“THE MOST HAUNTED ROADS IN AMERICA” plus… More Dark and Disturbing True Stories! #WeirdDarkness
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Listen to ““THE MOST HAUNTED ROADS IN AMERICA” plus… More Dark and Disturbing True Stories! #WeirdDarkness” on Spreaker.
IN THIS EPISODE: A heating engineer working in the Treasurer’s House in York, England is disturbed by music… and then the ghostly presence of at least twenty Roman soldiers walking right past him through the walls! (The Roman Ghosts of York) *** The last man hanged at Bodmin Jail not only still lingers at the location – he has even been caught on camera. (The Haunting of Bodmin Jail) *** We’ll share the true and tragic story of a teenaged girl who’s abnormality landed her on the freak show circuit, with people paying to gawk at “The Camel Girl”. (Ella Harper: The Freak Show Camel Girl) *** Spooks are known to haunt houses, castles, cemeteries, abandoned hospitals, and even toys or other objects… but somehow, it’s haunted roads that seem the darkest for many. (America’s Haunted Roads) *** And be sure to listen to the end… because I’ll be sharing a special preview of a new podcast that I’m hosting called “Allegedly” which is already available to listen to. Our first episode stars Michael Emerson, whom you might remember from the TV shows “Lost”, “A Person of Interest” or Paramount+’s current hit series, “Evil”. Be listening for that at the end of this episode!
SOURCES AND ESSENTIAL WEB LINKS…
“America’s Haunted Roads” sources: RealParanormalExperiences.com: https://weirddarkness.tiny.us/ywk5atas, Insider.com: https://weirddarkness.tiny.us/2p8mez23, TravelAndLeisure.com: https://weirddarkness.tiny.us/5d8hmyd5, TravelChannel.com: https://weirddarkness.tiny.us/2p8v2d9f, WitteBros.com: https://weirddarkness.tiny.us/598v39hb
“The Haunting of Bodmin Jail” by Melissa Brinks for Ranker’s Graveyard Shift: https://weirddarkness.tiny.us/yer4wbnt
“The Roman Ghosts of York” from Anomalien.com: https://weirddarkness.tiny.us/mrye36fn
“Ella Harper: The Freak Show Camel Girl” by Bipin Dimri for HistoricMysteries.com: https://weirddarkness.tiny.us/2p8hj3sj
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You’ve probably heard of haunted houses and hotels, but did you know there are haunted roads, too? Just like other spooky destinations, these roads are supposedly haunted by the spirits of people who died there. So, if you’re planning to create a haunted road trip, I have a few roads for you to travel – just watch out for spirits, supernatural creatures, and UFOs. Of course, many of these stories are nothing more than urban legends, but they’re certainly scary enough to make you think twice about driving down these highways and byways. Drawing on local folklore, legends, and drivers’ personal experiences, I’ve rounded up some of the spookiest roads across the United States.
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…
A heating engineer working in the Treasurer’s House in York, England is disturbed by music… and then the ghostly presence of at least twenty Roman soldiers walking right past him through the walls! (The Roman Ghosts of York)
The last man hanged at Bodmin Jail not only still lingers at the location – he has even been caught on camera. (The Haunting of Bodmin Jail)
We’ll share the true and tragic story of a teenaged girl who’s abnormality landed her on the freak show circuit, with people paying to gawk at “The Camel Girl”. (Ella Harper: The Freak Show Camel Girl)
Spooks are known to haunt houses, castles, cemeteries, abandoned hospitals, and even toys or other objects… but somehow, it’s haunted roads that seem the darkest for many. (America’s Haunted Roads)
If you’re new here, welcome to the show! While you’re listening, be sure to check out WeirdDarkness.com for merchandise, my newsletter, enter contests, to connect with me on social media, plus, you can visit the Hope in the Darkness page if you’re struggling with depression or dark thoughts. You can find all of that and more at WeirdDarkness.com.
Now.. bolt your doors, lock your windows, turn off your lights, and come with me into the Weird Darkness!
