April, 2005

April 3, 2005

Today's Fragging Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

"FRAGGING," or purposely killing a fellow soldier, was the probable cause of the death of Thomas Wilson, a tyrannical Federal general. He died in action at the battle of Baton Rouge when, according to one account, he was seized by a group of his own men who held him in front of a cannon before it was fired at the enemy.

Culled from: The American Civil War Society
Generously suggested by: Scott


And some people say Morbid Fact Du Jour is not a valuable educational resource! Bah!!!

Rebecca adds the following information:
"I wanted to offer you a little more information about the history of "fragging", since it's a topic I so enjoy.

"During the Vietnam war, low-ranking soldiers that were opposed to the war or were faced with racism frequently resorted to fragging their officers as a
way of gaining control over their situation.

"In an article by Joel Geier titled "Vietnam: The War the U.S. Lost - From Quagmire to Defeat" (at http://www.isreview.org/issues/40/vietnamIII.shtml),
he quotes the following statistics:

"The killing of officers, known as 'fragging,' skyrocketed in the last three years of the war. The army reported 126 fraggings in 1969, 271 in 1970, and
333 in 1971. Fraggings actually increased during the time that the number of U.S. troops dropped from 500,000 to 200,000. Over 80 percent of fragging
victims were officers or non-commissioned officers (NCOs). The term fragging originally came from the use of fragmentation grenades but then
was applied generally to the warning or killing of officers and NCOs. "By mid-1972, the Pentagon was officially acknowledging 551 incidents of fragging
with explosive devices, which left more than 86 dead and more than 700 wounded." These Pentagon--provided figures are probably an underestimation of the number of officers killed by their own troops."

"This is an important part of why the Vietnam war came to an end and should be a warning to all wealthy officers that think they can send soldiers off to die
for them with no consequences."



Morbid Sightseeing Du Jour!

The next time you're in London, why not take a stroll through one of London's "Magnificent Seven" Cemeteries? I can't wait until I get my chance!


Thanks to Wilf for the link.


Non-Morbid Book Recommendation Du Jour!

Wilf recommends a book that, while not altogether morbid, sound perfectly fascinating to me!

"I think you will find the answer to the 'Nature or Nurture' debate, as regards morality at least, in a variety of books. However, an indication might be found in Harold Kwalans 'Defending the Cavewoman,' a brief and interesting read on the nature of brain function. However when one considers mass murderers and their sometimes, apparently normal family life, I would contend that their always seems to be something amiss. For example, how many mass murderers have been orphans, or had parents a great deal older than them etc..."


April 4, 2005

Today's Heavily Bandaged Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

The services of the mythical Pied Piper of Hamelin may fast be required to save bedridden patients at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) from being gobbled up by rats. In their thousands, giant ferocious rats have taken over the tertiary health institution, once dubbed a centre of excellence by the World Health Organization (WHO). Recently, a patient had her lips completely eaten up, while the hapless woman could not lift any part of her body to scare away the rodents. Kenneth Odomena, a graphic artist, had gone to see his mother-in-law at the Female Medical Ward A4, but to his consternation, a welcome party of giant rats had formed a guard of honour by the door. Some of them were pure white, while others were brown, colour of the typical Lagos rats. But that was just the beginning. Odomena said on subsequent visits, "I saw more and more of them, huge things like this. And then one day, someone told us that the rats had started biting patients in the wards at night, and that really scared me." The man's worst fears were confirmed a few days ago, when he visited Female Medical Ward A4 again, and was told that rats completely ate up an old woman's lips. "Her face was heavily bandaged. But to make matters worse, when we went the next day, we learnt that the rats attacked again the previous night, and it was more serious than the first attack. It was a pitiable sight," Odomena said, adding: "There are holes in the ceiling, and I saw big rats coming down form them. Some of the nurses tried to cellotape the holes, but you know how rats are. They just ate up the cellotape." A relation of the old woman savaged by the rats, who gave her name as Mrs. Funmilayo Laniyan, confirmed the attack. "Mama is old, she is suffering from what is called Parkinson's disease. It is sad that in her condition, she could be made to face such ordeal. The rats attacked her more than twice, and at a point when she was improving, the rats attacked her again."

Culled from: The Sun
Generously submitted by: Gary


"What's the matter? Rat got your tongue?"
<boo, hiss!!!>


Morbid Theater Du Jour!

My girlfriend and I saw the most marvelous production the other night at the Viaduct Theater in Chicago. Currently, through May 8th, Redmoon Theater is running a very dark interpretation of the classic German silent film "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari" performed with puppets. I know, it probably sounds silly - a "puppet show" - but these aren't just ANY old puppets. These are very gothic, creepy looking puppets, and the most interesting thing about the show is that the puppeteers themselves are an integral part of it. They are dressed all in black with long gloves, deathly white makeup, and creepy monocles, and interpret the emotions felt by the puppets with their facial expressions. The set is a large cabinet, with numerous drawers that open and close throughout the show, and somehow the puppeteers are able to maneuver themselves into these tight cubicles in order to move scenery around, open and close drawers, and control the puppets. The story itself resolves around Cesare, a somnambulist (ie. sleepwalker) who is manipulated by the evil Dr. Caligari into committing atrocious deeds. The torture of a defenseless innocent being corrupted against his will is the crux of the drama, and his angst is driven home by the marvelous artwork, illustrations, and performances of the Redmoon troupe. And, best of all, they allow you to go behind the scenes after the show to check out the inner workings of the cabinet, and if you're lucky (like me), they'll even let you hold the puppets.

The show is a bargain at $20.00 and most performances are selling out fast, so don't hesitate! Be sure to show up to the show at least a half-hour early because the tickets are general admission, and you'll want to be in one of the first rows to catch all the detail in the puppets and artwork.

Here's the info:

Thursday, March 3, 2005 - Sunday, May 8, 2005

* Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays at 8pm
* Saturdays at 6pm and 9pm
* Sundays at 3pm

Performed at The Viaduct Theater
3111 N. Western Avenue, Chicago


Here's a review of the show from the Chicago Tribune.

And from the Chicago Sun-Times.


