Category Archives: Photography

Morbid Fact Du Jour for December 23, 2014

Today’s Urine-Soaked Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

In city streets clogged with automobiles, the vision of a horse and buggy produces strong nostalgia. A century ago it produced a different feeling – distress, owing to the horse for what he dropped and to the buggy for spreading it.

Of the three million horses in American cities at the beginning of the twentieth century, New York had some 150,000, the healthier ones each producing between twenty and twenty-five pounds of manure a day. These dumplings were numerous on every street, attracting swarms of flies and radiating a powerful stench. The ambiance was further debased by the presence on almost every block of stables filled with urine-saturated hay.

During dry spells the pounding traffic refined the manure to dust, which blew “from the pavement as a sharp, piercing powder, to cover our clothes, ruin our furniture and blow up into our nostrils.”

The 15,000 horses of Rochester, N.Y., produced enough manure in 1900 to cover an acre of ground with a layer 175 feet high. This steadily increasing production caused the more pessimistic observers to fear that American cities would disappear like Pompeii – but not under ashes. The timely arrival of the horseless carriage prevented this, of course. It was widely hoped that the age of polluted air was coming to a close, that cities at long last would be healthier, cleaner, quieter places to live. But as Proudhon once observed, “Human history has a great propensity for surprises.”

Culled from: The Good Old Days – They Were Terrible! by Otto L. Bettmann

Here’s a photo of New York City in 1881.  Imagine those flowing Victorian gowns walking over that?


European DeSpair, Part Four: Nineteen Thirty-Six

I finally finished the fourth installment in my series of travelogues for my trip to Europe last summer.  In this episode, we visit the crumbling 1936 Olympic Village, where Jesse Owens and co. stayed, practiced, and ate.  And the Comtesse makes an enormous morbid blunder – one for which she will be eternally remorseful. Be kind… her remorse is punishment enough!


Fetus Du Jour!

Here’s another 1930’s fetus that I photographed at the Museum of Science and Industry. Much like the mood of these poor little guys as they get closer to birth, my newsletter’s membership has plunged the longer I keep subjecting you to fetus photos.  And just like this guy I sit in a dark room and wonder what it can possibly mean?

Morbid Fact Du Jour for November 13, 2014

Today’s Looted Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

The Lauda Air company, based in Austria, was set up by the former world motor racing champion Niki Lauda.  It operated regular services to the Far East, and on Sunday, May 26, 1991 one of its Boeing 767s took off from Hong Kong bound for Vienna.  The aircraft made a routine stop in Bangkok, the Thai capital, and took to the air again carrying 213 passengers and ten crew.The 767, Flight NG004, headed northwest but when it had gone only about 120 miles, about 15 minutes after take-off, all contact with it was lost.  There was no emergency call or other indication of trouble from the aircraft.  Shortly afterwards reports were received of a blazing aircraft crashing into an area of bamboo jungle 1500 feet up on a hillside.

All on board were killed.  The passengers were of mixed nationality, and included 74 Austrians, 52 Hong Kong Chinese and 39 Thais.  Also on board was Don McIntosh, a 43-year-old British drug control agent working for the United Nations.  He was based in Bangkok, working on the eradication of heroin trafficking in the area, and it was suggested that he might have been the target for a bomb attack.

Debris from the crash was spread over a large area, and police and rescue services reported that their efforts were hampered by large numbers of people who went to the crash site to loot the wreckage for clothing, valuables, and anything else they could find.  The search for bodies was also made difficult by the terrain.  The fact that debris was so widespread is further indication that an explosion occurred, and that the aircraft was crippled instantly.   However flight data recorder evidence revealed that the thrust reverser was deployed during the flight, which resulted in the plane taking an immediate left diving turn.  The unsuspecting flight crew were unable to compensate, and the plane went into a diving speed of .99 mach, which may have broken the sound barrier, and which caused the plane to break-up during its descent.

This was the worst disaster recorded in Thai air space and the worst loss of life for a 767.

Culled from: Catastrophes and Disasters

The transcript of the last moments of the doomed flight can be read at the CVR Database.

Dreams and Hallucinations

I have some exciting news to share with you all!  For the first time, the Comtesse has had a photograph accepted into a juried show!  The show is entitled Dreams and Hallucinations and will be held at the Darkroom Gallery in Essex Junction, Vermont from December 4-28, 2014.  I won’t be able to attend, but if you live nearby perhaps you can stop in?  The photo was submitted under the nom de mundane “Angela Larson” but pay that no mind!Here’s the image – it’s entitled “Running for Shelter”.  (Note: I am thinking of selling limited edition, signed prints of this image to help fund the running of the newsletter.  I’ll keep you posted.)

Check out the other submissions – they’re all pretty awesome.
Dreams and Hallucinations

Morbid Art Du Jour!

Okay, this is actually an old link, and there are more recent examples of Altered Barbies, but I still think these 2009 examples are among the best entries of the Altered Barbie exhibit I’ve yet seen.  Barbiturate Barbie just seems so right.
7th Annual Altered Barbie Competition

Thanks to Robert for the link!

