“PAULINE PICARD AND OTHER TRUE DOPPELGANGER STORIES” and More Creepy True Stories! #WeirdDarkness
Find Weird Darkness wherever you listen to podcasts: https://linktr.ee/weirddarkness. #doppelgangers #paulinepicard #bigamy #alienabduction #paranormal #truestories #paranormalstories #ghoststories #horrorstories #truecrime #cryptids
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IN THIS EPISODE: Dubbed “the Oddfather” for his peculiar mannerisms and longstanding history of bizarre behaviour, Gigante was either genuinely mentally ill or the perpetrator of the longest legal charade in New York’s history. (The Oddfather) *** A man wearing a ski mask broke into the home, and kidnapped 13-year-old Jayme, but only after murdering both of her parents in cold blood. But why was it done? Even the kidnapper/murderer says he doesn’t know why he did it. (A Murder Without Motive, a Kidnapping Without Cause) *** UFO researcher Raymond Fowler has been investigating UFO sightings and supposed abduction cases since the 1960s – but in his new book he shares what might be the ultimate story of an alien abduction. (The Ultimate Alien Abduction) *** Are changelings and doppelgangers real? You might choose to believe so after hearing about the strange disappearance of Pauline Picard. (The Disappearing of Pauline Picard) *** Plus, we’ll look at a few true first-hand accounts of people who have come across doppelgangers – and for them, it was a frightening experience. (Stories of Real Doppelgangers)
SOURCES AND ESSENTIAL WEB LINKS…
“The Disappearing of Pauline Picard” by Addison Nugent for Ozy.com: https://weirddarkness.tiny.us/dtk3pvks
“Stories of Real Doppelgangers” by Nathan Gibson for Graveyard Shift: https://weirddarkness.tiny.us/y6a3hx7t
“The Oddfather” by Dr. Romeo Vitelli for Providentia: https://weirddarkness.tiny.us/2wanyfwn
“A Murder Without Motive, a Kidnapping Without Cause” from The Scare Chamber: https://weirddarkness.tiny.us/7ksmerus
“Bigamy Excused” from Second Glance History: https://weirddarkness.tiny.us/2zabd2sd
“The Ultimate Alien Abduction” by T.R. Swartz for SpectralVision.com: https://weirddarkness.tiny.us/9d3cpphn
Weird Darkness theme by Alibi Music Library. Background music by Nicolas Gasparini/Myuu: https://tinyurl.com/lnqpfs8
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Weird Darkness theme by Alibi Music Library. Background music provided by Alibi Music Library, EpidemicSound and/or StoryBlocks with paid license. Music from Shadows Symphony (https://tinyurl.com/yyrv987t), Midnight Syndicate (http://amzn.to/2BYCoXZ), Kevin MacLeod (https://tinyurl.com/y2v7fgbu), Tony Longworth (https://tinyurl.com/y2nhnbt7), and Nicolas Gasparini (https://tinyurl.com/lnqpfs8) is used with permission of the artists.
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(Over time links seen above may become invalid, disappear, or have different content. I always make sure to give authors credit for the material I use whenever possible. If I somehow overlooked doing so for a story, or if a credit is incorrect, please let me know and I will rectify it in these show notes immediately. Some links included above may benefit me financially through qualifying purchases.)
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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
Trademark, Weird Darkness®, 2022. Copyright Weird Darkness©, 2022.
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Welcome, Weirdos – I’m Darren Marlar and this is Weird Darkness. Here you’ll find stories of the paranormal, supernatural, legends, lore, the strange and bizarre, crime, conspiracy, mysterious, macabre, unsolved and unexplained.
Coming up in this episode…
Dubbed “the Oddfather” for his peculiar mannerisms and longstanding history of bizarre behaviour, Gigante was either genuinely mentally ill or the perpetrator of the longest legal charade in New York’s history. (The Oddfather)
A man wearing a ski mask broke into the home, and kidnapped 13-year-old Jayme, but only after murdering both of her parents in cold blood. But why was it done? Even the kidnapper/murderer says he doesn’t know why he did it. (A Murder Without Motive, a Kidnapping Without Cause)
UFO researcher Raymond Fowler has been investigating UFO sightings and supposed abduction cases since the 1960s – but in his new book he shares what might be the ultimate story of an alien abduction. (The Ultimate Alien Abduction)
Are changelings and doppelgangers real? You might choose to believe so after hearing about the strange disappearance of Pauline Picard. (The Disappearing of Pauline Picard)
Plus, we’ll look at a few true first-hand accounts of people who have come across doppelgangers – and for them, it was a frightening experience. (Stories of Real Doppelgangers)
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.
Now.. bolt your doors, lock your windows, turn off your lights, and come with me into the Weird Darkness!
STORY: THE DISAPPEARING OF PAULINE PICARD==========
The 2-year-old girl was playing on her family farm in Goas al Ludu, just outside of Brest, in Brittany, France. It was a quiet and safe area, and Pauline Picard’s mother never worried about letting her children play in the picturesque farmland. But when she called her daughter to supper one evening in April 1922, she was horrified by the lack of response. Shocked by the little girl’s disappearance, police and townspeople banded together to comb the landscape for the lost girl, but they came up empty-handed. “La Petite Pauline Picard,” as the media dubbed her, had vanished without a trace.
Statistics show that the first 48 hours after a child’s disappearance are the most critical for finding them alive. So at the three-week mark, the Picards had begun to abandon hope of ever seeing their little girl again. Little Pauline was widely assumed to have been eaten by a boar or taken by gypsies.
So news from Cherbourg of a little girl matching Pauline’s description having been found by police seemed miraculous. When an officer showed a photo of the child to Pauline’s mother, Le Matin reported that she burst into tears, crying, “That’s my daughter! My poor little Pauline!” Overcome with joy, the couple drove 250 miles to Cherbourg to take their daughter home.
But the story of little Pauline was far from over; questions quickly grew into a heartbreaking paranoia for the Picards. How had their toddler wandered 250 miles without succumbing to the elements? Why did she not seem to recognize her parents or her brothers and sisters? And, most troublesome, they couldn’t understand how she had forgotten the Breton dialect. These doubts were explained away as amnesia brought on by post-traumatic stress. The working theory? That Pauline had been abducted and abused by her kidnapper. While the girl didn’t seem to recognize her family, they, including her brothers, sisters and even their neighbors, all recognized her. A mysterious woman dressed in rags was seen with the little girl before she was taken by Cherbourg police, and the media maintained that this woman was the key to unraveling the mystery of Pauline’s disappearance.
