“THE DAMNED THING” BY AMBROSE BIERCE (Classic Horror Fiction) #WeirdDarkness

THE DAMNED THING” BY AMBROSE BIERCE (Classic Horror Fiction!) #WeirdDarkness

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IN THIS EPISODE: It’s #CreepypastaThursday and this week I have two stories to share. Evelyn Berstrand has crafted an amazing tale about a grandchild finding out something incredibly disturbing about a deceased grandparent with the story “My Grandmother Left Behind Some Really Dark Secrets”. But first up, I’m reaching back to 1893 for a classic tale of horror written by an American Civil War soldier, wit and writer, Ambrose Bierce. The story, “The Damned Thing” first appeared in the magazine “Town Topics” on December 7th in 1893… a magazine, interestingly enough, not known for horror at all, but more for art, music, and society.

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EPISODE: “Haunted Cemeteries and Forgotten Graveyards”: https://weirddarkness.com/archives/7358
EPISODE: “Mysterious Humanoids Existed With People Millenniums Ago”: https://weirddarkness.com/archives/7441
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TRANSCRIPT FOR THIS EPISODE…
Find a full or partial transcript at the bottom of this blog post

STORY AND MUSIC CREDITS/SOURCES…
(Over time links can and may become invalid, disappear, or have different content.)
“The Damned Thing” by Ambrose Bierce: https://tinyurl.com/y6amz952
“My Grandmother Left Behind Some Really Dark Secrets” by Evelyn Bertrand: https://tinyurl.com/yy8gx627
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TRANSCRIPT:

DISCLAIMER==========

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

SHOW OPEN==========

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

While listening, be sure to check out the Weird Darkness website. At WeirdDarkness.com you can sign up for the newsletter to win monthly prizes, find paranormal and horror audiobooks I’ve narrated, watch old horror movies for free, listen to 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.

Coming up in this episode…

It’s #CreepypastaThursday and this week I have two stories to share.

From Creepypasta.com, Evelyn Berstrand has crafted an amazing tale about a grandchild finding out something incredibly disturbing about a deceased grandparent with the story “My Grandmother Left Behind Some Really Dark Secrets”. But first up, I’m reaching back to 1893 for a classic tale of horror written by an American Civil War soldier, wit and writer, Ambrose Bierce. The story, “The Damned Thing” first appeared in the magazine “Town Topics” on December 7th in 1893… a magazine, interestingly enough, not known for horror at all, but more for art, music, and society.

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

THE DAMNED THING….

CHAPTER ONE: ONE DOES NOT ALWAYS EAT WHAT IS ON THE TABLE

By the light of a tallow candle which had been placed on one end of a rough table a man was reading something written in a book. It was an old legible, for the man sometimes held the page close to the flame of the candle to get a stronger light on it. The shadow of the book would then throw into obscurity a half of the moon, darkening a number of faces and figures; for besides the reader, eight other men were present. Seven of them sat against the rough log walls, silent, motionless, and the room being small, not very far from the table. By extending an arm any one of them could have touched the eighth man, who lay on the table, face upward, partly covered by a sheet, his arms at his sides. He was dead.

The man with the book was not reading aloud, and no one spoke; all seemed to be waiting for something to occur; the dead man only was without expectation. From the blank darkness outside came in, through the aperture that served for a window, all the ever unfamiliar noises of night in the wilderness – the long nameless not of a distant coyote; the stilly pulsing thrill of tireless insects in trees; strange cries of night birds, so different from those of the birds of day; the drone of great blundering beetles, and all that mysterious chorus of small sounds that seem alwyas to have been but half heard when they have suddenly ceased, as if conscious of an indiscretion. But nothing of all this was noted in that company; its members were not overmuch addicted to idle intrest in matters of no practical importance; that was obvious in every line of their faces – obvious even in the dim light of the single cnadle. There were evidently men of the vicinity – farmers and woodsmen.

The person reading was a trifle different; one would have said of him that he was of the world, worldly, albeit there was that in his attire which attested a certain fellowship with the organisms of his environment. His coat would hardly have passed muster in San Francisco; his foot-gear was not of urban origin, and the hat that lay by him on the floor (he was the only one uncovered) was such that if one had considered it as an article of mere personal adornment he would have missed its meaning. In countenance the man was rather prepossessing, with just a hint of sternness; though that he may have assumed or cultivated, as appropriate to one in authority. For he was a coroner. It was by virtue of his office that he had possession of the book in which he was reading; it had been found among the dead man’s effects – in his cabin, where the inquest was now taking place.

