“THE SPONTANEOUS COMBUSTION OF MARY HARDY REESER” and More Horrifying True Stories! #WeirdDarkness

“THE SPONTANEOUS COMBUSTION OF MARY HARDY REESER” and More Horrifying True Stories! #WeirdDarkness

Listen to ““THE SPONTANEOUS COMBUSTION OF MARY HARDY REESER” and More Horrifying True Stories! #WeirdDarkness” on Spreaker.

IN THIS EPISODE: When police found her in 1951, she was almost entirely ash. But mysteriously, the rest of her apartment remained almost perfectly intact. We’ll look at the death of Mary Reeser – which became known as “The Cinder Woman Case”. (Did Mary Hardy Reeser Spontaneously Combust?) *** Most crimes are pretty ordinary – assault, robbery, the occasional murder, but once in a while a crime is committed in a strange, shocking way – to the point it’s almost hard to believe what you are hearing is a true story. I’ll share a few of those strange crimes. (Creepy Crimes and Crazy Criminals) *** One of the reasons we find chimpanzees so interesting is because they are so much like humans – in body shape, the way they express themselves, it’s eerie sometimes. But still, we know they are just apes. Then there is the strange case of Oliver – a chimpanzee that also appeared to be human. Or was he a human that appeared to be a chimpanzee? Or, is it possible, that Oliver was a genuine genetic hybrid of the two? We’ll look at his incredibly strange story. (Oliver, The Humanzee) *** Some hauntings are more terrifying than others – and some are stranger than others. What happened to the Palzon family in Zaragoza, Spain possibly qualifies for both. They didn’t have a typical haunting – this was no poltergeist or spirit of a recently passed person… they were terrorized by a horrifying goblin. (The Zaragoza Goblin) *** Most haunted paintings are hundreds of years old – but one in particular was painted in the late 20th Century, and to many, it is the most disturbing painting they’ve ever laid eyes on. (The Hands Resist Him)

“The Hands Resist Him” by Jenne Gentry for ListVerse: https://weirddarkness.tiny.us/mtmj2ysr
“Oliver, The Humanzee” by Bipin Dimri for Historic Mysteries: https://weirddarkness.tiny.us/2ttc3p8s
“The Zaragoza Goblin” by Brent Swancer for Mysterious Universe: https://weirddarkness.tiny.us/2jxxdd6b
“Did Mary Hardy Reeser Spontaneously Combust?” by Tommy Thompson for Talk Murder: https://weirddarkness.tiny.us/2p937wec
“Creepy Crimes and Crazy Criminals” by C.J. Phillips for ListVerse: https://weirddarkness.tiny.us/2p8b3dyw
Weird Darkness theme by Alibi Music Library.
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Originally aired: November, 2021


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.


On the morning of July 2, 1951, a St. Petersburg resident named Pansy Carpenter went to deliver a telegram to her resident, 67-year-old Mary Hardy Reeser. She found the doorknob to the apartment at 1200 Cherry Street hot to the touch, and called the police. The horror they found inside that apartment touched off an investigation that would be debated for decades. What’s known is that Mary Hardy Reeser was nearly completely cremated—reportedly, only her skull, a portion of her spine and her left foot hadn’t been reduced to ashes; the foot was found still in a slipper. The chair in which she had been seated showed signs of fire damage, as did a few nearby items, but overall, the apartment showed few signs of fire. The St. Petersburg Chief of Police at the time was disturbed enough by the unlikely scene of Reeser’s demise to send evidence to the FBI. It was one of the first cases of potential spontaneous human combustion to be investigated by national law enforcement.

I’m Darren Marlar and this is Weird Darkness.



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

Coming up in this episode…

Most crimes are pretty ordinary – assault, robbery, the occasional murder, but once in a while a crime is committed in a strange, shocking way – to the point it’s almost hard to believe what you are hearing is a true story. I’ll share a few of those strange crimes. (Creepy Crimes and Crazy Criminals)

One of the reasons we find chimpanzees so interesting is because they are so much like humans – in body shape, the way they express themselves, it’s eerie sometimes. But still, we know they are just apes. Then there is the strange case of Oliver – a chimpanzee that also appeared to be human. Or was he a human that appeared to be a chimpanzee? Or, is it possible, that Oliver was a genuine genetic hybrid of the two? We’ll look at his incredibly strange story. (Oliver, The Humanzee)

Some hauntings are more terrifying than others – and some are stranger than others. What happened to the Palzon family in Zaragoza, Spain possibly qualifies for both. They didn’t have a typical haunting – this was no poltergeist or spirit of a recently passed person… they were terrorized by a horrifying goblin. (The Zaragoza Goblin)

Most haunted paintings are hundreds of years old – but one in particular was painted in the late 20th Century, and to many, it is the most disturbing painting they’ve ever laid eyes on. (The Hands Resist Him)

When police found her in 1951, she was almost entirely ash. But mysteriously, the rest of her apartment remained almost perfectly intact. We’ll look at the death of Mary Reeser – which became known as “The Cinder Woman Case”. (Did Mary Hardy Reeser Spontaneously Combust?)

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 send in your own personal paranormal stories, watch horror hosts present old scary movies 24/7, see weird news items, listen to the Weird Darkness syndicated radio show, shop for Weird Darkness and Weirdo merchandise, listen to free audiobooks I’ve narrated, sign up for the newsletter to win free stuff I give away every month, and more. And on the Social/Contact page 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!



Can a human spontaneously combust into fire and flames? Surely not, right? If the body of Mary Hardy Reeser, a 67-year-old widow, didn’t spontaneously combust in the wee hours of Monday, July 2, 1951, then what caused the intense flames that reduced her to ash?

The information I’m about to share in this story is comprised almost entirely of a115 page report from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (F.B.I.); composed, or at least seen by, the infamous director himself, J. Edgar Hoover.

The small apartment at 1200 Cherry Street, in St. Petersburg, Florida, was built in 1947 and still stands today. I say “small”, because even though sources refer to her home as an “apartment”, the 5-unit setup is laid on a single floor. This important when asking questions such as, how were no other apartments alerted by smoke?

The first person to notice something was amiss in Mary’s apartment was her neighbor and close friend.

This neighbor (her name not public) claims that she was suddenly awakened around 5 a.m. when she heard a “dull thud”, such as the shutting of a door. This neighbor opened her door, saw nothing and no one, and went back to sleep.

