Former Guest of The Confessionals Shares Bigfoot Encounter on Pittsburgh Today Live!

Here’s some more Bigfoot in the media! Earlier we shared that the documentary Paranormal Bigfoot was released this month and available for online viewing! Now we’re pleased to share that one of the former guests of The Confessionals was recently featured on a segment of Pittsburgh Today Live!

Dave Groves, from Episode 45: Bigfoot in Broad Daylight, joined Bigfoot investigator Amy Bue on the Pittsburgh-area show to share his own encounter with the cryptid and to discuss the legendary Sasquatch. Dave and Amy also spoke about Bigfoot at the 34th annual Allegheny Outdoor, Sport and Travel Show at the Monroeville Convention Center following their spot on PTL.

Click HERE to watch this special segment on PTL! Great job to Dave and Amy!

Documentary “Paranormal Bigfoot” Makes Its Online Debut

It’s finally here! The anticipated documentary, Paranormal Bigfoot, is now available for viewing!

Created by Bilco Productions, “Paranormal Bigfoot is an investigation into a segment of the Sasquatch community that believe there is more to this enigmatic creature than a simple animal. An uncomfortable and divisive topic for those desirous of representing themselves as scientifically credible. Yet the question remains, can scientific process be claimed until even the strangest of evidence is accounted for?”

Along with notable Bigfoot community figures like Bob Gimlin, Stan Gordon, and Ron Morehead, The Confessionals Podcast host Tony Merkel can also be seen in this new documentary!

Last year Tony was interviewed about the possibility of a connection between paranormal Bigfoot, biblical fallen angels, and the Nephilim, a intriguing premise based on historical evidence from extra canonical texts. The finished film featuring Tony’s interview (and much more!) can be rented or purchased with Amazon Prime.

Click HERE to check it out now!

(If the documentary is not available for streaming in your country, click HERE to contact Bilco Productions about obtaining a DVD version.)

Thank you to Bilco Productions for the opportunity to be involved in Paranormal Bigfoot!

VIDEO: UFO Cover-up Hoax... But the UFOs Are Very Real!

A NEW VIDEO from Tony is available now!

In this video, we revisit the pyramid-shaped UFO that was filmed by at least THREE different people, hovering and rotating over the Pentagon, in December 2018. We’ll show you a new video leak of the event, and also interview one of the people who filmed the UFO sighting firsthand!

Then we dive into the supposed secret UN meeting that took place. This video suggested that the Pentagon made contact with the Pyramid-shaped UFO. However, the video is a complete hoax! Watch now to find out why!

Watch below or click here to view on YouTube.

Creature Feature Friday: The Momo

This edition of Creature Feature Friday presents: The Momo!

Check out these 5 details about this bipedal cryptid:

1) "Momo" stands for Missouri Monster, a creature very similar to Bigfoot that is reported to reside in Missouri.

2) Physical attributes of the Momo include: a 6-to-7-foot height, a furry body with hair covering even the eyes, and a large, pumpkin-shaped head. It also smells pretty terrible.

3) The "Missouri Monster Scare" first began in July 1971, when two women saw a "half ape and half man" along Highway 79. It reportedly made strange gurgling noises.

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4) Sightings continued through July 1972, and included the findings of several large, three-toed footprints.

5) The Momo also loves dogs - for dinner.  During the Missouri Monster scare, several dog graves were found disturbed and surrounded by scattered bones. Once the Momo was even glimpsed carrying a dead dog away under its arm! Yikes.

Learn more about the Momo at Cryptid Wiki and PrairieGhosts.com!

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6 Images of Ghost Monks Caught on Camera

The Confessionals Episode 112: Demons in the Desert features a scary encounter with a ghost monk. While it is a unique sighting, others have also witnessed strange apparitions of monks! Take a look at 6 photos of alleged ghost monks that tourists, a ghost hunter, and a photographer managed to catch on camera:

1) In October 2018, a couple reportedly discovered the face of a demonic monk in one of their photos taken in an old slaughterhouse cellar in Nottinghamshire. The building, which is abandoned, was a stop on the Ghost Hunts UK tour in which the couple was taking part. Allegedly, seven monks were burned to death on that spot in the 1500s.

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2) In August 2018, a woman exploring Tintern Abbey says she captured the ghost of a monk standing outside the abbey at night. Tintern Abbey was founded by Cistercian monks in 1131. When the Black Death swept through in the 1340s, many monks succumbed to the disease. 

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3) In January 2018, a father visiting Eynsford Castle in Kent claimed to have photographed the specter of a monk outside on a ruined staircase. Though the figure appears to be very solid, the man says he remembers nothing standing on the stairs when he snapped the photo. Eynsford Castle dates back to medieval times, and according to local lore, one of the families who once owned the castle had a son who left them to become a monk. 

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4) In October 2016, a ghost hunter claimed to have caught an image of the famous Black Ghoul Monk. She believes the photo, taken at 30 East Drive in Pontefract, West Yorkshire, shows the monk’s robed arm clutching a rosary. The home is the site of one of Europe's most powerful alleged hauntings which began in the 1960s, when the Pritchard family moved in and began to be tormented by the Black Monk. The spot where the shadowy photo was taken is purportedly where the Black Monk is often seen, and also where the Pritchards’ daughter Diana was violently dragged by an invisible hand that left fingerprints on her throat. 

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5) In February 2009, a woman who had visited Valle Crucis Abbey in Llangollen was looking at her photos after the trip, and was shocked to see an unknown face staring out of the ruins. The abbey was founded in 1201 by Madog ap Gruffydd Maelor, who was buried in the abbey upon his death in 1236. Shortly thereafter, the structure was badly damaged by a fire. 

6) In 1963, a photograph dubbed “The Spectre of Newby Church” was taken in the Church of Christ the Consoler, on the grounds of Newby Hall in North Yorkshire. It shows a spooky image of a transparent, cloaked figure with a distorted white face standing at the church altar. Some have speculated that the photo captured the spirit of a 16th-century monk wearing a white shroud over his face, possibly masking a disfigurement or leprosy. But others contend that the photo is a hoax, either perpetrated by someone in costume or through the manipulation of superimposed photo images. The church itself does not date from the 16th century, having been built between 1871 and 1875 in memory of one Frederick Vyner, who was kidnapped and murdered in 1870. 

Which photo do you think is the most convincing evidence of ghost monks?

Written Confession: Strange Rock Looks an Awful Lot Like a Tiny Skull

The following written confession and accompanying photo images were submitted via social media and email.

A listener of The Confessionals recently reached out via social media and then email for opinions about a strange rock he found in Texas. He first submitted photos of the rock/skull to the Paleontology Department at the University of Colorado, which responded that it “vaguely resembled a skull.” We think that the weathered-looking artifact, though it is no bigger than a man’s thumb, looks a bit more than “vaguely” like a skull. The object appears to have eye sockets, a nasal cavity, and possible mouth with teeth. The closest comparison we can draw at present is to a fetal chimpanzee skull, though there are many other possibilities as to what it could really be. Here are the details of its discovery:

“I found the skull while helping a friend who owns a lawn care business. I was done with the trimming, but he had a lot of grass left to cut, so I spent that time kicking through the rocks that made up the driveway of the residence. At the time that I noticed the skull, I didn't notice it for what it was. I thought it interesting because of the hole that went clean through, plus it was caked with dirt. I put it in my pocket until I got home . . . Joaquin, TX is where the skull was found. The skull is 1 1/2 in. in height and about the same wide at its widest point. The back side is completely blown out. By that I mean, it looks to be broken or crushed off. It's not a recent break though. The edges have the same coloration as the rest. It's not a more vivid or brighter color which indicates weathering the same as the rest of it. Suture lines are apparent as are cheek bones, brow ridges, symmetrical eye sockets and nasal cavity, lower jaw bone and obvious teeth. If this is just a rock, I want to know what the odds are that it came out like this by pure accident.”

