“TIME-TRAVELING BROTHERS OF THE PHILADELPHIA EXPERIMENT” and More True Stories! #WeirdDarkness
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IN THIS EPISODE: While it may look picturesque during the day, worthy of a post card, the town of Pluckley in Kent, UK is known as a place where you will often hear something go bump in the night. (Paranormal Pluckley) *** It is one of the most controversial cases of Chilean ufology. Beings that would have announced earthquakes, natural disasters and the fall of the Challenger. For more than two decades there has been speculation about the existence of the famous Friendship Island, however until now there is still no certainty of its possible location, nor of the truthfulness of the contacts with the extraterrestrial inhabitants of that island. (Extraterrestrials In Chile) *** Allegedly, in the fall of 1943 a U.S. Navy destroyer was made invisible and teleported from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to Norfolk, Virginia, in an incident known as the Philadelphia Experiment. Records in the Archives Branch of the Naval History and Heritage Command have been repeatedly searched, but no documents have been located which confirm the event, or any interest by the Navy in attempting such an achievement. But then, those who came to this conclusion probably didn’t interview Duncan Cameron and Al Bielek. They were onboard the ship when it happened. The two sides of the Philadelphia Experiment. (Time Traveling Brothers)
SOURCES AND ESSENTIAL WEB LINKS…
“The Philadelphia Experiment Hoax?” by Shannon Corbeil for Military.com: https://weirddarkness.tiny.us/3ztxcv9s
“Time Traveling Brothers” by Ian Matthews for Honest To Paws: https://weirddarkness.tiny.us/45w6w6ft
“Extraterrestrials In Chile” posted at Infinity Explorers: https://weirddarkness.tiny.us/3wuc5tm2
“Paranormal Pluckley” by Sean Doherty, Lauren MacDougall, and Will Rider for Kent Live: https://weirddarkness.tiny.us/n62r3mvb, https://weirddarkness.tiny.us/ntze8vx, https://weirddarkness.tiny.us/kekb9rek
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The Philadelphia Experiment is one of the most grotesque military urban legends ever — and it has endured as an infamous World War II conspiracy theory. But is there any truth to it? According to legend, on Oct. 28, 1943, the USS Eldridge, a Cannon-class destroyer escort, was conducting top-secret experiments designed to win command of the oceans against the Axis powers. The rumor was that the government was creating technology that would render naval ships invisible to enemy radar, and there in the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard, it was time to test it out. Witnesses claim an eerie green-blue glow surrounded the hull of the ship as her generators spun up and then, suddenly, the Eldridge disappeared. The ship was then seen in Norfolk Naval Shipyard in Virginia before disappearing again and reappearing back in Philadelphia. The legend states that classified military documents reported that the Eldridge crew were affected by the events in disturbing ways. Some went insane. Others developed mysterious illnesses. But others still were said to have been fused together with the ship; still alive, but with limbs sealed to the metal. That’ll give you nightmares. That’s some “Event Horizon” kind of stuff right there. But how much of it is true? There are competing stories that are mutually exclusive, making it hard to determine who to believe and why.
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…
While it may look picturesque during the day, worthy of a post card, the town of Pluckley in Kent, UK is known as a place where you will often hear something go bump in the night. (Paranormal Pluckley)
It is one of the most controversial cases of Chilean ufology. Beings that would have announced earthquakes, natural disasters and the fall of the Challenger. For more than two decades there has been speculation about the existence of the famous Friendship Island, however until now there is still no certainty of its possible location, nor of the truthfulness of the contacts with the extraterrestrial inhabitants of that island. (Extraterrestrials In Chile)
Allegedly, in the fall of 1943 a U.S. Navy destroyer was made invisible and teleported from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to Norfolk, Virginia, in an incident known as the Philadelphia Experiment. Records in the Archives Branch of the Naval History and Heritage Command have been repeatedly searched, but no documents have been located which confirm the event, or any interest by the Navy in attempting such an achievement. But then, those who came to this conclusion probably didn’t interview Duncan Cameron and Al Bielek. They were onboard the ship when it happened. The two sides of the Philadelphia Experiment. (Time Traveling Brothers)
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 PHILADELPHIA EXPERIMENT HOAX?==========
Before we go to the brothers who say the Philadelphia Experiment was not only real, but they were a part of it, let’s look at the side that claims the whole thing was a complete farce. And to do that, we need to talk about the man behind the supposed myth: Carl M. Allen, who would go by the pseudonym, Carlos Miguel Allende. In 1956, Allende sent a series of letters to Morris K. Jessup, author of the book, “The Case for the UFO,” in which he argued that unidentified flying objects merit further study.
