« Lore

Episode 144: Birds of Prey

2020-06-08 | 🔗

Folklore is often about danger and how we, as a community, might avoid it. But real life sometimes becomes a mirror of those fears, and leaves us wondering why no one saw it coming.


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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
everyone in the neighborhood looked at him with a bit of caution, maybe was his eye behaviour or the way, he seemed to hide from every one else, as if social contact were his least favorite thing, Maybe it was his single filthy outfit that he wore each day working in the back yard or the way his Uncap Beard made him look more than a little wild, William behavior was certainly odd. That much was clear, but it wasn't because was hiding some nefarious crime or dark secret. No was odd because he was obsessed and it all started, with a wine cellar,
see back in the nineteen sixties, William had decided that he could build his own by cutting through his basement war and digging out the necessary space, but that simple action of pressing his shovel into the dirt triggered something inside him and he just kept on digging for Forty years, William kept his unusual hobby, a secret from his neighbors digging a series of tunnels that span multiple levels below his EAST London, home and extended well beyond his property line what gave it all the way was the cave you see, two thousand six, the sidewalk in front of his house, suddenly fell into the earth and when the city sent an inspector to check it out. They discuss That Williams decades of digging was the cause almost overnight the odd man who made his neighbors feel a bit uneasy earn himself. nickname that stuck with him for the rest of his life. The mole man of Hackney, it's a
separating story with a powerful lesson. At the end of the day, we can't really claim to know the people around us most of the time. That's just an accepted part of life, but every now and then that mystery plants a seed that eventually grows into suspicion and fear one of our innate habits as human beings, if there is a gap in our knowledge, will invent anything to fill it, but that's also the problem. because, while the vast majority of these whispers turn out to be nothing more than fiction every now, and then they are the shadow cast by something bigger than we could ever have imagined. Some rumours, it seems just might be true. I am Aaron Maggie and this his lore
There's nothing like a good tavern, a traveller there, a good spot to grab a bite to eat and have a cold drink after a long day depending where you live, you might call it by a different name, a pub or a bar, or just the local watering hole, but the concept is pretty universal. If you want a drink, you had over to the tavern But taverns have evolved a lot over the past few centuries, just in it Erica alone. The idea of what a tavern is has changed dramatically. If you were to jump into a time machine and head back to say the late, sixteen hundreds you would find them there in spirit, but a lot of the details would seem foreign to you at all starts with the name back in the colonial era. These establishments were known as ordinaries. Yes, they sold food. Drink and many of them also offered a room to rent for the night, but they did more than that. To these words, the social hubs for the local community, they were the gathering place for important me
They even served as a temporary meeting house when there was official community business to take care of, for example, if you ever read the story about the early days of the Salem which trials you'll have bumped into a building known as Ingersoll Ordinary. It was a tavern by a guy named Nathaniel Ingersoll, but it was all with a very first examinations were held before being moved to the meeting house for more space, and, if you ever visit DEN Massachusetts. You can still dr right past the tavern, although it's just an empty building, now. These taverns offered a moment of rest for weary travellers if someone was on a long journey. Stopping at a tavern was like a rising at and awaits us rush, food, cold beer and a bed to sleep on word just what they needed. So it's no wonder that too. Burns popped up all alone, the western edge of the colonies throughout the late. Seventeen hundreds because as settlers and supply wagons passed out into the great unknown. They needed one. Last sliver of safety
