“THE MYSTERIOUS DISAPPEARANCE OF FLIGHT 19” and More Horrifying True Stories! #WeirdDarkness
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Listen to ““THE MYSTERIOUS DISAPPEARANCE OF FLIGHT 19” and 8 More Horrifying True Stories! #WeirdDarkness” on Spreaker.
IN THIS EPISODE: In 1945, “Flight 19” vanished in the Atlantic off the coast of Florida – and the mystery of what happened still terrifies aviators to this day. (The Mysterious Disappearance of Flight 19) *** Without any detectable history, how Septic Tank Sam wound up dead in Tofield, Canada, is a mystery. Till this day, the case has never been solved and Sam has never been identified. (Septic Tank Sam) *** The Cherokee recall a white-skinned race that lived on their lands before they arrived. This group of very unusual beings were known as the Moon-Eyed people. (Moon-Eyed People of the Cherokee) *** A mother discovers she has missed a call… from her dead son. (Call From a Ghost) *** Would you dare to drive the haunted Devon highway? (Where Hairy Hands Grab At Your Steering Wheel) *** What would you do if you moved into a serial killer’s home and couldn’t break your lease once you found out? (House of Horrors) *** On April 3, 1882, outlaw Jesse James was shot to death in St. Joseph, Missouri – or was he? (The Man Who Would Be Jesse James) *** A young girl’s quiet night of reading in bed is turned upside down when she is attacked by an unseen phantom! (The Summer I Didn’t Sleep) *** A convicted killer is hung on the gallows… twice. (A Moment of Agony)
SOURCES AND ESSENTIAL WEB LINKS…
“Moon-Eyed People of the Cherokee” by Ellen Lloyd for AncientPages.com: http://bit.ly/2VcDc5H
“Call From a Ghost”: (unknown author, link no longer exists)
“Septic Tank Sam” by Les Hewitt for HistoricMysteries.com: http://bit.ly/2ZYmqpJ
“Where Hairy Hands Grab At Your Steering Wheel” by Guy Henderson for DevonLive.com: http://bit.ly/2LqghiH
“The Mysterious Disappearance of Flight 19” by Evan Andrews for History.com: http://bit.ly/2Lqgtyr
“House of Horrors” by Jessica Ferri for TheLineUp.com: http://bit.ly/2ZYoi1u
“The Man Who Would Be Jesse James” by Troy Taylor for AmericanHauntingsInk.com: http://bit.ly/2DP4Rii
“The Summer I Didn’t Sleep” from YourGhostStories.com: http://bit.ly/2GUVkaa
“A Moment of Agony” by Robert Wilhelm for MurderByGaslight.com: http://bit.ly/2JiF3ie
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(Over time links seen above may become invalid, disappear, or have different content. I always make sure to give authors credit for the material I use whenever possible. If I somehow overlooked doing so for a story, or if a credit is incorrect, please let me know and I will rectify it in these show notes immediately. Some links included above may benefit me financially through qualifying purchases.)
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The Bermuda Triangle’s reputation as a boat and plane-devouring chasm was first sealed in December 1945, when a group of five U.S. Navy Avenger torpedo bombers known as “Flight 19” vanished in the Atlantic off the coast of Florida. No sign of the Avengers was ever found, and a Navy seaplane sent to rescue them also disappeared without a trace. In this episode of Weird Darkness, we take a short look back at one of the most perplexing mysteries in aviation history.
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…
Without any detectable history, how Septic Tank Sam wound up dead in Tofield, Canada, is a mystery. Till this day, the case has never been solved and Sam has never been identified. (Septic Tank Sam)
The Cherokee recall a white-skinned race that lived on their lands before they arrived. This group of very unusual beings were known as the Moon-Eyed people. (Moon-Eyed People of the Cherokee)
A mother discovers she has missed a call… from her dead son. (Call From a Ghost)
Would you dare to drive the haunted Devon highway? (Where Hairy Hands Grab At Your Steering Wheel)
What would you do if you moved into a serial killer’s home and couldn’t break your lease once you found out? (House of Horrors)
On April 3, 1882, outlaw Jesse James was shot to death in St. Joseph, Missouri – or was he? (The Man Who Would Be Jesse James)
A young girl’s quiet night of reading in bed is turned upside down when she is attacked by an unseen phantom! (The Summer I Didn’t Sleep)
A convicted killer is hung on the gallows… twice. (A Moment of Agony)
In 1945, “Flight 19” vanished in the Atlantic off the coast of Florida – and the mystery of what happened still terrifies aviators to this day. (The Mysterious Disappearance of Flight 19)
If you’re new here, welcome to the show! While you’re listening, be sure to check out WeirdDarkness.com for merchandise, my newsletter, enter contests, to connect with me on social media, plus, you can visit the Hope in the Darkness page if you’re struggling with depression or dark thoughts. You can find all of that and more at WeirdDarkness.com.
Now.. bolt your doors, lock your windows, turn off your lights, and come with me into the Weird Darkness!
STORY: THE MYSTERIOUS DISAPPEARANCE OF FLIGHT 19=====
It began as nothing more than a routine training flight. At 2:10 p.m. on December 5, 1945, five TBM Avenger torpedo bombers took off from a Naval Air Station in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. The planes—collectively known as “Flight 19”—were scheduled to tackle a three-hour exercise known as “Navigation Problem Number One.” Their triangular flight plan called for them to head east from the Florida coast and conduct bombing runs at a place called Hens and Chickens Shoals. They would then turn north and proceed over Grand Bahama Island before changing course a third time and flying southwest back to base. Save for one plane that only carried two men, each of the Avengers was crewed by three Navy men or Marines, most of whom had logged around 300 hours in the air. The flight’s leader was Lieutenant Charles C. Taylor, an experienced pilot and veteran of several combat missions in World War II’s Pacific Theater.
At first, Flight 19’s hop proceeded just as smoothly as the previous 18 that day. Taylor and his pilots buzzed over Hens and Chickens Shoals around 2:30 p.m. and dropped their practice bombs without incident. But shortly after the patrol turned north for the second leg of its journey, something very strange happened. For reasons that are still unclear, Taylor became convinced that his Avenger’s compass was malfunctioning and that his planes had been flying in the wrong direction. The troubles only mounted after a front blew in and brought rain, gusting winds and heavy cloud cover. Flight 19 became hopelessly disoriented. “I don’t know where we are,” one of the pilots said over the radio. “We must have got lost after that last turn.”
