October, 2006

October 1, 2006

Today's Popular Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

In 1832, London's first public cemetery at Kensal Green was opened. From the very beginning Kensal Green was *the* place in which to be buried. This early success can be put down to the interment of one man - Augustus Frederick, Duke of Sussex (1773-1843). It was he, more than any other, who made the cemetery an acceptable place for the burial of the rich and famous. So fashionable did Kensal Green become that it can still boast the greatest number of royals buried outside Windsor and Westminster Abbey.

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

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"My Mother's Brush With Morbidity" by Jennifer

"This is actually my mother’s brush, but every time she tells it to me, I get creeped out, so I thought I would share. My mother grew up in Boise, Idaho. When she was a child, a couple lived across the street, and I believe their name was Quinliven. Don’t know if I’ve spelled it right. Anyway, the man was very abusive to his wife, and one day, as my mother was playing outside of their house, Mrs. Quinliven came running outside ON FIRE. She lay there burning on the sidewalk while my mother watched (she was about 8 years old), and the firemen came and took her away. She lived for a very short time and died in the hospital."

Not only creepy, but positively CRISPY!

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Wretched Recommendations!

Vern on the lovely Gold Coast of Queensland has a book recommendation for us:

"I have a book, 'Torquemada and the Spanish Inquisition' by the apologist catholic Rafael Sabatini first published in 1913 by Stanley Paul & Co. Ltd. If you can find a copy it's a very interesting read."

Torquemada and the Spanish Inquisition
by Rafael Sabatini


October 2, 2006

Today's Rare But Virulent Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

Albert Holt Jr. of Marion, Mass. contracted a rare, but virulent, marine flesh-eating bacteria when he was hooked in both hands in July while fishing. It started with a sore little finger but two weeks later the entire hand had turned black. Doctors diagnosed the illness as photobacterium damsela. Racing to stay ahead of the rapidly spreading bacteria, doctors performed surgery, first removing his hand, then his arm, then portions of his back and side, all within a 24 hour period. As his vital organs began shutting down in the following days, Holt was put on life support, but eventually died on August 1, 2002.

Culled from: Unspecified Source
Generously donated by: Christine

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I just watched the Japanese flick Visitor Q at the recommendation of my ever-insane friend, The Mind Orbitor. She knows an odd film when she sees one, and did she ever find one with this little masterpiece of oddness. The film smashes taboos left and right - it's like the director, Takashi Miike, deliberately tried to incorporate every sick little fantasy he'd ever had into one film. Father/daughter incest mixed with prostitution? Sure! Drug-addicted mother whipped by a bullied son? You betcha! But the best part in the film is the ending - where the husband gets himself caught in a bit of a necrophilic jam, the wife comes to his assistance, and then they both decide to put some fun back in dysfunction in a most morbid manner. I wouldn't exactly call Visitor Q an excellent film, but it definitely has scenes that will stay with you forever. I'd rate it three/five skulls on the morbid-o-meter.

Visitor Q (2001)

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Wretched Recommendations!

Lex has a film recommendation:

"Battle Royale 2 (summary):

"It's three years after the events of the original Battle Royale, and Shuya Nanahara is now an internationally-known terrorist determined to bring down the government. His terrorist group, Wild Seven, stages an attack that levels several buildings in Tokyo on Christmas Day, killing 8000 people.

"Exactly one year afterward, the government enacts the "New Century Terrorist Counter-Measure Alternative" program, a.k.a. the BRII act, and sends the forty-two students of Shikanotoride Junior High Class 3-B to hunt Nanahara and his cohorts down in their island stronghold. Shiori Kitano, the daughter of the late headmaster of Nanahara's Battle Royale, signs up for the program, to avenge her father.

"In order for the government to study the benefits of 'teamwork,' the new students work in pairs, with their collars electronically linked so that if one of them is killed, the other dies as well. They must kill Nanahara in three days--or die.

"And a wicked link for BR2: http://www.battleroyalefilm.net/ "

Battle Royale 2 (2003)

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Morbid Mirth Du Jour!

Here's a fun-filled game! Suicide Bob. The object is to kill yourself by jumping off a building and, hopefully, taking someone else out with you. But you have to avoid the meddling firemen with their trampolines who are trying to save your life. Damn them!

http://www.bleacheatingfreaks.com/flash/games/suicidebob/

Thanks to Amy for the link.


October 3, 2006

Today's Evident Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

A 1624 account of an interrogation by the Dutch in the East Indies described how: "... they hoisted him up againe as before, and then burnt him with lighted candles in the bottome of his feete, untill the fat dropt out the candles; yet then applied they fresh lights unto them. They burnt him also under the elbowes, and in the palmes of the hands; likewise under the armepitts, until his inwards might evidently be seene."

Culled from: The History of Torture

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I just love olde morbid accounts. Don't you?

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Morbid Mirth Du Jour!

Here's a fantastic game: Six Feet Under! The object is to throw the coffin out of the hearse as far as possible. Hit the right arrow button repeatedly to go as fast as possible and hit the spacebar when you reach the pink area. A moment's hesitation and you'll end up smashing into the wall!

http://www.vox.de/flash/game.html

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Wretched Recommendations!

Katchaya has a film recommendation for us:

Weight of Water (2001)

"I watched it on HBO and I am awed. I did enjoy it very much. Based loosely on the 'Smuttynose murders'."

http://tinyurl.com/eqz9x


October 4, 2006

Today's Educational Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

Frederick Charles Wood, about to take a seat in Sing Sing’s electric chair in 1963 for a double murder, said, “Gents, this is an educational project. You are about to witness the damaging effect electricity has on Wood.”

Culled from: The Week Magazine

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Har Har Har!! Oh, that Frederick - such wit!

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Morbid Mirth Du Jour!

Have you ever seen Making Fiends? It's a wonderful series of animations about a wicked fiend creator named Vendetta (what a great name), and the goody two shoes friend maker, Charlotte, who torments her. Very entertaining!

http://makingfiends.com/

Thanks to DAY-the-ELF for the link.

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Wretched Recommendations!

Katchaya has a book recommendation:

"This looks like a great book I'll have to get!"

PUBLIC ENEMIES: America's Greatest Crime Wave and the Birth of the FBI, 1933-34
by Bryan Burrough

Here's the Amazon synopsis:

"Burrough, an award-winning financial journalist and Vanity Fair special correspondent, best known for Barbarians at the Gate: The Fall of RJR Nabisco, switches gears to produce the definitive account of the 1930s crime wave that brought notorious criminals like John Dillinger and Bonnie and Clyde to America's front pages. Burrough's fascination with his subject matter stems from a family connection—his paternal grandfather manned a roadblock in Arkansas during the hunt for Bonnie and Clyde—and he successfully translates years of dogged research, which included thorough review of recently disclosed FBI files, into a graceful narrative. This true crime history appropriately balances violent shootouts and schemes for daring prison breaks with a detailed account of how the slew of robberies and headlines helped an ambitious federal bureaucrat named J. Edgar Hoover transform a small agency into the FBI we know today. While some of the details (e.g., that Dillinger got a traffic ticket) are trivial, this book compellingly brings back to life people and times distorted in the popular imagination by hagiographic bureau memoirs and Hollywood. Burrough's recent New York Times op-ed piece drawing parallels between the bureau's 'reinvention' in the 1930s and today's reform efforts to combat the war on terror will help attract readers looking for lessons from history."


