Category Archives: Brush

Morbid Fact Du Jour for January 27, 2015

Today’s Hastily Summoned Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

One afternoon at the San Francisco Zoo in 1968, drunken 59-year-old Amos Watson climbed the low fence that surrounded the lion grotto and tumbled to the bottom of the dry moat. Fully caught up in his perceived role as the mighty bwana, he issued his challenge to Tommy, a 5-year-old African lion: “Come here, come here!”

Before a crowd of stunned onlookers, Tommy came. Watson, preparing to do battle as he knew best, waved his wine bottle several times and assumed the classic boxing stance. Tommy, somewhat puzzled, merely sniffed around. Watson seized the opportunity and took several ineffective swings. Then, with a ferocious roar, Tommy retaliated and quickly demonstrated that the sweet science, even when backed up by a wine bottle, is no match for keen claws and sharp fangs.

Unfortunately, triumph would not be Tommy’s on this day. A hastily summoned keeper managed to drop Tommy with a single bullet between the eyes even as he had Watson by the neck. Watson would survive, but with an unforgettable lesson about the perils of mixing alcohol with animals. His souvenirs included two broken legs, numerous slash and puncture wounds, and a deep gash to the chest.

Culled from: Murder Can Be Fun #16 by John Marr

Poor Tommy.  🙁

 

My Brush With Morbidity

“My Near-Drowning Experience” by Brooke

“This incident occurred in St. Augustine, Florida, during late August of 2014.

“I had a waveboard with me and had been riding the waves that were breaking closer to shore, but my legs were getting a little tired from constantly walking back to the point where the waves broke, so I decided I was going to go out just beyond that point and just float on the waveboard for a little while to give my muscles a rest. My mom went back to shore as I walked farther out to that point, where I floated peacefully by myself for a while, letting my mind drift, until I noticed that I was quite far away from any of the other swimmers and had floated out farther than I intended to, so I decided it was time to head back to shore.

“I kicked my legs downwards, intending to tread water, only to find that my feet could no longer touch the bottom at all. I was a little worried by this, but I thought I would just swim to shore so I wasn’t too worried. I started trying to swim back, but I wasn’t making any progress, so I decided to use the board to try to ride the waves back closer to shore. This worked a little, in that each wave pulled me a bit closer to shore, but then the tide would pull me back twice as far.

“By now I was quite worried. I got off of my board and swam with all my might diagonally like they tell you to do to break out of a riptide, but I was making no progress whatsoever. My board was still attached to me by the wrist strap, and I was beginning to think the reason why I wasn’t moving forward was that the board was catching the tide and pulling me back, so I unfastened the wrist strap and let the board drift away. I realized how stupid this was within moments, as it turned out the board had been the main thing keeping me afloat – with it, I hadn’t had to worry about keeping my head above water at all, but now I was not only trying to swim to shore, I was also having to concentrate on keeping myself afloat as well. I think I had also overestimated my swimming skills, because while the last time I had been in the ocean, I considered myself a very good swimmer, that had been several years ago.

“At this point, I was expending all my energy just keeping myself in place. I would take short breaks to float on my back in order to rest, but when I did this, I would find myself being pulled back out into the ocean, so I realized quickly this was not feasible. By now, I was trying extremely hard not to panic, because I knew panicking could only make things worse, but I couldn’t hold it back because at this point I was almost positive I was going to die. It was so surreal, because I was looking at all the swimmers close to the shore and my family on the beach, and I just kept thinking how I was going to die with all these people completely unaware, how I couldn’t swim much longer and how I was going to be pulled out into the ocean, how my body would probably never be found and how my family would spend the rest of their lives feeling guilty because of my stupid mistake.

“There was a group of people almost directly in front of me in the water, but very close to shore, and I started to scream for help. I screamed ‘HELP’ four or five times but nobody was turning in my direction at all, so I knew they couldn’t hear me – in fact, I didn’t see how anyone could possibly hear me over the waves, as they were the only thing I could hear. Half in desperation, half as a last attempt at drawing someone’s attention, I started to scream – no words, just screaming as loud as I could. I screamed several times and finally the group of people in front of me turned their heads toward me, and at first they were just looking – I realized they were trying to figure out if I was actually drowning or not, so I screamed again, and then they turned to shore and were waving their arms for help. I was thinking about how there probably weren’t any lifeguards around because I had never seen any on our previous trips in the days before, and how no one could possibly get to me before I went under – my muscles were very tired, and I was having serious trouble staying afloat.