Lieutenant Robert F. Cox, another Navy flight instructor who was flying near the Florida coast, was the first to overhear the patrol’s radio communications. He immediately informed the Air Station of the situation and then contacted the Avengers to ask if they needed assistance. “Both my compasses are out and I’m trying to find Ft. Lauderdale, Florida,” Taylor said, his voice sounding anxious. “I’m over land, but it’s broken. I’m sure I’m in the Keys, but I don’t know how far down.”
Taylor’s claim didn’t seem to make sense. He’d made his scheduled pass over Hens and Chicken Shoals in the Bahamas less than an hour earlier, but he now believed his planes had somehow drifted hundreds of miles off course and ended up in the Florida Keys. The 27-year-old had just transferred to Fort Lauderdale from Miami, and many have since speculated that he may have confused some of the islands of the Bahamas for the Keys. Under normal circumstances, pilots lost in the Atlantic were supposed to point their planes toward the setting sun and fly west toward the mainland, but Taylor had become convinced that he might be over the Gulf of Mexico. Hoping to locate the Florida peninsula, he made a fateful decision to steer Flight 19 northeast—a course that would only take them even farther out to sea. Some of his pilots seemed to have recognized that he was making a mistake. “Dammit,” one man griped over the radio. “If we would just fly west, we would get home.”
Taylor was eventually persuaded to turn around and head west, but shortly after 6 p.m., he seems to have cancelled the order and once again changed direction. “We didn’t go far enough east,” he said, still worried that he might be in the Gulf. “We may as well just turn around and go east again.” His pilots probably argued against the decision—some investigators even believe that one plane broke off and flew in a different direction—but most followed their commander’s lead. Flight 19’s radio transmissions soon became increasingly faint as it meandered out to sea. When fuel began to run low, Taylor was heard prepping his men for a potential crash landing in the ocean. “All planes close up tight,” he said. “We’ll have to ditch unless landfall…when the first plane drops below ten gallons, we all go down together.” A few minutes later, the Avengers’ last radio communications were replaced by an eerie buzz of static.
The Navy immediately scrambled search planes to hunt for the missing patrol. Around 7:30 p.m., a pair of PBM Mariner flying boats took off from an air station north of Ft. Lauderdale. Just 20 minutes later, however, one of them seemed to follow Flight 19’s lead by suddenly vanishing off radar. The remains of the Mariner and its 13 crewmen were never recovered, but it’s commonly believed that the seaplane exploded shortly after takeoff. Flying boats were notoriously accident-prone, and were even nicknamed “flying gas tanks” for their propensity for catching fire. Suspicions that the seaplane may have gone up in flames were all but confirmed by a passing merchant ship, which spotted a fireball and found evidence of an oil slick in the ocean.
At first light the next day, the Navy dispatched more than 300 boats and aircraft to look for Flight 19 and the missing Mariner. The search party spent five days combing through more than 300,000 square miles of territory, to no avail. “They just vanished,” Navy Lieutenant David White later recalled. “We had hundreds of planes out looking, and we searched over land and water for days, and nobody ever found the bodies or any debris.” A Navy board of investigation was also left scratching its head. While it argued that Taylor might have confused the Bahamas for the Florida Keys after his compasses malfunctioned, it could find no clear explanation for why Flight 19 had become so disoriented. Its members eventually attributed the loss to “causes or reasons unknown.”
The strange events of December 5, 1945 have since become fodder for all manner of wild theories and speculation. In the 1960s and 70s, pulp magazines and writers such as Vincent Gaddis and Charles Berlitz helped popularize the idea that Flight 19 had been gobbled up by the “Bermuda Triangle,” a section of the Atlantic supposedly known for its high volume of freak disappearances and mechanical failures. Other books and fictional portrayals have suggested that magnetic anomalies, parallel dimensions and alien abductions might have all played a role in the tragedy. In 1977, the film “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” famously depicted Flight 19 as having been whisked away by flying saucers and later deposited in the deserts of Mexico.
Even if the “Lost Patrol” didn’t fall victim to the supernatural, there’s no denying that its disappearance was accompanied by many oddities and unanswered questions. Perhaps the strangest of all concerns Lieutenant Taylor. Witnesses later claimed that he arrived to Flight 19’s pre-exercise briefing several minutes late and requested to be excused from leading the mission. “I just don’t want to take this one out,” he supposedly said. Just why Taylor tried to get out of flying remains a mystery, but it has led many to suggest that he may have not been fit for duty. Also unexplained is why none of the members of Flight 19 made use of the rescue radio frequency or their planes’ ZBX receivers, which could have helped lead them toward Navy radio towers on land. The pilots were told to switch the devices on, but they either didn’t hear the message or didn’t acknowledge it.
What really happened to Flight 19? The most likely scenario is that the planes eventually ran out of gas and ditched in the ocean somewhere off the coast of Florida, leaving any survivors at the mercy of rough seas and deep water. In 1991, a group of treasure hunters seemed to have finally solved the puzzle when they stumbled upon the watery graves of five World War II-era Avengers near Fort Lauderdale. Unfortunately, it was later found that the hulks belonged to a different group of Navy planes whose serial numbers didn’t match those of the fabled “Lost Patrol.” Many believe the wrecks of Flight 19 and its doomed rescue plane may still lurk somewhere in the Bermuda Triangle, but while the search continues to this day, no definitive signs of the six aircraft or their 27 crewmen have ever been found.
STORY: SEPTIC TANK SAM=====
Approximately 42 miles southeast of Edmonton, Alberta, in Canada, the small town of Tofield sits adjacent to the large Beaverhill Lake. There is a farmhouse just outside of Tofield that Mr. and Mrs. McLeod owned at the time, but they had left the property abandoned. While the McLeods were searching their septic tank for the pump one day in April 1977, they discovered something grisly. Someone had used the 1.8-meter deep septic tank as a dumping site for a body. It became evident that someone had brutally tortured the individual. However, the body was in a bad state of decomposition and investigators were unable to identify the gender until later when they realized it was a male. Investigators nicknamed him Septic Tank Sam. Till this day, the case has never been solved and Sam has never been identified.
Investigators described the individual as having a height of 5 feet 6 inches but perhaps 3 inches taller than that. He had dark hair and likely weighed somewhere between 150-180 pounds. The corpse was wearing a white tee-shirt beneath a Levi’s button down work shirt, jeans, and Clark’s Wallabee shoes. They estimated the man to be in his late 20s.
After the McLeods discovered Septic Tank Sam, police immediately started an investigation. There was nothing on or around the corpse to indicate his true identity, but several things were clearly obvious. The fact that someone had dumped him inside a septic tank indicated foul play. The post-mortem examination merely confirmed this. His clothes showed signs of burns – likely the result of a butane blowtorch. The torch burns also appeared on the man’s skin in addition to cigarette burns.
