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Showing posts from April, 2018

Bertrand graveyard haunted by murdered young lovers

Established in 1836 and named for early settler Joseph Bertrand, the rural township of Bertrand in Berrien County, Michigan, is home to many people of French Canadian and Native American ancestry. Undoubtedly, there are those living in Bertrand Township who, if they trace their family trees back far enough, may be surprised to discover that they share common ancestors with Pierre and Rose, two young lovers whose spirits are said to haunt the local graveyard.

According to local folklore, shortly before the St. Joseph Mission was abandoned in 1855 (built on the site of an earlier Jesuit mission established by a priest named Father Allouezin in 1690) there was a young French Canadian settler named Pierre Snydam who divorced his wife, Rose, after three unhappy years of marriage. Rose found her husband to be something of an insensitive brute, while Pierre was jealous of his wife's friendliness toward the local Indians, and toward a Potawatomi brave in particular named Gray Eagle.

On t…

The Midget Boy With the 50-Inch Head

The accompanying newspaper article, from the May 19, 1895 edition of the Galveston Daily News, describes a young man from Florida whose head measured 50 inches in circumference (by comparison, the average circumference for an adult head is somewhere in the vicinity of 22.5 inches). What makes the story even more remarkable is that the young man, who was 21 at the time, wasonly 3 feet tall.

Yahoo's monumental plot to invade your privacy

Yahoo was the first email service I have ever used and (up until today) continued to be my primary email provider. Since creating my account in 1997 I have begrudgingly consented to the occasional forced upgrade and updated terms of service, not because I wanted to, but because, like millions of Yahoo users, I had grown too complacent to be bothered with the inconvenience of creating a new email account.

With all of the recent scandals surrounding the misuse of personal data and private information by the likes of Facebook, Cambridge Analytica and others, the last thing I expected to see today, when I logged into my Yahoo account, was an updated TOS that, in essence, grants Yahoo and its host of corporate cronies more access to your personal information than you'd feel comfortable giving to your own spouse or children.

Needless to say, I will not consent to such an agreement, and since I have used Yahoo to communicate with many of you, as well as Journal of the Bizarre's sponso…

The Morgue-Keeper's Tale

Few institutions in 19th century America were as fascinating as the city morgue. In virtually every major city, the morgue was thronged with visitors on weekends, and the crowds were comprised of people from all walks of life. Some were there to identify the remains of loved ones, but most were there merely for entertainment. For instance, in one article from an 1897 newspaper, a reporter vividly describes the scene at Chicago's city morgue on a Sunday:

"While the deputy coroner was speaking, a bevy of damsels not to exceed 14 years of age, neatly dressed and bright looking, stole quietly into the room. They trod on tiptoe and spoke in whispers, yet they made the round and looked in turn on the face of every body in the boxes."

According to this particular reporter, the Chicago morgue entertained over 1,000 guests on the day of his visit, and the spectators ranged from mothers with young children to couples on their first date. While this may seem like a rather morbid way…

Somewhere in Time: A Tribute to Art Bell

This blog would not exist had it not been for Art Bell. And, if you have a website, blog, podcast or YouTube channel devoted to the paranormal, psychic phenomena, UFOs, conspiracy theory or cryptozoology, there's a pretty good chance that your digital footprint, like mine, falls inside a much larger footprint first laid by Mr. Bell in 1984.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that nobody can ever fill Art's shoes.

From the earliest days of my youth I have been a fan of AM radio. For as long and I can remember, I have always needed some kind of noise to help me sleep. Each and every night I fell asleep to the radio, tuned in to some AM station from an exotic faraway place, like Toledo. Sometimes I could even pull in Sandusky, if the skies were clear and the moon was just right. I especially liked that Sandusky station because in the wee hours of night they would replay old variety shows from the Golden Age of Radio, with performers like Jimmy Durante, Judy Garland, Milton Be…

Turpinite: The Deadliest Fictional Weapon of WWI

While the famous saying "all is fair in love and war" can be traced back to the 16th century English poet John Lyly, the purest expression of this sentiment came during the First World War, when belligerent nations attempted to gain a strategic advantage by any means necessary-- even if it meant using propaganda to tout the devastating effects of frightening super-weapons that did not exist.
It's easy to understand why the Allied Powers and Central Powers alike claimed to be in possession of weapons that were wholly fictitious-- it is an effective form of psychological warfare that dates back to ancient times. If you happened to be a Roman sailor during the invasion of Syracuse, for instance, few things would be as demoralizing as the prospect of spontaneous combustion at the hands of Archimedes' "death ray".

During World War I, one of the most horrible weapons imaginable was said to be in the hands of the French military-- a deadly gas known as "Turp…

The Paranormal Experiences of Jesse James

Born in Missouri in 1847, Jesse James earned his reputation as the quintessential American outlaw in the years following the Civil War. Jesse, along with his brother Frank, robbed banks and trains across the Midwest until their exploits turned them into national icons; Hollywood has produced more than twenty feature films portraying Jesse James, and countless books have been written about Jesse, Frank, and other members of the infamous James-Younger Gang.

Few people, however, are aware of the paranormal experiences of Jesse James, such as the apparition of a phantom horseman who stalked Jesse for several years during his fabled campaign of crime.
The story of the phantom horseman was first related by Frank James in 1882, while in jail at Independence, Missouri, awaiting trial for the gang's robbery of the Rock Island Line train. During his three-week-long stay in the Independence jail, Frank shared a cell with Orth Harper Stein, a journalist-turned-train robber, con man and murdere…

The snake-woman of Jamestown, Virginia

When one thinks of a snake woman, one usually conjures up images of a carnival sideshow attraction (or a really awful low-budget British monster movie from 1961). However, in September of 1907, residents of Jamestown, Virginia, formed a search party to track down a supposed real-life snake woman, who was said to live in the swamp, slither on the ground, eat chipmunks, and shed her skin every year. Actually, kinda sounds like a girl I met off Plenty of Fish once...

After more than a century, photo of 'Fish Creek Ghost' still defies explanation

In March of 1915, Montana outdoorsman Burt Duckworth set out to prove the existence of the Fish Creek Ghost once and for all. Accompanied by several witnesses and an amateur photographer, Duckworth's party traveled to an abandoned cabin approximately forty-seven miles west of Missoula, near the village of Rivulet. The cabin, said to be haunted by the apparition of a weeping woman, had already been the talk of Missoula for several years, but after Duckworth published a photo of the alleged apparition, the legend of the Fish Creek Ghost spread to every corner of the state. However, to this day, no satisfactory explanation for the strange photograph has ever been given.

Was Duckworth's ghost picture a hoax or the real thing? Here is the complete history of the haunting, so that you may decide for yourself.

The Rendleman Expedition

For several years, workers on the Northern Pacific Railroad had been telling stories about the ghost. Two such witnesses, Ed Healy and N.E. Haskins, clai…

Haunted Cabooses

"Did you ever notice that you really don't see too many cabooses anymore?" a friend said to me a few years ago. Truthfully, it was something I had never noticed, at least not until my recent move to a railroad town, where I can sit on my deck and watch freight trains roll by at all hours of the morning, afternoon and evening. And after watching countless trains I concluded that my friend was right-- you really don't see too many cabooses these days.

There's a certain sadness about this, I guess, because the caboose holds a special place in many of our hearts. With its cupola, toolshed shape and tiny back porch, it is undeniably the most charming of all railcars (which probably explains why so many old cabooses have been reborn as gift shops, motel rooms and vacation cottages). Even the name is charming, though it is derived from the Low German word "kabhuse", referring to a wooden cabin on a ship's deck.

The decline of the caboose began in the 1980s …