March 15, 2023

7: The Amber Room, Nazis, and the Little Old Lady Killer

7: The Amber Room, Nazis, and the Little Old Lady Killer

Jinkies! Hey Gang! It’s another episode of Mystery Inc with the Waters brothers - this one the focus is on the mysterious Amber Room and the infamous Mexican serial killer known as the Little Old Lady Killer!

The Amber Room was stolen by the Nazis during WWII and disappeared. How could an entire room made of amber disappear? Shane lays out all the theories!

Josh presents the case of the Little Old Lady Killer, Juana Dayanara Barraza Samperio. She was sentenced to 759 years for murder and aggravated burglary. Juana is believed to have murdered about 40 victims, strangling them with objects taken from their home!

To listen to our UNMASKED episode, and help support the show, you can join our Patreon or Apple Podcast Premium.

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MI 3/15 === [00:00:00] Can you hear me now? I think so. Good. Why was that? The old Verizon commercials took me a second. I was like, what company did he originally start out at? Yeah. Before I think it was Sprint. Remember what they did? Mm-hmm. . Yeah. So he worked for Verizon for a really long time, and then suddenly Sprint was like, Hey, you, hey, you want to come, uh, be our spokesperson. Okay. . And [00:01:00] of course he had like a huge contract with Verizon where he couldn't leave them without having to pay a huge amount, you know, like an what do they call that? a non-compete. Okay. Probably. And so he was like, well, I mean, this is just how it probably happened in my head. And you know, he's like, well, I have this huge amount that I'd have to pay to be able to come work for you. And Sprint was like, oh, that's fine. We'll pay it and we'll, pay you more than what they're paying you. So then he's like, okay, buy Verizon after he was there for so long. How did Sprint afford that ? Well, um, I'm just assuming Verizon probably had a lot more money than, well, Sprint's no longer around because they got purchased out by T-Mobile. Oh, I had no idea. Yeah. I have Verizon, not sponsored . . Yeah. They're, they were purchased out by T-Mobile, so they're not around any longer. Who knew? Yeah. But it was a nice little [00:02:00] scandal there for a minute, because I think Verizon was like, well, crap, we put all this money into you. What is it? He just gave the peace sign. Can you hear me now? Good. Good. Yeah. That was literally the, commercial. That'd be like, the progressive lady leaving and going to work for Aflac. Mm-hmm. just ain't right. Something about it. . Yeah. Oh, I got you something. Oh, you got me a gift. Is it appropriate? Oh yeah. . If you know our relationship, you'll know why he had to ask that. Cuz you never know what we will gift each other. Mm-hmm. . Mm-hmm. , I got you a little Tumblr cup to go. Oh, that's cute. to match your mystery machine. Oh yeah. That has the mystery machine with a Scooby-Doo gang on it. I was buying Nair the other day and I walked down Nair in the aisle and I was like, oh, this is perfect. That's actually funny because yesterday I was thinking I need, to get a Tumblr for the office so I can make ice [00:03:00] coffee. Oh, perfect. Yeah. . You bought me a Golden Girls one. I was like, oh, now he can have a Scooby-Doo one. Yeah. This is really nice. Thank you. I almost bought me one too, but I really like my Golden Girls one I get attached to inanimate objects. I'm like, I can't get that one cuz then my Golden girls cup will feel bad. . Well you also can't have too many cups because your cabinet will get too full. Yes. I have that problem with coffee cups at home. Same. You want some at the store and then you're like, no, cuz then I have to get rid of some and I already have a hutch full of ones I've put up. Right. And people get you them for Christmas with like Mr. Rogers on them more a Chicken Bob Ross on them. I see that one over in the corner. Just a boy who loves chickens . Right. Did I tell you that I went to the Bob Ross house the other day? I saw the photos on your Facebook or one of your socials. It wasn't the Bob Ross house, it was where his studio was, [00:04:00] at the PBS studio near Ball State's campus in Mune, Indiana. Okay. I was gonna ask, was it the one in Mune? Yeah. So Josh and I grew up in Mune. That's where we spent most of our lives. And Mun, Bob Ross. Mune Adjacent. Muny Adjacent. Yes. . Well, our, our home address was a mune right. Address, but mune is where we grew up. And Bob Ross, that's where he painted his studio, was located in a home, previously owned by one of the ball brothers. It's a mansion. Have you ever been there? I have not to my knowledge. No. Wait, I did, we went on a field trip once. Mm-hmm. and the ball brothers, if you're not from Muncie, are the ball jar manufacturers, the ones that did all that. We know who they are cuz we were raised . Yeah. No, no. This is gonna be a test of your Oh heavens. Yes. Jesus. Jesus.[00:05:00] This podcast is a mystery podcast, but everyone who starts listening because I'm here, gonna have a nice history lesson involved with this. We both have history podcast. I know we can't help ourselves. Well I don't know if you knew this, Josh, but in high school I really wanted to be a history teacher. But then, one of the things that our guidance counselor, and I can't remember what her name was, to save my life, I'm horrible with names. I see her face like it was yesterday. And if I saw her in public, I would know exactly who she was. But I would forget her name. You don't know who she is either, do you? I never really had to see the guidance counselor . Well, I had to because when our school started, having AP classes, they didn't want you to take more than one at one time. And so, because I wanted to take all three my senior year at the same time, I did not have that problem. . Uh, she had to approve it and then the principal and the vice principal had to approve it. So I had to see all of them to [00:06:00] be able to approve it. And like now all the kids are doing all the AP classes together and it's not a big deal. But back then trends set her. Yeah. So back then they just wouldn't allow you to do it just because they thought it would be too difficult. I love how he casually brags last episode. It