January, 2006


January 1, 2006

Today's Extremely Disgusting Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

A crusade against the practice of burying the dead in cities and towns was mounted in 1839 by a surgeon, George Walker. In his book, Gatherings from the Graveyards, he described the sad tale of 'William Jackson, aged 29, a strong robust man, [who] was employed in digging a grave in the "Savoy". He struck his spade into a coffin, from which an extremely disgusting odour arose; he reached his home, in Clement's Lane, with difficulty; complained to his wife that he had "had a turn; the steam which issued from the coffin had made him very ill". His wife stated that the cadaverous smell proceeding from his clothes affected her with trembling, and produced headache.' Jackson was ill for three days but, due to poverty, was obliged to return to work within the week to dig a grave in Drury Lane. Here, 'in this ground, long saturated with dead, it was impossible, without disturbing previous occupants, to select a grave; a recently buried coffin was struck into - the poor fellow was instantly rendered powerless, and dragged out by John Gray, to whom he was an assistant. Jackson died 36 hours afterwards.' His death was attributed to cholera contracted from a previous victim.

Culled from: Death: A History Of Man's Obsessions and Fears

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Welcome to 2000-sicks everyone! I have to say that 2005 was a watershed year for morbidity - quite literally. At the beginning of the year, the big story was the tsunami and the last third of the year was dominated by the horrors of Hurricane Katrina. We can only imagine what atrocities 2006 will bring us, and of course, I will be here to lead you into the danger zone and darken your days. Thank you for allowing me this rare privilege!

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Morbid Review Du Jour!

Okay... I just watched Gus Van Sant's "Last Days". I was really looking forward to this one since the reviews made it sound like a mesmerizing look at suicidal depression. I figured I'd love it since I usually love films that are described as "slow" or where "nothing happens" - but this one was more than even I could take. Two hours of incoherent mumbling and repetitive scenes (literally - the same scenes were repeated from different camera angles without really adding anything to the scene) with no artistic grace. I used to think Van Sant was one of the great directors but since his pointless remake of "Psycho" it's been all downhill. Now it's obvious that he is so convinced of his own greatness that he thinks he can do any damn thing he wants - such as focusing on bland foliage or, god help us all - a Boyz 2 Men video, for a minute - and it will be heralded as "art".

Having said all that, I could have put up with the indulgences if there had been an interesting payoff in the end. But after endless minutes of tedium... Van Sant doesn't even show us the death!!! The ultimate insult for a film that, for all intents and purposes, is really nothing more than an insult to the viewer.

Damn. Van Sant takes material as interesting as Columbine (Elephant) and Cobain and can't make interesting films out of either one. I'm beside myself with disappointment.

Last Days

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Wretched Recommendation!

Lady Despair (no relation) has a film recommendation for us:

"[I recommend] 'Cube'. If you haven't seen it, you must. It has some excellent scenes with people ending up in.... well, let's just call it one hell of a sushi-machine. [insert evil cackle here]"

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/6305238065/theasylumeclecti

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Morbid Mirth Du Jour!

Okay, it's a bit late, but you can still enjoy getting Santa drunk on the leftover egg nog. And whatever you do, avoid the train tracks!!!

http://www.banditos.info/speles/sobersanta2.swf

Generously submitted by Bergie


January 2, 2006

Today's Highly Contagious Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

Primarily striking children, the diphtheria epidemic that began in 1735 raged throughout New England for five years. In some towns the deadly disease killed 80 percent of the children under ten years of age.

Culled from: The Pessimist's Guide To History

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Wretched Recommendations!

Steve O' wrote to tell me about what looks like a fun video game (Xbox, Mac, and PC format) for the morbidly inclined - Stubbs the Zombie. The catch is that this time you get to be the zombie and attack the people - much more fun than the typical zombie game fare! Here's the Amazon description:

"Stubbs The Zombie lets you become a man whose luck was so bad, dying was the best thing that ever happened to him. In 1933, Edward Stubblefield was a traveling salesman, trying to survive the Great Depression, when he was murdered & buried in a field in Pennsylvania. Fast forward to 1959, when billionaire playboy Andrew Monday builds his own ultramodern city - Punchbowl, where you can 'drink your fill of the future'. Unfortunately, he built it on the grave of 'Stubbs', bringing him back as a angry zombie. Stubbs was a loser all his life, and being a zombie gives him power he never had before. He decides to keep eating brains until the city is his -- unless Andrew Monday can stop him."

Stubbs the Zombie: Rebel Without a Pulse

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Morbid Site Du Jour!

Anne Varnes has a lovely collection of cemetery pictures up on her site. Well worth a peek!

http://www.eclecticraven.com/pictures/cemeteries.php

Thanks to Martin for the link.


January 3, 2006

Today's Frantic Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

On September 1, 1894 a huge firestorm, fed by drought conditions and dry debris left behind by lumber companies, approached the town of Hinckley, Minnesota. Shortly after 3 p.m., Thomas Dunn, a twenty-five year old telegraph operator at the St. Paul and Duluth depot in Hinckley, was stunned when he received a message that the town of Brook Park had burned and lives had been lost. He passed the information on, hoping to alert the Hinckley people to impending disaster. He also feared for the safety of the many passengers who were gathering at the depot to take the fast Limited south, their trunks piled high along the platform. Then Dunn began to worry that the Limited, coming from Duluth under Engineer Jim Root, would run into trouble as it neared Hinckley. It was due at 4:05 p.m., and Dunn hoped he would get word from a station to the north regarding it. Then someone screamed, "The roof of the depot is on fire!" The terrified people fled into the street which was quickly becoming a corridor of flame. Some ran to the Eastern Minnesota depot and crowded aboard the combined trains of Engineers Best and Barry waiting there. Some ran to the nearby gravel pit, to successfully ride out the inferno, while others went north on the wagon road hoping to outrun the fire. Still others went up the St. Paul and Duluth tracks hoping to reach the millpond but, finding the lumber yards aflame, had to go on. Many of them managed to board Root's train which had stopped one mile north of town. But Tom Dunn felt dutybound to stay at his post in case a message came from the Limited. No message ever arrived, nor did the train ever reach Hinckley. As the depot burned about him, Dunn's last frantic message sent north to Barnum said, "I have stayed too long". A body found later was identified by his family as that of Tom Dunn.

Culled from: From the Ashes: The Story of the Hinckley Fire of 1894

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When I was in Minnesota for work back in 2002, I took a lazy Saturday and drove up to the Hinckley Fire Museum, which is housed in the train depot that was rebuilt after the fire. It was a pretty interesting museum, and I have finally put together a travelogue about it. I hope you enjoy it:

http://asylumeclectica.com/asylum/sightseer/us/mn/hinckley.htm

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Ghastly!

For those of you living in the Los Angeles area, do you civic duty and take a look at the images of unidentified deceased persons at the L.A. County Coroner's Office and see if you recognize anyone. As for the rest of you, it would be horribly wrong to go to this site just to gawk at the dead people. So, I trust you wouldn't do a thing like that. ;-)

http://coroner.co.la.ca.us/htm/uipsearc.cfm

Thanks to Amazon for the link.

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Dave sent this brush with morbidity back in 2003 but I was out of town at the time, so I filed it away and promptly forgot to publish it, like the flaky old Comtesse that I am. And now that I've rediscovered it, I realize what a horrible oversight it was. May I present to you another outstanding brush with morbidity:

"My Brush With Morbidity" by Dave

Here is the news story from yesterday...

4:53 a.m., July 12, 2003
SAN DIEGO - Police believe a 40-year-old woman was committing suicide when she ran into traffic on State Route 163 in Linda Vista and was killed.

Debra Hoffman of Casper, Wyo. was running across traffic lanes when she was struck by multiple vehicles, said Investigator James Buckley of the San Diego County Medical Examiner's Office.

The accident on the southbound freeway at Genesee Avenue was reported about 12:40 a.m., said a California Highway Patrol dispatcher.

Hoffman was in town visiting family, Buckley said.

"Here is my experience...
I work the night shift in Sorrento Valley and live in Ocean Beach in San Diego. I was returning home after work and had just made the transition from 805 South onto 163 South. Up ahead of me maybe 50 yards were three cars, driving side by side. I noticed the middle car brake and swerve a bit. My thought was that he wanted to change lanes but was having trouble. I was wrong. It is amazing how long it takes to describe the next few seconds. From my left just in front of me I see a woman running out of the darkness and in a split second there is the impact. I know now that she was trying to make it to the front of my truck. Instead of running straight across the lanes she was angled toward my truck where she saw it when the first three cars didn't hit her. So she hit my left front fender. I was going 65mph. I saw her in a running pose but on impact her image went by in a blur. She probably spun, took out my drivers side mirror and then her head smashed into my drivers side window. I sensed her there just inches from my own head. The glass shattered with an explosive sudden force sending glass into my lap and over my arms. I gasped and released the gas pedal. The truck swerving slightly from her impact and the sound of the glass pieces reaching the seats and floor in a kind of watery splash. The quiet of my drive explosively changed to the sound of wind from my missing window. This experience is about a 1/2 second of confused, intense activity followed by the realization that I was in an accident. I braked and pulled to the shoulder, putting my flashers on all within five seconds of the impact. Then I sat there just for a moment. My arms were dotted with blood from the glass. I looked into the mirror and it looked like my nose was bleeding. I thought perhaps her head had made contact with mine. That wasn't the case, the blood on my face turned out to be from the glass too. I grabbed my phone and dialed 911 and opened the door to get out. Glass falls to the ground as the door opens and as I move to get out I can hear the sound of all these pieces on the seat and falling off of me. The phone isn't connecting. Someone pulls over and runs to me. Are you alright? Give me that phone, I'll make the call. Is that what I think back there on the road? Yes. Is she dead? She has to be after that impact. I walk about ten yards back to see her. The road is covered with glass too. She is in the fast lane in a heap. I didn't hit her in that lane, I was in the number 3 lane so I guess she flung over and came forward too. I don't see any movement. Then here comes the first cars since it happened. Everyone passes with no problem. A woman and man come down the embankment above the scene. She is looking for her sister. She starts crying. I am going into mild shock. A man who was driving to enter the freeway stops and pulls out a chair for me to sit in. When the glass shattered it created some kind of glass dust that I inhaled. My arms and face are covered with this dust. There is larger glass pieces in my waistband and in my shirt. More cars drive by. I hear the impact of one of the cars hit the woman and keeps driving. The group of people on the shoulder all let out a simultaneous "oh" More cars pass. Occasionally one will swerve. The fire department shows up on that onramp but they are too far down the road. Another car hits the woman followed by another "oh", that car stops. The firemen have walked up to me. Some highway patrol cars arrive from the freeway while stopping traffic. They stop all lanes. It has been about 15 minutes now. They walk up to her and place a yellow sheet over her. The ambulance arrives. I'm surprised, it's for me not her. They cut off my shirt because it is filled with glass. Well that's about it actually. My injuries were pretty mild although I am typing this with red dots all over my arms and my throat is sore.

