.
I waited a couple of minutes and opened my eyes again and there he was…still sitting in my bed. I don’t know why but I decided to sit down on my bed and I looked inside his eyes. I couldn’t believe it. I wasn’t dreaming. It was “really” him! I’ve missed him so much and I smiled at him and he smiled back! I didn’t know what to say, I just wanted to hold him. But then, something weird (even more so) happened. He got up and asked me to follow him to the backyard. And that’s exactly what I did. I followed him. When we got there, he sat down on a big rock that was in the backyard and my curiosity kicked in. I started asking him questions.
My first question was: “Who did this to you?”

He replied: “you’ll find out soon. You know who did it”. Then, he asked me: “How have you been, little sister? I miss you so much. I’m so sorry I had to leave like this and I’m so sorry for not being here for you. But…I’m here right now and I’m never gonna leave you again’.”
I started crying, I did miss him and the pain…the pain of that day came back, hitting me like a tornado of emotions.
He said: “I love you, little sister”.
I said: “I love you too” and ran into his direction, ready to hold him when I felt something, someone pull me back and whispered in my ears:
“Don’t do it, Joy. It’s NOT your brother”. This whisper voice didn’t scare me. On the contrary, it made me feel calm and…safe. Then, I remembered what my mom said to me:
“The devil uses your weakness to manipulate you and make you believe that ghosts are real; especially when it takes the form of someone you love”.
I froze. I suddenly realized what was happening and I said to my brother: “Wait! It can’t be. It’s not you.” Then I yelled: “YOU’RE NOT MY BROTHER! I KNOW WHO YOU ARE!”
Immediately after I said that. The demeanor on my brother’s face changed…it wasn’t him anymore. His body started to decompose slowly right in front of me, he had an evil look in his eyes and I could feel the anger, the darkness coming from him.
But I wasn’t scared. I felt strong and I felt embraced by that good energy that was surrounding me. I could feel it embracing me.
I then closed my eyes and when I opened them I was alone in my backyard.
I saw the devil manifested as my brother that morning and I know it wasn’t a dream.
19 years has passed and I’ve never, ever seen that thing again. But it doesn’t mean that he hasn’t tried in other ways to get to me.

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NEVER TRUST THE DARK

The following are stories, taken from various AskReddit threads, and are all (supposedly) true. To me, that makes them so much scarier. Ghost stories are fun and all, but I’m just not a sucker for a campfire tale. If you tell me a story that actually happened, though, well… I’ll be much less inclined to turn off the hallway light at night, if you know what I mean. Cause who knows what’s lurking just out of view?

In the Middle of the Woods: Growing up I lived in the middle of the woods. No neighbors for about a mile on each side and we own 60 acres of forest then a swamp after that. So basically I lived in the middle of nowhere. One summer when I was about 14 I was out in the middle of the woods playing with my dog (I’m an only child and both of my parents were out of town.) when I kept feeling something hit my elbow. I’d go to throw Max’s ball and the bump would make me throw it almost straight up. Assuming it was just me bumping it on trees or something I ignored it. After the fourth or fifth time of it happening I thought…well this sucks I’ll just go home. Walking back I felt uneasy but I knew I was just freaking myself out because we were alone. About an hour later Max and I are at home on the couch when the garage door opens and he starts barking barking barking, I hop up to go let in my Mom or Dad, even though they were home really early. I peered through the peephole and saw the door was still shut and no one was in the garage. Quieting max down I opened the door slowly and called out for my dad. Nothing … No response at all so I go out to check the door and it’s still locked. Okay … sure. Weird but oh well. Max heard it too so at least I know I’m not crazy. About 20 minutes later I hear the door open again and this time Max starts growling like crazy. I quiet him down again and just assume its the wind or something making noise even though by this point my heart is racing. I hear footsteps come up the stairs and think “oh jeez, dad really is home this time” and hop up and run to the door, it starts to jiggle so I run faster to let him in. I peep through the hole and even though my hand is loosely around the jiggling handle theres no one on the other side of the door. Terrified I go hide on the couch with all the lights on. Max is still growling. About an hour after that I start to feel a little better even though I’m still terrified then I hear the door handle jiggle again. This time it was Max jiggling it, he needed to go outside and the only way outside is through the garage. Fantastic. I literally sprint with him to the kennel and as I’m standing in there I decide to ask this “thing” questions to make myself feel better because I knew it wouldn’t answer me. Thinking about what to ask it my eyes are drawn to the huge heavy oak door on the kennel. It was always open because it was too heavy for me to move easily. I said “Ok ghost! if you’re real you’ll shut this heavy door!” Nothing… a minute goes by…nothing. Max is still sniffing around. I turn around to yell at him to hurry up and then from behind me I hear ‘click’. I whipped around and saw the giant door had swung shut and latched. Okay….clearly it was just the wind. It wasn’t really windy but… it was the wind, for sure, had to be. I proceed “Ok ghost that was the wind, if you’re REALLY real you’ll open this massive door back up!” Nothing. I relax a bit and then squat down with my head in on my knees reminiscing about how lame I just was being scared when I hear ‘click clack’. The door was now wide open. Max was done so we booked it back into the house locking every door in the house. For the next four hours I would hear the footsteps on the stairs and the door handle jiggling every few minutes, until finally around 11pm my dad walks in and yells at me for wasting electricity. I never told him or my mom about it until about a four months later when my dad came in from hunting after dark. He looked shaken and I asked him what was wrong … He said he aimed at two deer but missed both completely because it felt as if something was hitting his elbow and making him shoot way above the deer. Thats when I told him everything.

