“TRUE STORIES OF SKINWALKERS AND SHAPESHIFTERS” and More Disturbing But True Stories! #WeirdDarkness

TRUE STORIES OF SKINWALKERS AND SHAPESHIFTERS” and More Disturbing But True Stories! #WeirdDarkness

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IN THIS EPISODE: In 1836, an unsuspecting passerby entered the Gardette-LePrete mansion and uncovered a scene of unimaginable horror. (Blood Soaked Gardette LePrete Mansion) *** Is it possible that some classic UFO events were actually hallucinations by people on drugs? (Psychedelic UFO Sightings) *** Ann Hodges, the only person struck by a meteorite who survived it, suffered a nervous breakdown after a media frenzy and a court battle for meteorite ownership. (Struck By a Meteor) *** A mysterious sighting in the night spawned the legend of one of West Virginia’s creepiest cryptids. (The Legend of the Flatwoods Monster) *** A Weirdo family member tells the story of a ghost named Matilda. (Matilda) *** Numerous Reddit users describe their own personal encounters with strange creatures that might be described as werewolves or wendigos… but even further skin deep. (Skinwalkers and Shapeshifters)

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

MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE…
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STORY AND MUSIC CREDITS/SOURCES…
(Over time links can and may become invalid, disappear, or have different content.)
“Skinwalkers and Shapeshifters” by Nida Sea: http://bit.ly/2Xzkaml
“Blood Soaked Gardette-LePrete Mansion” by Adam Karlin: http://bit.ly/2Lb3RKI
“Psychedelic UFO Sightings” by Nick Redfern: http://bit.ly/2LSsETx
“Struck By a Meteor” by Martin Chalakoski: http://bit.ly/2xBwmZ5
“The Legend of the Flatwoods Monster” by Orin Grey: http://bit.ly/32jIImG
“Matilda” submitted anonymously to WeirdDarkness.com
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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.

Every culture has scary stories about mysterious beings, and Native Americans are no exception. The Navajo legend of the skinwalker is particularly chilling because so many individuals claim to have had real-life encounters in the present day. Modern stories of encountering a skinwalker mostly take place in the American Southwest, but they’ve also been reported as far away as Australia. You may be wondering, what is a skinwalker and why are they so scary? According to legend, a skinwalker is a witch or medicine man who specializes in shapeshifting and wields supernatural powers to prey on others. Commonly confused with other myths, such as werewolves or wendigos, the legends of skinwalkers tell a different a tale in which evil humans can change into any animal just by using that animal’s skin. Some say the legend of the skinwalker is very real, and others refuse to speak of them in fear of tempting them to appear. Whether you are a believer or a skeptic, stories about skinwalkers can be terrifying. If you’re looking for a new nightmare or two, keep listening for some scary skinwalker stories and decide for yourself whether the legends are true.

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…

In 1836, an unsuspecting passerby entered the Gardette-LePrete mansion and uncovered a scene of unimaginable horror.

Is it possible that some classic UFO events were actually hallucinations by people on drugs?

Ann Hodges, the only person struck by a meteorite who survived it, suffered a nervous breakdown after a media frenzy and a court battle for meteorite ownership.

A mysterious sighting in the night spawned the legend of one of West Virginia’s creepiest cryptids.

A Weirdo family member tells the story of a ghost named Matilda.

Numerous Reddit users describe their own personal encounters with strange creatures that might be described as werewolves or wendigos (or wendeegos as it is sometimes pronounced)… but even further skin deep.

While you’re listening, you might want to check out the Weird Darkness website. At WeirdDarkness.com you can sign up for the newsletter, you can find transcripts of the episodes, paranormal and horror audiobooks I’ve narrated, a FREE 24/7 streaming video channel of horror movies and horror hosts, 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 I receive 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!

From Redditor /u/Neptune420:

My Father owns a small delivery service that operates out of Farmington, NM. We mostly deliver small packages out to the middle of nowhere that are too much of a hassle for the larger delivery companies to bother with. My Dad is the only employee and we have a few pickup trucks and a trailer.

One day we get a delivery out to Window Rock, AZ, on the Navajo reservation about two hours from Farmington. My Dad gets the call for the job while he is chilling with his Navajo friend, Travis and his girlfriend. Travis mentions how he’s got family in Window Rock that he hasn’t seen in ages and suggests they go with him.

I was about six or seven at the time and it was the summertime so Dad decides we’ll go down together, he can do his delivery really quick, then while Travis sees his family we can go check out the Window Rock (big rock face with a large hole in it that goes to the other side, pretty cool.)

We had to convoy in separate trucks since my Dad’s was loaded down with freight. We decided to bring along some talkie talkies so we could communicate with one another.

We spend our time in Window Rock, everything is generally uneventful and we start heading home along the old highway with my Dad and I in front, and Travis and his girlfriend in their truck behind us.

I honestly don’t remember most of the Window Rock trip but this next part I can never forget.

We’re somewhere on the highway between Window Rock and Gallop, NM. It had just rained earlier in the day and the road was kind of slick so we were taking it pretty slow. On the left of the highway there is nothing but sandstone cliffs and on the right there is a huge field separated from the road by a small barbed wire fence.

We crest the top of this hill and down at the bottom of the hill we see what appears to be a very large dog, sitting back on its haunches in the middle of the road, facing the cliffs.

My Dad calls over the radio “Hey Trav, do you see that big ass dog?” Travis starts yelling back over the radio “That is not a dog! Speed up right now and hit it!” He sounds almost hysterical. He just keeps screaming “Hit it! Jj you have to hit it! Please! PLEASE! Hit that f*cking thing right now!”

So my Dad starts to speed up and as we get a bit closer I can begin to see it a little more clearly. It’s covered in this brown, wiry, matted hair that appears to have dried blood all over it. It’s still facing the cliffs but the moment our headlights hit it, it turns and looks at us and it has a…face

I don’t know how else to describe it other than a mix between a bear’s and a humans’ face. It looks twisted and distorted and almost in pain. As we get closer to this thing we start to realize it’s actually f*cking huge. Though it was still sitting on its’ haunches it is about shoulder height with the hood of the truck.

We get literally inches from hitting it when it lets out this scream that sounds like someone screaming as their lungs were filling with water and it leaps backwards, towards the field, landing just on our side of the barbed wire fence. Then with another leap it was gone from sight.

Travis is comes over the radio again, “Holy sh*t! Keep driving! We have to get out of here! We have to go faster!” he kept repeating that last part. We have to get out of here and we have to go faster.

Pretty soon we a speeding like crazy and just as we start to come near the outskirts of Gallup we get pulled over. Travis pulls his truck over with us. Naturally this makes the cop, a Navajo man himself, very on edge and he immediately asks why Travis felt the need to pull over as well. Travis says “We just saw a skinwalker a few miles back and it’s been following us!” The officer immediately turns white, stammers something about a verbal warning gets in his car and takes off. We do the same.

We didn’t see anything else that night but when we got home Travis refused to let us leave without taking some kind of Navajo totem thing that was supposed to keep it away.

