“JIANGSHI THE VAMPIRE” and More Terrifying True Stories! (PLUS BLOOPERS!) #WeirdDarkness

“JIANGSHI THE VAMPIRE” and More Terrifying True Stories! (PLUS BLOOPERS!) #WeirdDarkness

Listen to ““JIANGSHI THE VAMPIRE” and More Terrifying True Stories! (PLUS BLOOPERS!) #WeirdDarkness” on Spreaker.

IN THIS EPISODE: The English and Americans aren’t the only ones with vampire problems – in China they have a nasty vampire that is also a master of disguise. (Jiangshi, The Vampire) *** Papua New Guinea had an avalanche of UFO sightings in the late 1950s – and one of the most infamous involved a priest and his parish. (Father William and the Flying Saucer) *** “It looked like a baby’s body with long arms and legs. It had a big head about the same size as the body, it was sort of melon shaped.” That’s how Bill Bartlet described the strange create he saw in 1977. (The Dover Demon Returns) *** Murdered in Montana in 1983, Marie Philbrick was killed in the days before DNA analysis. Bernard Pease Jr. was convicted of her murder, but was he really her killer? (The Murder Case of Marie Philbrick)

“Jiangshi, The Vampire” by A. Sutherland for Ancient Pages: https://weirddarkness.tiny.us/2tvsk3n7
“Father William and the Flying Saucer” from Anomalien: https://weirddarkness.tiny.us/2cycfdnp
“The Murder Case of Marie Philbrick” from CrimeTraveller.org: https://weirddarkness.tiny.us/aez456w
“The Dover Demon Returns” by Mark Sullivan for Boston.com: https://weirddarkness.tiny.us/tbuu3vcw and Strange New England: https://weirddarkness.tiny.us/jztfkrsn
Weird Darkness theme by Alibi Music Library.

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“I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.” — John 12:46
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WeirdDarkness® is a registered trademark. Copyright ©2024, Weird Darkness.
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Originally aired: March 05, 2023


DISCLAIMER: Ads heard during the podcast that are not in my voice are placed by third party agencies outside of my control and should not imply an endorsement by Weird Darkness or myself. *** Stories and content in Weird Darkness can be disturbing for some listeners and intended for mature audiences only. Parental discretion is strongly advised.


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 English and Americans aren’t the only ones with vampire problems – in China they have a nasty vampire that is also a master of disguise. (Jiangshi, The Vampire)

Papua New Guinea had an avalanche of UFO sightings in the late 1950s – and one of the most infamous involved a priest and his parish. (Father William and the Flying Saucer)

“It looked like a baby’s body with long arms and legs. It had a big head about the same size as the body, it was sort of melon shaped.” That’s how Bill Bartlet described the strange create he saw in 1977. (The Dover Demon Returns)

Murdered in Montana in 1983, Marie Philbrick was killed in the days before DNA analysis. Bernard Pease Jr. was convicted of her murder, but was he really her killer? (The Murder Case of Marie Philbrick)

If you’re new here, welcome to the show! And if you’re already a member of this Weirdo family, please take a moment and invite someone else to listen. Recommending Weird Darkness to others helps make it possible for me to keep doing the show! And while you’re listening, be sure to check out WeirdDarkness.com where you can find the show on Facebook and Twitter, and you can also join the Weird Darkness Weirdos Facebook group.

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


1959, in perhaps the best documented and most celebrated UFO experience of all time, Australian missionary Father William Booth Gill and the entire staff and clients of an Anglican Mission at Boianai, in the former Australian colony of Papua-Niugini (Papua-New Guinea), saw an aerial disc-shaped object and exchanged waves with four passengers on board. The ‘close encounters’ carried over into the next two days.

Papua New Guinea was a hive of UFO sightings over the years of 1958-1959. Over those two years there were over sixty UFO sightings, with most of these being in the Mount Pudi region.

The first sighting of Father William Gill would take place on the 5th April 1959, when he noticed there was a very bright and fast moving light travelling across the Mount Pudi area, which was an inhabited mountain. Thinking not much of it, Father Gill went back to his normal routine.

It was not until about a month later, when his assistant, Stephen Moi, claimed that he had witnessed a saucer shaped object, flying over the skies of the missionary. Being so skeptical, Father Gill still dismissed the incidents and blamed them on atmospheric or electrical phenomena in the sky.

Soon enough though, other events would take place that would make Father Gill question his skepticism and admit that he had borne witness to a UFO sighting. It was on the 26th June that another incident occurred.

