“IS THE STARCHILD AN ALIEN-HUMAN HYBRID?” and More Strange, True Stories! #WeirdDarkness
Listen to ““IS THE STARCHILD AN ALIEN-HUMAN HYBRID?” and More Strange, True Stories! #WeirdDarkness” on Spreaker.
If you are into aliens or conspiracies, you’ve likely heard of the StarChild skull – a strange skull that appears either misshapen, or – as many believe – is the skull of a hybrid between extraterrestrials and human beings. What is the truth behind the StarChild? (What Is The StarChild?) *** In the 1700s life-saving techniques were obviously not as advanced as those we have today. Case in point – one doctor wanted to know if and how a drowned person might be brought back to life. The solution? Go to a hanging and try to revive the executed man. How do you think that went? (The Hanged Man) *** We’ve spoken often here on Weird Darkness about shadow people – what their purpose is, where they come from, whether they are malevolent or not… but are they ghosts, or something else entirely? (Are Shadow People Considered Ghosts?) *** A Reddit user shares his true story of hiking in the wilderness and suddenly being tracked and hunted over several days by a stranger with unknown intentions. (A Strange Man Hunted Me Through The Park) *** Within the walls of one of England’s most picturesque castles, a queen gave birth to her only child and set in motion a chain of events that would become one of Tudor England’s most intriguing mysteries. (The Unexplained Disappearance of the Queen’s Daughter) *** (Originally aired April 12, 2021)
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SOURCES AND REFERENCES FROM THE EPISODE…
“The Hanged Man” by Romeo Vitelli for Providentia: https://weirddarkness.tiny.us/32j6zyb7
“Are Shadow People Considered Ghosts?” by Jacob Shelton for Ranker’s Graveyard Shift: https://weirddarkness.tiny.us/uej2nyca
“A Strange Man Hunted Me Through The Park” by Redditor u/ValyrianJedi: https://weirddarkness.tiny.us/436p34t7
“The Unexplained Disappearance of the Queen’s Daughter” by Lydia Starbuck for Royal Central:https://weirddarkness.tiny.us/bfhkxthc
“What Is The Starchild?” by Dr. Elizabeth Mitchell, posted at Anomalien: https://weirddarkness.tiny.us/ewccfd5c, and from StarChildProject.com: https://weirddarkness.tiny.us/wb8daydd
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Many theories have been proposed over the years, yet still no known human deformity, illness, or cultural practice has been identified that explains what has come to be known as the StarChild Skull. The bone of the skull is much thinner, lighter, and stronger than normal human bone; it contains unusual reinforcing fibers, the brain of the skull would be 30% larger than a normal human skull of the same size. The entire StarChild Skull is over 10 standard deviations from the human norm, a highly significant statistic. In 2003 Trace Genetics were able to recover some human DNA from the 900 year old skull, however, despite DNA clearly being present in the sample, the technology was unable to identify much of the genetic material as human. More modern DNA testing has found that a significant percentage of the DNA in the Skull appears to not be human. The shape of the skull along with the odd characteristics it has, leads many to believe that not only is the skull indeed not human… but also non-terrestrial. Or perhaps even, a combination of human and alien interbreeding. What is the StarChild?
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…
In the 1700s life-saving techniques were obviously not as advanced as those we have today. Case in point – one doctor wanted to know if and how a drowned person might be brought back to life. The solution? Go to a hanging and try to revive the executed man. How do you think that went? (The Hanged Man)
We’ve spoken often here on Weird Darkness about shadow people – what their purpose is, where they come from, whether they are malevolent or not… but are they ghosts, or something else entirely? (Are Shadow People Considered Ghosts?)
A Reddit user shares his true story of hiking in the wilderness and suddenly being tracked and hunted over several days by a stranger with unknown intentions. (A Strange Man Hunted Me Through The Park)
Within the walls of one of England’s most picturesque castles, a queen gave birth to her only child and set in motion a chain of events that would become one of Tudor England’s most intriguing mysteries. (The Unexplained Disappearance of the Queen’s Daughter)
If you are into aliens or conspiracies, you’ve likely heard of the StarChild skull – a strange skull that appears either misshapen, or – as many believe – is the skull of a hybrid between extraterrestrials and human beings. What is the truth behind the StarChild? (What Is The StarChild?)
If you’re new here, welcome to the show! While you’re listening, be sure to check out WeirdDarkness.com for merchandise, to visit sponsors you hear about during the show, sign up for my newsletter, enter contests, connect with me on social media, plus, you can visit the Hope in the Darkness page if you’re struggling with depression or dark thoughts. You can find all of that and more at WeirdDarkness.com.
Now.. bolt your doors, lock your windows, turn off your lights, and come with me into the Weird Darkness!
STORY: WHAT IS THE STARCHILD?=====
“Starchild” is the name given to a misshapen skull claimed by some to be an alien-human hybrid. You might have seen videos about this skull online and on television.
The skull is in the possession of Lloyd Pye, who believes mainstream science has suppressed and tried to explain away his claims. Thus, not surprisingly, the sources for this review are not peer-reviewed journals but the publicized claims made by those who have examined the skull and the publicized opinions of those, like us, who have evaluated their claims from afar.
A teenage girl found two skeletons in a Mexican mine tunnel in the 1930s. The misshapen skull was reportedly associated with a small skeleton and the normal skull with an adult-size skeleton, but the skeletons were lost. The skulls changed hands over the years, and in the 1990s they came into the possession of Lloyd Pye.
Pye dubbed the misshapen skull “Starchild” and began investigating it. He has had the skull examined by about a dozen people from various specialties, including Dr. Ted Robinson, a cranio-facial reconstructive surgeon, who reports he searched the literature and found no similar skulls.
