Forgotten Darkness

Strange things are lost and forgotten in obscure corners of the newspaper.

July 22nd, 2019    

43 - The Case of Eliza Armstrong

The case of a missing girl in 1885 London leads to the passage of a law raising the age of consent and more strongly prosecuting sex offenses. But when the girl herself is returned to her mother unharmed, questions arise...

Episode 43 Photo Gallery:

Part of the Straight Up Strange Network:

Opening music by Kevin MacLeod.

Closing music by Soma.


“A missing daughter,” Pall Mall Gazette, July 13, 1885.

“Charles Armstrong again.” Pall Mall Gazette, February 25, 1886.

“Eliza Armstrong's brother.” Lloyd's Weekly Newspaper, July 11, 1897.

“The maiden tribute of the modern Babylon – I.” Pall Mall Gazette, July 6, 1885.

“News of Eliza Armstrong,” Lloyd's Weekly Newspaper, June 9, 1889.

“The abduction of Eliza Armstrong.” Manchester Guardian, September 8. 1885.

“The Armstrong abduction case,” Manchester Weekly Times and Examiner, November 14, 1885.

“The Armstrong case, summing up and verdict.” Birmingham Daily Post, November 9, 1885.

“The case of Eliza Armstrong – the lost child recovered,” Illustrated Police News, September 5, 1885.

“The Eliza Armstrong case,” Lloyd's Weekly Newspaper, August 23, 1885.

“The mother and her lost child – further strange disclosures – Mr. Bramwell Booth throws a light on the mystery,” Lloyd's Weekly Newspaper, August 16, 1885.

“The return of Eliza Armstrong,” Pall Mall Gazette, August 25, 1885.

“Working the Criminal Law Amendment Act,” Pall Mall Gazette, August 5, 1885.

Butler, Josephine. Rebecca Jarrett. London: Morgan and Scott, 1886.

Gaston, Edward Page, ed. British Supplement to the New Encyclopedia of Social Reform. London and New York: Funk & Wagnalls, 1908.

Le Feuvre, Cathy. The Armstrong Girl: A Child for Sale. Oxford: Lion Hudson, 2015.

Plowden, Alison. The Case of Eliza Armstrong: A Child of 13 Bought for £5. London: BBC, 1974.



July 17th, 2019    

42 - First Anniversary Anthology

An anthology of some smaller stories. An attempted resurrection; a case of either auto-hypnosis or insanity, no one is sure which; a ghost in Newark, NJ; the Knickerbocker Ghost of Brooklyn; a headless flying man; a wild woman; and the Witch Rock of Hopkins Hill, RI.

Part of the Straight Up Strange Network:

Opening music by Kevin MacLeod.

Closing music by Soma.


“A witch's rock,” Winfield (KS) Daily Courier, September 3, 1885.
“Brooklyn ghost: pshaw!” New York Times, November 23, 1894.
"Bury son to restore life,” Los Angeles Times, November 3, 1924.
“Crowds watch for a ghost,” New York Evening World, May 18, 1894.
“Ghost with a bass voice,” New York Evening World, May 17, 1894.
“Headless man,” Hartford (KY) Republican, May 6, 1904.
“Scared by a wild creature,” New York Times, October 20, 1882.
“Who can release this mental prisoner?” St. Louis (MO) Republic, May 25, 1902.

July 13th, 2019    

41 - Pedro

In the 1930s, two gold prospectors working in the mountains of Wyoming find a mummy of a tiny man only about a foot in height. Does it change everything we know about human evolution in North America? Or is the truth of the matter far more... normal than it appears on the surface?

Episode 41 Photo Gallery:

Part of the Straight Up Strange Network:

Opening music by Kevin MacLeod.

Closing music by Soma.


“A race of pygmies,” St. Louis (MO) Post-Dispatch, May 26, 1896.

“About Mammoth Cave,” Moberly (MO) Monitor-Index, November 22, 1912.

“Did a race of pygmies once live in America?” Milwaukee Sentinel, August 17, 1941.

“Glenrock lease sold,” Casper Star-Tribune, October 22, 1917.

“Pygmy skeleton dug up,” Billings (MT) Weekly Gazette, August 30, 1907.

“Woman scribe believes sex equality overdue,” Clovis (NM) News-Journal, October 20, 1966.

Aufderheide, Arthur. The Scientific Study of Mummies. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003.

Clark, Ella E. Indian Legends from the Northern Rockies. Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press, 1966.

Schneck, Robert Damon. The President's Vampire. San Antonio: Anomalist Books, 2005.

Yule, Henry, trans. The Book of Ser Marco Polo, the Venetian, Concerning the Kingdoms and Marvels of the East (2 vols.). London: John Murray, 1871.‘beartooth-highway-molar’/



July 4th, 2019    

40 - The West Ham Disappearances

Two young girls mysteriously disappear, and a third is found murdered – and all lived in the same road in east London. Also, a number of other disappearances and murders which may, or may not, be connected...