Along with this rock/skull, other fossilized objects including feathers were also found, causing our listener to wonder if the quarry that supplied the driveway gravel holds other strange items or clues to the mystery. What do you make of this odd find?

Driver of Flipped Van in California Blames Aliens for Accident

Call Giorgio A. Tsoukalos to the scene, because it sounds like aliens!

On February 6, a van driver on Highway 18 in California inexplicably flipped his vehicle, and told emergency responders that extraterrestrials had caused the accident.

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While driving through a mountainous section of San Bernardino around 1:30 pm, the Ford E350 van overturned and landed on its side next to the roadway. The driver alerted 911, and adamantly told dispatchers that aliens had flipped over the vehicle. When law enforcement arrived, the man become argumentative with the officers, as well as other drivers who had stopped to offer assistance. He changed his mind about police help, insisting instead that a tow truck be called. Although the man was driving on a snowy swath of road with “Icy” signs posted in warning, the cause of the single-vehicle accident is still under investigation, and he was not cited with any kind of impaired driving offense.

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Though it is an unusual story, it probably has a reasonable explanation which is not aliens, but while the case is still open we aren’t saying that it’s not not aliens either!

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Explorer Films Ghostly Figure in Abandoned Chapel

When you’re alone in the dark and hear an unexpected noise, you may secretly wonder whether you’re about be attacked by a serial killer or spooked by a creepy ghost. Most of the time, the errant sound turns out to be something ordinary, like the house settling or the cat throwing up (also a terrifying prospect).

But for explorer and urban adventurer Danny Duffy, the creepy ghost was all too real in a brief but chilling encounter that he captured on video and recently posted to his YouTube channel, Exploring with Danny.

Danny, who films his explorations of “places frozen in time and places of the forgotten,” was just at the beginning of a venture into an abandoned UK chapel late one night when the sudden appearance of what appears to be a full-body specter sent him running. The scary figure - with a stark white face, fairly definable features, and possibly wearing a long black robe - peers straight at Danny from around a corner of the building. It looks surprisingly human, but it’s frightening just the same. Is it a robed person hiding out in the dilapidated church? Or did a former religious resident of the chapel come to find out what Danny was doing on their hallowed grounds?

The Confessionals had the opportunity to interview Danny following his spooky experience, and that interview will be forthcoming. For now, take a look at Danny’s ghostly video below (language warning!). The actual figure appears at the 2:18 mark. What do you think is really revealing itself in this old chapel in the dark of night?

Bigfoot A to Z

Would a Bigfoot by any other name still smell as... musky? Skunky? What does a Bigfoot really smell like, anyway? There are still many things we don’t know with certainty about the infamously elusive cryptid, but one thing we do know is that Bigfoot is a phenomenon that has been recognized by diverse cultures on countless occasions throughout history. 

As numerous as these cultures are the names by which we call him, from Almas to Yeti to Devil Monkey to Stinkaboo, and so, so many more. Expand your encyclopedic knowledge of Sasquatch by learning a handful of the historical names given to this creature and his possible relatives!

BIGFOOT A TO Z

 A

  •     Albatwitche, the manlike apple stealers (Susquehannock Native)

  •     Almas

  •     Almasty

  •     American Ape

  •     Anisau

  •     Ape-Man

B

  • The Bad Smelling Tree Men (USA, ID, Coeur d'Alene, and WA, Spokane)

  •     Barmanu (northwest Pakistan)

  •     B'gwas (Haisla, Canada, BC)

  •     Biabin-Guli

  •     Big Big Hairy Figure With Eyes Sunk Deep In The Head (n.w. USA, Wakashan, Kwakiutl Tribe)

  •     Bigfoot

  • Big Hairy man, the messenger (USA, Hopi Tribe)

  •     Big Hairy Monster

  •     the Big Man (USA, western SD, Lakota)

  •     Big Ones

  •     Blacki

  •     Boggy Boon

  •     Boggy Bill (USA, east TX)

  •     the Booger

  •     Booger Man

  •     Boogie Man

  •     Boogy Monster

  •     Boqs (s.w. Canada, Bella Coola Tribe)

  •     Brenin Llwyd

  •     Brother Who Comes Back Before The Next Very Big Winter (USA, SD, Ogala, Lakota)

Bigfoot from the Patterson-Gimlin film

Bigfoot from the Patterson-Gimlin film

C

  •     Caddo Critter

  •     the Cannibal Giant (USA, Native American)

  •     the Cannibal, who eats dead people (USA, Na-Dene)

  •     Cave Monster

  •     Cave Spirit

  •     Cave Yeller (USA, KY)

  •     Cer Ra Ca Wa "the turkey eater" (northern Mexico)

  •     Chi-Chi

  •     Chinese Wild man

  •     Chiye-tanka, great elder brother (n.w. USA, Lakota)

  •     Chuchuna

  •     Ci-e (USA, SD, Pine Ridge Res.)

  •     Crying Beast(USA, southern Ohio, 1800s)

D

  •     Devils

  •     Devil Monkey (USA, s.w. OK)

  •     Destroyer Who Breaks Up Houses (USA, Na-Dene)

  •     Doolagahi

  •     Doolagahl (Aboriginal Australia)

  •     Doolagarl (Aboriginal Australia)

E

  •     Engeco

F

  •     Ferla Mohair

  •     The Fetid Beast

  •     Forest Devil

  •     Forest Giants

  •     Fouke Monster

Fouke Monster artwork from  The Legend of Boggy Creek  film

Fouke Monster artwork from The Legend of Boggy Creek film

G

  •     Gerendel (Old Danish)

  •     Giganto

  •     Gigantopithecines blacki

  •     Gin-sung

  •     Grass man

  •     Gooligah (Aboriginal Australia)

  •     Gugu (Sumatra)

H

  •     Hairy Bill (USA, TX)

  •     Hairy Giants

  •     Hairy Ones

  •     Hairy Man, Hairy Woman, or Hairy People

  •     "the hairy man (men) who appears as a symptom of disruption" (USA, SD, Lakota)

  •     The Hairy People (USA, KY, Leslie County)

  •     The Hairy Stinka Boo (USA, southern OH)

  •     Hill Monkeys (OK)

  •     Hokou

  •     Holla Yella (USA, WV)

  •     Holayela (USA, WV and east OH)

  •     Hoodoo

  •     Hoohoo

  •     Honey Island Monster

Alleged image of the Honey Island Monster

Alleged image of the Honey Island Monster

I

  •     Indian Hair Man (USA, WV)

J

  •     Jacko (Canada, BC)

  •     Jimbra (Aboriginal Australia)

  •     Jingera (Aboriginal Australia)

  •     Jinka

  •     The Jungle Man (India)

K

  •     Kakundak (Africa)

  •     Kaptat

  •     Kecleh-Kudleh

  •     Kikomba

  •     King Kong

  •     Kushtaka

L

  •     Loup-garou (French for wolf-man)

  •     Long eared Ape

A Loup-garou actually seems to be closer to a wolf than an ape

A Loup-garou actually seems to be closer to a wolf than an ape

M

  •     Matlose (w.Canada, Nootkas Tribe)

  •     The Man-Beast

  •     Mande Burung (India)

