Home » Episodes » Episode 44 – Lakeland, FL & Las Vegas, NV (Screw You Patriarchy)

First Rachel takes us on a heartbreaking adventure to Lakeland, Florida to talk about the death of Mrs. Betty Albritton at her farmhouse in Polk County under mysterious circumstances. Then, Emily heads to 30 miles outside of Las Vegas, Nevada to cover all of the horrible history that has unfolded during the building and operation of the Hoover Dam. Hopefully, you’re horrified.


Emily 0:14
Hi, welcome to Horrible History. I’m Emily Barlean.

Rachel 0:17
And I’m Rachel Everett. How are you?

Emily 0:19
I’m good. I’m good. It’s we’re recording today on September 11, the 20th anniversary. So I don’t know, I’ve just been like in a reflective mood today. I think because of that. Just thinking a lot about history. And, you know, like, where it was that day and how much the world has changed since then. So, you know, weird, mood.

Rachel 0:44
It is. It is kind of a weird, reflective day. Yeah. And we’ve talked about, I think, on the podcast where we were you and I were freshmen in high school on September 11. So we definitely remember it. Oh, yeah. And it’s just, I don’t know, like, I don’t feel right posting about it, or like, I haven’t done anything. People who have listened to us know that Emily and I are not incredibly patriotic right now. Yeah, you know, for a variety of reasons. And it’s just, it’s interesting to think of September 11, as the last event that really united the country in this very big and meaningful way.

Emily 1:26
It’s so sad that it was 20 years ago.

Rachel 1:29
Yeah. And it’s not been great since then. Yeah.

Emily 1:32
I saw a post that was like, I would never want September 11. to happen again, obviously, but I would love for the country to get back to that feeling from like September 12. Yeah. Where I was like, everyone was just like flying flags and united.

Rachel 1:49
It takes something tragic to bring people together. Trauma bonds.

Emily 1:54
Except apparently not a pandemic.

Rachel 1:57
No, that’s it’s not real Emily, obviously. Science is fake. Everything is wrong.

Emily 2:04
I mean, like I went watched in the Husker game with my parents, and they, you know, of course, have a special intro with September 11 stuff. And then I all of a sudden had this realization. I was like, probably half the people on this team because they’re college students weren’t even alive during September 11. And then I felt really old

Rachel 2:24
I’m old. I’m so old. It hurts. It hurts.

Emily 2:26
It literally hurts. I woke up from a nap. And I was like, Ahhhhhhhhhhh, my body.

Rachel 2:31
Emily texted me and goes, “Oh, my God, I just took a nap at my parents house for an hour and I am so sore.” And I’m like napping in strange places in your 30s is really dangerous.

Emily 2:40
SO dangerous. Oh my gosh. And my knee hurts. Oddly, for some reason. I don’t know why, like one of my knees. I’m just like groans.

Rachel 2:47
Oh my God, we could make a huge list of ailments but instead let’s thank our new patron?

Emily 2:53
Yeah, patron!!!

Rachel 2:55
Our new patron, the lovely Sarah. Sarah found us on TikTok. And she sent us the sweetest message on Instagram. That was just like I love your podcast. And she sent us a story request. segue. segue. segue right on in right on in.

Emily 3:12
Sarah – you are already a champion. Tick Tock fan. Instagram fan AND a patron you’re doing it right.

Rachel 3:18
And a story request mwah! Italian kiss.

Emily 3:20
We’d love you Sarah. Now just write us a review on Apple podcasts. And you win… some sort of prize.

Rachel 3:27
The prize is that we will pander to you forever. That’s it. So thank you so much for being a patron Sarah, and thank you for this awesome story. And this story brings us back to our favorite place to make fun of… Florida.

Emily 3:45
Florida!!! I can’t wait for Terrible Today!

Travel Tips: Lakeland, Florida

Rachel 3:48
I know she even she even call it out. She’s like, yes, back to Florida. So Sarah is from Fort Meade, Florida, which is a small town only about 6000 people. I decided we would probably explore our shenanigans in the nearby city of Lakeland. First, you and I are going to Scout and Tag which is the cutest antique shop. It looks like it was designed by Joanna Gaines. It’s like farm house chic!

Emily 4:19
I love that. I’ve never been to Magnolia and I really want to go.

Rachel 4:22
It’s on my list for sure. Yeah, I want to do a story in Waco. But of course I wanted to the cult in Waco… the Branch Dividians, but it’s too recent. So I’ll figure I’ll figure out a loophole we always do. So Scout and Tag mixes a couple of things that we love antiques and farmer’s markets because local artisans can sell their work there too. Isn’t that cute?

Emily 4:47
That sounds like heaven.

Rachel 4:50
If only they had a Starbucks like a little kiosk in there.

Emily 4:53
Oh my gosh, I think we go to a farmers market tomorrow morning. Oh my gosh, inspired.

Rachel 5:00
You’re welcome. I would also want to check out this Silver Moon Drive In Theater and Swap Shop.

Emily 5:06
Have you been to drive in theater before?

Rachel 5:07
Not since I was a kid, have you?

Emily 5:09
I went in college with some friends once and we went and saw a double feature of Tropic Thunder and Stepbrothers. So it was incredible.

Rachel 5:17
Why weren’t we friends in college? We went to the same college. Why were we not better friends? Okay, so this is the last drive in theater in Polk County, Florida. They play new movies. So for those of you who are too young, or just don’t know what a drive in is, it’s basically you roll up in your car, eat snacks, you get comfy and you tune your radio to the frequency and listen to the sound. And the Swap Shop is essentially another farmers market. They serve breakfast and lunch there too, which is adorable. And if we were to go to Lakeland on the right weekend, we can spend a few hours at the Lakeland food truck rally. FOOD TRUCK RALLY! Love it.

Emily 6:01
I am like obsessed with this town. I want to go!

Rachel 6:04
I know. So of course I checked out the names of some of the featured food trucks. We’ve got Talula’s Table by the Sea, Got Desserts, Spontaneous Consumption, Mr. C’s Grilled Cheese, Jimmy’s Famous Seafood Express and SaeweneThai food.

Emily 6:23
Oh my gosh.

Rachel 6:24
obviously I had to know what spontaneous consumption was so I checked out the menu. They did not disappoint. First of all, their motto is “Food so good it will blow your mind!”

Emily 6:37
or burn you from the inside out?

Rachel 6:39
Spontaneous human combustion! They do what I would consider to be comfort food, which is like pulled pork burgers, philly cheese, steak, etc. But they also have loaded baked potatoes.

Emily 6:54
I legit had a loaded baked potato for lunch today. And it is one of my favorite things!

Rachel 6:59
so good, but they don’t even just have chili. They have a Philly loaded potato which is butter, cheese sauce, sliced Angus sirloin, grilled onions and bell peppers. cheddar cheese. Green onions.

Emily 7:13
I love potatoes so versatile. You can do anything with it.

Rachel 7:16
It’s a blank canvas.

Emily 7:19
I choose one food to eat for the rest of my life: potatoes ! I mean think oh yeah, potatoes, baked potatoes, french fries, scallop potatoes. hashbrowns It goes on.

Rachel 7:30
I had to make french fries for lunch. I was just like craving potatoes like hashbrowns but I didn’t have any hashbrowns so I’ve just put french fries in my air fryer. Like frozen ones. I’m very lazy there. My kids were stoked. These crazy heathens. I swear this is my last story about my kids or story about anything not crime related but, I like made quesadillas and french fries for lunch, which was you know, they were stoked about and then I made too many French fries. So I save them and they had them again for dinner. And of course I heated them up. Which I never like reheat french fries. They’re not that good. These little weirdos wanted them cold from the fridge. No. Yeah. Both of them. Who are they!? Pod people. Yeah, pod children in my house.

