“THE HORROR AND HAUNTING IN VILLISCA” and More Disturbing But True Stories! #WeirdDarkness
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IN THIS EPISODE: Social media over-sharers are a common complaint. Facebook is a medium where people spill their guts, sometimes without enough discretion. While detailed status updates about breakups can be annoying, killers who confessed on social media give new meaning to the term “TMI.” It’s hard to believe, but some people use Facebook as a platform to announce the heinous crimes they’ve committed. (Online Crime Confessions) *** While some people confess on social media to the murders they’ve committed, in some cases it is social media that caused people to commit murder or be killed. We’ll look at a few of those cases. (Dead Because of Social Media) *** What if you could talk to God? Not through prayer, but through thought? Where you would be able to converse directly, and receive direct answers. One group of scientists believed it was possible and set out to do just that. (A Direct Line To God) *** Author and researcher Raymond Fowler tackles the tricky and trippy subject of time slips, and ripples in time. (Raymond Fowler And The Ever Changing Nature of Time) *** A young girl is continually beckoned to take a boat ride – but the one doing the beckoning is not of this world. (The Ghost In The Boat) *** On June 10, 1912, all eight people inside the Moore family’s house in Villisca, Iowa — including two adults and six children — were murdered by an axe-wielding assailant. It’s a mystery over a century old that still has no answers. (The Horror and Haunting In Villisca)
SOURCES AND REFERENCES FROM THE EPISODE…
BOOK: “Time Slip Connexions – We Are Holograms” by Raymond E. Fowler: https://amzn.to/3KOgRTS
BOOK: “UFOs – The Ultimate Abduction, We Are Property” by Raymond E. Fowler: https://amzn.to/3P8PhTC
BOOK: “Haunted Holidays – Twelve Months of Kentucky Ghosts” by Roberta Simpson Brown and Lonnie Brown: https://amzn.to/3KTj1S3
“The Horror And Haunting In Villisca” by Katie Serena for All That’s Interesting: https://weirddarkness.tiny.us/y9ape54y; from AmysCrypt.com: https://weirddarkness.tiny.us/4s9a732u; and Karly and Tera from HomespunHaints.com: https://weirddarkness.tiny.us/2p96j5sb
“The Ghost In The Boat” posted at Strange Company: https://weirddarkness.tiny.us/2p84yr35
“Online Crime Confessions” by Patricia Platt for Unspeakable Crimes: https://weirddarkness.tiny.us/5t3m9k6r; and JF Sargent for Ranker’s Lifestyle: https://weirddarkness.tiny.us/yckftb29
“Dead Because of Social Media” by Whitney Milam for Ranker: https://weirddarkness.tiny.us/n7vpa28t
“Raymond Fowler And The Ever Changing Nature of Time” posted at SpectralVision.com: https://weirddarkness.tiny.us/4x2wuwkk
“A Direct Line to God” posted at The Scare Chamber: https://weirddarkness.tiny.us/w98jzsvb
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OTHER PODCASTS I HOST…
Paranormality Magazine: (COMING SEPT. 30, 2023) https://weirddarkness.tiny.us/paranormalitymag
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At the end of a quiet street in Villisca, Iowa, there sits an old white frame house. Up the street, there are a group of churches, and a few blocks away is a park that faces a middle school. The old white house looks like many of the others that fill the neighborhood, but unlike them, it lies abandoned. The house emits no light or sound, and upon closer inspection, the doors are found to be tightly boarded up. A small sign out front reads: “Villisca Axe Murder House.” Despite its ominous air, the little white house was once filled with life, life that was harshly stamped out one warm summer’s night in 1912, when a mysterious stranger broke in, and viciously bludgeoned its eight sleeping inhabitants to death. The event would come to be known as the Villisca Axe Murders and it has baffled law enforcement for over a century since.
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…
Social media over-sharers are a common complaint. Facebook is a medium where people spill their guts, sometimes without enough discretion. While detailed status updates about breakups can be annoying, killers who confessed on social media give new meaning to the term “TMI.” It’s hard to believe, but some people use Facebook as a platform to announce the heinous crimes they’ve committed. (Online Crime Confessions)
While some people confess on social media to the murders they’ve committed, in some cases it is social media that caused people to commit murder or be killed. We’ll look at a few of those cases. (Dead Because of Social Media)
What if you could talk to God? Not through prayer, but through thought? Where you would be able to converse directly, and receive direct answers. One group of scientists believed it was possible and set out to do just that. (A Direct Line To God)
Author and researcher Raymond Fowler tackles the tricky and trippy subject of time slips, and ripples in time. (Raymond Fowler And The Ever Changing Nature of Time)
A young girl is continually beckoned to take a boat ride – but the one doing the beckoning is not of this world. (The Ghost In The Boat)
On June 10, 1912, all eight people inside the Moore family’s house in Villisca, Iowa — including two adults and six children — were murdered by an axe-wielding assailant. It’s a mystery over a century old that still has no answers. (The Horror and Haunting In Villisca)
If you’re new here, welcome to the show! While you’re listening, be sure to check out WeirdDarkness.com for merchandise, to visit sponsors you hear about during the show, sign up for my newsletter, enter contests, connect with me on social media, plus, you can visit the Hope in the Darkness page if you’re struggling with depression or dark thoughts. You can find all of that and more at WeirdDarkness.com.
Now.. bolt your doors, lock your windows, turn off your lights, and come with me into the Weird Darkness!
STORY: THE HORROR AND HAUNTING IN VILLISCA=====
On June 10, 1912, the Moore family was sleeping peacefully in their beds. Joe and Sarah Moore were asleep upstairs, while their four children were resting in a room down the hall. In a guest room on the first floor were two girls, the Stillinger sisters, who had come for a sleepover.
Shortly after midnight, a stranger entered through the unlocked door (not an uncommon sight in what was considered a small, safe, friendly town), and plucked an oil lamp from a nearby table, rigging it to burn so low it supplied light for barely one person. On one hand, the stranger held the lamp, lighting the way through the house.
In his other, he held an axe.
Ignoring the sleeping girls downstairs, the stranger made his way up the stairs, guided by the lamp, and a seemingly unerring knowledge of the home’s layout. He crept past the room with the children, and into Mr. and Mrs. Moore’s bedroom. Then he made his way to the children’s room, and finally back down to the bedroom downstairs. In each room, he committed some of the grisliest murders in American history.
