September, 2003

September 1, 2003

Today's Subtle Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

Anne Boleyn (1501-1536) was the first English queen to die under the axe. In 1536 her husband, King Henry VIII, trumped up charges of adultery against her, involving several of Henry's closest friends and even the Lord Rochford, Anne's own brother. In a court of her peers, she had no chance. After three years as queen, Anne was to die. In prison in the Tower, Anne became peculiarly unstable. She would swing from resignation to hilarity, and was frequently be heard to laughing, or making small jokes about her predicament. Anne Boleyn's "final request" was to import an executioner from France, as it was the french custom to utilize a finely honed sword for decaptitation rather than the crude and clumsy English axe. For even the most seasoned executioner it was not unlikely for the deed to be accomplished in two, three and sometimes four rather painful blows. Her request was mercifully granted. Upon the morning she was to die she asked the Constable of the Tower if it would hurt. His reply was that the blow was very "subtle". "I heard the executioner was very good. And I have a little neck." she replied as she put her hand around her throat and burst out laughing. Once upon the scaffold she turned to face her "audience", hundreds of Londoners and Peers of the Realm come to watch a Queen die. "Good Christian People, I have not come here to preach a sermon; I have come here to die... I am come hither to accuse no man, nor to speak of that whereof I am accused and condemned to die, but I pray God save the king and send him long to reign over you, for a gentler nor a more merciful prince was there never, and to me he was ever a good, a gentle, and sovereign lord. And if any person will meddle of my cause, I require them to judge the best. And thus I take my leave of the world and of you all, and I heartily desire you all to pray for me."

Culled from: The Chapel Perilous: Décolleté
Link generously submitted by: Steve O'

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I wonder if there were any catcalls while she talked, or if people were more respectful back then? In any event, I've always quite liked poor triple-breasted Anne. Anyone who can joke about their own imminent death and have the foresight to request a special executioner, can't be bad! Too bad she didn't tell off ol' Henry though... that would have been a grand topper! ... So to speak ...

By the way, the rest of the site linked above (http://www.sepulchritude.com/) is brilliant too! Well worth checking out!

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Morbid Film Du Jour!

This one sounds quite fascinating, and is suitably obscure as well. But maybe some of you can dredge it up somewhere?

"The Kingdom"
Recommended by Stephen M.:

"Given your addition of 'Dancer in the Dark' to the [film] list, you may want to take a look at one of Lars Von Trier's earlier films: 'The Kingdom' (aka 'Riget', c 1995).

"Shot on location in Denmark's largest and most thoroughly modern (and allegedly haunted) hospital, 'The Kingdom' is a sprawling television miniseries (weighing in at 265 minutes) that follows the various hospital inhabitants as they go about their business. From a cinematic point of view, it stands as an example of developement of the famous Dogme `95 Danish film aesthetic. Film-school arthouse snobbery aside, the series stands as a landmark in the horror genre, alternating between terrifying and hilariously satirical. Although reading over four hours of subtitles is a lot to ask of anyone, anyone to whom I've shown this gem has been hooked after the first ten minutes.

"Incidentally, there is a sequel that picks up right where the original leaves off. However, I've had a hard time finding it on DVD in Canada. Fortunately, I happened to catch it during its brief theatrical run. So, if you find yourself desparate to learn the fate of the mutant half-demon (on his father's side) gigantic baby, as well as Dr. Bondo and his shiny new liver tumor, there's still hope."

Check out the raves on Amazon.Com!

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/6304018959/theasylumeclecti


September 2, 2003

Today's Supernatural Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

In June, 2003, an Indonesian court sentenced a man to five years in jail for digging up the corpse of his 80-year-old female neighbour and eating parts of the body. Sumanto, 30, was found guilty of stealing and digging up a grave in the central Javanese town of Purbalingga, about 400km south-east of Jakarta. The 30-year-old, who was arrested early this year in Purbalingga, was judged to be sane. Officers found parts of a female corpse buried behind his house, while other parts of the body, which had only been in the ground for one day, were arranged on a dinner plate. Sumanto told police at the time that he believed eating the flesh would give him supernatural powers.

Culled from: news.com.au
http://news.com.au/common/story_page/0,4057,6672007%255E1702,00.html
Generously submitted by: Jim P

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When I first started reading this I thought, "How disgusting to eat rotting meat!" Then, of course, I thought, "How disgusting to be eating stringy *old* meat!" Then, of course, I thought, "How disgusting to be eating meat!" since I'm a vegetarian. But in any event, at least it was only *day* old meat, not weeks old. I suppose that's probably better than what people eat from butcher's shops.

Oh, but eating people is WRONG, mmm'kay?

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Morbid Link Du Jour!

I stumbled across this nifty little website today that discusses the ghosts of Great Britain and features lovely photos of the castles, ruins, and other structures where the ghosts allegedly reside. It makes me want to map out an itinerary and fly to Britain NOW, and visit each and every one of these sites! Maybe one day... but until then, enjoy Peter Devo Butler's "Britain's Ghosts":

http://www.geocities.com/britainsghosts/

P.S. The ghost pictures are fun too. i always loved the one of the figure(s) going up the stairway when I was a kid. Hmmmm... I wonder if they make a poster of that print?