Morbid Fact Du Jour for November 10, 2014

Today’s Mobbed Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

Henry de Forrest was excited about his new life in California.  The sixty-two-year-old carpenter had left his wife and young children in Maine while he looked for opportunities in the Golden State.  He quickly found employment in his trade at the Powder Mill wharf operation in Santa Cruz, and he was excited about sending for his family.

On April 29, 1877 de Forrest was walking along River Street near the present Farmers Exchange when he was accosted by ex-cons Francisco Arias and Jose Chamales.  Arias shot de Forrest in the chest with a large-caliber revolver, and the two men dragged him fifty feet off the street into the brush, where they went through his pockets for money.  They then went to a saloon and spent the dead man’s money.

In the morning, a passerby discovered de Forrest’s lifeless body and ran for the police.  The sheriff had barely started his investigation when a Californio came forward and told him about a frightening encounter that he had the night before.  Before Arias and Chamales attacked de Forrest, the bandits stopped the Californio at the same spot where De Forrest was murdered and robbed.  The man was from a Native American village located a mile north of Santa Cruz and the bandits recognized him and decided not to rob him.

Francisco Arias had murdered before.  He had killed a sheepherder and was sent to San Quentin.  Most sheepherders in the early history of California were either Mexican or Native American, which is probably why Arias didn’t get the death penalty.  At twenty-one years of age, Jose Chamales was already a veteran of the San Quentin prison.  Robbery was second nature to the Santa Cruz native.

Armed with the information provided by the Californio, the sheriff’s deputies tracked down Chamales in Watsonville and Arias camped out near San Juan Bautista. They were taken to the Santa Cruz jail.

The next night, May 3, 1877, somewhere between forty and three hundred masked men descended on the jail and easily convinced the two guards to release the bandits into their care.  The frightened criminals were marched to the Water Street bridge over the San Lorenzo River and nooses were placed around their necks.  They were given a shot of whiskey and were allowed to say a few last words.  What they said was never written down, except it was noted that they spoke in Spanish.  They were then hoisted up and left hanging until they were discovered the next morning.  When they were cut down in mid-morning, the ropes were divided into foot-long sections and given away as souvenirs.

Culled from: California Justice: Shootouts, Lynchings and Assassinations in the Golden State by David Kulczyk

Somewhere between 40 and 300?  That’s quite a range!  I’m gonna guess it was more like 40 than 300 because how many people can be bothered to put on a mask and go out on a work night?

Morbid Sightseeing!

So a few years back – okay, more than few now – I went to the Hinckley Fire Museum in Hinckley, Minnesota. Here’s a summary of the tragedy at Hinckley from my travelogue:

“On September 1, 1894 a fire raged through the town of Hinckley, Minnesota. A combination of intense drought, high winds, and dry kindling left behind by sloppy loggers resulted in an enormous firestorm that literally engulfed the town. The cyclone shot flames miles into the air and temperatures reached 1000 degrees (F). Survival was haphazard: over 100 people safely rode out the storm in a soggy gravel pit in the middle of town, while 127 people died seeking refuge in a swamp. In four hours the fire burned out 400 square miles and killed more than 400 people.”

Recently Debbers sent me the following update:
“Hello, I found out that my great-great-grandparents were one of the Russian families living in Hinckley. My great-great-grandma took her two boys to that gravel pit. But, my family states the two year old died there. He drowned. My great-grandpa was four; he lived, but his legs were badly burned.”

If you’d like to read my travelogue, here it is in all its 2002 glory!

Great Fire!

European DeSpair, Part 3!

I finished another episode of the travelogue of my trip to Europe this summer. Hope you enjoy Part 3 of European DeSpair.

European DeSpair, Part 3: Berlin Bust!

The Return Of…

Thank you to everyone for the many well-wishes I’ve received regarding my depression. Thankfully, I’ve bounced back from this bout much quicker than I thought I would. I should be sending out an MFDJ tonight. In the meantime, I impossibly managed to complete another travelogue – this time to Beelitz Hospital in Germany, aka “Hitler’s Hospital”. I hope you enjoy it!

European DeSpair, Day Two: Beelitz Blitz!

The Exciting & The Disappointing

I have exciting/disappointing news to share with you! The Exciting: I’m heading off on Friday to Germany for a two-week photography adventure! The Disappointing: The MFDJ will be on hiatus while I’m away (probably until mid-to-late July). However, hopefully I’ll have lots of interesting photos to share when I return. I’ll try to regularly update my photography page on Facebook while I’m away – so please be sure to ‘like’ the page so you don’t miss any of the images. And please, Stay Morbid while I’m away!

Forlorn Photography

Forlorn Photography

I’ve been making lots of updates to Forlorn Photography.  Why not have a look?  And if you should ever see an image that you’d like a print of, please let me know and I’ll make it available for purchase.  Thank you!

It’s a Mold, Mold, Mold World!

Forlorn Photography

I’ve been working on a website for my photography and slowly starting to add my considerable backlog to it. Right now, I’m just adding in the archives, but eventually it will become a blog in which I’ll add the photos as I take them – mostly abandonment photos, but also other stuff. Please have a look and let me know if you have any issues. Thank you!

Forlorn Photography