Other experts have included other surgeons, radiologists, pediatricians, ophthalmologists, and a forensic tooth specialist as well as geneticists, some of whom remain anonymous.
Pye is perhaps best known for his campaign to have Starchild recognized as an alien-human hybrid. Central and South American Indian legends tell of “star-beings” descending to earth to mate with Indian women, so the find fits the legend as well as Pye’s own beliefs about human origins.
Pye recently authored an ebook, Intervention Theory Essentials, outlining his beliefs about the origin of humanity. He denies biblical creation and evolution with equal vigor. In his ebook he states, “Interventionists like me anchor our search for origins on evidence rather than faith, on logic rather than magic.
“We don’t think that God did it, or that life spontaneously generated.” Instead, Pye takes an “intelligent design” position, but his “intelligent designers” are aliens. Pye writes that these intelligent aliens are “non-human, non-Earth-based … human-like entities (aliens or gods, with a small ’g’).”
He believes these aliens genetically engineered primitive bipedal ape-like hairy hominoids, hybridizing their “primitive hominoid” genes with their own superior alien genes to create test-tube people. He hopes his findings in the Starchild investigation will lend credence to his position.
Pye reports carbon dating on the skulls showed them to be about 900 years old. Further investigations addressed both skeletal morphology and genetics. He is currently trying to raise funds to continue the investigation and sequence the whole genome of Starchild.
Starchild’s cranium has all the usual bones present in a normal human skull. The oddly shaped skull is symmetrical, but the cranial bones are shifted and misshapen and thinner than normal. The frontal sinuses and brow ridges are absent. The orbits are shallow, the eyes are low-set, and the lower face is somewhat reduced with the zygomatic arches (cheekbones) small and shifted downward.
The chewing muscles are thought to have been smaller than normal. Examination of a tooth showed it to have a well-developed root consistent with a child around five or six years old. (Pye in one of his videos asserted the tooth indicated the skull belonged to an adult, but several of his experts say the tooth belonged to a child.) Several teeth are impacted above this tooth.
Although these distortions make the face appear smaller than normal, the overall cranial capacity is about 1600 cc, which Pye’s experts have described as 200 cc above normal. The lack of frontal sinuses and the diminished orbital size account for at least some of this extra volume.
The back of the skull is fairly flattened with the parietal bones sloping sharply downward and without the usual occipital protuberance and the bump on the back of the skull—the inion—in the region where the trapezius muscles and a ligament from the cervical vertebrae normally attach. Therefore, the neck is presumed to have been thin and attached farther forward than normal. The condyles—bony protrusions that articulate with the first cervical vertebra—are somewhat over-sized.
On first look, many suggest the skull belonged to a hydrocephalic child, but one of the radiologists who examined it said that could not be the case because there was no erosion of the inner surface of the skull.
Also, the sutures between the skull bones were not separated. While modern medicine has fortunately made untreated hydrocephalus a rarity, erosion of the inner skull is described as a common consequence of increased intracranial pressure in Dr. Artur Schüller’s 1918 text, Roentgen diagnosis of diseases of the head.
Dr. Schüller notes, however, that such erosion is not usually seen when the onset of hydrocephalus is in early childhood, prior to age four or five. Thus, since the age at which this child developed his problems is uncertain, the presence or absence of such erosion is inconclusive.
The bone chemistry has a lower content of calcium and especially phosphorus than normal. Pye says cut sections of the bone show some sort of unidentified red residue and “durable fibers” on scanning electron microscopy, but those findings are missing from the accounts of the various experts describing the skull.
Initial efforts to recover DNA from the skulls in 2003, after some difficulty getting the bone to dissolve, resulted in finding human mitochondrial DNA. Both skulls were consistent with Amerindian ethnicity, although being of different haplogroups they are not a mother-child pair.
Initial efforts to recover nuclear DNA from the smaller individual’s skull were reportedly minimally successful but finally were reported to reveal both X and Y chromosomes, indicating human parentage. Now Pye’s online material claims the difficulty extracting nuclear DNA in 2003 suggests Starchild’s father was not human, and that partial genomic sequencing confirms the presence of non-human DNA.
Pye now reports Starchild’s DNA has been examined using a different method and found to have some clearly human DNA in addition to a 342 DNA sequence that doesn’t match anything in the NIH genetic database. (The NIH database currently includes the entire human genome as well as genome sequences from numerous species of plants and animals.)
His website features a screen shot of the report from the NIH database inquiry showing the report, “No significant similarity found.” Pye is now trying to raise funds to have the DNA fully sequenced, confident the DNA will prove Starchild was a product of genetic engineering involving an alien or alien-human hybrid with a human surrogate mother.
Though Pye claims the skull must be something other than human, other suggested explanations have included head binding and genetic abnormalities. South American cultures that practice head binding usually bind above the inion, but this skull is flattened below that level.
Pye points out that the shape did not result from cradle-boarding as the position required to achieve its shape would have obstructed the child’s airway. Most agree the skull is not typical of skulls artificially reshaped.
Prominent among Pye’s detractors is Dr. Steven Novella, a Yale neurology professor well-known as a skeptic of pseudoscience and alternative medicine. Novella published an online letter in 2006, and Pye has of course published his counterclaims. Novella asserts that the child probably had untreated hydrocephalus.
Hydrocephalus results from a blockage in the drainage of cerebrospinal fluid with a resultant buildup of fluid in the ventricles of the brain. Today the disorder is treated by surgically placing a shunt to drain the fluid. The cerebrospinal fluid could have built up slowly in this untreated individual, expanding the skull while creating many distortions. And as mentioned above, the lack of bony erosions does not rule out this diagnosis.
