“THE VAMPIRE PLAGUE OF 1725” and More Terrifying True Horror Stories! #WeirdDarkness
Listen to ““THE VAMPIRE PLAGUE OF 1725” and More Terrifying True Horror Stories! #WeirdDarkness” on Spreaker.
IN THIS EPISODE: The 1725 newspaper headline read “Bloodsucker Devastates Village!” And thus began a great vampire epidemic. (The Vampire Plague of 1725) *** Margaret Allen was hanged to death. But it’s the strange life she lived and the odd nature of her crime that still interests people in her case. (The Hanging of Margaret or Bill) *** 12-year-old Gabriel enjoyed playing games with an online friend. But when he borrowed less than two dollars for an in-game purchase from this friend, then ignored his requests to continue playing, he found himself dying the most horrifying murder you can imagine. And despite law enforcement knowing who the murderer is, he is free now – and no one knows where to find him. It is a brutally horrible story you do not want children in the room for. (A Deadly Gaming Friendship) *** Being the victim of a stalker is terrifying – not knowing when or where the person might show up next, or what they’ll do to you when they do show up. But there are those who have an even more terrifying situation – where the stalker follows them their entire lives, and there’s nothing they can do to stop it – because the stalker is paranormal. (Phantom Stalkers)
SOURCES AND REFERENCES FROM THE EPISODE…
“The Vampire Plague of 1725” by Jack Doyle for Ozy.com: https://weirddarkness.tiny.us/2tu2hcpu
“The Hanging of Margaret or Bill” by Romeo Vitelli for Providentia.com: https://weirddarkness.tiny.us/5awpvbh9
“A Deadly Gaming Friendship” by R.A. Brewster for RABrewster.com: https://weirddarkness.tiny.us/585afzhv
“Phantom Stalkers” by Jacob Shelton for Ranker.com’s Graveyard Shift: https://weirddarkness.tiny.us/a3uyx6vw
Weird Darkness theme by Alibi Music Library.
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Originally aired: July 13, 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.
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…
Margaret Allen was hanged to death. But it’s the strange life she lived and the odd nature of her crime that still interests people in her case. (The Hanging of Margaret or Bill)
12-year-old Gabriel enjoyed playing games with an online friend. But when he borrowed less than two dollars for an in-game purchase from this friend, then ignored his requests to continue playing, he found himself dying the most horrifying murder you can imagine. And despite law enforcement knowing who the murderer is, he is free now – and no one knows where to find him. It is a brutally horrible story you do not want children in the room for. (A Deadly Gaming Friendship)
Being the victim of a stalker is terrifying – not knowing when or where the person might show up next, or what they’ll do to you when they do show up. But there are those who have an even more terrifying situation – where the stalker follows them their entire lives, and there’s nothing they can do to stop it – because the stalker is paranormal. (Phantom Stalkers)
But first… The 1725 newspaper headline read “Bloodsucker Devastates Village!” And thus began a great vampire epidemic. We begin with that story. (The Vampire Plague of 1725)
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, listen to my other podcasts like “Retro Radio: Old Time Radio In The Dark”, “Church of the Undead” and a classic 1950’s sci-fi style podcast called “Auditory Anthology,” 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 VAMPIRE PLAGUE OF 1725=====
Even the least superstitious person in the world couldn’t ignore this headline: BLOODSUCKER DEVASTATES VILLAGE.
That was the news spreading like wildfire across the Austro-Hungarian Empire in the late 1720s. Mysterious epidemics had been linked to chilling reports that captured the imagination. Across language divides, from poor villages to mighty imperial cities, whispers spread of long-buried corpses with fresh blood in their mouths, savage attacks and communities shattered by individuals thought to be deceased.
The ingredients to this story sound familiar for a reason. Somewhat incredibly, two small-town calamities in what is now rural Serbia ignited a worldwide phenomenon. From Dracula to Edward Cullen, vampires all derive from the combination of folklore and coincidence that drove the world’s first bloodsucker craze.
It started in 1725 in a tiny village called Kisilova (now Kisiljevo). Life was already hard for Kisilova’s poor residents, who endured harsh winters and had recently been occupied by the Ottomans. God seemed very far away among a slew of problems, all of which were about to show up in the form of a monster with a familiar face: Local Petar Blagojevich knocked on his wife’s door and demanded she hand over his shoes — 10 weeks after he’d died.
That’s the account that panicked villagers related to a military representative. Needless to say, he was a little skeptical, but what followed was no joke. Within days of Blagojevich’s reported reappearance, eight villagers died after short, brutal illnesses. Supposedly, Blagojevich crept into their homes at night, laid on top of them, and crushed the breath from their lungs, thus sealing their fate. It sounds like fiction, but the reaction of Kisilova’s residents made sense at the time. Illness was a terrifying prospect after the village’s ordeal of occupation and hunger, and a monster was easier to blame than God.