Story 1: Betty Albritton

Okay, now that I’m starving, but never for cold french fries. Let’s get into it. In June of 1951, 57-year-old Fort Meade widow, Betty Albritton was taking care of business. Her husband I. B. Albritton had recently died leaving Betty there ranch. And she was worth with the ranch. About $50,000. Which is about $525,000 today.

Emily 8:47
Really? That seems like such a jump!. I mean, I get it…

Rachel 8:52
51 though!

Emily 8:53
yeah, seventy years ago.

Rachel 8:54
Okay, so this ranch was on hundreds of acres. They had about 400 heads of cattle. She was also left to take care of their teenage son Henry, who I read in one source (there’s not a ton about this story… lots of blogs in the deep seedy corners of the internet). But I read on one source that Henry may have been developmentally disabled.

And she also had a farmhand named James, who she treated like part of the family. So on June 25, that his nephew and his family surprised her with a visit. She was very sweet and hospitable. She insisted that their family stay for dinner and she made them a soul food feast. So rice, sausage, gravy, mac and cheese so good. Doesn’t that sound amazing right now?

Emily 9:43
I’m not hungry but I’m so hungry right now.

Rachel 9:45
I am like that too. Like I’m comfortable. But like I wouldn’t say no to mac and cheese.

Emily 9:51
No If someone put a plate of mac and cheese in front of me I’d be like thank you very much. I will eat this all

Rachel 9:56
I want like the cut up hotdogs in it too

Emily 9:59

Rachel 10:01
I knew we would differ at some point!

Oh my God speaking of hot dogs, my mom listened to our last podcast because she, my mom stopped listening because apparently I curse too much. So I’m trying to be more mindful. But she she remembers the Bob Crane case. So she listened and then of course, she would listen to yours as well. And she goes, she was like, I’ve had those hotdogs in Iceland!! She’s like texting me during It was so cute. So I told her I was like mom, become a patron at email your story so that I can read it on where in the world? I want to ride your coattails mom.

So when her nephew asked Betty, how she was feeling, she said that she felt quote HALE AND HEARTY! . But shortly after midnight that same evening, Betty Albritton would like dead on her front porch. Who dunnit!?

Emily 10:54

Rachel 10:55
Twists ,turns!! But let’s back up.

Remember, I mentioned that Betty co-owned a funeral parlor?

Emily 11:03

Rachel 11:04
I’m like, Did I forget to mention it and skip ahead in my own notes. We’ll see.

Emily 11:09
Yeah, like I don’t know that I’ve heard that yet.

Rachel 11:14
Oh, yeah. I totally skipped over it.

Emily 11:17
HA!!! I’m like “No….”

Rachel 11:19
It says she lives with Henry. And then it says and became a co owner of the only Funeral Parlor in Fort Meade. And then I said along with Henry, Betty lived with a farm hand named James but I just skipped over it…

Emily 11:30
Very important detail just missed

Rachel 11:32
It’s a very important detail. Remember how I meant to say that Betty co-owned a Funeral Parlor?

Emily 11:43
You shined it to me. I got it.

Rachel 11:45
You got it, telepathically.

Avon Elwood North

Well, it’s time to talk about the other half of that business arrangement. His name was Avon Elwood North. I believe he went by Elwood so I guess one will call him that. I say that begrudgingly because he’s not awesome. Although I read that he was a snappy dresser Elwood had a shady secret past. He was 35 years old and had been married twice, which Hey, we are not going to judge… but what we will judge is that his first wife left due to his violent outbursts, which remember, this was the 50s when it was straight up legal to beat your wife. So I’m guessing it had to be some pretty significant abuse.

Emily 12:30
Really bad for her to leave! Yeah,

Rachel 12:33
yes. And his second wife had been shot…. by him. “Accidentally.” Because, you know, like, it’s really easy to accidentally pull the trigger of a gun accidentally. She died. But he was never charged with murder.

Emily 12:51
Of course not.

Rachel 12:53
He was, you know, a white dude. Yay. This was back in Tampa. But Elwood still had a shady reputation in Fort Meade. So I’m guessing he came and was like, “I’m gonna have a new life. No wife dragging me down anymore!!”

Emily 13:10
Oh my gosh, he’s still kicking puppies on the street. It’s like, WE STILL HATE YOU DUDE.

Rachel 13:15
We still hate you. Some people say that when the funeral parlor was slow, he would improve his business. And then he kept the supply of poison on hand like these are the rumors flying around was guy. Yeah.

Emily 13:29
Oh, he’d be like, I don’t have any corpses. Right now. Let me go and manufacture one

Rachel 13:33
exactly that.

Emily 13:35
It’s like the Hare… Burk & Hare?

Rachel 13:38
Oh, yeah. Yeah. That they’re like, we need more bodies to give to these medical examiners. Like who’s nobody getting this?

Emily 13:44
Right. Let’s just kill some people.

Rachel 13:46
Yeah, but there I didn’t read anything about evidence. I think he was just creepy. And that’s what people said about him.

Emily 13:51
AH…. rumors

Rachel 13:53
Rumors anywho the night of June 25 1951. As Betty was entertaining her family. ELwood drove up to her home. After her nephew left, Elwood insisted that Betty, James and Henry have some candy.

Emily and I both got crazy eyes.

Emily 14:12
Both our eyes got so wide!

Rachel 14:15
And then he persuaded the group to take a drive into town, which was about 15 miles away from Betty’s ranch. By the time we got to town. Betty started complaining about stomach pains.

Emily 14:27
Oh no.

Rachel 14:28
Of course the group turned back around and headed home. Betty threw up twice on the way home and she told James the candy must have made her sick. But she’s probably innocently just like, “I should not have eaten that candy. It is not agreeing with me right now…” Like every time I eat cheese.

Emily 14:43
I was gonna say it’s like she’s candy intolerant.

Rachel 14:48
Now, when they got back to the ranch, Elwood dragged Betty up the stairs and sat her on her porch. Betty didn’t have a house phone or a cell phone obviously this 1950s so Henry and James went to get the neighbors to help, but Elwood told them instead, they should drive to the funeral home and get the ambulance so that they could all help Betty. Now, I don’t want to judge people who are panicking, and in that kind of fight or flight mode, because they’re probably thinking she just had food poisoning at this point and not that her life was in danger. But you think that they would drive Betty with them and take her to a hospital…

Emily 15:30
Instead of driving to the hospital to get an ambulance

Rachel 15:33
Well, to the funeral home! Like, they had an ambulence I guess so. They’re driving get the ambulance driving back, getting Betty and then what like care for her in the ambulance on the way to the hospital? Why not just take her with you straight?

Emily 15:48
You added too many steps…

Rachel 15:50
Too many steps. It’s too complicated. Regardless, James and Henry went to the funeral parlor, got the ambulance, and they didn’t get back until a little after midnight. By the time they returned, Betty Albritton was already dead.

Emily 16:05
WOW that was some fast acting poison. Arsenic perhaps?

Rachel 16:09
Allegedly. I read…. We’ll get into it. Okay.

Elwood decided that James, who must have been traumatized at this point, because this is July, I.B. Albritton died in January. And he was like, treated like family. Right? Yeah. So he should go back back to the funeral home where he just was to get the ambulance to get Elwood apprentice whose name was William Arnold. So he’s like, I guess so he goes and gets him. And then when they get back to the ranch, Elwood and William transported Betty’s body to the funeral home.

