“FICTION NOVELS THAT PREDICTED REAL FUTURE EVENTS” and More Strange True Stories! #WeirdDarkness
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IN THIS EPISODE: The captain and crew of the ocean vessel St. Andrew not only saw what appeared to be a flying saucer – but narrowly avoided being destroyed by it when it dove into the sea, almost crashing into their ship. (The Falling Saucer) *** We hear of crashed UFOs, flying saucers, or extraterrestrial spacecraft – but… how reliable are the stories we’ve been told? We’ll look at cases after the Roswell incident to see if they hold up. (Where Are The Crashed UFOs?) *** In the Mexican city of Durango there lived a witch who, while stunning beautiful, was grotesquely ugly when it came to her soul and personality – because people never seemed to believe her when she told them of the powers she possessed. And some regretted that. (The Witch of Durango) *** Imagine yourself in the Old West renting a carriage, forgetting to return it the next morning on time, and because of that, having the finger of murder being pointed at you. That’s what happened to Hattie Woolsteen. (The Trial of Hattie Woolsteen) *** A cemetery off the western coast of Winnipeg has lost its gravestones, the house that used to be there is gone, but that doesn’t mean that souls don’t reside there. (The Legend of Nes Cemetery) *** But first – we’ll look at nine books, works of fiction, but somehow they eerily predicted the future with stunning accuracy. We begin with that story. (Books That Predicted The Future) *** (Originally aired November 04, 2020)
SOURCES AND REFERENCES FROM THE EPISODE…
What Would It Take To Build Jules Verne’s Space Cannon?: https://tinyurl.com/yyrktv2q
Silas Newton’s FBI File: https://vault.fbi.gov/silas-newton
“Books That Predicted The Future” by Ben Gazur for Mental Floss: https://tinyurl.com/y4nb5j7b
“The Falling Saucer” by A. Sutherland for Message to Eagle: https://tinyurl.com/yyv9ryt6
“Where Are The Crashed UFOs?” by Nick Redfern for Mysterious Universe: https://tinyurl.com/y6lobv92
“The Witch of Durango” by Robert Bitto for Mexico Unexplained: https://tinyurl.com/y6fnjpuz
“The Trial of Hattie Woolsteen” by Robert Wilhelm for Murder By Gaslight: https://tinyurl.com/y5ba3e9h
“The Legend of Nes Cemetery” by MJ Banias for Mysterious Universe: https://tinyurl.com/yxklmlh3
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Predicting the future has been something mankind has dreamed of ever since we realized there was a future to be dreamed of. Tarot cards, crystal balls, tea leaves, throwing of bones, reading of palms, visiting psychics in person or calling them on 1-900 numbers (remember those days?)… we seem desperate to know what lays before us. But once in a while a novelist, simply wanting to tell an engaging fictional story, stumbles upon a more accurate prediction of the future than even Nostradamus and his quatrains could conjure up.
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…
The captain and crew of the ocean vessel St. Andrew not only saw what appeared to be a flying saucer – but narrowly avoided being destroyed by it when it dove into the sea, almost crashing into their ship. (The Falling Saucer)
We hear of crashed UFOs, flying saucers, or extraterrestrial spacecraft – but… how reliable are the stories we’ve been told? We’ll look at cases after the Roswell incident to see if they hold up. (Where Are The Crashed UFOs?)
In the Mexican city of Durango there lived a witch who, while stunning beautiful, was grotesquely ugly when it came to her soul and personality – because people never seemed to believe her when she told them of the powers she possessed. And some regretted that. (The Witch of Durango)
Imagine yourself in the Old West renting a carriage, forgetting to return it the next morning on time, and because of that, having the finger of murder being pointed at you. That’s what happened to Hattie Woolsteen. (The Trial of Hattie Woolsteen)
A cemetery off the western coast of Winnipeg has lost its gravestones, the house that used to be there is gone, but that doesn’t mean that souls don’t reside there. (The Legend of Nes Cemetery)
But first – we’ll look at nine books, works of fiction, but somehow they eerily predicted the future with stunning accuracy. We begin with that story. (Books That Predicted The Future)
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: BOOKS THAT PREDICTED THE FUTURE=====
The problem with writing fiction is that readers expect the worlds authors create, even the most baffling and high concept ones, to make sense—so authors spend a lot of time making the worlds they craft believable. And sometimes, they come up with a plot point in their work that seems to foresee a real-world event. Some of the predictions in these books came true in such eerie detail that you have to wonder whether fiction is as fictitious as it claims.