“Then I saw one of the women start to swim out towards me, and I was somewhat relieved, though not entirely, because I was thinking that if she didn’t know what she was doing, or if the tide caught her too, we would both just drown – but she was my only chance. She swam closer to me, and when she was about five to six feet away she shouted for me to turn my back to her and float on my back. I didn’t stop to think about it at all, just did as I was told; I knew by the way she commanded me and her instructions that she knew what she was doing. I felt her grab onto my hair which was floating in the water, then the around the back of my neck, and when she was close enough, she held onto my upper arms and started to swim us backwards to safety. I was completely overwhelmed with relief, once I could tell we were getting back to shore and not staying still or being swept further out. I remember I kept babbling things like ‘thank you, thank you’ and ‘I’m sorry’ to her; she kept telling me not to apologize, but I felt I needed to, for potentially putting her into danger with my idiotic mistakes.

“At some point before we got to shore, she handed me off to a lifeguard, but I don’t remember this happening at all. Then our feet were touching the ocean floor again, and the lifeguard told me to grab onto the flotation device he had – I think mainly to keep me from just falling down in the water, as I was shaking very badly and I thought my knees were going to give out from the effort I’d expended and just being overwhelmed.  In addition to ‘thank you’ and ‘I’m sorry’, I told him I just wanted to sit down and he assured me I would be able to very soon.

“He walked me to shore, then to his patrol truck where my family was standing – they knew what was going on at this point. My mom gave my shoulder a squeeze, I could tell she was very frightened but definitely not as much as I still was. The lifeguard sat me on the bed of the truck and just let me calm down for a few moments, encouraged deep breathing, etc. Then he asked me what had happened, if I had swallowed any water or felt like I needed to go to the hospital, got my info, and took my vitals. By the time he took my pulse it was almost back to normal – apparently he had taken it when we were walking out of the ocean and it was extremely high, but again, I have no memory of this at all. I didn’t remember swallowing any water, but my mouth felt like it had been scrubbed with salt all the same – I think possibly some water may have splashed into my mouth while I was screaming. The lifeguard was very nice, and I owe my life to him and especially the woman who swam out after me; I have no doubt about that. He told my family to watch for any changes in my behavior or condition, just in case, then he left.

“Before he left he told us, for future reference, to always go into the ocean with some kind of board or other flotation device and never to let go of it, especially in an emergency, because it can easily be the difference between life and death. He also said there was a very strong undertow that day and the days before, and that it and the very strong waves were due to the storm they had received a few days prior, a consequence of Hurricane Cristobal. (Apparently, two people drowned on the East Coast, where my incident occured, as a result of riptides caused by this hurricane.) He told us the week before the ocean had been flat as glass (so I guess I picked a prime week to nearly drown).

“Before this incident, I shared the widespread belief that drowning would be a relatively peaceful death – but now I can tell you it’s not. I really can’t stress enough the sheer terror and overwhelming feeling of helplessness and despair I experienced. I will always be in debt to the people who helped rescue me. My thoughts are with, and will always be with, the two who shared my experience that week, but didn’t make it back to shore. Rest in peace, Sarmad Rizvi and Jose Maudiel Hernandez.

“As for my waveboard – one of the other women in the group that helped rescue me retrieved it and gave it back to me. It had made it nearly back to shore without me, ironically enough.”

Thanks for sharing this frightening story, Brooke!  As someone who is a weak swimmer and who spent her childhood blowing up a couple of “falling into water” incidences into “near-drownings” of my own, I can completely relate to the fear.

Past brushes can be found at the Asylum Eclectica My Brush With Morbidity page.

Do you have a morbid experience you’d like to share?  Please write the Comtesse!

 

International Holocaust Remembrance Day

As you may have heard, today is the International Holocaust Remembrance Day.  Today marks the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz.  Although I haven’t managed to make a trip to Auschwitz yet, I was able to visit two concentration camps in Germany over the summer: Sachsenhausen and Bergen-Belsen.  I’m currently working on a full travelogue of my visit to Sachsenhausen but I thought that for today, I’d share a few photos I took with my phone camera at that harrowing location.

Sachsenhausen

This is the front gate of Sachsenhausen prison camp.  This was a Nazi camp – mainly for political prisoners but also homosexuals, jews and gypsies – that existed from 1936 to 1945. About 30,000 people walked through these gates and never walked back out again.


The infamous false promise emblazoned upon the front gate: “Work makes you free”.