STORY: AMERICA’S HAUNTED ROADS=====
You’ve heard of haunted houses, cemeteries, and prisons, but how about haunted roads? It may seem strange at first but when you consider that more than 35,000 people die on America’s roads every year, it makes sense that the highway system is teeming with the lost souls of travelers looking for a way home… or maybe something else. If you’re an avid ghost hunter looking for a new way to experience some supernatural activity, now’s the time to hit the road and explore these incredibly haunted roads around America.
Ortega Ridge Rd., Montecito CA: Keep an eye out for the ghosts of three nuns — now known as Las Tres Hermanas — who were killed by highway bandits on Ortega Ridge Road in Montecito, California. Some say their apparitions can be spotted by the side of this road, according to Commercial Truck Trader.
Boston, MA: Do troubled souls stalk dark city streets and back alleys? Many Bostonians think so. In 1648, a Puritan judge convicted poor Margaret Jones to be hanged for witchcraft; now she’s said to wander Boston Neck, an area under Washington Street, along with other condemned unfortunates. In Savannah, Ga., Abercorn Street seems to be a hotspot for the supernatural. Listen and watch for those who perished from violence, disease and war as they roam through the darkness.
Hawk Point, MO: Could dark tunnels be passageways for dark spirits? In Hawk Point, Mo., residents say a ghostly man haunts Satan’s Tunnel, an old underpass draped with twisting vines and other vegetation. Amateur ghost hunters have parked outside another abandoned tunnel in Church Hill, Tenn., hoping to see the ghost of a madman said to pop in and out. Many found themselves stranded there when they try to leave, unable to start their cars. When their engines finally crank, they see the madman’s terrifying figure in their rear-view mirrors when they start to back up.
Clinton Road, New Jersey: If you ever find yourself driving through the New Jersey countryside, take a moment to stop off along the famous Clinton Road. With a bit of luck, some good timing, and the cost of a single penny, you might just run into the vengeful ghost of a young boy who lives under a bridge. Legend has it that one fateful night, a young boy was walking alone down Clinton Road when he reached down to pick up a coin. Unsuspectingly, he was then struck down by a careless driver. No one knows for sure if the driver was drunk or too afraid to stop but, when the boy’s body was flung over the bridge and into the creek, no one stopped to help.
Instead, the boy slowly died beneath the bridge where his spirit now resides, hoping to avenge his untimely death. Today, drivers report seeing the ghostly visage of a young boy walking along Clinton Road towards the stream. Be warned, though—if you stop to help, the boy may try pushing you into the lake to avenge his murder.
Some travelers have even taken to throwing coins into the stream in an attempt to draw the boy’s ghost out. However, it seems as if the young ghost boy is less than thrilled about these taunts. Some visitors to the site have reportedly even had quarters and pennies thrown back at them as they drive down Clinton Road. Whatever the case, Clinton Road is certainly one haunted stretch of road!
Prospectors Road, Garden Valley CA: California is dotted with historic ghost towns, so it makes sense that a few Gold Rush-era spirits would stick around. According to local legend, Prospectors Road in Garden Valley is haunted by a miner killed for his gold.
“Annie’s Road” in Totowa, New Jersey, is named for the ghost of a woman named Annie who, as legend has it, was hit by a truck and killed on her prom night in the 1960s. “Annie’s Road” is just a nickname — the street is actually called Riverview Drive. Some motorists have reported hearing screams, seeing mysterious fog, and experiencing interference in their phones and cameras. Adding to the spookiness, the street borders Totowa’s Laurel Grove Cemetery.
Jeremy Swamp Road, Southbury, CT: There are eerie stories about roads across Connecticut, including Jeremy Swamp Road in Southbury. According to an urban legend, drivers in stalled vehicles on this road have vanished before their tow truck arrives, attacked by the “Melon Heads.” These humanoid cryptids are also the focus of folklore in Ohio and Michigan.
The Haunted Intersection in Texas: The bus stalled as it crossed the railroad tracks, or so the story goes. The driver, ferrying kids home from school sometime in the 1930s or ’40s, was near the intersection of Villamain and Shane Roads, south of San Antonio, Texas, when the train whistle screamed. Everyone tried to get out, but not everyone did, and the bus was hit. Some folks say several students were killed. Actually, there’s no evidence that an accident happened at all — but even today, drivers who leave their cars parked near the site sometimes return to find them covered with small, ghostly handprints.
