Category Archives: Web

The most horrible sites on the web.

Morbid Fact Du Jour For February 3, 2016

Today’s Commonplace Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

During the first 40 years of photography (ca. 1840-1880), professional photographers regularly advertised that they would take “likenesses of deceased persons.” Advertisements that state that “We are prepared to take pictures of a deceased person on one hour’s notice” were commonplace throughout the United States. The prominent firm of Southworth & Hawes ran the following advertisement in the 1846 Boston business directory: “We make miniatures of children and adults instantly, and of Deceased Persons either at our rooms or at private residences. We take great pains to have Miniatures of Deceased Persons agreeable and satisfactory, and they are often so natural as to seem, even to Artists, in a deep sleep.”

The practice was sufficiently common that black mats, often decorated with floral patterns, were sold by photographic supply houses. Companies like the Scovil Manufacturing Company of Waterbury, Connecticut, and the Mausoleum Daguerreotype Case Company of New York sold daguerreotype cases designed for “likenesses of deceased persons, and for sepulchral daguerreotypes”.

Here’s a post-mortem image by Southworth & Hawes:

Culled from: Secure the Shadow: Death and Photography in America

 

Morbid Twitter Feed Du Jour!

A special thank you to Kevin for letting me know about American Injuries – a collection of tweets from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System!  Full of delights such as, “A 51-YR-OLD FEMALE FELL ON ARM YESTERDAY FROM TOILET FELT LIGHTHEADED ALSO USED COCAINE HEROIN CELLULITIS ARM.”   Fascinating!

American Injuries

Morbid Fact Du Jour for May 27, 2015

Today’s Sautéed Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

A severely-depressed fellow in New Zealand severed his own finger, cooked it up with some vegetables, and ate it. Apparently this is only one of eight known cases of “self-cannibalism.” The incident was discussed in the scientific journal Australasian Psychiatry. From their report, quoted in the New Zealand Herald:

“At the end of 2008, following another personal crisis, and while not being fully compliant with his medication, he spiralled into another episode of depression. He experienced significant insomnia and suicidal ideation, and ruminated for days about cutting off his fingers.”In an effort to seek reprieve from these thoughts, he tied a shoelace around his [little] finger to act as a tourniquet and cut the finger off with a jigsaw.

“He then cooked it in a pan with some vegetables and ate its flesh. His plan was to amputate another two fingers the following day.

“Mr X reported initial excitement – non-sexual – and a sense of relief from his ruminations. Given the instantaneous benefit, he felt that there was no point in cutting off any more fingers.”

The man later regretted the act of self-harm – his first – “because of its debilitating effect”.

Culled from: The New Zealand Herald
Generously submitted by: Mike Marano

 

Morbid Link Du Jour!

I mentioned Connecticut’s Circus Fire a couple days ago in reference to Charles Nelson Reilly’s recollection of surviving it as a boy.  Well, Eleanor led me into the best website about the fire I’ve yet to encounter:  The Hartford Circus Fire.  There is actually a page dedicated to each of the victims, where you can look at photographs of the victims, read how they died, and even see images of their graves. All disasters should have a webpage like this!

The Hartford Circus Fire

Morbid Fact Du Jour for May 23, 2015

Today’s Dreadfully Scourged Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

Let’s have another jolly story of  Christian Martyrdom from the classic of the genre, Fox’s Book of Martyrs (1848).  This allegedly occurred during the Third Persecution, under Trajan, in A.D. 108:

Trajan commanded the martyrdom of Ignatius, bishop of Antioch. This holy man was the person whom, when an infant, Christ took into his arms, and showed to his disciples, as one that would be a pattern of humility and innocence. He received the gospel afterward from St. John the Evangelist, and was exceedingly zealous in his mission. He boldly vindicated the faith of Christ before the emperor, for which he was cast into prison, and tormented in a most cruel manner. After being dreadfully scourged, he was compelled to hold fire in his hands, and, at the same time, papers clipped in oil were put to his sides, and set on fire. His flesh was then torn with red hot pincers, and at last he was dispatched by being torn to pieces by wild beasts.
Culled from: Fox’s Book of Martyrs
Generously suggested by: Louise

New band name: Dreadfully Scourged.

