Category Archives: Mirth

Morbid Fact Du Jour for January 17, 2017

Today’s Infested Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

A woman died after being mistaken for a car thief and tied to a tree infested with poisonous ants.

The 52-year-old was rescued by police but died in hospital from breathing problems caused by severe throat swelling after her windpipe was bitten by the insects.

The victim had gone to help her son who had been bound to the tree by angry vigilantes who accused them of trying to steal a car.

Her daughter also received the same punishment but she and her older brother survived and are now recovering from their injuries.

Local reports said the trio were also beaten and burned.

The shocking incident happened on New Year’s Eve (2016) in Caranavi in Bolivia, around 100 miles north east of the capital La Paz.

A radio station published a picture of two of the three people blindfolded and bound to the tree while villagers, including a woman with a child in her arms and a schoolboy kneeling on the ground, looked on from a few feet away.


Worst. Nightmare.

Authorities said preliminary investigations had shown the dead woman and her children, ages 22 and 28, had traveled to the area from La Paz to recover a debt.

The tree they were tied to was a Palo Santo, a mystical tree growing on the coast of South America which is the favorite haunt of colonies of Brazilian fire ants known for their extremely painful bites.

Police chief Gunter Agudo said: “We managed to rescue all three people but one of them, the 52-year-old woman, was in a bad way and had to be taken to hospital.

“She died at 3:30 p.m. on New Year’s Eve.

“Initially the investigation was opened as a probe into an attempted car theft, but now it has been changed to a murder and serious assault investigation.”

Only one person has been arrested so far on suspicion of inciting locals to commit their shocking act, although the authorities have confirmed others took part.

The unnamed suspect was held on January 1 and has been remanded in prison following a court appearance.

Roxana Bustillos, lawyer for the family targeted by the vigilantes, said: “It’s probable that the ants bit the victim’s windpipe, which caused an inflammation and meant she wasn’t able to breathe.”

One local described the trio as criminals who had gone to the area to “make mischief” and said they had picked on poor people who had made huge sacrifices to obtain their own vehicle. But authorities insisted the victims had not done anything wrong.

Roberhtmar Aramayo, who described himself as a nephew of the dead woman, said on the Facebook page of a local radio station: “Damned community Indians of Caranavi. My family is suffering the loss of my beloved aunt.

“I hope the courts clarify what’s happened because they’ve left my cousins orphans.”

Culled from: The Sun
Generously Submitted by: Kelly K.

 

Morbid Mirth Du Jour!

I stumbled across this on the interwebz.  My sincerest apologies to the easily-offended!

Morbid Fact Du Jour for January 16, 2017

Today’s Young Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

James Arcene (ca. 1862 – June 18, 1885) was the youngest person sentenced to death, who was subsequently executed for the crime, in the United States. Arcene, a Cherokee, was hanged by the U.S. federal government in Fort Smith, Arkansas for his role in a robbery and murder committed thirteen years earlier, when he was 10 years old.

He and a Cherokee man named William Parchmeal noticed William Feigel, a Swedish national, making a purchase in a store. They followed him when he left, heading for Fort Gibson, and caught up with him about two miles outside of the fort. With robbery as a motive, they shot Fiegel six times before crushing his skull with a rock. Arcene and Parchmeal then divested Fiegel’s corpse of its boots and money, totaling only 25 cents ($5.00 today).

Arcene was arrested and tried for the robbery and murder of his victim, but escaped and eluded capture until he was apprehended and executed at the age of 23. He and Parchmeal were ultimately brought to justice by Deputy Marshal Andrews, after the case had lain cold for more than ten years. “Hanging Judge” Isaac Parker presided over the executions, which were held at Fort Smith.

It is difficult to verify James Arcene’s age with complete certainty because there are few surviving census records for Indian Territory in the 1870s and 1880s. Primary documents confirm that, after he was captured, James Arcene claimed to have been a child in 1872 when the crime was committed. He did not revise that statement when it became clear that that status would not help him in sentencing.

Arcene’s case is frequently brought up in discussions of the death penalty for children, and to a lesser degree in discussions of the unfair treatment Native Americans received from the United States government.

Culled from: Wikipedia

 

Morbid Mirth Du Jour!

