March, 2005

March 1, 2005

Today's Absolutely Horrific Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

Children playing in a housing estate subway screamed in horror when a headless corpse fell among them in March, 2003. A man in his 50s had jumped from a bridge 40ft above - with a wire noose around his neck. He was decapitated and his body plunged to the ground. Several youngsters aged as young as six were being counselled after witnessing the gruesome apparent suicide on the Pennsylvania estate in the Llanedeyrn suburb of Cardiff (Wales). Children from the nearby Springwood Primary School were playing in a subway under the busy main road ringing the estate. One local mum said: "It was absolutely horrific for the kids. There were lots of them outdoors because the weather was nice. Children around the subway heard a thud and then this body without a head was just lying there. Kids are naturally curious and there was soon a big crowd staring." Insp Steve Furnham said: "We had a call to say a body had been found. Officers attended and found young children around the body. They then sealed off the scene and began an investigation. The body was removed and the head was later discovered nearby."

Culled from: The Sun
Generously submitted by: Bruce Townley

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Call me cynical if you must, but I somehow doubt that the sight of a headless corpse was "absolutely horrific" for the kids. This was a gift from the Morbid Gods. You know they'll be bragging about that moment for the rest of their lives, just like how my lucky classmates used to brag about seeing the kid who fell off the monkeybars and split his head open. Curse my luck for being on the other side of the schoolyard when that happened!!

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Morbid Trinket Du Jour!

I simply must get one of these and hang it from my rearview mirror!

http://www.pushindaisies.com/candypress/scripts/prodView.asp?idproduct=49

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Morbid How-To!

Who needs Miss Manners when you've got Miss Morbid here at your service? In my continuing efforts to address the glaring morbid educational needs of this nation, I present to you the first in an 'every-once-in-awhile' series:

How To Pack A Fresh Brain For Shipment

Thanks to Bruce Townley for the link!


March 6, 2005

Today's Much-Criticized Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

The leading executioner in Saudi Arabia, which implements strict Islamic sharia law, has no compunction about beheading convicts because it is "God's work." "I sleep very well," executioner Mohammed Saad al-Beshi said in a rare interview that offered an insight into a job that is much-criticized in the West and by human rights groups. "It doesn't matter to me: two, four, 10. As long as I'm doing God's work, it doesn't matter how many people I execute." Beshi's job is of prime importance in a kingdom that executes rapists, murderers, drug and alcohol smugglers, usually by beheading, and amputates the limbs of robbers. The 42-year-old Saudi national started work in 1998 in the Red Sea city of Jeddah and would not reveal how much he gets paid or how many people he has executed so far. Beshi is also proud of his sword, a gift from the government that he keeps razor sharp and cleans regularly from the blood stains. For amputations, he uses a special knife. "People are amazed at how fast it can separate the head from the body," the father of seven boasted. "Sometimes they (his children) help me clean my sword." Beshi is also entrusted with training executioners and has already started with his 22-year-old son. Asked if he thinks people are afraid of him, Beshi said: "No one is afraid of me. I have lots of relatives and many friends and
I live a normal life. There are no drawbacks to my social life."

Culled from: Reuters
Generously submitted by: Jason

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Now, if my dad had a job like that I would actually look forward to "Bring Your Child To Work Day"!!

Neil adds a tidbit:
"In Tudor Britain, the victim was expected to thank, and even to tip, the executioner before the dirty deed began!"


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Sorry for missing a few days in facts. I was experiencing intermittent server problems, but I think it's resolved now.

In the meantime, I redesigned the Asylum Eclectica homepage using some photographs of my own for a change, and I'm pretty happy with the results. Please take a look and send any relentless criticism my way. Thanks!

http://asylumeclectica.com

Next job: Redesigning the 1997-vintage Morbid Fact Du Jour page!

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Ghastly!

Bud kindly sends some rather nasty photographs along with the following explanation:

"I am writing to you for the first time. I am a new subscriber to your newsletter and absolutely love it! I have been a firefighter/EMT for over twenty years and am now on assignment in Saudi Arabia, so, as you can tell, morbidity has been around me my entire adult life. I am enclosing some pictures of a recent fatality I thought you might enjoy. It is what happens when you mix a loose safety harness, a pump shaft spinning at 4500 rpm, and a contract worker. Guess who the loser is?"

See if you can tell from the pictures:

http://www.asylumeclectica.com/asylum/morbid/archives/Accidente1.jpg
http://www.asylumeclectica.com/asylum/morbid/archives/Accidente2.jpg
http://www.asylumeclectica.com/asylum/morbid/archives/Accidente3.jpg


March 7, 2005

Today's Savory Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

A Mexican cook killed his drinking buddy, cut up his body and boiled him in herbs, according to police who fear he may have been turning him into tamales. Prosecutors arrested Carlos Machuca, a tamale-maker, at his home in the western city of Morelia on Tuesday, April 20, 2004 after receiving an anonymous phone tip. Officers found a man's mutilated corpse in the living room and body parts simmering in aluminum saucepans on the patio. "We saw the flesh and the tamales, and our first impression was that he was making tamales with the flesh of the deceased, although it has yet to be confirmed," Lorena Cortes, a spokeswoman for Michoacan state prosecutors, said. But she also told Reuters by telephone that Machuca, 56, may just have been trying to dispose of the body. Police say he stabbed the man through the heart in a fight after they had drunk together. Tamales are made of packets of maize dough with a savory or sweet filling, typically wrapped in corn husks or banana leaves. They often contain pork or chicken.

Culled from: Reuters
Generously submitted by: Bruce Townley

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So, does human flesh taste more like pork or chicken?

Elisa has a theory:
"I believe that human flesh tastes more like pork than chicken. "The human being (also referred to throughout culinary history as 'long pig' and 'hairless goat' in the case of younger specimens) is not generally thought of as a staple food source. Observing the anatomy and skeleton, one can see that the animal is neither built nor bred for its meat, and as such will not provide nearly as much flesh as a pig or cow (for example, an average 1000 pound steer breaks down to provide 432 pounds of saleable beef)." - http://www.churchofeuthanasia.org/e-sermons/butcher.html

"Human flesh, say those who have eaten it, tastes like pork, therefore 'Long Pig' - the cannibal's name for human flesh."

And finally, Here is an interresting article about the consumption of human flesh:
http://www.clas.ufl.edu/users/gthursby/tantra/macabre.htm

CB has a fascinating observation:
"Ok, I was going to leave this one alone, but now I have to add my 2 cents. I used to date a firefighter years ago who absolutely refused to eat lamb.
I finally asked him why. He told me that when lamb is being cooked. It smell just like human flesh burning."


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Morbid Trinket Du Jour!

Damn! Why didn't they have toys like this when I was a kid??? All I had was lousy Mr. Potato Head!! <sulk>

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000623MGQ//downandoutint-20/104-2166694-3403112

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Morbid Mirth Du Jour!

Jeffrey Dahmer and the Chocolate Factory? Sure, why not.

http://www.newgrounds.com/portal/view.php?id=51130

Thanks to Nina for sending me the link.


March 8, 2005

Today's Colorful Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

The color of your home's walls can be a matter of life and death, as a German man found out when he was fatally stabbed by his wife after they had an argument about what color to paint them. The dispute flared in June 2003 as the 53-year-old man and his Polish wife of 30 years were redecorating their house. Angered and frustrated by the escalating feud, the man got a kitchen knife and suggested to his wife she use it on him. The 50-year-old woman then grabbed the knife and plunged it into his heart. Rescue services were unable to save the man. Both had been drinking alcohol. "It's a tragic story," said Christiane Leven, a spokeswoman for police in the western city of Hamburg. Police arrested the woman, who now faces prosecution. Police could not say what colors the couple were arguing over.

Culled from: Reuters
Generously submitted by: bamccutcheon

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I can't believe that the police did not say what colors the couple were arguing over. Obviously, that makes the difference between justifiable homicide and cold-blooded murder!

