“THE STRANGE CASE OF THE WOMAN WITH GLOWING BREASTS” and More True Stories! #WeirdDarkness

THE STRANGE CASE OF THE WOMAN WITH GLOWING BREASTS” and More True Stories! #WeirdDarkness

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IN THIS EPISODE: Jodi Arias murdered her ex-boyfriend Travis Alexander. She’s now in prison – and says she loves it there. (The Murderess Who Loves Life in Prison) *** Bioluminescence is a fascinating trait, giving certain animals the ability to create their own light – literally glowing in the dark. The phenomenon has also been seen in humans, but only with special optics – it’s not visible to the naked eye. Except, that is, for a handful of very rare and unexplainable cases – one in which a woman’s breasts would glow. (The Strange Case of the Woman With Glowing Breasts) *** Vampires are everywhere – television, film, graphic novels, video games, books, and more cosplay than you can sink your teeth into. While our interest in blood-sucking creatures of the night is ubiquitous, it is by no means new. Before vampires sparkled in the sun, spoke in a Hungarian accent, or even crossed the mind of Bram Stoker, they’ve been terrorizing young and old alike… and have been doing so for almost a thousand years. But while we see the fanged fiends as entertainment, those before us saw them as a very real and evil danger. (Medieval Vampires) *** They seem to fall directly from the above – stones, falling upon unsuspecting people – sometimes by the dozens – and sometimes not from the sky, but from their own home’s ceiling. Who or what is throwing stones – and how? (The Mysterious Stone Throwers)

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

MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE…
“The Murder and Haunting of the Black Dahlia” episode: https://weirddarkness.com/archives/6928
“Do I Have a Guardian Angel?” Church of the Undead episode: https://weirddarkness.com/archives/6881

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STORY AND MUSIC CREDITS/SOURCES…
(Over time links can and may become invalid, disappear, or have different content.)
“The Mysterious Stone Throwers” by Ellen Lloyd for Ancient Pages: https://tinyurl.com/y2tzauqt,https://tinyurl.com/y593pb3o
“The Murderess Who Loves Life in Prison” from Bugged Space: https://tinyurl.com/yxmcwlz7
“The Strange Case of the Woman With Glowing Breasts” by Mike Perry for 67NotOut: https://tinyurl.com/y56rnclz
“Medieval Vampires” posted at Just History Posts: https://tinyurl.com/yy5l2oz9
“Medieval Vampire Burials” by Michael Affleck for List Verse: https://tinyurl.com/y3fb3fbm
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TRANSCRIPT:

Stories and content in Weird Darkness can be disturbing for some listeners and is intended for mature audiences only. Parental discretion is strongly advised.

Welcome, Weirdos – I’m Darren Marlar and this is Weird Darkness. Here you’ll find stories of the paranormal, supernatural, legends, lore, crime, conspiracy, mysterious, macabre, unsolved and unexplained.

Coming up in this episode of Weird Darkness…

Jodi Arias murdered her ex-boyfriend Travis Alexander. She’s now in prison – and says she loves it there.

Bioluminescence is a fascinating trait, giving certain animals the ability to create their own light – literally glowing in the dark. The phenomenon has also been seen in humans, but only with special optics – it’s not visible to the naked eye. Except, that is, for a handful of very rare and unexplainable cases – one in which a woman’s breasts would glow.

Vampires are everywhere – television, film, graphic novels, video games, books, and more cosplay than you can sink your teeth into. While our interest in blood-sucking creatures of the night is ubiquitous, it is by no means new. Before vampires sparkled in the sun, spoke in a Hungarian accent, or even crossed the mind of Bram Stoker, they’ve been terrorizing young and old alike… and have been doing so for almost a thousand years. But while we see the fanged fiends as entertainment, those before us saw them as a very real and evil danger.

They seem to fall directly from the above – stones, falling upon unsuspecting people – sometimes by the dozens – and sometimes not from the sky, but from their own home’s ceiling. Who or what is throwing stones – and how?

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, you can find my other podcast, “Church of the Undead”, plus you can visit the “Hope In The Darkness” page if you are struggling with depression, anxiety, or thoughts of suicide. And you can also shop the Weird Darkness store where all profits go to support depression awareness and relief. You can find all of that and more at WeirdDarkness.com.

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

First reports of the untraceable stone-throwers started to reach the public in the seventeenth century, but it’s possible the phenomenon is much older.

Since then, little or no progress has been made in finding a plausible explanation for this curious mystery. Most probably, the reason lies in the fact that there has been no proper scientific investigation of it.

Whenever it happens – and it happened frequently in the past – police officers and other investigators have been baffled. Most researchers who investigated this unusual stone behavior have made a common mistake.  They usually do not realize that all these events share similar patterns.  It has wrongly been assumed that each untraceable stone-thrower incident is a unique occurrence. This is not the case.

In this episode, we explore some remarkable cases that have been reported worldwide. Perhaps you can figure out what happened and what mysterious force was behind these extraordinary events?

On October 27, 1901, the Buffalo Express reported that stones were falling on Harrisonville, a small village in Ohio.

