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IN THIS EPISODE: In 1856, two young children – Joseph and George Cox – disappeared in the Allegheny Mountains. The story is tragic… and it also has a bizarre ending. (Lost Children of the Alleghenies) *** Is he an elf? A troll? Not only is it hard to classify Latin America’s El Duende – but it’s even difficult to know if he’s good, evil, or just a mischievous menace! (Duende The Menace) *** Bachelor’s Grove Cemetery just outside of Chicago is a mystery. No one knows exactly how it got its name; no one is sure when the first burial there took place or why it has since been abandoned; there is no explanation for the strange lights that are often seen there, or the ghostly lady, or the phantom horse and rider. (Bachelor’s Grove Cemetery) *** A man is found in a graveyard with a bullet to his skull, barely alive. He died later – but what exactly happened to him is a bit of a mystery. Our guess though is that it had something to do with him being a grave robber. (A Grave Robber’s Fate) *** Forensics has come a long way over the years, making it harder and harder for criminals to get away with crimes – particularly brutal crimes where DNA is usually left behind because of a struggle or physical assault. But despite technological advancements, there are still those cases that remain unsolved – and we’ll look at a few murders of women whose cases still can’t be closed. (Unsolved Female Murders) *** How’s the saying go… “hell hath no fury like a woman scorned?” That’s good advice for the living – but probably even more apropos when dealing with female ghosts! (Famous Female Phantoms) *** Imagine you’re in a small town and suddenly you begin seeing people around you starting to change into beastly creatures. They begin attacking those around them, ripping them apart, eating like wild animals. Then suddenly you begin the transformation yourself… you are becoming a werewolf. But you were never bitten by a monster, nor were the townsfolk. How could this be happening? This actually happened in a small town in France… and one of the theories as to how it happened will not only surprise you, but have you wondering if it will happen to you someday. (The Town That Turned Into Werewolves)

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ARTICLE: “El Duende – San Pedro Folklore” by Angel Nunez: https://weirddarkness.tiny.us/yckmmwvj
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DISCLAIMER: Stories and content in Weird Darkness can be disturbing for some listeners and intended for mature audiences only. Parental discretion is strongly advised.


Pete Stubbe admitted to being a serial killer, murdering fourteen children and two pregnant women from the town of Bedburg, Germany. After being tortured while strapped to a wagon wheel, he confessed to something else. As the flesh was being torn from his body, Stubbe suddenly remembered one other little thing—that the devil had given him a magic belt that allowed him to turn into a wolf when he wore it. This must have slipped his mind before the torturing. The townspeople removed his head and placed it on a freshly killed wolf’s body. That’s what they thought of people who engage in lycanthropy. This was in 1589, before our enlightened society came to realize that werewolves aren’t real. Or are they? Imagine an entire town full of Peter Stubbes. Not in 1589 – but in 1951. It really happened in a small town in France.
I’m Darren Marlar and this is Weird Darkness.


Welcome, Weirdos – 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…

In 1856, two young children – Joseph and George Cox – disappeared in the Allegheny Mountains. The story is tragic… and it also has a bizarre ending. (Lost Children of the Alleghenies)

Is he an elf? A troll? Not only is it hard to classify Latin America’s El Duende – but it’s even difficult to know if he’s good, evil, or just a mischievous menace! (Duende The Menace)

Bachelor’s Grove Cemetery just outside of Chicago is a mystery. No one knows exactly how it got its name; no one is sure when the first burial there took place or why it has since been abandoned; there is no explanation for the strange lights that are often seen there, or the ghostly lady, or the phantom horse and rider. (Bachelor’s Grove Cemetery)

A man is found in a graveyard with a bullet to his skull, barely alive. He died later – but what exactly happened to him is a bit of a mystery. Our guess though is that it had something to do with him being a grave robber. (A Grave Robber’s Fate)

Forensics has come a long way over the years, making it harder and harder for criminals to get away with crimes – particularly brutal crimes where DNA is usually left behind because of a struggle or physical assault. But despite technological advancements, there are still those cases that remain unsolved – and we’ll look at a few murders of women whose cases still can’t be closed. (Unsolved Female Murders)

How’s the saying go… “hell hath no fury like a woman scorned?” That’s good advice for the living – but probably even more apropos when dealing with female ghosts! (Famous Female Phantoms)

Imagine you’re in a small town and suddenly you begin seeing people around you starting to change into beastly creatures. They begin attacking those around them, ripping them apart, eating like wild animals. Then suddenly you begin the transformation yourself… you are becoming a werewolf. But you were never bitten by a monster, nor were the townsfolk. How could this be happening? This actually happened in a small town in France… and one of the theories as to how it happened will not only surprise you, but have you wondering if it will happen to you someday. (The Town That Turned Into Werewolves)

If you’re new here, welcome to the show! While you’re listening, be sure to check out WeirdDarkness.com for merchandise, to visit sponsors you hear about during the show, sign up for my newsletter, enter contests, connect with me on social media, plus, you can visit the Hope in the Darkness page if you’re struggling with depression or dark thoughts. You can find all of that and more at WeirdDarkness.com.

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


It was in the latter part of the 16th century that a man named Peter Stubbe went on veritable rampage of mutilation, cannibalism, and murder in and around the German towns of Bedbur and Cperadt. The story, however, goes back to Stubbe’s childhood. At the age of just eleven, Stubbe’s grandmother – who had a reputation as someone who was deeply learned in what are generally known as the black arts – introduced him to a world that most people never get to see. Or, even want to see. While the fact that Stubbe was an absolute textbook case of clinical lycanthropy, there’s very little doubt that his crone-like grandmother certainly helped worsen his deranged state of mind – although whether she did so deliberately, or out of ignorance, we’ll likely never know for sure. For around a decade, young Stubbe was exposed to the worlds of sorcery, necromancy, sacrificial rites, and altered states of mind. What were described as “infernal fiends” were conjured up from wretched realms by Stubbe, who finally gave himself – body, mind and soul – to none other than Satan, himself. Of course, such Faustian pacts rarely, if ever, work out in a positive fashion for the person trying to do a deal with the head honcho of Hell itself. And, certainly, Stubbe was no different.

