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The life of Percy Harrison Fawcett was never short of adventure. An amateur explorer who obtained a gold medal for his services to the Royal Geographical Society, in a time long before planes, GPS and radio communication. He was a man with a story and a character so much larger than life, that popular fiction has drawn influence on them for years, …
 
In 1885 a terrifying string of attacks in Austin, Texas erupted through the city, preying on the servant class. An unknown attacker, or band of attackers, broke into the residences of servants across the city, striking many of them in the head with an axe. The attacks carried on for months with police making little advancement until the night of Ch…
 
In 1953, a strange story crept out of the Philippines, when newspapers began reporting on the Dracula Girl, a young, Filipino vagrant, who had been arrested for prostitution and who now appeared to be facing even darker powers, as she battled with a pair of tormentors, collectively known as The Thing. For over two weeks, doctors, reporters, prison …
 
The end of the 18th Century saw the birth of a long line of religious movements focused on the end of days and the biblical second coming. Central to this string of beliefs was an unimposing domestic servant who began to have visions in her mid-life, which she claimed were divine in nature, eventually leading to her insistence that she was a prophe…
 
In the late Spring of 1937, the murder of a young Italian immigrant stormed the Paris headlines. The first murder to have taken place on the Metro, it was a baffling affair with no witnesses and a murder of unusual precision. As the country mired in political turmoil, newspapers filled their columns with rumours of the victims life, quickly filling…
 
“In war, one of our great protections against the dangers of air attack after nightfall will be the "blackout". On the outbreak of hostilities all external lights and street lighting would be totally extinguished so as to give hostile aircraft no indication as to their whereabouts. But this will not be fully effective unless you do your part, and s…
 
In the winter of 1896, a spate of airship sightings spread out from California, stampeding across the United States until, in the Spring of 1897, they hit a wall in the midwest, after a brief flirtation on the East Coast. The sightings totalled in their tens of thousands and many included fantastical descriptions of both the ship and the people rid…
 
Haunted human remains are a trope popular in modern horror, from the twisted ivory puppet in the House on Haunted Hill to the skeletal corpses, floating in the swimming pool of Poltergeist, human bones have long held a place of fear, worship and power throughout history and cultures, eventually manifesting within the horror genre of the 20th Centur…
 
With a long and winding path through history from ancient times, to the renaissance and beyond, Alchemy was a vast subject with a multitude of practitioners, from the legendary and mythical to established medical gentry and scholarly clergy. In fact and fiction, they were men and women obsessed by the magical bending of the laws of nature to their …
 
The mid 19th Century newspaper headlines saw no shortage of cases involving poison. Unsurprisingly, given the relative ease of obtaining such deadly materials, a long narrative of death, whether by accident or design, formed throughout the period and still today the Victorian period is often characterised as something of a heyday for poisons and po…
 
Heya! I hope you had a great Christmas and are relaxing and taking it easy before the New Year. Here's the second part to this years Christmas Campfire. I messed up the timing a little bit and so this episode is not as long as I thought it was going to be, but it was nice to have it in two parts anyhow! I hope you enjoy it, here's to 2021 and a muc…
 
Merry Christmas everyone! It wouldn't be Christmas in 2020 if it wasn't at least a bit of a cock-up right?! Half way through recording this episode, the heart of my recording setup completely gave up on me and crapped out, so I had to re-record it the only way I had available, which means the audio quality is a little diminished, though I think I d…
 
From Salem to East Anglia, Bordeaux to the black forest of Germany, it seems there is no end of infamous witch trials that took place in history, spanning hundreds of years and thousands of miles. Somewhat less well known are the many hundreds of werewolf trials that took place alongside them and with such a degree of crossover, that made them ulti…
 
(There was a bit of an issue with the sound getting scrambled in the original upload of this episode. If you find you bump into this, please delete the file and re-download and you should get the updated, fixed version! Apologies!) The interwar years saw a sharp rise in followers of Spiritualism throughout Europe and the wider world. Family houses …
 
The disappearance of James Eugene Harrison, a young entrepreneur who set out on a business trip in the winter of 1958 and never returned, signalled a tragic loss for his family. Their life suddenly flipped on its head. Mrs Harrison slowly came to terms with the difficult life of a widow with two young sons to raise. A Californian convict admitted t…
 
In the mid-1970s, a series of purported supernatural events took place in a small, yellow, wooden slatted house in a suburb of Bridgeport, Connecticut. At a time when demonic forces were very much in vogue, the Goodin family were plagued by all manner of phenomena that quickly drew the attention of the national press, along with thousands of curiou…
 