The House on Acorn Street: When I was 14 my family and I fell on hard times. We got kicked out of our house and ended up in emergency housing, basically we went to charity who found us a house that we were able to rent for $100 a month, but only for three months. That summer, my mom and stepdad separated temporarily, and my three younger siblings would go to my stepdad’s for a week or so then come back to my mom and me. This house was CREEPY. It started off with just that feeling, you know? Like, something isn’t quite right, that you might not be the only person in the room. In the day, that’s all it was, the feeling that something was up. Your instincts pricking at you. I tried to ignore it, but as soon as dusk arrived stuff would start happening. More than once I could hear this static-filled music playing, but I couldn’t find the source, it just filled the halls. I heard whispering and went to my two sisters room, in the open closet, a pair of eyes looked at me and disappeared. My brother spent one night in the house and didn’t come back. In my room, I could never win. On one wall, a mirror, when I flipped over to face the window, I watched tall shadow figures pace in front of it. In my mothers room, the same shadow figures paced in circles around her room. One night, she and I sat up for two hours in her bed watching these shadows. She was strongly religious and didn’t know what to make of it. During the time we lived there, there was a lunar eclipse. I had never seen one before and was very excited for it. When I went out to look, every time, this terror took over me and I couldn’t stay outside, I couldn’t explain it. When the moon was fully cloaked, I went outside, looked up, but my head suddenly snapped down and to my left. I could see three tall shadows walking in between the tall pine trees in the yard. Panicked, I ran back inside and into my room, flinging myself under the covers with my eyes shut tightly, but listened to the pacing outside my bedroom window. Three months of this. We moved out at the end of summer into a new house, my mom and stepdad got back together and I was with my younger siblings again. We all agreed the house on Acorn street was screwed up, and still get chills when we drive by it, just to see.

