“WHY THEY CALL THIS SNOWMAN ABOMINABLE” and More Scary True Paranormal Stories! #WeirdDarkness
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IN THIS EPISODE: In 1938, stories of a “killer ghost” began to be told in eastern Kentucky. Even though no one ever saw this malevolent apparition, it was said to have caused five very similar and unexplained deaths. (The Ghost That Killed With Chains) *** Is it possible that in 1927 we picked up signals from an artificial satellite sent to our planet by an extraterrestrial intelligence? Some believe the evidence is overwhelming. (Mystery of the Alien Satellite) *** When a great famine struck Europe in 1314, mothers abandoned their children and in some cases, even ate them. Could this be the gruesome beginnings of the story we know as Hansel and Gretel? (The Grimm Reality Behind Hansel and Gretel) *** But first… I doubt there’s a single person over the age of twelve living in the modernized world that hasn’t at least heard of Bigfoot. A large portion of them have probably heard it’s other name – Sasquatch – as well. But far fewer are familiar with his even more reclusive Siberian cousin: the Russian Bigfoot that’s we’ve come to know as the Yeti, or more fondly… the Abominable Snowman. We’ll begin with that story! (Why They Call This Snowman Abominable)
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ESSENTIAL WEB LINKS MENTIONED IN EPISODE…
PHOTO: Dyatlov Pass Frame 17 Photo: https://tinyurl.com/ycvcts35
BOOK: “Yeti, Sasquatch and Hairy Giants” by David Hatcher Childress: https://amzn.to/3rA4mQu
BOOK: “Bigfoot and Other Mysterious Creatures” by Rupert Matthews: https://amzn.to/38O4Rho
BOOK: “Yeti: The Abominable History” by Graham Hoyland: https://amzn.to/2WRFqFV
BOOK: “The Third Horseman – A Story of Weather, War, and the Famine History Forgot” by William Rosen: https://amzn.to/3rAEofH
BOOK: “Beyond the Grave, A History of America’s Most Haunted Graveyards” by Troy Taylor: https://amzn.to/34PEpTf
EPISODE: “The Ghost of Superman”: https://weirddarkness.com/archives/3687
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STORY AND MUSIC CREDITS/SOURCES…
(Over time links may become invalid, disappear, or have different content. I always make sure to give authors credit for the material I use whenever possible. If I somehow overlooked doing so for a story, or if a credit is incorrect, please let me know and I will rectify it in the show notes immediately.)
“The Grimm Reality Behind Hansel and Gretel” by Joseph Williams for All That’s Interesting: https://tinyurl.com/qkemcwg
“The Ghost That Killed With Chains (Carl Pruitt: The Killer Ghost)” by Troy Taylor from the book, “Beyond the Grave, A History of America’s Most Haunted Graveyards”: https://amzn.to/34PEpTf
“Mystery of the Alien Satellite” by Ellen Lloyd for the now defunct UFOarea.com
“Why They Call This Snowman Abominable” by Marcus Lowth for UFO Insight: https://tinyurl.com/y86xfgbw
Weird Darkness theme by Alibi Music Library. Background music, varying by episode, provided by Alibi Music, EpidemicSound and/or AudioBlocks with paid license. Music from Shadows Symphony (https://tinyurl.com/yyrv987t), Midnight Syndicate (http://amzn.to/2BYCoXZ), Kevin MacLeod (https://tinyurl.com/y2v7fgbu), Tony Longworth (https://tinyurl.com/y2nhnbt7), and/or Nicolas Gasparini/Myuu (https://tinyurl.com/lnqpfs8) is used with permission.
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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 doing the podcast!
I’ve started doing something fun in the Weird Darkness Weirdos Facebook Group that a lot of people seem to like. Each day before posting a new episode, I put up a poll with a list of all of the stories I’ll be sharing in that night’s episode, along with a completely made-up story title. People try to guess which story is the fake one, and also which story will be the one I choose as my feature, title story.
So… the fake story for this episode was “Santa Claus Could Be The Grim Reaper, Here’s How”. That is a completely bogus story title, I just made it up.
Coming up in this episode… the real stories…
In 1938, stories of a “killer ghost” began to be told in eastern Kentucky. Even though no one ever saw this malevolent apparition, it was said to have caused five very similar and unexplained deaths. (The Ghost That Killed With Chains)
Is it possible that in 1927 we picked up signals from an artificial satellite sent to our planet by an extraterrestrial intelligence? Some believe the evidence is overwhelming. (Mystery of the Alien Satellite)
When a great famine struck Europe in 1314, mothers abandoned their children and in some cases, even ate them. Could this be the gruesome beginnings of the story we know as Hansel and Gretel? (The Grimm Reality Behind Hansel and Gretel)
But first… I doubt there’s a single person over the age of twelve living in the modernized world that hasn’t at least heard of Bigfoot. A large portion of them have probably heard it’s other name – Sasquatch – as well. But far fewer are familiar with his even more reclusive Siberian cousin: the Russian Bigfoot that’s we’ve come to know as the Yeti, or more fondly… the Abominable Snowman. We’ll begin with that story! (Why They Call This Snowman Abominable)
While listening, be sure to check out the Weird Darkness website. At WeirdDarkness.com you can sign up for the “Weird DarkNEWS” email newsletter to win monthly prizes, get Weird Darkness merchandise in the store where 100% of the profits are donated to organizations that help those who struggle with depression, you can visit the “Hope In The Darkness” page to find help if you are struggling with depression or dark thoughts yourself, you can find paranormal and horror audiobooks I’ve narrated, watch old horror movies and horror hosts for free 24-hours a day, and find my email address and social media links on the “contact” page. 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: WHY THEY CALL THIS SNOWMAN ABOMINABLE==========
While research into the Yeti or “Abominable Snowman” often falls into the category of the “Russian Bigfoot”, in all likelihood the almost identical creatures from The Himalayas and mountainous regions of Asia, including parts of China and even Japan, are likely the same creature. For our purposes here, we will examine accounts from all of these regions. After all, such a creature as Bigfoot is unlikely to be respectful of international boundaries. It is also worth noting that for a large chunk of the 20th century the Soviet Union was essentially in control of much more territory than it is now.
