Podcast Episode 14: Most Metal Crimes

Our August podcast episode is officially here! This month, Jen and Collective contributor Steve sit down to chat about the dark and violent black metal scene of the 90s. This episode will cover Satanic church burnings, ritualistic crimes, gruesome killings and everything in between, all at the hands of black metal musicians.

You can stream the episode on iTunes, Spotify, Podbean, or listen below:

As mentioned in the episode, there’s quite a big of supporting content worth watching in association it. Keep scrolling to check it all out!

In the following clip, which we included part of in the epsode, Gorgoroth member Gaahl discusses Satan being his musical inspiration and his unwavering support of church burnings:

In the episode, we discussed Mayhem frontman Dead’s suicide, which was photographed and later used as an album cover. Below you can see the photo, taken by the guitarist when he discovered his bandmate’s body, and its use by the band.

The following video is Gorgoroth’s infamous 2004 show in Poland which local authorities were quite displeased with and which got Gorgoroth kicked off their record label. Definitely worth a watch.

In the following Vice documentary, we get an introduction to the Norwegian black metal scene and run into Gaal sipping on his glass of red wine (or blood?) once again.

EPISODE SOURCES

Featured image courtesy of bigking.info

Aftonbladet

Blabbermouth

Dark Side of History

Lords of Chaos by Michael Moynihan and Didrik Soderlind

Loudwire

Noisecreep

Stained Glass Attitudes

Ultimate Guitar

VH1

Zoom Dune

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The Legacy of 10050 Cielo Drive

WARNING: Graphic images ahead. Proceed at your own risk.

On the morning of August 9, 1968, 49 years to the day, Winifred Chapman, maid to director Roman Polanski and his wife, Sharon Tate, went running down the driveway of 10050 Cielo Drive, screaming, “Murder, death, bodies, blood!” Chapman had been the first to witness the brutal slayings of six people inside the now infamous house, including Tate and her unborn child, at the hands of the notorious hippie murder cult known as the Manson Family.

We all know the story of the Tate-LaBianca murders. But what do we know about arguably the most renown “murder house” in the country, tucked away at the end of a dead-end street in Los Angeles? Former occupant Candice Bergen described the house as “a fairytale place… a Never Never Land far from the real world where nothing could go wrong.” But unfortunately, things did go wrong. Very wrong.

J.F. Wadkins, who built the house in 1941 on a 3.3 acre plateau in Beverly Hills, drew inspiration for the residence from the French countryside. It was originally purchased by French actress Michele Morgan for $32,000. When Morgan returned to France sometime between 1944 and 1945, the home was purchased by Dr. Hartley Dewey and his wife Louise, who rented the home and its guest house to the likes of Baroness de Rothschild and silent film actress Lillian Gish.

In 1963, the home was sold and purchased by Hollywood business agent Rudolph Altobelli, whose list of high-profile clients included Katharine Hepburn and Henry Fonda. Like the Deweys, Altobelli also began renting out the house. In 1966, music producer Terry Melcher moved in.

Here is where things begin to get interesting. Melcher was well-known in the music industry at this time. He began his career as a performer but eventually became involved with producing, composing and songwriting. He had a close relationship with The Beach Boys, particularly Dennis Wilson, the group’s drummer.

It was through Wilson that Melcher was first introduced to Charles Manson. Manson once accompanied Wilson when he dropped Melcher off at his residence at the time: 10500 Cielo Drive (so keep in mind, Manson was completely aware of where Melcher lived). Those who are not familiar with the story of Charles Manson may be surprised to learn he was an aspiring musician, and he saw his connections with Wilson and Melcher as a possible “in.” However, despite allowing Manson to audition for him on multiple occasions, Melcher eventually refused to sign Manson, something that deeply angered him.

After Melcher and his girlfriend Candice Bergen moved to Malibu, Altobelli rented the home to up-and-coming director Roman Polanski and his wife Sharon Tate. Tate had even affectionately referred to the Cielo Drive house as “the love house,” obviously unaware of the far different reputation the house would soon have.

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The Cielo Drive victims, photo courtesy of Bonnie’s Blog of Crime

Shortly after midnight on August 9, 1969, Manson followers Charles “Tex” Watson, Susan Atkins and Patricia Krenwinkel ruthlessly murdered the following people at the Cielo Drive residence: 18-year-old Steven Parent, celebrity hairstylist and Tate’s friend Jay Sebring, coffee heiress Abigail Folger, Polanski’s friend Wojciech Frykowski, and of course, the pregnant Tate, just weeks away from her due date.

