“THE BEAST OF THE LAND BETWEEN THE LAKES” and 2 More True, Disturbing Stories! #WeirdDarkness
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IN THIS EPISODE: A Pittsburgh, Kansas radio host gets a fright from a UFO – and his report is so convincing it became one of the first officially investigated UFO reports in the U.S. *** Pauline Dakin’s childhood in Canada in the 1970s was full of secrets, disruption and unpleasant surprises. She wasn’t allowed to talk about her family life with anyone – and it wasn’t until she was 23 that she was told why. *** Located in rural Kentucky and Tennessee, between Lake Barkley and Kentucky Lake is a land that witnesses say is home to a strange, almost undefinable creature. *** (Originally aired August 28, 2020)
SOURCES AND REFERENCES FROM THE EPISODE…
Documentary Film: “Hunt the Dogman: High Strangeness in Western Kentucky”: https://amzn.to/2EEdfER
“The Beast of the Land Between The Lakes” by Brent Swancer for MysteriousUniverse.org: https://tinyurl.com/yymqqxfm
“Sworn to Secrecy As a Child” by Sarah McDermott for BBC.com: https://tinyurl.com/y83nlozz
“1952’s Close Encounter of the Third Kind” by A. Sutherland for MessageToEagle.com: https://tinyurl.com/yxz6usl9
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Paranormality Magazine: https://weirddarkness.tiny.us/paranormalitymag
Micro Terrors: Scary Stories for Kids: https://weirddarkness.tiny.us/microterrors
Retro Radio – Old Time Radio In The Dark: https://weirddarkness.tiny.us/retroradio
Church of the Undead: https://weirddarkness.tiny.us/churchoftheundead
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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, the strange and bizarre, crime, conspiracy, mysterious, macabre, unsolved and unexplained.
Coming up in this episode…
A Pittsburgh, Kansas radio host gets a fright from a UFO – and his report is so convincing it became one of the first officially investigated UFO reports in the U.S. (1952’s Close Encounter of the Third Kind)
Pauline Dakin’s childhood in Canada in the 1970s was full of secrets, disruption and unpleasant surprises. She wasn’t allowed to talk about her family life with anyone – and it wasn’t until she was 23 that she was told why. (Sworn to Secrecy As a Child)
Located in rural Kentucky and Tennessee, between Lake Barkley and Kentucky Lake is a land that witnesses say is home to a strange, almost undefinable creature. (The Beast of the Land Between The Lakes)
If you’re new here, welcome to the show! While you’re listening, be sure to check out WeirdDarkness.com for merchandise, to visit sponsors you hear about during the show, sign up for my newsletter, enter contests, connect with me on social media, plus, you can visit the Hope in the Darkness page if you’re 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 BEAST OF THE LAND BETWEEN THE LAKES=====
In the world of strange mystery beasts there are some that are certainly stranger than others, and some that are more frightening than others as well. Then there are those that are both, hitting just the right balance of the bizarre and the terrifying. This is exactly the sort of strange beast that is said to hunt the forests of a patch of wilderness in the U.S. states of Kentucky and Tennessee. It is a deeply odd case of a creature that seems to not fit into any clear classification, and is just as horrifying as it is utterly weird.
Located in rural Kentucky and Tennessee, in the United states, tucked between Lake Barkley and Kentucky Lake is a national recreation area called the Land Between the Lakes, which was originally formed by President John F. Kennedy in 1963. Besides its modern designation as a recreation area, encompassing 170,000 acres of forest, over 300 miles of shoreline, and hundreds of miles of hiking trials, the area has also long been plagued by a variety of high strangeness such as roving phantoms, Indian curses, and mysterious lights, but perhaps the most bizarre is the history of strange tales of a bizarre, bipedal creature which prowls the landscape here and has been called the “The Beast Between the Rivers” as well as the “Beast of the Land Between the Lakes.”