While many people dismiss claims of Bigfoot encounters, there is perhaps much more to examine in them than we might think. In fact, even Sir David Attenborough, after pointing to several discoveries of fossils with huge molars, stated that he believed the “Abominable Snowman may be real!” And what’s more, he pointed to the Himalayas and the “immense rhododendron forest that goes on for hundreds of square miles could hold the Yeti”. He would continue that “if there are some alive, and you walked by their habitat, you can bet these creatures may be aware of you, but you wouldn’t be aware of them!”
It is arguably a certainty that a connection exists between the Bigfoot or Sasquatch creatures of the North American continent and the Yetis of the Siberian and Asian regions. And while many Bigfoot researchers concentrate on the sightings in North America, there is an abundance of encounters of strange, hairy, beast-like creatures in the mountains and woodlands on the other side of the world. And what’s more, they stretch back hundreds of years, at the very least.
It is perhaps best that we remind ourselves briefly of how the idea of a Russian Bigfoot and the connection to the Abominable Snowman first entered the public arena – at least in a widespread sense – in the 1950s.
You may know of the photographs of English mountaineer, Eric Shipton, who in 1951 while leading a research mission to Mount Everest would discover a particularly large human-like footprint in the snow. And what’s more, this discovery came somewhere in the region of 20,000 feet above sea level.
He would not only photograph them but would do so with his pick-ax beside them so as to leave no debate as to the true size of them. These pictures would ignite an interest in the wider public arena after sightings until that point, as we shall discover, were largely kept within the realms of those with an interest in such matters.
Further discoveries of these strange footprints would surface in various publications over the years that would follow. Perhaps one of the most intriguing was that led by John Angelo Jackson for the 1954 Daily Mail Snowman Expedition. He would photograph similar footprints, as well as discovering strange depictions of the apparent Yeti from ancient times that suggested these creatures had roamed this terrain for hundreds, perhaps thousands of years.
The Dyatlov Pass Incident – the deaths of nine experienced mountain hikers in the most mysterious of circumstances – is also worth touching on, as there are some apparent connections to this beast-like creature and the grim fate of the unfortunate hikers.
Perhaps the most compelling connection is one of the photographs discovered on one of the hiker’s cameras. It has since become known as Frame 17 – I’ll link to the photo in the show notes.
This picture shows a figure seemingly looking down on the group and watching them. While many have stated it appears to show nothing more than a person in a hooded coat (most likely one of the hikers themselves), others point to the genuine Bigfoot-like appearance.
It is easy to dismiss such claims. However, when we know that the region of the mountains the hikers were in has a long history of Bigfoot sightings, both before and after the Dyatlov Pass incident, then such assertions appear a little more credible, if only slightly.
In fact, the Mansi people, who have lived in the region for centuries, speak of a beast-like creature almost identical to what we would recognize as a Bigfoot called a Menk. However, this creature is not merely a flesh and blood creature, but a supernatural being.
What is interesting here is that some researchers have also pointed to a supernatural connection to the Bigfoot sightings of North America. And even more intriguing, many of the Native tribes of the continent, like the Mansi people, also speak of a creature very similar to the Menk.
Although they are not as widely known, there are plenty of accounts of the Yeti that go back to at least the early 1800s, with some going back even further than that. One of these can be found in the book “Yeti, Sasquatch and Hairy Giants” by David Hatcher Childress which I’ve placed the Amazon link to in the Essential Web Links section of the show notes.
The account in question goes all the way back to the time of Alexander the Great in 326 BC during his invasion of India. While documenting a journey to the Indus River, the ancient writing (Anabasis Alexandri: Book VIII by Arrian) speaks of a battle with “hairy men” in a region called Tomerus. These natives were first noticed along the bank of the water living in “stifling cabins”.
Following a battle, during which several of these natives were captured (many escaped to the hills), it was noted that they “were hairy, not only their heads but the rest of their bodies”. Furthermore, they had “nails rather like beasts’ claws”. It was also noted that they wore “skins of animals” for clothing.
There is also a similar description to be found in the writings of Claudius Aelianus in the book De Natura Animalium (On The Nature Of Animals) who wrote in the early 200s BC of a Yeti-like creature in the mountains and valleys of India.
He refers to these creatures as “Satyrs” and describes them as being “covered with shaggy hair”. He elaborates that “when left to themselves, they stay in the forest and eat tree sprouts”. However, upon hearing the approach of people “they run with incredible speed to hide in mountain caves”. Perhaps of most interest, is the line that they “repel approaching humans by hurling stones down at them”. Many accounts – of Bigfoot and Yetis – feature this particular detail.
In the book “Bigfoot and Other Mysterious Creatures” by Rupert Matthews (which I’ll place a link to in the Essential Web Links section of the show notes as well), and much more recently (comparatively speaking) we can find further accounts. For example, respected hill walker, B.H. Hodgson would tell of an account that unfolded in Nepal in 1825. Although he didn’t see the creature himself, his porters would report to him of seeing a “tall creature covered with long, dark hair”. Once this unnerving beast noticed it was being watched it “bounded off in apparent fear”.
Another account comes from the Mountains of Sikkim in northern India in 1889. According to Major L.A. Waddell, while on an expedition to map the region, he suddenly noticed footprints that “seemed to be those of a barefooted man with enormous feet”. When he consulted with his guide of the region, he was informed that they were the footprints of “the wild hairy man”. And perhaps more worrying, that they should cease following them and leave the area.
