cover art for The Unsolved Abduction & Murder of Kelly Cook S01E10

Unsolved Mysteries of the World

The Unsolved Abduction & Murder of Kelly Cook S01E10

The village of Standard, Alberta is home to about 353 residents living a peaceful country lifestyle just 80 km from Alberta's largest city, Calgary. On April 22, 1981, however, big city crime, shocked the tiny village to the core. Standard would never be the same, and Alberta would be on edge.

15 year old Kelly Cook was abducted and later found murdered. Alberta would be on gaurd for years to come as the case bled into the psyche of every parent. To this day, the abduction and murder of Kelly Cook remains unsolved.

Investigators have worked tirelessly on the case for decades and there is a special room dedicated to the files for the Cook homicide which is filled to the roof with boxes and boxes of evidence. More than 2200 possible suspects have been looked at, and police confirm the case is still active.

RCMP believe this was a well planned crime. But let us delve into this further to see if there is another possibility.

Reports indicate that Kelly Cook received a phone call from a man identifying himself as Bill Christensen who asked her to babysit for him that evening. He explained he would pick her up at her residence. Kelly routinely babysat and although she did not recognize the name, the surname was a common one in that area. Crime was virtually none existent and residents would often leave doors unlocked. Kelly's friend Cindy Krabsen, who also babysat regularily, recalls Kelly was uneasy and asked if Cindy knew this Bill Christinsen person, but then Kelly reassured herself because she indicated to Cindy that when she asked if the man knew where she lived, he reassured her by providing the names of her next door neighbors.

At 8:30 PM a car pulled up in front of the Cook house and beeped his horn. The driver did not leave his care and Kelly walked out of her house and climbed into the automobile's front passenger seat and then the care simply drove off. Kelly Cook's younger sister Marnie, aged 12 at the time, watched this unfold from the basement window.

Later that night, concerned that Kelly had not called in to report where she was and that she had not returned home, they called the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. A quick local search yielded no results and as a result a massive local search was launched, but again yielded no results or even clues.

Police knew they were dealing with a dangerous person and had hopes that Kelly Cook would be found alive and immediately started pressing into the evidence they could gather. They traced the original call from the man identifying himself as Bill Christensen to a local gas station owned by Lee Abbott, which was several miles outside of Standard on Hwy 561 and The Trans Canada Highway. Police learned that Kelly Cook may not have been the intended victim as a witness came forward and identified herself as Kelly's friend. She had received a call from Bill Christensen on April 18th who phoned from The Standard Hotel Bar and who asked to have her babysit, however, she was not feeling well and was busy, so she passed along Kelly Cook's phone number as a back up.

Bar staff identify the man as having a rough attitude. He walked directly up to the bar and almost demands to use the telephone. He makes the call to Kelly's friend, buys a case of beer and gets annoyed about his change and leaves without evening saying thank you. They include a vague description of a tanned, heavy set man.

However, there are reports that a man who entered a local restaurant asking the waitress if she did babysitting and if she could help him out. The waitress gave Kelly Cook's friend's number, and she in turn gave the number of Kelly Cook.

A composite describes of the the man from all witnesses indicated the perpetrator as being about 30-40 years old, 5 10, 160 pounds medium to heavy build with a round face and swarthy complication. His hands and face were weather beaten but with short dark hair and clean shaven. He had a blue windbreaker with a possible logo on it. The car he was driving is reported as being a 1978 full sized Chrysler or GMC, light colour with possible Alberta plates.

If we are to believe these reports, then the perpetrator had not planned on a specific victim. He was most likely fishing for a young girl, any girl. But the question remains, why do this in such a small village where the relative amount of young girls is low and the chance of being identified high?

There are reports that the school at which Kelly Cook was attending received a telephone call just prior to the abduction. In March 1981, a photo ran in a local paper of a girl from a figure skating club. The Principle of the school recalls that a man indicated he saw the girl in the photo and wanted to know more about her. The Principle indicated it was not policy to reveal the girls name, address or phone number. The caller hung up. It seemed as if the perpetrator was looking for a specific type of girl and may have settled on Kelly Cook.

Police learned that at 10pm the evening of the abduction a call was placed to the operator from a payphone in Hussar, Alberta, only 25 km away. The operator reported that she hear the sound of a woman screaming and then the call was cut off. Police believe that this may very well have been Kelly Cook. Speculation is that the perpetrator stopped for gas, but at this hour, at that time, everything would have been closed. Did Kelly jump out of the vehicle in an attempt to escape? Or was she held captive near the payphone?

The two month in depth search for Kelly Cook ended on June 29th when her badly decomposed body was found in an irrgation canal 90 miles southeast of Standard. The discovery was made by two Taber youths riding motorcycles along Highway 36 along the shore of Chin Lake, a natural reservoir 25 miles east of Lethbridge.

The body was so badly deteriorated that the Calgary medical examination office was unable to determine how, or when, Kelly Cook died. Later, the press indicated they received reports that Kelly died of asphyxiation but she was not sexually assaulted, leaving investigators baffled as to the motive of her slaying. She was bound by the hands and feet by rope and anchored by two concrete blocks. The body was found several yards from shore, and 200 yards from the highway bridge. The body was only discovered because of the low levels of Chin Lake due to a drought. The RCMP subsequently dragged the lake in an unsuccessful search for additional clues, and a team of divers also conducted a fruitless exploration.

Following the discovery of her body, there was an eerie twist in the case. On July 2, 1981, a man went into the Calgary funeral home where Kelly's body was being kept and demanded to see the corpse. Attendants turned him away. Police still haven't been able to determine whether the man was her killer. Police say it was not common knowledge that Kelly's body was in that funeral home following the autopsy'.

RCMP Inspector George Foulon says investigators were searching for this man where Cook's body was being held after an autopsy before it was shipped to Standard. Foulon said the man walked into the funeral home during the early evening of July 2 claiming to be a friend of the Cook family and "requested to view the body." He was told he could not and he left.

The Cook family has told police they were unaware of any friends of theirs who had tried to view the body in the Calgary funeral home. Nor was it public knowledge that the body was in the funeral home. The man was described as being in his mid to late 30s, about five feet, 11 inches tall and 165 to 170 pounds. He was heavy set and had a dark complexion.

The man never came forward and was not identified.

Four and a half months after the abduction, girls in Canmore, Alberta, 2 hours west of Standard along Hwy 1 reported getting strange calls from a man, who's name was not remembered. The man was requesting a babysitter and said he would pick up the babysitter at their house and drive them. Suspicious of the request and that they did not recognize the name in a small town of 3000, each girl failed to provide the service to the man. RCMP were called and investigated but no leads surfaced other than the phone calls were placed by a man using a payphone and that he had called 11 girls and if a girl turned him down, he asked for referrals, just like Kelly Cook's abductor had done.

But let's back up a bit, before the abduction of Kelly Cook, before the creepy call to the school and before the search for a babysitter by the unidentified man.

On April 1, 1981 it is reported that Michelle Allan, aged 15, provided a warning to residents and children about a child abductor and that it is unsafe for anyone her age to be on the streets alone, even in a small community, like the one she resided in.

Michelle Allan's experience began near the Mayfair Theatre at about 6:30PM in Olds, Alberta which is 1.5 hours north of Standard Alberta. She was on walking toward the Theatre when a small care stopped opposite her. Seeing the American license plates, Michelle also stopped thinking that the lone occupant might need some directions. Instead, the driver got out, grabbed her and shoverd her into the car and took off toward Red Deer Alberta.

Michelle said the driver was frustrated with the selection of hotels in Red Deer so he continued on toward Edmonton. Again, in Edmonton he was dissatisfied with the selection and then drove back to Leduc where he stopped at the Leduc Inn. Once stopped, Michelle struggled with the driver and managed to get out of the vehicle where she began screaming for help. One man came to her assistance and then a crowd gathered. Police were called and Michelle and her abductor were taken into the RCMP officer. Michelle was reunited with her parents and facing charges was 44 year old Chester Keith Bordelon, of no fixed address, from Louisiana. He faced multiple charges including deportation.

It is unclear what exactly happened to Chester Keith Bordelon, if he was released on bail, or on a promise to appear, or was deported immediately or if he ever did time in jail. What is for certain is that he died in 2008 in Morrow, Louisiana. It is unknown if he had any charges or convictions. What is assumed is that he was from Louisiana, so would have had a tanned complexion, like the perpetrator in the Kelly Cook abduction and murder. What is known is that he was a child abductor and a sexual predator in 1981.

In 2017 Toronto Police stated they want to find child killer Dennis Melvin Howe by any means possible, and either dead or alive. Detective Sergeant Stacy Gallant of the cold case squad says no other killer equals Howe for the sheer evil and depravity that seers in his dark soul.

Howe raped and murdered a 9 year old and squished her body into a refrigerator. For more than three decades, detectives have scoured the earth for the elusive killer. No tip has been too outlandish for them to chase down. The road has led to heartache and nearly all leads have been dead ends.