October 5, 2006

Today's Sporadic Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

Olean High School, Olean, New York

Monday, December 30, 1974

Most students stay away from their alma mater over the Christmas holiday break. Senior honor student (ranked 8th in his class of 292) Anthony Barbaro, 18, is an exception to the rule. Olean High School was not in session today, however, some doors were unlocked because administration, clerical and maintenance personal were working in the building. Anthony, carrying a 12-gauge shotgun and a .30-06 rifle with a telescopic site, entered through one of the unlocked doors this afternoon. He made his way up to the third floor where he encountered janitor Earl Metcalf. Anthony, the best shot on his ten man rifle team, wasted no time in killing Earl with a shot to the left side of his chest. Anthony then started a small fire in the hallway. George Pancio, the director of special projects for the district, smelled the smoke and went upstairs to investigate. He found Earl's body and quickly returned downstairs to call the authorities. Meanwhile, Anthony continued moving around the third and fourth floors, firing his guns out the windows into the people below. He killed Neal Pilon as he walked along the street and Carmen Wright with a bullet to her head as she drove past the school in her car. The fire and police departments responded to George's call and Anthony continued sporadically to fire his guns for 90 minutes. He was able to wound eight of the responding firemen, even though they were using their pumper trucks for cover, as they struggled to prepare to fight the fire. Anthony's shooting spree started at 3:05 p.m. State troopers and city police officers stormed the school under a heavy barrage of tear gas and gunfire to capture the teen sniper at 5:30 p.m. Anthony, wearing a white sweatshirt, threw his guns out one of the shattered windows and surrendered without a struggle. He hanged himself while awaiting trial.

Culled from: Columbine-Angels.Com
Generously submitted by: Kathleen

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Now there's a kid with a "What I Did On My Christmas Vacation" story worth telling! Too bad he never got to tell it...

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Morbid Link Du Jour!

Now, here's a fun-filled (and educational) site: The Guillotine Headquarters! I tell you, they just don't make capital punishment devices like they used to...

http://www.metaphor.dk/guillotine/

Thanks to Princess Darlene for the link.

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Morbid Trinket Du Jour!

Looking for that perfect gift to warp a child in your life? Why not give them a Toxic Teddy Bear?

http://www.toxicteddies.com/

I'm particularly fond of Bye Bye:

http://www.toxicteddies.com/bye.html

... and the Bipolar bear:

http://www.toxicteddies.com/bipolar.html

But they are all quite nice!


October 6, 2006

Today's Quick-thinking Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

A Cape Town schoolgirl told how she was scalped in a freak accident when her hair was caught in an automated roller blind in a Kirstenbosch Gardens nursery. St Cyprian's pupil Saran Leech, 17, had gone on a biology outing with her Grade 11 classmates in October, 2003. Speaking from her bed at home, a large white bandage around her head, Saran said: "We were taking a break outside the fernery. We were standing in front of this blind thing that rolls up. My hair was tied back in a ponytail. I was standing there eating an apple and the blind started rolling up."

Saran said the girl next to her was leaning against the blind and when it started rolling up she moved her arm. She said the girl did not think she was in danger because she was not standing close to the blind. "Before I knew what was happening, my hair got caught. I didn't think it was bad, but when I put my hand in to pull my hair out my hand got caught up in the roller. Then I started to panic. It felt as if my head was going to snap off."

Saran was lifted off her feet, but a quick-thinking friend lifted her legs to take some of the drag of the blind off her scalp. "I could feel my skin was tearing off, and I could hear it too. I thought I was going to die." Saran said even when Kirstenbosch staff switched the blind off, it continued to roll up. It only stopped after they pulled out all the wires. She was bleeding profusely and staff rushed her to hospital, where it was found that part of her scalp had been detached from her skull. She was discharged after her injuries were treated.

Culled from: Unknown Source
Generously donated by: Katchaya

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That one is enough to make a Comtesse cringe!

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Morbid Link Du Jour!

Occasionally, the Worth 1000 Photoshop Contests are really WORTH it! As is the case with this particular contest, which showcases the world of nightmares. Quite vividly!

http://www.worth1000.com/cache/gallery/contestcache.asp?contest_id=3244

Thanks to Shifter for the link.

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Morbid Mirth Du Jour!

Here's another fun-filled game: Barb Jump! I knew there was a reason I never liked jumping rope...

Barb Jump

Thanks to Stacy for the link.


October 8, 2006

Today's Reckless Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

A teen costumed as a G.I. Joe sniper covered in leaves and grass was lit on fire and severely burned as hundreds of horrified students watched during "Spook Day" in a Maine high school gymnasium on October 30, 2003. "This is just a prank gone horrifically wrong," police Lt. Harold Page said. A 15-year-old boy touched a lighter to the costume after commenting, "I wonder if this will burn," Page said. Students at Ellsworth High School thought the flames in the top of the bleachers were a Halloween trick. Some students and staff doused the flames with a fire extinguisher and a coat while others rushed for exits after the 9:43 a.m. fire. Donald Awalt, 14, of Ellsworth suffered third-degree burns on his back, legs and back of his head, Page said. He was airlifted to Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, where he was in critical condition. The 15-year-old boy who sparked the fire said he never meant to hurt anyone. He was charged with reckless conduct, aggravated assault and arson. In the wake of the near-tragedy, students were allowed to go home with their parents' permission.

Culled from: Associated Press
Generously submitted by: Kathleen

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Now what sort of example is that to set for the kids? Letting them go home early just because a kid gets set on fire? Now kids will be setting themselves on fire all the time to get to go home early! They will never learn...

Incidentally, the kid did survive:
http://tinyurl.com/kxtry

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Morbid Link Du Jour!

Thanatos.Net is a wonderful site for people who like mortuary photographs, death masks, and strange x-rays. And who doesn't???? The shop is pretty nice too!

http://thanatos.net/

Thanks to Another Girl, Another Planet for the link.

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Morbid Mirth Du Jour!

Pedestrians!! Can't live with 'em, can't run 'em all down! Until now, that is:

Pedestrian Killer

Ahhhhhhh, I feel so much better now!!

Thanks to Stacy for the link.


October 9, 2006

Today's Roasted Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

Roasting alive on a gridiron was the martyrdom of St. Lawrence, put to death by the Romans in AD 258. It is said that as he lay in agony he called out to the executioner: "This side is roasted enough; decide whether roasted or raw thou thinkest the better meat!"

Culled from: The History of Torture

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Morbid Sightseeing!

The next time you're passing through the Asheville-Hendersonville area of North Carolina, there are a few things D.A. thinks you should know:

"I live in the Hendersonville part of Asheville-Hendersonville, NC, which is one of the most haunted places in the country. Lots of fantastic ghost stories around here and as we all know, very few ghost stories get started happily. Here are some of the best morbid locations in the immediate area.

"Battery Park Hotel -- now a highrise apartment complex in downtown Asheville, it was originally constructed as a luxury hotel in the 1920's. In the 1930's, 1934, I believe, it was the site of the murder of Helen Clevenger. Clevenger was a New York University student visiting the resort city of Asheville with her uncle. Because of the brutality of the murder -- she was shot and her face with mutilated with what was thought to be a can opener -- the murder made headlines across the country, and was of special interest to the New York papers. Supposedly, Miss Clevenger haunts the hotel still. Also, the Battery Park has been a popular site for suicides over the years, including one, in the 1970's, of a mental patient who had been released for the day to attend mass at the nearby Basilica of St. Lawrence. He rose the elevator to the roof, used a chair to climb over the railing, and plunged to his death. One of the ghosts of the Battery Park is his falling body -- people have actually called the Asheville PD to report a man falling from the roof.

"Jackson Building -- This elegant, slender skyscraper was Asheville's first skyscraper, and was one of the few convenient places for financiers despondent over the loss of their fortunes in the 1929 stock market crash to commit suicide. People often report seeing a man in old fashioned clothes gloomily peering out over the city at night from the uppermost parapet.

"Clyde A. Erwin High School -- Built in the 1970's, Buncombe County government opted to use a plot of land already owned by the county to build this school. It was thought the land only contained a handful of graves from a small family cemetery, but to their horror, the county commissioners and the contractors discovered well over a thousand graves under the soil. It turned out that the land had been the county pauper's cemetery for well over a century, and the records had been lost in a fire. Though most bodies were removed, it's estimated that between 100 and 200 bodies are still buried under the school and its grounds."

Thanks for the tips, D.A.!

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My Brushes With Morbidity by Snowytaa

"I was stopped at an intersection a few years ago when I saw a guy on a motorcycle coming up very fast behind me. I didn't move, but at exactly the wrong moment another car didn't see him, and tried to pull into my lane...

