“CONSPIRACY IN DALLAS” and More Horrific But True Stories! #WeirdDarkness

“CONSPIRACY IN DALLAS” and More Horrific But True Stories! #WeirdDarkness

Listen to ““CONSPIRACY IN DALLAS” and More Horrific But True Stories! #WeirdDarkness” on Spreaker.

IN THIS EPISODE: Was there a conspiracy to murder President John F. Kennedy in Dealey Plaza in 1963? (Conspiracy In Dallas) *** A Weirdo family member tells of his own personal experience with what might’ve been a hell hound. (The Dog That Wasn’t There) *** One island, one couple, one murder. We’ll look at the strange life and death of Rolf Neslund. (The Rolf Neslund Murder) *** She was murdered in November of 1901. Her lover spent more than a dozen years in prison, proclaiming his innocence, before being pardoned by the governor. So why did he commit suicide soon after getting out of prison? We’ll look at the strange murder of – and eventual haunting by – Nell Cropsey. (The Lingering Ghost of Nell Cropsey)
“Conspiracy In Dallas” posted at The Unredacted: http://bit.ly/weirddarkness2YVxMdq
“The Dog That Wasn’t There” by Weirdo family member Daniel Mulberry
“The Rolf Neslund Murder” by Elizabeth Tilsa: http://bit.ly/weirddarkness2KywOAX
“The Lingering Ghost of Nell Cropsey” by Troy Taylor: http://bit.ly/weirddarkness2UnJ2Rb
Weird Darkness theme by Alibi Music Library.

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Originally aired: November 28, 2021


DISCLAIMER: Ads heard during the podcast that are not in my voice are placed by third party agencies outside of my control and should not imply an endorsement by Weird Darkness or myself. *** Stories and content in Weird Darkness can be disturbing for some listeners and intended for mature audiences only. Parental discretion is strongly advised.


The assassination of United States President John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963 has spurred numerous conspiracy theories, which include accusations of involvement of the CIA, the Mafia, sitting Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson, Cuban Prime Minister Fidel Castro, the KGB, or some combination thereof. In 1964, the Warren Commission concluded that Lee Harvey Oswald was the only person responsible for assassinating President Kennedy. In 1979, the United States House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) concluded that Kennedy was assassinated probably as a result of a conspiracy. So, which conclusion is the truth? Whose stories should we believe? All these years later, we still can’t come to a consensus.

I’m Darren Marlar and this is Weird Darkness.




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 Weirdo family member tells of his own personal experience with what might’ve been a hell hound. (The Dog That Wasn’t There)


One island, one couple, one murder. We’ll look at the strange life and death of Rolf Neslund. (The Rolf Neslund Murder)

She was murdered in November of 1901. Her lover spent more than a dozen years in prison, proclaiming his innocence, before being pardoned by the governor. So why did he commit suicide soon after getting out of prison? We’ll look at the strange murder of – and eventual haunting by – Nell Cropsey. (The Lingering Ghost of Nell Cropsey)

But first… it’s the conspiracy that overshadows all other conspiracies. The assassination of John F. Kennedy.

If you’re new here, welcome to the show! While you’re listening, be sure to check out WeirdDarkness.com for merchandise, my newsletter, enter contests, to 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!



From the moment shots rang out at lunchtime on November 22nd 1963, talk of conspiracy has surrounded the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

A government commission headed by Judge Earl Warren concluded in 1964 that a mysterious ex-marine, Lee Harvey Oswald, committed the assassination alone by firing three shots from the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository.

They were unable to put forward any credible motive and much of their evidence was soon discredited by critics.

A second government commission, the HSCA, concluded in 1979 that President Kennedy “was probably assassinated as a result of a conspiracy”, but its evidence proved equally controversial and contentious.

Despite the HSCA contradicting Warren’s findings, and opinion polls consistently showing the public to be sceptical about its conclusions, the Warren Report’s determination that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone still remains the de facto narrative of the assassination promoted by the mainstream media.

As the events in Dealey Plaza begin to fade out of living memory, the doubts and rival theories about what really happened to Kennedy remain as strong as ever. Was Oswald innocent and the President’s murder a conspiracy?

