Search This Blog

Tuesday, December 12, 2023

Decemystery (2022.3) 12: The Groves Kurt Incident


Snow: it’s that thing I remember loving when I was a kid. Then, as I got older, I began to hate it since it was a herald of unbearably cold weather and, more often than not, ice. Still, as a child, I remember going outside and pretending I was Godzilla and the snow was a city. I’d also make snowballs and throw them like they were bombs. Yeah, I can’t say I was a very imaginative youngling, but it provided a bit of entertainment until I’d go inside and pass out from a hard day’s work (see: being a child).

Despite all of that fun, I can’t say I recall ever being involved in a snowball fight. I was a loner of sorts when I was young (not that things are much different than nowadays). The kids who lived near me were into sports and other athletic activities, while I was more of a bookworm and loved video games. Sure, they enjoyed the latter, too, but they still liked sports games. Even when they played things that weren’t throwing balls around like candy, they still liked throwing balls around in the digital world. Eh, to each their own.

My point is I do wish I got to partake in a large-scale snowball fight like I always saw in the cartoons I watched. It always seemed like a bunch of fun—though I would definitely hope it didn’t involve some snot-nosed brat putting ice or rock into one of the snowballs. I sure as heck wouldn’t have wanted to get stitches for a gash on my face—or worse, end up like one of the folks in today’s story.

Two years ago, I covered a story called The Elevator Riddle, a story that I sent to Jason Carpenter, the host of Dead Rabbit Radio. In that write-up, I mentioned another story: The Groves Kurt Incident. When I had Decemystery 2022 planned, I was going to cover that story, but we all know how that went. Lucky for me, I have two brain cells that aren’t fighting for third place in a marathon, so today, we’ll be covering that story for Decemystery 2022.3! So come along, get your snow gear on, and let’s take a trip over to Illinois; it’s time to investigate the story of killer snowballs! No, seriously.

Killer Snowballs From the Midwest

This story, like The Elevator Riddle, originates from the Forteana Map. If you don’t know what it is, it’s a massive map made by someone using Google Maps. It has over a thousand mysteries on it from all across the planet. A few examples are the Zodiac Killer, Harold Holt’s disappearance, Rodney Marks’ death, and even the wonderfully named NDXOXCHWDRGHDXORVI. It’s an excellent place to find a ton of mysteries; I highly recommend giving it a look.

Anyway, our mystery takes place in Cook County Forest Preserve, Illinois, which is 33 minutes outside of Chicago. Okay, story over, anything mysterious can be explained away as Chicago being Chicago.

Okay, it’s not that easy (it seldom is). Besides, this happened in January 1846. Long before Chicago was the Chicago we know and love or loathe today; heck, it was only 9 years old at the time! If my history of the Windy City is off and it was already a city of chaos, feel free to let me know. Anyway, on this snowy January day, two young lads—Bill Groves and William Kurt—were out doing whatever young lads in mid-19th century Illinois. It had snowed (as made evident by the text on the Forteana Map entry, where it says the field was covered in snow), so perhaps they were frolicking in the snow.

At some point in their winter wonderland fun, the duo was bombarded by a hail of snowballs. On its own, that wouldn’t be anything of note; while I’m unfamiliar with the location where this story took place, kids are prone to being mischievous, and the idea that some would instigate a snowball fight wouldn’t shock me. However, in this case, it was as weird as someone’s entire house vanishing into thin air. You see, there was no one around; Groves & Kurt were the only living bodies in that field. Even stranger, the snowballs didn’t break upon impact.

On top of this, the snowballs weren’t being thrown like regular snowballs—at least, that’s what it sounds like to me. According to the entry on the Forteana Map, the snowballs were “rising vertically from the field and dropping down after going up 10 feet.” To me, this sounds like they were being shot out of a mortar. Well, something akin to a mortar. I doubt one of those could launch a snowball without it melting.

Injured from the onslaught of snowballs, the two boys retreated to get Bill’s father. Once the backup was successfully procured, the three went back to the scene of the snowy blitzkrieg. It was at this time that they found there wasn’t any sign of anyone else there. It was also at this time that they were ambushed by another flurry of snowballs. Only this time, the attack was so intense that William Kurt ended up dying from it. Yes, he died; apparently, both boys sustained large bruises and concussions.

The entry on the Forteana Map concludes by saying that the incident was documented in “newspaper articles, parish registers, and police records.” It’s there that details on the boys’ injuries are given.

That’s where the story itself ends. There’s no actual explanation for how Groves & Kurt sustained such intense injuries. Whether the velocity of the snowballs was that great or they had something like ice or rocks inside them is seemingly unknown. There are also no links given to where the story was found. So, without any delay, let’s head into my little investigation of this story.

My Brilliant Detective Skills: Snowball Fight Edition

Like The Elevator Riddle, this story was one I sent to Jason Carpenter; I did so when I first found this story. I couldn’t find any further information on it. To my dismay, neither could Jason. That meant both of us were 0 for 2 when it came to finding additional details on the more fringe Forteana Map mysteries.

Despite that, I am a stubborn man, and I’m unwilling to concede defeat to some story I found on the Internet that easily. So, just like with The Elevator Riddle, I tried once more to find something. I first went over to in hopes of maybe discovering a grave for Bill Groves, his father, or William Kurt. I tried finding one for William Kurt first since his death date was explicitly stated during the story. Shock of all shocks: there wasn’t one. I get just as many results if I try “Bill Kurt,” if you’re curious.

In an astounding twist of fate, the same thing happens if I search for Bill Groves: absolutely nothing. I did find a few people named “William Groves,” but most were born after 1846 or didn’t have a date of birth listed. As such, I don’t think it’s worth going over them.

