Urban Legends – The Cursed Buckout Road

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Featured Haunted Places Horror Mystery and Lore NA

When you mix a long history of violence with an abandoned mansion on a spooky road surrounded by woods, you know what you get? The paranormal. Since Buckout Road in White Plains, New York has this combination, naturally, it has quite a bit of paranormal history. Though this one is especially interesting with arson, grave robbing, witch trials, and more littering its history.

History of Buckout Road

Quite a bit has happened on this shady road in New York. To begin, there was a large event where many slaves were illegally released. This established the first free black community in New York. It’s been rumored to have been a checkpoint in the Underground Railway as well. There was a clash between Native Americans and white settlers which ended in mass murder, with some victims even being scalped. One of the more well-known incidents there included the murder of a family member that lived in a mansion on Buckout Road. This was the Buckhout family, they had initially lived in Sleepy Hollow, which you likely have heard of from the story of The Headless Horseman. The road was named after this once prominent and landholding family. On the road stands one lone headstone that belongs to John and Charlotte Buckhout. John and Charlotte had not been the murder victims in their family though, it was actually the wife of Isaac V. Buckhout, whose name was Louise. Isaac had discovered that Louise was having an affair with a man named Alfred Randall, and he viciously murdered the two lovers. Issac was eventually hanged for his actions on New Years day in 1872. He was later buried in Sleepy Hollow.

Albert Fish

Albert Fish was one of the worst human beings imaginable, and it is alleged that he owned a residence on Buckout Road. He was a child killer, and he was also a cannibal. Some consider him the real life Hannibal Lecter, and he has other names such as the Brooklyn Vampire, The Gray Man, and more. Fish was born in 1870, he was always a quiet and unassuming man who kept a very private life. His family had a long history of mental illness, his brother was in an asylum, his uncle was diagnosed with mania, and his mother routinely suffered from hallucinations. He went on to consume human waste, stick needles into his pelvic area, and just overall become very unstable. He began to eat raw meat, eventually graduating to human flesh. He went on to murder and eat three children, he is just another example of the evil that can be connected to Buckout Road.

Witches and Ghosts and Cannibals, Oh My!

You can’t be on a haunted street without seeing an old, and a worn-down red barn, right? This is exactly what used to reside on Buckout Road. Multiple people have claimed to have a paranormal experience with it too. It was said there was a family of cannibal albinos that lived in the home, and if you disturbed them, they would eat your flesh. If you stopped your car in front of the barn and honked your horn three times, they would come out and attack you. There was one report of that a teenager went to put an M-80 (a powerful type of firecracker) into the mailbox to prank the ghostly albino family. But when he opened the mailbox, he saw the decapitated head of a child inside.

There have also been a surprising amount of reports of witches on this road. It was said that three women were burned at the stake on suspicion of them being witches, and this was before the Salem witch trials took place. It is rumored that these three witches left three white X’s on the road in a certain spot, and every once in a while these three markings are reapplied. Supposedly if you flash your lights three times on the markings and turn off your car engine, your car will not start back up. Many locals claim that they have had car trouble on that road.

The final, less common occurrence was of a ghost called the Leatherman. He was said to be a ghostly figure that drives on the road at night, looking for his home which is a long gone cave. There are not many who have claimed to have seen the Leatherman.

Movie and Book

There is a book with an in-depth look at the history of Buckout Road, it is called Buckout Road: Revealing the Horrifying Truth of Westchester County’s Alleged Haunted Street by Eric Pleska.

Index

http://www.the13thfloor.tv/2017/05/17/what-dark-mystery-lurks-on-new-yorks-buckout-road/

http://rightondudes.com/buckouthistory.html

https://allthatsinteresting.com/albert-fish

https://www.bedofnailz.com/buckout.html

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Urban Legends: Dark Magic at Malheur Butte in Ontario, Oregon

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Featured Horror Mystery and Lore

A seemingly unassuming dead volcano in Eastern Oregon, the Malheur Butte has long boasted a secret history of witches practicing dark magic, as well as strange creatures who appear in the dead of the night to keep visitors away. It is said that the shadowy past of Malheur Butte entails one full of dark magic and that witches used to meet in secret on the rugged tip of this dead volcano whose history dates back over thousands of years. 

