Haunted Road Trip: Dead Woman’s Crossing, Weatherford, Oklahoma

Dead Womans Crossing

Previously: Bunny Man Bridge.

There’s a small, unincorporated community near Weatherford in Custer County, Oklahoma. A picturesque spot on Deer Creek, the community bears a name significantly less pretty: Dead Woman’s Crossing. And the name isn’t just a fluke, either; the spot earned it, and it earned it the hard way.

Here’s what the history of the place tells us:

On August 31, 1905, a man by the name of G.W. Cornell took his son to the creek to go fishing. But when he stopped his buggy by the creek and stepped out, he found a little more than what he’d bargained for: A human skull. A cursory search turned up the rest of the skeleton nearby, clad in a tattered dress and wearing a gold ring on its finger. A bullet hole behind where the skull’s right ear would have been matched the .38 caliber revolver found sitting next to it.

The bones belonged to Katie DeWitt, a school teacher last seen more than a month prior boarding a train in Custer City toward Ripley with her 14-month-old daughter, Lulu Belle. Katie’s father, Henry DeWitt, saw her and Lulu Belle off on July 7; Katie’s husband, Martin James, did not. It would later emerge that Katie had filed for divorce from James the day before on the grounds of cruelty.

Several weeks passed, during which time Henry DeWitt heard no word from his daughter. Growing concerned, he hired a detective, Sam Bartell, to find out what had happened to her. After some digging, Bartell learned that Katie had met and befriended Fannie Norton, a known prostitute, on the train. On the evening of July 7, Norton, known to the people of Weatherford as “Mrs. Ham,” took Katie and Lulu Belle to the home of her brother-in-law, William Moore in Clinton; they spent the night there before riding off in a buggy the next morning, saying they would be back in three hours. Norton returned two hours and fifteen minutes later—but neither Katie nor her daughter were with her.

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Creepypasta of the Week: “The Disappearance of Ashley, Kansas”

Kansas field 2Previously: “Smile Dog.” 

There’s nothing like a good old-fashioned UFO story. Or is it a UFO story? Maybe it’s a ghost story. No. A zombie story. No. An unexplained geographical phenomenon story. No. Maybe it’s all of them… or maybe it’s something else entirely. But on thing’s for sure: The road to Ashley, Kansas is long and dark.

Sometime during the night of August 16, 1952, the small town of Ashley, Kansas ceased to exist. At 3:28am on August 17, 1952, a magnitude 7.9 earthquake was measured by the United States Geological Survey. The earthquake itself was felt throughout the state and most of the midwest. The epicenter was determined to be directly under Ashley, Kansas.

When state law enforcement arrived at what should have been the outskirts of the farming community, they found a smoldering, burning fissure in the earth measuring 1,000 yards in length and approximately 500 yards in width. The depth of the fissure was never determined.

After twelve days, the state-wide and local search for the missing 679 residents of Ashley, Kansas, was called off by the Kansas State Government at 9:15pm on the night of August 29, 1952. All 679 residents were assumed to be dead. At 2:27am on August 30, 1952, a magnitude 7.5 earthquake was measured by the United States Geological Survey. The epicenter was situated under what used to be the location of Ashley, Kansas. When law enforcement investigated at 5:32am, they reported that the fissure in the Earth had closed.

In the eight days leading up to the disappearance of the town and its 679 residents, bizarre and unexplainable events were reported by dozens of residents in Ashley, Kansas and law enforcement from the surrounding area.

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Unresolved: The Curious Case of Kaspar Hauser

Kaspar illustration

Previously: The Servant Girl Annihilator of Austin, Texas.

Once upon a time, there was little city called Nuremberg. A bustling place, especially in the early 19th century, it was one of Germany’s most prosperous southern towns; it also carried the stamp of being the most important industrial center in all of Bavaria. As such a thoroughly modern place, it was therefore seen as something of a surprise when a teenaged boy clad in rags who was incapable of saying anything other than his own name appeared one day in a public square.

The day in question was May 26, 1828, and the boy, of course, was Kaspar Hauser. Although the Boy from the Forest has since become one of the most well-known figures from the area, he was nothing short of an enigma when he arrived—and he has remained a mystery ever since.

He carried an envelope with him containing two letters. The first, sent from an unnamed location at the Bavarian border and addressed to Captain von Wessnig of the 6th regiment, was apparently from a poor laborer who had raised the boy; according to the writer, he had been given custody of him on October 7, 1812, and the lad now wished to be cavalryman like his father had been before him. The captain was invited either to take him on or hang him, as he wished. The second letter looked to be from the boy’s mother to his previous caretaker. According to it, his name was Kaspar, he was born on April 30, 1812, and his father, a former 6th regiment cavalryman, was dead.

Kaspar was taken by a shoemaker to the house of Captain von Wessenig, where attempts to learn more from the boy were met with resistance: Although Kaspar was now speaking words beyond his own name, all he would say was “I want to be cavalryman, as my father was,” and “Horse! Horse!” From there, he was taken to the police station; he could write his name—“KASPAR HAUSER,” in firm, legible letters—he was familiar with money, and he could say his prayers, but his vocabulary was severely limited. He would answer very few questions about himself, and he did not know from whence he had come.

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Scare Yourself Silly: A Tourist’s Guide to 200 Phenomena in the City of Calgary (Which May or May Not Be True)

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

This post originally appeared on The Toast.

Have you ever been to Calgary? If you haven’t, you should go. But don’t limit yourself to the usual tourist attractions. By all means, take advantage of the wonderful arts and culture and that permeate the city – but know this, too: Beneath it all lies something else. Something different. Something just a tiny bit… off.

