Morbid Fact Du Jour For January 30, 2017

Today’s Brutal Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

In April 1920, the seven slaughtered members of the Wolf family, as well as their stable boy, were laid to rest in Turtle Lake, North Dakota. At the time of the funeral, the identity of their killer remained a mystery. The only survivor of the gruesome attack was the youngest member of the Wolf family, eight-month-old Emma.

Then, just three weeks later, a neighbor named Henry Layer confessed to the brutal crime. Layer’s confession was as bizarre as it was ghastly. He claimed he had gone to the Wolf family farm to complain about Wolf’s dog attacking one of his cows. Patriarch Jacob Wolf, 41, told Layer to get off his property and proceeded to load his shotgun. There was a scuffle, and the shotgun discharged, shooting and killing both Mrs. Beata Wolf, 36, and the family’s stable boy, Jacob Hofer, 13, who was standing nearby. Jacob Wolf fled on foot; Layer shot and killed him.

Upon hearing gunfire, daughters Maria, 9, and Edna, 7, ran into the barn, where Layer killed them. Then Layer went into the house where he found the remaining Wolf children, Bertha, 12, Liddia, 5, and three-year-old Martha. He shot and killed both Bertha and Liddia, and bludgeoned to death young Martha with a hatchet. Layer sloppily covered the bodies in the barn with dirt and hay, pushed the bodies in the house into the cellar, then returned to work at his farm.

Two days later, a neighbor noticed that the Wolfs’ laundry was still hanging to dry, and went over to investigate. He discovered the horrid scene, as well as poor baby Emma, still alive but weak from cold and hunger, in her crib.


The Crime Scene

The crime would go down as North Dakota’s most brutal mass murder. Over 2,500 people attended the Wolf family’s funeral in little Turtle Lake, despite the population at the time only being 395. Layer raised suspicions with his odd behavior at the service, opening all eight caskets and “gazing on their faces.”

He was arrested on May 11, and soon signed a confession to the eight murders. Layer claimed the only reason he didn’t kill baby Emma was because he didn’t know she was there. He was sentenced to life in prison, and died in custody in 1925.


Emma: Cunningly Quiet Survivor

As the state’s most notorious crime, historians have oft revisited the Wolf Family murders, raising questions as to whether Layer’s confession was coerced. Indeed, Layer maintained his innocence while behind bars, claiming authorities strong-armed him during their interrogation. When asked by the prison barber, Layer said the police had beaten the confession out of him. He then broke down crying, proclaiming his innocence, and weeping, “Oh, my children. My children.”

The fate of Layer’s children —he had five with his second wife plus one from her previous marriage—is not entirely clear. Some reports have all but one being sent to live with relatives after their mother remarried. Other reports listed them as wards of the state. The eldest, Blanche, eventually married, and died in Seattle in 1981.

Little orphaned Emma Wolf was raised by her aunt and uncle, and went on to live a long life, dying in 2003 at the age of 84.

Though we may never know with any certainty whether or not Layer committed the Wolf family murderers, the photograph of those caskets, two large and six small, is a haunting image indeed. Locals still ruminate over the story of the Wolf family, whose tombstone reads in German “Die ermordete Famielie,” or “The Murdered Family,” and who now lay side by side in the Turtle Lake Cemetery.

Culled from: Huffington Post
Generously submitted by: Adoxa8

 

Morbid Trinket Du Jour!

Who among us does not want a trepanned skull t-shirt? That’s what I thought!  
Available from Gorey Details.  

Morbid Fact Du Jour For January 28, 2017

Today’s Kidnapped Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

Historians have few sources on the initial reactions of captured Africans who were sold into slavery in the New World. Fortunately, there were a few African-born slaves who lived to recount stories of their enslavement. The most famous and revealing account of the process was written by Gustavus Vassa, or Olaudah Equiano. The son of an Ibo tribal elder, Olaudah was born in 1745 in a part of the Benin empire (located in what is now Eastern Nigeria). Olaudah and his sister were kidnapped when he was eleven. At first, they comforted each other. When they were separated, Olaudah cried and refused to eat for several days. 