It was approximately six forty-five pm, when Father Gill noticed again a bright light in the sky to the north-west of the village. Soon, the word had spread throughout the small community and many others had joined Father Gill and were watching the light in the sky.

All in all it would be thirty-eight people who could account for what was seen on that occasion.

These would include, Stephen Moi, Ananias Rarata and Mrs. Nessle Moi. Later the witnesses would describe how as the light got a little closer, they could make it out has being roughly the size of five full moons that were lined up against each other. It was in the shape of a disc, with a smaller round superstructure on the top, like the bridge of a boat. Underneath it had four legs that were in pairs and coming down in a diagonal manner.

All of the witnesses that had gathered then continued to watch the craft as it hovered in complete silence. They were all then shocked and amazed as they made out four humanoid shaped figures on the top part of the craft.

They all said that it appeared as if these figures were carrying out work on-board the craft and would move about as if carrying out duties, bending and reaching about inside the craft.

One of them would disappear and then come back into view. There was also a blue light that would shine up from the craft at regular intervals.

This spectacle would go on for about forty-five minutes until about seven-thirty, when it rose higher into the sky, becoming obscured by clouds and then disappearing out of view.

It was then an hour later at eight-thirty that a number of smaller objects returned to the skies over the mission. A further twenty minutes later the larger object from earlier in the night came back over.

This new sequence of events would carry on for a further four hours, then at approximately ten-fifty that night the clouds began to get thicker and they obscured the craft and the smaller ones and they went completely out of sight. That night Father Gill wrote down an account of all that he and the people of the village had witnessed and twenty-five of them signed it.

That evenings sighting was not to be the only one that occurred over the village. The next evening at about six o’clock, a number of smaller craft appeared along with the larger one that had been there the night previously.

As the craft hovered, again silently, about three to four hundred feet away, the beings were again visible in the top part of the craft. It then appeared as if one of the being lent over a sort of rail and looked down toward the people on the ground.

On seeing this, Father Gill waved up to them and to his total amazement, the being waved back. Father Gill would later say that it was like a skipper on a boat waving back to someone who was stood on the wharf.

Ananias then waved to the beings using his two hands and again the beings did the same back to them. This waving between the two then continued for a while. Eric Kodawara then waved a torch towards the craft and as if in acknowledgement back to them, the craft went into a movement like a swinging pendulum.

He then shone the torch to the ground, to see if he could encourage the craft to land on the ground but the craft did not react to this. Throughout the whole encounter, many of the indigenous people of the village would gesture for the craft to land, but they did not get a response.

The children of the village were also said to be excited by the happenings and would cry out at the craft. Father Gill then said that he went inside and had some food and when he returned sometime after, the craft was still there but had rose further away.

The village continued after this with its normal routine and had its evening church service. At seven forty-five when they came out of the building, the craft had gone from view.

At eleven-thirty that night, while most of the community was in the mission, a loud bang was heard on the roof. The group ran outside and saw four of the crafts high up in the sky. The next morning the roof of the mission was checked, but there was no evident damage.

On 24 November 1959 in federal parliament E.D. Cash, a Liberal member from Western Australia, asked the Minister for Air, F.M. Osborne, whether his department (specifically Air Force Intelligence) had investigated the reports.

The minister’s reply did not address this question, but instead focused on the general situation, indicating that most sightings of UFOs were explained and ‘that only a very small percentage, something like 3 percent of reported sightings of flying objects cannot be explained’.

A representative of one UFO group was advised by the Directorate of Air Force Intelligence that the Department was awaiting ‘depth of evidence’ on the New Guinea sightings.

Finally, the Minister for Defense requested a report and the RAAF interviewed Gill on 29 December 1959, some six months after the sighting. Gill’s recollection of the visit is that the two officers from Canberra talked about stars and planets and then left. He heard no more from them.


When Weird Darkness returns, murdered in Montana in 1983, Marie Philbrick was killed in the days before DNA analysis. Bernard Pease Jr. was convicted of her murder, but was he really her killer? We’ll look at the murder case of Marie Phibrick up next.



My favorite thing about the true crime community is how discerning the fans are when it comes to information. Maybe it’s the thousands of hours of Forensic Files and Dateline that we’ve all watched, maybe it’s the natural cynicism we develop from reading volumes about the evils of humanity, but true crime enthusiasts can usually smell B.S. from a mile away. We don’t accept much on faith, and a person’s claims are only as good as the corroboration they can put behind it.