Non-Morbid Book Recommendation Du Jour!

Wilf recommends a book that, while not altogether morbid, sound perfectly fascinating to me!

"I think you will find the answer to the 'Nature or Nurture' debate, as regards morality at least, in a variety of books. However, an indication might be found in Harold Kwalans 'Defending the Cavewoman,' a brief and interesting read on the nature of brain function. However when one considers mass murderers and their sometimes, apparently normal family life, I would contend that their always seems to be something amiss. For example, how many mass murderers have been orphans, or had parents a great deal older than them etc..."


April 5, 2005

Today's Totally Gangsta Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

A grisly killing has rocked Tha Row. An aspiring rap star accused of brutally murdering and partially cannibalizing a young woman has been slapped with a wrongful-death lawsuit by the mother of the victim, who claims he committed the horrible act at the behest of the label (then known as Death Row Records) to gain gangsta cred. The lawsuit blames Tha Row for providing Antron Singleton, aka the "Big Lurch," with his own apartment, as well as vast quantities of drugs, including PCP, "to encourage [him] to act out in an extreme violent manner so as to make him more marketable as a 'Gangsta Rap' artist." According to police, on April 10, 2002, officers found Singleton wandering around a Los Angeles street naked, smattered in blood and high on PCP. A subsequent search of his nearby Figueroa Street apartment turned up a gruesome discovery: the mutilated body of his roommate, 21-year-old Tynisha Ysais. Ysais was fatally stabbed with a three-inch blade that broke off in her shoulder blade. But even more horrifying, the victim exhibited bite marks on her face as well as on her lung, parts of which had been chewed and torn from her body. Authorities say Singleton committed the act in a sadistic ritual intent on making his reputation in the gangsta world. "Part of what makes a gangsta rap artist marketable is the fact that the artist is a current ongoing participant in violent gang activities," the suit contends. "Singleton met this criteria and was even more marketable because his songs were as violent as his lifestyle and included rape, murder and ended with him eating his victim's body organs." After examining the contents of the rapper's stomach, doctors determined he had eaten human flesh.

Culled from: Yahoo News
Generously submitted by: Bruce Townley


Now that's what I call meaning it, MAAAAAAAAAAAANNNNN!!!! And we thought Richie Manic carving "4REAL" on his arm was intense...


Morbid Mirth Du Jour!

David forwards us Terry Schiavo's blog:



Artwork Du Jour!

If you haven't seen the amazing collaborative online art project called "The Zoom Quilt" yet, then why not click on this link right this very second? You'll be glad you did!


Thanks to Dave for sending me the link.

April 6, 2005

Today's Radical Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

Perhaps the most radical form of body augmentation or ornamentation is found among Native Americans. Mandan, Cheyenne, and Sioux punctured themselves with knives and spears in ceremonies that author Michel The’voz has bluntly characterized as torture. Some ceremonies even involve celebrants hanging themselves from trees with ropes attached to spikes skewered into their bodies. These ritual initiations of warriors were intended to physically scar, but more importantly, to spiritually transform. The significance of this ‘torture’ is that "symbolic death and rebirth accordingly have to be experienced intensely, both in mind and body, in terms of physical suffering". The’voz provides gruesome descriptions of the ritual: "The first doctor raised up between his fingers about an inch of flesh which he cut right through with his scalping knife, the latter being carefully notched in order to make the cutting more painful... The torturers approached and examined his body with scrupulous care. Before the ordeal could end, the initiate had to be, as they termed it, wholly dead, that is, in a faint." A warrior initiate who undergoes such rites shows his wounds as a concrete symbol of his masculinity and courage. There is a pride associated with undertaking torture, tattoos, or any infliction of pain without crying out. The Sioux Indians exemplify this by painting a red circle around wounds as a point of interest. The warrior who has undertaken the torture ritual is believed to possess superior strength and courage. Having been so close to death and having endured great pain without crying out during his scarring, a warrior would have little to fear in battle. He has already been wounded, and is not afraid of a wound. He has already been near death, and is not afraid to die. The warrior can look at the wounds and the paint that accentuates them as proof of his strength, masculinity, physical prowess, and spirit to live. The wounds symbolize a metamorphosis of the physical body to a higher plane.

Culled from: The Resurgence of Body Ornamentation and Augmentation by Mecca Shakoor
Generously submitted by: Elizabeth


I am ever-so-relieved that the most significant coming-of-age torture that my culture inflicts upon its young people is P.E. Although, come to think of it, I really think I would have preferred the above...

Comments from Asylum Inmates:

From Psychonaut: "Today rituals of the same type (minus the battle ready aspect) go on regularly. They are called Suspensions. People get rather large gauge hooks placed in their back, arms, legs, chest; pretty much anywhere with enough flesh for a hook to enter. Then they are lifted off the ground with ropes connected to those hooks for as long as wanted. I've seen many pictures and discussion of this at BMEzine.com (body modification ezine) back when I was more active in the community. One of the more extreme aspects i've never tried, but I wouldn't doubt if another subscriber has tried it with how common it seemed to be getting when I fell away from that side of my life."

From Neil: "Regarding scarification I saw a documentary last night about the 2004 tsunami. A Somaliland relief volunteer had the universal 'looped ribbon' (as in cure AIDS, support our troops, etc.) carved into his cheek. Those who are willing to go 'beyond the bumper sticker' deserve our respect and attention. Let's encourage this politico-fashion statement among all those compelled to display this symbol as THE mark of true commitment."

From Tina: "This Sioux ritual is called the Sun Dance. They don't just hang from the Sun Pole (tree) -- they are to stay there until they rip out the bone/leather
that's been inserted in their open wounds. This link has a great description of a relatively recent Sun Dance in Nebraska. http://indian-eagle.de/sundance.html "

From Elizabeth: "I'd rather be tortured like a Sioux (I am part Huron, and will tell you about their own lovely tortures some other time) than endure ever again
those butt-clinging stretch gym suits, worn over bulky feminine hygiene pads at certain times of the month, group showers we had to run through like some sort of gauntlet, endless headcounting and roll-taking, dreadful softball games, shouting gym teachers, smelly crowded locker rooms... Slash and hang me anytime."

