The Darkside Haunted Estates
My name is Thomas Scott. I am a detective with the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation. I work the cold case files. I was asked to check into several unsolved murders in a remote area of Johnston County, an area called Emit. In the last several decades there had been multiple unsolved murders in this area, and all had taken place at an abandoned asylum.
I began my investigation by pulling out all the information on past investigations of the murders. The older information I looked over was vague and not too in-depth. At the time of most of the murders, forensic science was in its infancy so there was very little evidence collected that would help. I decided to concentrate on the latest murders. The latest victims were four teenagers, two males and two females who were killed about ten years ago.
According to the police report the last time they were seen alive was by an officer who ran them off from a store parking lot. The store manager had complained about kids loitering around the parking lot after store hours. Apparently the kids decided to drive out to the abandoned asylum to have a party. They did not return home and the kids were reported missing the next day. A state trooper found their car later that day parked at the head of the dirt path that led off into the woods to where the asylum is located. They had to leave their car parked at the head of the path because a chain link fence had been put up to stop people from driving down the path. They climbed the fence and made their way down the two-mile path to the asylum.
The police cut the lock off of the gate and made their way up to the asylum. The road had become over grown with weeds and small trees so that they had to clear the road back up the path. When the police got to the asylum they found the bodies of four young people. One of the boys was found hanging on the front fence that surrounds the asylum property. A part of the fence had been broken and was hanging at a forty-five degree angle. The back of the young man’s head had been impaled on the broken piece of fence. One of the girls was found just inside the fence. She had been buried in the ground up to her neck and honey had been smeared on her face so that ants would eat her alive. The other two were found inside the main building. The second young man was found in what use to be the morgue. He had been autopsied and sewn back up. The coroner’s report said that the young man was alive at the time he was autopsied. The second girl was found in one of the patient’s rooms. She had been beaten to death with a hammer. The hammer was still in her head.
The coroner’s report also said that with each of the victims there was a lack of blood in the bodies. This was attributed to the puncture wounds found all over their bodies. Each of the bodies had about 10 to 15 pairs of puncture wounds all along the main veins and arteries of the bodies. The coroner figured that whatever caused the wounds had two prongs on it about two-and-a-half to three inches apart and about two inches long.
The investigating officer was John Holt, Sheriff at the time of the killings. Unfortunately Sheriff Holt has passed away since the murders and so had everyone else who had worked on the case. So, I read all of the information he had recorded during the investigation.
Sheriff Holt had researched the number of recorded deaths linked to the asylum. Since its closing in 1902, there had been 42 unsolved murders. He concluded that whoever was committing the murders did not have any kind of preference because the victims varied in age, sex, and race. Given the length of time in which all of the killings have taken place, there would have to be more than one killer. It would not be likely that there is a hundred-year- old man or woman killing people for trespassing. But, it could be a family that is committing the killings and carrying on the “family tradition”. Each of the victims had puncture wounds around the neck, down the inside of the arms and thighs, which would account for the lack of blood in the bodies. The question to be answered was what happened to the blood? As many wounds that the victims had there should have plenty of blood. There was no blood around the bodies. This meant that they could have been killed somewhere else and brought to the asylum. The only fingerprints that could be found were that of the victims. Shoe prints in the dust on the floors proved to be that of the victims. All the evidence seemed to show that the victims had been the only ones there.
One theory that developed was that the young man found hanging on the fence was the perpetrator of the whole thing. He had done the killings and was trying to leave when he somehow or other managed to get killed on the fence. If he did kill the others then what happened to his blood? Plus, he had the same puncture wounds as the other victims and he was hanging about two feet off of the ground. There had to have been someone else there.
The lack of blood around the victims might indicate that they were killed somewhere else and brought to the asylum. If that theory were correct, one would think that evidence of someone else would be there: a fingerprint, shoe print...something, but there was nothing. The officers checked all over the grounds for footprints or tire tracks. The only tracks were that of the kids. If someone had carries four bodies up a dirt path for two miles they would have left some kind of evidence behind.
The other part of the puzzle that could not be answered was how the kids got into the buildings. All of the doors were locked, as were the windows. The officers had to force the locks to turn because of the amount of rust on them. With so many questions and no answers, the case went cold and was labeled unsolved.
