Five Creepy Unsolved Mysteries Part 24
It is time once again to look into the unknown in my continuing series of exploring the unknown. In this edition I will look at Submitted for your approval; a court case about the existence of a ghost; the unknown fate of an American hero; and monster who prowls near my own hometown. Once again if you are interested feel free to stroll through the archives of previous articles below.
1. The Case of Booty v. Barnaby: Often times when a ghost is seen the most publicity the witness experiences is being featured on one of the plethora of paranormal TV shows currently on the air. But in 1687, Captain Barnaby, and many of the crew on his merchant ship witnessed a paranormal event and were willing to testify about the strange encounter in court. While sailing along the volcanic island of Stromboli, Barnaby and thirty of his men saw the brewer, Old Booty from Barnaby’s hometown running across the shores, not only was Old Booty 2000 miles from England, but unbeknownst to Captain Barnaby had died mere minutes before the sighting. The men watched as Old Booty ran from a shadowy figure who pursued him up to the mouth of a volcano where he was swallowed up by the fiery chasm with a loud crashing noise. This was recorded in the official log by Barnaby and the others who saw it, none of whom knew who Old Booty was. Upon his return to England, Mrs. Booty did not take kindly to the idea that her husband was “driven to hell” on the beaches of a far off island and sued Captain Barnaby. Before the Court of King’s Bench, Barnaby as well as other captains and merchants at the time recounted the consistent story of seeing Old Booty driven to the mouth of a volcano by a mysterious entity. In his ruling the judge pointed out that if two or three people had been witnesses he could consider it a falsehood, but when thirty people swore to the same facts there must be truth to the matter.
2. The Silent Agent: On March 22, 1977, escrow company owner Charles C. Morgan vanished without a trace. This is usually the part in the series when the story wraps up, but this time it is only the beginning. Three days later, Morgan returned claiming he could no longer speak because someone had coated his throat in some sort of drug. As he recovered from this bizarre incident he began to tell his wife that, the escrow company was simply a front and that he was actually an undercover agent for the Treasury Department. Later that year he vanished again, this time while he was missing his wife received a phone call from a woman referring to herself as “Green Eyes” who simply said, “Ecclesiastes 12:1-8”. Instead of returning with a strange tale this time, Morgan was found dead in the Arizona desert beside his modified Mercury Cougar due to a gunshot to the back of the head from his own .357 Magnum. For reasons unknown, Morgan’s death was ruled a suicide; but that’s not all that was strange about the case. The man claiming to be an undercover agent was wearing a bulletproof vest and armed to the teeth with guns and ammunition, while pinned on the waistband of his underwear was; a map of the area and a $2 dollar bill inscribed with; seven random names and of course “Ecclesiastes 12:1-8”. Eventually “Green Eyes” contacted the police about Charles C. Morgan’s final moments, claiming that she encountered shortly before his death he was carrying around a briefcase full of cash hoping to buy off the loyalty of a hitman who was pursuing him. This may sound like a fanciful story, but the woman knew too many details about the case, that authorities were forced to take it seriously. Despite the case going cold and officially written off as a suicide, Morgan’s surviving relatives are certain he was killed for learning something he was not supposed to know.
3. Solomon Northup: The film, 12 Years a Slave, easily ranks among the best films of recent years, based on a true story it tells of Solomon Northup a free man who found himself trapped in slavery for (as the title implies) twelve years. The film ends on a happy note when Northup is freed and moves back to New York to be reunited with his family. In reality this was not the end of Northup’s story; following his freedom he became a crusader for the cause of abolition until he disappeared without a trace. In 1857 he made a public appearance in Canada, and that was the last time anyone had ever seen of the former slave. Speculation abounded as to whether he went to aid the Underground Railroad or was captured by pro-slavery thugs hellbent on revenge. To this day, the final fate of this influential man is a mystery.
4. “Jerome”: In Sandy Cove, Nova Scotia, two men and a boy in 1863 stumbled across a poor man on the shore. Both of his legs had been freshly amputated by a skilled surgeon and he had been left with nothing but a jug of water and a loaf of bread. When they tried to find out who he was or what had happened, he either could not or would not speak. He only ever spoke two or three words, and one of them was the name “Jerome” which the people of Sandy Cove took to be his name. People by the shore were quick to point out that only the day before, a ship they had never seen before had been in the area and it was theorized that they had left “Jerome” behind. Tragically he passed away in 1912, his true identity as well as the identity of those who left him in such a lowly state remains a mystery.
5. Bethel Cemetery Beast: Despite being considered creepy places, paranormal researchers have come to the conclusion that cemeteries tend not to be haunted. But one of the rare exceptions, lies right outside of my hometown of Memphis, Tennessee. There is a small church built in the 1800’s in Atoka, TN. Bethel Cumberland Presbyterian. An equally aged cemetery lies on the church’s property which has become a haven for the region’s paranormal investigators. Sure enough there are tales of spectral figures and shadows which roam among the tombstones, but it is the reports of something else which catches people’s attention. There is reportedly a beast who prowls Bethel Cemetery at night, described as being half-lion and half-dog. Those unfortunate enough to see it have been pursued by the monster though it inevitably stops and vanishes once they leave the hallowed ground of the cemetery. Is this a case of mistaking an actual animal in the area or is there truly a monster of supernatural origin stalking its prey among the dead?