was me and all my friends go out, and now it's, oh, I was too smart for speaking of, do you remember, how smart I was in math class and then , you need to help your brother? So I had algebra, they had the head advance me into algebra and I was, this is a really funny story. So I'm pretty good with math. very, very good with math for some reason. Which is funny cuz I, I don't care for math. I'm, it just makes sense to me. I am not geometry Yes. Shapes and that's usually how I say the world, but the rest all to you. But, so when, my freshman year, I think it was my freshman year, I had just moved, I just got to high school. We had just moved to the area. So yeah, I was in algebra class and , I had done exceptionally well in the class to the point to [00:07:00] where all of our teachers, other algebra classes, she was, curving the grades so that someone would always get a hundred percent. Everyone hated him. Yeah. On each test or each assignment, but, but each assignment also, the possibility of getting five bonus points on it. So every assignment and every test, I would always get 105% . So our class never got the curve, so I was always the most hated kid in class because I would always get all of the questions right. I'm sitting there praying for a C. Right? Josh is one year younger than I am, so he wasn't in the class yet. So the teacher always knew who I was and it was always this running joke, you know? And whenever she'd hand out these papers that I would just know all of the answers. There's my prize pupil. Yeah. So by the time I finished that class, they had advanced me two more, uh, math classes ahead. So Josh goes into the math class the next year, , [00:08:00] and he sit that teacher's all excited. Yeah. She's like, oh, you're waters so you must be so good at math too. And Josh is like, I'm real creative. Yeah. Josh is like, well, we'll see. You know, . Well, I think I had to have been like the second week of school, the teacher saw me in the hallway and she approaches me with this concerned look. And she goes, Shane, you really need to help your brother with math. he's struggling really, really bad. And I was like, okay, , you gotta help your brother. You gotta help him something, right? Yeah. but all that to say, look, we just got sidetracked. But all that to say, yeah, I knew the guidance counselor and I don't even remember where we were going with that. Good Lord. I don't either. Let me think. The guidance counselor, now I know when Kim listens to this, she's gonna be like, we were, we were talking about Bob Ross. Oh yeah, the Bob Ross. Okay. Okay. . [00:09:00] So the history lesson. So look, this is our life . We, get sidetracked on so many rabbit holes. Thank you for being a friend here. Yeah. We were just having a conversation, conversation, conversation. . So back to the guidance counselor. So when the guidance counselor had us do this, like career test and it, basically had you do all these questions and it would basically come out and shoot out. what it would suggest your best career path would be with your interests. I got Marion into money . Well mine was to be a history teacher. And I was like, oh, that looks cool. But then you scroll down and it shows you like the median pay range of that career in your state. Bye. And I was like, uh, I think something's wrong with this cuz like teachers in Indiana and I think math teachers maybe especially, they don't make anything. And I was like, [00:10:00] how, how are people able to survive at this? And then someone next to me had like a weatherman and their, price was crazy high. And I was like, well I'm not gonna be able to do, do this . And he's weatherman are wrong most of the time. Yeah, his history's right. Yeah. So I was like, why can't, I'm not gonna be a history teacher, so, Now I do a podcast and I'm able to be a history teacher. Well, that would be frustrating too, especially in public schools because you have to teach, you have to babysit curriculum. Curriculum of, yeah. Like I'd be that teacher that's like, okay, so this is what they want me to teach you, but this is what happened. Yeah. Well then also I feel like you also have to deal with parents and not just kids. Yes. So that's, another thing cuz I remember even as a high school and middle school student, like, you don't only have deal with your students, you have to deal with their parents, which is a whole nother topic in itself. My little Jimmy did not set that girl's hair on fire. He would not . Right. [00:11:00] But anyway, going back to the ball brothers, what's really interesting about them is they started out their manufacturing business for, these, of course the ball glass jars in New York. I believe it was Buffalo, New York. they got this really cool offer from the city of Mune and mune offered, Hey, if you move to Mune, we will give you land for your factory and we will also give you unlimited gas, to be able to heat the fuel to create your jars. Now, up until that time, natural gas hadn't been used to create jars. So, so like a coal basically? Yeah. So, the bald brothers were like, okay, well, it's not been done before. It could be done. Fuel is fuel, heat is [00:12:00] heat. Here they're gonna give us free land. They're gonna give us free fuel. And the quote that, the city gave was until the well runs dry . You know? So basically for a very long time we're gonna give you free natural gas. Right? There's a lot in that area. Yeah. And it was, the year 1900. When this all happens, , so the ball brothers end up starting their factory in Muncy. They start using the natural gas to heat the flame that creates the, heat for their jars. And immediately as the production starts, the heat becomes so hot that the jars have a slight blue tent. Okay. And the bald brothers are like, oh crap, . What'd we do? Yeah. Because up until that time, jars had always been a clear. [00:13:00] Collar. So they thought, no one's gonna buy this. This is a mess up it's always been done as a clear glass, right? No one's gonna buy this trendsetters. Yeah. But they already had production started. They couldn't just switch. They're getting this free gas. They don't know how to get this heat to turn down. So here they had all this glass, so they had to sell it. So they start selling it and people loved