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Throughout much of North America, large swaths of land are still untamed and unsettled. Hundreds of millions of acres are protected in the wilds of the United States and Canada. Hikers, hunters, and tourists visit these lands every year, but not all of them leave alive.

Many have died and went missing in the wilderness over the years, often with little or no explanation. This list takes a look at some of these enduring mysteries—and if you have any theories on these cases, mention them in the comments below.

10 Aaron Hedges

The Crazy Mountains of Montana have long been seen as a harsh, rugged range of wilderness with a sense of mystery. Aaron Joseph Hodges, 38 years old, ventured into the Crazies on an elk hunt in September 2014, but he separated from his friends and wandered off-trail. He told the rest of his group that he planned to head north to a camp they set up the year before. Radio silence followed, and three days later, his wife reported him missing to Sweet Grass County law enforcement.

Due to the lapse of time between his vanishing and the alerting of authorities, workers rushed to find the missing hunter. Around 0.6 meters (2 ft) of snow began to fall, complicating the search and reducing Hedges’s chance of survival. Despite the efforts of 59 searchers, 20 dog teams, and several rescue helicopters, Hedges could not be found; only his boots, water bladder, and two attempts to start a fire were discovered. In June 2015, a Wyoming butcher walking in the woods near his daughter’s ranch came upon some of Hedges’s gear—his bow, hunting license, clothes, and a well-weathered backpack. The following summer, Hedges’s remains were discovered and identified 0.8 kilometers (0.5 mi) from where his equipment was strewn about. Although authorities have closed his case, the intrigue of his story persisted as more details were pieced together.

Questions still linger around Aaron Hedges’s final days in the Crazy Mountains. His remains and gear were found on a mountainside opposite of the one originally searched, around 24 kilometers (15 mi) away from the camp Hedges was heading toward. The shedding of his boots and clothes made his trek even more improbable as he traversed the difficult and snowy terrain off the main trails. Tragically, Aaron was close to safety and within sight of the ranch his remains were found near.[1] Disorientation and hypothermia may have been the cause of his behavior and death, but it is indisputable that some aspects of Aaron Hedges’s disappearance are still hard to explain.

9 Bart Schleyer

Few can claim to have left such a lasting legacy as Bart Schleyer. Many words could describe the 49-year-old outdoorsman, but his friends from around the world often noted his strength, confidence, and his vast knowledge of the outdoors. Schleyer was a jack of all trades, making wildlife research his main profession while also delving into taxidermy, photography, writing, and art. His passion, though, was hunting. He often spent weeks in the wilderness while on a hunt, simply enjoying the world around him. From African savannas to Siberian forests, Schleyer had roamed and hunted around the globe until his curious death in the Yukon in 2004.

On September 14, a charter plane dropped him off for a two-week moose hunt in Canada’s Yukon backcountry. When he did not return for his departure flight, some of Schleyer’s friends joined the Royal Canadian Mounted Police’s search for him. Investigators were able to put together most of his final hours with what little they found. It is believed he quickly set up camp before eating and paddling 0.8 kilometers (0.5 mi) downriver to the spot he planned to call moose from. They found a makeshift seat on top of his gear and a bloody face mask there, with his bow still leaned against a tree nearby. This soon led the search to a handful of bones, which were all that remained of Schleyer. Bear and wolf scat in the area confirmed scavengers came after his death.

However, with the evidence they had, officials could not confirm a predator actually killed him. Most agree he likely met his end during a bear attack after inadvertently attracting one with his calls. Some believe he died of natural causes in the wilderness he so dearly loved. It is clear, though, that there were no signs of a struggle. Even the soft moss under his remains appeared undisturbed. His bones were not cached in the same pattern as many bear attack victims. His camp, which would also likely have been scavenged by the same hungry grizzly, looked untouched. What little clothing was found largely lacked the bloody stains typical of maulings.[2]

Schleyer was also in good health, having recently finished a hunting trip that required many miles of hiking. Despite the lack of details surrounding his death, Schleyer’s family and friends find solace knowing that his final days were spent in the outdoors—likely as the happiest man on Earth.

8 David Blake

David Blake’s disappearance in Georgia’s Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park remains a mystery short on both clues and answers. Covering almost 3,000 acres and featuring many miles of hiking trails, the popular park’s significance is rooted in its Native American culture and Civil War history. On March 7, 2018, Blake ventured out for a hike in the park like he had done many times before. He has not been seen since, leaving his mother with a simple, “I love ya, Mom. See ya later.”

Blake never showed up to work the next day, although his phone was used to send a few messages earlier that morning. His family soon reported him missing, launching law enforcement’s initial search and investigation. Blake’s Nissan Sentra was found in an overflow lot near Kennesaw Mountain with his keys and some gear inside. Several search dogs also followed a scent down roads along the mountain, leading to the idea that Blake didn’t hike up the trails. Days of searching on the ground and in the air, however, would not turn up Blake himself. Although the official search lasted only a week, Blake’s family would continue with their own search for answers.

The family hired a private investigator to reexamine the case and hone in on particular clues. They realized Blake’s backpack had yet to be found, raising the possibility that it was still with him.[3] David’s brother Stuart also started a GoFundMe page which raised over $17,000 to help fund their continuing search. So far, there have been no definitive signs of a crime, nor was Blake involved in any unlawful activities. This information, along with a lack of high-risk behaviors in his past, leaves Blake’s family hopeful that he is still alive.

7 Drake Kramer

As February 2015 rolled around, Drake Kramer had a bright future ahead. He had a job at a local hardware store and was enrolled at the University of Texas to study geology. Although he was only 21, Kramer was an experienced hiker with a passion for the outdoors. He often posted photos from his travels on Facebook and spoke of future trips to far-flung places.

However, Kramer’s parents were surprised when their son said he made a sudden drive to Grand Canyon National Park. Although he had been there several times before, his family noted he did not usually travel alone. He stayed only one night at Bright Angel Lodge near the well-traveled South Rim area of the canyon. The next morning, a series of cryptic texts would leave his family even more puzzled.

Emotional messages sent to family members on February 2 led to concern when Kramer told his father that he “needed to be back with Mother Earth and set his soul free.” Worried their son may be suicidal, Kramer’s parents reported him missing and tried to retrace his steps. His friends claimed that before he left, Kramer had been living with a coworker. The family also found out their son went to California before going to the Grand Canyon. In all, Kramer drove over 1,600 kilometers (1,000 mi) in a single weekend. His car would be found later, still parked at the Bright Angel Lodge.

The search for Drake Kramer soon kicked off with authorities combing the rugged terrain and forests off the beaten paths. Investigating the spots he had been to in the past turned up no trace of Kramer, either. Six days of exhaustive search efforts were called off with only his car being found. Kramer’s parents were unsure if their son committed suicide, though. Only days before, his father noted that Kramer “was in good spirits.” A letter left by their son read, “I truly love and cherish every soul I met and will meet in my lifetime. Love, Drake Lyons Kramer.”[4] He remains missing, with his family still looking for him.

6 Victor Dwight ‘J.R.’ Shoemaker

West Virginia is a state full of mysteries, with Victor Dwight Shoemaker’s disappearance being one of many unsolved cases in the Mountain State. Victor, or “J.R.” as many called him, was away from home visiting his grandfather in May 1994. The five-year-old boy roamed the familiar woods near his grandfather’s trailer on this visit with his two cousins, aged eight and nine. The three boys were playing when Victor said he was hungry and headed back toward the mobile home. The cousins returned without him, sparking a search for him within an hour.

The West Virginia State Police and over 340 volunteers began a five-day hunt for Victor. Frigid, rainy weather dampened their hopes of finding him alive. Local National Guard and Army Reserve units spent five more months doing searches on the weekends. Law enforcement focused their efforts on a 10-square-kilometer (4 mi2) area, thinking that was the farthest the young boy could go.

Mountainside homes, trails, and even hundreds of dead logs were all combed for clues. Victor’s cousins talked with police but could give little insight to his fate. Officials wondered if Victor was abducted after a search dog kept its nose up to the air following a scent. Reports also came in regarding a suspicious dark truck in the area. Neither clues led to any concrete answers on what happened to Victor.

No named suspects, arrests, or charges have ever been made in Victor’s case. No signs of crime or family involvement have been found. Even more tragic, there has been no trace of young Victor since his disappearance on May 1, 1994. His parents believe their son may still be alive but that his cousins may know more than they admit. They have not talked with that side of their family since Victor vanished. In that time, they have left his room largely unchanged, waiting for the day Victor may finally come home.[5]

5 Randy Morgenson

From a young age, Randy Morgenson was destined to be an outdoorsman. Raised by his father in Yosemite National Park, as a child he often helped famed photographer Ansel Adams. After joining the Peace Corps, Randy took up mountain climbing while in India. Eventually, he went to the Sierra Nevada Mountains to become a seasonal ranger. The job was rewarding but certainly not easy or profitable. From December to October, 14 rangers were tasked with protecting 3,500 square kilometers (1,350 mi2) of backcountry. Many in the ragtag group were close after serving together for years, and they noticed when a troubled Randy Morgenson returned to the job in 1996.

Randy’s friends knew his marriage was rocky after an affair. He also seemed burned out after 28 years of work in the backcountry. “You know, after all these years of being a ranger, I wonder if it has been worth it,” he told one colleague. His low spirits didn’t cause much worry until July 24, after days of radio silence from Randy. His coworkers quickly began a weeklong search, but they found no sign of him. Authorities were stuck with what clues he’d left behind.