Someone had also tied up the man and brutalized him with a savage beating. The autopsy revealed a little bit more about the horrific final moments of this man’s life. He had been sexually mutilated and shot twice in the head and chest. After all of this, someone deposited the man head first into the septic tank where the discovery of his body occurred. His killer tried to dissolve the body by using quicklime. However, instead of accelerating the decomposition process as the culprit believed, the quicklime actually slowed it down. This was due to the small amount of water already in the tank. A quicklime and water mix will only burn on a superficial level and dry out the chemical reaction expected to otherwise take place.
Without a positive identification of their victim, investigators nicknamed the man Septic Tank Sam. All of their inquiries to try to discover Sam’s true identity failed. Neither publicity nor artists’ impressions of the man drew in leads. Even now, four decades later, Septic Tank Sam’s true name is still unknown. Investigators sent out Septic Tank Sam’s dental records to 800 dentists, but none could match them to any patient on file. It seems more likely that the man was a transient, perhaps a casual laborer. It was possible the killer had transported him very far away from the actual crime scene.
His identity may be unknown, but we can surpmise other details about the crime. Whoever is responsible is probably familiar with the area around Tofield. Many residents of Tofield are aware that the farm is derelict. That doesn’t automatically mean that the killer or killers originate from within the town. However, the chances are good that whoever tortured Septic Tank Sam had sufficient local knowledge to understand that concealing the corpse within the tank would mean that a discovery would not be made for a long time – if it would be made at all. Scientists estimate that Sam had been inside the tank somewhere between four months and a year.
Officers seemed to have been at a loss about where to exactly continue with their investigation. Nobody knew who Septic Tank Sam was, which in turn meant that identifying those responsible would be that much harder. Any motive was also open to interpretation. It is clear that someone desperately hated Sam, enough to warrant such intense violence and sadism. But who? Investigators did not even have a crime scene to forensically examine. Whoever murdered Sam did so at a location separate to the farmhouse.
During the autopsy, the possibility that Sam had an illness during his formative childhood years came to light. Indications from his teeth and bones may have meant that he had contracted some malady around the age of five. Two years after his discovery, investigators invited Dr. Clyde Snow to help with a possible identification. Sam was exhumed and Dr. Snow took 125 measurements of the skeleton. He input the data into a computer program. This work led to a pair of conclusions. Septic Tank Sam was seven years older than originally thought and he may have been a Native American. Concerned that this might have been a factor into a lack of positive identification, investigating officers revised the description. Sam was either a Native American or Caucasian between the ages of 25 and 40.
Four years later, the investigation had stalled, despite massive press publicity. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police took the decision to release additional details in the hope of kick-starting their investigation. The killer had rolled Septic Tank Sam into a yellow bed sheet which he had tied with nylon rope. Additionally, detectives revealed that Sam might have also been tied to a bed during an intense torture session. The work shirt, jeans, and one sock all had burn marks. The crotch of the jeans had also been cut with shears. None of this additional information brought the investigation any further.
Local gossip could provide an answer to the mystery. At the very least, one of the explanations does seem to fit the facts. It also might explain the nature of Septic Tank Sam’s injuries. He was a pedophile that someone had caught red-handed.
STORY: HOUSE OF HORRORS=====
Turn on the TV. Isn’t that your house?”
That’s the last thing you want to hear if what’s on television is a documentary about serial killers. But that’s what happened to Catrina McGhaw in 2014.
She had just moved into the house in Ferguson, Missouri, and her landlord made no mention of anything nefarious ever taking place there, even throwing in a dining room table to seal the deal. But as it turns out, the home was that of a man named Maury Travis, who authorities believe tortured and murdered as many as 20 women before being apprehended in 2002. McGhaw’s friend had been watching an A&E documentary on Cold Cases when she recognized her friend’s house on the show.
Even the free table had been an instrument for murder. Travis made gruesome videos of the torture and murder of his victims, which depicted him tying his victims to a support beam in the basement of the house.
When a local newspaper received a letter and a map indicating where one of the victim’s bodies was located, police traced the map, made with a computer program, back to Travis’s computer. Authorities placed the suspect under arrest, but they didn’t have the chance to put him on trial. Travis committed suicide while in custody just a few weeks after being arrested. While the bodies of two of his alleged victims were successfully recovered, police believe he may have been responsible for as many as 20 murders.
Understandably terrified, McGhaw told her landlord she knew of the house’s history and wanted out of her lease. The landlord, who turned out to be Travis’s mother, refused to let her out of the agreement.
After consulting a lawyer, McGhaw learned the hard way that landlords or sellers are not always obligated to disclose things like murders or suicides. While some states require such disclosures, in Missouri, there is no such obligation. What’s more, the law usually applies to properties that are on the market for sale, not for rental.
McGhaw called on the support of her family. They dutifully arrived, but what happened next only made matters worse. While family members gathered to discuss solutions to McGhaw’s struggle, one relative, a little girl, played in the basement. Suddenly, the child grew frightened; she began to cry. She was steps away from the pole where Travis once tied his victims and, in McGhaw’s opinion, reacted as if she could clearly see someone in pain—but no one was there.
After that, McGhaw called in the big guns—the news media. Reporters from the local television station covered the story and shortly afterwards McGhaw was finally able to break her lease and move elsewhere. Yet she still can’t get the horror of that afternoon in the basement out of her mind. As she told the news station, “”[The child] looked over … like she was scared. Like she saw somebody scared and crying and nobody was there.”
STORY: THE SUMMER I DIDN’T SLEEP=====
I can’t recall how old I was when these events took place, but judging by what bedroom of our house I was sleeping in at that point, I must have been somewhere between 9 and 12. I have wanted to share this story for quite some time but the truth is that I haven’t been able to build up the courage to really recall the memories. It still petrifies me to this day.
It all started on a summer night when I was laying in my bed reading, just like any other night. I was somewhere in the middle of one of the Sweet Valley High novels when I suddenly felt my bed start shaking. A deep feeling of dread came over me and I was more scared than I had ever been before (just thinking back at this gives me goosebumps). It didn’t feel like someone was tugging the end or the side of the bed or anything like that, it was the full mattress that started shaking. I was terrified to the point where a shiver went down my spine and I started cold sweating, in that moment I remember how I realized that these was not just things you say as a generic expression to describe fear, but that it was actually possible to feel those sensations. After a while of being frozen in fear and contemplating what to do I eventually jumped out of the bed and tried to think of what to do next. I turned on all lamps (even though it was summer and not even very dark outside) and just stared at the bed for a while, it didn’t move anymore and I couldn’t think of any reason of why it would move in the first place. Trying to master my fear I laid back down again but the shaking started up again after just a few seconds. This had me quietly sneaking in to one of my sisters’ room and spending the night with her.