Shades of Death Road in Warren County, New Jersey, is the road’s real name. As if the name “Shades of Death Road” wasn’t scary enough, some say the street gets its name from a series of grisly murders that occurred there in the 1920s and ’30s. By other accounts, the road is named for malaria outbreaks that occurred in the 1850s.
Rehoboth, MA: It’s not a good idea to pick up hitchhikers. It’s an especially bad idea on Route 44 in Rehoboth, Mass. For over three decades, drivers have claimed to encounter a bearded man with dark eyes who resembles the victim of a deadly car crash. Pack your car with passengers if you encounter him. He’s said to mysteriously appear in empty back seats, and when he leaves, your car radio will squawk with static, and your car will shake. Sometimes, they say, you can hear his maniacal laughter through the noise.
Bragg Road, Hardin County Park TX: Bragg Road, in Hardin County Park, Texas, is unpaved, like many other isolated roads around the country. A mysterious light that often appears has given it its nickname, “Ghost Road.” Does the light belong to a hunter who became lost in the woods and was never found, or a grief-stricken, long-dead groom searching for the killer of his equally long-dead bride? Some think it’s just the reflection of light from a passing car, or some kind of glowing gas. Whatever it is, it’s enough to give you chills.
Kelly Road in Ohioville, Pennsylvania is also known as “Mystery Mile.” Paranormal activity in the area is attributed to the legend of a couple who is said to have died on the road after their carriage flipped over. According to the story, the woman’s neck snapped and the man was crushed in a slow, torturous death. People have reported hearing the sounds of a carriage crashing and cries for help.
Owaissa Street, Appleton WI: Riverside Cemetery, located on Owaissa Street in Appleton, Wisconsin, is known for paranormal experiences — some claim to have seen ghosts of past mourners dressed in old-fashioned clothing here. In the cemetery, visitors will find the tombstone of Kate Blood, another supposedly haunted spot — although many of the stories about her life and death are unfounded.
Highway 93, Arizona: This stretch of road is also known as “Blood Alley” and stretches between Kingman, AZ (near the Nevada border) and Wickenburg, AZ. This curvy and hilly road that goes through the canyons of Arizona is infamous for the hundreds who have died along it. From massive pileups to cars randomly veering off the road and drivers misjudging the turns, it didn’t take long for locals to suspect that Blood Alley was cursed. Rumor has it, during the nighttime hours it isn’t uncommon to encounter apparitions, ghosts or other unexplained visions along and even in the middle of the road.
Archer Avenue, Justice IL: Ask any Chicago native and they’ll tell you that few roads in America can compete with Archer Avenue for the title of “most haunted road in the nation”. Venture just a few miles southwest of Chicago and you’ll find Justice, Illinois—home to the infamous Archer Avenue. The origins of whatever paranormal happenings take place on Archer Avenue are said to go back to the beginnings of civilization in the area. Apparently, Archer Avenue was built on a series of Ley lines—lines drawn by the local Native American population to mark important spiritual monuments. These lines channel the earth’s inner energy, helping to trap souls on the Avenue. Among all the ghosts said to populate Archer Avenue, though, Resurrection Mary is the most famous. According to legend, Mary was a young woman walking to a local ball when she was hit by a motorist, killing her on the spot. Since then, Mary has been spotted hitching rides with travelers, trying to make it to the ball. As drivers approach Resurrection Cemetery, though, Mary disappears. Mary seems to be a benevolent ghost, though she’s sure to scare any unsuspecting driver looking to help a stranded hitchhiker.
Dead Man’s Curve (near Cincinnati, OH): Located just east of Cincinnati is a perpendicular junction where Routes 222 and 125 meet called Dead Man’s Curve. History states that the deadly reputation of this spot began in 1969 when a tragic accident occurred when 5 teenagers were killed by a speeding car. Since that time, it is said a ghost of a faceless hitchhiker haunts the intersection. According to the Ohio Department of Transportation, the crash rate on this Innerbelt is 2-3 times more than the regional average for urban freeways despite the reduced speed limits.
