“THE ALIEN AND GHOSTLY ENCOUNTERS OF JULIE” and More Creepy True Stories! #WeirdDarkness
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IN THIS EPISODE: If you’ve listened to Weird Darkness for any length of time, you know that I will often suggest someone who has had a paranormal disturbance in their home or life, reach out to a pastor or priest for guidance. But what exactly happens when the Catholic Church starts investigating the paranormal? (When The Catholic Church Goes Ghost Hunting) *** Many states around America say they have the most haunted road in the country. And while the words “most haunted” are somewhat subjective, it’s hard not to see why people outside of Chicago consider Archer Avenue not only the top spooky street in America, but the most haunted on the planet. (The Anguish Of Archer Avenue) *** After allegedly murdering her husband in 1960, Sharon Kinne shot her lover’s pregnant wife. Then, she evaded justice and escaped to Mexico only to kill again — before vanishing without a trace. (The American Murderess Who Disappeared in 1969) *** Modern courtrooms aren’t equipped or knowledgable enough to determine whether or not ghosts are real, but that hasn’t stopped ghosts from appearing in several court cases! (Court Cases Involving Ghosts) *** When you hear of a two-headed creature you typically think of two heads side-by-side growing from the neck and shoulders area. But have you ever heard of a creature growing another head on the very top of it’s other head? It happened… and not to just any creature. It was a human boy who lived much longer than anyone expected. (The Bengal Boy With Two Heads) *** Buried alive inside the castle walls, the Finnish Maiden immured still haunts the medieval building of Olavinlinna Castle. (The Maiden of Olavinlinna Castle) *** But first… the case of “Julie” from Carlisle in the United Kingdom is an intriguing one not only because it unfolded over many years, but because it appears to straddle the line between apparent reptilian entities and paranormal activity. We begin with that story! (The Encounters of Julie)
SOURCES AND ESSENTIAL WEB LINKS…
“When The Catholic Church Goes Ghost Hunting” by Mariel Loveland for Ranker:https://weirddarkness.tiny.us/5b5y7fyc
“The Anguish Of Archer Avenue” by Sabrina Ithal for Graveyard Shift: https://weirddarkness.tiny.us/x6sy6fxa
“The American Murderess Who Disappeared in 1969” by Neil Patmore for All That’s Interesting:https://weirddarkness.tiny.us/429crjvz
“The Bengal Boy With Two Heads” by Kaushik Patowary for Amusing Planet (includes photos):https://weirddarkness.tiny.us/3s3dpwme
“Court Cases Involving Ghosts” by Jim Rowley for Graveyard Shift: https://weirddarkness.tiny.us/mtpfhf5v
“The Maiden of Olavinlinna Castle” posted at Moon Mausoleum: https://weirddarkness.tiny.us/ybfsypnj
“The Encounters of Julie” by Marcus Lowth for UFO Insight: https://weirddarkness.tiny.us/4696c2yx
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From an apparent encounter with a reptilian entity to a possible case of alien abduction, to regularly seeing ghostly manifestations and even shadow people, the experiences of Julie are indeed some of the most remarkable and thought-provoking on record. Just what happened to Julie, and why, over a two-decade timespan remains unknown. Her encounters and experiences, though, may provide large missing pieces of the puzzle that will show what some researchers suggest is a clear connection between UFO and alien encounters and the paranormal.
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…
If you’ve listened to Weird Darkness for any length of time, you know that I will often suggest someone who has had a paranormal disturbance in their home or life, reach out to a pastor or priest for guidance. But what exactly happens when the Catholic Church starts investigating the paranormal? (When The Catholic Church Goes Ghost Hunting)
Many states around America say they have the most haunted road in the country. And while the words “most haunted” are somewhat subjective, it’s hard not to see why people outside of Chicago consider Archer Avenue not only the top spooky street in America, but the most haunted on the planet. (The Anguish Of Archer Avenue)
After allegedly murdering her husband in 1960, Sharon Kinne shot her lover’s pregnant wife. Then, she evaded justice and escaped to Mexico only to kill again — before vanishing without a trace. (The American Murderess Who Disappeared in 1969)
Modern courtrooms aren’t equipped or knowledgable enough to determine whether or not ghosts are real, but that hasn’t stopped ghosts from appearing in several court cases! (Court Cases Involving Ghosts)
When you hear of a two-headed creature you typically think of two heads side-by-side growing from the neck and shoulders area. But have you ever heard of a creature growing another head on the very top of it’s other head? It happened… and not to just any creature. It was a human boy who lived much longer than anyone expected. (The Bengal Boy With Two Heads)
Buried alive inside the castle walls, the Finnish Maiden immured still haunts the medieval building of Olavinlinna Castle. (The Maiden of Olavinlinna Castle)
But first… the case of “Julie” from Carlisle in the United Kingdom is an intriguing one not only because it unfolded over many years, but because it appears to straddle the line between apparent reptilian entities and paranormal activity. We begin with that story! (The Encounters of Julie)
If you’re new here, welcome to the show! While you’re listening, be sure to check out WeirdDarkness.com for merchandise, my newsletter, enter contests, to connect with me on social media, plus, you can visit the Hope in the Darkness page if you’re struggling with depression or dark thoughts. You can find all of that and more at WeirdDarkness.com.
Now.. bolt your doors, lock your windows, turn off your lights, and come with me into the Weird Darkness!
STORY: THE ENCOUNTERS OF JULIE=====
*****(From the Intro) From an apparent encounter with a reptilian entity to a possible case of alien abduction, to regularly seeing ghostly manifestations and even shadow people, the experiences of Julie are indeed some of the most remarkable and thought-provoking on record. Just what happened to Julie, and why, over a two-decade timespan remains unknown. Her encounters and experiences, though, may provide large missing pieces of the puzzle that will show what some researchers suggest is a clear connection between UFO and alien encounters and the paranormal.*****
The case comes to us from the research files of Dave Hodrien of the Birmingham UFO Group. He saw a report from the witness on social media and contacted her in January 2022. He would interview her at length over the period of several weeks.
It would appear events began at some point in 2000 when Julie (not her real name) was only 12 years old.  Julie was at home in her bedroom at around 9 pm. As usual, she was reading a book, something she often did until quite late into the night, partly because she struggled to sleep, and partly because she had a fear of the dark and would often leave the light on in her room.
On this particular evening, as she was lying on her bed, she noticed a sudden movement at the bottom of the bed and instinctively peered over the top of her book. To her shock and horror, from the corner of the bed came a black, scaly arm with claws with white talons where the hand should have been. In fact, she noticed that there was no actual wrist between this claw and the arm, which was much more muscular than a human arm.
She stared at the arm for a moment longer, contemplating whether she was imagining it. However, she knew she wasn’t and she knew whatever it was, it was very real. What’s more, although she didn’t dare look, she had the impression that the creature the arm belonged to was at the foot of her bed.
The arm continued to move across the bed moving left to right. Then, right before her eyes, it simply vanished. She remained still, not daring to move in case the strange arm returned. After several moments, convinced had indeed gone, she let out a breath of air. Although the arm had startled her, she was not frightened. In fact, she simply went back to reading her book as if nothing had happened. She estimated the entire episode had lasted no longer than seven seconds.
