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Ghosts & Hauntings

Haunted, cursed and mysterious videogames of history

We are in the year 2018, an era where technology is already part of our society. Life at this juncture is practically unimaginable without the technology that we enjoy today. In particular, life would not be the same without video games. The reality is that for more than 30 years our culture has been influenced by video games. Starting with classic games like Pong in 1972 and Space Invaders in 1978, which started a cultural revolution. In 1981 we found a true masterpiece of video games called Donkey Kong, and not only by the presentation of the main character but by the protagonist, Mario, who would become the banner of Nintendo in the years to come.

Other examples include Pokémon, which became the most popular game in 1999, and Sonia the Hedgehog by Sega in 1992. And all this brings us to the present, with multiplayer online shooters such as Counter-Strike, Fortnite, and PUBG, which They dominate the world of video games, thanks to professional players, eSports tournaments, live shows on Twitch and YouTube. But the last thing we could think about when we talk about video games is that some of them could be cursed.

After all, it is supposed to be entertainment, a way to escape the tensions of the real world and anything that may exist beyond. However, the world of video games is also full of strange, damn and inexplicable stories. From the unknown to what is probably an urban legend, the following stories go beyond what we can understand.


We begin our journey through the cursed video games with Polybius. As we already published in Esoteric and Paranormal World, in 1981 appeared out of nowhere in the entertainment halls of Portland, Oregon, United States, a particularly strange game called Polybius, of the German company Sinneslöschen and involving the resolution of several riddles, games of shots and labyrinths. Although the recreational machine was quite unusual and modest compared to the other more colorful machines of the moment, which consisted of a black piece of furniture with a simple logo, for some reason the game turned out to be extremely popular, with children queuing for play it.

However, there are many who claim that the game supposedly had the ability to induce various mental and physical disturbances in those who played, including headaches, amnesia, epileptic attacks, nausea, nightmares, hallucinations, paranoia and suicidal tendencies. And if that were not enough some players came to commit suicide shortly after playing the game. Even stranger is that every night mysterious men with dark clothes opened the machine to apparently download data for unknown purposes. A month after they installed the machine in the arcades, it disappeared without any explanation from the distributor.

Haunted games

From then on, the story of Polybius became an urban legend, to such an extent that it even appeared in an episode of the animated series  The Simpsons. Conspiracy theorists believe that was a kind of secret government experiment used to collect data on the psychological effects of certain visual stimuli, with the game specifically designed to create stroboscopic effects to induce a response in particular, and the mysterious men in black are they were secret agents to collect this data.

Pokémon Red and Green

Another strange story about a video game that causes mysterious mental effects is the Japanese version of the Nintendo Gameboy game Pokémon Red and Green. Although the game was presented in 1996 with great popularity and recognition throughout the world, in Japan it was the opposite. Shortly after its launch, there was supposedly a series of suicides among children aged 7 to 12 years, about 200 in total, and all after playing. In addition, many others reported experiencing dizziness, migraines, nausea, and hallucinations while playing, and soon they spoke of a curse.

It was said that the culprit was a particular level called “Lavender Village”, where everything was covered with a strange purple tone, giving it a spooky atmosphere. And this added to a disturbing soundtrack with a frequency that only children could hear, which caused strong suicidal impulses in those who could hear them. In fact, the various negative effects were only activated when a player reached the mysterious Lavender Village. Although Nintendo denied such hidden frequencies in the music, the Western version no longer included such a soundtrack, so players in other countries got rid of the “curse”.Some theories suggested that the game was really cursed or had some mysterious code recorded. You can see a video of the original Pueblo Lavanda level below. But we’ve already warned you about the effects you can face.


There are other cases that have supernatural entities as protagonists. The game Minecraft is extremely popular, due to its simple concept and its totally open design. In the game, the player basically extracts different resources and uses them to create buildings, structures and practically everything they want. The truth is that it is amazing in its simplicity and total freedom of creativity. But there are players who claim to have found inexplicable phenomena while playing.

Some have reported random and inexplicable objects in the game, including unexplained tunnels cut into rocks that lead nowhere, trees as if their leaves had been torn off and mysterious random structures, like pyramids in the ocean, as if they were not part of the game. There are players who have claimed to have seen the responsible for these anomalies, a spectrum of white eyes. Apparently, the mysterious figure stays far enough to not be able to distinguish any real detail of its appearance.

Interestingly, the creator of the game called Markus Persson (commonly known as “Notch” ), had a brother who died in tragic circumstances. The most rational explanation for anomalous phenomena is that it is simply due to an error, but there are also those who believe that it could be the ghost of the dead brother or even an intentional programming option made by Notch to honor his deceased brother.

mysterious video games - Haunted, cursed and mysterious videogames of history

The legend of Zelda: The Mask of Majora

A truly terrifying story is that of the Nintendo game The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask (in Spanish: The Legend of Zelda: The Mask of Majora). The story has its origin in an apparently haunted video game cartridge.  An unknown user claimed to have been possessed after buying a blank N64 Nintendo cartridge with the words “Majora’s Mask” written on a black background.

