“THE DEVIL MADE HIM DO IT” and More Terrifying And Creepy True Stories! #WeirdDarkness

“THE DEVIL MADE HIM DO IT” and More Terrifying And Creepy True Stories! #WeirdDarkness

Listen to ““THE DEVIL MADE HIM DO IT” and More Terrifying And Creepy True Stories! #WeirdDarkness” on Spreaker.

IN THIS EPISODE: The third Conjuring film is based on the true story of Arne Cheyenne Johnson who claimed he committed murder because a demon made him do it. But how much truth is there to that story? (The Devil Made Him Do It) *** A tribe living in the Amazon Jungle tells about a strange encounter they had with an extraterrestrial and a strange beam of light. (That Time An Alien Visited the Kayapo People) *** An elderly man decides he needs to hire someone to help him care for his property… but who he chose would bring only death and a mystery that still goes unsolved. (The Wonnangatta Station Murders) *** Lizard people. Reptilians. It’s one of the strangest and most controversial conspiracy theories in existence – and we’ll look at some of the history behind the idea, as well as what science says about the possibility of it being a reality. (The Myths and Modern Science of Reptilians) *** A nun who wasn’t very good at being a nun ended up being a nun without a head. (The Headless Nun of Watton Priory) *** We’ve all been asked the question, “How do you want to die when it comes your time?” Aside from the boring but realistic answer of “quietly in my sleep” some would prefer to go out in a blaze of glory, doing something heroic to save a person or persons from imminent doom. But of course that does not happen for most of us. In fact, there are probably more people going out in a blaze of stupidity! (Dumbest Deaths) *** In 1995 Mike Marcum got it in his head to build a time machine. Did he succeed? We may never know – because he disappeared without a trace. (The Mike Marcum Time Machine)

“The Myths and Modern Science of Reptilians” from Anomalien: https://weirddarkness.tiny.us/b7m27fbr
“The Devil Made Him Do It” by Marco Margaritoff for All That’s Interesting: https://weirddarkness.tiny.us/pxfxa423
“That Time An Alien Visited The Kayapo People” by Ellen Lloyd for Ancient Pages: https://weirddarkness.tiny.us/sauzjxp2
“The Wonnangatta Station Murders” by Brent Swancer for Mysterious Universe: https://weirddarkness.tiny.us/ceycy3k
“The Headless Nun of Watton Priory” from Esoterx: https://weirddarkness.tiny.us/x4sknt6r
“Dumbest Deaths” by Katie Chilton for ListVerse: https://weirddarkness.tiny.us/sm6mwmj7
“The Mike Marcum Time Machine” from Earth Chronicles: https://weirddarkness.tiny.us/hytc7552
Weird Darkness theme by Alibi Music Library.
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Originally aired: November 17, 2021


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“He would kick, bite, spit, swear — terrible words,” David’s family members said of his possession. “He experienced strangling attempts by invisible hands, which he tried to pull from his neck, and powerful forces would flop him rapidly head-to-toe like a rag doll.”


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…

A tribe living in the Amazon Jungle tells about a strange encounter they had with an extraterrestrial and a strange beam of light. (That Time An Alien Visited the Kayapo People)

An elderly man decides he needs to hire someone to help him care for his property… but who he chose would bring only death and a mystery that still goes unsolved. (The Wonnangatta Station Murders)

Lizard people. Reptilians. It’s one of the strangest and most controversial conspiracy theories in existence – and we’ll look at some of the history behind the idea, as well as what science says about the possibility of it being a reality. (The Myths and Modern Science of Reptilians)

A nun who wasn’t very good at being a nun ended up being a nun without a head. (The Headless Nun of Watton Priory)

We’ve all been asked the question, “How do you want to die when it comes your time?” Aside from the boring but realistic answer of “quietly in my sleep” some would prefer to go out in a blaze of glory, doing something heroic to save a person or persons from imminent doom. But of course that does not happen for most of us. In fact, there are probably more people going out in a blaze of stupidity! (Dumbest Deaths)

In 1995 Mike Marcum got it in his head to build a time machine. Did he succeed? We may never know – because he disappeared without a trace. (The Mike Marcum Time Machine)

The third Conjuring film is based on the true story of Arne Cheyenne Johnson who claimed he committed murder because a demon made him do it. But how much truth is there to that story? (The Devil Made Him Do It)

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

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



At first, the 1981 murder of Alan Bono appeared to be an open-and-shut case in Brookfield, Connecticut. To the police, it was clear that the 40-year-old landlord had been killed by his tenant Arne Cheyenne Johnson during a violent argument.

But after his arrest, Johnson made an incredible claim: The Devil made him do it. Aided by two paranormal investigators, the 19-year-old’s attorneys presented their client’s claim of demonic possession as a potential defense for his murder of Bono.

“The courts have dealt with the existence of God,” said Johnson’s attorney Martin Minnella. “Now they’re going to have to deal with the existence of the Devil.”

It was the first time in history that a defense like this one was used in an American courtroom. More than 40 years later, Johnson’s case is still shrouded in controversy and unsettling speculation. It is also the inspiration for the film The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It.

On February 16, 1981, Arne Cheyenne Johnson stabbed his landlord Alan Bono to death with a five-inch pocket knife, committing the first murder ever recorded in the 193-year history of Brookfield. Before the murder, Johnson was by all accounts a regular teenager with no criminal record.

But the strange occurrences that ended in the murder allegedly began months earlier. In Johnson’s courtroom defense, he claimed that the source of all this suffering started with the 11-year-old brother of his fiancée, Debbie Glatzel.

In the summer of 1980, Debbie’s brother David claimed that he’d repeatedly encountered an old man who would taunt him. At first, Johnson and Glatzel thought David was just trying to get out of doing chores, and dismissed the story entirely. Nonetheless, the encounters continued, growing both more frequent and more violent.

David would wake up crying hysterically, describing visions of a “man with big black eyes, a thin face with animal features and jagged teeth, pointed ears, horns and hoofs.” Before long, the family asked a priest from a church nearby to bless their home — to no avail.