"Here's what I found out since then. This woman had been despondent. She was at the hospital having some sort of evaluation when she bolted. She ran across the freeway and up that embankment. Her sister that that guy (brother in law maybe) crossed the overpass chasing her. They caught up with her on the other side but she lost them and returned to the freeway as I was approaching. She ran down the embankment and in front of those first three cars. They saw her coming so they all missed her but they gave her cover from me. She spotted me behind them and turned in her tracks to chase me down. The coroner has my truck so I am going to rent a car right now."

Amazing...

 


January 4, 2006

Today's Chipper Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

The owner of a tree service was killed when he was pulled into a wood chipper after getting caught by his gloved hand. Brian Morse, 54, was identified using fingerprints. County Coroner Patrick Allen ruled the death an accident and listed the cause as "total morselization" of the body. Morse, owner of Brian's Tree Trimming and Removal Service, died Wednesday December 28, 2005 while he and a co-worker were cutting branches at a Loveland, Colorado residence. The man's co-worker, who was cutting branches on a hydraulic lift, ran to the house where they were working, and a woman living there called 911. Morse was pronounced dead at the scene. From 1992 to 2002, 31 people died on the job from injuries associated with mobile wood chippers, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Operators of mobile wood chippers, which have rotating blades to turn branches into mulch, face the potential risk of getting pulled into the feed mechanism. They are advised to wear close-fitting clothing and stand within reach of the emergency shutoff button. Matt Newell, owner of Newell Brothers Tree Service in Fort Collins, said a chipper running at full speed can shred a 20-inch-wide log in 10 or 15 seconds. He said most tree services use wood chippers that are about 6 feet wide.

Culled from: CBS4Denver.Com
Generously submitted by: ~JR~

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Hahahaha!! "MORSE-lization"!!!!!!!!!!!!!! HAAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! Whew... Excuse me while I dry my eyes...

Richard writes: "Woodchippers usually have a safety bar right above the intake, so if you get caught you only need to flail around a bit and the drive will shut off. Of course, if you're 'a professional', you might have disabled this at some point so you can feed oversized branches without accidentally hittin the bar and having to go restart the engine. Something tells me that the safety mechanism had been tampered with or disabled..."

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"My Brush With Morbidity" by IH8WhatUvMadeMe

"A friend of mine died in a freak accident. He was pulling up a fence post with his truck and the fence post broke. It flew threw the air and threw his windshield and into his forehead. My friend spent 2 days in the hospital. On the second day, he was pronounced brain dead. I went to see him and I walked into the hospital room. He was lying there, helpless, brain dead, not really him. His brain was swollen which caused his head to swell. It looked like it was about to pop... I held his hand and looked up to his face in just enough time to see brain matter come out of his nose. The nurse ran over and threw a towel over his face and asked my friends and I to leave until she got it cleaned up. She didn't say it in so many words, but I knew what she was talking about."

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Morbid Sightseeing!

One of these days I have to haul my aching carcass down to Springfield, IL to see ol' "Honest" Abe and the Museum of Funeral Customs. Dave insists I won't be disappointed:

"While traveling through the mid-west, I stopped in Springfield to visit the grave of Abraham Lincoln, the second most visited US grave after JFK's. Outside the main gate, I was fascinated to discover the Museum of Funeral Customs (http://www.funeralmuseum.org). The museum features a 1928 embalming room, old hearses and coffins, old embalming equipment and instruments, portable funeral equipment, examples of "Post-mortem Photography," and several exhibits that
recreate Abraham Lincoln's funeral and burial. Jon Austin, the museum's director, is friendly and helpful, and shares interesting stories including details of the Lincoln's botched embalming. A must-see!"

Abe Lincoln's Grave

The Museum Of Funeral Customs


January 5, 2006

Today's Loving Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

A couple walked onto railroad tracks in Elizabeth, New Jersey and embraced just moments before they were struck and killed by a train. "They were holding hands and they walked into the path of the train," Amtrak spokeswoman Karen Dunn said. "(The engineer) didn't have much time to react." The couple, described only as a 27-year-old man and a 22-year-old woman, were killed around 4:15 p.m. Monday, May 13, 2002. They apparently left their wallets on a station platform, crossed a set of southbound tracks and stopped and embraced on the first of two northbound tracks as the train barreled down on them.

Culled from: The Associated Press
Generously submitted by: Neil Langdon Inglis

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Such a sweet little story, isn't it?

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Morbid Sightseeing!

One of these days I really must make the 4+ hour drive up to Peshtigo to see the Fire Museum. Allen insists it's worth the trip:

"I highly recommend going to the Peshtigo Fire museum in Peshtigo (duh), lots of artifacts and inormation."

http://www.peshtigofire.info

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Morbid Book Du Jour!

EndlessRoads writes to tell me about a Savannah ghost book called "Essence". It sounds pretty interesting:

A ghost story with a difference. Savannah, Georgia, from the first days of the Civil War to the present, is the setting for this tale of a most unusual haunting. Luzette, only eleven years old when a stray bullet ended her lifetime, shares with the reader the account of her deathtime. Confined to the house by forces she struggles to understand, Luzettes spirit is at times a warm and welcoming presence and at others a fearsome specter. The changes to the house in which she died, the evolution of the cultural and social mores of the surrounding society, the people who live out their lives in the old house.

Here's the website:
http://essence.cc/

Here's the Amazon link:
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1932158588/theasylumeclecti


January 6, 2006

Today's Ghastly Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

Few ships, after the Titanic went down, chose to navigate in or around the area where the Titanic sank. Those that did, came upon hundreds of bodies and wreckage. Most ship captains considered this site a graveyard and chose to not subject their passengers to the grim sight in that area. As cautious as some captains were about subjecting their passengers to such sights, some ships could not avoid the wreckage area. Even after the search for victims had concluded, ships continued to sight victims of the Titanic. Some Scandinavian immigrants en route to Minnesota related an incident so heartbreaking and ghastly a transcription of it was sent to President Taft. "In several instances," the immigrants reported, "bodies were struck by our boat and knocked from the water several feet into the air." One of the Bremen's first class passengers saw a body of a woman in her night dress, and clasping a baby to her breast. Close by was the body of another woman with her arms around a shaggy dog. Other passengers saw the bodies of three men in a group, all clinging to a chair. Floating by just beyond them were dozens of bodies, wearing life belts and clinging desperately together as though in their last struggle for life. The entire surface of the ocean around them formed a wreath of deck chairs and wreckage.

Culled from: The Titanic Graves of Halifax
Generously submitted by: Heather

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Oh man!! Now, THIS is the boat that I would have wanted to be on! Can you imagine me standing at the bow with my arms outstretched watching for bodies? "I am the Comtesse of the WORLD!!!"

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"My Great-Grandmother's Brush With Morbidity" by T.J.

"I’m writing you to let you know about something pretty morbid that happened in my family. I am named after all of my grandfathers and I was talking about it with my great-grandmother last Saturday (06-18-05). In the middle of the conversation I felt the urge to ask her how he died. She got this scared, just saw a ghost look on her face. She said it was a horrible death. He had battled lung cancer for a couple of years but it eventually spread to his heart. She was in the hospital with him when all of a sudden, she said, 'It looked like his heart popped.' She said blood came out of his mouth, eyes, and ears. She was the only one in the hospital room at the time. That must have been brutal."

I'll say. Thank you for sharing the story, T.J.

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Morbid Link Du Jour!

Now, here's an idea whose time I thought would never come: Motorcycle Hearses. The perfect way to send off the motorcycle mama in your life.

http://www.motorcyclefunerals.com/

Thanks to Keith for the link.


January 7, 2006

Today's Disfigured Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

After the Titanic sank on April 15, 1912 the Mackey-Bennett was the ship tasked with retrieving as many bodies as she could of the 1,523 passengers who perished that fateful night. The Mackay-Bennett arrived at the site on Saturday, April 20, 1912 at 8 P.M. The next morning, around 4:30 a.m. the crew members climbed into their boats and began the task of retrieving the water-logged corpses. Fifty-One bodies were recovered that first day, two children, three women and forty-six men. As each body came aboard, a square of canvas with a stenciled number on it was attached. Personal property were placed in canvas bags bearing the same number. Many of the bodies were in poor condition. Many were indistinguishable. Some showed signs of damage sustained during the sinking. Other bodies were disfigured by either sea creatures or from the corpses smashing against ice flow or wreckage. For these bodies, a full description of the victim including hair color, height, weight, age, birthmarks and scars were methodically entered into a ledger, on the corresponding page number. These details, it was hoped, would permit accurate identifications to be made even if the body had suffered great trauma.

Culled from: The Titanic Graves of Halifax
Generously submitted by: Heather

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"My Brush With Morbidity" by Venus

"You, as a well-informed woman of the world, perhaps already know this, but your dear readers might not. One doesn't have to be dead to have one's scalp laid open and one's face peeled down. I had it done in the first week of July in the process of removing a brain tumor. Sadly, I couldn't be awake for the procedure, but this is what my very skillful MDeity did to me:

"After shaving the hair from the incision path, my doctor sliced my scalp open from just above one ear and just inside my hairline all the way across to the same point just above the other ear. Since the tumor was sitting on the outside of my brain just behind my forehead at the hairline level, my face was peeled down to expose the skull and, much like one would tap into
a soft-boiled egg to gain access to the slurpy goodness, a hole about the size of a golf ball was made in my skull.

"The tumor and scar tissue from a previous tumor (yes, I've had my face peeled down before) were removed and my skull was repaired as much as possible. My face was tugged back into position and the incision was stapled closed. The staples were popped out a week later and everything is healing up nicely. I still have a small depression in the middle of my forehead,
just below the hairline, but it's a small price to pay for having a true-life story guaranteed to repulse all but the most morbid souls."

