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Listen to ““COULD EXTRATERRESTRIALS BE HUMANS FROM THE FUTURE?” and More Freaky True Stories! #WeirdDarkness” on Spreaker.

IN THIS EPISODE: Near the end of World War I, a bizarre disease known as “sleepy sickness,” or lethargic encephalitis, was contracted by millions of people across the world. What was it? And why did nearly 1 million people who came down with the disease die from it, while so many others did not? (The Forgotten Epidemic) *** Horror and Sci-Fi author and Weird Darkness fan J.D. Buffington doesn’t believe in such things as ghosts. If Houdini couldn’t reach his wife from the other side, then certainly no one else could, either, right? But that being said, J.D. has had some weird stuff take place in his life. (My Many Ghostly Encounters) *** Soon after moving into a sprawling Denver mansion, Russell Hunter sensed he wasn’t alone. I’ll share true events that inspired the film, “The Changeling”. (The Real Life Events That Inspired “The Changeling”) *** For those who claim to have spoken with extraterrestrials, they are told the aliens arrive here from other worlds. But what if the so-called aliens aren’t really aliens at all – what if they humans, visiting from the future? (Aliens: Us From a Future Time?) *** A pitch black room at an inn, yields to a strange glow. (Comfort At The Comet Inn) *** Known as California’s Freeway Killer, William Bonin used a Ford van to lure in teenage hitchhikers to rape and ruthlessly murder. (California’s Freeway Prowler) *** A series of unexplained incidents took place in the early 19th century at the Chase Vault, in the cemetery of the Christ Church in Oistins, Barbados. Each time the vault was opened to bury a family member, all coffins but one had changed position. (The Chase Vault) *** A couple is haunted by a slain rooster! (Cock-a-Doodle BOO!) *** Each year, hundreds of people simply disappear from parks and forests. What happened to them – and where are they? (People Are Vanishing Into Thin Air In Our National Parks)
“Aliens: Us From a Future Time?” by Nick Redfern for Mysterious Universe: http://bit.ly/2JptCDF
“My Many Ghostly Encounters” by J.D. Buffington from his Circus Sized blog: http://bit.ly/2YvapqF
“The Real Life Events That Inspired ‘The Changeling’” by Orrin Grey for The Line Up: http://bit.ly/2xwnMLa
“The Forgotten Epidemic” by Troy Taylor: http://bit.ly/2RUIA8M
“Comfort At The Comet Inn” by Jubelee from YourGhostStories.com: https://weirddarkness.tiny.us/93sauh8b
“California’s Freeway Prowler” by Giselle Ruiz from All That’s Interesting: https://weirddarkness.tiny.us/3hrvrs8z
“The Chase Vault” from Ghost-Story.co.uk: https://weirddarkness.tiny.us/2dzwvsjk
“Cock-a-Doodle BOO!” by James McGuinness: (link no longer available)
“People Are Vanishing Into Thin Air In Our National Parks” by an unknown author: (link no longer available)
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In H.G. Wells’ classic novel of 1895, The Time Machine, an adventurous Londoner heads off into a dark future, where he clashes with cave-dwelling monsters, explores ruined cities and witnesses the final moments of life on Earth. In the 1968 movie, Planet of the Apes, Charlton Heston’s character, Taylor, an American astronaut, arrives on a nightmarish world run by a race of talking apes. Only at the film’s climax, as he stumbles upon the remains of the Statue of Liberty, does Taylor realize with horror that he has not set foot on some far-off planet, after all. Rather, he is home, 2,000 years in the future and after a worldwide holocaust has destroyed human civilization. Then there is Michael J. Fox’s character, Marty McFly, who in the 1985 Hollywood comedy blockbuster, Back to the Future, travels through time to 1955. On doing so, he almost makes out with his then-teenage mom, comes perilously close to wiping out his own existence as a result of his time-traveling antics, and in single-handed fashion invents rock ‘n’ roll. And let’s not forget Bruce Willis in 1995’s 12 Monkeys. At least as far as mega-bucks movies and literary classics are concerned, the theme of time-travel is a spectacularly successful one. But what of the real world? Are time-travelers really among us? Is there a direct connection between the world of time-travel and that of UFOs?

I’m Darren Marlar and this is Weird Darkness.

Welcome, Weirdos – I’m Darren Marlar and this is Weird Darkness. Here you’ll find stories of the paranormal, supernatural, legends, lore, the strange and bizarre, crime, conspiracy, mysterious, macabre, unsolved and unexplained.

Coming up in this episode…

Near the end of World War I, a bizarre disease known as “sleepy sickness,” or lethargic encephalitis, was contracted by millions of people across the world. What was it? And why did nearly 1 million people who came down with the disease die from it, while so many others did not?

Horror and Sci-Fi author and Weird Darkness fan J.D. Buffington doesn’t believe in such things as ghosts. If Houdini couldn’t reach his wife from the other side, then certainly no one else could, either, right? But that being said, J.D. has had some weird stuff take place in his life.

Soon after moving into a sprawling Denver mansion, Russell Hunter sensed he wasn’t alone. I’ll share true events that inspired the film, “The Changeling”.

A pitch black room at an inn, yields to a strange glow.

Known as California’s Freeway Killer, William Bonin used a Ford van to lure in teenage hitchhikers to rape and ruthlessly murder.

A series of unexplained incidents took place in the early 19th century at the Chase Vault, in the cemetery of the Christ Church in Oistins, Barbados. Each time the vault was opened to bury a family member, all coffins but one had changed position.

A couple is haunted by a slain rooster!

Each year, hundreds of people simply disappear from parks and forests. What happened to them – and where are they?

But first… For those who claim to have spoken with extraterrestrials, they are told the aliens arrive here from other worlds. But what if the so-called aliens aren’t really aliens at all – what if they are humans, visiting from the future? We begin with that story!

If you’re new here, welcome to the show! While you’re listening, be sure to check out WeirdDarkness.com for merchandise, my newsletter, enter contests, to connect with me on social media, plus, you can visit the Hope in the Darkness page if you’re struggling with depression or dark thoughts. You can find all of that and more at WeirdDarkness.com.

And this month we’re celebrating Weird Darkness’ birthday… this month makes seven years of Weird Darkness as a podcast. And to recognize our birthday, every October we ask you to make a donation to our Overcoming The Darkness fundraiser. Every dollar we raise through donations and the Weirdling Woods painting auction will go to organizations that help people who struggle with depression. You can learn more about the fundraiser and what we’re doing with it on the Hope in the Darkness page at WeirdDarkness.com.

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



Just about everyone has heard of Unidentified Flying Objects (UFOs), but what about Unidentified Future Objects? Alien encounters have been reported for decades. If there is one thing that the aliens are keen to tell us and have us believe, it’s that they originate on other worlds. But, are they being truthful with us? Might they really be time-travelers?

Why is it that our “aliens” conveniently speak our languages? How is it that, with no trouble at all, they can they breathe our atmosphere? Why do they abduct us and use us in bizarre genetic experiments? Surely we are not physically and genetically compatible with creatures from faraway solar-systems? They assure us that we are indeed compatible. It all sounds far too convenient and carefully stage-managed. Maybe that’s because they are not from faraway worlds, after all. Perhaps, they are from right here, on Earth. Not our Earth (so to speak), but the Earth of the future; the distant future. An Earth that is in ruins and at a time when the Human Race is perilously close to extinction.

They travel into their distant past – our present – and engage in clandestine programs to reap DNA, cells, sperm and eggs as a means to try and save what is left of us, thousands of years from now. Keenly aware of the fact that the people of the 20th and 21st century held deep beliefs with regard to the concept of extraterrestrial life, they chose to adopt the guises of the alien things we believe in, as a means to camouflage their real identities. Could that be the shocking truth?

