June, 2002

June 1, 2002
John Douglas' "The Anatomy Of Motive" contains the following captivating account of a man named Robinson who opened up a letter bomb:
"Immediately following the blast, the forty-one-year-old victim was left kneeling in front of what was once a large cherry desk. The walls around him were covered with embedded nails and pieces of his flesh. Dr. Emerson Brown, an optometrist whose office was nearby and who ran to aid Robinson after he heard the blast, was in the Army reserves and trained in combat casualty care, but the scene was overwhelming: Robinson bled profusely from what was left of his right arm - blown off around the elbow - and from his left wrist, which was now connected to his hand just by mangled skin. His chest was ripped open on the right side and he had a hole in his thigh where it looked like a chunk of bomb cut right through. It was apparent that some of the debris on the wall was actually Robinson's hair and bone fragments. Remarkably, he was not only still alive but capable of fighting on some primitive level, screaming as emergency personnel took him off to the hospital."
He died 3 1/2 hours later. (The Anatomy Of Motive and was generously donated by The Mind Orbitor)

June 5, 2002
A woman in northern Japan bit into a rice ball she bought at a convenience store and got a gruesome surprise -- a fingertip. She spit out a mouthful of her Korean snack after tasting something unusual. It was a piece of a human finger. Police later determined the severed digit belonged to an employee of a food company who accidentally cut his finger while making rice balls. The company apologized to the woman and said it will make sure it doesn't happen again. (The Associated Press and was generously donated by Jeff Russell)

June 8, 2002
The great dancer Isadora Duncan was killed at the age of forty-nine in September, 1927 on the French Riviera. It was around ten in the evening, and Duncan was heading back from a walk along the Promenade des Anglais in Nice, beautifully dressed as usual in three or four immense iridescent scarves that streamed around her neck and body. On the way back to her hotel, she found a vacant taxi -- a convertible -- and got into the back seat, not realizing that the loose end of one of her scarves had fallen outside the car and was caught in the rear wheel. As the taxi reached full speed, the scarf wound itself around the wheel and the strong silk began to strangle Duncan, finally dragging her bodily out of the car and throwing her down on the cobblestone street. She was dragged several yards behind the cab before the driver was alerted to the accident by the cries and shouts of passersby. Duncan was strangled and killed instantly. Interestingly, two of her children had also been killed in a freak car accident in 1913, when they were left unattended in a vehicle that rolled down a hill and plunged over a bridge into the Seine. (
Car Crash Culture)

June 9, 2002
A Danish man having surgery on his backside broke wind and set his genitals alight. A surgeon was removing a mole on his backside with an electric knife when the man broke wind, lighting a spark. His genitals had been washed with surgical spirits and caught fire. He's suing the hospital for pain and suffering and loss of income. He says he had to take extra time off work and can't have sex with his wife. The hospital says it was an unfortunate accident. "When I woke up, my penis and scrotum were burning like hell," the man told Danish Newspaper BT. Surgeon Dr Jorn Kristensen said: "No-one considered the possibility the man would break wind during the operation, let alone that it would catch fire. It was an unfortunate accident." The 30-year-old patient said: "I've had to be booked off work for longer than expected and, besides the pain, I can't have sex with my wife." The operation which was being carried out at the Kjellerups hospital, was aborted immediately after the accident. Reports say it's unlikely the doctor will face disciplinary action. (
Ananova.Com, donated by: Chelle)

June 14, 2002
A woman enraged at her boyfriend attacked him with a utility knife and cut off nearly all of his buttocks, leaving him near death on a dark, rural road, a prosecutor said Thursday (June 13, 2002). The injuries were so severe investigators initially believed the victim was sexually tortured and dragged behind a car in a possible hate crime. The man has not fully described what happened to police, but they said they believe his girlfriend acted alone. She was arrested Wednesday and charged with attempted murder. "The gruesome nature of the injuries is almost mind-boggling," said District Attorney Chris McCool. "With the trauma of the attack, how do you talk about that?" Kimberly King, 26, of Aliceville, Alabama was jailed without bail. "This ain't right," she told a TV news crew as she was arrested. King and her boyfriend had been at a bar in Mississippi late Saturday or early Sunday. They left separately after an argument. Police said she pulled up behind his vehicle on an isolated highway near Aliceville, and began stabbing him with a large knife. When he fell, "she got down on him and just started cutting," McCool said. The victim, Rodney Outlaw, 25, regained consciousness some time later, and drove about nine miles to the nearest home. He remained hospitalized Thursday. (
Associated Press, donated by Bruce Townley)