FUTILITY: In this book written by Morgan Robertson, a massive ocean liner described as “the largest craft afloat” is steaming at full speed through the North Atlantic when a watchman cries out “Iceberg.” But the ship hits the ice and begins to sink. With too few lifeboats, many of the passengers drown when the ship goes down. The story sounds familiar, but this ship wasn’t the Titanic—Futility‘s ship was the Titan. Robertson penned his novel 14 years before the Titanic took its doomed maiden voyage—and those aren’t the only similarities between Robertson’s Titan and the Titanic, either. Such was the predictive power of the text that just a week after the sinking of the Titanic the story—now called The Wreck of the Titan; or, Futility—was being serialized in newspapers as “an amazing prophecy.”
EARTH: In 1990, sci-fi author David Brin published Earth, a novel packed with a number of predictions about the year 2038. In the book, something resembling spam overwhelms email inboxes; there has been a nuclear meltdown at Japanese nuclear power plant; and the world suffers from global warming. “Three million citizens of the Republic of Bangladesh watched their farms and villages wash away as early monsoons burst their hand-built levees,” Brin wrote, “turning remnants of the crippled state into a realm of swampy shoals covered by the rising Bay of Bengal.” In the afterword, Brin said that he “exaggerated the extent greenhouse heating may cause sea levels to rise by the year 2040,” but some models suggest he may not have been that far off the mark after all.
THE WORLD SET FREE: In this 1914 novel, H.G. Wells predicted that the problem of extracting energy from the atom would be solved in 1933—and in that year, Leo Szilard did, in fact, come up with the idea of a nuclear chain reaction. That wasn’t the only prescient element of The World Set Free: Wells also described how radioactive elements could be used in “atomic bombs” that left battlefields radioactive for years to come.
GULLIVER’S TRAVELS: In Jonathan Swift’s biting 1726 satire, he lampooned many aspects of British life, including scientists and their obscure research. He wrote that the Laputans found two moons with relatively short orbital periods around Mars—150 years before two such moons were discovered. It wasn’t just the existence of the moons that Swift got right: According to S.H. Gould in Journal of the History of Ideas, the moons’ “strange behavior agreed very closely with Swift’s description.” Several craters on Mars’s moon Phobos are now named after Swift’s characters.
FROM THE EARTH TO THE MOON: More than 100 years after Jules Verne wrote his tale of three men traveling to the Moon from the United States, the first real lunar travelers splashed down in the Pacific—just as their fictional counterparts had (albeit in the sequel, Around the Moon). Verne got their take off spot in Florida right too, though launching them from a giant space gun would have shattered the astronauts’ bones. In the 1950s, John Paul Stapp took a rocket sled from 0 to 632 mph in five seconds, experiencing up to 20 Gs (and hitting 46.2 when slowing down). According to modern calculations, being launched from Verne’s cannon would produce 23,413 G’s. If you’re a bit of a mathematical and physics nerd, you might like to see what it would actually take to build Jules Verne’s space cannon. Kent State University put together a great, easy-to-read PDF complete with graphs and charts that I’ve linked to in the show notes.
FAHRENHEIT 451: When you turn on your flat screen TV or pop in your earbuds, you’re living out the dystopian vision of Ray Bradbury’s 1953 book Fahrenheit 451. In the novel, people bombard themselves with entertainment instead of talking to each other. Much easier to pop your seashell radios in your ears and forget about the books you planned to read.
STAND ON ZANZIBAR: Written in the late ’60s and set in 2010, John Brunner’s Stand on Zanzibar predicted a popular politician by the name of President Obomi, president of Beninia; random mass shootings; a European Union; and people connecting to an encyclopedia over the phone. Unfortunately, Brunner never wrote a book about next week’s lottery numbers.
