“GIANT BUGS AND MANTIS MEN” and 4 More Creepy True Stories! #WeirdDarkness

GIANT BUGS AND MANTIS MEN” and 4 More Creepy True Stories! #WeirdDarkness

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IN THIS EPISODE: When you hear the words “Loch Ness” you immediately think of Nessie – the Loch Ness Monster. But this deep, lengthy body of water in Scotland is known for other strange creatures – including what some are reporting as a giant bird of prey. *** At just 14 years old, Jesse Pomeroy became the youngest convicted murderer in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. What would drive a boy so young to such brutal crimes? *** Weirdo family member Shaylynn Hayworth describes the haunted house she lived in as a child, and the ghostly occurrences that took place in her bedroom at night. *** When you sit down to a good ghost story, you expect horrors, terrifying encounters, frightening situations… but not all ghosts are malevolent. In fact, some appear to take solace from beyond the grave by reaching out to those still living to help them, even rescue someone or save a mortal’s life. *** Bugs. Spiders. All manner of creepy crawlies raise goosebumps for many. But even those who have no natural fear of insects might run in terror if they see one the size of a human being. And that is exactly what people around the world have been reporting.

TRANSCRIPT FOR THIS EPISODE…
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“Loch Ness Monster-Sized Owl” by Nick Redfern: http://bit.ly/2LI4FXJ
“Ghosts To The Rescue” by Inigo Gonzalez: http://bit.ly/2K3q36u
“Haunting In My Bedroom” by Weirdo family member, Shaylynn Hayworth
“The Fiend of Boston” by Stephanie Almazan: http://bit.ly/2GwpX6B
“Giant Bugs And Mantis Men” by Brent Swancer: http://bit.ly/32UKawc
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TRANSCRIPT:

Hey, Weirdos! Weird Darkness is in the running to be voted “Best Horror and Crime Podcast” by Podcast Magazine – but I need your votes to make it happen! I have a link below in the show notes to take you to the voting page, and you can vote as often as you’d like, using as many email addresses as you have available – so please do! Come back every day and vote if you can! And thanks in advance for doing so! Maybe we can make Weird Darkness an award winning podcast in 2020!

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

Humanoid. Tall. 6 foot at least –no reference points– but I sense 6’6″ – 7′. Moving away from me back up the bank. (I am chest-high in the river) The first thing I see was the ‘grasshopper’ thigh, but bending forward like a human. Triangular Head. Huge, slanted black eyes. Just like a Praying Mantis. It’s whole body was gangly, nobby, ((Nobby!) but you could still sense it was powerful, and no– I would not say it was a “Big Bug”– it was definitely humanoid despite the mantis/insect qualities!

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…

When you hear the words “Loch Ness” you immediately think of Nessie – the Loch Ness Monster. But this deep, lengthy body of water in Scotland is known for other strange creatures – including what some are reporting as a giant bird of prey.

At just 14 years old, Jesse Pomeroy became the youngest convicted murderer in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. What would drive a boy so young to such brutal crimes?

Weirdo family member Shaylynn Hayworth describes the haunted house she lived in as a child, and the ghostly occurrences that took place in her bedroom at night.

When you sit down to a good ghost story, you expect horrors, terrifying encounters, frightening situations… but not all ghosts are malevolent. In fact, some appear to take solace from beyond the grave by reaching out to those still living to help them, even rescue someone or save a mortal’s life.

Bugs. Spiders. All manner of creepy crawlies raise goosebumps for many. But even those who have no natural fear of insects might run in terror if they see one the size of a human being. And that is exactly what people around the world have been reporting.

While you’re listening, you might want to check out the Weird Darkness website. At WeirdDarkness.com you can sign up for the newsletter, find transcripts of the episodes, find paranormal and horror audiobooks I’ve narrated, watch old horror movies and hilarious horror hosts for free, you can find my other podcast, “The Church of the Undead”, plus you can visit the “Hope In The Darkness” page if you are struggling with depression or dark thoughts. 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!

There are more than a few people in this world who find insects, spiders, and bugs of all types to be unsettling at best, and revolting at worst. They seem to prickle at some innate, primeval part of our brain that says “run!”, and they have become a staple of all manner of horror stories. There are reports out there that seem to take things to a new level, though, with witnesses coming across such creeping, skittering denizens from beyond our understanding that are not only mysterious, but also far beyond the sizes of anything we know of.

An incredibly weird report appeared on the site Cryptozoology News in 2013, and was given by a 32-year-old doctor named Marco Gessatti, who was on a flight from Rome to Boston at the time. It was a rather uneventful flight at first, and 30,000 feet over the Atlantic Ocean is probably the last place one would expect to have a run in with some sort of mystery creature, but things got interesting to say the least when Gessatti says that he was overcome by a sudden and inexplicable sense of overwhelming dread and a feeling of nauseousness. He at first thought that this was some kind of abrupt panic attack, but looking around he could see that others sitting nearby seemed to be suffering the same ill effects. This is where things would get intense very quickly.