Although the 1969 murders are by far what the house is most known for, its story didn’t end there. Altobelli sold the property in 1988 to investor John Prell for $1.6 million, several hundred thousand dollars less than his original asking price of $1.99 million. The house sold again in 1991 for $2.25 million.

In 1992, the main house was rented to Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails fame for $11,000 a month. Allegedly, Reznor claimed to not have known the house had been the site of the murders until reading the lease agreement.

Regardless of whether or not Reznor had sought out the house on purpose or not, he took advantage of the home’s sinister history and named the studio “Le Pig Studios” (the word “Pig” had been written on the front door of the house in the blood of the cult’s victims). It was at the Cielo Drive house that Reznor recorded the albums The Downward Spiral and Broken EP. Marilyn Manson also recorded Portrait of an American Family in the house.

In December of 1993, Reznor decided “there was too much history in that house for me to handle” and he moved out. Shortly after, in 1994, the house was demolished, making Reznor its last known occupant. Despite the demolition, the house lives on. Reznor could not resist taking a piece of the house before its destruction: the front door where the word “Pig” that had inspired his studio name was written. The door now has a new life as the front door of Reznor’s new studio, Nothing Records, in New Orleans.

A new house has since been built on the property, but the address has been changed to 10066 Cielo Drive. However, the house that once stood in its place still haunts the quaint, dead-end street of Cielo Drive.

SOURCES:

Curbed LA

feelnumb.com

The Haunting of Al Capone

Although decades have passed since his criminal reign, it’s hard to find someone who isn’t familiar with the name “Al Capone.” Named Alphonse Gabriel Capone at birth, he was an infamous American gangster who used violence and murder as a means to gain success and power during the Prohibition period. Despite having been such a powerful crime boss, his final years were spent screaming out at night for “Jimmy” to leave him alone. This odd behavior left those around him to question if Capone was suffering from mental illness or if he was being haunted by one of his many victims.

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A mugshot of Al Capone, courtesy of history.com

Capone entered a life of crime at a young age, and had managed (perhaps by having half of Chicago’s police force on his payroll) to get away with it for the most part — that is, until the St. Valentine’s massacre of 1929.

On the morning of February 14, 1929, Capone’s men brutally murdered 7 members of a group known as the “North Side Gang” with machine guns. The North Side Gang was a group of rival racketeers that posed a threat to Capone’s domination of the illegal liquor trade in Chicago, so naturally, he had to take care of them. Capone’s men posed as police to enter the gang’s bootlegging headquarters on Chicago’s North Side. They launched a fake raid on the gang, lining them up along a wall and gunning them all down. One of the men killed in the massacre was named James “Jimmy” Clark.

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The victims of the St. Valentine’s massacre, photo courtesy of omgfacts.com

Authorities were unable to prove a connection between Capone and the massacre, but in May of 1929, he was arrested for carrying a concealed and unlicensed .38 revolver during a trip to Philadelphia. The bootlegger was sentenced to serve the maximum sentence of 1 year in prison in the city’s notorious Eastern State Penitentiary (said to be one of the most haunted locations in the country. I’ve been here many times and can definitely attest to the chilling vibe this place gives off).

One of the Penitentiary’s biggest attractions is Capone’s cell, which has been preserved to look the same as it had when Capone had inhabited it and is a must on any Philadelphia tourism checklist. Where every other prisoner lived out their sentence in bare concrete cells, Capone’s was well-furnished, decorated with paintings and even had a radio. Check out the shocking comparison below:

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Typical Eastern State Pentitentiary cell vs. Al Capone’s cell, photos courtesy of Ancient Origins

But to Capone, it seemed the “luxurious” accommodations were meaningless, as he was being tormented by the unseen “Jimmy.” Even after his release from Eastern State, Capone didn’t seem to leave alone. At one point, he even hired a psychic to help get rid of the unwanted spirit, but to no avail.

Capone was arrested again for tax evasion, originally imprisoned in Atlanta but sent to Alcatraz, and as you probably could have guessed by now, Jimmy went with him. At this time, Capone was suffering from syphilis, a disease that begins in your genitals but, left untreated, will work its way into your major organs, including your brain.