At Randy’s remote station, a handwritten note said he’d left for a patrol. Divorce papers sat unsigned on his desk, as if he hoped to make amends with his wife. The revolver he rarely carried was still there as well. Randy’s car was parked in the spot where he’d left it months before. His wife in Arizona also received a letter from him, postmarked two days after he disappeared. It is unclear how Randy sent the letter if he was in the backcountry with no postal service. In 2001, five years after he vanished, his remains were found in a gorge under a waterfall. Atop the waterfall was Randy’s radio, which he had turned on. For many, these discoveries raised even more questions.[6]

Eric Blehm wrote The Last Season, which chronicles Randy’s last season in the Sierras. He wonders if, to right some of his wrongs, Randy made his death appear accidental so that his wife would get a $100,000 government benefit. Officials maintain that the ranger was injured and fell into the ravine, being hidden by the terrain and the elements for years. It is likely that, with the poor state of Randy’s remains, we may never know the full story of his final patrol.

4 DeOrr Kunz

July 10, 2015, seemed to be just another day in Leadore, Idaho. Then, around 2:30 PM, a 911 call came in from the nearby Timber Creek Campground. A boy, aged two, had gone missing while camping with his family. When police arrived, they found the family of DeOrr Kunz Jr. struggling to make sense of the situation. However, young DeOrr himself was nowhere in sight. After three years of investigations and searches, it is still not clear what exactly happened that day in the backwoods of Idaho.

Vernal DeOrr Kunz Sr. and Jessica Mitchell brought their young son along with them on a camping trip in the remote Salmon National Forest. Jessica’s grandfather, Bob Walton, also came with his friend Isaac Reinwand. As DeOrr’s parents wandered off to go fishing, they left him with Bob. It is unknown if he dozed off or just lost track of DeOrr, but when the parents returned, their son was gone. By that evening, searches were underway in the campsite and a nearby creek. No trace of him was found. With time, officials narrowed their focus down to a few theories to explain DeOrr’s disappearance.

An animal attack was quickly ruled out, since no shredded or bloody clothing turned up. DeOrr’s parents wondered if he was taken, but police doubt that an abductor would go unnoticed. The family, along with Isaac, were the only people in the campgrounds that day. Eventually, Vernal and Jessica were named as suspects in the case. Authorities took note of changes in their stories, and eyewitnesses who saw the group on their trip could not back up their claims. Both failed a number of polygraphs, often in the 99th percentile. Over the years, even hired detectives would stop working with the family.

Although the case got nationwide attention, there have been few updates since 2015. Philip Klein, an investigator once hired by the family, stated in 2016 that Jessica knows where DeOrr’s body is.[7] He also revealed that a cadaver dog hit on five spots near the camp. The jacket DeOrr supposedly wore the day he vanished was later found in the Kunzes’ old apartment as well. Many, three years later, continue to look for DeOrr and bring attention to his unsolved case.

3 Laura Bradbury

For Mike and Patty Bradbury, Joshua Tree National Park was a haven where they could get away from the rest of the world. On October 18, 1984, as they set up their camp, their three children—Travis, Laura, and Emily—played close by. In a few moments’ time, their annual camping trip turned into a nightmare when Laura vanished. Park rangers, local sheriffs, and volunteers would soon devote countless hours to tracking down the missing three-year-old. Though her family would get some answers over time, the puzzle of what happened to Laura is far from solved.

Police led a three-day search for Laura before coming to the conclusion that she had been kidnapped from the area. Dog teams followed her scent and tracks to a road nearby, and reports would come in of a suspicious man in a blue van. Little else would turn up in the hunt for Laura, despite the efforts of her family and law enforcement. Skull fragments found in 1986 1.6 kilometers (1 mi) from the Indian Cove campsite proved to be Laura’s after a number of DNA tests. Mike believes the skull was brought back to the area, since it was searched two years earlier.

Over the years, Mike took notice of the strange handling of his daughter’s disappearance by some groups and agencies. He wonders why it took a few days before police reported Laura kidnapped. Three people came forward with details on Laura’s abductors in 1985. All three were kidnapped and killed months later. Two of them were found buried near a green sweatshirt just like Laura’s. Police discounted their claims and don’t believe the clothing belonged to Laura, although her father disagrees. He also does not understand how, if the bones found in 1986 were Laura’s, the San Bernadino coroner could not release a death certificate, even in 2010. Mike has hailed the efforts by many to find Laura but has often doubted local law enforcement and their findings.[8]

The toll of her disappearance lingered as time moved on for the Bradburys. Many worried for Travis and Emily, as both struggled growing up in the shadow of their missing sister. Patty would spend years writing letters to her missing daughter before passing away in 2001. Mike, in 2010, wrote a book describing his own hunt for answers in Laura’s case. Thirty-four years after Laura vanished, her abduction is still unsolved, and her family still longs for closure.

2 Matthew Greene

As California’s Mammoth Lakes area got its first snowfall in October 2013, hope began to fade in the search for Matthew Greene. The 39-year-old teacher had vanished three months earlier while climbing and visiting friends in the region. Taking only a day’s worth of gear with him, he left everything else behind. Years have passed since Matthew’s disappearance, and with no trace of him, it is as if he walked off the face of the Earth.

Matthew Greene always needed adventure to get away from the routines of life. He found his escape in the Boy Scouts, then the Peace Corps, and, later on life, through road trips. He planned to spend a few weeks in the summer of 2013 with his friends John and Jill Greco, camping and climbing near Mammoth Lakes. Matthew hoped to move on to Colorado with the Grecos, but he was delayed when his car needed some repairs. On July 16, after running a few errands, he contacted his parents and friends for the last time. They did not know what his plans were, but concerns grew as time passed without word from Matthew. A campground manager called the police to inspect Matthew’s camp, which was still orderly. Although his car was now fixed, he never picked it up.

These findings led Matthew’s loved ones to file a missing persons report—13 days after they’d last heard from him. Finding Matthew was difficult from the start. His phone, now turned off or dead, could not be tracked. Without a car, he could have walked, hitchhiked, or taken a shuttle to a nearby trail. If he got a ride with someone, he could be anywhere. However, Matthew had a habit of adding pages torn from guidebooks to his own notes before climbing. The missing pages pointed to Mount Ritter, a peak in a jagged group of mountains known as the Minarets.[9] A formal search could not be launched without more information, but teams were still sent to the area.

The 231,533 acres of wilderness proved too vast to yield any answers. In 2014, others who had camped near Matthew said they ran into him before he went missing, but they did not know where he was headed. No evidence in his case suggests suicide, foul play, or an animal attack, either. Although Matthew most likely had an accident while climbing the Minarets, he has yet to be found almost five years later.

1 The Mathias Group

On the night of February 24, 1978, after UC Davis ended their game with Chico State, five young men piled into a car and headed home. They had a 80-kilometer (50 mi) drive back to Yuba City, California. They ended up on a desolate mountain road, far off their route, in the Plumas National Forest. When the men did not return home, their parents knew something was wrong.

The media would call them the “Yuba City Boys,” but they were not really boys. They ranged in age from 24 to 32, and they all lived structured lives with their families. Bill Sterling, Jack Madruga, and Ted Weiher were deemed to be “slow learners.” Jack Huett was more mentally handicapped than the others. Gary Mathias, while in the Army, reportedly struggled with drugs and was treated for schizophrenia. They were, according to one mother, “just nice friendly boys who went to games together and went home.”

Their car was found four days later miles up the bumpy mountain road, without any mud stains, dents, or damage. Punishing snowfall hindered the search for the men, and nothing was found of them until June 1978. Weiher was discovered in an abandoned trailer 31 kilometers (19 mi) away, shoeless and wrapped in eight sheets. It was determined that he’d lost almost half his body weight over eight to 13 weeks before succumbing to hunger and the elements. Sterling, Madruga, and Huett’s remains were soon found near the trailer. Gary Mathias, to this day, is still missing, with only his shoes left behind in the trailer. Some items found in the search, such as a gold watch and a lighter, did not belong to any of the men.

None of the men were familiar with the road or area, and it is unclear why they were there to begin with. The car, which still ran and had fuel, was inexplicably deserted by the group, too. Somehow, they walked miles up the snowy road in the dark wearing only their light clothes. They never built a fire for warmth, even though they had matches, books, and wood furniture to use and burn. They never used a propane tank outside, and they ate only a portion of the trailer’s stored food. Authorities doubt there was foul play but struggle to explain the young men’s actions.[10] If they were afraid or running from something, no one knows what it could be.

J.D. Stone is a college student living in rural Arkansas. He is also a photographer and a writer who loves spending time in the great outdoors. To see some of his other work, you can follow him on Instagram @dillonstone.


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Grimoires are books of magic, invocations, and that lot which usually describe ways to summon angels, demons, and other unworldly beings by performing some time-consuming rituals. The summoner can then use these supernatural creatures to pursue their own worldly ends like fortune or love.

Of course, for the modern man, gaining a fortune or winning the love of his beloved is simply not enough cause to memorize page upon page of ancient Hebrew. When compared to the success rate of these books, one would have a better chance of winning the lottery or expecting his beloved to accept him for who he is.

It is a dated thing to waste your time on anything less than the acquirement of unbridled power. So, we have gathered here a list of grimoires that have the common man’s larger-than-life interests in mind. These books contain spells and rituals for some truly unearthly deeds.

10 The Oupnekhat

The Oupnekhat is a Persian work possibly derived from a 19th-century German translation of an earlier Latin edition, which was likely a revision of the Hindu Upanishads. The Upanishads are several books that contain esoteric wisdom concerning Hindu metaphysics, which can be compared to various other Hindu treatises and scriptures.[1]

The Oupnekhat aims to aid the production of wise visions. It details rituals to become one with the great being, presumably the Brahma (one of the three supreme gods in Hinduism). The practitioner tries to become the Brahma-Atma, the divine spirit, which is an altogether lovely goal.