Formerly of the U.S. Air Force, and one of the key military players in the famous UFO encounter at Rendlesham Forest, Suffolk, England in December 1980, Sergeant Jim Penniston – in 1994 – underwent hypnotic regression, as part of an attempt to try and recall deeply buried data relative to what occurred to him during one of Britain’s closest encounters. Very interestingly, and while under hypnosis, Penniston stated that our presumed aliens are, in reality, visitors from a far-flung future. That future, Penniston added, is very dark, in infinitely deep trouble, polluted and where the Human Race is overwhelmingly blighted by reproductive problems. The answer to those same, massive problems, Penniston was told by the entities he met in the woods, is that they travel into the distant past – to our present day – to secure sperm, eggs and chromosomes, all as part of an effort to try and ensure the continuation of the severely waning Human Race of tomorrow.

“Time travel is not theoretically possible, for if it was they’d already be here telling us about it,” British physicist Professor Stephen Hawking famously said. And even if time-travel did one day become a possibility, it would be beset by major problems, claimed Hawking: “Suppose it were possible to go off in a rocket ship, and come back before you set off. What would stop you blowing up the rocket on its launch pad, or otherwise preventing you from setting out in the first place?”

Not everyone agrees with Hawking. One possible way of traveling through time is via what are known in physics as wormholes, a term coined in 1957 by theoretical physicist John Wheeler. The wormhole is basically a shortcut through both space and time; and although firm evidence for the existence of these so-called “time-tunnels” has not yet been firmly proven, they do not fall outside of the boundaries presented in Einstein’s theory of general relativity.

Then, there is the matter of the sinister Men in Black. They are perceived by UFO researchers as human-looking alien creatures or government agents, whose secret role it is to silence UFO witnesses, something that history has shown they are very good at. Maybe, though, the MIB are not the bad guys, after all. Perhaps they are “time-cops,” working to ensure that UFO witnesses don’t get too close to the truth – namely, the time-travel angle. After all, just about everything about the MIB is out of time. They almost always wear 1950s-era black suits. Their mode of transport – old-time Cadillac cars – is out of time, too. They have even asked witnesses, on more than a few occasions: “What time is it?”

Maybe they’re actually asking what year they’re in. Or even which century. Perhaps, in the distant future, little is known of our time. Maybe we destroyed ourselves and, as a consequence, the people of the future are tasked with repairing the planet and doing their utmost to save what is left of our species. Possibly, they have limited knowledge of our culture and even our fashions, apart from what they know from the pages of aging, crumbling old magazines from the 1950s. So, they adopt the attire they assume will allow them to blend in with the people of the 21st century, when, in reality, it’s the exact opposite. The MIB stand out like a sore thumb. Or, like a man out of time.

Paranormal researcher Joshua P. Warren comments on this link between time-travel and the Men in Black: “It could be that the Men in Black follow all this UFO stuff around; that’s their job. Not that they are causing these things to happen, but they’re alerted to it when there’s a dangerous timeline issue that needs to be corrected. They’re not necessarily the bad-guys at all; they might be doing damage control, and maybe that includes warning and silencing witnesses to protect the time-travel secret. They might be weird, and they might look weird, but their overall mission may be just to keep order and protect the timelines.”

Of course, we need to remain grounded on all of this. So far, there is no definitive proof whatsoever that we have (or have ever had) time-travelers in our midst. And, there’s no evidence that UFOs are really time-machines. So, in other words, everything is very much theoretical and speculative – and just about nothing else. But, it doesn’t hurt to speculate!