THE NARRATIVE OF ARTHUR GORDON PYM OF NANTUCKET: In The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket—the only novel written by Edgar Allan Poe, published in 1838—sailors are adrift and starving in the ocean after their whaling vessel is hit by a storm. Desperate, they draw lots to decide who should be sacrificed, and the fate of being eaten falls on Richard Parker. Nearly 50 years after Poe had written his tale of cannibalism, a real-life Richard Parker was killed and eaten by his hungry shipmates after their ship, the Mignonette, sank in a storm.
THE MACHINE STOPS: Chances are that right now, in November of 2020, you’re currently self-isolating to keep sickness at bay. If you have to see people, you log on to Zoom or something similar. Touching anyone outside your own house seems risky. In E.M. Forster’s 1909 novella “The Machine Stops” (later featured in the book The Eternal Moment and Other Stories), that’s what the normal world has become. Writing at the BBC, Will Gompertz called the story “not simply prescient; it is a jaw-droppingly, gob-smackingly, breath-takingly accurate literary description of lockdown life in 2020.”
STORY: THE FALLING SAUCER=====
The observed saucer-shaped object fell into the sea approximately a mile away from the Phoenix Line Steamship St. Andrew.
Had it struck the ship, all hands would have been killed in a few seconds. Was it a rare oceanic super bolide or something else with an unusual flight trajectory?
The New York Times wrote on November 5, 1906, that the day before, the steamship St. Andrew just arrived in New York from Antwerp. Captain Fitzgerald reported a strange event that he and his crew experienced on October 30, 1906, about 600 miles northeast of Cape Race.
What happened at 4:30pm on that day?
It was Tuesday afternoon and the ship St. Andrew was sailing in the region of North Atlantic, approximately 600 miles northeast of Newfoundland, Canada.
“The weather was clear and bright, although there was little sunshine,” Chief Officer V.E. Spencer told later. He was on the bridge and witnessed the sighting.
“I saw three meteors fall into the water dead ahead of the ship one after another at a distance about 5 miles. Although it was daylight, they left a red streak in the air from zenith to the horizon.
“Simultaneously the third engineer shouted to me. I then saw a huge meteor on the port beam falling in a zigzag manner less than a mile away to the southward. We could clearly hear the hissing of water as it touched. It fell with a rocking motion leaving a broad red streak in its wake.
The meteor must have weighed several tons, and seemed to be 10 to 15 feet in diameter. It was saucer-shaped which probably accounted for the peculiar rocking motion.
“When the mass of metal struck the water the spray and steam rose to a height of at least 40 feet, and for a few moments looked like the mouth of a crater…”
If it had been night, the meteor would have illuminated the sea for 50 or 60 miles.
The witness described the hissing sound as very similar to that of escaping steam when it struck the water. The noise was so loud that the chief engineer turned out of his berth and came on deck, thinking the sound came from the engine room.
“I have seen meteors all over the world, but never such a large one as this,” the witness commented.
When asked what would have happened if the flying object fell on the ship, Mr. V.E. Spencer answered the following:
“The ship would have been burnt out immediately and every soul on board destroyed. I have no doubt that many of the vessels which have been lost at sea in apparently fine weather have been destroyed by falling meteors.”
There were also others who became witnesses to this extraordinary celestial event on October 30, 1906. Capt. Russ and its crew of the Hamburg – American steamer Brazilia, were also in the area where the event occurred. They reported seeing of a large meteor at 07.p.m. on Tuesday, Oct.30 in latitude 47 degrees north and longitude 48 degrees west.
Their sighting could have been a part of that what was observed by the crew of St. Andrew ship.
However, Brazilia’s crew did not see the mysterious object around that same time. They witnessed the incident much later!
A falling missile or satellite fragments fit much better the above description of the event but in 1906 such technology did not exist, or did it?
So the question remains:
Was the crashing saucer-shaped object with rocking motion really a super bolide, a very rare impacting body brighter than magnitude -17, of which precise nature is unknown?
The above-described observation can be considered well documented and definitely controversial.
Shouldn’t a shockwave occur earlier, already during the object’s falling?
The impact of the object on the water surface was also not enough powerful considering the size of the falling body even if the witness said: “… the spray and steam rose to a height of at least 40 feet.”