From Andy M.: "'During the regime of the later Inquisition in France, torture became systematized and reduced to a most simplified formula. Only two forms were
recognized: ordinary and extraordinary. The former consisted of lashing the victim's wrists to an iron ring in the wall and securing his feet to a second ring in the floor. Then, by hauling on the ropes, the unfortunate wretch could be effectively racked until his joints were dislocated. Extraordinary torture consisted of the 'water cure', thirty pints of water being forcibly administered to the victim. The mode of execution was also fixed. The heretic sentenced to death was lashed to a wooden cross. Then the executioner broke the bones of each leg and each arm in two places by blows with an iron bar and the victim was left to die. As a rule, however, death was too slow to satisfy the public, so the victim was burned.' (Executions were often held in public, the better seats commanding higher ticket prices.)"

From ChaseMice2003: "A good movie about this ritualistic Indian ceremonies is called, A Man Called Horse,which starred Richard Harris. (A white man must go through this torture to be accepted)"

From Decelaraptor: "Hi, Comtesse. You might be interested to know that such ceremonies still go on today, particularly the Sun Dance. It's mentioned in the
writings of Crow Dog and his ex-wife, Mary Crow Dog (I wish I could remember the names of the books, but they should be easy to find with an author search). Also, I've heard that there's a Sun Dance (or perhaps a Buffalo Dance) scene in one of the Man Called Horse movies, though I've yet to see it. (You'd like the Buffalo Dance.. the participants are peirced and attached to thongs, which are then attached to buffalo skulls, and the participants have to dance around until the thongs are ripped out of their flesh or they lose conciousness.)
I think the ceremonies are even open to the public."



Lisa McPherson was a Scientologist who was starved to death by Scientologists while she was supposedly receiving "treatment" for psychiatric problems back in 1995. When her body was examined, it was found to be covered with cockroach bites, which certainly must send a shiver of disgust through all of us!

Of course, those paroxysms of disgust aren't bad enough to prevent you from gazing at Lisa's ghastly autopsy pictures, are they?


Thanks to Gena for the link!


Morbid Recommendation Du Jour!

Nadja has a recommendation for us:

"I have a great recommendation for you - A Cabinet of Medical Curiosities. I recently finished it and am in love. Covers such subjects as the Lousy Disease, Giantism, John Hunter and his wonderful Museum, Live Burials. Extremely well written with some medical jargon thrown in for good measure. Terribly romantic. Available at Amazon. Highly recommended."

Here's the Amazon link:

April 7, 2005

Today's Traditional Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

"Again! Kill him again!" people shouted as Mohammad Bijeh's body swayed above the main square of the town of Pakdasht. An Iranian serial killer convicted of kidnapping and murdering 21 children was publicly flogged and hanged on Wednesday before thousands of spectators in this small Iranian town, 40km (25 miles) south-east of the capital, Tehran. Women and men, young and old, gathered behind a fence built for the occasion. At times they would try to push their way through it and the human chain of policemen that surrounded the place of execution. Bunches of young boys dangled from trees and lamp posts, and dozens of people crowded the roofs of the surrounding buildings. Just metres away from it, relatives of the victims waited for the police to bring out the man who had murdered their children. The "desert vampire" is how Mohammad Bijeh had become known to the Iranians. For one year, Bijeh, 24, a worker at a brick kiln, would trick children into the desert south of Tehran by saying they were going to hunt animals. There he would kill them. Then he would burn or bury their bodies. "I looked for my boy for nine months. After nine months all we got was a handful of bones," said Basre Shirzad, 27, whose son was among Bijeh's 21 victims. "This is the strength of the Islamic tradition. This is true justice," said Mouhammad Nouri. "This is the happiest day in my life. Apart from the day my late son was born," a father of another boy victim whispered as he watched, mesmerised, Mohammad Bijeh's bulky figure appear on an improvised stage in the square. The angry cheers filled the air as the court officials carried out the punishment of 100 lashes. Bijeh was silent and still, but at one point his body shook visibly from the shock of the pain and he began falling down. His shirt soaking in blood, he was then brought down from the podium. As he walked up to the crane, the growing roar of the crowd mixed with the chant of the final prayer that mullahs read into the loudspeakers. At that moment, the 17-year-old brother of one of Mohammad Bijeh's victims ran up to him and tried to stab him. But the boy was quickly pushed away by the soldiers. Then a woman in a black chador, the mother of another victim, walked up to the crane and put the rope around Mohammad Bijeh's neck. As his body soared into the air above the square, the crowd applauded and cheered.

Culled from: BBC News
Generously submitted by: Bruce Townley


Isn't it lovely how they get all interactive with the victims' family? They get to put the rope around the neck and everything. I think they should do that here too. The mother of Laci Peterson could be the one to inject the poison into Scott. It would add so much *poignance* to the proceedings, don't you think?


Malady Of The Month!

I know, I know, you'll never believe me... but I've actually managed to update the Malady of the Month/Year/Century with a lovely feature on Tinea Pedis, otherwise known as Athlete's Foot. It can be really quite nasty. See for yourself at:


Oh, I've done a bit of a redesign as well. As always, praise is ravenously accepted and criticism is met with scorn.


(Not Really Altogether) Morbid Sightseeing Du Jour!

Rich has sent me a nice little walking tour of Seattle. The next time I'm in that fine town, I will definitely have follow his advice.

"Sometimes when people come to Seattle, I take them on what I call a walking tour of the town. It goes something like this. We drive to the Seattle center and park. Many times you can find free parking nearby. We take a walk around the center to warm up. Then on to the monorail for a quick ride to Westlake Center. We head west to Pike Place Market, aka Public Market, Farmer's Market. When I was a kid in the 1950's my grandmother often did some of her shopping here and sometimes we'd go with her. Later on my own I explored all the hidden places. Unlike today, the smells would make your head spin. Not from stink, but from the wonderful aromas. Just like today they did the fish throw. In the late 60's and into the late 70's you could hardly walk 10 feet without running into street musicians. There are few nowadays. We just cover the upper level on this part of the walk and don't buy things we are going to have to carry. We get them on the way back.