The lack of frontal sinuses is easily dismissed. One or both frontal sinuses are occasionally absent in normal people.
Although no one has been able to point to a single known genetic abnormality or congenital syndrome that causes all the specific abnormalities seen in the Starchild skull, there are a number of genetic abnormalities manifested by the sorts of findings seen here. Many genetic defects are rare and may produce a group of physical defects compatible with life, at least for a time.
When an unusually malformed child was born in the middle Ages, some would attribute the cause to demons (as any devoted reader of Victor Hugo’s Hunchback of Notre Dame will quickly recall). Of course, Pye does not claim supernatural demonic influence, but his proposed aliens would certainly be outside the realm of both mainstream science and biblical Christianity.
However, the fact that medical literature hasn’t reported a child with this particular constellation of symptoms should not cause anyone to leap on the alien bandwagon.
Although normal human cranial capacity varies greatly, the capacity of this skull, presumably a child’s, does exceed the average norm for morphologically normal adult skulls.
Increased cranial capacity obviously can arise from hydrocephalus, but it has also been reported without hydrocephalus in children with autism, the enlarged cranial capacity likely results from the lack of frontal sinuses, reduced orbits, and the distorted growth of the skull, whether or not hydrocephalus was part of the picture.
There are sufficient distortions to explain the enlarged cranial capacity, however, without suggesting a larger-than-normal brain or the conventional sci-fi type of alien portrait some have associated with this skull.
The abnormalities in bone chemistry could be related to a genetic disorder, as some of them cause abnormal phosphate metabolism resulting in a rickets-like softening of the bones. The abnormal bone chemistry could also be a result of the skull’s exposure in a wet mine tunnel for years.
While the “durable fibers” and “red residue” Pye describes on video as a mystery remain unexplained, no results of any tests addressing those findings are reported. They may well represent a foreign contaminant or some sort of artifact resulting from the years in the mine.
The thinning of the cranial bones may be related to untreated hydrocephalus or to some other underlying syndrome causing the bones to distort. Such distortion can be caused by premature fusion of some of the cranial sutures, causing the head to stretch and grow in the dimensions left to it.
While some have asserted such a condition would lead to asymmetrical growth, a condition called brachycephaly causes symmetrical distortion of the skull with severe flattening of the back of the skull.
In fact, Starchild’s skull bears remarkable similarities to brachycephalics. Two experts on craniofacial abnormalities, Dr. Patricia Hummel and Dr. Jeffrey A. Fearon, according to reported personal communications, agree that Starchild fits this description.
The shallow low-set orbits would have probably caused the eyes to protrude somewhat. This condition is called exorbitism, and it is seen with some of the syndromes causing premature closure of cranial sutures. One such syndrome is Crouzon’s syndrome. Children with this mutation tend to have bulging, low-set eyes and an underdeveloped lower face with cleft lip and palate, all associated with premature fusion of cranial sutures.
While the Starchild does not fit the full criteria for Crouzon’s, the example makes it clear that genetic defects can produce constellations of abnormalities such as those seen in this skull.
Much has been made of the apparently thin, forward-shifted neck, with claims it matches supposedly documented aliens commonly held to exist by the UFO-crowd. Given the magnitude of this skull’s flattening and distortion posteriorly, however, the neck’s muscle and ligament attachments would naturally have to accommodate to the head’s shape. The impacted teeth are another abnormality commonly seen in children.
In short, the skull abnormalities, while not fitting any particular “named” syndrome, are all consistent with the sorts of abnormalities seen in human children with genetic problems.
But the website, StarChildProject.com has rebuttals to a lot of the skeptics who seem to think they have the answers to these questions.
For example, the shallow eye-sockets caused by Crouzons or microcephaly. These conditions rely either on abnormal fusion of the cranial sutures or microcephaly but neither are present in the Starchild Skull, as proven by CT Scans and visual examination of the Skull. Dr. Robinson and some of his colleagues are on the record stating that the sutures, the lines where the bones of the skull meet like puzzle pieces, were unfused and healthy at the time of death.
The missing frontal sinus is often attributed to the rare but very real human condition, Progeria. The problem with this answer, however, is that other features of the skull prove it did not have Progeria.
The extremely strong bone explained away by Osteopetrosis or fossilization of the bone is also refuted by the website. The skull didn’t have any of these conditions as proven by X-Rays and CT scans, and the Starchild Skull is not a fossil. Fossils are over 10,000 years old, the Starchild Skull is only 900 years old, according to Carbon-14 dating.
Much has been discussed regarding the childlike teeth in the StarChild Skull, with skeptics claiming it is a child of about 5 years old, and possibly had Progeria, which causes dental problems.
As indicated before, the skull had no signs of Progeria. Plus, no child could grind its teeth down so much in such a short period of time as those in the skull appear.
Those who believe the skull is human claim the actual brain tissue was the same size as a human, but it looked bigger because of Hydrocephaly. Fluid inside the brain pushed it outwards and made it look bigger, but it was “hollow” (filled with fluid) inside.
But there is a problem with that answer too. Fluid inside the brain causes pressure that would have pushed out the weakest points, the suture lines where the plates of the skull join, outwards, and this did not happen. There is no evidence of internal pressure at all.
Of course you can’t argue against DNA evidence – we believe in it so much we use it in court cases. But skeptics do argue against it – saying that the DNA collected from the skull could have been contaminated – or possibly a one-off genetic mutation in a human. While contamination is indeed the biggest challenge for dealing with ancient DNA, the sample from a bone buried in Earth soil can be contaminated with only DNA of earthly origin, which could be identified by at least a partial match to sequences in the existing databases. The extent of genetic variation found in the preliminary DNA tests on the Starchild Skull is far greater than normally observed in viable (able to survive) offspring within the human species.