It was when Stubbe found himself in the grip of Satan – or in the throes of mental illness, or both – that local mayhem in the vicinity of Cperadt and Bedbur erupted in terrifying, murderous fashion. So the story went, Satan thundered to Stubbe that whatever he desired – money, women, or power; the list went on and on – he could have. Stubbe replied that he didn’t want any of those things. All he wanted was to kill, to maim, and to devour. His targets: people. It’s hardly surprising that Satan was more than happy with the warped mindset of his latest lackey. In 1590, George Boren penned a study of Stubbe and his ways. Its title was “The Damnable Life and Death of Stubbe Peeter [sic].” Boren said that Satan saw Stubbe as “a fit instrument to perform mischief as a wicked fiend pleased with the desire of wrong and destruction.” The story involved another instrument too, namely a supernatural girdle that Satan ordered Stubbe to tie around his waist – which he did, eager to please the master of the underworld. In no time at all, Stubbe began to change – and not in a good way. At least, not from our perspective, and definitely not for his unfortunate victims.

No sooner had Stubbe placed the girdle around his middle when he suddenly started to change – in both body and mind, so the legend goes, anyway His body grew a thick coat of fur. His hands turned into huge paws, equipped with sharp, lethal talons. His face changed, to the point where his jaw took on the form of a wolf-like muzzle. His mouth grew wide and his teeth became definitive fangs. As for his psychological state, Stubbe’s mind became less than that of a man, and far more than of an animal, one driven by nothing more than basic instinct and a savage urge to slaughter. And slaughter he did, to a huge degree.

No-one – young or old – was safe in the Caperadt-Bedbur area. As Stubbe entered his twenties, numerous reports surfaced of bodies found in the surrounding forests and fields – all with their throats savagely torn out, many disemboweled, and most missing significant amounts of blood. For a while, the identity of the killer remained unknown. As for Stubbe, he was under absolutely no-one’s suspicion. Indeed, in his human form, Stubbe would brazenly stroll through the local hamlets, bidding people a good day, tipping his hat, and playing with the local children. Little did the townsfolk know it, but many of those same people were to become Stubbe’s victims in the days, weeks, and months ahead. Even years. Men he slaughtered. Children he devoured. And women he raped and then killed. Unfortunately for his targets, they had little chance of escaping his clutches. Or of escaping death, either. His wolfish state allowed him to run at incredible speeds, effectively ensuring that no-one could outpace him. Indeed, Stubbe’s actions were likened to those of a sheepdog herding sheep in the field. The big difference, however, being that Stubbe had murder on his mind – and constantly too. It was a sinister state of affairs that lasted for around a quarter of a century.

Like most deranged serial-killers, however, Stubbe finally made a series of mistakes during the course of his killings, something which led him to being identified as the crazed murderer that he was. Such as being seen when he removed the girdle and immediately returned to his far less fearsome-looking regular form of Peter Stubbe. The local constabulary quickly brought swift justice to the table. He was given two choices: confess to everything immediately or suffer severe torture until he final caved in. Like so many serial-killers, Stubbe could dish out death and mayhem, but he was from good at receiving it. So, he coughed up immediately, hoping for mercy. No chance of that. Mercy, there was none. As an example of his character, Stubbe gave up both his daughter and one Katherine Trompkin as conspirators in helping him to hide his tracks. The result was grim: Stubbe’s daughter and Trompkin were tied to stakes and burned alive. Stubbe was strapped to a large, wooden wheel, and large metal pincers were used to tear the skin off his bones. A wooden hammer was used to break both his legs and his arms. And, for good measure, he was decapitated and his body turned to smoldering ashes.

For the people of the area, there was no doubt that Peter Stubbe was someone who, while in league with Satan, achieved the ability to transform himself into a werewolf, and commit murder on a shocking, decades-long scale. Today, we might justifiably say that it was literally a case of being all in the mind. Certainly, Clinical Lycanthropy is a recognized medical condition – one which requires treatment at the earliest opportunity possible. Cases similar to that of Peter Stubbe proliferate. For our purposes, one more will suffice. It revolves around a Frenchman, a tailor whose name has become lost to the fog of time, but who became known as the Werewolf of Chalons. It was on account of the fact that claims were made he had been seen changing from man to wolf and embarking on terrible rampages. A Parisian, he killed and devoured a number of young children and, as a result, in 1598 he was burned alive for his crimes. It should be noted that there is one issue that has never been satisfactorily answered for those that have studied the phenomenon: if nothing more than mental illness, why is that so many of the sufferers believe they turn into a wolf? Yes, there are examples of people claiming to have morphed into the forms of cats, bats and foxes, but the wolf remains a dominating form. It’s a question to ponder on as we take a look at the next part of the story; one which takes us into the domain of conspiracy, the CIA, and government-orchestrated mind-control operations.

Many might find the idea of shapeshifting being connected to the worlds of secret-agents, bizarre and top secret experiments, and the manipulation of the mind, to be way too extreme to accept. But, they would be wrong. Sometimes, truth really is stranger than fiction – and in ways that are scarcely imaginable. The story in question dates back to a hot summer’s day in the early 1950s and a little French town called Pont-Saint-Esprit, which is located in the southern part of the country. The town is a tranquil one, filled with a great deal of history dating back to the 1700s. Today, however, it is a decidedly infamous locale – chiefly as a result of a series of events that began on August 15, 1951. That was the date upon which all hell broke loose around Pont-Saint-Esprit, and numerous townsfolk took on the guises of marauding animals – in their minds, at least. The official story is that the people of the town were the victims of a certain fungus called ergot, which can affect rye. It does far more to the person who eats the infected rye: it provokes graphic and terrifying hallucinations, as the late werewolf / shapeshifter authority Linda Godfrey made clear. She said, in her 2006 book, Hunting the American Werewolf, that “ergot is now widely regarded as a possible cause of the bestial madness. According to this theory, it was not demonic influence but the ingestion of Claviceps purpurea (which contains a compound similar to LSD), which led to the demented behavior and thus, executions, of many alleged witches, werewolves, and vampires.”