Though newspapers from Paris to New York rejoiced over the miraculous return of little Pauline, the Picards harbored nagging suspicions that the child living in their house was not theirs. These worries grew when a local farmer, Yves Martin, seemingly confessed to killing their daughter. He shakily asked the Picards whether they thought the little girl in the house was their daughter before screaming, “God help me, I’m guilty!” and running off (he was later admitted to an asylum). And soon after, a discovery was made that would terrify a nation.
On May 26, one month after Pauline was discovered in Cherbourg, a cyclist found the naked body of a small girl not far from the Picard farm. The head, feet and hands had been removed, preventing positive identification, but next to it was a neatly folded pile of children’s clothes, among which were the black-and-white checkered dress, navy blue jacket and black tights little Pauline had been wearing the day she disappeared.
Stranger still? The skull of a fully grown man was found next to the grisly scene, introducing the prospect of a second victim. Also, the police and volunteer rescue searchers maintained that they had been over the area where the body was found many times. “So careful was the search made at the time of Pauline’s disappearance that the body would have been discovered had it been lying where it was found,” The New York Times reported. All of which suggested that the body had been moved there recently because the killer wanted it to be found.
So who was the little girl living with the Picards? Sadly, after the body was found, the Picards determined that the girl found in Cherbourg could not be their Pauline, and she was sent to live in an orphanage. But questions have lingered over the last century as to how the Picards could have been so sure initially that the little girl found 250 miles away was theirs. Experts point out that parents often suffer from a very confusing psychological state after a child’s death. “When your child dies, the pain and devastation of the loss can feel overwhelming,” says Carolyn Brice, CEO of The Compassionate Friends, a British support group for bereaved parents.
The Picards are not the only family to have, in extreme grief, mistaken another child as their own. But lacking DNA evidence to confirm whether the body found in the woods was indeed little Pauline, this tragic mystery remains unsolved.
When Weird Darkness returns, we’ll look at a few more true first-hand accounts of people who have come across doppelgangers – and for them, it too was a frightening experience.
STORY: STORIES OF REAL DOPPELGANGERS==========
A doppelganger is someone who looks almost identical to someone else even though they are not related to that person. It’s eerie to come across someone with practically the same features and characteristics as yourself or another person you know, and doppelgangers are often seen as spooky. True doppelganger stories can be truly horrifying and often include interesting details about how people tried to interact with their lookalikes. With over 7.5 billion humans in the world, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that there are plenty of people who look uncannily similar to each other. Just take the story behind the Three Identical Strangers documentary as an example – albeit a particularly strange one. Meeting a doppelganger can be a surreal experience – especially if they suddenly disappear without a trace.
From Redditor /u/quitevoice4846: Late at night, I usually go to the bathroom multiple times but for the past four days, every time I go to leave, I can see myself still standing in the mirror from the corner of my eye. It is like the other me is watching me leave the bathroom. It terrifies me to the point where I almost run out without looking directly at the mirror. I never told my husband about it because I didn’t want to acknowledge it out loud. Earlier today, I took a nap in our bed while he sat in the chair next to it watching TV. When I woke up, he told me that he had seen me sit up and crawl backwards to the edge of the bed and stand up in front of our bedroom door from the corner of his eye. He thought it was weird I got up like that because I’m in the last month of my pregnancy and I can’t really move so well without it hurting. So he tried talking to me. When I didn’t answer, he looked at the door to find me not there and still sleeping in bed. I got really creeped out, and I finally told him about what I have been seeing in the bathroom. He thought it was creepy as well, but didn’t want to really talk about it anymore because he thinks it will give whatever it is power or energy. I have no idea what it wants or why we have both seen it.
From Redditor /u/g4yf13r1: When I was nine, I stayed home “sick” from school. I distinctly remember that I wasn’t actually sick, simply playing hooky to avoid bullying (kids are cruel) as I did that a lot around that age. I awoke from a nap, turned on the TV in our living room, and scrolled through some channels when my “mother” suddenly leaned over the bar and stared at me without saying anything. I had been awake for a few minutes at this point, so I can’t rightly blame sleep paralysis for all of this. Now, whatever this thing was, it was entirely IDENTICAL to my actual mother. It sounds weird to describe, but it’s as if the only difference was that this thing pretending to be my mom had never felt a single emotion in its life. It was unsettling. It beckoned me, and I attempted to talk to her as I would my mother. She kept beckoning, refused to answer, and that’s when I sensed something horribly wrong… Naturally, I started screaming at this thing to answer me. It just kept beckoning. I bolted, running out of the room and into the yard yelling for help. My mother, the real one, had been working in the yard and came rushing over. I told her what I’d just seen, and she soothed me with easy explanations that it must have been a fever dream, but thankfully stayed by my side the rest of the afternoon as I was a nervous wreck.
From Redditor /u/Geobite: I remember one Sunday morning, my brother and I were watching Cardcaptor Sakura on TV, and someone knocked on the door. We lived in an apartment that was empty, the owner hadn’t rented the second floor, it was a two-bedroom apartment with a kitchen and a bathroom by the door. A small apartment but with a big window that faces out to the door. So when I heard someone knock, I checked the window, and I saw my father (so I thought). I was going to the door to open it. When I was going to unlock the door, my mother pulls me away and screams at me to not open the door because I didn’t know who it was. I told her I saw my dad. She freaked out, going to the window and checking and then checking the peephole. She started to get terrified, and she said to go to the farthest room in the apartment and to not come out. She went and woke up my dad, my dad got up angry and confused. We told him what we saw, and the man was still knocking at the door. My dad screamed, “Who is it?” No answer, he said he will call the cops, but no response. While my dad was busy screaming at him, we saw that he was just standing still in front of the door. So my mom took us to the farthest room from the door while my dad got ready to open the door with a metal bat. Once he did, the man was gone. My dad goes out looking everywhere around the apartment. The apartment door was a heavy metal door and always was heard when someone comes in and out but we heard nothing that morning and nothing when my dad opened the door. We heard no footsteps either but my brother, my mother, and I saw that man that looked exactly like my father.
