“GHOSTS ON DEATH ROW” and 3 More Terrifying True Paranormal Stories! #WeirdDarkness

GHOSTS ON DEATH ROW” and 3 More Terrifying True Paranormal Stories! #WeirdDarkness

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IN THIS EPISODE: he most evil of lawbreakers in our society – the murderers and rapists – are usually confined to life in prison. The most evil of the evil are sometimes sentenced to death. But is it possible that by cutting short the lives of the horrific individuals on Death Row, we are unknowingly creating new malevolent entities that continue to torment us from the grave? (The Ghosts of Death Row) *** From beatings to murders to a handful of escape attempts made by Alcatraz’s prisoners, the terrifying history of Alcatraz prison contains plenty of ghosts. (The Hauntings of Alcatraz) *** What if UFOs aren’t from another planet – or even another dimension? What if they are actually machines built right here on Earth, piloted by human time travelers? (Time Machine Flying Saucers) *** Weirdo family member Amber Harris shares a true story called “Darkness Was My Neighbor”. (Darkness Was My Neighbor)

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

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“The Ghosts of Death Row” by Brent Swancer: http://bit.ly/2KzEFw9
“The Hauntings of Alcatraz” by Erin McCann: http://bit.ly/2QSsuM6
“Time Machine Flying Saucers” posted at UFO Digest (link no longer available)
“Darkness Was My Neighbor” by Weirdo family member, Amber Harris – submitted directly to WeirdDarkness.com.
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TRANSCRIPT:

Prisons seem to be prime locations for supernatural phenomena. With their dim, forbidding halls, claustrophobic cells, and often violent and dark histories of pain, suffering, and death, it is perhaps no wonder that such places should have tales of ghosts and the paranormal gravitate towards them. Some of the most frightening tales of prisons and the paranormal revolve around those prisoners who have been executed here, only to continue on to sow terror even after their blood has run cold, and putting a new spin on the term Death Row.

I’m Darren Marlar and this is Weird Darkness.

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…

From beatings to murders to a handful of escape attempts made by Alcatraz’s prisoners, the terrifying history of Alcatraz prison contains plenty of ghosts.

What if UFOs aren’t from another planet – or even another dimension? What if they are actually machines built right here on Earth, piloted by human time travelers?

Weirdo family member Amber Harris shares a true story called “Darkness Was My Neighbor”.

The most evil of lawbreakers in our society – the murderers and rapists – are usually confined to life in prison. The most evil of the evil are sometimes sentenced to death. But is it possible that by cutting short the lives of the horrific individuals on Death Row, we are unknowingly creating new malevolent entities that continue to torment us from the grave?

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

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One of the earlier of the spooky Death Row accounts we will look at revolves around a man named Frederick Hollman, who immigrated to the U.S. from Germany in 1883 and in around 1886 embarked on a killing spree that spanned the nation. Holland was one of the first full-on serial killers ever seen in America, and by the time he was arrested and convicted for the murder of a woman named Wiebke Geddes in 1896 he was suspected of at least five other similar murders and possibly as many as seventeen killings, as well as an additional eight attempted murders, making it one of the most shocking and brutal crime waves the nation had ever seen at the time. Hollman was sentenced to death and imprisoned at the historic Ford County Jail in Paxton, Illinois, to await his fate, all the while insisting on his innocence. On May 14, 1897, Hollman was executed by hanging, but before he dropped on the gallows he let out his sinister and chilling last words: **88*Just wait until I am dead and I will come back every night and visit those men who put me here, those witnesses and jurors. I will haunt them to their graves. I will rap on their windows at night, and they will see my face at their windows.*****

By all accounts he seems to have kept his promise, and Ford County Jail has gone on to become ground zero for paranormal phenomena directly linked to his ghost. Rapping on windows can indeed be heard at night, and there have been photographs purported to show Hollman’s face glaring into his jail cell from the window. The cell where Hollman spent his last days is often overcome by waves of cold, unbearable feelings of dread, and shadowy figures are frequently seen skulking about in the corner. A disembodied voice thought to be that of Hollman is frequently heard and captured on recording equipment here, very often not sounding too pleasant. Some visitors have even reported being poked or pushed by some unseen entity, and the ghost is perhaps not surprisingly seen as a rather malevolent presence. The haunting has gone on to make Ford County Jail a sort of tourist attraction for ghost hunters and macabre curiosity seekers.

Another of America’s first serial killers also seems to have found a way to keep terrorizing after death. In this case the perpetrator was a woman, a Lavinia Fisher, who according to legend began her reign of terror with her husband, John. In the early 1820s the two ran a guest house near Charleston, South Carolina, called the Six Mile House, and beneath its charming and inviting veneer it was in reality a charnel house of horrors for unsuspecting travelers.