It is possible to find a way to “explain” virtually every aspect of the Starchild Skull if each unusual feature is taken individually, but when you start trying to add all of these up, it soon becomes obvious that no human could survive so many conflicting deformities. And that is the key factor that keeps getting swept under the carpet. Not “is it possible in a test tube in a lab”, but “is it possible to create a live being that can live long enough to wear down its teeth”? The most plausible answer here is “No.” No human could survive all of these abnormalities, therefore, it is possible-and some may argue “probable”-that this is not a human skull.
When Weird Darkness returns… A Reddit user shares his true story of hiking in the wilderness and suddenly being tracked and hunted over several days by a stranger with unknown intentions. (A Strange Man Hunted Me Through The Park)
But first… In the 1700s life-saving techniques were obviously not as advanced as those we have today. Case in point – one doctor wanted to know if and how a drowned person might be brought back to life. The solution? Go to a hanging and try to revive the executed man. How do you think that went? (The Hanged Man) We’ll find out up next.
STORY: THE HANGED MAN=====
Is it possible to bring a drowning victim back to life?
Given the numerous cases of drowning that occurred in 18th century London and the lack of any proper system of saving drowning victims at that time, the need for a new organization to teach resuscitation techniques seemed desperately needed. Inspired by a rescue organization in the Netherlands that had been founded years earlier, Dr. William Hawes and another physician, Thomas Cogan, founded the Royal Humane Society in 1774 to promote training in first aid and artificial respiration for drowning victims. To advertise the potential benefits of artificial respiration, Hawes and Cogan hit on a rather novel scheme. They offered a cash reward to anyone who would bring them a drowning victim that had been taken from the water anywhere within thirty miles of London (Hawes paid the reward out of his own pocket). The Royal Humane Society would later serve as a model for similar organizations around the world.
As part of their effort to improve existing medical techniques, Hawes and Cogan approached the famous surgeon, John Hunter, for guidance. A highly distinguished medical researcher and surgeon, Hunter was an obvious choice. Being blunt and argumentative by nature, Hunter had no problem challenging existing views on when death occurred and was forthright in presenting the fledgling Humane Society (and later the Royal Society) with his own views on resuscitation.
Doctor John Hunter was certainly the right man for the job. A brilliant anatomist and researcher, his medical expertise was in constant demand. Among Hunter’s patients were Benjamin Franklin (who had consulted him for bladder problems) and Adam Smith (hemorrhoids). Hunter’s unorthodox methods made him the envy of all his fellow surgeons and his own outspoken manner earned him any number of enemies as well. Among other things, he also became an authority on venereal disease and even went so far as to inoculate himself with tissue taken from a patient to test his theories. Hunter contracted syphilis and gonorrhea as a result and, unfortunately, used his infection to argue that syphilis and gonorrhea were essentially the same disease (they aren’t and this misconception would linger for decades).
Though the medical science surrounding resuscitation was still in its infancy, Hunter’s insights were certainly inspired. He stressed that drowning victims should not automatically be assumed dead and that “only the suspension of the actions of life has taken place”. In treating the drowning victim, Hunter recommended aggressive measures including using a double bellows to force air into the drowning victim’s lungs, applying stimulating vapours to the nose, keeping the body warm and a vigorous massage in essential oils. When all else failed, Hunter advised the use of electrical stimulation to the heart. He also argued that resuscitation should be viewed scientifically with a notebook on hand so that the physician could carefully record what worked and what didn’t in reviving the patient.
To test his own resuscitation methods, John Hunter turned to a different source. Through his years of dissecting executed criminals, Hunter knew that hangmen were often fairly sloppy with their workmanship on the gallows. This was long before the invention of the “Marwood drop” which ensured that convicts died quickly and cleanly of a broken neck. During Hunter’s day, convicts being executed were usually only given enough rope to slowly strangle to death as their oxygen was cut off. Even then, death was not assured and there were cases of executed convicts waking up after being believed dead. The notion that an executed criminal could be successfully revived appealed to Hunter and a famous case then working its way through the English courts provided him with the perfect opportunity.
The Reverend William Dodd was never your typical clergyman. Ordained an Anglican priest in 1753, his flamboyant lifestyle and manner made him a popular figure in British society and earned him the nickname of the “Macaroni Parson” (macaroni was a popular slang term for fashionable). While being forced to leave England after disgracing himself by attempting to use bribery to gain a lucrative position for himself, Dodd returned to England after a short time abroad. Unfortunately, Dodd’s extravagant lifestyle and financial problems continued and he was later caught out in a scheme in which he attempted to defraud a wealthy former pupil of thousands of pounds to clear his own debts.
Since forgery and fraud were capital offenses in those days, Dodd was quickly arrested and went on trial for his life. He confessed to the crime and was sentenced to death despite pleas for leniency from prominent figures such as Samuel Johnson. There was a last-ditch appeal for a Royal Pardon (including a petition with 23,000 signatures) but Dodd went to the gallows on June 27, 1777.
Given that William Dodd had been an early supporter of the Humane Society, John Hunter was well aware of the details of the case. As Dodd was being led up the gallows at Tyburn, Hunter and his Humane Society colleagues were waiting at an undertaker’s establishment with all the tools needed for the revival. While Hunter himself never wrote about his attempt at reviving Dodd, a fellow Royal Society member, Charles Hutton, later provided an account of what happened next.
