Category Archives: Ghastly!

Morbid Fact Du Jour For January 6, 2017

Today’s Sacrificial Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

By 1944 it had become an accepted method of warfare that Japanese soldiers, sailors and airmen were called upon to commit suicide as a measure to destroy Allied equipment and personnel in an attempt to keep the Allies away from the Japanese home islands, together with their spiritual and material resources. The best known of these suicide measures was the kamikaze flying bomb, but there were others that are now less well known, including various forms of self-destruction involved in eliminating Allied tanks.

Japanese Kamikaze Pilot

Perhaps the most extreme of these were the backpack human mines. This weapon was very simple to devise and devastating in use, for it consisted of little more than a canvas backpack loaded with about 9 kg (19.8 lb) of explosive to form a satchel charge. The user worse this charge and concealed himself until an Allied tank approached. He then ran forward to the tank and dived underneath it, at the same time pulling a length of cord that initiated a short delay to ensure the tank would be right over the charge before it exploded, destroying both tank and user. This tactic was hard to counter, for very often the user waited until the tank was really close before making his suicide rush, so protecting infantry had to be very quick to react if they were to prevent the attack. It was also very unnerving for Allied tank crews. A variant on the satchel charge was a Type 93 anti-tank mine on a pole which was simply shoved under a track with dire results for both the track and the user.

A further modification on the suicide theme was encountered in some parts of Burma in 1945. Here there was no deliberate death rush, for the hapless anti-tank troops were concealed in foxholes either in the center of roads or tracks, or at the sides of routes that Allied tanks were expected to use. There they remained until a tank approached and once one was overhead or very close the idea was that it would be destroyed by the man in the foxhole setting off a charge; this might be a simple explosive device, or a form of mine, or sometimes even a small aircraft bomb. The charges were set off manually and deliberately by the suicide candidate, who acted as little more than a human fuse. In practice this ploy did not work too well for the personnel in their foxholes were easily spotted by infantry and were killed before they could use their charges. Accounts exist of Allied personnel surrounding foxholes and their suicidal occupant without the Japanese making any attempts to injure the attackers with their charges, the philosophy appears to have been that such attackers were not tanks and the explosives had to be saved to use against tanks, not infantry. As these suicide anti-tank miners had no weapons other than their explosives, they were killed in their foxholes to no benefit for the Japanese war effort.

Culled from: Encyclopedia of Weapons of World War II


Ghastly: Broken Doll Edition

Katelyn Nichole Adams

Perhaps you’ve heard of the 12-year-old girl who live streamed her suicide last week? It’s been a few hours now since I watched the video on You Tube but I still feel numb inside.

Maybe it’s because she was so beautiful and fragile and determined?

Maybe it’s because I’m writing this while sitting in the bedroom in California where I spent countless days plotting my own suicide, staring at the tree that used to have a rope hanging from it that used to imagine placing around my own neck.

Maybe it’s because the mother calling for her daughter reminds me of the time my own mother, clued in to my intentions by my best friend, walked in on me when I was 16 and preparing to overdose on sleeping pills – and guilted me out of it by declaring that her life would be worthless without me.

Maybe it’s because the sound of the cell phone ringing reminds me of awakening in the hospital after my own near-fatal suicide attempt and seeing my mother’s gentle face staring down at me, reminding me that I was never alone, even though I felt that I was.

Maybe because the sight of that body gently swinging from the tree as the sun goes down reminds me of the many dark nights I spent alone in my rural countryside surrounded by coyotes yiping, owls hooting, and a vast emptiness.

I just feel overwhelming sadness and empathy for Katelyn.

I wish I could have helped her get through those awful, unforgiving years.

I wish her mother could have stopped her before it was too late, like my mother did, and get her the help that she needed.

I wish that someone watching that video would have sent help.

I wish we lived in a better world, a world that doesn’t make 12 year olds want to desperately escape it.

I wish she hadn’t killed herself that way – a slow hanging death – one of the most excruciating ways to die, her arms jerking, probably wanting to reach up for the noose, but unable to do so

But above all, I wish her peace.

And I hope that her brave act – and yes, though you may disagree, it IS brave to kick that bucket away – brings greater attention to other depressed kids, so that they might get the help they need before it’s too late.

