“CRASHED SAUCERS AND DEAD ALIENS IN ENGLAND” and More! #WeirdDarkness
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IN THIS EPISODE: Claims of dead aliens being hidden in secret locations are a staple of UFO lore – even in the United Kingdom. But can those stories be believed? (Crashed Saucers and Dead Aliens in the U.K.) *** Falling in love is a beautiful thing – unless doing so sparks a murder spree. If BJ and Erika had never met, several people would still be alive today. (A Match Made in Hell) *** (Originally aired November 06, 2020)
SOURCES AND REFERENCES FROM THE EPISODE…
BOOK: “The Roswell UFO Conspiracy” by Nick Redfern: https://amzn.to/3p3oxFd
DOCUMENT: “Marilyn Monroe, Killgallen, and UFO’s”: https://amzn.to/2JG8ddb
BOOK: “Alien Investigator” by Tony Dodd: https://amzn.to/3oYkeea
BOOK: “The Rendlesham Forest UFO Conspiracy” by Nick Redfern: https://amzn.to/2TYe1ki
BOOK: “The Djinn Connection” by Rosemary Ellen Guiley: https://amzn.to/2GF0HOK
BOOK: “1001 Arabian Nights”: https://amzn.to/352xNkX
BOOK: “Cruel Death” by M. William Phelps: https://amzn.to/2I9UkmP
EPISODE: “Alien Races That Have Contacted Earth”: https://weirddarkness.tiny.us/2p8k7b5z
“Are Dead Extraterrestrials Being Hidden In The UK?” by Nick Redfern for Mysterious Universe: https://tinyurl.com/y6hjj4ym, https://tinyurl.com/yyh2vz3g, https://tinyurl.com/y3udzkco
“A Match Made In Hell” by Kieran W. for Mystery Confidential: https://tinyurl.com/y6qsw8vl
“The Alien” (fictional story) by Jayashree Jayapaul, rewritten by Darren Marlar: https://tinyurl.com/yyv59dtx
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Paranormality Magazine: https://weirddarkness.tiny.us/paranormalitymag
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INTRODUCTION: THE ALIEN (SHORT STORY)==========
It was a cold day in June. I hurried home after my shopping which had left my spirit high and wallet empty. It was dark, the shadows overlaying each other as I drove down my street and into the driveway. It was chilly and I was very hungry having resisted the junk food and ice cream stores on the way home. Somehow the mounting hunger made me irritable on the way home.
Just as I stepped out of the car, a sudden dazzle hit my eye. A torrent of light had capsized upon the house and I felt the glow of a thousand suns cascading upon me. The glaring white blinded my eyes. I dropped the shopping tote bags around me and shielded my eyes from the deluge. I stood still panic stricken.
Looking up I saw a fascinating sight – once the bright flash had gone, there, crashed in the field opposite my house was a UFO. It was an exact replica of the ones in comic books and fiction movies, so I couldn’t possibly have mistaken it for anything else. And sure enough my eyes wandered around the craft to see if any aliens emerged.
At the same instant I felt a tug at my pants leg. I was wonder struck at the sight of an alien, very humanoid in appearance. And of course he was sea green, as they were always portrayed, and he stood there with his strange enormous eyes straining to see me, eyelids fluttering as though he were myopic. His eyes were watery with rainbow shades floating in them very strangely, and I felt magnetized. He wore what appeared to be a glowing silver metal helmet – but heck, that might have actually been his head for all I knew. The inevitable antenna (like the two tentacles found on the head of a snail) glimmered and shone in florescent shades of green and red as though they were traffic lights. Somehow my fascination overcame my fear and I just kept staring at this little intruder of my world.
His head was mango shaped and his mouth widened and contracted on and off in a perpetual grin that stretched wide to right behind his head. I was somewhat relieved he wasn’t scaly, like some of them lizard people from the comic books. I’m not sure where the courage came from, but I found myself nervously speaking out loud… “Hello.”
The alien nodded as though in acknowledgement, but not really. He was constantly nodding even when I hadn’t spoken to him. Since he seemed to be of a congenial temperament I grew braver and extended my hospitality by asking him if he needed food. He grinned and nodded, but then, he was always doing that so I doubted he understood me.
