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The Seth Rich murder conspiracy smoking gun?

Although we delve into conspiracy theories from time to time here at JOTB, we have refrained from weighing in on the case of murdered DNC staffer Seth Rich because, quite frankly, we were waiting for enough credible evidence to surface before we could arrive at any conclusions. With hundreds of Seth Rich stories hitting the internet every day, it would be a full-time job just to browse through all of them.

As is always the case, we begin an investigation with an open mind. For instance, our investigation into the Sandy Hook shooting led us to debunk the claims of several leading conspiracy theorists. We examined every possible detail, interviewed several sources and worked with nearly a dozen unbiased independent investigators, journalists (and a handful of leakers) before we reached our conclusion(s). We did the same during our investigation into the Boston Marathon bombing, which many claimed was a false flag operation (it was not).

Therefore, it cannot be said that we are card-carry…
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When real life imitates cartoons

The following newspaper article, which appeared in the Maysville, Kentucky Evening Bulletin on March 4, 1889, involves a man who got shot while pretending to be a ghost, in an attempt to pull off a land-grab scheme that sounds like something from a Scooby Doo episode.


Casey, Iowa, March 4.-- There is a little pond known as Silver Lake, four miles west of here, and near it a schol house in which the young folks of the neighborhood are wont to hold a lyceum. Recently a ghostlike apparition has caused nightly terror in the neighborhood. Several nights ago the apparition frightened a farmer's team, which ran away, tipped over the buggy and nearly killed the farmer's wife.

The husband procured a shotgun, loaded it with buckshot and then lay in wait for the ghost four nights. Thursday night he filled the ghost with buckshot. It cried: "My God, don't shoot anymore," and fell prostrate. The ghost was carried home by the shooter and cared for. No one but the attending phys…

The chilling last testament of Joseph Obney

In early 1896 a bone-chilling discovery was made inside of an abandoned coal mine about a mile east of Colliers, West Virginia. A local adventure seeker, David Snyder, decided to explore the old mine, which hadn't been used since the days of the Civil War, and his gruesome find cleared up a mystery that had boggled the people of Brooke County for thirty-two years.

That was the last time anyone had seen Benjamin Ayers, John Ewing, Thomas Ackelson and Joseph Obney alive.


Snyder found the skeletons of the four missing men, who seemingly had fallen off the face of the earth after deserting the Union army. One of the skeletons was sitting upright against a rocky ledge, and next to the skeleton was a flask containing several well-preserved notes. And the contents of notes were every bit as disturbing as the moldering bones in the forsaken tunnels beneath Brooke County.

They read as follows:

November 2, 1863-- Should this ever reach the outside world let it be known that we are prisoners h…

Setting the record straight about Atlas Obscura's debunking of Victorian 'tear catchers'

A few days ago Atlas Obscura published an article debunking Victorian era "tear catchers"-- glass bottles into which grieving persons wept. Being sentimental sometimes to the point of absurdity, those who lived during the 19th century had an obsession with grief; post-mortem photography, for example, was a popular way for people to preserve the memory of the dearly departed. Considering that thousands of Victorians had no qualms about displaying portraits of their deceased children in life-like poses in their homes, the concept of crying into a bottle doesn't seem so far-fetched.

As Atlas Obscura correctly pointed out, the antiques and curiosities marketplace is burgeoning with bottles hawked as authentic Victorian era tear catchers, and, in many cases, the romantic backstory is worth far more than the bottles themselves. In many cases, these bottles are really nothing more than perfume bottles.

As for the common belief that Victorians wept into them, Atlas Obscura claims…

History's Most Evil: Gilles de Rais

No conversation on the most evil men in history would be complete without mentioning Gilles de Rais, the French military hero turned occultist who, in order to quench his thirst for human blood, committed some of the most graphic and revolting crimes the world has ever seen.

Born in 1405 of noble blood, Gilles de Rais was a knight and lord from Brittany, and a descendent of the the wealthy and powerful House of Montmorency-Laval. As a young man he served with valor in the French army, eventually becoming a commander and fighting against the English alongside Joan of Arc. For his heroism in the Hundreds' Year War he was awarded the title of Marshal of France.

He soon retired to his sprawling country manor, but before long the locals became alarmed at the disappearance of children from the vicinity. Strangely, only children under the age of seven went missing. When it was learned that Gilles had adopted a fascination with the occult, parents who had lost their children staked out t…

Haunted by the ghost of an ex-husband

The following strange story comes from the July 31, 1911 edition of the New Castle Herald.


The orphan who survived a Sioux scalping

Robert McGee was a teenage orphan in the summer of 1864 when he went to Fort Leavenworth in Kansas to enlist in the army. Being only 14 years of age, he was rejected, but he soon found work as a teamster, transporting flour to the territory of New Mexico.

The flour caravan embarked on its journey along the famous Santa Fe Trail on July 1. Two weeks later the teamsters found themselves near Great Bend in Kansas and decided to make camp in the shadow of Fort Zarah, feeling safe and secure.

However, they soon encountered danger as Little Turtle, the Sioux leader, launched an attack against the wagon train. The Sioux warriors massacred the teamsters, staining the Kansas prairie red with blood. The teamsters never had a fighting chance.

The assault was so brutal that the soldiers at Fort Zarah stood by and watched in horror. The commanding officer of the fort was later court-martialed for his cowardice. There was only one survivor-- young Robert McGee.

McGee didn't emerge from the massacr…