“DEMON OF DAWSTONE ROAD” and More Freaky Creepy True Stories! #WeirdDarkness

“DEMON OF DAWSTONE ROAD” and More Freaky Creepy True Stories! #WeirdDarkness

Listen to ““DEMON OF DAWSTONE ROAD” and More Freaky Creepy True Stories! #WeirdDarkness” on Spreaker.

IN THIS EPISODE: Dawstone Road is where some say the veil between our reality and the unknown is thin. A motorist’s brush with death in 1961 sparked a chain of inexplicable events. From encounters with horned entities to unexplained accidents, the road holds secrets that seem to defy rational explanation. (The Demon of Dawstone Road) *** There is a dark history and supernatural secrets at the Manila Film Center. Built as a symbol of power and prestige during the Marcos regime, its construction was rushed, resulting in a catastrophic collapse that claimed numerous lives. But the horror didn’t end there. Stories of hauntings, spectral hands reaching out, and cries for help still echo through its halls. (Horrors At Manila Film Center) *** When 19-year-old Kenneka Jenkins vanished during a hotel party, it sparked a viral whirlwind of speculation and suspicion. Despite authorities ruling her death an accident, questions lingered – as they should, seeing as her body was found in the hotel freezer. (Frozen Corpse at Crown Plaza) *** For over a century, these ghostly orbs have captivated and spooked travelers in Queensland, Australia. Are they supernatural spirits or mere mirages? (The Ghostly Orbs of Min Min) *** AND MORE!

“Blowing Smoke Up Your Enema” by Bipin Dimri for Historic Mysteries: https://weirddarkness.tiny.us/yckujv2n
“The Demon of Dawstone Road” by Tom Slemen for Anomalien.com: https://weirddarkness.tiny.us/muvz6wbv
“Horrors At Manila Film Center” by Lucia for TheGhostInMyMachine.com: https://weirddarkness.tiny.us/9es3ka3j
“Frozen Corpse at Crown Plaza” by Amanda Sedlak-Hevener for Graveyard Shift: https://weirddarkness.tiny.us/2p8drf6j
“The Ghostly Orbs of Min Min” by Kimberly Lin for Historic Mysteries: https://weirddarkness.tiny.us/ea9zway9
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Originally aired: April 15, 2024


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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…

There is a dark history and supernatural secrets at the Manila Film Center. Built as a symbol of power and prestige during the Marcos regime, its construction was rushed, resulting in a catastrophic collapse that claimed numerous lives. But the horror didn’t end there. Stories of hauntings, spectral hands reaching out, and cries for help still echo through its halls. (Horrors At Manila Film Center)

When 19-year-old Kenneka Jenkins vanished during a hotel party, it sparked a viral whirlwind of speculation and suspicion. Despite authorities ruling her death an accident, questions lingered – as they should, seeing as her body was found in the hotel freezer. (Frozen Corpse at Crown Plaza)

For over a century, these ghostly orbs have captivated and spooked travelers in Queensland, Australia. Are they supernatural spirits or mere mirages? (The Ghostly Orbs of Min Min)

Dawstone Road is where some say the veil between our reality and the unknown is thin. A motorist’s brush with death in 1961 sparked a chain of inexplicable events. From encounters with horned entities to unexplained accidents, the road holds secrets that seem to defy rational explanation. (The Demon of Dawstone Road)

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, hear my other podcasts including “Church of the Undead” and a sci-fi podcast called “Auditory Anthology,” listen to FREE audiobooks I’ve narrated, plus, you can visit the Hope in the Darkness page if you’re struggling with depression, dark thoughts, or addiction. 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!


In winter 1961, a Neston motorist was taken unconscious to Clatterbridge Hospital after crashing through a six-foot sandstone wall on Dawstone Road, Heswall.

When he regained his senses in hospital, he told a surgeon that ‘some thing – some horrible devil’ had appeared on Dawstone Road and he had tried to brake in time but the entity had been as immovable as a tree and seemed to push the car sideways into the wall.

There was not a drop of alcohol in the crash victim’s blood, but the same old stock explanations were trotted out in an effort to dismiss the man’s strange claims: it had been a trick of the light, he’d hit a fox, he’d momentarily dozed off and dreamed the “devil” and so on.

The man was discharged from hospital a few days later – but there were other incidents on Dawstone Road later that year.

In March, 23-year-old Rory, a Wallasey man on a motorbike was travelling down a moonlit Baskervyle Road at around 11:20pm and upon reaching the junction at Dawstone Road saw a towering shadowy figure stride out from some bushes and stop directly in front of him.

Rory could not stop in time.

The suicidal jaywalker must have been about seven feet in height, and he seized the handlebars of the motorcycle – which was travelling at about 35 mph – and with immense strength he swung the heavy bike onto the pavement.

Rory was thrown against the sandstone wall, and only for the crash helmet the young man wore, the Wallasey man’s head would have smashed like an egg against that wall. He was left out cold, and recalled something very strange when he was later treated for severe concussion at hospital.

Rory had briefly regained consciousness and had seen the terrifying face of a horned man with pointed ears looking at him with luminous eyes.

The apparition said something about Rory escaping the pit, and then he blacked out again.

This was the second modern encounter with a devil-like entity on Dawstone Road. Further back in time, in November 1934, a posse of locals had hunted a demonic entity which had been seen prowling Dawstone Road and was believed to have come from a mansion off the road with tall iron gates.