Stagecoach Road, Marshall TX: Several urban legends cite tragic events that have contributed to Stagecoach Road’s haunted reputation. Some say they’ve seen the spirit of a woman wandering this road, spooking passersby.
Riverdale Road between Thornton and Brighton, Colorado, is the subject of several urban myths and legends. One of the most well-known hauntings of this 11-mile road is “Jogger’s Hill,” where an undead jogger supposedly bangs on cars and leaves hand prints on windows.
Cherry Valley Road, Illinois: Cherry Valley Road is one that isn’t often traveled by OTR drivers, but it still receives some traffic and is located between Rockford, IL and Genoa, IL. This road also meets a road that is called “Bloods Point Road” which just adds to the scariness even more. The location of these two roads are considered rural, hence the lack of regular traffic but if you find yourself traveling down it, watch out for ghosts. The ghosts that haunt this road are alleged to be from a fatal school bus crash at a bridge a little way down the road.
Kelly Road, Pennsylvania: Although Kelly Road is only a mile and a half long, it’s gained a reputation for being one of Pennsylvania’s most haunted stretches of road. Over the years, it’s been the source of countless ghost sightings and has even gained a reputation for creating violence and some inexplicable events. Locals often report feeling an uneasy aura while driving down Kelly Road, spurring many to believe that Native Americans once cursed the land to keep European settlers from taking over their homes. Whatever the cause, many drivers report seeing eerie floating orbs and feeling a sudden surge of anger and rage as they travel down the road. Some locals even believe that the rage and violence surrounding Kelly Road has led to occult activity seeking to trap some of the evil. As evidence, they point to violent animals charging at their vehicles, shifting shadows, and bizarre howling sounds that seem to come from nowhere. If that’s not enough to keep you away, check out Kelly Road and let us know what you find.
New Orleans, LA: Go on, tell yourself you’re not afraid of ghosts. Then feel your heart pound when you read this: A Louisiana man once donated several statues to a New Orleans cemetery after the death of his beloved daughter, Mona. He asked to have one of them displayed on a pedestal in her memory. Unfortunately, the statue was later destroyed in a car chase with unruly teens. Now Mona can’t rest. Passing drivers say she floats up to their cars, dressed in white and clawing at their windows.
Sandhill Road, Las Vegas NV: The tunnels underneath Sandhill Road in Las Vegas are supposedly haunted, with reports of eerie noises, although there isn’t a ton of evidence to back these claims up.
Bloody Bride Bridge and Boy Scout Lane, Stevens Point WI: A Highway 66 bridge in Stevens Point, Wisconsin is known as Bloody Bride Bridge because according to local legend, a bride was killed in an accident here on the way to her wedding, and she continues to haunt drivers passing by at night. Nearby Boy Scout Lane is another supposedly haunted spot in Stevens Point because a troop of Boy Scouts allegedly disappeared here. Thankfully, there’s no proof that this happened, but the isolated, dead-end road does make for an eerie setting.
Route 66: You might not expect Route 66, America’s “Mother Road,” to be menacing. You’d be wrong. Begun in 1926, it was one of the first highways in the U.S. Highway System., running from Chicago to the Pacific Ocean. Over the years, it seemed to attract the undead, from spooky hitchhikers waving pale thumbs, to paranormal happenings in roadside hotels. It encompasses some 100 frightening spots in all, including the Hotel Monte Vista in Flagstaff, Ariz., where a phantom bell boy knocks on guests’ doors at night; to the mysterious “Spook Light,” an unexplained orb that appears in the dark sky over Quapaw, Okla.; to a theater in Albuquerque, N.M., plagued by a mischievous little boy who died there in a 1951 boiler explosion. There have been so many ghosts of travelers killed along the road that entire books have been written on their sightings. Stretching more than halfway across the United States, you can find haunted mansions, such as the McPike Mansion in Alton, IL, abandoned mine shafts in New Mexico, ghostly truck stops, and even a few haunted hotels along the way.
Route 375, Rachel Nevada: Also known as the Extraterrestrial Highway, Route 375 (a portion of Route 66) passes by super-secret Area 51, so UFO seekers drive along this road hoping to spot something out of this world. Drivers should keep their eyes on the road while passengers look toward the sky to watch for any mysterious lights or aircrafts.
