“CONTRARY CHEMTRAILS” and More Strange But True Stories! #WeirdDarkness
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IN THIS EPISODE: The chemtrail conspiracy theory posits the belief that long-lasting condensation trails, also known as “contrails” are in fact “chemtrails” consisting of chemical or biological agents purposefully left in the sky by high-flying aircraft, sprayed for nefarious purposes and undisclosed to the general public. The scientific community has dismissed the theory, but others insist the truth is simply being covered up. Who is telling the truth? What is the truth? We’ll look at the controversy over contrails. (Contrary Chemtrails) *** In 1947, Major Jesse Marcel was sent to a crash site near Roswell, New Mexico to investigate what happened. We all know the story from there – the strange metal, the alien bodies, the confiscated extraterrestrial technology, the weather-balloon story we initially believed and then didn’t believe. Now, more than seven decades later, Jesse Marcel’s grandchildren are speaking up about their knowledge of what happened at Roswell. (The Roswell Grandchildren) *** If you look up the term “water babies” on the net, you might find something akin to swim classes for newborns and toddlers. But if you mention the term “water babies” near Pyramid Lake in Nevada, a much, much darker scene comes to mind. (Water Babies Aren’t As Cute As They Sound) *** According to the Bible, no man knows the day Christ will return. But that didn’t stop William Miller from predicting anyway. Not once, but three times – and he was wrong, three times. (William Miller’s Great Disappointment) *** (Originally aired February 02, 2021)
SOURCES AND REFERENCES FROM THE EPISODE…
“Water Babies Aren’t As Cute As They Sound” by David Clarke for Standard News https://tinyurl.com/rm7pouxz, and Weird U.S. https://tinyurl.com/yfhnphpy
“Contrary Chemtrails” from Duncan Phenix for Mystery Wire https://tinyurl.com/1ogrr2es, and Earth Island Journal https://tinyurl.com/2z4569ea
“The Roswell Grandchildren” from Newsweek: https://tinyurl.com/jq96lzxo
“William Miller’s Great Disappointment” by Dr. Romeo Vitelli for Providentia: https://tinyurl.com/2r6ovl8f
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Stories and content in Weird Darkness can be disturbing for some listeners and intended for mature audiences only. Parental discretion is strongly advised.
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…
In 1947, Major Jesse Marcel was sent to a crash site near Roswell, New Mexico to investigate what happened. We all know the story from there – the strange metal (or not), the alien bodies (or not), the confiscated extraterrestrial technology (or not), the weather-balloon story we initially believed and then didn’t believe. Now, more than seven decades later, Jesse Marcel’s grandchildren are speaking up about their knowledge of what happened at Roswell. (The Roswell Grandchildren)
If you look up the term “water babies” on the net, you might find something akin to swim classes for newborns and toddlers. But if you mention the term “water babies” near Pyramid Lake in Nevada, a much, much darker scene comes to mind. (Water Babies Aren’t As Cute As They Sound)
According to the Bible, no man knows the day Christ will return. But that didn’t stop William Miller from predicting anyway. Not once, but three times – and he was wrong, three times. (William Miller’s Great Disappointment)
The chemtrail conspiracy theory posits the belief that long-lasting condensation trails, also known as “contrails” are in fact “chemtrails” consisting of chemical or biological agents purposefully left in the sky by high-flying aircraft, sprayed for nefarious purposes and undisclosed to the general public. The scientific community has dismissed the theory, but others insist the truth is simply being covered up. Who is telling the truth? What is the truth? We’ll look at the controversy over contrails. (Contrary Chemtrails)
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: CONTRARY CHEMTRAILS=====
It was around noon on March 12, 2000 when S.T. Brendt, the late night reporter for WMWV Radio, entered the kitchen of her country home in Parsonsfield, Maine. Her partner, Lou Aubuchont, was puzzling over what he had seen in the sky a half-hour before. The fat puffy plumes arching up over the horizon were unlike any aircraft condensation trails (“contrails”) he had ever seen.
Instead of dissipating like normal contrails, these intersecting sky trails grew wider and began to merge. Looking towards the sun, Aubuchont saw what appeared like “an oil and water mixture” reflecting a prismatic band of colors.
Ordinarily, contrails flare briefly in the stratosphere as hot moist engine exhaust flash-freezes into a stream of ice-crystals. These pencil-thin condensation trails are short-lived, evaporating into invisibility as exhaust gases cool quickly to the surrounding air temperature.
