“COULD DRAGONS HAVE BEEN REAL?” and More Dark, True Stories! #WeirdDarkness

“COULD DRAGONS HAVE BEEN REAL?” and More Dark, True Stories! #WeirdDarkness

Listen to ““COULD DRAGONS HAVE BEEN REAL?” and More Dark, True Stories! #WeirdDarkness” on Spreaker.

IN THIS EPISODE: Is it possible dragons are… or at least were… real? Science takes a look at the possibility. (Are Dragons Real?) *** In a thick, dark forest in Colorado is a foreboding house which is considered one of the most haunted places in the U.S. (Haunted House In The Black Forest) *** A woman has the gift of speaking with and interacting with those who have passed on… but what began as a gift, evolved into a curse. (The Man Is Back) *** Weirdo family member Ezra tells us of his personal encounter with a black-eyed child. (An Angel Saved Me From a Black Eyed Kid) *** Pukwudgies were known to Native Americans, who gave them a wide berth. And if you see one, it’s best to stay away. (What is a Pukwudgie?) *** What began as a practical joke soon became one of the greatest hoaxes in American history – it’s the true story of the Cardiff Giant. (The Petrified Man) *** Jody smiled at the children playing in her backyard. She didn’t know them, they were probably the neighbors’ kids. At least that’s what she thought at first until she began to notice something disturbing about those children. (Phantom Children of Guilford) *** Dealing with the paranormal is already unsettling. What if you were to learn that the supernatural has actually been feeding on you? (Supernatural Feedings) *** Newlywed couples planning a trip to Venice envision romantic walkways and Renaissance art. What they don’t expect to find is an island that is illegal to set foot on… and for good reason. (Black Plague Island) *** Weirdo family member Ber Bella shares an experience her grandmother had on an icy road. (Angel On Black Ice) *** Sometimes a prisoner is let free, with experts of the opinion he has been completely rehabilitated. Sometimes they are right. Often they are wrong. And in the case of Jack Unterweger – releasing him was the worst thing that could ever have been done. (Poet of Death)
SOURCES AND REFERENCES FROM THE EPISODE…
The short fiction story “The Dragon” written by Ray Bradbury: http://bit.ly/2WHbtKp
“Are Dragons Real?” by L.W. Martin: http://bit.ly/2IqEX5Q
“An Angel Saved Me From a Black Eyed Kid” by Weirdo family member Ezra
“What is a Puckwudgie?” by John Freund: http://bit.ly/319JD8R
“The Petrified Man” by Troy Taylor: http://bit.ly/2MvPlif
“The Man is Back” by E6bee: http://bit.ly/2IjyklT
“Haunted House In The Black Forest” by Brent Swancer: http://bit.ly/2IeVZUo
“The Phantom Children of Gilford” posted at FarShores (link no longer available)
“Supernatural Feedings” by Nick Redfern: http://bit.ly/2Mquz3p
“Black Plague Island” by Cheryl Adams Richkoff (link no longer available)
“Angel On Black Ice” by Weirdo family member Ber Bella
“Poet of Death” by Shannon Rafael: http://bit.ly/2WEGaQn
Weird Darkness theme by Alibi Music Library.
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(Over time links seen above may become invalid, disappear, or have different content. I always make sure to give authors credit for the material I use whenever possible. If I somehow overlooked doing so for a story, or if a credit is incorrect, please let me know and I will rectify it in these show notes immediately. Some links included above may benefit me financially through qualifying purchases.)
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“I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.” — John 12:46
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WeirdDarkness® is a registered trademark. Copyright ©2024, Weird Darkness.
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Originally aired: January, 2022

PARTIAL TRANSCRIPT:

INTRODUCTION: THE DRAGON=====

The night blew in the short grass on the moor; there was no other motion. It had been years since a single bird had flown by in the great blind shell of sky. Long ago a few small stones had simulated life when they crumbled and fell into dust. Now only the night moved in the souls of the two men bent by their lonely fire in the wilderness; darkness pumped quietly in their veins and ticked silently in their temples and their wrists.

Firelight fled up and down their wild faces and welled in their eyes in orange tatters. They listened to each other’s faint, cool breathing and the lizard blink of their eyelids. At last, one man poked the fire with his sword.

“Don’t, idiot; you’ll give us away!” “No matter,” said the second man. “The dragon can smell us miles off, anyway. God’s breath, it’s cold. I wish I was back at the castle.” “It’s death, not sleep, w’e’re after. . . .” “Why? Why? The dragon never sets foot in the town!” “Quiet, fool! He eats men traveling alone from our town to the next!” “Let them be eaten and let us get home!” “Wait nowr; listen!” The two men froze.

They waited a long time, but there was only the shake of their horses’ nervous skin like black velvet tambourines jingling the silver stirrup buckles, softly, softly.

“Ah.” The second man sighed. “What a land of nightmares. Everything happens here. Someone blows out the sun; it’s night. And then, and then, oh, God, listen! This dragon, they say his eyes are fire, his breath a white gas; you can see him burn across the dark lands. He runs with sulfur and thunder and kindles the grass. Sheep panic and die insane. Women deliver forth monsters. The dragon’s fury is such that tower walls shake back to dust. His victims, at sunrise, are strewn hitherthitlier on the hills. How many knights, I ask, have gone for this monster and failed, even as we shall fail?”

“Enough of that!” “More than enough! Out here in this desolation I cannot tell what year this is!” “Nine hundred years since the Nativity.”

“No, no,” whispered the second man, eyes shut. “On this moor is no Time, is only Forever. I feel if I ran back on the road the town would be gone, the people yet unborn, things changed, the castles unquarried from the rocks, the timbers still uncut from the forests; don’t ask how I know, the moor knows and tells me. And here we sit alone in the land of the fire dragon, God save us!”

“Be you afraid, then gird on your armor!” “What use? The dragon runs from nowhere; we cannot guess its home. It vanishes in fog; we know not where it goes. Aye, on writh our armor; we’ll die well-dressed.” Half into his silver corselet, the second man stopped again and turned his head. Across the dim country, full of night and nothingness from the heart of the moor itself, the wind sprang full of dust from clocks that used dust for telling time. There were black suns burning in the heart of this new wind and a million burnt leaves shaken from some autumn tree beyond the horizon. This wind melted landscapes, lengthened bones like white wax, made the blood roil and thicken to a muddy deposit in the brain. The wind was a thousand souls dying and all time confused and in transit. It w’as a fog inside of a mist inside of a darkness, and this place was no man’s place and there was no year or hour at all, but only these men in a faceless emptiness of sudden frost, storm and white thunder which moved behind the great falling pane of green glass that was the lightning. A squall of rain drenched the turf, all faded away until there was unbreathing hush and the two men waiting alone with their warmth in a cool season.

“There,” whispered the first man. “Oh, there. . . .” Miles off, rushing with a great chant and a roar—the dragon. In silence, the men buckled on their armor and mounted their horses. The midnight wilderness was split by a monstrous gushing as the dragon roared nearer, nearer; its flashing yellow glare spurted above a hill and then, fold on fold of dark body, distantly seen, therefore indistinct, flowed over that hill and plunged vanishing into a valley.

“Quick!” They spurred their horses forward to a small hollow. “This is where it passes!” They seized their lances with mailed fists, and blinded their horses by flipping the visors down over their eyes. “Lord!” “Yes, let us use His name.” On the instant, the dragon rounded a hill. Its monstrous amber eye fed on them, fired their armor in red glints and glitters. With a terrible wailing cry and a grinding rush it flung itself forward. “Mercy, God!” The lance struck under the unlidded yellow eye, buckled, tossed the man through the air. The dragon hit, spilled him over, down, ground him under. Passing, the black brunt of its shoulder smashed the remaining horse and rider a hundred feet against the side of a boulder, wailing, wailing, the dragon shrieking, the fire all about, around, under it, a pink, yellow, orange sun-fire with great soft plumes of blinding smoke.

