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Episode 66: Where There’s Smoke


Fire is a dangerous tool. Used properly, it can transform a society, but if it isn’t respected, it can burn that society to the ground. Which is why we are obsessed with controlling it—and completely, utterly afraid of it.

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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
One my favorite Stephen King novels. Is fire starter, which, without giving away too much, is the powerful story of a little girl with the supernatural gift? King referred to it as pyro can nieces the ability to control fire with the mind and that's a frightening fun, but at the root of the concept is the idea of Control fire serves the person directing it, but what that control were gone. What if the flames seem to take on a mind of their own in all those tragic terrible characteristics, suddenly became unpredictable and possible
fire under control. Is a powerful life giving tool on its own them. It can destroy everything in its path. that's exactly what happened in Central London way back in September of one thousand six hundred and sixty six over the course of four days fire in Galt Building after building. Ultimately drawing the homes of over seventy thousand people to send these later and a continent away, another fire swept through the american City of Chicago. After three days of burning over one hundred thousand people were left homeless. These both accidents. Of course, the London fire is thought to have been started in a bakery, while the Chicago fire has
traditionally been blamed on a cow kicking over a lantern in the o, barn, but accidents happen, especially when it comes to fire. Sometimes it's minor while other times it leads to horrible destruction. As a result, we fear fire. Yes, it's a tool we can use to our advantage, but it's also a beast of limitless hunger and frightening power. So we hide the matches from our children, build safety systems into our homes and maintain teams of brave men and women. We stand ready to fight back when fire breaks out, but what would we do if
that power fell into the hands of something out of our reach, invisible and unpredictable, something with clear, malicious intent, zero regard for human life, something perhaps that supernatural I'm Erin Mahnke and this is lower. It was the dream that unsettled her. They always seem to have a way of doing that Dante in her dream, she'd been at home in the small cottage she shared with far too Any other members of her family went in
angry bull appeared outside the ball was black as night with eyes that glowed in icy blue and after a tense moment of silence. It began crashing into this side of the cottage threatening to knock the little house to the ground, and then she awoke daily life for Esther might sound like a bad dream as well. She lived in a small cottage that belong to her sister, olive and olives huh, Daniel, along with their two small boys. Her brother, William, also lived in the house, as did her other sister Jane, who asked her share to bed with and if that wasn't enough Daniels brother John stayed, there is well and added all up. Esther had seven roommates? She was also just eighteen years old, that age, when we're all still trying to figure out exactly who we are, but Esther was.
having to do that in the middle of a pact, noisy house, and I realise that this is most likely me projecting my social preferences on her and it must have been met So, while the dream of the blue eyed bull and the falling cottage might have left her feeling unsettle daily life, most likely washed over her, like a tidal wave, Jim. done, and by the time evening arrive. It was all but forgotten, and I think Bob Macneil had something to do with that. Macneil was her gentlemen collar allow cool young man that she'd taken an interest in. He was good, looking charming It may be a bit wild and rough around the edges, something Esther didn't mind at all, but her family did they weren't a fan of by Macneil and told her. So every chance, the head Bob Macneil, they told her was dangerous, but that didn't stop Esther from climbing into his carriage that night. You
to take her for a ride. It was late August. Eighteen, seventy eight in the three side around their little town in Nova. Scotia was beautiful even in the dim light, but there's always darkness just around the corner. Isn't there when they reached the wooded area, Macneil pulled the carriage over and got out and then asked Esther to do the same. She sense something was wrong and shook her head. No, she said I'll stay here, but Macneil insisted and he pulled a revolver out of his pocket to show her just how serious he was Esther was about to scream or maybe cave in and get out of the carriage, but instead a noise
dartle, both of them from somewhere in the shadows. Another carriage was approaching Macneil quickly, shoved the pistol back into his coat and jumped into his seat and urge the horses to move their journey back to esters home was tense. He spent the entire way and at some point it and to reign, leaving her drenched in coal by the time she climbed out of the carriage she was crying uncontrollably from the entire ordeal. Of course, her family, no How can they not in a household so small and confining, but they just assumed the couple had an argument, but they never asked Anne Esther never stop. The talk. Just headed straight to bed days went by life was unremarkable and uneventful for everyone in the cottage Then, on September, fourth, Esther awoke in the middle of the night screaming when Jane asked her. What was wrong asteroid,