Crucial to making the case against Oswald is been able to place him in the sniper’s nest at the time of the shooting, yet the eyewitnesses contradict this.

Arnold Roland saw two men on the sixth-floor just minutes before the assassination. One of the men Roland saw was armed with a high-powered rifle, but his description did not match Oswald.

In order to escape the sixth-floor sniper’s nest after the shots, Oswald would have had to run down a staircase past secretaries Victoria Adams and Sandra Style, but neither saw him.

Likewise, caretaker Jack Dougherty was stood on a stairwell that Oswald would have had to run down after the shooting, but Dougherty did not see him.

Policeman Marian Baker claims to have encountered Oswald in a second-floor lunchtime just seventy to ninety seconds after the shots, looking calm and composed. Could he really have gotten there in time?

Oswald’s presence in the lunchroom was in fact consistent with several other witnesses who placed Oswald on the lower floors of the Texas School Book depository when, if the Commission’s account was correct, he should have been on the sixth floor preparing his sniper’s nest.

Several eyewitnesses saw a man at the sixth-floor window before, during and after the assassination, who was generally described as wearing light or khaki coloured clothes.

However, on the day of the assassination, Oswald was wearing a dark red shirt and dark pants, as can clearly be seen in photos of him after his capture.

The medical evidence provided the official ‘lone gunman’ scenario with problems from the beginning.

The Warren Commission concluded that Oswald fired three shots because three shell casings were found in the sniper’s nest on the sixth-floor of the Texas Schoolbook Depository.

Locked into the three shot scenario, this left them struggling to account for all the damage. There were at least three wounds to Kennedy. Governor Connally, sat in a jump seat in front of the President, suffered five separate wounds.

A bystander James Tague was also hit, and there were at least four holes and nicks in the limousine and the kerb.

The commission concluded the first shot missed the limousine altogether and caused the wound to Tague. The third shot caused the fatal head wound and possibly some of the damage to the limousine’s chrome trim.

This left the second shot alone to account for all of the remaining injuries to Kennedy and Connally. Arlen Specter, an ambitious junior counsel to the Warren Commission,  devised the now notorious single bullet theory to explain all of these wounds.

Backed into a corner, Spector theorised that the second bullet hit Kennedy in the upper back, passed out through his neck and went on to cause a further five separate wounds to Connally.

Yet everyone present at the autopsy on the night of the assassination was certain the wound in the President’s back was shallow and did not transit the body. They extensively probed the wound to try and find it’s exit and discovered it didn’t even penetrate the chest’s pleura.

The trajectory of this shot didn’t line up either, the Warren Commission made it fit by moving the true location of the back wound and the HSCA and other later attempts to prove the theory simply lied about the position of the two men’s bodies in the limousine.

It got even worse for the single bullet theory when Governor Connally stated in several interviews that he was certain he was not hit by the same shot as Kennedy. His wife Nellie, sat next to him in the car, affirmed this.

The evidence against the single bullet theory continued to stack up ; a shot through Kennedy’s neck would have shattered his spine , which was, in fact, undamaged.

The bullet said to have caused all the damage , Commission Exhibit 399, was allegedly found on a stretcher at Parkland hospital. Yet it was virtually undamaged despite having supposedly shattered Connally’s rib and wrist.

The Warren Commission’s own ballistics test showed it was impossible for the bullet to have done the amount of damaged claimed without becoming substantially deformed.

Dr Joseph Dolce, the senior expert in wound ballistics who performed the tests later said  –  ”The bullet could not have caused so much damage and remained virtually intact; one bullet striking the President’s neck, the Governor’s chest and wrist, should be badly deformed, as our experiments at the Edgewood Arsenal proved.”

Despite many attempts to replicate the single bullet shot in tendentious TV specials over the years, nobody has ever come close to convincingly doing so.

There was a timing problem with the Commission’s theory too. The 8mm home movie of the assassination taken by Dallas dressmaker Abraham Zapruder clearly showed the president reacting to a bullet strike before Connally, despite the fact they were meant to have been hit with the same shot.