I Would Always Have The Same Dream: Up until I was about eight or so, I lived in a REALLY old house that, since the beginning of time, had been bounced around from relative to relative until eventually my mother had been handed over the keys. It was basically a dump. Two stories, a collapsed balcony on the second level, mold and mildew all over most of the ceilings, one tiny bathroom and the toilet was outside, over-run with frogs and spiders and whatever other kind of hell-spawn the Australian outback would throw at us. I was terrified as a child–scared of basically everything. I’m much braver now, and I probably have this old house to thank for it. I remember as a child that I would always have the same dream. I’d start in the kitchen, no idea how I got there of course. It was during the day, probably later in the afternoon. Nobody was around, so naturally I’d go looking for my mother and father. I’d go to all the normal places – mum wasn’t in the laundry shed or the lounge room, dad wasn’t on the patio outside or up the back at the chicken coop, and my sister wasn’t around either. I was starting to get worried, thinking that everyone was gone and they’d left me alone. Until I heard a noise above me coming from the second floor, where the bedrooms are. Relieved, I darted towards the stairs and jumped on the first step. Then I felt it. There was something in the back of my head, making me stop, leg still raised up as I prepared to move onto the second step. Something telling me that I shouldn’t go up there. Of course this thought was running rampant in my mind “Don’t go up there, don’t go up there, stay down here, don’t go up there, there’s something up there”. Finally my leg dropped before I could reconsider. I pushed myself up those stairs, and even though I didn’t want to anymore, I couldn’t stop myself, only slow down. Each step up was taken at an agonizingly slow pace, and I wanted so bad just to go back down stairs and find someone–run to my grandparents house and stay with them until my mum was home. But eventually, I rounded the corner, leaving only the last few steps leading up to the floor ahead of me. There was nothing there–I couldn’t see anything in the stairwell. I started getting hopeful at this point–maybe it’s ok. Nobody’s here. I was just imagining things and it’s going to be fine. I’m still taking the slow steps up when it appears. Something’s there. I can’t actually remember what it was, and I never could after I woke up. But it was horrifying beyond belief, and I would always try to close my eyes, because that was my thing as a child–if you can’t see it, then it can’t see you. But I could still see it. I couldn’t blink, I couldn’t shut my eyes–it was like my eyelids weren’t working. I would even try holding my hands in front of my face, but still I couldn’t block it out–I could see through my hands. And I couldn’t do anything I was frozen, unable to do anything except STARE at this thing all but a meter away from me. Whatever I saw, whatever I did, for those eight years I was at that house, I had to force myself up the stairs. Day or night, it was horrifying. My mother sighed and tried to reason with me, my father growled at me and called me a coward and my sister just laughed and said I was retarded. But every time I had to go up those stairs, as soon as I hit the top stairwell, I had to stop and make sure that I could cover my eyes with my hands or that I could shut my eyes, to make sure I wasn’t in another dream. Of course it would terrify me most when I’d go to blink and wave my hand in front of my face and it wouldn’t work and I’d realize I was dreaming

The Neighbor: A few years back I rented an apartment from a friend of mine. He had recently bought it and had it completely renovated. He put it up for sale but couldn’t find a buyer so I offered to rent it in the meantime. After moving in I realized there was something wrong with the lady next door. She was about 45 but looked much older. She would sit up all night listening to Christian radio shows and talking loudly to someone. It got to the point where I couldn’t sleep so I went over to her place and asked her to keep it down. She opened her door and I got a quick peek. Her walls all had crosses painted on them in different colors. And words like “Jesus” and “angels” scribbled everywhere. The windows were painted black letting no light in at all. It was damp, yellow stained 50 year old carpets, dog poop and cockroaches everywhere. No dog though. I asked her to please keep it down. She just looked at me and shut the door. Then she turned up the radio even louder. The next night I had my girlfriend staying over. I wake up in the middle of the night and see a shadow of a person next to the bed looking at us sleeping. I think I’m hallucinating as I usually do in the dark when I’m sleepy. But then the shadow starts talking. It’s my neighbor and she’s holding something in her hand. She broke in during the night and who knows how long she stood there. “You should lock your door at night” she says and walks out. The next morning I hear someone making strange noises below my bedroom window. It’s my neighbor talking to herself in tongues. She has a plastic bag in her hand with her rotting dead dog inside. It’s hot outside and I can smell death from the bag. At this point I’m scared. She’s obviously very insane. I go upstairs and knock on another person’s door and ask what is going on. This guy is as scared as I am. Apparently she broke into his apartment one evening as well while he was watching tv with his kids. He got up from the couch to get a snack only to find her behind the couch staring at him holding a power drill. (Now I know what was in her hand.) At this stage I’m basically pooping myself. I call the cops and they know all about her. Apparently she is a violent schizophrenic and she hasn’t taken her meds. But they can’t force her or enter her apartment w/o her permission because she owns it. The only thing they can do is get her when she goes outside. I sit up for the next two days waiting for her to run out of cigarettes. When I hear her leave at 2:00 A.M. to go across the road to the 7-11 I call the cops. They have three cars and a special van over in less than two minutes. They restrain her and throw her in the van and drive off to some institution and in less than a minute it’s like she was never there. I never see her again, but I still have nightmares about her looking at me in my sleep.

* * * * * * * * * *

When Weird Darkness returns…

A 5-year-old boy having the time of his life at a carnival suddenly goes missing – and when found later there is no evidence whatsoever as to how he got where he was, who took him there, or what happened to him before he was found.

Plus, we’ll step into the Chamber of Comments.

