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Hey prime members, you can binge eight new episodes of the Mister Ballin podcast one month early, and all episodes ad free on Amazon Music. Download the Amazon Music app today. Today's podcast features two stories that will make you think twice before leaving the trail. The audio from both of these stories has been pulled from our main YouTube channel and has been remastered for today's episode. The links to the original YouTube videos are in the description. The first story you'll hear is called Dinner, and it's about a solo hiker who makes a big mistake. And the second and final story youll hear is called Rattlesnake Canyon, and its about two people who find themselves in a totally hopeless situation. As the story unfolds. Ask yourself, if you were in their position, what would you do? But before we get into todays stories, if youre a fan of the strange, dark, and mysterious delivered in story format, then youve come to the right podcast.


Because thats all we do.


And we upload twice a week, once on Monday and once on Thursday. So if that's of interest to you, after the Amazon music follow button has gone to bed for the night, secretly sneak into their room and slightly unplug their phone charger from their phone so it looks like it's plugged in but it's not charging. Okay, let's get into our first story, which is called Dinner.


From Wondery. I'm Raza Jaffrey, and this is the spy who this series we open the file on Ayman Dean, the spy who betrayed bin Laden. In 1990, 416 year old Ayman wants to die. He heads to war torn Bosnia to join the mujahideen and save his fellow Muslims. He hopes to become a martyr so that he can be reunited with his dead parents in paradise. Instead, he's about to be confronted by a cruel and bloody reality. A reality that'll lead him to turn his back on terrorism and become the West's top spy inside al Qaeda. Follow the spy who on the wandery app or wherever you listen to podcasts. Or you can binge the full season of the spy who betrayed bin Laden early and ad free with wondery plus.


Hello, I'm Emily.


And I'm Anna. And we're the hosts of terribly famous, the show that takes you inside the lives of our biggest celebrities.


And just a warning, our latest season will feature a lot of accents.


Can I just check? What accents?


Because I can't tell this story without going all in.


Okay, I'm scared to ask, but can.


You give us a clue why I man.


Oh, ants and order.


I'm afraid not. And it's not Alan Shearer, either. I am talking about a young woman plucked from obscurity who rose to become the nation's sweetheart.


A woman who's had a lot of.


Surnames and has ditched them all to become just Cheryl.


Love it, girls.


Allowed. Fans, strap in. We're gonna follow Cheryl from her girl band glory days, getting together with Ashley Cole, and the many scandals and humiliations that followed, not to mention near death experience.


Oh, she's been through a lot, and.


She has needed every ounce of her northern grit to see her through. I promise you, it's gonna be an emotional rollercoaster.


Follow terribly famous wherever you listen to podcasts or listen early and ad free on Wondery plus on Apple Podcasts or the Wondery app.


In the summer of 2015, a young man named Paul was on his last day of a seven day solo backpacking trip through a very remote area in Utah called the Dark Canyon Wilderness. Dark Canyon gets its name from its steep walls that block light in the morning and in the late afternoon. It's an area that's only accessible by foot, and it's not uncommon to go in there and not see another person the whole time you're there. That morning, Paul got up and set off on a day hike that would take him through a very forested area up onto a plateau where he planned to camp out for the night. About a mile into the hike, he found some amazing elk antlers, and he decided he wanted to keep them. So he threw them on his backpack and rested them at the top and continued on his hike. But the added 15 pounds of weight proved to be far more exhausting than he was anticipating. And very quickly, he blew through all of his water. Even though he was within 1 mile of his final destination, this plateau, he decided to stop because he was so dehydrated, he needed to find water.


So he puts his pack down, he puts the elk antlers down, and he starts walking around, and amazingly, he does find some water. Granted, it was kind of a gross puddle of standing water, but he figured, I can boil this, and it should be okay. And as he's preparing a fire to boil this standing water, he figures, you know what? If I'm making a fire here, I might as well just make my camp here. So he sets up his tent, and then he makes a fire, and he's about to start boiling this water when he realizes how dumb he's being. If there's a puddle of standing water right here, then probably just a little ways upstream, there's going to be some running water. Why don't I not boil this crappy water that will only yield, you know, a couple sips of water and go look for the running water where I can drink as much as I want. So he puts the pot down, and he leaves all of his gear at the campsite, and he begins walking up this mountain to hopefully find a stream. And after about a half mile of walking up this mountain, he finds this little spring.