Gessatti claims that he heard a loud, jolting thud on the window of the plane, which some others around him also clearly heard, and when he looked out into the sky he saw something from a horror film. There, fastened to the outside of the plane was allegedly some sort of immense, beetle-like insect with a metallic green body and large segmented eyes, that was somehow able to maintain its grip on the aircraft. He would say of what happened thus:

*****It had attached to the window with a claw-like structure on its big black legs. There were hairs and hooks and some sort of adhesive pad that apparently helped the animal stay on the plane. Then it unfastened its legs from the glass and his green, metallic body opened up. Two wings came out, I should say “rolled out”, like a rug. They were translucent and I could see it full of red veins. It looked like tree branches, or a leaf. The thing glided for about 2 seconds then it started flapping its wings, slowly. It was incredibly slow, not like a regular insect where you can’t even see the shape of the wings. His eyes stared at us, looked like a red flashlight.*****

After a few moments, the bizarre creature was gone. It would turn out that 10 other people had seen it as well, and one even claimed to have taken a photo of it, although it is unclear what happened to it. Gessatti claims to have exchanged e-mail addresses with the passenger who took it, but that it was never sent. He would say:

*****I exchanged e-mails with one of them that claimed to have taken a picture, but he never replied. I never liked the way e-mail addresses work, you get a letter wrong, and that’s that. Or maybe he doesn’t want to send it to me, I don’t know. I know it’s hard to believe. I know what I saw, you know? I have never seen anything like this. Big, big insect. Out of this world.*****

This is certainly one of the most bizarre accounts I’ve seen in while, and leaves myriad questions swirling about it. First of all, how big was it exactly? There is no precise size estimate, save to say that it was supposedly gigantic. Also, what could it possibly be and why was it so high up in the atmosphere? How could it manage to match speeds and course with, and then attach itself to, an airliner going at full speed tens of thousands of feet in the air, and why? What caused that debilitating feeling of panicked dread and nausea amongst some of the passengers? Was this a real insect, an alien, and inter-dimensional creature, or what? The only evidence we are left with is this testimony and a sketch of the creature, and there has been no success in tracking the other witnesses down, it seems. It is all so outlandish that, although the witness is described as being intelligent and reliable, one wonders if any of this really happened or not, although it would seem odd for a doctor to make up such a far-out tale for no reason at all.

Perhaps even creepier are the various reports of giant spiders lurking within the jungles of the African interior. Lurking within the thick, nearly impenetrable jungles of the most remote parts of primarily the Democratic Republic of Congo, but also Cameroon, Uganda and the Central African Republic, are said to be enormous ground dwelling spiders which the natives of the region refer to as J’ba Fofi (pronounced ch-bah foo fee), which literally translates to “giant spider.”

The J’ba Fofi are said to be reminiscent of a tarantula in both form and color, with adults exhibiting a dark brown coloration, but the real difference is in the size, as the Congolese Giant Spiders are said to attain leg spans of anywhere between an unsettling 4 to 6 feet. This shockingly immense size allows them to allegedly prey on a variety of small animals including birds, small jungle antelopes known as duiker, monkeys, and various reptiles, which they trap in an elaborate pattern of webs strung out between trees and devour after pouncing forth from a shallow depression camouflaged by leaves, in a manner very similar to trap door spiders. Reports from missionaries in the region and natives have long suggested that the spiders are even known to kill humans on occasion and that their venom is extremely potent, which is illustrated by old reports from the jungle choked African interior of porters or tribesmen succumbing to giant spider bites in short order.

Although explorers, missionaries, and natives had long told of seeing these massive spiders in the depths of the African jungle, perhaps the report that most thrust the J’ba Fofi into the spotlight was a sighting made by a Reginald and Margurite Lloyd in 1938, and which was chronicled by cryptozoologist George Eberhart. According to the account, the Lloyds were exploring in a remote region of what was then known as the Belgian Congo when they spied a dark shape skitter out from the underbrush and across the road in front of them. At first, the couple thought that it was merely some sort of cat, monkey, or some other common jungle animal, and stopped their truck to avoid hitting it and to let it pass. It was then that it became apparent to the horrified explorers that the creature was in fact a gigantic spider with a purported leg span of at least 4 or 5 feet. Before either of the startled eyewitnesses could get a camera or even really overcome their shock at seeing such a nightmarish site, the spider had already scampered into the thick brush on the other side of the track and was gone. Mrs. Lloyd was reportedly so upset by the incident that she demanded that they return to their home in Rhodesia at once.

Another report of giant spiders comes from Uganda during the 1890s, when an English missionary named Arthur Simes was exploring along the shores of Lake Nyasa. As Simes and company were trekking along, several of his porters allegedly became hopelessly entangled in a network of webbing that hugged the ground and was too strong to break with any means they possessed. It was not long before at least two giant spiders with leg spans of around 4 feet across pounced upon the ensnared men and bit them before Simes was able to drive them off with his pistol. Moments after being bitten, the porters were reported to have become feverish and delirious, their extremities swelled up considerably, and death followed shortly after.

There are also accounts of giant spider sightings from several other expeditions into the region in search of yet another cryptid, the saurian, dinosaur-like Mokele-mbembe. Such expeditions often heard stories from the natives about the J’ba Fofi, or even saw the spiders themselves. In fact, one naturalist and cryptozoologist, William J. Gibbons, was able to glean more detailed information on the J’ba Fofi during one of his many expeditions to the dark Congo in search of the Mokele-mbembe. Through various conversations with local tribes, it soon became apparent that not only did the natives know of them and see the giant spiders on a fairly regular basis, but that they had a good deal of knowledge about their behavior and life cycle. For instance, the eggs of the spider were said to be white or a pale yellow-white and around the size of a peanut, which were laid in clusters wrapped in webs in the underbrush and which were widely avoided by those who came across them. The newly hatched young spiders were said to be a bright yellow color with a purple abdomen, and gradually became a dark brown as they matured. Their preferred method of hunting was said to be laying an ambush for prey by weaving a series of webs between trees on either side of a game trail and lying in wait within a ditch covered with a pile of leaves woven together with webbing and said to be reminiscent of a pygmy hut.