Emily 16:43
Didn’t the other two eat the candy too why are they not dying?

Rachel 16:47
Well, that’s fantastic question. And I’m about to tell you. On the drive there, William noticed some bruises on Betty. Like a lot of bruises on her shoulders on her face on her hand on her throat. She had two black eyes. There were cuts on her lip, right cheek and ear lobes.

As the youths would say this was pretty “suss”. Did I use it right ???

Emily 17:14
Very Suss. I think so!

Rachel 17:20
Elwood got Betty embalmed super quickly. ANd then hosted her funeral because he’s the only Funeral Parlor in town. Obviously, Betty’s relatives were confused because as far as everyone knew she was healthy. But she had just seen her nephew and his family.

Emily 17:39
Right and no one seemed to care about the battering of this woman like she obviously didn’t fall in, hit her body. 1000 times like…

Rachel 17:47
Yeah, well, the only people who really saw it were Elwood and William, right. However, his quickie embalming wasn’t great. Elwood tried to cover up all the bruising around Betty’s face and neck, but he was unsuccessful. And this dumb ass still had an open casket so her family like WTF bro.

Emily 18:08
Why is she all black and blue?

Rachel 18:10
Yeah, exactly. And our favorite red flag if if we’re keeping score of them, that Betty had recently changed her will.

Emily 18:18
Ahhhh. How convenient.

Rachel 18:22
Wouldn’t you know it, she left all her money and property to Elwood. And this part breaks my heart. She trusted him so much that she made him Henry’s guardian. No. But alas, after the funeral, Betty’s body was buried. Luckily, local police saw the red flags too and a few days after her funeral they exhumed her body and performed an autopsy. I’m going to read a direct quote from the autopsy report, and trigger warning at this graphic.

The throat was plainly marked as though someone had throttled her with the thumb on one side of the throat and three fingers on the other. There were unidentified alkaloids in her stomach

Betty Albritton’s autopsy report

Which as you might have guessed, was probably from the poison candy. I did Google alkaloid and it just means like drugs and it could be I mean strychnine or something like that. So I’m wondering if maybe Betty’s was the only one that got the poison just enough to weaken her so that she could be killed? Or if because maybe she was older.

Emily 19:30
He gives him the candy and he’s like, DO NOT SWITCH CANDIES these are specifically made for you.

Rachel 19:39
It’s like in the Princess Bride, but it’s like, oh, so it was your cup that at the poison all along? Nope. They both had it.

Emily 19:44
I’ve been slowly been building my tolerance for years.

Rachel 19:50
Yeah, yeah. So I’m not really sure why she was the only one who got sick because you would think that Yeah, they all would, but maybe I mean, she was She’s 57 years old, which in today’s years, it’s like 100, 120. So she’s frail old, like no.

Emily 20:09
Plus she’s like a lady.

Rachel 20:10
Yeah, ladies can’t digest candy.

Emily 20:14
I’ll prove you wrong.

Rachel 20:16
Screw you patriarchy. A month after Betty’s murder, Elwood North was arrested. Obviously, this kind of trial was very exciting for the morbid curious,

Like I said, Fort Mead, it is a small town, but this case received national attention. The courtroom was packed. People brought lunches so they wouldn’t have to leave and give up their seats because they were people like waiting in the wings to get those chairs.

Emily 20:44
Now, I’m just picturing people in the courtroom. Like it’s a very serious moment and someone’s like makes loud crunching sound eating a chip or something. And everyone’s like, SHHHHHHH.

Rachel 20:56
I thought you’re gonna say popcorn like them, Michael Jackson from Thriller that’s like “what’s gonna happen?” I just picture that Tik Tok sound, which is from Parks and Rec, I think from John Ralphio and his sister were they’re all:

Rachel Emily 21:08
Don’t be suspicious, don’t be suspicious!

Rachel 21:14
Elwood pled not guilty. And his lawyers were like, No, no, no, no, ignore the strangulation marks. Clearly this woman died of a heart attack. What maybe the bruises were caused by her thrashing around on the porch when she dying. Sure. She also must have scratched up her own face because the lack of oxygen will do that.

Emily 21:36
You just want to go? “I wanna scratch my eyes out!”

Rachel 21:43
Cool story bro, but jurors only took an hour and a half to come back with a guilty verdict.

Emily 21:48
I love that.

Rachel 21:49
Elwood was sentenced to death by the electric chair. I wish I could be like THEEEE END! But wait, you’re gonna hate this guy even more. This guy would not go down without a fight. Apparently, a pastor was brought in to say a prayer before the jury ate. So ELwood’s lawyers tried to appeal based on the psychological impact that a religious figure may have had in the jury’s decision making. They’re like he said, we shouldn’t trust anyone who’s evil. And then they said that Elwood was evil. And I’m like, it was evil. Yeah, for sure. You killed an old lady. I mean, you know, 1951 or not that I think 57 years old now

Emily 22:27
A middle aged woman.

Rachel 22:29
You killed a middle aged woman. It actually went all the way up to the Supreme Court. So it was a pretty big deal. However, they ended up supporting the original guilty verdict. Oh, and P.S. A local pastor, a different guy, along with Elwood’s father in law, tried to bribe William the apprentice to add an affidavit to his testimony. Because William had testified about seeing Betty’s bruising. And all these these bros were all “we’ll give you $3,000 to say your testimony was forced by the prosecution.”

So I mean, shady, shady shit. But after three years and many failed appeals, even Elwood North was executed. And Elwood’s 3rd(?) wife (it said Elwood’s wife. But I’m like, is this the wife who left or is this…? Was he somehow married to somebody else?) I don’t know. But some wife, probably not the one he shot ….too soon…? Published a letter that he had written to her that claimed his innocence. And I read quotes from it. I’m not going to quote from it because like, I don’t care and no one else did, either. Yeah, because everyone loved Betty Albritton. Yeah, she was a kind, hardworking woman who treated everyone respectfully. And Elwood was a shady douchebag with a creepy past in a funeral home. And that’s the story of the death of Betty Albritton by a murdering mortician.

Emily 24:01
Ah, alliteration.

Rachel 24:04
Thanks so much, Sarah. I had never heard of that case before. And it was so good!

Emily 24:08
Yeah, it really was. I feel bad for her. I also am like, Whatever happened to Henry? James?

Rachel 24:15
I don’t know. I did read it. So James was black. And this was 1951. So I don’t know if he would have been able to I mean, like, and in the south, right, like yeah, I mean, didn’t Florida still have cropsharing in the early 50s? Like, would he even have been able to, like inherit a property of that nature?

Emily 24:33
Yeah, I think so. I’m not 100% sure, though, but yeah, in general wouldn’t have been easy for him to get anything out of it. But also sounds like he just like was part of the family. So that’s sad.

Rachel 24:46
Really really sad. But a really good recommendation and not a lot of information out there on it. So thank you bloggers. We obviously will cite them in our sources.

Emily 24:56
Yeah. Good job bloggers for like not letting stories like that just fall away, you know?

Rachel 25:01
Yeah, totally, huh. All right.

Travel Tips: Las Vegas, Nevada

Emily 25:04
So today I am going to just outside of Las Vegas, Nevada. I’m going to tell you a little bit about Vegas and a bit about what I think we would do on our trip to Vegas.

Rachel 25:17
You’ve been multiple times, right?

Emily 25:18
I’ve been a couple times have you been?

Rachel 25:20
Not as an adult.

Emily 25:22
Ahhh…So none of the fun stuff?

Rachel 25:24
Yeah, no, I will put it on our list for sure.

