Haunted Road Trip: The Los Feliz Murder House, Los Angeles, California

Los Feliz

Los Feliz, Los Angeles, California.

Previously: Boy Scout Lane.

All houses rumored to be haunted have one thing in common: A dark, tragic history. Sometimes, this “history” is nothing more than a fiction dreamed up after the fact to explain the house’s dilapidated appearance or unusual architecture — something that works from the outside in: It looks like this; therefore this must have happened. Sometimes, though, it works from the inside out: This happened; therefore it looks like this. And in these cases, the history actually is history — it’s absolutely, frighteningly true. It’s also how places earn names like “The Los Feliz Murder House.”

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Unresolved: What Happened To The Sodder Children After The Fire?

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Previously: Cicada 3301.

Whenever we think of horrifying, unsolved instances of children disappearing, the one that probably comes to mind first for most of us is the story of the Beaumont children. But although the Beaumont children are one of the most famous cases, they’re far from the only one — and some of them are even more perplexing. Like, for example, the case of the five missing Sodder children.

On Christmas Eve, 1945, the home of the Sodder family of Fayetteville, West Virginia, burned to the ground. This in and of itself is tragic enough; the family of 12 to whom the house belonged — parents Jennie and George Sodder and 10 children — lost literally all of their earthly belongings. But their belongings aren’t all that they lost: After that night, five of the Sodder children were never seen again.

Their remains were never recovered. We have no idea what happened to them.

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Creepypasta of the Week: “The Puppetmaster’s Regime”

puppets

Previously: “Pale Luna.”

As someone who worked in the theatre for many years, I have a soft spot for theatrically-minded creepypastas. “The Puppetmaster’s Regime” is one of them, and before you ask, no, it has nothing to do with the Puppet Master movie franchise. This one is about an ill-fated stage production allegedly mounted on Broadway in 1934, and it’s… kind of a doozy.

The choice to place the pasta’s titular musical as having been performed in 1934 is an interesting one; although of course things like operettas had existed for quite some time (as fans of Gilbert and Sullivan will know), a musical produced in the early ‘30s would have occurred during one of the most notable periods of modern theatrical history: The time at which musical theatre first began to resemble that which we think of it as being today. Beginning with 1927’s Showboat and continuing for the next several decades (1943’s Oklahoma! is typically pinpointed as Showboat’s corresponding bookend), song, book, and staging came together in way they never had before; moving away from the revue-style shows which had hitherto been the norm, pieces of musical theatre began, finally, to work towards telling one, single, cohesive story.

The musical at the heart of “The Puppetmaster’s Regime” is therefore perhaps a little ahead of its time — it appears to have been the sort of show that likely wouldn’t have been around much before the mid-‘40s.

But then again, maybe that’s the point.

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The Most Dangerous Games: The Closet Game

closetPreviously: Frequently Asked Questions, Vol. III.

The Closet Game is creepypasta in its purest form; its origin is unknown, and it’s pretty much always encountered in the same form, having been copied and pasted time and time again from various locations on the Internet. It appeared on the Creepypasta Wikia for some time, although the page was deleted in September of 2015. Regardless as to whether you know the creepypasta, though, the basic setup will likely sound familiar to anyone who grew up fearing that there was a monster in their closet.

The trope of the monster in the closet appears in a huge number of cultures across the globe. Part of the general “bogeyman” myth, the closet-dweller is El Cucuy in Latin American countries, Butzemeann in Germany, Boeman in the Netherlands, and Jumbi in Guyana. When he’s not hiding in the closet, he’s lurking under the bed, and his primary function is punishing naughty children by kidnapping them. The fact that he’s so prevalent in so many different areas of the world suggests a rather primal fear of the dark… and what might be lurking there, just outside of our field of vision.

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