The day began as a normal one for the people of this laidback, picturesque old town. By sundown, however, it was like a scene out of The Walking Dead: what seemed to amount to raging infection was everywhere, and those free of that same, perceived infection cowered behind locked doors, fearful of becoming the next victims of whatever it was that had cursed Pont-Saint-Esprit. Hundreds of people rampaged around town, in bestial states, growling, howling and causing havoc and mayhem. Others swore they saw their fellow townsfolk change into hideous creatures, such as werewolves, gargoyles and demons. All told, close to 260 people were affected. Seven died. And more than four dozen were so psychologically traumatized that they were temporarily held at local asylums – for the good of themselves and for the unaffected people of the town, too. But, was ergot really the cause of the devastation and death? Here’s where things become really controversial. One of those who have dug deep into the mystery of what erupted on August 15, 1951 was H.P. Albarelli, Jr. He was the author of a huge book titled A Terrible Mistake. It’s an immense 826-page-long investigation of the mysterious 1951 death of a man named Frank Olson, a brilliant chemist who, in the early 1950s, worked for the U.S. Army’s Special Operations Division at Camp Detrick. Today, it’s called Fort Detrick, and is where the military undertakes research and studies into such issues as chemical warfare, biological warfare, and deadly viruses.

Back in the early 1950s, however, the matters of so-called mind-control and Manchurian Candidates were very much staple parts of Camp Detrick’s work. But, for Olson, who was at the forefront of the mind-altering technology, his work was not destined to last. Nor was his life. Olson died on November 28, 1953, as a result of an, ahem, “fall” from the 10th floor of the Statler Hotel, Manhattan. Today, the overriding theory is that Olson – who began to regret working on the controversial programs – was forcibly thrown out of the window of the room by agents who were fearful Olson was about to blow the lid on the sheer extent to which unwitting people had been dosed with psychedelics, chemical concoctions, and various other mind-manipulating substances, and all in the name of national security. But, what does any of this have to do with werewolves? Let’s see. It’s a fact that Frank Olson – while liaising with French Intelligence counterparts – traveled to France in both 1950 and 1951, the latter being the year in which the town of Pont-Saint-Esprit became a Bedlam, as Albarelli, Jr. notes in his book. The French were as interested as the Americans (and the Russians and the Brits, too, as it transpired) in how the human mind could be clandestinely manipulated. In view of all this, it’s very notable that Olson’s name turns up in previously highly-classified CIA documents on the events at Pont-Saint-Esprit. One such document, which has surfaced through the terms of the U.S. Freedom of Information Act – the title of which is blacked-out for national security reasons – states: “Re: Pont-Saint-Esprit and F. Olson files. SO Span/France Operation file, including Olson. Intel files. Hand carry to Berlin – tell him to see to it that these are buried.”

While this communication is couched in cagey and careful language, it clearly links Olson to Pont-Saint-Esprit, and it abundantly demonstrates that whatever really happened – and which led to people believing they and their friends were changing into wild beasts – had to be kept hidden at all costs. “Buried,” even. Maybe one of those costs was Frank Olson’s life. Albarelli, Jr. makes it clear that, in his opinion, the town of Pont-Saint-Esprit was deliberately targeted by powerful and shadowy figures who wanted to know the sheer extent to which the human mind could be messed around with on a large scale – and they chose August 15, 1951 as the date to initiate the experiment. Theories include a powerful psychedelic inserted into the town’s water-supply, a more than liberal amount of LSD utilized in similar fashion, and possibly even an airborne-based aerosol which was utilized to spray the town, in crop-dusting-style. Whatever the answer, the people of Pont-Saint-Esprit have not forgotten that terrible day when the people of the town became werewolves – in their minds, if not physically.


When Weird Darkness returns… forensics has come a long way over the years, making it harder and harder for criminals to get away with crimes – particularly brutal crimes where DNA is usually left behind because of a struggle or physical assault. But despite technological advancements, there are still those cases that remain unsolved – and we’ll look at a few murders of women whose cases still can’t be closed.

But first… how’s the saying go… “hell hath no fury like a woman scorned?” That’s good advice for the living – but probably even more apropos when dealing with female ghosts! That story is up next!



From the spirits of famous female historical figures, to the girlish ghouls of urban legend, female ghosts are some of the scariest spirits out there. In fact, stories about female ghosts can be found across the globe, and many of these international tales of terror have chilling similarities. For instance, why do so many places have stories about women in white, or vanishing hitchhikers? These connections make us wonder what universal trauma or shared truth has made these stories take root in our collective consciousness. Regardless, we know one thing for sure: these female phantoms are capable of chilling us to the bone.

***Chances are you’ve heard this story before and perhaps thought of it uneasily while driving alone late at night. You may have even had an encounter with the vanishing hitchhiker herself. Although the story varies slightly based on the teller, it generally goes something like this: a man is driving alone late at night during a storm, when he sees a young, beautiful woman on the side of the road. Concerned for her safety, he gives her a ride and might even offer her his jacket to keep her warm. He drives her to her home, but once they arrive, she disappears. Confused, he rings the doorbell, and is told by whoever answers that yes, a young girl lived there once—but she died years ago in a car accident, on a stormy night much like this one.

***The Kuchisake-onna, also known as the Slit-Mouthed Woman, is a Japanese ghost who terrorizes children. She is said to wear a face mask, which she removes when she approaches her victim, revealing a smile that has been grotesquely slit. She then asks the child, “Do you think I’m beautiful?” If they answer no, she kills them; if they answer yes, she gives them a mouth just like hers. The best answer to give the Slit-Mouthed woman, should you be unfortunate enough to cross her path? Just run for your life.

***The ghost of King Henry VIII’s second wife is said to haunt the Tower of London and surrounding buildings to this day. Given how grievously Anne was mistreated by her husband, it’s not surprising her spirit hasn’t been able to rest: the king divorced and beheaded Anne when she didn’t produce a male heir to the throne. Henry’s fifth wife, Katherine Howard, is also said to haunt the Hampton Court, where she was arrested before being beheaded.