At 8 a.m. a Western Union boy began knocking on this neighbor’s door. The boy had a telegram addressed to Mary Reeser, but could not get Reeser to come to her front door.

Normally Mary would be awake, the soft sound from her morning radio programs passing through the thin apartment walls. With the help of two painters working around the building, the neighbor enters the widow’s apartment. An overwhelming amount of smoke greeted her.

A fire had engulfed a small area of the apartment, but there were no signs of Mary. All that was left of Mary Reeser’s favorite recliner was a “red smoldering mass”.

Before S. O. Griffith, St. Petersburg assistant Fire Chief, and his crew entered the apartment they noticed a “very small amount of smoke” coming from the screen door. Griffith would claim that an untrained eye would not have noticed the smoke at all. The doorknob was also hot when touched, evidence that a small fire may still be alive inside.

Soot blackened the apartment ceilings. The soot covered the dining area drapes, which were blackened but not scorched. None of Mary Reese’s furniture had suffered any type of heat damage, other than her reclining “overstuffed” chair, which had been melted down to its metal springs.

Using a small hand pump, the firefighters extinguished small fiery embers still burning under what was once the chair’s seat.

The men then noticed an unusual “greasy substance” which coated the hardwood floor, the walls, and the ceiling. One man had even slipped on the substance, and while down on the floor, noticed something shocking and grotesque. It was a severed leg still wearing its suede shoe.

Police found it odd that the fire destroyed only a small portion of Mary’s apartment. Usually, a house fire spreads to the furniture, surrounding walls, or the window drapes. This fire isolated itself to Mary’s recliner, and Mary, of course.

Mary Reeser’s foot rested comfortably inside her suede shoe, which connected her uncharred lower leg, apparently burned off by the intense blaze.

According to official reports, “The body of Mrs. Reeser was partially cremated with the exception of the left foot which was burned completely in tow, about 4 inches above the ankle.”

A single suede shoe worn by Mary, which still housed her foot, was unburned. “The chair in which she had been sitting was completely burned away, leaving just the springs. A small end table was completely burned with the exception of 2 legs. The carpet was burned in an area of approximately 3 feet.”

Also discovered was Mary Reeser’s “charred skull, shrunken to the size of a teacup (or baseball), a section of backbone and a part of a left foot, still encased in a suede shoe.”

All that was left of Mary fit easily in a “small box”.

1. Glass fragments found in ashes

2. Distorted pieces of glass in Q1 softened when exposed to 1000 – 1100 degrees Fahrenheit (corresponds to bright red heat)

3. Six small objects believed to be teeth

4. metal from near body

5. Portion of cigarette lighter and metal may also be part of lighter

6. White metal could be her hearing aid

7. Fiber believed to be part of nightgown

8. Particles of bones found in ashes

9. Charred fabric believed to be from chair

10. Cotton material from chair

11. Charred wood

12. Charred legs from table

13. Charred fabric from rug

14. Unburned section of rug, heavily soaked with a greasy substance

15. Remainder of ashes

16. Shoe from foot not consumed by fire

17. Chair springs

As for the greasy substance that caused the firefighter to lose his balance and slip?

F.B.I. forensic testing proved it to be the “melted human fat.”

Mary Reeser was once happily married to a local doctor. However, the sudden loss of her husband was devastating. To cope with her grief, Mary depended on her son for comfort. In fact, the official report claimed that Mary’s days “seemed to revolve around her son, Dr. Richard Reeser.”

On the morning before the fire, Dr. Reeser had taken his family to the beach for a well-needed break from both his mother and his increasing workload and patient visits. The family returned home around 3:30 p.m. and found Mary crying in a lounge chair.

Mary usually spent her summer weeks up north, but because of an unforeseen accident with her driver, had to cancel her trip all together. The thought of spending her summer in St. Petersburg saddened her. Mary popped a few Seconals (past-time barbiturates) to calm her mood and tried to look past her sudden state of depression.

At least she could spend her summer with her beloved son.

Dr. Reeser drove her mother back to her own apartment, leaving her around 8 p.m. that evening. When Dr. Reeser left his mother, she was wearing a Van Raalte rayon-acetate night gown, resting in her favorite recliner, and had just lit a cigarette.

Mary Reeser would be burned alive 8 hours later.

The police were adamant that Mary Reese had been set on fire, either by herself accidentally or by someone who wanted her dead. Few detectives took the only other viable option seriously, spontaneous human combustion (SHC) also known as Preternatural Combustibility (PC).

Morticians who were interviewed regarding Mary’s death all claimed that inside a crematorium, a body must be exposed to 1,500 t0 2,000 degrees for hours for full cremation. In the crematorium, “bodies are continually sprayed with oil” to keep them burning.

To get a human body to this temperature quickly, an accelerant must be used. However, F.B.I. forensic testing found no type of gasoline or accelerant used on Mary Reeser.

Letters from armchair sleuths sent to the F.B.I. regarding Mary’s death ranged from a natural phenomenon (perhaps a lighting bolt struck her), to full-blown murder. One popular theory being murder, perhaps by her own son, or any person who may have a financial or emotional motive.

The investigation concluded that there were no motives to murder Mary Reeser.

As police ruled out foul play, they searched for other explanations. Could lightning have struck through Mary Reeser’s window, instantly sending her body into a fiery inferno? According to the local meteorology station, there were no thunderstorms. Mary was not struck by lightning.

Police turned back to initial theory that Mary dropped her cigarette on herself. This theory was problematic as “such a blaze could not have produced the intense heat which consumed the body.”

The popular belief, even today, is that Mary Reeser lit her cigarette and then fell asleep. The ember from the cigarette ignited her nightgown, made of ‘rayon acetate’, a highly flammable material.

Once Mary Reeser’s nightgown was on fire, her body began heating up, causing a “wicking effect.” And this is super-gross, but the wicking effect is when the fatty tissue under human skin leaks out of the body providing a constant supply of accelerant to keep the fire from dying out.

But what do you think? Was the death of Mary Reeser a murder cover-up, spontaneous combustion, or just a horrible freak accident?


Most haunted paintings are hundreds of years old – but one in particular was painted in the late 20th Century, and to many, it is the most disturbing painting they’ve ever laid eyes on. That story is up next on Weird Darkness.



Throughout history, people have held a special fascination for haunted paintings. There is just something about certain artworks that naturally lend themselves to speculation of the supernatural. The eyes that seem to follow you or the inexplicable feeling that the subject could jump out at any minute and claim you as their next victim.