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THE DISTURBING CASE OF LITTLE STEPHEN MCKERRON

September 17, 1988 was set to be one of the happiest days in the brief life of Stephen McKerron. The five-year-old from Hamilton, Scotland was on a week’s holiday in Ayr at the home of his aunt and uncle, Lyn and Ian Sneddon. He was eagerly anticipating his visit to Ayr’s Wonderwest World holiday park, a seaside amusement center featuring rides, games, entertainment, and all the other features guaranteed to thrill the heart of any lively little child.
For some three hours, Stephen had the time of his life at the crowded, merry park. And then, suddenly, the unthinkable happened. While the boy was playing on an escalator, the Sneddons–each thinking that the other was watching him–briefly lost sight of Stephen. Although he was only out of their view for a matter of seconds, it was time enough for him to vanish completely. The increasingly frantic Sneddons quickly searched the park, but found no trace of the child. They then went to the park’s security team, who in their turn called police.
The hunt for Stephen McKerron was the largest missing-child search in Scotland’s history. A six-mile radius around the park was searched by hundreds of officers and volunteers. His description was widely circulated. Divers searched local rivers and water tanks. A special helicopter was brought in that had “heat-seeking” equipment that could detect a body. It all did no good. Stephen appeared to have vanished into dust.
The publicity brought in several alleged “sightings” of the boy. One person claimed to have seen a “distressed” looking Stephen in a Wonderwest World cafe several hours after he went missing. He was in the company of a middle-aged man. Another park visitor said he saw a boy matching Stephen’s description climbing Wonderwest World’s seven-foot-high fence. A number of motorists believed they had seen Stephen walking alone along the Ayr-Turnberry road about a half-hour after the Sneddons last saw him. Whether those reports were credible or not, they were of little help in finding the child. After a few days had passed, the police admitted that they were “desperate” for leads. The assumption was that Stephen had been kidnapped–he was a happy child with no motive to run away–but that didn’t square with the eyewitnesses who claimed to have seen him wandering alone. In any case, where was he?
Stephen’s loved ones were left tormented by horrible suspense until over two weeks after he vanished, when their worst fears were realized. On the afternoon of October 2, a woman was walking her dog in open country near her home at Beoch, over six miles from the holiday park. She was stunned to come across the dead body of a little boy. He was lying in a fenced ditch about half-a-mile away from two farmhouses. When police arrived on the scene, they quickly confirmed that Stephen McKerron had finally been found. He was lying just outside of the search area. It was ruled that the child had died of exposure. There was no sign that anyone had harmed him in any way.
Authorities believed that Stephen had walked to the site alone–six miles over some of the most difficult and unappealing countryside in Scotland, full of marshes, hills, gullies, and thick woods. A local described it as “hellish territory.” It would have been hard for a strong adult to walk so far through such an area. For a five-year-old, it seemed virtually impossible.
The police came in for a good deal of criticism for not making their search area a wider one.  A department spokesman retorted with “How far do you go?” Law enforcement pointed out that their search area had been based on previous experience, as well as professional estimates on how far the boy could possibly have traveled on foot. What happened to Stephen was, quite simply, beyond anything anyone could have imagined.
The puzzle of Stephen’s disappearance and death was, of course, far from solved. His distraught family insisted that he would not, could not, have walked to this remote site on his own. They believed that someone must have abducted the child and then left him in that ditch to die. His father also highlighted the odd fact that when Stephen’s body was found, his socks had been removed and were in his pocket. Mr. McKerron pointed out that his son did not know how to tie his shoes. Not only would it have made little sense for Stephen to take off his shoes, remove his socks, and then put his shoes back on, he could not have done it at all. (Of course, it makes no sense that anyone else would do it, either.) The question at the heart of the tragedy–namely, why Stephen would voluntarily leave the park at all–was also impossible to answer.
An official inquiry was held in March 1989 before the local sheriff, Neil Gow. After considering the various theories involving foul play–that someone had kidnapped Stephen and left him in this remote spot to fare for himself, or killed him and then dumped his body in the ditch–Gow ruled that the boy had simply died a strange, but completely natural death. Stephen’s “enterprise and stamina” had been “seriously under-estimated by all concerned.” The sheriff concluded that, for whatever unknowable reason, the boy had wandered away from the park and continued to hike until he collapsed and died. As far as the authorities were concerned, the case was closed. “Case closed,” however, does not necessarily mean, “Mystery solved.”

