March, 2007

March 3, 2007

Today's Notorious Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

Bull Run (also known as Hell’s Kitchen and Dance Hall) was a notorious Barbary Coast (San Francisco) dive which opened its doors in the fall of 1868. Its owner, Ned Allen, often said that the motto of his place was “Anything goes here.” He employed between forty and fifty girls during the Bull Run’s period of greatest prosperity, and they were notorious as the most brazen, hopeless, and abandoned women on the Barbary Coast. In most of the dives the drinks served to the pretty waiter girls and the female performers were innoxious, and it was considered right and proper for them to dispose of unwanted beverages by dumping them into the big brass spittoons which were scattered about the floors. At the Bull Run, however, the girls were given real liquor and were compelled to drink it, as their antics when drunk were considered an amusing feature of the resort, the more so since Allen was very liberal in the use of cantharides to stimulate those of his employees whom he considered sluggish. Practically all of the Bull Run women drank beer by choice, having full knowledge of the dynamitic effect of the dive’s whisky and brandy. But regardless of the number of glasses which they poured down their throats, they were not permitted to leave the dance-floor or the stage often enough to obtain the relief which the consumption of large quantities necessitated. Consequently they wore diapers instead of the frilly undergarments which the prostitute, even more than her virtuous sister, prefers. If one of Bull Run Allen’s pretty waiter girls or performers became unconscious from liquor, as frequently happened, she was carried upstairs and laid on a bed, and sexual privileges were sold to all comers while she lay helpless in a drunken stupor. The price ranged from twenty-five cents to one dollar, depending upon the age and beauty of the girl. For an additional quarter a man might watch his predecessor, an extraordinary procedure which was supposed to give an additional fillip to the senses. It was not unusual for a girl to be abused by as many as thirty or forty men in the course of a single night. She was supposed to receive half the revenue from this sort of prostitution, but she was invariably cheated.

Culled from: San Francisco History

**********************************************************************

In case you're wondering where The Comtesse has been the last few days, here's an illustration that my good friend Claude whipped up while visiting me the other day:

http://www.bc.edu/bc_org/avp/cas/fnart/art/19th/painting/monet_death.jpg

Yes, I've been a bit under the weather (ie. knocking loudly on Death's Door) with a vile stomach ailment since Tuesday night, but I seem to be settling back into the routine misery that is my daily existence. Thank badness!

*******

Ruthless Rhyme Du Jour!

I've been reading "Ruthless Rhymes for Heartless Homes and More Ruthless Rhymes" by Harry Graham, a collection of hysterical poems originally published in 1899, and I thought I'd share with you some of my favorites.

PRESENCE OF MIND

When, with my little daughter Blanche,
I climbed the Alps, last summer,
I saw a dreadful avalanche
About to overcome her;
And, as it swept her down the slope,
I vaguely wondered whether
I should be wise to cut the rope
That held us twain together.

I must confess I'm glad I did,
But still I miss the child -- poor kid!

Ruthless Rhymes For Heartless Homes

*******

Morbid Cartoon Du Jour!

TJ has a cartoon recommendation for us:

The Amazing Screw-On Head
http://www.scifi.com/amazingscrewonhead/

"This is a pretty badass cartoon from the creator of Hellboy. Really old women that turn into werewolves, a zombie super villain, Abe Lincoln, and Paul Giamatti (spelled it wrong, but you know who I am talking about.) It's really funny and just the kind of thing you look for."

*******

Wretched Recommendations!

.b has some comic book recommendations:

"In a recent MFDJ, you posted a recommendation for Johnny The Homicidal Maniac. In addition to those comics, Johnen Vasquez also produced Squee, I Feel Sick (both of which use some of the same characters as JTHM, and tell parts of the same storyline), and of course, the Nickelodeon cartoon Invader Zim, which is darkly hilarious and available on DVD."

Squee's Wonderful Big Giant Book of Unspeakable Horrors

Invader ZIM


March 4, 2007

Today's Distraught Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

Before cops threw the book at him, Jakub Fik threw something unusual at them -- his penis. Fik, 33, cut off his own penis during a Northwest Side rampage Wednesday morning, March 15, 2006. When confronted by police, Fik hurled several knives and his severed organ at the officers. Officers stunned him with a Taser and took him into custody. "We took him out without any serious injury, with the exception of his own," said Chicago Police Sgt. Edward Dolan of the 16th District. Doctors at Northwestern Memorial Hospital reattached Fik's penis. He was listed in good condition Thursday. Fik, who lives in the 5400 block of W. Berenice, is charged with two counts of aggravated assault and one count of criminal damage to property. He told paramedics he was distraught over problems with his girlfriend in Poland. Police arrived on Fik's block at 8:20 a.m. Wednesday after receiving reports he was smashing car windows. Fik then broke into a house down the block. A group of six or seven officers assembled in front of the house. The occupants were not home. Fik was bleeding when the officers arrived and may have already cut off his organ. "At that point, this guy came running out, naked, with a handful of knives . . . and started throwing knives at the police officers that were 10, 20, 30 feet away," Dolan said. Fik threw his penis during the confrontation, too. He then went back into the house and re-emerged with "another handful of knives". Dolan sneaked to the side of the bungalow's front steps and stunned Fik with the Taser. Fik fought back when officers went to restrain him. "About 10 feet from the front porch, right on the sidewalk, was his penis," Dolan said. Dr. Greg Bales, associate professor of urology at the University of Chicago, said severed penises are uncommon but surgery usually works. "As long as the penis is placed on ice and reattached within a few hours, the success is usually pretty good," Bales said.

Culled from: The Chicago Sun-Times
Generously submitted by: Desmodus

**********************************************************************

How upset do you have to be to cut off your own penis and hurl it at the police? I mean, I just about went postal at Washington Mutual the other day when they put a ridiculous 11 day hold on the money I just deposited to my checking account (hate that bank... HATE.THAT.F-ING.BANK!!!!!), but even as unmedicated as I was, I would never think to chop off a breast and hurl it at the clerk.

Maybe it's a guy thing?

*******

Ruthless Rhyme Du Jour!

I've been reading "Ruthless Rhymes for Heartless Homes and More Ruthless Rhymes" by Harry Graham, a collection of hysterical poems originally published in 1899, and I thought I'd share with you some of my favorites.

L'ENFANT GLACE

When Baby's cries grew hard to bear
I popped him in the Frigidaire.
I never would have done so if
I'd known that he'd be frozen stiff.
My wife said: "George, I'm so unhappé!
Our darling's now completely frappé!"

Ruthless Rhymes For Heartless Homes
http://astore.amazon.com/theasylumeclecti/detail/0486402185/002-0955747-4953668

*******

Follow-Up Du Jour!

Back on February 20th I featured a fact about the munitions ship explosion in Halifax, Nova Scotia on December 6, 1917, which resulted in 2,000 deaths and 9,000 injuries, many of which were caused by people watching the burning ships through plate glass windows that fragmented in the explosion. Peter has a personal connection to this gruesome incident:

"My grandfather was a physician in the Canadian Army during the First World War. He was in Halifax on the day of the explosion, and spent the next three days working with an eye surgeon, doing anaesthesia while the other doc picked glass out of the faces of people who had watched the ships burn. He didn't like to talk about it much."

Ah, that stoic older generation of men. Think of all the great stories we've missed out on because these guys didn't like to talk!

*******

Morbid Trinket Du Jour!

Okay, I meant to run this one before the new year but forgot. But if you're still looking for the perfect 2007 calendar, why not take the Men of Mortuaries calendar into consideration?

http://www.menofmortuaries.com/

Thanks to Alan for the link.

*******

Wretched Recommendations!

Wilf has a book recommendation:

"I just thought you might like to know about another book on London's strange history (and there's plenty of it). It's by a guy called James Clark, who I will not deny is a friend of mine but it's well put together, called 'Haunted Wandsworth' (a borough of London) and has a range of old stories and new. He is actually a qualified paranormal investigator which, if you like Call of Cthulu, the Lovecraft roleplaying game, will know are the ones who go mad first, if they survive that long.... He is also writing another one on London ghost/paranormal stories in general though it's likely to feature much new it has to be said."

Haunted Wandsworth
by James Clark
http://tinyurl.com/y6y3pc


March 5, 2007

Today's Criminal Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

In San Francisco in 1868, a criminal youth gang emerged that specialized in public riots against the Chinese. These vicious criminals were called Hoodlums, from their habit of warning "Huddle 'em!" when in danger. Their attacks led to indiscriminate violence against the immigrants. The memberships of many of the early hoodlum gangs included girls, and several were captained by maladjusted representatives of the so-called gentler sex. Curiously enough, or perhaps not so curiously, these girls were almost invariably more ferocious than their male companions, and their fertile minds devised most of the unpleasant methods of torture which the hoodlums employed upon their victims. One feminine rowdy who flourished during the latter part of 1878 was a thirteen-year-old girl known as Little Dick, who led a gang of more than twenty boys of about the same age. She was finally sent to a corrective institution, after she had stolen a hundred revolvers from a gun-shop, distributed some among her followers, and sold the remainder on the Barbary Coast. She said frankly that she found her greatest delight in throwing red pepper into a Chinaman’s eyes or in hanging him up by his queue. A typical exploit of the hoodlums occurred during the summer of 1868, when a score of youthful rowdies captured a Chinese crab-catcher and dragged him beneath a wharf. There they robbed him, beat him with a hickory club, branded him in a dozen places with hot irons, and then slit his ears and tongue. “There was apparently no other motive for this atrocity,” said the San Francisco Times of July 30, 1868, “than the brutal instincts of the young ruffians who perpetrated it. Such boys are constantly hanging about our wharves eager to glut their cruelty upon any Chinaman who may pass.”

Culled from: San Francisco History

**********************************************************************

Ruthless Rhyme Du Jour!

I've been reading "Ruthless Rhymes for Heartless Homes and More Ruthless Rhymes" by Harry Graham, a collection of hysterical poems originally published in 1899, and I thought I'd share with you some of my favorites.

WINTER SPORTS

The ice upon our pond's so thin
That poor Mamma has fallen in!
We cannot reach her from the shore
Until the surface freezes more.
Ah me, my heart grows weary waiting --
Besides, I want to have some skating.

Ruthless Rhymes For Heartless Homes
http://astore.amazon.com/theasylumeclecti/detail/0486402185/002-0955747-4953668

*******

Morbid Merchandise!

You'll no doubt be captivated to hear that the Comtesse has designed another MFDJ t-shirt - this one with the ageless theme of "Desensitize Yourself!" As always, the shirt is available from Jen at Juror2.Net and all of the Comtesse's profits will be used to support the website and mailing list. So, if you'd like a stylish way to show your support for the MFDJ, why not take a gander?

http://tinyurl.com/ya2bdv

*******

Morbid Mirth Du Jour!

Ken sends me a great clip of a "European Candid Camera type show where they use a video editor to make it look like the Grim Reaper is standing right behind people. When they look back there's an old man with a scythe who winks at them. The expressions on their faces is priceless."

Enjoy!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=so4K-bUtVHM

*******

Ghastly!