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Morbid Trinket Du Jour!

Oh, this is just TOO cool!!! Thanks to Gena for the link!

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

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Morbid Flick Du Jour!

I just watched the movie "Saw" the other night. Although it was far from a "Seven," it had enough creepy moments to keep us quite satisfied throughout. My girlfriend especially loved the creepy little puppet that appears in several shots. The basic premise is this: A serial killer who doesn't want to get blood on his hands kidnaps people and puts them in situations where they are going to die unless they perform a particularly horrendous task successfully. That task might entail having to kill another person, or it might entail having to injure yourself in a rather gruesome manner to get the job done. Really, I can't understand why some of our resident psychos haven't thought of this sort of demented competition themselves?

Here is a link to the Amazon.Com review of the film:

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0006SSOHC/theasylumeclecti


March 9, 2005

Today's Clever Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

Convicted murderer George Appel's final words before being executed in the electric chair in New York in 1928 were "Well, gentlemen, you are about to see a baked Appel."

Culled from: About.Com
Generously suggested by: Runefaer

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Well done, George. VERY well done!

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Clarification Du Jour!

Elisa attempts to answer my question from a couple of days ago regarding whether human flesh tastes more like chicken or pork:

"I believe that human flesh tastes more like pork than chicken. 'The human being (also referred to throughout culinary history as "long pig" and "hairless goat" in the case of younger specimens) is not generally thought of as a staple food source. Observing the anatomy and skeleton, one can see that the animal is neither built nor bred for its meat, and as such will not provide nearly as much flesh as a pig or cow (for example, an average 1000 pound steer breaks down to provide 432 pounds of saleable beef). "

http://www.churchofeuthanasia.org/e-sermons/butcher.html

"Human flesh, say those who have eaten it, tastes like pork, therefore 'Long Pig' - the cannibal's name for human flesh."

"And finally, Here is an interesting article about the consumption of human flesh:

http://www.clas.ufl.edu/users/gthursby/tantra/macabre.htm

Thanks for the, er, tidbits, Elisa!

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Morbid Short Film Du Jour!

David writes to tell us about a web discovery:

"I have stumbled across a disturbing piece of cinema - a short film called Roadside Attractions. It appeals to the sense of satisfaction one gets from taking the time to enjoy simple pleasures in life."

http://www.arkhamfilms.com/roadsideattractions.html

I took a look and it does, indeed, fill one with a sense of sweet satisfaction. Recommended.

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Morbid Sightseeing!

One of these days I shall have to make the (short) trip over to Palatine, IL to the Ahlgrims Funeral Parlour, where you can play miniature golf while waiting for the ashes to be delivered. Nail Bunny tells us all about it:

"If you're ever near Chicago I have a fun and morbid place for you to visit! The Algrims Funeral home in Palatine has a mini golf course in its basement that is quite fun! I went with my family last week and we had a blast. You get to shoot through coffins, a haunted house, a crematorium and a (rather out of place) windmill that spins and knocks your ball out of the way. The best part of the Algrims Funeral home is it's free! It's great! So if you're ever in Chicago I suggest you go."

"It's not all grim at Algrims"

Talk about putting the "fun" back in "funeral"! Well done, Ahlgrims!

Roadside America has featured this site as well:
http://www.roadsideamerica.com/attract/ILPALgolf.html

Thanks for the tip, Nail Bunny!


March 10, 2005

Today's Drunken Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

Four relatives at a wedding reception killed and ate their cousin for touching the bride's bottom. The horrific incident took place in Narra in the Philippines and involved the bride's father, brother, nephew and another cousin. According to reports the victim, Benji Ganay, accidentally brushed against the newlywed's bottom, enraging the other family members. Ganay was dragged away from the other guests, stabbed to death, and then taken to the kitchen where his body was roasted and partially devoured. However, after eating as much as they could, the four men proceeded to serve the leftovers to unsuspecting guests. Police officer, Perla Bacuel, who was called to the scene said: "The other guests didn't know what they were eating because they were so drunk." All four men are now being held for murder.

Culled from: The Associated Press
Generously submitted by: kelshubert

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Ah, the many and varied benefits of alcohol. As if we needed another excuse to get drunk!

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Clarification Du Jour!

Uh-oh. Seems that Elisa's clarification that humans taste more like pork than chicken has a challenge. Here comes Euel from the opposite corner!

"Hate to disagree, dear Countess, but this is a subject near and dear to my (black, flabby) heart! While human flesh is indeed said to be 'long pig,' this description is made by groups whose only reference for red meat is to pork. What we want to know is how would human flesh taste to *us*, from a Western/American perspective.

"Attached is a URL describing the taste/texture of human flesh."

http://food.oregonstate.edu/ref/culture/allen.html

Enjoy!

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Morbid Mirth Du Jour!

If only physics textbooks had questions like this, they might hold my interest! Gena sends us the following:

Physics can be fun.

1) A shotgun shooting 12 pellets of 00 Buckshot weighing 4g leave the barrel at 1125 fps. Assuming the average infant will absorb 127.3 f/lbs before disintegrating, how many babies will the average blast cut through (rounding off to the nearest whole number)?

2) A 100 kg man is being swung by his entrails in a circle 16' in radius at the rate of 1600 radians/sec. Find the tension in the man's entrails (ignoring the effects of gravity).

3) An infant has a tensile strength of 400 psi and has a cross sectional area of 23.4 sq. inches. Assuming it is 23" long and has an elongation percentage of .0036%/120psi at room temperature, how long will the baby be before it is dismembered?

4) A 50 pound blind orphan girl is shot from a cannon at the speed of 1200 fps at a solid brick wall. Calculate the force of impact given that the brick wall is 3 feet away from the barrel.

5) A large plane weighing 12.7 M tons carrying 12 tons of nuns and assorted orphans traveling at 724.46 kph and at an altitude of 40,000 meters suffers explosive decompression above the center of a 30km diameter population. Assuming that one passenger is sucked out every second, how many passengers will land within the population center?

6) A man is traveling down a highway with a velocity of +25 m/s. He hits a pregnant woman crossing the street pushing an adopted foreign infant in a bassinette. His engine stops running due to the damage. He comes to rest 45 seconds later. Calculate his deceleration (no brakes were applied and the road is level).

7) The observation deck of a high rise building is 250 m above the street. Determine the time required for a suicide jumper to free fall from the deck to the street below.

8) A newborn baby is dropped into a deep well and is heard to hit the water 3.41 s after being dropped. Determine the depth of the well.

9) An elderly woman in a wheelchair travels 8.0 m/s for 30.0 seconds. She then decelerates at 2.00 m/s^2 until she comes to a stop due to a heart attack.

a) Construct a velocity-time graph for her motion. Use the plot to determine the total distance traveled across the A&P parking lot.

b) Divide the motion of the wheelchair into the two time segments and use kinematic equations to calculate the total displacement.

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Morbid Read Du Jour!

Nina recommends the book "Pox: Genius, Madness, and the Mysteries of Syphilis" by Deborah Hayden. Amazon's review makes it sound like a flawed but interesting read:

"Were Abraham and Mary Lincoln's well-known health problems symptoms of syphilis? Was Adolf Hitler's final descent into madness due to an early syphilitic infection acquired from a prostitute? Did James Joyce make hidden allusions to his own infection in works like Ulysses? According to Hayden, a California-based scholar and marketing executive, scholars and medical professionals have too often overlooked the evidence of "pox," or syphilis-often called the "Great Imitator" because its symptoms mimic those of many other diseases-in the biographies of historical figures. Few would argue that some of Hayden's subjects, like Flaubert and Karen Blixen (subject of the movie Out of Africa), suffered from the disease. Her arguments for others, like the Lincolns and Beethoven, are sure to provoke debate. Hayden pulls together fascinating medical histories for figures like President Lincoln and Hitler, but with Mary Lincoln in particular her background documentation seems spotty. She overlooks Mary's vigorous, and very sane, campaign to be released from the mental institution that her son Robert had her committed to. Hayden suffers from an unfortunate tendency to romanticize the final stages of syphilis: she claims repeatedly that artists attain some sort of mystical breakthrough in their art when they're on the verge of paralytic collapse, an assertion straight out of Thomas Mann and other early 20th-century writers. The sprawling chapter on Hitler is the climax of the book but suffers from poor organization and loose writing. Readers will be divided on whether or not they are convinced by Hayden's arguments, but with the reemergence of syphilis in many urban populations, the subject is sure to attract attention."