Jessup apparently included text about unified field theory because this is what Allende latched onto for his correspondences. In the 1950s, unified field theory, which has never been proven, attempted to merge Einstein’s general theory of relativity with electromagnetism. In fact, Allende claimed to have been taught by Einstein himself and could prove the unified field theory based on events he witnessed on October 28, 1943.
Allende claimed that he saw the Eldridge disappear from the Philadelphia Naval Yard, and he further insisted that the United States Military had conducted what he called the Philadelphia Experiment — and was trying to cover it up.
Jessup was then contacted by the Navy’s Office of Naval Research, who had received a package containing Jessup’s book with annotations claiming that extraterrestrial technology allowed the U.S. government to make breakthroughs in unified field theory.
This is one of the weirdest details. The annotations were designed to look like they were written by three different authors – one maybe extraterrestrial? According to Valle’s article for the Journal of Scientific Exploration, Jessup became obsessed with Allende’s revelations, and the disturbed researcher would take his own life in 1959. It wasn’t until 1980 that proof of Allende’s forgery would be made available.
Inexplicably, two ONR officers had 127 copies of the annotated text printed and privately distributed by the military contractor Varo Manufacturing, giving wings to Allende’s story long after Jessup’s death.
So, what really happened aboard the USS Eldridge that day?
According to Edward Dudgeon, who served in the U.S. Navy aboard the USS Engstrom, which was dry-docked in the Philadelphia Naval Yard while the Eldridge was, both ships did have classified devices on board. They were neither invisibility cloaks nor teleportation drives designed by aliens, but instead, they scrambled the magnetic signatures of ships using the degaussing technique, which provided protection from magnetic torpedoes aboard U-boats.
How Stuff Works suggested that the “green glow” reported by witnesses that day could be explained by an electric storm or St. Elmo’s Fire which, in addition to being an American coming-of-age film starring the Brat Pack, is a weather phenomenon in which plasma is created in a strong electric field, giving off a bright glow, almost like fire.
Finally, inland canals connected Norfolk to Philadelphia, allowing a ship to travel between the two in a few hours.
The USS Eldridge would be transferred to Greece in 1951 and sold for scrap in the 90s, but Allende’s hoax would live on in our nightmares forever.
Up next, we look at the other side of the Philadelphia Experiment, from those who not only believe it happened, but claim there were there on the ship when it occurred. We’ll also look at what could possibly cause the time-travel aspect of the experiment if it truly did happen. We’ll look at a couple of time-traveling brothers when Weird Darkness returns!
STORY: TIME TRAVELING BROTHERS==========
The prospect of time travel has long captivated the human imagination. To leap forward and know the future would give invaluable insight… or, perhaps, a maddening curse. For most of us, jumping backward or forward in time only exists in fiction. But for two military brothers, their supposed trip to the year 2749 was very real — and it was nothing like Back to the Future or Doctor Who — instead, it was a total nightmare.
During World War II, brothers Duncan Cameron and Al Bielek were selected for a top-secret government study aboard the USS Eldridge. The brothers expected it to be secretive, but they couldn’t have predicted the mind-bending nature of the study.
Bielek was silent for years about what he experienced on the USS Eldridge, but at 60 years old he came forward with shocking news: The Navy was developing a device that would make ships invisible to radar, and they’d been doing so for decades.
This sounds far-fetched enough, but Bielek’s next claim made the idea of an “invisible ship” sound totally plausible in comparison. It all started, he said, when he watched the science fiction film The Philadelphia Experiment. The events in the film were strikingly familiar to him.
Soon after he watched the movie, Bielek began experiencing strange flashbacks. He knew intuitively that these flashes of another world weren’t imaginary, but very, very real. They weren’t visions — they were memories of a distant future.
With that, Bielek claimed that “The Philadelphia Experiment” wasn’t just a movie, but a real-life government experiment that he had unwittingly been involved with. At a conference in Texas in 1990, he came forward and finally told the entire story.
Bielek said that a real-life version of “The Philadelphia Experiment” was conducted on the USS Eldridge back in the ’40s while he and his brother worked on the ship. When a strange device was activated on the ship, multiple witnesses claim that the ship was enveloped with a “green tinged fog” before all hell broke loose.