I was interested in the owner of the property. The State of North Carolina had owned it until the time of the last killings. The State sold the property in an auction shortly thereafter. The new owners were a group called The Darkside Haunted Studio Productions. The Darkside Studio Productions is an entertainment company that wanted to play off of the history of the place and build a haunted attraction. The CEO and owner of Darkside Studio production was Jason Champion. He was the man I wanted to talk to.
I made an appointment with Mr. Champion for the next afternoon. I would have to go past the asylum on my way to see him, so I asked if I could go by and look at the place. He told me I could. He said he would have someone to meet me there and let me in.
The next day I drove up to the asylum. I stopped at the chain link fence at the beginning of the path that leads up to the place. I saw the gate was already unlocked so I continued. The path was overgrown with weeds and small trees but a vehicle could still drive on it. As I came up to the front gate I saw it too was unlocked. I parked my truck and called out but no one answered so I started to look around. I had gone into several buildings, did not see anything out of the ordinary. I went into the main building and started looking around. I opened a door to one of the rooms and stepped inside. It was too dark to see anything. I turned around to go back out to my truck and get a flashlight when I was startled to see an elderly man standing behind me. Without thinking I pulled my gun out and pointed it at him.
“Hold on sonny, you might hurt somebody with that thing”, said the old man sounding as surprised as I was.
“Who are you?” I asked, gun still in hand.
“Clarence, Clarence Baker. And who might you be?”
“I’m detective Tom Scott with the S.B.I. What are you doing here?” I asked.
"I’m the caretaker here.”
“Why didn’t you answer when I called?” I asked as I lowered my gun.
“I don’t hear as good as I use to. I saw you go in here and I followed. Is there anything I can help you with?”
“Not really. I think I’ve seen enough. But let me ask you a question. What do you know of the history of this place?”
“It’s old like me,” he said with a snarl. “Come on, I’ve got an office down the hall. I’ll tell you all I know.”
The office he referred to was a small room with a small window on one side, a beat up old desk, a small table and a couple of chairs. There was a small wood stove with a fire going to heat up a pot of coffee. He pulled a couple of tin cups off of a shelf and asked if I wanted a cup of coffee. I nodded. After he poured us both some coffee, he kicked back into one of the chairs and motioned me to sit in the other. He took a sip of his coffee and began to tell the story of the insane asylum.
“This placed was built back in 1853. A foreign doctor by the name of Alucard Dalav went to the state prison system and asked permission to build this place. The doctor said that he had developed a new treatment that would help the criminally insane get well. He needed a place to do more research and since the prison system was full, they decided to help him out. The place was built according to his specifications. When it was finished, they started sending him his victims.”
“Victims? What do you mean by victims?” I asked, taking notes as he talked.
“This place was no more that a torture house. Dr. Dalav was doing all kinds of experiments, cutting people up while they were still alive, doing surgery on them without putting them to sleep. I even heard that he drained some of the prisoner’s blood and drank it. He seemed to get some kind of satanic pleasure from listening to the prisoners scream in pain. Prisoners came but none of them ever left. There’re graves all over this property. Most of them are not even marked. I was told that some of the prisoners were cut up, cooked and served to the other inmates to eat. From 1885 to the time this placed closed I bet you that there were three to four thousand people that came in here but none of them ever left, at least not alive.”
“Was any of this ever reported?”
The old man grinned and said, “Yeah, but nobody cared.” Everybody sent here was scheduled to be hanged or executed by some means or other. It just saved the state a great deal of time and money by letting Dalav kill them.”
“I read that they closed this place down in 1902. Do you know why?”
“Now, there’s a mystery for you."
"No one knows what really happened. I had heard that a prisoner had gotten religion, claiming that Dr. Dalav was the devil. He was out to set the world free of him. He was handing out homemade crosses and wooden stakes. The prisoners began to riot. They over took the guards and started killing them. One of the guards got away and went for help. By the time he got back with help the rest of the guards and all of Dr. Dalav’s assistants were dead. Most of the guards had been beaten to death. Some were found with their heads cut off. Dr. Dalav’s assistants had stakes driven through their hearts. It was a mess. There was only a hand full of people left. They were so messed up in the head that they didn’t make any sense. They were talking about the living dead, vampires and such.”