"It's out onto 1st Av and head south. It's easier walking downhill. While there isn't a lot to look at, it is fun to pop into some of the shops and see what you can find. Keep walking and on the Westside you'll pass the federal building. Look close on the Northeast corner of the building and you'll see a placard. It's where the Great Seattle fire started. You'll also notice on your walk down what looks like soda bottle bottoms in the sidewalk. Keep them in mind. When you get to Pioneer Square, find and take the underground tour. On the tour you'll see the soda bottle bottom once more - this time from the bottom side.

"After the tour, take time to explore the shops in Pioneer Square. A lot of money has gone into the area to bring it back from the old days when they would have been torn down. Ready for something to eat? Well head on over to the waterfront. There are many places to eat, but Ivar's was the first and to me the only place to eat. Now comes the time to walk it off. Head north along the waterfront. There's more shops and little hidden places to explore. There's no way around it. If you see something you want to buy, you're going to have to carry it, all the way back.

"OK, now we're on the backside of Pike Place and look at all those stairs. Don't worry, about half-way you can take the elevator to the lower level of the market, but you will have to walk to the upper level. Now's the time to buy what you wanted when you started your walk. You've got one more small hill to climb, heading back to Westlake Center and the monorail.

"If you want to see more and don't want to have to walk up and down hills, head for Ballard. If you drive up Elliott Av. (North) before you cross the Ballard Bridge, you can stop at Fisherman's Terminal. Not much going on there except during Fishing Season. Late spring and summer are best. You can keep heading North across the Ballard Bridge to Market Street. Turn left (west) and follow it to the locks. During spring and summer, you can watch boats come and go through the locks and you can watch the salmon returning to spawn.

"There's a lot of history here, not just in Seattle, but many other places around here. Next time you come to Seattle allow as much time as you can to explore."

Here's my own humble travelogue from my previous visit to Seattle's Underground, for those who are interested:


Words Of Morbid Wisdom!

~JR~ provides us with this little gem:

Necrophilia means never having to say you're sorry.

April 9, 2005

Today's Frenzied Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

One of the most remarkable cases of necrophilia on record concerns a French army sergeant named Bertrand. Sergeant Bertrand was by no means a withdrawn or shy personality; on the contrary, he was well-liked by his men, and something of a Don Juan with the country girls. His arrest in 1849 came as a shock to his army comrades, for it was alleged, and proved at his trial, that for the past two years he had been in the habit of entering cemeteries at night and seeking out the newly-buried bodies of young girls. These corpses, usually buried without coffins, excited him more than living mistresses. Of the corpse of a 16-year-old girl he said: "I did everything to her that a passionate lover does to a mistress," and added, "All my enjoyment with living women is as nothing compared to it." On the first occasion when he saw an unburied corpse in a grave, he was so overcome with frenzy that he leapt into the grave and proceeded to beat it with a spade. Later, he returned, dug it up, and committed acts of necrophia. The compulsion was so powerful that he once swam an icy stream in winter to get into a graveyard. He usually ended by disembowelling the corpse.

Culled from: The Mammoth Book Of The History Of Murder


I guess I should have saved the "Necrophilia means never having to say you're sorry" comment for today, huh?


Follow-up Du Jour!

I've had e-mails from numerous party poopers seeking to point out that the story of the Sawney Beane clan (MFDJ - March 11, 2005) is legend and nothing more. Bill sends one of the better articles pointing out the lack of factual evidence to the existence of the Beane clan, to dishearten us all:


What a horrible fate to have to live in a world where a clan of cannibal killers does not exist. I'm off to cry in the corner now...

Etta points out: "The linked 'article'regarding the Beane clan is a student research paper. While the validity of the legend is questionable, as a college instructor
I find it difficult to validate a claim through a student paper-- regardless of how well it may be written."


Urban Exploration!

Thanks to dollymixture for sending me a link to a compelling collection of photoessays on abandoned places. Obviously, things like this make my heart go all a-flutter!



Morbid Mirth Du Jour!

Elizabeth sends us a fun link where you can create your own Unsafe Material Data Sheet. How handy!


April 10, 2005

Today's Distinctly Simian Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

A couple's visit to the chimpanzee they were forced to relinquish to an animal sanctuary turned tragic when two other chimps attacked the husband, critically wounding him before the animals were shot to death in mid-assault. The son-in-law of the sanctuary's owner shot and killed the animals that left St. James Davis, 62, in critical condition with massive injuries to his face, body and limbs. Davis' wife, LaDonna Davis, 64, suffered a bite wound to the hand while attempting to help her husband. The Kern County Sheriff's Department is continuing to investigate the attack at Animal Haven Ranch, which holds state permits to shelter exotic animals. The Davises were at the Animal Haven Ranch to celebrate the birthday of Moe, a 39-year-old chimpanzee who was taken from their suburban Los Angeles home in 1999 after biting off part of a woman's finger. The couple had brought Moe a cake and were standing outside his cage when Buddy and Ollie, two of the four chimpanzees in the adjoining cage, attacked St. James Davis. Officials do not yet know how the chimps got out of their enclosure. Dr. Maureen Martin, of Kern Medical Center, told KGET-TV of Bakersfield that the chimpanzees chewed most of Davis' face off and that he would require extensive surgery in an attempt to reattach his nose. Besides the damage to his face, Davis had his testicles and foot mauled off. Buddy, a 16-year-old male chimp, initiated the attack and after he was shot, Ollie, a 13-year-old male, grabbed the gravely injured man and dragged him down the road. The son-in-law of the sanctuary's owners used a .45-caliber handgun to kill the out-of-control chimps.

Culled from: The Associated Press
Generously submitted by: Donna


Don't you think "Every Which Way But Loose" would have been much more interesting if the orangutan had acted like these chimps?


