Archive for the ‘Weird’ Category

The earliest guess for the beginnings of the catacombs in the Ukraine is about the 1600’s. It could be earlier than that but it’s hard to date back as they were also widened later on. They became the giant labyrinth of today when in the early 1800’s the limestone was used from them to build much of the city.

The myriad of tunnels led to it being popular for hideouts, rebels and criminals could use them and during WWII they Soviets were forced out, but were able to leave Soviet-organised Ukranian’s hidden down there. They were able to listen in to the Nazi forces above and set up a situation where they managed to blow up German facilities. It wasn’t all good news as malaria and malnutrition affected those men and women.

The Facist German and Romanians chose random exits, sealing them off and and dropping poisonous gasses down them. When the war was over the criminals claimed the tunnels and created new ones of their own. In 1961 a group was formed, they wanted to map and document the geography and history of the place.

It is common for groups of explorers to go into the area, occasionally people do go missing and if they are in the area the explorers will rally to help. A number of children have been rescued this way but sadly it hasn’t always turned out positive. Old weapon caches and grenades are sometimes found, every five years or so a body is found and on rare occasions they have been naturally mummified there too. Many are old bodies but sometimes more recent accidents have turned up a corpse as well.

A sad example of this occurred 15th January 2005, the local teens were partying in the tunnels. A girl called Masha was separated and lost during the drunken celebrations. For 3 days she walked around in the pitch black and freezing conditions, where she then expired due to dehydration. It was two years later the police located her body and could retrieve it.

There is an official area that can be visited and perhaps given the warnings of lost people and random body finds, I’d recommend going there before being too bold.

Odessa kat 01.jpg
By Полищук Денис Анатольевич – Own work, CC BY 2.5, Link



It’s a famous media broadcast now, it’s also a very gripping thing to listen to as well. The original book is a work by H G Wells that started life as a serialisation by the English author.

The Martians have been plotting an invasion to Earth that’s to their own diminishing resources. In the book the events of the invasion are set in motion in Woking, Surrey but Orson Welles transfers them to America. Wells no doubt picked his location as it was local and he knew how to describe things with familiarity and if you pop over to Woking at any point you can locate a 23 feet high sculpture of a tripod fighting machine, ‘The Martian’ near the local railway station.

I’m not going into the plot, the reviews or such like but it is worthy of note because of films and of course the above-mentioned broadcast. That’s the bit I am going to look at it here for now.

George Orson Welles, 6th May 1915 to 10th October 1985 was involved in the business of entertainment and is famous for the film Citizen Kane, 1941 amongst other things but this is a blog for weird and interesting things, and I’ve picked out the 1938 broadcast of the War of the Worlds which, supposedly, sent thousands of American people into a mass panic about the alien invasions in their home states…

CBS radio invited Orson Welles to create a summer show that would last 13 weeks, the series began 11th July 1938 and the adaptation for H G Wells book aired 30th October 1938. It brought Orson Welles instant fame, the broadcast itself really is worth a listen to and you can sit back and appreciate it yourself if you wish.

There was supposedly a mass panic from people convinced of its validity, that aliens truly landed and it’s this bit I am looking at, were people really panicking so much that they would run from their homes in masses?

1.7 million listened to the broadcast and polls calculated that 1.2 million ‘were excited’ and mostly the reports seem to have been anecdotal. Cantril interviewed 135 people who cited some colourful claims about grabbing guns or packing up in a panic. It would hardly have been unusual for a busy area to have fast moving traffic and other rambunctious behaviours at the time so this was not entirely unexpected. Grovers Mill, New Jersey was not blasted by alien lasers or any such thing but the media took the story of the panic and without looking at data it might even be assumed claims of heart attacks and suicides were another effect but again, there was not noticeable shows in the data to support this. Miller countered Cantril’s claims and just did not seem to match up to the 1 million plus listeners.

American Telephone Company figures suggested a 40% rise in calls, again however, they did not lead to anything specific and it was just a higher record in some parts of New Jersey.

He also mentions that there is a notable other broadcast with the results of frightening some listeners, 31st October 1974 at Rhode Island, and one in Northern Portugal 1988 but they were not reported to on the same level. The same sort of thing appears in a 2010 publication by W Joseph Campbell and, they in turn also look at media myths or fake news and include the press reports of the panic-stricken US citizens.

31st October, 1938 Daily News of New York’s front page encapsulates the news with the title “FAKE RADIO ‘WAR’ STIRS TERROR THROUGH U.S’. The New York Times gave us ‘Radio Listeners in Panic, Taking War Drama as Fact.’  The Detroit News went with ‘War Skit on Radio Terrifies Nation’ and The Boston Daily Globes ran with ‘RADIO PLAY TERRIFIES NATION’.