A similar incident unfolded in the 1890s, although it remained out of the public arena for three decades when The Times received a letter telling of it in the 1920s. The letter came from one William Knight, who was in Sikkim, traveling from Tantok to Sedonchen. During this journey, he decided to stop for a moment in order to allow his horse to rest. It was then that heard something behind him, seemingly coming from the woodland behind where he sat.
He would write in the letter that “some 20 paces away” he noticed a strange creature that he immediately assumed was “one of the hairy men that the Tibetans call the Abominable Snowman”. He would estimate the creature was over six feet tall and unclothed, in spite of the “bitter cold”.
Although he would describe the creature as “one of the hairy men”, he also claimed that this creature had “pale yellow” skin with significantly more hair on the head than elsewhere on the body. Knight would also state that this figure had “some form of primitive bow” in his hand. He would continue to watch the figure for around five minutes until it suddenly took off down the hill at “tremendous speed”.
Whether what Knight witnessed was a Bigfoot-like creature, or whether, as Matthews wrote was, in fact, “one of the unfortunate individuals that are driven from their families and villages to live wild and solitary lives in the wilderness” or not is perhaps open to debate (although, in this case, the latter is indeed more likely).
There are further accounts from the early years of the 20th century. For example, at some time in the opening years of the 1900s, an incident is on record involving the daughter of a colonial military officer, Mary MacDonald. On this particular day, along with a team of porters, she was walking along a mountain trail near the Tibetan border.
Suddenly, the serene atmosphere of the environment was interrupted by a loud cry that ended on a monstrous growl. The perplexed young woman immediately turned around to ask her guide what the noise was. However, upon doing so she saw the team of porters running in the opposite direction, the equipment they were carrying abandoned on the spot.
She reached for one of the guns and then set off in the same direction as the porter team. When they felt they were sufficiently enough away, the men informed MacDonald that the call belonged to a “Metoh Kangmi”, which when translated meant “Bad Man of the Snow”.
This name would come up again around 20 years later, only this time the translation arrived at was slightly different – and it would stick. While looking to scout out Mount Everest, Colonel Howard-Bury was informed by his guide team of the same creature upon discovering huge human-like footprints in the snow. However, Howard-Bury would translate the name as “Abominable Snowman”. By the time the name appeared in print, it was almost an automatic moniker in the northern regions of India among English-speaking communities.
Of course, as we know, several decades later upon the discovery of the footprints by Eric Shipton the name would reach a much wider audience.
In his book “Yeti: The Abominable History” by Graham Hoyland (which I’ve also linked to), Hoyland recounts another intriguing encounter that occurred in 1925 when Narik Tombazi was studying glaciers in northern Sikkim. While doing so he suddenly noticed a strange human-like figure below him around 300 yards away. However, it was completely covered in hair. It appeared to be looking for vegetation to eat, even pulling up a small bush in order to gnaw at the roots.
After the creature had disappeared back into the woodland, Tombazi and members of his team went to the location where the creature was spotted. They would discover large footprints in the snow. Although Tombazi would ultimately decide that the creature must have been a “wandering pilgrim”, it was obvious that the more western explorers ventured into these seemingly uninhabited terrains, that sightings of the strange hairy creatures appeared to increase.
In fact, as the 1920s and 30s unfolded, there was a quiet interest in the strange beast-like creatures that walked these Eurasia regions. However, the outbreak of the Second World War suddenly halted such interest. And while, as we know, some researchers returned as the 1950s got underway, the height of public interest did not return to the levels before the war.
While we have examined some of the better-known incidents and discoveries up to the 1950s, sightings of the Yeti would continue as the decades went on.
For example, in 1970, while camping on an open slope at some 13,000 feet, Don Whillans noticed a strange creature appear from out of the woodland nearby. As the night was a clear one, he had no trouble at all seeing the incident unfold under the moonlight, even though he used his binoculars to do so.
He would state that this creature, while as tall as an average person, was much wider and heavy set and covered in fur or hair. What’s more, it moved around at a considerable pace using all fours like a monkey. He continued to watch for around an hour before the creature suddenly disappeared into the woodlands from where it had first emerged.
A similar incident occurred in 1972, this time in the Arun Valley. One evening, in the campsite of a zoological research team, a strange, hairy creature appeared out of nowhere during the evening, roaming between the tents. Each member of the research team believed that the creature was likely a bear so they remained still waiting for it to lose interest and leave. When they finally emerged from the tents, though, the large footprints left in the ground were far from bear-like.
Perhaps an even spookier incident occurred a little after a decade later in 1984 when mountaineer, David Sheppard, noticed a strange, human-like figure covered in hair, seemingly following him for some time.
Of course, these sightings have continued right into the modern age. And as technology gets better, the chances to capture these strange creatures on video or photograph increases.
There have been many modern incidents and sightings of Yetis and Bigfoot creatures throughout the Eurasia region. Many of which have been captured on video. One of the most recent went particularly viral on social media when a couple on a skiing holiday accidentally filmed a tall, hairy, human-like figure emerge suddenly from a group of trees before disappearing again just as quickly.
There continue to be discoveries of giant-like footprints in the snow, some of which stretch for a considerable distance before suddenly disappearing – as if the creature that made them simply vanished into thin air.
Following the wealth of accounts – of which we have looked at only a small handful – what should we make of the Yeti? It is perhaps worth our time turning to the extensive work and research of Maya Bykova, who studied the mysterious creature for decades before her death in 1996, in particular sightings of the creature in Russia and near the Arctic circle.
According to the work of Bykova, aside from the appearance with which most of us are familiar, these strange creatures have the ability to make themselves “invisible” to people – something that she concluded was done as an act of defense.