"My Brush With Morbidity" by Maggie

"I have a cousin that works at a mortuary and moonlights for the County at the Coroner’s office. One day, I was at work and my car broke down. He worked not too far away from me so I called him for a ride home. What was my surprise but he picked me up in the Coroner’s van. He had just gone out for a call and had picked up bodies from a crime scene. I rode in the van with a 2 gun shot victims, one of which was a little girl. Needless to say, I stayed in my seat the whole ride home and never called him for a ride again."

Never called him for a ride again?!?!?!? I would be constantly contriving to find reasons for him to give me rides!



Brandon sends in a painful looking image:

"I think this one should go to Rotten.com... It's a photo of a friend of mine that had his arm crushed by a garbage truck."

Commence wincing!


Thanks for sharing, Brandon!


Morbid Recommendation Du Jour!

Burleyque has a book recommendation for us:

"The book 'The Little Book of Bad Taste' is full of great morbid gems - it opens with a list of 'surprise fillings' including an Italian stripper who suffocated in a birthday cake and various appendages showing up in various food products."

Makes me think of the Wendy's Chili Lady.

Personally, I think she planted the finger, which she cut off a corpse that she raided from the local cemetery. Seems the most plausible explanation to me!

Anyway, here's the Amazon link to the book:

April 11, 2005

Today's Cheeky Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

As with branding, the purpose of using mutilation as a form of punishment was so that everyone could see, for the rest of the victim's life, that he had been convicted of a crime. In England during the 16th and 17th centuries many eminent persons lost part or all of their ears for seditious remarks. When Sir Robert Strange threatened the life of the Duke of Buckingham in 1628, he was whipped the length of the Strand from Temple Bar to Westminster, and there lost both ears, and was branded on the cheek.

Culled from: The History Of Torture


All I can think of with this form of punishment is - what if you lost your ears/hands/whatever in an accident? Everyone would think you were a thief or a liar or an adulterer, or whatever, for the rest of your life. You'd spend all your time trying to explain that, "No, actually I lost my ear to a ravenous pit bull when I was 10 years old, honest!" Or you'd take your medical records with you to job interviews so that your missing right hand wouldn't make the boss suspicious of your trustworthiness. That would really be unfortunate.


Morbid Sightseeing!

The next time you're in Los Angeles, why not take a Tragical History Tour? I would.

Dearly Departed - The Tragical History Tour

Thanks to kelshubert for the link.



kelshubert also sends a link to a perfectly HORRID website:


Of course, there are factual inaccuracies all over the place on this site - as we know that the photos they are purporting to be "Terry Schiavo" are actually Lisa McPherson. Such sillies...


Morbid Recommendation Du Jour!

Melissa writes:

"I was surprised to find that you didn't have 'The Collector' by John Fowles in your library unless I just managed to miss it. This book has apparently been an inspiration to many serial killers/sexual sadists, including Leonard Lake who called his abduction plans 'Operation Miranda' after the girl who was kidnapped in the book and 'Beauty Queen Killer' Christopher Wilder. Just seems like a must-have. :)"

Well, you know, I don't tend to read fiction, but for those of you who do, this definitely sounds like one worth having on the bookshelf!

The Collector

April 14, 2005

Today's Less Than Usual Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

During a radio show on January 23, 1943 (a round table discussion with four others on Hitlerism), writer Alexander Woolcott suffered a heart attack at 7:15 p.m. and died in hospital four hours later. Hundreds of people tuned into the show were unaware anything was amiss. Indeed, listeners reported that the writer, known for his incisive and sometimes stinging comments, seemed to have taken less than his usual part in the broadcast.

Culled from: Snopes.Com
Generously submitted by: Bill


Why can't this happen to a certain rather rotund Snapple-sipping radio "personality"? Now, there's someone I would love to take less than his usual part in life!



Kelshubert sends a link to a website chockful of disturbing images under the categories "Baby" (yes, there are some doozy deformities!), "History" (WWII-era atrocities and the like), and "Others" (horrible mutilations, etc.) This one has some pics I've never seen before, which is hard to pull off!



Morbid Trinket Du Jour!

A wonderfully ghastly new Autopsy Staple Zombie Baby is up for auction on Ebay. If only...


See all the pictures here:
http://www.autopsybabies.com under CURRENT!


Morbid Mirth Du Jour!

Yes, it's a bit late, but here's a lovely collection of Valentine's Gifts (that "Normal People" would never want) for your perusal.


Thanks to kelshubert for the link.

April 15, 2005

Today's Drugged Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

Indian police have charged 80 people for burying children alive in an ancient Hindu ceremony known as "the festival of pits." The ceremony, in which children -- some less than a year old -- are buried alive briefly and then dug up, happened on Monday (April 11, 2005) in southern Tamil Nadu state. Authorities have been trying for years to stop it and people found guilty face up to three years in jail and/or a fine of 5000 rupees ($114). Every two years, parents who have vowed to bury their first-born if they are blessed with a child, take part in the Kuzhimattru Thiru Vizha ceremony. The children are drugged to make them unconscious and placed in shallow "graves" in temple courtyards. The pits are covered with leaves and dirt and the children are pulled out after Hindu priests chant a brief prayer -- lasting up to a minute.

Culled from: Reuters
Generously submitted by: Yvonne the Amazon


Of course, as far as I'm concerned the only thing about this festival that is "the pits" is that they dig the kids up!



It seems I inadvertently left a space at the end of yesterday's GHASTLY URL. I apologize for the inconvenience (and Japanese pornography) it may have caused. Here's the correctly formatted URL:



Morbid Mirth Du Jour!

You can blame this gag-worthy one on Kainlane!

A man walking through the desert had not eaten for days. He came across a church, went in, knelt at the altar and prayed, "Good God give me some food!"

As if by magic a lump of meat dropped at his feet. Overjoyed he ate the food. He came back every day with the same request, and everyday he was rewarded until one day a hand dropped at
his feet.

Puzzled he looked up... and there was a leper painting the ceiling.