Immediately he's down on hands and knees, drinking as much water as he possibly can because he's super dehydrated. And after he's drank for quite a while, he reaches down to his belt where he kept his water bottles, and he realized he left all of his gear, including his water bottles, at camp. So he didn't have a way to collect this water. And so he's like, shoot, I gotta go back to camp and get the bottle and come back. I'm gonna burn a bunch of energy. But he's like, you know, what? What can you do? I need the water. And so he gets up, and he turns around, and he starts walking back towards his camp. And immediately he starts to feel really anxious. As he's walking back, he can't help but feel like someone's behind him watching him. And he kept turning his head, thinking he's gonna see someone just over the mountain who's quietly stalking him. And he just could not shake this feeling. And so, as he's walking back to camp, every little sound he hears is totally throwing him off. Every little rustling leaf, every little bird overhead. He's totally on edge because he's convinced someone is behind me or someone's over there, someone's watching me.


He finally gets back to camp. He gets his water bottles, and he considered not going back to the spring because he didn't want to cover that distance again because of how stressful it just was. But ultimately, he knows he needs the water. So either he's going to sit here for a really long time and boil a bunch of stagnant water, or he can just suck it up, walk to the spring, get some water, come back and be good. Before he walks up to the spring, he grabs a really big stick to use as a club, and then he walks up. So now he's got some protection. And immediately as he begins that half mile trek to the spring, the anxiety pours right back over him, and he can't help but feel like someone is watching him. But he gets up to the spring, he fills his water bottles. He turns around and he starts walking back. And he walks down this little rock face and lands on the trail he had just been on a minute ago. And he stops because he sees something on the ground that wasn't there before. A fresh mountain lion print is placed right in between two of his footprints that he had just made on his way back to the spring.


Meaning there's a mountain lion somewhere right around here. That's not just watching me, it's hunting me. Paul doesn't really know what to do, so he runs to his campsite and gets in his tent and huddles in his tent for the rest of the night, hoping a mountain lion doesn't attack him. And fortunately, it does not. And what he thinks probably happened was when he picked up those elk antlers and put them on his backpack and was walking around with them, he probably attracted the mountain lion that thought he was an elk and therefore food.


Nancy's love story could have been ripped right out of the pages of one of her own novels.


She was a romance mystery writer who happens to be married to a chef.


But this story didn't end with a happily ever after. When I stepped into the kitchen, I could see that chef Brophy was on the ground, and I heard somebody say, call 911. As writers, we'd written our share of murder mysteries. So when suspicion turned to Dan's wife, Nancy, we weren't that surprised.


The first person they look at would be the spouse.


We understand that's usually the way they do it. But we began to wonder, had Nancy gotten so wrapped up in her own novels, there are murders in all of the books that she was playing them out in real life. Follow happily never after Dan and Nancy on the wondery Apple or wherever you get your podcasts, you can binge all episodes of happily never after Dan and Nancy, early and ad free right now by joining wondery.


I'm afoul Hirsch.


I'm Peter Frankopone.


And in our podcast legacy, we explore the lives of some of the biggest characters in history.


This season, we're going to be exploring the life of Margaret Thatcher, the first.


Female leader of Britain. Her eleven year premiership completely overhauled british society.


The political legacy of Thatcherism is both pervasive but also controversial. So who was the woman behind the policies?


Wow, what a titan of modern british history, Peter. It's kind of intimidating, actually.


We've spent days, days recording this one, and so just to cut it down, there is so much that happens over the course of Margaret Thatcher's life that we've had to think really hard about what we can include.


And this is, of all the characters we've done so far, the one who's had the most personal impact on my conscious, waking, real time life. I mean, I lived through her. I was born under her. I'm a Thatcher baby that's going to.


Be set to dance music. So follow legacy now from wherever you.


Get your podcasts or binge entire seasons early and ad free on wondery plus.


The next and final story of today's episode is called Rattlesnake canyon.