I’m not sure for how long this went on, I just remember being constantly sleepy and lacking energy. I did everything and anything to delay the moment that I had to go to bed. One time I convinced my stepfather to stay out on the lake with me, fishing until around 2am. He thought I just loved fishing so much, I do, but I mostly dreaded the moment I would have to set foot in my bedroom again. Some nights I managed to sneak in to my sisters’ room but doing so I always risked a beating from being up and making noise at night, so it wasn’t always an option. Other nights I spent in a tent or in one of our many cabins as it was summer, and nothing would bother me except when I slept alone in my room. No one in my family believed me and they made fun of me for it each time I tried to bring it up. My oldest sister would laugh and scream “the exorcist” as soon as I mentioned anything about it (referring to the scene in the Exorcist movie where the bed is shaking).
Luckily my cousin came to visit and spent more than a week on a mattress on the floor of my bedroom and after she left I didn’t removed it but used it for me to sleep on instead. This was a huge relief as even though I always felt a presence and like something was watching me, nothing was bothering me physically during this time. Eventually my mother got mad at me for keeping the mattress in my room for so long and made me put it away. At this point it was already autumn and I could no longer stay anywhere other than my room. So, my nightmare continued.
One night I sneaked over to my sisters’ room again, (not the same sister that used to laugh at me) and crawled into her bed, even though she had gotten very tired of me coming over there at this point (especially as she also risked a beating from me coming there) when her bed started shaking too! Shocked and scared she told me that she had felt it, instead of being scared this time, I was so glad that someone finally believed me after going through this alone all summer.
A couple of weeks later I visited my grandmother and I told her everything that had happened, knowing that she was no stranger to the paranormal and would believe me. She advised me to put a Bible under my pillow before going to bed. No one on my mother’s side of the family is religious so I couldn’t find a Bible at home, but managed to find a small book with some psalms that I put under my pillow that night. I was so scared that it would only anger whatever was haunting me, but from that moment I was never bothered by this thing again. I am not sure why it started or why it stopped, I was just glad it was over. Did I just will it away with the book?
STORY: MOON-EYED PEOPLE OF THE CHEROKEE=====
The Cherokee recall a white-skinned race that lived on their lands before they arrived. This group of very unusual beings were known as the Moon-Eyed people.
Cherokee legends say the Moon-Eyed people were of small stature and had pale, white skin, blond hair and blue eyes. They were called Moon-Eyed because they had very sensitive eyes and were unable to see in daylight. They could however see very well at night. Since these mysterious ancient people were blinded by the Sun, they were forced to live in underground caverns.
The Moon-Eyed people were physically totally different from the Cherokee and when these two races encountered each other, war broke out.
The Moon-Eyed people were first mentioned in a 1797 book by Benjamin Smith Barton. Later documentation tells of similar accounts, such as an 1823 book, The Natural and Aboriginal History of Tennessee, which tells of a band of white people who were killed or driven out of Kentucky and West Tennessee.
According to the Cherokee the Moon-Eyed people lived in Appalachia until the Cherokee expelled them. The Moon-Eyed people are said to have built some ancient structures in the area. One of them is Fort Mountain in Georgia. It is an 850 foot long zigzagging stone wall that is 12 feet thick and up to seven feet high.
The age of the wall has never been properly determined, but according to some sources it was built around 400-500 AD.
Who really built Fort Mountain is still a mystery. Cherokee legends tell the ancient structure was raised either by the Moon-Eyed people or Madoc, a Welsh prince who came to America in 1170.
Former Tennessee governor John Sevier wrote that the Cherokee leader Oconostota told him in 1783 that local mounds had been built by white people who were pushed from the area by the ascendant Cherokee. According to Sevier, Oconostota confirmed that these were Welsh from across the ocean.
The identity of the Moon-Eyed people is unknown. Who were these mysterious, small pale beings who lived underground? One theory suggests these people were of Welsh origin, being descendants of Madoc’s colonists. An ancient structure almost identical to the Fort Mountain can be found near DeSoto Falls, Alabama. It’s possible it was built by these Welsh settlers after they left Fort Mountain.
There are two Cherokee legends that could shed some light on this ancient mystery. One legend reveals that the Cherokee defeated the Moon-Eyed people and drove them from their homeland during a full moon. Another version tells the Cherokee chased the Moon-Eyed people away from their home at Hiwassee, a village near what is now Murphy, North Carolina, west into Tennessee.
According to both Cherokee legends the Moon-Eyed people went underground. That’s all we know. The Moon-Eyed people and their fate remains an unsolved ancient mystery. After all this time, we may never find out what happened to the white-skinned race because the truth lies buried somewhere in antiquity and may never be unearthed.
Nevertheless, the legend of the Moon-Eyed people and their encounter with the Cherokee is truly fascinating.
I have a lot more stories to come, so keep listening.
STORY: CALL FROM A GHOST=====
My son Jason passed away last July. He was 29 years old, and his death was unexpected. He had recently discharged from the army and had been residing with me for the last 15 months. I found him in his room when I opened the door. I had so many unanswered questions.
Well today, June 14th, 2015, I was sleeping in the living room because my five-year-old grandson was spending the night. We didn’t go to bed until 5 a.m., and I awoke to my cell phone ringing. The phone wasn’t near me, it was over on the kitchen table, so I didn’t make it to the phone in time to answer. When I picked it up, I expected to see my other son’s name, thinking he was checking in to see if my grandson was up yet. However, when I looked at the phone it said I had a missed call from Jason.
The call was from his phone number, and the phone said there was a voice mail. So, with shaking hands, I called back. But there was nothing, just dead silence. I said hello and there was no response. The line stayed open until I finally hung up.
My son’s cell phone has been disconnected for 11 months now and sits in my drawer. Even if someone else was given his number, they certainly wouldn’t have his contact list to get my number.
I am a big-time skeptic, never believing ghost stories, but I have no explanation whatsoever. I told my other grown children and my daughter even came over to see the number for herself on my missed call list. This happened at exactly 7:02 a.m.
I don’t know how, or why, but I would love to believe it was my son calling me from heaven. He is still in my contact list and the ringer I had assigned to him was not the ring I heard this morning.”