Olaudah was sold to European slave traders seven months after his capture. Arriving on the coast, he was terrified by the strange ship and the white men with “horrible looks, red faces, and long hair.” The boat was a veritable devil’s pit. The whites were “so savage” that he was sure they were going to kill and eat him. When he saw a pot of water boiling on the deck, he fainted. The billowing sails and the ability of the whites to make the ship start and stop at will filled him with wonder and convinced him the white men were evil spirits. The groaning men, shrieking women, galling chains, and nauseating, suffocating smell made the hold of the ship “a scene of horror almost inconceivable.” On the way to Barbados, two slaves, chained together, jumped overboard and drowned.Although he was anxious about his fate and terrified by the whites, Olaudah was consoled by some members of his own tribe who were on board. Still, the constant flogging of black slaves and white sailors and men dying daily were oppressive. “Every circumstance I met with served only to render my state more painful, and heighten my apprehensions and my opinion of the cruelty of the whites.” The voyage was a nightmare; the hold a den of horrors. 

When the boat docked in Barbados, a new series of horrors began for Olaudah. Immediately, the blacks were painstakingly examined by the eager merchants. Again, the haunting fear of the cannibalistic tendencies of the whites returned, and Olaudah asserted: “there was much dread and trembling among us, and nothing but bitter cries…” This continued until some slaves came on board and explained that the Africans had been brought to the island to work for the whites. Taken off the ship and herded into a stockade, they were amazed by the brick houses of the whites and the horses they rode. The amazement turned to terror a few days later when the Africans were sold by the “shout” or “scramble.” Olaudah described the spectacle in the following words:
 

We were not many days in the merchant’s custody before we were sold after their usual manner, which is this: On a signal given, (as the beat of a dream) the buyers rush at once into the yard where the slaves are confined, and make choice of that parcel they like best. The noise and clamour with which this is attended and the eagerness visible in the countenances of the buyers serve not a little to increase the apprehensions of the terrified Africans… In this manner, without scruple, are relations and friends separated, most of them never to see each other again.

Most of the Africans were sold in Barbados, but a small group, including Olaudah, were taken to a Virginia plantation. Soon Olaudah was the only newly imported African left on the plantation. He was mortified by his inability to converse with anyone. “I was now exceedingly miserable, and thought myself worse off than any of the rest of my companions; for they could talk to each other, but I had no person to speak to that I could understand. In this state I was constantly grieving and pining, and wishing for death, rather than anything else.”

On the Virginia plantation he weeded grass and gathered stones for a few days. Then, called to the mansion to fan his master, Olaudah was terrified by the iron muzzle on the face of the black cook, mystified by the ticking of a clock, and convinced that a portrait on the wall watched his every move and would report any of his transgressions to his master who was asleep. Consequently, he performed his task “with great fear.”  He spent “some time in this miserable, forlorn, and much dejected state without having anyone to talk to, which made my life a burden,” until an English sea captain purchased him. 

Culled from: The Slave Community

Olaudah went on to purchase his freedom in 1766 and became an outspoken proponent of the British movement to end the slave trade. His autobiography, published in 1789 helped in the creation of the Slave Trade Act 1807, which ended the African trade for Britain and its colonies.


Olaudah Equiano

 

Ghastly: Jumpers Edition

The following is culled from Strange Days Dangerous Nights: Photos From the Speed Graphic Era.

Early in the morning on the last day of 1944, 30-year-old Kathleen Bokuske of South Minneapolis walked out onto the Lake Street – Marshall Avenue Bridge, climbed over the railing near the center of the span, and leaped to her death. Her “crushed body,” as the Pioneer Press described it, landed on a thin layer of ice coating the Mississippi River, and it took quite an effort by firemen using ropes, ladders, and toboggans to bring the body back to shore. In the manner of the time, the newspaper used arrows and a circle around the body to show exactly how and where Bokuske, who was said to be suffering from a “nervous ailment,” had gone to her death.

The photograph is grimly straightforward and very sad. Bokuske’s “ailment” would today almost surely be called depression, and as with all suicides, the scene conveys a deep sense of loneliness and loss.

