“THE CHAIR THAT MURDERS PEOPLE” and 4 More Scary Paranormal Horror Stories! #WeirdDarkness
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IN THIS WEEKEND DARK ARCHIVES EPISODE FROM DECEMBER 09, 2018: An 11-year-old boy experiences the extraterrestrial in his own back yard. *** Floating white mist, pink orbs, ghosts, and more – and they all reside in Fiddletown, California. *** Charles E. Peck was killed instantly in a horrible 2008 Metrolink commercial train accident, but before anyone knew he was dead, his family members received 35 calls from his phone for several hours following the disaster. *** A museum has hung a chair from the ceiling, specifically to keep people from sitting in it. Not because they are afraid it will break – but because they are afraid the chair will kill you.
STORY SOURCES AND MUSIC CREDITS…
(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.)
“UFO In My Front Yard” by Blake Lacy: https://tinyurl.com/y4vg26zn
“Haunted Fiddletown” by paranormal investigator Paul Dale Roberts: https://tinyurl.com/yxjp9fr5
“This Man Kept Calling His Loved Ones… Even Though He’d Been Dead For Hours” by Erin McCann: https://tinyurl.com/y3onuq2o
“The Deathly Stoop Chair of Thomas Busby”: https://tinyurl.com/ybbmabu4
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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TRANSCRIPT FOR THIS EPISODE (if available): Visit WeirdDarkness.com, search for the title of this episode, click on episode photo, then scroll down the blog post. Transcript will be at the bottom of the blog post.
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Mysterious phone calls from the dead make for excellent horror movie plots, but this eerie phenomenon also happens in real life. Many stories of unexplained phone calls show that they’re not just the result of grief-stricken imaginings. Although people try to explain these odd occurrences by blaming malfunctioning cell phone technology, reports of phantom phone calls go back to at least 1967.
Charles E. Peck’s Metrolink death is one of the most prominent and creepy stories about phone calls from dead people since author Dean Koontz’s deceased mother phoned to give him a warning. Peck was killed instantly in a horrible 2008 Metrolink commercial train accident, but before anyone knew he was dead, his family members received 35 calls from his phone for several hours following the disaster. Whether it was due to phone damage or the train rider reaching out from beyond, we may never know, but it’s nice to believe that even those who have passed are only a phone call away.
I’m Darren Marlar and this is Weird Darkness.
Welcome, Weirdos – this is Weird Darkness. Here you’ll find stories of the paranormal, supernatural, legends, lore, crime, conspiracy, mysterious, macabre, unsolved and unexplained. 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! While listening, be sure to check out the Weird Darkness website so you can find me on social media and drop me an email.
This is a Weekend Dark Archives Episode from December 09, 2018. Coming up in this episode…
An 11-year-old boy experiences the extraterrestrial in his own back yard.
Floating white mist, pink orbs, ghosts, and more – and they all reside in Fiddletown, California.
A museum has hung a chair from the ceiling, specifically to keep people from sitting in it. Not because they are afraid it will break – but because they are afraid the chair will kill you.
But first… Charles E. Peck was killed instantly in a horrible 2008 Metrolink commercial train accident, but before anyone knew he was dead, his family members received 35 calls from his phone for several hours following the disaster. We begin with that story.
Now.. bolt your doors, lock your windows, turn off your lights, and come with me into the Weird Darkness!
STORY: THIS MAN KEPT CALLING HIS LOVED ONES, EVEN THOUGH HE’D BEEN DEAD FOR HOURS==========
Although rescue teams were excited because the phone calls might mean Charles Peck was still alive, that wasn’t the case. They discovered Peck’s body in the train wreckage an hour after the last phone call was placed. Peck’s fiancee Andrea Katz recalled, “[Rescuers] were so excited. They had this incredible adrenaline rush at thought that they could possibly find another survivor… We gave [them] a description, and they spent the next couple of hours looking for him. They did end up finding him, and they said that he died immediately on impact and there was no way he could have been calling us.” The coroner was unable to find signs that Peck had survived for any amount of time after the crash, confirming the calls were not made while he was still alive.