So they hoped that paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren could lend a hand.

“He would kick, bite, spit, swear — terrible words,” David’s family members said of his possession. “He experienced strangling attempts by invisible hands, which he tried to pull from his neck, and powerful forces would flop him rapidly head-to-toe like a rag doll.”

Johnson stayed with the family to help however he could. But disturbingly, the child’s nightly terrors began to seep into the daytime as well. David described seeing “an old man with a white beard, dressed in a flannel shirt and jeans.” And as the child’s visions continued, suspicious noises began emanating from the attic.

Meanwhile, David started hissing, having seizures, and speaking in strange voices while quoting John Milton’s Paradise Lost and the Bible.

Reviewing the case, the Warrens concluded that this was clearly a case of demonic possession. However, psychiatrists who investigated the case after the fact claimed that David merely had a learning disability.

The Warrens claimed that over the course of three subsequent exorcisms — oversaw by priests — David levitated, cursed, and even stopped breathing. Perhaps even more astonishingly, David allegedly predicted the murder that Arne Cheyenne Johnson would eventually commit.

By October 1980, Johnson started taunting the demonic presence, telling it to stop bothering his fiancée’s brother. “Take me on, leave my little buddy alone,” he cried.

As a source of income, Johnson worked for a tree surgeon. Meanwhile, Bono managed a kennel. The two were purportedly friendly and often met up near the kennel — with Johnson sometimes even calling in sick to work in order to do so.

But on Feb. 16, 1981, a vicious argument broke out between them. At around 6:30 p.m., Johnson suddenly drew out a pocket knife and aimed it at Bono.

Bono was stabbed multiple times in the chest and stomach and then was left to bleed to death. Police arrested Johnson an hour later, and they said that the two men had simply been fighting over Johnson’s fiancée, Debbie. But the Warrens insisted there was more to the story.

At some point prior to the murder, Johnson had allegedly investigated a well in the same area where his fiancée’s brother claimed to experience his first encounter with the malicious presence wreaking havoc on their lives.

The Warrens warned Johnson not to go near the same well, but he did anyway, perhaps to see if the demons truly took over his body after he had taunted them. Johnson later claimed that he saw a demon hiding within the well, who possessed him until after the murder.

Though authorities investigated the Warrens’ claims of a haunting, they stuck with the story that Bono was simply killed during an altercation with Johnson over his fiancée.

Johnson’s attorney Martin Minnella tried his best to enter a plea of “not guilty by reason of demonic possession.” He even planned to subpoena the priests who allegedly attended the exorcisms, urging them to break tradition by speaking about their controversial rites.

Over the course of the trial, Minnella and the Warrens were routinely mocked by their peers, who saw them as profiteers of tragedy.

“They have an excellent vaudeville act, a good road show,” said mentalist George Kresge. “It’s just that this case more involves clinical psychologists than it does them.”

Judge Robert Callahan ultimately rejected Minnella’s plea. Judge Callahan argued such a defense would be impossible to prove, and that any testimony on the matter was unscientific and thus irrelevant.

The collaboration of four priests during the three exorcisms was never confirmed, but the Diocese of Bridgeport acknowledged that priests worked on helping David Glatzel during a difficult time. The priests in question, meanwhile, were ordered not to speak on the matter publicly.

“No one from the church has said one way or the other what was involved,” said Rev. Nicholas V. Grieco, a diocese spokesman. “And we decline to say.”

But Johnson’s lawyers were permitted to examine Bono’s clothing. The lack of any blood, rips, or tears, they argued, could help support the claim of demonic involvement. However, no one in the court was convinced.

So Johnson’s legal team opted for a self-defense plea. Ultimately, Johnson was convicted of first-degree manslaughter on November 24, 1981 and sentenced to 10 to 20 years in prison. He only served about five.

As Johnson languished behind bars, Gerald Brittle’s book about the incident, The Devil in Connecticut, was published with help from Lorraine Warren. On top of that, the trial also inspired the production of a television movie called The Demon Murder Case.

David Glatzel’s brother Carl was not amused. He ended up suing Brittle and Warren for the book, alleging that it violated his right to privacy. He also said that it was an “intentional affliction of emotional distress.” Further, he claimed the narrative was a hoax created by the Warrens, who took advantage of his brother’s mental health for money.

After serving about five years in prison, Johnson was released in 1986. He married his fiancée while he was still behind bars, and as of 2014, they were still together.

As for Debbie, she maintains an interest in the supernatural and claims that Arne’s biggest mistake was challenging “the beast” that possessed her younger brother.

“You never take that step,” she said. “You never challenge the Devil. Arne started showing the same signs my brother did when he was under possession.”

Most recently, Arne’s incident has spurred a work of fiction — The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It — which aims to spin this harrowing yarn of the 1980s into a paranormal horror film. But the real-life story might even be more disturbing.



When Weird Darkness returns…a tribe living in the Amazon Jungle tells about a strange encounter they had with an extraterrestrial and a strange beam of light.

But first… an elderly man decides he needs to hire someone to help him care for his property… but who he chose would bring only death and a mystery that still goes unsolved. That story is up next.



Located out in a remote valley of the Victorian Alps, Australia, in what is now part of the Alpine National Park, there was once an isolated cattle station and homestead called the Wonnangatta Station. Established in the 1860s, there was not much to it really, a couple of shacks and a bunch of cows, and it was practically in the middle of nowhere, with the nearest town lying around 20 miles away through thick wilderness and steep mountain passes, the only way in being either on foot or horseback. There were no roads here, no one else around, and it was about as remote as it gets. It certainly seems like a forbidding place to be, and it is perhaps the perfect creepy locale for one of Australia’s most famous and spookiest unsolved mysteries.