“The Hands Resist Him” is a painting that has garnered much attention for allegedly being haunted. One look at the 36″ x 24″ oil on canvas, and it is easy to see why. A young boy stands next to a life-size, hollow-eyed doll while mysterious hands press against the glass panels of the doors behind them. The imagery is designed to suggest otherworldly connections, but many believe that there is more to it. The painting has a disturbing history, one that was modernized by the media and the use of the popular selling platform eBay.

“The Hands Resist Him” was painted by William Stoneham. In 1972, Stoneham’s work was contracted by Charles Feingarten Galleries for two years. Afterward, Stoneham made his debut at a one-man show in 1974. Henry Seldis, an art critic for The Los Angeles Times, wrote, “William Stoneham’s paintings are at their best when at their weirdest. In those instances, the young artist comes close to inventing the first truly neo-surrealist painting I have encountered to date that extends the surrealist fantasies into the contemporary realm. The best works here deserve the attention of collectors devoted to traditional surrealism without objecting to a good many new and startling twists.” Only one of Stoneham’s paintings sold in the show: “The Hands Resist Him.” The sale marked the beginning of the painting’s chilling story.

Stoneham put his art career on hold in 1984 to work in the film and computer game industries, securing work with Christoper Walas, ILM (Industrial Light & Magic), and then, in 1992, LucasArts Entertainment. But he eventually returned to his art. His “newest work is an exploration of figurative and textural concepts influenced by the urban environment and the social/political forces at work in our world.” Using various mediums in his art, he evokes a sense of despair and fright. Stoneham’s art can be viewed on Fine Art America and his website, Stoneham Studios.

The inspiration for “The Hands Resist Him” came from an old photograph and a poem. The photograph was one of Stoneham at the age of five when he and his adoptive family stayed at his grandmother’s tiny Chicago apartment. Stoneham used the photo as a reference for the boy in the painting. In addition, a poem, written in 1971 by Stoneham’s first wife, Rhoann Ponseti, served as inspiration for the painting’s title.

Stoneham also credits his long-held connection to Carl Jung’s theory of the collective unconscious as a source of inspiration. The theory states that humans are born with a collection of knowledge inherited from “the past collective experience of humanity,” which leads them to hold “a number of deep-seated beliefs and instincts, such as spirituality, sexual behavior, and life and death instincts.”. But they can only access it in times of crisis and dreams. In Stoneham’s own words: “the hands are ‘the other lives.’ The glass door, that thin veil between waking and dreaming. The girl/doll is the imagined companion, or guide through this realm.”

“The Hands Resist Him” was listed on eBay in February 2000. The listing, titled “Haunted Painting,” caused a sensation. In mere hours, the painting’s story and link were shared all over the internet. The eBay listing racked up more than 30,000 views before its sale.

Beginning with a grim warning, the listing detailed the supernatural occurrences that had plagued them since bringing the painting into their home. The sellers also included pictures as proof of their claims. Their efforts paid off when “the bidding price of the painting shot up—from the first bid of $199 to a final price of $1050 in just 30 days.”

The auction marked a new nickname for the painting: “eBay’s haunted painting.” An excerpt from the listing reads: “When we received this painting, we thought it was really good art…At the time we wondered a little why a seemingly perfectly fine painting would be discarded like that (today we don’t!). One morning our four and a half year-old daughter claimed that the children in the picture were fighting and coming into the room during the night.”

“The Hands Resist Him” has become an “internet legend.” Not only does the painting have its own page on Facebook, Wikipedia, and Stoneham Studios, it’s also been the subject of online articles, podcasts, and discussion forums. The media latched onto the haunted aspect of the painting and further spurred interest in the artwork—and the urban legend. The first article, “The eBay Haunted Painting,” was published on BBC in July 2002. Three more followed: The Daily Dot on October 31, 2013, The Line-Up in June 2018, and STSW Media in March 2019.

The painting was mentioned in a movie review on CNN in February 2019, then on the Crawlspace podcast in December 2019, and the Empty Frames podcast in February 2020. Additionally, “followers of 4chan’s paranormal portal /x/, Reddit’s r/creepy, Encyclopedia Dramatica’s creepypasta wiki, and other corners of the web devoted to the unsettling and unexplainable truly believe that the painting is haunted.” The painting has even inspired a round of memes.

In May 2016, D.K. O’Neil published “a dramatized account of the notoriously haunted artwork” called The Hands Resist Him: Be Careful What you Bid For. O’Neil’s book introduces a young fictional family as the winning bidders as well as a detective who finds a connection between the haunted painting and his investigation into a 28-year-old open case of a serial killer known as “The Life Swapper.” The book is available on Amazon and currently has a four-star rating. There is a film adaption of O’Neil’s book in the works.

O’Neil also had a supernatural experience with the painting: “I first saw it online when I was living in Dubai. I printed it out and left it on a side table next to some other documents printed on the same printer with the same paper. Anyway, I went to Italy for a month. When I came back, the air conditioning had gone awry, everything was green mold. The TV, bed sheets, my daughter’s cot and clothing, all of my suits in the closet, and the documents I had printed all green. But right next to them, the only thing that was perfectly untouched was the printout of the painting.”

Many people experienced unexplained physical sensations after viewing the haunted painting. One eBay buyer claimed that “he fainted at the sight of the painting” while another “said she felt like her throat was being tightened by an external grip.” A buyer said that his monitor went white and emitted a blast of heat as soon as he looked at the painting. He also started crying for no reason. Someone heard an Exorcist-type voice, and another reported a “new Epson printer that ate and mutilated page after page when the user tried to download images of the painting.”

Viewers also mentioned difficulty breathing, becoming ill, or general discomfort, while some parents said their children grew unruly and started to scream at the sight of the painting. Jupiknight wrote on Reddit on August 23, “I still refuse to look at/study this picture more than like, 5 seconds…It creeps me the f––k out.” In reply, snoos_my_dog added, “I actually purchased a print of this painting from his website. I put it on display in my living room and man, that thing made everyone who saw it uncomfortable…People actually would stop coming over because of it. I ended up taking it down due to popular demand.”

A major selling point in the eBay auction was the seller’s description of events. As the story goes, the sellers kept the painting in their 4½-year-old daughter’s bedroom. One morning, the girl claimed that the subjects of the painting “did not let her sleep at night.” Her parents set up a motion sensor camera and captured some truly terrifying supernatural activity.