Andrea Katz heard about the crash on the radio as she was driving to pick up Peck from the train station and was relieved when she received a call from his phone. Other friends and family members of Katz were in the same position. After the crash, Peck’s phone placed calls to his son, sister, brother, and stepmother. In all, about 35 calls were made during the 11 hours that followed the deadly accident. The final call from Peck’s phone came at 3:28 am, about one hour before his body was found.
At first, Peck’s loved ones were excited when they saw his name pop up on their phone screens. As the calls continued, they had hope that he was still alive. Unfortunately, they were unable to actually talk to him; all they heard when they answered his calls was static. When they tried calling him back, Peck’s phone went straight to voicemail. Andrea Katz used the opportunity to communicate with her fiancee and to let him know she was with him no matter what. “We were yelling in the phone, ‘Hang in there baby. We’re gonna get you out. You’re gonna be okay,'” she remembers. Other people who claim to have received phone calls from the dead also report hearing static or a voice that seemed very faint and far away.
Before rescue workers discovered Charles Peck’s body in the wreckage, they had no reason not to believe the calls placed to his family meant he was still alive. As it became clear they probably weren’t going to find any survivors in the crash, their rescue efforts turned into a mission to recover bodies. But when yet another call came from Peck’s phone, they decided to trace it to find his location. Rescuers returned to searching the first car hoping to find him alive and possibly trapped under some rubble. Unfortunately, they discovered his body and knew that he died on impact. Police never revealed if Peck’s phone was found.
Charles Peck was a passenger on a Metrolink commuter train traveling through the San Fernando Valley in California on September 12, 2008. It collided headfirst with a Union Pacific freight train at 83 miles per hour when the conductor failed to stop at a red light. The impact was devastating, and of the 225 people aboard the Metrolink, at least 25 died and more than 100 were injured. The engineer sitting at the front of the train was killed instantly as well. The freight train was carrying only three crew members, but it was demolished in the accident. The disaster later became known as the Chatsworth train crash and is still considered the worst commuter train accident in the history of California.
Investigators believe the conductor of the Metrolink train was responsible for the crash after he failed to stop at a red light. The commuter train was running on the same track as the freight train and was directly in its path. It’s likely that the conductor was distracted by his phone and was too busy texting to notice his mistake.
After the disaster, two teens came forward and admitted they were communicating with the conductor immediately before the crash. They were interested in his job and were texting him questions about his work. The last text sent from the conductor’s phone happened 22 seconds before the impact.
49-year-old Charles Peck worked in customer service for Delta Airlines. He was considering leaving his job at Salt Lake City International Airport for a job at Van Nuys Airport in Los Angeles to be closer to his fiancée, Andrea Katz. Although they were ready to get married, the fact that they didn’t live in the same state was an issue for the couple.
On his way back from the interview, the disaster occurred. Katz was on her way to pick him up from the train station when she heard news of the accident on the radio. Peck had three children from a previous marriage, one of whom was on his afterlife phone call list.
Anyone who has ever butt dialed a number knows it’s possible to make a phone call accidentally. Perhaps an object was sitting on top of Peck’s phone, causing it to make random calls. The phone was most likely severely damaged during the disaster, so it may have malfunctioned.
Peck’s broken phone may have called his speed dial list. When this story was posted on Reddit, several users shared their own creepy stories of malfunctioning phones and posted eerie phone activity stories from online forums like this one. The possibility that Peck’s phone suffered some other technical issue shouldn’t be overlooked.
Although rescue workers were able to locate Charles Peck’s body successfully, his phone was never discovered. It’s possible that it was completely destroyed in the disaster or damaged to the point of malfunctioning, but why it made calls to several of the people Peck was closest to, we may never know. Perhaps he was reaching out to tell his loved ones not to worry. Maybe he took it with him into the afterlife, like ghosts who are seen in the clothes they were wearing when they died. Since the rescue team was able to trace the calls to locate his body, maybe Peck was simply leading them to it. No one will ever know for sure, so this story may forever remain a mystery.