The user in question explained that I put the cartridge in his console and immediately saw that there was already a saved game named “Ben”. When the user ignored the saved game and started a new one, he realized that all the characters in the game referred to him as Ben, which he initially considered a mistake. To solve the problem, he simply deleted the file “Ben” and started again. But this was only the beginning, as he began to see distorted landscapes and a soundtrack marked by shrieks and even sounding backwards, as well as a twisted avatar of the main character of the game following him in the shadows.

The player decided to restart the game only to discover that the “Ben” file had not only been mysteriously restored, but this time there was a second unexplained saved file named “drowned”. Any attempt to play a new game after this gave the same results, that the character would die abruptly and a message would appear saying “You have met a terrible fate, right?” . Nothing more is known about the mysterious cartridge, although there are several screenshots that supposedly show the haunted game.

haunted video games cursed - Haunted, damn and mysterious video games from history

Fallout 3

Besides curses, some mysterious video games have other enigmatic powers. For example, the well-known role-playing game Fallout 3, which according to some stories can predict the future.   In the game itself, the player wanders through a vast open and apocalyptic world set in Washington DC. Throughout the missions, the player sometimes receives ghostly radio transmissions that are part of the real game and include things like dramatized broadcasts and music to alert the player to the objectives of the mission and create a sense of the environment.

However, some have claimed that there is another purpose for these transmissions; predict the future. Players have apparently picked up what appears to be a series of numbers in Morse code, which represent the prophetic dates. It is said that some disasters, such as that of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig, were predicted by this code. For its part, the developer Obsidian Entertainment has denied that there are such hidden messages in the game.

So, are these stories simple urban legends? All that can be said is that these are very strange cases in which video games can be more than pixels and music. It seems that some video games cross the borders of the unknown.

Do you dare to play any of these video games? Explain your experience, if you can.

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Ghosts & Hauntings

Haunted doll attacked man after becoming possessed

A woman claims that her creepy doll was so jealous of her boyfriend that it beat him up so badly that he left her.

Identified only be her first name Berliz, from Callao in Peru, she said the doll named ‘Deisy’ even slashed her face in a rage, making her scared to get rid of it.

Berliz said that the doll can move by itself and also gets up to mischief, making it seem as if other people are walking around the house.

She also claims it has poltergeist-like powers which it uses to knock things over.

Berliz told local media that her mother gave her the creepy doll as a Christmas present, but then it suddenly lost its hair one day after which she decided to put it in a plastic bag.

The doll Deisy is said to have attacked Berliz’s boyfriend so badly, that he left her (Image: CEN/Latina Entretenimiento)

Berliz said she decided to place it facing the wall, however, when she woke up she saw that the doll had turned its head and was looking at her.

And there are apparently other bizarre occurrences as well.

She said: “One day, a bright light suddenly shone and my bible fell down from the TV. I started to cry and the light turned off and I saw shadows all around me.

“I was only 18, and my dad hugged me and when the light came on my face was covered with cuts.”

She claims that the doll forced her boyfriend to leave her because it “grabbed and beat him” while he was sleeping.

Daisy, the doll answering to questions (Image: CEN/Latina Entretenimiento)

Berliz said that the same thing happened to her cousin, who went to have a lie down in her room but also ran out after allegedly being attacked by the doll.

The young Peruvian, who is now a mother, has decided to keep the doll away from the house in case something bad happens to her baby.

She also decided to get a black cat to “balance” the negative energy left by the doll, but is too scared to throw it away.

According to the distressed woman, a clairvoyant told her that cats are very sensitive to energy as Berliz’s feline tends to stay under the chair where the doll was kept rather than lying in front of it.

The chilling doll is reminiscent of the Charles Lee ‘Chucky’ Ray character who is the main villain of the ‘Child’s Play’ slasher film series.



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Ghosts & Hauntings

The Haunted Dance

When Elena discovers a video online of a 1920s vaudeville dancer doing a curious dance called “The Rizzle,” she soon regrets accepting the challenge to learn it. The Rizzle is a short horror film created by director Josh Tanner for the Huluween Film Fest.

“I have been infatuated by the 1920s for quite some time and a little haunted by the music, fashion and video and sound recording aesthetics,” Tanner says, “that I couldn’t help but be inspired when I had an opportunity to make a new short.”

About the Huluween Film Fest:

Hulu’s hosting our first ever Film Fest competition with 8 up-and-coming filmmakers making spooky shorts that you can watch right here! The short with the most views as well as a vote from a surprise celebrity judge will win 10k and will be featured on all Hulu social media on October 31st. Watch if you dare!

