“THE BEAST OF BARMSTON DRAIN” and 5 More True Paranormal Stories! #WeirdDarkness

THE BEAST OF BARMSTON DRAIN” and 5 More True Paranormal Stories! #WeirdDarkness

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IN THIS EPISODE: A man in Louisiana has a magnetic personality. Not for the ladies… but for the paranormal. (Paranormal Magnet Man) *** A truck-driver was not prepared for what he experienced one summer night at a tiny truck stop in the middle of nowhere… hardly the place where one would expect a ghost… if that’s what it even was. (Phantom of the Truck Stop) *** No animal had ever made such sounds. Neither the lions of East Africa nor the angry bulls. At times, it sounded like a veritable herd of wild beasts orchestrated by Satan had formed a hellish choir. And that was only a small part of the demonic possession of a girl named Clara Germana Cele. (Demonic Possession In South Africa) *** Weirdo family member Cass tells her story of a disturbing dream, a sick friend, and the temptation to sell her soul in order to save her. (El Diablo) *** Megaladon… a shark several times larger than a great white. For our sake, it’s a good thing it’s extinct… or is it? Some pretty powerful sightings have been reported recently. (Real Sightings of Megaladon) *** In 2016,  there was something of a folk panic in Yorkshire, northern England, following reported sightings of an eight-foot werewolf with a very human face. It’s known as the Beast of Barmston Drain – but most people call him “Old Stinker”. (Old Stinker)

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

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STORY AND MUSIC CREDITS/SOURCES…
(Over time links can and may become invalid, disappear, or have different content.)
“Old Stinker” by Maggie Clendenin: http://bit.ly/2Fx5AFT
“Paranormal Magnet Man” by Ben Lundin: http://bit.ly/2xaaofC
“Phantom of the Truck Stop” by Stephen Wagner: http://bit.ly/2xd3whv
“Demonic Possession In South Africa” by Brent Swancer: http://bit.ly/2XC9x66
“Real Sightings of Megaladon” by Carolyn Cox: http://bit.ly/2IHdiyZ
“El Diablo” by Weirdo family member Cass, submitted directly to WeirdDarkness.com.
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I always make sure to give authors credit for the material I use. If I somehow overlooked doing that for a story, or if a credit is incorrect, please let me know and I’ll rectify it the show notes as quickly as possible.
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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.

The legend of Old Stinker, a folktale descended from English werewolf stories of the 10th century, was long assumed by modern inhabitants of East Yorkshire to be nothing more than fiction… until the residents of Kingston upon Hull – or Hull, as it’s commonly called – started meeting the monster in the flesh. Over a century after the last stories of the monster, a truck driver reported that he had been attacked by a creature whose description sounds like it was ripped from the most thrilling and vile Saxon-era accounts of Old Stinker itself. No further reports surfaced at the time, but the legend was reborn, and this time, it refused to stay dormant. In 2015, one reported sighting of the werewolf near Barmston Drain led to a wave of local sightings that terrified citizens of Hull for nearly a year, dragging Old Stinker into the media spotlight. Just as the werewolf sightings of Cannock Chase made the English country town notorious among paranormal enthusiasts, Hull has gained its own otherworldly reputation as a result of its hairy problem. The possibility of a real encounter with a werewolf became such a concern in the town that a few citizens even went so far as to organize an official werewolf hunt. However, despite the best efforts of intrepid investigators, the true story of Old Stinker the werewolf remains shrouded in mystery.

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.

Coming up in this episode of Weird Darkness…

A man in Louisiana has a magnetic personality. Not for the ladies… but for the paranormal.

A truck-driver was not prepared for what he experienced one summer night at a tiny truck stop in the middle of nowhere… hardly the place where one would expect a ghost… if that’s what it even was.

No animal had ever made such sounds. Neither the lions of East Africa nor the angry bulls. At times, it sounded like a veritable herd of wild beasts orchestrated by Satan had formed a hellish choir. And that was only a small part of the demonic possession of a girl named Clara.

Weirdo family member Cass tells her story of a disturbing dream, a sick friend, and the temptation to sell her soul in order to save her.

Megaladon… a shark several times larger than a great white. For our sake, it’s a good thing it’s extinct… or is it? Some pretty powerful sightings have been reported recently.

In 2016,  there was something of a folk panic in Yorkshire, northern England, following reported sightings of an eight-foot werewolf with a very human face. It’s known as the Beast of Barmston Drain – but most people call him “Old Stinker”.

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!

Legends of Old Stinker’s foul breath and vicious attitude persisted for hundreds of years before dying down in the late 18th century. After that, the werewolf was forgotten… for a while.