Syphilis has, of course, been featured as a Malady of the Month in the past. (And yes, I am currently working on a new Malady... I'm getting it together!):

http://asylumeclectica.com/asylum/malady/archives/syphilis.htm

And here's a link to the above-mentioned book, for those who are interested:

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0465028810/theasylumeclecti


March 11, 2005

MORBID FACT DU JOUR - SPECIAL EDITION!

I thought I'd do a special edition Morbid Fact Du Jour today, revisiting a topic near and dear to my heart: The Legendary Sawney Beane Clan! Cathy was kind enough to transcribe a lengthy, but fascinating, excerpt from "The Bizarre and the Bloody" by C.E. Maine. So without further ado, let's get bloody!

THE MACABRE TALE OF SAWNEY BEANE

From time to time in the course of human history natural depravity plumbs new depths - and not only during wars. The Sawney Beane case in the early seventeenth century concerned a family that lived in a cave and chose murder, cannibalism and incest as its way of life. For twenty-five years this family, rejecting all accepted standards of human behavior and morality, carried on a vicious guerilla war against humanity. Even a period accustomed to torture and violence was horrified.

Because over the years a large family was ultimately involved, most of whom had been born and raised in fantastic conditions under which they accepted such an existence as normal, taking their standards from the criminal behavior of their parents, the case raises some interesting legal and moral issues. Retribution when it finally came was quick and merciless, but for many of the forty-eight Beanes who were duly put to death it may have been unjust.

The story itself is simple enough, though scarcely credible, and has been well authenticated. Sawney Beane was a Scot, born within a few miles of Edinburgh in the reign of James VI of Scotland, who was also James I of England. His father worked on the land, and Sawney was no doubt brought up to follow the same hard-working but honorable career. But Sawney soon discovered that honest work of any kind was not his natural métier. At a very early age he began to exhibit what would today be regarded as delinquent traits. He was lazy, cunning and vicious, and resentful of authority of any kind.

As soon as he was old enough to look after himself he decided to leave home and live on his wits. They were to serve him very well for many years. He took with him a young woman of an equally irresponsible and evil disposition, and they went to set up "home" together on the Scottish coast by Galloway.

Home turned out to be a cave in a cliff by the sea, with a strip of yellow sand as a forecourt when the tide was out. It was a gigantic cave, penetrating more than a mile into the solid rock of the rather wild hinterland, with many tortuous windings and side passages. A short way from the entrance of the cave all was in complete darkness. Twice a day at high tide several hundred yards of the cave’s entrance passage were flooded, which formed a deterrent to intruders. In this dark damp hole they decided to make their home. It seemed unlikely that they would ever be discovered.

In practice, the cave proved to be a lair rather than a home, and from this lair Sawney Beane launched a reign of terror which was to last for a quarter of a century. It was Sawney’s plan to live on the proceeds of robbery, and it proved to be a simple enough matter to ambush travelers on the lonely narrow roads connecting nearby villages. In order to ensure that he could never be identified and tracked down, Sawney made a point of murdering his victims.

His principal requirement was money with which he could buy food at the village shops and markets, but he also stole jewelry, watches, clothing and any other articles of practical or potential value. He was shrewd enough not to attempt to sell valuables which might be recognized; these were simply stockpiled in the cave as unrealizable assets.

Although the stockpile grew, the money gained from robbery and murder was not sufficient to maintain even the Sawney Beane’s modest standard of living. People in that wild part of Scotland were not in the habit of carrying a great deal of money on their persons. Sawney’s problem, as a committed troglodyte, was how to obtain enough food when money was in short supply and any attempt to sell stolen valuables taken from murdered victims might send him to the gallows. He chose the simple answer. Why waste the bodies of people he had killed? Why not eat them?

This he and his wife proceeded to do. After an ambush on a nearby coastal road he dragged the body back to the cave. There, deep in the Scottish bedrock, in the pallid light of a tallow candle, he and his wife disemboweled and dismembered his victim. The limbs and edible flesh were dried, salted and pickled, and hung on improvised hooks around the walls of the cave to start a larder of human meat on which they were to survive, indeed thrive, for more than two decades. The bones were stacked in another part of the cave system.

Naturally, these abductions created intense alarm in the area.

The succession of murders had been terrifying enough, but the complete disappearance of people travelling alone along the country roads was demoralizing. Although determined efforts were made to find the bodies of the victims and their killer, Sawney was never discovered. The cave was too deep and complex for facile exploration. Nobody suspected that the unseen marauder of Galloway could possible live in a cave which twice a day was flooded with water. And nobody imagined for a moment that the missing people were, in fact, being eaten.

The Sawney way of life settled down into a pattern. His wife began to produce children, who were brought up in the cave. The family were by no means confined to the cave. Now that the food problem had been satisfactorily solved, the money stolen from victims could be used to buy other essentials. From time to time they were able to venture cautiously and discreetly into nearby towns and villages on shopping expeditions. At no time did they arouse suspicion. In themselves they were unremarkable people, as is the case with most murderers, and they were never challenged or identified.

On the desolate foreshore in front of the cave the children of the Beane family no doubt saw the light of day, and played and exercised and built up their strength while father or mother kept a lookout for intruders, perhaps as potential fodder for the larder.

The killing and cannibalism became habit. It was survival, it was normal, it was a job. Under these incredible conditions Sawney and his wife produced a family of fourteen children, and as they grew up the children in turn, by incest, produced a second generation of eighteen grandsons and fourteen grand daughters. In such a manner must the earliest cavemen have existed and reproduced their kind, though even they did not eat each other.

It is astonishing that with so many children and, eventually, adolescents milling around in and close to the cave somebody did not observe this strange phenomenon and investigate. The chances are that they did, from time to time that they investigated too closely and were murdered and eaten. The Beane children were no doubt brought up to regard other humans as food.

The young Beanes received no education, except in the arts of primitive speech, murder and cannibal cuisine. They developed as self-contained expanding colony of beasts of prey, with their communal appetite growing ever bigger and more insatiable. As the children became adults they were encouraged to join in the kidnappings and killings. The Beane gang swelled its ranks to a formidable size. Murder and abduction became refined by years of skill and experience into a science, if not an art.

Despite the alarming increase in the number of Sawney mouths which had to be fed, the family were seldom short of human flesh in the larder. Sometimes, having too much food in store, they were obliged to discard portions of it as putrefaction set in despite the salting and pickling. Thus it happened that from time to time at remote distances from the cave, in open country or washed up on the beach, curiously preserved but decaying human remains would be discovered. Since these grisly objects consisted of severed limbs and lumps of dried flesh, they were never identified, nor was it possible to estimate when death had taken place, but it soon became obvious to authority that they were connected with the long list of missing people. And authority, at first disbelieving, began to realize with gathering horror the true nature of what was happening. Murder and dismemberment were on thing, but the salting and pickling of human flesh implied something far more sinister.

The efforts made to trace the missing persons and hunt down their killers resulted in some unfortunate arrests and executions of innocent people whose only crime was that they had been the last to see the victim before his, or her, disappearance. The Beane family, secure in their cave, remained unsuspected and undiscovered.

