Dark Histories

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The Dodleston Messages: Ghost in the Machine

On Dark Histories, we hear the words of people lost to history, echoing through the writings of labourers, servants, judges, juries, maids and mistresses exactly as they were written in decades and centuries past. This one way communication with history is always limited by it’s very definition and no matter how much we dig, we can never ask the writers what were they feeling as they wrote each line, and whilst we judge them by the information they give, we can never invite them to ask what they make of the people and things of today in our alien, modern world. In 1984, an Economics teacher living in the small rural village of Dodleston found he had the opportunity to do exactly this, when he was thrust into a strange link that tied him across centuries with a past inhabitant of his home via an early model personal computer and it’s word processing software EDWORD. Both accused the other of trickery, poltergeist activity, witchcraft and devilry, but eventually, a bond between the two was formed. Cross-century communications are never easy, however, especially when the future gets involved.

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SOURCES:

Webster, K. (1989). The Vertical Plane. London: Harper Collins.

Hall, William J. & Petonito J. (2018) Phantom Messages: Chilling phone calls, letters, emails and texts from unknown realms. Disinformation Books.

Out of this World. (1996). BBC One Television.

Mercurius Politicus (2010, 1 November). Ghost in the Machine [Article, comments]. Retrived 14 June, 2019, from https://mercuriuspoliticus.wordpress.com/2010/11/01/ghost-in-the-machine/

 

For extended show notes, including maps, links and scripts, head over to darkhistories.com

Support the show by using our link when you sign up to Audible: http://audibletrial.com/darkhistories or visit our Patreon for bonus episodes and Early Access: https://www.patreon.com/darkhistories

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Music was recorded by me © Ben Cutmore 2017

Other Outro music was Paul Whiteman & his orchestra with Mildred Bailey - All of me (1931). It's out of copyright now, but if you're interested, that was that.

 

The Curious Case of Not Townsend

Getting away with murder has always been a difficult, and ultimately, unlikely affair, even in the 19th Century, before DNA analysis, fingerprint databases, or even any real, proper detective agencies, it was still a challenge that many criminals tried and failed. There were some however, that did manage to achieve the feat, whether it be through cool calculation, or dumb luck, there was always opportunity for the enthusiastic murderer willing to think outside the box. In Canada during the mid-19th Century, one man, William Turner managed to commit and get away with murder, either through dumb luck, due to an unlikely double being framed for the crime, or through an incredible talent for acting. After more than 150 years, the question has always remained, which was it? Luck, or the long game?

To take part in the review drive mentioned in the show, send your screenshots to social@darkhistories.com

Sources:

Townsend The Murderer. (1857, June 10). The Montreal Gazette, p. 3.

Stewart Wallace, W. (1931, April 15). The Townsend Case. Maclean’s, p. 19.

The Alleged Murderer Townsend - The Singular Circumstances of the case - And the Proofs of his Identity. (1857, June 10). The Montreal Gazette, p. 2.

The Alleged Murderer Townsend - The Singular Circumstances of the case - And the Proofs of his Identity. (1857, June 17). The Montreal Gazette, p. 2.

The Townsend Excitement on the Wane! (1857, September 26). The Montreal Gazette, p. 2.

Arraignment of McHenry alias Townsend. (1857, September 28). The Montreal Gazette, p. 2.

Gault, Robert H. (1918) Journal of the American Institute of Law and Criminology Vol. IX. Chicago. Northwestern University Press.

 

For extended show notes, including maps, links and scripts, head over to darkhistories.com

Support the show by using our link when you sign up to Audible: http://audibletrial.com/darkhistories or visit our Patreon for bonus episodes and Early Access: https://www.patreon.com/darkhistories

Connect with us on Facebook: http://facebook.com/darkhistoriespodcast

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Music was recorded by me © Ben Cutmore 2017

Other Outro music was Paul Whiteman & his orchestra with Mildred Bailey - All of me (1931). It's out of copyright now, but if you're interested, that was that.

Detective Whicher & The Road Hill House Mystery

The events that took place in the village of Road during the year 1860 would seem straight out of Victorian detective fiction. The characters played their roles as the family, the live in staff, the day staff and all with their own lives and their own secrets entwined inside the gated middle class household of Road House, one of them guilty of a shocking murder. With all its twists, turns and bombastic, final unravelling, the Murder of Road Hill House is the original whodunnit.

Sources:

Summerscale, Kate (2008) The Suspicions of Mr Whicher or: The Murder at Road Hill House. Bloomsbury Publishing, 2009.

Chambers, Paul (2009) Murder Most Foul: The Road Hill House Mystery of 1860. The History Press, 2009.

Thomas, Hugh (2011) Occasional Papers on Meteorological History No.10, Weather and Phenological Observations At Hurstpierpoint 1859 to 1862. The Royal Meteorological Society, 2011.