Villa Ridge, Missouri: The tri-county truck stop located off historic Route 66 in Villa Ridge has been abandoned for years, but ghost hunters continue to visit in hopes of experiencing the paranormal. According to Commercial Truck Trader, “Visiting mediums have suggested the truck stop is a portal to the other side of eternity, where souls reenter our world and attach their spirits to truckers whom they might possess in order to drive themselves home.”
It might be harder to not find ghosts along Route 66.
And then there’s Route 666, New Mexico: U.S. Route 491, formerly Route 666, was known as the Devil’s Highway because of its number and the relatively high fatality rate along the New Mexican stretch. Some drivers have reported being chased by hellhounds — supernatural dogs that represent death in some cultures — or seeing a ghostly semitruck on fire. What do you expect from Route 666?
And finally… Route 2A, Maine: Known for being a particularly dangerous road with some tricky hairpin turns, Route 2A has been the death of many truck drivers, motorists, and pedestrians alike. It’s not just your average commercial trucker trader who’s haunting this road! Some travelers have reported seeing the ghost of a young woman either in front of their vehicle or running alongside the road. If you stop to offer her help, she’ll frantically scream that she and her husband have been in an accident and that he needs help. But, as you reach the end of the road, the woman completely vanishes, leaving nothing but cold spots. Others have told tales of a young girl who asks travelers for rides. Yet, when she gets in the car, she also disappears. It’s unclear who this ghost girl might be but there is a police report dating back to 1967 about two young girls killed by a semi-truck on the road. The road is so infamous for its hauntings that Dick Curless even wrote a song about it. Tombstone Every Mile tells the stories of countless truck drivers who met their demise, so many so that there could be a tombstone at literally every mile.
The last man hanged at Bodmin Jail not only still lingers at the location – he has even been caught on camera. (The Haunting of Bodmin Jail)
Plus… A heating engineer working in the Treasurer’s House in York, England is disturbed by music… and then the ghostly presence of at least twenty Roman soldiers walking right past him through the walls! (The Roman Ghosts of York)
These stories and more when Weird Darkness returns!
STORY: THE HAUNTING OF BODMIN JAIL=====
The Bodmin Jail haunting legend surrounds one of the scariest paranormal sites in the United Kingdom. Often cited as the UK’s most haunted venue, the jail played host to some 50 public hangings in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The ghost of William Hampton, the last man hanged in 1909, is said to roam the halls of Bodmin Jail, appearing to visitors and ghost hunters as they walk the ruins.
Like many haunted prisons, there’s more than one spooky story lurking around this particular jail. As a site of much distress and trauma over the years, the Bodmin Jail plays host to multiple frightening stories of prisoners who have come back from the grave. While Hampton might be the most prominent, there are multiple prison ghosts caught on camera in this historic location.
With all of the tortured souls that had been imprisoned, it’s no surprise paranormal investigators have captured some intriguing footage at Bodmin Jail. While investigating the prison after dark, Tony and Bev Ferguson reportedly asked the resident spirits to reveal themselves shortly before capturing what appears to be a man walking across the frame in the distance. The figure does have a remarkably human shape, particularly its gait; rather than floating randomly, it appears to walk directly through an archway. Other footage shot that night includes orbs, which are often said to be a precursor to a full-body apparition like the one Ferguson claims to have captured.
In 1909, Hampton was accused and convicted of the murder of his young girlfriend, who was just 16. Though they had gotten engaged the previous year, it’s believed that his girlfriend, Emily Tredea, had pulled away from him and wanted to break off the engagement. According to other sources, Hampton was carrying on an affair with Tredea’s mother, and perhaps killed Tredea to keep her quiet about it. Whatever the case, Hampton was executed on July 20, 1909. It’s rumored that the jury pleaded for mercy in Hampton’s case, but he was killed nonetheless.
With his crime being clear but his motivations murky, it’s no surprise that Hampton’s ghost is still said to roam the halls of Bodmin Jail. Though Hampton was found guilty, rumors abound the story isn’t exactly as it appears. He and his girlfriend did not have a history of physical altercations, and acquaintances recount Hampton as a mild-mannered fellow.