Eventually, Capone’s behavior became so bizarre he was actually released early from Alcatraz “on good behavior.” In 1947, he passed away at the age of 48 at his Palm Island Estate, leaving me to wonder if Jimmy followed him all the way to hell.

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The grave of Al Capone, courtesy of Greta Polites on Flickr

Sure, one could argue that “Jimmy” was actually conjured up by the disease slowly eating away at Capone’s brain. But isn’t it fun to wonder if a man like Al Capone, with such a violent history, could perhaps actually have been getting stalked by one a particularly bitter victim?

SOURCES:

Featured image courtesy of WBUR

ancient-origins.net

omgfacts.com

prarieghosts.com

Why We Don’t Let Our Friends Leave the Bar With A Stranger: The Murder of Jackie Vandagriff

Welcome back to Murder Monday, ya’ll.

As a single woman with an active social life, I myself have definitely had some questionable encounters at bars. You can never be too sure of the stranger sending a drink your way, or the guy who’s paying a little too much attention to you and your friends. Whether he is attractive or not, there are a lot of factors you need to asses when a stranger approaches you. He could be nice, he could be a little creepy, he could be an actual psychopath out on the prowl for his next victim – you NEVER know. I think we all tend to base our initial assessment of strangers on their physical appearance. If the guy is presentable and attractive, well kept, friendly, polite – he probably stands a better chance of swooning you. If a guy’s lack of basic hygiene procedures is clear, he’s dressed like a slob, and he’s awkward – you’re probably going to ignore him. Here is where the lesson your mother always taught you that you never listened to comes into play… “Never judge a book by its cover.” Because guess what, Ted Bundy was a good looking guy, and Patrick Bateman was a boujee fucking stud. Yet, where did their dates all end up?

Now, I want to make it VERY clear that I am in no way, shape, or form, trying to victim blame here. You literally never know when someone is going to flip a switch and change. This is the reason we have ex boyfriends, this is the reason why people end up with restraining orders against people that they once loved. People are not always the sunshine and rainbows pitched to you in the beginning. Things change, and I understand this. All we can do to protect ourselves is to keep our guard up. If you are going to meet a stranger from an online dating app, drop your pin to a friend and send them updates. If you meet a cute guy at a bar and want to head black to his apartment, let a friend know where he lives. If you are out alone enjoying a few drinks, which I, myself, am a personal fan of doing – keep track of how much you are drinking, keep an eye on your drink, and go home ALONE. I carry a police grade retractable steel baton, pepper spray, and a small knife. I have taken self defense courses and always have an eye over my shoulder when I’m walking alone. Some people think I’m paranoid for this, but hey – if you did the research on these cases as often as I do, you would be too.

As always, I am placing a trigger warning on this post. Please do not continue reading if you feel that this topic could trigger you in any way.

Denton, Texas. September 13, 2016

Jaqueline Vandagriff, a 24 year old student at Texas Women’s University, headed out for a night on the town. She had intended to meet a Tinder date, according to her friends. It is unclear whether she was stood up or if the date was cancelled, but she ended up at Fry Street Public House, a bar located near the university she was attending.

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On this same night, Charles Dean Bryant Jr, a 31 year old personal Brazilian Jiu Jitsu trainer and bartender living in Haslet, TX, found himself at the same bar. He had been out earlier in the night for pizza and drinks with friends, but found himself alone at the Public House afterwards.

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The two sat one seat away from each other at the bar and enjoyed their drinks alone for some time before Bryant struck up conversation with Jackie. Jackie had just missed out on a potential date, and Bryant had just gone through a break up. The two may have both been looking for some company, but the night was about to take a turn for the worst.

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Bartenders at the Public House said the two left the bar together after a few more drinks, it seemed as if the two had been having fun. The left and went to another bar close by where footage showed Jackie letting Bryant finish her drink for her. They had only been seen out together for about an hour at this point. Phone records would later show that the couple sat in Bryant’s car for 39 minutes, and then went to a nearby park for an hour…. where Bryant later claimed the two had some “consensual autoerotic asphyxiation sex” and the date took a turn for the worst. There was no evidence that the two actually had sex – but here is what we unfortunately know about what happened that night.

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Moments after the couple left the bar, Bryant posted a Facebook status that said “Teach you tricks that will blow your mind.” And Vandagriff tweeted “I’m glad I decided to get off Tinder and walk into a bar.”