For some, Howe is a suspect in the Kelly Cook case. Howe was last seen in Winnepeg, Manitoba in the early 1980s. Howe had a lengthy criminal record and spent almost 15 years in a Saskatchewan prison for assaulting women and girls.

Although no confirmed records show Howe in Alberta, it is possible he was there in 1981. He was born in Regina and it is said he visited Alberta in the past. Howe's whereabouts today are unknown.

Another interesting suspect is Robert Edward Brown, who was a junk yard worker and pig farmer who was arrested in 1983 for the murder of two girls, one in High River and another in Okotoks Alberta in 1981. The first was beaten to death and the other, a 16 year old female stabbed to death. Robert then poured gasoline on each of the bodies and burned them until only charred remains were left.

During police interviews Brown indicated he had committed other murders in Alberta and up to seven across Canada. He provided details not released to the public about some cases to which the police believe his narrative. In 1981 he was living in Blackie about an hour south of Standard Alberta.

However, Robert Brown will never divulge any more, as he was was knifed to death by a fellow inmate in 1986.

And then there is serial killer Terry Arnold, of St. Catharines Ontario. Terry moved to Winnipeg, Manitoba and then to Bentley Alberta. Terry was a troubled youth who found himself in and out of youth centres. His first relationship ended quickly when his new wife in 1980 found out about his kinky views about having sex with children. Arnold told her that if they had a daughter, he would have intercourse with her when she was old enough. She left her husband and was so terrified she aborted their baby. At this time he lived in Calgary Alberta and it is at this time, the killing started.

Some people believe that Terry Arnold's first victim may have been Kelly Cook. Psychiatrists said he had a high IQ and was very detail oriented and was bold. However, at the time of the abduction and murder of Kelly Cook, Terry was only 18 years old. However, witnesses in his other murders during this time say he looked much older, more like he was in his 30s. Terry Arnold was said to be living in Strathmore, minutes away from Standard in 1981. This is where the Standard figure skaters pictures were published and maybe even where they practised. Arnold's girlfiend at the time believed to be a Victoria Spakowski claimed that a local skating rink was their place for hanging out and socializing prior going to Winnipeg. Arnold may have seen or met or even known some of the Standard figure skaters. Barb Stoppel, a later murder victim of Terry Arnold had previously disclosed Arnold’s fascination and fixation with girls wearing the skaters costume of the day.

Terry Arnold worked across Canada and the United States as a hand for a travelling carnival. At this time, both Canadian Law Enforcement and the FBI suspect him of serial raping girls as young as 10 and murdering others across Canada and the US. In the 1990s he was convicted of raping four girls, aged 10, 11, 15 and 16 to which he only received 6 and half years in prison. Arnold was also the main suspect in the 1987 death of Calgary teen Denise Lapierre and the 1988 murder of Roberta Marie Ferguson, last seen getting into a car near Chilliwack, British Columbia. He was also a prime suspect in the unsolved murder of Barbara Stoppel, aged 16 in Winipeg. Authorities believe he may have raped and murder dozens of young girls in Florida, Virginia, Texas, Oklahoma New York and even in Mexico.

Terry Arnold was serving a life sentence for the 1987 killing of Christine Browne, aged 16 near Kelowna BC after she had refused to have sex with him.

Recently a Calgary woman has come forward, claiming Arnold raped and sodomized her as the nine-year-old daughter of one of Arnold's Calgary girlfriends in the 1980s. The traumatized woman has spent the ensuing years fighting depression, alcoholism, working as a stripper and dealing with her anger that the man who victimized her could roam the country for so long without being caught.

Terry served only five years of his life sentence and then won a new trial on appeal after he argued some documents available to the Crown had not been made available to him. Terry is rumoured to have also made some very loose confession about murdering Cook, but it is not publicly available.

But like the previous suspect, Terry took the secrets with him to the grave. At age 42, he ended his own life in an apparent drug overdose suicide. He left a suicide note that did not include any confessions. In fact, he declared his innocence. He was scheduled to appear on child porn charges.

The Kelly Cook investigation remains open as law enforcement believe the perpetrator is still alive.

Between 1981 and 1986, more than 20 RCMP investigators have been handed the Cook file and today it still remains active. All have reviewed it with a fresh outlook, but in the end all have come to the same conclusion: not a stone has been left unturned in the search. Over the years the murder file has been shifted from investigator to investigator for a fresh look, yet all of them have been stumped.

Law enforcement strongly believe the killer and police have crossed paths at some time during the investigation, which has exhausted thousands of man hours.

Police believe they have spoken with the killer at least once.

Although Standard town residents are disappointed the case remains unsolved, they are not critical of the police. Most say the police have done everything they can.

Witnesses described the man as 30–45 years old in 1981, making him about 63–78 today. He was around 178 centimeters (5’10″) in height with a medium to heavy build and dark hair. There is currently a $120,000 reward being offered to anyone with information.

Rumours abound in 2017 that police have a suspect in mind and are investigating. Any tips, are essential in bringing justice to Standard and for Kelly Cook and her family.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Serious Crimes Branch South Airdrie “K” (AB) Division at 403-420-4900 or Crime Stoppers 1-800-222-8477.

More episodes

View all episodes


    This is Season 6's Halloween Special.We are LIVE recording from Ancaster, Ontario's infamous and reportedly haunted Mafia Tunnel.
  • 16. The True & Complete Story of the Exorcism of Anneliese Michel

    Anneliese Michel was born in Germany on September 21, 1952. She grew up in a devoutly, somewhat extreme, Catholic family. Pictures of her taken in her childhood show a vibrant, pretty girl on her way to becoming a gorgeous woman. She had shining black hair, an open, honest face and a stunning smile. By the time she was 23-years-old, she was emaciated, heavily bruised, scarred and deranged. She was supposedly taken over by demons and fought for nearly eight years before finally losing her battle with evil. Later, her death was labeled negligent homicide, but was there anything anyone could have done for Anneliese Michel? Were those who were with Anneliese really fighting Satan?
  • The Haunted Old Idaho State Penitentiary Bonus Episode

    On Friday, April 13, 1951, Troy Powell and Ernest Walrath were executed at the Idaho State Penitentiary for the crime of murder in the 1st degree, a crime both young men confessed and plead guilty to. The execution took place outside the walls of the prison in #2 yard, away from other inmates. It serves as Idaho's only double execution to date, as well as the youngest men to be sent to the gallows in Idaho's history. This bonus episode explores the crime and the perspectives of a former retired Idaho supreme court justice, the daughter of Walrath and Powell's attorney, and the current historic sites administrator at the Old Idaho Penitentiary.
  • 15. The Haunted Old Idaho State Penitentiary Part Three