The creature itself is typically said to look rather like a bipedal wolf, standing around 7 feet tall, and sporting clawed hands, powerful jaws with wicked teeth, glowing red eyes, and cloaked in a fetid, rotting stench. The area and its surrounding region have long held such dark legends from before the time of the first settlers to trickle into western Kentucky. Some of the first Europeans in the region were French trappers and hunters, who claimed that the forests were prowled by a massive beast, half-man and half-wolf, which would howl in the night and leave the mutilated carcasses of animals in its wake; a monstrous entity that was called the loup garou. In some instances, these hunters and trappers were said to venture into the wilderness to never be seen again, and this was blamed on the mysterious, ravenous beast. According to the native Shawnee tribe, this abomination was the spirit of a powerful shapeshifting shaman, and outsiders were frequently warned away from the area. When settlers began to come to the region, they are said to have been plagued by some large predator which lurked in the shadows killing and maiming their livestock, with witnesses saying the culprit was a hairy, wolf-like beast on two legs which unleashed bloodcurdling howls and shrieks into the night. Such incidents and sightings apparently occurred into more modern times as well, with one post on a site called DemonHuntersCompendium saying:
“The sightings of the monster were still frequent throughout the beginning of the twentieth century, and the elderly group on the bench told some unsettling encounters they or members of their own families had with it. Each one told stories of finding livestock slaughtered, ripped to pieces and eaten upon. Cows and pigs with their legs dismembered from the sockets. Even a few horses had met their end with savage attacks upon their bodies. A few of them described what they saw at different times when they caught glimpses of the figure by peeking out of the curtains of the windows into the night. One man said it jumped out of one of the horse stalls one evening while he was putting up some animals. It stopped in front of him, arms spread out like it was getting ready to grab him, let out a howl and then sprang past him and into the dusky shadows of the sunset. This particular man said he ‘wet his overalls’ during the episode. Another man said he never seen it, but would always hear it’s baleful wails frequently at night, not like a regular wolf or a coyote, “No,” he said, “It was more deeper, longer, stronger sounding then what would come out of any animal I ever heard.” Another old timer said his wife had seen it trying to get into the chicken coup but gave up after getting tangled in the chicken wire. They all had tales of ‘someone’s hound dog’ getting killed, ripped apart limb from limb, ‘someone’s pig or cow or chicken’ getting eaten, the mysterious footprints left in the mud, and the stench it left behind where ever it appeared.”
There have seemingly been quite a lot of alleged encounters with the Beast of the Land Between the Lakes even up into more modern times. In 1973, a group of students from Murray State University were purportedly camping in the area one evening and one of the group went off into the trees to relieve himself. When he came back, he was reportedly quite pale and shaking with fear, and explained that he had heard something large breathing in the darkness, and that he had had an overpowering sense of being watched, eyes heavy upon him. Not long after this, something could be heard moving and crashing through the surrounding brush, snorting and sniffing the whole time, as if circling the campsite.
The increasingly spooked campers could not actually see anything at the time, even when the light of their flashlights stabbed out into the clinging dark, but they definitely heard it, and whatever it was seemed to be quite agitated. Just as they thought things couldn’t get any more frightening, there was supposedly a sudden, deafening, and completely unearthly howl that boomed forth from the forest to shake them to the core, followed by the unmistakable sight of a pair of eyes glowing red in the night. This was enough to send the panicked group running as fast as they could to their nearby Volkswagen bus to drive off. Whatever the hulking beast was gave chase, and it reportedly actually caught up to them and grabbed the back of the vehicle with enough power to stop it in its tracks. The driver then floored it, wheels squealing defiantly, and managed to finally break free from its grip. When the students got back to their university, they claimed that there had been quite a lot of damage done to their vehicle, including gashes, gouges, and bits of missing metal.
Another account related by a frequent blogger on this phenomenon named Jan Thompson allegedly occurred to her and her cousin Joe in the summer of 1978. Joe apparently was an avid rider of dirt bikes, with which he would go tearing about over forest trails in the Land Between the Lakes, and on this day he was out as usual as Jan and her other cousin sat outside. At some point they claim that they could hear Joe’s dirt bike suddenly issue a frantic whine as it rapidly picked up speed and began racing in their direction at top speed, and he soon came bursting from the trees to make a frantic beeline towards the house, finally skidding wildly to a halt, after which the visibly shaken Joe began gazing back towards the tree line Jan would explain what happened next thus:
“We followed his gaze not understanding what this escapade was all about. In silence we watched with him for a about 30 seconds and then the dogs started barking. Growling. And then whining, trying to get out of the pen in a frantic panic of digging and gnawing at the fencing. ‘IT GRABBED ME!! LOOK AT MY LEG!!’, Joe screamed, making us jump with alarm at the sound of his voice. We looked down at his Levi’s and saw scratch marks going across his right thigh, scratches that tore through the tough denim and left small bloody marks on his skin. The marks were like a bears-claw-rake, not those caused by branches or sticky bushes, but a definite wide pattern of a paw print. ‘IT WALKED ON TWO LEGS!’, his voice startled us again, as he was trying to tell his story in between huge gulps of air. He was frightened beyond belief, and the bits and pieces of what he was striving with extreme effort to tell us was coming out in loud syllables that filled us both with the same dread. “It was following me through the woods….along the path….from the old sawmill….hairy…it was so hairy…and it’s snout was so long…and it walked on two legs….it ran on two legs…”, his voice was sputtering, slowing, his eyes were still wide, and I could see the pulse of his heartbeat throbbing under the skin of his temples.”