"I saw the guy on the motorcycle swerve, lean and go flying off, sliding underneath another car and finally rolling to a limp stop in the intersection. Of course all the cars stopped, and two men jumped out of their truck to 'help' him. As I watched in horror, they proceeded to lift this guy up, slap him to trying and wake him, then one started tugging on his helmet. I rolled down my window for them to stop but nobody listens to me, so they pulled harder... There was this loud sucking noise and the helmet came off, and insantly I saw a mix of blood/pink liquid (brain fluid) running from his ears and nose...the motorcycle rider's head fell backwards and then rolled on his neck in a 360 degree circle... His neck was snapped and if he wasn't dead, I'm sure he died soon after."

Second Brush

"I was 12 when this happened. I live in a busy city and just down the street from where I grew up was a very busy road. One afternoon I was walking home when I heard a deafening noise from the other side of the two lane road, a mix of squealing brakes, warping metal and a very short but obvious human scream.

"I tried not to look but I couldn't resist, I peeked out through my fingers and saw a woman lying one arm outstretched on the hood of her car, windshield shattered and her head obliterated, her neck and the red goo where her face must have been before was pumping out blood. The car door was gone (in the road) and one leg was sticking out where the driver's side door had been. She looked dead, but she was twitching all over, like she was having a seizure. She had hit a telephone pole and gone flying through her windshield. No seatbelt, I guess. I ran home and threw up, but I always wore my seatbelt after that."


October 10, 2006

Today's Final Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

A 36-year-old Wainuiomata, New Zealand man hacked his sleeping brother to death with an axe on March 7, 2003 because he was annoyed he had not been thanked for cooking dinner. The mealtime slight was the final straw in a long-running feud between Fergus John Glen and his 33-year-old brother Craig. Glen, single and unemployed, admitted striking his brother - who was married with three children - eight times across the face and neck with the axe. Afterward, Glen returned the axe to the basement and, meeting his mother on the stairs, calmly told her: "I've done him ... [with] an axe." The sound of the blows had jolted her awake. She told police later she thought she had heard "woodchopping noises". The victim's wounds included one that severed his spine. The papers said Craig Glen was unlikely to have felt anything - the first blows would have knocked him unconscious or killed him.

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

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Well, I certainly can't be the only one who completely understands where Fergus was coming from. After all, Hell hath no fury like a thankless cook!

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Morbid Mirth Du Jour!

Contemplating Reiko is a "wicked little comic strip about a wicked little girl". Sounds like fun to me!

http://www.taintedink.com/

Thanks to Neogeisha for the link.

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Ghastly!

I may have featured this site before, but it's so absolutely horrifying that it deserves another mention:

http://www.awfulplasticsurgery.com/

Whatever you do, avoid the Jessica Simpson trout pout photo! You will be scarred for life... just like her!


October 11, 2006

Today's Bitter Cold Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

A 79-year-old Washington Heights, New York man preparing a bedtime "health tonic" died when a bottle he was heating exploded - spewing jagged shards of glass into him. Felix Sabino, a much-loved neighborhood ice cream vendor, bled to death when a piece of glass severed an artery in his left arm Sunday night, November 9, 2003. "Everybody in the community knew him," said Anna Beras, Sabino's niece. "He was a great person. He had the best ice cream." On the first bitter cold night of the fall, Sabino, a father of six, was preparing the tonic that he and his wife, Esperanza, drank every night. But something went wrong inside the apartment on Hillside Ave. Esperanza heard a loud bang and then saw Sabino, who came to New York from the Dominican Republic 15 years ago, staggering out of the kitchen. "My mom came down and saw him lying on the ground," said neighbor Ezequiel Garcia, 20. An ambulance rushed Sabino from the blood-spattered apartment to nearby Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead at 10:30p.m.

Culled from: New York Daily News
Generously submitted by: Clare

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I can't help it. I just love the sentence, "He had the best ice cream." For a man's life to be measured by the quality of his ice cream... well, in my humble opinion, there can be no greater compliment!

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Morbid Trinket Du Jour!

This year why not get that special morbid someone in your life what they've always wanted? A haunted house!!

http://www.hauntrepreneurs.com/for%20sale.htm

Of course, none of them can compare to The Castle DeSpair, but that's not for want of trying...

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Morbid Mirth Du Jour!

This one is courtesy of David.

This woman goes into a funeral home to make arrangements for her husband's funeral. She tells the director that she wants her husband to be buried in a dark blue suit.

He asks, "Wouldn't it just be easier to bury him in the black suit that he's wearing?" But she insists that it must be a blue suit and gives him a blank check to buy one.

When she comes back for the wake, she sees her husband in the coffin and he is wearing a beautiful blue suit. She tells the director how much she loves the suit and asks how much it cost.

He says, "Actually, it didn't cost anything. The funniest thing happened. As soon as you left, another corpse was brought in, this one wearing a blue suit. I noticed that they were about the same size, and asked the other widow if she would mind if her husband were buried in a black suit. She said that was fine with her. So, I just switched the heads."


October 12, 2006

Today's Odd Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

When Herbert Silver, 72, finally called police and told them his brother George, 75, had died, they went to the bachelors' home expecting to find a body. Instead they found a skeleton. "I admit that I didn't go into his room for a few hours, a few days... well quite a while actually," Herbert Silver told the Daily Telegraph. Silver said he had thought it a "bit odd" when his brother failed to emerge from his bedroom in the tiny home they shared in Blissford, southern England, but told the Daily Mirror: "George liked to keep himself to himself, and to be honest so do I." A postmortem indicated George Silver had been dead for up to 18 months.

Culled from: Reuters
Generously submitted by: MorbydlilGirly

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Okay, I don't keep in touch with my brothers much either... but you'd think the smell would have clued him in???

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Morbid Trinket Du Jour!

Now, here's an interesting concept in high fashion: wearing your skin (moles, wrinkles, blemishes and all) on your sleeve!

Because, after all, Gore + Chic = très Chic!

http://www.skinbag.net/skinbag-gb/index.php

Thanks to Home Executive for the link.

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Morbid Link Du Jour!

Learn all about the macabre side of New Orleans at this fine site:

http://www.nola.com/haunted/

Thanks to Raymond for the suggestion.


October 13, 2006

Today's Ignored Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

Three-year-olds are known to talk a lot of gibberish. So when a little Cape Town boy toddled into his house in February, 2004 and told his mother he had found a baby, she shooed him away and told him to go and play. And she ignored him again five minutes later. But eventually the persistent little boy got his mother's attention and led her into the garden. There she discovered a sight too gruesome for words: a mutilated newborn baby, its limbs eaten, apparently by the family dog.
On Tuesday, she said, one of their two dogs left their property and trotted down the street. Somewhere, not far away - perhaps a block or two - it discovered a new-born baby, apparently abandoned. The dog dragged the baby back to its master's home. And by the time the boy led his mother to the infant, the dog had eaten both its arms, both its legs and had started on its lower abdomen. The baby was dead, but they could not tell when it had died. It happened in the quiet suburb of Eerste River. The family is in shock and the grandmother said the traumatised boy had stomach cramps and could not eat for days afterwards. The grandmother said that after making the gruesome find, her daughter had immediately alerted a police van which was driving past and police called in colleagues. The women said the police had later arrived with a sniffer dog, which picked a trail of blood leading into the property. A neighbour said the trail had led to a puddle of afterbirth two streets away, but this could not be confirmed.

Culled from: IoL
http://tinyurl.com/nwxkz
Generously submitted by: Katchaya

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Oh, come on! You expect me to believe that a toddler was traumatized by finding the mutilated body of a baby? The toddler was probably traumatized because the dog got to eat the baby first! There is nowt as wicked as a toddler.

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Morbid Link Du Jour!

Here's a fascinating site on the history of New York's correctional facilities. Great for the urban explorer in us all!

http://www.correctionhistory.org/

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Wretched Recommendations!

Ameehan has a book recommendation:

Party Monster: A Fabulous But True Tale of Murder in Clubland
by James St. James
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0743259823/theasylumeclecti

"Wonderfully snarky and frank recount of the Clubkid Murder by James St. James. I *adore* this book."

