MFDJ 04/08/24: The King’s Fistula

Today’s Heroic Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

In 1686 French King Louis XIV endured a terrible operation for anal fistulas. Twice he was sliced open without any form of anesthetic. The press releases said, as they always did of kings, that he endured the operation heroically. A group of French nuns at the cloister of Saint-Cyr heard of his recovery and celebrated by writing a song, “Dieu Sauvez le Roi.” A traveling Englishman heard the tune, copied it down, and when he got home translated it into “God Save the King”: thus the British National Anthem evolved from a hymn written to celebrate a successful operation on the French King’s derrière.

The Sorely-Afflicted Sun King

Culled from: Royal Babylon

Vintage Crime Photo Du Jour!

Juvenile delinquency in the 1905s seldom involved the kind of lethal crimes all too common today, but youthful killers did make news now and then. This stunned-looking but very photogenic 17-year-old named Dennis Weis [Kind of looks like a young Robert Smith to me – DeSpair] is being paraded through police headquarters in St. Paul in May 1957 following a day of murderous violence. Note the film photographer, presumably from the local television station, stationed behind Weis while a nearby police officer directs the media traffic.

Weis, who had a long juvenile record, admitted killing his 90-year-old great-grandmother at their home in West St. Paul by wrapping a belt around her neck and strangling her. The motive: She’d seen him with a gun, and he thought she might ruin his plans to kill his father, who lived elsewhere. After the killing, Weis took a bus to a home in Maplewood where his family had once lived and where he had friends. Two Ramsey County sheriff’s deputies spotted him, and one was critically wounded in a gun battle before Weis surrendered. Police said his head cuts occurred when he “resisted arrest.”

“Tender-hearted enough to free a lady-bug trapped in the kitchen sink… brutal enough to strangle his 90-year-old great-grandmother. That is the strange personality of Dennis Weis,” the Pioneer Press later wrote in a character profile based on an interview with his mother. A reporter also interviewed Weis in a jail, where among other things, he supposedly offered advice to other teenagers: “Tell the kids to wise up and stay out of trouble. Tell them to think twice before doing anything.”

Culled from: Strange Days, Dangerous Nights

Here’s another picture of the little monster from the May 25, 1957 Star Tribune.  He was sentenced to 5-20 years “in custody of the state youth conservation commission”.


Andersonville Prisoner Diary Entry Du Jour!

This is the continuation of the 1864 diary of Andersonville prisoner Private George A. Hitchcock (see the archived version for all entries up until now).

Here’s today’s entry:

December 4th. The prisoners were again transferred back and forth in order to get a correct count. I copied a map of the States of North and South Carolina, which for unexplained reasons has become a favorite occupation among certain prisoners. Rations of a pint of rice. A sick man was shot dead on the dead-line.

Culled from: Andersonville: Giving Up the Ghost

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