It began on Sunday afternoon, October 13th, when a small boulder came crashing through the window of Zach Dye’s house, a half-mile out of town.

The family was at home and all ran out to see, who had thrown the stone on their house, standing in the open and several and several hundred yards from any object large enough for a man to hide behind.

No one could be found. The stones still pelted the house even on Monday afternoon at about the same hour, and they seemed to come from – literally – nowhere.

Suddenly, a piece of rock came through the plate-glass door of a store, and even this time no one was seen outside.

On the third day, when the stones began to fly through the air, the entire population flocked to the streets.

They lined up and stared, attempting to find out who was throwing the stones. Every man and boy in the village was there and still, the dangerous missiles flew through the air. Who could be responsible?

In September 1903, an equally baffling incident occurred at Dortrecht, in the Sumatran jungle, Indonesia.

“At about one o’clock at night I half awoke, hearing something fall near my head outside my mosquito curtain on the floor,” the witness to the incident said.

“After a couple of minutes, I completely awoke and turned my head half round to see what was falling on the floor.

They were black stones from 1/8 to ¾ of an inch long…. I saw the stones were falling through the roof in a parabolic line. They fell on the floor close to my head-pillow.

I knelt down near the head of my bed and tried to catch the stones while they were falling through the air towards me, but I could never catch them; it seemed to me that they changed the direction in the air as soon as I tried to get hold of them. I could not catch any of them before they fell on the floor. ”

The witness realized that the stones came right through the roof but there were no holes in it. As strange as it may sound it was even impossible to catch the falling stones.

“The stones were hotter than could be explained by their having been kept in the hand or pocket for some time… they fell rather slowly… it seemed to me they were hovering in the air; they described a parabolic curve and then came down with a bang on the floor.”

“The sound they made in falling down on the floor was also abnormal because, considering their slow motion, the bang was much too loud.”

In 1913, the stone-throwing happened again, this time in Belgium and the phenomenon lasted for exactly four days. When the police received the first report, they began to observe the house.

One of the observers reported as follows:

“I have seen a stone arriving in the middle of a large window-pane, and then came others in-spiral round the first point of impact, so that the whole of the glass was broken up methodically.

I even saw, in another window, a projectile caught in the fragments of glass of the first hole it made, and subsequently ejected by another passing through the same point.”

It happens that stones arrive in a horizontal direction with considerable speed.

It would have been humanly impossible for anybody to hide in broad daylight in front of the window, which opens on to an empty field 440 yards long.

Even the most skilled man, unless he stood quite near the window, could never have succeeded in throwing a stone through a hole of an inch or so. It’s very difficult to accomplish even for someone who aimed well.

It has been noted that strange stones sometimes fall in closed rooms, occasionally they turn in sharp angles in the air to avoid obstacles. Witnesses also recall they have seen these stones often floating”. Some people said that if you grab a stone that fell from the air and threw it away, the rock returns to you, just like a boomerang!

In 1957, in Australia, a young Aboriginal farm-worker at Pumphrey, Western Australia was attracting showers of stones.

Four or five days stones rained around him, and two witnesses in a closed tent with the man saw the stones fall at their feet.

The scientific explanation for this strange event was rather ridiculous. It was said “freak winds” were behind this phenomenon.

However, in the last decades, similar cases were better reported.

In March 1963, a guest house in Brooklyn, Wellington, New Zealand, was showered with stones and coins.

The bombardment began on March 24 and lasted overnight for over seven hours. The residents and police had a sleepless night, trying to find the guilty person.

They found none. Nearly every window was smashed, and people were hit but not seriously injured.

No other house was touched. Among the stones were four New Zealand’s pennies, a large copper coin. The attack was repeated the following night, and on the third night, 600 people were waiting for the show.

After three hours the phenomenon ceased and never restarted.

This brings us finally to one of the most remarkable stories.

It was in 1928 that the late Ivan T. Sanderson, the founder of the Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained, experienced paranormal stone-throwing.

He was on the island of Sumatra, Indonesia, sitting on the veranda when a small, shiny, black pebble sailed in out of the darkness. Directly after that, more followed and Mr. Sanderson inquired who were throwing stones.

From his host, he learned that such stones were falling nightly, but no one was ever hit by them.

“Our host invited us to pick up some of the stones and mark them with chalk, lipstick, paint, or anything, and then toss them as far as we could into the surrounding garden…

We threw the small stones, duly marked, far out… We must have thrown over a dozen such marked stones…

Within a minute they were all back!

“Nobody, with a powerful flashlight or super-eyesight, could have found those little stones in that tangled mess, in that length of time, and thrown them back on to the veranda.

Yet, they came back, all duly marked by us!”

The most interesting and particularly unusual falls of stones are those rocks that fall slowly.

Many such events occurred and many witnesses observed them falling slowly, but no one was ever able to find a perpetrator.

Worth noting is that the stones were found to be warm!

One such incident, for example, took place in Charleston, South Carolina, on 4 September 1886, at 7.30 am and 1.30 pm on the same day.