After a heated debate, the whole of Kisilova decided to march to the graveyard and dig up Blagojevich’s body. According to the amazed military representative, “There was not the slightest smell of death…. The face, hands and also feet, and the whole body, were so recreated that they, in his lifetime, could not have been more complete.” And here comes the scariest bit: “In his mouth did I see fresh blood, which, after the general opinion, he had sucked from those killed by him.”
No one had a name for what this monster was. But what the villagers did next — perhaps prompted by medieval Balkan folklore about the walking dead — set the precedent for hundreds of vampire movies to come: They sharpened a stake and drove it through Blagojevich’s heart. Witnesses said blood gushed from the corpse’s mouth and ears, signaling an end to his brief reign of terror.
A few years later, a highwayman named Arnold Paole was entertaining the locals in his central Serbian village with tall tales about a Turkish vampire he’d known. The vampire had bitten him, he claimed, but not to worry — he’d taken precautions against infection by eating dirt from the vampire’s grave. Garlic and holy water, it seems, hadn’t caught on just yet.
Despite Paole’s efforts, his untimely death in a farming accident led to him “rising” from the grave as a vampire. His killing spree was even deadlier than Blagojevich’s, with more than two dozen people dying within just a few months. As with Blagojevich, the villagers dutifully dug Paole up, to be rewarded with another ghastly sight — the apparently recomposed Paole gasping as they drove a stake through his heart.
These stories were certainly enough to make headlines, and made for great folk stories. But Europe had been full of strange folklore for centuries, so why did these accounts take hold so thoroughly? The answer, historian Gábor Klaniczay writes, might be the clue to vampires’ lasting appeal. Medieval Europe had been preoccupied with witch trials. A few hundred years later, though, they’d lost some appeal. Vampires were distinctly more modern — and therefore scarier — supernatural beings. And to people only tangentially aware of the rise of technology and medicine, vampires seemed a plausible mystery for the new field of science.
In other words, vampires represented what seemed weirdest and most frightening about the present for 18th-century peasants. Today, says author G.K. Hansen, they’ve become a tool for exploring oddities and unknowns in our ever-shrinking world. Series like Twilight and True Blood suggest that vampires have a whole other world we humans don’t know about, a tantalizing possibility in our high-tech present.
“Vampires are a fertile playground, and once Stephenie Meyer let absurdity creep in — her vampires sparkle — people started finding it everywhere,” Hansen says, noting that “there’s so much territory left unexplored.” The undead might not be killing Serbian peasants anymore, but vampires will likely survive, stakes or no, to reveal more about the stranger side of the human imagination for years to come.
When Weird Darkness returns… Margaret Allen was hanged to death. But it’s the strange life she lived and the odd nature of her crime that still interests people in her case. That’s up next.
STORY: THE HANGING OF MARGARET OR BILL=====
On January 13, 1949, 42-year-old Margaret Allen was hanged at Strangeways Prison (now the HM Prison Manchester). Not only did this make her the first woman to be hanged in the United Kingdom in 19 years, but the very circumstances of her life, as well as the nature of the murder she committed , has given her a unique place in Britain’s forensic history.
Born in 1905 as part of a very large family (she was the twentieth of twenty-two children), Margaret apparently knew that she was different from an early age. Not only did she refuse to do “female chores” preferring more “masculine” tasks such as shoveling coal and doing household repairs, she also hated wearing dresses. Instead, she insisted on more masculine clothing instead, same as her brothers. While this would be much more acceptable today, her odd behaviour made her into a virtual outcast as far as her family was concerned.
Never having married, she embraced a completely masculine lifestyle including cutting her hair short, wearing men’s clothing exclusively, and insisting on being called “Bill” instead of her given name. She also told friends that she had undergone an operation to change her sex, something that was highly unlikely in that era (though a female-to-male sexual reassignment operation had taken place in the UK just two years earlier).
Despite being largely estranged from her family, Margaret took her mother’s death in 1943 especially hard. Not only did she begin smoking heavily but she sought medical treatment for depression and anorexia. To support herself, Margaret/Bill worked as a bus conductor though she eventually lost this job due to her tendency to strike passengers on the back on the head if they weren’t seated fast enough. In any event, by 1948, she was in financial trouble. Not only couldn’t she afford her rent or her electric bill, she apparently couldn’t even afford cigarettes (this will become important later).
