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Update: Summer Break?

I have reluctantly made the decision to take a hiatus from posting new content on JOTB. As some of you may know, I am recovering from a messy fracture in my left wrist (of course, I also happen to be left-handed).

This, coupled with heavy-duty painkillers, has made it very difficult to keep Journal of the Bizarre updated. Those who know me are aware of how much I despise technology; every post you read on this site has been created the old-fashioned way-- by pecking at the keyboard on a 1990's era Dell desktop computer. This, much like masturbation or picking your nose, really isn't whole hell of a lot of fun when your favorite hand is in a cast.

Therefore, I am putting this site on hold until the broken bone heals.

Yes, I'm sure you're all devastated. But keep in mind that there are over 500 archived posts on JOTB, so I am confident that if you look around, you will find something that will keep you entertained, whether you're interested in astral projection, an…
Recent posts

The Ghost of Matthew Vassar

The namesake of Poughkeepsie's Vassar College is Matthew Vassar, who made regular ghostly appearances to several different families occupying his farmhouse in New York in the years following his death. The following story appeared in the Washington Post on Jan. 31, 1914.

The Playboy's Folly: The Unexplained Death of John R. Fell

When it was reported that John R. Fell had died on the evening of February 22, 1933, inside his hotel room on the island of Java at the age of 43, the news sent shockwaves throughout Philadelphia. Fell was one of the best known jet-setters of the day, a noted sportsman, clubman, playboy and son of the obscenely wealthy Alexander Van Rensselaer and his equally wealthy wife Sarah Drexel Fell.

Because Fell's parents never had to work a day in their lives, neither did John. As a young man he devoted his life to the pursuit of leisure and the "sporting life". He was an excellent polo player, golfer, yachtsman and horseman, and in 1913 entered a horse in the Grand National Steeplechase at Liverpool. He sold his horses in 1916 at the height of the First World War and enlisted in the quartermaster corps.

After the war he ventured into the world of finance, and became a banker in Paris. This foray into the world of banking must have been done purely out of boredom; John had alread…

The Untold Story of Cannibalism in Haiti

From voodoo to zombies, Haiti is a land steeped in mystery and superstition. The outside world knew very little about this island nation until the days of the Second Empire, which began in 1849 after the Haitian military, led by former slave Faustin Soulouque, launched an attack against the neighboring Dominican Republic, which was being bolstered by the French. By the end of the century, Great Britain, Germany and the United States would all stick their noses into the affairs of the Haitian people, and it was the soldiers from these countries who brought back hair-raising tales of human sacrifice, occult rituals and cannibalism.

In July of 1891 a Hungarian mechanic, Maurice Feldmann, was working in the machine shops at a settlement called O'Gorman, about eight miles from Port-au-Prince. At the time, the Austro-Hungarian Empire was a world leader in machine manufacturing, thanks in part to Haitian slave labor. He learned that there was to be a child sacrifice near his home, sched…

The Travisite Whigs and the Downfall of Linoleumville

When the city of Topeka unofficially changed its name to Google for a month in 2010, it was a publicity stunt that made headlines all across the world. Though most people view this sort of affair as a cheap gimmick intended to boost retail sales or tourism, it hasn't prevented other towns and cities across America from following suit. But while the majority of these name changes are temporary, unofficial measures, there are some towns whose names reflected the influence of corporate overlords for decades.

Linoleumville, New York, is one such example.

Located on the western shore of Staten Island, the town known as Travisville was selected in 1872 to be the site of the American Linoleum Manufacturing Company factory and headquarters. As this was the nation's first linoleum factory, many jumped at the chance to get in on the ground floor of what was then a high-tech industry. Although linoleum had been invented by Frederick Walton in England in 1855, the process for its manufac…

Drowned by the Ghosts of Johnstown

Editor's Note: The following was sent to us recently by a reader named Barry Noles, and has been slightly edited for formatting. You can submit your own story of the paranormal by sending it to

My grandfather's brother, Nicholas Esterhazy, was quite young when he died in 1925. Although he was born and raised in Latrobe (Westmoreland County), he and my grandfather went to Johnstown each summer when they were young and stayed with a relative living on Prospect Hill, about a quarter mile north of downtown. Nicholas was obsessed with all things aeronautical-- he loved blimps, zeppelins and airplanes equally. He especially loved to fly kites, and had amassed quite a collection before he died at the age of 12.

It was a breezy day in middle of June, and, as family legend states, Nicholas took his aunt's dog and left the house on Prospect Hill to fly his kite in a clearing on the hills above Johnstown, not far from where the William Penn Avenue runs. Back in thos…

Bertrand graveyard haunted by murdered young lovers

Established in 1836 and named for early settler Joseph Bertrand, the rural township of Bertrand in Berrien County, Michigan, is home to many people of French Canadian and Native American ancestry. Undoubtedly, there are those living in Bertrand Township who, if they trace their family trees back far enough, may be surprised to discover that they share common ancestors with Pierre and Rose, two young lovers whose spirits are said to haunt the local graveyard.

According to local folklore, shortly before the St. Joseph Mission was abandoned in 1855 (built on the site of an earlier Jesuit mission established by a priest named Father Allouezin in 1690) there was a young French Canadian settler named Pierre Snydam who divorced his wife, Rose, after three unhappy years of marriage. Rose found her husband to be something of an insensitive brute, while Pierre was jealous of his wife's friendliness toward the local Indians, and toward a Potawatomi brave in particular named Gray Eagle.

On t…