Malheur Butte
Malheur Butte

The history of the Malheur Butte spans between fifteen and twenty million years, so far back that not all of the details are known about this geological landmark. With a history that expansive, it’s not really hard to believe that people have experienced odd occurrences and reports that have accumulated throughout the years. Over the last century, people have experienced strange beings, from ghosts and witches to sprites and fairies, at Malheur Butte. One thing this once-active volcano does not lack, is paranormal activity and phenomena.

Before the days we could consider to be modern, Native Americans used the butte as a lookout point to watch for settlers coming in on covered wagons. It is believed that many people met their demise on the trail, and their spirits linger on—haunting the area to this very day. Legends dictate that the Malheur Butte was once a place where witches would gather to celebrate their dark occult practices. Covens would regularly meet there to perform their bone-chilling rituals and ceremonies. Then again, there was a history before that, one that rarely—if ever—got recorded into what we consider known-history. For millions of years the Malheur Butte was an active volcano, but now a few million years after its slow and agonizing death–this formerly ferocious threat–that spanned the distance between the northern border of modern Washington to the northern region of modern California, would spew forth floods of lava in a series of volcanic eruptions. In the times of the active volcano, the lava dammed up the streams and created lakes and swamps that otherwise would have remained in existence for millions of years before they filled with sediment. The Snake River once contained one of many such lakes and many geologists agree that Lake Idaho once covered most of easter Oregon more than two million years ago. The sediment that at one point covered the Malheur Butte was then deposited in Lake Idaho by volcanic eruptions and the Butte was eventually exposed over time to what is now visible today.

First-Hand Experiences…

Dark Magic - Black Goo on Hands
Photography by Ian Espinosa

There have been so many first-hand paranormal experiences reported after visiting the area—especially at night, an area that is now considered rife with terrifying, imp-like creatures that appear out of the shadows to chase visitors away. Reportedly, with the appearance similar to small black dogs, with long skinny limbs, over-sized heads, and dark empty pits where eyes should have been—these stories account for the reports of the loud unidentifiable sounds that have been spoken of.

I’ve been here a long time…a long time, and I’ve seen somethings that I expect most folks read about in books…The witches? I’ve heard about the witches since I was a boy, and I was always told not to go to the butte after dark. So of course I did! Can’t say I’m positive I saw witches, but more than once I’ve seen robes…long robes that flap in the wind, more than one. Sometimes women laughing, but not in a funny way…more of a serious kind of laughing. I don’t know. I know each time I left pretty fast! I think there are witches, either ghosts of witches or living witches. I don’t have the intention to interrupt them, either.

Unidentified Longtime Resident of Vale, Oregon
Ghosthunting Oregon by Donna Stewart

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Urban Legends: The Gypsy Curse of Lafayette, OR

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Featured Haunted Places Horror Mystery and Lore

It’s said that the town of Lafayette, Oregon has been cursed since the 1800s when a woman was accused of witchcraft and then hung for her alleged crimes. Before her execution, she placed a curse on the town, saying that it would burn down three times–and it has since burned in its entirety twice–those who are wary of the curse she placed wonder when it will happen again! To this day, her ghost is seen roaming the town’s cemetery. Another version of the legend has it that in 1886, a woman and her son killed the woman’s boyfriend, her son was arrested and hanged for the crime–in this version of the story, while her son was being executed, his mother screamed that the town would burn down three times.