This very dramatic and impressively detailed report goes on to say that the air was then pierced by what sounded like the howl of a wolf, only with a nightmarish intensity that invoked a profoundly deep sense of heavy dread. The dogs at this time were reportedly shaking, cowering in fear and staring expectantly at the dim forest. Then, out of the trees crept a creature the likes of which none of them had never seen. It was described as being huge, hairy, and walking on two legs. The snout was long and the witness was very specific that it was much different in appearance than Bigfoot. When the security light of the driveway turned on the startled creature was illuminated, and with the darkness melted away it went from a vague shadow figure to something that was very wolf-like in appearance, with large, black eyes. The witnesses purportedly then ran into their house in a panic, grabbed kitchen knives, and then hid under a bed in terror as they listened to the beast bang around outside of the house and break one of the upstairs windows, the dogs barking viciously the whole time. It was not until the aunt came home in her car that the strange creature seemed to give up and flee away into the night.
Jan also presented another case just as terrifying, which allegedly happened in the early 1980s, when police were called to a campground in an area known for its abandoned military bunkers, where they were greeted with a rather morbid and grisly sight. There in the campsite were the badly mutilated bodies of three of the four campers, a young couple and their child, with their corpses in an appalling state. They seemed to have been ruthlessly savaged and half eaten by some powerful wild animal, with limbs missing, flesh flayed or torn from bone, organs scattered about on the ground, and deep scratches and bite marks all over them, none of which matched any animal known to inhabit the region. As authorities searched for the missing child, one police officer called Adam went up ahead to investigate, and Jan would describe what happened next:
“From somewhere in the nearby woods, about 50 yards from the campfire, a scream was heard. A man’s shriek that turned into a long wail and then to whimpering. As others arrived they could see by the gleam of several flashlights that the cop was holding his hat in one hand and his light in the other. There was blood on his face, the front of his shirt and on the brim of his hat. More blood could be seen dripping on him. It was coming from above. High in the trees the flash lights swung, searching for the source of the mysterious bleeding. A very small hand could be seen dangling down from a tree limb way up high, as well as a slender lifeless leg that still had a white sock still on the foot. The missing child had been located. It had been Adam that the blood had trickled upon, hitting his hat first, making him look up, and then feeling the thick cold fluid sprinkling his face then sliding down to his neatly buttoned shirt. It had been Adam that had screamed. The little girl had apparently been carried up the tree and leisurely eaten upon while carefully laid across a large tree branch. More of the same long gray and brown hair was found sticking in the bark of the tree near her body.”
Samples of saliva were supposedly sent for analysis and came back as being from an unidentified species akin to a wolf. According to Jan, this report never made it into the news or media, and was covered up by the local government as it was seen as a threat to the tourism industry if word of such a mysteriously gruesome incident got out. This lack of any concrete sources to follow up on makes it quite hard to corroborate any of this tale, making its veracity or truth uncertain. Without any evidence, coverage in the news, or known documentation of any kind, it is impossible to substantiate any of this, and it remains merely another tantalizing yet ultimately inconclusive witness account. Jan’s report apparently met with a good amount of scathing skepticism online, with many accusing it of being a fabricated urban legend, but for her part she remains adamant that it is true and has related other accounts of the Beast of the Land Between the Lakes as well, saying:
“There are several more stories that I have heard about this ‘Werewolf’ over in LBL that have been told to me over the years after this particular incident. There were several groups of boy scouts that had seen it. Several more campers, fishermen and boaters that had seen it from the safety of their boats, floating in some of the many bays that touched upon the shoreline. Hikers and bikers have heard its howling and have seen ‘something’ stalking them while they were on rural trails, hiding amongst the trees and foliage. Hunters have run across deer carcasses that had been brutally torn apart.”