As National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) meteorologist Thomas Schlatter explains, the formation of condensation trails requires temperatures lower than about minus 76 F and humidity of 70 percent or more. Because the Federal Aviation Authority requires military tankers and transporters to cross continental airspace at altitudes below 30,000 feet, ensuring safe separation from airliners flying between 35,000 and 39,000 feet, these military flights should leave no contrails at all.
But in late 1997, Aubuchont began to notice thicker trails extending from horizon to horizon. Hanging in the sky, these expanding white ribbons would invariably be interwoven by more thick lines left by unmarked Air Force jets, white or silver in color.
As Brendt glanced out the window, it looked like another gorgeous, cloudless day. But not quite. She spotted two jets laying billowing white banners to the north. Turning her gaze due west, Brendt saw two more lines extending over the horizon. She called Lou. Within 45 minutes, the couple counted 30 jets. “This isn’t right,” Brendt thought. “We just don’t have that kind of air traffic here.” While Aubuchont kept counting, Brendt started calling airports.
Alerted by a call from Brendt, Richard Dean, WMWV’s assistant news director and the WMWV news staff filed outside and counted 370 lines of persistent contrails in skies usually devoid of aerial activity.
Brendt phoned a number of Air Traffic Controllers. They all stated that nothing unusual was going on. After several calls, Brendt reached one ATC manager who offered a different story. He told Brendt that his radars showed nine commercial jets during the same 45-minute span. From her location, he said, she should have been able to see only one plane.
“What about the other 29?” Brendt inquired. The ATC official confided off-the-record that he had been ordered “by higher civil authority” to re-route inbound European airliners away from an airborne “military exercise” in the area. “They wouldn’t give me any of the particulars and I don’t ask,” he explained. The controller (who insisted on being identified only as “Deep Sky,”) subsequently repeated his statements on tape before witnesses at the WMWV studio.
On December 8, 2000, Terry Stewart, the Manager for Planning and Environment at the Victoria International Airport, responded to a caller’s complaint about the strange patterns of circles and grids being woven over the British Columbia capitol. Stewart left a message on an answering machine tape – a message that later was heard by more than 15 million radio listeners. Stewart explained: “It’s a military exercise, [a] US and Canadian Air Force exercise that’s going on. They wouldn’t give me any specifics on it.”
Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Comox on Vancouver Island is Canada’s biggest radar installation. CFB Comox is easily capable of tracking the US formations coming up from the south. When asked for a response to Stewart’s statement, the base information officer at CFB Comox replied tersely that: “No military operation is taking place.” Stewart later told the Vancouver Courier that his information had come directly from Comox.
By the summer of 2001, pictures of contrails were being circulated by the Associated Press and the word “chemtrails” could be overheard in coffee shop conversations across the continent.
In an April 20, 2001, letter to a US senator, Col. Walter Washbaugh, chief of the Congressional Inquiry Division for the Secretary of the Air Force in Washington, DC, called chemtrails “a hoax.” Washbaugh blamed the increased number of contrails on “significant civil aviation growth in the past decade.”
He is right on that score. A National Science Foundation study has found that in certain heavily trafficked corridors, artificial cloud cover has increased by as much as 20 percent.
Colonel Washbaugh ascribed widely reported grid patterns to overlapping aircraft flying north-south, east-west airways. The only thing wrong with this explanation, a Texas air traffic controller told me, is that US airways do not run north-south.
The colonel told the senator: “The Air Force is not conducting any weather modification and has no plans to do so in the future.” In fact, the Pentagon has long been interested in using weather as a weapon of war. Attempts to steer hurricanes by spraying heat-robbing chemicals in their paths date from the 1950s. The recipe for creating “cirrus shields” was outlined in a 1996 US Air Force study subtitled “Owning the Weather by 2025.” The report explained how “weather force specialists” were dispersing chemicals behind high-flying tanker aircraft in a process called “aerial obscuration.”
Official denials reached new altitudes of absurdity when another colonel claimed: “The US Air Force (USAF) does not conduct spraying operations over populated areas.” Apparently the colonel had forgotten how USAF air tankers dispensed thousands of tons of “Agent Orange” defoliants over the land and people of Vietnam.
Meanwhile, the Internet was abuzz with chemtrail conspiracy theories ranging from aliens leaving messages in the sky to government agencies dumping mind-control chemicals on an unsuspecting populace. The only problem was none of the theories were plausible.
In 1994, the Hughes aerospace company was issued a remarkable patent. The Welsbach patent “for Reduction of Global Warming” proposed countering global warming by dispensing microscopic particles of aluminum oxide and other reflective materials into the upper atmosphere. This “sky shield” would reflect one or two percent of incoming sunlight. The patent suggested that tiny metal flakes could be “added to the fuel of jet airliners, so that the particles would be emitted from the jet engine exhaust while the airliner was at its cruising altitude.”