The homestead went through a procession of owners over the decades, but in 1916 it was largely unoccupied. There was just one caretaker at the time, a man in his late 40s by the name of James Barclay, who had lost his wife to tuberculosis and then sent his newborn son to live with relatives while he isolated himself from the rest of the world at Wonnangatta Station. There he lived mostly alone and lost to his own thoughts, living a simple life with no other people around for miles. He would live like this for around a year, until in 1917 he decided he needed some help around the place, hiring a cook, station hand, and general handyman by the name of John Bamford. Originally from England, Bamford was described as being the polar opposite of Barclay, with them having nothing in common and having very different personalities, and on top of that the word around the campfire was that Bamford had killed his wife, so at the time it seemed strange that Barclay would hire him, but since World War I had been raging and the site was so remote he probably wasn’t overwhelmed with potential job candidates.

Whatever the case may be, by all accounts they seemed to actually get along just fine, and on December 20 of 1917 they went out on horseback together to the gold mining town of Talbotville, about twenty miles from the station, for the rather mundane business of voting on the so-called Reinforcement Referendum, which would decide if there would be a military draft for WWI. Whether they voted for or against the draft remains lost to time, but what is known is that on December 21 they headed back towards the cattle station, and things would quickly unfold into a baffling unsolved mystery.

On the morning of December 22, the bushman and local mailman Harry Smith came by to deliver mail to the remote homestead, but noticed that no one was at home. He looked around and the only thing he could see that was odd were the words “Home Tonight” scrawled across the kitchen door in chalk. Smith would end up sticking around for two days, but no one ever did come back, so he left. At this point he wasn’t particularly alarmed, as the two men who lived there were pretty eccentric, but this would change. When he returned on February 14, there was still no one there, and he also noticed that the mail that he had dropped off in December was still there collecting dust. When Smith went around the property he found Barclay’s dog hobbling about, underfed and no more than skin and bones. Smith would arrange another trip out to Wonnangatta on February 23, this time bringing along a friend by the name of Jack Jebb, and this time they would turn up some sinister things.

As the two men searched the property and surrounding area, they stumbled across a badly decomposed body in a shallow grave near a creek, which judging from the clothing and the distinctive tobacco pouch was obviously the body of Barclay. The grave had been disturbed, probably by scavengers, and the right shoe and a hat were neatly placed nearby, seemingly intentionally. This was all grim enough that police were soon notified, and they went out to the property by horseback to investigate and turn up some odd clues. In Barclay’s bedroom there was a shotgun that had been recently fired and a shell casing on the floor, but no sign of any blood or damage anywhere. They also found the bed to be in a state of disorder and disarray, as well as some belongings missing, including items of clothing such as Barclay’s suit, and perhaps most sinister of all traces of strychnine in the pepper dispenser in the kitchen. They also managed to find Bamford’s horse wandering about on the Howitt high plains with no saddle or bridle. What had happened here? No one had a clue.

When an autopsy was done on Barclay’s remains, they found that not only was it indeed him, but that he had died from a single shotgun blast to the back, and that he had likely died some time around December 21. Considering that the only other person who would have been with him at the time was Bamford, and that Bamford was known for having a hot temper, it seemed pretty obvious that the two had likely gotten into an argument and things had gotten out of hand to devolve into murder. At the time it was seen as a given that Bamford was guilty as hell, and there was a massive manhunt launched to catch him, as well as a massive reward posted, which turned up not much more than a delusional individual claiming to be Bamford. At first there was no trace of where Bamford had gone, but then there would be a shocking discovery that would make things even more mysterious.

In early November of 1918, a boot was found sticking out of a log pile by a mounted policeman and Harry Smith near a deserted hut on the Howitt Plains, not far from where Bamford’s horse had been found running wild. The boot would turn out to be attached to a body, namely Bamford’s body. A post-mortem would find that he had been killed with a bullet to the head, an obvious murder, but by who? It was now thought that Bamford had killed Barclay and then been killed in retribution by one of Barclay’s associates, the most logical choice being Barclay’s friend and mailman, Smith. However, there was no evidence to support this, and if this were true, then why would he have led the police to Bamford’s body? Another idea was that the two men had both been killed by cattle or horse thieves, but no cattle were found to be missing, and both Barclay’s and Bamford’s horses had been accounted for. There was also the idea that Barclay, who was known as quite the playboy and ladies’ man, had perhaps gotten in over his head with a married woman and paid the price, but then why should Bamford be dead too? It remains a mystery, and Barclay’s son would prove to be no help, simply stating in later years, “It was all a long time ago and both the murderers are long since dead. I can’t see that anything can be gained now, it’s all best forgotten.”

Today, there is little left of Wonnangatta Station, merely some sparse ruins and nothing at all to hint at the tragedy that unfolded here. The crimes were never solved, and it is unknown why these two men left to go out on horseback, only to never return and both end up dead under mysterious circumstances. There are also no answers for who could have done it, why the hat and shoe had been left at Barclay’s grave, or why there had been strychnine on the pepper bottle, or what the meaning was behind the words “Home Tonight” written in chalk on the door. No one knows. All we do know is that these two men living in seclusion in the Australian mountains left one day and turned up dead, and it has gone on to become one of the country’s most notorious unsolved crimes, no closer to being solved now than it was back then.


Many American tribes recall a time, a very long time ago when Star People guided humanity. Similar accounts, describing the important activities of our Star ancestors can be found in every corner of the world.

Appearing under different names mysterious Star People left an everlasting legacy on our world, and their existence can be one reason why we sometimes have difficulties to piece together our ancient history.

If we are stubborn and reluctant to embrace what may seem “impossible”, we can dismiss stories of our ancestors as fantasies. However, the more open-minded truth-seeker will agree that some ancient accounts of the past are more than baffling, and certain myths indicate an intelligent alien civilization may have visited our planet in the distant past.

If we search for ancient extraterrestrial wreckage that can offer evidence supporting our theory, we will be disappointed. It’s unlikely we will ever discover a piece of an ancient extraterrestrial spaceship, but there are other ways to gain information about the ancient Star People.