Then, as quickly and silently as he had arrived, the stranger left, taking keys from the home, and locking the door behind him. The Villisca Axe Murders may have been quick, but as the world was about to discover, they were unimaginably horrifying.
The next morning, the neighbors became suspicious, noticing that the usually rambunctious home was dead quiet. They alerted Joe’s brother, who arrived to take a look. What he saw after letting himself in with his own key was enough to make him sick.
Everyone in the house was dead, all eight of them bludgeoned beyond recognition.
The police determined that the Moore parents had been murdered first, and with obvious force. The axe that had been used to kill them had been swung so high above the murderer’s head that it gouged the ceiling above the bed. Joe alone had been hit with the axe at least 30 times. The faces of both parents, as well as the children, had been reduced to nothing but a bloody pulp.
The state of the bodies wasn’t the most concerning part, however, once the police had searched the home.
After murdering the Moores, the killer had apparently set up some kind of ritual. He had covered the Moore parent’s heads with sheets, and the Moore children’s faces with clothing. He then went through each room in the house, covering all of the mirrors and windows with cloths and towels. At some point, he took a two-pound piece of uncooked bacon from the fridge and placed it in the living room, along with a keychain.
A bowl of water was found in the home, spirals of blood swirling through it. Police believed that the murderer had washed his hands in it before leaving.
By the time the police, the coroner, a minister, and several doctors had thoroughly perused the crime scene, word of the vicious crime had spread, and the crowd outside the home had grown. Officials cautioned the townspeople against going inside, but as soon as the premises was clear at least 100 townspeople gave in to their gross fascinations and traipsed through the blood-spattered home.
One of the townspeople even took a fragment of Joe’s skull as a keepsake.
As for the perpetrator of the Villisca Axe Murders, the police had shockingly few leads. A few half-hearted efforts to search the town and surrounding countryside were made, though most officials believed that with the roughly five-hour head start that the killer had had, he would be long gone. Bloodhounds were brought in, but with no success, as the crime scene had been fully demolished by the townspeople.
A few suspects were named over time though none of them panned out. The first was Frank Jones, a local businessman who had been in competition with Joe Moore. Moore had worked for Jones for seven years in the farm equipment sales business before leaving and starting his own rival business.
There was also a rumor that Joe was having an affair with Jones’ daughter-in-law, though the reports were unfounded. The townspeople insist, however, that the Moores and the Joneses harbored a deep hatred for each other, though no one admits it was bad enough to spark murder.
The second suspect seemed far more likely and even confessed to the murders – though he later recanted claiming police brutality.
Lyn George Jacklin Kelly was an English immigrant, who had a history of sexual deviancy and mental problems. He even admitted to being in town the night of the Villisca Axe Murders and admitted that he had left early in the morning. Though his small stature and meek personality led some to doubt his involvement, there were certain factors police believed made him the perfect candidate.
Kelly was left-handed, which police determined from blood spatters that the killer must be. He also had a history with the Moore family, as many had seen him watching them while at church and out and about in town. A dry cleaner in a nearby town had received bloody clothing from Kelly a few days after the murders. He reportedly also asked police for access to the home after the crime while posing as a Scotland Yard officer.
At one point, after a long interrogation, he eventually signed a confession detailing the crime. However he almost immediately recanted, and a jury refused to indict him.
For years, police looked into every possible scenario that could have culminated in the Villisca Axe Murders. Was it a single attack, or part of a larger string of murders? Was it likelier to be a local perpetrator, or a traveling killer, simply passing through town and taking an opportunity?
Soon, reports of similar enough crimes happening throughout the country began to pop up. Though the crimes were not quite as gruesome, there were two common threads – the use of an axe as the murder weapon, and the presence of an oil lamp, set to burn extremely low, at the scene.
Despite the commonalities, however, no actual connections could be made. The case eventually ran cold, and the house was boarded up. No sale was ever attempted, and no changes were made to the original layout. Now, the house has become a tourist attraction and sits at the end of the quiet street as it always has, while life goes on around it, undeterred by the horrors that were once committed within.
As you can imagine, plenty of creepy things happen in this house today. Tour guides, visitors, and investigators hear whispers and footsteps. A lot. People see shadows and catch them on camera. Rumor has it that if you don’t believe in ghosts, you will after spending the night at the super haunted Villisca Axe Murder House.
Many to visit the quaint former home of the Moore family in Villisca, Iowa have reported to have strange experiences.
Some claim that the murder victims still remain, trapped within the house, while others believe a dark entity may lurk in the attic space, just as the murder did all those years ago. However, others believe this not to be the case and that different energies may exist within the house today, possibly brought in by other investigators or created by their differing intentions.
One thing that is certain, is the house can be incredibly active. Doors seem to open and shut on their own, objects move and strange sounds can be heard. Bangs, clangs, footsteps and especially voices, which can often be captured on EVP are commonly reported within the home.
Another report that is particularly eerie and that seems to come out of the house a lot is the unexplainable changing of visitors moods. People can be happy, sad, or even angry from one moment to another.
A few years ago, a “recreational paranormal investigator” stabbed himself in the chest when visiting the house with a group of friends. He went into the northwest bedroom by himself and then, next thing you know, he’s radioing his friends for help. The wounds were pretty bad—he had to be flown to Omaha for treatment. Which is why you never break the first rule of Ghosthunting Club: Never wander off by yourself!
But be warned… according to local reports, many of the residents of the small town of Villisca, Iowa, aren’t that keen on all the visitors that schlep through the town looking for ghosts or getting their true crime fix. Some locals think it’s improper to exploit the deaths of the Moore family and their friends, and hate that the town is famous for such a heinous crime. So, you may get the stink eye from the townsfolk if you go to check it out.
When Weird Darkness returns… social media over-sharers are a common complaint. Facebook is a medium where people spill their guts, sometimes without enough discretion. While detailed status updates about breakups can be annoying, killers who confessed on social media give new meaning to the term “TMI.” It’s hard to believe, but some people use Facebook and other social media sites as a platform to announce the heinous crimes they’ve committed. That’s up next.
