September, 2006

September 1, 2006

Today's Naked Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

In 1786, the Comtesse Jeanne de la Motte Valois stole and sold a magnificent diamond necklace that Louis XV had ordered, before his death, for his mistress Madame du Barry. She was sentenced to be birched naked in public, and then branded on each shoulder with the letter 'V', for voleuse (thief). However, after one shoulder had been marked she twisted violently, and the hot iron fell on her naked breast.

Culled from: The History of Torture


The poor Comtesse!!! Such a terrible indignity!! However enticing it may be, I certainly hope it's one that never befalls THIS Comtesse!

Morbid Dream Du Jour!

Which reminds me - I had the most fascinating dream last night. I had in my possession a number of corpses that were given to me by a murderous, yet generous, casual acquaintance. I was dissecting them and posing them for photographs and the like. You know, normal everyday stuff that anyone would do if given the chance. And then some woman peeks in and sees what I'm up to and gets away. As I fully possessed all my senses, I realized that she was most likely going to the police rather than doing the sensible thing and keeping her mouth shut (or joining in), so I sojourned to England.

In the meantime, the police did their research, and the story of the sick Comtesse DeSpair from the internet who murdered all these innocent people and dissected them and photographed them for fun spread all over the news. I saw that I was on the front of Esquire, in my blue Elastica t-shirt with the fetching headline "The Comtesse Of Death". "My goodness," I thought, "it's such an unflattering photograph, I'm most embarrassed! But it is kind of cool to be getting all this publicity. I wonder what the morbids [my pet name for you all] are thinking?"

Eventually, the law caught me and told me that I was under arrest for the murder of the corpses. I protested: "I didn't kill them! Granted, I probably shouldn't have dissected their bodies like that, but I didn't murder them."

Can you believe that they didn't believe me?

Of course, I awoke with a smile on my face. What a lovely dream!


Wretched Recommendations!

NightRaven has an addition to the Grim Gaming list:

"Got a new game to go on the Grim Gaming list, Ghost Master. This game is really really cool. You take on the role of a ghost master, the person that puts all the ghosts and spirits in a haunted house, and your mission is to help mortals along with a task, i.e. summoning a new spirit, or to scare everyone out of a particular building, or drive them all insane.

"Each level allows you to pick several spirits from your list to take to 'work'. They each then must bind to a particular item to use their powers. Some bind just anywhere inside or outside, some have to bind to things that have been murdered like stuffed deer heads or corpses hidden behind walls, still others bind to water items or electrical items. Their powers range from the mundane rattling of chains, to a rain of spiders, to the 'danse macabre' where every mortal in the room with your ghost becomes a puppet under his control.

"The levels on this game take you everywhere from a sorority house, to an old sanitarium (where you have to battle the ghostbusters) to the house from poltergeist (where you have to battle that funny talking short lady). After each level you're allowed to buy more powers for your ghosts to make them even scarier for your next mission.

"The graphics in this game are quite good. The view is like that of The Sims, but the graphics are 100 times better and some of the ghost power effects are really well done. I think the best thing about it is that you can go into first person mode for both the ghosts and the mortals and see through the people's eyes what it looks like when you walk around a corner and someone is standing there ripping their head in half laughing at you.

"I highly recommend you check this game out."

Sounds fascinating!

Ghost Master


Morbid Link Du Jour!

Janice stumbled across something of interest:

"I came across a new invention (seeking patent) that will be used to assist in doing brain autopsy. Basically, this is a bone cutting device designed to quickly open the brain case for the autopsy. Normally they just draw a line around the head and then use a hand held instrument to cut. However, the designer of this device presents his invention as a fairly obvious can opener.... I thought you might be interested. Just reading about it is sufficiently morbid enough to gain my attention."

September 2, 2006

Today's Heated Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

An elderly Serb ended a heated argument with his neighbor by lobbing a hand grenade and severing the man's arm. Milan Djokic, 70, was charged with attempted murder and illegal weapons possession after attacking Slavko Grujic, also 70, in the northern town of Zrenjanin on July 15, 2003. Grujic first caught the grenade and threw it back, but the device exploded on a second try by Djokic.

Culled from: Reuters
Generously submitted by: Paradox


Sheesh, has this guy never seen a horror movie before? You NEVER give a killer a second chance!! Especially with a hand grenade - the one weapon where close DOES count!


Wretched Recommendations!

Jeanine has a book recommendation:

"I wanted to let you know that there is a beautiful book called 'Beautiful Death - Art of the Cemetary' by David Robinson that you might want to check out."

This book does look like a good one, based on the Amazon reviews.

Beautiful Death: The Art Of The Cemetery
by Dean Koontz and David Robinson


Morbid Link Du Jour!

Ken sends a very interesting link to a site featuring videos of various plane crashes (some of them fatal) and near misses, which includes three different views of the 747's hitting the WTC towers on 9-11. I wasted about an hour here looking at the various videos. Hope you enjoy it too!

September 3, 2006

Today's Forbidden Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

In California, execution witnesses are forbidden from wearing "blue, black, or grey denim clothing, or yellow raincoats".

Culled from: Last Suppers: Famous Final Meals from Death Row


The yellow raincoats I can understand, but blue, black, and grey are my favorite colors! It would be a pity not to see them in my final moments.

Stephen W. informs me: "That regulation is because we don't want visitors coming in wearing the same clothes the convicts wear, so they can be easily distinguished by the officer way up in the tower. You don't want a visitor being stopped by a tower officer with his rifle, because he was mistaken for an inmate trying to squeeze in between some visitors."


Recommendations From The Library Eclectica

Incidentally, I just finished reading the above referenced book Last Suppers, and I must say it is a most entertaining read! Not only does it list the often quite entertaining final meals of many death row inmates (inspired of course by the Texas Department of Justice which used to list the final meals on its execution page before sadly taking them down a couple of years ago), but it also provides many fun facts about executions, such as the one above. The book is filled with short little snippets which makes it the perfect bathroom reader. I highly recommend putting one in yours today!

Last Suppers: Famous Final Meals from Death Row


Wretched Recommendations!

Desmodus has a book recommendation for us:

"The Encyclopedia of Preserved People: Pickled, Frozed, and Mummified Corpses from Around the World"
by Natalie Jane Prior

"It's written for kids but I still found it entertaining and informative. Lots of good color pictures of mummies, bog people and
other dead stuff. My favorite part was the description of famous people's coffins exploding during the funerals."

Now, why didn't they have books like this when I was a kid? But then again, I guess that's what National Geographic was for... Hey, some people used it to see tits, I used it to see decaying corpses!


"My Brush With Morbidity" by Jenn

"I had a dinner party one night and had just sent my friends off when one of them called to tell me there's been a horrible accident in front of my apartment complex. I ran to the gates hoping it wasn't the other car I'd just sent off and thankfully she was okay. But the accident was still very shocking.

"The road in front of my complex is six lanes plus a turning lane dividing the traffic, and the lanes closest to my complex were swarming with cops and paramedics. The entire street was blocked off as they collected evidence of the accident scene. Part of the evidence included the lumps of bloody meat that had been a pedestrian hit by an oncoming vehicle; it seems that the poor guy was hit in front of my driveway and parts of him landed near there, while other parts of him landed several meters further up the road.

"One of the dinner guests who called me minutes before described how she had seen them scoop up remains with what looked like a shovel and put it into a plastic bag. She was completely calm in describing the details of it, how the remains were so badly mutilated that she couldn't tell what sex or race the pedestrian had been. A morbid woman after my own heart if ever there was one, but I digress...

"We stood among several other spectators and watched the authorities work; we commented on the large pool of blood in the middle of the road. The event made the news and my clinically descriptive friend informed me tonight of what exactly had happened. The deceased had been driving while intoxicated and, for unknown reasons, pulled his car into the turning lane, parked, and attempted to cross the street towards my complex. The oncoming vehicle wasn't able to stop in time and hit him at a high rate of speed after he's stepped into traffic.

"I've heard those turning lanes called 'suicide lanes' but I never thought much about the nickname before last night. When I pulled out to go to work today it was all I could think about."

September 4, 2006

Today's Grisly Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

In early 1926, Philadelphia chiropractor David Marshall hired chauffeur E.J. Barry to take away parcels from his office. As Barry picked up one of the packages,a human leg fell out. Marshall attempted to pay off Barry to dispose of the bags, but the driver refused. Still, Barry did not immediately go to the authorities after this grisly encounter with Marshall. He only revealed this information after newspapers reported the mysterious disappearance of Anna May Dietrich.

Dietrich was reported missing January 19 by her family. Alexander Schul, her brother-in-law, had told police that they should check out David Marshall, whom Dietrich had known for many years. However, Marshall claimed that he hadn't seen her in weeks. It wasn't until January 21 that the case hit the headlines. A woman found a bundle in a Philadelphia suburb containing the headless and legless torso of a woman, later identified as Dietrich. Separate bags containing her head and legs were subsequently found. Finally, the chauffeur Barry came forward with his information about Marshall.

Marshall was taken into custody, brought to the morgue, and confronted with the gruesome remains. But he calmly denied any involvement. After intense interrogation by the police, Marshall changed his story. He then claimed that Dietrich had killed herself with poison in his office and that he cut up the body to hide his affair with the girl.

