July 1998

July 1, 1998
Andre Isoardo had to shoot himself five times before finally managing to kill himself. Along with a suicide note, police in Marseilles found 9mm bullets lodged in his stomach, groin, wrist, throat and brain. (March/April 1998, Bizarre magazine)

July 3, 1998
Donna Anderson of Chico, CA called the Kansas City police on June 2, 1998 because she was worried about her daughter, Deborah Gilman Epple, who had failed to show up for work and wasn't answering her phone. Police didn't take the call too seriously until they received a second call, from Epple's neighbor, who noticed that Epple hadn't been seen in days. A vile smell was beginning to emanate from the house, and thick layers of flies covered the windows. Officers forced open the door and rapidly found the horror they already knew was waiting for them. Epple was dead. Some time between when she left work May 26 and when she was supposed to return May 29 somebody methodically crushed her skull with a cinder block. The broken block was found in pieces near her body. Then the killer cut her throat all the way to her spine. Police searched for her boyfriend and when they finally took him into custody, he confessed that he beat Epple with a cinder block when she threatened to turn him in to the police on an outstanding warrant. After striking her several times he realized she was still breathing and he got a knife from the kitchen and slashed her throat. (Chico Enterprise-Record)

July 4, 1998
Two years ago, July 4th activities were overshadowed in Scottown, Ohio by a horrible arson fire in a fireworks store that killed 9 people. Todd Hall, a "mentally slow" 24-year-old who had part of his brain removed after a skateboarding accident several years earlier, started the deadly fire with a cigarette after being dared by his friends, who later laughed about it. About 40 people were in the store at the time and customers fled through exploding fireworks and bottle rockets. The dead were found in a heap near the front door and included two children and seven adults. Hall was later ruled incompetent to stand trial. (CNN News Archive)

July 5, 1998
When Larry Nettles received a pink bag from the South Carolina funeral home that had buried his father-in-law, he assumed it would contain the dead man's possessions. In fact it contained his heart and internal organs, sent to the family by mistake. Nettles only learned whwat was in the bag after his cat clawed it open. When he phoned the funeral home to complain, he was told to just bury the organs in the back garden. Unsurprisingly, he's suing. (Bizarre Magazine)

July 6, 1998
Joseph N. Gilson, 20, in jail in Stevens Point, Wis., serving time on a variety of minor charges, had told fellow inmates he planned to hang himself until unconscious so that he would be sent to a mental health facility that would be easier to escape from. On April 2, he put his plan into effect and accidentally strangled himself. (News Of The Weird)

July 8, 1998
The world's construction force is numerically massive. Over a lifetime, each worker can on the average expect to have three or four serious injuries which will keep him off work more than three days. One in 50 will die in a site accident. Falling from heights is the major killer, but other hazards include electrocution, explosions, the inhalation of toxic gases, and a multitude of chemical hazards from the handling of various solvents, paint removers, and resins. (The People's Almanac #2)

July 10, 1998
A year after screenwriter Gary DeVore vanished on a drive across the desert, divers following an amateur detective's lead found his Ford Explorer and human remains Wednesday, July 8, 1998 in the California Aqueduct below a highway bridge. DeVore vanished on June 28, 1997, while driving from New Mexico to his home in Carpinteria on the Santa Barbara County coast. After reading newspaper articles about the anniversary of DeVore's disappearance, an amateur detective, Douglas Crawford, contacted DeVore's publicist and investigators about a hypothesis he had formed. According to credit card receipts, DeVore, 55, refueled in Fenner, 35 miles west of Needles, after leaving New Mexico. Crawford deduced that DeVore was heading toward home because he spoke with his wife on the phone while passing through Barstow. Speculating that DeVore fell asleep while driving on the Antelope Valley Freeway and his vehicle rolled over the guard rail and into the murky aqueduct, Crawford visited the site Friday and found parts of an Explorer, including strips of Fiberglass and remnants of a headlight lens. Divers found DeVore's Explorer under water at a point where the highway crosses the aqueduct. They found remains in the vehicle and matched the license plates to DeVore's. A tow truck pulled the vehicle from the water. It had severe front-end damage. The body, in western style shirt, jeans and cowboy boots, was in an upright position with seatbelt on. (The Associated Press)

July 13, 1998
In 1297, the Scots, led by Sir William Wallace, rebelled against English rule and, for a short time, managed to defeat the English forces. However, in 1305, Wallace was captured and charged with treason. Wallace was found guilty and condemned to death with the sentence being carried out on the same day in the most inhumane way possible. He was dragged through the streets of London to a gallows erected in Elms in Smithfield. Where after being hanged for a short time he was taken down still breathing and his bowels torn out and burned. His head was then struck off, and his body divided into quarters, the punishment known as 'hanged, drawn and quartered'. His head was placed on a pole on London Bridge, his right arm above the bridge in Newcastle, his left arm was sent to Berwick, his right foot and limb to Perth and his left quarter to Aberdeen where it was buried in what is now the wall at St. Machars Cathedral. (Sir William Wallace)

