In this episode we discuss a number of legendary and infamous cults, and the terrible atrocities they are known for.

The People’s Temple, lead by the notorious Reverend Jim Jones, was a socialist minded, tightly knit religious congregation.  Though the People’s Temple and Jones himself was initially known for striving for social equality, this cult would unfortunately go down in history for a more sinister event.  Jim Jones would lead his dedicated, or brainwashed, followers into what he called an act of ‘revolutionary suicide’ against the cruelties of the outside world. He convinced over 900 people to “drink the kool-aid,” in reality a mixed concoction of poison, resulting in the largest instance of mass suicide in modern history.

The Movement for the Restoration of the Ten Commandments was a strict religious cult that was based of the Roman Catholic church.  The Movement was what is known as a doomsday cult, known for predicting the apocalypse and preparing its members for it. When the date of the end times came and went, the leaders of the movement were forced to make a new plan to prevent their mass of members from fleeing.  Instead of admitting they were wrong, those in command would set plans in motion that would see that all of their followers would perish in a fiery trap that would claim the lives of over 300 innocent people.

Order of the Solar temple

The Order of the Solar Temple was a secret organization that traced its origins to the Knights Templar.  This group celebrated a bizarre mix of ceremonies borrowed from Christianity, UFO religions, and the Freemasons.  Just as this group was starting to unravel from the inside, a tragic series of suicides and murders would cause it to leave its mark as one of the strangest cults in history.

Scientology is a current religious group that has reached popularity over the years for its celebrity members and strange science fiction like beliefs. The darker side of this religious cult is its supposed use of brainwashing, fraud and financial means to force its members into submission and complete loyalty.

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Dark Myths featured podcast of the Month: Pete’s Paranormal Chronicles

If a Tree Falls in the Forest

If a tree falls in the forest does it really make a sound? This philosophical conundrum raises questions about humans ability to perceive and interpret reality. What is reality? How much of what we are seeing is real and how much of it is simply our brains misinterpreting our senses?

In this episode we discuss several different haunted forests around the world. The first of which is known as Hoia Baciu, also known as “The World’s Most Haunted Forest”, also known as “Romania’s Bermuda Triangle”. HB UFOThis forest has been known for its mysterious UFO sightings and apparitions since the 60s when a biologist went there to examine the strange curvature of the trees that grew on the land. Instead of finding an answer to his question, he snapped several photos of UFOs and also experienced the feeling that he was not alone in Hoia Baciu. Since then people who visit this small area of land complain of unexplained nausea and vomiting, rashes, scratches and feelings that they are being watched.

The next haunted forest is known as Aokigahara which is a most beautiful 16 square mile patch of land located at the base of Mt. Fuji in Japan. Many people from all over the world travel here to catch a glimpse of its splendor, however there is another more sinister attraction. It has become Japan’s number one suicide hot spot and over the last two decades hundreds of skeletons have been found in these woods. What is it about this area that attract so many desperate individuals and erodes there will to survive? SF JapanSome come with the full intent of ending their lives while others come with a back up plan in case they change their mind and decide they wish to live. However one thing is for sure, and that is that this forest has an extremely treacherous terrain that could reduce your most avid hiker to nothing more then an incapacitated, lost hope.

Our final haunted forest lands closer to our home in Virginia, United States of America. Along the Appalachian Trail many people have reported seeing the ghost of a young boy known as Ottie Cline Powell. This young boy went missing over a century ago, never to return. OCPHis body was found lifeless and frozen huddled at the top of Bluff Mountain where he had strayed over 7 miles from his schoolhouse. This sad story is believed to have resulted in his ghost wandering the AT for over a century in search of a way home to his family.


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Without a Trace

In this episode of Strange Matters, three cases are presented in which someone suddenly vanished without a trace.  In each of these unsolved mysteries, the victims would be going about living normal lives, until the next moment they were simply gone, forever.

Danielle Imbo and Richard Petrone were hanging at a bar late one night with some friends. At around midnight, the pair left the bar to head towards Richard’s truck. Neither of them would ever be seen again.  This case has puzzled police and the community for over a decade, as no one can see how its possible for two people and a truck could simply go missing without a shred of evidence.

Angela Hammond was on a payphone late at night, talking to her fiance Rob. Suddenly, she screamed into the phone.  Her fiance ran to his car and raced towards to where she was, when a truck passed by with a woman inside screaming his name.  Unfortunately, Rob could not catch up and the truck would drive away, apparently taking Angela with it.  No signs of her would ever be found.

In the last case, teenage Laureen Rahn was enjoying a day with two friends in her apartment.  Later that night, Laureen’s mother came home, to find that only her daughter’s friend was still at the apartment.  Her daughter was gone, with no signs of forced entry or a struggle, and all her belongings left behind.  It’s as if Laureen stepped outside and was suddenly gone, without a trace.  Though there were a few odd leads in this case, the police could find absolutely no clues as to what happened to the missing teenager.


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Unwanted Guests

In this episode the crew of Strange Matters dives back into the realm of the paranormal and unknown, with four creepy tales of haunted artifacts, werewolves, angry poltergeists, and disturbed attic dwellers.  These stories of unwanted guests will be sure to send chills down your spine.

The first story is that of the Hexham Heads, strange stone artifacts discovered that seemed to carry with them a dark curse. Several people who had ownership of these heads, and for a few unlucky individuals who just happened to be nearby, witnessed several unexplained and disturbing encounters.  There are claims of ghostly and poltergeist activity connected with the stone heads, not to mention sightings of a werewolf creature that seems to follow them everywhere.

Attic HauntNext up is the infamous Man in the Attic, or the San Pedro Haunting.  This story involves a woman named Jackie who is experiencing a literal house full of horrors, including unworldly noises, moving objects, ghostly sightings, and even walls dripping human blood.  For those who agreed to investigate the house, their experiences would be much worse, and nearly fatal.  This case is one of the most famous cases of paranormal and poltergeist activity in the United States.

The Jacksonville Clowns were a bizarre case that would terrify anyone who shares a phobia of clowns.  A series of men, dressed up as clowns, was caught on several surveillance cameras approaching houses.  Whether this was a meaningless prank or perhaps something more sinister is unknown to this day.

The last case is that of the Woman in the Ceiling.  A paranoid man sets up a night vision camera in his apartment, in the process catching a woman descending from his loft’s attic space to eat his food and walk around his apartment while he slept.  Though some claim this might be a hoax, the man still swears this disturbing intruder actually dwelled in his place for some time, all the time unknown to him.

Enjoy these stories of bizarre and creepy unwanted guests!

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Listener Stories: Local Myths, Folklore, & Urban Legends

In this story we present a collection of local myths, folklore, and urban legends that have been sent in to us by our listeners around the world!

The origins of these stories range from Austria, England, Canada, and a few in the United States.  This episode is a mixture of tales and urban legends including  a sadistic murderer, a mythical suicide pool, the haunting of the water babies, the foul smelling Honey Island Swamp Monster, as well a number of other supernatural and paranormal events.

Thanks to our listeners Raphaela, Thomas, Cody, & Kate for sharing your local urban legends with us!

Also big thanks to fellow podcast hosts Jordan, Ryan, and Sam for sending in their own stories as well. Check out their podcasts and give them a listen when you have finished with this episode!

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