    Welcome to Unsolved Mysteries of the World Season 6 Episode 15, The Old Idaho Penitentiary Part IIIIn the 1940s and 1950s the Idaho Penitentiary again was suffering from overcrowding and a new cell house was constructed. Cell Block #5 held the worst of the worst with maximum security cells, a death row, its very own indoor gallows and drop house.This housing unit is rumoured to be the most haunted of all the buildings on the property, even though, only one official hanging took place within. It was also that last State sanctioned execution in Idaho taking the life of Prisoner # 9509 Raymond Allen Snowden in the most unethical way.On the evening of September 23rd, 1956 Cora Lucille Dean drove to the Hi-Ho Club in Garden City, where she intended to have a few drinks and play the slot machines. Here she met a young man named Raymond Snowden who she found no only attractive, but fun to be around. When the two had a few drinks, Snowden wanted to take things a bit further and pressured Cora. When his advances were denied he threatened Cora in a frightening manner asking her to choose between rape and death. Cora obviously taken aback chose neither and that made Snowden angry who produced a pocket knife and stabbed Cora 29 times.The body, which was found the next morning by a paper boy, was viciously and sadistically cut and mutilated. An autopsy surgeon testified the voice box had been cut, and that this would have prevented the victim from making any intelligible outcry. There were other wounds inflicted while she was still alive — one in her neck, one in her abdomen, two in the face, and two on the back of the neck. The second neck wound severed the spinal cord and caused death. There were other wounds all over her body, and her clothing had been cut away. The nipple of the right breast was missing. There was no evidence of a sexual attack on the victim; however, some of the lacerations were around the breasts and vagina of the deceased.Snowden took the dead woman's wallet hailed a passing motorist and rode back to Boise. There he went to a bowling alley and changed clothes. He dropped his knife into a sewer at a Cigar Shop and threw the wallet away. Then he went to his hotel and cleaned up again. He put the clothes he had worn that evening into a trash barrel outside the hotel.Police narrowed in on Snowden almost immediately as eye-witnesses pointed out that Snowden had left with Cora that evening from the Hi-Ho Club. Police also, remember Snowden from a previous encounter as to which he boasted he was going to sever the spinal cord of his then girlfriend because she was irritating him.They found the weapon, the same one they remember him previously threatening with, still covered in blood in a sewer grate near Hannifin's Cigar Shop. Another eye-witness placed Snowden there and that was enough for an arrest to be made.During the trial it was brought to the attention of the media that Snowden had boasted of two other murders, but they were never confirmed. A detective magazine at the time dubbed Snowden, "Idaho's Jack the Ripper" in view of the viciousness of the crime.Snowden was found guilty and sentenced to death. He took up residence in Death Row with his door in view of the indoor gallows to which he would make his way to on October 18th, 1957.At 12:05 he was brought into the gallows room and met with the Chaplain. The noose was placed around his neck and the witnesses in the viewing room got their first look at Snowden. The door sprung just 45 seconds later. Down went Snowden and the crowd gasped. It seems the Warden and those responsible for carrying out the deed did not measure Snowden's height or weight, and s such the counter-weight was not calculated correctly. Snowden fell, but he did not break his neck instantly. Instead, in the catch room, he struggled and swung about for 15 minutes until he finally died. Some say it was an oversight, while others believed the authorities did this on purpose to make Snowden's death one of suffering.Snowden's hanging was the last of a total of ten men to occur at the prison and his body was buried in an unmarked grave on prison property. Some believe that Snowden haunts his Cell, Cell Block #5 and the hanging room. But Snowden may not be the only soul still doing time at the Pen. There are a total of 129 recorded deaths within the walls.Due to overcrowding and the treatment of prisoners serious riots occurred in 1952 and again in 1971. The 1973 riots proved to be the end of the Old Idaho Penitentiary as riots burned down several buildings and damaged others beyond repair. The 416 resident inmates were moved to the new Idaho State Correctional Institution south of Boise and the Old Idaho Penitentiary was closed on December 3, 1973, never to see another living soul imprisoned behind its stone walls.If you are interested in the Old Idaho State Penitentiary you can visit them daily where tours are conducted by volunteer staff. Special events around Halloween turn the prison into one goulish haunted attraction. More recently, the Pen has been giving Paranormal Investigation Tours.Special thanks to all those volunteering to keep such a historic gem alive. Thank you to the Idaho State Historical Society for their excellent resources and dedication. We will attach a bonus episode that was produced by the staff of the Idaho State Pen with funding from the Idaho State Historical Society.It focuses in on the prison's only double hanging. If you like what you hear, head over to their youtube page to see additional videos.We will leave you now with the words and memories of prisoners and staff from the Old Idaho State Penitentiary.Until Next Time.....Be good.
  • 14. The Haunted Old Idaho State Penitentiary Part Two

