Just in time for the holidays, a “crazy Tokoloshe from hell” has chosen to move in with a South African family.

But the Tokoloshe is just the latest in a string of bizarre incidents that have been plaguing Zanele Chamana and her family, who reside in Soweto’s Braamfischerville. It all began with the arrival of what Zanele calls a “giant rat.” The family chased it around the house, noting that the rat chose a rather strange way of trying to elude its human pursuers: “it ran into all the corners of the rooms”, Zanele told the Daily Sun. Eventually, the giant rat was able to give the family the slip and they retired for the evening, believing the whole ordeal was settled. The next morning, however, the family “found blood everywhere in the house.”

Zanele’s husband, Jerry Muronga, cleaned up all the blood. The next day, he was attacked and beaten at work and ended up losing his job. It was then that the family began to believe that was no ordinary giant rat and some sort of black magic was to blame.

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But the giant rat and blood were just the beginning. The family was soon subjected to mysterious flooding in the home and even unexplained fires. A short time later, the family believes the Tokoloshe arrived. Late at night, they hear it running across their roof. It also makes appearances in their bedrooms at night, frequently targeting Zanele’s 21-year-old-daughter, Phindle. “I see a man walking around in my room and he comes and stands at my bed. That’s when I start sweating”, she said.

Recently, the family’s grandchildren have also reported seeing the Tokoloshe running around the house at night.

All this prompted the family to spend over R50000 (roughly $4,400.00) on everything from sangomas (South African “healers”) to prophets in an attempt to rid of the family of the Tokoloshe. As of this writing all attempts have failed.

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A transcript from the Daily Sun article can be found here.

Looking for more stories about the Tokoloshe? Go here!

Back in 1959, carloads of local teens descended on the tiny village of Mogadore, Ohio, with the intent of finding a ghost. Some actually claimed to have seen a ghost or two. And at least a couple of them got more than they bargained for.

This wasn’t the first time Mogadore had gotten all Ghost Crazy. Back in November of 1906, after a rash of reported ghost sightings in the village, the Canton Morning News declared the village of Mogadore to be “in the throes of a ghost scare.” Seems that people were wandering the streets of Mogadore at night, looking for ghosts.

Fast-forward over 50 years and the ghosts of Mogadore were at it again. Over the course of several weeks in the fall of 1959, dozens of area residents reported seeing ghostly apparitions throughout the village of Mogadore; flitting about abandoned houses, wandering through moonlit fields, and even walking alongside the road. It got so bad that it became something of a nightly ritual for locals, especially teens, to load up the car and drive around the village in what could only be termed “ghost hunting.”

One particular evening, a group of teens were driving towards Mogadore with the intent of doing a little ghost hunting themselves. Right at the outskirts of Mogadore, they were flagged down by a man who said he was a photographer from the Beacon Journal newspaper, out on a special assignment. Specifically, he was to try and photograph one of the ghosts of Mogadore, which had recently been spotted at an old abandoned house over on Saxe Road. When the photographer asked the teens if they wanted to accompany him on his little ghost hunt, they readily agreed and they were all soon on their way to the abandoned house.

Once there, the group grabbed a flashlight and began making their way up the driveway to the front door of the house. They were halfway to the door when they heard a strange noise coming from some nearby trees. Turning, they were shocked to see a ghostly white figure appear from behind a tree and start advancing towards them. The group scattered, with one of them literally running into a fence, catching his clothes in the process. Perhaps seeing one of their friends in pain steeled the group, for almost in unison, they turned, grabbed some rocks, and being chucking them at the ghost. Apparently, ghosts are afraid of rocks because the spooky figure retreated into the abandoned house, where it promptly vanished.

Shaken by the incident, the group drove to the Mogadore police station and reported what had happened. Patrolmen and Portage County deputies were dispatched to the abandoned house, but they found no signs of any ghosts. As they were preparing to leave, they noticed a car on the side of the road with its hood up. Taking a closer look, police found two men and a woman, wrestling with a dead car battery. Nothing out of the ordinary. Well, not until you take into account the fact that one of the men’s face appeared to be covered in white shoe polish. Or that there was a ghostly white sheet and a white helmet in their trunk. When confronted, the three admitted that they were the ones “haunting” the abandoned house.

The plan had been hatched by friends Thomas Baumgartner and Richard Hamilton. After hearing so many people talking about seeing a ghost in Mogadore, the pair decided to have a little fun. For his part, Baumgartner would paint his face, put on the ghost costume, and hang out near the abandoned house. Hamilton would be responsible for bringing people to the house by posing as a local photographer covering a story. Baumgartner’s wife, Judith, wasn’t part of the plan, but still decided to tag along and watch it all go down from a hiding spot near the house.