July 14, 1998
Gram Parsons, country rock pioneer and drinking buddy of Keith Richards, died of a heroin overdose in 1973, aged 26. When his stepfather arranged for the body to be shipped home for a private funeral to which they were not invited, Parsons's muso pals got loaded on vodka and beer, and liberated the body from hapless airport workers by turning up in a borrowed hearse. Then, in accordance with Parsons' wishes, they drove the body out to the Joshua Tree, torched it with petrol, scattered the ashes and evaded the authorities who were, they said, "encumbered by sobriety." (Bizarre, May 1998)

July 15, 1998
Roman emperor Nero held night games at the coliseum by the light of burning Christian martyrs. (The Big Book Of Bad)

July 16, 1998
A robbery victim drowned in a 3-inch-deep puddle of water after being knocked unconscious, and police said a witness who was afraid to go outside might have been able to save the victim's life simply by turning him over. Instead, the witness, Walter Tyler, who is deaf and cannot talk, panicked Tuesday (July 14, 1998) after he saw two men hit Luis Ernesto Chan, 45, in the head with a stick and steal his cash and 21-speed mountain bike, police said. Passing paramedics found Chan dead in the puddle 10 minutes later. (The Associated Press)

July 18, 1998
Fritz Haarman was a murderous sociopath who was known as the "Vampire of Hanover". Together with his 20-year-old lover Hans Grans, he proceeded to murder countless boys and sell their clothes and meat on the German black market during the early 1900's. Despite the fact that numerous boys that he was seen with disappeared and that he had a long history of petty crime, the police did not conduct an in-depth investigation of Haarman because he was a trusted informant with abundant charm. The mysterious disappearances continued for years and the public grew ever more fearful until the spring of 1924 when several skulls were found on the banks of the Leine. A few weeks later Haarman was caught attempting to abduct a young man. This time under questioning he broke down and confessed, though he blamed Grans for instigating the horror. He revealed his murder method in gruesome detail. After luring a victim back to the apartment for a meal, he would rip the boy's throat out with his teeth. He cut up the bodies and sold the meat. The bones were thrown in the river. During the grisly spree, Haarman himself subsisted primarily on the flesh of his victims. Word of Haarman's horrors spread and thousands of people turned out to watch as the police dredged the river. They recovered hundreds of human bones. Haarman and Grans were both convicted of multiple murders. Grans got life in prison (later commuted after 12 years). Haarman was sentenced to death. He chose decapitation by the sword, saying: "Deliver me from this life, which is torment. I will curse my father and go to my execution as if it were a wedding." Haarman claimed not to remember how many young boys he had killed but police estimated the number for the previous year alone at over 100. (The Big Book Of Bad)

July 19, 1998
In 1014, the Byzantine emperor Basil II defeated the Bulgars to end a 30 year war. Basil took 14,000 prisoners. The Bulgarian leader, Tsar Samuel, escaped. Basil didn't want to take care of the prisoners so he let them go... after blinding 99 out of every 100 men. The 100th had only one eye put out so he could lead the blind while the blind held onto each other's belts. The prisoners were forced to make their way home as best they could. No one knows how many of the prisoners died en route. Their countrymen were aghast at the sight of the survivors. Two days after he saw the mutilated survivors, Tsar Samuel fell down in a fit and died. Basil II incorporated the Bulgarian kingdom into his own and became known to history as "Basil the Bulgar Slayer". (The Big Book Of Bad)

July 20, 1998
In Granville, near Sydney, Australia, on January 18, 1977 a crowded commuter train travelling at only 20mph became derailed and struck the supporting pillars of an over-bridge. The bridge collapsed onto the train killing 83 of the passengers and injuring more than 200 others. The track upon which the train was running was in very poor condition due to lack of maintenance. It was this that caused two of the carriages to become derailed despite the very low speed (20 mph was considered to be a speed that was entirely appropriate for the track). At another point on the line, the derailment would have been nothing more than a minor incident as the train could have come to rest quite safely causing few, if any injuries. Despite the fact that an inquiry completely exonerated the driver, popular opinion held him responsible and many death threats were made to him. (Lynne Rutledge)

July 21, 1998
On the morning of July 15, 1974, Chris Hubbock, a news-anchor at Florida TV station WXLT-TV, announced, "In keeping with Channel 40's policy of bringing you the latest in blood and guts, and in living color, you are going to see another first: attempted suicide," and fired a pistol at her head. The show went out live. Hubbock died 14 hours later. (Bizarre Magazine, August 1998 )

July 23, 1998
One of the slowest and most traumatic methods of execution is stoning. This method is still used in many countries including Iran, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. The victim is bound hand and foot and buried up to the neck in sand. They're covered with a sheet and 'injured parties' plus anyone who happens to be hanging around throw specially selected stones at their head until they stop moving and screaming. According to Article 119 of the Islamic Codes of Iran (1980): "In the punishment of stoning to death, the stones should not be too large, so that a person dies on being hit by one or two...' they should not be too small either that they could not be defined as stones." External wounds and internal brain hemorrhaging cause enough blood loss and brain damage to kill you. (Bizarre, August 1998)