I softly tapped him in the stomach to indicate “food in belly” but was surprised to find his stomach sounded very metallic though it didn’t look it. It was almost a metal drum sound. Unfazed, still he repeated the grin and nod.
By now I was kind of enjoying this strange encounter, concluding he wasn’t harmful, and I really wished to communicate with him. I was afraid he might take off abruptly, as it always happened in movies I had seen. I tapped his tummy again and said, “Food?” I made a chomping sound as if I was munching away. Grin, nod. Grin, nod.
“Drink?” And I made a gulping sound.
He stared bewildered, the rainbow hues swirling wildly in his eyes. I was transfixed at the sight, for it was a truly spectacular sight. I picked up a sparkling water I’d picked up while shopping from one of my bags and opened it. I offered this to my alien friend.
Grin, nod. Grin, nod.
So I tried a small bag of nuts I had in my breast pocket. Then a stick of gum. Nothing but grinning and nodding.
Words like fridge, lunch, or rice made absolutely no sense to him.
When I next tapped his tummy I heard some static sounds as though he were a goofed up radio. A few beeps followed and the antenna on his metal head flashed tiny lights.
I just stood there asking myself if I was having a psychotic episode. Or was it a psychic episode? Have I turned paranormal?
The brightly lit UFO appeared to have crashed in the field beyond – and like all the UFOs I’d seen in movies, it’s lights dimmed and it just sat there like an enormous dark shadow in the background. A few serial lights flashed on and off to remind us of its presence.
I gestured for my friend to come into the house. I took few steps forward and began climbing the few stairs that led from my driveway to the porch. I was amazed and happy to find the alien had grabbed onto one of the tote bag handles as I had lifted them to take them inside. He slid in with me and floated up the stairs. His every move fascinated me. I just had to slow down and watch his every move. I couldn’t understand how he mobilized without legs or feet.
However, he stopped moving once we were on the porch. He turned himself to face his space craft and emanated a few of his beeps and static sounds. I heard a soft crackle from the craft in answer.
The alien turned around a full circle, grinning and nodding non-stop, and looked me straight in the eye. Two pinpoints of light, like keen daggers pierced mine. He then did to me what I had done. He prodded my stomach with his spindly fingers a few times and let off more static sounds. He then turned towards the space craft, floated down the three stairs as though he were a spirit, and swish, disappeared into the spacecraft. More lights. More beeps. More crackling sounds. A big woosh. And I was left there on my porch, alone with my thoughts and thoroughly perplexed. Our close encounter had been less than two minutes, but upon his disappearing I found myself feeling his absence – I actually missed him. Her. It.
I wandered into my house like a zombie, and looked out the window to see a tiny spot twirl and vanish like it always did in my books. That’s when I passed out.
I woke up later in a hospital bed. My nurse gave me my breakfast, but hunger evaded me. I had lost all appetite. I asked about my alien – you can imagine what kind of reaction that received. They gave me a pill to make me doze off again. When I woke up the second time I still felt no hunger and refused all food. Everyone was worried because I hadn’t eaten for three days. Then four. Then five.
“Six” said someone.
“Seven!” said someone else.
“Eight!” said my wife loudly. And then I awoke. This time for real. It was eight in the morning, I’d overslept, and here I was missing an extraterrestrial friend whom in reality I’d never met and never existed. And I still had to go shopping.
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…
Falling in love is a beautiful thing – unless doing so sparks a murder spree. If BJ and Erika had never met, several people would still be alive today. (A Match Made in Hell)
Claims of dead aliens being hidden in secret locations are a staple of UFO lore – even in the United Kingdom. But can those stories be believed? (Crashed Saucers and Dead Aliens in the U.K.)
If you’re new here, welcome to the show! While you’re listening, be sure to check out WeirdDarkness.com for merchandise, to visit sponsors you hear about during the show, sign up for my newsletter, enter contests, connect with me on social media, plus, you can visit the Hope in the Darkness page if you’re struggling with depression or dark thoughts. You can find all of that and more at WeirdDarkness.com.