The mysterious missiles seemed to come from a point overhead and were, strangely, confined to an area of approximately 75 square feet.

The phenomenon of untraceable stone-throwers and falls inside rooms—a common feature of countless poltergeist accounts and stories of haunted houses—remains unexplained.

What unseen forces could be responsible for this strange phenomenon? No one seems to have an answer.

Coming up next…

Jodi Arias murdered her ex-boyfriend Travis Alexander. She’s now in prison – and says she loves it there.

And… bioluminescence is a fascinating trait, giving certain animals the ability to create their own light – literally glowing in the dark. The phenomenon has also been seen in humans, but only with special optics – it’s not visible to the naked eye. Except, that is, for a handful of very rare and unexplainable cases – one in which a woman’s breasts would glow.

These stories and more when Weird Darkness returns.

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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 – this coming 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 this Friday night, 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!

On June 9, 2008, a 30-year-old salesman, named Travis Alexander was brutally slain in his bathroom. His body wasn’t discovered for five days. He was stabbed between 27 and 29 times, shot in the head, and then his throat slit nearly ear to ear. His 28-year-old ex-girlfriend was arrested for the murder the following month.

Travis Victor Alexander was a salesman and motivational speaker for Pre-Paid Legal Services and a devout Mormon. Travis was born on July 28, 1977, in California to Gary David Alexander and Elizabeth Morgan Alexander.

Travis moved to his grandparent’s house, at the age of 11, and after his father’s death, his seven siblings were also taken by their paternal grandmother.

Jodi Arias, 26 was a blonde, beautiful, and aspiring photographer, their friends said that their connection was instant when they met for the first time.

In September 2006, Jodi met Travis for the first time. He was speaking at a professional conference for the company he worked at, Pre-Paid legal services in Las Vegas. Jodi was looking for opportunities with Pre-Paid legal services at that time. They hit off really well, Alexander even invited Jodi to the company’s formal executive dinner as his guest.

“She was really excited about the relationship. She loved how funny he was, how much fun they have together. Travis loved to take adventured and do different things,”- Alexander’s friend Sky Hughes.

After meeting Travis, Jodi broke up with her long-time live-in boyfriend, and the couple maintained a long-distance relationship for a few months, as they lived in different states, Travis was in Mesa, Arizona, and Jodi was in Palm Desert, California.

According to ABC, a friend described Jodi as “She’s beautiful, she’s friendly, has long, blonde hair. Cute figure, She was very sweet… and during the dinner, they talked the whole time. She seemed to like him as much as he liked her”

In November of that year, Jodi converted to Mormonism, and Travis Baptized her. Their relationship was highly sexual and tempestuous.

But some of Alexander’s friends who knew Jodi and observed them together tended to have a negative opinion of her, stating that the relationship was usually tumultuous and Jodi’s behavior was worrying.

Jodi and Travis broke up after 5 months, but they continued to be physically intimate and stayed in regular contact. This seemed okay for a while but the trouble began when Travis started dating another woman.

Jodi slashed his tries, hacked his social media account, and much more out of jealousy. According to People, Travis once told his friend, “Don’t be surprised if you find me dead one day.”

By the end of May 2008, Travis told Jodi to get out of his life forever, after getting tired of her antics.

On May 28, 2008, just days before Alexander’s murder, a gun was stolen from Jodi’s grandparent’s house in a burglary. Jodi was living there at the time. The same gun was later used to shoot Alexander.

Alexander had planned a work-related trip to Mexico which was scheduled for June 15, with Jodi, in early 2008. But in April Alexander asked to change his travel companion to another female friend.

On June 2, between 1:00 am and 3:00 am, Jodi called Alexander four-times but he didn’t pick up the calls, as the longest of all the calls was of seventeen seconds.

Jodi called Alexander again after 3 am, they talked for eighteen minutes for the first time and 41 minutes for the second time. The last call between them lasted two minutes and 48 seconds.

Jodi then rented a car for a long trip to Utah, from Budget Rent a Car in Redding, California. She visited her friends in Southern California for a PPL work conference and then met with Ryan Burns, a PPL coworker.

Alexander had an important conference call on the evening of June 4, which he missed. The following day Jodi Arias met up with Ryan Burns in Salt Lake City, Utah, and attended a business meeting for the conference.

Burns later said that he noticed that Jodi’s blonde hair was now dark brown and she had cuts on her hands. 

Jodi Arias left Salt Lake City and drove to California on June 6. She called Alexander several times and left several voicemail messages for him. She even accessed his cell’s voicemail system.

When Jodi returned the car, the rental clerk testified that the car was driven about 2,800 miles. The rental clerk also testified that the car was missing its floor mats and had red stains on its front and rear seats. However, the stains were not examined as the company cleaned the car before the police even examined it.

After being unable to reach Alexander, a group of friends went to his home, on June 9. Even his roommates had not seen him for several days, but they believed that he was out of town.