STORY: ONLINE CRIME CONFESSIONS=====
Some of following stories are incredibly unsettling, others are downright dumbfounding in their stupidity. There are the killers who bragged on Facebook, taking pride in their act – as well as those who were remorseful, and robbers taunting cops to catch them, or those who’ve committed crimes and just had to report it as part of their “here’s what I did today” online social media posts. Regardless of the motivations behind their status updates, there is something undeniably strange about committing a crime and proceeding to use social media to announce it the world.
***Police had an easy time tracking down Floridian Mack Yearwood, wanted in connection with an assault that took place over Labor Day weekend 2016, after he used his own wanted poster as his Facebook profile picture. Cops in Stuart, FL, north of Miami, used Yearwood’s FB to track him to his brother’s house, where he was arrested. Writing on the Stuart Police Department Facebook page, Cpl. Brian Bossio noted, “Facebook is a great way to communicate and connect with old friends and family… If you are wanted by the police, it’s probably not a good idea to use the ‘Wanted of the Week’ poster of yourself as your profile pic.”
***Michael Baker siphoned gas from a cop car in 2012, and shared a picture on Facebook of the deed. He was arrested soon after.
***In a bizarre tragedy, Randy Janzen took to social media in May of 2015 to post an unnerving status update about his actions ten days prior. He claimed his daughter suffered debilitating migraines. As a result, he felt he had no choice but to murder his daughter as well as his wife and sister (to spare them pain and shame over his actions). In a lengthy post, he described the psychological suffering his daughter’s migraines caused. Janzen seemed almost relieved at his actions. “I took a gun and shot her in the head and now she is migraine free and floating in the clouds on a sunny afternoon,” he wrote, “her long beautiful brown hair flowing in the breeze, a true angel.” When police arrived on scene, a four-hour standoff ensued. They saw a man matching Janzen’s description in the window and shortly thereafter the house was engulfed in flames. The inferno was so intense, it took three days before was safe to reenter the home. Upon searching the ruins, Janzen’s charred body was found. Forensic reports indicated he had shot himself after starting the fire.
***After prematurely tweeting that he “beat a body” (referring to the person he killed and the charges he evaded) in 2012, gang leader Ronald Herronposted a YouTube video of himself firing handguns and claiming that he was the head of a “Murder Team.” Herron was arrested.
***When Rosemarie Farid’s roommate got too noisy for her liking, she began posting violent status updates about her desire to harm him. Later that same day, Farid (who describes herself as mentally disturbed) uploaded a bizarre video to Facebook in which she confessed to having brutally beaten her roommate to death by repeatedly bashing his head onto the bathroom floor. The 2014 video was taken while she was walking outdoors, and at one point she paused to greet a passerby with the words, “How ya doing, man? God bless your family.” Police officers found Farid’s roommate in a pool of blood in the bathtub. There were bloody washcloths in the kitchen sink and a trail of blood led to the bathroom. Farid confessed she took her roommate’s phone before killing him so he could not contact authorities. She was arrested the next day and charged with murder.
***Benjamin Robinson and Daniel Hutchinson stole thousands of British pounds from gambling machines, then took selfies with their haul. North Yorkshire Police originally found more than £3,000 in cash in Robinson and Hutchinson’s car when they stopped it in Skipton, UK in June 2014. The men wore disguises during the act, but snapped pictures afterwards and posted them to social media.
***When his estranged wife cut off Facebook contact with him, Mark Alvin Manliclic was desperate to get her attention. His wife had left the Philippines for Canada for a job, an action she allegedly took out of fear of her own life. As revenge, Manliclic brutally stabbed their daughter to death and posted the images of her body online. Some witnesses claim he also posted a video of the murder, which was later taken down. Manliclic’s aunt found the seven-year-old girl’s body and police found stab wounds in her neck, abdomen, and back. While the murder is an unbelievable tragedy, at least justice was served. Manliclic was swiftly taken into custody.
***After fatally shooting his wife several times, Florida man Derek Medina uploaded images of her corpse to Facebook. He claimed the murder was in self-defense, but he still expected to go to prison. The jury did not buy his self-defense claim, however, and the judge overseeing the case was quick to point out Medina foretold his own fate in the post. While Medina claimed his wife was abusive, the prosecution countered this with testimony from his wife’s friends. Medina also gave conflicting reports on what occurred and his wife’s wounds did not match his story. When he was sentenced to life in prison, he gave a rambling statement to the court claiming he did not get a fair trial.
***Dominyk Antonio Alfonseca held up a bank in Virginia Beach in 2015. He posted a picture of the note he passed a bank teller demanding the money. He also uploaded two videos he took while committing the crime, including one of the bank teller reading his note and another of the teller handing over the cash. He was picked up by police 20 minutes later.
***When Gypsy Blanchard posted a bizarre Facebook message reading, “That b**** is dead,” police decided to search her home. They were shocked to discover the body of Gypsy’s mother, Dee Dee Blanchard, who had been stabbed to death in her bed. Neighbors did not believe Gypsy had committed the crime, as Gypsy was allegedly wheelchair bound. However, police soon found Gypsy and her mother had been faking her disability to gain financial assistance from the government. The story gets stranger from there. It soon came out that Gypsy did not act alone. She conspired with boyfriend Nicholas Paul Godejohn, whom she met on a Christian dating site. Godejohn confessed to having stabbed Dee Dee to death on orders from Gypsy and the pair were promptly charged with first degree murder.
***Hannah Sabata stole $6,000 from a Cornerstone Bank in 2012 before immediately coming home to make a YouTube video about it. “I just stole a car and robbed a bank. Now I’m rich, I can pay off my college financial aid and tomorrow i’m going for a shopping spree,” she wrote in the video’s description, adding, “Bite me. I love GREENDAY!” Police were notified and Sabata was arrested. The video was used at her trial as evidence.
***When Samantha Stansifer broke up with her boyfriend Anthony Hall, he let her stay with him for two weeks while she worked out her living situation. This turned out to be a deadly mistake. When Stansifer was going through Hall’s phone, she found he had been texting another girl. Her reaction was to brutally stab him to death in his sleep and then post on Facebook, “I did it. He deserved it.” Stansifer, who was covered in Hall’s blood when she was arrested, apparently showed no remorse and was unfazed as she recounted her story. The only solace is that a judge and jury showed Stansifer little empathy in return. She was sentenced to life in prison without parole in June of 2015.
