Forgotten Darkness

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

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.

May 13th, 2019    

33 - Rehmeyer’s Hollow

On November 27, 1928, a suspected curse-layer is brutally killed by three others.  This is one of the more infamous stories near my home, and is one of the earliest "true" supernatural accounts I remember hearing.

Episode 33 Photo Gallery:

Part of the Straight Up Strange Network (

In reference to Alice Rehmeyer's statement at the beginning of the episode, “try” is the word generally used to denote pow-wow work; by “things for him to try” is meant essentially “problems to be cured.”

“Commonwealth v. Curry,” 298 Pa. 363 (Pa. 1930).
Donmoyer, Patrick J.  Powwowing in Pennsylvania: Braucherei and the Ritual of Everyday Life.  Kutztown, PA: Pennsylvania German Cultural Heritage Center, 2017.
Kriebel, David W.  Powwowing Among the Pennsylvania Dutch: A Traditional Medical Practice in the Modern World.  University Park, PA: Penn State University Press, 2007.
McGinnis, J. Ross.  Trials of Hex. York, PA: Davis/Trinity Publishing Company, 2000.
Renner, Timothy.  Beyond the Seventh Gate.  CreateSpace, 2016.
“Select counsel for 3 slayers,” Harrisburg Evening News, December 4, 1928.
White, Thomas.  Witches of Pennsylvania: Occult History & Lore.  Charleston, SC: History Press, 2013.

Opening music by Kevin MacLeod.
Closing music by Soma.

May 3rd, 2019    

32 - The Origin of the Poltergeist

Episode 32 Photo Gallery:

Part of the Straight Up Strange network.

Baring, Maurice. The Mainsprings of Russia. London: T. Nelson, 1914.
Brockett, L.P. Bogomils of Bulgaria and Bosnia. Philadelphia: American Baptist Publication Society, 1879.
Calmet, Augustine. The Phantom World (Henry Christmas, trans.). Philadelphia: T.K. & P.G. Collins, 1850 (originally published as Traité sur les Apparitions des Esprit et sur les Vampires, 1751).
Comnena, Anna. The Alexiad (Elizabeth Dawes, trans.). London: Kegan Paul, 1928.
Conway, M.D. Demonology and Devil-lore. New York: H. Holt & Co., 1879.
Keightley, Thomas. The Fairy Mythology. London: George Bell & Sons, 1892 (originally published 1870).
Kirk, Robert. The Secret Commonwealth. London: David Nutt, 1893 (original 1691).
Lecouteux, Claude. The Secret History of Poltergeists and Haunted Houses (Jon E. Graham, trans.). Rochester, VT: Inner Traditions, 2011 (originally published as La Maison Hantée: Histoire des Poltergeists, 2007).
—. The Tradition of Household Spirits: Ancestral Lore and Practices (Jon E. Graham, trans.). Rochester, VT: Inner Traditions, 2013 (originally published as La Maison et ses Génies: Croyances d'Hier et d'Aujour d'Hui, 2000)
Maxwell-Stuart, P.G. Poltergeists: A History of Violent Ghostly Phenomena. Stroud, England: Amberley, 2011.
Mitterauer, Michael. Why Europe: Medieval Origins of its Special Path. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2010.
Sanidopoulos, John. The Rise of Bogomilism and Its Penetration into Constantinople. Rollinsford, NH: Orthodox Research Institute, 2011.
Summers, Montague. The Vampire: His Kith and Kin. New York: E.P. Dutton, 1929.
Various. Three Byzantine Saints (Elizabeth Dawes, trans.) London: Kegan Paul, 1948.

Opening music by Kevin MacLeod.
Closing music by Soma.

April 24th, 2019    

31 - The Kissing Bug

An 1899 panic mentioned by Charles Fort - and relatively few since.  Also other types of bug that were reported that summer - the ankle bug, the Dooleybug, the strangling bug, Sunkhazer flies and Walapai tigers.

Opening music by Kevin MacLeod.

Closing music by Soma.

April 17th, 2019    

30 - The Story of the Ghost

A young French woman, Mademoiselle Julie Gautard, kills herself in Youngstown, Ohio under somewhat mysterious circumstances.  A year later, a "woman in white" ghost is seen near the house where she met her end. 

The Bonnell Mansion:

“Missing from Columbus,” Philadelphia Inquirer, November 13, 1888.
“Missing Miss Fairweather,” New York Times, November 13, 1888.
“Obituary: Henry O. Bonnell.” The Iron Age vol. 51 part 1. Obituary is in February 2, 1893.
“Solved a mystery,” Pittsburgh Dispatch, April 16, 1889.
“The Fairweather mystery,” Philadelphia Inquirer, November 16, 1888.
Woodyard, Chris. The Headless Horror: Strange and Ghostly Ohio Tales. Dayton, OH: Kestrel Publications, 2013.

