Forgotten Darkness

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

September 26th, 2020    

79 - Helen Eiker

The story of Helen Eiker, a Gettysburg, Pennsylvania woman who was the first woman convicted of homicide in Adams County.  At only 18, she was one of the youngest people convicted, as well.  There was a loose connection with the Pennsylvania Dutch magical tradition known as pow-wow.

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

Closing music by Soma.



Accuses Daughter-in-Law of Faith in Pow-wowism; Girl Adds to Revelations.” Gettysburg Times, December 10, 1928.

Bar Reporters from Talking To Mrs. Eiker.” Gettysburg Times, March 18, 1929.

Court Reserves His Decision in Motion for New Eiker Trial.” Gettysburg Times, October 16, 1928.

Eiker Estate Valued At $300.” Gettysburg Times, July 18, 1928.

Eiker Killed Himself in Struggle to Wrest Gun from Girl-wife, is Defense Plea in Trial of Widow.” Gettysburg Times, August 29, 1928.

Fatal Shot An Accident, She Says.” Carlisle Sentinel, August 30, 1928.

Mrs. Eiker Blamed For Husband's Death By Coroner's Jury.” Gettysburg Times, July 18, 1928.

Mrs. Helen Eiker is Buried Today.” Gettysburg Times, November 21, 1932.

Mrs. Helen Eiker Denies Faith in 'Pow-wowism'; Reveals Fake Treatments.” Gettysburg Times, December 8, 1928.

Mrs. Helen Eiker Dies This Morning After Long Illness.” Gettysburg Times, November 18, 1932.

Mrs. Helen Eiker Sentenced to 5-10 Years in Prison.” Gettysburg Times, March 4, 1929.

Mrs. Helen Eiker Starts Sentence.” Hanover Evening Sun, March 22, 1929.

Percy Eiker, Killed by Wife, Tries to Shield Her With Story of Suicide Attempt.” Gettysburg Times, July 10, 1928.

Shoots Husband.” East Berlin News-Comet, July 13, 1928.

Slain Man Buried; Widow Views Body.” East Berlin News-Comet, July 20, 1928.

Slayer of Spouse is Critical in Hospital in Philadelphia.” Gettysburg Times, June 18, 1930.

Slayer Sinks Lower, Report At Hospital.” Gettysburg Times, June 19, 1930.

Swope Claims Court Biased in His Charge.” Gettysburg Times, September 1, 1928.

Young Convicted Widowed-Mother Was 'Pow-wowed'.” Gettysburg Times, December 7, 1928.

Young Mother is Convicted of Second Degree Murder; Jury is Out Only 4 Hours.” Gettysburg Times, August 30, 1928.

Young Mother is Indifferent About Verdict.” Gettysburg Times, August 31, 1928.

Young Wife Charged With Husband's Murder.” Adams County Independent, July 12, 1928.

September 11th, 2020    

78 - The Phantom of O’Donnell Heights

In the summer of 1951, a housing project in southeastern Baltimore claims to be the haunt of a hunchbacked, black-clad phantom which leaps extraordinary distances a la Spring-Heeled Jack.

Podcast Site:




Part of the Straight Up Strange Network:

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

Closing music by Soma.


400 Pupils Out in 'Strike' For School Bus.” Baltimore Evening Sun, January 3, 1946.

8,170 Children Get Only Part-Time Schooling Here.” Baltimore Evening Sun, December 8, 1950.

City Inaction on Unsanitary Drains Scored.” Baltimore Sun, June 24, 1948.

O'Donnell Heights Greets Roof-Climbing Phantom.” Baltimore Evening Sun, July 25, 1951.

O'Donnell Heights Pupils in School.” Baltimore Evening Sun, January 8, 1946.

'Phantom' Hunters Fined $10 Each.” Baltimore Evening Sun, July 26, 1951.

'Phantom' Looms Atop School; Police Find Ventilation Pipe.” Baltimore Sun, July 27, 1951.

Phantom Makes Himself Scarce.” Baltimore Sun, August 6, 1951.

Phantom Prowler Terrorizes O'Donnell Heights Residents.” Baltimore Sun, July 25, 1951.

Sherbow Imposes $25 Fines For Betting On Horses.” Baltimore Evening Sun, September 25, 1951.

Third Turnover is On At O'Donnell Heights.” Baltimore Evening Sun, December 10, 1948.

When the Phantom Roamed.” Baltimore Evening Sun, February 28, 1962.

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


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