Unsolved Mysteries of the World


Unsolved Mysteries Triple Play: Poltergeists, Sickle Weasels and a Ghostly Possession

Season 6, Ep. 7

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Our journey started when we found we were continually getting in trouble with our wives in Sunday School. It seemed that each week one of us would answer a question with a song lyric from Pink Floyd, The Who, Rush, or some other Rock band. This would spur another of us to pick up the strand, and before long the entire class had been sucked into a rabbit hole of Rock lyrics. Clearly we had a problem. While we could have just become more disciplined and acted like adults, we took a different path. Yes, there are two paths you can go by, but in the long run, there's still time to change the road you're on.

That second path was to unleash our enjoyment of song lyrics and rock music on the world via the internet. That seemed like a lot more fun than acting our age, so we decided to give it a try. Our goal is to bring you a month and year in rock music each week. We'll highlight an album selection and play some songs from it, discussing the group, the time, and whatever else comes to mind. We'll also pull out some songs that were popular to us around that time. We hope that this will bring back some memories and introduce you to some music you might not have heard. So welcome back, my friends, to the show that never ends! We're so glad you could attend.

Unsolved Mysteries Triple Play: Poltergeists, Sickle Weasels and a Ghostly Possession

Here are Three Unsolved Mysteries that are sure to entertain, have you scratching your head or hiding under the covers.

#1 Butler Street Poltergeist

For several weeks in January of 1959, 80 year old Mrs. Charles Papineau and her 13 year old grandson, Wayne, reported a strange occurrence. Several times for no apparent reason their windows in the home would shatter into pieces and smash all over the inside of the home on Butler Street in Springfield, Massachusetts

Both Mrs. Papineau and Wayne claimed to have heard odd thumping sounds just before windows were smashed to pieces. In a week, 39 windows were broken.

The glazier who installed replacement panes told a reporter that the glass had all fallen inside the house, as if a violent force had struck them in the center from the outside of the home. During the times the windows smashed both witnesses are said to be inside the home.

Upon replacing windows with a thicker variety, the glazier was called again to replace them as each window replaced were smashed about again.

Despite a police investigation, no culprits or evidence of a crime were found. None of the neighbors reported any unusual activity.

After the police investigation petered out, John C. Parker, an architect and part-time paranormal investigator took over. He said that he was "pretty sure poltergeists are to blame." and set up a recording thermometer near the bathroom window where three panes had been broken to prove that sudden drops in temperature showed evidence of ghosts.

He also planned to install a strong plastic window in that room to prevent any further breakages.

Apart from frightening the nervous Mrs. Papineau, who suffered windows exploding right in front of her, the most affected victim appeared to be the insurance agent asked to process her claim for $93 in replacement glass. Without a cause other than poltergeist to list on the damage claim form, he had to call his head office for instructions.

The window breakages ended a little less than a week after they began. The responsible party was never positively identified. Speculation continues among students of psychic phenomenon, but it’s worth noting Mrs. Papineau herself didn’t believe in ghosts. John C. Parker tried to convince her that a poltergeist was at work, but Mrs. Papineau would have nothing more to do with investigating this possibility.

She called the police once more to see if they had any solid leads and they agreed to meet her at the house to follow up. In their follow up they interviewed 13 year old Wayne once more and found out that he had been playing with a Christmas gift – a chemistry set. Upon watching Wayne play with the set they concluded it could have only caused the damage if he had taken the entire play set and threw it through the windows.

Then one day the knocking stopped, the glass never broke again and the house according to Mrs. Papinau had a calm about it. The Poltergeist it appears had moved on.

#2 The Sickle Weasel of Japan

In 1894, unreal events began taking place in Japan, mainly in the area of Kamakura, Yamanouchi Ken.

While authorities at the time attempted to explain the phenomenon, local villagers were convinced the cause was due to an ghost monster.

Men walking in fields, at home, or in the open would suddenly feel a strong wind and be knocked over.