Thank you for the graphic details of your procedure. I'm sure we all appreciate it very much!

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Morbid Sightseeing!

You may remember my travelogue to the Lemp Mansion & Brewery - one of my favorite tragic sites in the country. Well, I received an e-mail from an artist named Alan who happens to have a studio in the Lemp Brewery. He sent me some pictures of his studio as well as some shots of the hidden areas of the Brewery, including the cave that lies below it, where they used to store the beer. I added his images to my travelogue, for those who are interested. And yes, I am trying to see if he'll take me on a tour sometime. One has to make sure one isn't dealing with a murderer though, when being lured into underground lairs...

http://asylumeclectica.com/asylum/sightseer/us/mo/lemp/index.html


January 8, 2006

Today's Illustrious Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

When the Mackey-Bennett began its task of retrieving the corpses of Titanic victims, one of the first illustrious passengers to be found was multi-millionaire John Jacob Astor. His body was badly crushed and covered in soot, indicating that he was killed when the Titanic's funnel collapsed. Astor's body was the first to be claimed. After it's return to Halifax, it bore the body number of 124. Identification had been easy in Astor's case. His record noted that he wore a blue serge suit, a blue handkerchief with 'A.V.' on it, a belt with gold buckle, brown boots with red rubber soles, and a brown flannel shirt with 'J.J.A.' in its collar. Astor's effects included a gold watch, gold cuff links with diamonds, a diamond ring with three stones, £225 in English bank notes, $2,440 in American bank notes, £5 in gold, 7 shillings in silver, 50 francs, a gold pencil and a pocketbook. Another notable Titanic victim was that of Wallace Hartley, the bandleader. His music case was still strapped to his side when he was pulled from the Atlantic's icy water. The band's violinist, John Law Hume, was also found and buried in Halifax, his body was listed as Number 193.

Culled from: The Titanic Graves of Halifax
Generously submitted by: Heather

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I believe the Beatles had Astor in mind when they penned the immortal words, "I don't care too much for money/Cuz money can't buy me a seat on a lifeboat in the Atlantic".

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Morbid Recommendation Du Jour!

Baron Semedi submits a wonderful review:

"I wanted to offer a 'review' (if you want to grace it with that word) of the movie 'Shadow of the Vampire.' I didn't see one, and I was kind of surprised; the movie's a little obscure--in the sense that it didn't really catch on--but I think it suits the flavor of your site.

"'Shadow of the Vampire' has a few major stars in its cast--John Malkovich, Willem Dafoe, Udo Kier, Cary Elwes--but I kind of had the impression from the few ads I saw that it wouldn't do well. Remember the movie 'Alive,' about the plane that crashes in the snowy mountains and the survivors have to eat the dead to live? The ads presented the movie from two angles: the nobility of human survival, and the horror of cannibalism. It was almost like there were two different movies about the same thing.

"Anyway, a lot of people have a hard time 'getting' 'Shadow of the Vampire.' The premise is simple: Doctor (of film-making) F.W. Murnau is trying to make the movie 'Nosferatu' in the early 1920s, and being your stereotypical German zealot nutbar, he goes out and finds himself a real vampire to play the role. The good doctor is obsessed with realism, to the point where Count Orlock (the vampire, in case your brain is sitting in a jar) is not allowed to wear makeup, Murnau tricks an actor into cutting himself during filming so the vampire's blood-thirst will fuel the character's believability, and the vampire's compensation for performing in the film will be the life of the beautiful lead actress.

"Yeah, OK; nothing special. Vampire movie, right? We've seen enough that we can't even be bothered to remember the titles anymore: vampires are immortal and powerful, so the movie's just gonna be some eye candy about how sexy/inhumanly strong/tragic the vampire is.

"Uh-uh.

"The movie has more depth than that. Count Orlock is less an immortal monster than a crusty old man who remembers a much better life than the rodent's existence his senility forces him to live. His recent re-introduction to the world of mortals is very refreshing to him, but it also reminds him of what he hates about his endless life. He is invulnerable to harm (except for the sun), but he is forced to feed on rodents and sneak about the hotel the actors are staying in trying to find a bedroom door that isn't locked. He knows that Murnau is merely a fanatic who views his fellow artists with the same casual contempt a scientist shows for the bacteria growing in his little palettes of agar. And rather than spending his on-screen time blindly killing or trying to seduce unsuspecting victims, Count Orlock enjoys his new-found connection with the humanity he once enjoyed enough to sit down with the producer and the chief assistant for a drink.

"Chief Assistant: When were you born? WERE you born?
Orlock: I can't recall.
Producer: Dammit, Max (the supposed name of the "actor"), this isn't funny anymore! Count Dracula wouldn't say he couldn't remember.
Orlock: I read that book. Murnau gave it to me.
CA: Well, this is a golden opportunity! Speaking as a vampire, what did you make of the book's... technical merits?
Orlock: It made me sad.
Producer: Why... sad?
Orlock: Because Dracula had no servants. Dracula hasn't had servants in four hundred years. And yet, one day, a man appears on his doorstep, and he must convince him that he... is like the man. How can he prepare a meal, when Dracula himself hasn't eaten in four centuries? Can he remember how to buy food, how to select cheese and wine? Can he even remember how to buy bread? And, then, it all comes back to him: his past glory; his armies, his retainers; and what he is reduced to. The loneliest part of the book comes when the man accidentally catches Dracula setting his own table.
Producer: Well... if you're so lonely, why don't you make more... vampires?
Orlock: I can't. I'm too old. Although, I seem to recall, I was never able to.
Producer: Then, how did you become a vampire?
Orlock: It was woman.
CA: Ah! Now, we're getting somewhere.
Orlock: We were together in the night, and then she was gone. At first I had a relief of her in marble, and then a painting of her on wood, and then I had a picture in my mind. And now I no longer even have that.

"The movie is kind of slow at first, and filled with the sort of trite premonitions one would expect from your typical vampire movie. But if you can sit through this, it turns out excellent. It took me three or four viewings to understand a scene towards the end where Murnau takes off his director's goggles and still sees the tableau before him in terms of light levels and artistic composition, despite the presence of the hungering vampire a few feet away.

"And, when, eventually, the vampire dies, we are not subjected to a typical scene of fire and turning-to-dust, but instead the vision of film caught in a projector and burning away.

"That is my review. Peace out."

Excellent review, Baron!

Here's the Amazon link to the film, which I have yet to see, amazingly enough (it is on my Netflix queue though!):
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000092T3U/theasylumeclecti

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Morbid Trinket Du Jour!

The next time you're hankering for some graphic autopsy footage, why not check out the products at Autopsy Video.Com?

"Bipolar Productions has been selling autopsy videos and dvds that we produced with the cooperation of the L.A. County Coroner's Office, among others. Our site is www.autopsyvideo.com and we've sold over 50,000 units since coming online in 2000."

http://www.autopsyvideo.com/


January 9, 2006

Today's Windy Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

The St. Louis Tornado of 1896 touched down about 6 miles west of the Eads Bridge in St. Louis. From the northwest edge of Tower Grove Park, this complex combination of tornado and downburst widened to over a mile and moved due east. It collapsed or swept away portions of houses, factories, saloons, hospitals, mills, railroad yards, churches, and caused a total of over $10,000,000 in damage. In most areas, roofs and trees were not carried away, but thrown to the ground. In other areas, homes were swept away. The 36-acre Lafayette Park was turned into "a wasteland of stripped trees and stumps." On the east end of the Eads Bridge (built as tornado proof after the 1871 event in the same place) a 2-inch by 10-inch white pine plank was driven through the 5/16" thick wrought iron plate. No significant damage was done to the steel span of the bridge, but this remains a remarkable example of a tornado's ability to generate missiles. There were 137 people killed at St. Louis. The tornado was apparently at maximum intensity when it crossed the Mississippi River into East St. Louis, Illinois. Buildings and homes along the river were completely swept away, and about a quarter of the buildings in the town were destroyed or damaged. A much smaller area of damage occurred at East St. Louis, with a damage total of about $2,000,000, but the great intensity resulted in 118 deaths. As many as 35 people died in the Vandalia railroad freight yards at East St. Louis. The death total probably does not include the loss of life to people living on shanty boats, whose bodies were washed down river.

Culled from: Top Ten US Killer Tornadoes

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Morbid Link Du Jour!

Paul submits a link to My Death.Net:

"I found this site very pleasing. It allows the individual time to think and plan his or her funeral."

I found the site a bit disorganized and chaotic myself - rather like a sudden, unexpected death, I suppose - but you might have more patience for it than I did:

http://www.mydeath.net:8080/index2.html

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Morbid Book Du Jour!

Anna writes to tell me about a book that looks really promising on first glance:

The Strange Case of the Walking Corpse: A Chronicle of Medical Mysteries, Curious Remedies,and Bizarre but True Healing Folklore

http://www.cnn.com/2004/HEALTH/02/20/strange.cases/index.html

However, the reviews on Amazon would seem to indicate that it's not as good as it sounds:

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1583331603/theasylumeclecti

Pity!




January 10, 2006

Today's Unsinkable Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

After six weeks of searching for Titanic dead, the four ships involved had recovered 325 dead, of which 116 had been buried at sea. Of the 209 returned to Halifax, 59 were claimed and shipped to other locations, which 150 were buried in the city's three cemeteries. Of all the 325 recovered dead, 128 remained unidentified.

In all this is how the three classes were treated regarding the return of bodies and burial at sea:

Third Class: 63 bodies were identified as Third Class. 29 were buried at sea.

Second Class: 30 bodies were identified as Second Class. 6 were buried at sea.

First Class: 32 bodies were identified as First Class. None were buried at sea. (Even in death it paid to be a First Class Passenger.)

First Class Servants: 3 bodies were identified as First Class Valets. One was buried at sea.

Crew: 110 bodies were identified as Crew. 34 were buried at sea.

87 bodies were listed as unidentified. 46 were buried at sea.

For the 1,500 passengers that perished on April 15th 1,175 of them, would have the sea as their final resting place, 1,000 miles due East of Boston which will be as close as they will ever get to the land of hope and promise. Beginning on April 15, 1912 their hope rested 13,000 feet below on the ocean bottom, on a gently sloping alpine-like countryside overlooking a small canyon with the "unsinkable" Titanic as their only companion.