In seventeen ninety three, a man named Jacob Gerhard finnish construction on his own tavern, situated along an old native american trail that had quickly become a stage coach road as the colony spread westward anyone wishing to leave the region of long island and had directly West would have to pass through his small Pennsylvania town. So a tavern made good business sense, in fact that meeting of original inhabitants and european newcomers was central to Jacobs Life. Although for him It wasn't a happy memory in seventeen. Fifty six, his paw, since in siblings, were all killed when a local tribe of native Americans defended their land against colonial expansion. Jacob was the only survivor rather than move back east toward larger communities. He stayed and rebuild his life there and there was a play, called HAWK mountain. It stood at the western end of a valley that had a long reputation for being home to unusual and unexplainable things. opposite into the valley to the EAST, was a hill. The local
German immigrants called the hacks and or the witches head, and it was home to all sorts of rumours and stories. Some people, claimed that the hacks cop was known to glow at night. The reason they said was because the local and up a tribe had used the hill as a location for sacred rituals, including the removal of evil spirits which were then forced into the stone of the hill, whether or not the hill. actually glowed is something that will never know, but we can't deny the power of the stories that still radiate out from the spot. One such tail involves a man who is known for being abusive toward just about everyone in his life, his family and farm animals alike, This unnamed man was said to have driven his horse drawn wagon over the hacks cop, one dark nights, beating the horses violently all along the way when he reached the top, though a thick fog descended on the hill and when it left the man and his horses
we're gone. The best explanation to locals could come up with was that the evil spirits inside the hill had risen up to take him away as punishment. But then again, that's probably just another bit of that convenient fiction. People like to invent to fill in the gaps on answered questions have a way of bringing out to our creativity. After all, which certainly highlights the power. Sorry for Jacob Gerhart. The location of his tavern was powerful in yet another way look down on his old family land, giving him again, state reminder of the loss and tragedy of his younger days and wild experience, didn't inhibit his ability to serve travellers as they pass through more than a few people noted that gear lived the life that seemed haunted by the past a perfect fit? I suppose in such a story valley, the tavern itself was nothing to write home about but it served food and drink and had a handful of rooms to rent out there was
small one story: building made of sandstone and timber with two doors facing the road one for guests and one for the gear hearts residence. Again it wasn't much, but it was located in the perfect spot, as travellers passed by in an almost constant trickle on their way to the West, Jacob in his family, held onto the tavern for nearly sixty years. Finally, selling it in eighteen. Fifty two local couple named George and Priscilla Balikh, but right away. They decided to rent it out to let someone else run the day to day basis, while they manage their busy form within a year the perfect candidate and arrived but this new manager would have a powerful effect on the local community. During his
when you're there, he would create more questions than answers at along the way. Those gaps would become home to terrifying stories, which is why, over one hundred and fifty years later, the place still goes by his name. But if the stories are true, that's not on- he left behind. Names are tricky if you're descended from immigrants who pass through Ellis Island, you probably have a. Family story about how the spelling of your last name changed as they entered the country and the further back in time we go. The more commented is defined inconsistency in surnames. For example, everyone seems to have settled on one particular spelling of William Shakespeare, s name, but even the legend Harry playwright himself wasn't too clear about it.
stories today, no of six verifiable signatures by the man himself and together they represent five different ways of spelling his last name. Most common being William Shakespeare. So when I Oh you that the new managers of the HAWK Mountain Tavern were the sjambocked, don't get upset if you ve heard it differently during our research, we found that name spelled a number of different ways and some stories even referred to them ass, the shock backers, but while that spelling might not be definitive, their reputation certainly is Matthias and Margaret Sjambocked word german immigrants, but that was nothing new for the area. Remember the term Pennsylvania Dutch wasn't a term for people of dutch descent, but a mangled version of Deutsche. The german word for something from Germany. The original text, builder, Jacob, your heart was german and the nearby hill. The hacks and cop still carries that german name. So, honestly, there was No reason why these newcomers shouldn't fit right in an echo,