If it really was a meteorite that “appeared to be 10 to 15 feet in diameter”, and the impact occurred in the ocean, then “a large steam cloud would be produced by the sudden evaporation of the seawater.” (“Natural Disasters”, Prof. Stephen A. Nelson, Tulane University)
“The water vapor and CO2 would remain in the atmosphere long after the dust settles…”
The bolide impact heats the ocean so much that a massive hurricane forms. In this case, no hurricane was reported.
Did the crew of St. Andrew see a super bolide or something they wanted to see as a bolide?
Interestingly, on November 12, 1887, Charles Fort reported that a huge object was seen to rise (!) out of the sea off Cape Race. 1
According to the report:
“An object, described as a large ball of fire was seen to rise from the sea near Cape Race. We are told that it rose to a height of fifty feet, and then advanced close to the ship, then moving away, remaining visible about five minutes.”
Details in the American Meteorological Journal recount that the British steamer, the S.S. Siberian, Captain Moore in commend had observed this phenomenon and that the object had moved against the wind. Captain Moore also stated that “about the same place I have seen such appearances before.”
We hear of crashed UFOs, flying saucers, or extraterrestrial spacecraft – but… how reliable are the stories we’ve been told? When Weird Darkness returns, we’ll look at some cases of crashed UFOs to see if they hold up. Also coming up… in the Mexican city of Durango there lived a witch who, while stunning beautiful, was grotesquely ugly when it came to her soul and personality – because people never seemed to believe her when she told them of the powers she possessed. And some regretted that.
Plus… imagine yourself in the Old West renting a carriage, forgetting to return it the next morning on time, and because of that, having the finger of murder being pointed at you. That’s what happened to Hattie Woolsteen. These stories and more when Weird Darkness returns!
STORY: WHERE ARE THE CRASHED UFOS?=====
The UFO sighting and crash at Roswell, New Mexico is the stuff of legend, especially to Ufologists and lovers of everything weird. Of course, not everybody buys into the fantastic story. Some believe a highly-classified, and highly controversial, experiment was at the heart of the case, and not the crash of an extraterrestrial spacecraft and its crew. But again, for the vast majority of people in Ufology, Roswell is considered to be the most credible crashed UFO case of all. But, let’s speculate and say Roswell does collapse – as a UFO event, at least – that is somehow proven to not be extraterrestrial at all. Then what does that say about the rest of the high-profile crashed UFO incidents on record? The fact is that when we go digging, we do see solid reasons why we should be wary of the supposed credibility of these incidents, too. We’ll start with the 1950s and a case that allegedly occurred less than a year after the Roswell event took place.
In March 1948, a UFO is alleged to have crashed at Hart Canyon, Aztec, New Mexico. As with Roswell, there are tales of dead aliens and a hasty cover-up of the facts. The story started to circulate in the late-1940s and arguably reached its peak in 1950, when the story was profiled significantly in Frank Scully’s book, Behind the Flying Saucers. There’s no doubt that much of the story came from a shady (as in very shady) businessman named Silas Newton. Indeed, Newton was shady to the point that the FBI opened a file on him and his shenanigans. You can see the Newton file for yourself on the FBI’s website, I’ll place a link to it in the show notes.
Of particular note is the fact that in the early 1950s, Newton was quietly approached by military-intelligence personnel. In an astonishing state of affairs, the two men in question made it very clear to Newton that they knew his story of a crashed UFO at Hart Canyon was absolute bull, but they wanted him to continue to promote the story. Was this a way for those same military-intelligence personnel to further bury the Roswell incident amid more and more tales of crashed UFOs, and far away from controversial experiments? Almost certainly. Whatever the answer, we can say with a high degree of certainty that Newton was used – by the military – to promote a bogus crashed UFO event.
In 1952, a story surfaced to the effect that a Flying Saucer had fallen on the island of Spitsbergen, off the coast of Norway. The CIA took an interest in the saga and wrote the following: “Writing in the German magazine Der Fliger, Dr. Waldemar Beck says that a flying saucer which recently fell at Spitsbergen has been studied by eminent Norwegian and German rocket experts. He writes that Dr Norsal, a Norwegian expert in rocket construction, went to the place where the flying saucer had fallen a few hours after it had been discovered in the mountains of Spitsbergen by Norwegian jet planes.”