St. Sepulchre's Belle sent me a link to an absolutely appalling story of "honor" killing in rural Turkey, complete with a photograph of a woman being buried in preparation for a stoning execution. Furious doesn't even begin to describe my reaction.

http://www.faithfreedom.org/Testimonials/Yagmur50313.htm


March 6, 2007

Today's Jobless Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

A jobless alcoholic burned himself to death after his wife refused to serve him meat for dinner. Sixty-year-old Mithailal Ram Sanjivan doused his body with an inflammable liquid and set himself ablaze outside his one-room house in Ahmedabad, the main city of western Gujarat state, India. Police said the victim, who had been without a job for years, and his wife, Geeta Sanjivan, 54, had a scuffle over the dinner menu. The wife refused to cook meat as they could not afford it. Irritated by this, Sanjivan locked her in the house before setting himself on fire outside.

Culled from: Reuters
Generously submitted by: Rob

**********************************************************************

For once, a story of an Indian man who set *himself* on fire instead of his wife. There is hope for this world after all!

*******

Ruthless Rhyme Du Jour!

I've been reading "Ruthless Rhymes for Heartless Homes and More Ruthless Rhymes" by Harry Graham, a collection of hysterical poems originally published in 1899, and I thought I'd share with you some of my favorites.

QUIET FUN

My son Augustus, in the street, one day,
Was feeling quite exceptionally merry.
A stranger asked him: "Can you show me, pray,
The quickest way to Brompton Cemetery?"
"The quickest way? You bet I can!" said Gus,
And pushed the fellow underneath a bus.

Whatever people say about my son,
He does enjoy his little bit of fun.

Ruthless Rhymes For Heartless Homes
http://astore.amazon.com/theasylumeclecti/detail/0486402185/002-0955747-4953668

*******

Obituaries Du Jour!

Vickie stumbled across a page filled with death notices from Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan circa 1887. I think by reading a few of them you can see why I have such incredible enthusiasm for 19th century newspapers!

Thursday, May 19, 1887 Page 3
At North Branch on the 11th, Alexander Hoy's little son spilled a bottle of carbolic acid over his body. The stuff burned the child from his head to his feet, and he will probably die.

Thursday, May 12, 1887 Page 4
A terrible accident occurred in the rolling mill of the Hubbard Iron company, at Hubbard,, Ohio, shortly after 2 o'clock on the morning of the 6th. Engineer Griffith Phillipps, aged 29 years in passing around the ore crusher oiling the bearings, was caught in the wheels and dragged into the crusher. He was mangled out of all semblance of humanity, the flesh adhering to the clogs. He leaves a wife and 3 children.

Thursday, May 12, 1887 Page 4
John Snyder, of Bushnell township, Montcalm county, while insane, on the 1st, crushed his wife's head with an axe, killing her instantly.

Thursday, May 12, 1887 Page 4
Mrs. Chas. Martin, wife of a farmer living near Grand Rapids, poisoned herself and two of her children on the 3d, with "rough on rats."

Thursday, June 23, 1887 Page 7
A brakeman, named Kippen, was killed while coming through the Rock cut on the Antoine branch near Norway last Saturday night. Sixty ore cars ran over him and the unfortunate man was cut to pieces -Escanaba Mirror.

And on and on... positively gripping!

http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~wjmartin/dem-deth.htm

*******

Morbid Music!

-kokoro shiki- heart mode has some morbid music recommendations for us:

Rasputina - A cello rock band with dark Victorian influences. With songs such as "Momma Was an Opium Smoker", "Yellow Fever", and "Howard Hughes" how can you go wrong? They dress in Victorian-style undergarments during live performances and Melora, the vocalist, makes some hilarious and morbid comments.
http://www.rasputina.com/

the gazettE/Gazette - A Japanese rock band with a delicious sound and a slightly screetchy, feminine vocalist.
http://www.pscompany.co.jp/gazette/

Dir en grey - A darker version of Gazette. They have songs such as 'egnirys cimredopyh ----+ an injection' (Hypodermic syringe spelled backwards, it's a song about a drug addict), -saku-, FILTH, and raison d'etre. All are morbid, depressing, and their music videos are amazingly gory! I recommend -saku- and rasion d'etre.
http://www.direngrey.co.jp/

MALICE MIZER - A classic Japanese rock band, now disbanded. Not so morbid as gothic but their music video ILLUMINATI has lovely S&M scenes and some fun with a severed head. And eyeballs. And neck snapping during sex. And, what the hell, a sexy cross dressing guitarist being kissed and groped by a woman in chains.
http://www.malice-mizer.co.jp/


March 7, 2007

Today's Lopsided Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

The Battle of Cold Harbor, the final battle of Union Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant's 1864 Overland Campaign during the American Civil War, is remembered as one of American history's bloodiest, most lopsided battles. Thousands of Union soldiers were slaughtered in a hopeless frontal assault against the fortified troops of Confederate General Robert E. Lee, the majority of them in the first eight minutes of the battle. Northen commanders simply refused to send any more of their soldiers to the slaughter, and for three days and three nights, the two armies just sat there, neither commander willing to ask for a truce to collect the wounded or bury the dead.

Nearly five acres were piled thick with the dead and the dying. A lucky few crawled to safety. At least one wounded soldier, unable to do so, slit his throat in plain sight of his fellow combatants. By the time litter bearers were finally let onto the battleground, *two* of the thousands of Union wounded were still alive. Grant himself said of the battle in his memoirs, "I have always regretted that the last assault at Cold Harbor was ever made. At Cold Harbor no advantage whatever was gained to compensate for the heavy loss we sustained."

Culled from: Portraits of the Civil War
http://astore.amazon.com/theasylumeclecti/detail/1586635670/002-5253252-6632030

**********************************************************************

Benjamin adds: "Regarding this MFDJ, it is interesting to note that 7,000 Union Soldiers at Cold Harbor where killed or wounded in about 7 minutes. It is also intersting that during Grant's Overland campaign, the battles of The Wilderness, Spotsylvania, North Anna and Cold Harbor, by civil war standards, occured within days of each other. One Union soldier is noted as saying for that 3 1/2 week period in May 1864 '...was like living in the valley of the shadow of death.'"

Ruthless Rhyme Du Jour!

I've been reading "Ruthless Rhymes for Heartless Homes and More Ruthless Rhymes" by Harry Graham, a collection of hysterical poems originally published in 1899, and I thought I'd share with you some of my favorites.

PATIENCE

When skiing in the Engadine
My hat blew off down a ravine.
My son, who went to fetch it back,
Slipped through an icy glacier's crack
And then got permanently stuck.
It really was infernal luck:
My hat was practically new --
I loved my little Henry too --
And I may have to wait for years
Till either of them reappears.

Ruthless Rhymes For Heartless Homes
http://astore.amazon.com/theasylumeclecti/detail/0486402185/002-0955747-4953668

*******

Wretched Recommendations!

-kokoro shiki- heart mode has a film recommendation:

Ginger Snaps (2000)
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0000A1HSS/theasylumeclecti/

"It's the only werewolf movie I like. Ginger Snaps is an odd and unique interpretation of getting your first period and lycanthropy. If for nothing else, see it for some truly amazing staged death photography shots in the beginning and some stunning gore effects."

*******

Morbid Trinket Du Jour!

How cool are the miniature bile dolls that Ugly Shyla creates? Pretty damned cool!

http://www.uglyart.net/bile_dolls.html

And the baby doll necklaces? Creepy as hell!

http://www.uglyart.net/babydollheads.html

The rest of her stuff is cool too, but a bit too expensive for a Comtesse.

Thanks to Virginia for the link.


March 8, 2007

Today's Nude Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

A relative discovered a 23-year-old man dead in the front seat of a car Friday, February 24 still embracing a dead 17-year-old girl. Their nude bodies were inside a closed garage in the front seat of a 1978 Cutlass. They had apparently been having sex when they were overcome by carbon monoxide. The medical examiner said the deaths appear accidental. The two were not found for nearly a day. The man's mother became worried because she could not reach him on his cell phone Friday morning. "She called his cousin, who lived nearby, to help her track him down. He's the one who looked inside the garage and found the bodies," WISN 12 News reporter Nick Bohr said. "Carbon monoxide can accumulate very rapidly. It's just something you don't want to take a chance with," said Dr. Ken Schellhase, of the Medical College of Wisconsin. Schellhase said warming up a car in a closed garage is one of the most dangerous things you can do, much less staying in the car as it idles. He said the symptoms can be hard to recognize. "The symptoms are pretty non-specific. It can include things like headache, dizziness, a general sense of ill ease," Schellhase said. Sleepiness is also a symptom. "Those are often the most tragic circumstances where people fall asleep, and there's a carbon monoxide leak of some sort. The dose is overwhelming," Schellhase said. Schellhase said it is unusual for someone to be overcome so quickly, but it's not clear how long they may have been in the car prior to having sex. According to the medical examiner's report, the carbon monoxide levels the garage got so intense at some point that the car itself choked off for lack of oxygen. The car still had one-quarter of a tank of gas.

Culled from: The Milwaukee Channel
http://www.themilwaukeechannel.com/news/7516839/detail.html
Generously submitted by: kelshubert

**********************************************************************

I suspect it says something rather ominous about the state of my mind to admit to you that the song "Wake Up, Little Susie" started playing in my mind as I read this...

"I told your mama that you'd be in by ten
Well Susie baby looks like we goofed again"

And how!

*******

March Contest - Ruthless Rhymes!

For the last few days, I've been sharing some of my favorite little morbid poems from Ruthless Rhymes For Heartless Homes. I thought that it might be fun to do a creative writing contest this month, where I invite you to write your own "Ruthless Rhyme". I will do some googling to make sure that the poem is truly yours, so no plagiarism! The poem should be short (10 -14 lines maximum) and morbid - but other than that, feel free to use your creative license. The winner, as chosen by the Comtesse, will receive a MFDJ "Desensitize Yourself" t-shirt as shown on A Plethora Of Viscera (http://plethoraofviscera.com).

Send your entries to ruthless@asylumeclectica.com. Contest closes March 23rd. Good luck!

*******

Morbid Mirth Du Jour!

What crawls and goes 'clank clank clank'?

.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.

A baby in a bear trap.

Thanks to gsteinma for this one.

*******

Ghastly!

Here's a nice collection of vintage post-mortem photographs:

http://community.livejournal.com/vintagephoto/612116.html

Thanks to newfers for the link.


March 9, 2007

Today's Buzzing Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

A teacher who kept a 40 mm shell on his desk as a paperweight blew off part of his hand when he apparently used the object to try to squash a bug. The 5-inch-long shell exploded Monday while Robert Colla was teaching 20 to 25 students at an adult education class. Part of Colla's right hand was severed and he suffered severe burns and minor shrapnel wounds to his forearms and torso. No one else was injured. He was reported in stable condition at a hospital. The teacher slammed the shell down in an attempt to kill something that was buzzing or crawling across the desk. Colla found the 40 mm round while hunting years ago and "obviously he didn't think the round was live," said Dennis Huston, who teaches computer design.

Culled from: Unspecified Source
Generously submitted by: Rob

**********************************************************************

Well, that's one way to make your students pay attention in class!

*******

Morbid Auction Du Jour!

Another marvelous Autopsy Baby is up for auction on Ebay:

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=140094766605

*******

Morbid Lyric Du Jour!