In the meantime, others have come forward with their own experiences with the fierce, elusive beast, and reports of a feeling of being watched, hearing howls, or coming across the badly mauled carcasses of deer and other wildlife have come in on occasion. Many experienced hunters who are aware of the spooky stories are said to avoid the cursed area altogether, and will warn others to go hunting there at their own risk. Sometimes physical evidence is claimed, such as odd footprints, tufts of hair, and dug out “nests” that appear to have been slept in by something large, but these have all remained inconclusive at best. There is simply no indication that anything is out lurking in the Land Between the Lakes other than the witness testimony, much of which is uncorroborated and can only be found floating around the Internet and repeated on various websites, meaning any truth behind it all remains murky and uncertain. The only real solid and organized chronicle of these events is presented in a documentary by Barton Nunnelly called Hunt the Dogman: High Strangeness in Western Kentucky. I’ll place a link to the documentary in the show notes so you can watch it for yourself later.
What is the Beast of the Land Between the Lakes? Witnesses claim it is something other than Bigfoot, so what could it be? It is a misidentification of some other animal? Is it an actual werewolf, as some have claimed, or a variation of the various “dogman” cryptids reported from all over the United States? Could it perhaps be some sort of specter or spirit, and this is why it leaves behind little to no physical evidence and is the reason for its outlandish appearance? Or is this all just tale tales, myth, and urban legend? No one really knows, and it remains an unsettling case of what might or might not be something very strange indeed roaming about in the wilderness of the Land Between the Lakes.
Up next on Weird Darkness… Pauline Dakin’s childhood in Canada in the 1970s was full of secrets, disruption and unpleasant surprises. She wasn’t allowed to talk about her family life with anyone – and it wasn’t until she was 23 that she was finally told why.
STORY: SWORN TO SECRECY AS A CHILD=====
There was always something unusual about Pauline Dakin’s family.
“My brother and I would say, ‘What do you think is wrong with our family? Why are we so weird?’ But that was the mystery that just didn’t get answered.”
Pauline’s parents, Warren and Ruth, had separated when she was five, the summer before she started school. Warren, a successful businessman, was a heavy drinker who could become violent and a point came when Ruth just couldn’t take it any more.
When Pauline was seven, Ruth took the children on a holiday to Winnipeg, more than 1,000 miles (1,600km) from their home in Vancouver. But when they arrived Ruth told them they were never going back.
“There was no opportunity to say goodbye, it was just this abrupt, severing of relationships,” Pauline says.
When she asked her mother why she had done this, there was never a good explanation.
“She would only say, ‘I’m sorry, I can’t tell you, when you’re older I will tell you.'”
The same thing happened again four years later – this time the family moved to New Brunswick, on Canada’s eastern coast.
Apart from this, life was quite normal for Pauline’s family – they’d start again and build a new life in a new town. But below the surface Pauline was confused, anxious and falling into depression.
“I knew something bad was happening,” she says. “I didn’t know what it was, but there was always a sense of something dire that was unspoken.”
By the time Pauline was 11 she’d attended six different schools in nearly as many years and had lost touch with her dad.
But another man had come into the family’s life, a church minister called Stan Sears. Pauline’s mother had met Stan at a support group for the families of alcoholics – Stan was a counsellor there and Ruth had gone to him when she was struggling with Warren’s drinking and preparing to leave him.
Both times that Pauline’s family had disappeared Stan’s family had moved in lockstep with them.
“So whatever had been going on they were part of, I knew that,” Pauline says.
Once in New Brunswick, they put down roots. By 1988, at the age of 23, Pauline had graduated from university and was working on a local newspaper in the city of Saint John, when her mother telephoned with an unexpected proposal.
“She said, ‘OK, I’m ready to explain all of these strange things that have happened throughout your life.'”
Pauline was to meet her mother outside a motel halfway between the two cities they were living in. When she arrived, Ruth slipped a note and an empty envelope into Pauline’s hands.
The note read: “Don’t say anything. Take your jewellery off. Put it in the envelope. I’ll explain, just don’t talk.”
“It was just the most bizarre thing,” Pauline remembers. “I thought, ‘Who are you? What are you doing?’ But I did what she told me.”
Her mother took her to a motel room where Pauline was surprised to find Stan Sears waiting for them.
Stan and Ruth told Pauline that for the past 16 years they had been on the run from the mafia and that Pauline’s family had been targeted because her father, Warren, had been involved in organised crime. She couldn’t wear her jewellery because it needed to be tested for bugs.
“It was unbelievable,” Pauline says. “But I remember a feeling of terror coming over me that this might be something we could never escape.”
Stan explained that it had all started after he had counselled a mafia kingpin who wanted to turn his back on his criminal past. When the mob discovered that the man had broken its code of silence and come to Stan for counselling they had assassinated him – and had then come after Stan thinking he probably knew too much.