Speedy trials being the order of the day, Marshall's began on March 8, 1926. Testimony at the trial focused on the medical evidence and Dietrich's morals in sleeping with a married man. The jury convicted Marshall of only second-degree murder, probably because of their disapproval of the victim, and Marshall was paroled in 10 years.

Generously submitted by: Ms Rutybear


Okay, yesterday's morbid fact, which stated simply that it is illegal in California for execution witnesses to wear blue,
black, or grey denim clothing, or yellow raincoats prompted many of you to ask the question, Why? Well, I didn't know at the time, since the book didn't tell me, but Stephen W. has since filled me in on the reason: "That regulation is because we don't want visitors coming in wearing the same clothes the convicts wear, so they can be easily distinguished by the officer way up in the tower. You don't want a visitor being stopped by a tower officer with his rifle, because he was mistaken for an inmate trying to squeeze in between some visitors."

Makes perfect sense to me now that you explain it that way...


Wretched Recommendations!

Nikki has a rather unusual recommendation for us:

"I saw the movie 'Punch Drunk Love' this weekend. It's not exactly 'morbid' but it certainly was creepy and I LOVED it. It really puts you into the mind of a utterly horrifying bi-polar person. It's disjointed and the speed of the movie fluctuates so frequently, it leaves you a little on edge.

"Throughout the entire movie there's some form of music or noise in the background. Sometimes it grows so loud you can barely hear the actors. The music really adds to the delirium of the movie. I had an awful feeling of uneasiness through the whole movie, which I believe was the point. I really enjoyed how this movie focused on really putting you in the mind of the main character, instead of just letting your glimpse at the outside of them.

"Adam Sandler is not an actor I enjoy much, but his performance in this movie was definitely not bad. He did well portraying someone who seems disturbed to a point no one could understand. He plays a range of emotions, from Forrest Gump-like simplicity to completely over the edge insane rage.

"If you enjoy a movie that makes you feel edgy or uneasy, and really puts you into the mind of a psychotic, this is a great movie. If you want a movie with continuity and flow, this might not be the best movie for you."

Well, I actually need movies more to ESCAPE FROM the mind of a psychotic than put myself in one, but I am definitely intrigued!

Punch-Drunk Love (2002)


"My Weird Near Brush With Morbidity" by Zubrovka

"Awhile back, there was a bad single vehicle accident in front of my home. It happened early in the morning, about 1:30 am on the coldest night of the year. I was in bed asleep. Our home is on top of a ridge above the road, with a steeply sloping front slope of about 100 feet. I have about 20 -30 ft of flat front yard and then it slopes off to the road below.

"A young woman, drunk, was driving her Jeep and when she crested the hill where my driveway leaves the road, she must of lost control. About 50 feet past my driveway she left the road, hit the ditch, flipped up the slope at least twice and then flipped back down the slope a couple of times and landed in the ditch. If you stood in the road, facing my property, it looked like a huge triangle had been drawn out on the front slope. Somewhere in all that flipping, she had been thrown clear of the Jeep and lay out on the slope.

"Well, my wife and I slept through all that and my wife woke up when all the emergency and sheriff cars showed up. There were about 10 to 15 vehicles with flashing lights out there. My wife and I stood at the bedroom window and looked below to the roadway as people stood around and stared in the wreck and then back up the slope. We finally decided it was a dark colored Jeep and my wife said, 'you don't suppose that's Nicos' Jeep' (my god daughter) to which I replied, 'no she lives over in Missouri, what would she be doing over here at this time of night?' Suddenly the people below emerged from the shadows to the road, carrying a limp body, which they lay on a stretcher and covered over with a sheet and loaded into the ambulance. I was thinking, 'oh no, someone has been killed out there', and my wife said aloud, 'Oh hell, now someone will be putting up one of those roadside memorials in our yard!'

"The ambulance slowly drove away and it took the law enforcement about another 2 hours to figure everything out and get the Jeep on a wrecker, The following day, I called my good friend Q to tell him about the wreck and his daughter Nico answered the phone. It WAS her Jeep and she had been driving. (She had an argument with her bf and had put him out, about a mile back up the road before the accident.)

"The ER people thought she was dead until she awoke in the ambulance on the way to town. She had spent the night in the hospital and had escaped injuries with only a broken arm and bruises. Very lucky I think. My wife called her and told her the next time she was thinking of dropping by, to use the driveway! I told Q I was thinking of putting up a sign out there that read, Near Miss... I helped him sell the totaled Jeep on eBay."

Two thoughts:

1) Zubrovka's wife's comment is hysterical and sounds exactly like something I would think;

2) What does it say about the state of emergency response when they mistake a broken arm and bruises for death?

September 6, 2006

Today's Heartless Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

On November 1, 2002 a Nanaimo woman slit her two-year-old daughter's throat before cutting up the body, cooking it with other ingredients and eating the soup. Laurina Marie Aune cannibalized her daughter "so Kyla would be with me forever." Justice James Taylor ruled that while Ms. Aune knew she killed her daughter, she was not criminally responsible by reason of mental disorder -- she didn't know it was morally wrong. Ms. Aune, 26, was remanded to the Forensic Psychiatric Institute in Port Coquitlam, as she suffers from schizophrenia. According to court documents Ms. Aune was said to have told officers she killed her daughter because she felt manipulated to do so. "I almost felt like I didn't have any control over myself at the time ... I never wanted to hurt her." Ms. Aune told police she and Kyla had just returned from taking her mother to the airport on Nov. 1, 2002 when it happened. "I couldn't help think that she was hurting all the time. I don't really know what I was thinking at that point. I know that I just wanted to be closer to her," she said. She told police she cooked the bones "to have Kyla with me forever." Police said Aune told them she ate a piece of the heart because she felt that's where her child's spirit was. The child's head was found in Ms. Aune's bedroom.

Culled from: Canada.Com
Generously submitted by: Paradox


I had a horrifying experience over the weekend. My dog (yes, I do have a couple, surprisingly enough) was put on a bland diet of boiled chicken and rice to counter intestinal problems. As a vegetarian, I found that having to boil flesh was a very disgusting task, and I felt like a serial killer with my victims' hearts on the boil. Alas, it appears that I could never have the stomach to be one of those imaginative and exotic killers like Ed Gein and Jeffrey Dahmer who make clothing, altars, and cookware out of the remains. Yet another dream dashed... ;-)


Wretched Recommendations!

Ogre has a musical recommendation for us:

"Although their music is not for everyone, the Tiger Lillies, an English folk/rock/punk/jazz/classical band, always seem to have a morbid musical viewpoint... Albums like 'Shockheaded Peter' and 'The Gorey End' all deal with death in just about every song. Some might think the music is comical or silly, but I always thought that if I was going to die, then this is the kind of music I would hear as I went to the great beyond..."

They sound very intriguing!

The Gorey End (based on the work of Edward Gorey)

Shockheaded Peter: A Junk Opera


Morbid Trinket Du Jour!

Looking for a perfectly demonic shirt to wear to your next concert? Check out the delightfully demonic duds available at! I'm particularly fond of the Raven hoodie:


September 7, 2006

Today's Artistic Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

A Spanish art historian has uncovered what was alleged to be the first use of modern art as a deliberate form of torture, with the discovery that mind-bending prison cells were built by anarchist artists 65 years ago during the country's bloody civil war. Bauhaus artists such as Kandinsky, Klee and Itten, as well as the surrealist film-maker Luis Bunuel and his friend Salvador Dali, were said to be the inspiration behind a series of secret cells and torture centres built in Barcelona and elsewhere.

Most were the work of an enthusiastic French anarchist, Alphonse Laurencic, who invented a form of "psychotechnic" torture, according to the research of the historian Jose Milicua. The cells, built in 1938 and reportedly hidden from foreign journalists who visited the makeshift jails on Vallmajor and Saragossa streets, were as inspired by ideas of geometric abstraction and surrealism as they were by avant garde art theories on the psychological properties of colours.

Beds were placed at a 20 degree angle, making them near-impossible to sleep on, and the floors of the 6ft by 3ft cells was scattered with bricks and other geometric blocks to prevent prisoners from walking backwards and forwards, according to the account of Laurencic's trial. The only option left to prisoners was staring at the walls, which were curved and covered with mind-altering patterns of cubes, squares, straight lines and spirals which utilised tricks of colour, perspective and scale to cause mental confusion and distress.

Lighting effects gave the impression that the dizzying patterns on the wall were moving. A stone bench was similarly designed to send a prisoner sliding to the floor when he or she sat down, Mr Milicua said. Some cells were painted with tar so that they would warm up in the sun and produce asphyxiating heat. Mr Milicua has claimed that Laurencic preferred to use the colour green because, according to his theory of the psychological effects of various colours, it produced melancholy and sadness in prisoners.

Culled from: The Guardian
Generously submitted by: Elisa


Fantastic! I shall have to build a guest room like that at The Castle DeSpair.

By the way, in case you are interested (though lord only knows why you would be), here's my idea of Modern Art As Torture:

Jon Beinart's Toddlerpedes

I will have nightmares for weeks! (Absolute murderous hatred to Michelle for the link!)

Jody writes: "Today's morbid fact made my eyes goggle. Anarchists building _prisons_?! Apparently some modern anarchists have questioned Jose Milicua's
credibility... the story is here if you're curious."