From Redditor /u/hyperham51197: I remember one time I was talking to my dad in a hallway of my house. I don’t really remember what it was about. We both saw my mom clearly walk past us and into her room, shutting the door. I walked back out into the living room, and my mom was still on the couch, asleep. I looked back at my dad, and he looked at me. We were both terrified. We both crept over to their bedroom and looked at the closed door. Neither of us went inside, we were freaked. I’m pretty sure my dad slept on the floor that night.
From Redditor /u/celestial_espirit: When I was about 16 or 17, I was really heavy into doing the oujia board. Other stuff happened but the doppelgangers were definitely the worst. The first one was my mom. I heard her come in, and my best friend was with me. My friend and I walked down to greet her. She looked like a younger version of my mom and was carrying groceries, so I tried calling out to her but she didn’t respond and walked into my brother’s room. Then I got a sick feeling. I called out to her, but she didn’t respond still, so I followed her up. She was not there. When I walked back down, my real mom had come in and didn’t know what was going on. She was also wearing a different outfit. The next one was my brother. My mom was talking to him on the phone, and he said he was on his way home. As soon as he hung up, my brother walked in the door. He talked to us for a little (Mom wanted him to take out the garbage or something) and then walked to the bathroom. He had been in the bathroom for like 15 minutes, and then I got the sick feeling again. I asked if he had fallen in or something. Then, my real brother walked in and was freaked out. My mom checked on him all night to make sure he was okay. Both times they had darker eyes, and it felt sort of like a dream but I was definitely awake, and other people witnessed it.
From Redditor /u/dond0ndon: Both times that my family experienced doppelgangers, the doppelgangers refused to respond when spoken to. The first was my sister’s doppelganger who my brother told to go downstairs for lunch. She did not answer. When my brother walked downstairs, he instantly saw my actual sister wearing a different shirt. She couldn’t have passed my brother so quickly because the staircase led directly to our dining area. The second was my own doppelganger who stood at my door at 12 pm, mute and staring at my sister, who was using the computer. I wasn’t actually home until 4 pm later that day after school. My sister didn’t know that until she asked me why I was just staring at her without emotion earlier around noon.
From Redditor /u/BobRoss0902: I am so…weirded out right now, what the (heck)? I was sitting there on my computer when my brother walks in and sits down on his bed. He doesn’t say anything (he is a quiet person so that is normal). I go to the bathroom, walk back in, and he’s gone. Look outside, and the car that he had left in with my mom a few hours ago still isn’t there. I go outside to see if anyone else is home that I could have mistook for him, nope, I am still home alone…
From Redditor /u/ShutterSpook: We had problems with doppelgangers at a fast food joint that I worked at. I had two separate sightings myself. First; My general manager comes by to tell me (in drive-thru) and the register person to clean the lobby, then goes to the restroom. So the register person and I come up with a plan and wait for her to come out. We see her walk out of the restroom, walk by us, and walk into the lobby. We go to catch her, and no one’s there. We turn around, and she is walking out of the bathroom. We tell her what we saw, but she didn’t believe us. Second; Manager and I are in the prep area. One of the girls who is working up front walks back and right into the walk-in cooler. After about five minutes of waiting, the manager asks me to go check on her. I open the walk-in door. There is no one in there. As I am trying to explain this to my manager, the girl in question walks into the prep area from the front. Needless to say, the manager believed me, and finally believed what had happened in the first sighting.
From Redditor /u/ocauth: I woke up one morning to my dad going to the kitchen and stopping by to say, “Hey, wake up!” and then I took out my phone and started watching YouTube. I was awake for sure. Later, my mom was walking to the kitchen and did the same [thing] my dad did. Then I get out of my bed,. and I see that my parents were still in their room. I asked them if they asked me to wake up while walking to the kitchen, and they said no. I don’t know what it was, can somebody please explain?
From Redditor /u/shubbykins: The first one was my husband. I turned into the hallway and saw him there, walking away from me and towards the bedroom at the opposite end. I called to him, but he didn’t respond. As soon as he entered the bedroom, he turned to the left (there’s just a wall there, not even any windows). I followed him into the bedroom, but there was no one there. My husband had been upstairs the entire time. The second time was my dad. He was unloading some things from his truck and was going to bring them to the back door, which opens into the kitchen. I was in the kitchen and heard a noise at the door. Through the window in the door, I saw my dad bending over, as though he was bending down to untie his shoes. I ran to the door and opened it, but there was no one there. My dad was still at his truck. Both times it’s been a family member. Both times I haven’t seen their faces. Neither event felt “wrong” in any way, or sinister – the movements that the figures made were exactly the movements my dad or husband would have made.
From Redditor /u/grillo7: My wife said she saw me standing in the kitchen doing something while I was actually at work at the time. She initially thought I had come home from work and was worried, and then the figure of me apparently vanished, which was naturally even more upsetting. No other occurrences before or since then.
From Redditor /u/Gentleman_T-Bone: A similar thing happened when I was living at my sister’s house in college. My room was in the basement, and the bathroom was on the second floor. One morning, she saw me in the hallway mirror behind her walking towards the bathroom in the same clothes I was wearing. She said good morning but I didn’t even look like I noticed. I then came upstairs about five minutes later, and she seemed puzzled, thinking I was already upstairs. Freaked her out.
From Redditor /u/ultrahotlasagna: When I was in middle school, I was at a friend’s apartment she lived in with her mom. Her mom was cool and let us party there, and she was always at work for long/late hours. There was a group of us there, maybe six people or so. Everyone was in the living room except for this couple who were in the mom’s bedroom with the door closed and lights off. We had all gotten pretty baked. I had just made myself a snack and was walking to my friend’s bedroom, which was right past the mom’s room where the couple was. As I walked past the mom’s bedroom door, out of the corner of my eye, I saw the door opening from the inside and a partial face/head that looked identical to my friend’s mom (who was not at home). I didn’t think anything of it, since there were so many people in the small apartment, and kept walking and sat in my friend’s room. A minute later, the girl who had been screwing around in that bedroom came out and yelled at me and asked me why I had kicked the door open. I told her I saw someone come out of there, and she was adamant that I had walked by and kicked the door open. The more I thought about it, the weirder it was. I thought she was messing with me at first, but the person I saw didn’t look like anyone that was there at the time – it looked so much like the mom. If it were her, it would have meant that she had somehow snuck back into the apartment after being gone for hours, hidden in her room in the dark for over an hour while this couple was messing around in her bed, and then she would have to have discreetly left the bedroom and passed the living room full of people to get to the front door.