Intrigued by the many stories of people receiving phone calls from the dead, psychic investigators D. Scott Rogo and Raymond Bayless did research and published a book about their findings in 1979.
By presenting several cases with documented evidence, the two men discovered there were at least three categories of phantom calls. Their research included those who received phone calls from people they didn’t know died, people who called and spoke with others who had already died, or in a few rare cases, a deceased person reached out to them through another person who was living. Apparently dead people making phone calls is not uncommon. It’s also interesting to note this study took place before many people owned cell phones, so many modern technical malfunctions can be ruled out.
While some people have reported seeing the name or number of a dead acquaintance appear on their caller ID, others claim to have spoken to someone they later discover passed away before the call was made.
Crystal S. shared:
“I was at my mom’s house and I was calling a friend who lived nearby. She was at her cousin’s house. So I looked up the number in the phone book. It was the only ‘Owens’ in the phone book, so I knew it was my friend’s cousin’s number. I called and it didn’t even ring, but an old lady answered. She said, ‘Hello.’ I asked, ‘Is Amelia there?’ (Amelia is my friend Jessica’s cousin.) The old lady said, ‘No, dear. Amelia isn’t here. I should be expecting her any minute now.’ So I thought nothing of it and hung up…I told Jessica about it and she said, ‘Amelia’s grandma is dead. And we were there all day long. We were sitting right by the phone. It never rang all day.'”
Mary B. remembers:
“I made a sales call to Pennsylvania. It started just like any other call. ‘Yes, I need to speak to Mr. or Mrs. B_____.’ The woman identified herself as Mrs. B_____, and I continued on with the normal sales call. She seemed very interested and asked a lot of questions, but when I came to the decision making a part, she quickly stopped me, insisting that I had to talk to her husband. Her objections were the same every time I attempted to close…
She also quickly pointed out that since his retirement he spent a great deal of time fishing and was not easy to get in touch with, and it would be best to try early in the morning before he left for his favorite hobby….On the callback, the husband did answer the phone. I introduced myself in the normal fashion and explained that I had been talking to his wife the previous day and she had suggested that I speak to him. You can imagine the shock and horror, when he stated to me, distraught, ‘Lady, I don’t know who you were talking to, but my wife died and I am not in any mood to speak to anyone!’ With that, he quickly hung up the phone.”
People who have passed on aren’t limited to phone calls or hauntings in the modern age. They often use email and social media sites such as Facebook to contact their loved ones. For instance, Jack Froese died unexpectedly from a heart arrhythmia only to contact his friends through email six months later. Froese’s friends reported emails sent from his account that included details from some of their last conversations. One friend tried replying but never received a response. People sometimes claim their dead friends have liked their posts on Facebook or sent them messages, like the ones a girl named Emily allegedly sent her boyfriend two years after her death.
STORY: UFO IN MY BACK YARD==========
This is my first time ever submitting something like this let alone telling this story.
There are only a few people that have heard this story mostly due to me being afraid of being thought of as crazy or people not believing that this story is true. In the early nineties, when I was about 11 years old, I lived in Gulfport Mississippi. On one particular night my parents and I were returning home, roughly about 6:00 pm from having dinner at one of the recently developed casinos. Once home, Mom and dad headed inside while I decided to play outside a bit. As I was pointlessly hitting a tree with a stick, as most boys do, I heard a humming sound behind me. I turned around to see where the sound was coming from I noticed something in the sky, as I focused my eyes in the dark I froze in terror as I realized it was some sort of air craft hovering maybe 50 feet directly over my house. It was oval in shape with lights that mimicked chasing lights (the type you get for a Christmas tree) that started on each end of the oval then met on either side in the middle and then back again. The ships underside was shiny black but that only reflected light not images. It was completely still in the sky, like it was observing me. I didn’t know what to do. If I ran away it was sure to catch up with me and the other option was I would have to run toward the ship to get to my house which was the closest shelter. Adrenaline kicked in and I ran toward the house as fast as I could all the while keeping an eye on the ship. I burst in the door turned around and locked it. I looked around and my parents are both watching TV eyes glued to it. They didn’t even raise their gaze when I came in. This was not like them at all. I frantically explained to them the situation outside but still neither of them lifted their gaze from the TV, just brushing it off as it was probably an airplane or something. This was very odd behavior from my parents it was like they were hypnotized or something. My parents were very attentive loving people and normally in any other situation especially if they saw I was visually distressed they would be concerned about my wellbeing and help me. Ten minutes later I was finally able to convince my father to step outside but of course it was long gone by then.