When the coroner had finished reading he put the book into his breast pocket. At that moment the door was pushed open and a young man entered. He, clearly, was not of mountain birth and breeding: he was clad as those who dwell in cities. His clothing was dusty, however, as from travel. He had, in fact, been riding hard to attend the inquest.

The coroner nodded; no one else greeted him.

“We have waited for you,” said the coroner “It is necessary to have do have done with this business tonight.”

The young man smiled. “I am sorry to have kept you,” he said. “I went away, not to evade your summmons, but to post to my newspaper an account of what I suppose I am called back to relate.”

The coroner smiled.

“The account that you posted to your newspaper,” he said, “differs, probably, from that which you will give here under oath.”

“That,” replied the other, rather hotly and with a visible flush, “is as you please. I used manifold paper and have a copy of what I sent. It was not written as news, for it is incredible, but as fiction. It may go as a part of my testimony under oath.”

“But you say it is incredible.”

“That is nothing to you, sir, if I also swear that it is true.”

The coroner was silent for a time, his eyes upon the floor. The men about the sides of the cabin talked in whispers, but seldome withdrew their gaze from the face of the corpse. Presently the coroner lifted his eyes and said: “We will resume the inquest.”

The men removed their hats. The witness was sworn.

“What is your name?” the coroner asked.

“William Harker.”

“Age?”

“Twenty-seven.”

“You knew the deceased, Hugh Morgan?”

“Yes.”

“You were with him when he died?”

“Near him.”

“How did that happen – your presence, I mean?”

“I was visiting him at this place to shoot and fish. A part of my purpose, however, was to study him and his odd, solitary way of life. He seemed like a good model for a character in fiction. I sometimes write stories.”

“I sometimes read them.”

“Thank you.”

“Stories in general – not yours.”

Some of the jurors laughed. Against a sombre background humor shows high lights. Soldiers in the intervals of battle laugh easily, and a jest in the death hamber conquers by suprise.

“Relate the circumstances of this man’s death,” said the coroner. “You may use any notes or memoranda that you please.”

The witness understood. Pulling a manuscript from his breast pocket he held it near the candle and turning the leaves until he found the passage that he wanted began to read.

THE DAMNED THING….

CHAPTER TWO: WHAT MAY HAPPEN IN A FIELD OF WILD OATS

“…The sun had hardly risen when we left the house. We were looking for quail, each with a shotgun, but we had only one dog. Morgan said that our best ground was beyond a certain ridge that he pointed out, and we crossed it by a trail through the chaparral. On the other side was comparatively level ground, thickly covered with wild oats. As we emerged from the chaparral Morgan was but a few yards in advance. Suddenly we heard, at a little distance to our right and partly in fround, a noise as of some animal thrashing about in the bushes, which we could see were violently agitated.

“‘We’ve started a deer,’ I said. ‘I wish we had brought a rifle’

“Morgan, who had stopped and was intently watching the agitated chaparral, said nothing, but had cocked both barrels of his gun and was holding it in readiness to aim. I thought him a trifle excited, which suprised me, for he had a reputation for exceptional coolness, even in moments of sudden and imminent peril.

“‘O, come,’ I said. ‘You are not going to fill up a deer with quail-shot, are you?’

“Still he did not reply; but catching a sight of his face as he turned it slightly towards me I was struck by the intensity of his look. Then I understood that we had serious business in hand and my first conjecture was that we had ‘jumped’ a grizzly. I advanced to Morgan’s side, cocking my piece as I moved.

“The bushes were now quiet and the sounds had ceased, but Morgan was as attentive to the place as before.

“‘What is it? What the devil is it?’ I asked.

“‘That Damned Thing!’ he replied, without turning his head. His voice was husky and unnatural. He trembled visibly.

“I was about to speak further, when I observed the wild oats near the place of the disturbance moving in the most inexplicable way. I can hardly describe it. It seemed as if stirred by a streak of wind, which not only bent it, but pressed it down – crushed it so that it did not rise; and this movement was slowly prolonging itself directly towards us.