It’s reasonable to wonder whether myths can be taken as a fossil of history. Accepting all myths and legends as true accounts of the past would be naïve, but some ancient memories of our ancestors certainly deserve more attention and investigation. Just remember, not so long ago, cities like Dwarka and Troy were labeled mythical places. Today archaeologists have successfully proven their existence. In the fourth century, Euhemerus,  a Greek writer on myth an history at the court of Macedonia wisely said: “Myth is history in disguise.” The great Greek ancient philosopher Aristotle was of a similar opinion. Aristotle once wrote: “Our forefathers in the most remote ages have handed down to their posterity a tradition in the form of a myth.”

It’s certainly not unreasonable to argue that behind most myths there is often an actual historical event.

One of the most interesting accounts describing what appears to be ancient extraterrestrial contact comes from the Brazilian Amazon jungle where a tribe recalls a very unusual being who was not of this world. The natives also tell a strange beam of light, powerful and dangerous high-tech weapons, and physical abilities unknown among Earthlings. Who was this mysterious visitor? What did he do that left an everlasting impression on this tribe living in the jungle?

The Kayapo Indians who have their home in the Brazilian Amazon jungle have several legends of sky visitors who gave their people wisdom and knowledge. According to the Kayapo, the gods came from the sky and descended on Earth in very early times when humans behaved like animals. The sky gods taught people agriculture, medicine, and astronomy and instructed them regarding daily matters.

The Kayapo Indians worshipped one particular being who was extraordinary in many ways. Legend tells that one day, loud thunder was heard in the mountains of Pukato-Ti. This terrifying sound was followed by the arrival of an unusual being that descended on Earth.

His name was Bep Kororoti and most ancient aliens’ believers will say that he was a person we in modern days would describe as a space warrior. He possessed a flying vehicle that could destroy everything in its path. It is said that his weapons were so powerful that they could turn trees and stones into dust. This aggressive warrior manner frightened the natives, who at the beginning even tried to fight against the alien intruder. However, their resistance was useless. Every time their weapons touched Bep Kororoti’s clothes, people fell to the ground. As time passed, peoples’ attitudes changed radically towards the heavenly stranger.

Locals saw Bep Kororoti through different eyes. He was not only handsome, but also very good-hearted, and natives became very fond of him. He entertained the people with what they called magic.  Bep Kororoti was also helped them to overcome many troubles and obstacles. He created a school where he taught the men of the villages many practical things, which were useful and important in their daily life. It happened occasionally that the student neglected the lessons. When this happened, Bep Kororoti always put on a special garment which instantly helped him to locate the missing students. Nobody could hide or run away from Bep Kororoti, and if they tried, he paralyzed them with a beam of light.

Another unusual characteristic of the space visitor was that he had no need of nourishment. He neither drank nor ate. One day something mysterious happened. Bep Kororoti suddenly disappeared. When he finally returned, he was very angry and screamed.  He was furious because one of his devices was missing. The natives wanted to help him find the object but were uncertain what they were supposed to search for. When they approached their master, his body was shaking and those who touched him fell down unconscious to the ground.

We all know nothing lasts forever and sooner or later everything comes to an end. This was also the case with Bep Kororoti’s visit on Earth. One day he decided to return to his own home in the sky. The natives tried to convince him to stay with them, but their pleads were in vain. Followed by thunder and dust, Bep Kororoti ascended to the sky. Although he never came back, people continued to worship and honor their great visitor from the Universe.

The discovery of the Bep Kororoti cult, decades ago, was an event that gained international attention. It happened when a group of young Indians was brought for the first time to Rio de Janeiro to see and explore the white man’s world. They were taken to various places, and they observed everything quietly but watchfully. The whole trip was a good opportunity for cultural exchange.

At first, there were no sensations, but when the Indians reached an exhibition with the title Apollo 11, something happened. The young Indians saw the dummy dressed as an astronaut and became very excited. They started to point in the dummy’s direction screaming “It is him! He came to us!”

“Joao Americo Peret, one of our outstanding Indian scholars, recently published some photographs of Kayapo Indians in ritual clothing that he took as long ago as 1952, long before Gagarin’s first space flight… “…I feel that it is important to reemphasize that Peret took these photographs in 1952 at a time when the clothing and equipment of astronauts were still not familiar to all us Europeans, let alone these wild Indians!… Yiru Gagarin orbited the earth in his spaceship Vostok I for the first time in April 1961… The Kayapo in their straw imitation spacesuits need no commentary apart from the remark that these ‘ritual garments’ have been worn by the Indian men of this tribe on festive occasions since time immemorial, according to Peret…” wrote Erich von Däniken in ‘The Gold of the Gods‘.

This incident corroborates the ancient astronauts’ theory. Believers who support prehistoric alien visitations will say that Bep Kororoti was not only dressed as an astronaut. He was an ancient astronaut. The primitive natives in the jungle of Brazil would never have called their visitor an astronaut. How could they? They did not know what an astronaut was. They had never seen such a person before.

So, they did precisely the same as other ancient cultures, they called him a god.

Could this ancient memory be based on real events experienced by the Kayapo Indians?


Coming up… Lizard people. Reptilians. It’s one of the strangest and most controversial conspiracy theories in existence – and we’ll look at some of the history behind the idea, as well as what science says about the possibility of it being a reality.

Plus, a nun who wasn’t very good at being a nun ended up being a nun without a head.

These stories and more when Weird Darkness returns!



Lizard people, or reptilians. This is a highly controversial and thought-provoking subject. We will therefore look at the topic from a scientific and mythological point of view. The human reptilian connection is very old. Reptilian-like humanoids and “Lizard- people” are described in many ancient texts and religions.

“As long as humanity has kept records of its existence, legends of a serpent race have persisted. These myths tell of a mysterious race of superhuman reptilian beings who descended from the heavens to participate in creating humankind and to teach the sciences, impart forbidden knowledge, impose social order, breed with us, and watch over our development.

“The serpent like beings were not alone, but were part of a retinue of super beings thought to be gods by the ancients.

“Yet, in cultures as widespread and diverse as those of Sumeria, Babylonia, India, China, Japan, Mexico, and Central America, reptilian gods have been feared and worshipped.