Inside the walls of Sachsenhausen concentration camp. The gravel represents the off-limit area. Walking into that area meant the prisoner could be shot. Electric fence lined the walls. Sometimes prisoners would deliberately throw themselves onto the fence in despair to end their suffering.  (I know I would.)


This track was used to test boots at Sachsenhausen. Prisoners were forced to wear a variety of boots and walk between 16-25 miles a day over a variety of surfaces to test boots that soldiers would wear. Some developed severe foot problems. Since I had three awful blisters on my feet and every step caused a great deal of pain, I felt like I could relate in a small way.


In the barrack at Sachsenhausen. “This is where in the morning prisoners would wash themselves. At times up to 400 prisoners would be squeezed into a barracks like this and they only had 30 minutes for rations and bathing. Consequently, 8 to 10 men would be standing at a time at these basins with only cold water running. SS men were known to have drowned prisoners in the basins for washing feet on the right.”


Sachsenhausen toilets. Prisoners were only allowed to use the toilets twice a day and in the rush, older, sick, and weakened prisoners would be trampled and lay on the floor covered in excrement. Prisoners who were unable to work had to stand, without moving a muscle, all day long in this unaired space. SS guards were known to have drowned prisoners in the toilets.


The clothing of a homosexual prisoner. Notice the pink triangle. I think I would have qualified for imprisonment on many criteria: socialist, anti-fascist, gay, history of mental illness, and just being different.


Firing range at Sachsenhausen.  This is the view that the victims would have (if they weren’t blindfolded). The guns would point out of those holes in the door.


The autopsy table at Sachsenhausen. Of course, the only time autopsies were performed was to verify medical experiments or if there was something about the corpse that interested the research doctors.


The morgue.


Hereditary Health Court records. The Nazis had a court where they would debate whether individuals with supposed hereditary disorders should be allowed to procreate. If they decided no you would be taken to a public hospital and sterilized.


Faces of some of the victims of Sachsenhausen.  Never forget.

Morbid Fact Du Jour for January 7, 2015

Today’s Imprecise Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

There is no precise core temperature at which the human body perishes from cold. At Dachau’s cold-water immersion baths, Nazi doctors calculated death to arrive at around 77 degrees Fahrenheit. The lowest recorded core temperature in a surviving adult is 60.8 degrees. For a child it’s lower. In 1994, a two-year-old girl in Saskatchewan wandered out of her house into a -40 night. She was found near her doorstep the next morning, limbs frozen solid, her core temperature 57 degrees. She lived.

Others are less fortunate, even in much milder conditions. One of Europe’s worst weather disasters occurred during a 1964 competitive walk on a windy, rainy English moor; three of the racers died from hypothermia, though temperatures never fell below freezing and ranged as high as 45.

Culled from: Last Breath: Cautionary Tales from the Limits of Human Endurance

A little research shows that the little girl who froze, only had part of one leg amputated.  To me, the fact that they were able to save the rest of her limbs is the truly amazing part!

 

Morbid Trinket Du Jour!

I picked up a new book at my favorite Chicago antique store (Woolly Mammoth) the other day.  It’s a 1910 book entitled Dermochromes – III by Professor Jacobi.  It contains some lovely color images of wax models of skin diseases.  I thought I’d share occasionally.

Here’s the first image:  Xanthoma.

“Xanthoma is a benign new growth of the skin generally dependent upon some congenital condition and characterized by its peculiar sulphur, or reddish-yellow, colour.  It occurs either isolated (Xanthoma circumscriptum), especially on the eyelids or as a more extensive eruption (Xanthoma disseminatum planum vel tuberosum).  In the former there are present on the eyelids flat-topped, more or less raised, painless spots or deposits “let into” the skin, of a marked yellow colour; these cause no symptoms and are strictly localized in the situation mentioned or in its immediate vicinity.

“The Diagnosis is easily made from the yellow colour and the localization of the lesions.

“The Prognosis is favourable.

“Treatment can only be surgical, but electrolysis may be tried.”

 

“My Brush With Morbidity” by Jackie

“When I was a baby, around 1, my favorite thing to do was watch the cars drive by from my front window. We lived on a busy street, so there was constant traffic to support my habit. However, because of this, I am told that I saw two things that, may greatly explain why I am the creepy person I am today

“The first event happened right across the street. Workmen were unearthing a giant gasoline container from below the gas station on the corner. Someone, thought that the best way to cut the top off would be with a blow torch, thinking that if the tank was empty, it wouldn’t be a problem. When the remaining fumes ignited, the explosion blew the end that was being cut off into a near perfect jagged metal flying saucer. The projectile flew through the air, making contact with a nearby pedestrian (even a friend of my family), decapitating him in front of his wife.