Rumoured as a top contender as the inspiration for F. Scott Fitzgeralds most enigmatic of characters, Jay Gatsby, Joseph Bowne Elwell was among other things, a property developer, race horse owner, author, socialite, broker, tutor and, last but certainly not least, thoroughly famous card player. Winning sums that totalled into the tens of thousands…
 
There is no shortage of famous names associated with the Golden Age of Piracy. Captain Kidd, Blackbeard, Henry Morgan or Jack Rackham hold such levels of fame, they have become household names, legends with largely fictional tales still told of their lives at sea. There is, however, one man who managed to outdo them all. His largest, most audacious…
 
In the spring of 1871, a young servant girl was found in the middle of the night, lying on the ground following a brutal attack that would eventually prematurely end her life. Following a series of fantastic police blunders, a suspect was arrested, tried and promptly acquitted. As far as the police were concerned, the murder had been solved, but th…
 
In 1921, a series of accidents on a small, rural road, carving through the heart of the boggy marshes and fields of Dartmoor, in South East England, led to a brief explosion in excitement concerning the ghostly image of a pair of disembodied hands, forcing drivers off the road and into potentially fatal accidents. Following a little dash of press m…
 
Just before dawn, on the outskirts of New York harbour, a small Sloop sailed listlessly into the bay. The ship had no crew, no lights and a deck covered in blood. It presented a mystery to the local police, who set their detectives on the case which led to a manhunt up the East Coast of the United States in pursuit of a phantom. The police may have…
 
When William Harrison left his house on a calm midsummer evening of 1660, no one expected him to not return for two years, Except maybe William himself… Or maybe not. Equally surprising would have been the confessions that would follow of his murder from a trio of servants, one of whom was an alleged witch and none of whom can possibly have been gu…
 
The technological breakthroughs of the 19th century were, to many people, both equal parts exciting and terrifying. Known as the black arts, the newly emerging techniques of commercial photography were often spoken about as though they were a mysterious or even supernatural process. Of course, there was nothing supernatural about the new technology…
 
This week we go back to the Penal Colonies of Australia to visit a story of grimey adventure, with Alexander Pearce, a convict who escaped into the bush and then, naturally, ate all his friends SOURCES Knopf A., Alfred, (1987) The Fatal Shore: A history of the Transportation of Convicts to Australia 1787-1868, Collins Harvill, UK Collins, Paul, (20…
 
In 1871, the seaside town of Brighton, England saw one of the more bizarre cases of the Victorian age play out when a lady of the town, Miss Christiana Edmunds, found her romantic feelings for a local doctor knocked back. As the pain of the unrequited love affair became too much, Christiana attempted and failed to commit murder and then in a perver…
 
The witch trials throughout medieval europe have become renowned for their relentless, brutal torture and widespread execution. Whether floated as a form of class warfare, patriarchal dominance or religious persecution, the stories that remain are pitch black with their depictions of callous violence. Likewise, the legacy of The Medieval Inquisitio…
 
The world of the strange has always held a certain draw. The pull of a mystery, the intrigue of a natural obscurity or the exciting twists of the unexplained. This was a market that was heavily seized upon in typical bombastic fashion in America during the 19th Century when the art of the humbug was refined, polished and displayed on a grande stage…
 
In December of 1909, a few days before Christmas, the murder of a wealthy old woman in Glasgow sparked a cascade of events that would go on to write an incredible story of prejudice, conspiracy and eventual justice. Featuring a starring role by none other than the creator of Sherlock Holmes, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, it was then and remains still, on…
 
Something a little different this week, as you may have guessed from the title. All is explained at the start of the episode, but the long and the short of it is that the episode I completed for this week, seemed, in light of the current events, somewhat tasteless to me if I'd have released it right now. So... for now that episode is benched to ret…
 
Stories of human-animal hybrids have existed for centuries, from the ancient Greeks, to modern Hollywood cinema, as humans, we have always held a fear and reject the idea of science meddling with genetics in uncomfortable ways. Creating wild stories of half human-half beast monsters, or conspiracy theories of hushed up, top secret laboratories oper…
 
In 1888, Whitechapel, was gripped by fear of a brutal series of murders perpetrated by a sadistic killer that named himself Jack the Ripper. He would go on to be one of the world's most famous, and elusive serial killers of all time. Jacks escapades took place just a single step ahead of the curve of criminal forensics, an opportune window in time …
 
In 1944, residents in the town of Mattoon in Illinois came under a prolonged series of attacks by a man the papers named as “The Mad Gasser” and “The Phantom Anesthetist”. Despite the witness accounts that claimed to see a man stalking around the victims houses on multiple occasions, the authorities and subsequent psychological studies chalked the …
 