The ship vanished into thin air only to return 15 minutes later. Upon arrival, the crew began suffering from delirium and nausea, and those were the tame symptoms: Others were completely dismembered, and five sailors were reportedly found suspended in a metal flooring.
Bielek claimed that he and Cameron tried to escape the ship by jumping overboard, but when they did, they didn’t land in the water. Instead, they found themselves floating in what he could only guess was some physical form of time…before being catapulted into the future.
When the brothers finally awoke, they weren’t on the ship or even in the water. Instead, they were in a hospital, and covered with radiation burns. When Bielek asked what year it was, the answer left him floored. “We arrived in the year 2137,” he said.
The state of the world in 2137 was bleak, he discovered. The U.S. was unrecognizable, as the West Coast and Southeastern U.S. was submerged under water. Florida had broken away from the country and sunk altogether.
Before Bielek and his brother could even begin to fathom these changes, the unthinkable happened: They were once again transported through time. When he woke up again, Bielek was in another hospital room…but this one was filled with bizarre-looking machines.
The “advanced surgical material,” Bielek described, allowed doctors to conduct “vibrational and light treatment therapies” as a way of healing people’s wounds. The TV played only news and history programs. By then, Bielek wasn’t surprised when he learned the year.
It was 2749, he was told, and he had trouble wrapping his brain around the technological advancements of the future. He claimed that the whole planet was controlled by a “synthetic computer system” and that people communicated telepathically with the help of A.I. technology.
Despite the technological advancements, Bielek stressed that the world of 2749 was no paradise. He learned that wars between Russia and China and the U.S. and Europe had decimated much of the planet and left most of the world under military rule.
There were some potential bright sides, according to Bielek: The concept of money was obsolete in 2749, and humans had mastered anti-gravity to the extent that entire cities floated above the surface. Before he and his brother could truly explore, however, they were transported once again…
But this time, they went back in time. When they landed it was in Montauk, New York in the year 1984. Disoriented and confused, they were swarmed by Coast Guard patrols and taken to a secret location where they met a man named John Von Neuman.
What Von Neuman told them was shocking: The brothers, he claimed, were involved in a top-secret government program called The Phoenix Project, and the true aim of the project was to — you guessed it — harness time travel.
Unfortunately, Von Neuman explained, the USS Eldridge was now stuck in an expanding hyperspace bubble that would eventually consume the earth. To prevent this from happening, Bielek and Cameron needed to board the ship and destroy the device.
They accepted the challenge, but began feeling nauseous and experienced hallucinations on the ship, just like when they were aboard the Eldridge during the initial “invisible ship” experiments. When they found the device, they took to it with axes…
The next thing the brothers knew, they were once again in hospital beds, but this time, their surroundings were familiar. They had been warped back to the 1940s, but were so confused about what they’d experienced that they kept their mouths shut for decades.
It wasn’t until a group of prominent scientists came forward with more sophisticated theories on time travel that Bielek began speaking on the incident. But when he finally shared his story, concerning details about his past came to light.
Bielek had a shady past that immediately alerted skeptics. Apparently, Al Bielek wasn’t even his real name. He was born Edward Cameron in 1916. He tried to pass this off as yet another effect of the time travel, but the damage to what little credibility he had was done.
In the end, Bielek has been widely criticized for propagating whimsical fantasies as factual events. So many variations of his time traveling adventures exist that it’s hard to know what really happened, and each story is wilder than the last.
One version has Bielek and his brother escaping the 2700s through a wormhole, another posits that Bielek and Cameron were permanently separated in time. Scientists have no clue if time travel will ever be possible, but their studies of black holes bring us closer to understanding the mysteries of space than ever before.
If Bielek truly did go back in time, how might it have happened?
A black hole can be broadly characterized as specific spot in space defined by an extremely high level of density. Past a certain limit, nothing – not even light – is capable of ever breaking away from a black hole’s gravitational pull. This limit is what’s known as the event horizon.
Meanwhile, what exactly happens when an object travels past the event horizon is unclear. But it’s believed that it will be elongated into a long, thin strand, known as spaghettification. However, another theory has suggested another possibility entirely – but it hinges on the specific type of black hole being considered.
For some time now, experts have suggested that there’s a specific spot of limitless density residing within every black hole. Known as a singularity, this provides black holes with their immense pull of gravity. Singularities were once thought to all be equivalent to one another – that they’d all lead to spaghettification. But in the 1990s this thinking changed.