***In Latin American folklore, La Llorona is a weeping entity often found in or around bodies of water. Legend says that she drowned her children to punish her husband for infidelity, and that she killed herself afterwards out of remorse. To this day, she is believed to walk waterways searching for her lost babies. Some variations of the tale believe La Llorona takes living children that she finds on her wanderings, while other iterations claim that those who hear her ghostly wails will soon die. There are some commonalities between the legend of La Llorona and female spirits from other cultures,  like the banshees in Gaelic legend or the baby-gobbling demigoddess Lamia from Greek mythology.

***The famous Mexican ghost “La Planchada,” or The Ironed Lady, is the spirit of a nurse who many claim to have seen at hospitals across Mexico. There are many iterations of her origin story; some believe she was killed by a patient, and others say she killed herself after a romance with a doctor ended in tragedy. But La Planchada may not be a spirit to fear: According to legend, many of the patients that she visits find themselves mysteriously healed the next day.

***The Bell Witch legend is based on ghostly goings-on that were experienced by the Bell family in their home in 1817. They believed the phenomena they experienced—flying furniture, mysterious noises, frightened animals—were caused by the ghost of a witch named Kate Batts. It was later revealed that Betsy, the Bells’ young daughter, caused much of the commotion. But the Bell Witch legend endures to this day and was even a key inspiration for the Blair Witch movie franchise.

***The White Lady is an iconic female ghost who has been reported in stories across the globe. She is often described as wearing a white, blood-soaked dress and frequents rural areas where tragedy has occurred, doomed to wander forever in torment until she can receive some closure.

***Who among us hasn’t tried to conjure Bloody Mary at a sleepover or during a spooky night at summer camp? The enduring legend of Bloody Mary has its roots in several different women: Queen Mary I; a rumored child killer; and a young girl believed to have died in a gruesome train accident. No matter who Bloody Mary is, the rules for summoning her are relatively consistent: Dim the lights, say her name three times while looking in a mirror, and then wait for the bloodletting to start.

***And finally… Dolley Madison – not the snack cake girl, but the former First Lady of the United States! She played an influential role in making the White House the social center of politics in early America. Legend has it that she continues to take her duties as First Lady seriously to this day—her ghost reportedly frightened gardeners away when they were trying to make changes to a rose garden Dolley had planted.


Before you become a ghost, you have to die. Often gruesomely. Advances in crime scene investigation and DNA technology have improved policing. But sadly, some gruesome murders still remain unsolved. No matter how hard detectives work, some killers stay undetected. Their victims are left without justice, even decades later. Family members left behind to mourn can’t find closure. Investigators are haunted by the uncertainty. In particular, these unsolved murders of everyday American women have baffled and frustrated investigators for years. They may not yet be ghosts – but whose to say what will happen in the future?

***Garnet Ginn was a popular home economics teacher in the small town of Portland, Indiana. So when she didn’t show up to school one day in February 1950, students were alarmed, and the district superintendent went to her home to check on her. In the garage, Ginn’s lifeless body was found hanging with a sewing machine belt around her neck. Police determined she’d died by suicide. The beloved teacher’s body was released to a funeral home, and she was buried. Weeks later, Ginn’s family exhumed her body and requested an autopsy. The coroner found she’d been strangled before being hanged. She’d also been struck in the head at least seven times prior to death. Police took another look at the garage and found broken ceiling planks. Cops developed a new theory: Ginn was attacked in her garage after returning home one night. A neighbor reported hearing a scream around the time of Ginn’s arrival but thought it was a cat. Another neighbor saw a shadow in the garage that night but figured it was Ginn. Police have never determined the killer’s identity.

***In late October 1961, Betty Gail Brown spent a late night studying at Transylvania College in Lexington, Kentucky. Just before midnight, she checked out of her dorm, got her car, and drove away to her parents’ home. Witnesses reported she later returned to campus and parked in the driveway of a building. Increasingly worried about her daughter as the hours ticked away, Brown’s mother, Quincy, drove the route between the family home and the college three times. She never drove by the building where the car was parked, though, and couldn’t find her daughter. After 3:00 am, a police officer pulled Quincy over. There, he informed the worried mother of her worst nightmare: two hours earlier, Betty Gail was found dead in her car. The college student had been strangled with her own bra. Police discovered that Betty Gail had not been otherwise assaulted. Her purse was left untouched, too, eliminating robbery as a motive. The car keys were found in the backseat. Four years later, an Oregon man confessed to Betty Gail’s murder. Quincy was skeptical, but the man was extradited to Kentucky and charged with the crime. His trial resulted in a hung jury. Afterward, he recanted his confession and was never retried. Detectives have never again come across a solid lead. More than six decades later, Betty Gail’s murder remains unsolved.

***Leota Camp’s world was as it should have been on the morning of July 10, 1967. The Des Moines, Iowa, housewife said goodbye to her husband as he left for work and began the day’s chores. First, the 25-year-old hung laundry in the backyard as the couple’s three-year-old daughter Brenda and four-year-old son Kevin played nearby. Then, she went inside to check on her newborn daughter, Kristine. The two older kids played outside until noon when they went in for lunch. There, they discovered an unimaginable scene: their beloved mother was lying face down with her mouth, hands, and feet bound. She’d been stabbed four times. The knife was still in her back. The kids rushed to a neighbor’s house for help. First responders reached Camp while she was still alive. Sadly, the wounds to her upper back were too much, and Leota died on the way to the hospital. Police discovered nothing was stolen from the home, and the kids hadn’t heard a struggle while outside. A neighbor reported seeing a man in a black Ford Mustang parked near the Camp home before the murder, but that lead went nowhere. In the years since, police have never found her killer.