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A Morbid New Release!

Patricia has stumbled across an article which previews a soon to be released collection of photography by Sally Mann entitled "What Remains" that has a delightfully morbid bent:

http://www.msnbc.com/news/959370.asp

The book comes out this month, and is available for pre-order from Amazon.Com:

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0821228439/theasylumeclecti


September 3, 2003

Today's Wince-Inducing Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

A woman in Cambodia has given herself up to authorities after accidentally killing her husband in a scuffle in which she squeezed his testicles until he fainted. Saut Chin, 46, was fed up with physical abuse from her husband when she grabbed his testicles until he passed out on Tuesday, August 26, 2003. Fearing that her husband, Ouch Yan, 52, might regain consciousness and start beating her again, Saut Chin tied his neck with a scarf to a bed. The exact cause of Ouch Yan's death was not known. The incident occurred in a village near Sihanoukville, a port city 115 miles southwest of Phnom Penh. Saut Chin and her husband Ouch Yan, 52, were arguing when the husband then kicked his wife in the crotch. Hurt badly and fed up, she grabbed her husband's testicles and squeezed them with full strength until he fell unconscious on the spot. After discovering that her husband was dead, Saut Chin reported herself to local authorities and asked to be jailed. She said she had not intended to kill her husband "but only to teach him a lesson".

Culled from: The Associated Press
Generously submitted by: Glia

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Okay... Your setting your kid up for some bad luck when you name him "Ouch," don't you think? This is EXACTLY the kind of death I'd expect for him. It's kind of like the gynecologist named Seymour Kuntz. I mean, what else was the guy supposed to do for a living? His career was decided for him at birth.

And no, I'm not just making that up. There really was a Dr. Kuntz, Ob/Gyn. I know from those years of searching for some sort of amusement in the barren wasteland of health insurance claim forms.

Oh, by the way: FREE SAUT CHIN!!

It had to be said...

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Malady Of The Month ... er, Quarter? ... ... er, Year?

Oh, you'll never believe me... but I've finally put a new Malady Of The Month out on the Asylum. I had been ready to post this one for a few weeks now, but I have been looking for my pathology report on the condition of the month and didn't want to post it without that final winning touch. But I've given up the hunt for now... and decided to move forward without the report. When I eventually stumble across it (and I will), I will be sure to update the page and let you know. In the meantime, without further ado, please become acquainted with this month's malady:

Dermoid Cysts!

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

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Morbid Book Du Jour!

Eva has a recommendation for us:

"I've been on your list for a while and have never seen a fact mentioning the Chinese Holocaust of WWII. I found a great book describing the genocide in detail. 'The Rape of Nanking' by Iris Chang. Apparently the Japanese army killed millions of Chinese people in all sorts of nasty ways but no one remembers it because everyone just focuses on the Nazis. The book is very disturbing and even includes photos! It just seemed like something that you would like."

I actually do have this book - I just haven't actually read it yet! I've skimmed it though, and Eva's not kidding when she says this book is DISTURBING! I'll definitely have to move it to the top of the pile.

Here are details from Amazon.Com:

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0140277447/theasylumeclecti

Here's a website that briefly summarizes the tragedy, for those who are interested in learning more:

http://www.bergen.org/AAST/Projects/ChinaHistory/background.htm


September 5, 2003

Today's Incredibly Stupid Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

A horrific firecracker accident has left an Illawarra, Australia man incontinent and unable to have sex. The 26-year-old man suffered a fractured pelvis and severe burns to his genital area after a firecracker exploded between the cheeks of his buttocks. An ambulance was called to Dapto's Reed Park about 2:30am on August 10 after reports that the man was hemorrhaging from the buttocks. He was transported to Wollongong Hospital in a serious but stable condition, and he is expected to remain in hospital for several months. The man suffered extensive injuries from the explosion and required emergency surgery. He now has a colostomy and a catheter, and is sexually dysfunctional. He will be assessed by a colorectal surgeon to determine whether his injuries can be corrected. Illawarra Health emergency surgeon Dr Robert McCurdie, who operated on the man when he was taken to Wollongong Hospital, likened the man's condition to "a war injury". Dr McCurdie said he believed the man had stumbled while the firecracker was in his buttocks, and fell down on it. "By virtue of the fact that the explosion was confined in an upward direction, it went up into his pelvis, blasted a great hole in the pelvis, ruptured the urethra, injured muscles in the floor of the pelvis which rendered him incontinent. "His pelvis was also fractured," Dr McCurdie said. He said he had never seen a similar injury to the genital area before. "I have seen instances ... where people have tried to remove items from their rectum and rupture the sphincter muscles, but not anything like this," he said. It is not known whether the man had been imitating the cult prankster film Jackass, a hit in the United States. In the low-budget film, the men place firecrackers in their buttocks and they shoot into the air.