My girlfriend attests that this is an excellent book! I'll have to read it myself one of these days...


October 14, 2006

Today's Massive Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

On November 1, 1755, a massive earthquake struck the bustling port city of Lisbon, Portugal with such force that its shocks were felt across Europe and North Africa. The quake, and subsequent seismic waves and fires, killed between 50,000 and 100,000 people and left Lisbon in ruins. The first shock hit about 9:30 on the morning of All Saints' Day. Within two minutes, thousands of buildings collapsed, a 15-foot-wide fissure opened in the middle of the city, and thousands of people were crushed to death. The great cathedrals of Lisbon collapsed onto hundreds of worshipers gathered for All Saints' Day prayer.

Culled from: The Pessimist's Guide To History

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I suppose it's just another sign of my innate wickedness, but I find the imagery of cathedrals collapsing onto praying worshippers to be just too deliciously ironic. Am I the only one?

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Morbid Link Du Jour!

Now, here's a monstrously good (and amazingly thorough) site for all you mythology and horror movie buffs!

http://www.monstrous.com/

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Urban Exploration Link Du Jour!

Here's an excellent site detailing urban explorations in east and south of England. Wish I could go on some of these trips!!

http://www.nobodythere.co.uk/home.shtml

Thanks to Bill for the link.


October 15, 2006

Today's Crushing Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

A 19-year-old woman was crushed by a train after she jumped onto a subway track to retrieve a mobile phone she had dropped. Lina Villegas was pronounced dead Tuesday, February 10, 2004 at a subway stop in the New York City borough of Queens. She had dropped her phone onto the tracks and climbed down from the train platform to find it when she was hit. Villegas saw the train coming but was unable to pull herself back up to the platform in time.

Culled from: The Australian
Generously submitted by: Bruce Townley

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Now, why can't something like this happen to Lindsey Lohan or Paris Hilton?

Sorry about the Urban Exploration Link (to the ironically named nobodythere.co.uk) yesterday being a dud. Apparently, they have shut down the site. Alas...

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Morbid Link Du Jour!

Here's an excellent site - full of wonderful photographs - on the history of mummification!

http://www.touregypt.net/featurestories/mummification.htm

Thanks to Joe for the link.

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Morbid Mirth Du Jour!

Here's another Creepy As Hell animation from the brilliant David Firth (creator of the ever-beloved Salad Fingers):

http://www.fat-pie.com/vdt.htm

You can see more animations here:

http://www.fat-pie.com/flash.htm

Thanks to Desmodus for the link.


October 16, 2006

Today's Bitten Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

A man was bitten to death, in the second donkey attack during February, 2004 in the Limpopo province. In a similar incident the previous week a boy was attacked by a donkey and badly injured. Police spokeperson Malesela Ledwaba said the man died on Wednesday evening, February 11, 2004 of wounds sustained in an attack by a donkey earlier in the week. According to Ledwaba the man, from Mahwelereng outside Mokopane, exited a taxi along a road where donkeys were grazing. One of the donkeys suddenly attacked and bit the man. The man fell to the ground where he was further mauled. He was taken to hospital, but died of his wounds. His death follows an attack last week on nine-year-old Dikgetho Motjieng of Motetema, who was attacked by a donkey on his way to school. He was so badly bitten that he had to undergo an operation to his face, and will probably need plastic surgery.

Culled from: Unspecified Source
Generously submitted by: René

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Now you know why they call them asses...

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Morbid Link Du Jour!

You may remember quite awhile ago I featured a website about a girl who mummified her pet rat? Well, the first attempt at mummification didn't go very well, but she repacked the rat and kept trying and was finally successful. For those of you who'd like to take the journey from mere rat to Beavis I of Chicago, here's the link:

http://www.ironcircus.com/mummification1.php

Thanks to Joe for the link.

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Morbid Sightseeing!

One of these years I am going to make it to Baltimore for Halloween to take a trip through the Edgar Allan Poe burial grounds at Westminster Hall. Robert has been there and sends the following description which simply whets my appetite!

"The event is something that cannot really be expressed in words its something one has to experience in person due to its unique atmosphere, however, one can describe it. As you will know Westminster Graveyard it very small, however, I am told if the event occurs on a Saturday there might be as many as 3000 visitors. The event starts at about 6pm, before which crowds of people have started to gather at the entry gate. For a small entry fee one is guided throughout the gravesite, visiting the Poe gravestones with a tour of the catacombs also included. This can best be imagined as a cellar under Westminster Church, a place of dusty tracks with brick walls and foundations. Along the way one is shown deep dug pits where bodies were once laid to rest. The dull and dank atmosphere is akin to an old Universal horror film, at any time one might expect to see Frankenstein or the Wolfman.

"Midway during the tour one is given a bag of popcorn and a glass of cider, maybe to steady one's nerves, while one takes in all the splendour of the character actors portraying Poe or his characters. One can see and hear renditions of his poems and stories and even drink a toast to Poe at his final resting place.

"This is a event that sticks in one's mind, especially if one has an interest in Poe, and it is well worth a visit."


October 17, 2006

Today's Kicking Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

Horrified parents found their children kicking around a new-born baby's head that they'd found along a riverbank in Mpumalanga. The children, aged between eight and 13, found the head along the banks of the Sand River in Masoyi near Hazyview on Thursday, February 12, 2004. "The children thought it was a ball, because it was covered in mud," the police spokesperson said. "It was heavy, but they thought it was because it had been in the water. They played with it until about 17:00 and then took it home." She said the head still had skin and hair on it and is being kept at the Hazyview mortuary. Police opened an inquest docket.

Culled from: Unspecified Source
Generously submitted by: René

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"The kids thought it was a ball because it was covered in mud"??? In the words of Chico Marx, "Oh no, you canna fool me!" I know exactly what happened here: the kids kicked their soccer ball up on the roof and needed a new one. Just then, as fate would have it, the baby cried through a nearby window. Ah, the naiveté of adults...

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Morbid Link Du Jour!

Here's a blog written by someone assisting with tsunami disaster relief (aka looking at lots of Horrible Things) back in January, 2005. The disgust is in the details!

http://www.paulark.blogspot.com/2005_01_01_paulark_archive.html

Thanks to Oana for the link.

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Wretched Recommendations!

If you're like me, you bemoan every instance of conjoined twins being surgically separated or persons born with extra appendages having those appendages hacked off. Why should someone who is different be made to appear the same as everyone else? Well, Alice Domurat Dreger has written a book on the subject:

One of Us: Conjoined Twins and the Future of Normal
by Alice Domurat Dreger

Here's a synopsis of the book:

"Analyzing case studies past and present, Dormurat Dreger, an associate professor of science and technology at Michigan State, questions assumptions about anatomical norms in a solemn and politically passionate exploration of separation surgery on conjoined twins. Providing historical and contemporary evidence that most adult conjoined twins do not desire to be separated, and that many surgeries are carried out on children too young to object, Dormurat Dreger voices distaste for Americans' failure to tolerate anatomical difference and instead fetishize individualism at all cost. Making ample use of her previous study of hermaphrodites, she likens separation surgery to reconstructive surgery on the sexually ambiguous genitalia of 'intersex' children. Both types of surgery, she argues, share the dubious social rather than strictly medical goal of making such children appear more 'normal.' Aided by statistics that bespeak a high mortality rate, Dormurat Dreger mines cases of separation surgery around the world for the rational and ethical flaws in medical decision making, building a strong case against intervention. At the heart of her moral questioning is suspicion of the institutions involved, and of parents who may be motivated more by ill-conceived feelings about normality than by rational consideration for the children's futures. This pithily provocative critique of medical paternalism and society's blind spots vis-à-vis anatomical standards provides a valuable opportunity to ponder the high-profile surgeries on conjoined twins that most of us know only through the news headlines we habitually fail to question."

Thanks to Layna for the tip.


