Archive for November, 2015

A woman stumbled into Ennery, Haiti on 24th October 1936 in a terrible state. Her eyes were diseased and her eyelashes had fallen out, she was dressed in rags and walking barefoot. She hated direct sunlight and is cited as a famous zombie case, brought to the Western culture by American folklorist and anthropologist Zora Neale Hurston. She was looking for some confirmation about the zombie phenomena because of soldiers and sailors bringing back stories about them.

‘Felicia’ was said to have spoken in a very flat and emotionless way, she displayed little interested in anything and her laugh was flat and lacked real mirth. She was quite indifferent to events around her and an X-ray taken put into doubt that she might ever have been Felicia as they did not match, the original woman had suffered a fractured leg but there was no sign of this on the recently deceased woman.

The woman attracted a crowd and a local family, the Mentors, said she looked like a deceased relative called Felicia who died in 1907, aged 29 years-old. She was taken home to the family but was transferred to a state hospital a few days later. Hurston thought that what had happened was due to drugs or poison and not due to black magic.

The case for the drug/poison case is due to the postulation that tetrodotoxin (derived from puffer fish) is used in the bokor’s mixture used in Black Magic rituals. Wade Davis went out to look into it and found that they made their ‘zombie powders’ from various animal parts and plants. It was the use of this in various formats that could cause the brain-washed and lethargic nature of the victims they chose, before burial they looked dead and the bokor would then ‘revive’ them later. To get the dosage right would be something precise too, it could fail as often as it was recorded to succeed, and a bokor is hardly likely to hand over their secrets that easily either.

Dr Louis P Mars suggested that rather than her being a case as a zombie she was more likely to have been suffering schizophrenia. Unfortunately it was only a few weeks of survival, she died in the hospital.

Another interesting fact about these zombie cases is that it is a criminal offence in Haiti, under the Haitian Penal Code (Article 246) it is illegal to create a zombie, it is on par with murder only the victim is technically still alive.

z2

A small note on the picture. Whilst most sites are using this picture as Felicia I cannot verify this as her actual image.

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20th August 1966, two Brazilian men died, Manod Pereira de Cruz and Miguel José Viana. On that afternoon a young man was flying his kite and reported the bodies he found to the police, the police managed to get out there the next day.

The bodies were in a strange condition both lay beside each other slightly covered by the grass. They wore formal suits, they had a lead eye mask and a waterproof coat on each. There were no signs of violence or trauma, beside them the police found an empty bottle of water and a packet with two wet towels inside. The police also found a notebook with cryptic instructions, the translation being:

16:30 be at the agreed place. 18:30 swallow capsules, after effect, protect metals, wait for mask signal.

The men were two electronic technicians and an investigation attempted to reconstruct the events.

17th August, Cruz and Viana left their city saying they needed materials for work. They got the bus to Niterói and evidence suggests the coats and water were brought there. When the water was brought at the bar the waitress said Viana seemed very nervous and he kept checking his watch. It’s the last time they were seen alive.

By the time an autopsy was conducted the internal organs were too decomposed for toxicology, three men in total around the area have been found with those lead masks. One was found four years later on a hill near the original site. All three were technicians and part of the same group ‘Scientific Spiritualists’ and it seems they may have built a machine that exploded but there was nothing about the injuries mentioned so again I cannot be sure about that score. However it seems the most likely explanation would be a drugs overdose and yet we will never likely be told the full story.

Here is a wonderful Skeptoid Episode on the matter.

Manoel Pereira da Cruz e Miguel José Viana

As unsolved cases go this is one that carries on being cited when I am doing my usual creepy tales and oddities searches. Lily Lindeström was found dead on May 4th, 1932, she was 32 years of age when she died. The Atlas Vampire is the nickname of her unidentified assailant.

Lily was a prostitute who was found murdered in her small apartment in the Sank Eriksplan, Atlas area of Stockholm, Sweden. She was known to have entertained her clients in her home which was a fairly small and dank little abode, and would have been referred to as a “call girl” as her apartment contained a phone from which she would also have been able to arrange her meets. She had been dead for a couple of days, her skull had been crushed and the detectives noticed someone had been drinking her blood.