In the days that followed, however, Julie began to sense an increasing feeling that there was a strange presence outside her room – a presence that could announce itself at any moment. This feeling became so strong that she even repositioned her bed so that she faced the door.
Hodrien highlighted some intriguing details of the encounter. For example, after speaking to her at length about the encounter it was his impression that she truly did see something and that it wasn’t a case of her simply imagining it. As he points out, this was not a “fleeting glimpse”, she stared at the arm clearly for several seconds.
He also highlights how the seemingly bizarre positioning of the reptilian matches other similar accounts. For example, some people who have reported similar encounters often state that these strange entities are often crouched or laid down, reaching upwards to the witness. They often, as Hodrien writes, “position themselves in unusual ways”.
Even the color of the reptilians with black, scaly skin has been reported more than we might think, just like in this case (although many reports state the skin to be green or a bizarre off-white color).
There is also the possibility that Julie can’t remember the entire incident – in fact, she may actually recall very little of it. In short, it is possible that what she recalled was the end of a reptilian abduction encounter. The fact that she was surprisingly calm despite the truly surreal nature of the incident perhaps also suggests this. What’s more, many people who experience repeated abductions and strange encounters do so from an early age, similar to Julie.
Hodrien points out that the constant feeling that something was waiting outside her room about to enter may have been much more than a feeling. It could have been repressed memories of the encounter – when the reptilian entity entered her room.
Whatever the truth of the matter, this was just the first of many years of strange encounters and experiences.
The following year in 2001 Julie began experiencing many strange episodes that resonate with typically paranormal encounters, although they are also details that show up in cases of repeated alien abduction.
For example, Julie began hearing strange footsteps in various parts of the house, even though there was clearly no one there. Doors would often open of their own accord and she would often hear loud, clattering noises. On one occasion, while she was looking straight at it, a photo frame turned itself around as if being guided by an invisible hand. Many poltergeist cases have similar details.
Even more alarming, she would often see shadowy figures out of the corner of her eye. However, by the time she had turned around, there was nothing there. What’s more, these shadowy figures often appeared to be extraordinarily tall – much like many reptilians are reported to be.
The more time went on, the more other people would also witness these strange incidents. Furthermore, they appeared not to be limited to the house itself. On one occasion when her mother – who worked at a nursing home – could not find childcare for Julie and her brother, Steve, she was forced to take her children to work with her. She would make a bed for them on the staff sofa and then go about her duties.
However, in the middle of the night, Julie awoke to the sound of her mother comforting her crying brother. When she asked what had happened, she was told that her brother had woken up to see the tube of a hoover that was in the room moving by itself. More than scared by what he was seeing he screamed out for his mother. When she entered the room, she too saw the hoover tube moving. She walked over to it and pushed the hoover with her foot, at which point it lost its animation and the tube fell to the ground.
Another bizarre incident around the same time had an unsettling connection to the nursing home. One of the residents with who both Julie and her brother were familiar – Dorothy – had passed away. However, several days later, while on his way to use the bathroom, Steve claimed to have seen Dorothy sitting at their dining room table in the kitchen.
Following this, Julie also began seeing strange moving entities in the kitchen. So much so, that she became afraid to walk into the room, or even past it.
These were just several of the strange incidents witnessed by Julie and Steve. She would inform Hodrien of many more encounters.
Julie would hand over a long text exchange between her and her brother regarding some of the incidents they experienced over the years of their childhood. He would recall that he used to see his late grandfather often in the house. Even more alarming, he would often see a large, shadowy creature. He couldn’t recall precisely what it looked like, but he remembered that it was “huge” and wore a “hat or a hood”. He would also hear strange footsteps around the house, particularly on the stairs as if people were running up and down them. He even claimed to have seen the black, clawed arm that Julie had seen.
Even more intriguing, Steve would recall an experience their father had that Julie had previously been unaware of. He recalled how he had awoken one morning to her their father speaking to someone downstairs. After around 10 minutes when the conversation had ended, Steve decided to make his way downstairs. When he did so, his father looked at him strangely. He would ask his son why he was there, claiming he had only just had a 20-minute conversation with him.
This is an interesting account, not least as many researchers suggest that reptilian creatures have the ability to shapeshift and, essentially, take on the form of other people. Had this been the case here, and might that same shapeshifting reptilian be responsible for the sightings of Dorothy and the children’s grandfather?
Steve would recall another bizarre and unsettling incident that occurred one evening while their father sat at the home computer, and he was watching television from the sofa. He claimed that he, at first believed their father was throwing items at him to annoy him, and also started whispering his name. When Steve told him to stop it, their father had no idea what he was talking about. Steve didn’t believe him at first. However, when their father suddenly turned white with fright, he realized he too had heard the strange voice.
What is perhaps interesting, though, is that despite the strange events that happened outside of the home, the house itself would appear to be at least a partial key to unlocking the reason behind these strange events.
Julie recalled that when she worked in one of the local pubs, she learned from someone who used to live there years before, that his brother was one of the “thalidomide babies” and had sadly passed away in the house. What’s more, there was always “strange goings-on” during their time living there.
She also recalled another friend, Timothy, whose mother used to live in the property. She too experienced a string of bizarre activities and happenings. She too saw a strange, shadowy entity in the bedroom one evening. Whatever it was, she didn’t dare get a clear look at it, but she knew it simply watched her for a considerable amount of time.
Julie and Steve also recalled further strange incidents involving a family friend – Rob – who had recently died. In the weeks that followed, Julie began to have strange dreams of Rob walking into her room and sitting on her bed. The more she had these dreams, the more Julie began to contemplate if they were more than that.
She would ask Steve to sit in her room one evening while she slept to see if he too saw the ghostly form of their friend. Much to his amazement, he did, although he didn’t feel scared and just went back to the computer.
Things would take an even stranger and more ominous turn for Julie in the summer of 2002. For reasons she couldn’t explain, she suddenly began to have very unsettling but very real dreams. And what’s more, they always involved two young girls. Often, the girls would be in what appeared to be a warehouse, tied to a radiator. Other times she would have horrific dreams where the girls were on fire.
When she spoke to her mother about the dreams, she began to make a potential connection to the murder of Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman, who at the time were still missing. It is important to note that this is pure speculation on Julie’s mother’s part and that Julie was fully aware of the girls’ disappearance at the time. Nevertheless, given the other strange goings-on, it is worth mentioning.
By the time Julie was a young woman, she worked at a local hospital as a senior staff nurse. And the strange activity would follow her there on the night in 2016. Julie would recall that one of the patients at the hospital had died that night. When family members who had been at the bedside had left, at around 2 am, Julie and another nurse went about wrapping the body for collection to the morgue.
As they were doing so Julie happened to glance up at the window. To her horror, in the reflection, she could see a tall shadowy figure moving behind her from one side to the other. She further noticed a “shuffling sound” coming from the floor as if something was physically moving.
Instinctively, Julie moved back in shock. When she did so, the other nurse looked in her direction. The look on her face told Julie that she too could see the shadowy form. Both of them left what they were doing and ran out of the room.
They remained in the corridor for around 15 minutes before returning to the room. Much to their relief, when they did so, the ghostly presence was gone. They cautiously finished preparing the body and left the room in order to fill out the necessary paperwork. When they went to do so, though, they realized that the form they needed had been left in the room with the deceased patient in their rush to get away.