All of which brings us to the events of August 29, 1948 when a neighbour, 68-year-old Nancy Ellen Chadwick, came to Margaret’s door to borrow a cup of sugar. Chadwick was a wealthy widow with a reputation for being eccentric but largely harmless. Unfortunately, Margaret considered her annoying so they didn’t go on particularly well. For reasons that aren’t quite clear, Margaret viciously clubbed Nancy Chadwick to death using a coal hammer. She then placed the body in her cellar before going out with her only friend, Annie Cook. After sharing a couple of drinks together, Margaret returned home to deal with the problem of the body. First she poured grate ashes on the face of her victim and then dragged the body outside to leave in the street nearby. She apparently hoped that the soot on Chadwick’s face and the injuries to her head would convince police that she had been the victim of a hit-and-run.
When bus driver Herbert Beaumont found the body at 3 am on the following morning, he immediately called police who launched an investigation. Another bus driver insisted that he had passed by that same spot fifteen minutes earlier and saw no body at the time. Since it seemed unlikely that Chadwick had been walking outside at that time of morning, they quickly dismissed the possibility of a hit-and-run. They also found the woman’s purse floating in the nearby River Irwell though all money had been removed.
Since Margaret Allen seemed to be taking a keen interest in the investigation, police came to question her about the death on September 1. They quickly discovered blood stains on the inside of her front door as well as a shopping-bag filled with grate ashes in one of her closets. As she was being questioned, she confessed to the killing almost immediately but added that she “didn’t do it for money, I was in one of my funny moods.” She told them “‘I just happened to look around and saw the hammer in the kitchen. Then, on the spur of the moment I hit her with it. She gave a loud shout and that seemed to start me off more, and so I hit her a few times more, I don’t know how many.” Margaret later insisted that being unable to smoke had made her especially irritable. The fact that she was heavily in debt and that she had apparently been hoping to rob her victim seemed a likelier explanation, however.
Though a murder would not ordinarily generate much interest from the press, many of the details of Margaret’s life helped ensure that her case would receive international coverage. Virtually every newspaper played up Margaret’s “mannish” appearance, including her refusal to wear female clothing and her previous claims that she had undergone a sex change operation. The papers also played up her “spinster” status though Margaret largely remained silent throughout the trial. What was likely even more upsetting to her was that she was kept in a woman’s prison despite insisting she was male. While in prison, she only received one visitor, a woman named Anne Cook though the exact nature of their relationship is still debatable.
As for the trial itself, it was held on December 8, 1948 and only lasted five hours. Given that Margaret had already confessed to the crime, there really wasn’t all that much for the defense to do in her case. Though her lawyer, William Gormann K.C., tried to argue for the insanity defense, the jury rejected this completely. They seemed completely swayed by the argument of the prosecutor, E.G. Robey, that Margaret’s sole motive for the murder was robbery and it only took fifteen minutes to hand down a verdict of guilty. Then again, Margaret’s wearing a man’s suit for the trial (she insisted) probably worked against her as well. Once the verdict was in, the judge, Mr. Justice Sellars, sentenced her to be hanged.
Despite a last-minute attempt to have the sentence commuted, including a petition with 162 signatures, the Home Secretary denied any reprieve and Margaret’s execution date was set for January 12. Though she had been cheerful at first while still hoping for an appeal, her mood quickly changed when the prison governor told her the execution would go on as scheduled. At her final meeting with Annie Cook, Margaret told her not to come to the hanging but, instead, to go to the corner where they usually met at 9 am, the hour of execution.
Irritable to the end, Margaret kicked over her breakfast on the morning of her hanging saying that, “I don’t want it and no one else is going to enjoy it!” Even worse, the prison refused to allow her to wear men’s clothing to the hanging and she was forced to wear a prison dress instead. She was hanged at 9 am on schedule by Alfred Pierrepoint, assisted by Harvey Kirk. The only real mourner she apparently had was Annie Cook, who was seen crying at the corner where Margaret had asked her to wait.
While Margaret/Bill was evidently a pre-operation transgender male, the fact that she lived in an era before such operations were widely available certainly made her life more difficult than it might have been. As it happens, the case of Christine Jorgensen only a few years later would help open the floodgates (though it would be twenty years before Sweden became the first country to allow people to legally change their sex). Despite there being no real indication that Margaret’s transgender status played a role in her crime, she may well have been treated more harshly by the court as a result of her “mannish” appearance and general refusal to abide by the accepted sexual stereotypes of the time. It would take a very long time for these attitudes to change.