Here’s an article about Katelyn that gives some of the background of her troubled young life as detailed in her Diary of a Broken Doll.
Why Did 12-Year-Old Katelyn Nichole Adams Hang Herself on a Livestream? 

(I won’t host the video of Katelyn’s death, but here’s a link on You Tube if you want to watch it. It may not be there for long but I’m sure you’ll be able to find it somewhere online.)

Morbid Fact Du Jour For December 16, 2016

Today’s Crushing Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

The Heysel Stadium disaster occurred on May 29, 1985 when escaping fans were pressed against a collapsing wall in the Heysel Stadium in Brussels, Belgium, before the start of the 1985 European Cup Final between Juventus of Italy and Liverpool of England. 39 people—mostly Italians and Juventus fans—were killed and 600 were injured in the confrontation.

Caught in the crush

Approximately an hour before the Juventus-Liverpool final was due to kick off, Liverpool supporters charged at Juventus fans and breached a fence that was separating them from a “neutral area”. This came after a period of hostility between the two sets of fans which saw missiles thrown from both teams’ supporters. The instigators of violence are still unknown, with varying accounts.  Juventus fans ran back on the terraces and away from the threat into a concrete retaining wall. Fans already standing near the wall were crushed; eventually the wall collapsed. Many people climbed over to safety, but many others died or were badly injured. The game was played despite the disaster, with Juventus winning 1–0.


The tragedy resulted in all English football clubs being placed under an indefinite ban by UEFA from all European competitions (lifted in 1990–91), with Liverpool being excluded for an additional three years, later reduced to one, and fourteen Liverpool fans found guilty of manslaughter and each sentenced to three years’ imprisonment. The disaster was later described as “the darkest hour in the history of the UEFA competitions”.

At approximately 7 p.m. local time, an hour before kick-off, the trouble started. The Liverpool and Juventus supporters in sections X and Z stood merely yards apart. The boundary between the two was marked by temporary chain link fencing and a central thinly policed no-man’s land. Fans began to throw stones across the divide, which they were able to pick up from the crumbling terraces beneath them.

As kick-off approached, the throwing became more intense. Several groups of Liverpool fans broke through the boundary between section X and Z, overpowered the police, and charged at the Juventus fans. The fans began to flee toward the perimeter wall of section Z. The wall could not withstand the force of the fleeing Juventus supporters and a lower portion collapsed.

Contrary to reports at the time, and what is still assumed by many, the collapse of the wall did not cause the 39 deaths. Instead, the collapse relieved pressure and allowed fans to escape. Most died of suffocation after tripping or being crushed against the wall before the collapse. A further 600 fans were also injured. Bodies were carried out from the stadium on sections of iron fencing and laid outside, covered with giant football flags. As police and medical helicopters flew in, the down-draft blew away the modest coverings.

Despair in the Aftermath

In retaliation for the events in section Z, many Juventus fans then rioted at their end of the stadium. They advanced down the stadium running track to help other Juventus supporters, but police intervention stopped the advance. A large group of Juventus fans fought the police with rocks, bottles and stones for two hours. One Juventus fan was also seen firing a starting gun at Belgian police.

Victims of the Crush

Despite the scale of the disaster, UEFA officials, Belgian Prime Minister Wilfried Martens, Brussels Mayor Hervé Brouhon, and the city’s police force felt that abandoning the match would have risked inciting further trouble and violence, and the match eventually kicked off after the captains of both sides spoke to the crowd and appealed for calm.

Juventus won the match 1–0 thanks to a penalty scored by Michel Platini, awarded by Swiss referee Daina for a foul against Zbigniew Boniek.

At the end of the game the trophy was given in front of the stadium’s Honor Stand by the confederation president Jacques Georges to Juventus captain Gaetano Scirea. Due to collective hysteria generated by the massive invasion of the pitch by journalists and fans at the end of the match,[ and the chants of fans of both teams in the stands,[ some Italian club players celebrated the title in the middle of the pitch among them and in front of their fans in the M section, while some Liverpool players applauded their fans between the X and Z sections, the stadium’s section affected.