“To this day the dragon or serpent signifies divine heritage and royalty in many Asian countries, while in the West, the serpent represents wisdom and knowledge.

“The symbol of two serpents coiled around a staff (originally signifying the tree of knowledge), known as the caduceus, is today used by the American Medical Association as its logo,” wrote Joe Lewels, Ph.D in his article “The Reptilians: Humanity’s Historical Link to the Serpent Race”.

The subject of reptilians has become popular since some decades when, David Icke, stated that some human beings on Earth are not normal like us and they are reptilians.

So is it possible that we evolved from reptilians?

There are certain physiological similarities between humans and reptilians. We have what is known as the “reptilian brain”.

It controls vital functions such as heart rate, breathing, body temperature and balance.

Our reptilian brain also includes the main structures found in a reptile’s brain, namely the brainstem and the cerebellum.

The reptilian brain is reliable but tends to be somewhat rigid and compulsive.

Our eyes are also constructed like the eyes of reptiles. In both humans and reptiles, the eye acts as a box with a lens to focus the light that passes through it. Cells within the eye process the light and turn it into useful information.

Scientists have for long been aware of that the lizard has a heart that is virtually indistinguishable from a human embryonic heart.

Researchers have finally succeeded in showing that the spongy tissue in reptile hearts is virtually the same as complex hearts of both birds and mammals.

The new knowledge provides a deeper understanding of the complex conductive tissue of the human heart, which is of key importance in many heart conditions.

“The heart of a bird or a mammal – for example a human – pumps frequently and rapidly.

This is only possible because it has electrically conductive tissue that controls the heart.

Until now, however, we haven’t been able to find conductive tissue in our common reptilian ancestors, which means we haven’t been able to understand how this enormously important system emerged,” says Bjarke Jensen, Department of Bioscience, Aarhus University.

Along with Danish colleagues and colleagues from the University of Amsterdam, he now reveals that the genetic building blocks for highly developed conductive tissue are actually hidden behind the thin wall in the spongy hearts of reptiles.

Since the early 1900s, scientists have been wondering how birds and mammals could have developed almost identical conduction systems independently of each other when their common ancestor was a cold-blooded reptile with a sponge-like inner heart that has virtually no conduction bundles.

“We studied the hearts of cold-blooded animals like lizards, frogs and zebrafish, and we investigated the gene that determines which parts of the heart are responsible for conducting the activating current,” Dr Jensen.

“By comparing adult hearts from reptiles with embryonic hearts from birds and mammals, we discovered a common molecular structure that’s hidden by the anatomical differences,” he added.

Considering the number of similarities we share, such as the reptilian heart, brain and eyes, it’s not too far-fetched say that ancient reptilian-like humanoids might actually have existed.


You’re going to die.  What sucks about being human is that among all the critters great and small who subscribe to the instinctual directive of “not dying”, we alone are aware of death’s inevitability and relative unpredictability.  It’s a wonder we get up in the morning, what with our fundamental existential dread, which psychotherapist Paul Hokemeyer described as “the terror we experience in our awareness that we are transient beings acting out life on a precarious stage”.  Poor Paul probably doesn’t get invited to a lot of parties, but gosh darn it, he gets me. Luckily, we invented culture as a foil to biological reality.  Clearly ultimate oblivion at any moment stresses us out, so to deal with our death anxiety we have the belief in an afterlife.  And you can tell me you don’t believe in an afterlife, but there are plenty of other cultural values that link to a kind of immortality (vague notions like “posterity” or national identity, for example).  Why else would a nihilist write a book?  Yeah, I’m looking at you Nietzsche and Kierkegaard. What you do in life matters, either for your job prospects in some hoary netherworld or that some greater part of you will ultimately outdistance your assigned meat sack.  The efforts to deal with this psychological conflict (you’re sure to die, but you don’t want to die) are described by “terror management theory”, a term originally coined by social psychologists Jeff Greenberg, Sheldon Solomon, and Tom Pyszczynski.

Anthropologist Ernest Becker’s seminal book Denial of Death argues that our fear of absolute annihilation results in an awful lot of human actions taken precisely to avoid confronting the inevitability of death.  This doesn’t mean we avoid death as a topic of discussion entirely, simply that we find it necessary to invest it with symbolic meaning.  More basically, we tell ourselves ghost stories.  Ghost stories are said to serve a lot of functions from guiding us through the forest of liminality, to simple morality plays to reinforce cultural norms, to inculcating a sense that justice will be served eventually, and answer questions about the past that haunt us, as well as the pure entertainment of a good scare.  A savvy terror management theorist would say “no such luck, schmuck”, it’s all about “mortality salience” (psychological defense against experiential reminders of one’s own death) and self-esteem (as a proven death anxiety buffer).  That’s why a ghost without a good narrative is deeply unsatisfying.

We live in linear time, so narrative is how we structure personal and cultural identity from a sequence of events, real or imagined.  Things happen for a reason.  Society is the way it is for a reason.  Ghost stories are essentially tragedies, that is, the kind of narrative intended to invoke catharsis surrounding terrible or sorrowful events, to contextualize those events and the players involved, and offer some sort of resolution.  Why have humans been telling ghost narratives since we could speak?  They remind us that oblivion is not the endgame, and help us manage the terror associated with our concern that it actually is.

This will come as a surprise to exactly no one, but one of my many guilty pleasures are the modern ghost-hunting reality shows (and to some degree the myriad of quasi-documentary style, popular TV shows on ghosts).  Lately, I’ve noticed the visceral thrill of phantom prospectors when they investigate sites that are “really haunted”.  By “really” I don’t mean that they offer incontrovertible proof of the afterlife, rather they offer a panoply of sordid histories that can feed the narratives of a plethora of ghosts.  It’s like staring into the abyss, and the abyss runs a supermarket.  Choose your own ghost adventure.  Personal identity is a complex thing, and when you shake and stir it with a little death anxiety, there is no one size fits all.  The more potential narratives available to construct one’s defense, the more likely they can be assuaged.  This is not a modern phenomenon.  Mythology and folklore are rife with examples where ghosts are conflated across time and space, allowing us to adapt our phantoms to our own identities.  Such is the case of the Headless Nun of Watton Priory.