This is an intriguing notion. And one that has led to several suggestions from researchers of a more paranormal element to Bigfoot sightings. Some researchers have suggested a connection to UFO sightings, many of which, especially in the North American continent, occur in the same locations as Bigfoot hotspots.
Might this mean there is an extraterrestrial nature to Bigfoot and Yeti creatures? And if so, what might that connection be?
Other researchers suggest that these sudden disappearances, or becoming invisible, are due to portals or gateways that these creatures travel back and forth from – whether it is a purposeful journey or not.
Might this explain why there are only ever very brief sightings of these elusive creatures? Why they are there one minute, and gone the next? And if these interdimensional trips are purposeful, what does that tell us of the intelligence on the part of Bigfoot and Yetis? And why are they making such journeys from their realm of existence to ours?
Further according to Bykova’s research are the beliefs and claims of Tibetan red-hatted monks. They claim that Yetis have the ability to control its own brain activity – so much so that it can make itself appear invisible. They state that Bigfoot and Yeti creatures are one of the few remaining on Earth who have the ability to do this, suggesting an existence that goes back thousands and thousands of years, at the very least.
Again, this would explain why some people claim to see these creatures almost disappear right before their eyes. If there is any truth in the notion that these strange creatures can make themselves “disappear” – whether through a portal unknown to us or through an ancient ability to control the mind to a point untouchable to us – then that means the research must switch somewhat from looking to study an unknown terrestrial animal to examining realms and notions seemingly on the fringes of accepted ideas.
It might even prove that – as some researchers have suggested – that the Bigfoot and Yeti are connected to all strange phenomena and sightings. Whether it be sea monsters, UFOs, or strange disappearances.
In fact, it is perhaps also worth mentioning possible connections to the Missing 411 – strange disappearances and (on occasion) reappearances of people around the North American continent as documented extensively by researcher David Paulides, who has collected accounts going back to the late-1800s.
Many people who have reappeared have spoken of a strange, monstrous-looking, hairy creature with red eyes. While not harming them, these creatures almost act as kidnappers and guards for the duration of their captivity. There are little other details known, but this is a claim that surfaces in many of the strange disappearances of the Missing 411.
What is also interesting is that many of those disappearances take place in cluster spots, which themselves are in the same locations as both Bigfoot and UFO hotspots. Is there a direct connection between these three things? Or might certain locations simply attract such strange activity, and if so, why?
Might it also prove to be – if a researcher or group of researchers took it upon themselves to do such things – that these disappearances might be taking place through the Eurasia regions and if so, would they correlate to UFO and Bigfoot (or Yeti) sighting hotspots?
Indeed, the more we collectively study one area of interest – in this case, Bigfoot and Yeti encounters – other seemingly unconnected areas become not only relevant but have a little more light cast on them.
There are quite obviously many more questions than answers regarding the Yeti (and Bigfoot) – whatever it might one day prove to be.
Perhaps first of all we should ask if the Bigfoot and the Yeti are the same creature, or a relative to each other? It is worth noting that many of the Yeti sightings in the Eurasia regions speak of these creatures standing at around 6 feet tall. On the other hand, sightings of Bigfoot creatures in the North American continent tend to claim them to be slightly taller – somewhere in the region of 8 feet, which might suggest a cross of the two different “races”. However, this aside, most of the other aspects of the Bigfoot and Yeti are almost identical.
Might this be a completely new creature to science – one that appears as much beast-like as it does human? Might the Yetis and Bigfoot of today share a connection to the many hairy and beast-like beings from mythology and folklore from all around the world, stretching back thousands of years? Might there even be, as we have discussed, a supernatural element to these mysterious and mostly elusive creatures?
Although there isn’t an abundance of funds for people to conduct serious research into what these strange creatures are, where they come from, and where they call home, many researchers continue their work regardless. Sightings continue to be logged and recorded, although the answers have so far proven to be as elusive as these strange beast-like entities themselves.
When Weird Darkness returns…
In 1938, stories of a “killer ghost” began to be told in eastern Kentucky – a ghost that was killing people with chains.
Evidence seems to indicate that we received a message from an alien intelligence in 1927.
But first, famine was so bad in Europe in the early 1300s that not only would mothers abandon their children – some would even kill and eat them in order to survive. A grim truth for sure – but could it also be the origins for the Grimm’s fairy tale, Hansel and Gretel? We’ll have that story up next.
STORY: THE GRIMM REALITY BEHIND HANSEL AND GRETEL==========
The notorious tale of Hansel and Gretel has been translated into 160 languages since the Brothers Grimm first published the German lore in 1812.
Dark as it is, the story features child abandonment, attempted cannibalism, enslavement, and murder. Unfortunately, the origins of the story are equally — if not more — horrifying.
Most people are familiar with the story but for those who aren’t, it opens on a pair of children who are to be abandoned by their starving parents in the forest. The kids, Hansel and Gretel, get wind of their parents’ plan and find their way home by following a trail of stones Hansel had dropped earlier. The mother, or stepmother by some tellings, then convinces the father to abandon the children a second time.
This time, Hansel drops breadcrumbs to follow home but birds eat the breadcrumbs and the children become lost in the forest.
The starving pair come upon a gingerbread house that they begin to eat ravenously. Unbeknownst to them, the home is actually a trap set by an old witch, or ogre, who enslaves Gretel and forces her to overfeed Hansel so that he can be eaten by the witch herself.
The pair manage to escape when Gretel shoves the witch into an oven. They return home with the witch’s treasure and find that their evil matriarch is no longer there and is presumed dead, so they live happily ever after.
But the true history behind the tale of Hansel and Gretel is not so happy as this ending.
Modern readers know Hansel and Gretel from the works of German brothers Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm. The brothers were inseparable scholars, medievalists who had a passion for collecting German folklore.
Between 1812 and 1857, the brothers published over 200 stories in seven different editions of what has since become known in English as Grimm’s Fairy Tales.
Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm never intended that their stories be for children per se, but rather the brothers sought to preserve Germanic folklore in a region whose culture was being overrun by France during the Napoleonic Wars.
In fact, the early editions of the Grimm brothers’ work published as Kinder und Hausmärchen, or Children’s and Household Tales, lacked illustrations. Scholarly footnotes abounded. The stories were dark and filled with murder and mayhem.
The stories nonetheless quickly caught on. Grimm’s Fairy Tales had such universal appeal that eventually, in the United States alone, there have been over 120 different editions made.
These stories featured an all-star lineup of well-known characters including Cinderella, Rapunzel, Rumpelstiltskin, Snow White, Little Red Riding Hood, and of course Hansel and Gretel.
The true story of Hansel and Gretel goes back to a cohort of tales that originated in the Baltic regions during the Great Famine of 1314 to 1322. Volcanic activity in southeast Asia and New Zealand ushered in a period of prolonged climate change that led to crop failures and massive starvation across the globe.
In Europe, the situation was particularly dire since the food supply was already scarce. When the Great Famine struck, the results were devastating. One scholar estimated that the Great Famine impacted 400,000 square miles of Europe, 30 million people, and may have killed off up to 25 percent of the population in certain areas.
In the process, elderly people chose voluntarily to starve to death to allow the young to live. Others committed infanticide or abandoned their children. There is also evidence of cannibalism. William Rosen in his book, “The Third Horseman – A Story of Weather, War, and the Famine History Forgot” (which I’ll place a link to in the Essential Web Links section of the show notes), cites an Estonian chronicle which states that in 1315 “mothers were fed their children.”
An Irish chronicler also wrote that the famine was so bad people “were so destroyed by hunger that they extracted bodies of the dead from cemeteries and dug out the flesh from the skulls and ate it, and women ate their children out of hunger.”
And it was from this grim chaos that the story of Hansel and Gretel was born.
The cautionary tales that preceded Hansel and Gretel all dealt directly with themes of abandonment and survival. Almost all of these stories also used the forest as a tableau for danger, magic, and death.
One such example comes from the Italian fairy tale collector Giambattista Basile, who published a number of stories in his 17th century Pentamerone. In his version, titled Nennillo and Nennella, a cruel stepmother forces her husband to abandon his two children in the woods. The father tries to foil the plot by leaving the children a trail of oats to follow but these are eaten by a donkey.
The grimmest of these early tales, though, is the Romanian story, The Little Boy and the Wicked Stepmother. In this fairy tale, two children are abandoned and find their way home following a trail of ashes. But when they return home, the stepmother kills the little boy and forces the sister to prepare his corpse for a family meal.
The horrified girl obeys but hides the boy’s heart inside a tree. The father unknowingly eats his son while the sister refuses to take part. After the meal, the girl takes the brother’s bones and puts them inside the tree with his heart. The next day, a cuckoo bird emerges singing, “Cuckoo! My sister has cooked me, and my father has eaten me, but I am now a cuckoo and safe from my stepmother.”
The terrified stepmother throws a lump of salt at the bird but it just falls back on her head, killing her instantaneously.
The direct source for the story of Hansel and Gretel as we know it came from Henriette Dorothea Wild, a neighbor of the brothers Grimm who narrated many of the tales for their first edition. She ended up marrying Wilhelm.
The original versions of the Grimm brothers’ Hansel and Gretel changed over time. Perhaps the brothers were aware that their stories were being read by children and so by the last edition that they published, they had sanitized the stories somewhat.
Where the mother had abandoned her biological children in the first versions, by the time the last 1857 edition was printed, she had transformed into the archetypal wicked stepmother. The father’s role, too, was softened by the 1857 edition as he showed more regret for his actions.
Meanwhile, the tale of Hansel and Gretel has continued to evolve. There are versions today that are meant for preschoolers, like children’s author Mercer Mayer’s story which doesn’t even try to touch any of the child abandonment themes.
Every once in awhile the tale attempts to go back to its dark roots. In January 2020, Orion Picture’s ‘Gretel and Hansel: A Grim Fairy Tale’ was released to theaters hedged on the side of creepy. This version has the siblings looking through the forest for food and working to help their parents when they meet the witch.
It seems that the true story of Hansel and Gretel may still be darker than even this latest version.
STORY: MYSTERY OF THE ALIEN SATELLITE==========
“Our homeland Sun is Epsilon Bootes. It is a double star. We live on sixth of seven planets, counted from the sun… Our sixth planet has a moon, our fourth planet has three moons. Our first and third planet has no moon. Our satellite is in a circular path around your Moon… ”
Did we pick up the signals from an artificial satellite sent to our planet by an extraterrestrial intelligence?
In December 1927, Carl Stoermer, the Norwegian Professor of Mathematics at University in Oslo, and explorer of echo radio was contacted by two American scientists, Leo C. Young, radio engineer and Dr. A. Hoyt Taylor, chief consultant of electronics at the naval research laboratory.
During their experiments with radio waves, Young and Taylor observed unnatural signals coming from space.
On August 25 1928, the scientists along with Carl Stoermer and the workers of Philips Company began to send their own radio signals of various wave lengths.
While sending a series of signals, the researchers received two series of echoes instead of only one, normally coming back after a delay of one seventh of a second.
Weeks passed and on October 11, 1928, the same repeating signals with delays from 3 to 15 seconds were systematically received during several sessions. On October 24, as many as 48 such signals were picked up.
The interval from 3 to 15 seconds was a real puzzle to the scientists. Could they mean a code, an intelligent coded message from an unknown extraterrestrial sender? But from whom? What was the location of the signals?
The observations of incoming signals were still conducted in 1934, 1947, 1949, and 1970.
