"...we should pass over all biographies of 'the good and the great,' while we search carefully the slight records of wretches who died in prison, in Bedlam, or upon the gallows."
~Edgar Allan Poe

Monday, January 4, 2021

A Bloody Good Mystery in Houston

El Greco, "The Stigmata"

I have posted a number of “mystery blood” stories--anomalous bloodstains suddenly appear, usually inside a house, and nobody can ever figure out where they came from.  The following tale is probably the strangest of the lot, and what is arguably most peculiar about it is that aside from an article in the November 1961 issue of “Fate Magazine” and brief coverage in a small local newspaper, the story has gone virtually unnoticed.

Edwin and Doris King’s journey into the world of High Strangeness began just a few days after they moved into a home in Fonville Terrace, a subdivision in Houston, Texas.  The Kings and their two young children were all pleased with their new residence, and the family expected to have a long and happy life there.

On July 3, 1961, Mrs. King was doing her usual chores when she noticed two spots of dark liquid on the dining room floor.  When she wiped them up, she saw that it was some sort of red substance.  She shrugged and went on with her day.

While doing housework the next morning, she again found two dark wet spots in the dining room.  This time, she realized the liquid appeared to be blood.

Some time later--after the strange doings at the King house became public knowledge--Mrs. King told a reporter from the “Houston Press” that on a recent morning, “both my husband and I got up at 4:00 a.m.  We both rushed over to look at the tiles.  There was nothing there.

“We both walked into the kitchen.  I got a salt cellar.  My husband was reaching in the icebox.  We walked out, and there they were again!  All the doors were locked.  I started screaming and got hysterical.”

The following morning, the blood spots returned.

Later that same day, just before he went to bed, Edwin put two small squares of plastic over the tiles where the spots had been appearing.  When he examined them at 1:30 the next morning, he found the plastic spotted with blood.

Then things began to get even weirder.

When Edwin returned to bed, he noticed that his sleeping wife had several spots on her face.  He wiped them off with a cloth.  They appeared to be blood.  The next day, he brought the plastic squares to a chemist, who confirmed they were spotted with human blood.

Understandably enough, the Kings were becoming increasingly rattled, and desperate to find some sort of reasonably normal explanation for what was happening to them.  Edwin put fresh plastic squares out, and waited up all night to see what might happen.  He finally went to bed around 5 a.m. without seeing anything out-of-the-ordinary.  While he was sleeping, Doris got up to find the plastic squares were now boasting those all-too-familiar blood spots.

The next night, King--armed with a shotgun--and a neighbor, R.L. Brown, kept another all-night vigil.  All they could assume was that for some reason, somebody was sneaking into the house at night to plant bloodstains, and they were determined to catch the bizarre miscreant in the act.

At about 4 a.m., the men heard eerie moaning sounds coming from Doris’s bedroom.  She seemed to be in a trance, groaning and twitching in an agonized fashion.  They couldn’t wake her.  And her face was covered in blood.  When Edwin wiped the blood away, more appeared on her face.

The next day, the Kings called in law enforcement, although it is hard to guess what they expected the police to do.  The two Sheriff’s deputies who came to their home observed that there was indeed blood oozing out of Mrs. King’s cheek and forehead, but they were at a loss to explain it.  The best they could do was suggest that she was being stung by mosquitoes.

Doris went to a dermatologist, who found no physical reason why she should have blood seeping through her skin.  Aside from a small broken blood vessel by her ear, she was perfectly healthy.

By the tenth day after the first blood spots appeared, the Kings were heartily sick of the whole business.  They were learning that there is something much more annoying than Fortean bloodstains: namely, people.  Word had spread about the mystery, causing the King home to be swarmed with crowds of looky-loos.  Their next door neighbors--evidently thinking the Mystery Blood might migrate to their house--were so panicked they moved away.

Blood continued to appear on Mrs. King’s face, although, oddly, never on her bedding, hands, or nightgown.  And the blood spots continued appearing on the same two dining-room floor tiles.  The Kings seemed to want to adopt a “ignore it and maybe it will go away” attitude to the sanguinary enigma, but an investigator from “Fate” persuaded them to be interviewed by David Wuliger.  Wuliger was a professor of music at the University of Houston who also took a deep scholarly interest in The Weird.

Wuliger found the Kings to be a pleasant, friendly family.  They seemed entirely normal--except, of course, for all this blood.  Doris revealed to him something relating to the mystery.

And then things got really weird.

Doris explained that before each appearance of the blood, she had the same dream, one in which she was looking at and talking with her exact double.  This psychic twin was also named “Doris,” and spoke in an identical voice.  In these dreams, the doppelganger continually reassured her that “all will be well.”  During these dreams, Edwin could hear her muttering and moaning in a very unsettling way, and was never able to awaken her.  When Doris came out of these trances, she would feel bone-chillingly cold--even in the middle of a Texas summer.

On two occasions, Doris saw her “twin” even when she was awake.  One night, after awakening from one of these nightmares, she saw the double rise from the bed and float through a closed door.  The second time happened when Edwin got out of bed in the morning and, after a quick inspection of the house, was able to bring Doris the happy news that there was no blood anywhere to be seen.  Mrs. King got up and walked towards the kitchen, where she saw her twin floating in the doorway.  Immediately afterward, the dining room floor was spattered with the usual blood.  And then the image disappeared.

The Kings could offer no explanation for what they were experiencing, although there was one curious prequel to the mystery, which may or may not have been related.  The day before the blood first appeared, Edwin was digging in their backyard.  He uncovered something he initially thought was a building block, but which turned out to be a tombstone.  There was no name inscribed on it, and the family was unable to discover why it had been buried there.  Another oddity connected to the manifestations was that Doris had long since been plagued with ulcers.  When the blood began appearing, her ulcers vanished.

When the famed parapsychologist Nandor Fodor heard of the story, he quipped that perhaps the answer to the mystery was that the blood stains were merely “a novel cure for ulcers.”

As far as I know, no one was ever able to offer a better explanation.


  1. I wonder if they continued to live there, and for how long of a period this went on.

    1. I wondered about that, too, but I wasn’t able to find out.

  2. A very strange story, with unconnected pieces. Why the double of the poor woman? The tombstone indicated a grave but whose? Someone who looked like Doris? Or was that the only way the spirit - if it was one - could communicate? And what was it intending? I can hope only that the woman’s ulcers stayed away, as a compensation.

  3. I've lived in Houston over 50 some odd years and never heard of this neighborhood. There is a Fonville Drive and a middle school (not located anywhere near each other BTW) but there is no Fonville Terrace in the Houston area.

    1. I've found a few homes for sale listed as being in the Fonville Terrace subdivision.


    2. I'm not going to argue this, but I have neither heard of nor seen any neighborhood in my town with that name. I looked at real estate sites also, but they steered me to different places all around town.

  4. The real estate map makes it look like Fonville Terrace is an out-of-date term: there are houses pinpointed all over town.

    1. My best guess is that the old subdivision is now essentially extinct; the name, at any rate.


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