Clearly the two had different ideas of what was about to happen.

4:28 a.m., September 14, 2016

Charles Bryant was seen on surveillance video walking into a Walmart near his home in Haslet, alone, he purchased a shovel and a kiddie pool and left around 4:44am.

In the early morning hours of September 14, 2016, Jackie Vandagriff’s body was found fully dismembered and burning in a blue plastic swimming pool in a heavily wooded area in Grapevine.

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An unidentified caller contacted 911 to report a brush fire, police arrived shortly after the fire unit had distinguished the fire and found what was burning underneath of it. A witness claimed to have seen a white male standing over the fire before leaving in a light colored SUV.

“The only vibe I ever got from him was that he was woman crazy. He loved women, he loved women’s attention,” said the manager of the bar where Bryant was employed at the time. His co-workers never thought his behavior to be odd, because “he was a good looking guy.”

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Two days after her body was discovered, a post on her Twitter popped up that read “Never knew I could feel like this.”

Cellphone data traced her phone to Bryant’s Home.

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In the backyard of Bryant’s Home, police found evidence that someone had tried to dig a hole where a kiddie pool once was, a bone from her body was found in the yard, and her purse was in his trash can.

Less than a week after the discover of Jackie’s body, Bryant was arrested for capital murder and held on a 1 million dollar full cash bail. He was facing the death penalty. His recent ex girlfriend testified in court that he had been stalking and threatening her, and that she had tried to get a restraining order against him. Just a few days before he murdered Jackie, he was arrested for trespassing. During the investigation, further charges of possession of child pornography were added to his long list of charges. During his trial he claimed that he did not murder Jackie, but that during their consensual kinky sex, she suffocated from a zip tie that she asked him to place around her neck, and that he panicked to hide the evidence. In April of 2018, Bryant was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

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The fact that Vandargriff had her location services turned on led to the discovery of evidence at Bryant’s household. She was only 24 years old, a young student with a bright future. The bartenders claimed that the two seemed happy leaving together, and that there were no warning signs. Please, if you are using dating apps, or if you are approached by a stranger in a bar, turn on your location services. Drop a pin to your friends, stay in a populated area until you are sure you can be comfortable with your date. Establish a level of trust, creep their social media, ask them questions. Nothing is more important than your comfort and safety, and no question is off limits when you are curious about the stranger who is trying to swoon you out of a bar. Keep your guard up, have your own back, and as my favorite favorite podcast hosts (second to our leader Jenny, of course) at My Favorite Murder always say – stay sexy, don’t get murdered. The world is full of creeps, and sometimes it’s really hard to tell the difference at first. Be careful out there ladies, see you next week.

SOURCES:

CBS News

Heavy.com

Star Telegram

Podcast Episode 13: Columbine

The moon is full so you know what that means — I released a new podcast episode today! Today’s episode is certainly not for the faint of heart: the Columbine tragedy.

After recently reading Dave Cullen’s phenomenal account of the tragedy, Columbine, I realized that, even almost 20 years later, much of what I knew about Columbine was actually misinformation thanks to the media frenzy that occurred in the wake of event. I felt compelled to do this episode to bring the facts to the surface. Listen to the episode below and keep scrolling to check out all the supporting content I discuss in the episode.

Patti Nielson’s 911 Call

The Columbine library was the location of the most fatalities. Below is the full 911 call made by Patti Nielson, a Columbine teacher.

Patrick Ireland, aka “The Boy in the Window”

Patrick Ireland was shot multiple times, but managed to drag himself to the window of the library over a period of three hours, as he was in and out of consciousness due to blood loss. His escape from the window and into the arms of the SWAT team below was broadcast live. The video below shows clips of Patrick’s escape and his recovery from severe neurologic trauma.

The Basement Tapes Documents

As promised, here is the detailed account of the Basement Tapes as documented by one of the Jeffco sheriff’s officer. It is 10 pages long but definitely worth a read given the actual Basement Tapes are not available for viewing.

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Drive-Thru… Funerals?

The South can be a strange place, and R. Bernard Funeral Home in Memphis, Tennessee, is no exception to that rule. The owner of the funeral home, Ryan Bernard, has come up with a unique but bizarre way to say your final goodbyes to a deceased loved one: a viewing drive-thru. In the same way you can order a Big Mac, you can also now pay your respects to your dearly departed.