Bodies Laid Out in the Car Park

Culled from: Wikipedia


Footage Du Jour

Here’s footage of the disaster as it unfolded.
HEYSEL  disaster 1985

Morbid Fact Du Jour For December 13, 2016

Today’s Defective Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

In Nazi Germany, “Hereditary Health Courts” were set-up to make decisions on sterilization of genetically “defective” individuals. Although it was possible to petition the courts for exemptions (which were occasionally granted for the artistically gifted), the regime discouraged this and employed a rhetoric of medical emergency to hasten sterilizations.  “Dangerous patients” and “urgent cases” were people with hereditary taints in the prime of life. Among “urgent cases” were mentally deficient but physically healthy men and women between the ages of sixteen and forty, schizophrenic and manic-depressive pateints in remission, epileptics and alcoholics under the age of fifty, etc. Once a petitioin was heard before a sterilization court, the die was pretty well cast. More than 90 percent of petitions taken before the special courts in 1934 resulted in sterilization (though a screening process eliminated some before they got to court); and fewer than 5 percent of appeals against sterilization, made to the higher courts, were upheld. But the principle of legality was nonetheless extremely important, and the strict secrecy surrounding court deliberations lent power and mystery to this expression of medicalized authority.

23-year-old Elizabeth Killiam, the mother of twins, was sterilized at a health care facility in Weilburg before being transferred to the Hadamar Institute. 

The legal structure cloaked considerable chaos and arbitrariness in criteria for sterilization (especially concerning mental conditions, which resulted in the greatest number of sterilizations) and concerning alleged hereditary factors. Inevitably, too, political considerations affected diagnoses and decisions – as was made clear by a directive from Martin Bormann, Hitler’s private secretary and close associate, instructing that the moral and political behavior of a person be considered in making a diagnosis of feeblemindedness. The clear implication was that one could be quick to label “feebleminded” a person seen as hostile to the Nazis, but that one should be cautious indeed about so labeling an ideologically enthusiastic Party member. Political currrents and whims also affected the project in various ways; and, despite its high priority, there were undoubtedly periods of diminished enthusiasm for sterilization. No one really knows how many people were actually sterilized; reliable estimates are generally between 200,000 and 350,000.

Culled from: The Nazi Doctors: Medical Killing and the Psychology of Genocide


Vintage Corpse Du Jour

Luc Sante’s Evidence is a compelling collection of crime scene photographs taken by the New York City Police Department between 1914 and 1918. The images are always intriguing, often mysterious, sometimes artistic, occasionally shocking, and reliably graphic. The appendix contains a detailed explanation of all known facts regarding each image (include applicable newspaper clippings) and much reasonable speculation on those images where the facts are lost to history.

No Caption. It is winter but his neckwear seems too flimsy to be a muffler; it may be ceremonial. There is no blood nor any indication of how he died. He is lying in a tenement hallway, which is fitted with the universal cheap wainscotting of the time, and a linoleum pattern that looks familiar from tenements today.

Morbid Fact Du Jour For December 6, 2016

Today’s Ornery Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

Charles Henley was an ornery cuss. The fifty-seven-year-old farmer had taken some guff from his neighbors for allowing his hogs to run wild on his land – and, they also often strayed onto the property of his neighbors. Henley and his wife had lived on their land north of Windsor in Californa’s Sonoma County since the late 1860s. Originally from Missouri, Henley supported the Confederacy during the Civil War, which didn’t make him very popular in Sonoma County after the war was over.

On May 9, 1876, word was passed on to Henley that some of his stray hogs had been rounded up and corralled by his neighbor, James Rowland. The hotheaded Henley grabbed his shotgun and went to Rowland’s Ranch. Finding nobody about on the Rowland property, Henley was in the process of releasing his hogs when Rowland came running from his barn, cursing Henley as he ran toward the corral. Henley responded by blasting holes in Rowland’s head with his shotgun. Henley then went home to his wife and told her that he couldn’t find the hogs.

Later that evening, Henley, obviously regretting the murder of his neighbor, rode over to Robert Greening’s ranch to seek advice on how to handle the situation. Knowing that Greening’s hired hand Bill Goodman was a member of the Odd Fellows, as had been James Rowland, he asked Greening not to say anything about their discussion to his hired hand. But Goodman was a cagey cowboy and he was listening in on the men’s conversation. Henley then rode into Windsor and turned himself in to the authorities.

Back at the Rowland ranch, hired hand Joe Dennigan arrived at the ranch around midnight and found Rowland’s body in the corral. The farm animals had eaten the damaged parts of the rancher, mutilating him almost beyond recognition. Dennigan rode to a neighbor’s ranch and told John Hopper what he had seen.