“How do you know so much about this place?” I asked with a cop’s curiosity.
“I guess I’ve been around here too long,” he said with a sigh.
I looked at my watch and realized that I would be late for the meeting with Mr. Champion if I didn’t get on the road. “Thanks for the history lesson. Just one more question. Do you live around here?”
“Yeah, I’ve got a little shack out on the back side of the property. It was part of my contract with the place.”
I thanked Mr. Baker again and then made my way back out to my truck and headed back down the path to the road. As I came upon the outer gate I saw a car pulling onto the dirt path. The driver saw me coming, got out of his car and waited for me to pull up.
“Detective Scott, I’m sorry I’m late but I got tied up in traffic. I see you’ve already been up to the asylum. Did you find anything that could help you?”
“And who might you be?” I asked.
“I’m Mark Davis. I guess you can say that I’m the caretaker of this place. I come up here every so often to make sure that nobody has burned the place down.”
“Get in to my truck”, I shouted.
“What’s going on?” he asked with a startled look.
“Get in, now! I just talked to somebody who claimed to be you!"
He jumped in and I quickly reversed the truck and headed for the asylum as fast as I could. When we reached the asylum we jumped out of the truck. I drew my gun and cocked it. I went over to the gate that I had just minutes earlier walked through and it was locked. The lock and chain on it was rusted past its years.
Mr. Davis motioned for me to follow him. “Come over here. I’ve never been able to get that lock off so I use this small gate.”
In a flash we were through the gate and onto the porch of the main building. The door was locked. Mr. Davis took his keys and unlocked it. Once inside, I ran down the hall to the caretaker’s office. The door to the office was locked.
“I don’t have a key to this office,” Davis said.
“Stand back,” I said as I took my foot and kicked in the door.
We walked in and I could not believe what I saw. There were cobwebs everywhere. The furniture was over turned and broken and about an inch of dust lay everywhere.
“This can’t be right,” I said. “Is this the only care takers office?”
Mr. Smith nodded.
“I was just in here no more than ten minutes ago. The place was messy but clean. That stove had a fire in it and there was coffee in that coffee pot.”
Mr. Smith picked up the pot and blew the dust off of it. “There hasn’t been anything in here for a while. Are you sure you were in this building?”
“Yes I’m sure. I was in here with a man by the name of Clarence Baker. He claimed to be the caretaker here. He told me all about this place.”
Davis walked over to one of the walls and started to remove some of the cobwebs and dust. “Who did you say you talked to?” he asked.
“Clarence Baker. Why?” He motioned for me to come over and take a look. Hanging on the wall was an old newspaper article dated 1885. It was about the opening of the asylum. The headline read, “Insane Asylum to open, hiring locals for work.” The article went on to say that they were hiring locals as guards, groundskeepers and cooks. Pictured were a few of the people that they had already hired. Among those pictured was an elderly man. Below the picture was the name Clarence Baker.
“Is that the man you talked to?” Davis asks.
I couldn’t say anything. All I could do is nod my head. I tried to take the article down but it was so old and dry that it just fell apart in my hand.
We didn’t say much as we drove back to the road. As Davis was getting out of the truck he stopped and asked me a question.
“How did you get in this front gate? Mr. Champion and I are the only ones who have keys to the lock and it was locked when I came up.”
“It was unlocked when I drove up. So was the fence up at the asylum. I didn’t even know about the small gate that you and I used to get in.”
We stood there for a moment. I still couldn’t believe what had happened. We made our way back to my truck and headed down the path back to the main road.
Mr. Davis got out of the truck and got into his car. I pulled up beside him and ask him to give my regrets to Mr. Champion. I was going to have to miss our appointment. He said he would and was sure that Mr. Champion would understand. The newspaper that covered the story of the asylum’s opening was still operating. So I stopped by and asked if I could look back over some of their back issues. I spent about two hours before I found what I was looking for. The paper read, “Massacre at local asylum”. It went on to describe the scene at the asylum. There were some pictures of the staff but there were no pictures of Dr. Dalav. Dalav disappeared after the massacre. His body wasn’t with the others found. It was assumed that he had run away. The following sentence in the article caught my eye: “As many bodies that there are, one would think that the grounds would be covered with blood. It is as if the bodies were completely drained.”