Morbid Fact Du Jour for January 25, 2017

Today’s Emasculated Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

On the afternoon of July 23, 1997, an attractive young woman came into San Francisco’s Pinecrest Diner, sat down at the counter, and asked for poached eggs, which were not on the menu. Short-order cook Hashiem Zayed began to make them for her, but the waitress on duty, Helen Menicou, intervened, chastising Zayed in front of the customer. (The Pinecrest is a small place with an open kitchen, where most everything takes place in front of the patrons.) Menicou also served as the diner’s daytime manager. Zayed later said he was embarrassed and felt emasculated, but not long after his reprimand he happily shared a table with Menicou and others at the diner. At the end of their shift, the cook and waitress went their separate ways.


The Pinecrest Diner

Menicou, who was 47 years old, lived with her husband and one of her two sons in Millbrae. Zayed lived in a residence hotel a few blocks from the Pinecrest and worked evenings at the Market Street Cinema. Most of his life took place within about a half-mile radius. He also gambled in card rooms not far away. In fact, on this particular evening, he stayed up all night gambling and lost several thousand dollars.

Hashiem Zayed came in to work the next morning, having had no sleep, carrying a .380 semiautomatic handgun. Menicou sat down at the counter with a cup of coffee. Zayed brought up the poached eggs again. And again they argued. The two had been arguing off and on for the better part of two decades about one thing or another. Sometimes Zayed, who spoke limited English, would mix up orders and Menicou would lose patience with him. But between the arguments, Menicou loaned Zayed money, and he made her lunch. That’s just the way things were at the Pinecrest. Except on that morning in July.

Zayed got up and walked toward the door, and then stopped, turned around, and shot Menicou in the right arm. She screamed and ran around the counter. He followed and fired a handful of shots into her at close range. And then Zayed walked out the front door and waited for the police to come and arrest him.

Hashiem Zayed never really could explain why he shot Helen Menicou that morning. A jury convicted him of first-degree murder, and the judge sentenced him to spend what amounted to the rest of his life incarcerated. By all accounts, Zayed was a peaceful prisoner, absent any hint of the violent act for which he was locked up. He made friends with his cellmate, a man who spoke Zayed’s native Arabic tongue, and prison staffers who took care of him.

In early 2000, Zayed was diagnosed with a tumor in the rear of his brain. He declined treatment and eventually slipped into unconsciousness. On the evening of Sunday, Aug. 13, Hashiem Zayed died from what was officially noted as respiratory cardiac arrest due to brain tumor. He was buried in a public cemetery in Livermore, along with the answer to why he killed Helen Menicou.

Culled from: SF Weekly

 

Arcane Excerpts: Self-Pollution Edition!

Girls would be wise to heed this timeless advice from Sex Searchlights and Sane Sex Ethics: An Anthology of Sex Knowledge by Dr. Lee Alexander Stone (1926):
 

Masturbation or self-abuse is a term applied to a bad habit which consists in handling and rubbing the genitals. It is a bad habit because it is apt to injure the health and future development of the child. The more frequently it is practiced, the more injurious it is. It is more injurious than when practiced by boys, because the effects are usually more permanent. Girls who indulge in the habit of masturbation to excess only weaken themselves, become anemic and get a dingy, pimply complexion, but they lose their desire for normal sexual relations when they grow up, and are unable to derive any pleasure from the sexual act when they get married. In fact, many girls who masturbated excessively get a strong aversion to the normal sexual act, and their married life is an unhappy one. Their husbands often have to ask for a divorce. Fortunately, the habit is much less widespread among girls than it is among boys. While about 90 percent of all boys – nine out of every ten – masturbate more or less, only about 10 or at most 20 per cent of girls are addicted to this habit. But whatever the percentage may be, the habit is an injurious one, and if you value your health, your beauty and proper growth and mental development, you should not indulge in it. If you are already indulging, if you are used to handling your genitals, if a bad companion has initiated you in the habit, you should give it up. And mothers should watch their children, guard them against developing the habit, and do everything possible to cure them of it, if prevention comes too late.

Morbid Fact Du Jour For January 24, 2017

Today’s Competitive Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

In December 1937, the Japanese army swept into the ancient city of Nanking, China. Within three weeks, more than 300,000 Chinese civilians and soldiers were systematically raped, tortured, and murdered.  The following is an excerpt from the definitive chronicle of the atrocity, The Rape of Nanking.