At about 130 in the afternoon on August 8, 1999, a park ranger named Lance Matson stood frowning down at a dusty red Mazda car inside of an otherwise empty parking lot just outside of Carlsbad Caverns National park in New Mexico. Lance knew the two men who owned this red Mazda had taken out a one night permit to be allowed to go into Rattlesnake Camp Canyon, which is one of the most isolated parts of this national park. It's basically just a single, long, scrubby little trail that's kind of all desert with high canyon walls on either side. In order to get access to Rattlesnake Canyon, people need to go to the visitor center and literally fill out paperwork so the park rangers know they're out there and can go out and check on them if they don't come back in time. And so the two men who owned the mazda had done that. They'd filled out all the paperwork. But now Lance was noticing they had not returned at the end of their permit. They had stayed out, presumably in Rattlesnake Canyon for an additional three nights. Now, Lance was not concerned because people did do this.


It was more like he was annoyed because now he would have to go out into Rattlesnake Canyon and find these two guys and figure out what was going on. So Lance and the park volunteer that he was with began walking on the trail in the direction of Rattlesnake Canyon. And after walking less than a mile on this trail, Lance and this volunteer looked up ahead, and just off the trail, there was a green and maroon tent that was pitched right out in the open. And so Lance immediately assumed that this had to be the two men who owned the red Mazda. And so very quickly, Lance's annoyance was replaced with relief, because it turned out it was really easy to find these two campers, and he'd be able to go figure out what was going on and either get them back to their car and get them to leave, or, or if they wanted to, they could, in theory extend and stay longer with the right permitting. But when Lance and his partner walked down the trail and left the trail to go walk over to this tent, they started to notice there was something off about it right away.


As they got closer and closer to this tent, they began to smell this horrible kind of chemical burning smell. And then also all over the ground were all these little bits of burned pieces of trash. And then finally, when Lance and his partner actually arrived right in front of the tent and they were looking down at the closed flap, it was zip shut. They saw clearly there was something moving around inside of the tent, but whoever or whatever it was wasn't making any noise. And so Lance and his partner, they kind of looked at each other, and they both at this point, were pretty nervous. You know, their hearts are racing. They don't know what's going on here. And then Lance just kind of impulsively reached down, unzipped the tent and lifted it open. And when he saw what was inside, he immediately was hit with this wave of fear and anxiety. Three days earlier, on August 5, 1999, a 26 year old man named David Coughlin woke up in a sleeping bag inside of his green and maroon tent in Rattlesnake Canyon. And as soon as David sat up, he smiled because he could hear right outside of his tent, the sound of his best friend, Raffi Kodikean, making breakfast and gathering up supplies for that morning's hike.


Dave and Raffi were on what they called a trip of a lifetime. Six days earlier, they had left their hometown of Boston, Massachusetts, and traveled more than 2000 miles west, sleeping at campsites and cheap motels along the way. Their final destination was a university in Santa Barbara, California, where Dave was going to be getting his master's in environmental engineering. But they were going to basically turn the journey out to California into a big vacation. And Carlsbad Caverns National park was easily both of the men's favorite spots so far, because unlike the other campgrounds they had stayed at so far, which were kind of cheap and small, Carlsbad Caverns was huge. It was 47,000 acres of just wild desert. And so for Dave and Raffy, whose normal, everyday lives were kind of safe and boring, doing desk jobs and the like, this felt sort of thrilling, like they were cowboys exploring the wild west. As Dave sat inside of his tent listening to Raffy make breakfast and get ready, Dave noticed he was already sweating, despite it being pretty early in the morning. It was just already so hot outside. And so Dave grabbed his water and took a sip.


And as he did. He thought about that park ranger who had helped them fill out their paperwork to be allowed to come out into Rattlesnake Canyon, who had made a really big deal about ensuring that Dave and Raffi each have at least one gallon of water per person per day, that they were going to be out here because of the heat. But after they had left, the park ranger Raffy, who had way more experience camping than Dave did, explained to Dave that that was totally overkill and they didn't need that much water. So instead of bringing two huge gallons of water for the single night, they planned to be out in Rattlesnake Canyon. Raffi had brought along for both of them just 316 ounce bottles of water. For reference, that's approximately six times less than what the park ranger had suggested. The men had already used one of those 16 ounce bottles of water to boil hot dogs the night before for their dinner. And now the bottle that Dave was drinking from was already half empty. And so he was pretty much down to the last of his water. But Dave wasn't really worried about his water because he and Raffi were going to be hiking out of Rattlesnake Canyon that day and heading back to their car and continuing their journey out to California.