Foul and Mysterious Murder (1860, July 3), The Evening Standard, p.6.

Diabolical and Mysterious Murder: Verdict fo Wilful Murder (1860, July 4), The Frome Times, p.4

The Morning Post (1860, July 10), The Morning Post, p.4

Arrest and Examination of Miss Constance Kent (1860, July 21), Bristol Times and Mirror, p.8.

The Late Mysterious Child Murder at Road (1860, July 30), Belfast Mercury, p.4.

Examination of Miss Kent on a Charge of Child Murder (1860, July 29), Reynolds Newspaper, p.9.

The Road Murder (1860, August 2), Devizes and Wiltshire Gazette, p.3.

The Road Murder - Constance Kent Sentenced to Death (1865, July 27) Inverness Courier, p.6.

 

For extended show notes, including maps, links and scripts, head over to darkhistories.com

Support the show by using our link when you sign up to Audible: http://audibletrial.com/darkhistories or visit our Patreon for bonus episodes and Early Access: https://www.patreon.com/darkhistories

Connect with us on Facebook: http://facebook.com/darkhistoriespodcast

Or find us on Twitter: http://twitter.com/darkhistories

& Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/dark_histories/

Or you can contact us directly via email at contact@darkhistories.com

or join our Discord community: https://discord.gg/6f7e2pt

Music was recorded by me © Ben Cutmore 2017

Other Outro music was Paul Whiteman & his orchestra with Mildred Bailey - All of me (1931). It's out of copyright now, but if you're interested, that was that.

Terror in Gévaudan: The Beast

In 1764, France was a tumultuous place. On the eve of Revolution, the peasant farmers of the remote region of Gévaudan were suffering from decades of difficulties, brought about by war, poverty, poor agricultural conditions and plague. As the Summer brought about favourable weather and life for the population of the barren and sparse region should have begun an upswing in fortune, a series of attacks marked the beginning of a reign of terror that would last almost three years, headed by a monster known simply as “The Beast”. Bodies were found half eaten, the remains left on the ground spreading a fear throughout the region that would eclipse all of the previous problems and would escalate the situation as high as the court of the King.

Sources:

Smith, J.M (2011) Monsters of the Gévaudan: The Making of a Beast. Harvard University Press, 2011.

This day arrived, the mail from France & Flanders (1764, November 30), The Derby Mercury, p.2.

Tuesday’s Post, Utrecht Nov. 29. (1764, December 8) , The Oxford Journal, p.1.

Thursday’s Post, Foreign Affairs (1765, January 26), The Oxford Journal, p.2.

Foreign News (1765, March 9), The Ipswich Journal, p.2.

Affairs in Italy, Spain, Portugal etc. (1765, October 7), The Scots Magazine, p.43.

Extract of a letter from Paris, Oct 4 (1765, October 25), Derby Mercury, p.2.

Soulier, Bernard (2012) D’où était Agnès Giral? (2012, December 12), Gazette de la Bête, p.3

Sée, Henri (2004) Economic and Social Conditions in France During the Eighteenth Century. Batoche Books, 2004.

Bonet, Alain (2019) La Bête du Gévaudan: Chronologie et Documentation Raisonnées. Bonet, 2019.

 

For extended show notes, including maps, links and scripts, head over to darkhistories.com

Support the show by using our link when you sign up to Audible: http://audibletrial.com/darkhistories or visit our Patreon for bonus episodes and Early Access: https://www.patreon.com/darkhistories

Connect with us on Facebook: http://facebook.com/darkhistoriespodcast

Or find us on Twitter: http://twitter.com/darkhistories

& Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/dark_histories/

Or you can contact us directly via email at contact@darkhistories.com

or join our Discord community: https://discord.gg/6f7e2pt

Music was recorded by me © Ben Cutmore 2017

Other Outro music was Paul Whiteman & his orchestra with Mildred Bailey - All of me (1931). It's out of copyright now, but if you're interested, that was that.

The Balham Mystery: The Death of Charles Bravo

In April, 1876, Charles Bravo took to his bedroom, rubbed a dose of laudanum into his gums and poured himself a glass of water from the jug on his nightstand. Within minutes of retiring to bed, Charles Bravo fell desperately ill. Within two days, he would be pronounced dead, the victim of Antimony poisoning. Suicide, manslaughter and murder have been cast forward by amateur historians and famous crime writers alike. 145 years on, some have claimed to have solved the mystery of the death of Charles Bravo, but in reality, the truth lies as buried as the characters themselves. Two inquests to the good, the question remains, who killed Charles Bravo?

Sources:

Ruddick, James (2001) Death at the Priory: Love, Sex and Murder in Victorian England. Atlantic Books, 2001.

The Verdict in the Bravo Case (1876, August 12), The Independent, p. 6.

