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IN THIS EPISODE: A man accidentally awakens angry spirits when relieving himself at the base of a tree. (The Sacrifice) *** Vampires in the movies lust after virgins. In real life, one of them lusted after a prostitute. (The Vampire Murder Mystery of Lilly Lindeström) *** What is it truly like to experience a ghost? Author G. Michael Vasey goes into detail about what he saw and felt! (I See Dead People) *** Was it a legitimate UFO sighting, or a hoax? We look more closely at the famous Straith Letter from 1957. (Straith Letter: UFOs and a Hoax) *** A mother bathing her children sees a black, shadow-like head peeping around the corner into her bathroom. And it continues to happen. (Bathroom Shadow Peeper) *** Loud noises, moving furniture, flying objects: You’ve probably seen it all in any modern paranormal film. But could you handle the real life experience of dealing with a violent poltergeist? (Five Violent Poltergeists That Terrorized People Around The World) *** Could the Mothman of Point Pleasant also have been responsible for the Chernobyl nuclear disaster? (The Black Bird of Chernobyl) *** Some events are so weird one doesn’t even know how to properly relate the story – and thus describes the life and death of Charles Francis Coghlan. (Bizarre And Unexplained Phenomenon That Defied The Laws Of Nature) *** Some people are obsessed with communicating with spirits through the Ouija board. In one case, it was the Ouija board that was obsessed with the users. (The Ouija Boy) *** On the surface, Charles Schmid was good-looking, intelligent and well-mannered. But then, many psychopaths look that way. (The Pied Piper of Tucson) *** A woman’s love for gardening continues even after she dies. (My Mother’s Flowers) *** In 1991 Austin, Texas, police entered a frozen yogurt shop – and came across a murder scene that could appall even the most hardened homicide detective. (The Yogurt Shop Murders) *** After months of being pursued by Will Orpet, young Marion Lambert gave in to his advances. But then he lost interest… and she lost her life. (The Girl In The Snow)
“The Sacrifice” from YourGhostStories.com: http://bit.ly/2FtokWx
“The Black Bird of Chernobyl” from Ghost-Story.co.uk: http://bit.ly/2Y8hmxA
“The Vampire Murder Mystery of Lilly Lindstrom” from CoolInterestingStuff.com: http://bit.ly/2xaBxiI
“I See Dead People” by Gary Vasey from the MyHauntedLifeToo.com website: http://bit.ly/2X21hgh
“The Straith Letter: UFOs and a Hoax” by Nick Redfern for Mysterious Universe: http://bit.ly/2LdpTLZ
“Bathroom Shadow Peeper” submitted by Linda
“Five Violent Poltergeists That Terrorized People Around The World” written by Audrey Webster for The Line Up: http://bit.ly/2XzzD9Q
“Bizarre And Unexplained Phenomenon That Defied The Laws Of Nature” by Ellen Lloyd: (link no longer available)
“The Ouija Boy” was written by an unknown author: (link no longer available)
“The Pied Piper of Tucson” from BizarrePedia.com: http://bit.ly/2wUkTn1
“My Mother’s Flowers” was submitted anonymously
“The Yogurt Shop Murders” by Robert Walsh for The Line Up: http://bit.ly/2WM388Y
“The Girl In The Snow” by Troy Taylor: http://bit.ly/2wUiatX
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In 1986 the worst nuclear disaster the world has ever seen occurred at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Abandoned for nearly a quarter of a century, witnesses believe that the spirits of those who died in the tragic accident still roam the town. At the start of April 1986 the people living and working at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, located near Pripyat, Ukraine, in the former Soviet Union began to experience a series of strange events. Sightings of a creature, described as a large black, bird like creature or a headless man with a 20 foot wingspan, and red eyes began to be reported by workers of the power plant. The creature would later become known as the Black Bird of Chernobyl.

I’m Darren Marlar and this is Weird Darkness.

SHOW OPEN==========

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

Coming up in this episode…

A man accidentally awakens angry spirits when relieving himself at the base of a tree. (The Sacrifice)

Vampires in the movies lust after virgins. In real life, one of them lusted after a prostitute. (The Vampire Murder Mystery of Lilly Lindeström)

What is it truly like to experience a ghost? Author G. Michael Vasey goes into detail about what he saw and felt! (I See Dead People)

Was it a legitimate UFO sighting, or a hoax? We look more closely at the famous Straith Letter from 1957. (Straith Letter: UFOs and a Hoax)

A mother bathing her children sees a black, shadowlike head peeping around the corner into her bathroom. And it continues to happen. (Bathroom Shadow Peeper)

Loud noises, moving furniture, flying objects: You’ve probably seen it all in any modern paranormal film. But could you handle the real life experience of dealing with a violent poltergeist? (Five Violent Poltergeists That Terrorized People Around The World)

Some events are so weird one doesn’t even know how to properly relate the story – and thus describes the life and death of Charles Francis Coghlan. (Bizarre And Unexplained Phenomenon That Defied The Laws Of Nature)

Some people are obsessed with communicating with spirits through the Ouija board. In one case, it was the Ouija board that was obsessed with the users. (The Ouija Boy)

On the surface, Charles Schmid was good-looking, intelligent and well-mannered. But then, many psychopaths look that way. (The Pied Piper of Tucson)

A woman’s love for gardening continues even after she dies. (My Mother’s Flowers)

In 1991 Austin, Texas, police entered a frozen yogurt shop – and came across a murder scene that could appall even the most hardened homicide detective. (The Yogurt Shop Murders)

After months of being pursued by Will Orpet, young Marion Lambert gave in to his advances. But then he lost interest… and she lost her life. (The Girl In The Snow)

But first… Could the mothman of Point Pleasant also have been responsible for the Chernobyl nuclear disaster? We begin with that story! (The Black Bird of Chernobyl)

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

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

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




People living near and around the Chernobyl nuclear plant who witnessed the Black Bird soon started to experience horrific nightmares, threatening phone calls and some had first hand encounters with the winged beast. Reports of these strange happening continued to increase until the morning of April 26th, 1986. At 1.23am, reactor number four at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in the former Soviet Union exploded.

The Power Plant suffered a catastrophic steam explosion that resulted in a fire, causing a series of additional explosions followed by a nuclear meltdown. The power plant spewed a plume of radioactive fallout which drifted over parts of the Western Soviet Union, Eastern and Western Europe, Scandinavia, the UK, Ireland and eastern North America within 48 hours.

The radioactive fallout was four hundred times greater than that of Hiroshima bomb and was the first level seven event, described as a “Major Accident” and the highest grade possible to occur on the International Nuclear Event Scale. The Chernobyl Disaster, as the incident was dubbed, is considered the worst accident ever in the history of nuclear power.

Following the meltdown, and subsequent explosions and fires, Soviet helicopters were dispatched to the scene, equipped with special fire fighting gear. These helicopters circled the plant dropping clay, sand, lead and other extinguishing chemicals on to the burning facility. Most of the fire was put out by 5am, but the fire burning in reactor 4 continuing to blaze for several hours after.

The fire fighters who responded were unaware of the nature of the fire, assuming that it was simply an electrical fire, and received mass overdoses of radiation leading to many of their deaths. Many of the workers who survived the initial blast and fire, claimed to have witnessed the large black, bird like creature gliding through the swirling plumes of irradiated smoke pouring from the reactor. Most of these workers would later die of radiation poisoning.

The catastrophe left the nearby Soviet city of Pripyat a radioactive ghost town. The morning of the catastrophe, the population of Pripyat was 50,000, by sunrise the following day, the entire population was evacuated, never to return. No further sightings of the Black Bird of Chernobyl were reported after the Chernobyl Disaster, leaving researchers to speculate just what haunted the workers of the plant during the days leading up to the disaster.

The most commonly accepted theory suggests that the Black Bird of Chernobyl may have been the same creature, dubbed the Mothman that terrorised the population of Point Pleasant, West Virginia, leading up to the collapse of the Silver Bridge on December 15, 1968.

Investigators have suggested that the appearance of this creature is an omen of disasters to come in the area in which it shows itself. The physical description of both the Black Bird of Chernobyl and the Mothman are very similar, and the reports of nightmares and threatening phone calls leading up to these disasters are shared in both cases.