Looking back upon millennia of history, it appears clear that no race or culture has a monopoly on wartime cruelty. The veneer of civilization seems to be exceedingly thin – one that can be easily stripped away, especially by the stresses of war.

How then do we explain the raw brutality carried out day after day after day in the city of Nanking? Unlike their Nazi counterparts, who have mostly perished in prisons and before execution squads or, if alive, are spending their remaining days as fugitives from the law, many of the Japanese war criminals are still alive, living in peace and comfort, protected by the Japanese government. They are therefore some of the few people on this planet who, without concern for retaliation in a court of international law, can give authors and journalists a glimpse of their thoughts and feelings while committing World War II atrocities.

Here is what we learn. The Japanese soldier was not simply hardened for battle in China; he was hardened for the task of murdering Chinese combatants and noncombatants alike. Indeed, various games and exercises were set up by the Japanese military to numb its men to the human instinct against killing people who are not attacking.

For example, on their way to the capital, Japanese soldiers were made to participate in killing competitions, which were avidly covered by the Japanese media like sporting events. The most notorious one appeared in the December 7 issue of the Japan Advertiser under the headline, “Sub-Lieutenants in Race to Fell 100 Chinese Running Close Contest.”
 

Sub-Lieutenant Mukai Toshiaki and Sub-Lieutenant Noda Takeshi, both of the Katagiri unit at Kuyung, in a friendly contest to see which of them will first fell 100 Chinese in individual sword combat before the Japanese forces completely occupying Nanking, are well in the final phase of their race, running almost neck to neck. On Sunday [December 5]… the “score,” according to the Asahi, was: Sub-Lieutenant Mukai, 89, and Sub-Lieutenant Noda, 78.


The Proud Competitors Mukai and Noda

A week later the paper reported that neither man could decide who had passed the 100 mark first, so they upped the goal to 150. “Mukai’s blade was slightly damaged in the competition,” the Japan Advertiser reported. “He explained that this was the result of cutting a Chinese in half, helmet and all. The contest was ‘fun’ he declared.”

Such atrocities were not unique to the Nanking area. Rather, they were typical of the desensitization exercises practiced by the Japanese across China during the entire war. 


Beheading for fun

Culled from: The Rape of Nanking

By the way, you’ll be happy to learn that Mukai and Noda were both executed after the war. 

 

Morbid Trinket Du Jour!

You know you want to drink some poison from this shot glass?  So what are you waiting for?

Available from Wayfair

Morbid Fact Du Jour for January 23, 2017

Today’s Explosive Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

The Monongah mining disaster of Monongah, West Virginia, occurred on December 6, 1907, and has been described as “the worst mining disaster in American History”. The explosion occurred in Fairmont Coal Company’s No. 6 and No. 8 mines.

On Friday December 6, 1907 there were officially 367 men in the two mines, although the actual number was much higher as officially registered workers often took their children and other relatives into the mine to help. At 10:28 AM an explosion occurred that killed most of the men inside the mine instantly. The blast caused considerable damage to both the mine and the surface. The ventilation systems, necessary to keep fresh air supplied to the mine, were destroyed along with many railcars and other equipment. Inside the mine the timbers supporting the roof were blown down which caused further issues as the roof collapsed. An official cause of the explosion was not determined, but investigators at the time believed that an electrical spark or one of the miners’ open flame lamps ignited coal dust or methane gas.

During the early days of coal mining, time was of the essence to bring people out alive. The first volunteer rescuers entered the two mines twenty-five minutes after the initial explosion. The biggest threats to rescuers are the various fumes, particularly “blackdamp”, a mix of carbon dioxide and nitrogen that contains no oxygen, and “whitedamp”, which is carbon monoxide. The lack of breathing apparatus at the time made venturing into these areas impossible. Rescuers could only stay in the mine for 15 minutes at a time. In a vain effort to protect themselves, some of the miners tried to cover their faces with jackets or other pieces of cloth. While this may filter out particulate matter, it would not protect the miners in an oxygen-free environment. The toxic fume problems were compounded by the infrastructural damage caused by the initial explosion: mines require large ventilation fans to prevent toxic gas buildup, and the explosion at Monongah had destroyed all of the ventilation equipment. The inability to clear the mine of gases transformed the rescue effort into a recovery effort. One Polish miner was rescued and four Italian miners escaped. The official death toll stood at 362.


