Episode 27: The Belle Gunness Murders

What caused a series of Norwegians to move to a small town in Indiana, never to be seen again? In this episode, Samantha and Aaron explore the murders of Belle Gunness in La Porte, Indiana and the mystery surrounding her own death. Often referred to as a female Bluebeard (which Samantha takes issue with), the pair dive into the tale of this famous serial killer and discuss a variety of issues dealing with memory, gender dynamics, and mental health. 

Time Stamps

Intro- 0:21
Who was Belle?-  2:24
Her First Husband- 5:50
A Second Marriage- 10:05
Mail Order Men- 16:00
The Farm is On Fire- 31:32
But Whose Body Is It?- 36:34
Identity Crisis- 43:33
Picnic at the Crime Scene- 47:25
Ghosts on the Farm- 50:07
Female Serial Killers- 51:49

Further Reading

This article from the La Porte, Indiana library provides a thorough overview of the case.

You can find information about Cesare Lombroso here.

Episode 25: An Exorcism in Earling

Screams could be heard throughout the town of Earling, Iowa in 1928. It was there, in a Franciscan Convent, that Father Theophilus Riesinger conducted a series of exorcisms on Anna Ecklund…or what is Emma Schmidt? Samantha and Aaron dive into the mysterious and troubling world of demonic possession with the story of Wisconsin natives Anna Ecklund and Father Riesinger. With a topic this complex, Samantha and Aaron make sure to provide a lot of background information on the practice and history of exorcisms, as well as a look at the practice in pop culture. Although Aaron didn’t approve of Samantha’s working title, Fun with Satan, they hope you enjoy this trek into the demonic dark side. 

Time Stamps

Intro: Am I an Adult?- 1:02
The History of Exorcisms- 5:30
Rituale Romanum- 12:22
Introducing the Case- 17:33
The Exorcism Gets Going (And Gross)- 22:01
Midway Break- 33:05
Visions and Prophecy-37:49
Exorcisms Today- 44:00 
Pop Culture and Wrap-Up- 51:38

Further Reading

You can read the article about exorcisms from The Atlantic here.

Learn about the changing views the Catholic Church has on exorcisms here.

You can read about Begone Satan! and the earliest pamphlet on the case here.

We found our copy of Begone Satan! on Scribd.

Time Magazine ran a brief overview of the case in 1936.

And here you can find out more about Father Theophilus.

Episode 24: The Michigan Relics

In the 1890s, James Scotford discovered a series of ancient artifacts in Michigan’s Montcalm County that could cause a reevaluation of the way human history was understood…if they were authentic. Join Aaron and Samantha as they share the saga of the Michigan relics. From the Hopewell Indians to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, this episode brings together archaeology, fraud, museums, and a touch of Indiana Jones (minus the Nazis). 

Time Stamps

Big Themes- 3:04
The Initial Discovery- 12:50
Early Debate- 13:40
Daniel Soper- 19:03
Tools and Tempered Copper- 23:14
Midway Break- 26:29
Confirming the Book of Mormon- 32:46
James Tallmadge- 36:33
Finding the Answers- 41:02
Why Should We Care?- 48:16

Further Reading

Samantha and Aaron relied heavily on this article from Brigham Young University.

The article from Brigham Young University about the tools used to make the relics can be found here.

Learn more about Hopewell Culture here.

You can find images of the Norton Mounds in Grand Rapids here.

Episode 23: Tales of Melon Heads

Is there a group of small humanoids with bulbous heads living in the woods near Saugatuck, Michigan…and Cleveland, Ohio…and Newtown, Connecticut? Aaron and Samantha have a theory, so join our hosts as they investigate doctors without first names, buildings that may or may not have existed, and speak to the evils of turning those with medical conditions into monsters. Aaron and Sam get a bit angry this time. 

Time Stamps

Intro- 2:50
Michigan Melon Heads Overview- 4:22
The Felt Mansion and Junction Insane Asylum- 8:31
A Few More Issues- 12:15
Midway Break- 16:45
Melon Heads in Ohio- 30:40
And Now Connecticut…Really?- 43:25
Closing Thoughts and Lots of Concerns- 49:44

Further Readings

A bulk of our Michigan and Ohio research came from the the Weird Michigan and Weird Ohio books.

Find more information on the Felt Mansion here.

The New England Historical Society’s page on the Melon Heads can be found here.

Episode 22: Swamp Gas and UFOs

This time on Great Lakes Lore, Samantha and Aaron tackle their first modern UFO case. They’ll introduce the broader topic of UFO sightings and the government response to them in the 1950s and 1960s and then dive into looking at the 1966 wave of sightings in southeast Michigan that garnered national attention and led, eventually, to huge changes in how the US military dealt with UFOs.

Read J. Allen Hynek’s final Blue Book Report on the sighting here!