“Nothing that I had ever seen had affected me so strangely as this unfamiliar and unaccountable phenomenon, yet I am unable to recall any sense of fear. I remember – and tell it here because, singularly enough I recollected it then – that once in looking out of an open window I momentarily mistook a small tree close at hand for one of a group of larger trees at a little distance away. It looked the same size as the others, but being more distictly and sharply defined in mass and detail seemed out of harmony with them. it was a mere falsification of the law of aerial perspective, but it startled, almost terrified me. We so rely upon the orderly operation of familiar natural laws that any seeming suspension of them is noted as a menace to our safety, a warning of unthinkable calamity. So now the apparently causeless movement of the herbage and the slow, undeviating approach of the line of disturbance were distinctly disquieting. My companion appeared actually frightened, and I could hardly credit my senses when I saw him suddenly throw his gun to his shoulder and fire both barrels at the agitated grain! Before the smoke of the discharge had cleared away I heard a loud savage cry – a scream like that of a wild animal – and flinging his gun upon the ground Morgan sprang away and ran swiftly from the spot. At the same instant I was thrown violently to the ground by the impact of something unseen in the smoke – some soft, heavy substance that seemed thrown against me with great force.

“Before I could get upon my feet and recover my gun, which seemed to have been struck from my hands, I heard Morgan crying out as if in mortal agony, and mingling with his cries were such hoarse, savage sounds as one hears from fighting dogs. Inexpressibly terrified, I struggled to my feet and looked in the direction of Morgan’s retreat; and may Heaven in mercy spare me from another sight like that! At a distance of less than thirty yards was my friend, down upon one knee, his head thrown back at a frightful angle, hatless, his long hair in disorder and his whole body in violent movement from side to side, backward and foward. His right arm was lifted and seemed to lack the hand – at least, I could see none. The other arm was invisible. At times, as my memory now reports this extraordinary scene, I could discern but a part of his body; it was as if he had been partly blotted out – I cannot otherwise express it – then a shifting of his position would bring it all into view again.

“All this must have occurred within a few seconds, yet in that time Morgan assumed all the postures of a determined wrestler vanquished by superior weight and strength. I saw nothing but him, and him not always distinctly. During the entire incident his shouts and curses were heard, as if through an enveloping uproar of such sounds of rage and fury as I had never heard from the throat of man or brute!

“For a moment only I stood irresolute, then throwing down my gun I ran forward to my friend’s assistance. I had a vague belief that he was suffering from a fit, or some form of convulsion. Before I could reach his side he was down and quiet. All sounds had ceased, but with a feeling of such terror as even these awful events had not inspired I now saw again the mysterious movement of the wild oats, prolonging itself from the trampled area about the prostrate man towards the edge of a wood. It was only when it had reached the wood that I was able to withdraw my eyes and look at my companion. He was dead.”

THE DAMNED THING….

CHAPTER THREE: A MAN THOUGH NAKED MAY BE IN RAGS

The coroner rose from his seat and stood beside the dead man. Lifting a edge of the sheet he pulled it away, exposing the entire body, altogether naked and showing in the candle-light a claylike yellow. It had, however, broad maculations of bluish black, obviously caused by extravasated blood from contusions. The chest and sides looked as if they had been beaten with a bludgeon. There were dreadful lacerations; the skin was torn in strips and shreds.

The coroner moved round to the end of the table and undid a silk handkerchief which had been passed under the chin and knotted on the top of the head. When the handkerchief was drawn away it exposed what had been the throat. Some of the jurors who had risen to get a better view repented their curiosity and turned away their faces. Witness Harker went to the open window and leaned out across the sill, faint and sick. Dropping the handkerchief upon the dead man’s neck the coroner stepped to an angle of the room and from a pile of clothing produced one garment after anogher, each of which he held up a moment for inspection. All were torn, and stiff with blood. The jurors did not make a closed inspection. The seemed rather uninterested. The had, in truth, seen all this befor; the only new thing that was new to them being Harker’s testimony.

“Gentlemen,” the coroner said, “we have no more evidence, I think. Your duty has been already explained to you; if there is nothing you wish to ask you may go outside and consider your verdict.”

The foreman rose — a tall, bearded man of sixty, coarsely clad.

“I shall like to ask one question, Mr. Coroner,” he said. “What asylum did this yer last witness escape from?”

“Mr. Harker,” said the coroner gravely and tranquilly, “from what asylum did you last escape?”

Harker flushed crimson again, but said nothing, and the seven jurors rose and solemnly filed out of the cabin.

“If you have done insulting me, sir,” said Harker, as soon as he and the officer were left alone with the dead man, “I suppose I am at liberty to go?”

“Yes.”

Harker started to leave, but paused, with his hand on the door latch. The habit of his profession was strong in him — stronger than his sense of personal dignity. He turned about and said:

“The book you have there — I recognize it as Morgan’s diary. You seemed greatly interested in it; you read in it while I was testifying. May I see it? The public would like — ”

“The book will cut no figure in this matter,” replied the official, slipping it into his coat pocket; “all the entries in it were made before the writer’s death.”