Culled from: The Titanic Graves of Halifax
Generously submitted by: Heather

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You know, despite the movie, the Titanic disaster continues to be one of my all-time favorite disasters, and I never tire of reading about it or looking at pictures of memorabilia or the wreckage of the ship. I wish I could go down and have a look at it myself, but alas, the whole ocean factor gets in the way. However, apparently, if I were to go to the Ukraine with a metal detector, I would be able to find some nifty war memorabilia, which brings me to today's...

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Morbid Site Du Jour!

Star Opal forwarded me a wonderful website put together by collectors of war memorabilia from battlegrounds in the Ukraine. Some of the stuff that they have uncovered is absolutely amazing - included helmets with the skulls still inside them! I am sooooooooooooooooooo unbelievably jealous!! Damn this boring history of ours. <grumble> Anyway, without further ado, please enjoy The Serpent's Wall:

http://www.serpentswall.com/

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Urban Exploration!

Oh, I wish I could go for a ride through the abandoned villages around Chernobyl! Again, I am filled with jealousy!!! But at least Elena is kind enough to share her journey with us. Thank you to Star Opal for sending me the link.

http://www.kiddofspeed.com/


January 11, 2006

Today's Horrifying Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

A 40-year-old man working at a sausage factory in Oslo fell into a meat grinding machine in March, 2005 and was killed instantly. The grisly incident occurred around 5:30am. Police initially were reluctant to release the name of the sausage factory or its exact location before the man's relatives could be notified. "Three persons were working near the meat grinder when one of them either fell or was sucked into the meat grinder," said Stig Øvrebø, spokesman for the Oslo Police District. "We don't know the exact reason for the accident, but there may have been a vacuum effect from the machinery," Øvrebø told news bureau NTB. Circumstances of the incident at the Åkeberg Skoglunn sausage factory in Oslo's Ensjø district remained unclear by midday. Øvrebø said that two of the three working with the meat grinder had left the area on an errand. When they returned, their colleague had disappeared until they found him in the grinder. "The three colleagues work with large pieces of meat that are dropped down into the large grinder," Øvrebø told newspaper Aftenposten.. "There's no indication that the factory hadn't secured the grinder properly." He said the victim's colleagues would be questioned as soon as they were able to speak about the horrifying incident. They were taken to a local emergency medical clinic, apparently suffering from shock.

Culled from: Aftenposten
Generously submitted by: Bruce Townley

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Well, what do people think sausage is made from, anyway???

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Morbid Sightseeing Follow-Up!

Say it ain't so!!!!!!!!! Lady Morgana writes to let me know that, apparently, Elena's wonderful Chernobyl motorcycle tour is (partially) a fake! Next thing you know, you'll be telling me that "A Million Little Pieces" was all made-up and that the president lied about... everything! Really, is there NOTHING to believe in anymore???

http://www.boingboing.net/2004/05/26/girl_photoblogs_cher.html

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Morbid Recommendation Du Jour!

Joe Bagadonuts has a recommendation:

"A tidbit for your library: 'The Devil of Nanking,' by Mo Hayder. 'Take an electrifying literary ride from the decadent hostess bars and palatial apartments of "yakuza" kingpins in Tokyo to deep inside the secret history of one of the twentieth century's deadliest, most shameful events: the Nanking Massacre.' (front flap data.)

"How thoughtful, in light of the Nanking non-history in Japanese school texts; the Japanese want veto status in the United Nations, even demanding an apology from China (a major stumbling block) for trying to undermine the quest.

"As Linda Ellerbee says: 'and so it goes...'"

This is a fiction book, which we all know I tend not to read, but it sounds like an excellent one. Here's what Amazon.Com has to say about it:

"Seeking confirmation of an atrocity committed by Japanese soldiers during the 1937 invasion of Nanking, troubled young Englishwoman Grey Hutchins tracks down a Chinese survivor who might have film of the massacre. But when she finds Shi Chongming teaching at a Tokyo university, he offers no help--until Grey takes a job at a hostess club frequented by an old Yakuza don. Chongming, it turns out, needs access to the strange medicine the mobster takes to stave off death. If Grey can deliver the information he needs, Chongming promises, he will show her his secret film. Although the narrative--split between the professor's haunting 1937 diary and Grey's contemporary Tokyo journal--takes a while to pick up steam, it ends up delivering a potent punch. Hayder fancies she is withholding more plot twists than she actually does, but Grey and Chongming's affecting stories of weakness and loss redeemed by their obsessive quests for truth and justice make up for a twinned mystery that's not too difficult to dope out."

The Devil of Nanking


January 12, 2006

Today's Intense Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

The St. Louis Tornado of 1896 touched down about 6 miles west of the Eads Bridge in St. Louis. From the northwest edge of Tower Grove Park, this complex combination of tornado and downburst widened to over a mile and moved due east. It collapsed or swept away portions of houses, factories, saloons, hospitals, mills, railroad yards, churches, and caused a total of over $10,000,000 in damage. In most areas, roofs and trees were not carried away, but thrown to the ground. In other areas, homes were swept away. The 36-acre Lafayette Park was turned into "a wasteland of stripped trees and stumps." On the east end of the Eads Bridge (built as tornado proof after the 1871 event in the same place) a 2-inch by 10-inch white pine plank was driven through the 5/16" thick wrought iron plate. No significant damage was done to the steel span of the bridge, but this remains a remarkable example of a tornado's ability to generate missiles. There were 137 people killed at St. Louis. The tornado was apparently at maximum intensity when it crossed the Mississippi River into East St. Louis, Illinois. Buildings and homes along the river were completely swept away, and about a quarter of the buildings in the town were destroyed or damaged. A much smaller area of damage occurred at East St. Louis, with a damage total of about $2,000,000, but the great intensity resulted in 118 deaths. As many as 35 people died in the Vandalia railroad freight yards at East St. Louis. The death total probably does not include the loss of life to people living on shanty boats, whose bodies were washed down river.

Culled from: Top Ten US Killer Tornadoes

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I'd never heard of this particular disaster before, which surprised even me! Funny how there always seem to be old disasters to uncover...

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Morbid Trinket Du Jour!

If you have been looking for the perfect death mask to hang above your bed, then why not check out the selection at Teardrop Memories? This one is quite nice:

http://pages.teardropmemories.com/11601/PictPage/1922614529.html

They have lots of other eclectic antique morbid trinkets as well, so why not have a browse?

http://www.tias.com/stores/teardropmemories/catalog.shtml

Thanks to Joe for the link!

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Morbid Film Du Jour!

IronMan has a film recommendation for us:

STIR OF ECHOES (1999)

"This a very disturbing movie starring Kevin Bacon and Kathryn Erbe. They live in a small neighborhood in Chicago. One night, after being hypnotized at a party, Kevin Bacon starts to see bizarre encounters with a ghost in his house. It is a damn shame that this movie was in theaters the same time as 'The 6th Sense,' because they are somewhat similar. '6th Sense' received all of the publicity, but this is written a lot better. If you have the means, I highly recommend renting it. You won't be disappointed."

I saw this film as well and thought it was good, but not as good as The Sixth Sense. Still, it has some nice creepy moments.

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0002DB54A/theasylumeclecti


January 13, 2006

Today's Suicidal Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

The Battle of Saipan was a battle of the Pacific campaign of World War II, fought on the island of Saipan in the Mariana Islands from June 15, 1944 to July 9, 1944. The American 2nd and 4th Marine Divisions and 27th Infantry Division, commanded by Lieutenant General Holland Smith defeated the 43rd Division of the Imperial Japanese Army commanded by Lieutenant General Yoshitsugu Saito. Since Saipan had become a part of Hirohito's domain in 1919, over 18,000 Japanese civilians had settled there. Tojo's propaganda officers had been lecturing them since Pearl Harbor, describing the Americans as sadistic, redheaded, hairy monsters who committed unspeakable atrocities before putting all Nipponese, including women and infants, to the sword. As the battle turned against Saito's troops, these civilians, panicking, had fled northward to Marpi Point. After their army was obliterated, depriving them of their protectors, they decided that they, too, must die. Most of them gathered on two heights now called Banzai Cliff, an eighty-foot bluff overlooking the water, and, just inland from there. Suicide Cliff, which soars one thousand feet above clumps of jagged rocks. Saito had left a last message to his civilian countrymen, too: "As it says in the Senjinkum [Ethics], 'I will never suffer the disgrace of being taken alive,' and I will offer up the courage of my soul and calmly rejoice in living by the eternal principle." In a final, cruel twist of the knife he reminded mothers of the oyaku-shinju (the parents-children death pact). Mothers, fathers, daughters, sons— all had to die. Therefore children were encouraged to form circles and toss live grenades from hand to hand until they exploded. Their parents dashed babies' brains out on limestone slabs and then, clutching the tiny corpses, shouted "Tenno! Haiki! Banzai!" (Long live the Emperor!) as they jumped off the brinks of the cliffs and soared downward. Below Banzai Cliff U.S. destroyers trying to rescue those who had survived the plunge found they could not steer among so many bodies; human flesh was jamming their screws... But Suicide Cliff was worse. A brief strip of jerky newsreel footage, preserved in an island museum, shows a distraught mother, her baby in her arms, darting back and forth along the edge of the precipice, trying to make up her mind. Finally she leaps, she and her child joining the ghastly carnage below. There were no survivors at the base of Suicide Cliff.

Culled from: Ghost of a Flea
Generously suggested by: THE 2

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Incidentally, the island of Saipan sounds like a wonderful place to visit if you're interested in World War II sightseeing (and who on this list isn't?). THE 2 wrote to tell me all about it:

"I recently took a four-day trip to Saipan, an island in the South Pacific that was one of the major battlegrounds during WWII between the US and Japan. Since the island has not undergone the crazy tourist-trap development like other nearby islands such as Guam, the place remains littered with war wreckage, monuments, and sites -- still standing -- where dozens of people either were riddled with bullets or killed themselves to evade capture. Rusting tank parts (and in one case, the entire tank) litter the beaches. Monuments surround the precipice of what is called "Suicide Cliff", a mountainside from which hundreds of Japanese soldiers and colonists jumped to their deaths rather than suffer the indignity of being taken prisoner. Heavy guns lie silent in crumbling pillboxes, not disarmed and stuffed with concrete like memorials in the USA, but left there after their last use, shell doors hanging open and arming pins still present. The Last Command Post, so named because it was the last spot the Japanese army defended in 1944, remains standing, a concrete bunker that was blown open and stitched with bullet holes. (One can actually enter this bunker through a tunnel and stand in the spot where,
according to a guide book, several dozen colonists were blown up by US mortar fire.) And if you take a boat trip to one of the offshore islets, you will be able to view the completely intact remains of a Japanese "Zero" fighter aircraft, lying right there on the sea bottom about 5 meters down. I was told that if you are a scuba diver, you can dive on the wreck and SIT IN THE PILOT'S SEAT, since the canopy is open (although I didn't do this myself).

