Strange Lives

Jack the Stripper

The story of “Jack the Stripper,” who shocked a Cincinnati, Ohio neighborhood from about 1875 to 1878, wore nothing but a coat of grease, caused a rather prurient panic, and evaded both bullets and arrest with ease. No one knew where he came from; he simply melted away in the dark, to the despair of the police force and the titillation of the ladies.

The Spirit Stalker of Emma Hardinge Britten

Spiritualist Emma Hardinge Britten tells of a terrifying phantom stalker who could apparently project himself through time and space.

The Childers Claimant: A Drowned Kentucky Girl’s Return

The story reads like fiction: Tiny footprints leading to a river; a drowned child’s skeleton recovered; then, years later, a young woman returns, claiming to be the dead child. Who was she?

Mothered by a Ghost: Patience Worth’s Daughter

Tomorrow is Mother’s Day and as I am nothing if not topical, today we look at a a strange case of spiritual motherhood: the mother-daughter duo–or perhaps trio: Pearl Curran, her daughter Patience, and the “ghostly mother,” Patience Worth.

Mother Taylor and The Power Society

In 1893 a new religious leader arose in Kentucky: Mother Betty Taylor, who claimed to resurrect the dead.

Encore: John Van Valkenburg and His Mysterious Wonderplane

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 Salt Lake City 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.

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