March, 2002

March 1, 2002
As promised, here's part two of excerpts from Harold Schechter's absolutely fascinating book on the 19th century Boston "boy fiend" Jessie Pomeroy (entitled, appropriately enough, "Fiend"). He was a very twisted 12-year-old, as you will discover in... Today's Fiendish Yet Truly Morbid Fact!
Robert Maier was enticed from the safety of his neighborhood by an offer that no eight-year-old boy could possibly resist. On May 20, 1872 Maier was approached by an older boy who, after striking up a conversation with Robert, asked if he would like to go to see Barnum's circus. When Maier eagerly agreed, the older boy led him toward Powder Horn Hill. On the way, they passed a pond, its surface clotted with scum. All of a sudden the stranger grabbed Robert by the arm and tried to push him into the pond. Struggling wildy, the little boy managed to break free of the stranger's grasp. "Why'd you do that?" Robert cried. In response, the big boy cuffed him on the side of the head, then dragged the stunned and sobbing victim to an isolated outhouse, where he stripped off Maier's clothing, shoved a milk cork in his mouth, and tied him to a post with a length of slothesline. Laughing and jumping, he whipped the helpless boy with a stick. Then he pulled the cork from his mouth and forced him to say bad things -- "prick," "shit," "kiss my ass". Hearing these profanities seemed to make the boy even more excited. He began to breathe very hard and fiddle with himself through his coveralls. After a few minutes he gave a great shuddering moan and leaned against the privy wall, eyes tightly clothes, mouth agape. He seemed to be calmer after that. Freeing Robert from his bonds, he told the terrified boy to put on his clothes. Then he let him go. (Fiend)

March 2, 2002
Here's part three of excerpts from Harold Schechter's absolutely fascinating book on the 19th century Boston "boy fiend" Jesse Pomeroy (entitled, appropriately enough, "Fiend"). Here's where 12-year-old Jesse starts to turn a bit more violent... Today's Fiendish Yet Truly Morbid Fact! It was on Thursday, September 5, 1872 that Jesse Pomeroy, the "boy torturer," first used a knife. His victim was a six-year-old child named Harry Austin, who was taken to a spot beneath a railroad bridge in South Boston. There, his tormentor stripped off his clothes, beat him black and blue, then pulled out a pocket knife and stabbed the shrieking child under each arm and between the shoulder blades. Raising the bloody knife high in the air, the older boy capered about his victim, laughing and cursing. Then, squatting on his haunches, he forced the Austin boy's legs apart, took hold of his penis, and tried to cut it off. Less than one week later, on Wednesday, September 11, the "boy torturer" lured a seven-year-old named Joseph Kennedy to a vacant boathouse near the salt marshes of South Boston bay. Once inside the building, he slammed his victim's head against the wall, stripped him naked, and administered a ferocious beating, breaking the little boy's nose and knocking out several of his teeth. Then, pulling out his pocketknife, he forced the seven-year-old to kneel and ordered him to recite a profane travesty of the Lord's Prayer, in which obscenities were substituted for Scripture. When young Joseph refused to commit this blasphemy, his tormentor slashed him on his face, his back, his thighs. Then he dragged the bleeding child down to the marsh and -- laughing delightedly at the little boy's suffering -- doused his wounds with salt water. (Fiend)

March 6, 2002
And here is the final excerpt from Harold Schechter's absolutely fascinating book on the 19th century Boston "boy fiend" Jesse Pomeroy (entitled, appropriately enough, "Fiend"). Here's where 13-year-old Jesse (after a stay in juvenile hall) turns deadly...
On April 22, 1874, little four-year-old Horace Millen left his house to walk to the local bakery for some sweets. On his way, he had the misfortune to meet up with Jesse Pomeroy, who lured him away from his neighborhood across remote muddy marshlands locally known as "the cow pasture". A few hours later, two boys were wandering along the shoreline when they stumbled upon what appeared to be a doll in a little clambake pit. Looking closer, one of the boys realized it was the half-naked body of a little boy. He lay stiffly on his back, britches and drawers pulled down around his ankles. There was caked blood all over his face, hands, and upper thighs. Officer Roswell M. Lyons would later testify that, in all his years of police work, he had never confronted a more appalling sight than the one that greeted him when he arrived. It was clear at a glance that the little victim in the pit -- who looked barely older than a toddler -- had been subjected to an agonizing ordeal. The writhing of his limbs had caused his heels to gouge deep furrows in the sand, and his fists were so tightly clenched in pain that his fingernails were embedded in his palms. There were ugly lacerations on the back of his hands that Lyons immediately recognized as defensive wounds, inflicted when the child had tried to ward off his attacker. The boy had been stabbed in the chest at least half-a-dozen times, and his throat was gashed so deeply that his head was nearly severed from the body. Bloody fluid oozed from one punctured eyeball. He had also been partially castrated. Looking down at the child's exposed groin, Lyons saw one testicle hanging loose from the mutilated scrotum. (Fiend)