Despite Hunter’s attempts to get Dodd’s body as soon after the execution as possible, the huge number of people in attendance made that impossible. Due to the pressing crowds, Dodd was left hanging for at least an hour before being taken down while the hearse took an additional forty minutes to deliver the body to the waiting Hunter. Although Hunter and his colleagues were dismayed by the delays, they proceeded to work on Dodd’s body with “all means possible for the reanimation”. Unfortunately, the attempt was a total failure and Hunter eventually admitted defeat. Dodd’s body was released for burial and that was the end of it.
For years after Dodd’s execution, there was a lingering rumour that Hunter hadn’t failed and that Dodd had been successfully revived. The press recorded various “Dodd sightings” throughout the United Kingdom and stories of the “Macaroni Parson” cheating the gallows persisted. As recently as 1794, a Scottish newspaper reported that Dodd was living in Glasgow “happily beyond the reach of his enemies”.
As for John Hunter, he moved on to other things. Along with his legendary fame as a surgeon, he also amassed one of the most amazing collections of medical and natural history specimens in Europe (including the skeleton of the Irish giant, Charles Byrne) which he put on display in a custom-built teaching museum at his home in Leicester Square. Following Hunter’s death in 1793 (due to an angina attack likely linked to his syphilis-weakened heart), his collection of papers and specimens were purchased by the government and presented to the Company of Surgeons (now the Royal College of Surgeons). Visitors to the Royal College of Surgeons at London’s Lincoln’s Inn Fields can still see Hunter’s vast collection (as part of the College’s even more extensive museums).
It is quite an experience for those with a taste for the macabre.
STORY: A STRANGE MAN HUNTED ME THROUGH THE PARK=====
I was camping in the middle of nowhere in Washington near Mt. Rainer. Like, not an official campground, just way out in the forest where I wouldn’t have expected another human for miles… One night I wake up and hear something, open my tent, and there is a guy sitting by where my fire had been right outside my tent. Nothing particularly noteworthy about the guy, just a fairly regular looking dude just sitting there a couple feet from my tent. No bag or pack or anything with him, just a guy. He saw me open the tent, his eyes got huge like he had just seen a ghost, and he took off. It shook me up pretty badly but over the next day I managed to put it out of my mind fairly well after writing it off as just some odd occurrence and a guy that was probably high or something and had somehow managed to set up a camp coincidentally not far from mine.
Then two days after that, and 10-15 miles away in totally random directions that nobody could take the same path as on accident, I was sitting by the fire that night and started hearing noises that I got more and more convinced were a person. I called out to them and out of the darkness someone was like “do you know how to get to Bells Canyon?” I said no. I don’t even think that’s a real place there. They kept talking from just out of my line of vision. I tried to see them with my flashlight but they yelled “aim that away” and, kind of spooked and not wanting to piss off a potentially crazy person, I did. After like 15 minutes of me being very freaked out and them talking and asking completely random questions from the darkness it sounded like the voice had gotten closer so I shined my light that way again, and it was the same dude who had been outside my tent two nights before. He had to have followed me almost 15 miles over two days because there is no way he could have just accidentally wound up in the same spot as vast as that wilderness is. No possible way. As soon as my light hit him he took off again. I started to chase him but didnt want to get lost in the wilderness in the dark so stopped quickly after probably only 100-200 feet. This one couldn’t be written off, because the only way he could have been in both places is specifically if he was following me.
I decided the trip was very over first thing in the morning and hiked back out over 3 days, constantly doubling back, trying to throw anyone following off my trail, and occasionally hiding and waiting to see if he would come by following me. I really cant describe how terrifying it was to feel like I was being hunted through the woods, and to actually have to brainstorm on things I could do to best avoid potentially being murdered.
On the first night of hiking out, twice I heard what sounded like a person walking circles outside my tent, but by the time i mustered the courage to look nobody was there. On the second night I heard what I thought was an animal making noises at first in the distance but slowly decided sounded more like a human making animal calls, but could have actually been an animal, but I didn’t actually see the guy again. But it really sounded like a person making howling noises… I literally almost cried when I finally got back to my car the relief was so strong…
To this day probably the most terrifying experience I’ve ever had. I have no idea who the guy was or what his intentions were and no way of getting an explanation, but I really can’t articulate just what a terrifying few days it was.
Later in the show – shadow people. Are they ghosts, or a different entity altogether? We’ll try to answer that question.
Up next… England’s Royal Family has eyes upon them at all times from those both in the country as well as around the world. We are fascinated with the royal life – and it has always been that way. So imagine if the queen were to give birth to a child – the child, just like royal children of today, would be lavished upon, beloved by the people of the world, the excitement would be momentous. With so many attendants, guards, and the like, how then could that newborn child disappear in the official records? (The Unexplained Disappearance of the Queen’s Daughter) That story when Weird Darkness returns.
STORY: THE UNEXPLAINED DISAPPEARANCE OF THE QUEEN’S DAUGHTER=====
Within the walls of one of England’s most picturesque castles, a queen gave birth to her only child and set in motion a chain of events that would become one of Tudor England’s most intriguing mysteries. The birth had been much anticipated and much talked about. The baby, a little girl, was immediately taken off to a nursery decked in scarlet and gold where a string of attendants awaited her every demand. And yet within days, this child’s life was turned upside down and just a few months afterwards her whole future was called into question. For later historians, her very existence has led to endless speculation and now only scraps of evidence remain to tell the story of Mary, the queen’s daughter.
Mary Seymour was the only child of Katherine Parr – Henry VIII’s last wife. She was born at Sudeley Castle in Gloucestershire after a long labour which ended a pregnancy that had come as a great surprise to her parents. For by the time the king died in 1547, Mary’s mother had been married three times for a total of almost twenty years without ever having had a baby. But just months after her fourth wedding, that same year, to Thomas Seymour, she became pregnant for the first and only time.