Then, in the 1960s, a truck driver reported that while traveling down a quiet road in Yorkshire, he noticed what looked like a pair of red lights by the side of the road. According to the driver’s story, when he slowed the truck down to get a better look at the lights, a “huge wolf-like creature” attacked his truck. The creature reportedly tried to break the windshield of the truck before disappearing back into the dark. As it did, the driver realized that what he had mistaken for a pair of red lights were, in fact, the creature’s glowing red eyes. When residents of Yorkshire began hearing about the driver’s harrowing encounter, they began to realized that the giant, red-eyed, wolf-like attacker bore a frightening resemblance to the Old Stinker of legend.

With so many sightings from residents of Hull and nearby towns, Old Stinker became a viral sensation. Reports of the creature were published in national papers, and the fervor surrounding the werewolf sightings built until the people of Hull were genuinely concerned that they were at risk of being attacked. So in the interest of reclaiming their idyllic country roads and peace of mind, several citizens of Hull did what any sensible denizens of a werewolf-besieged town would do: Plan a werewolf hunt.

On the full moon of May 21, 2016, a journalist, a local historian, and a folklorist and his family gathered in Saint Mary’s Graveyard to discover the truth behind the monster once and for all. Unfortunately, the weather didn’t cooperate, and the party was forced to disband before the opportunity to dispel the werewolf menace presented itself.

The earliest accounts of Old Stinker described a truly fearsome beast. Stories that date back to the 1100s describe him as a wolf-like monster that walks on its hind legs like a human. According to these legends, Old Stinker was – or is – formidably tall with a long, powerful tail that can sweep its prey off their feet. Its luminous blood-red eyes were compared to “crimson and darting fire.” The most recent stories have included a profoundly creepy additional detail: Old Stinker’s face looks uncannily human-like.

But the calling card of this ravenous creature was its horrible breath—the source of its nickname. Even the oldest accounts made note of how terribly its breath stank. As if the idea of a rank-smelling vicious predator weren’t disturbing enough, Old Stinker’s notorious halitosis has a deeply unpleasant historical origin: at the time that the first tales of the werewolf were taking shape, real wolves were known to scavenge in graveyards. To date, no one has gotten close enough to confirm firsthand whether or not the monster terrorizing residents of Hull has necrotic breath.

Though centuries passed between Old Stinker’s reported attack on a stagecoach along York Road in the 18th century and its ambush of a truck driver in 1960s, not even half a century had passed before another Yorkshire resident had an encounter with the legendary creature. In December of 2015, a woman claimed that as she watched from a bridge near the banks of Barmston Drain, a figure below her went from standing upright to prowling on all fours. The figure then reared back on its hind legs and took off in the direction of the river. Before her eyes, the figure jumped 30 feet to cross the river and land on the opposite bank before darting away.

Shortly after a Yorkshire woman reported seeing a figure go from standing upright to bounding on all fours across an embankment, other stories began to surface of the same mysterious monster. According to a couple who claimed to have seen the “half-man, half-dog,” the tall, shaggy creature was lurking by Barmston Drain, the same area where the first sighting took place. The figure was allegedly eating a German Shepherd dog by the embankment. When the couple stopped to try to see the figure more clearly, it suddenly took off, jumping eight feet to clear a nearby fence, still carrying its meal between its teeth.

Old Stinker’s recent reign of terror over Hull is the newest addition to a history of werewolf folklore that has surrounded East Yorkshire – and particularly the city of Flixton – since the 12th century. In the Saxon era, the wolves of the Yorkshire Wolds were known for being so crafty and vicious that a hostel known as Spital Ho was built just to shelter travelers who would otherwise be likely to fall victim to a hungry pack. These wolves were so efficient at taking down both sheep and shepherd alike that the people of Flixton assumed them to be human shapeshifters in disguise.

An account that dates two centuries later tells another tale of a monster that stalked and devoured Flixton’s residents. The last story of the Flixton werewolf was a late 18th century report of a wolf-like monster ambushing a stagecoach that was passing along York Road. The stagecoach’s occupants drove the monster away with gunfire, but instead of dying, it escaped… possibly deciding to take a different road instead that led southward to Hull.

A truck driver’s earlier account of having been attacked by Old Stinker would later prove to be far from the only reported sighting of the werewolf by a driver. One such witness claims that she saw the creature while driving to get some pizza. The driver’s friend, who had been sitting in the backseat, pointed out what he had assumed to be a fox. But when the driver looked out her window, what she saw looked less like a fox and more like a monster: a dog-like creature covered in “cream and gray” fur was walking on its hind legs right toward her car. She described the ghastly critter as being taller than the car and – even more disturbingly – having a human face.

Once newspapers began to report the accounts of witnesses who claimed to have seen the wolf-like creature, it wasn’t long before more sightings started pouring in. One witness claimed to have had her own frightening encounter with the monster while she was out walking her dog. Unlike some of her fellow witnesses, she wasn’t able to get a very close look – because her dog wouldn’t let her. According to her account, the dog “refused to go any further along the path,” and the woman herself was overcome with horror.