If only the book didn’t also admonish the practitioner for needing it at all to reach this state.

9 The Sworn Book Of Honorius

The Sworn Book of Honorius is purportedly one of the oldest existing medieval grimoires, having been mentioned as early as the 13th century in written records. The prologue claims that the text was compiled to preserve the core teachings of sacred magic in the face of persecution. This is somewhat paradoxical to the heavy restrictions that the text lays out against duplication and circulation.[2]

The 93 chapters of the book cover everything from catching thieves to saving a few souls from purgatory. There is detailed instruction on conjuring and commanding spirits, a staple for any respectable grimoire.

Among many other things, the user can view purgatory, know the time of one’s death, bury empires, become invisible, and obtain knowledge of all the sciences. As far as getting your money’s worth is concerned, there is probably no better deal than the Amazon listing for this book.

8 The Book Of Abramelin

Known in less busy circles as The Book of the Sacred Magic of Abramelin the Mage, The Book of Abramelin is a long letter addressed to the author’s son. In a bout of irresponsible parenting, the author explains magical apparatuses and rituals concerning the invocation of spirits.

The text initially spends several chapters detailing the myth of how the author came upon this knowledge and then uses several more to talk about the preparations for the rituals. Once the terms and conditions are out of the way, the user can perform the ceremony to call about spirits who then perform a feat or two for their summoner.[3]

These feats include but are not limited to walking on water, reviving a dead body, causing an army to appear, and transforming men into animals and vice versa.

7 The Munich Manual Of Demonic Magic

The Munich Manual of Demonic Magic, a 15th-century grimoire, breaks tradition by concerning itself solely with the evocation of demonic spirits, ignoring angel folklore and less eerie spirits.

The book classifies its experiments as illusory, psychological, or divinatory.

The illusory experiments can make a thing appear as something it is not, allowing the user to become invisible or make the dead appear to be alive if they so wish. The psychological experiments grant the user influence over the minds and wills of others. And the divinatory experiments involve the cooperation of demons to know all things past, present, and future.[4]

6 The Clavicle Of Solomon, Revealed By Ptolomy The Grecian

The Clavicle of Solomon, revealed by Ptolomy the Grecian represents one of the earliest manuscripts of the infamous Key of Solomon, the most influential grimoire in existence.

The book details some very broadly named experiments of invisibility, love, envy and destruction, mocking and laughing, and grace and impetration. Surely, one of these categories would cover every lofty thing a practitioner of magic can think of.[5]

5 The Emerald Tablet

The Emerald Tablet is ancient enough that even its original language is debatable. The oldest documented source for the text is an Arabic work written in the eighth century.

Some myths attribute the tablet to Hermes Trismegistus, the father of Western alchemy. Others attribute it to the third son of Adam and Eve, and still more attribute it to the fabled city of Atlantis.

The tablet heralds the secrets of the universe.[6] And that is about all that needs to be said for it.

4 The Heptameron

The Heptameron is a guide to angel magic that can be dated to medieval times, if not further back. It has been attributed, probably falsely, to Peter de Abano, a 13th-century physician famously reputed to be a magician.

The text concerns itself with rites to conjure angels for each of the seven days of the week. It analyzes the nature of each angel and the services they can provide to the practitioner. Some highlights include the angels of Tuesday, who can provide an army of 2,000, and the angels of Wednesday, who can reveal all earthly things—past, present, or future.[7]

3 De Nigromancia

De Nigromancia is a 16th-century Latin manuscript attributed rather falsely to the famous English scientist Roger Bacon. It is among a number of occult manuscripts ascribed to Bacon, who in his life was openly opposed to false claims of authorship and felt that books attributed to the biblical King Solomon should have been banned by law.[8]

The title refers to necromancy, the branch of magic concerned with the raising and controlling of the dead. The book offers instruction on occult practices following from necromancy. The text focuses on ceremonial magic, specifically a branch known as Goetia, for the summoning of less amiable spirits, such as wraiths. To aid the process, several illustrations of sigils, pentagrams, and seals are provided.

2 The Picatrix

The Picatrix is a 400-page document, originally written in Arabic, which concerns itself with celestial magic. As the style of writing reflects that of a student notebook, some historians ascribe it to an unknown apprentice of a Middle Eastern magic school.

The central theme of the text is obtaining and channeling energy from the planets of the cosmos. The intention is to have the practitioner harness energy from the cosmos and use it to subjugate circumstances to his will. The text borrows from numerology and astrology to guide the rituals needed for such magic.

Unlike many Western grimoires, the book also includes bizarre recipes to be prepared for certain spells. Ingredients for these recipes include all manner of bodily fluids and psychoactive plants. The latter may be responsible for some of the grimoire’s supposed authoritativeness.[9]

1 The Grand Grimoire

Considered one of the most famous and outrageous grimoires of black magic, The Grand Grimoire is associated with some truly outlandish myths. The authoritative manuscript is allegedly kept in the Vatican’s secret archives, and the text is said to be fire-resistant.

While it cannot be dated much sooner than the early 1800s, it is said to have been written by King Solomon himself. More so, the English translation of the book by A.E. Waite omits a significant portion of the text, apparently in an attempt to render the remaining translation useless, if not destructive, to the practitioner.[10]

All the superstition surrounding The Grand Grimoire is justified by its contents. The defining ceremony of the book focuses on conjuring and making a pact with the devil. Once the pact is made, the conjurer can have unbridled power in his hands.

There is other instruction on making a Philosopher’s Stone, enchanting firearms, making oneself invisible, and that lot. But it seems quite diminutive as a follow-up to summoning Lucifer. Perhaps, the Vatican allegedly made the right move.

Micah is an unemployed graduate still trying to trap.


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If you’ve ever visited Scotland, you know this: If ghosts exist, this is where you’ll find them. (Edinburgh, for example, tends to be named as one of the most haunted cities in the world.)

The Scots certainly agree. Many misty Highland moors, ancient battlefields, and old, spooky castles have spectral stories and creepy legends that are as scary as they are mysterious. Let’s explore some of our favorite ones.

10 Lady Catherine Of Dalhousie

When you visit Scotland, you may not even need to leave your hotel to witness ghosts. In fact, if you’re staying in the Dalhousie Castle Hotel and Aqueous Spa, you might have an old-timey ghost hanging out in your room. The ghost rumored to haunt the place is Lady Catherine, a 16-year-old noblewoman who was banished in a castle tower in 1695 after getting caught with a stable hand.[1] The poor, lovelorn Catherine died in her tower, and it is said that her spirit never left the castle, even when it was converted to a hotel in 1972.

Lady Catherine’s ghost leads a fairly active afterlife, which has led to multiple sightings over the years. The hotel is a popular wedding site, and the specter has been known to attend the festivities. She walks the castle’s turrets and corridors and even appears in people’s rooms. Sometimes, she waves at the guests from a window. Other times, you might find her sitting on your bed. According to eyewitnesses, her grey dress, sharp features, and small feet could make you believe that she’s perfectly alive . . . that is, until she walks right through a locked door.

Here’s an interesting anecdote: In 2007, American writer Kate Bolick visited the castle to learn about Lady Catherine, who, at this point, had picked up the popular ghost moniker “the Grey Lady.” Although she was unsuccessful, she discovered that Catherine does not like the sound of bagpipes. Whenever the castle steward tries to play his instrument while she’s around, he’s unable to play properly.

9 The Ghosts Of Stirling

Stirling Castle is home to two well-known ghosts. The more striking one of them is known as the Pink Lady. She is a pretty woman who got her nickname from the luxurious, pink dress that she wears. She’s rumored to be none other than Mary, Queen of Scots, who was crowned in the castle. According to another legend, she may be the wife of a soldier who fell when Edward I and his troops besieged Stirling Castle in the early 14th century, doomed to search for her fallen husband for all eternity. The Pink Lady spends her time wandering around the castle and its surrounding area.

The second ghost is known as the Green Lady or the Grey Lady, depending on who is telling the story.[2] A popular story says that she’s the spirit of a servant girl who saved young Queen Mary from a fire, possibly dying herself while doing so. Whenever she appears, a major disaster is sure to follow. Although this may seem ominous, the Lady is actually trying to warn people of the danger, attempting to save them like she saved her queen so many years ago.

Still, don’t think that the ghosts of Stirling Castle are all benevolent. There are rumors of a third, more mysterious specter. It manifests as unseen footsteps in the area known as the governor’s block. It is said that a 19th-century sentry died here in the middle of his patrol, his face twisted in terror. Is the poor guard the ghost making the footsteps? Or did he see whatever horrifying spectral creature was making them and die of fright? That’s the beauty of ghost stories: You can choose to believe whichever version you find the scariest.

8 The Hostile Spirits Of Blair Street Vaults

Listverse has told you about Edinburgh’s Old Vaults before, but some of the spirits that reside there are even scarier than the old legends of murderous grave robbers Burke and Hare storing their victims there. These underground chambers are locally known as Blair Street Vaults and thought to be the home of several nasty ghosts.[3] These spirits will not necessarily show themselves to you, but their faces sometimes show in photographs, and their presence is felt in a number of other ways.

The most harmless ghost is Jack. He is a joker who likes to tug at people’s pants and throw stones across the chambers, causing nasty echoes. Another one is known as Mr. Boots. He’s the source of the mysterious, heavy footsteps that some say can be heard in the empty vaults. However, they’re both small potatoes compared to the Watcher, a truly frightening entity.