Wretched Recommendations!

Nep has an intriguing film recommendation for us!

"There is a movie about Fritz Haarman (besides M) called 'Tenderness of the Wolves' that Anchor Bay has re-issued. It was originally made in 1973 and it's actually pretty good, as well as surprisingly sympathetic toward him. At least I thought so, anyway.

" has this to say about it:

"'Based on the same true story that inspired Fritz Lang's M, Ulli Lommel's Tenderness of the Wolves takes an unsettling look at the life of murderer, black marketeer, and police informant Fritz Haarman, a pedophile who used his position to sweep the train stations and pick up young runaway boys. Living in the depression of post-WWI Germany, Haarman lured the boys to his attic apartment with the promise of a warm meal and bed, only to emerge alone the next morning with secondhand clothes and black market "pork." Lommel melds images from M and F.W. Murnau's Nosferatu with the elegant camerawork, evocative sets, and tableaux-style direction associated with the films of New German cinema auteur Rainer Werner Fassbinder, who produced the film and appears in a small role. Screenwriter/star Kurt Raab suggests Peter Lorre by way of the vampire Nosferatu with his shaved head, child-like smile and hunched walk, an insidiously beguiling boy-man who strangles his innocent young victims and feasts on their blood. The film is handsomely photographed and well performed by a cast made up of Fassbinder's regular troupe, but becomes muddled toward the middle, tangling the many threads before finally winding them together in a bold, baroque climax. Though lacking in the rich irony of Fassbinder's works, it's a striking, often startling film dominated by Raab's unsettling performance. --Sean Axmaker --This text refers to the VHS Tape edition.'"

Sounds fascinating to me! Fritz Haarman is one of the great monsters of our times. Here's the Amazon link if you'd like to read more about it:

Tenderness of the Wolves


"My Brush With Morbidity" by The Goltls

"This was a couple of years ago. We live in the country, so seeing flashing lights and firetrucks and ambulances is a big deal. Well, they were all converging at a railroad crossing about 2 miles from our house. We drove over there. There was a potato chip truck smashed and in the ditch. We turned right and drove along the highway. About 100 feet from the crossing, there was the body (not the head) of the driver. They were covering it as we drove by. My husband said it was a deer. My 11 year old daughter said, 'No, it wasn't. There is his head.' His head, from midway through the eyes to the chin, was lying in the ditch, staring at us. The top part of his head was never found (they think coyotes or souvenir hunters got it)."

September 8, 2006

Today's Foul Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

On 10 July 2003, a man checked into the Capri Motel, just east of downtown Kansas City, and began complaining about a foul odor in his room. Management told him nothing could be done about the problem, and he spent three nights in his room before checking out because he could no longer stand the smell. When the cleaning staff came in to make up the room on 13 July, they lifted the mattress and underneath found a man's body in an advanced stage of decomposition.

Culled from: Snopes.Com
Generously su bmitted by: Leann


Jody sent me an update regarding yesterday's MFDJ about surreal anarchist prisons. Alas, it appears that there may be some factual difficulties with this tale...

"Today's morbid fact made my eyes goggle. Anarchists building _prisons_?! Apparently some modern anarchists have questioned Jose Milicua's credibility... the story is here if you're curious."


Wretched Recommendations!

Sunflower has a few book recommendations for us.

"The first is Cruddy by Lynda Barry. A really good book. A total page turner! I was cheering for the main character."

I can second Sunflower's enthusiasm for this book - it's one of the best works of fiction I've ever read. I rate this one five skulls!

by Lynda Barry

"Next is Exquisite Corpse by Poppy Z. Brite. Most books by her are excellent, but this happens to be my favorite. Way twisted and, at the risk of being looked at as a total lunatic, it gets better every time I read it."

Exquisite Corpse
by Poppy Z. Brite

"The last is The Art of Suicide by Ron M. Brown. In all honesty, I haven't read it entirely yet, but it has some of the most incredible paintings and drawings... everything from ancient Greece to the early 20th century, even an odd photo of the Heaven's Gate thing."

The Art Of Suicide
by Ron M. Brown


Morbid Link Du Jour!

For all you biker dudes and babes, here is the answer to your funeral prayers: a motorcycle sidebar hearse! "For a dignified final ride."

Thanks to Steve O' for the link.

September 10, 2006

Today's Crumpled Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

On the evening of July 22, 1934, people began to emerge from the Biograph Theater, on Chicago's West Side. The plain clothes police who were standing around the entrance were tense with anxiety. They were hoping to arrest John Dillinger, America's Public Enemy One; they knew he'd one into the cinema with a brothel madame -- who had tipped them off -- and another woman. What scared them was that some of the women and children in the crowd might get shot if Dillinger went for his gun. They had reason to worry; last time the Federal agents cornered Dillinger, in a Wisconsin farmhouse, they got so nervous they opened fire on a car full of innocent people and killed several; Dillinger escaped.

Now, as Melvin Purvis and his agents waited outside the movie theater, a police car suddenly drew up. The cinema cashier had noticed the plain clothes cops, assumed they were planning to stage a robbery, and rang the local police station. A Federal agent rushed up to the car, showed his idetnfication, and ordered the police to move on fast. A few minutes later, John Dillinger walked out of the cinema with the two women, one of them wearing a bright red dress, so the police could identify her. To Purvis's relief, Dillinger pushed clear of the crowd, and started along an empty stretch of pavement. Purvis yelled: "Stick 'em up, John, you're surrounded." Dillinger went for his gun; dozens of shots sounded, and he crumpled to the pavement.

Culled from: Crimes and Punishment: The Illustrated Crime Encyclopedia, Volume 10


Of course, as with many historic buildings associated with Chicago's gangster-era, the Biograph Theater has been virtually destroyed through renovation. Here's a site with some info about the current state of the theater:

Starla writes: "Just FYI from a person addicted to true crime and trivia: The madam Dillinger was with, Anna Sage, was actually wearing a bright orange dress to make sure the agents could pick her out. But it looked red under the neon lights of the theater. But Lady in Orange doesn't quite roll off the tongue like Lady in Red, does it?"


Wretched Recommendations!

L. has a film recommendation for us:

"I wanted to recommend a film to you if you haven't seen it yet: 'Titus'. Stars Anthony Hopkins, Jessica Lange, and Alan Cumming to name a few. It is Shakespeare's Titus Andronicus directed by Julie Taymor who had been running the production on stages all over until she was offered the chance to create the film. I haven't read all of Shakepeare's works but by far I would say that this is the only story I've ever seen weave grace, beauty, mutilation, death, and insanity into such a complex and exemplary representation of human capacity... or incapacity... if you can tolerate the verse of Shakespeare please do watch the film as soon as you can."

Titus (2000)



Alf has some gruesome images from those wacky Thai tabloids. Er... "enjoy"!

September 11, 2006

Today's Fattening Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

A chubby Queens woman hacked her mother-in-law to death with a meat cleaver after the older woman refused to serve her rice with dinner because it's too fattening. The unwanted diet advice sparked a gruesome end for Farida Begum, a 74-year-old grandmother who died in August, 2003 hours after the vicious dinnertime attack in an apartment across the street from Elmhurst Hospital Center. Ayesha Akter, 32, apparently snapped while she and Begum were sitting down to dinner in the Layton St. apartment, where the family settled after arriving from Bangladesh. Akter told police she erupted after her mother-in-law refused to give her rice, saying it was too fattening, said sources, who, like neighbors, described both women as overweight. She picked up the meat cleaver and started hacking away - smashing Begum's skull, cutting off one of her fingers and leaving gaping wounds in her arms. Akter's husband, an insurance salesman, and the couple's sons returned home about 7:40 p.m. Saturday to discover Begum in a bloody heap and Akter nearby. Begum was rushed across the street to the hospital, where she died.

Culled from: Daily News
Generously submitted by: Kimba D'Michi


Wretched Recommendations!

Bad Kitty recommends a book that sounds positively fascinating!

Hunting the Devil
by Richard Lourie

"[I] happened to stumble upon a wonderful book. The book, by Richard Lourie, is titled Hunting the Devil. I am not much of a reader, but this book is to my delight very entertaining. It is about 'the pursuit, capture, and confession of the most savage serial killer in history.' That killer is none other than the sexual cannibal himself, Andrei Chikatilo.

"This story goes back into Chikatilo's younger days and also into the life of the investigator that caught him and made him confess to his crimes, Issa Kostoev. All these wonderful murders took place only a couple of decades ago in Russia. And to think that I knew nothing about them until recently! I have to study up on my serial killer memory for I am getting a bit rusty these days (and to think I am still oh so young!).

"If you have a chance, please look into this book. It goes into some gory descriptions about the murders making you feel as if you are there being a witness to the crimes. I love it... Take a bite out of this one and share it with the world."

I will have to do just that!


Morbid Phrase Du Jour!

Lennis has an excellent morbid phrase for us:

Cold Cook - one who has to deal with 'cold meat,' i.e. a lifeless body. An undertaker. Mortuaries are sometimes referred to as cold cookshops.
-Slang and Its Analogues, 1890

September 12, 2006

Today's Explosive Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

Danger was lurking beneath the New London School in New London, Texas on March 18, 1937. Unknown to anyone, natural gas (which in its natural state is odorless and therefore undetectable) had been leaking from a tap on the gas line, had built up inside an enclosed crawlspace that ran the entire 253-foot length of the building's facade. Students had been complaining of headaches for some time, but little attention had been paid to it. At 3:05 p.m., "instructor of manual training" Lemmie R. Butler turned on an electric sander. The sanding machine's switch is believed to have caused a spark that ignited the gas-air mixture.