March 13, 2002
A man who was the victim of a hit-and-run lived for several hours trapped in the driver's broken windshield before dying in the driver's garage in Fort Worth, Texas. "I'm going to have to come up with a new word. Indifferent isn't enough. Cruel isn't enough to say. Heartless? Inhumane? Maybe we've just redefined inhumanity here," a prosecutor in Fort Worth told Fort Worth Star-Telegram about the October 2001 incident. Police arrested a 25-year-old woman Wednesday, March 6, 2002 -- a nurse's aide -- on murder charges in the man's hit-and-run death. Police told the Telegram that Gregory Biggs spent at least two days trapped in the broken windshield of the car that hit him. They said the woman who was driving the car, Chante Mallard, drove it home and kept it in the garage -- and heard Biggs begging for help before he finally died of blood loss and shock. According to a police statement, Mallard panicked, and with the man still lodged in the windshield, she drove a few miles to her home, parked in her garage, and ignored his pleas for help until he died. His body was later dumped in a park. The mother of the homeless man, Meredith Biggs, said she wonders how the woman could have let him die the way he did. Police said Mallard told them she had been drinking and was on drugs at the time she struck the man, and that she panicked. But Meredith Biggs told the newspaper that she wants to know why the woman didn't call for help after the drugs wore off. Mallard told police she occasionally went into the garage, apologizing to the victim. The impact had hurled him headfirst through the windshield, his broken legs sticking out onto the hood. (The Iowa Channel, generously donated by Nina and I. Zapor)

March 14, 2002
A 10-year-old boy named William York lived in the workhouse at the village of Eyke, near Bury St. Edmunds, England, and shared a bed with a 5-year-old girl, Susan Mayhew. One morning, when Susan had fouled the bed, William took her into the yard and methodically cut her wrist down to the bone, all the way round; he did the same to the elbow and her other arm, then slashed her thigh open. In 1748, he was sentenced to death, but was finally reprieved on condition he joined the navy -- where, presumably, he would be brutalized by ill-treatment and sexual attacks. (Crimes and Punishment: The Illustrated Crime Encyclopedia, Volume 14)

March 15, 2002
In 1832, Dr. Louis Lalaurie and his wife, Delphine, moved into a Creole mansion in the French Quarter. They became renowned for their social affairs and were resepected for their wealth and prominence. However, beneath the delicate and refined exterior was a cruel, cold-blooded and possibly insane woman. Madame Lalaurie was brutally cruel to her slaves and once a neighbor watched a little girl jump to her death from an upstairs balcony to escape the Madame's whip. At the time there was a law that prevented cruelty to slaves in New Orleans, so the authorities who investigated the neighbor's claims impounded the Lalaurie slaves and sold them at auction. Unfortunately for them, Madame Lalaurie coaxed some relatives into buying them and selling them back to her in secret. In April of 1834 a fire broke out in the kitchen, allegedly deliberately set by the cook who could endure no more of the Madame's tortures. After the blaze was put out, the fire fighters discovered a horrible sight behind a secret, barred door in the attic. They found more than a dozen slaves here, in a horrible state. All of the victims were naked and teh ones not on tables were chained to the wall. Some of the women had their stomachs sliced open and their insides wrapped about their waists. One woman had her mouth stuffed with animal excrement and then her lips were sewn shut. The men were in even more horrible states. Fingernails had been ripped off, eyes poked out, and private parts sliced away. One man hung in shackles with a stick protruding from a hole that had been drilled in the top of his head. It had been used to "stir" his brains. The tortures had been administered so as to not bring quick death. Mouths had been pinned shut and hands had been sewn to various parts of the body. Regardless, many of them had been dead for quite some time. Others were unconscious and some cried in pain, begging to be killed and put out of their misery. It is uncertain just how many slaves were found in Madame Lalaurie’s "torture chamber" but most of them were dead. There were a few who still clung to life.... like a woman whose arms and legs had been removed and another who had been forced into a tiny cage with all of her limbs broken then set again at odd angles. Unfortunately, the Lalauries escaped the lynch mob that had gathered outside their gates, and were never seen again. (Ghosts Of The Prairie)