During the earlier part of that decade, another type of singularity known as a mass inflation singularity was discovered. These were said to be found in huge rotating black holes – and they might not necessarily stretch approaching objects out like spaghetti. This being the case, a vessel – like, say, a spacecraft – could potentially travel through it. And who knows what might await on the other side?
Meanwhile, the notion of a black hole can generally be traced back to 1784. This is when pioneering British astronomer John Michell detailed a rather primitive version in a letter. Michell envisioned a body in space, about 500 times bigger than our Sun, which wouldn’t allow light to escape. He termed such a theoretical body as a “dark star” and he claimed that many might exist throughout the universe.
Looking back today, certain aspects of Michell’s work have proven to be remarkably accurate. But back in his own time, the scientific community was generally unmoved by his dark star declarations. Indeed, it wasn’t until the 20th century that his works would once again be duly evaluated.
In 1915 the theory of general relatively was published by German physicist Albert Einstein, ushering in new ways of astrophysical thinking. Along with many other things, Einstein’s theory indicated the presence of black holes in the universe. And in the decades after its initial appearance, numerous thinkers have used the theory in consideration of these mysterious entities.
By the 1960s the theory of general relatively had entered into what some consider to be its golden age. This relates to the 15 or so years in which general relatively and black holes became widely popular scientific notions. During this time, thinkers such as Roy Kerr, Roger Penrose and Stephen Hawking became well-known authorities on the subject.
The notion of black holes has captured mankind’s imagination, as evidenced by a number of fictional works published at the time. Even before the golden age of general relativity, a number of stories included primitive portrayals or descriptions of the entities. But as more came to be understood about actual black holes, elements of the fiction started to more closely resemble reality.
Science fiction, however, tends to speculate by its very nature. And so writers of the genre are free to use black holes as a plot device – and have oftentimes done so. Indeed, a number of stories have referenced black holes as being a means of allowing characters to travel through wormholes.
A wormhole resembles a tunnel which, in a manner of speaking, cuts through space and time. One might visualize this as a sort of shaft with two openings at either end. And each one is placed at a different point in time and space. In other words, a wormhole can be thought of as a shortcut from one point in the universe to another.
Meanwhile, according to the theory of relativity, wormholes may well exist. Nothing has been proven, of course, but the ideas behind them have been incorporated within a number of fictitious works. Some examples include Joe Haldeman’s novel “The Forever War” and Paul Preuss’ “The Gates of Heaven”.
More recently, Christopher Nolan’s 2014 blockbuster “Interstellar” made use of the notion of wormholes and black holes. In the film, astronauts pass through a wormhole, hoping to discover a distant planet for humans to inhabit. At one point, the protagonist even passes over the event horizon of a black hole.
During Interstellar’s development, physicist Kip Thorne was consulted so filmmakers didn’t stray too far from the realms of scientific plausibility. But despite his input, the film is a work of fiction and scientific inaccuracies consequently crop up. However, the notion of a spacecraft traveling through a wormhole or a black hole might itself not be so ridiculous.
In the wake of Interstellar, a doctoral student from the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth, attempted to establish whether traveling though a black hole would be survivable. Indeed, in 2016 Caroline Mallary created a computer simulation to test the idea. And her findings suggested that it might actually be feasible – thereby opening up the possibility of hyperspace travel.
One of Mallary’s university professors is Gaurav Khanna. And in January 2019 he wrote an article for media outlet The Conversation in relation to his student’s work. In his piece, he explored whether indeed humans could travel through hyperspace.
“Black holes are perhaps the most mysterious objects in the universe,” Khanna wrote. “They are the consequence of gravity crushing a dying star without limit, leading to the formation of a true singularity. [This] happens when an entire star gets compressed down to a single point yielding an object with infinite density.”
“This dense and hot singularity punches a hole in the fabric of spacetime itself, possibly opening up an opportunity for hyperspace travel,” Khanna continued in his piece in The Conversation. “That is, a short cut through spacetime allowing for travel over cosmic scale distances in a short period.”
However, expert consensus generally agrees that a body traveling through a black hole would be destroyed. Indeed, it would be strained, pulled apart and compressed in the process of spaghettification. But as Khanna explained in his article, this might not necessarily occur in the case of every black hole.
Specifically, if a black hole is of considerable size and rotates, then an object traveling inside might retain its integrity, Khanna said. This is due to the so-called mass inflation singularity that is found within. This differs to the singularities that were once considered to be within every black hole.
Mass inflation singularities do lead to a pull of gravity, but they cannot pull apart an object infinitely. This is in opposition to the nature of the other type of singularity. In other words, an object being pulled inside a rotating black hole of considerable size might not necessarily be destroyed.