October 18, 2006

Today's Nihilistic Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

Carl Panzram (June 28, 1891 – September 5, 1930) was an American serial killer. In 1920, at the age of 29, Panzram took the final step in his life of crime by graduating from burglary, arson, vandalism and rape, to murder. He lured sailors in New York away from bars, got them drunk, shot them and dumped their remains into the river. After tiring of that, Panzram went to Africa where he raped and killed an 11-year-old boy. In his confession to this murder, he wrote: "His brains were coming out of his ears when I left him and he will never be any deader." A few days later he hired six men to go hunting crocodiles with him. Once in the swamps, however, Panzram shot all six men to death, hacked them up and fed them to the crocodiles.

Back in America, Panzram shot a man dead for trying to rob him. He also raped and killed two small boys, beating one to death with a rock and strangling the other with a belt. In 1928, Panzram was arrested for burglary and held in Washington, D.C.. During his interrogation and jailtime he voluntarily confessed to killing two boys.[1] At this time, he was befriended by a young, liberal-minded prison guard named Henry Lesser (1902-1983)[2][3] who had just been hired that year. Lesser gave Panzram some writing materials which the prisoner used to write his autobiography, detailing his crimes and his nihilistic philosophy:

"In my lifetime I have murdered 21 human beings, I have committed thousands of burglaries, robberies, larcenies, arsons and last but not least I have committed sodomy on more than 1,000 male human beings. For all these things I am not in the least bit sorry." —Carl Panzram

In light of his extensive criminal record, he was handed a 25-year sentence which was to be served at Leavenworth Federal Penitentiary. "I'll kill the first man that bothers me," Panzram told the warden, and sure enough, a few months later he killed Robert Warnke, foreman of the prison laundry in Leavenworth, battering him to death with an iron bar. To his evident delight, Panzram was sentenced to death. He refused to appeal, even threatening to kill human rights groups that attempted to appeal on his behalf.

Carl Panzram was hanged on September 5, 1930. When asked by the executioner if he had any last words, Panzram barked, "Hurry it up, you Hoosier bastard! I could kill 10 men while you're fooling around!"

Culled from: Wikipedia

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Can you see why Carl is one of my favorite serial killers? You gotta love that attitude. I mean, if you're gonna devote your life to murder, you might as well be proud of your work.

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Morbid Sightseeing!

Looking for something fun to do this Halloween? The Festival of the Dead in Salem, MA sounds like a very entertaining time!

http://www.festivalofthedead.com/

Thanks to KelShubert for the link.

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Morbid Link Du Jour!

Here's a nice collection of Memento Mori photographs. Wish it was mine!!

http://tinyurl.com/gt3j8

Thanks to Laurie for the link.


October 19, 2006

Today's Perishable Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

The Rhoads Opera House, located in Boyertown, Pennsylvania. caught fire on January 13, 1908 during a church sponsored stage play. The fire started when a kerosene lamp was knocked over, lighting gasoline from a stereoscopic machine. The stage and auditorium were located on the 2nd floor and all auxiliary exits were either unmarked or locked. One fire escape was available but unable to be accessed through a locked window above a 3 foot sill. 170 people perished when the exit was crowded against to escape the fire. Whole families were wiped out.

Culled from: Wikipedia
Generously suggested by: Joe

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It's the same old fiery, crushing, morbid story, isn't it? Suffice to say, I always figure out my escape routes when I go to a theater. Especially in Chicago!

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Morbid Trinkets Du Jour!

Here's a site that makes me absolutely giddy - and, as you know, that takes quite a lot! At Raven's Blight's Toyshop you can print out and assemble a variety of extremely nifty morbid toys. I haven't tried making any of them yet, but I will (even though a Certain Someone has informed me that we have "enough crap around here already" and "don't need a bunch of paper toys". Pshaw!!! There is no such thing as too many morbid trinkets!)

http://ravensblight.com/papertoys.html

Thanks to theprodigal for the link.

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Morbid Link Du Jour!

Robert R. Barron, a former Senior CIA Disguise Specialist, is committed to restoring identities through prosthetic devices. Some of the before pics are pretty gruesome, but it is amazing what he can do to improve people's appearances!

http://prosthesis.com/services.htm

Thanks to Thes-P-N for the link.


October 20, 2006

Today's Funny Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

A 43-year-old man tossed a rope into the path of a freight train, apparently on a lark, and was killed after becoming entangled in the rope and dragged by the train. Alan Pichel Sr. was hanging out with his 17-year-old son near the train tracks in Simi Valley, California when he threw a bottle tied to a shopping cart into the train's path, said John Bromley, a spokesman for Union Pacific Railroad. "Apparently, they wanted to watch the shopping cart be dragged along by the train," Bromley said. Authorities say it remains unclear exactly how Pichel became entangled, though police Sgt. Joe May said the man's death was the result of "a strange chain of events." "I've heard about people getting hit by the train, or people committing suicide by stepping in front of the train, but nothing like this," May said. Police stopped the train, which was moving about 15 mph, after about a mile. Coroner's officials said an autopsy showed Pichel died from multiple blunt-force injuries. Pichel's son, Alan Jr., said Tuesday that he and his father "weren't even that close to the tracks." "He just didn't see it coming and it caught him. It happened so fast," he said, adding that his father liked to joke around. "He was just the funniest guy," the teen said. "He was a character."

Culled from: Herald Tribune
Generously submitted by: danegeld2

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How sweet of Dad to die in such a comical manner!

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Morbid Link Du Jour!

Here's proof that the Japanese know how to do gravestones RIGHT!

http://xogij.blogs.com/xogij/2005/02/gravestone_shop.html

Thanks to Shifter for the link.

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Morbid Mirth Du Jour!

It's the end of the world as we know it (and I feel quite okay, actually)...

http://www.endofworld.net/

Thanks to Desmodus for the link.


October 21, 2006

Today's Swollen Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

French doctors were taken aback when they discovered the reason for a patient's sore, swollen belly: He had swallowed around 350 coins - $650 worth - along with assorted necklaces and needles. The 62-year-old man came to the emergency room of Cholet General Hospital in western France in 2002. He had a history of major psychiatric illness, was suffering from stomach pain, and could not eat or move his bowels. His family warned doctors that he sometimes swallowed coins, and a few had been removed from his stomach in past hospital visits. Still, doctors were awed when they took an X-ray. They discovered an enormous opaque mass in his stomach that turned out to weigh 12 pounds - as much as some bowling balls. It was so heavy it had forced his stomach down between his hips. Five days after his arrival, doctors cut him open and removed his badly damaged stomach with its contents. He died 12 days later from complications. One of his doctors, intensive care specialist Dr. Bruno Francois, said the patient had swallowed the coins - both French currency and later euros - over about a decade. His family tried to keep coins and jewelry away from him. "When he was invited and came in some homes, he liked to steal coins and eat them," Francois said. The patient's rare condition is called pica, a compulsion to eat things not normally consumed as food. Its name comes from the Latin word for magpie, a bird thought to eat just about anything.

Culled from: Fox News
Generously donated by: Bruce Townley

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While reading this I had the visual of stringing him up like a pinata and breaking him open like a piggy bank. Yes, I am obviously beyond hope...

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Morbid Site Du Jour!

James Nachtwey is an amazing photographer who has documented an astounding variety of suffering around the world. His photographs are not only poignant in subject matter, they are also beautifully composed.

http://www.jamesnachtwey.com/

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Morbid Mirth Du Jour!

Snowball the Bunny means bloody business in this excellent animation!

http://www.starterupsteve.com/swf/bunnykill.html?

Thanks to Desmodus for the link.


October 22, 2006

Today's Tormenting Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

Water is generally so readily available, and so easily handled, that torturers have used it in a wide variety of ways for many centuries. The simplest of all is to force the victim to drink: at first this comes as a welcome relief after the pains that have gone before; but then the victim becomes sated, bloated, and soon in intense discomfort. The effects were dramatically described by William Lithgow, a Scot who was mistaken for a spy in Spain in 1620. After he had been racked:

'... the tormentor... went to an earthen jar standing, full of water, a little beneath my head; from whence carrying a pot full of water, in the bottom whereof there was an incised hole, which being stopped by his thumb, till it came to my mouth, he did pour it in my belly; the measure being a Spanish sombre which is an English pottle; the first and second devices I gladly received, such was the scorching drought of my tormenting pain, and likewise I had drunk none for three days before.