The locals called there, accusing a well-to-do man of sorcery, and he laughingly told the mob that the so-called “monster” they had seen was nothing more than his broad, white-chested bulldog which was always escaping from the gardens of the mansion.

The story was even reported in The Sunday Mirror and the article portrayed the locals of the Heswall neighbourhood as superstitious fools, but a policeman who had seen the demon asked how a ‘broad’ bulldog could slip through the bars of the gates of the mansion.

The demonic being, described by some as a tall horned creature of immense strength, vanished into obscurity for a few years, but was seen again during the war around 1941.

Some were of the opinion that the devil was pure folklore, whilst others, including a respected doctor, believed the thing existed, but a priest who was asked to tackle the unearthly being refused to get involved and seemed to suggest that the only thing demonic about the so-called devil was the demon drink that had probably produced it.

A demon is a catch-all term applied to a non-human spirit which has malicious intentions and tries to control or harm humans by physically attacking them or possessing their bodies and minds.

The thing that seemed hellbent (no pun intended) on causing crashes on Dawstone Road still has a question mark hanging over its nature and origin.

In 1969, Patrick and Brian, two Heswall men in their thirties, left a party on Delavor Road and Patrick decided to drive home to South Drive, where his friend Brian also lived.

Brian advised his friend to stay overnight at the house on Delavor Road because they were both drunk, but Patrick insisted he was more than capable of making a five-minute trip in his Hillman Imp.

A few minutes into the journey, as the car turned onto Dawstone Road, the engine of the Hillman Imp sputtered and the vehicle stalled.

Patrick got out the car and walked unsteadily to the bonnet, and Brian shouted after him, ‘The engine’s in the back! I knew you were sloshed.’

‘Simple mistake, mush,’ replied Patrick, and he stopped, steadied himself by leaning on the roof of the vehicle, then turned and went to the back of the, car, but then he realised he’d left the key to the trunk in the Hillman – the key was still in the ignition.

‘Brian, can you bring me the keys out?’ Patrick shouted, but there was no reply.

Patrick heard Brian swear and yell something, and then the Hillman Imp went backwards as if it had been hit by a car.

Patrick was hit by the rear of the vehicle and went flying into the road.

He got up, disoriented, and saw his car on the pavement with the passenger door open, and Brian was running off into the distance.

As Patrick picked himself up off the cold tar macadam he saw a car’s headlights approach and prayed it was not the police.

It was a Jaguar driven by Bernie, a friend of Patrick who had been at the same party.

Bernie saw the Hillman Imp on the pavement and asked what was going on, and Patrick said: ‘That idiot Brian must have started the car and put it in reverse as I was behind it! The car hit me as it went backwards.’

Bernie checked the car and saw the engine was still dead and it was in neutral – not reverse. Bernie knew a little about cars but said a loose wire on the solenoid had caused the problem and got the Hillman Imp running again.

The following day at 2pm Brian called around to Patrick and said that a terrifying thing – a tall man in black with horns and red glowing eyes had appeared in front of the Hillman Imp last night and as Patrick had been asking for the keys to the trunk, the creature had pushed the car backwards with terrific strength.

Patrick could not accept the story and accused Brian of causing what could have been a fatal accident by meddling with the gear stick, but Brian said he would be prepared to swear on “a stack of Bibles” to prove he was telling the truth.

In 2010 a nurse called me on a radio programme to say how, one morning around 5:30am in May 1978, after a gruelling night shift, she had been driving home via Dawstone Road and had seen a man who looked as if he was wearing a black leathery one piece suit and a pair of horns, standing in the road.

Nearby in the road there was a hole, about ten feet across, and reddish light was shining from it.

The nurse thought there was a fire in the hole and gave it a wide berth as she drove around it.

The window in the car was down a few inches, and as the nurse passed the bizarrely-dressed man and that hole with the fire in it, she heard a ghastly cacophony of what sounded like people screaming and wailing, and the sound seemed to come from that hole.

The incident stuck in the nurse’s mind for years.

An occultist once told me that there are places on this earth where demons have portals that lead to Hell and these portals open now and then and people – mostly bad individuals – are cast down into them, where they live a tormented existence in what is called a “Pit of Damned Souls”.

These unfortunate people then join that group of individuals who are often reported in the newspapers as having vanished without a trace.


Up next on Weird Darkness… there is a dark history and supernatural secrets at the Manila Film Center. Its construction was rushed, resulting in a catastrophic collapse that claimed numerous lives. But the horror didn’t end there.



It was supposed to be a grand cinema palace, a tribute to filmmaking that would make the Philippines’ capital city of Manila into a rival capable of going toe to toe with Cannes, France. But beneath the veneer of glitz and glamor lies the truth about the Manila Film Center. Built during the Marcos regime, the Manila Film Center has been haunted for its entire existence — and by more than just ghosts.

Like many places with a certain reputation — Toyama Park in Tokyo and the Bic Camera Namba store in Osaka, Japan; the Highland Towers apartment buildingin Malaysia; a certain house in Los Feliz, California — the Manila Film Center comes by it … well, I’m not sure if “honestly” is really the word for it, but it will serve. The alleged haunting is inextricable from the place’s history, and from the history of the Philippines itself.

It’s heavy stuff. But it’s stuff that bears repeating — and that desperately needs to be remembered.

In this case, the truth of the Manila Film Center haunting is as horrifying as some of the legends that have spun out from it are.