Watton Priory of East Riding of Yorkshire, England was around a long time, possibly founded as early as 720 A.D. after a miracle performed at a nunnery on the location by St. John of Beverley, during the re-introduction of Anglo-Saxon Christianity into Northumbria by King Oswald (who reunited the kingdoms of Bernicia and Deira into Northumbria, and was later canonized). By the 9th Century, the Watton nunnery had been destroyed by invading Danes, but in William the Conqueror’s 1086 Domesday Book, there was at least a church and a priest on the site.  In 1150, Constable of Chester Eustace fitz John (evidently in atonement for certain unspecified crimes he had committed), founded the priory at Watton (religious community of both monks and nuns based on the Cistercian Rule, headed by a prioress) of the Gilbertine Order.  The Gilbertine Order was a relatively new invention, having only been founded in 1130 (and was dissolved in the 16thCentury when Henry VIII claimed all monastic property as his own so he could fund a few wars), and the only completely English religious order.

St. Ailred of Rievaulx’s 12th Century De Sanctimoniali de Wattun records that Archbishop of York Henry Murdac entrusted an orphaned toddler named Elfleda to the care of the nuns of Watton.  Elfleda was apparently not especially good raw material for the making of a medieval nun, described as a “merry, vivacious little creature”, and as she approached womanhood manifested a repugnance for convent life and light-heartedly ridiculed the sisters.  Anybody who ever went to Catholic school can tell you that you don’t mess with the nuns.

Subsequently, Elfleda fell in love with one of the community’s handsome young lay brethren.  When this was discovered, the nuns were none too happy and variously suggested that she be “burnt to death, that she should be walled up alive, that she should be flayed, that her flesh should be torn from her bones with red-hot pincers, that she should be roasted to death before a fire” (Ross, 1892, p184-185).  It was a different time.  Guess they didn’t have rulers.  Luckily, cooler heads prevailed and they decided just to beat her with rods, throw her in the dungeon, chain her to the floor, and feed her only bread and water.  They then tracked down the object of her affections, horribly mutilated him, and forced her to watch.  Since this is a tragedy, of course Elfleda was also pregnant.  The now dead Archbishop Murdac was said to have miraculously visited Elfleda in prison and eventually spirited away the newborn.  Nothing else is known about what happened to Elfleda, but the ghost of a headless nun was said to have been seen haunting the abbey for centuries after.  As far as we know, Elfleda retained her head, but it makes for a story as old as time, does it not?  Unfortunate orphan.  Forbidden love.  Gross injustice.  Miracles.  Lions, tigers, and bears, oh my!  Lots to hook into and link to one’s own personal identity. But maybe you can’t relate to orphans or nuns.  Luckily Watton Priory has another ghost to fill in, or possibly the same ghost with a different back story.

A little bit after the Battle of Marston Moor in 1644, during the First English Civil War, the Parliamentarian Roundheads were knocking heads and executing people willy-nilly in the neighborhood of Watton.  By this time Watton Priory was a private residence, occupied by the devout Catholic Lady of Watton, her Royalist husband, and her child.  With her husband fighting for the King in Oxford, when rumors spread that the Puritan ruffians were on their way to plunder her estate, she gathered up her child and jewels and sequestered herself in a secret room.  She was shortly discovered by the soldiers who dashed her child’s brains out against a wall and chopped her head off.  Understandably, it is believed that the Lady forever after has haunted the room where she and her offspring were so barbarously treated.

There is a chamber wainscoted throughout with paneled oak, one of the panels forming a door, so accurately fitted that it cannot be distinguished from the other panels. It is opened by a secret spring, and communicates with a stone stair that goes down to the moat; it may be that the room was a hiding – place for the Jesuits or priests of the Catholic Church when they were so ruthlessly hunted down and barbarously executed in the Elizabethan and Jacobean reigns. The room is reputed to be haunted by the ghost of a headless lady with an infant in her arms, who comes, or came thither formerly, to sleep nightly, the bed-clothes being found the following morning in a disordered state, as they would be after a person had been sleeping in them. If by chance any person had daring enough to occupy the room, the ghost would come, minus the head, dressed in blood-stained garments, with her infant in her arms, and would stand motionless at the foot of the bed for a while, and then vanish. A visitor on one occasion, who knew nothing of the legend, was put to sleep in the chamber, who in the morning stated that his slumbers had been disturbed by a spectral visitant, in the form of a lady with bloody raiment and an infant, and that her features bore a strange resemblance to those of a lady whose portrait hung in the room; from which it would appear that on that special occasion she had donned her head (Ross, 1892, p188-189).

Although the stories of the Watton apparitions are separated by more than 500 years, and the later version has the requisite beheadings, although none of the nunnery, the ghost is collectively known as “The Headless Nun of Watton”. “The belief of the learned is, however, that the apparition which haunts Watton is not that of the transgressing nun of the twelfth, but a brutally beheaded lady of the seventeenth, century. Mr. Ross opines that the story-tellers have confused the two traditions, and have treated them as one story, regarding the two heroines as identical. No one would appear to have seen the possibility of the old place being haunted by two ghosts—by rival apparitions!” (Ingram, 1886, p595).  Clearly both these ladies have good reasons for getting their haunt on.  Certain places just seem thick with ghosts.  And for narrative purposes, as we try to manage our terror of death, the more unquiet dead, the merrier.

Our ghost stories are not just escapism.  They are a means of digesting our existential horror at the imminence of death, but the narrative must resonate with our personal and cultural identity, or we wind up further freaking ourselves out. As John Updike once said, “A narrative is like a room on whose walls a number of false doors have been painted; while within the narrative, we have many apparent choices of exit, but when the author leads us to one particular door, we know it is the right one because it opens”.


