Morbid Fact Du Jour for February 12, 2018

Today’s Golden Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

At exactly 8:15:17 a.m. on August 6, 1945, the ‘Little Boy’ atomic bomb was released from the bomb bay of the Enola Gay as it passed over Hiroshima.  The following are some accounts from the ground:

As the clock ticked toward 8:15 nobody was too concerned about the approach of three American aircraft:

We were so used to observation flights of B-29s that at first we hardly paid any attention to this one. However, when the engine hum changed to a shrill whine we instinctively looked up at the sky. One B-29, bathed in the direct rays of the midsummer sun, gives off a dazzling gleam from its mighty flank, and leaving a fleecy white cloud-train across the blue sky, has just completed a sharp turn and goes climbing upward with a terrific roar.
(Tetsuo Miyata, teacher’s assistant)

Pilot Paul Tibbets had thrown the Enola Gay into its evasive maneuver:

I saw a single enemy airplane flying over Hiroshima. It dropped or fired a brilliant object. I thought at first it was an incendiary bomb… 
(Kure dockyard worker)

A flame appeared that was even brighter than the sun. I thought I might get hurt so I fell flat on the ground.
(Kure dockyard worker)

My little brother had just put out his hand to catch [a] red dragon-fly when, in that instant, there was a flash and with my whole body I received a shock as if I had been thrown into a furnace.   
(Shintaro Fukuhara, schoolboy)

As I was above to enter the office, I saw through an open window what looked like a golden lightning flash that had blown up out of the earth. The weird light was everywhere. I immediately thought of the air raid and hurled myself prostrate in the passage. 
(Kenshi Hirata, accountant)

Hiroshima victim.

The flash and the ‘weird golden light’ were accompanied by an instantaneous heat pulse:

Its duration was probably less than one tenth of a second and its intensity sufficient to cause nearby flammable objects… to burst into flame and to char poles as far as 4,000 yards away from the hypocenter… At 600-700 yards it was sufficient to chip and roughen granite… the heat also produced bubbling of tile to about 1,300 yards.   
(US Strategic Bombing Survey)

Witnesses say that people who were directly under the explosion in the open had their skin burnt so severely that it was immediately charred brown or black; these people died within minutes or at most hours. Both in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, burns on exposed skin were very severe up to about 1,500 yards from the center of the damage.  At this distance, some escaped with less severe burns, although very severe burns were occasionally reported at nearly 1 1/2 miles from the center of damage. Mild burns extended to distances of 2 1/2 miles and more. Stories that white people were unharmed in Hiroshima where the darker skinned Japanese received fatal burns were not substantiated.
(British Mission Report)

Within one mile of ground zero, the heat was sufficient to cause… ‘not only carbonization but also evaporation of the viscera’ in humans; in other words, the heat caused the soft internal organs of the victims simply to boil away, whilst their bones became brittle sticks of charcoal. Another grotesque effect of the heat flash was noted by the British mission to Hiroshima and Nagasaki in November 1945; this was that darker-colored clothing would char at much greater distances than light colors.  Examples of this included:

A white cotton blouse, the pale pink sleeves of which were pattered with small sprays, each about a 3/16 inch in diameter, of green leaves and red flowers. This blouse had been worn in the open well over a mile from the center of damage, and was unscorched; except that over an area on the left shoulder the sprays had burnt out and left holes.

This comparatively dispassionate account neglects to mention the corresponding damage to the skin beneath the blouse.

The US Strategic Bombing Survey noted that:

The large majority of people within 3000 feet of ground zero were killed immediately… Persons in the open were burned on exposed surfaces, and within 3000-5000 feet many were burned to death. In many instances clothing burst into flame and had to be beaten out.

Little Boy’s heat flash caused the instantaneous deaths of thousands of humans and mortal wounding to thousands more:

My little brother was burned on his face and hands and his face was all swollen. He was just three. He was a cute little brother but he died after a week. 
He died calling, ‘Mummy!  Mummy!’
(Ruriko Araoka, aged 5 in 1945)

And at the same time as the people were dying, pet dogs and cats, birds, snakes, spiders, rats and rabbits ‘crackled and were gone’. In many cases, they left behind strange shadows where their bodies had shielded the surface of roads and buildings from the charring effect of the flash. Those who were not destined to die from flash burns had, in many cases, the most appalling injuries from them nevertheless. Michihiko Hachiya:

asked Dr. Koyama what his finding had been in patients with eye injuries. ‘
Those who watched the plane had their eye grounds burned,’ he replied. ‘The flash of light apparently went through the pupils and left them with a blind area in the central portion of their visual fields. 
Most of the eye-ground burns are third degree, so cure is impossible.

