April 1997

April 1, 1997
The most indicative characteristic of drowning is the white foam which forms as a result of the mucus in the body mixing with water. The presence of this white lathery foam in the mouth and windpipe prevents air from entering and contributes to the asphyxia.

April 2, 1997
In Buenos Aires in 1968, when the crowd rioted during a league game between River Plate and Boca Juniors, a total of 73 fans were killed.

April 3, 1997
Another entry in the 'Sick Things That Evil People Do' Department: Jerry Brudos was a sadistic murderer and necrophiliac. He once strangled a woman to death and then hung her corpse from a hook in the ceiling and undressed the body, which he subjected to electrical charges to see if he could make the body dance. He also engaged in necrophilia with the corpse before disposing it by dumping it in a river.

April 4, 1997
Condemned murderer Pedro Medina's black leather face mask burst into flames as he was electrocuted on March 25, 1997, prompting the state attorney general to warn killers to stay away from Florida "because we may have a problem with the electric chair". This is the second time an inmate's mask has burst into flame during a Florida execution.

April 5, 1997
A violent earthquake shattered the city of Kuchan in the region of Western Turkmenia on November 17, 1893. Virtually no buildings were left intact. According to local reports, at least 18,000 people died, including all 11 wives of the ruler, Il'khan.

April 7, 1997
Nikolai Dzhurmongaliev, Russia's most industrious cannibal, is believed to have killed 100 women and served them to his dinner guests. He butchered the women and used 47 of them to make ethnic dishes for his neighbors in the Russian republic of Kyargyzstan. When arrested Nikolai pointed out that two women could provide enough delicate meat to keep him going for a week.

April 8, 1997
In 1972 a JAT flight between Copenhagen and Belgrade disappeared at 33,000 feet after an explosion on board. Rescuers searching the wreckage were amazed to find Vesna Vulovic, a stewardess, alive, with only a leg injury. She had landed in deep, soft snow and, possibly due to the angle of impact, had miraculously survived. Her escape did not put her off flying, and she continued to fly with JAT for another 20 years.
Jim Hamilton writes: "I really doubt she flew with JAT for another 20 years, since her 'leg injury' also included paralysis from the waist down."

April 9, 1997
Billy The Kid made his first kill when he was 11 years old, when a town drunkard named Johnstone jumped out of a saloon and lewdly ripped the dress of his mother while she and Billy were walking along the sidewalk. Billy later stabbed Johnstone several times in the back in revenge.

April 10, 1997
A 24-year-old man in Sterling Heights, Michigan needed 16 stitches after shooting himself accidentally in the penis while asleep in bed.

April 12, 1997
The funeral of a man in Palermo, Italy, was halted when the deceased woke up and climbed out of his casket. His mother was so startled she died on the spot of a heart attack.

April 13, 1997
A California woman was celebrating winning the football pool at the cannery where she worked by passing out doughnuts, when she was snagged by a machine and pulled to her death.

April 14, 1997
From the "Evolution In Action" department: in February, according to police in Windsor, Ont., Daniel Kolta, 27, and Randy Taylor, 33, died in a head-on collision, thus earning a tie in the game of chicken they were playing with their snowmobiles.

April 15, 1997
At the Washington Depot on July 2, 1881, president James Garfield was shot in the back by Charles Guiteau. He was rushed to the White House where it was discovered that a bullet had entered his back. Dr. D.W. Bliss tried to locate the bullet with a "nelaton probe". The probe was pushed into the wound and turned until it discovered the path opened up by the bullet. It failed to locate the bullet but greatly enlarged the wound. It eventually got stuck between the fragments of Garfield's 11th rib and had to be forcibly removed. Dr. Bliss then inserted his unwashed finger into the wound, introducing infection. Numerous operations were performed (without anesthesia) to look for the bullet and to relieve infection. Garfield gradually deteriorated and eventually died on September 19, 1881. The autopsy revealed that the bullet had lodged harmlessly near the spine, encased in a protective cyst. The president would not have died, had it not been for his doctors. Garfield's doctors had transformed a minor 3-inch wound into a 20-inch long channel of festering infection.

April 16, 1997
In 1757, an idiot named Robert Francois Damiens made a half-hearted attempt to murder Louis XV of France with a blunt knife, and was horribly executed, torn into four quarters while still alive by four horses.

April 17, 1997
A Connecticut man beat a woman to death after she told him he looked like Howdy Doody.

April 18, 1997
From the Evolution In Action Department: A Bossier City, Louisiana man died of a cerebral hemorrhage after he decided to settle a dispute with a head-butting contest.

April 20, 1997
In September, a man was crushed to death on a stairway at the Sammis Real Estate and Insurance office in Huntington, N. Y., in the process of stealing the office's 600-pound safe; he apparently violated the cardinal rule of stairway-safe-hauling by standing on a step lower than the one the safe is on. (And, it turned out the safe was empty.)

April 21, 1997
A four-ton elephant, being used to erect a circus tent, was electrocuted by a power line. The elephant then fell on its trainer, killing him.

April 22, 1997
The Conquerer, a 1956 film directed by Dick Powell, was shot near an atomic testing site in Utah. Over the years most of its cast and crew- including Susan Hayward, Agnes Moorhead, John Wayne, John Hoyt, and Powell himself - died from various forms of cancer. Pedro Armendariz shot himself upon learning that he had The Big C.

April 23, 1997
After Gen. Custer was shot dead at Little Bighorn, every Indian wished to claim credit for the killing of the hated "Pahuska" - the long-haired one. They searched among the slaughtered men for his body but no one recognized him. Custer had cut his hair short before setting out to wipe out the Sioux.

April 24, 1997
A Paraguayan judge sentenced a man to die before a firing squad for a shotgun killing, even though it meant his siamese twin would die (there was evidence that he tried to prevent the murder).

April 25, 1997
In the age of chivalry it was customary for knights to fixate on married noblewomen, and to dedicate exploits to their glory. Lord Ulrich Von Lichtenstein of Germany made the mistake of devoting himself to a noblewoman with a mile-long sadistic streak. Ulrich wrote her love poems which she accepted but responded that she didn't need the services of a knight - particularly one with an ugly protruding upper lip. Ulrich got his lip lopped off in response and it took six months for the wound to heal; he nearly starved but he accepted his lot with proper chivalric forbearance. (And in the end, he never did get his girl...)

April 26, 1997
In another case of Evolution In Action, Garry H., a 39-year-old lawyer, crashed through his office window and plunged 24 floors to his death while demonstrating the tensile strength of the skyscraper's windows during an office party. As he had done on several other occasions, Garry ran shoulder-first at the sealed window from across the room. Garry specialized in Securities.

April 27, 1997
A woman was killed while sunbathing on the French Riviera when she was struck in the chest by the rib of a runaway beach umbrella.

April 28, 1997
Pirate Captain Kidd was forced to endure a very undignified ending to a rather undignified life. To begin with, he suffered through one of the messier hangings ever. On the first attempt to hang him, the rope broke. Kidd was returned to the scaffold and the second time all went well. As admiralty law prescribed, Kidd's body was chained to a post and left until the tide had flowed over it three times. A special metal cage was constructed to display his rotting corpse as a warning at the mouth of the Thames. By all accounts, it remained there for years.

April 29, 1997
A New Mexico man was parking his car in his garage when his foot slipped and hit the gas, which sent the car through the garage door, hitting a freezer and pushing it through the wall, where it fell on his wife and killed her instantly.

April 30, 1997
28 inmates died during their stay at Alcatraz: eight were murdered by other inmates, five committed suicide, and 15 died from illness.