    Welcome to Unsolved Mysteries of the World Season 6 Episode 14 The Old Idaho Penitentiary Part II.In 1932, Joseph F. Hook, a well-known author of pulp fiction stories, and his wife, Edna, moved to 4312 N 37th Street with their three children: Clyde, 21, Mildred, 19, and Vincent, 18.Carl C. Van Vlack, a bottler at the Columbia Brewery, his wife, Edna, and their son, Douglas, 28, lived around the corner on the same block at 3621 N Stevens Street in Tacoma. Mildred Hook met Douglas F. Van Vlack in the spring of 1933 while searching for the Hook family dog, “Buster.” and soon they began seeing each other.The couple was privately married in Shelton on July 28, 1933, and kept it secret for five months before telling their parents, who weren’t especially pleased. In December 1933, they moved to an apartment at 801 North I (Eye) Street in Tacoma. But living together proved difficult from the beginning. Mildred was gregarious and Douglas was misanthropic. Mildred had a good job with the Washington Gas and Electric Company as a cashier and Douglas, sullen and argumentative, was unemployed and had difficulty holding jobs. He was drinking heavily and started to physically abuse her. Mildred filed her first divorce action on November 29, 1934, but the couple got back together when Douglas got a steady job driving a truck for the Delicious Ice Cream Company. But he proved unreliable and irresponsible and several months later was discharged. In early 1935, he was employed by Meadowsweet Dairies as a milk-truck driver, but was soon fired for insubordination.In September 1935, during an argument over money at the Van Vlack home, Douglas shoved Mildred down a flight of stairs and locked her out of the house. After cutting her hand on broken glass while trying to regain entrance, Mildred retreated to her parents home, bruised and bloody. The following day, she filed for divorce, charging “burdensome home life and spousal abuse,” and was granted a restraining order prohibiting Douglas from having any contact. Douglas retaliated by stealing all her clothes and jewelry from their apartment and burying them in the ground. Mildred and her attorney responded by a filing theft complaint. Douglas was arrested on September 15, 1935, but the complaint was later dismissed on plaintiff’s motion when items were returned, even though dirt and mold had ruined Mildred’s clothes.Meanwhile, both Mildred and Douglas moved home to live with their respective parents. On October 11, 1935, Mildred obtained an interlocutory degree of divorce, and was granted the right to assume her maiden name. Mildred resumed a normal life and went to work every day, while Douglas became morose and isolated himself. He became obsessed with getting Mildred back and began stalking her and watching the Hook home for male visitors. On Sunday, October 18, Mildred went to a physician for treatment after being tied up and raped by Van Vlack.On Thursday, November 14, Douglas forced Mildred to accompany him on an afternoon automobile ride, then bound her wrists and again physically attacked her. The following day, Mildred and her attorney went to Pierce County Deputy District Attorney Stewart Elliott to file a complaint against Douglas for criminal assault. But when she learned the penalty was 20 years in prison, she decided to drop the charge. Instead, she wanted Elliott to talk to Van Vlack and enforce the restraining order.However on Monday morning, November 18, Joseph F. Hook and his attorney, Idaho State Senator Wesley Lloyd, demanded Elliott charge Douglas Van Vlack with violation of the new Washington state kidnapping law. Elliott said it didn’t meet the criteria for kidnapping, since there was no request for ransom, but agreed to charge Van Vlack with abduction and assault.Sometime during the week, Van Vlack stole a .38-caliber Remington Model 51 semi-automatic pistol and shoulder holster from Morley Barnard, a casual friend, who was living at the YMCA. Earlier Van Vlack told Barnard he planed to take Mildred to Mexico and if anyone interfered, he would kill her. Barnard didn’t realize his gun was missing until days later.At 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, November 23, 1935, Mildred Hook was on her way home from work with her close friend, Doris Clark, age 20, a student nurse. The two women had just stepped off a downtown streetcar and were walking north on Mason Avenue toward the Hook residence when Douglas Van Vlack drove his car over the sidewalk, blocking their path. He got out of the car, brandishing a pistol and smelling of liquor. The couple quarreled for 15 minutes, then he told Mildred she had 30 seconds to get into the car or he would shoot her and commit suicide. When Clark tried to intervene, Van Vlack pointed the gun at Mildred, and shoved her, crying, into the car. Before driving away, he told Clark to tell Mildred’s father he would kill her if anyone set the police on their trail or tried to interfere in any way.When Joseph Hook learned of his daughter’s abduction, he immediately contacted Deputy District Attorney Elliott who obtained a bench warrant for Van Vlack’s arrest. The Tacoma Police Department alerted law enforcement up and down the West Coast to be on the lookout for the couple traveling in Van Vlack’s slate-gray 1931 Ford Model A coupe bearing Washington license plates.With Mildred as hostage, Van Vlack sped down the Pacific Highway (US Highway 99) toward California and the United States-Mexican border. At 10:45 p.m., she telephoned her uncle, Frank Michel, in Portland, Oregon, telling him she was all right but was being forcibly detained and Van Vlack had threatened to kill her if anyone notified the police. At Salem, Van Vlack headed east across central Oregon to Boise, Idaho. They had been driving for 24 hours straight and arrived in Boise about 5:00 p.m. on Sunday, November 24. The couple stayed overnight in a Boise hotel and departed late Monday morning for Salt Lake City. While in Boise, a telegram was sent to Mildred’s parents, under her name, purporting she was safe and would be returning to Tacoma soon. Van Vlack also sent a telegram to his parents: “Sorry I had to do this. Everything all right. Letter follows. Douglas” But a letter never came.At 2:00 p.m. on Monday, November 25, 1935, Idaho State Patrolman Fontaine Cooper, age 34, and Twin Falls Deputy Sheriff Henry C. Givens, age 45, spotted Van Vlack’s 1931 Ford coupe on Highway 30, a half-mile east of Buhl. The officers pulled Van Vlack over to the side of the road, then got out on foot and approached the vehicle. Cooper ordered Van Vlack to step out of the car and when he didn’t respond, opened the driver’s door. Van Vlack pulled his pistol from the left pocket of his topcoat and shot Cooper through the left eye, killing him instantly. When Givens went for his gun, Van Vlack shot him three times: in the throat, in the left arm, shattering the bone, and through the left hand. With both officers down, Van Vlack calmly drove down the highway toward Twin Falls.Clifford Hammond, a farmer from Buhl, was an eyewitness to the shootings. He was passing in his truck and watched the event unfold in his rear view mirror. As soon as Van Vlack left, Hammond went to the scene, found Cooper dead and Givens critically wounded. Hammond put Givens in his truck and rushed to the Twin Falls County Hospital. Then he telephoned the news to Twin Falls County Sheriff Edwin F. Prater, who immediately ordered a countywide dragnet for Van Vlack’s automobile. Sheriff’s posses set up roadblocks on all roads and highways leading out of the county and guarded all bridges and service stations. Radio stations broadcast descriptions of the couple and asked the public for assistance in locating Van Vlack’s car. It was the biggest manhunt in south central Idaho’s history with hundreds of posse-men, armed with weapons from the Idaho National Guard armory and scores of radio-equipped cars, searching for the killer.For the rest of the day, Van Vlack played a game of cat and mouse with sheriff’s patrols and roadblocks. He hid the car in the sagebrush on the Salmon Tract until nightfall and removed his license plates, hoping for the opportunity to steal another set off an Idaho car. Van Vlack wanted to head south into Nevada, but roadblocks on the highway forced him to stay on unmarked backroads, which seemingly led nowhere. Eventually Van Vlack, low on gasoline, ditched his car in a dry irrigation canal near the small farming community of Berger and the couple set out on foot.The night was clear and the temperature dropped into the 20s. The couple was lightly clad, having left Tacoma with no winter clothing. Van Vlack wore a topcoat and street clothes, and Hook wore a suede coat over a woolen dress and high-heeled pumps. Mildred had gloves, but neither wore a hat. They set out on foot, walking through sagebrush, across fields and along the banks of irrigation canals to avoid being seen. They periodically took shelter inside haystacks and culverts to get out of the biting wind.At dawn on Tuesday morning, November 26, 1935, two spotter planes left Twin Falls to assist the sheriff’s posses searching for the couple. At 8:15 a.m. a posse found Van Vlack, cold and exhausted, huddled in a roadside ditch along Highway 93 approximately two miles north of Hollister. Carl Groth, a Linotype operator for the Twin Falls Idaho Evening Times, disarmed Van Vlack, who claimed his name was Jack Burke, and held him at gun point until Sheriff Prater arrived. The prisoner was taken to Twin Falls and lodged in the jail atop the county courthouse. That afternoon, a search party found Van Vlack’s Ford coupe in a dry irrigation ditch on the Salmon Tract, a mile and a half southeast of Berger and about three miles from where he was arrested.Although Van Vlack admitted shooting the two police officers, he insisted Mildred was uninjured and was likely making her way back to Tacoma. He told Sheriff Prater they parted company in the middle of the night because he would have a much better chance of escaping alone. But when Prater found blood and long black hairs stuck to the butt of Van Vlack’s pistol, he worried Hook had been bludgeoned on the head and was lying unconscious somewhere in the freezing cold.On Wednesday, November 27, Twin Falls District Attorney Edward C. Babcock filed a complaint against Van Vlack in probate court before Judge Guy L. Kinney. Van Vlack, who appeared without counsel, waived a preliminary hearing and was bound over for trial. Judge Kinney ordered him to be held without bond in the county jail until the next term of district court, scheduled for January 1937.Scores of volunteers, led by Twin Falls Police Chief Samuel B. Elrod, renewed their efforts to find the missing victim. Search parties picked up the couple’s tracks at the site of Van Vlack’s abandoned car and slowly and methodically began following the footprints. One set led to the top of an irrigation canal, then seemed to disappear. On Thursday, November 28, 1935, in the off-chance that Hook had drowned, water was shut off in the Twin Falls Canal Company irrigation system, allowing 12 hours to search the tract canals for Hook’s body.Chief Elrod and his search team discovered two sets of footprints leading to the Union Pacific Railway tracks and followed. Finally, at 8:45 a.m. on Friday morning, November 29, they found the frozen body of Mildred Hook lodged in a 16-inch galvanized steel culvert underneath the track bed, approximately one-and-a-quarter miles northwest of Berger. The ends of the culvert had been plugged with sagebrush to hide the body. Mildred Hook appeared to have died from a massive head wound and when Chief Elrod removed the body, he found a bullet inside the culvert and an empty .380-caliber cartridge casing on the ground nearby. A single set of male footprints led away from the culvert, down the railroad tracks toward Hollister.Twin Falls County Coroner Harwood L. Stowe was called to the scene of the murder and ordered that Mildred Hook’s body be taken immediately to the White Mortuary in Twin Falls for an autopsy. At the coroner’s inquest, held on Saturday morning, the jury determined that Hook’s death was caused by Douglas Van Vlack, who fractured her skull with a blow to the head and shot her through the left eye. After the inquest, Clyde and Vincent Hook, Mildred’s brothers, arranged to ship her body by train to Tacoma for burial.The body of Idaho Patrolman Fontaine Cooper lay in state for two days at the White Mortuary in Twin Falls, then was taken to his home town of Lava Hot Springs, Idaho, for burial in the community cemetery. A poignant funeral service was held on Friday afternoon, November 29, attended by Idaho Governor Charles Ben Ross and scores of police officers from Idaho and the surrounding states. He had been an Idaho patrolman for 12 years, and left behind a wife and one child.Meanwhile, Van Vlack seemed to be willing to admit his crimes to whomever would listen. On the day of his capture, he gave Prosecutor Babcock a 17-page statement, confessing to shooting the two police officers, but refused to sign it. He said “Kidnapping is a capitol offense in Washington and I thought I might as well burn them up” Van Vlack steadfastly denied harming his ex-wife until Sheriff Prater confronted him with photographs of her body. Then he admitted shooting her.Van Vlack also confessed to Buhl Police Chief Arthur C. Parker, and gave a two-hour interview to Associated Press reporter Walter A. Beasley, during which he admitted hitting Mildred on the head and shooting her as she emerged from the culvert. He claimed his motive was revenge against the Hook family for breaking up his marriage. “If Mildred’s father had kept his nose out of our affairs, all this would not have happened,” he declared. Joseph Hook, however, believed that Mildred knew too much and, in addition to witnessing Cooper’s murder, could link him to other crimes in the Tacoma area.The funeral for Mildred Hook was held at the Buckley-King Funeral Church, 201 S Tacoma Avenue, on Tuesday afternoon, December 2, 1936. The elaborate service, conducted by the Order of the Eastern Star, a large fraternal organization, was attended by family and hundreds of friends, after which her body was entombed in a crypt at the Tacoma Mausoleum.Although Henry Givens appeared to be slowly recovering, his throat wound became infected and he developed pneumonia. He died at the Twin Falls County Hospital at 9:25 p.m. on Sunday, December 8, leaving behind a wife and six children. Givens had been a Twin Falls deputy sheriff for three years.On Tuesday, December 10, District Attorney Babcock filed an information in Idaho District Court, charging Van Vlack with first-degree murder, but only in the death of Fontaine Cooper. The prosecution needed only prove one premeditated death to qualify the defendant for the death penalty. Babcock decided to hold the additional murder charges in abeyance, pending the outcome of the first trial, then file if necessary.The funeral for Henry C. Givens was held on Wednesday afternoon, December 11, in the First Presbyterian Church and he was buried in the Twin Falls Cemetery. The service, conducted by six ministers of the Church of the Nazarene, was attended by hundreds of police officers and friends.Van Vlack pleaded not guilty at his arraignment in Idaho District Court on Monday, December 16. He was represented by Embert V. Larson, a former Twin Fall District Attorney, and Leo Teats, an attorney from Tacoma. Judge Adam B. Barclay set the trial date for Monday, January 20, 1936, and ordered Van Vlack held without bail in the Twin Falls County Jail.On Wednesday, January 15, the charge against Van Vlack for the premeditated murder of Fontaine Cooper was dismissed on motion of the prosecution and replaced with the premeditated murder of Mildred Hook. Van Vlack maintained his plea of not guilty.Trial began on schedule in the Twin Falls County Courthouse before Judge Barclay but was slowed by jury selection. In addition to District Attorney Babcock, the prosecution team now included Idaho Attorney General Bert H. Miller and his senior assistant, J. W. Taylor. Questioning of the prospective jurors revolved around their impressions of the crime gained from the news media and their views about an insanity defense and the death penalty. After four days of questioning, a jury of 14 men, including two alternates, was selected.Opening statements and testimony commenced on Friday morning, January 24, 1936. The prosecution stated simply that the defendant killed his ex-wife for reasons of jealousy and revenge. He had declared his murderous intentions to Joseph Hook and others, stolen a firearm for the purpose, killed Mildred and then confessed his crime to several witnesses. The defense maintained that Van Vlack had been temporarily insane when he killed Mildred Hook. He had borrowed the gun to protect a large amount of money he was carrying on his person, had abducted Mildred to save his marriage, had only meant to wound the two Idaho police officers, claimed she was alive when they parted company, and had no memory of her death.The trial testimony lasted two weeks. The prosecution rested its case after three days of direct testimony. The defense called Carl and Edna Van Vlack and Mrs. Ethel Bennett, Edna’s sister, who testified about the family’s alleged history of hereditary insanity and Douglas’s troubled childhood. Douglas Van Vlack took the stand and laid all the blame for the murders on Joseph Hook, who hated him because he was not good enough for his daughter, turned Mildred against him, and wrecked his marriage. He also claimed his confessions had been fabricated by the police. Three expert witnesses, one psychiatrist and two medical doctors with psychiatric training, testified that Douglas suffered from manic depression (now called bipolar disorder). He had been temporarily insane at the time of the killing and therefore was not responsible for his actions.Closing arguments began on Thursday afternoon, February 6. Idaho Attorney General Miller addressed the jury for four hours, outlining the state’s evidence and concluding with a request for a first-degree murder verdict and the death penalty. The defense argued that a series of events, caused mostly by Joseph Hook, combined to unbalance Van Vlack, making him incapable of premeditated murder. Further, the state’s evidence against the defendant for the murdering of Mildred Hook was weak and circumstantial, and his alleged confessions contrived.The trial concluded on Friday night, February 7, and the case went to the jury. At 2:20 p.m. the following day, Judge Barclay reconvened the court and the jury delivered its verdict. Van Vlack was found guilty of first-degree murder and the jury voted to impose the death penalty. Although sequestered for 17 hours, the jury had deliberated for seven hours and 30 minutes.On Tuesday afternoon, February 11, Judge Barclay sentenced Van Vlack “to be hanged by the neck until dead,” set the execution date for Saturday, April 3, 1936, at the Idaho State Penitentiary in Boise and signed the commitment order. On Friday, February 14, Sheriff Prater, accompanied by three deputies, shackled Van Vlack and loaded him into the back seat of a patrol car for the two-and-a-half hour trip from Twin Falls to Boise. Although it would prove be his last ride, Van Vlack appeared happy. It was the first time he had been out of the county courthouse in three months.Van Vlack’s execution date was stayed on March 12, when his attorneys filed notice of intention to appeal the conviction to the Idaho State Supreme Court. His case was argued before the tribunal on November 9 and Van Vlack appeared before the justices asking that his death sentence be commuted to life imprisonment. On December 10, the supreme court upheld his conviction in district court and, on February 9, 1937, affirmed the sentence of death. Van Vlack’s attorneys made two more appeals to the state supreme court for a commutation of his death sentence, but the petitions were denied. The U.S. Supreme Court refused to review the case. On October 29, Twin Falls District Court Judge James Porter scheduled Van Vlack’s hanging for December 10, 1937.In a last-ditch effort, Van Vlack’s chief counsel, Robert Ailshie Jr., appealed his death sentence to the Idaho board of pardons. A commutation hearing was held on Monday, December 6 to consider documents submitted by Ailshie alleging jury prejudice and misconduct, and affidavits from a psychiatrist stating Van Vlack was hopelessly and incurably insane. The pardons board turned down Van Vlack’s commutation appeal by a vote of two to one and Idaho Governor Barzilla W. Clark chose not to interfere with the execution.Meanwhile, a gallows was constructed in the elevator shaft of the former shirt factory, which operated between 1923 and 1933, at the Idaho State Penitentiary. The previous person to die on the gallows was John Jerko, on July 9, 1926, who was also convicted of murder in Twin Falls. This time, instead of a state executioner, the trapdoor would be sprung electronically by one of four red buttons pushed by Warden William H. Gess and three prison officials. The warden scheduled the execution for 12:10 a.m. on Friday morning so that “things could be cleared up before the inmates at the institution awoke the next morning” (Boise Capital News).At 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, December 9, Reverend Frank A. Rhea, from Saint Marks Episcopal Church in Boise, visited Van Vlack in his cell to administer the last sacraments. A short time later, his parents, Carl and Edna Van Vlack, arrived to visit Douglas at the open door of his cell, under the watchful eye of prison guard Al Baker.At 7:12 p.m., as the Van Vlacks left the cell block, Douglas broke away from Baker, jumped onto a nearby table and scrambled up three tiers of cells into the rafters. He walked on a beam to the opposite side of the cell block, then stayed there, looking at the concrete floor some 30 feet below. Warden Gess ordered him to come down, then sent guards to fetch a fire net. Prison chaplain Reverend Arvid C. Ohrnell and attorney Ailshie begged Van Vlack to come down, but he did not respond.Jumping to His DeathAt 7:42 p.m., just as the guards returned with a fire net, Van Vlack shouted “I have a right to choose the way I die” (Boise Capital News). Then he plunged forward and hit the floor on his head and left shoulder. Dr. George H. Wahle, the prison physician, determined Van Vlack was still alive, rolled him onto a mattress and covered him with a blanket. There was some discussion whether Van Vlack should be hanged if he was still alive at execution time. When Dr. Wahle determined the prisoner’s death was only a matter of time, Warden Gess called off the execution.Van Vlack was pronounced dead at 12:32 a.m., Friday, December 10, having never regained consciousness. “Death was caused by a broken neck, possibly a fractured skull, internal hemorrhages and other injuries,” Dr. Wahle said (Tacoma New Tribune). At 1:30 a.m., an ambulance took Van Vlack’s body to the McBratney Funeral Parlors where Ada County Corner James T. McCann discovered the broken half of a razor blade concealed under his upper lip; the other half was found in his cell. Prison officials surmised he was determined to commit suicide one way or another, but had no idea where the pieces of razor blade came from. Later that morning Van Vlack’s parents made arrangements to ship Douglas’s body by train to Tacoma for burial.On Saturday December 11, the state prison board convened to open an official investigation into the suicide. Idaho Attorney General J. W. Taylor said the suicide was either colossal stupidity or collusion on the part of the warden and state prison officials. Governor Clark said: “Van Vlack is dead. I presume we should let him remain dead. The affair is closed as far as I’m concerned” (Boise Capital News). But after a week-long political battle with the prison board, Warden Gess was discharged for incompetence. Sheriff Prater was offered the position but declined for financial reasons. Gess was replaced in early February 1938 by Pearl C. Meredith, a real-estate developer from Buel, Idaho.Several visitors and museum staff believe they have felt the presence of Van Vlack from sudden drops in temperatures, hearing his voice call out, being touched by a ghostly hand or seeing his spirit manifest on the roof of cell block #4 and grounds alike.Please Join Us for Part III as we cover more of the Old Idaho State Penitentiary on Unsolved Mysteries of the World.
  • 13. The Haunted Old Idaho State Penitentiary Part One