April 17, 2005

Today's Decomposed Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

Police questioned three siblings after it was discovered they had been living with the decomposed corpse of their father for nearly a decade. Police found the body of Kyujiro Kanaoka lying on a futon bed at the family's home in Itami city in Hyogo prefecture in western Japan on Tuesday March 8, 2005. Kanaoka's three elderly children, all in their 70s or older, told police they thought their father was still alive but that one of them recently had consulted a relative about the possibility that he might be dead. Police were investigating the cause of Kanaoka's death. Judging from the condition of his decomposed body, Kanaoka may have died as long as 10 years ago. Had he been alive, the man would be 107 years old. Hyogo prefecture had registered Kanaoka as its oldest living resident.

Culled from: The Associated Press
Generously submitted by: Bruce Townley


Talk about kids with a seriously warped sense of reality. Not to mention sense of smell!!

"Children are the same all over the world. Too lazy to put out the trash. Even if it was their father!" - Andrew


Morbid Site Du Jour!

Here's a beautiful collection of black and white cemetery photographs for the boneyard-lover in us all!



Morbid Art Du Jour!

Andrea writes to tell us about a delightful digital artist:

"I just became aware of the work of Ray Caesar. It is delightfully 'off' and looks like the marriage between the movie 'City of Lost Children' and the works of Mark Ryden (at least, that's how it looks to me). The best part is that it's all digital work; it is made in a 3D
animation program but you can't tell it by looking."


April 18, 2005

Today's Crushing Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

A garbage hauler from Kitchener, Ont., died on Wednesday, October 15, 2003 when he was crushed by sewage sludge he was delivering to a landfill. The truck driver fell 4½ metres into a pit at the Carleton Farms Landfill southwest of Detroit around 7 a.m. when the gate on the truck opened while he was standing behind the truck. Jovan Sarovic, 38, a driver for LDM Transport of Ontario, apparently had tried unsuccessfully to open the gate to dump the sludge. After the gate failed to open, the driver ended up behind the truck, but it was unknown what he was trying to do. Another driver found the man dead in the pit after noticing he was not around his truck. Sarovic had only been on the job for a few days. Mike Valchev, general manager of LDM, said Sarovic was hauling unusable, nontoxic sludge left over from Toronto's sanitary sewer waste treatment. Matt Neely, the area president for landfill owner Republic Services, said the death was the first ever at the landfill, which has been open for 10 years.

Culled from: The Associated Press
Generously submitted by: Heather


As Heather said, what a shitty way to die. <groan>


"My [Dad's] Brush With Morbidity!" by Hexfet

"My dad was driving on I-64 through Illinois - a long, straight, mostly flat slice through endless cornfields. He was going about 65mph. A small pickup truck passed him, pulling one of those small U-Haul trailers with 'Max Speed 45mph' emblazoned on the back.

"Soon after the truck passed him, the trailer started to swing gently side to side. My father slowed down, knowing that once a trailer starts fishtailing it's difficult to stop. Evidently the two men in the truck didn't know any better - they didn't slow down.

"After ten seconds or so the trailer was swinging wildly side to side. The truck tried to pull to the side of the road, which just made the trailer swing around and flip the truck down the embankment. It rolled several times and stopped at the bottom of the hill.

"My dad pulled over and went down to check on the men. The driver was laying by the side of the truck, quite dead. His legs were turned 90 degrees from his torso - not bent forward at the waist, but sideways. The passenger was thrown about 100 feet, and lay dead in a crumpled heap.

"Found out later the driver was the 63 year old father of the 35 year old passenger. Don't know what was in the trailer, but I like to imagine it was the body parts of their massacred family whose spirits reached out and took the lives of their murderers. Probably just furniture, though."

I like your style, Hex!


Where Are They Now?

David sends us an update on the whereabouts of our favorite doctor - Saint Kevorkian!

Where is the sainted doctor now?

Dr. Jack Kevorkian # 284797
Thumb Correctional Facility
3225 John Conley Dr
Lapeer, MI 48446-2987

Kevorkian, 76, is serving 10 to 25 years at the Thumb Correctional Facility in Lapeer for second-degree murder in the 1998 videotaped poisoning of Thomas Youk, who had Lou Gehrig's disease.

Kevorkian has said he assisted in at least 130 deaths, but has promised in affidavits that he will not assist in a suicide if he is released. Kevorkian could be eligible for parole in 2007, but could remain in prison until 2019.

April 19, 2005

Today's Vertical Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

In the 1940s in Malmaison prison, Romania, men were locked in cupboard cells measuring seven feet high and two feet square. Incarcerated in these vertical coffins for up to a month at a time, they were not permitted any exercise, and even their food was passed to them via small openings in the door.

Culled from: Rack, Rope and Red-Hot Pincers


What??? No cable TV!!?? No internet??!!?!? How *inhumane*!!!


Morbid Site Du Jour!

Here's a site dedicated to that most efficient of execution devices: the Guillotine!



Morbid Mirth Du Jour!

This must rank as the most fantastic child's toy ever made (if indeed it is real). Wouldn't you agree?


Thanks to Bruce Townley for the link!

April 20, 2005

Today's Intoxicated Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

A drunken driver hit a telephone pole support wire that decapitated his passenger in August, 2004. He then drove 12 miles home and slept in his bloody clothes, leaving the headless body in his truck. A neighbor walking with his young daughter Sunday morning discovered Daniel Brohm's headless corpse in the truck in John Kemper Hutcherson's driveway and called authorities. Officers said they found Hutcherson asleep inside his home, visibly drunk and his clothes bloody, and later found Brohm's severed head at the crash site. "It's hard for one to imagine that you would drive miles from a crash site to your home, turning in various directions, and yet not know what has happened to a passenger sitting next to you," Cpl. Dana Pierce, county police spokesman, said. Hutcherson, 21, was charged with vehicular homicide, driving under the influence and failure to stop at an accident with death or injury. Police said Hutcherson and Brohm -- friends since high school -- were drinking at a bar Saturday night and left after Brohm said he felt sick. Brohm, 23, apparently was leaning out of the window when Hutcherson hit the support wire about a mile and a half from the bar, but police did not know why.

Culled from: The Associated Press
Generously submitted by: Joe


I guess the body was found hanging out of the window. Talk about the ULTIMATE hangover!

Anyone have an update on the legal "proceedings" surrounding this guy?