Here’s the real story…

Richard Marple, his mother Anna, and his wife Julia moved to Lafayette, Oregon from Corvallis in 1885. Despite the availability of jobs, Richard was unable to keep a job, so he turned to a life of crime–allegedly–but he was suspected of multiple robberies. Between 1885 and 1886, his mother Anna became involved with a local shop owner by the name of David Corker. Unfortunately, on November 1, 1886, Corker was found hacked to death by an ax and his store had been pillaged and town Sheriff Harris brought Richard in for questioning. While Richard was not a fan of Corker–even disparaging the man during his questioning–he maintained his innocence. Evidence of his guilt, including a bloody shirt, a bloody piece of paper, as well as tools that he could have used to break into the store were found at his home. Richard, not relenting, made a claim that the evidence had been planted at his home by the sheriff’s office to frame him.

Neither his mother nor his wife corroborated his alibi and stated that he had not been at home when the murder was being committed; Richard was subsequently convicted of first-degree murder on April 9, 1887. His mother, Anna, was indicted as an accomplice, but a lack of evidence resulted in the charges against her being dropped. By November 11, 1887 Richard was set to be executed by hanging next to the county jail and thirty people bore witness to his death. Sheriff Harris ordered that Richard be executed with a black hood over his head, and Richard desperately yelled one last thing out into the crowd, “Murder! May God judge you all!” Unfortunately for Richard, when the trap door was released, the knot slipped under his chin and instead of breaking his neck, he was slowly strangled to death over the span of eighteen minutes.

It is true that during Richard’s execution, his mother Anna shouted that the town would burn and never prosper–after his death, Richard was buried at the Oddfellow’s Masonic Cemetery in Lafayette. According to sources, Richard apparently confessed his guilt to a fellow inmate while his execution was pending and ended up implicating his mother, stating that she had become involved with Corker in order to gain his confidence. After Richard’s execution, his mother moved to Jackson County for the remainder of her life and was buried in the cemetery there. Several years after she moved out of the area, their home in Lafayette was destroyed and the bloody ax used to kill Corker was discovered. It’s not known whether Anna Marple was a witch or a gypsy, but since she was not buried in Lafayette, it is unlikely that she haunts any of the area’s cemeteries. The fact that she was reported to have cursed the town to burn down and it completely burned down twice may have been entirely coincidental. Fires were actually a commonplace occurrence that people had to face in the years before buildings were constructed out of less-flammable materials.

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What is Lycanthropy and Where Did It Come From?

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Featured Horror Mystery and Lore NA

The official definition of Lycanthropy? “A delusion that one has become a wolf,” or “the assumption of the form and characteristics of a wolf held to be possible by witchcraft or magic.” Basically, it’s the werewolf that’s become a common fixture in not just horror, but cinema in general. There’s something truly terrifying about this half-man, and half-wolf creature that brings bloodshed wherever it goes. Perhaps it’s the fact that this affliction usually happens to a helpless man – in the wrong place at the wrong time as he’s bitten by a mysterious creature and becomes a monster right before his own eyes. Or the fact that lycanthropy dates back to centuries-old folklore, and many believe that the wolfman isn’t just a symbol of cinema… but a real-life terror that walks among us. Here’s what you need to know about the phenomenon of lycanthropy. 

Lycanthropic woodcut  of a village attacked by werewolves by Lucas Cranach der Ältere, 1512

Where did Lycanthropy Originate?

Where does the legend of lycanthropy, or werewolves, originate? It’s complicated. Like many mythical creatures, the werewolf is a widespread concept in European folklore… was a critical part of stories told throughout the Medieval Period. However, the witch hunt (literally) for werewolves began during the Late Middle Ages and the Early Modern period alongside the witchcraft trials. According to Wikipedia, “the trial of supposed werewolves emerged in what is now Switzerland in the early 15th century and spread throughout Europe in the 16th, peaking in the 17th and subsiding by the 18th century.”