"And if that isn't morbid enough, keep in mind that the skeletal remains of war dead are still said to be occasionally found in the jungle, deep in the interior of the island."

Oooh!!!! I want to go there NOW!!!

Here's a website with some nice pictures of the WWII ruins:

http://saipan.keithtarrier.com/

Teri writes: "Great story on Suicide Cliffs and Saipan. I am a biologist whose group conducts field work there, and on Guam. It is a very chilling place to be, imagining the horror, and the relics of war lying about are deliciously ghastly."

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Miscue Du Jour!

Whoops - it seems that my creeping senility has struck again and I sent the same fact out twice in one week. Sorry about that!! I have nothing to blame except dementia.

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Morbid Game Du Jour!

IronMan has a classic game recommendation for us:

CLOCK TOWER (1997) PLAYSTATION

"A game that admittedly wasn't the greatest ever made... but what it lacked in gameplay, it made up for in story. The voice-acting was nothing to brag about, but it had an interesting villain, the Scissor-man, a maniac who roamed Europe killing people with a giant pair of scissors... I suppose the prologue cinematic is my favorite part of the game... 'The giant scissors once again search for prey, the trail of murders stretches across europe from Norway to England... who will make it through this game of murder alive? Clock Tower.' The thing I enjoyed about this game was the 10 alternate endings, some of which had Scissor-man turning out to be different people. Also some really chilling music. Right now, you can probably purchase it for a mere $5. In my mind, it was worth it."

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00002SU8F/theasylumeclecti

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Creepy!

Since the page is in Japanese, I really don't know what these dolls are about. However, I do know that they are creepy as hell, and for that, I must recommend this site:

Doll Space - PYGMALION

http://pygmalion.mda.or.jp/

Thanks to Anna Maria for the link!


January 14, 2006

Today's Gaseous Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

The English newspaper "The Weekly Dispatch" carried the following story under the headline "Two Men Suffocated in A Grave" on September 9, 1838:

An inquest was held in Aldgate on the bodies of Thomas Oakes, the gravedigger belonging to Aldgate Church, and Edward Luddett, a fish dealer, at Billingsgate Market, who came to their deaths on that forenoon under the following circumstances: - Mr. Edward Cheeper, the master of the workhouse, stated, that about eleven o'clock, while passing through Church Passage Aldgate, he heard the loud screams of a female in the churchyard, and he instantly hastened to the spot, and looking into the grave, about twenty feet deep, he saw the deceased gravedigger, Oakes, lying on his back apparently dead. A ladder was instantly procured, and the deceased young man, Luddett, who by this time, with several others, had been attracted to the spot, instantly volunteered to descend to the assistance of Oakes. The instant he stooped to raise the head of Oakes, he appeared as if struck by a Cannon ball, and fell back, and appeared instantly to expire.

Through a mixture of curiosity and philanthropy, Luddett had desceneded into a deep paupers' grave in which putrescent gases had replaced oxygen. Such graves were dug deep, in order to accommodate up to twenty bodies, and were left open until full. Little or no earth separated the coffins from each other.

Culled from: Death: A History of Man's Obsessions and Fears

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I'm surprised others didn't follow Luddett down there, like they usually do. I'm not sure if it's common sense, cowardice, or laziness that would account for that.

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Morbid Recommendation Du Jour!

aren't you special has a book suggestion for us:

Daddy Was The Black Dahlia Killer
Written by Janice Knowlton w/ Michael Newton

"It is one of the most enduringly fascinating crimes in American history. On January 15, 1947, passersby made a grisly discovery in a vacant lot in Los Angeles: the body of a naked young woman, cut in two, and savagely mutilated. The victim was identified as Elizabeth Short, a struggling Hollywood actress. Nicknamed the Black Dahlia by a headline-hungry press, her lurid demise sparked a desperate manhunt. But the mystery of the Black Dahlia murder remained unsolved for nearly half a century -- until now.

"A victim of incest and brutality from infancy, Janice Knowlton was an old hand at repressing hideous memories by age ten, when she watched her father, George Frederick Knowlton, torture, kill, and dismember Elizabeth Short in the detached garage of their California home. It was not the first of Daddy's murders Jon had witnessed, and it would not be the last -- but she had been so traumatized that it took over four decades for fragments of her memory to resurface. Aided by a family counselor specializing in child abuse, Jan experienced a nightmare flood of childhood memories -- and realized that she had witnessed her father commit up to nine savage and sadistic murders, including that of her own infant son, a child of incest. Using census records, maps, family interviews, police reports, and clippings from a dozen newspapers to document her searing memories, Janice exposes her father's thirty-year rampage of rope and murder in this astonishing survivor's testament -- and provides persuasive evidence that Los Angeles low enforcement authorities always knew the shocking truth..."

Sounds like complete bollocks to me, but what do I know?

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0671880845/theasylumeclecti

Steve writes: "You're right, that is complete bollocks, although I can't remember the name of the book that finally proves the Black Dahlia murder, despite reading it quite some years ago. It has been sufficiently proven to my satisfaction that recovered memory (which appears to be the case in the book you mentioned) is a bunch of hogwash. A much better book in the same vein is crime novelist James Ellroy's non-fiction "My Dark Places" in which he investigates--and believes he solves--his mother's murder (my local library actually has a signed copy)."

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Morbid Sightseeing!

I've always wanted to make a trip down to Guanajuato, Mexico to visit the Museo de las Momias. These excellent photographs of the mummies from the always-wonderful Rotten.Com might explain why:

http://poetry.rotten.com/momias/

Thanks to Amazon for the link.


January 15, 2006

Today's Spendthrift Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

The Marquise de Brinvilliers, executed in 1676, was a spendthrift who decided that the simplest way of replenishing her coffers was murder by poison - so she poisoned her father and her two brothers. In order to test the poison, she tried it out on her maidservant - who became seriously ill but recovered - and on patients in a charitable hospital to which she took food. The death of her lover caused her downfall; his papers contained incriminating details, and although she fled to a nunnery, Marie was arrested, tortured into confession, and finally beheaded.

Culled from: The Mammoth Book of the History of Murder

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I'm not sure how murder helped her to replenish her coffers - the book didn't say - but I suppose we can just let our imaginations figure that one out for us.

Andrew writes: "The Marquise of Brinvilliers Bulgakov took notes from Brokgauz-Efron on the Marquise of Brinvilliers, a French poisoner who worked with her lover Jean-Batiste de Godin de St. Croix and who was beheaded in 1676. Brinvilliers poisoned her father, two brothers, and a sister for their inheritance.

"Small, graceful, and pretty, Marquise de Brinvilliers was also corrupt, ruthless, and cold-blooded. Her beautiful blue eyes charmed those around her, making them easy prey for her poison. Early in her marriage to Antoine Gobelin de Brinvilliers, she became enamored with a certain cavalry officer who went by the name of Sainte-Croix. So blatant were they in their affair, that her father, in attempt to save the dignity of the family name, had Sainte-Croix imprisoned. Furious at this turn of events, the Madame de Brinvilliers began plotting the murder of her own father. In prison, Sainte-Croix had learned the poisonous trade from Exili, the well-known adventurer and professional poisoner in the employment of the ex-Queen Christina of Sweden.

"Cartoon of Brinvillier's execution
As soon as Sainte-Croix was released, he made his way to Glazer's shop and shared his goods and knowledge with his lover. In order to perfect her new trade before attempting it on her family, she made the rounds of the city's hospitals, testing her concoctions on the patients. She then poisoned her father, and soon thereafter poisoned her two brothers, who had inherited her father's fortune. She attempted to poison her children's tutor, Briancourt, with whom she had shared romantic relations, but his quick wits saved him. His intelligence also saved the lives of Madame's sister-in-law and sister, cloistered in a convent, who she also tried to poison. She even went so far as to poison her own daughter, merely because she thought her stupid! She regretted it immediately afterward however, and made her drink a great quantity of milk, as an antidote.

"Sainte-Croix finally betrayed her upon his death, with incriminating documents found among his belongings. After several years on the run in England and the Netherlands, Madame de Brinvilliers was tried and convicted on all charges of poisoning. She was forced to do public penance, was put to the torture, both ordinary and extraordinary, and was beheaded on the scaffold erected for the purpose on the Place de Grève. Thousands had gathered to watch the public execution, and it was said that the ashes of her burning body were breathed in by the masses, who continued to carry out deeds in her spirit. The painter Le Brun captured the look of horror and distortion on her face as she was carried to the scaffold in a dirty dung cart, in a painting entitled "Indignation."

"Text and images from Melissa de Graaf's World of Lully and Molière"

Jennifer said: "I'm sure that someone has already emailed to say this, but she got inheritance from their deaths."

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Morbid Recommendation Du Jour!

Achille thinks it's about time I feature a different kind of horror movie:

"I think it's time for a throwback to the old 70's B horror movies. The movies that don't even try to be scary or gory, just laugh out loud funny. The one I'm thinking of I watched with my mum the other day called 'The Thing With Two Heads'. With a name like that it's got to be a winner, right? To give you just a little more information to set the quality in your mind, the main actor used to be a pro football player. All set then? The basis of the story is a medical experiment. a rich old white racist codger is sick and about to die so he wants his head grafted onto someone's body. Only problem? The only person the doctors can find is a black convict! Ahh the hilarity that ensues.... There is, I promise, a happy ending, if quite morbid in my book."

Sounds very, er, interesting. :)

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00005AUK3/theasylumeclecti

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Dahmerism Du Jour!

This one is courtesy of Leann:

Q: What did Dahmer say to his dinner date?