Computer simulations by Ken Caldeira at California’s Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) calculated that employing Welsbach’s chemical-sunscreen technology could stop warming over 85 percent of the planet, despite an anticipated doubling of atmospheric carbon within the next 50 years. LLNL estimated the cost of creating this so-called Sky Shield at $1 billion dollars a year – a cheap fix to avoid threatening the massive profits of the oil industry.
At the 1998 International Seminar on Planetary Emergencies, Edward Teller, the “Father of the H-bomb,” presented his Next Big Idea. Teller called for spreading reflective chemicals over the Earth to act like a mirror-shade. If it was impossible to protect the entire planet, these chemical sky shields could, at least, be extended to cover allies who secretly agreed to allow this unprecedented geo-engineering experiment to be carried out over their territory.
In the July-August 1998 Science and Technology Review, Teller argued that the Sky Shield offered a more “realistic” option for addressing global warming than drastic cutbacks in CO2 emissions.
When asked if the technology was being pursued, Teller replied: “To my knowledge the answer is negative…. My recommendation was a tentative one depending on further evidence whether expecting global warming is realistic.”
In fact, the technology already exists. In 1975, the US Navy patented a device for producing “a powder contrail having maximum radiation-scattering ability.” The powder contained a mixture of 0.3 micron-sized titanium dioxide pigment particles coated with 0.007 micron hydrophobic colloidal silica and 4.5 micron particles of silica gel. The purpose of the apparatus was “to generate contrails or reflective screens for any desired purpose.”
The Welsbach Patent proposed using “very fine, talcum-like” powder of 10 to 100 micron-sized aluminum oxide to produce a “pure white plume” in the sky.
In a May 2000 draft report submitted to the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), an expert panel chosen from among 3,000 atmospheric scientists, concluded that Teller’s scheme might work. But the IPCC warned against unpredictable upsets of the atmosphere. The panel also warned against angry populaces reacting to “the associated whitening of the visual appearance of the sky.”
Caldeira was so concerned that he went public. Deflecting sunlight would further cool the stratosphere, he warned, and this could intensify icy clouds of ozone-gobbling CFCs that could destroy the ozone layer – the Earth’s already damaged solar radiation shield.
Was Teller’s Sky Shield experiment already underway? During his interview with WMWV reporters, Deep Sky hinted that it was. Were the tankers observed on ATC radars involved in climate modification? Our FAA source hesitated before responding: “That approximates what I was told.” Similar military activities were ongoing in other regions, he stated.
The Internet buzzes with conspiracy theories about chemtrails being used as part of a secret government biological experiment. But after years of intense investigation, no undeniable proof that chemtrails constitute a deliberate biological attack has been found. (To be effective, bio-attacks must be conducted close to the ground and never in daylight, in order to avoid ultraviolet sterilization of toxins.)
In the spring of 1998, rain falling through heavy chemtrails over Espanola, Ontario was found to contain concentrations of aluminum particles seven times higher than permitted by Canadian health safety laws. Provincial health officials ordered tests after residents began complaining about severe headaches, chronic joint pain, dizziness, sudden extreme fatigue, acute asthma attacks and feverless “flu-like” symptoms. The results of the test were not released.
The reports of illness all came from residents inside a 50-square-mile area who complained that they had been subjected to “months of spraying” by photo-identified US Air Force tanker planes. The USAF denied the intrusions.
On November 18, 1998, Canadian Opposition Party Defense Critic Gordon Earle petitioned Parliament on behalf of the people of Espanola. Speaking on behalf of Canada’s New Democratic Party, Earle stated:
“Over 500 residents of the Espanola area have signed a petition raising concern over possible government involvement in what appears to be aircraft emitting visible aerosols. They have found high traces of aluminum and quartz in particulate and rainwater samples. These concerns combined with associated respiratory ailments have led these Canadians to take action and seek clear answers from this government. The petitioners call upon Parliament to repeal any law that would permit the dispersal of military chaff or of any cloud-seeding substance whatsoever by domestic or foreign military aircraft without the informed consent of the citizens of Canada thus affected.”
A Harvard School of Public Health team determined that particulates with a diameter less than 10 microns (one-tenth the thickness of a human hair) pose a serious threat to public health. On April 21, 2001, the New York Times warned: “These microscopic motes are able to infiltrate the tiniest compartments in the lungs and pass readily into the bloodstream, and have been most strongly tied to illness and early death, particularly in people who are already susceptible to respiratory problems.”
