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The Denver Spiderman (Theodore Edward Coneys)

The Denver Spiderman (Theodore Edward Coneys)

On Oct. 17, 1941, 73 year old Philip Peters was found dead in his bedroom, a quaint home in the highland district of Denver, Colorado. Near his body was a walking stick, broken in half, the butt of a pistol, and a stove shaker. Upon investigation, police reported that these three items were used to bludgeon Peters at least 30 times. But that’s only the beginning of the strange murder of Philip Peters by Edward Coneys, the man who would be known from then on, in life, and in legend as “The Denver Spider Man.” 

Theodore Edward Coneys was raised by a family of Canadian immigrants. After his father died, Coneys moved to Denver with his mother. His health was always bad…so much so that he was not  expected not to live past his 18th birthday. This created- a strange mental space for Coneys. He didn’t finish high school, was gaunt and tall and kind of lived every day like it was his last…in a not so great way.  Coneys was sick and homeless most of his adult life, mistreated by the public because of his sickly appearance. He roamed the Denver highlands area, intermittently working, finding temporary living situations and trying to survive…his health worsening and worsening. 

Philip Peters was almost…Coneys’ opposite. Peters was in good shape, friendly, dependable and well-respected person in Denver society. He worked for Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad for 40 years until his retirement in 1930, where he lived with his wife Helen and had a close relationship with his son and daughter in law who lived in Grand Junction, about 250 miles away. He was social, even playing in a local mandolin band after his retirement. 

The one thing Peters and Coneys did have in common- aside having pluralism last names- was that both had money problems. Though Peters was financially independent, all of his money was going to his wife Helen’s care- she had been hospitalized two weeks before with a broken hip. Coneys, was particularly hard up- desperate for food and shelter. 

On a walk by his home one evening In September 1941, The 78 year old Peters ran into Coneys, who was then 59. While Peters thought it was just coincidence, it was not- Coneys was tailing Peters, and asked him for money. Peters, off-put, but knowing he couldn’t help politely declined Theodore’s request and kept walking. Coneys, however, wasn’t satisfied. While Peters went on with his walk,  Coneys walked up the drive, broke into Peters’ home and stole food and money.

But before he left…Coneys discovered a small trapdoor in the ceiling of a closet that led to a narrow attic cubbyhole. So he decided to just…go up there and live in the attic. For approximately five weeks, Coneys remained in the attic, coming downstairs to grab shit when he needed it, living undetected in the house.

On October 17, 1941, Coneys believed Peters was out visiting his wife in the hospital so he snuck into the kitchen.  In what would be anyone’s worst nightmare, Peters awakened from a nap, and walked to the fridge for a snack. There, he discovered Coneys at the refrigerator. Peters struck at Coneys with a cane he carried, but Coneys clubbed him with an old pistol he had found in the house. After the gun broke apart, Coneys continued to beat him with a heavy iron stove shaker, killing him. Coneys then returned to the attic cubbyhole. 

Peters was discovered an hour later by his neighbors after he didn’t show show up for a dinner, and the Denver Police were called. They searched the house but the doors and windows were locked, and found no evidence of a murderer, let alone a break-in. Eerily, the police did notice the trapdoor, but believed no person could fit through it. 

In April 1942, Peters’ wife Helen came back to 3335 Montcreif Ave and hired a live-in housekeeper. Both women would often hear strange sounds in the house, and it got so bad that The housekeeper eventually resigned, convinced the house was haunted. Helen Peters eventually moved to western Colorado to live with her son, and the house was considered vacant. Of course, the neighbors would see lights going on and off, and once a while would attempt to knock on the door just to see if someone was inside. 

Of course, Coneys was inside. He stayed in the house undetected as Police continued to make routine checks. On July 30, 1942, during one of these checks, an officer heard a lock click on the second floor. Running upstairs, the police caught the sight of Coneys’ legs as he was going through the trapdoor to the attic. and pulled him down. He was arrested and quickly confessed to Peters’ murder. 