Agency staff had this to say, too: “In the wreck of the apparatus the expert is said to have discovered a radio piloting transmitter with a nucleus of plutonium transmitting on all wavelengths with 934 hertz, a measure that has been unknown so far. The investigation has also shown that the flying saucer crashed because of a defect in its radio piloting system. The saucer which carried no crew has a diameter of 47 meters. The steel used in the construction is an unknown ally. It consists of an exterior disc provided at its peripheral with 46 automatic jets. This disc pivots around the central sphere which contains the measurement and remote control equipment. The measurement instructions have an inscription in Russian.”
What is particularly intriguing about all this is not the CIA’s response to it, but the reaction of the National Security Agency. Under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act, several hundred UFO-themed documents have surfaced from the vaults of the NSA. One of those documents tells the story of the Spitsbergen case, but notes that it was, and I quote, “a plant.” Planted by who? The United States? The Russians? We still don’t have the answers to those questions. But, yet again, we have what appears to be a fabricated story of a crashed UFO, disseminated for reasons that are not fully clear.
In May 1953, a UFO is alleged to have crashed outside of Kingman, Arizona. A man named Arthur Stansel – but who went under the alias of “Fritz Werner” – claimed knowledge of the crash, and also of the recovery of a small, humanoid body at the crash-site. It’s a classic case of its type. But, again, we have good reasons to dismiss it as a UFO event. At the time, Stansel worked on an atomic-bomb-based program called Operation Upshot-Knothole. It was overseen by the Atomic Energy Commission and ran from mid-March 1953 to early June 1953. The Kingman crash occurred in the middle of the tests. Ufologists have suggested that the blast of one of the bombs caused a UFO to crash to the ground at Kingman, killing the pilot. But, when we dig deeper we find a far more plausible story that offers a definitively down-to-earth explanation for the mystery of Kingman.
Early Cloud Penetration is an Atomic Energy Commission document that tells the story of something very intriguing. Although it is dated January 27, 1956, its focus is on certain events that occurred back in 1953: “In the event of nuclear warfare the AF is confronted with two special problems. First is the hazard to flight crews who may be forced to fly through an atomic cloud. Second is the hazard to ground crews who maintain the aircraft after it has flown through the cloud…In the 1953 Upshot-Knothole tests, monkeys were used so that experiments could be conducted on larger animals nearer the size of man. QF-80 drone aircraft were used, their speed more nearly approximating that of current operational aircraft.”
There are rumors that one of the QF-80 drone planes developed a problem and, as a result, crashed near Kingman. The alien? A charred monkey, found in the wreckage of the doomed plane. To hide the extent to which the United States was researching the effects of radiation on military aircraft, amazing tales of a crashed UFO and a dead alien were encouraged to be spread. And, let’s not forget that Stansel was himself working on the very same program that was using the monkeys.
STORY: THE WITCH OF DURANGO=====
Around the year 1600 in Spanish colonial times, a witch with an exceptionally beautiful and elegant appearance lived in the city of Durango, Mexico. She maintained a fierce and dark look about her, and above all, it was noted that despite her beauty she was a woman very resentful of life. Her anger and resentment were based in part because nobody believed in the powers that she claimed to have. This witch, who was annoyed and fed up with such a situation decided to demonstrate her powers by convincing men who were older that she had very strong and indestructible supernatural abilities and that she would help them defeat their enemies. To prove herself, this witch began to order the cruelest misdeeds of the region. She brought he most harm to those who had not wanted to obey her orders, especially women jealous of her beauty and men who did not fall for her charms.
The witch enjoyed her power and fame for a long time. Her neighbors in the La Ciénega neighborhood did whatever she ordered them to do, but there came a time when the people became fed up with the witch and moved against her. They finally managed to get the authorities to arrest the evil woman with hopes that the office of the Holy Inquisition would find her guilty of witchcraft and sentence her to death. The highest church and civil authorities did not know what to do with this woman since she laughed at everyone saying that she was a very powerful witch and nothing and no one could do anything to her. She claimed she had a very powerful ally that was the devil himself. The authorities decided to poison her, but the poison they gave the witch did nothing to her and she kept laughing at them, repeating over and over that she was more powerful than any of them.