into the stories Margaret did by all accounts. She was pleasant, friendly and mild, tempered ones second hand, description, states that she was a small, thin woman with a warm smile and a generous heart, the perfect hostess for a tavern frequented by weary travellers. If ever there was one, no, the problem was it with Margaret. It was her husband, Matthias that rough the feathers he was described as a lean man of medium height, but constant silence and grim. He was this of man who children avoided on the road and had reputation for not being the most friendly or cheerful man around, but despite all that, He ran a good tavern and patrons of his establishment left with their needs met the majority Those customers were travellers, as I have already mentioned, and while a number of those were settlers heading West, there was a good amount of peddlers passing through complete with
horses and wagons burdened with all the goods they hope to sell and, as the eighty fifties gave way to the eighteen sixties, it was also come to see civil war soldiers passing through. Like I said, the Sjambocked were good tavern keepers, but that didn't stop rumors. being whispered around town. It didn't help that Matthias had an unusual sense of decorating either one newspaper go from the late eighteen. Seventy is tells the story of how Matthias and hired men bound and killed two enormous snakes, which he then had stuffed and put on display in the bar room. but other stories are more troublesome and a good example comes from testimony of a local man named Elias Feather off according to him, as he was passing by Sean Barn one day, he caught the sound of painful groaning, afraid of some one had been injured. You left the road and approached the barn only
to see Sjambocked himself standing up top in the loft. A hatchet in his hand, go away. The tavern keeper told him or I'll sink this hatchet into your head and that barn pops up again, and in the stories people told about him. According to another eyewitness accounts and area man was passing through the valley, but are non mean storm, forced him to stop for the night at the shambolic tavern after asking for a room, he was told to take his horse across the road and put it in the barn. The trouble was his horse refused to step inside the large building, actually rearing up and trying to break free. So this traveller tied it to a post and then stepped in D C what might be frightening the animal when he did. He found the interior of the barn in disarray.
Scattered all around the floor among the dirt and bits of straw were traces of blood still wet and glistening. But of course these were just stories nervous, fictions, crafted to patch up whole in an incomplete picture. Kids in every town in the world still do it today creating legends to explain why that old man never leaves his house or what caused the particular tombstone to lean. So far to the side, we might not all be authors, but every one of us is filled with story, But when there is more than just a whisper when actual physical clues begin to point to something Real and tangible: that's when people really start to feel afraid we can call things fake, always once, but when the evidence is right there staring us in the face. The responsible thing to do is stop and listen to the evidence. And the evidence against Matthias Sjambocked seems to point to something that no one would have expected
something that would have sent any visitor to his tavern running for their lives. No, it wasn't the mecca decoration in the bar room or the suspicious sounds coming from his barn. It wasn't it in his angry demeanor or that vicious looking hatchet. Instead, it was something they couldn't see, something that should be there, but wasn't Visitors to his tavern is he had a tendency to disappear. Every story has some level of provenance a trail that leads back to source. If you will the stronger the connection, the more trustworthy the claim.
The tales we have about Matthias Sjambocked had been passed down to us by a man named Maurice Brown, who lived and worked in the area around the tavern. In the first half of the nineteen hundreds. He arrived at a time when many of the witnesses to these stories were still alive and did his best to document their experiences. What he recorded, though, paints a terrifying picture. One local man named Dan Bailey was so troubled by what he knew that he was only able to express it in German. As aside note, Brown, also d, cried Bailey As- and I quote, eighty five and remit good boy alive, maybe was remarkable because that was pretty old for the time or perhaps brown Just amazed that Bailey knew the Sean personally and lived to talk about it.