To prove my point, let’s look at the murder of Marie Philbrick. The state of Montana says that Bernard Pease Jr. killed Philbrick and tossed her away with the trash. But we know that just because the police say somebody is guilty doesn’t necessarily make it so. The Montana Innocence Project claims that Pease is an innocent victim of junk science and malicious prosecution. But we also know that just because the Innocence Project says that somebody is innocent doesn’t necessarily make it so. At least one of them is wrong, so let’s review the facts of the case and see if we can figure out who.

Marie Philbrick was a 23 year-old Native American woman living in Billings, Montana, in 1983. She was from South Dakota and had only been in Billings for a couple of months. She was a sex worker who lived with a man named John Salas and a woman named Brenda Cunningham. Salas was referred to as a “roommate” in court records from the time. That may be a polite euphemism, however, because according to the Innocence Project, Salas was Philbrick’s pimp and Cunningham was a fellow sex worker.

Philbrick was last seen by her “roommates” on the morning of November 24, 1983, which was Thanksgiving. Salas saw her walking downtown at about 3:00 a.m., and Cunningham saw her talking to a man in a yellow pickup at about 3:30 am. At trial, defense attorneys introduced two witnesses who claimed to have seen Philbrick as late as November 26. Both were employees at the hotel where Philbrick, Salas and Cunningham lived. On an eventual appeal, the Montana Supreme Court argued that those sightings were by witnesses who did not know Philbrick and were seeing a person they thought was her from a distance. The Supreme Court was ultimately not convinced of the hotel witness sightings.

A week and four hours after Cunningham claimed to have last seen Philbrick, on December 1, 1983, Philbrick’s nude body was discovered by a passerby on his way to work. Philbrick was laying in an alley in the snow beside two garbage cans. Her body was frozen and almost entirely drained of blood. She had suffered multiple stab wounds to the chest and her throat had been slit. The skin was sloughing off her ankle (likely from decomposition) and drag marks in the snow suggested that she had been dragged by the legs to the spot where she was abandoned.

Sorry, that was a brutal paragraph. Why are sex worker murders always so brutal? As if their lives aren’t difficult enough already, they have to suffer the most horrific deaths too? That seems especially unfair.

But I digress. The medical examiner estimated that Philbrick had been dead for approximately 5 to 10 days before she was found. Detectives observed that her left foot was more decomposed than the rest of her body and that there were ridges and dents in the foot. They also discovered a strand of orange yarn in Philbrick’s hair.

A little over a month later, on January 5, 1984, the owner of an auto shop about two blocks from where Philbrick’s body was found discovered a bloody sleeping bag and some carpet backing along a fence behind his shop. Officers collected it and found orange fiber, similar to what was in Philbrick’s hair, along with pieces of brick and a plumb bob, which is a tool commonly used in masonry.

The trash cans where Philbrick’s body was found were outside of an industrial building that housed a couple of different businesses. One of them was Pease Masonry. Detectives went to Pease Masonry on January 5, 1984, and spoke to Bernard Pease Sr., who consented to a search of the building. The search revealed orange shag carpet and a chunk of carpet backing that had been cut in a pattern that seemed to match the section found behind the auto shop. When the officers searched the wash bay area in the rear of the business, they found white cardboard boxes with blood on them, blood on the floor, a bloody paper napkin stuck to part of a box and a used condom with blood on it.

Detectives also noticed heating pipes on the floor of the wash bay. The pipes were dusty, except for a couple of areas where the dust had been rubbed off. The bumps and lines of those clean areas were consistent with the lines that detectives saw on Philbrick’s decomposed foot. The medical examiner also later determined that a hot and dry heat source, such as the heat pipe, could have accounted for why the foot decomposed faster than the rest of the body.

There were only four people who had access to the wash bay, all of them in the Pease family. Police got search warrants for the Pease’s home in Billings. In Bernard Pease Jr.’s bedroom, police found used and unused condoms, bondage pornography and women’s underwear with semen stains. In the business truck that Pease Jr. drove, a yellow and white truck, police found a bedsheet stained with what appeared to be blood.

Pease Jr. was eventually arrested and charged with murder. At trial, prosecutors called an expert who testified that the blood on the sleeping bag, the carpet backing, the bedsheet, the cardboard boxes, the used condom from the wash bay and the floor of the wash bay was all the same type as Philbrick’s blood. That isn’t always very persuasive, but Philbrick had one of the rarer blood types. A town the size of Billings, with 120,000 people, would only be expected to have about 80 to 120 people with Philbrick’s blood type.

Furthermore, the condom from the wash bay had semen in it that matched Pease Jr.’s blood type. None of this should be confused with DNA evidence. This all predated DNA.