Culled from: Illawarra Mercury
Generously submitted by: Kathleen

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Okay, how can anyone be so stupid as to stick firecrackers up their bum? How can that be fun on any level??? These are the type of guys who would jump off a building if they did it in Jackass. Hmmmmm... Do you suppose the entire purpose of Jackass is to remove stupid men from the gene pool? Clever...

Sara clarifies: "As much as I hate to admitt this, but I did see Jackass: the movie and they didn't stick firecrackers in their buttocks...it was bottle rockets. That
means that the bottle rockets have a long wooden stem to them, while the firecracker has none. I don't know if you meant bottle rockets for both scenarios or the man did use a firecracker, but either way it's still rather dumb. The bottle rocket is just not as high on the stupid factor as the firecracker. "

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Morbid Film Du Jour!

Dorisaurus recommends "Eyes Of Fire":

"It's hard to find...I first saw it when I was 12, scared me from the woods for a while, not as scary as Evil Dead, but more spiritual and abstract..."

Here's a review from Amazon.Com:

"Why is it that the best Lovecraftian films have nothing to do with H. P. Lovecraft? 'Eyes of Fire' manages to capture the eerie aspects of frontier America in a way that would have done Lovecraft proud, but it also has an original story that works on its own. It concerns a group of settlers in pre-Colonial America who set off into the wilderness and run into supernatural beings. I doubt if this film could have been made anywhere else but in America, which has its own haunted forests that are very different from Europe's haunted woods. Avery Crouse is to be commended for his ability to portray the characters' environment as being almost sentient; 'The Blair Witch Project' manages to do the same sort of thing, but you don't get to see any critters. Although 'Eyes' has its strange moments of misdirection; in one scene a man shoots at a humanoid figure with a cow's head-- three birds fly away, leaving the cow's head on the ground. Verrrry odd..."

This film isn't available on DVD and it's barely available on VHS, but it sounds like it may be worth tracking down.

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/630026341X/theasylumeclecti


September 6, 2003

Today's Electrifying Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

Becky Longhofer, 39, of Louisville, was electrocuted Saturday night, August 16, 2003, while walking on the Las Vegas strip near the Treasure Island Hotel and Casino. Longhofer was vacationing with her fiance when she stepped into a puddle of water. Unbeknownst to her, high winds had knocked power lines into the puddle. Fain Brooks was talking to his sister on the phone just moments before she died. "She was talking, and she said, 'Let me let you let you go,'" Brooks said. Moments later, Longhofer stepped in the electrified puddle. "She screamed, 'It's so hot!' Shocks were coming off of her," Brooks said. Jim Kulch was one of several passersby who tried to pull Longhofer out of the puddle. "I saw a girl floating in the water on her back and they were trying to get her out of the water because she was electrocuted," Kulch said. "So I came over and wrapped my belt around her leg and pulled her out of the water and when I grabbed her, I got electrocuted as well. I got zapped from the electricity going through her body." Longhofer was pronounced dead at a Las Vegas hospital. Longhofer leaves behind four children, ranging in age from 22 to 14 months.

Culled from: The Denver Channel
http://www.thedenverchannel.com/index.html
Generously submitted by: ~JR~

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This is just like a scene out of Final Destination. Hmmm... I wonder if she knew something was going to happen to her and that's why she bred as many babies as possible in such a short period of time, to make sure her genes were passed on to future generations, and thus she could die having fulfilled her biological purpose in life?

In any event, she definitely found Las Vegas an electrifying experience! <hiss, groan>

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Morbid Trinkets Du Jour!

It occurred to me that I have neglected to feature one of my favorite cybershops on the newsletter. This is a shop that I have purchased many things from, so I can vouch for their reliability. And I've decided to list just a few of my favorite trinkets they have to offer at...

Gorey Details
http://www.goreydetails.net/

Edward Gorey Bat Necklace: http://goreydetails.net/show.php?alpha=963
Gashlycrumb Tinies T-Shirt: http://goreydetails.net/show.php?alpha=85
... and lunchbox!: http://goreydetails.net/show.php?alpha=1621
Devil Ashtray/Coin Tray (for us non-smokers): http://goreydetails.net/show.php?alpha=1723
Siamese Twins Rubber Stamp: http://goreydetails.net/show.php?alpha=954

And so much more!!!

Most of the morbid stuff can be browsed by following the "Halloweentown" link:

http://www.goreydetails.net/search.php?category=24

Happy Browsing!

Oh, and... as a reminder... my birthday is exactly 3 weeks away. Plenty of time to order something online... ;)

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Morbid Mirth Du Jour!

This one is courtesy Amos Quito:

Q: What's easier to unload: dead babies or bowling balls?

A: Dead Babies: You can use a pitchfork!