Travelers who came through the area were met with great hospitality by the owners, especially Lavinia, who was known to be beguiling and to have quite the way with men. Targets were usually rich gentlemen, who Lavinia would supposedly invite to a luxurious parlor room for tea, which was unbeknownst to them spiked with poison that would make the guest groggy and seemingly very drunk. The two owners would then bring the guest back to his room, which was equipped with a trapdoor leading to a cellar down below, and drop the body down into the dark. If the fall didn’t kill the poor sap, then an axe to the back of the head certainly did, and the body would be stripped of valuables, dismembered, and disposed of.

The couple supposedly managed to keep this grim work going for over a year, with no one the wiser, until one guest by the name of John Peoples. It was his dislike of tea that saved him, as he poured it out when no one was looking, and Lavinia, no doubt perplexed as to why he wasn’t falling into a stupor like everyone else, began to act odder and odder. The unsettled Peoples finally decided to head back to his room for the evening, excusing himself much to Lavinia’s chagrin. When the trapdoor in his room opened he barely escaped, and he immediately went to authorities, who allegedly found the remains of 20 to 30 corpses on the premises in varying states of decomposition.

John and Lavinia were arrested and eventually found guilty, but since married women were exempt from the death penalty at the time, John was the first to go, and with him gone she was next at the gallows, as she wasn’t techncally married anymore. According to accounts, Lavinia really played up on the drama of the moment and was defiant to the end, wearing her actual wedding dress to her execution and proclaiming “If you have a message you want to send to hell, give it to me – I’ll carry it,” after which she purportedly cursed and shrieked wildly and then did the executioner’s job for him by hanging herself.

Much of the tale surrounding their crimes and arrest have been exaggerated and turned to legend over the years, such as the fact that the Fishers were never found guilty of murder, but rather of highway robbery, which was nevertheless considered a capital offense at the time, and the wedding dress tale is likely fiction as well, making it hard to separate the legends from the reality. However, one thing that is certain is that Lavinia and her husband were hanged, and that ever since this execution Lavinia’s spirit has reportedly haunted the cell she was kept in. It is here where her specter is often sighted wandering about, or her face spotted peering into the cell window. The ghost has also been seen at the nearby potter’s field by the Old Jail, where both her and her husband were likely buried.

She is often blamed on the frequently malfunctioning alarm system and for lights that go on or off without warning at the Old Jail. Electronic Voice Phenomenon (EVP) has been incredibly active at her former cell, and it seems that Lavinia is quick to answer questions or engage in banter, as well as spewing obscenities or giving ominous cryptic messages. Hers is supposedly a very aggressive and malignant spirit, with reports from visitors of the feeling of hands choking them or of an inexplicable shortness of breath, as well as having things knocked out of their hands, and of being poked, shoved or scratched by some invisible, aggressive force. The TV show Ghost Hunters famously had a scene in which one of these attacks was captured on camera. Sudden blasts of an overpowering stench that rolls through only to vanish, as well as cold spots have also been reported from the jail, sealing it as an unpleasant place indeed.

Interestingly, the Charleston County Jail has a myriad of other ghostly phenomena that are not always related to Lavinia Fisher at all. For instance, there is the apparition of a jailer complete with a rifle that has been seen here, as well as spectral black man in ragged clothes said to wander around in a daze about the facility. It is definitely not a place one wants to be after dark, and certainly seems to be filled with some very angry, troubled ghosts.

From later years we have the case of Raymond Snowden, who in September of 1956 brutally murdered a woman named Cora Dean in Garden City, Idaho, ruthlessly stabbing her dozens of times, severing her spinal cord, and earning himself the gruesome nickname “Idaho’s Jack the Ripper.” When Snowden was convicted of the killing he would claim that he had killed two other women as well, but there was never any evidence that this was the case. It didn’t matter, as the death of Dean had earned him a death sentence by hanging, the first to be carried out in this fashion at the massive Old Idaho Penitentiary, in Boise, Idaho.

On October 18, 1957, Snowden was bought to the gallows and there in full view of the bereaved family of the victim the execution was carried out, but it did not go according to plan. Due to a technical malfunction the drop from the trapdoor did not snap the criminal’s neck and kill him instantly as it was meant to, and for nearly 20 minutes Snowden jerked and twirled about on the end of that rope, choking, gurgling, and gasping for breath before he was finally still. It is perhaps this ghastly botched execution that has caused Snowden’s vengeful ghost to remain tethered to this spot.

Although the prison is now a museum and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, that doesn’t seem to make much difference to Snowden, and he has been supposedly haunting this place ever since his death. The site of the gallows is where nearly all of the paranormal activity is concentrated, and there is a lot of it. Visitors and tour guides alike frequently report the sounds of choking or gasping coming from here, as well as laughing or screaming, during both evening and daylight hours, and there is very often an indefinable sense of crushing dread and anguish that washes over those who come near. On occasion there has even purportedly been seen a full bodied apparition of Snowden skulking about in the shadows, or even more frightening a hulking, pitch-black figure that exudes malevolence, and EVP phenomena recorded here are impressively creepy.