***In 2011, Rodney Knight Jr. stole “a bunch of stuff” (like cash, a laptop, and a winter coat) from Washington Post journalist Marc Fisher’s home, and took a photo of himself doing it. He posted the image to his son’s Facebook account. He was later arrested and charged with burglary.
***In September of 2016, Earl Valentine posted an unsettling video on Facebook Live. In the video, Valentine said, “Hello, everyone. I just killed my f****** wife.” Unbeknownst to Valentine, his wife had survived her gunshot wound, but his 15-year-old son was not so lucky. Valentine’s son had been shot in the crossfire, and used his dying words to phone the police for help. There would end up being no trial for Valentine. After the shooting, he fled the scene and phoned police to say he was going to Virginia to kill more relatives. However, after visiting his father’s grave, Valentine checked into a hotel room in Columbia, South Carolina. Less than 48 hours after the shooting, Valentine died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.
***Rashia Wilson called herself the “Queen of IRS Tax Fraud” in 2011 because, according to court documents, she stole more than $20 million dollars. She gave herself the title on Facebook, and when cops found out, she was sentenced to 21 years in jail.
***When Nancy Lopez logged onto Facebook in December of 2011, she saw a disturbing status from her Facebook friend Bart Heller. In the status, Heller claimed he had killed his ex-girlfriend and a friend of his, and would soon take his own life. Lopez phoned the police in Fort Lauderdale, Indiana, nearly 1,000 miles away from her home, to report the crime. Police arrived at the scene to find the bodies of Heller, Erin Jehl, and Ryann Tipton. Allegedly, some kind of love triangle spurred Heller’s actions. Jehl had recently begun a relationship with a police officer and Heller was also suspicious of her friendship with Tipton. His jealousy led him to commit this unspeakable act.
***After allegedly robbing a Savings Bank in Ohio in 2015, John Mogan and Ashley Duboe posted a number of silly photos of themselves posing with the cash in various positions online. They were soon arrested.
***Despite her online confession, 18-year-old Nakasia James pled not guilty to the stabbing death of her boyfriend, Dorian Powell. After a heated argument, James claimed to have killed Powell in self defense, according to a distraught Facebook status update. In the post, James seems genuinely remorseful. She wrote, “I gt the knife and stabbed him ddnt I would hurt him BT I did he died.” She then wrote she was going on the run, hoping the lord would forgive her. She ended the status with the chilling message, “And sorry Dorian Powell rip.”
***In 2012, police arrested 43 alleged gang members in connection with a series of shootings in Brooklyn. The suspects posted about their supposed criminal activities on Facebook and Twitter.
***After killing his child’s grandfather, Anthony Curtis Macneill posted on his Facebook page that he had a killed a man. In a series of status updates, he claimed he was going to take his own life. The last status read, “Goodbye to my friends and people who gave a damn.” Police later found Macneill’s decomposing body less than half a mile from the murder scene. He had apparently shot himself in the head.
***After being accused of “rape by force” in 2012, Dustin McCombs took umbrage with the police department labeling him the “creep of the week” and decided to troll them on Facebook. The authorities traced his location and arrested him soon after.
While some people confess on social media to the murders they’ve committed, in some cases it is social media that caused people to commit murder or be killed. We’ll look at a few of those cases up next.
STORY: DEAD BECAUSE OF SOCIAL MEDIA=====
We’re all well versed in the belief that the Internet can be a dangerous and often-times intimidating place. You have to be wary of the things you put out into the world (especially publicly) because everyone in the world then has access to it. In a world ruled by digital communication, posting the wrong status update can actually be fatal – and there are several statistics on it. These social media deaths were caused by a number of differing circumstances. Something as simple as a relationship status change on Facebook or a cat-fishing gone unbelievably awry could then lead to an array of tragedies and real victims. If these harrowing stories are enough to make us just a tad more discerning of what we’re willing to post online, then re-telling these tragedies may actually cause some good. We can only hope that fatally targeting others isn’t the newest and most dangerous social media trend.
***One evening in 2010, after reading child-support-related Facebook comments from his ex-wife that he perceived as passive-aggressive, Adam Mann beat Lisa Beverley in her London home with a hammer before using a knife to sever her neck. The couple had reportedly divorced in 2007. Then Mann left Beverley’s body for the couple’s 5-year-old son to discover the next day. Mann’s son phoned his grandparents to tell them what he discovered, and they ultimately called the police. Mann received a 24-year sentence.
***Perhaps the most bizarre social networking killer never directly took any lives. In a twisted scheme taken to the extreme, then 27-year-old New Zealander Natalia Burgess spent months creating fake Facebook and Bebo profiles of attractive teenage girls. She gave them alluring names, like “Jordz Williams,” “Becca Maria Jullienne,” and “Abby Jane Zoe William.” And her ultimate goal was to seduce dozens of teenage boys – as young as 13 – into online relationships. As if that wasn’t I-Belong-on-To-Catch-a-Predator enough, Burgess would then “kill off” the fake girls in tragic accidents or suicides, using other made-up personas to break the news on Facebook. Burgess would trick the teens into believing they’d found someone special and then later deliver the devastating news of their passing. The girls’ online boyfriends were traumatized. Over 40 teen boys have been identified as victims of her digital mind games, and one subsequently took his own life. Her machinations were discovered only when, in 2011, a 22-year-old woman found her own photographs in an online memorial video for one of these fake Internet girls, a girl named “Abby.” Burgess was sentenced to two years and two months in prison.
***In 2014, Scott Humphrey, 27, of Nottinghamshire was sent to jail after he repeatedly punched his friend, Richard Rovetto, 29, in a cab on the way back from a guys’ night out. Humphrey was upset because Rovetto had allegedly “poked” Humphrey’s girlfriend on Facebook. Rovetto claimed that he didn’t know the woman was Humphrey’s girlfriend and meant no offense by the virtual flirting. The punches reportedly caused Rovetto to become light-headed, and he passed when Humphrey pushed him to the ground, causing a fatal head injury. Humphrey received four years and four months for manslaughter.