“Did you see it?” cried a voice. “Just like I told you!” “The same! The same! A knight in armor, by the Lord Harry! We hit him!” “You goin’ to stop?” “Did once; found nothing. Don’t like to stop on this moor. I get the willies. Got a feel, it has.” “But we hit something!” “Gave him plenty of whistle; chap wouldn’t budge!” A steaming blast cut the mist aside. “We’ll make Stokely on time. More coal, eh, Fred?” Another whistle shook dew from the empty sky. The night train, in fire and fury, shot through a gully, up a rise, and vanished away over cold earth, toward the north, leaving black smoke and steam to dissolve in the numbed air minutes after it had passed and gone forever.

I’m Darren Marlar and this is Weird Darkness.

SHOW OPEN=====

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.

If you’re new here, welcome to the show! While you’re listening, be sure to check out WeirdDarkness.com for merchandise, my newsletter, to connect with me on social media, and more!

Coming up in this episode…

Dealing with the paranormal is already unsettling. What if you were to learn that the supernatural has actually been feeding on you? (Supernatural Feedings)

Newlywed couples planning a trip to Venice envision romantic walkways and Renaissance art. What they don’t expect to find is an island that is illegal to set foot on… and for good reason. (Black Plague Island)

Weirdo family member Ber Bella shares an experience her grandmother had on an icy road. (Angel On Black Ice)

Sometimes a prisoner is let free, with experts of the opinion he has been completely rehabilitated. Sometimes they are right. Often they are wrong. And in the case of Jack Unterweger – releasing him was the worst thing that could ever have been done. (Poet of Death)

Jody smiled at the children playing in her backyard. She didn’t know them, they were probably the neighbors’ kids. At least that’s what she thought at first until she began to notice something disturbing about those children. (Phantom Children of Guilford)

In a thick, dark forest in Colorado is a foreboding house which is considered one of the most haunted places in the U.S. (Haunted House In The Black Forest)

A woman has the gift of speaking with and interacting with those who have passed on… but what began as a gift, evolved into a curse. (The Man Is Back)

Weirdo family member Ezra tells us of his personal encounter with a black-eyed child. (An Angel Saved Me From a Black Eyed Kid)

Pukwudgies were known to Native Americans, who gave them a wide berth. And if you see one, it’s best to stay away. (What is a Pukwudgie?)

What began as a practical joke soon became one of the greatest hoaxes in American history – it’s the true story of the Cardiff Giant. (The Petrified Man)

Is it possible dragons are… or at least were… real? Science takes a look at the possibility. (Are Dragons Real?)

Now.. bolt your doors, lock your windows, turn off your lights, and come with me into the Weird Darkness!

STORY: 
ARE DRAGONS REAL?=====

No mythological creature is more varied than the dragon. From the compound-eyed, alien dragons of Anne McCaffery’s Pern series to the chronically ill swamp dragons of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld, dragons have been invented and reinvented countless times in popular fiction. It’s almost impossible to pin down traits that every fictional dragon shares with others—just look at the diversity of form that exists in the How To Train Your Dragon movies alone. But do any of these dragons have real-life counterparts in the animal kingdom? Dragons may not exist exactly as we know them from shows like Game of Thrones, but have any non-fictional creatures ever demonstrated distinctly draconic features?

To see how real-world creatures stack up next to fantasy’s most beloved beast, I’m going to limit my analysis to three traits that most Western dragons share. Western dragons are most prevalent in North American fiction; when you shut your eyes and picture a dragon, the creature in your mind’s eye is probably huge, with wings and a propensity to breathe fire. I’ll also be taking into account both extinct and extant non-fictional creatures to see whether dragons are, or at least were, real—in a way.

The dragons in fantasy are almost always depicted as reptiles, or at least reptilian, with scaly skin, horns, claws, and an egg-laying lifestyle. However, no living reptile reaches the gargantuan sizes that dragons typically do in fiction. Despite their draconic name, komodo dragons, the largest living lizard species, typically ‘only’ grow up to 150 pounds. The largest living reptile, the saltwater crocodile, can grow to a respectable length of 20 feet and a weight of 2,000 pounds—still no match for the immensity of The Hobbit’s Smaug.

We have to look to the past to find creatures that really reach draconic proportions: the dinosaurs. Dinosaurs are one of the few non-fictional beasts truly comparable to dragons, because they grew so inconceivably large. The largest of the dinosaurs, the Titanosaurs, may have grown to lengths exceeding 130 feet, and weighed up to 90 metric tons. That’s longer than four school buses lined up end to end, and twelve times heavier than the heaviest living land animal, the elephant.

Of course, one couldn’t just slap some wings on a titanosaur and call it a dragon. Animals that grow to massive sizes face important trade-offs. Mainly, the bigger you are, the more food you need. Not only that, but the bigger you are, the more energy it takes to move the sheer mass of yourself from place to place. Unlike speedy flying dragons, titanosaurs probably did not top three miles per hour walking all that bulk around. So even though animals of draconic size once existed, it’s highly unlikely they even approached the speed of the dragons we know and love in fiction.

In most dragon-centered fiction, dragons are able to fly. But in reality, flying is extraordinarily difficult, and the bigger an animal is, the more difficult flying becomes.

Take, for example, one of the largest animals ever to fly: the pterosaur Quetzalcoatlus. Standing as tall as a giraffe on all fours, this sky terror had a 35-foot wingspan, and could probably fly up to 80 miles an hour.

As with the Titanosaurs, however, there were important trade-offs to being so big. Like modern birds, Quetzalcoatlus had a lightweight beak instead of teeth, and utilized a system of air sacs within their bones and wing membranes. Most of the body was trimmed down for maximum aerodynamic efficiency, leaving Quetzalcoatlus looking less like a dragon and more like a giant, hairy stork with no tail.

Generally, dragons are depicted with fearsome teeth, long tails, and an assortment of bristling horns, which would all make them quite heavy in the air. To add even more weight, most fantasy dragons also have a third pair of limbs on their backs to serve as wings. It all adds up, and in reality, it would leave any creature—even with the best assortment of air sacs and hollow bones—struggling to get off the ground, let alone achieve true powered flight.

There aren’t any animals today of draconic size that can fly, and few animals of that size that have ever been able to fly and look cool at the same time. (Sorry, Quetzalcoatlus–you looked something, but I’m not sure the word for it is ‘cool.’) So, if dragons as we know them from fiction were to suddenly become real, how would they get airborne? Here we may have to turn away from the world of biology and learn a little more about technology. The largest flying animal probably didn’t exceed 500 pounds, if that; however, one of the largest flying things, the Boeing 747, can weigh up to 485 tons. That’s five times as much as a Titanosaur! So how do such heavy planes manage to fly?

In theory, anything with the right wing shape can achieve lift: it just needs enough thrust to get up in the air, which can be hard to do as things get heavier. Planes achieve this with combustion engines, which provide enough force to lift the plane into the air. Now, I am not suggesting our hypothetical dragon could achieve flight by attaching engines to themselves (though that would be pretty awesome/terrifying). But the topic of combustion is a good segue into our next dragon-like animal.

Fire breath is likely the most magical aspect of the dragon, one that truly sets it apart as a fantastical creature: real animals may grow scaly and huge, and they may fly, but none are known to spit flames.

Considering the range of dangerous substances animals have evolved to harness—acid in our stomachs, venom in the fangs of snakes, cyanide in the tissue of a cassava plant—it’s almost surprising that none have ever used fire as a biological weapon. But there are animals who’ve evolved to use combustion for self-defense. The most famous is the bombardier beetle. These hot little bugs mix hydrogen peroxide and hydroquinone in special insulated chambers inside their abdomens. The chemical reaction releases so much heat that the liquid nearly reaches the boiling point, and a series of tiny explosions—yes, actual explosions—sends noxious, hot liquid spraying out of the beetle’s abdomen.