According to Nicola Wright, who has worked as a tour guide in and around the Vaults for over a decade, the Watcher is always lurking in the tunnels. Psychics have reported feelings of dread in its presence. It’s usually content just watching visitors, but sometimes, it starts pushing people and pulling their hair. The Watcher is at its strongest in an area called the White Room, where even veteran vault dweller Nicola refuses to go. She says that the Watcher tries to stop people from entering by shouting at them and pushing them. People who have stepped in the White Room anyway have returned with bruises, scratches, and torn clothes, feeling extremely nauseous.

7 The White Hart Inn

If you’re feeling playful, you might say that there’s no better place for a Scottish spirit than a pub. Maybe that’s why so many Scottish pubs have ghosts of their own. One of the most famous haunted public houses is the White Hart Inn. With its cellars that date back to 1516, it is one of the oldest pubs in Edinburgh. It’s also said to be one of the most haunted. According to legend, the White Hart Inn has seen many different murders and tragedies. Over the centuries, the place has accumulated so much spectral energy that many visitors have reported invisible hands pulling their hair or throwing things at them. The ghosts aren’t fans of modern technology, either, as they occasionally pull cables.

In 2013, a tourist couple supposedly managed to photograph one of the White Hart Inn’s ghosts.[4] Although the bar manager doesn’t believe in the hauntings himself, even he admitted that the picture was very hard to explain. He also admits that many members of the staff have had odd encounters, and their cleaner has actually threatened to quit if he encounters any more unexplained phenomena.

In 2014, Scottish Ghost Adventures set up some equipment in the oldest part of White Hart Inn. They managed to capture mysterious voices saying “Help me” and “Connor.”

6 The Ghosts Of Glencoe

The massacre of Glencoe in 1692 was a brutal attack where soldiers loyal to the English crown visited the MacDonald clan and initially befriended their hosts. But suddenly, they received an order from the crown: Kill the entire clan. The formerly pleasant soldiers ambushed the sleeping MacDonalds during a blizzard, killing 38 of them. Many more died of exposure as they desperately fled for the hills.

Some say the ghosts of the wronged MacDonalds never went away.[5]

People who live in the stunningly beautiful Glencoe (aka Glen Coe) area generally agree that the spirits of the victims are still lingering, unable to move on because of their unexpected and violent demise. Winter is said to be the best time to glimpse spectral MacDonalds, particularly near the massacre’s anniversary, February 13. Some have reported ghostly figures crouching in the hills, still desperately trying to hide from the soldiers. Others say that they’ve heard the screams and wailing of the MacDonalds being killed all over again. Others still claim that they’ve actually seen the massacre reenacted in ghostly form.

Still, the Clan MacDonald ghosts are just the tip of the supernatural iceberg in Glencoe. The place is also said to be haunted by the MacDonalds’ caoineag, an invisible, banshee-like entity that warns of danger with its bloodcurdling cries. Legend has it that the caoineag’s screams warned the MacDonalds of the impeding doom, which is how so many of them were able to escape the soldiers’ swords. According to some, she can be heard wailing near a waterfall on the night before the anniversary of the massacre.

5 The Plague Phantoms Of Mary King’s Close

Wherever people die in large numbers, you’re bound to find a ghost story or two. Mary King’s Close in Edinburgh is no exception.[6] The partially walled-up, claustrophobic alley area below the City Chambers used to be a place where the city’s poor lived and, when the bubonic plague arrived in the 17th century, died. As the city grew, the upper levels of the Close were eventually demolished, leaving only the creepy, narrow basement levels that you can still visit today.

As a frightening, claustrophobic place where people died en masse, the Close has long enjoyed a reputation as a site haunted by the plague victims. The most famous ghost here is a young girl known as “Annie.” In 1992, Annie thoroughly scared a Japanese psychic taking a guided tour: The visitor had been unimpressed by the place until she stepped in a particular room. She was immediately overwhelmed by feelings of cold, hunger, and sickness, and when she tried to stumble away from the room, a small, ghostly hand tried to grab her leg.

In all fairness, we must mention that the history of the Mary King’s Close is not quite as ruthless as its marketing people would have you believe. Though there are many stories that the plague-stricken poor tenants were walled up in their buildings and left to die, the plague carriers were actually moved to a quarantine zone outside the city walls, and the dead were properly disposed of by gravediggers. It’s still a fairly tragic fate, though.

4 The Piper Of Kinnaird Head

Lighthouses are isolated and scary places. Scottish castles are famously haunted. When you combine the two, you get Kinnaird Head.[7] This beautiful lighthouse has been serving Scotland since 1787, and it was built on the remaining structure of a 15th-century castle. Naturally, this means that Kinnaird Head has its very own ghost story.

It is said that the lord of the Kinnaird castle, Sir Alexander Fraser, was very protective of his daughter, Isobel. One day, when Sir Alexander was away on business, Isobel took in a young piper who was seeking shelter from a snowstorm. The two fell in love, but when Sir Alexander found out, he was so furious that he locked his daughter in the castle tower. He dragged the piper in a cave below the castle and chained him up. Unfortunately, a storm broke out and drowned the piper. The next day, Sir Alexander took his daughter in the cave so that he could make sure no hopes of marriage would linger between the two young lovers. However, when they found the piper dead, the heartbroken Isobel ran to her tower and jumped.

Today, the cave is known as The Piper’s Cave. Legend has it that the young man’s ghost can be heard playing for Isobel, whose spirit haunts the area whenever a storm is gathering.

3 The Handless Woman Of Rait Castle

Rait Castle is a large 13th-century hall house that was equipped with castle towers during the 16th and 17th centuries. Although only its ruins remain, its many strange architectural features make it an interesting structure. Its history is equally fascinating, as is the story behind its ghost. Yes, of course there’s a ghost. It’s a Scottish castle, remember?

The Cummings, the most long-term occupants of Rait Castle, had been feuding with the Mackintoshes over its ownership for centuries. In 1441, the Cummings decided it was time to stop fighting. So Old Cumming invited Clan Mackintosh to the castle for a huge feast as an offer of peace.[8] Even better, Old Cumming’s daughter had struck up a relationship with a young Mackintosh man. It looked like there might finally be a chance for peace between the two enemy clans.

Of course, the invitation was actually a clever plot to wine and dine the Mackintoshes and murder them while they were unable to fight back. Unfortunately for the Cummings, Old Cumming’s daughter was worried about the safety of her lover and warned the Mackintoshes about the plot. This is why they came to the dinner with dirk daggers hidden in their clothing. When the Cummings started their ambush during a toast for the dead, the Mackintoshes pulled their hidden dirks and quickly stabbed their hosts instead.

Old Cumming escaped the bloodshed and ran to the upper chamber to confront his daughter, who he now realized had warned the Mackintoshes. The furious clan chief attacked the young lady with a sword and cut off both her hands before she could escape by jumping out of the window.

After the slaughter, it turned out that no one really wanted to own a castle where so much blood had been shed. Rait Castle was left to ruin. Its only occupant is said to be the ghost of a young, handless woman in a bloody dress.

2 The City Of Inverness

Inverness is the administrative center of the Scottish Highlands, located slightly to the north of Loch Ness. It’s also a very, very haunted place. When a famous ghost-hunting show toured the United Kingdom, Inverness was the only Scottish venue they visited. Part of this was because it is conveniently near some other sites with a ghastly reputation, such as the Culloden Fields, which we’ll discuss in a moment.

However, Inverness has plenty of strange stories of its own.[9] Local paranormal enthusiasts will tell you about the Black Friar, a ghostly monk who is said to haunt the town’s BT Building. Legend has it that a spectral girl lurks in the mirror in Balnain House, an old merchant building with a bloody history. There is an obligatory spooky lady ghost wandering the halls of Eden Court Theater. Hospitals, graveyards, and even the River Ness are said to be brimming with ghosts. There are whispers of Willie the Carse, a local bogeyman. Witches and fairies have also been reported in the area.

What makes Inverness even more mysterious than all these legends is that there is very little information available about them. Unlike Edinburgh, where haunted properties like Blair Street Vaults and the White Hart Inn are on proud display, and ghost tours are readily available, Inverness seems to enjoy keeping its ghosts private. A team called the Highland Paranormal Group has recently started to uncover the city’s ghostly mysteries, but even with their local knowledge and contacts, they say they’ve only started to scratch the surface.

1 The Military Specters Of Culloden

Culloden Moor is located just a few miles from Inverness. It is the site of the last major battle fought on British soil, the Battle of Culloden in 1746. The bloody conflict was between Scottish Jacobites and the much larger forces of the English crown, led by the Duke of Cumberland. The marshy battleground didn’t favor the Jacobites and their favorite strategy of charging the enemy headlong. The English artillery and cavalry tactics defeated them so badly that the battle effectively ended the traditional Scottish clan culture.

You’d expect a place with such a bloody and dramatic history to have more than its share of ghosts, and Culloden doesn’t disappoint.[10] Paranormal investigators have reported mysterious cold spots in places where Jacobites fell in large numbers. It is said that a Culloden drinking well called St. Mary’s Well is so haunted that its water is screaming with the voices of the restless dead.

The anniversary of the slaughter is a particularly active time for the ghosts. During that time, many people say they’ve seen mysterious marching Highlanders, strange corpses, and bleeding men. Some say that they’ve witnessed the entire battle played out by the restless ghosts of the fallen, as the air fills with screams and sounds of fighting. Perhaps the most haunting Culloden ghost, however, is a single specter: a tall, lonely, dejected figure wandering the moor aimlessly and whispering, “Defeated . . . defeated . . . ” over and over.