Now.. bolt your doors, lock your windows, turn off your lights, and come with me into the Weird Darkness!
STORY: CRASHED SAUCERS AND DEAD ALIENS IN THE U.K.=====
A few days ago we looked at several supposed cases of crashed alien spacecraft and how they probably were not actually extraterrestrial in origin. The article was written by Nick Redfern, and this episode he’s back to tackle the subject of supposed dead extraterrestrials being hidden in the United Kingdom.
That was the question put to Nick Redfern in late October 2020 while doing a radio interview. He admits he’s probably not the best person to give a positive response on that same question. After all, he’s written books on the Roswell affair of July 1947, one titled “The Roswell UFO Conspiracy” which show why aliens didn’t crash on the Foster Ranch, Lincoln County, New Mexico. (I’ll place a link to the book in the show notes).
Up until around 2001, Redfern was a true believer in Roswell. That soon changed, however – and to a significant degree. His view is that if Roswell – the most credible “UFO crash” case for many – turns out not to have alien origins, then what chance is there for the other, lesser credible cases? He says with all assurance though that there are claims of dead aliens on ice in well-guarded facilities in the U.K., but we need far more than mere claims. Right now, though, that’s all we have. I’ll begin with a strange story that dates back decades and that involved a famous journalist who died under controversial circumstances.
Dorothy Kilgallen was an investigative journalist who died in 1965 – when she was doing extensive research into the JFK assassination of November 22, 1963. It’s the 1950s we need to focus on, however. While on vacation in 1955, Kilgallen and her husband, Richard Kollmar, went on holiday to England. While there, she heard a fantastic story. In Kilgallen’s own words penned at the time: “I can report today on a story which is positively spooky, not to mention chilling. British scientists and airmen, after examining the wreckage of one mysterious flying ship, are convinced these strange aerial objects are not optical illusions or Soviet inventions, but are flying saucers which originate on another planet. The source of my information is a British official of cabinet rank who prefers to remain unidentified.” Kilgallen had more to say. She quoted her source as telling her:
“We believe, on the basis of our inquiry thus far, that the saucers were staffed by small men – probably under four feet tall. It’s frightening, but there’s no denying the flying saucers come from another planet.”
Kilgallen had more: “This official quoted scientists as saying a flying ship of this type could not have possibly been constructed on Earth. The British Government, I learned, is withholding an official report on the ‘flying saucer’ examination at this time, possibly because it does not wish to frighten the public. When my husband and I arrived here from a brief vacation, I had no premonition that I would be catapulting myself into the controversy over whether flying saucers are real or imaginary.”
It’s important to note that Kilgallen’s informant said the alleged aliens that flew the crashed UFO were “probably under four feet tall.” The word “probably” implies that even if the U.K. government did have a crashed saucer, they didn’t actually have dead aliens on ice. And that’s where the story ends (aside from the highly controversial “Marilyn Monroe, Kilgallen and UFOs” document that surfaced publicly in the mid-1990s). If you want to see that document I’ve linked to it in the show notes.
Now, let’s take a look at the second case Redfern has on record. I should clarify that he has more than two. The problem is that the additional twelve cases are so vague – and of a typical friend-of-a-friend-type – that they are barely worth addressing. There is, however, one case (a notorious one, to say the least) worth looking at. It all went down (quite literally, perhaps) on the night of January 23, 1974 on the Berwyn Mountains, North Wales. Depending on who you ask, what happened was the crash of a UFO and its crew, a secret military experiment, an earthquake that occurred at the same time as a meteor shower, or sightings of what have become known in Ufology and Forteana as “ghost lights.” But, what about the “dead aliens” angle to all of this? Let’s have a look.