The photographs showed the boy crawling from the painting “as if he’d been threatened by the doll.” In others, the doll’s face appears to be angry, and she is holding a gun in her hand “instead of the dry cell which was painted in the original.”

“The Hands Resist Him” is said to be responsible for the deaths of three men who were close to the painting at the time of its first sale. The first was Henry Seldis in 1978, the art critic who wrote a review of Stoneham’s work at his debut art show in 1974. According to authorities at the time, they believed Seldis committed suicide after being found dead in his apartment. The next was Charles Feingarten, the man who contracted Stoneham’s work and whose gallery served as the location of the art show; Feingarten passed in 1981. Lastly, the first owner was actor John Marley who died in 1984 after having open-heart surgery, though he sold the painting before his death. Marley was best known for his part in the movie, The Godfather—he’s the one who wakes up in bed with the horse’s head.

After the deaths of these three men, the painting disappeared until it was found by the same family who would later sell it on eBay. When told of this 26 years later, Stoneham brushed it off as a coincidence. Though Stoneham has said of the painting, we “live in an age of science of revelation and hard realities and hard facts, but we are still drawn to the mysterious…And what is more mysterious than paintings? More than any other object, paintings are a one-of-a-kind thing created by someone using their hands.”

The winning bidder of “eBay’s haunted painting” was gallery owner Kim Smith. The painting presently resides in the back room of Smith’s Perception Fine Art Gallery in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Its current resting place is the result of a request from Smith’s sons, who didn’t “want to keep ‘the most haunted painting in the world’ in their family home.”

Smith has only publicly shown the haunted painting six times. Though he has yet to experience anything supernatural, he has received many prayers “and quotes from the scriptures from a man of faith. Advice as to how to cleanse my residence of this evil thing from a Native American Shaman in Mississippi,” as well as reports “of people being repulsed, made physically ill, or suffering from blackout/ mind control experiences.” Smith has no plans to sell the painting, despite receiving a low six-figure offer recently. “‘Nothing has ever been to the point where I would consider serious,’ he said. ‘It’s kind of got its own mystique that’s growing here.’”

“The Hands Resist Him” has three sequels and a prequel. The first two sequels were commissioned by a private collector. “Resistance at the Threshold,” 2004, depicts the boy and the doll after many years have passed. They are standing at the glass door, but the boy has become an old man, and the doll has become, well, something else. The second sequel, “Threshold of Revelation,” 2012, continues the progression of the old man and doll, this time in a new location.

The prequel and final sequel were painted more recently. “The Hands Invent Him,” 2017, was also commissioned and portrays the young boy on the other side of the glass door. The third sequel, “What Remains,” 2021, serves to complete the series. The sequels and a prequel can be viewed on Stoneham Studios and Fine Art America. No similar happenings have been reported for these paintings, and they do not seem to inspire the same amount of disturbing reactions or internet buzz.



When Weird Darkness returns… One of the reasons we find chimpanzees so interesting is because they are so much like humans – in body shape, the way they express themselves, it’s eerie sometimes. But still, we know they are just apes. Then there is the strange case of Oliver – a chimpanzee that also appeared to be human. Or was he a human that appeared to be a chimpanzee? Or, is it possible, that Oliver was a genuine genetic hybrid of the two? We’ll look at his incredibly strange story.



There have been many experiments in the past designed to understand the connection between humans and our closest relatives, the great apes. In fact, scientists have time and again tried to create a hybrid of humans and apes, theorizing that the close DNA match might make this viable. In 1929, Soviet scientist Ilya Ivanovich Ivanov apparently came very close to creating a human-ape hybrid. Even though there is considerable curiosity around creating a hybrid of man and ape, there are many skeptics in the scientific world.

Concerned by his experiments, authorities became alarmed of the prospects of a “humanzee” hybrid. To avoid the possibility of creating such a creature, and what it would mean for society and our place in the universe, Ivanov was sent to exile in Kazakhstan in 1930, where he died a couple of years later.

Nevertheless, there have been consistent research efforts towards understanding the genetic similarities and compatibilities between apes and humans.  In the primate family, apes such as chimpanzees, gibbons, and gorillas are often attributed human-like intelligence and features.

In fact, scientists have continued their research into the grey area where apes and humans overlap throughout the 20th century. For example, in 1977, genetic researcher Michael Bedford found out that human sperm can penetrate the outer protective covering of a gibbon egg. This led to speculation that human sperm could be used to fertilize the egg of a chimpanzee or other primate, creating a hybrid.

Sometimes, in the laboratory of mutation that is the natural world, things are created which humans only thought possible in their imagination. This article also covers one such extraordinary case of creation that seemingly blurs out the lines between an ape and a human.

Before we go into the rarity of nature, one should remember what mutations can create. Mutations are the natural way that the gene pool of a population alters, and how new species develop.

The mutations themselves can be few in number, but can have a drastic impact on the traits of a creature. A single mutation can lead to unique characteristics in an animal or plant. Thus, even though a hybrid may not be possible by artificial human means, it can still be created by nature.

Sometimes, some of nature’s creations emerge as anomalies. One such anomaly from nature was Oliver, the humanzee.

Oliver earned the name “humanzee” because he was very different from other apes or primates. While many apes could display human-like traits or behavior only with training, Oliver himself looked more similar to a human than other chimpanzees and acted like them too.

Oliver was therefore a real exception among apes, and people were often confused about his classification. Even when he was displayed as a “freak” creation of nature, Oliver was referred to as the missing link between humans and chimpanzees.

And this seemed to not just advertising. In fact, there were some medical claims that suggested Oliver possessed 47 chromosomes, one more than humans and one less than chimpanzees.

His genetic makeup aside, Oliver acted like a human and resembled humans in physical traits too.  He had human-like facial features that made him look unlike an ape. He had light-colored eyes that were also unusual for an ape. He also had pattern baldness and a soft voice which made him look and sound like a man.

If his looks and voice were not enough, even his behavior was human-like. For example, Oliver was bipedal by nature. Now, apes can become bipedal if they are trained that way, and there are many apes in circuses who walk on their two hind limbs.

However, their natural gait will always remain on all fours. but by contrast, Oliver was comfortable as a biped and walked like a man naturally. And this led to speculation as to what he really was.

Oliver is said to have been born in the late 1950s, somewhere around 1957. By the time he was acquired by his human guardians Frank and Janet Berger, Oliver was already a young animal, and had already developed these unique traits.