After the explosion

As a result of the explosion, along with other disasters, the public began demanding additional oversight to help regulate the mines. In 1910 Congress created the United States Bureau of Mines, with the goal of investigating and inspecting mines to reduce explosions and to limit the waste of human and natural resources. In addition the Bureau of Mines set up field officers that would train mine crews, provide rescue services, and investigate disasters when they do occur.

Officially, the lives of 362 workers, including children, were lost in the underground explosion, leaving 250 widows and more than 1,000 children fatherless. In October 1964 Reverend Everett Francis Briggs stated that “a fairer estimate of the victims of the Monongah Disaster would be upward of 500”. This estimate was developed by averaging selected estimates – an unorthodox methodology. This estimate is corroborated by the research of Davitt McAteer, Assistant Secretary for Mine Safety and Health Administration at the United States Department of Labor during the Clinton administration. The exact death toll remains unknown.


The Makeshift Morgue after the disaster

Today a granite marker in the Mt. Calvary Cemetery commemorates those who died in the blast, most of which were Italian immigrants.

Culled from: Wikipedia

 

A New Addition to the Library Eclectica!

When my friend Carson sent me a photo of this circa 1908 book,  which he spot at an antique store, I knew what I had to do.  I searched it out and am now the proud owner of the most beautiful cover I have ever laid eyes upon.  Isn’t it spectacular?  

Here’s the full title page:
 

“LEST WE FORGET”

Chicago’s Awful Theater Horror

By THE SURVIVORS AND RESCUERS

WITH INTRODUCTION BY
BISHOP FALLOWS

Presenting a Vivid Picture, both by Pen and Camera, of One of the Greatest Fire Horrors of Modern Times.

Embracing a Flash-Light Sketch of the Holocaust, Detailed Narratives by Participants in the Horror, Heroic Work of Rescuers, Reports of the Building Experts as to the Responsibility for the Wholesale Slaughter of Women and Children, Memorable Fires of the Past, etc, etc.

PROFUSELY ILLUSTRATED WITH VIEWS OF THE SCENE OF DEATH BEFORE, DURING AND AFTER THE FIRE.

Oh, I can hardly wait to read this one! 

Morbid Fact Du Jour For January 22, 2017

Today’s Money-Making Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

The Maori of New Zealand traditionally took enemy heads during inter-tribal warfare. Maori trophy heads were not shrunken, but preserved with their skulls still inside. Specialists, often tribal chiefs, removed the brains, eyes, and tongue before stuffing the nostrils and skull with flax and burying the head with hot stones so that it gradually steamed or cured dry. These toi moko were usually displayed on short poles, around the chief’s house, but the first English visitors to New Zealand, who arrived with Captain James Cook in the 1770s hardly saw any trophy heads at all.

The first European to acquire a Maori head was Joseph Banks, the naturalist who accompanied James Cook on his first voyage to the South Pacific and who would, years later, refuse to examine Oliver Cromwell’s head in London. While in New Zealand, Banks managed to persuade a reluctant elderly Maori man to part with a preserved head in return for a pair of white linen drawers. At first the old man took the drawers but refused to relinquish the head, but when Banks ‘enforced his threats’ with a musket, that did the trick. Cook returned to New Zealand twice during the 1770s, but he and his crew only saw one other preserved head in all the months they spent there.

Gradually, though, contact with European whalers and sealers led to more trading in preserved heads and, as in South America, as the desire for guns spread amongst the Maori in the the early nineteenth century, the trade escalated. Soon specialist agents were being sent from Australia to pick out the best heads, and the Sydney Customs House began to list these imports under the heading ‘Baked Heads’. Over the course of the fifty years following Cook’s first visit, trade in human heads reached such intensity, and inter-tribal warfare escalated so ferociously, that many believed the Maori would be completely annihilated.