According to the old man, a good number of people in town suspected Mathias Schambach of using strong drink to take advantage of strangers who stayed the night and it's been targets it seems, was that steady stream of peddlers who passed through the valley they were unattached strangers missed by no one and therefore easy targets for someone with the thirst for blood the claim and body's just about every aspect of the folklore we have about travelers and their safety. Whether we're talking about a solo road trip, Modern America or settlers making the trip by wagon two centuries earlier. There has always been an undercurrent of risk when we travel. We step out of this safety of the known and put ourselves at the mercy and chaos of the unknown travellers are almost, by definition, less safe. One story stands out, though, just a couple of you, after the end of the civil war, a particular man used to pay
through selling the left over trappings of war, used military uniforms, fire arms and then assortment of camp supplies. That would have been instantly recognisable to that. And said that era, and just like always folk saw the man, approached the tavern from the east and slip inside for a drink and a place to stay. The fact that. didn't see him leave, wasn't anything strange though you very well could have slipped out at first light in the morning. What was strange was that Sjambocked himself was seen a few days later in a town about twenty miles to the south. You went there often to sell goods made in his tavern and two by the supplies that they needed. But this time he was spotted by a local from his own community, and this witness was frightened by the where's. The tavern keeper was trying to sell old military uniforms, firearms and camp supplies. These reports went on for
decades. It seems, but because the rumoured victims were strangers, passing through no one in town seem to have an interest in rocking the boat, especially since that angry and alleged murderer, who live near them, but eventually tragedy became personal and it stirred the community into action. George Taylor was a local herb doktor serving the people as a supplier of medicinal aids and probably a good helping of less tangible things too. I can't find evidence that he was known as a powwow healer, a german american form of folk magic. But there is a good chance, that's exactly what he was, and people like that were valued by most of their community for the services they
offered. So when George went missing, people who had been patient with Sjambocked for decades suddenly lost their cool. A group was form to plan their next step and it was decided that a trip to the sheriff was just too far out of their way. Instead, they drafted a petition for the eviction of Sjambocked, hoping it would force him out of the area, but the tavern key, refused to leave. In response, the townsfolk gathered a good amount of dynamite and placed it around the taverns foundation, ready to blow it and the killer inside to pieces. Somehow, though, they back down at the last minute, but not before Sjambocked, learn of the plot, using it seems to have frightened him into retirement stories, that paint paper tavern keeper in a different light. It said that he fell ill and would spend most
his days in a chair in front of the fire you rarely spoke, but when he did, it was mostly nonsense and soon after his wife began to refuse visitors, while there is no way to prove it. Many think it's because he had started to say incriminating things, things that his wife out where better left, hidden, Matthias Sjambocked died some time in eighteen. Seventy nine at the age of fifty five, but am like that, doesn't die without a few legends popping up. They say ass, his brief graveside funeral was taking place just outside of town near the New Bethel church. A great storm blew in all dark and angry soon enough. The sky was full of rain and thunder as they were lowering his rough wooden coffin into the grave. A bolt of lightning struck the earth with such force that the coffin actually flipped over leaving sjambocked face down a bad
women in many cultures, whether or not it's true story, certainly shows us what the locals thought of the man in their eyes. He didn't deserve an eternity of rest as punishment for all the pain and suffering he had caused, and one last thing for a long. While people have wondered what exactly sjambocked did with all of those murdered travellers. Was it purely about facts so that he could take a wagon full of stolen goods to a far off town and make a quick profit? Was it the thrill of crime, the sort of blood less that drove him to repeat it's over and
never again or was it something darker, because one story passed on to Maurice Brown by irregular traveller through the valley seems to suggest that there were layers to sjambocked crimes according to him, he rode up HAWK Mountain for the first time, many years before and spotted the refreshing site of the tavern, so he decided to stop for a bite to eat before continuing on his way the meal he was served, look tasty to an Sjambocked called it old german sausage, but after taking his first bite to things occurred to him. First, the meat.