  •     Man-Monkey

  •     Mannimal

  •     Mapinguari

  •     Mirygdy

  •     Monkey Man (USA, OK)

  •     Momo, Mo Mo (USA, short for 'Missouri Monster')

N

  •     Nant'ina

  •     Narcoonah

  •     Living Neanderthal

  •     Nibagon

  •     Ngoloko

  •     Nguoi rung (Asia)

  •     Ngui Rung (Vietnamese)

  •     Nolem or Dog Eaters (USA, Nadene)

  •     Noocoonah (Aboriginal Australia)

  •     Nuk-Luk (North America)

  •     Nu'numic (Aztec)

  •     Nun Yunu Wi

  •     Nyalmo (Asia)

O

  •     Oh-mah (USA, NE)

  •     Old Hairy Bill (TX)

  •     Old Yellow

  •     Old Yellow Top (Canada, Ontario)

  •     Old Ones Who Cry

  •     Old Ones Who Run At Night

  •     Old Skunky Bill (USA, east TX)

  •     Opie (USA, TN and NC)

  •     Orang Pendek (Oceania, Sumatran)

  •     Ot-ne-yar-hed, the giants (north eastern USA, Iroquoian)

Orang Pendek

Orang Pendek

P

  •     Pecos Bill (in the original TX legend he was huge and hairy!)

  •     Pongo

Q

  •     Quinken (Aboriginal Australia)

R

  •     Red Eyes (Aboriginal Australia)

  •     Rugaru (USA, ND, Ojibway)

Red Eyes was reportedly caught on    video    in Australia in 2018

Red Eyes was reportedly caught on video in Australia in 2018

S

  •     Sasquatch, or sε´sq'əč (Halkomelem, A Salishan language, southwest British Columbia)

  •     Seatco, the Wicked Giant (n.w. USA, native Nusqually)

  •     Skunk Ape

  •     Skunk Demon

  •     Skunky Bill

  •     Stinkaboo

  •     Stink Man

  •     St' Iyahama (USA, OR, Umatilla)

T

  •     Tah-tah-kle'-ah or Owl-Woman Monster (n.w. USA, Yakama and Shasta Indians)

  •     Tsek Etinu's (USA, Na-Dene)

  •     Tsiatko Giants (n.w.USA, native)

  •     Stsomu'lamux (USA, Na Dene)

  •     Taku he (native American, Lakota )

  •     Tano Giant (Africa)

  •     Teh-Ima (Asia)

  •     Tch-lma

  •     Tree Men (USA, ID, Coeur d'Alene, and WA, Spokane)

  •     Tjandara (Aboriginal Australia)

  •     Tha-tha Kla-yah-ma (n.w. USA, Yakama )

  •     Thoolagal (Aboriginal Australia)

  •     Tomy Knocker

  •     Tobi Juan In The Wood (USA, Ark., Tenn.)

  •     Tsawane'it Emux (USA, Nadene)

  •     Tse'nahaha (USA, Paiute)

  •     Tso'apittse (USA, Nevada)

Illustration of the Tano Giant

Illustration of the Tano Giant

U

  •     Urayuli

  •     Ucumar (Latin America)

W

  •     Weendego (USA, central to north-eastern, Ojibwa)

  •     Wendigo (Algonquian, central to north-eastern USA)

  •     Windego (northern USA)

  •     Wetiko (central to north-eastern USA)

  •     Wihalaid, the Cannibal Beast (USA, Na-Dene)

  •     Windago (central to north-eastern USA)

  •     Windikouk (central to north-eastern USA)

  •     Who-Who

  •     the Wigidokowok People(n.w. USA, Native)

  •     Wildman

  •     Wild Man Uncle (n.w. USA, Nehalem)

  •     Wild Man Of Borneo

  •     Witiko

  •     Woods Child (USA, Ohio, 1800s)

  •     Woods Booger (southeastern USA)

  •     Woods Devils (USA, NH, Coos county)

  •     Wooly Booger

Y

  •     Yahoo (Australia)

  •     Yakaka

  •     Yaroma (Aboriginal Australia)

  •     Yeahoh (USA, KY, Algonkian)

  •     Yellers

  •     Yellow Top (Canada, Ontario)

  •     Yeren (Chinese)

  •     Yeti

  •     Yowie (Australia)

  •     Yuuri

Alleged Yeti footprint found by Michael Ward at Menlung Glacier on the 1951 Everest Expedition with Edmund Hillary in Nepal

Alleged Yeti footprint found by Michael Ward at Menlung Glacier on the 1951 Everest Expedition with Edmund Hillary in Nepal

The Jungle Man’s monikers are as plentiful as Booger sightings around the world! But did you notice our Albatwitche alphabet is still a little incomplete? If you know any names for the Grass Man beginning with the letters V, X, or Z, (or any other names not listed above) comment below so we can update our list!

Many props to Bigfoot Evidence for creating this extensive name index!

Woman Thinks a Ghost is in Her Closet But Finds a Stranger Wearing Her Clothes Instead

No one wants a ghost living in their closet. 

And definitely no one wants a weird transient stranger living in their closet. Or asking them for hugs. Or wearing all their clothes. Honestly, having a ghost sounds better than all those things.

Unfortunately for North Carolina college student Maddie, she got everything except the ghost in a very strange scenario that’s probably left her wishing she’d just been haunted instead.

Last week, Maddie began to believe a restless spirit had taken up residence in her closet after she heard mysterious rattling noises coming from inside. Startled, Maddie cried out, “Who’s there?!” And was even more startled to actually hear a reply:

“Oh, my name is Drew.”

Oh, whew, okay, no worries, it’s just Drew.

Wait, WHAT? WHO IN THE FRENCH TOAST IS DREW?

Drew, it turns out, was a 30-year-old stranger who had somehow entered Maddie’s apartment and decided to camp in her closet. Because, why not, right? But it gets weirder.

“I open the door and he’s in there, wearing all of my clothes," Maddie said. "My socks, my shoes, and he has a book bag full of my clothes."

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After discovering her uninvited, overly-clothed guest, Maddie - who may be the most chill person to ever find someone living in their closet - let Drew talk to her and walk around her apartment while she calmly called for help. While he tried on even more of her wardrobe, temporary roommate Drew remarked how pretty Maddie was, and asked if he could have a hug (a hard pass there from Maddie). 

When Maddie’s boyfriend arrived on the scene, Drew decided to take off, and was later arrested at nearby gas station (probably trying to move into the bathroom or something). He now faces 14 counts of felony charges including breaking and entering, and possibly several crimes against fashion - no word on that one yet.

As if this story isn’t odd enough by itself, Maddie revealed that this is not the first she thought her house was haunted, nor the first time she’s found a stranger in her home! 

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Sometime after she moved in, Maddie noticed some of her shirts and pants were disappearing, and found someone else’s handprints on her bathroom wall, all of which led her to think a sticky-fingered ghost was haunting her place. But then in December 2018, Maddie came home to find “two guys in the living room.” No further details about those interlopers were provided, like whether the two guys were arrested or found to be wearing all of Maddie’s pajamas. 

But Maddie, who always locks her doors and has found no signs of forced entry, is just as perplexed as the rest of us about these strange occurrences. HOW are people getting in? WHY are they coming in? Are humans the only trespassers in her home, or is there also a ghost squeezed in there somewhere? Where have all her pants gone?!

Now, after so many mysterious disruptions, Maddie is ready to move on, and she owes the final deciding factor to new BFF Drew: “I can’t stay here. My closet, it stinks," she said. “I’m just ready to leave."