it. It was different. It was cool. And it also set, the ball jars different from all other jar companies. Right. So it would fly off the shelf and people just wanted more of it. So that suddenly flew out the door. And the ball corporation became the number one manufacturers of jars because of remember how they got the blue color? Yeah. That's how, who knew? Yeah. The only thing I remember about that is, all of the sand to make the glass for their jars comes from the Great Lakes [00:14:00] beaches and is made out of quartz. Yeah. It comes from what's now the National Seashore up in northern Indiana. it's the only national park area in Indiana. Mm-hmm. . there was a great dune up there at one point that was full of sand, but the state of Indiana sold the sand and a lot of that sand came to the Ball Corporation to use in their jars. other parts of the sand, I believe was sold to Chicago and used for like filler, when they were building, like putting down new buildings and stuff like that. Right. it was just a way of Indiana making money. , you know, they had all this extra sand up there that no one was using and they're like, Hey, how can we make money off this? and then there was a corporation who needed a lot of sand, so that's, you know, what they did. definitely now when you go up there and you see an empty, barren area where there should be a huge [00:15:00] sand dune, and we have pictures of the huge sand dune when have, how it once was. Oh, you definitely have a sense of it would be nice if it was still there, , you know, this would've been pretty, yeah. So I definitely agree with that. but the ball brothers, this is a very interesting way that it connects with Josh and I. So the ball brothers, you know, they make a lot of money off these jars and eventually the ball brothers donate money to further progress things for mune. they donate money for a university. , that eventually is named after them, which is now Ball State University. They donate money for the founding of a hospital, which is now Ball Memorial Hospital and IU East. Yeah. Ball Memorial, IU East is the full name of it now. But what's different about Ball Memorial Hospital is it's [00:16:00] very big it, and it's very advanced for the size of Mune. And a part of that, especially at the time, is because of how much money, the ball brothers put into it. Hmm. Wanting it to be a very big hospital and a big research hospital, , and, and have a lot of resources. It's a 10 story hospital and that's very unusual for the size of that Muni is. it's located right next to Ball State's campus as well. the Ball brothers donated the land for the university as well as the land for the hospital. Hmm. Had no idea. Yeah. But if it wasn't for what the ball brothers did for the hospital when our dad, our dad was hit by a drunk driver, before Josh and I were born, and if it wasn't for the hospital's emergency room being so well-equipped at the time of his accident, he likely wouldn't have [00:17:00] survived. And if he wouldn't have survived his accident when he got hit by that drunk driver, Josh and I never would've been born. So, and you wouldn't be listening to our wonderful voices. Right, right. just a little side note from when our dad had his, accident, it was a horrible accident. He was a senior in high school. He had gotten hit by someone he actually knew late at night. It threw him from the car. He was pronounced dead at the scene. but they actually saw one of his fingers twitched. they rushed him to ball hospital. he went into a coma. They pronounced him as brain dead, but after several months he ended up coming too. And he is still alive. He's just not fully able to function with his body and, and everything like that. but if it wasn't for him surviving that, like I said, Josh and I wouldn't be alive. And if it wasn't for the Ball corporation being able to donate the money [00:18:00] for the hospital, they wouldn't have been so well equipped to handle trauma like that. A normal hospital. being able to handle someone who was thrown that extensively from a vehicle and someone who lost that much blood, they just wouldn't have been able to handle it. So yeah, just a little piece of history. Thank you Bald brothers. Yeah. But look, now, see all of that to say, hey, that the Bob Ross , the Bob Ross studio three hours later Yeah. Is located inside of one of the Bob Brothers old Mansions, which is now Min Trista on Mini Trista's land. so it's really cool. You go in and you, they've recreated his studio. So they have, the old cameras they use, they have a lot of his paintings that he painted while being filmed. And if you don't know who Bob Ross is, you have not lived Happy Trees. You don't know Happy Trees. Yeah, so it's a really cool space. I [00:19:00] highly recommend going. It's super cheap to be able to go to, so if you ever drive through Indiana, just take a quick pit stop and you can visit the Bob Ross. It's a good nostalgia gallery. That's what's it's called. Yeah, it's called the Bob Ross Gallery. You also got married in New Smyrna and he has a, had a little studio down there as well. Yeah, yeah. Kim, my assistant went to the little studio. You can paint there, and they have a bunch of his paintings there. I heard that most of his paintings are in a warehouse. Yeah. Just being stored. You know, you, you really can't buy them. I did find one painting online that's being sold, and it was for like $60,000 or something. because they're so rare to come up for sale. Right. You know, it's just, they're beautiful. Absolutely beautiful. But each one that he painted while being filmed, there's three of them. There was the, [00:20:00] basically the practice version. The one that he would do for the TV show and then Juan, that he would do for publication, like for a book or something like that. So there's always three different versions of them. Listen, we grew up in an area, rich in history. We have Bob Ross and the guy that, created Garfield . Uhhuh . All right, Josh. So I think it's your turn of star if you want to go ahead and jump in. All righty. Oh, Jesus helped me with these names today. I have been practicing them, but we will see, I know how it goes. . Me too. It's Spanish. So I'm, that's usually a little easier for me. I can roll my, Well, if you know