As Harker passed out of the house the jury re-entered and stood about the table, on which the now covered corpse showed under the sheet with sharp definition. The foreman seated himself near the candle, produced from his breast pocket a pencil and scrap of paper and wrote rather laboriously the following verdict, which with various degrees of effort all signed:

“We, the jury, do find that the remains come to their death at the hands of a mountain lion, but some of us thinks, all the same, they had fits.”

THE DAMNED THING….

CHAPTER FOUR: AN EXPLANATION FROM THE TOMB

In the diary of the late Hugh Morgan are certain interesting entries having, possibly, a scientific value as suggestions. At the inquest upon his body the book was not put in evidence; possibly the coroner thought it not worth while to confuse the jury. The date of the first of the entries mentioned cannot be ascertained; the upper part of the leaf is torn away; the part of the entry remaining follows:

“…would run in a half-circle, keeping his head turned always toward the centre, and again he would stand still, barking furiously. At last he ran away into the brush as fast as he could go. I thought at first that he had gone mad, but on returning to the house found no other alteration in his manner than what was obviously due to fear of punishment.

“Can a dog see with his nose? Do odours impress some cerebral centre with images of the thing that emitted them? …

“Sept. 2. — Looking at the stars last night as they rose above the crest of the ridge east of the house, I observed them successively disappear — from left to right. Each was eclipsed but an instant, and only a few at a time, but along the entire length of the ridge all that were within a degree or two of the crest were blotted out. It was as if something had passed along between me and them; but I could not see it, and the stars were not thick enough to define its outline. Ugh! don’t like this.”

Several weeks’ entries are missing, three leaves being torn from the book.

“Sept. 27. — It has been about here again — I find evidences of its presence every day. I watched again all last night in the same cover, gun in hand, double-charged with buckshot. In the morning the fresh footprints were there, as before. Yet I would have sworn that I did not sleep — indeed, I hardly sleep at all. It is terrible, insupportable! If these amazing experiences are real I shall go mad; if they are fanciful I am mad already.

“Oct. 3. — I shall not go — it shall not drive me away. No, this is my house, my land. God hates a coward….

“Oct. 5. — I can stand it no longer; I have invited Harker to pass a few weeks with me — he has a level head. I can judge from his manner if he thinks me mad.

“Oct. 7. — I have the solution of the mystery; it came to me last night — suddenly, as by revelation. How simple — how terribly simple!

“There are sounds we cannot hear. At either end of the scale are notes that stir no chord of that imperfect instrument, the human ear. They are too high or too grave. I have observed a flock of blackbirds occupying an entire tree-top — the tops of several trees — and all in full song. Suddenly — in a moment — at absolutely the same instant — all spring into the air and fly away. How? They could not all see one another — whole tree-tops intervened. At no point could a leader have been visible to all. There must have been a signal of warning or command, high and shrill above the din, but by me unheard. I have observed, too, the same simultaneous flight when all were silent, among not only blackbirds, but other birds — quail, for example, widely separated by bushes — even on opposite sides of a hill.

“It is known to seamen that a school of whales basking or sporting on the surface of the ocean, miles apart, with the convexity of the earth between, will sometimes dive at the same instant — all gone out of sight in a moment. The signal has been sounded — too grave for the ear of the sailor at the masthead and his comrades on the deck — who nevertheless feel its vibrations in the ship as the stones of a cathedral are stirred by the bass of the organ.

“As with sounds, so with colours. At each end of the solar spectrum the chemist can detect the presence of what are known as ‘actinic’ rays. They represent colours — integral colours in the composition of light — which we are unable to discern. The human eye is an imperfect instrument; its range is but a few octaves of the real ‘chromatic scale.’ I am not mad; there are colours that we cannot see.

“And, God help me! the Damned Thing is of such a colour!”

BREAK==========

Up next, it’s a modern creepypasta. Imagine a grandparent passing away and then finding out that grandparent had some really dark secrets! A truly macabre story by Evelyn Bertrand is up next on Weird Darkness.

 

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MY GRANDMOTHER LEFT BEHIND SOME REALLY DARK SECRETS

I really don’t know where to start with this except to say that my grandmother, God rest her soul, has never been a mystery to me. She was an open book to all of us, especially my mother, giving us a sense of security and comfort during really hard times – my mom’s car accident and the following coma, my learning struggles, my brother’s drug abuse – and always did it with a smile on her face, telling us that “everything’s gonna be alright, dear, just you wait and see.”

And things would always work out for us in the end. Always.