***In August of 2010, three Colombian teens were found shot without any obvious reason, and it was just the beginning of a digital reign of terror. Five days later, the names of the teens – and 66 others – showed up on a mysterious Facebook “death lists.” The passings all took place in the town of Puerto Asis, located in Putumayo. When another teenager named on the list was slain three days later, more lists were posted, and leaflets were placed on cars asking the families of kids on the lists to leave town within three days or see their children’s lives ended. At the time, a local named Juan David Sepulveda tweeted: “Need to protect our youth,” promoting a public outcry. But the police – aside from suspecting gang activity – were at a loss. To this day, nobody knows or is willing to speak up about the responsible party or parties. The slayings stopped after most of the kids on the lists, who were predominately minors, fled town.
***Even adults can succumb to the ugliness that is cyber jealousy. In 2008, 41-year-old Edward Richardson’s 26-year-old wife, Sarah, decided to change her Facebook relationship status from “married” to “single.” Even though they were already separated, Richardson was averse to the status change. After their separation, Sarah decided to move back in with her parents. Later, Richardson snuck into the Staffordshire house and confronted Sarah with a knife while she slept. Following her passing, Richardson attempted to take his own life but was apprehended by authorities. He received a 17-year sentence.
***Richard Alden Samuel McCroskey III, age 20, was a self-styled horrorcore rapper living in Castro Valley, California, with his sister. Realizing that nobody actively follows bands on Facebook, McCroskey turned to MySpace in an attempt to reach out to all the horrorcore fans looking for the next big thing. He made a connection with Emma Neiderbrock, 16, and her friend, Melanie Wells, 18. Under the name “Syko Sam,” McCroskey posted some of his musical stylings on the social platform: “You’re not the first, just to let you know / I’ve killed many people and I kill them real slow / It’s the best feeling, watching their last breath / Stabbing and stabbing till there’s nothing left”. In 2009, McCroskey went to Emma’s home in the small town of Farmville, Va. There, he attacked Emma and Melanie, as well as Emma’s parents, Pastor Mark Neiderbrock, 50, and Dr. Debra Kelley, 53. Their bodies were found at the Neiderbrock home having been bludgeoned with a hammer and a maul while they slept. A friend and fellow horrorcore rapper claimed: “You would never, ever imagine that kid even being a suspect.” McCroskey was sentenced to life in prison.
***In 2008, a teen from Mesa, Arizona, committed patricide. When a normal 15-year-old is forbidden to use his favorite social networking site, they might choose to go outside and play with their friends or interact with the real world. But when 15-year-old Hughstan Schlicker’s father threatened to ban him from using MySpace, he ended his dad’s life with a 12-gauge shotgun. Reportedly, Schlicker had been threatening to take his own life for weeks on MySpace. On the day in question, Schlicker stayed home from school, specifically to end his father as well as himself. He decided that if his father was going to take away his Internet, he was going to take both of their lives. However, he called a friend who convinced him to turn himself in. Schlicker was convicted and sentenced to 20 years in prison.
***In 2010, a Facebook feud between Torrie Lynn Emery, 23, and Danielle Booth, 20, led to a deadly high-speed car chase. The two women had been fighting on Facebook for months over a guy that was in prison at the time. When Emery saw Booth driving with a friend, she pursued them across town – with her 3-year-old in the backseat. Emery rammed 21-year-old Alesha Abernathy’s car several times until the car ran a red light and was hit by a dump truck. Abernathy passed instantly, and Booth was in critical condition. Tracy Emery, Torrie’s mother, said tearfully: “She made a mistake, but her intentions weren’t to kill nobody. Her intentions were to fight.” Emery received a sentence of 18 to 60 years for numerous charges, including child endangerment.
***Sarah Elston, 22, was reportedly excited to see her ex again. For the first time in months, 28-year-old Danial Garcia contacted her on Facebook to set up a meeting. While Elston, an artist in Brisbane, was looking forward to the reconciliation, her former boyfriend’s intentions were sinister. Elston was unaware of Garcia’s pre-existing mental health conditions, and Garcia had recently confessed his desire to commit homicide to a counselor. In June 2008, the police were called to a disturbance at Elston’s flat and then found her mutilated body. Neighbors reported that they had heard loud noises coming from the unit but didn’t report it sooner because such commotion was common in their neighborhood. Garcia was arrested but found mentally unfit to stand trial. Reportedly, Garcia is a paranoid schizophrenic and will be permanently institutionalized for his crimes.
***Sarah Ludemann, 18, and Rachel Wade, 19, had a particularly vicious Internet battle. In the months leading up to her murder in April 2009, Ludemann kept boasting photos of herself with her new boyfriend, Josh, even though his ex-girlfriend, Wade, repeatedly asked her to stop posting them. The two girls were harassing each other for months, including dropping threatening F-bombs into each others’ voicemails. This particular voicemail transcript was played during the 2010 trial: “Please tell me Sarah why you would be a dumb-[donkey brat] and put a brand new picture of you and Josh at the beach on your MySpace. Seriously, I told you to watch your f*cking back and not to f*cking chill with him. I’m guaranteeing you that I’m going to f*cking murder you, I’m letting you know that now.” So following-up on her promise, Wade went over to Ludemann’s house to continue taunting her. After an altercation, Wade stabbed Ludemann in the chest with a kitchen knife and watched her bleed out. After being sentenced to 27 years in prison, Wade revised her stance on cyber exchanges: “It’s almost like you can threaten something or say whatever you want and possibly scare them and you don’t have to face them at that moment.”
***Childhood friends Jameg Blake and Kwame Dancy had been exchanging heated 140-character insults on Twitter for days over a woman both men liked. In December 2009, just hours before a fatal confrontation in the luxury NYC high-rise where the 22-year-olds lived on the same floor, Dancy taunted Blake online. Dancy tweeted: “N****a is lookin for you don’t think I won’t give up ya address for a price betta chill asap!” Blake then used a shotgun to target his former BFF. Immediately after the murder, Blake tweeted: “R.I.P. Kwame.” Dancy’s mother, Madeline Smith, expressed her distraught: “That’s not a reason to shoot somebody. That’s crazy. I don’t know what’s going on with that Twitter thing.” Blake pleaded guilty to manslaughter and was sentenced to 21 years in prison.