Emily 25:29
Yeah. So I think Yeah, I mentioned last week when we were talking about Scottsdale. Or maybe it was on Where in the World. I’m like, not a super fan of Vegas.

Rachel 25:38
I think you called it dirty.

Emily 25:41
It’s dirty! It is, the two times I’ve gone I went with Carson. And we didn’t really enjoy the Vegas part of Vegas. Like, we liked laying by the pool and having drinks, which is why we went to Scottsdale last week and not back to Vegas. But I do think we obviously would have great time anywhere we went. And so we would have a good time in LV

Are you into gambling at all? Like, do you like to gamble?

Rachel 26:08
You know, I do. But I’m very bad at it. If I set myself like $100 limit and then lost it in five minutes, I’d be like, Girl, we got to go like you get me out of here immediately.

Emily 26:20
Yeah, I’m like a quarter slot girl. Like, I want to take 50 bucks and just sit at a slot machine and watch my dollars go down and then up again. And then down. And then yeah, and eventually.

Rachel 26:32
I’ll sit next to you. And then we I’m like, watch out for lurkers. So like one of us goes to the bathroom. Yeah.

Emily 26:41
Seriously, I know I’ve won money. Like I’ve taken $50 and left with $100 before but very rarely. Usually. I just like consider it $50 for entertainment. Yeah, two hours worth of entertainment. So yeah. I don’t really know how to play the other games. Honestly, I know how to play roulette, because that’s super simple. But I think I just annoy everyone else at the table if I was trying to play blackjack or poker or something

Rachel 27:06
I don’t want to play those games either. Like I’ll play with friends maybe like yeah, friendly wagers, but not not at a professional table.

Emily 27:17
Do we talk about like when we are kids? We both played and like for like, Spice Girls cassette tapes.

Rachel 27:25
Yeah, or like fancy gel pens. Yeah, yeah. No, if I if I were to go to Vegas, and maybe you’ll talk about this, but I want to do like, lay by the pool or like shows. I want to see shows in Vegas and do that sort of thing.

Emily 27:39
Yes. Yeah. That was kind of where Carson and I landed. We just we went to the casino like once and we’re like, this is stupid. So we just ate and went to shows and laid by the pool. And it was awesome.

Rachel 27:49
I want that.

Emily 27:50
And I will share the funniest parts of those stories anywhere in the world next week. So yeah, awesome. Few stats about Vegas, home of Spencer Reid, of course. The first thing that comes to my mind. But there are tons of casinos. 30 of them on the strip alone. Like two dozen more on Fremont Street, dozens more elsewhere. 10s of millions of people visit Vegas every single year, one of the country’s leading vacation destinations, drawing more tourists than the Grand Canyon, or Yellowstone National Park, which is crazy to me. I thought the Grand Canyon was like one of the biggest tourist attractions of the world like in terms of numbers.

Rachel 28:32
Yeah, like, I know you and I shit on camping a lot because like we’d rather be glamping Yeah, but like we both appreciate a Grand Canyon or Yellowstone or things like yeah, I would rather be outside experiencing something like that than I would in a dark time capsule that is a casino.

Emily 28:50
Don’t even know what time it is because it’s the same light everywhere. Yeah, so the strip is a big moneymaker. Obviously the casino industry earns about $9 billion a year in Vegas. And that works out to about $25 million a day.

Rachel 29:08
That’s insane.

Emily 29:09
Yeah. So what would we do? Like we said… shows eating all that stuff. We’d have to figure out where to stay first. There’s tons of options. I’ve stayed at the Venetian and Mandalay Bay. Both were okay. Venetian was better. Hotel wise. Mandalay Bay had a lazy river so we liked it the best.

Rachel 29:29
I love a lazy river.

Emily 29:30
Which they got rid of, like idiots. Why would you get rid of a lazy rivers stupid?

Rachel 29:34
Yeah, no, I want to do with the lazy river. We can hold hands and flute together in our little tubes. And yeah, that sounds so fun.

Emily 29:41
That was my entire weekend last week.

Rachel 29:44
I know! I want to do that with you! Watch out Carson.

Emily 29:46
She’s coming for you.

We would probably want to stay at the Wynn; it’s like middle of the strip so you can get ever easy. It’s number one rated by Travel and Leisure in 2020. Three pools. This incredibly beautiful spa, shops and theater like shows. And they have chefs on staff that do cooking classes like master classes. I know I was like hell yes. And they have 10 restaurants at the Wynn alone, okay, including the three that I thought sounded most interesting Wing Lei is the first Chinese restaurant in the US to get a Michelin star. It serves Cantonese, Shanghai and Schezuan dishes in a dramatic room, as it says online.

Rachel 30:35
Love that, love CHinese food.

Emily 30:36
Right!? Mizumi is set amid exotic gardens and waterfalls and it serves sushi. Hell yes. We love that and Delilah, which pays homage to the glamorous Age of Hollywood. So it’s like a modern day supper club with a vintage aesthetic. So I was like, I never have to leave this hotel. Love it.

Rachel 30:58
Yeah, I want to eat it all those places. Yes.

Emily 31:01
And I think we’d also I mean, I’d force us to venture out of the hotel to go to Hell’s Kitchen, which is Gordon Ramsay’s restaurant in Vegas, obviously. Yeah. Or there’s a restaurant called Twist, which is on the 23rd floor of the Waldorf Astoria. And it’s the only place in the US where diners can get this cuisine by this chef Pierre Gagnaire. He does French cuisine and contemporary dining. And I guess there’s this like lucky number seven tasting menu and each menu is based on the guests choice of wine.

Rachel 31:37
What you pick the wine first and then pair the food to it.

Emily 31:44
Yes. Which is my alley. Oh, yes. We definitely want to swing by the Bellagio fountain show because you just have to one time when Carson and I were there, they had it timed to My Heart Will Go On by Celine Dion. It was magical. And speaking of we could go see Celine Dion because she has a residency right now. As does Cher, which I think would be pretty cool.

Rachel 32:07
I think she would be really cool.

Emily 32:09
If we went in the winter, November December this year, we could see Backstreet Boys. Okay.

Rachel 32:14
I know maybe I shouldn’t be more excited for Backstreet Boys than the others…

Emily 32:18
I AM I LOVE THEM. I am obsessed with them.

Rachel 32:24
You were pro Backstreet over NSYNC?

Emily 32:26
I hate NSYNC. Like I am all Backstreet Boys.

Rachel 32:29

Emily 32:30
I like Justin Timberlake. I never I mean, I was a Backstreet Boys girl.

Rachel 32:34
Yeah, I liked both. But then I couldn’t pick a side. Yeah. It’s like I liked Bye, bye. Bye. But I also like backstreets back. ALRIGHT.

Emily 32:44
I just think Backstreet Boys are like, obviously, they’re still around and Nsync. They had Justin who just was like, I’m gonna go solo.

Rachel 32:57
But I do kind of love Lance Bass. He just pops up everywhere. Like Yeah. Emily’s not a big trash TV person, but I am. An Lance Bass was a guest host on bachelor paradise right now.

Emily 33:11
He’s still working somehow. I love it.

Rachel 33:13
He is workin’.

Emily 33:14
I don’t know why, but I thought you said I thought you were gonna say, “I don’t know why. But I also just kind of love….” I thought you’re gonna say O-town and I was ready to judge. Like, No, don’t say it.

Rachel 33:28
No, I did have a brief love affair with 98 degrees, but never O-Town.