“The second event had a little less fanfare, but not something a 1 year old should see regardless. For years, there had been a bus stop directly across the busy street, in front of two churches. One afternoon, as I sat with my mother,watching the big yellow bus drop off the elementary school kids, one of the little girls on the bus came bounding across the street on her own, undoubtedly eager to get home. The moment she stepped out from in front of the bus she was hit and killed by a driver failing to yield to the bus.

“Growing up at this house, I have seen/heard a number of horrendous car accidents, (ie a Honda Accord pancaked by an ice cream truck), domestic disputes, gunfire, and car explosions (just don’t buy a Honda Accord, trust me). but the absolute worst I just had to be too young to remember on my own. I just moved back for a couple of months, and I will keep my eyes peeled, and my head down.”

More brushes with morbidity can be read on the Asylum Eclectica’s My Brush With Morbidity page.  Do you have a dreadful tale you’d like to share?  Send it to The Comtesse.

Morbid Fact Du Jour for November 28, 2014

Today’s Frozen Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

Let’s talk some more about despicable Sigmund Rascher (12 February 1909 – 26 April 1945), a German SS doctor. His deadly experiments on humans, which were carried out in the Nazi concentration camp of Dachau, were judged inhumane and criminal during the Nuremberg Trials.

To determine the most effective means for treating German pilots who had become severely chilled from ejecting into the ocean, or German soldiers who suffered extreme exposure on the Russian front, Rascher and others conducted freezing experiments at Dachau. For up to five hours at a time, they placed victims into vats of icy water, either in aviator suits or naked; they took others outside in the freezing cold and strapped them down naked. As the victims writhed in pain, foamed at the mouth, and lost consciousness, the doctors measured changes in the patients’ heart rate, body temperature, muscle reflexes, and other factors. When a prisoner’s internal body temperature fell to 79.7°F, the doctors tried rewarming him using hot sleeping bags, scalding baths, even naked women forced to copulate with the victim. Some 80 to 100 patients perished during these experiments.

Culled from: Nova

Rascher, on the right, during one of his freezing experiments:

My Brush With Morbidity by David Baker

“I grew up in Northern Vermont in a river valley that was sparsely populated.   There is a small cemetery a mile or so from my childhood home where a lot of local folks who are unaffiliated with any specific church choose to be buried.   It was adjacent to a small stable where a local man kept an old Morgan horse.  The kids in the neighborhood,  (All 4 of us on a five mile stretch of road.),  would occasionally meet by the old grave marker at the corner of the cemetery, feed the old horse sugar cubes, and plot our days activities.

“One spring morning I arrived early to feed the horse and wait for my friends and discovered a backhoe was parked next to road near the entrance to the cemetery.   I quickly scanned the graves and found an open grave had been dug and prepped for a funeral.  This sounds highly unlikely to anybody who understands liability and the dangers of leaving a six foot hole in the ground, but this was a rural, sparsely populated area, and the fellow from the septic company who owned the backhoe would return later in time for the funeral to wrap up.   It had always been this way.

“Shortly, my friends arrived and we all became entranced by the deep hole in the ground and pondered, in the ways children can anyway, our own mortalities.   As we stood there my friends dog, Max, began sniffing too closely to the edge which gave away enough for him to fall to the bottom.  Being young and constantly disciplined for our juvenile antics, we were keen to get Max out of the hole, and on our way home without anybody knowing.   One of us ran home to get a step ladder.  Meanwhile, Max was becoming increasingly irritated at being stuck in a hole in the ground and was trying to claw his way up the sides of the grave.

“This is how the adjacent casket was knocked loose.  Max, attempting to dig his way up the side of the grave collapsed the rotted side of the casket of “loving husband” who had been in the ground nearby hidden by only a couple inches of clay.   He had been in the ground long enough to cause three young boys and a german shepherd-yellow lab mix sudden heart attacks.   I remember seeing his grey suit, a waxy yellow head shaped object with no hair, a mud covered pillow, and one arm was wearing a silver wrist watch. The upper half of him drifted on it’s back on a mess of filthy water and slurched into the dirt of the open hole.  The bottom half of his body must have been caught on something as he only fell part way into the grave.  At this point one of us grabbed the ankles of the youngest boy who grabbed Max by his collar and nearly strangled him pulling him out.  Soon we were running thru the woods toward the brook gagging at the smell that had seemed to saturate everything.