From Redditor /u/Iron_Jesus:

Anybody that has been on the Navajo reservation has either probably heard of some creepy things or have experienced pretty creepy things. Namely skinwalkers. I have only seen one. Here is my story.

I come from a small town in northern Arizona that’s sandwiched between the Paiute reservation to the north and the US’s largest Navajo reservation to the south. My high school being so small (a 1A high school that has, on average, 80 students enrolled every year.) always had to travel south about five to 10 hours one way to play another high school in any sport. This means that we traveled A LOT on the Navajo rez. And we also usually stayed at hotels when we would head out to play and come home in the morning but this trip was a little bit different. I remember the basketball coach saying that the school didn’t have enough money to put up the teams in a hotel that trip so we were going to be on the road for a total of about 12 hours.

I was the only male senior to play basketball that season. We had just got done playing our game and headed home on our bus “Big Blue.” We were headed out and it wasn’t long, about two hours of driving, before we had entered the rez. By this time, everyone was asleep with it being about two in the morning. When we had crossed the rez’s border I noticed the bus driver had sped up and was now going about 85 mph. I thought this was a little weird because he never exceeded the speed limit, at least not in my high school career. For some reason, I couldn’t fall asleep like the rest of my teammates, and I just sat at the back of the bus staring out across the desolate desert landscape that was lit up by the full moon.

As I looked out, I could see a figure running towards the bus at an angle of pursuit…and keeping up with the bus at 85 mph. As the figure got closer I saw that it was a humanoid form. As a matter of fact it looked exactly like a human, only that the face was painted half black and half white with glowing eyes. Glowing eyes like a rabbit’s eyes reflecting light from a spotlight. I immediately thought, “Holy crap! It’s a skinwalker!!” The skinwalker ran up to the edge of the road and just kept up pace with the bus hurdling sage brush and rocks while staring at me. After I made eye contact with the thing, I COULD NOT look away.

It was as if something was holding my head and eyes in place. The skinwalker just smiled at me this inhuman smile that went ear-to-ear, showing crooked, yellow, pointed teeth. I felt like I was going to throw up and I was panicking through the whole ordeal. The skinwalker started to crumple down on to all fours, still keeping up with the bus. I could see his bones crack and reform, hair started appearing all over the skinwalker’s body and in about 3 seconds was now a coyote and it ran off back into the desert out of view. As soon as it was gone, I ran to the onboard bathroom and puked a mixture of food and blood.

I didn’t want to tell anyone for fear they would think I was crazy. I confided in my Navajo friend. She told me that I needed to see the chief, who also happened to be a friend of mine, and get a blessing. I saw him the next school day in the parking lot. He just came up to me and mumbled something in Navajo while waving a feathered scepter-like thing, turned around, got in his truck and drove away. To this day, I haven’t seen another skinwalker. It might be due to the fact I moved away from that town and rez, and, if I do have to go south, I go around… WAY around.

From Redditor /u/jibbyjam1:

This all happened about five years ago. One night, a few of my friends decided after a night of hanging out that we’d go on an adventure at about 3 AM. We took a ride about 50 miles to this old Spanish ruin (in New Mexico), that was once the seat of the Inquisition. I can’t for the life of me remember what the place is called.

So we jump the front gate to the place and start exploring. One of my friends brought a flute with him and he started playing it and about 30 seconds into his (mediocre) playing, something started screaming really really loud on the tops of the long-destroyed walls of the place. It was going from wall to wall really quick, screaming the most blood-curdling scream you’ve ever imagined. We noped the f*ck out of there (one of my friends pissed his pants) and drove for a few hours to Bandelier National Monument where we planned to camp out at for the rest of the weekend.

We got to bandelier at probably like 6 or 7am and set up our camp. After a few hours just talking about what the hell happened at the ruins, I went to talked a piss behind a probably only like 300 feet from our camp. This is where everything starts getting a little fuzzy. I remember seeing 2 dust devils coming my way and when I turned around again, 2 of my friends were there and they were motioning me to follow them. I couldn’t help but to follow them, like I was being pulled behind them in shackles.

I followed them for what seemed like 10 or 15 minutes and then I snapped out of it. These weren’t my friends they had bright red hair, with my friends faces and cat eyes. Both of these friends were brunette. I stopped walking and they looked at me with probably the most terrifying gaze I’ve ever seen. Monsters in movies are nothing compared to this. I turned around and ran as fast as I could back the way I came from.

After like 5 minutes of a full sprint, I got back to that rock that I pissed at and found our camp. Everyone was there, still sitting around talking and didn’t even notice that I was gone. I told them what happened with the look-alike skinwalkers and we packed up everything and left probably within like 10 minutes and got the hell back to Albuquerque.

From Redditor /u/Navajo_Joe:

I was a kid when this happened… My uncle and I were finishing up chopping/gathering firewood for my grandmother because it was getting dark. Driving back on a dirt road at about 30mph (give or take 5mph) I had this awful sense of being watched. Before I could turn to look out my window (passenger side) my uncle quickly shouted, “Don’t!” I completely froze. My heart felt like it was beating out of my chest then completely stopped when I heard a tap tap on my window. My uncle sped up and was loudly praying in my native language. I didn’t know what was going on and thought it was over till our truck suddenly dipped from the bed. My uncle then started saying, “Look at me” and “Don’t turn away” over and over. Then I heard it again, tap tap but from the window behind me. It was getting harder for me to breathe and I wanted to cry. A minute or two passed and the truck dipped again. My uncle looked around and sighed. It was quiet besides the truck and the road. He looked at me and said, “We will ask your father to do a prayer in the morning. So the evil will forget our faces.” (Navajo to English equivalent). I remember curling up on the seat and just staring at the radio watching the time. Listening to my uncle sing an old prayer till we got to my grandmother’s house.

I called my uncle because I had a nightmare about that night. We talked about it for a bit. He said, “I didn’t see faces. Just eyes. Like brake lights you see on the road. It watched you.” (Navajo to English equivalent) Before hanging up I tried joking with him about it. “Why didn’t you just step on the brake when it was in the back?” No laughter. Just a pause. “Because it wasn’t alone.”

From Redditor /u/NordicAlchemist:

As many of you might already know, many Navajo people (including my own family), are very reluctant to speak about skinwalkers because it is believed to attract their attention. Well, I however, grew up away from the Navajo Nation and was very naive about the subject. When it came to skinwalkers, I was an absolute skeptic. My mom used to tell a story of how back in the 80’s when she lived with her siblings and my grandparents (still in Shiprock, but the southern outskirts) about how she and my aunt saw a skin walker just outside their driveway under a street light. She described it as a black dog with dirty fur, a twisted noodle-like front leg, and these unnatural eyes with a soft burnt orange glow. Me being my own closed minded self doubted every word, but I never said my doubts aloud.