Experts for the prosecution and the defense gave conflicting testimony about whether or not various hairs from the crime scenes matched the suspect and the victim. But it’s all kind of moot now that we know how unreliable and unscientific hair comparison actually was as a forensic science.

Pease Jr.’s ex-wife identified the bloody sleeping bag as a wedding gift that they had received and said that Pease Jr. had kept it after the divorce. Pease Jr. denied that he had ever seen the bloody sleeping bag.

Pease Sr. testified that Pease Jr. had gone out on the night of November 23, 1983, and that Pease Jr. did not see him again until about 9:00 a.m. on Thanksgiving morning. A friend of Pease Jr testified that he was with Pease Jr at a bowling alley until about 2:00 a.m. that morning.

Pease Jr. denied that he ever hired sex workers, but prosecutors introduced one witness who claimed to have patronized prostitutes with Pease Jr. before and another witness who claimed that Pease Jr. had talked about hiring a prostitute.

The Innocence Project has argued that the court was wrong to dismiss the witnesses who claimed to have seen Philbrick after November 24. Both witnesses testified that not only had they seen Philbrick on November 25 and November 26, but they had actually seen her with Salas and Cunningham. If the witnesses were correct, then Salas and Cunningham were lying, and to what purpose?

The Innocence Project also pointed out that no witnesses saw Philbrick with Pease Jr., no witnesses saw Pease Jr. near the trash cans on the night before Philbrick was found, and the wash bay was not sufficiently bloody to have been the scene of such a horrific stabbing.

The two hotel employees had no reason to lie. They said that they saw Philbrick on November 25 and November 26 because they undoubtedly believed that they did. If they are correct, then my money would be on Salas for the murderer. It is tragically common for sex workers to be killed by their pimps, and I can think of no other logical reason why Salas and Cunningham would have lied about when they last saw Philbrick other than to cover for a murder.

But I don’t think the hotel employees are correct.

There is so much evidence pointing to Pease Jr. All of that blood was on items linked to Pease Jr. and in places that he had access to. His truck matched the description of the last person Cunningham saw Philbrick talking to. The blood types were a match in both directions, to the victim and to Pease Jr., and the victim’s blood type was pretty unique. The injuries to the victim’s decomposed foot seemed to match the pipes in the wash bay. There are just too many things to dismiss as a series of coincidences.

It seems likely to me that the hotel employees were mistaken about the day they saw Philbrick, especially since such an encounter would be an unremarkable event at the time. That’s an easier explanation than to dismiss the mountain of evidence against Pease Jr.

But buyer beware, I have been wrong before. Frequently. Multiple times today, as a matter of fact, and the day isn’t over yet. So just because I’m telling you that I think Bernard Pease Jr. killed Marie Phibrick, doesn’t necessarily make it so. Of course, being the discerning true crime aficionado that you are, you already knew that.

On the plus side, since the Innocence Project has taken the case up, we may get a definitive answer on this one. Assuming the evidence was preserved (which is a big assumption on a 37-year-old murder) all of those bloody items could potentially be tested for DNA. If any of the blood in the wash bay or Pease’s truck belonged to Philbrick, then I think we have our answer.


Coming up… “It looked like a baby’s body with long arms and legs. It had a big head about the same size as the body, it was sort of melon shaped.” That’s how Bill Bartlet described the strange create he saw in 1977. I’ll share the story up next on Weird Darkness.



(The story I’m about to share is from 2006, and you’ll want to keep that in mind when you hear the dates and ages of those mentioned in the story.)

On April 21 1977, in Dover Massachusetts, an event took place that placed the town of Dover in the paranormal history books. Bill Bartlett and two friends were cruising around this small town enjoying the typical teenage conversations. Around 10:30 they began driving down Farm Street, a long and winding road surrounded by woods and fields. Suddenly, Bill noticed an animal climbing over a stone wall to the left of the road. As they approached the creature the headlight illuminate it and it froze in place like a startled deer. As it stared into the lights Bartlett noticed it had glowing orange eyes that resembled glass marbles. “It looked like a baby’s body with long arms and legs. It had a big head about the same size as the body, it was sort of melon shaped”, Bartlett stated.

He went on to describe it as having no facial feature and a peach colored skin with a texture like sharkskin. As he raced past the creature he could see it clutching onto the rocks with its long spindly fingers. The other boys were busy talking and did not notice the creature. Bartlett dropped off his friends and went home to draw a picture of what he had witnessed.