 

Restoring The Entombed

If you’re like me (and I suspect you are or you wouldn’t be receiving this newsletter), you love those fascinating plaster casts from Pompeii.  They’ve recently been working on restoring some of the beauties that were originally cast in the 19th century, many of which are displayed in this excellent article.

Restoration Work Begins On Bodies Of Those Who Died When Vesuvius Erupted

Morbid Fact Du Jour for April 6, 2015

Today’s Convulsive Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

Jeanne Weber (7 October 1874 – 5 July 1918) was a French serial killer. She strangled at least 10 children, including her own. She was both convicted of murder and declared insane in 1908; she hanged herself ten years later.

Born in a small fishing village in northern France, Weber left home for Paris at age 14, working various menial jobs until her marriage in 1893. Her husband was an alcoholic, and two of their three children died in 1905. By then, Weber was also drinking heavily, residing in a seedy Paris tenement with her spouse and her seven-year-old son.

On 2 March 1905, Weber was babysitting for her sister-in-law, when one of the woman’s two daughters — 18-month-old Georgette — suddenly “fell ill” and died. Strange bruises on her neck were ignored by the examining physician, and Weber was welcomed back to babysit on 11 March. Two-year-old Suzanne did not survive the visit, but a doctor blamed the second death on unexplained “convulsions.”

Weber was babysitting for her brother, on 25 March, when his daughter, seven-year-old Germaine, suffered a sudden attack of “choking,” complete with red marks on her throat. The child survived that episode, but she was less fortunate the following day, when Weber returned. Diphtheria was blamed for her death, and for that of Weber’s son, Marcel, just four days later. Once again, the tell-tale marks of strangulation were ignored.

On 5 April 1905, Weber invited two of her sisters-in-law’s to dinner, and remained home with her 10-year-old nephew Maurice while the other women went out shopping. They returned prematurely, to find Maurice gasping on the bed, his throat mottled with bruises, Jeanne standing over him with a crazed expression on her face. Charges were filed, and Weber’s trial opened on 29 January 1906, with the prosecution alleging eight murders, including all three of Weber’s own children and two others — Lucie Aleandre and Marcel Poyatos — who had died while in her care. It was alleged that Weber killed her son in March to throw suspicion off, but Weber was being defended by the brilliant defense lawyer Henri-Robert, and jurors were reluctant to believe the worst about a grieving mother. She was acquitted on 6 February.

Fourteen months later, on 7 April 1907, a physician from the town of Villedieu was summoned to the home of a peasant named Bavouzet. He was greeted at the door by a babysitter, “Madame Moulinet,” who led him to the cot where nine-year-old Auguste Bavouzet lay dead, his throat badly bruised. The cause of death was listed as “convulsions,” but the doctor changed his opinion on 4 May, when “Madame Moulinet” was identified as Jeanne Weber. Weber engaged the lawyer Henri-Robert once more. Held over for trial, Weber was released in December, after a second autopsy blamed the boy’s death on typhoid.

Weber quickly dropped from sight, surfacing next as an orderly at a children’s hospital in Faucombault, moving on from there to the Children’s Home in Orgeville, run by friends who sought to “make up for the wrongs that justice has inflicted upon an innocent woman.” Working as “Marie Lemoine,” Weber had been on the job for less than a week when she was caught strangling a child in the home. The owners quietly dismissed her and the incident was covered up.

Back in Paris, Weber was arrested for vagrancy and briefly confined to the asylum at Nanterre, but doctors there pronounced her sane and set her free. She drifted into prostitution, picking up a common-law husband along the way. On 8 May 1908, the couple settled at an inn in Commercy. A short time later, Weber was found strangling the innkeeper’s son, 10-year-old Marcel Poirot, with a bloody handkerchief. The father had to punch her three times in the face before she would release the lifeless body.

Held for trial on murder charges, Weber was declared insane on 25 October 1908, packed off to the asylum at Mareville. Credited with at least ten murders, she survived ten years in captivity before manually strangling herself in 1918.

