Encyclopaedia of the Impossible: Bielefeld, Germany

BielefeldPreviously: The Three-Legged Licca-Chan

Type: UL (Unexplained Location)

Period/location of origin: 1214, Germany; conversely, May 16, 1994, the Internet.

Appearance: Subject appears to be a city in the northwest of Germany. Founded in 1214, subject later suffered greatly during the Second World War; after having been bombed essentially to smithereens, subject was rebuilt, with modern architecture replacing the historic buildings of old. Subject is otherwise unremarkable. As of 2013, its population is approximately 330,000.

Subject may or may not exist, re: The Bielefeld Conspiracy.

Modus operandi: The Bielefeld Conspiracy states that subject is not, in fact, a city in the northwest of Germany. Rather, subject is an illusion created by a shadow organization known as SIE, or THEM. The purpose of THEIR assertion of subject’s reality remains unknown; however, several theories exist:

  • Subject hides former United States President John F. Kennedy; President Kennedy may have been brought there by the Central Intelligence Agency in order to prevent him from revealing the truth about the moon landings.
  • Israeli intelligence agency Mossad acquired subject in order to research two undocumented leylines located in the area.
  • Subject may be the origin point for a tunnel between America, Australia, and the lost city of Atlantis.
  • Subject is a landing pad for UFOs and other extraterrestrial life.

Containment: Although the appropriate containment procedure for subject itself is unknown, targets may determine whether any acquaintances are involved in the conspiracy by asking the following three questions:

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Unresolved: Cabin 28 and the Keddie Murders

keddie resortPreviously: The Miniature Coffins of Arthur’s Seat.

As of 2010, the town of Keddie in Plumas County, Northern California has a population of 66. Just 66 people. That’s why it’s not technically even a town; it’s a census-designated place. Exactly half of those 66 people were male and half of them were female; only seven were under the age of eighteen, with the other 59 being legal adults. Most of these adults — 39 of them — are over the age of 50. Although Keddie is undoubtedly beautiful, it’s not the kind of place you want to raise your kids — or at least, it isn’t anymore. A former railroad town that once harnessed the beauty of its location in the foothills of the Sierra Nevadas by playing host to lodges and campgrounds, it’s known these days for one reason, and one reason alone: The brutal 1981 murders that occurred in Cabin 28 of the Keddie Resort. It’s been almost 34 years since the Keddie Murders rocked the town in 1981, and we are still no closer to knowing who perpetrated them — or why. And like so many cold cases, we likely never will. All we have left are the decaying remains of a former mountain paradise, a handful of spooky stories, and a tragic, unsolved mystery.

In the spring of 1981, 36-year-old Glenna Sharp, who was known primarily by her middle name, Sue, had been renting Cabin 28 at the Keddie Resort for about six months. Although Keddie had once been a thriving railroad town with a scenic hotel and lodge for travelers, it had fallen far from its glory days at the turn of the century; by the 1980s, many of the cabins at the Keddie Resort were rented not to holiday-makers, but to low-income families. Sharp and her five children — John, age 15; Sheila, 14; Tina, 12; Ricky, 10; and Greg, just five — were one of those families, having taken up residence in the cabin in November of 1980.

The night of April 11, 1981, began — as these things often do — as a night like any other. It was a Saturday, so none of the Sharp children had school the next day; as such, it wasn’t unusual that Sue Sharp had assented to allow a friend, a 12-year-old neighborhood boy named Justin, spend the night with Ricky and Greg. Sharp herself and her daughter Tina also remained at home in Cabin 28 with the three boys. Her other daughter, Sheila, had gone the cabin next door for the night; one of her friends lived in Cabin 27. Meanwhile, John had spent the day six miles away in Quincy, CA with his friend Dana Wingate, a 17-year-old with a reputation for trouble. They had planned to return home that night, joining Sharp, Tina, Ricky, Greg, and Justin in Cabin 28.

We still don’t know exactly what happened that night. But what we do know is this: The morning of April 12, Sheila Sharp arrived home at approximately 7:45 in the morning to find the bodies of her mother, her brother John, and Dana Wingate lying in the living room of Cabin 28. They had been bound with medical tape and electrical wire. Sue Sharp had been covered with a yellow blanket; the two boys remained uncovered and lying nearby. Sharp and John had both been struck with a claw hammer, as well stabbed repeatedly with a steak knife found at the scene. Wingate, who along with John was still wearing his coat, had been strangled as well as bludgeoned and stabbed. The knife had had such force applied to it that it had bent almost double. Tina was nowhere to be found.

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Abandoned: The Dying Light of America’s Drive-In Movie Theaters (Photos)


Previously: The Penn Hills Resort.