In his piece for The Conversation, Khanna explained that the mass inflation singularities found within big rotating black holes are comparatively weak. Therefore, bodies that travel inside such black holes could be left undamaged. In case this proves to be a difficult notion to comprehend, he also provided a helpful analogy.
To illustrate his point, Khanna described a candle with a scaldingly hot flame burning away. If one were to leave their finger upon this flame, he explained, they would get burned. But if they were to swiftly pass their finger through, they wouldn’t. By the same token, if an object passes through a big rotating black hole swiftly, it might escape damage.
So is this to say that people aboard a spacecraft traveling inside a big rotating black hole would experience no effects? Well, an associate of Khanna called Lior Burko has his own thoughts, as he detailed to Business Insider in 2019. He claimed, “You would feel a slight increase in temperature, but it would not be a dramatic increase.”
However, there are a number of factors that must be noted when envisioning such a scenario. Caroline Mallary’s computer simulation suggested that a spacecraft could potentially pass through a rotating black hole and emerge relatively unscathed. But such an outcome would be dependent on specific conditions relating to the black hole and its surroundings.
For one thing, the rotating black hole would need to be a considerable size. If it were too small, then the traveling spacecraft would be more intensely pulled apart. But if it were the size of the black hole that features in Interstellar, this pull might not even be noticeable.
Another vital consideration is that Mallary’s simulations work on the basis of the rotating black hole being secluded. In other words, the computer presumed that it was nowhere near other celestial bodies that might interfere with its nature. But as Khanna noted in his piece for The Conversation, “most black holes are surrounded by cosmic material.”
So Mallary’s simulations were, in some way, divorced from the external factors that surround black holes. But as Khanna has pointed out in his piece, her work can now be consulted and built upon. And such future work can take into consideration more genuine influences in the vicinity of rotating black holes.
Computer simulations are undoubtedly an invaluable asset within the study of black holes. After all, the technology required to get close enough for practical experimentation is still far from reach today. But if we imagine that such space travel was presently possible, where would be an appropriate site of analysis?
Well, somewhere in the middle of the Milky Way – the galaxy within which our Solar System lies – there lies a region which is an astronomical radio source. This area is known Sagittarius A* and has been noted for a number of specific features, including what is believed to be a supermassive black hole.
In 1931 a pioneering radio astronomer named Karl Jansky first noted radio waves emanating from the middle of our galaxy. He discerned that they were headed toward a group of stars collectively known as Sagittarius. And so fittingly, the point of origin of these radio signals was named Sagittarius A.
By 1974 new discoveries by Robert Brown and Bruce Balick shone more light on the nature of Sagittarius A. In a 1982 paper published by Brown, an asterisk was added to the term – making it now known as Sagittarius A*. The asterisk simply relates to the high levels of energy which define the source of the radio signals.
Over time, evidence began to mount that the cluster of objects found in Sagittarius A* was indeed a supermassive black hole, which itself became proof of their very existence. As Reinhard Genzel from Germany’s Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics published in a paper in 2018, “The result is a resounding confirmation of the massive black hole paradigm.”
The Sagittarius A* supermassive black hole apparently lies up to 27,000 light-years away from Earth. And according to some estimates, it’s said to be possess about four million times as much mass as the Sun. And given its close proximity to Earth – relative to other supermassive black holes – it might well represent the best opportunity for practical investigation of hyperspace travel.
Yet 27,000 light-years is quite the distance. And it’s frankly unthinkable that present technology is anywhere near to achieving it. In fact, the furthest spacecraft from Earth is currently Voyager 1, which was launched in 1977. Yet at the time of writing, this craft is just over 13.5 billion miles away from Earth.
Of course, 13.5 billion miles might well sound like a lot. But just consider that a single light-year is equivalent to around 5.88 trillion miles. So in spite of the huge leaps that have occurred in space travel over the decades, the 27,000 light-years to Sagittarius A* will clearly be unobtainable for some time yet.
So all things considered, we can see the importance of Mallory’s computer simulations and any like them. But even with multiple new missions to space on the horizon, it’s unlikely that we’ll be sending a spacecraft out to a black hole anytime soon. And as Khanna pointed out, predictive thinking will be necessary in the absence of practical analysis.