BUT, these doubts totally changed last year when I went to my grandparents house last October. Me and my family had just finished scourging the carnival at the Navajo Nation Fair and called it night. The house was close enough where we could walk home in just 10 minutes, so we did. When we got there it was about 9 at night where we stayed up until about 2 catching up about family affairs and the local news. It was during that time that I just decidedly opened my mouth and blurt out the question, “Hey are skinwalkers real?”. “guys?”, I asked. “You shouldn’t be speaking about that!” my grandma said with almost a disturbed yell in her voice. So she and my grandfather both decide to go to bed. After being scolded by my mom, one of my aunts chimes in with a very cautious tone and says, “They’re real alright, had a few start screaming outside of my trailer in Farmington just a few night ago. You’re cousin had nightmares the whole night and woke up crying that morning.” Not wanting to push the discomfort any further, we all decided to go to bed. Now the trailer/home is pretty old and it was a really nice night, so we slept with the windows open with screens to prevent bugs coming in. Everyone had drifted off to sleep except me, because my mind was still going a million miles a minute about skinwalkers and wondered if I ever encounter one while here on the reservation (As a kid I was told its taboo to think about skinwalkers because it can still call their attention). That’s when the sh*t totally hit the fan.

Just as I was settling and finally getting relaxed for sleep, I started to hear something moving outside. I get up from the couch and start wandering over to the kitchen window. In the trailer, all of the rooms have the lights out so the only visible light that can be seen is from the porch light out front. I was thankful for this because I told myself if it really was a skin walker outside then hopefully it wouldn’t notice me seeing it. So I muster up the courage and take a quick scan of outside. From the porch light all I can see is the dusty ground and the vehicles that my family drove along with some old metal trashcans that stood beside the road. Looking for about a good 5 seconds, I wasn’t able to see anything so I was getting ready to turn around and walk back to bed thinking it was just a stray cat or something. Only have taken two steps, I hear what sound like a distorted scream coming from outside, definitely close by. Fear rising, I look outside again and there I see it! A coyote-like figure was staring at my direction from behind the cars, just outside of the reach of the porch light. Only it looked, awfully wrong, and gave off an evil vibe just from seeing it. It was grey with very disheveled hair and a horrific orange-red soft glow came from its eyes. I noped the hell out and ran back to the bedroom. It was at this moment I had begun to also notice an awful stench in the air that smelled like rotting meat. I started trying to wake up my mom who was like, “omg, its almost 3am, what do you want?”. I immediately began in a shaken voice, “there’s something scary outside!”. Then she said (now annoyed because I woke her up), “Ugh it’s probably just a stray animal or something, it’s the rez, animals wander all the time at night.” She obviously wasn’t getting the drift of what I was saying so I screamed, “THERE’S SOME BLAIR WITCH PROJECT SH*T GOING ON OUTSIDE, MA!!!”

that got her attention

“What?! What the hell are you talking about??” she said. Then we heard it, the thing outside started making more of it’s dreadful like screams and started what sounded like thrashing outside on the ground. “Hear that?! That’s what I’m talking about!” So both her and I got back up looked outside the window and the coyote-thing was making it’s way to the door. It walked with an odd limp and dragged it’s back right leg as if it has handicapped. We could hear it start to scratch against the door and make this odd muffled moaning sound. My mom went and got my dad and they both started shouted in Navajo all sorts of words telling the thing to go away and saying it’s not welcome here. Well all this commotion was enough to get the rest of the trailer up as they came out into the hallway. The only thing my mom did was turn to them and said “skin walker” while proceeding to point to the door (noises STILL happening). Apparently they already knew exactly what to do as my grandfather got out a handgun from a drawer and a bag of ashes. He coated a few bullets and loaded them into the gun and went straight to the door. Yelling out more Navajo that was too fast for me to comprehend he swung open the door and fired twice. Nothing. The thing managed to escape before my grandpa could put a bullet in it. “That’s the fastest one I’ve ever seen”, said my grandpa. Next thing you know my aunts and my parents are freaking out about what just happened saying stuff like, “What if it comes back tomorrow?” and “It saw us, does that mean we’re targets now?”. Afterwards my grandparents calmed everyone down (myself included) saying we’ll be fine and we all went to bed (around 3-ish)

Morning comes and my grandparents call one of their neighbors and explain to them what happened. Apparently one of them was a medicine man who used to partake in Yei Bi Chei’s (Navajo ceremonies used for healing and curing sickness) and came over to bless each family member and the grounds outside.

From Redditor /u/NavajoJoe00:

This is my father’s story written from his perspective …

When I was about 11 or 12, we lived in a small house made of mud and stone. A lot like our house now. It was two of my brothers and I in the house. Everyone else had gone to the Jamez Feast and left us to tend the sheep. We were getting ready for bed when we heard the dogs going crazy outside. Thinking it was nothing more than coyotes howling in the distance, we told them to be quite. We began to drift off into sleep, and the dogs would not shut up. Somehow, I was able to go to sleep for a few hours. Then I woke up very late in the night. It was very quiet and still in the house, save for my brothers snoring and breathing. I realized I needed to use the outhouse and woke up my brother to take me there. He teased me about being scared, which I certainly was.

We went out with our flashlight to the outhouse. The dogs began with their crazed barking out in the sagebrush, going from one place to the next. My brother went first and I waited outside for him. While waiting, I tried to follow the dogs with my flashlight. Suddenly there was a very loud whine from one of the dogs. Then everything went quiet again. It was really too quiet for that time of year. Not even the sheep were making noise. Suddenly I heard a few of the dogs going completely mad by the truck. When I looked over, there was this man.

He was unbelievably tall, leaning one arm on the cab roof of the truck. He was looking at the dogs for a little, and then suddenly kicking one of them. They all scattered in different directions. The thing looked up at me and I saw its face. It had a pure white face (like a full moon), two burning red eyes, and a slight smile that was pure black. I could not move or make a sound. It began to walk toward me with long strides, until if finally towered over me. All I began to see was a dark red. Like the colour of the blood when you cut the throat of a sheep.

I kept getting deeper and deeper into its eyes. I could faintly hear my brother coming out of the outhouse. With this, the thing looked up at him. Reality came rushing back to me. I noticed that my brother was too distracted with his buckle to realize what was going on. I also noticed this things long hands hovering just inches from my head. Its skin was black ash, and he smelled like a bloated dead animal in summer. I was still unable to move or speak, the skinwalker began to move toward my brother. Finally noticing this figure, my brother became paralyzed as I was. Closer and closer it drew, reaching an arm out toward my brother’s head. Something finally snapped in me, I became unbearably angry.

I broke from the trance and lunged at the skinwalker. Raising my arms like a wild animal and barring my teeth at it. A growl came out that I never knew I could make. I became more and angrier at the thing that was trying to hurt us. It kept that smile at first, but the angrier I got the more the smile faded. Finally, with everything I had, I began to make this primal roar at it. It fell backwards and ran away into the night. Looking back at me, its eyes were dim and dull, its smile now long since gone. The next morning the family returned home from the feast. After relaying the story to my parents, they quickly hired a medicine man.

From Redditor /u/Trey_Lightning:

Whenever my mom would take us on a road trip to her hometown on the Navajo reservation I’d occasionally ask her to tell me a skinwalker story along the way. I remember every story she’s told me was when we were driving through miles of nothing at night. Luckily, nothing ever happened to us during those drives. Anyways this is one of those stories and it came from my auntie.