After they went inside they found him in a large pool of blood, his body was discovered in the shower. They called 911, the dispatcher asked if Alexander had been suicidal or if anyone was angry enough to hurt him.

Alexander’s friends mentioned his ex-girlfriend Jodi Arias as a possible suspect, stating that she was stalking him, accessing his Facebook account, and slashing his car’s tires.

While searching at Alexander’s home, police found a camera in the washing machine. Upon further investigation, it was found that the camera was recently purchased, but was damaged in the washing machine.

However, police managed to recover the deleted images showing Jodi and Alexander in sexual poses,. The images were taken around 1:40 pm on June 4. Interestingly the camera had photographs of Alexander before, during, and after the murder.

Alexander’s last alive photo was taken at 5:29 pm that day. Photos taken moments later show an individual, believed to be Alexander, bleeding on the bathroom floor. A bloody palm print was also discovered on the wall in the bathroom hallway, it had DNA from both Jodi and Alexander.

Jodi Arias was arrested on July 15, 2008, on suspicion of first-degree murder.

She originally told the police that she had not been in Mesa on the day of the murder and she last saw Alexander in March 2008.

Two years after her arrest, she finally admitted to killing Alexander but in self defense, claiming that she had been a victim of domestic violence.

And when she was questioned by Mesa Detective, Esteban Flores, she told him that she’d arrived at 2 am, and they’d slept and had sex. She claimed that later on, while she was taking photographs of him in the shower, they were attacked by two masked intruders — a man and a woman — who wanted to kill Alexander. She said that they told her to leave and threatened to kill her family if she ever mentioned the incident to anyone.

No one believed her story and she was charged with first-degree murder.

Jodi Arias took the stand in her own defense on February 4, 2013, she testified for a total of eighteen days. On the first day of her testimony, she told about being violently abused by her parents, which began at the age of 7.

She testified that she rented a car in Redding for Budget because the website gave her two options, One was to the north and the other was to the south, her brother lived in Redding.

The second day of the testimony was a bizarre one, she claimed that her sex life with Alexander included oral and anal sex, she kept telling about their sex life and how it was difficult and painful for the first time, and while she considered their form of sex to be real sex, Alexander did not as they were against Mormon rules.

She played a tape of their phone-sex, in which Alexander said that he wanted to zip tie her to a tree and have anal sex with her while she was dressed as Little Red Riding Hood, which Jodi seemed to respond to enthusiastically.

She also claimed that Alexander secretly found young boys and girls sexually attractive and she tried to help him with his urges. The forensic expert team testified that an examination of Alexander’s computer found no such evidence of pornographic material.

She kept on going for 18 days and testified that he was angry at her and he even called her ‘bitch’ and hit her but when the dysfunction of their relationship reached its climax, she killed him in self-defense.

In an interview, Jodi said: “No jury is going to convict me… because I am innocent. You can mark my words on that.”

But during her testimony she said that at the time of the interview she had plans to commit suicide, so she was extremely confident that no jury world convict her, as she didn’t expect any of them to be there.

For most of its part, the prosecution pushed the fact that Jodi killed Alexander in a vengeful rage after learning that he had moved on with another woman. In fact, he was about to go on vacation with his new girlfriend, which he initially planned with Jodi.

But none of Jodi’s story worked and in Mar 2013, a jury convicted Jodi of First Degree murder. But the jury couldn’t reach a unanimous decision on whether to sentence her to death. Jodi Arias was finally sentenced to life in prison without parole.

After four hours of lying to police, she began to sings, she laughs before the interrogation, she talks to herself, does a handstand and shoves a paper down her pants.

Jodi attended Alexander’s memorial service even though she knew that everyone suspected her of the killing. Alexander’s friend kept an eye on her and noted her bizarre behavior. Alexander’s friend claimed that she did not seem sad or neither shed any tears.

Jodi is currently serving her sentence at the Arizona State Prison Complex. In 2016, a phone call between her and rapper Kareem “Lefty” Williams was leaked to the media.

Lefty, a rapper produced a video about her in order to bring awareness about PTSD and domestic violence – According to Radar.

The phone call is 15 minutes long and she claimed she’s getting lots of “love” behind bars. “If this is what it is like to be hated, keep hating… I’ve so much love coming in my direction I can’t even respond to it now.”

In 2019 April, she filed an appeal arguing that she hadn’t had a fair trial for various reasons, including that the trial judge in her case failed to protect her “from the massive, pervasive and prejudicial publicity during the trial.” and on March 24, 2020, the Arizona Appeals Court upheld her murder conviction.