Residents of Hull weren’t the only ones concerned about the sudden influx in werewolf sightings in their town. A local government council officer, Steve Wilson, offered to document any sightings of Old Stinker and report his findings back to city council. Other Hull council members responded with gravitas when questioned about the beast as well. After a citizen named Wayne Carr filed a Freedom of Information request to inquire if the city council had prepared any written policy or performed any risk assessments for the purpose of dealing with the werewolf effectively, he received a formal response through the appropriate channels – “No.” The council didn’t elaborate further.

To anyone living outside of Hull, Wayne Carr’s formal request that the Hull City Council disclose whether or not it had taken appropriate measures to prepare for a werewolf infestation might sound like an overreaction. The truth is that in East Yorkshire, Old Stinker isn’t the weirdest thing lurking in the woods. An area known as the Wold Newton Triangle is reportedly home to a variety of freaky creatures, including zombies, fairies, and a screaming human skull—and it’s practically in Hull’s backyard. With this paranormal hotspot just a short drive away and legends of Old Stinker beginning to gain traction again after decades, it’s almost surprising that the Hull City Council responded to citizen requests to capture the werewolf with a curt “No” rather than producing a hidden treatise on proper civic response in the event of a werewolf emergency.

Up next…

A man in Louisiana has a magnetic personality. Not for the ladies… but for the paranormal.

A truck-driver was not prepared for what he experienced one summer night at a tiny truck stop in the middle of nowhere… hardly the place where one would expect a ghost… if that’s what it even was.

These stories and more when Weird Darkness returns.

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How would you like to see the very first episode of a horror host’s show?  If your answer is YES, then join us for our next Weirdo Watch Party as horror host Professor Will Shivers from the Staying Scared Show brings his kooky concoctions of creepiness with the 1962 horror film, “Carnival of Souls”. As always, the Weirdo Watch party is always free, and while you watch the film you can jump into the chatroom with me and other Weirdo family members to trade snarky comments about the film – sometimes the horror hosts get in on the chat too! So again – join me as horror host Professor Willie Shivers presents 1962’s “Carnival of Souls!” Again, the Weirdo Watch Party is Saturday August 8th at 9pm Central Time – that’s 7pm Pacific, 8pm Mountain, 10pm Eastern on the Weirdo Watch Party page at WeirdDarkness.com.

They come at all hours, ghastly apparitions that move furniture, unlock doors, douse beds with paranormal liquid and roam the halls in a continuous state of aggravation.
So said 61-year-old Rick Bolling, the owner of this green-colored home in an unassuming Lafourche Parish neighborhood near the banks of the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway.
Decades ago it was the home and death place for a woman rumored to have had an ornery reputation. But the blame, Bolling said, falls squarely on his own status as a magnet for the paranormal.
“Maybe I’m crazy, but she sees it, too,” he said, referring to his live-in girlfriend, Pat Poche. “A lady I spent 12 years with, she’s seen it. A lady I spent six years with, she’s seen it. Everybody that I’m around experiences, no matter where I live.”
From 1972 to 1983, Bolling spent his days with the recently deceased as a homicide investigator with Avoyelles and St. Charles parishes. It was about then that his alleged paranormal visits began. The ghost of a priest sharing his Indian ancestry, Bolling said, began to follow his every move.
Bolling said photographs taken over decades reveal the priestly apparition, its face bearing jutting features typical of his forebears.
Outside of a few annoyances that usually occur after he’s angered the spirit, like rearranging furniture or inducing him to vomit, Bolling said the priestly ghost is an acceptable companion.
“This thing has never hurt me at all. People get used it. Everybody gets used to it,” he said.
Getting used to a ghost is easier said than done, contends Poche, Bolling’s girlfriend for more than a year.
Poche maintains that in 66 years of life she had only one experience with the supernatural, a vision of her late husband.
Then she moved in with Bolling, and the spiritual visits came at a rapid pace.
One night, a lampshade began spinning, she said, until Bolling scolded the presumed ghost and told it to leave.
The next morning, she said, the lamp was set atop a different nightstand, and its shade was stashed under the bed.
On any given day a clock will wander off a bookshelf or a deadbolt will randomly unlock.
One night, Poche said, they re-locked a deadbolt on the front door only to discover the backdoor lock broken.
Another night, she said, they were lying in bed when an invisible liquid suddenly engulfed them.
Bolling acknowledged the occurrences could be psychosomatic, but the physical mark left behind proves they’re grounded in reality, he added.
“A lot of it could be a lot of imagination, because I know that the bed was not wet and it was in my head — I don’t know,” Bolling said.
“But I felt it too, and your clothes were wet. I was soaking wet,” Poche said. “The clothes he was in, he took them off, and the next morning they were still wet. You could wring water out of them.”
It’s these unexplained encounters that Bolling pins on his ghost, which he said first revealed itself on film in 1985.
He was atop a Santa Fe, N.M. mountain in an adobe church.
The church houses a candle that locals say never burns out.
Bolling took several pictures of the room, one of which he said reveals the priestly image, whose shimmering face pokes through flowing robes.
Eight months ago, the priestly apparition showed up on film a second time, Bolling said, at Breaux’s Hide-Away in Lockport.
Breaux’s Hide-Away is a tavern next to an abandoned church where, locals recall, members prayed over the body of a dead baby tucked in an ice chest in an unsuccessful attempt to resurrect it.
Photos taken one night at Breaux’s Hide-Away show what Bolling said are the wispy apparitions of three faces above himself and Poche.
“Everybody who’s looked at it so far knows it’s not smoke. Smoke is not that white,” he said.
Bolling admitted that some will doubt his experiences, but contended that they refuse to accept the supernatural.
And addressing the skeptics, he said “Look at it real good. Have an open mind.”
The life of a long-haul trucker is a difficult one. Long, tedious hours on the road, away from family for days or even weeks at a time. As Mike L. explains, they also witness many weird and incredible things on their interstate travels. Yet Mike was not prepared for what he experienced one summer night at a tiny truck stop in the middle of nowhere… hardly the place where one would expect a ghost – if that’s what it was. This is Mike’s story….