He was born as a wild animal, and captured from the forests of the Congo. Oliver’s unique traits and behavior made the Bergers believe that Oliver was not a chimpanzee but a human-chimpanzee hybrid. According to older accounts and photos, Oliver had a smaller, flatter face than his ape peers.

Many also believe that Oliver preferred the company of humans more than chimpanzees. Janet Berger has even gone on record saying Oliver had was more attracted by human females than chimpanzee females. His attraction towards Janet Berger by the time he reached 16 might also have been due to the way his ape peers treated him.

Frank and Janet Berger were famous animal trainers who frequently appeared on the popular Ed Sullivan Show. Oliver started appearing on the show frequently. Because of this, he grew popular, and public curiosity in him also grew to a great extent.

The Bergers owned other chimps who they regularly trained, but according to the couple, Oliver lived in exclusion from the chimpanzee community because of his unique qualities and looks. On the other hand, Oliver seemed to be fine with not being part of the community. Although unusual, Oliver preferred the company of humans over animals.

This seemed to further establish him as more of a human than an ape. His intelligence and abilities also surpassed those of his fellow apes. Oliver would help his trainers in handling other apes, feeding them sometimes.

Another major sign that Oliver had near human-like intelligence was his ability to use tools and simple machines. He learned to manage heavy loads by pushing them around in a wheelbarrow.

As Oliver grew old, his human-like intelligence and behavior only developed further. For example, he habitually drank morning coffee like a human. Moreover, he would often drink cocktails in the evening, being able to mix drinks and create his own drink as per taste.

His logical abilities also grew with time as he could make decisions as per the situation at hand. It is possible that Oliver’s natural human-like abilities were heightened due to his proximity to humans, and his natural intelligence helped him learn more human abilities. But Oliver’s abilities were beyond the usual mimicry abilities that chimpanzees exhibit.

However, high intelligence, unique abilities, and strength posed a challenge to the multiple handlers he had in his lifetime. Oliver was transferred between several owners until 1986, when he was sold to a laboratory.

While people were curious to study Oliver’s genetic and physical traits, his unique behavior saved him from harsh experiments that other chimpanzees were subject to. Because of the uncertainty as to whether he was a chimpanzee or not, he did not make a suitable specimen for usual experiments. According to researchers, any test on Oliver would not have given viable results because of his uniqueness.

In 1989, Oliver was sold again, to a laboratory called the Buckshire Company. The lab did not perform any experiments on him but restricted his movements in a small cage. This led to the development of muscular atrophy and arthritis in Oliver’s joints.

Oliver spent around seven years of his life in the lab, in captivity inside a small cage. However, in 1996, he was rescued and moved to a chimpanzee retirement center, where he lived for the rest of his life. During his time at the retirement center, the University of Chicago tested Oliver.

The tests established that Oliver was indeed a chimpanzee and not a hybrid. In point of fact, it was found that Oliver possessed 48 chromosomes and not 47, just like any other chimpanzee in nature. In fact, mitochondrial DNA isolated from Oliver showed that the ape belonged to a Central African chimpanzee subspecies, already known for its human-like features.

He, however, had a slightly different genetic makeup than other chimps that made him incline towards human characteristics. Thus, Oliver was simply an extraordinary mutant among chimpanzees. Mutants like Oliver are very rare and may not appear again.

Oliver’s examinations also showed that he had been mishandled, and it was only after a petition from the Primarily Primates sanctuary that Oliver was rescued and sent to a chimpanzee retirement center. Oliver spent the rest of his life in an open-air sanctuary with another female named Raisin, who was kept as a companion to him in his old age.

By this time, Oliver was mostly blind and less active.  Thus, he could not interact with the younger chimps of the sanctuary. His later life was shared online as he regularly indulged in human-like activities. For example, he would paint sometimes and even attend fruit smashing parties.

According to those who knew Oliver in the Primarily Primates sanctuary, he was quite gentle and easy to interact with. All the rough handling that Oliver faced came from his time with animal trainers, labs, and entertainers.

On June 2, 2012, that Oliver passed away in his sleep peacefully with Raisin by his side. He was cremated, and his ashes were spread on the sanctuary ground to honor his memory and the time he spent there.

After his passing, Primarily Primates authorities decided to convert Oliver’s living grounds into an enrichment habitat for other chimps. Two years after the chimpanzee’s passing, Oliver’s playground was unveiled as a tribute to him.

The enrichment habitat was then opened for use by other chimpanzees. The habitat has a PrimaDome structure with grassy floors and different climbing structures to keep chimpanzees active. Moreover, there are hammocks and a cupola where chimpanzees can rest and view the skyline of the sanctuary.

The playground is connected with the habitats of chimpanzees with overhead tunnels so that the space is accessible. Groups of chimpanzees are able to interact and socialize in one space at a time.

Oliver might have been portrayed as a humanzee for the amusement of the general public, but he was an animal at the end of the day. Oliver is a case study of the importance of being gentle with animals, especially those who have been torn away from their families.

Chimpanzees and other apes are often captured from the wild for commercial purposes even today. Whether it is for lab testing or as circus entertainment, apes are often separated from their natural habitat and family.

Oliver captured the attention of people around the world, but in the end that attention came from him being considered a “freak.” His unique characteristics saved him from tests and experiments, but he was still poorly treated and neglected.

This led to a decline in his health and abilities. In human habitat, Oliver lived a life of 55 years. If he had stayed in his natural habitat, his life span could have been much longer.

Throughout his life, Oliver was feared and ill-treated because of his strength and unique abilities. People who kept him did so primarily for commercial purposes, and he was exposed to rough handling to keep him in control.

Oliver lacked a stable, natural life as he was sold off from one handler to another. This may have prematurely aged him and caused some of the multiple ailments he suffered from. While earlier reports portray Oliver as a brute, unpredictable, difficult being, the sanctuary he lived with later describes him as a gentle giant who liked meeting other chimpanzees and humans.

He especially liked helping people and chimpanzees out in daily chores. Oliver’s example teaches us that animals can coexist with humans with kindness and empathy. It is always better to leave an animal in his natural habitat than bringing him into human society and nakedly profit from him.

Even today, scientists are still trying to create a hybrid between humans and apes. Oliver’s genetic makeup could help scientists in understanding the mutations that create humanoid features in apes.

However, the sanctuary where Oliver spent his later years has prohibited scientists and scientific tourists from accessing Oliver’s remains. This might also be another reason why the sanctuary decided to cremate Oliver.