Speaking of kids, if you must let them play with guns, let them play with Iver Johnson Revolvers!  (Thanks to Eleanor for the pic.)

Morbid Fact Du Jour For December 30, 2016

Today’s Gliding Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

When, in 1895, the Wright Brothers read of the gliding experiments being conducted by Otto Lilienthal, Germany’s first and foremost contributor to the conquest of the air, they sought every piece of information they could learn about him. Between 1891 and 1896 Lilienthal had made over 2,000 glides – some of them several hundred feet – down a large hill he had constructed near Berlin. His early gliders were monoplanes with fixed tails. The pilot’s head and shoulders were above the cambered wings, his hips and legs dangled below. What limited directional control Lilienthal achieved he managed by shifting his hips and weight from side to side or back and forth. Photographs and published reports of Lilienthal’s experiments fascinated the Wrights. He had effectively demonstrated that air could support a man in winged flight.


Otto Lilienthal with one of his gliders


Otto in flight.

Ever since 1891 Lilienthal had been designing and constructing gliders with the hope that when a suitable means of propulsion was developed, it could be added to his wings. In 1896 he had built a small compressed carbonic acid gas motor. Unfortunately, before Lilienthal had an opportunity to test it, he was killed in one of his standard gliders when a sudden gust of wind forced the glider upward into a stall. The craft crashed to earth and broke the German aviation pioneer’s back. He died the next day.


Sad Remains

Culled from: The National Air and Space Museum

 

Morbid Mirth Du Jour

Generously submitted by Jessie.

Morbid Fact Du Jour For October 10, 2016

Today’s Imitative Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

In September of 1917, a Mr. and Mrs. Barnett of London, Kentucky were working in their garden. They left their three-month-old son Henry in his cradle in the hall. Presently, little Henry began to fuss, and his twenty-month-old sister tried to comfort him. The little girl had often seen Henry being fed with a bottle, so, imitating her parents, she found a bottle and gave it to her baby brother.

Unfortunately, the bottle she found did not contain milk. It was full of carbolic acid, which burned Henry’s throat and mouth badly and paralyzed his tongue. A doctor was summoned quickly, but nothing could be done and Henry Barnett died the next day.

Culled From: GenDisasters.com
Submitted by: Aimee

What must it be like to grow up and know that actions taken when you were not much more than a baby yourself resulted in the death of your baby brother? – Aimee

Morbid Mirth Du Jour!

Thanks to Magnoire for sharing this truly frightening video with us!

Morbid Fact Du Jour For September 19, 2016

Today’s Automated Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

One of the biggest leaps forward in jet airliner technology came with the arrival of the Airbus A320.  This plane was introduced by the French-German-British-Spanish Airbus consortium in 1988 in an ultimately successful attempt to compete with Boeing, which had been the dominant force in commercial aircraft for the previous 35 years. To reduce the cost of the aircraft, the fuel and the numbers of crew required to fly it, Airbus went much further in automating the flying process than ever before, introducing what is known as a ‘flight management system’. In essence, this was the world’s first fully-automated plane.

‘This is a kind of machine partner,’ said Professor David Woods, author of Behind Human Error, ‘which rides in the cockpit with the flight crew and manages the flight path of the aircraft. It’s what the pilot talks to, giving instructions through a keyboard. This system is on all modern airplanes.’

The Airbus was more thorough in its approach than any aircraft before and, as a result, attracted the majority of the unfavorable attention accorded to modern flight systems, notably the ill-named ‘fly-by-wire’ concept in which the pilot has no direct physical contact with the operating systems.

In the first few years after the A320 was launched in 1988, it was involved in at least five accidents, as well as numerous other ‘incidents’ in which man and computerized machine clashed. In several of these, the Airbus unaccountably reared up during the approach to landing and then stalled. The trouble was that, although the computer was doing what it was supposed to, the pilot was either not sufficiently trained or aware enough to work out what that was.

The earliest incident – on June 26, 1988, at Habsheim in eastern France – came shortly after the first of the aircraft had been delivered, and sent shockwaves through the aviation world. Air France 296 was a demo plane packed with 136 crew and passengers – the latter being the winners of a competition organized by a local newspaper. They were supposed to be making a one-hour flight on the evolutionary new airliner, taking in Mont Blanc and two passes over Habsheim air show. The first of these flyovers was to be at low speed, with the landing gear down, at just 100 ft.