March 19, 2002

Today's Explosive Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

Sylvestre Matushka was a Hungarian "company director" who needed to see a train crash in order to achieve full sexual satisfaction, and he dynamited a number of trains in the early 1930s. On Saturday, September 12, 1931, as the Budapest-Vienna express was crossing a viaduct near Torbagy station, there was a tremendous explosion, and part of the train plunged into the abyss. Twenty-two people were killed. It had been detonated by an electrical device. One of the "passengers" who sued the railway company for injuries was Matushka; but when the police began to investigate his background they could find no one on the express who had actually seen him - although he had undoubtedly been at the scene of the explosion. Further investigation revealed that Matushka had bought dynamite. He was arrested and finally confessed that the Bia-Torbagy explosion was his third attempt on a train. He was sentenced to hang, but appeals led to the commutation of the sentence to life imprisonment. The crime writer Paul Tabori reported that he was subsequently freed by the Russians during World War II and went to work for them as an explosives expert.

Culled from: Crimes and Punishment: The Illustrated Crime Encyclopedia, Volume 19

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Isn't it sweet how Sylvestre's talents were finally appreciated and put to work? If only this happened for all criminals - can't you just see it now? Incendiaries could start the practice fires for the fire department... Thieves could work as repos... Murderers could be executioners or in the military... Thugs could be cops... Actually... hmmmm... now that I think about it... ;-)

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I apologize for the lull in facts. My PC crashed on me (a long story) and I had to reload everything. Let me know if anything looks amiss with the formatting of the newsletter today, since I had to set it up from memory. (As Bugs Bunny once said, "What a maroon!")

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Following my Fact Du Jour on the Lalaurie House (March 15), several of you mentioned that this ghoulish tale is evidently the inspiration for the Blair Witch rip-off "The St. Francisville Experiment". I'm intrigued enough to seek this one out the next time I'm at the video rental store.

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I've yet to receive any conclusive evidence on the Chinese (not Taiwanese, as the original sender of the pictures has corrected) fetus-eating images (http://www.corkscrew-balloon.com/02/03/1bkk/part8.html#14), but I must commend you all for sticking it out! I only received 7 unsubs following this edition, which is a lot lower than I expected. My desensitization treatments must be working! :-)


March 21, 2002

Today's Pious Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

The more pious a man's life, the more likely he was to have anatomical parts stolen and venerated after death. Saintly bits and pieces are enshired in gold and silver throughout the churches of Christendom. Relics were traded in the political arena much as gifts are exhanged in contemporary state visits. A patriarch of Jerusalem gave Queen Radegund of France a finger which once belonged to St. Mamme, and the monks of Mount Sinai presented one of St. Catherine's ribs to Henry II of Brunswick and a finger to Rouen Cathedral. On the death of St. Hugh of Lincoln, the corpse was decapitated in order that the value of the relics could be instantly increased. During his life, whilst on a pilgrimage to Normandy to venerate the alleged remains of St. Mary Madalen, Hugh had bitten off two pieces of bone from the saint's arm to take back to England as souvenirs.

Culled from: Crimes and Punishment: The Illustrated Crime Encyclopedia, Volume 19

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Well, there's a case of poetic justice! I guess I know understand why Bruce Springsteen wrote, "It's Hard To Be A Saint In The City"...

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Bad Joke Du Jour! (courtesy clearfield)

As far as the fetus soup: It's true! When I was a child I used to hear these Chinese boys across the street always hollering at lunch time, "Mommy we hungry. Fetus, fetus now!"

Good one, clearfield...

Somehow I'm reminded of that frightening old Madonna song on this subject. You know the one?

"Papa don't preach, I'm in trouble deep
Papa don't preach, I've been losing sleep
But I made up my mind - I'm eating my baby
I'm gonna eat my baby..."