Culled from: Wikipedia

Here’s Mad Jeanne posing for a photograph before being taken away to the asylum.

 

Ghastly! – Enucleated Eye Edition

The Sacred Heart: An Atlas of the Body Seen Through Invasive Surgery is a book of surgery photographs taken by Max Aguilera-Hellweg.  The images are powerful, beautiful, and at times cringe-inducing, such as this image of an eye being harvested for a cornea transplant.  Here is a description of the image by Richard Selzer, M.D. who wrote the introduction:

“And now, an eyeball is removed for its precious cornea. It is held out like something on the end of a stalk. Just behind, in the shadow, fringed by damp lashes, the empty socket. We do not gaze into this eye; we gaze upon it. In that change of prepositions there is revealed one of our most primitive fears – that of blindness. This enucleated eyeball reminds us of the punishment of Samson by the Philistines and the blinding of Oedipus by his own hand, and now at last we cannot keep from shuddering. There is irony in this as the whole purpose of the harvest is that someone who cannot, will see.”

 

Morbid Tumblr Du Jour!

I’ve been amusing myself on Tumblr lately and stumbled across some lovely blogs.  I thought I’d share them as I come across them.  Here’s a lovely one I just discovered today.  If you have any suggestions, let me know!

Dreadful Things Seen In Shattered Mirrors

Morbid Fact Du Jour for February 2, 2015

Today’s Entombed Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

When Sir Christopher Wren was commissioned to rebuild St. Paul’s Cathedral after it had been destroyed by the Great Fire of London in 1666, he made an astonishing discovery. As Mrs. Isabella Holmes reveals in her marvelous book of 1898, The London Burial Grounds:

“Upon digging the foundation of the present fabrick [sic] of St. Paul’s, he found under the graves of the latter ages, in a row below them, the Burial-places of the Saxon times – the Saxons, as it appeared, were accustomed to line their graves with chalkstones, though some more eminent were entombed in coffins of whole stones. Below these were British graves, where they found ivory and wooden pins of a hard wood, seemingly, box, in abundance, of about six inches long; it seems the bodies were only wrapped up, and pinned in wooden shrouds, which being consumed, the pins remained entire. In the same row, and deeper, were Roman urns intermixed. This was eighteen feet deep or more, and belonged to the colony, where Romans and Britons lived and died together.”

Wren’s discovery reminds us that London is one giant grave. So many generations have lived and died here within such a small span – pagan, Roman, medieval, Victorian – and left intriguing traces of their lives: like the skulls of Romans, murdered by Boudicca, recovered from the Thames, and the clay pipes of plague victims, discovered during excavations for the Piccadilly Line. In fact, the tunnel curves between Knightsbridge and South Kensington stations because it was impossible to drill through the mass of skeletal remains buried in Hyde Park. London, from six feet under, is not just Cobbett’s ‘Great Wen’, it is the city a horrified young Thomas Carlyle dubbed ‘the Great Maw’!

Culled from: Necropolis: London and its Dead

 

New York Noir Du Jour!

New York Noir: Crime Photos from the Daily News Archive by William Hannigan is a wonderful collection of, wait for it, crime photos from the Daily News archive that date from the 1920s to the 1950s.  Here’s an image from the book:


GANG GETS REVENGE
January 29, 1939
Photographer: McCory

Gang Gets Revenge. Detectives examine body of Louis Cohen, put on spot in Lewis St., between Broome and Grand Sts., last night. Circle: his gun. He killed Kid Dropper 15 years ago.

(Kid Dropper!  Isn’t that a great name?  I get the image of a comic book villain dropping brats off rooftops.  But that’s just me… – DeSpair)

 

Autopsies Galore!

I just stumbled upon  Autopsyfiles.Org while fixing a broken link to the Caylee Anthony Autopsy Report on an old blog entry, and what a treasure trove it is!  If you’re like me and you can’t get enough of these things, you’ll be stuck here for hours!  Everyone from Martin Luther King, Jr. to Karen Carpenter to Bonnie and Clyde to Michael Jackson, all in one handy location!