Julie returned to retrieve it. When she arrived in the room, she was stunned to find that the wrapping around the patient’s body had been ripped away leaving the dead man’s head fully exposed.
Although both nurses were beyond shocked and frightened by the events, they proceeded to rewrap the body and then left the room. No further incidents occurred, at least that night.
Much more recently in 2021, Julie encountered another truly bizarre encounter while performing her duties at work. On this particular evening, at about 1 am, she was transferring a patient from one ward to another. As she was doing so, however, she suddenly noticed the shadowy form of a young woman that appeared to have very blond hair (relative to her black form). This form was moving toward a sink in the room.
To begin with, she thought it was patient with a similar appearance who would often leave her bed at night. She turned around expecting to see her and to escort her back to her bed. However, to her utter shock, there was no one there. She spun her head back around and saw the faces of the other nurses. They too had clearly seen the shadowy figure also.
The nurses left the ward they were on, confused as to what they had just witnessed. Each of the other nurses recognized the similarity to the patient Julie initially thought she had seen. Realizing that it was impossible for the patient to have been there are disappeared, they began to contemplate whether the patient might have passed away and they had witnessed her spirit. However, a quick check confirmed this not to have been the case.
Just what it was the three nurses witnessed that evening remains unknown. Might this have been another case of whatever potential shapeshifting entity that has plagued Julie throughout her life taking the form of someone she would know?
So, just what did Julie, as well as her brother and several work colleagues, experience over a 20-year period? That they – particularly Julie – were at the center of something truly strange is without a doubt.
Might it be that Julie herself is some kind of conduit, one that attracts these otherworldly entities to her and those around her? Might that be why other people sometimes witnessed these strange entities also?
Many of the details of Julie’s accounts appear very much like those of a typical poltergeist encounter. The appearance of shadowy figures, the strange banging, photos, and other objects moving by themselves, as well as doors opening and closing of their own accord. Is this merely a straightforward poltergeist case?
It would appear not. Firstly, there were several encounters that took place outside of the family home. And while this is not unheard of in poltergeist cases, it is rare. Furthermore, many other families also experienced strange activity in the house. And again, while this does happen with cases of haunted houses, many poltergeist cases tend to revolve around one person, admittedly often a child or teenager.
Or might many of these incidents be connected to alien abduction, much like the first one when she was a young child? It would be interesting to note whether or not there had been other occasions of missing time similar to the account of the reptilian arm? Or perhaps this reptilian abduction – if that was indeed what it was – was a one-off occurrence, but one that, intentionally or not, have Julie the ability to see creatures and entities that most of us can’t?
Perhaps the house, for reasons unknown, might be the catalyst, almost as if it contains some kind of portal or gateway that allows this torrent of paranormal entities into our world? This might possibly explain the bizarre mixture of alien abduction and poltergeist activity.
As always, the questions outnumber the answers. Whether these encounters continue and whether Julie and those who might investigate them gain a better understanding of why they are happening remains to be seen.
When Weird Darkness returns…
When the Catholic Church is requested to investigate a potential paranormal event, what happens? We’ll see how the Vatican handles such things.
But first… when you hear of a two-headed creature you typically think of two heads side-by-side growing from the neck and shoulders area. But have you ever heard of a creature growing another head on the very top of it’s other head? It happened… and not to just any creature. It was a human boy who lived much longer than anyone expected. That story is up next.
STORY: THE BENGAL BOY WITH TWO HEADS=====
In May 1783, in a small village named Mundul Gaut, in Bengal, India, a strange child was born. It had two heads.
The midwife assisting the birth was so horrified by its appearance that she tried to kill the monstrosity by throwing it into the fire. Fortunately, the baby was rescued with some burns in one eye and ear. The parents, after recovering from the initial shock, began to see the newborn as a money making opportunity, and with that in mind, left their village for Calcutta where their deformed baby could be exhibited.
The two-headed baby attracted great deal of attention and earned the family a fair amount of money. Between shows, to prevent the crowd from taking a peek without paying, his parents kept the unfortunate child hidden, usually under a sheet, sometimes for hours at a time. As his fame spread across India, several nobleman, civil servants and city officials invited the child and his parents to their homes for private exhibitions, where their guests could examine the curious specimen up close. One of these observers was a Colonel Pierce who described the encounter to the President of the Royal Society, Sir Joseph Banks and it was Sir Banks who later forwarded the account to the surgeon Everard Home.
By “two headed” some people might assume two heads growing side by side from a single neck. In this case, however, the boy’s second head grew atop the other. It sat inverted on top of the main head, and ended in a neck-like stump. The second head had a few irregularities— the ears were malformed, the tongue was small, and the lower jaw was rather small, but otherwise both heads were of the same size, and were covered by black hair at their junction.
The second head seemed to function independently of the main head. When the child cried or smiled, the features of the upper head were not always affected and did not match the emotion of the child. When the child slept, the second head might be awake and its eyes moving as if observing the surrounding.
The second head reacted to external stimulus; a pinch in the cheek produced a grimace, and when it was given the breast, its lips attempted to suck. It also produced plenty of tears and saliva. However, the corneal reflexes were missing and the eyes reacted weakly to light.
Despite its freakish appearance, the boy did not seemed to suffer any ill effects due to its condition.
One day when the child was 4 years old, his mother left him alone to fetch water. When she returned, she found the child dead by the bite of a cobra. Many anatomists offered to buy the corpse, but the religious parents could not allow such desecration. The child was buried near the Boopnorain River, outside the city of Tumloch, but his grave was robbed by Mr. Dent, a salt agent for the East India Company. He dissected the putrefied body and gave the skull to a Captain Buchanan of the East Indian Company. The captain later brought the skull to England and gave it to his friend Everard Home. The skull of the Boy of Bengal can still be seen at the Hunterian Museum of the Royal College of Surgeons of London.
When Mr. Dent dissected the heads, he discovered that the brains were separate and distinct. Each brain was firmly covered in its own dura mater and was supplied by large vessels which delivered nutrition to the upper head. The boy’s condition is today known as craniopagus parasiticus, an extremely rare type of parasitic twinning that occurs in about 2 to 3 in 5 million births. The embryo initially develops as twins, but it fails to completely separate and one of the twins remain underdeveloped and attached to the developed one.
Parasitic conjoined twins are very rare are often stillborn or incapable of surviving after birth. The only viable treatment is to surgically remove the parasitic twin. But these kind of surgeries are very risky. In 2004, Rebeca Martínez was born in the Dominican Republic with this rare condition. She underwent surgery at the age of eight weeks but died as a result of blood loss. In 2005, Manar Maged was also born with the same condition, and underwent a successful 13-hour surgery in Egypt, but died on several weeks later due to repeated infection. More recently, in 2021, a baby was born with two heads, at the Elias Hospital in Bucharest, Romania, but died some hours after it was born.
You can see pencil drawings of the boy along with a black and white photo of his skull by searching for “bengal boy” at WeirdDarkness.com.
STORY: WHEN THE CATHOLIC CHURCH GOES GHOST HUNTING=====
The Catholic Church in the eyes of some is pretty bizarre – but messing around with the paranormal is something altogether different. For the Vatican, paranormal investigations are treated with the utmost sincerity and urgency, whether personnel are deciding on whether to put their god-plated seal of approval on Vatican certified miracles in order to canonize a saint or carefully dispelling a wayward demon who set up shop in someone’s body.