In 1996, an alleged military whistle-blower came forward, claiming that aliens had crashed on the Berwyn Mountains back in January 1974. The pummeled bodies of the dead crew were said to have been secretly rushed to Porton Down (a secure facility in the southwest of England that has worked in the fields of chemical warfare, biological warfare, and hallucinogens), for hasty examination and even hastier preservation. As is so typically often the case in such situations, the source of all this chose not to provide his name to the UFO research community of the day. Instead, he preferred to lurk in the darkness, shrouded in mystery and intrigue. He shared his story only with the late Tony Dodd, who was a North Yorkshire police sergeant and UFO investigator, in the book “Alien Investigator” (which I’ve linked to in the show notes). Dodd chose to give his talkative soldier the alias of “James Prescott,” who was said by Dodd to have been long-retired from the British Army. There’s no doubt that something happened on that night in January 1974. And there’s also no doubt that the Prescott story fired up the U.K.-based UFO research community of that time (1996). That was the very same time when an X-Files-type “I want to believe” fever still had a grip on Ufology. You only have to look at the names of all the glossy, UFO-themed newsstand magazines that hastily hit the newsstands in that era, such as Alien Encounters, Sightings, UFO Reality, The X-Factor, Enigma, UFO Magazine and…the list goes on. All of those magazines are long gone.
I remember very well the debate and controversy surrounding the Prescott claims in the 1990s. Some UFO investigators were intrigued by it. Others were amazed by it. The fact is, though, that all we have now is all we had back then: an unknown source (with a faked name), and a UFO researcher – the aforementioned Tony Dodd – who stubbornly refused to reveal the real name of his informer, even though he could. For some in Ufology, that might be enough to make a case. It’s not enough for Nick Redfern, though, and it shouldn’t be enough for you, either. Of course, no one can never say for sure there aren’t any dead alien bodies hidden away in a well-protected underground bunker below the U.K. countryside. On the basis of the “evidence” that we have right now, however, we need way more before we can even come close to making such a definitive statement.
Another case dates back to the mid-1960s. Christmas was looming in December 1965 when one Kenneth Reese – in the early hours of the morning – hastily told both the U.K. Ministry of Defense and the Royal Air Force that he saw a bright, globe-like object descend into a valley near Ruthin, North Wales. Notably, the Royal Air Force’s records show that Reese said the light fell at an extremely slow pace, which is particularly intriguing and effectively rules “it” out as having been a meteorite. Reese watched (amazed) the thing for a handful of minutes. Then, suddenly, and quite out of the blue, it exploded in the valley, leaving nothing behind. The mystery remained exactly that: a mystery.
Long-time UFO investigator/author Jenny Randles told an interesting story in issue 152 of her magazine, Northern UFO News. The time? Some point in 1991. The location: the county of Staffordshire. The source was only referred to by Randles as “M.L.” He or she said they encountered something that was silvery, only about ten-feet-long, and not unlike a missile. We might very well suggest that a missile was exactly what it was – perhaps, even, one that had fallen from a military plane. If that was the case, then there’s no doubt that a near-calamity like that would have been hastily hidden. Intriguingly, only a day later a significant depression was found in the immediate area. Like so many cases of the “crashed” type, this one was not cleared up. Not to the public, at least. Moving on to 1994, it was time for the people of the village of Church Lench (near the U.K.’s Cotswolds) to encounter something which fell from the skies. “Barrel”-like was how the locals described the object from the skies. In no time at all, the military had descended on the scene. Not only that, a cordon was put into place, ensuring that no-one without clearance had any chance of figuring out what the hell was going on. The U.K.’s Royal Navy were having their share of the investigation, too. In fact, there was more than that: within the area there were rumors that the Navy had quickly scooped up the unknown thing and headed off for…well…who knows where? Not us!
It should be noted that the 1965 case can be found in the now-declassified UFO files that the U.K.’s Ministry of Defense quietly put together for years – and that are now in the public domain. Before getting too excited, however, it should be noted that for the Ministry of Defense, the word “UFO” meant literally what it was: something in the sky that had not been identified – not necessarily a flying saucer or an extraterrestrial craft. Just some object in the sky that nobody had figured out what it was yet. It’s very clear from the available material that the Ministry was not thinking of a Roswell-type affair. Of course, it’s all but impossible to say there haven’t been any UFO crashes in the U.K. (and by that I mean the crash of spacecraft from other worlds). But, we need to understand that just because the Ministry of Defense had (and still has) files on UFOs is very different to saying they had the remains of small creatures with large, black eyes from a world far away.