As I’ve said before, one of my greatest sadnesses in life is knowing that I’ll never get to read my own autopsy report.  Sigh…

Morbid Fact Du Jour for January 28, 2015

Today’s Rutting Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

The owner of a camel farm in Texas was killed along with another person after a deadly camel attack Saturday (January 10, 2015). Wichita County Sheriff David Duke found the bodies of Peggye McNair, 72, and Mark Mere, 53, at 2:30 p.m. at the Camel Kisses Camel Farm in Wichita Falls, Texas. McNair was the farm’s owner and a well-known camel breeder. Duke told KFDX that Mere had entered a pen with three camels to attend to a frozen water trough, but an aggressive male among the animals began charging him. Mere attempted to escape the pen, and the camel attacked as McNair tried to close the pen gate. The camel trampled McNair and Mere, killing both. All three camels, two females and a male, acted aggressively toward arriving deputies. The male camel was said to be in a rut, a period of sexual aggressiveness that occurs in breeding seasons. McNair’s family gave game wardens permission to euthanize the animal responsible for her death. Fatal camel attacks on humans are not unheard of. In Oct. 2014 a camel escaped its pen and killed the owner of a wildlife park in Mexico. .

Culled from: UPI
Submitted by: Aimee

Seems that the difference between humans being in a rut and camels being in a rut is rather significant.

Camel Kisses? Please. A little Googling around tells us that not only are camels quite capable of giving severe bites, their well-known spitting is more accurately projectile vomiting as they expel stomach contents onto a perceived enemy. This slimy, sticky greenish mess smells bad and the gastric juices can burn skin and eyes.

No, I don’t think I want any kisses from any camel, thanks.  – Aimee

 

Morbid Trinket Du Jour!

Got my new necklaces the other day.  Jealous?

Fret not, you can get yours too – from Asunder.

 

Morbid Hobby Du Jour!

Lissa sent me a link along with a splendid suggestion for a new hobby:

“Check out this website: http://www.gunviolencearchive.org/ You can find the most recent shootings in your area, right down to the time and address, plus other interesting stats. Grab a camera and go take some crime scene photos!!!!”

Gun Violence Archive

I think we should all make that our hobby!  Crime Scene Photo Du Jour, as it were.  I mean, I’ve already done that quite a few times here in gun-happy Chicago, but if you’d like to share a crime scene photo along with the story that goes along with it, please send it my way!  Thanks for the suggestion, Lissa!

Morbid Fact Du Jour for January 20, 2015

Today’s Nazi-Loving Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

Nazi-lover and amateur weightlifter Freddie Cowan shocked the New Rochelle, New York community on Valentine’s Day, 1977, when he shot 10 people at the Neptune Worldwide Moving Company. Five died on the spot, a sixth person died weeks later.

From all accounts, people thought that Freddie was a regular guy with a couple of chips on his broad shoulders.

A hardworking ex-GI, Freddie lived with his parents and fantasized about being “like Hitler.” He kept a collection of Nazi weapons and other memorabilia and enjoyed wearing his German tanker helmet and pretending he was in the SS. In one of his Nazi books found by authorities in his attic bedroom he had written “There is nothing lower than black and Jewish people unless it’s the police who protect them.”

Once, when he was drunk, he kicked a puppie to death because it was black. On another occasion he smashed a TV in a bar after finding out the woman he was talking to was Jewish. He also threatened a neighbor with his rifle for dating a black man. Freddie claimed to have no interest in women and told an acquaintance, “If you want to be a man, buy a gun.” Surprisingly, people were stunned when this bigoted maniac went on a killing spree.

The rampage started at 7:45 when he arrived at the moving company, gun in hand, looking for Norman Bing, a Jewish supervisor who previously had him suspended. On his way through the lobby and the cafeteria of the office complex, Cowan killed three black employees and a dark-skinned Indian immigrant. Bing, the object of his anger, saw the crazed white supremacist entering the building, left his office and hid under the table in another room.