On May 10, Coroner Kelly Tighe held an inquest, with twelve men in attendance. They decided immediately that Henley had killed Rowland. The remains of Rowland’s body were gathered and he was buried according to the Odd Fellows’ rites.

A preliminary examination was to be held on May 20 in Santa Rosa before Justice James H. McGee, but Henley’s attorneys waived examination until the grand jury was dismissed. Meanwhile, Henley remained in jail.

In the early morning hours of June 9, groups of men began arriving in Santa Rosa. They split into squads and posted themselves in key downtown intersections, detaining anyone who wandered in the area, even policemen.

A squad went to the home of jailer Sylvester H. Wilson and roused him and his family from their beds. The mob told Wilson that they were going to take justice into their own hands and punish Henley for Rowland’s murder, and they needed Wilson to go to the jail and hand over the keys to them. They left a group of men to guard his family so they couldn’t raise an alarm. Wilson did what he was told to do.

The mob unlocked the jail cell, grabbed Henley, gagged and bound him, and carried him out the door. Another group of men took Wilson and R., Dryer, a night watchman they had captured, and loaded them into a wagon. They drove the men to the outskirts of Santa Rosa and released them. On their way back to town, they met the rest of the lynch mob as they were leaving town.

By the time Dryer and Wilson made it back to the jail, word of the lynching had traveled throughout the town. City Marshal Jim M. White, Dryer, Wilson, Frank Carillo, and freed hostage Officer Fuller went back to the country area where Dryer and Wilson had been released and found Henley hanging by his neck from a tree.

The public was outraged that Santa Rosa’s finest would fold so easily, shucking their duties as protectors of the public and allowing armed men to seize a county prisoner for execution. Many people believed that Santa Rosa’s police force was in cahoots with the lynch mob. Officers Fuller, Wilson, and Dyer took most of the heat, but in the end they were not punished for having avoided their duty as peace officers. A reward of two thousand dollars was offered for the conviction of any members of the lynch mob, but it was never collected. Nobody knows what happend to Henley’s body after the authorities cut him down, and there is no record as to what happened to Henley’s wife or his estate.

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


California Lynching Photo Du Jour

There’s no photographic record of the lynching of Charles Henley, so I thought I’d find another photo to feature with this fact.

This unfortunate fellow is Clyde Johnson.  He was lynched on August 3, 1935 in Yreka, California. As the caption from this postcard (you’d send it to Aunt Betty, wouldn’t you?) says, “Killer of Jack Daw, Aug 3, 1935, Vengence [sic] in Siskiyou County.”

Here’s more of the story:

At the funeral of F.R. Daw, chief of police of Dunsmuir, Oregon, a number of mourners planned the lynching of his alleged murderer, Clyde Johnson. Early on the morning of August 3, 1935, a masked mob, estimated as large as fifty, forcibly removed Johnson from his jail cell and dragged him three miles south of town, where they hung him from a pine tree.

Local and state officials expressed mixed reaction to news of the lynching. District Attorney James Davis declared that he would open an investigation and “do everything the law requires to apprehend members of the mob.” On the other hand, the California attorney general, referring to the recently delayed execution of an accused murderer, stated that the “uncontrollable unrest” was a natural result of the “apathy of the Supreme Court of the United States.”

Culled from: Without Sanctuary: Lynching Photography In America

Morbid Fact Du Jour For December 2, 2016

Today’s Gasping Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

The 1918 Influenza Epidemic which killed between 50 and 100 million people arrived in several waves. The first wave, in the spring of 1918, caused many illnesses, but few deaths. However, a few months later the flu struck back with a vengeance. This version of the flu was still highly contagious but this time it was a killer. Although about 20 percent of its victims had a mild disease and recovered without incident, the rest had one or two terrifying illnesses. Some almost immediately became deathly ill, unable to get enough oxygen because their lungs had filled with fluid. They died in days, or even hours, delirious with a high fever, gasping for breath, lapsing at last into unconsciousness. In others, the illness began as an ordinary flu, with chills, fever, and muscle aches, but no untoward symptoms. By the fourth or fifth day of the illness, however, bacteria would swarm into their injured lungs and they would develop pneumonia that would either kill them or lead to a long period of convalescence.