We’re right behind you, Maddie.

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10 Common Things You May Not Realize Use Artificial Intelligence

10 Common Things You May Not Realize Use Artificial Intelligence

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While it was once something only dreamed about in science fiction, artificial intelligence has become a widespread, mainstream reality throughout the world. Nearly every day it seems like a new A.I. advancement is making headlines - for better or for worse. From artificial intelligence creating sellable artwork, to the pros and cons of self-driving cars, to warnings that A.I. will outstrip the abilities of mankind within 50 years, the tangibility of artificially intelligent machines is becoming steadily more prominent in our technological age. For every person who believes that artificial intelligence is the key to a better future, there is someone else who believes that a large-scale A.I. takeover of the human race is imminent. But what some may not be aware of is how artificial intelligence has already integrated itself into our everyday lives in many small-scale ways. While the majority of A.I. systems are not dangerous (so far…), they are everywhere. Although this is by no means a comprehensive list, here are 10 common things you may not realize use artificial intelligence:

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1) YOUR EMAIL INBOX

Yes, your email is being read by somebody else - an A.I. technology that learns about your email content to help you better navigate your own inbox. The tech uses machine-learning algorithms to constantly learn your patterns and preferences from signals like message metadata, the specific words you use in emails, and what types of messages you consider spam. This is how Gmail knows how to categorize different emails as ‘primary’, ‘promotion,’ and ‘social’ when filtering them to the appropriate inbox. Every time you mark an email as ‘important’, ‘spam,’ or some other label, Gmail is learning and adapting to be one step ahead of you the next time!

2) INTERNET RADIO

For those who listen to Spotify, Pandora, and other internet radio platforms (which is about 300 million people), every time you listen to music you are helping a simple A.I. program learn all about your musical tastes. The A.I. from these radio sites examines all the data it absorbs - keywords, length of tracks, descriptions, artists, key signatures, and so much more - to specially construct playlists based on your personal preferences.

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To up the ante, recent speculation says that Spotify is developing groundbreaking technology to use A.I. to actually compose original music, just for you! Last year the company added Francois Pachet to its payroll, one of the world’s foremost experts on the application of artificial intelligence in the world of popular music. Patchet previously oversaw the project that brought us Hello World”, the first musical album to be composed entirely by a computer. It may only be a matter of time before every song on your playlist is custom-crafted by a machine!

3) RIDE-SHARING APPS

If you’ve ever used a transportation service like Uber or Lyft to get from place to place, artificial intelligence has been tracking your every move! Ride-sharing apps are another piece of tech that use machine-learning algorithms to create the most optimal ride for customers. Uber, for example, analyzes the data collected from its 5 billion logged trips to determine the most accurate times of arrival, best pick-up locations, appropriate prices, and traffic patterns. The A.I. used in ride-sharing apps isn’t just filtering data to generate best approximations; it is continuously learning as it goes to improve with each new ride.

4) MOBILE BANKING APPS

Financial institutions are swiftly becoming more and more A.I.-driven as they try to stay relevant in their market and improve their customer service functions. Mobile banking apps provide the perfect platform for them to roll out different types of A.I., including natural language processing, virtual assistance, and robotic process automation. The various artificial intelligences work within the apps to do simple things like send customers reminders, process transactions (faster and with less error than could a human), and use voice technology; or, to perform more advanced functions like providing customer service support, financial planning recommendations, or investment advice.

5) GOOGLE TRANSLATE

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Google Translate is a valuable tool that breaks language barriers for about half a billion people on a daily basis. But what started in 2006 as just an algorithm has developed into the one of the most widely used artificial intelligence programs in the world. In 2016, Google introduced a “neural machine translation” to its translation app, a system that processes entire sentences at once (instead of word by word) and uses artificial intelligence to improve its translations over time. By utilizing broad context, the translation A.I. determines the most relevant translations, and then adapts them to mimic the way a real person would speak. Google Translate not only learns these speaking patterns and words, but remembers them for its next translation, in order to continually improve its ability to talk like a real human. Even more impressive (and pretty intimidating) is that Google Translate’s artificial intelligence has the ability to perform this function in 103 different languages. 

6) YOUR FAVORITE EMOJI

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Those fun little icons on your phone keyboard are more than just modern-day hieroglyphics. Since emoji was first rolled out as a feature, it’s been steadily bolstered by A.I. tech to start learning to ”speak” emoji like a language, and predict what emoji (as well as GIFs and stickers) you may want to use based on your digital conversations. Emoji apps like Dango use a form of artificial intelligence called “deep learning” to understand the nuances of human emotion, and predict emoji based on what you communicate through the words you type. This type of predictive machine learning is meant to make it easier to add emoji into your texts and posts instead of having to scroll for the applicable icons you want to use. Though this A.I. sounds like a simple program that regulates something as innocuous as an emoji, at its core it is a technology that is actually learning, reacting, and adapting to your feelings.

7) CUSTOMER SERVICE CHATS

For those who can’t stand spending minutes to hours on the phone waiting for customer service help (and that’s everyone), an increasingly available option is to use “Chat” help on a company’s website to resolve an issue or ask questions. But also increasing with this feature is the probability that you are not communicating with a flesh-and-blood person. Instead, you are more than likely chatting with an artificially intelligent chat bot. These chat bots are not just automatic responders that parrot out pre-programmed dialogue. They actually extract information from your conversation, and use a “natural language processing” program to learn how to 1) respond appropriately to your request, and 2) do so like they are actually a real live person. The highly sophisticated A.I. these chat bots utilize means they are learning to understand and respond to natural language, and they’re getting better at it every day.

8) NETFLIX

It may be no big surprise that Netflix utilizes artificial intelligence. How else would they know which shows we shamelessly binge like no one is watching us, and offer suggestions about what to view next? But it may be surprising to find out just how deep their artificial intelligence goes.

Netflix does indeed use machine learning A.I. to analyze customers’ viewing choices and make the most applicable movie and show recommendations to enhance user experience. In 2013, Netflix claimed “there are 33 million different versions of Netflix” - meaning that each and every viewer (there were 33 million at the time; now there are over 130 million) was receiving a completely unique, personalized viewing experience based on their own preferences. Netflix determined those preferences by using A.I. to learn from millions of ratings, searches and plays each day, as well as the history of billions of hours of content streamed every month.

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The streaming service juggernaut is also now working with A.I. tech to crack down on paying users who are sharing their accounts with non-paying individuals. Using a machine learning system developed by Synamedia, Netflix has started analyzing account activity to recognize unusual patterns, such as account details being used in two locations within similar time periods, to pinpoint these offending account sharers. This artificial intelligence should, allegedly, be able to learn so much about customer activity that it will even be able to determine if a customer is at home or away on a vacation when they access their Netflix account.

Finally, Netflix is prepared to use artificial intelligence not only to curate entertainment, but to create it. By using algorithms and studying six years of user content consumption, Netflix has already engineered the creation of the once wildly popular show “House of Cards.” Since then, Netflix has increasingly used this formula to make new shows and movies, achieving success rates of 80% compared to 30% - 40% success rates of traditional TV shows. Given time, Netflix may also be using sophisticated A.I. programs to collaborate on scripts, CGI, and video editing. Already they are so advanced in their A.I. systems that The New York Times has claimed, “Netflix is commissioning original content because it knows what people want before they do.”

It’s a very Netflix-and-chilling thought.