Snowden’s ghost apparently has company here as well, as there is another entity at Old Idaho Penitentiary joining him. This apparition is said to be that of death row inmate Douglas Van Vlack, who opted to commit suicide by leaping from the rafters of the cell block rather than let the state execute him. Vlack’s spirit is also seen by both guests and employees, and usually takes the form of anomalous mists, fogs, and orbs of light gravitating towards the area where he died, and smart phones and other electrical equipment will apparently have their batteries go dead in short order or similarly malfunction.

By far the most infamous and well-known criminal to appear in this article is none other than prolific serial killer and notorious monster Ted Bundy, who eventually confessed to at least 30 murders in six states between the years of 1974 and 1978, although the true number is probably even higher. Charismatic and attractive, Bundy lured young women to their dooms, often decapitating them or performing sexual acts on their corpses, and he was once described as “the very definition of heartless evil,” even describing himself as “the most cold-hearted son of a bitch you’ll ever meet.” He was a heartless, sadistic abomination who has gone on to become one of the most reviled and well-known serial killers the world has ever seen, and even in death it seems he still manages to reach out from beyond.

On January 24, 1989, Bundy was put to death by electric chair at Florida State Prison, but by some accounts he has never really gone away. Over the years there have been numerous prison guards who have reported seeing Bundy’s apparition here at the prison, which is now called Union Correctional Institution, including a report from 2001 from one guard who claimed to have seen the spectral murderer perched atop the electric chair and smiling maniacally at him. Bundy’s ghost has apparently been seen in his former cell as well, and whenever anyone approaches too closely the apparition will simply blink out of existence. Bundy’s ghost has even been reported as talking to guards, such as one alleged encounter where he supposedly was sighted in his holding cell and told a group of guards, “Well, I beat all of you, didn’t I?” The ghost of Bundy has apparently been seen so often at the prison that some guards are too spooked to even return to work, and Katherine Ramsland Ph.D., author of Blood & Ghosts, said of this in an article in Psychology Today, thus: *****The man telling the story said there were so many sightings at one point that the warden couldn’t find anyone willing to enter the execution chamber alone. I don’t know if the reporter tried to corroborate this by asking the warden. (I would have.) However, some reports claimed that the warden had said that anyone who spreads stories about Bundy’s ghost will be fired. So, I guess there’s no need for a reporter’s follow-up call. (Supposedly, some guards quit, anyway, rather than face the deceased killer.)*****

Others refuse to enter the execution chamber or to go anywhere near Bundy’s former cell. The article also gives the testimony of current inmate at the prison, who corroborated the tales and said that Bundy’s spirit was indeed very active there. According to the article the unnamed inmate said in 2013: *****For many years I heard the rumors of Ted Bundy’s ghost appearing and didn’t believe it. Now, my mind has changed. I and other residents (including staff) have witnessed the ghost on many occasions. It is definitely Bundy. It comes in the early morning before dawn in our housing unit and in different cells. He’s always smiling. It’s a white-blue mist but very detailed. Some of the other residents claim to hear him talking. I have not heard that yet.*****

It is not only the prison itself where Bundy’s ghost is seen, as he has allegedly been spotted in other scattered locations as well. There have been purported sightings of the specter at the Chi Omega sorority house, which is one of his old crimesscenes, as well as at a building where he once rented a room in Tallahassee. Other more questionable reports come from mediums who claim to have channeled the spirit and even those who say they have actually conversed with Bundy through a Ouija Board. Whether any of it is true or not, the thought of the lurking, grinning ghost of one of history’s greatest monsters is terrifying nevertheless.

Moving ahead in years we come to the dark story of Willie Lloyd Turner, who in 1978 was arrested and convicted for the brutal execution-style murder of a jewelry store owner in Franklin, Virginia. Turner would go on to spend a full 15 years on death row, during which time he was brought in for execution 5 times only to have it called off at the last minute due to ongoing appeals, leading him to lament, “Even a cat has only nine lives. Enough is enough. This is psychological torture.” Due to these repeated aborted trips to the execution chamber, Turner fought his grim sentence by claiming that the treatment was unconstitutional and could be considered cruel and unusual punishment. However, the courts didn’t see it that way, and he knew his day was drawing near, writing in his memoirs: *****Two times, the guards have gone out of their way to show me the electric chair. As your date gets closer, the execution squad practices more and more. They test the electric chair. Because it is in the room right next door, I could hear it crack and hum.*****

Appeals and stays of execution finally ran out for Turner, and when the final day came he used his new right to choose his form of execution and opted for lethal injection rather than the electric chair that had haunted him so. He was executed on May 25, 1995, at the Greensville Correctional Center in Jarratt, Virginia, and some strange things were found in the days after his death. When prison guards checked his room they were startled to see that he had somehow managed to smuggle in a firearm, which had been stashed within a typewriter on which he had typed out a rambling 600-page autobiography, which went into great detail on his life and musings on Death Row and included amongst the stranger entries tales of seeing ghosts, and even a claim that he had figured out how to become one himself.

