Sunday, June 26, 2016

Pesky Tommyknockers-MTEP8

Mystery Tidbits Episode 8-Pesky Tommyknockers
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I remember some years ago when i was in the fifth grade traveling with my class to Park City, Utah. At the time their was a popular silver mine which was available for tours (last i had heard it was shut down due to flooding). As we entered the visitor center we were told that we would be getting on an elevator in the mine and heading deep into its shafts. As we exited the elevator, our tour guide began showing us through some of the tunnels and gave us some brief history on the mine. For our own entertainment, the guide began to tell us of those elusive little people known as Tommy Knockers. Of course, when you are in fifth grade you are still impressionable and want to say you don't believe in something like that to others, yet question it in your own mind if they really exist or not. Needless to say, the interest in Tommy Knockers has always been there for me.

Wikipedia defines the Tommy Knocker as "About two feet tall and grizzled, but not misshapen, they live beneath the ground. Here they wear tiny versions of standard miner's garb and commit random mischief, such as stealing miner's unattended tools and food".

Lance Foster from the Paranormal Montana blog writes an account of an incident at the Charter Oak Mine in Montana: "During one of my initial visits, mining historian Mary Horstman was with me. We were looking around and was up by the compressor shed when we started hearing some sounds from inside the adit, the same one they speak of in the story as still being left open but protected by iron bars. We came closer and heard the distinct sounds of tap tap tapping, as of a steel hammer against rock. I looked at Mary, and she said, "Tommyknocker--" And she would know, because she came from a mining family herself. We listened to the sounds some more. They were not the sound of rock shifting, nor water dripping, but of tool against rock. We crept a little closer, and the sounds stopped. We had that feeling of awe, fear and joy you get when you encounter the unknown".

I can vaguely recall one thing from the tour in Park City that our guide told us about the Tommy Knockers, and that was that when you hear them knock the walls with their hammers, do no knock back. And if you hear the knock getting louder, that is you indication to get out of them mine, unless you want to join them of course.

Tim Willoughby recounts a good explanation of the Tommy Knockers in an April 18th, 2010 article of The Aspen Times titled Beware of Tommyknockers : “Don't go anywhere near the mines!” my parents said when I was in grade school. That admonishment carried little authority and less credibility because my mining father had taken me into mines. Many mine tunnel entrances were open then, and even a few shafts invited inspection. I rarely ventured beyond where a flashlight was needed, and my parents' stories of what might befall me should I venture too far underground protected me from serious danger.

When I was older and more likely to take risks, even just as a form of rebellion, my mother resorted to the parenting technique of my grandparents: stories of Tommyknockers.

Tommyknockers, like the Irish equivalent Leprechauns, are wee people who shared the underground with superstitious Cornish miners. Miners hear eerie sounds working underground. Sounds made by the earth moving along fault lines, miners in distant tunnels setting off dynamite charges, and whirring machinery echoing off tunnel walls — all could be attributed to Tommyknockers. Sounds of dripping water, braying mules and creaking mine cars were compounded by total darkness.

Cornish miners believed that benevolent Tommyknockers beckoned them toward finding fortunes. They believed that Tommyknockers warned them of impending disasters, especially cave-ins. Tommyknockers were the diminutive creatures knocking on tunnel walls, signaling immediate danger.

On the negative side, if you actually saw a Tommyknocker, you were going to die. This unfortunate characteristic has never been proven wrong; no one has ever seen one and lived to tell the tale. Trickster Tommyknocker tales were told both in jest and in seriousness; tools disappeared, items fell down shafts when dropped by deranged wee folk, they extinguished lamps and candles and left miners hopeless in the dark, and committed other malevolent folklore.

Tommyknocker stories traded among miners entertained listeners who believed every detail and perpetuated the mythology for generations. During my mother's generation, parents told their children Tommyknocker stories, most likely fabricated extemporaneously, that staunched any curiosity for entering mines. A Cornish miner's fondness for sharing the underground with short-stature helpers was replaced with negative “Hansel and Gretel” mythology. The possibility of Tommyknocker encounters prevented impressionable children from venturing far from their yards.