Everyone who hasn’t seen The Exorcist or The Conjuring has definitely seen a film that follows demonic possession tropes. What if you found out some of those stories were real? The Vatican deals with thousands of paranormal cases a year. Some of those cases include legitimizing recent miracles in the Catholic Church or performing a full-fledged exorcism. Most Vatican paranormal investigations involves working with a team of doctors to determine whether paranormal phenomena has occurred.
How does the Vatican investigate miracles, possessions and other paranormal activity? Special committees and a ton of training. Here’s what goes down when the church gets wrapped up in the paranormal.
The Vatican has an office called the Congregation for the Causes of Saints responsible for investigating paranormal activity (i.e. miracles) involved in an application for sainthood. If proof of a miracle exists, the person who performed the miracle may get beatified. This is one of the first steps of becoming a saint, and is necessary for a miracle to be officially recognized by the Church.
Each case investigated by the Congregation for the Causes of Saints is opened by the bishop in the diocese where the individual under investigation died. Typically, bishops must wait five years before opening a case, though the Vatican can make allowances in exceptional cases, as happened with Mother Teresa. Pope John Paul II permitted investigation into her miracles to begin two hears after her death.
The path to the verification of a miracle isn’t easy. The Congregation for the Causes of Saints evaluates whether the person who allegedly performed the miracle is virtuous enough to have performed a miracle before deciding whether a miracle happened. Significant evidence that the individual in question was exceedingly holy, and people have been drawn to prayer through his or her example, must be present. If the Congregation rules a person was indeed a servant of God, the case is passed to the Pope, who can beatify candidates for sainthood.
It takes a bit more than a great moral compass to prove someone performed a miracle. For a miracle to be seriously considered by the Church, it must meet certain requirements. Miracles, such as the miraculous curing of a disease, must be instantaneous or sudden, complete and permanent, and without scientific explanation. For example, you can’t have miraculously cured cancer with a flick of the wrist and some good prayers for it to come back five years. All of these qualifications must be proven, and the burden of finding proof falls on a team dedicated to research.
With medical miracles, after the Congregation for the Causes of Saints rules a person is virtuous enough to have performed a miracle, the case is turned over to Consulta Medica, a board established by the Vatican in the mid-1900s and made up of 100 renowned Italian, Catholic physicians. A panel of five Consulta Medica doctors review the miracle, examining things such as CT scans, X-rays, and medical reports. If three out of the five agree the actin question wasn’t performed by science, but rather the hand of God, it’s passed on to a panel of priests and cardinals.
The vast majority of modern miracles are medical. According to NPR, “More than 95 percent of the cases cited in support of a canonization, however, involve healing from disease.”
Michael O’Neill, the owner of MiracleHunter.com, estimates an even higher percentage than NPR. As he said in an interview with LiveScience, “99.9 percent of [the miracles investigated by the Vatican] are medical miracles. They need to be spontaneous, instantaneous and complete healing. Doctors have to say, ‘We don’t have any natural explanation of what happened.”
Because of this, the Consulta Medica is involved in nearly all miracle investigations.
For cases in which a reported medical miracle happened because someone prayed to a saintly candidate after his or her death, the prayers are investigated. If Consulta Medica can’t produce a scientific explanation for the alleged miracle, doctors pass the case to a panel of cardinals and priests, who look for evidence of healing prayer. If healing prayer occurred, the panel issues a declaration.
Miraculous healing in response to prayer is seen as proof the potential saint in question is in heaven with God. The Pope can beatify the applicant, if he chooses; this is the final step before canonization (being officially declared a saint). Sainthood applicants usually need two verified miracles to be canonized, unless the individual in question was a martyr. In the case of martyrdom, the pope may simply declare sainthood.
In order to understand how the Vatican investigates and handles exorcism, it’s important to know there are two kinds of exorcisms, minor and major. Minor exorcisms don’t have anything to do with demonic possession. Major exorcisms are what movies have trained the public to think of upon hearing the word.
This may come as a shock to Catholics who only half paid attention in Sunday school – you were exorcised if you were baptized. Baptism exorcisms are minor exorcism, and focus on protection, not possession (sorry, nothing paranormal here). The reasoning behind baptismal exorcism can be found in The Catechism of the Catholic Church: “Since Baptism signifies liberation from sin and from its instigator the devil, one or more exorcisms are pronounced over the [baptismal] candidate.”
According to Father Lampert, an experienced exorcist who spoke to Catholic Online, true demonic possession is exceedingly rare. Only one in 5,000 cases is ruled full demonic possession. Mild encounters with paranormal entities are far more common.
A demonic attachment, for instance, happens when a demon attaches itself to someone but doesn’t take full possession. This can go unnoticed, because the person to whom the demon attaches only feel symptoms (like sickness) when near a holy place. There’s no speaking in tongues.
Demonic oppression occurs when the influence of a demon causes the afflicted feels depressed and drained from energy but isn’t mentally depressed.
The Vatican is just as strict about verifying demonic possession as it is about miracles. Every candidate for exorcism is thoroughly researched to prove the existence of demonic possession. In 1999, the Vatican revised guidelines for determining whether a person is demonically possessed or mentally ill. Now, priests are required to consult mental health professionals before performing exorcisms.
If doctors rule out mental illness in cases of potential possession, priests look for specific symptoms of demonic possession before performing an exorcism. These symptoms include speaking in foreign tongues previously unknown to purported victim of possession and superhuman strength.
Speaking in foreign tongues can sometimes be attributed to Foreign Accent Syndrome, though it’s an incredibly rare condition. According to the Catholic Church, those who are demonically possessed may also have knowledge of things they shouldn’t know, such as personal information about priests or professionals looking into their possession.
According to Father Cipriano de Meo, a priest who has been an exorcist since 1952, most people who believe they’re possessed are struggling with a completely different phenomena. Truly possessed individuals can be separated from the pack by their response to prolonged prayer sessions.
“A possessed person has various general attitudes towards an exorcist, who is seen by the Adversary as an enemy ready to fight him.” He told Catholic News Agency. “There’s no lack of frightening facial expressions, threatening words or gestures and other things, but especially blasphemies against God and Our Lady.”
Only the bishop of the diocese in which demonic possession takes place can grant a priest permission to perform an exorcism. The bishop examines the medical information provided, along with the symptoms of the afflicted. If the bishop believes the person is truly possessed rather than mentally ill, he will grant permission to a priest to perform an exorcism. A bishop can only appoint a priest who is specifically known for his holiness (i.e. he must holier and wiser than a regular priest). Some training doesn’t hurt either.
The Vatican requires exorcists to be highly trained, because demonic possession is easy to fake and hard to ascertain as true. Certain priests have exploited alleged victims of possession. In other cases, unrecognized mental illnesses were mistaken for demonic possession, exacerbating the problem by keeping the victim away from medical assistance.
Priests who become exorcists go through an apprentice-like process by which they work under an experienced exorcist. These experienced exorcists are granted permission to teach by bishops. Yes, there’s such a thing as an exorcism workshop.
Some time back I recorded and episode of the Church of the Undead which covered demons and how to protect yourselves from them – you can find it at WeirdDarkness.com by searching for “The Dangers of Demons”.