Interestingly, for several months after his death Turner was apparently seen lurking about the prison by both guards and inmates alike. In this case, Turner seems to have been a strikingly real and life-like spirit, and rather than some misty, indistinct wraith he was described as seeming like he was really there. Indeed, it was said that one could almost mistake him for being a living person if it weren’t for the fact that he had the habit of just suddenly vanishing into thin air. Witnesses said that Turner’s ghost would often appear at the cell doors of other inmates, where he would stare at them thoughtfully before fading away right in front of their eyes. Interestingly the haunting would cease within 6 months, and one wonders if Turner really did find a way to become a ghost, only to perhaps decide that it wasn’t to his liking.

When looking at accounts such as these it is curious to note that it is not even always the criminals on Death Row who become restless spirits, but also the executioners as well. An odd case of such a haunting goes back to the early 1920s, at a place called Strangeways Jail, now known as HM Prison Manchester, in England. Although capital punishment was abolished in Great Britain in 1965, before then this place had seen over a hundred executions, and one of the main executioners for 23 years was a man named John Ellis, who maintained that position until he killed himself in 1932.

It is said that the ghost of Ellis still lurks at the prison, taking the form of a man in a dark suit and always carrying what appears to be a briefcase with him. This ghost is supposedly most often seen walking up the “B Wing” towards the control center, where he will instantaneously vanish at the foot of an old iron staircase. The rumor is that Ellis has decided to stick around in the afterlife in order to maintain order at the prison and keep under control the other ghosts said to inhabit the grounds, of which there are many. One of these is the ghost of Mrs. Merrifiled, infamous for a poisoning spree that got her hanged here in September of 1953 and by most accounts is a rather unruly and malevolent spirit. It is probably good that Ellis is there to keep her in line.

Are these ruthless criminals tethered to the places of their deaths? Do they still roam the prison halls as they did in life and are they in a sense still condemned to dwell here and serve their sentence even on in death, perhaps forever? Whether any of these tales are true or just urban legend and tall tales, they are certainly rather eerie and spooky considering the locales and the coldblooded killers these wraiths are meant to be, making these prisons even scarier than they already are.

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Up next…

From beatings to murders to a handful of escape attempts made by Alcatraz’s prisoners, the terrifying history of Alcatraz prison contains plenty of ghosts.

This story and more when Weird Darkness returns!

<BREAK>

Many of you have been asking for an earlier Weirdo Watch Party so you could participate too – so this one is for you! Put it on the calendar – Friday night, July 24th – 7:30pm Central (that’s 5:30pm Pacific, 6:30pm Mountain, 8:30pm Eastern). Arachna from Beware Theater is hosting the Bela Lugosi classic “The Human Monster” from 1939! You don’t need to buy a ticket, it’s always free to join the Weirdo Watch Party – just set a reminder on your mobile device, online calendar, smart home device, write it in blood on your refrigerator, whatever you have to do so you don’t miss it – and this one is early enough that you can get to bed at a decent hour! Join us as Arachna brings us Bela Lugosi in “The Human Monster” – again, it’s July 24th at 7:30pm Central – that’s 5:30pm Pacific, 6:30pm Mountain, 8:30pm Eastern – on the Weirdo Watch Party Page at WeirdDarkness.com!

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For the 29 years Alcatraz functioned as a federal prison, creepy stories derived from its remote austerity and contributed to its legend. But the spooky mythos began long before the famous penitentiary opened in 1934. Today, Alcatraz is considered one of the most haunted places in America thanks to all the death, torture, and misery that went on behind its walls. From beatings to murders to a handful of escape attempts made by Alcatraz’s prisoners, the terrifying history of Alcatraz prison contains plenty of ghosts.

Alcatraz’s history started long before the prison. It was formerly used as a military prison and fort, and the harsh waters of the San Francisco Bay and often foggy surroundings made the island the perfect place to house some of the country’s worst criminals. Soldiers, inmates, and guards have all perished on Alcatraz Island. Whether these deaths were due to natural causes, murder, or suicide, many say the ghosts of the dead contribute to the many Alcatraz prison horror lore. Like other creepy prisons with ghost stories, supernatural sightings on Alcatraz are the result of some horrifying incidents and prison conditions. Al Capone, dungeons, and one intensely haunted cell are just a few of the chilling ghost stories to be found on the Rock.

Cellblock D in Alcatraz was known as “the hole” and held the solitary confinement cells reserved for the most poorly behaved prisoners. These five cells were extremely cold: the prisoners were forced to strip naked and their mattresses were removed each morning, forcing them either to stand all day or sit on the cold floor. One of these cells was known as the “Oriental” and unlike the other solitary cells, prisoners were left completely in the dark with only a hole in the floor in which to relieve themselves.