Oliver’s life is an example of how intrusive human attention and intervention can be. Oliver’s memory exists as an eventful history of an extraordinary, rare being. And a unique one: after Oliver’s death in 2012, there have been no reports of anything even remotely similar, anywhere in the world.


Up next… Most crimes are pretty ordinary – assault, robbery, the occasional murder, but once in a while a crime is committed in a strange, shocking way – to the point it’s almost hard to believe what you are hearing is a true story. I’ll share a few of those strange crimes when Weird Darkness returns.



One could be forgiven for believing that every crime is a Machiavellian scheme acted out by masterminds or a twist-laden story that turns out to be a tragic miscarriage of justice by an evil state perpetrated against “the little guy.” Thanks, Netflix.

The truth is that most crimes are quite simple, both in the action and in the resolution—a guy punched another guy then got caught. A woman stole stuff from another person and was let off with a warning. It’s true that more Hollywood-worthy crimes occur from time to time, but there is a subsection of crimes that don’t reach the wider public consciousness—weird crimes.

Here are a few wacky, shocking, and hard-to-believe crimes that’ll leave you questioning how mankind ever became the dominant species on Earth.

***Convicted murderer Jaime Osuna had a bit of a bad rep. Not only was he in prison on a life sentence for the torture and murder of 37-year-old Yvette Pena at a Bakersfield, California, motel in 2011, not only did he have a long record of violence against his cellmates, but Osuna is also covered in tattoos all over his body, including his face—all dedicated to his love for Satan. So, in the words of the dearly departed Norm MacDonald, “He sounds like a real jerk.” So much of a jerk, in fact, that on March 9, 2019, he proceeded to torture and murder his cellmate, Luis Romero, using a makeshift knife. He then mutilated the body by decapitating Romero and slashing the corners of his mouth to form a grim, Joker-esque smile. But, most shockingly of all, Osuna removed one of Romero’s eyeballs, a finger, and a portion of lung tissue, forming the bits into a necklace—a necklace guards found him wearing. On being moved to Salinas Valleys State Prison’s psychiatric ward, physicians offered a diagnosis that may constitute the understatement of the millennium—Osuna has an antisocial personality disorder. Yeah, that’d be my guess too.

***Staying on the subject of incredibly gory crimes (lamentably), consider the tragic case of 25-year-old Michigander Kevin Bacon (not the star of Friday the 13th). His roommate, Michelle Myers (not Michael Myers…this case has too many ‘80s slasher flick references), told officials that he had gone on a date he’d arranged on the popular dating app Grindr on Christmas Eve in 2019. Bacon had been matched to Mark Latunski, possibly the worst match any man could hope for. Latunski, now 51 years old, brutally murdered Bacon by first stabbing him in the back of the neck then, realizing he wasn’t dead, slitting his throat. He then hoisted Bacon’s body from the ceiling of his Shiawassee County home. Next, Latunski cut Bacon’s dead body, allowing his blood to drip onto some dirt beneath a trapdoor to “fertilize the plants outside the house.” He then removed Bacon’s testicles and fried them before consuming them. According to Latunski, this gruesome murder was consensual. Further, he had more plans for Bacon’s body, plans he would have carried out had the police not uncovered his crime. According to an article in the Lansing State Journal: “He would use bone meal to plant tulips, his intestines to grow chestnuts or peach pits, and he would use his muscles to make jerky,” he said. The U.S. Postal Service intercepted a package for Latunski containing a dehydrator after the murder.

***On a much-needed lighter note, a very organized gang of motivated criminals recently pulled off a daring, film-worthy heist in Scotland. So intricately planned, flawlessly executed is this crime that George Clooney is rumored to be seeking the rights to the story. Hang on to your seats; this one is a real white knuckler. Or not. A group of thieves using a “convoy of lorries” stole £280,000-worth (around $380,000) of blue WKD alcopops (known as “hard soda” in the USA). The popular party drink, the go-to for underage drinkers, is synonymous with sticky-floored nightclubs and urine-soaked bandstands in grotty urban parks. So, how did these master criminals do this? They broke into Caledonian Bottlers, just loaded the booze, and left. Not exactly robbing Fort Knox. One of the containers was discovered on the A76 near Mennock, burned out and still smoldering. The rest remains unaccounted for. Rumors of 280,000 illegal raves in the area remain unproven.

***Officials in India uncovered a smuggling ring that used a really ingenious technique in March 2021, although their scheme was rather poorly executed. Magroob Akbarali (39), Syed Ahamedulla (22), Santhosh Selvam (33), Abdullah (35), and Zubair Hassan Rafiyutheen (26) were stopped before they exited Chennai International Airport. Customs officials became suspicious when they noticed that Magroob and Zubair’s hairstyles looked a bit off. A bit bulging. When asked to remove what turned out to be hairpieces, officials recovered three packets of gold paste glued onto their shaved heads. Further packets of gold and foreign currency were discovered in their socks and underwear. The haul was valued at around $380,000…just about enough to buy a truckload of blue alcopops. Coincidence? Yes. Indian officials warned against this sort of smuggling, claiming that people had better think twice or there’d be “hell toupee.” (You get it? Toupee?) OK, no, just kidding; they didn’t do that. But it would’ve been funny if they had.

***Robbing a bank carries a certain level of romance along with it—depression-era gangsters with bandanas around their faces, rushing out of the bank with their haul, throwing their loot and their Tommy guns in the back of their Ford Model 730, hightailing it to their safe house in the dustbowl while a squad of feckless cops get lost along the way. This is not one of those stories. Not only did Michael Harrel, 54, forget the first rule of bank robbery—wear a mask of sorts—but he went one step further in ensuring that he was 100% going to get identified. Back in 2019, Harrel walked into a Cleveland, Ohio, bank and handed the teller a menacing note. He demanded cash, or there would be trouble. The teller complied and handed the robber the princely sum of $206 before Harrel escaped…by going home. But the note contained more than just threats; Harrel’s name and contact details were to be found on the other side of the piece of paper. He had used the note earlier while running some errands at the local BMV. He was promptly arrested.