I am an over-the-road truck driver and I drive across all of the lower-48 states. I see some unusual things from time to time, but nothing compares to what I encountered in Palestine, Arkansas in mid-June of 2011.

I was on a long haul from Detroit, Michigan to Houston, Texas. This was day three of my trip and I was beginning to run out of driving hours for the day. I noticed a truck stop/gas station on the side of I-40, pulled off and decided to call it a night. I was running ahead of schedule, so I was going to have myself a long, fourteen-hour break instead of the usual ten.

Off the bat, I didn’t like the area but had no other choice. The bathrooms were unkempt and had enough graffiti on the walls to classify itself as an inner-city truck stop, even though I was practically in the middle of nowhere. It was also a small shop, with parking for only a dozen trucks. After washing up, I purchased a new work knife, some hot food and headed out to my truck.

I sat in the captain’s chair and listened to the radio while I ate my dinner with the windows down, letting in the dry wind. The Mississippi River had just begun flooding, but there hadn’t been any rain in over a week. The surrounding area was beginning to look like Nevada more than Arkansas.

I finished my meal and cleaned up a bit. I slid out of the seat and onto the pavement as a gust of warm wind hit me. I strolled over to the dumpster, tossed my garbage inside and began slowly walking back to my truck. I fished out a filterless cigarette and leaned against the bug-splattered side of my truck and lit it with my lighter. I enjoyed the smoke as I watched the sun set below the horizon. A few more trucks had backed into spots. I spotted one guy walking out of the store with a bottle of beer in his hand, looking around nervously as he quickly strode over to his truck. The life of a trucker. Something interesting and new every day. Risking his job over one, lousy beer.

I climbed back into the cab of the truck, dropped back into the sleeper berth, changed into a pair of pajamas and lay down to get some rest. I didn’t bother setting an alarm. I felt sleep creep over me and accepted it as I drifted off into dreamworld.

I awoke with the cab of the truck rocking violently, knocking the bottle of water I had placed on my “nightstand” over onto the floor. I sat straight up, fully awake and pressed the button on the truck’s radio/alarm. It was shortly after three in the morning. I reached down and grabbed the bottle of water that had fallen, twisted the cap off and took a few deep gulps before wondering what had rocked my truck so violently. Then I remembered: the wind. I settled back down, got my heart rate back below a hundred and lay my head down on the pillow. The truck rocked again, knocking my ashtray over that I had set in the cup holder and once again tossing my water bottle onto the floor.

I flipped on the overhead light, slid on my shoes and grabbed another cigarette from my pack. I opened the curtains, sat in the captain’s chair and shut off the sleeper light. I opened the door and noticed that it had cooled down considerably. I shut off the truck, pocketed the keys and climbed down onto the pavement to look around.

At this time of night, the truck stop only had lights around the gasoline pumps, and their light could not reach the truck parking area. I looked around a moment, lit my cigarette… and then noticed something. The wind had stopped blowing. I wondered what had caused my truck to rock so violently. Earthquake maybe? I knew that a few had been reported around Memphis, and I was probably close enough to have felt a tremor, but that rocking motion did not feel like an earthquake. It felt like the wind hitting the side of my truck with a strong gust.

Curiously and cautiously, I walked around the front of my truck to the passenger side and looked down the length of my trailer. I noticed movement. Low to the ground, about four feet. Not fast. I used my keys to unlock the passenger-side door, jumped up and grabbed my large flashlight from an overhead storage compartment. I climbed back down and closed and locked the door.

I clicked on the light and shined it down the side of my trailer. There was a young girl standing off into the field about ten feet behind my truck, but when I looked harder, she wasn’t there.

Well, like I said earlier, truck drivers see something new every day. This was certainly new. I began to walk toward the rear of my truck, scanning the field with my flashlight for any trace of the girl I had just seen. When I reached the back, there was no trace. It must have been a trick of the eyes. Heck, I haven’t even fully awakened yet. I glanced over my shoulder. There were no cars at the pumps and the clerk definitely hadn’t noticed me.

