The Most Dangerous Games: The Midnight Game

Shadow manPreviously: The Three Kings.

It is believed that the Midnight Game was once an old pagan ritual used as a punishment for those who dared to disobey the gods. While this claim is unsubstantiated, the game has still become a popular activity for thrill seekers. As with all of Most Dangerous Games, proceed at your own risk – if you must proceed at all. It is recommended that you do not, under any circumstances, play this game.

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Unresolved: The Taman Shud Case and the Somerton Man

Previously: Who Put Bella in the Wych Elm?

We know very little about the Somerton Man.

He was in his early 40s when he was found, five feet and 11 inches tall, clean shaven, with hazel eyes and greying strawberry blond hair. His smooth hands and well-kept nails showed that he was a stranger to manual labor. He dressed well, his outfit – a white shirt, a red and blue tie, brown trousers, a brown jumper, a brown and grey double-breasted coat, socks, and shoes – being of good quality, although missing all the labels. He wore no hat, and he carried no wallet.

And he was dead.

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Creepypasta of the Week: “The Strangest Security Tape I’ve Ever Seen”

Security cameraPreviously: “Kagome Kagome.”

I debated filing “The Strangest Security Tape I’ve Ever Seen” under “Creepypasta of the Week,” as technically I’m not sure that it actually qualifies as creepypasta. It is, however, a cracking good story, and wonderfully written to boot; as such, I think it’s worth sharing. And anyway, since its inception roughly a year ago on the nosleep subreddit (it’s written by a fellow who goes by the moniker powerhawkmash), it’s made its way into the archives of Creepypasta.wikia – so there you go. Justification for including it here.

I’m lucky enough never to have had to work a job like this one, but if I ever find myself behind the register at a gas station, you can be damn sure I’ll be keeping an eye on those security tapes.

I work at a gas station in rural Pennsylvania. It’s a boring job, but it’s pretty easy and it pays all right. A few weeks ago, this new guy started; I’ll call him Jeremy.

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Abandoned: Echoes from the 1984 Winter Olympics in Sarajevo (Photos)

Previously: Six Flags New Orleans.

When Sarajevo won the bid to host to the 1984 Winter Olympics, it marked the first time the Winter Games had been held in a Communist state. Then part of Yugoslavia, Sarajevo saw a great deal of firsts that year: Skier Jure Franko won Yugoslavia’s first Winter Olympic medal; ice dancers Torvill and Dean won perfect scores across the board for artistic impression (and remain the only team to have done so in history); disabled skiing was included as a demonstration sport for the first time; and Lamine Gueye of Senegal became the first Black African skier to compete in the Winter Games.

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Scare Yourself Silly: The Uncanny Valley, or Revisiting Robert the Doll

Robert the DollPreviously on Scare Yourself Silly: The Curious Case of the Himuro Mansion.

I covered Robert the Doll here on The Ghost in My Machine in a slightly different form about a month ago. What I didn’t address in his Encyclopaedia entry, however, is why I think he’s so damn freaky. This edition of Scare Yourself Silly, written (as always) for the wonderful website The Toast, is an attempt to explain Robert’s particular brand of weirdness.

I’m not sure how I first stumbled upon the story of Robert the Doll; it likely occurred during a night of Wikipedia-hopping, a pastime to which I have lost more hours than I care to admit (although it has enabled me to shore up a store of weird and wacky trivia, so at least there’s that). Although Robert’s Wikipedia entry is relatively short, it was bizarre enough to inspire me to do a little more digging; I stupidly did said digging at night alone in my apartment – and no, I don’t know why I keep doing that to myself – but here are the facts:

Robert made his first appearance in Key West, Florida in 1904, when he was given to future painter Robert Eugene Otto by his family’s Bahamian maid. The four-year-old boy went by the name “Gene”; it’s believed he named his newfound friend “Robert” after himself. Some sources claim that the maid not only practiced black magic and voodoo, but also had it in for the family, implying that she cursed the doll before giving it to the child. However, I strongly suspect this little embellishment to be the result of racial prejudices of the time and therefore not quite true (something with which I’m sure Bahamians and actual practitioners of the religion of Vodun would agree).

Gene and Robert became inseparable. The child carried the doll with him everywhere; at the same time, reports of odd occurrences began filtering out of the big Victorian house in which the Ottos lived. All of the stories related earlier are true: Gene’s parents did hear their son carrying out full conversations with Robert; the child did at one point awake screaming in the middle ofthe night with the doll beside him and the furniture overturned; Gene did frequently blame broken things and temper tantrums on Robert; and passersby did claim to see Robert moving from window to window from the street – even after he was relegated to the attic. Gene’s wife, Annie, loathed the doll and attempted to shut him away a second time; rumor has it that she lost her mind and passed away as a result, although these claims are unsubstantiated.

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Unresolved: Who Put Bella in the Wych Elm?

Bella in the Wych ElmUnsolved mysteries fascinate us, largely because the more time that passes, the less likely it is we’ll ever learn the truth about what happened. In “Unresolved,” I’ll be taking a look at unsolved cases from around the world. Let’s start by asking a question: Who put Bella in the Wych elm?

The morning of April 18, 1943 dawned like any other for four boys from Stourbridge, a village in Worcestershire in the UK. The boys – Robert Hart, Thomas Willets, Bob Farmer, and Fred Payne – intended to have themselves a little poaching adventure in Hagley Woods; owned by Lord Cobham, the woods make up part of the 350 acres included in the Hagley Hall estate. Upon finding a large Wych elm, Farmer began climbing the tree in search of a possible bird’s nest from which the boys might filch some eggs. As he climbed, however, he happened to glance down into the tree’s hollow trunk. At first, he thought what he saw in the hollow was an animal skull – but after a closer inspection, he realized it was no animal.

It had hair and teeth.

It was human.

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