The paper said that the authorities had looked for Dalav but to no avail. There was a list of those who were killed at the asylum. Among the names was Clarence Baker.
I went back to my office and ran Alucard Dalav through the computer. Sometimes people use aliases. A lot of time the alias that they use is a play off of their real names. It only took the computer a few minutes to list of few of the possible names. One name stuck out that made my blood turn cold. Alucard Dalav spelled backwards is Valad Dracula, the real Dracula!
If it had not have happened to me, I would not have believed the story. I wasn’t sure what was going on at the old asylum, I just knew that I had to go back!
Return to the Darkside
The next day I called Mr. Champion and personally gave my regrets about not being able to keep our appointment. I told him that the murders at the old asylum were considered as a cold case file and I really would like to do another investigation if he would allow it. Mr. Champion said that I could do whatever I wanted but I would only have a couple of years to do it. He was looking to start building on his project in about three years. I thanked Mr. Champion and told him that as soon as I cleared it with my supervisor I would start my investigation.
The following Monday I went to my boss and told him what I wanted to do. He said it would be fine as long as something else did not come up. If something did come up I would have to leave that investigation and go do what they pay me for. I went and gathered up my investigation team and told them that we had a hard assignment and I told them the stipulations that were added to it. The investigation would be voluntary only. Just as I thought, everyone agreed to do the investigation.
My team consisted of five people including myself. Judy Guess was my history buff. She knew how to find out the history about anything or anyone. Gary Taylor was the doctor of the group. He could have opened up his own practice but he chose to join our team. He loved to investigate through florescence. Next was Joey McKay. He was the fireman of the group. He also was an architect. He knew all about buildings. He could look at a structure and tell when and how it was built. If a building burned down, he knew all about how the fire was started, how the fire moved from room to room and how long it would have taken for the structure to burn down. Next we had Tina Lowes. Tina was an archaeologist. Every little piece of material that could be dug up she could interpret it. Then there was me, Thomas Scott. I had a natural talent for being a detective. I just knew what information and evidence was important. That made up the team.
I graduated in 1922 from the University of North Carolina and joined the Raleigh Police Department the same year. It didn’t take me long to work my way up to be the lead investigating officer. About 5 years later the state wanted to create what today would become the State Crime Scene Investigation Department.
I had given Judy a couple of weeks before we were to start the investigation so she would have some time to research the history of the area. I had already sent a couple of campers down to the sight so we would have a place to stay while we were there. The eight volunteers would have to provide their own shelter which all of them brought tents. I knew we only had a few weeks to do what we came to do and the fact that it had been almost twenty years since the last deaths had occurred at the sight, chances were that we would not find anything at all.
The first day was pretty much spent in setting up everything. That afternoon we had just enough time to tour the place and decide where we were going to start our investigation. That evening after we had eaten supper, we sat down by the fire and Judy told us about what she had found out on the history of the place. The first people to settle in the area were the Native American Indians. However they did not stay in the area long. It seemed that there was something evil about the place. They had a legend about the area. They claimed that sometime along history, that in the place of their paradise that there was an evil warrior that wanted to be chief and therefore he got several of the other warriors to help him in fighting the great chief. The great chief was all powerful and it did not take long for him to defeat the evil warrior and banish him and followers from paradise. The evil warriors landed in the woods around Emit. Many of the Indians would not go into the forest to hunt for no animal would live there. Many braves went into the woods but never returned so the tribe moved away. The town of Emit settled in the area where the Indians lived until Dr. Dalav built the asylum. Even those who stayed in the town said that strange things happened all the time. Many of the town’s people left and settled where the community of Emit lies today. The asylum was built around the original town and employed many of the people. Then we told them of the rebellion that took place and how the people were found dead. It was like setting around a campfire and telling ghost stories. I can imagine the dreams some of the helper had that night.