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Here in the Chamber of Comments I answer your emails, comments, podcast reviews, voice messages, letters I get in the mail, and more. You can find all of my contact information, postal address, social media links, and a link to leave a voice message, on the CONTACT page at WeirdDarkness.com. While you’re there, join the Facebook Group, “Weird Darkness Weirdos” and hang out with me and the rest of our Weirdo family! Or drop me an email anytime at: darren@weirddarkness.com.

(YouTube comment from Dan Winger regarding “The ‘Alone’ Reality Show Coverup” – which I’ve linked to in the show notes): Law enforcement was contacted regarding the attacks and the missing persons right Darren?

REPLY: Well, I’ll let you decide, Dan – seeing as that story is a creepypasta.

(Podcast review from AR520732): I recently came upon Weird Darkness while at work and I now don’t go a day without binge listening! I love being a weirdo! I have battled depression my entire life and it means so much that you support depression and give back! Thank you so much for all you do!!!

REPLY: You are very welcome, AR520732! It sucks that you deal with depression, but it is good to know you’re not alone, ain’t it? Hopefully you’re getting help, and if not, hopefully you can find help on the Hope In The Darkness page at WeirdDarkness.com.

(YouTube comment from Sally Louise regarding the Weird Darkness AfterWord “God, Ghosts and Aliens” – which I have included a link to in the show notes): Really enjoying your channel and weird darkness podcast and Facebook group! I’m Christian too and even though I’ve never seen a ghost, my late mum came to me in dreams, and it was weird but nice at the same time, as she assured me I’ll be okay. Also I have had sleep paralysis as well but no demon, just waking up and finding I could not move, TV was on and my boyfriend at the time was talking to me but I could not speak or move; I was never so scared. Anyway great show!

(Facebook comment from Dana Forand): I happened upon your podcast a month ago. I love it! I have not enjoyed listening to something so much since I was a kid listening to Vincent Price reading Edgar Allen Poe! Love the support to truck drivers [I am one], VETS [I’m one of those too] etc. Keep up the good work, because while you may talk about darkness, you bring light!

REPLY: Well, thank YOU for what YOU do, Dana! Thank you for your service, and thank you for being on the road and getting stuff from point A to point B so we can live our lives the way we want!

(Podcast review from Louise448): Cannot get enough! Discovered Darren Marlar and Weird Darkness only the other day. I’m hooked; love your voice and love the stories and podcasts. Going through the back catalogue now. Well recommended! I absolutely loved the “I Drive for Cerber” story too! Borg was my fave!

REPLY: Thank you for the podcast review, Louise448! Borg think you pretty swell too! I did finally locate the sequel to “I Drive For Cerber” – there are two sequels, actually, and I’ll be sharing them both in the weeks ahead. You won’t have to wait too awful long to revisit that universe. I’ll leave a link to the original story for those who’ve not heard it, in the show notes.

I’ll answer more of your emails, comments, letters, and voice messages next time! Again, you can find all of my social media, a link to leave a voice message for me, and other contact information on the CONTACT page at WeirdDarkness.com, or drop me an email at darren@weirddarkness.com.

* * * * * * * * * *

If you made it this far, welcome to the Weirdo Family! Please share a link to this episode in your social media to help spread the word about the podcast, and if you could, please recommend Weird Darkness to your friends, family, and co-workers who love the paranormal, horror stories, or true crime! Maybe they’ll become a Weirdo family member too! And I’d greatly appreciate you leaving a review in the podcast app you listen from, that helps the podcast get noticed! And thanks in advance for doing so!

Do you have a dark tale to tell of your own? Fact or fiction, click on “Tell Your Story” at WeirdDarkness.com and I might use it in a future episode.

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.

“Ghostly Shivers of the Arctic Circle” by Jodi Smith for Ranker

“The Most Dreadful Execution of The Salem Witch Trials” from Sometimes Interesting and Evan Corey for History

“I’ve Seen The Devil” by Weirdo family member Joy Cruz

“The Disturbing Case of Little Stephen McKerron” from Strange Company

“Never Trust the Dark” from The Line Up

Weird Darkness theme by Alibi Music.

WeirdDarkness™ – is a registered trademark. Copyright ©Weird Darkness 2020.

If you’d like a transcript of this episode, you can find a link in the show notes.

Now that we’re coming out of the dark, I’ll leave you with a little light… Psalm 112:1 = “Praise the LORD. Blessed are those who fear the LORD, who find great delight in his commands.”

And a final thought… “Once you’ve accepted your flaws, no one can use them against you.” – George R.R. Martin

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

 

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