“We spent the next three days in a terror that we were going to get caught. Not that we had done anything wrong, exactly.   But nothing ever came of it other than Austin’s father wondering ‘What road kill Max had gotten into this time’. The boy who had run for the ladder was convinced we were spooking him, but the stink on the dog was proof enough and prevented him from going back.  I can only guess that the fellow with the backhoe had decided it was an accident on his part and had ‘taken care of it’ somehow before the funeral.  Nothing was ever mentioned in the local paper, sewing circles, or other rumor mills. The three of us who had seen the body only mentioned it to each other in hushed tones in the privacy of late night campfires or sleepovers. Mustering the courage to visit a few years later I noticed that the date of the grave was from the late 1960s, which was odd considering there was no concrete vault for the casket and that it smelled so foul 20 years later in the age of embalming.

“Not that I’m a forensic expert, by any stretch.”

Some kids have all the luck! – DeSpair

Death and the Maiden

Z Constantine recommends a blog entitled “Death and the Maiden” which is all about…  you guessed it!

Death and the Maiden

Morbid Fact Du Jour for November 27, 2014

Today’s Low Pressure Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

Sigmund Rascher (12 February 1909 – 26 April 1945) was a German SS doctor. His deadly experiments on humans, which were carried out in the Nazi concentration camp of Dachau, were judged inhumane and criminal during the Nuremberg Trials.In 1942, Sigmund Rascher and others conducted high-altitude experiments on prisoners at Dachau. Eager to find out how best to save German pilots forced to eject at high altitude, they placed inmates into low-pressure chambers that simulated altitudes as high as 68,000 feet and monitored their physiological response as they succumbed and died. Rascher was said to dissect victims’ brains while they were still alive to show that high-altitude sickness resulted from the formation of tiny air bubbles in the blood vessels of a certain part of the brain. Of 200 people subjected to these experiments, 80 died outright and the remainder were executed.In a typical experiment, detailed in a report by Rascher and his colleagues, a deli clerk was forced to endure an excruciating drop from 47,000 ft. without the aid of oxygen. Diligently, Rascher noted the subject’s behavior:2

  • “spasmodic convultions”
  • “gives the general impression of someone who is completely out of his mind”
  • “does not respond to speech”
  • “grimaces, bites his tongue”
  • “convulses arms and legs”
  • “yells aloud”
  • “clonic conclusions, groaning”
  • “agonal convulsive breathing”

The lurid Nuremberg testimony of Rascher’s prisoner assistant Antòn Pacholegg tells a similar story:3

“I personally saw, through the observation window of the chamber, how a prisoner inside was subjected to a vacuum until his lungs burst. Certain experiments produced such a pressure in the men’s heads that they went mad, tearing their hair out in an effort to relieve it. They lacerated their heads and faces with their nails, mutilating themselves in their frenzy.”

Culled from: Nova and Mad Scientist Blog

Here’s a photograph of Rascher.  Ain’t he sweet?  He wouldn’t even hurt a lil’ baby. Except, it turns out, that baby isn’t even his.  It was kidnapped.  What an evil scientist.

And here are some poor souls subjected to the altitude tests…

And here’s a post-mortem on one of the many victims.  After the war, the United States used Rascher’s data for the benefit of the Air Force. Isn’t it nice to know that it all went to something “useful”?

Morbid Sightseeing!

I’ve been told by someone who lives in Hays, Kansas that my Garden of Eden travelogue is a “hoot”. Perhaps you might concur?  It’s a weird place, that’s for sure…

The Garden of Eden

“My Brush With Morbidity” by Sleeper

“When I was very young I went to a school event where all the people who showed up for the activities crammed into the school’s cafeteria for some shitty pizza.  We were sitting at the cafeteria table, the typical humming of a hundred or so people talking and eating filling the air.”Sitting behind me was an older gentleman, his adult daughter, and I would assume her kids.  I didn’t notice them very well before the “event” partially because I was a very focused child.  Probably the opposite of ADHD, I was very focused on what I was doing or things I had in my hands, so to tear my attention away from something was a great feat indeed.

“The older gentleman moved my chair when he fell to the ground.  I remember looking at him as though he was rude but for the life of me I don’t remember any details of his face.  I was pulled from my chair but managed to grasp onto my bag of popcorn (how ironic) while my parents pulled my sister and I toward the wall of the cafeteria.  Hysteria reigned while his daughter, of about 40 years old, started screaming like a banshee, ‘SOMEBODY SAVE MY DAAAAADDDDYYYYYY!!!’