The Zapruder film presented a further problem to the Commission’s shooting pattern when it showed there was a five-second gap between their supposed second and third shots. However, virtually everyone in Dealey Plaza was certain the last two shots they heard were actually very closely bunched together.

The single bullet theory did not add up, but without it the Warren Commission were unable to demonstrate only three shots were fired and Oswald was the lone assassin.

A simple paraffin test was administered to Oswald’s cheek after his arrest, which tested negative for gunshot residue.

Unhappy with the result, the FBI submitted the cast to a whole array of more advanced tests, including neutron activation analysis, all of which returned negative. This was so problematic for the official case that the FBI simply lied about it at the Warren Commission’s hearings.

This evidence does have some caveats, as the test was not administered until some hours after Oswald’s arrest, but it is still strongly suggestive of his innocence.

Oswald’s life is replete with mysteries and inexplicable events. Far from being a disaffected communist sympathizing loner, Oswald continually associated with right-wingers and members of various intelligence agencies, including the FBI and the CIA.

Strange facts surrounding Oswald’s defection to the USSR in 1959, and the way he so easily returned to the USA in 1962, are indicative of his involvement in an intelligence operation, as is his fluency in Russian.

Oswald, who threatened to give away US radar secrets when he defected to Russia, was allowed to freely re-enter America two and a half years later without any consequences at all. The CIA even claimed not to have interviewed him on his return, despite it being standard procedure.

Several investigators have suggested Oswald was a false defector, sent to Soviet Union as part of a CIA intelligence operation. His remarkable fluency in the language, so good several natives mistook Oswald for Russian, certainly suggest official training.

In New Orleans in the summer of 1963, Oswald was seen in the presence of individuals involved in counter-intelligence operations and appeared himself to be involved in agent provocateur activity against the Fair Play For Cuba Committee.

Oswald set up a fake one-man chapter of the FPCC and started handing out pro-Castro leaflets in the high street. On one occasion he was even arrested after getting into a scuffle with anti-Castro protesters.

At the same time, Guy Banister, a local private investigator, was working with the FBI as part of their cointelpro program against the FPCC.

It seems very likely Banister was using Oswald as part of a propaganda operation against the FPCC;  the pair were seen together by several witnesses and Oswald’s leaflets were stamped with an address in the same building as Banister’s office.

Once we accept the possibility that Oswald was involved in cointelpro, other mysteries about him take on a new light.

The famous photographs of him holding a pistol and rifle in his backyard, far from fakes, look for all the world like Oswald’s attempt at creating false credentials for himself as an extremist in order to use as leverage to infiltrate the kind of far left wing groups the FBI were targeting with cointelpro.

Shortly before the assassination, Oswald was involved,  either knowingly or not, in a complex intelligence operation in Mexico City where he was impersonated on at least one occasion.

Oswald supposedly travelled to Mexico City in late September 1963 to try and obtain a visa to travel back to the Soviet Union. He visited the Cuban and Soviet embassies on multiple occasions and also made several phone calls to the embassies.

However, despite extensive camera surveillance of both buildings, the CIA were unable to provide any photographic evidence of Oswald’s presence at either embassy , claiming the cameras weren’t operating or the photos were destroyed. The HSCA later discovered the CIA had lied about both points.

Photos did later emerg, but none of them showed the real Oswald. Six weeks later, on the night of the assassination, FBI agents questioning the alleged assassin made a startling discovery. They had obtained tapes of Oswald’s calls to the Cuban embassy and the voice on the tape was not him.

Hoover summed up the situation in a phone called to new President Lyndon Johnson . “We have up here the tape and the photograph of the man who was at the Soviet embassy using Oswald’s name…that picture and the tape do not correspond to this man’s voice, nor to his appearance. In other words, it appears that there is a second person who was at the Soviet embassy down there.”

Rumours were also circulating that Oswald, or whoever was impersonating him, had visited a KGB agent at the Soviet Embassy, the obvious implication being that there was Russian involvement in the President’s murder.

This was an entirely manufactured rumour, but it served its purpose in concentrating minds in Washington to cover up the true facts of the assassination.

Johnson even used the false possibility of Soviet involvement conjured by Oswald’s visit to Mexico City as a bargaining tool to get people to serve on the Warren Commission.

