The Number Stations

Numbers stations are mysterious shortwave radio channels of indiscernible origin that exist in countries all across the world and have been reported since World War 1. They are identifiable by the unusual contents of their broadcasts: seemingly random sequences of numbers, words, letters, tunes, and Morse code, usually spoken by artificially generated voices of women and children.

The most common theory regarding the purpose of these bizarre stations is that they’re used by governments the world over to secretly transmit encrypted commands and messages to spies. That said, even though numbers stations have been discovered all over the globe and in any number of different languages, no government has ever officially acknowledged their existence. While the espionage theory is a logical one, with no official confirmation of their purpose the jury is still out.


One particularly odd station, UVB-76, has existed since the late 1970s and has broadcast a simple, repetitive buzzing tone 24 hours a day ever since. On very rare occasions, however, listeners have reported a Russian voice interrupting the buzz to read out sequences of numbers and words, always in a consistent format — this happened once in 1997, once in 2002, once in 2006, 56 times in 2010, and 14 in 2011. As with all numbers stations, its true purpose is and will probably remain unknown, but the increase in frequency of whatever it’s doing is certainly odd.

You can listen to well over 100 recordings of numbers stations for free on but be forewarned that they’re all kind of, well, eerie. They feel like something you shouldn’t be listening to, which stands to reason since apparently you’re not supposed to know they exist.

Via: NowYourAfraidoftheDark

The Self-Immolation of Thích Quảng Đức

On June 11th 1963, Thích Quảng Đức, a Vietnamese Buddhist monk, sat down in the middle of a busy intersection in Saigon, covered himself in gasoline, ignited a match, and set himself on fire. Đức burned to death in a matter of minutes. He was immortalized in a photograph taken by a reporter who was in Vietnam to cover the war. All those who saw this spectacle were taken by the fact that Duc did not make a sound while burning to death. Đức was protesting President Ngô Đình Diệm’s administration for oppressing the Buddhist religion.

Via: ThatWasNotInOurHistoryBooks

The Mystery of the Lost Colony of Roanoke and the “Dare Stones”

The origins of one of the America’s oldest unsolved mysteries can be traced to August 1587, when a group of about 115 English settlers arrived on Roanoke Island, off the coast of what is now North Carolina. Later that year, it was decided that John White, governor of the new colony, would sail back to England in order to gather a fresh load of supplies. But just as he arrived, a major naval war broke out between England and Spain, and Queen Elizabeth I called on every available ship to confront the mighty Spanish Armada. In August 1590, White finally returned to Roanoke, where he had left his wife and daughter, his infant granddaughter (Virginia Dare, the first English child born in the Americas) and the other settlers three long years before. He found no trace of the colony or its inhabitants, and few clues to what might have happened, apart from a single word—“Croatan”—carved into a wooden post.

The “Dare Stones”

In 1937, a twenty-one-pound quartz stone was found in a swamp 60 miles west of Roanoke. On one side was a cross and the instruction “Ananias Dare & Virginia went hence Unto Heaven 1591.” On the other were carvings that, when deciphered by faculty at Emory University, were a message from Eleanor Dare to her father, John White, that the colony had fled inland after an Indian attack.

The story told by the stones matched some of the details of Strachey’s account, and a number of academics believed them. During the next three years, nearly forty more stones were found in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia. Together, they told a story of the colonists’ journey through the southeast, ending in the death of Eleanor Dare in 1599.

The timing of the discovery, exactly 350 years after the English settlement of Roanoke, made the “Virginia Dare Stones” a perfect story, and the media jumped on it. In 1941, though, an article in The Saturday Evening Post revealed the “discoverers” of the stones to have staged an elaborate hoax. The stones were quickly forgotten by most people, although there are others that state that the article in the Post was biased for “tourist” reasons. There are many scholars that still believe the first stone found to be authentic. But the other forty stones, conveniently “found” after the fact, are definitely suspect and most likely a hoax.

Via: CuriousHistory
See the related Circa71 posting: Two of the Most Mysterious Sites in the U.S.

The Lead Masks Case

The Lead Masks Case refers to the discovery of the bodies of two electronic technicians in Brazil in 1966. The bodies were found in a field wearing impermeable coats and lead masks (usually used to protect against radiation – pictured above).