Many states around America say they have the most haunted road in the country. And while the words “most haunted” is somewhat subjective, it’s hard not to see why people outside of Chicago consider Archer Avenue not only the top spooky street in America, but the most haunted on the planet. (The Anguish Of Archer Avenue)
Buried alive inside the castle walls, the Finnish Maiden immured still haunts this medieval building of Olavinlinna Castle. (The Maiden of Olavinlinna Castle)
These stories and more when Weird Darkness returns!
STORY: THE ANGUISH OF ARCHER AVENUE=====
Murder, beheadings, mad monks, and communion with the deceased. While this may sound like a Satanist’s calendar appointments, it’s actually just some of what lurks on the most haunted road in America.
It’s not often that I personally find myself in the spooky locations I tell you about here in the podcast, but on June 26, 2022 I, in a way, accidentally discovered as I was on haunted ground. It was a Saturday and I had my Weird Darkness table of freebies at the Chicago Paracon in Summit, Illinois. The address where the con was being held was a building on Archer Road. For some reason I never put two and two together that I was representing a spooky podcast directly on a haunted road, until after the event was over, when someone just casually mentioned that Resurrection Cemetery was less than a quarter-mile up the road from where we were. I interrupted their conversation and said, “Wait… did you say Resurrection Cemetery? THE Resurrection Cemetery?” They looked at me in shock for not knowing where I was. And once I realized where I was, I was in shock as well. The moment the Chicago ParaCon concluded I jumped into my car and took a quick daytime tour through the historic and haunted cemetery – and I filmed it. It’s a beautiful cemetery when it’s light outside – but I can certainly see how it might turn spooky once the sun disappears and the night takes over. If you want to see my short video tour of Resurrection Cemetery from the dashboard of my car, you can visit WeirdDarkness.com and search for “Resurrection Cemetery”.
Originally an old Native American trail, Chicago’s Archer Avenue is considered one of the most powerful spirit lines on the planet. A stretch of Archer Avenue is saturated in paranormal occurrences that have terrified many and spawned tales passed among Chicago residents for decades. Tales that include vanishing hitchhikers, black magic rituals, and blood-drenched ghouls. Some attribute the intense energy connected to the street with surrounding bodies of water, some with magnetic lines in the earth, some with Native American remains found along the route. Regardless of what lures such darkness to the area, time has proven the creepiest stories from Archer Avenue endure. The real question is whether this haunted trail will continue to produce further horrors.
***The most famous ghost in Chicago is Resurrection Mary. This ethereal specter has haunted the strip of Archer Avenue between Resurrection Cemetery and the Willowbrook Ballroom – formerly the O’Henry Ballroom – since the 1930s. No one is quite sure of the young lady’s identity but a widely accepted origin story conjectures that Mary, after dancing the night away, left the ballroom in a huff after a fight with her date. Tired and angry, Mary may have been struck by a vehicle while walking down the pitch-black, wooded stretch of Archer Avenue. What makes Mary unique from other hitchhiker tales is that witnesses claim when offered a ride, she accepts and then directs drivers up Archer Avenue only to disappear when the car reaches Resurrection Cemetery. Mary appears as a young, pale, blond woman dressed in a white party dress and further witnesses claim to have seen Mary roaming around Resurrection Cemetery at night. On August 10, 1976, a passerby noticed a girl grasping the bars of the cemetery and, fearing she was locked in, alerted the Justice police. When the police arrived, they combed the cemetery but found no one. They did, however, find that the rails of the fence bent at sharp angles with two blackened scorch marks indicating where they had been pulled apart. The marks were in the shape of handprints and appeared to have the texture of human skin.
***”Monk’s Castle” acquired its local moniker after numerous sightings of phantom monks in the woods dressed in brown robes, carrying lanterns, and chanting in Latin. The site is actually named St. James of the Sag Church and it is most notorious for rumors that a group of rambunctious teens were once caught there by evil monks who tormented them in hideous ways. These monks supposedly haunt the church and its cemetery. Legend has it they will go after teenaged trespassers.
***Along Archer Avenue, in the Bridgeport section of Chicago, lies the infamous Kaiser Hall. Back in its heyday, Kaiser Hall was a popular ballroom that not only catered to the immigrants of the neighborhood but supposedly to the devil himself. According to legend, a young woman was swept off of her feet by a handsome, dashing man at one of the hall’s dances. After hours of dancing with the young man, the woman happened to look down at her partner’s feet and screamed at what she saw. Men in the vicinity assumed the man had made an unwelcome advance on the woman and chased him up to the second floor of the Kaiser. Once cornered, the man jumped out of a second-story window, landed with ease on the ground, and walked away. The stranger got away, but in the cement where he landed was the imprint of cloven hooves.
***Right across from Resurrection Mary’s infamous ballroom, O’Henry’s, is a restaurant said to have been one of Al Capone’s speakeasies during his reign. Known as O’Henry’s Roadhouse, it served as an alcohol-fueled gambling den and brothel with a basement used for interrogations and the slaughter of Capone’s enemies. The walls contained hidden compartments to hide gangsters, and there were underground tunnels for escape routes. While the building itself showcases shadowy specters and strange noises, the most jarring manifestation reported is the pulverized face of a sex worker that is sometimes seen in a bathroom mirror. This same woman once appeared in front of the building’s owner and informed him of how much she appreciated the renovations that were taking place. Sightings surrounding the establishment include men fleeing through the woods, corpses being carried off, and the sounds of gunshots and screams. Some visitors claim to feel as though they are being intently watched by something just beyond the trees.
***One of Archer Avenue’s most infamous stories is that of a phantom, driverless, horse-drawn, hearse that tears up and down the road and through the cemetery. Built of black oak and glass, horrified witnesses have seen the coffin of a child inside the hearse. The origins of the crazed courier are hotly contested. Some believe it is either the hearse that Resurrection Mary’s parents used to transport her coffin or a carriage described in an 1897 sighting reported to have occurred at St. James of the Sag. Wherever it hails from or why it haunts Archer Avenue, the hearse is the most energetic of spirits seen on the road, pulled with fervor by it’s devil-spooked horses.
***Maple Lake is located in what is considered the “Archer Avenue Triangle,” a section around the main thoroughfare that bursts with excess paranormal energy. The area has been frequented by cults, been the site of black magic rituals, and a teenage girl’s body was once discovered there. However, the lake’s main claim to fame is the bright red ghost light that moves slowly along the edge of the northern shore. The source of this orb has no definitive explanation, but stories abound as to its possible origin. Some claim it is the lantern of an early settler slain by Native Americans who now searches the shoreline for his lost head. Others claim the opposite: It’s the ghost of a beheaded Native American also looking for his head. Due to the prevalent crime in the area in the 1920’s, some believe it’s the specter of one of Al Capone’s victims.
***Red Gate Woods is a forest preserve along Archer Avenue that served as home to the world’s first nuclear reactor burial site back in the years of the Manhattan Project. About a half a mile away from the project site is an area known for equally dark reasons. For years many have claimed that these woods play host to a Satanic cult that performs dark rites and chases off anyone who dares approach their ritual clearing. Hikers tell tales of finding strange red symbols painted on trees and an altar of logs and stone. Chicago forest preserves that are close to cemeteries have often been thought to be a lure for demonic cults and local radio shows have sent willing participants into the woods on Halloween night to antagonize Satan worshipers. Common advice passed on to those who may stumble across a demonic ceremony in the Red Gate Woods was, if pursued, to run in a zigzag pattern to avoid the pits cultists dug near trails in order to trap trespassers.