The second wave of the flu arrived in the United States in Boston, appearing among a group of sailors who docked at the Commonwealth Pier in August. The sailors were simply in transit, part of the vast movement of troops in a war that transformed daily life. By then the war effort had taken over the country. No man wanted to be left behind – the worst thing you could call a man was a slacker. And so a quarter of Americans had signed up to fight, with those men who remained behind embarrassed, apologizing for medical conditions that kept them from the front.

And then some of those sailors in Boston got sick.On August 28, eight men got the flu. The next day, 58 were sick. By day four the sick toll reached 81. A week later, it was 119, and that same day the first civilian was admitted to Boston City Hospital sick with the flu. Deaths soon followed. On September 8, three people died from the flu in Boston: a Navy man, a merchant marine, and  a civilian.

That same day, the flu appeared in Fort Devens, Massachusetts, thirty miles west of Boston. Overnight, Fort Devens became a scene out of hell. One doctor, assigned to work in the camp that September, wrote despairingly to a friend about an epidemic that was out of control. The doctor’s letter is dated September 29, 1918:

“Camp Devens is near Boston, and has about 50,000 men, or did before this epidemic broke loose.” The flu epidemic hit the camp four weeks earlier, he added, “and has developed so rapidly that the camp is demoralized and all ordinary work is held up till it has passed. All assemblages of soldiers are taboo.”

The disease starts out looking like an ordinary sort of influenza, the doctor explained. But when the soldiers are brought to the hospital at the Army base, they “rapidly develop the most viscous type of Pneumonia that has ever been seen. Two hours after admission they have the Mahogany spots over the cheek bones and a few hours later you can begin to see the Cyanosis extending from the ears and spreading all over the face, until it is hard to distinguish the colored man from the white. It is only a matter of a few hours then until death comes and it is simply a struggle for air until they suffocate. It is horrible. One can stand to see one, two, or twenty men die, but to see these poor devils dropping like flies gets on your nerves. We have been averaging about 100 deaths a day, and still keeping it up.”

It became a problem just to dispose of the dead. “It takes Special trains to carry away the dead,” the doctor remarked. “For several days there were not coffins and the bodies piled up something fierce and we used to go down to the morgue (which is just back of my ward) and look at the boys laid out in long rows. It beats any sight they ever had in France after a battle. An extra long barracks has been vacated for the use of the Morgue, and it would make any man sit up and take notice to walk down the long lines of soldiers all dressed and laid out in double rows.”

Some of the sick soldiers during the flu epidemic.

Culled from: Flu: The Story of the Great Influenza Epidemic of 1918 and the Search for the Virus That Caused It



China + Department Stores + Elevators = a Recipe for Disaster!  (Thanks to Katie for the link.)

Baby Boy is DROPPED 30ft to his death down the side of an escalator after his grandmother lost her footing 

Morbid Fact Du Jour for December 1, 2016

Sorry for disappearing on you for awhile.  It was a combination of intense work stress and intense election distress.  I’m sure you understand.  It’s hard to find anything to hold onto these days, but I’ll try to keep the facts flowing despite my grief.

Today’s Sinister-Shaped Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

On December 6, 1917 in Halifax, Nova Scotia, a munitions ship (the Mont Blanc) collided with a vessel in the Narrows of the harbor, triggering a catastrophic fire and explosion that destroyed much of the city, killed over 1,600 people and injured over 9,000.  The following is an excerpt from Curse of the Narrows where rescue workers describe the devastating aftermath.

Yates, Carstens, Pear, and Murphy gathered around a heavy oil delivery wagon. The oil tank had been thrown twenty yards up the hill. The two horses lay together, one cut in half, stretched across the other with its hind legs extending straight out from its back. They had obviously been thrown in the air, still tethered together, while the cart remained where it had landed, upside down. The whole depressing scene was covered in ice, literally freezing their last agonizing minute. The stillness and permanence of the horses struck Murphy, reminding him of equestrian statues gone wrong. Yates left the horses and returned to the old man combing through what had been his house. The man picked up an old cork leg and looked up to catch Yates’s eye.

“That,” he said, “belonged to the lodger down stairs. He won’t need it any more. He was a railway man, and he lost his leg, and they put him on a crossing. He’s gone. When my old woman heard that the boat might blow up she went up to the daughter’s place on the hill there. You can see the place, still smoking, from here.”