At some point in the 1940s, an inmate began screaming as soon as he was locked inside but the guards ignored him, believing he was just upset about the conditions. The next morning, they found the prisoner dead with a terrified look on his face and an autopsy revealed he had died from strangulation that could not have been self-inflicted. Whether it was a guard who killed him or a ghost (possibly that of former prisoner Rufus McCain since he had stayed in that cell) will never be known, but many report feeling uncomfortable and tingly when entering his 14D cell, and the room is often much colder that any of the others. A ghost hunter investigating cell 12D down the hall reported feeling icy fingers on his neck upon entering.

Bank robber Bernard Paul Coy carefully observed the guards’ patterns for several months as he was planning his escape attempt. In May of 1946, he and five other men managed to break into a gun cage in cellblock C and stole a guard’s keys. Unfortunately for them, the key they needed to get out of the prison building was missing and they were unable to escape. Not letting that stop them, the men took several guards hostage and killed two before the Marines were called. Three of the attempted escapees eventually became trapped in a utility passage where they were killed by gunfire. The event lasted two days and became known as the “Battle of Alcatraz,” the bloodiest escape attempt in the prison’s history. Although the passage is concealed from visitors’ view with a heavy door, bangs and clanging noises are often heard but disappear once the door is opened. Many believe the ghosts of the three men killed in the passage are responsible.

Alcatraz has become a must-see destination for paranormal enthusiasts, researchers, and investigators, and psychic Sylvia Brown was among them. She felt a very intense presence in the laundry room in Cellblock C and also received an impression that something very violent had happened there. Brown accurately described a tall bald man, the exact appearance of a prisoner named Abie Maldowitz.

Maldowitz was also known as “Butcher” and was a hitman before he was arrested. Prison records indicated he had, in fact, died in the laundry room when he was brutally murdered by another inmate. Other mysterious incidents from the same room include the heavy smell of smoke in the air even though nothing is burning.

In 1938, three men including Rufus Franklin attempted to escape by attacking the guard in the woodworking shop where they were laboring. Franklin beat the unarmed guard to death with a hammer and the three prisoners broke a window and climbed onto the roof. They didn’t get very far as a guard in one of the towers open fired on the men. Two of the prisoners were shot and one died. Up until the 1946 incident that started the “Battle of Alcatraz,” this was the deadliest escape attempt in the prison’s history.

In 1939, prisoner Rufus McCain attempted to escape Alcatraz along with Henri Young, Arthur Barker, and two other men. They managed to get to the shore but guards caught up with them as McCain suddenly realized he couldn’t swim. Two guards were murdered during the incident, Barker was killed, and both McCain and Young were put into solitary for almost an entire year. Young blamed McCain for the failure of the escape and tension between the two men grew.

In December of 1940, Young snuck out of the furniture shop in which he’d been put to work, crept down to the tailor shop where McCain was working, and stabbed him in the gut. McCain was seriously injured and lived another painful couple of hours before finally dying in the hospital. Some believe either or both men haunt the solitary D-Block in which they spent so much time.

Due to the harsh conditions and treatment prisoners received at Alcatraz, many of them ended up suffering from mental illness. Warden Johnson believed insanity, no mater how severe, was being used an excuse from working and refused to acknowledge that his prison was tormenting and abusing its inmates.

Some men, like Rube Persful, worked out their anguish through physical activity. Persful was hospitalized after purposely cutting off all the fingers on one hand with a hatchet while working in one of Alcatraz’s work shops. Laughing, he asked a guard to take care of the fingers on the other hand. Others, such as Ed Wutke who used a pencil sharpener blade to slice through his jugular, successfully killed themselves. Joe Bowers attempted something similar using his eyeglass lenses and when he failed, climbed the outer fence knowing he’d be shot. He fell 75 feet to certain death. With so much negative energy and tragedy at Alcatraz, it’s no wonder the island prison is considered one of the most haunted places in America.

The US military first took over Alcatraz Island in 1847 and built a military prison, later used to hold captured Confederates during the Civil War. As many as 50 soldiers and sympathizers were imprisoned in the basement of the guardhouse and many died due to the horrible conditions. Forced to live without heat, running water, and bathrooms, the prisoners were given very little food, bound together with six-foot chains, and squeezed into a small space with a cold stone floor. Those who acted out against this treatment were put into “sweatboxes” as further punishment. After the Civil War but before the federal prison was built, Alcatraz was used to imprison captives from the Spanish-American War and rebellious Native Americans. People have reported seeing apparitions of men in military uniforms and have heard mysterious cannon and gun fire, so the ghosts of many of these prisoners may still be on the island.