If you are hiking with children and come across an old mine tunnel entrance, listen for the Tommyknockers. You are bound to hear suggestions of their presence. Even if you do not hear them, tell a few Tommyknocker stories, ones about the playful short people who watch out for those who venture underground. Let's trade in Steven King's frightful Tommyknockers for those of Cornish folklore, unless you need to dissuade a daring 8-year-old boy from crawling into the mountain

To conclude, a tale from concerning Walter Schwartz: "Walter knows the story of the ghost of Yuba Jack. He was a prospector and fell in love with the town's proprietor or also known as the madam. The madam ran the local bordello at Washington. The madam and Yuba Jack had a falling out and now Yuba Jack haunts the Yuba House looking for his long lost lover Cat House Kelly. So it appears that the Yuba House is not only haunted by Chili Jack, but also a ghost named Yuba Jack. Walter lives in a haunted house and things have been moved from one room to another and one time he found his kitchen in shambles by an unseen force. Walter's great grandfather was George Grizzle and legend has it that George was shot off a stagecoach while headed for Graniteville. Walter is a bit of a historian himself, he knows about how the Wells Fargo Stagecoach stopped here before heading over to Susanville. Walter tells about an old Chinese man ghost that waves at passerby's. He tells me about the Tommyknockers. During crispy Summer nights, people have heard clinging at the rocks near the creek. They hear a continuous ching, ching, ching. These are the Tommyknockers, ghostly miners that haunt the creek area. The largest gold nugget, 5lb, the size of a baseball was discovered in Washington. He also tells me how George Kohler, built the dry goods store next to his home and would sell everything from dynamite to dry beans. From all indications, the whole town of Washington is haunted and it appears the creek is haunted by the Tommyknockers and the ghostly children that play there."

Beware of the little guys, and keep an eye on your children, you never know when they may appear!

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Butch Cassidy-MTEP7

Mystery Tidbits Episode 7-Butch Cassidy
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Butch Cassidy, one of the American Wests greatest mysteries. I believe it is safe to say that most people have heard of Butch and what he was famous for, robbery. But what happened to Butch? History would have you believe that Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid packed up and headed to South America where, in Bolivia, in 1908, they were gunned down and killed.

For the sake of history, this would be the most simple explanation, however there is more to it than that. whether new evidence that is brought to light is fiction or fact, several accounts suggest that Butch and Sundance returned to the United States after being "killed" in Bolivia.

Here are some facts about Butch:
1. Butch Cassidy's real name was Robert LeRoy Parker.
2. He was born on April 13, 1866 in Beaver Utah.
3. Butch was a bank and train robber who was wanted in several states.
4. Butch, Sundance and Etta Place did in fact move to South America at some point.

At this point is where history turns and becomes mystery. In Michael Rutters book "Outlaw Tales of Utah" He states about the outlaws being killed in Bolivia "The outlaws were probably glad to have this rumor spread-indeed, they probably started it."(Rutter, 13)

He goes on to say that some historians believe that the outlaws came back to the U.S. around 1910-1913, split up and led separate lives. Rutter says that Butch most likely moved to Spokane, Washington and worked as a business man and that he reportedly died in the Pacific Northwest in 1937. (Rutter, 13-14)

In his latest book "Butch Cassidy the Untold Story", Kerry Ross Boren seems to have his own ideas about where Butch Cassidy lived after 1908 and where he died. Boren states that "Butch Cassidy did not die at San Vicente, Bolivia, on 6 November 1908, nor did he die at Johnnie, Nevada, on 16 March 1944. Butch Cassidy died at Leeds, Utah, on 12 December 1956, at the age of ninety..."(Boren, 671). His reasoning for his conclusion stems from a long story in the his book prior to the statement i just quoted.