Emily 33:36
So, so true. Cool. Okay, there’s obviously a lot to do. I could go on and on. I will plan to share my stories from Vegas next week’s episode of where in the world, there is one more attraction that is nearby to Vegas. And it is the location of where my story is focused today. And that attraction is… drumroll.

Story 2: The Hoover Dam

The Hoover Dam. Okay, so quick facts about the dam. It is a concrete arch gravity dam in the Black Canyon on the Colorado River, on the border between Nevada and Arizona. And it’s about 30 miles from Vegas. So it was constructed between 1931 and 1936 during the Great Depression, and was dedicated in 1935 by FDR.

So the dams generators provide power for public and private utilities in Nevada, Arizona and California. And not only does it provide a lot of valuable services, but it’s also a major tourist attraction. So like a million people tour the dam each year more than that. So it’s like bringing in revenue and stuff like that, too. Yeah. So the dams construction was the result of a massive, massive effort involving 1000s of workers. It was an incredible feat like it’s a very important structure. For the southwest part of the United States, but the creation of this enormous concrete structure has a somewhat horrible history. And present and future apparently,

Rachel 35:14

Emily 35:17
I’m going to talk to you about the 725 foot high, 1244 foot long structure that was responsible for over 100 deaths during its construction. It has been a place where many lives have been lost. And there’s a lot of lore around bodies buried in the concrete, the surrounding areas being haunted, a serial killer that once worked there, and the fact that it will likely be the location of a future demonic invasion, according to conspiracy theorists.

Rachel 35:52
Tell me everything.

Emily 35:53
Yes. So I’m going to share with you the history of the Hoover Dam and the tragedies that have befallen those who enter there.

Rachel 36:04
Tell me everything.

Emily 36:05
I’ve never been to the Hoover Dam, but now I like kind of want to go just to see it. Because, I mean, even just thinking about the structure itself, you know, we love architecture, like yes, it’s, it’s pretty incredible. And now having heard which I will tell you soon about how it was built, it’s just like, insane. Okay. So let’s talk first though, about kind of pre dam, because before you can build a massive, massive dam, you kinda have to figure out like, Where the hell you want to put it. Right? And yeah, you have to then figure out how to build it and find the people to make it happen.

Rachel 36:37
Measuring Man!!

Emily 36:40
Thank God, they didn’t ask us… and we weren’t alive. So plans for the dam took 30 years, just the planning. They had to research, they had to, you know, lobby for it, they had to design it, they had to figure out where it was going to be. But ultimately, the concept for the dam was born in 1902 when Arthur Powell Davis, who was an engineer at the Bureau of Reclamation decided it would be a good way to prevent the flooding that happened every single year, when, in the spring, all the like snow on the Rocky Mountains melted and flooded farms along the Colorado River.

So that was kind of the primary purpose of the dam originally to prevent flooding. And then they also thought it would address the need for power and create more space for farmland and stuff like that. So they had to do a lot of searching and surveying, as I mentioned, to find the right spot. And it was during this surveying timeframe that the very first death associated with the Hoover Dam took place. So on December 20, 1921, a crew was surveying locations for the dam and they got caught in a flash flood which flash floods scare the shit out of me.

Rachel 37:59
So scary! There’s no way to prepare for them. And we are planners.

Emily 38:02
It’s a flash that you have to have flash!

Rachel 38:05
Flash, it’s part of a name.

John Gregory Joseph “J.G.” Tierney (1885-1921) - Find A Grave Memorial
John G. Tierney

Emily 38:07
It’s in the name. The stuff in New York with the flooding, it’s like that’s terrifying to be somewhere and all of a sudden your wall caves in because water comes crashing through like oh my god. So this flash flood happened. And a man named John G. Tierney, who was an employee of the Bureau of Reclamation, was lost forever in the raging Colorado River. So that was the first death. But it was not, not the last. And that was nine years before construction even began. So it you know, not a great site.

Rachel 38:44
Not great karma.

Emily 38:45
Oh, good, good, good. We found the location. It’s an area that kills people. Let’s let’s put it here. Yeah. So before construction could began, they did have to find a company to do the construction. And I mean, like these days, there’d be a million places. They’d be like, yeah, we can do it, no problem. But back then, in the 30s, there was not actually a company big enough to handle the project itself. So they actually got kind of creative and the Utah Construction Company started working with other construction companies to build like a consortium of construction firms. And then together they were big enough to bid on this project. By the end of the talks, there were six companies that had come together for the project. Together they made up guess what… Six Companies, Inc? Creative.

Rachel 39:40
Where’d they get the name though?

Emily 39:42
You’re like, I don’t get it. So they bid what would be the equivalent of $674 million to win the project, but their bid was actually $5 million less than the next bid. So they were like the clear choice for the winner to win the contract, because they’re like, we’re the cheap option.

Rachel 40:07
You know what you should do when you’re building a giant structure like that…

Emily 40:12
Cheap out?

Rachel 40:13
Yeah. pinch your pennies.

Naming the Hoover Dam

Emily 40:15
Yeah, get the bargain version from on the side of the street in New York instead of the name brand. Oh my gosh. So they looked at all these different spots to hope to house the dam. They originally recommended that it would be constructed at Boulder Canyon, which is what led the initiative to originally be called the boulder Canyon Dam project. But then they later found this Black Canyon. And they thought that was a better place for the structure. And so they never adopted a new name. Like they never were like, okay, instead of the boulder Canyon Dam, we’re going to call it the Black Canyon Dam. They just kept calling it the Boulder Canyon Dam.

But then, on September 17, 1930, at a ceremony in Nevada to mark the start of construction on like a railroad line that was meant to go to the dam site. US Secretary of the Interior Ray Wilbur was just like “The dam shall be named for President Herbert Hoover!!!!” And it’s like, it’s been like a long standing or it was a long standing controversy about the name and so I just imagined that this guy…

Did you ever watch The Morning Show with Jennifer Aniston and Rachel? Not Rachel Reese Witherspoon? No, it’s really good. Their second season’s coming out and I’m super excited. But like, the whole thing is they’re trying to pair Jennifer Aniston up with like a new co host. And she doesn’t want, she wants to pick or whatever. This is like in the first episode, so I’m not spoiler alerting. And Reese Witherspoon’s character who’s like such a like Spitfire, like inappropriate, like swears on TV and stuff.

She’s like up accepting this award, and she thinks she’s gonna get fired, or they’re like, whatever. So she just announces at the podium, “I’d like to introduce my new co host!!!” And just introduces Reese, who hasn’t agreed to anything or anything like that. All the executives are like, what? So they’re like, well, I guess we have to make this work now, cuz it’s been announced on live television, and we can’t take it back, we don’t know what’s going on. You know, that’s how I picture this happening is he just was like, I got you, boss. I’m just gonna announce it. And then they can’t take it back.

Rachel 42:22
He’s like, “I love Herbert Hoover. And now history will remember his name forever!”

Emily 42:30
Funny. So lots of controversy around if is the Boulder Dam or the Hoover Dam. Now, it’s Hoover. Yeah. But we’ll get to that later. So once it’s time to start building, essentially, first things first, they had to blast away the sides of the canyon with explosives so that they could start construction. And they actually created for diversion tunnels to like redirect the water from the Colorado River while the dam was being built. And while they like dredged the bottom of the canyon, and would blast to the canyon with explosives, and then remove the debris and dig out the bottom to build this foundation, and just that part took about a year, like just over a year, just to do that, like kind of prep work.

So building a structure of this size in the 30s… it makes a lot of manpower. There are no machines, and you’re in the middle of a canyon. In a giant river in a desert. They’re in the middle of nowhere. And so all of the labor of this insane structure had to be done by hand.