Kirstin has a morbid lyric for us:

"I got a song for ya. "Timothy" by The Buoys. They eat Timothy."

Timothy

Trapped in a mine that had caved in
And everyone knows the only ones left
Were Joe and me and Tim
When they broke through to pull us free
The only ones left to tell the tale
Were Joe and me

Timothy, Timothy, where on earth did you go?
Timothy, Timothy, God why don't I know?

Hungry as hell no food to eat
And Joe said that he would sell his soul
For just a piece of meat
Water enough to drink for two
And Joe said to me, "I'll have a swig
And then there's some for you."

Timothy, Timothy, Joe was looking at you
Timothy, Timothy, God what did we do?

I must have blacked out just around then
'Cause the very next thing that I could see
Was the light of the day again
My stomach was full as it could be
And nobody ever got around
To finding Timothy
Timothy...

*******

Ghastly!

Now, here's a fisherman who understands how the fish feel!

Warning: Very high squeam factor - especially regarding eyeballs.

http://asylumeclectica.com/asylum/morbid/archives/hooked/hook001.jpg
http://asylumeclectica.com/asylum/morbid/archives/hooked/hook002.jpg
http://asylumeclectica.com/asylum/morbid/archives/hooked/hook003.jpg
http://asylumeclectica.com/asylum/morbid/archives/hooked/hook004.jpg
http://asylumeclectica.com/asylum/morbid/archives/hooked/hook005.jpg
http://asylumeclectica.com/asylum/morbid/archives/hooked/hook006.jpg
http://asylumeclectica.com/asylum/morbid/archives/hooked/hook007.jpg

Thanks to Jason for the link.

*******

March Contest - Ruthless Rhymes!

For the last few days, I've been sharing some of my favorite little morbid poems from Ruthless Rhymes For Heartless Homes. I thought that it might be fun to do a creative writing contest this month, where I invite you to write your own "Ruthless Rhyme". I will do some googling to make sure that the poem is truly yours, so no plagiarism! The poem should be short (10 -14 lines maximum) and morbid - but other than that, feel free to use your creative license. The winner, as chosen by the Comtesse, will receive a MFDJ "Desensitize Yourself" t-shirt as shown on A Plethora Of Viscera (http://plethoraofviscera.com).

Send your entries to ruthless@asylumeclectica.com. Contest closes March 23rd. Good luck!


March 10, 2007

Today's Assassinated Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

On the evening of March 16, 1792, King Gustavus III, wearing a cloak and mask, moved among the dancers attending a masquerade ball at the Grand Opera House in Stockholm. Earlier that evening, an anonymous note had been slipped to him, detailing an assassination plot by dissatisfied nobles that was to take place in that very ballroom, and imploring him not to attend. Undaunted, he stepped into the brilliant glow of the chandeliers, admiring the stage scenery and the costumes of the dancing masqueraders; yet he surely must have wondered which of them might be planning to attack him at any moment.

Suddenly five men in dark cloaks and masks surrounded him. One of them produced a pistol wrapped in raw wool to silence it, and fired. Panic broke out as the king, bleeding but still alive, was carried off by friends, and doors and exits were sealed. The ringleader, Count Ankarstrom, escaped but was arrested the next day. Gustavus III died on March 29.

Culled from: The Pessimist's Guide To History

**********************************************************************

The Comtesse Reviews...

I just finished reading a book entitled "Ascending Peculiarity: Edward Gorey On Edward Gorey" which is a collection of interviews with the late, sorely missed Master of the Macabre. Although some of the articles are a bit redundant, they all serve to shed light on this mysterious and reclusive character, and made me appreciate the distinctive individual that he was. I wish I'd had the chance to meet him - he seemed like a great guy.

Ascending Peculiarity: Edward Gorey On Edward Gorey
by Karen Wilkin

*******

Epitaph Du Jour!

Culled from:
Over Their Dead Bodies: Yankee Epitaphs & History
Authors: Thomas C. Mann & Janet Greene
Date: 1962

Kensington, N.H.:
In Memory of
Benjamin Rowe Esq
Who after a Life of great usefullness
& patiently enduring 4 years of ilness
with a dropsy underwent the Operation
of Tapping 67 times
From his body was drawn 2385 pounds of water
quietly departed this Life the 28 day
of March Anno Domini 1790 in
the 71st year of his age.

Thanks to Miyuki for the contribution.

*******

Wretched Recommendations!

Riley sent me a link to a splendid article about a woman named Frances Glessner Lee who created detailed crime models for police training back in the 1940's. Better still, a book of photographs of the crime scenes has been released! As Riley said, these delightful morbid doll houses are "just what every little morbid girl and boy needs!"

Here's the article:
http://www.crimelibrary.com/criminal_mind/forensics/nutshell_studies/1_index.html

And here's the Amazon description of the book. It's definitely on my wish list!

"This fascinating and macabre volume offers readers an extraordinary glimpse into the mind of a master criminal investigator. Frances Glessner Lee, a wealthy grandmother, founded the Department of Legal Medicine at Harvard in 1936 and was later appointed captain in the New Hampshire police. In the 1940s she built dollhouse crime scenes based on real cases in order to train detectives to assess visual evidence. Still used in forensic training today, the eighteen Nutshell dioramas, on a scale of 1:12, display an astounding level of detail: tiny pencils write, window shades move, whistles blow, and clues to the crime scene are revealed to those who study them carefully. Corrine Botz's lush color photographs lure viewers into every crevice of Frances Lee's models and breathe life into these deadly miniatures, which represent the dark side of domestic life, unveiling tales of prostitution, alcoholism and adultry. Botz's introductory essay, which draws on archival research and interviews with Lee's family and police colleagues, present a captivating portrait of the creator of these amazing miniatures."

The Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death
by Corinne May Botz

*******

March Contest - Ruthless Rhymes!

For the last few days, I've been sharing some of my favorite little morbid poems from Ruthless Rhymes For Heartless Homes. I thought that it might be fun to do a creative writing contest this month, where I invite you to write your own "Ruthless Rhyme". I will do some googling to make sure that the poem is truly yours, so no plagiarism! The poem should be short (10 -14 lines maximum) and morbid - but other than that, feel free to use your creative license. The winner, as chosen by the Comtesse, will receive a MFDJ "Desensitize Yourself" t-shirt as shown on A Plethora Of Viscera (http://plethoraofviscera.com).

Send your entries to ruthless@asylumeclectica.com. Contest closes March 23rd. Good luck!


March 11, 2007

Today's Prostituted Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

The system of Chinese prostitution in 19th century San Francisco was based in slave ownership. Girls were bought in China for around eighty dollars, from parents who considered female children a nuisance and were more than willing to sell them. Once brought into San Francisco, such a girl was worth $400 to $1,000 depending on her youth and beauty. The girls were literally auctioned off in Chinatown. Once the price was established, it was paid (usually in gold) into the girl's hands, and she turned the money over to the man who had sold her, while signing a contract that read:

"For the consideration of [whatever sum] paid into my hands this day, I [name] promise to prostitute my body for the term of [number of] years. If, in that time, I am sick one day, two weeks shall be added to my time; and if more than one day, my term of prostitution shall continue an additional month. But if I run away or escape from the custody of my keeper, then I am to be held as a slave for life. [Signed.]"

Of course the point of the "sick day" provision was that every month the girl would have a menstrual period, which would render her ineligible for prostitution and also extend her slavery a month. Many of these poor creatures never lived to see their freedom.

Culled from: San Francisco Confidential

**********************************************************************

Yesterday I mentioned that I had read "Ascending Peculiarity" - a compilation of interviews with Edward Gorey. It never occurred to me that anyone did not know who Edward Gorey is, but apparently I was wrong as I had a couple of questions about him. Therefore, I thought I'd feature a few links to the works of Edward Gorey for those of you who haven't discovered his genius yet.

Edward Gorey was an eccentric American illustrator and writer who specialized in drawing morose, Edwardian people who tended to suffer rather grim existences and even grimmer demises. He is best known for designing the opening credits for the PBS show Mystery. He created a number of treasurable little books in his lifetime - a few of which are linked below. Enjoy!

The Gashlycrumb Tinies (his masterpiece)

The Curious Sofa

The Beastly Baby

*******

Morbid Mirth Du Jour!

Stephen sends a morbid game recommendation:

"Dark Cut is a flash-animation based game that plays in your browser. There's a zillion of the things about, these days, but this is the most morbid I've yet seen. You are a surgeon who must take on a small series of cases, with each case including some morbid tasks. For example, you need to remove an arrow from a soldiers leg, so you start by cutting the fletching off, sawing the shaft, pounding the remainder through, and then using tongs to pull the rest free. The second level includes fun like lancing boils and the third level is a scream - but I'll leave that as a surprise."

"Anyway, if you've got 10 to 15 minutes and are in need of a little morbid fun, this'll fill that need nicely."

Dark Cut

*******

Wretched Recommendations!

-kokoro shiki- heart mode recommended the movie Ginger Snaps a few days ago. Now, Katchaya turns the spotlight on the sequel:

Ginger Snaps 2: Unleashed (2004)

"I saw an awesome movie on IFC last night called 'Ginger Snaps 2'... Now I want to see 1 and 3... Not only is the story great (about teenage girls turning into werewolves) But the one I saw last night takes place in an old state hospital."

http://www.ginger-snaps.com/unleashed/home.htm

*******

March Contest - Ruthless Rhymes!

For the last few days, I've been sharing some of my favorite little morbid poems from Ruthless Rhymes For Heartless Homes. I thought that it might be fun to do a creative writing contest this month, where I invite you to write your own "Ruthless Rhyme". I will do some googling to make sure that the poem is truly yours, so no plagiarism! The poem should be short (10 -14 lines maximum) and morbid - but other than that, feel free to use your creative license. The winner, as chosen by the Comtesse, will receive a MFDJ "Desensitize Yourself" t-shirt as shown on A Plethora Of Viscera (http://plethoraofviscera.com).

Send your entries to ruthless@asylumeclectica.com. Contest closes March 23rd. Good luck!


March 12, 2007

Today's Mummified Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

A family heirloom is not going over well with police. The mummified body of a baby kept by a Concord, N.H., family has drawn attention from investigators. The current keeper of the baby, Charles Peavey, said the tiny mummy has been passed down in his family for many years. Concord police recently got word of the remains and they took them in for testing. A forensic anthropologist will examine the tiny corpse. Peavey said the mummy belonged to his great-great uncle, who was born in Ashland in 1850. The family estimated that the mummy is 90 years old. It was discovered among the uncle's possessions in 1947 in Manchester, N.H. Police said the testing on the corpse could take a month or more.

Culled from: Click 2 Houston
Generously submitted by: Steve O'

**********************************************************************

Click on the link below to see a picture of the adorable little heirloom. Lucky family!

http://www.click2houston.com/2006/0424/8956892.jpg

Well, as it turns out, the family's luck ran out. Bruce Townley sends the following update:

Probate Judge Richard Hampe said the mummified baby known as "Baby John" passed down for generations through Charles Peavey's family must be buried because there is no DNA evidence proving kinship.

Peavey said Wednesday his family is disappointed, but will not appeal the decision.

"I'm just washing my hands of it," said Peavey. "I'm disappointed it came to this."