Within 10 minutes of the first shot being fired a police officer arrived at the scene. He was shot and killed by Cowan, who also wounded three other officers. By noon, surrounded by 300 officers, Cowan called the New Rochelle police headquarters and asked for a potato salad. “I’m not going to hurt anyone at this point. I get very mean when I’m hungry.” He apologized for what he had done. A couple of hours later, he committed suicide. Police, unsure whether he had any hostages, waited until dusk until entering the building. Inside they found 14 scared employees hiding for their lives along with the dead rampager.

Culled from: Murderpedia

 

Morbid Mirth Du Jour!

This winter classic is courtesy Nordic Storms Bizarre World.

 

Mug Shots Du Jour!

Howard sent me a link containing some wonderful Old Portraits of Criminals in Newcastle City Gaol from 1871-1873.  More proof, as if we need it, that people were more stylish before!

Morbid Fact Du Jour for January 17, 2015

Today’s Sanitary Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

In 1885 the first cremation in Britain took place at Woking. A number of reformers, led by Sir Henry Thompson, Surgeon to Queen Victoria, had campaigned for this sanitary form of disposal of the dead, arguing that it would reduce funeral expenditure, spare mourners from weather and prevent premature burial. Also ashes could be kept in columbaria safe from vandalism. After finally overcoming the objections of the Home Office, a London woman – Edith Pickersgill – was cremated on March 25, 1885, at the Woking Crematorium, established by the Cremation Society of England.

Culled from: The London Way of Death

I like how they list “prevent premature burials” as an advantage of cremation.  Aren’t they really swapping out one unfortunate occurrence (awakening in a coffin) for another (awakening in an oven)?  Oh well, the screaming is over faster in the oven!

 

Funeral Trains

Here’s some more interesting Chicago history that Aaron sent me: an article about the funeral trains that used to take mourners (and the corpses) out to the cemeteries that were then (early 1900s) on the outskirts of town.

When You Could Ride An ‘L’ Train To Your Grave

I discovered this phenomenon on my own when I explored Rosehill Cemetery on Chicago’s Northwest side years ago.  Rosehill is the biggest cemetery in Chicago and I used to live conveniently close to it and would explore it frequently.  I noticed overgrown steps coming down from the railroad line, which is now used by the Metra trains that run to the suburbs, and I also noticed a narrow, tall building along the edge of the cemetery.

A little sleuthing confirmed what I suspected: these were remnants of the old Rosehill Cemetery funeral stop.  The steps would be descended by the mourners, while the corpse in the coffin would take the elevator down (lazy bum).   Finding these little remnants of the past always makes me happy… even if these particular remnants represent so much forgotten sorrow.

Here are a few photos I took of these remnants.

The Stairway Of Sorrow

The stairway leads down to…
The Ornate Front Gate of Rosehill Cemetery

And around the corner you will find the…
Coffin Elevator:

 

 

Brain Du Jour!

Another excerpt from Malformed: Forgotten Brains of the Texas State Mental Hospital.


3187-84-1970
Study No. 99:
Agyria lobi.
fron. lat. utr.,
12/28/70

This brain belonged to a patient suffering from lissencephaly. The disorder causes smooth surfaces rather than folds on portions of the brain. A perfectly smooth brain such as this is extremely rare.

Morbid Fact Du Jour for January 9, 2015

Today’s Oxygenated Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

Eminent scientists in 1922 were by no means convinced that Mt. Everest could be climbed without the aid of supplemental oxygen. Balloonists had been known to collapse and die at lesser altitudes. “If you do succeed,” the Everest Committee was warned by Professor Dreyer, a consultant physiologist for the Royal Air Force, “you may not get down again.”  Accordingly, an oxygen subcommittee was set up by the Alpine Club, comprising Capt. Percy Farrar, George Finch, Howard Somervell, and another climber-scientist, P. J. H. Unna.  They were to study the problem and to order whatever equipment was necessary.  In Professor Dreyer’s pressure chamber in Oxford, Finch and Somervell underwent tests that took them to a simulated height of 23,000 feet. They were required to step on and off a chair with a 35-pound load. Finch managed with no apparent difficulty, but Somervell appeared to waver after his fifth step. He vigorously denied that he felt any ill effects, but his insistence was taken as a sign that he was exhibiting the quarrelsome characteristics known to be one symptom of hypoxia (oxygen deficiency ) and oxygen was forcibly administered.

