Episode 249: As this is our special Christmas episode. It is our tradition to tell a Yuletide-themed yarn. This one is about a duo of bandits who burglarized various shopping malls across the United States and Canada year after year during the holidays. Their insidious M.O. was to work from the inside. The group’s leader, a safe cracker named Willie Thomas Soke and his sidekick, a little person of colour called Marcus Skidmore, would acquire jobs inside the department store. Soke, a foul-mouthed, chronic alcoholic and sex addict, would play the store’s Santa Claus, and Skidmore, his evil sidekick, would be one of Santa’s elves. Finally, after the murder of the head of a mall security manager named Johnny ‘Gin’ Calhoun at a Phoenix, Arizona, shopping complex, the pair were brought to justice in 2003. This was thanks partly to the unwitting help of a Canadian-born 10-year-old boy, Thurman Merman, who was living in Phoenix with his grandmother.

Sources:

Achondroplasia | Johns Hopkins Medicine

City of Phoenix, Arizona, Police Department

Kiss an Angel Good Mornin’ – song and lyrics by Charley Pride | Spotify

Simon Fraser University

The University of British Columbia

‘Documentary’: Bad Santa

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Episode 248: In New York City on the 8th of December, 1980, the world was rocked by the murder of influential rock and roll icon, artist, sometimes controversial activist and dad John Lennon. After an evening recording session at the Record Plant, John Lennon and his wife, artist Yoko Ono returned to their Central Park West apartment building, The Dakota. As John and Yoko approached the entrance to the building, they passed a man for whom, only hours earlier, Lennon had signed an autograph. The man, Mark David Chapman, 25, watched the couple walk by and then pulled a .38 special from his coat and unloaded on John Lennon, shooting him in the back four times. The deadly hollow point bullets tore through the former Beatle, mortally wounding him. He was pronounced dead at Roosevelt Hospital later. When police arrived, they found Chapman patiently reading his book, Catcher in the Rye

Sources:

JOHN LENNON. GIMME SOME TRUTH.

The Beatles

This Is: The Beatles | Spotify Playlist

This is: John Lennon | Spotify Playlist

John Lennon’s “bigger than Jesus” quote | Slate

23 December 1969: John Lennon and Yoko Ono meet Canadian prime minister Pierre Trudeau | The Beatles Bible

The Catcher in the Rye | Summary, Analysis, Reception, & Facts | Britannica

Two Marks — Mark David Chapman, the man who killed John Lennon — Crime Library

BBC NEWS | Entertainment | John Lennon killer ‘wanted fame’

BBC ON THIS DAY | 8 | 1980: John Lennon shot dead

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Episode 247: In January of 1922, the first of a series of fires broke out on a farm in the small rural community of Caledonia Mills in Antigonish County, Nova Scotia. The family who lived at the farm, Alexander, 70, and sixty-nine-year-old Janet MacDonald, 69, and their 15-year-old adopted daughter Mary-Ellen, claimed the unexplained blazes, 30 in all, had begun in rapid succession in places not close to either wood stove. The fires and other terrifying occurrences that drove them out of the home, they believed, were caused by a malicious poltergeist bent on their destruction and focused around Mary-Ellen. News of the events brought renowned international investigators of things paranormal, even catching the attention of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, author of the Sherlock Holmes detective stories.

Sources:

Caledonia Mills: The Mary Ellen Spook Farm Case

Fire Spook by Monica Graham – Ebook | Scribd

Ghost Stories of Canada by John Robert Colombo, Jillian Hulme Gilliland – Ebook | Scribd

The Mary Ellen Spook

Folklore | Visit Antigonish

Caledonia Mills – Wikipedia

Folklore of Nova Scotia by Mary L. Fraser

Antigonish Heritage Museum – The Old Train Station News – Newsletter 8, Oct 2009

Hobgoblin – Wikipedia

Apparitions Of Black Dogs

Black Shuck: The Legendary Devil Dog Of The English Countryside

Investigating the Antigonish Fire Spook Haunting

PSICAN – Paranormal Studies and Inquiry Canada – Caledonia Mills Fire Spook

American Society for Psychical Research

A look back at the mysterious haunting of an Antigonish County farm, 100 years later | CBC News

More Canadian Poltergeists

The Mysterious Fire Spook of Caledonia Hills

Phantoms and Monsters – Real Cryptid Encounter Reports – Fortean Researcher Lon Strickler

Seeks Ghosts: Poltergeist: Fire Spook, Part l

Dark Visions: Personal Accounts of the Mysterious in Canada – John Robert Colombo – Google Books

Le cas curieux de la ferme Mary Ellen Spook – PREUVES DU PARANORMAL

poltergeist | Chambers Dictionary of the Unexplained – Credo Reference

spr.ac.uk |

Glossary | spr.ac.uk

Lexscien: Library of Exploratory Science

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Episode 246: John Ruffolo, 36, an employee of Brinks Canada at Butler Crescent location in Saanichton, British Columbia, was due to start a night shift at 10:30 PM on October 19, 2003. He was an ATM technician and an armoured car driver. When John didn’t show up, the rest of the armoured car crew waited 30 minutes before calling John’s home. A woman answered the phone, telling John’s co-worker, Jason Amos, that John had left for work some time ago. The crew waited a few more minutes before calling in a replacement.