Judith Baumgartner checks out the ghostly attire of her husband, Thomas. –via Ohio.com

Both men were charged with disturbing the peace and fined $50 ($30 of which was to be suspended if they kept their noses clean for at least a year). Judith Baumgartner was not charged.

And with that, the case of the Mogadore Ghost came to a close. Or did it? For while dozens of people had reported seeing the ghost of Mogadore over the course of several months, both Baumgartner and Hamilton maintained that they had only pulled their little prank once–the night they were caught. So who or what were all these other people seeing? A real ghost? Or just other pranksters? That question may never be answered, although it did give several people a chuckle pondering what would have happened if the pranksters and a real ghost decided to show up at that spooky old house on the same night at the same time!

Artist’s rendition of what would have happened if Baumgartner’s “ghost” and a real ghost had met up that fateful night in Mogadore. –via Ohio.com

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The original article on this story, written by Mark J. Price, can be found here.

For more great stories from Mark J. Price, check out his book The Rest Is History: True Tales From Akron’s Vibrant Past.

 

 

OK, Ohioans, here’s something we can all be really proud of: Estately.com (yeah, I’ve never heard of them, either) has just handed the state of Ohio the title of Most Miserable State to Spend Thanksgiving In. And according to them, it wasn’t even close:

 “Ohio won the title of The Most Miserable State to Spend Thanksgiving In by an overwhelming margin. If any state will feature a simultaneous argument about Benghazi and the ethics of eating meat it will be over a plate of sugar-free pumpkin pie at an Ohio dining room table. Family divisions will only get more heated when the severely inebriated and the guests with food poisoning fight over who gets to use the bathroom first.”

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So how does one go about determining the most miserable state to spend Thanksgiving in? Well, apparently you come up with 6 categories and then rank all 50 states. The somewhat-random categories Estately.com came up with were:

1. Likelihood of a family food poisoning episode (salmonella)

2. Likelihood of relatives getting drunk and making a scene

3. Likelihood of political arguments

4. Dietary restrictions impacting meal quality

5. Likelihood of favorite NFL team losing on Thanksgiving

6. Likelihood of guests/cooks abandoning meal to shop a Black Friday sale

Looking over that list, I’m not really sure what categories 2, 3, and 4 have to do with Thanksgiving. Matter of fact, you could say the likelihood of  members of the Willis family getting drunk and making a scene, all while arguing politics and bitching about the food to be the standard chain of events at ALL of our gatherings, not just Thanksgiving. And I’m the only family member who lives in Ohio!

As for the other three categories, while they are tied to Thanksgiving, they’re still pretty random. Oh yeah, and then there’s the mind-boggling stat regarding the “likelihood of (the state’s) favorite NFL team losing on Thanksgiving”. Granted, Ohio came in 5th in that particular category, but it still doesn’t make any sense. That’s because, despite the awesome power of Troy Polamalamalamalamalu’s flowing locks, Ohio’s teams are still the Bengals and the Browns.

Now, you could make a case that the Bengals and Browns don’t have a single victory on Thanksgiving Day between them (collectively, they are 0 for 4). But the simple fact is that the Bengals and Browns almost NEVER play on Thanksgiving Day. The Bengals’ last Turkey Day appearance was in 2010 and the Browns? Well, it’s been 25 years since their last appearance (1989). So unless all you Bengals and Browns fans have Dallas Cowboy jerseys hiding in your closet (where they should remain, BTW), I’m not sure how that stat should have any impact on Ohio’s ranking.

Now, Ohio coming in 1st in the Dietary Restrictions category? That I get! The Buckeye state does seem to enjoy overeating and for seeing who in the family can come down with the sugar-betes first. But I blame Dave Thomas for that one!

So how about it, my fellow Ohioans? Is Thanksgiving in the Buckeye state really that bad?

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You can see Estately.com’s ranking of all 50 states by clicking here

 

That’s probably the question I get asked most often, followed closely by “weren’t you the weird guy who…”? Some of my friends tell me it’s because I have “a familiar face”. Not sure what that means, although I have been told I have a face made for radio. Funny, right?

Me posing near one of my favorite “trippy” posters they created for my Wright-Patterson OSC presentation in 2014.

But in all honesty, I think it’s because people know I’m into strange and spooky stuff. So if something weird and/or spooky comes up, they naturally assume I had something to do with it. And I’m cool with that! Quite touching, to be honest.

Anyway, the whole thing got me thinking: what are all the different things I’ve been on over the years (medications excluded, of course). That’s what led to my creating a list of all the places you could have seen my ugly mug or heard my voice. The fact that the list can also be used as a promotional tool to show that I “get around” doesn’t hurt, either!

The night a bunch of “ghosts” decided to roll my booth at the 2009 Ohio Paranormal Convention in honor of my birthday

So have a peek at the list and see how many places you spotted me. The mighty, mighty list is available in the About section, above, or by clicking right here!