“Mallary’s approach of using a computer simulation to examine the effects of a black hole on an object is very common in the field of black hole physics,” Khanna wrote in The Conversation. “Needless to say, we do not have the capability of performing real experiments in or near black holes yet, so scientists resort to theory and simulations to develop an understanding, by making predictions and new discoveries.”
For now, the investigations into black holes are subject to speculation. Yet computer simulations such as the one performed by Caroline Mallary might well help to make things clearer. And perhaps one day we’ll know what lies beyond the event horizon? And maybe it’ll lead to somewhere far, far away. Or some time far, far away. Maybe we’ll even bump into those brothers caught up in the Philadelphia Experiment.
While it may look picturesque during the day, worthy of a post card, the town of Pluckley in Kent, UK is known as a place where you will often hear something go bump in the night. We’ll look at Paranormal Pluckley up next on Weird Darkness!
STORY: PARANORMAL PLUCKLEY==========
With more reports of ghost sightings per person than any other village in the country, Pluckley Village in Kent, UK is said to be England’s “most haunted”. It was even recognized as such by the Guinness Book of Records in 1989.
Terrifying tales of flickering lights and blood-curdling shrieks have helped earn Pluckley its spooky title.
Named the most haunted village in England, the rural village just outside of Ashford, has scary stories to boot.
With 12 apparitions included a dying highwayman, a Victorian lady and a phantom headmaster, it’s a well-deserved accolade.
It is said that sounds of knocking can be heard in St Nicholas’ church at night, sometimes a flickering light can also be seen.
A red lady is said to search the graveyard for her stillborn baby, while a white lady has been seen within the church.
Named after the lady, Dering Woods is situated just outside Pluckley and is also said to be haunted. Nicknamed the Screaming Woods, the screams are said to be those of the men and women who came to their end after becoming lost among the trees.
At Rose Court, a Tudor Lady, believed to be the mistress to a member of the Dering family who took her own life after eating poisonous berries is apparently heard calling her for her dogs between 4pm and 5pm.
A ghostly re-enactment of the battle between an unknown Highwayman and lawmen has been spotted at Fright (Frith) Corner. The highwayman was killed, pinned to an oak tree with a sword.
And a watercress lady is said to haunt Pinnock Bridge, where she accidentally set herself on fire. Legend has it that she burned to death having fallen asleep whilst smoking her pipe.
Even the Black Horse pub is said to have more spirits than those in the optics, with an invisible hand which moves items on the bar and sometimes hides purses and tidies mess, and disembodied screaming.
Here, there have been multiple instances of articles (normally clothing) vanishing on a regular basis, only to be replaced in much the same position sometimes years later. The poltergeist responsible is believed to be a woman called Jessie Brooks who has also been seen wandering, looking for a child she had lost.
The Blacksmith’s Arms is also a spooky haunt. Previously called The Spectre’s Arms and The Ghost’s Arms, three ghosts are said to reside here – a Tudor maid, a coachman and a Cavalier.
The Dering Arms was once a hunting lodge, but here at the pub the ghost of an old lady is said to be seen sitting in the bar in Victorian dress, so clear that punters are said to have mistaken her for a real customer.
An accident at The Brickworks resulted in the death of a laborer, crushed by a falling wall of clay. Screams have been frequently heard in the area and are said to those of the deceased laborer.
At the former Mill site the dark, ghostly figure of Miller Richard ‘Dicky’ Buss has been seen at the site of his windmill, usually prior to a thunderstorm. The windmill was destroyed by fire after being struck by lightning in 1939.
And at Maltman’s Hill, sounds and visions of horse drawn coach are said to haunt the area with two apparitions in recent times.
There is also a bush, it is said, which can be used to summon the Devil by dancing round it and saying a spell – although no one knows where it is.
Greystones, which was previously known as Rectory Cottage, is said to host a phantom monk, although no sightings have been reported by residents since the name change.
At Elvey Farm, a phantom walker is said to frequent the farmhouse, now a hotel. There have also been reports of a haunting smell, that of burning yarn or wool.
Little Chart Church in the village has also had its fair share of hauntings. St Mary The Virgin and Holy Rood, as it was originally called, was built by the Normans in the 11th century next to ”the screaming woods.”
Many visitors described a beautiful yet eerie feel to the church, however in August 16 1944 it took on a whole new existence.
This was when a Doodlebug was flying overhead and dropped a bomb on the village, with St Mary’s taking the brunt of the damage.
With only the damaged tower and parts of the chancel wall surviving, the bells were removed and stored. In 1955 a new church was built nearer the village. Fortunately no one was killed, but that has not stopped the site from becoming a ghosts hunters paradise.