September 8, 2003

Today's Natural Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

One of the more "interesting" methods of execution in the olden days consisted simply of bending two adjacent trees and binding them together, each ankle of the victim then being tied to each of the trees. The rope holding the trees together, when slashed, 'returned [the trees] with a bound to their natural position and, tearing the man's body in two which was fastened to them, rent his limbs asunder and bore them back with them'.

Culled from: The Book Of Execution

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You know, I think this would be the perfect punishment for tree killers, like the guy here in town who chopped down over 100 stately old oak trees needlessly for his new development. Ah, if only!

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Morbid Link Du Jour!

Fetuses, anyone?

http://almashriq.hiof.no/ddc/projects/health/specimens/gross-specimens/fetuses/fetuses.html

Oh, and don't miss the movie!

http://almashriq.hiof.no/ddc/projects/health/specimens/gross-specimens/fetuses/collection/col-anim.html

Thanks to Troy for the link!


September 9, 2003

Today's Successful Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

Martha Place became the first woman to die in the electric chair when she was executed on March 20, 1899 at New York's Sing Sing prison for the murder of her stepdaughter Ida in February of the same year. An account of the execution in the National Police Gazette said she was guided into the death chamber clutching a Bible. "Her eyes were closed, she was dressed in a black gown with a few fancy frills at the bosom. She wore russet slippers." A spot had been clipped near the crown of her head to make room for the electrode. Another electrode was fastened to her leg. A current of 1,760 volts went through her body in an execution that was "successful in every way". The doctor who pronounced Martha dead was also a woman.

Culled from: The Electric Chair

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"Successful in every way."

Hmmmm... How many different ways can an execution be successful? I mean, if the person dies, wouldn't you say it was successful? It could be messy, like the guy who bled profusely from his nose and got his shirt all bloody. It could be fiery, like the guy who had flames shooting from the top of his head. But ultimately... is there such a thing as an "unsuccessful execution"?

Well... Rasputin's maybe... but they kept trying and eventually got his right too!

Comment by Wilf: "Failed executions have happened and are catered for under UK law. Anyone who survives the drop three times is allowed to go free by dint of divine intervention. Such things have happened. Even now, some British prisons maintain an official hangman on a retainer in case as High Treason still carries the death penalty. One wonders whether an attempted suicide by the queen would count. Anyway, not so long ago the hangman of Wandsworth prison in London wrote to retire after twenty-five years as his arthritis was too bad to tie the knot."

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Morbid Trinket Du Jour!

A special thanks to Saaxton who pointed out a cybershop entitled...

Bucky's Boneyard

http://anatomical.com/cat_disp.asp?CAT_NBR=8

It's a whimsical subsidiary of the Anatomical Chart Company (http://anatomical.com) - makers of anatomical models - but with a delightful sense of humor, as seen on the above page. I mean - who can resist a Boneyard Swingset? Or a Boneyard See-Saw? Or a spider made of human bones? This stuff is great - either for use as playful Halloween decorations, or year-round conversation pieces!

(There's also some chintzy crap here, but you know... you gotta make do...)

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Morbid Mirth Du Jour!

Q: Do you know the difference between pink and purple?

A: Your grip.

Generously submitted by John


September 10, 2003

Today's Wicked Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

A man has gone on trial in Munich, accused of squeezing the eyeballs out of a 70-year-old man. The defendant, named only as Martin G, 26, was staying at the pensioner's home when the alleged incident happened. Prosecutors claim the defendant had taken drugs prior to the attack, and an argument had started when he covered himself in shaving foam. The court heard Martin G squeezed his fingers into the pensioners' eye sockets and made his eyeballs come out. The Sueddeutsche Zeitung reports the alleged attack left the pensioner blind. The newspaper says police found the eyeballs in a courtyard outside the flat. The defendant reportedly lost the sight in his left eye when he subsequently tried to take out his own eyeballs with an ice cream scoop. Defense lawyers claim their client was under the influence of marijuana and heroin when the alleged attack happened, and he doesn't remember anything. Martin G, who is charged with grievous bodily harm, told the court that he's only aware of the details of the alleged incident from reading the indictment.

Culled from: Ananova
Generously submitted by: Nep

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Well, I'd have to say I agree with Nep's synopsis of this one:

"What I don't get is how someone got so violent on heroin AND marijuana, two drugs that definitely shouldn't make a person aggressive."

Methinks he might have been mixing those drugs with a bit of elephant tranquilizer, or the like...

In any event... what a nightmare to have someone do that to you! I shall be traumatized for weeks...

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Morbid Sightseer Update

When I went to New York City in July, I made sure to check out the Freakatorium. I had been impressed with their website, which makes it look like a damned fun place to spend a Saturday afternoon:

http://www.freakatorium.com/

Based on this website, I had imagined a full-size museum exhibit with a nice big hall full of huge canvas posters hanging from the ground, and filled with display cases filled with all manner of sideshow memorabilia. However, this is actually a VERY tiny (as in more than 3 people would be a mob) room adjacent to an even tinier shop. For $5.00 you can spend a few minutes looking in a few cases and at sideshow stuff on the walls. Granted, the material itself was interesting, though not very morbid... but I couldn't help but feel that $5.00 was a steep price for so tiny a collection. And, worse still, they don't even let you take pictures inside (undoubtedly because it would reveal how small the collection really is), hence I have no pictures of the place to share with you.

