“THE PEEPING TOM HOTEL OWNER” and More Disturbingly True Stories! #WeirdDarkness

THE PEEPING TOM HOTEL OWNER” and More Disturbingly True Stories! #WeirdDarkness

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IN THIS EPISODE: Ever heard of Shadrack Ireland? No, it’s not a place – it’s a person, actually. A preacher – and one of the most bizarre religious leaders ever to walk the soil of New England. And as strange as his religious practices and teachings were – his death was just as crazy. (The Perfect Man) *** Lisa woke up to find her boyfriend staring at her. When she asked him what was wrong, he replied, “I’m going to kill you and drink your blood.” Is it possible that the film, “Interview With The Vampire” made Daniel Sterlin turn into a real-life bloodthirsty monster? (Interview With The Wannabee Vampire) *** Gerald Foos built a secret passageway in his motel – not to smuggle drugs or store weapons, but so he could spy on his motel guests having sex. And it gets even creepier than that. (Peeping Tom Motel) *** A family loses two children by apparent poisoning… and then the mother’s death two months later under the same mysterious circumstances. Obviously there was a murderer living amongst the family, or somewhere in the town. Wasn’t there? (The Mystery of the Garrett Family’s Tragic Deaths)

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(Over time links can and may become invalid, disappear, or have different content.)
“The Mystery of the Garrett Family’s Tragic Deaths” from Pennsylvania Oddities: https://tinyurl.com/yxagv9uo
“The Perfect Man” by Dr. Romeo Vitelli for Providentia: https://tinyurl.com/y5c7j66y
“Peeping Tom Motel” by Rachel Souerbry for Ranker’s Graveyard Shift: https://tinyurl.com/y6hbepuh
“Interview With The Wannabe Vampire” from The Scare Chamber: https://tinyurl.com/y5evjtca
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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.

If you’re new here, welcome to the podcast – and be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss future episodes! If you’re already a Weirdo, please share the podcast with others – doing so helps make it possible for me to keep creating episodes as often as I do!

Coming up in this episode…

Ever heard of Shadrack Ireland? No, it’s not a place – it’s a person, actually. A preacher – and one of the most bizarre religious leaders ever to walk the soil of New England. And as strange as his religious practices and teachings were – his death was just as crazy. (The Perfect Man)

Lisa woke up to find her boyfriend staring at her. When she asked him what was wrong, he replied, “I’m going to kill you and drink your blood.” Is it possible that the film, “Interview With The Vampire” made Daniel Sterlin turn into a real-life bloodthirsty monster? (Interview With The Wannabee Vampire)

Gerald Foos built a secret passageway in his motel – not to smuggle drugs or store weapons, but so he could spy on his motel guests having sex. And it gets even creepier than that. (Peeping Tom Motel)

A family loses two children by apparent poisoning… and then the mother’s death two months later under the same mysterious circumstances. Obviously there was a murderer living amongst the family, or somewhere in the town. Wasn’t there? (The Mystery of the Garrett Family’s Tragic Deaths)

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, 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!