Tanner also created another favorite of mine: The Landing.

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Ghosts & Hauntings

Digging up weird history in Milwaukee’s oldest cemeteries

The “man they couldn’t hang,” a priest’s lonely crypt, the Midwest’s first crematorium, and other strange bits of history can be found in Milwaukee’s historic cemeteries.

Obligatory mausoleum vault window selfie. That’s a thing, right?

To celebrate the first day of fall, I embarked on an expedition to a couple of my favorite cemeteries for the annual Doors Open Milwaukee event. Thankfully, the equinox also brought with it the first hint of crisp autumn air, so I threw on my new Dead Sled hoodie and set off on a journey into Milwaukee’s Great Beyond.

The destination?

The two oldest cemeteries, where the city’s founders, early mayors, industrialists, and other prominent historical figures are interred. During Doors Open Milwaukee, both cemeteries allow visitors a glimpse into areas that are otherwise closed to the public. Among other things, that means an opportunity to peek into the Midwest’s first crematorium, as well as a large underground crypt where only one priest was entombed before it was closed.

My first stop was:

Forest Home Cemetery

The mausoleum of Milwaukee beer baron Valentin Blatz

Milwaukee’s early burials, one guide explained, took place either on private land in family graveyards or in fields among herds of cattle. When the first forested acres of land were bought for the city’s first actual cemetery in 1850, many of those remains were moved to what would become Forest Home Cemetery.

Before the cemetery, the land was dotted with more than 60 Paleo-Indian burial and effigy mounds which were all catalogued by pioneer scientist Increase A. Lapham. None of those mounds remain today, but Lapham is now one of the cemetery’s notable residents.

Others worth mentioning are the founders of Harley Davidson, Milwaukee Beer Barons Jacob Best, Frederick Pabst, and Valentin Blatz, as well as a cenotaph for Joseph Schlitz, who was lost at sea when the ship he was headed to Germany on sank in 1875 near Cornwall, England.

The Man They Couldn’t Hang

The grave of John
The grave of John “Babbacombe” Lee

The one grave in particular I was hoping to find this visit was that of a man named John Henry George Lee who was born in Abbotskerswell, Devon, England in 1864. He is also known as John “Babbacombe” Lee, or “The Man They Couldn’t Hang.”

Lee was sentenced to death after being convicted of the brutal 1884 murder of an elderly woman named Emma Keyse at her home in England’s Babbacombe Bay. On February 23, 1885, Lee was brought to the gallows to be hanged at Exeter Prison. He stood on the scaffold with the noose securely around his neck, but the trapdoor through which he was supposed to drop failed to open. Lee was brought down and the executioner examined it. He couldn’t find anything wrong. The trapdoor was tested and seemed to work fine. So Lee was brought back up and the rope placed around his neck again. But again, the trapdoor failed. And again. After the third time the medical officer attending the execution refused to take part in the proceedings. The execution was halted, and Lee’s sentence was commuted to life in prison.

Lee was released in 1907, but what happened to him after that was something of a mystery. It seemed as though he died in a workhouse in Tavistock and was buried there. He has a death certificate and a grave there in Plymouth Road cemetery. However, in 2009 two researchers discovered a trail of documents revealing Lee boarded a ship in Southhampton in 1911 bound for New York. He abandoned his pregnant wife with their other child, arriving in the US with a woman named Adeline Gibbs. Adeline, it seems, was fleeing her recent marriage to a man named William Jones, and was listed as Lee’s wife Jessie Lee on the ship’s manifest.

Burial card and plot map showing the graves of John Lee and his family

The convicted killer and his mistress came to Milwaukee, where they lived out their secret, anonymous lives. They had a daughter together named Evelyn Lee, who died at the age of 18 or 19. Evelyn was working as a maid for Dr. Arthur Kovak. On October 12, 1933 Kovak came home to find Evelyn dead, asphyxiated by the fumes from the naphtha she was using to clean the drapes in the bathroom.

John Lee died in 1945, followed by Adeline, listed as his window, in 1947. The three are buried together, Evelyn between her mother and father. Lee, the man who couldn’t be hanged, who has two graves on two continents, rests in Milwaukee’s Forest Home Cemetery.

The Midwest’s First Crematorium

The Forest Home chapel is made of red Lake Superior sandstone from the Apostle Islands. It opened in 1892. Several years later the first crematorium in the Midwest was built below the chapel, and the first cremation took place in on July 7, 1896.

The crematorium is notable for using oil instead of coal, gas or whatever other crematorys used at the time, meaning the bodies were incinerated faster.

Also, the retorts were larger than normal. The reason for this, one of the cemetery volunteers told me, was to accommodate Milwaukee’s barons.

After a funeral was held in the chapel, the casket would be lowered on coffin-sized elevator lift from the sanctuary down into the crematorium. Families would then push the deceased into the retort, and then spend the next several hours in a marble-covered room waiting for the process to be complete.

