(este texto é a transcrição do episódio 90 do Way Ahead, o nosso podcast 100% inglês e que você pode ouvir aqui: https://open.spotify.com/episode/6BAzvrRXgf8j5YAINKaprg?si=AOm_xKCKS1yldrbW3X8hrQ
The Axe Murder House
The Villisca Axe Murder House in Villisca, Iowa is a well-known tourist attraction for ghost hunters and horror lovers alike. The site of a gruesome unsolved 1912 murder, in which six children and two adults had their skulls completely crushed by the axe of an unknown perpetrator, was purchased in 1994, restored to its 1912 condition, and converted into a tourist destination. It costs $428 a night to stay at the old haunted home, where visitors always report strange paranormal experiences, such as visions of a man with an axe roaming the halls or the faint screams of children.
But in November of 2014, the haunting took a darker turn. Robert Steven Laursen Jr., 37, of Rhinelander, Wisconsin was on a regular recreational paranormal visit with friends when true horror struck.
His companions found him stabbed in the chest—an apparently self-inflicted wound—called 9-1-1, and Laursen was brought to a nearby hospital before being helicoptered to Creighton University Medical Center in Omaha.
The Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office said Laursen suffered the self-inflicted injury at about 12:45 a.m., which is around the same time the 1912 axe murders in the house began.
Laursen recovered from his injuries but has never spoken publicly about what occurred that day. For Martha Linn, the owner of the home, the incident was very upsetting. “It’s publicity, but it’s not exactly the kind of publicity you desire to have. I don’t want people thinking that when they come to the Villisca Axe Murder House something’s going to happen that’s going to make them do something like that.” The house remains open for tourist visits and overnight stays today.
The Haunted Doll
When you think of haunted dolls, it’s likely the creepy old Victorian-looking porcelain kind that springs to mind. None of which you probably have laying around. Still, don’t get too comfortable around any kids’ toys too soon, though: a Disney’s Frozen Elsa doll that was gifted for Christmas 2013 in the Houston area made headlines earlier this year when it seemingly became haunted.
The doll recited phrases from the movie Frozen and sang “Let It Go” when a button on its necklace was pressed.
“For two years it did that in English,” mother Emily Madonia said. “In 2015, it started doing it alternating between Spanish and English. There wasn’t a button that changed these, it was just random.”
The family has owned the doll for more than six years and never changed its batteries. The mother says the doll would randomly begin to speak and sing even with its switch turned off.
The family decided to throw the creepy doll out in December of 2019. Weeks later, they found it inside a bench in their living room. “The kids insisted they didn’t put it there, and I believed them because they wouldn’t have dug through the garbage outside,” Madonia told KPRC2 Houston News.
At that point, Elsa ceased to sing the English rendition of “Let It Go” altogether, speaking only Spanish when pressed. The family then double-bagged the bizarre doll and placed it at the bottom of their garbage which was taken out on garbage day. They went on a trip shortly after, but when they returned, Elsa too had come back and was waiting in the backyard of their home.
This time, the family mailed Elsa to a family friend in Minnesota, who taped the haunted doll to the front bumper of his truck. It doesn’t seem to have made its way back to Houston yet, as per Madonia’s latest February Facebook update on the creepy doll.
Florida Devil Worshipping
Friends noticed that Danielle Harkins, a 35-year-old schoolteacher near St. Petersburg, Florida, started acting strangely in June of 2012, developing an interest in demonic rituals.
Soon after, she was arrested for abuse of seven of her former students, as the Tampa Bay Times reported:
Danielle Harkins told the kids they needed to rid their bodies of demons as the group gathered before dusk Saturday around a small fire near the St. Petersburg Pier. They should cut their skin to let the evil spirits out, police said she told the children. Then, they needed to burn the wounds to ensure that those spirits would not return.
When Harkins held a lighter to one teen’s hand, wind blew the flame out, police said. That prompted her to douse his hand in perfume before setting it on fire. The boy suffered second-degree burns, police said.
Another teen was cut on the neck with a broken bottle. Harkins used a flame to heat a small key, which she then used to cauterize the wound.
The police were notified because a friend of one of the students who participated in the ritual raised alarms. However, none of the students themselves told their parents about the event or would comment following the arrest of Harkins for aggravated battery and child abuse.
At that time NBC reported that investigators said they’ve spoken to Harkins, but she didn’t spell out what type of religion would require such drastic measures.
St. Petersburg Police Department said, “she hasn’t informed us exactly what she was trying to accomplish with this.”
The Phone Stalker
In 2007, ABC news documented a series of cell phone calls to families with terrifyingly specific death threats. The unidentified callers knew exactly what families were doing and what they were wearing.
The families say the calls come in at all hours of the night, threatening to kill their children, their pets and grandparents. Voice mails arrive, playing recordings of their private conversations, including one with a local police detective.
The caller knows what they’re wearing and what they’re doing. And after months of investigating, police seem powerless to stop them.
This went on with the Kuykenall family for months, who reported a caller with a scratchy voice threatening to slit their throats.
The police tried to find the culprit, but the calls were traced back to the Kuykendalls’ own phones — even when they were turned off.
It got worse. The Kuykendalls and two other Fircrest families told ABC News that they believe the callers are using their cell phones to spy on them. They say the hackers know their every move: where they are, what they’re doing and what they’re wearing.
Issei the Cannibal
In 1974, 24-year-old Wako University student Issei Sagawa allegedly followed a German woman to her home in Tokyo, Japan, broke into her apartment while she was sleeping, and attempted to cut a piece of flesh off her body to consume. When she awoke, she reportedly fought him and he was later captured by the police. According to a 2012 documentary that covered Issei’s bizarre story, he was mistakenly charged with attempted rape and his wealthy father paid the victim a settlement outside of court to have the charges dropped.
Seven years later, in 1981, he allegedly committed a murder in France—shooting and eating a fellow University student, Renée Hartevelt. Issei creepily documented the entire experience with photographs and he was captured by authorities once again while attempting to dump the rest of her body in the Bois de Boulogne lake. He was deported back to Japan and committed to a mental institution. For reason unknown, his psychologists in Japan declared that he was sane. Furthermore, a legal technicality involving the French government refusing to turn over the documents from his case meant that his murder charges were dropped completely. He checked himself out of the mental hospital and has reportedly been walking the streets as a free man ever since. Issei has even become a controversial celebrity, writing over 20 books. According to Japan Today, he most recently fantasized about an unnamed TV actress, saying:
“I’ll catch a glimpse of her thigh and think, ‘That sure looks tasty.’ But I don’t feel like I actually want to eat it. As I accomplished the act of cannibalism once, there’s no meaning to maintaining the desire for it anymore. In my book, I wrote that human flesh was tasty, but that was not really true; I’d much rather eat Matsuzaka beef. But because I’d desired to consume human flesh for so long, I’d managed to convince myself that it would necessarily be delicious.” Issei Sagawa was also referenced in the Rolling Stones song “Too Much Blood,” with the lyrics reading: “And when he ate her he took her bones/To the Bois de Boulogne.” He is currently 73 years old and continues to live in Kawaski City, Japan. To this day, no one knows why.