For the next week Judy went to interview some of the locals to see if any one had heard anything about the asylum or had heard what some of their relatives may have told stories about the asylum. While she did that we started our investigation of the property. Not much was uncovered. A few piece of evidence was found but nothing that was of any significance. There wasn’t anything left that would help us in finding out what happened to the four teenagers that were killed there. At the end of the week, Judy had returned with some information about what the locals said about the asylum. It seemed that there was a train that came into the asylum. People called it the “death train”. It did not run until after dark. Some folks talked about hearing screams that they heard at night. They never heard them during the day, it was always at night.
We did not have a whole lot of success the first week so the next week we turned to the asylum itself. Again, the second week did not turn up anything. But it was during the second week that some of us began to have nightmares. It was the some dream every night. You would find yourself in what seems to be an operating room. Masked doctors would stand around you and talk in some foreign language and the next thing you would go back to sleep. The next morning you would wake up and be tired. I kind of figured that we were dreaming about the asylum because the place was kind of getting to us.
The third week was more productive. Some bones were dug up in several places. One location we name the butcher shop because the bones indicated that they had been boiled and a few showed cut marks on them as if they had been chopped up. We also found some human skeletons around an area we called the orphanage because they were skeletons of children. Some of them were deformed and some of them were infants. It was also reported by some including myself where the dreams that we were having was getting worse. For me, there was now pain when I dreamed. I also thought I was seeing with night vision. Our time was running out so we were to close everything down at the end of the week. Money was running short and we had other investigations we need to attend to. On Thursday of that week, one of the guys with us found a book that had been wrapped with a cloth. It was found in the one building that had burned during the riots. It was in fair condition considering that it looked to be very old. It had formulas in it and it was written in a foreign language. Judy thought that it was Hungarian and that she knew someone who might could translate it. So I gave her the book to take to her friend. In the mean time we had started to take down camp. Most of the students that was helping us had already gone home. Two of the students would stay one more night so as to wait for the people who were coming to get the two campers and take them back the campus. That night I went to my house. I was looking forward to being home and sleeping in my own bed. That night I had the worse of the nightmares. In my dream, I was being tortured and was constantly being asked about where was the diary that was found. I kept telling them that I did not know what they were talking about. Finally I woke up and I felt like my body was on fire. I received phone call from the guys that was picking up the trailers. They said I needed to come down and see something. I could not believe what I saw. The trailers were torn all to pieces and there was blood everywhere. The two students could not be located anywhere. Their cars were still there but they were not. We marked it off and treated it as a crime scene. But after another two days nothing we came to a dead end.(No pun intended) Without bodies we were stuck. A week later I receive a phone call from Virginia saying that they had discovered two bodies that were completely drained of blood and asked if I could come up and take a look. The deaths matched some of the deaths that we were investigating. Gary and I drove to Woodbridge Virginia so that Gary could examine they bodies. To our horror the two bodies were that of the two students from my group that had disappeared. Apparently our presence in the Emit area must have run the killers away. Maybe we were getting too close and they did not want us to find them and they went to Virginia. I was hoping that we could now continue our investigation of the Emit area but my boss said no because now it was a Federal investigation because the killers had crossed state lines. I gave the police in Woodbridge all the information I had on the incidents in Emit an wished them luck. Judy brought the book back with the translation. She said it was evil and it should be destroyed. I have studied that book for years now and I believe that Dr. Dalav was insane. He wanted from what I have studied to create a vampire that could live in the daylight.
I stayed with the North Carolina C.S.I. for another couple of years and I retired and went into private practice. I have long shut the file on the Darkside Haunted Estates. But there are still unanswered questions. What did happen to Alucard Dalav. Was he killed at the riots or did he escape? Did he succeed in creating his ultimate vampire? I know but I’m not saying. I will let you decide.
The Darkside Studio Productions did open up a haunted attraction. It’s called The Darkside Haunted Estates. I heard from those who work there that you can sometimes hear people screaming in the night when no one is around, doors will open and shut by themselves, and every once in a while they will see an old man walking the grounds at night. I became friends with the owners and I joined their Boo Crew Team. I enjoy working with them and yes there are strange things happening down there. If you are ever in the Emit area of Johnston County, stop by the Darkside Haunted Estates. Look me up and I’ll tell you my story and you might just see my old pale Clarence.
Written by Jerry Kennett