From Redditor /u/babykitten28: This is just a little story that’s probably not worth telling, but a couple of friends got a kick out of it. I let my dog out at midnight one night, left the door ajar for him to come back in, then went about making some soup and something to drink. After a couple of minutes, I hear his distinctive too-long toenails trotting back in on the wood flooring. I lock up the door and return to my meal. I then hear my dog barking from outside. Any dog owner knows that there’s no mistaking those toenails, so I was a little shocked that he was somehow back outside – what had come in? It didn’t really spook me.
From Redditor /u/IamNotHariSeldon: So I had just gotten real baked at my friend’s apartment, walking home in broad daylight. Down the sidewalk ahead of me, I see two young girls, instantly recognizable as Mormon missionaries. They get maybe 50 feet away from me, and one of them waves and calls me by name. We meet, and one of the girls gives a friendly hello, acts like she knows me. Bear in mind I’m pretty stoned, so I’m trying to figure out if I know her from somewhere but she catches on that I don’t recognize her and acts kind of offended, so she “reminds” me that we had some big long conversation on her friend’s porch on such-and-such street just a few days prior. Now at this point in my life, I smoked a lot of weed but I never drank or did anything else, and going to random parties and charming pretty young blondes was completely off the menu. I was already half in love from the moment she smiled at me, I don’t think I would have forgotten this long, engrossing conversation we apparently had had. Now her expression I remember, as I stumble through this conversation. At first she thought I was joking, then she thought I was being mean, and then she kind of looked just as confused as I was. So I suggest, “Maybe it was my brother you met?” She looks at me skeptically, “Not unless he’s your identical twin.” My brother and I look like brothers but you’d never confuse one for the other. So we awkwardly, confusedly parted ways. I don’t remember the other girl ever saying anything. Then it dawns on my dumb stoned brain: She knew my name! I turn around, they’re a few hundred feet away. I yell, “Wait! How did you know my name?” But they don’t hear me, and I foolishly couldn’t muster the courage to run to catch up with them. That sh*t bugged me for weeks. I wanted to know what we had talked about.
Coming up on Weird Darkness…
Dubbed “the Oddfather” for his peculiar mannerisms and longstanding history of bizarre behaviour, Gigante was either genuinely mentally ill or the perpetrator of the longest legal charade in New York’s history. (The Oddfather)
Plus… a man wearing a ski mask broke into the home, and kidnapped 13-year-old Jayme, but only after murdering both of her parents in cold blood. But why was it done? Even the kidnapper/murderer says he doesn’t know why he did it. (A Murder Without Motive, a Kidnapping Without Cause)
STORY: THE ODDFATHER==========
He could often be seen leaving his mother’s Greenwich Village apartment, dressed either in a bathrobe and pajamas, or in a windbreaker and shabby trousers, but the sight of the two bodyguards accompanying Vincent Gigante at all times, ensured that nobody could dismiss him as just another New York City eccentric. Dubbed “the Oddfather” for his peculiar mannerisms and longstanding history of bizarre behaviour, Gigante was either genuinely mentally ill or the perpetrator of the longest legal charade in New York’s history (it all depended on who you asked).
Born Vincent Louis Gigante in 1928, Gigante was a professional boxer who fought nearly thirty bouts between 1944 and 1947 before abandoning the ring for what would be his real career. Starting out as a mob enforcer for the Luciano crime family, Gigante (who quickly acquired the nickname of “the Chin”) and three of his brothers established themselves as mobsters who became prime enforcers in the Genovese family.
Despite various arrests, including a conviction for heroin trafficking which earned him a seven-year sentence in the 1950s, Vincent Gigante rose to become a capo regime for the local branch of the Genovese family operating out of Greenwich village, not far from his mother’s apartment. Remaining loyal to his family throughout his lifetime, they also rallied around him (including his brother, Louis, who had stayed out of the Mafia to become a priest). Vincent eventually rose to the very top of the Genovese family after his mentor, Philip Lombardo (a.k.a. “Benny Squints”) stepped down due to ill-health in 1981. He beat out his main rival for the position, Anthony Salerno, when Salerno received a life sentence for racketeering charges. From 1981 until his death in 2005, Vincent Gigante controlled some of New York’s most notorious rackets including bookmaking, loansharking, construction companies, and various other enterprises. At the peak of his career, he was believed to have handled as much as $100 million dollars in legal and illegal revenue.
Though state and federal agencies were well aware that “the Chin” was one of the most powerful crime bosses in the United States, proving it in court was another matter. Even though mob deserters testified about Gigante’s criminal activities and his involvement in cartels that rigged contract bids across New York City and Westchester county, his unorthodox management style established him as a very different kind of Mafia don. In 1986, FBI agents maintaining constant surveillance during one of their investigations observed Gigante leaving his mother’s apartment in seedy clothing until he as driven to the townhouse owned by his common-law wife where he changed into more expensive clothing and do business with associates. The next morning, he would often be seen back in his seedy clothing and returning to his mother’s apartment or another family home. He remained acutely paranoid of FBI wiretaps and electronic listening devices and rarely left his home unoccupied for long for fear that FBI agents would plant bugs.
“It was hard to understand what enjoyment he got out of being a mob boss,” said Ronald Goldstock, the former director of the New York State Organized Crime Task Force of Gigante. “His only pleasure appeared to be the pure power he exercised.” His reclusive lifestyle ensured that he would remain in power longer than any other mob boss during that same era. Despite his unorthodox management style, he certainly had no problem resorting to violence as needed. He went on trial in 1958 for the attempted murder of Genovese family boss Frank Costello but was acquitted when Costello refused to testify against him (the code of silence known as omerta prevailed at all times, even with assassination attempts). Though he was widely suspected of ordering other murders, prosecutors were never able to prove anything in court.