Even before the tragedy that would cement the Manila Film Center’s reputation as a haunted, cursed location, the building was mired in controversy. A project of Imelda Marcos, then First Lady of the Philippines and wife of the dictator Ferdinand Marcos, it’s an example of the Marcos regime’s “edifice complex” in action — a strategy of control in which buildings and architecture are constructed largely as a show of power, making them functionally pieces of propagandaExpensive propaganda.

Marcos had gained power in 1965 with his election to the office of President of the Philippines; then, in 1972, just prior to the end of his second — and what should have been final — term, he granted himself dictatorial control over the nation by declaring martial law, allowing him to revise the constitution and maintain that control even after the declared “end” of martial law in 1981. He was finally ousted in 1986 after a third term as president, with the dictatorship’s legacy being a severe economic downturn and a truly staggering record of human rights abuses.

At the start of what would become 20-plus years of the Marcos dictatorship, Marcos issued an executive order creating the Sentrong Pangkultura ng Pilipinas — the Cultural Center of the Philippines, or CCP. A government-owned and controlled corporation, the CCP’s function was (and is — it’s still active today) to promote and preserve Filipino art and culture.

Imelda Marcos was placed at the head of the CCP, unanimously elected to the position of chair by the organization’s seven board members. Per a 2017 retrospective published by the Philippine Daily InquirerImelda’s position as chair of CCP gave her “the mandate to negotiate cultural affairs and act as an art patroness on behalf of the state”; additionally, however, it was “a way to remove Imelda’s image as a mere politician’s wife” — that is, it further cemented the Marcos regime as a virtually unstoppable force.

The Cultural Center of the Philippines Complex was inaugurated in 1969 as the main base for the country’s national arts program, late and far, far over budget. At the time, it consisted solely of the main building; over the next several decades, more buildings would be added — including the Manila Film Center, for which planning began in January of 1981.

Initially, those plans were grand: Headed up by Imelda Marcos and supervised by another government spouse — Betty Benitez, wife of Jose Conrado Benitez, then deputy minister of the Ministry of Human Settlements — the Manila Film Center was meant to house six major components and several more smaller ones.

Ultimately, though, only two components were greenlit, per UNESCO documentation of the plans: The auditoria, with one main auditorium intended to seat up to 1,600 people and a handful of others with much smaller capacities, and a film and audio-visual archive facility.

But Imelda didn’t just want the Film Center built to particular specifications; she also wanted it to be built for a particular event: She intended to hold the first Manila International Film Festival at the Manila Film Center on Jan. 18, 1982 — which presented what might generously be termed a challenge in terms of the construction timeline. If the Film Center was to be completed in time for the film festival, it would need to be constructed in much, much less time than a project of this scale would typically command.

But, as the mantra went, “What the First Lady wants, the First Lady gets,” and construction was hurriedly pushed forward. Thousands of workers rotatedthrough three different shifts 24 hours a day, making the construction almost constant. At this breakneck speed, work that would have ordinarily taken six weeks was completed in just a handful of days.

Then came the accident.

And then came the ghosts.

The facts are scant, and remained unreported and suppressed by the dictatorship for a significant period of time. As such, there are holes in the story — details that we still lack, and likely always will. But what we do know is this:

On Nov. 17, 1981, part of the in-process Manila Film Center collapsed. According to some reports, the accident occurred at about three o’clock in the morning and involved a collapsed scaffolding; according to others, it was at two o’clock and involved a caved-in roof. Regardless, there was a collapse on the building site, and workers plummeted down as the ground fell out from beneath their feet. Many were injured. Many were killed.

The precise numbers, however, are unclear, particularly of those who died in the accident. Reports vary: The architect of the Film Center, Dr. Froilan Hong, went on record in 2017 as saying the deaths numbered seven, according to the Philippine Daily Inquirer. But a UPI report published at the time of the accident in 1981 stated that workers had recovered a total of 26 bodies from the wreckage with hospital sources stating an additional 41 had been injured. And still other reports estimate as many as 169 deaths occurred as a result of the accident.

There’s no way to know for sure which, if any of these numbers are correct. Furthermore, the disparity between reported numbers emerged pretty much immediately: Remember how workers reported to UPI in 1981 that they had recovered the remains of 26 workers? That same report also includes comment from the government — and the numbers according to the Marcos regime were much lower: Only three deaths and 34 injuries. This, “despite the workers’ count,” stated UPI, and “after a 15-hour news blackout,” at that.

But every death is a tragedy, and no matter the number. The fact remains that part of the Film Center collapsed, and workers died as a result.

And still: Work didn’t stop.

What the First Lady wants, the First Lady gets.

The Film Center was completed, and the first Manila International Film Festival was held as scheduled. There may still have been literal cement dust in the air, reported the New York Times in February of 1982, shortly after the festival’s conclusion, but the star-studded event went on as planned.

And the press fawned over it — not just over the films, or the stars, but at the spectacular and over-the-top ball that was held during the festival. Imelda “looked the queen … in a white terno with multicarat diamond teardrop earrings, three diamond-studded bracelets and a two-foot diamond necklace,” reported the New York Times. She and her husband, the President — the dictator — “presided … over a medieval pageant complete with procession of native dancers, beauty queens, and religious floats carrying bejeweled figures of the infant Jesus.” There were fireworks, and a dinner for 2,000. And dancing, of course. Dancing with the stars.

This, as the country’s economy began to collapse due in no small part to her lavish spending — to her and the regime’s edifice complex.

This, as those who built the cinema palace in which the festival occurred lay in their graves.

No matter how much the details might be embellished over the years — we’ll take a look at how in just a minute — the facts of the matter are horrifying enough as it is.