Episode 40 Photo Gallery:

Part of the Straight Up Strange Network:

Opening music by Kevin MacLeod.

Closing music by Soma.


London Daily News, May 24, 1881.

“Abduction of children from London,” Pall Mall Gazette, August 5, 1884.

“Disappearance of a child,” Hampshire Telegraph and Naval Chronicle, February 16, 1884.

“Horrible crime at West Ham,” Illustrated Police News, February 22, 1890.

“Horrible discovery at West Ham – a missing girl murdered and outraged,” Royal Cornwall Gazette, February 20, 1890.

“Horrible outrage and murder at West Ham,” Essex County Standard, February 22, 1890.

“Missing,” Lloyd's Weekly Newspaper, December 10, 1882.

“Missing,” Lloyd's Weekly Newspaper, May 18, 1884.

“Missing girls,” London Daily News, April 3, 1882.

“Missing persons,” Reynolds' Newspaper, July 9, 1882.

“Mysterious disappearances,” Lloyd's Weekly Newspaper, March 5, 1882.

“Mysterious disappearance of a girl at Plaistow,” Essex County Standard, May 28, 1881.

“The decoying of English girls,” Nottinghamshire Guardian, June 24, 1881.

“The disappearance of children from West Ham,” London Daily News, August 8, 1884.

“The disappearance of a young girl from West Ham,” London Daily News, February 3, 1882.

“The incorporation of West Ham,” London Times, November 1, 1886.

“The mysterious disappearance of girls at West Ham,” Reynolds' Newspaper, June 5, 1881.

“The West Ham abduction case,” London Standard, February 6, 1882.

“The West Ham murder – supposed discovery of the missing keys,” Illustrated Police News, May 24, 1890.

“West Ham,” London Standard, August 7, 1884.

“West Ham – another girl missing,” London Daily News, July 8, 1882.

Chaumont, Jean-Michel. “The White Slave Trade Affair (1880-1881): A Scandal Specific to Brussels?” Brussels Studies 46:24 (January 2011).

Stead, W.T. “The maiden tribute of modern Babylon III: the report of our Secret Commission,” Pall Mall Gazette, July 8, 1885.



June 25th, 2019    

39 - The Cock Lane Ghost

William Kent had an unorthodox – for the early 1760s – life, living openly with a woman who was not his wife. Because of this scandal, and other factors, after his “wife's” death in 1762, he is accused of murder by what is – at least on the surface – her ghost.

Episode 39 Photo Gallery:

Part of the Straight Up Strange Network:

Opening music by Kevin MacLeod.

Closing music by Soma.


“A summary account of the proceedings in regard to some strange noises, heard the beginning of the year at a house in Cock-lane West Smithfield.” The Annual Register, or a View of the History, Politicks, and Literature, of the Year 1762. London: R. and J. Dodsley, 1763.

“Cock-Lane Ghost,” Ottawa Citizen, July 15, 1905.

Boswell, James. The Life of Samuel Johnson, LL.D., Comprehending an Account of his Studies and Numerous Works, in Chronological Order; a Series of his Epistolary Correspondence and Conversatins with Many Eminent Persons; and Various Original Pieces of his Composition, Never Before Published. London: Henry Baldwin, 1791.

Clarke, Roger. “A Haunting on Scandal Street: The Cock Lane Ghost Revisited.” Fortean Times 335 (Christmas 2015).

Goldsmith, Oliver. The Mystery Revealed; containing a Series of Transactions and Authentic Testimonials, respecting the supposed Cock-Lane Ghost, which have hitherto been concealed from the Public. London: W. Bristow, 1762.

Lang, Andrew. Cock Lane and Common Sense. London: Longmans, Green and Co., 1894.

Mackay, Charles. Memoirs of Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds. London: National Illustrated Library, 1852.



June 17th, 2019    

38 - The Paxton Boys

In 1763, the Paxton Rangers are formed.  They are meant to protect their hometown from marauding Native Americans, but after returning from upstate some of them began to take matters into their own hands and are condemned by none other than Benjamin Franklin. 

Episode 38 Photo Gallery:

Part of the Straight Up Strange Network:

Opening music by Kevin MacLeod.

Closing music by Soma.


Brubaker, Jack. Massacre of the Conestogas. Charleston, SC: The History Press, 2010.

Franklin, Benjamin. A Narrative of the Late Massacres in Lancaster County of a Number of Indians, Friends of this Province, by Persons Unknown, with some Observations on the same. Philadelphia: Anthony Armbruster, 1764.

Parkman, Francis. The Conspiracy of Pontiac and the Indian War After the Conquest of Canada. Boston: Little, Brown, and Company, 1870.

Shirk, Willis J. “Wright's Ferry: A Glimpse Into the Susquehanna Backcountry.” Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography 120: 1 / 2 (January/April 1996).

Sipe, C. Hale. The Indian Wars of Pennsylvania. Harrisburg, PA: The Telegraph Press, 1929.

Stainton, Leslie. Staging Ground: An American Theater and Its Ghosts. University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2014.