If a beetle can evolve chambers designed to contain explosions, it’s not too much of a stretch to reason that our imaginary dragon, perhaps utilizing the system of air sacs discussed before, might be able to store flammable liquid or gas in glands around their mouth, and combust them into fire for defense.

Combustion might also help our dragon get airborne. In series’ like Naomi Novik’s Temeraire, dragons have air sacs filled with lighter-than-air gas, allowing such behemoths to circumvent the weight issue by bobbing up like helium balloons. The ability to use chemical combustion could also theoretically heat the air inside and outside the dragon. Hot air balloons rise by the same principal, as heated air rises over cold air. Of course, the dragon would need to have specialized internal mechanisms to survive such heat!

Ultimately, dragons will only ever exist in the realm of fantasy, their abilities and prowess limited by our imaginations, not biological reality. But knowing a little about real animals who share some of their traits might help us gain better appreciation for the strange, diverse natural world around us…and will help the dragons in the media we enjoy start to feel that much more alive.

BREAK=====

Up next… in a thick, dark forest in Colorado is a foreboding house which is considered one of the most haunted places in the U.S.

Pukwudgies were known to Native Americans, who gave them a wide berth. And if you see one, it’s best to stay away. These stories and more when Weird Darkness returns.

<COMMERCIAL BREAK>

STORY: BLACK FOREST HOUSE=====

Forests have a way of drawing to them stories of the paranormal and hauntings. There is something about these darkened remote places with their trees raising their skeletal branches to the heavens and their spooky sounds that invite such tales. Add to this stories of an intensely haunted old house out in the woods and you have a perfect recipe for a creepy case. Lying out in the thick woods of a rural area of the state of Colorado is just such a mysterious house, which has gone on to be considered one of the most haunted places in the United States.

The place known as Black Forest is in an unincorporated town that lies in El Paso County, Colorado, near Colorado Springs, within a region traditionally known as the “Pineries,” which once sprawled over a 1,000 square mile area and is so named due to the high concentration of Ponderosa Pines found here. The sparsely populated area is well-known for its slow-paced lifestyle, crisp, clean air, beautiful nature, and breathtaking picturesque vistas. It was for these reasons that in 1991 a couple by the name of Steven and Beth Lee moved to the area from Louisiana along with their two sons in order to purchase a secluded two-story log home off Swan Road and surrounded by untouched wilderness that was to be their dream home. What they didn’t know at the time was that it was all to become anything but a dream.

Unbeknownst to the family at the time, the property had previously been owned by a man who allegedly had experienced intense paranormal activity there, yet he did not inform the Lees at the time because he apparently did not think anyone would believe him, or worse yet that he would be laughed at. The family moved in without having any awareness of this previous strangeness, and had not heard any rumors of the supposed haunting either, which made it all the more surprising when an escalating series of very bizarre phenomena began to plague them in their new home soon after moving in.

By all accounts the phenomena started within barely a week of moving in, and began somewhat innocuously enough. The couple’s two young sons began to complain of strange lights in their rooms, as well as what appeared to be shadows moving about, and this could’ve been chalked up to the children’s overactive imaginations if it weren’t for the fact that Steven and Beth also started experiencing the same thing. In addition to this, flashes of light would be seen in the forest, doors in the home closed on their own, lights or electrical appliances would turn on or off by themselves, and there were sometimes heard thumps, bangs, and knocks on the roof or walls, as well as footsteps and even anomalous music that seemed to come from nowhere. More ominously was an odd chemical odor that would spring up out of nowhere to pervade the house, sometimes so strong and overpowering that it stung the nostrils and eyes. All of this phenomena quickly grew in intensity, culminating in frightening experiences that Beth Lee would describe in the book Haunted Places: The National Directory, thus:

*****One day we came home and it was like the Fourth of July in our living room and bedroom. We had all kinds of lights flashing through, and it sounded like people stomping across the roof. We would lay in bed at night and hear chains rattling. One night we woke up and heard orchestra music. Strange things started happening every day.*****

As scary as all of this was, Steven did not at first believe this to be anything paranormal at all, and suspected it was all the work of trespassers trying to scare them of the land. In order to combat this threat, he spent a great deal of time and money installing a state-of-the-art video surveillance system, and it was soon found that video and photographs taken would more often than not display all manner of strange images, including orbs, streaks of light, and, more ominously, glowing, undefined outlines of human figures, faces, and even spectral images of animals out in the woods and near the home, several of the images of which were published in Fate Magazine in November of 1994. Thinking this was a technical malfunction, he tried several different types of cameras and film, but got the same results every time no matter what he did. On top of this, the motion detector alarms that they had installed were prone to going off without any evidence of anyone being there.

Steven Lee began contacting the El Paso County Sheriff’s department and even hired a private investigator, still convince that pranksters or burglars were behind it all. Authorities would make 45 separate trips to the home, yet never found any evidence of a break-in or any criminal activity. The only somewhat unusual evidence offered up was a cloth saturated with that sour chemical odor, but it was found to not be any sort of dangerous substance. After a while, the constant calls coming in from the Lee home caused them to believe he was perhaps delusional and paranoid, and they started to more or less ignore the complaints. By this time the Lees were becoming more and more aware that just maybe there was actually something paranormal at work, and they reached out to a TV program called Sightings in 1995, who would eventually do a whole series on the home and show it to be far stranger than anyone knew.

When the crew arrived they did so with a well-known psychic, Echo Bodine, who was immediately humbled by the sheer concentration of spiritual energy in the house, and she stated that there were at least 20 entities residing there, with one in particular described as being very powerful and malevolent. The whole production was plagued with mechanical malfunctions, inexplicable electromagnetic interference, and cameras and tripods knocked over by unseen hands. More sinister still, at one point in the investigation one of the crew members was reportedly attacked by something unseen, which jumped into her and supposedly left her whole body numb, with feeling in her limbs only regained after being physically escorted out of the house as she cried uncontrollably in terror. She would later describe it as feeling as if something had been trying to possess her body.

So intense was this weird activity while the crew was there that they returned 6 months later to investigate more. This time they brought another psychic named Peter James, who also immediately claimed that he had never felt psychic energy of the magnitude he felt there. As he walked through the home James claimed that much of this energy seemed to be focused on an upstairs closet and from a 100-year-old mirror kept in the master bedroom, both of which he speculated were some sort of vortex connecting the physical world to the spiritual. Adding weight to these claims were photographs then taken of the mirror, with many of them showing ghostly faces staring back or strange streaks of light. Indeed, so much anomalous footage was taken over the course of these visits by Sightings to the Lee home that it is considered one of the most well-documented hauntings ever. James would say of it:

*****There is an energy here unlike any I’ve ever experienced in all the years I’ve investigated anomalous activity. So the Black Forest is indeed a very important place that should be further investigated.*****

Spookily, not long after filming wrapped, James woke one day to find a painful welt on his forehead for no apparent reason. A visit to the doctor and a CAT scan later and the welt was still unexplainable. However, when going through photographs taken at the Lee house, among the many images of the myriad paranormal activity was a picture of James standing in a room with what appears to be a bright “dagger of light” pointed directly at his forehead, something he had not seen at the time. It was a very odd experience in a case already dripping with the odd.