STORY: WEIRDO: MYSTERIOUS BUT APPRECIATIVE by Bryan Barnes=====
In April 2010 my wife and I decided to purchase a beautiful home just outside of Milwaukee. This community was one of the earliest suburbs of Milwaukee and was home to some of the wealthier residents back in its day. Today it is still a community made of upper middle class residents many of them being educators, first responders or professionally employed. We chose this community because of the variety and beauty of the homes in the community. Many multistory brick homes from the 1920’s-1940’s. Our home is a 1927 brick with stain glass and lead pain glass doors and windows. Hard wood floors, fireplace and a grand stair case. It was a beautiful home and my wife and I fell in love with it immediately. After the purchase we got to know our next door neighbors Rick and Joeann who had lived in their home for more than 40 years. Rick was a retired surveyor for the city and Joeanne was a retired teacher. Hanging in the back yard and talking with them over the summer my wife and I learned a great deal about the original owners of the house. It was originally designed and built by the homeowner who was an architect. This explains why our home had some many custom design features for the home. It was later sold to a gentleman who was a dentist. His wife had died and for the longest time it was just the dentist and his younger daughter Denna. After the Denna’s father past, she inherited the home and lived in it until Denna was in her 80’s putting it up for sale and moving to Florida where she eventually past away. Noticing how much my wife and I were landscaping and planting new flower gardens Rick shared with us how it reminded him of Denna. She loved gardening, she loved this home and would have loved what we were doing.
Fast forward about a year my wife and I were both working in our backyard. I was busy trimming some hedges that had not been trained in some time and were severely overgrown. These things were over 10ft tall and an easy 4ft wide. They were huge and took a lot of work to get them trimmed. These hedges have been here since the mid-1930’s. I know this because the previous owners would write the date and height from 1933-1938 on the wall in my garage. I like the history of it all so I left the original writing as it was.
While working I noticed a lady walking up our alley and into our parking space. She was average height and weight with long curly reddish brown hair. I would say she was in her mid to late 40’s.
“Excuse me” she said. ” I dont mean to be a bother but I used to live here when I was a young girl. I happened to be in town on business and thought it would be fun to stop by and see the old place”.
Intrigued I invited her up the steps into our yard. ” Well hello I said, my wife and I have always been curious about the history of the house so we would enjoy the opportunity to hear about your time living here.”
We stood and talked for awhile, her sharing her stories of playing hide and seek with her best friend and providing all kinds of very specific details about the house that only someone who has spent a great deal of time would have known. She knew everything about the house and its history. Her mother, Denna had grown up in the home just like Rick had told us and she shared all kinds of stories about past holidays and backyard parties with the neighbors.
She was very nice and politely asked if we would mind if she peeked insight just see the interior one more time. I agreed and walked her up to the back door where you would enter the kitchen and access the back service stair case. Once she entered the home I immediately noticed a change in her demeanor. She went from a very animated, talkative person to very somber, quiet even serious person. She walked from the kitchen to the dining room which then flows into the living room as the largest portion of the downstairs was all open concept. As she peered at the house she never said a word and as she looked at different parts of the downstairs she seemed almost like she was in a different time and place. I assumed she was just remembering how the house looked when she was little or maybe picturing holiday gatherings and remembering the home in a different time.
Weirdly she never said a word. Not one comment on the house or how we had furnished it or recalling any moment in the house. Not a single word. She just walked around gazing at different parts of the house. I didnt say anything. I just gave her a little space and let her take it all in.
She then looked to the grand staircase and asked if she could go upstairs, never looking at me or in my direction. I said ” of course, help yourself” and watched and she made her way up the stairs. I moved toward the bottom of the stairs, watching her make her way up. I was just about to follow her up when she suddenly stopped and just starred down the hallway. She wasnt looking around at the pictures and art that we had on the wall. She was starring down the hall almost like she was seeing someone else on the other end. It was really weird. She never went into any of the bedrooms. She turned slowly and made her way back down the stairs again with this very somber look. She never made eye contact with me nor said another word. She walked right pass me at the bottom of the steps. She started to make her way back to the way we came in. I began walking slowly behind her until we walked outside to the back porch. Once we were outside her demeanor changed once again back to that pleasant, smiling and talkative person.
She thank us for trusting her and giving her the opportunity to see the home once again. She also spent some time with my wife looking over the garden and telling my wife how much her mother would have loved to see what we had done with the garden. Gardening was everything to her mother Denna.
She apologized for interrupting our Saturday but thanked us again. She started walking back down our car port and to the alley. I followed slightly behind her just to watch her safely leave. I only lost sight of her for a few seconds when she rounded the corner of my neighbors garage. I followed behind by about 10 seconds. As I rounded the corner she was gone. I expected to see her car in the alley or at the end of the alley parked on the street but there was nothing there. I could easily see the end of the street with the stop sign. Nothing. The end of the ally from my house is a good 40 yards. There is no conceivable way she made that distance without me seeing her. If her car was parked in the alley she would have had to drive past me or back up 40 yards to the end of the alley. Either way, I had no idea where she went?
I basically shrugged it off and got back to work on my monstrous hedges.