I love a good multiplex with stadium seating and IMAX screens as much as the next girl — but there’s nothing quite like a good old-fashioned drive-in movie.

The earliest version of the drive-in dates back to 1921 when Claude V. Carver of Comanche, Texas screened silent films for the city downtown, with cars parked bumper to bumper to watch them. However, it was Richard M. Hollingshead, Jr. of Riverton, New Jersey who perfected and patented the idea. In 1932, the 32-year-old was working as a sales manager at Whiz Auto Products, a company owned by his father; but when he came up with the idea to screen films from cars parked in his driveway, he knew was on to something. He plunked a 1928 Kodak projector on the roof of his own car, projecting the films themselves on a sheet hung between two trees in his yard. Legend has it that Hollingshead developed the idea as a solution to problems his mother had with regular movie theater seats; whether or not this is fact or fiction, however, remains to be seen. I’m inclined to think it’s fiction — a pleasant tale to enhance the origin story — but in any event, he applied for a patent during the summer of 1932 and was granted it on May 16, 1933.

Hollingshead opened his first public drive-in, Park-In Theaters in Camden, New Jersey, on August 6, 1933. He charged 25 cents per person, as well as an additional 25 cents per car; the film screened was Wives Beware, a 1932 film adaptation of the stage play Two White Arms by Harold Dearden. Soon after, other drive-ins began popping up across the nation — except there was a problem: Not all of them were licensed. Since Hollingshead held the patent for the idea, anyone who opened a drive-in was legally obligated to enter a licensing agreement with his company, Park-Ins, Inc., including paying all the fees that would go along with it.

In 1949, however, the patent was overturned; the original concept was found “lacking any inventiveness.” Its layout, after all, was essentially the same as that of indoor cinemas, with the sole difference being that cars replaced the standard seats. The court stated that the patent should never have been granted to begin with, ultimately ruling it invalid.

This ruling paved the way for the drive-in’s heyday. Throughout the ‘50s and ‘60s, it reigned as a king of entertainment; it allowed families to enjoy a night out together, while also granting couples relative privacy during date nights. Drive-ins tended to play B movies, as opposed to top Hollywood films — which may have eventually contributed to the fall of the drive-in, but which made for some fun times in the intervening years. The transmission of sound for the movies originally relied on speakers; what began as large speakers hung from the screen itself later gave way to smaller, individual speakers that attached to each car. Later still, the speakers were jettisoned altogether in favor of broadcasting the sound over AM or FM radio: Each car tuned its radio to the correct frequency, allowing for the easy and relatively inexpensive transmission of the film’s soundtrack.

But by the ‘70s, the drive-in began to go the way of all things. The B movie fare that served as most drive-ins’ bread and butter eventually began to hurt it, with the lack of quality films sending more people to indoor first-run cinemas instead. Furthermore, many drive-ins had fallen into a state of disrepair; their unsavory appearance (as well as the accompanying unsavory activities that often occurred at them) subsequently destroyed their reputation as family-friendly entertainment destinations. The advent of cable and home video in the ‘80s further drove the idea into obsolescence: The relative privacy initially afforded by viewing films from one’s car was nothing compared with the privacy of viewing them from the comfort of your own home. As a result, countless drive-ins across the U.S. have wound up abandoned, their screens tattered, their concession stands trashed, and their parking spaces overgrown.

Though uncommon today, the drive-in hasn’t died out entirely; they can still be found in almost every state in the U.S. — if you know where to look. The website DriveInMovie.com has what is probably the most comprehensive listing of drive-in theaters by state, as well as a few options in Canada — head on over there to find the one nearest you. Myself? I have memories of spending the Fourth of July at one with my family during the summer of 1993. Located in New Hampshire by Weirs Beach, it kept the traditional double feature format of second-run films, opening with the third Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie and closing with Benny and Joon. At the time, drive-ins were a concept to me only, limited to what I saw during screenings of Grease during sleepovers with my friends and a lunchtime adventure at Disney World’s Sci-Fi Dine-In restaurant during a trip we took several years before.

Not going to lie: It was a pretty magical experience. It had the same clandestine air that light night drives always hold for small children, with the added bonus of including one of my favorite obsessions of the time (that is, the Ninja Turtles. Because, I mean… Ninja Turtles). I fell asleep during Benny and Joon and subsequently missed seeing a moose almost run into our car on the way home; I regret missing the moose, but the rest of the experience has stuck with me over the years in a way most movie-going experiences don’t. It’s worth going once, just to see what it’s like. I promise.

See you at the movies.