It is not the proportion of oxygen in the air that diminishes as climbers gain elevation – this remains a constant 20.93 percent – but the atmospheric pressure that decreases. At 18,000 feet it is only half that at sea level and at the summit of Everest it falls to a third that at sea level. The body has trouble making the necessary gaseous exchanges in the lungs at diminished pressures like these. The first indication of oxygen deprivation will be an increased respiratory rate, as the climber strains after usable air. The heartbeat quickens to 140 beats per minute or more, making exercise extremely difficult; even rolling over in your sleeping bag leaves you breathless for many minutes afterward. The blood thickens, making you more susceptible to thrombosis and strokes, and it turns a very dark red, so that the face and hands appear bluish in color – especially the finger nails.  As unconsciousness approaches there may be mental confusion and irritability, and the blueness becomes even more marked.

Culled from: Last Climb: The Legendary Everest Expeditions of George Mallory


The last photo taken of George Mallory and Sandy Irvine, showing their oxygen apparatus.

Why, yes I am obsessed with Mt. Everest.  Why do you ask?

 

Menstruation Site Du Jour!

If you’re interested in perusing old advertisements about “woman’s most trying hygienic handicap” you’ll greatly enjoy the online Museum of Menstruation and Women’s Health.  Thanks to Rhiannon for the link.


Museum of Menstruation and Women’s Health

 

Let Them Eat Faces!

As Mike, who sent me the link, says, “Gruesome with a twist”.  A tasty twist!   Artwork by Ashkan Honarvar.

 

Morbid Fact Du Jour for December 19, 2014

Today’s Incinerated Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

On September 1, 1894 a huge firestorm, fed by drought conditions and dry debris left behind by lumber companies, destroyed the town of Hinckley, Minnesota, killing over 418 people. After the fire, Dr. D.W. Cowan, coroner of Pine County, was one of the first on the scene. After rescuing survivors and administering temporary medical care to those who needed it, he turned his attention to his official duties as coroner. Many factors impeded the recovery, identification and burial of the dead.  First, the bodies were scattered over a large area, and locating them was difficult. Then, the September weather was hot, and decomposition set in rapidly rendering the work of burial particularly distasteful. Undertakers Frank Webber of Pine City, in charge of burial at Hinckley, advised that after a few days the bodies “must be buried where found. It will be impoosslbe to move them as they are literally falling to pieces.” Search parties worked from sun-up to dark to inter the dead as quickly as possible, but some bodies were not found until months later. In one case remains were found and identified four years later.

In Hinckley, a few horses, wagons and hayracks found unburned, along with others shipped in, were used to transport the dead to the cemetery. Volunteer crews scoured the areas near the town where people might have fled for shelter. In the swamp north of the Grindstone River ninety-six bodies were recovered, piled on the wagons and brought to the cemetery. The procession to the burial ground one mile east of town was a somber one. Here a few “fortunate” deceased were placed in ready-made coffins shipped in, others were given hastily-built wooden boxes, but most were buried en masse in four long trenches. Those deceased who had family members or friends among the living in town were buried in private graves.

Culled from: From the Ashes: The Story of the Hinckley Fire of 1894


Hinckley searching party at ruins of cabin in the woods.


Searching party finding an entire family.

As I’ve mentioned recently, I took a trip to the fun-filled Hinckley Fire Museum a few years back – here’s my travelogue.

Great Fire!

 

Morbid Link Du Jour!

I’m not an embalmer (I know, saying those words makes me sad too), but this seems to be a reliable enough article.  In any event, it makes for an entertaining read!  Thanks to beth60best for sending it my way.

10 Horrible Myths and Misconceptions About Embalming

 

Fetus Du Jour!

Here’s another preserved 1930’s fetus that I photographed at the Museum of Science and Industry last week.  I call this one: Adrift.