Both the Black Bird of Chernobyl and the Mothman have not been sighted since their respective disasters, leaving many unanswered questions.
Pripyat, the nearby abandoned Chernobyl worker town, is believed to be haunted. People have had the feeling of being watched when walking past the city hospital. Apparitions and shadows are often seen. Some have even reported being touched.

A harrowing account at Chernobyl was given by Andrei Kharsukhov, a Nuclear Physicist from the University of Buffalo, after visiting the site during 1997.

“I arrived at the abandoned power station at about 7:30 am. I proceeded directly to the Reactor Four sarcophagus where the explosion took place. I could not enter, due to the radiation.”

“I stood by the entrance taking radiation and roentgen readings. I know no one could be inside the old reactor core, but I could hear very distinctly hear the sound of someone screaming for help, shouting that there was a fire inside.”

“I ran upstairs to tell someone, but they said that when I entered the reactor control room, I was the first person to open that door in three years, and the only way to get inside the old reactor is through the doors I came in through. If someone had gone inside the reactor when I was not looking, they would have tripped an alarm that goes off when the reactor door is opened mechanically.”

“The reactor door requires a password and a handprint, yet someone, or something was inside. Later that evening, as we were eating dinner outside the building by the river next to the plant, a flood light turned on in the room of the installation. There was no way anyone could be inside. As we ate we figured there was a power surge or something. Then just as my colleague said that, the light turned off.

When SyFy channel’s Destination Truth team conducted a paranormal investigation at Chernobyl, numerous incidents were recorded. After donning radioactive protection suits, the team investigated the remains of Reactor 4. They were shocked to see a human figure appear on a thermal imaging camera inside the reactor. Throughout their analysis of the abandoned hospital, the team continues to spot multiple figures moving in the seemingly abandoned building.



(The author writes…) Having extensively written about the “Contactee”/”Space Brothers” issue in my 2006 book, On the Trail of the Saucer Spies, and in my 2009 book, Contactees, I quite often get asked what I think about the likes of George Adamski, Dana Howard, Truman Bethurum, Orfeo Angelucci, and the many others who, in the 1950s, claimed face-to-face contact with long-haired aliens from other worlds. I think some of them had legitimate experiences with...something(but definitely not with space-hippies from Venus). Others may have been the victims of early “mind-control” operations. Some were definitely engaged in hoaxing. Others were just plain nuts. But, there is one Contactee-linked affair that I get asked about at least a couple of times a year – an affair that is highly entertaining, but for reasons you might not think. It’s a story of how two men hoaxed George Adamski and created something that still circulates among his followers. Well, among at least some of them.

It all began back in 1957 and involved a pair of friends who decided to play a prank on Adamski – which they did. But, it had unforeseen circumstances. That aforementioned pair of friends were Jim Moseley and Gray Barker. Moseley, who died in 2012, is mostly noted for his highly amusing newsletter, Saucer Smear and his 2002 book, Shockingly Close to the Truth, co-written with Karl Pflock, which is hilarious. As for the late Gray Barker, he’s noted for having written the first book on the Men in Black (1956’s They Knew Too Much About Flying Saucers), as well as the first book on Mothman (The Silver Bridge, which was published in 1970). Both men were notorious pranksters. Barker was someone who played fast and loose with facts – particularly so in his books. And Moseley, at times, would go along with Barker’s escapades. All of which brings us to the matter of what went down one night in 1957, and of what became known as the Straith Letter.

At the time, Barker had a friend who, back in the 1950s, was in his late teens. It turns out that the kid’s father worked for the U.S. Government, specifically in an office of the Department of State. Barker and the unnamed teenager got talking one day and the kid brought up the fact that he had seen a bunch of unused Department of State-headed paperwork in his father’s office. This gave Barker an idea: he asked his friend if he could get his hands on some of that same letter-headed paperwork. So, the next time the kid visited his father’s office, he quietly and quickly grabbed a bunch of DoS documents and stealthily got them to Barker. He even provided Barker with Department of State envelopes. It wasn’t at all long before the Barker-Moseley caper began.

On one drunken night in Clarksburg, West Virginia – where Barker lived – the two cooked up a plot to hoax Adamski, then the most famous Contactee on the planet. And, having got not photocopies of Department of State-headed paper, but originals, made their plan even easier to con Adamski. Barker started to type. The pair decided they would create a completely fictitious employee of the Department of State. They called him “R.E. Straith,” of the “Cultural Affairs Committee.” In the letter, the actually-non-existent Straith tells Adamski that he – Straith – and several of his colleagues are right behind Adamski, but cannot publicly provide support for him and his claims of contact with aliens, because of their jobs in the government. And then, Barker and Moseley mailed the letter to Adamski – in one of those Department of State envelopes. Of course, Adamski loved it. Whether he believed the letter to be the real deal, or if he suspected it was a hoax, is a matter we’ll never likely know. But, for Adamski, it didn’t really matter: this was just what he needed to show to his followers (and his critics too) that he had government support. Which he didn’t. Then, things got a bit worrying for Barker. Not so much for Moseley though, who thought it was all great fun.

It turns out that Adamski began showing the faked letter to various people in Ufology, and waving it around at lectures. Not only that, a copy of the Straith Letter reached the FBI (maybe even from Adamski himself, who enjoyed mixing things up to his advantage). The G-Men were, unsurprisingly, far from impressed. They quite rightly suspected a hoax and told him to quit all of his foolishness. When word of all this got to Barker, he totally freaked out – and to the point that he actually broke the typewriter into small pieces and, one day, buried the bits and pieces in the fresh cement of a building then being constructed in Clarksburg. Of course, the “cement story” may have been yet another of Barker’s jokes, adding even more layers to the legend. But, we know for sure that Barker was deeply worried by the fact that the FBI were now onto a matter than began as a late-night prank put together by a couple of booze-soaked buddies. Barker was even grilled by the FBI, but it came to nothing. Barker never revealed the name of the kid who got the Department of State paperwork – at least, not publicly. He certainly shared the name with Moseley, though, who took it with him to the grave (his name, however, was James Villard). The FBI eventually dropped the matter.

The reason why I mention all of this, is because just last week I was asked about the Straith Letter – yet again – and by someone convinced that it was (and still is) the real deal. It’s not! The Straith Letter is the product of two people who liked to screw with the collective minds of Ufology for their own entertainment. And, in this case, they excelled themselves. Far too many people – whose “I want to believe” approach to Ufology has affected their common-sense – see the letter as something notable. But, let’s be clear: it’s a joke. It was always a joke. And it always will be a joke. Case closed? I dunno. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if – in the not too distant future – someone else resurrects the letter and waves it around as evidence that the U.S. Government was secretly supporting George Adamski.



It’s the 1980’s. My uncle was in his late teen years. He used spend a lot of time with his friends partying. My grandma always scolded him for that but we all know how teens are, anyways one day after partying he was coming back home. It was almost midnight. Back in those days, people were not very active at night. They used to go home early after work so all the nearby shops and stores were closed. The whole area was desolate at that time.

My uncle wanted to pee urgently. He saw a tree and peed under it. Little did he know that it was a Tamarind tree. In India, Tamarind tree is considered as homes of ghosts and banshees. He did realize it afterward, but was too tired to think about it. So he ignored it and went back home.

As soon as he entered his room, He saw a lady sitting on his bed her back was facing his face. He thought it was my grandma and told her to leave as he was exhausted and feeling sleepy. She didn’t say anything. He again told her to leave but again there was no response. Now he got irritated and grabbed her shoulders but to his surprise, her body was as cold as ice. He flinched back and stayed stunned for a moment. Then he saw something horrifying. The lady turned her face 360 degrees and looked at my uncle angrily. She was snarling at him like a wild animal. My uncle was so terrified that he fainted.

Next day when he woke up, he was lying on his bed. He recalled the events last night and thought it might have been his dream. He shrugged the whole thing off and returned to his regular activities. The whole day he felt a pressure on his neck as if someone was hanging on to them. He returned home late again. He lied on his bed and slept. At around 3 in the morning he heard something, it felt like a woman was sobbing. He turned on the light and a shiver ran through his body. He saw the same lady was sitting upside down on the ceiling. As soon as she saw him she jumped down and charged on him. She grabbed his neck and was choking him. My uncle tried to scream but nothing was coming out of his mouth.