I like to think I’m a pretty open minded guy, I believe in God and spirits, I’m certain of extraterrestrial life, and I’m unwilling to dismiss outright anything anyone believes with absolute conviction.  I believe they believe and reality is perception, so, yeah.  Now, having turned 33 this year, I’ve lived a little while and I’ve seen things that would fall in the paranormal category.  On today’s Sunday Morning they were talking to Chip Coffey and he said something to the effect of paranormal means you don’t know or you can’t explain what happened, but you know something happened.  I’ve had a number of those.  Being the season for ghost stories, I’ll share my experiences here.
I know I’ve got a pretty damned powerful memory, I can remember pretty far back and I can remember instances with intense clarity, even mundane things.  My earliest memory, of which there are two right around the same time and within the same house, I know I’m laying in a crib, I can see the bars.  The direction I’m facing, laying on my stomach, I can see a window.  It’s either late or early, the light is dim and silvery outside, this bush has a pretty wicked shape to it, but as I’m looking at it, two glowing red eyes seem to open, and it takes the shape of a monster, maybe like a pterodactyl, and I slowly turn my head the other way to not see the monster outside my window.  Looking back on that memory, and the second one where I’m being held by my mother and we’re watching fireworks outside, I realize, it was just a bush, and a car across the street, perhaps in their driveway, stepped on the breaks, lighting up the demon’s eyes.  That’s hindsight.  It doesn’t change the fact that one of my earliest memories is of being scared of a monster staring me down.
Growing up, I remember a lot of things, but being scared of ghosts and monsters came when I moved into the house that I mostly grew up in, my Dad still lives in that house, though whatever plagued me doesn’t seem to bother him.  But of course I was a kid.  The first few nights we stayed there, sleeping on the couch before I had bedroom furniture, I nightmared of a man or thing staring at me through the two windows on the top of the front door, it wanted in, it wanted to get me, it was battering the door and I was scared stiff.  Like any kid, once I finally shook off the dream I ran to my parents room.
The nightmares in that house were always intense like that, usually of something outside desperately trying to get to me.  I had many night terrors, inability to move despite feeling wide awake, sometimes it would even feel like someone was sitting or lying in the bed with me.  Once I even felt the bed depress under someone’s weight, with no one there.
But those aren’t ghosts.  The ghosts, or phantoms I like to label them as, came once I was established in my room.  They came into my room, regularly, out of my peripheral vision, I saw them daily, always outside of directly looking at them.  Shadow people, male in shape, very tall, always coming in through my bedroom door.  One of them was so vivid that I didn’t realize I was seeing a phantom and believed my Dad had stepped into the room so I began to talk to him.  My Dad, ten feet away in his own bedroom, finally did come walking in asking what I was talking about.  I told him, I was talking to him, I thought he had just stepped in.  Needless to say it was spooky for the both of us.
Standing in the kitchen one night, just talking to each other, I don’t remember the conversation itself just that we were talking, a toy car of mine jumped up off the carving table.  Problem?  No batteries.  And this wasn’t a “it was sitting near the edge and fell to the floor,” it drove six inches and launched itself three feet across the room, right in front of me, and my Dad saw it just take off from a standstill.  Again, we’re both a little freaked, but laugh it off.
In that house, besides phantoms, there was the thing in the kitchen.  I never saw it, but I heard it.  The first time was when I had two friends over for a slumber party on my 7th or 8th birthday.  I thought my Mom or Dad had gotten up and was making coffee or breakfast, at first, but the cabinets kept opening and shutting, over and over.  I laid there petrified as I realized there was no other sound, like of feet or bodily movement, just the cabinet swinging open and shutting with a clunk.  I know I was awake because I looked at my friends, each sleeping on the floor, dead asleep.  That wasn’t the only time I heard it, either, there were plenty of mornings the cabinets opened and shut and I finally asked my Dad if he was doing it or heard it, to find that no, he had no idea.  Recently staying the night there I was actually scared I would hear that, but fortunately, it seems the restless cabinet monster had finally found what it was looking for.
My first full frontal encounter with a ghost came around Thanksgiving, in a little house in Sweetwater, Texas the family had gathered at.  My Dad and I slept on a hideaway bed in the living room.  One night, I woke up I don’t know when in the evening but it was dark inside and out, just ambient light from outside, street lights or the moon, and much to my surprise, someone was sitting next to me, about at my midsection, between the edge of the bed and the TV, enough room for one person’s width.  Waking up and seeing this person staring at me was jarring enough, but I thought I recognized the face, at first, I looked directly at her, a person I thought was my Aunt, but as I looked directly in this thing’s face staring at me barely two feet from my own face, I realized it had no eyes, just black smokey pits.  Slamming my eyes shut, terrified, I tried to will myself back to sleep, this was just a nightmare, I tried to make small movements to back myself up against my Dad, maybe I could annoy him awake to chase of whatever it was.  I laid there with my eyes squeezed shut for a long while, relaxation only coming after nothing happened for so long.  But I was still afraid to open my eyes, even when the morning light came.  I asked my Aunt about it, had she come in the room to maybe check on me, did she sleepwalk, please just tell me it was her and I was just confused in the darkness.  But no, and then everyone started sharing crazy scary encounters of their own, hardly making me feel safe, but at least not alone in my experience.
Other than a general apprehension in the dark, the no-eyed ghost was the worst thing I saw for a long time, and I’m willing to concede that most of what I’ve explained here could all very well be explained away.  But that’s not all of my experiences.  One in particular is more recent, and happened over a period of months, during all matter of hours, and I have corroborating witnesses.
Near 21st & Garnett here in Tulsa are the Dove Park Townhomes.  I had been living in a single bedroom for the last six months and the drummer in my band was looking to move out of the house she was in and wanted to know if I’d be cool with rooming with her.  We both worked for the same place, we were in a band together, it’d work out great, we could car pool, help each other with bills, awesome.  It was completely platonic, and she actually stayed there rarely, opting to stay the night with her boyfriend most of the time, so basically I had a whole big place to myself and she used one of the rooms as storage.  She paid her half of everything on time and we were good.
But it wasn’t good, not all the time.  The very first night in the place, and I was alone that night, too, she hadn’t moved her bed over yet, I heard strange sounds, from across the street in a little strip shopping center, and then helicopters and sirens and it was a commotion for a long while making it difficult to sleep.  Someone had been murdered at a night club, shot dead in their car, not two blocks from our apartments.  It was a great start to our lease.  Outward appearances made it seem like it was a decent neighborhood, yes, there was the aforementioned stripmall, but all around was decent neighborhood so I was shocked and apprehensive about living in a place like that.
Through that first week, we started having plumbing problems, I had a private little water-closet just off the main bath which was between our two bedrooms upstairs.  It always stank, like sewage, and one time the toilet acted like it was backed up and my own efforts with a plunger weren’t releasing whatever the stinking blockage was.  I called the complex managers and they’d send a plumber, I went to work.  That evening, there was a work order receipt, they’d fixed the problem.  I went upstairs, still a slight odor, but the toilet seemed to be working.  The next morning, going through my routine, the exact same thing, raw sewage smell, toilet backs up, my efforts fail.  But when I went downstairs the ceiling was leaking, dripping water all over my roommate’s couch.  Furious, I called both the apartment people and my roommate and I just wanted out.  Shootings, bad plumbing, ruining furniture, this was an exercise in frustration.  But my roommate convinced me just to be patient, we couldn’t really afford anywhere else or to back out anyway. I mostly quit using that toilet anymore, just to be on the safe side.  These events just sort of set the table.
In watching a million ghost shows and haunting specials and perusing YouTube surveillance footage of ghosts caught on film, a few things always stick out to me, especially regarding the really inexplicable hauntings.  Cold spots, sounds from above like foot steps or balls rolling, and a prevalent stinking smell.  I had the stinking smell in my bathroom, which at first I attributed to poor plumbing, considering they couldn’t fix the problem.  But on many days and nights, being alone in the house, watching TV or playing a game, either in the living room, or on my PC which was set up in the kitchen, I could hear what sounded like a game of billiards going on upstairs, sounding like it was coming directly from my roommate’s room.  I went up often to check on things thinking something had fallen down, but nothing was ever out of place.  On occasion I would hear our neighbors or their kids through the walls, so I figured the kids were rough housing upstairs and I was hearing reverberation downstairs.  I began to dismiss it, it was a symptom of living next to a family with kids.
One evening, getting home after dark from work, I stepped into the house, set down my bag and was about to go into the kitchen when a knock came at the door.  I opened it up and it was our neighbors, husband and wife, looking concerned.  They asked if everything was “all right?”
“Uh, yeah, I just got home.”
The looks on their faces put me off guard, they were startled.  “It sounded like there was a fight, a pretty bad one, we just wanted to make sure everything was okay.”
Again I told them that I had just got home and my roommate wasn’t in.  They were genuinely concerned, in this day and age of turning a blind eye, they came over together, ready to confront a domestic dispute, and I was all alone in a house that had been empty just moments before when they heard…something.  All three of us looked up the dark staircase just behind the front door, it was surreal, like out of a movie.  I leaned back and looked at my back kitchen door to make sure it hadn’t been kicked in, maybe there were burglars upstairs.  I looked back at them, thanked them for letting me know and I would check on it.  The man said if there was a problem to let him know.
I shut the door and scoured the first floor, nothing was out of place, and I had unlocked the front door when I had come in.  I finally worked up the courage to go upstairs, terrified of finding a living person ready to jump me, remotely scared of something paranormal, thanks to strange noises and smells in the house.  I turned on every light like a kid scared of the dark, reaching in quietly to flip the switch before I bodily entered the room.  But no one was there, nothing was out of place, I searched closets, under the beds, not a damn thing out of order.  Whatever was happening in the house, was happening even when we were away, and our neighbors could hear it, too.
In the midst of all this, my roommate and her boyfriend had their own experiences well, mostly with the sounds, telling me about hearing footsteps where no one was.  This relieved me greatly, I’m not crazy, other people can hear the sounds, the neighbors aren’t the ones making them, they’re hearing them, too!  But for about four or five months, that was it, scary sounds.
My best friend bought a house and asked if I’d want to move in, it’d be like a bachelor pad, three of us in a house together doing guy stuff 24/7.  I still had a month on the lease so I didn’t feel like I could take him up on the offer.  So he offered that I just pay my portion of the utilities and he’d give me the rent off for the first month, because he’d still be making out better if I was only helping with the utilities.  Sounded too good to pass up.  I shut everything off except electricity and started to move out (my roommate was cool with it, she’d move out early, too, and in with her boyfriend).
I slowly moved junk over in my car, my computer being one of the last things I moved.  I checked e-mail and bills before preparing to power it down and taking everything apart.  Upstairs, I could hear footsteps and heavy movement.  Like furniture moving.  This was different than the odd little billiards sound, it definitely sounded like a body and things moving.  I assumed it was my roommate’s boyfriend, he had been in and out helping her move, so I paid it no mind and didn’t think it was our “ghost” by any means.  Satisfied enough to turn off my computer and the monitor blinked out.  How it was set up, you could see the living room reflected in the monitor’s glass.  A lamp was on in there, and standing behind me, between the back of my chair and the lamp, creating a darkened silhouette, was a man.  I thought it was Josh, come down to say “hi,” or maybe to try and spook me.
So I said “Hi, Josh!” before turning around, only when I turned around there was nothing.  No one, nobody, and no body.  The house was empty, and now very quiet.  I ran upstairs, no lights on, and nothing else gone from the last time I had been upstairs.  It had finally shown itself, and it was right behind me.  Just writing this, recalling it, sets my skin to crawling.  I immediately called my friend and asked him to come over right then, because I still had things to move to my car.  After relating the tale, he refused, he didn’t want to see a ghost!  The coward.  I kid, I was terrified and desperately wanted out, I wasn’t exactly courageous in facing the unknown.  He told me just to go ahead and stay the night at his house starting that evening, to just get my stuff in broad day light.
I did, and once that last month of our lease was up, I did a walkthrough with the manager, the smell still lingered in the upstairs bathroom, but nothing made a sound or showed up while we were there.  Once we stepped back outside, I told him everything that had happened, in case, he or the company needed to be made aware of that kind of thing.  He didn’t shrug me off, instead he told me of his own hauntings at a lake house he stayed in as a kid.
A lot of people experience crazy things, and we worry we are crazy experiencing them, but we’re not alone.  I’m not embarrassed of my ghost stories, I’ll share them with people gladly, and most people I’ve shared them with, have had stories of their own.