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A: Can you give me a hand?


January 16, 2006

Today's Smashing Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

The Algoma was one of three steel passenger and freight liners built in 1883 under the direction of Henry Beatty, general manager of Canadian Pacific's marine operations. In the spring of 1884 it was put into service running from Owen Sound on Georgian Bay to Port Arthur at the head of Lake Superior. Late in its second season, on Friday, November 6, 1885, the Algoma left the Sault Canal and entered Lake Superior under the confident direction of Captain Moore. All day and into the night the Algoma raced along, both engines steaming, her sails drawing in the wind. However, by 4 a.m. Saturday, the Algoma was pitching and rolling in a ferocious gale. Rain, sleet and snow pounded the ship and the captain had no choice but to turn the liner into the open lake until visibility improved. As the steamer swung around there was a bone-chilling crash of steel on rock. With its rudder smashed, the boat careened out of control. Like a toy, the Algoma was lifted by the huge waves and repeatedly dropped on the rocks of Greenstone Island just off Isle Royale. At 6 a.m. the ship broke in two and the bow disappeared into the black water. On the canted afterdeck, the remaining passengers and crew clung desperately to a single lifeline. As day broke, three brave crewmembers made the 60-foot swim to shore, but they could not find a way to ferry those left onboard. By Sunday morning the gale had abated enough to let the remaining survivors make their way to shore on a small raft. Of 45 passengers and crew only 14 survived.

Culled from: Disaster Great Lakes

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Ye Olde Bones!

I have completed a travelogue of my trip to Ye Ancientest Burial Grounds in New London, Connecticut back in July, 2003. This is a wonderful 18th century graveyard that is filled with marvelous stone carvings. Gravestone enthusiasts should enjoy it (I hope). Please take a look.

http://www.asylumeclectica.com/asylum/sightseer/us/ct/ancient/index.html

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Dahmerism Du Jour!

Another courtesy of Leann:

Q: How could you tell if Dahmer was mad at you?

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A: He would give you the cold shoulder.


January 17, 2006

Today's Concise Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

From a grave in Lee County, Mississippi:

Once I Wasn't.
Then I Was.
Now I ain't Again.

Culled from: Eccentric Epitaphs

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Sums it all up, don't it?

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Morbid Sightseeing Du Jour!

Sara writes to rave about The London Dungeon:

"If you're ever in London, England, the 'London Dungeon' is an absolutely amazing museum portraying the former brutality and astounding history of England and surrounding area. As soon as you enter you're greeted with a group of talented actors that escort you into the building, then you proceed through the museum where there are tons of incredible exhibits of murders, tortures, and pretty much everything else macabre that has happened in this country's past. Then you go into London's famous prison system from the past centuries (including a trial, where you are charged and sentenced to death). Once you enter the prison, there you are shown real survivng torture intruments and structures. After that you are taken on mini boat ride and are shown more ways to perform an execution, The London Towers infamous 'Traitors Gate', and so on and so forth. Then the best part of the tour, the recreation of Whitechapel in the 1880's where Jack The Ripper played. London's claim to fame. You walk along dirty streets and beside you are the bodies of the prostitutes he killed strewn about. Then you go through a speculation to who Jack The Ripper really was. Then you witness the hanging of the man, from underneath the gallows. It looked and sounded so real, I thought I actually heard a neck snapping. And then comes the grand finally of the tour. 'Theatre Of The Guillotine', where you are a witness to a public execution. When the blade comes down a warm liquid is sprayed lightly over the crowd. When you start the exit, you're hostly proudly proclaims to you, "Don't worry, what you were sprayed with was not blood, it was urine." The air even changes when you go into different parts of the tour, just for effectiveness. For example when you enter the prison, the air changes to a damp, stank, very cold air. The little details are what makes this museum so great. I highly recommend this museum as one of the top in the world."

Sounds like a fun way to spend the afternoon to me!

http://www.thedungeons.com/

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Morbid Mirth Du Jour!

A man wakes up in the hospital after a horrendous car accident. He screams, "Doctor, Doctor! I can't feel my legs!"

The Doctor calmly replies, "Of course you can't, I've cut off your arms."

You can blame Colin for that one!


January 18, 2006

Today's Reeking Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

A crusade against the practice of burying the dead in cities and towns was mounted in England in 1839 by a surgeon named George Walker. Expanding on his thesis that insanitary churchyard burials caused illness and death to local inhabitants, Walker proceeded to cite the names of the worst offenders. The unluckiest, and unhealthiest, Londoners were those poor souls who lived in Clement's Lane, a narrow thoroughfare close to the Strand. Within a short distance were cited no fewer than four burial grounds (including St Clement Danes and the notorious Enon Chapel) and several slaughterhouses: '... the living here breathe on all sides an atmosphere impregnated with the odour of the dead.' The inhabitants were compelled to close their windows to keep out offensive smells, especially in summer. And walls were often seen reeking with fluids.

Culled from: Death: A History of Man's Obsessions and Fears

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"Walls reeking with fluids". I think that's one of my favorite lines in a morbid fact. It really packs a punch, don't it?

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Morbid Sightseeing!

Janey writes to tell of a fantastic abandoned asylum - which I HOPE is still standing (she sent this e-mail quite awhile ago):

"Dearest Countess ~
In Philadelphia, PA, on Byberry Rd is Byberry Mental Asylum. The Asylum has been closed down for over a decade, and it is the LOUDEST haunt that I have ever wandered through!

"The Asylum is one of the oldest in the country, and was in buisness during the darkest hours of psychiatric practices. The 'patients' that lived there were subjected to horrific 'treatments', and the whole place echoes with their stories.

"Byberry Asylum is spread out over quite a lot of ground. It consists of half a dozen or so huge brick and stonework buildings built at odd angles to each other. There is a medical building, (I wandered all through the morgue myself) dormitory and solitary living quarters, a children's ward (very very unsettling place!) two buildings that are entirely stone walled on the inside, and several others that I was not able to stay long enough to explore. The administrative building is like a mansion, it's a gorgeous huge grey monolith that all the old paths eventually lead to... There is some sculpture work on the turrets that might have once been gargoyles, but have decayed past recognition.

"All of the buildings are connected by a catacombs, which water has seeped through the floors and birthed an odd burgendy colored mold that looks like drying blood at first glance by flashlight!

"[On the downside], the entire property is gated and patrolled by a security company and there are some seriously dangerous people who spend a lot of time there."

Sounds like a fun place to me! Here's a website with some additional information:

http://www.weirdus.com/stories/PA01.asp

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Morbid Site Du Jour!

If you're ever in need of a fun browse through the morbid side of the net, Death 'n' Dementia is a great site. Thanks to Elizabeth for sending the link my way.

http://www.deathndementia.com/


January 19, 2006

Today's Ritualistic Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

The initiation rituals at the Masonic lodge in Patchogue, NY had been bathed in secrecy over the years. The climax of the ceremony on Monday night, March 8, 2004 was to be a simple prank. A new member of the Fellow Craft Club, a select group within the lodge, would sit in a chair while an older member stood 20 feet away and fired a handgun loaded with blanks. That ritual went terribly wrong inside Southside Masonic Lodge No. 493, in a basement littered with rat traps, tin cans, a 9-foot-tall guillotine, and a setup designed to mimic walking a plank. The shooter, a 76-year-old Mason, Albert Eid, was carrying two guns, a .22-caliber handgun with blanks in his left pocket, and a .32-caliber gun with live rounds in his right pocket. He reached into his right pants pocket, pulled out the wrong gun and shot William James, a 47-year-old fellow Mason, in the face, killing him. Mr. Eid, a World War II veteran who had a license to carry his own pistol and often did, pleaded not guilty Tuesday afternoon to a charge of second-degree manslaughter and was released on $2,500 bail. He was wearing his blue Masonic jacket during his arraignment in Central Islip.

Culled from: The New York Times
Generously submitted by: Alastair

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That's what you get for letting a 76-year-old man engage in rituals like that!!

Joe writes: "I covered this case on radio in 2004/5. Last January (2005), Eid was sentenced to 5 months probation. At sentencing, he took complete responsibility for what happened -- and as an unusual bookend to the story, the family of the victim agreed on the light sentence. Prosecutors went along with it because there was no previous criminal record."

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Morbid Poetry Du Jour!

Elizabeth thought this Emily Dickinson poem was worth sharing. I would have to agree!

Skinny Domicile / Emily Dickinson

I have a skinny Domicile --
Its Door is very narrow.
'Twill keep -- I hope -- the Reaper out --
His scythe -- and Bones -- and Marrow.

Since Death is not a portly Chap,
The Entrance must be thin --
So -- when my Final Moment comes --
He cannot wriggle in.

That's why I don't go out that much --
I can't fit through that Portal.
How dumb -- to waste my Social Life
On Plans to be -- immortal --

Andrew writes: "You have doubless been told already, but this poem was, in fact, NOT written by Emily Dickenson, although it WAS written to her particular
stylings. The real author is Francis Heaney, and it appears in his book, Holy Tango of Literature. "

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Morbid Trinket Du Jour!

Are you looking for the ideal means for corpse identification, assuring the perfect mix of security and economy? Then these anklebands are for you!

http://www.pdcorp.com/post-mortem/anklebands.html

Thanks to Kyle for the link.


January 20, 2006

Today's Murderous Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

In the early 1970's a supermarket robbery led to the arrest of middle-aged Sherman McCrary, together with his son and son-in-law. Police investigating the movements of McCrary's family in the past year realized that they corresponded closely to a series of murders that had become known as "the doughnut-shop slayings". Across the country, from Florida to California, waitresses and shopgirls had been abducted - usually late at night - and left naked and dead. The killers always robbed the till; but they also raped the women. The investigators finally realized that the whole McCrary family - including the wife and daughter - had been involved in these killings.

Culled from: The Mammoth Book of the History of Murder

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You know what they say: The family that slays together stays together!

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Update Du Jour!

Okay, turns out that "Emily Dickinson" poem wasn't actually by Emily Dickinson. I thought it was a bit off, but wasn't sure, and I was too lazy to look it up. Here's the truth, from the keyboard of Andrew:

"You have doubtless been told already, but this poem was, in fact, NOT written by Emily Dickinson, although it WAS written to her particular stylings. The real author is Francis Heaney, and it appears in his book, Holy Tango of Literature. Have a gander at it on Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1578601592/theasylumeclecti

"It looks like a fun read. Also note that the title is an anagram of 'Emily Dickinson.' Big clue, there. *grin*"

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Morbid Videos!