I felt “the call of the wild” coming on and didn’t feel much like walking into the store wearing my pajamas. I was in the middle of nowhere and no one could see me, so I figured no harm, no foul. I stood at the rear of the trailer and did my business, looking around for that girl again (also hoping that she wasn’t hiding behind something and watching me do this).

I put everything away and walked to the driver’s side of my truck toward the cab. I took the last couple of puffs off my cigarette and flung it into the parking lot, used my keys to unlock the truck and popped the door open. Just as I planted my foot on the fairing, I heard a distinct giggle. A girl’s giggle. I stepped back down and shined the flashlight around. Nothing.

“This is getting kind of creepy,” I said aloud.

“He heard me,” a small girl’s voice answered back.

I jumped backward away from my truck. The voice had come from inside the cab! Something was wrong. I had the entire truck locked up while I was walking around. There was no way that someone could have gotten in without breaking a window. Steeling myself for what was going to be an uncomfortable encounter at the least, I took a step up on the fairing and leaned my head into the truck.

“Is anyone in here?” I asked. I hit the switch to turn on the sleeper berth light. I climbed in. I put a knee on the seat and peered into the sleeper berth.

“Goodnight,” a soft voice said, which seemed to emanate from all around me. I flinched as I heard the word and felt a cold chill run through my body. I slid off the seat and stood up in the cab, bumping my temple off the overhead storage bins. I looked around the sleeper. No one was there.

I turned around and shuffled into the cab to close the door when I saw the young girl standing outside my truck on the pavement, looking up at me with lifeless eyes. Those eyes, you see, weren’t meant for a person. They were designed for a predator, and all of a sudden I felt like prey.

I reached forward and slammed the door shut and flicked the lock. I quickly decided that I was not staying here for the rest of the night. I turned the key and heard my truck’s motor rumble to life, along with the familiar, annoying buzzing that was my air-pressure gauge telling me that I didn’t have enough air to release the brakes. I took a furtive glance out the window, and there she stood – still as a tree, looking up at me and smiling. I didn’t want to get any closer to the window until I was ready to get my truck moving. This was wrong, and I didn’t want any part of this.

That “girl” wasn’t human, at least not anymore she wasn’t. It was almost as if she was something so inhuman that it would take the form of a human. It’s hard for me to explain and I feel sick just thinking about it. I heard the siren shut off and hit the valves to supply air to my brake system. As the system began to air up, the siren came on again.

Screw this, I thought to myself. I have enough to get out of here. I disengaged the clutch, ground the truck into gear and roared out of the parking lot like the devil himself was behind me… which, for all I knew, he was.

I looked in my side mirror as I was about to start turning right and saw the girl washed in the red and amber glow of my running lights. She was smiling at me and waving. I flew through my gears as quickly as they would let me as I got back onto the interstate.

I drove for about forty-five minutes, repeatedly hitting the switch to turn on my interior lights to look around the cab and the sleeper before finally spotting a larger truck stop at the next exit. After backing into one of the few remaining spots left, I shut off my lights and turned on the sleeper berth light as I walked into the back. Then paused.

At the store, I had bought a souvenir. Nothing fancy, just a postcard with a picture of Arkansas on it. I also had bought a new knife. I had never even taken the knife out of the box and remembered putting the postcard into a drawer for safekeeping. The point of the blade had been driven directly into the spot on I-40 where I had originally stopped for the night! The blade had been driven in deep, pegging the postcard to my nightstand!

It took me several minutes just to work the knife loose enough to withdraw it from the nightstand. Thankfully, when I turned the postcard over, no message had been left for me.

To this day I do not know what I saw. I hear other truckers talk of strange things that they see on the interstates, U.S. highways, and state routes, but I’ve never mentioned my experience. I’ve always felt that just by mentioning her, I’d walk back out to my truck and there she would be, sitting on my bunk and waiting for me.

I threw that postcard away and tossed the knife into a dumpster. I got another postcard from Arkansas, just to keep the collection going. I’ve got 36 so far.

When Weird Darkness returns…

No animal had ever made such sounds. Neither the lions of East Africa nor the angry bulls. At times, it sounded like a veritable herd of wild beasts orchestrated by Satan had formed a hellish choir. And that was only a small part of the demonic possession of a girl named Clara.

Weirdo family member Cass tells her story of a disturbing dream, a sick friend, and the temptation to sell her soul in order to save her.

Megaladon… a shark several times larger than a great white. For our sake, it’s a good thing it’s extinct… or is it? Some pretty powerful sightings have been reported recently.

These stories are up next.