John’s wife, Ruby Ann Ruffolo, reported her husband missing on October 20th. His car turned up outside a local pub in Victoria two days after that. On October 25, 2003, a hiker walking near Humpback Road in Langford, 15 kilometres from his Victoria home, found John Ruffolo’s body in a culvert and called the police. John’s body was uninjured except for puncture wounds, believed to be needle marks, on both arms.

Six months after John Ruffolo died, police arrested Ruby Ann Ruffolo and charged her with first-degree murder in her husband’s death. John’s surviving family had to wait seven long years for justice in a case beset by numerous delays, some initiated by the defendant and her lawyers, but also included a judge’s death and a mistrial. 

Sources:

John RUFFOLO Obituary (2003) – The Times Colonist

2010 BCSC 1630 R. v. Ruffolo

2012 BCCA 325 R. v. Ruffolo

826 Esquimalt Road, Victoria, BC — Google Maps

Routes from 994 Tulip Ave to 6721 Butler Crescent — Google Maps

Heroin | HealthLink BC

Amitriptyline – Oral | HealthLink BC

Nortriptyline – Oral | HealthLink BC

Canadian Domestic Homicide Prevention Initiative

CN BC: Judge’s Death Puts Cases In Jeopardy

Woman killed cheating husband with overdose of heroin | CTV News

Family furious over convicted killer’s release | CBC News

Murder victim’s family responds to Ruffolo’s release – Saanich News

Ruby Ann Ruffolo Guilty of First Degree Murder – YouTube

Ruby Ann Ruffolo loses last appeal of conviction for murdering husband in 2003 – Victoria Times Colonist

KidSport Canada | So all kids can play

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Episode 245: Between 1926 and 1928, a sinister darkness was afoot on a small chicken ranch in Wineville, California. When he was only 19, Gordon Stewart Northcott, a Canadian, had abducted, raped, tortured and murdered at least three and as many as 20 others. His victims were predominantly prepubescent boys. He sexually assaulted and released numerous others. When a portion of the truth came out, much of it was told by Northcott’s nephew, 13-year-old Sanford Clark. Northcott had brought Sanford with him from Canada two years before. 

Northcott viciously raped and beat Clark numerous times before tiring of him as he aged. Afterward, through fear and intimidation, Northcott coerced his nephew into assisting him in committing and covering up the murders of his victims. Even Northcott’s mother, Sarah Louise Northcott, helped in some of the crimes to keep her son out of jail. 

Sources:

The Road Out of Hell : Flacco, Anthony : Internet Archive

Nothing is Strange with You : Paul, James Jeffrey Internet Archive

Cold North Killers : Canadian Serial Murder : Mellor, Lee : Internet Archive

Beyond Evil by Robert Keller – Ebook | Scribd

Gordon Northcott | Murderpedia, the encyclopedia of murderers

10 Notorious Serial Killers Who All Suffered Childhood Head Injuries

Healdsburg Tribune 20 September 1928 — California Digital Newspaper Collection

Gordon Stewart Northcott’s handwritten confession, Riverside, 1928 – UCLA Library Digital Collections

People v. Northcott, 209 Cal. 639 | Casetext Search + Citator

Gordon Stewart Northcott Archives – Deranged LA Crimes ®Deranged LA Crimes ®

Gordon Stewart Northcott (1906-1930) – Find a Grave Memorial

Clark, chief witness in `20s child murders led exemplary life – Whittier Daily News

The Puzzling Disappearance Of Walter Collins | BuzzFeed Unsolved Wiki | Fandom

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Episode 244: On the morning of the 8th of July 1917, thirty-nine-year-old Tom Thomson, a renowned Canadian painter and skilled outdoorsman, set off well-supplied for a day-long fishing excursion in his canoe on Canoe Lake in Algonquin Provincial Park in Whitney, Ontario. A canoe, later identified as Thomson’s, was found floating upside down in the lake later on the same day. When Tom did not return from his fishing trip the next day, his friends became concerned. Eight days after Thomson first set out, Dr. G. W. (Goldwyn) Howland, a cottager from Toronto, spotted Tom’s bloated and decomposed body floating in the lake. An examination of Thomson’s body uncovered a large bruise on the right side of his head, and blood had come out of his right ear. Thomson’s death was quickly ruled an accident, and no police investigation occurred. Thomson was laid to rest in Mowat Cemetery near Canoe Lake, where he’d died. However, Thomson’s older brother George demanded the body be exhumed. Two days later, Tom’s grave was re-opened, the casket removed, and he was re-interred on July 21 in the family plot beside the Leith Presbyterian Church in what is now the Municipality of Meaford, Ontario.