It was the intricate facial tattoos worn by Maori chiefs that made their heads particularly attactive to Europeans. Banks wrote of the ‘elegance and justness’ of these tattoos, with their spirals and flourishes, ‘resembling something of the foliages of old Chasing upon gold or silver; all these finished with a masterly taste and execution’ using nothing more than a bone chisel and burnt tree gum. The best heads as far as Europeans were concerned were those of powerful chiefs who had been heavily tattooed, but these were the hardest to find.


A particularly gorgeous specimen

So great was the demand for tattooed heads that by the early nineteenth century, Maori chiefs were forcibly tattooing their slaves before killing them to sell their heads for a profit. Some chiefs even offered traders the choice of live subjects, who were then tattooed, killed and prepared to order. The Maori tattoo, once an elaborate work of art developed over a lifetime and testament to a man’s courage, honor and social status, had become a decoration designed only to please – or fool – foreign consumers.

Europeans in New Zealand were sometimes killed so that their heads could be tattooed and then sold back to their own unsuspecting countrymen. There are stories of the very same trading agents who had been sent from Australia to scout out the best heads being murdered so that their heads could be preserved and traded back again as ‘Maori warriors’. All this meant that by 1830 the ‘Baked Heads’ arriving at the Sydney Customs House were just as likely to be made to order for Europeans, or from dead Europeans, as they were to be authentic Maori chiefs slain in battle.  


This head has recently been returned to New Zealand.

In 1831, the Governor of New South Wales, Ralph Darling, took action. He passed a law banning the traffic in preserved heads because, as he put it, ‘there is strong reason to believe that such disgusting traffic tends to greatly increase the sacrifice of human life amongst savages whose disregard of it is notorious.’  He set a £40 fine for anyone caught selling a preserved head, and suddenly it became much more difficult (although not impossible) to obtain a Maori head. As one nineteenth century collector, Horatio Robley, observed, the trade in heads had by then stocked the museums of Europe, but ‘considerably reduced the population of New Zealand.’


Gimme Head: Robley with his collection.

Culled from: Severed: The History of Heads Lost and Heads Found

Capitalism: Making the World More Miserable Since Forever!  Incidentally, there’s a movement to return the heads to New Zealand, where they will not be put on display. Of course, as a morbid sightseer, that disappoints me, but I do understand why they are doing it.

Morbid Fact Du Jour For January 19, 2017

Today’s Egregious Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

Oliver Jones, 29, was in the mood to tease animals that summer afternoon at the Central Park Zoo in 1971. Irate keepers had already driven him from the lion’s cage. Where to next?, he probably thought as he strolled through the lunch time crowds. What does one do for an encore after teasing the King of Beasts?

This was New York. His destination was predestined. For the amusement of some 200 witnesses, he valued the safety rail and stuck his arm in the polar bear cage. Its current occupant, Skandy, rose to the bait. He sank his teeth into the proffered arm and refused to let go. Zookeepers and a passing policeman rushed to the screaming man’s aid. They beat and jabbed Skandy with sticks; a few warning shots were fired. Single-minded Skandy refused to be distracted from his tasty morsel. Finally, the cop used his last resort. Stepping back, he dispatched Skandy with a nice display of shooting from his service revolver.

Unique for New York, Jones appears to have emerged from his ordeal more of less in one piece. However, it didn’t end with the relaxation of Skandy’s lifeless jaws. His savior, the policeman, was not one to overlook such an egregious violation of the law. He told reporters, “I gave him a summons for feeding the animals. It’s illegal you know.”


Skandy playing with Snowball before… 

Culled from: Murder Can Be Fun #16

 

Ghastly: The Somber Portrait Gazed On Disapprovingly

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. She has bled very heavily; the spot above her right breast and the line extending away from it in both directions probably indicate a knife wound. The shoes on the bed and the relative lack of blood on the covers suggest that she was moved to the bed some time after the attack took place. From the number of such dispositions of bodies among the pictures here it might be reasonable to guess that victims were moved onto beds when they were still alive, and were photographed after they subsequently died. Here it is impossible to tell whether sexual assault took place as well as murder. The undressing, again, may have been the work of cops or physicians.