Years later in 2006 I was having a casual conversation with the father of my then girlfriend about science fiction and he mentioned that he witnessed a UFO once when he was young and ever since he was obsessed with stories of encounters. So this gave me an opportunity to share my story. At the end of my story he mentioned that there were many similar UFO sightings in the south in the early 90’s of the same type of craft that I witnessed. Has anyone heard or experienced something similar to this?
Something draws me and my wife Deanna Jaxine Stinson to Fiddletown. We received all kinds of reports of haunted activity at Fiddletown. But, you are probably wondering where is Fiddletown? Fiddletown is about 45 minutes away from Sacramento, close to the town of Jackson, CA. Fiddletown was settled in 1849 by Missourians who came to California because of the California Gold Rush. Fiddletown had its share of mining camps and trading centers. In the 1860 census, the Chinese community in Fiddletown was up to 2000. Fiddletown got its name because of Dry Creek. Dry Creek would run dry in the Summer months and the miners basically didn’t work in the Summertime, because they had no water from Dry Creek. People would say they just fiddled around, henceforth was born the town’s name. A local citizen was embarrassed by the name and lobbied to have the name changed to Oleta, the name of his daughter in 1878. The residents didn’t have it and changed the name back to Fiddletown. Fiddetown has one notable resident, his name is Leon “Whitey” Thompson (1923-2005). Whitey was a former inmate at Alcatraz and author. A nice place to stop at is the Chew Kee Store Museum, State Registered Landmark #35. This museum was once a herb store during the gold rush and is now a museum. The store was built by Yee Fung Cheung. Yee received his 15 minutes of fame for saving the life of then Governor Leland Stanford’s wife from pulmonary disorder. Mr. Cheung saved her with his herbs.
Now that you got the history of Fiddletown, let’s talk about the paranormal activity that happens in this historic town. Whitney Collins of Jackson, CA says that while walking through the town with her husband she came upon a floating white mist. The floating white mist followed them for about 300 yards. If they turned a corner, the mist would turn a corner. Before it vanished, it actually tapped Whitney on her shoulder. Entity Identified: Fiddetown Floating Mist.
Other visitors have seen pinkish type of orbs going in and out of bushes. Matt Tyler of Copperopolis says that his grandmother once told him they are “Pinkies”. Matt’s grandmother says that the Pinkies, a type of fairy was brought to Missouri and finally to Fiddletown by August Templar, a miner. August captured the Pinkies in Ireland and it is said if you capture a Pinkie, it will bring you good luck. August was able to gain a considerable amount of wealth by mining gold. After he hit an amount that he felt comfortable with, he then retreated back to Missouri. Elemental Identified: Pinkies.
Some residents have made claim that they have seen the ghost of Leon “Whitey” Thompson walking around in the open fields. Whitey looks like he is looking for something in the fields and at times looks frustrated. While watching Whitey, he will dissipate into nothingness. Ghost Identified: Whitey. Meg Batista claims that during Fall, people will claim that they see a large black dog, that looks similar to a Rottweiler. The big black dog will bark and at times howl. Meg while visiting, says that on one particular night, she was scared to death, because this big black dog was viciously chasing her son. When her son fell down and he thought the dog was going to be on top of him, he looked up and there was no dog around. Cryptid Identified: Monster Dog.