Back in 2019 – before COVID-19 was even in vocabulary – Sean Doherty and fellow reporter Lauren MacDougall set off on a dark Friday night to find out if there was any truth in the legends or if the stories of hauntings were little more than tales to scare children and attract tourists.
Both fairly cynical towards the idea of paranormal activities, they went without any real fear of what we might encounter. Their cockiness would not last long.
As they arrived at their hotel, just as things were getting dark, they encountered their first spook, and perhaps the scariest thing imaginable for any Millennial: they suddenly lost all phone signal.
It wasn’t the only sign of electronics playing with their minds, Lauren’s Fitbit buzzed for no reason.
A digital hiccup? Or a message from beyond?
After settling in their room they discovered another fright – they were not alone.
An incredibly large spider had taken up residence inside the room’s bathtub. It felt like a menacing sign of things to come.
When they spoke to the lady behind the bar about the so-called haunted nature of the hotel, she scoffed: “It’s nonsense.”
Reassured by this, once darkness fell Sean and Lauren walked out of the hotel’s main entrance.
But in what felt almost cliché they were greeted by a black cat.
He seemed friendly but they both agreed it was definitely a sign of something.
Following them in the dark for a mile-and-a-half down a path away from the hotel, they wondered if the cat was trying to shepherd them back to safety.
If so, his warning fell on deaf ears; as Sean and Lauren were there on a mission.
After stopping in at The Rose & Crown, the barmaid Becky Ward told them that while she had never experienced any horrors there, when she had been working at The Plough in nearby Stalisfield Green, she had seen some things that defied explanation.
“I had stuff happening there,” she said. “Glasses falling off the shelf, we had a glass one time, it went flying off for no reason.”
Next stop was the Black Horse Inn, allegedly the most haunted pub in Kent.
A manager of the bar had once claimed that she had seen a glass move of its own volition along a shelf until it reached the edge.
She also said that cutlery had been arranged to the side of a dresser without anyone being nearby to have done it, that dogs would refuse to enter an upstairs room and that dogs would bark at a specific spot by the kitchen, for no reason.
As Sean and Lauren got there at 11pm, the darkness of the building put them slightly on edge.
Quietly approaching the door, they realized the reason for the eerie silence was that the pub had closed.
They stayed to see if they could sense any otherworldly presence.
After a few moments of waiting, Sean and Lauren agreed there was nothing there, but no sooner had they made that decision, the barking of two dogs sent them both jumping.
In the darkness, there was no way of telling if these were the howls of incorporeal devil hounds or the landlord’s pets, but they both agreed it was best to move along quickly.
They moved onwards through the cold, black night to the church of St Nicholas.
Members of the Dering family had been buried here and the sound of knocking from the family vault is said to have been heard by numerous visitors.
A group of psychic researchers in the 1970s tried to find evidence of spirits in the church when they stayed there overnight.
With nothing unusual found on their cameras or recorders, they expressed their disappointment to the vicar and said the only entertainment they had during the night was from the vicar’s dog, who had repeatedly joined them.
He replied: “I don’t have a dog”.
Sean thought the story was a little ridiculous, but as he read it aloud, he again heard the sounds of dogs barking.
The two ghost hunters were too far from the pub for it to have been the same animals and they could neither hear or see anyone nearby.
Sean, the cynic, was beginning to feel a little less confident, and though he shrugged it off by sarcastically saying “spooky”, he was somewhat shook.
On to the old house Greystones, a spot rumoured to be haunted by the ghost of a lovelorn Tudor monk.
The man, said to have been in love with a young lady, the mistress of another man, who lived close by.
The woman, unable to handle the love triangle she was involved in, took her own life.
A brown-robed figure has apparently been seen by some in the area, though in the pitch black Sean and Lauren saw little.
It’s safe to say that neither of them had any desire to stray from the beaten path and were feeling a little uneasy loitering around in the very residential area in the early hours.
Passing through the “Screaming Wood”, with their phone batteries rapidly dying and no other source of light, they were regretting the decision to go exploring during the witching hour – midnight to 1am.
Ramblers have been said to have heard terrible screams in these woods and though they listened intently, Sean and Lauren heard little but the wind.
Feeling relieved to be going to their last stop, the paranormal investigators arrived at a crossroads called Fright Corner.
It was here that an outlaw was said to have been killed by officers of the law.
During evenings, such as theirs, some have reported seeing a corpse, impaled with a sword, lying in front of a tree.