The shop is also small but has some very nice freaky t-shirts (I had to get the two-headed skeleton shirt for myself, the Zoma the Cannibal mousepad for my girlfriend, and some freak trading cards for my friend The Mind Orbitor.) You can visit it online as well, though the selection is reduced:

http://www.freakatorium.com/shop.html

So, I guess my advice is... if you are a huge fan of sideshow memorabilia, then, as long as your expectations are low, you will enjoy the exhibit. However, if you're looking for something to fill your Saturday afternoon or give you a visceral thrill... well, you won't find it here.


September 11, 2003

And on this day of national mourning, I thought I'd present another tragedy that occurred on 9/11... this one a private tragedy with little fanfare, but still it's well worth remembering...

Today's Scalding Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

On September 11, 1916 a terrible tragedy occurred at lock 16 of the C&O Canal in Georgetown, DC. On September 10th, Captain Spong, a tugboat captain, his wife, and his four children decided to dock for the night beside the river lock at Rock Creek, which was adjacent to a Powerhouse right along the Potomac River. There was a 4-6" pipe used for 'blowing the boiler' from the powerhouse that came out of the cement wall along the canal which had an elbow joint that directed the steam down into the river. On the morning of September 11, the three youngest Spong children - Sarah, aged six; Samuel (aka Willard), aged 11; and John, aged 13 - were asleep in the boat's cabin, which was directly alongside the steam pipe. When the steam was released, it did so with such force that it blew the elbow joint off the straight part of the pipe, which resulted in a powerful jet of steam and boiling water shooting through the wall/window and directly into the cabin. Mrs. Spong tried in vain to save her children and was so badly scalded in the process that she spent several months in the hospital recovering from her injuries. Sarah Spong died in four hours, John died six hours later, and Willard was fatally injured.

Culled from: C&O Canal National Historical Park
Generously submitted by: Neil Langdon Inglis

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One of the coolest things about this story is the way that the author of the above link (Susan Fauntleroy, a Park Ranger) rediscovered the tragedy. She found a carving that said 'WSpong' (presumably 'Willard Spong' - it's pictured on the website) and began to search for information on this individual. Little did she know she's be uncovering a forgotten tragedy. It seems likely that poor doomed Willard himself carved his name on the lock, perhaps the afternoon/evening before he died? There's something very poignant about that... and the next time I'm in DC, I'm just going to have to make a trip to the park to see it for myself. (I must add this to the Morbid Sightseer page...)

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You know, I hate it when morbid landmarks are demolished. So many of them have been taken from us over the years... but few are as culturally significant as the site of the Chicago St. Valentine's Day Massacre. Gena sent me an article that explains the history of this tragically lost landmark... the site of which allegedly is still haunted to this day. Interesting, if sad, reading:

http://www.prairieghosts.com/valentine.html

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And speaking of the Morbid Sightseer feature...

Morbid Sightseer Update - Haun's Mill

I've received a couple of accounts of visiting Haun's Mill (the site of a 19th century Mormon massacre in Missouri) and added them to the Morbid Sightseer. Please take a look, if you're interested (the new additions are at the bottom of the page):

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

I also added a link to and description of a fun-filled state park called "Massacre Rocks" in Idaho that marks an area where Native Americans massacred emigrants in the good old days. I love going to places like this...

The Sightseer Page: http://asylumeclectica.com/asylum/sightseer/us/id/index.html

The Massacre Rocks page: http://www.idahoparks.org/parks/massacre.html
(Thanks to HB for the link)


September 15, 2003

Today's Lead-Footed Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

Lyman Moawad was standing at the counter of his gas station on West Broadway in South Boston on May 27, 2003, cashing a customer's scratch ticket, when he glanced up and saw a car aiming straight for the mini-mart. "The car was coming, then I heard the big 'bang' noise," Moawad recalled. A Cadillac had smashed into the store wall. Moawad rushed outside. The driver was dead -- but not, police said, from the impact. He'd actually been dead for hours, apparently after shooting himself in the torso as his car idled across the street from the gas station. Police said the unidentified man seems to have shot himself sometime overnight. Hours later, after rigor mortis set in, his foot either fell off the brake or hit the accelerator. Moawad was still a little rattled yesterday afternoon. There's a crack in the wall, and a lot of questions. "What can you do?" he said.

Culled from: Boston Globe
Generously submitted by: Bruce Townley

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Indeed, what can you do? It just HAS to be a bad omen when a dead man tries to run you down. Imagine if someone had been killed? Now, wouldn't that be just the most pathetic death ever? Killed by a corpse.

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Morbid Link Du Jour!

