Forgotten Darkness

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

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.





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