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The pandemic has hit all of us in ways we never expected, but I’m sure you’d agree that the poorest members of society were hit harder than most. And when the limited help dries up, which is inevitable, many will find themselves tumbling into unmanageable debt, drastically behind on essential bills and being hounded by collectors  – a huge sinkhole opening up right beneath them. But with your help, we can equip churches in numerous communities to bring relief in these dark times. Christians Against Poverty (aka CAP) equips local churches with effective poverty-relieving tools. Not only do they provide the immediate financial need – but they also provide resources and training so the family can climb out of poverty and stay out of poverty. They are provided the tools and education to build a future. Your one-time gift of $40 can provide emergency aid for a single person; $80 helps a couple living together, or you can give a one-time gift of just $120 to bring aid to an entire family. Help someone in poverty immediately AND in the future with a single gift to CAP. Make your donation now at CAP1160.com, that’s C-A-P-11-60-dotcom, you can also find CAP on the Hope In the Darkness page at WeirdDarkness.com.

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One strange phenomena that seems to go back well into the recesses of the shadows of time is that of demonic possession, the idea that mysterious entities from beyond our reality can jump forth to take over our bodies like a hand in a puppet. There are countless such accounts throughout history, to various levels of veracity, and the idea of such possessions has been explained away as anything from mental illness, to delusions, to outright lies. Yet, every once in awhile a case will come along that seems to be beyond rational explanation, and shows that there may be more to it than just hoaxes and misunderstandings.

Back in the early 1900s, a girl by the name of Clara Germana Cele was attending school at a place called St. Michael’s Mission, in Natal, South Africa. By all accounts the young, 16-year-old girl, an orphan, was a fairly normal, even quiet girl, and she was just as devout and religious as any of her peers. There would have been nothing at the time to indicate that anything was amiss with her, or that dark forces were gathering about her like storm clouds rolling in on a clear day, and there certainly would have been no indication that this sweet young girl was to go on to become one of the scariest demonic possession cases on record.

Most of what is known of the case has been gleaned from journals and diaries written by nuns and priests at the mission, and although it is unclear just when the incident started, it seems likely that it began with a confession Clara made one day. She allegedly told her confessor, a Father Hörner Erasmus, that she had reached out to the Devil for the purpose of forming a dark pact, although she did not give any details on why she had done this. However, soon after this confession there would be a series of strange phenomena that would steadily orbit the girl.

The most glaringly weird anomaly at first was that Clara, who knew no foreign languages, began to speak in Polish, German, French, Latin, and others, which started off as just a few words here and there but steadily graduated to fluent sentences and even ranting. She had never demonstrated even the slightest ability, nor even any interest in these languages, leaving everyone perplexed and not a little spooked that she should now know them to any degree. Even Clara claimed to not know how she was able to speak these languages. This was witnessed by numerous people at the mission, and it was also said that these episodes of speaking foreign languages often happened after Clara fell into sort of a daze or trance, and that she would sometimes not even remember what she had said or what had happened her during these spells.

Soon after this, Clara graduated to spontaneously spitting out the deepest, darkest secrets of those around her, even people she had never met before, including bad things they had done and impure thoughts they had had. In particular, she would revel in the most vulgar sexual fantasies she claimed the people of the cloth around her had, many of which were confirmed in diary entries by spooked nuns who felt that Clara could reach in to read their minds. She seemed to know all of their fears and various other pieces of information she had no business knowing, and at around this point it was dawning on everyone that something truly strange was going on.

In the following days Clara began to demonstrate an aversion to religious imagery, which must have been tough considering she was in a Christian mission. She would take roundabout paths around these objects and could not bear to be in the same room with them. If somehow she was to come into contact with such a relic she would allegedly unleash a savage, horribly unearthly wail that one nun would describe thus: *****No animal had ever made such sounds. Neither the lions of East Africa nor the angry bulls. At times, it sounded like a veritable herd of wild beasts orchestrated by Satan had formed a hellish choir.”*****

During these tantrums it was claimed that Clara would become possessed of extraordinary strength, that she would throw nuns across the room, and that she could barely be held down even by four people. This coincided with a general tendency for Clara to gradually transform from a once quiet and even meek teenager to an increasingly aggressive, powerful, and very confrontational personality. She would sometimes hiss, snarl, and growl at people around her, most often completely unprovoked, and the increasingly frightened nuns turned to help in order to perform an exorcism on what they were now convinced was a demon possessed child.

Two Roman Catholic priests by the name of Rev. Mansueti and Rev. Erasmus went about performing an exorcism on Clara, and it would prove to be a rather harrowing experience to say the least. One of the first things the girl did when confronted with the duo was leap onto Rev. Mansueti, knock away his bible, and begin strangling him with his own stole, and she would have been successful too if a group of nuns and the other priest hadn’t pried her off of him. After this she began hurling things about, and at one point purportedly levitated a full 5 feet of the floor, prompting those present to have her tied down.

For two days the priests confronted whatever supernatural evil was residing within Clara, and through it all she showed many traits that convinced all who were present that this was not simply a mentally ill child or lunatic. In addition to the levitation and the speaking of tongues, she also seemed to know when she was being sprayed with holy water. In order to test this, the priests even switched between holy water and regular water without Clara’s knowledge, but whereas normal water had no effect, holy water would send her into an absolute rage. However, the holy water was apparently the key, and was what eventually cast the demon out.