So my auntie and some of her friends use to party a lot back in the day. They’d hop in a beaten down van, drive out to the boondocks and just drink and have fun. Of course this all took place on the Navajo reservation after sunset On this particular night that’s what they were doing. Everything was going good and whatnot when all of a sudden they hear what sounds like rocks being thrown at their van. Everyone gets quiet as they wonder what the hell is going on. The sounds of rocks being thrown stops and then suddenly something jumps on top of the van roof! (I should mention my family owned a white van that we would use for road trips because it had enough room for all my brothers and me, so imagine young me being told this story in a van. TERRIFYING) Everyone starts panicking as the realization sets in and hurry to lock all the doors. My auntie jumps in the driver seat and tries to start the engine. Of course, the beaten down van then refuses to start. Whatever is on the roof is still up there making banging noise at this point like it’s jumping up and down. My auntie is freaking out when she then sees a hand with long nails reach over the roof and start scratching the windshield. (At this point in the story my mom would take one hand off the steering wheel and scratch the windshield to simulate it). Then whatever was on the roof jumps off. Everyone is still freaking out yelling at my auntie to start the van and she keeps trying. That’s when she sees the skinwalker walk up to the driver side window and stare at her just a few inches away. Well, that’s when my auntie jumped in the back and started praying for her life. Minutes pass and the skinwalker appears to leave. My auntie hops back in the driver seat and gets the van to start and off they go!!

From Redditor /u/lyshaninja:

We live in a rural community on the Navajo Reservation. My aunt and her two brothers were home alone while my grandparents had left for the evening to attend a chapter house meeting. They were in the house and like many people from the reservation they didn’t have electricity. It had been dark outside for about an hour and my aunt and my uncles were getting ready for bed.

Outside they heard noises, as if someone moving things around outside. My oldest uncle went to look out the front window and saw a figure out by the truck. This was immensely out of the ordinary becuase the closest neighboor was miles away. Whatever it was opened the truck door and began to dig through the personal items that my family had left in the vehicle.

My aunt and uncles were frightened by the sight and knew that they should take action. They took out the rifle and all steadied themelves to hold it up. They flung open the door and aimed the gun at the dark figure. The figure turned and started to walk towards them, totally unfaised by the weapon. My uncle pulled the trigger but nothing happened.

The figure drew closer and my aunt began to smell something like a rotting corpse. It was so strong it made her gag. My uncle continued to pull the trigger with no luck and the figure came closer and closer. Off the the distance, headlights were coming up the road. My grandparents were returning.

The figure looked toward the lights and started to move away and tucked itself behind a tree near the house. My oldest uncle ran toward the truck with the gun. My grandfather got out of the car and my uncle pointed to the tree. The thing was poking out its head to observe what they were doing. My grandfather ran into the house and over to the stove and grabbed a hand-full of ashes and rubbed over the gun and placed a ash covered bullet into the chamber.

He walked out onto the porch and fired toward the tree. Whatever that thing was didn’t expect the gun to go off. The gunshot echoed and the dark figure began running. My grandma chased my aunt inside and my uncles and my grandfather went after it.

There weren’t many roads or paths so as my grandfather and uncles chased after the figure, the truck was bouncing and the headlights we’re not fixed on one particular spot. My uncle swears that when ever the headlights would hit the figure he saw a woman, not only that… Whoever it was running on all fours like a bear.

My grandfather eventually stopped the truck and as they neared the ditch that drops about 20 feet. He got out and began to yell in Navajo. My uncle says that he was yelling about a local woman. He yelled that he wasn’t scared and that he knew it was her and to leave his family alone. A few days passed and there was news that the woman that my grandfather was yelling about, had passed.

I’ve always been told that if you know who the skinwalker is, say their name, and it will kill them.

From Redditor /u/Fireclawiswoot:

My grandmother on my mothers side has always been very Superstitious, for lack of better word, she’s not religious, but she does believe in a lot of paranormal stuff.

Her mother was full blooded Navajo and her father was Irish. Either way, she’d never been anywhere East of Montana and she grew up in Nevada.

One year, when I was in Gradeschool, we went to visit her, most of the visit was pretty uneventful, typical boring old people stuff, except she always kept her curtains drawn shut and would always peek out the window and when someone asked what she was doing, she would simply reply ” Yenaldlooshi is watching me”

This went on for nearly the entire visit until a few days before we were due to leave, My grandma and my (then) baby brother (he’s 19 now lol) were in the front yard that evening, planting flowers when all of a sudden, my grandmother starts shouting “Insert little brothers name here get away from that creature! It’s not safe!” of course, being in Nevada, we all assumed that my brother had found a scorpion or a rattle snake, so we all run outside, to see my Grandmother clutching my little brother and shaking in terror against the side of the house, standing out in the yard, was a large, black, great-dane sized dog, it was staring at my grandmother with an intensity I’d never seen before. It looked up at us, gave a little huff and bounded off, I don’t remember if it moved unusually fast or not, but do remember it had really deep yellow eyes.

When my mother asked my grandmother what had happened, she kept repeating “The Yenaldlooshi has found me”. She moved a couple weeks after that.

From Redditor /u/Endulos:

I was told this story once. My Dad isn’t a bull sh*tter or a liar, so I know the story is true.

So, this was the VERY early 80’s, and my Sister, who lived in Toronto came down to visit our Parents for a weekend. She was staying at a friends house, who loaned her a car so she could come out. After her visit, she left a little after 9 pm. She got maybe 7-8 miles away when the car broke down.

Thankfully, she broke down in front of a friend of the families house. They let her in to call Dad, and Dad came to get her. The family said she could leave the car in their driveway for the night, and my Sister decided to just stay at my parents for the night.

It was now a little after 10 pm and pitch black (Late november), while my Sister and Dad are driving back to the house and they pass through a heavily wooded area.

Out of no where they hear this INCREDIBLY F*CKING LOUD inhuman SCREAM that was heard over the engine, them talking and the radio. Dad SLAMMED on the brakes and they both started freaking out, when suddenly a 6 foot tall Coyote walking on TWO LEGS with a black/white stripped tail appeared on the side of the road and proceeded to walk in front of the car.

As soon as it passed, that same scream played again only this time 10x louder. Dad SLAMMED on the accelerator and they got the f*ck out of there.

It was never seen again.

On the ghost stories blog Darkness Prevails, user John shared his story of how a relaxing midnight stroll turned terrifying when he came face-to-face with two skinwalkers. According to his chilling story, John was out late one summer night. While listening to music and enjoying the cool weather, he walked near a large empty field that was adjacent to a college campus. Suddenly, he felt something staring at him. Shining his flashlight out into the darkness, he saw two sets of glowing orange eyes staring back at him. The eyes were at least seven feet off the ground and stared at him without blinking once.

John made a mad dash for safety. As he was running, he turned back to see one of the creatures chasing him. John became even more frightened when he got a better glimpse of the fast-moving creature behind him: It looked like a giant wolf. Quickening his pace, John reached his home safely, but he remains fearful of the monsters he saw that night, which he believes were skinwalkers.

In Hunt for the Skinwalker, George Knapp and Colm Kelleher relay the stories of those who came into contact with skinwalkers near Native American tribal lands. One account from a New Mexico highway patrol officer states that while patrolling the highways of New Mexico, he saw a skinwalker on two separate occasions.