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The Most Dangerous Games: Frequently Asked Questions

bell book candle

It occurred to me a few weeks ago that an FAQ pertaining to the myriad games and rituals we’ve talked about here in The Most Dangerous Games might be useful; as such, here’s my attempt to provide one. The questions you’ll find here hail from a variety of places: Some of them were left in the comments for specific games by you, Gentle Readers; others are things I’ve found in my analytics for the site (that is, terms which, when Googled, tend to lead people here); and still others are questions I found floating around the Internet myself. I’m by no means an expert on any of these games or rituals, but I’ve tried my best to dig up a few answers through research, by applying what I know about similar rituals, and so on and so forth.

What follows isn’t an all-encompassing FAQ, but it might be a good place to start. I can always keep adding to it as necessary, so if you’ve got another question you’d like to see answered, leave it in the comments — I’ll see what I can do.

The Three Kings:

What if I have to leave my home and I have pets?

Take them with you. The safest thing, though, would probably be to make sure they’re out of the house before you begin the ritual — have them spend the night with a friend or another trusted pet sitter. Besides the fact that you’ll have to gather them up and transport them elsewhere in the event of a red flag occurring, they also might affect the ritual itself. What if your dog starts scratching at the door to your throne room while you’re in the middle of the ritual? What if your cat wanders into the throne room while you’re sleeping? The unpredictability caused by the presence of a pet might cause some undesirable (and possibly dangerous) results.

What actually happens if you stay in the house?

Nothing good, although I think it varies from person to person.

What happens if you look directly at or in the mirrors?

According to FableForge, there’s “some risk of psychological trauma” if you face either of the mirrors directly at any point during the ritual. Weird shit happens when you look into mirrors in the dark; given that a lot of what happens during the Three Kings ritual stems from what’s already going on in your own brain and/or subconscious, you could end up seeing something that seriously fucks with your head (remember Troxler’s Fading and the Caputo Effect?). Wrote FableForge on r/ThreeKings:

“I’ve seen people who saw crazy surreal stuff and were able to forget it after a while, and I’ve also seen people who simply saw themselves but with a certain wrong facial expression, and could never get over it…. I suspect that facing a mirror implies agreeing with its premise, to the point where the anthropomorphized expression takes over and dominates over all other options. It’s not ‘possession’ precisely, since after all it’s just a side of yourself taking over, but it’s still not something I’d like to go through if I could help it.”

Interestingly, though, FableForge also noted that one of the people who helped him/her develop the original set of instructions held that the biggest risk isn’t facing one of the mirrors — it’s turning your back to the other one.

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Creepypasta of the Week: “Lost Episodes”

televisionPreviously: “Mereana Mordegard Gelsgorv.”

What if all those “lost” episodes of familiar television shows that pop up so frequently in creepypasta tales weren’t just… “found?” What if they all came from the same place? What if someone — one, solitary person — was responsible for every single one of them? That’s the possibility Slimebeast explores in the pasta simply and appropriately titled “Lost Episodes.” Like most of Slimebeast’s stories, this one is rather well-written, indeed; it riffs on a common theme in creepypasta, taking it and twisting it in new ways that leave you with a sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach.

I’ve included links to some of the specific pastas to which “Lost Episodes” refers at the bottom of this post, so scroll down to check ’em out; you can also find more of them in the “Lost Episodes” genre listing on the Creepypasta Wiki. 

I don’t want to burst anyone’s bubble, here… so if you believe in haunted “Lost Episode” legends and enjoy living in that world, maybe this isn’t the post for you.

Don’t get me wrong  I hate when people complain about “lack of realism” in entertainment, and I think all kids need to believe in Santa and the Tooth Fairy for as long as possible, but… this is different.

Back in the ’80s I met this dude, Sid, who used to cut old VHS tapes and shit. It was more than a hobby for him – it was pretty much his entire life. His parents were a bit more wealthy than I’d been blessed with, so when we were teenagers and I was slaving away at a “Skats” (Yes, Skats) fast food restaurant, he just hung out around the house, cutting tapes. All day. All night.

Of course, as you get older things in your past become a bit clearer and I think he might’ve been borderline autistic… or maybe he was a very high-functioning person with Asperger’s… but of course I’m no expert and I’m not saying that was the case. It’s just the best and quickest way I can think of to explain his personality and this obsession with cutting tapes, cutting tapes, cutting tapes.

It started when he saw Old Yeller as a little kid. For whatever reason, his parents let him watch that shit. If you’re unfamiliar with it, it’s the tale of a boy and his dog. I hope I don’t have to announce the spoiler on such an old-ass movie, but in the end the boy has to shoot his own dog because it’s rabid.

Sid didn’t appreciate this. His dad photographed and video-taped weddings, so he showed Sid how to operate some of the machines… and Sid cut out the ending, replacing it with an earlier, happier scene as if Old Yeller just suddenly “got better” offscreen.

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