Rachel 43:43

The Men Who Built the Dam | American Experience | Official Site | PBS
The hottest construction worker working on the Hoover Dam

Emily 43:44
So think about this, like, they have to move debris, drill holes for explosives level, the foundation, by hand or with like, just basic tools, like they didn’t helicopter in a bulldozer, you know, they were just like, doing it on their own. And so it required 5000 workers to get this accomplished. And these days, I kind of feel like finding 5000 people willing to do this, like very grueling work would maybe be tough. I don’t know, labor shortages. Now. It would definitely be tough right now. But seriously, back then. It was actually not super hard to find people the lowest wage was 50 cents an hour and the highest was $1.25 an hour. So on average 62 cents an hour to do grueling dangerous, like hard physical labor.

Rachel 44:37
Was that like a close to the national average for like, what was minimum wage at that point?

Emily 44:43
It was actually better than minimum wage. The minimum wage in the 1930s was 25 cents an hour. Um, but it was also like the Great Depression so a lot of articles stated this like it was 50 cents an hour and but it was this like all day in the sun horribly grueling work. So it’s maybe just the concept of like, oh, we’re gonna pay you pretty well, but you also like, are at risk of dying at all times.

Rachel 45:08
I mean the dehydration alone.

Grueling Construction of the Hoover Dam

Emily 45:09
Yeah. Oh, yeah. So yeah, in terms of grueling let’s talk about, like just how people were able to build a massive Dam by hand. Yeah, so get this… concrete was delivered by buckets 8 cubic yards at a time. So they bring in like a bucket with enough concrete to make like eight cubic yards. And they were building these essentially like big slabs. And a slab was like 25, to 50 cubic yards, whatever.

So they would bring in eight cubic yards at a time. It took however many rounds of buckets just to like make one slab. They come in, they pour this little bit of concrete down, and then five or six men would stamp on the concrete, like stamping it down to remove any air that was trapped in it, while the other workers like kind of watched and waited to send out more concrete. And the stompers were actually called Puddlers, which I don’t know why, but I thought it was a funny name. So

Rachel 46:13
it’s kind of cute. It reminds me of like a lady stamping in the grapes. Yeah, that sounds like the most fun part of the job.

Emily 46:24
So every single time they would send down a bucket, the level of the structure would rise a whopping two to three inches. Oh, my God, so tedious. And as they would build a slab, they, they’d stamp it down, and then they’d have to wait for it to set before the next one could be poured. So between pouring the concrete and setting, it would take often, like hours before a slab would be finished. So sounds super strenuous and super tedious to me.

Men rappelling down side of the Hoover Dam.
Men scaling the steep terrain to drill holes and place explosives.

And in terms of danger, the site where the dam was being built, was surrounded by this super steep terrain, and they had no onsite security measures. And so most of the workers that ended up getting killed while building the dam, were like struck by falling material crushed by something that’s fallen, or they actually fell from the top of the dam, like into the river or into the wet concrete, like awesome, really terrible Ways to Die. Yeah.

And then another main cause of death, kind of, like you said, weather related. In the summer, temperatures could top 120 degrees during the day, you know, which for our international listeners, that’s 48 degrees Celsius, so really hot. Yeah. And then in the winter, because they worked all year round, they would drop well below freezing. And they were just like out there in the elements stamping down this concrete to build this massive dam.

Rachel 47:59
I can’t imagine that’s horrible.

Emily 48:01
It sounds awful. Plus, they’re using explosives constantly. They’re digging, they’re building in the sand, like the air quality on site became super terrible. Because imagine just all the dust and everything in the air constantly. In fact, during construction of the dam, 42 workers died from pneumonia. But there was never like a pneumonia outbreak in the town nearby or anything like that. And so workers often alleged that it was actually the construction company covering up just the terrible air quality or maybe even carbon monoxide poisoning.

Rachel 48:42
Yeah, down there. Like it was debris in your lungs.

Emily 48:45
Yeah, exactly. It’s like, I mean, this like 9/11 with all the, like, lasting issues the firefighters had from all of the debris from everything. So yeah, they there were lots people that died from that. And nonetheless, employment, like I said, very sought after gig. Some men and their families moved to Nevada in 1929, just hoping to reserve employment. And that’s because it’s always happening in the Great Depression. So the idea of long term employment, even this most dangerous employment was really appealing.

Women and children under temporary shelter (called "ragtown") while men look for work to build Hoover Dam. (Boulder City Museum and Historical Association; photographer unknown. Used by permission)
An example of the makeshift homes that families lived in

So these families would pack up and come and live like squatters, and like makeshift homes, or quickly built towns in the middle of nowhere, just hoping to get work on the dam in the 1930s. They even went so far as to construct a new town, Boulder City, Nevada, to house all the workers. And it was situated on federally owned land that had no elected officials. So the city was run by an employee of the US Bureau of Reclamation, which was the agency responsible for the dam project. And they had the authority to a vector residents as they saw fit, like make all the rules And part of the rules were that like no alcohol, no gambling.

Rachel 50:05
You know, exactly the opposite of Vegas.

Emily 50:07
right? Like, you aren’t going to go to Vegas, you’re going to be here doing nothing but working, working your ass off all day. They even built a hotel to host dignitaries because dignitaries were coming to see the construction like, oh, the rich people coming to watch the poor people build.

Rachel 50:27
I think it’s funny because we’re like, we’re nothing’s fun. I’m just imagining… “Welcome to Canyon City, Nevada – Where Nothing’s Fun!”

Emily 50:38
Exactly. So this hotel, the Boulder Dam hotel is actually one of the hotels that they claim is now haunted. So it’s still a city, Boulder City is still a city and the government actually relinquish control of it and like 1960, and it Incorporated. And so that hotel still stands and people talk about things moving across the room and doors opening and closing and things disappearing and stuff like that. So they’re just like, it’s haunted for sure.

So all in all, the count for how many people they believe died during the building of the Boulder Dam is somewhere between 96 and 125ish. Like, some people cite lower numbers, usually the government because it’s like, oh, like the first guy that John Tierney guy. They’re like, well, he didn’t die constructing the dam. So he doesn’t count, you know? But a significant number of people died just creating this thing. Yeah, there’s also a common myth, I guess, that the Hoover Dam has many, many workers buried in it.

Rachel 51:55
What like within the concrete … Harrison Ford style when he’s in Star Wars?

Emily 52:00
I don’t know I’ve never seen I’ve never seen any Star Wars. I don’t, they don’t appeal to me, really.

Rachel 52:09
I mean, but like Han Solo, and it’s fine. Everything’s fine. Our friendship is ruined, but like it’s fine. We’ll keep doing the podcast, for all of you.

Emily 52:17
We’ll never speak except for on the podcast. It’s one of those things where it’s like, well, now it’s almost like I can’t watch it because I’m the only person ever who’s never seen it. It’s like a badge of honor.

Rachel 52:29
Yeah. Haha. I’m the best at not watching Star Wars. Three energy.

Emily 52:36
Yeah, so tons of people think that, you know, so many people died during construction, that they’re assuming some of it might have just been like swept under the rug. And they got the concrete, you know, to like, cover up the deaths or not stop construction? Or under the concrete? Yeah. Luckily, it’s not actually true. There are no bodies buried within the concrete of the dam. Fine. I know boring. So to kind of reasons why first and foremost, it doesn’t really make all that much sense for someone to ever be accidentally buried. Because like, as I talked about, they’re not pouring concrete with a massive truck the way they would today.