The man who caused my mom’s car accident not only had to pay for the hospital bills, he also had to pay her damages when she sued him in court, a substantial amount that a man of his status could more than afford. After a few tutoring lessons with my grandmother, I began excelling in school and ended up as valedictorian. My brother never had an overdose, but instead chose to enter rehab after a short conversation with my grandmother and the family.

Any time we would tell our grandmother the good news, she would smile and nod her head, telling us, “see? I told you everything was gonna be alright.” Then she’d give us cookies or make us a great meal.

Over the meal, she’d tell us stories about her own mistakes from when she was a child, like the time she snuck out of the house at 13 to have a cigarette with the boy next door and ended up getting sick. She’d also gave us lessons from when she was an adult: twice divorced before ultimately meeting and marrying my grandfather at the tender age of 26 and giving birth to eight children afterwards, she was always quick to point out her flaws and what she learned from her experiences, both at home and in the workplace, as she worked as a school teacher until she retired at the age of 72.

I could always go to my grandmother and talk to her about anything, even though I have a strong relationship with my mother, my sisters, and my brothers. She would listen to me without interrupting, then ask me my feelings on the situation or issue before asking me if I would like her opinion. She never judged me, never pressured me to do anything, and would always take care to make sure that I was feeling better about the situation than I had before I spoke with her.

All this to say that she passed away last week.

I know, this kinda sounds like a eulogy, but I promise it’s not. The reason I can say that is because, well, everything surrounding her death and the events leading up to this post have been very strange. Strange and dark.

My grandmother did not live in the continental United States. She lived in Puerto Rico, in the same house that she had been gifted by my grandfather’s parents when they got married. My entire family is spread out across the US, as we’re all adults now and my parents decided to move back east.

When I first got the call that my grandmother had passed, both my mother – who phoned to tell me – and I assumed that it was due to her age. She was in her late 90s and although she was in good health, one can assume that there’s not much time left when you’re pushing 100, you know?

But that wasn’t the case.

I found out later that my grandmother had died not at home, but in the church down the street. The church is open to worship 24/7 and since Hurricane Maria, it’s been a refuge of sorts for the community. She would spend a lot of time there, which my mother appreciated as the community always sought to look after her.

And she didn’t die of old age. The Padre of the church told me that she had been completely fine in the church when he noticed her at 11 am, the only other person in the church at the time. He even spoke to her before running a quick errand, which took less than 10 minutes.

When he got back, my grandmother was lying face down inside the pew she had been sat in, clutching a Bible in one hand and a black rosary in the other. When the Padre turned her over, her eyes were open with a slight smirk on her face.

That’s creepy, right? An old woman passes away in a church with a smirk on her face. It gives me the chills every time that I think about it.

But it gets stranger.

My mother made it through the Novena, the nine nights of mourning that our family observes during the passing of relatives and loved ones. But she just couldn’t bear the thought of clearing out the house her mother had spent the better part of 70 years in. Too many memories.

So she sent my sister Ava and I.

I’m not gonna recount the journey there because it was boring until we got to the island. We went straight from the airport to our grandmother’s house, which had been left untouched except for the memorial the community left outside.

Then we got to work cleaning the house.

We started in the kitchen, which is small and barely fits two people. It’s basically a hallway – you can stand in the middle of the kitchen, stretch out both of your hands, and touch both counters.

This is where we found the first odd thing.

Deep in a cupboard underneath the counter, we found an old shoebox filled with feathers. Not that weird, right? Except they all had blood splatter on them and had red or black string tying the bundles together. The feathers also seemed to have something written on them, but time had erased them so well, we couldn’t figure out what it said.

I thought it was weird, but Ava? Ava was extremely disturbed.

Let me stop here and say something: Ava and I have always been close but our views on religion, faith, and spirituality differ quite a bit. While I’m agnostic, she’s pagan in her views. I find it fascinating that she devoted her entire life to the study of the esoteric and the occult – she even has a master’s in semiotics and is a researcher at her university in the field.

Ava told me that it looked like folk magic, which I brushed off. My grandmother was a devout Catholic, had been her entire life. While she never discriminated against any religion or faith, she was not one to ever speak about folk magic.

I changed my mind when I found the books.

Ava and I had been in our grandmother’s bedroom several times. We would camp out there during our summer trips and watch movies on her little CRT tv and have midnight snacks. She’d watch the horror movies with us. She’d also do our hair and nails in her bedroom, giving us makeovers as often as we’d like. I never saw anything weird.

It was while we were clearing out her closet that we found it: another box. This one was old, made of real wood with brass hardware. It was big too, almost as big as a trunk, and it was buried in a dresser that stood in her closet.