9) CANCER HEALTHCARE

Not all facets of healthcare utilize artificial intelligence, nor is A.I.-based healthcare widely available for public use. But using artificial intelligence in medicine may become a more accepted practice as it continues to learn and develop. Hanover, a machine learning program created by Microsoft, is already assisting doctors to accurately diagnose forms of cancer and recommend various cancer treatments. Project Hanover is currently being developed to:

  • Use natural language processing to build genome-scale knowledge bases by automatically reading millions of biomedical articles.

  • Offer cancer decision support by developing A.I. technology for cancer precision treatment and personalized drug combinations.

  • Provide chronic disease management by developing predictive and preventive A.I. technology for more personalized medicine.

These advancements using artificial intelligence could make it possible to treat or prevent cancer more accurately and efficiently than by human intervention alone. But conspiracy theorists and all those leery of A.I. may wonder what kind of slippery slope we are treading if, or when, humans eventually come to rely on intelligent machines to weigh their healthcare options.

10) THE NEWS

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It sounds almost impossible and a bit far fetched, but it’s becoming increasingly real: artificial intelligence is writing the news. Although the practice is still not as widely used as other forms of A.I., there are several ways in which the news has been utilizing machine intelligence to write stories.

Automated routine reporting is a process that uses A.I. to generate reports on topics like sports statistics or corporate earnings, and also summarize long articles into short info pieces to share on social media. A.I. news-writing is also being used to generate and distribute information faster, because it has the ability to instantly react to real-time data with the outlines of a story. For example, a quarterly report released by a large mutual fund may take a small team of portfolio managers weeks to draft. Using machine learning, that same report can now be prepared by A.I. in seconds. Reuters, one of the largest news providers, has already partnered with Graphiq, a service that uses A.I. to build and update data visualizations. That tool enables faster access to data, and once it is embedded in a news story, the visualizations are updated in real time. Other artificial intelligence programs, like WordSmith (used by Twitter) turn structured data into compelling text that is almost indistinguishable from one written by a human author.

In limited capacities, A.I. algorithms have proven they are fully able to generate fact-based articles and news stories. Whether they will become intelligent enough to match  actual journalists in both creativity and accuracy - or whether they will become congested with too much information and start churning out infamous “fake news” stories - still remains to be seen. 

From apps to customer service to healthcare decisions, machine learning is at once a pervasive and pragmatic part of how we’ve all come to function. That we as humans rely so much on thinking machines to live our daily lives is something that spells a technological victory to some and an impending downfall to others (with just a touch of irony all around). Although artificial intelligence is already all around us, its constant advancement means it is going to continue to shape our present and our future - probably both for better and for worse.

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Did any of these common A.I. items surprise you? What other forms of everyday artificial intelligence could be added to the list? Comment below!

Fake Russian Doctor is Also a Former Vampire

At some point or another, we’ve all probably visited our family doctor and needed to give a blood sample. What we’ve probably never done is wonder if our doctor is sampling a little of that blood for himself. It’s an eerie thought that may now be being entertained by the people of Chelyabinsk, Russia after a local “doctor” was discovered to not only be a fraud, but also be a former vampire. Here’s the strange story:

Last week, a man by the name of Boris Kondrashin was arrested after his medical training documents were found to be fraudulent. Kondrashin had been working as a general practitioner at state clinics in Chelyabinsk since November 2018. He was arrested for his falsified certificate of higher education, as well as for a large stash of narcotics that authorities found in his apartment. 

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But yet another chilling reveal came to light when Russian officials discovered that Kondrashin had a previous criminal-medical record: he had once been declared insane and institutionalized for the ritualistic, vampiric murder of a classmate.

When he was only 16, Kondrashin began exploring black magic rituals and the occult. Identifying himself as ‘Baron von Ginczel’, Kondrashin would steal drugs from his psychiatrist father and proffer them to his classmates. After luring one fellow student to his residence, he used a lethal dosage of tranquilizer to kill the other boy. Kondrashin then began a grotesque ritual to make a “deal with demons.” In horrifying succession, he dismembered his classmate, ate some of his liver, tore out his heart, and then drank blood from the heart out of a silver goblet, after saying a spell over the gory victuals. To seal his deal, he also removed his victim’s eyes and hands.

Having completed his bloody, barbaric ritual, Kondrashin had no further use for his classmate’s remains and carelessly disposed of them nearby, leading to his quick apprehension and arrest. Allegedly, he was caught with a list of ten other classmates’ names, for whom he had planned similar fates.

Following the murder, Kondrashin was found to be insane by diagnosis of homicidal schizophrenia, and was sentenced to 10 years of treatment in a psychiatric hospital. After his conviction, he reportedly revealed that demons had called out to him for blood and Satan had guided him through the bloody ritual. Krondashin was committed to a psychiatric institution in 2000 and spent over 10 years there, until he was released under the supervision of a psychotherapist. 

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Although Krondashin had indeed “considered himself to be a vampire” prior to his treatment, his sister (who is actually a doctor) said he had been discharged from the asylum as presenting no danger to the public. However, he was still supposed to be under medical supervision, so it’s unclear how he was able to successfully pose as a doctor for several months before his ruse was discovered. It’s also yet unclear whether Krondashin harmed, or intended to harm, any of his patients. He was reported to higher authorities by several patients before his fake credentials were finally investigated, apparently because they recognized him as a former murderer. One female patient even claimed her name had been on Krondashin’s list of classmates that he intended to kill.

During the time between his release from the psychiatric hospital and being discovered as a fake doctor, Krondashin had maintained a low profile. At this point, we can only speculate if his fraudulent foray into the medical field was born of sinister intentions. However, one other small, creepy detail has emerged since Krondashin’s second arrest: Authorities noted that during his brief tenure posing as a doctor, Krondashin had also been active on social media under the alias ‘Ginczel,’ a shortened version of his old vampire identity ‘Baron von Ginczel.’ This odd piece of information, coupled with Krondashin’s vampiric past, faked identity, and easy access to narcotic drugs (his former murder “weapon”) paints a scary picture of what may have come to pass, again, if Krondashin - or Baron von Ginczel - had not been caught (blood)red-handed.

New Horror Movie to be Filmed Aboard the Haunted Queen Mary

It’s either creative genius or a paranormal disaster in the making - a new horror movie is underway and being filmed onboard the famously haunted ocean liner RMS Queen Mary!

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The Hollywood Reporter has announced that the new scary flick will focus on two photographers and their young son, who come aboard the Queen Mary and soon become ensnared in the ship’s paranormal past. The movie’s synopsis reads: “As the terror unfolds around the family they begin to realize there is more to this sumptuous ocean liner than meets the eye: its remarkable legacy masking violent secrets. As Erin and Patrick uncover the haunted layers that the vast ship contains, it becomes increasingly clear that there is only one way out for them — to go even deeper.”

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After the film’s script spent several years tucked away without a suitable production crew to bring it back to life (ironic pun kind of intended), the upcoming movie now has a bevy of paranormal movie specialists to execute the project (wonder where are all these death puns are coming from...?). Taking the helm as producer will be Gary Shore, who busted box offices in 2014 with the movie Dracula Untold. The film will also be produced by Nigel Sinclair and Nicholas Ferrall of White Horse Pictures, which gave us The Woman in Black, and Brett Tomberlin of Imagination Design Works, the team that created 2018’s creepy Winchester movie.  

While the RMS Queen Mary has been the subject of many documentaries, shows, and stories, the film The Queen Mary will be the first horror movie shot onboard the actual real-life ship. Will the on-site location provide the perfect spooky backdrop for the film’s plot? Or is shooting a horror movie on an already haunted location just tempting fate (and Queen Mary’s spirits) to sink the film?

