September, 2005

September 20, 2005

Today's Typical Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

John Reginald Halliday Christie was a typical 'repressed' lust killer who could achieve satisfaction only through rape, murder, and probably necrophilia. Over a period of 13 years Christie killed eight women, including his own wife, without causing the slightest suspicion. His respectable and quiet manner was in no way like it seemed. On December 14 1952 John Christie claims to have woken up to find his wife having a convulsive fit. He stated that her face was blue and that he tried to revive her. Christie went on to state that he couldn't bear to see his wife in so much pain, so he tied a stocking around her neck and strangled her 'to put her to sleep'. He went on to explain how he noticed a bottle of sleeping pills (Phenalbabitone) with a cup of water beside the bed. He told Police that there had been 25 tablets in the bottle and that only two remained, suggesting his wife had committed suicide. In his confession he stated that he left his wife in the bed for 3 days because he didn't know what to do with her. He then suddenly remembered there were some loose floorboards in the living room and put her there to 'rest'.

Culled from: Portowebbo.co.uk
Generously suggested by: Remo

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Now, isn't that sweetest thing you've ever heard? How many people do you know who love you enough to put you out of your misery when having a convulsive fit? That's true love. And I love that he left her in bed because he didn't know what to do with her, then just decided to throw her under some loose floorboards. You can tell that the wife made most of the decisions in THAT household!!

I wonder if this is the inspiration for the Magazine ditty, "A Song From Under the Floorboards"

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The Comtesse Returneth!

Yes, I have returned from my prolonged absence. And such a lot of morbidity has occurred since I last wrote. Of course, I was horrified and saddened by the amazing disaster in New Orleans and I am quite concerned about the status of all the great morbid landmarks of the Big Easy, such as the many cemeteries, the LaLaurie House, the Voodoo Museum, the Old Absinthe House, and even Anne Rice's former home. But the first thing I thought of was Westgate: a gallery of amazing necromantic art that I had the pleasure of visiting in 2002. I am relieved to see that the Westgate curators posted an update on 9/3:

"We have survived the hurricane but are currently homeless. We had to leave Orleans and will soon have a temporary address where we will hopefully be able to transfer our phone and internet accounts."

http://www.westgatenecromantic.com/

They have set-up a Westgate Relief Fund which you may be interested in donating to as well:
http://geocities.com/westgate_relief/

Viva New Orleans!

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Morbid Myth Du Jour!

There's been an e-mail going around that shows a picture of an unfortunate man who has suffered a ghastly wound across his face, obliterating his nose. The text that goes along with the image states that the man had put a power drill to his face to try to scratch an itch, and was suing the drill manufacturer because there was no warning that this sort of damage would occur. Well, like most morbid e-mails, the image is real but the text is complete rubbish. The good folks at Snopes have cleared it up for us:

http://www.snopes.com/photos/drillman.asp

Thanks to Del Rhea for the suggestion.


September 21, 2005

Today's Commemorative Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

On September 25, 1996, the Russ & Bo Show, a talk-radio program broadcast in the evening over WTKS-FM in Orlando, Florida, broke away from its usual theme of women and beer to discuss child abuse, commemorating the death exactly 14 years earlier of Ursula Sunshine Assaid. When she was five years old, Ursula was tortured and killed by her mother's boyfriend, Donald McDougall. The murder still caused bitterness in Orlando, and on the anniversary, the Russ & Bo Show devoted five hours to it. Between phone calls, Rollins graphically described the suffering Ursula endured. Building to an emotional peak at 8:50, the time of her death, he then called for a moment of silence. As Rollins told TIME, "Dead air on a radio program is strong." One of the people listening that night was Arba Earl Barr, 33, an inmate at the Avon Park Correctional Institution, the same prison in which McDougall was incarcerated. Barr was serving a 114-year sentence on assault and robbery charges. On Oct. 1, say police, Barr, McDougall and 200 other inmates were in the prison yard after dinner, when Barr took the steel post used in a game of horseshoes and beat McDougall to death with it. Prison officials say they had put McDougall under protective custody on the night of the Russ & Bo broadcast because inmates who had been listening told them that a caller had offered a $1,000 reward to anyone who killed McDougall. After five days in custody, McDougall insisted on being released. That evening he was murdered.

Culled from: Time Magazine, 10/21/96
Generously submitted by: Neil Langdon Inglis

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Ah, there are few places as unsafe for a child molester/murderer as a prison.

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Morbid Flick Du Jour!

I watched a great movie the other day at the recommendation of morbidite pam and I have to make another mention of it. The film is called "The Happiness of the Katakuris" and it is a hysterical Japanese musical about an unlucky family who pack up and move to the country to open a guest house only to find that all of their guests keep dropping dead. In order to avoid bad press, the Katakuris take it upon themselves to bury the bodies. This works out fine until they find out that the proposed highway that will bring future business their way is going to run right through the area where the bodies are. Yeah, I know, you probably have seen an episode of The Sopranos that had that plot, but trust me, there's something absolutely delightful about the offbeat Katakuris and their delightfully zany musical interludes. And wait till you see the unfortunate death that befalls a poor young schoolgirl! This one rates four skulls on the five skull morbid-o-meter.