***Bethania Cemetery, a predominantly German burial ground in the Chicago suburbs, is plagued by two distinct specters. During the autumn months, late at night, motorists have spotted an elderly man in a red flannel shirt walking the grounds. He appears with rake in hand burning a large pile of leaves near a maintenance entrance. Although he wears a friendly smile, passersby can’t help but slow down to gawk at anyone doing yard work between 2 and 4 a.m. Upon closer inspection, the man always disappears. Another of Archer Avenue’s most ghoulish phantoms frequents this cemetery. A man completely covered in blood has been witnessed leaping onto the roadway while frantically waving a flashlight as though flagging down help. Cars that stop to assist report the man returns back down the embankment towards the cemetery fence before vanishing. One driver said he was driven off the road by the blood-soaked ghost when blinded by his flashlight.
***The eeriness of Fairmount-Willow Hills Memorial Park comes not only from the rumors of spirits roaming among the tombs but also from the oppressive clock tower situated on a hill near the entrance. Shadowy figures are seen sloping across the park’s hills one of which may be the ghost of a woman who was found slain on the cemetery grounds. A phantom face has also been seen peering from behind a window in the clock tower. More infamous is the bizarre harpsichord music heard bleating out of the park’s White mausoleum. Most often heard at dusk, the music is especially baffling considering the interior of the White mausoleum is completely filled in with concrete.
***And… the Why Not Drive-In isn’t remembered most for its decades of serving up fast food and post-war era hospitality but rather for dishing out a heaping side of amour fatal. On foggy nights, a ghost named Debbie is said to park her 1965 Ford Fairlane in the lot of this greasy spoon. She waits for an interested young man to pull up next to her and tells him if he will follow her, she will escort him out on the town that evening. The unsuspecting gentleman is led on a dangerous chase through thick fog, trying in vain to keep up with red taillights that are always just beyond reach. To date, it is unknown if anyone has ever caught up with Debbie or what that may have cost them.
STORY: THE MAIDEN OF OLAVINLINNA CASTLE=====
Olavinlinna Castle was built in the northernmost place in the world in the 15th century. In the heart of the Finnish lake region in the south east, it used to be on the frontline of the unstable border of Sweden and Russia. The Olavinlinna castle is built on a small island overlooking the dark waters surrounding it.
Since it was built in 1475, the Olavinlinna castle was in the frontline of the territorial dispute between Sweden and Russia as Finland for many years was fought over. It was placed strategically to protect the important Savo region and saw many sieges, battles and wars over the years. It held up the defenses for a long time, all up until 1714 when the Russians took over the castle and held it until 1917.
A castle designed for war, it was named after St Olaf, the Norwegian king and saint for all knights. And throughout the years, the castle saw enough bloodshed and death for eternity.
A poem written by Robert Southey is said to have been inspired by Olavinlinna. Titled “Donica,” it reads…
“High on a rock, whose castled shade,
“Darken’d the lake below,
“In ancient strength majestic stood,
“The towers of Arlinkow.”
The stories of the castle are plentiful with legends of Finnish water spirits living in the black water surrounding the castle. Although not malicious by nature, they are said to be dangerous as they reportedly drown people simply because they get bored. There are also tales of the ghost of a black ram that escaped being dinner at a feast roaming the castle. But most famously, there is the story of the Finnish Maiden that was immured inside the Olavinlinna castle walls.
The Finnish Maiden is not only a local legend from the castle alone. The image of the Finnish Maiden is also used as a personification of the country itself. Often depicted or seen as a barefoot young woman in her mid twenties with braided blonde hair, blue eyes and wearing a white or blue outfit. And in paintings she is either depicted as victorious with her fist raised, or as in one painting named “Attack”, she is dive-bombed by a Russian two-headed eagle (meant to represent Finland).
The most famous story about the Olavinlinna castle is the tragic story about the Finnish maiden that is said to be buried inside the castle walls. She was, according to legend, the daughter of the Lord of the castle at a time when the threat from Russia was ever present and the castle was at the line of defense from the Russian forces.
Amidst all of this, she had fallen in love with a Russian soldier and trusted that he would do her no harm. But she should never have trusted so easily, as she was soon betrayed. When opening the castle gate for him, her lover brought more soldiers with him to attack the castle from the inside. They managed to beat the Russian soldiers, and the treacherous lover was killed in the attack. But the tragedy didn’t end there. The maiden herself was also punished for her foolishness.
She was condemned to death for treason and buried alive in a wall in the courtyard. Immurement (live entombment) was a form of capital punishment, especially in legends and folklore. When used as a method of execution, the condemned dies from starvation or dehydration and it is often a slow and excruciating demise.
Soon after, a Rowan tree is said to have sprung up in the yard with white flowers blooming from the branches, a symbol of the maiden’s innocence. The tree also had red berries growing from it, as red as her blood.
There is no longer a Rowan tree in the Olavinlinna courtyard, and its historical existence has no way been proven. Neither has the story. What is true though, is the story of the maiden is now so deeply ingrained in the local folklore and the Olavinlinna castle legend, that it might as well be true, because that’s the way people want it.
When Weird Darkness returns…
Modern courtrooms aren’t equipped or knowledgable enough to determine whether or not ghosts are real, but that hasn’t stopped ghosts from appearing in several court cases! (Court Cases Involving Ghosts)
But first up… after allegedly murdering her husband in 1960, Sharon Kinne shot her lover’s pregnant wife. Then, she evaded justice and escaped to Mexico only to kill again — before vanishing without a trace. (The American Murderess Who Disappeared in 1969)
That story is up next!
STORY: THE AMERICAN MURDERESS WHO DISAPPEARED IN 1969=====
In 1960, Sharon Kinne was living as a bored housewife in the small Missouri town in which she was born. A mother to two and married to a Mormon man six years her senior, Kinne occupied her time with shopping and extramarital affairs.
Both she and her husband James were looking for a way out of the marriage when Kinne reportedly found him dead by an apparent gunshot wound to the head in March of that year. She told police that their two-year-old had shot him accidentally — but then her lover’s pregnant wife turned up dead months later.
Though she was acquitted for both murders three times, Kinne would kill again after running away to Mexico in 1964. But just five years later, Kinne managed to escape the Mexican prison where she was being held — and hasn’t been seen since.
As of this writing, Sharon Kinne is considered one of the longest-missing felons in United States history.
Born Sharon Elizabeth Hall on November 30, 1939, in Independence, Missouri, by 16, Kinne was ready to escape her small town. She thought she found an opportunity in 22-year-old James Kinne, a student from Brigham Young University.
After becoming pregnant with his child, Sharon and James Kinne married, with Sharon converting to Mormonism and giving birth to their daughter in 1957.
Bored in suburbia, a now 20-year-old Sharon burned through cash with a shopping habit. As James Kinne worked night shifts as an electrical engineer, she reacquainted herself with her high school friend, John Boldizs.
By March 1960, facing debt and suspecting his wife’s infidelities, James wanted a divorce, but his devout Mormon family urged him to “try it one more day,” according to The La Crosse Tribune. Sharon Kinne was also contemplating separation – but of a vastly different kind.