'But afterward, at the third charge perceiving these measures of water to be inflicted on me as tortures, O strangling tortures! I closed my lips again-standing that eager crudelity. Whereat the Alcaide [governor of the prison] enraged, set my teeth asunder with a pair of iron cadges, whereupon my hunger-clunged belly waxing great, grew drum-like imbolstred, for it being a suffocating pain, in regard of my head hanging downward, and the water reingorging itself, in my throat, with a struggling force, it strangled and swallowed up my breath from yowling and groaning.'

Culled from: The History of Torture

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In other words, Ouch!

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The Comtesse Reflects On...
The West Memphis Three

I am embarrassed to admit it, but until this weekend, I had never really studied the case of the West Memphis Three. However, this past weekend I watched the documentary Paradise Lost - The Child Murders At Robin Hood Hills, followed by its sequel Paradise Lost 2 - Revelations. I was absolutely amazed and appalled at what I saw. Most of you are probably familiar with the case already, but for those of you who are not, the films revolve around a triple-murder of 8-year-old boys in West Memphis, Arkansas on May 6, 1993. The bodies were found in a ravine and a short time later police arrested three local teenagers, linking the boys' killings to a satanic ritual. One of the boys confessed, and they were eventually convicted, with two of the boys being sentenced to life imprisonment and one being sentenced to death.

What you learn while watching these films is that, apart from the confession, there is virtually NO EVIDENCE to link these three to the killings. And the confession - made by a teenage boy (Jesse Misskelley) with an IQ of 72 after 12 hours of intense police questioning - was obviously coerced. During the taped confession, Jesse gives incorrect details that the police correct in order to get him to say what they want him to say. Jesse immediately recanted his confession, but it was too late - the police and the public had already decided to make a scapegoat of the three young men. Their only crime? Being different.

The alleged "leader" of the three, Damien Echols, wore black clothing, had dyed black hair, listened to heavy metal music, and admitted an interest in Wicca and Satanism. And the other two were mainly convicted based on guilt by association. To an educated individual, the entire idea that these murders were satanic ritual killings is, of course, ludicrous! The bodies of the boys were found naked. They had been tied-up, stabbed, raped, bitten, and beaten, and one of the boys had his penis cutoff with a knife. There was no blood found on the scene, indicating that the boys had been killed elsewhere and dumped in the ravine. There was absolutely nothing in the positioning of the bodies or the manner in which they were murdered to suggest a ritual killing (even if you believe in the absurd notion that satanic killings ever actually take place, which I don't believe there is any evidence to support).

It's pretty obvious to us morbid types that this is a sex slaying... and all evidence points to the mutilated boy's father, John Mark Byers. His hateful presence dominates both films - as he wishes death upon the West Memphis Three in the most explicit of manners, while obsessively following the trials and every subsequent appeal. The circumstantial evidence to point to Byers as the killer is overwhelming: he had a history of violence; he had abused his son (physically) and his wife had suspected that her son had been sexually abused as well; his son Christopher was the only boy who had been sexually mutilated and who had bite marks on his face, indicating a special level of rage was directed at him compared to the other boys; he had supplied a knife to the filmmakers and they noticed what appeared to be blood on it and turned it into authorities who determined that the blood, based on its type, could have belonged to either Christopher or John Mark Byers (unfortunately, this was prior to DNA testing, and this test destroyed the blood evidence); he was the first to report the boys missing; he was the only parent to continue to fanatically follow all of the appeals and talk extensively to the filmmakers (exhibiting that peculiar tendency of some killers to stay involved with the case), etc.

But the biggest evidence, in my mind, of Byers probable guilt is the fact that after the trial, he had his teeth all removed. The defense bungled the original autopsy by not catching that there was a bite mark on Christopher Byers' face. During the appeal process, they compared the bite mark to the bite of the West Memphis Three and it did not match any of them... but, wouldn't you know it, they couldn't compare John Mark Byers' bite mark because he'd had his teeth removed. During Revelations, he comes up with a couple of different stories for exactly why he had his teeth removed: 1) they were knocked out in a fight or 2) they fell out due to periodental disease caused by some medication he was taking. Dental records actually show that they were simply removed at Byers' request - for no medical reason at all. Hmmmm, suspicious? Oh, and did I mention that his wife also died under suspicious circumstances as well, and that investigation is still open?

And what evidence is there against the West Memphis Three? The taped confession of Jesse Misskelley couldn't even be used as evidence against Damien and Jason, so all that the prosecution had was some clothing fibers that were matched to the scene (which isn't very compelling evidence, to say the least, since some types of fibers are extremely common) and some witness testimony about overhearing Damien bragging about the murders (one of the witnesses has since confessed that she lied under oath). It's basically nothing more than a modern-day witch hunt - and the West Memphis Three have been imprisoned for 13 years now, as appeals are denied and time runs short for Damien on death row.

To say that this story has pissed me off is an understatement. Who among us wouldn't fit the description of the West Memphis Three: dark clothing, an interest in the occult, an interest in alternative religions, dark music. It's amazing to think that in this day and age, someone can still be sentenced to death when there is no evidence against them - just because they are different from the norm and freak the jury out.

If you haven't seen these films, I highly recommend you take a look. It's too important a topic to avoid. I also encourage you to get involved by checking out the Free The West Memphis Three organization website.

Paradise Lost: The Child Murders At Robin Hood Hills

Paradise Lost 2 - Revelations

Free The West Memphis Three

Free The West Memphis Three My Space Page

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Morbid Sightseeing!

Zubrovka sent me a link to a delightful gallery of photographs of an old factory ruin in Tennessee. Enjoy!

"Just wanted you to have a look at a gallery I just put up, entitled, Menglewood. I had really weird vibes working in there. Oldtimers claim it is haunted. When they closed the factory in 1921 and drained off the boiling vats, they found several skeletons of workers who had fallen to their deaths over the years. Both names apply: Menglewood and Minglewood. The factory was owned by the Mengle Company of Louisville, Ky, but many in this area called it Minglewood. My father operated a cotton gin nearby, known as the Minglewood Gin Co, for example. The ruins are located on family farm land. Additionally, a famous blues song was written about the place in the 1920's by Noah Lewis. The Grateful Dead also did a cover of the song."

Minglewood Blues
I was born in a desert, raised in a lion's den
I was born in a desert, raised in a lion's den
And my regular occupation is seeking women from other men

When you come to Memphis, please stop by Minglewood
When you come to Memphis, please stop by Minglewood
There women [??] don't mean no man no good

http://homepage.mac.com/studio_zubrovka/PhotoAlbum8.html

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Morbid Trinket Du Jour!

If you're like me - and I know many of you are - you've always wanted to have your own personal human conversation piece up on the mantel. Well, thanks to the Bone Room, here's your chance!

You can purchase genuine human bones of all sorts here:

http://boneroom.com/skulls/newskulls1.html

And you can also purchase all sorts of animal pieces 'n' parts as well:

http://boneroom.com/


October 23, 2006

Today's Beastly Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

A farmer’s wife was eaten alive by four pigs after falling into their sty. Irma Molnar, 56, who was knocked unconscious, was found clinging to life by husband Sandor, but she died later in hospital. Dr Dan Grigorescue, of Brasov, Romania, said: "Her ears and half her face were missing. Her fingers had been bitten off." Grief-stricken Sandor vowed to destroy the pigs, sobbing: "I’ll never breed such beasts again."

Culled from: The Sun
Generously submitted by: Kimba

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My girlfriend could have warned him about pigs. She insists they are the Devil Incarnate. Personally, I think they have a right to be hostile towards humans. After all, their people been persecuted!!

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Morbid Trinket Du Jour!

Looking for that perfect decoration for your Halloween party? Check out the excellent props at Fright Catalog!

http://www.frightcatalog.com/Halloween-Props/Animated/

I want them all!!! But my pocket book won't let me... alas...

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Wretched Recommendations!

Neil has a movie recommendation for us:

"A good morbid movie is 'Thinner' -- it is not necessary to be a Steven King fan to enjoy it. It conjures up about 30 minutes of really sickening horror."