July 26, 1998
Pliny the Elder was a Roman scientist. His most famous work was Natural History. Pliny's interest in volcanoes drew him too close to the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in A.D. 79. He was overcome by its toxic fumes. (The Big Book Of Bad)

July 27, 1998
Three spectators were killed and six were injured by flying debris from a one-car crash at the U.S. 500 at Michigan Speedway Sunday (7/26/98). A tire and some suspension pieces from Adrian Fernandez's car flew into the fourth-turn grandstand, killing two people immediately. A third person could not be resuscitated. The six injured spectators were all in stable condition with injuries ranging from fractured legs to neck and back pain. They were the first fatalities at a Championship Auto Racing Team event - or any other major oval-track race - since the 1987 Indy 500, when a tire came off a car and was struck by Roberto Guerrero's car, sending it into the top row of the grandstand and killing a fan. (The Associated Press)

July 28, 1998
Isabeau of Bavaria, the consort of King Charles VI of France, regularly applied to her face an emollient of boar brains, wolf blood, and crocodile glands. (The People's Almanac #2)

July 29, 1998
Syphilis was initially called the "Italian Disease", the "French Disease", and the "great pox" (as opposed to small pox). It was not recognized that its transmission was venereal until the eighteenth century. In 1767, John Hunter, an English biologist and physician, innoculated himself with urethral exudate from a patient with gonorrhea. It turned out that the patient also had syphilis, and Hunter's subsequent symptoms not only proved venereal transmission, but also convinced two generations of physicians of the unity of syphilis and gonorrhea. The separate nature of the two was demonstrated in 1838 by Ricord, who reported his observations on more than 2500 human innoculations! ( Syphilis Courseware)

July 30, 1998
An Ontario man was electrocuted when his kite, strung with a fishing wire, struck power lines over an open field. The Toronto Star said today 38-year-old Alan David Smith was flying a kite with his son near Cobourg, Ontario, when the accident occurred. Detective Constable Jake Berga of the Ontario Provincial Police told The Star, "The wind took the kite in northwesterly direction over (a nearby) highway and the fishing wire contacted the hydro wires, which resulted in Mr Smith being electrocuted." Smith was taken to a hospital in Cobourg where he was pronounced dead shortly after arrival. His 10-year-old son was not injured. (UPI)

July 31, 1998
Henry VIII died on January 28, 1547. Despite his having had one of the best-kept medical records in history, there still is controversy as to the real cause of Henry's death. At the age of 35, after a serious jousting accident, he began to develop chronic migraine headaches and extraordinarily painful leg ulcers which eventually crippled him. In his late 30s, Henry underwent a major personality change. From a benevolent and wise ruler, he slowly turned into an irrational and fearsome ogre. On January 17, 1536, when he was 44, Henry suffered his worst jousting accident (while showing off to the ladies) and lay unconscious for two hours. His fits of blind anger became aggravated by acute insomia, painful sore throats, and recurrent, agonizing headaches. He became prematurely gray and abnormally obese. At 45 he developed a strange growth on the side of his nose. At 49 he probably became sterile or impotent. During the last year of his life, before his death at age 55, he could hardly walk and was transported everywhere by sedan chair. He spent his last eight days in bed, too weak even to lift a glass to his lips. Finally, amid the horrendous stench of his bursting ulcers, Henry died - fulfilling a prophecy made 10 years earlier by Lord Montague that Henry's "leg will kill him and then we will have jolly stirring." It had also been prophesied that "the dogs would lick his bones as they did Ahab's". While his body was being transported to Windsor for burial, the coffin burst open during the night. In the morning, sentries found dogs licking Henry's remains. All his symptoms indicate that Henry actually died from Syphilis. (The People's Almanac #2)
Elise writes: "I'm afraid that I must take issue with this account. The personality changes were not so sudden, and the fits of blind anger were a trait from his childhood - when his sister Margaret was made Queen of Scots, Henry threw himself on the floor in a screaming and crying fit of rage because she would take precedence over him at table. Henry VIII likely died, according to present forensic theories, by a thrombosed vein in his leg ulcer (the only ulcer mentioned by any contemporary account) throwing a clot which found its way to his obesity-weakened lungs, causing a pulmonary embolism. The syphillis theory is no longer a contender, the symptoms just don't match up. As to the drinking of the blood by dogs, your account is a bit distorted. There was indeed a prophecy that if the king set aside Katherine of Aragon for Anne Boleyn, 'He should be as Ahab, and the dogs shall lick his blood.' On a stop during its transport for burial, the King's coffin rested in the ruined chapel of Syon Abbey. There the lead coffin, weakened by the journey, burst open, and liquid matter seeped onto the church pavement. A dog was with the plumbers who came in the morning to repair the coffin, and it was seen to lick up the blood from the floor, just as Friar Peto had predicted back in 1532."