The news was as welcome as it was surprising. Katherine had been stepmother to the families of two husbands and their children were all genuinely fond of her. But her first adopted family, the Latimers, were now grown up themselves while her second brood, the royal children of Henry VIII, were apart from her for different reasons. Baby Mary would be the start of a new era in Katherine’s life.
Mary’s father was Thomas Seymour, Baron Sudeley, whose secret marriage to Katherine just months after the death of Henry VIII had caused shockwaves at the Tudor court. Thomas was the brother of Jane Seymour, Henry VIII’s third wife and the queen who provided the longed for Tudor heir who was now reigning as Edward VI. Thomas and Jane’s brother, Edward, served as Lord Protector running the boy king’s government. Thomas wasn’t happy about this and wrote to Katherine, in the summer of 1548, that their child will ‘revenge such wrongs as neither you or I can’. Thomas and Katherine felt they should have a say in the government of Edward VI but they had been effectively sidelined by those in power. The first mystery of Mary’s life is whether both her parents really thought their child could help unpick the power of Edward Seymour or whether this line, just one in a long letter, is more indicative of the headstrong Thomas’ attitude to life – speak first and worry later.
The arrival of a girl stemmed those ambitions to a certain extent but Thomas seems to have been overjoyed at Mary’s birth, writing to his brother about the prettiness of his daughter. The baby was named in honour of Katherine’s eldest royal stepchild, Mary, daughter of Catherine of Aragon and on her birth she became one of the most eligible women in England. Her mother may not have been born of royal blood but she was a queen. The boy king, Edward VI, had long called Katherine his mother while the dowager queen was also held in great respect by the people most likely to succeed him on the throne – Henry VIII’s daughters, Mary and Elizabeth. Mary Seymour was connected to some of the most important people in England and beyond. She looked set to grow up enjoying power, wealth and privilege and with a future filled with opportunity ahead of her.
In less than forty eight hours, everything changed. For while Katherine seemed well, if tired, after the birth she soon began to show symptoms of puerperal – or childbed – fever. Katherine had employed the best medical team she could find including her trusted doctor, Robert Huicke, but there was nothing any of them could do given the medicine of the time. Records show that Katherine railed against her husband as delirium took told, accusing him of keeping her doctor from her, but when she realized she was going to die she became calm and dictated a will in which she left everything to him. This is another mystery in Mary’s life for the little girl wasn’t mentioned at all as Katherine distributed her worldly possessions. She was left in the complete care of her father and if anyone realised how reckless and foolhardy Thomas Seymour could be, it was Katherine Parr.
During the five years that they knew one another, Katherine saw plenty of examples of Thomas’ rash and impetuous behaviour. They had first met at the court of Henry VIII in early 1543 when she was a widow and he was the man every woman wanted to marry. He was handsome, charming and uncle to the Prince of Wales while she was pretty, clever and determined to climb even higher in society after an already impressive and meteoric rise. Almost straight away there were rumours of a relationship between Seymour and Lady Latimer, as Katherine was then, but when Henry VIII decided to marry her all that came to an end. On Henry’s death, Katherine and Thomas had married with almost indecent haste but the groom had soon caused his new wife huge problems. The dowager queen had brought her stepdaughter, Elizabeth, to live in her household and her husband’s behaviour towards the teenager soon became inappropriate. He flirted with her, came into her bedroom dressed only in his nightclothes and tickled and slapped her. In the end, Katherine had to send Elizabeth away and the pair would never see one another again. Set against this backdrop, the queen’s decision to leave her newborn daughter completely dependent on a man known for his reckless behaviour is perhaps even more mysterious.
Katherine died on September 5th 1548 and was buried in the chapel of Sudeley Castle. As was customary at the time, Thomas did not attend. Very soon afterwards he took the queen’s daughter to London and left her with Edward Seymour. But while this gesture might indicate brotherly affection, Thomas’ other actions of the time were anything but friendly. As Mary was raised with her Seymour cousins, her father began to plot to overthrow his brother and gain influence over Edward VI. He had always been a passionate, ambitious and headstrong man and was known to deeply resent his brother. In January 1549 he was caught trying to break into the king’s chambers, while armed with a pistol, and in the fight that followed he killed his nephew’s favourite pet dog. He was quickly accused of treason and many things, including his past indiscreet behaviour with Elizabeth, was investigated. He was executed in March 1549. Mary was now an orphan.
She was also, technically, a poor one for traitors like Thomas lost all their possessions and as her mother had bequeathed everything to her father Mary was left with nothing. Her uncle Seymour certainly didn’t want his treacherous brother’s offspring in the house and set about making arrangements for Mary’s care. In just seven months, Mary had gone from being the queen’s daughter to an aristocratic inconvenience.
Katherine Brandon, Duchess of Suffolk was appointed guardian to Mary soon after the execution of Thomas Seymour. But this wasn’t the first time that this Katherine had played an important part in the affairs of Katherine Parr. For in 1546, the last of Henry’s wives found her position under threat. The king was apparently tired of her religious interests and opinions and the Duchess of Suffolk, recently widowed and about seven years younger, was reported by some at court to be in line to become wife number seven. Clever Katherine Parr talked her way out of an execution and the Duchess of Suffolk became the queen’s friend rather than queen herself.
That doesn’t mean she was happy to bring up Mary. Most of her woes were financial – Mary had nothing but as but as the daughter of a queen there was an expectation that she would be royally looked after. Katherine Brandon was soon writing to William Cecil, an important man at the court of Edward Seymour, asking for funds with which to care for baby Mary. She persisted in pressing for Mary’s estate to be made available and finally, in January 1550, her father’s lands were restored to her by an Act of Parliament but this is where the story of the queen’s daughter becomes even more mysterious.