Up next on Weird Darkness… We’ve all been asked the question, “How do you want to die when it comes your time?” Aside from the boring but realistic answer of “quietly in my sleep” some would prefer to go out in a blaze of glory, doing something heroic to save a person or persons from imminent doom. But of course that does not happen for most of us. In fact, there are probably more people going out in a blaze of stupidity! Coming up!



Most people will die under pretty mundane circumstances. But throughout history, there have been several unlucky individuals whose deaths can be described as more than simply noteworthy. While many have died heroic deaths over the centuries, we’re not talking about those folks – we’re talking about people who have earned the Darwin Award for dying in the most absurd, idiotic, amusing, or simply stupid ways.

***Professional swimmer Matthew Webb rose to fame by being the first man to swim the English Channel in 1875. After competing in several races and exhibitions in both the UK and USA, in 1882, Webb announced that he intended to swim across the rapids at the base of Niagara Falls. Those who referred to the challenge as suicidal turned out not to be wrong. On July 24, 1883, wearing the same red trunks he wore when he completed the Channel swim, he jumped out of the side of a small ferryboat that he had rowed to mid-stream. Sadly, shortly after this, he was sucked into a whirlpool, and four days later, his body was found. His autopsy concluded that the large weight of the water temporarily paralyzed him, stopping him from breathing or using his limbs. Despite becoming a national icon for his achievements in swimming, his legacy stands in biting off more than he could chew with his final, near-impossible feat.

***No one screams brutality more than the Spartans. But their logic and strategies may be something to question. While best known for their attempt to defeat the Persians in the Battle of Thermopylae with a notoriously small number of soldiers, one Spartan general puts even this flawed thought process to shame. Pausanias, who became the regent general after the death of his uncle King Leonidas in the above-mentioned battle, gained a reputation of being a tyrant and was quickly charged with conspiring with Persia against the Greeks. Despite twice being found innocent of treason, as rumors spread, eventually, it got to the point where Spartan authorities sent forces to arrest him. Pausanias thought that he could outsmart rather than outrun them. He fled to a temple of Athena, thinking that they wouldn’t attack him in a place so sacred. In that respect, he was right. Instead of entering the temple, the Spartans simply sealed up the entrance with Pausanias inside. According to legend, he was only removed once he was on the verge of death, having been starved. He died as soon as he was released.

***Gruffydd ap Llywelyn didn’t exactly get dealt the best cards in life. Born the bastard child of Llywelyn the Great and his mistress, Gruffydd should have been entitled to anything any legitimate son would according to Welsh law. Unfortunately, because his father wanted to form an alliance with the English, Llywelyn agreed that when he married the King’s daughter that Gruffydd would be disinherited in favor of any of their future sons. Gruffydd was then put into the custody of King John. This was only the first of three imprisonments Gruffydd had to endure. In 1223, years after being released from the English, Llywelyn feared that Gruffydd would dispute the inheritance of his first “legitimate” son Dafydd. Consequently, Gruffydd was held captive until 1234. His third and final capture was by Dafydd himself, who simply didn’t trust his brother and imprisoned both him and his son. It’s fair to say that by this point, Gruffydd was fed up. On Saint David’s Day in 1244, Gruffydd attempted to escape. Apparently, he did this by making a rope of sheets and attempting to climb down from his tower prison. Unsurprisingly, the rope broke, and he fell to his death.

***Draco is possibly the most notorious Greek lawmaker and ruler. Famous for his strict laws and brutal punishments, most crimes resulted in punishment by death. Although he was a ruthless leader, Draco was seemingly very popular. After his reign, though, he was exiled from Athens by its citizens. He spent the remainder of his life on the island of Aegina. Despite being responsible for countless executions, his own death was rather comedic. According to several Greek historians, Draco died around 600 BC in the Aeginetan theatre. He supposedly took a standing ovation at the end of a speech. In a display of approval, the audience threw hats and other clothing at him—an odd but somewhat common occurrence in Ancient Greece. So many cloaks and hats were thrown over him that he ended up suffocating to death.

***Sir Arthur Aston was a Royalist general during the British Civil War. Shortly after becoming Governor of Oxford, on September 19, 1644, Aston was thrown from his horse and broke his leg. He developed gangrene and required amputation. The whole procedure was a success, and he continued on with a wooden prosthesis. After the execution of King Charles I in 1649, Aston was left defending either Drogheda or Tredagh with 3,000 men against Cromwell’s army. This ultimately failed, and only about 30 people escaped. In a twisted state of cruel irony, Aston was beaten to death with his own wooden leg.

***The death of Greek philosopher Heraclitus is without a doubt the most disgusting on the list. A famous and inspiring ancient philosopher, he influenced the likes of Plato and Aristotle. According to Diogenes Laertius, Heraclitus died in 745 BC, and the circumstances were nothing short of unusual. Heraclitus developed dropsy, a condition that causes swelling due to fluid retention. He believed that if he stayed somewhere hot, the excess water would evaporate. Consequently, he buried himself in cow dung, but (shockingly!) this did not work. According to Laertius, Heraclitus was “unable to tear off the dung” and subsequently died.

***If ever there was a case that screamed irony, it’s the death of Clement Vallandigham. In Ohio in 1871, the lawyer was defending Thomas McGehan for the murder of Thomas Myers. A barroom brawl broke out the previous Christmas Eve, where it was known that Meyers and McGehan had a known disliking for each other. The night following the prosecution’s argument, the lawyer conducted his own experiment with a pistol to establish the quantity of residue left by a gunshot at point-blank range. He was also given Myer’s gun as evidence, ready for examination. Vallandigham argued that, in the rush of the brawl, Myers had accidentally shot himself. During his demonstration—which happened in his hotel room in front of a witness—Vallandigham put a pistol in his pocket as Myers had, turned it toward himself, and pulled the trigger. What he hadn’t realized was that instead of using Myers’s unloaded gun, he had actually grabbed his own pistol, which still had bullets in it. Vallandigham accidentally shot and killed himself while trying to demonstrate that Myers had accidentally shot and killed himself.