STORY: THE MYSTERY OF THE GARRETT FAMILY’S TRAGIC DEATHS==========

Newberry Township in York County was gripped in terror in February of 1894 when Edwin and Tillie, two young children of Eli and Jennie Garrett, died after exhibiting signs of being poisoned. When Jennie died under the same mysterious conditions two months later, the residents of Newberry Township were convinced that a serial killer lived among them. Was this the case? Or could there be a less sinister explanation for the untimely deaths of Mrs. Garrett and her children?
On Sunday, February 11, a neighborhood drunkard by the name of Silas Laird stopped by the Garrett home in Lewisberry and gave Jennie an apple to give to her children, four-year-old Edwin and six-year-old Tillie. Jennie cut the apple in two, and gave a half to each child. The following afternoon, Edwin came into the house holding his sides, and his mother thought that he had gotten hurt while playing outside. Both when children began to vomit violently a short time later, Jennie raced the home of a neighbor, George Gross. Mrs. Gross, who surmised that the children had ingested something poisonous, gave Jennie a pitcher of milk to neutralize the poison. She then sent for Dr. J.C. Stem, who immediately diagnosed the case as strychnine poisoning. The doctor said that, unfortunately,  the boy was already beyond any hope of recovery. He died at seven o’clock that evening. Four hours later, after suffering a violent spasm, Tillie joined her little brother in death.
The diagnosis of strychnine poisoning didn’t make any sense to Eli Garrett. Strychnine was used to poison rats, and there were more than enough barn cats around to take care of that task. The Garretts kept no poisonous chemicals in their home, or so he insisted. After the his children were laid to rest on Thursday at Parkville Cemetery, Eli’s thoughts turned to the apple.
The following day, Eli went to York and discussed the matter with District Attorney Miller and urged him to look into the matter. Eli Garrett, accompanied by Dr. Pfaltzgraff and Dr. Lecrone, returned to the cemetery and began exhuming the freshly-buried bodies. Meanwhile, the district attorney questioned Laird, who admitted giving the apple to Mrs. Garrett, but said that he had been given the apple by another person, who had instructed him to give it to the Garretts. It certainly now seemed that this was a clear case of foul play, but the district attorney couldn’t take any action until he received the results of the autopsy.
After the two bodies were exhumed they were taken to the home of Charles Erney, where Dr. Lecrone removed the internal organs and gave them to Dr. Pfaltzgraf. Pfaltzgraf then took a train to Baltimore where a chemist, Professor Dorsey Cole of the University of Maryland, would perform an analysis. In the meantime, District Attorney Miller searched for clues and the coroner empaneled a jury, consisting of Charles Erney, Aaron Ziegler, William Cable, George Livingston and Jacob Irwin. Unfortunately, no witnesses could be found who could provide any information about the mystery man who had supposedly given the apple to Silas Laird.
On Thursday, March 29, the coroner’s jury  convened at the White Hall Hotel and, after calling witnesses and examining evidence, returned a verdict. But there were some on the jury who were convinced that Laird was not the culprit.
It was known throughout Lewisberry that Jennie Garrett had lost several children in infancy, all of them dying within the first year of their lives. While these deaths had been attributed to natural causes at the time, the deaths of her two remaining children led some to wonder if she had played a role in the deaths of Edwin and Tillie.
Immediately after the tragedy the Garretts moved out of their house, which was an old two-story log structure about a quarter mile off the main highway, and the coroner’s jury visited the log house earlier that morning to see if any clues could be found. When it was observed that rats had chewed numerous holes in the plaster, some began to doubt Eli Garrett’s assurance that he did not have a problem with rodents. Things began to look even worse when the jury found hunks of hard cheese stuffed between the logs and plaster.  When the coroner presented this evidence, Eli remembered that he had purchased some strychnine from Dr. Stem a few months earlier, which he sprinkled on the cheese and placed between the logs. He insisted, however, that he had asked Tillie if she had eaten anything before she began to feel sick, and he claimed that neither Tillie nor Edwin had eaten the tainted cheese.
At the hearing, Jennie Garrett spoke at great length in defense of her husband, and raised the possibility that it may have been Mrs. Gross who had poisoned the children. She explained that Mrs. Gross had given her the pitcher of milk before she had even mentioned any of the symptoms. It was almost as if she knew what was going to happen. The testimony of Rebecca Mummert, the neighbor who had laid out Edwin’s body, also shined a light of suspicion on Jennie Garrett. Mrs. Mummert said that, after the boy died, she sent Jennie to get the clothes she wished to have him buried in. Jennie returned with clothes for both children, even though Tillie was still alive at the time.
The next witness was Silas Laird. Laird was the local vagabond, who, at any given point in his life, appeared to be intoxicated, homeless, jobless, or a combination of all three. Just three years earlier he had been charged by police with “habitual drunkenness” and placed by county authorities under the guardianship of his brother, Martin. However, Laird was also rumored to be quite rich, having inherited a large sum of money from his father. This inheritance allowed Silas to indulge in his favorite activities, many of which included glass bottles and distilled spirits. At the hearing Silas insisted that he did not have a drinking problem and that he was completely sober when he gave Mrs. Garrett the apple. For whatever reason, he was not questioned about where or how he had obtained the apple.
The final witness was Coroner Pfaltzgraf, who read a letter from Professor Cole, whose analysis confirmed that the children had indeed been poisoned, but that the poison in question had been arsenic, not strychnine. Eli Garrett breathed a sigh of relief. But while the professor believed that the arsenic had come from the embalming fluid used by Undertaker Parks, the coroner stated his belief that the poison had entered Edwin and Tillie’s bodies in a different manner. He cited the fact that samples of brain tissue taken from the children also revealed high levels of arsenic, and the undertaker had testified previously that he had not injected embalming fluid into the veins, which would be the only possible way the embalming fluid could reach the brain. The jury agreed with Pfaltzgraf, and rendered a verdict declaring that “Edwin and Tillie Garrett came to their deaths from arsenical poisoning administered or obtained in some way or manner unknown to this jury.”
On Monday, May 28, 1894, as authorities under the direction of District Attorney Miller continued to investigate the deaths of the Garrett children, Jennie died suddenly at her home in Lewisberry. Newspapers attributed to passing to “suspicious circumstances”, but very few details were provided, other than the fact that she had been ill for just twenty-four hours before she passed away. Coroner Pfaltzgraf decided against holding an inquest, and when Jennie was buried, the search for the killer of the Garrett children– if such a killer ever existed– came to an abrupt end.
While the truth behind these mysterious deaths may never be known, the possibility exists that the Garretts died from accidental arsenic poisoning.  Arsenic has been used as a pesticide for centuries (records show that arsenic sulfide was used used in agriculture in China as early as 900 A.D.), and was a common ant bait in 17th century Europe. But the widespread use of copper acetoarsenite as an insecticide didn’t occur in the United States until 1867, and after it was introduced it was used for a very specific purpose– to eliminate the infestation of codling moth in apple orchards.