On December 14, 2000, the New England Journal of Medicine reported that inhaling particulate matter of a size 10 microns or smaller leads to “a 5 percent increased death rate within 24 hours.” Teller’s sunscreen calls for spraying 10 million tons of talcum-fine reflective particulates of 10 to 100 micron sizes.
On October 2, 2001, Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) introduced the “Space Preservation Act of 2001” (HR 2977), which called for the elimination of “exotic weaponry” from space. Among the weapons to be banned were weather-modifying weapons such as HAARP (High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program) and chemtrails. Though HR 3616 was later amended to remove the section that would have banned chemtrails, the original bill acknowledging the existence of chemtrail technology remains on the pages of the Congressional Record.
Sightings of oddly lingering plumes sometimes resembling rocket trails are not confined to North American skies.
While on leave in Italy in the summer of 1999, the US Navy’s Kitty Chastain sat on her hotel balcony and watched aerial grids being laid all day just offshore over the Bay of Naples.
In Spain, on April 27, 2000, American tourist John Hendricks dashed off a quick email from El Café de Internet: “Were we surprised to see that the chemtrails are as bad here as they are anywhere, both in Mallorca and in Barcelona.”
“Add Sweden to the list,” a Swedish resident wrote after spotting eight to 10 parallel contrails. “I know the commercial routes, and we have a bunch of them, but not where these trails were.”
Chemtrail activity has been reported in at least 14 allied nations including Australia, Belgium, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Holland, Ireland, Italy, New Zealand, Scotland, Sweden and the United States.
According to the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Co., the only way to form artificial clouds in warm dry air is to introduce enough particulates into the atmosphere to attract and accrete all available moisture into visible vapor. If repeated often enough, the resulting rainless haze can lead to drought.
Patrick Minnis, an atmospheric researcher with California Environmental Resources Evaluation System (CERES) and ardent chemtrails critic at NASA’s Langley Research Center, reports that cirrus cloud cover over the US is up 5 percent overall because particulates in engine exhaust are acting as cloud-forming nuclei. As the number of flights currently exceeds 15 million annually worldwide, artificial clouds will intensify as air travel continues to climb.
George Barnes, a film producer about chemtrails told Mystery Wire in 2015 he does not blame chemtrails on anyone in particular and thinks different groups are doing it, for various reasons. “There was no evidence of these grid type patterns in the sky prior to about 2006. I don’t know what happened but after 2006, we started seeing it more and more frequently.”
“The conclusion is, because it is unregulated, anybody could do it,” Barnes told Mystery Wire. “So anybody that is interested in experimenting with climate engineering, weather modification, has the right and the authority to test it.”
Contrails have been around since the dawn of aviation. The word is short for condensation trails. These contrails happen when humidity and temperature cause the moisture in the air to condense and form what we see as white clouds coming from the back of jet engines.
Old war films show contrails from high-flying bombers. There is also a contrail in the background of the 1960 movie Spartacus and over Las Vegas in the 1971 James Bond movie Diamonds are Forever.
And in 1999, in the Mojave Desert community of Pahrump, Nevada, the owners of a fish pond said something fell from the sky during a rain shower. The owner described it as “white spider-webbie looking stuff.”
He said the web material dissolved in his pond and left a foam which led to hundreds of dead fish two days later.
“I have no idea of what people are finding that are claiming to find angel hair or cobweb-like material,” said Kim Runk, Meteorologist-in-Charge at the Las Vegas National Weather Service office in 1999. “But I can say that it has nothing to do with the contrails they see in the sky.”
Abovetopsecret.com is considered one of the largest conspiracy-related websites in the world.
“The reality is, there is 250% more air traffic today than 10 years ago,” according to the creator of the website abovetopsecret.com, Mark Allin. “What happens is, a lot of people step outside and see these crisscrossed contrails in the sky. To the average person that would look pretty suspicious.”
Allin said his members vigorously debate and dissect all sorts of conspiracies, but their consensus is, chemtrails are not real and what people are seeing is contrails. “To think that there could be a global conspiracy, a conspiracy of aircraft technicians, military aircraft, that are all keeping quiet about spreading chemicals up in our atmosphere, I’m sorry to say, but it’s crazy.”
Even some die-hard debunkers admit there is aerial spraying happening such as cloud seeding, crop dusting, and even military testing. However, the idea that a widespread secret effort to change the Earth’s climate or sicken everyone is just not happening.