With the TV program and the rumors raging about the “haunted” Lee home out there in the woods, it got to the point that even State Senator Charles Duke went to visit the home in 1996 to check it out. Duke was highly skeptical at the time, but his mind was soon changed when he experienced strange phenomena himself and even managed to capture on film the ghostly, smoke-like form of what looked like a dog, forcing him to concede: “There are certainly some anomalies that don’t belong there I don’t as yet know what they are. I was shocked. I’m not a believer yet, but certainly there is something going on there. There’s certainly something unusual, there’s no doubt about it.” Eerily, the image taken by Duke supposedly resembles a dog the Lees had had which had died 10 years prior, and this same phantom dog would go on to be routinely sighted and photographed in the area, sometimes atually hovering off the ground.

Another skeptic who was surprised by the location was electromagnetics expert Bill Gibbens, who went in planning to debunk the whole thing and came away convinced something strange was going on, saying “I saw spectacular light shows that could be seen with the naked eye. It’s an extremely active site, and there’s nothing that Steve or his wife are doing to cause this.” In the following years countless psychics and paranormal investigators, as well as other skeptics, have been to the Lee home, many coming away utterly perplexed by the startling intensity of the activity there, earning it a reputation as being one of the most haunted locations in the United States, if not the world.

What is going on here and why should this particular house draw to it so much paranormal activity and such an enormous concentration of spiritual energy? One local Hopi shaman has explained that the reason is because it is located on the site of what he refers to as a “Rainbow Vortex,” a doorway between the worlds of the living and the dead. Other psychics and investigators have similarly come to the same conclusion, that the house, for whatever reasons, holds a mysterious vortex or gateway that allows entities to pass back and forth between worlds unhindered. In this theory these wraiths and specters are not necessarily haunting this location, but rather this is one of the few places on our plane of reality through which they can arrive here, sort of like an interdimensional train station.

Interestingly, despite all of this, one of the biggest skeptics of the paranormal explanation has been Steven Lee himself. Even in the face of all of this unexplained phenomena he would go on to become more and more convinced that rather than ghosts he was being stalked by some shady government organization for nefarious purposes. The idea that there were trespassers on his property went on evolve to become a web of conspiracy of government agents and secret experiments, and Lee has said he believes that they are interested in the family for the purpose of testing out biological weapons, psychic warfare, mind-control, and “laser holograms.” He would claim that he had seen black-clad armed men prowling around outside the home, and blamed these enigmatic individuals for cutting power to the home and spraying them with unknown noxious chemicals, as well as following him around all over town. He has said of these ideas:

*****I truly think the U.S. government has a hand in this. I don’t think any one individual could get away with this for this period of time without getting caught. The government does testing out here that has military implications.*****

Lee even has even gone so far as to try to bring in the FBI to investigate his claims, but they have responded that there is not much they can do in the absence of any evidence of a federal crime being committed. Whether this is all caused by supernatural forces or secretive government agents, the Lee house has nevertheless managed to continue over the years to prove itself as a wellspring for the bizarre, with countless reports of apparitions, strange lights, and other varied phenomena from the premises. Whatever is going on here, it has managed to go on to become one of the most intense paranormal hotspots in the country, and will likely remain an unexplained conundrum for some time to come.

STORY: PUKWUDGIE=====

Long before Europeans ever stepped foot in the New World, the legends of pukwudgies were already quite robust. Pukwudgies, also known as bagwajinini, were said to live in the wilderness throughout North America. Native Americans believed that pukwudgies were creatures that had once lived in harmony with humans but had turned against them. They featured in the folklore of diverse tribes, from the Wampanoag tribe of Massachusetts and Southern New England to the Algonquian tribe of the Great Lakes region. And according to various legends, it was best to leave the creatures alone.

Pukwudgie translates to “person of the wilderness.” They were said to be small creatures, ranging from knee-height to about three feet tall, with human-like features, yet sporting larger ears, noses, and fingers. Their skin has been described as grey and smooth, and they have often been compared to trolls and goblins. The small creatures also have a variety of tricks up their sleeves to taunt or harm humans.

The threat that pukwudgies posed tended to vary from region to region. In some places they were considered benign, even helpful to humans. In others they were mischievous, but harmless. And in other regions–they were murderous.

The Wampanoag tribe has a particularly detailed origin story of the pukwudgies. Legend has it that the creatures originally got along well with humans, but humans were distracted by their relationship with Maushop, a giant kind-spirited deity who created the land mass we now know as Cape Cod. The jealous pukwudgies were offended that they weren’t as well-loved as Maushop and began to cause more and more mischief. After the Wampanoags had a talk with Maushop’s wife, Maushop exiled the pukwudgies and forcefully spread them far and wide throughout North America.

However, many of the pukwudgies found their way back and instigated a more belligerent relationship with humans and Maushop, eventually killing Maushop’s 5 sons. Some variations even suggest that they killed Maushop himself, and this legend coincides with the giant disappearing from Wampanoag folklore.

Like leprechauns, the legendary little people of Ireland, pukwudgies are capricious. Their powers depend on which tribe you ask. A human who annoyed a pukwudgie might just be the victim of some unpleasant trickery, but they might also be pushed from a cliff, shot with fiery arrows, or have their children stolen. Pukwudgies could also create fire or orbs that lured people into deep woods to their doom. They had the power of invisibility and in some places could transform into dangerous animals like cougars. Perhaps most frightening of all is the rumor that they had power over the spirits of the people they had killed.

One of the first mentions of pukwudgies in literature comes from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s poem The Song of Hiawatha, which refers to the “mischievous Puk-Wudgies” that killed the giant Kwasind by pelting him with pine cones. Longfellow was inspired by Henry Rowe Schoolcraft, who in turn based his works on Ojibwe folklore as told to him by his part-Native American wife, Jane.

Pukwudgies are often tied to specific locations, even today. Many reported sightings come from the woods of Massachusetts. In fact, the police in Freetown, Massachusetts have put up a Pukwudgie Crossing sign near the Freetown State Forest.

Freetown is a state park located in Fall River, Freetown, and Lakeville, Massachusetts. Fall River already has its fair share of violent rumors due to its infamy as the longtime home of Lizzie Borden, who was suspected of murdering her father and stepmother with an axe in the 1890s. The pukwudgies put an even darker stain on the town’s history. In the Freetown State Forest, a 100-foot cliff known as The Ledge overlooks a quarry. There have been several suicides at The Ledge by people not known to be mentally ill. Some say the pukwudgies are to blame for luring people to their deaths.

Massachusetts police may regard the pukwudgies as a joke or prank, but people who have reported sightings seem far from amused. One Massachusetts woman reported seeing a pukwudgie in the forest who continued to pester her by tapping on her window at night as she slept. The mischievous creatures are also rumored to live near West Virginia’s haunted Moundsville State Penitentiary, as well as in Round Rock, Texas, home to Bigfoot.

Whether contemporary pukwudgie sightings are a sign of supernatural activity is unclear, but their status as one of the oldest mythical creatures in North America is uncontested.

BREAK=====

When Weird Darkness returns… a woman has the gift of speaking with and interacting with those who have passed on… but what began as a gift, evolved into a curse.

Weirdo family member Ezra tells us of his personal encounter with a black-eyed child.

What began as a practical joke soon became one of the greatest hoaxes in American history – it’s the true story of the Cardiff Giant. These stories are up next!

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STORY: THE PETRIFIED MAN=====

On February 2, 1870, one of the greatest hoaxes in American history was finally revealed to be just what it was — a colossal practical joke gone awry. The Cardiff Giant, a 10-foot-tall purported “petrified man” was first uncovered on October 16, 1869, by workers digging a well behind the barn of William C. “Stub” Newell in Cardiff, New York. The worker’s astounding “discovery” shocked post-Civil War America and made headlines around the world.

What should have been a short-lived “wonder,” created by George Hull, became a national sensation thanks to famous showman P.T. Barnum and the story lives on today.