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Known as one of the most haunted places in the world since it became permanently docked, RMS Queen Mary has a long history of hauntings. During her 83-year existence, the Queen Mary made 1,001 trans-Atlantic crossings, which were reportedly accompanied by 49 recorded deaths and a collision with another vessel that resulted in 239 deaths. Other lore claims that a murder took place in one of the ship’s cabins, a crew member was crushed to death by a watertight door, a woman dressed in all-white dances by herself in one of the luxury suites, and several apparitions of adults and children in old-timey garb sometimes wander the decks. Now functioning as a hotel Long Beach, California, the creepy Queen Mary certainly seems like a perfect set location to capture the spirit of fear!

But cast and crew should be wary that the film doesn’t join Hollywood’s list of “cursed” movies - a number of classic flicks (many of them horror-related) that have been marked by disaster or ghostly activity (or both). Spooky films like Poltergeist, The Omen, The Crow, and others were plagued by murder and death, serious illness and injury, hauntings, and more during and after their filming. Setting the production of a horror movie inside the real haunted RMS Queen Mary may be an exact recipe for one such disaster (or ghostly activity, or both)!

Only time will tell if The Queen Mary horror movie will ride the wave of success, or if a curse from the ship’s spirits will leave it dead in the water (that’s the last of the ghost ship puns, I swear). Will you be lining up for a ticket when The Queen Mary arrives in theaters?!

Cursed Movies According to Slapped Ham

Cursed Movies According to Slapped Ham

TGIF, amiright? If you’re staying in and surfing through Netflix for a movie on this Friday night, you may want to skip these haunted titles. According to Slapped Ham, these 10 films are cursed movies that still haunt the cast and crew. Were they all affected by supernatural forces, or just really, really unlucky? Watch and found out, if you dare!

For those who are not able to watch the video, here is the list of cursed titles for you to check out later!

10. The Passion of the Christ 

9. The Wizard of Oz

8. Superman 

7. Poltergeist 

6. Rosemary’s Baby

5. The Crow

4. The Exorcist

3. The Conqueror 

2. The Addict 

1. The Omen

Were you surprised to see any of these titles on the list? Which cursed flick are you tempted to watch now?

12 Strange Snake Cryptids for National Serpent Day

12 Strange Snake Cryptids for National Serpent Day

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Happy National Serpent Day! Yeah, who knew serpents have their own day? February 1 is an official national day in America to recognize snakes and serpents of all shapes and ssssizes.

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Across different countries, religions, and cultures, the serpent has been used as a symbol of evil, medicine, and fertility. And don’t forget fear - ophidiophobia, fear of snakes, is one of the world’s most common phobias! Though there are over 3,000 species of snakes in existence, this slithering reptile is still a unique (and creepy) creature.

In observance of National Serpent Day, we’re sharing a video in tribute to those species of serpents that may or may not actually exist.

Here are 12 of the strangest snake cryptids! 

For those who don’t have the opportunity to watch the full video, here’s a roundup of the top 12 for you to research later:

12. Arabian Flying Snake

11. Groot-slang

10. Sirrush

9. Namibian Flying Snake

8. Giant Congo Snake

7. Tsuchinoko

6. Crowing Crested Cobra

5. Hoop Snake

4. Real life flying snakes

3. Giant Anaconda 

2. Nabau

And finally… 1. Megaconda!

Happy National Serpent Day! Yay?

Former U.S. Senator Advocates For More UFO Research

Former U.S. Senator Advocates For More UFO Research

Former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is pushing for more research into the ongoing UFO phenomenon, and is hoping Congress will offers its help.

Although Reid states that he rather doubts the existence of “little green men,” he does believe that the magnitude and similarities of reported UFO sightings means there is still much to study and discover about these unidentified flying objects. “We have hundreds and hundreds of people that have seen the same thing — something in the sky, it moves a certain way,” Reid said.

He also made mention of UFO sightings reported not just from the ground, but also from vessels at sea and pilots in the air, indicating that in fact some pilots do not report strange sightings because of their fear of professional repercussions. Reid’s goal is to sit down with a powerful member of the Senate - whom he declined to name - and develop a means for pilots and members of the military to safely report UFOs and “suspicious aircraft.”

In December 2017, the New York Times reported that a Pentagon program to study UFO sightings was created while Reid was still serving as a senator, because of his ardent advocacy about UFO research. Let’s hope his ongoing push to find out more about UFOs will shed light on years of mystery!

Read the full article HERE.


Goat-Killing Blood-Sucking Beast in Namibia

Goat-Killing Blood-Sucking Beast in Namibia

Is some vampiric beast preying on innocent goat herds in Africa? Frighteningly, yes, that’s exactly what’s happening! But what’s behind slayings?

A recent spate of creepy goat deaths has shepherds in Namibia concerned and scared, as nearly 30 goats have been found dead and drained of all their blood. Residents believe something is stalking their livestock in the night, and then leaving behind no trace of its attack (besides the goats’ corpses). However, a few witnesses have come forward to say they’ve caught a glimpse of the killer (or killers), which they claim resemble large black dogs. 

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Adding to the mystery around the manner of death is the perplexity of local veterinarians and wildlife officials, who have no idea what is behind the attacks. “Scientifically, these things attacking the goats in that manner are not part of the wildlife we know. We leave room for more investigations.” 

While the elusive cryptid Chupacabra has been blamed for unexplained animal deaths in other countries, the strange episode of the bloodless goats is also not unlike mutilations where cows and other livestock have been found dead and drained of blood, in what some believe to be alien abductions. Is it Chupacabra, aliens, or something else that is killing Namibia’s goats? And, as Mysterious Universe aptly asks in their report of the murdering goat-sucker, “When will one of these creatures start preying on humans?”

Read the FULL ARTICLE from Mysterious Universe here and the original report in The Namibian HERE.

Scientist Talks Giant Fossil Find on Coast to Coast AM

Scientist Talks Giant Fossil Find on Coast to Coast AM

You’re hiking happily through the woods and come upon a huge boulder jutting out of the earth. It’s impressive, picturesque, and ancient-looking, so you decide to take  a closer look. Your hike quickly changes from happy to creepy when you realize, upon closer inspection, your boulder isn’t a boulder at all - it’s a giant finger bone.

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...Sound crazy? Not to scientist and researcher Michael Tellinger, who believes he has discovered enormous fossilized body parts near his home in South Africa. Initially thinking he was standing atop plain old rocks, Tellinger was shocked to realize the rocks were what he believes to be the remains of ancient giants. From knuckles to teeth to hearts, Tellinger unearthed massive fossils that he thinks may be evidence of former Anunnaki or Nephilim who were killed by a huge flood.

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If true, the sheer size of the fossilized bones would mean that mile-high giants, alluded to in the Bible and in apocryphal texts like the Book of Enoch, really did once stalk the planet. So the next time you venture into rocky terrain, pay close attention to what, or who, you’re walking on!

Tellinger joined Coast to Coast AM recently to share details and theories about his big fossil find. Check out the episode HERE!

For more on giants and Nephilim, read The Confessionals Exclusive: Are Old Legend Giants Living in the Modern Day World? or listen to The Confessionals Podcast Episode 4: Nephilim - Then & Now, Episode 18: L.A. Marzulli: UFOs & Nephilim Giants, and Episode 42: The Genesis 6 Conspiracy with Gary Wayne.