In arguably the most bizarre scene ever broadcast on live television, Lee Harvey Oswald was shot dead on Sunday 24th of November as he was escorted through the basement of the Dallas police department by a phalanx of policemen.

The gunman was a local nightclub owner named Jack Ruby. Despite extensive rumours about Ruby’s links to organised crime, the Warren Commission entirely dismissed any links and concluded Ruby was a lone nut who murdered Oswald because he was upset about Jackie Kennedy’s suffering.

They also dismissed any suggestion he had help gaining access to the Dallas police station basement. 15 years later the HSCA sternly rebuked the Warren Commission over their conclusions about Ruby.

Ruby had, in fact, numerous connections to organised crime. And his association with organised crime figures massively ramped up in the months leading up to Kennedy’s assassination, his out of state phones calls alone peaked at a twenty-five fold increase on normal levels in the weeks before November 22nd.

The HSCA also concluded, contrary to the Warren Commission’s verdict, that Ruby probably had inside help in gaining access to the Dallas Police station basement.

Ruby himself lent credence to conspiracy rumours when he made enigmatic comments in a brief televised news conference in 1965.

“Everything pertaining to what’s happening has never come to the surface. The world will never know the true facts of what occurred, my motives. The people who had so much to gain, and had such an ulterior motive for putting me in the position I’m in, will never let the true facts come above board to the world.”

When asked by a reporter – “Are these people in very high positions, Jack?”, Ruby responded – “Yes.”

Now, let’s look at the evidence against the conspiracy theory.

Oswald immediately fled the Texas School Book depository after the assassination, an action which some have suggested indicates a guilty mind.

Oswald rushed to his rooming house to retrieve a revolver and was later captured in the Texas Theatre after a scuffle with police officers. These actions certainly appear to indicate some kind of guilt on the part of Oswald.

However, as with much of the evidence against Oswald, there are other explanations for his actions. For instance, Oswald may have fled the scene because he realised he had been set up and feared for his life.

The Warren Commission presented much evidence that appeared to show Oswald had ordered the rifle which was linked to the assassination, an old WW2 era Italian Mannlicher Carcano.

Oswald allegedly ordered the rifle from a mail order firm using an alias Alek J. Hidell and much later a partial palm print was found on the weapon which matches the accused assassin.

The evidence appears convincing, but as with all aspects of this case, there are some caveats. There are several curious anomalies in the chain of evidence presented that might have been successfully exploited by Oswald’s defence if the case had ever gone to trial.

The order form for the rifle was posted at a time when Oswald was known to be at work. There are even timesheets to prove it.

He also had the weapon delivered to a PO Box registered under his real name, yet ordered the rifle under a pseudonym. This would have been illegal in 1963 and he should not have been allowed to take delivery of the package.

Despite these problems, the rifle evidence remains perhaps the most convincing part of the official case against Oswald.


Up next…

A Weirdo family member tells of his own personal experience with what might’ve been a hell hound.

And… one island, one couple, one murder. We’ll look at the strange life and death of Rolf Neslund.

These stories and more when Weird Darkness returns.




In the English counties of Suffolk, Cambridgeshire and East Anglia they call the legendary ghostly black dog that is said to roam the countryside ‘black shuck’. Succa’ being the old English word for devil or fiend. But in Dorset where I live its better known as the ‘dark nonce’, nonce also being an old English world for a large, pre-neutered hound. But whatever term is used I wanted to tell you about the time i was camping near Raoul Castle in East Dorset and my encounter with a ghostly black dog.

I liked camping on my own when i was younger but wouldn’t venture too far from where I lived. I had not long pitched my tent next to what in Medieval times would have been Raoul Moat when I saw the outline of a large dog sitting on the far embankment. It took me a while to adjust my eyes to what i was seeing but I could definitely see the dark outline of a large dog sitting there, staring at me. I stopped moving and at that point the dog got up and slowly faded away. All the wildlife that I could hear up until that point went silent. I quickly got back into my tent, zipped up the front and didn’t get out of it until the morning. The stories around Black Shuck normally explain that it is an omen of a forthcoming disaster, I can’t say that anything bad happened to me after seeing it but I will not be going back there camping anytime soon.