Alcatraz was all about punishment and what the prisoners went through is a horror story in itself. Underneath the A-Block was an area known as “the dungeon.” These catacomb-like basement areas were left over from the days when Alcatraz was a military fort and were used as punishment areas for those that deserved worse than “the hole.” Prisoners were stripped naked, chained to the wall in a standing position, and given very little food. While the screams of the inmates who were unfortunate enough to spend time there couldn’t be heard in the rest of the prison, they can still be heard today. A worker claimed to have heard a horrible scream coming from the dungeon but found no one there. Even Ghost Hunters heard noises in the area and received an audible “no” when asked if the noise could be made again.

Notorious crime boss Al Capone was one of Alcatraz’s most famous residents. When he began his four-and-a-half-year stay in 1934, he was unprepared for unsympathetic guards and being stripped of the privileges he enjoyed in other prisons. Capone was put in “the hole” three times during his stay for breaking the “no talking” rule and for bribing a guard. He was in several fights with other inmates and the conditions at Alcatraz began to wear on him. A banjo his wife sent seemed to be the only thing keeping him from insanity and guards reported seeing him making his bed over and over or crouched in the corner softly strumming his instrument. Capone spent most of his last year in the prison in the infirmary being treated for syphilis but took his banjo with him. He was transferred to a prison in Los Angeles in 1939 and died several years later at his Florida estate, but both Alcatraz visitors and guards have claimed to hear banjo music in several parts of the prison.

James Johnson was appointed the first warden of Alcatraz and his hard stance on punishment set up many of the rules and regulations to which prisoners were subjected. As the longest-serving warden of Alcatraz, he had seen many things take place in his prison but refused to believe in ghosts. He could never account for what happened when he was giving a group of people a tour once, though. As they passed by the dungeon, Johnson heard the sounds of a woman crying that seemed to be coming from the wall. Just as the sobbing stopped, an icy wind blew through the room and startled everyone.

Later, the house Johnson lived in on the island also became a frequent spot for ghosts to allegedly appear, as several guards experienced during a holiday party. An apparition of a man with mutton chops and a gray suit was allegedly seen by the men just as the fire extinguished itself and the room turned cold.

People who visited the island on which Alcatraz was eventually built experienced dark sensations long before the prison was built. Early explorers noted the atmosphere on the tiny island was heavy and depressing. Members of the Ohlone Native American tribe told tales about the island and believed it was a gathering spot for evil spirits. They had such distaste for the area that it’s believed indigenous Americans who broke tribal laws were sometimes sent there as punishment. Since human bones and artifacts have been discovered buried on the island, it’s very possible it served as some sort of Native burial ground. The famous fog that often hangs around San Francisco, as well as the cold, cruel waters of the Bay add to these eerie tales and make Alcatraz all the more creepy.

The passage between B and C-blocks, the cell areas where most Alcatraz prisoners were kept, was affectionately called Broadway. Many visitors, guards, and park rangers have experienced something eerie in this area. Night watchmen have heard what sounds like men running on the upper levels, only to find nobody there. Visitors have also heard voices talking, moaning, or sobbing in these areas, as well as experiencing unexplained cold areas or strange smells. Prisoners had been known to witness ghostly events as well, claiming to have seen strange floating lights and heard whispers and slamming doors even after they were shut. Apparitions have also reportedly appeared, and at least one guard believed he saw a group of marching Native Americans that mysteriously vanished.

British couple Sheila Sillery-Walsh and Paul Rice were vacationing in San Francisco and decided a tour of Alcatraz was a must on their “to do” list. Sillery-Walsh immediately experienced an uncomfortable feeling as she stepped into the prison. Then, while on an audio tour, she saw a neat photo opportunity in a small cell window and took a picture with her phone. She immediately noticed the face of a woman looking out the window from the other side, but there was no one in the room. At first Rice brushed it off as a reflection of either Sillery-Walsh or another visitor, but the woman in the photo had clothing and a hairstyle from the 1930s or ’40s. The couple asked some of the Alcatraz staff who had been there around that time if they recognized her, but none did. Both Sillery-Walsh and Rice are certain the woman was a ghost, but since there were never any female prisoners on Alcatraz, it may never be clear who she really is.

Robert Stroud, another of Alcatraz’s famous residents, is also known as the “Birdman” and arrived at the prison in 1942 after he murdered a bartender, then threatened other inmates and murdered a guard at another prison. By the time he arrived at Alcatraz, he had already developed a somewhat bizarre interest in canaries and completed years of research. Stroud was kept mainly in solitary confinement and in the hospital area of Alcatraz and wrote several books which the warden refused to let him publish. In 1959, he was transferred off the island and to the Medical Center for Federal Prisoners where he died. Several people have claimed to see his ghost wandering the hospital area, as well as voices, screams, and other apparitions. Park rangers who have heard strange sounds coming down the stairs from the off-limits hospital section have investigated only to find no one there.