If Hampton is one of the resident ghosts at Bodmin Jail, perhaps it’s exactly that that keeps his spirit from resting in peace. Hampton himself confessed to the crime so it’s unlikely that he was wrongfully convicted and executed, but the element of doubt about precisely why encourages people to speculate about why he, out of the more than 50 people executed at the jail, is one of the spirits to haunt the jail.
While Hampton might be the most famous, especially because he was the last person executed at the prison, there are still other spirits said to roam the halls of Bodmin Jail. Selina Wadge was accused and convicted of killing her child in June 1878. She was expected to be granted clemency by reason of mental illness, but that pardon never came. Today, it’s said children visiting the jail may see a woman in a long black dress that nobody else can see. The ghosts of a warden and several murderers, including a pair of brothers, have also been said to visit the jail, terrifying and entrancing visitors to the historic location.
As if housing the doomed souls of more than 50 criminals sentenced to death wasn’t enough, Bodmin Jail was also built in the 18th century by prisoners. Those prisoners were French, likely captured during the Anglo-French War or Napoleonic Wars. These prisoners were overseen by Sir John Call, an engineer and baronet. These French prisoners must have had some impact on the appearance of the prison, as it is notably Châteauesque in comparisons to other buildings of the area and time period. But with a history based on the labor of prisoners of war, roughly 50 executions, and a legacy of poor treatment, it’s no surprise that the jail is said to be haunted today.
In Bodmin Jail’s heyday, public executions were huge events. Entire families would come together to watch somebody be hanged for their crimes, sometimes picnicking as part of the event. With the exception of only a few executions – including Hampton’s hanging – those who were sentenced to death died in public, surrounded by onlookers. Perhaps that’s part of the reason the area is said to be so rife with ghostly activity; condemned to die as spectacle, those spirits may still walk the Earth.
Hangings at Bodmin Jail were done with a trapdoor and pit. That pit, like the rest of the jail, underwent some changes over Bodmin’s long history. At one point, the pit’s design was ruled illegal – not because it was particularly inhumane or ineffective, but because it wasn’t public enough. The drop was then moved, which allowed thousands of people to witness the executions from the surrounding area. In 1868, it was rule that executions had to be private, and the remaining sentences at Bodmin Jail were carried out in the same location but hidden from the public behind canvas. It wasn’t until 1901 that hangings took place inside the jail, making them truly private.
Because of its legacy as a prison, and particularly as a prison where executions took place, Bodmin Jail is of notable interest to ghost hunters. Most Haunted, one of England’s most popular paranormal shows, had a particularly revelatory episode set there, though it had more to do with exposing one of its hosts as a fake than capturing paranormal activity.Paranormal investigators have also had experiences there, and the jail itself has ghost tour packages for prospective visitors. While the history is fascinating, ghosts are a big part of the draw for tourists as well as amateur and professional paranormal investigators. According to The Mirror, the tours pack quite the punch: “Grown men have fainted, women vomited, and people run screaming from its depths – Bodmin Jail has fascinated and terrified its visitors in equal measure for years.”
In its 150 years of operation, there were over 50 prisoners executed at Bodmin Jail, both men and women. These executions weren’t reserved for particularly heinous crimes – in those days, you could be executed for what amounts to petty theft or setting corn or haystacks on fire. While the prison both housed and executed men and women, men were far more likely to die in the gallows. The procedure often used was called the “long drop,” pioneered by William Marwood, and it was said to be more humane. The older technique – the short drop – killed by strangulation, whereas Marwood’s technique killed by asphyxiation while unconscious.
Bodmin Jail was built in 1779. It was allegedly revolutionary in its time for being a particularly airy and healthy prisonwhere prisoners were paid for their work. However, other accounts say disagree, claiming the jail was built in a manner to torture and isolate its prisoners.
Bodmin Jail’s good reputation began to change in the crime wave of the early 1800s when people suddenly had to share cells due to overcrowding. Due to new requirements and the deteriorating condition of the older parts of the prison, much of it was rebuilt in the late 1850s. The new jail included 220 cells that separated prisoners by crime. The Prison closed in 1922 and all of its buildings were sold in 1929.