A few days later I was outside talking to my neighbor Rick and told him about our visitor and all of the things she told us about the house and its past. As I was talking I noticed he had a perplexed look on his face. “Im sorry” he said “you said the lady who visited said she was the daughter who lived here” Yes I told her. She said her mom lived here with her until she moved our when she left for college. Again, Rick looked confused. “How old was this lady you talked to? Rick asked. I dont know, mid 40’s maybe” I provided him a description of her thinking it might jar his memory.
That cant be right he said. Denna lived in this house her entire life. She didnt sale until she was in her 80’s and she never married nor ever had any kids. Are you sure she said she was the daughter?
Yes, 100%. She told us all kinds of things about the house that only someone who lived there would have known. She knew Denna, and her hobby of gardening etc.
About that time his wife Joanne came out and Rick proceeded to tell her about our visitor. Joanne responded confidently, Deanna never had any children. She never married nor had any kids. Both Rick and Joanne were very close friends of Deanna.
Now I was confused but just reiterated what she had told me. Rick asked me to wait a second and went back into the house. Joanne and I continued talking about the experience and all that the daughter told us.
A few minutes later Rick returned with an old picture. It was a group of people consisting of 10-12 people gathering for barbecue or party standing in front of our garage in the backyard. Rick indicated this was one of Denna’s many backyard parties she would host for the neighbors. The date on the picture was 1977. As I looked at the guest I suddenly felt a cold sweat coming over me. In the picture was a lady that looked exactly as the lady who just visited us. I pointed to it and showed it to Rick. “Who is this lady ” I asked with a shaky voice. Rick looked at me with a slight concern in his eyes, that is Deanna.
I responded there is no way. This lady was just here. my mind scrambled to come up with a reasonable explanation. Maybe it was her daughter who looks a lot like her. Rick and Joanne, looked at each other and then back to me with a confused look on their face. I am not sure who visited you the other day but trust me, Denna never had children. They lived by her for 40 years and Rick would often help her with things like moving furniture or hanging things she couldnt do herself. He never saw anyone in the house other than her.
So who was this lady that visited us. Was she the long lost daughter that no one ever knew about? How did she have all of this intimate details about our house and know the entire history of the house?
If this was not the daughter, was this Denna who stopped by to make sure we were taking care of the home?
I have no explanation for it. I know the lady my wife and I saw was real. I know the lady I in that picture look exactly like the lady who visited us. What I dont know is who it was.
We have had no additional visits from this lady nor have we had any other weird happenings since that time.
So I like to think maybe it was Denna checking to make sure the new owners loved the home as much as she did and felt that we did?
I dont know but it was the weirdest experience I have ever had.
Coming up… being the victim of a stalker is terrifying – not knowing when or where the person might show up next, or what they’ll do to you when they do show up. But there are those who have an even more terrifying situation – where the stalker follows them their entire lives, and there’s nothing they can do to stop it – because the stalker is paranormal. That’s up next on Weird Darkness.
STORY: PHANTOM STALKERS=====
Have you gone your entire life without seeing a ghost, ghoul, or specter? Are you jealous of your friends who have woken up to something standing over them in bed? You might change your mind after you read about these real-life people who have suffered lifetime hauntings. Ghosts that attach themselves to people always seem to have some kind of agenda. If you’re lucky, the ghost acts as a sort of protective invisible friend. But if your forever ghost is like most of the creepy crawlies on this list, then you’re in for a lifetime of chills every time you go to the bathroom, close the kitchen cabinet, or walk down to the basement to do laundry. People who have their own ghosts can never lead a normal life. Not only do they spend every waking moment looking over their shoulders for the next scare, but they it must be impossible to let someone into their life, be it a friend or a lover. How do you casually explain the presence of the old man in your bathtub, or the shadow that lingers in the closet, every time you invite someone over to your house? Keep listening for a few stories about people who grew up dealing with something spooky attached to them. Hopefully they will help you begin to understand the intense mental anguish that these individuals are under at all times. The next time you meet someone who has a house ghost, you’ll be able to be a little more sympathetic.
Amanda writes into the website Your Ghost Stories to share about the “dark presence” that has followed her throughout her life. She notes that since she was a child she would see a figure looming in her bedroom doorway until it zipped into her closet. The entity would come and go as she got older, but she always knew when it would be around, almost as if her body was in tune with whatever it was. Her most recent run in with the thing occurred while she was in bed. She heard the presence rifling through her essential oils, and felt it lean over her. Amanda fears that it wants to drive her to hurt her family. “I think it attacks me mentally. I’d get images of hurting someone or seeing them suffering (I would never hurt anyone like in the images it showed me). It actually did this before years ago; it showed me hurting my son. I snapped and took pills.”