her that there was a mouse in their bed. She could feel it and soon enough so could Jane, except they couldn't see it in the end. They I just went back to sleep assuming the mouse was now inside their mattress, but the next night it happened again. This time, though the sounds were coming from a different location, it was almost as if Mouse had moved into a box beneath the bed so the young women pulled the box out before either of them could open it and expose the mouse. The box jumped straight into the air at least a foot nay said, landed on its side. There screams caught the attention of Daniel their sister, olives, huh. Who came rushing in, but after hearing their story, you just told them to go back to bed whatever
had happened, seem to sit on that fine line between unbelievable and unremarkable, a type of event. That's frightening enough. The shock you but not powerful enough to be provable or worth obsessing over, but the following night new events. Asked that line Jane awoke to the sound of Esther thrashing around in bed. I found. Sister having some sort of a seizure are fit? Her eyes were wide open and she was grinding her teeth and shaking Jane screamed for her. And after a few moments. All six of the other people in the house standing beside their bed, but before one could do anything to help Esther. The room shook with three massive powerful sounds. It was as if explosives had been detonated. nor if your imagination was really creative, as if something large were crashing against the side of the cottage like a bull
when the sound start, everyone turned back to Esther, but she no longer needed their help. She was fast, asleep would be another four nights before anything new happened. Daily life was smooth and uneventful for everyone seems, but a wooden last their short break was nothing more than the calm before the storm. On September eighth, just a couple of hours after everyone had gone to. Bed screams came from esters room waking, everyone up when they are I've found her having another seizure, jaw clenched and hands balled up in fists at her side. That's when things started to fly literally first day was a sheet from the bed, and
another, then a pillow flew up and hit Daniel in the face. No one saw who was throwing the items, but they could clearly see it happening. It was like a brief, awkward supernatural, pillow fight and all stopped. However, when three more loud booms shook the room after which they found Esther peacefully, sleeping once more Daniel said. He'd had enough the following morning, he called on the local physician, Doktor Carr right to come and check on Esther. Something was wrong with her. He said she needed help all of them. so when car I walk through the cottage door, most of them probably side with relief. After his examination was complete the doktor and declare that Esther was suffering from some sort of nervous excitement.
it was his opinion that something significant had happened to shocker and the anxiety from that event was still hunting her. That's when the pillow beneath her head somehow flew out and onto the floor, someone put it back, but it happen again Daniels brother John tried to hold the pillow down, but it continued to fly out and away from the bed and Doktor Carr. I was astonished He never seen anything like it in all of his years of practice, but before he could examine her, further and try to find a rational explanation for such an unusual thing. The room shook from this and of more massive booms. This time, though, it didn't stop with three it kept going on in on leaving all of them confused and afraid which made it the more frightening when writing began to appear on the wall over the head of asters bed.
It was as if an invisible finger were scratching words into the plaster. As each letter appeared, more and more plaster would crumble through the floor, but one of the larger chunks actually levitating upward before flying directly where the doctors face. When the invisible message was complete, everyone stared at it eyes wide and mouths open words were chilling, Astor Cox, It said you are mine to kill, and then it was over. The booming stopped, as did asters seizures, onest of all, though, was how the writing slowly began to fade away, almost as if it were rating. finishing back into the realm and had come from the things were far from over the following day car. I return to check on US We found that the same violent activity was still occurring. The booming noises were still happening from time to time
as much as the family search the house. They just couldn't seem to find the cause It was increasingly frustrated once standing in esters room with a handful of others, the he shouted out for the thing to tell him how many people were standing in the room. Every one heard the response by the Slow Knox, the one for each person present. Chairs and other small pieces of furniture would be seen sliding across the floor or sometimes level getting up and into the air on one of the doctors visits a handful of potatoes appeared from nowhere aimed straight at his head. I know. NATO's, no one ever admitted to throwing them. It was Esther who suffered the most though procedures in its refused to go away but she was also talking in her sleep. The one afternoon, olive walked. define Esther mumbling quietly when she stooped down to listen. She heard her sister described
The terrifying evening, she'd spent with Bob Macneil on the night of August twenty Eightth, so olive began asking around maybe Neil was somehow responsible for all of this. Has behaviour certainly fit the description of the traumatic event that Doktor Carr Right had originally blamed, but every person she asked in town give her the same. Puzzled look Macneil. They told her had gone missing days before the night of August. Twenty eight, in fact, that wasn't the only thing the community was whispering about, though Esther, her strange, invisible assailant had become the talk of the town so much so that neighbours and strangers begin to knock on the cottage door. Now hoping for a chance. Experience the odd events for themselves and they were never disappointed. All signs pointed to something bigger than a neighborhood prank, with Macneil nowhere to be found.