***The eternal search for the ultimate “Florida Man” story has finally come to an end. No, it is not a case where a bank was robbed by a PCP-fueled naked cowboy riding an alligator before getting eaten by a python in the Everglades—it’s a lot simpler than that. More elegant, if you will. Twenty-two-year-old Matthew Leatham’s crime doesn’t rank highly amidst the carnage and craziness found in this list (or, indeed, usually found in Florida). In fact, his crime was quite mundane; he made two calls to 911 in order to find a ride home. He then proceeded to become belligerent and very rude with the operator when he was informed that his call was a misuse of the emergency line. However, the police did respond to his calls, promptly arresting and charging him with misuse of the 911 system and cannabis possession. So why is this the classic Florida Man yarn? His forehead is tattooed with a black-colored depiction of the state itself, a state that Homer Simpson once called “America’s wang”…

***When a murderer claims that “supernatural being made me do it,” one often expects a tall tale about the devil or a demon, replete with fanciful insertions of the egomaniacal perpetrator into the broader lore of demonology—a bit like a James Wan film come to life. Either that or, occasionally, the killer is genuinely suffering from a religiously tinged psychotic or schizophrenic disorder. What’s weird in the case of 51-year-old Shabaz Khan of Burnley, England, is that the two djinn (supernatural spirits in the Islamic faith) who made him murder Dr. Saman Mir Sacharvi, 49, and her daughter Vian Mangrio, 14, were named “Robert” and “Rita.” So, no esoteric Babylonian or Aramaic names here, just plain ol’ Bob and Rita—they were the ones who made him murder Sacharvi and Mangrio before setting their house ablaze. Sounds legit. Turns out, to nobody’s surprise, this excuse turned out to be nonsense. Khan originally pleaded not guilty in court but dropped the claims about the involvement of the djinn and changed his plea. He went on to claim that he was now “taking 8 to 10 tablets a day” and that his “brain feels slightly better.”

***Here’s a story that’ll make you think, “Maybe it can be OK to ‘kink shame’ people from time to time.” Back in 2014, Lonnie J. Hutton, 49, had drunk a few too many flagons of what we can only assume to be crazy juice. He then proceeded to wander into a bar in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. He walked up to an ATM machine and, as one expects, withdrew some money before tipping his cap to the bartender on his way out and bidding everyone present “good day”…oh, wait, no. He actually tried to have sex with the ATM. Hutton didn’t appreciate it when staff escorted him outside, so, not one to countenance being cock-blocked, he proceeded to have sexual intercourse with a picnic table. He was arrested and charged with public intoxication…that’s it. So, you think he called the ATM in the morning?

***More bar-based buffoonery…in Tennessee again. Who knew that their nickname—The Volunteer State—means they voluntarily act like assholes in bars. Police the world over are having a pretty tough time of late—sometimes for perfectly understandable reasons, sometimes for ideological, illegitimate reasons. Amidst all this chaos, we forget the day-to-day challenges that police face, the fact that a routine encounter can quickly escalate into a pretty sticky situation (that turn of phrase becomes gross when you finish hearing this story—apologies in advance). Take the case of 39-year-old Nicholas Newhart in Nashville, Tennessee – the man had imbibed a little too much of the devil’s mouthwash at the (rather word salad-y) “Kid Rock’s Big Ass Honky Tonk Rock ‘N Roll Steakhouse.” Security staff had no luck removing the drunken patron, who was blocking an emergency exit and acting threateningly, so they called the Metro Police. Two officers tried to coax Newhart to leave. Newhart felt threatened, so he decided to defend himself against these evil coppers…with his colostomy bag. He swung the plastic poop pouch, dousing the officers with his excrement before being arrested. Newhart faces several charges and will doubtlessly spend some time behind bars. But not to worry—he seems to be a neo-Nazi, given the presence of certain tattoos he has on his person, so he’ll get a chance to make some new pals while serving time.

***Back during the early days of the pandemic in 2020, Texans found themselves pushed further into a state of paranoia when around 187 citizens received unsolicited packages from China labeled as “jewelry.” The packages actually contained clear plastic baggies full of seeds that looked like a cross between pumpkin seeds and cardamom pods. Weird. Despite this probably being a “brushing scam”—the act of sending out products to unwitting people to bypass terms and conditions on sites like Amazon on generating fake reviews, thus boosting a seller’s rating on sites like Amazon—Texas Department of Agriculture Commissioner Sid Millar issued a pretty stark statement: “An invasive plant species might not sound threatening, but these small invaders could destroy Texas agriculture. TDA has been working closely with USDA to analyze these unknown seeds so we can protect Texas residents,” adding that Texans should “treat them like they’re radioactive or like kryptonite.” Could it be that Chinese Communist Party operatives were trying to destroy Texan agriculture, or is it just a case of dodgy online retailers trying to boost their ratings? Or both? As if the world today isn’t weird enough…


Up next on Weird Darkness… Some hauntings are more terrifying than others – and some are stranger than others. What happened to the Palzon family in Zaragoza, Spain possibly qualifies for both. They didn’t have a typical haunting – this was no poltergeist or spirit of a recently passed person… they were terrorized by a horrifying goblin.



Some hauntings are definitely weirder than others, managing to remain pretty much beyond classification. In 1934, the Palazon family was just a normal family living on the second floor of a modest apartment building on Gascón de Gotor street, in Zaragoza, Spain. They were by all accounts mostly unremarkable, they had never had any problems with their neighbors, and had never experienced anything out of the ordinary in their humble apartment, but this would change. On September 27, 1934, the family’s maid, a young woman by the name of Pascuala Alcocer was alone in the kitchen when she reached out to turn on the stove to hear a clear voice like that of a small child emanate from within, which said simply, “You are hurting me!” The startled maid turned off the stove and backed away, and when the disembodied voice started laughing she ran out of the room to turn off the lights and hear it shout “The lights! I can’t see!” There had been no one else in the room, no explanation for why the voice should be coming from the stove, and this would be just the beginning of a very strange series of events that would be blamed on a goblin.

Before long, other members of the family began hearing the voice too, sometimes from the stove, other times from the chimney, and on other occasions seeming to come from the walls. Sometimes the voice had a pleasant and friendly tone, and at other times it was more menacing, often going from playful to threatening at a moment’s notice, fluctuating between a childlike voice to a sinister deep and guttural grumble, and no one could ever figure out where it was actually coming from. The voice would sometimes join in on conversations the family was having, or even answer questions directed at it. It would often demand that they turn on the lights at night, sometimes waking them from sleep, or creepily announce that it was watching them, often describing what was happening in the room, and these episodes became more taunting and mean-spirited over the coming days. When they asked where the owner of the voice was, it would answer that it was in the stove or in the chimney, even though there was obviously no one in there.