Reports from witnesses state that the walls of the school bulged, and then the roof briefly lifted off the building. The roof then crashed back down and the building collapsed. A 2 ton concrete block was thrown clear of the building and crushed a 1936 Chevrolet parked nearby. Estimates of the number dead vary from 296 to 319, but that number could be much higher, as many of the residents of New London at the time were transient oilfield workers, and there is no way to determine for certain how many of these roughnecks collected the bodies of their children in the days following the disaster, and returned them to their respective homes for burial. Approximately 600 students and 40 teachers were in the building at the time. Only about 130 escaped without serious injury.

Culled from: Wikipedia


As an interesting aside, after this incident Texas (and eventually the rest of the world) began adding a smelly chemical compound called thiol or mercaptan to natural gas so that leaks could be detected. Good thing too! I can't tell you how many times the burner has gone out and if not for that familiar smell of danger, I would never have noticed that I was being enveloped in natural gas. Hmmmm... on second thought, life might be a tad bit more exciting if that were the case...


Wretched Recommendations!

Bruce recommends a book that is a must-have as far as I'm concerned. I recently purchased this one but I haven't read it yet... but I am looking forward to it!

Dark Tide: The Great Boston Molasses Flood of 1919
by Stephen Puleo

The Amazon synopsis:
"In this volume, Puleo, a contributor to American History magazine, sets out to determine whether the collapse of a molasses tank that sent a tidal wave of 2.3 million gallons of the sticky liquid through Boston's North End and killed 21 people was the work of Italian anarchists or due to negligence by the tank's owner, United States Industrial Alcohol. Getting into the minds of the major players in the disaster-USIA suits, victims, witnesses, North End residents, politicians-he re-creates not only the scene but also the social, political and economic environments of the time that made the disaster more than just an industrial accident. While the collapse's aftermath is tragic, the story itself is not exactly gripping. More interesting are the tidbits of Boston's and America's history, such as the importance of molasses to all U.S. war efforts up to and including WWI, which Puleo uses to put the tank collapse in the context of a very complex time in U.S. history. The most striking aspect of this tale is the timeliness of the topics it touches on. Describing Americans being persecuted because of their ethnicity, a sagging economy boosted by war, and terrorism on U.S. soil that results in anti-immigration laws and deportations, Puleo could just as easily be writing about current events as about events in 1919. Overall, this is another piece in the jigsaw puzzle that is Boston's long and rich history."


Morbid Word Du Jour!

Lynne sends a delightful morbid word:

(a word of unknown origin, occurring in various forms in many European languages, meaning a funeral scaffold or temporary stage), a movable structure of wood sometimes richly decorated, erected temporarily at funeral ceremonies in a church to receive the coffin or effigy of the deceased; also an open hearse or funeral car.

September 13, 2006

Today's Unconscious Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

Five people died in August, 2003 trying to save a piglet stuck in a manure pit in central China. The villagers in Dayi, Sichuan province, piled one after another into the manure pit, but were overcome by fumes as they tried to rescue the piglet. A farmer's young daughter raised the alarm when the piglet fell into the pit; a neighbour, Wen Huaichun, then jumped into the pit and caught the piglet. As he tried to pass the animal up to the girl's father he fell back into the pit with the animal. Four more neighbours arrived and went into the pit one by one - each being rendered unconscious by the methane fumes given off by the manure. By the time police arrived five people had died. The report did not say if the piglet survived.

Culled from: WorldOnline.Co.Za
Generously submitted by: Bruce Townley


But I want to know about the piglet!! Damned lousy news service!


Wretched Recommendations!

Jason has a fiction recommendation for us:

"Have you read Chuck Palahniuk's 'Lullaby'? I think you might like it -- if for nothing else, for the paramedic with a penchant for necrophilic romps with dead models prior to loading them into the ambulance."

Ah, brings back lovely memories of the movie Aftermath...

by Chuck Palahniuk


"My Brushes With Morbidity" by Shelley

"I guess I have been 'blessed' more than most.

"#1. It was a really windy day a couple of years later and I and some friends were stuck in traffic in the middle lane of a suburban main street. We were watching a girl, a young teen, walk down the sidewalk - she was so jaunty and smiling it was a pleasure to see her. As she walked under a tree, the wind broke a branch and it fell, hitting her in the the head. It caved in the back of her head and she fell to the sidewalk dead, right in front of us. [Now you know why she was so jaunty and smiling! - despair] We couldn't even get out of the car, we were so locked in, but a police car in the jam called an ambulance.

"#2. A decade later a friend and I were driving home on a little curvy hilly New England 2-lane highway when a man in a little red sportscar driving like he was in the Indy passed us on a curve and left us in the dust. About a mile down the road we came on a major car accident, the red car had run head-on into a truck hard enough to knock the truck off the road. The people inside the truck were dazed and bleeding and the windshield was shattered.

"But the red car was about half as long as it had been, with the engine in the front seat. The driver's top half was folded sideways and crushed flat under the engine, his bottom half was sitting upright with his legs out of the car. One leg was gouged raw the whole length right through his pants leg and had denim strips embedded in it. The other had a severe compound fracture with the thigh bone sticking up out of his jeans and muscle meat hanging off of it like flags. Weird thing was, there was no blood under his legs. We figured he must have bled out at the top end when the engine hit him and the damage to his legs happed after that when the car was rebounding across the road."

September 14, 2006

Today's Overcrowded Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

October 1737 was a terrible month for the sprawling, overcrowded city of Calcutta, India. Located on the Bay of Bengal, the city was struck by a cyclone on October 7 that sent a forty-foot tidal wave crashing ashore. Some 300,000 people died in that disaster, and just days later, on October 11, another 300,000 were killed when an earthquake rocked the ruined city.

Culled from: The Pessimist's Guide To History


Well, there's a quick cure for that overcrowding problem!!


Wretched Recommendations!

Keith recommends what sounds like an excellent book!

Mutants: On Genetic Variety and the Human Body
by Armand Marie Leroi

"Mutants is rapidly becoming one of my favorite books. The book covers all sorts of human genetic mutations and what causes them. It is both readable and entertaining. Although it does not actually explain how to recreate the mutations in lab animals, it does explain how the experiments were performed. I whole-heartedly recommend it, although I wish there were more pictures."


Morbid Trinket Du Jour!

I always wondered whether vampires ever bother with anything as lively as having sex. Well, apparently, they do! And here are the condoms to prove it:

Thanks to VenusNightShadow for the link.

September 15, 2006

Today's Overcrowded Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

After calmly buying his ticket and climbing 257 steps to the top of the nation's tallest brick beacon, a 26-year-old newlywed leaped to his death off the balcony of the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse in North Carolina on September 8, 2003 Adrian Benner of Leola, Pa., gave no clues that he was distressed, said Mark Hardgrove, deputy superintendent of the National Park Service Outer Banks Group. "He smiled and said hello as he walked up," Hardgrove said. "That's what surprises me -- how well planned it was. He didn't even stutter."

Benner, who climbed the steps alone, was married on Saturday. It was not known where the couple had married or where they were staying. Benner's wife did not know that he was climbing the lighthouse, and had no idea of his intentions. "There was no indication given to predict this behavior," Doll said, "either from his wife, or the folks who saw him at the lighthouse. Everyone said he was acting perfectly normal." Doll said that park service officials were not aware of any history of mental illness in Benner, who worked as a mechanic. Hardgrove said that Benner made no statement, or even a shout or cry, before he jumped off the backside of the tower at about 2:20 p.m., landing face-first on the grass inside a fenced area.

Culled from: HamptonRoads.Com
Generously submitted by: Kathleen


See, this is why you don't "save yourself for when you're married". The disappointment of the first time is too much to bear.


Wretched Recommendations!

Although you know that I don't tend to read fiction, I just might have to break that mold for this one!

Geek Love
by Katherine Dunn

Robin has the following to say about it:

"Might I recommend *Geek Love* by Katharine Dunn? The horribly-grossed-out negative Amazon reviews are worth a gander, at the very least.

"The main review reads: 'A wild, often horrifying, novel about freaks, geeks and other aberrancies of the human condition who travel together (a whole family of them) as a circus. It's a solipsistic funhouse world that makes "normal" people seem bland and pitiful. Arturo the Aqua-Boy, who has flippers and an enormous need to be loved. A museum of sacred monsters that didn't make it. An endearing "little beetle" of a heroine. Sort of like Tod Browning's Freaks crossed with David Lynch and John Irving and perhaps George Eliot -- the latter for the power of the emotions evoked."


Morbid Link Du Jour!

Suzanne sends a link to a wonderfully freaky website for Elizabeth J. Anderson, an artist who makes wonderful replicas of freak show canvases. The website also includes an abundance of excellent information of freak show stars from the past. Highly recommended!