As they saw that the poison did nothing, they gave her ground glass, which they force fed her, but the same thing happened, the glass did nothing to her, and the wicked witch laughed at them.
The civil authorities together with a priest decided to hang her and at the same time burn her. While ablaze, the witch laughed and cast curses on all who were present, and a priest threw holy water on her to get her to stop laughing. In the end, the burning worked, and the witch was executed. For many decades after the execution, citizens of Durango claimed that they saw the witch fly over the city at night yelling curses and laughing at those below. Bad things would happen in the wake of these sightings. According to popular belief, the more people talk about this witch, the more often she appears, so people in Durango to this day are reluctant to tell this tale.
STORY: THE TRIAL OF HATTIE WOOLSTEEN=====
The body of a man was found in the charred ruins of a barn that burned about a mile west of Compton, California, the morning of October 7, 1887. The man’s face was burned beyond recognition, but a bullet hole through his right temple indicated that the fire had been deliberately set to cover up a murder.
The case was handed over the Los Angeles Police Chief Darcy who set out to identify the victim. In the rubble, investigators found some cloth from the man’s suit and some sleeve buttons near the body. Dr. Charles N. Harlan, a Los Angeles dentist, had been missing for several days and his tailor recognized the fabric and buttons from a suit he had made for Harlan. Chief Darcy ordered the body exhumed, and the skull was shown to Harlan’s dentist who was able to identify his dental work. The victim was Dr. Harlan.
“Doc” Harlan was also a well-known Los Angles sporting man and gambler who allegedly ran a poker game with notorious Denver confidence man “Doc” Bagg. On the Saturday night before his disappearance, Harlan had won a gold watch worth $400 from an unidentified well-borer who became an early murder suspect.
The burned barn had belonged to Mrs. J. S. Barbey who had recently died; both her house and barn had been empty for at least six weeks. Police Sergeant Jefferies went to work trying to determine how the Los Angles dentist had ended up in a barn eleven miles away. He canvassed livery stables in Los Angles and found that Harlan had not rented a vehicle, but Hattie Woolsteen, known to associate with Harlan, had rented a buggy the night of the fire and had not returned it until the following morning. Jefferies brought her in for questioning.
Hattie Woolsteen, who the Los Angles Daily Herald described as, “a tall blonde young lady with a candid and honest face, rather too freckled maybe but by no means, unprepossing” lived in Los Angeles with her sister Minnie. They had traveled west together from Peoria, Illinois. Chief Darcy brought Hattie in for questioning. After several hours he let her go, only to change his mind sometime after midnight the same day and bring her in again.
Hattie was held in Chief Darcy’s office, tightly guarded and questioned severely throughout the day. At some point, Hattie obtained a lawyer who demanded that the chief ether produce a writ of habeas corpus or release her. That afternoon Darcy obtained a warrant and arrested Hattie Woolsteen for the murder of Dr. Harlan.
Throughout this period, Chief Darcy refused to say anything to the press regarding the murder or Woolsteen’s arrest. Frustrated reporters finally got a statement from Sergeant Jefferies who had been present for the questioning. He said that Hattie admitted she had taken a drive with “her treacherous tooth-pulling lover.” She reproached him for his duplicity; he had promised marriage and seduced her under the assumption that they were engaged. He was unwilling to fulfill his promise, and she demanded he act like a man. “Hattie, I have acted badly,” he told her, “I am married, but I will now suffer the punishment of my sin. I die now!” He then took out a revolver and shot himself in the head. Knowing she would be charged if found with the body, Hattie took it to Mrs. Barbey’s barn, which she knew to be empty, then set the barn on fire. She said she had buried the pistol and Harlan’s watch. Chief Darcy forced her to show him where they were buried. They drove to the spot and there, under two inches of dirt, wrapped in a stocking were the revolver and watch.