June 15, 2002
Pestered by questions from his young friend, 16-year-old Ryan Alexander took the boy into a field, bound him with duct tape, choked him with a stick and stabbed him with a fatal dose of insulin. They charged Alexander as an adult on Wednesday (4/24/02) with aggravated first-degree murder and kidnapping in the death of Michael Busby, an 8-year-old neighbor. Alexander confessed to the crime and told police that he sometimes goes into a trance when he gets "really ticked off". He was found naked in a field not far from his home, his hands, feet and mouth bound with tape. Deep razor-blade gashes ran along one leg, his back and his chest. A syringe with a bent needle and a bottle of insulin were found nearby. Michael Busby was killed less than two months after his family moved to Bellingham, Washington in search of a safer place to live. Alexander's public defender, Eric Weight, has said he believes the boy has mental problems and should be tried as a juvenile. Alexander is now charged as an adult, and would face a mandatory sentence of life in prison without parole if convicted. He's too young to receive the death penalty. (
King5.Com, donated by desmodus_i)

June 17, 2002
It was in his low-slung Oak Park home that he quietly performed a castration on a man who contacted him through the Internet. The 29-year-old Taiwanese national told police he had performed about 50 castrations before his kitchen-table operation on a 48-year-old Birmingham, Michigan man went wrong. Now, police are trying to figure out whether a crime was committed. The man, who said he performed castrations both here and in his previous home in Australia, told police Saturday he had finished the procedure and the two men were enjoying a postoperative piece of pie when the Birmingham man started laughing. Then he started bleeding. The men couldn't stanch the flow. At about 5 a.m. the newly castrated man stepped out to the street. Someone called police, who found him sitting on the curb in a pair of blood-soaked blue jeans. He said he'd been voluntarily castrated a couple of hours earlier in the nearby ranch house. Inside, police found two human testicles in a container in the refrigerator. "I can't even imagine this," said Lt. Bruce Smith, head of the Oak Park Public Safety Department's detective bureau. "It's bewildering to me." Investigators aren't releasing either man's name until they sort out whether a crime was committed. The Birmingham man is out of the hospital and recovering after several hours of emergency surgery Saturday morning. The would-be surgeon, who overstayed his visa, has been released as the investigation continues. (
The Detroit Free Press, donated by =Jane Sorrow=)

June 18, 2002
While flying to Texas a couple of weeks ago, I read a captivating account of a car crash in a book called (appropriately) "Car Crash Culture" by Mikita Brottman. Mikita is obviously a kindred soul, since her personal account was written with an honest morbid perspective that is extremely rare. Quite naturally, I feel the need to share... It's a bit long, but I didn't want to leave any of the important details out. I hope you enjoy...

Today's Thrilling Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

"I'm less than half a mile from my apartment building when another car turns into the road rather sharply, about two hundred yards in front of me, with its headlights on full. It turns into my side of the road and starts moving toward me, gaining speed... The next thing I know, I'm sitting up in my car seat and I realize that my engine seems to have stalled, because my car isn't moving. It's completely dark and silent, and there's no light at all outside. I turn the key in the ignition, but the engine seems to be totally dead. I can't understand what's happened. I try turning the key a second time, a third time, but nothing. Then, gradually, I become aware that my car windshield is totally smashed up and - beyond that - that the hood is all crushed in. Then I realize that there's another car right in front of me whose hood is sort of embedded in mine. I don't know how I didn't notice it before - it's so close I could almost have reached out and touched it through the smashed glass of my windshield. The next thought that comes into my head is the realization that I must have just had a major car accident. It's a thrilling thought. I'd never been in any kind of serious accident before in my life. And for some reason, the thought that I'm sitting there in the middle of a major car wreck - perhaps even a fatal one - suddenly seems terribly exciting to me... I reach up to the rearview mirror, twist it down toward me, and... my face is not my face anymore. All I can see is a mess of torn skin and blood, and my own eyes looking back at me through it... The next morning I wake up in a hospital bed. My left wrist is fractured, and my right hip dislocated - and soon becomes infected with thrombosis. Worst of all, however, my face is all smashed up from where I crashed headfirst into the broken windshield: my nose is crushed and split open all down the middle... But the most interesting part of the whole accident is that at no time, either during the crash or afterwards, did I ever feel any trauma of any kind. In fact, even when they were pulling my body out of the wreck, I remember only feeling thrilled by the fact that I was in the middle of a serious car accident and experiencing an unusually heightened sense of consciousness and a powerful feeling of vitality and well-being. And this led me to understand an important truth: that accidents can bring as much pleasure as pain." (Car Crash Culture)

June 19, 2002
A man convicted of raping and killing a 19-year-old college student in 1991 was executed by injection Friday night, May 10, 2002. Leslie Martin, 35, made no final statement but, after the drugs were injected, could be seen mouthing the words "You're fired," to his defense attorney who watched the execution. The lawyer, Clive Stafford-Smith, later said Martin's remarks were part of a long-running joke between the two. Martin was convicted in 1992 of killing Christina Burgin, a student at McNeese State University in Lake Charles. She was last seen alive leaving a lounge with Martin on June 20, 1991. Her decomposed body was found nearly two weeks later in a pumphouse in the rural southwestern Louisiana town of Iowa. Prosecutors said Martin raped Burgin and then strangled her to keep her from turning him in. (
The Associated Press, donated by Todd Engle)