    Welcome to Unsolved Mysteries of the World Season Six, Episode 13, The Haunted Old Idaho PenitentiaryThis is a Three Part Episode with bonus material added for those interested in taking a deep dive into one of the most active haunted prisons in the world.There is no other word to describe The Old Idaho Penitentiary, other than misery. It is a stark reminder of the brutal, cruel and insanely inhumane life of a prisoner in Idaho's early prison system. And some may argue that Idaho has just reasoning for such conditions with inmates such as the State's first female serial killer to the United State's Jack the Ripper – the Old Idaho Penitentiary in Boise, Idaho saw the worst of humanity.Over 13,000 souls passed through The Old Idaho Penitentiary since the doors opened in 1872 and some say, not all of them left. In fact, there is so much activity within these old walls that occurrences are a daily event.The complex was first constructed in 1870, a full 20 years before Idaho became a state. The Territorial Prison, as it was then known, was first built as a single cell house near the city of Boise with the very walls and building built by the prisoner's themselves. The single cell house was only to be used to house about 20 individuals, but soon, they had nearly 60 individuals imprisoned and needed to expand the grounds.In 1890, the prison was expanded and included a new cell house that housed 42 individual steel-door caged cells. However, even with this new expansion, the prison was still taking in criminals. The individual-sized cells were holding two to three individuals making for very difficult living conditions.The cells did not have washrooms and only a honey-pot was used. Each cell had one honey-pot, or basically a bowl to urinate and defecate in. The honey-pot lay on the ground in the cell and was only cleaned out once per day, in the morning just before breakfast.Now in the sweltering desert heat of summer, the honey-pots made the air thickly sick. In the winter, the urine and feces would freeze making the cleaning even more difficult. Often times, because the cells were so crowded, the honey-pot would be kicked over, or stepped into. Cells were only cleaned once per month.Prisoner's sent to the Idaho Penn, knew that they would suffer through extremely hot conditions in the summer and brutally cold conditions in the winter. The cells had very little ventilation and only one radiator producing heat on the main floor by the guards on duty.The new cell house was divided into three classes. The first floor held the more favorable prisoners, while the second held those more violent or those with longer sentences. The third was reserved for those doing life, or condemned to death. These particular cells had a clear view of the beautiful rose garden.The rose garden also was where the large wooden gallows stood.Without knowing this history, and it not being on the tour, many visitors wondering through this area suddenly find that they have developed a headache, or a neckache. They feel sudden gusts of cold wind and the feeling as if being watched. One particular witness claimed they saw an apparition of a man in striped prison clothing tending to the blooming roses. Others have seen the same man walking about and thinking he is a museum staff member dressed up, they ask to have a photo taken or to ask a question, only to find the man vanishes before their very eyes.The Warden and guards were absolute power-hungry and kept prisoner's in line by exacting beatings that left prisoner's just shy of death.Officials looked to more ways of influencing prisoner's to behave and keep in line and in 1926 they erected a small, low brick building that prisoner's knick-named Siberia – the end of the earth, the loneliest place on earth. It was solitary confinement, an often unbearable punishment for those who crossed the guards.Prisoner's were placed in unlit rooms with no beds that measured 3 feet by 8 feet. Prisoner would be let out once, per week, for one hour, usually for a quick shower and then placed back in, the large steel doors closing behind them. There were three meals provided each day. Breakfast was a bowl of oatmeal, lunch was a bowl of oatmeal and supper, you guest it – a bowl of oatmeal.Inside, prisoner's usually went mad. Some prisoner's just screamed and yelled all day and night.For those prisoner's who kept in line a multipurpose building was constructed which operated many different operations including a shirt factory, a licence plate shop, a laundry, a bakery, and a shoe factory. In the rear of the building larger showers were made for the prisoner's but these were communal and often the location of unsavoury events. In one reported incident, a prisoner was gang raped to death in the shower area.During these early years there were a few female inmates scattered about the yard, but many became pregnant and it is not certain if the women were willing participants, raped by the male inamtes or if the guards themselves were assaulting the women.In 1920 a separate cell block was constructed with a separate wall just outside the main prison walls to house the females separate from the male inmates. The cell block was a lot more comfortable than the men's but that did not mean that the females were any less dangerous. In fact, one of the United State's first female serial killers was housed in the women's cell block.In 1912 Lyda Southard, aged 21, married Robert C. Dooley and moved to a farm in Twin Falls, Idaho. Together they lived with their infant daughter and Robert's brother, Ed Dooley. In 1915, Ed mysteriously died right after taking out a life insurance policy which would be payed to Robert and Lyda. Just a few short months later, Robert died as well. A few months after that her daughter, Lorraine (only two years old), also died. Lyda collected the life insurance money of each person in her family.Two years later, Lyda married William McHaffie and together they moved to Hardin, Montana. William as soon as he settled into his new home died under similar mysterious circumstances. A year after that, Lyda married another man, Harlan Lewis, who died two months later. Lyda collected the insurance money on both husbands before leaving Montana and returning to Twin Falls, Idaho.In Twin Falls, Lyda got a job at a cafe where she met her next husband, Ed Meyer. Ed fell extremely ill and never recovered just months after meeting his new love. His death was the one that prompted suspicion among the community. Nobody could wrap their minds around how a strong and healthy man like Ed would suddenly get sick and die. The exhumation of his body was ordered for further inspection, which ultimately led to the discovery of arsenic in his body.The sheriff assigned to the case, Virgil Ormsby, began tracing Lyda's past whereabouts and ordered the exhumation of the other three husbands' bodies. They all contained traces of arsenic poisoning. Law enforcement immediately began their search for Lyda, who fled Twin Falls when suspicions about her began to arise.Lyda fled to Hawaii where she met another man. But authorities caught up to her and brought her back to Boise, Idaho. Lyda's trial got national recognition and she had now gained the moniker of Lady Bluebeard. She was found guilty of murder and sentenced to 10 years to life in the Idaho Pen.During her time spent in the Women's Ward at the penitentiary, she befriended a fellow prisoner named David Minton while gardening. When Minton was released from prison, he helped Lyda escape on May 4, 1931. The two made their way to Denver, Colorado before splitting up.In Denver, Lyda married another man, Harry Whitlock, and continued to live there until she was eventually recaptured by authorities one year later. Lyda was brought back to the Idaho Pen and remained in prison until she was paroled in 1941. Once out of prison, she married yet again. This man disappeared from records but his disappearance was never proven to be linked to Lyda.Lyda finally settled down in Salt Lake City, Utah, but died of a heart attack in the 1950s. Ironically, her body was brought back to Idaho and buried near her dead husbands, her child and the officer who arrested her.In the 1930s, with the prison population still exploding, the solitary confinement rooms, the ones that were just 3X8, now housed up to six prisoners. Cell house #4 became operational during this time. It was the largest of the cell houses and had large steel doors housing hundreds of prisoners. In front of cell house #4 a reminder to prisoners to keep in line lay on the ground. Huge steel doors revealed a very tiny cage below ground. Those unruly prisoners were thrown into the hole, the doors shut.Cell House #4 is closed to the public, but it appears as if the ghostly remains of one of the prisoner's still makes it out to startle and scare visitors and museum staff alike.Please Join Us in Part II of this episode topic where we showcase the crime, capture, conviction and ultimate slow-death of one Carl C. Van Vlack, notorious murderer.
  • 12. The UFO Incident with Japan Airlines 1628