BREAK==========

When Weird Darkness returns…

Ever heard of Shadrack Ireland? No, it’s not a place – it’s a person, actually. A preacher – and one of the most bizarre religious leaders ever to walk the soil of New England. And as strange as his religious practices and teachings were – his death was just as crazy.

But first… Lisa woke up to find her boyfriend staring at her. When she asked him what was wrong, he replied, “I’m going to kill you and drink your blood.” Is it possible that the film, “Interview With The Vampire” made Daniel Sterlin turn into a real-life bloodthirsty monster? That story is up next.

<COMMERCIAL BREAK>

STORY: INTERVIEW WITH THE WANNABE VAMPIRE==========

The number of vampire movies created to date is incredible. From films based on the stories of Nosferatu and Dracula, to Camilla and Bathory, (and let’s not forget the Twilight series) vampires have enthralled audiences for years. There’s something fascinating about a creature of the night, immortal, surviving only on the life-blood of the living. Vampires are dark and sensual beings, some would even argue they’re akin to gods. But movies, and vampires, are just stories. Vampires don’t exist, to most of us.

In 1994 a movie was released, based on a 1976 novel by author Anne Rice. The movie is Interview With the Vampire, and chronicles the story of the vampire Lestat, and Louis, the man he transformed into a vampire in 1791. The film, directed by Neil Jordan (The Crying Game, The End of the Affair), was given a $70 million budget, which for a vampire movie, was unprecedented at the time. “It’s not very often you can make a complicated, dark, dangerous movie and get a big budget for it. Vampire movies were traditionally made at the lower end of the scale, on a shoestring, on rudimentary sets. David Geffen is very powerful and he poured money into Interview. I wanted to make it on an epic scale of something like Gone with the Wind“.

The movie was a box-office success. Opening on November 11, 1994, it grossed $36.4 million during its opening weekend, and earned it the number 1 spot in the US box office. For one viewer the film had quite the impact.

Daniel Sterlin, 25, took his girlfriend Lisa Stellwagen, 23, to see Interview With the Vampire on November 17, 1994. The next morning, at about 3am, Lisa woke up to find Daniel staring at her. When she asked him what was wrong, he replied, “I’m going to kill you and drink your blood.” Later that day he did, in fact, stab her with a serrated dagger, nine times in the chest and back.