As time went on, certain… stories began emerging about the Manila Film Center. These stories tend to fall into two camps: Embellishments about precisely what happened on Nov. 17, 1981, and tales about what visitors to the site might experience today — that is, stories that deepen the tragedy further, and stories that make the building itself into a haunted one.

In the first camp, the most prevalent stories involves the fate of the workers who died in the accident.

Sometimes, for instance, it’s said that they fell into quick-drying cement that had been poured just prior to the collapse, and were unable to be rescued from it. When the building resumed, it resumed on top of those who had been trapped in — who had died in — the cement that held the Film Center up.

Other times, it’s said that someone — perhaps Imelda Marcosperhaps Betty Benitez; it varies by the telling — actually ordered the cement to be poured, covering up the true toll of the accident and entombing the workers who had fallen during the collapse.

In both cases, the end result is the same: Not only did workers die during the construction of the Manila Film Center; they were, supposedly, buried within the very structure they died making. According to these embellishments, the Manila Film Center isn’t just a shrine to cinema, but a tomb for the dead.

There may be some truth to the possibility that the workers fell into already-poured cement. In 2016, Rogue Magazine spoke to three people who claimed to be eyewitnesses to the accident in 1981, and one — Nena Benigno, the former public relations officer for the Experimental Cinema of the Philippines and Manila International Films Festival and daughter of Teddy Benigno, former press secretary and columnist — said she saw workers being dug out of cement when she arrived onsite.

Per Benigno:

“From a distance I could see people in stretchers being carried out, frozen in cement. When I got there, they were still digging out people; it [the cement] was not completely hard. And there was a guy that they were trying [to] keep from going into shock. Half of his body was buried. He was alive, but half buried. I don’t know what it was, but to keep him awake, alert, not to go into a coma or shock, they kept him singing Christmas songs. I was watching this.”

But although Benigno did directly witness this part of the incident, she could only make suppositions about what had actually happened. Said Benigno:

“What I understood was the fourth floor, they had put quick dry cement on each floor, and you’re supposed to put that layer by layer until it dries, then you put another layer. Because of the rush, they poured over too much cement and it fell over the night shift . . . the workers.”

Could the cement issue have actually occurred? Yes — but it hasn’t been confirmed in any definite sort of way.

Furthermore, some of the gorier details often attributed to these stories are, again, largely hearsay, even from the interviewees Rogue spoke to. When asked by Benigno, “Do you know what happened to the guy who was half-buried?”, Mila Llorin, marketing head of Manila International Film Festival, had this to say:

“I was told that they just cut up all of the ones that were exposed . . . remove and build over . . . which is why the seats are very steep. It was a rush job. So these people were just, you know, they had to finish it, period.”

Again: A possibility, but nothing definite, and nothing confirmed. Just rumors, which may or may not be true — or may be a mix of both.

The official line, of course, is that there is “no truth to such stories,” per Dr. Froilan Hong via the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

But then again, the official line has… not endeared itself to many.

Meanwhile, in the second camp of stories, we move from the horrors of humanity to the horrors of the supernatural: In these stories, the Manila Film Center is not just the site of a tragedy, but the site of a haunting. The spirits of all those who died in the accident are said by some to have remained in the building — although to what end varies depending on the story.

One tale connects the real-life death of Betty Benitez to the Film Center’s ghosts. Benitez did die in a vehicular collision not too long after the Film Center tragedy; according to this legend, however, the collision was actually caused by the spirits of the dead, who “appeared in the middle of the road to meet their car, sightless, all dressed in black” right before the car crashed, per Philippines news outlet the Summit Express. Allegedly, a medium Imelda Marcos later brought to the Manila Film Center to exorcise the building went into a trance during the exorcism and said, “Now there are 169. Betty is with us.”

Other stories detail activity reportedly experienced by those who have visited the Manila Film Center over the years. Noises, voices, and poltergeist activity are among the most commonly reported; every so often, reports of full apparitions, visions of blood dripping down the walls, and the sight of arms or hands reaching desperately from underneath doorframes emerge, as well. It’s said that most security guards don’t last more than a week or so on shift here before asking to be reassigned.

Some tales specifically describe visitors hearing “cries for help” coming from the walls of the building — cries which are presumed to be the spirits of those who were allegedly trapped in the cement and literally built into the remainder of the building.

Sometimes the voices aren’t crying for help, but revenge — revenge on the former First Lady, whose vanity project resulted in their untimely demise.

In 1996, a large paranormal collective calling themselves the Questors attempted to perform a séance within the walls of the Manila Film Center in an effort to reach the spirits of what they believed to be at least 30 souls who were supposedly trapped in the building. According to the Associated Press, one group among this larger group “was able to contact a spirit named Charlie who explained that some other victims did not wish to participate and that he was not ready to leave yet because of ‘unfinished business’”; this result may or not be indicative of a successful séance, but then again, what counts as success when it comes to séances depends largely on how you feel about séances as a whole.

All of these stories have proven to be incredibly persistent. Time and time again, the Manila Film Center finds itself among lists of the most haunted places in the Philippines, or mentioned as one of the most notorious Pinoy urban legends.

But whether or not there really is blood dripping down the walls, or spectral hands reaching out, the basis of the tales is true: The tragedy did occur. And, in many ways, I suspect that the ghost stories serve a purpose beyond simply sending a shiver down listeners’ spines.