Coming up on Weird Darkness…

Soon after moving into a sprawling Denver mansion, Russell Hunter sensed he wasn’t alone. I’ll share true events that inspired the film, “The Changeling”. 

Also… Near the end of World War I, a bizarre disease known as “sleepy sickness,” or lethargic encephalitis, was contracted by millions of people across the world. What was it? And why did nearly 1 million people who came down with the disease die from it, while so many others did not?

Plus… Each year, hundreds of people simply disappear from parks and forests. What happened to them – and where are they? 

And… A pitch black room at an inn, yields to a strange glow.

These stories and more when Weird Darkness returns!



Chances are you’re familiar with the 1980 ghost movie classic The Changeling, even if you’ve never seen it. That’s because the film’s iconic scene of a red rubber ball bouncing down the stairs has been referenced in numerous horror flicks throughout the years.

In fact, the sequence came in at #54 on Bravo’s list of 100 Scariest Movie Moments, and Martin Scorsese listed The Changeling as one of the 11 scariest films of all time. More recently, Guillermo del Toro made numerous nods to the ghost flick in his horror Gothic romance Crimson Peak.

What you may not know about The Changeling, however, is that its tale of a malevolent spirit haunting a gloomy mansion is based on a true story.

In 1968 composer Russell Hunter moved from New York into the Henry Treat Rogers Mansion near Cheesman Park in Denver, Colorado (pictured at top). He would later claim in an interview that he rented the estate for the “unbelievable price of $200 per month, because no one else wanted to live there.”

In February of 1969, Hunter began experiencing strange phenomena in the house. It started with an “unbelievable banging and crashing” every morning at 6am, that stopped whenever Hunter would get out of bed. Doors opened and closed by themselves, faucets turned off and on, and walls vibrated so violently that they knocked paintings to the floor.

As he investigated these strange disturbances, Hunter claimed to have found a hidden staircase in the back of an upstairs closet. The narrow passageway led to a secret room where Hunter found the belongings—including a journal—of a young boy who had lived in the house “a century ago.” Hunter pored through the journal’s contents and conducted a séance to piece together the paranormal puzzle. He discerned the resident ghost was a sickly child who once lived in the home, and had been the heir to a fortune from his grandmother before succumbing to his infirmity.

The boy’s parents were worried his inheritance might pass to another family member if word got out about his death. So the scrupulous couple buried their dead son in an unmarked grave in a field southeast of Denver. They then adopted a boy from a local orphanage to pose as their child, who accepted the inheritance and later went on to great wealth and success.

According to Hunter, the ghost of the sickly boy directed him to the aforementioned unmarked grave, which was now located beneath a house on South Dahlia Street in Denver. The spirit reportedly threatened to harm the family living in the South Dahlia home if they didn’t give Hunter permission to dig there.

The family acquiesced. It wasn’t long before Hunter and his team unearthed human remains—along with a gold medallion inscribed with the dead child’s name.

Yet the grisly discovery didn’t solve Hunter’s problem—in fact, the haunting only grew worse. A set of glass doors exploded in Hunter’s face, severing an artery in his wrist. The wall behind Hunter’s bed imploded and crumbled down on top of him.

Fearing for his life, Hunter fled to a new house on Kearney Street. But the hauntings moved with him. Finally, Hunter called in a priest from the Epiphany Episcopal Church to perform an exorcism, which seemed to clear the air.

Hunter’s account will sound familiar to anyone who’s seen The Changeling. The red rubber ball even makes an appearance in the original tale, as it was apparently the sickly boy’s favorite toy. Hunter’s claims also seems like they would be easy enough to corroborate.

And yes, when you begin inspecting Hunter’s account, gaps do emerge. The Denver Library recently did an excellent job of fact-checking Hunter’s ghostly claims. Among the library’s findings is the absence of any concrete records that Hunter actually lived in the Henry Treat Williams Mansion, though he did reside in Denver at the end of the 1960s, where he helped his parents manage the Three Birches Lodge in Boulder.

As for the boy who supposedly haunted the house, there isn’t any solid record of him either, and there’s no way he lived in the house a century before Hunter did, as it wasn’t even built until 1892. There are enough odd mysteries surrounding Hunter’s account to make a paranormal investigator curious, though, including the fact that the family who built the mansion owned farmland around where the child’s unmarked grave was said to have been located.

None of that stops people from continuing to report strange happenings all over the Cheesman Park neighborhood to this very day, including cold spots, sudden sensations of dread, and ghostly orbs appearing in photographs.

These may have nothing to do with Hunter’s story, however, and much more to do with the fact that Cheesman Park was originally a graveyard. As recently as 2010, workers digging trenches for the park’s irrigation system unearthed four skeletons from the abandoned cemetery.

And if that’s not the beginning of a killer ghost story, then what is…


Near the end of World War I, a bizarre disease known as “sleepy sickness,” or lethargic encephalitis, was contracted by millions of people across the world. There seemed to be no treatment for it and the cause of the disease remains a mystery to this day. What was it? And why did nearly 1 million people who came down with the disease die from it, while so many others did not?

That’s the problem – no one knows.

Those who survived the disturbing illness probably wished they had died. It transformed people into living statues, forcing them to spend the rest of their lives trapped within their bodies and locked away in institutions, speechless and motionless.

You’re probably thinking that you’ve never heard of this and there’s a good reason why – the brain illness spread around the globe at the same time as the Spanish Flu pandemic that killed over 50 million people, causing it to be overlooked by history, in spite of the 1 million dead and the millions of lives that were affected by it.

Although most cases were reported near the end of World War I, it’s believed that the epidemic began in 1915 or 1916, when soldiers who displayed incredible lethargy and confusion were examined by doctors in Paris. At first, they assumed the cause of their unusual symptoms was mustard gas – which had been used during the war – but this proved to be wrong.

It turned out that the disease was already being studied by a neurologist from Vienna named Constantin von Economo, who had been studying the effects of the illness in civilians. In a paper, he wrote:

“We are dealing with a kind of sleeping sickness, having an unusually prolonged course. The first symptoms are usually acute, with headaches and malaise. Then a state of somnolence appears, often associated with active delirium from which the patient can be awakened easily. He is able to give appropriate answers and to comprehend the situation. This delirious somnolence can lead to death, rapidly, or over the course of a few weeks. On the other hand, it can persist unchanged for weeks or even months with periods lasting bouts of days or even longer, of fluctuation of the depth of unconsciousness extending from simple sleepiness to deepest stupor or coma.”

Just a year after Economo’s paper was published, the horrifying illness turned into an epidemic, taking its toll in human lives and leaving millions of people trapped in their own bodies.

Lethargic encephalitis literally translates to “brain inflammation that makes you tired,” but it became commonly known as “sleepy sickness.” It’s a funny name, but the result was anything but humorous. Most accounts state that over one-third of those infected died, while around 20 percent survived but were more or less dependent on professional care for the rest of their lives. Sadly, fewer than one-third made full recoveries. It affected people of all ages but – like the Spanish Flu – young people between 15 and 35 were hit the hardest. The initial stages of infection were a lot like the flu — a high fever, headache, feeling tired, runny nose. There was no way for the infected to know that he or she was battling a deadly disease, which gave the virus just enough time to spread into the brain.