The Balham Mystery (1867, May 16), The Daily Post, p.6.

Taylor, Bernard & Clarke, Kate (1988) Murder at the Priory: The Mysterious Poisoning of Charles Bravo. Grafton Books, 1988.

 

For extended show notes, including maps, links and scripts, head over to darkhistories.com

Support the show by using our link when you sign up to Audible: http://audibletrial.com/darkhistories or visit our Patreon for bonus episodes and Early Access: https://www.patreon.com/darkhistories

Connect with us on Facebook: http://facebook.com/darkhistoriespodcast

Or find us on Twitter: http://twitter.com/darkhistories

& Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/dark_histories/

Or you can contact us directly via email at contact@darkhistories.com

or join our Discord community: https://discord.gg/6f7e2pt

Music was recorded by me © Ben Cutmore 2017

Other Outro music was Paul Whiteman & his orchestra with Mildred Bailey - All of me (1931). It's out of copyright now, but if you're interested, that was that.

 

 

Waverly Hills: The History & The Hauntings

A much requested episode on the history of Waverly Hills, a Tuberculosis Sanatorium in Kentucky. These days, it features in just about every bad cable TV show on ghosts all around the world, but whats the reality behind the decrepit walls that are left standing today? And how much truth is there to the ghosts that allegedly walk the halls?

Sources:

Thomas, C. C. (2007) With their dying breaths: A history of Waverly Hills Tuberculosis Sanatorium. C C Thomas, 2007 

Opening of Waverly Hill Sanatorium (1910, October 2), The Courier Journal, p. 18.

Waverly Hill Sanatorium Dedicated Tomorrow (1910, October 11), The Courier Journal, p. 10.

Dedicated to the Cause of Humanity (1910, October 13), The Courier Journal, p. 12.

Mullin, E. (2016). How Tuberculosis Shaped Victorian Fashion. [online] Smithsonian. Available at: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/how-tuberculosis-shaped-victorian-fashion-180959029/[Accessed 25 Mar. 2019].

Schuleit, A. (n.d.). State Hospitals of Massachusetts: Historical Overview.[online] 1856.org. Available at: http://www.1856.org/historicalOverview.html [Accessed 25 Mar. 2019].

Shafer, S. (2014). Waverly Hills hospital rezoning likely. [online] Eu.courier-journal.com. Available at: https://eu.courier-journal.com/story/news/local/2014/02/21/waverly-hills-hospital-rezoning-likely/5710001/ [Accessed 25 Mar. 2019].

Lovan, D. (2013). Former TB hospital now attracts ghost hunters.[online] NBC News. Available at: https://www.nbcnews.com/business/travel/former-tb-hospital-now-attracts-ghost-hunters-f8C11496194 [Accessed 25 Mar. 2019].

Spooky Southcoast. (2006). Charlie Mattingly of Waverly Hills.[podcast] Available at: https://spookysouthcoast.com/ [Accessed 26 Mar. 2019].

For extended show notes, including maps, links and scripts, head over to darkhistories.com

Support the show by using our link when you sign up to Audible: http://audibletrial.com/darkhistories or visit our Patreon for bonus episodes and Early Access: https://www.patreon.com/darkhistories

Connect with us on Facebook: http://facebook.com/darkhistoriespodcast

Or find us on Twitter: http://twitter.com/darkhistories

& Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/dark_histories/

Or you can contact us directly via email at contact@darkhistories.com

or join our Discord community: https://discord.gg/6f7e2pt

Music was recorded by me © Ben Cutmore 2017

Other Outro music was Paul Whiteman & his orchestra with Mildred Bailey - All of me (1931). It's out of copyright now, but if you're interested, that was that.

Lurancy Vennum & The Watseka Wonder

This week, we have a story of a 19th Century spiritual possession, when 14 year old Lurancy Vennum began suffering from fits that eventually led her to visiting heaven, speaking with angels and finally, taking in the spirit of deceased 19 year old Mary Roff, the daughter of local spiritualists.

Sources:

The demonism of the ages, spirit obsessions so common in spiritism, … Peebles, J. M. (James Martin), 1822-1922.

The Watseka wonder; a startling and instructive psychological …Stevens, E. Winchester, 1822-1885.

Iroquois County Genealogical Society – http://sites.rootsweb.com/~ilicgs/bio/bio.htm

Morning Post, Friday 2nd October, 1908.

New York Tribune, Sunday July 19th, H. Addington Bruce, 1908.