When they stood, the victims found wounds in their legs. The injuries were narrow slits approximately 1”-1½” long and about an inch deep, and had no apparent cause. At first painless and bloodless, after about a half hour the wounds began to bleed and the pain intensified and after days and weeks the wounds would not heal. Months would pass and finally, after much care, the wounds slowly healed.

Scientists studying the events theorized the men’s wounds were caused by an inexplicable loss of atmospheric pressure creating a temporary vacuum. However, the stricken men and other locals believed the wounds were the work of a legendary yokai called kamaitachi, or the “sickle weasel”—a supernatural creature with sharp, sickle-like claws who traveled in a whirlwind and attacked humans so quickly, they couldn’t be detected with the naked eye.

The kamaitachi was said to use a medicine on the inflicted wounds to temporarily halt bleeding and pain.

The Kamaitachi are said to travel in threes, striking out at people from thin air. The first kamaitachi slices at its victim’s legs, knocking him to the ground. The second one uses its fore and hind legs to slice up the prone victim with thousands of dreadful cuts. The third one then applies a magical salve which heals up the majority of the wounds instantly, so that none of them proves fatal. It is said that the Kamaitachi strikes with such precision that it can carve out entire chunks of flesh from its victims without causing even a drop of blood to be spilled. The attack and the healing happen so fast that the victim cannot perceive them; from his perspective he merely trips and gets up with a bit of pain and a few scratches here and there.

The rash of attacks eventually ceased that year and authorities had no explanation as to how the phenomenon had occurred or why.

# 3 The Possession of Maria Talarico

On February 13, 1936, the body of local resident Giuseppe “Pepe” Veraldi was found under the Morandi bridge in the city of Catanzaro, Italy.

The body was in mangled and bloody and had obviously fallen from the bridge above and the cause of death was determined to be severe damage to the head. Due to the injuries and the lack of any evidence of foul play, the police decided it was a suicide and stopped any further investigation. Pepe’s family protested that there was no reason for him to have killed himself, but the police did not listen and closed the case.

It wasn’t until three years later that Pepe’s death would be on the tongues of all gossipers.

On January 3 of 1939, Maria Talarico, a teenaged girl, was walking across the same bridge that Pepe was said have jumped over. About halfway across she suddenly stopped, walked over to the side from which Pepe had allegedly jumped, and mysteriously fainted. Several people were nearby and promptly arranged for Maria to be carted home.

Once in her own home, she awakened and initially seemed to be herself until she spoke. Instead of her usual voice, she spoke in a rasping male voice and told those present that she was Pepe Veraldi, and demanded to speak to his mother. After the shock had worn off somewhat, one of the neighbors ran off to fetch Mrs. Veraldi.

During this time, “Pepe” asked for wine and cigarettes and playing cards — proposing that he and some of the men have a game until his mother arrived. Needless to say, this was not in any way similar to Maria’s normal behavior. Maria didn't smoke and did not know card games, but strangely she did both without doubt.

Eventually Pepe’s mother showed up and he quickly told her that he had been murdered but did not name the culprit. As this information began to sink in with those gathered at the Talarico home, Maria quickly got up and ran outside to the exact place under the bridge where Pepe’s corpse had fallen.

Those from Maria’s household followed her, and when Pepe’s mother arrived she ordered her son’s spirit to leave Maria. Apparently it did, as Maria instantly “woke up” but remembered nothing of the past since she had initially fainted on the bridge.

Pepe’s mother went to the police with this information, but without names, there was nothing they could do and they found the story a little hard to believe.

The story would have ended there had it not been for a letter Pepe’s mother received nine years after Maria’s apparent possession. The letter was from one of Pepe’s former friends who was living in Argentina. He confessed to killing Pepe in an argument over a woman. Three other men helped him commit the crime, he said, and he named them in the letter.

Pepe’s mother now had something concrete to prove that her son had not committed suicide and she took the

letter to the police. One of the accomplices had died, but the other two were investigated, arrested and found guilty of the crime.

Maria had no further paranormal encounters and it seems that Pepe's spirit was at peace knowing that justice was served.

Take a journey through time and rock n roll with What the Riff?

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The Haunted Old Idaho State Penitentiary Part Three

Season 6, Ep. 15
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.