Mick West, a writer and controversial debunker told Mystery Wire “They really just basically ignored 70 years of science on the subject. People basically have this misconception that contrails don’t persist, therefore they must be chemtrails.”
Coming up… In 1947, Major Jesse Marcel was sent to a crash site near Roswell, New Mexico to investigate what happened. We all know the story from there – the strange metal, the alien bodies, the confiscated extraterrestrial technology, the weather-balloon story we initially believed and then didn’t believe. Now, more than seven decades later, Jesse Marcel’s grandchildren are speaking up about their knowledge of what happened at Roswell. (The Roswell Grandchildren)
Plus, if you look up the term “water babies” on the net, you might find something akin to swim classes for newborns and toddlers. But if you mention the term “water babies” near Pyramid Lake in Nevada, a much, much darker scene comes to mind. (Water Babies Aren’t As Cute As They Sound) These stories and more when Weird Darkness returns.
STORY: THE ROSWELL GRANDCHILDREN=====
What you are about to hear is written by Jesse Marcell III, Denice Marcel, and John Marcel. If you’ve been into Ufology for any length of time, you know that name… Marcel. Jesse Marcel III, Denice Marcel and John Marcel are grandchildren of Major Jesse Marcel, the man sent out to the scene to investigate the famous crash near Roswell. Here is the grandchildren’s story…
* * * * *
Our grandfather, Major Jesse Marcel, was a decorated intelligence officer in 1947 stationed at the 509th Bomb group, at the time the only atomic bomb unit in the entire world. He played an integral role in planning the group’s nuclear strike sorties over Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan, and had an illustrious career guarding some of the most important secrets of the Second World War.
In early July of that year, a mysterious crash occurred in the desert outside Roswell, New Mexico and he was chosen to investigate the crash site and report back to his superior, Colonel William H. Blanchard. What he found was remarkable, and he believed that what he was examining was not made by human hands. We were told growing up that he broke protocol and a few orders by packing up some of the debris to share with his son and wife, our father and grandmother, before returning to the army base. This was an event that would change our father’s life, and our own, forever. As they were examining the material, our dad clearly recalls grandpa saying that they were looking at “pieces of a flying saucer.”
Dad would share with us many more details of that night, often at dinner time with Star Trek playing in the background for effect. He would talk about seeing foil sheets that were incredibly strong yet light as a feather. He would further describe beams with hieroglyphic looking writing that he claimed would appear if you looked at them at an angle.
In their book Witness To Roswell, Thomas J. Carey and Donald R. Schmidt spoke to eyewitnesses who said that they saw “metal” material, like that described by our father, that returned to its original shape no matter how much you twisted or tried to put a wrinkle in it.
On summer trips to visit our grandfather in Louisiana, he would add to the story. He told us that he had seen glass-like fiber optic materials strewn throughout the debris in the field and even what appeared to be an animal hit by the craft that had crashed. He would describe how it took five to six large 2.5 ton 6×6 cargo trucks to transport all the debris back to the base.
As we grew older, Grandpa would share more of the story with us but was still very guarded when it came to telling us too much, maybe out of concern that information that haunted him would come back to haunt us. We could see on his face that he was conflicted between the need to expose the entire story as he saw it and the need to honor the oath he had taken to his country. We would try to get him to tell us more, but with a career in intelligence, he knew how to record and keep a secret.
As a military family we moved to wherever our father was stationed at the time, and in the early 70s this was from the Great Lakes of Michigan to the rural town of Clancy, Montana. In those days we had neither the internet nor video games, and on a good day we could make out three TV channels at best.
One of our fondest memories was spending time with our father as he educated us in everything from physics to astronomy. When not in school, we would stand side-by-side with dad working on one of his many projects. One such project was using red powder to grind thick plates of glass into a parabola shape, this became the mirror for a telescope he was building in the backyard. Once completed, we would spend awe filled nights as dad would show us many parts of the sky, including the rings around Saturn or the moons of Jupiter.
The significance of the events that our grandfather was part of was instilled in us at a young age. The stories shared by our father and time spent with him are forever etched in our memories. Dad would always say that we humans are not alone in the universe and that when we were peering through his telescope, there was a chance that some other beings could be looking back at us. This belief was what led him to share his experiences handling physical evidence of the materials found at the Roswell site—which he believed were from a UFO—and one of the reasons he built the telescope in the first place.
People have asked where the debris ended up? Or whether our grandfather kept a memento and if so where is it? Although his own voice has been silent for almost three decades, people still refer to his comments from that time. And, we have a diary found amongst his things after he died, which has not been shared with the public before.