There is, for example, a wall in the basement of a restaurant called Teatro. The wall is a sickly shade of yellow; no attempts to paint it a different color have ever been successful. Bring with you a small jar of hazelnut oil, paint the outline of a door on the wall with it, and push. You will find yourself in a sparsely furnished room with walls the same shade of yellow as the wall you passed through to get to it. Examine the desk to find a collection of documents written on the stationary of a bank you won’t ever have heard of and dated 1912. These documents predict every stock market crash and financial disaster around the entire world from 1912 until, astonishingly, twenty years in the future – at which point the predictions abruptly stop mid-sentence.

Or, say you find yourself in the administration building of the University of Calgary. In the basement, you’ll find a disused office. You’ll have to do a little work to get into it; its door has been painted shut and a broken bookcase has been placed in front of it. Once you make your way inside, however, you’ll discover a room that has seemingly been untouched for roughly 30 years. The degrees hanging on the wall reveal that the office once belonged to a Dr. Earl Wiser, PhD; his specialty appears to have been history, but you’ll find no record of Dr. Wiser in the university’s records. The books in the bookcases lining the walls all cover the Second World War, as does the ream of paper stacked next to the typewriter on the desk. There’s just one problem: According to both the typewriter and the books, the Axis powers won.

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Encyclopaedia of the Impossible: Polybius

Previously: The House on Ash Tree Lane.

Type: EV (Electronic Virus)

Period/location of origin: 1981, Portland, Oregon.

Appearance: Subject appears to be a coin-operated game cabinet of the type popular in American video arcades in the late 1970s and 1980s. The cabinet is all black except for the logo of a game known as Polybius, allegedly created by a developer by the name of “Sinnesloschen.” The game itself is a puzzle/shoot-‘em-up title of abstract design; similarities between it and the 1981 Atari title Tempest have been drawn, although Tempest is not known to have ever posed a threat to its players.

Modus operandi: Subject will initially present as a limited release title in a select few arcades located in the suburbs of a major city. Although the fast-paced gameplay may be difficult to follow, subject will quickly garner a following of dedicated players. Repeated exposure to subject will first cause mild confusion in players before progressing to severe amnesia. Players will also suffer from nausea, sleep disruptions, nightmares, and in extreme cases, suicidal tendencies.

Suited men may occasionally be seen retrieving play statistics and other data from subject. These men will be uninterested in collecting subject’s coin earnings. After a minimum of four weeks, but no more than six, subject’s game cabinets will be begin to disappear from the arcades as quietly as they had arrived.

It is unknown to where they are taken—or who takes them.

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Abandoned: Pripyat and the Chernobyl Disaster (Photos)

Viaistance

Previously: The 1984 Winter Olympics.

On April 26, 1986—a Saturday—a systems test began at reactor number four of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Pripyat, Ukraine. The steam to the turbines was shut off; the diesel generator was turned on; and the idea was that the turbine generator would supply power to the reactor’s Main Circulating Pumps as it wound down, while the diesel generator would pick up all of the pumps’ power needs as it warmed up. But something no one had counted on happened as the momentum of the turbine generator decreased: The power it produced for the pumps decreased as well. This caused the water flow rate to decrease, which in turn lead to the increased formation of steam bubbles—“voids,” as they’re called—in the reactor’s core.

The creation of these bubbles caused a power surge. When this power surge happened, an emergency shutdown of the reactor was initiated—but rather than being the plant’s saving grace, it instead triggered an explosion. The explosion launched a plume of highly radioactive fallout into the atmosphere, which in turn fell upon a huge geographic area around Belarus, Russia, and the Ukraine.

The Chernobyl disaster would become known as the worst nuclear power plant accident in history, both in terms of monetary costs and the loss of life. Between 1986 and 2000, 350,400 people were evacuated from the most heavily contaminated areas affected by the explosion; long-term effects are still being evaluated. The only other event that would come anywhere close to it—a level 7 event—was the 2011 Fukushima disaster in Japan.

Before the Chernobyl disaster, Pripyat had been a thriving place. With a growing population of 49,400, it had been declared a city in 1979, just seven years before the accident. It had 15 primary schools, five secondary schools, and one professional school; a culture palace, a cinema, and a school of the arts; it had been a major railroad and river cargo port in northern Ukraine; it had even had its very own amusement park poised to open on May 1, 1986. The Pripyat amusement park did open for one day immediately following the disaster at the nuclear power plant—April 27—in an effort to curtain the sense of terror running through the city; however, it would be the only day the park was ever operational. The city began evacuation 2 o’clock that afternoon; it has been abandoned ever since.

These days, Pripyat is considered relatively safe to visit; a number of companies offer guided tours of the area. But it is unlikely that the city will ever thrive as it once did, or even play host to life beyond what has managed to reclaim the area in the years since the accident. If you’ve ever wondered what the world will be like once humans no longer have the run of it—Pripyat is it.

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The Most Dangerous Games: The Shoebox Telephone

tin can phonePreviously: One-Man Hide and Seek.

This one comes to us from FableForge, the same redditor who brought us The Three Kings. He (all redditors by default are male until proven otherwise—including yours truly, as the few times I’ve posted there, others have assumed me to be a dude) noted in his original post that although he contributed a few details to the game, The Shoebox Telephone was already being played in juvie before he arrived. The stakes are perhaps lower for this one than they are for the other games we’ve played so far, so it might be a good one for beginners to try; bear in mind, though, that there’s always danger when you toy around with stuff like this. Don’t assume you’re safe just because there’s no Midnight Man

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