Opera Ghosts: Echoes of the Rhoads Opera House Fire

On the corner of South Washington Street and East Philadelphia Avenue in Boyertown, Pennsylvania is a red brick building. Three stories tall and largely unadorned, it doesn’t stand out from its neighbors, blending in to blocks of similarly-styled buildings without a second glance. Small shops rotate through the ground floor, while apartment dwellers come and go through its top two tiers. Except for a commemorative plaque hung on the front of the building, one would never know that on this particular site, 171 people died in a single night. 

The Rhoads Opera House in ruins.

Although the history of deadly disasters in the United States seems to widely overlook this small-town horror, Boyertown itself has never forgotten the shocking tragedy that was the Rhoads Opera House Fire

The Rhoads Opera House Fire

On the evening of January 13, 1908, over 300 theatergoers and 50 actors gathered at the Rhoads Opera House for the opening night of a production called “The Scottish Reformation.” The term “opera house” was a bit of a misnomer, as the theater only comprised the second floor of the commercial Rhoads building in which it was located. Though the venue was in fact small compared to its grand name, the play was eagerly attended by the hundreds, and featured the latest slide projection technology and dramatic staging effects. Through an unintended tragedy of errors, it was this new technology that served as the catalyst for the catastrophe to come.

The Rhoads commercial building before the fire.

While the rapt audience waited for the play’s third act to begin, an inexperienced projectionist with only two days of training mistakenly turned a wrong valve on the projector, which then hissed and startled a few theatergoers seated nearby. Hearing commotion in the audience, several actors raised the curtain to see what was the matter. When they did, they tipped over a kerosene lamp that had been set on the stage for extra lighting. The overturned lamp immediately started a small fire, but theater personnel quickly responded to tamp down the flames. With the fire nearly extinguished, some of the men in the front row decided to move another kerosene tank, kept under the stage, that fueled the theater’s footlights… as a safety precaution.  The decision proved deadly when the tank’s framework broke, dumping the tank of kerosene across the stage and igniting the small fire into an inferno.

In seconds, the stage became a virtual tinderbox. Its curtains burst into flames, quickly followed by the wainscoting of the 12-foot ceiling, until the entire auditorium was engulfed in “waves” of fire.  Frantic audience members scrambled towards the main exit, only to find themselves trapped inside when the panicked crush of people tried pushing against doors that opened inward. Although the second floor contained two window fire escapes, they were unmarked and located three feet off the ground, nearly unidentifiable amidst the chaos. Chairs, debris, and bodies made the auditorium a maze of obstacles that blocked exits and cost precious time getting to safety. When one of the main exit doors was finally broken open, some victims were trampled to death as the crowd stampeded forward, while others fell to their deaths down the building’s staircase. Still others jumped from windows to the ground below, and not everyone survived the attempt. But most of all, trapped theatergoers burned alive. While many people did manage to escape outside, nearly 200 men, women, and children perished while the fire raged. 

After the fire.

Smoking rubble after the fire.

Hours later, when the very literal smoke finally cleared, the full scale of the fiery tragedy was revealed. With a death toll of 171 people - 170 who attended the play and one firefighter - the little community of Boyertown had shockingly lost one-tenth of its population. In a few cases, entire families - husbands, wives, children - had died in the opera house blaze. Two-thirds of the dead victims were women and children, leading some to surmise that the men in attendance had abandoned them to fend for safety by themselves. When rescue workers entered the burned-out building, they discovered bodies piled six feet deep at the top of the stairway, where the surging crowd had bottlenecked and trapped themselves inside. Because of the overwhelming number of bodies, three makeshift morgues had to be set up in surrounding buildings, while the remaining town worked to identify the victims and cope with the sudden, shocking loss of life.

“Main entrance of Opera House after fire Boyertown, PA, Jan. 08”

Another angle of the fire’s aftermath.

A line of residents looking for loved ones among the bodies of the fire victims.

In the days that followed the disaster, 15,000 people converged on Boyertown to attend dozens upon dozens of funerals. The renowned Boyertown Burial Casket Company, which was to become one of the largest casket manufacturers in the world, was hard pressed to meet the sudden demand for its products and its gravediggers, and had also lost a few of its own workers who had attended that doomed performance of “The Scottish Reformation.” In an unfunny twist of fate, those workers had unknowingly crafted the coffins they would be buried in. Over 100 new graves were dug in Boyertown’s already large Fairview Cemetery, including a common grave for 25 victims whose remains were so badly charred they could not be individually identified. While the town mourned in earnest, the theater fire made headlines across the country, and spurred new legislation for fire safety laws in Pennsylvania. There seemed to be no one in the town who had not been in some way affected by the Rhoads Opera House Fire.

”Interior of Opera House after fire Boyertown PA Jan 08”

An enhanced version of the photo above: “Victims of Opera House fire Boyertown PA Jan, 08”.

Thousands gather in Boyertown after the fire to identify loved ones and attend funerals.

“Preparing for the burial Opera House fire victims Boyertown PA Jan. 13, 08.” More and more graves being added to Fairview Cemetery.

OPERA GHOSTS

Even after 111 years, traces of the tragedy have always remained. To many in the local area, Boyertown is considered one of the most haunted small towns in America. Between its historic buildings dating back to the 1700s, the looming specter of the Boyertown Burial Casket Company (which operated until 1988), and the imposing Fairview Cemetery with its approximately 7,000 graves, there is little doubt that the town is home to all kinds of paranormal activity. There is also no doubt that a significant amount of that paranormal activity has been attributed to the horrific theater tragedy that claimed so many lives. From nearly the very night of the deathly fire, the Rhoads Opera House ghost stories began. 

”Ruins of the Opera House Boyertown PA Jan, 08”.

”Digging the grave for the unidentified after Opera House Fire, Boyertown, PA Jan 13, 08”.

Following the fire, while the ruins of the building still smoked, police were called to the scene to remove an elderly man from the wreckage. He told the responding officers that his dead wife’s ghost had called him to that specific spot on the site, to talk to her a final time.  

Workers attempt to remove and identify bodies after the Boyertown theater fire.

Officers were further called out to the ruins on multiple occasions, for weeks following the event, because residents and passersby claimed they could hear screams and cries coming from inside the building’s hull. A woman who lived nearby also claimed that spirits of the dead victims had taken over her house, though details of her paranormal experiences have not emerged. 

The Boyertown theater fire making headlines.

”Scene at the temporary morgue after Opera House fire Boyertown PA Jan 08”.

The sound of on-site screaming has continued to recur, for years, along with investigations of moaning and strange noises coming from inside Fairview Cemetery. Although the remnants of the Rhoads Opera House building were torn down and rebuilt a few years after the fire, the haunting experiences live on. A present-day resident who lived across the street from the old Opera House shared, “I’ve lived here my entire life and have heard so many ghost stories about the building. One old resident of the apartments there swore that every year around the same time a woman dressed in fine clothes would walk through the apartment, proclaiming to be late for the play.” Still another resident reported that, when the new building housed a dance studio sometime after the fire, the younger girls refused to use one of the dance rooms because it was “full of ghosts.” Even the area surrounding the fire site bears invisible traces of tragedy, with some believing that the victims who were placed in the makeshift morgues never truly left. 

A covered body is removed from a second story window.

“After Opera House Fire Jan 13, 08. Boyertown PA” - a devastating look at the victims laid out in temporary morgues.

Thousands attend funerals for the Rhoads Opera House Victims in Fairview Cemetery.

An artist captures the scene as victims of the Rhoads Opera House fire are taken to Fairview Cemetery for burial.

The Mansion House Hotel in the early 1900s.

Present-day Durango’s Saloon.