The disease peaked just after the war but lingered for almost 10 years. Finally, it began to fade – but it never completely disappeared. In fact, new cases were reported as recently as 1993. Modern doctors who studied the new cases came to believe that patients were affected by a rare form of streptococcus bacteria. They noted that the massive immune reaction to the bacteria caused the immune system of the infected to attack the brain, resulting in brain damage.

But that’s just a guess. So far, there is no warning, no treatment, and no cure for “sleepy sickness.” It remains one of the strangest medical mysteries of all time.


Each year, hundreds of people are reported missing in national parks and forests. Most are eventually found, but there’s a smaller category of cases that are never solved, including a few close to home.

Most of those who have disappeared are children ages 20 months to 12 years and the elderly ages 74 to 85. Not one person carrying a firearm, and only one carrying a transponder device, has disappeared. Typically, a search is initiated and run for about ten days then dropped.

50% of the children who go missing are found dead, and the ones who are found are found miles away from where they disappeared, in areas seemingly impossible for them to get to on their own.

Yosemite National Park, with 40 to 45 cases, has the largest cluster of vanishings and oddly, in most areas where the disappearances have occurred, huckleberries are almost always in great abundance.

The majority of children who have disappeared had dogs with them. In some cases, the dogs returned, but the children never did. Children found alive won’t talk about their experience or say they don’t remember what happened to them. They’re found usually running a low grade fever and appear traumatized. In all cases, the parents say that the child was right behind them when they disappeared. Usually, the children are wearing bright, colorful clothing when they disappear, and even if they are found miles away without the shoes they were wearing, their feet are not scratched or bruised.

Many of the areas that people have disappeared from carry such names as Devil’s Gulch, Devil’s Lookout, Twin Devil Lake and Devil’s Punch Bowl., perhaps named to reflect the evil people have sensed in these places over time.

95% of the cases, bad weather strangely follows a disappearance, washing out footprints and other clues and making it impossible to carry on a search until the weather clears.

98% to 99% of the cases, tracking dogs are unable to find a scent or simply refuse to track.

Almost 98% of the disappearances occur in the afternoon. Searchers have been known to cover an area over 100 times, only to later find the person, alive or dead in the same area they searched before.

A few cases follow:

In the Rocky Mountain National Park in 1938, a husband and wife hiked high into the park and sat down to rest. Looking up high above them on a cliff in an area called The Devil’s Nest, they spotted a small boy all alone. Thinking the foolish parents were nearby, the couple moved on and later drove home. As they arrived in the valley below where they had hiked they saw as many as 2500 people mulling about, but didn’t stop to ask what was going on. The next morning they saw a photo of the missing child in the newspaper, and recognizing him as the child they had seen, they drove back to the park to tell the searchers but the young boy was never found.

In April 1952, a two-year-old boy, named Keith Parkinsin in Ritter, Oregon, who vanished near Umatilla National Forest, was eventually found an astounding 12 miles away. He was found unconscious 19 hours later in a frozen creek bed. The journey, would require the toddler to venture over two mountain ranges, as well as fences, creeks, and rivers. This case, is just one of many where children disappear and are later found “several hundred percent” outside of the grid system carefully designed by search and rescue teams. Additionally, there are some rare cases where, after tracking dogs have led rescuers to a large river, search teams will explore the other side and “miles away, they find the kid.”

The FBI refused to give any information on the disappearance of another small two year old boy who disappeared in Yosemite in 1957. In that case, the boy simply vanished as he walked around the perimeter of his family’s camp site. Bloodhounds and hundreds of people searched for him. He apparently climbed 3000′ straight up a mountain. He was found dehydrated and suffering from exposure with a tee shirt, no pants, one sock and no shoes.

One of the strangest finds by rangers was a missing man, Charles McCullar, who was found leaning against a log, his pants around his ankles. The only parts left of him were part of his tibia in his right pant leg and part of his skull and his scapula bones in one inch by one inch pieces.

On May 28, 1966, 6 year old Larry Jeffrey who was vacationing with his family, walked away from his brother near Mt. Charleston and never returned. The local authorities set out on a 5 day search made up of a few hundred men. There were no large animals in the area or car access. So if Larry wasn’t eaten by a predator or snatched by a kidnapper, then just what happened to the boy? That remains a mystery today as he was never found and with no solid explanation for his disappearance. It’s as if he simply vanished into thin air.

In a few cases, Green Berets have surprisingly shown up to join and/or take over searches. This happened in 1971 in Newcomb, New York when an 8 year old boy vanished while walking back to a lodge to change his clothes. His scent was lost in a swamp and he was never found.

Young girls also disappear in the national parks. In Yosemite in 1981, a 14 year-old girl, Stacy Arrass of Saratoga, was backpacking on horseback with her parents and a group of people up 9200′ to Sunrise High Sierra Camp. When they stopped to rest, the girl asked if she could go with a 70 year old man on the trip 50′ away to take some photos. The old man sat down on a log, and the girl went to the edge of an elevation to take a photo of a lake down below. She walked down the hill and never came back.

In another more recent Yosemite case, a young woman was found dead at the bottom of a high cliff from where it seemed she had been flung. It was determined that she had been raped after her fatal fall.

A 6 year-old boy who disappeared in 1969 in the Great Smokey Mountains. Two families with the last name of Martin happened upon each other, and their two sons began playing hide and seek in the nearby bushes. When the parents called the boys into camp and one didn’t return, the boy’s father went to find help. A rainstorm began as he ran down the hill. At the same time, further down the hill, another family with the last name of Key heard a sickening scream and looked up to see what they thought at first was a man hiding in the bushes. The boy’s father reached the valley and called the FBI to meet him at the park but the agent told him to meet them at another location, which made no sense. The Green Berets showed up again and took over the search completely. Meanwhile, Mr. Martin stayed in the park two months looking for his son, who was never found. the father, stated that when the Key family spotted the man in the bushes, he or it was carrying something on its shoulder, however none of this information the Key family proffered was included in the FBI report. Paulides was told during his investigation of this case that some “wild men” live in the park that the park service had not been able to control. Twelve other people have disappeared in the same area and the FBI agent monitoring those cases allegedly committed suicide. The phenomena is not limited to the U.S., either. In the Philippines, many people have disappeared, most never returning. When visitors go there they’re told that they must not wear colorful clothing into the jungle. The bright colors seem to attract whatever it is that takes the people. This clue is similar to the American children who have disappeared wearing bright clothing.

Casey Holiday went missing on October 14, 1990, about 10:00 a.m. near Alder Creek St., Maries, Idaho, at age 11. The boy was a developmentally disabled child living with an aunt 8 miles south of Maries and 20 miles south of Spokane, an identified cluster area. Casey was eventually found, 48 hours later and just one mile from his aunt’s home, “babbling and seemed in a daze.”

Thursday, May 27, 1999 Carl Landers, 69, who disappeared on Mount Shasta while hiking with friends. They were camping at a location called 50/50, a place on the mountain where climbers can stop and rest before reaching the summit. According to his friends Milt Gaines and Barry Gilmore, Carl had complained about not feeling well and decided to take a head start toward Lake Helen. They never caught up with him and never saw him again. Carl was described as a very experienced climber so it was unlikely that he fell. The Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Department immediately set out on a search with the National Guard covering the air using an infrared helicopter and the US rangers and volunteers covering the ground on foot and skis. No trace of Carl was found. Not even his equipment, backpack, or clothing.