My grandpa woke up to get water. He tried to check on my uncle whether he has returned home or not. He went to my uncle’s room. As he entered the room, he saw the lady throttling my uncle. He shouted at her and she vanished. My uncle ran to grandpa and hugged him tightly. Next day, my grandpa gathered everyone and asked my uncle about the last night. My uncle was crying uncontrollably. He told everyone about the incident happened on that day. My grandma slapped him and reprimanded him for that.

They called a priest and asked him about a solution to this problem. He told them the woman was a banshee, that Tamarind tree was her home and my uncle made a blunder by peeing under the tree. Now she was angry at him and wants a revenge. My grandparents pleaded him for a solution. He said if my uncle apologized to her under that tree then only she would leave him but in return she would take any of his relatives life.

My great grandfather was alive at that time but he was suffering from cancer. As you know at that time treatment of cancer was not very common so he was going to die within few months. He offered to sacrifice himself for my uncle.

Next day my uncle and great grandpa went under that tree. He apologized for his mistake and suddenly my great grandpa collapsed to ground. My uncle started crying, his grandfather was not breathing anymore.

Nothing happened after that. Even today those incidents haunt my uncle sometimes. He has a portrait of his grandfather in his house. He owes his life to him. Every morning he thanks him for saving his life. Even I respect my great grandfather for this.



When I was growing up, I saw ghosts all of the time. Later in life, I decided to go ahead and shut down that ability as far as possible. But what is it really like to see a ghost?

Well, the first thing I would say is there is an atmosphere. It’s like an electrical storm is about to hit. You sense something – some energy – that is forming nearby. It makes the hair on the back of my head stand up on end and it gets my adrenaline flowing. Shortly after that, I used to develop fear. I knew, it knew and I was scared. I now believe that it is the fear that attracts such things and that this human energy is a source of sustenance for the activity. The first time I saw a ghost is documented in my book My Haunted Life. It was in a shared bedroom with my younger brother who was soundly asleep. I sensed this strange energy for the first time and I sat up in the darkness deeply uncomfortable with it. It was then that I saw ‘sitting’ at a desk, a white glowing figure. I remember being amazed that it was dress as a cavalier with the broad brimmed hat and clothing. It seemed to be scribbling away with a feather pen and ink well. For several moments, I was simply paralyzed. Rooted to the spot in disbelief and fear.

As my fear levels increased – as indeed they did, this figure slowly turned its head in my direction – as if aware of my presence too. Before it had looked at me, I screamed. This woke my brother who then joined me in watching this glowing, white figure get up and walk across the room and through the wall.

We still talk about that night he and I. We recall it vividly. I know that it scared me deeply yet, it fascinated me too. Who was this figure? Why was he there? Why did he walk about the wall two story’s above ground?

In later years, my father did a bit of research and discovered the area the house was built in had been part of an estate at that time. So, who knows, maybe he belonged there in the English civil war era when the city of Hull, just a few miles of way, closed its gates on Charles 1 and declared for Parliament?

Anyway, that’s what it is like for me to see a ghost. The fear lasted several days. I didn’t want to sleep in that room ever again and shortly, I moved to a different room.


When Weird Darkness returns…

A mother bathing her children sees a black, shadow-like head peeping around the corner into her bathroom. And it continues to happen. (Bathroom Shadow Peeper)

Plus… Loud noises, moving furniture, flying objects: You’ve probably seen it all in any modern paranormal film. But could you handle the real life experience of dealing with a violent poltergeist? (Five Violent Poltergeists That Terrorized People Around The World)

But first… Vampires in the movies lust after virgins. In real life, one of them lusted after a prostitute. That story is up next. (The Vampire Murder Mystery of Lilly Lindeström)




LILLY Lindeström was a prostitute living in the Atlas neighbourhood in Stockholm, Sweden in the 1930s.

The 32-year-old entertained clients in her small, dingy apartment and spent the day of May 4, 1932 working.

That evening, Lilly dropped into her neighbour Minnie’s apartment in search of prophylactics before returning to her home. She never reappeared.

The Atlas Vampire is the nickname given to the unknown assailant who committed the unsolved “Vampire Murder” (also known as the Vampire Murder Case) in Stockholm, Sweden in 1932.

On May 7, 1932, a 32-year-old prostitute, Lilly Lindeström, was found murdered in her small apartment in the Atlas area of Stockholm near Sankt Eriksplan.

When the Stockholm police, alerted by a concerned Minnie, entered her apartment, they found a shocking scene – as detailed in the police report. She had been dead for 2-3 days before police broke Into her apartment, she had suffered blunt force trauma to her head. Lilly was found completely naked and faced down on her bed. According to reports sexual activity had taken place.

The cause of death had been repeated blows from a blunt object to Lilly’s head. Disturbingly, later investigations revealed that most, if not all of Lilly’s blood had been drained. Saliva was also found on Lilly’s neck and body, and police soon began to fear that the blood-stained gravy ladle found in Lilly’s room had been used to drink her blood. Thus the “Atlas Vampire” got his name.

The detectives noted that a gravy ladle was found at the scene and on further inspection of the body, they realised her body had been drained of some, if not all, of her blood. Police suspected the implement was used by the perpetrator to drink Lilly’s blood. Various clients of hers fell under suspicion but after a lengthy investigation, none were charged with her murder.

The murder taking place years before DNA evidence, investigators were unable to do much despite all the bodily fluids at the scene. Lilly’s regular clients were questioned and the neighbourhood was searched, but no suspects arose and nobody was ever charged with the murder.

The murder remains unsolved.



I’ve always felt pretty uncomfortable in the back half of my house, especially in my linen cupboard, which is big enough to walk into.

When I shower my kids, I sit on the floor in the doorway of the bathroom. Every night, I see someone peek around the corner of the hallway, about 3 feet up the wall. I see them out the corner of my eye and when I turn to see them, they disappear. However, one night, I turned and managed to see it for a second before it disappeared. It was just a black head, like someone’s shadow. It’s never done anything to hurt or freak me or my kids out, so I’ve not done anything about it. I did a bunch of research on shadow people and there’s so much different advice about getting rid of shadow people, but they all sound like they would hurt it and I don’t want to do that.

However, the other day, I was sitting on my couch watching tv in the middle of the day (I have a job, I was on leave at the time). My dogs were sleeping on the same couch when they suddenly got up barking and went to my front door as though they heard something. My screen door was locked, but the wooden door was open to let air in. As the dogs crossed my lounge room, I heard what I thought was an older lady say “behind you”. It sounded like she was out the front of my house, so I wasn’t freaked out. I just thought an old lady was about to knock on my door (we get a lot of religious door knockers in my area), so I get up to answer the door, and there was no one there. There wasn’t any cats, or cars or anything my dogs would have barked at.

I freaked out a little at this point and checked my house and backyard, as I don’t live in the best area and was concerned someone was trying to break in. I found nothing. I straight away called my friend to tell her what had happened to try to calm myself down.



Loud noises, moving furniture, flying objects: You’ve probably seen it all in any modern paranormal film. But have you ever seen such activity in real life? These famous cases of poltergeist activity included all of these terrifying happenings–and more.

1. Thornton Heath Poltergeist

On an August night in a home in Thornton Heath, the radio clicked on and started blasting a foreign language radio station. The family in residence had never listened to this station before, nor did they have any clue why the sudden noise occurred. In the nights following, lamps, Christmas tree ornaments, and curtains were tampered with by invisible hands. This was just the beginning of four years of torment by their own personal poltergeist.

The case began getting physical one year later, when the husband was assaulted by a flying figurine in the living room. He was struck so hard that he collapsed into a nearby chair. While the family tried to get him to his feet, the Christmas tree rose from the floor and started shaking.

In the years following, the series of strange phenomena continued. The family heard footsteps throughout the upstairs of their home. One night, during a dinner party with close friends, the door began to shake and knock violently. As the group carefully stood to leave, the living room door flung open, and all the lights in the home began flickering on and off.

Later, one of the children in the family recalled waking to find an evil-looking man hovering above his bed. The boy said he was wearing “old fashioned clothes.” It was after these two incidents that the family decided to seek help.