Until police confiscated Baby John last year, the mummy had been on display on a bureau in Peavey's home. Relatives and friends treated the desiccated infant as a family member, giving it cards during holidays and even a dried fish as a pet. Authorities learned of the mummy's existence after Peavey's niece mentioned to day care staffers that her uncle kept a dead baby at his house.

Peavey said his family believes the mummy is the stillborn child of a great-great uncle.

Testing by the state concluded the baby died of natural causes shortly after its birth and confirmed the remains were decades old, but did not determine the mummy's age or origin. Peavey said he can't afford DNA testing, and the state won't release the remains unless there is proof of a family relationship.

"It's one of the few things from our family past that we have left,"
Peavey had written in a petition to the court. "And when I pass on, I was looking forward to passing it on to another family member, to keep some of the history for future family members."

In court, prosecutor Richard Head raised concerns about the family's treatment of the mummy if it were returned, pointing to Peavey's page on the social networking site MySpace that opens with the "The Addams Family" theme song and makes joking references to Baby John, including a photo of a small crypt and a suggestion that it may hold the remains of Baby John's sister.

Peavey said the page was created as a joke by his niece and he was going to ask her to take it down.

"I do not think this is a joke. I've never treated him like a joke. No weirdness was going on," he said.

*******

The Comtesse Recommends...

A Treasury of Victorian Murder
by Rick Geary

Rick Geary compiles and illustrates true crime stories from the 19th century. This is his first book, originally released in 1987, and it's a fun-filled (if all-too-short) read. My favorite story is "The Ryan Mystery" which concerns an unsolved double-murder of a pious brother and sister who shared an apartment in 1873. (It's like something from an Edward Gorey book.) This volume also includes "The Crimes of Dr. E.W. Pritchard" and "The Abominable Mrs. Pearcey" - two additional high-profile murder stories from the 19th century. Highly recommended for enthusiasts of Victorian drama.

*******

Epitaph Du Jour!

Culled from:
Over Their Dead Bodies: Yankee Epitaphs & History
Authors: Thomas C. Mann & Janet Greene
Date: 1962

Mary Fowler, 1792, age 24, Milford, Conn.
Molly tho' pleasant in her day
Was suddenly seized and went away
How soon she's ripe, how soon she's rotten
Laid in her grave and soon forgotten.

Thanks to Miyuki for the contribution.

*******

Wretched Recommendations!

Awhile back, B recommended the documentary "The Iceman Interviews," about Richard Kuklinski, a former mob hitman who claims to have killed over 200 people. Stephen sent me some additional information, plus an additional book recommendation:

Regarding The Iceman Interviews: "It's not a gore-fest. It's Kulklinski sitting across from the interviewer, intermittently popping his chewing gum, while telling about how he killed 20 of his victims. He's ice-cold, yes... ...he's descriptive, yes... ...he's un-remorseful, yes... ...but, I've seen more brutal killers, that just never got the chance to 1-up him on their score-cards."

The Iceman Interviews (1991)

"Maybe, you should read 'A Sniper's Sin', by 'David Alan Soprano' (a fake name). He's a former Vietnam / CIA sniper-turned-Mob hitman, and his stories'll make you ill, knowing that a man could be such an animal. His job was to kill VC, but he slowly started to turn evil, and the book is all about his turn. If you're not sure, read the last paragraph of the book first... ...I promise you that'll be enough to make you buy the book."

A Sniper's Sin
by David Alan Soprano

*******

March Contest - Ruthless Rhymes!

For the last few days, I've been sharing some of my favorite little morbid poems from Ruthless Rhymes For Heartless Homes. I thought that it might be fun to do a creative writing contest this month, where I invite you to write your own "Ruthless Rhyme". I will do some googling to make sure that the poem is truly yours, so no plagiarism! The poem should be short (10 -14 lines maximum) and morbid - but other than that, feel free to use your creative license. The winner, as chosen by the Comtesse, will receive a MFDJ "Desensitize Yourself" t-shirt as shown on A Plethora Of Viscera (http://plethoraofviscera.com).

Send your entries to ruthless@asylumeclectica.com. Contest closes March 23rd. Good luck!


March 13, 2007

Today's Straight Through The Middle Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

A Tillamook man died Friday, March 2, 2007 after he drove a car into the back of farm equipment on Highway 6 near Tillamook. Oregon State Police identified the man as Ramiro Diaz-Mendoza, 28. According to police, Diaz-Mendoza was driving a 1990 Toyota two-door west on the highway about 6:45 a.m. when it crashed into the back of a 1992 Oregon Road Runner hay squeeze going the same direction. The farm machinery appeared to go straight through the middle of the car. Diaz-Mendoza was initially taken to Tillamook County General Hospital before being transferred to Legacy Emanuel Hospital in Portland, where he died. The operator of the farm equipment, Jason M. Sagar, 37, of Tillamook, was not injured. Sagar estimated he was going 40 mph to 45 mph when Diaz-Mendoza rear-ended the machine. Authorities said speed and alcohol appeared to contribute to the crash.

Culled from: KATU.Com
Generously submitted by: Rob

**********************************************************************

You have to click on the above link to see the picture of the wreckage. The guy had NO chance!

*******

For Those Who May Be Interested...

I've started posting the Morbid Fact Du Jour on the Comtesse's My Space blog. I figure this may help to gain some new converts, and we need all the desensitized sickos we can get. So if you'd rather receive the MFDJ on My Space, feel free to unsub from the e-mail list - I won't take it personally. Of course, the MFDJ newsletter will still be available via e-mail and on the web (at http://morbidfactdujour.com) as well.

http://www.myspace.com/comtessedespair

*******

Morbid Link Du Jour!

It may be propaganda, but it's damned morbid propaganda! Here's a U.S.-funded anti-suicide bombing commercial:

http://www.ifilm.com/ifilmdetail/2765412

Thanks to Rob for the link.

*******

Wretched Recommendations!

Hilton has a book recommendation for us:

Necropolis: London and Its Dead
by Catharine Arnold

"I just came across this book at lunchtime, and have had a quick flick through. It is very well written, and not as turgid as some of these things are, and offers a history of pretty much everything to do with death and London over the years."

Peter Ackroyd, The Times
"Deeply pleasing . . . Entertainment of the most garish and exquisite kind . . . A Baedeker of the dead."

Synopsis: "From Roman burial rites to the horrors of the plague, from the founding of the great Victorian cemeteries to the development of cremation and the current approach of metropolitan society towards death and bereavement -- including more recent trends to displays of collective grief and the cult of mourning, such as that surrounding the death of Diana, Princess of Wales -- NECROPOLIS: LONDON AND ITS DEAD offers a vivid historical narrative of this great city's attitude to going the way of all flesh. As layer upon layer of London soil reveals burials from pre-historic and medieval times, the city is revealed as one giant grave, filled with the remains of previous eras -- pagan, Roman, medieval, Victorian. This fascinating blend of archaeology, architecture and anecdote includes such phenomena as the rise of the undertaking trade and the pageantry of state funerals; public executions and bodysnatching. Ghoulishly entertaining and full of fascinating nuggets of information, Necropolis leaves no headstone unturned in its exploration of our changing attitudes to the deceased among us. Both anecdotal history and cultural commentary, Necropolis will take its place alongside classics of the city such as Peter Ackroyd's LONDON."

*******

March Contest - Ruthless Rhymes!

For the last few days, I've been sharing some of my favorite little morbid poems from Ruthless Rhymes For Heartless Homes. I thought that it might be fun to do a creative writing contest this month, where I invite you to write your own "Ruthless Rhyme". I will do some googling to make sure that the poem is truly yours, so no plagiarism! The poem should be short (10 -14 lines maximum) and morbid - but other than that, feel free to use your creative license. The winner, as chosen by the Comtesse, will receive a MFDJ "Desensitize Yourself" t-shirt as shown on A Plethora Of Viscera (http://plethoraofviscera.com).

Send your entries to ruthless@asylumeclectica.com. Contest closes March 23rd. Good luck!


March 14, 2007

Today's Special Tasting Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

Hungarian builders who drank their way to the bottom of a huge barrel of rum while renovating a house got a nasty surprise when a pickled corpse tumbled out of the empty barrel. According to online magazine www.zsaru.hu, workers in Szeged in the south of Hungary tried to move the barrel after they had drained it, only to find it was surprisingly heavy and were shocked when the body of a naked man fell out. The website said that the body of the man had been shipped back from Jamaica 20 years ago by his wife in the barrel of rum in order to avoid the cost and paperwork of an official return. According to the website, workers said the rum in the 300-litre barrel had a "special taste" so they even decanted a few bottles of the liquor to take home. The wife has since died and the man was buried in a proper grave.

Culled from: Reuters
Generously submitted by: Joseph

**********************************************************************

I guess we know what "Dead Man's Rum" is now, eh?

Shadow Self reports: "Urban legend. Reuters withdrew the story a few days later:
ADVISORY: Hungary rum barrel story withdrawn

"The Budapest story headlined 'Hungary workers get shock at bottom of rum barrel' issued on May 4 is withdrawn. Police said the incident, reported on a police magazine Web site, happened 10 years ago. Reuters has been unable to make any further checks to substantiate the story."

Trevor agrees: "An age old tale enjoyable nonetheless but most likely just another recurrence of an urban legend."

*******

Wretched Recommendations!

fiona has a film recommendation:

Wolf Creek (2005)

"A good film to watch is Wolf Creek. It's an Aussie movie but fantastic."

Here's the synopsis:

"Just when you thought it was safe to go hiking in the bushes again...along comes Mick Taylor. Kristy, Ben and Liz are three pals in their twenties who set out to hike through the scenic Wolf Creek National Park in the Australian Outback. The trouble begins when they get back only to find that their car won't start. The trio think they have a way out when they run into a local bushman named Mick Taylor. Wait until you get a load of what Mick has in store for them. Their troubles have just begun."

*******

"My Brush With Morbidity" by Rafid

"I was 19 when I was in a drug rehab for a heroin addiction. We had this guy O.D. in the bathroom, and although the nurses tried to revive him, he died at the scene.

"It took the ambulance like 15 minuted to come and get him. They obviously had been made aware that they were just picking up a corpse and took thier time. I was able to get a good glimpse of his body for about 4 or 5 good minutes. I marvled at it. I remember the nice, dark place that he was now in, and I looked into his dead eyes. I wanted to be there with him. They left the needle in his arm when they took him away.

"For some reason, the officials forgot to remove his shoes from the bathroom. They stayed in there for about 2 days, and I could not stand it any longer. They were a little tight on me, but I got them to fit my feet without socks. I wore them around in the drug rehab for the rest of the time. People noticed, but didn't care. I was in heaven. I wore them everywhere, and walked with a new confidence that I carried part of his dead sole with me.

"Those shoes were also cursed. Whilest visiting my grandmother in Maryland a few years later, I was still wearing my shoes of doom. My aunt 'Pat' (alias), got to them, and threw them in the trash compactor because after I bragged about them to my family, it creeped her out.

"3 MONTHS LATER, she was herself found dead at home, lying in her bed. She had KILLED HERSELF with 10 oxycontin patches on her body! Coincidence???? I don't think so. Scence then, my life has been full of darkness, and negative empowerment, and I am now proud of it. If heaven is full of religous beurocrats, polititions, and right-wingers, I think I would rather go to Hell, and I would not mind going there now. In fact, i've allways had this feeling that I will go there when I die. I've allways believed that."