Of course, media loved it. Local newspapers dubbed him the “Denver Spider Man of Moncrieff Place” after the Denver police detective said  “A man would have to be a spider to stand it long up there.” Coneys was tried and convicted, then sentenced to life imprisonment at the Colorado State Penitentiary in Cañon City, Colorado.where he died on May 16, 1967.

Of course, now this murder is kinda the stuff of Denver legend, especially around Halloween. It’s referenced in CSI, the Simpsons and lots more. It’s not much to look at, but this dark history on a cute, historical block is how Denver does weird history. And boy is it terrifying.

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Videos Weird and Strange History

MTV’s Toxic Pink Houses John Cougar Mellencamp Contest

MTV’s Toxic Pink Houses John Cougar Mellencamp Contest

John Cougar Mellencamp’s MTV Pink Houses contest included a pink house, pink jeep, and a toxic waste dump.

MTV was in full swing in 1984, and along with the music videos, MTV was obsessed with contests. Specifically, contests based on homes. Giving you a home, turning your home into a party house, or living in someone else’s.

In 1983, the John Cougar Mellencamp song Pink Houses, about the so-called American dream, lyrically situated in his home state of Indiana.

The 1984 contest “Paint the Mutha Pink” involved sending in a postcard, and if there’s was selected, the lucky winner in 25 friends were flown to Bloomington Indiana, John Cougar Mellencamp his hometown for a house party hosted by John Cougar Mellencamp, Mellencamp would play a live concert and the winner got to keep the house, which of course had been painted pink. Other prizes included a pink Jeep and a garage full of pink colored Hawaiian Punch.

What was the catch? Initially the whole prize was a catch. The house is more of a shack than a house. MTV bought the property for $20,000, which is not a bad price considering it was across one of the country’s worst toxic waste dumps. According to the June 25th, 1984, Lakeland ledger:

“Rock and roller John Cougar, Mellencamp and music television thought they had the perfect little house in the country to give the winner of a nationwide contest until they found out it was across the street from a toxic waste dump.

The music video maker bought the house and painted it pink. In honor of Mellencamp’s popular song, Pink Houses, which mentioned little pink houses he recalls seeing while growing up in Indiana. A promotional ad for the MTV party house contest was filmed featuring Mellencamp and the house, only then did promoters learned that the houses across the street from a 40 acre landfill, that made the environmental protection agencies in 1981. It was one of the nations 115 most hazardous waste dumps. So MTV bought another house in the country near Bloomington to give away and put the original one story wood frame house on the market for $38,900.”

“We had the well tested and the water samples came out. Okay. But we did not want to take a chance.” Said Priscilla Mellencamp, Mellencamp’s ex-wife and MTV’s real estate agent in Bloomington.

“Basically John did not feel right about it.”

The winner was Susan Miles from Seattle, Washington. According to a 1991 article in the Herald times online, it turned out that Susan Miles had only kept the house long enough to reap some tax advantages from owning a property. She never actually lived in the house. She went back to Bellevue, Washington after the contest was over.

 

 

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True Crime Videos

The Reality TV Murder | Ryan Jenkins & Jasmine Fiore | Megan Wants A Millionaire | True Crime

The Reality TV Murder | Ryan Jenkins & Jasmine Fiore | Megan Wants A Millionaire | True Crime

The reality television show Megan Wants A Millionaire and a grisly murder intersect in 2009.

The Reality TV Murder involved the death of model Jasmine Fiore occurred on August 15, 2009. Her body was discovered on August 15, 2009, strangled and stuffed into a suitcase. Her remains had been mutilated to prevent recognition; she was eventually identified by the serial numbers of her breast implants. Fiore was 28 years old.

Fiore was married within 48 hours to Ryan Jenkins, after a 48 hour courtship in Las Vegas. Jenkins recently was a contestant on VH1’s Megan Wants A Millionaire,  and the only suspect and was formally charged with the murder. On August 23, 2009, Jenkins was found dead in a hotel room in Hope, British Columbia, Canada. Jenkins was 32 years old.