But was all of this remotely correct or fake news? Well in short, no, CE Hopper Company did the 2% response to people listening to it because most people were listening to NBC. The poll was conducted for 5000 people, so 100 people of 5000 were listening? Frank Stanton of CBS also said they were never censored for it because most people hadn’t even heard the show.

6 weeks after the broadcast it was admitted to, the figures were largely skewed and descriptions like disturbed or excited were inflated to ‘panic’. It did get enough hype that Adolf Hitler cited the panic as ‘evidence of the decadence and corrupt condition of democracy’.

So why?

Well in short radio was being seen as a threat to newspapers, they could use a few isolated cases as a way to make it sounds like these types of shows were an example of this terrible new media being irresponsible and untrustworthy. The Telegraph (UK paper) says that a woman tried to sue CBS for $50,000 thank to nervous shock but it was dismissed and a man tried to claim for shows as he’d spent that money on a train ticket, Welles was said to have paid for those.

There was indeed action taken that night, the police came to the station and one minute from the end of the show they were trying to shut it down. It played out and as a result Paul White, the head of CBS News, was summoned over. Welles found out later and was convinced it would end his career, but it didn’t.

Some listeners had turned in part way through and this seems to be where the reports started. Again, though it was very much a case of over-exaggeration and it does also seem that the repeated broadcasts about it being fictional could have fallen to few ears, a case of a small audience from the previous show affecting it too.

Let’s also put this into context, at the time a German Invasion was a possibility, rumblings of the inevitable war were a reality and was it so hard to imagine those who were affected and lured in part way through might have thought it was something to do with that?

Hadley Cantril calculated a 6 million strong audience, but it was then 1.7 million later on and yet this calculation seems flawed. He had doubled the usual audience and had tried to work on the idea not ever listener had a phone too. He summarised many reactions into panicked and yet quite a number had thought it was more of a prank than a reality.

No admissions for shock were made at Newark Hospital at that time, and there were no spikes in admission at New York either. Washington Post claimed a man died from a heart attack but the claim was not verified and Snopes also places this as mostly false.

So here is my summary – firstly its put Grovers Mill on the map for tourists like me who enjoy a bit of quirky history, radio hasn’t been stopped by the papers and vice-versa. I am quite sure we can safely say the average U.S citizen would have noticed laser space blasting Martians at the time and I, for one, love the broadcast. Thank you, H G Wells and Orson Welles, you gave me a great piece of history to look back on (and no I don’t rate the latest War of the Worlds film if you were wondering.)


Robert E Bartholomew, Little Green Men, Meowing Nuns and Head-Hunting Panics



Google Books

Project Gutenburg

A minor island of Naples, Italy, that sits in a protected region of the Gaiola Underwater Park, the island consists of two islets with one that has a solitary villa and the other is uninhabited. There is a small narrow bridge connecting the two.

It was originally known as Euplea and had a small temple to Venus on it. There do seem to be other ruins and under the water beneath there are more that are now the homes for various marine creatures. Some people believe that the poet Virgil taught at the ruins too. In the 19th Century a hermit, known as the Wizard, resided there and soon after there came the construction of the villa. It was at one point owned by an author, Norman Douglas. It is a serene place and a getaway island for someone but is currently abandoned and here are some tales about it.

In the 1920’s a Swiss named Hans Braun owned the island, he was found murdered and wrapped up in a rug. Not long after his wife drowned in the sea. The next owner was German Otto Grunback, he died of a heart attack on the island, (really not unusual for someone to go that way). Another owner, German, Baron Karl Paul Langheim then dragged himself into economic ruin by his ‘wild living’ and another owner was the head of Fiat, Gianni Agnelli. His only son committed suicide.

The last in a series of owners who had tragedy in their midst was Gianpasquale Grappore, he was placed in jail when his insurance company failed. The rumours are that the island is cursed. It could just be that it is a series of high profile people who’s lives have had a lot of media attention bringing fuel to the tales. What do you think?

Isoletta della Gaiola (Napoli) 02.jpg
By Gianfranco Vitolo –, CC BY 2.0, Link


It is a cemetery in the Gorbal’s district, Glasgow, Scotland and was opened in 1840 to provide more affordable burials; there are over 250,000 burials there on various layers of the place. The Old Gorbals cemetery was vastly overcrowded, this is not unusual for the time period, London and many major cities around the UK were opening more graveyards to compensate for the lack of space in those already established.