This man from Australia describes a lifetime of paranormal activity that not only got him in trouble with his parents, but that also seems to have ruined one of his relationships. The ghosts started their mischief when he was child, manifesting themselves as a white cat and splattering black paint over his bedroom walls. Years later, this man’s clairvoyant fiancée told him that he was being followed by two spooky children and a “sinister” spirit who gave her the “heebie-jeebies.” The storyteller fast forwards 18 years and notes that his engagement had been called off. Then, one day, a stranger approached him to say that it looked like he was being followed by three spirits that gave her the “heebie-jeebies.”
Redditor Zack1392 has had a lifelong hate/hate relationship with a brood of ghosts following him from home to home under the leadership of an “oppressive demonic ringleader.” His first supernatural experience began when he was a child, and his mother heard an old woman talking to him in his room – but of course he was all alone. Following that experience, Zack saw what he describes as a shadow trying to break into his third story window, and a presence that would make everyone uncomfortable in one particular room of the house. Even after his family moved to a new house he believed that the hauntings continued. He even thinks the ghosts talk about him: “Since I work nightshift, I would come home around four or five in the morning. I have walked in and heard someone say ‘Hey.’ I would respond and get nothing. I have seen a woman in the kitchen who looked like my great aunt. My mother was sick and sleeping downstairs and when I walked in, a voice whispered, ‘Sh, she’s sleeping.’ I have had the front door yanked out of my hand. I have even seen the dead bolt turn by itself. I have walked in on conversations only to hear ‘Sh, he’s here. Be quiet.'”
One of the most frustrating things about true ghost stories is that the people who live through them rarely get any answers when it comes to their haunting. Kelly, a woman who has moved around quite a bit, has been followed by the spirit of a young girl since she was 15. Their interactions range from full-on attacks on her ex-boyfriends to silent appearances in the kitchen to haunting whispers telling Kelly not to be afraid. Kelly doesn’t know where the little girl came from, but wonders if she is “something of a protector.”
A young woman from Florida feels certain that either a French ghost or possibly a demon has been following her since she was a baby. According to her parents, when she was an infant they would hear the sounds of people speaking in French over the baby monitor. Now that she’s older she believes that something is waiting for her in the dark rooms of her house: “I’m uncomfortable being in any room by myself when the lights are off. It just feels like someone’s watching me. When I sleep on the couch it feels like someone’s standing about 10 feet away from me just watching me. It’s very uncomfortable. And I could’ve sworn I saw someone standing literally right next to my shins when I looked down at my feet.”
Angeli has been living in the same home in Florida since she was a child, and in her account of the ghostly happenings that occur around her (shadow men, giggling children, etc.) it seems like she and the ghosts had grown used to each other. But then her fiancé moved in. The moment he did, the haunting took on a malicious quality: things began to be thrown across rooms, something started banging on the walls, and one night Anton took the brunt of the ghostly force. As Angeli tells it, one night they were in bed when: “[the ghost] literally grabbed him and threw him! He flew out of the bed and hit the wall next to the bed, and whacked his head on my nightstand. I started screaming, and he was awake now and understandably pretty freaked out…He flew off that bed like someone had shoved him and he hit that wall with a lot of force. He actually chipped some of the plaster off the wall!”
Samantha‘s haunting began when she was still in the womb. Her mother was set up on by what she described as “a shadow of what, to her, looked like a big dog at the foot of the bed” that ended up sitting on her stomach until her mother was able to work up the courage to get out of her bed and run away. Years later Samantha would have to deal with a similar shadowy presence that would hold her down in the middle of the night in between her horrific nightmares.
An anonymous young woman who we will call “Amy” claims that she’s been followed by something malevolent since she was about five years old. Her first run in with the entity came when she recorded a “radio show” with her sister. “After I was done, I rewound the tape and began to listen to it before going to play it for my parents. Mid-session, however, I heard a sound. It was a long, drawn-out sigh in a deep register. It sounded as though a man were standing in the background and [was] very annoyed with the talking and…expressing his frustration with it.” But then when she was in college she experimented with recording the entity again and things got creepy. On the tape, things are quiet until Amy’s mother leaves the room. “So, my mother gets up and walks down the hall and into the room where my nephew was hanging out in his crib – not trying as hard to nap as I would have liked. On the tape, you hear her leave and me say to one of the dogs, ‘Lex, leave him [one of the other dogs] alone.’ Then, you hear me sigh and immediately after, you hear this deep, raspy inhale – like something is sucking all the air out of the room. I make no comment on it, but you can hear me flipping through the magazine – I hadn’t noticed anything. From down the hall, you hear my mother talking to my nephew, trying to get him to say ‘I love you.’ So, she’s saying that very slowly: ‘Iiiiii……looooove….youuuuu.’ On the tape, you hear this very odd, hissing laugh and suddenly, you hear a very, very deep man’s voice say, very loudly and clearly: ‘I love you Amy…'”
When you think about something following you, would you rather it have a recognizable form – or not? One woman has been dealing with a shadow person for close to a decade. One night, it appeared in her room. “I laid there for what felt like hours just watching it,” she says of the experience. “I was about to fall asleep when I saw it move…I just kept staring at the mirror, too afraid to turn around. I felt the bed shift like someone was laying down. It happened so slowly and I’ve never felt more scared than I was at that moment. I closed my eyes out of fear and when I opened them back up, it was morning.” As she got older, the figure would occasionally stand directly behind her while she cooked, and once even pushed her down the stairs while no one else was home. Luckily, the author says the activity has died down somewhat in the past few years.