Soon after this, there would be heard laughter, cackling, whistling, moaning, and screaming, which would graduate in intensity to the point that others in the building began hearing it too. On one frightening occasion, the entire building seemed to simultaneously erupt with disembodied laughter coming from the walls, which reached such a booming volume that it reverberated through the structure. Residents could find no cause for it, and when they went out into the halls, they could hear that eerie laughter coming from everywhere around them at once. Then just as suddenly as it started, this barrage of mysterious laughter stopped to leave the residents in silence and bafflement. The laughter would continue sporadically, on some days quiet and others nearly nonstop, and it could either be a playful giggle, a wicked cackling, a thunderous deep chuckle, or a maniacal laughter, which could change between these as it was going on, and which made it all the more unsettling. Even more frightening still was that sometimes the unseen intruder would snarl, bark, or growl in a ferocious, animalistic way, and the general feeling among the families that were afflicted was that it was not a friendly presence.

Since no source of the voice and other noises could ever be found, the frightened Palazon family believed that they were being held under siege by a Duende, an imp or goblin from the folklore of many Spanish speaking countries, often said to be mischievous trouble makers. Neighbors who began to experience the activity agreed, and when word got out into the press about what was going on it quickly gained the nickname of El duende de Zaragoza, or “The Goblin of Zaragoza.” The story would not take long to be reported across Europe, drawing curiosity seekers from all over looking to hear the phenomena for themselves. In the meantime, professional masons and plumbers inspected the building to find no rational cause for any of it.

By this time, the police, who had been skeptical of the whole thing, decided to investigate, and were immediately met with the mystery voice shouting “Cowards! You’ve called the police!” as they arrived. The police entered and the voice followed them, telling them to go away. When they went to the kitchen, laughter came from the stove and they spoke to it. When asked what it wanted it would not respond, and when asked if it was a man it said “I am not a man,” an odd answer considering the voice was always male. They asked the unseen entity if it could see them and it promptly told them how many people were in the room. When they asked it to show itself, it ominously said, “I could if I wanted, but you would not like what you see.” Even as they spoke with it, officers were fanning out trying to find any possible source for the voice, but they found nothing. Nevertheless, they suspected that it all had to be some sort of elaborate hoax or practical joke someone was playing using ventriloquism, with their suspicion falling on the young maid, Pascuala, in particular. She would deny this under questioning, but they were still suspicious enough to call in a psychiatrist by the name of Joaquin Jimen Orriera to talk to her.

When Orriera talked to the woman, he at first thought she was the perpetrator as well, but when he did an experiment in which she was led away from the building, the voice continued coming from the stove, much to the amazement of everyone present. An architect was then brought in to try and figure out if there was any way for a prankish ventriloquist to be hiding somewhere and be able to carry the voice to the stove and chimney, but there was found to be no practical way for it to be done so clearly and with the prankster able to see what was happening in the room while still remaining hidden. This explanation also did little to explain the incident in which the laughter had permeated the entire building to the point that it had shook the walls. In a further experiment, the building was then cleared of all people except a small group of investigators and the power and phone lines were turned off, but the pervasive voice still continued, mocking those present for their efforts to figure things out. It seemed to be very angry about the intrusion onto its domain, spewing forth profanities and threatening the lives of the Palazon family.

For the next few days the voice apparently spoke incessantly at all hours of the day and night, with a very menacing, ominous tone, sometimes making physical threats and saying it would physically appear, although it never carried through with these dark promises, and then it suddenly stopped for several days. The relieved residents of the apartment, especially the Palazon family, dared to believe that the whole thing was over, but then the entity would show up again, apparently announcing its present by saying, “Cowards, cowards, cowards, here I am.” As the “goblin” continued to bring in droves of gawkers and remained unexplained, the governor of the city put his foot down, declaring that it was all the work of the maid and saying she had pulled it off through “unconscious ventriloquism,” or throwing her voice without realizing it, explained as “a psychic phenomenon produced only in certain circumstances.” Of course, this was far from satisfactory for the building tenants and those who had witnessed the phenomena for themselves, but that became the official stance.

In the face of these seemingly paranormal forces, some of the families living in the building, including the Palazon family, moved away for good, unable to cope with it anymore. The activity then continued for a time before stopping again, this time for good. Even after it stopped, the poor maid Pascuala was ostracized and blamed for the incident, labelled a hoaxer and fraud, eventually becoming a recluse and refusing to talk about it, even though she was never proven to be behind it and the voice was always that of a man. The case of the Goblin of Zaragoza over time faded away into the mists of time, and the apartment building would be torn down in 1977 to be replaced by a new one, called Edificio Duende, or “Goblin Building,” in memory of the strange events that had occurred there. In the end, the case remains unsolved. No real explanation was ever found, no hoaxer ever came forward to claim responsibility, and it is as much a mystery now as it was back then.

The case is unusual for several reasons. First is that the building itself had no known history of tragedy or death, and there was also the fact that it all started rather suddenly, with no such strangeness ever reported before. Also rather odd is that the entity was never actually seen, it never moved any objects or caused other paranormal phenomena, and it was always just that inscrutable voice hovering about. Add to this the myriad witnesses, including police officers and investigators, and it is all a very odd case that is hard to categorize. What are we dealing with here? How could this unseen entity continue to taunt all those present and even shake the very walls? Why did it suddenly appear only to vanish once again, and what did it want? Was this a ghost, a poltergeist, a demon, or actually one of the Duende? Was there some hoaxer somehow behind this, and if so why have they never come forward? There are no answers, and the case of the Goblin of Zaragoza remains a strange and relatively obscure account of unexplained paranormal weirdness.


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, you can find free audiobooks I’ve narrated, watch old horror movies with horror hosts at all times of the day for free, sign up for the newsletter to win free prizes, grab your Weird Darkness and Weirdo merchandise, plus if you have a true paranormal or creepy tale to tell, you can 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.

“The Hands Resist Him” by Jenne Gentry for ListVerse

“Oliver, The Humanzee” by Bipin Dimri for Historic Mysteries

“The Zaragoza Goblin” by Brent Swancer for Mysterious Universe

“Did Mary Hardy Reeser Spontaneously Combust?” by Tommy Thompson for Talk Murder

“Creepy Crimes and Crazy Criminals” by C.J. Phillips for ListVerse


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

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

Now that we’re coming out of the dark, I’ll leave you with a little light… “But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy.” – Titus 3:4-5a

And a final thought… “Where hope grows, miracles blossom.” – Elna Rae

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


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