I still don't understand how she got away with that one... ;-)


March 22, 2002

Today's Grievous Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

A Ugandan woman bit off her husband's penis and testicles during an argument. The woman, Annet Minduru, 30, was in police custody in the capital Kampala and might be charged with causing grievous bodily harm. The independent Monitor newspaper said Minduru had bitten off John Ndekeezi's penis and testicles Sunday night after her 45-year-old husband slapped her. "Because I was so drunk she overpowered me and by the time my neighbor came to my rescue, she had bitten off both my testicles and the penis," Ndekeezi told the paper. Minduru's account of events was not immediately available. The attack came only days after a man died in central Uganda after his wife, angered by his inability to provide for her and his two children, cut off his testicles. The cases come on the heels of a survey showing high levels of domestic violence against women in some parts of Uganda. Last week Vice President Specioza Kazibwe told women legislators she had been forced to end her 23-year marriage because her husband had beaten her even after she was appointed to office. Her husband said he had beaten her only twice.

Culled from: Reuters
Generously donated by: kelly beth harbert

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As Kelly says, "No vegetarian is she!"

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I apologize for the sporadic nature of the facts the last week or so. Besides the fact that my PC crashed on me last weekend, I've been experiencing some connection problems with my ISP which has been sabotaging my attempts to send out the facts. I'll also be out of town for a couple of days next week (going to Minneapolis for work), so there may be another small lapse at the beginning of the week. Hopefully, after that, the facts should be sent out on a regular basis for awhile.

By the way - I can't remember if I've asked this before - but does anyone know any good morbid sites to see in Minnesota? (I'll be spending 13 weeks there over the next six months or so, off and on.) I already know about the Museum Of Questionable Medical Devices - but anything else you can suggest? I also adore old abandoned buildings, so keep that in mind for me as well. Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated! :-)

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I finished a new travelogue on my trip to Bonaventure Cemetery in Savannah, Georgia back in July, 2001. If you're a fan of cemeteries or victorian statuary, please come and visit - it's all really quite beautiful...

http://www.asylumeclectica.com/asylum/sightseer/us/ga/savannah/bona.htm

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One of my favorite old Garretdom articles is "She Loved And Killed Her" - a story of 19th century lesbian murder. I was pleasantly surprised to stumble across an article regarding this case in the book Psychopathia Sexualis (one of my recent "out of print" acquisitions), and I had to transcribe it and add it to the page. For those who find such things fascinating, please take a gander:
http://www.asylumeclectica.com/asylum/garretdom/death/homicide/loved.htm

In addition, here are some more recent updates on Garretdom:

An Old Veteran's Sad Death:
http://www.asylumeclectica.com/asylum/garretdom/death/accident/sad.htm

He Tried To Die By Gas:
http://www.asylumeclectica.com/asylum/garretdom/death/suicide/bygas.htm

Shot His Father Dead:
http://www.asylumeclectica.com/asylum/garretdom/death/homicide/father.htm

Lizzie Had A Pistol:
http://www.asylumeclectica.com/asylum/garretdom/crime/lizzie.htm

Horrible State Of Affairs:
http://www.asylumeclectica.com/asylum/garretdom/racism/chinesebones.htm

He Found Them Dead By Gas:
http://www.asylumeclectica.com/asylum/garretdom/death/accident/fromgas.htm

Found Murdered Near Coal Run:
http://www.asylumeclectica.com/asylum/garretdom/death/homicide/coalrun.htm

He Still Lives:
http://www.asylumeclectica.com/asylum/garretdom/weird/stilllives.htm


March 23, 2002

Today's Clever Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

A man, apparently wanting to commit suicide, jumped into the lion pit at Lisbon zoo where he was attacked and killed by a lioness. Zoo officials said the 61-year-old man climbed a five-yard-high wall Thursday (January 24, 2002) and leaped into the pit, home to 10 lions. He ignored warnings from gardeners to remain still and instead began bothering the lions. The group's oldest lion, a 10-year-old female, then attacked and killed the man. "She broke his neck... and he was dead instantly," zoo administrator Fernando Paisana said. He said the man's body was not mauled or eaten. A police spokesman said the man had been distraught about the recent suicide of his son and the zoo death was an apparent suicide.

Culled from: Reuters
Generously donated by: Miss Jukes

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What an accomodating lioness! And what a clever way to commit suicide. Now, that's self-destruction done with style!