September 17, 2006

Today's Vile Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

Between 1868 and 1875 an estimated 500,000 lived in New York's slums - about half the city's population. As many as eight persons shared a living room that was 10 by 12 feet and a bedroom 6 by 8 feet. One tenement on the Lower East Side was packed with 101 adults and 91 children. Among the indignities they were forced to suffer - all noted by city health inspectors - were vile privies; dirt-filled sinks; slop oozing down stairwells; children urinating on the walls; dangerously dilapidated stairs; and plumbing pipes pockmarked with holes that emitted sewer gases so virulent that they were flammable.

Culled from: The Good Old Days — They Were Terrible!


I highly recommend checking out the Lower East Side Tenement Museum in New York to get a good feel for the awful conditions that the immigrant families had to weather. It's very enlightening!


Wretched Recommendations!

Jim recommends his favorite series of movies: Basket Case.

Basket Case

Basket Case II

Basket Case III

"In brief, the plot line is that a child is born with a head attached to his side. The father has the head amputated and tossed into a trash bin. The head survives and later on it and its' 'twin brother' reunite. They go on a rampage against society in general and the father in particular. In one of the sequels they find refuge in a conclave of similar freikazoids. I have all three movies on tape but haven't looked at them in at least 10 years, so my memory of the details may not be 100% accurate. Definitely worth checking out by you and all your morbid fans."


Morbid Link Du Jour!

Suzanne sends a link to a wonderfully freaky website for Elizabeth J. Anderson, an artist who makes wonderful replicas of freak show canvases. The website also includes an abundance of excellent information of freak show stars from the past. Highly recommended!


September 18, 2006

Today's Illegible Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

About 8:30 on the morning of Tuesday, September 15, 1959, 49-year-old tile contractor Paul Harold Orgeron went to his mother's house to pick up his son, Dusty, so that he could enroll him at Poe Elementary School in Houston, Texas. Paul helped wash and dress his son before telling Dusty to get some toys to entertain himself as he would be out of the house most of the day. Paul took Dusty to the school's principal's office, Mrs. R. E. Doty, while carrying a briefcase. Paul said he would like to enroll his son in the second grade and she said he would need to register him first. Paul and Dusty, who had just turned seven on Saturday, left the office then and went out to the playground. Paul handed two notes to second grade teacher Miss Johnston. The notes were written illegibly and incoherently. One note read: "Please do not get excited over this order I'm giving you. In this suitcase you see in my hand is fill to the top with high explosives. I mean high high. An all I want is my wife Betty Orgeron who is the mother of son Dusty Paul Orgeron. I want to return my son to her. Their answer to this is she is over 16 so that (is) that. Please believe me when I say I gave 2 more cases, that are set to go off at two times. I do not believe I can be kill (sic) and not kill what is around me, and I mean my son will go to. Do as I say and no one will get hurt. Please. P. H. Orgeron. Do not get the police department yet. I'll tell you when." Paul then triggered the gelex in the briefcase by firing a single shot from a .32 pistol with a string attached to the trigger. Gelex is more powerful than dynamite and is used in commercial work on oil well perforations. The explosion killed Paul, Dusty, William Hawes Jr., John Cecil Fitch Jr., teacher Jennie Kolter and the school custodian James Arlie Montgomery. Mrs. Doty had her clothes torn off from the blast and the grisly scene even affected the news reporters as they came to the site. Seventeen other children were wounded. Earl and Robert Taylor needed their legs amputated to survive. Paul had a been convicted twice in Louisiana and once in Texas and for burglary and theft.

Culled from: Columbine-Angels.Com
Generously submitted by: Kathleen


The Comtesse Recommends...

Mütter Museum
by Gretchen Worden

If you don't have the calendars, this is an excellent way to get some of the delightfully artistic photographs of the creepy exhibits at the Mütter Museum in Philadelphia. My primary complaint is that the text is often a bit short on detail, but it could very well be that not that much is known about some of the specimens. Also, the lack of photographs of some of the most interesting exhibits - such as the Soap Lady and the Giant Colon - is annoying, especially since they don't let you take pictures yourself at the museum. But there are more than enough fascinating photographs to make this a worthwhile addition to morbid coffee tables everywhere!

Alf scanned some of the pictures from the book and presents them on his site for your enjoyment:

You may also be interested in my travelogue to the museum:


Morbid Mirth Du Jour!

I've featured this game before, but it's been quite awhile, and it IS a classic of the genre...

so why not visit Five Finger Fillet again?

Thanks to M3m3s3 for the link.

September 19, 2006

Today's Fatal Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

The first fatal airline crash was in December 1920, when a Handley Page O/400 crashed while taking off in fog, killing four people.

Culled from: Air Disasters


I just finished reading the book Air Disasters (linked above) by Leo Marriott, Stanley Stewart, and Michael Sharpe. It's a fairly good book, although it tends to get bogged down in so much technical detail that unless you're an aviation enthusiast you might not have a clue what the author is talking about. If you're into learning all the technical details behind various air crashes, you may find it quite fascinating, but I found myself skipping pages at times to get to the interesting stuff (ie. the CVR transcripts and body counts). Still, I learned some very interesting tidbits about crashes that I was not previously aware of, so the book definitely has its value. I'd have to rate it three skulls out of five.


Morbid Phrase Du Jour!

Hey, looks like people like us are making an impact on society after all! They even have an expression for us now: grief tourists! Here's what Word Spy has to say about it:

grief tourist n.

A person who travels to the scene of a recent tragedy to mourn the victim or victims.

Example Citations
The commentator, Francis Wheen, has labelled the frenzied pilgrims that trekked to Soham the "grief tourists". Grieving over two girls they didn't know and a tragedy they couldn't possibly understand. Trampling on a tiny village's space and memories, full of Tennyson's idle tears, to gratify some need in themselves.
--Gwen Halley, "Grief tourists lap up other people's pain," The Sunday Independent (Ireland), March 14, 2004

He courted the attention of the Press, proffered unsolicited information, sought to listen in on police conversations and behaved with the same bottomless vacuity as the busloads of gawpers who descended upon Soham last year, the so-called 'grief tourists', whose attitude transforms murder into a shameful entertainment.
--Brian Masters, "A study in evil," Daily Mail (London, England),
December 20, 2003

Traveling to the scene of a tragedy is also called "dark tourism" (1997) and the people who do it are said to be jumping on the "grief bandwagon" (1998). They're indulging in "grief-lite" (1997) "recreational grief" (1998), or "mourning sickness" (1998). All of these terms were coined in the months after Princess Diana's death in August, 1997, and they provide lexical evidence of a cynical backlash against the massive outpouring of grief that followed her death.

Earliest Citation
Of course what happened to those two children was horrific beyond belief. But we are kidding ourselves if we think that what we feel is anything at all compared with what the families of Jessica and Holly are going through. The senseless slaughter of these two children was a very private tragedy. The rest of us can sympathise, it would be strange if we did not, but we should go a little easy on the public weeping and wailing. It is good that we have become more demonstrative of our emotions over the past 10 years. But let's not become a nation of grief tourists.
--Tony Parsons, "Comment on footballers observing minute's silence,"
The Mirror, August 26, 2002

Here's the link to Word Spy:

Thanks to Brian Sidlo for passing along "grief tourist" and some of the related phrases.


Morbid Link Du Jour!

Here's the website of an artist who obviously has a great appreciation for the finer things in life. Like freaks!

Prodigies by James G. Mundie

Thanks to vaness for the link.

September 20, 2006

Today's Stinging Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

A 60-year-old man died in Mexico in September, 2003 after he tried to drink honey straight from a beehive while drunk. The man, who has not been named, had more than 1,000 stings on his face and arms after the incident in Escobedo. Policeman Angel Ramirez told Terra Noticias Populares: "He was so drunk he thought it was OK to drink from the beehive, but the bees attacked him." A hospital spokesman said: "Everyone thinks he died because of the stings but that is not 100% correct. He would have had a great chance to survive if he wasn't so poisoned with alcohol. But of course the combination was lethal. The stupid things drunken people do. He was otherwise completely healthy and could have enjoyed a long life."

Culled from: Ananova.Com
Generously submitted by: Kelly


"The Stupid Things Drunken People Do" - sounds like the title of a best-seller!


Wretched Recommendations!

Amber has a fiction recommendation for us:

Year Of Wonders
by Geraldine Brooks

"This is a very nicely written novel based on the village of Eyam's plight during the Black Death. It is told in the first person of a young widow and servant whose boarder is the tailor who brought the fabric from London. I thoroughly enjoyed it."

Here is Amazon's synopsis of the book:

"Geraldine Brooks's Year of Wonders describes the 17th-century plague that is carried from London to a small Derbyshire village by an itinerant tailor. As villagers begin, one by one, to die, the rest face a choice: do they flee their village in hope of outrunning the plague or do they stay? The lord of the manor and his family pack up and leave. The rector, Michael Mompellion, argues forcefully that the villagers should stay put, isolate themselves from neighboring towns and villages, and prevent the contagion from spreading. His oratory wins the day and the village turns in on itself. Cocooned from the outside world and ravaged by the disease, its inhabitants struggle to retain their humanity in the face of the disaster. The narrator, the young widow Anna Frith, is one of the few who succeeds. With Mompellion and his wife, Elinor, she tends to the dying and battles to prevent her fellow villagers from descending into drink, violence, and superstition. All is complicated by the intense, inexpressible feelings she develops for both the rector and his wife. Year of Wonders sometimes seems anachronistic as historical fiction; Anna and Mompellion occasionally appear to be modern sensibilities unaccountably transferred to 17th-century Derbyshire. However, there is no mistaking the power of Brooks's imagination or the skill with which she constructs her story of ordinary people struggling to cope with extraordinary circumstances."