*******

March Contest - Ruthless Rhymes!

For the last few days, I've been sharing some of my favorite little morbid poems from Ruthless Rhymes For Heartless Homes. I thought that it might be fun to do a creative writing contest this month, where I invite you to write your own "Ruthless Rhyme". I will do some googling to make sure that the poem is truly yours, so no plagiarism! The poem should be short (10 -14 lines maximum) and morbid - but other than that, feel free to use your creative license. The winner, as chosen by the Comtesse, will receive a MFDJ "Desensitize Yourself" t-shirt as shown on A Plethora Of Viscera (http://plethoraofviscera.com).

Send your entries to ruthless@asylumeclectica.com. Contest closes March 23rd. Good luck!


March 15, 2007

Today's Barbarous Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

In most cultures a man's status at death can be measured by the ostentatiousness of his funeral and the magnificence of his tomb. In India, before the early 19th century, the status of Hindu men might be gauged by the number of wives who accompanied them to the funeral pyre. In British India, in 1829, suttee, the name given to the barbarous practice of the immolation of wives, was decreed to be only 'culpable homicide', punishable by fine or imprisonment. Nothing so eloquently testified to the lowly social status of women than an expectation that they should not outlive their husbands. After death, to be forgotten in one's own right may be a painful prospect, but to be remembered only as the wife of one's husband is infinitely more ignominious.

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

**********************************************************************

Bill adds: "Re: suttee. I've got a photo somewhere of the handprints of about 13 wives of some Rajasthani Raja who jumped on his pyre. To be fair, they do get to be reborn, or even attain moksha, so it was in their own interests."

Okay, okay, okay - you got me. It turns out that yesterday's Morbid Fact - the 'Yo Ho Ho and a Body In Rum' edition - was too good to be true. Several of you pointed out that Reuters later rescinded their story and Snopes has the scoop on their site:

http://www.snopes.com/horrors/cannibal/tapping.asp

Thank you to everyone who caught this one.

*******

Wretched Recommendations!

Einstein Shrugged recommends one of my favorite morbid books - and a proud inhabitant of The Library Eclectica:

Without Sanctuary
by Leon F. Litwak

"I picked up a copy of this one night in a fit of drunken Amazon shopping so when it turned up it was a bit of a surprise but morbid surprises are always the best kind. There's not much in the way of text (though what they have is pretty intense) and it mostly lets the photography speak for itself. I've had it for a little over a week and have already read and looked through it twice. The lynchings are bad enough, but the crowd shots of happy, smiling people make it one of the most disturbing books I've read in a long time.

"A sample:

"'After learning of the lynching of her husband, Mary Turner - in her eighth month of pregnancy - vowed to find those responsible, swear out warrants against them, and have them punished in the courts. For making such a threat, a mob of several hundred men and women determined to 'teach her a lesson'. After tying her ankles together, they hung her from a tree, head downward. Dousing her clothes with gasoline, they burned them from her body. While she was still alive, someone used a knife ordinarily reserved for splitting hogs to cut open the woman's abdomen. The infant fell from her womb to the ground and cried briefly, whereupon a member of this Valdosta, Georgia, mob crushed the baby's head beneath his heel. Hundreds of bullets were then fired into Mary Turner's body, completing the work of the mob. The Associated Press, in its notice of the affair, observed that Mary Turner had made 'unwise remarks' about the execution of her husband, 'and the people, in their indignant mood, took exceptions to her remarks, as well as her attitude.'"

"Figured your list would love it."

As a matter of fact, some of you may recall the excerpt above formed the basis of the January 3, 2003 Morbid Fact Du Jour. And interestingly enough, my review of the book sounds a lot like Einstein's:

"Without Sanctuary" is an amazing, but very upsetting, collection of lynching photographs and some of the stories that go with them. Although the images of the beaten, burned, mutilated, and hung victims are horrible enough on their own, the thing that truly disturbs me about these photographs are the spectators - men, women, and children - smiling, goofing off, and proudly posing in front of the corpses, just as if they were at a Fourth of July picnic or something. It's really frightening to think how cruel and vicious "good god-fearing citizens" behaved not so very long ago (the majority of the pictures date from the 1890's-1930's, though the most recent comes from 1960). I think this book is performing a great service by refusing to allow this country to forget its own barbarities of the not-so-distant past.

Highly recommended! (5/5 skulls)

*******

Putrid Poetry!

Riley contributes this understated gem:

"Darwin Effect"

Crikey! Them stingrays is spikey!

*******

March Contest - Ruthless Rhymes!

For the last few days, I've been sharing some of my favorite little morbid poems from Ruthless Rhymes For Heartless Homes. I thought that it might be fun to do a creative writing contest this month, where I invite you to write your own "Ruthless Rhyme". I will do some googling to make sure that the poem is truly yours, so no plagiarism! The poem should be short (10 -14 lines maximum) and morbid - but other than that, feel free to use your creative license. The winner, as chosen by the Comtesse, will receive a MFDJ "Desensitize Yourself" t-shirt as shown on A Plethora Of Viscera (http://plethoraofviscera.com).

Send your entries to ruthless@asylumeclectica.com. Contest closes March 23rd. Good luck!


March 16, 2007

Today's Legendary Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

The Knights Templar was one of the most famous of the Christian military orders. It existed for about two centuries in the Middle Ages, created in the aftermath of the First Crusade of 1096 to ensure the safety of the large numbers of European pilgrims who flowed toward Jerusalem after its conquest.

The skull and cross-bones, are long known to have Templar and latterly Masonic connections and were commonly used as a symbol on Templar and Masonic grave sites in the past. The Skull and Cross-bones, Masonic or not, point out to us all, our own mortality and eventual death. This image of mortality was believed to figure in Templar ritual. Now while this claim in and of itself seems quite believable, one of the legends of how it came to be is not.

It is well known that the order of the Templars was monastic in nature and therefore forbidden to have involvement with women as shown in the Templar Rule of Order. The legend of the "Skull of Sidon" claims that one Templar knight had a relationship with a woman who died. He dug up the woman's corpse and consummated their relationship resulting in a most grisly birth nine months later.

"A great lady of Maraclea was loved by a Templar, A Lord of Sidon; but she died in her youth, and on the night of her burial, this wicked lover crept to the grave, dug up her body and violated it. Then a voice from the void bade him return in nine months time for he would find a son. He obeyed the injunction and at the appointed time he opened the grave again and found a head on the leg bones of the skeleton (skull and crossbones). The same voice bade him 'guard it well, for it would be the giver of all good things', and so he carried it away with him. It became his protecting genius, and he was able to defeat his enemies by merely showing them the magic head. In due course, it passed to the possession of the order."

Culled from: Templar History
Generously suggested by: Bloodnight

**********************************************************************

Matt adds: "BTW, By this sign thou shalt conquer, is what God supposedly said to Constantine, the Roman Emporer who made Christianity the official religion of the Roman empire after he won a battle by marking his soldiers shields with crosses. Hence, By this sign thou shalt conquer.'"

This reminds me of a masonic grave carving that I stumbled across in Rosehill Cemetery here in Chicago a couple of weeks ago. What a sweet little story I now have to go along with it!

By the way, the words around the image - "In Hoc Signo Vinces" - apparently means, "By this sign thou shalt conquer". Creepy little buggers, those masons.

*******

Wretched Recommendations!

William recommendat that we, "check out Marie Tatar's delightful 'Lustmord: Sexual Murder in Weimar Germany'. Though it is a bit academic and approaches the subject from a feminist/gender politics/sociological perspective, the book still provides an excellent overview of the subject and will provide hours of enjoyment - if Lustmord is your kind of thing, that is...."

And if you're subscribed to this list, chances are, it is!

Lustmord: Sexual Murder in Weimar Germany
by Maria M. Tatar

*******

Morbid Art Du Jour!

Margaux Lange really takes jewelry to another level with her delightful Plastic Body Series. Barbie (or Ken) lovers may want to avert their eyes...

http://www.margauxlange.com/

Thanks to Elizabeth for the link.

*******

March Contest - Ruthless Rhymes!

For the last few days, I've been sharing some of my favorite little morbid poems from Ruthless Rhymes For Heartless Homes. I thought that it might be fun to do a creative writing contest this month, where I invite you to write your own "Ruthless Rhyme". I will do some googling to make sure that the poem is truly yours, so no plagiarism! The poem should be short (10 -14 lines maximum) and morbid - but other than that, feel free to use your creative license. The winner, as chosen by the Comtesse, will receive a MFDJ "Desensitize Yourself" t-shirt as shown on A Plethora Of Viscera (http://plethoraofviscera.com).

Send your entries to ruthless@asylumeclectica.com. Contest closes March 23rd. Good luck!


March 17, 2007

Top o' the Morbid to ya! In honor of St. Patrick's Day, let's celebrate the exploits of a deranged Irishman with...

Today's Inhuman Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

Alexander Pearce, an Irishman, was transported to Australia for seven years after being convicted of stealing six pairs of shoes. He then forged a money order and was sent to one of the British Empire's most savage penal colonies, Macquarie Harbour, on the west coast of Tasmania. In 1822 Pearce escaped with seven other convicts, planning to trek across Tasmania and commandeer a boat to a Pacific island or China. After 15 days they were on the brink of starvation. Two died of exhaustion. "They quickly ran out of provisions. So they began eating each other," Warwick Hirst, the curator of On the Run: Daring Convict Escapes, told the Sydney Morning Herald. The first man to be murdered, Thomas Bodenham, was felled with an axe, his body cut up, roasted and "devoured greedily", Pearce recounted in his confession. Within nine weeks, he was the last man standing. He made his way to the Derwent River and joined a band of bushrangers. When Pearce was recaptured he confessed to cannibalism but the story was considered far-fetched. Magistrates thought he concocted the account to cover for his companions, believed to be still at large. He was sent back to Macquarie Harbour. In 1823 he escaped again, taking with him a young prisoner called Thomas Cox. When he was recaptured 11 days later he was carrying an old flour bag containing the half-eaten remains of his mate. "You can't help but feel that he took the other convict with him as a ready store of meat," said Mr Hirst. In a contemporary report a horrified official wrote that the body was "cut right through the middle, the head off, the privates torn off, all the flesh off the calves and the legs, which the inhuman wretch declared was the most delicious food". Pearce, 34, was "laden with the weight of human blood, and believed to have banqueted on human flesh", the Hobart Town Gazette reported at his trial. So abhorrent did the colonial authorities view his crimes that after he was hanged his body was cut into pieces and his skull boiled clean to be kept as a trophy.

Culled from: The New Zealand Herald
Generously submitted by: Elizabeth

**********************************************************************

Morbid Choreography!

If you live in the New York area, you may be interested in a dance production of Edward Scissorhands that is currently running at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. It's only playing through the end of March, so if you're interested, grab your opera glasses and run!

http://www.bam.org/events/07EDWA/07EDWA.aspx

For those of us who can't make the trip, here's a nice video to give us an idea of what we're missing:

http://www.bam.org/events/07EDWA/07EDWA_video.aspx

Thanks to Steve O' for the link.