Iroquois County Times, October 17th, 2014

Reminiscences of my sister Mary Roff, Mrs H. H. Alter, September 1908

 

The merch store can be found here: https://teespring.com/stores/the-dark-histories-podcast The 50th episode celebration discount code will run from 17/03 - 31/03 with code FIFTY20

For extended show notes, including maps, links and scripts, head over to darkhistories.com

Support the show by using our link when you sign up to Audible: http://audibletrial.com/darkhistories or visit our Patreon for bonus episodes and Early Access: https://www.patreon.com/darkhistories

Connect with us on Facebook: http://facebook.com/darkhistoriespodcast

Or find us on Twitter: http://twitter.com/darkhistories

& Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/dark_histories/

Or you can contact us directly via email at contact@darkhistories.com

or join our Discord community: https://discord.gg/6f7e2pt

Music was recorded by me © Ben Cutmore 2017

Other Outro music was Paul Whiteman & his orchestra with Mildred Bailey - All of me (1931). It's out of copyright now, but if you're interested, that was that.

The Disappearance of Lord Lucan

Lord Lucan, a name of considerable infamy, not as a member of the aristocracy, but for the murder of his children's nanny in a house in the elitist district of Belgravia, London in 1973 and his subsequent disappearance. It was a story that the press went to town on, a classic us vs them tale of Class superiority and those that would seek to protect the hierarchy at all costs, but how much of it was based on truth and how much just a convenient narrative for the journalists that covered the case? It was a case that was launched into mythical status after the Lord himself vanished without trace, leaving a question that runs until today. Where in the world is Lord Lucan?

For extended show notes, including maps, links and scripts, head over to darkhistories.com

Support the show by using our link when you sign up to Audible: http://audibletrial.com/darkhistories or visit our Patreon for bonus episodes and Early Access: https://www.patreon.com/darkhistories

Connect with us on Facebook: http://facebook.com/darkhistoriespodcast

Or find us on Twitter: http://twitter.com/darkhistories

& Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/dark_histories/

Or you can contact us directly via email at contact@darkhistories.com

or join our Discord community: https://discord.gg/6f7e2pt

Music was recorded by me © Ben Cutmore 2017

Other Outro music was Paul Whiteman & his orchestra with Mildred Bailey - All of me (1931). It's out of copyright now, but if you're interested, that was that.

Bridget Cleary: Away with the Fairies

Faeries, changelings and herbalist doctors might seem like characters in a winding tale of medieval folklore today, but in 1895, Ireland bore witness to a case that saw these facets of folk tradition flare up in a very real way when Michael Cleary, a skilled tradesman of County Tipperary set fire to his wife, burning her to death. As the body of Bridget Cleary was placed in the ground, her husband was convinced that he would see his wife again, riding on the back of a grey horse as she emerged from an invisible plane. The body in the ground was merely that of a changeling, an imposter placed in his house by the fairies, he had merely expedited the process of return.

I was very lucky to be joined in the second half of this weeks episode by Fin Dwyer of the Irish History Podcast. If you enjoyed hearing FIn and would like to know where to find him, follow this little link and you will find all! https://irishhistorypodcast.ie/

For extended show notes, including maps, links and scripts, head over to darkhistories.com

Support the show by using our link when you sign up to Audible: http://audibletrial.com/darkhistories or visit our Patreon for bonus episodes and Early Access: https://www.patreon.com/darkhistories

Connect with us on Facebook: http://facebook.com/darkhistoriespodcast

Or find us on Twitter: http://twitter.com/darkhistories

& Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/dark_histories/

Or you can contact us directly via email at contact@darkhistories.com

or join our Discord community: https://discord.gg/6f7e2pt

Music was recorded by me © Ben Cutmore 2017

Other Outro music was Paul Whiteman & his orchestra with Mildred Bailey - All of me (1931). It's out of copyright now, but if you're interested, that was that.

Everyday Sensationalism in Victorian Britain: The Illustrated Police News

We take a deep look at the Victorian press and in particular, hone in on the wonder that was The Illustrated Police News. Most famous today for its coverage of Jack the Ripper, the paper covered all manner of Victorian crime, punishment, murder, suicide and cultural oddities. Aimed at the masses, it was sensationalist, scandalous and wildly popular, much to the chagrin of the established press.

Stay tuned to the end of the episode for a special announcement, or if you like spoiling surprises, take a look at this little link here: http://www.darkhistories.com/yesterday-today/

For extended show notes, including maps, links and scripts, head over to darkhistories.com

Support the show by using our link when you sign up to Audible: http://audibletrial.com/darkhistories or visit our Patreon for bonus episodes and Early Access: https://www.patreon.com/darkhistories

Connect with us on Facebook: http://facebook.com/darkhistoriespodcast

Or find us on Twitter: http://twitter.com/darkhistories

& Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/dark_histories/

Or you can contact us directly via email at contact@darkhistories.com

or join our Discord community: https://discord.gg/6f7e2pt

Music was recorded by me © Ben Cutmore 2017

Other Outro music was Paul Whiteman & his orchestra with Mildred Bailey - All of me (1931). It's out of copyright now, but if you're interested, that was that.