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Did you hear about the plastination ("flayed corpse") exhibition opening in London this week? It's enough to make me want to jump on a trans-Atlantic flight right now! (It will be running at the Atlantis Gallery in London through September 29, 2002 in case you're interested: http://www.bodyworlds.co.uk/en/home.asp) Anyway, perhaps you heard about the moron who vandalized the exhibit because it offended him? What an idiot. I personally feel that we should flay him and use his body for the next exhibit!

http://www.ananova.com/news/story/sm_551945.html

If you'd like to see fascinating pictures of the exhibit - entitled The Body's World - take a look here (thanks to patricia for the link):

http://www.guardian.co.uk/gall/0,8542,669680,00.html

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A special thanks to Bil Corry who sent me this delightful page. It takes awhile to load up, but it's worth it:

http://www.legodeath.com/

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I added a review of (well, not really a "review" of... more like an "entry" of) Harold Schechter's book "Depraved" to the Library Eclectica (http://asylumeclectica.com/asylum/library/history/index.html). I read this one while coming back from New Orleans a couple of weeks ago, and it's really very fascinating. It's about serial killer H. H. Holmes (see MFDJ March 16, 1997 - http://asylumeclectica.com/asylum/morbid/archives/morb0397.htm - and November 28, 1998 - http://asylumeclectica.com/asylum/morbid/archives/morb1198.htm), one of the more intriguing characters in the annals of true crime. While I'm here, allow me to say that I am intensely grateful for those of you that purchase items through the Library Eclectica or the links therein. Thank you for helping the cause of morbidity! (All associate fees are used in the purchase of morbid books.)

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You know, you don't realize how tame/lame our newspapers are until you start looking around the world. Here, Alf provides us with a scan culled from the Bangkok Daily News showing one hell of a gunshot wound (not for the squeamish):

http://www.corkscrew-balloon.com/02/03/2bkk/23a.html


March 28, 2002

Today's Unbearably Stupid Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

A man who told police the shooting death of his girlfriend at a southwest Oklahoma City campground was an accident has been arrested on a murder complaint. Keith Allen Miller, 37, has been jailed on complaints of murder and possession of a sawed-off shotgun. Miller's girlfriend, Nina Brouhard, 39, was found dead Sunday evening inside a recreational vehicle parked at the A Ok Campgrounds, 721 S Rockwell Ave. She died of a shotgun blast to the chest. A clerk at the campgrounds' office said the 24-foot camper-trailer where the couple stayed had been parked there for several weeks. The lot space was rented in Brouhard's name. Miller drove to his parents' home in Bethany about 7 p.m. Sunday and called 911 to report his girlfriend had been shot at the trailer lot behind the Sands Motel on S Rockwell. He told Bethany police he was playing catch with his girlfriend, tossing the shotgun back and forth when he caught the gun and it went off, killing her. A 38-year-old man who has been staying at the campgrounds said he was sitting outside on a park bench, 30 feet from Miller's lot, when he heard "an explosion" about 5:30 p.m. "It was muffled because it came from inside the trailer. I suspected it might be a 12-gauge right away. No one exited the trailer," said the man, who asked that his name not be used. A shotgun was found inside the blood-stained pickup Miller parked outside his parent's home. Oklahoma City police detained Miller late Sunday and arrested him after questioning by detectives. He was held Monday in the Oklahoma County jail without bail. Police said Miller appeared intoxicated during questioning.

Culled from: NewsOK.Com
Generously donated by: Chris Kench

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Random thoughts that went through my mind when I first read this one:

* Wow - talk about "Trailer Trash". This seems like a scene from "Mars Attacks".
* Could anybody seriously be stupid enough to play catch with a shotgun? The guy must surely have murdered her and made up that story as cover.
* Would anybody in that town be dumb enough to believe him?
* It's extremely frightening that the neighbor could "tell it was a 12-gauge right away".
* Why am I not surprised that this happened in Oklahoma?
* I'm sure glad I don't live in that trailer park!

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Yes, I'm back from my short trip to Minneapolis. Nothing morbid was seen, unless you count the tedious presentations that I was forced to endure. I should be around for awhile now... like it or not!