“Did she escape injury?” Yates asked, expecting him to say yes.

“Oh no. She and the daughter and four children were burnt up. It’s funny I should find that cork leg undamaged, don’t you think?”

The old man waited for an answer, but Yates could think of nothing to say. Instead, he watched two men walking down what was left of the street. One had a bandage wrapped around his head. “The other with hollow, lack-lustre eyes, and blackened hands and face, carried a sack on his shoulder. It was of sinister shape and blood-stained.” Yates though that it was probably a part of the man’s family. He had already heard a story of a man carrying a box onto the train. Someone asked him what was in the box.

“That is all that is left of my wife and two children. I am taking them to Windsor to bury them.”

Soldiers searching the debris of Halifax.

Culled from: Curse of the Narrows



Have you ever seen a woman crushed by a forklift?  Well, you can now!  Plenty of workplace safety violations to be had here.  (Thanks to Dena for the link.)

Woman Crushed in Forklift Accident

Morbid Fact Du Jour For October 30, 2016

Today’s Absolutely Fireproof Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

The newly built Iroquois Theater was packed with nearly 1900 patrons on December 30, 1903, for the popular musical Mr. Blue Bird. Only a month old, the spectacular theater with its mahogany and marble was billed was “absolutely fireproof,” the “safest” building of its kind in Chicago.

During the second act, sparks from an overloaded electrical circuit ignited a drapery behind the stage. Stagehand William McMullen, who was stationed on a catwalk, tried to snuff out the tiny flickers, but they were two inches beyond his reach. Quickly, the flames spread to the adjoining scenery. The on-duty fireman, with only two tubes of firefighting substance called Kilfyres at his disposal, failed to stop the fire. The star comedian, Eddie Foy, shouted to lower the asbestos curtain to keep the fire from spreading into the audience but the curtain snagged halfway down and so when fleeing patrons threw open the exit doors, the curtain acted as a flue. Fueled by the fresh air, a fireball shot out from under the curtain and reached the patrons in the first balcony, burning them in their seats.

The explosion that followed lifted the entire roof. The hysterical crowd on the upper floors pushed and trampled each other in their race to the stairwells and fire exits, which turned out to have no ladders. In the crush, patrons were pushed off the tiny balconies and fell to their death. In less than thirty minutes the fire was out, but the gruesome discovery of bodies piled ten feet high around windows and in stairwells awaited the rescue workers. Six hundred and one people died in the fire.

An investigation began immediately. A coroner’s jury found fault both with the theater and with city officials although no one was criminally charged. The jury pointed out that the theater had inadequate exits (some were locked to prevent people from sneaking in), totally inadequate fire fighting equipment and untrained staff.

Culled from: Disaster Great Lakes


Grim Chicago: If At First You Don’t Succeed Edition

You may remember the guy who was shot while livestreaming on Facebook in Chicago’s south side in March?  He survived that shooting but was shot to death Friday night.  If at first you don’t succeed…

Man Shot on Facebook Live in March Killed Friday on South Side

A 30-year-old man who was shot while live-streaming a video on Facebook Live in March met a tragic end late Friday at a South Side gas station.

Brian Fields was sitting in a vehicle about 10:20 p.m. at the station in the 1900 block of West Garfield when a gunman walked up and shot him in the chest, according to Chicago Police and the Cook County medical examiner’s office.

Chiquita Ford, also 30, who was in the vehicle with him, was shot in the side. They were both pronounced dead at the scene at 11:02 p.m. No one was in custody, and police continue to investigate.

A police source confirmed Fields was shot earlier this year, on March 31, in West Englewood.

At that time, Fields was using Facebook Live, which sends out a live video stream, while standing on the corner of 56th Street and Hoyne, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

Shots suddenly rang out, and the video feed began to wobble and then dropped to the ground, pointing up at the blue sky. The shooter — wearing a red, white and black jacket then appeared above — holding a pistol with both hands, firing more shots.

Fields was shot multiple times and taken to Mount Sinai Hospital in critical condition.

Residents in the neighborhood said Fields had recently moved away from Chicago and had only been back in the city for a few days, perhaps hours before getting shot, the Sun-Times reported after the March 31 shooting.