+ Ghost House Nanny

In Scotland, ghosts are so widespread that they can even affect job listings.[11] In 2017, a family posted a job offer on Childcare.com, looking for “an exceptional live-in nanny” for their two children aged five and seven. The position paid exceptionally well for a nanny gig at £50,000 a year. However, there was a slight catch. The family lives in the Scottish borderlands, in a “scenic, historical property.” The parents are busy professionals who tend to be away for roughly four nights a week. Also, the last five nannies all quit because the place is haunted.

According to the job posting, the parents were told that the property was haunted when they bought it a decade earlier. They decided to keep an open mind and purchase it anyway but have never personally experienced any paranormal activity. Maybe the ghosts just don’t like them, though, because when they’re away, the place reportedly goes wild: There have been multiple incidents of mysteriously broken glass, strange noises, and moving furniture.

Despite the fact that the whole situation seems like a setup for the kind of horror movie the protagonist is not going to survive, the family’s decision to be up-front about the job’s challenges paid off. They received over 3,000 queries from fearless nannies and ultimately found the person who they felt was perfect for the job.

You can find Pauli on Twitter.


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Barbershops have a rich history. This was particularly true ages ago when surgery, bloodletting, enemas, and tooth extractions were part of the norm (in addition to fresh shaves).

In our day and age, such establishments often serve as a locale for social interaction pertaining to contemporary issues. The following list examines barbers who traded in their shears for unspeakable acts of violence as well as unscrupulous patrons on a downward spiral of lunacy.

10 Contaminated Tools

On a daily basis, hundreds of citizens throughout India are unknowingly exposing themselves to serious infections like AIDS and hepatitis B and C via unsanitary roadside barbers. In a country where there is no system or organization to check safety protocols, thousands of barbers use just one razor or blade on a large number of customers.

At railway stations, bus stands, and even government hospitals, infected razors are continuously being used without the slightest bit of concern from the barber or the client receiving a shave. Upon questioning one barber about his knowledge pertaining to the transmission of HIV and AIDS, he erroneously responded by saying, “These things happen because of wrong acts and not because of shaving. If we will think that much, what will we eat.”

Nigeria has also seen its share of unsanitary barber practices. According to a recent study, a majority of professional barbers in the African nation serve as a potential core group for indirect HIV transmission “through the use of non-potent disinfectants and improper handling of sharp instruments.”[1]

Case in point: The study found that kerosene has become a popular disinfectant on barbers’ instruments even though the solvent cannot inactivate HIV or other infectious diseases. This renders its use a mere senseless placebo.

9 Barbie Barber

Australia’s famed adult nightclub, The Vault On Ruthven, recently underwent a $2.5 million makeover on a new and improved interior that was once home to the Commonwealth Bank. Much of the construction expense went into transforming the old bank vault into an unexpected attraction—a nude barbershop.

For voyeur gentlemen seeking a fresh shave or cut, they now have the unusual luxury of being snipped and trimmed by Breanna Francis (aka “Barbie Barber”). The corset-wearing, topless hairdresser prides herself on her work and states, “I get a lot more money doing this than just hairdressing and more money than I would just stripping.”

Interestingly enough, the barbershop—just like the entirety of the strip club—is upper echelon in terms of class as opposed to the expected, seedy appearance that one might expect. In fact, the owners have taken great pride in the newly transformed vault. It is rightfully named “Don’s Barbershop,” an ode to the foreman who oversaw the entire construction.

Sadly, Don kicked the bucket prior to completion of the nude barbershop that he so proudly envisioned. In his honor, a grandiose plaque outside the door of the risque establishment has the inscription, “established 1937,” a creepy reminder of the year that Don was born.[2]

8 Degenerate Barber

What was supposed to be a typical trim in a Spring, Texas, barbershop took an unexpected turn into perversion in August 2017. An unidentified mother was silently questioning why her children’s barber, 32-year-old Jeremiah Siqueido, was incessantly excusing himself to go to the back room of the shop.

Though one could simply assume that Siqueido had irregular bowel movements, the frequent breaks became not only a nuisance but oddly troublesome for the young mother of three. As she followed him to the rear of the store, the mother’s unremitting sixth sense was visually confirmed. Siqueido was caught with his pants down, masturbating while staring at her children from the shadows of the room.

“She was very, very explicit with what she saw with both of his hands and where they were positioned and what she actually saw. That was a big factor in our DA taking charges,” explained Harris County Constable Mark Herman following Siqueido’s arrest for indecent exposure.

It may come as no surprise that the child predator has had previous run-ins with the law. A decade earlier, Siqueido was sentenced to five years in prison after he poured boiling hot water on a two-year-old child. The young girl, whose mother was dating Siqueido at the time, suffered “third-degree burns from head to toe all over her body.”[3]

To date, the sick and twisted barber awaits trial while being held on a $5,000 bond.

7 A Bad Day At The Office

The last thing expected by Ismael Dushan when he entered Levels Barbershop in Brooklyn in May 2018 was that he would be leaving the establishment in an ambulance. Tensions arouse mid-cut when Dushan began to complain about the trim he was receiving. The 33-year-old also refused to leave a tip, which further enraged his barber.

While his customer’s back was turned, the irascible coiffeur shoved the patron with such force that he was launched through the front window of the shop. Seeing that his customer’s face was now ripped opened by shards of glass, the devious stylist chose not to wait around for police questioning.

Interestingly enough, not a single employee at Levels could recall the barber’s name or how to reach him even though he had been employed at the barbershop for some time. To date, the fiery Brooklyn barber remains at large.[4]

In spite of such injurious rage in Brooklyn, nothing compares to the ire of a Queens barber who used his scissors as a tool for murder. Following a scuffle that broke out at Select Stylez, 34-year-old Cedric Simpson repeatedly plunged his shears into the stomach of 19-year-old Carl Richardson in 2014.

According to police reports, Simpson became incensed after Richardson, a regular customer, inquired about a $50 debt that the barber owed him. Simpson was formally charged with murder after it was announced that Richardson was pronounced dead on arrival at Franklin General Hospital.

6 Buckets Of Urine

In the Emabutweni suburb of Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, sits a barbershop whose owner had quite a peculiar dilemma on his hands. For months, barber Mgadi Ndlovu had been robbed of his peace as well as his clientele, all thanks to welder Khumbulani Ndlovu who worked nearby.

For reasons that are unclear, Khumbulani developed a penchant for entering Mgadi’s shop with the sole purpose of urinating on anything and everything, including the barber’s tools. Mgadi said:

He sometimes comes to my workplace just to urinate in my shop. Whenever I ask him why he is behaving in such a manner, he would then start shouting and insulting me using vulgar language. At one time, he even came to the shop and took one of the buckets which we use for other purposes and urinated inside. When I asked him why he was doing that, he threatened to splash me with urine.

After countless golden drenches turned the barbershop into an odorous nightmare reminiscent of a nursing home, Mgadi decided to take Khumbulani to court. Citing a loss of customers due to the welder’s bizarre antics, Mgadi also claimed that Khumbulani made several unspecified threats against his life.

As expected, Khumbulani was arrested and made to pay a fine with the understanding that he must not communicate with or threaten Mgadi or enter Mgadi’s place of work. Khumbulani was also stripped of all barbershop bathroom privileges.[5]

5 When You Gotta Go

On a quiet Wednesday afternoon in Columbus, Georgia, in 2016, customers at the Victory Barber Shop got more than they bargained for when Kenyatta Samar Griffin casually strolled into view. Standing in front of the window where he could be seen clearly by the shop’s clients, the 42-year-old calmly dropped his pants, exposed himself, and proceeded to defecate all over the sidewalk.

When he was done relieving himself, Griffin pulled up his pants and carried on with his day. An officer on routine patrol who had witnessed Griffin’s fecal work of art immediately arrested the inebriated man for public indecency. When questioned about the poop-covered sidewalk, Griffin claimed that the feces belonged to someone else.[6]

If that wasn’t enough to turn one’s stomach, an unsatisfied customer in Shandong, China, expressed his disdain toward his barber in the most romantic way—by throwing bags of feces at the barbershop’s door. The odoriferous hobby became a daily ritual for the rancorous nuisance who was eventually tracked down after police viewed the shop’s surveillance tape.

In the end, the man was fined 500 yuan for his poop-flinging adventures and sentenced to nine days in “detention.”

4 Smokey Was Smoked

A long-running feud between an antagonistic resident, Heather Lemieux, and William Whitson of Smooth Cuts Barber Shop viciously spilled out into a Massachusetts street in 2015. After months of shouting matches, Lemieux carelessly continued her deliberate provocation of parading her pit bull, Smokey, around Whitson’s shop despite his pleas to stop.

One afternoon, however, Lemieux’s antagonistic ways came full circle when her intimidating four-legged friend attacked a smaller dog in front of Whitson’s barbershop. As the small dog’s owner cried for help, Whitson sprang into action. In spite of restraining Smokey by placing him in a headlock, the barber took his gallant efforts a step further and began stabbing the dog in the shoulder, neck, and chest as if he were slaying a werewolf.

Upon questioning, Whitson claimed that the pit bull bit his right hand and would not let go, prompting the stabbing in self-defense. Nonetheless, authorities rejected his narrative and charged him with animal cruelty and assault with a dangerous weapon. They also issued a temporary order of suspension for his master barber license.[7]

Court records indicate that Whitson, a registered Level 3 sex offender, had a history of complaints pertaining to late-night disturbances outside his local barbershop. After serving 21 months and four days, he was released from prison still irked about his unjust sentence.