 

 

Around 7:00 pm on Sunday, November 16th, three “earth-shaking booms” were heard around Dayton, Ohio. Not only in the Dayton area, but across most of Montgomery county and even neighboring Warren county.

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Reports seemed to be centered around Montgomery County (highlighted in red) — via Wikipedia

As reported by WHIO, local authorities, including fire and police, reported receiving calls from numerous people, all claiming to have heard the noises. Some claim the noises were so loud, they caused their houses to shake.

Most people, including yours truly, would chalk the noises up to sonic booms coming from nearby Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. However, a check with Base personnel revealed that “no aircraft were flying in the area that could have caused a sonic boom by breaking the sound barrier”.

Local utility companies did not report any abnormal activity or outages, either, leaving authorities scratching their heads as to the cause of the mysterious sounds.

So what of it, my Dayton-area readers: did you hear anything strange & spooky on the night of November 16th? If you did, tell us about it!

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WHIO’s news report on the unexplained booms can be accessed here.

 

 

Last week, someone spotted something weird in the skies over Toledo, Ohio. So weird that he reported it to the Mutual UFO Network, MUFON, who promptly assigned it an official case number.

According to MUFON Case #61353, the male witness was traveling south on 475. As he approached the underpass for the Ohio Turnpike, he noticed an object “about the size of a Lear jet” in the sky, flying over the roadway, roughly 150 feet off the ground.

As the object crossed the road, the witness was able to get a good look at it and described it as having “three white lights – one at each end and one in middle – about 5 to 8 feet above the others. It did not have any strobe lights and did not make any sound that I could hear.”

The witness further described the body of the UFO as appearing “to be a rectangular panel of solid, bright, red lights made up of 6 to 8 smaller panels butted together.”

After crossing the roadway, the object continued in an easterly direction, where the witness eventually lost sight of it.

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Area of reported UFO sighting — via OpenMinds

Right now, there’s a little bit of “chicken and egg” going on with regard to the reporting. As of this writing, the report appears on two different web sites: OpenMinds and MUFON. Now, you would think of the two, the more thorough report would be on the MUFON site. After all, MUFON gave the sighting its own official case number and everything. But you’d be wrong. For aside from having very little information, the MUFON article points you to the OpenMinds article should you wish to “read more.” As for the OpenMinds article, it doesn’t add much in the way of additional information and, you guessed it, directs you back to the MUFON site.

It’s also a little confusing as the headline for both posts say the UFO moved  “150 feet over” the Ohio Turnpike, which, all things considered, is not really that impressive. But since the body of both articles mention that the UFO was spotted moving “under 150 feet” and state that this was how low to the ground the UFO was when it was seen,  I think we can safely say the headlines are just a little confused. Still, since these are the initial reports, you’d think the reporter would want to clean those headlines up ASAP.

More as it develops.

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You can read the MUFON report here.

The OpenMinds report can be found here.

This story is blowing up all over the Internet, even though many of the specifics are not yet known (shocking, isn’t it). My paranormal Spidey Senses have been tingling ever since I first read the story, though, and I have a bad feeling that no matter how this plays out, it’s not going to end well for the field of paranormal research.

It is alleged that in the early morning hours of Friday, November 7th, 2014, 37-year-old Robert Steven Laursen Jr. was taking part in a ghost hunt with several other individuals at the infamous Villisca Ax Murder House in Iowa.  At approximately 12:45 am, Laursen was alone in one of the rooms when the other individuals heard him call out for help. When they reached him, they found Laursen on the floor, suffering from what appeared to be a self-inflicted stab wound in his chest. Laursen was taken to Clarinda Regional Hospital before being airlifted to CHI Creighton University Medical Center in Omaha. He was last listed in serious condition.

When reached for comment, the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office stated their investigation “showed no indication the stab wound was caused by an accident or fall”. Further, since there was “no indication of foul play”, the Sheriff’s Office did not expect to be filing any charges.

The Sheriff’s Office concluded that there had never “been a report of a similar situation” at the Villisca Ax Murder House before.

Sad and disturbing news, to be sure. But why does it have me so concerned? Well, for starters, I think it is only a matter of time before someone brings up the dark history of the house and tries to say there is some sort of “demonic” presence lingering within the walls of the home that someone forced this guy to knife himself. When (not if) that happens, the demonic/possession/satanic floodgates are going to open wide and that house is going to be awash in reality show posers and wannabes, all ready to do battle with the devil and his minions. You know I’m right. Off the top of my head, I can think of at least 3 ghost reality show “stars” who are literally licking their chops and oiling up their pecs as we speak at the idea of doing an upcoming episode inside the house. That’s saying nothing of the slew of “I’m not really a member of the clergy, but I play one on reality TV shows” guys busy pressing their Halloween Express-purchased priest outfits and giving an extra blast of starch to their fake clerical collars.