STORY: A MOMENT OF AGONY=====
Albert E. Hauntstine had been a fugitive for nearly two weeks before being apprehended on November 22, 1888, in Columbus, Nebraska, by Platte County Sheriff Bloedorn. After his apprehension, Haunstine was described as “a harmless, innocent looking young man of about twenty-five.” But Haunstine’s mild appearance belied the brutal nature of his crime, he shot Hiram Roten and William Ashley in the head and tried to hide their bodies in a haystack on his farm in Broken Bow. A reward of $900 had been offered for his capture. When he was arrested Haunstine was armed with two Navy revolvers, a Winchester rifle, a derringer, and plenty of ammunition but was overpowered before he could make a move.
Haunstine admitted his guilt when captured and said that Roten had been one of his best friends but could offer no reason for the murders. The story came in from Broken Bow that Roten and Ashley were school officers in Custer County who went to see Haunstine on November 9, regarding their suspicion that he had stolen a clock and some furniture from the schoolhouse. Three days later Roten and Ashley had still not returned, and their friends began a search which ended in the haystack at Haunstine’s place. Both men had been shot through the head and Roten’s face had been badly eaten by hogs.
The following April Albert Haunstine was tried for first-degree murder and was easily convicted. He was sentenced to hang on September 6, 1889. Haunstine’s attorney requested a new trial on technical grounds, and when the request was denied by the district court the case was appealed to the state supreme court. The hanging was postponed and Haunstine remained in prison for more than a year before the supreme court affirmed the district court’s ruling in January 1891 denying him a new trial. Haunstine was sentenced to hanging on April 17, 1891.
As Haunstine awaited his execution, his friends were hard at work trying to convince Nebraska Governor Boyd that Haunstine could not have committed the crime unless he had gone insane. His behavior had been erratic since his capture and his supporters declared it would be a shame to execute a crazy man. The governor finally yielded to the pressure and convened a jury to determine whether or not Albert Haunstine was insane and sent Drs. Knapp and Carter to examine the prisoner and report their findings to the jury.
As of April 17, the jury had not yet decided Haunstine’s fate. The sentence had ordered that Haunstine be executed sometime between 10:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m.; at 9:15 that morning, the governor signed an order granting Haunstine a thirty-day reprieve while the jury finished its work.
This news was received with much indignation in Broken Bow where the general belief was that Haunstine was not crazy but had been feigning insanity since his arrest. The governor had been unaware when he signed the reprieve that the jury had come in at 1:00 that morning with a verdict that Haunstine was sane enough to hang. When the governor learned the verdict he did not rescind his order but fixed May 22 as the date of Haunstine’s execution.
Feeling ran high in Broken Bow on April 17, and some of the most hot-headed openly declared that if Haunstine was not hung by 4:00 a mob would be organized to break into the jail and lynch the murderer. It was not an idle threat, that afternoon, a mob of 200 to 300 men armed with crowbars and sledgehammers, led by friends and relatives of the murdered men, descended on the jail and demanded the key to Haunstine’s cell. They were stopped by Sheriff Jones who told them he would only give up the keys with his life. Sheriff Jones addressed the crowd as did ex-sheriff Penn and two other public officials. The authorities managed to placate the crowd and there was no further violence that night.
A mob formed again on May 22 when the sheriff tried to hold the hanging privately, behind a wire fence and a tall enclosure made of rough boards. At 12:30 Sheriff Jones led Haunstine, accompanied by two priests, up the stairs of the gallows. At this point, a cousin of Hiram Roten, one of Haunstine’s murder victims, sprang on the scaffold and gave a signal to the crowd outside. Immediately, the crowd rushed forward over the wire fence and despite the efforts of the deputies, they tore down the enclosure and ran toward the gallows.
Sheriff Jones came forward and again subdued the crowd. He addressed the crowd saying that they had violated the law and were subject to penalties, and asked them, in the name of humanity, to act like men. He asked all who were willing to do this to hold up their hands. The crowd became quiet and all of them raised their hands.
There was no more disturbance from the assembled crowd, but it was not the end of trouble for Sheriff Jones. At 12:58, Haunstine was placed on the trap and his arms and legs were pinioned with leather straps. With his spiritual advisers by his side he addressed the crowd saying, “Gentlemen and Ladies, I am sorry for what I have done. I ask your and God’s forgiveness. I ask God’s protection and forgiveness. Take warning from me: remember from small things great wrongs grow.”
The trap was sprung at 1:00 and the body dropped down but the rope snapped with Haunstine’s weight and he fell to the ground beneath the scaffold. Sheriff Jones and his deputies rushed down the stairway, gathered him up in their arms and carried him back up to the platform.
On the way up Haunstine gasped to the sheriff, “Please, Jim, loose the rope so I can get my breath.” But the rope was too tight and the sheriff could not loosen it.
The men quickly retied the rope and at 1:02 the trap was sprung again. This time Haunstine was “launched into eternity” and was pronounced dead eleven and a half minutes later.
STORY: HAIRY HANDS STEERING WHEEL=====
A remote road across wild Dartmoor has been named as one of the UK’s most notorious haunted highways. With Friday 13th just a whisker away, the story of the hairy hands of Dartmoor has surfaced again in the national survey.
Car breakdown experts at UK recovery firm 24|7 Vehicle Rescue have combed through the archives of paranormal sightings to compile their list.
Spokesman Ranjen Gohri said: “Britain is a land steeped in superstition, myth and legend so it’s no surprise to learn that there are thousands of strange and unexplained sightings on our roads, with many reports coming from isolated highways that cut through barren stretches of moor and mountain.
“Breaking down by the side of the road is clearly never an enjoyable thing. But we imagine the situation is made even worse when you’re seeing things through your windscreen, or rear view mirror, that really shouldn’t be there!”
The Dartmoor tale concerns the B3212 between Dunsford and Yelverton, which is home to mysterious ‘hairy hands’ myth – with motorists describing how a disembodied pair of hirsute hands grabs their steering wheel and tries to run them off the road.
In 1962 holidaymaker Florence Warwick was driving the route when she stopped the car to look at a map. She recalled: “I looked up and saw a pair of huge, hairy hands pressed against the windscreen. I tried to scream, but couldn’t. I was frozen with fear.”
Another eyewitness in 2008, Michael Anthony, told how a pair of ‘paws’ appeared over his own hands while driving.
In case you’re still up for a motor along the haunted highways, here are the other locations which made the list
East Riding of Yorkshire: B1249 between Driffield and Staxton Hill. = Real life wolves roamed the wooded farmland of the East Riding of Yorkshire up until the 15th century, when they were hunted to extinction. But it’s wolves of the supernatural kind that get glimpsed there now. One werewolf report from the 1960s, and documented by author Charles Christian, describes how a lorry driver was left terrified when a red-eyed hairy creature tried to smash its way through his windscreen as he drove along the remote road. Then in August 2016 motorist Jemma Waller, 24, described seeing a monster which looked ‘like a big dog, probably bigger than my car, but it had a human face’ in the nearby village of Halsham.