Years went by and the family grew older and bigger and more hungry. The programme of abduction and murder was organized on a more ambitious scale. It was simply a matter of supply and demand – the logistics of a troglodyte operation. Sometimes as many as six men and women would be ambushed and killed at a time by a dozen or more Beanes. Their bodies were always dragged back to the cave to be prepared by the women for the larder.

It seems strange that nobody ever escaped to provide the slightest clue to the identity or domicile of his attackers, but the Beanes conducted their ambushes like a military operation, with "guards" concealed by the road at either side of the main centre of attack to cut down any quarry that had the temerity to run for it. This "tree-pronged" operation proved effective; there were no survivors. And although mass searches were carried out to locate the perpetrators of these massacres, nobody ever thought of searching the deep cave. It was passed by on many occasions.

Such a situation could not continue indefinitely, however. Inevitably there had to be a mistake – just one clumsy mistake that would deliver the Sawney Beane family to the wrath and vengeance of outraged society. The mistake, when it happened, was simple enough – the surprising thing was that it had not happened many years earlier. For the first time in twenty-five years the Beanes, through bad judgment and bad timing, allowed themselves to be outnumbered, though even that was not the end of the matter. Retribution when it finally came was in the grand manner, with the King himself taking part of the end game – the pursuit and annihilation of the Sawney Beane tribe.

It happened in this way: One night a pack of the Sawney Beanes attacked a man and his wife who were returning on horseback from a nearby fair. They seized the woman first, and while they were still struggling to dismount the man had her stripped and disemboweled ready to be dragged off to the cave. The husband, driven berserk by the swift atrocity and realizing that he was hopelessly outnumbered by utterly ruthless fiends, fought desperately to escape. In the vicious engagement some of the Beanes were trampled underfoot.

But he, too, would have been taken and murdered had not a group of other riders, some twenty or more, also returning from the fair, arrived unexpected on the scene. For the first time the Sawney Beanes found themselves at a disadvantage, and discovered that courage was not their most prominent virtue. After a brief and violent skirmish they abandoned the fight and scurried like rats back to their cave, leaving the mutilated body of the woman behind. At last the authorities had found a living survivor, a dead victim, and a score of witnesses. The incident was to be the Beanes’ first and last serious error of tactics and policy. The man, the only one on record known to have escaped from a Beane ambush, was taken to the Chief Magistrate of Glasgow to describe his harrowing experience. This evidence was the break through for which the magistrate had been waiting for a long time. The long catalogue of missing people and pickled human remains seemed to be reaching its final page and denouement; a gang of men and youths were involved, and had been involved for years, and they had to be tracked down. They obviously lived locally, in the Galloway area, and past discoveries suggested that they were cannibals. The disemboweled woman proved the point, if proof were needed.

The matter was so serious that the Chief Magistrate communicated directly with King James VI, and the King apparently took an equally serious view, for he went in person to Galloway with a small army of four hundred armed men and a host of tracker dogs. The Sawney Beanes were in trouble.

The King, with his officers and retinue, and the assistance of local volunteers, set out systematically on one of the biggest manhunts in history. They explored the entire Galloway countryside and coast and discovered nothing. When a patrolling the shore they would have walked past the partly waterlogged cave itself had not the dogs, scenting the faint odor of death and decay, started baying and howling, and trying to splash their way into the dark interior.

This seemed to be it. The pursuers took no chances. They knew they were dealing with vicious, ruthless men who had been in the murder business for a long time. With flaming torches to provide a flickering light, and swords at the ready, they advanced cautiously but methodically along the narrow twisting passages of the cave. In due course they reached the charnel house at the end of the mile deep cave that was the home and operational base of the Sawney Beane cannibals.

A dreadful sight greeted their eyes. Along the damp walls of the cave human limbs and cuts of bodies, male and female were hung in rows like carcasses of meat in a butcher’s cold room. Elsewhere they found bundles of clothing and piles of valuables, including watches, rings and jewelry. In an adjoining cavern there was a heap of bones collected over some twenty-five years.

The entire Sawney Beane family, all forty-eight of them, were in residence; they were lying low, knowing that an army four hundred strong was on their tail. There was a fight, but for the Beanes there was literally no escape. The exit from the cave was blocked with armed men who meant business. They were trapped and duly arrested. With the King himself still in attendance they were marched to Edinburgh - but not for trial. Cannibals such as the Beanes did not merit the civilized amenities of judge and jury. The prisoners numbered twenty-seven men and twenty-one women of which all but two, the original parents, had been conceived and brought up as cave-dwellers, raised from childhood on human flesh, and taught that robbery and murder were the normal way of life. For this wretched incestuous horde of cannibals there was to be no mercy, and no pretense of justice if ever any one of them merited justice.

They Sawney Beanes of both sexes were condemned to death in an arbitrary fashion because their crimes over a generation of years were adjudged to be so infamous and offensive as to precluding the normal process of law, evidence and jurisdiction. They were outcasts of society and had no rights, even the youngest and most innocent of them.

All were executed on the following day, in accordance with the conventions and procedures of the age. The men were dismembered, just as they had dismembered their victims. Their arms and legs were cut off while they were still alive and conscious, and they were left to bleed to death, watched by their women. And then the women themselves were burned like witches in great fires.

At no time did any one of them express remorse or repentance. But, on the other hand, it must be remembered that the children and grandchildren of Sawney Beane and his wife had been brought up to accept the cave-swelling cannibalistic life as normal. They had known no other life, and in a very real sense they had been well and truly "brain-washed," in modern terminology. They were isolated from society, and their moral and ethical standards were those of Sawney Beane himself. He was the father figure and mentor in a small tightly integrated community. They were trained to regard murdered cannibalism as right and normal, and they saw no wrong in it.

It poses the question as to how much of morality is the product of environment and training, and how much is (or should be) due to some instinctive but indefinable inner voice of, perhaps, conscience. Did the younger Sawney Beanes know that what they were doing was wrong?

Whether they knew or not, they paid the supreme penalty just the same.

Culled from: The Bizarre and the Bloody by C.E. Maine
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0805510435/theasylumeclecti
Transcription generously submitted by: Cathy

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I can't imagine why there hasn't been a major motion picture made about these folks.

Steve adds a tragic tidbit:
"Always enjoy your stuff--BUT--the whole Sawney Beane story is a myth. Do a google search, and you'll find the sites debunking it (hoping it's not too forward of me to suggest you do anything)."

Bill adds:
"Cathy has been put to too much work, and C.E. Maine too little as his version is just a modernised version of a seemingly earlier account 'the Newgate Calendar'. The original volumes of that work were reprinted and re-issued repeatedly between c.1740 and c.1842." which has presumably been cut 'n' pasted off the internet.

http://tarlton.law.utexas.edu/lpop/etext/newgate/beane.htm

"your version:
http://209.150.104.196/horror/bedlambound/library/beane.html

"A song:
http://www.plyrics.com/lyrics/realmckenzies/sawneybeaneclan.html

"Myth debunked by Ayeshire historian (Yeah, but *we* know it's true)"

http://www.ayrshirehistory.org.uk/sawney/myth.htm

Brian comments:
"In regards to the Sawney Beane posting a few days ago, a friend of mine became interested in the story and did a little research. His digging turned up this website: http://www.ayrshirehistory.org.uk/sawney/myth.htm which asserts that the story is, sadly, a myth. Thought your readers would appreciate the information."