***There’s still plenty of questions surrounding Vikings among historians, but the reputation they have left among the general public is that of legendary groups of strong, brutal warriors constantly heading into battle. The death of Sigurd the Mighty could only ever happen to a Viking. Sigurd was Earl of Orkney and, having formed an alliance with Thorstein the Red, began conquering parts of Scotland. This was the likely cause of a feud he had with a local magnate in Moray named Maelbrigte. After a battle between the two and their men, Maelbrigte was killed, and Sigurd attached the head of his enemy to his saddle. This gruesome symbol of victory was the demise of Sigurd, as he scratched his leg on the teeth of the corpse’s head as he rode his horse north. Rather anticlimactically, Sigurd the Mighty died of an infection caused by that scratch.

***Yet another man vs. Niagara Falls story. Bobby Leach was already an established stuntman when he decided to go over Niagara Falls in a barrel in 1911. He planned to be the second person and first man to do so—and at the age of 53. The first, of course, was Annie Edson Taylor in 1901, who afterward discouraged anyone else from attempting it. Surprisingly, “Old Bobby” was successful! He did come out of it with a broken jaw and two broken kneecaps but told reporters that he was happy he’d achieved “the greatest ambition of his life.”’ With a life devoted to stunts and attempting a series of life-threatening performances, you may wonder what crazy story surrounded Leach’s death? In 1926 while in New Zealand, he slipped on an orange peel, and his broken leg developed gangrene. He passed away only a couple of days later. Not quite the wild ending to a rollercoaster life you expected.

***Like most of those previously mentioned, Reichelt had plenty of confidence in himself. An inventor and tailor, Reichelt created the parachute suit. In February 1912, Reichelt tested the parachute suit by jumping off the Eiffel Tower. While authorities agreed for the suit to be tested using a mannequin, Reichelt decided to test his invention himself. Despite having police officers surrounding him, no one attempted to stop him. There was a cameraman on the first floor where Reichelt started and another on the ground with others who came to see the event. The suit was a complete failure. It didn’t slow the fall down, let alone allow him to fly, and there was nothing that could prevent his death at this point.


Up next… In 1995 Mike Marcum got it in his head to build a time machine. Did he succeed? We may never know – because he disappeared without a trace. That story, when Weird Darkness returns!



In early 1995, Mike “Madman” Marcum was trying to build a time machine on the porch of his home in Stanberry, Missouri, USA. He began building a device called the Jacobs Ladder.

It uses a modified CD laser to reduce air resistance between two contacts. The result is a continuous arc. When he turned on the device, he saw an unusual result.

A heat trail appeared, the kind you might see on hot asphalt, but it was circular in shape, like a vortex. Then he decided to throw an iron screw into the vortex to see the effect and what would happen. He claims that the propeller disappeared for about half a second and then reappeared a few feet away from him a second later.

He was only 21 years old at the time and was a student majoring in electrical engineering. Compared to his friends, Marcum, you might say, was pretty smart. However, he had one problem – it needed a lot of power to make the machine work.

After a few tests, the CD laser caught fire. He decided that if he was going to build the machine again, he’d better use more powerful transformers.

His original plan was to buy transformers, but they were very expensive. He chose the alternative. The local power plant had six old transformers. Marcum stole six transformers weighing 140-plus pounds from the St. Joseph Light and Power plant in King City, Missouri.

Conducting a new experiment, he caused a massive power outage in several blocks of his neighborhood. Moments later, Gentry County Sheriff Eugene Lupfer arrested him on a warrant at his home on January 29, 1995, for stealing transformers.

After several months in jail, Marcum was released. And then he was invited to be a guest of Art Bell on Coast to Coast radio. He told the story of the disappearance of the iron screw and his plans to build a time machine. He vowed that he would do it legally from now on.

Marcum told Art that he still wanted to do another experiment, but that he didn’t have the money or the necessary parts. During the interview, he gave his phone number and was called nonstop for 3 days. The show really helped Markum a lot because many listeners shared ideas, funding, and the parts he needed.

Thanks to the help and donations from listeners, his next time machine project was more powerful and much larger than the previous one. While the original version of the Time Machine ran on kilowatts, this time it was for 3 megawatts. Because he wanted to test the machine on himself.

Marcum also installed a rotating magnetic field similar to the one used by the U.S. military in the Philadelphia experiment. He said the rotating magnetic field was more efficient and effective.

About a year later, Art Bell invited Mike Marcum back as a guest. Marcum claimed to be experimenting with a more sophisticated time machine. The electromagnetic vortex was large enough for a person to enter.

The interview ended with Marcum stating that he was on the verge of creating the necessary voltage to make the machine work. When asked what he would take with him, he said only his cell phone. At the end of the show, Mike decided to give his address instead of his phone number. Anyone interested could find his house on Google Earth.

During Marcum’s second, and last, appearance on The Bell Show in 1996, he said he had 30 days to complete his “legal” time machine.

In 1997, nothing more was heard of Mike Marcum.

Shortly after Marcum disappeared, a listener called on the Art Bell Show and told him about a strange story he had found. In the 1930s, police found a dead man on a beach in California.

He had been crushed to death in a strange metal pipe, the man was unrecognizable, and a mysterious device was found next to his body. The caller said the device looked like a cell phone.


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

All stories in Weird Darkness are purported to be true (unless stated otherwise) and you can find source links or links to the authors in the show notes.

“The Myths and Modern Science of Reptilians” from Anomalien
“The Devil Made Him Do It” by Marco Margaritoff for All That’s Interesting

“That Time An Alien Visited The Kayapo People” by Ellen Lloyd for Ancient Pages
“The Wonnangatta Station Murders” by Brent Swancer for Mysterious Universe

“The Headless Nun of Watton Priory” from Esoterx
“Dumbest Deaths” by Katie Chilton for ListVerse
“The Mike Marcum Time Machine” from Earth Chronicles

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

WeirdDarkness™ – is a production and trademark of Marlar House Productions. Copyright, 2021.

Now that we’re coming out of the dark, I’ll leave you with a little light… “The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him.” – John 1:9-10

And a final thought… “To achieve success, have a reason other than money.”

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



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