And they knew they had set up their tent very close to the parking lot. And so it was a short hike. They're back in their car and then they're good. And so Dave capped his water. He got out of his sleeping bag, he left the tent, and he joined Raffi in prepping their supplies to get ready for their hike out. And by 08:30 a.m. their entire site was packed up and the two men were on their way, heading back. The two men walked at a leisurely pace in the direction towards their vehicle for about an hour. And as they walked, they did see signs that they were on the right trail. There were these stacks of white rocks that marked the trail. But after walking this full hour, they knew they probably should have been at the parking lot, but they didn't see it yet. However, the two men were not worried yet because remember, they know they're close, and so they're thinking, okay, maybe a couple more minutes and we'll see the parking lot. And so they stopped. They had some more water, and then they kept on walking. But after walking for another two, 3 hours, still in the direction that they believe was towards the parking lot, they did not see the parking lot.


In fact, they didn't see anything that looked familiar. And there were no more stacks of white rocks to show they were even on a trail. They were totally lost. And so Dave and Raffi, who were doing their best not to panic, they both sat down. They pulled off their packs and they pulled out their topographical map and began looking for some sign of where they were. But neither man could read the topographical map. And so all the swirls on the map showing every contour of every geographical feature, it just didn't make any sense to them. And so the map was of no use. And it was getting hotter and hotter by the minute. And so Dave and Raffy put the map away, feeling totally frustrated. And for a second, they thought about getting up and just continuing to walk roughly in the direction they thought they should go. But as soon as they stood up, they both just felt so exhausted from walking. And the heat, which was now, you know, it's noon, so it's really burning down on them. And so the two men just walked over to the edge of a canyon wall where some shrubs were kind of hanging off the wall, providing a little bit of shade.


And the two men just plunked down right underneath the shade and they just sat there in silence. Both men knew they did not have the supplies to stay out in this canyon for much longer. They certainly didn't have enough water, which now really was starting to feel like a huge oversight. But luckily, as they're just sitting there, these huge storm clouds rolled in. And for a very short amount of time, there was this incredible downpour of rain. And so Dave and Raffi begin catching the raindrops in their mouths and they begin drinking the water off of rocks and leaves. And, I mean, it wasn't a lot, but it was enough to kind of boost their spirits. They got a little bit more hydration in and they were kind of ready to deal with the problem they were facing. After the storm had gone, Dave and Raffy decided that their best move was just to continue walking and try to find this parking lot. But despite this motivation, Dave and Raffi would walk for hours and hours into the night. They would not find the parking lot. And so finally, they realized they would have to stop and set up camp for another night.


And so Dave and Raffi, who by now were really starting to feel scared, they found this washed out gully and they set up their green and maroon tent, but neither man could sleep. And so they just sat outside of their tent telling each other that, don't worry, the park rangers are bound to have noticed that we did not come back in time. We only had that one day permit we've exceeded the limit. They're bound to come out here and find us. But in the back of both Dave and Raffy's mind, they weren't so sure that was definitely going to happen. They didn't really know how long it would take for park rangers to notice when people stayed too long. But as Dave and Raffy were speaking, they suddenly noticed, far off in the distance, something that looked like headlights, like on a car, and it was moving across the horizon. And both Dave and Raffy thought, wait a minute. That's got to be a road right there. All we have to do is go to that road and we're saved. We don't need the park rangers to come rescue us. And so suddenly, Dave and Raffi were filled with hope, and they forgot about how thirsty and hungry they were.


And they just crawled into their beds and they fell asleep almost immediately because all they wanted to do was get to the next morning where there'd be daylight, so they could hike out and get to that road and get back home. Dave and Raffi woke up early the next morning, and they were very eager to get up and start making their way towards this road. But instead of packing up their campsite and bringing it with them, they decided instead to leave their campsite and leave behind a journal that had some information about who they were and what they were doing in case park rangers came looking for them. And so Dave pulled out a journal from his pack, and he drew a kind of crude map of where this campsite was and where they were going towards this road that appeared to be up on this ridge. And then also Dave included in this note, you know, Dave and Raffi's names, their ages, where they live, some contact info, and also the fact that they were completely out of food and water. And that if you find this journal, please follow up and make sure we're okay.


