“THE TRUE CRIME CASE OF THE VAMPIRE RAPIST” and More Terrifying True Stories! #WeirdDarkness
Listen to ““THE TRUE CRIME CASE OF THE VAMPIRE RAPIST” and More Terrifying True Stories! #WeirdDarkness” on Spreaker.
IN THIS EPISODE: John Brennan Crutchley was no ordinary rapist and murderer. He added vampirism into his modus operandi. (The True Story of the Vampire Rapist) *** The spooklight phenomenon caused panic in a small Missouri community in the late 1800s – frightening many to the point of moving their family away. And today, the Joplin Spooklight is still a mystery that remains unsolved despite appearing several times a year. (The Mysterious Missouri Spooklights) *** Based on its name alone, you’d think the Gympie-Gympie plant is small, cute, and harmless. In reality, it’s one of the most dangerous plants in the world – and you’ll want to stay as far from it as possible. (The Deadly Gympie-Gympie) *** We’ll end the broadcast with one of the strangest funerals you’ve likely ever heard! (Polly Wanna Tombstone)
SOURCES AND REFERENCES FROM THE EPISODE…
“The True Story of the Vampire Rapist” by Cat McAuliffe for Unspeakable Times: https://weirddarkness.tiny.us/4erta5zb
“The Mysterious Missouri Spooklights” from TulsaWorld.com: (Link no longer valid.)
“The Deadly Gympie-Gympie” from TheScareChamber.com: https://weirddarkness.tiny.us/skykszwa
“Polly Wanna Tombstone” by Chris Woodyard for The Victorian Book of the Dead: https://weirddarkness.tiny.us/vcd6me3n
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Originally aired: July 01, 2021
DISCLAIMER: Ads heard during the podcast that are not in my voice are placed by third party agencies outside of my control and should not imply an endorsement by Weird Darkness or myself. *** Stories and content in Weird Darkness can be disturbing for some listeners and intended for mature audiences only. Parental discretion is strongly advised.
When a young woman was found staggering down an unpaved road in Malabar, Florida, in 1985, bound, pale, and nearly naked, the passerby who rescued her could barely believe her horrifying story of kidnapping, rape, and sadistic bloodletting. When law enforcement confirmed the veracity of her story, John Brennan Crutchley’s neighbors and coworkers were shocked to learn that a criminal who was eventually dubbed the “Vampire Rapist” had been living and working next to them for years. Eventually, officials discovered evidence that caused them to believe Crutchley had murdered a number of women over the course of several years, but they were never able to find enough evidence to charge him with a single killing. Consequently, the Vampire Rapist was released from prison after a disturbingly short time, giving him the opportunity to continue his sadistic crimes of rape, torture, and possibly even murder.
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…
The spooklight phenomenon caused panic in a small Missouri community in the late 1800s – frightening many to the point of moving their family away. And today, the Joplin Spooklight is still a mystery that remains unsolved despite appearing several times a year. (The Mysterious Missouri Spooklights)
Based on its name alone, you’d think the Gympie-Gympie plant is small, cute, and harmless. In reality, it’s one of the most dangerous plants in the world – and you’ll want to stay as far from it as possible. (The Deadly Gympie-Gympie)
We’ll end the broadcast with one of the strangest funerals you’ve likely ever heard! (Polly Wanna Tombstone)
But first… John Brennan Crutchley was no ordinary rapist and murderer. He added vampirism into his modus operandi. (The True Story of the Vampire Rapist)
If you’re new here, welcome to the show! While you’re listening, be sure to check out WeirdDarkness.com for merchandise, to visit sponsors you hear about during the show, sign up for my newsletter, enter contests, connect with me on social media, plus, you can visit the Hope in the Darkness page if you’re struggling with depression or dark thoughts. You can find all of that and more at WeirdDarkness.com.
Now.. bolt your doors, lock your windows, turn off your lights, and come with me into the Weird Darkness!
STORY: THE TRUE STORY OF THE VAMPIRE RAPIST=====
On November 21, 1985, John Brennan Crutchley’s wife and young son were visiting family in Maryland for Thanksgiving, leaving the 39-year-old husband and father with the house all to himself. While driving near his home, Crutchley picked up a hitchhiker and offered to take the 19-year-old California woman to the nearby city of Melbourne, but not before stopping at his house.
Once in his driveway, instead of running into his home to pick up the notebook he claimed he needed for work, Crutchley tied a ligature around the teenager’s neck, choked her into unconsciousness, and dragged her into his house. Then, he removed all of the young woman’s clothing and strapped her to the counter in his kitchen.
When the young woman regained consciousness, she discovered John Brennan Crutchley had tied her to the top of the kitchen island in his family home, and he’d also set up lights and a video camera. Crutchley used the video camera and lights to film himself as he brutally raped the teenager, presumably so that he could watch the footage later to relive the horrifying sexual assault.
However, the young woman didn’t realize that in addition to raping her, Crutchley intended to document himself subjecting her to even more disturbing and horrifying acts straight out of a horror movie.