The Cardiff Giant was the creation of a New York tobacconist named George Hull. Hull, an atheist, decided to create the giant after an argument at a Methodist revival meeting about the passage in Genesis 6:4 stating that there were giants who once lived on Earth. Thinking that he would teach the Christians a lesson, he devised a plan about a “real” giant that could be discovered, put on display and then revealed to be a hoax. His simple plan soon ran amuck.

Hull hired men to carve out a 10-foot long block of gypsum in Fort Dodge, Iowa, telling them it was intended for a monument to Abraham Lincoln in New York. He shipped the block to Chicago, where he hired Edward Burghardt, a German stonecutter, to carve it into the likeness of a man and swore him to secrecy. Various stains and acids were used to make the giant appear to be old and weathered, and the giant’s surface was beaten with steel knitting needles embedded in a board to simulate pores. In November 1868, Hull transported the giant by rail to the farm of William Newell, his cousin. He buried the giant behind his cousin’s barn and then sat back to wait. By then, he had spent over $2,500 on the hoax and invested countless hours of time.

Nearly a year later, Newell hired Gideon Emmons and Henry Nichols, ostensibly to dig a well, and on October 16, 1869 they found the giant. One of the men reportedly exclaimed, “I declare, some old Indian has been buried here!” The amazing giant was pulled out of the ground and it’s “discovery” made newspaper headlines.

Newell set up a tent over the giant and charged 25 cents for people who wanted to see it. Two days later he increased the price to 50 cents. People came by the wagon load, invading his property, all anxious to see not only a real-life petrified man, but proof that the giants in the Bible actually existed.

In spite of the crowds flocking to see the giant, archaeological scholars pronounced it a fake, and some geologists even noticed that there was no good reason to try to dig a well in the exact spot the giant had been found. Yale paleontologist Othniel C. Marsh called it “a most decided humbug.” But the public didn’t want to hear it. Some Christian fundamentalists and preachers defended its authenticity and crowds continued to flock to the site, often with well-worn Bibles clutched in their hands.

Eventually, Hull sold his part-interest in the giant for $23,000 to a syndicate of five men headed by David Hannum. They moved it to Syracuse, New York, for exhibition. The giant drew such crowds that showman P. T. Barnum offered $50,000 for the giant. When the syndicate turned him down, he hired a man to model the giant’s shape covertly in wax and create a plaster replica. He put his giant on display in New York, claiming that his was the real giant, and the Cardiff Giant was a fake.

As the newspapers reported Barnum’s version of the story, David Hannum was quoted as saying, “There’s a sucker born every minute” in reference to spectators paying to see Barnum’s giant. Over time, the quotation has been misattributed to Barnum himself.

Hannum sued Barnum for calling his giant a fake, but the judge told him to get his giant to swear on his own genuineness in court if he wanted a favorable injunction.

By now, things had gone too far for George Hull – and he had his richly deserved revenge on the Methodist minister who told him that the Bible was meant to be taken literally. On December 10, 1869, Hull confessed to the press. On February 2, 1870 both giants were revealed as fakes in court. The judge ruled that Barnum could not be sued for calling a fake giant what it actually was – a fake.

Believe it or not, even after the Cardiff Giant was soundly revealed as a hoax, a number of other similar hoaxes followed in its wake. In 1876, The “Solid Muldoon” emerged in Beulah, Colorado, and was exhibited at 50-cents a ticket. There was also a rumor that Barnum had offered to buy it for $20,000. One employer later revealed that this was also a creation of George Hull, aided by Willian Conant. The Solid Muldoon was made of clay, ground bones, meat, rock dust, and plaster.

In 1877, the owner of Taughannock House hotel on Cayuga Lake, New York, hired men to create a fake petrified man and place it where the workers who were expanding the hotel would dig it up. One of the men who had buried the giant later revealed the truth when drunk.

In 1892 Jefferson “Soapy” Smith, de facto ruler of the town of Creede, Colorado, purchased a petrified man for $3,000 and exhibited it for 10-cents a peek. Soapy’s profits did not come from displaying “McGinty,” as he named it, but rather from distractions, such as the shell game set up to entertain the crowds as they waited in line. He also profited by selling interests in the exhibition. This was a real human body, intentionally injected with chemicals for preservation and petrification. Soapy displayed McGinty from 1892 to 1895 throughout Colorado and the northwest United States.

In 1897, a petrified man found downriver from Fort Benton, Montana, was claimed by promoters to be the remains of former territorial governor and U.S. Civil War General Thomas Francis Meagher. Meagher had drowned in the Missouri River in 1867. The petrified man was displayed across Montana as a novelty and even exhibited in New York and Chicago.

The Cardiff Giant still exists today. It appeared at the 1901 Pan-American Exposition, but did not attract much attention. An Iowa publisher bought it later to adorn his basement rumpus room as a coffee table and conversation piece. In 1947, he sold it to the Farmers’ Museum in Cooperstown, New York, where it is still on display today.

It is a very physical reminder that either P.T. Barnum or David Hannum once said, “There’s a sucker born every minute.”

STORY: THE MAN IS BACK=====

My girlfriend and I (both 21yo) have been dating for just under a year and a half now. I met her on a personal vacation at my parents house in New York, while I live in North Carolina, as I am stationed here. We have been dating long distance until recently, roughly three weeks ago, she moved in with me, our first apartment, here in North Carolina.

My girlfriend has a gift. She used to be able to see people and hear people who have passed on. This was when she was younger, roughly between 8-16 years old. After 16, she stopped seeing and hearing them all together. At least until about 6mo ago when she came for my grandfathers funeral, where she stood outside the room as we all said our last goodbyes after he passed away from cancer. I was so upset that he never got to meet her, but when I went to see her in the hall, she told me about how he came to her, and finally met her, before passing on…

But there’s no gift like this that doesn’t have a dark side… She told me about who she calls “the Man”. A very skinny and pale man with pitch black eyes. She could feel his presence, whenever he was near, very oppressing. She told me about how when she was younger, he would sometimes be in a corner of her room at night, looking at her. A few times he was actually on top of her, pinning her to the bed. Other than that, he wouldn’t harm her. She told me that she heard him mumble or like whisper, but could never make out what he was saying. This all occurred when she lived with her aunt, and stopped when she moved. To her, the malevolent spirit was tied to the house, as it would have followed her. It was a huge relief, as it felt like it was feeding off of her fear.

Fast forward to her moving in with me, about 4 years later, we had just finished getting settled into our cozy 1 bed 1 bath apartment. Relatively new, built in 2013. Not a worry in the world. But then she told me about how right before the move, she started seeing shadow people. Not harmful or anything, just shadow people out of the corner of her eye, minding their own business. But she also felt like she was being watched. Then it continued when she came down to NC. Seeing them in the corner, or at a quick glance, but nothing really that would obstruct with her day. I never saw anything like this in our new place. I occasionally heard footsteps in the night, but I just waived it off as our neighbors.

One night, about a week into us living there, its roughly 12:15AM, we laid in bed, with the lamp on. On our cell phone checking Facebook and things like that. When we decided to go to sleep, I turned the light off and closed my eyes. I heard her start to cry, while trying to be quiet. I rolled over asking her what’s wrong. She tucked her face into my neck and cried and whispered, “The man is back. He’s here”. I asked where he was, and she replied with, “on the ceiling”. I looked up at our ceiling fan and saw a black mass. Kind of shaped like a bent oval. No light source could’ve casted this shadow, and it was getting darker. I quickly turned the light on and held her for a little while. I then went to my closet and dug out my Bible. She said she felt his presence leave at that point, but asked me to read some of it to maybe comfort her. As I was reading, maybe a page worth, she stopped me. Told me that the more I read, the more she was feeling sick to her stomach. I began to hear footsteps in our living room, walking around. Heard them walk up to our bedroom door, but that was the last time I heard them. That whole ordeal lasted about 10 minutes.