There are several stories of human luminosity – this is where a person gives off a colored glow.
It has been known for many years that all living creatures produce a small amount of light as a result of chemical reactions within their cells. Bioluminescence is a side-effect of metabolic reactions within all creatures, the result of highly reactive free radicals produced through cell respiration interacting with free-floating lipids and proteins. The “excited” molecules that result can react with chemicals called fluorophores to emit photons.
In 2009, Japanese scientists captured the first ever images of human “bioluminescence” using ultra-sensitive cameras over a period of several days. Their results show that the amount of light emitted follows a 24-hour cycle, at its highest in late afternoon and lowest late at night, and that the brightest light is emitted from the cheeks, forehead and neck.
Strangely, the areas that produced the brightest light did not correspond with the brightest areas on thermal images of the volunteers’ bodies.
The light is a thousand times weaker than the human eye can perceive. At such a low level, it is unlikely to serve any known purpose in humans.
Human bioluminescence has been suspected for years, but until now the cameras required to detect such dim light sources took over an hour to capture a single image and so were unable to measure the constantly fluctuating light from living creatures.
There have been cases of people being seen to glow with a strange light that is bright enough to light up a dark room.
One of the most quoted cases is that of an Italian woman named Anna Monaro. While in hospital – she was an asthma sufferer – it is reported that when she was asleep a blue glow would be emanated from her breasts as she slept.
The glow would last for several seconds at a time. Many doctors visited Mrs. Monaro but none could produce a satisfactory explanation as to what they witnessed.
Back in 1934 the case of Anna Monaro was featured in L’illustrazione Italiano and the London Illustrated News.
It appears that doctors at the time decided that she was of a highly sensitive nature. When she was emotionally upset, her visceral functions became unbalanced, her combustion increased and the radiating power of her blood was given a terrific boost.
But that’s not very convincing!
There was another documented case mentioned in the English Mechanic from 1869. This told of an American woman who, on going to bed, found that a light was issuing from the upper side of her fourth toe on her right foot. This would last for about 45 minutes. Strange that the doctors weren’t quite so excited about seeing this as they were Anna Monaro.
Glowing people may be a phenomena with similarities to those who reportedly could generate electricity within their bodies, or even start unexplained fires.
There is the case of Angelique Cottin, a Normandy peasant girl who became known as “The Electric Girl.”
The phenomena began in the town of La Perriere, France, on January 15, 1846, when Angelique was 14. Angelique, together with some other girls, was weaving silk gloves on an oak frame, when suddenly the frame began to shake as if it were alive. The girls couldn’t keep it still no matter what they tried. They became distressed and called the neighbors, who didn’t believe them and told them to carry on with their work. So they returned slowly, one by one, to the weaving frame, which remained still until Angelique came near, then it again began dancing around. All the girls were afraid, but Angelique also felt a strange attraction towards the frame.
When Angelique’s parents found out about the incident they thought she must be possessed. So they took her to the presbytery in order to have her exorcised. But the curate would have none of it, instead he wanted to witness the strange phenomenon for himself, and, after doing so, and convincing himself it was physical, advised her parents to take the girl to a medical doctor.
Meanwhile, Angelique’s bizarre condition worsened. When she attempted to sit in a chair, it was pulled or pushed away; such was the power of the force that a strong man couldn’t hold down the chair. A heavy 60 pound table floated up from the floor when she touched it. If she tried to sleep in a bed, it rocked, and the only place she could rest was on a stone covered with cork. Whenever she went near objects they moved away from her, even without apparent physical contact. The merest touch of her hand, apron or petticoats sent things – even heavy furniture – flying off or bouncing up and down, even if someone was firmly holding them down. People who were near her, even without any contact, would frequently get electric shocks.
The effects of her condition, though lessened when she was on a carpet or waxed cloth, intensified remarkably when she was on the bare earth. Metals, it seems, were not affected at all, indicating that if it was a form of electricity it was an unusual kind. Her ‘powers’ sometimes stopped completely for two or three days, and then started again without warning. When she was tired the effects were reduced.
Although Angelique was probably the best known “Electric Girl,” there were others such as Mademoiselle Emmerich, sister of the professor of theology at Strasburg, who also had this “electric” power. The problem originated from a serious fright, after which the girl fell into a state of deep trance, accompanied by a great degree of clarity. Her body was so charged with electricity that she became in effect a human electric battery and she gave electric shocks to whoever was near her, as with Angelique Cottin, often without touching them. Incredibly, she was able to give her brother, Professor Emmerich, a sharp shock when he was several rooms away. He ran into her bedroom and as soon as he entered she said laughing, “Ah, you felt it, did you?”
Unfortunately, Mademoiselle Emmerich’s illness ended in her death.

When Weird Darkness returns…

Vampires are everywhere – television, film, graphic novels, video games, books, and more cosplay than you can sink your teeth into. While our interest in blood-sucking creatures of the night is ubiquitous, it is by no means new. Before vampires sparkled in the sun, spoke in a Hungarian accent, or even crossed the mind of Bram Stoker, they’ve been terrorizing young and old alike… and have been doing so for almost a thousand years. But while we see the fanged fiends as entertainment, those before us saw them as a very real and evil danger.

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Vampires have captured the popular imagination in recent decades, and after the booming success of Twilight you can be hard pressed to find a young-adult book or tv show that doesn’t feature the monsters, often now with the idea of “good” vampires (who usually fall in love with an unassuming high school girl…). But ideas of vampires have been around for almost one thousand years, if not earlier. Often, graves identified with objects suggesting a burial to stop vampires tend to occur in Eastern Europe, although there are numerous examples in the west as well. It can sometimes be unclear whether the individuals buried as vampire suspects were believed to be cursed with vampirism before their deaths, or that the objects at burial were taken as a precaution to stop the corpse rising again as a vampire coming to seek their revenge.