According to Jefferies, Hattie changed her story several hours later. It was the same up to the point where Harlan told her he was married, now Hattie said she took a revolver from the folds of her dress and shot Harlan in the head. Allegedly, she asked Sergeant Jefferies which story was likely to be most effective in court. He told her to tell the truth, and she would probably go scot-free.
After being arraigned for murder, Hattie was taken back to Chief Darcy’s office where she wanted to change her clothes before she was taken to a jail cell. When no one was looking, she took a vial of chloroform from her stocking and drank it. She probably would have died there, but her sister saw that she was unwell and alerted the police. They rushed her to a doctor who saved her life by pumping her stomach.
At her trial the following December, Hattie Woolsteen told a third story of Dr. Harlan’s death. On the witness stand, she said that she had first met Dr. Harlan when she went to his office to have a tooth extracted. Later, she met him again on the street and he drove her home in his buggy. He began calling on her and soon after they were engaged to be married.
She said that she had never voluntarily been “criminally intimate” with Harlan, but once when she was having dental work done, he gave her a preparation that made her unconscious. When she woke, she was lying on a sofa, feeling very bad. She had pains, and when she was home, she saw that her clothes had been soiled; she believed the doctor had taken undue liberties while she was unconscious.
A few days later she saw him riding with another woman; she confronted him, and he admitted that the woman was his wife. When Hattie began to cry, he said he was going to divorce his wife and marry her. After this Hattie purchased the chloroform and revolver intending to kill herself.
On October 6, he asked her to go for a drive, she agreed but said it would be the last time. They went to rent a buggy, but there were some men there that Harlan did not want to see, so he told Hattie to rent the buggy. They drove out to Compton, and when they got to Barbey’s barn he forced her out of the buggy and into the barn. He pushed her down on the hay and threw himself on her. Hattie pulled out the revolver and pointed it at her own heart, saying she would die before submitting any more such treatment. Harlan grabbed the gun and in the struggle that followed the gun went off shooting Harlan in the head. When she realized that Harlan was dead, she left quickly, unaware that the barn was on fire.
In his closing arguments, Hattie’s attorney, Judge C. C. Stephens, stressed the mistreatment Hattie had received from Chief Darcy whom he described as a “low-browed, perjured ruffian” and a “double-eyed scoundrel.” The confession made in his custody had been dragged out of Hattie under duress; she had been terrified by the treatment she received from him.
In the end, there was very little physical evidence against Hattie Woolsteen, and no way to contradict her version of events. The jury acquitted her after only twelve minutes of deliberation. She said she would remain in Los Angles to live down the slanders uttered against her, and possibly bring charges against Chief Darcy for his outrageous treatment of her.
When Weird Darkness returns… a cemetery off the western coast of Winnipeg has lost its gravestones, the house that used to be there is gone, but that doesn’t mean that souls don’t reside there. We’ll look at the legend of Nes Cemetery.
STORY: THE LEGEND OF NES CEMETERY=====
On the western coast of Lake Winnipeg runs a small river, and upon one side of that river sits a small cemetery, hidden by miles of marshland and never visited. The graves are no longer marked. The house that once sat there is nothing but a ruined stone foundation. The sign, blue and white, bearing the words “Nes Cemetary” has no company but an old white stone angel. Well that, and the seemingly active denizens of that graveyard who, at night, attempt to drag the living into the marshy depths.
Nes Cemetary is a very silent place. Near the bank of the Icelandic River in Manitoba, Canada, this cemetery is home to hundreds of unmarked graves. According to local legend, the cemetery is not fit for living visitors, especially after the sun goes down.
In 1875, Riverton and Gimli Manitoba became home to a massive influx of Icelandic settlers. These immigrants made the coast of Lake Winnipeg their home and began their new lives in this relatively untouched wilderness. All fairness aside, the settlers displaced the very active local indigenous groups which existed on this land for tens of thousands of years. Adding insult to injury, the Icelanders also brought smallpox with them, and within a year, the disease ravaged the local tribes. While smallpox cemeteries dotted the area around Riverton and Gimli, the largest established cemetery was Nes. Already the site of many graves, Nes was quickly filled with smallpox victims, and only thick standing wooden logs marked the graves. By 1880, the cemetery was full and no longer able to accommodate new guests.