***Maria Abbatiello-Smith’s murder has vexed Colorado cops for almost five decades. On November 20, 1977, the 30-year-old woman was reported missing after she failed to show up for work at the Airman’s Club on Lowry Air Force Base in east Denver. Cops didn’t have much to go on at first. That changed six days later when her body was found in a field on Mariposa Street a mile south of downtown Denver. Investigators confirmed the dead woman’s identity and were able to determine she’d been murdered. From there, the case went cold. Police have been searching for leads in the decades since, but nothing has developed. The Denver Police Department still considers the case active and hopes to one day find her killer, but there’s not much to go on.

***Lisa Au finished her shift as a hairdresser at the Susan Beers Salon in the city of Kailua on the evening of January 20, 1982. From there, the 19-year-old told coworkers she was off to see her boyfriend at his sister’s apartment across the island of Oahu in Makiki. Along the way, she stopped to buy poke. She reached the apartment and hung out with her boyfriend for a few hours before leaving for the drive home back to Kailua. Sadly, she never got there. The next day, Au’s worried parents called her boyfriend. When he retraced her likely trip from his sister’s apartment back home, he found her car on the side of the highway. The driver’s window was rolled halfway down. Inside, the man found her purse, but her driver’s license was missing. The missing ID suggested to detectives that a police officer could have been involved in Au’s disappearance. Investigators launched an island-wide search, and less than two weeks later, Lisa’s body was found in a ravine. A police officer who lived near Au and had recently been charged with sexual harassment in a separate case was arrested. However, no evidence could be linked to him, and prosecutors opted not to indict him. Au’s driver’s license was found, too: she had accidentally left it at the poke shop while paying with a check earlier that night. A newspaper delivery driver in the area later told cops that at 2:30 am on the night of Au’s disappearance, he saw a man driving with what appeared to be an unconscious female passenger. That tip went nowhere, though, and detectives remain baffled by the case all these years later.

***Mary Schlais was a college student in Minnesota in 1974 when she decided to hitchhike down Interstate 94 to Chicago for an art show. She hitchhiked often during her college years, but this time would be her last. Hours after she left, a man in rural Minnesota called the police after seeing someone park on the side of a road and throw a body into a ditch. Police responded and discovered Schlais’ corpse. She had been stabbed more than 15 times. The witness’s information was used by a sketch artist to create a profile, but no arrests were ever made. In 2009, Schlais’ body was exhumed by investigators seeking DNA evidence. A rough profile matched Randall Woodfield, a former pro football prospect who cops claim killed more than 40 women in his life. Woodfield had previously been convicted of a different murder and was serving a 90-year prison term. Because he was already incarcerated, Minnesota investigators were never able to interview Woodfield about Schlais’s death. Her case remains open.

***Suellen Evans was a 21-year-old student at the University of North Carolina in the summer of 1965. July 30 was like any other day for Evans: She saw friends on campus and visited a professor’s midday office hours. Hoping to save time walking back to her dorm before driving home for the weekend, she cut through the campus’s arboretum. Inside the nature preserve, she was grabbed from behind by a man who unexpectedly emerged from the bushes. Evans screamed and fought back. Her tenacity must have shocked the attacker because he fled. The disturbance alerted another student and a nun who were passing by. Sadly, prior to fleeing, the attacker had slashed Evans’s throat and stabbed her in the chest. She quickly bled to death in the nun’s arms. Police quickly detained five different people on campus but didn’t have evidence to bring charges. A thorough search of the arboretum failed to turn up the weapon used in the attack. From there, the case stumped the police. Evans’s murderer has never been found.

***In April 1980, fishermen outside Oklahoma City discovered the body of a woman on a riverbank. She had been shot. She was also covered in lime, which police suspected was meant to quicken decomposition. Ironically, the substance partially mummified the victim, preserving evidence. Still, police couldn’t determine her identity, even with dental x-rays and a unique tattoo on her chest. The media dubbed her the “Lime Lady,” and the case grew cold. Forty years later, the DNA Doe Project was able to match the woman’s dental records to a set from a U.S. Army private. With that, researchers concluded the Lime Lady’s name was Tamara Lee Tigard. Her remains had been discovered on what would have been her 21st birthday. But even with this new knowledge, police still don’t know what led to her death. While the Lime Lady’s identity is known, the circumstances of Tigard’s murder remain a mystery.

***Joanne Reynolds was an aspiring singer studying music at Rhode Island Junior College. One night in February 1980, the student returned home to her rented cottage in the city of North Kingstown. The next day, her lifeless body was discovered in her room. She’d been stabbed more than a dozen times. Neighbors in the apartment building next door confirmed they saw her return home late the night before. But despite being so close to the scene, no one reported hearing strange noises or seeing suspicious activity that night. Police determined she had been killed at some point between midnight and 10 am. Beyond that, detectives didn’t have much to go on. Joanne kept mostly to herself before her murder. Police have always suspected she knew her killer since there was no sign of forced entry at the crime scene. In recent years, cold-case detectives have tried to find information through social media leads. Sadly, Joanne’s murder still remains unsolved.

***Lillian Richey was a 51-year-old widow living alone in Nampa, Idaho, in 1964. One February night, she visited a nightclub with a friend who was in town for a livestock convention. The friend drove her home late that night and dropped her off after 2 am before going to his hotel. The next morning, he drove back to Lillian’s house to return the car and have breakfast. However, she was nowhere to be found. When she didn’t show up for work at a local jewelry store the next day, friends called the police. After investigating him, police cleared Lillian’s friend of suspicion in her disappearance. Unfortunately, police weren’t able to find any trace of the widow. Decades went by without any solid leads, and she was presumed dead. In 2018, the Nampa Police Department acted on a tip that Richey had been killed and buried in the foundation of a school building. With help from a local college archaeology department, investigators excavated under the building. The search didn’t turn up any remains, though. Richey’s disappearance remains a mystery.


Coming up… is he an elf? A troll? Not only is it hard to classify Latin America’s El Duende – but it’s even difficult to know if he’s good, evil, or just a mischievous menace!