If anything, give these two books a read, they are entertaining at the very least.

Chances are, Butch and Sundance died in Bolivia, but i would like to believe that there is more to the story than this.

(Alway remember, if you have a mysterious story you would like to submit to Mystery History the Paranormal and More send it to Paul Workman at with the subject "spooky story")

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Protectors from Beyond Part 2-MTEP6

Mystery Tidbits Episode 6-Protectors From Beyond Part 2
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The protectors from beyond seem to appear quite often within the High Uintah Mountains in Utah. Another instance involves two men named Bill Bleazard and Hap Stevenson. Stevenson was a superstitious man to begin with and was frightened by the thought of being in the mountains after dark, therefore he and Bleazard always made it back to their camp before the sun went down. Farm Creek was the area in which they were treasure hunting on this particular day and were following an old Indian and Spanish trail. They split up and were walking several hundred feet apart from each other. As the night grew close, Bleazard yelled to Stevenson to make him aware that it was getting close to the time that they should start heading back to camp. Stevenson answered back to Bleazard by saying “If we get too close to that gold, the spirits will get us”. Ironically, these words were the last that Stevenson would ever say. Bleazard called back to him, but he did not answer. When Bleazard reached Stevenson, he had found that Stevenson had a heart attack. (1)
Could Stevenson have gotten so close to the treasure that the “protectors” stopped him from actually finding it?
Perhaps this story can be supported with some evidence from a white man who was working with some Ute Indians. The unnamed source was in a service of government position and became acquainted with several high ranking Ute Tribe members. On this particular day, the white man and his two Native American companions were in the Rock Creek area, near where an old Spanish mine was said to be located. He proceeded to ask if either of the two Indians knew where the mine was located. They did not answer and the white man immediately noticed a change in his two companions demeanor. When he asked again one of the Indians said “You are my friend. I don’t want you to die. If you get too close to those mines the spirits will get you. You will get sick and die.” (2)
To conclude, a man by the name McKenzie, who was a construction worker on the Upper Stillwater Dam in Rock Creek, enjoyed prospecting in the area on his off hours. One day, in an area known as Miners Gulch, while digging around, McKenzie found a grave site, which contained four skeletons. From his best guess, he assumed that there were two white men and two Indians buried there. He told an Indian co-worker about what he had found and he referred him to an old Indian woman. She warned him that if he continued to disturb the site that it would not mean good things for his life, and that it could be put it in jeopardy. She told him there was a spirit that guarded the graves, a spirit that he should steer clear of. She also mentioned that there was a mine nearby. He traveled those trails often and, though no one was there besides McKenzie, he also felt as if he was being watched. McKenzie saw something there one day that scared him so bad that he quit his job and never returned to the area, though it was never revealed what it was that he saw. He told his Indian friend that he was getting out of the area while he was still alive. (3)

1.) Faded Footprints: The Lost Rhoades Mines and Other Hidden Treasures of the Uintahs by George A. Thompson, 93.
2.) Thompson, 118.
3.) Thompson, 118-119.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Protectors from Beyond Part 1-MTEP5

Mystery Tidbits Episode 5-Protectors From Beyond Part 1
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The Uinta Mountains in Utah are heavily sprinkled with adventure, history and not to mention, mystery. The mountains are not only home to an endless amount of wealth in gold and silver, they are also home to spirits who protect that wealth, which begs the question, would a person be able to enjoy that wealth before meeting an untimely demise?