Instead it was the shadow of a phone in the distance and transit truck hurtling around the corner in the middle of the road that really gave the two a fright.
Neither saw any bodies, living or dead, and had no more phantom dogs hounding them as they made their way back to the hotel.
Shining their phone lights in front of them, they saw two silver spots flashing in the distance just as they crossed the boundary of the hotel’s grounds.
As they got closer, Sean and Lauren realized it was that cat again, this time accompanied by another feline friend.
It was clear they were here to welcome the two investigators back to safety, but gave them a chastising stare as if to warn: “This time you got lucky. But don’t go testing your luck again.”
It is one of the most controversial cases of Chilean ufology. Beings that would have announced earthquakes, natural disasters and the fall of the Challenger. For more than two decades there has been speculation about the existence of the famous Friendship Island, however until now there is still no certainty of its possible location, nor of the truthfulness of the contacts with the extraterrestrial inhabitants of that island. That story is up next on Weird Darkness.
STORY: EXTRATERRESTRIALS OF CHILE==========
Friendship Island is a famous location in Chile that, despite so many knowing about it, nobody knows exactly where it is. But the rumor is that for the past twenty years or so, the beings that live there – possibly extraterrestrials – have predicted disasters such as earthquakes, and even NASA’s Challenger disaster.
When the story of the so-called Friendship Case was first published, a wave of speculation and theories began to circulate. Some argue that it was all about a mental experiment; others say that the hands of the Nazis are behind the case and most believe that they are extraterrestrial beings who have chosen the southern end of our country as a base for their operations on Earth.
The case is based on alleged radio communications between some people with inhabitants of an unknown island located in southern Chile in the 80s. The protagonists of the story, the Ortiz family, for years maintained contact with mysterious characters with an accent.
Octavio Ortiz was the first to tell how this mystery came to be. Tradesman by profession, he acquired an 11-meter radio for his communications: “We made contacts with these gentlemen who first thought that they were religious or Mormons because of their way of speaking. We played many songs and it never occurred to us to link them with extraterrestrial beings. And to this day I do not have the certainty that they are beings from another planet, “said Ortiz.
These characters claimed to have an island in the southern south of Chile: “Their only contact was a yacht in which they transported machinery and the people who visited them. Even they invited us, several times, but I was afraid. I did not know what we were going to find there, “he said.
One of the most controversial protagonists of this story is Ernesto de la Fuente, a mechanical civil engineer from the University of Concepción, who in 1983 claimed to have made contact with the inhabitants who lived on that island in the south. Later he would know that they were members of a congregation called Friendship.
In those years, De la Fuente acquired an 11-meter radio station with which he tried to get out of the isolation he was in. Among the many contacts with people from different parts of the island, these interlocutors appeared who claimed to belong to a religious congregation called Friendship, which would have acquired an island in the Guaitecas archipelago.
Conversations became very common during the afternoons. Many went on for more than two hours. In these real conversations, other Chilean radio amateurs participated, as well as some guests from other parts of the world.
De la Fuente had the opportunity to meet the supposed inhabitants of Friendship. According to the description he himself makes, the age of the character he met fluctuated between 35 and 55 years. His hair was dark blond, with light eyes and slightly toasted skin. Its height far exceeded that of the average Chilean. “What was most striking was the peace that radiated from his presence,” he said.
For a time De la Fuente worked for the Friendship. His work consisted of welcoming families and people who were invited to the island. In his vehicle, Ernesto took them to small ports from where they were picked up by the Mytilus II, a small boat, which was the only one authorized to reach the supposed island.
During the time he was able to remain on the island, De la Fuente claimed to have slept in a small piece of approximately 3 square meters. Inside there was nothing but a bed and a table with a computer terminal.
Everything was controlled through computer processors: “There was a heated pool, three large greenhouses, satellite TV lounges and other amenities that I would have never imagined. One was with many people in the corridors, everyone was smiling and nobody spoke loudly. I do not remember seeing a clinic or hospital, “he told de La Fuente.
Another fact that has given the international impact to the case is that the Friendship would have had the ability to predict things. This is how they would have announced earthquakes, natural disasters and the fall of the Challenger.
It should be remembered that despite the efforts made by different media, it has not been possible to reach the location of the island. That is one of the main questions raised by those who argue that this story is false.
Two of the expeditions to locate it were made by the Nueva Imagen production company. One with the support of the Navy and the other completely independent. In none of them was it possible to reach the given coordinates.