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I can't believe I've missed out on this brilliantly funny and morbid site for so long. You simply MUST check out Chopping Block - the tale of Butch the serial killer! (Click on the 'First Comic' link at the bottom of the home page, and start going through them in order - you won't be disappointed!)

http://www.choppingblock.org/

Special thanks to Darth Phoenix for sending the link my way!


March 29, 2002

Today's Atrocious Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

On the evening of September 30, 1888, the anonymous madman who would become known as Jack the Ripper committed two atrocities in quick succession. First, he slit the throat of a Swedish prostitute named Elizabeth Stride. Then - after being interrupted by an approaching wagon - he accosted a 43-year-old prostitute named Catherine Eddowes and lured her into a deserted square, where he slashed her windpipe and ravaged her body, removing her left kidney. Two weeks later - on October 16 - a parcel arrived at the home of George Lusk, head of the Whitechapel Vigilance Committee, a group of local tradesmen who had organized to assist in the search for the killer. The parcel contained a ghastly surprise - a chunk of kidney (with an inch of renal artery still attached), accompanied by an equally appalling letter addressed to Lusk: "Sir I send you half the kidne I took from one woman prasarved it for you tother piece I fried and ate it was very nise I may send you the bloody knif I took it out if you only wate a whil longer." It was signed "Catch me when you can Mister Lusk." The sender's address on the upper-right-hand corner of the letter said simply: "From Hell." There were many who declared that this was nothing but a depraved hoax. However, examination by a specialist from the London Hospital Museum revealed not only that the kidney was human but that it had come from a middle-aged alcoholic woman who suffered from Bright's disease (as did Catherine Eddowes). Moreover, the inch of renal artery still attached to the preserved piece of kidney precisely matched the severed arterial remains in Eddowes's eviscerated body. To this day, the "From Hell" letter is regarded as the only apparently genuine message ever sent by the legendary killer.

Culled from: The A to Z Encyclopedia of Serial Killers

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Okay, seems I offended some "Okies" (Just Kidding!) when I joked about not being surprised that the guy who was playing catch with his shotgun was in Oklahoma. Please rest assured that I realize from my travels around the country that every state has its share of clueless morons, not just Oklahoma. I think that Justin said it best:

"I must write to complain about Thursday's Morbid Fact Du Jour. I find your generalization of Oklahoma as offensive and your deglorification of trailer life there appalling. To scoff this incident as if unshocking coming from such a state is to place great emphasis on Oklahoma as a 'backwoods, shoeless, country-bumpkin' place and shows your ignorance of the situation.

"Such ridicule is unfair to other states with this reputation in the South, such as my home state of Arkansas where I currently reside. My complaint is that you putting the spotlight on Oklahoma as full of 'dumb podunks' is taking the light away from our nation's other great worthless wastes of territory, like my behated Natural State! You must understand that all southern states are equal voids of disgust. To focus on one is a glaring oversight.

"In the future, please spread your mocking about to ALL redneck states so as not to offend anyone else, such as I. Here are some potential ways you could have altered your comments to make them less derisive:

* Would anybody in that "area of the country" be dumb enough to believe him?
* Why am I not surprised that this happened in "the South"?
* I'm sure glad I don't live in "a" trailer park!

"I hope I have enriched you with a lesson today. That no single region is more yokel than another. Here we are all equally worthless."

<Slaps hand> Lesson learned!

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I wanted to share the following poignant e-mail I received with you all:

"I once worked in a photolab and whenever things were slow I'd watch the prints rolling off of the machine. One roll of film started with a backyard birthday party for a typical five-year-old little girl with a white frilly dress. The latter half of the roll was of her lying in a little white coffin, wearing what appeared to be the same white frilly dress. I know I'll never forget that imagery."

And can you imagine what it must have been like for the parents to open that set of pictures?

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"My Brush With Morbidity" by Sandy

"This was back when I still lived in Australia. Myself and 2 friends were driving back from the west side of Brisbane to the Gold Coast where we lived. We were almost home when a small black Datsun roared past us. (We were going 75 miles per hour which makes this guy going nearly 110+ miles an hour). Roughly a mile down the road after he passed us his car hit the guard rail (yes, those thick metal guard rails on the side of the road), STRAIGHT UP THE MIDDLE OF HIM AND THE CAR, blowing the entire back end of his car out and spearing the young driver. (We found out later he was 22). We were the first on the scene and when we stopped to check on how bad off he was, my friend looked in first only to scream that he was still alive. I then looked while my other friend was running to the gas station on the service road to call the ambulance. He was definitely NOT alive....... but was convulsing from his nerves due to the impact. Being the type of person I am, I tend to make jokes about a situation to lighten the load of what I had just seen....... I called what he had done to himself and the car a "car-kebob". The next day a friend of mine who works at the hospital ER the driver was taken to said that he came in with the guard rail still in him as they could only cut the rail a foot from either side. I can still see in my mind's eye the way he was convulsing. I have seen other fatal accidents before but this had to be the worst! To this day when I see a guard rail I always think of this man and how I NEVER want that to happen to me!!!!!"