A local church put them in contact with a priest who performed a blessing on the home. However, this only seemed to make matters worse–the hauntings began to intensify. The family was directed to a medium who visited their home to attempt locating the cause of the haunting. The medium discovered that the entity was a deceased famer named Chatterton. He was angry with the family because he saw them as trespassers to his home. The family did some archival digging, and learned of a farmer named Chatterton, who lived with his wife in the home in the mid-18th century.

Shortly after this discovery, Chatterton’s wife began making appearances. She targeted the mother of the family. Whenever the mother would walk upstairs, she would feel like someone was following her. When she turned around, Chatterton’s grey-haired wife was following her. As soon as the old woman was noticed, she would vanish.

After dealing with this torment for four years, the family gave up. They purchased a new home, and left Chatterton’s house behind. Once the family was gone from the house, the hauntings halted. There have been no further reportings of paranormal activity in the home they left behind.

2. The South Shields Poltergeist

In the winter of 2005, Marc, Marianne (the names usually used to protect the real identities of the victims), and their three-year-old son Robert began experiencing bizarre poltergeist activity that would quickly grow out of hand. In the beginning, the doors opened and closed on their own, and strange sounds came from the walls. Soon, furniture seemed to be moving around the room by invisible hands, chairs were found stacked, and large, heavy pieces of furniture were discovered displaced from one room to another.

While these might seem like relatively common occurrences when it comes to the paranormal, they quickly escalated to become dangerous. One night, as the young couple was settling into bed, a projectile hit Marianne in the head. It was their son’s toy dog. The son was nowhere in sight, and there was no one apparently there to have thrown it. The couple was bewildered. A few moments later, another stuffed toy hit Marianne, but this time with greater force. The couple reported an onslaught of toys after this, pelting them from all directions. They tried to hide beneath the blanket, but they felt an unseen force trying to pull it away from them. Marc then cried out in pain. 13 red scratch marks were found on his back. The attack stopped as quickly as it had begun, but the couple was left horribly frazzled.

Now the poltergeist seemed to have developed an affinity for scaring the family with children’s toys. On one occasion, they found the son’s rocking horse hanging by its reins from the ceiling loft hatch. On another, a toy bunny was found sitting on top of the stairs holding a box cutter.

Marc and Marianne decided to seek help. They enlisted paranormal researchers Mike Hollowell and Darren Ritson. At first, the two were not sold by the couple’s claims. Such violent cases of activity were rare, and it just seemed like too much. Regardless, they went to the house, set up their equipment, and waited. They were shocked by what they found.

The paranormal activity in the home exploded. Toys flew around, unexplained bangs filled the home, voices came from a baby monitor, their gear was turned on and off or broken by something unseen, doors opened and slammed closed, blankets on beds slid off, objects levitated, strange messages appeared on pieces of paper, and various objects were caught balancing at strange angles. Perhaps the most bizarre thing was the appearance of the entity in the son’s bedroom – a large, dark shape on the balcony. It crossed through the room then vanished.

To cap it off, the investigators captured a recording of the entity attacking Marc. Deep red gashes appeared on his back, thickening in color until the skin broke and he bled. Then, as suddenly as the attacks started, they stopped. The home went quiet and hasn’t seen an ounce of paranormal activity since.

3. The Pontefract Poltergeist

The Pritchard family moved into a new little home in 1966, and they immediately began experiencing strange events. Joe, his wife Jean, Jean’s mother Sarah, and their two children, Diane and Phillip, witnessed wet puddles manifesting on the kitchen floor, white powder that appeared to fall from mid-air, and more. As time progressed, the phenomena became more pronounced.

At first, the poltergeist’s pranks were somewhat humorous. Green foam would flow from the bathroom taps, potted plants would uproot and toss themselves down the stairs, and a pair of woman’s gloves were animated to float around the home, touching people and objects as if being worn by an invisible person. The family named this invisible person ‘Fred’.

The hauntings came and went, but during the last few years the family spent at the home, they began to think that the presence was demonic. Objects lifted themselves into the air, thundering crashes came from the floorboards and, in perhaps the most famous incident, a series of upside-down crosses appeared on the walls.

The Pritchards brought in a priest to perform exorcisms throughout the house, but none of the attempts proved fruitful. Just the opposite, in fact. Their efforts seemed to anger the spirit further. Eventually, Joe and Jean came face-to-face with what’s believed to be the entity. It appeared as a cloaked shadow floating above their bed. The same figure was seen by every member of the family over time. It was described as being dressed in monk’s robes. Well, the description stuck–it soon came to be known as The Black Monk.

Then, the activity ceased altogether. Over the years, many people have theorized about what exactly happened in the Pritchard home. Most notably, paranormal investigator Tom Cuniff spent many years researching the case. He discovered that between 1090 and 1539, a priory had been located near the house. In addition, the town’s gallows had been situated directly across the street, and, after digging a bit deeper, Cuniff found a Clunic monk who was hung on the gallows after being convicted of raping and murdering a young girl. The girl had been roughly the same age as Diane Pritchard. Cuniff believes the entity terrorizing the family was this monk.

In 1977, Peggy Hodgson called police to report that her home was haunted. Her four children, Margaret, age 14; Janet, age 11; Johnny, age 10; and Billy, age 7, claimed to have seen furniture moving around the rooms and heard knocking sounds coming from the walls. The first police officer who made it to the scene reported seeing a chair slide across the floor on its own. Later accounts would describe hearing demonic voices, loud unexplainable noises, thrown rocks and toys, overturned chairs and, most memorably, a child levitating.

Aside from the family themselves, there were multiple witnesses to the events. Maurice Grosse, who visited the home from the Society of Psychical Research, said he had marbles thrown at him, doors opened and closed, and recorded strange and sudden temperature changes.

These experiences were not uncommon. What made Grosse’s time in the Hodgson house remarkable was that he claimed to have spoken directly with the poltergeist. He did this through Peggy’s daughter Janet who seemed to be favored by the spirit as a medium of communication. Janet reportedly referred to herself as Bill, and informed everyone present that he had died of a brain hemorrhage in the house many years before. Then, the events halted in 1978. No supernatural sightings have occurred at the house since.

The events which played out here serve as the inspiration for the film The Conjuring 2 and continue to stump paranormal investigators to this day.

5. Esther Cox’s Poltergeist

Esther Cox was a 19-year-old who lived in a tiny cottage in Nova Scotia, Canada. The family was living peacefully when, one night, screams woke the entire household. The adults rushed to the room where Esther and sister Jennie shared a bed. The girls claimed to have seen something moving under their covers. Esther thought it was a mouse, but a thorough search of the room turned up nothing.

The following night, there were more screams. Esther and Jeannie claimed to have heard strange noises coming from the fabric box beneath the bed. When they brought the box to the center of the room for examination, it jumped into the air on its own and landed on its side. The girls righted the box, only to watch it jump and topple again.

Until this moment, most of the activity the girls were witnessing was quickly and simply attributed to their imaginations. This changed on the third night. That night, Esther went to bed early, saying she felt feverish. Jennie joined her a short time later, and after laying in bed for only a few minutes, Esther jumped up to the center of the room and began tearing at her nightclothes, screaming, “My God! What is happening to me? I’m dying!”

Jennie lit a lamp and saw her sister’s skin was bright red and appeared to be swelling unnaturally. Olive, their other sister, rushed into the room and helped Jennie get their sister back into bed. Esther now seemed to be choking and fighting to breathe. The entire family watched helpless as Esther’s body, hot to the touch, swelled further and reddened. Her eyes bulged and she cried out in pain.

Then under the bed there was a deafening bang that shook the entire room. Three more loud noises were reported from the bed before Esther’s swelling subsided and she fell into a deep sleep. Unsure what to do next, the family called a doctor, Dr. Carritte. He heard the loud bangs from beneath the bed, watched Esther’s pillow move without being touched, and her clothes were thrown around the room.

The scariest aspect of these encounters, though, was the letters etched into the wall above the bed reading: “Esther Cox you are mine to kill.” Dr. Carritte returned to the home the next day and recorded the events in detail, but still could offer the family no explanation.

The poltergeist trailed Esther wherever she went. All her attempts to escape it were futile. In an attempt to spare her family, she moved across town to work at a farm, but the farm house burnt down shortly after her arrival. The farmer accused her of arson. She was convicted to serve four months, but was released after just one. Weirdly enough, after she was released, the tormentings just seemed to fade away. No explanation—they simply stopped.