After he raped the young woman, John Brennan Crutchley used medical tubing and needles to drain blood from the teenager’s veins into a container. As he took the blood from the woman’s body, Crutchley told her he was a vampire and he was going to drink her blood.
Over the course of more than 20 hours, Crutchley alternated between raping the teenager and draining her blood, leaving her incredibly weak and traumatized. Medical experts later determined Crutchley had removed nearly half of the young woman’s blood, leaving her very close to death.
After repeatedly raping the young woman and draining approximately 45% of her blood, John Brennan Crutchley left his captive locked in a bathroom while he went to work. Despite being near death, the teenager was able to summon the strength to push the bathroom window open and climb outside.
Wrapped only in a towel and with handcuffs around her wrists and ankles, a passing motorist discovered the young woman staggering down the road not far from Crutchley’s home. After showing her rescuer the house where she’d been raped and held captive for nearly an entire day, the young woman was taken to the hospital for urgent medical attention.
After escaping from John Brennan Crutchley’s home, the 19-year-old received the medical treatment she desperately needed, and a hematologist later stated the teenager would have died of blood loss within 12 hours if she hadn’t been able to get help. Once law enforcement learned about the horrific rape and torture the teenager had been subjected to, they got a warrant to search Crutchley’s home, and they uncovered enough evidence to corroborate her story and place him under arrest.
However, the young woman had been so traumatized by the terrifying ordeal, she didn’t want to press charges against the man who had kidnapped her, raped her repeatedly, and drained nearly half of the blood from her body. Eventually, a rape counselor was able to convince the teenager to press charges, telling the young woman that convicting Crutchley would prevent him from being able to harm additional victims.
Born on October 1, 1946, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, John Brennan Crutchley did not have an easy childhood. According to Crutchley, his mother was distraught over the loss of her eldest child, Donna. Donna had died during surgery the year before John was born, and his mother had hoped to have another daughter to replace the child she’d lost. Consequently, she wished John had been born a girl.
When John was born, she was disappointed by his sex, but according to Crutchley, it didn’t stop his mother from dressing him as a girl for the first six years of his life. In addition to being forced to wear a dress, Crutchley also claimed his parents subjected him to severe child abuse, which included beating him until he lost consciousness and burning his fingers.
Following the allegations made against John Brennan Crutchley by the young woman he abducted and raped, police searched his home, and they discovered the video camera he’d used to document his crimes. However, when law enforcement reviewed the tape in the camera, they found Crutchley had erased the footage he’d taken of himself raping the teenager and drawing her blood.
The search also uncovered the 19-year-old’s ID card, as well as identification belonging to a number of other women, and multiple locks of hair and several necklaces, leading the authorities to suspect they were trophies Crutchley had kept from other crimes he’d committed against other victims. When they searched the engineer’s office, they found a number of sexually explicit photographs of a woman tied up and gagged, and some of the images depicted Crutchley choking the woman with his hands.
In addition to the ID cards, hair, photos, and necklaces the police found in John Brennan Crutchley’s home and office, they discovered a box of index cards the middle-aged husband and father had used to keep track of his various sexual partners. One of the cards referenced Deborah Fitzjohn, Crutchley’s former girlfriend who disappeared in 1978 while they were both living in Washington, D.C. Several months later, her naked body was found in the woods, and while Crutchley was the only suspect in her murder, DC authorities were never able to gather enough evidence to charge him with a crime.
Florida officials also linked one of the ID cards found in Crutchley’s house with a hitchhiker who went missing in 1985 but has never been found. Plus, they discovered that during the time Crutchley was living in Florida, a number of skeletal remains belonging to unidentified women were found within miles of his home, and after he was incarcerated, these ghastly discoveries ceased.
According to Crutchley’s cell mate, the Vampire Rapist admitted to killing several women, including his ex-girlfriend, but law enforcement officials weren’t able to collect enough evidence to charge him with any murders. After Crutchley was convicted of kidnapping and sexual battery, Robert Ressler, a renowned criminal profiler, testified that while there was nothing concrete to prove that the admitted rapist was a serial killer, he exhibited the traits of someone who had murdered several people.
Despite his troubled upbringing, John Brennan Crutchley was extremely intelligent and he excelled at school, particularly in math and science. After graduating from high school, Crutchley earned a degree in physics at Defiance College in Ohio and married his first wife in 1969. Then he got a master’s degree in engineering from George Washington University, but he and his wife divorced shortly after he finished school.
Over the next several years, Crutchley got remarried and worked as an engineer at several different companies all over the United States. In 1983, Crutchley moved to Malabar, Florida, with his wife and young son, and he got a job at the Harris Corporation as a NASA contractor. Due to the nature of his work, Crutchley had top-secret security clearance at the Pentagon that gave him access to classified documents.
After John Brennan Crutchley’s wife learned that her husband had been arrested and charged with kidnapping, sexual battery, aggravated battery, and possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia, she wasn’t exceptionally upset by what her husband had been accused of doing while she and her young son were out of town for Thanksgiving.