I also looked to see if the story had ever been mentioned on 4chan or Reddit, and, to my dismay, it wasn’t. I also couldn’t find anything when I used Google and Bing. Like with The Elevator Riddle and The Signal of Isla Han Samar, The Groves Kurt Incident is a story that begins and ends on The Forteana Map.

I was unwilling to give up, however, so I tried once more on 4chan. No dice. I then went onto Reddit again (a truly horrid fate) and tried a second time. Nothing; I got the same results as when I used Tinder. Google and Bing were the same when a second go around. In a last-ditch effort, I consulted my Nintendo Switch for information. I received funny looks from passersby, who saw me talking to a handheld console.

Because of all this, I concede defeat to this story I found on the Internet rather easily. Now, onto the theories!


1. It was real

Kicking the theories off is the obligatory one that it’s real. If you didn’t see this coming, get your eyes checked. Even Helen Keller knew it was going to be on here—and she’s dead.

Like with any story, you’re bound to have people who buy into it. I cannot and most certainly will not judge you or anyone else for that, as we’re all entitled to our own opinions. Heck, this isn’t even the craziest story I’ve covered on this blog. It’s certainly up there as one of the most unique (I can’t say there’s one that involves snowballs killing someone), but the craziest? Nah, this isn’t taking that award home.

However, if you were looking for proof to back this theory up, you’d need to search elsewhere because I’ve got none. All I have to show for it is this write-up, a half-empty can of Pepsi (sue me, Like both Pepsi and Coca-Cola), and a crippling lack of sleep as of the time of this writing. Sorry to disappoint you, dear reader.

2. It’s an urban legend

In the United States, urban legends help to give each state a unique identity. Heck, they help to differentiate each part of it; you needn’t look further than New England. That part of the US is so much different than, say, the Midwest that you’d be forgiven for thinking it was another country.

Now, admittedly, I’m not from the Midwest; I can’t say I know any urban legends from that part of the US. I know of cryptids and a handful of mysteries, but when it comes to local tall tales, I’m not the person to go to. As such, this theory has no real sturdy ground to stand on; I only included it since, in my head, it sounded plausible. Beyond that, however, there’s nothing to back it up.

3. It was made up for the Forteana Map

Even including this theory honestly makes me feel really bad. Given how much work had to have gone into making the Forteana Map, I can’t imagine how it must feel to have some schmuck on the Internet throw the idea that you made up an entry. Nevertheless, I think it’s necessary to include given the lack of information on this story.

Given the lack of information on this story, it’s hard not to come to this conclusion right off the bat. Even though there were a few people by the name of William Groves, none appear to have been in the area at the time this supposed incident took place.

On top of that, there also doesn’t seem to be anyone named “William Kurt” buried in Cook County; there are, however, a fair number of people named William Kurth. Alas, none appear to have passed away in 1846, and I’m a bit skeptical if the Forteana Map creator misspelled “Kurt” as “Kurth.” It’s definitely possible; I’ve made a lot of silly mistakes when writing and texting.

Regardless of that potential typo, there’s nothing about the story on record (despite what the entry on the Forteana Map claims). Perhaps that falls squarely on me, but it is a damning strike against the story. I do feel quite bad saying that, though, since it makes me feel like a jerk.

4. It was Frosty the Snowman

This is what no magical hat and no Rammstein does to a man.

My Take

As I said above, I do feel bad theorizing that this story is made up. Alas, I must be honest with my feelings, and to say that I have my doubts that two kids were carpet-bombed by snowballs launched by some incorporeal being would be putting it lightly. I think this story is utter nonsense.

Like with The Elevator Riddle, I tried looking up information on the Internet for this story. I honestly tried far more than I likely should have; I did say that this story (along with the other two I mentioned earlier) was probably a gag back in 2021.

Nonetheless, I was determined to try and find something, but I came up with nothing. In fact, when I looked up “The Groves Kurt Incident” on Bing, my write-ups for The Elevator Riddle and The Signal of Isla Han Samar were on the front page. That was the one and only mention of the story I found; it would be flattering if I wasn’t the one thing to find information on it. Despite my best efforts, though, I couldn’t find anything from someone who wasn’t me. 

Now, with all of that said, I don’t want to be completely negative. As I’ve said plenty of times in the past, I am not a very good researcher; I’m the antithesis of Sherlock Holmes. So, I’m willing to say right now that, despite my monumental doubts, I do think it’s more than a little possible that this story originates from a book that I simply don’t know. It’s also possible this story was posted on a little-known website dedicated to local urban legends (or that the aforementioned book was about local legends). 

This wouldn’t be something completely unprecedented. I believe I’ve mentioned this before, but I once borrowed a book from a library that had a bunch of mysteries from each state in the good old US of A. However, well over a decade later, I cannot remember the name of the book, but I distinctly remember details of two or three of the stories. One of them even took place in my old home county! It’s been one of my life goals to find that book again, and if I could ever be asked to go outside, I’d search every bookstore and library near me.

In conclusion, I think the story is more than likely made up, but it’s more than possible that it’s from a book I’m unfamiliar with (or, heck, maybe it’s from that book I mentioned). I likely won’t know unless the map’s creator said anything—or if one of you informed me.


Stories like this will forever have a special place in my heart; they may not have much to them, but sharing them with you, my friends, and my family always makes it all worthwhile. Knowing I introduced someone to something new and strange never ceases to make my day. I’m pretty sure I’ve said that multiple times on this blog, but I feel it bears repeating, given how much it does mean to me. Until next time, stay happy and stay safe, and as always, thank you for reading!

No comments:

Post a Comment