The ghost stories make sure the memory of those who were lost during the construction of the film center — those who were destroyed by the Marcos regime — will never be forgotten. The stories grant these souls literal life after death, and ask that the past not be repeated again.

In 2021, at the 40th anniversary of the Manila Film Center collapse, labor leaders in the Philippines urged the nation not to forget it, and to do whatever possible to prevent such an event from occurring again. An election was looming at the time; said labor organizer Walden Bello in a powerful statement, “The true ghost of Martial Law is creeping upon the country’s seat of power. Let us continue seeking justice and finding ways to end this rotten system against our laborers, in the hands of the elite.”

Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos’ son, Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr., later won the presidential election in 2022.

And for those who lived through the senior Marcos’ regime, telling the stories of that time — keeping the stories alive — is more essential than ever.

As for the state of the Manila Film Center itself? The building was badly damagedin the 1990 Luzon earthquake, but was later restored, which in part allowed for the 1996 séance to happen. The building has played host to theatrical spectacle the Amazing Show on and off since 2001, although the current state of the show is not clear. (A fire in 2013 caused the show to stop for some time, although it did reopen again later. It may have closed in 2020, due to the state and safety of performing arts worldwide at the time.) There was once some talk of it becoming home to the Philippine senate, but the plans never fully materialized.

In the meantime, it’s still there — whether or not visitors are currently allowed inside.

And as far as anyone knows, the ghosts are still there, as well.


Coming up… For over a century, these ghostly orbs have captivated and spooked travelers in Queensland, Australia. Are they supernatural spirits or mere mirages? (The Ghostly Orbs of Min Min)

But first… when 19-year-old Kenneka Jenkins vanished during a hotel party, it sparked a viral whirlwind of speculation and suspicion. Despite authorities ruling her death an accident, questions lingered – as they should, seeing as her body was found in the hotel freezer. (Frozen Corpse at Crown Plaza) That story is up next.



On September 10, 2017, authorities found the body of 19-year-old Kenneka Jenkins inside a hotel freezer. Jenkins had been attending a party with some friends at the Crowne Plaza O’Hare Hotel in the Rosemont neighborhood of Chicago when she wandered off in the early hours of September 10. It would take nearly 24 hours for investigators to discover her body.

The story of Jenkins’s death soon went viral on social media, leading to speculation about the circumstances surrounding her death and the possibility of foul play. Video footage showed a seemingly intoxicated Jenkins wandering through the hotel, though her friends claimed she had only one glass of cognac that night. The unsettling security footage and instant media attention also drew comparisons to the 2013 death of Elisa Lam at the Cecil Hotel.

Although authorities officially ruled Kenneka Jenkins’s death an accident, friends and family still question what happened to her all these years later.

Kenneka Jenkins left her Chicago-area home around 11:30 pm on September 9, telling her mother she was going to see a movie with friends. However, Jenkins and said friends instead drove to the Chicago suburb of Rosemont, where they attended a party at the Crowne Plaza Chicago O-Hare hotel.

Security footage showed Jenkins and her friends entering the hotel around 1:13 am on September 10. The party in room 926 reportedly consisted of about 30 people and prompted at least one noise complaint from other hotel guests.

At some point in the evening, Jenkins became separated from her friends after she went looking for her keys and cell phone. Her friends called Jenkins’s mother soon after to report her missing.

Approximately two hours after she arrived at the Crowne Plaza, Jenkins was seen on security footage at 3:24 am on September 10th. In the video, Jenkins is seen stumbling out of an elevator, then bumping into walls as she walks down a hallway.

At 3:30 am, Jenkins makes her way down another hallway before running into a railing. Just two minutes later, Jenkins is finally seen from two different camera angles entering an unused kitchen in the hotel before walking out of frame. She is never seen on camera again.

In a video taken at the party and uploaded online, Jenkins is seen walking around and talking to people in a crowded room with loud music playing. Several other videos later appeared on social media, including one in which people believed they heard Jenkins saying “help me,” though the phrase was likely part of the Cheif Keef song playing in the background.

According to witness accounts, Jenkins had just one drink before leaving the hotel room. However, one friend did think that she seemed unsteady when he last saw her.

At 4 am, roughly half an hour after video footage showed Jenkins in the hotel kitchen, the teen’s friends alerted her mother, Teresa Martin, that Jenkins had vanished. At that point, Martin went to the hotel to look for her daughter and report her missing, but hotel officials told her the only recourse was to call the police.

Hotel staff reportedly explained to Martin that hotel employees couldn’t help her search until an official missing person report was filed. “We were begging for help, and no one was helping,” Martin later said in an interview.

Teresa Martin called police around 7:14 am to report her daughter missing but was told to wait several more hours in case Jenkins was somewhere with friends. When Jenkins hadn’t turned up by that afternoon, a missing person report was finally filed at around 1 pm.

In the meantime, Martin and her family began going door to door asking hotel guests if they had seen Jenkins. At this time, the hotel called police to complain about Martin disturbing guests.

Police did an initial search of the hotel the afternoon of the 10th but could not locate Jenkins. They then reviewed surveillance footage showing Jenkins in the hallway and kitchen of the hotel but were still unsuccessful in finding her.

Around 12:30 am on the morning of Sunday, September 11, a hotel employee walked over to the freezer of the unused kitchen where Jenkins was last seen and spotted a body. Police brought in Teresa Martin to identify Jenkins, whose body was lying face down on the floor of the walk-in freezer. The medical examiner reportedly found no injuries or trauma to Jenkins’s body aside from a cut on one of her bare feet. Her shoe was found near the body.