When asked about the serious accusations made again her husband, Mrs. Crutchley said he was “a kinky sort of guy,” but she refused to believe he was guilty of the charges against him. Eventually, Crutchley pleaded guilty to rape and kidnapping, so his wife was no longer able to deny the charges made him. However, instead of admitting that her husband had subjected his young victim to horrifying and depraved acts, Mrs. Crutchley claimed he had committed “a gentle rape, devoid of any overt brutality.”
While the police and prosecutors suspected John Brennan Crutchley was a serial killer, they were only able to charge him with the 1985 kidnapping and rape of the 19-year-old hitchhiker. In April 1986, Crutchley accepted a plea bargain: he pleaded guilty to abducting and raping the young woman while the prosecutors agreed not charge him with other crimes related to drug possession and draining the teenager’s blood.
In June 1986, Crutchley was sentenced to 25 years for his horrific crimes, but he was released in 1996 after serving just ten years for the terrifying ordeal he subjected his young victim to. However, Crutchley was not on the streets for long.
Almost immediately after he was paroled from prison for good behavior and time served, John Brennan Crutchley was sent to an Orlando halfway house where he was required to take a drug test. Crutchley tested positive for marijuana, which was a violation of his parole, and he was sent straight back to prison.
Eventually, the Vampire Rapist admitted to officials that his cell mates had thrown a party to celebrate his release from jail, and the festivities included smoking marijuana. Consequently, Crutchley was deemed a habitual offender, and he was sentenced to life in prison.
After being sent back to prison in spend the rest of his life in jail, John Brennan Crutchley ended up in solitary confinement because he had 13 body piercings in his genitals, in violation of prison rules. One of these piercings allowed him to a place a padlock on the end of his penis, which he claimed was a symbol of his faithfulness to his former wife, who divorced him after he was sent to prison in 1986.
Shortly after he was returned to jail for violating his parole, he told prison officials that he was unable to remove the piercings from his penis and scrotum, which was later determined to be a lie. Consequently, Crutchley was given time in solitary confinement for his dishonesty.
Less than six years after he was sent back to prison to spend the rest of his life in jail, John Brennan Crutchley was found dead in his cell on March 30, 2002, with a plastic bag on his head. Initially, officials thought the 55-year-old convicted rapist had committed suicide, but the Florida Department of Corrections released a report in August 2002 that confirmed Crutchley had accidentally died while performing autoerotic asphyxiation.
While Crutchley has been dead for more than a decade, officials are still trying to identify women they believe he may have killed. In 2010, the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office released an image of a skull reconstruction based on the remains of an unidentified woman whose skeletal remains were found in 1985 in a wooded area not far from Crutchley’s home.
Coming up on Weird Darkness, we’ll look at the mysterious Missouri Spooklights, we’ll see what’s happening on the DarkLine, and we’ll learn about an extremely dangerous plant you’ve probably never heard of – but you definitely want to stay away from!
STORY: THE MYSTERIOUS MISSOURI SPOOKLIGHTS=====
Floating lights that bounce up into the treetops, appear to be about the size of a basketball and frequently are seen in pairs haunting the area where Oklahoma, Kansas and Missouri converge.
The lights can be seen from a country road known as Spook Light Road many times of the year.
Sightseers in hundreds of cars will be driving two roads — E40 in Hornet, Mo., and E50 in Miami near Quapaw — trying to get a glimpse of the light that some say is rectangular and others claim is spherical.
Theories have been offered over the years to explain the strange phenomenon — some require a belief in the supernatural, some are more scientific and some claim that the lights are just plain hallucinations. Some, as the name implies, claim that they are ghosts — but the lights’ source remains a mystery.
An Army Corps of Engineers unit from nearby Camp Crowder, Mo., studied the spooklight for several weeks during 1946 and concluded that the phenomenon was “a mysterious light of unknown origin.”
Similar spooklights found in many other parts of the world have baffled observers for centuries. Glowing in the night with an eerie, soft color, they sometimes pulse, sometimes dance about, usually near the ground or horizon. Their source is a mystery.
The phenomenon known as the Tri-State Spooklight, the Quapaw Spooklight, the Joplin Spooklight or the Hornet Spooklight caused panic in the small Missouri community of Hornet when it was first noticed by settlers in the late 1800s. Many area residents packed up and moved away.
But the Quapaw Indians reported legends about their ancestors seeing the lights in the early 1800s. Among the earliest legends was that a handsome young American Indian man fell in love with a beautiful woman and eloped after her father refused to allow them to marry.
Fearing they would be captured, the couple committed suicide by jumping from a high bluff overlooking Spring River known as the Devil’s Promenade. According to the legend, the light burns as a symbol of love between the two young lovers.
At least three early legends involve people using lanterns to search for their heads after being beheaded. A Quapaw legend involves an old Indian looking for his head, which his wife had cut off. A similar story involves a miner who was decapitated in an accident and is using a lantern in his search.