Plus… Bachelor’s Grove Cemetery just outside of Chicago is a mystery. No one knows exactly how it got its name; no one is sure when the first burial there took place or why it has since been abandoned; there is no explanation for the strange lights that are often seen there, or the ghostly lady, or the phantom horse and rider. And… a man is found in a graveyard with a bullet to his skull, barely alive. He died later – but what exactly happened to him is a bit of a mystery. Our guess though is that it had something to do with him being a professional grave robber. These stories and more when Weird Darkness returns!



“Beware,” a Latin American mother told her children before they went off to bed. “He’s out there waiting for the right moment. El Duende will take you away in the middle of the night to his cave in the middle of the forest. He’ll keep you there and no one will know, because you’ll be deep in the forest where nobody can hear you scream!”

From that motherly advice, El Duende sounds like someone (or something) no child wants to mess with. And, further description seems to confirm this. According to legend, this elf-like creature either dwelled in the forest or lived inside the children’s bedroom walls. It is said that when the opportunity arrives, El Duende will lead children deep into the forest to his cave, or will come out of the walls to clumsily clip a sleeping child’s toenail—most often taking the entire toe off!

It’s no wonder why El Duende is feared; after all, with such a warning, El Duende should be viewed as an evil entity…but, nothing is black and white with this legend.

“And if you get lost and need some help,” another mother may say. “El Duende will be there to guide you to safety!”

In other words, the same entity that is viewed as evil and/or mischievous by some is considered a good spirit who protects lost hikers, children and critters lost in a forest.

And if the story of El Duende is not strange enough, there are many, to this day, that believe that El Duende is an actual creature—akin to famous cryptids such as the chupacabras and Big Foot—lurking in the night throughout the countryside.

Whether good, evil or mischievous, the legend of El Duende has been garnering a lot of attention on the Internet and in Hollywood. Is it possible that this beast of lore from Latin American countries is going to follow in the same way the legend of Chupacabras? It’s possible. Then again, El Duende is a legend in his—or ‘their’ since nobody is sure how many is out there—own right.

The website BigFootEncounters.com states that people in Belize were talking about an entity called Dwendi. The name is derived from the Spanish word Duende meaning goblin. The site goes on to conjecture that the Dwendi (or El Duende) was different from another famous cryptid: Big Foot.

The site claims the writer Michael Cremo first detailed the eye-witness accounts in a book entitled Forbidden Archaeology. Also, he included writings from Ivan Sanderson a researcher who collected the accounts from “dozens” of “men of substance who worked for responsible organizations (mainly the Forestry Department).

Sanderson wrote in 1961 that a junior forestry officer had “described in great detail two of these little creatures that he had suddenly noticed quietly watching him on several occasions…near the foot of the Maya Mountains.”

The description of the creatures were that of being three to four-foot tall, with heavy shoulders, long arms, brown hair, flat yellowish faces, and long hair down the back of the neck and back.

Interestingly, Belize is the home of several primate species such as the spider monkeys and howler monkeys. The description seemingly matches those of a spider monkey (although the size given doesn’t match the actual species).

However, there are more descriptions that matched the Duende of legends. BigFootEncounters.com reported that Sanderson also wrote that some eye-witnesses saw the Dwendi carried or wore dried palm leaves that looked like some type of hat.

Sanderson stated in his account that the Mayans believed in a deity that looked like a very small man wearing a big hat and nothing else. According to their myths, this deity roamed the forest. This being supposedly came out of hiding to place gifts before temples.

While this version of the Duende legends gives one the impression that it is a myth among tribal people of Central America, the truth is that the Duende legend has much of its roots in Europe.

El Duende’s origin was the Iberian peninsula. He was a magical being who either did good or bad. Most often he was mischievous. He was akin to elves, woodland spirits, goblins, and leprechauns.

Most notably, he was three-foot tall, wore a big red hat and clothing made from of animal hide. Also, as mentioned before, he either lived in a cave deep in the forest or somewhere in the walls of a child’s bedroom.

On top of that, he whistled, usually while strolling through the forest. As legend has it, if one were to hear him whistle, he or she better get out of the forest or be lost in it forever.

As Spanish and Portuguese colonists began expanding their empire into the new world and beyond, they spread the stories of El Duende to the indigenous people. As a result, El Duende became a worldwide phenomenon who supplanted or was combined with folklore from the indigenous people of Latin and South America, The Philippines, and Guam.

And, depending where the stories are told, El Duende is either a benevolent force or an evil entity. In places such as Guam or Belize, he will kidnap kids. In other places he is protecting them. In other cases, he’s guarding the forest and animals from wrong-doers.

Some physical features were also added. He had a cane or a long beard. Also, he had no thumbs (in fact, in Belize, legend has it that children can escape from El Duende by hiding their thumbs in the palm of their hands. This will trick him into believing that the children were related to him in some fashion).

Most often, El Duende served as a warning to children who misbehaved or didn’t listen to their parents, as was expressed in Angel Nunez’ article entitled “El Duende – San Pedro Folklore.”

It’s highly likely that the Dwendis of Belize are probably howler monkeys or spider monkeys. Still, this misidentification has spawned a new twist to an old legend. The Internet has helped to raise the possibility of an actual “Duende” running around the forest.

Is Duende a legend such as elves and leprechauns, or is he a legendary modern creature such as Bigfoot or chupacabras?

In the meantime, the elusive El Duende has managed to garner other forms of attention. Recently, a Disney Channel show Elana of Alvador dedicated an episode to them. They weren’t exactly the nicest creatures, however.

So what does the renewed interest mean for El Duende? The likelihood is that El Duende will endure as a legend whether that is literally or figuratively true.


Bachelors Grove Cemetery is an abandoned graveyard in the Chicago area. It is well known as a location for paranormal experiences.

The area was settled in the early 1800’s. People who first settled in this area were of English, Irish and Scottish descent and came from the Eastern United States, primarily New York, Connecticut and Vermont.

The cemetery is shrouded in mystery, and even the origin of the name of the cemetery is uncertain. It either came from the fact that several bachelors were part of the group that first settled this area or from the fact that wooded areas were often named for the families that settled certain areas. Research shows that there was actually a family with the name Batchelder that settled near this area around 1845.