Because the kitchen wasn’t being used, investigators are reportedly unsure why the walk-in freezer was turned on. It was also noted that the freezer door contained a self-latching mechanism that could be released when pushed. However, it’s possible the instructions on how to operate the doorwere illegible, as there were no lights on inside.

When Teresa Martin spoke to Jenkins’s friends upon arriving at the hotel, she said that something “didn’t sound right” about their story. According to Martin, the friends said that four of them had come down to the lobby with Jenkins, but that she had returned to the hotel room to get her phone and keys. However, the friends later said they had Jenkins’s keys and phone.

“I don’t understand why [Jenkins] would leave her phone with her friends and then just disappear,” Martin later told the press.

The Cook County Medical Examiner’s office performed an autopsy on Jenkins and ran toxicology reports to determine her cause of death. The medical examiner’s office concluded that Jenkins died from hypothermia, adding that alcohol and epilepsy medication found in her system were “significant contributing factors.”

Jenkins’s blood-alcohol level was recorded at 0.112, which is above the legal limit for driving. The medical examiner reportedly found no other drugs or illegal substances in Jenkins’s system.

Jenkins’s family did not think that the Rosemont Police were doing enough to move the investigation along, so they wanted the FBI to step in. Around 30 people – all friends and family of Jenkins – protested outside of the Chicago FBI office to get their attention in hopes they would take over the case.

The FBI said at the time that it would take no action unless the governing police “request [the FBI] to assist with an investigation.” The local police maintained that they had the investigation under control and had conducted dozens of interviews as well as eventually releasing the footage of Jenkins’s final hours.

Police had also asked Teresa Martin on two occasions if they could search Jenkins’s phone, but she reportedly declined their requests, saying that she had gone through the phone herself.

Teresa Martin has stated that her daughter was the victim of foul play. Because there is no video footage of Jenkins actually entering the freezer, some theorize that someone opened the door for her. “Those were double steel doors, she didn’t just pop them open,” Martin said in an interview.

Police received an anonymous call on September 11 claiming that a “blood gang” had murdered Jenkins for $200, which added to speculation surrounding her death. There was also considerable finger-pointing online towards guests at the party, and one of Jenkins’s friends even moved due to cyber bullying and death threats.

The kitchen where Jenkins’s body was found had motion-activated cameras, although the facility was not being used at the time due to construction. According to hotel authorities, the cameras turned on twice that weekend: once early on Saturday when Jenkins entered the room and somehow ended up in the freezer, and again around 8:30 pm Saturday night.

That particular video shows a person entering the kitchen, glancing around the room, and then immediately exiting. Reportedly, the unidentified person did not walk towards the freezer.

In December 2018, Teresa Martin filed a $50 million lawsuit against the Crowne Plaza Hotel, the hotel’s security company, and the hotel restaurant that housed the freezer. Martin’s lawyers maintained that the hotel did not respond quickly enough to her inquiries and waited hours to review the security footage.

Jenkins also allegedly passed multiple hotel employees who did not intervene, even though the teen was visibly intoxicated. In addition, the lawsuit sought to investigate the theory that someone locked the freezer door behind Jenkins, making it impossible for her to get out.


In the Outback of Queensland, Australia, ghostly orbs have been frightening people for more than a century. The locals call them Min Min lights, named after the former settlement and hotel in Boulia. Sometimes the balls of light are fleeting. At other times, they seem to chase travelers and appear intelligent. Indigenous cosmological traditions mention such lights that come from the stars. Studies and other theories suggest these are no more than atmospheric anomalies or optical illusions. However, this strange phenomenon still continues to mystify witnesses.

Europeans first documented the Min Min lights in 1838. Witnesses have described them as fuzzy disks or glowing football-shaped orbs that can grow in size, get brighter or dimmer, take on colors of red, orange, blue, or green, and move around. They hover about three feet above the ground and are often mistaken for the lights of oncoming vehicles. However, unlike vehicle lights, the phantom lights in Boulia often appear to follow or approach travelers on foot, on horseback, or in a car. Sometimes the ghost lights remain still in one spot. At other times they bob up and down as if they’re dancing. Thousands of people have seen them throughout the years and described the incident as “frightening” or “spooky.”

On January 25, 1947, the Sydney Morning Herald published a fascinating story of an eyewitness account that had taken place earlier that century. The article began with the history of the Min Min Hotel. It was once a shady stopover that was notorious for selling drugs and tampering with the alcohol served to the area’s workmen. Some of the men stayed at the hotel, while others only passed through. Numerous men died there due to drugs, tainted alcohol, or deadly brawls. On occasion, hoodlums murdered others for money. The hotel interred the dead men in a graveyard behind the hotel.

In the early 1900s, a fire burned the hotel down. The only thing that remained was the graveyard. A short time after the fire, a stockman on horseback passed through and encountered the ghost light. He rode to the police station and made the following report: “I saw a strange glow appear right in the middle of the cemetery. I looked at it amazed. The glow got bigger, till it was about the size of a water-melon. I couldn’t believe my eyes as I saw it hovering over the ground. And then I broke into a cold sweat, for it started to come towards me.”

The stockman continued to tell the sergeant that he tried to ride away, but the light kept following him until he got to the edge of the town. The officer just smiled unbelievingly at his story. However, since the stockman’s encounter, thousands more have witnessed the lights.