Another early legend is about an old sergeant who was captured during a Civil War battle and was executed by using a cannon to shoot off his head, which was never found. The old sergeant’s ghost somehow obtained a lantern and since then has been searching for his head.
A Joplin librarian said in 1997 said she always figured it was an accumulation of gases and you saw it when the time was right.
A Spooksville Museum was operated for several years but it has been closed for some time. It displayed photographs and a collection of stories about the light as well as a viewing platform. It also offered for sale pamphlets about the spooklight.
Some experts claimed the light is simply the glow of minerals and gases in the area. UFO experts have claimed the light is a “controlled machine from outer space — flying saucers from other worlds.”
Popular Mechanics magazine sent a reporter and photographer to the area in 1965 to investigate the light and a number of theories concerning its cause.
The reporter later wrote in an article published in the September 1965 magazine that the light was produced by automobiles traveling east on U.S. 66 about 10 miles from the point where sightings of the phenomenon had been reported. The magazine said the light’s unusual shimmering effect and the golden hue were caused by layers of air with varying temperature.
But area residents pointed out as soon as the magazine was published that the light was seen long before there were automobiles or highways in the area.
STORY: THE DEADLY GYMPIE-GYMPIE=====
When we think of plants, we generally think of gardens, flowers, vegetables, and herbs. There are plants we keep in our home, in our garden, or visit when out in nature. Some plants are pretty and smell nice, some provide shade, some are even used for medicinal purposes. Then there are those we rarely think of. Poison ivy, poison oak, poison sumac, all of which tell us in their name to stay away. There are others though, that can be far more deceiving. The Gympie-Gympie plant is an excellent example. Based on its name alone, one would think it’s something small, cute, harmless. In reality, the gympie-gympie plant is one of the most dangerous plants you can come into contact with.
The dendrocnide moroides, also known as the gympie-gympie plant, stinging brush, mulberry-leaved stinger, moonlighter, or the suicide plant, is common to the rainforest areas in north-east Australia. It can also be found in Indonesia, and as the plant requires sunlight to germinate, it is most often found in rainforest clearings and along creek lines and tracks.
It’s common name, gympie-gympie, comes from the language of the indigenous Gubbi Gubbi people of South Queensland. This plant grows as a single-stemmed plant, reaching anywhere from 3 feet 3 inches – 9 feet 10 inches. It has large, heart-shaped, leaves that range anywhere from 5-9 inches long and 4-7 inches wide.
The thing that makes this plant so dangerous is its stinging hairs, which cover the whole of the plant. These hairs, when touched, deliver a potent neurotoxin by injecting a toxin via the small bulb that is found on the tip of the stinging hairs, which is broken off and penetrates the skin. These hairs make the leaves look as though they are covered with a soft sort of fur, making them appear soft and inviting to touch. Interestingly, the plant produces a fruit, which looks like a bright red raspberry at first, but upon closer inspection, you will find that it is simply clumped. The fruit can be safely eaten by humans, so long as the stinging hairs are removed first.
The effects of the gympie-gympie plant were first documented in 1866. A.C. Macmillan, a road surveyor in North Queensland, reported to his boss that his packhorse “was stung, got mad, and died within two hours.” Fortunately, furry animals aren’t usually bothered by the plant, though there are numerous stories of horses getting stung and “jumping in agony off cliffs.”
Marina Hurley, an entomologist and ecologist, spent a vast amount of time studying “stinging trees” which includes the gympie-gympie. In 1994, a former Australian serviceman, Cyril Bromley, wrote to Hurley, describing the aftereffects of falling into the plant. It was during his military training during World War II, and he ended up strapped to a bed for three weeks. He was administered a multitude of treatments, none of which proved successful. Said he was sent “as mad as a cut snake” by the pain. Cyril also related a story of how an officer mistakenly used the leaf of the plant for “toilet purposes” and shot himself to escape the agony.
Hurley’s own encounter with the plant led to the discovery that the gympie-gympie, and stinging trees in general, can cause intense sneezing, nose bleeds, and possibly major respiratory damage if you remain in close proximity for more than 20 minutes, without protection. You can feel the effects first with a tingling sensation in your nose, followed by incessant running/dripping. Then the sneezing starts, intense and continuous bouts of sneezing.
“Being stung is the worst kind of pain you can imagine – like being burnt with hot acid and electrocuted at the same time,” said Marina, who at the time was a postgraduate student at James Cook University investigating the herbivores that eat stinging trees.
The last story we will relate today is that of Ernie Rider. One day in 1963, he encountered a stinging tree. It touched his face, arms, and chest. “I remember it feeling like there were giant hands trying to squash my chest,” he said. “For two or three days the pain was almost unbearable; I couldn’t work or sleep, then it was pretty bad pain for another fortnight or so. The stinging persisted for two years and recurred every time I had a cold shower.”
Years later, Ernie would continue to maintain that it was perhaps the worst experience of his life. “There’s nothing to rival it; it’s 10 times worse than anything else – scrub ticks, scrub itch and itchy-jack sting included. Stinging trees are a real and present danger.”