The natives claimed that the venom of the spiders was powerful enough to drop a full grown man in seconds. Interestingly, Gibbons was able to learn that the J’ba Fofi had once been common and had had the unfortunate habit of sometimes building their nests near human settlements, but that they had become rarer over the years, suggesting that their numbers were perhaps dwindling or they were being driven by habitat encroachment further into the depths of the jungle. Gibbons was able to track down accounts of giant spider activity in the steamy jungles of Africa as recently as 2000, when he heard from a chief of the Baka tribe that a J’ba Fofi had built a nest near his village in the wilds of Cameroon.

Gibbons’ information is very intriguing to me not only for its detail, but also because it demonstrates that the tribes of the area saw the J’ba Fofi as a very real flesh and blood creature and a real part of their world. The detailed description of the J’ba Fofi’s life cycle, with mention of the eggs and the changing color as the juveniles attained adulthood, suggest that to the natives the giant spiders were not merely some sacred spirit or revered creature of myth, but rather a regular, albeit dangerous, jungle creature like any other. The description of the spiders is very matter-of-fact, and there seems to be no attempt on the natives’ part to play up the attributes of the spiders or make them seem like anything other than just another of the many denizens of the jungle, with a normal life cycle like any other real organism.

Besides the fact that no such spider on such a vast magnitude has ever been documented by science, there seems to be no reason to assume they would be lying about such things and this has all of the hallmarks of an ethno-known animal, or one that is known by natives or locals but is not typically yet formally recognized by outsiders or science. Bear in mind that a great many new species that were discovered, including ones that at one time were even considered fantastical or absurd, such as the gorilla, okapi, and panda, were at some point ethno-known animals, and native accounts of the creatures which they take as a fact of life but for which we have no strong evidence yet are not always to be brushed off or dismissed so lightly.

Do more legs equal more frightening? If so, what are we to make of the numerous reports of giant centipedes said to prowl the remote corners of the earth? In the uncharted wilds of the Amazon travelers have long come back from the wild frontiers of the rain forests with tales of horrifying centipedes measuring up to 5 feet long slithering through the underbrush. These creatures are said to have venom that can quickly kill a full grown man, and is so powerful as to completely melt and dissolve flesh. Some reports have even made mention of the creatures projecting their potent poison over great distances. While no evidence has ever been found of such large living centipedes in South America, native Amazonian tribes have at times claimed to have killed such intimidating beasts.

Another account of massive cryptid centipede was first mentioned in an article in the August 2009 issue of BBC Wildlife Magazine, in which naturalist Jeremy Holden describes a truly strange and terrifying creature. While exploring in the remote jungles of Sumatra, Holden visited an isolated village in the western part of the country, where the locals told him of a type of centipede which was said to be around 12 inches in length, with a thick body green in color, and a wicked, nearly unbearably painful bite. This mysterious centipede, which they called the Upah, was said to lurk in trees and have the unsettling ability to let out a high pitched shriek or mewl that was described as sounding like that of a cat.

These stories of a shrieking or yowling giant centipede were not taken very seriously by Holden, but he would soon have a firsthand encounter with one. A few weeks after first hearing of these strange creatures, Holden claimed that he had been walking along a jungle trail with some guides when he heard a sudden, booming cat-like scream pierce down from the trees above, which was followed by a strange rattling sound. The guides confirmed that this was indeed the cry of an Upah, but even after scanning the trees with binoculars Holden was unable to locate the elusive centipede itself.

On another occasion, Holden was yet again traversing the thick jungle when he heard an unidentifiable cry from the canopy once again, which sounded remarkably similar to the one he had heard before. However, one of Holden’s companions on this particular excursion was an avid birdwatcher, and identified the noise as coming from a rare species of bird called the Malaysian honeyguide (Indicator archipelagicus), which is well known for its distinctive, cat-like call and for being easier to hear than to see. Does this mean that the local villagers were misidentifying the call of this elusive bird as something else, or is the Upah a genuine ethno-known cryptid giant centipede? No one knows.

Moving over to North America we make another addition to the list of giant centipedes. The Ozark Mountains, in particular the areas of  Gainesville, Bradleyville, Stone County, and Taney County, in Missouri, and Marion County, in Arkansas, have been claimed to be the lair of some kind of mysterious enormous centipede since at least the mid-19th century. Described as being up to 18 inches in length, the Ozark Giant Centipede was frequently reported from the region at the time by frightened locals and visitors alike, who sometimes described the creature’s odd habit of wrapping its massive body around its young.

In one case, in 1860 a specimen measuring 18 inches long was allegedly captured at Jimmie’s Creek in Marion County, Arkansas, and its body preserved in alcohol and displayed at a drugstore, but the specimen was lost during the Civil War. Another case tells of a young boy who was attacked by one of the giant centipedes and bitten, after which the flesh of his leg literally rotted off, crippling him for the rest of his life. Another case still tells of a boy who was out hunting with his brother when he was chased by an immense centipede several feet in length, who seemed intent on attacking the boy until his brother shot it dead.

There are even larger mystery centipedes reported from the Ozarks from time to time. In one report, an unidentified bow hunter told a harrowing tale. The witness claimed that while out hunting at a small, private wood in Sebastian County, Arkansas, he went along a trail towards a rocky ridge to take cover and lie in wait for his quarry. As he approached the ridge, he claimed to have seen movement around 40 feet away from his position, and he soon realized that it was a wounded deer that appeared to be writhing about on the ground. On closer inspection, something about the odd scene didn’t sit right with the hunter, as the deer’s legs and head were not moving, and it seemed to be awkwardly sliding along the ground away from him.

The slightly unnerved hunter decided to move out into the woods to move around to get a better angle to see what was going on, and that was when he received a chilling shock. It seemed at first that the deer was being dragged along by a very large snake, but as the hunter warily moved closer he claimed he noticed that it was something far weirder and more horrific than a snake. It was what appeared to be a massive centipede of some sort. It was described as dark colored, around 10 feet long, with hundreds of skittering legs and armored segments all down its length, and it was determinedly pulling the deer carcass along the forest floor by its hindquarters and tail with sidewinding movements of its thick, powerful body.