In his first encounter, a creature wearing a white mask appeared next to his window, seemingly attaching itself to the car door. But then he realized it was simply running beside the vehicle, keeping pace at highway speeds. A few days later and around the same area, he encountered the creature again. What makes this tale even more intriguing is that at least one other officer claimed to have seen the same ghoulish being while patrolling the area.

From Redditor /u/OuttaSightDude:

While trading stories around a campfire, my friend recalled an encounter he had while serving an LDS mission.

My friend’s mission region had a reservation within its boundaries. However, it was relatively far from where he was serving. On one occasion, him and his mission companion were asked to travel further than usual to meet with some investigators. This took them near the reservation. On their way home, their car ran out of gas, and it wasn’t until late at night that they were able to continue the journey home.

My friend (who was driving while his companion slept in the passenger seat) chose a different route that took him through some backroads in an attempt to get home sooner. He told us he was driving above the speed limit when he noticed movement in the woods lining the road. Because coyotes were common in the area, he took little notice at first. Then he looked out the window and slammed on the brakes.

The sudden stop jolted his companion awake, who immediately wanted to know what was wrong. My friend was shaken and said he would tell him once they got home. He asked him to say a prayer.

By the time they made it home, his companion was dying to know what had happened. My friend told him,

“I looked down at the road next to the car and saw six men running on all fours, keeping up with the car. I was driving 40 miles an hour.”

According to an account from Darkness Prevails, not all skinwalkers are found around reservations, or even within the US, for that matter. This tale of terror comes all the way from Australia. While walking her dogs out in the Australian bush, a woman encountered a fearful sight. She was enjoying the trail when suddenly her two dogs started barking uncontrollably and becoming extremely agitated.

Soon she saw what appeared to be a small female child, no older than seven. The child had her back to the woman, who was only a bit startled at first, as she believed the child was just part of a camping party. However, when the girl turned around, her eyes were lifeless and entirely black.

Before the woman could make a break for it, the creature let out an earsplitting howl and ran off into the bush, never to be seen again. She was left wondering if the child she saw was someone pulling a prank on her or if it was really a shapeshifting skinwalker. She may never know.

From Redditor /u/nakedreagan:

My roommate has told me this story a few times, and I want to see if anyone else has had similar experiences. As he tells it, he was driving home super late at night, maybe around 3 or 4 a.m. in a suburb of Phoenix, AZ both times that this occurred. The first time, he was driving alone on a road that has an open field to the left of it when out of nowhere a black figure on all fours bounds up out of the field and across the road in front of his car. As soon as the figure got to the other side of the road, it stops with inhuman quickness, turns around, and looks directly at my roommate. He described the figure as looking simian, completely black except for the face. The creature’s face was a stark white human face. Not white as in Caucasian, but white as snow.

This happened again a few weeks later, but this time the creature was sitting in a tree. As his car approached, it climbed down the tree, again with inhuman quickness, bounded across the road, stopped on a dime and turned around and made eye contact with him. This time he had a friend in the car who also saw it and began freaking out. It was the same exact thing as the first time, a simian, black body with a snow-white, expressionless human face. My roommate, ever the curious one turned the car around and began searching for the creature, but it was nowhere to be seen.

From Redditor /u/Half-eaten_Waffle:

There was one time I went camping with two of my buddies, but neither of them are real outdoorsy type. I was just kind of getting them into the whole camping/hunting scene. Now, I love hiking. Exploring, more like because I hate just walking a trail. You’re seeing nothing new. So took the two friends out there a ways, and got two miles from camp when they just wanted to go back. I said fine and showed them where to go on my phone, and made them put a waypoint on the other little GPS thing I had to follow. I wanted to keep going, so I did so by myself. They wanted the pistol I had on me for safety reasons, leaving me to walk alone in the forest with water and nothing else. No big deal, I thought.

I found a steep hillside with rocks all the way down when I was about five miles from camp, and decided to go down. I followed the “path” at the bottom of this thing, which was at this point just a dry river bed. I walked down and it got steeper as I went further south. When I crossed a certain point, something just felt wrong. I started trying to look around for anything, but there was a huge log across the two hillsides, and when I crouched down to crawl under it, it felt like I was being watched.

I looked up to my left, saw nothing. Looked around to see if there was anything in the middle of the riverbed, then looked up to the right. Huge, huge black canine. Too small to be a bear, but it looked like a wolf on steroids. That dog creature and I held glances for what felt like hours, but I know it couldn’t have been more than ten seconds. Every passing moment made the feeling of dread worse. I moved backwards to get the hell out of there, and when I moved the wolf thing just booked it into the forest, further from camp. In hindsight, this thing was moving faster than any dog I’ve ever seen.

Up next…

In 1836, an unsuspecting passerby entered the Gardette-LePrete mansion and uncovered a scene of unimaginable horror.

And… is it possible that some classic UFO events were actually hallucinations by people on drugs?

These stories and more when Weird Darkness returns.

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The pandemic has hit all of us in ways we never expected, but I’m sure we would all 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 of debt opening up right beneath them, sending them plummeting into poverty. But my friends at CAP have a unique solution to bring relief to these souls. Christians Against Poverty (aka CAP) not only provides the immediate financial need – but they also provide resources and training so the family or individual can climb out of poverty and stay out of poverty. The financially struggling are provided the tools and education to build a more solid financial 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. This is the only week I’m asking this of you – so please give today. CAP1160.com.

If you’re ever in New Orleans, it’s easy to spot Gardette-LePrete. As one of the most photographed buildings in the French Quarter, the mansion is a masterful example of classical Creole architecture. It possesses the grandeur of a villa yet manages to fit seamlessly into the surrounding streetscape of local townhouses.

The bones of this multi-story building are lovely enough—but the flowing balconies that ring Gardette-LePrete are another level of craftsmanship. An elegant cloud of wrought iron work blankets the top two floors, evoking the feel of muscled security and delicate elegance all at once.

The famed estate is located at 716 Dauphine Street; a quiet block that’s steps away from some of the most boisterous bars on Bourbon Street.

Yet if you passed the Gardette-LePrete Mansion in 1836, your senses would have been stimulated not by sight or hearing—but by the pungent scent of blood.

So goes the tale: a man strolling past the mansion, then owned by the planter Jean Baptiste LePrete, was struck by the iron-rust odor of blood. He looked down and spotted crimson trickling from the doorway. When he pressed his way inside, he discovered a sight of pure horror.

Strewn across the courtyard were dozens of hacked-apart bodies: men, women, young boys. The victims were so badly mutilated that not only was it impossible to tell who owned what body part—the parts themselves were lost in a sea of red.

As the unlucky passer-by moved through Gardette-LePrete, he uncovered additional scenes of gore. Blood stained the walls and slicked the floors of the home like a sticky application of wax. Each room of the mansion was thick with torn flesh, spatters of red and dissected bodies. In the center of it all was the courtyard. And there, amid the viscera, a hand stuck out from the ground. A man had been buried alive, and died clawing his way out of the wet New Orleans soil.