Later, when Ruth – the embittered ex-wife of a mobster – had started working as a secretary at Stan’s church, she too had become a target.
“I was then told that each of us had somebody following us, keeping an eye on us from a distance,” Pauline says, “and that there had been many attempts to either kidnap, poison or kill me but that these agents had intervened to keep me safe many times over the years.”
As well as this government-sanctioned taskforce, Stan also explained that there were shadowy communities – towns or villages in different parts of the country – where people who’d been targeted by the mafia could go into protective custody. This was known as the “weird world”.
After years on the run, Pauline’s mother said that she was going to “go inside” for protection. She was going to disappear again.
Stan was already living in one of these communities called Place of Hope, he said, but his wife hadn’t wanted to go inside with him, so he was now living there alone and working in this weird world with its agents.
Stan and Ruth told Pauline that this was their chance to finally be together, they had been in love for many years, but they had never been able to act on their feelings.
Pauline was in shock, it was too much to take in.
“I was sick with fear and sadness and it just felt like life was shattering all around me,” she says.
Pauline spent that weekend listening to Stan and Ruth’s stories, which explained many of the odd things that had happened while she was growing up, like the time she had come home to find her mother throwing away all the food from their fridge.
“The story at the time was that the food had gone bad, but I remember thinking, ‘Ketchup and mustard don’t go bad, there are things in there that don’t go bad quickly. Why would you do that?'”
Stan explained that they had received word that somebody was trying to poison them, so everything had to be thrown away.
And there was the time her family had gone hiking in the middle of the school week and stayed overnight in a mountain cabin. People had been coming after them, Stan explained, and they had to get away for a day or two.
Then there was the day the family had skipped school to go bowling, and the time the children had come home from school and been rushed through the house, told to scrub their feet in the bath and made to wear plastic bags over their socks for the rest of the day.
There was a sinister reason for all of these strange episodes.
“As unbelievable as it sounds there were all these explanations that made pieces that had been so troubling fall into some kind of a pattern, a narrative,” Pauline says.
When it was time for Pauline to leave Stan asked if he could put a transmitter on her car to make it easier for the “good guys” to follow her and make sure she was safe. He also gave her a small transistor radio that he said had a broadcast function, so that Pauline could send a call for help.
“He warned me: ‘Only use it if your life is really in danger because people will respond and put their life on the line for you.'”
Pauline returned to the home she was renovating with her boyfriend and to her job in the newsroom, but she was struggling to come to terms with what she’d been told and growing more and more fearful by the day.
She was constantly looking over her shoulder for people or cars that might be following her, and became too scared to eat at restaurants in case somebody tried to slip something into her food. She planned escape routes from inside her own home and assumed that her telephone line was bugged.
Over time more and more alarming information came from Stan and Ruth about the weird world, including the news that many people they knew weren’t really the people they seemed to be.
“The story was that some people who had been around us during my childhood, who were involved with organised crime, had been picked up – arrested, killed or otherwise disappeared – and then replaced by doubles,” Pauline says.
“Sometimes the double was put in place by the ‘good guys’ and sometimes the double would be put in place by the ‘bad guys’, so you were never 100% sure whose double it was. It was espionage.”
The doubles, Stan explained, spent months studying home videos to learn how to behave convincingly, and used specialist plastic surgeons and make-up artists to perfect their disguises.
Pauline encountered these doubles from time to time. On the day her brother got married, for example, she met her father and her aunt for the first time in years. Both, she was told, were doubles.
“My mother was so upset at that wedding because her sister was supposed to be a double,” Pauline recalls. “She kept saying, ‘But look at her toes, those are exactly Penny’s toes, how could you make somebody else’s toes look like that?'”
Pauline remembers looking at her dad that day. He had a nevus – a little overgrowth of cells just over the iris of his eye – how on Earth could it have been replicated, she wondered.
“But when I said that to Stan he said, ‘Oh, it’s contact lenses and there’s prosthetics, and there’s this and there’s that.’ There was always an answer,” she says.
Pauline and her mother also received dozens of letters from people inside the weird world – from her father and godfather, for example, who were being held in a top secret prison there, Stan said. The handwriting always looked authentic, and the letters talked about things from their shared past.
They were convincing. “Who on Earth would have time to forge them if they weren’t real?” Pauline wondered.
Despite being plagued by doubts, Pauline always had to acknowledge that the two people telling her this incredible story were her mother and Stan – the most trustworthy people she knew.