Even stranger was the discovery of a small notebook beside the bodies with signs and numbers, and a letter in which was written: “16:30 be at the agreed place. 18:30 swallow capsules, after effect protect metals wait for the mask sign”. A waitress who was the last to see them alive said that one of them looked very nervous and kept glancing at his watch. There were no obvious injuries on the bodies. Gracinda Barbosa Cortino de Souza and her children, who lived next to the hill where the men died, claimed that they had seen a UFO flying over the spot at the exact moment the detectives believed the two men must have died.

Via: ACuriousHistory

The Frederick Valentich Disappearance

The Frederick Valentich Disappearance is an event that occurred on October 21, 1978, in which 20-year-old Frederick Valentich disappeared in unexplained circumstances while piloting a Cessna 182L light aircraft over the Bass Strait to King Island, Australia. Prior to his disappearance, Valentich reported via radio that he had encountered an unidentified craft which was moving at the same speed of his plane, and which hovered over him. No trace of Valentich or his aircraft was ever found.

Shortly before Valentich’s last reported contact, plumber Roy Manifold set up a time lapse camera and tripod on the shoreline in order to photograph the sun setting over the water. When his pictures were developed they appeared to show a fast moving object exiting the water. Manifold gave the time that the pictures were taken as being approximately 6:47 pm (18:47 hrs), or 20 minutes before Valentich reported having difficulties. Moments before a strange noise terminated Valentich’s communications, he said: “My intentions are – ah – to go to King Island – ah – Melbourne. That strange aircraft is hovering on top of me again (open microphone for two seconds). It is hovering and it’s not an aircraft.

Via: ACuriousHistory

Gregor MacGregor & Poyais: The Fake Colony

Gregor MacGregor was a Scottish soldier, adventurer, and coloniser who, in 1820, claimed to be ’prince’ of Poyais, a fictional Central American country. He claimed the native chieftain had given him 12,500 mile² of fertile land with untapped resources and cooperative natives eager to please. He had created a civil service, army and democratic government. Now he needed settlers and investment. He sold land for 3 shillings and 3 pence per acre, a very generous price, and also raised a £200,000 loan on behalf of the Poyais government.

He published a guidebook entitled Sketch of the Mosquito Shore, including the Territory of Poyais, descriptive of the country, supposedly written by one Captain Thomas Strangeways. It described Poyais in glowing terms, concentrating on how much profit one could get from the country’s ample resources. The region was even free of tropical diseases.

In 1822 a ship called Honduras Packet set sail to Poyais with 70 settlers aboard. Its cargo included a chest full of “Poyais Dollars”, fictional currency which many of the settlers had converted their pounds sterling to. Another ship later left for Poyais with 200 settlers.

What the settlers found was an untouched jungle; there was no settlement of any kind. They built rudimentary shelters, however, tensions began to build and tropical disease began to take its tole – one man who had spent his life savings on the trip committed suicide. A passing ship, upon hearing the settlers’ story, took them to British Honduras but 180 of the 270 settlers perished during the ordeal.

Officials in the UK were quickly notified (naval ships had to be sent out to tell five other ships that had set out for Poyais to turn back) and the whole story was published in the newspapers. McGregor, however, was already in France, trying to accumulate more investors. In fact, apparently undeterred by having caused the deaths of hundreds of people, McGregor continued the scheme until 1837. He was jailed for a week in 1826 but otherwise went unpunished. He died in 1845.

Via: TheOddmentEmporium

The Dashka Stone: Map of the Creator

In 1999, a professor at Bashkir State University in Russia named Alexander Chuvyrov made a remarkable archeological discovery. He was called to the house of Vladimir Krainov, who reported a strange slab buried in his backyard. Chuvyrov was instantly intrigued, as he had been searching for similar slabs that have been cited in various historical manuscripts. The slab was so heavy that it took over a week to unearth. The discovery was named the Dashka stone and later titled the Map of the Creator. The artifact is approximately 5 feet high, 3.5 feet wide, .5 feet thick, and weighs at least one ton. The stone was investigated and determined to be some sort of three-dimensional relief map of the Ural Region. Today the military uses similar maps to measure elevation and terrain. The Dashka stone reportedly contains representations of civil engineering work, weirs, an irrigation system, and powerful dams. To date, the ancient technology used to make the map is unknown and extremely advanced.

The map also contains numerous inscriptions. At first, the scientists thought that it was an Old Chinese language, although it was later reported that the inscriptions were done in a hieroglyphic-syllabic language of unknown origin. A group of Russian and Chinese specialists in the fields of cartography, physics, mathematics, geology, chemistry, and Old Chinese language researched the artifact and were the ones that identified it as a map of Ural region, with rivers Belya, Ufimka, and Sutolka listed.