3 Temperamental Patrons And Barbers

Desiring to look prim and proper for the holidays, a 22-year-old man in Madison, Wisconsin, stopped by Ruby’s Salon for a haircut. During the cut, however, the unidentified customer kept “fidgeting” in his seat and moving his head, which caused great aggravation for the barber and owner, Khaled A. Shabani.

As opposed to voicing his annoyance like a sane individual, Shabani did what any frustrated lunatic holding shears would do. He twisted the man’s ear and then “snipped” off the tip.

With the customer in a state of shock and confusion, Shabani used clippers to shave off a strip of hair down the center of the man’s head. Authorities arrested Shabani on charges of mayhem and disorderly conduct while armed. They also stated that the botched haircut left the man “looking a bit like Larry from The Three Stooges.”[8]

Such insanity pales in comparison to the wrath of 40-year-old Trenton barber James Dillard. While Dillard cut the hair of a client, the two men began to argue, prompting the customer to end the session early.

As opposed to leaving in a relatively civilized manner, the unidentified patron slammed the front door to the Beauty and the Beast Barber Shop, causing the glass to shatter. In response, Dillard confronted the man in the street, where a struggle ensued.

In the heat of the moment, the barber channeled his inner Mike Tyson and bit the 24-year-old man’s ear in half. In the end, the customer was rushed to a hospital while Dillard was jailed on charges of aggravated assault.

2 Demon Barber

Lloyd Dobrodumow, the owner of Jack’s barbershop, is quite the peculiar fellow who proudly touts himself as “The Demon Barber.” Inspired by the popular musical, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, Dobrodumow’s fascination with the barbarous character became all too real for horrified Newcastle residents who witnessed a man burst out of the barbershop with his throat slit.

By all appearances, it seemed as if detectives had an open-and-shut case. Dobrodumow, who has a history of domestic violence and 17 convictions, was booked on one charge of wounding with intent to commit grievous bodily harm. Much to the surprise of mortified residents, further investigation revealed that the victim, Robert Smith, was the instigator.

According to reports, a fight broke out between the two men after a belligerent Smith began throwing beer cans at Dobrodumow. Smith also threatened to kill Dobrodumow and steal his dog. Then Smith called Dobrodumow’s wife a “slut.”

The barber threw a punch, not realizing that he was still holding a razor in his hand. Despite a 10-centimeter (4 in) wound to Smith’s throat that severed a main muscle and a saliva gland, witnesses reported that Smith began demanding £10,000 to “make it all go away.”

At Dobrodumow’s trial, Judge Tom Little stated that Dobrodumow had shown “genuine, tearful remorse” and believed the injury was not intentional. The Demon Barber was subsequently given a 12-month suspended sentence and ordered to pay £5,000 in compensation.[9]

1 Revenge

On the night of February 5, 2015, a man wearing a black hooded sweatshirt walked into a packed barbershop in Warrensville Heights, Ohio, and carried out a horrific massacre that spawned a series of revenge killings. On the orders of heroin kingpin Tevaughn “Big Baby” Darling, Douglas Shine Jr. opened fire with two handguns inside Chalk Linez barbershop.[10]

Shine shot Walter Barfield 19 times, including two execution-style shots to his skull. Lying dead in a pool of blood beside Barfield, who was the target of the massacre, was Brandon White and barber William Gonzalez, an innocent bystander who was gunned down beside his barber’s chair.

In the months that followed, a series of revenge shootings were carried out throughout Ohio. One of the perpetrators of the killing spree was 24-year-old Marcus Ladson, who executed Curtis Avent III outside a bar merely weeks after the Chalk Linez shooting.

Ladson, whose cousin Brandon had been murdered at the barbershop, mercilessly continued exacting revenge on anyone believed to have been a conspirator in the massacre. After being arrested red-handed at the scene of his last shooting, Ladson was found guilty of murder and 25 other felonies. He was sentenced to 127 years to life in prison.

Douglas Shine Jr., who carried out the triple homicide, was convicted of aggravated murder and other charges and sentenced to life in prison without parole. Meanwhile, “Big Baby” Darling, the man who orchestrated the barbershop killing, is currently serving a 14-year sentence on drug charges. Chalk Linez barbershop never reopened.

Adam is just a hubcap trying to hold on in the fast lane.


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Behind every historical artifact at a museum, there’s a perfectly normal and rational explanation as to how and why it came to be. Yet, every so often, something is discovered that leaves scientists and historians utterly baffled, to the point of dedicating years of their lives trying to shed light on its origins.

Here are ten of the most bizarre historical finds ever reported. Some of the following artifacts and sites are very real and can be visited today, despite their enigmatic nature. Others were destroyed by nefarious forces or never existed at all, depending on who you ask.

10 The London Hammer

In the middle of 1934, Max Hahn, a resident of London, Texas, discovered an odd-looking rock on a ledge beside a waterfall. The rock was apparently very happy to see him, judging by the piece of wood protruding from it. Max took it back to introduce it to his family, and being the curious kind of folk they were, they cracked the rock open with a hammer and a chisel. Much to their surprise, the rock was hiding part of an old hammer inside. They filed into one of the beveled sides of the hammerhead to ensure that it was made of metal. It was.

When the rock was cracked open, the metal hammerhead was exposed to the light of day for the first time since the rock formed around it. The problem is that the rock is purported to be up to 400 million years old. Humans aren’t supposed to have evolved until hundreds of millions years later. One explanation is that the mineral concretion around the hammer itself is not 400 million years old, regardless of the age of the area it was found. Others, however, tout the London Hammer as supporting evidence for creationism.[1]

9 The Antikythera Mechanism

Three flat pieces of bronze were recovered from an ancient Greek shipwreck off the coast of Antikythera between 1900 and 1901. Scholars had no idea what they were at the time, nor were they able to figure anything out about it for decades to come. Over time, the disks started to corrode into different shades of green, obscuring some of the crucial details of the discovery. For years, the three mysterious pieces of bronze were forgotten.

It wasn’t until Mike Edmunds from Cardiff University in Wales decided to publish CT scans of the disks in 2006 that real interest in the Antikythera mechanism started to pick up. Not only did it resemble technology that was shockingly modern for the time from which it originated (anywhere from 205 to 87 BC), but the CT scans revealed more details of the device’s inner workings and hidden inscriptions.

The Antikythera mechanism seemed to resemble a mantel clock, with bits of wood found on the fragments to suggest that it was kept in a wooden container. The case would have had to have featured a large, circular face with rotating hands. There also had to have been some kind of knob or handle on the side for winding the mechanism forward or backward. If you fiddled with the knob, gearwheels inside would have driven at least seven hands at various speeds, as opposed to the two or three in a typical clock.

What’s truly mind-blowing is that it wasn’t tracking hours or minutes; it kept track of celestial time. That’s right, every hand represented a piece of our solar system. There was a hand for the Sun, one for the Moon, and one for each of the five planets visible to the naked eye: Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn. A black and silver ball rotating around along with the other hands represented the phase of the Moon. The hidden inscriptions turned out to be dates on which the stars would rise and set.

Everything seems to be crystal clear, although a few problems remain. Experts are still trying to decipher the inscriptions hidden inside the mechanism in an attempt to understand the missing pieces, which may either be destroyed or still at the bottom of the sea. Without the missing pieces, we may never discover the full extent of how sophisticated this mechanism truly was.[2]

8 The Dropa Stones

The Dropa stones, if they were real, were reportedly found in the mountains of Baian Kara-Ula, right on the border between China and Tibet. They are said to have been discovered in 1938 by a Chinese professor, Chi Pu Tei, who found regularly aligned rows of graves. The skeletons inside were small in height (122 centimeters [4′] tall) and had large, overdeveloped skulls. Chi Pu Tei and his team found some interesting rock art inside a nearby cave system, which depicted figures with round helmets. There was also engravings of the Sun, Moon, Earth, and stars. Once they ventured further into the cave, the team found the collection of 716 stone discs. Most of them were half-buried in the ground.

The Dropa stones allegedly have hieroglyphic-like markings, date back around 12,000 years, and measure up to 30 centimeters (12 in) in diameter, each with a hole in the middle. In 1962, a researcher by the name of Tsum Um Nui from Beijing University reportedly claimed to have deciphered the hieroglyphic characters after four years of study. Yet, after he published his findings in a professional journal, he became a laughingstock. According to his work, one of the disks held this exact quote:

The Dropa came down from the clouds in their aircraft. Our men, women and children hid in the caves ten times before sunrise. When at last we understood the sign language of the Dropas, we realized that the newcomers had peaceful intentions.

Shortly after his name was dragged through the mud, he went into exile and later died.

In 1968, the Russians had a crack at investigating the Dropa stones. A Russian scientist, W. Saitsew, became fascinated with them. He decided to place one of the disks on an oscillograph, and much to his surprise, an oscillation rhythm could be heard. It was as if the stone was somehow electrically charged or had functioned as an electrical conductor.

A German scientist, Hartwig Hausdorf, and his colleague, Peter Krassa, visited China and the Banpo museum in Xian in 1974 to research the disks. Upon arrival, they were told that the director’s superiors had ordered them to destroy the disks and to officially not recognize the Dropa stones’ existence anymore.

Quite a few mysteries still remain. Why were the disks ordered to be destroyed? Why doesn’t the Chinese government have any records of a tribe called the Dropa? Was Tsum Um Nui right about his translations? Did the stones even exist at all?[3]

7 The Saqqara Bird

Found in Saqqara, Egypt, in 1898, the Saqqara Bird is an artifact made of wood and estimated to be approximately 2,200 years old. Although its shape resembles a bird, it appears to display features of a modern airplane, with the head being the only exception. Reportedly inscribed on the artifact are hieroglyphs translating to “The Gift of Amon,” and three papyri found near the artifact are said to have mentioned the phrase “I want to fly.”