It is unclear when the oral traditions of indigenous Australians began referencing eerie lights. Mavis Malbunka, an elder in the Arrernte group from Central Australia, associates their cosmological traditions with the phenomenon and also told of her own encounter in an ABC videothat has since been archived. For the Arrernte, the Morning Star and the Evening Star are the father and mother of a child that fell to earth from the Milky Way. The mother in search of her child comes to earth in the form of the “big lights,” or the Min Min lights. Mavis said she and her husband were chased by the bright light. They knew that it was the mother from the “Dreamtime” (period of the creation of life). When they saw the light ascend toward the heavens, they believed the mother thought she had found her child.

According to some stories, the lights existed before European settlement on the island, but they increased when indigenous Australians began dying during fatal conflicts with Europeans. The lights, the people said, were vengeful spirits that could not rest because they needed justice for their murders. For the indigenous people, such spirits were frightening and could take a human’s life.

It wasn’t until the 21st century before science chimed in with a viable explanation.

Jack Pettigrew (1943-2019) was Emeritus Professor of Physiology and Director of the Vision, Touch and Hearing Research Centre at the University of Queensland. While he was studying a nocturnal bird, he had an experience with the ghost lights. During his first encounter, Pettigrew initially assumed it was the planet, Venus. However, the professor observed that the light approached the horizon but never set below it like a planet would as the earth rotated.

On another occasion, Professor Pettigrew was driving at night with some colleagues when they saw the mysterious phenomenon. At first, they thought the lights were the shining eyes of a cat about 50 meters away. When they stopped the car, though, the lights continued to hover in front of them. The mystery only deepened when the scientists tried to track the lights to their source, which they calculated to be over 300 kilometers away, beyond the horizon.

Professor Pettigrew conducted an experiment in which he duplicated the phantom light phenomenon. He chose a night with the right weather conditions and drove about 10 kilometers away. Although he was beyond their view, six witnesses saw the car lights floating above the horizon. Many other people saw an even more spectacular illusion the following morning when they witnessed a whole mountain range floating above the ground. In 2003, Pettigrew published his findings in his paper, “The Min Min light and the Fata Morgana: An optical account of a mysterious Australian phenomenon.”

Professor Pettigrew hypothesized that the Min Min lights are a type of mirage — a Fata Morgana. This optical illusion sometimes occurs when a warm layer of air traps a layer of dense cold air underneath it. Then when light passes through the two layers, the light bends or refracts. Since it is optically tricky for humans to identify bent light, it’s easy for someone to believe that the image they see is a ghost or spirit orb. In a Fata Morgana, the image floats above the horizon or directly in front of the observer. This phenomenon is what causes the phantom ship encounter, which can be frightening for many people.

Phenomena of phantom lights aren’t unique to Australia. Many other countries have folklore about ghost lights, fairy lights, will-o’-the-wisp, or ignis fatuus. Will-o’-the-wisps are mysterious lights that Celtic peoples of Ireland, Scotland, England, Wales observed. Unlike the Min Min lights, the will-o’-wisps appear mostly around wet grounds such as bogs and swamps. Some people think they are fairies or spirits. Interestingly, the jack-o’-lantern story resulted from the will-o’-the-wisp because the lights resemble a lantern moving by itself through the darkness.

In Mexico, there is a type of light similar to the ghost orbs of Boulia that locals believe are the souls of witches. They call these brujas. In the South American countries of Argentina and Uruguay, the ghost lights are luz mala meaning evil light. Luz mala is a rural phenomenon, similar to the Australian lights. However, the residents dread them and have incorporated them into many myths.

Proponents of natural theories suggest that the phantom lights result from gaseous releases from the earth — such as those often seen at graveyards — or glowing insects like fireflies. Fringe theorists support the UFO and paranormal avenues (ghosts, spirits, fairies).

Magic exists when something defies our understanding, and many people in the Boulia region want to keep the magic of the Min Min lights alive. It’s a part of who they are. Today, the phenomenon gives a theme to the town and serves as an attraction for tourists. Although most people now know there is nothing to fear, the lights continue to be magical, and any visitor would be lucky to have a chance encounter.


Up next, we’ll step back in time to a bizarre medical practice of the 18th century, where blowing smoke up someone’s backside wasn’t just an expression—it was a medical procedure. It was called a tobacco enema!



Today, the words “blowing up smoke your, er, uh… “backside”**” are considered a form of flattery, that relates to stoking someone’s ego. The words are said to inflate a person’s head with insincere compliments.

Alarmingly however, at one time the words had a much more literal meaning, and in the 18th century it was considered best medical practice for a range of conditions. practice of blowing up smoke up a person’s backside by a doctor. In fact, the practice of blowing smoke up the backside was believed by many doctors to have multiple benefits for the body.

In fact, in extremities doctors were said to have tried reviving nearly dead people by blowing smoke up their backsides. This practice is now extinct and sounds weird when compared with modern medicine. However, in the 1700s, people used to treat it as a normal medical procedure.

The process was so prevalent that many hospitals and public places had the equipment used specifically for the process. The practice was particularly used for reviving people from drowning incidents, and other accidents where there was no immediate sign of life.

The procedure was considered so straightforward and effective that equipment for blowing smoke, pipe, nozzle and all, was often hung near major waterways and reservoirs where it could be easily accessed when necessary. People who frequented the riverside and traveled through waterways would know the location of this equipment so that they could help a dying man.

And there are, bafflingly, reports of the successful use of such a procedure in reviving patients. One of the earliest reports of the successful use of this method on an unconscious person comes from England in 1746, where it was used to bring back an unconscious woman to her senses.