It’s pretty inevitable that if you have been involved in subjects like UFOs, Cryptozoology and conspiracy-theorizing for a long time, as Nick Redfern has, your thoughts, beliefs and conclusions are going to alter – whether to a mild degree or to a significant degree. For example, had someone said to Redfern when he was twenty that by the time he was in his thirties he would have totally dismissed the theory that aliens crashed outside of Roswell, New Mexico in early July 1947, he would have laughed. Or, just outright dismissed them. But, the fact is he did change his mind. Very much the same goes for his opinion of the Rendlesham Forest “UFO landing” of December 1980. In early 2020 Redfern wrote a book titled The Rendlesham Forest UFO Conspiracy (which I’ve linked to in the show notes.) It presents a controversial scenario. Namely, that nothing of an extraterrestrial nature occurred there at all. Rather, that it was a series of secret, military experiments.
And now, we move on to what Nick Redfern believes is the ultimate example of mind-changing in the world of UFOs. It’s a story that revolves around a man named Gordon Creighton.
For years, Creighton was the editor of the once-very-popular magazine, Flying Saucer Review. When he passed away in 2003, none other than the U.K.’s Times newspaper ran an obituary on the man himself. An extract from that same obituary reveals the following:
“Government service occupied most of the working life of Gordon Creighton, but he perhaps made his greatest mark as an authority on unidentified flying objects. His conviction that extraterrestrials were visiting Earth seemed oddly at variance with the more orthodox worlds of diplomacy and Whitehall. His expertise took him into government research on maps in oriental and other languages with the Permanent Committee on Geographical Names, and he spent eight years as an intelligence officer on Russian and Chinese affairs at the Ministry of Defense. It is said that in the intelligence post he worked directly below the secret Whitehall department where the Air Ministry and the RAF were studying information on UFOs.”
Like so many people who got into the UFO subject in the late 1940s and early 1950s, Creighton strongly believed that the Flying Saucer phenomenon was the result of visitations to the Earth by extraterrestrials from faraway worlds. It should be noted, however, that over time Creighton’s views on the overall mystery began to change. By the latter part of the 1970s, it was very clear to his colleagues that Creighton was edging away from the extraterrestrial theory and towards something very different. And, what might that “something” be? Well, I’ll tell you. None other than the Middle Eastern Djinn. The late Rosemary Ellen Guiley was an acknowledged expert in the field of the Djinn – her book “The Djinn Connection” is apparently a collector’s item as it lists for hundreds of dollars online. (I’ve linked to it in the show notes if you want to take a look). In her book, Rosemary said: “In Arabian lore, djinn (also spelled jinn) are a race of supernaturally empowered beings who have the ability to intervene in the affairs of people. Like the Greek daimones, djinn are self-propagating and can be either good or evil. They can be conjured in magical rites to perform various tasks and services. A djinni (the singular of djinn) appears as a wish-granting ‘genie’ in folk tales such as in “The Book of 1001 (Arabian) Nights” collection of folk tales.”
Rosemary added: “In Western lore djinn are sometimes equated with demons, but they are not the same. They are often portrayed as having a demonic-like appearance, but they can also appear in beautiful, seductive forms. The djinn are masterful shape-shifters, and their favored forms are snakes and black dogs. They also can masquerade as anything: humans, animals, ghosts, cryptids, and other entities such as extraterrestrials, demons, shadow people, fairies, angels and more.”
Rosemary offered more on the Djinn: “They are born of smokeless fire (which in modern terms could be labeled as plasma). They live very long lives but they are not immortal. According to some accounts, they live with other supernatural beings in the Kaf, a mythical range of emerald mountains that encircles the Earth. In modern terms, they live in a parallel dimension.”
For Creighton, all of that amounted to a major change of mind: from aliens to Djinn. And no looking back.
When Weird Darkness returns… Falling in love is a beautiful thing – unless doing so sparks a murder spree. If BJ and Erika had never met, several people would still be alive today. That story is up next.