On March 19, 1960, Kinne called the police after reportedly finding her husband dead. She claimed that she was in the bathroom around 5:30 p.m. when she heard a gunshot from the couple’s bedroom. James Kinne was napping, so she was shocked to find him shot in the back of the head with a .22 caliber pistol held by their two-and-a-half-year-old daughter.
Kinne told officers that her husband often let their daughter play with his guns, a fact confirmed by friends and family. No gunshot residue tests were completed on Kinne or her daughter, and investigators ultimately decided that Kinne’s story could have been true.
Sharon Kinne received her husband’s life insurance policy of $230,000.
And that could have been the end of the story if not for the death of her lover’s pregnant wife.
Using some of her new money, Kinne bought a Ford Thunderbird from a married car salesman named Walter Jones on April 18, 1960. They started a brief affair that Jones ended when Kinne announced that she was pregnant. Then, Jones’ pregnant wife Patricia went missing on May 26.
After filing a missing person’s report, Jones eventually learned that the previous afternoon, Patricia had been dropped off to meet with an unknown woman. The woman was seen waiting in a car wearing a head scarf and large sunglasses. Jones angrily confronted Kinne, who admitted to calling and meeting Patricia.
Kinne and her ex-lover John Boldiz led police to Patricia Jones’ body, off the path of their usual lover’s lane, according to St. Joseph News-Press. Jones had been killed by four shots to her head, stomach, and shoulders by a .22 caliber pistol, her time of death estimated to be early the previous evening.
The police, having found only one .22 bullet at the scene, had three most likely suspects: Kinne, Jones, and Boldizs. Jones and Boldizs gave written statements that they had “dated” Kinne and passed polygraph tests.
Investigators knew Sharon Kinne was the last person to see Patricia Jones alive, and so on May 31, Kinne was arrested for her murder. At that time, police also charged her with the murder of her husband.
But Kinne’s separate trials were postponed as she gave birth to another daughter on Jan. 16, 1961. The Patricia Jones trial began with the absence of a murder weapon, though a man who worked with Kinne admitted to purchasing a .22 caliber pistol for her in early May 1960. But when police searched her house, they only found an empty gun box.
In June 1961, citing “just too many loopholes,” the all-male jury acquitted Kinne. Afterward, a jury member requested Kinne’s autograph, which she duly signed, captured by a Kansas City Star photographer.
For the murder of her husband, Kinne was found guilty at trial and sentenced to life on Jan. 11, 1962. According to court documents, prosecution witness John Boldizs testified that weeks before the murder, Kinne asked him, “Would you kill my husband for $1,000?” Which Boldizs thought was “in a joking way.”
In March 1963, a Supreme court reversed Kinne’s conviction ordering a new trial, which ended in a mistrial, and her third trial resulted in a hung jury. Out on $25,000 bond, Kinne headed to Mexico City in September 1964, entering as “Jeanette Pugliese.”
While Kinne could legally travel, she did not have written permission from the bail bond company to leave the U.S., making her a wanted felon.
On Sept. 18, 1964, Sharon Kinne entered the bar of Del Prado Hotel, meeting Mexican-born American citizen, Fransisco Parades Ordoñez, and ended up in his motel room, ostensibly to look at some pictures.
Kinne spurned Ordoñez’s advances, and shot him twice in the chest “just to scare him off.” A motel employee, hearing gunshots, was shot and injured by Kinne as he entered the room. Kinne was locked inside and then arrested, claiming self-defense.
The Mexican police thought otherwise, and that it was instead a robbery gone wrong.
During questioning, Kinne allegedly told a U.S. embassy official that she had shot men before and gotten away with it. A search of Kinne’s hotel room revealed the .22 caliber pistol that likely killed Patricia Jones.
Although ballistics testing matched that of her 1961 trial, Sharon Kinne could not be charged for Jones’ murder having already been acquitted. With Kinne in Mexican custody, she missed her fourth retrial for the murder of her husband, resulting in an arrest warrant.
Convicted of Ordoñez murder on Oct. 18, 1965, Kinne was nicknamed “La Pistolera,” the gunfighter, by the Mexican press. Sentenced to 13 years in Iztapalapa women’s prison, it seemed this would be the end of Kinne’s story.
But then on Dec. 7, 1969, Kinne missed a routine evening roll call. When she missed the night’s second roll call, her absence was officially noted. An unusual blackout had occurred at the prison around that time, and officials took several hours reporting Kinne missing to the police.
A wide-scale search for Sharon Kinne was conducted, but she was never located or heard from again.
Today, Sharon Kinne holds the longest outstanding arrest warrant for murder in the history of Kansas City, Missouri — and one of the longest outstanding felony warrants in American history. And we have no idea of where she is or whether she is dead or alive.
STORY: COURT CASES INVOLVING GHOSTS=====
Ghosts and spirits are usually the subject of campfire tales and horror movies, but occasionally, the legal system hears cases involving real-world hauntings. Obviously, modern courts aren’t equipped to answer the question of whether or not ghosts are legally considered real, but a large portion of people believes that ghosts do indeed exist – about 40% of people, according to USA Today. A belief in ghosts can cause plenty of real-world problems: The undead have been involved in several court cases in the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries, spanning everything from real-estate disputes to trespassing to copyright infringement.
***In 2005, the landlords who operated the historic Church Street Station train station and entertainment complex in Orlando, FL, filed a $2.6 million lawsuit against two restaurant owners who refused to move into the property after learning that it was allegedly haunted. According to lawyers for one of the restaurateurs, the owners were Jehovah’s Witnesses whose religious beliefs prevented them from having any contact with undead spirits. When the landlords offered to perform an exorcism, the restaurateurs declined on the grounds that exorcisms are a Roman Catholic religious rite not compatible with their beliefs. According to one of the landlords’ attorneys, “I asked them if these were good ghosts or bad ghosts, and if they were good ghosts why it was a problem.” Local news sources didn’t report on a financial settlement or other resolution for the suit. The Church Street Station is a well-known attraction for ghost aficionados, and it’s a popular tourist spot for ghost tours.
***In 1917, two psychic mediums, Emily Grant Hutchings and Lola V. Hays, published a book they said was written posthumously by Mark Twain, who died in 1910. According to the mediums, the novel, which was titled Jap Herron, was written by Twain’s ghost, and the mediums spent two years transcribing it through an Ouija board. The story is set in a small Missouri town and follows the eponymous Jap Herron, a young man born into poverty who becomes wealthy with the help of an affluent couple. Twain and Hutchings had actually corresponded 15 years before the book was published. In one of his letters, Twain made a note to himself that read, “Idiot! Must preserve.” At the time, publishing books that were supposedly written by ghosts was a relatively common phenomenon – a New York Times review of the novel noted three similar books had come to print recently. However, the year after the book was published, Twain’s daughter, Clara Clemens, sued Hutchings and Hays to prevent the book from being published. The two “authors” agreed to cease publication and destroy all existing copies.