Thinner (1996)


October 25, 2006

Today's Genocidal Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

More than 50 million people were systematically murdered in the past 100 years -- the century of mass murder: From 1915 to 1923 Ottoman Turks slaughtered up to 1.5 million Armenians. In mid-century the Nazis liquidated six million Jews, three million Soviet POWs, two million Poles, and 400,000 other "undesirables". Mao Zedong killed 30 million Chinese, and the Soviet government murdered 20 million of its own people. In the 1970s the communist Khmer Rouge killed 1.7 million of their fellow Cambodians. In the 1980s and early '90s Saddam Hussein's Baath Party killed 100,000 Kurds. Rwanda's Hutu-led military wiped out 800,000 members of the Tutsi minority in the 1990s. Now there is genocide in Sudan's Darfur region. In sheer numbers, these and other killings make the 20th century the bloodiest period in human history.

Culled from: National Geographic, January 2006

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Morbid Link Du Jour!

Should you find yourself in the Windsor, Ontario (or the Detroit, Michigan) vicinity in the near future (ie. this month), why not visit the Old Windsor Armoury, home of Hauntfest - The Ultimate Halloween Event? I would if I could!

http://www.hauntfest.com/home.php

They have events throughout the year, so keep your eyes peeled!

Thanks for The Dickeys for the link.

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Morbid Mirth Du Jour!

Here's another brilliantly dark cartoon by the genius known as David Firth:

http://www.fat-pie.com/bwrt.htm


October 26, 2006

Today's Clandestine Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

Medical schools in the eighteenth century, and increasingly so in the early nineteenth century, found it difficult to teach anatomy because the supply of bodies for dissection was limited (legally, only the corpses of convicted murderers might be used, and even those were often hard to obtain because of public revulsion against the practice). So a clandestine trade grew up of grave-robbing: the anatomists paid resurrectionists to go out at night, especially in winter when the cold would slow putrefaction, to dig up freshly interred bodies and convey them to the schools. At the time, a dead body was not legally regarded as property, so body snatchers could not be convicted of theft. When this supply proved inadequate, some gangs—such as that of the infamous Burke and Hare—turned to murder to meet demand, leading to the verb to burke and to burkism as a name for the practice.

Various methods were tried to thwart the resurrectionists, such as setting guards or traps over the grave. Another was to employ metal coffins, such as the patent coffin invented by Edward Bridgman in 1781. In Scotland the most common method in the eighteenth century—for those who could afford it—was the watch box or mortsafe (from French mort, death). This was an iron grid or cage either placed over the coffin or set in mortar above ground to cover the whole area of the grave. Some of the latter type can still be seen in churchyards. Poor people sometimes erected communal mortsafes or placed huge coffin-shaped pieces of stone or metal on new graves (they were called jankers; the source of this word is unknown, but may derive from the name of the device employed to move the weights; it’s probably not connected with the twentieth-century sense of a military punishment, whose origin is also unknown).

Culled from: World Wide Words
http://www.worldwidewords.org/weirdwords/ww-mor1.htm
Generously submitted by: Miss SueLyn Jukes

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Morbid Mirth Du Jour!

Here's a fun Halloween-based version of Hangman:

http://dedge.com/flash/hangman/

Thanks to Desmodus for the link.

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Morbid Trinket Du Jour!

Talk about a gimmick and a half! You can now own a vial of brick dust from the Lizzie Borden House!

http://lizzie-borden.com/GIFT_SHOP/index.php?category=Novelties


October 27, 2006

Today's Perverted Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

A pervert videoed his death while using a bizarre noose and pulley system for auto-erotic sex. MacMillan Von Albrecht, 59, accidentally hanged himself in a dungeon at his home, surrounded by whips, chains, rubberware and gas masks. He took 12 agonising hours to die, an inquest heard. The room contained five TV screens, four video recorders and videos with titles like Rubber Nuns, Bondage Selection and, oddly, one named after TV star Felicity Kendall. The walls were plastered from floor to ceiling with images of women in bondage and fetish gear. Coroner Dr Paul Knapman said: “In his home was a completely darkened room. It could be described as a den for the furtherance of sexual perversion.” Police turned on a video machine found next to the body. A tape showed him pulling against a noose around his neck. The cord was suspended from pulleys — with a urine-filled sweet jar acting as a counterweight. He was shown gasping and moving his head — until finally no breathing could be heard. Police broke into the house in Battersea, South London, after the fetishist — single and jobless — had not been seen for three weeks. Westminster Coroner Dr Knapman said he did not believe Mr Von Albrecht meant to kill himself. Verdict: misadventure.

Culled from: The Sun
Generously submitted by: Kimba

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"A den for the furtherance of sexual perversion." That just cracks me up!

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Morbid Link Du Jour!

Here's a nifty Halloween prop:

http://www.madhauscreative.com/head%20in%20a%20jar.html

Thanks to Erica for the link.

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Morbid Mirth Du Jour!

A sadist, a masochist, a murderer, a necrophile, a zoophile and a pyromaniac are all sitting on a bench in a mental institution, bored out of their minds.

"How about having sex with a cat?" asked the zoophile.

"Let's have sex with the cat and then torture it," says the sadist.

"Let's have sex with the cat, torture it and then kill it," shouted the murderer.

"Let's have sex with the cat, torture it, kill it and then have sex with it again," said the necrophile.

"Let's have sex with the cat, torture it, kill it, have sex with it again and then burn it," said the pyromaniac.

Silence took over... then everyone turned to the masochist and asked:

"So, what's it gonna be?"

To which he replies, "Meow."

You can thank René for that one.


October 28, 2006

Today's Ripping Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

A 27-year-old Eersterus, Pretoria, woman was killed and her unborn baby was ripped from her womb by an explosion caused by a Primus in April, 2004. Inspector Percy Morokane said detectives on the scene in Eersterus described it as "one of the most horrific sights they had ever witnessed." Apparently Selina Mabena was asleep in her bed when her 35-year-old boyfriend got up to make her tea just after 06:30. Morokane said the boyfriend lit the gas of the Primus and went outside to fetch water. The explosion ripped through the flat incinerating Mabena and ripping the seven-month-old baby from her womb. "Both Mabena and her baby, found lying a few metres from her, died in the blaze," he said. Forensic experts believe the explosion may have occurred as a result of a leaking gas bottle.

Culled from: SA
Generously submitted by: René

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Oh, Les Claypool! So much to answer for!

Well, I'm off to a Halloween party. My theme this year? Tsunami Zombie. I know, it's very 2005 but I couldn't pull it off last year. Alas, even my Halloween costumes are destined to be behind the times...

Enjoy your festive morbid weekend, even if you're just sitting around at home reading about Lizzie Borden or watching The Shining!

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Wretched Recommendations!

Sam Mori has a book to recommend:

"A book that I am happy to say I am reading for a biology class, and that so far has not been recommended by anybody (shocking!) is Deadly Feasts by Richard Rhodes. It goes into detail about the discovery and diagnosis of various encephalopathy throughout the mid-to-late-twentieth century. The first part is particularly interesting, detailing kuru (a brain disease passed on by endocannibalism—the eating of one’s relative’s brains) and a Fore tribe’s cannibal feast. I recommend the book just for that, really. I hope you and your readers enjoy the book."

Deadly Feasts
by Richard Rhodes

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Morbid Sightseeing!

I can't believe that I didn't know about the Shanghai Tunnels when I visited Portland! You best believe that the next time I'm in the lovely city, I'll be taking a trip underground!

http://www.oregon.com/trips/pdx_shanghai.cfm

Thanks to Stephanie for the suggestion.


October 29, 2006

Today's Explosive Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

Doctors in Romania are treating a 28-year-old whose penis exploded while he was making love to his girlfriend. Ilarie Coroiu was taken to hospital in the Transylvanian town of Cluj after his girlfriend, Magdalena, 18, "felt something strange" and noticed that the bed was covered in blood. Dr Angela Domocos, head of the accident and emergency department at Cluj General Hospital, said: "It is very rare for this to happen. We call it an exploded penis because it happens when the blood cavities in the penis burst. I don't know what this couple were playing at, but there must have been tremendous pressure inside the penis to make this happen." Mr Coroiu is now recovering after an operation to stop the bleeding.