The most notoriously haunted of these morgues is probably Durango’s Saloon, a present-day bar located one block from the fire site, in what was formerly the Mansion House Hotel. It was in the basement of the Mansion House Hotel where rescue workers laid out corpses pulled from the Opera House rubble. Today, Durango’s Saloon still seems to be rife with paranormal activity, from shadowy figures glimpsed out the corners of eyes, to items being moved or pushed over, to strange mists appearing in photographs. The bar’s owner once even found himself locked in his walk-in freezer when its large, heavy door inexplicably slammed closed behind him. When local paranormal investigator Scott Wiley conducted his own investigation in Durango’s Saloon, he reportedly captured some compelling EVPs during his three nights in the bar. During one session Wiley asked aloud, “Who’s there?” and says he caught the whispery but distinct reply of “Binder.” Research of the area uncovered that a Henry Binder was in fact the proprietor of the old Mansion House Hotel in the early 1900s - until he was killed in the Rhoads Opera House fire. Binder’s body was buried up the street in Fairview Cemetery, but his spirit, it seems, lingered behind.

With the horror of the Opera House fire impacting so many people, for so many years, there is probably no shortage of those who can share a ghostly story about the theater fire, or about haunted Boyertown itself. I have a few stories of my own.

My haunted Boyertown house

Part of Fairview Cemetery today.

Listeners of The Confessionals may recall the very early Episode 3: “Hatman and Ghostly Interactions”, where I shared with Tony a number of spooky and paranormal occurrences that I experienced while living in several different homes. The home where I had the majority of my eerie experiences was an old Victorian, built in 1900, located on the same road as the Opera House fire site (0.4 miles away to be exact). In even closer proximity was the huge, somber Fairview Cemetery, barely 400 feet away and visible from the house. My elementary school bus stop was actually directly in front of the cemetery entrance... not exactly the most inviting of places to hang around when you are 5-to-10-years old! I remember walking through the cemetery on some occasions and being confounded by the sight of old, ornate gravestones marking the burial places of children who were my own age and even younger - how could they have lost their lives so early?

My elementary school bus stop.

Though I was too little at the time to be familiar with Boyertown’s history, the ghostly impression that Victorian house left on me has drawn me to learn more about the home, hoping to uncover a possible reason behind what, to me, was its pervading sense of spookiness, punctuated by unexplained events and fearful feelings. One experience in particular, which gives Episode 3 its name, was the very brief but distinct sighting of a hatted shadow figure watching me from a doorway. Though the glimpse was quick, the figure was clear: a featureless shadow man, bearing the silhouette of a tail coat, higher collar, and top hat. He never appeared again, but I have always wondered about what I saw. That wonder has led to my amateur research uncovering a tenuous but tangible connection between my old home and the Rhoads Opera House Fire. 

The doorway (left) in my old home where I glimpsed a shadow figure in a tail coat and top hat. At that time the doorway did not have any attached doors; these were added by a later owner.

Through archived newspaper articles, I recently discovered that a man named Leon E. Mayer lived in the same house that I did, in at least the late 1930s and early 1940s. Further records revealed that at around 15 years of age, Mr. Mayer lost both his father and his sister in the 1908 disaster. Dr. Charles Eugene Mayer and his 18-year-old daughter Gwendolyn were in attendance at “The Scottish Reformation” when the fire broke out. According to a Reading Eagle article published on the 100th anniversary of the fire, “Mayer fought off smoke and flames to reach his wife and carry her to safety outside the building. Then, he went back in to rescue his daughter. It’s not known whether Mayer found his daughter amid the smoke and flames, but neither made it out.” After their deaths, Dr. Mayer and Gwendolyn were buried in Fairview Cemetery. 

Dr. Charles Mayer. March 18, 1863 - January 13, 1908.

Gwendolyn Mayer. September 30, 1889 - January 13, 1908.

As of yet, I haven’t found the key detail that I’d like to know - who lived in my creepy old house at the time of fire? - but this little revelation about the Mayer family is still intriguing. Leon Mayer and his family, like so many families in Boyertown in 1908, suffered a tragic loss that would forever be attached to those left behind with their grief. Did Leon Mayer carry a piece of his grief with him while he resided in the home where I used to live? Did it manifest in the strange activity that I experienced? Was it his likeness that appeared in shadow form in my living room doorway? Or does the figure date back even further - was it is an echo of Dr. Charles Mayer, lost to the Opera House fire just down the road? I can’t say with any certainty whether Leon Mayer moved in to my former home well after the fire, or if it was his family home where he had once also lived with his father and sister; I can only speculate and theorize while I continue to dig into small-town history. But even if my paranormal experiences in the Boyertown house are not at all related to the the former Mayer family residents, there is still the fact that the town lost a tenth of its inhabitants in the Rhoads Opera House Fire, and touched nearly every family with its devastation. There is a strong possibility that whoever did live in my home in 1908 bore their own personal connection to the fire, and, perhaps, left a residual force behind them.

Again - this is pure speculation based on a few thinly related facts. But one other thing that stands out to me now is the appearance of that shadow figure in the doorway. Reports from the night of January 13, 1908 recorded that Boyertown’s theatergoers were “dressed in their Sunday best.” “Sunday best,” for a man in the early 1900s, was unquestionably a tail coat, collar, and top hat… a uncanny match for the shadow man who appeared in my circa 1900 home, only blocks away from the Rhoads Opera House.

With only the few historical facts I’ve found so far and my own experiences to consider, I can’t help but wonder…

THE LEGACY OF THE RHOADS OPERA HOUSE FIRE

While looking into my previous home’s history, I found one other story that caught my attention, not only because it further involves the Mayer family, but because it also reveals how quickly after the Boyertown fire its ghostly legacy seems to have begun. The story comes from Dr. Charles Mayer’s own grandson - not from Leon Mayer, but the child of his younger son - and was published on his blog in 2012. In it he recounts how his father woke on the night of the fire to the sound of the hall clock. Strangely, he says, the clock chimed not 12, but 13 times. The next morning, he was confronted with the terrible truth that his father, Dr. Mayer, and sister Gwendolyn would not be coming home again.

A current view of the site of the Rhoads Opera House fire.

Although details in the full story differ from other records (something to be expected as more and more years separate us from the original inciting event), it is clear that the tragedy of 1908 is still leaving its mark. Generations later, families are still affected by who was lost, and a town is forever different because of what transpired. Today the site of the Rhoads Opera House fire is occupied by offices, apartments, and a cozy secondhand bookshop. The fire and the death it brought are over one hundred years in the past. But for anyone who has heard the echoes of the screams from the Boyertown building on the corner of Philadelphia Avenue and Washington Street, the dead may not be altogether gone.

The plaque on the former site of the Rhoads Opera House - “Dedicated to the 171 people who perished within these walls in the tragic fire of January 13, 1908”.

“To the Memory of The Unidentified in the Boyertown Catastrophe Jan. 13, 1908.”

“Rhoads Opera House Fire: A disastrous fire destroyed the theater that stood at Philadelphia Ave. & Washington St. on Jan. 13, 1908. It claimed 170 victims, many buried here, due to overcrowding, poorly designed and unmarked exits, and inadequate fire escapes. The tragedy prompted the Pa. General Assembly to enact fire safety laws and improve construction and inspection standards, making public buildings safer and influencing similar legislation in other states.”

For more information about Boyertown and its haunted history, contact the Boyertown Area Historical Society. To hear my own haunted experiences of Boyertown and other homes in Pennsylvania, listen to The Confessionals Podcast Episode 3: Hatman and Ghostly Interactions on your favorite podcatcher.