The now horrified hunter followed the creature down the ridge, entranced by the hideous sight, until it came to a rock pile which it struggled to drag the deer over. That was when the hunter claimed that the giant centipede let go of the deer carcass and reared up to look in his direction. The startled hunter described being watched by its piercing eyes and mentioned that if he had had a gun he might have fired, but was unsure of whether an arrow would merely antagonize it. Instead of attacking the monstrosity, he slowly backed away and then quickly walked out of the vicinity, never to return to that particular wood to hunt.

Such giant centipedes have been seen in other places throughout the world, including Japan. The Edo Period (1603 to 1867) produced many stories of giant centipedes said to be up to a meter (3.2 feet) in length. These centipedes were reported to be highly poisonous, with venom that could kill a grown man in minutes. On occasion, specimens were said to be exhibited in the various misemono side shows that were popular at the time.

Such stories are not confined to merely anomalous history. From the rural areas of Japan come modern reports of giant centipedes far larger than any currently known to exist. One such report comes from a farmer in Saga Prefecture, who was working on a woodpile one day in 1986 only to be horrified by an enormous centipede the man claimed to be 60cm (around 2 feet) in length, that came skittering out from under some logs. The farmer claims to have killed it with a rake, but later threw out the body in revulsion.

For most people, this is probably already an uncomfortably large size for a centipede, yet even larger ones have been reported. A group of campers in Nagano prefecture claimed to have heard an odd rustling one evening coming from one of their tents. Upon closer inspection, the noise turned out to be from a monstrous centipede claimed to have been around 2 feet in length. The creature was apparently startled and made a quick escape past the terrified campers, out of the tent, and into the forest.

These are certainly not anything that most of us would want to run into scrambling through the brush, but even more bizarre are reports of what actually seems to be some sort of insectoid humanoid in the area of the Musconetcong River, in New Jersey. Sightings began in the early 2000s, when a witness named Joe Perentie was fishing along the river when he suddenly felt some sort of electrical tingling flow through him and his hair stand up on end. When he whipped around to look about, he claims to have seen lurking in some nearby brush a 7-foot-tall entity with dark green skin and a head that looked like that of a praying mantis, which had prominent mandibles that seemed to be in the process of chewing something.

Apparently the two stared at each other for a few moments, and then Joe began to get the distinct feeling that his mind was somehow being probed, that there was someone or something crawling around in his head who was not supposed to be there. He began to back away slowly, and that was when the “Mantis Man” would unfurl a pair of immense wings, after which is was enveloped in a sudden creeping mist and vanished without a trace. In 2006, there was another report of a similar creature, from a witness names Paul Jacks, who had also been fishing along the Musconetcong River. The witness would describe the sighting on the site Phantoms and Monsters thus:

*****Humanoid. Tall. 6 foot at least –no reference points– but I sense 6’6″ – 7′. Moving away from me back up the bank. (I am chest-high in the river) The first thing I see was the ‘grasshopper’ thigh, but bending forward like a human. Then the whole form. He is looking at me over his shoulder, moving up the bank, astonished, amazed. What, that I am in the water in a strong current, that I can see him? But yes we lock eyes and this creature is astonished– I get the sense that he can’t believe I am in the water, that he can’t believe I have seen him, that I am not perturbed at all– something of all three, I still don’t know– just astonishment and he is actually trying to get away from me and the water! Triangular Head. Huge, slanted black eyes. Just like a Praying Mantis. It’s whole body was gangly, nobby, ((Nobby!) but you could still sense it was powerful, and no– I would not say it was a “Big Bug”– it was definitely humanoid despite the mantis/insect qualities.*****

Interestingly, the creature in this case also seemed to simply dematerialize into thin air as the horrified witness looked on. Yet another sighting comes from Hackettstown, New Jersey, along the same river. The witness claimed to have encountered the same entity in 2011 as he drove along a place called Newburgh Rd, and he would say of what he saw thus:

*****As I drove near the bridge over the river, I noticed to my left something (I thought a fisherman) standing in the river just off the south bank. I slowed the car and looked closer. It wasn’t a person and it was transparent-like with a weird shape. It moved slowly towards the bank and into the trees. I drove further so I could see it coming out of the trees. That’s the last I saw of it. It was tall, 8 ft. or so and had long thin arms hanging off of it. The color was a pale brown, but I could see through it! The head was small compared to the body.*****

There have been other sightings of something weird lurking in the area as well, and it all leaves one to wonder just what in the world it could be. It seems unlikely that there is a real, Bigfoot-sized praying mantis that has been lurking in New Jersey undiscovered, so we are probably dealing with either a hoax or something very odd indeed, perhaps something inter-dimensional in nature or even an alien according to some. Whatever it is, the Mantis Man of New Jersey still gets mentioned in reports on various supernatural forums from time to time.

Are we looking at anything possibly cryptozoological in nature? Are these undiscovered creepy crawlies that have simply eluded us or are they something else? No matter what the origins of the creatures described here may be, such accounts are perhaps enough to cause the skin to crawl for many. They manage to worm their way into some primitive part of our psyche that tells us that these creatures are something to be avoided, especially so if they are as large as anything described here. Whether any of these creatures are real or not, the very idea that some of them skitter and scamper about out in the periphery of our knowledge is perhaps enough to be disturbing, and they are certainly not anything one wants to come across while out in the wilds.