    Welcome to Unsolved Mysteries of the World Season Six Episode 12 Japan Airlines Flight 1608.It was November 17, 1986 and a huge Japanese Boeing 747-200F cargo aircraft was en route from Paris France to Narita International Airport near Tokyo Japan. It was an uneventful flight until the aircraft was above Alaska, near Anchorage. At 17:11 hours crew noted specifically that they observed two strange objects coming up to the left side of their aircraft. They rose from below and proceeded to maintain a similar speed and appeared to be escorting the cargo jet. All three crew members: Captain Kenju Terauchi an ex-fighter pilot with more than 10,000 hours flight experience,in the cockpit's left-hand seat; co-pilot Takanori Tamefuji n the right-hand seat; and flight engineer Yoshio Tsukuba all witnessed the objects approach and flight.As the objects got closer they noted each had two rectangular arrays of what appeared to be glowing nozzles or thrusters, though their main frames remained obscured by darkness. The Captain believed they were some sort of military aircraft and were simply identifying the flight, but their maneuverability was mind boggling. "The thing was flying as if there was no such thing as gravity. It sped up, then stopped, then flew at our speed, in our direction, so that to us it [appeared to be] standing still. The next instant it changed course. ... In other words, the flying object had overcome gravity." recalls the Captain.Then, suddenly, the two objects came closer and illuminated the entire cabin and produced and intense heat. Air traffic control was notified at this point, who could not confirm any traffic in the indicated position. After three to five minutes the objects assumed a side-to-side configuration, which they maintained for another 10 minutes. Each object had a square shape, consisting of two rectangular arrays of what appeared to be glowing nozzles or thrusters, separated by a dark central section. Captain Terauchi speculated in his drawings, that the objects would appear cylindrical if viewed from another angle, and that the observed movement of the nozzles could be ascribed to the cylinders' rotation. Then the two craft then departed as quickly as they had come, but then the crew noticed something even more strange. A much larger craft was no tailing them. This time, they could identify its shape and each of the crew detailed a disc shaped flying craft was behind them.Captain Terauchi now noticed a pale band of light that mirrored their altitude, speed and direction. Setting their onboard radar scope to a 25 nautical miles (46km) range, he confirmed an object in the expected 10 o'clock direction at about 7.5nmi (13.9km) distance, and informed ATC of its presence. Anchorage found nothing on their radar, but Elmendorf's NORAD Regional Operations Control Center (ROCC), directly in his flight path, reported a "surge primary return" after some minutes.As the city lights of Fairbanks began to illuminate the object, captain Terauchi believed to perceive the outline of a gigantic spaceship on his port side that was "twice the size of an aircraft carrier". The object followed "in formation", or in the same relative position throughout the 45 degree turn, a descent from 35,000 to 31,000ft, and a 360 degree turn. The short-range radar at Fairbanks airport failed, however, to register the object.Anchorage ATC offered military intervention, which was declined by the pilot, due to his knowledge of the Mantell incident. The object was not noted by any of two planes which approached JAL 1628 to confirm its presence, by which time JAL 1628 had also lost sight of it.Captain Terauchi cited in the official Federal Aviation Administration report that the object was a UFO. In December 1986, Terauchi gave an interview to two Kyodo News journalists. Japan Airlines soon grounded him for talking to the press, and moved him to a desk job. He was only reinstated as a pilot years afterwards, and retired eventually in north Kanto, Japan.Kyodo News contacted Paul Steucke, the FAA public information officer in Anchorage on December 24, and received confirmation of the incident. The FAA's Alaskan Region consulted John Callahan, the FAA Division Chief of the Accidents and Investigations branch, as they wanted to know what to tell the media about the UFO. John Callahan was unaware of any such incident, considering it a likely early flight of a stealth bomber, then in development. He asked the Alaskan Region to forward the relevant data to their technical center in Atlantic City, New Jersey, where he and his superior played back the radar data and tied it in with the voice tapes by videotaping the concurrent playbacks.A day later at FAA headquarters they briefed Vice Admiral Donald D. Engen, who watched the whole video of over half an hour, and asked them not to talk to anybody until they were given the OK, and to prepare an encompassing presentation of the data for a group of government officials the next day.The meeting was attended by representatives of the FBI, CIA and President Reagan’s Scientific Study Team, among others. Upon completion of the presentation, all present were told that the incident was secret and that their meeting "never took place". According to Callahan, the officials considered the data to represent the first instance of recorded radar data on a UFO, and they took possession of all the presented data.John Callahan however managed to retain the original video, the pilot's report and the FAA's first report in his office. The forgotten target print-outs of the computer data were also rediscovered, from which all targets can be reproduced that were in the sky at the time.After a three-month investigation, the FAA formally released their results at a press conference held on March 5, 1987. Here Paul Steucke retracted earlier FAA suggestions that their controllers confirmed a UFO, and ascribed it to a "split radar image" which appeared with unfortunate timing. He clarified that "the FAA [did] not have enough material to confirm that something was there", and though they were "accepting the descriptions by the crew" they were "unable to support what they saw".The sighting received special attention from the media, as a supposed instance of the tracking of UFOs on both ground and airborne radar, while being observed by experienced airline pilots, with subsequent confirmation by an FAA Division Chief.It would have been the end of the UFO story but for an extraordinary observation by a military aircraft just a short time after the Japan Airlines incident. On January 30, 1987, a US Air Force KC-135 was flying from Elmendorf AFB in Anchorage, Alaska, to Eielson AFB near Fairbanks. The crew of the KC-135 reported a large, silent, disc-shaped UFO at about 20,000 feet altitude. At this time, Anchorage radar control showed nothing unusual. In a moment, radar control asked the pilot of the plane if they still had the unknown object in sight. The frightened pilot replied yes, and added that the UFO was only 40 feet from the plane. The cockpit recording referenced the JAL - 1628 incident, which had occurred only a month earlier. The pilots of the military aircraft were startled as they observed what they believed was a similar shaped object, flying in the same manner and maneuvering just the same as the one previously reported by the Japanese Airlines flight. About 30 minutes later, Anchorage Control Tower relayed a message from the FAA, informing the pilot to contact them upon landing. The FAA wanted a full report on the UFO seen by the crew. The very next day, on January 31, another similar sighting occurred over Alaskan skies. Alaska Airline's Flight 53 reported enormous, disc-like objects flying near their aircraft.These UFOs, according to the pilot's report, were "tracking" Flight 53. The Control Tower operator related to the pilot that they did not show anything unusual on their radar. The pilot of Flight 53 was very concerned, stating that the UFO was moving at a mile/per/second, which would be about 3,600 m/p/h. The pilot also stated that the UFO had almost immediately disappeared after flying under Flight 53. Neither of the these two encounters were adequately explained by any conventional flying objects, or atmospheric anomalies, and remain a mystery. The reports requested never surfaced.In 2006 John Callahan gave his eye-witness testimony about his official investigation into the Japanese Airline Incident:So what can we make out of these sightings made by credible witnesses including air force pilots, flight engineers, experienced pilots, air traffic controllers and aviation investigators? It is obvious that something was witnessed, independently verified over the course of three separate encounters by both aircraft and ground crews – but what was it? And more importantly – why was it seemingly tracking and observing these three aircraft? Is it the occupants on the aircraft that held interest? Or the cargo they were carrying?
  • 11. The Historic & Haunted Dumas Brothel in Butte, Montana