The latest disappearance is of a 34 year-old California firefighter Mike Herdman, who vanished with his dog on Friday, June 13, 2014 in the Los Padres National Forest in California. He was camping with a friend when he ran off shoeless, chasing his dog downhill toward a stream. His friend searched for hours, then had to hike two days out of the wilderness to find help. The area being searched is two times the size of the Grand Canyon. On June 19, the firefighter’s dog was found alive. Herdman, was found dead June 27. Like others who have disappeared into the national forests, Herdman was found at approximately 1200′ above the river bottom which he had chased his dog into the day he disappeared. When his remains were discovered authorities were astonished to find him shoeless. Rescue crews spent nearly 5,000 man-hours searching and covered 50 square miles on foot and horseback, as well as by air, including the use of two drones. The sheriff stated it was unimaginable that a shoeless person could have traversed so far in such rough terrain.

One of the more recent and highly unusual cases occurred in South Carolina. In this case, the boy was 21 months old. How well could he toddle and how far could he walk? How quickly could he get out of view? How much stamina does a 21 month old child have?

The boy was in his residence with the family dog and his mother. She left the room momentarily and somehow the boy and the dog got outside. There was a large open field surrounding the residence before reaching thick woods. The mother realized that her son and the dog were gone and ran outside to check the yard. The boy and the dog were not only not in the yard, they weren’t anywhere in sight. The mother called the sheriff and searchers started to arrive in mass. By late in the afternoon, the weather started to change to rain. Searchers continued to walk the surrounding property and found nothing that first night. The first morning of the search, a sheriff’s deputy and a natural resource officer were in kayaks on a river two miles from the victims residence, they were just two of hundreds looking for the boy. A search helicopter was flying above the river looking for a body and had just flown over the kayakers. The two law enforcement officers were paddling upstream from the area of the residence and just turned a corner in the river when they made an amazing find. It was 2:30 p.m. when they looked at a sandbar in the middle of the river. They found the missing boy alive lying on his back in the middle of the sand. They immediately called the helicopter back to the scene to pickup the boy and take him to his residence. The pilot confirmed that he had just flown over that section of river and the boy WAS NOT on the sandbar, minutes later he’s lying there.

There are many confusing aspects to this case. How the boy got away from his residence so quickly is not understood. How a 21 month old can manage to go through thick woods, enter the river and arrive at a sandbar in the middle of the river? Why didn’t the boy respond to hundreds of searchers that were in the woods that first night? The boy did not suffer from hypothermia even though the weather had been in the low 40’s with rain. The boy’s dog did reappear at the residence. This is one of three cases where very small children have disappeared from the interior of a residence while with the family dog. Each case is equally fascinating.

Some of the possible reasons for the disappearances are: Wendigo, a beast-like creature with an appetite for human flesh, variously described with matted hair, glowing eyes, and long yellow fangs, who stalks the “lonely places”. The Wendigo legend was prevalent in the northern United States and Canada, largely involving a cannibalistic predator who roamed around woods and forests in the coldest climates where food was scarce and survival was challenging. but also include demons as a possible cause, which goes along with the belief in the Philippines that the Jin or demons are responsible for the abductions. Also suspect are large birds and extraterrestrials.

STORY: COMET INN==========

It was sometime in late October or early November 2003, my husband and I had been invited by friends to attend their daughter’s christening in Oberon, in the central tablelands of New South Wales, Australia. When we set out on our trip, there were reports of black ice along the way on Bells Line of Road up in the Blue Mountains. This was unusual because it was already late Spring (seasons are the other way round in the Southern Hemisphere). Black ice forms when the air gets cold enough on the road surface and it is raining. It is a treacherous clear icy glaze, impossible to see on the black-colored road, much the same effect as a diesel fuel spill. As driving under those conditions was dangerous and we had been traveling all day, we decided to break the journey up by spending the night at the Comet Inn in the village of Hartley Vale, in the Blue Mountains.

It was a pleasant, historic inn established during the time when the shale mines were still open in the 1800s. We had dinner at the pub downstairs, which was a cozy, welcoming place filled with local memorabilia from the early settler days. Despite our best intentions of having an early mark, we wound up staying until early hours of the morning, chatting with the woman who ran the inn/pub and the bartender. It was well after 2am when we finished our drinks, both of us by now feeling in a mellow state.

The room we were given was on the first floor, up the short flight of stairs and around the corner to the left. I can’t really describe the room too well, being quite well and truly tuckered-out by this stage. I think it was furnished in the early colonial-style, probably from the 1880s or thereabouts. An old-fashioned lacy wedding gown hung on one wall. The room felt a bit crowded, with heavy, ornate dark wood furniture crammed into a small space. The bed with its mile-high mattress was too tall for my short legs and I could have done with a stepladder getting into bed. A dresser with a tall mirror was positioned really close to the right side of the bed where I slept and I had to squeeze past it to reach the bed. At the same time, I had to be careful not knock off the various porcelain knickknacks displayed on the dresser or the vintage-style (brass, I think) touch-sensor lamp.

My husband, having done all the driving that day, fell asleep in an eye blink. But sleep wasn’t on the cards for me. I had come down with a gastro bug the day before we left home and all the rich food at dinner, washed down with alcohol, wasn’t agreeing with me. Before long, to my dismay, I had to get up again and make my way to the “necessary” room.

Thick blackout curtains hung at the windows, so once the lights were off, the room was pitch-black. I bumped my knee, then my arm on the corner of the dresser, fumbling around to find the brass lamp, hoping I didn’t break anything too valuable or irreplaceable in the process. I remember muttering irritably to myself: ‘Where’s the stupid light?’

A faint silvery-green glow appeared near at hand and I thought with relief, ‘Oh goody, here’s the lamp’. So I tapped the lamp once more to brighten the light, proceeded to do what I needed and climbed back into bed.

By now, I was purged of all alcoholic effects. My forehead was clammy and I felt as strung-out as a wet linguini. Feeling miserable, I grumbled to my husband, ‘I don’t feel so good’. He slept on, totally oblivious. By now, I felt too weary even to raise my hand to push aside the sticky strand of hair lying across my forehead, so I just made a feeble attempt to blow it off.

Then, I thought I felt a breeze pass over my brow, stirring my hair. It was barely a wisp of air. I thought someone whispered to me: ‘There, there’. Huh? I blinked, but the room was too dark to even see my hand before me. Shrugging it off as my imagination, but strangely comforted anyway, I was finally able to sleep.

The next thing I knew, my husband was moving around in the room, getting ready for breakfast. Still hazy from lack of sleep and positively seedy, I touched the lamp and it occurred to me how the light was another color, amber-yellow now, instead of pale silver-green. So I played around with the different light settings on the lamp by tapping it several times in a row. Tap, dim light; tap, brighter light; tap, full light; tap, light off.

My husband asked me, ‘What are you doing?’

I replied, puzzled, ‘The light’s the wrong color.’

So I told him about my experience and wondered if it could have been a street light from across the road or a passing car at the time. But my husband reminded me that the window curtains were called “blackout” for good reason. The curtains had been drawn when we went to bed and no light could be seen from the street. He also pointed out that there were no street lights outside the inn or across the road.

We were still discussing the reason for the mysterious light source as we sat at the breakfast table. When our hostess and bartender heard about our story, they exchanged strange looks. So we pressed them for further details and they told us the story about the room.

Apparently the room that we slept in had belonged to a young wife (they told us her name, but I’ve forgotten it) who lived in the house at the time, probably in the 1800s. Tragically, she died in childhood in that very room while her husband was away from home. The wedding gown hanging up in the room had been hers.