Lisa survived after having suffered severe blood loss, and spending two weeks in the hospital. Daniel was arrested. In an interview with The San Francisco Chronicle, he claimed his innocence, but added, “I was influenced by the movie. I enjoyed the movie. But I cannot sit here and blame the movie.”

Daniel’s mental health was evaluated, and was found to be highly suggestible and manic depressive. He was a troubled man since the age of 10, when his mother committed suicide, but, his history of mental illness did not save him.

Daniel’s attorney, Teresa Caffese, argued that due to his mental state, he did not have any intent to kill or maim his girlfriend. This lack of intent would remove the possibility of him being charged for first degree murder and aggravated mayhem. “The client clearly is mentally ill. The evidence showed that he was, in fact, delusional.”

The prosecutor, Susan Breall, portrayed him as being calculated and controlling. She argued that Daniel had become enraged after Lisa had gone out with another man, and thus stabbed her out of vengeance.

The jury didn’t take long to deliver a verdict. Daniel Sterling was found guilty of attempted first degree murder, aggravated mayhem, mayhem, battery, assault, and domestic violence. “He knew what he was doing, he was in possession of his faculties,” said Dina Dimopoulos, jury forewoman. “It was an obvious case of domestic violence.” Regarding the vampire defense, she added, “It had nothing to do with it. It might have given him more impetus to suck her blood, but it didn’t have anything to do with the crime.”

Did Interview With the Vampire truly inspire Daniel Sterling to try and kill his girlfriend? Was he mentally ill, and thus not in control of his actions? Or was this just another case of domestic violence?

STORY: THE PERFECT MAN==========

Visitors to the Harvard Shaker Historic Village District in Harvard, Massachusetts can still see many of the historically preserved buildings that mark the oldest Shaker settlement in Massachusetts and the second oldest in the United States.   Though the property had long since passed from the hands of the original Shakers, the buildings were added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1989 because of their place in history.   Of these, the historic Square House, built in 1769, remains the cornerstone of the settlement due to its connection with Mother Ann Lee, founder of the Shakers, and many of her early followers (known as Mother’s First Born).

But the Square House actually predates the Shakers, having been built by the followers of renegade preacher Shadrack Ireland, someone who has been largely ignored by history.   Which seems a pity considering that Ireland was likely one of the most bizarre religious leaders in the history of the United States (quite an honour given the competition).   Ireland was especially memorable  for the strange circumstances of his life, the relationship he had with his followers, and what happened to his body after his death.

Though little is known about Ireland’s early life, one of the few facts available was that he worked as a pipe maker in Charlestown, Massachusetts where he had a wife and six children.    Described as a “strange secretive man and full of fancies”, Ireland underwent a religious conversion sometime in the 1750s.  Though he had been part of the First Great Awakening and a New Light preacher, Ireland’s revelations about religion put him in a class by himself.

According to his own account, Ireland’s spiritual journey began in the spring of 1753 when he “experienced such a change, both in body and in mind, that he was become perfect and immortal, and a number more with him.”   Abandoning his wife and family, he moved to Grafton, Massachusetts where he gathered a group of followers, not least of which was Sarah Prentice, the wife of a fellow Reverend, Solomon Prentice.   Among various teachings that upset the sensibilities of many of his neighbours was Ireland’s insistence on strict abstinence from all sex for anyone not deemed to be “perfect”.   For those who were perfect though (including Ireland), they were to marry “divinely chosen partners” and produce “sinless children.”

Ireland quickly became notorious, both for his pretensions and his taking of “spiritual wives.”  This began with a woman named Abigail Lougee and eventually Sarah Prentice as well.   The publicity drove him out of Grafton and he eventually settled in Harvard, Massachusetts where the largest group of his followers were located.   It was there that he personally constructed the Square House where he would live for the rest of his life.