A UFO Primer- 3:45
Sightings and Reporting- 9:51
NICAP and the Robertson Panel- 13:05
Project Blue Book and J. Allen Hynek- 15:22
The Dexter and Hillsdale Sightings- 22:09
Midway Break- 34:38
The Investigation- 39:17
The Findings- 45:26
The Reaction- 49:30
The Consequences- 52:43
Questions and Wrapping Up- 55:57

Episode 21: The Whitechapel Club

Club? Professional networking opportunity? Secret society? In Gilded-Age Chicago, the Whitechapel Club was a little bit of all of these. Join Samantha and Aaron as they explore the origins, activities, and membership of this macabre circle of journalists. Along the way, enjoy a story from a belly dancer, phrenology, and a ritualistic funeral pyre on the shores of Lake Michigan.

Time Stamps

Introduction: Secret Societies- 1:11
Club Life in the Gilded Age- 6:40
Establishing the Whitechapel Club- 11:00
Club Activities- 14:14
Mid-way Break- 25:07
The End of the Whitechapel Club- 31:26
Who was a Member?- 33:53
The Funeral Pyre- 37:10
Professionalization, Phrenology, the Morbid, and the Occult- 42:11

Episode 20: The Rattle Run Murder

What happens when a bloody torso is found in a small Michigan church in 1909? With no immediate identification of the body, no apparent motive for the crime, and mysterious rumors in town, investigators threw out numerous hypotheses and put out BOLOs in surrounding states and Canada. And, while this crime does end with a confession, the reasons for it are still a mystery. Check out this week’s episode to hear Samantha and Aaron share the story of the Rattle Run Murder and come up with a few hypotheses of their own! 

Time Stamps:

A Body in the Church!- 2:38
Suspicions Arise- 7:17
A Blood Sacrifice- 14:43
But Where’s the Reverend?- 18:14
Midway Break- 21:46
A Letter from John Elder- 27:14
Newspaper Reactions- 32:55
Possible Motives- 35:37
Sam and Aaron Hot Takes- 41:58

For a complete transcription of one of the confession letters, see the Lost in Michigan website here.

Episode 19: Gangster Ghosts of St. Paul

Haunted histories can be fun and they can allow people to explore actual history along with deeper metaphysical questions. But where is the line between haunted history and haunted attraction? In this episode Samantha and Aaron dive into the stories of two haunted locations in St. Paul, Minnesota that have connections to Prohibition and, perhaps, gangster ghosts. Perhaps? Maybe? 


Intro- 2:14
What’s the Deal with Prohibition? – 3:34
The Wabasha Street Caves – 12:30
Mid-Way Break- 35:32
The Schmidt Brewery- 43:17
Why do Gangsters Intrigue Us?- 52:11
Ghost Tourism, History Tourism, and Dark Tourism- 54:45
The Boundaries Between History and Legend- 55:57

Further Reading
Adrian Lee. Mysterious Minnesota: Digging up the Ghostly Past at 13 Haunted Sites. 2nd Edition, 2017.

Episode 18: The Lake Ontario Triangle

Can the shipwrecks that plague to eastern end of Lake Ontario be attributed to normal dangers on a lake of that size, or do they speak to something more mysterious? Samantha tackles the maritime history and Aaron the…stranger explanations in this episode on the Lake Ontario Triangle. You might just find that the answer lies somewhere in the middle. 

Time stamps
Intro- 1:06
The Allure of Maritime Mysteries- 2:07
So Many Triangles- 5:13
The Marysburgh Vortex- 8:29
The Quinlan’s Strange Attractions- 13:33
The Bavaria- 18:21
The Picton- 28:43
Midway Break- 36:46
Vanishing Aircraft are More Boring than Vanishing Ships: 39:32
Everything from Lost Cities to Cattle Mutilations- 43:32
UFOs- 46:42
Sam Encounters Commander X for the First Time- 48:00
Explanations (rational and otherwise)- 52:26
Concluding Questions- 59:56

Episode 17: Le Nain Rouge

Does a small red demon roam the streets of Detroit, Michigan? Probably not! In this episode, Samantha and Aaron dive into the story of the Nain Rouge. The creature first appeared in an 1880s tale on the history of Detroit as the foil to Antoine Laumet de la Mothe Cadillac, and today the creature is taunted and chased out of the city in an annual parade called La Marche du Nain Rouge. Was the story of the Nain Rouge fact? Should we chase the “red devil” out of Detroit? Listen to this episode and find out!

Intro- 00:14
Settling Michigan and the Scoundrel Cadillac- 02:43
The Hamlin Narrative- 07:20
Hamlin’s History- 15:07
Charles Montgomery Skinner- 17:30
Other Appearances- 19:24
Midway Break- 24:04
Lutin- 28:55
Puckwudgies!- 32:00
La Marche du Nain Rouge- 36:00
Stop the Nain Shame!- 38:08
What Do We Do With It All?- 41:25

Further Reading:
Legends of Le Detroit (Overview with link to book)
Detroit Metro Times Article
Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac
Wayne State University Project
Charles Montgomery Skinner’s Myths and Legends of Our Own Land