“It was a crazy story and I did have some challenges believing it,” she says. “But if I couldn’t trust them, who could I trust?”
Pauline began to feel that her work as a reporter covering school board meetings and town council meetings was irrelevant when her own life was in constant danger. And being sworn to secrecy had placed a gulf between her and her boyfriend, and everyone else in her life.
“I just thought, ‘I can’t live like this,'” Pauline remembers. She decided that she would go inside with her mother.
Stan told Pauline there was work inside that she could do, that there was a community of good people there that she could be part of. He was building a cottage for himself and her mother and said he could arrange for one to be built for her too. He brought her carpet samples and showed her plans and a photo of the house that she would have.
Pauline left her job, sold her house and broke up with her boyfriend. She moved to Halifax in Nova Scotia, where she found work and a new home while she and her mother waited for word that it was safe to go inside.
“We were told there had been threats against family members and that if we were to disappear again all hell would rain down on anybody left behind,” Pauline says.
“The intelligence gatherers were telling us [through Stan] that the mob had some sense that we might be planning to disappear so they were threatening us. We were always on hold.”
Pauline met Kevin who would later become her husband. Stan gave Pauline away on her big day – of course she couldn’t invite her real father – and Kevin was allowed in on the dreadful secret. Kevin agreed that he would go inside too.
But the time was never right. By 1993, five years after she had been let into the secret, Pauline’s doubts had reached a climax.
“I was at war with myself and I wanted to find some definitive way to prove it right or wrong,” she says.
Pauline decided to set up a sting at a time she knew Stan was visiting her mother.
“I called her and said, ‘Somebody’s broken into my house. What should I do?'”
Pauline’s mother replied: “I’ll ask our friend and call you back.”
Stan had made it clear to Pauline and Ruth that they must never go to the police to report any of the threats and strange goings-on in their lives – the police, he said, couldn’t be trusted. If there was ever any trouble they should come to him and he would let them know if he got word of any plots that put them in danger. He had a special contraption implanted in his wallet for receiving messages.
“It would do a Morse code dash and dots message and he would then take out a little notepad and decipher it,” Pauline says.
Ruth called Pauline back a few minutes later.
“I was terrified because it was the moment that I was going to get the answer to this horrible quandary that I’d been living with,” she says
Ruth said she couldn’t talk on the phone, Pauline must go to her house immediately.
Once there Pauline listened, horrified, as Ruth and Stan told her that two people had been picked up just down the street from her house earlier that day, that they had photographs of her, they had been following her and were looking for certain things in her house.
“When she said that I knew the whole thing was a hoax,” Pauline says.
“Because there had been no break-in – I made it up.
“That was the moment I knew all of those severed relationships, all of the crazy running, all of the strangeness, it was all a lie.”
Pauline was so shell-shocked and angry it was a week before she could confront her mother. When she did, Ruth was horrified and upset – but not because she believed Pauline’s accusations against Stan. What worried her was that if Pauline no longer believed the story she would be putting herself in danger.
When Pauline confronted Stan he told her there must have been a mistake; the report about the men who had been picked up after searching her house must have been incorrect. There would be an investigation, he assured her.
“My memory of that night is how sad he was,” she says, “I was no longer one of them.”
Pauline spent months trying to convince her mother that Stan had been lying to them, while her mother tried to convince Pauline that she was wrong. They reached a stand-off.
“I was furious and resentful and I thought I hated Stan for a long time,” Pauline says. “But I finally decided that my mother was not in on this. Stan was making it up, but I just couldn’t think why he would have done it.”
In her search for an answer, Pauline went to see a psychiatrist.
“I said, ‘What do you think this could be? He’s clearly not schizophrenic. He does not appear to be psychotic. He’s a professional and well respected. People always talk about what a great guy he is, what could be going on?'”
The psychiatrist suggested that it sounded like a case of folie à deux – a syndrome in which symptoms of a delusional belief are transmitted from a dominant personality (Stan), to a less dominant personality (Ruth).
Pauline and her father, Warren, reconnected after many years. But he was by now quite ill with emphysema, and he’d started drinking again.
“I thought about telling him,” Pauline says. “But then I thought it would enrage him and that would not be good for him. I just didn’t think there was anything to gain from it.”
Pauline’s relationship with her mother never entirely recovered, though it improved when Pauline started a family.
“When I had children things changed,” Pauline says, “because they became a focus for all our love.”
Ruth developed cancer, which eventually killed her in 2010. But she spent the last nine months of her life living with Pauline.