Opening music by Kevin MacLeod.
Closing music by Soma.

April 2nd, 2019    

29 - Robert Nicholls

A young boy from Los Gatos, CA poisons his foster parents.  Or does he?  All parties waffle back and forth quite a lot on whether the offense ever even took place.  With stories of hypnotism, Spiritualism, and a bizarrely-placed newspaper advertisement.

“Boy insists he tried to poison foster parents,” San Francisco Call, April 7, 1911.
“Boy poisoner now declares tale untrue,” San Francisco Examiner, April 17, 1911.
“Boy poisoner still sticks to first story,” San Francisco Chronicle, April 16, 1911.
“Doctors smile at Mrs. Bazus' story,” San Francisco Examiner, April 6, 1911.
“Mother barred from seeing boy 'poisoner',” San Francisco Examiner, April 11, 1911.
“Still insists he drugged Mrs. Bazus,” San Francisco Examiner, April 7, 1911.
“Think boy was hypnotized by fakir,” San Francisco Examiner, April 8, 1911.
“Try hypnotism on boy's tale of poisoning,” San Francisco Examiner, April 9, 1911.
“Woman is fed Rough on Rats by foster son,” San Francisco Call, April 5, 1911.

Opening music by Kevin MacLeod.
Closing music by Soma.

March 25th, 2019    

28 - The Murder of Mabel Mayer

A 1927 California murder, once called "California's worst crime," but now little-remembered.  A 15-year-old girl is slain at a vacant house amidst a series of other attacks possibly by the same offender.

Photo Gallery:

“2 women hear girl's scream,” Oakland Tribune, July 5, 1927.
“Actions of radium man are sifted,” Woodland Daily Democrat, July 14, 1927.
“Barnett is cleared in Mayer girl death quiz,” Oakland Tribune, March 22, 1929.
“Barnett is described as Santa Claus,” Oakland Tribune, March 20, 1929.
“Barnett is given 20 years,” Oakland Tribune, March 21, 1929.
“Brother of dead girl mystified; had no enemies, he is certain,” Oakland Tribune, July 4, 1927.
“Employee of Barnett knew girl,” Oakland Tribune, March 20, 1929.
“Girl seen in auto on eve of murder,” Oakland Tribune, July 8, 1927.
“Here are clues in girl killing,” Oakland Tribune, July 5, 1927.
“Human wolf sought in Oakland murder,” Modesto News-Herald, July 8, 1927.
“Kidnapper involves boy friend of girl in Mabel Mayer murder mystery,” Oakland Tribune, March 20, 1929.
“Live clue in Oakland girl murder case spurs police,” Modesto News-Herald, July 5, 1927.
Logan, Guy B.H.  Great Murder Mysteries.  London: Stanley Paul, 1931.
“Man, 35, accused of assaulting girl, 13,” Modesto News-Herald, July 30, 1927.
“Man accused of kidnapping held in jail,” Oakland Tribune, February 15, 1929.
“Man linked to victim of mystery,” Oakland Tribune, March 20, 1929.
Marshall, Donald L. “Who killed 'Sunshine Mabel'?” True Detective Mysteries 12:3 (December 1929).
“Mother not to look on slain girl,” Oakland Tribune, July 4, 1927.
“Murder of girl baffles police,” Modesto News-Herald, July 7, 1927.
“Murder of girl denied by prisoner,” Oakland Tribune, March 20, 1929.
“Plane hunt for Salinas jail breakers” Petaluma Daily Morning Courier, September 10, 1927/
“Oakland girl murdered by maniac, say authorities,” Modesto News-Herald, July 6, 1927.
“Raving youth is suspect in girl murder,” Oakland Tribune, July 14, 1927.
“Rich man faces felony charge,” Oakland Tribune, January 22, 1929.
"The horrible experience of Mr. John Smith,” Modesto New-Herald, July 7, 1927.
“Trunk is new clue in girl murder case,” Oakland Tribune, July 4, 1927.
“Two 'auto sheiks,' named by former suspect, now hunted in girl murder,” Oakland Tribune, July 7, 1927.
“Woman is hunted as murderer,” Oakland Tribune, July 5, 1927.
“Woman with grudge, new murder clue,” Oakland Tribune, July 6, 1927.
“Youth cleared in murder case,” Oakland Tribune, July 15, 1927.