growing list of eye witnesses to the events and the seemingly supernatural nature of it all. It was becoming more and more obvious that something darker was at work. The clues were there every one could see them like smoke on the horizon. But as everyone knows where there's smoke, there's fire. The family decided that a new plan was in order if the invisible attacker leave us alone. Perhaps Esther should try to escape it so she and Jane were moved to a different room in the house. If it worked, the Spirit might actually give up and leave the inferior in practice, though they wasn't so
simple the very first night they slept in the new room there, invisible assailant, followed them. Waking Stir in the middle of the night, with a loud otherworldly voice, I told her that it plans to burn the house down Jane, however, never heard a sound, more voices followed second night, the spiritual Esther that had once been a living person. There Had been many years before excited by this new revelation asked your call. for the others to come and listen but just like Jane, they were all deaf to the voice. That's when the fire appeared, it was a lit match that seem to spark into existence. High above them against the ceiling, falling to the floor Jane, rushed over and stamped her foot on it to put it out, but almost immediately, a dozen more burning matches appeared in the air and fell to the floor like a rain of fire. This time everyone help to put them out, but, as the
Election of little flames was extinguished, one more ended on the dress that Esther had left on a chair fabric caught fire and, at the same time something invisible, move the dress onto the floor and then pushed it under the bed. For one frightening moment it looked as if the Spirit or ghost or whatever it was might just have its way and burn asked her alive. But at the last moment, Daniel reached under the bed and pulled the dress back out then stopped on it. Then it was over no more flames that night no more following matches, no more burning dresses, but every one feeling very afraid, because what, if right, what if one Those matches had fallen in a room. No one was in what. If had landed on something more flammable than the floor or address three days later. That's just what happened
while most of the family was out of the house, fire broke out in the cellar. It was just by chance that olive and Esther noticed the smoke and when they rushed down to see what had happened, they found a barrel of wood shavings, absolutely erupting with fire. Olive ran back up for a bucket of water, but spilled most of it in the panic, rushed back down stairs Esther ran out into the street where she found a stranger passing through town and begged him to come help his assistance is what saved the House TAT day. A few nights later. Esther claim to actually see the spirit that been haunting her, she said it was a great man with bright evil, eyes and ears a man told her to leave the house, or else he would burn everything she loved to the ground. So she did she packed up and went to a neighbour's house
spirit, followed her and I became normal life for her four months. She moved from place to place in town stain with friends or neighbours, and at each stop this spirit would, and a fast in some frightening way. Eventual driving her onto a new home. Sometimes it was the fire other times it was the loud voices or unexplainable booms, more furniture moved and more objects. Levitating once she was even stabbed in the back with a knife that belong to a boy in the shop where she worked. The knife had been in his pocket but had somehow flown out and pierced her skin. Not once but twice In June of eighteen, seventy nine she finally tried moving home, but almost immediately the fires began all over again Daniel and olives. Landlord was finally forced to threaten the family either the fires go or you do
and, although it pained everyone to do it, they agreed that Esther had to leave for good. In late July, at the age of just nineteen, she hugged her family, good, bye and left. She eventually made her way to a nearby farm where she found gene and employment, it was close enough to Amherst that she could visit her family from time to time but far enough away that everyone felt safe I can say that asked her story ends there, then, after that she disappeared from public record because their life returned to normal, but it didn't
not long after settling in at the farm, the barn burned to the ground. The owner accused Esther of arson. After a short trial. She was sentenced to four months in prison. She was released just one month later, ass. The story is a complex one, and I can see how at least on the surface her sounds a lot like. So many other haunted house or poltergeist stories with the invisible entered,
he and deadly occurrences been there done that right and yet well, it's hard to escape the notion that every story is worth telling that every story holds a unique quality or element that makes it worth passing on. The common elements give us a baseline for understanding the plot and the nuances at flavour and character, and the story of Esther Cox gives us all of that and more in the and it's impossible to say what the real source of the disturbance was no matter how skeptical or open we might be. Perhaps it was the trauma of that evening attack in the woods by Macneil, seem to step out of the story rather quickly, but so much of her emotional distress and suffering could easily be blamed on his assault or be it was the trauma of living in that house with so many other people as an introverted crave silence. More than anything else, I can attest
the maddening nature of community, but then again the benefits. having people around you supporting you, caring for you all that more than makes up for the madness and Esther experience that side of it as well. Oftentimes the clues are found in the after math. The public eye has a way of wandering on inside if some new shiny thing long before the story, has stopped kicking on the floor like a dying bug and we can learn a lot from those last twitches after being released, from prison a month after her conviction for arson, an actor, nay Walter huh,
all reached out to her with a proposition he'd been one of those countless supernatural tourists who had travelled to Elmhurst to witness the events the year before any written. The experience up in a book he called the great Amherst mystery. His new idea was to travel the country and promote the story with Astor at his side every step of the way and she agreed for a while. We worked together to tell her story throughout Canada and America, but when an angry MA broke out at one of these events, Esther refused to do another, so she packed up and left Hubble went on to make a fortune from his book. Esther, though state on the move after two sons bite her husband finally settled in Massachusetts, where she passed away in nineteen twelve at the age of fifty five.
whether it had been paranormal and other worldly or just a manifestation of a flammable personality. The fire of Esters youth is gone pulled apart by the winds of time like a fragile whispered smoke, This episode of war was written and produced by me. Aaron monkey with research help from MAR Crockett More is much more than upon cast there's a book series in bookstores around the country and online the second season of the Amazon Prime Television show, was recently released, check them both out, if you want more lore in your life
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Transcript generated on 2022-03-12.