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Morbid Site Du Jour!

kelshubert sends me a link to an excellent website dedicated to the forgotten freaks of yore. Ah, it takes me back to the good old days, before they lopped off parasitic twins!

http://www.phreeque.com/


March 16, 2005

Today's Hate-filled Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

On September 29, 1969, a dozen bored English boys from the working class Alton Estate, whose ages ranged between fifteen and eighteen, set out to hunt for "queers"; they carried wooden palings. On other occasions they had contented themselves with damaging the cars belonging to the "pooves", but their victims had got wise to this and now parked several streets away. Michael de Gruchy, a twenty-eight-year-old clerk who lived with his mother, parked his Austin 1100 on the Alton Estate and then walked through the underground tunnel leading to the Queensmere - known locally as Queersmere - part of Wimbledon Common. The twelve boys moved forward, and one hit him with a stick. De Gruchy tried to escape but he was trapped. There was a shout of "Charge", and de Gruchy received a rain of blows on his back. They were violent blows - the pathologist discovered later that the back of his skull was shattered into fragments like a broken vase. The boys ran away, leaving de Gruchy dying. The next day, Geoffrey Hammond, the ringleader, told his employer what had happened, and his employer took the boys to the police station. Hammond, who was eighteen, received a life sentence; the others received shorter sentences.

Culled from: The Mammoth Book Of The History Of Murder by Colin Wilson

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Apparently the poor boys had "nothing to do" in their working class estate except bash queers. I grew up in a town with nothing to do as well, but I coped by locking myself in my room listening to The Smiths, cutting myself, and writing suicidal poetry. And some people thought that *I* had a poor coping mechanism!

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Morbid Site Du Jour!

T.S. heartily recommends the Australian Museum's "Death Online" website for its graphic depiction of decomposition. (Of a pig, alas...) The entire site is very well-done and makes a lovely afternoon's browse.

http://www.deathonline.net/

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Morbid Sightseer!

Okay, it's not strictly morbid... but there is something very creepy indeed about the Ventriloquist's Museum known as Vent Haven in Fort Mitchell, Kentucky. Wouldn't you agree?

http://www.roadsideamerica.com/attract/KYFTMventhaven.html

Thanks to Bruce Townley for making me aware of this horror!


March 17, 2005

Today's Fibrous Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

An industrial food-processing machine that was cutting cabbage spun out of control, crushing one man to death, severing another man's arm and injuring two others. Jose Chagulia, a 39-year-old Queens resident, was killed early Monday, June 10, 2002 when a rotating drum broke loose from its base as it chopped cabbage for coleslaw, pinning him against a wall. The man with the severed arm and the two other injured men one with a serious leg wound and one with a head cut were hospitalized. Their names and conditions were not released. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration was investigating the incident.

Culled from: The Associated Press
Generously submitted by: Chris

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"When Good Vegetables Go Bad!" Come on, admit it, you were thinking it too...

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Morbid Site Du Jour!

Dan has created a marvelous website dedicated to those ominous reminders of the ever-present spectre of death: roadside memorials. Most excellent!

http://www.humanroadkill.com/

And can you believe that Dan was being deluged with hate mail for this splendid site? Well, of course you can. But give him a great big thank you for perservering!

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Morbid Flick Du Jour!

Sarah has a bit of classic morbidity to recommend to us:

"I just saw a movie recently that you should definitely mention to all your readers. Mind you, it's pretty old (it came out in 1980), but me being only 22 years old, I just saw it for the the first time. It's called ALTERED STATES. It's very morbid I guarantee you! It stars William Hurt and he's kind of a wacko scientist. He starts doing studies where he sits in an isolation tank for hours and ends up having hallucinations. Then he gets a very strong hallucinogenic drug from an indian tribe and uses that while in the isolation tank. And oh, the things that start to happen... This movie is a must for anyone into very morbid movies!"

Here's Amazon's page on the film, in case you're interested:

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/6305133131/theasylumeclecti


March 18, 2005

Today's Semi-Retired Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

Paul Mantz was the most famous stunt pilot in Hollywood history, earning more than $10 million over his career. However, his luck ran out during the filming of "The Flight of the Phoenix" in Yuma, Arizona on July 8, 1965. As three motion picture cameras ground away, his plane hit a small sand dune, overturned and disintegrated. Though semi-retired from stunt work, Mantz was covering for his partner, Frank Tallman, who'd six weeks earlier broken his leg pushing his son's go-cart. Tallman, heartbroken by the accident, blamed himself for Mantz's death. A few days after Mantz's crash, Tallman faced his own individual tragedy when doctors amputated his leg because of a massive infection that had resulted from his broken kneecap. Despite the loss of his leg and his close friend, Tallman retaught himself how to fly using only one leg and returned to stunting. In subsequent years he worked on such films as The Blue Max, Catch 22, The Great Waldo Pepper, and Capricorn One. On April 15, 1978, Tallman, age 58, lost his life during a routine flight when he failed to clear a ridge near Palm Springs, California, due to poor visibility.

Culled from: U.S. Centennial of Flight Commission
Generously suggested by: Bill

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Morbid Mirth Du Jour!

I have mentioned this site previously, but it's well-worth another mention since it's so well done. Bloody Finger Mail! It's what the internet was made for!

http://www.bloodyfingermail.com/


March 19, 2005

Today's Optimistic Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

John Sheldon gained his diploma in surgery in 1775 and joined the staff of Lock Hospital. Miss Johnson, one of his patients, was a beautiful woman of twenty-four who was dying of tuberculosis. She asked Sheldon to embalm her when she died. One can only speculate on his motives but Sheldon, after embalming the dead woman, took the body to his home and placed it in his bedroom, laid out on a bed under glass. A visitor from France was asked to admire the fine brown hair and to feel the flexibility of the arms and the elasticity of the bosom. Sheldon had used spirits of wine and had tanned the skin with finely powdered alum. Much camphor was used, as Sheldon's widow was to attest to when she offered the body to the College of Surgeons: 'I recollect putting a little favourite Bird in the room in which the case stood that contained the Body; in the morn that Bird was found dead, which Mr Sheldon attributed to the smell of camphor.' Alas Miss Johnson did not ultimately fare well. In 1899 a writer in The British Medical Journal commented that Sheldon's mummy no longer had '... any semblance of life but was shrunken and hard as a board, the skin of the arms, neck and chest quite white but the face, where apparently the colour injected remained, a dull red, all the more ghastly for its colour, and the long brown hair is beautiful no more.' So much for Sheldon's optimism that the bosom would retain its elasticity for centuries!

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

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What is it about doctors falling in love with their dying tuberculosis patients and trying to preserve their bodies for all eternity? Of course, the above tale is quite similar to the infamous Dr. Von Cosel affair, which is documented in the book Undying Love. Surely someone out there has the, er, guts, to make a movie about such touching tales?

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Movie Recommendation Du Jour!

Samantha has a recommendation for us:

"I don't know if you have seen it yet, but I'm sure you'd appreciate it. I just caught this movie last night. It's called Twin Falls Idaho, everything Stuck On You should have been. It's about these two conjoined twins, and I gotta tell you, it's just a great movie. However, I found myself wondering through the entire flick if they were really conjoined or not! I still don't know, because the guys who played them really are twins. Catch it if you get the chance, it's good stuff."

I've seen this one and can attest that it is most excellent. And I can also disappoint everyone with the news that the brothers are twins, but not conjoined. Are we surprised? After all, they ruin all the good freaks these days with those horrible separation surgeries anyway.

Here's the Amazon link to the film, if you're interested:

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00002SSKW/theasylumeclecti

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Morbid Site Du Jour!

These must rank as some of the coolest dolls ever created - wouldn't you agree?

http://www.strangedolls.net/doll_series.html

Thanks to Remo for sending me the link.