itself. Tasted rather odd, but not spoiled just well odd. He couldn't help but wonder what sort of animal the tavern had made it from which led him to his second realisation on his way up the hill. He had spotted the tavern, the barn and the fields around it, but one thing was missing from sight: there had been no livestock Travel has always carried of risk. The era of smart phones and credit cards has certainly changed the lot of that, but that's just a blip on the timeline of history a very long while, if you travelled over night, you face date, not so insignificant amounts of danger
for the nineteenth century peddler, it was even worse from Paris. No belongings and cash for expenses to wagons filled with valuable goods and the horses that pulled it all. They were walking targets for something bad happened, yes would be nice to assume that everyone they met along the way would be friendly and hospitable, but assumption rarely gets us what we want, which is why people like Matthias Sjambocked represent a frightening category. A villain from folklore they were the ones who needed to be trusted the most and when that kind of trust was broken, it felt like a violation, peddlers were vulnerable. Travellers and Sjambocked acted like a bird of prey, so I can stand that slowly, building frustration. His community must have felt, and of course, that explains the legends surrounding death, someone as evil as Sjambocked, must have seemed like they deserve some sort of supernatural punishment, so long
need strikes and face down burial, looked like a natural fit weather if it is true or not, is a mystery- will have to leave unsolved, but thankfully there is more to the story than that it seems. The tavern itself has been home to quite a bit of unusual act very sensitive death, some visitors have claimed to see flashing lights, while others have heard the piercing screams of some one in pain. Tavern historian, Maurice Brown reported a regular stream of thumping, sounds and furniture that mysteriously moved on its own and he should know considering. He lived there for nearly thirty years You see after Sjambocked wife moved out around nineteen hundred the place was to a man named William Turner who kept the business going for another twenty years. The next owner was forced out in nineteen thirty, when a massive bootleg distillery was found in the tavern seller and then the place just sat empty for nearly a decade,
when Maurice Brown and his wife arrived in eighteen. Thirty eight the place was a mess, but they repaired what they could and set up HAWK Mountain Sanctuary, association, wildlife, Sanctuary for birds of prey. long before they successfully stop the hunting, the hawks that gave the mountain its name. eventually wrote a book about their time there with the birds and oddly included tales of Matthias Sjambocked within it. But apparently there were some story he left out according to a woman who knew him well, he claimed to have found records from William Turner's time that described the disco we of some sort of evidence of the murders. What that evidence was, though, was unclear, and then one day Maurice was working outside cleaning, around a large hedge at the back of the property when he noticed something odd in the dirt.
Bending down, he brushed the soil off the unusual objects he could make out beneath it and then backed away in horror. They were bones human bones. If you're like me, you love the story of the sjambocked tavern for a lot of reasons. His predatory behaviour puts and right up there with the classic billions of focus while also blending in a bit of early american history. Its dark reminder that, even here in the land of the free, there are shadows. A Pennsylvania has one more unusual story to give up for us and, while its
about murder. It is about risk and theft stick around after this brief sponsor break to hear all about it. This episode was made possible by stamp stock. Come if you're, a small business owner you're busy enough as it is. You have time to deal with the hassle of going to the post office with stamps dot com. You can skip the trip and never waste other dollar or minutes stamps that come with you print official postage right from Europe Peter, so you can spend less time at the Post office and, more time running your business simply put stamps that come saves time, money and stress for more Twenty years stamps dot com has been indispensable for over one million businesses. Given you act as to all the post office, and you pay a shipping services. You need right from your computer and get discounts. You can't find anywhere else like up the forty percent off you S, p s rate and seventy six percent off you pay us all you need. Is computer and standard printer, no special supplies or equipment.
you'll be up and running in minutes, printing official postage for any letter any package anywhere you want to send it. I've been happy using stamps not come for years and as a business owner, it is a lifesaver safety, and money. This year was stamped Stockholm sign up with a promo code law, for a special offer that includes a for weak trial, free postage and a digital scale. No long term commitments or contracts just go to staff dot, com, click on them your phone at the top of the homepage and then type in the word lore that stamps dotcom offer code more staff. Stockholm never go to the post office again. The sjambocked tavern wasn't the only house with a reputation in the area around HAWK Mountain if one were to fall
the little school river self. It would eventually connect to its larger, better, no namesake and it was along- that stretch of the school river that Charles settled into work on a project in the early eighties. Hundreds Charles. He's working on something that could be likened tube, alchemy. If that dark science had been focused on turning led to gold and the philosopher stones, gift of immortality then Charles was chasing something that seemed just as impossible perpetual motion, but for a very long time that gold did not seem so out of reach. perpetual motion is one of those concepts that most people have heard of, if only in passing at the basic level. It's about energy and effort A normal machine needs a power source to keep running like a windmill used to grind grain Wind were to ever stop blowing. The mill would cease to operate because friction gravity and a whole lot of other forces would all bring the mechanism to a halt, which is why perpetual motion was the holy grail. There were some sites