*******

Morbid Trinket Du Jour!

Searching for the perfect romantic gift for the arachnophile in your life? Why not give the gift that keeps on giving... everyone else around you the heebie-jeebies!!

A spider bracelet!

http://www.shaddowdomain.com/spiderbracelet1.jpg

Available from Shaddow Domain:
http://www.shaddowdomain.com/index10.html

*******

March Contest - Ruthless Rhymes!

For the last few days, I've been sharing some of my favorite little morbid poems from Ruthless Rhymes For Heartless Homes. I thought that it might be fun to do a creative writing contest this month, where I invite you to write your own "Ruthless Rhyme". I will do some googling to make sure that the poem is truly yours, so no plagiarism! The poem should be short (10 -14 lines maximum) and morbid - but other than that, feel free to use your creative license. The winner, as chosen by the Comtesse, will receive a MFDJ "Desensitize Yourself" t-shirt as shown on A Plethora Of Viscera (http://plethoraofviscera.com).

Send your entries to ruthless@asylumeclectica.com. Contest closes March 23rd. Good luck!


March 18, 2007

Today's Ruthless Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

Frank "Dasher" Abbandando (1910 – February 19, 1942) was a hitman for Murder, Inc. and is claimed to have killed 30 people in Brooklyn in the 1920s and 1930s. Abbandando murdered ruthlessly and without conscience. Such was the case of George "Whitey" Rudnick, who had been earmarked for death because of bad debts and because the mob thought he might be informing on them to police. On May 25, 1937, Abbandando, Abe Reles, and Harry Maione took Rudnick to a Brownville garage and there tortured him by stabbing him sixty-three times with icepicks, strangling him slowly, and then using a meat cleaver to crush his head. The three killers, Reles later recalled, laughed uproariously as they repeatedly stuck icepicks into Rudnick, counting the blows and delighting in the victim's tortured screams of agony.

Culled from: Bloodletters and Badmen
http://astore.amazon.com/theasylumeclecti/detail/087131777X/102-9219947-6131357

**********************************************************************

Morbid Television!

So, have you heard about the new John Waters television show "'Til Death Do Us Part" that's premiering on Court TV Monday night (March 19, 10 PM)? It sounds like brilliant morbid fun! Here's a blurb from QueerDay.Com that sums it up:

John Waters will be Alfred Hitchcock-like hosting Court TV's first scripted series called "'Til Death Do Us Part." Waters notes, "It's a thin line these days, as you all know, between bad and good taste," and he's primarily out to entertain, presenting stories often too bizarre to concoct. The series takes real-life murder cases where one spouse kills the other and dramatizes the relationship, from the wedding to the murder to the investigation through to the trial. Waters time travels through the narrative as a character called the Groom Reaper. "When they first asked me, I thought they said the Groom Raper. Either way, I would have said yes."

http://www.courttv.com/onair/shows/til_death_do_us_part/index.html

*******

Morbid Musicals!

Baelish sent me an excellent starter list of Morbid Musicals.

"I noticed that you have a lot of movies and bands, but you don't seem to have any morbid musicals, so I thought I'd point you in the direction of a couple:

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (Sondheim)
Murder, bloodshed and cannibalism, live on stage! Based on the classic story of the 19th century barber who cut the throats of his customers. As Sweeney cuts his way through London trying to avenge himself on the corrupt, pedophilic Judge who ruined his life, his neighbor Mrs. Lovett disposes of the bodies in the best way she can- by cooking them into her meat pies and selling them back to the town! Soon to be a movie by Tim Burton.
Highlight song: 'They All Deserve to Die' Body Count: 10+

Bat Boy the Musical! (Laurence O'Keefe)
The show loosely based on the Weekly World News saga that attracted national attention for it's gore and controversial subject matter. The story of Edgar, the feral half-boy/half-vampire-bat with a longing for acceptance and an unfortunate thirst for blood, his lover Shelley (who turns out to be his, er, sister), the narrow-minded town who captures and cages him, and the schitzophrenic Dr. Parker who frames Edgar for his own killings.
Highlight Song: 'Comfort and Joy' Body Count: 6 humans and several unfortunate cows.

Lucky Stiff (Stephen Flaherty & Lynn Ahrens)
A morbid comedy about a mild mannered British shoe salesman who will inherit $6 million if he will take the corpse of his uncle on vacation to Monte Carlo, but everyone is out to steal the corpse (and the money!) for themselves!
Highlight song: 'Good To Be Alive' Body Count: Just the one.

*******

March Contest - Ruthless Rhymes!

For the last few days, I've been sharing some of my favorite little morbid poems from Ruthless Rhymes For Heartless Homes. I thought that it might be fun to do a creative writing contest this month, where I invite you to write your own "Ruthless Rhyme". I will do some googling to make sure that the poem is truly yours, so no plagiarism! The poem should be short (10 -14 lines maximum) and morbid - but other than that, feel free to use your creative license. The winner, as chosen by the Comtesse, will receive a MFDJ "Desensitize Yourself" t-shirt as shown on A Plethora Of Viscera (http://plethoraofviscera.com).

Send your entries to ruthless@asylumeclectica.com. Contest closes March 23rd. Good luck!


March 19, 2007

Today's Godless Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

A man shouting that God would keep him safe was mauled to death by a lioness in Kiev zoo after he crept into the animal's enclosure. "The man shouted 'God will save me, if he exists', lowered himself by a rope into the enclosure, took his shoes off and went up to the lions," a zoo official said. "A lioness went straight for him, knocked him down and severed his carotid artery." The incident, Sunday evening when the zoo was packed with visitors, was the first of its kind at the attraction. Lions and tigers are kept in an "animal island" protected by thick concrete blocks.

Culled from: Reuters
Generously submitted by: Paradox

**********************************************************************

At last - proof there is no God! 's about time, eh?

*******

Follow-Up Du Jour!

Carolyn sent a link to a "Moments in History" PSA that aired in Canada regarding the Halifax explosion (which was the feature of the February 20 MFDJ). The actors aren't about to win any Academy Awards, but it's still worth a watch:

http://www.histori.ca/minutes/minute.do?id=10203

*******

Epitaph Du Jour!

Culled from:
Over Their Dead Bodies: Yankee Epitaphs & History
Authors: Thomas C. Mann & Janet Greene
Date: 1962

Mrs. Sarah Newcomb, 1796, age 39, Keene, N.H.:
How loved, how valued once avails thee not
To whom related or by whom begot;
A heap of dust alone remains of thee
'Tis all thou are, and what we all must be.

Thanks to Miyuki for the contribution.

*******

Wretched Recommendations!

Sandy has a movie recommendation:

Citizen X (1995)

"It is really good and really creepy. Personally I think they cast the killer wrong though. Because Andre Chikatilo was one of those really CREEPY looking guys and they cast a non creepy guy. Do you remember seeing the photos of him in the cage he sat in for trial? He looked positively scary/creepy/insane. When you look up 'stranger danger' he is the picture next to the phrase. I also highly recommend it - it's great!"

*******

March Contest - Ruthless Rhymes!

For the last few days, I've been sharing some of my favorite little morbid poems from Ruthless Rhymes For Heartless Homes. I thought that it might be fun to do a creative writing contest this month, where I invite you to write your own "Ruthless Rhyme". I will do some googling to make sure that the poem is truly yours, so no plagiarism! The poem should be short (10 -14 lines maximum) and morbid - but other than that, feel free to use your creative license. The winner, as chosen by the Comtesse, will receive a MFDJ "Desensitize Yourself" t-shirt as shown on A Plethora Of Viscera (http://plethoraofviscera.com).

Send your entries to ruthless@asylumeclectica.com. Contest closes March 23rd. Good luck!


March 20, 2007

Today's Shanghaied Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

Chinese prostitutes were not the only human commodity on the Barbary Coast in 19th century San Francisco. Sailors were often "shanghaied" into service against their will. (In fact, the verb to Shanghai, or to steal someone's body and put it on a boat, was invented in San Francisco. There were no direct shipping connections between San Francisco and Shanghai, so sailors who made that crossing had to travel around the world. Thus any long and dangerous journey came to be known as a shanghai.)

Any able-bodied sailor could be drugged or knocked out with a sleeping potion in his drink, and his body carried by night onto an outgoing ship in the harbor. By the time the poor fellow woke up, he was on his way to some distant land and under the whip of a scurrilous captain. Professional kidnappers carried out their human heists for a fee per body, and sometimes dead bodies or even stuffed dummies were substituted for live sailors. Many murders in San Francisco were never solved because the corpse had been shipped off to sea as a live sailor.

Culled from: San Francisco Confidential by Ray Mungo

**********************************************************************

Sometimes I think I must have been Shanghaied into my current job, don't you?

*******

Morbid Mirth Du Jour!

This one was sent by my Dad, a proud Norwegian from Duluth:

Olaf vas vorking at da fish plant up nort in Dulut vhen he accidently cut off all ten of his finkers. He vent to da emergency room in da Clinik and vhen he got dar da Norsky doctor looked at Olaf and said, "Let's have da finkers and I'll see vhat I can do."

Olaf said, "I haven't got da finkers."

"Vhat do you mean, you hafen't got da finkers?" he said. "Lord-it's 2006! Ve's got microsurgery and all kinds of incredible techniques. I could hafe put dem back on and made you like new! Vhy didn't you brink da finkers?"

To vhich Olaf says, "How da fock vas I suppose to pick dem up?"

*******

Morbid Site Du Jour!

Black Dahlia: The Story As It Was Originally Reported is a tie-in with the movie The Black Dahlia, but it contains a number of original vintage newspaper articles that are quite fascinating.

http://webapp1.latimes.com/theblackdahlia/

Thanks to Lady Morgana for the link.

*******

March Contest - Ruthless Rhymes!

For the last few days, I've been sharing some of my favorite little morbid poems from Ruthless Rhymes For Heartless Homes. I thought that it might be fun to do a creative writing contest this month, where I invite you to write your own "Ruthless Rhyme". I will do some googling to make sure that the poem is truly yours, so no plagiarism! The poem should be short (10 -14 lines maximum) and morbid - but other than that, feel free to use your creative license. The winner, as chosen by the Comtesse, will receive a MFDJ "Desensitize Yourself" t-shirt as shown on A Plethora Of Viscera (http://plethoraofviscera.com).

Send your entries to ruthless@asylumeclectica.com. Contest closes March 23rd. Good luck!


March 21, 2007

Today's Poisonous Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

The Top Ten Most Deadly Poisons

1. Botulinum (ingested)
It’s hard to rank the lethality of toxins, but experts agree that botulinum – several orders of magnitude deadlier than sarin – is the gold standard. Your nervous system fails and you die in extreme pain. Works miracles on wrinkles, though.

2. Ricin (ingested or inhaled)
Made from the lowly castor bean, ricin causes respiratory and organ failure, followed by death within hours. Even chewing a few beans can kill you.

3. Anthrax (inhaled)
Cutaneous exposure can kill, but the most deadly, panic-inspiring form of anthrax is inhaled. It starts with flu that doesn’t get better – then your respiratory system collapses.