Because no claim was ever made on that estate. Mary was entitled to use what was left of her father’s possessions and money but no one ever attempted to spend a penny of it on her behalf. And that has led many historians to conclude that the queen’s daughter must have died young. In an age where many children succumbed to illnesses, it seemed clear that Mary Seymour became poorly and probably didn’t live beyond the age of two. No record or even mention of her death is found around that time which might be explained by the fact that although parishes were meant to keep records of all events by then, many still only managed to register a portion of the births, deaths and marriages that took place within their boundaries. It could be that the record is lost, as so many were, in the centuries since. Or, as some have argued, it could be that it never existed at all – those who believe Mary lived far longer point out that such an important child as the daughter of a queen would surely have merited some kind of memorial.
The Victorian writer, Agnes Strickland, believed that Mary lived to adulthood and that she married while others have speculated that the decision not to claim on Seymour’s estate (by then quite small) was to keep Mary safe by making people believe she was dead. By the time the estate was released, the Seymour family had fallen from power – Edward was arrested in October 1549 and imprisoned in the Tower of London. There were plenty of people who wanted to see the Seymours suffer and Mary’s position was even more precarious with her uncle in such deep trouble. But in 2010, Linda Porter argued that a poem by John Parkhurst, published in 1573, probably takes Mary as its subject. The verse is an epitaph for a child who died young and who had a ‘queenly mother’. Whatever the reason, Mary disappears mysteriously in 1550 and is never officially heard of again. Her fate remains unknown.
The only thing we really know about Mary is that she was the daughter of a queen. It is easy to speculate that had her mother been able to provide some counter to the chaotic influence of Thomas Seymour, Mary’s life might have turned out very differently or that had she emerged as an adult at the court of one of the later Tudor monarchs she might have played a great part in the dramas that unfolded. Her disappearance from the records only deepens the intrigue around her. Mary Seymour was born to a glittering life but sank into the shadows almost immediately. She is a real royal mystery.
We’ve spoken often here on Weird Darkness about shadow people – what their purpose is, where they come from, whether they are malevolent or not… but are they ghosts, or something else entirely? (Are Shadow People Considered Ghosts?) We’ll find out when Weird Darkness returns.
STORY: ARE SHADOW PEOPLE CONSIDERED GHOSTS?=====
In the world of paranormal research, there are two distinct types non-corporeal creatures — ghosts and shadow people. In many instances, it can be nearly impossible to tell the differences between ghosts and shadow people, but after some exhaustive research into these scary monsters and super creeps, here’s a handy guide to help you figure out whether you’re dealing with an energy-sucking shadow creature or a full-bodied apparition.
Are ghosts and shadow people the same things? It’s a question that’s bogged down believers in the supernatural for a long time. While they both share similarities, they’re definitely not the same thing. Not only are there different classes of shadow people, but the types of ghosts that you’re likely to bump into aren’t anything like the ominous figures cut by a shadow person. The following guidelines will teach you how to know if you saw a ghost or a shadow person lurking in your room and what to do about it.
Paranormal experts have been debating for decades about whether or not ghosts can actually understand what’s happening around them or if they’re simply going through the motions of a past life. It’s believed that ghostly apparitions are simply the residual energy left over when a person dies, meaning that while you may be able to see them they can’t see or interact with you.
On the other hand, shadow people are sometimes corporeal beings who are, at best, believed to be from another dimension, and at their worst they may be demonic in nature. People who have had interactions with shadow people believe that the creatures make conscious decisions for how they’ll treat a person, something that a ghost can’t do.
While no one knows exactly why shadow people exist, one interesting idea is that they’re similar to poltergeists, meaning that humans create them from their own negative energy. While most ghosts are created through outside means (murder, suicide, etc.), a poltergeist tends to be created when someone with a lot of pent-up negative energy becomes a vessel for their awful feelings. This is usually done subconsciously, although you could probably manifest a poltergeist or shadow person if you tried hard enough.
If you believe that you’ve created a shadow person on accident then your best bet is to try and clear all of the negative energy in your life. Start meditating, cleanse your apartment, do whatever you’ve got to do to stop feeding that horrible creature.
Trying to determine the intentions of a ghost is nearly impossible. You might find, depending on what type of paranormal phenomenon with which you’re dealing, that the ghost doesn’t have any intentions. If you have a poltergeist in the home, it’s taking cues from you or whomever’s negative energy helped manifest the creature, and it’s going to keep doing what it’s doing until you cleanse the home. If you’re dealing with an interactive ghost it could be reenacting something from its life over and over without any ill intent towards you, despite the negative ramifications of a ghost clanging and banging around your house.
The intent of a shadow creature is nothing but malicious. Since the first report of a shadow person there haven’t been any claims of one of these creatures doing anything positive whatsoever. Many paranormal experts believe that shadow people want to feed off of your negative energy and fear.
If you’ve never been visited by a ghost or a shadow person, your first experience with either can be terrifying and confusing. How do you know with which type of entity you’re dealing? When it comes to ghosts, there are a few different types of entities that you can encounter. There are ghosts with “interactive” personalities, like Bruce Willis at the end of The Sixth Sense or a Civil War battlefield ghost, but there are also ectoplasmic mists that are just as visible as interactive full body apparitions.
Aside from the two visible, and easily recognizable types of ghosts there are poltergeists, or “noisy ghosts,” which are essentially pure energy. You’re most likely to experience one of these if you have a teenager in the home or a large amount of pent-up negative energy. They knock things down, break windows, etc. Finally, there are orbs and the swirling bits of light that are most commonly seen in photographs.