Despite lurid rumours of what Ireland and his followers were up to in their closed community,  he continued to attract followers, many of whom visited him in Harvard for spiritual advice.   Though his “spiritual wife” Sarah was second in command of the community, she still remained in contact with her original husband (even if she insisted on addressing him as her “brother” and denied any carnal association with him or anyone else).   Solomon Prentice was certainly not happy with this state of affairs and there are reports suggesting that he beat her on several occasions.   This led to his being fired from his job as preacher and being unable to find a new post.   Through it all, Sarah and Solomon would remain married until his death.

As for Sarah, guided by Ireland’s teachings, she declared herself immortal and uncorruptable like her mentor and the rest of his strange congregation.  They continued to live at the Square House though Shadrack became increasingly paranoid as he grew older.   What exactly he was afraid of is open to speculation though he kept regular vigil from a special place near the roof of the house.  Not only was this safe place only reachable using a secret staircase, Ireland also had a bell that he could ring to give an alarm.   When he wasn’t in his bolt hole, he spent his time on a nearby hill where he preached to his followers (but still able to keep watch).

As he grew older, he also provided his followers with strict instructions relating to what they should do if his “spirit left his body.”   Since he insisted that he was immortal,  any appearance of death would be strictly temporary and his followers needed to be certain not to bury the body by mistake.   This odd congregation continued to function despite the political upheavals that were affecting the American colonies at the time.  Though rumours kept flying about what was happening in the small community (including stories about orgies, etc.),  Ireland’s followers managed just fine.

Until of course, their “immortal” leader died in 1788.  According to one account describing what occurred:  “The night he died he walked the floor in great distress of mind and groaning with deep groans. He said, ‘I feel the wrath of God.’ . . . Abigail Lougee called Abigail Cooper to get up and light a light. They got a light as quick as they could, but he was gone when they got to him, as I understand.”

Ireland’s death marked a major crisis of faith for his small circle of followers.   There was also the more basic question of what to do with the body afterward.   Would their leader stay dead or would his spirit return to it?    Eventually, they decided to wait and see what would happen next.   Unfortunately, in an era before embalming, this was probably not the best thing to do with a dead body.    As his followers kept a constant vigil, the smell became bad enough that some of them were forced to flee the bedroom.  Eventually, Ireland’s body was placed in a white coffin and kept in the Square House cellar for another few months of waiting.   After a year, he was eventually buried in an unmarked grave nearby.

With the fall of their immortal leader, Ireland’s small community was left devastated.   Though another disciple, David Hoar, ran things for a while, it was the arrival of Ann Lee, the founder of the Shakers, who truly put an end to Ireland’s immortal dream.   Lee, who had immigrated to New York along with some of her followers, became quite successful in winning over disaffected churchgoers throughout New England.   This included Shadrack Ireland’s group and she converted many of them, including Ireland’s “spiritual wife”, Abigail Lougee.

To win over the Perfectionists, Ann was emphatic in denouncing Shadrack Ireland and what he had promised them.   As she told Ireland’s followers,  “You are old people now, all of you, and you think you will never die.  Look at yourselves!  You carry about you all the marks of mortality, just as other people do.  Your skins are wrinkled, your hair turns while and is falling; your eyesight is failing;  you are losing your teeth and your bodies are growing feeble. ”

Shortly afterward, the Shakers purchased the Square House in which Ann then took up residence.  This led to a rather bizarre episode soon after she moved into the house.   According to Harvard Shaker records, Ann was reportedly awakened by Shadrack Ireland’s ghost and, as she later told her followers, “Shadrack Ireland is here.  He began in the spirit and ended in the most total darkness of the flesh.”   To banish the ghost, she and her followers “went into the labors or danced” with the shaking dancing that earned them their name.   This apparently worked since Ireland was never heard from since.

The Square House became the centre of the Harvard Shaker community and Shadrack Ireland was nothing more than a troubling memory afterward.   By then, most of his followers had become Shakers, and their search for immortality was apparently over.

As for Shadrack Ireland, he remains virtually forgotten except as a footnote in the history of the Shakers.  Presumably, his body is still somewhere on the grounds of the Harvard Shaker village though nobody knows where it was buried.    A sad end for a “perfect” man.