Probably his most well-known trick for avoiding prosecution was to feign insanity successfully for years. Beginning in 1969, Gigante maintained an elaborate pretense which often involved him being seen around Greenwich Village wearing only his pajama, robe and slippers while mumbling to himself and generally appearing to be just another New York street person. In a masterful performance, Gigante ensured that all public appearances reinforced the image he maintained for himself. Whenever he went on trial, his defense attorneys produced medical experts who testified that he suffered from various diagnoses ranging from schizophrenia to dementia pugilistica dating back to his boxing days. Various family members including his wife and mother testified on his behalf verifying that he was mentally ill and incapable of standing trial. His brother Louis even went so far as to accuse prosecutors of engaging in a vendetta due to prejudice against Italian-Americans.
His Mafia colleagues certainly had no doubts about the sanity of “the Oddfather.” Even his arch-nemesis, John Gotti, grudgingly said of Gigante that he was “crazy, like a fox” while an FBI supervisor quoted in Gigante’s obituary said that “He was probably the most clever organized-crime figure I have ever seen.” This, despite his lawyers frequently insisting in court that their client had a below-normal IQ (in the 69-72 range) which meant he was too mentally disabled to be involved in the Mafia.
Not only did Vincent Gigante produce his own experts, but he also successfully fooled prosecution experts as well. Forensic authorities such as Thomas Gutheil of Harvard Medical School, Donald Franklin Klein of Columbia Medical School, and Abraham Halpern of New York Medical College, among others, assessed Gigante over the years and subsequently testified that he was unfit to stand trial. His habit of appearing in court in pajamas, a robe and his familiar cap were all part of the elaborate scam he maintained to stay out of jail and it worked for decades. Even during sanity hearings in 1996 when several high-level Mafia defectors testified that Gigante appeared perfectly sane during various meetings, his lawyers provided testimony from psychiatrists and psychologists attesting to his mental illness. They also presented evidence that Gigante had been institutionalized 28 times between 1969 and 1985 for hallucinations and “dementia rooted in organic brain damage.”
According to Dr. Eugene D’Amamo, who acted as his primary treating psychiatrist from 1973 to 1989, Gigante had been “diagnosed since 1969 as suffering from schizophrenia, paranoid type with acute exacerbations which resulted in hospitalization.” Along with daily doses of diazepam and chlorpromazine, he also had several operations on his heart which complicated the medical picture considerably. That many of his repeated hospitalizations for mental illness were conveniently timed to avoid criminal charges hardly escaped notice. When he was charged with racketeering in 1990, he still successfully delayed the trial for years while the question of his sanity was studied
The judge in the case, Eugene Nickerson, finally ruled that Gigante was fit to stand trial and he was later sentenced to 12 years in prison (he managed to beat the charges relating to the attempted killing of fellow Mafia don, John Gotti). Gigante sat quietly in his wheelchair as the verdict was read out. Even in prison however, he continued to run the Genovese family with his orders relayed through visiting relatives. The insanity pretense only ended after he was charged with obstruction of justice and racketeering in 2002. His son Andrew, who had acted as his lieutenant while he was in prison, was charged along with him. At long last, Vincent Gigante admitted to successfully fooling the doctors for 30 years as part of his guilty plea which earned him and his son reduced sentences. The plea meant three extra years added to his current sentence and was regarded by many as an unprecedented deal for a Mafia don. In talking about the guilty plea afterward, his lawyer Benjamin Brafman said that “I think you get to a point in life – I think everyone does – where you become too old and too sick and too tired to fight.”
Vincent Gigante died in federal prison on December 19, 2005. Not long before his death, he had been transferred to an acute care hospital to stabilize his condition before he was returned to prison where he died ten days later. Father Louis Gigante later blamed his brother’s death on the medical care he had received in prison. In Vincent Gigante’s obituary, he was quoted as saying that he had visited his brother nineteen times and “there wasn’t a day he didn’t suffer.” Prison officials defended the care Vincent received though the stress of incarceration likely shortened his life.
Whatever the circumstances of his death, Gigante’s funeral was definitely low-key, much as he lived his life. As the last of the old-time Godfathers, Vincent “the Chin” Gigante’s death marked the end of an era. The Oddfather would be missed.
Jack called in to the Darkline to tell his true paranormal story – and it is definitely a creepy one. Let’s listen in…
Thanks for the story, (Jack)! You already had me on the edge of my seat when you saw the old lady in your bedroom and she was talking to you – but when your dad opened up the toy box and found the copperheads?!?! DUDE, I had the feeling of snakes climbing up my arms! Quick suggestion for you – if you can remember what the old lady told you in the kitchen about what spices to use, you should write them all down and produce a paranormal cookbook! Tell me that wouldn’t fly off the shelves! Wow – great stuff, Jack. Thanks for calling in with it. If you have a true paranormal or creepy story to share, you can do what (Jack) did and call the DarkLine toll-free at 1-877-277-5944. That’s 1-877-277-5944. And if you have already called in but you haven’t heard your story shared yet, it’s probably because there was too much background noise in the voicemail, or there was an error of some kind – so feel free to call the number and share your story again! The toll-free number again is 1-877-277-5944. That’s 1-877-277-5944.
STORY: A MURDER WITHOUT MOTIVE, A KIDNAPPING WITHOUT CAUSE==========
It’s dark and cramped. You can’t sit up and rolling over is impossible. Unable to escape, you stare up at the bottom of the bed, wondering what was going to happen next. Your stomach growls, but no one cares. It’s probably for the best since there aren’t any bathroom breaks. Sure, you could push one of the crates out of the way and slip out – except he’d know. He’d know you tried to leave. You’re Jayme Closs and you’re trapped.
In the early hours of October 15, 2018 in the city of Barron, Wisconsin, Jayme Closs, 13, was asleep in her bed. Just after midnight, her dog started barking, waking her up. Looking out her window, she could see a car coming up the driveway, one she didn’t recognize, one with no lights on. Scared, she ran to her parents’ room. Her father, James, took a flashlight and went to the front door, while she and her mother, Denise, took refuge in the bathroom, locking the door and hiding in the bathtub.