4. Sarin (inhaled)
Sarin is one of the deadliest nerve gases, hundreds of times more toxic than cyanide. Just one whiff and you’ll foam at the mouth, fall into a coma, and die. Originally synthesized for use as a pesticide, it was outlawed as a warfare agent in 1997.

5. Tetrodotoxin (ingested)
Found in the organs of puffer fish (the famous Japanese delicacy fugu), tetrodotoxin persists even after the fish is cooked. If the toxin is consumed, paralysis and death can strike within six hours. Up to five Japanese die from badly prepared fugu every year.

6. Cyanide (ingested or inhaled)
Cyanide exists in a number of lethal forms that are present in nature or easily manufactured. Exposure leads to seizures, cardiac arrest, and death within minutes.

7. Mercury (inhaled)
Low levels of mercury are not especially toxic to adults. However, inhaled mercury vapor (the metal starts turning to a gas at room temp) attacks the brain and lungs, shutting down the central nervous system.

8. Strychnine (ingested or inhaled)
A common pesticide, strychnine isn’t as toxic as other poisons on our list, but it gets style points for causing one of the most horrific deaths of all: Every muscle in your body spasms violently until you die from exhaustion.

9. Amatoxin (ingested)
Derived from the death cap family of mushrooms, amatoxin destroys your liver and kidneys over several days. You remain conscious – and in excruciating pain – until you slip into a coma and expire.

10. Compound 1080 (ingested or inhaled)
As an animal poison, compound 1080 proved a little too effective: The bodies of creatures killed with 1080 remain poisonous for up to a year. Odorless, tasteless, water soluble, and without antidote, 1080 blocks cellular metabolism, leading to a quick yet painful death.

Culled from: Wired Magazine
http://wired.com/wired/archive/14.08/start.html?pg=4
Generously submitted by: Joe

**********************************************************************

Wow, I never realized just how horrible strychnine poisoning was! Makes me love my "Make Mine Strychnine" mug all the more!

http://www.cafepress.com/plethoraviscera/2332823

Bruce T. adds: "The thing about ordering fugu at a sushi restaurant (or so I've heard, never done so myself) is that the poison is in every part of the fish. It's concentrated, I think, in the liver and so that part is never served but the little buggers are just *full* of it. Properly prepared, fugu causes a delicate tingling sensation in one's mouth. That's the toxin going to work. A sub-lethal dose, one hopes."

Ken adds: "Tetrodotoxin, ie Fugu, has been found to have a direct link between the diet of the puffer fish, and the level of toxicity, so they have found that by altering the fish's diet, they can have blowfish meat with ZERO Tetrodotoxin in it. Of course Just what the fuck good is eating Blowfish, if you aren't risking your life doing it? It'd be like Taking an unloaded revolver, spinning the cylinder, and putting it to your head and pulling the trigger-CLICK...WHOOPEDEDOO. I want my Fugu prepared by a Blind Chef with Parkinsons, and severe Rheumatoid arthritis."

*******

"My Brush With Morbidity" by Jaime

"I was lucky enough to secure a pretty good job within my chosen profession, video production and editing, but have to deal with the inevitable each day – I work as a surgical video producer. The live patients are not so bad, it’s the cadaver videos I dread.

"We have a lab in which new doctors practice on ‘parts,’ and I’m there to capture it all on film. You wouldn’t believe the gross stuff that happens – one guy, hammering a knee a little too vigorously, was sprayed all over his face with cadaver bone marrow goo.

"The 2 worst things that have happened to me are:

"Spine Surgery Day – Imagine arriving to work, 6am, still dark, to open a lab door and be greeted by rows and rows of disembodied heads, eyes open, faces frozen in death. Took a little while to get over that.

"Lower Extremity Day -- As I am a busy girl at work, I tend to rush about the lab sometimes. At the end of one day, the lab techs were gathering up the used parts. As I was running through the windowless lab doors, I almost fell into a mini dumpster sized tub of legs parked right in front of the door. Feet, thighs up to the hip, were just tossed into this tub for disposal. It was like a slow motion movie as I stopped (dead) in my tracks, teetering above this tub. Needless to say, the lab tech who parked it there was soundly reprimanded.

"I just know if I had fallen in, I would be drooling in a straight – jacket now."

Wow - what an awesome job!!!

*******

Morbid Site Du Jour!

"The Human Marvels" is a website celebrating "peculiar people". Now, that's a cause I can get behind!

http://www.thehumanmarvels.com/

Thanks to Rebecca for the link.

*******

March Contest - Ruthless Rhymes!

For the last few days, I've been sharing some of my favorite little morbid poems from Ruthless Rhymes For Heartless Homes. I thought that it might be fun to do a creative writing contest this month, where I invite you to write your own "Ruthless Rhyme". I will do some googling to make sure that the poem is truly yours, so no plagiarism! The poem should be short (10 -14 lines maximum) and morbid - but other than that, feel free to use your creative license. The winner, as chosen by the Comtesse, will receive a MFDJ "Desensitize Yourself" t-shirt as shown on A Plethora Of Viscera (http://plethoraofviscera.com).

Send your entries to ruthless@asylumeclectica.com. Contest closes March 23rd. Good luck!


March 22, 2007

Today's Ironic Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

An aspiring actress, 24-year-old Peg Entwistle was the first suicide to jump from the Hollywood sign. Peg had been struggling unsuccessfully to make it in Hollywood. Desperate and vulnerable, she even posed topless for little pay, but was ultimately left in the city with no money, no friends, and no hopes after just five months. On the night of September 18, 1932, Entwistle told her uncle she was going for a walk, then made her way up the mountain to the foot of the giant "HOLLYWOODLAND" sign. She folded her coat neatly, placed it on the ground beside her purse, and following the American Dream, climbed up the maintenance ladder of the 50-foot H and leapt to her death. However, like a proper Hollywood ending - one so purely ironic I would deride it as contrived crap if only it were fiction - it doesn't end there. Entwistle's body was found two days later, and two days after that a letter addressed to her from the Beverly Hills Playhouse arrived at her uncle's home. It was postmarked the day before she jumped, and offered her the lead role in their next play, the final act of which ended with her character committing suicide.

Culled from: BAM
Generously submitted by: kelshubert

**********************************************************************

They say in Hollywood, timing is *everything*.

*******

Epitaph Du Jour!

Culled from:
Over Their Dead Bodies: Yankee Epitaphs & History
Authors: Thomas C. Mann & Janet Greene
Date: 1962

Dr. Polycarpus Cushman, 1797, age 47, Bernardston, Mass.:
Vain censorious beings little know
What they must soon experience below.
Your lives are short, eternity is long;
O think of death, prepare & then begone
Thus art & Nature's powers and charms
And drugs & receipts and forms
Yield all, at last, to greedy worms,
A despicable prey.

Thanks to Miyuki for the contribution.

*******

Morbid Link Du Jour!

Here's a page to inspire birth control: a collection of images of vile birth defects. Be warned!

http://medlib.med.utah.edu/WebPath/PEDHTML/PEDIDX.html

Thanks to Niddhogg for the link.

*******

March Contest - Ruthless Rhymes!

For the last few days, I've been sharing some of my favorite little morbid poems from Ruthless Rhymes For Heartless Homes. I thought that it might be fun to do a creative writing contest this month, where I invite you to write your own "Ruthless Rhyme". I will do some googling to make sure that the poem is truly yours, so no plagiarism! The poem should be short (10 -14 lines maximum) and morbid - but other than that, feel free to use your creative license. The winner, as chosen by the Comtesse, will receive a MFDJ "Desensitize Yourself" t-shirt as shown on A Plethora Of Viscera (http://plethoraofviscera.com).

Send your entries to ruthless@asylumeclectica.com. Contest closes March 23rd. Good luck!


March 23, 2007

Today's Tragic Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

Best known as the boy on whom J.M. Barrie based the character Peter Pan, Peter Llewelyn-Davies did, in fact, grow up, and died by throwing himself under a train at the age of 63. After returning from WWI, he suffered a series of family tragedies. His brother George was killed in the war and another brother, Michael, died under odd circumstances at Oxford (his body was found with that of his best friend, Rupert Buxton, their hands tied together, causing many to speculate that the two had been lovers). When Peter was cut out of J.M. Barrie's will, it was apparently the last straw. He began drinking more frequently and finally became an alcoholic. On the night of April 5, 1960, after spending the evening at a bar, Peter walked to nearby Sloane Square and threw himself under an arriving train as it pulled into the station.

Culled from: BAM
Generously submitted by: kelshubert

**********************************************************************

I can't help but wonder if this is the way that Peter Pan-emulating Michael Jackson is going to end too...

*******

It's my general policy not to publish "second-hand" brushes with morbidity, for the most. You know, "This happened to my brother..." etc. But if they are particularly unique or well-written, I make an exception. Such is the case with Seb's latest submission:

"My Mum's Co-Worker's Husband's Brush With Morbidity" by Seb

"My dearest Comtesse D.

"You recently placed three short stories of mine in 'My brush with Morbidity,' for which I am eternally grateful. So much so, that when I remembered yet another sickly story from the land of windmills, wooden shoes and dikes (no pun intended :-) [of course not - despair], I immediately thought of you…

"As I explained in my previous story, the city of Rotterdam is a fairly large city (750,000 people) in the Netherlands that I happen to call home. A long time ago - we're talking 20-odd years - my mother was working at a day-care centre for children. She had a co-worker whose husband worked as an undertaker. His speciality? Assisting the coroner at crime scenes... I have heard numerous stories about the insanity this guy dealt with everyday, but one story in particular stood out.

"So, your humble servant Seb presents you with: 'Going down - a day in the life of a Rotterdam undertaker' or 'My mum's co-worker's husband's brush with Morbidity'

"It was just another slow day at work for our undertaker (whom shall remain nameless but will be referenced to as E, for brevity's sake). A stiff here, a ripe one there and some recent heart-attacks, but nothing his subrdinates couldn't handle. But then came a call… 'Hi E, this is the Rotterdam Police Dept. We've got a suicide for ya.' E. responded with 'Sure, I'm on my way'. The cop chuckled and said: 'Hehehehe, make sure you bring a shovel'.

"It's remarks like this that make a self-respecting undertaker tremble. What was going on?

"OK, before I continue, open an internet browser and go to google.com. Now type in 'Euromast Rotterdam' and select 'images'. Then search and look at the building in question. 186 meters up, in the middle of a park... THAT'S where the suicide took place!

"We again meet our hero at the base of the Euromast as he walks toward the police officers. 'So, where's the jumper?' he asks. A cop says, 'Well, E. Did you bring a shovel like we told you?'. Without sayin a word he points at one of his assistants who is carrying a large shovel. 'Good,' says the cop: 'the jumper is approximately 3 1/2 feet below you'.

"As it turned out, the man had jumped from a height of 150 meters onto the grass. In Western Holland, most of the ground is boggy clay and thus very soft. In fact, most buildings in Holland are built on poles that are hammered 30 meters down into the rock stratum. So with this soft ground, high altitude and a feet-first position, our hapless jumper got an instant-burial on touchdown. Slowly, E tilted his head down and then spotted a small hole in the grass. He bent down and then saw that the hole was actually a lot larger and deeper than it at first appeared to be. All that was visible were the jumper's hands, sticking out of the hole as if he was holding on to the edges of the hole he had created on impact, trying not to fall deeper down into Hades…

"Well, E suggested to just fill up the hole and put a cross on top of it, but Rotterdam's finest wouldn't have that. According to the cops there are rules about burials and you cannot bury a human being just anywhere blah-blah-blah.