Court records show that Fields pleaded guilty to second-degree murder charges in 2005, and was sentenced to time already served after spending nearly four years in Cook County Jail awaiting trial.

Fields is one of nine people killed in Chicago, including two teenagers, since Friday evening.

Here’s the video of the shooting in March.

Morbid Fact Du Jour For October 28, 2016

Today’s Written Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

A number of Egyptian medical documents have survived in the form of papyrus rolls. The principal surviving texts range in date from about 2000 to 1200 B.C., but the knowledge and the ideas which they contain almost certainly relate to a considerably older period, perhaps five or six thousand years ago. The most interesting of the Egyptian papyri from the surgical point of view is the Edwin Smith Papyrus – so named from its discoverer, the American Egyptologist, Edwin Smith, who acquired it at Luxor in 1862. This work is a roll just over fifteen feet in length. It was composed at the beginning of the eighteenth dynasty, about 1600 B.C., and represents part of a large textbook of surgery. The surviving portion contains descriptions of forty-eight cases of injuries, wounds, fractures, dislocations, and tumors.

Part of the Edwin Smith Papyrus

The following directions are given for the treatment of a wound in the forehead producing a compound comminuted fracture of the skull. In this serious case the ancient surgeon, for all his skill, feels compelled to invoke the aid of the gods:

If thou examinest a man having a wound in his forehead, smashing the skull of his head. Thou shouldst prepare for him the egg of an ostrich, triturated with grease and placed in the mouth of his wound. Now afterward thou shouldst prepare for him the egg of an ostrich, triturated and made into poultices for drying up that wound. Thou shouldst apply to it for him a covering for the physician’s use (i.e. a bandage); thou shouldst uncover it the third day, and find it knitting together the skull, the color being like the egg of an ostrich.

That which is to be said as a charm over this recipe:

“Repelled is the enemy that is in the wound!
Cast out is the evil that is in the blood.
The adversary of Horus, one every side of the mouth of Isis.
This temple does not fall down; There is no enemy of the vessel therein.
I am under the protection of Isis;
My rescue is the son of Osiris.”

Culled from:  The Early History of Surgery


Medical Photos Du Jour!

The Dr. Ikkaku Ochi Collection is a fascinating collection of medical photographs from the late 19th and early 20th century that had been collected by Dr. Ikkaku Ochi in Japan and was found in a box many years later.  There was no detailed information available for most of the photos, but the images are compelling because they show these composed portraits of people suffering through intense pain caused by conditions that in most cases would be resolved through treatment today.  There’s a sense of overwhelming sadness that comes through in these pictures, but also dignity and strength. I find them compelling and I thought I’d share photos from the book occasionally.

Goiter, perhaps?

Nipples Galore!

Morbid Fact Du Jour For October 23, 2016

Today’s Polished Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

Orville Dale Loos was on leave from the U.S. Navy when he and two other sailors went to visit Yosemite on July 9, 1946. Loos, a native of Dayton, Ohio, was hiking along the top edge of Vernal Fall when he saw eleven-year old Keen Freeman being carried down the river towards the lip of the falls. The boy and his father, Dr. Walter Freeman, were visiting the park from Washington, D.C. Keen had fallen into the river while trying to fill his canteen. The sailors jumped the guardrail to try to save the boy from a certain death. Loos got ahead of the other rescuers and was able to grab Freeman just fifteen feet from the brink. Swimming against the powerful current with Freeman under his arm, Loos made it to a finely polished boulder and clung on for a few seconds before the algae-covered rock made him lose his grip, and both Freeman and Loos were swept to their deaths. Freeman’s body was found a week later. Loos was found five days after Freeman, just a hundred yards from the base of the falls.

It’s a long way down…

Culled from: Death In California: The Bizarre, Freakish, and Just Curious Ways People Die in the Golden State


Another Casualty in Chicago

I moved to a neighborhood with high gang activity over the summer and it’s been very strange, and interesting in its way, becoming acclimated to the area. Gun shots have become a regular part of my days and nights and I’m becoming adept at deciphering the gang graffiti that regularly pops up in my alley.  I don’t feel unsafe, however, because, apart from the occasional stray bullet, gang violence is a private targeted affair between one gang and another.  Unless you make a habit of hanging out in front of buildings with gang members, your chance of getting shot is very slim.  As one person said of my neighborhood, “It’s perfectly safe to live in, but you’ll see a lot of crazy shit go down.”