***It was New Year’s Eve in 2009, and most teens were busy spending time with their loved ones, ringing in the new year. In Burien, WA, seasoned 16-year-old criminal Matthew Dubois was arguing with his 15-year-old girlfriend, Mikarah “Tinky” Sanders, over a comment another boy had posted to her MySpace page. Dubois had a youthful record already spotted with theft, burglary, assault, and witness intimidation. He was so utterly thrown by the MySpace comment that, by midnight, he’d taken a .547 handgun and shot his girlfriend in the face. It was then that Dubois had the idea to shoot himself in the shoulder so that he could blame Tinky’s passing on an imaginary “gang member.” His plan backfired, and Dubois – charged as an adult – was sentenced to 14 years in prison.
***When a London teen gang of 20 decided to kill rival 15-year-old Sofyen Belamouadden, they planned the attack online. Further taking the “public sharing” theme to the next levels, the group decided to go after Sofyen while hundreds of people watched. In 2010, armed with an eclectic assortment of weapons, from samurai swords and machetes to Swiss Army knives and screwdrivers, the teens chased Sofyen across busy Victoria Tube Station before committing a 12-second long attack in front of hundreds of onlookers. Since the assault took place in a public space, a subway station, it was captured on CCTV, which made the whole whodunit aspect of the criminal trials open and shut. In the end, three were convicted of murder, five of manslaughter, and nine on lesser chargers.
***In 2014, 32-year-old Courtney Ann Sanford of North Carolina fatally crashed her car into a highway median moments after updating her Facebook status. Reportedly, Sanford posted: “The happy song makes me HAPPY.” KTLA 5 reported that one of the drivers involved in the collision saw Sanford’s car cross the median but was unable to maneuver out of the way. Authorities believe that Sanford had been updating her status and taking pictures while operating her vehicle.
***Amidst a digital sea of up-to-the-minute status updates, 15-year-old Alyssa Bustamante of Missouri stood out from the crowd. Her Facebook profile interests even included “killing people.” And she wasn’t lying. In 2009, Bustamante dug a shallow grave in advance, then stabbed her 9-year-old neighbor, Elizabeth Olten, multiple times before slitting her throat. She then hid the little girl’s body. Of the crime, Bustamante later told police that she “wanted to know what it felt like” to take a life. In her journal following the passing, Bustamante wrote that “[i]t was ahmazing.” The prosecutor on the case, Mark Richardson, had “argued for life in prison, plus 71 years, accounting for the years Elizabeth lost.” Bustamante pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and armed criminal action. She was sentenced to life in prison with the chance of parole for the first charge and 30 years for the subsequent charge.
***In 2016, two Franciscana dolphins were pulled out of the ocean in Argentina. The rare dolphins were then passed around by a bunch of people on the beach at the Santa Teresita resort and used as props in the group’s selfies. According to conservation specialist Vida Silvestre, the species of dolphin is susceptible to dehydration and heat. Reportedly, only 30,000 Franciscana dolphins exist. At least one of the dolphins passed during the reckless ploy for Instagram likes by this irreverent group of tourists.
***In 2014, 23-year-old Terri-Marie Palmer stabbed her boyfriend, Damon Searson, after posting a Facebook status saying that her bf “p***** [her] off sitting on Facebook, completely blanking [her] when [she’s] talking to him.” In retaliation for her boyfriend’s inattentive attitude while he checked messages on his phone, Palmer assaulted him with a bread knife, ending his life. She then phoned emergency services and attempted to lie by stating her boyfriend had caused his own injury while they were “messing around” in their Lancashire caravan. The hairdresser was found guilty and given a life sentence in prison. She may be eligible for parole after 12 years.
***In 2016, a few weeks away from graduation, an 18-year-old Indiana teen’s life was taken as the result of a feud on Twitter. The tension started when Jerrold Parker tweeted at his soon-to-be assailant Devin Leggett, 19, saying that he “couldn’t rap.” Not too long later, Leggett shot Parker multiple times, according to several witnesses. Leggett was charged with murder and carrying a handgun without a license.
***In 2016, Arun Rao, a 24-year-old man from Bengaluru, India, posted “Hi Shishya” while chatting with one of his friends, Sandeep, on Facebook. “Shishya” means disciple, but in his particular dialect it can mean “camp follower.” Somehow, this sparked an argument between the two, which escalated into tension involving a whole group of men. A few weeks after making the comment, Sandeep and his friends approached Rao at his own home and asked to step outside to talk. When he didn’t return immediately, Rao’s mother went out to look for him. She found Sandeep and his buddies beating her son. Rao was then kidnapped in front of his mother, placed in a van, and repeatedly stabbed in his abdomen. Rao’s brother and his friends searched for Rao and found him bleeding out at Bagalur Cross. Rao passed while undergoing treatment at a local Baptist hospital.
***In 2016, 17-year-old Cassandra “Cecci” Porter, a senior at West Side High School in Dayton, Idaho, took her own life after another student set up a Facebook page under a false name encouraging her to. Two weeks prior, the teen reportedly attempted to take her life due to the continued online harassment. Thinking his daughter had recovered and the bullying had ceased, Craig Porter went out of town on business. When he returned, Cecci had passed. Her father lamented: “They just said terrible, graphic things about her and told her to kill herself.”
When Weird Darkness returns… Author and researcher Raymond Fowler tackles the tricky and trippy subject of time slips, and ripples in time.
But first… a young girl is continually beckoned to take a boat ride – but the one doing the beckoning is not of this world. That story is up next.
STORY: THE GHOST IN THE BOAT=====
The following tale was related by Roberta Simpson Brown and Lonnie E. Brown in their book “Haunted Holidays: Twelve Months of Kentucky Ghosts” which I’ll link to in the show notes.
The Browns were spending one Fourth of July weekend with friends in a cabin on Lake Cumberland. Although they enjoyed sitting on the cabin’s porch and looking over the water, they did not swim. When the lake was created, it flooded farms, houses, and wild landscapes. They had heard alarming tales of unwary swimmers encountering barbed wire, huge fish, and other such dangerous items. As it turned out, the lake harbored something even worse than they had imagined.
One afternoon, a family named Jackson, who were renting the cabin next door, came over for a chat. Their seven-year-old daughter Tiffany asked if she could walk on the beach. Both parents replied with a vehement “No!”
Mrs. Jackson explained to the Browns that when they were staying at the lake the previous summer, they had a “terrifying experience.” As the front yard of their cabin was fenced, they allowed Tiffany to play in the yard alone. The gate was kept locked.