"He ended up having to dig the guy out and transport him to the morgue. When he finally got the corpse out of the hole it turned out to be reasonably intact, except for the legs. The femurs had been driven through the pelvis and abdomen into the chest-cavity, causing near-instant death by complete disintegration of the internal organs. As E said: 'the guy looked like his feet were directly attached to his balls'.

"So, if you want to off yourself without making too much of a mess, jump from a high-rise building into a soggy stretch of grass, feet first. At least it'll give the police, undertaker and some sick and twisted people in their vicinity something to talk about."

J adds: "When I was skydiving, I saw a guy do this - pulled his ripcord just before impact. This gave the canopy time to come out and stretch the lines, pulling
him upright, but before the thing actually opened. He smacked in at about 130 miles per hour and neatly buried himself into the soft ground. His anklebone popped out sideways through his boot, his legs were definitley a lot shorter and not a single bone, below the neck, was unbroken. "

*******

Morbid Trinket Du Jour!

Of course, as you know, the Comtesse would never, ever do anything so vulgar as reproduce! Her life is wretched enough. But for those of you who have elected to contribute to the overpopulation by Homo sapiens sapiens of the planet Earth - or who know someone who has - here's the perfect little, "Awwwww, innit cute?" morbid trinket:

http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=513001

Thanks to J. Bo.

*******

LAST DAY!!!
March Contest - Ruthless Rhymes!

For the last few days, I've been sharing some of my favorite little morbid poems from Ruthless Rhymes For Heartless Homes. I thought that it might be fun to do a creative writing contest this month, where I invite you to write your own "Ruthless Rhyme". I will do some googling to make sure that the poem is truly yours, so no plagiarism! The poem should be short (10 -14 lines maximum) and morbid - but other than that, feel free to use your creative license. The winner, as chosen by the Comtesse, will receive a MFDJ "Desensitize Yourself" t-shirt as shown on A Plethora Of Viscera (http://plethoraofviscera.com).

Send your entries to ruthless@asylumeclectica.com. Contest closes March 23rd. Good luck!


March 24, 2007

Today's Capsized Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

While in for repairs at Spithead in southern England on August 29, 1792, the famed 108-gun warship Royal George unexpectedly capsized while 1,300 sailors, workers, and others were aboard. About 900 people died in the tragedy, causing great embarrassment to the English naval establishment.

Culled from: The Pessimist's Guide To History

**********************************************************************

Alas, the Comtesse is ill again! What have I done to deserve a rash of such vile illness??? (Wait - don't answer that!!!) This time around, it's either a cold or allergies that has me in its feverish grip, but I'll try to keep getting the facts out on a daily basis. Should I lapse, however, you'll know why.

Thank you to everyone who entered the Ruthless Rhymes contest (which is now closed). The response was amazing, yet again! I am currently beginning the difficult process of going through the entries and picking my favorites. I should have the results within a few days, and I'll share the créme de la morbide with everyone!

*******

Morbid Link Du Jour!

Here are some fun accident videos with which to wince away your minutes.

http://www.metacafe.com/tags/accident

Thanks to Kelli for the link.

*******

Morbid Mirth Du Jour!

Q: How are babies and pizzas different?

.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.

A: A pizza doesn't scream when you put it in the oven.

You can thank David for that one.


March 25, 2007

Today's Philosophical Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

Empedocles was a mystic from a Greek colony in Sicily, as well as the last philosopher to write in verse. He claimed that all matter was composed of four elements - water, earth, air, and fire - and held that all motion is just the interaction of particles, which never change in quantity but only in position. He was brilliant, but also arrogant and insane, claiming that through knowledge he had become divine and could perform miracles. While there is some evidence that he died in Greece, the more entertaining story goes that to prove his divinity he cast himself into an active volcano, Mt. Etna in Sicily, inadvertently and idiotically killing himself in the process. Philosophy, incidentally, translates to "love of wisdom."

Culled from: Bitching and Moaning.Org
Generously submitted by: kelshubert

**********************************************************************

I have roused myself from my sick bed to send off this missive. The sickness I am suffering from is worse than ever today, and to make matters even more unbearable, it was nearly 80 degrees. The insects are buzzing, the flowers are blooming, my beloved winter is dying. Oh, how I detest the sickness of spring!

Okay, it's back to the sick bed for me. Hope you all are doing better than I on this doleful Sunday.

*******

Wretched Recommendations!

Axollot has a fiction recommendation:

Pattern Crimes
by William Bayer

"It is a fast paced, serial killer, thriller. This is the description on the back of the book: 'It started with a girl found dead at the Damascus Gate. It continued with a succession of bodies, all identically mutilated, all dumped near the old City Walls. It pointed to a crazed psychopath, a case of serial murders. But it concealed something far more sinister...'"

*******

Morbid Mirth Du Jour!

"Mrs. Smith was a hypochondriac. Dr. Jones was fed up with her constant complaints about non-existent illnesses, so he started palming her off with a mild sedative to keep her happy.

"One day she complained about chest pains and the doctor prescribed his usual treatment. This time however, the pain was real and Mrs. Smith died of a heart attack.

"On hearing of her death, Dr. Jones was so upset he died of shock. Mrs. Smith and Dr. Jones were buried next to each other in the cemetery.

"The next morning, Dr. Jones heard a tapping on his coffin, followed by a voice saying, 'Dr. Jones, this is Mrs. Smith. Do you have anything for worms?'"

You can thank Remo for that one!


March 26, 2007

Today's Instant Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

A pipe bomb exploded and instantly killed a Brazil man who may have intended to use the device to stun fish. The body of Paul Lynch, 31, was found early Saturday by friends who had been searching for him since the prior evening. "A shrapnel piece from the bomb ... passed through Lynch's heart, killing him instantly," Clay County Coroner Rick Swearingen said. Lynch had been fishing alone in Birch Creek near Clay City, about 60 miles southwest of Indianapolis, and had two of the homemade bombs with him. Bomb technicians from the Indiana State Police Bomb Squad defused the remaining pipe bomb, which was made from a steel pipe. The pipe bomb may have been intended to be used to stun fish in the creek.

Culled from: The Indy Channel
Generously submitted by: Bruce T.

**********************************************************************

One small death for man; one giant leap for fishkind!

Yes, I am rising from the sickbed to send the newsletter again today. I went to a doc-in-a-box this morning and he gave me medication for my allergies which of course has done little good, so I look forward to another miserable restless couple of nights before I can get in to see a specialist. Oh, suffering - thy name is spring!

*******

Wretched Recommendations!

Katchaya has a non-fiction recommendation that looks like an excellent read!

Final Exits
by Michael Largo

Binkyboodlehead agrees:

"So glad to see you have added the Final Exits, The Illustrated Encyclopedia of How We Die. I grabbed it tonight after seeing a lady pick it up and cross it off her husband's Christmas wish list. I flipped through it and was amazed! Who knew there were so many bizarre ways to die? This is an extensive A-Z list of dying and death. Pages and pages of gore ...I love it!!"

Here's the Amazon.Com description:

"We're all going to die—it's in the contract—but how will it happen? Today, although we live longer, people are killed by everything—bad words, bloodletting, flying cows, frozen toilets, hiccups, laughing, and spontaneous combustion are some of the unexpected causes. According to death certificates, in 1700 there were less than one hundred causes of death. Now there are more than three thousand. In the eye-opening and addictive Final Exits, causes of death—bizarre or common—are alphabetically arranged and include actual accounts of people, both famous and ordinary, who died in their own particular way.

"Thoroughly researched, with uncanny historical detail covering burial customs, famous last words, and more than four hundred medical and historical illustrations from throughout the ages, Final Exits is more than just a trivia book. It is a portrait in words and numbers of human fate."

*******

Morbid Mirth Du Jour!

A plane crashes in the middle of the ocean and the four survivors, three men and a woman, wash up on a deserted island.

They set up camp and wait.

Weeks go by.

They're all getting pretty horny at this point so they come up with a plan that is fair to everyone:
The guys will take turns and each will get the girl every third night.

Months go by and everything is working out well.

The guys are getting enough to keep them happy and the woman is happy to be getting drilled every night.

Then, one day, the three men wake up to find the woman dead!

A month goes by and things are pretty normal.

Another month goes by and things are starting to get a little sketchy.

A third month goes by and things are getting out of hand.

A fourth month goes by and things are downright disgusting.

The fifth month goes by and they bury her.

Send your groans to Bill!


March 27, 2007

Today's Haggard Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

Lydia Rost was the daughter of Emile Rost, the owner of Destrehan Plantation in Louisiana. Lydia's room in the historic plantation house is kept perpetually in summer dress with furnishings contemporary to about August 1853, when Lydia died in the room - a victim of yellow fever. Lydia's last rites were given by Father Paret, who described her death in his journal, which roughly translated from the French reads as follows:

"The poor child is on the point of returning her soul to her Creator. She's suffered so much, spitting up black, rotten blood from her burning chest. Her whole body is covered with blisters... Her haggard eyes seem to popout of her head. Her cheeks are shrinking. Her teeth rattle and click against each other... Her whole body twists and turns with such an unbelievable force that the doctor and I barely hold her down. After a long and intense writhing, her pulse weakened and the agonizing death rattle began. Soon, we had only a corpse whose eyes I closed. That death will never be erased from my mind as long as I live... I could hardly remain standing and I trembled like a leaf... my eyes flooded with tears... Having finished this pious duty, they impose a second on me, that of announcing the news to the tearful family."

Culled from: Vestiges Of Grandeur

**********************************************************************

Okay, perhaps my ongoing illness isn't quite as severe as Lydia's... but I still can sympathize! I see a "specialist" tomorrow. Let's hope he can work a modern medical miracle on my ravaged remains!

Oh, by the way, you can visit Lydia's death room, complete with haunting portrait, at Destrehan Plantation:

http://www.destrehanplantation.org/index.asp

While I was huddle in my sick bed today, I read the book Vestiges of Grandeur that this fact was culled from. It's an interesting collection of exterior and interior photographs of the grand old Louisiana River Road plantations. Of course, the ones I found most interesting were the photographs of the abandoned ones that were collapsing, but which still had all the original antique furniture and family heirlooms inside them. These plantations are still owned by the original families too. Can you imagine simply allowing a grand old plantation house complete with your entire family history and priceless antiques to erode like that? Stupid people. We really should take these things away from them for their own good.

Anyway, the book's quite interesting if you'd like to explore the history of plantations in Louisiana.

Vestiges Of Grandeur: The Plantations of Louisiana's River Road
by Richard Sexton

*******

Morbid Trinket Du Jour!

Here's a nifty toothpick holder you'd be proud to display at your next cocktail party!

Voodoo Doll Toothpick Holder

Thanks to Christina for the link.

*******

Morbid Mirth Du Jour!

My dogs could contribute some specimens to the Circus of Disemboweled Stuffed Toys. Grisly!!

http://www.hanttula.com/exhibits/plushtoys/

Thanks to Katchaya for the link.





Vulgarities...