At the beginning of the 70s, Duncan Lunan, a Scottish astronomer, President of the Scottish Association of Technology and Research, being interested in the phenomenon undertook a thorough research.
The puzzling phenomenon required an explanation of some kind, but all attempts to solve it did not bring any satisfying results. Lunan’s approach was different.
Instead of to register the deceleration time in the Y-axis (as the scientist usually practiced), Lunan drew the time delay on October 11, 1928, of the received indications… in the X-axis.
The obtained results were shocking.
The signals received on October 11, 1928, originated from the constellation of Bootes (the Herdsman – the Bear Watcher, in Greek), located in the northern sky, dominated by the bright orange giant star Arcturus.
Arcturus of magnitude 0.04 is the fourth brightest star in the sky.
The constellation of Bootes is suggested to be the oldest known constellation listed by Ptolemy (ca. AD 140). Not as widely known as for example Cassiopeia or Orion, Bootes still has its impressive past recorded in history.
The ancient Egyptians pictured Bootes as a constellation they called the Hippopotamus. Both the Hindus and ancient Chinese regarded Arcturus as a pearl-star. The Greeks knew Bootes as the Bear Watcher.
Based on the results, Duncan Lunan created six detailed sky maps, depicting the set of stars in the constellation of Bootes. However, he came upon yet another mystery…
Comparing all data available from his and earlier observations, he discovered two important though strange deviations in the view of star positions. Such deviations could not be, but they were.
Looking at the first deviation, Lunan noticed that the point that should represent the star Artcturus, the brightest one in the constellation was outside of its current position.
He was surprised. He analyzed once again the star positions and found the answer. He was looking at the position of the star Arcturus as it was registered 12,500-13,000 BC!
That was the time at the end of the last large Ice Age.
A new chapter of our planet’s history has just begun then. Time of the Sphinx, the pyramids, and perhaps the city of Tiahuanaco, however the last could be even older…
The other deviation was related to the star Izar, a yellow K1 giant star, a binary companion to Arcturus. The point, which should represent the star Izar was not noted on the design, but outside of the constellation lines. This point was the exact result of radio echo of 3 seconds delay, while the other points were represented by radio echoes from 8 to 15 of delay.
Was the star Izar referring to the sun of the unknown civilization in the constellation Bootes?
Perhaps a technologically advanced intelligence from there built and sent an artificial satellite to our solar system. Radio signals sent on separate occasions from the alien satellite reached the Earth’s surface and bounced back to the alien satellite. After being registered and deliberately delayed, they were repeatedly sent back to the Earth.
Already in 1960, Professor R.N. Bracewell of Stanford University, California suggested that if an extraterrestrial civilization decided to contact us, they would probably choose to do it by using delayed radio signals.
No doubt, the probe was dispatched to orbit in the vicinity of Earth. The question is: For what purpose? For listening and watching our technological and social progresses? For future contact with us?
Perhaps this contact has already been established. We do not know…
STORY: THE GHOST THAT KILLED WITH CHAINS==========
In June of 1938, in Pulaski County, Kentucky, a man named Carl Pruitt came home from work one night and found his wife in bed with another man. After her lover escaped by jumping out of a window, Pruitt strangled his wife with a small piece of chain. Immediately after, perhaps having just realized the depth of his madness, he committed suicide. He was buried in a separate cemetery from his wife.
A few weeks after he was buried, visitors to the cemetery began to notice the pattern of a chain that was slowly forming on Pruitt’s gravestone. The “chain” was caused by an unusual discoloration in the stone and slowly, it gained links until it formed the shape of a cross. At that point, it stopped growing. A number of local residents suggested that perhaps the supernaturally marked tombstone should be removed from the graveyard and destroyed, but officials scoffed and nothing was done about it.
A month or so after the chain stopped growing, a group of boys were riding their bicycles past the cemetery one afternoon. One of them, a boy named James Collins, decided to throw a few stones at Pruitt’s “cursed” gravestone, probably just to prove that he wasn’t afraid and had little use for spooky stories. Whatever the reason for his actions, the hurled rocks managed to chip several spots from the stone. As the young men started home, Collins’ bicycle suddenly began to pick up speed, to the point that he could no longer control it. It veered off the road and collided with a tree. Then, in some unexplained way, the sprocket chain tore loose and managed to wrap itself about the boy’s neck, strangling him. Rumors quickly spread about this remarkable occurrence, especially after an examination of the Pruitt tombstone revealed that no marks or chips marred the surface of it. The other boys knew what they had seen however and their breathless accounts only fueled speculation about a vengeful ghost.
James Collins’ mother was especially heartbroken over her son’s death. Less than a month after his accident, she went out to the cemetery and destroyed the Pruitt gravestone with a small hand axe. She pounded and hacked at the stone until it lay in dozens in pieces. The following day, she was hanging the family wash on the line. Ironically, the clothesline was made from small linked chain rather than the usual rope or wire. Somehow, she slipped and fell and her neck became entangled in the chain. She twisted and tried to get free, but it was no use and she strangled to death. The legends say that after she died, the Pruitt tombstone showed no signs of destruction!
Needless to say, news of this most recent incident spread. A short time later, a local farmer and three members of his family were driving a wagon past the cemetery. For some reason, the farmer announced that he had no fear of ghosts and fired several shots at the Pruitt stone with his revolver. Chunks flew from the marker and immediately, the horses pulling the wagon began to run. Their hooves pounded faster and faster, until the wagon was out of control. The family members all jumped to safety but the farmer hung on, frantically pulling on the reins. Just as the wagon veered around a curve in the road, the farmer was thrown from his seat and he tumbled forward. His neck snagged on one of the trace chains and the motion of the horses snapped his neck. Once again, Pruitt’s stone showed no signs of the damage that had been done to it.