Kent: A229 at Blue Bell Hill. = The ghost of a young bride has been terrifying motorists – and baffling police – on this stretch of road between Maidstone and Chatham since 1974.
The legend began when 35-year-old bricklayer Maurice Goodenough ran frantically into Rochester Police Station claiming he had just knocked down a young woman in her mid twenties near Blue Bell Hill. He told police: “The girl’s just walked out in front of me from the edge of the road. My car hit her with one hell of a bang.”
Yet police and tracker dogs found no trace of any victim. The same thing happened again in 1992 when 54-year-old coach driver Ian Sharpe experienced a similar thing.
At the time PC Roger Ginn reported: “Once we were satisfied there was no sign of an accident, no damage to his car, and particularly in view of where it had occurred, we just had to write it off as another sighting of the Blue Bell Hill ghost.”
Surrey: A3 at Burpham = In December 2002 Surrey Police investigated reports of a car seen swerving off the A3 near Burpham. They eventually found a car in a ditch containing the remains of a driver – but the motorist had perished some five months previously, leading to speculation the sighting had been a ghostly re-enactment of the crash which killed him. Sergeant Russ Greenhouse, of Surrey Police, said: “The car was discovered as a result of a report from members of the public who thought they saw a car’s headlights veering off the road. The officers could not identify that collision but they had the presence of mind to search on foot.”
Greater Manchester: The A6 at Stockport, near Mersey Square. = For years the A6, which runs between Manchester and Buxton, has been the haunt for a phantom female motorcycling hitchhiker, who thumbs a lift before vanishing into thin air.
Eyewitness Harold Smith recently recalled his run-in from the early 1990s, saying: “As I came down the long hill, I saw a figure on the left-hand pavement. She was slim with dark, straight shoulder-length hair, wearing a short jacket and trousers and holding a helmet.
“As I approached, she walked to the kerb and stuck her thumb out. People don’t usually thumb lifts from motorcyclists. When I stopped in the lay-by and looked back over my shoulder, I couldn’t see her any more. I waited, revved the engine, but gave up and rode home. The whole thing was very strange.”
Northumberland: The A696 near Belsay. = In August 2015 Gateshead-based radio presenters Rob Davies and Chris Felton had a run-in with a ghost dressed in RAF uniform on this remote rural road.
Rob explained: “We saw a man standing at the side of the road. We both actually jumped at first because we didn’t see him until very late. He was dressed in a beige colour from head to toe. He was sticking his arm out for a lift, but we could not stop in time due to being at 60mph.
“We turned around and I started filming on my iPhone as it seemed a bit odd. We couldn’t remember how far back he was, but we saw him again and slowed. He was dressed in what I can only describe as RAF gear and was holding something under his arm, which looked like a helmet or some kind of bag.
“It was only seconds and no other car had been past, but when we turned around he was gone.”
Scotland: The A75 ‘Kinmount Straight’. = Dubbed the ‘most haunted highway in Scotland’, the A75 is apparently home to ‘screaming hags, eyeless phantoms and a menagerie of unearthly creatures’, according to local paranormal investigator Kathleen Cronie. The most famous sighting came in 1962, as reported by Derek and Norman Ferguson. They witnessed a chicken flying towards their windscreen before dematerialising, as well as giant cats and a furniture van that also disappeared into the ether.
Cheshire: The M6 between Crewe and Knutsford. = Many motorists have been distracted by what looked like Roman soldiers marching on the side of the highway, while others have reported hitting ‘translucent’ figures with their vehicles.
One report, from an eyewitness travelling home to Wirral, told last month: “It was a really freaky experience. I was driving on the M6, around junction 17, when I thought I saw a figure ahead. I immediately slowed down.
“I could seen that this ‘person’ was in the middle lane. To me, it looked like the figure had run across the lanes and was now waiting for me to hit them – as if they were suicidal.
“But as I got closer the figure didn’t look like a solid figure. It looked almost translucent. And then the figure just vanished. There was nothing there. I literally blinked and it had gone. I checked my mirrors and there was nothing behind me.
“I don’t logically believe in ghosts and the supernatural. For now I’m telling myself that my brain was playing tricks on me. But my brain was suitably convinced that something was amiss that I slammed on the brakes and swerved to avoid hitting whatever was in my way.”
Sheffield: The A616 at Stocksbridge = The stories of a paranormal nature began during the building of the road when two security guards tasked with keeping watch over building materials claimed they saw a group of children dancing beneath a pylon in the early hours, they had their claims laughed off when they called Deepcar police station, with officers saying they would be better off phoning a priest! Drivers on the road have stated they have seen a monk staring blankly over the valley beside the road, with some even stating they have seen the apparition beside them in their vehicle!
STORY: JESSE JAMES=====
On April 3, 1882, outlaw Jesse James was shot to death in St. Joseph, Missouri by Robert Ford, a member of Jesse’s gang. This ended the life of one of post-Civil War America’s most famous outlaws – or did it? According to a man named J. Frank Dalton, Jesse James actually faked his death in 1882 and in 1949, he was still alive and well and living at Meramec Caverns in Missouri. How did he know? Well, because Dalton claimed to be the famous outlaw!
The story of J. Frank Dalton is inextricably tied into the history of Meramec Caverns, a roadside attraction made famous by Route 66, the legendary “mother road,” which linked Chicago to Los Angeles and inspired songs, stories, countless road trips and captured the imagination of America. The story of the “man who would be Jesse James” is one of the weirdest stories ever told about Route 66.
To tell the story of J. Frank Dalton, we first have to tell the story of Meramec Caverns, which became a familiar landmark along Route 66 as it traveled west of St. Louis. Located just three miles off the highway, down a twisting road that leads from the town of Stanton to the Meramec River, the cave was commercially developed in the 1930s by Lester B. Dill, a Missouri farm boy with the cleverness of P.T. Barnum. “I have put more people underground and brought them out alive than anyone else,” Dill often boasted and no one could dispute the claim.
Lester Dill was born in 1898 and was the second of nine children. He was only six years old when his father, Thomas Benton Dill, ventured into Fisher’s Cave, across the Meramec from the family farm, for the first time. By the time he was 10, Lester, guided by a kerosene lamp, was taking tourists from St. Louis on guided cave tours. Over the years, Dill continued to explore the many caves of the Meramec Valley. Later, Dill and his wife, Mary, followed the oil boom in Oklahoma, dabbled in Florida real estate and then moved to St. Louis, where Lester worked a carpenter. In 1928, when his father was appointed the first superintendent of the new Meramec State Park, where Fisher’s Cave was located, Lester came back to the area. He signed a contract with the state and launched a cave-guiding business, complete with souvenirs and homemade food.