The proposals for a new cemetery started in 1839 and the following year the land was purchased and the first burial commenced. The first soul laid to rest there was 16-month old and occurred 21st July 1840. The three sections opened as follows: Central in 1840, Eastern in 1846 and Western in 1850. In 1954 the cemetery suffered from a large group of children who were committed to hunting down a vampire that they believed was buried in the cemetery. The incident sparked it’s own urban legend, a vampire had killed two children. The influence for this was blamed on American horror comics like Tales from the Crypt, despite no evidence for the reason being the comics the moral outrage led to an increased comic censorship.

23rd September 1954 PC Alex Deeprose was called out and expected to deal with a case of vandalism, instead he was met with hundreds of children from around 4 years old up to 14. They were armed with sticks and knives and were patrolling around inside the cemetery. They told the constable that they were looking for a 7 foot tall vampire, with iron teeth and had that he had kidnapped and eaten two local boys.

The rumours started in the playground, and there was a Chinese whisper emerging that they were going to head out there after school. At three o’clock that day the school emptied and children headed to the graveyard, gathering around the walls. Some were too scared to go in and stayed outside. There were no records of missing children at the time and the only blame they could come up with – comics.

Newspapers at the time took the tale and ran with it, the children turned up a second evening running and the headmaster of a local school had told them it was a ridiculous tale and eventually had the crowd dispersed.

Some of the other people in the area pointed out that they had got little reason to blame comics, after all the children were taught the bible. Daniel 7.7 specifically mentions a monster with iron teeth in it. The political frenzy however meant blaming comics was far more convenient. A local man explained that they would threaten the local children with the Iron Man before then, it was meant to be a sort of bogeyman affair but the political agenda against the comics made a better fit for the reason.

The cemetery is now operated by Glasgow City Council and is protected as a listed Category B building with the entrance listed as Category A. The cemetery also has 11 Commonwealth burials.

Glasgow. Southern Necropolis. Thomas Lipton's grave

So it’s not secret by now that I find subjects like this very interesting, apart from EVP’s and videos of bizarre interferences I find any electronic signals to be interesting, such as numbers stations for example. I realise that one of the ones I had not raised here was the concept of being called beyond the grave.

Is the telephone a way to make a last goodbye? To give a deceased person a change to make one last communication before moving on? Quite extensive research has been made, Phone Calls From the Dead (1979) by D Scott Rogo and Raymond Bayless, was the result of their two year research into the matter. In 2012 another book by Callum E Cooper also picked up the subject.

The types of calls appear to fall into three main categories and one is where the witness receives a call from someone who died, sometimes not that recently but either way for the most part the witness knows that the caller is dead and it is rare that they are not aware of it when the call comes in.

Another variation is that the witness gets a call from the deceased but discover their death afterwards. Often it seems to come from the phone of a relative or friend and they did not call, but for an unknown reason had thought about calling them, the voice is unusually strong compared to the faded static type. Some witnesses said it was odd because that person sounded quite mechanical or possibly even drunk.

A rarer but report case is also noted of people calling to the deceased, not intentionally, to find that the conversation they’d had should not have been possible. The person that answered was dead or perhaps the person they should have been talking too was not even in that place at the time.

One of the most famous incidents of this type is by Charles E Peck’s calls on 12th September 2008. At 4:22pm a commuter train with 225 people on board collided with a freight train in San Fernando’s Valley, California, and the 49 year old Charles Peck was on board. 25 people died, 135 were injured and of the injured they sent 87 to hospital, 46 were in a critical condition.

Peck had been travelling for a job in another area, he could then plan his wedding to his second wife once they were closer together, Andrea Kalz was his fiancée and from his prior marriage he had three fully grown children. Andrea heard about the crash on the radio whilst heading to the station to collect him. Peck;s parents and siblings already lived in the area and they came to join her whilst they waited for news.

In the first eleven hours of the wait there were calls from his cellphone suggesting that he was alive. Calls were made to his son, brother, stepmother, sister and fiancée. In all there were 35 calls and they would answer to hear static, understandably they would call back but the call then went to voicemail. The calls meant that the crews were prompted to use his signal to aid in the search, they looked again into the location and at 12 hours after the crash they found him.

Peck was deceased, declared dead on the scene and the resulting investigations showed he had died on impact. Long past his death his cell phone had carried on reaching out to loved ones. Unfortunately they were unable to retrieve the phone or there is no evidence that it was found.

Interestingly enough in regards to the Peck case, it seems that Snopes have decided that there was enough evidence to class this as true.

An Article on that matter