Redditor smitisab writes that he’s been haunted by the same ghost throughout his life. In fact, he says it’s gone so far as to cause his vasovagal syncope to flair up and give him seizures. The paranormal activity began when he was three, when voices began to tell him to stab his mother. Then the haunting died down until he was eight, when something began walking around in his room and opening the cabinets in the bathroom while he showered. The activity in the bathroom only got more intense: “That night, convinced brother to sleep in my room. As we were talking around 1 a.m., something hits the other side of the wall near my head (note: the bathroom shares a wall with my room). Sounded like a fist and then nails dragging down the wall. Screamed and cried. Brother hates ghosts, refuses to talk about it.”
This young woman is seriously haunted. She believes she has been followed by an entity her entire life, and that “It,” as she calls the presence, made one of her ex-boyfriends afraid of his own apartment. Another house she lived in was said to host the ghost of an old man who would throw things from the bathtub.
Could hauntings be passed down from parents to their children? This woman thinks so. She saw many spirits as a child, including a sinister man in a black hat and a girl who floated above her head. Now, her young son seems to be experiencing similar paranormal activity. “Today we live in a house where there are footsteps walking around upstairs and knocking on the closet doors,” she writes. “My husband has woken up to someone clicking their tongue at the side of the bed. I have walked in on my four-year-old talking to the closet door and saying he’s talking to his friend. I turned to walk out of the room and someone has very distinctly knocked on the closet door from the inside.”
Linda‘s haunted life began with a Ouija board at a New Year’s Eve party, and a ghost who told her that one of her children would die. Her chilling story has continued until she had grandchildren. According to Linda, she lost one child four hours after it was born, and her house contained something that liked to play with her husband’s feet and annoy her dog. The entity in her home has even shown itself to her grandchildren. “That night I put both kids upstairs in same bed to sleep. They came running down the stairs white as a ghost! ‘Grandma there’s a ghost right by the fan on the dresser!’ (They had never heard any of what went on in the house; I kept it quiet because they were small kids). I didn’t know what to say!”
This self-described “simple man” from Florida has been dealing with something for over 20 years, and doesn’t show any signs of stopping. While living in Kissimmee, Florida the father of three began to be haunted by a series of knocks that would wake him up while he was sleeping. “On numerous occasions I was awoken by the sound of 3 knocks on what appeared to be a window or door. I cannot remember whether I opened a door or not on any occasion but I do know that it was a very real and convincing knock that was always in rhythm and always only 3 knocks.” His story continues after a move. “We then built a home in Saint Cloud, Florida. The knocks did not stop.” After living in Saint Cloud for a while the dad woke up to a deep “cat-like” scratch on his inner thigh. Then when he moved to Kentucky something extra weird happened. “While standing in my bathroom door in my bedroom last night and watching a Little League baseball game on ESPN, I witnessed my work desk I have in the bedroom lift up about 1 inch and then drop back to the floor. This happened two feet in front of me. I did not get scared or jump up and down but instead stood there in disbelief. I then went to understand what could have caused this other than what has been historically following me around for the last 20 years.”
Fortunately, not all stories of lifelong hauntings are dark. One Redditor actually has a nice story about their ghost. They believe that the spirit is watching out for them in every situation. “It’s not annoying or frightening, it almost seems like it’s protecting me. Every time I start to get involved in something I probably shouldn’t, I feel a tug at my sleeve or a hand on my shoulder. Every time I piss someone off and am at risk of starting a fight, I feel something pressed up against me. Like it’s shielding me or telling me to back down.”
When Weird Darkness returns… 12-year-old Gabriel enjoyed playing games with an online friend. But when he borrowed less than two dollars for an in-game purchase from this friend, then ignored his requests to continue playing, he found himself dying the most horrifying murder you can imagine. And despite law enforcement knowing who the murderer is, he is free now – and no one knows where to find him. It is a brutally horrible story you do not want children in the room for. Coming up next.
