“It was rather dark, for the lower half of the windows were boarded up; but in one corner, on the floor, was plainly distinguishable what looked like a heap of clothes flung together in disorder. It appeared to be in motion, however, and the mistress of the house once more turning to her follower had just time to utter the mysterious words—”Don’t be frightened. If she likes you, she’ll hoot; if she doesn’t, she’ll scream…”
In 1871 the David Hoffman family of Wooster was attacked by an entity they called “IT.” The poltergeist stole money, food, and seemed to have a special hatred for clothing, which it slashed and shredded. Here is the story of a family haunted and tortured by malignant spirits.
It was widely believed in the 19th century that whatever a pregnant woman gazed upon would affect her baby. The papers were full of stories of children born with birth defects or phobias ascribed to their mother being frightened by such horrors as a snarling dog, a rat crushed in a trap, a lightning storm, or a ghost. They are disturbing reading for it was an insensitive age and those born deformed were referred to by journalists in terms like rat baby, human frog, infant monster, or “It.” This is a look at some of those maternally influenced monsters.
In 1917 John Van Valkenburg, a Salt Lake City inventor, announced that he had conquered the laws of gravity and had an aircraft that could fly from SLC to the Pacific Coast and back in a night. It was reported that he had taken it to Washington and then turned it over to the US government for use in the War effort. Then, suddenly, Van Valkenburg found himself on trial.
The 19th-century reading public was avid for a fortean sensation. Here is a sampling of the News of the Weird from 1895.
Jack the Ripper’s reign of terror inspired a series of copy-cat killers. His name, which may have been coined by a journalist in a hoax letter to the police, was irresistible to journalists covering social panics at the turn of the century and beyond. There was Jack the Kisser, Jack the Smasher, Jack the Nipper, and, one of strangest: Jack the Ink-Slinger, who liked to throw violet ink on ladies’ dresses in the dark.
While a contemporary vogue for vampire fantasy has inspired some people to identify themselves as vampires and to actually drink blood, there has always been a curious belief in the efficacy of blood-drinking, not as a lifestyle, but for medicinal purposes only.
The strange tale of a French courtesan tattooed with her erotic history.