The cemetery is one of the oldest in Cook County. There is an abandoned road that lines the cemetery and crosses a creek bed back in the woods. This road has been closed to traffic since the 1960’s.

Details of the first burial in Bachelors Grove Cemetery are in question with some records stating that Eliza Scott was buried in 1844 and others mentioning William Nobles who died in 1838. Some of the last burials include Laura McGhee in 1965 and Robert Shields in 1989.

Unfortunately, the cemetery has been vandalized for many years. There are not many headstones left and those remaining have been spray painted, turned over, and even stolen.   Many families have removed their family members from Bachelor’s Grove. They have been moved for various reasons, some because families wanted their loved ones closer to where the family now lived, others wanted the deceased located in cemeteries with more space for future family members. And some of the dead were relocated because families had concerns about the vandalism.

There have been many paranormal claims for Bachelors Grove Cemetery and the area near to it and it is probably one of best documented haunted places in Illinois. Many of the big-name in the paranormal field have written about it, including Ursula Bielski, Troy Taylor, Dale Kaczmarek, and Michael Kleen. Television shows have visited the cemetery as well.

Richard Crowe was really one of the first in Illinois to start visiting this area. He stated that the famous “hook” story actually happened on the road that runs alongside the cemetery.

There are many claims of paranormal experiences in the whole area. One of the most common is the vanishing house. Many people have claimed to see a two-story farm house with a porch swing and a small lamp in the window that gave off a welcoming glow. The house supposedly seems to shimmer and floats if one approaches it. Many have combed records searching for the house. While there were houses in the area, no one has ever figured out if there was an actual house in the exact location this particular house is seen.

There are also reports of different colored lights in the woods surrounding the cemetery. Most of the reports state red or blue lights. They come at all times of day and night and seem to blink, glow brightly, and weave around the tombstones. One couple even claimed they were pushed over by the light when it rushed at them.

A small pond is located on the back side of the cemetery. It is a stagnant, murky, green-colored body of water. It is said that in the early days of the cemetery, people came to picnic among the tombstones and they would fish and swim in this pond. In the prohibition years, stories began to circulate that the mob was using this same pond as a dumping place for the bodies of the men they killed. Some people theorize that the mysterious colored lights are the souls of the murdered men.

The same pond also plays a pivotal role in another story. Two Cook County Forest Patrol officers were riding on Midlothian Road in the 1970’s when they were astonished to see a horse climbing out of the pond. The horse was not the only thing that emerged from the murky depths. There was a plow attached to the horse and an old farmer driving the plow. They saw such detail that they could see that the man was old and had a ghastly look on his face. The horse and plow passed right in front of them and disappeared in the woods on the opposite side of the road.

The origins of this story claim that there was an old farmer who owned the land and while out plowing one day, his horse became startled and bolted. While trying to control the horse, the old man became tangled in the reins and was helpless when the horse plunged into the pond. The horse and the man both struggled to escape but were unsuccessful. Apparently, they are still trying to free themselves of the dark and murky water.

Other visitors to the cemetery have reported seeing a woman dressed in a full length gown wandering through the cemetery as though searching for something or someone. Some people claim she is looking for a lost child.

There has been a lot of research done on Bachelors Grove Cemetery by groups in the area, including a high school class that researched the burials records. One website, “Bachelors Grove Cemetery and Research Center” has done an excellent job of gathering the research and making it available in one place. The site has names, dates, and even pictures of the some people who were buried in the cemetery. Trail maps are also available if you are interested – just visit BachelorsGrove.com.


Dr. Henry W. Kendall was found in the graveyard of the Onondaga County Poorhouse with a bullet hole between his eyes the morning of May 19, 1882. He was alive but unconscious when found and died in the hospital later that day.

Exactly how Dr. Kendall met his fate was a mystery, but his reason for being in the graveyard was certain, he was there to snatch a body. He was found surrounded by tools of the grave robber’s trade—two shovels, a piece of old carpet, and a satchel containing a cant hook, a length of rope, a dark-lantern, and a bottle of whiskey. He was also found with a dirk and two revolvers. In his pocket was a card which read “Be sure 8 o’clock.”

Dr. Kendall made no secret of being a “resurrectionist” and bragged that he had stolen bodies from cemeteries in Manlius, Cicero, Cazenovia, and Syracuse and sold them to medical schools for dissection. It was not clear why he did it since he was a promising young doctor with a thriving medical practice in Syracuse. Dr. Totman, who had performed the post-mortem on Dr. Kendall, and had known Kendall in life described him as a monomaniac on the subject of grave robbing and said, “I have known him to rob a grave where there was no necessity for it and no demand for the body. He seemed to think there was something brave and daring in it.”

Kendall was known to use morphine; some believed that under its influence he became frightened and accidentally or intentionally shot himself. But the shot could not have been accidental, the angle of the wound indicated that the gun had been level with the forehead. The lack of powder burns near the wound ruled out suicide.

Perhaps Kendall had gone to the graveyard with an assistant and the two had quarreled. Kendall was described as “fearfully reckless” with a violent temper and he was always armed with a revolver. He may have drawn his pistol on the assistant who fired back in self-defense. But if Kendall had an assistant, no one could say who it was.

An organization called the Grave Protectors had recently been formed to combat the rash of graverobbing around Syracuse. Kendall might have lost a gunfight with one of its members, he had boasted that he would shoot any person who had the temerity to disrupt his right to steal a corpse. Even if Kendall had been caught in the act of robbing a grave, his shooter would face murder charges, and no one came forward.

None of these theories could be proved. With the lack of any suspects, the coroner’s jury found that Dr. Henry Kendall “came to his death from the effects of injuries received from a pistol shot in the hands of some person unknown.”


Up next on Weird Darkness… in 1856, two young children – Joseph and George Cox – disappeared in the Allegheny Mountains. The story is tragic… and it also has a bizarre ending!