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 January 15, 2017

Today’s Urgent Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

On July 28, 1945, Lt. Col. William Franklin Smith Jr. flew a B-25 bomber into the 78th floor of the Empire State Building, which was then the tallest building in the world.

It was just before 10:00 on a Saturday morning at the tail end of World War II, and Smith was flying a routine transport mission—giving a handful of servicemen a ride home. He himself was a decorated pilot, fresh from logging 1,000 combat hours in the war, per TIME. He’d earned the Air Medal, the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Croix de Guerre as a member of the 457th Bomb Group, where he “hammered at targets in central Germany,” per his obituary in the West Point alumni magazine.


A B-25 Bomber

“When Bill entered the Academy in July of 1938 he stood on the threshold of a brief but brilliant career as a soldier. To look back on that career we wonder if he knew that his time was short,” his obit concludes. “He wanted to do everything in a military manner, but fast and well.”


Wild Bill: Do it fast?  Check!  Do it well?  Maybe not.

That sense of urgency may explain why, 70 years ago today, the 27-year-old pilot ignored an air traffic controller’s warning of low visibility en route from LaGuardia to Newark.

“We’re unable to see the top of the Empire State Building,” the controller told him, according to TIME’s 1945 report. Smith flew anyway.

In the dense fog, he maneuvered through Manhattan at about 225 m.p.h., narrowly missing a skyscraper on the corner of Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street before he pulled up and banked slightly left—and collided head-on with the Empire State Building.

“The bomber gored through the thick steel and stone of the building as if they were papier-mâché,” TIME reported. “Then, in a flash of flame, the gasoline tanks exploded. In another instant flames leaped and seeped inside & outside the building.”


Oops!

Smith and his two passengers were killed instantly; 11 people in the building also died. Most of the victims, per TIME, were “women employed by the National Catholic Welfare Conference, which has offices on the 79th floor. Many were burned beyond recognition.”


A-gash!

Some survived against the odds—including a 19-year-old elevator operator, Betty Lou Oliver, who broke her pelvis, back and neck when the plane sliced through the elevator’s cables and she plummeted from the 79th floor to the subbasement. It is believed a fluke of physics saved her life; as the elevator plummeted from the 79th floor, the elevator cables coiled underneath the cab that created a kind of spring that cushioned the fall.


The Rescue of Betty Lou Oliver from the Elevator Shaft

Decades later, it’s hard not to read about this history without thinking of the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001—but the skyscraper and the plane weren’t the only components these two events shared. The disaster also prompted adrenaline-fueled acts of heroism reminiscent, on a smaller scale, of those that prevailed after 9/11. To free the badly-injured young woman from the basement elevator, first responders battered a hole through the wreckage. One courageous volunteer tunneled through it to reach her. Per TIME:

Donald Malony, 17, a Coast Guard hospital apprentice, squeezed through it, brought her out, gave her morphine. Passing the building at the moment of the crash, he had run into a drug store, talked a clerk into giving him hypodermic needles, drugs, other supplies. He gave first aid to many.


Betty on the Mend

Culled from: Time

In fact, when someone in my office told me on 9/11 that a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center, I immediately assumed it was a repeat of this incident.  When they said a SECOND plane had crashed, then I thought, okay, that’s different… 

 

 

Broken Doll, Update

It’s been a couple of weeks since I watched the video but I still find myself captivated by the story of Katelyn Nichole Davis, the 12-year-old girl who hung herself on a livestream on December 30th. Well, if you want to be a creepy voyeur like me, a number of the livestreams from the month before her death have become available on You Tube and they reveal just how dysfunctional her home life really was.  Her mother was a drug addict and dealer who was very seldom home and left Katelyn to take care of her kids and all the household chores.  And when her mother was home she was often yelling abusively at Katelyn.  Katelyn seemed to have no friends, no peace (the neglected children screamed constantly), and no privacy (the doors in the trailer were mere curtains).  She livestreamed just to have someone to talk to about her sad life. The scumbag mother is extremely culpable in Katelyn’s death.

For those of you who would like to continue to follow the story, may I recommend the Facebook group Justice for Katelyn Nichole Davis.  The discussions there have helped me to process my own grief and anger about this story.