June 12th, 2019    

37 - Andrew Hellman, Alias Adam Horn

Two articles about Andrew Hellman, who killed his first wife, his pregnant second wife, and very likely two of his children.  Articles are from the Baltimore Sun and the Carlisle Weekly Herald.

Part of the Straight Up Strange Network:

Opening music by Kevin MacLeod.

Closing music by Soma.


“Andrew Hellman, alias Adam Horn, His Life, Character, and Crimes,” Baltimore Sun, December 2, 1843.
“Another Atrocious Murder,” Carlisle (PA) Weekly Herald, May 3, 1843.

June 6th, 2019    

36 - The Life and Death of Julia Pastrana

Profile of Julia Pastrana, Mexican "freak show" performer of the 1850s, who was misused - shockingly - after her death in childbirth, and her eventual return to Mexico.

Episode 36 Photo Gallery:

Part of the Straight Up Strange Network:

Opening music by Kevin MacLeod.

Closing music by Soma.

Athens (Tennessee) Messenger, July 28, 1854.
“A novel suit,” Baltimore Sun, November 10, 1855.
“Common pleas – special term,” New York Herald, April 18, 1849.
“Freaks' requests,” Reading (PA) Times, April 8, 1885.
“Later from Mexico,” New York Times, November 1, 1854.
“Police intelligence,” New York Herald, October 11, 1848.
“Police intelligence,” New York Herald, December 14, 1848.
“Police intelligence,” New York Herald, March 10, 1853.
“Police intelligence,” New York Herald, March 15, 1853.
“Police intelligence,” New York Herald, June 30, 1853.
“Trouble about a hybrid,” American and Commercial Advertiser (Baltimore), November 12, 1855.
Unknown. Curious History of the Baboon Lady, Miss Julia Pastrana. London: E. Hancock, n.d.
Bondeson, Jan. A Cabinet of Medical Curiosities. New York: Norton, 1999.
Garland-Thomson, Rosemarie. “Julia Pastrana, la Dame Extraordinaire.” Alter 11:1 (March 2017).
Gould, George M. and Walter L. Pyle. Anomalies and Curiosities of Medicine. Philadelphia: W.B. Saunders, 1898.




May 29th, 2019    

35 - The Spiderman of Denver

A retired railroad worker is murdered in his home in a classic locked door mystery.  In the following weeks and months, apparently ghostly phenomena are noticed.  But the truth was far weirder.

Episode 35 Photo Gallery:

Part of the Straight Up Strange Network:

Opening music by Kevin MacLeod.

Closing music by Soma.

"Attic wraith re-enacts his murder of man he now says he knew in Denver earlier,” Greeley Daily Tribune, August 1, 1942.
“Coneys pleads innocent to first degree murder,” Oshkosh (Wisconsin) Northwestern, August 24, 1942.
“Convicted ghost slayer given life,” Fresno (California) Bee, November 1, 1942.
“Ghost awaits murder trial,” Ogden (Utah) Standard-Examiner, October 29, 1942.
“Ghost shows detectives how murder took place,” Brownsville (Texas) Herald, August 2, 1942.
“Mrs. Peters recalls man who says he slew her husband as visitor at their home as music club member,” Greeley Daily Tribune, August 1, 1942.
“Spider man, slayer of friend, living out days as life termer,” Panama City (Florida) News-Herald, July 4, 1954.
“Two held here not wanted,” Greeley Daily Tribune, October 24, 1941.
Childers, James E. “Death was a phantom lodger,” Denver Post Empire, February 7, 1960.


May 21st, 2019    

34 - The Mouse Tower

A German legend of an evil clergyman eaten by rats.  But the story isn't all it's cracked up to be; countless variants of it exist across Europe.  

Episode 34 Photo Gallery:

Part of the Straight Up Strange Network (

Baring-Gould, Sabine.  Curious Myths of the Middle Ages.  London, Oxford, and Cambridge: Rivingtons, 1877.
Brewer, Ebenezer C.  Character Sketches of Romance, Fiction and the Drama (vol. 3).
Coryat, Thomas.  Coryat's Crudities: Hastily Gobled Up In Five Moneths Travells (vol. 2).  Glasgow: University Press, 1905.
Gask, Lilian.  Folk Tales From Many Lands.  New York: T.Y. Crowell, 1910.
Gerald of Wales.  The Historical Works of Giraldus Cambrensis.  London: George Bell & Sons, 1894.
Miltoun, Francis.  Cathedrals and Churches of the Rhine.  Boston: Colonial Press, 1909.
Morris, Charles.  Historical Tales: The Romance of Reality (vol. 5).  Philadelphia and London: J.B. Lippincott, 1908.
von Döllinger, Johann J.I.  Fables Respecting the Popes in the Middle Ages.  New York: Dodd & Mead, 1872.
“The Mouse Tower,” Buffalo Commercial, April 9, 1901.


Opening music by Kevin MacLeod.
Closing music by Soma.

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