The local residents were now convinced of the fact that the grave marker was cursed. Things got so bad that the local congressman was contacted and two police officers were sent out to the cemetery to investigate the stories. When they arrived at the graveyard, one of the men began to laugh about the stories and made fun of the idea of so-called “ghosts and curses”. Regardless, they took several photos of the stone and then left to go and talk with the witnesses to the events surrounding it. As they were leaving, the doubting officer happened to look into the car’s rearview mirror. In it, he saw a bright light coming from the direction of the Pruitt tombstone. At first he assumed that it was just a reflection from the car’s tail lights, but then it began to get closer to the car. Startled, he began to drive faster, but the light kept coming. He drove faster and faster, always watching his mirror. His partner pleaded with him to slow down, but it was no use. The light was still coming!
Just then, the car swerved off the road and crashed between two posts. It rolled over and over again several times. The officer on the passenger side was thrown clear of the wreck and was only slightly hurt. Shaken, he climbed to his feet and went to his partner’s aid. He found that his friend was dead… but he had been killed before the car had wrecked. As the car had passed between the two posts, a chain that had been hanging between then had shattered the car’s windshield and had wrapped around the driver’s neck. The force was so great that it had nearly severed his head!
After this death, residents began to avoid the cemetery altogether. Only one man, Arthur Lewis, dared to go there. He was determined to prove that the stories of a “cursed” tombstone were nothing but superstitious nonsense. One evening, after telling his wife what he intended to do, he went to the graveyard with a hammer and chisel and began to methodically destroy the grave marker. The sounds of the hammer and the shattering stone could be heard by all who lived near the cemetery… and they also heard the bloodcurdling scream that filled the night too! Several men grabbed lanterns and went down to investigate. When they arrived, they found Lewis dead with the long chain that had been used to close the cemetery gate wrapped about his neck. Apparently, something had frightened him and he had started running, forgetting about the chain that barred the entrance gate. Oddly, even though ten or fifteen people had heard the sound of the man breaking Pruitt’s gravestone, there were no marks of broken places on it.
After this last death, other bodies in the cemetery were removed and buried again in other locations. People gradually moved away and the small burial plot was forgotten. Since Pruitt had no family left to care for his grave, the site became overgrown and tangled with weeds. In 1958, it was destroyed for good by a strip-mining operation. The five strange deaths, all linked by chains, were never explained.
It’s been a long break during Christmas, so I’ve got a few emails and comments to share with you in the Chamber of Comments, coming up next!
We’ll step inside the Chamber of Comments in just a moment.
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Now… let’s step into the Chamber of Comments….
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.
(Email from Sanna): I wish you and your family a merry Christmas and a happy new year. Thank you for bringing light in to these dark times. I have been listening to your podcast for years now and have listened to every episode. These are tough times but with Weird Darkness, I never feel lonely. Thank you! Keep up the good work! Take care now! Best wishes, Sanna in Sweden.
REPLY: Thank you, Sanna – and I hope you had a very merry Christmas yourself! Hearing that you feel less lonely by listening to the podcast is truly a warm feeling, thanks for letting me know!
(Email from Frank): Hi there Darren, it feels as if I’m writing to a friend instead of the host to one of my favorite podcasts. I first heard weird darkness due to its name; ghosts, ghouls, aliens, conspiracy theories is my escape but I was drawn back due to the compassion I heard in your voice when speaking to those like me, who deal with depression on an hourly basis. For that I want to thank you, you not only gave me stories to escape into but reminded me that people do care, even if it’s difficult to grasp. Please keep up the awesome episodes and thank you once again for reminding someone who was walking a ledge that he still matters. – Frank, in Harlingen, Texas
REPLY: Hey, Frank! I can’t tell you how good it feels to hear that you feel you’re writing to a friend. That is a huge compliment. I really felt it hit home though when you said you deal with depression on an hourly basis. That has got to be tough, but I’m glad you are finding some help with the podcast. You don’t mention if you visited the Hope In The Darkness page or not, but if you haven’t I’d recommend you give it a look – especially the 7 Cups app which can get you plugged in immediately with others who also struggle with depression, and they also have trained what they call “listeners” who are there 24-hours-a-day if you’re dealing with some tough emotions.
(Email from Brandon A.): Hey Darren. Happy holidays – I love your podcast I listen to it all the time at work, I work security, I do a lot of sitting and alone work so I was have your podcast running in my ear. I was wondering… i heard on your podcast awhile ago an advertisement for your store saying you had travel mugs or ball caps but I can’t seem to find them. Also very good work on hope in the darkness; I actually told my brother about 7 cups and how to get there. I hope it helps him in some way; he has been in a deep state of depression for a few years now and well, we want to help but don’t know how at this point in time. Ooops sorry, wrote too much. Anywho great job, keep up the good work, ill keep listening. I’m hoping soon to become a patron but covid set me back lol – have a great day or night thanks again. Regards, Brandon A.
REPLY: Hi, Brandon! Really glad you told your brother about 7 Cups – I hope he finds the help there he needs for his depression. If nothing else, he will find others who also struggle and can talk to him about what works for them – but they do have trained counselors always available to talk which is a wonderful thing. As for the Weird Darkness Store – hats aren’t a thing yet, but the travel mugs are there. Here’s how you find them… if you visit the store, click on the design you want on your mug. When you do it automatically brings you to the t-shirt, I know. Scroll down and you’ll see other items with the same design like a hoodie, sticker, and a mug. Click on the mug – I know it’s not a travel mug but click on it anyway. When you do, it will bring you to the coffee mug page, but there is a dropdown box for “Type” and you can click that and choose “travel mug”. This is also how you find different styles of t-shirts, different cuts of facemasks, different phone case sizes, etc. Always, always, always check the dropdown boxes to see what kind of options are available in the store! I hope that answers your question! If it doesn’t, drop me a private note and we’ll work it out so you can find what you are looking for. I hope your Christmas was a merry one, Brandon – thanks!