It shouldn’t need saying, but just in case, given the severe stinging properties the gympie-gympie plant has, it is never recommended for gardening or landscaping purposes and should be avoided in its native habitat.
Nature is both beautiful and deadly. After all, this is just a plant. Did you know cyanide comes from a bacteria?
When Weird Darkness returns, we’ll have a story from one of our Weirdo family members, plus I’ll tell you about one of the strangest funerals ever held!
From Jewlia T. Croft…
My name is Jewelia Taze Croft. I am 33 years on this earth and a truly independent single parent. I have 2 lovely daughters 13 and 6 and a Bombay cat named Bopal. They will never know this story.
I grew up in ft Collins Colorado. Nuclear family mom dad and a big older brother. My father worked for Kodak in the neighboring town of Windsor Colorado. He often worked nights except on church days. Needless to say I grew up in a very strict devoted Christian home. Church and I never agreed. Those days filled me with dread. So growing up there was always a rebellion in me. But things started to really change at about the age of 13. This was the start of cell phones and dial up internet. Many nights I would stay awake sneaking downstairs to get online. Chatting at that time was the only way I felt I could make any sort of friend. Feeling completely out of place with the church crowd I found myself withdrawn from my family. Using the internet was becoming a problem. Well as I got on in my teenage years, I’d say about two full years I had turned dark inside. Full of angst for religion and angry because as all teens say…. My parents didn’t understand me.
Well at 15 things with my family got really bad. I was prescribed an antidepressant but it took me to even darker depths. Weeks on end I would go without sleep. The meds and lack of sleep started to take a toll on my mind. I would look at myself and I couldn’t recognize my face. I would then smash the mirrors.
So with weeks of no sleep, chat rooms and journals filled with my thoughts things started to happen.
One night while watching TV in my bedroom I see the living room lights come on. Thinking it was my mother going downstairs to get a snack I peeped open the door and called out her name. The house was silent. I closed the door and an unsettling feeling that somone was with me wouldnt subside.
The next day at school I couldn’t shake the feeling of being watched and followed. One of my fellow classmates came up behind me and in his deepest voice just say BOO. It scared me so bad I fainted into my locker. I come too with teachers and the principal trying to wake me. I spent the rest of the day in the nurse office so shaken there wasnt anyway I could go back to class. My mom came and we went home. She had to make a few more calls that day as she was a top notch real estate agent. So I was there alone. The feeling of a presence would not subside. I remember grabbing the phone off the wall and hiding underneath our office desk trying to find the phone jack. Once I plugged it in I desperately tried to call my mother back home. The phone lines were all dead.
That night in my room again I see the hallway light come on and looked to see if my mom had gone fir that midnight snack. I looked over the banner and the kitchen was still.
I crawl back into bed. A few moments later I feel a tug on my blanket at the bottom of my feet. Instinctively I pull the covers back and clutch them to my chest. The blanket was then ripped from my hands. Stunned I laid still. The slowly I can feel the bed compress. As if someone was crawling or trying to sit on my bed. Terrified I run to my mothers room. She let’s me in and I laid close to her.
The room was perfect dark. But when I closed my eyes I could see everything so clearly and vividly it was impossible to shut down and sleep. Then white noise arose in my ears and my thoughts where blank and blinding. I woke up my mom and begged to go downstairs.
In the living room we had a sectional couch and a big lazy boy chair for my father. The lazy boy was the best set in the room as it faced the entertainment center perfectly. The entertainment center was larege with mirrored glass doors. Usually looking into it you could see the front door and chandelier.
I sat in the lazyboy feet planted firmly and my nerves shot to pieces. Looking into the reflection was a dark figure. I can remeber seeing it stand next to the chair then slowly it began to rock the chair I was sitting on. I was then flung from the chair with such force I fell my blanket sprawled flat next to me.
My mom was so terrified she called the local mental health for teens facility. I was screaming for her to look at the chair as it was rocking violently. At that moment she helped me stand and said let’s go!
Heading to the garage something snaked across the floor grabbing me hard by my foot. My mom again helped me stand but my foot was frozen in place.
You can see a hand print on the bottom of my pajamas. My mom shouts in the name of Jehovah release my daughter.
With that searing pain washed over my entire body. I felt like was was on fire. Then in a flash I was able to move.
We got in the car. I drew my legs up to my chest. Ever so softly the bottom cuffs of my pajamas started to swirl like someone was playfully twisting them and then they would go slack.
We made it to the facility. Well lit doctors office. But mind you, it’s about 3 am. In that office I started to hear hundreds of voices calling my name in every direction. The chair I was stilling on began to vibrate so I jumped up to a new chair. This time I sat near a plastic ficus tree. The tree started to vibrate, when I looked at it, I shit you not. It started to grow human fingers. And the scariest voice I have ever heard came forth from that tree.
By this time I had pretty much lost my will to fight.