The remnants of their loved ones would be swept out of the retort and dumped into a grinder, or cremulator, that breaks up the large chunks of bone into tidy “ashes” so the cremains will fit in an urn.

The cremulator

The crematorium was in use until 1998 when a more modern facility was built elsewhere on the grounds.

Another interesting feature of the chapel’s basement level is the receiving vault, where bodies were stored during the winter months until the ground thawed and graves could be dug. The guide mentioned that when Frederick Pabst died in January 1, 1904, armed guards stood at the entrance to the vault for months protecting his body until he could be buried.

The guide also noted that before the chapel was built, there was a different receiving vault where a fountain now stands that could store up to 400 coffins.

The receiving vault where bodies were stored during winter months

The Forest Home Cemetery chapel was built in 1892

The coffin elevator was used to bring coffins down to the crematory from the chapel sanctuary above

The cenotaph of Milwaukee beer baron Joseph Schlitz
The cenotaph of Milwaukee beer baron Joseph Schlitz

A sign points the way to the crematory during Doors Open Milwaukee
A sign points the way to the crematory during Doors Open Milwaukee

Stolen bronze angel statue
The 6-foot bronze angel that usually stand here was stolen a few weeks ago

It is difficult to leave Forest Home Cemetery, but after wandering aimlessly for a considerable amount of time before I found Lee’s grave (even with the plot map in hand) there was only an hour left before Doors Open Milwaukee concluded for the day.

So I hurried to my second stop:

Calvary Cemetery

Calvary Cemetery chapel in Milwaukee
Calvary Cemetery chapel on Jesuit Hill

The oldest Catholic burial ground in Milwaukee, Calvary Cemetery is filled with the Catholic victims of the Newhall House fire that took 76 lives in 1883 (the non-Catholic victims were buried in Forest Home) and numerous victims of the Lady Elgin disaster that claimed some 300 lives when the steamer collided with a schooner and sank into Lake Michigan on September 8th, 1860.

Other notable interments include Patrick Cudahy of the Patrick Cudahy meat packing company and Frederick Miller, founder of the Miller Brewing Company.

Somewhere in Calvary is a memorial to the Lady Elgin victims, as well as at least one stone (that may or may not be the same as the memorial) which says “lost on the Lady Elgin.” I’ve spent numerous hours on multiple occasions searching the cemetery to no avail, so I didn’t even bother this time. I really just wanted to see the crypt beneath the chapel again.

Abandoned Crypt

Abandoned crypt beneath the Calvary Cemetery chapel
Abandoned crypt beneath the Calvary Cemetery chapel

The Calvary chapel was built in 1899 from Cream City brick atop one of Milwaukee’s highest points. Today it overlooks Miller Park. The hill is sits upon is called as Jesuit Hill, and is primarily the burial place of clergy and members of various religious orders. At the base of the hill is the grave of Father Walter Halloran, the Jesuit priest who assisted in the exorcism of Roland Doe in 1949.

That is one of two cases (the other also involved a Wisconsin priest who was known as the foremost exorcist in America during his life) that inspired William Peter Blatty’s The Exorcist.

The grave of Exorcist priest Father Walter Halloran
The grave of Father Walter Halloran

The chapel was in use for a long time, but with no climate control, the harsh Wisconsin weather eventually took a toll. It was closed in the 1950s.

The mystery lies in the crypt beneath the chapel.

Calvary Cemetery crypt
Rev. Idziego Tarasiewicza is the crypt’s only interment

The underground mausoleum contains 45 niches on two levels. Two sets of spiral stairs on either side of chapel altar wind down into the crypt. To bring in the dead, each level had it’s own entrance. A tunnel through the hill lead into the lower level.

In 1903, Rev. Idziego Tarasiewicza died. He was the founder of St. Casimir’s Parish. A procession of more than 2,000 mourners walked from the church in Milwaukee’s Riverwest neighborhood to the Calvary crypt 6 miles away. Tarasiewicza was entombed in the vault directly beneath the altar. He was the first, as well as the last, interment in the crypt.

And no one knows why.

The marble marker of Rev. Idziego Tarasiewicza
Rev. Tarasiewicza lies behind this marble marker

Calvary Cemetery crypt door sealed off
The entrance to the upper level of the crypt

Calvary Cemetery crypt tunnel entrance
Tunnel entrance into the lower level of the crypt

The guide in the crypt said the reason is probably due to poor ventilation, which could become hazardous. He cited another nearby crypt that was closed for that reason. But whether or not that is the case will remain a mystery. At some point, both outside entrances into the crypt were closed. The tunnel may have been covered up, or it may have collapsed. No one knows.

The crypt is open to the public on Memorial Day and during the Doors Open Milwaukee event every September.

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