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Illustration by Corey Brickley

In 2005, Vanessa Mitchell moved into her dream home, a former medieval jail where England’s witches waited to hang and burn. When paranormal phenomena forced her to flee, she became convinced it was possessed by evil spirits. This is her true story.

St. Osyth is a cursèd little village in the county of Essex, 83 miles east of London, at the edge of the North Sea. The town’s 4,600 souls live in medieval cottages arranged around a 12th Century monastery, and in cheap mobile homes that the British call caravans. St. Osyth’s exact origins remain a mystery, and over the centuries its townsfolk have survived floods, invasions, and monsters both imagined and real. In fact, every page of its wretched history is soused in the supernatural.

The village is named after the granddaughter of England’s last Pagan king. According to legend, Osyth was beheaded by Danish Vikings but managed to walk to the nunnery carrying her severed skull in her hands. In 1171, the village was burned down by a fire-breathing dragon. Then came the witches. During a Satanic panic in 1582, 13 local women stood trial for witchcraft and two swung from the gallows. …


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A true story of witchcraft, possession, and murder.

Miami suited the Devil. He arrived in Magic City in the 1960s on the lips of Caribbean exiles, who believed that evil spirits and demons invade the weak of heart. Among the pink-colored homes of Miami’s Cuban district, Little Havana, children played among the residues of dark rituals — little piles of cigar stubs, apples and severed chickens’ heads. By 1973, the year “The Exorcist” horrified theatergoers, it appeared the Devil had decided to settle down, like so many retirees, in Florida. In 1974, according to the Sarasota-Tribune, Miami’s Jackson Memorial Hospital treated 700 demonic possessions a month. That year, a 9-year-old girl stood up in a nearby church and said, “I am satan” in a voice that wasn’t hers. …


What perfect timing to write this listicle.

  1. The Long Fall of One-Eleven Heavy
    Michael Paterniti, Esquire
    On the fall of SwissAir Flight 111
  2. The Boy Who Heard Too Much
    David Kushner, Rolling Stone
    He was a 14-year-old blind kid, angry and alone. Then he discovered that he possessed a strange and fearsome superpower — one that put him in the cross hairs of the FBI.”
  3. Bret, Unbroken
    Steve Friedman, Runner’s World
    “His brain and body shattered in a horrible accident as a young boy, Bret Dunlap thought just being able to hold down a job, keep an apartment, and survive on his own added up to a good enough life. …


A mysterious mansion. A murder-suicide. Paranormal activity. This is the true story of 2475 Glendower Place.

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It looked even scarier than she had hoped. Jennifer Clay stared up at the Spanish-style house from the bottom of a crumbling flight of concrete steps. In this hillside neighborhood of manicured homes, the mansion with peeling white paint stood out like a broken tooth. Jennifer’s mom and cousin had agreed to join her in climbing up to the old house, but as soon as they saw it, they changed their minds. Two arched windows stared down like hollow eyes over the bourgeois community of Los Feliz. The peephole in its tired wooden door was boarded up, and a “no trespassing” sign poked out from the dirt-pile yard. …

About

Jeff Maysh

Crime journalist in Los Angeles.

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