Seems like a perfectly well-reasoned opinion to me!

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Jessica sends a recommendation on what sounds like an excellent book:

"I just picked up a book a week or two ago and I thought it would be a wonderful addition to your morbid library. It's titled 'Cemetery Stories' by Katherine Ramsland. The book is divided into three sections: 'Embalming secrets' is where she exposes all the gory details of an actual embalming (gluing eyelids shut, massaging away rigor mortis, packing the throat with cotton to avoid liquefying entrails from spilling out of the mouth at a viewing, etc); the second part details how to become a 'taphophile' or graveyard lover and the significance behind some tombs (the meaning of broken flowers, stars and even tree stumps on monuments); and the third discusses hauntings and miscellaneous happenings. It's worth picking up for her in depth discussion on 'coffin liquor' and 'exploding caskets' alone!!! It's copyright 2001 and I've even spotted a number of your morbid facts also exploited in her book. (Man-tried-to-kill-himself-in-Dover-and-lands-next-to-decaying-corpse and woman-who-thought-the-red-ooze-beneath-her-grandmothers-masoleum-were-grass clippings spring to mind!) She also discusses the famous "ossuary" and many other morbid sights around the globe. Definitely worth reading!"

Here's a shamelessly selfish Amazon link to the book, for those of you who are interested:

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/006018518X/theasylumeclecti


March 31, 2002

Today's Gaseous Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

Bhopal was one of the worst industrial/environmental disasters of the 20th century. The Union Carbide Corporation opened its Bhopal plant in 1980. The opening was greatly welcomed locally, as it brought 800 new jobs into the area. The plant, located near to the railway station and surrounded by the densely-packed housing of the Jayaprakashnagar area, was to produce pesticides for agricultural use, one of the principal chemicals in the process being methyl isocyanate (MIC for short). The accident that was to have such devastating consequences happened at night, at about 1 a.m. on December 3, 1984, when there were few staff on duty. The tanks holding the MIC - which is highly volatile - were contaminated by water and pressure built up. When MIC reaches a high temperature it vaporizes. Despite various safety devices, this happened at Bhopal, and about 45 tons of highly toxic gas escaped before the leak was discovered and plugged. The gas spread over the houses as people slept. The pungent, acrid smell woke many up, possibly saving their lives. Others, whose small houses were almost literally turned into gas chambers, died in their sleep. The gas affected their respiratory tracts and their eyes. Hundreds died from pulmonary edema (fluid accumulating in the lungs) and some from poisoning by cyanide, a by-product of the MCI reacting with water and the atmosphere. Still others died from accidents caused by their partial or total blindness as they rushed in panic into the streets trying to escape the deadly fumes. Not surprisingly, in the dark and with choking lungs, there was considerable panic and confusion. Hospitals and rescue services were simply overwhelmed by the numbers affected. Small children and old people had the least resistance to the gas, and many hundreds of each died. The best estimates indicate that at least 2,500 people died and that perhaps as many as 200,000 were affected in some way.

Culled from: Catastrophes and Disasters

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The gas was heavier than air so it sank to ground level, and there were hundreds of thousands of people trying to "head for the hills". Can you imagine? I remember this story having a big effect on me at the time. It just seemed to emphasize so well to me what was wrong with this world...

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Hey, guess what? I actually put a Malady of the Month out on time for a change! This month's malady is the quite topical Smallpox.

http://asylumeclectica.com/asylum/malady/

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Oh, and I know it looks like I'm a day behind in facts, huh? Well, that's because I started sending this one last night and was abruptly disconnected only a short way into the send process. So... I'm working at a deficit already this month... and I didn't even get to share an April Fool's joke. Oh, the cruelties of life!!



Vulgarities...