Douglas Keister is a brilliant photographer who happens to live in my hometown of Chico, California. He excels at architectural photography, which quite naturally makes him most excellent at cemetery photography as well. And he definitely travels a bit since his photographs are from cemeteries all over the country. The tomb-of-the-month is a great feature as well. Enthusiasts of Bone Orchards - check it out!

Tomb Of The Month:
http://www.keisterphoto.com/cemeteries/tom_latest.htm

Cemetery Photographs:
http://www.keisterphoto.com/gallery/fs_cem.htm

His home page:
http://www.keisterphoto.com/

And his book of cemetery photographs -
Going Out In Style:
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0816036497/theasylumeclecti

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"My Dad's Brush With Morbidity" by RUCCA

"My dad grew up in Painsville, Ohio in the 50's so it was still very rural. When he was about 14 years old, he and some of his buddies were wandering through a huge overgrown field. From a distance, one of the guys seen something hanging from a large tree. As they got closer they seen that a bum had hung himself from a rope in the tree. Being there for a good while, his body had begun to decompose and had separated from the waist so the bottom half of his body was laying under him while the top half was still hanging on the rope!"

If only I had seen something like that as a child, I'd be twice the Comtesse I am today... Alas...


September 18, 2003

Today's Rather Mean Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

In the year 1206 A.D. a powerful and savage army set out to conquer the world. It was led by a man who was known as "The Wide Ruler" - in Mongolian, "Genghis Khan". With his Mongol hordes, he swept across China, and burned Peking to the ground. Then he turned his attention to the vast Persian empire, and conquered that just as easily; his reputation for cruelty was so terrifying that many cities surrendered without resistance. On one occasion, an old woman tried to buy her life by promising her captors a large pearl. When they asked where it was, she explained that she had swallowed it, and that they would have wait until it reappeared by natural processes; instead, the Mongols ripped her body open, and found several pearls inside her. Genghis Khan thereupon ordered that the stomachs of all prisoners should be ripped open.

Culled from: Crimes and Punishment: The Illustrated Crime Encyclopedia, Volume 17

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Can't you just hear the masses of prisoners groaning and saying, "Nice going, lady!" and "Thanks a lot!" I could... But perhaps it's just my schizophrenia FINALLY kicking in! I can only hope...

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Sorry for the lapse in facts over the last few days. I've been suffering with downtime on my mail server, but I think it's all sorted out now... I hope so, anyway!

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Morbid Art Du Jour!

Are you one of those raving sickos who thinks that classy decor includes a painting of Albert Fish on your wall? If so, then the vampiric Nicolaus Claux is just the artist for you! And best of all - his portraits of serial killers, vampires, and the like are a reasonably good buy. ($100.00 for a 9" x 11", and $300.00 for a 24" x 28" painting.)

Myself, I'm quite partial to the Manuela Ruda portrait (see Vampires). Ah, what a nice birthday present that would make... ;)

http://nicoclaux.free.fr/index.htm

Also, check out "The Cells" link for some strange and sometimes disturbing killer letters and interviews (my favorite is Hesper Castro... ooooh, baby!) and victim photographs.

(Thanks to Sandy for the link.)


September 21, 2003

Today's Rather Mean Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

In Forensic Entomologist Zakaria Erzinclioglu's book "Maggots, Murder and Men" he describes the following unlikely investigation:

"One day in early Septebmer, I received a somewhat unsettling telephone call from the police. The dead body of an old man had been discovered on August 31st in a house that had been boarded up. He was laying in bed. His body was infested with maggots. He had no family or friends. Nobody knew anything about him. I knew what I was about to be asked to do. 'Doctor, can you tell us whether he died before or after the house was boarded up?' The thought of an old, clearly sick man lying helpless in his house, unable to do anything for himself or even to cry out as his house was being sealed in darkness from the outside world, was haunting." Based on Erzinclioglu's examination of the maggots and the temperature of the house, "I had to conclude that the old man had died *after* the house was boarded up. Not only that, but he had died at least a week after he was shut away from the world." The incident was determined to be a tragic accident.

Culled from: Maggots, Murder, And Men
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0312287747/theasylumeclecti

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For some reason, the thought of this sort of death really frightens me. It's like that short story I once read where the guy wakes up in his bed and he can't move at all, but he can hear and smell and see everything... and he realizes that no one else is moving either... and then he smells smoke. Close.

Freaks me out every time I think about it...

But I would like to offer my own review of the book Maggots, Murder, and Men. In four words: I didn't like it.

And here's why:

I went into this book expecting to read a large number of gruesome case histories of how insect evidence was used to solve various murder mysteries. And, to be fair, there are a large number of interesting (if often too brief) cases discussed.