Later that evening John Baxter, age 15 was returning home from his girlfriend’s house. Around 12:30 am he reached the intersection of Miller Hill Rd. and Farm St. when he noticed someone about 150 feet away walking toward him. John could see that this person had an unusually large head. He thought it may be M.G. Bouchard, a young boy who had a deformed head due to a childhood disease. As he got closer he called out to him, but there was no reply. Once he was close enough he could see that it couldn’t be Bouchard; it was far too small. “I was about 15 feet away from it when I stopped and it stopped…” John said, “We just stood there, I was looking at it and I’m sure it was looking at me. I could barely see the shape of it…I said one more time, who is that?” John took one more step forward and it quickly dashed into the woods. He could hear this thing making its way through the brush. Curious to discover who or what it was, John quickly followed behind it. Reaching the bottom of the embankment, he could see on the other side of a brook. He now could clearly see the outline of the creature’s body. “All these thoughts going through my mind, “John told investigators, “you know, ‘what is this? A monkey, maybe?’… As I was looking really close, there I could see the eyes… it was looking at me… I just stared at it for another few minutes…” Soon John began to feel very uncomfortable. “I got all these feelings that it was thinking to itself, or waiting to spring or whatever, you know, and so I backed up the bank kind of fast and my heart started beating really fast…” He ran to Farm St and got a ride home. That night he drew a picture of the creature he had seen. It had glowing eyes and strongly resembled the thing Bill Bartlett had seen.

Dover would experience one more sighting of this strange creature. The next night around midnight Will Taintor, 18, was driving his girlfriend Abby Brabham, 15, home. While on Springdale Ave Abby saw something at the edge of the bridge on the left hand side of the road. “As I looked at it, it kind of looked a minute like an ape.” She claimed, “And then I looked at the head and the head was very big and it was a very weird head… It had bright green eyes and the eyes just glowed like, they were just looking exactly at me.” Abby went on to mention that she assumed that the creature’s eyes might have been reflecting the car’s headlights. She described it as having a tan hairless body, and a watermelon-shaped head that was featureless. Taintor only saw it for a brief moment crouched in the road. Both of them compared its size to that of a goat. This would be the last sighting of the creature.

Realizing other people had seen the same creature he had witnessed, Bill ran off copies of his drawing and began to hand them out. He hoped that he might find others to corroborate his story with their own experiences. Over the next month several local papers ran stories concerning the sightings. On May 16 the Boston Herald and the Boston Globe ran stories on the Dover Demon. Bill’s unusual experience became big news.

Since then there have been many theories as to what the Dover Demon was. Some people believe it has a strong resemblance to the alien beings witnessed in many UFO sightings. The Demon also has many similarities to a creature the Cree nation of eastern Canada call Mannegishi. It may also be possible that Bill had seen an undiscovered natural species, mutation or hybrid that still has not been cataloged by scientists. Martin S. Kottmeyer suggested that they had actually seen a young moose. The location of the eyes and absence of a nose or mouth fit with the description of the head of a young moose. Each sighting was brief and in darkness of the night. Under such conditions, a person’s imagination can easily play tricks on them. We may never know the truth, so next time you’re in driving through Dover, Keep one eye on the road and the other eye out for the Dover Demon!


Twenty-nine years later, William Bartlett stands by his story of what he saw on Farm Street that night. It was an eerie human-like creature, he said, about 4 feet tall with glowing orange eyes and no nose or mouth in a watermelon-shaped head.

‘‘I have no idea what it was,’’ Bartlett, now a 46-year-old artist living in Needham, said in a recent interview. ‘‘I defi- nitely know I saw something.’’

The ‘‘Dover Demon’’ that Bartlett and two other teenagers reported seeing over a two-day span in April 1977 has since gained worldwide attention, not unlike Bigfoot, the Loch Ness monster, and the Latin American goat-sucker, the chupacabra. Internet pages are devoted to the Dover Demon. You can play a video game featuring the creature, or buy a figurine of it as far away as Japan.

‘‘In a lot of ways it’s kind of embarrassing to me,’’ said Bartlett. ‘‘I definitely saw something. It was definitely weird. I didn’t make it up. Sometimes I wish I had.’’

He has made a career as a painter, his work displayed in galleries on both coasts, but a Google search on ‘‘Bill Bartlett,’’ he noted, invariably turns up his teenage encounter with the unknown.

Once, his wife, Gwen, browsing the horror section of a bookstore, flipped open an encyclopedia of monsters — and there was an entry about her husband and the Dover Demon.

‘‘It’s a thing that’s been following me for years,’’ Bartlett said. ‘‘Not the creature — the story. Sometimes I dread every Halloween getting calls about it.’’