Coming up… After months of being pursued by Will Orpet, young Marion Lambert gave in to his advances. But then he lost interest… and she lost her life. (The Girl In The Snow)

That story is up next on Weird Darkness.


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Marion Lambert was a beautiful young girl, as photographs that remain of her clearly show. She was a pretty and vivacious senior at Deerfield High School. Her light brown, wavy hair was cut stylishly short and her minister called her the liveliest girl at the Lake Forest Presbyterian Church. She lived a happy life, usually with a smile on her face. She was the beloved only child of Frank Lambert, the head gardener employed by clothing millionaire Jonas Kuppenheimer, on whose estate the family lived. The Lambert family did well for themselves and times were good in Lake Forest. Many of the local tycoons were becoming wealthier by equipping the warring armies in Europe and they paid their employees well. Marion was starting to dream of going off to college in the fall.

But perhaps the one thing that made her happiest was the young man in her life, Will Orpet, a college student three years older than she was. Orpet’s father was also a caretaker; he worked on the estate of farm equipment tycoon Cyrus McCormick. The two families had known each other for years and were friendly with one another but the friendship between Will and Marion blossomed when he began sending her letters from Madison, where he was studying journalism at the University of Wisconsin. The letters were only flirtatious at first, but soon grew more serious. “I want to see you dearest, and want you badly,” he wrote to Marion on April 8, 1915. “If only I could get my arm around you now, and get up close to you and kiss the life out of you, I would be happy.”

It was later recalled that Will was not content with mere words.  When he came to see her, he sat scandalously close to her on the sofa, insisting on holding her hand and daring to kiss her. Marion did not approve at first but Will refused to give up and slowly, she started to give in to his advances. In September of that year, he came to her home in Lake Forest, took her for a drive and stopped at the edge of the woods just south of the Sacred Heart Convent. They went for a walk in the forest and then sat down together in a remote spot, carefully hidden among the trees. Marion gave herself to him there and they made love in the quiet of the forest.

Marion began dreaming of a wedding but Orpet, apparently bored after getting what he wanted out of the pretty young woman, began to lose interest. His letters became short and often he told her that he didn’t have time to write. In November, when Marion confessed that she feared she might be pregnant, the letters grew even colder. Orpet was angry and stopped just short of calling her a liar. They had only been intimate once, he insisted, and he didn’t believe that it could have happened. In spite of his denials, he called on a pharmacist friend and sent Marion a potion that was meant to relieve her “delicate condition.” Orpet was determined not to let his dalliance with Marion became a trap. She wasn’t his only girlfriend – a college pal said that he had several others on the side — and he wasn’t serious about her. He was planning to marry another girl, a young chemistry teacher from DeKalb, and he wasn’t going to let Marion trap him into a marriage that he didn’t want.

By the time the holidays arrived, Marion undoubtedly knew that she wasn’t pregnant but it’s unknown whether or not she told Orpet about this. She wanted to hang onto him as long as she could, believing the two of them were meant to be together. On February 6, 1916, Marion celebrated her eighteenth birthday at a spirited party thrown by her best friend, Josephine Davis.

Two days later, while Josephine was visiting at her home, the telephone rang and Marion left her friend in the sitting room when she into the hallway went to answer it. The telephone call was from Will Orpet. Josephine later stated that Marion was uneasy when she returned to the sitting room, but later, at Orpet’s trial, she said that Marion was “confused” and became “greatly distressed and depressed.” She even testified that Marion confided in her that, “if Will throws me over and marries that other girl, I’ll kill myself.”

But was Josephine’s testimony the truth? Marion’s parents and several other of her friends claimed that the girl had been happy and untroubled in the days leading up to her death. This bit of testimony remains one of the lingering mysteries in the case.

On the morning of February 9, Marion, bundled up in a green coat, walked with Josephine to the Sacred Heart station, where they usually caught the train to Deerfield High School. But having arrived on the platform, Marion decided not to take the train. She told her friend that she had to go to the post office to mail a letter to her Sunday school teacher. That was the last time that Josephine saw her alive.

Later that night, Frank Lambert waited for his daughter at the Sacred Heart station. Marion had told her parents that she was going to attend a party after school and would return on the 8:05 p.m. electric car from Highland Park. When the train arrived, though, Marion was not on board. She was not on the next train either. Lambert waited for over an hour before he drove into Highland Park. He was told that Marion was not at the party and in fact, her friends told him, she had not come to school at all that day.

Confused and worried, Lambert returned home and he and his wife spent a sleepless night waiting for and worrying about their daughter. Finally, before dawn, he couldn’t wait any longer and he returned to the Sacred Heart station to search for any clues as to Marion’s whereabouts. He stumbled about in the darkness, looking for footprints in the snow by the light of burning matches. It was too dark to see anything so he left to go get a friend. When they sun came up, they returned and found a line of footprints leading away from the station in the snow. One of the sets of prints was small, like a girl’s, the other was larger. They formed a side-by-side trail that wandered out into the forest.

The two men followed the trail into a small clearing and there, beneath three winter bare oak trees, Lambert saw a bright patch of green in the snow. He let out a small cry and began to run toward it. He soon saw Marion lying there on her side, her school books tucked under her arm and the letter to her Sunday school teacher still in her pocket. Her right hand was ungloved and it stretched away from her body. In the palm of her ice-cold hand her father saw a smear of white, powdery crystals. Her lips were bloody and blistered as if they had been burned.

Marion’s autopsy was performed at midnight, as soon as her body had thawed from the bitter cold. A few hours later, Ralph Dady, the state’s attorney of Lake County, held a press conference for the horde of newspaper reporters that had gathered, seeking information about the tragedy. “We are confident Miss Lambert was poisoned,” Dady told the reporters. We do not know if the poison was taken with suicidal intent or whether it was administered by someone else. We believe a man was with her when she died. We are bending our efforts toward locating that person, and when we do, we believe the motive of her act will be explained.”

Although a search of the area by police detectives found no trace of a bottle, the coroner concluded that Marion had swallowed cyanide mixed into an acidic solution. That had caused the blistering on her mouth and had left behind the white residue on her hand.

Suspicion quickly fell on Will Orpet. A reporter for the Chicago Tribune was the first to track him down at his rooming house in Madison, Wisconsin. Orpet said that he was shocked by the news of Marion’s death. He told the reporter that he and Marion had corresponded, but that they had not been involved in a “serious affair.” In fact, he said he had just sent her a friendly letter wishing her good luck with some upcoming exams and expressing regret that he would not be able to come and visit her soon. 

Orpet had indeed mailed the letter – but the rest of the story was a lie.

It was discovered that the affair had been serious and that Marion had thought she was pregnant after their rendezvous in the woods. He sent her drugs meant to cause a miscarriage, even though he claimed that he could not be responsible for her condition. The police searched the post office and found the innocent letter that Orpet had posted but at Marion’s house, they found a different one. “Dear Marion,” it read, “Jo has told me that you’ve been pretty sick. Just got word yesterday morning, hence the delay. I hope that everything is all right now and that you will soon be up and around. I’ll try to get down to see you, probably the 9th of February, and will call you on the evening of the 8th. Remember the dates… If everything is not all right by the time I see you, it will be, leave it to me.”

After this discovery, Orpet was arrested and subjected to serious questioning – first by a reporter who had arranged to have himself locked up so that he could share Will’s cell, and then by a collection of police officers, prosecutors and private detectives. They interrogated him for a full night in Madison, and then brought him to Lake Forest, where he was forced to walk for hours in the woods where Marion’s body had been found. They even forced him to stand by the side of the road and watch as her funeral procession made its way to the cemetery.

Orpet’s story changed several times but it came down to him admitting that he had kept company with Marion and may have loved her once, but his feelings had changed. He said he had been intimate with her only one time and while she told him that she thought she was pregnant, he didn’t believe it. As it turned out, Marion’s autopsy showed that she was not pregnant.

In early February, Marion had harassed him into coming to Lake Forest to see her, hinting that if he refused, she might kill herself. He eventually agreed but came in secret because, he said, he did not want his parents to know he was in town. He called her from the train station that evening, but Josephine Davis was at the house and Marion told him that he couldn’t come over then. They agreed to meet the next morning in the woods near the Sacred Heart Convent. They walked in the woods for two hours before stopping near three oak trees. Marion pleaded with him to stay true to her, but Orpet refused. He planned to marry another woman, he told her, a chemistry teacher with whom he had fallen in love.