The man at the center of the courtyard was, it was said, a brother to an Ottoman sultan. He was some kind of minor prince who had fled to the Americas, rented the mansion from LePrete, and within days of moving in, ushered in an entourage that would make the wildest party organizer on Bourbon Street blush. To whit: gorgeous dancers, muscled eunuchs, and young men all took residence in the mansion.

Heavy curtains blocked the windows, and music poured out of the house day and night. Rumors swirled about wild parties, orgies, and worse. The neighbors complained about the noise and questioned the presence of so many individuals in one home.

Some New Orleanians suspected pirates or street criminals were behind the murder spree at Gardette-LePrete. Another popular theory held that the perpetrator had come at the behest of the victim’s royal brother. Engaged over the loss of much of his harem, the Sultan put together a bounty team that sought out his wayward brother—the man who would eventually be found buried alive in the mansion courtyard.

…And with all of this said, I’m sorry. I may need to be a buzzkill. Did some of the above happen? Perhaps. But no historical documents mention Ottoman royalty moving into the French Quarter. No Turkish records mention a sultan moving to the Americas.

There are no early-19th century records of noise complaints or worries about out of control orgies at 716 Dauphine Street. The descriptions of the ‘Turk’ smack of Orientalist caricature from the era—the harem, the eunuchs, the implied homosexual pedophilia. Perhaps most tellingly, there’s no source that mentions the alleged murders, which would have been one of the most gruesome mass slayings in American history.

Rather, the tale of Gardette-LePrete and its harem of blood seems like an irresistible fiction from the Big Easy that hits all of the high points of New Orleans Noir: A beautiful old mansion, aristocracy, sex, drugs, and murder.

Oh, and ghosts, of course. Present-day residents report unexplained creaks and squeaks throughout the mansion. Gardette-LePrete, and its accompanying legend, is a fixture of New Orleans ghost tours.

In a recent article at his UFO Conjectures blog, Rich Reynolds addressed the matter of UFOs and LSD. The article is titled “LSD, Hallucinations, and UFOs.” You can find it here. Rich says: “Most of you know about the notorious CIA program, MK-Ultra, that, in 1959, experimented with LSD on military personnel and volunteers.” He adds: “I’ve always thought (and written) that the Pascagoula encounter (Hickson/Parker) and Travis Walton’s ‘abduction’ may have been drug induced.”

Having known Rich for far more than a few years, I should note that he has a deep interest in the possibility that at least some significant UFO incidents may have had a hallucinogen of some kind at their core. We’re not, however, talking here about using LSD for recreational purposes. Instead, we’re talking about situations which may have been utilized – by military and intelligence services – to, in essence, fake a UFO event. The reason? Maybe to try and gauge the extent to which the human mind can be manipulated? To fake alien encounters as a means to make us believe we have extraterrestrials among us when, perhaps, we don’t? To determine how easy it might be to create a bogus extraterrestrial event? The controversial questions are many. The answers are far less so. What we can say, though, is that there are a surprising number of cases on record that just might fall into one or more of the above categories. I’ll share with you three of many.

We’ll start with a man named Orfeo Angelucci. He was one of that controversial band of people who claimed – largely in the 1950s – encounters with very human-like ETs. They were known as the Space Brothers. As for the eyewitnesses like Angelucci, they were titled the Contactees. Angelucci’s aliens were here to save us from self-destruction – as were most of the Space Brothers of that era. It was when Angelucci started talking about the Space-Brothers (and Sisters too) being Communists, and also claiming meetings with mysterious human characters wh0 wanted Angelucci to insert the Communist angle into his lectures, that things got very strange. It was then that Angelucci got a weird visitor. And a weird experience, too.

Angelucci claimed that on one particular evening in December 1954, he traveled out to a diner in Twentynine Palms, California. The reason was to meet with an odd, enigmatic character called Adam, who wanted to discuss his, Angelucci’s, experiences. Although Adam appeared human, Angelucci wasn’t at all sure that was the case. Things got weird when, as they sat and chatted, Adam asked Angelucci to take a pill, which he passed to him. Incredibly, Angelucci did exactly that: he put it in his mouth and knocked it back with a mysterious drink provided by Adam.

It wasan’t long before Angelucci felt decidedly spaced-out. He began to hallucinate: nothing less than a little woman (and I do mean little, as in just inches tall) danced in his drink. Reality had gone right out of the window. And, on top of that, Angelucci was aware of two men in military uniforms sitting close by. They were intently watching every move that Angelucci made, and they seemed to note his every word spoken to Adam. Something caused Angelucci to spill the beans on his connections to the Space Brothers, the matter of communism, and more. Maybe someone in government wanted to find out what Angelucci really knew about communist aliens. Or, maybe, it was a case of concerns that Angelucci was being used – wittingly or not – to promote communism via the UFO subject. Whatever the answer, it seems very likely that Angelucci had been drugged by something that caused him to tell all that he knew and, in the process, fall into a deeply drugged state.

Then, there is the matter of Antonio Villas Boas. He was a Brazilian man who claimed, in late 1957, to have had wild sex with an equally wild babe from the stars, after having been kidnapped onto a UFO. An early alien abduction? Yep. Or maybe not. In the late-1970s, the aforementioned Rich Reynolds had contact with a very controversial – and by all accounts unlikable – figure named Bosco Nedelcovic, who had links to the world of intelligence, and who claimed that the Villas Boas affair was not what it appeared to be. He told Rich that, in reality, Villas Boas was the unwitting player in a new and novel experiment. According to Nedelcovic, the UFO that Villas Boas saw over his family’s property was really a helicopter. Not only that, Villas Boas was supposedly hit by some kind of mind-altering aerosol spray that quickly placed him into an altered state, after the pilot of the helicopter flew right over him. As for the girl from the stars, she was said to have really been a hooker, a girl hired to take Villas Boas on the closest encounter of all. But, it was all a ruse: a mind-bending event designed to fabricate a UFO incident.

Like it or not, but the fact is that Villas Boas’ own words suggest strongly that he was indeed taken on-board a helicopter. Read Villas Boas’ words carefully. The craft, he said, was “like an elongated egg.” On the top of the craft there was, “something which was revolving at great speed  and also giving off a powerful fluorescent reddish light” (rotor-blades? Probably, yes). As the craft took to the skies, it made a loud noise, “a sort of beat” (which is a perfect description of the noise associated with a helicopter). Put all those factors together and it sounds very much like a helicopter. Moving on…

In his article, Rich mentioned the famous October 1973 alien abduction of Charles Hickson and Calvin Parker at Pascagoula, Mississippi. The case has become a classic in alien abduction circles. It’s a little-known fact, though, that just a few miles from where Parker and Hickson were taken is a stretch of land called Horn Island. In the latter stages of the Second World War, the military used Horn Island as a place where biological-warfare research was undertaken. Matters were brought to an end when the Second World War was over. The official line is that research in the area was cancelled. There are, however, local tales of covert operations and experiments into mind-manipulation as late as the early 1970s, and only around ten-to-twenty miles away, within newer facilities. In terms of what may have specifically been used in these operations, fingers point in the direction of BZ. Or, to give it its correct name: 3-quinuclidinyl benzilate. It’s most well-known name is “Buzz.” It can provoke significant hallucinations.