In a region rich with natural wonder, the San Juan Islands of the Pacific Northwest stand out. The archipelago is comprised of secluded, tree-covered isles, hemmed in by the snowy peaks of the Olympic Mountains to the southwest, and the mighty Cascades to the east. Those who reside in the San Juans operate on island time, yet live a ferry ride away from the bustle of Vancouver or Seattle. Understandably, the islands cast a distinctly mysterious spell. Multiple murder novels take place on the San Juans, while the first (and only) season of the blood-soaked mystery TV series, Harper’s Island was shot on a rocky isle to the north, off the coast of Vancouver.

One could argue that such novels and shows exaggerate the island’s quiet mystery for dramatic effect. Yet there are a few real-life cases that make these fictionalized tales seem disquietingly close to reality. The eerie death of Rolf Neslund over 35 years ago is one such case.

Ruth and Rolf were an elderly married couple, 60 and 83 years old, respectively. They lived in semi-isolation on Lopez Island, and those who knew them claimed that their relationship was far from blissful. Their alcohol-fueled fights got so bad that physical damage to both person and property often occurred. Each had a drinking problem and seemed to take their issues out on the other.

Rolf was a sea captain. In 1978, he made quite a name for himself by crashing a 550-foot freighter into the West Seattle Bridge. His action ended a decade-long battle between the city council and area residents over whether to direct municipal funds towards upgrading the bridge. Neslund’s crash permanently damaged the structure, forcing the City’s hand to rebuild and transform the bridge into the 6-lane span that stands today. The elderly captain retired after the crash; he was likely too old to be behind the wheel, and his reputation as a drinker didn’t help. Still, some residents believed that the reconstructed bridge ought to have been named the Rolf Neslund Bridge.

And so, at the age of 80, Rolf began to spend more time with Ruth at heir isolated home on Lopez Island. The couple’s domestic troubles soon took an irreversible turn for the worse. Both in the throws of alcoholism, Rolf and Ruth screamed and hurled objects. More often than not, San Juan county officers were called in to check out the situation. Rolf tended to be the more physically injured of the two.

Then, in August 1980, Rolf disappeared. News circulated around Lopez Island that Mr. Neslund was nowhere to be found. Ruth claimed that Rolf had left for his home country of Norway. She said that they had gotten into a fight; fed up, Rolf packed his bags, drove his car to the ferry, and simply left. Indeed, his car did turn up abandoned at the Anacortes ferry terminal on the mainland, but it was unclear who had driven it there.

Authorities were suspicious of Ruth’s story. For starters, Rolf’s belongings were still at home, and he had not renewed any of his prescriptions in preparation for his “journey.” What’s more, neither his American nor Norwegian bank accounts were touched after August 1980. And, in the first December after his disappearance, not one of his friends or relatives received his annual Christmas card. Nevertheless, despite such irregularities, there was nothing concrete to prove anything unlawful had happened.

And so, Ruth continued her life on Lopez Island. She sold a few of Rolf’s cars and belongings in the days and weeks after her husband’s disappearance; a year later, she turned their home into a very popular bed and breakfast—the Alec Bay Inn.

Slowly, though, holes appeared in Ruth’s account—especially after it became clear that Rolf was not in Norway. Family members of Ruth’s claimed she had often threatened to kill Rolf in years past. Typically, she was intoxicated while she made these remarks, so her family brushed them off. Such drunken threats, however, took on a sinister tone with the benefit of hindsight. In April 1981, police obtained a warrant and searched the Neslund residence; they could not find anything conclusive.

Then, in 1982, Ruth’s brother Paul made a shocking confession to the police: he claimed that a drunken Ruth had admitted to murdering Rolf. She had told him that on August 8, 1980, their other brother Robert held down Rolf while Ruth shot him twice in the head. They dismembered the victim’s body in the bathtub, burned the remains in a barrel in the yard, and then dumped the ashes on the manure pile.

With this newfound information, police acquired a second warrant to search the Neslund property. This time, they found that the carpet had been replaced—and beneath it were bloodstains. There was some indication of blood spatter on the ceiling, as well as in the hallway. Most damning of all: A bloodstained .38 caliber Smith and Wesson revolver was stashed in Ruth’s dresser.