“Meanwhile I watched volunteer firemen perform CPR on this gentleman while calmly munching some popcorn.  Mommy and Daddy were ever so graceful enough to provide and explanation of what the firemen were doing, and while they were in shock from the experience and had to drive around for a while afterward to forget the events of ‘Fun Day’ I was excessively interested in what had happened and mulled over it.  I’m still mulling over it, years later.”

Do you have a morbid experience to share? Then send it to the Comtesse!

Past Brushes can be viewed at The Asylum Eclectica:
My Brush With Morbidity

“My Brush With Morbidity” by DL Phillips

“My Brush with Morbidity” by DL Phillips

My tale actually consists of 3 brushes with morbidity, only one in which I was directly involved. But all 3 involved people I knew – and all occurred in the same building.

Brush 1: My parents bought a pre-civil war era building to house a gift shop downstairs and our living quarters on the second floor. During renovation, we had our contractor install a central heating and air-conditioning unit. This required knocking out a section of an old interior wall. When they did, some bones were found within the wall. I can honestly tell you that they were the bones of a person, not an animal. The guy in charge asked my mom what she wanted him to do, and I guess she was thinking about the delay a police investigation would cause in getting the store open, so she said, “Get rid of it.” Once we started living upstairs, all kind of weird things happened – you could say the place was haunted. But since I’m not writing ghost stories here, onto the next Brush  with Morbidity…

Brush 2: Well, the store was, at most, a moderate success and my parents eventually gave it up and sold the building. Almost a year later, on the morning of Thanksgiving Day, some friends who lived near the place called to tell us the building was on fire. My parents rushed over there. (They were concerned that the fire was caused by the heating/AC system we’d installed. It wasn’t – it was caused by a gas explosion in the resident’s stove.) They arrived to find a woman holding a baby and leaning out one of the front upstairs windows. Smoke was pouring out behind her. Folks were trying to get her to drop the infant to them. Someone had gotten a tarp from their truck and they were holding it out to catch the baby. But the woman screamed something about needing to find her son, and left the window with the child still in her arms. No one survived. The building’s second floor was pretty much a fire trap, with only one exit – an interior staircase. They found the boy’s body (a toddler) at the head of that staircase.

Brush 3: The fire mostly damaged the interior of the second floor and the building was repaired. Another exit was added to the upstairs, leading to an external steel staircase. At this time, Leila (the youngest sister of my best friend) was dating this guy (let’s call him Dave) who was trying to find out how his kid brother died. (I’m not going into that story!) Anyway, one day Leila was with Dave and he was asking around, trying to locate this particular man for some mundane reason. (It was so mundane, I can’t remember what it was.) Well, it turns out this guy Dave’s looking for happened to be involved in his brother’s death. So he got a call warning him that Dave was coming to his place, which was – you guessed it – on the second floor of the building my parents once owned. Leila later told us that she and Dave went up the outside stairs and Dave knocked on the door. It opened, Dave’s head exploded and the next thing Leila knew, she was covered in blood and cowering in a side entryway of a church across the street. She didn’t come out until the police arrived. The man had used a shotgun on Dave’s head at point blank range… and he got away with murder.  Seems he was related to someone high up in the county sheriff’s dept. “Defending his home” was the excuse used.

Is it just me, or does it seem kind of… wrong… to just get rid of human bones you find?
My Brush With Morbidity Archives

“My Brush With Morbidity” by Narkitten

It’s been quite awhile since I’ve done an episode of “My Brush With Morbidity” – where readers share their morbid tales.  Here’s an unbearably sad story from Narkitten.

“My Brush With Morbidity” by Narkitten

Christmas time 2000: we seemed to have a flu bug that bounced from child to parent to child in my house. I had a bout earlier in the month, but my two boys and husband didn’t get their turn until the week before Christmas. I did home-delivered meals for senior shut-ins and each year tried to take a helper “elf” around this time.

My husband had been up most of the night ill, and my youngest was running a low fever. It was Friday the 21st, so I took my older boy with me to work.

Around 9:30 we stopped at a store to get snacks. I discovered that I had forgotten my wallet at home. So I made a quick trip home for my wallet and to check on my ill ones. My son’s fever had broke and my husband was tired but feeling much better. I headed back to work, sure that things were fine.