The dead had their peace, until one man by the name of Magnús Hallgrímsson, sometime during the 1880’s, settled his farm smack dab in the middle of the cemetery. Leveling the graves and removing the wooden grave markers, the man built a house and, because he was brave (and stupid), named it Nástrond, which is Icelandic for ‘Corpse Strand.’ Karma being what it is, he died horribly in 1890 and his widow refused to live in the house. The house was abandoned and, to this day, the foundation still remains.
Speaking to a local photographer and writer, Christine Loff, who has cataloged and researched the various legends which surround Nes, she explained that the entire area is quite dangerous. The cemetery currently sits on crown land and is technically open for anyone to visit. She warned though that the road to the cemetery is in terrible shape, and one would need a 4×4 to get to it. If a visitor did manage to make it to the actual cemetery grounds, the entire area is marshland because it sits right on the Icelandic River. According to Loff, “You are likely to slip and fall into the marsh and break a leg.”
Even if a visitor made it to the old farmhouse, the underground cellar is still open, although hidden by unkempt growth. “Be careful where you step. You could fall right down into it and break your neck.”
Loff explained that she has visited the cemetery several times, and although it is a very eerie place, and far removed from the town, she has never seen anything paranormal. That being said, there are many nearby who can tell stories.
In one story, a young boy who lived on a farmstead just across the marsh from Nes was on his way home in the evening when he heard a voice calling him to the farmhouse. According to Loff, the voice eerily repeated, “Won’t you come in…come in…come in?”
Disobeying every horror movie trope, the boy did the right thing by running away. A farm which sat directly across the river from Nes was home to a couple who would often report the shining of strange lights in the house, even though it had been clearly abandoned for some time. One report tells the tale of a man who was visiting Nes and swore he saw several dark apparitions exit the house and move towards him before he wisely turned and ran.
In recent years, the marsh has been unkind to Nes. With annual flooding, the water encroaches upon the cemetery, and every year, skeletal remains seem to wash into the marsh or become exposed. One local, Gilbert Guttormsson, who uses the land for his cattle during the dry season, dutifully collects the stray bones and reburies them in the cemetery on higher ground. During years where the erosion is particularly bad, entire skeletons seem to be popping out of the ground. Those bodies have been collected by the local municipality, and are reburied in Riverton’s cemetery.
More recent stories tell of voices calling visitors into the deep marsh. Singing sweetly, the voices coax the living into the tall grasses where the ground suddenly drops away, and the wrong step can plunge a person into some pretty deep water. Whatever is lying in wait for them below the surface, however, doesn’t seem very pleasant. No one has died in the marsh according to the official record.
There are many strange events which seem to exist along the coast of Lake Winnipeg. Nes seems to be just another link in the long anomalous chain that runs all along this area of Manitoba. Other bizarre occurrences involve bright lights hovering in the skies near the cemetery and over the lake, as well as the recurrent sighting of a woman in white who seems to wander the coast only to vanish when witnesses get too close.
In an interview with local science author and researcher Chris Rutkowski, he stated that it is very unwise to go to Nes. If anything paranormal happens in Manitoba, he knows about it. I asked him about the stories of murderous ghosts and strange UFO-like objects in the sky. He explained that he had heard all of the stories, but the phantoms and monsters were not the real concern.
“Don’t go there. The smallpox virus stays active for 200 years. Seriously, stay away from a smallpox burial ground.”
Good to know. Road trip anyone?
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.
“Books That Predicted The Future” by Ben Gazur for Mental Floss
“The Falling Saucer” by A. Sutherland for Message to Eagle
“Where Are The Crashed UFOs?” by Nick Redfern for Mysterious Universe
“The Witch of Durango” by Robert Bitto for Mexico Unexplained
“The Trial of Hattie Woolsteen” by Robert Wilhelm for Murder By Gaslight
“The Legend of Nes Cemetery” by MJ Banias for Mysterious Universe
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… “I tell you the truth, a time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live.” — John 5:25
And a final thought… “Don’t let small beliefs hold you back from big dreams.” – Lewis Howes
I’m Darren Marlar. Thanks for joining me in the Weird Darkness.