We have wondered whether buried in some of the private writings, he has left us with a treasure map for discovering any secrets that have not fully been exposed to the world. One theory is that the diary was written in a kind of “home-brewed code,” and might point to places where crash debris still exists or contain other revelations our grandfather wanted the world to know. With our memories, documents, and our grandfather’s unseen diary, a door is cracking open that was once thought closed.
As a family, we aren’t surprised about the continued interest in Roswell given the inconsistencies in the early explanations shared by the government, along with a number of witness testimonies. Although the U.S. Air Force released reports in the 90s that stated the incident was not a “cover-up” and that the object that crashed was a balloon that was part of Project Mogul, a top secret balloon project designed to monitor then-Soviet nuclear testing, there are many conspiracy theories and those who believe it is still an unsolved “UFO” mystery.
Grandpa thought he was lucky to have been the right person at the right place at the right time even though it came at a great cost—exposing him and our family to the world. With actions he took both at the time of the incident, and leading up to his death, we believe he showed that he well understood the extraordinary uniqueness of the event.
Today we live in a different era. It is widely accepted that we are not alone in the universe, although no-one is certain what that truly means. Incidents like what happened in Roswell in 1947 have likely inspired scientists, astronauts, and a few grandchildren, to look into the sky with hopes and dreams to someday meet with our celestial family. Grandpa would be pleased.
STORY: WATER BABIES AREN’T AS CUTE AS THEY SOUND=====
The Americas are home to some pretty epic urban legends, abandoned ghost towns, haunted southern cities, and the like, but the tales that surround Nevada’s Pyramid Lake is one that just might keep you up at night.
Some believe that the stories that involve Pyramid Lake in the great state of Nevada are just silly fables told to children to keep them away from the water. Still, the allure of this scenic place is strong, it gets its name from the unusual pyramid-like shaped rocks that jut out from cool and tempting waters. These waters reach impressive depths of over 350 feet, but the eerie legends that surround this beautiful lake have more to do with what lies beneath.
Every year, a number of bizarre and unexplainable events occur, especially during the Springtime, and include hearing the cries of the lost water babies and a countless number of fisherman that set out on these waters– never to returned home.
There are a number of tales that try to give reason to the phenomena of the haunting sounds and the missing people.
The most well-known is the legend of the “water babies” and it begins with the American Indian Paiute tribe, who were said to have thrown malformed and premature babies into the dark and murky waters to drown in an effort to keep the tribe strong, keeping only the children who would grow to be capable and useful members of their tribe. And so the story goes, that the shrieks and cries that are heard late into the night are the ghosts of the drowned babies from the Paiute tribe.
A slightly different take on that same theme tells that when Native Americans inhabited the area (perhaps the Pauite, but my source did not specify a tribe), there was a severe famine. It was so severe that the villagers got together and decided that there wasn’t enough food to feed any new mouths. So as babies were being born, their mothers were forced to take them down to the nearby river and drown them, rather than have them live a life of constant hunger and starvation.
Yet another legend, but tied to the previous two I just mentioned, involves a Paiute tribesman and a mermaid from Pyramid Lake who fell madly in love, only to have the union rejected from the tribe. The heartbroken mermaid was exiled from the lake by the Paiute tribe– but not only did she not leave, she remained there in her growing fury, cursing the waters and seeking vengeance on any man that attempts to enter her lake. This, of course, would explain all the missing fishermen. Some believe that this version of the story was, in fact, concocted by the Paiute tribe themselves in an effort to repair their reputation and to cover up the savage and despicable actions of drowning their own babies – although for what reason the babies were drowned, malformed and premature, starvation and famine, or some other unknown cause, this particular legend does not say.
But another legend about “water babies” and how they came to be has nothing to do with babies or the Paiute, nor does it have to do with Pyramid Lake, Nevada.
The Ute Indians told stories of a mysterious race of dwarves who lived in Utah Lake – a lake in north-central Utah that covers about 150 square miles. The Ute referred to these aquatic dwarves as “Water Babies” because of their clever tactics in luring people to their deaths. They would make sounds very reminiscent of crying babies. Concerned people would take off into the lake in an effort to locate and rescue the endangered babies within, only to be dragged down into the depths by the nefarious Water Babies. Even if one managed to escape the clutches of these devilish dwarves, they still wouldn’t be safe.