Rachel 53:23
They were a little at a time in buckets

Emily 53:25
Literally inches at a time building this thing. So if someone fell down, they’d have plenty of time to get up and like move you know, it wasn’t like they’re going to be I’m just picturing in Robin Hood Men in Tights. Little John when he falls into the stream and he’s “I’m DROWNING!” And they’re like “You’re not even underwater. What’s happening?”

Rachel 53:48
It’s funny that you say that because my stupid brain is like, they fall down and then the What do you call them the puddlers are like they’re out there, like buddy you’re in our way, get out of here.

Emily 54:05
We’ve got to puddle. They also wouldn’t really want to bury someone in the concrete. So it’s not like, you know, if a person died, that they would have just been like, let’s save the 10 seconds needed to move this body and like, just bury it here, you know, because the human body is degradable. It’s made of organic material, unlike, you know, a steel rebar that would be used in the concrete project. And so that decodable material could cause a lot of issues for a big block of concrete because eventually it would degrade and form an air pocket.

And that would decrease the stability of the concrete over time and eventually, like the weight of the surrounding concrete, and then the force of the river would, you know, break them down and collapse the whole thing so it wouldn’t have been smart for them to just be like up another one. Throw them into the concrete wall, you know, so never one bites the dust. Yeah, exactly.

So there are some explanations or thoughts behind like, Why do people even think that? Like, why is that an urban legend? And one explanation is that there was actually another dam project around the same time in Montana. That dam was an earth filled dam, not a concrete dam. So at one point 8 workers were buried alive during the creation of the Montana dam, because a section of it broke loose and like a mudslide happen, and it’s slid these eight workers into the side of the dam. Only two of them were ever recovered. Dead, but still, like the other six, they never even found them. So they’re likely in that dam somewhere, but that’s Earth. So it’s not like concrete, where it’s going to create like a pocket, you know, just like…. the worms would eat them up or whatever. However, death works.

Rachel 56:06
God no! Stop! Flash flood terrifying, but being buried alive. Number one worst way to die.

Emily 56:13
yeah, you just suffocate. Oh, hate it. Hate it hate.

Rachel 56:16
AND you’re conscious of what’s happening. It’s just no good.

Emily 56:19
Yeah, nope, don’t like. Um, so let’s see. Couple more quick facts here. About midway through the construction of the dam in 1933. Herbert Hoover was succeeded by Franklin Delano Roosevelt. And the new Secretary of the Interior Harold Ickes, which I’m like, ICK! who was not a fan of Hoover just went ahead and declare that the structure would once again be called the Boulder Dam. It’s just as big fight of like, no, I declare.

Rachel 56:19

Emily 56:22
Yeah, exactly. I Declare BOULDER DAM!

Rachel 56:58
That’s not how it works. You can’t declare,

Emily 57:00
Yeah, there’s some paperwork that has to be signed. But, you know, Hoover had taken on some negative associations, because a lot of people blamed him for the Great Depression. And so for a lot of years, the Hoover Dam and the Boulder Dam are kind of used interchangeably. It was kind of this controversy of like, which one is the right name? So it kind of often depended on political leanings. Like, how you talked about the dam. And then finally, in 1947, Harry Truman, approved a congressional resolution to officially named the dam, the Hoover Dam.

Rachel 57:38
He’s like, have we considered…. The Truman Dam?

Emily 57:43
Just throwing it out there?

Rachel 57:45
Just in case…

Emily 57:49
oh, my gosh. Okay. So, one final horrible death happened at the Hoover Dam during the portion of it that’s considered like construction. And it was the last instance of someone dying during construction. And it happened on December 20 1935.

Okay, and this is one of those creepy, how is this coincidence real kind of things, because December 20 1935, was exactly 14 years to the day after the first fatality in 1921. Because remember, in 21, John Tierney had fallen into the Colorado River and drowned. And in 1935, a worker fell to his death from one of the two intake towers on the Arizona side of the Black Canyon. And that man was Patrick William Tierney. John’s only son.

Patrick W. Tierney (1910-1935) - Find A Grave Memorial
Patrick William Tierney

Rachel 58:49
Oh my god.

Emily 58:51
That’s right. Father and Son bookend deaths for Hoover Dam construction, on the exact same day, 14 years apart.

Rachel 58:59
That poor wife / mom

Emily 59:01
Right, it said that she’s still to this day, 80 years later, or, I mean, she died eventually. But like, up until her death, she would still on December 20 go and like, put flowers somewhere at the Hoover Dam to like commemorate her husband and her son that both died. First and last. Like it’s not even like it boggles my mind. It’s like seriously, same day, same family. First and last. Crazy. Yeah, of course. This was not the end of the Hoover dams reign of horrible

Rachel 59:35
Reign of Terror

Emily 59:38
For years after and up until literally like today. I’m sure there have been things happening there that are not so great. couple of examples:

In November of 1939. With World War Two underway, US officials found out about an alleged plot by German agents to bomb the Hoover Dam. He So they were going to plant bombs at the intake towers and sabotage the power supply to Southern California’s aviation manufacturing industry. And so when American authorities learned about it, they actually prohibited private boats from going in the Black Canyon. And they instituted a bunch of stricter rules for visiting and stuff like that. They put up some physical barriers and increased lighting and stuff like that. Following the attack on Pearl Harbor, and 41, they actually closed the dam to visitors for the rest of the war. And they gave it its own police force, and the army provided guard for the dam.

So there were lots of instances of, you know, possibilities of attacks and things like that, like large scale smoke screens, or whatever. But none of none of that ever happened. I guess all the added police presence helped. But they finally reopened to the general public in September of 1945.

Okay, so I know what I’m going to share next is not history, according to our definition. But whatever I need to like finish the story essentially. So other unique and horrible things associated with the damn possible serial killer.

Rachel 1:01:21
Yes, tell me excited.

A Serial Killer Working at the Hoover Dam

Emily 1:01:24
So this man, Neil Falls was a man that worked as a security guard at the Hoover Dam. And police believe that he was responsible for slaying multiple women in Vegas. So he was actually terminated from working at the dam because he tried to assault a sex worker in 2015. Recently, like, I mean, six years ago, but here’s some like details about why police think he’s allegedly a serial killer. So after he got fired from his job at the dam for assaulting a sex worker, he moved to West Virginia.

And there he met another sex worker named Heather Saul online. And then he tracked down her address and entered her residence and held her at gunpoint, but she struggled, essentially. So she describes the struggle like this. “When he strangled me, I grabbed my rake. And when he laid the gun down to get the rake out of my hands, I shot him. I grabbed the gun and shot behind me.”

And I was like, apparently shooting behind her worked super well, because she got him right in the head. Killed him instantly. I’m just picturing her just being like, pew pew pew!

Rachel 1:02:39
Like behind her! Like, just, yeah, that would be pretty badass. Right?

Emily 1:02:45
So when they came to, you know, take the body away and like take statements and stuff. They found four sets of handcuffs on his body. And inside of his car, they found a machete, axes, knives, a shovel, a sledgehammer, bleach, plastic trash bags, bulletproof vests, and then, weirdly, clean white socks and underwear.

Rachel 1:03:06
You know, cause you get messy,

Emily 1:03:08
you know, you may shit yourself while you’re murdering somebody and so you want to have new undies after that?

Rachel 1:03:13
I mean, yeah, I was thinking it would come out the other side.

Emily 1:03:17

Rachel 1:03:19
Jizzed in my pants!

Emily 1:03:21
definitely probably the actual way it would go. Oh, so they linked the objects found. And combined with those things found his mo like from previous crimes, other known locations to where murders and disappearances happened, and where he had been, they essentially like started to make this connection of like, Oh my gosh, we think this is the guy that did all of that. So like during the eight years he lived in Henderson, Nevada, for sex workers disappeared, three of whom were later found dismembered in California, Illinois, and Nevada.