Kyle sends me a link to Pushin' Daisies, who have compiled an excellent collection of funeral videos.

http://www.pushindaisies.com/candypress/scripts/prodList.asp?idCategory=2

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Morbid Link Du Jour!

Elizabeth sends an interesting page of classic hearse links:

http://www.angelfire.com/zine/TheHearseEnthusiast/links1.html


January 21, 2006

Today's Ruinous Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

October, 1737 was a terrible month for the sprawling, overcrowded city of Calcutta, India. Located on the Bay of Bengal, the city was struck by a cyclone on October 7 that sent a 40-foot tidal wave crashing ashore. Some 300,000 people died in that disaster, and just days later, on October 11, another 300,000 were killed when an earthquake rocked the ruined city.

Culled from: The Pessimist's Guide To History

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Well, that must have helped to alleviate some of the overcrowding, anyway.

Bill wags his finger my way: "I know you greatly appreciate my pointing out innaccuracies, so I'll just mention that these figures about my manor (I've visited Calcutta nine times and spent two months there) seem absurd. Calcutta was founded in 1690 (By Job Charnock who married an Injun woman he rescued from Suttee -- see, I could be a tourist guide). It increased greatly in size in the early 18th century, but I can hardly believe that the total population was 300,000 by 1737. No way, unless you count a very large area of villages around, or an affected region. But a cyclone or earthquake couln't have killed that many anyway.
It's not next to the sea, so no Tsunami, and maybe a the Hooghly could have flooded, but No way, Jose. Also almost all the buildings would have been one-storey and though easy to collapse, not very dangerous when they did collapse. Bengalis would be used to flooding and natural disaster and wouldn't attempt a twin-towers. Also -- a cyclone *and* an earthquake? It was a cyclone *or* an earthquake."

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Morbid Trinket Du Jour!

I've featured this one before, but it's so cool, I thought we'd give it another look:

http://www.kropserkel.com/horse_head_pillow.htm

Thanks to Elizabeth for the link.

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Morbid Sightseeing

Robert recommends a trip to "one of America's most haunted homes" - Myrtles Plantation in St. Francisville, Louisiana:

"Built on an Indian graveyard, it is haunted by 7 apparitions."

Jeez, I'd be happy if I could see just one!

http://www.myrtlesplantation.com/


January 22, 2006

Today's Sufferable Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

The Andersonville prison, located at Camp Sumter, was the largest Confederate military prison during the American Civil War. More than 13,000 Union prisoners died there, mostly of diseases. The following account of some of the suffering that occurred there was written by prison camp survivor Private George Weiser:

"There were four or five hundred colored prisoners in this prison and nearly all of them were lame or wounded. Theirs was a sad fate indeed, some of them said that they had been wounded after they were captured. All the prisoners seemed to be affected with the scurvy; many were broke out in black spots and some were so bad that their teeth fell out, many were so bad that they would swell up to twice their size and black spots would break and burst out, and large gangrene sores would eat the flesh from their bones, and I often seen the bare bones through the sores for many days before the men were dead. Many of the men were troubled with the diarrhea, many died from this cause. The corn meal did not agree with them and they had no way to cure themselves. The men were troubled much with fever; some would be taken and die soon, this we called the yellow fever and some would be taken and linger long, this kind we called the slow fever. They were so reduced that their hip bones had nothing on them but the thin skin and sometimes they would get so sore that we could see the bone. This made the men sleep in all ways."

Culled from: Giving Up The Ghost

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I visited Andersonville back in 2003 and I have finally completed a travelogue detailing my trip. I hope you enjoy it!

http://www.asylumeclectica.com/asylum/sightseer/us/ga/andersonville/index.html

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Morbid Sightseeing!

For those of you in the Denver area, Body Worlds 2 is coming your way beginning on March 10th!

http://www.dmns.org/main/en/General/Exhibitions/UpcomingExhibitions/bodyWorlds.htm

Thanks to JR for the link.

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Morbid Recommendation Du Jour!

Acid Suicide recommends the book "Strange People":

"I found it at a garage sale. It was written in 1961 and the part I've read so far is about circus freaks but there's supposed to be stuff like some guy who predicted the sinking of the Titanic in there."

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0806510110/theasylumeclecti



January 23, 2006

Today's Northern Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

The Civil War was in its third year when in the summer of 1864 the Federal Government converted Camp #3, also known as Camp Rathbun, into a prison camp for captured Confederate Soldiers. The prison camp consisted of a 30-acre plot of ground surrounded by a twelve foot wall with a rampart near its top and on the outside of the wall. On July 6, 1864, 400 Confederate prisoners of war marched from Erie Station to the prison camp, becoming the first of 12,123 prisoners held in Elmira. The Confederate soldiers soon renamed Elmira's prison camp "Hellmira." It was said to have been the worst prison camp in the North. Before long, the camp became overcrowded. The prison population jumped from 4,500 in late July to 10,000 by fall. Inadequate housing for the influx of prisoners and a shortage of medical supplies, and sometimes doctors, created ideal conditions for small pox and other epidemics. These diseases spread through the camp like wildfire. A harsh winter in 1864-65 made matters worse. On St. Patrick's Day of the same year the Chemung River flooded, filling their tents and barracks with anywhere between six inches to two feet of water. Tents set up along the banks of the Chemung River Disease, overcrowding, and natural disaster took its toll. Of the 12,123 prisoners assigned to the camp, 2,963 died in all. Though some reports indicate prisoners received adequate rations, it is generally believed they did not.

Culled from: Pages in the History of Elmira
Generously suggested by: Lady Hourglass

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I figured that since yesterday's fact was on the atrocities at the Confederate prison camp at Andersonville, I should feature the flip side of the coin today and show that the Union prisons could be atrocious as well. I am, after all, an equal opportunity Comtesse.

Allen writes: "Here is some information about another POW camp. Its called Camp Douglas and located in Chicago. Approx 6 thousand confederate soldiers died there. At one point the rate of dying was 18 a day. It did not have as many as Rathbun, but more died. There is even a mass burial mound that can be visited."

http://www.geocities.com/BourbonStreet/2757/issues/camp.htm

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Morbid Link Du Jour!

For those of us in the Chicagoland area, this website is a godsend! Well, maybe more like a devilsend. Northwestern University has put together an interactive database of homicides in Chicago from 1870-1930. Unfortunately, I couldn't find any in my neighborhood, damn the luck! But it makes for an interesting browse in any event, especially the case of the day. My next hobby will be to start tracking down these houses where the murders occurred and take pictures of them for my website!

http://homicide.northwestern.edu/

Thanks to Keith for the link!

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Morbid Recommendation Du Jour!

Paul recommends the movie "Kissed":

"Have you seen this movie? This must rank very high on the morbid list!

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0116783/

"This film must be the reason behind its star, Molly Parker, being cast as the Rabbi on Six Feet Under!

"Anyway, I happened to catch it on one of the Showtime channels ('Showtime Showcase') Apparently, it was the talk of the Toronto and Sundance film festivals a few years back. I'd never heard of it, but perhaps you have."

Actually, I haven't, but I'll definitely be hunting it down! Here's the plot synopsis: "Over the years, a child's romantic ideals about death blossom into necrophilia, the study of embalming and the most profound relationship of her life." Sounds like our kind of film, eh?

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0009X7BH8/theasylumeclecti



January 24, 2006

Today's Traitorous Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

When James I of Scotland was murdered in 1437, the principal conspirator was Walter, Earl of Atholl, who was a claimant to the throne. Walter was taken to the place of execution, the Cross in Edinburgh, and there his flesh was torn with pincers heated in a glowing brazier. An iron crown, taken from the fire, was then placed on this head, and he was proclaimed King of Traitors.

Culled from: The History of Torture by Brian Innes

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Oh, if only we could still do punishment like this. I know just the man for it...

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Morbid Recommendations Du Jour!

Speaking of "The History of Torture," Alavahr recommends another book with the same title by a different author, and his other books as well:

"I've heard of a book called 'The History Of Torture,' which was written by Daniel P. Mannix, who also wrote 'Freaks: We Who Are Not As Others,' 'Memoirs of A Sword Swallower,' 'Those About To Die' and 'The Wolves of Paris.' Though I haven't read 'History,' if it's anything like the others, it's well worth picking up."

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0750932716/theasylumeclecti

"Most of the titles here are fairly self-explanatory - 'Memoirs' covers Mannix's life in a carnival sideshow, which is fascinating stuff and contains a wonderfully gross description of the time a Human Ostrich's act goes wrong (this was a guy who among other things swallowed live rats!)"

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0965046958/theasylumeclecti

"'Those About To Die' is about the Roman 'games,' and includes accounts of how to train a lion to be a maneater, the typical life of a gladiator and the role the games played in everyday Rome. It wasn't until I read this book that I found out that the bestiarii (animal trainers) could and did train animals to engage in sexual activity with humans - and in public, no less. This was usually used as a punishment before the person in question was later killed by other beasts later on in the 'show.' Can we say, ew?"

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0345242408/theasylumeclecti
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00005RHN5/theasylumeclecti

"'Wolves of Paris' is a semi-fictionalized account of the life of a 15th-century man-eating wolf who with his pack terrorized the district for years and finally lay seige to Paris itself one winter."

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0380475553/theasylumeclecti

"Though 'Freaks' and 'Memoirs' were reprinted by REsearch Publications, the others, alas, are out of print and very hard to find, though 'Wolves' might be in the public library. 'Memoirs' might also be in the library under the title 'Step Right Up!' but the REsearch version has interesting pictures of the people in the narrative."

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0965104257/theasylumeclecti

"Hopefully you'll find these of interest."

They sound VERY interesting to me, indeed! Thank you for sharing.

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Morbid Link Du Jour!