When Weird Darkness returns…

When you sit down to a good ghost story, you expect horrors, terrifying encounters, frightening situations… but not all ghosts are malevolent. In fact, some appear to take solace from beyond the grave by reaching out to those still living to help them, even rescue someone or save a mortal’s life.

But first, Weirdo family member Shaylynn Hayworth describes the haunted house she lived in as a child, and the ghostly occurrences that took place in her bedroom at night.

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This next story is from Weirdo family member, Shaylynn Hayworth. Here is her story…

Im currently 21, and I know my childhood house is haunted. Since I was little i had always heard strange things, the weird noises at night, the strange feelings when i was alone. But as i got older i began to experience more. Both me and my brother slept in the basement. My two sisters and parents slept upstairs. My grandparents on my fathers side had passed before i had gotten the chance to meet them. And recently we lost my grandfather on my mothers side. My fathers parents had lived in the house before my parents moved in. The year after i graduated high school i took a year off to work and figure my life out. This was about 5 yeas ago. It was a week after all my friends had left for college and my sister and dad had almost gotten in a car accident that would have killed them both. I was lying in bed, just woken up from the night and i rolled over and closed my eyes. I then began to hear foot steps on my hardwood floors. I opened my eyes and no one was there. When i closed them again i heard the footsteps, just walking around my room. After that i had gotten up for the day. Skip to the next morning when i had just woken up again. I had a plastic grocery bag in the corner of my room, and again when i had closed my eyes after waking up i heard the bag crumble up, and been tossed across my room. When i opened my eyes again the bag was next to my bed. I had no windows open as my window was broken and couldn’t open at the time and all vents in my room were closed. That following night i was laying in bed, again i had my eyes closed and was trying to sleep. I then heard a deep breath being let out, it was the sound of a man, maybe elderly, and i felt it, i felt the breath being let out on my right cheek, as almost he was standing right over top of me when he let it out. I opened my eyes expecting to see my brother, playing a trick on me as we always tried to scare each other at night, yet i seen an elderly man, standing at the side of me bed, watching me. I freaked out and covered myself with the blankets. I then called for my brother and he came into my room and the man was gone. The next day i told my family about what i had been experiencing, and they all didn’t believe me. Through the years there has been more close calls and losses in my family. My brother in a car accident, my dad falling ill and spending 6 months in the hospital, and the loss of our grandfather. I had also moved away from home to go to college. But it seemed that every time something would happen in our family, the strange occurrences would begin again. My sister experienced the sound of someone walking down the hallway, dragging something behind them while alone at the house. My mother had experienced the feeling of someone sitting on her bed at night and choking her right before my dad got sick. And again more strange noises. The most recent occurrence was a few months ago. Me and my boyfriend had made the trip home to visit family during easter. My grandfather had passed away a few months prior. While sleeping in my childhood room, i had suddenly woken up, only to see a white figure in the shape of a man. I didn’t feel scared. He was glowing. I stared at it for awhile and eventually i woke my boyfriend up. When he awoke he claimed he didn’t see anything, and the figure was then gone. I had heard rumours that out house had been built on the spot where 4 men had died in a sewer. I like to think that it may have been my grandparents on my fathers side, checking in and making sure the family was okay. Or that it was my grandfather letting me know he was in a better place. I try and not think of any experience as bad, or of the spirits that may of been the ones that had passed, long before we lived there.
Weird things had also happened at my brothers house, he has recently built a house at our farmyard, and yes you guessed it another spot of a death years ago. It belonged to a man, who lived there with his wife and baby. Him and his father had gotten into an argument and the father came over and shot both his wife and baby. My brother and his girlfriend had experienced things falling off the wall, the sound of gun shots in the middle of the night, and the sound of people talking, yelling, and even a baby crying. We were there one night for a fire, and my brothers dog began barking and running into the trees, it was dark so we couldn’t see anything, but we heard people talking and the sounds of the trees rustling, we call ran into the house from there. I don’t know why, but our family seems to always pick the spots where bad things had happened.

When the topic of ghosts arises, it typically involves poltergeists behaving creepily or maliciously toward the people and locations they happen to haunt. Yet these preconceptions about ghosts overlook the notable times spirits have reportedly helped people in dire situations. Though deadly ghost encounters may sometimes occur, there are plenty of stories that involve supernatural entities saving the day. People who claim that ghosts saved them have relayed encounters with friendly specters that managed to rescue them or a loved one.

There are historical and modern accounts of times when spirits were saviors, meaning that those from beyond might have influenced human history more than anyone ever considered. Maybe Casper is only one of the many friendly ghosts in the world.

In March 2015, Utah police officers investigated a damaged, partially submerged car in the Spanish Fork River. As they got closer, they clearly heard a young, female voice cry out from the car, “Help me, we’re in here.” Police immediately went to work; they pulled the wreck out of the river and tipped it right-side up.

Inside, they found Jennifer Groesbeck and her 18-month-old daughter, Lily. Jennifer had seemingly passed hours before, so it was unlikely that she called for help. Lily was barely conscious, but alive.

The emergency personnel at the scene appreciated the disembodied assist, though they never established the source of the cry for help. As officer Tyler Beddoes put it: “For two nights I’ve laid awake trying to figure out exactly what it could be. All I know is it was there, we all heard it. It was extra motivation.”

In February 1897 in Greenbrier, WV, Mary Jane Heaster claimed she started receiving visits from her late daughter, Elva “Zona” Heaster Shue, regularly at midnight. Zona had died a month prior of “everlasting faint,” though Heaster suspected a more nefarious cause was to blame. When she took Zona’s burial sheet home and washed it, Heaster watched as the water ran red.