We both thought it was really heavy and when we opened it, we found out why: there were two large books, seemingly handmade, stacked on top of each other.

There was no indication of what the books were about just by looking at them. One was black, the other was red. Both had a gold leaf symbol on the spine, but other than that, they were just leather-bound books.

I opened the first one and found that the first page was devoted to a name that I had never seen before. Ava recognized it, though, and forbade me from ever speaking the name out loud or writing it down, so I’ll just say that the name was “Maria.”

Her initial reaction to seeing the name freaked me out, but nothing ever prepared me for her taking the book, flipping through it, getting a shocked look on her face, and then telling me, “This is bad. This is really bad.”

I took the book back and flipped through it. I couldn’t read any of the writing – to me, it just looked like scribbles and symbols. The drawings that accompanied most of the pages made a little more sense, but those were disturbing – pictures of decapitated animals, people’s portraits with a large X over the face or scribbles over the eyes, nose, or mouth, weird plants, and symbols.

“Sigils, not symbols,” Ava would tell me later when I asked about it. She also told me that the book, which was the black book, was a grimoire. It was used to record spells and their results, along with other information, in this particular folk magic.

“It’s really weird,” Ava said as she flipped through the book, “this type of magic isn’t usually practiced in this area. I wondered where she picked it up.”

It took me a second to realize that she was actually saying that our grandmother, a schoolteacher and the rock of our family, was a practicing occultist.

I wanted to laugh, but I couldn’t. It would have sounded hollow coming from my throat because the realization that was setting in was that our sweet grandmother was not so sweet after all.

The red book. The journal.

Man, I wish I had never taken a look at it. I’m serious. I’ve been having nightmares about it since reading parts of it. The dreams are just the words on the page, accompanied by my grandmother’s voice, and images about how she might have done what she did.

The red book was a journal about how my grandmother had taken it upon herself to use her magickal practices to influence our lives, and I don’t mean in good ways.

Remember how I said my grandmother would never pressure me into anything? Well, that’s not true. She apparently used magick to influence not only my teachers into being more lenient with my grades until I could get a handle on my education, but she influenced what I studied later on in college, the college I attended, and even “chose” my fiancé for me, based on what she wanted me to accomplish. She had even done some sort of banishing ritual to get rid of my former boyfriend, who I mourned for a year because he died in a freak accident the day that, I would find out from his parents, he was going to propose to me.

And she did it to every single one of my family members.

This was all recorded in the journal, which we found later was the last in a series of over 30. We found them hidden in the garage in a large hole under a loose tile.

The records went back to her adolescence. The things she had done, both with magick and on her own, were haunting. People she had “neutralized,” events that she had set in motion to punish others, and, most disturbing, how she had managed to get rid of her first two husbands and, later, my own grandfather.

I’m still not sure what the journal means by this, but apparently she sacrificed them to Maria, the entity the grimoire was dedicated to. She had finally found an “acceptable” partner in my grandfather, but when he found out about her practices when they were both in their 70s, she sacrificed them too.

My grandfather’s death was sudden, unexpected, and odd. The doctors didn’t know why a fit man in his 70s who still went on regular runs, ate a vegetarian diet, and didn’t drink or smoke would crash his rental car into a harbor during the day and not try to escape.

They found his body in the car, still strapped in, his hands on the wheel, his eyes wide open and a look of confusion on his face. He had made no attempt to be saved by the people who jumped in to help him, having locked the doors – an unusual habit for him – prior to going into the harbor.

He just let himself expire.

We read all the journals that day and well into the night. We’d each read a journal, then swap, moving our way backwards through our grandmother’s life. There is so much in those journals, just too much to put here.

One thing is clear – if these journals are true, and my grandmother wasn’t senile, then she had caused so much damage and grief in the course of her life that it would break our mother’s heart. She, too, had lost former boyfriends, even lost some children, and these events were unfortunately also in the book. Telling her might cause her to spiral into a depression.

So Ava and I came up with a plan: Ava would take the books, the feathers, and the other weird things we found in the house – the garden, in particular, held a lot of disgusting secrets – with her so she could research everything further. I would help her clean out the rest of the house, dispose of what wasn’t needed, go through everything we were going to take back to our mother, and never, ever, mention the things we found.

The one thing that gets me is this: my grandmother started some sort of ritual the day that she passed. It was the last recorded entry, and she described going to “the lair of the enemy” to conduct the ritual.