Shadow people, though, are usually described as being tall and “human-like,” but as if their bodies are made of shadows rather than flesh and blood. The most notable shadow person is the “Hat Man,” who’s been appearing since at least 2001 since he was discussed on Art Bell’s Coast to Coast AM. It’s been theorized that “Hat Man” is a separate phenomena from shadow people, even though he appears in the same way as the rest of his creepy brethren.
An interesting theory posited about shadow people is that they’re likely aware of other types of paranormal creatures and that they feed off them the same way that they feed off of humans. If a spirit or an entity is trapped in a particularly haunted location (meaning that it’s rich in negative energy) then it’s likely that a shadow person (or shadow people) are aware of this location and use it as a feeding ground.
It’s been theorized that shadow people prefer the fresh negative energy of someone that they’ve trapped, but the residual energy of an entity trapped in its own torment for eternity is probably just as good.
The most out-there theory about shadow people posits that they aren’t technically ghosts or creatures of any kind, but rather they’re people who are having out-of-body experiences. Some paranormal researchers believe that our consciousnesses leave our body while we sleep and allow us to “show ourselves” to other people who are tuned into our frequency. This differentiates shadow people from ghosts in a major way because it means that shadow people aren’t even dead.
It could be argued that if our consciousness leaves our bodies while we sleep that they’re technically the “ghosts” of the living, although it’s likely that we’ll never be able to determine if this is actually what’s happening.
While shadow people could be a figurative shadow of a person who’s still alive, spiritual medium James Van Praagh claims that actual ghosts are usually what’s left of a person who can’t move on past the mortal plane of existence. Sometimes they just can’t accept that they’re dead.
One of the things that ghosts and shadow people have in common is that they’re drawn to negative energy and people who are spiritually open. The main difference in this scenario is why ghosts and shadow people are drawn to someone. Ghosts may simply be making themselves visible to you because you’re open, or something happened to you at a young age that made you a magnet for spiritual activity.
While shadow people are also drawn to someone who’s open, it tends to be a more malicious reason. They want to feed off of you in one way or another. If they can feed off your fear when you see them, great. If they can feed off the entities around you and the fear that creates, that’s also good.
One of the many stark differences between a ghost and shadow person is that ghosts used to be a physical person, while shadow people have always been the creepy crawlies that come to you when you sleep. No one knows why the residual energy released when humans die creates ghosts for some people and not for others, but it very well may have something to do with that person having unfinished business on the corporeal plain.
Shadow people have always existed. Whether they’re from another dimension, a time traveler, or a demonic entity, it’s believed that these creatures are fully aware of what they’re doing.
No one knows exactly what ghosts or shadow people are. While they can both take on the characteristics of a human, that doesn’t necessarily mean that they are or were human at one time or another. Some paranormal researchers believe that ghosts and shadow people are both creatures from another dimension and that they’re simply manifesting in different ways.
Some scientists believe that alternate dimensions exist directly next to ours, it’s just their vibrations are slightly off. It’s possible that shadow creatures and ghosts are actually entities from another dimension that are somehow bleeding through to our own.
Whether you’ve found yourself haunted by a ghost or a shadow person, there are a few things you can do to get rid of both entities. Unfortunately, clearing your home of an extreme haunting is harder than it sounds. Since ghosts tend to be residual energy you could always try to ignore them and wait around for the haunting to disperse. Although in the case of a poltergeist the haunting could increase if you ignore it.
Paranormal researcher Loyd Auerbach says that telling the ghost or shadow person to leave tends to work if you’re forceful enough. However, if you engage the creature and you waver you could end up with an even larger haunting that you had. If you can swing it, have paranormal expert come out and sage the haunted area – that should do the trick.
Thanks for listening (and be sure to stick around for the bloopers at the end)! If you like the show, please share it with someone you know who loves the paranormal or strange stories, true crime, monsters, or unsolved mysteries like you do! You can email me anytime with your questions or comments at firstname.lastname@example.org. WeirdDarkness.com is also where you can find information on any of the sponsors you heard about during the show, find all of my social media, listen to audiobooks I’ve narrated, sign up for the email newsletter, find other podcasts that I host including “Church of the Undead” and a retro-style science fiction podcast called “Auditory Anthology”, you can visit the store for Weird Darkness merchandise, and more. WeirdDarkness.com is also where you can find the Hope in the Darkness page if you or someone you know is struggling with depression or dark thoughts. Also on the website, if you have a true paranormal or creepy tale to tell, you can click on TELL YOUR STORY. You can find all of that and more at WeirdDarkness.com.
All stories on Weird Darkness are purported to be true unless stated otherwise, and you can find links to the stories or the authors in the show notes.
“The Hanged Man” by Romeo Vitelli for Providentia
“Are Shadow People Considered Ghosts?” by Jacob Shelton for Ranker’s Graveyard Shift
“A Strange Man Hunted Me Through The Park” by Redditor u/ValyrianJedi
“The Unexplained Disappearance of the Queen’s Daughter” by Lydia Starbuck for Royal Central
“What Is The Starchild?” by Dr. Elizabeth Mitchell, from Anomalien, and from StarChildProject.com
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Now that we’re coming out of the dark, I’ll leave you with a little light… “For no one is cast off by the Lord forever. Though he brings grief, he will show compassion, so great is his unfailing love.” – Lamentations 3:31-32
And a final thought… “Being okay if it happens and okay if it doesn’t happen is a very powerful place to be.”
I’m Darren Marlar. Thanks for joining me in the Weird Darkness.