This woman had fallen in a body of water and was thought drowned, and people were unable to bring her back to her senses. It was when a tobacco enema was performed on her that she was revived.

It seems that her husband, in desperation and running out of methods to revive his beloved wife, took a tobacco-filled pipe and inserted the stem into her backside. He then took the mouth of the pipe in his mouth and blew a few puffs of tobacco smoke into the bottom of the poor unconscious woman.

According to onlookers and witnesses, the process worked, and the woman became fully conscious shortly after. From this instance, the popularity of the whole process grew, and even doctors used it to revive patients. Why the husband thought this was a good idea and not just some passing madness is not recorded.

Although today, tobacco is seen as extremely harmful and a dangerous carcinogen, the 1700s was not the first era in which the substance was used as a medicine. Like many other plant products, tobacco was also used in medicine throughout history.

In fact, many Native American tribes used to put tobacco as a medicinal ingredient in many cures for ailments. Moreover, the practice of tobacco enema was even said to be first invented by them as a cure for many ailments.

Nicholas Culpeper, an English Botanist, observed these practices from Native American tribes and introduced them to European society as a way to treat common pain with different types of enema. The method was first used to treat common ailments and inflammation like hernia and colic in adults.

From Nicholas Culpeper, the practice of herbal enema was borrowed by another English physician by the name of Richard Mead. Although the fame of tobacco enema was short-lived, according to historical accounts, these methods were very effective for revival. In fact, there could have been many scientific reasons behind the success of tobacco enema.

With the development of specialist equipment, guides for the introduction of tobacco into the anus and testimony as to its efficacy, doubtless these medical men thought they have stumbled on a new treatment for almost anything. However, were they as mistaken as all that?

Perhaps the doctors were not as wrong as it seems. For example, a tobacco enema would increase the heart rate of the patient as the nicotine is absorbed. This could potentially revive a person who is unconscious, essentially kick-starting their metabolism.

A tobacco enema was also believed to have a positive impact on respiration, which is very necessary for the revival and recovery of a drowned or asphyxiated individual. On the other hand, the smoke had a drying-out effect on the insides of the person.

The drying out effect was thought to get rid of excess water in the body of a drowned person, although here we are on shakier medical ground. Therefore, blowing smoke up the bottom of a drowned individual would revive him and return his vitals to normal, according to the medical thinking.

The tobacco enema was so popular at one time that doctors would blow smoke through a pipe into the body of a nearly dead person instead of performing mouth-to-mouth revival that sent air directly into the lungs.  In addition, there were specifically designed pipe systems for tobacco enema so that doctors could easily perform it on dying patients.

However, before such systems, doctors or caregivers would administer smoke with the help of a standard smoking pipe, hopefully one they were not intending to keep using afterwards. It also does not seem long enough to comfortably administer a tobacco enema to patients.

There were actual medical risks for the doctor in using such a short pipe, as well. The procedure performed this way brought doctors into very close contact with the patient’s anus. There was a higher chance of cholera contamination and other infections because of this.

Moreover, doctors would often report the smell of bad, noxious gases released from the anal cavity of the patient due to the short stem and proximity of the nose to the anus. Frankly, the most surprising thing about this was that they weren’t already aware.

The tobacco enema was so popular in the late 1700s that in the year 1774 The Institution For Affording Immediate Relief To Persons Apparently Dead From Drowning was founded, which was particularly dedicated to the treatment of inflammation with tobacco enema. It was also a place where drowned people were brought for fast revival.

The institution was later renamed the Royal Humane Society. The institution rewarded people who were actively working to save human lives and resuscitation of people. The institution is still in operation today under the authority of England aristocracy. However, the tobacco enema is rarely performed by modern doctors, which everyone agrees is probably for the best.

No matter how disgusted and shocked we may be by the literal practice of blowing smoke up someone’s butt, it might have worked at one time and had some benefits for people. Weirder things have been done in the name of medical science, and perhaps with the stimulative effects of tobacco the doctors were on to something, after all.


Thanks for listening! If you like the show, please share it with someone you know who loves the paranormal or strange stories, true crime, monsters, or unsolved mysteries like you do! You can email me and follow me on social media through the Weird Darkness website. WeirdDarkness.com is also where you can find information on sponsors you heard during the show, listen to FREE audiobooks I’ve narrated, get the email newsletter, find my other podcasts including “Church of the Undead” and a sci-fi podcast “Auditory Anthology”. Also on the site you can visit the store for Weird Darkness tee-shirts, mugs, and other merchandise… plus, it’s where you can find the Hope in the Darkness page if you or someone you know is struggling with depression, addiction, or thoughts of harming yourself or others. And if you have a true paranormal or creepy tale to tell of your own, you can click on TELL YOUR STORY. You can find all of that and more at WeirdDarkness.com.

All stories 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.

“Blowing Smoke Up Your Enema” by Bipin Dimri for Historic Mysteries
“The Demon of Dawstone Road” by Tom Slemen for Anomalien.com

“Horrors At Manila Film Center” by Lucia for TheGhostInMyMachine.com

“Frozen Corpse at Crown Plaza” by Amanda Sedlak-Hevener for Graveyard Shift

“The Ghostly Orbs of Min Min” by Kimberly Lin for Historic Mysteries

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… Proverbs 29:11, “Fools give full vent to their rage, but the wise bring calm in the end.”

And a final thought… “One whose loyalty can be bought cannot be trusted.” (Unknown)

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



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