"My Brushes With Morbidity" by Seb

"Hi there, I just thought I'd share these with you... The three most morbid things that ever happened to me.

"3rd place. When I was 16 years old, I was on a subway-train heading towards the center of my hometown Rotterdam (the Netherlands) to buy some weed. Yeah, I know, quite stereotypical, eh? :) Well, since an underground-system is rather expensive, the more modern parts of the Rotterdam subway-system are built on ground-level, with actual crossing guarded by nothing more than some flashing lights whenever a train approaches. We get a lot of accidents that way.

"The train I was sitting in passed a school. Nothing special, right? Wrong, my friend, verrrry wrong.... You see, in Holland the youngsters are really fanatical about their mopeds (50cc motorbikes, you don't need a license for those), so now we can add one 17-year old guy on a souped-up 'Puch Maxi'-moped to the equation.

"Train + 16 yr. old stoner + level crossing + 17 yr. old boy on a moped thinking 'F*ck those lights, I'm gonna make it!' = a seriously FUBAR'ed train-schedule for the remainder of the day.

"The guy slammed into the train, went airborne and broke his leg. I opened the door, thinking 'Hey, I know first aid!' and ran to the guy. Turned out his femur had been broken and a large shard of bone was protruding from his leg, blood squirting from the (now severed) vein that runs there.

"Reason this one came in third is that the guy made it.

"2nd place. Back when I was 23 I stepped into the intercity train to go to work, when I noticed some ruckus. A guy was laying on the floor, all blue and very still. I tried CPR, mouth-to-mouth etc. but to no avail. EMT showed up and ferried him off, white sheet over his kisser.
The paramedics later told me this guy probably had been dead (in the train!) for at least two hours!!! The rest of the day, my co-workers haunted me with remarks like: 'Hey Seb, what's it like to kiss a dead guy?' and 'Can't blame him, I'd die too, if Seb was to kiss me!'

"But the best one is yet to come! On first position:
When I was 16 I was with the local boy-scouts. One day Eric, the youngest boy from my 'platoon' (I was the platoon-leader) went missing. We initiated a search around our premises and sure enough, we found him.

"He had climbed into a tree and fell down. Not a terribly large distance, just some 12 feet. Unfortunately enough he went down head-first and impacted on the huge container we used as a tool-shed. He bounced off and went into the ditch next to our club-house, he had been bobbing in the water for at least 10 minutes. One of the grown-ups found him, he jumped into the ditch, pulled Eric out of the water, looked at what he had landed and started screaming like a banshee.

"I heard the guy scream and ran towards him, but what I saw there made me stop dead in my tracks. He was trying to get away, with his eyes wide open and clawing for firmer ground. It was the first time I saw a grown man actually PANIC. I looked at Eric and noticed the left side of his head was flattened. I also noticed that he was bleeding profusely from his head, ear and nose. One eye was open, the other closed, and I still remember seeing the mud in his open eye and wondering "how come he can lay so still with all that mud in his eye? That must hurt like f*ck!". The right side of his head was black with mud, the left side had a mixture of blood and a lighter, grey substance on it. For years I tried to convince myself that stuff was mud as well, but hey? who am I fooling? That was brain-tissue, man...

"Well, they ferried him off and he lived for another 22 hours. He died the next day after going into cardiac arrest. There was no attempt to resuscitate him (thank God).

"I never really got over this, but at least I'm able to make sick jokes about it today... :)"

Excellent stories, Seb!

September 22, 2006

Today's Dangling Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

Edward Charles Mills didn't have his keys, so he didn't drive home from the bar. But he apparently died trying to climb through a window since the front door was locked. The 29-year-old, 300-pound Harrison Avenue man had left his car outside a Paterson bar on a Sunday night, and he didn't show up for work Monday morning. Worried friends called police. Officers went to Mills' apartment. He didn't answer the door - and they didn't have sufficient information to force entry. Meanwhile, Mills was lodged in a small rear bathroom window. Friends eventually got inside with a key and discovered him, his upper torso in the bathroom, the rest dangling out into a courtyard. He had climbed onto barrels to reach the first floor window. His pit bull terrier and bull mastiff were running around the apartment in the rear of the two-story brick building. Authorities said the window frame apparently cut off Mills air supply. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

A team of firefighters managed to get the body from the window and onto a backboard, which was then slid onto a ladder. Eight men held the board while the ladder was removed. Only discarded rubber gloves, lying on a small patch of lawn, remained. Neighbors told police that Mills frequently climbed through the window when he didn't have his keys. Detectives were still trying to piece together the sequence of events leading to his death. It was unclear if alcohol played a role in his death.

Culled from:
Generously submitted by: Bruce Townley


Wretched Recommendations!

Scott has an educational book recommendation for us about Elizabeth Bathory, the "Blood Countess":

Countess Dracula
by Tony Thorne

"This book is fantastic. It explains that [Elizabeth] was no worse at mistreating her employees than any other noble person in those turbulent times in Central Europe. It explains that she was, in fact, persecuted for being a woman - her male rivals engineered trumped up charges to enrich themselves with her property. The book is quite fascinating and contains information on how brutal times were then... which would no doubt interest you! But, unfortunately for lovers of gore, Elizabeth Bathory was not a monster."

Damn!! I hate when the truth is less morbid than fiction!


Morbid Word Du Jour!

Ms Jukes submits an interesting entry from :

[ZAB-er-niz-um] an obsolete word meaning 'the abuse of military power or authority; unjustified aggression'. From the name Zabern, the German name for Saverne in Alsace, where in 1912 an overeager German subaltern killed a cobbler who smiled at him.

September 23, 2006

Today's Fiery Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

On July 21, 1919, minutes before the end of the business day, the 153-foot Goodyear Wing Foot dirigible - filled with hydrogen and floating on a test flight - buckled and plummeted onto a building in Chicago's Loop. The veteran pilot (who blamed static electricity and a rush of air to the propellers) and his four passengers parachuted off of the dirigible; several employees trapped in the Illinois Trust and Savings building, formerly located at what is now 231 South LaSalle Street, jumped from the building to escape the resulting fire. In all, 13 people died in what was the country's first civil-aviation disaster. When the Hindenburg crashed in New Jersey in 1937, these airships were officially banned from operating commercial flights.

Culled from: Time Out Chicago, December 8-15, 2005


Banned from operating commercial flights? Why, that's nonsense!! These days dirigibles are nothing BUT commercials in flight!


Wretched Recommendations!

Bruce has a graphic novel recommendation for us - sounds brilliant. I can't believe I'd never heard of this before! Apparently, for several years, Rick Geary has been creating graphic novels based on Victorian-era crime stories, entitled "Treasury of Victorian Murder". Bruce specifically recommends one of his more recent episodes, "dealing with the so-called 'H. H. Holmes', aka The Beast of Chicago. Geary's an excellent illustrator and has done a fine job on the earlier titles (I most enjoyed the Lizzie Borden and Jack the Ripper ones)." As you might imagine, I moved these to my Wish List immediately!

The Beast of Chicago: An Account of the Life and Crimes of Herman W. Mudgett, Known to the World As H.H. Holmes, also know as : H. M. Howard, D. T. Pratt,...

A Treasury of Victorian Murder

The Case of Madeleine Smith

The Mystery of Mary Rogers

The Murder of Abraham Lincoln

Jack the Ripper: A Journal of the Whitechapel Murders 1888-1889

The Fatal Bullet: The True Account of the Assassination, Lingering Pain, Death, and Burial of James A. Garfield, Twentieth President of the United States

The Borden Tragedy: A Memoir of the Infamous Double Murder at Fall River, Mass., 1892


Morbid Art Du Jour!

Evileeta writes to tell us about the dark art of Naoto Hattori:

"I have a link to some delightfully disturbing and dark art by a gent named Naoto Hattori. When I'm feeling too good, I like to go to his site and view his terribly twisted creations. It reminds me of the darkness that lives in us all. This is the address:

"I know the address looks odd but go there and treat yourself to some not so sweet eye candy. I wish I had extra funds to purchase these vile visions but alas, I have children."

The art is, indeed, quite wonderful!

September 24, 2006

Today's Steaming Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

A Canadian sludge hauler died on the morning of Wednesday, October 25, 2003 in Sumpter Township after he fell into a pit and was buried alive by his cargo as it dumped from his truck. The driver apparently fell after the gate on the back of his truck released and the hinged door swung upward, knocking him into the pit as he prepared to unload the sludge at the Carleton Farms Landfill. He was knocked into a 15-foot-deep trench and up to 35 tons of sludge burst out onto him. Jovan Sarovic, 38, of Kitchener, Ontario, appeared to have suffocated, said Sumpter Police Detective Michael Czinski.