Officially the matter was closed, but mythology has grown around Thomson’s death. In the intervening years since Thomson’s death, investigations by sleuths, amateur and professional, have come to various conflicting conclusions. Some agree with the initial findings that Thomson died due to accidental drowning. Others, however, suggest that Tom Thomson was murdered.

Sources:

Death on a Painted Lake: The Tom Thomson Tragedy

Algonquin Provincial Park | Ontario, Canada | The Friends of Algonquin Park

Tom Thomson | The Canadian Encyclopedia

The Group of Seven – Canadian landscape painters from 1920 to 1933

Canada’s History Books – Canada’s History

The Mysterious Death of Tom Thomson, Canadian Painter – alexanderadamsart

Tom Thomson: The Silence and the Storm by David Silcox, Harold Town – Ebook | Scribd

Tom Thomson by Joan Murray – Ebook | Scribd

Who Killed Tom Thomson? by John Little – Ebook | Scribd

The Many Deaths of Tom Thomson by Gregory Klages – Ebook | Scribd

The Mysterious Death of Tom Thomson by George A. Walker – Ebook | Scribd

Tom Thomson’s Last Paddle by Larry McCloskey – Ebook | Scribd

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Episode 243: Eighty years ago, on August 19, 1942, in Operation Jubilee began as the Allies attacked the French port of Dieppe on the English Channel Coast. Of the more than 6100 troops involved, five thousand were soldiers of the 2nd Canadian Infantry Division and a thousand British, many commandos, with a handful of others including Americans. The hope was to gain a foothold in Europe, breaching Hitler’s heavily-fortified Atlantic Wall. But unfortunately, the Germans were ready for them, and things did not go as planned. 

After nine excruciating hours of brutal fighting along the shore, the allied force retreated. Almost 1000 Allied troops lay dead, and at least 2000 more were prisoners of war, making this one of Canada’s darkest days ever in a time of war.

Sources:

Dieppe – Veterans Affairs Canada

The Dieppe Raid – Historical Sheet – Second World War – History – Veterans Affairs Canada

WarMuseum.ca – Democracy at War – Dieppe Raid, 19 August 1942 – Operations

Dieppe: a German Learning Experience – James Shelley – King’s College London

WWII: The Dieppe Raid – Canada at War

The Dieppe Raid : Juno Beach Centre

Cpt. Romuald Nalecz Tyminski, Polish Canadian Hero

PATRICK PORTEOUS VC

CBC – Dieppe

Prisoner of War: A Story from Dieppe : Juno Beach Centre

HyperWar: Six Years of War: The Army in Canada, Britain and the Pacific Chapter 11

HyperWar: Six Years of War: The Army in Canada, Britain and the Pacific Chapter 12

DIEPPE: “They Didn’t Have To Die!” – Legion Magazine

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Episode 242: On March 3, 2005, a contingent of RCMP constables, attended the property of James Michael Roszko, 46 in Rochfort Bridge, near Mayerthorpe, Alberta. The members were there to serve a search warrant for stolen property and a marijuana-growing operation on the farm, discovered the day before. Roszko, knowing the police would be arriving soon, armed himself with the help of a couple friends, Shawn Hennessey and Dennis Cheeseman, and then he laid in wait for the RCMP. When four of the officers, Anthony Gordon, Lionide “Leo” Johnston, Brock Myrol and Peter Schiemann, walked into a quonset hut on the farm. Roszko, hidden inside the building, opened fire on the four members, killing them and then himself before the other RCMP members on site could come to their aid. 

In the last episode we learned of the life of the murderer leading up to the day of the slaying of the four RCMP members. In this episode you’ll hear about the crime and its aftermath.