“I hadn’t fully forgiven her at that point, but we both knew that we were out of time to sort through this,” Pauline says. “We had to find some place of peace, and eventually we did.”
Ruth never stopped believing Stan’s story, even after his death when the letters from the weird world dried up, there were no more messages about the activities of the mafia, and there couldn’t really be any doubt it had all been a figment of his imagination.
“Shortly before she died she tried to warn me to be careful,” Pauline recalls. “I said to her, ‘I don’t need to be any more careful than anybody else.'”
“And she said, ‘Oh, Polly, if you don’t believe this how you must’ve hated me.’ And I said, ‘No, I didn’t hate you. I’ve been really angry at you, but I do love you.'”
Four years ago, still trying to understand why Stan had concocted the elaborate hoax, Pauline came across an article in a medical journal about a condition called delusional disorder.
“As I read this article I thought, ‘This completely describes Stan, somebody who is in every respect normal and competent, but has this crazy delusion,'” she says.
Pauline contacted the author of the paper, a psychiatrist at Harvard University. He was very excited to hear her story. Stan had all the hallmarks of a person with delusional disorder, he said. Another academic, the leading expert on the disorder, agreed.
Finding a reason for what Stan did to her family may have helped Pauline come to terms with her past, but it can’t ever repair the damage that he did to their lives.
“I feel very sad for my mother,” Pauline says.
“She had such a difficult life and she was vulnerable to Stan, mostly because he was a gentle, caring guy – too bad he had this terrible delusion.
“But I also feel sad for myself and my brother – two little kids whose lives were hijacked.”
When Weird Darkness returns… a Pittsburgh, Kansas radio host gets a fright from a UFO – and his report is so convincing it became one of the first officially investigated UFO reports in the U.S.
STORY: 1952’S CLOSE ENCOUNTER OF THE THIRD KIND=====
It was one of the first admitted entity sightings and probably also one of the earliest close encounters of the third kind investigated officially at the time it took place.
The incident occurred just northeast of Frontenac and about seven miles northeast of Pittsburg, Kansas, on August 25, 1952.
At 5.30 am, William Squyres, a KOAM radio entertainer in Pittsburg was driving through farmland along Highway 60. He was on his way into town to work early this morning.
As he drove through a heavily wooded area, suddenly something shiny and odd caught his attention, in a pasture field usually occupied by a large herd of cattle.
Squyres drew closer and saw an oval-shaped object hovering with a rocking motion, just above the ground. He saw the waving grass and vegetation affected by the down blast of the UFO’s hovering system.
The object was silver-grey in color, approximately 21m (70 ft) across and 3.7m (12 ft) high.
Based on the witness’s more detailed description, the UFO was rather like two soup bowls placed rim to rim and then flattened somewhat.
William Squyres drove up until his car was alongside the field and only about 90m (300ft) from the UFO. He then stopped the car and began to study the object more closely. The witness could clearly distinguish the underside of the object and its faint bluish glow.
The unidentified flying object “parked” in the field approximately 100 yards off the road.
The object’s rim that could also be a walkway was especially interesting. From this rose a number of vertical poles, each topped by what seemed to be a series of 6-7-inch spinning propeller revolving at high speed.
At one end of the UFO, there were slightly opaque window-like openings through which Squyres could observe indistinct objects moving all the time.
According to Squyres, the activity behind these windows was rather obscured “like a window shade pulled down, I could see figures behind it…”
At the other end, the unknown vehicle was equipped with another, a rectangular window through which a “man”, perhaps a pilot, could be seen inside.
The stranger, whose head and shoulders were clearly visible, was working with controls or some kind of other instruments onboard the vehicle.
“I definitely saw a human being through the window,” the witness said. Squyres thought that the man observed by him looked entirely human.
Fascinated by what he saw, he got out of his car and began to approach the hovering vehicle, to take a better look…
He approached the UFO to within a hundred feet or so and almost instantly, the UFO began to rise vertically into the air. The pulsating, dull noise that all the time, accompanied the hovering UFO began to increase in volume.
It was like a “covey of a hundred quail taking off,” the witness said.
The object continued to rise slowly for some seconds, then suddenly accelerated and flew off at high speed.
Squyres reported the incident to the US Air Force. A few days later, an Air Force officer contacted him and asked to be taken to the site of the incident.
It has been found that in the center of the field the long grass had been flattened in a large circle about 18m (60ft) in diameter. Also, the grass stems had been bent over but not broken.
The affected grass in the field was “like the backwash of where the thing took off” and formed a swirling spiral pattern.