Shadow person.

Culled from: Eye-Witness Hiroshima: First-Hand Accounts of the Atomic Terror That Changed the World


Arcane Excerpts

Here’s an illuminating excerpt from What A Young Boy Ought To Know (1897) by Sylvanus Stall. 

My dear friend Harry: No boy can toy with the exposed portions of his reproductive system without finally suffering very serious consequences. In the beginning it may seem to a boy a trifling matter, and yet from the very first his conscience will tell him that he is doing something that is very wrong. It is on this account that a boy who yields to such an evil temptation will seek a secluded, solitary place, and it is because of this fact that it is called “solitary vice.” Because the entire being of the one who indulges in this practice is debased and polluted by his own personal act it is also called “self-pollution.” It is also called “onanism,” because, for a similar offense, nearly four thousand years ago, God punished Onan with death (Genesis xxxviii, 3-10). This sin is also known by another name, and is called “masturbation,” a word which is made from two Latin words which mean “To pollute by the hand.” 

Each of these words tells something of the vile character of this sin. But words are scarcely capable of describing the dreadful consequences which are suffered by those who persist in this practice. I do not believe, my dear friend Harry, that you have become a victim of this destructive vice, and I would be glad to believe that you have never accidentally learned or have been deliberately taught to engage in it. Knowing, however, the dangers to which, like all boys, you are exposed, and also appreciating the fact that intellectual boys, because of a more highly wrought nervous organization and because of keener sensibilities, are much more liable to become addicted to this vice than boys of a lower grade of intellect and with less sensitive bodies, I regard it is important that you should be as intelligent and well informed upon this subject as upon any other. This is necessary so that, by knowing in advance the character and consequences of such a course, you may avoid the evil into which even men, as late in life as twenty-five and thirty years of age, sometimes fall because of ignorance. In this as in other things, “To be forewarned is to be forearmed.” Every young boy should be properly informed upon this subject, for even those who may be safely guarded from defilement of thought and life from outward influences are nevertheless exposed to those inward physical conditions which may produce local irritation and disease, and where such a diseased condition is ignorantly permitted to continue, masturbation soon becomes a fixed habit, and is likely to be practiced with such violence that idiocy, and even death, may, and often does come speedily. Nothing so much favors the continuance and spread of this awful vice as ignorance, and only by being early and purely taught on this important subject can the coming boys and men be saved from the awful consequences which are ruining morally, mentally, and physically thousands of boys every year.

As I have already said, one of the first things which a boy does who undertakes to practice this vice is to seek solitude. From the very first his conscience disapproves, and so he cannot engage in the evil which he proposes to himself without violating his moral sense. Indeed, his moral nature is the first to suffer.  This, my dear boy, is an important fact, and if you were ever to fall a victim to this vice, you would find that even with the first sense of guilt there would come a spirit of rebellion against God and against your parents. You would soon begin to call into question the wisdom and goodness of God. Your pleasure in good books, in religious instruction, in the Sunday-school, the Bible, the Church, and all holy things would rapidly diminish. You would soon find in your heart a rebellious feeling which would lead you to be disobedient, cross, irritable, and reproachful. You would begin to lose faith in all that is good, and as you persisted in your sin, you would grow less and less like Jesus and more and more like Satan. In other words the moral nature is the first to suffer from sexual vice, and whenever you hear a boy or man boasting of his doubts and railing against God, against the Bible, against purity and virtue, you may rest assured that this feeling grows out of some solitary or social, some secret or open sin or vice which has affected his moral nature, and is degrading and debasing his heart.

If this effect upon the moral nature were the only result of this solitary vice, the consequences would be sufficient to turn any intelligent and thoughtful boy from the practice. But its effects upon the mind and body are also of the most serious nature, and of these I will speak to you tomorrow night.

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