me, you know that I absolutely adore women, especially older ones. Not in any romantic way obviously, but more in a fascination, admiration, and connected way. You've heard me say [00:21:00] plenty of times the I am a 60 year old lady in a 32 year old gay man's body , and it's honestly a blast. All the fun and none of the hot flashes, right? Some of my fondest memories are from working in life enrichment at a nursing home. My whole job was to be a pal and a confidant. I had to throw that in there to a building full of mostly ladies, and one of my favorite quotes from one of them is we're old. We're not dead. Can I have some gin now, , she told me that as I hung shirtless photos of Australian firemen in her room. . I was in the business of putting smiles on their faces and business was good. . Now did you take those photos from your room and let her borrow them ? No, I just printed 'em off on the, work computer. That's funny. They trusted me, so they'd tell me stuff. And, sometimes they'd be like, can we have like pictures instead? they would [00:22:00] just mention it not even knowing, what a printer was. Right. Most of the time. And then usually on my lunch break, I'd, well, let me see what I can find. So I'm sitting there in my office googling shirtless muscle firemen, . I'm like, I hope no one opens this door. That's funny. But hey, it's, it was considered their house. And I'm like, if they want, yeah, I, they get what they want. I'm not telling them that's gonna be you. And when you're at that age, , , don't touch my men. So it came as a big surprise to me when I learned that there was a serial killer who had murdered over 30 older woman Iios meal had to throw that in there too. That's, oh my god. So basically Jesus in Spanish , her name was Juan Barraza and she was a wrestler from Mexico who went on a killing Rampage beginning in September of 1998. Her motive is said to have been revenge based and she drew [00:23:00] pleasure in taking the lives of helpless women of an advanced age who lived alone. I used advanced age cuz it, they keep saying little old lady killers and I'm like, could have made it a little bit more respectful sounding right. It took police a while to even realize that there was a connection to the women being murdered, and when they did their first psychological profile of the subject was as, so, They believe the killer was a gay male who had suffered from physical abuse as a child who has great intelligence and who grew up surrounded by the influence of women, most likely older women, but who isn't older when you're a kid, right? Everybody is. They also held resentment towards one or more of those women, which that profile sounds like the majority of gay males, childhoods that I know, , they gathered the profile out of the minimal amount of evidence and witness accounts that they had. There were [00:24:00] reports from witnesses of a big old boxing nurse with a Manish features seen walking around several of the victim's neighborhoods the day they were murdered. That and the police just couldn't believe the fact that there could possibly be a female serial killer. They adjusted their profile again, to be that of a transvestite based on the physical appearance given. which is just plain ignorance. If we're gonna put on the dress, we're gonna put on the padding if Jesus hormones or silicone didn't provide it. So I, I call that bull crap. Right. This gives you a good example of the actual appearance of Juan though, but there was a reason for her muscular physique, aside from just genetics. Aside from her passion for strangling helpless abus, she was a semi-pro wrestler in the lucha Libra circuit. Her wrestling name, which I was shocked by, was [00:25:00] Del or The Lady of the Silence. I don't know why it took 'em so long to find her. She's , a masculine looking. Female wrestler, and her name is The Lady of Silence and the killer Strangles old ladies. I'm like, it wouldn't have taken me. That long. I did find out that as a child, she grew up with an alcoholic mother in poverty. Her mother often beat her and never taught Wanda how to read or write. When she was just 13, she was sold to a man for just three beers and was repeatedly raped by him. He held her hostage for five years, keeping her tied to the bed. Mostly she conceded two, two children with him, but was forced to have one aborted. It took five years for her mother to confess that she had sold WA and her uncles went to rescue. Her mother had been lying to them saying that Wa had left on her own free will to go live with the man.[00:26:00] She was certainly no stranger to tragedy, and that is where her initial interest in wrestling came from. I mean, I can't think of a better way to get rid of pent up rage, aggression, and some trauma. It wouldn't be enough though. And she soon began to plan her revenge. It would seem that she couldn't get the revenge she sought from her own mother. So she chose women who would have been close in age to her mother and took it out on them, honestly, believing that she was doing the world justice by killing them. After the first few murders were tied together, police name the killer El Ez, or the Old Lady Killer, but people weren't sure if it was real or just a hoax. . A lot of locals just believed that it was a made up story. But then, police quickly began to tell all the elderly to lock their doors and to not open them for anyone at night.