A few years later, when the state contract expired, and the country in the midst of the Great Depression, Lester began searching for his own cave to develop. He finally decided to lease Saltpeter Cave, which was just a few miles downstream from the park. Spaniard Hernando De Soto was said to have discovered the cave in 1542 and a couple of centuries later, it was explored by a French miner named Jacques Renault. During the 1800s, the cave was used by saltpeter miners for storage and shelter and legend had it that escaped slaves were sheltered there as they made their way to safety in the northern states. There were also stories that outlaws, including the famous Jesse James gang, found refuge in the cave and may have even left some of their ill-gotten gains hidden somewhere inside.
The legends of the cave were important to Lester but even more important was the cave’s proximity to Route 66, America’s most traveled highway. Dill knew that if he got the word out, the tourists would beat a path to his door. He renamed the new attraction Meramec Caverns and hired a local sawmill crew to construct a road to the cave. Meramec Caverns opened on Decoration Day (Memorial Day) 1933 and a total of six visitors paid 40 cents per person to follow Lester Dill through the damp passageways. It was not a great start, but Lester was not worried. He eventually bought the property and put almost every cent that he earned into improving and promoting the show cave.
For the first three years of the cave’s operation, the entire Dill family, including the children, worked day and night. They even lived in a tent at the site. The battled treacherous ice on the steep road between Route 66 and the cave entrance and in the spring, built brick dikes to hold back the river and keep it from turning the parking lot into a lake and flooding the cave entrance.
isitors that managed to make it to the cave always left with a Meramec Caverns sign tied to their bumper. School children that were hired by Lester saw to it that a sign was attached to the bumper of each and every automobile that stopped at the cave. Later, the job became easier when adhesive was developed for the backs of the bumper signs. In 1940, while he was exploring an unknown part of the cave, Lester found some rusted guns and an old chest, which he claimed had belonged to none other than Jesse James. Immediately, the words “Jesse James’ Hideout” was added to the bumper stickers.
Besides the millions of bumper stickers attached to cars and the brochures handed out to tourists, Lester promoted the cave by posting signs, mostly painted on barns, along highways in as many as 40 states. Lester and his crew scoured the countryside, especially along Route 66, searching for just the right barns for their eye-catching signs. To entice the farmers who owned the barns, Lester handed out watches, pints of whiskey, and free passes to the cave.
During World War II, when gas rationing hit, Lester went down Route 66 to Fort Leonard Wood, a large basic training camp, and convinced the army to convoy troops to the cave for maneuvers. Hundreds of soldiers camped in the river bottom and marched into the cave in full battle dress. Every night, Lester through dances for the soldiers in the cave and gave special rates to anyone in uniform.
Francena, one of Lester and Mary’s daughters, married one of the soldiers – Rudy Turilli, a handsome Italian from New York. After the war ended, Rudy became the general manager of the cave and handled most of the promotion and publicity. It was Turilli who discovered a man named J. Frank Dalton in 1949 who raised eyebrows by declaring that he was actually Jesse James – but more about that soon.
In the early 1950s, during a time when Americans were preoccupied by the Cold War, Meramec Caverns became known as the “safest bomb shelter in the world” when Lester and Rudy offered the cave to the government as a haven from atomic blasts. He created a passage in the cave to be used as a shelter and stocked it with rations and thousands of gallons of water. Visitors paid to visit this part of the cave and as an ominous incentive to return, were given tiny cards with the admission tickets – cards that promised them a spot in the fallout shelter if the “Big One” ever hit.
Lester and Rudy never missed an opportunity to promote the caverns and celebrities from Kate Smith and Pearl Bailey to Lassie toured the “world’s only five-story cave.” In 1960, Lester dubbed a small nook in the cave the “Honeymoon Room” and managed to get it featured on the Art Linkletter Show. For the show, they dressed a honeymoon couple in leopard skins, confined them to the room and promised them a free trip to the Bahamas if they could find a hidden key within 10 days. Each time a tour passed, the caveman couple were required to act out a skit. The humiliation – and the publicity – lasted the full 10 days since Lester and Rudy didn’t actually hide the key until day 10.
Toasted on network television shows and in the press as “America’s Number One Cave Man”, Lester Dill died in 1980. Despite the passing of the man who put Meramec Caverns on the map, the cave remains in family hands and continues to draw big crowds every summer. The cave was an icon on Route 66 and remains a permanent attraction after all of these years.
But it was the cave’s connection to Jesse James that drew the most visitor’s over the years – especially when Jesse James himself was alleged to take up residence there.
There is no question that Jesse James was one of the most famous outlaws in history. Born and raised in Missouri, Jesse rode with Quantrill’s Raiders during the Civil War and unable to surrender after the war ended, he, his brother and their gang of cousins and friends wreaked havoc with banks and trains all over the Midwest. He remains an intriguing man, portrayed as both a cold-blooded killer by Pinkerton detectives and a “Robin Hood” rebel by friends and neighbors; he became a legend over the years. It’s little wonder that the grave itself had trouble keeping Jesse James in it. History states that Jesse was shot to death by Robert Ford on April 3, 1882 – shot in the back while straightening a picture on the wall. But the official account of Jesse’s death was just too mundane for his admirers to accept. In 1902, Jesse’s body was actually exhumed and reburied to make sure it was safe. Less than five decades later, nearly a dozen old men came out of the woodwork, each of them calling the corpse a counterfeit and each claiming to be the authentic Jesse James.
One by one, most of their stories were shot full of holes but one of them managed to capture the attention of Rudy Turilli, the son-in-law of Meramec Caverns owner Lester Dill. Rudy had been fascinated by the legend of Jesse James for more than 20 years. When all of the old men came forward claiming to be Jesse, he discredited all of them – except for J. Frank Dalton.
By 1948, Rudy was heir apparent to the caverns and followed his father-in-law in proving that he knew how to promote the cave. He and another fellow participated in a stunt that made world news. The two men climbed the Empire State Building and threatened to jump off unless everyone in the world went to Meramec Caverns! The authorities eventually talked them down. Rudy and his friend spent nine days in jail but the story made newspapers all over the country.
When Dalton’s claim on the Jesse James name was first reported in Lawton, Oklahoma, Rudy and Lester assumed that he was another fraud. However, neither one of them was content with just ignoring the story. Meramec Caverns had a huge investment in Jesse James. They had been promoting the cave as Jesse James’ hideout for a number of years and the discovery of a strongbox that had been taken during a James train robbery turned up in an uncharted section of the cave seemed to offer proof of the story. If Jesse was still alive, Rudy and Lester were determined to find him.
