Going In

Back from radio silence. We have not been ignoring our site. Far from it.

We were, in fact, knee-deep in our research on Frederick County’s most notorious resident for the last few weeks – not so much on historical events, which have been well-documented, but on what exactly happened to the group of people that went missing 20 years ago.

Then we got some news, and the plot thickened.

Was contacted by someone and we decided to put our story on hold until we could talk to them and see their side of things.

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Major Developments

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Found something in the forest yesterday, during a fairly routine walkabout:

A DV tape!

And that’s when the plot really thickened.

Believe us, we’re incredibly anxious to share our discovery with you. But first we’re trying to gather more specific information about the footage on this tape.

We’re posting to a copy to YouTube. Hopefully somebody will have more information on its origin and exactly what it is we’re seeing. This could blow the whole story of those disappearances wide open.

It’s an exciting time. Stay tuned!

The Missing Hikers No One Talks About

Because of where we live and what we do, we get a lot of questions about the 1994 disappearance of three students in the Black Hills Forest/Frederick City Watershed. Patience: In our next post, we’ll go into rich, gory detail about all the astonishing things we’ve learned.

But there’s a similar incident that’s been much less discussed. In fact, locals here simply pretend it didn’t happen.

In short, 1994 wasn’t the last time people went missing in our woods.

It happened in 2007. Four hikers from Portland, Maine were making their way down the Appalachian Trail (AT for short), which cuts through the northwest corner of our fine state. On or around July 31, all four hikers vanished. Forever.

True, people get lost on the AT all the time. But the Maryland section is famously easy to hike. If you go just 10 minutes off the trail, you’ll be down the hill and in plain sight. In short, it’s impossible to get lost here.

So where did these hikers go?

A lot of people point the finger at good old Burkittsville. After all, we’re just a mile off the AT, down Gapland Road. Hikers wander into town all the time to gawk at the cute old houses. But this town is literally three streets wide. Again, impossible to get lost. The only way you could disappear here is if a black van came by and scooped you up. Which, of course, could happen.

Anyway, for a proper dense forest to vanish in, whether you’re talking about 1994 or 2007 or 2014, you’d have to trek out to the watershed – a five hour walk from the AT. Not exactly an easy day trip.

Did those four Mainers get kidnapped? Did they stumble into a vortex and get transported to the darkest bowels of the watershed? Did the Snallygaster whisk them away? This is one Maryland mystery that even we can’t solve. No wonder people around here don’t talk about it.

January Link Roundup

As we prepare our next story – the one we hinted at last month – we’d like to give you a taste of the darker side of Western Maryland. These links serve as a reminder that we’re not just about tree houses and Civil War memorials.

Creepy Missing Person #1. The Black Hills Forest has claimed several lives over the years. While our own research is about those lost and never found, here’s a woman who was found but never identified. Note one juicy detail: Jane Doe was locked inside a steamer trunk with “sticks scattered over it.” Scattered randomly? Or ritually? The cops won’t say.

Creepy Missing Person #2. This guy was also found in the Gambrill section of the forest. Parts of his backbone showed “asymmetry and unusual irregularities” yet the skeleton “did not appear to have suffered trauma.” There’s something twisted here, and it’s not just John Doe.

The FBI and Whiskey Springs Pond. After our Snallygaster piece, some of you wrote in to ask why the FBI was looking for anthrax in the Frederick Watershed (a.k.a. Black Hills Forest). The Baltimore Sun has a good explanation. Oh, and here’s what the feds found.

A trip up (or down?) Spook Hill. Finally, the lighter side of the darker side: Burkittsville’s own Spook Hill, where you can put your car in neutral and it will roll up the hill on its own. We’ve tried it – and it absolutely works. Naturally, there’s local lore behind this: It’s said that the ghosts of Civil War soldiers are giving your car a push. Here’s a video of what it’s like.

Happy Krampus Day!

From all of us here at DarkNet666, we wish you and yours a delightfully devious Yule. We don’t know about you, but we’re celebrating by drinking gallons of mulled wine and watching Silent Night, Deadly Night installments until we black out.

Until we return, we wish you a Happy Hogmanay as well!

Maryland’s (Second) Most Famous Witch

As we’re based in Burkittsville, you might expect us to jump right in with the saga of our beloved local heroine. We promise you, there’s a lot to say about her that hasn’t been said yet – and soon, very soon, we’ll reveal our findings.

For now, however, we’d like to pay tribute to poor Mary “Moll” Dyer, the persecuted witch of St. Mary’s County.

Moll Dyer immigrated to Southern Maryland in 1677, when witchcraft trials were still the rage. Nothing is known about her first two decades in Newtown – today’s Leonardtown – but it’s possible that when she arrived, she was a married woman of good standing, and at some point was left widowed and isolated: an easy target for a witch hunt.

The winter of 1697 was bitterly cold, and a great influenza pandemic was beginning to take its toll. So who do you blame when the livestock are freezing to death and the children are perishing from the flu? Why, the old herbalist who lives in the forest, of course.

It happened in February 1697: the people of Newtown armed themselves with torches and marched down to Moll Dyer’s cabin with murder on their minds. They burned her cabin to the ground. But no one could find Moll herself.

Their torches dimming, the townsfolk retreated to their homes for the night. Meanwhile, Moll was hiding in a ravine. She had smelled the pitch from the torches and fled her home with no time to protect herself against the elements. She didn’t survive the night. Her frozen body was found the next day, embracing a small boulder. It was so cold that her very flesh stuck to the stone – namely, one hand and one knee.

Moll’s name lives on in Leonardtown: there’s a Moll Dyer Road along Moll Dyers Run, a creek in the ravine where she died.

The boulder that Moll was clutching remains a local talisman. At some point, it was moved from the ravine next to the town’s jail – perhaps as a warning to misbehaving children. People claimed you could even see the indentations of Moll’s hand and knee in the rock.

We headed down to Leonardtown last Saturday, before the snow hit, to see for ourselves. (This entailed a grueling slog through DC traffic. Anything for you, readers.)

The old Leonardtown jail is now the St. Mary’s County Historical Society. And yes, Moll Dyer’s Rock is still there, sitting next to the building. It’s surprisingly small – about the size of a duffel bag – and very plain. But if you use your imagination, you can indeed make out a hand-shaped indentation. It’s said that even in the heat of summer, the stone remains cold to the touch. The weather was a bit chilly when we visited, so we’ll have to take people’s word for it.

We ended our Leonardtown tour with a walk down Moll Dyer Road. Many accidents have occurred on this lonely, forested street, often attributed to a mysterious white dog. We didn’t see any dogs, but a very white blizzard did cause several accidents in the area the next day. Much as we’d like to, however, we can’t blame Moll Dyer for a regular old Southern Maryland snowstorm.