I arrived home around 2:40 that afternoon. The company had gotten our checks to us, which we weren’t expecting until Monday. I was happy that we wouldn’t have to finish our Christmas shopping on Monday. My youngest was in the boys’ room playing video games. He apologized because “Daddy had said no”. I told him to get dressed and show his brother what he wanted to on the game. I went into my room, my hubby was laying on his chest on the bed, with a fan blowing on him. I walked past the bed and opened the blinds. As soon as I turned around, I knew something was horribly wrong. He was nearing white, and not breathing.

I had the boys bring me the phone, then sent them back to their room. I called 911 and tried to turn him over. His face and chest had reddish purpling to it. I knew the blood was settling. He had been gone for a while. I explained this to emergency services when they arrived, but they still did heroic efforts. He was pronounced at the hospital. The autopsy didn’t have conclusive evidence of cause of death. He was only 37.

Thank you for sharing that sad story with us, Narkitten.

If you have a story to share, please send it to me.  My Brush With Morbidity Archives can be read here.

“My Brush With Morbidity” by Erika

It’s been awhile, but here’s a new episode of My Brush With Morbidity. If you have a morbid tale to tell, please submit it to The Comtesse DeSpair for possible inclusion on the blog/website.

“My Brush With Morbidity” by Erika

My fiance’ and I, prior to moving back in with my beloved mother, lived in a local apartment complex near wear I work in beautiful Poway, CA; the so called “City in the Country”. We had been living here for quite some time when it came to my attention that our quiet patch of heaven was not so quiet indeed. We lived in an upstairs apartment directly above an elderly woman who was caring for her mentally ill son and allowing her grandson to stay there as well. Occasionally I would run into the grandson in our public laundryroom. He was always very quiet and never said more than a word or so to me. He seemed well and “normal” as some might say, albeit a bit shy.

One evening my fiance and I were enjoying the peace of the night, a very large BANG was heard and a spot above our stone fireplace erupted in shatters of stone flecks and dust. He screamed like a little girl and we both jumped in surprise. I stood to inspect the area and determine exactly what had happened, when the old woman downstairs began screaming in absolute blood curdling terror. I ran out the door onto our balcony to see her fleeing her apartment and yelling. I can hear her words clearly ringing in my mind to this day, “HE’S DEAD! Oh my god he’s dead! He’s DEAD!!”
I watched her over the balcony as she collapsed on the grass and continued her chilling lament. Someone must have called the cops because within a minute (the station is directly behind the complex) the police arrived. Lots of tenants were now outside trying to determine what was going on, and police were telling people to go inside and that there was nothing to see. I hid behind a potted plant and continued to listen (much to my fiance’s dismay). A police man and paramedic entered her home and the police man emerged shaking his head. It took almost an hour to get the woman coherent enough to speak and most of it was continued cries of “he’s dead, and oh my god, I can’t believe it!”. Eventually she began wailing out the ordeal very loudly. “I followed him and said, ‘what are you doing in my sons room?’. He turned around with the gun in his hand and said ‘BYE BYE GRANDMA!’ and then he KILLED HIMSELF!”.

I stumbled back into the house and sat numbly on the couch, pale. I covered my ears as the woman continued to scream and wail on and on and on, and it felt like it would never end the the sound, good god, the sound! A man in plain clothes who identified himself as an officer came to our door and my fiance’ showed the the spot in our fireplace where the large bullet hat ripped through our thin cheap flooring and embedded itself. They ended up removing a large chunk of our fireplace because the bullet fragments had shattered and could not be removed easily. The whole thing lasted the whole evening, and we answered a few questions regarding our neighbors, but nothing helpful or significant. The Grandmother and her son were taken into custody, but it was later cleared as a suicide. I watched the waste disposal team take out chunks of plaster and carry out dried blood and brain splattered bedding several days later.

We stayed there for a year afterward, and we even received new tenants in the downstairs apartment after the old tenants had left. I often wondered if they knew of what had happened…. I’d watch them laughing on the porch drinking and smoking and would get the greatest urge to walk up and spill the whole thing, just to get a reaction. I never did though.

This story powerfully epitomises the unbearable anguish of the suicide survivor. Thank you for sharing it, Erika.

More Brushes with Morbidity are available to peruse at the My Brush With Morbidity room of the Asylum.