Samples of grass and soil were collected and sent for analysis. However, experts found nothing particularly unusual in them.
Officially, the encounter with the UFO was classified as a close encounter of the second kind. The sighting of a “pilot” of the flying object was considered as nothing more than the witness’s hallucination.
However, the flattened grass found in the area was definitely not any hallucination. It confirmed the presence of the UFO which landed in the field, for an undefined period of time.
The later investigation, however, confirmed the reliability of the witness, William Squyres, and was termed “good” in the Special Report #14, completed March 17, 1954, where the case was mentioned among many other UFO incidents considered as reliable.
The UFO incident described by William Squyres coincides with another UFO sighting that occurred at about the same time (in August 1952) and was experienced by Mrs. Suzanne E. Knight, a resident of Maryland, USA.
Certain features regarding these two UFO encounters reported by William Squyres and Mrs. Knight, in Seat Pleasant, Maryland are indeed strikingly similar to each other.
In August 1952, at around 9:30 pm, Mrs. Suzanne E. Knight was in her kitchen when she suddenly heard a strange buzzing noise similar to that of a large insect. The woman approached the window of her kitchen and looked out.
A flying object that bore a striking similarity to a fuselage of a plane, was descending rapidly at about 45-degree angle. Smoke was coming from the rear of the craft and her first thought was that an airplane was just going to crash but nothing like that happened.
Instead of an impact, the object of a dull silver color came to a hovering position approximately 300 feet above ground level and at a right angle to Mrs. Knight looking out of her kitchen window.
It was equipped with a row of large square windows and in one of them, Mrs. Knight noticed a helmeted man-like figure looking straight ahead.
No instruments or controls were visible.
On the underside of the UFO was an undercarriage with a row of smaller square windows lit up by a brilliant yellow light. Through these windows, Mrs. Knight was able to recognize the backs of little seats.
Another interesting detail was a small mast or perhaps an antenna placed at the front of the UFO.
This small vertical construction seemed to be very similar to vertical poles observed by William Squyres in his sighting on August 25, 1952.
The UFO incident lasted approximately three minutes, and at least for two minutes, the witness was continuously observing the object, having it in a clear view.
Mrs. Knight left the window only once trying to call local media. When she returned to the window, the UFO’s lights suddenly went out; the object began to glow red and the witness watched its back-and-forth rocking motion.
The helmeted man-like figure was no longer visible and surprisingly, the undercarriage with small windows also disappeared.
“I thought maybe it had moved up into the fuselage because not even an outline of the car was visible, but it should have been because the street light would have shown it.”
Soon after the UFO left the area.
Mrs. Suzanne E. Knight witnessed the UFO at close range but reported her sighting for the first time fifteen years later in 1967.
Who was the stranger, Mrs. Knight saw that summer evening in 1952?
According to Nicap.org “at present, there is not sufficient information concerning occupant reports to make any final judgments on their authenticity, although there is good evidence in a few cases to suggest that at least some of the witnesses could be telling the truth about such encounters…”
Thanks for listening (and be sure to stick around for the bloopers at the end)! If you like the show, please share it with someone you know who loves the paranormal or strange stories, true crime, monsters, or unsolved mysteries like you do! You can email me anytime with your questions or comments at email@example.com. WeirdDarkness.com is also where you can find information on any of the sponsors you heard about during the show, find all of my social media, listen to audiobooks I’ve narrated, sign up for the email newsletter, find other podcasts that I host including “Church of the Undead”, visit the store for Weird Darkness merchandise, and more. WeirdDarkness.com is also where you can find the Hope in the Darkness page if you or someone you know is struggling with depression or dark thoughts. Also on the website, if you have a true paranormal or creepy tale to tell, you can click on TELL YOUR STORY. You can find all of that and more at WeirdDarkness.com.
All stories on Weird Darkness are purported to be true unless stated otherwise, and you can find links to the stories or the authors in the show notes.
“The Beast of the Land Between The Lakes” by Brent Swancer for MysteriousUniverse.org
“Sworn to Secrecy As a Child” by Sarah McDermott for BBC.com
“1952’s Close Encounter of the Third Kind” by A. Sutherland for MessageToEagle.com
WeirdDarkness® is a registered trademark. Copyright, Weird Darkness.
Now that we’re coming out of the dark, I’ll leave you with a little light… “If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.” – 1 Corinthians 13:2
And a final thought… “You aren’t wealthy until you have something money can’t buy.” – Garth Brooks
I’m Darren Marlar. Thanks for joining me in the Weird Darkness.