This episode of Strange Matters covers the dark and disturbing series of deaths known as the Bridgend Suicides. Over the course of several years, dozens of people, mostly young adults and teens, would suddenly and without warning take their own lives. Almost of all these deaths were caused by hanging. The story of the Bridgend Suicides spread globally due to the heavy media involvement, as news spread across the world of the mysterious and deadly trend that was plaguing this small Welsh town.
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”. This 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? Some 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. His 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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Shared psychosis: an extremely rare condition found in the DSM IV that describes psychotic behavior exhibited by a healthy individual who is under the influence of a close friend or family member with schizophrenia. There is a lot we don’t know about the mind; however we do know that people can act in irrational ways when the neurotransmitters in their brain are not functioning properly.
Could this explain the case of the Eriksson twins? These sister were behaving strangely before darting across one of the busiest highways in the United Kingdom, known as M6. Not only did they display super human resilience when hit by vehicles traveling at very high speeds, but they continued to be defiant to the police officers and paramedics that were trying to assist them. Are their behaviors simply a product of delusion? Or could there have been something more… drugs, conspiracy or even a suicide pact?
The story of the Gibson sisters is similar however significantly less violent and more strange. These sisters grew up in social isolation due to being victimized as the only black girls in their area in Wales, England. They quickly turned toward each other and inward for comfort. They developed an unhealthy dependence upon each other and began acting in bizarre ways. Sometimes they would move in-sync almost as if they were both puppets controlled by an invisible puppeteer. They spoke to each other in their own made-up language. This strange behavior progressed into violence and crime and eventually led to the demise of one of the sisters. But what really caused her death? Listen to this episode and find out for yourself!
In this episode we discuss the mysterious and bizarre death of Elfrieda Knaak. In the early hours of the morning Elfrieda was discovered alone and locked inside the basement of a police station, suffering from severe burns from the nearby furnace. Investigators were baffled from the start, as Elfrieda claimed she had carried out the horrible act herself in order to purify herself for her ‘psychic lover.’
While she was slowly dying in her hospital bed, Elfrieda would make increasingly confusing and strange comments. These statements lead to more questions than answers for the police. She claimed she burned herself to prove herself to her so called astral lover, Charles Hitchcock. However Charles claimed he knew nothing about this situation at all.
Hitchcock would be ruled out as a suspect due to his broken leg, but many believe he still had something to do with her death, whether directly or indirectly is still unknown. Elfrieda continued on, speaking of a mysterious woman who holds all the answers, an unknown man who threw her down, along with other weird and supernatural comments… However she was unable to answer further questions due to her increasingly worsening health. Unfortunately Elfrieda Knaak would die from her burns before any solid leads or answers could be found, and to this day her death remains a complete mystery.
Did Elfrieda really burn and torture herself all alone? Was somebody with her in that basement, either assisting or forcing her into the furnace? Listen and hear all about the strange twists and turns to the bizarre and disturbing death of Elfrieda Knaak.