Is it possible that some classic UFO events were actually nothing of the sort, but that were – in a very strange way – even weirder…?

When Weird Darkness returns…

Ann Hodges, the only person struck by a meteorite who survived it, suffered a nervous breakdown after a media frenzy and a court battle for meteorite ownership.

A mysterious sighting in the night spawned the legend of one of West Virginia’s creepiest cryptids.

These stories and more are up next.

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Statistically speaking, except for winning the PowerBall lottery, there are few things less likely to ever happen to someone than getting hit by a meteorite.

Yet one man’s Christmas was absolutely ruined in 1965 and his car completely destroyed when a meteorite struck and pierced the hood of his brand new Vauxhall Viva in Leicestershire, England. It was far from a “Merry Christmas” when the small chunk of rock from outer space dropped in for the holidays, uninvited.

According to The Daily Mirror, someone is struck or killed directly by an asteroid or another body from outer space only once every 7,000 years. And on November 30, 1954, Ann Hodges from Talladega County, Alabama, was unlucky enough to be that someone. The space rock didn’t kill her. She survived and became an unwitting celebrity for a while. But it didn’t bring her any luck whatsoever. On the contrary, it led to a bitter legal battle, eventually contributing to the breakdown of both her marriage and her mental health. She died all alone in a nursing home two decades after the incident.

The story goes that the 32-year-old was taking her afternoon nap when she got a real wake-up call, surprised by a nine-pound piece of black rock that dropped from the sky onto the small town of Oak Grove near Sylacauga; it crashed through the ceiling, bounced off the radio right next to her, and smashed her left hip. The poor woman was left with a ghastly looking football-sized bruise and total confusion as to what had just happened.

Her mother, Ida Franklyn, was also in the house at the time. They wondered if maybe a plane had exploded mid-air. What else could it be? It wasn’t a bomb for sure. The initial fears of both of them, their neighbors, and the authorities was of a possible Soviet attack–it was the Cold War era after all. Neighbors who had witnessed the fast descending fireball followed its trail to the Hodges’ home, to offer help and satisfy their curiosity.

Her husband, Eugene, arrived home from work to find the front yard full of gawkers peeking through the windows. He was looking at his house with a huge hole in it and, inside, his wife and his mother-in-law were scared and confused. He called a doctor and the local police, and soon enough the medics, along with Sylacauga Chief of Police W. D. Ashcraft and the town’s mayor, Ed Howard, were on their doorstep.

Ann was examined thoroughly by physician Moody Jacobs, who assured her family that Ann, although severely bruised and swollen, was well and without severe injuries. He did however admit her to the local hospital a few days later so she could get some respite from the overwhelming attention. Suspecting it was a meteorite, Howard and Ashcraft took the rock to local geologist George Swindel, who tentatively confirmed it. Later that day, the local authorities handed the meteorite over the U.S. Air Force for analysis.

Word of the unusual event quickly spread and the Hodges’ property was overrun by curious onlookers and prying reporters who sensed a good story. Reporters from every television, radio, and newspaper seemingly wanted the story about the first person to survive being struck by a meteorite. Excited and overwhelmed by the attention, the Hodges were more than happy to speak about it at first. But there was no privacy, there was no peace and quiet. The phone was ringing constantly. And then there was the rock from outer space.

According to National Geographic and official statements made by the Alabama Museum of Natural History, where the rock is now on display, Ann believed it belonged to her. “I feel like the meteorite is mine,” she said. “I think God intended it for me. After all, it hit me!”

However, the stone was not in her possession and the house they lived in was not theirs. She and her husband were tenants to Birdie Guy, a recently widowed lady who claimed property ownership over the now much talked about stone. She wanted it for herself and be the center of the Alabama media craze. This was the big thing at the time. And she wanted in.

But where was the rock from outer space? Neither Ann nor her landlady had it in their possession.

U.S. Air Force Intelligence had sent it to the Smithsonian Institution for further examination and deeper analysis. They believed it was supposed to stay there and be examined for an unlimited time, until Alabama Congressman Kenneth Roberts got involved and ordered them to return it to the Hodges’. The public was by now already on Ann’s side, yet the law was not. Their landlady hired a lawyer and sued them for ownership, insisting the space-rock was hers, since it dropped on her property. Ann and her husband hired their own lawyer and threatened to counter-sue for injuries. It was a real mess. Their yard was constantly filled with reporters, while their home still had a hole in the roof. Guy claimed that if she was obliged to fix it, she should then rightfully own the stone as well.

Ann was virtually everywhere in the media. In Life magazine, she was talking about her experience. In New York, on Gary Moore’s TV quiz show, I’ve Got a Secret, she was there to reveal her secrets. She was the front cover story in almost every major magazine.

In the end, both parties decided to settle the matter out of court.

The Hodges family bought out the rights for $500, believing they could make a huge profit. After all, their neighbor did. Julius Kempis McKinney, who found a little piece of the rock not far from their house along the road, had bought a new house and a car out of what he made from it. Unfortunately, two years had passed and the story was fully covered by now. Public interest had waned and the media was on to the next big thing.

They refused the first offer to buy the meteorite, from the Smithsonian Institution, because they saw the offer as inadequate and insulting. However, it was the only party who showed any interest. No one offered to buy the stone again. Exhausted from everything and disappointed, Ann donated the meteorite to the Alabama Museum of Natural History, believing the fallen rock was a bad omen that had brought nothing but distress and bad luck in their lives.

Some think Ann and her husband were not equipped enough to deal with the publicity, others that they didn’t use their fame to bargain with the media while it lasted. What’s for sure is that they earned almost nothing out of it, and while her wounds healed and the craze was all gone, the experience of what they had been through stayed with them for life.

Randy Mecredy, director of the Alabama Museum, gave his opinion to National Geographic: “the Hodges were just simple country people… all the attention was her downfall. She never did recover after that.”

Unable to cope with the aftermath emotionally, the couple split in 1964 after Ann had suffered a massive nervous breakdown. With her health deteriorating and in a fragile mental state, she found herself in a nursing home, where she died alone from kidney failure in 1972. To this day, Ann Hodges is the only recorded victim of a meteor strike who has lived to tell the tale.
A little after 7:00 P.M. on September 12, 1952, three boys were playing football on the school playground in the small West Virginia town of Flatwoods when they saw something flash across the sky and land on the property of a nearby farmer.

Sounds like the beginning of any number of alien invasion stories, doesn’t it? And it is—at least after a fashion. The story of what the boys saw that night would go down in history and put the tiny town on the cryptozoological map to this very day.

What exactly the boys saw is up for some debate. Even among cryptozoologists it goes by many names, including the Braxton County Monster and the Phantom of Flatwoods. In its home county of Braxton, it is sometimes known by the affectionate nickname “Braxxie,” but it is most commonly called simply the Flatwoods Monster.