We go into the next room for intake. My mother had picked up a book in the lobby. She was flipping through the pages until the tips of the page she was on began to dog ear or fold .she slammed the book down. The pens on the intake desk all started to spin in place then where knocked off the table. And as the nurse came in her keyboard started to type.
Just several clicks on the space bar. She said hmmm well that’s odd. She picked up the keyboard and gave it a once over. Found nothing and was checked in.
It’s about 5 am at this point. I’m laying in the hospital bed and feel the softest sounds. Like parting of lips right next to my ear. Almost like a kiss. At that moment all fear had left me. But the entity stayed.
I would then speak to it. I asked if you are real and not just me being crazy, breathe into my pillow. Under my head my pillow began to rise and fall as if I was resting on a lovers chest. Then into the mattress the same rise and fall. It soothed me so I was able to fall asleep. I was awakend by the screams of the girl I was roomed with. She saw the dark figure. Hovering over my bed. She was moved to another room that morning.
Well the next day I began to ask my entity questions.
I asked for it’s name. The a soft voice spoke in my right ear. It said I cannot say my name.
I asked if it would continue to harm me.
Softly and sweetly it said no.
I asked if it would follow me forever.
Soft and sweet It whispered.. yes.
Again that night it would breath into my pillow and mattress. The rise and fall became so comforting that I would fall asleep. I would wake tho to all the focets in the room running at full speed and scolding hot.
The last day was the best and worst. I told the entity I wanted to go home. I couldn’t if he stuck around. While walking down the hallway that day. It unsnapped my undergarments and well….grabbed me. I excused myself to the bathroom. And looking into the mirror I saw myself. And this beautiful face right next to mine, but it was just a flash. After coming out I went into the recreation room and laid on the couch. Then I felt somthing slide up my thigh and stop. The voice had gone.
To this day I have never felt or heard from it again. But there have been times where I can feel a soft breath on my forehead. As if somone was giving me a kiss.
Using Morton’s Salt in one of those blue cardboard canisters — “When it rains, it pours.” — I made a pentagram, set up appropriately-colored candles, and made a magic circle around all this, for protection. Stay inside it, and I’d be fine. The book said so. I knelt in the center. This happened on the floor of my bedroom at the back of the house at 600 West Lloyd, in a small town in the hills.
I’d prepared myself and all else, so I began reading aloud the invocation I’d found in one of my old books. As I did this the dark closed in on the small dome of light made by the candles. I heard wind gusts. They sounded like they were inside the room but nothing was moved, not even the candle flames. I kept reading; it said to stop could be bad.
Conjuring a minor demon takes focus and either guts or naiveté. Maybe both. As the conjuring continued I broke a sweat, even as cold chilled me. My hands shook. I got sick in the stomach. Pretty soon my eyes blurred and I felt swirled, dizzy.
I came to naked, sprawled out spread eagle, my arms, legs, and head all outside the obliterated magic circle. Realizing I must have passed out, I then realized I’d never finished the ritual. Too late now. Reddish light came into the room. I’d slept, or been out, for the whole night.
Nervous about being caught in such an odd position, I got up, dressed, and cleaned up the scattered candles and salt, gathering all the items I’d so carefully arranged just before midnight of the prior day.
Why I was naked upon waking I didn’t know. I recalled nothing past getting dizzy, feeling like I was spinning. Had I released a spirit? Had it been demonic?
Where was it?
For the next few days I winced at every movement caught out of the corner of my eye. I cringed from shadows glimpsed as I walked by them, half expecting one to leap at me with teeth and claws. Kids at school told me I looked blurred, or like the light wasn’t quite getting to me.
At night I slept frozen in suspense. I heard growls and terror shot through me, even if it was just my hungry belly. I noticed how Moonlight fell between parted curtains — I’d shut them tight, only to find them parted — to illuminate an old Bible my maternal grandmother had given me, because she knew I liked old books. For as long as Moonllight touched that Bible’s spine I could hear it shriek and howl. Its agony sounded in my head, piercing, not to be ignored.
On our next visit to her, I gave the old Amish Bible back to my grandmother. “It screamed at me,” I told her. She nodded. “So you heard it, too.” She smiled, as if I’d passed a test I hadn’t known I was taking.
To be rid of the tortured soul attached to the old family Bible, she gave the book away at the next rummage sale in Bellville, where she’d found it.
Dark portents continued to stalk me. I’d find my books rearranged, or particular volumes pertaining to the occult lying on the floor. A collection of a dozen or so animal skulls, found on hikes in the woods over the years, which I kept on my dresser, clacked and scraped at night. One of them, a tiny mouse skull, kept vanishing, only to turn up inside a puzzle box I had, one only I could open.
Something shuffled and breathed heavily in my closet. Shadows flitted through the whole house.
Something invisible caused our dog to bristle and snarl, squared off to defend my sisters. She did this for nearly an hour, growling and in a crouch, staring fixedly at the empty air in the middle of the dark bathroom. The dog stood in the doorway of my sisters’ room, staring across the hall.