Some residents claim that they hear muffled disembodied voices around the Chew Kee Store Museum. Some other residents claim that they had their hair pulled and even been touched at the Chew Kee Store Museum. One resident said while walking around the building, an entity pushed him. He could feel the entity’s hands on his chest. As he continued to walk, it pushed him again, but this time he felt one hand on his shoulder pushing. The 3rd and final push was a hand to the face. He thinks he may have provoked a spirit, because he was complaining to his wife about driving to Fiddletown and that he was not impressed by the Chew Kee Store Museum. He feels he may have insulted the ghost that hangs out at this museum. He even says it could have been the ghost of Yee Fung Cheung.
A hunter who does not want to be identified, claims that while hunting squirrels near North Fork Dry Creek near Fiddletown, he came across what he thought was a white mist. He just got done cursing a bit, because he missed his shot on two squirrels. The white mist approached him and then disappeared. After the white mist disappeared, he was attacked by flies. Flies started landing on his arms, neck, face and head. It got so bad, he ran away from the area and jumped into his truck. The flies came through an open window and some of the flies remained in his truck as he drove away.
With all of the reports of haunted activity in Fiddletown, my wife and I, will be investigating Fiddletown and interviewing some of the residents and we will see for ourselves, what is truly going on in Fiddletown.
DEATHLY STOOP CHAIR
If you visit the small jewel of a museum in Thirsk you will see the rather strange sight of an oak chair hung from the ceiling in one of the display areas. The chair was suspended at the explicit request of its owner to prevent anyone from ever sitting on it including maintenance and cleaners. The museum has never broken its promise in over 30 years despite numerous requests and even the threat of legal action.
Local legend has it that the chair belonged to Thomas Busby, a thug, thief and drunkard who lived in North Yorkshire in the latter part of the 1600s. Busby married Elizabeth, the daughter of a small time petty crock, Daniel Awety who lived near the village of Kirby Wiske. Awety had purchased a farm after moving to the area from Leeds. His house which he called Danotty Hall was ideal for Awety, enabling him to continue with his illegal coining activities in relative seclusion. It was even reported that Awety had built within the house a hidden chamber which was connected to the cellar via a secret passageway. Busby who was also the original owner of an inn near Sandhutton and just three miles from Danotty Hall became Awety’s partner in crime.
The details of what happened that fatal last day of Awety’s life are vague. Awety and Busby may have argued earlier that day but over what is not known, it could have been something to do with Elizabeth, the coining business or almost anything else. Their relationship was known to be far from harmonious with Busby often in a foul mood with Awety for some reason or another. What is clear is that later that day a drunken and volatile Busby returned to his inn only to find Awety waiting for him threatening to take Elizabeth home with him. Busby’s mood only blackened when he saw Awety sitting in his favourite chair. Whatever their second argument of the day was over Busby forcibly removed Awety from the chair and threw him out.
That night Busby still seething grabbed a hammer, stormed over to Danotty Hall and bludgeoned Awety to death. Busby then tried to hide his handiwork in the woods. Concern over Awety’s sudden disappearance led to a local search of the area being made. On finding the body, Busby was arrested at the inn and charged with murder.
In the summer of 1702 Busby was tried and sentenced to death for murder at the York Assizes. His punishment was to be gibbeted i.e. hung from a gibbet, his body dipped in tar and his remains displayed on a stoop (post) attached to the gibbet, in full view of his inn. The inn was soon after renamed the Busby Stoop Inn, a name which it retained until it closed in 2012.
It is here that the story veers away from historical certainty and moves into the realms of local folklore. One version recounts how Busby was granted his last wish which was to have a final drink at his own inn and sit in his favorite chair. On leaving the inn to make his final journey to the execution site Busby cursed the chair declaring that death would come shortly to anyone who sat in it. Another version tells how Busby drunkenly shouted out the curse whilst being taken to the gibbet to be hung. Whichever way you look at it, Busby was determined that even from beyond the grave he would never allow anyone to enjoy sitting in his beloved chair.
Busby’s spirit was believed to have haunted his old pub as well as the area where he was gibbeted but it’s his precious chair, the focus of his curse which became irrevocably linked to his revengeful spirit. According to local legend, this seemly innocuous piece of furniture has been responsible for more deaths than most serial killers (one estimate puts the number of its victims at over 60!).