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True Crime Videos Weird and Strange History

The Tragic Case of Charemon Jonovich & Robert Pastorelli

The Tragic Case of Charemon Jonovich & Robert Pastorelli

The Tragic Case of Charemon Jonovich & Murphy Brown actor Robert Pastorelli leaves a lot of questions unanswered.

The death of Murphy Brown actor Robert Pastorelli’s girlfriend in 1999 was an open and shut case. Until it wasn’t. Pastorelli’s overdose in 2004 was on the heels of his upgrade from grieving boyfriend and father, to suspect.

According to a story in the National Enquirer, “police were about to reverse the decision of death by accidental gunshot to murder, in the death of Pastorelli’s ex-girlfriend, Charemon Jonovich. The original claim was that Jonovich threatened to kill herself with the gun when it accidentally went off, but according to the story, “Insiders say the DA never believed Pastorelli’s version” of events, particularly when gunpowder residue was found on Pastorelli’s hands.”

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True Crime Videos

How Curb Your Enthusiasm Saved Juan Catalan From Death Row

How Curb Your Enthusiasm Saved Juan Catalan From Death Row

A 2004 episode HBO’s Curb Your Enthusiasm was instrumental in proving the innocence and exonerating Juan Catalan in the murder of Martha Puebla, saving him from a potential death row sentence.

From Thought Catalog, “On the night of May 12, 2003, 16-year-old Martha Puebla was shot to death outside her home in Sun Valley, CA. Only days before her murder, she had testified against young Mario Catalan involving a gang slaying in which Mario was charged as an accessory. Twenty miles away, Mario’s brother Juan was at Dodger Stadium with his six-year old daughter, watching his beloved Dodgers play the Atlanta Braves. Since an eyewitness identified Juan as the shooter and Juan had a criminal record from his teens, police arrested him and charged him with murder. He spent nearly six months in jail protesting his innocence while staring down the death penalty. It wasn’t until Juan’s persistent lawyer was reviewing hours of tapes and spotted Juan in the crowd during the Dodgers game based on outtakes from Larry David’s HBO series Curb Your Enthusiasm that the DA was forced to drop the murder charges and award him a settlement of $320,000.”

The story of Juan Catalan and Curb Your Enthusiasm is illustrated in the Netflix Documentary Long Shot.

 

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True Crime Videos Weird and Strange History

San Diego Tank Rampage | The Tragic Case of Shawn Nelson

San Diego Tank Rampage | The Tragic Case of Shawn Nelson

On May 18, 1995, unhinged military vet Shawn Nelson stole a tank and went on a 23 minute rampage through the streets of San Diego.

Nelson’s spiral downward began in 1990, when he got hospitalized for both neck and back injuries he sustained from a motorcycle accident. He sued the hospital for $1.6 million, citing negligence, assault, battery, and false imprisonment. He also made the claim that he was forced to be treated without his consent. However, a superior court judge not only dismissed his case, but the hospital also counter-sued him for the $6,640 in medical fees and legal expenses.

In 1991, his wife of six years filed to divorce against him. By 1992, he lost both of his parents. Nelson also developed an addiction to meth.  Shawn’s strange behavior continued, including digging a 17 foot deep in his backyard to mine for gold.

Then, things went downhill further. Nelson’s plumbing business got halted from the combination of his neck and back problems, as well as his plumbing equipment getting stolen. He then lost his new girlfriend to overdose.

Nelson lost his income, which resulted in both his utilities getting cut off and his house going into foreclosure.

The Tank Rampage

On Wednesday, May 17, 1995,  Nelson reached his breaking point. He drove to the California Army National Guard Armory. The armory, located in the Kearny Mesa neighborhood of San Diego was easily accessible. He managed to start 57-ton M60A3 Patton tank.

For the next 23 minutes, Nelson led police on a televised chase through the streets of San Diego

Throughout Nelson’s rampage, the tank plowed through road signs, traffic lights, utility poles, fire hydrants. In addition to that, the tank also crushed several parked vehicles. The damage from the tank to multiple utility poles, power was out to at least 5000 customers of SDG&E.