She had last been seen by her friend Minnie Jansson (35 years old), she’d borrowed condoms twice in one night from Minnie.  Minnie was also another sex worker. The last of the two times Lily was naked under her coat and was not seen again for a couple of days. Her friend decided that it was time to go to see her and tried the doorbell but got no reply, this is when she raised the alarm.

The police forced themselves in to find her corpse on the sofa with her clothes folded up on the chair nearby. Her skull had been dealt repeated crushing blows but more gruesome than that were the signs that someone had been drinking her blood! There were traces of saliva on her neck and body, and so they feared the blood had been drank due to this and the fact they found a blood stained gravy ladle. She had been dead for between two or three days and they were able to retrieve the evidence of sexual activity before her death, they retrieved a used condom from her anus during their investigations. 

There has never been anyone brought to justice for her strange murder. The police interviewed her known clients, and it does seem quite likely that the last client she saw was also her killer. This case was before the days of DNA and so might well have been something modern forensics would have addressed but they could not, so the question of who owned the saliva and where all the blood went continues to remain unanswered.

As with many things in today’s media Lily has not escaped the trappings of being used as a creepypasta. It’s certainly not the worst thing I have ever read, and in fact with grammatical errors aside for a short story it reads pretty well. Though it’s up to you if you think it’s worth a read… the links there if you want it.

Vampirmordet 1932 Polismuseet

The pneumatic railway was built near Crystal Palace in South London, around 1864 and was effectively a vacuum-driven train that ran for about a year. The power came from a giant steam-powered fan and the fan was reversed for the return journey where the carriage used brakes at each end. Remnants of the tunnel were uncovered around 1992 in the Crystal Palace Gardens.

In 1978, 19 year old Pamela Goodsell claimed she had found the tunnel and within it was an old railway carriage. Her story also included the bizarre details that the occupants were in the train still and were skeletons still dressed in their Victorian garb. The tunnel however was not found at that stage, some believe it was destroyed by construction work in 1911 for the Festival of Empire celebrations. The celebrations were to celebrate the coronation of King George V.

The story may have more origins as a creepy tale in the 1930’s from local school children, the exact origin of the story does not seem to have been found however. The children’s tale says the tunnel was shut down as a commuter train was trapped when the tunnel collapsed. The local tale goes that they couldn’t get out the train or the passengers and so walled it up with the souls left trapped inside. From looking around on the internet if there ever was a train there then it was more likely retrieved and used for scrap not left buried with people inside.

I cannot help but think it’s more likely a themed ride at Disney than an actual event! It makes for a good story… but I am going to go with urban legend on this one.

Crystal Palace Athmosperic Rly.1864

A German submarine built in 1916 had trouble only a week after it was launched, mysterious events occurred and an unusually high number of fatalities occurred on board. The first of the events came when a steel beam swung out of position and the chains broke, it crashed to the ground and a worker there died immediately, a second died only two hours later from the injuries he had sustained.

When testing the vessel ready to be declared seaworthy they had further troubles, one of the crew members ended up swept overboard whilst inspecting the hatches. He was never seen again, presumed to have died in the accident.

Whilst loading torpedoes the Second Officer, Lieutenant Richter, was killed when one dropped and exploded. In the engine room a malfunction set off fumes that killed three men because no one reached them in time. During a storm a crewman went overboard, but onlookers said it looked more like he’d been pushed. On one occasion UB65 was preparing to dive and a crewman saw someone standing on deck. The figure turned his way and the lookout recognised him as the Second Officer that had been killed, his terrified yell meant the captain also saw it before it disappeared.

There were enough sightings around the sub it had the reputation of being haunted. It made it harder to get crewmen to work on her. A torpedo gunner witnessed something that disturbed him so much he jumped overboard, he had said that the ghost would torment him at night, his body was never recovered. In the end the German Naval Command felt forced to investigate and asked a priest to perform an exorcism.

July 10th 1918 it had all been quiet but that day a crewman claimed to have had a run in with the Second Officer. Later that day an American sub spotted the UB65 and prepared to attack; suddenly as they were making checks the UB65 sub exploded without warning and when the smoke cleared all they could see was debris and no survivors.

The results of the investigation showed that the UB65 had attempted to fire her torpedoes but there had been a malfunction and they exploded inside the submarine. In all accounts with the Second Officer it seems he had been trying to communicate with the crew, suggesting that he was trying to act as a death omen. Certainly it seems that for a two year life of a submarine she claimed quite a few lives.