It wasn’t long before the sound of a gunshot rang through the house. They knew James had been killed.
Denise started to call 911, just as the intruder broke down the bathroom door. He was dressed in black wearing a ski mask and a black coat. He carried a shotgun.
The intruder ripped back the shower curtain to reveal Denise clutching her daughter. He grabbed the phone away from her and threw it. Next, he told her to hang up the phone and ordered her to tape Jayme’s mouth shut. As any person would be in this situation, Denise was rattled and had difficulty with the tape. The intruder had no choice but to tape Jayme himself, wrapping it around her mouth and head before taping her hands behind her back. He taped her ankles together and pulled her out of the bathtub. Another gunshot rang out; the bullet striking her mother in the head. Both of Jayme’s parents had just been murdered.
The 911 operator could only make out a disturbance and yelling before the call dropped. When they tried to call back, they got Denise’s voicemail.
The intruder dragged Jayme outside, nearly slipping on James’s spilled blood. He placed her in the trunk of his red, four-door, car and calmly drove away. Emergency vehicles came racing down the road toward the Closs home, and the intruder yielded as any driver should. His calm behavior let him slip by undetected.
The whole event took place in just four minutes.
At the Closs home, police questioned neighbors who reported hearing gunshots, but dismissed them as hunting was common around their homes.
Jayme lay in the trunk of that car for what felt like two hours before they reached their destination: a house in rural Gordon, about 70 miles away from her home.
He took her clothes and gave her his sisters pajamas. Then he took the clothes and burned them along with his gloves, the duct tape, everything he had used. There wouldn’t be any evidence.
Her kidnapper made it clear that no one was to know she was there, else bad things would happen to her.
As a prisoner, Jayme would spend time with him, walking in the yard, playing badminton, catch, or board games. They watched TV, cooked together, and even slept in the same bed.
Whenever he was away, Jayme was made to hide under his bed where he stacked totes and laundry bins around the bed with weights stacked against them. If she moved them, he would know. On one occasion, she accidentally moved one of the totes. She was told something bad would happen if she did it again.
On at least two occasions, he thought she was trying to get out from under the bed. He struck a wall and screamed so much, that he felt she was scared and would never try it again. Once he even struck her on the back, with what appeared to be a handle, used to clean blinds.
After about two months, he let Jayme write a letter to her aunt telling her she was alive. He considered dropping it at her driveway, but never actually did.
Often, on Saturday nights, his father would come for a visit. When other people happened to be in the house, he would play loud music, so there was no chance of anyone hearing her. She was trapped under the bed for hours on end, sometimes as long as 12 hours with no food, no water, and no bathroom breaks.
He came and went frequently, but as time wore on, he felt he was safe. On January 10, 2019, nearly 3 months after Jayme was abducted, her captor left the house telling her he would be away for a couple of hours. This was her chance to escape.
Confident he was gone, Jayme pushed the bins away from the bed. She ran, wearing a light shirt, leggings, and a pair of his sneakers. She came across a local woman walking her dog. She asked for help, “I’m Jayme Closs. I don’t know where I am. He killed my parents. Please help – I want to go home.” The woman was Jeanne Nutter, and she instantly recognized the girl. She quickly took her to her home and called the police.
Police arrived around 4:45pm Jayme was able to describe her captor and his vehicle before being removed from the scene and taken to a nearby hospital for her safety. When a deputy spotted his car, they stopped him. He exited his vehicle and said, “I did it.”
Jake Patterson was arrested.
In a confession, Jake Patterson, 21, admitted that he had fantasized about kidnapping a young teenage girl since his discharge from the Marines for medical reasons, after only three months. He was able to repress those feelings, until the day he saw Jayme one day in September. Jayme was getting on the school bus near her home when he saw her. “He knew that was the girl he was going to take.”
Patterson made a total of three attempts to kidnap her, aborting the first two times due to activity around the home. Later, he admitted, “If it wasn’t Jayme, it would probably be someone else.”
While the world searched for the missing girl, he watched the news, following accounts of the abduction, and over time grew increasingly confident that he had gotten away with it. “After a while I thought, well I could get away with this. I mean, I understand how when there’s no connection, a person has no connection to someone, how that’s fucking almost impossible to solve, or really hard to solve.”
Despite what many may think, he did feel remorse. “I just felt so bad like every time I looked her I was like, I can’t, like I couldn’t literally couldn’t believe that I actually did this.”
With no history of criminal activity, his confession left many confused. Why did he do this, what was his motive? In the end, even he couldn’t fully explain the “why”. In a letter in response to questions from a reporter, he apologized for his crimes, and said they were committed “mostly on impulse”.
Hormel, the parent company of the Jennie-O store, where Jayme’s parents had worked, had offered up a $25,000 award for her safe return. On January 24, they awarded the money to Jayme for rescuing herself.
As for Patterson, he was charged with two counts of first-degree intentional homicide, one count of kidnapping, and one count of armed burglary. On March 24, 2019, Jake Patterson pleaded guilty to two counts of intentional first-degree homicide and one count of kidnapping. The judge agreed to dismiss the armed burglary account, and on May 24 his sentence was handed down.
Jake Patterson was given the maximum sentence possible. Two consecutive life sentences in prison without the possibility of parole for the murder charges, plus an additional 40 years for the kidnapping.
Since then, Patterson has made multiple public statements that he was sorry for his actions. Today he resides in a prison in New Mexico, where he was transferred in July 2019 for safety concerns.
Coming up, UFO researcher Raymond Fowler has been investigating UFO sightings and supposed abduction cases since the 1960s – but in his new book he shares what might be the ultimate story of an alien abduction… when Weird Darkness returns.
STORY: THE ULTIMATE ALIEN ABDUCTION==========
Raymond Fowler has been a UFO investigator since the 1960s, and as a researcher dedicated to the subject he has few equals. When he first began his field research, which consisted of following up on sightings reports that came his way near his New England home and frequently traveling to the actual locations where flying saucers had been seen, Fowler and his peers in Ufology were in hot pursuit of what they believed to be physical spacecraft visiting Earth from somewhere out in the universe that was completely unknown.