Tiffany began telling her parents that every day around sunset, she saw a little girl alone in a boat on the lake. When the Jacksons would go to look, they saw nothing.
One day, Tiffany informed them that the boat was bobbing in the water, empty, and the little girl was walking on the beach, gesturing to her. Tiffany said that the girl wanted her to go in the boat.
Tiffany’s increasingly disturbed parents sternly warned her that she must never do that. The Jacksons decided they needed to find this girl’s parents and have a serious talk with them.
Late the following day, the Jacksons went out to the front porch to watch the sunset. Tiffany had already gone out to play. They were shocked to find that the gate had been unlocked, and Tiffany was gone. A moment later, they saw their daughter in a boat just off shore. It was sinking, and the child was screaming for help. Mr. Jackson dashed to the lake, rescuing the girl just before she went under.
“What on earth were you doing in that boat alone?” “How did you get through the locked gate?” the horrified parents asked her.
Tiffany replied, “The little girl opened the gate and helped me in the boat. She said it would be fun, but it wasn’t.”
The next day, Mr. Jackson went in search of the mysterious child’s family. Nobody knew of any other little girl currently staying at the lake, but a man who ran a bait shop did remember something: a couple of years back, a family with an eight-year-old girl rented the cabin where the Jacksons were staying. One night, the girl sneaked out and took their boat out on the lake. Gusts of wind capsized the boat, and the child drowned.
The Jacksons still had a week left on their rental, and they were loath to let this disturbing information ruin their vacation. They decided all would be well if they made certain that the gate and the doors of their cabin were kept locked. They also vowed to never let Tiffany out of their sight.
That night, they awakened to hear Tiffany calling them. When the Jacksons came to her room, the child was standing by her window, looking into the yard. Tiffany cried, “She’s back! She wants me to go with her again. She says she wants someone to play with.”
Her parents saw no girl in the yard, but they noticed that the gate they had so carefully locked was now open and swinging in the wind.
They brought Tiffany to their room for the rest of the night. First thing in the morning, they packed and left for home. The holiday was definitely over.
The Jacksons told the Browns, “This year we rented a different cabin. So far we haven’t seen anything unusual, but it doesn’t pay to take any chances.”
STORY: RAYMOND FOWLER AND THE EVER-CHANGING NATURE OF TIME=====
It has become an increasingly popular notion that linear time, time measured from the past, the present and the future, is not the complete story. The many variations from our normal perception of time spring from numerous source experiences, to include UFO encounters, Near Death Experiences, and Past Life Experiences. Even the CIA, in its formerly classified Remote Viewing program, encountered movements in time in addition to “seeing” the desired targets.
In his book, “Time Slip Connexions: We Are Holograms,” veteran UFO and paranormal researcher Raymond Fowler tackles the tricky subject of ripples in time from many angles while also demonstrating the interrelatedness of things previously thought to be completely separate phenomena. I’ll place a link to the book in the show notes.
The author of eleven books on UFOs and NDEs, Fowler began his career in the paranormal as a nuts-and-bolts researcher of UFO sightings in the 1960s. Over the decades, he gradually widened his belief system to embrace alien abduction, Near Death Experiences, Out-of-Body experiences and other phenomena that came to seem linked to an overarching intelligence from which everything we know about reality originates.
So, what is a Time Slip?
“A Time Slip is an occurrence,” Fowler writes, “in which a person or persons step from their time into another time, either in the past or in the future. A person having a Time Slip may also experience a disquieting, unsettling or depressed feeling at the outset of the event. Some people have even described a sort of fog surrounding them as they emerge into another time. Others as if a vacuum is lowered over them and all sounds around them disappear at the outset of the Time Slip. This also sometimes occurs at the outset of a UFO experience.”
Fowler’s interest in the phenomenon began with his own Time Slip experience.
“One morning in the spring of 1980,” he recalls, “when I entered the half cellar of our former home in Wenham, Massachusetts, and stepped down a few steps into the full cellar, I instantly became totally paralyzed. Shocked, I found it hard to believe my eyes. A man with my build, wearing a pair of black dress pants and a white shirt, appeared from behind the furnace where our freezer is located. He walked toward me and when he was three feet away from me he turned to my right and walked out of sight toward the cellar stairs. His body was solid, but it had a rapidly vibrating appearance to it. I could not make out facial features. Then, just as suddenly, I could move. I was dumbfounded and ran into the full cellar to find no one there. I called up to my wife and asked her if she had just been down in the cellar. She had not. In any event, the figure was exactly my build and was wearing black pants and a white shirt!”
Fowler says he only later came to realize what had happened when one day he went to retrieve some frozen vegetables from the freezer in the cellar. He was wearing a pair of black dress pants and a white shirt and followed the exact same path as the apparition. He is convinced that what he saw in spring of 1980 was himself in the future.
“I can think of no other explanation,” he writes. “I was not hallucinating. I saw the man distinctly. The cellar was well lighted with sunlight pouring in a window to my left.”
Fowler continues by saying that the only time he would be attired in black dress pants and a white shirt would have been for the weddings of three of his children, in 1983, 1989, and 1991. He would continue to have Time Slip experiences and eventually decided to write “Time Slip Connexions”
The book examines several hypotheses concerning the structure of the universe and its relationship to time. it also provides an overview of research by the CIA that concluded that time, as we experience it, is an illusion and that so-called past events can be accessed via altered states of perception.
One obvious and very disturbing implication of the Time Slip phenomenon is that future events can be foretold. Even Fowler’s brief encounter with his future self in the cellar implies that some events are etched in stone and that we eventually “catch up” with such events after the passage of time.
Meaning, if time is an illusion, then so is free will. Fowler goes in-depth in his investigation of current theories concerning the “Holographic Universe,” part of which leads to the conclusion that we exist in a predetermined hologram, similar to a video game, which is overseen by an advanced race of aliens who both created and control us all. We exist as mere holographic contrivances, made up of energetic atoms that masquerade as solid flesh and bone.