Since that night, about a week and a half ago, we haven’t experienced anything except for the occasional shadow person minding their own business. I check every part of the room when I go to sleep at night, and keep our Bible out on the nightstand. I can’t tell if this is a malevolent spirit, a demon masquerading as a pale, skinny man, or whatever. I just want answers… I suggested church.

STORY: 
AN ANGEL SAVED ME FROM A BLACK EYED KID=====

So I was home alone one night just casually watching tv around 3AM when I herd a knock at my door. It’s pretty late in the night but my sister would pop in around this time unexpected all the time but as I reached the door I noticed it was increasingly quiet regardless on me living in the country I didn’t even hear crickets chirping outside. When I opened the door there was a little boy staring at the ground wearing old time like cloths possibly from the 70? He asked if he could come inside to use the bathroom. I thought this was strange because it’s 3 in the morning. I ask the boy if he was lost or lived somewhere in town. He didn’t answer but instead just said he really had to go if he could please come inside. As he looked up I saw his pitch black eyes. As I looked in his eyes I heard a voice say loudly right beside me CLOSE THE DOOR NOW. I immediately slammed the door and looked beside me to see my uncle who passed away when I was a kid standing beside me. As I stood completely frozen he spoke softly “I will always protect you and pointed to the necklace he gave me when he passed away. When I looked up he was gone. I looked out the window at the porch to see the kid but he was gone. I locked the door and didn’t open it until morning. I believe my uncle is my guardian angel. And I believe he saved me that night.

BREAK=====

The quiet community of Gilford, Ontario is sheltered from all that’s wrong in the world. Nothing ever seems to happen here. The only excitement comes from the few amenities in this little village – a general store, your local hairdresser, a marina, and a golf course. Violence, if any, is very minimal and crime is limited to misdemeanors that rarely hit the news. It was this perceived tranquility that led Jody to make Gilford her home. She would soon find out that beneath the placid surface of this Lake Simcoe community was an undercurrent of tragedy. When she arrived about 15 years ago, she never dreamed that the home she chose on Lake Simcoe might have in fact chosen her. But she does now. This story is up next on Weird Darkness.

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STORY: THE PHANTOM CHILDREN OF GILFORD=====

In the first year of living in her peaceful house in Gilford, Ontario, Jody never noticed anything unusual. Then, one warm sunny day while working in her sewing room, Jody found herself distracted by children’s laughter in her back yard. She made her way to the window and there she watched two young kids playing joyfully with each other. She smiled at the youthful antics as she reminisced about her own childhood. But the smile upon her face faded as she began to notice that something wasn’t quite right.

“I suddenly realized they weren’t local kids because they were dressed in period clothes, clothes from a hundred years ago,” Jody remembers. The little girl wore a dress with a petticoat underneath, a pretty ribbon on her hair, and shoes that weren’t from our era. The boy had short pants, with an old-fashioned plaid shirt and suspenders.”

Jody stood frozen at the window and just watched the strange sight before her eyes. The children continued to play as if they hadn’t a care in the world. Jody didn’t dare move, afraid that if she did the children would notice her and disappear.

The one thing that sticks out in her memory is how real the children looked. “They weren’t translucent or misty. You couldn’t see through them. It was just like two flesh-and-blood kids stepped out of the past to play in my yard.”

Their visits became frequent through the years. Jody could never understand why they had chosen her backyard as their personal playground; she herself didn’t have any children, so no playing equipment or toys could be found on her yard. And yet it was there that she would always see them.

In recent years the visitations have become less frequent and Jody began to miss them, “I was never scared of the ghosts,” she says somewhat wistfully. “It’s actually scarier when you don’t see them then when you do. You begin to wonder what happened to them, to worry as if they were real children.”

Who were these children? What were their names? What tragedy cut their lives short? We’ll probably never know. There are some hints, however.

The clothes Jody describes definitely sound Victorian, corresponding to the late 19th century. This was a period when simple childhood illnesses – influenza, smallpox, and measles – could and would frequently rampage through a household claming the small and weak one after another. It’s possible that the young boy and girl were siblings who were tragically struck down by the same illness. The untimely nature of their deaths toed them here, where they continue to plat out their childhoods in a familiar environment.

In light of how close Jody’s property is to Lake Simcoe, it’s also possible that the waters might have clamed their lives. Certainly that’s the fate one ‘sensitive’ saw for them.

For Jody it didn’t matter who they where or were they came from. Having them play in her back yard was something she looked forward to.

Their less frequent visitations could be a sigh that the children are ‘growing up’, that they have now experienced their full childhood and are ready to cross over to their other life.

We all have to grow up sometime … even ghosts.

For Jody, the day they leave for good will be a sad time. Her life will feel emptier, her house quieter, and surely she will miss them. But one thing she will always have is the fond memories of the out-of time children that choose her back yard as their playground.

STORY: SUPERNATURAL FEEDINGS=====

The world around us is not as it appears to be. In fact, far from it. As we go about our daily business, working, and living our lives, behind the scenes something dark and dangerous is taking place. And it has been going on since the dawn of civilization. Most people remain oblivious to the truth and don’t even realize it. Now and again, however, someone will stumble upon the startling reality that, potentially, affects and dictates the lives of just about all of us. What am I talking about?

Nothing less than a monstrous collection of supernatural entities that terrify and torment us, and have done so for millennia. They do far more than that, however: they feed upon us. Like bloated, paranormal leeches, they suck us dry as they seek to fuel themselves with our psychic energy, high states of emotion, sexual energy, and the human life-force. They hate and despise us, but, paradoxically, they cannot live without us.

Have you ever woken up, drained and utterly exhausted, from a terrifying nightmare that didn’t seem like just another, regular dream? If the answer is “Yes,” then you may have been “fed” upon by these infernal things.  When we sleep, we are at our most vulnerable. And that’s exactly how they want us. A dream is not always a dream, as strange as that might sound. Sometimes it’s an indication that, as you sleep, and as your guard is down, these voraciously hungry monsters are, in essence, eating you.

Among these creatures are the Shadow People: hostile things that typically manifest between 1:00 A.M. and 4:00 A.M. and who have the ability paralyze us and drain our bodies of energy in much the same way that the vampires of folklore would drain people of blood. In fact, such distorted tales of vampirism almost certainly had their origins in the worlds, and actions, of these multi-dimensional things.

In a paper prepared for me a few years ago, Jason Offutt wrote, in part: “Like the Men in Black, the Hat Man has floated in the periphery of our lives for decades, observing our movements, occasionally interacting with us, but always threatening. Charles was 13 years old in 1949 and lived with his mother, brother and grandmother in San Jose, California, when the Hat Man crept into his life. He lay in bed with his brother, talking before they drifted off to sleep, when the window sash moved. ‘A dark figure dressed in a black cloak and wearing a black hat with a wide brim appeared in the window,’ Charles said. ‘No facial features were discernible on this person, but I took it to be a man.’ This Hat Man opened the window and reached through with both hands. ‘I thought he was going to climb in,’ Charles said. ‘At that moment I started yelling my head off.’ As Charles’s young voice pierced the night, the Hat Man closed the window, turned and disappeared from sight. The next morning, Charles saw the window was locked from the inside. ‘I saw something,’ Charles said. ‘What in the hell was it?’”

Equally dangerous are what can accurately be termed supernatural seducers: dangerous entities that thrive on sexual energy are also part of the equation. A highly-charged, sexual dream may be deliberately initiated by such things, which, over the centuries, have been referred to as Incubus, Succubus, Lilith, and the Old Hag. Also relevant to this angle is the reason why so many supernatural encounters occur at so-called “Lovers Lane” locations. In these cases, voyeurism and sexual emotion lead to feeding. Indeed, at such Lovers Lane’s we can find numerous encounters with the likes off Bigfoot, Mothman, Goat-Men, and aliens.