Authorities finally had the evidence to needed. They believed Rolf and Ruth began by arguing over their finances. Rolf found out that Ruth, who had power of attorney and control of their accounts, had transferred about $80,000 from their joint account into an account with just her name on it. She had also lied to him about loans from friends and family, claiming that they still had outstanding debts when they were all actually paid off. When Rolf confronted Ruth on these issues, they entered into their worst fight yet… one that Rolf did not survive.

Ruth was charged with Rolf’s murder in March 1983. Because of health issues, her trial was delayed until October 1985. She was convicted and sentenced to 20 years in prison. Her brother Robert, who was her accomplice, was never held accountable for his part in the murder; by 1985, he had advanced dementia, and was deemed incompetent.

Ruth’s story, though, does not end there. She was initially allowed to serve her time at home, as long as she agreed to neither drink nor drive. Soon after her sentencing, though, she hit two bicyclists while driving a minivan. She was intoxicated. Ruth Neslund was promptly sent to prison, where she lived out her days before dying at the age of 73. She maintained her innocence in Rolf’s death for the rest of her life.


Up next, it’s the story of the strange murder of Nell Cropsey – and the ghost she left behind.



On the night of November 20, 1901, a young North Carolina woman named Nell Cropsey vanished from her family’s home in Elizabeth City. After a frantic search that lasted more than a month, Nell’s body was discovered floating in a nearby river. She had been brutally murdered – but by who? Her lover spent more than a dozen years in prison, proclaiming his innocence, before being pardoned by the governor. Did he kill Nell? And if not, then who did? And why did he commit suicide soon after getting out of prison?

The story of Nell Cropsey remains one of the strange tales of murder in the state’s history and perhaps the unanswered questions that still surround the case are the reason why Nell’s ghost still haunts her family home today.

Nell Maud Cropsey was born in July 1882. Her parents, William and his wife, Mary Louise, lived in Brooklyn, New York, but in 1898, left the city for the southern community of Elizabeth City, North Carolina. They moved onto a 65-acre farm and William became a judge in Pasquotank County. They happily settled into their new home and Nell and her younger sister, Olive, became quite well-known in the area. They were both beautiful girls and had more than their share of suitors. Olive began a relationship with a man named Roy Crawford, while Nell was courted by Jim Wilcox, the son of the local sheriff. By 1901, they had been together nearly two years and were talking about marriage.

On the evening of November 20, both Roy and Jim visited the Cropsey home. The two couples spent the evening together and around 11:00 p.m., Jim stood up and asked Nell to join him on the front porch to talk. Everyone else in the house, except for Olive and Roy, was asleep. A half hour passed and Olive assumed that Nell had come back into the house and gone to bed. Roy Crawford left the house, seeing no one outside. When Olive went to the room that she shared with her sister, she saw that Nell was not in her bed. She assumed Nell was still with Jim and went to sleep.

Around midnight, the Cropsey’s dog suddenly began barking loudly. The entire household was awakened and went out onto the front porch to see the cause of the disturbance. There was no one there, but at that point, Olive realized that Nell had never come to bed. Her sister was missing.

Mrs. Cropsey was terrified, but her husband tried to calm her, suggesting that perhaps Nell and Jim had decided to elope. They had been talking about marriage and it was not unusual for young couples to run off and get married, he told his wife.

By morning, William Cropsey was not convinced that his daughter had run away. Nell had been excited about an upcoming trip to New York. None of her belongings were missing. Her clothing and suitcases were still in the closet. William was sure something was wrong. He went to the home of Sheriff Wilcox to ask questions. Jim had been the last one to see Nell that night; perhaps he had some idea of where she might be. When he arrived, Jim was home – but refused to come to the parlor and speak with Nell’s father.

Angry and alarmed, William went to see the Chief of Police. The authorities forced Jim Wilcox to return to the Cropsey home and they questioned him for hours. Despite pleas from Mary and Olive, Jim refused to tell them anything. All that he would say was that he had left Nell crying on the porch after a 10-minute conversation. He refused to say why the young woman was crying, what the conversation was about, or where he had gone after he left the Cropsey home.