Because of this, Heaster took the situation seriously when her deceased daughter allegedly appeared in the middle of the night. Zona told Heaster that her husband, Erasmus “Edward” Stribbling Trout Shue, had snapped her neck. The specter reportedly rotated her head to show her mother what happened to her.

Heaster immediately went to the police and told them her story. Miraculously, they believed her and exhumed Zona’s body. They performed an autopsy since Edward had prevented the local coroner from examining Zona when she died. Doctors quickly discovered Zona’s neck was indeed broken, and they arrested Edward for killing her.

Dolly Parton, the wearer of coats of many colors, apparently has guardians of many dimensions. The famous country singer and actress claims she received help from both of her grandmothers long after they died.

On one occasion, they warned her not to board a plane headed to Salt Lake City. As Parton recalls, “Suddenly, I saw my grandma’s ghost standing in the corner. She kept saying, ‘Don’t catch the plane… Don’t catch the plane.'”

Parton decided to heed the advice and switched flights. The flight crashed, leaving no survivors. Later, her guardian grannies also supposedly warned her about a potentially costly deal; Parton declined to sign a contract that would have resulted in her losing millions of dollars.

Pawleys Island, SC, is known for its beautiful homes, amazing beachfront properties, and frequent hurricanes. Those who live there are aware of another island mainstay: the Gray Man, a figure dressed in old-fashioned pirate clothes. Legend states he appears before the onset of a hurricane, and those who see him will survive with their house intact.

In 1989, Jim and Clara Moore, longtime residents of Pawleys Island, say the Gray Man saved their lives. During a stroll along the beach, the Moores claim they saw no one else on the beach except for one man who was walking toward them. Jim remembers, “When I got within speaking distance, I raised my hand to say ‘hi’ or ‘beautiful evening’ or whatever, and he disappeared.”

After Hurricane Hugo hit in 1989, most homes in Moore’s neighborhood ended up destroyed, except for theirs. They believe it was because the Gray Man had come to see them on that fateful day.

Another witness to the Gray Man, a fisherman, says he saw the figure while fishing a few miles north of Pawleys. While out in the early evening, the witness alleges he saw someone waving to him on the shore. Drawing closer, the fisherman realized the man, dressed in the garb of an old pirate, held up his hand as if to say “stop.”

The figure disappeared from the shore, and the fisherman decided to take it as a sign. Later that night, a strong storm hit the area, and the fisherman credits the Gray Man for saving him from it.

In 2007, a young woman staying with a friend experienced her first paranormal activity. The friend she stayed with had a shrine dedicated to his late sister, to whom he performed a sort of daily ritual in her honor: a shot of tequila and turning on the stereo to play a song she loved. The woman says her friend assured her that as long as she stayed under this roof, his sister would protect her.

One day while home alone, the woman alleged that her abusive former partner broke into the house and tried to attack her. He threatened her with a knife, but the shrine suddenly came to life. It shook violently, and candles were blown out; a crucifix flung itself at her attacker. After the stereo on the memorial turned on by itself, he fled.

She purportedly never heard from him again.

In the early 1900s, a New Jersey farmer by the name of Charles Henry Durand barely escaped with his life, thanks to the warnings he supposedly got from his late wife. According to his story, as he rode home in a buggy, the horse pulling it suddenly stopped. Within moments, a ghostly woman in white appeared, which Durand recognized as his late wife. Both he and his horse remained frozen in fear as she whispered to him, “There is danger at home. Stay away ’til morning.”

As frightened as his horse, Durand was forced to spend hours unhitching the animal from the buggy so he could get home. By the time he arrived, it was already daylight, and Durand noticed a number of things amiss in his home: a window was open and muddy footprints covered the floor.

Durand also noticed a string stretched across his bedroom doorway; he set it off using his umbrella. It triggered a gun attached to the string, creating a booby trap to shoot anyone who entered the door. Without the warning from his wife, Durand would have been struck by the trap.

On Christmas Eve 2016, Shropshire resident Jane Reynolds sensed something strange afoot in her home, but she dismissed it before heading to bed. On Christmas Day at 4 am, she claims an unknown force ripped her duvet off her bed and began shaking her. Before she could process this wakeup call, Reynolds heard banging and screaming from somewhere in her house.

Afraid that her sons might be in danger, she ran to check on them. In their room, Reynolds saw one child, Ethan, sleeping silently, while her other child, 18-month-old George, was softly choking. She quickly turned him over and patted him on the back to clear his airway. Later, she realized that something or someone must have warned her – since Ethan was sleeping and George’s airway was blocked, whom did she hear screaming?

Her friends told her that 50 years prior, a family moved out of the home shortly after their baby perished. Reynolds believes the baby who passed had warned her about George.

Northumberland resident Sonia Burton suffered a severe heart attack in January 2016. Arriving to work early that day, Burton began experiencing chest pains before she collapsed. Paramedics arrived on the scene quickly, but they failed to resuscitate her immediately.

They transported her to the hospital, and the trip took a grueling 56 minutes, during which Burton was technically gone.

While the paramedics scrambled to save her life, Burton says her late husband visited her. According to Burton, her husband said, “It’s not your time, Sonia, go back to the children.” Then she came back to life. The paramedics who rescued her were astounded – they said no one they ever saved remained departed for as long as Burton.

On June 6, 1994, Christine Skubish and her 3-year-old son, Nick, set out on the road from Sacramento, CA, to restart their lives. On the way, Skubish fell asleep at the wheel and crashed 40 feet into an embankment below the road. She passed instantly, but her son Nick survived – but barely.

On June 10, Sacramento local Deborah Hoyt arose from sleep in the early morning, feeling as if she needed to leave urgently. As she and her husband traveled along Highway 50, they came across a woman lying on the side of the road. The couple immediately phoned the police who then investigated the area but found nothing initially.

