Morbid Fact Du Jour for February 2, 2018

Today’s Decimated Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

On September 1, 1894 a huge firestorm, fed by drought conditions and dry debris left behind by lumber companies, destroyed the town of Hinckley, Minnesota, killing over 418 people.  Here is an account of the fate of the Best family:

Over at the side of the cemetery mourner John Best Jr., with the help of two neighbors, was digging one large grave to be the final resting place for his loved ones. Of fourteen members of the Best family, spanning three generations, there remained only John, his wife and child, and an older brother, Christian. Christ had found and positively identified three members of the family, but the rest were presumed to be among the unidentified dead. The entries in Coroner Cowan’s Death List for this one family were as follows:

41. Best, John — Age 63; residence, 2 miles south-east of Hinckley; found on road, 60 rods west of his house; identified by his son Christian; buried at Hinckley; identified by a jack knife which he carried.
42. Best, Eva — Age 60, married, wife of John Best; found with John Best in the road west of the house; identified by Christ Best.
43. Best, Bertha — Age 18, single, daughter of John and Eva Best; identified by Christ Best.
44. Best, William — Age 21, single, son of John and Eva Best; not identified.
45. Best, Fred — Age 23, single, son of John and Eva Best; not identified.
46. Best, George — Age 25, single son of John and Eva Best; not identified.
47. Best, Victor — Age 8; son of John and Eva Best.
269. Weigle, Anton — Age 33, married; residence, Hinckley, not found, but supposed to be among the unidentified bodies taken from the swamp, one-half mile north of Hinckley; reported by Christ Best.
270. Weigle, Eva — Age 22, wife of Anton Weigle; was buried with her parent, John Best, was not found.
271. Weigle, Winnie — Age 4, daughter of Anton Weigle, not identified.

Burying victims in a mass grave

In December it was reported in The Hinckley Enterprise that a local boy, while searching for a Christmas tree, had found the body of George Best near the old home a mile east of town. No inquest was held, as it was assumed he died on September 1 in the fire. The two surviving brothers buried another member of their family.

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


The Morbid Sightseer: Netherlands!

Museum Boerhaave (Leiden, Netherlands)

From Atlas Obscura:
“The museum, named for Herman Boerhaave (1668-1738), a Dutch physician and botanist, displays over four hundred years of advances in knowledge in a building that dates back to the 1500s. Originally the St. Caecilia nunnery, then a “plague hospital and madhouse,” the historic building was converted to a university hospital in 1653. In 1720, Herman Boerhaave gave a famous series of lectures known as the “sickbed lessons,” marking the beginning of clinical teaching and of the academic hospital in its modern form. In 1991, the St. Caecilia nunnery took its current form as a museum, where displays of human pathology bring to mind a different sort of “life after death” – that of the medical specimen.

“The museum also contains a wonderful collection of antique scientific instruments, natural history displays, and an old operating theater.”

There’s a lovely collection of photos at the Morbid Curiosity Flick page.

More Morbid Sightseeing suggestions can be seen at The Morbid Sightseer.


      1. Yes, I figured it out eventually. I mistakenly assumed the “Christ finding” was a euphemism for death, but was unclear why he was also identifying them.

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