“My Brush With Morbidity” by Kim

My family (Mom, me, two younger sisters and an older brother) often spent weekends at my Aunt’s house in Raiford, Florida. The roads in Raiford and the tiny towns nearby are dark, narrow, winding, no streetlights, deserted with an almost non-existent amount of traffic. When I was seven years old late one pitch black night we were driving back from a high school basketball game. As we rounded a bend we suddenly stopped as we came upon a horrible and deadly car wreck. A white male in his early 20s was in the middle of the road screaming, begging, ‘Please! Somebody tell me what happened! What happened?’ A huge unscathed dark car with an older black couple was parked on the opposite side of the road pointed in the right direction, faces contorted with shock and horror. Off the road to the right of us sat a white Corvair in freshly churned dirt. The front was crushed into the dashboard. The roof was partially caved in and the only glass left was a small piece of the rear windshield. That’s where I noticed the contorted and mangled body. It was smashed between what was left of the front seats and what little was left of the back windshield. I watched it for what seemed like a long time. It did not move. It was covered in so much blood that it was almost hard to tell that it was a white male. I stood mesmerized and captivated by its sight. I could not make myself look away. That is when I walked over and lightly stroked its skin oblivious to the blood on it. It was like it beckoned to me to come over to it, to touch it and stroke it; like I was giving it the last bit of gentleness and comfort that it would ever have. I wasn’t scared at all. It was something that I had to do. Like it wanted me to touch it and it felt so natural to do so.

Okay, I don’t know about you guys, but I really don’t think my Mom would have let me touch a mangled body when I was 7.

“My Brush With Morbidity” by Alex

“I love your site. I wander around the internet for hours looking for just the most random, off-the-wall, useless, and morbid stories and information. And, I would love it if you featured an article written about me and my family on your site:

Doctors delivered a healthy baby by Caesarean section early today within hours of the mother’s arrival at a Mississippi burn center for treatment of critical injuries. At the adjoining Firefighters Memorial Burn Center the mother, Sheryl Craft (24), was listed in critical but stable condition. Craft, her daughter, Alexandria (2), and the child’s grandfather, Curtis Beasley, were taken to the burn center following a Tuesday afternoon house explosion in Petal, a South Mississippi community. A spokeswoman at the burn center said Mrs. Craft apparently suffered no additional medical problems as a result of the delivery and was receiving treatment for her burns. Authorities in Petal said four members of the family were burned in an explosion, which was triggered by a propane gas leak, but despite the force of the blast, which completely destroyed the family’s home, no one was killed. Earl Ross Craft Jr. (4), was treated and released from the Forrest County General Hospital in Hattiesburg following the blast with only minor injuries. Craft’s daughter, Alexandria, received the worst injuries and remains in critical condition. The father recalls that ‘they have to give her medicine that paralyzes her to keep her from hurting herself.’ Her prognosis is undetermined but grim.

“I’m Alexandria. I’m 25 now. I was burned over 90% of my body, 50 percent of which is 2nd and 3rd degree, which are the kind that leave lasting scar tissue. I have internal injuries of the throat and have chronic respiratory conditions similar to asthma as most of my throat is covered in scar tissue. I’ve had over 65 major surgeries (including more than 100 separate procedures) with more planned in the future. I also had to have a procedure which involved scraping the burned skin off of my body with a razor blade (which occurred twice a day for two months following the fire. That was a blast and a half, I can tell you. Yay for selective amnesia!)

“They told my mother that I had sustained injuries that had killed fully grown firefighters, so they weren’t entirely sure how I managed to survive. They also said that I would never speak, that I would have brain damage, that my right hand would have to be amputated, and that I could very well be blind. I’m happy to say that none of that is true.”

A truly amazing story of survival and perseverance, Alex! Thanks for sharing it with us.

“My Brush With Morbidity” by Ty

Well, my brush wasn’t death affiliated, but it was awesome! Me, my girlfriend, cousin, and ex-friend (good reasons) were down at a place called ‘The Point’ – a stretch of road leading to a recreational park thing. We sat down there in my girlfriend’s car until we got bored and started to screw around. She started pulling out of the parking lot (pretending to leave us there). Well, we all jumped on the car and she started driving. She must have been doing about 20 when my ex-friend deciding to jump off halfway to the end of the stretch and lost his footing. His head hit the pavement and bounced. It sounded like a watermelon being dropped on the ground. We turned around and witnessed him having one hell of a seizure. Foaming at the mouth, eyes rolled back, convulsing and blood, lots of blood! The only words he could manage were ‘Oh f*ck…. oh… fuck!’ It pretty much rocked! We live in a small town in PA, so it was in the newspaper. Oh, and unfortunately he’s ok.

Ty is a real philanthropist, can’t you tell?

More brushes can be found at the My Brush With Morbidity page and archives on The Asylum Eclectica.  If you have a morbid tale to tell, by all means send it to The Comtesse.