The case is rather obscure and not very well-documented, but it is certainly a curious one that was witnessed by numerous people.  If the reports are to be believed various witnesses saw this teenager display classical signs of demonic possession, including speaking in languages they have no business knowing, and aversion to religious paraphernalia, superhuman strength, uncharacteristic violent behavior, and levitation 5 goddam feet up in the air. They could all be lying, but why would they do that? If it was mental illness, then how does one explain these phenomena? There is no way of knowing if there is any truth to demonic possession in the literal sense, but the case of Clara Germana Cele certainly ranks up there with some of the most potentially genuine accounts out there.

Humans are fascinated by sharks. And the larger the shark is, the tighter its grip on our collective imagination. So let’s take a look at the biggest shark of them all: the Carcharocles megalodon. 

C. megalodon is thought to have grown to approximately 60 feet long, and to have gone extinct around 2.6 million years ago. However, not everyone is convinced that megalodon is dead and gone. Some megalodon truthers think the massive shark is alive and well and living undiscovered in the Earth’s oceans—and they often point to the sightings described below as evidence. 

Even if you believe that megalodon is long extinct (in which case, you’re in good hands; scientists everywhere agree with you!), the myth of the modern megalodon is still fascinating. If nothing else, these alleged megalodon sightings prove humans are fascinated by the ocean’s mysterious depths. And in an ideal world, that fascination might lead to increased interest in conservation of actual extant sharks.

This first entry isn’t a sighting, but a fossil find that’s sometimes brought up and frequently misinterpreted in discussions of whether or not megalodon is still with us. 

In 1875, the British ship HMS Challenger pulled up a pair of megalodon teeth from a seabed. In 1959, Dr. W. Tschernezky of London’s Queen Mary College attempted to date the teeth by studying the buildup of the manganese dioxide layer on each tooth. Through examining manganese dioxide deposition, Tschernezky determined the teeth were 11,000 and 24,000 years old, respectively. If correct, those findings would indicate that at the very least, megs may have gone extinct far later than previously thought.

However, manganese dioxide dating is often unreliable, particularly in dating shark teeth. As Ben S. Roesch writes in the 1998 Cryptozoology Review article “A Critical Evaluation of the Supposed Contemporary Existence of Carcharodon megalodon,” shark teeth are more durable than typical fossil bones, and are able to withstand considerable erosion. This can make it challenging to determine how old the teeth actually are. Many researchers now think it likely that shark teeth once believed to be post-Pliocene megalodon teeth were instead older specimens that were somehow moved from their original, older sedimentary layer and deposited in a younger layer.

In his book Sharks and Rays of the Australian Seas, Australian naturalist David Stead shared an anecdote, which some believe describes a terrifying encounter with Meg herself. 

According to Stead, in 1981 he spoke with several crayfish fishermen who were so terrified of a shark they saw in their fishing grounds off Broughton Island that they refused to return to the ground for days. They claimed to have seen a shark of unbelievable size surface in the deep water of the fishing grounds, taking the pots and mooring with it. Given that the crayfish pots were over three feet in diameter and loaded with heavy catch, that would be no small feat. Stead and the local Fisheries Inspector, a Mr. Paton, questioned the men, who all agreed to the shark’s monstrous size—one claimed that its head alone was “at least as long as the roof on the wharf shed at Nelson’s Bay.” Many said it measured around 115 feet in length. Others said the water seemed to boil where it surfaced. All of them were confident that it was a shark rather than a whale, and that it was pale white in coloring. Given that the men they spoke to were all hardened fishermen accustomed to sharks, whales, and other sea creatures, the conversations they had with these frightened witnesses left quite an impression on Stead and Mr. Paton.

But even if the shark observed by the fishermen were as massive as described, several signs indicate that it couldn’t have been mighty meg. As Roesch writes in his 1998 paper, if megalodon were alive in the modern world and surviving in the deep sea, it’s unlikely he would be the white color described in the 1918 accounts. Most deep-sea sharks are dark, rather than white, although there is a general misconception that dark, deep-sea habitats result in lack of pigmentation. 

n his 1978 book Let’s Go Fossil Shark Tooth Hunting, author B.C. Cartmell describes an alleged incident that took place off the edge of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef in the 1960s.

According to Cartmell, the sailors involved initially refused to speak of the incident because they feared teasing. But after time, they admitted that when their 85-foot ship was forced to weigh anchor for engine repairs, the captain and crew were shocked to see a gargantuan white shark swim slowly past their stuck ship. It rivaled the boat in size. All aboard agreed it was not a whale.

Was it the megster? Probably not—but whatever the sailors saw that day, it’s proof that the ocean is a fascinating place.