STORY: A MATCH MADE IN HELL=====
BJ was a thuggish, violent, ill-tempered bully while Erika was a highly strung, compulsive nervous wreck riddled with anxiety. There is an argument made in Phelps’ book that if these two had never met, they may never had descended into the chaotic and murderous events that would eventually get them locked up. It would seem that the love that these two had for one another was a ticking time bomb just waiting to explode on the unfortunate souls that they would encounter in their search for the ultimate thrill.
It was a week of murder and robbery for this married couple that would ultimately lead to their eventual arrest, trial and sentencing — because of the gravity of their crimes Erika and BJ deserve to rot in their jail cell forever. So, it is extremely upsetting to hear that, at the time of this recording, there is consideration underway to release BJ from Roxbury Correctional Institution.
It all happened within the vacation getaway of Ocean City, Maryland during the summer of 2002 but the seeds of the crime originally go back to when Erika and BJ married in 1998; both of them were aged 20. It was a whirlwind romance where they married within a few months of first meeting.
Erika didn’t fit the mould of your typical spree killer. She was an honours student in high school and she was totally infatuated with basketball. An obsessive type of person; Erika was known to spend her entire day practicing her free-throws. She was a basketball star at Mary Washington College and one of the brightest in her class. According to M. William Phelps in his book “Cruel Death” (which I’ve placed a link to in the show notes:
“As a kid in Roaring Spring, Erika Grace [maiden name] was well-liked and thought of as someone who had been given things others were never going to get… every opportunity was handed to her.”
Benjamin Sifrit had graduated training as a NAVY SEAL but was later discharged for bad conduct before he actually managed to become a SEAL. Sifrit had a string of strikes to his name while in the service including repeatedly being absent without leave, insubordination and wearing unauthorised insignia. BJ had a “love” of Hitler, as described by Erika. He had a swastika tattooed on his chest and Erika had told the police during her interview that they “both agreed with his beliefs”. As well as the Nazi obsession BJ had a number of other strange or eccentric interests which included a love for exotic snakes, a mutual obsession with Hooters paraphernalia (stealing as much tat from Hooters as they could whenever they visited the joints). BJ was a thrill seeker that was always on the prowl for the ultimate buzz — after all — what is a bigger buzz than murder?
BJ was extremely hot-headed (as shown in his military record) and Erika had issues of co-dependency, jealousy and what would appear to be obsessive compulsive behaviour (Erika was easily frazzled when something seemingly small was out of place). But these issues were boiling on the inside. On the outside; the couple appeared to be a fun-loving and happy go-lucky young couple. They were seemingly two good looking, intelligent and athletic Americans that enjoy drinking, vacations and partying. And it was this outer appearance that snagged Martha Crutchley and Joshua Ford into their murderous web. They were charmed by what had appeared on the outside, while on the inside — something much much darker lurked — two hearts of darkness.
Erika worked hard during early married life. She had her own scrapbook store which her parents set up for her and worked her butt off to please BJ. During the early years of their marriage Erika was infatuated with BJ — the same way she was infatuated with basketball. Erika had an obsessive personality, clinging to whatever she could with a vice like grip. The warning signs into her husband’s psyche were there for any reasonable thinking woman to see of course; Erika just chose not to see it. BJ had a swastika tattoo. He had snakes that he named Bonnie & Clyde, Hitler and HIV. He was a frequent drug and alcohol taker and Erika confided to a friend early in the relationship that she often saw BJ stealing.
Erika had her own disorders of course. It was said that she had a habit of checking that the upper door was locked 9 times and the lower door was locked 12 times every morning. Erika would spend a great deal of her morning twisting the lock over and over and over again to ensure it was locked. BJ had picked up on these habits and would use them against Erika. He would purposely wait for Erika to get to work and with the intention of ruining her day, while she was at work BJ would call and ask her: “Are you sure you locked the door? I think the door might be open… maybe the oven is on too.” It was surely a case of gas-lighting where BJ was trying to ensure he had a psychological grip on the fragile and highly strung Erika.
As Phelps said about the couple in his book “Cruel Death” (which I’ve linked to in the show notes):
“Erika’s hang-ups fuelled the passively sinister character stirring in BJ during the early stages of their marriage. For one, there is no doubt that BJ Sifrit had a death wish….”