Marion was crying when Will walked away. “Is there no hope?” she called after him.

Orpet didn’t answer. He simply kept walking. After a few more steps, he heard the sound of a small cry. When he turned around, he saw that she had fallen into the snow and her body was violently shaking. In only a few moments, he could see that she was dead. Terrified of a scandal, he said he ran away and took the first train back to Madison.

Investigators doubted his story. Why had Orpet written that friendly letter to Marion that said he was unable to come to Lake Forest if he wasn’t trying to establish an alibi? And why had he purchased an empty medicine bottle from a pharmacy clerk just before he left Madison? But the real evidence of his guilt came when the police searched the greenhouse at the McCormick estate, where Orpet’s father worked as a caretaker. As they sifted through an ash heap in the basement, they found three large clumps of cyanide crystals. They were enough, State’s Attorney Ralph Dady said, “to kill a whole high school of girls.”

Will Orpet was arrested and locked up at the Waukegan, Illinois, jail. Three weeks later, a grand jury indicted him for Marion’s murder and Ralph Dady vowed to send the killer to the gallows.

From jail, Orpet continued to proclaim his innocence, although it was hard for him to explain the letter he sent to Marion and the fact that he had rumpled his bed in Madison on the night before her death to make it appear that he slept there. He had actually, unbeknownst to his family, spent the night in the garage next to their Lake Forest home. He had not done this to create an alibi, he claimed, and he swore that he did not take the medicine bottle that he purchased to the meeting with Marion. The authorities could not link him to the purchase of any poison but they insisted that he could have easily obtained it from the cyanide in the greenhouse where his father worked. However, some of the newspapers pointed out that the poison could also have been found at the Lambert house and also in the laboratory of Deerfield High School.

The case finally went to trial at the Waukegan courthouse on May 15 with Judge Charles Donnelly presiding. The formidable prosecution included Ralph Dady, state’s attorney of McHenry County, David R. Joselyn, who had been called in as a special prosecutor, and Eugene M. Runyard. They were opposed by a defense team that consisted of James H. Wilkerson, Ralph F. Potter and Leslie Hanna, who had been retained on Orpet’s behalf by Cyrus McCormick.

That the people of Lake County heartily believed in Orpet’s guilt was indicated by the fact that it took 23 days and more than 1,200 interviews to find a dozen men who said they could sit on the jury and review the evidence impartially.

In his opening statement, Ralph Dady stated that he would summon witnesses to prove that Orpet had murdered Marion Lambert because she was a threat to his future. He stressed that he would combat the suicide defense with testimony showing that the girl had left home on Wednesday morning in excellent spirits and happy with her life, not depressed or thinking of killing herself.

Then came setback after setback for the prosecution.

Dady’s star witness, Josephine Davis, changed her story, telling the jury that Marion had threatened to kill herself if Orpet left her for another woman. Special prosecutor Joselyn had called her confidently to the stand and was stunned by the turn of events, asking the judge to be able to refer to Josephine’s prior statements when interviewed by police. The young woman explained her change of heart by saying that he had originally been hostile and vindictive toward Orpet, blaming him for breaking her best friend’s heart, but now she saw things in a different light. Marion had been depressed after speaking to Orpet on the telephone on the night before her death, she said, and claimed she would commit suicide if Orpet left her.

Although Joselyn managed to get Marion’s parents and some of her other friends to refute this testimony, the damage had already been done. And there was more to come… A classmate testified that just before Marion’s death, he had found her alone in the high school chemistry lab where cyanide was stored.

The prosecution bounced back with testimony from Dr. Ralph Webster, a toxicologist with Rush Medical College, who said that Marion must have taken the fatal dose in liquid form because the cyanide residue had been found in the palm of her hand. This went along with the theory that Orpet had mixed up a deadly concoction with poison from his father’s greenhouse.

When Will Orpet took the stand, Dady was convinced that he could break the young man’s story. He and his co-counsel were merciless, cross-examining him for nineteen hours over a four-day period. Orpet spoke in a subdued, monotone voice and admitted to terrible things. He had romanced, seduced and tossed away a fragile young woman and he was a liar, denying everything until the facts were thrown in his face. He was also a coward, he confessed, and had abandoned his one-time lover’s body in the woods rather than seek help for her because he was worried about a possible scandal. But, he remained adamant, he was not a murderer. Marion had taken her own life when he told her that their relationship was over; he denied he had given her poison.

But for all of the drama that surrounded Orpet’s testimony, the case really turned on the facts offered by three chemists that had been hired by the defense. Marion had been killed by potassium cyanide, the kind, it turned out, that could be found in her high school chemistry lab. But the poison that had the police had recovered from the greenhouse where Orpet’s father worked was sodium cyanide. Sodium cyanide, it was brought out, had replaced potassium cyanide on the open market several years before but this had not been known to the general public – nor the state‘s expert, Dr. Webster. Recalled to the stand, Webster had to admit that he had not tested the Orpet poison for anything but its cyanide content. He had taken for granted that it was potassium cyanide, the type that had killed Marion.

This small fact clinched the case for the defense. The jury took three ballots, the third of which was unanimous, and on July 15, Orpet was declared not guilty. “I’m going to the country,” he told reporters, “I’ve had a bad time but my nerve is still with me. I’m just going to start in where I left off and make good.”

Will Orpet almost immediately vanished into obscurity. Within three months, he had left Lake Forest. Records show that he enlisted in the military and served as a sergeant in the U.S. Army Air Forces during World War I. Some stories claim that he later became an oil wildcatter and a cowboy in Wyoming. In 1920, under the assumed name of W.H. Dawson, he was briefly in trouble in San Francisco after he abandoned a nineteen-year-old bride whom he had lured from Detroit. After that, Orpet stayed out of the newspapers until he died in 1948. He was buried in a military cemetery in Los Angeles.

In spite of what the jury decided, the story of what really happened in the woods that day remained a popular subject for speculation. Many feel the case has never really been solved. Several pulp detective magazines recapped the story as an unsolved mystery. The death of Marion Lambert left an unsettling mark on the annals of true crime in America – but it also left a mark on supernatural history as well.

Over the years, a strange story had circulated about a stretch of Sheridan Road in Lake Forest, near the site of what used to be Barat College. It was close to this spot in 1916 that Marion’s frozen body was discovered by her heartbroken father. The story of the roadway involves a young woman who appears in the headlights of passing cars – and leaves a terrifying impression on the drivers who are unlucky enough to encounter her.

For instance, a woman was traveling along Sheridan Road one stormy night when she saw a rain-soaked, barefoot girl in a blue dress on the side of the road. As the driver approached, she started to telephone for help, believing the girl might have been in an accident, but before she could dial, she saw something truly out of the ordinary. The lights from her car seemed to pass right through the girl, as if she was not even real. When the car pulled up next to her and the driver slowed down to peer out of her water-streaked window, the girl smiled, displaying ruined teeth inside a blackened and burned mouth – almost as if she had swallowed a burning acidic poison.

The ghost stories have continued for years, often recounting such frightening details as the spectral girl’s short brown hair or the terrifying burns around her mouth and lips. Is this chilling specter that of Marion Lambert, refusing to rest until her case has finally been solved? Or does her ghost still wander in search of redemption for taking her own life on that bitter February day?

We may never know.


Coming up…

Some people are obsessed with communicating with spirits through the Ouija board. In one case, it was the Ouija board that was obsessed with the users. (The Ouija Boy)

Plus… On the surface, Charles Schmid was good-looking, intelligent and well-mannered. But then, many psychopaths look that way. (The Pied Piper of Tucson)

Also… A woman’s love for gardening continues even after she dies. (My Mother’s Flowers)

But first… Some events are so weird one doesn’t even know how to properly relate the story – and thus describes the life and death of Charles Francis Coghlan. (Bizarre And Unexplained Phenomenon That Defied The Laws Of Nature)

These stories and more when Weird Darkness returns!




Some events are so weird one doesn’t even know how to properly relate the story.