BREAK==========

Coming up…

Gerald Foos built a secret passageway in his motel – not to smuggle drugs or store weapons, but so he could spy on his motel guests having sex. And it gets even creepier than that.

That story is up next on Weird Darkness.

<COMMERCIAL BREAK>

STORY: PEEPING TOM MOTEL==========

Being watched from afar can be a most unsettling feeling — but the guests at the Manor House Motel never even realized they were under observation. The now-legendary hotel peeping Tom Gerald Foos takes the prize when it comes to creepy things hotel owners do; he actually built a platform above his guest’s rooms so he could spy on them while they were having sex.

Though he may be one of the worst hotel managers of all time, Foos takes pride in being a “researcher,” and has documented many of the things that he caught a glimpse of from the attic. However, although he noted many curious observations — such as the steady increase in interracial couples over time — he never recorded any groundbreaking conclusions about human behavior. His attitude towards his own voyeurism became the subject of a book by journalist Gay Talese, whose own career of observing people has since been irreversibly damaged by his connection to Foos and the 2017 Netflix documentary Voyeur, which chronicles their strange friendship.

In order to clandestinely view the residents of his motel, Gerald Foos built a special attic area by hand that ran above the guest’s rooms. He had some help from his wife, but they had to do most of the work themselves to insure that no one would find out about Foos’s voyeurism. The attic’s “viewing platform” spanned the length of the building, with hand-cut holes in the ceiling disguised by faux vents.

The vents acted as one-way viewing portals to the rooms below, and Foos was able to spy on his guests without them knowing he was there. Surprisingly, none of the guests ever caught the lecherous manager in the act.

Foos kept very detailed notes — and even compiled statistics — that chronicle his observations. The stats include information on visitors’ biological sex, sexual acts (their nature and frequency), and even the numbers of orgasms guests experienced. The descriptions include paragraphs about the guests, compiling their heights, weights, occupations, and whatever else Foos could find out when they checked in.

Early on in the 1980s, Foos handed over entire notebooks of his “research” to journalist Gay Talese, mailing him over 300 pages of transcriptions.

While crouching in his hidden attic, Foos claims to have witnessed a murder go down in 1977. He had moral issues with drug dealers, and would often sneak into their rooms and get rid of their stashes while they were out. Allegedly, one dealer who discovered his stash missing blamed his girlfriend and attacked her. He strangled her, and left her lying on the floor before running off with all the money she was carrying.

Foos watched the whole thing go down without intervening. He claims that he could see her chest rising up and down, and assumed that she would be okay. However, the next morning, the motel’s cleaning staff found her dead. Foos claims that he called the police, but the Aurora Police Department has no record of a young woman being killed at the motel. Because there’s no hard evidence to prove the crime occurred, the whole story is up for debate.

According to Gay Talese, Foos truly believes that he is one of the greatest voyeurs in the world, after spending the majority of his life honing his craft. “He doesn’t want to be seen as a Peeping Tom but as a voyeur — not as a pervert but an observer of human nature.”

In interviews, Foos seems proud of the “research” he carried out in the years that he owned the motel. His detailed notes are further proof that he believes he was studying and documenting vital pieces of information relating to human behavior.

Early on in journalist Guy Talese’s research on Foos’s voyeurism, he came to visit Foos at his motel. During the visit, Foos actually invited Talese into the attic to join him in spying on an attractive young couple. The two men watched through the vents as the couple had sex, and at one point Talese leaned in too close. The red silk tie he was wearing slipped through the vent that they were watching through, nearly blowing their cover.

Foos yanked Talese back before the couple noticed the dangling tie, and they left the attic without raising suspicions.

According to one of the many interviews with Foos in the Netflix original film Voyeur, he hated when guests would bring dogs into the motel. Since dogs possess a better sense of hearing and smell than their owners, they would constantly bark and look up at the vent as though they could tell that someone was sitting behind it.

As much as Foos hated the dogs, they oddly enough never managed to blow his cover up in the attic.