Noirmilliebliss writes with an update: "He was convicted of vehicular homicide and given a five year sentence. He is quoted in May 29th's AJC as saying 'I loved Frankie like a brother'"


Morbid Sightseeing?

Well, it looks like yours truly will have to haul her rotting carcass to Topeka, Kansas in a couple of weeks for work. I know it's silly for me to ask but... does anyone know anything interesting to see in Kansas? Any old asylums? Museums? Prisons? Anything??? I appreciate any hope you can give me that this trip will not be a total waste of my sanity.


Morbid Trinket Du Jour!

Finally - a card game that I can really get behind!

"In the Gloom card game, you assume control of the fate of an eccentric family of misfits and misanthropes. The goal of the game is sad, but simple: you want your characters to suffer the greatest tragedies possible before passing on to the well-deserved respite of death. You'll play horrible mishaps like Pursued by Poodles or Mocked by Midgets on your own characters to lower their Self-Worth scores, while trying to cheer your opponents' characters with marriages and other happy occasions that pile on positive points. The player with the lowest total Family Value wins."

Read all about this nifty game at:

Thanks to Elizabeth for the link.



As Barb says, "How did we ever miss this?" A face reattachment surgery featured on the Discovery Health website. Check out the picture - this little girl's face was nearly completely pulled off of her when her hair was caught in a grass-cutting machine. They had to reattach her face. Image #2 - of her face as it looked when it was brought into the hospital - is extremely creepy! We're talking Ed Gein creepy!


Thanks to Barb T for the link!

April 21, 2005

Today's Amusing Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

Rhythm and blues recording star Johnny Ace died during a show he was giving in Houston, but did so offstage. During a five minute break, the singer was amusing himself with a game of Russian Roulette (one bullet in the chamber). He lost.

Culled from: Snopes.Com
Generously submitted by: Bill


Of course, Paul Simon wrote a song about the guy called, rather sensibly, "The Late Great Johnny Ace".


"My (First) Brush With Morbidity!" by Star Opal

"This story takes place when I was about five years old. My father was a pastor, and so made a lot of trips to the funeral home in our small town for setting up times and working out details for preaching services, and just stopping by to say hi to Mr. F (the owner). Well sometimes Dad would pick me up from school. One day he also needed to stop by and talk to Mr. F about something, and this was the first time I set foot inside a Funeral Home.

"I was out in the lobby while Dad was in the office (he could see me because there was a glass wall). I got bored and the caskets (which I could see on display down the hall) were really freaking me out, so I went off exploring. After a bit I found a room and there was my first dead body in all his naked glory. Not for long though as someone figured out I wasn't in the lobby.

"For the rest of the stay I was rather quiet. Dad was afraid I might be scarred or something. When we were in the parking lot I tugged on his sleeve. 'What is it?' 'Dad,' I looked around to make sure we were alone and whispered, 'that man collects dead people!'

"Until the day we moved when I was eleven Mr. F would always made fun of his collection of dead bodies whenever he saw me. We still bring up the story at family get togethers even now. Good times."

Good times, indeed! Wish I had some lovely family stories like that to tell.



The next time you're operating your haybailer, you may want to keep these ghastly images of tractor fatalities in mind!

(Note: Requires Adobe Acrobat to open.)


Thanks to midlf for the link!

April 22, 2005

Today's Suffocating Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

At least six Brazilian prisoners suffocated in a sewer after an attempted escape from the Sao Paulo State Penitentiary on Sunday afternoon, November 9, 2003. In all, 87 inmates fled the penitentiary around 2 p.m. local time through a series of sewage pipes and tunnels. Police recaptured 13 fugitives in a house 500 yards away where a tunnel had been dug to meet up with the sewers. "They knew the sewage system well. There should still be prisoners running around there," said a spokesman for the state Security Secretariat. In addition to the confirmed six dead, another seven prisoners are suspected to have died in the labyrinth of pipes around the prison after losing their way, bringing the total estimated number of dead to 13. Authorities were using a backhoe tractor to dig out the dead prisoners still believed to be entombed in the pipes.

Culled from: Reuters
Generously submitted by: michelle


I don't know about you, but I think that's a death far worse than fate!


Morbid Trinket Du Jour!

Searching for that perfect custom shroud or sash? Why, Funeral Finery is just the place for you! Providing you have a very large bank account, that is.


Thanks to Geoff for the link.


Arcane Morbidity!

You know how I love crazy old books. Well, thanks to Amos Quito, I now have knowledge of a most splendid book from 1853 entitled "The Young Man's Book Of Amusement". This is a collection of "experiments" for kids - many of which could potentially result in lethal consequences. For example, you can make "Very Beautiful Artificial Petrifactions" by using a substance that the rest of us know as corrosive sulfuric acid. Or make an Electric Kite - just like Ben Franklin! Yes, this sounds precisely like the kind of book *I* would write for children.


April 24, 2005

Today's Famed Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

As famed comedian Parkyakarkus, Harry Einstein expired while performing at a Friars Club roast for Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz. He collapsed onto Milton Berle's shoulder.

Culled from: Snopes.Com
Generously submitted by: Bill


Talk about Parking Yer Carcass! Incidentally, Harry was Albert Brooks' dad and Albert said that after he collapsed they took him backstage and it was "the classic is there a doctor in the house! They cut him open backstage, shocked him with a lamp cord."

Obviously, Harry had a wicked sense of humor, since his son was born Albert Einstein. Poor kid.


Morbid Tidbit Du Jour

Here's an interesting article on a growing trend with cemeteries: green burials. Environmentally friendly and commendable, but damn - no headstones to read! That takes all of the fun out of death!


Thanks to Briguy for the link.


Morbid Mirth Du Jour!

If you can spare a moment, then why not spend it taking the Evil Criminal Test. It was quite illuminating to learn that I am Charles Manson.


Thanks to nightwisp for the link.