A huge crowd had gathered to watch as the A320 made its approach; but their appreciative shouts changed to gasps of horror as the jet labored over the runway towards the forest surrounding the airport. To the onlookers’ disbelief, the Airbus did not climb but simply flew into the trees. It disappeared from view, and second later there was an enormous explosion and fireball. A number of amateur videos of the whole thing were shot and can be seen on YouTube, and perhaps the most astonishing thing, from that footage, is that only three people were killed. A boy was impaled through his chest on wreckage, and a young girl died from smoke inhalation, along with a woman who was trying to free the child from her seat.


Sacre merde!


Zut alors!

Unfortunately, the crash investigation was marred by a series of rows involving the investigators, the French authorities and the pilot, Michel Asseline, on such points as the height of the trees into which the plane crashed, the possibility of altimeter failure, the theft of some television film of the accident, the engines’ alleged poor restart rate at low altitude, and the fact that the DVR and DFDR went off four seconds before impact. The crash was blamed on cockpit confusion over altitude, but outside observers have said that the on-board computer believed the aircraft to be landing, and thus was in landing mode. Consequently, it took too much time for the engines to throttle up to avert the crash. The A320’s on-board computers were later programmed to maintain more power on the final approach.

Culled from: Black Box: Inside the World’s Worst Plane Crashes

Wanna hear French people watch a plane crash? Oh ya?  Oh non! Oh non! Oh non! Oh non! Oh non!

Morbid Mirth Du Jour!

When people encourage me to exercise, I shall just remind them of this one bullet-proof fact.

Thank you to Magnoire for the funny!

Morbid Fact Du Jour for July 6, 2016

Today’s Incapacitated Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

United Airlines Flight 624, a Douglas DC-6 airliner, registration NC37506, was a scheduled passenger flight that originated in San Diego, California with stops in Los Angeles and Chicago en route to LaGuardia Airport in New York City. The four-engine propeller-driven airplane crashed at 1:41 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time on June 17, 1948 outside of Aristes, Pennsylvania, killing all 4 crew members and 39 passengers on board.

The Douglas DC-6 fleet had been grounded by Civil Aviation authorities for four months as a result of the fatal crash of United Airlines Flight 608 on October 24, 1947. It was determined that the crash had been caused by a design flaw that allowed vented fuel to be drawn into the heater air intake scoop that caused a fire in the cargo compartment. As a result, changes were made and a fire extinguisher system was installed on all DC-6 aircraft.

Flight 624 from San Diego had just completed a routine initial descent as part of its approach into the New York area, when the forward cargo hold fire indicator light illuminated, leading the flight crew to believe there was a fire in that cargo hold. Although this later turned out to be a false alarm, the crew decided to discharge CO2 bottles into the forward cargo hold, to try to extinguish the possible fire.

While proper operating procedure called for opening the cabin pressure relief valves prior to discharging the CO2 bottles, to allow for venting of the CO2 gas buildup in the cabin and cockpit, there was no evidence the crew opened the relief valves. Consequently, the released CO2 gas seeped back into the cockpit from the front cargo hold and apparently partially incapacitated the flight crew. The crew then put the aircraft into an emergency descent, and as it descended lower it hit a high voltage power line, bursting into flames, then smashing through the trees of a wooden hillside.

Ed Darlington of radio station WCNR at nearby Bloomsburg said “there was no sign of life and apparently everyone was killed.” The scene of the wreck was in a sparsely wooded area about five miles from Mt. Carmel, a small town 135 miles from Philadelphia where delegates are gathering for the Republican National Convention. News of the crash brought excited whispering from the delegates. No one knew for certain whether any high Republican officials were on the plane.  [Sadly, they were not. – DeSpair]

Ira F. Roadarmel of Mt. Carmel, one of the first persons on the scene, said “everything was scattered. The largest piece of the plane left was an engine. The rest of the plane was in small parts — so small they could be carried.”

George Minnich, an employee of Midvalley Colliery No. 2, which the plane missed by only 100 yards in its descent, said that he saw the plane bank. “Suddenly there was a horrible crash,” he said. “All you could see was a mass of flames. It sounded as though the end of the world was coming.”


The aftermath of doomed flight 624.