Two of the boys on that football field were brothers, the children of Kathleen May, and before long they had recruited their mom and several other kids to undertake an expedition to go and find the unidentified flying (or, in this case, falling) object. Six children in all, ranging in ages from 10 to 17, and a dog accompanied Mrs. May out to find the creature that would go down in history as the Flatwoods Monster.

As they crested a hill on the property where the boys had seen the object go down, they saw a pulsating red light. This was their first indication of trouble. The oldest boy, 17-year-old Gene Lemon, a member of the West Virginia National Guard, later told investigators and UFOlogists that he shined his flashlight in the direction of the glow, which is how the group saw the monster.

Descriptions of the monster vary, depending upon which of the seven who saw it you ask, or who is doing the retelling of their accounts, but in general, the Flatwoods Monster was described as being taller than a man, with a round, red face and a dark green body.

Kathleen May described the creature as having “small, claw-like hands that extended in front of it,” a lower body with what looked like pleated folds or drapes of fabric, and a sort of hood around its face that “resembled the ace of spades.” All of these elements would later become fairly standard in depictions of the Flatwoods Monster.

The somewhat jumbled nature of the witnesses’ descriptions of the creature can perhaps be forgiven since, as soon as they turned the flashlight upon it, the monster made a sound that was “something between a hiss and a high-pitched squeal” and glided toward the assembled throng. Terrified, Lemon dropped the flashlight, and all of them ran.

Shortly afterward, the sheriff and a deputy came from investigating a report of a downed airplane—which was probably actually the same fiery shape in the sky which the boys had spotted, and not a plane at all—and investigated the scene, but they found nothing. No flying saucer, and no monster.

The following morning, the editor of the Braxton Democrat visited the site, where he discovered “skid marks” and “an odd, gummy deposit” in the field. In the years since, true believers have tried to tout these findings as proof of a UFO landing, though Joe Nickell of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry interviewed locals as part of an investigation of the Flatwoods Monster in 2000 and was told that the “landing evidence” was actually left by a 1942 Chevy pickup truck belonging to one Max Lockard, who had driven out to investigate the spot during the night.

In his ensuing article, Nickell also explained away the rest of the legend surrounding the Flatwoods Monster. The pulsing red glow he attributed to one of three airplane navigation beacons visible from the hilltop, while the unidentified flying object was, he argued, actually just a meteor. In fact, a meteor had been visible that night across three different states, including West Virginia. As for the monster itself?

By Nickell’s estimation, what the kids and Kathleen May saw in the field that night was nothing more sinister than a barn owl perched on a branch. It explains the shape of the creature’s head, the “small, claw-like hands,” and even the creature’s hissing squeal and gliding motion. The green body could have simply been underbrush beneath the limb, while the reddish glow of its head could have been a reflection from those same airplane navigation beacons.

Could the Flatwoods Monster have been something as simple as an owl in a tree? For some, Nickell’s explanation more than fits the bill. Others prefer to continue to believe in the existence of Braxxie. Regardless of whether the Flatwoods Monster was real, or just a figment borne of panic and excitement, the effect of the monster’s sighting on the local community is very real indeed.

Today, you can buy toys, shirts, posters, and all sorts of other memorabilia emblazoned with the figure of the Flatwoods Monster. When you drive into the small West Virginia town, you are greeted with a sign that says “Welcome to Flatwoods / Home of the Green Monster.”

There is a museum dedicated to the creature, and the Braxton County Convention and Visitor’s Bureau has installed tall chairs built and painted to look like the Flatwoods Monster, ready-made for tourist photos. You can even get a “Free Braxxie” sticker depicting the monster if you take photos of all five chairs. And every year, the community observes Flatwoods Days, which, according to the Braxton County website, celebrates the history of Flatwoods and “the legend of the Braxton County Monster.”

Coming up, I have one final story to share. A Weirdo family member tells the story of a ghost named Matilda, when Weird Darkness returns.

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A story sent in by a Weirdo family member who wishes to remain anonymous.

So, before my grandmother moved closer to where my parents and aunts and uncles live now, she used to live in a big, double house a few hours south of us. The house was huge, which made it a TON of fun for me and my cousins when we were younger and would spend the night. It was the perfect place to play hide and seek, or go on secret spy missions with our walkie talkies. However, the house had sort of an eerie feel to it, especially at night time. You know, that sort of..”man I really don’t want to look around the corner” kind of feel? Like someone..something..is going to be there? Well back when I was younger, before she had her dog, they swore up and down that her house was haunted by a ghost named Matilda. Of course the kids weren’t supposed to know, as it would freak them out and they wouldn’t want to go there anymore. But my parents, who are skeptical of the whole paranormal ordeal, have some experiences themselves that they can’t explain. Once my mother was doing laundry while we were all down there, and she had this big clothes basket piled full of clothes that she was carrying. Of course she couldn’t see where she was going down the hall, and full force bumped into something. She peered around the clothes basket to see if she had hit a stand or something in her way, but to her surprise the hallway was completely empty. My father had an experience the visit before. He was in the computer room looking at old pictures of the family, when he caught something out of the corner of his eye. He could plainly see the door shutting, all on its own, in a room with no windows, meaning no draft. Needless to say he got out of that room fast, and when they packed up her stuff to move a few months ago, he had a horrible feeling of being in the room, like something was in there with him, and my dad is the biggest skeptic I know. They’ve had some experiences when we weren’t there, including having the radio turn on at random times during the night, to which my Gram’s now husband had to tell Matilda to keep it off, and since then she’s never turned it back on. They’ve also had police show up multiple times during the night a few days, saying they got a call from the location, but nobody there had rang for them. And once they had a horrible leak from their upstairs bathroom that had caused water spots on the ceiling in the kitchen, but when the plumber arrived and checked things out, he said none of the plumbing had anything wrong with it, and that he couldn’t find a leak, or any water for that matter, anywhere in the bathroom. I’m glad she moved out of that house, I never dared got up during the night, for fear of what I may run into. I never understood why they named her Matilda either, until I came across a newspaper in their attic while we were going through it one day, that had an obituary in it for an old woman named Matilda who had died there. When they got their dog however, all of the activity had stopped. I guess she’s more of a cat person.

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 the show, growing our Weirdo family in the process – plus, it helps get the word out about resources that are available for those who suffer from depression. So please share the podcast with others.

I’d like to invite you to church today at the Church of the Undead – and all Weirdos are welcome!

I just posted a new message titled: “Bridge Over Clashing Waters (or, Shut Your Pie Hole and Listen)”.

You can give it a listen right now by clicking on the Church of the Undead link in the show notes, or at WeirdDarkness.com, or search for “Church of the Undead” wherever you listen to podcasts!

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.

“Skinwalkers and Shapeshifters” by Nida Sea

“Blood Soaked Gardette-LePrete Mansion” by Adam Karlin

“Psychedelic UFO Sightings” by Nick Redfern

“Struck By a Meteor” by Martin Chalakoski

“The Legend of the Flatwoods Monster” by Orin Grey

“Matilda” submitted anonymously to WeirdDarkness.com

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… “When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.’” — John 8:12

And a final thought… “If you feel like you’re losing everything, remember that trees lose their leaves every year and they still stand tall and wait for better days to come.” – Unknown

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

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