They were called the Lost Children of the Alleghenies, but their names were Joseph and George Cox. In April of 1856, they lived with their father and mother in a cabin in the heavily forested Allegheny Mountains of southern Pennsylvania. They were five and seven years old, respectively.

One day, as they were sitting down to a meal, their dog, Sport, began barking. Their father, Samuel Cox, assumed that the dog must have treed a squirrel, and grabbed his rifle to follow the sound into the woods. By the time he returned, the children were gone.

Of course, no one knows precisely what happened between the time that Samuel left to track down the family dog and when he returned, but as near as anyone could reconstruct it, the two young boys must have left to follow their father. Their mother, Susannah, noticing their absence, thought that Samuel had taken them with him. It wasn’t until he returned alone that she realized the truth, and by then they had already been gone for some time.

Immediately, Samuel and Susannah began searching for the boys, calling out in the hopes that they would hear their voices. Yet there was no reply. Soon, Samuel went for help from his nearest neighbors, and within a day, nearly a thousand people were beating the bushes around the Cox’s cabin, looking for the two boys. Some came from as far as 50 miles away, which may not sound like a lot today, but was a big deal back in 1856.

In the evenings, the searchers lit fires and carried torches, in the hopes that the boys would see the light and come to it. They found nothing. Their search expanded, day by day. Near the Cox’s cabin was a stream that was swollen with melting spring snow, and the searchers believed that there was no way the boys could have crossed it without drowning. Despite the natural barrier, they turned up nothing.

The length of the stream was searched, with the fear that they might find the drowned bodies of the two boys, rather than the brothers alive and well, but they found neither. Within two days of their disappearance, the searchers came to a conclusion—they were unlikely to find the boys alive. Nights were still cold at that time of year, and they had ranged far enough afield by now that if they boys were still breathing, they should have found them.

Suspicion began to fall upon Samuel and Susannah Cox, and the community’s outpouring of sympathy and support turned to accusation. Had the parents actually murdered their own children, making up the story of their disappearance to extort money from sympathetic neighbors? It looked more likely with each passing day.

The same searchers who had previously helped the Cox family seek their missing children now turned their cabin and the surrounding land upside down in search of hidden bodies, but again they found nothing. That might have been where it ended, with an increasingly hostile community convinced of wrongdoing they had no way to prove, had it not been for one man’s prophetic dream.

Jacob Dibert was a farmer who lived not far from where the Cox boys had gone missing. One day, he told his wife that he wished he could dream of where the boys were located. On May 2, he did just that. In his dream, he was walking along a path through the woods. He crossed a stream on a fallen log, passed a dead deer and a child’s shoe, and found the boys at the foot of a broken birch.

When he woke the next morning, he didn’t think anything of it, chalking the strange dream up to wishful thinking. He had, after all, just been hoping to have such a dream. Obviously, it was on his mind before he fell asleep. Then he had the same dream the following night, and the night after. At this point, it seemed like something more, so he and his brother-in-law went looking for the landmarks that Dibert could remember from his dream.

Eerily enough, they found them all. The trail through the woods, the fallen log across the stream, the dead deer, the child’s shoe… and, in the roots of a broken birch tree, they found the bodies of young Joseph and George Cox. This was thirteen days after the two boys had gone missing from their cabin.

Under other circumstances, suspicion might have fallen on Dibert. After all, how could he have known the whereabouts of the two boys if he hadn’t had something to do with their disappearance? However, both children appeared to have died from exposure.

As near as anyone could make out, the two must have left their cabin to follow their father, only to get lost in the woods. They made it across the swollen creek, putting them outside the perimeter of most of the searches, but they couldn’t find their way back. Eventually, they lay down among the roots of the broken birch, and there their bodies were found more than a week later.

While it wasn’t precisely a happy ending to the tragedy—which, by then, may not have been able to have one—Dibert’s seemingly prophetic dream certainly added a memorably weird coda to the story, and allowed people in the community some closure.

It also helped the tragic events enter into local legend, and today the Lost Children of the Alleghenies are still remembered, with visitors to the region stopping by to leave flowers on the grave of the two boys, which is marked with the epithet by which they were known after their disappearance.

In 1906, on the 50th anniversary of the brothers’ unfortunate fate, the nearby community of Pavia, Pennsylvania began taking donations and, in 1910, erected a monument on the spot where the two boys were found, which still stands today in Pennsylvania’s Blue Knob State Park, along with a plaque detailing the story and Dibert’s bizarre dream.


Thanks for listening. If you like the show, please share it with someone you know who loves the paranormal or strange stories, true crime, monsters, or unsolved mysteries like you do! You can email me anytime with your questions or comments at darren@weirddarkness.com. WeirdDarkness.com is also where you can find information on any of the sponsors you heard about during the show, find all of my social media, listen to audiobooks I’ve narrated, sign up for the email newsletter, find other podcasts that I host including “Church of the Undead”, visit the store for Weird Darkness merchandise, and more. WeirdDarkness.com is also where you can find the Hope in the Darkness page if you or someone you know is struggling with depression or dark thoughts. Also on the website, if you have a true paranormal or creepy tale to tell, you can click on TELL YOUR STORY. You can find all of that and more at WeirdDarkness.com.

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

“The Town That Turned Into Werewolves” by Nick Redfern and from ViralNova

“Famous Female Phantoms” by Carolyn Cox for The Line Up

“Unsolved Female Murders” by Selme Angulo for List Verse

“Duende The Menace” by Dean Traylor for Owlcation.com

“Bachelor’s Grove Cemetery” by Kathi Kresol for Haunted Rockford

“Lost Children of the Alleghenies” by Orrin Grey for The Line Up

“A Grave Robber’s Fate” by Robert Wilhelm for Murder By Gaslight

And books I mentioned in this episode are also linked in the show notes.

WeirdDarkness® is a registered trademark. Copyright, Weird Darkness.

Now that we’re coming out of the dark, I’ll leave you with a little light… “Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful nature will harvest decay and death from that sinful nature. But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit. So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up. Therefore, whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone…” – Galatians 6:8-10

And a final thought… “Achieving something worthwhile is supposed to be hard.”

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



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