Culled from: Wikipedia

 

Morbid Mirth Du Jour!

Thanks to Nina for this one!

Morbid Fact Du Jour For May 5, 2016

Today’s Thuggish Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

The word “thug” referring to a ruffian or hoodlum is derived from the name of one of the worst gangs of murdering thieves the world has ever known: the Indian hoodlum band known as the Thuggees. The English term originally came from the Hindustani word thag meaning “cheat” or “rascal”. But the Thuggees were much worse than mere cheats and rascals. Through the course of their existence, dating back to the 1550s, the Thuggees were credited with murdering more than 2,000,000 people, mostly wealthy travelers. The killer secret society plagued India for more than 350 years. The Thuggees traveled in gangs, sometimes disguised as poor beggars or religious mendicants. Sometimes they wore the garb of rich merchants to get closer to unsuspecting victims.


Thugs in Action

One of their chief principles was never to spill blood, so they always strangled their victims. Each member was required to kill at least once a year in order to maintain membership in the cult. But they killed in the name of religion. The deaths were conceived of as human sacrifices to Kali, the bloodthirsty Hindustani goddess of destruction.

The most lethal practitioner of the cult of Thuggee was the thug Buhram. At his trial it was established that he had murdered 931 persons between 1790 and 1840. All had been strangled with his “ruhmal” or waistcloth. Buhram was executed in 1840. Appropriately enough, he was hanged until he strangled.

It came to pass that the Thuggees began to kill using pickaxes and knives. According to legend, the Thuggees believed that Kali devoured the bodies of their victims. The story goes that once a member of the society hid behind a tree in order to spy on the goddess. The angry goddess punished the Thuggees by making them bury their victims from then on. Their pickaxes became murder weapons as well.

Both Muslims and Hindus made up the Thuggee sect. The ruling British government tried very hard to stop the Thuggee religion and its practices. Between 1829 and 1848 the British suppressed the Thuggees by means of mass arrests and speedy executions. In 1882 the British government deemed the problem solved with the hanging death of the last known Thuggee.


Thug Life, 19th Century Style

Culled from: The Big Book of Thugs

 

Morbid Mirth Du Jour!

Thanks to Katchaya for this one.

Morbid Fact Du Jour For March 31, 2016

The lull in facts this week has been regrettably unavoidable as this has been a feverish week of activity for The Comtesse. She is heading overseas tomorrow and will be away until April 20th.  She will try to keep the facts coming regularly while she’s away but you know how life can sometimes interfere with our best intentions. In the event her internet access is limited, please stay morbid until her return!

Today’s Severe Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

Monty Atwater was a veteran of the 10th Mountain Division which utilized explosives to create strategic avalanches during World War II.  After the war he was immediately hired to research and control avalanches at Alta, a ski resort in the middle of one of the most notoriously dangerous mountain chains in North America, Utah’s Wasatch, just east of Salt Lake City.  Needless to say, working with avalanches is dangerous business, and Atwater did not manage to retire unscathed.

In the early 1950’s, during research at Berthoud Pass in Colorado with Dick Stillman, another avalanche hunter, the two began jumping on a slab to try to cut it loose with their skis. Suddenly, the heard a “Crrrrump!” and the slab broke. Stillman made it the safety of the trees, but Atwater got caught. Tumbled end over end, he was dragged over a sharp rock, got a sharp knock on the head, and ended up wrapped around a tree; he remembers only losing his temper and hitting the avalanche with his fists on the way down. The air temperature was ten below zero, and since Atwater was buried in snow, he figured that it must have been the cold that kept his legs from working. They looked straight, and he could wiggle his toes, she he wasn’t paralyzed. It was only later that he realized that one third of the way from his hip to his knee, his leg had been 70 percent severed, probably as he was dragged over the rock. Once he had come to rest, the snow had acted as both a good coagulant and an anesthetic; later, Atwater was told by his doctor that there was no other place on the human body where he could have sustained a cut that big and lived to tell about it.


The Full Monty

Culled from: The White Death: Tragedy and Heroism in an Avalanche Zone

 

Morbid Mirth Du Jour!