Culled from: Ananova
Generously submitted by: EinsteinShrugged

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Okay, I'm not sure if I believe this one... but it was too entertaining to pass up!

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Wretched Recommendations!

Lindsay has a unique book recommendation:

Bloody Moments
by Gael Jennings and Roland Harvey

"It's a children's cartoon history about medicine, chock full of blood guts and gore. It's a very entertaining read and the illustrations are just great. The target age group is 9-12. The School Library Journal review on Amazon was less then flattering but teachers have been known to be humorless."

Now, THIS is the kind of book we should be giving our young!

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Morbid Mirth Du Jour!

Timmy's Wish is a fun-filled - and very dark - short film that you've just got to see! Definitely not for the easily offended.

http://tinyurl.com/55agy

Thanks to Desmodus for the link.


October 30, 2006

Today's Fresh Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

Chinese man has been arrested on suspicion of stealing 30 corpses from local graveyards, cooking soup with their flesh and crushing the bones in a bid to heal his sick wife. Police in Kaijiang county, southwestern Sichuan province, detained the 51-year-old, identified by his surname Huang, after corpses had disappeared mysteriously from local cemeteries since 1988. According to preliminary investigations, he snatched the bodies after a fortune teller told him fresh body parts were the only remedy for his wife's seemingly incurable illness, which was not identified. He was told to carve off the flesh and cook soup for his wife, or grind the bones into a powder that he was to smear on her forehead. Huang was arrested after comprehensive detective work, triggered by outrage when a recently buried corpse was discovered near a local market with both arms missing and the chest carved open. The 16-year-long rampage had caused wild rumors to circulate, and grieving relatives had kept a vigil at their loved-ones' graves for up to six months at a time in an effort to protect their bodies. According to traditional Chinese beliefs, it is essential to be buried with all body parts intact, as otherwise they will be missing in the afterlife.

Culled from: News.Com.AU
Generously submitted by: Bruce Townley

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This is definitely a good reason for cremation.

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Wretched Recommendations!

Lindsay has a film recommendation:

Tetsuo: The Iron Man (1989)

"I first saw this a number of years ago and decided to try it again. I was not disappointed. It's a black and white movie about a man who gradually turns into a machine. This isn't the Transformers. Some of the scenes are genuinely disturbing. I've seen some of this imagery in adult Japanimation but never so vividly displayed.

"Here is the review from someone at Amazon:

'Shinya Tsukamoto draws on the marriage of flesh and technology that inspires so much of David Cronenberg's work and then twists it into a manga-influenced cyberpunk vision. A man (Tomoroh Taguchi) awakens from a nightmare in which his body is helplessly fusing with the metal objects around him, only to find it happening to him in real life... or is it? Haunted by memories of a hit and run (eerily prophetic of Cronenberg's Crash), the man knows this ordeal could be a dream, a fantastic form of divine retribution, or perhaps technological mutation born of guilt and rage. Shot in bracing black and white on a small budget, Tsukamoto puts a demented conceptual twist on good old-fashioned stop-motion effects and simple wire work, giving his film the surreal quality of a waking dream with a psychosexual edge (resulting in the film's most disturbing scene). The story ultimately takes on an abstract quality enhanced by the grungy look and increasingly wild images as they take to the streets in a mad chase of technological speed demons. This first entry in his self-titled "Regular Sized Monster Series" is followed by a full-color sequel, Tetsuo II: The Body Hammer, which trades the muddy experimental atmosphere for a big-budget sheen but can't top the cybershock to the system this movie packs.'"

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Ghastly!

Here's an interesting audio slideshow of the liberation of the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp on April 15, 1945. The audio is provided by the BBC's Richard Dimbleby who recorded his impressions for radio.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/in_depth/4445811.stm

Thanks to ganscham for the link.


October 31, 2006

Today's Perfectly Preserved Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

When some kids went sliding down a muddy incline in the town of Griswold, Connecticut, one Sunday morning in 1990, they had no idea the 2 skulls that fell behind them from the hillside would lead to a vampire's resting place - in New England of all places. The bones would not only clear the way to a 19th century graveyard of 28 normal corpses but also to one perfectly preserved skeleton, re-arranged in a skull-and-crossbones pattern with the initials J.B. on the lid of the decayed coffin.

J.B.'s bones in museum in the skull-and-crossbones pattern as they were found "After he died, someone went into his grave and re-arranged him, covered him back up and left," says Nick Bellantoni, Connecticut State Archaeologist and leader of the cemetery recovery project. "Our first hypothesis was that maybe this was some kind of vandalism," he adds. But after noting that the other 28 graves contained absolutely no valuables of any kind, other theories had to be explored.

That's when some researchers working with Bellantoni stumbled upon a newspaper account from the 1850's telling of a strange and gruesome practice that was taking place around the same time and only a few kilometres away. "The story goes into the burial of Henry Rae who had died of tuberculosis and was still thought to be spreading it to living family members," recounts Bellantoni. "It gives a whole description of how they went into his grave, broke into his chest cavity, and removed his heart." The practice was bizarre but undeniably associated with countless similar European vampire cases.

After a careful inspection of the bones of J.B., Paul Sledzik, Curator of Anatomical Collections at the National Museum of Health and Medicine in Washington, D.C., was able to link the vampire hypothesis with a telltale clue. "From the lesions on several of J.B.'s bones, it was clear that he suffered and likely died of tuberculosis," says Sledzik. "It's very likely someone from the family mutilated the body to cause disruption of the corpse."

While not a pleasant task, it was one that vampire lore from Europe suggests was one of a number of ways of stopping the torment of those still living - in this case, plagued by tuberculosis. Other methods included driving a stake through the heart of the corpse or tying the dead body up in a rope with hundreds of knots.

Culled from: Discovery Channel
Generously submitted by: Shelley

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Hey, in those days they mutilated bodies to stop the spread of disease; these days, we put antibiotics in tissue paper. Who can say which is the more effective method? But I do know which one is the more fascinating!

Happy Halloween, everyone! I hope you've enjoyed a most mirthfully morbid holiday. I have been under the weather lately so I wasn't able to go out and enjoy the festivities this year, unfortunately. More's the pity - after all, this is the one day of the year when I can get away with displaying my disfigured countenance! And I can scare children without reprimand. Ah well, there's always next year...

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Wretched Recommendations!

Lindsay has a film recommendation for us:

The Audition (Japan 1999)

Amazon review: "If you want the full sledgehammer-to-the-stomach effect of Audition, stop reading this review now. Just watch it and take the consequences. At first glance, Takashi Miike's jack in the box of a movie works like a romantic comedy: amiable widower Shigeharu Aoyama (Ryo Ishibashi) decides it's time to find a new wife, and a friend suggests holding a fake audition to find the right girl. It soon becomes clear that there is something wrong with Aoyama's choice. This is no ordinary Fatal Attraction-style thriller, however; Audition slowly and carefully builds into a wrenching exploration of both deep male fears and the stereotype of the cute, submissive Japanese woman. Audition is by no means an easy movie to watch--even hardcore horror fans may have trouble--but it will stay with you for a long, long time"

"When I finally got my hands on a copy of The Audition, I had already heard great things and was expecting the unexpected. Now only is this a great story with well rounded characters and complex plot, it also contains some of the most disturbing torture scenes I have ever watched. It starts out as a romantic movie about a lonely middle aged man and slowly turns into a nightmare. The direction is excellent, never giving too much, always throwing in the unexpected. The story draws you in slowly by unraveling the murky past of a beautiful, demur girl. Just like the main character, by the time you know the whole story, you're already in hell."

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Morbid Mirth Du Jour!

Einstein Shrugged was kind enough to put together a very nice quiz entitled Who's Funeral Is It? I missed a couple - perhaps you can do better?

http://mysite.wanadoo-members.co.uk/einsteinshrugged/WhosFuneral.html



Vulgarities...