As Erika drifted further from her friends and parents, BJ became more abusive towards Erika. Targeting her confidence with comments about her weight, her hair and [according to Erika]: “purposely moulding me into someone that other men would not find attractive.”
On top of this, BJ engaged in reckless behaviour including racially antagonising people that he came into contact with. BJ was also prone to shooting his .357 Magnum out the window of Erika’s ride at the passing road-signs.
The night started pleasantly for the vacationers. Ford and Crutchley had met the Sifrits on a bus heading towards “Seacrets” Nightclub (pun intentional). Ford had offered to pay for the Sifrits’ bus fare and the two couples spent time at the club together drinking all night. The couples went back to the beautiful rented condo in Ocean City, Maryland to talk and carry on partying.
The dynamic of the night changed when Erika accused the couple of stealing her purse. The tension seemed to rise and rise within the small complex until BJ eventually pulled a gun on the couple, asked them to strip naked and they then retreated into the bathroom (with BJ locking the door after them). BJ unloaded the gun into the door and then smashed the door off his hinges. It was horror movie stuff.
The death scene was vicious. Not just for the actual execution of the friendly and amiable mortgage and insurance brokers but also because of the rising sense of fear and humiliation they must have felt in the build up.
BJ allegedly asked them as they stood naked in front of him: “Do you want to die?” As Erika would later explain to prosecutors; she knew from the moment that BJ started barking orders that the couple were doomed to die and what did she do about it? Nothing…
Joshua was the same as BJ in one respect — a military man — but that is about as far as it goes. Joshua had travelled as far as Korea, had a black belt in Karate and yet never felt the need to flaunt or brag about his toughness. Joshua had tried to ask BJ why he was doing this and tried to calm the situation down without the need for violence — it was typical of his gentle character.
Joshua had been honourably discharged from the military in stark contrast to BJ’s disgraced exit from the services. What was taking place in that condo was a story of pure evil colliding with two people of genuinely good character — Joshua and Martha.
Martha had then grabbed Erika and began pleading for her life crying that she didn’t steal from the Sifrits. BJ locked the couple in the bathroom, pondered on what to do next and then decided to shoot Joshua four times. Martha was then stabbed to death and the bodies were dumped on Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. However; it wasn’t as clean as just that… There was more to the tale that doesn’t even deserve going into detail. What the couple did to the bodies after death is an abhorrent sin to the sanctity of the body, which included acts of cutting, sawing and necrophilia — true depravity. It should again be stressed and this point that these two should never ever ever see the light of day for the rest of their natural lives.
Clearly still buzzing from the murders; they then went and burglarized a Hooters restaurant — this robbery occurring on the 31st May 2002. They were then caught in the act of the robbery and the police were stunned to find that they were linked to the recent disappearances of Ford and Crutchley.
When police searched Erika’s purse they found the driving licenses belong to their victims. Erika confessed immediately to the murders and pinned the blame all on BJ as soon as she could — without hesitation. Perhaps more cunning and wiser than Erika, BJ had stayed silent — only disclosing to the police what he felt was necessary.
At trial the two tried to blame each other for the murders. BJ maintained that he was asleep in the car during the murders and was disgusted to stumble upon the “horrific” scene, while conceding that the dismemberment of the bodies was his idea. There was a key witness in this case however that would put the nail in the Sifrit coffin. It would appear that another couple had a similar experience in Ocean City with the Sifrits just days after the first murder and were lucky enough to live to tell the tale. It again occurred after meeting at Seacrets (Justin met the couple there).
Melissa Selling and Justin Wright described the “living nightmare” of their night partying with the Sifrits. At the same condo where the first murders took place and just a couple days after the first incident, the new couple were invited back for a nightcap. It just seemed another normal party night in Ocean City for Melissa and Justin at first. While in the bathroom however, Melissa had noticed the way the door had been taken off the hinges and the small holes in the bathroom door (which she later realised were bullet holes). This and BJ’s general hostile demeanour had filled her with a sense of frightened dread and a need to get the hell out of there.