Dr. Khalil Messiha, the physician who discovered the artifact, speculated that the Egyptians made it as a model of an aircraft they either constructed or witnessed. According to him, the Saqqara Bird had aerodynamic qualities and was only missing a tail wing stabilizer. In theory, it would have been capable of flying if it had the tail wing stabilizer attached. He built a replica of the Saqqara Bird with said stabilizer, and much to his surprise, the model actually flew.

Some archaeologists believe that the artifact is nothing more than a depiction of an actual bird that coincidentally resembles a glider. The true purpose of the Saqqara Bird still remains unknown to this day. Was it simply a toy, or was it an interpretation of what the Egyptians witnessed while they were still alive?[4]

6 The Baghdad Battery

Discovered in a village in Iraq, the Baghdad battery is an intriguing example of ancient technology. It’s comprised of three parts: a ceramic pot, a copper tube, and an iron rod. Some believe that it was used to electroplate gold onto silver objects, but this claim was never proven, nor is there any evidence to support this theory.

Ancient astronaut theorists think that similar devices were used as a light sources inside pyramids by ancient Egyptians, which is just another theory that can’t be proven. Reportedly, a researcher named Dr. Arne Eggerbech was the first person to look at the pot and wonder if it worked as a battery. Building a replica, he used grape juice as an acid and thin layers of silver, which supposedly resulted in the production of electricity.

If the Baghdad battery was what its name suggests, it would predate Alessandro Volta’s electrochemical cell by a millennium.[5] Some archaeologists, however, think it was simply a device to store scrolls. It’s a little hard to study it further, as it was reportedly stolen during the US occupation of Iraq in 2003.

5 The Piri Reis Map

Back in 1929, German theologian Gustav Deissmann was busy working at the Topkapi Palace Library in Istanbul. While he was filing away antique items, he came across a peculiar-looking gazelle-skin parchment on top of a stack of discarded items. Upon taking a closer look, he was surprised to see something made out of animal skin showing the outline of South America. He picked it out of the heap to study. It was drawn and signed in 1513 by a Turkish cartographer named Hagii Ahmed Muhiddin Piri, also known as Piri Reis. His sources for the map included eight Ptolemaic maps, four Portuguese maps, an Arabic map, and one drawn by Christopher Columbus.

Here’s where it gets weird: According to some, not only does this map show Antarctica almost 300 years before it was officially discovered, but it supposedly shows the continent as it would have appeared before it was covered with ice. The map is also claimed to have been drawn using the Mercator Projection, which wasn’t used by European cartographers until the late 16th century. There is still no explanation as to why Antarctica showed up to the party too early (if, indeed, that’s what the map shows), but the use of the Mercator Projection could be because of Piri’s sourcing of Greek maps in his creation of this one.[6]

4 Nan Madol

In Micronesia, off the island of Pohnpei, lies Nan Madol, the only ancient city ever to have been built upon a coral reef. Built upon roughly 100 artificial islands, it’s truly an engineering marvel. Archaeologists just have to figure out the how, when, and why. There are no known records in existence to explain the ancient city’s existence. Although some evidence of human activity on the islands dates back to the first or second century BC, the city itself has been dated from the fifth to 11th century AD. It is generally believed that the islands were used as a ritual and ceremonial center for the ruling chiefs of the Saudeleur dynasty.

Most of the inhabitants of Pohnpei believe the legendary explanation for Nan Madol: It began with the arrival of twin sorcerers, Olisihpa and Olosohpa, who hailed from Western Katau. The brothers sought a place to build an altar for Nahnisohn Sahpw, the god of agriculture. After successfully building their altar, they used it to perform rituals to levitate the huge stones with the help of a flying dragon.[7]

3 The Stone Walls Of Saksaywaman

On the northern outskirts of the city of Cusco in Peru lies the walled complex of Saksaywaman (spellings vary), believed to have been built by the Inca. The walls are made out of boulders, carefully cut to fit together tightly without the use of mortar. This level of precision fitting is unmatched in the Americas. This, not to mention the variance of shapes interlocking as well as the wall leaning forward somehow, has baffled scientists for decades.

One theory, suggested by Dr. Derek Cunningham, is that the orientations of the stones correspond to astronomical alignments. According to him, ancient civilizations developed writing from a very archaic geometrical form based on the study of the motion of the Moon and the Sun. Astronomical values, considered central to the prediction of eclipses, were converted into angular values. He sees the same values present in the construction of the Saksaywaman walls.[8] How did the Inca came to know about astronomical values, and how were they so accurate with the angles of their stone wall?

2 The Dead Sea Scrolls

The first set of the Dead Sea Scrolls were accidentally discovered in seven clay jars by teenage shepherds in late 1946 or early 1947. They were made out of leather and papyrus. The scrolls passed through various scholars, who estimated them to be more than 2,000 years old. After the initial discovery, treasure hunters scoured the nearby caves and managed to unearth more scroll fragments. They comprised over 800 manuscripts, to be precise.

Nobody knows who wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls. According to the most prominent theory, they were the work of a Jewish population that inhabited Qumran until Roman troops destroyed the settlement sometime around AD 70. Almost all of the Old Testament is represented in the Dead Sea Scrolls, except for the Book of Esther, which details the story of the Jewish queen of Persia. Some believe that those scrolls disintegrated over time or have yet to be discovered.

Another peculiar aspect of these mysterious scrolls is that they include a guide to hidden treasure. While the rest of the other texts were written in ink on parchment or animal skins, the Copper Scroll was chiselled onto metal sheets to better withstand the test of time. None of the treasures it describes have been found, much to the disappointment of eager treasure hunters. It’s possible that the Romans already got them years ago.[9]

1 The Paracas Skulls

At the Museo Regional de Ica, you’ll find some oddly shaped skulls on display. Throughout history, different cultures have changed the shape of their children’s skulls by tying two wooden boards to their heads and making them fit tighter day by day. One look at these skulls, and you’ll swear their mother rolled them down a mountain like pizza dough on a daily basis.

The Paracas skulls were discovered in the Paracas Peninsula on the southern coast of Peru. Peruvian archaeologist Julio Tello found them back in 1928, along with a complex and sophisticated graveyard. The skulls reportedly have some odd characteristics aside from their atypical shape. For one, the foramen magnum (the hole at the bottom the skull that the spinal cord passed through) should be closer to the jawline. Also, the Paracas skulls are said to be missing sagittal sutures, the fixed joint you typically see across the top of a human skull. In other words, these skulls don’t don’t look human. (You can probably guess what some claim they do look like.)

It has been repeatedly claimed that when DNA testing was carried out in 2014, it was found that the Paracas skulls have mitochondrial DNA with mutations unknown to any human, primate, or animal known so far.[10] Other sources have just as repeatedly debunked these claims, pointing out that any abnormalities in the DNA can be explained by any number of factors and don’t mean the skulls are alien-human hybrids.

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After Kenneth Arnold kick-started the UFO craze in 1947, a group of believers sprang up, claiming that they had sustained contact with flying saucers. These “contactees,” as they were known, told outlandish tales about talking to aliens via telepathy and visiting distant planets.

Their most famous spokesmen, such as George Adamski and his friend George Hunt Williamson, wrote best-selling books and lectured across the country during the 1950s. Though their popularity faded in the ‘60s and their stories were blatantly fake and unscientific, there’s no denying that the original contactees were a strange, interesting bunch.

10 Buck Nelson

The host of an annual UFO convention on his own Missouri farm, Buck Nelson was a humble, plainspoken man who self-published in 1956 a ridiculous pamphlet entitled My Trip to Mars, The Moon, and Venus. After two earlier UFO sightings, Nelson claimed that four occupants from a UFO had come to his house on March 5, 1955.

The visitors consisted of a young earthling, a pair of men from Venus, and a giant, 136-kilogram (300 lb) dog named Bo. After examining his house, the visitors told Nelson that they could take him on a trip to other planets sometime.

More than a month later, on April 24, Nelson’s new friends picked up him and his dog Ted for a trip to outer space. First, the men traveled to Mars, which Nelson described as colorful and similar to Earth. Next, they made a stop on the Moon. Then they finished the trip with a look at Venus, a utopia that had no need for jails, policemen, or wars.

After returning to his home planet, Nelson promised the aliens that he would tell everybody about his travels. He spoke to the media about his experiences and was supposedly questioned by the armed forces. At his farm conventions, Nelson sold pieces of Bo’s hair to back up his story. Skeptics noted that the Venusian dog hair was similar to the kind found on Earth dogs. He told them, “Dawgs is dawgs. Don’t matter what planet they’re from.”[1]

9 Cynthia Appleton

On November 18, 1957, English housewife Cynthia Appleton was taking care of her children at home when she suddenly heard a high-pitched whistling sound in her sitting room. Once the sound stopped, Appleton saw a tall, blond man materialize near her fireplace. Using telepathy, the man instructed Appleton not to be afraid. He was a visitor from the planet Gharnasvarn, and his people wished to make contact with special earthlings like Appleton.

Over the next year, the man from Gharnasvarn would make seven more appearances at Appleton’s house, sometimes bringing along a friend. When not explaining how to cure cancer, the man would make pseudo-philosophical babble, insisting that time was not real and that all life was unified. During his last six visits, the man also shunned teleporting and opted to arrive in a big black car instead.