Often, skeletons are found with pieces of iron as it was believed that vampires could not touch iron – by driving iron nails into the body, or placing an iron object across the corpse (or even placing iron bars on the tomb) it was hoped that this would prevent the vampire from getting out of their grave when they awoke. In the Czech town of Čelákovice, there is an 11th century graveyard which contains 14 skeletons thought to have been considered vampires. They either had their heads cut off, their hands and legs tied, metal spikes driven through their bodies, or rocks placed on top of their bodies. Most were young adults – both male and female – and seem to have died around the same time as each other. Did they die of some epidemic, and precautions were taken in the belief that the deaths were supernatural? Or was there some kind of vampiric equivalent to the Salem witch hysteria in this small medieval town which resulted in these people being killed?

It was common, as well as using iron, to place heavy weights (usually stones) on top of bodies, as again it was believed that this was a way to prevent vampires rising from their graves. Stones could also be placed in the corpse’s mouth, as it was believed that vampires could tear their way through funeral shrouds with their teeth. In fact, what is potentially the earliest grave of a suspected vampire comes from 4,000 years ago, again in the Czech Republic. The grave was situated away from other graves in the burial site, and the victim, a male, was weighed down with two big stones on his chest and head. As this is so similar to medieval examples of anti-vampire weapons, it has been widely considered particularly by the media to be the earliest example of the legend of vampires. However, as with many things we can never be sure, and many are hesitant to place such a label on such an early burial.

Some medieval Icelandic sagas feature draugr, which have been translated in the past as ghosts, but reassessment of the material more recently has led to the creatures being described as closer to vampires than ghosts. These draugr were aggressive, with their main objective being to attack the living, drive them insane, and then infect them with vampirism to make their victims join their ranks. The idea of vampiric creatures certainly has not been confined to Eastern Europe, even if this translation to real belief in these creatures may have been more prevalent there.

Possible vampires also occur in early medieval English writings. For example, William of Newburgh, writing c. 1198, talks about walking corpses which match Eastern European folk ideas about vampires. His ‘revenants’ are corpses bloated by gases and blood-like fluid, and are frequently associated with outbreaks of plague. These vampiric graves that William describes being exhumed were found filled with blood and gore. To prevent the vampires from walking again, their hearts were ripped out and the bodies burnt. William rectifies his recounting of an ancient folk belief with his Christian values by claiming that it was Satan who had reanimated the corpses. Even after William’s time, folk tradition dictated that evil dead should be buried face down or pinned with a stake to prevent them from walking – this could include criminals who could be thought to want to return to haunt the living.

Similar ideas about vampires being the work of the devil still occur in the next century; Thomas of Cantimpré, a Dominican monk writing in the mid-thirteenth century, recounts this tale in his manual for preachers:

In the town of Nivelles I saw a virgin worthy of God … She rose in the early morning to go to church, observing the stipulated hours [for prayer]. It happened one time that the dead body of a certain deceased man was brought to the church in the evening without her knowing about it. Getting up in the middle of the night, the virgin went to church and found the dead man, but she was hardly afraid, or just a little, so she sat down and began her prayers. When the Devil saw this he looked upon her with malice (invidet), and entering the dead body he moved it at first in the coffin. The virgin therefore crossed herself and bravely shouted to the Devil, “Lie down! Lie down, you wretch, for you have no power against me!” Suddenly the Devil rose up with the corpse and said, “Truly, now I will have power against you, and I will revenge myself for the frequent injuries I have suffered at your hands!” When she saw this, she was thoroughly terrified in her heart, so with both hands she seized a staff topped with a cross, and bringing it down on the head of the dead man she knocked him to the ground. Through such faithful daring she put the demon to flight”.
It is unclear whether the corpse was knocked to the ground due to the power of God (as later legends going into modern superstition often stipulate how religious symbols can drive away vampires) or simply due to the weight of the hefty staff!

For us as modern viewers, these accounts and ideas about medieval vampires certainly seem, at least to me, to be closer to our modern descriptions of zombies, rather than vampires. The danger always lies with corpses that are already dead and buried, with the object being to prevent the corpse from rising from the dead to haunt or endanger the living – this is certainly very different to our modern conception of a creature that was transformed from a living to an undead creature through what is essentially a method of poisoning, to live forever sucking blood from its victims and cowering from the burning sunlight whilst possessing supernatural powers including incredible strength, speed, invulnerability. However, hopefully this small spotlight has given an interesting insight into the fears and superstitions of medieval people. Some of the stories were intended to just be stories, something to be read and enjoyed as a fiction or a parable. But as with the early modern witch hunts, sometimes these stories could translate into real palpable fear in medieval communities, which we can try and unpick today when studying the vampires’ graves.