The late sci-fi writer Philip K. Dick wrote along similar lines, and there are those who claim that his work was appropriated and used in the popular movie franchise “The Matrix,” which also centers on the artificial, mechanized nature of reality. The subtitle of Fowler’s previous book, “UFOs: The Ultimate Abduction: We Are Property,” which demonstrates that Fowler is proceeding along a path where free will is brought into question – if not done away with completely. I’ll link to this book in the show notes as well.
To make his argument, Fowler offers nearly a hundred anecdotal case histories of Time Slips, from retro-cognition experiences, in which a person steps bodily into a past time and even interacts with the environment there, to glimpses of the near future that are sometimes sent as a friendly warning to help experiencers to avoid certain forms of danger.
In one of the appendixes to “Time Slip Connexions,” Fowler reports on some of the quantum physics and hard science that may be at play in the CIA’s sometimes successful remote viewing efforts. It is reassuring to learn that such a mystical and “out there” program has hard scientific support at all.
As we continue to struggle with questions of space and time, Raymond Fowler is on the frontlines, fighting to make sense of the unknowable in both scientific and spiritual terms, two fields of study that are gradually beginning to merge together into what may prove to be a beautiful and wondrous truth.
Up next… what if you could talk to God? Not through prayer, but through thought? Where you would be able to converse directly, and receive direct answers. One group of scientists believed it was possible and set out to do just that.
STORY: A DIRECT LINE TO GOD=====
In 1983 a team of scientists theorized that a human, denied access to any of their senses, would be able to perceive the presence of God. They believed that the senses clouded the awareness of eternity, and without them a human could actually establish communication with God by thought. All they had to do was test their theory.
They sought out volunteers for their experiment, and an elderly man stepped up. The scientists performed a complex operation on the man, severing every sensory nerve connection to the brain, leaving him unable to see, hear, taste, smell, or feel. All he had left was muscle function and the ability to speak, though he could not hear anything.
Scientists monitored the man, and at first all he spoke about was the state of his mind in jumbled, slurred sentences. After about four days, he reported that he was hearing what sounded like hushed, unintelligible voices in his head. The scientists believed it was merely the onset of psychosis and dismissed the man’s concerns.
It should be noted that sensory deprivation has been known to have psychedelic effects, including hallucinations and hearing things, which began as early as 15-minutes into the deprivation. In those cases, the test subjects were merely placed in pitch-black, soundproof booths for different durations of time.
Just two days later, the man claimed he could hear his dead wife speaking to him, and he was able to communicate back to her with just his mind. Though they were intrigued, the scientists gave it little thought until the man started naming off the scientist’s dead relatives. He had information, personal information that only they would know.
Scared, a large number of the scientists left the study.
After about a week of conversing with the dead, the man became overwhelmed and distressed. He was constantly being bombarded by the numerous voices, anxious to speak with him. He began to throw himself against the wall, willing himself to feel something, gain back at least that sense, but it was useless.
The man begged the scientists to sedate him, quieting his mind so he could escape, if even for a little while.
It worked – for a time, but then he began having horrible nightmares. Not only could he hear the voices, but he could see the dead now as well. The voices of the dead became increasingly hostile, speaking of hell and the end of the world. At one point scientists recorded him yelling, “No heaven, no forgiveness” for five hours straight.
He begged to be killed, but was refused yet again. The scientists were sure he was on the brink of establishing contact with God.
Another day went by and the man could no longer form coherent sentences. He began biting chunks of flesh from his arm. To stop him, the scientists restrained him on a table.
After a few hours of struggling and screaming, he fell silent. He stared blankly at the ceiling, tears silently spilling from his eyes. The man lay there for two weeks, crying constantly.
As if out of nowhere, the man turned his head and, despite being blind, made focused eye contact with one of the scientists. He whispered, “I have spoken with God, and he has abandoned us.” The man died then, with no apparent cause of death.
If this sounds like fiction, then you are absolutely correct. The story, titled “The Gateway of the Mind” is a creepypasta which can be found at Creepypasta.com. But for some reason people have picked it up and shared the story, thinking it is a true news story.
Although the story isn’t real, it does make you wonder. What would happen if a person were cut off from all of their senses? It is said that when a person loses a sense, such as sight, their other senses become heightened. They can hear better, have a better sense of touch. Does that amplify when two senses are taken away?
Is it illogical to believe that the mind would be highly elevated without the distraction of any senses, or would it simply lead to madness?
Did the elderly man really speak to the dead, and God, or had he simply gone mad?
Sensory deprivation has been used by the military for purposes of interrogation. In particular, the five techniques of wall-standing, hooding, subjection to noise, sleep deprivation, and food/drink deprivation.
In the civilian world, sensory deprivation is used as a tool to reduce stress and encourage relaxation. This is achieved through the use of sensory deprivation tanks and chambers where the subject is monitored for safety.
Religion is often a controversial subject. For some, it is a belief system. For others, it’s a tool used for control. It depends on your motivations and the true nature of your heart.
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 information on any of the sponsors you heard about during the show, find all of my social media, listen to audiobooks I’ve narrated, sign up for the email newsletter, find other podcasts that I host including “Church of the Undead”, visit the store for Weird Darkness merchandise, and more. WeirdDarkness.com is also where you can find the Hope in the Darkness page if you or someone you know is struggling with depression or dark thoughts. Also on the website, if you have a true paranormal or creepy tale to tell, you can click on TELL YOUR STORY. You can find all of that and more at WeirdDarkness.com.
All stories on Weird Darkness are purported to be true unless stated otherwise, and you can find links to the stories or the authors in the show notes.
“The Horror And Haunting In Villisca” by Katie Serena for All That’s Interesting; Amy from Amys Crypt; and Karly and Tera from Homespun Haints
“The Ghost In The Boat” posted at Strange Company
“Online Crime Confessions” by Patricia Platt and JF Sargent for Unspeakable Crimes
“Dead Because of Social Media” by Whitney Milam for Ranker
“Raymond Fowler And The Ever Changing Nature of Time” posted at SpectralVision.com
“A Direct Line to God” posted at The Scare Chamber
WeirdDarkness® is a registered trademark. Copyright, Weird Darkness.
Now that we’re coming out of the dark, I’ll leave you with a little light… (James 1:26) “If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless.”
And a final thought… “We must be willing to let go of the life we planned in order to have the life that is waiting for us.” – Joseph Campbell
I’m Darren Marlar. Thanks for joining me in the Weird Darkness.