Dating of the slab was reported to be over 100 million years old, but no reliable resources citing evidence of what type of test were used or the exact results could be found. If the Map of the Creator is genuine then it would suggest the existence of an ancient highly developed civilization. Researchers have claimed that a three-dimensional map of this order could have only been used for navigational purposes. Many websites claim that the slab is proof of ancient flight. Recent discoveries indicate that the slab is a piece of a larger artifact.

The Dashka stone continues to undergo scientific testing and is not available for public viewing. … veries.php … _0237.html

Missing: Where Did The Residents of An Entire Eskimo Village Go?

An individual that vanishes is one thing, but how about an entire village of 2,000 men, women and children?

In November, 1930, a fur trapper named Joe Labelle made his way on snow shoes to an Eskimo village on the shores of Lake Anjikuni in northern Canada. Labelle was familiar with the village, which he knew as a thriving fishing community of about 2,000 residents.

When he arrived, however, he found a deserted village. All of the huts and storehouses were vacant. He found one smoldering fire with a pot of blackened stew. Labelle notified the authorities and an investigation began, soon after some bizarre findings were reported: no footprints of any of the residents were found, if they had vacated the village; all of the Eskimos’ sled dogs were found buried under a 12-foot-high snow drift – they had all starved to death; all of the Eskimos’ food and provisions were found undisturbed in their huts. Maybe the most intriguing detail was that the Eskimos’ ancestral graves had all been emptied.

Thomas Blood—Enigmatic Raider Of The Crown Jewels

1671 was a year of unlimited opportunity for two of history’s greatest adventurers. In the West Indies that year, the Welsh buccaneer Sir Henry Morgan was made Deputy Governor of Jamaica, while in England, self-styled ‘Colonel’ Thomas Blood was putting a plan into action that would result in the most daring robbery of all time; the theft of the Crown Jewels from the Tower of London!

Thomas Blood (alias Ayliffe, aka Allen) was born in 1618, the son of an Irish blacksmith. Information on his early life is very scant, but it is known that he served the parliamentary cause during the English Civil War. Just exactly what Blood’s role was during the war isn’t known, but he seems to have been involved in espionage, and he was rewarded for his services with considerable estates in Ireland. However, when the monarchy was restored in 1660, Blood lost his lands and his position, and the Irishman became an embittered terrorist with a dark genius for ruthless schemes designed to disrupt and intimidate his aristocratic enemies. But long before he fell on hard times, Blood was a mysterious individual who expressed no particular allegiance to any religion or political wing unless it suited his own ends. It is easy to dismiss him as an adventurer, but Blood seems to have been in the pay of someone. Behind all of his ‘who dares wins’ exploits, there are tantalizing glimpses of a man who was somebody’s agent. Many suspected him of being a spy – but a spy for whom?

In 1633, Blood and a group of abettors tried to kidnap the Duke of Ormonde, the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, at Dublin Castle, but the conspirators were betrayed, and all but Blood were captured and thrown into prison. A reward was offered for Blood’s capture – dead or alive but the Colonel wasn’t worried about the price on his head, and he attempted – unsuccessfully – to free his co-conspirators, and was forced to flee to Holland.

In 1639, Blood was active among the Fifth Monarchy Men, an extreme Puritan sect who literally believed that the ‘fifth monarchy’ – foretold in the Book of Daniel – was at hand. The Biblical prophecy claimed that a fifth monarchy of Christ would succeed the rule of the Assyrians, the Persians, the Greeks, and the Romans. The sect was led by Thomas Venner, a religious fanatic, who launched two abortive risings in 1657 and 1661. Venner was subsequently captured and executed. Blood got away Scot free. The Irishman had an uncanny habit of staying with rebellious groups until they were about to be eradicated. It was the same story when he joined the Covenanters – the Scottish Presbyterians who opposed the introduction of Charles I’s religious policies into Scotland. Blood was right behind the movement and sat at the table with the counsel. But days before the going got tough, and a confrontation with the King’s troops was imminent, Blood was suddenly nowhere to be seen. In 1667, Blood heard that an old militant acquaintance, a Captain Mason, was being taken under guard to a prison in York. With three accomplices, Blood rode up to the soldiers and opened fire on them. Captain Mason was rescued, and a badly-wounded Blood led him to safety. The price put on Blood’s head was trebled, but the Irishman still managed to evade capture, and in 1670, he turned up in the middle of London, where he perpetrated another audacious crime.