A huge, predatorial man-hating monster also calls Utah Lake home. The first sighting of the monster by a European occurred just at the tail end of the Civil War, when a resident reported being chased to the shore by a thirty-foot reptile, which then turned around, joined another huge beast, and swam off. Shortly after, a different man claimed to see a huge reptile with the head of a dog patrolling the waters of the lake. In 1870, some fishermen found a large, strange skull with tusks protruding from it in the water. Sightings occurred steadily throughout the late 1800s through the 1920s, when they died down.
But water babies still make their presence known even today. If you go to the lake shores and sit for a while in silence, you will begin to hear the unmistakable sound of babies crying. Is it the spirits of drowned babies, looking for their mothers? Water dwarves, enticing you to take a closer step to your doom? Or is it just your imagination run wild with stories thanks to the legends you’ve heard growing up?
Like all stories of this nature, the only real “proof” is to experience these places yourself. Perhaps they are made up tales to keep children safe and close to home, or maybe the late night cries of drowned infants and the missing fishermen are real dangers that should be taken seriously.
That being said, I for one, do not want to test the theory.
When Weird Darkness returns… According to the Bible, no man knows the day Christ will return. But that didn’t stop William Miller from predicting anyway. Not once, but three times – and he was wrong, three times. (William Miller’s Great Disappointment) That story is up next.
William Miller was never your typical doomsday prophet.
Born in Massachusetts in 1782, he was the son of a captain who had served in the American Revolution and spent most of his early life in Washington County, New York. Despite his solid Baptist upbringing, William Miller would later say that he always felt the need for a more personal connection with God but was never quite sure of the form that relationship should take.
After marrying and settling down to his life as a farmer, he likely would have had an uneventful life had it not been for the War of 1812 where he served as a captain. In 1816, likely as a result of his wartime experiences, Miller developed an obsession with the afterlife and the need to use the Bible to develop clear and accurate answers to all of the questions in life. He then spent the next fifteen years in a careful study of the Bible where he “found everything revealed that my heart could desire, and a remedy for every disease of the soul.”
Along with his Bible study, William Miller also followed news of the various millennial movements that were springing up throughout the United States at the time. It is hard to say why people were so receptive to idea that the Second Coming was at hand in that part of the country. Whether it was due to anxiety over the worsening economic climate (the Panic of 1837 had led to a terrible recession), political uncertainty (the tension that would lead to the Civil War breaking out was already being felt), or lingering anxiety over New England’s Dark Day, numerous religious figures came forward with their own message of coming doom and the need to repent.
Religious figures such as Jemima Wilkinson , Ann Lee and even the venerable John Wesley were proclaiming an impending day of judgment. Many of these inspirational preachers advocated postmillennialism with Christ returning after a thousand years of universal brotherhood and peace. Miller was deeply bothered by these teachings since he believed that the Second Coming of Christ would happen first with the millennium of peace following.
In a statement of faith which wrote to his brother, Miller said that Christ would come: “In the glory of God, in the clouds of Heaven, with all the saints and angels, change the bodies of all that are alive on Earth that are his, and both the living and raised saints will be caught up to meet the Lord in the air.”
As for the ones “left behind” however, they would not fare so well. Miller maintained that the Earth would be “cleansed by fire, the elements will melt with fervent heat, the works of men will be destroyed, the bodies of the wicked will be burned to ashes.” Not only would the wicked (i.e., anyone who rejected the Gospel) die but their spirits would be “banished from the Earth, shut up in the pit” and not be allowed to return to Earth for 1000 years. Along with Isaac Newton and a host of other Bible scholars, William Miller examined apocalyptic works such as the Book of Daniel and Revelation to calculate when the Second Coming would occur.
Working from Daniel 8:14 “Until two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed”, Miller determined that the Second Coming would occur on March 23, 1843. Knowing full well that he would be mocked if he openly announced this to the world, Miller only told a few friends and likely would never have come to public attention at all if not for Joshua Vaughan Himes.
Himes, was the minister at Boston’s Chardon Street chapel and also a zealous evangelist. Convinced by Miller’s message, Himes invited him to give a sermon in 1839 which led to numerous other invitations from other ministers for Miller to speak. Not only did this lead to Miller’s message being heard by thousands of people, other ministers (including Himes) began preaching the message of imminent judgment as well.
In addition to frequent sermons, Joshua Himes also published a series of magazines and pamphlets including the Midnight Cry and Signs of the Times. Though Miller and his supporters gained countless supporters, there was considerable public scorn as well. Newspapers began reporting on Miller’s appearances and the crowds that inevitably gathered. Editorials blaming Miller for cases of insanity or suicide that they attributed to his message became common.