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“The power of Halloween Express compels you!” –via Halloween Express

For the past few years, there has been a disturbing trend (as least for me) developing among the vast majority of these ghost reality shows. Namely, the ghosts are getting angrier and angrier. Now, it is no longer just angry ghosts, but demonic spirits. Sadly, I think the Villisca Ax Murder House just unwittingly gave these shows a potential new angle: demonic spirits that can stab people.

Even if I’m wrong (and I sincerely hope that I am), there’s something else that bothers me, perhaps even more so than the reality TV angle. If we take the devil out of this occurrence, what we are left with is an individual who clearly has some sort of emotional problem. A problem that clearly can manifest itself in violent ways. Now you could make the case that the only person Laursen harmed was himself, but the fact that an individual apparently plunged a knife into his own chest on purpose can not be ignored. And he chose to do it during a public ghost hunt.

I don’t know about you, but ghost hunts have always been events that I’ve felt safe at. Even on the public hunts I conduct with fans of my organization, The Ghosts of Ohio, I’ve always felt like I was among kindred spirits. If I ever did worry about being hurt, it was usually thinking I was going to trip and fall in the dark or maybe a piece of an old building’s ceiling breaking off and braining me. Not once has it ever occurred to me that the danger might be coming from a fellow ghost hunter in my group. Until now.

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–via the Daily Nonpareil

This is not to imply that Laursen meant to harm anyone other than himself that night in Villisca. We just don’t know what his intentions were and perhaps we never will. Either way, it does seem to imply that from this point on, we all need to take a closer look at who we choose to get locked inside a haunted building with.

Sadder still, no matter how you look at it, there’s no denying that the fields of ghost hunting and paranormal research have both just lost a bit more of their innocence. Not that we had that much left to lose.

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One of the first newspapers to cover this story was the Daily Nonpareil. You can access that article here.

Omaha.com covered the story and includes some more quotes from the owner of the Ax Murder House. You can read the article here.

Syracuse.com also covered the story, but basically has the same information as the Daily Nonpareil. It does include a link to a video tour of the Ax Murder House, though. The article and video can be found here.

According to Dayton’s WHIO, mother Nicole Allen walked into a local Dollar Store and purchased what she thought was a “magic wand” for her 2-year-old daughter. When they got the wand home and the daughter started playing with it, Nicole was shocked to find that when the silver metallic “snowflake” was peeled back, it revealed a photo of what appeared to be a demonic woman slitting her wrists with a knife.

Nicole was outraged but when reporters confronted store owner Amar Moustafa, he simply said that parents need to pay more attention to what they are buying for their children, pointing out that the name of the toy is “Evilstick”. He has no current plans to pull the toy from the shelves, but said he would consider doing so if enough people complained.

OK, I’ll admit it: I absolutely LOVE dollar stores of all kinds! You can find some of the coolest, weirdest things lurking in their aisles. But there’s a reason everything’s being sold for only a dollar. These types of stores sell everything from expired food and damaged products to items which could only be termed “bootlegs”. In these stores, you get what you pay for.

I’m not faulting this woman for buying a $1.00 toy for her child. Heck, I’ve gone into those stores and dropped $20.00 on stuff for Courtney (and OK, some stuff for me, too. Gotta feed the Strange & Spooky Museum, you know). But here’s the thing: I don’t let Courtney out of my sight when she playing with any of those toys because I know they are all probably going to break, leak, or perhaps spontaneously combust within 15 minutes.

I think the fact that, as the shop owner points out, what is being called a “magic wand” is actually clearly labelled “Evilstick”. That and the idea that the “wonderful music” the device is said to emit is actually one of those traditional Halloween laughs should have given the mom a couple of hints that this wasn’t really a wand that was going to summon rainbows and magical pixies.

Do I think it’s an appropriate toy for children, especially a 2-year-old. whom the mother bought the EvilStick for? Certainly not. For one, if you look closely at the picture above, you can see it’s labelled for ages 3 and up. But I think even 3 might be a little young for something like this. But again, I think in this case, the mom should have taken a closer look at the packaging and the toy before chucking it in her buggy.

And yes, if anyone happens to be in a Dayton-area Dollar Store, I’d like an EvilStick, please. Not for Courtney, though. It’s for me, even though I’m pretty sure just touching that metallic-looking snowflake is going to give me cancer, Black Lung, and perhaps a wee bit of gout.

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You can read the original report and watch the video, on WHIO’s site. Just give a click here. 

Another report on the incident is available at The Independent, a news wire site from the UK. Great article if for no other reason that the author of the article seems amazed that the US has places called “Dollar Stores”, although they often refer to them as the “$.100 store”.