[00:27:00] I couldn't exactly find out how she found her victims. There must have been some light stalking to know that they lived alone or that she somehow had access to their private information. She would gain entry into their homes by pretending to be a nurse or social worker, often telling them that she was there to help them sign up for financial assistance or for some housekeeping help. She also had a fake government id, so there is a possibility that she could have had some kind of a legal access to information once inside their home. She would quickly subdue and beat the woman up. before strangling them. Sometimes with a stethoscope. She would then ransack their home and steal what she could before fleeing. That would be until January 25th, 2006 when WA was arrested while fleeing the scene of her latest crime, [00:28:00] where she strangled an 82 year old woman with a stethoscope. When she was arrested, Lama Ez was chocked full of evidence. She had a social worker's ID card, stethoscope slash murder weapon, and financial aid forms, along with matching the suspect's description as a masculine looking woman with short hair and a facial mold. After some light questioning, wanna confessed to killing her last victim and denied any involvement with the others. But her fingerprints linked her to at least 10 of the 40 suspected murders. Geez, they believe, that it was around 36 to around 40 to 50 people altogether that she murdered, but they're not a hundred percent sure. Mm-hmm. she was tried in March of 2008 and found guilty on 16 counts of murder [00:29:00] and aggravated burglary with 11 separate counts of murder as well. She blamed her mother's treatment of her as a child, as her total reason. She was then sentenced to 759 years in prison and she remains at the Santa Martha Ala prison to this day. And she is 66 years old, the age of some of her victims. I wonder if she ever sees the face of her mother when she looks in the mirror now. Good question. That's what I have ez. I like the name. I know it means old lady killer, but it sounds so pretty . Like it sounds like a nice flower. What cocktail? I like it. I like the way it sounds. Yeah, I've been practicing these names to make sure that I don't sound like a fool. Well, more of a fool. . I'm okay with being a little foolish, but I don't want [00:30:00] that to be my whole person. At first it was EL because they didn't suspect it was a woman. But then they switched it to law. Once they discovered, they, kind of went along the sensationalism of the famous serial killers from the United States. And they were hoping for like this big, huge media frenzy case. And yeah, they just would not believe that a woman could possibly do this to right these little old ladies. It had to be, a man. And then a lot of people believed that the transvestite part was more of them attempting to crack down on the increase in number of transvestite prostitutes that were in the area. I know for a long time in the US women weren't seen as capable of being murderers, and even when they would be caught, they wouldn't be sentenced. like men would be sentenced, you know, if a man would be sentenced to death [00:31:00] for murder, the woman wouldn't be sentenced for such a harsh punishment. Okay. Because they just weren't considered as an equal , you know? No. Yeah. So I could definitely see, especially another country where maybe women, I don't know if this was the case for that time period, but if women didn't have the same type of rights, maybe they didn't, see women as being capable, maybe they were still the lesser sex. So possibly that also had something to do with it. Right. I know a lot of countries, even still today, I would specifically say mainly smaller countries. Who have a poor outlook on women. their thought for women is that they are still the lesser sex, and that they are, just not as smart or as capable in our course. Less they're ignorant hard. Right, right. and that's how, the United States [00:32:00] in our early time before women could vote and stuff. Right. That's how they, that's how the whole world was. So I could definitely see them thinking that a woman couldn't be capable of such a heinous crime at some point. I'm not condoning murder, but ladies, don't you ever let anybody tell you you can't be what you want to be. Well, jokes on them. Not murderer though. Well, well jokes on them. Because women are so smart that they normally don't get caught. Exactly. You know, they're, the poisoners and they don't tell they're not sloppy. Yeah. Men, they murder and they tell, or they, it's like hunt stories because they have to tell like, oh, I have to tell, or write it down. . Yeah. Or they're, doing it in such a passion driven moment that they're not caring and they're leaving stuff, leaving their DNA or leaving a glove. women are smart. there's a reason women live longer. and it's . I mean, they're smart, right? And they know how to take care of themselves and mm-hmm. , you put a little extra bacon grease in your husband's breakfast every morning and you gonna outlive [00:33:00] them. I'm just saying I wouldn't do that. So says the guy whose ex-boyfriend has died, . Not on my fault. I mean, I did do that. Not on your watch. I did do that. Like extra baker grease, bacon grease butter, like anything Artery C clogging some. Oh, you can't, your doctor said no salt. Okay. Yeah. these tastes great. Oh, you shouldn't have patron. Okay. Yeah. I'm not gonna say anything while I watch you drink the whole bottle. I blame that. Not me putting butter in literally everything. Right? I was putting it in my chili, like here, there. Well, our grandma used to do that, a whole stick of butter in chili. I watched her like dump a whole stick and I was like, I put a tab in mine. His I'd put a little extra in there. Yeah. . I watched grandma do it once and I mean, a big thing of chili and she [00:34:00] put the, like a whole stick of butter in it. Mm-hmm. , which doesn't like it, doesn't really do a lot. A little bit can help, but I'm like, you're just putting fat in. You're just trying to kill us. I was like, she's just making sure we don't run away. . they aren't gonna move anywhere far. Can't run away if you ain't got no toes. That is so wrong. . Well, we have a morbid sense of humor, so, uh, we are joking, so don't send us Yeah. Our grandma would be laughing at it right now. Yeah. She is like, you know. Oh my gosh. So we were, uh, watching this live stream of some friends, who were doing like this musical night the other day. and they were playing this song I wish I could tell you what song it was in the author, but I don't know It's some famous person from a while back I didn't know who they were. I think they said Bob Seager maybe. That sounds right, Bob. Yeah. Yeah. I don't know who he is either. Yeah. And so, well we grew up sheltered guys. We did like our grandma was watching The Golden Girls [00:35:00] and we were just busy watching The Golden Girls. We had country and gospel music, Reba and Dolly and those type of artists we know. Yeah. And I just don't know who this Bob guy is. Okay. The sing and Cook Gospel SA family, I know all their