Other guests in the past have experienced various things being moved around in the room or doors/drawers slamming. Once, a well-known Australian celebrity (better not mention his name) spent the night there while he was filming a fishing show in the area. He was woken up when the foot of the bed was shaken violently (guess she really wanted his attention). Although booked in for a few nights, he refused to stay any longer and promptly packed his bags and escaped the next morning.

When I think on that breeze, it seems more and more to me as if a cool hand had gently brushed my damp hair back off my forehead. Was it a product of a fevered imagination? Who knows? But it’s nice to think that someone gave me comfort when I was feeling ill.

When Weird Darkness returns…

A series of unexplained incidents took place in the early 19th century at the Chase Vault, in the cemetery of the Christ Church in Oistins, Barbados. Each time the vault was opened to bury a family member, all coffins but one had changed position. 

Plus… A couple is haunted by a dead chicken!

But first… Known as California’s Freeway Killer, William Bonin used a Ford van to lure in teenage hitchhikers to rape and ruthlessly murder. That story is up next!



In 1979, dozens of murdered teenage boys were spotted on California’s sprawling freeways, with one victim as young as twelve. As police discovered the bodies of the victims, their corpses showed signs of violent sexual assault with the modus operandi of the serial killer being death by strangulation and stabbing.

Unlike most serial killers of the era, he had accomplices. These accomplices helped the “Freeway Killer” with the physical act of the murder between Los Angeles County and Orange County. From an icepick to a tire iron to a jack handle, the murderer used a variety of weapons for the murders.

His name was William Bonin and he officially murdered fourteen teenage boys and unofficially up to twenty-one. Some victims managed to escape from Bonin’s clutches and recounted their terrifying experiences.

“I told him that I didn’t need to go any farther, and the car drifted to the side of the busy freeway and stopped. Suddenly, without a word, he took out a piece of cord, lunged across and wrapped it around my neck. I thought, ‘This is it – I’m dead.’” This victim escaped after he kicked Bonin in the groin and ran out of the car, flagging down a police cruiser as Bonin sped away.

A second victim, David McVicker, actually testified against William Bonin in court:

“He had set the gun on his left-hand side but he already locked the door on the right, so I couldn’t get out without reaching around and grabbing the door. So I knew that by the time that I did, he could easily grab the gun and shoot me… He started taking off his clothes and told me to take off mine… He was raping me in the front seat of the car and he had a t-shirt around my neck with a tire iron through the sleeves. And he was twisting it, trying to strangle me.”

In this rare case, Bonin unexpectedly let the fourteen-year-old David go free after the rape.

William Bonin himself was the product of a dysfunctional family and child molestation. Born in Connecticut on Jan. 8, 1947, he was the middle child of three brothers. He grew up with an alcoholic father and absentee mother and was primarily raised by his grandfather, who was a convicted child molester.

He ran away from home at the age of eight and in his early adolescence, he was sent to a juvenile detention center for stealing license plates. During his time in the detention center, Bonin was allegedly sexually assaulted by older teenage boys.

In 1965, Bonin enlisted in the U.S. Airforce and served during the Vietnam war as a helicopter gunner. During his enlistment, he assaulted two soldiers under his command. After the war’s end, Bonin married, divorced, and relocated to California.

At the age of twenty-two, he was arrested for sexually assaulting five boys in the South Bay communities in 1969 and spent over five years in prison. After his release, he sexually assaulted the aforementioned fourteen-year-old David McVicker in 1975. Bonin was immediately shipped back to prison for an additional four years.

Bonin was once again released from prison in 1979 and vowed to never get caught again. This tragically resulted in an escalation of the violence, as Bonin began to murder his teenage victims. However, Bonin didn’t commit these murders alone as he had four accomplices: Vernon Butts, Gregory Miley, James Munro and William Pugh.

His first murder victim was Marcus Grabs, a 17-year-old German exchange student. He was last seen hitchhiking along the Pacific Coast Highway on Aug. 5. 1979. His naked body was found a few days later in Malibu Canyon, stabbed nearly 80 times with a nylon rope around his neck.

On August 27, the mutilated body of Donald Hyden, a 15-year-old from Hollywood, was discovered in a dumpster. His throat had been slashed, and he had been strangled and raped. The same fate met seventeen-year-old David Murillo, who disappeared on September 9 while he was on his way to the movies. Three days later, his body was found, sodomized and mutilated.

A number of the dead, like James McCabe, were just kids. Twelve-year-old McCabe was waiting for a bus to take him to Disneyland in March 1980, when he was snatched, bludgeoned, strangled and tossed in the trash. The majority of Bonin’s victims had been sexually assaulted and were strangled with their own T-shirts, with the killer using a metal bar to tighten it around their necks.

Bonin’s body count continued to rise until police found one of his accomplices—William Pugh, who confessed to allegedly only witnessing the murders. Following his statements, the police quickly placed Bonin under surveillance.

On June 11, 1980, Bonin set out in his van, stopping to talk to five young men along the way. Finally, one young man accepted a ride. Police caught Bonin in the act of sodomizing the 15-year-old victim. They found a length of white nylon cord, several knives, and a thick scrapbook of clips about the “Freeway Killer” in his van.

He went to trial on Nov. 4, 1981 and was sentenced to death. Bonin made history as the first person to die by lethal injection in California.

On his final day, Bonin spent this time with his friends and in the late afternoon, he was escorted into the death watch cell. For his last meal, Bonin requested two large pepperoni and sausage pizzas, three pints of coffee ice cream and three six-packs of regular Coca-Cola. During the evening, Bonin was visited by the warden and the Catholic chaplain.

His last words were:

“That I feel the death penalty is not an answer to the problems at hand. That I feel it sends the wrong message to the youth of the country. Young people act as they see other people acting instead of as people tell them to act. And I would suggest that when a person has a thought of doing anything serious against the law, that before they did, that they should go to a quiet place and think about it seriously.”

Bonin was executed on Feb. 23. 1996.

As for his accomplices, two of them died, with Vernon Butts hanging himself while awaiting trial and Gregory Miley succumbing to injuries from an attack in prison. For taking part in one of Bonin’s killings, James Munro is currently serving 15-years to life for second-degree murder. However, William Pugh was sentenced to six years for voluntary manslaughter and was freed from prison after serving only four.


A series of unexplained incidents took place in the early 19th century at the Chase Vault, in the cemetery of the Christ Church in Oistins, Barbados. Each time the vault was opened to bury a family member, all coffins but one had changed position.

When this had happened several times without explanation over a number of years, the vault was eventually abandoned. The vault, located about seven miles from Bridgetown, was a large structure built for the Chase family and their close friends. The vault was built roughly half above and half below the ground, which allowed for some degree of protection from the elements.

The first placed inside the vault was Mrs. Thomasina Goddard, in a simple wooden coffin built in July 1807. Two year old Mary Ann Chase was placed in the vault the very next year. The older sister of Mary Ann, Dorcas Chase, was put into the vault on July 6, 1812. Some claim that Dorcas starved herself after she was forced into depression by her father.

A few weeks later her father, Thomas Chase, died and was to be placed into the vault. Legend says that Thomas was one of the most hated men in Barbados.

When the Chase Vault was open for the burial of Thomas Chase, the eight pallbearers who carried Chase’s coffin down into the vault were the first to notice that the two lead coffins already in the tomb were not where they had been left a month earlier. Mary Ann’s coffin was lying upside-down in the opposite corner from where it had been placed.

The workers returned the coffins to their side-by-side positions and left that of Thomas Chase next to them. The smaller coffin of Mary Ann was placed on top of one of the larger ones. After the crypt was resealed with its heavy marble door, a curious murmuring started amongst the Bajans.

The mourners soon resolved to place the blame on the slaves who had assisted in the burials. The alleged cruelty of Thomas Chase toward his servants offered an easy revenge motive. The case apparently having been solved, the crypt remained undisturbed for four more years.