On April 21, 1977, Bartlett, then 17, was driving along Farm Street at around 10 p.m. when, he said, he saw the creature atop a broken stone wall. Two hours later, according to news accounts from that time, John Baxter, 15, was walking home from his girlfriend’s house when he got within 15 feet of the creature along a creek in a heavily wooded area along Miller Hill Road.

At midnight the next night, Abby Brabham, 15, was driving home with her boyfriend when she spotted the creature sitting upright on Springdale Avenue.

A drawing made by Baxter showed a humanoid figure with large eyes standing by a tree. Bartlett’s large-eyed creature crawled with tendril-like fingers across a stone wall. ‘‘I, Bill Bartlett, swear on a stack of Bible’s that I saw this creature,’’ he wrote on the sketch. The locations of the sightings, plotted on a map, lay in a straight line over 2Æ miles. All the sightings were made in the vicinity of water.

No sightings have been reported since, though Bartlett says a weird experience a year later left him wondering if he had had a return visit from the creature.

The following year, he said, he was in a parked car with his girlfriend when he heard a thump on the car.He made out a small figure leaving the scene. He remains unsure who — or what — banged the car, he said, though it could have been a youngster playing a prank. Farm Street on a recent evening could have been a modern- day Sleepy Hollow, with woods lining the fieldstone walls, and what little light there was coming from the moon. Since at least the 17th century, the vicinity of the second-oldest road in Dover has been associated with strange occurrences.

In his 1914 town history, ‘‘Dover Farms,’’ Frank Smith writes of Farm Street:

‘‘In early times this road went around by the picturesque Polka rock [on the farm of George Battelle] which was called for a man by that name, of whom it is remembered, that amid the superstitions of the age he thought he saw his Satanic Majesty as he was riding on horseback by this secluded spot.

‘‘The location has long been looked upon as one in which treasures are hid, but why anyone should go so far inland to hide treasures has never been told; however, there has been at times unmistakable evidence of considerable digging in the immediate vicinity of this rock.’’

Loren Coleman of Portland, Maine, a well-known cryptozoologist, or researcher of ‘‘hidden animals,’’ from Sasquatch to sea serpents, led the original investigations into the Dover Demon, whose name he coined. Studying Dover’s history, Coleman said in a telephone interview, he was struck by the fact that the area in which the Demon was sighted had a tradition of unexplained activity.

‘‘In the same area you had three major legends going on,’’ he said, citing the apparition of the devil on horseback, the tales of buried treasure, and then the Dover Demon. ‘‘I think it certainly says something. It’s almost as if there are certain areas that ‘collect’ sightings, almost in a magnetic way.’’

Coleman theorized that the large geologic outcropping in the woods off Farm Street that historian Smith called the ‘‘Polka stone might actually have been called the Pooka stone, after the fairy folk of Celtic folklore.

When the Dover Demon was sighted in 1977, it might not have been the first time a strange creature was spotted in the woods by local teenagers.

Mark Sennott of Sherborn, who was buying a bagel and coffee at Isabella’s Groceria in Dover Center on a recent Saturday morning, said there was talk at Dover- Sherborn High School in the early 1970s of strange things seen in the woods.

In fact, Sennott said, he and his friends might have seen a ‘‘demon’’ themselves at Channing Pond on Springdale Avenue in 1972.

‘‘I don’t know if we really saw something,’’ he said. ‘‘We thought we did. . . . We saw a small figure, deep in the woods, moving at the edge of the pond. We could see it moving in the headlights.

We didn’t know — it could have been an animal.’’ Sennott said the group told police, who investigated, but ‘‘nothing came of it.’’

When Bartlett saw his creature five years later, he said, he was driving with two friends on Farm Street near Bridge Street on the way to Sherborn about 10 p.m. They hadn’t had any beer: ‘‘We were probably looking for it,’’ he said, ‘‘but we didn’t have any that night.’’

Bartlett said the car was traveling maybe 35 to 40 miles per hour when he saw the thing ‘‘standing on a wall, its eyes glowing’’ in the headlights. ‘‘It was not a dog or a cat,’’ he said. ‘‘It had no tail. It had an egg-shaped head.’’ He said he saw it from about 10 feet away, over the duration it took the car to travel from one utility pole to the next. His two friends did not report seeing the creature.

He grew up around animals, and had seen the odd mangy fox, Bartlett said. ‘‘This definitely wasn’t,’’ he said. ‘‘It was some kind of creature,’’ with ‘‘long thin fingers’’ and ‘‘more human-like in its form than animal.’’ Its shape reminded him of ‘‘kids with distended bellies,’’ he said. ‘‘I’ve always tried to guess what it was. I never had any idea.’’