A Native American Ute by the name of Tabuache, or best known as "Wash" retold his tale of his run in with some "Protectors from beyond". The story begins with Wash as a child, being told a tale, which took place around 1845, near Rock Creek in the Uintah Mountains. He was told that in that year a run in took place between approximately 15 Mexicans and about 75 Utes. The Utes were upset due to the influx of intruders onto their land and found a number of Mexicans with some horses and a wagon, which was filled with Gold. The Mexicans were massacred and by the order of their leader, Tabby, the Utes were commanded to remove traces of the massacre from the site. The gold bars which were found in the wagon were turned over to the squaws of the tribe and returned to the mountains near the mine from where they had came and tossed into a nearby lake. (1)

When Wash became a little older, he became more adventurous. He had remembered the story of the massacre and how the gold had been thrown into a lake, therefore he felt the ambition to set out a search for them. He knew his journey for the gold was forbidden due to the fact that the gold was sacred, still he went. According to Wash, the gold was thrown into one of the three Brown Duck Lakes in the High Uintahs, and due to a drought that year, the glaciers and snow banks which fed the lake had receded, allowing a good view to the bottoms of which were once deep lakes. (2)

The Area where the gold had supposedly been deposited was in a deeper part of the lake, therefore it was only accessible in years of drought. As he waded into the depths of the icy cold water, he immersed his head under water and to his surprise he saw several gold bars laying deep in the submerged sliderock. He realized that due to the golds depth and the cold temperature of the water, he could not reach them in bare skin. (3)

Wash left and returned later with a 10 foot lodgepole with a piece of bailing twine attached at the end with a loop. It took him many tries to snag one of the gold bars, submerging his head to make out their location better and making many trips back to the shore to warm himself. As he went back and gave it another try, he was successfully able to get the loop over one of the bars, bring it close enough to his feet where it dropped and he was able to pick it up and take it to the shore. (4)

This is where the story takes an unnerving turn.

Wash, again, was about to make his way back to the water to retrieve another bar when he began to hear a strange sound coming from under the ledges of the deepest part of the lake. As he looked up he saw what appeared to be an aquatic creature that resembled a dinosaur. Wash immediately thought that it was a spirit guardian of the sacred gold. He immediately packed his gear up and headed home. (5)

Wash Did not meet an untimely demise, however, if he would have stayed to retrieve more gold bars, perhaps he would have. Have any treasure hunters met their demise while looking for untold riches? Stay tuned for "Protectors from Beyond, Part 2".

1.) The Gold of Carre-Shinob by Kerry Ross Boren and Lisa Lee Boren, 158
2.) Boren, 159
3.) Boren, 159
4.) Boren, 159
5.) Boren, 159

An official schedule.

Hey everybody, thanks for checking out Mystery and History. I want to thank everyone who has checked out the podcasts, Mystery Tidbits and History Tidbits, thus far. It means alot!! As of right now I have released 2 History Tidbits episodes and 4 Mystery Tidbits Episodes, we'll call that releases for the Month of May. How the release schedule will work is as follows: 2 episodes of History Tidbits will be released per month, it is a bi-weekly podcast. 4 episodes of Mystery Tidbits will be released per month, it will be a weekly podcast. episodes will be released on sundays, unless otherwise noted. today is the first sunday of the month and a new Mystery Tidbits will be released by the end of the day. Thank you so much again for the support. If you have any topics that you wish to hear about on either podcast, shoot me an email at

Utah's Prehistoric People-HTEP2

History Tidbits Episode 2-Utah's Prehistoric People
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The Early peoples of Utah are estimated to have began around 11,000 B.C.1, a short while after the ice age ended, they are referred to today as Paleo-Indian. The Paleo-Indian were mostly nomadic, hunted “mammoths, giant sloths, camels, giant bison, and other animals that are now extinct”, and “gathered seeds, berries, and other plants”. They made refuge along streams and the Great Salt Lake where they could find more of a variety of foods including cattails, roots, birds, rabbits, and fish.2

The Fremont cultures of Utah seem to have had a large role in Utah’s history. The Uintah Fremont culture began around 500 A.D. and lasted until 950 A.D., Approximately. The Duchesne Fremont culture however, is the most significant of the Fremont’s. Their existence was from 700 A.D. to 1200 A.D. They developed a higher standard of living by combining agriculture, hunting, and gathering lifestyles. They developed a system of irrigating, some ditches were miles long.3