    Please visit our show sponsor the Sip & Shine Podcast - www.sipandshinepodcast.comThe Haunted Dumas Brothel, Butte MontanaIn 1888 French Canadian brothers Joseph and Arthur Nadeau invested in developing a large brick hotel on Butte Montana's East Mercury St. – the booming mining town's entertainment district. The investment would pay off as the hotel was a glamorous front for housing women of ill repute.In the 1870's ladies would sell sexual services on the main thoroughfare through town and eventually would erect tents and false front buildings to ply there trade. As Butte grew, so did other businesses and eventually the ladies of Park Street, as they have become known, transferred their work to the south side of town. Butte was notoriously dangerously wild and gambling houses, saloons and brothels sprung up to serve the thousands of miners working nearly 18 hours a day in the copper, silver and gold mines.The Dumas Brother's purchased a plot of land on one of the busiest streets that entertained the miners, but their goal was to attract not only the hard working miners, but also the bourgeoisie of Butte and so a red brick hotel, with all modern fixings was erected on East Galena Street, among the hundreds of other Brothel's that made up what locals called “The Twilight Zone”Joseph Dumas named the business after his wife, Delia Dumas and registered the hotel with city officials as The Dumas Hotel. And with a wink, the hotel madam, Delia Dumas, was noted as madam. The following month they purchased hand made furniture and fixings for the hotel. The Dumas' frequented other dancing halls in the Montana territory and brought in a number of working girls.In 1890, the Dumas Brothel, err umm, hotel, was officially opened for business. The opening night was a success and guests marvelled at the grand design and architecture noting its two story level, with large skylights and wooden spiral staircase. Drinks flowed freely and music played as guests were entertained by a number of high-class and unique looking ladies including one black prostitute who, at the time, was a rarity in Montana.The Dumas Hotel was connected to other businesses via underground tunnels so that high-end clientele, such as city officials, lawyers, reverends and those about to commit adultery (a crime punishable for up to 2 years in prison) could visit the high-end brothel without notice.But the hand carved furniture, the amazing architecture and well-paying clients could not hide the fact that the hotel held much misery. The girls, often as young as 15, would work in shifts serving sexual favors of all deviant kinds to dirty miners and sadistic city officials alike. The average pay for the girls was less than a living wage, and part of their pay was room and board. Many girls did not have enough for a stage coach or train ride out of town, if they wanted to leave. They were, once in the business, trapped.Drug and alcohol addiction was prevalent as was disease. Girls would works hours upon hours turning tricks every eight minutes. They would finish with one, wash their privates in the low hanging sinks in the room and invite another guest in – hour after hour.Pregnancy was also an issue, as no, or very little birth control would have been used. Girls that did discovery they were pregnant were ordered to have an abortion with the procedure usually performed by another experienced prostitute or madam. The cruel and unusual methods of abortion usually resulted in a lot of harm done to the mother, not only physically, but mentally as well. The unborn babies were dumped into shallow graves or mining pits just outside of town. Due to the barbaric procedures, many women who became pregnant bled out and died days later.In these working conditions it is no doubt that many suicides also took place as the women felt it was their only escape.It is not known what happened to the Dumas brothers, but it appears they sold the venture to another owner ten years later or perhaps they were simply silent partners. Some speculate they were ran out of town by other brothel owners, including one that would later be a State Senator.In 1900, the Dumas Hotel was ran by Madam Grace McGinnis who had a servant and four full-time prostitutes occupying the cribs or rooms in the hotel. Other prostitutes could rent out rooms on a as-needed basis. The cost for a deluxe poke was 0.50 with the prostitute making a mere .20 as the Madam would take the majority of the money. In today's money, that is about $7 for the working girl.As the mining operations increased and as patrons were typically miners this low fare was attractive and the Dumas Hotel needed to expand to accommodate its clientele. The basement, that was used mainly for storage was now retrofitted with a number of small cribs or rooms. In these rooms were the lower-priced girls, those less desirable, and those that would take abuse from the men that frequented the establishment. The Dumas basically had a class system, with the lower class in the basement, the and the high-end girls working high-class men on the upper floor.The low-end offering were popular by the low paid miners and in 1912 the Dumas was expanded again to serve this vary clientele. A back addition was added that would allow easy passage from what was known as Venus Alley, were street prostitutes offered sexual services. The main floor that was a large parlour was divided up into cribs to serve middle-class men. Again, the Dumas invited these working girls to use the new addition, the basement and the ease of access to attract and serve clients.The Dumas's business and those like it were criticized by a number of people who sought to reform the red light district. Reverend William Biederwolf condemned Butte as "the lowest sinkhole of vice in the west," and that he saw "enough legitimate vice in Butte to damn the souls of every young man and young woman in it."Biederwolf held revival services for residents which attracted "rounders, gamblers and habitués of the red light district".However, the local business benefited and even depended on the support of the sex workers at the Dumas and other establishments like it. The prostitutes would buy their dresses at local clothiers, frequent the city's dry cleaners and would patronize Chinese herbalists, looking for birth control potions and venereal disease remedies. To ensure that their operations were unhampered, the girls at the Dumas would pay the city's police and governance five dollar "fines".Instead of the closing or relocating the red light district, the mayor and police of Butte ordered that the women wear longer skirts and high-necked blouses and that they "refrain from any indecent exposures." After these ordinances were put in place, the Butte Miner reported that "nothing was seen in the district except long dresses and long faces. What the women say about the matter is not fit for publication." By 1910 the people were petitioning Mayor Charles Nevin to shut down the district; with the district contributing two thousand dollars to the city's coffers every month, the efforts eventually died. Many of the city officials, including mayors, police chiefs and law makers were also clients.World War I and the Prohibition impelled local lawmakers to initiate a crackdown on Butte's red light district and by 1917 the district was effectively closed.Signs saying "Men Under 21 Keep Out" were commonplace and in the next census, prostitution had completely disappeared as a declared profession in Butte.The Dumas, however, remained in operation. In 1925 Anne Vallet began overseeing the Dumas for the Nadeau family, and in the 1930s, operations had passed to Madam Rose Davis. In 1940 Lillian Walden and her husband Dick began running the brothel,raising the price of sex at the brothel to $2.Federal law makers ordered all brothels shut down during WW2 to help prevent death and disease to young soldiers about to fight. The Dumas remained opened, however, changing its business listing as a boarding house. Two large steel doors were added with a sliding peep hole so that no one would gain entry without being identified first. It was now a semi-private club.In the 1950s rates went up to a staggering $5 with a series of madams in charge. The Nadeau Brothers finally sold the operation at this time and Elinore Knott became owner and Madam.But her time at the Dumas was short. Her husband had died of a heart attack and with a history of depression, she overdosed on a host of drugs and committed suicide in the basement leaving the Dumas vacant. Police at the time took this as an easy way of finally shutting down the business and they worked on raiding The Windsor, Hotel Victoria and the Dumas. Girls would be fined and Madams and owners jailed. The raids were irrelevant as girls were tipped off by police and payoffs were made. It was all theatre and a way to put a little more money into corrupt officials hands.Ruby Garret, a local resident of Butte for some thirty years, had purchased the Dumas. Ruby was not only a local celebrity, but she was known federally as well. In 1959, she walked into a Butte Bar with a handgun, pointed it at her husband and shot him five times as he gambled killing him instantly. But those in attendance did not who was pulling the trigger, as Ruby was so badly beaten by her common law husband they could not recognize her.Garrett faced a first-degree murder charge but the jury convicted her of manslaughter. She was sentenced to four years, but served only nine months.Yet people familiar with the case say Garrett was the victim of severe spousal abuse and that pent-up frustration had reached a boiling point.Garret would pay local police officers and officials $200 to $300 a month in return for their silence about the Dumas's activities. Under Garrett, the cost of a prostitute was $20 but she would come upon financial difficulties and had not paid taxes in several years. She was charged with tax evasion in 1981 and in 1982 the Dumas Brothel was finally closed.In 1982 Ruby Garrett, the last madam of the Dumas, was convicted of federal tax evasion and served six months in prison. The brothel was closed soon after, but not before a robbery took place there.When it closed, it was the longest operating brothel in the United States, having operated for 92 years, long after prostitution was outlawed.The Dumas was then sold to antique dealers and then to a couple who wanted to open a museum. The museum opened but the owners were operating it with great difficulties having using the premises as a hoarding operation.Stories about the Dumas Brothel began circulating as these owners heard disembodied voices, saw furniture move on its own accord, felt cold spots and apparitions throughout the three floors. Soon paranormal celebrities and ghost hunters started flocking to the derelict building.During the years that followed, many visitors to the museum also witnessed paranormal activity, from cold spots to hearing ghostly voices from the cribs.The previous owners had, like previous operators failed to pay taxes on the property and city officials were demanding payment. One of the owners had a criminal past involving drugs and was clearly suffering from mental health issues and drug abuse or a combination of both. On the Ghost Adventure show this particular individual was noted by viewers tweeking out on drugs, but of course, Zak Baggans does not acknowledge this – but instead blames the ghosts for these strange interactions.Sadly, Michael Piche died in 2018 leaving his business partner to hand over the building to city officials who put the building and its contents up for auction.You can visit the Historic Dumas Brothel in Butte Montana both day and night and take an indepth tour with the new owners who are currently cleaning up, repairing and maintaining the building. And it appears it is in good hands as they are focusing in on making the building historically accurate.On our tour in the upstairs left bedroom I heard a distinctive female voice say “Can I help you?” There is a great deal of emotion, sadness, contempt, and wonder one feels when walking through these old hallways and peering into the cribs. It was both exciting and horrifying for those who once lived and visited the Dumas Brothel and clearly, both those emotions are felt by visitors today.The Museum is located at 45 E Mercury St. In Butte, Montana and tours are available for those interested in the historical or paranormal aspect of the old building. Tours range from $5 to $10 and last between 45 minutes to over and hour.Because the Dumas Brother has changed hands much of the contact information, web sites and social media pages are outdated and have been abandoned. Please use the current information below to retrieve information and schedule tours.Website: www.dumas-brothel.comPhone: 1-406-351-9922
  • 10. Haunted Athelhampton House