This was no prank, Bartlett said. ‘‘I wasn’t trying to be funny. People who know me know I didn’t make this up.’’

Coleman, who began an investigation within days of the sightings in 1977 and spotlights the Dover Demon case in the 2001 edition of his book ‘‘Mysterious America,’’ believes Bartlett.

‘‘We have a credible case, over 25 hours, by individuals who saw something,’’ said Coleman, who interviewed all three teens within a week of the reported sightings and said he was convinced they had not concocted a hoax.

Nothing quite like the Demon has been reported seen before or since, he said. The Dover creature does not match the descriptions of the chupacabra, or of Roswell aliens, or of the bat-eared goblins said to have attacked a family in Hopkinsville, Ky., in 1955.

‘‘It doesn’t really fit any place,’’

Coleman said. ‘‘It’s extremely unique. It has no real connections to any other inexplicable phenomena.’’

Is it possible the teens actually saw a foal, or perhaps a moose calf, as some have suggested? Coleman said he canvassed local horse owners after the incident and none reported missing a horse. Moreover, it was not foaling season, he said.

As for the moose theory, only two moose were reported in Massachusetts in 1977 and 1978, both of them in Central Massachusetts, he said. A yearling moose by that time in April would weigh more than 600 pounds and be ‘‘bigger than the Volkswagen Bartlett was in,’’ said Coleman.

‘‘To have a bipedal moose with long fingers and orange skin and no hair and no nose would be more of a phenomenon than the Dover Demon,’’ he said.

So what did those teens see?

‘‘It’s OK to say we don’t know,’’ said Coleman.

‘‘I think the Dover Demon’s mystery lives on. It’s an unknown phenomenon whose fame has stretched worldwide, and I think Dover should be very proud.’’

In Dover, a quiet community dotted with horse farms and one of the richest towns in the state, people are still not quite sure what to make of the story.

‘‘That thing has haunted me for 29 years,’’ said Carl Sheridan, a former police chief. ‘‘I knew the kids involved. They were good kids . . . pretty reliable kids.

‘‘God only knows’’ what they saw, Sheridan said. ‘‘I still don’t know. Strange things have happened. The whole thing was unusual.’’

He got calls from all over the world when the case made the news, the former chief said, and he still does, from time to time.

‘‘The thing will not die,’’ Sheridan said. ‘‘I’m telling you, the thing will not go away.’’

In Town Clerk Barrie Clough’s office at Town Hall, municipal reports share shelf space with a file of materials related to the Dover Demon case, including a book titled ‘‘Weird New England’’ and a newspaper clipping headlined ‘‘Bizarre four-foot creature with orange skin and glowing eyes stalking a town.’’

‘‘Every once in a while people will come in and ask about it,’’ said Clough. ‘‘I have no idea if it’s true or untrue.’’

Downtown Dover was decorated recently with pumpkins as children arrived for a Halloween fair, and a steady stream of regulars bought coffee and newspapers at Isabella’s. Located in the old Dover Pharmacy, now with an Italian deli counter added to the old soda fountain, the grocery remains a town hub.

Behind the counter at Isabella’s, Scott Bielski, 17, of Dover, a senior at Dover-Sherborn High, said the demon gives his small town a unique claim to fame.

‘‘ ‘Home of the Dover Demon’ has a nice ring to it,’’ he said with a smile. As far as he knows, the creature had never stopped in to the soda fountain. ‘‘Let us know if he wants anything,’’ he said.

A customer who gave his name as Jimmy said he has lived in town for four years but has yet to see the demon. ‘‘Maybe I will some day,’’ he said. ‘‘I’m one of those realists — if I don’t see it, I don’t believe it.’’

Customer Ed Tourtellotte of Dover said: ‘‘I think it’s probably as real as the Easter Bunny, but it’s fun.’’

Nearly three decades after seeing something very strange on Farm Street, Bartlett has decidedly mixed feelings about the experience. ‘‘It was my 15 minutes of fame, without wanting it,’’ he said.

‘‘It was little embarrassing. It still is.’’

He said he hasn’t talked much to his two children, 8 and 5 years old, about the creature: ‘‘I don’t want to scare them.’’ And the professional artist has never drawn another picture of the thing he saw. ‘‘I don’t have enough memory of it,’’ he said. ‘‘I haven’t wanted to. I’m a serious fine-arts painter. I don’t want people to think I’m some freak.