He rode up to the coach carrying the Duke of Ormonde and yanked open the door. The terrified Duke was pulled from the coach by Blood and an accomplice and thrown onto the horse of another henchman – who rode as far as Tyburn before the cry went up that the nobleman had been kidnapped. The Duke was soon rescued, but Blood and his men escaped without harm.

This brings us to the event in 1671 for which Blood is best remembered; the theft of the Crown Jewels.

For several weeks, Thomas Blood, disguised as a parson, had been getting regularly acquainted with Talbot Edwards, the 77-year-old keeper of the Crown Jewels, in order to win his confidence. After just a few visits, the old man succumbed, and the ‘parson’ became thoroughly trusted and was completely above suspicion.

On May 9th at seven in the morning, Blood turned up in his clergyman guise for the last time with three accomplices. Again, the aged keeper greeted Blood with respect.

The keeper’s daughter was around, so to keep her attention diverted, Blood introduced her to his ‘nephew’ – who was in fact the youngest accomplice, a fairly handsome man of about twenty-five. As the couple began to chat, Blood steered the small-talk to the subject of the Jewels, and the keeper excitedly told Blood and his accomplices to follow him to the chamber of Martin Tower, where the jewels were kept. Upon reaching the chamber, the old man turned to lock the door behind him and the visitors, when Blood suddenly pulled a cloak over his head. The keeper struggled, so a gag was rammed into his mouth. Still, the old man protested, so one of the thieves battered his head with a mallet before callously plunging a dagger into his stomach.

The Colonel grabbed the mallet and used it to flatten St. Edward’s Crown so he could stuff it in his coat. Another thief filed the sceptre in two, while the robber who had murdered the keeper was putting the orb down his trousers as he laughed.

Then the unexpected happened. The son of the dead keeper turned up, and bumped into Blood’s ‘nephew’, who was acting suspiciously like a lookout. The son attacked Blood’s accomplice, but was coshed and gagged by him.

The lookout then raced to the chamber and warned the others. Blood and his men instantly made a dash out of the chamber, and in the panic, the sceptre was dropped and left behind. The son of the murdered keeper regained consciousness, tore the gag from his mouth, and raised the alarm, shouting, “Treason! Murder! The crown is stolen!”

Within seconds, the keeper’s daughter arrived and clung to her brother with fear. One of the yeoman warders also answered the alert and challenged Blood squarely. The Colonel levelled his flintlock at him and blasted a hole in his chest, killing him instantly. As the fleeing gang headed for the Tower Wharf, they encountered another guard, but when he saw Blood and his men approaching, the yeoman got cold feel, dropped his musket and stepped aside, letting the thieves pass unchallenged.

The Tower was suddenly swarming with soldiers, and Blood’s three accomplices were soon captured. The Colonel’s escape route was blocked by Captain Beckman, a fearless Civil War veteran, and he was the only man who managed to subdue the Irish daredevil. Blood was escorted to a cell in the Tower and interrogated for hours. But the prisoner insisted he would talk to no one but the king about his deeds.

Two days later Blood’s request was granted, and the miscreant was taken to Whitehall, where he had a lengthy conversation with King Charles II. Blood was taken back to the Tower, but was later inexplicably released and given a Royal pardon – as well as a ‘pension’ of œ500. Blood’s confiscated estates in Ireland were also restored. Not long after all this, the English author and diarist John Evelyn was invited to dine at the king’s table. When he arrived at the dinner, he was astounded to see Thomas Blood seated near the king. This didn’t make sense to Evelyn, who knew that the Irishman had served as a parliamentarian in the Civil War and had made numerous kidnap attempts on the nobility. Yet, despite these crimes of treason, and the attempted theft and damaging of the Crown Jewels and the murder of the old keeper who looked after them, Blood was apparently still held in favour by the king. And therein lies the mystery that has baffled generations of historians.

Via: Dark-Stories
© Copyright 2004 by Tom Slemen.

The Dybbuk Box

The Dybbuk Box is the commonly used name of a wine cabinet which is said to be haunted by a dybbuk, a spirit from Jewish folklore. The legend of the box originated in a story written as an eBay auction listing by Kevin Mannis. Mannis purportedly bought the Box at an estate sale in 2001. It had belonged to a Polish Holocaust survivor named Havela, who had escaped to Spain and purchased it there before emigrating to the United States. Havela’s granddaughter told Mannis that the Box had been kept in her grandmother’s sewing room and was never opened because a dybbuk was said to live inside it. He offered to give the box back to her, but she became upset and refused to take it.