The Happiness of the Katakuris

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Morbid Link Du Jour!

Have you ever wanted to operate the switch at an execution? Well, thanks to the wonders of the internet now you can!! You'll have to supply the screams and the smell of burned flesh yourself, however.

Deathrow Online

Thanks to john for the link.


September 23, 2005

Today's Tragic Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

Euripides (ca. 480 BC–406 BC) was one of the three great tragedians of classical Athens, along with Aeschylus and Sophocles. He is believed to have written over 90 plays, 18 of which are extant. Euripides is known primarily for having reshaped the formal structure of traditional Attic tragedy by showing strong women characters and smart slaves, and by satirizing many heroes of Greek mythology. He died when he was mauled by a pack of wild dogs owned by Archelaus, the King of Macedonia.

Culled from: Disturbing Deaths In The Literary World
Generously suggested by: Remo

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Sounds like the perfect way for a Greek Tragedian to die. Reminds me of the scene in Annie Hall where the creepy actor says to Diane Keaton, "Do you know how I want to die? I want to be torn apart by wild animals." How epic!

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Wretched Recommendations!

Teri has a book recommendation for us:

"I have not thoroughly ravaged your site as yet, but do you ever mention in the library of morbidity 'Special Cases' by Rosamond Purcell? It is a great freaks book, from 1997. Awesome photos and illustrations."

Actually, I do own a copy of this book, but it's on my "To Read" list. The great illustrations and photos are what attracted me to the book, but the reviews of the text on Amazon are not universally positive. For more information on this out-of-print book, check out the following Amazon link:

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0811815684/theasylumeclecti

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Morbid Trinket Du Jour!

I can't remember if I've featured Bert & Bud's Vintage Coffins on the newsletter before, but even if I have, it's worth mentioning again for the nifty new t-shirts and posters that they are offering. They are nearly as cool as the custom coffins and urns!

http://www.vintagecoffins.com/

Thanks to Yvonne for the link.



September 26, 2005

Today's Organized Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

Early in 1886 labor unions in Chicago were beginning a movement for an eight-hour day. Serious trouble was anticipated and on May 1 many workers struck for shorter hours. An active group of radicals and anarchists became involved in the campaign. Two days later shooting and one death occurred during a riot at the McCormick Harvester plant when police tangled with the rioters. On May 4 events reached a tragic climax at Haymarket Square where a protest meeting was called to denounce the events of the preceding day. At this meeting, while police were undertaking to disperse the crowd, a bomb was exploded. Policeman Mathias J. Degan died almost instantly and seven other officers died later. No official count was made of civilian deaths or injuries probably because friends and/or relatives carried them off immediately. Medical evidence later showed that most of the injuries suffered by the police were caused by their own bullets. Although the bomb thrower has never been identified, eight men were convicted by a court which held that the "inflammatory speeches and publications" of these eight incited the actions of the mob. The Illinois and U.S. Supreme Courts upheld the verdict. Judge Joseph E. Gary imposed the death sentence on seven of them and the eighth was given fifteen years in prison. Four were hanged on November 11, 1887, one committed suicide and the sentences of two were commuted from death to imprisonment for life. On June 26, 1893, Governor John P. Altgeld pardoned the three who were in the penitentiary.

Culled from: Chicago Public Library

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One of these days I shall have to make a pilgrimage to visit the two memorials to the Haymarket Riot - one for the policemen (which was constantly vandalized to the point where it is now onlyl visible by appointment inside the police academy building) and the other for the martyrs. You know I live for this sort of thing!

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Morbid Link Du Jour!

John sends us "an orgy of serial killer links". Proceed at your own risk!

http://dmoz.org/Society/Crime/Murder/Serial_Murder/

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Morbid Trinket Du Jour!

Lance sends us a link to a collection of wonderful Last Meal Food Trays which, unfortunately, don't appear to actually be for sale anywhere that I can find. More's the pity!!

http://www.yankodesign.com/product_info.php?products_id=455


September 28, 2005

Today's Repugnant Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

Dr. Jesse Carr, head of pathology at the San Francisco General Hospital, was quoted by Jessica Mitford in "The American Way of Death," her book about American funeral practices, as saying, 'An exhumed embalmed body is a repugnant, moldy, foul-looking object. The body itself may be intact, as far as contours and so on, but the silk lining of the casket is all stained with body fluids, the wood is rotting, and the body is covered with mold.' Burial in a sealed metal coffin makes matters worse, not better, since anaerobic bacteria reduce a body to a putrefied mass even more quickly.

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

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Thank you to everyone who sent me birthday greetings yesterday. Yes, older and wiser never applies to me, but the bones are creaking a bit louder today. But no sign of mold, as of yet...

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Morbid Art!

Joel-Peter Witkin is one of the great morbid photographers of our time. ~k~ graciously sent me this link with the description "bizarre yet beautiful," which really sums it up. Do yourself a favor and pay a visit:

http://www.zonezero.com/exposiciones/fotografos/witkin2/

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Morbid Link Du Jour!

Death List performs the excellent service of providing a list of the 50 "Most Likely To Die" each year. As you can see, 10 out of the 50 have died in 2005, and there's still time to add to the count!

http://www.deathlist.net/

Thanks to Allen for the link.




Vulgarities...