This story was published on the website of the American paranormal researcher Lon Strickler and belongs more to the category of urban legends, although its author assures that this is a completely genuine event. A very creepy and strange tale was told by Big John which described a dead Santa Claus, horrifying murder, and a strange disappearance.
The Tale Of The Dead Santa Claus
Strickler was sent a letter with this story back in 1998, and he published it for the upcoming Christmas and New Year.
“Hello, I have a disturbing Christmas story that took place in a remote small town located on Mount Desert Island, Maine. My name is George and I have lived here all my life. I hesitate to name the town because this story may have unforeseen consequences for the residents, I know this story is true because I witnessed it.
It started in early December 1960 when I was 12 years old. Every week, my mom and I went to the local store to stock up on everything we needed at the time.
We didn’t have a car because my father used it for his job as a civil servant. He was not at home for several days in a row. The walk to the shop wasn’t too far, but it was a bit hard in the winter as it snowed a lot at times.
The shop was owned by a wiry old man named “Big John” Corneau. Big John was well known in the area as he was a local legend after saving the life of a girl who was attacked by a gray wolf
in the 1930s. He often showed the scars from the fangs of the wolf on his hands to local children when they came to the store with their parents.
Big John was also a storyteller, especially when it came to what happened to him.
On that particular day, I was admiring a small Christmas tree in Big John’s shop with wooden ornaments that he claimed he carved himself. There were all kinds of animals, including bears, elephants, tigers, etc. There must have been about fifty wooden ornaments.
As I stood amazed at the detail of these carvings, Big John came over to me and sat in a rocking chair next to the wood-burning stove. He lit his little black pipe, leaned back in his chair, and swayed as I watched the Christmas tree. After about a minute, John asked me if I believed in Santa Claus. I was surprised by the question but assured him that I no longer believed in this legend.
John looked away, smiled, and said, “Well, that’s good. I didn’t want you to be disappointed this year.” I was embarrassed by his statement. What did he mean?
A few days later, my mom asked me to go to his store for a few things she needed. My aunt came to visit us and my mother was busy with her, so I went there alone. This was not unusual since I was old enough to do it myself.
When I got to the store, Big John was sitting in a rocking chair reading a magazine. He looked up and asked if he could talk to me. I sat down in a small chair on the other side of the wood stove, looking forward to hearing one of Big John’s colorful tales. But what he told me was more than I could have expected.
Big John’s demeanor immediately began to change – whatever he was about to tell me was probably more serious than one of his typical tales. He looked into my eyes and said, “Something unusual happened last Christmas Eve.” He paused and then continued, “I saw the dead body of Santa Claus.”
I’m not sure what my facial expression was then, but I can tell you what I thought then – that he was composing. But then he repeated, “I did see the dead body of Santa Claus.” I had time to think about why he was telling me this, but he immediately continued his story.
He was at home last Christmas Eve, preparing for a trip to his sister’s house for Christmas when he heard a loud rumbling in the woods next to the house. He looked out the window but saw nothing, so he decided to go there and look.
The snow then was very deep all over the area around his house and in the forest, the night was clear, and cold, and the moonlight was bright. Big John walked with a camping lantern in front of him as he made his way through the pine forest. Then he saw something lying in the snow. Stepping closer, he noticed a man with bloody gray hair and a beard, wearing a tattered red jacket and pants.
Big John knelt down to check on the man, but it was obvious he was dead. In fact, the body was horribly mutilated, although there was little blood. The body looked like it had been dead for several days.
Big John said that he then immediately informed the authorities about the discovery of a body in the forest and the remains were soon taken away. The police told him that they wanted to keep the discovery of the mutilated body a secret until the identity of the deceased was established. Big John agreed not to tell anyone about this incident.
I asked Big John, “Why are you telling me this then?” He smiled and said, “Because I have to tell someone.”
Then he got up from his rocking chair, went behind the bar, and reached into the drawer. He returned to me and handed me a pair of wire spectacle frames without lenses. “Take this….it belonged to Santa Claus.” I put the frames in my pocket and told Big John I had to go because it was getting late. I bought the things I came for and hurried out of the store, my head buzzing with the sound all the way home.
For two days I wondered why Big John chose to tell me this story. In the end, I decided it was just another Big John joke. I put the frames in a shoe box and tucked it deep into the niche of my closet.
On Christmas Eve, my mother came home from a walk to Big John’s store. I was just sitting at the table and putting together a puzzle. I heard her call someone on the phone and ask if they knew why Big John’s store was closed. By that time my father was at home, so he decided to go to Big John’s house to make sure he was all right.
About an hour later my father came back and said that Big John was not at home, but his car was in the driveway. He also noticed smoke coming from the chimney, indicating that the fireplace in the house was on fire. The father decided to call the local sheriff and tell him about it.
After that, a few more days passed and Big John was still not seen. The police contacted his relatives and friends, but no one had any information.
In the end, the sheriff realized that the matter was serious and decided to search Big John’s house. Nothing unusual was found there and there were no clues to Big John’s whereabouts. So the next logical place to search was his store.
I didn’t know what the sheriff had found in the shop until my father told me about it a few years later. While searching the store inside, the sheriff and the deputy found a large pile of old carpets in the basement. The deputy sheriff began stripping the carpets until he smelled the unmistakable smell of decay.
Before he proceeded to dismantle the rugs, the county coroner was called to the scene. What they found was both unusual and confusing at the same time. There were the skeletal remains of a human body in a tattered red coat and trousers.
At that moment, my jaw dropped noticeably and I told my father the story about the dead Santa Claus that Big John told me, and then told the same thing to the sheriff. I also took eyeglass frames from the closet and gave them to the police.
Since then, I haven’t heard anything more about this incident. I suppose there could be different scenarios for the movie from this story, but I just want to know what happened to Big John in the end.”
According to Lon Stricker, when he received this letter in 1998, he conducted his own investigation, including contacting a constable in Ellsworth, Maine, which showed that in a certain small town of this state in the early 1960s, he really had a place to be a similar incident.
Unfortunately, the constable was unable to find any information on “Big John” Korno or whether his disappearance was solved.
Source – Phantoms And Monsters
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