When I, my mother, my aunt, who was living with us at the time, then my father came upstairs to see what was causing the angry dog sounds, my dad told me to go check the bathroom. I approached the doorway, reached in fast, turned on the light, and retreated.
The light coming on did nothing to affect the dog’s furious defense.
My father asked if I was afraid, in a scoffing tone. I told him I didn’t see him going in there. My Mom and Aunt looked at him.
He didn’t move.
Finally our dog stood down. Her hackles smoothed. Her defense posture melted. She not only stopped snarling but wagged her tail and licked my sisters’ hands. All clear, she seemed to say.
Before my dad could say another word, I crossed the hall and went into the bathroom. I checked all over; under the sink, behind the cast-iron lion’s-footed tub, behind the toilet. No sign of anything showed itself, and I found no hole through which a bat or rat or other vermin could have entered to so alarm the dog. Besides, the dog would have attacked a mouse or baby raccoon or anything else that might have intruded, and that would’ve been on the floor, not in the middle of empty air.
We never figured it out and it didn’t repeat itself.
My friends told me, separately and at different times, my house was haunted. They had observations and experiences supporting this assertion. What else could I do but concur?
Each time they said this, I worried about what I might have released through the conjuring ritual. That book called it a minor demon, easily controlled, motivated mainly by mischief, dominated by a sharp sense of humor. What had sounded harmless described in words proved nerve-wracking in reality.
Once, a friend and I, playing with a Ouija board on a folding TV tray between us, watched the planchette sweep off one side in an upward arc, leave the board, hover for maybe three seconds, then drop straight down.
That ended our session at once.
When my parents moved from that house to one on a high hill overlooking town, we left its shadows and thumps behind. No more footsteps on the attic stairs. No more glimpses of people shapes standing in corners or flying across walls.
Their new place — by this time I’d moved from home to begin my marriage — proved oppressive in other ways. It brimmed with dark thoughts and feelings of despair. We learned later a sadist had lived in it before my parents bought it. He’d kept a padlock on the refrigerator, starved his family, beat them, and locked them in their bedrooms when he went to work. Other cruelties happened in the basement, left unspecified by the realtor. There was a shower down there, so I imagine blood was involved.
None of that house’s oppressive atmosphere linked to my short-circuited demon conjuring in the prior house. At least, that’s how it felt to me. How could any of it be proven one way or another, though?
Some places are shadowed. Darkness pools there. Many reasons arise if we seek to explain what is essentially inexplicable. We never know, except for what we choose to accept as knowing. It’s subjective.
How many naive, stupid teenagers, testing limits, exploring the world, poking at how it works, dredge up even minor demons by sheer happenstance? How many demons are released from the bondage of other realms to take abode in houses or forests, in junkyards or schools, in playgrounds or anywhere else people gather, such as theaters or dance halls? We all hear of haunted hotels, prisons, or abandoned hospitals and asylums. We all hear of the ghosts of Civil War Gettysburg and at battlefields all over the world. Is there a place not haunted in one story or another? Haunted ships, haunted seas, haunted skies and airplanes, certainly haunted caverns and mines all become familiar nightmare territory through experiences related, stories told.
People conjure hauntings, somehow. Sometimes on purpose, often accidentally. Maybe we need unseen companionship. Our longing to deny death’s finality is strong motive to conure poltergeists, shadow figures, ghosts of all kinds. Does this make them less real?
Perhaps these wraiths and demons and spirits share our very human, unfathomably deep urge to exist, to seize incarnate life, to be free from vague non-entity status, even if only for a short while.
My conjuring taught me not to mess around with what no one understands, but if any good came of it, I hope a spirit got a least a taste of the solid world.
It’s our best treasure.
We should share it.
STORY: POLLY WANNA TOMBSTONE=====
The following was printed on page four of the San Francisco Chronicle newspaper on August 20th, 1892. I’ve added nothing to it, it’s exactly as written.
Headline: POOR POLLY BURIED. Killed by Cold Water or Watermelon. A Funny Funeral in Noe Valley. Obsequies of a Dead Bird—Taken to the Grave in a Goat Carriage.
Story: There was a strange scene in Noe Valley, away out Castro street, on Thursday and those who witnessed it will not soon tire talking of it. To most of those who took part in it the occasion was fraught with more of curiosity than of deeper interest, but it was not so with all. In a little front parlor at 1414 1/2 Castro street stands a big empty birdcage. Rising from the top of the cage a staff on which a flag, hoisted half mast high, tells the visitor that the one time occupant is dead. All around the little doorway where she fluttered in and out bits of black and white still further emphasize the fatal fact, and bouquets of flowers fitted into feeding and drinking cups and hanging from the swinging perch where Polly used to swing are tokens to her memory.