The Black Demon of Cortez is believed to be a massive, black shark seen off Mexico’s Baja Coast. Some reports allege that the big boy may even be comparable in size to the ancient megalodon. In one alleged encounter, fisherman Eric Mackreported that the Black Demon rocked his boat, while its towering tail stuck five feet out of the water. Of course, if the ‘Black Demon’ is real, that doesn’t mean it’s a megalodon—it could easily be a plankton-eating whale shark or even a large great white with melanism. 

The enormous black shark was the focus of an episode of the History channel cryptozoology TV show Monsterquest. However, the investigators failed to find any evidence of the fabled ‘demon.’

Novelist and deep-sea angler Zane Grey claimed to have had an experience with a massive shark that some believe could have been a megalodon. In the novel Megalodon: Fact or Fiction?, Rick Emmer writes that Grey claimed to have seen “one of the man-eating monsters of the South Pacific,” a shark much longer than his 30-40-foot boat. Apparently, the shark was “yellow and green … (with a) square head, immense pectoral fins and a few white spots.” In other words, not a mere “harmless white shark.”

As fun as it is to imagine these stories are evidence that megalodon is still alive, that’s just not the case. As Meghan Balk, a megalodon researcher at the University of New Mexico, told The Daily Beast: “there is no doubt in the scientific community that Megalodon is extinct.” 

Balk explains that megalodons stayed close to the coast, so if they were still alive today, we’d know—it would be hard to miss a 50-plus-foot super predator roaming the shores! According to Balk, “most large sharks occur in the upper 500 meters of the water column, probably due to productivity. The deep is much too nutrient poor to support such a large animal.”

In many ways, Shark Week is responsible for popularizing the myth that megalodon is still around. In 2014, Discovery aired the highly controversial Shark Week ‘mockumentary’ ”Megalodon: The Monster Shark Lives.” The incredibly misleading program presented ‘evidence’ that megalodon was not only still alive, but also attacking humans and boats. Although a brief disclaimer at the end of “The Monster Shark Lives” explained that it was a work of fiction, many viewers were understandably fooled by the ‘eyewitness accounts’ and interviews with ‘scientists.’ The next year, Discovery aired a follow-up mockumentary called “Megalodon: The New Evidence,” which only compounded the confusion.

Sadly, even if megalodon were discovered to be alive today, experts say it’s likely humans would soon put them on the path to extinction again. 

Conservationist, shark expert, and Shark Week critic David Shiffman wrote in 2014 that if megalodon were alive today, it would probably be hunted to extinction for its fins. He estimates that if hypothetical modern-day megalodon has 1.5 metric tons of fins, it could be sold for around $600,000, and make approximately 70,456 bowls of megalodon shark fin soup.

And, as Shiffman points out, “if the hypothetical overfishing of a species that has been extinct for millions of years has you as upset as it has me, you should learn more about the real overfishing of shark species that are still around … at least for now.”

Our final story comes from Weirdo family member, Cass. Here is her story…

This is my first time every doing anything like this so please be easy on me but my story takes place a few years ago 2014 if I remember the year correct . A little back story though I am a 26 year old Hispanic female . With it being hereditary I’ve always been sensitive to spirits rather good or bad I’ve always been able to sense them and was always a strong believer . This here is a dream I’ve had . I’m sorry if I’m rambling but nerves are coming over me just thinking about it . Being so in tie with my spiritual side by a young age I was able to wake myself out of dreams knowing I was dreaming but this one dream was different . I was sitting in a house with a friend having a meal . During this time we were having just basic conversation when things started to feel weird and the person I was looking at started to look different . At this point I’m getting a little aggravated so I began to demand it tell me who it was and to show itself to me . It tried convincing me it was my friend until he finally gave up . That’s when he revealed himself to me it was the devil . Not the normal goat headed beast you are used to imagining but he looked like a normal man . Now upset I asked him what he wanted he told me me . I laughed asked did he know who my god was and began to pray . Not long after I was awaken deepest loudest growl I’ve ever heard . I even felt the breath on the back of my neck . Like I said that was years ago but now I’m in a relationship with the love of my life I believe an I’ve been having these weird thought . Like for weeks all I could think about is I would sale my soul for her happiness and great health (she has ovarian cancer) . What’s makes it crazy though if she was having the same thought an even had a dream where she actually sold hers to him . My whole point here is do you think this is sign that has something to do with my dream years ago or is it just coincidence?  Please leave your opinions.

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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.

“Old Stinker” by Maggie Clendenin

“Paranormal Magnet Man” by Ben Lundin

“Phantom of the Truck Stop” by Stephen Wagner

“Demonic Possession In South Africa” by Brent Swancer

“Real Sightings of Megaladon” by Carolyn Cox

“El Diablo” by Weirdo family member Cass

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… “Do not withhold good from those who deserve it, when it is in your power to act.” — Proverbs 3:27

And a final thought… “Sunsets are proof that no matter what happens, every day can end beautifully.” – Kristen Butler

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

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