A massive hunt for Nell Cropsey began. Law enforcement officers, volunteers, and trained bloodhounds combed the area, searching the forests and swamps. There was no sign of the missing girl. Rumors began to surface that painted an ugly picture of the relationship between Nell and Jim Wilcox. Friends told the police about terrible fights and Nell’s fear of Jim’s violent temper. They had been fighting more than usual over the last couple of months and Mary Cropsey told the police that Nell had recently confided that she planned to stop seeing Jim.

Weeks passed with still no trace of the missing girl. Jim Wilcox still refused to talk to the police and the Cropsey family began to fear the worst. Then, on December 27, Nell’s body was found floating in the Pasquotank River. The river had been searched many times without success, causing many to surmise that the killer had recently taken the girl’s body from a hiding place and dumped it into the river.

With no other suspects, Jim Wilcox was arrested. While in jail, death threats poured into the police station, promising that Jim would be lynched for his crime. To make matters worse, he still refused to account for his whereabouts in the house after Nell disappeared. The autopsy showed that Nell had been killed by a violent blow to the left temple. Jim’s temper was said to be violent – could an argument have turned deadly?

Jim waived his right to a preliminary hearing and he went straight to trial. In March 1902, he was found guilty of first-degree murder and was sentenced to hang. Before he could go to the gallows, his case was declared a mistrial by the North Carolina Supreme Court. He was tried again for murder in 1903 and this time, was found guilty of second-degree murder. He was sentenced to spend the next 30 years in prison. In 1918, though, Jim received a visit from Governor Thomas Walter Bickett. A short time later, he was pardoned and released.

After Jim got out of prison, he met with famed newspaper editor W.O. Sanders, who was planning a book about the Cropsey case. Whatever Jim had to tell him was apparently so shocking that Saunders made immediate plans to start on the proposed book. But it was never to be. A short time after the meeting, Jim committed suicide with a shotgun blast to the head. Soon after, Saunders was killed in a car accident.

Whatever Jim Wilcox told Saunders at that meeting will never be known.

However, it’s just one of the mysteries connected to this case. We will likely never know what happened to Nell Cropsey that night in 1901 and perhaps this is the reason why her spirit refuses to rest. For the past century, those who have lived in the former Cropsey home have reported strange occurrences. Lights go on and off, doors open and shut, water rushes from the sink even when no one turns the handle, and strange cold gusts of air waft through the house without explanation.

Some reports also include sightings of a pale young woman who has been seen walking across empty rooms. People passing by on the street have seen the same pale figure looking wistfully from an upstairs window. One resident claimed to recognize Nell when she awoke and saw the murdered girl standing at the foot of her bed one night.

Will the enduring mystery of Nell’s death ever be solved? After all of these years, it seems unlikely, which means that the unfortunate young woman is just as unlikely to find the peace that she still seeks. Her lingering presence reminds us that she never truly received the justice that she deserved and because she still walks, she is never forgotten. Her sad story is told over and over as we recall the tragic tale of her ghost. Dead men – or in a dead young woman – really do tell tales.


Thanks for listening. 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 darren@weirddarkness.com. WeirdDarkness.com is also where you can find all of my social media, listen to free audiobooks I’ve narrated, visit the store for Weird Darkness t-shirts, hoodies, mugs, phone cases, and more merchandise, sign up for monthly contests, find other podcasts that I host, and 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 of your own, you can click on TELL YOUR STORY. You can find all of that and more at WeirdDarkness.com.

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.

“Conspiracy In Dallas” posted at The Unredacted:

“The Dog That Wasn’t There” by Weirdo family member Daniel Mulberry

“The Rolf Neslund Murder” by Elizabeth Tilsa

“The Lingering Ghost of Nell Cropsey” by Troy Taylor


WeirdDarkness® – is a production and trademark of Marlar House Productions.

Now that we’re coming out of the dark, I’ll leave you with a little light… “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” — 1 John 4:18

And a final thought… “All mortals tend to turn into the thing they are pretending to be.” — C. S. Lewis, “The Screwtape Letters”

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


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