April 25, 2005

Today's Toxic Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

Three people who fell into a campground's septic tank died and a fourth man was taken to the hospital in critical condition. The incident occurred late Friday evening, August 27, 2004 when the owner of the campground (about 30 kilometers east of Montreal) , his son-in-law and another camper went down a four-metre hole near the tank to clear a blocked drain. The three men were overcome by fumes and fell unconscious. A fourth man who tried to save the trio was also overcome by fumes and sent to the hospital. Eight other people who tried to help and two firemen were treated for exposure to the toxic fumes. An autopsy is planned this week to investigate whether the deaths were linked to the fumes or if the three men drowned in human waste, said police spokesman Const. Ronald McInnis, who warned that only professionals should fix septic tanks.

Culled from: CBC News
Generously submitted by: the Dickeys


This message brought to you by Roto-Rooter!


Morbid Trinket Du Jour!

Ugly Shayla creates some very nice (and often quite morbid) dolls. Check out her UglyArt site:


Thanks to Nepenthe for the link.


Morbid Mirth Du Jour!

Sick, sick, sick!!!


Thanks to Carolyn for sending the link.

April 26, 2005

Today's High Altitude Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

A court in Spain convicted a former Argentine naval officer for crimes against humanity during the South American country's 1976-1983 dictatorship. Adolfo Scilingo is the first official of the former military regime who has been tried abroad. The 58-year-old was sentenced to 640 years in prison after being found guilty of crimes against humanity, arbitrary detention and torture. Prosecutors charged the former officer in the deaths of 30 people in the regime's so-called "death flights" where political opponents were thrown out of aircraft alive. Scilingo, who was present when the verdict was announced, had pleaded not guilty in Madrid's High Court. An estimated 30,000 political prisoners are believed to have disappeared under the military regime's rule.

Culled from: Bloomberg
Generously submitted by: Richard


I have to share Richard's wonderful comments on this story:

"The idea of throwing people out of airplanes, while not the most cost effective method of killing, certainly has a theatrical aspect. "Airplane fuel: $500. Maintenance and upkeep for airplane:$2000. Pilot: $250. Seeing their face when you throw them out at 20,000 feet without a parachute: Priceless."


Not Morbid, But Hilarious!

I had to share the following article on family love in Alabama because, well, it's just too funny to skip:

A brother and sister were arrested on felony incest charges after the man's wife called sheriff's deputies, who allegedly caught the siblings having sex.

Ronald Stewart Howze, 44, of Trafford, and Lori Ann Rotton, 41, of Smyrna, Ga., were arrested around midnight on April 7, said Jefferson County sheriff's spokesman Randy Christian. They remain jailed Wednesday with bond set at $50,000 each.

If convicted, Howze and Rotton could each be sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Authorities said Howze's wife believed her husband and his sister were having sex so she called deputies. The wife let the officer into their trailer home, and the deputy saw the siblings having sex in a bedroom, Christian said.

The officer had to twice tell the couple to stop, and the officer's report quoted the man as saying "I guess I'm going to jail" after they finally complied, according to Christian.

Both brother and sister had been drinking, and Rotton was initially taken to a hospital because she appeared so intoxicated, Christian said.

The man told the officer he wanted to "go out crazy" after being diagnosed with cancer, The Birmingham News reported Wednesday.

Tommy McFarland, an attorney representing Howze, said his client told him he could not remember what happened. Howze said he suffers from seizures and asked to see a psychiatrist, according to McFarland.

Rotton is set to make her first court appearance Thursday.

Culled from AOL News
Generously submitted by: kelshubert

My favorite part is the fact that the officer had to tell them twice. Ah, yes, true love dies hard.

Plant Manager muses:
"Not my Idea of "going out crazy'. I tell you though, those Alabammer's make Necrophilia seem damn near respectable!! (unless it was your dead sister of course!)

Starla points out:
"Oh Comtesse of Morbidity, you missed the most hilarious part of the whole incest story! The names! Randy Christian! Lori Rotton! (Rotten!) I could swear there's a male porno movie actor called Randy Christian. If there ain't, there ought to be!"


Morbid Trinket Du Jour!

I want EVERYTHING that Gothic Rose Antiques has for sale. Literally everything! Don't you??


Thanks to Amos Quito for the link.

April 27, 2005

Today's Punishing Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

In 1731 Sir Peter Stringer was convicted of "forging deeds of conveyance of 2000 acres of land" and was placed in the pillory at Charing Cross:

"The time being nearly expired, he was set on an elbow chair in the middle of the platform, when the hangman John Cooper ... came up behind him and, with a knife like a gardener's pruning knife, cut off his ears and held them up so that the mob could see them. Having handed them to Mr. Watson, the Sheriff's Officer, the hangman slit both nostrils with a pair of scissors..."

Culled from: The History Of Torture


Nowadays, you'd make the president's cabinet for a crime like that!


I must sadly announce a hiatus in the newsletter, for an unknown amount of time. I am moving castle this weekend, which will require a disconnection, and who knows when the incompetent SBC folks will get the line working again. Then, I'll be heading off to Kansas (lord help me) for a week and a half, and then a few days after that I'll be heading to New York City for another week and a half, so it may be that I'll have a chance to get a few facts out here and there during May, but it may also be that you may have to do without me for most of May. (Amazing how many times I can say the word "may" isn't it?) I apologize for the lapse, but it really can't be helped.

Oh, and speaking of "May" - it's a good movie. Very strange. Very creepy. You really should check it out sometime.



Morbid Site Du Jour!

Wow!! The unbelievable has occurred! Someone has actually found a way to make baseball interesting!


Thanks to kelshubert for the link.


Follow-Up Du Jour!

A few weeks ago someone recommended the movie "Altered States". Wilf sends some additional information:

"I thought you might be interested that the film is loosely based on the book 'The Scientist' by John C. Lilly. He took ketamine then hid in an isolation tank for 120 consecutive days. Needless to say he went bonkers and claimed to have conversations with ET's as well as telepathic communication with people all over the world. An interesting read. But I suppose you knew that anyway."

Actually, I did not know that. Thank you for enlightening me!

Here's a link to the book:


And here's a link to the movie inspired by it:


Amanda begs to differ:
"I absolutely hate to go against the Dear Comtesse. Unfortunately Altered States is based upon a fiction work by Paddy Chayefsky."