The first reported death alleged to be associated with the death chair is that of a chimney sweep who along with a friend sat in the chair whilst having a drink one evening in 1894. The sweep never made it home that night, being completely inebriated he laid down on the road to sleep. The next morning his body was found hanging from the post next to the gibbet. His death was ruled as a suicide but in 1914 the friend with whom the chimney sweep had spent his last hours with admitted on his death bed to having robbed and murdered his friend.
During the Second World War, the pub became a popular drinking spot with RCAF airmen. The airmen would goad each other to sit in the chair. Those that took up the challenge never returned from their missions.
In 1968 a couple of years before Tony Earnshaw took over the running of the pub, he overheard two airmen dare each other to sit in the chair. They both did. Returning to the airfield their car left the road and crashed into a tree. They both died on the way to the hospital.
Through the early 1970s the chair seemed to claim a number of victims including a cleaning lady who was diagnosed with a brain tumor after knocking into the chair; a number of cyclists and motorcyclists who suffered fatal road accidents; a hitch-hiker who was run over after having spent two nights at the pub and; a local man who died of a heart attack shortly after sitting in the condemned chair.
A group of builders having a drink at the pub cajoled the youngest of their group into sitting on the chair. Back at the site the man fell through the roof of the building and landed on the concrete ground below. This death proved to be the final straw for Earnshaw and he banished the chair to the cellar.
A delivery man from the brewery was in the cellar one day when he decided to try out the chair. He commented to Earnshaw that it was far too comfortable to be left down there. He was killed shortly afterwards when his van went off the road. Soon after Earnshaw must have decided that the chair despite being a profitable tourist attraction was too dangerous to keep any longer. In 1978 Earnshaw donated it to the Thirsk Museum
There are so many questions that have been left unanswered and probably unanswerable. Did Busby really commit murder over a chair? Could any person truly hold such deep affection for a carved piece of wood? Is Busby’s revengeful and jealous spirit still attacking anyone who dares sit in his seat? Or was the murder over something far more important, something which we will never know about? Is the chair really haunted or was it a money-making gimmick? Is the chair just really an extremely unlucky piece of furniture? Is this chair really the same chair that Busby fought over?
Many people believe the deaths were just an unlucky coincidence. Another explanation could be simply that the majority of those brave enough to defy the curse were just risk-takers, prepared to push their luck (it is interesting how many of the deaths happened on roads and thousands of men of Bomber Command never returned from sorties) and were simply unlucky.
On one hand, it would be intriguing to test the chair to see if the legend about this unusual haunting is really true…but on the other hand, sometimes it is better not to know…
SHOW CLOSE, CREDITS, A LITTLE LIGHT, AND A FINAL THOUGHT==========
Thanks for listening. Feel free to email me anytime with your questions or comments at email@example.com. You can also find all of my social media and a link to the Weird Darkness Weirdos Facebook group on the CONTACT page of the website. Be sure to subscribe to the podcast if you haven’t already done so, and please leave a review of the show in the podcast app you listen from! And if you’re already a Weirdo, please take a moment today and share the podcast with someone you know 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 every day I upload an episode! To vote, follow the link in the Essential Web Links section of the show notes, or click on “VOTE” 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.
“UFO In My Front Yard” was written by Weirdo family member, Blake Lacy
“Haunted Fiddletown” by paranormal investigator and Weirdo family member, Paul Dale Roberts
“This Man Kept Calling His Loved Ones… Even Though He’d Been Dead For Hours” by Erin McCann, for Graveyard Shift
“The Deathly Stoop Chair of Thomas Busby” posted at the Haunted Palace blog.
WeirdDarkness™ – is a production of Marlar House Productions. Copyright ©Weird Darkness 2021.
Now that we’re coming out of the dark, I’ll leave you with a little light… “Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you’.” – Hebrews 13:5
And a final thought… People don’t always say “I love you.” Sometimes it sounds more like: Be safe. Did you eat? I made you this. – Unknown
I’m Darren Marlar. Thanks for joining me in the Weird Darkness.
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