Opening music by Kevin MacLeod.
Closing music by Soma.

March 13th, 2019    

27 - The Chase Vault

The famous paranormal story of the moving coffins of Barbados, several other instances of moving coffins, and the coffin of Henry VIII.

Photo Gallery:

Alexander, James E. Transatlantic Sketches. London: Richard Bentley, 1833. 2 vols.

Gould, Rupert T. Oddities: A Book of Unexplained Facts. New York: University Books, 1965.

Halford, Henry. An Account of What Appeared on Opening the Coffin of King Charles the First. London: Nichols, Son, and Bentley, 1813.

Lang, Andrew. “Death's Deeds: A Bi-Located Story,” Folklore, December 1907.

McNaught, Lilian. “The 1816 Barbados Slave Revolt,”

Owen, Robert D. Footfalls on the Boundary of Another World. London: Trubner & Co., 1860.

Price, Harry. The End of Borley Rectory. London: G.G. Harrap, 1946.

Ridout, Brian V. “An Analytical Review of the Chase Vault Mystery at Christ Church, Barbados.” Journal of the Society for Psychical Research 82:4 (October 2018).

Stapleton-Cotton, Mary Woolley. Memoirs and Correspondence of Field-Marshal Viscount Combermere. London: Hurst and Blackett, 1866.


Opening music by Kevin MacLeod.

Closing music by Soma.

February 27th, 2019    

26 - The Lights of Capel Egryn

Mysterious lights are reported from a small village in northern Wales where a religious revival is underway, in 1904 and 1905.

Photo Gallery:

Clark, Jerome. Unexplained! Canton, MI: Visible Ink, 1999.
Corliss, William A. “Fiery Exhalations in Wales,” Science Frontiers 136 (July/August 2001).
Evans, Beriah G. “Merionethshire Mysteries,” The Occult Review 1:3 (March 1905).
---. “Merionethshire Mysteries – II,” The Occult Review 1:4 (April 1905).
---. “Merionethshire Mysteries – III,” The Occult Review 1:6 (June 1905).
Fort, Charles. The Complete Books of Charles Fort. New York: Dover, 1974.
Fryer, A.T. “Psychological Aspects of the Welsh Revival, 1904-1905.” Proceedings of the Society for
Psychical Research Volume 19 (1905-1907).
McClure, Kevin. “Stars and Rumors of Stars: The Egryn Lights and Other Mysterious Phenomena in
the Welsh Religious Revival, 1904-1905” (1980).
Richards, William. A Pocket Dictionary, Welsh-English (1861).,_Welsh-English
Sandell, Roger. “UFOs in Wales in 1905,” Flying Saucer Review, 17:4 (July/August 1971).

Opening music Kevin McLeod.
Closing music Soma.

February 14th, 2019    

25 - The Tillinghast Airship

New England, 1909: a Massachusetts inventor of steam valves claims to have built an airplane, and sightings seem to back up his claims.  Or do they?

Photo Gallery:

“Aeronaut had fight for life,” Boston Globe, July 24, 1909.
“Airship story worries them,” Boston Globe, December 26, 1909.ée%27s_Arctic_balloon_expedition
Bartholomew, Robert E. and George S. Howard. UFOs & Alien Contact: Two Centuries of Mystery. Amherst, NY: Prometheus, 1998.
Bartholomew, Robert E. and Stephen Whalen. “The Great New England Airship Hoax of 1909,” New England Quarterly 75:3 (September 2002).
“Calls Tillinghast the cook of the air,” El Paso (TX) Herald, March 1, 1910.
“Certain as the stars,” Boston Globe, December 25, 1909.
“Fell from airship,” Boston Globe, August 24, 1909.
“Is aviator Tillinghast hoaxing the nation? New England thinks his flying machine wonder is straight,” Evansville (IN) Press, December 30, 1909.
“Like the buzzard,” Boston Globe, December 26, 1909.
“Marlboro has it, too,” Boston Globe, December 23, 1909.
“Many see airship in the evening star,” Fitchburg Sentinel, December 24, 1909.
“Mr. Glidden is convinced,” Boston Globe, March 12, 1911.
“New style aeroplane,” Boston Globe, December 5, 1909.
“Tillinghast airship found,” Boston Globe, July 12, 1910.
“Tillinghast flyer no joke,” Boston Globe, March 16, 1911.
“Weird airship man is found,” Boston Globe, December 30, 1909.
“Worcester palpitating,” Boston Globe, December 23, 1909.

Opening music by Kevin MacLeod.
Closing music by Soma.

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