STORY: THE ROMAN GHOSTS OF YORK=====
In 1953, Harry Martindale an 18-year-old apprentice heating engineer was working in the Treasurer’s House, York, England, when he saw at least 20 Roman soldiers, visible only from the knees up, marching through the cellar of the Treasurer’s House. At the time, Harry entered the dark and rather gloomy cellar, and found a nice level excavated trench in which to set the feet of his ladder, to provide a solid platform from which to work. He placed his light on the ground, and climbed the ladder in order to reach the ceiling above, and started on his work. After a short while he heard an odd sound pass through the cellar. Harry at first took this to be music being played by the workers upstairs, but as the music grew louder he began to have his doubts. Soon he could tell it was not music, but rather just one or two notes being played over and over again, and as they grew louder he could pinpoint the source as the wall he was propped up against. The sound became deafening, but that was the least of his worries. As Harry looked down to his side, in order to better ascertain what was happening, he was startled to see a plumed helmet come into view.
Suddenly he saw a soldier wearing a helmet emerge from a wall, followed by a cart-horse and 20 other soldiers emerged straight through the brick wall of the cellar!
Terrified, he fell from his ladder and stumbled into the corner and, as he crouched on the floor, he was able to see clearly that the horse was being ridden by a disheveled Roman soldier.
He was slowly followed by several fellows, dressed in rough green tunics and plumed helmets, carrying short swords spears and round shields. They all looked down in a dejected manner as they continued towards the Minster, apparently on their knees.
It emerged that the old Roman road into the garrison ran through where the Treasurer’s House was later built, and was about 15 inches lower than the cellar floor. The story also gained legitimacy after Harry described several aspects of the Roman soldiers’ clothing that he would not have known at the time.
The soldiers were heard talking to each other in whispers, and their faces seemed to be sad or tired. The uniforms, from what he could tell, seemed to be covered in mud. All were armed either with spears or swords.
Once all the soldiers had passed through the opposite wall, and Harry was certain he could hear no more approach, he made a run for it out of the cellar. When he was finally clear of the stairs leading out of the cellar he came to a stop to catch his breath. Those who saw him say he was completely white and was shaking.
The elderly gentleman who was in charge of the house took one look at Harry and knew what had happened. He walked up to Harry and said ‘You have seen the soldiers, haven’t you?’
The caretaker had seen the soldiers the previous year, but had not told anyone for fear of ridicule.
Harry left the house and did not return for at least 25 years.
Apparently, the ghostly troop had been seen several times in the past and impressive descriptions have been forthcoming from a number of witnesses.
As for the round shields, in 1953 it was believed that Roman shields were large and rectangular. Later excavations of Hadrian’s Wall discovered that auxiliary Roman soldiers did in fact have smaller, round shields.
Experts now agree that Harry’s description of Roman Troops was accurate.
When Weird Darkness returns, it’s the tragic story of teenager Ella Harper – known on the freak circuit as “The Camel Girl”. Up next.
STORY: THE CAMEL GIRL=====
In the late 19th century, spearheaded by such entrepreneurs as the famous P. T. Barnum, people with unusual features or appearances became hugely popular as circus attractions for the curious public. The suffering of the individuals displayed at such shows, both due to their conditions and the way in which they were treated, were often overlooked.
One such person was Ella Harper, known as the “camel girl.” Ella Harper was born with a rare medical condition known as congenital genu recurvatum, that made her knees bend backward, much like those of a camel. She used to walk on all fours, using her hands as well as her legs. Her life in the circus made her famous, but that is not the whole story.
Ella Evans Harper was born on the 5th of January, 1870, in Hendersonville, Tennessee, the daughter of William Harper and Minerva Ann Childress. Her father was a farmer and a popular stock raiser in Sumner County during that time.
She also had a twin brother named Everett. However, he died when he was just 3 months old. Ella’s parents had three more children named Sallie, Willie, and Jessie.
According to the historical records, Ella Harper started her career at the circus in October 1882, when she was just 12 years old. Initially, she did shows in and around St. Louis and New Orleans. However, gradually she started traveling to a number of states in the latter years.