In September 1958, the Gharnasvarn man and his friend showed themselves to Cynthia Appleton one last time. They told the mother of two that she was pregnant. Confusingly, the child would be “of the race of Gharnasvarn” yet also her husband’s son.[2]

In May 1959, Appleton gave birth to a baby boy just as the aliens had apparently predicted. Despite some media attention, the Appletons never saw the Gharnasvarn men again, and they soon quietly disappeared from the public spotlight.

8 Gabriel Green

Once a professional photographer, Gabriel Green gave up his career to pursue an interest in UFOs. He was the founder of an early UFO organization called the Amalgamated Flying Saucer Clubs of America, Inc. and also edited the group’s journal, the Flying Saucers International. In 1960, Green launched an independent campaign to become president of the United States, competing against Democrat John F. Kennedy and Republican Richard Nixon.

Though Green was a write-in candidate and had no political experience, he took his bid for president seriously. In an August 1960 interview, Green claimed that the “Space People” had asked him to run.[3]

He admitted that he was reluctant at first, but he realized that Earth was doomed unless mankind listened to the wisdom of the Space People. In his official platform, Green promised the abolition of taxes, free college educations, and a spaceship mission to Mars.

Unfortunately, despite the support of the Space People, Green eventually withdrew from the race. In 1962, Green tried running for the US Senate as a Democrat but lost the election. After another failed bid for the presidency in 1972, Green quit his political ambitions for good, presumably content that the Earth was doomed.

7 Ted Owens

Calling himself the “PK (Psychokinetic) Man,” Ted Owens considered himself something like a real-life superhero. A member of MENSA, Owens was a genius with a 150 IQ who claimed that aliens had given him supernatural powers. Thanks to the help of “Space Intelligences,” he could do everything from controlling the weather to altering the results of a sports game.

According to Owens, the Space Intelligences were hyperdimensional beings who rode around in UFOs and kept a close eye on Earth. He first made contact with them in 1965 when one of their UFOs appeared and vanished before his car. They communicated with Owens via telepathy and were the source of his PK powers. In his own words, Owens was a test “to find out just how much of the PK power a human being can absorb and stand.”[4]

Although Owens had his fans, he struggled to convince academics and scientists of his abilities. He obsessively collected newspaper clippings and records that allegedly verified his demonstrations and predictions. Most professionals treated him skeptically, however. Only some sportswriters, a CIA agent, and a NASA official believed his bizarre stories.

6 Aladino Felix

In 1959, under the pseudonym of Dino Kraspedon, Aladino Felix published a typical book of the contactee movement called My Contact with Flying Saucers. Felix, a Brazilian, wrote that he met the crew of a UFO in the state of Sao Paulo. The experience led to the UFO’s captain visiting Felix at his home a few months later, where he made the usual extraterrestrial warnings about the dangers of the Atomic Age.

Six years later, Felix resurfaced in the public eye, styling himself as a psychic. He made vague predictions about natural disasters, coinciding with one of the deadliest flash floods in Brazilian history in 1966. During a politically turbulent time in Brazil, Felix also prophesied spates of terrorist attacks in the country.

If some of Felix’s predictions proved eerily accurate, it might have been because of his own intervention. In 1968, Felix and 18 other people were arrested after being suspected of some bank robberies and bombings. The gang had even plotted to assassinate politicians, and it turned out that Felix was their ringleader.

Before he was sent off to prison, Felix vowed, “My friends from space will come here and free me and avenge my arrest. You can look to tragic consequences for humanity when the flying saucers invade this planet.”[5]

5 Daniel Fry

On July 4, 1950, Daniel Fry was taking a walk in the New Mexico desert when a remote-controlled UFO landed 20 meters (70 ft) away from him. A voice from the UFO invited Fry to come for a ride. While the ship’s remote pilot talked to him, Fry was whisked away to New York City and back in only 30 minutes.

Fry’s host, Alan, had a lot to say to his bewildered passenger. Alan revealed that the aliens who were riding around Earth in flying saucers were originally earthlings themselves. Alan’s ancestors had built the legendary countries of Atlantis and Lemuria, two advanced superpowers that ended up destroying each other. The few survivors were forced to relocate to Mars, where they rebuilt their civilization and observed Earth from afar.

To spread the Martians’ messages, Fry founded a spiritual organization called Understanding, Inc. When it was founded in California in 1955, the group had only nine members. But it soon grew to have a number of members organized in 60 “units” across the world. Long after the original heyday of the contactees, the organization survived into the 1980s, although one academic study had noted it was by then “in serious decline.”[6]

4 Orfeo Angelucci

A factory worker who had once suffered a nervous breakdown, Orfeo Angelucci and his contactee adventures were studied by the famous Swiss psychologist Carl Jung. Angelucci’s stories had a Christian tinge, involving angels, Lucifer, and even a meeting with Jesus Christ.

In possibly his most amusing anecdote, Angelucci claimed that he had swapped bodies with an alien named Neptune in January 1953. Angelucci remembered falling asleep on a divan on Earth but woke up in Neptune’s body on another planet.

Neptune’s companions, Lyra and Orion, showed Angelucci a projection of an ancient planet called Lucifer. The Luciferians tried conquering the people of other planets, and as punishment, they were imprisoned on Earth. According to Angelucci’s hosts, most modern humans were the descendants of the fallen Luciferians.

Like many of the other contactees on this list, Angelucci felt an obligation to save his fellow humans. While in the body of Neptune, Angelucci was shown a horrifying vision of the apocalypse. If the people of Earth failed to change their ways by 1986, their planet would be destroyed by a gigantic comet. Needless to say, the comet never came and Angelucci quietly died in 1993.[7]

3 Reinhold O. Schmidt

On November 5, 1957, German-American farmer Reinhold O. Schmidt allegedly stumbled upon a balloon-like UFO in a remote part of Kearney, Nebraska. Curious, he approached the ship, but it shot a beam of light at his chest and paralyzed him. Then two men walked out of the UFO, searched Schmidt for weapons, and invited him inside. Oddly, the entire crew spoke German and their leader spoke English with a thick German accent.

After Schmidt was let out, the UFO took off into the air. Though he was worried that nobody would believe him, Schmidt decided that he had to contact the authorities. He took Kearney’s deputy sheriff to the spot of his encounter. Schmidt showed it to the chief of police and some other local notables as well.

The city authorities admitted to Schmidt that his story must have been true, but then they pressured him into denying it. When the story spread across the city, a defiant Schmidt was thrown in jail for a day.

Of course, Schmidt had many more encounters with the odd German-speaking UFO crew, and books and lectures naturally followed. It wasn’t long, however, before legal troubles had cast doubt on his claims. In 1961, Schmidt scammed an elderly widow out of thousands of dollars. He was convicted and sentenced to serve time in prison for grand theft.[8]

2 Wilbert Smith

When the public first became interested in UFOs, there were two groups of believers in the spotlight. On the one side were the contactees who make up this list, laypeople who claimed they were talking, meeting, and traveling with beings from other worlds.

On the other side were more educated professionals represented by the likes of Donald Keyhoe, a naval aviator and cofounder of the National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena (NICAP). Keyhoe and his group dismissed contactee stories and tried doing more scientific investigations of UFOs using their backgrounds as military figures and scientists. The two groups never got along well. For example, Keyhoe often refused to be seen on TV shows with contactees.

Wilbert Smith, a radio engineer for the Canadian Department of Transport, was an interesting mix of the two competing groups. He served as a special adviser for the original NICAP, yet he associated with contactees like George Hunt Williamson, reporting to be in contact with the same extraterrestrial characters that Williamson’s circle knew. From 1950 until 1954, Smith also directed Canada’s Project Magnet, a government-funded research group that studied UFO sightings.

Smith’s conclusions greatly embarrassed the Department of Transport. He went beyond saying that the studied UFO sightings were real and argued that flying saucers were actually from parallel universes.

He believed that people could communicate with UFOs through psychic powers and pointed to bogus studies by a contactee group called Borderland Sciences Research Associates as proof. Unsurprisingly, Project Magnet eventually lost its funding, but Smith continued researching UFOs until his death on December 27, 1962.[9]

1 William Dudley Pelley

William Dudley Pelley was perhaps the oddest contactee to come out of the 20th century. An extreme anti-Semite, he had worked as a screenwriter during the 1920s. But he left Hollywood because he thought Jews controlled the movie industry and the world at large.

After abandoning Hollywood, Pelley got involved in mysticism and published a popular article (and later book) about a near-death experience he had. Pelley claimed that he spent seven minutes in “eternity,” visiting God, Jesus, and hyperdimensional beings who told him that souls were reincarnated throughout time until they climbed the spiritual hierarchy and became white people.

When Adolf Hitler came to power in 1933, Pelley eagerly combined his mysticism and racism into the Silver Legion of America, a paramilitary fascist group that attracted over 15,000 members. In 1936, Pelley unsuccessfully ran for president under the Christian Party, a political party he founded.

After years of listening to Pelley’s tantrums and threats, Franklin D. Roosevelt and his government became annoyed. Pelley was arrested, charged, and convicted of sedition in April 1942.

Once he was released from prison in 1950, Pelley was forbidden from political activism. Instead, he channeled his energy into mysticism, and his writings became even more inane.

Using some of his earlier ideas, Pelley created a set of racist spiritual teachings called Soulcraft, teaching that Asian, black, and white people had souls which came from different planets. To appeal to contemporary crackpots, Pelley threw in telepathy and UFOs as well, meeting with and influencing such early contactees as George Adamski and George Hunt Williamson.[10]

Although Soulcraft had a small set of fans, Pelley never regained the popularity of his heyday in the 1930s. He died practically forgotten in June 1965.

Tristan Shaw blogs at Bizarre and Grotesque, where he writes about offbeat folklore, history, and mysteries.


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