June 20, 2002
It's been awhile since I've done a series of facts, and thanks to A., I think I have the perfect candidate: The Top Four Surgeries Of Robert Liston. Shall we begin with... Today's Enormous Yet Truly Morbid Fact!
Robert Liston, a surgeon who operated during the medically frightening early nineteenth century, was the fastest knife in London's West End. He could amputate a leg in 2 1/2 minutes. When anesthesia was unknown -- you had the choice of fuddling with opium or rum, or biting on a cloth-wrapped peg -- surgery was a matter of more haste, less pain. He was six foot two, and operated in a bottle-green coat with Wellington boots. He sprung across the bloodstained boards upon his swooning, sweating, strapped down patient like a duelist, calling, "Time me, gentlemen, time me!" to students craning with pocket watches from the iron-railinged galleries. Everyone swore that the first flash of his knife was followed so swiftly by the rasp of saw on bone that sight and sound seemed simultaneous. To free both hands, he would clasp the bloody knife between his teeth.
Liston's fourth most famous case: Removal in four minutes of a 45-pound scrotal tumour, whose owner had to carry it around in a wheelbarrow.
(A Brief History of the Liston Family, donated by A.)

June 21, 2002
Here's part two of the our three part series about Robert Liston - the 19th Century's Fastest (and most dangerous to passersby) Surgeon!
Today's Bloody Yet Truly Morbid Fact!
Robert Liston's Third Most Famous Case
Argument with his intern: Was the red, pulsating tumour in a small boy's neck a straightforward abscess of the skin? Or a dangerous aneurysm of the carotid artery? "Pooh!" Liston exclaimed impatiently. "Whoever heard of an aneurysm in a boy so young?" Flashing a knife from his waistcoat pocket, he lanced it. Intern's note: "Out leaped arterial blood and the boy fell." The patient died but the artery lives, in the University College Hospital pathology museum specimen No. 1256. (A Brief History of the Liston Family, donated by A.)

June 22, 2002
And here's the third and final part of the Robert Liston series - where the 19th Century's Fastest Surgeon also becomes the Most Dangerous!
Today's Sloppy Yet Truly Morbid Fact!
Robert Liston's Second Most Famous Case:
Amputated the leg in two and a half minutes, but in his enthusiasm the patient's testicles as well.
And, finally, Robert Liston's Most Famous Case:
Amputated the leg in under two and a half minutes - the patient died afterwards in the ward from hospital gangrene (they often did in those early days). He amputated in addition, the fingers of his young assistant who too died afterward in the ward from hospital gangrene. Liston also slashed through the coat tails of a distinguished surgical spectator, who was so terrified that the knife had pierced his vitals that he dropped dead from fright.
Thus ended the only operation in history with a 300 percent mortality! (A Brief History of the Liston Family, donated by A.)

June 23, 2002
The most colorful celebrity car crash of the 1930's was probably that which involved F. W. Murnau, the German-born director of "Faust" and "Nosferatu," who was killed on March 11, 1931, in Santa Barbara, at the age of 42. When Murnau's car came off the road on a stretch of Californian coastline, it was determined that the driver was not the film director but his fourteen-year-old Filipino houseboy, Garcia Stevenson. The rumor that Murnau was going down on his servant at the time, spread by Kenneth Anger in his book "Hollywood Babylon," has never been "officially" confirmed, although it's clear that the boy was one of Murnau's lovers. (
Car Crash Culture)

June 25, 2002
The body of a 14-year-old boy lay undetected at the bottom of a backyard pool on Long Island for two days - even as police searched the pool and kids swam in its murky waters. Elbert Hines' body was found late Sunday (6/23/02), floating straight up in the 8-foot-deep North Babylon pool. The body of the teen, who couldn't swim, apparently had been in the water since a Friday night birthday bash thrown by his basketball coach. Elbert's family reported him missing Saturday afternoon, and police visually inspected the pool that night but found nothing amiss. Children swam in the cloudy water over the weekend, not knowing the body was at the bottom. "One of the kids remembers bumping into something in the water, but he thought it was a sunk pool toy," said Suffolk County Police Detective Lt. Jack Fitzpatrick. "The visibility in the water was only 12 inches." The pool party's host, youth league basketball coach Danny Green, said he knew Elbert could not swim and noticed the teen standing in the shallow end of the pool. "I even vacuumed the pool [on Saturday]. And I didn't find him," said Green, whose mother, Carol Moore, owns the home with the pool on Wright St. On Sunday night, when cops went back to the pool with the family, Elbert's sister Tia, 23, spotted her brother's head bobbing at the surface. (
The New York Daily News, donated by Maika)

June 26, 2002
There are three periods during which car accident victims die: the so-called golden hour (the first sixty minutes after the crash), within hours of the crash (sometimes because the wrong treatment was given at the scene), and over the following few weeks. Numbers in the first two categories have fallen radically over the last thirty years, partly because of improvements in car safety and partly due to a better understanding of emergency medicine. It is important to understand that most crash injuries are caused not by the first collision (between the car and an external object), nor by the second collision (between the victim's body and the interior of the vehicle), but by the third collision: between the internal organs and the walls of the body. (Car Crash Culture)