Rudy traveled to Oklahoma to meet Dalton and became intrigued by what he found. The bedridden old man who claimed to be Jesse James was winning over the skeptics. The press was starting to put its confidence into print and no interviewer seemed able to poke a hole in his story. Most interesting of all, the self-proclaimed outlaw had a reason why he’d kept silent for so long. Dalton claimed that Robert Ford had actually shot Charles Bigelow, another James gang member, in 1882. Bigelow’s brains were blown out and he was buried under Jesse’s name so that the real outlaw (i.e. Dalton) could live in peace. Missouri Governor Crittenden had been in on the ruse. Dalton and the rest of the gang had made a pact to disclose their true identities only after they reached the age of 100.
Rudy, still skeptical, examined Dalton with a magnifying glass and was stunned to discover damage done to the old man’s body agreed with reports or injuries sustained by Jesse James – from a mutilated tip on the left hand index finger, to evidence of severe burns on both feet, a dropping right eyelid, and bullet scars along the left shoulder, hairline and abdomen. If Dalton wasn’t Jesse James, he’d groomed himself from head to toe, leaving out nothing, to make himself appear that he was. Rudy began making arrangements to bring Dalton to Stanton. He was planning a birthday celebration for the man that he believed was the legendary outlaw.
During the planning, Dalton told Rudy to try and track down some of the other living members of the gang and Rudy found John Tramell, a cook. Rudy told the man that Jesse James wanted him to come to Meramec Caverns for his 102nd birthday party, but Tramell swore that he didn’t know the man. When Rudy went back to Dalton for an explanation, he was told that since he didn’t know a secret password, Tramell wouldn’t talk with him. When asked why he didn’t offer the password originally, Dalton said that he wanted to make sure that Rudy could be trusted. Dalton gave him the password and this time, when he returned to Tramell, the old man agreed to come to the party.
Dalton was given a cabin on the Meramec Caverns property where he could live. He drank heavily and gained an abiding hatred for reporters. He was friendly with everyone else, but grew to despise reporters, who bothered him day and night. Dalton asked for a six-shooter and would actually shoot holes in the ceiling of his cabin to scare the reporters away. Rudy and Lester became concerned that he might actually kill someone, so they started taking the powder out of the bullets and replacing the lead. This plan didn’t work well because Dalton picked up the bullets and knew they were light, so he demanded a full load.
While Dalton was busy fending off reporters, Rudy was working hard to secure Dalton’s legitimacy. Over the years, his faith in Dalton led to him appearing on What’s My Line? and The Tonight Show. Rudy appeared in newspaper after newspapers and in men’s magazines, where he offered $10,000 to anyone who could prove Dalton was a fraud. The story brought so much publicity to Meramec Caverns that Rudy created his own tribute to Dalton in the form of the Jesse James Wax Museum in Stanton.
Today, the museum still stands along Route 66 in Stanton. Inside, life-sized figures of Dalton, Rudy Turilli, Cole Younger and others greet visitors. Firearms that purportedly belonged to the James gang can be found in glass cases and antiques like Frank James’ bathtub and a barber chair in which Jesse received his last trim are on display. There are autopsy photographs and a computer-enhanced projection that turns a 34 year-old Jesse James into an elderly J. Frank Dalton, plus a study in 12-inch ears that allegedly proves that the lobes of Dalton and Jesse James were a perfect match.
Before Dalton’s death, Rudy and Lester petitioned the Franklin County Circuit Court to change Dalton’s name back to Jesse James. With hat in hand, Dalton was carried into the courthouse on a stretcher. Judge Ransom A. Breur dismissed the whole thing as the publicity stunt that it probably was. He said: “There is no evidence here to show that this gentleman, if he was ever Jesse James, has ever changed his name. If his name has never been changed from Jesse James, he is still Jesse James in name, and there is nothing for this court to pass on. If he isn’t what he professes to be, then he is trying to perpetrate a fraud upon this court.”
What that, Lester and Rudy returned to Meramec Caverns and J. Frank Dalton remained a mysterious and grumpy old man for the remainder of his life. He died on August 16, 1951 during a visit to Granbury, Texas. If he really was Jesse James, he was 103 years, 11 months and 10 days old.
But was Rudy Turilli’s belief that J. Frank Dalton was Jesse James actually correct?
In 1995, Professor James E. Starrs (a law professor, not a forensic scientist) from George Washington University exhumed the body of Jesse James that was buried in Kearney, Missouri – only one of two gravesites of James. Based on DNA comparisons with living members of the James family, it was ruled that the body in the grave was actually that of Jesse James. Not surprisingly, though, there was a lot of controversy about the findings, the quality of the evidence and why distant relatives were used for the tests when Jesse’s mother, Zerelda, was buried nearby. Supporters of the J. Frank Dalton claims scoffed at the findings and swore to produce their own tests of Dalton’s remains.
At this time, the death of Jesse James and the truth behind the tales of J. Frank Dalton remain a mystery…
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! And please leave a rating and review of the show in the podcast app you listen from – doing so helps the show to get noticed! You can also email me anytime with your questions or comments through the website at WeirdDarkness.com. That’s also where you can find all of my social media, listen to free audiobooks I’ve narrated, shop the Weird Darkness store, sign up for the email newsletter to win monthly prizes, find other podcasts that I host, and find the Hope in the Darkness page if you or someone you know is struggling with depression or dark thoughts. Plus if you have a true paranormal or creepy tale to tell, you can click on TELL YOUR STORY – or call the DARKLINE toll free at 1-877-277-5944. That’s 1-877-277-5944.
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.
“Moon-Eyed People of the Cherokee” by Ellen Lloyd for AncientPages.com
“Call From a Ghost”: (unknown author, link no longer exists)
“Septic Tank Sam” by Les Hewitt for HistoricMysteries.com
“Where Hairy Hands Grab At Your Steering Wheel” by Guy Henderson for DevonLive.com
“The Mysterious Disappearance of Flight 19” by Evan Andrews for History.com
“House of Horrors” by Jessica Ferri for TheLineUp.com
“The Man Who Would Be Jesse James” by Troy Taylor for AmericanHauntingsInk.com
“The Summer I Didn’t Sleep” from YourGhostStories.com
“A Moment of Agony” by Robert Wilhelm for MurderByGaslight.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… “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.” – Proverbs 13:12
And a final thought… “The heart is rich when it is content, and it is always content when its desires are fixed on God.” — Miguel Cordero-Munoz
I’m Darren Marlar. Thanks for joining me in the Weird Darkness.