After learning of the Skubishs’ disappearance, El Dorado County Deputy Rich Strasser decided to return to the site where the Hoyts claimed they saw the woman.

Examining the area, Strasser discovered a shoe belonging to a child, which led him to discover Skubish’s car in the embankment. Though exposed to the elements and on the verge of starvation when rescued, young Nick managed to live through the tragedy. Skubish’s family believe it was Christine herself who tried to look out for her son one last time before her final departure.

In 2016, three buildings in Omaha, NE, were slated for demolition, including the Christian Specht Building. Built in 1884, it was historically significant for being the only cast-iron building in all of Nebraska. In an attempt to preserve the structure, over a thousand people signed a petition and held a rally.

Even local ghost-hunting team, Rural Investigators of the Paranormal, wanted to save the building; they tried to do so in a unique way. They went to the building, investigated it, and claimed that its creator, Christian Specht, still resided there. According to the team, they communicated with Specht through yes-no questions, asking, “Do you mind if we are in the building? Do you know this building is on the verge of getting torn down?” Thanks to the efforts of the public and ghost-hunters, the building was spared from destruction.

Up next on Weird Darkness…

When you hear the words “Loch Ness” you immediately think of Nessie – the Loch Ness Monster. But this deep, lengthy body of water in Scotland is known for other strange creatures – including what some are reporting as a giant bird of prey.

And… at just 14 years old, Jesse Pomeroy became the youngest convicted murderer in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. What would drive a boy so young to such brutal crimes?

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Our next Weirdo Watch Party is gonna be a great one! Coming up Saturday night, September 5th – we’ll be watching 1941’s “The Invisible Ghost” starring Bela Lugosi and Polly Ann Young, presented by horror hostess, Mistress Malicious! In the film, “The town’s most upright citizen suddenly becomes a homicidal maniac after his wife leaves him.” if that’s not an argument for marriage counseling, I don’t know what is! Please, join me, Mistress Malicious, and the whole Weirdo family for FREE as we watch the film and chat about it at the same time! We’ll provide the murder, you provide the munchies! The Weirdo Watch Party begins at 10pm Eastern – that’s 7pm Pacific, 8pm Mountain, 9pm Central. That’s Saturday, September 5th on the Weirdo Watch Party page at WeirdDarkness.com!

Loch Ness, Scotland – a body of water around 22-miles-long – is mostly noted for its legendary, resident monster: Nessie. It’s a fact, though, that Loch Ness has been the site of additional weirdness. Not just for years or decades, but for centuries. Long before Nessie was on the scene, Loch Ness was the haunt of Water-Horses and Kelpies. They were supernatural shapeshifters that would drag people into the deep water, drowning them and stealing their souls. Aleister Crowley (the “Great Beast”) owned a home at Loch Ness. Its name was Boleskine House. Visitors to, and subsequent owners of, Boleskine House talked of strange vibes and of shadowy, supernatural things lurking in the old house. There have been more than a few UFO encounters at Loch Ness. And Nessie-seeker Ted Holiday had a chilling encounter at the loch with a Man in Black. And, there is the matter of a curious owl seen at Loch Ness in 2007, which is the subject of today’s article.

The story involves a Scottish woman who I shall refer to as “Maxine,” and who I met in 2014. On a clear summer day in 2007, Maxine was walking her dog along the hills that overlook Loch Ness when she saw what, from her description, I can only describe as an “alien Grey.” When she first saw it, at a distance of a couple of hundred feet, she assumed it was a young child – chiefly because of its short height.

As she got closer, and as her dog froze to the spot, she could see that not only was it not a young boy: it wasn’t even human. Maxine and the Grey stared at each other for just a few seconds, after which it stretched its arms out and, in an instant, transformed into what Maxine described as an impossibly large owl: it was practically man-sized. It immediately took to the skies and headed across the loch at a fast rate. Maxine continue to watch, with astonishment, as the alien-owl thing vanished into the trees on the opposite side of the loch.

Maxine is one-hundred percent sure that she did not experience missing time. She does not have any vague memories of being taken aboard some kind of futuristic, alien craft. She is not plagued by graphic nightmares involving extraterrestrials. In fact, she is completely sure that what she recalls is exactly what she saw: a small, alien creature literally shapeshifting into the form of an owl.

Interestingly, since her experience took place, Maxine has come up with an intriguing theory to try and explain and rationalize the situation. She now believes that the Greys have the ability to transform their physical appearances. This, she also suggests, means that the Greys can spy on us whenever, and wherever, they choose, without being noticed for what they really are. If we see an owl, a black cat, a German Shepherd dog – the list goes on – we may actually be seeing something very different: a shapeshifting E.T. using a piece of brilliant camouflage.

Whatever you may think of Maxine’s theory (and her experience too), the fact is that there are numerous cases of UFOs and aliens being associated with, and linked to, owls. Check out, for example, Mike Clelland’s 2015 book, The Messengers. Its sub-title will give you an idea of its content: Owls, Synchronicity and the UFO Abductee. You can find my review of Mike’s book at this link. In part, I state:

“The chapter titled ‘Owls as a Screen Memory’ demonstrates something notable: that the UFO phenomenon often uses the owl motif as a means to mask the real nature of certain UFO encounters. Witnesses tell of seeing impossibly large owls, very often while driving late at night, and in situations involving so-called ‘Missing Time.’ We’re talking about people assuming they saw large, anomalous owls, when the reality of the situations was likely very different. Does the UFO phenomenon utilize owl-like imagery to try and ensure the witness fails to realize what really happened? This particular chapter suggests that’s exactly what’s going on.”