Of all unexplained mysteries, this is one of the most remarkable stories ever told. How much of it is true and how much is based on rumors, is difficult to say because so much time has passed. Many witnesses are long gone, and several historical records are missing. However, there is no doubt that something extraordinary did happen on that special day when laws of nature played a key role in events that defy common sense.

Perhaps our understanding of nature, reality and the world we live in is still very limited…

The story focuses on the life and death of Charles Francis Coghlan, an English-Irish actor born in 1841 in Paris. His parents wanted him to become a lawyer, but Coghlan had other plans. Like many people at the time, Coghlan thought he could become famous and rich if he went to the States.

On Prince Edward Island he had a property that he regarded as his home.

Coghlan reached USA in 1876 and he stayed there for the rest of his life. He performed on Broadway, but he never became very famous. According to actress Lillie Langtry this was because he couldn’t establish an electrical contact with the audience. Langtry described Coghlan as “an exceedingly “brainy” actor, but an equally temperamental one, giving at times a great performance, and at others a purely mechanical one.”

In 1899, Coghlan started to perform with his own troupe. One of his major works was called The Royal Box, and he visited several cities where he and his fellow actors performed on stage. During one of those visits in Galveston, Coghlan was unable to perform because he became ill. Doctors diagnosed him with acute gastritis and he died four weeks later on November 28, 1899. Coghland’s remains were meant to be shipped to Prince Edward’s Island in Canada for burial, but Mrs. Coghlan learned that her daughter was seriously ill in Montreal, and she felt she needed to help her child first. Meanwhile, Coghland’s body was temporarily placed in a granite vault in a cemetery in Galveston.

What happened next is a mystery and there are various versions of the story.

Known is that a huge storm swept through Galveston Island on Sept. 8, 1900, killing thousands of people. The severe storm is today considered one of the deadliest natural disasters in the United States. When the storm reached the Galveston cemetery, it tore some coffins from their vaults. New and old dead bodies were mixed up, some were washed away never to be found.

Two weeks after the catastrophic storm devastated Galveston, newspapers reported that the actor’s body had been swept away by high water. “It is the supposition of those who have been making every effort to locate the missing casket that it was carried out to sea,” one article stated.

According to Randy Cerveny, a climatologist at Arizona State University, news came that “Coghland’s coffin was eventually carried into the Gulf Stream and floated north along the eastern cost of the United States until it reached the vicinity of Newfoundland. Finally, in October 1908, several fishermen from Prince Edward Island sailed out to set their nests in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Their nests snagged a large floating box, which they towed back to the shore. The silver plate on the coffin told the story: Charles Coghland had finally returned home. The actor’s body was then reburied near the church where he had been baptized and the wandering spirit could at last rest.”

In 1929, the story was published in Ripley’s Believe It Or Not! Column and it was said that “there might have been a backwash after the hurricane toward the West Indies. This possibly could have carried such a thing. as a coffin out through the Gulf to the point where the West Indian current joins the Gulf Stream. The Gulf Stream, when it passes a point between the Bermudas and the coast of the Carolinas, divides into several small ocean streams. And one of these streams, whose definite courses have not been traced positively, might well have carried Charles Coghlan’s coffin to Prince Edward Island. Especially might this have been a destination for a derelict in the Gulf Stream, since, as is well known, derelicts in the stream rarely are carried to Europe.

How much of this it true is unknown and many have written about the mystery of the floating coffin. There are so many versions and theories that it’s impossible to say what really happened with the body of  Coghlan. Did his coffin really reach his home town?

Curiously, once when Coghlan visited a fortuneteller, she told him that he would “die at the height of his fame in a southern U.S. city, but that he would not rest until he returned to the place of his birth.”

These words made an ever-lasting impression on Coghland and if the event is true, and we cannot neither deny nor confirm all parts of this story, then the Gypsy seer made a striking and uncanny prediction.



“My friend and I moved into an apartment about two weeks ago. On our first night here, I had a vivid dream that a little boy (around 10-12 years old) stood by my bedroom door and watched me sleep, all the while coming closer and closer. The next day, I told my friend about it. We are both very interested in the supernatural so we decided to get out a Ouija board out and see if it was real.

We contacted a spirit that said it was the boy. He said he had died in our apartment building, in room 308. That room is just down the hall from us. We talked to it a bit and it seemed nice. We eventually said goodbye and went to sleep.

The next day we used the Ouija board again because our friend came over and wanted to try it. The spirit we got didn’t like me because I’m a woman. It even cursed me through the Ouija board movements. The planchette kept moving off the board and towards me, across the table. We asked it if it was obsessed with me, and it said yes. My friend decided to ask if it was the boy we talked to yesterday. It said yes. We said goodbye and put the board away.

That night I had the most vivid dream I can ever remember having. The boy was standing by my door again watching me sleep, and he would disappear every time I looked up. Finally, he didn’t disappear. He just stood there staring at me. I asked ‘what do you want?’ He pointed at me. I then got up and walked towards him. He handed me a piece of paper with two words written on it. He wanted me to say the words out loud. I felt like if I did it would either allow him to possess me or to cross through somehow. I refused, and he got angry. Then he left, and I ran to my friend’s room. He was acting weird and wouldn’t listen to me. I knew I was in a dream and tried to wake up, but I couldn’t. Then my dream changed and I was back in bed and the boy was watching me again. Eventually, my dream changed.

The next day I told my friend what happened, and he looked up prayers of protection and other protective things. We used the Ouija one last time. We asked it what it wanted and it said it wanted my soul. We asked who wants it and it said the devil. It also said it was a demon. We asked it to say goodbye, but it wouldn’t. My friend said ‘In the name of Michael the archangel, I command you to close the door.’ The planchette shot to goodbye.

We said a few protection prayers or spells and tried to cleanse the house with what we had. We burned some bay leaves and put a bay leaf above my door. We put a mini willow tree in my room because it’s supposed to be protective in some way. It’s been about four days and I haven’t had a dream like that since, but I still don’t feel like I’m quite in the clear.”



On the surface, Charles Schmid, just like many psychopaths, was good-looking, intelligent and well-mannered. He used lip balm, pancake makeup and created an artificial mole on his cheek. In his own eyes, he saw himself as Elvis Presley. He even stuffed his cowboy boots with newspapers and flattened cans to make him appear taller.

But shocking for the authorities and public was the fact he was able to murder 3 people, brag about it to his teenage followers long before authorities even started to suspect murder might be done – nobody spoke up.

Charles Howard “Smitty” Schmid, Jr. was an illegitimate child adopted by Charles and Katharine Schmid. He had a difficult relationship with his adoptive father Charles, whom Katharine Schmid later divorced. When the adopted boy tried to hook up with his biological mother, she angrily told him never to come back.

Despite doing poorly at school, he was an accomplished athlete, he excelled at gymnastics and even led his high school to a State Championship. Just before his graduation Schmid stole tools from the school’s machine shop and was suspended. He never returned to school.

When he turned 23, he began living on his own. On his parents’ property with a new car and motorcycle. He even received an allowance, which he mainly spent on parties and picking up girls. He was able to sing and play a guitar. His peers admired him.

At one night, drinking with his girlfriend Mary French and a friend John Saunders, Schmid announced that he wants to kill a girl and he thinks he can get away with it. The victim was 15-year-old Alleen Rowe. He convinced his girlfriend Mary to ask Alleen, who was her neighbor and friend, to go on a double date with her.

They drove by a near desert, where Charles Schmid and John Saunders lured the girl to see a nice spot. There, Schmid raped and beat her to death with a stone, afterwards burying her body to a shallow grave. Schmid told his friend Saunders to rape her first, but he couldn’t do it. Mary French was waiting in the car, casually listening to the radio. There were rumors she was pregnant, carrying a Charle’s child, and it was her way to show she loved Charles.

One of many Schmid’s girlfriends was Gretchen Fritz, whom he confessed the murder of Alleen Rowe. When Schmid decided to break up with Fritz, she threatened to use the information against him. Schmid got angry and strangled Gretchen Fritz and her little sister Wendy, who was only 13 years-old and just happened to be at the wrong and at the wrong time.

Schmid confided to his loner friend Richard Bruns that he murdered the sisters and showed Bruns the shallow graves. Bruns became increasingly paranoid that Schmid is going to murder his girlfriend. Eventually, he confessed his grandparents, who lived in Ohio, everything he knew about the murders, and flew back to Tucson to help with the investigation.