What I did NOT count on, however, was the smug, pompous tone of the doctor himself. There were times while reading this book where I literally wanted to reach inside the pages and wring his smug little neck. I guess the picture on the back cover doesn't help - I mean, come on, is this guy not just BEGGING for a sound beating?

http://www.asylumeclectica.com/asylum/library/covers/zakaria.jpg

Okay, okay - I'm being very unprofessional and delving into the personal here... but I can't help it, this book just brings it out of me. Let me explain further: this guy has a pathological obsession with Sherlock Holmes, and he uses illustrations from Sherlock Holmes novels to explain forensic theories at every opportunity. Yes, I know it explains that in the description of the book on the back cover, so I had ample warning, but you know, I just look for keywords like "murder" and "mayhem" and I ignore the rest in those blurbs. Guess I learned my lesson because before I started reading this book, I had not the slightest interest in Sherlock, and now I have even LESS.

And one last annoying thing: Zakaria likes to make allusions to having more information than he's "allowing" us to have access to. There was one particularly aggravating point where he said something like, "One case, which I will not go into details for I feel that it adds little to the overall discussion, blah blah blah." Oh yeah? Well, fuck you too!

But if you can get past this guy's annoying personality, presentation, and pomposity, the case studies are pretty interesting.

(This review is on the newly designed Library Eclectica. I've added more categories to the mix, so let me know what you think. http://asylumeclectica.com/asylum/library/ )

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Ghastly!

This is an older Rotten.Com link that many of you have surely seen by now, in fact I may have sent it out previously but I'm too lazy to check and it's good enough to see twice anyway, of a decomposing blonde corpse seeping away on the slab. In vivid color. If that thought causes your stomach to heave violently, then you'd best stay away.

http://poetry.rotten.com/blonde/

Thanks to Erica for the link.

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"My Niece's Brush With Morbidity" by Paulette

"This story really belongs to my niece, but it is worth telling. A few years ago, she dropped her husband off at his brother's home (trailer) on her way to work. When she arrived at work, she was greeted with an urgent message from her husband to return to his brother's home. When she arrived and entered, a sickly, heavy odor accosted her as she entered the front door. She moved through the hall, looking for her husband, and found him, along with his brother, in the master bedroom. Her husband was in shock, her brother-in-law, dead from a self inflicted gunshot to the head. His body lay on the bedside rug, face down, though at first glance, it appeared as though he lay with his face turned to the side. This was, however, not the case. The shot from the rifle had split his face in two--each half laying in such a manner to give the impression of his laying with his face turned to either side. He had lay in this condition, unfound, for three days before her husband had discovered his body. Blood and gore coated the bed and walls, and the sickly smell, was, of course, the odor of his decomposing body. After his funeral, family members came to "clean" the trailer and prepare it for resale. The death smell could not be eradicated, and to my niece's horror, she discovered that much of the gore--blood and flecks of brain matter--were left on the walls, and only painted over. Even in this condition, the trailer resold. Even today my niece shudders when she drives by....it has affected her deeply, and is something she will never forget--neither the sights and smells, nor the knowledge of what still lays hidden on those walls..."

"What Lies Beneath," indeed! Now I think I might take a closer look at the stray paint splattering my apartment...


September 22, 2003

Today's Agonizing Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

In Auschwitz, starting in September, 1941, phenol injections were used to kill prisoners suffering from epidemic diseases such as typhus. Initially, phenol was injected into a victim's vein, maximizing the "medical" aura of the entire procedure. Before long, the technique was changed to injecting the phenol directly into the heart for greater killing efficiency. Patients injected by vein might linger for minutes or even an hour or more. However, a phenol injection of ten to fifteen milliliters into the heart caused death within fifteen seconds. During the procedure two Jewish prisoner assistants brought a victim into the room and positioned him or her on a footstool, usually so that the right arm covered the victim's eyes and the left arm was raised sideways in a horizontal position. The idea was for the victim's chest to be thrust out so that the cardiac area was maximally acccessible for the lethal injection, and for him or her to be unable to see what was happening. The person giving the injection filled his syringe from the bottle and then thrust the needle directly into the heart of the seated prisoner and emptied the contents of the syringe. Most prisoners fell dead almost immediately, but some lived for seconds or even minutes. The executioners boasted about their records. ("Three in a minute...") And they did not wait until the doomed person really died. During his agony he was taken from both sides under the armpits and thrown into a pile of corpses in another room opposite. And the next took his place on the stool. Approximately fifty people could be killed using this method during one and a half to two hours.

Culled from: The Nazi Doctors
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0465049052/theasylumeclecti

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Apparently, this method of "controlling epidemics" in the concentration camp populations backfired because it just resulted in people hiding their illnesses from doctors for longer periods of time... thus having more time to spread the disease around the populace. For this reason, the phenol injections didn't stay long... but the fact that they were replaced with more gas chambers doesn't necessarily make this a good thing.

I think I'd prefer a needle to my heart... wouldn't you?

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Morbid Link Du Jour!

Hey, guess what? The Exploding Pizza Man video is finally available on the internet (what took them so long?). You can see it for yourself here:

http://pics.freakhole.com/media-ploop/movies/none/22248.pizzaguy_blown.wmv

Thanks to Kimba for supplying the link.

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Morbid Flick Du Jour!