It’s unfair to categorize children as either naughty or nice, without any shades of gray in between. But in the case of one youngster from 19th century Boston, naughty doesn’t come close to describing his sadistic deeds.

Jesse Pomeroy was born November 29, 1859. Before his 15th birthday, he would become the youngest person convicted of first-degree murder in the history of Massachusetts.

As a child, Jesse was ridiculed because of a facial deformity—his right cornea was covered with a thick, white film. He kept to himself mostly, reading dimestore novels full of macabre tales instead of playing with the neighborhood kids or his older brother, Charles. Jesse’s father Thomas Pomeroy was an alcoholic and physically abused his young son, whipping him regularly. Jesse’s mother Ruth Ann Pomeroy sympathized with Jesse, but did little to stop the abuse.

This dismal environment undoubtedly had a negative effect on the boy. At age 12, he lashed out the only way he knew how—by bullying those smaller and weaker than him.

In the winter of 1871 in Chelsea, Massachusetts, reports surfaced of young boys being viciously assaulted by a mysterious attacker. Unbeknownst to the community and the Boston Globe, which referred to the perpetrator as the Red Devil and The Boy Torturer, the culprit was Jesse Pomeroy.

From the beginning, Jesse’s attacks were disturbing—not just mirroring the drunken beatings he received from his father, but taking them one sadistic step further. Jesse exploited the innocent nature of his young victims, promising candy and money to lure them away. Once he got them alone, he forced the children to strip naked, whereupon he whipped and beat them unconscious.

As the number of victims grew, Jesse’s methods became more brutal. He used knives and pins to slash their bodies and slit their faces, even sexually assaulting them. The terrified children reported how their attacker smiled and laughed throughout the ordeal.

Jesse’s mother came across the reports and feared she knew just who was behind the assaults. In an attempt to protect her son, she moved the family from Chelsea to South Boston. Subsequently, the attacks in Chelsea ceased—and began again in South Boston, where Jesse continued down his dark road of violence.

He targeted local children in much the same way, luring them with promises of sweets to desolate train tracks or the beach. In August 1872, a young boy was discovered brutalized and abandoned along the shore of Boston Harbor. A few weeks later, 5-year-old Robert Gould was found bound to a telephone pole, stabbed and bleeding. He was also sexually assaulted.

Despite the trauma Robert suffered, he was able to describe his attacker—honing in on the cloudy right eye. Jesse, age 13, was caught soon thereafter. A juvenile court found Pomeroy guilty of the attacks and sent him to the State Reform School of Westborough, where he would remain until he turned 18 years old.

Jesse’s one champion, his mother, did everything she could to get her son released—including striking up affairs with influential police officers. Ultimately, her efforts proved successful.

In February 1874, the state agreed to release Jesse into Ruth Ann’s guardianship. Pomeroy was a free boy.

By now, Jesse’s abusive father was out of the picture. Ruth Ann supported her family by operating a dressmaking store, while her eldest son worked a paper route. Jesse would have plenty to do to keep him out of trouble—or so she thought.

A month after his release, Jesse’s actions turned deadly. On March 18, 1874, 9-year-old Katie Curran went missing. The last place she had been was the Pomeroy shop where Jesse now worked. Police talked to Jesse, but discovered nothing. A month later, two brothers made a grisly discovery in a sandy ditch in Dorchester Bay. The naked body of 4-year-old Horace Millen had his throat slit, and was stabbed multiple times in the chest, groin, and even the eyes. Police were able to link the crime to 14-year-old Jesse, who was seen fleeing by witnesses, and whose shoe prints matched those in the sand. He also had scratch marks on his body and blood on his clothing.

Upon Jesse’s second arrest, Ruth Ann was forced to close her dressmaking shop. No one in South Boston wanted to patron the Pomeroys. New owners moved into the empty storefront in July, where they uncovered the decomposing body of a child in the basement. The remains were quickly identified as Katie Curran.

The facts of the murder soon unraveled. Katie had come into the family shop to buy a notebook. Jesse lured her to the basement, attacked her from behind, and slit her throat. He then mutilated her body in much the same way he had brutalized Horace Millen’s. Afterward, Jesse buried her under a pile of ashes.

Initially, Jesse confessed to the murder. “I couldn’t help it,” he claimed. Later in life, he would amend his confession. In a rambling autobiography penned while incarcerated, Jesse alternately maintained his innocence and claimed insanity.

In December 1874, young Jesse Pomeroy was found guilty of first-degree murder. He was fourteen years old. The judge initially sentenced Pomeroy to death by hanging, but Massachusetts Governor William Gaston refused to sign a warrant for his death on account of his age. Instead, Jesse spent the rest of his life in prison, part of it in solitary confinement which began just shy of his seventeenth birthday in Charlestown State Prison. He died in the Bridgewater Hospital for the Criminally Insane at the age of 71 on September 29, 1932.

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.

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Be sure to join me for a new sermon every Sunday at my other podcast, The Church of the Undead, also found at WeirdDarkness.com. 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.

“Loch Ness Monster-Sized Owl” by Nick Redfern

“Ghosts To The Rescue” by Inigo Gonzalez

“Haunting In My Bedroom” by Weirdo family member, Shaylynn Hayworth

“The Fiend of Boston” by Stephanie Almazan

“Giant Bugs And Mantis Men” by Brent Swancer

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… “Encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.” — Hebrews 3:13

(I really like that first part – “encourage one another daily, as long ad it is called “today”.  In other words, not only should we lift each other up – but we shouldn’t hesitate in doing so.  If you see a friend, loved one, or even a stranger that needs some encouragement – bring it to them not tomorrow, but today, while today is still called today.)

And a final thought… “The moment you give up is the moment you let someone else win.”

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

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