***In the early ’90s, two New York City real-estate developers named Jeffrey and Patrice Stambovsky purchased a home in Nyack, NY, that belonged to Helen Ackley. The Stambovskys were unaware the house had a long reputation for being haunted, despite the fact Ackley had published accounts of the ghostly occurrences three times between 1977 and 1989, including once in Reader’s Digest. According to Ackley, the house was inhabited by three ghosts: a naval lieutenant from the American Revolutionary War and a couple from the 19th century. But Ackley never told the Stambovskys about the hauntings. When they discovered the house’s history, the Stambovskys sued Ackley for fraudulent misrepresentation and asked for the contract to be rescinded. In 1991, the New York Supreme Court heard an appeal of the case. The court ruled that Ackley wasn’t liable for damages, but also decided that because a haunting can’t be determined by a home inspection, the Stambovskys didn’t have to honor the contract, either. The case, Stambovsky v. Ackley, came to be known as “the Ghostbusters ruling.” It established the precedent that if a house had been advertised as haunted – regardless of whether or not it actually was – it’s legally considered to be haunted.
***In late 2009, an Ohio court heard a case involving the Staley Mill Farm, which is located near Dayton, OH. According to local legends, years earlier, the farm’s owner, one “Old Man Staley,” murdered his entire household – including his family, servants, and himself – with an ax. The story was written up in a book called Weird Ohio. In the book, the authors claimed motorists driving down the nearby Staley Road had experienced unseen forces, which caused them to lose control of their vehicle and swerve. The lawsuit accused the book’s authors of inspiring curious tourists to trespass on the property looking for ghosts. The court ultimately dismissed the lawsuit, noting Weird Ohio included a disclaimer warning that many of the locations described in its pages were located on private property and that visiting them amounted to trespassing.
***Sometimes, ghosts can even become involved in copyright disputes. In 2016, Gerald Brittle, author of the 1980 book The Demonologist, which details the case files of legendary paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren, sued Warner Bros. for $900 million over The Conjuring franchise. According to Brittle’s lawsuit, when he signed an agreement with Lorraine in 1978 to write The Demonologist, it included an exclusive “no compete” clause that forbade anyone from making derivative works based on the Warrens’ cases without Brittle’s approval. Brittle’s lawsuit also claimed that when he sent Warner Bros. a cease-and-desist letter, the company responded that it was basing the movie not on The Demonologist but on “historical events.” Brittle’s lawsuit challenged Warner Bros. to either prove the hauntings in The Demonologist had really happened or fork over nearly a billion dollars. A year after the lawsuit, Warner Bros. settled with Brittle rather than attempting to prove the hauntings in the Warren case files really happened.
***In 2012, a couple in Toms River, NJ, Jose Chinchilla and his fiancée Michele Callan, sued their landlord for $2,500 because their new apartment was allegedly haunted. The couple vacated their new home just a week after moving in because they allegedly experienced several strange phenomena, like unexplained footsteps, flickering lights, and doors slamming. The couple and their landlord, a dentist named Richard Lopez, agreed to take their case on The People’s Court. Ultimately, Judge Marilyn Milian ruled in favor of the defendant, ruling that it was beyond the purview of the court to determine if an apartment is haunted. The judge ordered the plaintiffs to pay the defendant $750 for breaking the lease.
***In the 1895 Nebraska case McClary v. Stull, a woman’s children sued their mother, claiming she wrote a will for her deceased husband’s estate with the input of her husband’s ghost – specifically, that she’d communicated with her husband’s ghost with the use of a “planchette,” a wooden board with wheels that’s used in conjunction with an Ouija board. In the end, the Nebraska Supreme Court declined to rule on whether ghosts are real or not, but did say that ghosts can’t affect court cases. The ruling stated: “Law, it is said, is ‘of the earth, earthy’ and that spirit-wills are too celestial for cognizance by earthly tribunals, a proposition readily conceded; and yet the courts have not assumed to deny to spirits of the departed the privilege of holding communion with those of their friends who are still in the flesh so long as they do not interfere with vested rights or by the means of undue influence seek to prejudice the interests of persons still within our jurisdiction.”
***The 1919 case Burchill v. Hermsmeyer in Fort Worth, TX, originated when an investor named H.C. Hermsmeyer gave Belle M. Burchill, owner of the Fort Worth Oil Development Company, $10,000. Hermsmeyer made the investment based on Burchill’s claim that ghosts told her via a psychic medium that oil was located underneath her land. When no oil was discovered, Hermsmeyer took Burchill to court to try to recoup his investment. The court originally ruled in favor of Hermsmeyer, but a 1924 appeal reversed the ruling, declaring the existence of ghosts is a matter of belief, not fact. Therefore, “the existence of oil in valuable quantities beneath the land in question could not form a basis for relief for the plaintiff.”
***In 1910, a Texas court ruled on a dispute between a man called Alexander and another man named Jim Nurse, who claimed to be a spiritual medium. A year before the case, Alexander had hired a worker to dig a new foundation for his house. After Alexander’s wife heard strange tapping sounds, Alexander and his wife believed a ghost was trying to tell them money was buried on the property. Nurse then claimed he could help Alexander locate the money in exchange for $20. With Nurse’s help, Alexander was able to find $42 buried in a can, and Alexander gave Nurse the $20. According to the lawsuit, later that night, Nurse stole the remainder of the money. Alexander later accused Nurse of swindling him, but since Nurse actually had found money, the court ruled in Nurse’s favor.
***And finally… in 1876, a Florida woman named E.G. Magruder approached a dying man named John Roberts and claimed she could cure his illness by conjuring spirits and reciting incantations. Roberts gave Magruder a promissory note worth $250 but died a few weeks later. In 1883, attorneys for Roberts sued Magruder, claiming she extorted the note from Roberts, who allegedly made the agreement when he wasn’t of sound body or mind. Magruder’s attorneys argued Roberts was fully aware of the nature of her claims and hadn’t been extorted. The court originally ruled in Magruder’s favor, but reversed the decision on appeal.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. WeirdDarkness.com is also where you can find all of my social media, listen to free audiobooks I’ve narrated, visit the store for Weird Darkness t-shirts, hoodies, mugs, phone cases, and more merchandise, sign up for monthly contests, find other podcasts that I host, and find the Hope in the Darkness page if you or someone you know is struggling with depression or dark thoughts. Also on the website, if you have a true paranormal or creepy tale to tell, you can click on TELL YOUR STORY. You can find all of that and more at WeirdDarkness.com.
All stories in Weird Darkness are purported to be true (unless stated otherwise) and you can find source links or links to the authors in the show notes.
“When The Catholic Church Goes Ghost Hunting” by Mariel Loveland for Ranker
“The Anguish Of Archer Avenue” by Sabrina Ithal for Graveyard Shift
“The American Murderess Who Disappeared in 1969” by Neil Patmore for All That’s Interesting
“The Bengal Boy With Two Heads” by Kaushik Patowary for Amusing Planet
“Court Cases Involving Ghosts” by Jim Rowley for Graveyard Shift
“The Maiden of Olavinlinna Castle” posted at Moon Mausoleum
“The Encounters of Julie” by Marcus Lowth for UFO Insight
WeirdDarkness® – is a production and trademark of Marlar House Productions. Copyright, 2023.
Now that we’re coming out of the dark, I’ll leave you with a little light… “Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:15
And a final thought… “What seems too difficult for us is a sure sign that it belongs to God.” — Marie DePree
I’m Darren Marlar. Thanks for joining me in the Weird Darkness.