March 21, 2005

Today's Stalled Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

British European Airways Flight 548 from London Heathrow to Brussels on the afternoon of Sunday, June 18, 1972 was fully booked, with 112 passengers, plus its crew of six. The weather conditions as Bealine 548 taxied out were poor, with heavy rain and a strong, gusting wind. The aircraft set off at 4:08 pm. A normal take-off was achieved but the crew had some difficulty keeping the Trident on line, so bad was the buffeting it was getting from the wind. Captain Key selected the autopilot, as was his normal practice, to take the aircraft to its next significant height of 6,000 feet. The autopilot mechanism struggled to cope with the conditions and the aircraft's speed must have dropped below the safe climb level of 180 knots. Two minutes after take-off, Flight 548, heading south towards the town of Staines, went into stall. By now the aircraft's "stick shaker", which alerts the crew to stall, should have been activated, and a loud audible warning would be sounding in their headsets. The captain, however, had a severely deteriorating heart condition and is believed to have suffered an arterial rupture during a heated argument before the flight, and was unable to respond appropriately to the situation. The aircraft dropped steadily through the cloud. It emerged at only 1,000 feet, but in the poor visibility and concentrating on their instruments, the crew may not have even seen how close the ground was. Flight 548 crossed the busy A30 highway and smashed into a field. It had been airborne just three minutes. Within 15 minutes full rescue services were on hand, but the crash impact had been too severe and everyone on board died. It was the worst British air crash up to that time.

Culled from: Catastrophes and Disasters

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There's something really spooky about the "stick shaker" and that whole "pull up, pull up, pull up" command that gets voiced when the plane is about to crash. For some chilling listening, check out the black box recordings at http://www.airdisaster.com/ or http://planecrashinfo.com/ .

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Morbid Read Du Jour!

Vickie sent me information on a book that has been added to my wish list. Perhaps yours as well?

"'Meals to Die For,' a collection of 42 recipes for final meals requested by
inmates on Texas' death row, by former prison cook Brian Price.

"Featuring such gems as:

"Gallows Gravy
Rice Rigor Mortis
and
Old Sparky's Genuine Convict Chili, in levels of spice measured at 5,000,
10,000 or 20,000 volts."

An Amazon review states this additional information:

"The basic format is to list what the person was convicted of, the last meal request, what was actually served (not always the same thing), and finally the inmate's last words."

Sounds like this book is very similar to the book "Last Suppers" which also listed the Texas inmates' last meal requests. This used to be on the Texas Department of Justice website, until it was taken off for being "insensitive". As if Texas has anything at all to do with sensitivity...

Meals To Die For

Last Suppers


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Morbid Flick Du Jour!

Rick recommends what sounds like a must-see classic:

"I highly recommend a film called 'The Devils' by Ken Russell, based on historical research in Aldous Huxley's 'The Devils of Loudon'. It concerns the destruction of the independence of the French town of Loudon by forces of Cardinal Richilieu through the inquisitorial persecution of the town's leader and priest, Urbain Grandier, who is accused and convicted of seducing nuns in the form of an incubus. Although some of the visuals are quite horrifying (being set in the time of the Great Plague), the thrust of the story exposes the malevolent deformities of human character - immensely grislier. Outstanding cast - Oliver Reed as Grandier, Vanessa Redgrave as a mad nun, Michael Gothard as the inquisitor, Murray Melvin as a turncoat priest. I first saw this on a double bill with Clockwork Orange, which seemed like 'Bambi' in comparison. It remains my favorite movie."

Unfortunately, this one isn't out on DVD yet, but here is a link to the VHS version at Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/6300268918/theasylumeclecti


March 22, 2005

Today's Retaliatory Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

During the 1865 Federal campaign in the Carolinas under General Sherman, the fighting and skirmishing became downright ugly and consequently there were many "atrocity" complaints leveled by both sides. Federal chief of cavalry, Judson Kilpatrick, sent a dispatch to Sherman’s HQ in which he said that many of his troopers had been murdered after capture whilst foraging, and at least two dozen had been found at the side of the road with their throats cut. About the same time, Corps Commander Frank Blair received a report that a forager belonging to his corps also had been found with his head smashed in by a rifle butt or some such weapon. Most of the dead men were found with a note pinned to their uniform stating "death to all foragers". Since foraging was considered to be a regular part of soldiering life, Sherman became extremely incensed when he was told about the deaths and issued orders to the effect that retaliatory executions were to be used to combat such murders. Kilpatrick was ordered to kill a like number of Confederate prisoners and leave them at the side of the road with a note pinned to them stating "a man will be killed for every one of our men you kill". The mere threat by Kilpatrick to kill Confederate prisoners was enough to start a negotiated prisoner exchange between Confederate Chief of Cavalry Joe Wheeler and Kilpatrick. A sort of reunion was organised between the two men who had been at West Point together and where they had been close friends. The exchange was made very amicably. Blair on the other hand arranged for an execution in retaliation for the forager he had lost. On March 2nd, 1865 one hundred Confederate prisoners were made to file by a table and draw a paper out of a hat that was placed on the table for the purpose. Ninety nine of the slips of paper had a "G" printed on them and the one hundredth was left unmarked. A Confederate from South Carolina by the name of James Miller drew the unmarked paper and was told to "put his affairs in order because he would be executed in one half hour". Miller was a man of about 50 years old, was a father of seven children, had been forced to join the army, and had never fought in a battle. He was, however, resigned to die and was led away to a nearby ravine and placed against a tree to which he refused to be tied. He was blindfolded and given a white piece of cloth in one hand and was told to drop the cloth when he was ready to meet his maker. Twelve men from the 30th Illinois regiment made up the firing squad but only six of the twelve had their rifles loaded with a live round. The orders were given to aim, and after a few seconds Miller released the piece of white cloth. Twelve rifles cracked and Miller fell dead, hit by all six of the live rounds.

Culled from: ACWS Archives
Generously submitted by: Scott

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Ain't nuthin' but a 'G' thang, James!

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The Camera DeMentia Update

I added three little pics of a rural churchyard cemetery in Georgia ("Providence Baptist Church") to The Camera DeMentia. Nothing spectacular, just a pretty little churchyard I passed on a drive from Augusta, GA to Andersonville.

http://asylumeclectica.com/asylum/images/categories.php?cat_id=29

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Ghastly!

Ericka submits a link to a most excellent website depicting all manner of vile torture implements. Positively breathtaking!

Infernal Device


March 23, 2005

Today's Complicated and Private Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

A man was beheaded in a frenzied and prolonged axe attack in a London street on March 14, 2005. The axeman, smartly-dressed and in his thirties, felled his victim with one blow and then struck repeatedly "as if he was chopping wood". The assault lasted several minutes near the Hampstead Theatre in Belsize Park. The attacker ignored his victim's screams and the pleas of two women passers-by and workmen. He stopped when police arrived. He then put down the axe near the body. He was described as looking "emotionless and cool" throughout. When asked why he had done it, he told officers: "It's complicated. It's private." Mothers on the morning school run were among those who saw the killing in Eton Avenue. Police said the victim was in his sixties and is thought to have lived nearby. Officers do not think it was a random attack and understand that the men knew each other. A scaffolder working nearby saw a man carrying an axe in one hand above his head as he ran towards his victim. The men were seen to exchange a few words. Seconds later the axeman struck the first of a series of heavy blows which continued when the victim lay slumped on the pavement in a pool of blood. The workman said: "It was unremitting. The man with the axe ran at his victim and just laid into him. He brought it down on his head and floored him. The victim had tried to defend himself with his arms and I heard him shout something. But it was hopeless. Within seconds he was on the floor and his head had been split open. There was blood pouring from his head and spilling onto the pavement. It was horrific." Avelina Rodrigues, 48, said the attacker ignored her pleas to stop as he brought blow after blow down upon his victim, leaving the body badly mutilated. She said: "I heard the first thuds of the axe as it hit the man's head. I thought it was the sound of a child being hit by a car. I ran to the front of the house and could see a man, smartly dressed, tall and thin, with the axe in his hand. The axeman saw me but he just ignored me. He hacked his victim's head, cutting it as if it was a block of wood for a fire. His victim was unconscious on the ground, but he kept bringing his axe down on him. I begged him to stop and he just looked at me without emotion. There was no anger in his face, he did not seem crazy. He was just coolly finishing off his victim. He wanted to destroy him."