The mythology of vampires is well-known throughout the world. Most countries have some variation on the vampire legend. Remarkably similar, too, are the ways in which vampires can be dispatched, or at least prevented from rising from the grave to plague the living. Modern science has usually dismissed these tales as folklore, however, recent evidence has emerged showing that our ancestors did indeed take these stories seriously. Over the past few decades, an increasing number of medieval burials have been excavated showing incredible brutality performed on the corpses that exactly matches the methods folklore said must be used to keep a vampire safely in its grave. And these graves are not only being found in the vampire’s traditional home of Eastern Europe and the Balkans, but in Western Europe too.

In 1991, an archaeological investigation of the ancient church of the Holy Trinity in Prostejov, Slovakia discovered a crypt burial in the presbytery. The body had been buried in a coffin reinforced with iron bars, held to be one method of keeping a vampire buried, since vampires allegedly could not tolerate the touch of iron. In addition, stones had been placed on the victim’s legs, and the torso severed from the legs. The find has been dated to the 16th century. The burial is considered somewhat unusual because of its location in a church, but it has been argued that the extra sanctity of the church may have been thought by those who buried the victim to have been more likely to have kept the corpse in its grave.

In 2009, at Drawsko in Poland, an archaeological investigation of a medieval cemetery turned up something quite unexpected. Three graves were discovered in which the bodies had been subjected to very unusual treatment post-mortem. Two bodies of middle-aged adults had iron sickles placed on their throats. The body of a younger adult had been tied up and had a heavy stone placed upon his throat. This is in keeping with folklore, traditionally sharp iron implements being held to be anathema to vampires, hence the placement of the sickles as a measure to ensure that the alleged vampire would not rise again. Another method of keeping a suspected vampire in their grave was believed to be the placement of heavy weights upon the body, and the positioning of heavy stones upon bodies has been found in a number of vampire burials. The cemetery has not been fully excavated and archaeologists expect to find similar burials in future years.

In 1994, on the Greek island of Lesbos, near the city of Mytilene, archaeologists investigating an old Turkish cemetery found a medieval skeleton buried in a crypt hollowed out of an ancient city wall. This was not an unusual discovery, however, the post-mortem treatment of this body was very much unexpected. The corpse had been literally nailed down in its grave, with heavy iron spikes driven through the neck, pelvis and ankle. The use of iron and the practice of staking down a corpse are both well-attested in vampire folklore. The body was almost certainly that of a Muslim, believed to be the first time a corpse of a person other than a Christian had been found treated in this fashion.

In the early 1990s, archaeologists found what is believed to be the first vampires’ graveyard—an entire cemetery of vampire burials. In Celakovice, about 30 kilometers north of Prague, in the Czech Republic, 14 graves have been excavated so far with metal spikes driven through their bodies or heavy stones placed upon them. The graves are believed to date from the 11th or 12th century. Most of the victims were young adults, of both sexes. It appears that the victims all died at around the same time, possibly in an epidemic, but it is unclear why the villagers thought these individuals were at risk of becoming vampires.

One of the most well publicized cases of recent years, as a Google search will quickly show. Bulgaria is no stranger to vampire burials. More than 100 have been discovered in the past century, but the bulk of those were in remote rural areas. Sozopol is one of Bulgaria’s most popular Black Sea tourist resorts, so the discovery of two skeletons with iron spikes jammed through their bodies caused a sensation. The bodies are believed to about 700 years old, and were located buried near a former monastery. Archaeologists have confirmed that this practice was common in Bulgaria up until the 20th century, and Bulgaria subsequently has become the center of interest for those studying vampire burials.

As has already been noted, the discovery of vampire burials has been common in the Balkans and Eastern Europe, the heartland of vampire mythology. However, until recently, they were unknown in Western Europe. This is now changing, as archaeological examination of medieval cemeteries in the West is starting to reveal that people here were just as afraid of the dead returning to plague the living. A well publicized discovery in 2006 on the island of Lazaretto Nuovo near Venice confirmed that Italy had its own vampire burials. The skeleton of a woman dating from the 16th century was discovered in a cemetery of plague victims. She had had an a large brick rammed into her mouth prior to burial. This is in keeping with medieval folklore, which held that vampires literally chewed their way out of their burial shrouds, so preventing them from doing this was seen as an effective way of stopping them rising from the grave.

The vampire burial phenomenon struck even deeper into the West with the discovery of two skeletons at Kilteasheen in Ireland between 2005 and 2009. Officially described as “deviant” burials, the skeletons of a middle-aged man and a man in his twenties were discovered lying side by side with rocks rammed into their mouths. The discovery caused a sensation in Ireland and the UK and became the subject of a TV documentary released in 2011. It has been argued that the victims may have been considered plague-carriers rather than true vampires, because their early burial in the 8th century predates vampire legends in Europe, however, the vampire burial tag has since well and truly stuck in the public consciousness.