Solomon. Right. But this Bob guy, I had no idea. so the guy started playing the piano and everyone was like, oh my God, I love this song. And I was like, I've literally never heard this song before in my life. So I'm a little embarrassed that you guys are like singing every word to it. Cause I've not, I've never heard of it. They're like, you don't know who Bob is? And I was like, no. And so they would give me such a hard time and I was like, Guys, my grandma watched the Golden Girls 24 7 and Benny hen everybody. Yeah, and Joyce, is it Mayer? Joyce Meyer. Yeah. Meyer. Yeah. And so I was like, I do like her. She , I like her. Yeah. Old lady, of course. , I love her. who's had a little bit of work. A little, a little bit. I'm bless. Yeah. and so I was just like, we didn't have that much outside influence . [00:36:00] And they're like, your grandma probably knows who he is. And I was like, Uhuh, no she don't. She did and I was cracking up and they're like, oh my God, that's so wrong. What? They were giving me a hard time and I was like, She would laugh if she was here . You know, she wouldn't want me crying about it. Right. Make a joke. Yeah. I just, a little morbid sense of humor. That's all I need in life. older people are the most morbid people. They're, you know, one, one foot in the grave. They're completely accepted it. If you, and if you can't laugh at life, what are you doing? Laugh at death. . Yeah. you gotta laugh. That's, that's no when to laugh. That's the, you know, something. Not, nothing too soon or, and for me, if you're not laughing, you're crying. Right. I rather the laugh at something. It just makes you feel good. Exactly. All right. So my topic today, because we've talked for a long time already, and no, none of those were my topics. . Bob Bryce wasn't the bald brothers. No. And the [00:37:00] history lesson was not your topic today, . But you are gonna get a little history lesson in this topic. Okay. As usual , So Josh, in one of our old episodes, you mentioned the Czars of Russia. Yeah. And you mentioned, I believe you mentioned the Amber Room, or we talked about the Amber Room. We, I remember talking about it, yeah. it might have even been in one of the unmasked episodes. But anyway, the Amber Room was brought up and I was like, oh yeah, you never heard like, da da. And that's gonna be my topic today because Yeah, it's a very important mystery. So the Amber Room, what is it? Where is it and how can you still see it today? Well, before we can talk about the Amber Room. What is Amber? Do you know what Amber is? It's a mineral, like a, really pretty rock It is a really pretty rock . I know The collar is a, [00:38:00] um, that's what they made the dinosaurs out of in Jurassic Park, isn't it? So, fossilized tree? Sap? No. Okay then. No, I don't it. It's a common, well, a lot of people would say that, but it's a common thing that people get wrong. Amber is fossilized tree resin. Okay. Which is actually not the same thing as tree sap. So resin comes from tree bark when bark is injured. and that it can be an injury from insects or humans weather. But it could also be like if a tree loses a limb or something like that. Okay, so it's like tree scar tissue. Yeah. It will seep to fill in those gaps or gashes. It seeps this sticky substance. Mm-hmm. , and I'm sure you probably have this memory of going up to tr Yeah. And it's very, very sticky. Yeah. Yeah. So it's gonna seep this material, this [00:39:00] resin, and when that resin is fossilized for a very, very long time. That is what we call Amber. Okay. So Amber has been something that, humans have valued from antiquity to now as what we know as gemstone. So as a pretty rock in simple terms. Yeah. So the hardness of amber can vary from between two to three as it's calculated. And tc, for example, is registered at one. Okay? So it's very soft. And a diamond is a 10, so Amber is a two to three. you can damage it. Mm-hmm. , you can crack it off pretty easy. And amber is flammable. Oh yeah. Amber, you can look into it, you know, it's transparent. Right. and a lot of times as amber forms, it will trap bugs or, [00:40:00] leaves seeds, sometimes seeds. Yeah. So a lot of times it, the fossil amber will also have other insects or leaves or other things inside of it. No, I want a piece, piece of it for my crystal collection. . Yeah. Which, if you don't have a piece of it, it's pretty cool. So I definitely would recommend it. But it is still a valued gemstone. You know, they had a whole room full of it. Yeah. I don't know why the people hated them. . Yeah. So the amber room gets its origin. In 1701 when the Amber Room was commissioned to be installed, once it was completed, now it was commissioned For now I'm gonna be saying a lot of German and Russian names, and don't be hating me. We apologize in advance. Yes, we apologize in advance at the Char Landsburg Palace at the Charlotte let me say that one more time. Hey, Siri at Cton burg Palace, [00:41:00] the residents of Frederick, the first King of Prussia, one option, Berlin. Does that one sound good? Charlottenburg? Hey, Siri. For those of you who are listening, I didn't know how to pronounce something and Josh thought he would be funny and say the s i r i word. I didn't think she heard me. I said it so low. And he little did he know our s i r I started freaking out. . Well, my, computer didn't even kick off and it's right here. Okay. So it was actually his second wife Sophia, Charlotte's idea to have this Amber Room made. The Amber Room was created by Godfried Wolfram Master Craftsman to the Danish courts of King Frederick IV. Of [00:42:00] Denmark, okay. And although it was originally intended to be installed at Charlottenburg Palace. Once those panels were all completed, they ended up installing them at Berlin City Palace. Oh yeah. Berlin was the capital of Prussia. Okay. It didn't remain there for long. However, Peter, the Greater Russia, he came during a visit and he loved the Amber Room. So in 1716, king Fredericks, the first son, Frederick William, the first presented the room to Peter as a gift and presenting him that gift forged a Russian Prussian alliance. Hmm. That's how you know you have money when you can just gift an entire room. Yeah, I know. To somebody, especially one that would be such a