William Kent was what some might have called a rather unlucky man. Twice widowed shortly after marriage to his relatively wealthy wives, his relationships had not been the fairy tales he had longed for. The 19th Century was an age where bumping off an unwanted spouse could be as easy as a trip to the local apothecary, and as such, one might have ex…
 
In 1833, a small village in Kent, England became the focus of attention when the patriarchal head of a wealthy farming family wound up dead, presumed murdered after an attack on the entire household, presumed to be the work of Arsenic Poisoning. The 1830’s were on the eve of a new era in Forensics, and the previously vague symptoms of poisoning wer…
 
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to everyone! Thank you so much for all your support over the previous year! This years Christmas Campfire is a bumper one, full of diverse and fantastic stories. I thought it was a really great snapshot as to how weird and wonderful the world is and how diverse a range of people listen to the show. Putting it to…
 
Hey everyone, thank you so much for listening this year! This is the season finale which I sort of didn't expect to do, so I'm releasing a bit of an intro that explains whats going to be happening throughout the Dark histories season break in December and what episodes will be coming out and included a patreon bonus episode for this weeks fix! I ho…
 
“Sir, When you can spare room in your Gazette, I think you will not be able to present your readers with an account so extraordinary and surprising, as the following.” So began the letter, written to the Printer of the Bristol Gazette, from the Reverend William Robert Wake in the Summer of 1788. The account he wrote of was one of possession and exo…
 
With Halloween on the horizon, I took time to cover some of the smaller stories that I've dug up over the previous year that weren't chunky enough to fill up a full episode. Enjoy and Happy Halloween! ------ For extended show notes, including maps, links and scripts, head over to darkhistories.com Support the show by using our link when you sign up…
 
Tokyo, Japan, 1948. A man walks into a bank, announces himself to the manager as an official of the local Government Health Department, instructs the staff to take an inoculation medicine and walks out leaving 12 of them dead from poison. Upon first hearing an overview, this might sound like a somewhat unique, but trivial bank robbery. But this is …
 
Graham Young was an unusual boy. Infinitely fascinated with chemistry, he devoted large amounts of his early life pouring over thick medical textbooks, educating himself on the properties of various chemical compounds. What stood Graham out from his peers more than his intellect was that his obsession with chemistry revolved almost solely around th…
 
On a cold December night of 1937, renowned Psychical Investigator Harry Price strode up the steps outside a large, Victorian house in a quiet, well-to-do London suburb. He’d come to the house to partake in a séance, invited by a woman known only as Mrs X whom in their communications leading up to the night, had guaranteed a spirit manifestation for…
 
As The Medusa sailed from Rochefort in 1816, many aboard saw bright futures ahead for themselves. They were escaping a country torn asunder, harshly divided by war, revolution and eventual restoration. With the French Empire floundering and a band of Hard-Right ultra-royalists creating laws in France, the promise of a new start in a fresh land was …
 
Campbell, California. Lying in the heart of Santa Clara County, a periphery city of Silicon Valley and the birthplace of E-Bay. In 1896, 100 years before websites facilitating the auctioning of used underwear and haunted paintings had been dreamt up, Campbell was the scene for a gruesome family killing that saw posses of bounty hunters and bloodhou…
 
William the Scabby was lead out to the scaffold on which he was to be hanged. A rebel against the Anglo-Norman rule, he had been sentenced to death on 13 counts of Homicide. Now it was time for him to meet his maker. Except, that is not how the story ends, for though William was hanged “until dead”, he was not to stay as such and later in the day, …
 
When Pauline went missing in 1922, all hope was initially lost of her return, until a month later, when she showed up 200 miles away. Her parents collected her, took her home and lived with her for several weeks before a body showed up just 800 metres from their house. The body alone was shocking enough, but quickly became doubly so as it was ident…
 
When the Altic Farm House, on the outskirts of La Porte, Indiana burnt down in 1908, locals thought it a tragedy that claimed the lives of three children and their heroic mother, who had died trying to protect them from the flames. During the excavation of the debris, the story flipped on its head as far more than the 4 bodies expected were eventua…
 
On Dark Histories, we hear the words of people lost to history, echoing through the writings of labourers, servants, judges, juries, maids and mistresses exactly as they were written in decades and centuries past. This one way communication with history is always limited by it’s very definition and no matter how much we dig, we can never ask the wr…
 
Getting away with murder has always been a difficult, and ultimately, unlikely affair, even in the 19th Century, before DNA analysis, fingerprint databases, or even any real, proper detective agencies, it was still a challenge that many criminals tried and failed. There were some however, that did manage to achieve the feat, whether it be through c…
 
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