On opening the box, Mannis found that it contained two 1920s pennies, a lock of blonde hair bound with cord, a lock of black/brown hair bound with cord, a small statue engraved with the Hebrew word “Shalom”, a small, golden wine goblet, one dried rose bud, and a single candle holder with four octopus-shaped legs.

Numerous owners of the box have reported that strange phenomena accompany it. His mother is supposed to have suffered a stroke on the same day he gave her the box as a birthday present. Every owner of the Box has reported that smells of cat urine or jasmine flowers and nightmares involving an old hag accompany the Box. Iosif Neitzke, a Minnesota college student and the last person to auction the box on eBay, claimed that the box caused lights to burn out in his house and his hair to fall out. Neitzke sold it to Jason Haxton, Director of the Museum of Osteopathic Medicine in Kirksville, Missouri. Haxton, who wrote The Dibbuk Box, and claimed that he subsequently developed strange health problems, including hives, coughing up blood, and “head-to-toe welts.”


Via: NowYourAfraidOfTheDark

Arthur Furguson, The Monumental Confidence Man

Retired Glasgow-born actor Arthur Furguson was a terrific salesperson. However, like many other such people, he was unaware of his talent until one inspiring day when the perfect opportunity presented itself to him. His moment happened in Trafalgar Square, one bright and sunny morning in 1923. The source of his revelation was a rich American from Iowa, who he found staring reverently at Nelson’s Column.

Furguson decided to appoint himself as the official guide to the Square. Speaking to the American, he explained that the statue atop the column was of Admiral Lord Nelson, one of Britain’s most famous seafarers and naval heroes. He had died in during the Battle of Trafalgar, after which the square was named. Such a terrible shame, he sighed. The square wouldn’t feel the same without it. However, it all had to go, lions and fountains included. Britain’s debts were sky-high, and the government had decided to sell off the landmark to the highest bidder.

The American was interested and inquired as to the price. Furguson mused and explained that it was to be sold for just £6000. Obviously, it would have to go to the right buyer: someone who would protect and appreciate a monument of this scale.

Furguson, amazed at his own cunning, immediately went off and cashed the cheque while his customer got in touch with some contractors. They were extremely reluctant to accept the job and told him why. It was not until he received an official assurance from Scotland Yard that he would believe that he had been conned. That summer was a good one as far as Arthur Furguson was concerned. The police however, were far from happy. Another American complained that he had paid £1000 for Big Ben, and another had made a £2000 downpayment on Buckingham Palace.By a curious coincidence, it was Furguson himself who had been entrusted by the government with the task of organising the sale, which had to be kept top-secret. The American pleaded with Furguson to allow him to jump the queue. At last he relented and telephoned his employers for instructions. He returned within a matter of minutes. It was decided that Britain was prepared to accept a cheque right away, to complete the deal as soon as possible.

While visiting Paris, he managed to sell the Eiffel Tower for scrap at an unknown price to yet another American. Since Americans had all been his best customers, he decided to continue his work in their country. In 1925, he leased the White House to a Texan cattle-rancher for 99 years at $100,000 a year, with the first year’s rent payable in advance. Furguson’s bank balance was now sufficiently large for him to consider retiring. His vanity got the better of him however, and he wanted to end his career with a grand finale. Whilst in New York, he found the perfect victim, an Australian from Sydney. Furguson told him that the entrance to New York harbour was to be widened and unfortunately, the Statue of Liberty was in the way. However, sentimental attachments was not going to stop the path of progress, and the US State Department was prepared to sell it to anyone who would to take it away.

The Australian attempted to raise the £100,000 deposit over the next couple of days. Furguson was practically glued to his side, carefully steering him away from anyone with whom he might be tempted to boast about his venture. Furguson kindly allowed himself to be photographed with his buyer, arm in arm in front of the Statue of Liberty. Unfortunately, there was a delay in getting the money through. Furguson grew impatient, and the Australian was suspicious. He took the photograph of himself and Furguson to the police. It was exactly the breakthrough the police wanted. They already knew about the salesman of monuments, but he had always managed to escape them. The Australian led them straight to Furguson, who was promptly arrested.

Furguson was jailed for five years, a rather small price to pay for the fortune he had made. He was released in 1930, and moved to Los Angeles where he lived in a lap of luxury (paid for by a few more convenient tricks) until he died in 1938.

Via: Dark-Stories