Culled from: This Is London
Generously submitted by: Andy

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You just gotta love the British - reserved even when in an axe murder "frenzy". I just love the response he gave the police: "It's complicated. It's private." I think that once you've just laid someone's brains open on a public street, it's no longer particularly "private".

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Morbid Flick Du Jour!

Mike has an excellent recommendation for us!

"A new collection of short films by the recently and dearly departed film maker Stan Brakhage has just been released on Criterion. In the collection is his film The Act of Seeing With One's Own Eyes. It is comprised of 31 minutes and 50 seconds of unflinching autopsy footage. Yet somehow, it's something more than a leering look at the grisly business of deconstructing human beings. Brakhage shoots with compassion and dignity, and that must be remembered when viewing the film. Highly recommended."

Suffice to say, it has been added to the top of my Netflix queue!

Here's an Amazon link to the DVD:

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000087EYF/theasylumeclecti

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Ghastly!

Alf shares some fun-filled gun execution photos from the Corrections Museum in Bangkok:

http://www.corkscrew-balloon.com/misc/prison/1j.html

The entire museum can be strolled through starting here:

http://www.corkscrew-balloon.com/misc/prison/1a.html

Very interesting museum - especially the punishments, which are most imaginative.


March 24, 2005

Today's Psychoanalytical Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

Bruno Bettelheim was one of the greatest known American psychoanalysts of the 20th century. Considered a pioneer in the treatment of autistic children, Bettelheim nonetheless battled depression. He had spent time in a Nazi concentration camp and, later, his reputation was sullied when itw as suggested that perhaps his "pioneering" treatments were not as humane as he had led the public to believe. Finally, the noted psychoanalyst swallowed an overdose of barbiturates, covered his head with a plastic bag, and killed himself.

Culled from: The Big Sleep

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Physician heal thyself...

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Morbid Read Du Jour!

Dana has a recommendation for us, and having read (ie. "looked at") this one myself I can vouch that it is a most entertaining browse:

"I stumbled upon a wonderful book at Borders the other night. It's a collection of photographs called Shots in the Dark: True Crime Pictures compiled by Gail Buckland with commentary by Harold Evans. It's based on a Court TV documentary... which I've never heard of, but I'm definitely interested now! There are some absolutely breathtakingly beautiful photos taken by police of homicides and such around the early 1900's. One of them being on the cover of the book. A couple of my other personal favorites are the photos of a couple of young women as photographed by their murderer once he had them bound and gagged, right before he did them in. Here's a link to buy it on Amazon.com - I highly recommend it.

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0821227750/theasylumeclecti

Following is from the inside cover:

"A riveting collection of history's most startling crime photographs and the stories behind them. 'Shots in the Dark' journeys into the unsettling world of crime photography. Featuring many rare and never-before-seen images, this heavily illustrated booksheds new light on the role of crime photography in our history and in our culture.

"From 19th century mug shots and wanted posters to Weegee's famous crime-scene photographs to the notorious surveillance film of Patty Hearst, "Shots in the Dark' hilghights key developments in the history of crime phtotgraphy. These are pictures we see once and never forget: an autopsy photograph of Lee Harvey Oswald; the bodies of Lizzie Borden's parents, photographed in the room where they were slain; celebrity mugshots, including Jane Fonda and Bill Gates; and pictures of Nicole Brown Simpson's home in the aftermath of her murder.

"Photographic historian Gail Buckland has sought out history's most provocative and important crime pictures and provides the reader with the fascinating details behind each image. Renound author, journalist, and cultural historian Harold Evans, who narrates the Court TV documentary 'Shots in the Dark,' offers lively commentary to introduce the book."

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Morbid Sightseeing!

If any of you are so fortunate as to be in Italy between now and June 26th, you may want to check out an exhibition of violent/disturbing artwork and imagery entitled ""Il Male: Esercizi di Pittura Crudele" that is on display at Palazzina di Caccia di Stupinigi, Piazza Principe Amedeo 7, Stupinigi-Nichelino (Turin), until June 26th. Scott has provided a link to an Economist review of the exhibit, which sounds like something that we morbidites would come up with if we were curators:

http://www.economist.com/printedition/displayStory.cfm?Story_ID=3714928


March 25, 2005

Today's On Time Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

American Airlines Flight 191 taxied out to runway 32 at Chicago O'Hare International Airport at 2:59 pm on the afternoon of May 25, 1979, on time to begin its scheduled flight to Los Angeles. There were 258 passengers and 13 crew on board. Little did they imagine that they had only five minutes to live. At 3:02 pm the aircraft was cleared for takeoff and began its roll down the runway. Just as the aircraft reached take-off speed, the instruments registered a complete loss of power from engine number one. The crew could not see this engine from the flight deck and were thus unaware that the whole engine and its support pylon had fallen off, taking with them a 3 foot section of the leading edge of the wing containing vital hydraulic power lines. For some reason it seems that the crew did not have warning indicators showing the loss of control mechanisms, and they reacted as they had been trained to do in the event of a straightforward engine failure. (The DC-10 has an engine under each wing and another in the tail, and can fly satisfactorily on two engines.) Twenty seconds after take-off, only 300 feet above the ground, the aircraft began a rapid roll to the left. Ten seconds later, a mile from the end of the runway, it struck the ground and exploded. A fierce fire started immediately and everyone on board perished. Two people on the ground were also killed. This remains the most deadly commercial airline crash in American history.

Culled from: Castastrophes and Disasters

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The wonderful AirDisaster.Com website has a couple of pictures of this plane: one where it is rolling to its demise, and another of the fireball that ensued when it hit the ground:

http://www.airdisaster.com/special/special-aa191.shtml

By the way, in my mind the most amazing thing about that entire fact is that the plane was "on time to begin its scheduled flight". If you've flown out of O'Hare recently, you know what I mean...

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Reciprocal Link Du Jour!

Raina has a nice collection of dark writing and links on her site, The Dark Haven. And the good sense to link to The Asylum Eclectica! Congratulate her on her excellent taste!

http://www.thedarkhaven.com

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Morbid Art Du Jour!

Etakarina has a morbid art recommendation for us:

"I was looking at the Morbid Art section when it reminded me of one of my favorite grotesque artists. I don't know if you've featured him before but you might want to check into the art of R.S. Connett."

Ah yes, R.S. Connett - he of "Vomitus Maximus" fame. He was the first "morbid" artist that I was ever enthusiastic about. One look at his very twisted artwork and perhaps you can see why:

http://www.vomitus.com/

My personal favorite is the severely deranged "Bad Kitty". But only because I know that no harm was really done to a kitty during the creation of this painting. Er, I hope!

http://www.vomitus.com/museum/paintings_01/badkitty_full.html



March 27, 2005

Today's Joyful Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

English couple Fred and Rosemary West were accused of murdering 10 women and young girls over a 16 year period ending in 1987. They took great joy in luring away vulnerable runaways with offers of rides, lodging or jobs as nannies. Once in their clutches inside the "House of Horrors", the young women were stripped, bound with tape, raped, tortured, then killed; some were dismembered and buried. The killer couple was arrested at their home, 25 Cromwell Street, Gloucester, in 1994. Police, armed with a search warrant, dug up the remains of their 16 year old daughter, Heather, who vanished in 1987. Further excavations under the house and in the garden produced eight more female bodies, including Rosemary's stepdaughter, Charmaine. One more body was found under the kitchen of a former home at 25 Midland Road, Gloucester. Fred hanged himself in jail on New Year's Day in 1995. He also faced two further charges of murdering his ex-wife and a baby-sitter and burying them in fields near his former home. Authorities believe that Fred probably killed more women. Rosemary, an admitted prostitute, still maintains her innocence. However, on November 22, 1995, she was convicted of 10 murders.

Culled from: Murder In The U.K.
Generously suggested by: Wilf

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A most morbid Ostara to everyone!