    Historic houses are a common sight in the English county of Dorset. One in particular situated near the picturesque town of Dorchester is among the best preserved medieval houses in all of England, and reportedly the most haunted.House is a perfect example of an English manor house built in the early Tudor architectural style. Its construction was begun by Sir William Martyn in 1485. Pieces of the original medieval furniture can still be seen in the interior today - Elizabethan carved panels, ornate ceilings, and impressive artwork decorate the rooms, as in Tudor times.In 1891, Alfred Cart de Lafontaine purchased and restored the manor house. However, he is most remembered for creating the beautiful gardens around the house, influenced by the Arts and Crafts movement of the time.Throughout the years the house has had many hands and in 1957 the manor house was purchased by Robert Victor Cooke and today it is in the ownership of his grandson.Athelhampton House was said to be haunted as far back as the 1850s and is considered among the most haunted houses in England. People have reported seeing a ghost of a woman nicknamed the Grey Lady, a dark silhouette of what is believed to be the ghost of a monk, and the most famous ghost: a pet ape. There are dozens of reported sightings of each of these ghosts as well as many other strange phenomenon.One report that stands out at this location is the pair of duelists in the Great Chamber. One day a woman was trying to relax and read a book in the Great Hall when two unknown men burst into the chamber in the middle of a sword fight. The woman continually pulled on the bell rope for the servants but nobody arrived. She turned to her side and carried on reading while the fight continued until one of the men were cut on the arm and left the room.Later that day the woman reported the incident to the owner and he replied puzzled at the whole thing. He stated, “I can’t understand who the men were you had seen, as all the guests of the hotel were here at tea, so you would have seen them”. Still to this day the two men have never been identified, although the house is believed to have had connections to the Royalists during the Civil War.The wine cellar adjoins the Great Hall and is said to experience tapping from a ghost known as ‘Cooper’. There is not much known about this particular entity or why Cooper is haunting this particular location.Various owners, staff and guests of Athelhampton House have all seen what can only be described as a Grey Lady. The current owner of Athelhampton Mr Robert Cooke, has reported seeing her in the early hours passing through the walls in the bedrooms.A dark apparition that looked like a monk was seen by one of the housemaids in broad daylight. The woman became aware of footsteps behind her in one of the corridors. She quickly turned to see the monk standing outside the bathroom door. It is believed that this person was the Catholic priest to the Martyn family. Other witnesses have seen this monk-like apparition on the property and in the garden.But the most talked about ghost of this old manor is that of the pet ape that is said to have been entombed, accidentally within the walls of the building. Today, witnesses claim to hear the pet ape scratching and clawing his way to try to escape.But headlines in the Sunday papers have runaway with the story. One of the Sun's headlines reads: The ghost of a masturbating ape haunts the hallways of a grand country estate in DorsetThe article continues to say The ghost of a randy monkey haunts the halls of a grand English country estate – where romantic spook-hunters flock to tie the knot.Titillated tourists can often hear the saucy spectre laughing while masturbating in Athelhampton Hall in Dorset, near Dorchester.One tourist, dad-of-three John Morrison, 41 from Derby, who took his entire family to the estate, spoke excitedly about the spanking spookHe said "We heard that Martyn the monkey who haunts the house loves to scratch his privates while swinging around."We didn't see him, which is a shame, because it would have been a real sight."Apparently he's not terrifying - quite friendly is what we heard.According to the local legend, the unconventional Martyn family did have a pet ape which was free to wander the halls.And when one of the Martyn daughters had an unhappy love affair and decided to kill herself, the compassionate monkey began following her around.When she climbed a set of hidden stairs to a secret room, the ape trailed behind, and watched as she took her own life with the door bolted.By the time the family's search of the house and grounds eventually located the room, the ape had starved to death next to her body.Now its ghost haunts the hall, often scratching at the panelling of the secret room and staircase in an eternal, frantic attempt to escape.Athelhampton reputation as a haunted house date back centuries and the curious have ventured into the house to seek the spirits there. In 2002, the show Most Haunted featured the manor in one of their earliest investigations – their first season and their first taped episode. This was at a time when there was less drama, less screaming and less fakery. But keep in mind as you listen that Darek Acorah, the supposed psychic, is in this episode grunting like a great ape. To our relief he does not masturbate.