On September 25, 1816, the vault was opened for the burial of eleven year old Charles Brewster Ames. As with the previous time the vault was opened, each of the coffins were misplaced and thrown about, including the two hundred forty pound coffin of Thomas. The vault was put back in order and resealed.

Fifty two days later, Samuel Brewster was to be buried inside the Chase Vault. This time, a large group of witnesses crowded around the vault, looking for the mystery to continue. The slab of stone, which covered the door, was carefully examined. No defects were found, and the vault was opened. The vault was once again found in disarray. Mrs. Goddard’s coffin, the only wooden one placed in the vault, was badly damaged, and was later wrapped in wire to keep it together.

Several investigators, including the Reverend Thomas Oderson, examined the vault. Nothing could be found that would indicate a cause for the strange happenings, so the vault was once again cleaned and sealed.

On July 17, 1819 the vault was once again opened, and once again the vault was found to be in disorder. The only coffin untouched was the wooden, and fragile, one of Mrs. Goddard’s. This time, the governor of the island, Lord Combermere ordered his own professional investigation. The entire vault was looked over, and nothing strange could be found.

The coffins were restacked with Mrs. Goddard’s wooden coffin being stacked against a wall, as it was so frail. Sand was placed on the floor to catch the footprints of the perpetrators. The vault was then re-closed, and personal seals of the governor were placed on concrete. Everyone of the island awaited the next reopening.

The next opening of the vault was not for a burial, but for the governors curiosity. On April 18, 1820 the governor and several friends traveled to the vault and found his seal unbroken. When the vault was opened, however, it was found that the coffins were in disarray; some even flipped upside down! The sand revealed no footprints.

After this incident, the vault was abandoned, and the coffins were buried elsewhere. The vault still exists today at Christ Church Parish Church, and is still vacant.


“This is a story that is absolutely true and happened right here in New York. It is about a rooster that had his head cut off and continued to crow for days afterwards.

A brother-in law of mine living in the upper Bronx occupied a five-room, one-family house. At the rear of his garden, he had erected a chicken coop and a long runway for the chickens to exercise. He had 40 chickens, including a magnificent specimen of a rooster which stood nearly two feet in height. And how that boy could crow!

This brother-in-law of mine was a taxicab driver. He arose every morning at 4 a.m. and left the house at 5:00 to be at work by 6:00. He retired to bed every night at 9:00 p.m. The only trouble was that he could not secure a night’s unbroken sleep due to the crowing of the rooster. He complained to his wife, saying ‘That rooster’s got to go!’

A few days afterwards, upon his return from a hard day’s work, my brother-in-law took an axe, grabbed the rooster, and severed its head! The rooster ran around headless for a while and then collapsed. ‘Chicken Fricassee’ didn’t taste bad that evening for supper.

The next night, my brother-in-law was awakened in the early hours by a crowing sound. He was not sure, so he listened again. There it was, the rooster was still crowing. He knew that he was not dreaming because the crowing repeated while he lay in his bed.

Not wishing to alarm his wife, he told her nothing about his experience in the night. He went to sleep again the next night and, sure enough, the rooster woke him up again. He wanted to tell his wife, but, knowing how Irish and superstitious she was, he kept the knowledge to himself.

However, the third night was too much for him. He was beginning to got nervous. All he knew, and was sure of, was THAT HE HAD KILLED THAT DARNED ROOSTER! And being over 21, he had sense enough to know that dead roosters CAN’T crow. He had had only one rooster at the time. He now had one. So where was the crowing coming from?

He hit upon a plan. He got up and dressed and, taking a flashlight and an axe with him, went out into the light and down to the chicken coop. He placed his hand on the wire mesh enclosing the runway and waited. He wasn’t disappointed. Sure enough, there it was, and right inside the coop: ‘COCK-A-DOODLE-DO’!

He almost dropped the axe, but gathering his courage (or what was left of it), he rushed to the coop, tore open the door, and looked in. There were the chickens all asleep, huddled up close to each other, but no rooster. He closed the door quickly and bolted for the house. When he was safely inside he woke his wife up and told her the story.

His wife looked at him to see if he had been drinking and said, ‘Are ye losin’ ye’re senses? Ye know that ye killed that rooster three days ago and that we ate him. Now hold ye’re whisht and get back into bed. Waking a body up with such a fool tale as that, G’wan, go back to sleep.’

He tried to convince her, but it was no use. Suddenly the rooster crowed again and she sat up in bed.

‘There ye are, There ye are,” said the brother-in-law. “See, am I lyin’? Ye hear it ye’re-self, dont ye?’

He wife crossed herself and said, ‘Glory be to God’. He’s come back to haunt us. Oh, what’ll we do, what’ll we do’?

‘I’m goin’ to go right down again, and if I have to kill every one of them damned fowl I’ll get to the bottom av this’, my brother-in-law said. And away he went.

He went straight to the coop once more, opened the door, and going inside, closed the door after him. He put his flashlight out and waited.

Suddenly the ‘Cock-a-doodle-do’ came again, and he put the light on. What did he see? He couldn’t believe his eyes. ONE OF THE CHICKENS was crowing.

‘Oh’ said he. ‘That’s it, is it?’ He took his handkerchief out of his back pocket and, tying it around the legs of the culprit, slammed the door. When he reached his wife, he told her that he had solved the situation and explained what he had discovered.

He killed the chicken the next evening when he came home from work. And the peculiar thing about it was, that when be cleaned the chicken, he discovered a three-inch long nail right through the gizzard. Figure it out for yourself. However, he got his sleep after that and that ends the story.”


Thanks for listening. If you like the show, please share it with someone you know who loves the paranormal or strange stories, true crime, monsters, or unsolved mysteries like you do! And please leave a rating and review of the show in the podcast app you listen from! You can email me anytime with your questions or comments at darren@weirddarkness.com. WeirdDarkness.com is also where you can find all of my social media, listen to audiobooks I’ve narrated, shop the Weird Darkness store, sign up for monthly contests, find other podcasts that I host, and find the Hope in the Darkness page if you or someone you know is struggling with depression or dark thoughts.

And please consider giving towards our Overcoming The Darkness fundraiser, where every dollar you give will be donated to organizations that help people who struggle with depression. The fundraiser ends Halloween Night after the LIVE SCREAM, so please give today. Visit the Hope in the Darkness page at WeirdDarkness.com for more information.

Also on WeirdDarkness.com, 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 in Weird Darkness are purported to be true (unless stated otherwise) and you can find source links or links to the authors in the show notes.

“Aliens: Us From a Future Time?” by Nick Redfern for Mysterious Universe
“My Many Ghostly Encounters” by J.D. Buffington from his Circus Sized blog
“The Real Life Events That Inspired ‘The Changeling’” by Orrin Grey for The Line Up
“The Forgotten Epidemic” by Troy Taylor
“Comfort At The Comet Inn” by Jubelee from YourGhostStories.com
“California’s Freeway Prowler” by Giselle Ruiz from All That’s Interesting
“The Chase Vault” from Ghost-Story.co.uk
“Cock-a-Doodle BOO!” by James McGuinness
“People Are Vanishing Into Thin Air In Our National Parks” by an unknown author

Again, you can find links to the stories in the show notes.

WeirdDarkness™ – is a production and trademark of Marlar House Productions. Copyright, Weird Darkness, 2022.

Now that we’re coming out of the dark, I’ll leave you with a little light… “He who guards his lips guards his life, but he who speaks rashly will come to ruin.” — Proverbs 13:3 

And a final thought… “We are all not in the same BOAT. We are in the same STORM. Some have YACHTS, some have CANOES, and some are DROWNING. Just be kind and help when you can.” – Damien Barr

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

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