Sources:

Town of Mayerthorpe: Home

CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE STATISTICS – Darkness to Light

Report to the Attorney General : public inquiry into the deaths of Cst. Anthony Gordon, Cst. Lionide Johnston, Cst. Brock Myrol, Cst. Peter Schiemann and Mr. James Roszko – Open Government

Report to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General Public Fatality Inquiry – PDF

Fallen Four | Home

Fallen Four Memorial Park & Visitor Information Centre | Facebook

Line of Fire by Edward Butts – Ebook | Scribd

James Roszko | Murderpedia, the encyclopedia of murderers

RCMP Tribute to Five Officers

Mayerthorpe Tragedy – Wikipedia

2008 ABQB 242 (CanLII) | R. v. Hennessey | CanLII

2008 ABQB 282 (CanLII) | R. v. Cheeseman | CanLII

2009 ABQB 60 (CanLII) | R. v. Hennessey | CanLII

2010 ABCA 274 (CanLII) | R. v. Hennessey | CanLII

Murder charge approved in Burnaby RCMP officer’s killing | CTV News

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Episode 241: On March 3, 2005, a contingent of RCMP constables attended the property of James Michael Roszko, 46, in Rochfort Bridge, near Mayerthorpe, Alberta. The members were there to serve a search warrant for stolen property and a marijuana-growing operation on the farm, discovered the day before. Roszko, knowing the police would be arriving soon, armed himself with the help of a couple of friends, Shawn Hennessey and Dennis Cheeseman, and then he lay in wait for the RCMP. When four of the officers, Anthony Gordon, Lionide “Leo” Johnston, Brock Myrol and Peter Schiemann, walked into a quonset hut on the farm. Roszko, hidden inside the building, opened fire on the four members, killing them and then himself before the other RCMP members on-site could come to their aid. 

This episode covers the life of the murderer and leads us up to the slaying of the four RCMP members. Next week in part 2, you’ll hear about the crime and its aftermath.

Sources:

Town of Mayerthorpe: Home

CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE STATISTICS – Darkness to Light

Report to the Attorney General : public inquiry into the deaths of Cst. Anthony Gordon, Cst. Lionide Johnston, Cst. Brock Myrol, Cst. Peter Schiemann and Mr. James Roszko – Open Government

Report to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General Public Fatality Inquiry – PDF

Fallen Four | Home

Fallen Four Memorial Park & Visitor Information Centre | Facebook

Line of Fire by Edward Butts – Ebook | Scribd

James Roszko | Murderpedia, the encyclopedia of murderers

RCMP Tribute to Five Officers

Mayerthorpe Tragedy – Wikipedia

2008 ABQB 242 (CanLII) | R. v. Hennessey | CanLII

2008 ABQB 282 (CanLII) | R. v. Cheeseman | CanLII

2009 ABQB 60 (CanLII) | R. v. Hennessey | CanLII

2010 ABCA 274 (CanLII) | R. v. Hennessey | CanLII

Murder charge approved in Burnaby RCMP officer’s killing | CTV News

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Episode 240: Canada has had a long and embarrassing history of race relations, starting with the indigenous peoples who’d lived here for thousands of years prior to the arrival of European colonizers. 

Our nation has also facilitated the mass internment of people perceived as threats to our national security during war time. As World War I raged in Europe, internment camps were set up to house Ukranians, Germans, Turks and Bulgrians. Of the more than 8500 detainees involuntarily held in camps across the country, a small percentage were women and children, the dependants of the men being held. Other internees included homeless people, conscientious objectors, and members of outlawed cultural and political associations. 

At the outset of World War II, a number of Canadian citizens of German and Italian decent, as well as Jews who were immigrating to Canada, fleeing Europe were rounded up and put into internment camps. After the Japanese attack on the United States in Pearl Harbour, Hawaii, on 7 December, 1941, North Americans were afraid. The Second World War had come far too close to home. Just over a month after the Pearl Harbour attack, a process began which saw the mass internment of Japanese Canadians from 1942 until 1949. Many of the detainees, including women and children, had been born in Canada. The country they’d grown up to love had uprooted them from their homes, seized their properties and taken away their rights and freedoms.

Dark Poutine is sponsored by BetterHelp.

Sources:

Internment in Canada | The Canadian Encyclopedia

Internment of Japanese Canadians | The Canadian Encyclopedia

The Canadian Race Relations Foundation — Legalized Racism

Japanese Canadian History – The Politics of Racism

Hastings Park Internment Centre – vancouvertraces

Japanese Canadian Historic Sites in BC: Journeys of Home | Super, Natural BC

Hastings Park 1942 | Internment at Hastings Park

Tashme: A forgotten internment camp remembered – Fraser Valley Current

Tashme | Historical Project

Canada’s Internment Camps – Canadian History Ehx

“Enemy Aliens” – The Internment of Ukrainian Canadians | Canada and the First World War

From Racism to Redress: The Japanese Canadian Experience

Japanese Canadian internment and the struggle for redress | CMHR

Japanese Internment

Japanese Canadian Historic Places – Heritage BC

HOME PAGE – Nikkei National Museum & Cultural Centre

Internment in Canada: WW1 vs WW2 – All About Canadian History

Vanishing B.C. Japanese-Canadian internment sites in the Slocan

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