It also states that her “heir would take up the mantle of the work and complete it.” But no heir was named. My mother has four sisters and three brothers, so I suppose it could have been any of them. However, our mother is the eldest, so it would make sense that it’s her.

Until Ava pointed something else out: our grandmother had given every member of her line, including our family, little symbols. These would appear in the grimoire and the journals, indicating which family member was being targeted or having magick used to help them.

My symbol showed up above the heir word in the journal.

It’s been a week since we left Puerto Rico and my sister keeps telling me not to be worried. Still, when she says it, I know she’s lying – she’s worried. I am too.

Because at night, right before I fall asleep to the sounds of my fiancé playing video games in the living room, I can see my grandmother standing at the foot of my bed, smiling at me. Behind her stands a tall, slender woman, her left arm around my grandmother’s waist and her right hand beckoning me to her.

BREAK==========

We’re not done just yet – I have a few emails and reviews to share from the Chamber of Comments when Weird Darkness returns!

 

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CHAMBER OF COMMENTS==========

Here in the Chamber of Comments I answer your emails, comments, podcast reviews, letters I get in the mail, and more. You can find all of my contact information, postal address, and social media links on the CONTACT page at WeirdDarkness.com. While you’re there, you can join the very active “Weird Darkness Weirdos” Facebook Group, and hang out with me and the rest of our Weirdo family! And you can drop me an email anytime at: darren @ weirddarkness.com.

(Review from sparky 554): Love the stories! Hello I have been listening for about a month now (stumbled upon your podcast) I love everything about the podcast and stories. You have a great way of bringing the stories to life. I work as an electrician and listen to this podcast everyday at work! Keep up the great work!

REPLY: Thanks, Sparky554 – great name for an electrician, by the way! Too bad you don’t live in my area! I’ve been having problems with lights flickering on and off. But then, that might just be poltergeists. Or Miss Mocha found the light switch – you never know.

(Email from Erick M regarding the episode “Haunted Cemeteries and Forgotten Graveyards” which I’ll link to in the show notes): Hi Darren! A fellow weirdo here, I just finished listening to the James town massacre episode, and a couple of things, you mentioned that you listened to the audio from the James town massacre to select clips to show in the program, while I admire your dedication please if it is too disturbing it it takes a mental toll on you don’t do it, I’m sure the weirdo family will love your show even if it doesn’t have that kind of content. Secondly, one of the reviews of the program asked about funeral homes and cemeteries having paranormal activity while not being a place of actual death or tragedy, well I think it has less to do with just the dead person, I mean for one is consecrated ground, two it is also a place of remembrance and of grieving for the family members, all that mixed energy of grieving our dead and remembering them leave an imprint that is undeniable, not because of tragedy but because of emotions, after all there are theories that suggest ghosts are but the imprints of intense emotions in a place. That is just my thoughts on that matter though but I think is a plausible explanation. Also on another positive note in these dark times, these is from the movie “Constantine”  and is given from the bad guy none the less I feel that it speaks to the times “it is only in the face of horror that you truly find your nobler selves, and you can be so noble” we have seen the nobler parts of humans in this pandemic your food for the poor Campaign was one of such nobler acts, and there is no shortage of stories of people volunteering to take food to the elderly or even people having fundraisers to help people in need, and people are contributing. Thanks for taking the time to read this and God bless!

(Review from Billy Gunzz): I find things I never realized how much I enjoy! I never really gave this genre a chance? I am glad I did! Big fan and avid listener and look forward to each episode!

REPLY: Hey, Billy! I’m glad you gave it a chance too – happy to have you in the Weirdo family! I work hard to make Weird Darkness different from other podcasts of the same genre, so hopefully that makes a difference!

(Review from murseinsomnia about Church of the Undead): I am so excited to have another podcast by you to listen to! You are so professional. No silly babbling about dumb things, like so many podcasters do. I love the depression support page you tell everyone about. I have had severe depression that turned into bipolar for over 15 years. I thought I knew everything there is to know. WRONG!! Thank you for that wonderful site, so much info and guidance, and thank you for sharing that beautiful, soothing voice with us through scary stories. God bless!

REPLY: You’re very welcome, Murseinsomnia! I’m kinda liking doing Church of the Undead as well – which reminds me, I really need to work on this Sunday’s episode – I haven’t even started on it yet! D’OH!