STORY: A DEADLY GAMING FRIENDSHIP=====
Imagine for a moment that you are twelve years old. Things in your life are in a constant flux. Money isn’t easy to come by, not for you and not for your parents, and the problems this causes in your young life are just starting to register. Add to that a mix of hormones and social pressure, and what you end up with is a cocktail of adolescent angst. So, you seek an escape. You go online and start playing a game, meet some new friends. What should have just been a fun way to spend an afternoon, maybe forget real life for a while, would end up opening the door for murder.
Daniel Petry was by all accounts a messed up kid. Even at 16 he had a history of violent outbursts so bad that his parents had sent him to several psychiatrists throughout Brazil. These sessions didn’t go well and Daniel eventually stopped going to them as well as school. (There is some speculation that he was also institutionalized for a brief period around this time, however these claims haven’t been substantiated.)
No longer in school and unemployed, Petry spent most of his time playing the online multiplayer game Tibia. There he would spend hours upon hours grinding levels against monsters, making trades and interacting with other players. One of these players was a local boy named Gabriel Kuhn. Gabriel was 12 and an avid player. While Tibia was considered a “free to play” game, meaning it didn’t cost anything to initially play, it was loaded with micro-transactions and its own in-game currency. The currency, “coins”, was used to buy anything from full characters to in-game pets.
Kuhn and Petry would play together on a private server set up by Kuhn. After one of their gaming sessions, Gabriel explained that he wanted to buy an item from Tibia’s shop but he didn’t have the coins. He asked Daniel to borrow 20,000 coins, the equivalent of 1.75 USD or around 8.79 BRL, with the promise to pay him back in a few days. Petry agreed but when it came time for Gabriel to pay him back, instead he banned Daniel from the server.
This act filled Daniel Petry with a murderous rage. That history of violence came rushing back into his present day and he found himself at Gabriel Kuhn’s door. The boy was alone but Daniel was able to convince him to open the door and let him in so they could patch things up. Instead, Petry began beating Kuhn and violently sodomized the young boy. As he lay bleeding and sobbing on his bed, Daniel mocked him. Assaulted and ridiculed, the child’s mind ran to the only protection it had known. Kuhn stated he would tell his mother what Petry had done.
This incited Daniel again who unplugged Gabriel’s computer and began to choke the boy with it while sexually abusing him again. Once he thought Khun was dead, he realized that he would have to hide the body. Petry tried to force Gabriel into a crawlspace but the door wasn’t wide enough. Thinking quickly, Daniel found a hacksaw and began to cut at Khun’s torso.
Then Gabriel regained consciousness and began to scream from the pain. Mutilating his victim’s body excited Petry and he sawed Gabriel in half while still alive. He also carved symbols from Tibia into Gabriel’s body. Still unable to fit the body into the crawlspace, he left it there in the hall for Gabriel’s brother to find later that day.
It didn’t take the police long to track down Petry, they uncovered his argument with Gabriel on Tibia. Daniel didn’t show remorse, or any emotion really, as he recounted in detail to the horrified police just what he did. The only time Petry reacted with anything other than contempt for Kuhn was when the police brought up the sexual assault, at which point he angrily lashed out at the insinuation of homosexuality.
In a gross miscarriage of justice, the Brazilian court only sentenced Daniel Petry to 3 years in a juvenile detention facility. He was released in 2010 and from then on all reports indicate he just disappeared. No online presence, no lasting consequences for murdering a child.
Petry, was by many indicators, a sexual sadist. He was aroused at the act of beating Gabriel, sawing into him while he was still alive. A sadist enjoys hurting others, not always in a physical way. But the fact that Petry raped his victim twice indicates it was the suffering that turned him on. His past history of explosive outbursts may also indicate psychopathy, as would him escalating a small slight to the point of murder. If Petry is still alive today, it wouldn’t come as a surprise to find he has other victims.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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 “Retro Radio: Old Time Radio In The Dark”, “Church of the Undead” and a classic 1950’s sci-fi style podcast called “Auditory Anthology”. Also on the site you can visit the store for Weird Darkness tee-shirts, mugs, and other merchandise… plus, it’s where you can find the Hope in the Darkness page if you or someone you know is struggling with depression or thoughts of harming yourself or others. And if you have a true paranormal or creepy tale to tell of your own, 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 Vampire Plague of 1725” by Jack Doyle for Ozy.com
“The Hanging of Margaret or Bill” by Romeo Vitelli for Providentia.com
“A Deadly Gaming Friendship” by R.A. Brewster for RABrewster.com
“Phantom Stalkers” by Jacob Shelton for Ranker.com’s Graveyard Shift
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… “My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him.” – Psalm 62:1
And a final thought… “Choose the words you say to yourself wisely; they are creating your reality.” – Sean Stephenson
I’m Darren Marlar. Thanks for joining me in the Weird Darkness.