‘‘I don’t usually tell anybody. I shouldn’t be embarrassed, but you see these people on TV and they’re made to look like idiots,’’ he said.

‘‘I really do wish that I had made it up. I might have profited from it. It’s a great story.

‘‘I wish it was seen again so everyone would know it was true.’’


Up next… The English and Americans aren’t the only ones with vampire problems – in China they have a nasty vampire that is also a master of disguise. That story when Weird Darkness returns.



Myths and legends of Europe, both Americas, China, Japan, and India describe terrible bloodsuckers that may differ in their power and individual characteristics but all of them fascinate people and their vampiric fright knows no borders.

Powerful legends about Jiangshi (or Jiang shi) have long inspired a genre of literature, movies, and video games, especially in Hong Kong and East Asia.

Jiangshi – a truly terrifying undead  Chinese creature – is described in Chinese legends and folklore as a half-vampire, half-zombie.

Typically, the Jiangshi (hopping vampire or hopping zombie) is depicted as a stiff corpse dressed in the official garments of the Qing dynasty (1644–1912), the last great dynastic empire to rule the region, with many powerful and long-lived rulers.

The belief that the human body can walk and function without personal consciousness or without the soul is an idea that has captivated human beings for centuries. This idea is not entirely implausible as it may be more real than one thinks. Within Chinese culture and folklore, there are strange stories describing a creature, which is known as the Jiangshi. It is believed to be as real, deadly, and terrifying as zombies.

Perhaps, the Jiangshi is only an unrealistic, evil creature in Chinese folklore that was used in simple stories to scare children; however, the most remote villages of China blindly believe in the existence of this entity from the underworld, and many similar ones.

Are not all the legends based on real events?

According to Chinese legends and folklore, Jiangshi – (‘jiang’ means hard) is a reanimated corpse of a victim of drowning, suicide, hanging, or smothering.  These creatures are believed to be particularly vicious, ripping the heads and limbs from their victims.

The Jiangshi is so stiff that it cannot bend its limbs and body, so it moves by hopping, with its arms always outstretched, seeking out living creatures at nigh and killing them, by devouring their ‘qi’ life force. It helps the Jiangshi to survive.

The Jiangshi vampire wears a uniform coat-like robe and round, traditional mandarin hat; they cannot speak, has pale skin, furry green hair, sharp, long claw-like fingernails, and an extremely long tongue.

The Jiangshi has not been traditionally equated with the zombie, but rather with a vampire. During the day, the Jiangshi rests in either a coffin or hides in a dark, chilly cave.

According to one Qing Dynasty scholar, Ji Xiaolan (1724–1805), Jiangshi creatures can be divided into two groups: an old corpse that hasn’t decomposed or a freshly dead body returning to life. When Jiangshi’s corpse is of recently deceased, the creature’s appearance looks almost like a normal living human. Others, who have been decomposing for some time, have rotting flesh hanging off their yellowing bones.

Jiangshi lore is very ancient and the creature’s existence was taken very seriously by scholars in ancient China who speculated on how jiangshi were created.

In the meantime, ancient Chinese deeply believed in dangerous encounters with a Jiangshi and tried to protect their homes.

Slats of wood 6 inches high were built under doors in the strange belief that these would keep out hopping zombies. To keep a Jiangshi in place, a slip of yellow paper with a spell written on it was also stuck on the corpses.

But the best way to get rid of this terrifying creature was to ask a Taoist priest for help. He was the only one who could balance their life and death with dark and light.


Thanks for listening. If you like the show, please share it with someone you know who loves the paranormal or strange stories, true crime, monsters, or unsolved mysteries like you do! You can email me anytime with your questions or comments at darren@weirddarkness.com – and you can find the show on Facebook and Twitter, including the show’s Weirdos Facebook Group on the CONTACT/SOCIAL page at WeirdDarkness.com. Also on the website, if you have a true paranormal or creepy tale to tell, click on TELL YOUR STORY.

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.

“Jiangshi, The Vampire” by A. Sutherland for Ancient Pages

“Father William and the Flying Saucer” from Anomalien

“The Murder Case of Marie Philbrick” from CrimeTraveller.org

“The Dover Demon Returns” by Mark Sullivan for Boston.com and Strange New England


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

WeirdDarkness™ – is a production and trademark of Marlar House Productions.

Now that we’re coming out of the dark, I’ll leave you with a little light… “God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.” — 1 John 1:5b

And a final thought… “Forgiveness is not about releasing someone from accountability for their actions. It is about us letting go of our anger and resentment.” — Unknown

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

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