The sighting of an extremely bright comet in 1843 set off new apocalyptic fears and William Miller had more followers than ever. Oddly enough, he largely ignored the comet since he felt that the Bible alone provided all the information needed. He certainly had no intention of founding a new religion (why bother with converts when Judgment Day was just around the corner?). Most of his teachings were perfectly consistent with what mainstream Christian preachers were saying in their own sermons, hence his frequent invitations to give guest sermons across much of the country.
Despite Miller’s reluctance to pin down a specific date for the Second Coming, he and his followers eventually settled on April 23, 1843 based on their careful calculations. As the date approached, the crowds attending his sermons swelled and newspapers were alarmed by his message. Newspaper editorials warned that widespread belief in Miller’s message might lead to social and economic upheaval if farmers decided not to plant crops or if craftsmen stopped producing goods.
When April 23 came and went with no Second Coming, William Miller went back to the Bible and started recalculating. Concluding that he had made a mistake by relying on solar years instead of lunar years, he recalculated the date as occurring in the spring of 1844. Despite their previous disappointment, the Millerites (as they were then known) decided to prepare for the new date in spectacular fashion. After purchasing an enormous tent capable of holding more than two thousand people, they went on a grand tour through New York and Ohio. Rumours also began circulating that the Millerites had prepared “ascension robes” that they could wear as they rose into Heaven. Though these rumours were likely exaggerated, some sources suggest that many Millerites prepared special robes for that reason (even though Miller never called for any special preparations).
March 21 came and went with nothing remarkable happening. Undaunted, William Miller insisted that the Second Coming was at hand but concluded that it would likely happen in the fall instead (though this time, he was careful not to provide an exact date). Another Millerite, S.S. Snow, floated the suggestion that October 22, 1844 would be the correct date since it fell on Yom Kippur. William Miller had his doubts but allowed his followers to convince him.
At the same time, there was also a growing disenchantment with Miller and his followers. Many of the ministers who had invited him to speak to their congregations were now ignoring him completely. Even the newspapers were doing little more than ridiculing the movement. Editorials predicted “mob scenes” and public disorder while many stores and shops were closed with signs saying “This shop is closed in honor of the King of Kings, who will appear about the 20th of October. Get ready, friends, to crown him, Lord of All.” When October 22 came and went, the Millerite movement was essentially over though William Miller and Joshua Himes took up a new cause raising money for Millerites who had impoverished themselves by leaving their jobs and giving away their possessions.
Thus began the period known as “the Great Disappointment”. While many Millerites tried to come up with varied explanations – perhaps Miller had his date wrong, Christ HAD arrived secretly, etc. – the anguish that many of the followers felt was immense. As one follower later wrote, “Our fondest hopes and expectations were blasted, and such a spirit of weeping came over us as I never experienced before… We wept, and wept, till the day dawn.”
Though the movement struggled on, William Miller was no longer part of it. Though devastated by the failure of his calculations, William Miller continued preaching until his eyesight failed him. He died on December 20, 1849, still convinced that the Second Coming would happen at any time.
The Millerite movement might well have petered out completely if it had not been for Joshua Himes. Refusing to give up on the message of imminent salvation, Himes and his son established the Adventist movement and launched a series of publications, including the Advent Christian Times. Himes eventually abandoned the Adventists and rejoined the Episcopalian church before dying in 1896 but, by that time, Adventist churches were well-established with various offshoots including the Seventh-Day Adventists and Advent Christians.
Though the Adventists who followed after Miller and Hines tended to downplay Miller’s message of imminent judgment, there were several other false alarms involving Adventist predictions of Christ’s return. These included Jonathan Cummings’ prediction that Christ would return in 1854 and William Thurman’s prediction that it would happen in 1875. Despite attracting a small following, neither of them had the impact that William Miller did.
Miller’s ultimate legacy was to discredit Doomsday prophets for a least another generation. Though other doomsayers would arise, it would be a long time before any of them would work up the nerve to have their predictions put to a public test and risk the same fate as Miller and his followers. The “Great Disappointment” would cast a shadow on evangelist movements for decades to come.
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.
“Water Babies Aren’t As Cute As They Sound” by David Clarke for Standard News and Weird U.S.
“Contrary Chemtrails” from Duncan Phenix for Mystery Wire, and Earth Island Journal
“The Roswell Grandchildren” article came from Newsweek
“William Miller’s Great Disappointment” by Dr. Romeo Vitelli for Providentia
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 my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” – 2 Chronicles 7:14
And a final thought… “Kindness is a gift everyone can afford to give.” – Unknown
I’m Darren Marlar. Thanks for joining me in the Weird Darkness.