While on Interstate 805,  Nelson attempted to knock down a pedestrian bridge by repeatedly running into its support beams. Nelson then drove the tank southbound on Route 163 resulting in the freeway quickly getting closed down and blocked off. Thousands of motorists were also left stuck as the police continuing trying to stop Nelson whose rampage continued.

Nelson attempted to cross northbound into oncoming traffic. However, this was stopped when he got stuck trying to go over the concrete median divider .

With Nelson now stuck, four San Diego police officers climbed onto the tank. However, instead of complying, he attempted to free the tank by moving it back and forth to and resume. His attempt was ultimately stopped when, Nelson was shot through his shoulder officer Richard Piner.

With the rampage finally over, officials took Nelson to Sharp Memorial Hospital, where he ultimately died from his injuries.

 

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True Crime Videos Weird and Strange History

The Mysterious Death of Bobby Fuller

The Mysterious Death of Bobby Fuller

Musician Bobby Fuller of the Bobby Fuller Four, best known for their cover of  the song “I Fought the Law”, was found dead in the parking lot of his Hollywood apartment on July 18th, 1966 at age 23. The mysterious death of Bobby Fuller leads to more questions than answers.

On the night of July 17, 1966, Bobby Fuller left in his mother Lorraine’s Oldsmobile. The next morning, she woke up and found that he had not returned. At 5PM, fourteen hours after Bobby had left, the Oldsmobile was back, not parked in the parking lot of the apartment, but parked in the vacant lot next to the apartment building. His mother found Bobby dead in the car. His body bruised and bloodied body, and deep rigor mortis, in the front seat of the car, without the car keys.

Next to him in the unlocked vehicle was a one-third full gas container with a a hose attached. Bobby himself was covered in gasoline. Based on his mother Lorainne’s statements, someone had to have driven the car into the parking lot after his death.

Despite the contrary evidence, investigators concluded that he committed suicide. They believed that he had died from drinking gasoline. However, the coroner didn’t find gasoline in his stomach. The coroner’s office determined official cause of death was  “asphyxia due to inhalation of gasoline,” There were also conflicting information the coroner’s report. One page listed his death as an “accident” while another page had question marks next to “accident” and “suicide”. The injuries found on his body, including a broken finger and other bruises, suggested that he had been injured before his death.

Evidence was destroyed or discarded and the vehicle was never dusted for prints. Witnesses noted one of the investigators throwing the gas can into the garbage. When asked why the can was being thrown away, the investigator said that Bobby was “just a rock-and-roll punk who killed himself”. It’s believed that investigators assumed he committed suicide because his mother stated that he was upset around the time of his death. However, she and the rest of his friends and family stated that he was not depressed or suicidal, as he was on the brink of stardom. Despite the many theories, the case remains unsolved.

 

 

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True Crime Videos

The Dark History of Chippendales

The Dark History of Chippendales

The iconic exotic dance sensation known as Chippendales has a dark history complete with jealousy, conspiracy, and murder.

 

 

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Videos Weird and Strange History

Freaky Friday the 13th

Freaky Friday the 13th

I produced a trailer for a fictitious movie called Freaky Friday the 13th in 2013 with Yahoo and College Humor starring Daniella Monet from Victorious. In 2020 the movie Freaky was released. The video was wiped from the internet. Until now. Is there any connection? Probably not but see for yourself in the above video.

 

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Videos

The Madcap Motel Mystery

The Madcap Motel Mystery

The Madcap Motel Mystery. I checked into the Madcap Motel in downtown Los Angeles, and I’m not sure if I ever really checked out.

According to the LA Downtowner: “The story of the Madcap Motel is that the hotel was built in 1946 to host the influx of visitors that were coming to Los Angeles. As the neighborhood changed, and the city began expanding westward towards the ocean, the motel was shuttered in 1966 and the owner disappeared into thin air. The abandoned motel laid dormant for years, long forgotten as the Arts District built up around it. In the present day, the owner’s family started receiving postcards, signed by him, inviting them back into the Madcap Motel.”

Madcap Motel: https://www.madcapmotel.com