Being accused of witchcraft is one thing, but accusations of lycanthropy were quite literally a whole other beast. While many believed that you could become a werewolf by being bitten by one, others believed that lyncathropy took place by sleeping under the full moon or eating the wrong type of meat. In her book “Giants, Monsters, and Dragons,” folklorist Carol Rose notes that “In ancient Greece it was believed that a person could be transformed by eating the meat of a wolf that had been mixed with that of a human and that the condition was irreversible.” Yikes. 

Accusations of Lycanthropy

While the accusations are featured in less textbooks and movies than those of witchcraft, they were very much alive for centuries. One of the best known cases is that of Peter Stumpp, who was accused of werewolfery, witchcraft, and cannibalism in the 16th century. Known as “the Werewolf of Bedburg,” he had a violent and brutal history of torture, murder, and eating everything from goats and lambs to human children. After a grotesque execution where he had flesh torn from his body, limbs broken in multiple places, and was beheaded before being burned… his lyncathropy story became one of the most famous in history.

That being said, Peter Stumpp was a special case. And like the Salem Witch Trials, it’s safe to say that most accused of lycanthropy were not actually werewolves. Or were they? Many genuinely believed that werewolves walked among us centuries ago… and they remain a common presence in the gothic fiction and horror genres. We all love a good werewolf movie, but it becomes a bit darker after learning the fascinating history of lycanthropy.

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Witch Novels that Taught Us Not to F#$k With Witches

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Best Horror Books Best Of Featured Horror Books

Stories of witchcraft are as old as time, and the concept of “witches” is one that spans many countries and cultures. Throughout the centuries witches, or simply those suspected of witchcraft, have been hunted and persecuted by mainstream society. There are many different types of witches, including kitchen witches, hedge witches, bruja, and daayan – all with their own beliefs, practices, and conflicted history. However, across categories one fact remains the same: witches are powerful.

Given the diversity in witches and witch folklore, it’s no surprise that stories involving witches are just as varied. We at Puzzle Box Horror want to acknowledge that the term “witch” should not be an inherently negative one, and there are many practicing witches and pagan communities that are a boon to society. Our goal with this article is not to disparage witchcraft in general, but rather to explore the darker side of the coin. With that in mind, we’d like to present some of the scariest witches in literature.

Maggie’s Grave by David Sodergren (2020)

Maggie's Grave book cover with spooky skeleton

MAGGIE WALL BURIED HERE AS A WITCH. So reads the faded inscription on the solitary grave at the top of a mountain. In the shadow of this mountain is Auchenmullan, a small Scottish town that has been left forgotten and lost to the world. Only forty-seven residents remain, plus the grave on the mountain. In a dead town with nothing to do, the residents suddenly find themselves confronted by the chilling fact that sometimes the dead don’t stay buried. Especially when they have unfinished business.

Maggie’s Grave is a shocking, disturbing, and fast-paced thrill ride of witchy horror. The buckets of blood, the flawed characters, the gross-out moments, and the folk horror elements will linger in your mind long after you’ve finished reading.

The Remaking by Clay McLeod Chapman (2020)

The Remaking book cover with snake eating it's own tail

In the 1970s, Amber Pendleton was cast in a horror film titled Witch Girl of Pilot’s Creek, based on a true story of a mother and her daughter who were burned at the stake for witchcraft. Then, in the 1990s, Amber was cast in a remake of the cult classic movie. Now Amber herself has become the target of a witch hunt. In an attempt to free herself from this cycle of horror, she decides to tell her story one last time to a true crime investigator for his popular podcast. But will this retelling bring the closure she needs, or will it unlock a dark and vengeful force from the past?

The book brilliantly engages with four different versions of the same urban legend, while also populating each version with interesting characters and shocking incidents. This unsettling read will be sure to please fans of both horror and true crime!