Poltergeists – violent entities that can cause chaos in the home and who delight in tormenting us as much as they are energized by us – are also part of the equation, as are thought-forms and Tulpas; creatures created within the human mind and the depths of our imaginations, but which can be externalized and given a strange form of life in the real world. Key to the survival of Tulpas and thought-forms is that we believe in them. The stronger our belief, the greater the ability of the Tulpas to live. In other words, they feed on – and coldly and carefully nurture – our belief-systems.

Then, there is the Slenderman: a sinister figure which started out as an Internet experiment, but which has mutated drastically in the last few years, to the extent that numerous people report having seen the Slenderman in the real world. It’s a perfect example of a modern day Tulpa / thought-form running wild in our reality. Witnesses describe seeing the scrawny, black-suited figure looming over their beds in the dead of night, extracting energy and dining in a fashion that we don’t even want to think about.

The Men in Black fall into this category, too: those who have had UFO encounters and who have been visited by the pale-faced ghouls known as the MIB state that while being threatened and intimidated by the Men in Black they have felt cold, clammy, weak, and light-headed. As many of the unfortunate witnesses have stated, it’s as if the MIB are draining them in the same way that a flashlight drains a battery. And, using the same analogy, when the light finally goes out, we do, too. To slightly alter the words of Charles Fort: The stark and terrifying truth is that our planet may well be one big farm. And, for these energy-based entities, we are the cattle.

BREAK=====

When Weird Darkness returns… newlywed couples planning a trip to Venice envision romantic walkways and Renaissance art. What they don’t expect to find is an island that is illegal to set foot on… and for good reason.

Weirdo family member Ber Bella shares an experience her grandmother had on an icy road.

Sometimes a prisoner is let free, with experts of the opinion he has been completely rehabilitated. Sometimes they are right. Often they are wrong. And in the case of Jack Unterweger – releasing him was the worst thing that could ever have been done. These stories are up next.

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STORY: BLACK PLAGUE ISLAND=====

Known as one of the most illegal places one could (but really shouldn’t) visit, Poveglia Island sits just off the coast of northern Italy near Venice. When most people begin planning a trip to that part of the world, images of romantic walkways and Renaissance art come to mind – haunted islands, on the other hand, generally don’t rank very high on anyone’s must-see list.

But some visitors are still curious about the small, infamous Italian island that once hosted thousands of refugee black plague victims, serving as a quarantine island for those who were even suspected of harboring the bacteria. The island remains one of the most haunted places in Italy; and despite the fact that it is illegal to visit Poveglia, thrill-seekers continue to consider it a cool, albeit creepy destination; however, everyone who has taken the chance of stepping foot on the island has left with absolutely no desire to ever return. Read on to learn more about this haunted island in Italy.

The Italian island of Poveglia has a history chock-full of tragic events going back thousands of years. During the Roman Empire, the island was used to house victims of the plague in order to protect the rest of the country, forcing inflicted people to live and die in isolation. Then, during the medieval era, when the plague returned and killed off nearly two-thirds of Europe’s population, Poveglia was again called upon to take in the sick and dying.

Dead bodies quickly began to overcrowd the island and thousands were dumped into large, common graves. In many cases, the bodies were burned. Some overly cautious Italian communities even got into the habit of shipping away anyone who showed the slightest signs of illness. Many of those people had not actually been infected with the plague at all, and were literally dragged to Poveglia and dumped atop piles of rotting corpses.

The terrifying, negative energy that has been left in the wake of these deaths remains, even in the island’s very soil.

Poveglia Island still happens to be home to thriving grape vineyards. Nearly the only people who dare visit the island these days are those who go to seasonally harvest the fruit. Grape vines must do well in ashy soil, because it had been said that more than 50 percent of the island’s soil is composed of human ash.

Yes – over thousands of years that is just how many people have perished and rotted on the nightmarish island.

When a mental hospital was opened on Poveglia Island in 1922, few people were very surprised. However, the arrival of droves of mentally disturbed patients to the island only served to enrich the legend of it being a place to avoid. The isolation and privacy offered by the island also allowed for disreputable scientists and doctors to do as they pleased to their patients.

Reports of wide spread abuse and heinous experiments began to float back to the mainland, bringing with them the screams of the tortured souls trapped there.

Poveglia legend tells of a particularly demented doctor who worked at the island’s mental hospital in the early 20th century. His notorious experiments on patients are still shocking when told today. For instance, he believed that lobotomies were a great way to treat and cure mental illness, so he performed lobotomies on numerous patients, usually against their will. The procedures were heinously wicked, and painful, too. He used hammers, chisels, and drills with no anesthesia or concern for sanitation.

He supposedly saved his darkest experiments for special patients, whom he took to the hospital’s bell tower. Whatever he did in there, the screams from those being tortured could be heard across the island.

Karma eventually caught up with the wicked doctor. According to the story, the doctor began to suffer his own mental torture and was pursued by the island’s multitude of ghosts. Eventually, he lost his mind and climbed to the top of the bell tower and flung himself to his death below. There are varying accounts of his death, though. Some say he may have actually been pushed, either by an angry island spirit or by some of his furious patients.

Supposedly a nurse witnessed his fall, claiming that he initially survived, but that a ghostly mist overcame his body and choked him to death. Somehow, the mental hospital remained open until 1968.

Many believe that hundreds of thousands of tormented souls still remain trapped on Poveglia Island. From the massive influx of plague victims who were forced onto the island to those who were tortured at the mental hospital that was once stationed there, a sense of sorrow and suffering continues to permeate from the island to this day.

In fact, it has even been said that you can still hear their screams.

Visitors to Poveglia have been forbidden for decades. Of course, that doesn’t stop the occasional thrill seeker from taking a boat over to the island. Some look at it as a dare; others are genuinely interested in experiencing a bit of the paranormal. However, all who venture there return shaken. One thing visitors report experiencing is the sensation of being watched. Others report being scratched and pushed by invisible forces.

Some entities have even been said to push visitors into walls or chase them down corridors.

With a history like that of Poveglia Island’s, it stands to reason that the spirits of the tortured patients at the mental hospital would join up with the innumerable spirits of plague victims. Visitors to the hospital during its final years of operation, as well as illegal visitors since then, have reported harrowing paranormal experiences inside the buildings and on the grounds. Visitors report seeing shadows on the walls moving along with them as they explore the decaying facility.

And the handful of psychics who have been brought to the island claim that there is an energy that can only be described as malignant – with the presence of the angry spirits lingering there so deeply frightening psychics and paranormal experts that most of them refuse to ever return.

With more than 100,000 plague victims and mental patients buried on the small island of Poveglia, it is no surprise that human bones continue to wash up on its shores. This fact alone is enough to creep out any potential visitors or buyers – even fishermen steer clear of Poveglia’s shallows for fear of picking up human bones in their nets.

There is another part to the sadistic doctor story that is worth mentioning. The legend says that one way or another, he fell to his death from the mental hospital’s infamous bell tower. Maybe he fell, or maybe he was pushed. However, some elaborate on the legend and claim that the doctor was seized, still alive, by some of his lobotomized patients, and bricked up in the wall of the bell tower. Other versions say that patients placed him in the tower after he was dead.

Locals to this day claim that the doctor’s spirit is still in the tower and will remain there forever and that on a quiet night, if you are listening closely, you can hear him ring the tower bell.

When the mental hospital on Poveglia was finally closed in 1968, the island was sold to a private owner. However, he did not have it for very long before selling it to yet another owner. In both instances the new owners could not bear to spend time there. The atmosphere was heavy and morbid. Strange sounds combined with all of the hauntings that had been reported continued to prevail. As a result, the island was left completely abandoned.