I've been receiving numerous recommendations for a film entitled "May". Thank you to everyone who has written to tell me about this film. I find Nightmaresghost's explanation of the appeal of this film to be quite well-written:

"I... have found an AWESOME movie. This is one of the most morbid movies I've seen since Ichi the Killer. The movie of course is "May". I dont know if you've heard of it, but I saw the preview on the House of 1000 Corpses DVD, so I checked it out. The basics of it are this:

"A girl, May, is born with a lazy eye, and because of that she has to wear an eye patch. This patch, the cause of her misfortune, set her apart from the world as a child until one birthday, May's mother gave her her first first friend. This friend was a doll which she could not touch. Her constant companion through life, the doll becomes her source of solace in a world where she is a freak. Then, one day, she finds herself looking into the eyes and
hands of a young mechanic. Soon her life is turned upside down when the friends she meets soon start changing on her and she decides that <ommy was right, 'the only good friends are the ones you make.'

"It's a 5 star classic in my books. I hope, if you haven't seen it already, that you check it out."

Well, based on all the recommendations I've received, I've moved this one up to #1 on my Netflix queue so I should be seeing it next week. (Right now, I'm still sifting through the Sopranos season two.) I have a feeling that "May" will be good though because on Amazon.Com the reviews are either five star reviews saying, "This movie was wonderfully disturbing," or one star reviews saying, "Horrible movie!" Ah, love it or leave it... it's always a sign of a worthy work of art!

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00009MEC4/theasylumeclecti

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Morbid Trinket Du Jour!

Hey, look! There's a new Autopsy Baby up for bid on Ebay - and this one's a real beaut!

http://www.autopsybabies.com/current.html

Now remember my birthday when bidding!! ;)


September 23, 2003

Morbid Fact Du Jour will be on hiatus until September 28th, while the Comtesse is near a Great Lake celebrating her birthday *properly*. I apologize for the misery you'll doubtlessly be experiencing, although you're probably used to this sort of thing by now, aren't you?

Anyway, on with...

Today's Amphibious Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

Three Chinese children and their cousin have died two hours after eating toad soup - a brew cooked by their mother in the belief it would be good for digestion. The woman - who lives in southern Guangdong province, where eating exotic animals is a tradition - caught the toads in the wild and cooked them on Sunday, August 31, 2003. The children, aged between seven and 11, started feeling unwell soon after eating the soup. The woman and other family members treated them at home. This failed and they rushed the children to a nearby hospital, but all four died. Police have launched an investigation, although it is not clear whether the mother is facing charges. Nutritional experts have warned against eating toads and wild frogs.

Culled from: Tiscali News
http://xaura-vip.tiscali.co.za/tiscali/news/news_story.jsp?content=104726
Generously submitted by Bruce Townley

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So, now we all know where the expression, "to croak," came from...

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Morbid Trinket Du Jour!

Looking for a custom coffin?

Then, why not check out...

http://www.coffinitup.com/


September 30, 2003

Today's Heavy Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

Thomas Spigott was a highwayman who, in 1721, was arrested. When he refused to plead, he was taken to Newgate Prison (England). There he was subjected to the ordeal of pressing (ie. the practice of placing weights placed on the chest of prisoners until they either confess or expire). He endured 350 pounds weight for half an hour, lying apparently half conscious, though at times he complained bitterly that the warden was putting weights on his face, doubtlessly due to the sensation caused by the compression of his blood vessels. With the addition of a further fifty pounds, he surrendered and begged to be allowed to plead. And on February 8, 1721 he was hanged at Tyburn.

Culled from: Rack, Rope And Red-Hot Pincers
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0747239843/theasylumeclecti

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Now, that's what I call Old Skool Justice!

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Thank you to all of you who sent me birthday greetings! I haven't had a chance to reply individually yet, but they are all much appreciated.

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"My Dad's Brush With Morbidity" by + sydney +

"When [my father] came out of medical school, his first assignment was a coronor's assistant (someone who goes around
gathering dead bodies - deliciously morbid on its own) and he was working for the "famous" Michael Baden (from HBO's "Autopsy"). My father and his partner received a call to come to this apartment building to pick up someone. The police were already there and just summed up for my father was had happened. An older woman who had lived in the apartment building hadn't been heard from in a while and when a funny smell had started to seep from her room, they knew she had died. One police man was about to open the door when he asked my father if he was ready. My father, still in his early 20's, thinking he was a hot shot said to go ahead. When they opened the door, my father said the smell was so overpowering, he thought he was going to pass out and what he saw he will never forget. The woman had passed away on her bed, but she had been there for days and her now decomposing body was *covered* in cockroaches, rats, and flies. Now my father and his partner had to move the body and when he finally got to it and touched it, the skin sloughed off in a semi-liquified state. My father lost his lunch and said there was no way he could keep on doing this, so he quit. From that point on, he's had a very bad fear of being eaten alive along with dying alone."

Obviously, they should hire people like US to do this sort of work!




Vulgarities...