PoeForward is a website for a literary arts organization in Los Angeles who provide free reader's theater public performances. The website also includes a huge gallery devoted to "Dead Girls" past, present, and future - as well as a Scream Queens gallery. They also have some cemetery and ghost town photo galleries, poetry, and all things Poe. Who can resist?

http://www.poeforward.com/


January 25, 2006

Today's Festive Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

After beheading a dead body, a 26-year-old Norwegian black metal musician named Illvastar proudly showed off the head at a party. "It was a complete shock," says black metal vocalist Istar. Illvastar showed the head to people at a party in Skien, Norway, on June 15, 2003. A witness said "He showed the head to one of the guests who felt sick and told him to get away from there". A 30-year-old friend of the 26-year-old said she is in shock after what happened, saying: "I cannot understand that he has been taking part in this, he is such a kind person." Illvastar was a base player in the band Svartahrid until being thrown out in 2000. The singer of the band, Istar, said: "It is a shock to learn that he was taking part in desecrating bodies. Our band has never been involved in Satanism. What he has been up to after leaving the band, I do not know." Illvastar's lawyer said, "My client admits to being guilty as charged. He has explained that he was under the influence of drugs." According to Illvastar's female friend, the whole thing started as another friend of the 26-year-old phoned from the morgue. "He called on Friday night, saying he was at the morgue in Skien. Then my friend disappeared down town along with some other friends," she said.

Culled from: Nettavisen
Generously suggested by: Paul

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Found this update on MTV.com: "Illvastar, the ex-bassist of the Norwegian black metal band Svartahrid, has been sentenced to a year in prison for defiling a corpse. The metal maniac broke into a mortuary on June 14, decapitated a corpse with a knife, and brought the severed head to a party near the southeastern town of Skien. A guest at the party reported Illvastar to the police. The bassist, who had been drinking moonshine and smoking, had no memory of the beheading."

Of course, I'm wondering why on earth they think someone's a satanist because they defile a corpse. Doesn't sound like something a satanist would do to me. And anyway, what's wrong with people these days? He was just trying to deaden up the party! Talk about party poopers.

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"My (Vicarious) Brush With Morbidity" by Skat

"In December 1997, there was an automobile accident on a local highway involving four teens in a Saturn returning from Christmas shopping at a local mall and a truck driver returning home (in a pickup) after working an extra shift for an oil company, who somehow was traveling in the wrong direction on the highway. His truck slammed head-on into the Saturn, killing himself and the driver of the Saturn instantly.

"Another car was struck in the rear by the spinning Saturn, but the driver of that vehicle was uninjured. It is the driver of that vehicle from whom this story comes. He ran to both the pickup and the Saturn to see if anyone was injured. He said that both the driver of the pickup and the driver of the Saturn were already dead due to massive head and chest trauma. A 15-year-old female passenger in the Saturn also suffered massive head trauma. He said that she was alive when he arrived at the vehicle, but the sight of her was horrifying. He said that her head had been split from the top and down the middle of her face. He could see her brain, parts of an eye socket, and all the gory things that go along with exposed brains and split skulls, and said that she was awake and conscious. He sat there and held her hand until she died, which he says did not take long, but seemed to take forever. Two other passengers in that vehicle survived with serious injuries.

"I don't now know the driver of the third car, and was not actually friends with him. He was friends with downstairs neighbors of my husband and me and was visiting them one day a year or so after the accident when we were discussing another instance of a man driving the wrong way on the highway (this time it was an elderly gentleman, and the cops were able to get him off the road before anyone was hurt), and that brought up the horrific accident where the teens were killed. One of our neighbors mentioned that their friend had sort of been involved in that accident, and that's when he told us the above story. He did actually break into tears and said that he still had nightmares about it. I think he was also in counseling. To think of a person with their head and face split down the middle, alive and conscious...well, I think I would be in counseling too!!"

Now, that would be a truly horrific sight to see! Almost as horrific as a glimpse of the Comtesse's countenance!

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Update Du Jour!

Thanks to Amos Quito posting my Ancientest Cemetery travelogue (http://asylumeclectica.com/asylum/sightseer/us/ct/ancient/index.html) to one of his Yahoo groups, I have received some additional information from Cranky Yankee on where to learn more about the wonderful olde gravestone carvers of New England:

"This book will have the info you need to identify the carvers in this cemetery:

Colonial Burying Grounds of Eastern Connecticut and the Men Who Made Them (Memoirs of the Connecticut Academy of Arts & Sciences, July 1987, Vol Xxi) (Hardcover)
by James A. Slater

Hardcover: 326 pages
Publisher: Connecticut Academy of Arts (August 1, 1987)
Language: English
ISBN: 0208021604

"Further info on this burial ground can be found in the writings of the late Ernest Caulfield. These writings were owned by James Slater (who worked with Caulfield) and now is in the process of being organized for the CT Historical Society.

"Another place to find Caulfield's research is the AGS journal, Markers. The entire Vol. 8 of Markers was dedicated to Caulfield. That issue is out of print, but copies can be obtained from AGS (Association for Gravestone Studies)

"The Slater book can be purchased here as well."

Thanks for the info - I'll have to get ahold of that book.


January 29, 2006

Today's Unbearable Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

The record shows that the "good old summer days" of the 19th century were often unbearable, indoors and out. New York City, for instance, was hotter then, with lower buildings that offered little protection from the sun. And the clothing of the period - heavy suits, long underwear, starched shirts plus vests, girdles and voluminous petticoats - added a penitential excess to the citizen's misery. Delerium and sunstroke were commonplace; a heat wave in August 1896 caused the deaths of some 3,000 humans and 2,000 horses. The windowless room was another feature of city life that exacerbated summer hardships. An 1894 survey found 6,576 New York slum families living in such "inside" rooms, where during a heat wave stagnant air hung for weeks at equatorial temperatures. Air shafts provided by landlords to circumvent an 1879 ban on these rooms were used as garbage chutes, infecting the oven-hot air with a rancid smell.

Culled from: The Good Old Days - They Were Terrible!

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When I visited New York City in 2003, I paid a visit to the Lower East Side Tenement Museum, which does a wonderful job of illustrating how hard life in tenement buildings really was. If you ever have the chance, I highly recommend taking the tour:

http://www.tenement.org/

(They didn't allow photographs on the tour, so I have no travelogue to share for this site... much to your relief, I'm sure!)

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Webmaster Whining Du Jour

It appears that The Asylum Eclectica is down due to the site exceeding its bandwidth for the month. I'll look into adding additional bandwidth to prevent this problem from recurring. I think I'm going to be forced to start selling merchandise to keep the site going very soon!

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Morbid Mirth Du Jour!

Now, here's someone with too much time on his/her hands: George Romero's "Dawn of the Dead" as told with knitted figures:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/electricbiscuit/tags/dawnofthedead/

Thanks to Bruce for sending the link!

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Morbid Trinket Du Jour!

Now here's a *proper* knife block!!!

http://www.maartenbaas.com/Main.asp?Section=Miscellaneous&ID=134

Thanks to Ulf for the link!


January 30, 2006

Today's Liquefied Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

Nineteenth Century French anatomist Paul Broca was one of the first scientists to offer definitive evidence that specific cognitive traits and functions are processed in localized regions of the brain. Broca defined the area named for him by studying a stroke victim. In 1861 Broca met a patient who had been given the nickname "Tan," because "tan" was the only syllable he had been able to utter for the past 21 years. When Tan died, an autopsy revealed that a portion of his left frontal lobe about the size of a golf ball had been liquefied by a massive stroke years before.

Culled from: National Geographic, March 2005

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I had to share this one because "Tan" totally reminded me of "Timmy".

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Brother/Sister, Can You Spare A Dollar?

Yesterday I whined about the high cost of continually upping the bandwidth on my site, and several individuals wrote me to say that they would be happy to donate to help pay for the increased upkeep costs. I thought I would go ahead and throw the donation link out there in case anyone wants to help me out.

And that's the last bit of groveling I'll do for now!

http://asylumeclectica.com/asylum/donate.htm

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Morbid Trinket Du Jour!

Now HERE's a proper knife block!!! (Though sadly it's only a prototype.)

http://www.maartenbaas.com/Main.asp?Section=Miscellaneous&ID=134

Thanks to Ulf for the link!

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Ghastly!

I have generally tired of "gore" websites, because most of them (with a few notable exceptions) are tedious and very poorly designed. Such is definitely NOT the case with Miss Strict's Gore Galleries - one of the most beautiful sites I've seen. Definitely worth a good, long browse.

http://www.missstrict.net

Thank you to Elizabeth for the link.


January 31, 2006

Today's Chillingly Ironic Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

A year and a half before he led the biggest mass suicide of modern times, Jim Jones and six hundred of his followers participated in a massive anti-suicide demonstration on the Golden Gate Bridge. Each protester wore an armband bearing the name of a suicide who had gone off the bridge; the object was to convince the bridge authority to install suicide barriers to prevent people from climbing the low railing and leaping to their deaths. The media showed up and Jones delivered a speech which, in retrospect seemed chillingly ironic. Some excerpts:

"Suicide is a symptom of an uncaring society ... The suicide is the victim of conditions we cannot tolerate and ... (pause) ... I guess that was Freudian because I meant to say which he cannot tolerate, which overwhelm him, for which there is no recourse ... I have been in a suicidal mood myself today for perhaps the first time in my life, so I have personal empathy for what we are doing here today. Thank you."

Culled from: SFGate.Com
Generously suggested by: Burleyque

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This one can definitely be filed in the "Things That Make You Go What The F*!@" category.

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I want to extend a warm and gracious thank you to everyone who has donated to help support the upkeep of The Asylum Eclectica. Every penny is greatly appreciated and will be used to make sure that the site remains up all month long from now on. For those of you who have asked, yes, I am working on merchandise as well, and hopefully you will find that as charming as I will. :)

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The Morbid Sightseer

Yes, it's true - I have completed yet ANOTHER travelogue! I have quite a backlog to catch up on, you know. This time, I visit the town of Milledgeville, Georgia to see the slave graves of Memory Hill Cemetery and some of the abandoned buildings of the old Georgia Lunatic Asylum (aka Central State Hospital). I hope you enjoy it.

http://asylumeclectica.com/asylum/sightseer/us/ga/milledgeville/index.html

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Update Du Jour!

You may recall hearing about the French woman who had the world's first face transplant surgery a couple of months ago? On the forum, there has been some discussion about this, and some before and after pictures have been posted. Is it just me, or does it seem like she looks better after the surgery?

http://asylumeclectica.com/asylum/forum/index.php?act=ST&f=3&t=2254
http://www.sundaytimes.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,7034,17967407%5E950,00.html

 



Vulgarities...