Devil’s Call by J Danielle Dorn (2017)

Devil's Call book cover with hat and shadow

A western horror with witches? Say no more! Devil’s Call is written in the form of a diary from a pregnant mother to her unborn child. One wintry night in 1859, Li Lian’s husband was shot dead right in front of her. Unfortunately for the men who did this dirty deed, Li is part of the  McPherson clan, a long line of women gifted in the dark arts of witchcraft. In the diary Li recounts how she crosses miles of harsh land and numerous odds to hunt down the monsters who killed her husband.

With her rifle, her wits, and her powers of witchcraft, Li is truly a terrifying force to be reckoned with. It’s a supernatural tale of vengeance and motherhood set in the wild west, and it’s a must-read for lovers of witchy horror.

The Witching House by Brian Moreland (2017)

The Witching House book cover with old stone house

Sarah Donovan is scared of just about everything, from heights, to tight places, to the dark. But when her boyfriend wants to go explore a supposedly haunted house in the woods, she must swallow her insecurities and face her fears. The house in question was the scene of a brutal massacre in the 70s, where twenty-five people were killed and whose perpetrator remains a mystery. But the hauntings in the house are more than just urban legends, and Sarah is about to find out that the evil residing in the basement has simply been waiting for fresh prey.

The Witching House veers away from copious blood and gore, instead delivering a fast-paced tale of suspense and pulse-pounding terror. It’s a lean horror novella, one you can fly through while also reveling in all the twists and turns of the unique storyline. 

Wytches by Scott Snyder (2015)

Wytches book cover with creepy dark forest

The Rooks family, hoping to escape from a haunting trauma, has recently moved to the remote town of Litchfield, New Hampshire. They’re hopeful for a new life and a fresh start, but the ancient evil watching them from the woods has other plans…and it’s hungry.

Wytches posits a world where witches are darker and more terrifying than previously imagined, throwing out cliched tropes in favor of creepier creatures. The story is surprisingly emotional while also unsurprisingly bone-chilling, and is one of the absolute scariest graphic novels about witches we’ve ever seen (thanks in part to the nightmarish imagery from artist Jock). This volume collects issues 1-6 of the miniseries from Image Comics.

The Good House by Tananarive Due (2006)

The Good House book cover with house on a hill

Looking for a sweeping and spooky saga of family, loss, grief, and witches? Then look no further! Angela Toussaint has spent the last few years burying herself in her work, trying to rebuild her law practice after her son Corey committed suicide at a Fourth of July party. Unable to keep her questions at bay any longer, she eventually returns to the house where it all happened and looks for answers. However, the dark forces she discovers are more sinister than she could have imagined.

This epic 500 page book takes its time, allowing you to learn more about the Toussaint family, the surrounding town of Sacajawea, and the Good House itself. But there is a constant building dread, and when the horrors hit, they hit hard. Even seasoned horror readers will find themselves spooked by this tale of ancestral evil and voodoo witchcraft. 

Harvest Home by Thomas Tryon (1973)

Harvest Home book cover with house in a storm

Time has not touched the village of Cornwall Coombe, a small town in New England. The quant colonial homes and white-steepled church seem to exist outside of modern life, and life in the village seems peaceful and easygoing. Newcomers Ned and Beth Constantine fall in love with this remote hamlet, assuming they’ve found the safe haven they’ve always dreamed of. Unfortunately, what they find instead is a disturbing and wicked force that turns Cornwall Coombe into a place of ultimate horror.

This book plays well to its folk horror roots, with its emphasis on rural life, dark pagan secrets, and evil in a small town. It’s definitely a slow-burn horror, but it maintains a high level of tension throughout while also delivering complex characters and a fascinating, if unnerving, storyline. Mysterious omens, brutal violence, and terrifying witchcraft – Harvest Home is one not to be missed!

Other Recommendations

The Devil’s Mistress by David Barclay (2021)

The Year of Witching by Alexis Henderson (2020)

Hex by Thomas Olde Heuvelt (2016)

The Lords of Salem by Rob Zombie and BK Evenson (2013)

White is for Witching by Helen Oyeyemi (2009)

The Witching Hour by Anne Rice (2004)

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