(YouTube comment from Brian Kolstee regarding the episode “Mysterious Humanoids Existed With People Millenniums Ago”): I’m not ruling out that the giants might have been extraterrestrial. However the Book of Enoch and the Book of Giants both apochrapha (books removed from The Bible) point to the origin of Giants to be the offspring of angels and the daughters of man. These Nephalim also had offspring such as Gilgamesh. There is much information that has been edited by organized religion to keep the common man ignorant and there for easier to control. In The End Times it wil be as the days of Noah. I believe that these rogue angels (The 200) were tampering with genetics. They also corrupted the beasts of the earth , and fish and fowl. My two cents for what it’s worth.

REPLY: Good thoughts, Brian.  My only problem with giant being the offspring of angels is that would require angels having sexual organs for reproduction, but they are not human so why would God have created them with that kind of equipment? Nowhere in the bible does it say they have reproductive capabilities – in fact, it says the only heavenly being able to create is God himself. Angels (demons – fallen angels) can POSSESS someone and make them reproduce with someone else, but that would still be human DNA mixing with human DNA, so I’m not really sure how all of it would work.

(Review from Darius Shadow): Don’t let the snow flakes bother you. Hey Darren, proud roll be a weirdo. Don’t let these paper thin skinned ppl get you to change your content. Your pretty clear it’s a horror podcast. You have your disclaimer already and ppl should expect some dark content. Maybe put a disclaimer for child related scaryness on those episodes. I find it funny though that there was crickets for demon in the maze creepypasta where very vivid depictions of death happened. So in closure on this GET OFF HIS BACK PPL! Anyway getting off my soap box. Love everything you produce wouldn’t change a thing. Especially as a Christian I really like it ending with scripture. Forever a weirdo, Stephen, aka DariusShadow

REPLY: Thanks, Stephen – I appreciate the encouraging words and the supportive attitude. By the way, the name Darius Shadow is awesome! If you’re a horror writer it’d be the perfect penname!

(Email from Jynna in Montana): Hey Darren, I have emailed you a few times and always enjoy chatting back and forth. I’m currently listening to weird darkness in my office with all of the crazy stuff going on with covid and the oil prices dropping like a rock, we have been dealing with a lot of layoffs in the area and a lot of people moving back home. I am our head of Human Resources and am currently the only person working out of my office because of the current events. It does get pretty lonely in my office with out anybody around (I’ve started talking to objects in my office out of boredom) I have Taylor swiffer (my broom); Da Rock Obama (my paperweight rock); Mike Pens (my pen cup); Garth Books (my bookshelf); Carol Baskit (my paperwork basket); Barbra Bush (my desk shrub); And Catrick Stuart my outside office cat. What Else can Human Resources do when there are no humans to resources?! LOL! But at least I have your friendly voice to keep me company. As always, stay safe and stay in faith! –Jynna of Montana.

REPLY: Jynna – this could possibly be the most creative email I’ve ever received… and it also indicates that you are perhaps spending a bit TOO MUCH time by yourself!  Please, for the love of all that’s good – find some human contact!

I’ll answer more of your emails, comments, and letters next time! Again, you can find all of my social media and contact information on the CONTACT page of the website, or drop me an email at darren @ weirddarkness.com.

SHOW CLOSE, CREDITS, A LITTLE LIGHT, AND A FINAL THOUGHT==========

Thanks for listening. If you like the podcast, please – tell someone about it. 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 the podcast with someone new, it helps spread the word about the show – and a growing audience makes it possible for me to keep doing the podcast. Plus, telling others about Weird Darkness also helps get the word out about resources that are available for those who suffer from depression. So please share the podcast with someone today.

In October Weird Darkness celebrates it’s 5th birthday – and while I normally use the entire month of October to raise funds for depression relief, this year I have something special planned. It’s called the Darkness Challenge. It doesn’t officially kick off until October 1st, but you can find out what it’s all about, how to get involved, and you can even participate by making your own #DarknessChallenge video so you’ll be ready to go when October arrives. Get all the details at DarknessChallenge.com. That’s DarknessChallenge.com.

Be sure to join me for a new episode 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” on the website and I might use it in a future episode.

Stories on Creepypasta Thursday episodes are works of fiction, and links to the stories or the authors can be found in the show notes.

“The Damned Thing” by Ambrose Bierce

“My Grandmother Left Behind Some Really Dark Secrets” by Evelyn Bertrand

Weird Darkness theme by Alibi Music.

WeirdDarkness™ – is a registered trademark. Copyright ©Weird Darkness 2020.

If you’d like a transcript of this episode, you can find a link in the show notes.

Now that we’re coming out of the dark, I’ll leave you with a little light… “Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe.” – Philippians 2:14-15

And a final thought… “I used to believe that prayer changes things, but now I know that prayer changes us and we change things.” – Mother Teresa

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

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