It has come up for sale again, but the deals continue to fall through. Maybe prospective owners have heard too many frightening tales in advance!

Years after Poveglia Island’s mental hospital was shut down, a family decided to purchase the island, intending to build a private holiday home there. They arrived and got settled in on the first day, excited to begin their new adventure, but that very first night was filled with such horrors that within hours the family fled, never to return.

They reported that their daughter’s face was nearly ripped off by an angry resident entity.

Amid the numerous reports from illegal visitors is the story of a curiosity thrill-seeker who went to Poveglia with a group of friends. Upon entering the abandoned mental hospital, the illegal tourist reported a heavy sense of dread descend around them, followed by a deep voice that warned:

“Leave immediately, and do not return.” The visitors immediately complied.

STORY: ANGEL ON BLACK ICE=====

This story is not my own story , but my aunts. Recently i was talking to my aunt about my own experiences i have had with the paranormal when she told me a very interesting story that happened to her in 1988. Her story goes like this , back in Winter of 1988 my aunt (Melody) lived in rural southern Indiana in the Winter the roads would get really bad , and be covered in black ice. One afternoon aunt borrowed my grandmas car to take out on a date, because the roads where so bad and her car was 4 wheeled-drive. My aunt left and only a few miles away she came to one of the large hills that you have to take to get anywhere. She turned down the road when suddenly the car went out from her and she found herself losing control and going into a tail spin. When she stopped the car was stalled and was stuck in the middle of the road. My aunt was okay, but now worried because the car was stuck and not starting and there she was in the middle of the road , if another car was to come up the hill just then it wont be able to stop in time and would hit my aunt. My aunt tried again and again to start her car with no luck. While she was there trying to once again move the car, when light suddenly appeared behind her it was the headlights of a jeep. Out of the old jeep appeared a tall young man in his early 20s with long blonde hair, and dressed in a sort of suit. The thing was she hadn’t heard him approach at all and hadnt seen the lights until that second. He would have had to slam his breaks to stop in time not to hit her , and that should have made a noise no matter what , but there was no warning. he just appeared out of no where. He approached my aunt not really ever giving her a name but offered to help her. My aunt just wanting to get to safety out of the road let him, but was skeptical since the car hadnt started for her. He got in the car and after a minute or so the car started , and the mystery man slow drove the car to the side of the road just enough for my aunt to get traction so she could move it. He got of the car and my aunt thanked him surprised at how quickly he’d moved the car and thanked him again for helping her out even if she was a complete stranger. The mystery man said ” it was no problem you would do the same” and went back to his jeep. My aunt had just got in her car and looked back to see were the mystery man was but he was gone. he hadn’t drove past her and she didnt even hear his jeep start up and go back down the hill. He had disappear just like he had appear from nowhere to nowhere. My aunt made it home safely that night, and continued to think about the mystery man that had probably saved her. After she finished her story i asked her what she believed him to be, and she said to me that she believes him to be her guardian angel. She said that he knew she was in danger and came to her rescue. I accept ed that and agreed, but i also brought up the fact that i know that several people have died on the area of the road , so was it possible that what she was visited and saved by the spirit of someone who died in that same area and didn’t want to see it happen to someone else. Either way, whether if he was a guardian angel or a spirit i’d like to believe he saved my aunt that night.

STORY: POET OF DEATH=====

We’d all like to think that people are capable of making positive changes—and many are. In the case of the Jack Unterweger aka the Vienna Strangler aka Jack the Writer, this was not the case. Released from prison following a murder conviction, Unterweger was considered completely rehabilitated from his violent urges of the past. Within a year, however, he would kill 11 more women, many of whom were prostitutes. A global manhunt to catch Unterweger ensued, culminating in a dramatic standoff with police.

Johann “Jack” Unterweger’s troubled relationship with prostitutes supposedly traces back to an early age. He was born in Graz, Austria in 1950. It was rumored that, in addition to being a barmaid, his mother also worked as a prostitute. She was arrested for fraud and was briefly imprisoned while she was pregnant with Unterweger. After her subsequent arrest in 1953, Unterweger was sent to live with his grandparents, as he never learned the identity of his father.

During his early childhood, Unterweger began to commit petty crimes, which soon escalated into assaults of prostitutes in his area. Between the ages of 16 and 25, Unterweger was convicted of 16 crimes, most of which were sexual assaults. He spent the majority of these years in prison, only remaining free for months or even weeks at a time.

In 1974, Unterweger committed his first murder. He killed a German citizen, 18-year-old Margaret Schafer, by strangling her with her bra. He was convicted for the crime in 1976 and was sentenced to life in prison. When Unterweger confessed to the 1976 murder, he said that he had envisioned the victim as his mother, causing an intense rage to come over him.

While Unterweger was in prison, he started writing. He wrote poems, short stories, plays, and eventually a widely successful autobiography called Purgatory. It became a bestseller, leading Austrian citizens to campaign for Unterweger’s release, saying that his writing demonstrated his rehabilitation. Some schools even used his book as required reading. He was released after completing the minimum term for a life sentence in Austria–15 years.

After his release, Unterweger went on a national tour discussing his books on various television and radio shows. He was a celebrity in Austria. He bought a Ford Mustang and donned designer clothing for his press tour. He became a working journalist and reporter–and he even reported on later murders that he committed.

His first post-prison murder was that of Blanka Bockova. Her body was found floating in the Vitava River, near Prague, Czech Republic. Her body was found, covered in leaves with a set of gray stockings tied around her neck.

Friends had seen her the previous night getting drinks. When they left shortly before midnight, they noted that Bockova was talking to a man in his forties.

A few weeks later, a well-known sex worker in Unterweger’s hometown went missing. Her body was found several months later, and she was killed the same way as Bockova. A third woman, Heidemarie Hammerer, was killed shortly after the others. She was found on her back, also covered in leaves. All three were strangled either with their bras or stockings.

The fourth woman Unterweger killed was different. She, too, was a sex worker, but Unterweger took a different approach in the days leading up to her killing. He called her parents a few times beforehand, and he taunted them about how their daughter earned her living. Her corpse was found six months later. She, like the three previous victims, was also found with lingerie around her neck.

Four more prostitutes who worked in Vienna went missing within one month of each other. They were all strangled with an article of their own clothes. It was clear to the Austrian police now that they were dealing with a dangerous serial killer.

August Schenner was 70 years old at the time of the slayings. He was a retired investigator who told the Austrian police that the circumstances of prostitutes’ deaths reminded him of a killer he had caught nearly 20 years older. That killer was none other than Jack Unterweger.

As police began to close in on him, Unterweger was hired by an Austrian magazine to write an article on crime in LA that focused on the differences between the Austrian and American perceptions of prostitution. While on his trip to Los Angeles, Untweger went on ride-alongs with the LAPD and gave them insight on catching killers.

While seemingly assisting the LAPD, Unterweger also found the time to kill three more women. Each woman was sexually assaulted with tree branches and strangled with their own bras.

He went to Miami with his girlfriend, even as the Austrian police collected evidence to prove that Unterweger was the killer. The pair went to collect wired money from a Western Union bank, where the police were waiting nearby to arrest him.

Proclaiming his innocence, Unterweger spoke to the Austrian media to try to convince viewers he was not the murderer. But this time, the Austrian people were not in Unterweger’s corner. He was extradited to Austria where he would be tried for 11 homicides. He was found guilty of nine of these murders, and he was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Unterweger only served one night of his prison sentence. He committed suicide the night of his sentencing with a rope he made out of his prison uniform. The knot was the same kind he had used to kill his victims.

Because Unterweger never had the time to appeal his conviction, under Austrian law, he is technically considered to be not guilty, as his verdict was not yet legally binding. The man known as the Vienna Strangler eluded capture for years, all while he was right under their noses, on their radios, and in their newspapers.

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