Alcatraz prison shut down in 1963 and six years later, Richard Oakes and a group of Native Americans occupied the empty island. They demanded a college for Native students and a cultural center be built on the land that was once sacred Native American property. About 100 people, including many students, set up camp on the island but the longer the government refused to give into their demands, the more the people grew restless. When Oakes’s 13-year-old daughter fell down a stairwell and died, the government cut off the water supply and electricity and a large fire broke out which destroyed several of Alcatraz’s buildings. Eventually, there were reports of assaults and theft of copper wiring from the remaining buildings. Finally, in 1971, the remaining Natives were forcibly removed from the island and the occupation ended, but it’s reported that a few ghosts still remain.

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When Weird Darkness returns…

What if UFOs aren’t from another planet – or even another dimension? What if they are actually machines built right here on Earth, piloted by human time travelers?

Weirdo family member Amber Harris shares a true story called “Darkness Was My Neighbor”.

These stories are up next!

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There is a conspiracy of secrecy among men today that is hidden from the public. It hides in the hierarchy of the Republican (commercially rich) group from which government patents that have been unresolved by the patentee are being stolen. There exists some that would rather research this long unresolved issue of the patentee and under cover continue the trademark’s idea. Hidden by hierarchy and wealth these men (under republican guard) remarkably continue to research what today is called “THE TIME MACHINE.” It was generally believed by scientists that because space flight is more seaworthy of the trade, that a laboratory time machine, would not advance quickly enough through the development stages to be viable in the twentieth century. But, other men of power believed otherwise.
In the peak of the 20th century physicists working on this advancement of time-travel were able to create the first working time machine in a laboratory. The advancement of time space flight technology lingered slowly behind this independent commercial group but problems of interstellar manufacturing in space slowed productivity during these times where investments in building maintenance manufacturing were quite feasible.
Acknowledgement of the manufacturing of “THE TIME MACHINE” was top secret. Aside from privacy and patent laws – waiting out a patent took twenty years – gave ample time for research. Upon completion the republican group developed the first time machine having the ability to travel through time an ion (An atom or a group of atoms that has acquired a net electric charge by gaining or losing one or more electrons) both to the past and to the future. Its achievements went on unnoticed to the public but prevailed as a commercial group research project that became born to secrecy under government privacy and protection laws. They were able to continue their work and research with no problems, but laboratory confinement of the project perimeter boundaries gave little area to research and experimentation. They could advance objectal and personnel journey leaps between laboratories and or sending information from one place to another. But the problem of sending personal imagery was their primary objective in the research.
A time-machine allows a person to travel from a specific time to a desired time, but can only be achieved by having a time-machine at every time sector it traveled to or from.
Time machines and time-travel have been publicized as extraterrestrial technology, with earthlings having little or no knowledge about it. But the fact of the matter is that government secrecy has allowed certain groups to research and manufacture an array of time machines already throughout America.
The ventures of twentieth century scholarly groups or universities have only touched the surface of such technology, like what have been published in today’s newspapers. The first Time Machine is being built by reform university physicists by using laser beam energy to form a wormhole.” This is actually old news. What does exist and what people see as an array of sightings are actually examples of the secret group and what they have created as new technology under this secrecy.
Other than sending or receiving information from place to place this group has been able to develop a personnel enhancement devise that creates and trans-bursts energy at the touch of a button.
Aside from long range time-travel or traveling instantaneous from place to place at close ranges, and with the availability of this small device, short range trans-bursts connected with a mapped destination module in the device – a person can leap at short range distances. If ever you’ve seen something that looks out of place or something you believe to be a figment to your imagination you may be wrong. It could be real!
Top secret research in laboratory experimentation is all part of the normal faucet of our government. The patent laws like the government advancement technology secrecy laws, allow the government to stay seventy-five years a head of its time – this is exactly what I am speaking about.
It was only in the end of the 19th century that technology protection like this was given precedence in its meaning with government officials. As a patent clerk in 1901 Albert Einstein developed what is today the most remarkable scientific mathematical scientific equation in the world E=Mc2. It was the development of this research that modern physics was developed.
But the idea of privacy protection and technology advancement with government backing and secrecy laws leads the global network with new technology.
Just think that in the future instead of railway cars there will exist time portals. Sound impossible? I don’t think so. The division between science and science fiction is a thin enough line. The fact of traveling faster then light was though impossible. In the Kawecki Formula this is not the case. Remember at the beginning of the 20th it was believed that man would never fly.
The government and financial groups of today are the commercial networks that have banked at an independent commercial level that allows for the advancement of such technologies. We have advanced from the invention of the wheel – to planes, trains and automobiles. The inventor of the time machine should be the news of the day, but you’ll hardly find a word about it in your daily newspaper or on television news.
The extraterrestrial publicity given to space and space travel may be a deception. It is not extraterrestrials that are in these so called flying saucers sighted around the globe, but is actually a close future event of space advancement and time-travel, which today we are only beginning to discover.
The UFO you see in the sky today is a preview of mankind in the future – not an extraterrestrial craft.
Area 51, finally acknowledged as existing, was built for the purpose to protecting advanced scientific technology. It’s not that Area 51 was a protected government cover-up but it was evidence of a commercial experiment that contained the bodies of four trained monkeys – the same event that was used for the first world’s interstellar space flight in 1961.