Foos truly believes he was doing research, and he went the extra mile to see how far he could push his unknowing subjects. In one of the interviews from Netflix’s Voyeur, he claims to have baited various rooms with raunchy items like sex toys and adult magazines, to see what the occupants would do with them.

Not everyone was happy about it; many guests complained to him for not cleaning out the room after previous guests had left. However, some of the guests did use the sex aides, which absolutely fascinated Foos.

Although Gay Talese knew what was happening at Foos’s motel, he did nothing to stop the lecherous owner, and did not report him to the police. When he first visited Foos in Aurora, he signed an agreement saying that he would not reveal Foos’s name until he had been given a waiver saying he could do so. However, some people believe that once he learned the full extent of Foos’s opperation, he should have gone to the authorities.

One writer at Slate described Talese’s article about Foos for the New York Times as “a failure of journalistic ethics and a revealing window into Talese’s character.” Even if you’re not persuaded by the argument that Talese’s inaction made him complicit, there was also that time when he joined Foos in the secret viewing attic, so he is unarguably culpable to some degree.

Gay Talese first encountered Gerald Foos via a handwritten letter in 1980. Foos had written to Talese after hearing about the book he had released that year, The Neighbor’s Wife. He claimed that he had some information that might interest Talese; his “research” from all the nights he had spent watching couples at the motel.

From there, they stayed in touch until Talese began writing his book, The Voyeur’s Motel. The Netflix documentary that chronicles Foos and Talese’s journalistic union paints their relationship as a rollercoaster of misunderstandings. However, they consistently apologized to each other, and Foos admits that he considers Talese to be one of his few friends.

Gay Talese found out about Gerald Foos’s (possibly unintentional) dishonesty after the book The Voyeur’s Motel had been written. Once the story was out in the world, readers began poking holes in Foo’s claims, and Talese grew so frustrated with the various inaccuracies that he said he could no longer promote the book because its credibility was “down the toilet.”

However, once he calmed down, he told his publishers that he would resume the usual promotional activities and make corrections in future editions. The mistakes found by various fact checkers had (mostly) proven to be errors with the dates Foos had provided, rather than the actual content of the stories. Talese does make sure to say that Foos is “an inaccurate and unreliable narrator” in the book.

Long before he purchased the Manor House Motel, Gerald Foos had an interest in watching people. He bought the property to satisfy his need to look in on others’ private lives, his preferred pastime since he was only nine years old.

When he was growing up, his 20-year-old aunt moved in across from his family’s farm in rural Colorado. In an interview in Voyeur, Foos states that she was the most beautiful woman he had ever seen. Allegedly, he used to watch her through her window as she walked around her house (often in the nude).

By 2013, Foos reasoned that the “statute of limitations… would protect him from lawsuits and/or criminal charges,” and he decided to finally go public with his story. He had made Gay Talese sign a confidentiality agreement when they first began their correspondence, which he voided in order to release the full story and gain some publicity.

He didn’t just wait to tell the story to save himself; Talese would have also been implicated, since he had been present for some of Foos’s criminal behavior.

Talese’s daughter Pamela was the one who discovered that the old Manor House Motel had been demolished. While working on a painting of the property in its “glory days,” she looked up the location on Google Maps, and found an empty lot.

After Talese was informed of his daughter’s discovery (he apparently isn’t very good with using the internet), he visited the site with Foos, his wife Anita, and the Netflix film crew, poking around in the dirt and reminiscing about the building that was once there.

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

Thanks for listening.

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All stories in Weird Darkness are purported to be true (unless stated otherwise), and you can find source links or links to the authors in the show notes.

“The Mystery of the Garrett Family’s Tragic Deaths” from Pennsylvania Oddities
“The Perfect Man” by Dr. Romeo Vitelli for Providentia
“Peeping Tom Motel” by Rachel Souerbry for Ranker’s Graveyard Shift
“Interview With The Wannabe Vampire” from The Scare Chamber

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Now that we’re coming out of the dark, I’ll leave you with a little light… “Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong.” – 1 Corinthians 16:13

And a final thought… “Don’t compare your Chapter One to someone else’s Chapter Twenty.” – Unknown

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

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