Investigators in those early years were mainly cataloging lights in the sky and metallic airborne devices that were solid enough to show up on radar but nevertheless exhibited flight maneuvers that manmade aircraft were not capable of. The spacecraft would sometimes leave traces behind, such as indentations made by landing gear or strange circular burn marks on the grass where a UFO was seen to have touched down.
At the time, in terms of hard science, any reports of alien occupants of the flying saucers were not given much credence, especially by researchers who took the subject seriously. Speaking and interacting with UFO occupants was a concept embraced by the contactees of the 1950s, who told of golden-haired space angels who took their chosen humans on trips to Venus – a kind of “lunatic fringe” belief. No serious researcher wanted to be tarred by the same brush as the contactees, and Raymond Fowler shared that disdain himself at first.
In his book, “UFOs: The Ultimate Abduction,” Fowler gives a fascinating account of his early days on the trail of physical UFOs, providing a picture of that moment in history in which the government, the military, the scientific community and the public in general grappled with the mystery of just what was being seen so frequently in our skies.
At the time, the mid-1960s, Fowler was among those advocating for Congress to open an official inquiry into the subject and even had some of his research entered into the Congressional Record. Fowler also tells the story of Project Blue Book, an agency within the Air Force tasked with collecting and compiling UFO reports from civilians that was discontinued in 1969 based on the recommendation of the less-than-trustworthy Condon Report, a government-contracted study of the subject conducted by academics at the University of Colorado.
The first several chapters of “UFOs: The Ultimate Abduction” are an absorbing account of those earlier years, but the real fascination the book holds is in Fowler’s telling of the story of how the nuts-and-bolts evidence he examined initially eventually led him to embrace a much different view of the UFO phenomenon. He was following the data, not just the whimsy of idle speculation.
Fowler’s understanding changed over time as he began to put together a puzzle, an alien jigsaw that combined some of the precognitive and out-of-body experiences of his father as well as moments from Fowler’s own youth.
At two or three years of age, he encountered a light that bathed him in love. Other encounters with loving entities of light would follow, but Fowler characterized those moments as “religious” experiences that were not UFO-related. In fact, if pressed to do so at the time, Fowler would have condemned “spiritual” or “supernatural” UFO encounters as “demonic” and totally removed from the loving purity of what he had experienced.
Much of Fowler’s spiritual journey had its origins in his investigation of Betty Andreasson, a devoutly Christian New England housewife and mother who claimed grey aliens entered her home in 1967 and abducted both her and her daughter. Fowler was present when Betty recalled her experiences under regressive hypnosis and he would eventually write five books on Betty and her family. The titles may already be familiar to those reading this article: “The Andreasson Affair,” “The Andreasson Affair Phase Two,” “The Watchers,” “The Watchers II,” and “The Andreasson Legacy.”
In a recent exchange of emails, Fowler clarified his views for me on Betty and what had happened to her.
“I believe that Betty’s extraordinarily strong fundamentalist views,’ he told me, “influenced her testimony on several occasions. In ‘The Andreasson Affair’ series of experiences by Betty, we must remember that they are told by a very religious person and strongly influenced by her belief system as she sought to make sense of what she was experiencing. I do not see any definitive connection between Christianity and the UFO phenomenon. People tend to see and interpret such experiences through the spectacles of what they want to believe or disbelieve.
“I might add that the entities associated with Betty,” Fowler continued, “seem to have encouraged her in her faith and may even have gone along with it in some sense so she would be more pliable in her relations with them and also not to upset her. For myself, I would reject the terms ‘supernatural’ or ‘spiritual,’ because every bit of the UFO phenomenon is natural and only appears to be supernatural because most of it is beyond our understanding.”
Taken together, the Andreasson books relate the alien-religious odyssey of not only Betty and her family but also Fowler’s realization of his own place in the cosmic drama that is the UFO mystery. His transition from Christian fundamentalism to a more open – perhaps an even more loving – view of reality also incorporates essential truths learned from the study of Near Death Experiences, including an examination of the research of NDEs conducted by Dr. Kenneth Ring that makes a case for the similarity between NDEs and alien abduction experiences. There are likewise connections between alien abduction, NDEs and the aforementioned OBEs, or Out-of-Body Experiences.
Those three areas of study also dovetail nicely with what we have learned from the study of Past Live Experiences, or accounts, often also obtained from people under regressive hypnosis, of the historical details of former lives that serve as proof of reincarnation. Fowler offers the notion that reincarnation, while it is also not a fundamentalist Christian belief, does give comfort to many people who prefer to believe that human existence extends over many lifetimes and is part of a kind of evolution of the soul, a “becoming” that consists of more than just a one-shot attempt at getting the business of living right.
Another crucial component of Fowler’s scheme of reality is synchronicity, a phenomenon he devoted an earlier book to called “Synchrofile.” Part of his thesis is that meaningful coincidence and the apparently nonrandom order of events show us that reality is arranged by some higher force that does not, as Einstein said, “play dice with the universe.” Nothing is left to chance, perhaps, but human consciousness still perceives its reality through a veil of free will.
In “UFOs: The Ultimate Abduction,” Raymond Fowler has stitched together a continuum of phenomena whose elements harmonize beautifully and serve to make a wonderful kind of sense out of our admittedly limited glimpses into the Ultimate Truth. Perhaps it is his mission not only to learn the lessons God has laid out for him but to teach them to the rest of us as well.
Weirdo family member Brandie Campbell sent this one in, she calls it “Ghost Follower”.
Okay so here is my story.
At least the best that I can remember it
This is long sorry.
Before I start the story, you need to know I have been told I am what they call a medium and that ghost are very drawn to me. If you don’t know, a Medium is some who can interact with the spirit world, at least that is what the internet says. I never really investigated what people called me because I never believed it.
I have had several encounters with the paranormal in my life, but this is the one that has always stuck with me the most.
When my husband and I first started dating we lived in my old apt together.
At this apt, I swear to you, there was a ghost or a demon or something that lived in the house and sometimes in the woods behind it. (There were also some kind of weird as creature things in those woods but that is a story for another time.)