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Photo courtesy of commercialappeal.com

“Being in Memphis, we are surrounded by a lot of big-name funeral homes that have been around for 100 years, so being the new kid on the block, so to speak, I needed something unique to make me stand apart,” says Bernard. With the building he purchased for his business existing as a bank in its past life, he decided to make use of the bulletproof drive-thru teller window as a means to achieve that unique feature he was searching for.

He claims the worth of the strange service he provides is in the convenience it allows. “Some people, they don’t want to deal with the hassle, the chaos of a large funeral… It helps out those that lack (physical) mobility, those who don’t feel like the hassle of parking cars and getting out or those who are scared to come into a funeral home. A lot of funeral homes creep people out.”

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Photo courtesy of commercialappeal.com

In addition to the drive-thru, Bernard is coming up with other creative ways to stand out amongst other funeral homes, including live streaming services for out-of-town family members who are unable to attend the services. According to him, it’s all about options. “We still offer traditional visitation services,” said Bernard. “The drive-thru is just an added bonus for your family member. It is up to the family to decide if they want this option.” The service is free for customers with funeral packages.

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Photo courtesy of dailymail.com

Surprisingly, Bernard’s drive-thru viewings are actually not an innovative concept, though R. Bernard is the first funeral home to offer this style of viewing in the mid-South. Paradise Funeral Chapel in Saginaw, Michigan, has been offering drive-thru funerals since 2014. “When we first started it, everybody was talking about it and it was a big deal,” said the funeral chapel’s owner, Ivan Phillips. “Things have calmed down, and we used the service two to three times a week.”

Although Bernard says he has had mostly positive reactions toward this bizarre service and has even had several families utilize it for their deceased loved one, not everyone is so fond of it. According to Bob Arrington, president of the National Funeral Directors Association, “In my opinion, I don’t think the body should be put on display like a new car.”

Personally, the idea seems to me to be just yet another way the funeral industry has become more about the almighty dollar and not actually about honoring the dead. I’m definitely curious to see what the readers’ thoughts are on this, so join in on the conversation on this week’s #WEIRDWEDNESDAY post on our Instagram! And don’t forget to check back in next Wednesday for your weekly dose of weird.

SOURCES:

commercialappeal.com

localmemphis.com

A Philadelphia Serial Killer on the Loose?

Yesterday, on July 18th at 11:30 a.m., Pennsylvania State Police responded to the report of a suspicious person off the Allegheny Avenue off-ramp. When they arrived to the scene they found the body of a man near the exit ramp.

Photo courtesy of CBS3

An investigation is currently under way to identify the victim and to determine the cause of death.

No link has been made, but this is the third body that was found in Philadelphia within the last two days.

Screenshot courtesy of NBC Philadelphia

The same morning, at 9:40 a.m., a man’s body was found wrapped in plastic wrap. A Spring Garden neighborhood property owner discovered the body in a home that is under renovation to be converted into an apartment. Needless to say, an investigation is currently underway.
“We don’t know his manner of death other than it’s clearly under suspicious circumstances,” Philadelphia Police Homicide Capt. Jack Ryan said. “Clearly he didn’t do it himself.”

Okay, so this is all getting a little weird and our true crime minds are spinning… obviously this guy didn’t do it himself!! 

Now didn’t I mention something about a third body?!

Photo courtesy of CW Philly

Tuesday afternoon, at 4:15 p.m., the body of a woman was found stuffed in a suitcase in Southwest Philadelphia. A passerby made the discovery while walking by a 2-foot-by-2-foot suitcase on the sidewalk within a housing development.

They noticed a strong odor and maggots coming from inside the luggage. They then uncovered the remains of an unidentified woman inside. As with the other bodies, investigators are working to identify the woman and determine the cause of death.

Photo courtesy of NBC Philadelphia

Unfortunately, cities are plagued with murder and death. Rates typically increase during the the warmer summer months. Clearly, the City of Brotherly Love is no exception to those statistics.

But what is going on here?! Three mysterious bodies all with mysterious deaths. Could Philly have a serial killer? I sure hope not, but I do hope that we come to the bottom of what happened to these people.

This hits close to home for us here at The Hex Files and I will update the post as details emerge. Stay safe out there, Philly!