Baltimore, Maryland, is one of the deadliest cities in the United States, boasting a murder rate of 51 deaths per 100,000 residents. It is second only to St. Louis, Missouri, in terms of homicide rates in the US, a rate that is 14-times higher than that of New York City. The city has been working hard to find new ways to combat the terrifying violence for decades, and its insane homicide rate even influenced the creation of David Simon's acclaimed TV series, The Wire.
Out of the many horrific murders committed in Baltimore, the tragedy endured by the Johnson family has become so infamous that their home has sat abandoned for decades as a result. Urban explorer and filmmaker Dan Bell came across the creepy house while scouting out the other numerous abandoned places in the city. And after conducting a bit of research on the home, he discovered that it had been keeping a bloody and horrifying secret for over 30 years.
He learned that on Christmas Day in 1983, a drug-addicted father named Stephen Craig Johnson went insane and attacked his wife and child, and even thought his child was Jesus reincarnated, resulting in a gruesome Christmas murder mansion mystery that has disturbed residents ever since.
The Mansion Is A Decrepit, Rotting NightmareVideo: YouTube
Its wood is splintering and falling apart, paint is peeling from the walls, flies infest many of the rooms, and black, brackish water still sits in a tub. It seems to be almost a foregone conclusion to witness something zip past a doorway into the darkness.
The forlorn detritus of a once-loved home lies everywhere, including what seems to be a stuffed vulture sitting among the refuse on the attic floor… and then it blinks. The creepiness of the home exudes through the lens of an urban explorer's video camera, and it's clear that the malevolence of what happened back in 1983 still haunts the derelict home.
The Soon-To-Be Murderer Started To Behave Erratically Once The Family Returned From Christmas DinnerPhoto: Dan Bell / YouTube
It all happened on Christmas Day in 1983 - and quite suddenly. The Johnson family - Stephen, Carla, and Stephen Jr - returned home after visiting Stephen's mother for Christmas dinner. Though Stephen was a caring husband, he was also known to take hard drugs, and had in fact taken PCP only two days earlier.
Just minutes after arriving back home, Stephen started to exhibit very strange behaviors. He claimed that he knew Ronald Reagan's phone number, that his drug-using days were over, and he felt his heart beating extremely rapidly. Unfortunately however, his wife dismissed his behavior and left him alone, giving him the opportunity to attack their son as his delirium heightened.
His Wife Pleaded With Him, But Her Cries Fell On Deaf EarsPhoto: Dan Bell / YouTube
Soon after Stephen began behaving strangely, he ran into his 13-month-old son's room and held him dangerously tight, in a way that could almost be mistaken as being protective. But Carla was greatly alarmed by his behavior. She pleaded with him to hand their son to her, but he wouldn't listen or budge. She then attempted to call his mother in hopes of her being able to talk him down, but the phone numbers she tried were broken, and then the phone was knocked from her hands.
As he become more aggressive and threatening, she retreated from him in fear of making him more angry.
He Declared That His Son Was Christ Reborn - And That He Had To Die
His psychosis appeared to be in full effect as he started to mumble things incoherently. In Carla's court testimony, she described how Stephen believed their son was the reincarnation of Jesus Christ, and that his death was ordained.
"...he said that Stephen... was Jesus Christ reborn through us and that he had to die for everybody's sins. And then I just panicked. I can remember, I slammed him in the face and it was like it didn't even phase him."
At this point in the confrontation, Carla was deathly afraid for her life and that of her son. It seemed that nothing was going to be able to stop Stephen from doing exactly what his deranged mind was thinking about.