scientists, who believed that it was possible to create a machine that wouldn't slow down if the power source went away. It would be like, The windmill that only needed a strong breeze to get going, but then it could run forever without stopping regardless of the weather outside and in one thousand eight hundred and twelve Charles claim to have cracked the formula. He opened his house there along the school river and invited anyone who might be interested to stop in and see his machine and action and sure enough there. It was an odd looking contraption that sea to be operating without any sort of power source driving it. This was alchemists gold in a very real sense, a machine in that required no power source meant that the cost of production would be reduced for anyone doing manufacturing, which would generate more profit. So the claims that Charles was making naturally drew interested parties, but of course he had found his own way to earn a bit of cash. He was charge
Jeanne admission. Some say that it cost five dollars for men to see the device while women pay just one other say It was the men who pay the dollar while we're we were allowed in for free and either way the big crowds and long lines translated into a fat bank account for Charles and, like every other, successful business, he started dreaming bigger. So he approached the state of Pennsylvania to get fun and for a larger version. After receiving his request, the state sent a team of investigators to see what all the fuss was about. The things didn't quite feel like they were on the up and up. If you know what I mean for one, The tour Charles offered was very limited effect. His miraculous Device was locked inside a room by itself only visible through a window and second, some of the more keen eyed of the invest. gaiters, noticed, wear and tear on a few of the gears that hinted at an external power source s
adding in all up state refused to give Charles the funding he had asked for. So he packed up and moved out. his next stop was New York City once old. He set about building a new version of his perpetual motion device and when it was completed, he sent out word that anyone interested could come and take a look at it. Well for a price of course, and people showed up just like before, One of those two come knocking was a man in his late forties, name, Robert, who claim to be a fan. He was intrigued by the device on display, as anyone would be of course, and asked if he could take a closer look. Now maybe it was his overwhelming sense of pride, or perhaps it was the enormous crowd who stood hide the man waiting for an answer. Whatever the reason Charles to let him do so. You see this Is it or had noticed something very odd? The machine was
in a very unique way, almost as if there were some constant force, tugging at it from another place, so robber walked around the device study in the various parts, tracing their functions with his eyes and visually, putting the pieces together and that's when he noticed the string. It was barely visible from where he stood, but he could see that it was moving in that it. Finished into the rough wall of the room. Sir Robert removed one of the boards revealing more of the mysterious cord and then followed it in what he discovered. was utterly astounding. There. In a J sent room. The long string came to an end where it was tied to a small wooden gear and beside it. Turning the gear with a hand, crank was an old man eating a piece of bread with his free hand, The reveal was like the bursting of a great damn, the crowd of
rest to it all paid good money to see the magical device suddenly turned on Charles. His machine was torn from its mountains on the floor and quickly dash to pieces. It's probably if to assume that more than a few people went home that day with a chunk of it in their hand, and if so, they were probably one of the few who actually got their monies worth. Cha left town after that, although I'm sure that's not a surprise to you, if only he'd, been more careful about who he let into his little exhibit because Robert wasn't, your average run of the mill tourist know he was a mechanical engineer and a good one too you see a decade earlier. He designed one of the first commercial steamships in the world a few years before that he constructed the world's first practical submarine, the Nautilus armed with torpedoes, packed with gunpowder os. A first, so if there was any one person Charles read, have her should have kept away from his fraudulent device. It was this man
Today, there are half a dozen counties in America named after him and almost twice as many towns. His name is on countless streets, schools and public buildings, a true testament to his greatness, and who was he. The legendary inventor himself, Robert Fulton. This episode of Lore was written and produced by me errand man, key with research by Marcel Crockett and music by Chad. Lawson Lore is much more than just a pod cast, though there's a book series of L and bookstores in online and two seasons of the television show on Amazon, prime video checkable out. If you want more lore in your life, I also make other podcast era,
he's cabinet of curiosities and unobserved and I think you'd enjoy both each one. Exploring other areas of our dark history, ranging from bite. Sized episodes to season long dies into a single topic, and you can learn more about both of those shows and everything else going on over in one central place, grim and mild doc and you can also follow the show on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, just search for lore podcast, all one word and click that follow button. When you do so high, I like it when people say hi and as always, thanks for listening.
Transcript generated on 2022-03-12.