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Morbid Trinket Du Jour!

Oooh, look at this delightful little trinket I just stumbled upon! You just have to adore Alessi's "Mr Suicide" bath plug!

http://www.fly-bird.net/products/mgi02.htm

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Morbid Poetry Du Jour!

Harry Graham was a 19th century kindred soul who wrote some of the most delightful children's poetry the other side of Edward Gorey. He published a book of poetry entitled "Ruthless Rhymes for Heartless Homes" in 1899, which has since been reissued by Dover Books (see link below). He is most famous for his "Little Willie" poems. Joseph was thoughtful enough to send me a handful of "Little Willie" poems for our reading enjoyment. I hope you find them as delightful as I do!

Little Willie hung his sister,
She was dead before we missed her.
Willie's always up to tricks!
Ain't he cute? He's only six!

Willie poisoned Father's tea.
Father died in agony.
Mother was extremely vexed.
"Really, Willie," she said, "What next?"

Into the family drinking well
Willie pushed his sister Nell.
She's there yet because it kilt her.
Now we have to buy a filter.

Little Willie, on the track,
Didn't hear the engine squeal.
Now the engine's coming back,
Scraping Willie off the wheel.

The ice upon our pond's so thin
That Little Willie's fallen in!
We cannot reach him from the shore
Until the surface freezes more.
Ah me, my heart grows weary waiting --
Besides I want do some skating.

Willie saw some dynamite,
Couldn't understand it quite;
curiosity never pays:
It rained Willie seven days.

Willie with a thirst for gore
Nailed his sister to the door.
Mother said with Humor quaint,
"Willie dear, don't scratch the paint.

Little Willie fell down a drain;
Couldn't scramble out again.
Now he's floating in the sewer
The world is left one Willie fewer.

Willie, in one of his nice sashes,
Fell in the fire and was burnt to ashes.
Now, although the room grows chilly,
We haven't the heart to poke poor Willie.

Willie coming home from school.
Spied a dollar near a mule.
Stooped to get it, quiet as a mouse.
Funeral tomorrow at Willie's house.

Sheer Brilliance!!

Ruthless Rhymes For Heartless Homes


March 30, 2005

Today's Culinary Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

Mark Sappington was sentenced to life in prison for killing three people during a four-day span in April, 2001. Sappington began his deadly spree when voices that he heard while under the influence of drugs, specifically the hallucinogenic PCP, instructed him to kill. "They started telling me if I didn't eat, I was going to die," Sappington said. "They said I had to eat flesh and blood if I want to live." Sappington's first victim was 25-year-old Terry Green. Sappington stabbed Green in the chest with a knife and was going to drink some of his blood, but he got nervous when he thought his neighbors might have seen him with the body. He loaded Green's body into Green's car and drove to Kansas City, Mo., where he left the vehicle in a parking lot and took a taxi back to Kansas. Sappington smoked some drugs a couple of days later and went to the home of his friend, Eric Fennix. Fennix was asleep so he left, but on his way out, he grabbed a knife off the kitchen counter. Sappington smoked some more drugs and started hearing the voices again. This time, they gave him a deadline: "I heard the voices tell me it's do or die. If I don't eat, I'm going to die within six or seven hours." He set the alarm on his watch so he would know when time was running out. When Fennix's stepbrother Weaver came out of the house early the next morning, Sappington said, "The voice gave me something to eat." Sappington stabbed Weaver in the back. Weaver then tried to flee in his car but hit a pole. Sappington was close behind. "I thought, 'I've got to eat; this is my food,"' Sappington said. Frightened by the noise from the crash, Sappington decided to leave, but ripped off part of Weaver's shirt so he could at least drink the blood. The knife went completely through Weaver's body, puncturing his lung, aorta and other organs and fatally injuring him. Sappington ran home, and when he got there his heart was pounding and his head was throbbing. Then the alarm on his watch went off. Around 7 a.m., Sappington lured 16-year-old Fred Brown into his house with the suggestion the two smoke marijuana. They went into the basement, where Sappington shot Brown. "I was drinking his blood," Sappington said. "I was licking it off the floor, and I had to throw up, but I couldn't because I had to eat." He had trouble eating Brown's leg raw, so he went upstairs, fried it in a skillet and ate most of it. After his mother left the house later that morning, Sappington took an ax and started cutting up Brown's body into small pieces to preserve it so he could eat it later. That way he wouldn't have to kill anybody else.

Culled from: ClickOnDetroit.Com
Generously submitted by: Bruce Townley

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He cut up the body into small pieces to preserve it so that he wouldn't have to kill anybody else. And some say psychotic cannibal killers have no heart!

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Morbid Thievery!

Okay, you guys. I understand WHY you would steal the fetus - I mean, who among us would NOT want a plastinated 13-week-old fetus as the centerpiece on our coffee table - but come on, don't be so greedy!!! Leave something for the rest of us!!!

http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=857&ncid=757&e=10&u=/nm/20050330/od_uk_nm/oukoe_crime_fetus

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Dahmerism Du Jour!

Q: Why did Jeffrey Dahmer put testicles in the fridge?

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A: Because sometimes you feel like a nut, sometimes you don't.

(Death threats can be sent to angy!)

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Morbid Sightseeing Du Jour!

The next time you find yourself stuck in rush hour traffic in Waycross, Georgia (which could quite possibly be next Tuesday), why not stop and have a look at Stuckie, the Petrified Dog? I would if I were you!

http://www.roadsideamerica.com/tips/getAttraction.php3?tip_AttractionNo==4360

Thanks to Katchaya for the tip.


March 31, 2005

Today's Honorable Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

After the three days of battle at Gettysburg in July of 1863, most of the Confederate troops who were killed were tumbled into mass graves by Union burial details and local farmers who had been paid fifty cents per body to give "a decent burial". It was 1871 before several hundred of these men were exhumed, boxed for shipment and brought to Richmond which had been the Capital of the Confederacy, for honorable re-interrment. Further exhumation began in April of 1872 and by October of 1873, 2,935 bodies had been recovered and shipped to Richmond. Re-interrment took place on "Gettysburg Hill" in the Hollywood cemetery in Richmond. Amongst those who were buried there, were the men who had fallen in the charged named after General George Picket, the famous "Picket Charge". When General Picket himself died in 1875 he was buried, at his own request, alongside those brave soldiers of his command. His grave is atop Gettysburg Hill along with the monument which was supposed to be placed on Cemetery Ridge at Gettysburg, but for which permission was not granted by the government. The monument was placed at its present location in the cemetery at Richmond in 1888.

Culled from: The American Civil War Society
Generously submitted by: Scott

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I paid a visit to Gettysburg back in June, 2001 and wrote a travelogue about my adventures, if you're interested (and how could you NOT be???):

http://asylumeclectica.com/asylum/sightseer/us/pa/gettys.htm

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Morbid Read(s) Du Jour!

Marion sends us a trio of recommendations in the Mental Health realm:

"I just read 'Gracefully Insane', about the Mclean mental hospital outside of Boston. It's had a lot of interesting patients in the past century." (I have this one myself, and will put it next on my 'to read' list...)

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1586481614/theasylumeclecti

"Also have you seen the 'Encyclopedia of Plague and Pestilence' by George Childs Kohn? It's wonderfully morbid and historical!"

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0816048932/theasylumeclecti

"And one more - 'Or Not To Be'. It is a collection of suicide notes from the distant past to the modern; famous and ordinary."

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1573225800/theasylumeclecti

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Morbid Sightseer Follow-Up!

Yesterday, I mentioned Stuckie, the petrified dog, who is on display at Southern Forest World in Waycross, Georgia. Well, Thes-P-N was fortunate enough to stumble across a photograph of the unfortunate canine.

http://www.jacksonville.com/images/080802/ga_2mummifieddog08_927.jpg

Poor pooch!




Vulgarities...