(YouTube COMMENT from Ayase Yuika) When it comes to entertainment, I’m spoilt for choice. There’s steaming services like Netflix and Disney plus, hours of T.V recorded and games to play. But I always find myself choosing to listen to Weird Darkness as my number 1 choice. Thank you Darren, much appreciated during this holiday season.
REPLY: And happy holidays, seasons greetings, and merry Christmas to you as well Ayase! I love what I do and it means a lot that you choose to listen at all – even more that you you’re choosing Weird Darkness over all those other entertainment options! Thank you!
(Email from Elijah E.): Hey Darren!! I’ve been meaning to send you an email for some time now. I started listening to your podcast maybe two or three months ago when I first started my new job in the summer I believe. I can really listen all day and forget about the work I’m doing and enjoy the 8 to 9 hour workday. You have such a perfect voice for the podcast. I tried listening to some others but just couldn’t stick with them. I appreciate how passionate you are about spreading awareness on depression and making sure those who need it get help. I’m a fellow weirdo in Christ as well and I love the little light in the Darkness at the end of every episode. It always leaves me with a smile. The only criticism I have if I would call it that is I’m not a big fan of Creepypastas but I understand many people do enjoy them. There’s so many other episodes out there I haven’t listened to so I really have nothing to complain about. Your show has really been a godsend to me and I can’t tell you how much I appreciate it:) All I ask of you is to keep one of my close friends in your prayers please. A week before the pandemic her dad started the divorce process and 8 months later things are still nasty and getting worse. The worst part for me is I can’t be there for her with this raging pandemic and the fact that she had to go back to her home state. I’m trying to stay strong for her because I know God has a plan in the end of this. Another person praying for her can’t hurt and of course it would mean a lot coming from you. I would be happy to pray for you in anyway I can especially if it’s for your migraines because those things suck. Thank you! Sincerely, Elijah E.
REPLY: Hi, Elijah. Thank you for the kind words about the podcast, it was encouraging to receive your email today when I booted up my computer! You’ve brought up an aspect in your email that most people, I think, haven’t considered about this whole pandemic. We are so concerned about how the quarantine has kept us from going out and doing those things we are used to doing like going to work, out to dinner, shopping, visiting with friends and family, celebrating with others at parties or attending sporting events, etc. But you’ve also pointed out that while we are suffering – others are too, and we can’t be there for them. At least not physically. You are obviously someone with a huge heart, as your main concern in reaching out is for the benefit of someone other than yourself. Your friend is truly blessed to have you in her life. I will most certainly be saying a prayer for “Elijah’s friend” tonight – that Jesus bring her peace and comfort, and that he also bring the same to her parent’s tumultuous divorce – that he either heal the marriage and bring them back together stronger than before, or that they part with civility and cease the destruction they are causing. In the meantime, I’ll also ask that God give YOU strength and wisdom to know what to say and do to bring encouragement to your friend when it is needed, and to know what to say when that time does come. God bless, and here’s hoping for a happy new year for all of you!
Also – every year about this time I get dozens and dozens of comments on the YouTube video I created in 2015 entitled “10 Facts About A Charlie Brown Christmas” – it was a new concept I was working on called “Truth or Turkey” where I’d ask the audience ten true or false questions and give you a ten second countdown between each question to think of the answer. Turns out that was a horrible idea and many of the comments I get are complaints about the irritating ten second countdown. Yes people, I know – thank you. But the rest of the comments are usually uplifting and full of nostalgic memories. I won’t share all the comments I’ve been getting, but one person commented that they had somehow misremembered the Christmas special being sponsored by someone completely different than who it truly was sponsored by – so maybe we have an example of the Mandela Effect taking place – and a LOT of people complained this year about Apple now owning it so it wasn’t broadcast in regular television as usual, but only once on PBS so most people missed it because they didn’t know to look there. Someone else suggested an eleventh “fact” indicating that it’s wasted on this generation. I’ll link to the blog post so you can watch the video if you’ve not seen it before or want to see it again.
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 want to help the podcast, be sure to subscribe if you haven’t already done so, and leave a review of the show in the podcast app you listen from! But more important than anything, please share the podcast; tell someone about it – someone who loves paranormal stories, true crime, monsters, or mysteries like you do! You can also vote for Weird Darkness in the HOT 50 countdown in Podcast Magazine – you can vote every day I upload an episode! Click the HOT 50 link in the show notes to vote, or visit WeirdDarkness.com and click on “VOTE”. While on the website be sure to also check out the Weird Darkness store where all profits I receive are donated to organizations that help those who battle depression, you can find resources to build hope in your own life and battle depression 24-hours-a-day on the HOPE IN THE DARKNESS page, sign up for the newsletter and get registered for my monthly giveaways, and a whole lot more. It’s all 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.
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 Grimm Reality Behind Hansel and Gretel” by Joseph Williams for All That’s Interesting
“The Ghost That Killed With Chains (or Carl Pruitt: The Killer Ghost)” by Troy Taylor from the book, “Beyond the Grave, A History of America’s Most Haunted Graveyards”. I’ll place a link to the book in the show notes.
“Mystery of the Alien Satellite” by Ellen Lloyd for the now defunct UFOarea.com
“Why They Call This Snowman Abominable” by Marcus Lowth for UFO Insight
WeirdDarkness™ – is a production of Marlar House Productions. Copyright ©Weird Darkness 2020.
Now that we’re coming out of the dark, I’ll leave you with a little light… “Hear my prayer, O LORD; listen to my cry for mercy. In the day of my trouble I will call to you, for you will answer me.” — Psalm 86:6-7
And a final thought… “Truth is not diminished by the number of people who choose not to believe it.” – Unknown
I’m Darren Marlar. Thanks for joining me in the Weird Darkness.