When I first moved in, I lived with my mom, dad, and little brother. At first, I thought this ghost was a little boy named Sam, who I swear on all things holy, I could see just as clear as you and me. He was a small boy, probably around the age of 9. He had curly dark hair, blue eyes, and he wore one of those old looking sailor suits that boys wore around the 1860s? I was told by him that he died in 1864, on the spot where the apartment now sits. According to him there used to be a tree there and his father had hung him, his sister Elizabeth, and their mother Mariah from it before shooting himself in the head. I have never heard that story before, living in that town my whole life you would have thought that I would have heard something about that story, but I never did. I ignored that though, thinking nothing of it. I even have a picture that my older brother caught that looks like a person covering their face. I also found a bunch of random post cards in my closet that I swear to you were not there before, though some of them dated back to 1909 so I don’t know if those had to do with Sam or not. At one point, I saw a white full body shadow walk from my hallway into the kitchen and it terrified me. A year or two passed and my father had passed away from cancer. A few months after he died, I could have sworn I saw my father around the house, I could hear him cough, I could hear him talk. My mother even told me she would hear him call her name, hear him sneeze, and she saw a black shadow on our porch. I ignored it. I never told anyone until now about seeing my dad because I thought they would just call me crazy. The whole time I was seeing my dad, I never once saw Sam. That struck me as strange, but I ignored it. The first terrifying experience I had was when my two brothers and I went into the woods to look for the Thrashers’ nest (the name we had given the creatures in our woods. Again, a whole different story on its own). After we found what we considered the nest, we were searching around the area and we had found the bottom jawbone of what seemed to be…a child. My older brother picked it up to examine it. After he did, I started to hear the screams of a child. I passed it off as the neighbor kids. We started heading back into the woods and we started hearing things following us, we knew it wasn’t the thrashers because they only came out at night, we concluded they feared sunlight, so we stopped. (I must add that all of this was on camera and I wish to god that I could find the phone we recorded it on. This will be important later.) My older brother picked up a stick and started swinging it around trying to scare whatever was there. He swung it in front of him and it broke over thin air…this wasn’t a weak stick either. It was a strong, dry, branch so there was no logical reason it should have broken. We ran away from that spot further into the woods until I stopped dead in my tracks because I felt somebody pull the backpack I was wearing. I told my brothers what had happened. They started walking towards me and as suddenly as they started, they both flew back as if some force had pushed them. They both flew a good foot or 2. I ran to where they were, and we all heard a scream. This is where the camera comes into play. We all sat there for a moment, catching our breath. I panned the phone around and noticed by one of the trees there was a some kind of deformed looking face staring at us. I couldn’t see it in real life, but I could easily see it on camera. After that we left the woods, and I never went back in. After a while I stopped seeing my dad and started seeing Sam again. A while passed and my mom and brother both moved out. I met my husband, Jordan, who was just my boyfriend at the time, and he moved in with me. After he moved in things got…strange. He told me there were times when I would talk to my two glass dolls I had, or just sit there and stare. I do not remember any of this. This next thing I am going to tell you, I still have nightmares about to this day. One night while my husband was asleep, I was laying in my bed and staring at my bedroom door. I laid there and watched as my door would just move slowly back and forth. After a few minutes of the door swinging I saw what looked as though a smoke-filled body shape walked into my room. I wasn’t scared though and got out of my bed and followed it into my hallway. I stood there and watched as the shape came closer and closer to me until it was inches apart and then…I felt two large hands wrap around my neck. I could feel my body fall to the ground and couldn’t breathe at all. I could now see through my tear-filled eyes that the smoke shape had turned into this dark looming figure with bright red eyes. I tired with all my might to scream; yell do something to wake my husband up, but I couldn’t make sound. My eyes started to go black and I could feel myself passing out. Suddenly…it stopped. I yelled for my husband and he ran into the hallway to help. I told him what happen as I watched the dark, red eyed figure watch us from the doorway to my kitchen.
After that I didn’t believe the ghost in my house was a little boy…I didn’t even believe it was a ghost. I didn’t know what it was though.
One night my husband and I were sitting in my brothers’ room (I refused to go in my room after a while). He was playing his PlayStation and I was talking to my mom and reading. Suddenly, I had the urge to take a notepad and start writing. I wrote a lot of things, mostly things about what my mother was doing that I realistically couldn’t not have known. All the while, I didn’t feel like it was me writing, it felt as though someone had a hold of my hand was forcing me to write. After a few minutes, whatever it was forced me to write the name Charles over and over. I figured that must have been the demonic entities name. After that I don’t remember much else except I moved in with my husband a few weeks later. When I still lived in Newport, I would sometimes walk past where that apartment was, and I could still feel whatever was there…
STORY: BIGAMY EXCUSED==========
According to the New Zealand Times, February 13, 1904…
“A man who had committed bigamy was to-day acquitted at the Paris Assizes. He had married a woman twenty years older than himself, but she turned out to have a very bad temper, and refused to live with him. Then he met a young woman, with whom he fell violently in love, and not being able to wait for a divorce married her. When the jury heard the story and saw the behavior of the two women in court they decided to acquit the man. ‘But he is my legal husband,’ protested the elder woman. ’No,’ said the younger woman, kissing the man, ‘the court says my poor darling is not guilty, and I am therefore his wife.’ Thereupon the two women began fighting with their umbrellas, and had to be separated by the police.”
So here’s a tip for you, men. If you’re going to be a bigamist, make sure your second spouse is as proficient in the art of umbrella fighting as your first one.
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 email@example.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. Also on the website, if you have a true paranormal or creepy tale to tell, you can click on TELL YOUR STORY. You can find all of that and more at WeirdDarkness.com.
All stories 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 Disappearing of Pauline Picard” by Addison Nugent for Ozy.com
“Stories of Real Doppelgangers” by Nathan Gibson for Graveyard Shift
“The Oddfather” by Dr. Romeo Vitelli for Providentia
“A Murder Without Motive, a Kidnapping Without Cause” from The Scare Chamber
“Bigamy Excused” from Second Glance History
“The Ultimate Alien Abduction” by T.R. Swartz for SpectralVision.com
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… “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” – Proverbs 9:10
And a final thought… “Stop putting yourself down and thinking what you do is not important.” – Unknown
I’m Darren Marlar. Thanks for joining me in the Weird Darkness.