Czinski said Sarovic landed with his feet higher than his head in the pit, and was buried from the knees up. Only his legs from his knees to his feet were visible when rescue workers arrived. Police on the scene believed at first that Sarovic might also have been burned, either by heat from the sludge or by lime, a caustic chemical often used to treat sludge. Czinski said the sludge was steaming. But Thoren said the sludge, from the city of Toronto, was not treated with lime and might have appeared to steam because, as a decomposing biological, it was slightly warmer than the air temperature. Most of the biological component in the sludge is eliminated using microorganisms added to it. The resulting material is not hazardous.

Culled from: Ann Arbor News
Generously submitted by: KSH


As KSH says, What do you wanna guess his last words were? Anyway, you know I only used this as a fact because I wanted to gross you out with the details of sludge!


Wretched Recommendations!

Bill has a book recommendation for us:

"I highly recommend Flyboys by James Bradley. This is a disturbing look at Japanese war atrocities during WWII, replete with interviews of both the veterans that survived them and their Japanese captors. This is NOT just another boring war history book; I have been reading the MFDJ as long as I can remember (and have occasionally drawn scorn from guests for serving foie gras and liver pate during 'Silence of the Lambs' and 'Real Autopsy' viewings), but I actually had to put the book down on several occasions to keep my lunch down!"

Sounds excellent! Another one to add to the Wish List!

by James Bradley


Morbid Sightseeing!

KT has a morbid sightseeing recommendation:

"I spent some time in Vienna last summer and that's a fun town to visit. From the statue of Madonna of the Plague to the actual mummies in the crypt of Saint Michael's which you can go down and see up close and personally, they lock the door behind you. The guide has a nice big flashlight so you get to see everything up close and personally.

"There's also a tour in the crypts of Stephensdom... that's more about atmosphere and less about anything else. They walk you through this ridiculously ill lit passageway so you can see shadowy skulls in the plague pits. The tour guide gave some lovely stories though. Apparently there was a large death boom in Vienna so all the dead were crammed under Stephensdom which is the main cathedral the stench was so bad that the church was unusable so they took convicts from the local jail sent them down into the crypts and set them to work opening the coffins, undressing the corpses and then scraping all the flesh off the bones and then stacking them against the walls. So you get to see through little grills into rooms the walls of which are covered in bones sorted by type.

"There is a Museum of Medical Oddities. I didn't see it, but I met another tourist who had... she claimed it to be quite intense but then she took to chattering about paintings by TB patients so I don't know the range of weirdness at the museum. It has odd open hours though. There is also a Museum of Funerary Customs. This requires an appointment and a knowledge of German. Unfortunately the friend I was touring with, who was also my German translator gets freaked out by such places so I didn't get to go.

"The Haspburgs, the royal family, is buried there in three places. Their bodies are buried in the Kaisergruft, which is a very nice walk, the sarcophagi are amazing, nothing really morbid unless you buy the guidebook, which tells you all about the occasionally disgusting deaths of the various Hapsburgs. Their hearts are in silver urns in the Augustinerkirche, was told that's not too much to see. But I did see their intestina... that apparently means brains as well as intestines which are in coppers jugs in the Stephansdom crypt.

"The Church of Saint Peter has two skeletons dressed in finery but the church was under preservation reconstruction so I didn't get a chance to study them too much, as getting closer involved walking under a scaffolding that was currently hosting a lunch meeting of several painters."

Sounds like a marvelous place to visit! Thank you for the info, KT!

September 25, 2006

Today's Severe Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

A Kenyan villager has cut off his penis and testicles with a kitchen knife "to teach his wife a lesson." Alfonse Mumbo, of Kajulu Wath Orego, near Kisumu, severed his genitalia after accusing his wife, Penina of unfaithfulness. Officers say the 38-year-old former barber said he wanted "to give her a free hand to go after other men." He told police he loved her so much, he could make the sacrifice. Mr Mumbo has told the East African Standard: "It was around 8 o'clock in the morning when I started feeling dizzy. My wife had left for the farm. I don't know what came over me. All I remember is walking around the compound anxiously and answering many calls of nature. I found myself disgusted with the penis and decided to cut it off. I went into the kitchen, took a knife, undressed and just chopped it off. The knife was too sharp and before I realised what I had done, it was too late."

He said blood gushed out of the gaping hole in his crotch and he says he began screaming with pain. Mrs Mumbo came home 10 minutes after the incident, with her brother-in-law, to find her husband unconscious in a pool of blood. He was taken to the New Nyanza General Hospital, where medics had a hard time stemming the blood. Mrs Mumbo has now dismissed her husband's allegations of affairs outside the marriage. She told the newspaper she loves her husband very much, and could not do that to him. The 29-year-old says she feels sorry for her husband and has asked people to stop blaming her for his actions. "When I am walking around the village or going on safari, those who recognise me talk about me in low tones," says Mr Mumbo, who is recovering from a bladder operation.

Culled from: Ananova
Generously submitted by: Paul


Talk about cutting off your hose to spite your mate! <groan>


Morbid Sightseeing!

The next time you're in East Granby, Connecticut why not stop by to visit Old Newgate Prison? I would!

"Originally begun as a copper mine in the early 1700's. In 1773 Newgate was first used to house serious criminals. The first prisoner John Hinson was committed for burglary in 1773. Later Tories and Loyalists were held here during the Revolutionary War. It was the first State Prison in America. Newgate ceased operating as a prison in 1827 and re-opened as mine at that time. In 1976 NewgatePrison was declared a National Historic Landmark. Old Newgate Prison is one of the leading tourist attractions in Connecticut. Newgate is owned and administered by the State of Connecticut."

Thanks to Shelley for the suggestion.


Wretched Recommendations!

Paul has a fiction recommendation:

"You have undoubtedly read it [if it's fiction, chances are I haven't - DeSpair] but it is worth a mention. American Psycho is one of the most disturbing books I have ever read. The movie didn't do it justice. It is like being in the mind of a serial killer."

Sounds fun to me!

American Psycho
by Bret Easton Ellis

September 26, 2006

Today's Unsure Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

Murchison Junior High School, Austin, Texas

Thursday, May 18, 1978

George Christian, former press secretary to President Lyndon B. Johnson, had an honor student in his son John, 13, at the elite Austin junior high school. This morning, John arrived late to school, around 8:45 a.m. and walked into his eighth grade English teacher's classroom on the first floor with a .22-caliber rifle. He had gotten the rifle from his home. Wilbur (Rod) Grayson, Jr. was a first year teacher and only 29-years-old. Wilbur was sitting on a stool conducting class when John pointed the rifle at him. The students in the room, there were 30 of them, distinctly heard this phrase, "The joke is over." before John pulled the trigger three times. However, they were unsure if John or Wilbur spoke those words. Wilbur was struck in the right side of his head, chest and right arm. John fled the room and dropped the rifle at a bike rack. He was caught by athletic coach Larry Schirpiek, who held the boy against a fence until the police arrived. Wilbur was rushed to Brackenridge Hospital where he died. John was taken to the Gardner House, a juvenile home until everything could be sorted out.

Culled from: Columbine-Angels.Com
Generously submitted by: Kathleen


Talk about an underachiever! You have a room full of eighth graders, and you only manage to kill the teacher? Give that boy a demerit!!


Morbid Trinket Du Jour!

From Pushin' Daisies, here's a trinket that's perfect for the morbid alcoholic in your life: a Dante's Inferno coffin-shaped flask!! It's a bit spendy, but hey, you only live... er, pickle your liver... once!


Wretched Recommendations!

Yvette has some interesting fiction recommendations for us:

"I wanted to recommend to you a couple of novels I have found fascinating, if not truly morbid. They are 'Affinity' and 'Fingersmith' by Sarah Waters. Waters has proven herself as a masterful storyteller, crafting tales that draw the reader in and do not let go.

"'Affinity' is a sensual and mysterious tale of a Lady Visitor to Victorian London's Millbank Prison, who becomes inextricably involved with the enigmatic spiritualist Selina Dawes. It’s filled with rich descriptions of Victorian prison life and gives the reader fascinating glimpses into the Victorian obsession with all things spiritual and downright ghastly. This is not your run-of-the-mill mystery, gothic or otherwise. It is sensual, dark and entrancing, and I highly recommend 'Affinity' to anyone looking for a good yarn.

"As for 'Fingersmith,' again, Waters has outdone herself. I am only a third of the way through the novel, but already I realize it is her best to date, head and shoulders above 'Affinity' and 'Tipping the Velvet.' Again, it is not particularly morbid (yet), but it features more of various Victorian underworlds, both of the upper class and the not-so-upper class. The title refers to an old term for thieves, and it is the theme of ever shifting allegiances and distrust, of ever-winding tales that seem to zig when you expect them to zag, that lies at the center of 'Fingersmith.' Moreover, there are particularly interesting insights into Victorian madhouses that you might find worthy of note.

"Booklist describes the plot of this fascinating book thus: 'Sue Trinder, an orphan raised by a band of thieves, is recruited by a con man known as Gentleman, to help him in his quest to marry Maud Lilly, an heiress living in isolation in the country with her eccentric uncle. Maud stands to inherit a small fortune when she marries, and Gentleman intends to marry her, steal her inheritance, and imprison her in a madhouse. Sue agrees to pose as a maid to Maud and to gain her confidence. But Sue finds Maud sweet and trusting, and, to her surprise, she begins to fall in love with Maud and have serious misgivings about Gentleman's plan. But Sue only knows a small part of the scheme, and it will affect both her and Maud in ways she does not realize.'