As time passed, the Fremont’s changed and evolved, eventually forming into the Ute’s. The Ute’s have a rich history in Utah and Colorado but perhaps one of the most significant advances obtained by the Ute’s was the gain of the horse. In 1680 there was an uprising by the Pueblo Indians against the Spaniards, which is known as the Pueblo Revolt. Due to the Revolt, 7000 head of horses were abandoned by the Spanish when they fled down the Rio Grande. Over the years the horse spread to the plains where the Ute eventually received them.4

The possession of the horse transformed the Ute’s from a pedestrian people to an equestrian people. It made them more efficient in their day to day living. Hunting became better because it allowed them to cover more land in a shorter period of time which led to them becoming more successful on their kills, it allowed them to increase the size of their band whereas before one could only goes as fast as ones slowest member and it helped them to develop into a warrior society by allowing them to fight from horseback and have the speed to keep up with an enemy.5

Native Americans had one of the biggest impacts on Utah and its history. They were the first here and they knew how to work the land. Working the land was and still is one of the most important skills one can have. We grow and hunt food with skills that the Indians used throughout the past centuries.
1. Utah 24
2. Utah State History. “Utah's Prehistory in a Nutshell.” 11 Apr 2009

3. Barton, John. “Ute Lands and People.” Unpublished Manuscript
4. Barton, John. “Lecture 1A.” Viewed on Blackboard 11 Apr 2009.
5. Barton, John. “Lecture 1A.” Viewed on Blackboard 11 Apr 2009.

Ghosts of Sand Creek-MTEP4

Mystery Tidbits Episode 4-Ghosts of Sand Creek

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On November 29th, 1864, Cheyenne and Arapahoe Native Americans awoke to the sight of approximately seven hundred men of the Third Colorado Regiment racing toward their camp at Sand Creek where inevitably most of those Native Americans would lose their lives.

Prior to the attack the territorial governor at the time, John Evans, made it clear for all Colorado citizens to dispose of all hostile Indians on the plains. A meeting which took place before the attack at Sand Creek, which included several Indian chiefs along with John Evans and Colonel John Chivington, the military commander of the territorial militia, concluded with the Native Chiefs wanting to find locations where they would not be considered hostile and where they could find refuge and be placed under protection of the military.

The Cheyenne and Arapahoe Indians were told to travel to Fort Lyon where they would find protection. Unfortunately, when they arrived, they were told that their was no more room at the fort and were instructed to travel forty miles northeast of the fort where they would still be considered under protection of the military.

On that morning in November many Native Americans began to panic and ran away from an approaching regiment. Black Kettle, a Cheyenne Chief, stood in front of his lodge and an American flag telling his people to not fear, that they were safe. Black Kettle was wrong. The regiment massacred the Native Americans killing their men, women and children. Witnesses claimed that some men of the regiment went as far as to carve the genitals from the women’s bodies and stretch them across their saddle horns.

Barbaric was this incident and it no doubt left an imprint on those who were involved with it. Perhaps it even made an imprint on the land itself. Perhaps the spirits of those who passed on that day still live in the area. A report given by a buffalo hunter almost one year after the incident is one that is unexplainable. The hunter claimed to have seen a group of Cheyenne Natives camped by the shores of Sand Creek. When he sent his scout to speak to the natives no one was there when he arrived. The scout claimed that though he saw nothing there he felt that something very wrong had gone on in the area. Eleven months later the hunter saw a similar scene in the same area again, but this time he also heard chanting.

Another account, which happened in 1911, was from a women who claimed to have heard crying. She searched the area for hours with no luck of finding the source of the mysterious cries.

Was this incident horrific enough to leave an imprint so clear that people for years after would be able to view and hear its events. Perhaps it is not a case of residual energy and it is just the spirits from that November day not able to leave the place of their unfair defeat.