However, if you’re a gang member and you hang out on a sidewalk, you’re making yourself a target.  In the even-more-gang-dominated neighborhood of North Lawndale, just north of me, It always amazes me how many young men hang out in front of liquor stores or on front steps or on corners.  I think to myself, don’t they know how dangerous that is?  I’m sure many of them aren’t gang members… but the possibility of being misidentified is ever-present, as rival gang members circle the neighborhood in their cars looking for someone to shoot.

Which brings me to this livestreamed video – which I somehow missed over the summer.  This shooting happened about a mile and a half from me and it’s such a vivid illustration of how suddenly an attack can come.  This man was standing by a convenience store playing with his phone when his luck ran out.

It’s a long video so if you want to skip to the action start at 5:30.

Man Killed Live on Facebook

Morbid Fact Du Jour For October 19, 2016

Today’s History-Changing Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

The great plague of Cyprian began in A.D. 250 and indisputably changed the course of history. It’s nature, however, is unknown. Cyprian, the Christian bishop of Carthage, described the symptoms as violent diarrhea and vomiting, an ulcerated sore throat, burning fever, and putrefaction or gangrene of the hands and feet. Another account tells of a very rapid spread of disease all over the body and of unassuagable thirst. Like the Athenian plague, the place of origin is said to have been Ethiopia, from which it passed to Egypt and the Roman colonies in North Africa.

The Great Plague of Cyprian

The plague took the form of a true pandemic, spreading from Egypt in the south to Scotland in the north. It advanced with appalling speed, not only by contact with infected persons but by means of clothing or any other articles used by the sick. The first, devastating appearance was followed by a remission which ended with a renewed attack of equal virulence in the same district. There was a seasonal incidence, outbreaks starting in the autumn, lasting through winter and spring, and fading out with the coming of hot weather in the summer. Mortality is said to have been higher than in any other pestilence, the deaths of infected persons outnumbering those who survived attack. The plague of Cyprian lasted for no less than sixteen years, during which time something in the nature of a general panic developed. Thousands fled the countryside to overcrowd cities and cause fresh outbreaks; wide areas of farmland throughout Italy reverted to waste; some thought that the human race could not possibly survive. Despite warfare in Mesopotamia, on the eastern frontiers and even in Gaul, the empire managed to survive this catastrophe; but by A.D. 275 the legions had fallen back from Transylvania and the Black Forest to the Danube and the Rhine, and so dangerous did the position seem to have become that Aurelian decided to fortify the city of Rome itself.

Throughout the next three centuries, while Rome itself collapsed under the pressure of Goth and Vandal, there were recurrent outbreaks of a similar plague. Gradually the evidence becomes less exact, degenerating into a generalized story of war, pestilence and famine, as the darkness descended over Rome and her mighty empire disintegrated. The Germanic peoples crowded into Italy, Gaul, across the Pyrenees, into Spain, even into North Africa, where plague so weakened the Vandals in A.D. 480 that they were unable to resist a later invasion by Moors. There are rumors of a great mortality in Rome (467) and around Vienna in 455. Of special interest, because it may have affected the history of the Anglo-Saxons, is a visitation in Britain, apparently part of a general pandemic in 444. According to Bede, mortality was so great in Britain that barely enough healthy men survived to bury the dead, while the plague depleted the forces of the Romano-British chieftain Vortigern to such an extent that he was unable to cope with the incursions of the savage Picts and Scots. Legend relates that, after taking counsel with his chieftains, Vorigern decided to seek help from the Saxons, who in 449 arrived in Britain as mercenaries under their leaders Hengist and Horsa. It may indeed have been plague which so weakened the British that Saxon infiltration was successful.

Culled from: Disease and History

This reads more like a festival line-up to me:

The Savage Picts * Gaul * The Scots * The Saxons


Ghastly! – Discarded Edition

These poor guys look so tossed-aside, don’t they?  As, I suspect, they were.

A total of 222 homicides were recorded in New York City in 1915. The eight-by-ten-inch glass-plate negative used in early police cameras captured precisely every coil, chain, scrap of newspaper, and drop of blood left at crime scenes. Police photographers were required to make images of murder victims from above; the legs of the photographers’ tripos can be seen in this image.

Culled from: Shots in the Dark: True Crime Pictures