When Charles was put under an arrest, he was a different man. His behavior was bizarre, he was filthy, wore a bandage on his nose and exaggerated his birthmark. When the policemen questioned Charles, he didn’t answer to questions and was in a trance-like condition.

In 1966, Schmid was found guilty of murder and sentenced to death. At the time, the state of Arizona had temporarily abolished the death penalty and his sentence was commuted to 50 years in prison. Saunders and French agreed to testify for the state against Schmid and received lesser charges.

Schmid made few failed escape attempts from jail. Finally succeeding in 1965, he held 4 held four hostages in a ranch with another inmate named Raymond Hudgens. The men were captured and returned to the prison. In 1975, he was stabbed 47 times by two fellow prisoners and died 20 days later.



My mom loved her flower gardens. Every year she looked forward to when the weather was nice enough to get out and start weeding and planting. I never had her green thumb and would always complain dramatically when she would ask me for help. But her gardens always looked beautiful.

My mother worked as an Elementary School teacher for 36 years. She even had the same classroom for 30 of those years. She was a fixture at the school and everyone loved and respected her.

She would have added more years to that if she hadn’t gotten sick. And after a year long fight with cancer she passed away. She had always told me that when she passed she wanted to be cremated and her ashes should be spread in her flower beds.

After everything, I ended up moving into my childhood home and that spring I resolved to get over it and start the weeding and planting. I gathered up all mom’s gardening tools, bought way more seeds and flowers than I could afford and opened her urn.

At the same time some teachers at school my mom taught at for so long decided they would like to plant a tree in the schoolyard and place a plaque in her classroom as a memorial.

Well first the school decided they couldn’t do a plaque because they would eventually need to paint the walls. Then once the tree was planted they decided that they wouldn’t allow a marker or memorial stone at the tree. Then some of her students made colorful rocks and later them around the tree. So the school had a janitor throw them away.

It really bothered other members of my family that the school my mom dedicated her life to was so callous. But I just told them that I didn’t care because mom was always with me in the flowers.

It’s been a few years since she passed. They’ve had to replant that tree 3 times. Something is always destroying it. Wind storms or blight. But I must have finally inherited mom’s green thumb because my flowers look amazing.


Up next on Weird Darkness… In 1991 Austin, Texas, police entered a frozen yogurt shop – and came across a murder scene that could appall even the most hardened homicide detective. (The Yogurt Shop Murders)




In the early 1990s, Austin, Texas was shell-shocked by a tragic, vicious crime. Late on December 6, 1991, firefighters responded to reports of smoke rising from the I Can’t Believe It’s Yogurt! shop on West Anderson Lane. Once inside, the responders found a scene of unmitigated horror. Amidst the inferno, were the brutalized bodies of four teenage girls–Amy Ayers, Jennifer Harbison, Sarah Harbison and Eliza Thomas.

At least one of the girls had been raped. Three were stacked atop each other like cordwood, and all had been bound with their own clothing before being shot in the head with a .22-caliber handgun. It was a murder that could appall even the most hardened homicide detective. Immediately, the public placed pressure on authorities to catch whoever was responsible.

Four suspects, all teenagers themselves at the time, were charged with the crime eight years later: Forrest Wellborn, Maurice Pierce, Robert Springsteen, and Michael Scott. Grand juries, citing a lack of evidence, declined to indict Wellborn. The charges against Pierce were later dropped.

Scott and Springsteen, however, were convicted in late 1999. The pair had confessed to the crime, saying that they committed the rape and murders while the other two stood watch. Scott was sentenced to life imprisonment. Springsteen, however, went to one of the best-known and most-feared places in Texas–death row.

Before long, cracks began appearing in the case against them. They centered on the fact that their confessions, which they alleged had been coerced, were very detailed. Too detailed for some people’s liking. One of the yogurt shop case’s investigators, Detective Hector Polanco, was transferred off the case after allegations of his extorting similarly-detailed confessions in an unrelated case.

It didn’t help the Austin PD when a photograph surfaced on the internet from video footage of Scott’s questioning. The image came from the Austin PD’s own camera and it showed Detective Merrill, aiming a gun at Scott’s head.

By this point, the defendants had been sentenced to life and spent almost a decade in prison. The confession provided were, according to one report, ‘stunningly detailed but decidedly false.’ The allegations against Palanco contributed to having Springsteen’s and Scott’s cases reviewed and their convictions eventually overturned.

There were a number of factors making investigations especially difficult. The Austin Police Department were relatively inexperienced in handling such horrific cases and the public pressures that went with them. They also faced a plethora of false confessions, useless information, and leads that went nowhere but still had to be checked. At one point, the investigation had a list of 342 potential perpetrators.

All told, over 50 false confessions had to be debunked, including one from serial killer Kenneth McDuff. McDuff, executed in 1998 on unrelated murder convictions, made a confession on his execution day. He was known to be active in the area at the time of the crime and to target teenagers. Even though his confession was most likely an effort to gain a stay of execution, it still had to be checked. If, however, McDuff was hoping for a stay, he was disappointed. He died as scheduled.

It wasn’t until 2006 that the convictions of Scott and Springsteen were overturned. Because the state appealed against the ruling, the pair weren’t released until 2009–10 years after they were sent to jail. Forrest Wellborn, alleged by the state to have been a lookout while Springsteen, Pierce, and Scott committed the crime, remains scarred by his experience at the hands of the Austin PD.

Fellow suspect Maurice Pierce died in December 2010 when a routine traffic stop turned deadly. Soon after being pulled over by officer Frank Wilson and Wilson’s partner, Pierce fled the scene. Caught by Wilson, Pierce drew a knife and stabbed the officer in the neck. Wilson managed to draw his sidearm and fatally shot Pierce. Wilson ultimately survived the stabbing.

Other evidence still remains unresolved. Two unidentified men were seen entering the shop shortly before the time of the crime. According to two other customers, both credible witnesses who stopped in for yogurt sundaes, these men arrived shortly before the shop closed and remained after the door had been locked and the shop closed. It was common practice to close up around 10 minutes before 11:00 P.M., unlocking the door to allow any late customers to leave.

Cold case detectives currently reviewing the case have yet to identify either of the men. DNA samples discovered at the scene match neither Scott nor Springsteen. Were the two unidentified subjects involved or just casual customers passing through? Unless they are found, the residents of Austin will likely never know just what happened in the yogurt shop that night in 1991.


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

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

Also on WeirdDarkness.com, if you have a true paranormal or creepy tale to tell, you can click on TELL YOUR STORY. You can find all of that and more at WeirdDarkness.com.

All stories in Weird Darkness are purported to be true (unless stated otherwise) and you can find source links or links to the authors in the show notes.

“The Sacrifice” from YourGhostStories.com: http://bit.ly/2FtokWx
“The Black Bird of Chernobyl” from Ghost-Story.co.uk: http://bit.ly/2Y8hmxA
“The Vampire Murder Mystery of Lilly Lindstrom” from CoolInterestingStuff.com: http://bit.ly/2xaBxiI
“I See Dead People” by Gary Vasey from the MyHauntedLifeToo.com website: http://bit.ly/2X21hgh
“The Straith Letter: UFOs and a Hoax” by Nick Redfern for Mysterious Universe: http://bit.ly/2LdpTLZ
“Bathroom Shadow Peeper” submitted by Linda
“Five Violent Poltergeists That Terrorized People Around The World” written by Audrey Webster for The Line Up: http://bit.ly/2XzzD9Q
“Bizarre And Unexplained Phenomenon That Defied The Laws Of Nature” by Ellen Lloyd: (link no longer available)
“The Ouija Boy” was written by an unknown author: (link no longer available)
“The Pied Piper of Tucson” from BizarrePedia.com: http://bit.ly/2wUkTn1
“My Mother’s Flowers” was submitted anonymously
“The Yogurt Shop Murders” by Robert Walsh for The Line Up: http://bit.ly/2WM388Y
“The Girl In The Snow” by Troy Taylor: http://bit.ly/2wUiatX

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

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

Now that we’re coming out of the dark, I’ll leave you with a little light… “Better to be lowly in spirit and among the oppressed than to share plunder with the proud.” — Proverbs 16:19

And a final thought… “Life without purpose is meaningless.” – Amy Torres

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



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