If complacent Britons had thought their ancestors were far too sophisticated to be taken in by vampire legends as primitive peasants in Eastern Europe had been, they were in for a shock. It was revealed in 2010 that a deviant burial had been found in the Nottinghamshire town of Southwell in 1959, attracting much publicity in the British media. A long-lost archaeological report compiled during construction of a new school detailed the discovery of a skeleton dating from between A.D. 550 and 700 with metal spikes jammed through heart, shoulders and ankles. The placement of a spike through the heart in particular attracted public interest because of its long association with vampires in myth and legend. Archaeologists have in fact thrown cold water over the idea the man was considered a vampire because the burial predates vampire legend in Europe, but the idea has seized the public imagination and inspired new research into vampirism in Britain.

We’ll step into the Chamber of Comments in just a moment.

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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 Jermaine G. about yesterday’s Black Dahlia episode): I’ve learned more from this 47-minute story than I have watching a few black dahlia docs and listening to a few podcasts that discussed it.

(Kathy Haynes also left a YouTube comment about that same episode): This case has to be one of the first true crime stories to capture my attention and was the beginning of a long love of the mysterious. I’m also a Christian and appreciate your take on loving both God and the weirdness and mysteries of life. Like you said(or quoted from a comment), it takes faith to believe in the supernatural. God is truly Super natural. I’ve always known I’m a bit weird, thanks for reminding me that it’s ok to be me. I like being a weirdo. Oh, and this was more in-depth than any other report I’ve heard about Ms Short.

REPLY: Thanks for the compliments, Jermaine and Kathy! You can credit author Troy Taylor for the fantastic job writing and researching the Black Dahlia story. I’ll link to that Black Dahlia episode in the show notes for those who’ve not yet heard it.

(YouTube comment from Ayase Yukiya about the episode on guardian angels in my other podcast, “Church of the Undead”, which I’ll link to in the show notes): If I have a guardian angel, it would explain how I’m still alive and kickin.’ Thank you Darren. God Bless.

REPLY: Like I said in the Church of the Undead episode, I don’t know about actual guardian angels – but you have a point. I’ve done a lot of stupid things in my life and having an angel next to me at all times does explain why I’ve not kicked the bucket yet!

(Email from Pedro): Hello Darren, I found your podcast when the quarantine started, although I was still at work, I was dealing with a great amount of worries and a hopeless feeling, I know you probably hear this all the time but the stories and narration have helped me cope with everything that’s going on, and I don’t feel the loneliness anymore! I decided to become a patron to support the podcast, so I’m an official weirdo! Thank you for all that you do !!!  God bless!

REPLY: Hey, Pedro, I never tire of hearing that people are finding help through the podcast! In fact, I receive emails and comments like that and they give me confirmation that I’m doing what God wants me to be doing right now, that I’m helping people while also entertaining them. And a giant thank you for deciding to step up and become a patron! Your timing in doing so, along with your email to me, is very appropriate as you’ll see with the next email I read.

(Email from Travis – I’ll withhold his last name): Man the depression thing is getting old.sometimes I don’t want to remember why I have depression and when I listen to your show you remind me every single episode. and as far as all the money from the store going to help depression why aren’t you sending it to these starving children instead because these whiny ass people don’t deserve it. children are starving to death while they’re whining about something they need to just get over grow up and be a man about.life goes on quit focusing on the worst part of your life and start focusing more on the better parts of your life. I love your show so much you are a great narrator I can’t do the depression thing anymore man I’m going to have to unsubscribe.

REPLY: On the off chance you have not yet unsubscribed, Travis, I want to thank you for emailing me. I’m sorry you feel the need to stop listening, but I feel it is actually your depression that is talking in that email, not the real you. But if you truly feel you need to stop listening for your mental health then it is probably the right decision to unsubscribe.  Either way, it sounds to me like you are still in need of help managing your depression.  Have you spoken to a doctor? If you can’t afford that, have you visited the FREE iFred.org website?  Have you downloaded the FREE 7 Cups mobile app?  Unsubscribe if you need to, but please reach out for help so the depression doesn’t take over your life. I know it feels horrible right now, like the entire world is out to make you miserable and no matter what you do, internally you still feel empty, angry, sad, frustrated, maybe even hopeless. I pray you are hearing this, or that you read my email reply back to you. There is hope if you just reach out for it – there is a life on the other side of depression, trust me. I’ve been through it.

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.

Thanks for listening. If you like the podcast, please share a link to this episode and recommend Weird Darkness to your friends, family, and co-workers who love the paranormal, horror stories, or true crime like you do! Every time you share a link to the podcast it helps spread the word about it – growing our Weirdo family, and also helps get the word out about resources available for those who suffer from depression. So please share the podcast with others.

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 Mysterious Stone Throwers” by Ellen Lloyd for Ancient Pages

“The Murderess Who Loves Life in Prison” from Bugged Space

“The Strange Case of the Woman With Glowing Breasts” by Mike Perry for 67NotOut

“Medieval Vampires” posted at Just History Posts

“Medieval Vampire Burials” by Michael Affleck for List Verse

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… John 14:2-4 = “My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.”

And a final thought… The way we choose to see the world creates the world we see. – Barry Neil Kaufman

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

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