And so, after leaving behind this journal at the campsite, Dave and Raffi set off to go to this road. But after walking for hours and hours up a kind of gradual incline, they reached what appeared to be this kind of third ridge, where up and above the ridge was this road. But to get up onto this kind of wall right in front of them was really challenging. There was cactus everywhere. And the gullies that kind of led up to the top of this ridge were very slippery and almost vertical, so nearly impossible to climb. And so this was really a challenge chore getting up there. And you got to remember that Dave and Raffi are already totally exhausted. They have no food, no water. And so this is miserable. But eventually, Dave and Raffi were able to get up onto this ridge, and they looked out, and there was no road. There was nothing. It was just pure desert as far as they could see. And so they had no idea what those lights were that they saw clearly. It was not headlights. I mean, for all they knew, it could have been a figment of their imagination.


You know, they're desperate to be saved. And so maybe it was possible that they imagined seeing this road. And so, as the two men stared in stunned silence at nothingness in front of them, they noticed that a buzzard had actually begun flying in slow circles over their head, almost like it was just waiting for the two men to die so the buzzard could come down and eat them. Now, Dave was ready right then and there to head back to their campsite and just wait. But Raffi was insistent that they just keep on going because you never know, maybe there is a road just a little bit farther along. But after walking for maybe a couple more hours, they did not see a road. And by this point, both men were beyond exhausted. And so the two men did finally turn around and painstakingly walk their way all the way back to their campsite. And as they're walking, they're telling themselves, you know, maybe we'll get there, and park rangers will be waiting for us. You know, a search party will be here. But when they got to their campsite, there was absolutely no sign that anybody had come to their campsite since they left their journal with their note and their crude map and all that was still just sitting right in the middle of their campsite, untouched.


And it was at this point that Dave and Raffi's spirits were just totally broken. The next morning was Saturday, August 7. So Dave and Raffi were now beginning their fourth day in the desert and their third day without any water. Raffy had gotten really sick from drinking his own urine. And Dave had begun to experience all these horrible stomach cramps, very likely from eating unripe prickly pears. Also, Daves legs were starting to seize up, which made it nearly impossible to walk. And so the two men knew they had no chance of hiking out of here to safety. They really just had to wait for their rescue to come. And so that day, Dave and Raffy attempted, with the little energy they had to make a huge so's symbol on the ground using rocks. But after putting the s down and the o down, they didn't have enough energy to collect more rocks to make the last s. And so they did not finish their so's symbol. And then also, also Raffi at some point, soaked his sleeping bag in fuel and lit it on fire to try to create a smoke signal that somebody might see.


But the smoke didn't get high enough, and so it didn't work. And so all that really accomplished was it destroyed Raffi's sleeping bag and also created this terrible stench around their campsite of burning chemicals from having burned the polyester material that made up the sleeping bag. And so by that afternoon, when the sun was right over their head and beating down on them, Dave and Raffy just crawled inside of their tent and laid there in silence. And as they did, they noticed the stones underneath their tent felt kind of cool. And so they cut the bottom of the tent out and just laid directly on these loose rocks inside of their tent. By that evening, when still no rescuers had arrived, Dave and Raffi really began to realize that this could be the end. And so Dave, he grabbed that notebook where they had drawn that crude map of where the lights in the road had been, and he flipped the page. And then he wrote a note to his girlfriend, basically saying goodbye because he knew he was probably going to die. And then Raffi, he took the journal and he did something similar, but also included that, you know, he would not allow the buzzards to get them, that they would at least ensure their bodies were intact for their families to find.


And then after writing these notes and tucking the journal away, Dave and Raffy crawled out of the tent because by now, it's dark out, the sun's not out. It's a little bit cooler outside. And the two men, they sat down, and they began having a fairly matter of fact conversation about the situation they were in. Both men were very emotional. At one point, Dave began screaming and crying just out of despair. But at the end of this conversation, the two men made a decision, an unthinkable one that really would only ever be made in a situation like this. And so after both men were on the same page, they crawled inside the tent and zipped it up. It was the next morning, August 8, 1999, when that park ranger and his volunteer that was with him had walked along the trail towards Rattlesnake Canyon and discovered Dave and Raffy's ransacked campsite. And they had walked up, and they had seen all the burned materials nearby, which was Raffy's sleeping bag and other bits of trash they had tried to burn. And then they had gone to the front of the tent and Lance had opened it up.