And then all the missing women like Heather Saul, had advertised their activities on the internet. Six more vanished from Ohio, which was a two hour drive from Charleston where he was living. And despite the fact that no evidence was found of his presence there, he still considered a suspect. So that’s kind of weird one. Also, since 1995, files had been detained by the police for violating traffic rules in 16 different states, which really shows like The scale of movement and like activity, and so they’re kind of like who knows how many people he actually could have killed because he was obviously moving about the country. Right.

And also, when he was killed by Heather Saul, they found a list of names in his pocket of six women who are sex workers and like their contacts on social networks, right in his pocket. So they’re like, they found that all those men were alive, but they’re like they could have been intended victims. Like who knows I know so creepy. They ended up testing him also for involvement in the i 70, killer murders, which was a series of killings in the Midwest in 1992. Because at the time he lived in Kansas, which is where one of the murders had occurred, and it correspond. And he corresponded very closely to the suspect image that they had there like this looks like the guy but no physical evidence corroborated that speculation.

So allegedly, he was part of a lot of these crimes. He obviously was never tried for them or convicted of them because he was killed before any of it could be found out. But scenes us as the kids would say, it seems a little says I actually wrote, I actually wrote “Suspish”, but I think SUSS is how they say it. But I would say is this fish because I’m not a youth.

Rachel 1:05:54

Emily 1:05:55
So that’s an option, a possibility. And granted, he didn’t kill like at the Hoover Dam, but he worked there for many years. So he’s connected, totally other tragedies that take place somewhat regularly at the Hoover Dam, and still happen to this day is, of course, the tragedy of suicide. Yeah, so the dam is located in this deep gorge at 720 feet above the Colorado River. So the dam has become one of the places that people often opt to, to use to jump off of to complete suicide.

It’s actually kind of tough to know how many people have attempted or completed suicide at the dam. Because that Bureau of Reclamation, again, they are reluctant to discuss the issue. You know, they’re like, Oh, it’s bad publicity. And so they don’t want tourists, you know, having to think about the fact that people are there to maybe complete suicide. And they also say that they want to downplay and discourage others from seeking it as like an area to end their lives. Sure. But they’ve also gone so far as to state that they don’t even know how many people have jump off the dam. They just don’t keep records of that.

Rachel 1:07:08
That makes me sad.

Emily 1:07:09
I know. Yeah. Like, it’s still a human life. You just didn’t keep a record of it. Like what the hell. That said, an unnamed source stated that since 1936, when the dam was completed and opened up for tours, approximately 100 people have completed suicide. Another official says it’s more like 20 people. A bureau representative said 35. And in 2004, a security manager said had been only 30. So, you know, it’s kind of all over the place. But honestly, it’s still not okay. But like, even if the highest number is true, it’s pretty low compared to other popular suicide locations.

Rachel 1:07:54
In almost 100 years.

Emily 1:07:55
Yeah, the Golden Gate Bridge has seen more than 1600 documented suicides since its opening are right around the same time in 37. Yeah, and, and that number is even suspected to be low. Because, like, they don’t know how many people have jumped in, their bodies were never recovered. So. So even if it’s like 100 people, that’s so pretty low, which is good. Um, a lot of people, though, are stupid and die at the Hoover Dam.

And another way, aka, trying to swim across the reservoir, which Fun fact, the dam is not like a lake, or just a cool body of water. They had these massive turbines under the water that pump the water like it’s a it’s an energy source. So 275 people have died there in the past 10 years alone. Trying to swim across the dam. But recently, like within the last year or two, the first person ever made it across the reservoir swam across and survived. And I’m going to tell that story during terrible today. So listen, next week about literally a drunk guy who was like, I’m just gonna do it and like somehow survived.

Rachel 1:09:12
Oh, my God. Yeah.

Emily 1:09:14
So kind of crazy. Okay, and now just to like, round out the story, a few crazy theories about the Hoover Dam, and how it could go bad in the future. I’m gonna just share my two favorite that I read.

One. Eventually, the dam will be used in conjunction with the CERN Hadron Collider, to open a wormhole from which demons will invade the earth presumably from Saturn. And the theory points to excerpts from the Koran and suggest that the wormhole gaag and Magog, huh, well one day invade Earth and wreak havoc. Apparently there are theories in pop culture, as well as a statue of the goddess of destruction outside of the sun. So they’re like it’s happening, the demons are gonna come and destroy the Earth.

Rachel 1:10:05
Boom, solved it.

Emily 1:10:07
Solved it. And two some others have pointed out that the Hoover Dam makes a pretty good visual match with images of the throne of Satan. Okay, and so apparently there are monuments of angels, and they say that those are fallen angels. And they said that there’s like, this statue that matches like what the devil and all this kind of stuff and there’s like a logo of a picture of a goat standing over Twin Towers and like, I guess that that’s kind of st tan, it’s the satanic thing or whatever.

And they also kind of end up saying, it must be the Illuminati, you know, as usual, it always goes back to the Illuminati. So yeah, so those are some crazy things that are projected to happen at the dam. Sure, I highly doubt that a wormhole will open up in the sky and take over. But who knows. I mean, I’ve seen weirder things happen, I think.

Rachel 1:11:10
It’s like that kind of thing, where if it happens, there’s really no good way to prepare for it. So I’m not gonna waste my time I were trying.

Emily 1:11:17
Yeah, why worrying if, if a wormhole opens and lets demons in, I’m also going to assume that Thor can come in, in the wormhole. And that would be cool. So I’m down.

Rachel 1:11:28
Okay, fair enough.

Your Guide to Visiting The Hoover Dam
The Hoover Dam today

Emily 1:11:30
Yeah. So anyways, that is basically some of the wild and crazy information that I learned about the Hoover Dam, about the over 100 deaths that took place during the very strenuous and terrible construction process, the myths of buried bodies, the possible serial killer employee, and the likelihood that demons will invade via the dam. So Wow, it’s really like a wonderful, beautiful, important structure. But it definitely had a little bit of a horrible history to tell. So hopefully, it was interesting to learn.

Rachel 1:12:02
Yeah, it was beautiful job. If you like what you hear, we have not read happy hour at all this week. Our Patreon is we do happier with horrible history. Normally we link it, but the only way this is linked is that my beautiful friend Erin, who’s also a patron has bugged me to do this story twice. She just keeps texting me like the Wikipedia page.

Emily 1:12:26

Rachel 1:12:27
Yes, so I’m doing another listener recommendation. And to hear what it is, you’ll have to tune into happy hour. So patreon.com/horriblehistory.

Emily 1:12:38
Yes. And as per usual, we’re going to encourage you to leave us a five star review, it actually really does help guys, it’s one of the best ways for you to tell us that you like what we’re doing and help us grow. So please offer your support that way if you can, and we also would love for you to join us on Instagram and Tiktok if you’re on social, we’re @horriblehistorypod. Or you can old school it up and email us your recommendations and stuff like that either horriblehistorypodcast@gmail.com or there’s a forum on our website, which is http://www.horriblehistorypodcast.com. So find us all the ways we love making friends and hearing from you guys. And yeah, we love listener listener recommendations, obviously.

Rachel 1:13:24
Yeah, and our listeners are the sweetest. So keep the recommendations coming and like keep validating us because we are thriving.

Emily 1:13:35
Yeah, thank you guys so much for listening.

Rachel 1:13:37
Hopefully you’re horrified.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai


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