Morbid Fact Du Jour For March 25, 2016

Today’s Two-Faced Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

The same process that produces Siamese Twins is responsible for the births of many other kinds of twins who are even more strangely joined: One-and-a-Halfs. The crudest form lives as a cyst within its larger twin’s body. The larger twin may live its entire life without ever knowing what’s resting inside – unless the smaller twin signals its presence – by means of agonizing pain. Thanks to modern surgery, the cyst containing the twin – known by the scientific name of “teratoma” or “monster tumor” – may be easily removed.

There are more elaborate versions of these incomplete twins. Some have their heads buried in their larger twin’s upper body, with the rest of them dangling in front. Now and then, the upper region twins emerge head first, with their feet buried within their larger twin’s body. A birth of this type took place in the 1600s in Spain. The larger brother was named Lazarus Colloredo. After some discussion it was decided that the smaller brother had a soul, and he was therefore baptized Joannes Baptista Colloredo. As they grew older, it turned out that they both needed regular shaving. Throughout his life, Joannes never once opened his eyes and he never once closed his mouth – and he never once made a single, solitary sound.


The Dashing Duo Lazarus and Joannes

Culled from: The Big Book of Freaks

 

Morbid Mirth Du Jour!

It happens to me all the time too!  (Thanks to Magnoire for the funny!)

Morbid Fact Du Jour For March 22, 2016

Today’s Chain Reacting Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

Today we continue the story of Tsutomu Yamaguchi, who was injured by the atomic blast at Hiroshima on August 6, 1945.  We pick up the tale after Tsutomu has spent the night under an overturned boat with a burnt, blackened arm:

All the while, beneath his incinerated skin, Yamaguchi’s DNA was nursing even graver injuries. The nuclear bomb at Hiroshima released (among other radioactivity) loads of super-charged x-rays called gamma rays. Like most radioactivity, these rays single out and selectively damage DNA, punching DNA and nearby water molecules and making electrons fly out like uppercut teeth. The sudden loss of electrons forms free radicals, highly reactive atoms that chew on chemical bonds. A chain reaction begins that cleaves DNA and sometimes snaps chromosomes into pieces.

By the mid-1940s, scientists were starting to grasp why the shattering or disruption of DNA could wreak such ruin inside cells. First, scientists based in New York produced strong evidence that genes were made of DNA. This upended the persistent belief in protein inheritance. But as a second study revealed, DNA and proteins still shared a special relationship: DNA made proteins, with each DNA gene storing the recipe for one protein. Making proteins, in other words, was what genes did – that’s how genes created traits in the body.

In conjunction, these two ideas explained the harm of radioactivity. Fracturing DNA disrupts genes; disrupting genes halts protein production; halting protein production kills cells. Scientists didn’t work this out instantly – the crucial “one gene/one protein” paper appeared just days before Hiroshima – but they knew enough to cringe at the thought of nuclear weapons. When Hermann Muller won his Nobel Prize in 1946, he prophesied to the New York Times that if atomic bomb survivors “could foresee the results 1,000 years from now,… they might consider themselves more fortunate if the bomb had killed them.”

Despite Muller’s pessimism, Yamaguchi did want to survive, badly, for his family. He had complicated feelings about the war – opposing it at first, supporting it once under way, then shading back toward opposition when Japan began to stumble, because he feared the island being overrun by enemies who might harm his wife and son. (If so, he’d contemplated giving them an overdose of sleeping pills to spare them.) In the hours after Hiroshima, he yearned to get back to them, so when he heard rumors about trains leaving the city, he sucked up his strength and resolved to find one.

Hiroshima is a collection of islands, and Yamaguchi had to cross a river to reach the train station. All the bridges had collapsed or burned, so he steeled himself and began crossing an apocalyptic “bridge of corpses” clogging the river, crawling across melted legs and faces. But an uncrossable gap in the bridge forced him to turn back. Farther upstream, he found a railroad trestle with one steel beam intact, spanning fifty yards. He clambered up, crossed the iron tightrope, and descended. He pushed through the mob at the train station and slumped into a train seat. Miraculously the train pulled out soon afterward – he was saved. The train would run all night, but he was finally headed home, to Nagasaki.

Here are some photos of the “Bridge of Corpses”. Can you imagine the smell?

(To be continued…)

Culled from: The Violinist’s Thumb: And Other Lost Tales of Love, War, and Genius, as Written by Our Genetic Code

 

Morbid Mirth Du Jour!