Forgotten Darkness

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

August 26th, 2020    

77 - The Death of Ocey Snead

1909. 24-year-old Oceana Wardlaw Martin Snead is found in a bathtub in a nearly-vacant house in East Orange, New Jersey. The only other inhabitant, her aunt, claims she committed suicide. Was it suicide, murder, or a weird hybrid of the two?

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Opening music from "Dark Child" by Kevin MacLeod ( License: CC BY (

Closing music by Soma.



Alienists Declare Mrs. Martin Insane.” New York Times, September 21, 1910.

Back to Jail for Xmas.” Baltimore Sun, December 25, 1909.

Bathtub Mystery No Murder, She Says,” New York Times, December 2, 1909.

Chief Justice To Try Women.” New York Times, January 23, 1910.

Claims Dead Girl Wrote Those Notes.” Buffalo Commercial, December 17, 1909.

Dead in Bathtub.” Asbury Park Press, November 30, 1909.

'Death Welcome,' Says Mrs. Martin.” Knoxville (TN) Sentinel, December 16, 1909.

Declared A Foundling.” Baltimore Sun, December 18, 1909.

Finds Mrs. Martin Insane.” New York Times, November 19, 1910.

Fletcher Snead Found.” Baltimore Sun, December 17, 1909.

Fletcher Snead's Son Will Claim Wardlaw Jewels.” Murfreesboro (TN) News-Journal, January 31, 1930.

Grand Jury Has Snead Case.” New York Times, December 15, 1909.

Jesse James' Lawyer Accused.” Kansas City Star, March 6, 1911.

Jesse James' Lawyer Asks For Freedom.” Wilkes-Barre (PA) Evening News, December 10, 1929.

Let Me Die, Mother Asks.” Kansas City Star, December 16, 1909.

May Hold Bathtub Suspects Here.” New York Times, December 5, 1909.

Miss Wardlaw Dies; Starved Herself.” New York Times, August 12, 1909.

Miss Wardlaw Near Nervous Collapse.” New York Times, August 6, 1910.

Mrs. Martin Charged With Snead Murder.” Lancaster (PA) Examiner, December 18, 1909.

Mrs. Martin in Court.” Baltimore Sun, December 17, 1909.

Mrs. Martin Fights.” Washington Evening Star, December 23, 1909.

“Mrs. Martin Pleads to Manslaughter.” New York Times, January 10, 1911.

“Mrs. Martin Raves As She is Sentenced.” New York Times, January 24, 1911.

Mrs. Martin Snead May Be in Virginia.” New York Times, December 10, 1909.

Mrs. Mary Snead Set Free.” New York Times, February 8, 1911.

Mrs. Ocey Snead's Mother Dies in N.J. Madhouse.” York (PA) Daily, June 21, 1913.

Mrs. Snead's Family Full of Fatalities.” New York Times, December 9, 1909.

Mystery is Deep About the Murder of Ocey Snead.” Washington Times, December 12, 1909.

Mystery Murder Case Revived By Jewel Discovery.” Chattanooga News, January 31, 1930.

No Delay in Snead Case.” New York Times, August 13, 1910.
Ocey Snead Murder Case.” Sioux Falls (SD) Argus-Leader, December 16, 1909.

Ocey Snead Trial April 11.” New York Times, January 30, 1910.

Ocey Snead Was Drugged.” New York Times, January 21, 1910.

Physician Finds Mrs. Martin Sane.” New York Times, November 24, 1910.

Poison Mother Gave Killed Ocey Snead.” New York Times, January 22, 1911.

Snead Case to Grand Jury To-day.” Wilkes-Barre (PA) Record, December 21, 1909.

Snead Death Baffles.” Washington Post, December 12, 1909.

Snead Mystery Complex Tangle.” Indianapolis Star, December 19, 1909.

Snead's Brother Found.” New York Times, December 10, 1909.

Starved Herself to Evade Prosecution.” St. Joseph (MO) News-Press, August 12, 1910.

Stolen Gems Found, Revive Old Mystery.” Oakland Tribune, February 4, 1930.

Talks of Suicide.” Topeka State Journal, December 16, 1909.

Thief's Cold Comfort.” York (PA) Dispatch, June 24, 1911.

Think Snead A Suicide.” Indiana (PA) Evening Gazette, January 10, 1910.

Third Arrest in Snead Mystery.” Wilmington (NC) Morning Star, December 17, 1909.

To Pass on Snead Note.” New York Times, December 10, 1909.

Two Fletcher Sneads Mystify N.Y. Police.” New Castle (PA) Herald, December 17, 1909.

Two More Arrests in Snead Murder.” New York Times, December 17, 1909.

Wardlaw Sisters Will Stand Trial.” Owensboro (KY) Messenger, May 8, 1910.

Ziebold, Norman. Three Sisters in Black. New York: Little, Brown and Company, 1968.

August 11th, 2020    

76 - The Devil’s Footprints

In 1855, in new-fallen snow in Devonshire, a trail of small hooflike footprints led for miles. Similar footprints have been found on several occasions, most notably during the 1909 Jersey Devil sightings. But what are these mysterious footprints?

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Part of the Straight Up Strange Network:

Opening music from "Dark Child" by Kevin MacLeod ( License: CC BY (

Closing music by Soma.



Footprints in the Snow.” Barrow’s Worcester Journal, March 21, 1891.

Mysterious Footmarks.” Nottinghamshire Guardian, March 1, 1855.

Singular Animal.” London Times, March 14, 1840.

Busk, R.H. “Phenomenal Footprints in Snow, S. Devon.” Notes and Queries 7:8 (December 28, 1889).

. “Phenomenal Footprints in the Snow, S. Devon.” Notes and Queries 7:9 (January 25, 1890).

Dash, Mike. “The Devil’s Hoofmarks: Source Material on the Great Devon Mystery of 1855.” Fortean Studies 1:1 (1994).

Freeman, Richard. “Other Historical Accounts of the Devil’s Footprints.”

Gould, Rupert T. Oddities: A Book of Unexplained Facts. University Books: New Hyde Park, NY, 1965 ed.




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