And when he looked inside. He saw Raffy, who was alive. He was laying on his side, and he was only wearing these filthy green shorts. And he just looked totally emaciated and terrible and haggard. I mean, the guy really looked like he was on death's door. Then Raffy, when he saw Lance looking in, he just said, please tell me you have some water. And Lance did have some water. He gave it to him. And then Lance, knowing that Raffi was with another person, Dave, he said, hey, where is the guy you were with? And Raffi, as he's drinking the water, just kind of casually pointed out of the tent somewhere off behind where Lance and his partner was. And so Lance and his partner, they turned around and they didn't see anybody. They were just kind of looking off towards the canyon wall, and there was nothing there. And so Lance turned around again, and he said, are you sure he's over there? And Raffi, without any expression on his face, just continued to point and said, yes, he's right over there. And so Lance, he got up, he turned around, and he began walking towards this canyon wall.


But before he got there, he nearly tripped over this arrangement of rocks on the ground. And when he looked down at them, he knew someone clearly had arranged these rocks in a particular way. And so with a growing sense of dread, Lance reached down and he moved aside one of these rocks, and underneath it, he saw Dave's face. It would turn out the night before, when Raffi and Dave had crawled outside of their tent and began having that very intense conversation. What they were talking about is, what do we do? We know we're going to die. No one's going to reach us before we die of starvation or we die of dehydration, or maybe some animal is going to come attack us and kill us. Like we don't have any hope. And so, as they were sitting there, Dave actually pulled out his pocket knife and attempted to cut his wrists, but he couldn't cut deep enough to actually kill himself. And so Dave said to Raffy, you're going to have to kill me. And then after that, you're gonna have to kill yourself. And Raffy had agreed. And so Raffi and Dave, they went back inside their tent with no floor.


It's just open rocks in the bottom. And Dave, he lied down on his back, and he pulled his shirt up, and he exposed his rib cage. And then Raffi, he pulled out his four inch pocket knife, and he placed it right up against Dave's rib cage. And then with Dave basically egging him on to stab him. Raffi attempted to push the knife into his heart, but he couldn't break the skin. And so Dave, he's now screaming out in pain, but he's still urging Raffy to come on, just do it already. And finally, Raffi does manage to get the knife right through his ribs and into Dave's heart. Dave did not die right away, but Raffy covered his mouth and continued to push that knife in until he did die. And then once Dave was dead, Raffy used the little bit of energy he had to drag his body away from the tent where he buried him under those rocks. And then Raffi, who now has no energy left, just crawled back to his tent and laid down on those loose rocks inside of his tent and waited to die. But just a few hours later, on the morning of August 8, Lance, the park ranger, along with his volunteer, had come down and discovered Raffi before he had died.


Little did Dave and Raffi know this campsite, where they had been for the past few days, was just a 15 or 20 minutes walk from their car. Nine months later on, on May 11, 2000, Raffi pled guilty to murder and was sentenced to 16 years in prison. However, Raffi insisted throughout the trial that the reason he killed Dave was because Dave asked him to. It effectively was a mercy killing and that Raffi intended afterwards to die himself. This was murder suicide. And Dave's family believed Raffi and so did another judge. And so ultimately, Raffi would only serve 16 months in prison before he would be released.


Thank you for listening to the Mister Balin podcast. If you enjoyed todays stories and youre looking for more strange, dark, and mysterious content, be sure to check out all.


Of our studios podcasts.


They are this one of course, Mister Ballin podcast. And we also have Mister Ballins medical mysteries. We have bedtime stories and also run fool. To find those other podcasts, all you have to do is search for Ballin Studios wherever you listen to your podcasts. To watch hundreds more stories just like the ones you heard today, head over to our YouTube channel, which is just called Mister Ballin. So that's gonna do it. I really appreciate your support. Until next time.


See ya.


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