huge, famous, expensive room like that. The [00:43:00] original design of the Amber Room, as it was in Berlin, was reworked in Russia in a joint effort by German and Russian craftsman Peter's daughter, Empress Elizabeth thought the room would go best in their summer home that Katherine Palace, and I don't know if you've ever looked at pictures of Katherine Palace. Mm-hmm. It is a huge palace. It's beautiful. I definitely want to go there. Russia does not do small. Yeah. The Katherine Palace is just south of modern day St. Petersburg. Okay. In Russia. Okay. The Amber Room covered more than 55 square meters or 590 square feet and contained over six tons. And that's 13,000 pounds of amber Heaven. Jesus. Jesus . That amount of amber alone today would cost $240 million. . Now that does not take into consideration how much it would've [00:44:00] cost to mold it and shape it. Now you can find photos from the amber room, from back then. That's what I'm doing right now. Yeah. And the photos, one of the things you have to take into consideration a lot of the photos. And even I find this, if I go someplace and I take a photo, it really matters of the angles of the photo. Oh, yeah. So the photos that are taken from, like from afar from the room, it looks like, oh, it's a, amber colored room, you know? Okay. That's cool. But as you look at some of the photos that are, detailed, when they're up close, you'll notice like how much detail Oh yeah. I'm looking at a crown. Yeah. there are. frames made of amber, and they just put so much detail in how they crafted all of the individual pieces of amber together. And I believe there was even a table [00:45:00] made of amber. There were at least four framed photos. I believe they were stone and around those were frames that they made completely of, amber. And they're just beautiful and just unbelievable. Like Mo, what is the word? Mosaic? Yeah, mosaic. Yeah. Yeah. Out of amber. This picture I'm looking at now looks like someone stuck a whole bunch of, starburst, chewy things. Mm-hmm. underneath like a two . the yellow and orange ones. Yeah, the bad ones. Yeah. to be able to create a mold amber like this, it just takes us such a long time. and it takes a master craftsman to do it. So the room that you are looking at, Josh, it took them 10 years, I believe it, to construct. it's a massive project. Something you won't see on Pinterest. Yeah, and like I said, the cost of just the raw amber [00:46:00] would've been 240 million. So it's an expensive room. They said during the time that it was, you know, the New World Wonder, it was very well known. Everyone in the world knew about the Amber Room. it was just very widely well known about everyone wanted to see it because it was just a sight to see, as you can imagine. I want to go see, I wanna see it, you know? Right. So, All was dandy and good in the life of the Amber Room. It was well enjoyed and it was well had. Yeah, she popular. She popular as World War II began Russia, what we'd now call Russia. Russia knew of a likely invasion by the German Nazis. So shortly before the invasion, the curators who were responsible for removing art treasures in [00:47:00] linen grad, which linen grad is now what we call St. Petersburg. Okay. Tried to disassemble and remove the amber room. However, they said the amber had dried out so much and was brittle. So moving it was impossible without the amber crumbling. So instead those. curators decided to hide it behind wallpaper. Hmm. And so their attempt was to keep German forces from seizing it. But I don't know how you can really hide the room that you're looking at behind wallpaper . He sculpted Amber Angels. Yeah. Just put a piece of paper. I'm just gonna throw this wallpaper up. Especially such a well known room. Right. And at least some tape history or something. And the Amber Room was a very well known piece of art, and it was not just a piece of art, it was a piece of art room. Very large [00:48:00] room. I mean, to see, you know, an SS officer walking in. Oh, it kind of looks like what the Amber Room does. Yeah. But it's wallpaper. It can't be. Yeah. And the Germans were definitely looking for it. also, it was well in Hitler's mind that they were going to be searching for it. Because you have to remember that Perusia, which is now, part of what we now call Germany altogether, the Nazis were wanting the Amber room back because they felt like it was theirs. Prussia had given it to the Russians, but Hitler wanted it back. Right. He also had an obsession with collecting war treasures. Yeah, yeah, for sure. So I have no doubt that they knew exactly where it was and they were going to be searching for it. Mm-hmm. . So they were searching for it and they found it. when German soldiers invaded the city, they [00:49:00] found the amber room and they disassembled it within 36 hours. Under the supervision of two experts on October 14th, 1941, the Amber Room Reaches Coonsburg in East Prussia for storage and display in the town's castle. On November 13th, 1941, a Coonsburg newspaper announced an exhibition of the Amber Room at Coonsburg Castle. This is an important note. In August of 1944, I found out that Coonsburg was heavily bombed by the Royal Air Force. There's no documentation if the Amber Room was damaged during that time, but I thought that that was gonna be important because of how much the city was bombed. Hitler sent out orders on January 21st and the 24th of 1945, and he ordered for any [00:50:00] looted possessions from the city to be moved. However, before the Amber Room was moved, the person who was in charge of moving it had abandoned his post and fled the city. So the Amber Room was never moved. The city was captured by the Red Army on April 9th, 19 45, after an extensive artillery shelling of the city after the dust settled on the city. The room where the amber room once filled was empty. The whereabouts of the famous Amber Room have never been seen again. Oh, wow. Yeah. Now, there are a number of theories that I'm gonna outline here on what might have happened to the famous Amber Room. A possible theory number one is that they packed the amber room up and they put it on a ship called the Wilhelm Gustov, on January 30th, 1945.