Pretty soon, she started attracting and capturing the attention of people. The public showed a remarkable interest in Ella Harper, driven by curiosity about her condition.
Her unusual appearance soon led to bigger things. The showman W.H. Harris saw her, and in 1886, he invited her to become a part of his “Nickel Plate Circus.” During these performances, Ella was accompanied by a camel, so the audience could compare her backwardly bending knees with those of the animal.
She was effectively used as a prop on the stage to make a comparison with the camel. Nevertheless, the audience of the circus was quite amazed by her appearance. From there on, she was given the nickname “The Camel Girl” and was considered as half human and half camel.
The strange girl attracted new fans and people flocked to her performances. She started appearing on a number of advertising posters. Before every performance of Ella Harper, pitch cards were distributed among the audience that explained her condition.
In the pitch cards, it was written that she was known as the camel girl as her knees turned backward, and that she was capable of walking best using her feet and hands, as shown in the picture. The cards stated that she had been touring extensively for the past four years but was going to quit the circus in 1886 as she wanted to continue her studies and urged audiences to see her while they had a chance.
She was able to earn a salary of $200 per week, which provided her with the funding for her education. In today’s money, the amount would come up to $5,000 per week, a sizable sum even now but a fortune at the time.
Towards the end of 1886, the 16-year-old Ella Harper decided to quit her career in the circus in order to pursue her education. She retired from the public eye is known to have led a very private life. For quite some years, not much information was available about Ella Harper. It appeared to the public that she had suddenly disappeared.
The 1900 census records that Ella Harper had returned to Sumner County, Tennessee, and lived there with her mother and one of her nieces. Her father had died in 1890 due to a house fire, and Willie, her brother, also died five years later.
While living there, Ella Harper fell in love with Robert Savely, a schoolteacher and photography shop bookkeeper. According to the civil records, Ella married Robert in 1905, when she was thirty-five years old.
One year after their marriage, a baby girl was born to the couple. They named her Mabel Savely. However, the couple experienced a tragic event in which they lost their only daughter when she was just six months old.
Several years later, Ella Harper and her husband Robert relocated to Davidson County, which is near Sumner County. There they made room for Ella’s mother, and the three of them lived together. After losing their daughter, Ella Harper and her husband failed to conceive again.
So, they decided to adopt a baby girl from a local shelter in 1918. The couple named the baby girl Jewel Savely. However, she also died at three months of age.
During 1920, Ella Harper and her husband had moved to live in Nashville, Tennessee. According to the records, Ella died on the 19th of December, 1921, at 8:15 in the morning. She was suffering from colon cancer and died at her home. She died when she was fifty-one years old.
Ella Harper was buried in the Spring Hill Cemetery in Nashville. The Spring Hill Cemetery is located at Gallatin Pike near the Nashville National Cemetery, and is one of the largest cemeteries in the area.
According to some sources, Ella Harper was buried next to her children. Her grave is located within the plot of the Harper family in the old historic section of the Spring Hill Cemetery. Minerva, Ella Harper’s mother, died in 1924.
Ella had been able to make a considerable amount of money and escape the circus, and found happiness in the man she loved, even if it was tinged with sorrow.
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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.
“America’s Haunted Roads” = RealParanormalExperiences.com: Insider.com: TravelAndLeisure.com: TravelChannel.com: WitteBros.com
“The Haunting of Bodmin Jail” by Melissa Brinks for Ranker’s Graveyard Shift:
“The Roman Ghosts of York” from Anomalien.com:
“Ella Harper: The Freak Show Camel Girl” by Bipin Dimri for HistoricMysteries.com:
Again, you can find link to all of these stories in the show notes.
WeirdDarkness™ – is a production and trademark of Marlar House Productions. Copyright, Weird Darkness.
Now that we’re coming out of the dark, I’ll leave you with a little light… “Stop trusting in man, who has but a breath in his nostrils. Of what account is he?” — Isaiah 2:22
And a final thought… “The deepest craving of human nature is the need to be appreciated.” – William James
I’m Darren Marlar. Thanks for joining me in the Weird Darkness.