The Remains Of Jacob Wetterling, Missing Since 1989, Have Been Found, Drawing To A Sad Close A 27-Year-Old Mystery


Bittersweet news today: The remains of Jacob Wetterling,  a Minnesota boy who has been missing since 1989, have been identified, drawing an almost 27-year-old mystery to a close. According to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, the remains were found on Sept. 1, 2016 on a farm in Paynesville, Minn., which is located about 30 miles away from Jacob’s hometown of St. Joseph; the Stearns County Sheriff’s Office confirmed on Saturday that according to dental records, the remains belong to Jacob. Further DNA testing will be carried out by the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension in the coming weeks.

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Land Of Oz Amusement Park At Beech Mountain, NC Will Be Open Fridays In June During The Summer Of 2016

Tucked away atop Beech Mountain in North Carolina is a tiny town that bears the same name as the mountain that houses it. The population is small — only several hundred people — and besides the fact that Beech Mountain is geographically the highest town in the United States east of the Rocky Mountains, making it a good spot for skiing, there isn’t much else to draw people there. It does, however, have something completely unique that’s worth visiting — as long as you can get in, that is. Your next opportunity is coming up soon, too: The Land of Oz theme park will be open on weekends in June in 2016, so if you’ve always wanted to see it, now would be the time to get planning.

Land of Oz isn’t precisely abandoned, which is why I’ve never included it in any of the editions of “Abandoned” I’ve written over the past several years. However, it’s also not fully functional, opening only for very brief periods at a few key points during the year. One of those times is during the fall, for the annual Autumn at Oz festival; and one is during the summer for select weekends. These events have been running since roughly the late ‘90s, and now they’re a much-beloved part of Beech Mountain’s cultural landscape.

The Wizard of Oz-themed park first opened in 1970, the creation of Jack Pentes and Grover Robbins, who had previously seen success with his Tweetsie Railroad park in Blowing Rock, NC (which, by the way, is still open today).  The idea was to make Beech Mountain not just a ski resort, but a year-round attraction, with visitors interacting with the story of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz as if they had stepped right into Dorothy’s silver shoes (or ruby slippers, depending on whether you’re following the book’s mythology or the movie’s). There weren’t rides in the traditional sense; the park was more of a walk-through experience hinging on the source material’s emotional journey.

Robbins sadly passed away shortly before the opening of Land of Oz, although the park operated for 10 years. Hard times, however, caused Land of Oz to close in 1980, and for many years thereafter, it existed in a state of disrepair, vandalized and with key elements stripped from the property by trespassers.

In 1990, though, a project called Emerald Mountain was launched, and in the decades since, Emerald Mountain has restored Land of Oz — although these days, it’s less of a theme park and more of “an enchanting private garden,” as Emerald Mountain’s website puts it. Dorothy’s farm and the gazebo have been brought back to their former glory; water-based elements of the park’s landscaping — fountains, waterfalls, and the like — have been made operational again; and the yellow brick road has been put back in order. You can rent the place for weddings and parties, and again, for a handful of moments throughout the year, the park is open to the general public for a relatively inexpensive price of admission — usually around $12, plus a $10 ticket for the ski lift to the property, which must be purchased separately.

This year, Land of Oz presents Journey With Dorothy, with tours occurring on June 3, 10, 17, and 24 — all Fridays — on the half-hour every hour from 10:30am to 3:30pm. Tickets are $12.50, plus the aforementioned $10 lift ticket; they’re limited, though, so you’d better move fast. The flora and fauna have grown a little wild, so be warned that the park’s pathways aren’t super accessible — but I mean, come on. It’s Oz. Who wouldn’t want to check that out?

Head over to Emerald Mountain’s website for more about the history of the park and to the official Land of Oz website for more about Journey With Dorothy. Just follow the…

…Well, you know how it goes.

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Are Taxi Drivers In Japan Really Picking Up The Ghosts Of The 2011 Tsunami? A Look At The Legend Of The Vanishing Hitchhiker


An interesting little story has been circulating the Internet for the past couple of weeks: Apparently taxi drivers in Ishinomaki, Japan have reported picking up the ghosts of the victims of the 2011 tsunami and earthquake that caused the Fukushima nuclear disaster. I think there’s a lot of fascinating stuff to unpack here, so let’s take a look, shall we?

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What To Do On Halloween


Watch Something

Here are some suggestions. Have fun, kids.


Play Something

Video games are always good. I’ve been saving Until Dawn for the perfect moment, and Halloween might just be the perfect occasion to crack it open. If you’re a PC gamer, Rock Paper Shotgun has an excellent list of mostly mainstream PC picks; for indie stuff, check out this post on Bloody Disgusting. Want something free? The r/horrorgaming subreddit has you covered.

Or, play a different sort of game. You know the kind I mean. I haven’t covered this one yet, but it must necessarily be performed right as the clock ticks over from October 30 to October 31, so now might be a good time to give it a shot.

Or not, depending on how lucky you’re feeling.