Erika then began the hysterics and again claimed that her purse was missing. BJ resorted once again to brandishing his gun and talking of “ridding the world of bad people”. BJ bragged about the previous murders to Melissa. For some reason; things then just simmered down this time around and BJ went from hot back to cold and began rolling a joint and laughing with Justin.
When BJ and Erika went to the bedroom to have sex, Melissa left the ‘party’ as soon as she could and drove home. Not long later making her way home she received a call from Justin and she drove back to pick him up from outside the condo — telling him: “I’m not going back up there”. It was Melissa’s testimony that was vital in convicting the pair.
BJ was lucky enough to only receive a conviction for second degree murder with the eligibility for parole in 2021. The detective on the case Detective Bernal has vowed to make sure that BJ serves every day of the 38-year term, stating: “I’ll be at every parole hearing even if I’m retired… I’ll make sure to bring the autopsy pictures.” Amazingly; Benjamin Sifrit was acquitted of all charges in the death of Joshua Ford and only received a second degree murder charge for Martha.
Erika had a tougher time of it through the courts and was sentenced to life without parole plus 20 years. Erika received a first degree murder charge for Ford and second degree for Crutchley. It seemed that Erika’s willingness to talk to the police in stark contrast to BJ’s recalcitrance is what guaranteed that she received the harsher sentencing. Other evidences against Erika included the fact that the murder weapon not only belonged to her but was found in her purse.
Erika has exhausted all chances through the court to try to appeal the original sentence but it is with great sadness to report that Benjamin could be released as early as in 2021. It is hoped that publicity back into the case will stop any release for Benjamin Sifrit.
Many have tried to support Erika and paint her as victim of domestic abuse suffering from Stockholm Syndrome and while there may be truth to this, there is also the fact that Erika not only tried the same crappy act again on another couple but she had ample opportunity to stop the first murders and didn’t. In the words of Phelps:
“The evidence… If truly looked upon objectively, points directly to Erika’s culpability, responsibility and involvement. And if you look really hard, staying in between the lines of reality, you might even take a stab at saying Erika could have played a larger role in the crime than BJ.”
And therein lies the potential parallels to Caril Ann Fugate. BJ and Erika were a couple that thrived on movies like Badlands, Kalifornia, True Romance and Natural Born Killers — so, they decided to live it themselves and now they sit rotting where they belong. After all the thrill seeking, they now cannot even walk to the market. The greatest thrill they will get now is their thirty minutes of yard time a day — long may this remain.
Thanks for listening (and be sure to stick around for the bloopers at the end)! If you like the show, please share it with someone you know who loves the paranormal or strange stories, true crime, monsters, or unsolved mysteries like you do! You can email me anytime with your questions or comments at email@example.com. WeirdDarkness.com is also where you can find information on any of the sponsors you heard about during the show, find all of my social media, listen to audiobooks I’ve narrated, sign up for the email newsletter, find other podcasts that I host including “Church of the Undead”, visit the store for Weird Darkness merchandise, and more. WeirdDarkness.com is also where you can find the Hope in the Darkness page if you or someone you know is struggling with depression or dark thoughts. Also on the website, if you have a true paranormal or creepy tale to tell, you can click on TELL YOUR STORY. You can find all of that and more at WeirdDarkness.com.
All stories on Weird Darkness are purported to be true unless stated otherwise, and you can find links to the stories or the authors in the show notes.
“Are Dead Extraterrestrials Being Hidden In The UK?” by Nick Redfern for Mysterious Universe
“A Match Made In Hell” by Kieran W. for Mystery Confidential
The short fictional story I began the podcast with, “The Alien” was originally written by Jayashree Jayapaul, but rewritten for Weird Darkness by Darren Marlar.
WeirdDarkness® is a registered trademark. Copyright, Weird Darkness.
Now that we’re coming out of the dark, I’ll leave you with a little light… “The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, turning a person from the snares of death.” – Proverbs 14:27
And a final thought… “If it wasn’t hard, everyone would do it. It’s the hard that makes it great.” – Tom Hanks (A League of Their Own)
I’m Darren Marlar. Thanks for joining me in the Weird Darkness.