[00:51:00] after the ship set off, though it was quickly sank by a torpedo that was sent off by a Soviet submarine. So that ship is currently at the bottom, or the ship is still currently san. it's not been brought up. The amber can survive in water. Okay. So as long as, next question. Yeah. So as long as the torpedo impact didn't hit the amber, then the amber would've survive it. So if it is on the ship and they bring the ship up, then the amber would still be okay. Okay. Yeah. Hmm. Now, to support the theory, there were a number of eyewitnesses who came forward to say that they saw crates that would match the type of crates that they would be loading the amber room in, being loaded onto the ship before it left. So it's possible. Okay. Theory number two is that it was hidden in an underground room, like a [00:52:00] bunker or a cave. Now this, theory is very possible because we do know that the Nazis were trying their best to ensure that none of this artwork or that their loot didn't get back out to other people as, these nations were invading their land. their thought was if they can go back and regroup, they were gonna be able to regain power. And, you know, they never saw themselves as losing. Yeah. So they, they may have just hit it temporarily in their mind. so this theory is very possible, but there's never been evidence to support where that might be on, where it could be hidden. Okay. So theory three is that the Nazis destroyed it. So we do know that they did destroy artwork, however, that was normally artwork that they didn't like, and it was done in a very public display. [00:53:00] So why would they have destroyed this artwork? Especially if their mindset is that they'll be able to come back. And if it was so precious to them, knowing that it was, you know, in their mind it's German art, right? They would, I don't see that they would be destroying German. They would've destroyed it at the original palace versus transporting it to then later destroy it. Yeah. That don't, that don't make any, but also in their mind it's German made and it belongs to them. Right. You know, so I don't, see them destroying it. I don't either. Yeah. So number four is, it was accidentally destroyed by the Red Army. Okay. Which is what we now call the Russians. we know that Amber is combustible and when the Red Army attacked the city where it was, they could have accidentally destroyed it. The Russians have files in their archives from interviews with locals after the city was taken. And that [00:54:00] was of course, right after their attack of the city. And that attack was very devastating to the city. The city took a lot of damage, especially if it was combustible, it wouldn't have taken a lot for it to catch on fire. Right. An interview done by Alexander Brushoff was written as this, and I'm quoting this restaurant manager, Paul Fre Bender, was in the castle up until its capture by the Red Army, and says, the Amber room was in crates at the moment of surrender and burned there. During a fire that destroyed the northern wing, summarizing all the facts, we can say that the Amber room was destroyed between the ninth and the 11th of April, 1945. Now, this information that the Russians had from Alexander that actually never got out until a book was published [00:55:00] pretty recently, I believe it was in the early two thousands, somewhere around then, when that book was published, when they found this archival evidence from Alexander, the Russian government learns about this information being published, and they spoke out against it, denying it. Okay. but, Hmm, what don't they deny? You know, But then in 1979, they decided to rebuild the Amber room as it was. So they used the original drawings and old black and white photographs trying their hardest to make the new amber room as close to the original as possible. This included 350 shades of amber in the original panels and fixtures that adorned the room When they started, they ran into a major problem, however, which was the lack of skilled amber craftsman. Mm-hmm. , since Amber [00:56:00] carving was really a lost form of art. I mean, the first one was from the 17 hundreds, like right. It took 24 years to build the room and required 40 Russian and German experts. The room was mostly complete in 2003, where it was dedicated at the 300th anniversary of the City of St. Petersburg. Hmm. So over, it took over twice as long to build. Right. And that is the story of the Amber Room. Well, that was very interesting. I have heard of it before. I watch a lot of, period peace movies and shows and whatnot. I had not really heard a lot about the Amber Room, but I knew of the Red Room from Britain. Mm-hmm. , I learned of it from the Crown. That's funny. I will admit . Now there is a little piece that I'm saving for our, uh, unmasked Unmasked episode. That one piece of [00:57:00] the Amber Room was eventually discovered. Ooh. And it's here today. . I'm not that cool. Real. Our, uh, sound guy would be busting through like the Kool-Aid man. . Right. What? You got a cool rock . He's a big rock guy. He's a rock guy. He collects them because they're cool. Oras. I collect them because they vibrate and they're good for me, and they're pretty, and they're pretty, that helps. Right. All right, Josh, I have a cool review that we got, that I will read for us. Wonderful. Yes. The review is from Perfect Balance, which is a great name. Hey. their review says, making incredibly disquieting subjects downright delightful is a fine art done perfectly here. The best new show I have heard in some time. Well, thank you. Perfect. Balance Our, humor comes from trauma I'd like to thank my [00:58:00] childhood and my twenties and, and my ex for my morbid dark humor. No kidding. . No kidding. All righty. All right. Well, is that it for our episode this week? Yeah, that's it. If you would like some behind the scenes extra bit of Mystery Inc. please join us on Patreon at It's Mystery, Inc. And sign up and you can join us for Unmasked, which we'll be starting in just a minute. Yeah. You can also get our unmasked episodes on Apple Podcast Premium. Oh, yes. Yeah, that's a pretty cool feature. please follow us on Instagram at it's Mystery Inc. And leave a good review wherever you listen to podcast. There you go. All right, let's go ahead and get started on the mast episode. Oi Kenneth. [00:59:00]