It was only a parrot, this recent dweller within those walls of wire, but seldom has a bird left more sincere mourners behind it, and many a man or woman would be proud to think that such an elaborate funeral was in store for him or her. Less than two years ago this poor parrot was hatched out in the wilderness of Panama. John Stranaghan, an honest sailor lad, came into possession of the bird on one of his coast-wise trips and brought it to his uncle’s home in Noe Valley. Just one year ago was presented to Mr. and Mrs. Augustus Tache, and in their pretty little home on Castro street the bird really began to live the life that has now so suddenly ended. The parrot’s name was Loretta, but owing to the difficulty parrots find in pronouncing the letter T she called herself Lora, and those who knew her and loved her learned to accept the abbreviation. Lora was the pet of the entire neighborhood, but she was the apple of Mrs. Tache’s eye.
There were tears in both of Mrs. Tache’s eyes last evening as she related stories illustrating the genius and accomplishments of “poor Lora.” In appearance the bird had been quite like any other green parrot with gold trimmings. Her size was roughly but kindly stated by Mr. Tache, who is a carpenter, “She just fitted into a box 13 by 3 inches,” said he. And there stood the box on a pedestal just in front of the empty “cottage.” It was a dainty box, more like a young lady’s glove box than a coffin, covered with baby blue silk and lined with the same in quilted squares. Yet in it poor Lora had been laid out. By the silken handles on either side the pallbearers had carried it to the grave side, and there in the darkened parlor it now stands with the other evidences of a woman’s strange devotion to the memory of a dead bird.
The lessons that Lora learned in her home on Castro street seem all to have been good ones. She could not only talk and whistle like other parrots, but as a singer she had an enviable record, Her singing of the chorus of “Auld Lang Syne” is said to have made many of the residents of Noe valley weep copiously, and Mrs. Tache herself was very much overcome last evening in endeavoring to give the reporter an idea of Lora’s rendition of “Amid the Raging of Sea.” “She had a sweet and lovely voice,” said this fond mistress of a pretty pet, but Mr. Tache did not seem to agree with her. There was also a slight difference of opinion as to the cause of Lora’s demise. Both agreed that the parrot died of cholera morbus, but Mrs. Tache declared that the disease was due to Mr. Tache feeding the bird on watermelon, while the latter contended that death had been due to too frequent bathing at the hands of Mrs. Tache.
Whatever the cause, poor Lora was taken ill on Monday last. She was “off ‘her feed,” as Mr. Tache puts it, all the afternoon, and when night came she could muster up no words from her voluminous vocabulary save “Poor Lora! Poor, poor Lora.” It should be mentioned here that she never referred to herself as Polly, and never made the stereotyped suggestion regarding the proverbial cracker. Just as Monday was turning into Tuesday Mr. and Mrs, Tache, snugly stowed away in the ad joining bedroom, heard a terrible scream. They knew at once that Lora was on her last legs. Mrs. Tache promptly got out of bed and went to the rescue. She also did what a mother would have done for a dying child. She took the bird to her bosom and sat with it on her own bed. Poor Lora lived but a short hour longer. After the one shrill scream there came but these words, “By by, Lora, by by!” They were the last words indeed. Written by the. afflicted mistress these words are still pinned to the wires of the empty birdcage. The writer and her husband are as subdued in their grief as if a child had been taken away.
The funeral took place at 4 p. m. on Thursday. The neighbors turned out in goodly numbers. The house at 1414 1/2 Castro street was crowded, and there were more flowers than city officials have sometimes been honored with. But the most unique feature of the occasion was the hearse. The son of a neighboring groceryman offered the services of his goat wagon. Certainly nothing could have been better suited to such a service. The goat was a well trained animal and did not run away. Two little girls, Gay Spencer and Maggie Delmore, carried the casket out of the house and placed it in the little wagon. Then taking their places, one on each aide, and the other children walking two by two behind them, they led the way up Castro street to Clipper, where in the garden of Mr. Stranaghan, at 424, a grave had, been dug to receive all that remained of Lora. The older people stood by when the blue casket was exchanged for a coarser one, and when the earth was filled in above the lowered coffin there was more than one genuine sob audible. On the top of the little mound in that Noe valley garden flowers faded in the warm sun of yesterday and the incident will no doubt soon fade from the minds of most of the participants, but the grief of that honest couple at 1414 ½ Castro street is as touching as it is strange, and yet it may not be so strange after all, for their ten years’ union has not been blessed with children and “Poor Lora” could talk and sing and cry, and now “Poor Lora” is dead.
Thanks for listening (and be sure to stick around for the bloopers at the end)! 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 email@example.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” and a retro-style science fiction podcast called “Auditory Anthology”, you can 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 True Story of the Vampire Rapist” by Cat McAuliffe for Unspeakable Times
“The Mysterious Missouri Spooklights” from TulsaWorld.com
“The Deadly Gympie-Gympie” from TheScareChamber.com
“Polly Wanna Tombstone” by Chris Woodyard for The Victorian Book of the Dead
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… “Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory. Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” — Psalm 73:23-26
And a final thought… “Don’t give up just because things are hard.” – Unknown
I’m Darren Marlar. Thanks for joining me in the Weird Darkness.