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This happened to me while I lived in Williamsburg, Virginia only a couple of years ago before I had moved. I lived at the end of a cul-de-sac. Now some important information you need to know is that my house was down in a ditch almost, so if you were to look outside of the second floor, it would be level with the street view. My driveway was really steep going up into the street. Our neighbors house was the same way, only not as steep of a driveway. One night I was coming home from work and there were ambulances and fire trucks right in front of my driveway. My heart dropped into my stomach, I was worried and thought something had happened to my family while I was away. (One of my worst fears) Only when I got out of my car and headed down the driveway I realized that the paramedics from the ambulance were coming out of my neighbors house, to the left of mine, not mine. When I walked inside I asked my mom what happened. She had told me that something had happened to the neighbors husband but that was the extent of what she knew. Time passes by a couple days and we found out that the next door neighbor had died in his house. There were no indications of what happened, but it didn’t feel me with dread or a sense of anything bad. Time went on. Soon the wife had put the house on the market and left,. Since the house was now too big with just her and her dog. The “for sale” sign had been on the door for months. Nobody was buying the house. One night while my parents and sister were out at a race track for the night something strange had happened. My bedroom was on the second floor, the door to the hallway right in front of my bed. And to the left of my bed was my window with the high top trees glistening in the moonlight, there were also power lines behind them. It was getting late so I went to bed to watch T.V until I fell asleep. Now at this time it was a little past midnight and I was still awake. I was finally getting sleepy and started to close my eyes when the light in the hallway came on and I could see the light illuminate underneath my door. I didn’t recall hearing anyone come up the stairs because the stairs were loud and I could almost tell who was coming up the stairs by their heavy footsteps. On this occasion however I didn’t hear a thing. When I sat up in bed I noticed that the light was still on and now there was shadow underneath my door as though a male figure was standing right in front of it. The light suddenly turned off and I didn’t think anything of it after that. I eventually fell asleep and woke up in the middle of the night. I was around 2:30am and I checked my phone’s messages. I had two, both from my mother. The first one had said they were leaving the track, and the second one said that they would be on their way home shortly. Those messages came in at 2am. By that point I was freaking out because when the light had turned on I realized it wasn’t my family. And the shadow definitely wasn’t my fathers. I was too scared to get out of bed at that point and forced myself to fall asleep. I convinced myself it couldn’t have been a ghost because I wouldn’t have been able to see the shadow. although I really didn’t want to think that someone had gotten inside the house and stood in front of my door before leaving. It didn’t explain why I didn’t see the footsteps though. I forgot about the incident for awhile before something else happened.
It was late one night and like my usual routine, I got ready for bed and then started to watch T.V before falling asleep. My parents bedroom was across from mine upstairs and my sisters was on the front side of the house, next to the staircase which was right outside of mine. I was almost falling asleep when I felt my phone buzz. I had a few text messages and a missed call from my sister. That was strange, she should be asleep right now. I look at my messages and hers said “Come here, I’m scared.” she naturally didn’t yell for me because she didn’t want to wake my parents. I got out of bed and walked into her room and she was crouching beneath her window sill. “What’s wrong” I said. “Look outside the window” Her window was overlooking the street and the orange glow of the street light was one, and underneath it… the neighbors dog. “That’s weird. I thought she moved, what’s her dog doing out there?” I asked. Not that I expected my sister to have the answer. “He was barking and it woke me up and I looked outside and he was starting at the neighbors house barking.” We both looked outside again and the dog had stopped barking. It was just standing underneath the street light and looking at the neighbors house. “Well that’s freaky” I had said looking at my sister. “Yea it is” she said looking back at me. When we looked outside the window again the dog turned (just it’s head) directly at us. My heart dropped and we both yelped and dropped down beneath the window. “The husband died in that house, what if that’s why it can’t be sold? Where did their dog come from and why the hell was it looking at the house barking?” I was asking all these rhetorical questions to my sister whom I know couldn’t answer them. We both peeked over the window sill and the dog had just vanished. And we never saw it after that. Needless to say it was hard to sleep that night. But about a year later my dad got a different job in Indiana and we moved. When we went back in May this past year to visit friends and drove by our old house, the neighbors house had still not been sold.
Our address was 4804 Regents Park, Williamsburg Va if you want to use google to see the street view I’m talking about. If you look right at the house the neighbors is on the right.

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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.

“The Ghosts of Death Row” by Brent Swancer

“The Hauntings of Alcatraz” by Erin McCann

“Time Machine Flying Saucers” posted at UFO Digest

“Darkness Was My Neighbor” by Weirdo family member, Amber Harris

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 62:7 = “My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge.”

And a final thought… “Don’t be afraid to give up the good and go for the great.” – John D. Rockefeller

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

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