"And by the way, 'Tipping the Velvet' is quite a great novel as well, if you’ve not read it yet! A rollicking good romp!"

Sounds like an interesting author, indeed!

by Sarah Waters

by Sarah Waters

Tipping the Velvet
by Sarah Waters

September 27, 2006

Today's Severed Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

From 1981 to 1982, a clan of four men (known as the Chicago Rippers), led by Robin Gecht, abducted seven women, mostly prostitutes. Gecht, along with Ed Spreitzer, and Andrew and Thomas Kokoraleis, would drag their victims into their van, rape them, and then slice off their breasts, later to be eaten while Gecht read passages from the Bible. You guessed it, Wanna-be Satanists!!! The bodies were found in various locations, from the bank of the Chicago River to the suburb of Barrington. Unfortunately for the Rippers, their last victim survived the incredibly painful ordeal, gave the police a description, and the nimrods were caught within days.

Gecht got off easy with the Charlie Manson defense, stating that he never actually committed the murders, and only got life, along with Spreitzer. The brothers got the death penalty, with Andy buying it in March of 1999. They were all found mentally competent to stand trial, in which it was revealed that the women would be sacrificed to the Dark Lord. Gecht kept, as trophies, a box of severed breasts, each partially consumed by a Ripper. And guess what? Gecht was employed by no other than a Mr. John Gacy in the mid-seventies. Funny how those things work out sometimes, isn't it?

Culled from: New City Chicago
Generously submitted by: Bruce Townley


Only one word sums this one up for me: Shudder!!! I guess this is my punishment for all of those penis-severing facts I've sent...

Today is my birthday - otherwise known as the day I move from Horribly Old to Fossilized. Naturally, I plan to spend the day sulking under heavy covers, with tears saturating my wrinkled old countenance. Send your condolences (and mind-altering medication) to the usual address...


Morbid Trinket Du Jour!

We all hate the drudgery of hauling our laundry to the laundromat to spend a couple of hours brooding with all the other poor people. So, why not enliven the experience with a Body Bag laundry bag? Available from Pushin' Daisies, and great for laundry, body parts, or whatever else you can think of!

Thanks to Ladyfreud for the suggestion.


Wretched Recommendations!

StitchWitch has a painful book recommendation.

"In the spirit of sharing, I would suggest a squicksome read in the following tome:

The Excruciating History of Dentistry: Toothsome Tales & Oral Oddities from Babylon to Braces
by James Wynbrandt

"One's next oral health visit will never be the same after soaking up the dread results of one's ancestors' experiences with dental dismay. Do, please, enjoy!"

Oh, I am sure that I will!

September 28, 2006

Today's Ironic Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

A family and friends visiting the spot where Susan Smith drowned her two little boys met with tragedy themselves when their vehicle rolled into John D. Long Lake. Three adults and four children drowned. Five of the victims were from one family - parents and their three children. "It's like it's haunted or something. It keeps taking lives"' Tommy Vinson, 46, said as he stood beside the lake a half-dozen miles outside town. The accident happened in August, 1996. State divers worked through the night to find the bodies in the water near the boat ramp where Ms. Smith killed her children.

The group of 10 had driven out to the lake and parked next to the ramp with their Chevrolet Suburban's headlights shining on two memorials to the Smith boys, 3-year-old Michael and 14-month-old Alex. Five of the group had gotten out of the vehicle when it started to roll toward the water with four children and an adult inside. It passed between the memorial markers and knocked over a young tree planted in the Smith boys' memory as it slid down the steep grassy embankment into about 15 feet of water. Two adults - parents of three of the children - dived into the lake to help, and drowned with the others. "There's going to be some who say the lake needs to be drained. There should have been guardrails built," said Leonard Roark, a retired textile worker from Union who was among those gathered at the lake Sunday morning.

The accident killed an entire family from nearby Buffalo: Tim Phillips, 28; his wife, Angie, 22; and Courtney, 4; Melena, 23 months, and 4-month-old Kinsleigh, said Teresa Mims, the Phillips' cousin. Tim and Angie Phillips were the ones who jumped into the water trying to save their children and the others. Union, a town of 10,000 people, is roughly 55 miles northwest of Columbia.

Culled from: The Augusta Chronicle
Generously submitted by: Heather


Now, there's an excellent morbid sightseeing spot! John D. Long Lake! Why didn't I think to go there when I was "stationed" in Augusta for work? Damn!!

Here's a page that discusses the Susan Smith and Phillips deaths, and contains some photographs of the lake and the Smith memorial:


Wretched Recommendations!

StitchWitch has a painful book recommendation.

"In the spirit of sharing, I would suggest a squicksome read in the following tome:

The Excruciating History of Dentistry: Toothsome Tales & Oral Oddities from Babylon to Braces
by James Wynbrandt

"One's next oral health visit will never be the same after soaking up the dread results of one's ancestors' experiences with dental dismay. Do, please, enjoy!"

Oh, I am sure that I will!


Urban Exploration Link Du Jour!

Rich sends me a link to a magnificent interactive Urban Exploration site - Urban Exploration Resource.

"If you're into exploring abandoned buildings, UER just rocks!"

Indeed, it does!

September 29, 2006

Today's Bulletproof Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

As condemned criminal James W. Rodgers faced the firing squad in 1960, he was asked if he had a final request. "Why, yes," replied Rodgers, "a bulletproof vest."

Culled from: The Book Of Lists 3
Generously submitted by: Ken


Morbid Sightseeing!

William13 has a morbid sightseeing suggestion for Lynchburg, Virginia:

I had the opportunity to visit the Old City Cemetery in Lynchburg, Virginia. A beautifully maintained cemetery dating from the golden age, it boasts a sizable contigent of Confederate dead, a renowned collection of rose bushes as well as a pond and 'scattering' garden for the ashes of the cremated. But most exciting was the 'Pest House' where the poor sufferers of smallpox were treated during the great smallpox epidemic of 1862 - 1864. One could almost hear the desperate groans of the blighted souls as the doctor and nurses coated their rotting flesh with various balms and unguents... You can read more about it


Morbid Site Du Jour!

Mike shares a morbid find:

"I did a google search for commercial enterprises that offer mummification. I don't know if you've seen this before, but I found:

Modern Mummification

"This site is fabulous in and of itself, but the real beauty is their children's web site:

"Mummy Bear's homepage! A cute little dead teddy bear wrapped in bandages, explaining all about Modern Mummification to little children! Actually it doesn't really explain all that much in terms of actual mummification process on the children's web site (disappointing but not surprising, the adult site doesn't get into the gritty details either), but some of the poems like 'Mummy Bear Prayer' are just the thing to nicely warp a young mind for years to come. And they sell Original Mummy Bear plush toys, and anatomical Mummy Bear which has removable organs."

September 30, 2006

Today's Deadly Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

When 85-year old Ana Brackett let Shirley Wolf, 14, and Cindy Collier, 15, into her California condominium to call their parents on June 14, 1983, she never suspected that the deadly duo would soon end her life by stabbing her 28 times with a butcher knife. Having just met that morning, the new best-friends quickly set out to find an elderly woman to rob and kill. Having met that goal, they ran back to Cindy's house, amused by their afternoon. The two juveniles were apprehended by police that night and both confessed that the murder was “a kick” and that they wanted to do another one. They were sentenced to be incarcerated until age 27.

Generously submitted by: Christine
Culled from: unspecified source


Morbid Sightseeing!

PoetStar1979 has a morbid sightseeing recommendation:

"You really ought to visit the old West Virginia State Penitentiary in Moundsville, WV. I went there a few times and it's fantastic! If you liked Eastern State in PA, you'd LOVE Moundsville! :) MTV did an episode of 'Fear' there, as well, but it was sorta fake... like the part where they make the person go into the room with the electric chair and take the sheet off of it... that was totally set up. The Chair is actually on display in the main entrance! But, you have to see this beautiful building.

"Here's a good link with some pictures"

Ohio Trespassers

"This is the homepage"

West Virginia Penitentiary


Wretched Recommendations!

Carolyn has a documentary film recommendation for us:

"I've got a morbid documentary for you to check out. It is called Mr. Death: The Rise and Fall of Fred A. Leuchter. This gentleman's claim to fame is that he has created many of the death chambers that are used in executions in the United States. He is the inventor of the lethal injection system that is used, and constructed gallows and designed a helmet used in the electric chair.

"His other claim to fame is that he is an avid denier of the Holocaust. He has 'concrete' proof that it never happened, and has testified in court cases to that effect."

Ah, yes, Mr. Death! It's a film that I can heartily recommend. I've reviewed this one for the Library Eclectica previously, and here's what I had to say:

This is a fascinating documentary about Fred A. Leuchter, Jr., who was an in-demand designer of execution equipment for many years, before he fell into infamy by visiting Auschwitz, doing some research, and claiming that the supposed gas chambers could not have been used as such. Of course, such views (historically and scientifically faulty as they were), let to Fred's downfall, as states wouldn't work with him, Jewish groups targeted him, and neo-Nazis sought him out. But the best part of this video, for the morbid afficionados, is the in-depth look at the inner workings of execution devices such as the Electric Chair and the Gas Chamber. That, alone, is worth the price of admission!

Mr. Death: The Rise And Fall Of Fred A. Leuchter