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‘Night Terrors’ Augmented Reality Smartphone Game Has the Potential to Be All Kinds of Amazing

By now, you guys have probably already heard about Night Terrors — but just in case you haven’t, here’s the basic rundown: Currently crowdfunding on Indiegogo, Night Terrors is an augmented reality smartphone game that has the potential to be so cool I almost don’t know what to do with myself. Seriously, you guys — I’m giddy just thinking about it. The premise is simple — save the cheerleader, save the world girl and survive your house — but it’s that last bit that’s the cool part. Mapped via your phone’s camera and viewed through your phone’s screen, the game actually takes place in your own home. If a spook pops out of the wall, you actually have to run away from it — literally. In terms of immersive storytelling, I haven’t seen something this exciting since Sleep No More, and never before in video games.

The best part? Pretty much all of the effects are being accomplished through practicals: Actors, puppets, and all of the magic that goes into a film with excellent special effects. Night Terror’s developer, Bryan Mitchell, was formerly a cinematographer; as such, he’s taking an extremely cinematic approach to building the game’s environment. As cool as CGI can be these days, I still think there’s something to be said for a good practical effect — something real, not just pixels — so that? Is incredibly exciting to me.

Check out the promo video up top, and head on over to Night Terror’s Indiegogo page to kick in a few bucks.

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The Search Terms from the Black Lagoon: The Hollow Earth, the Hello Kitty Doll of Clinton Road, and More Queries Answered

abandoned computer

Previously: Shortwave Spirit Radios and More.

Welcome back to The Search Terms from the Black Lagoon, in which I take the weird and unusual search terms that led people to The Ghost in My Machine and try to figure out exactly what you were looking for. I’ve been finding lately that the terms in my analytics are slightly less bizarre than they used to be; I suppose that’s the price I pay for my SEO being on point. In any event, though, there are still a few that might be worth exploring; let’s get started, shall we?

  1. “What is the center of the earth? Funny answer”

I’m assuming that a) your search brought you to the Well to Hell’s Encyclopaedia page, and b) you’re not interested in what’s actually at the center of the earth. Maybe you’re looking for some information about the Hollow Earth? It’s definitely been disproven many, many times, but it persists as a conspiracy theory even so.

  1. “Should I or shouldn’t I game instructions”

I suspect you’re looking for “Should I or Shouldn’t I? What Would Others Think?” It can be a useful developmental tool for elementary, middle, and high school students; it’s not, however, the kind of game you’ll generally find here at The Ghost in My Machine. Sorry if you ended up journeying down a rabbit hole you never wanted to find while looking for the appropriate game.

  1. “Is the poor house in Bangs, Ohio haunted?”

Like all abandoned places, the Knox County Poorhouse has its fair share of ghost stories. It’s up to you to decide whether you believe them or not. Although there used to be a high-octane (and totally fictional) haunted attraction called The House of Nightmares run out of the poorhouse’s ruins, it had to cease operation in 2006 after four floors of the place collapsed.

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The Search Terms from the Black Lagoon: Shortwave Spirit Radios, Telephone Booth Ghosts, and Other Queries Answered

abandoned computerPreviously: Something Chill and Slender in This World.

Welcome to another edition of The Search Terms from the Black Lagoon, in which I attempt to figure out exactly what you were looking for when you Googled your way to The Ghost in My Machine.

1. “How do you use short wave to hear ghosts”

I’m assuming this search brought you to the post on The Buzzer, which probably isn’t what you were looking for. This, however, might be: Spooky Tesla Spirit Radio. It’s a non-powered crystal radio which, when plugged into a computer, has been known to pick up some… odd noises. Instructions on how to build your own Tesla Spirit Radio can be found here; watch the video below to see one in action:

2. “Creepypasta about white room and slow building village”

“The White Room” from The Claverhouse Emails? Or “The Tale of Robert Elm?” Or maybe “Room?”

3. “I left my candle in the closet in a shoebox should I worry”

Not unless it’s lit; that would be an excellent way to burn your house down. If you’ve been trying to perform the Shoebox Telephone ritual, though, I’d be careful. There are no candles involved in the instructions; if, however, you return to your “phone booth” to find the shoebox open and a candle inside you know you didn’t put there, abort the mission.

4. “The bellwich machion haunting” [sic]

I wondered for a moment whether this was referring to a place called “Bellwich Mansion” or something, but I came up empty on that one. Maybe the search was meant to be “the bell witch machine haunting,” in which case it probably would have brought you to the Encyclopaedia entry about the Bell Witch. may be able to help if you’re looking for information about the surname “Bellwich,” though.

5. “Lulu wiki creepypasta”

Not the ghost baby? Interesting. It looks like this story has been deleted from the Creepypasta Wiki, but you can read “Lulu” here. You can also listen to it in the video below:

6. “Telephone booth ghost legends”

The most prominent ghost story involving a telephone booth on the Internet right now comes from Japan; it’s (surprise!) called “Phone Booth.” There’s also an urban legend about a phone booth ghost haunting some college campus somewhere (pick the nearest one to you and imagine it taking place there for the full effect); and lastly, according to Weird New Jersey, there’s a supposedly haunted phone booth in Berkeley Heights, NJ.

‘Til next time, Googlers!

[Photo via]

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