20 ACTORS WHO HAVE THE MOST ON SCREEN DEATHS

20 ACTORS WHO HAVE THE MOST ON SCREEN DEATHS -

One does not simply assume that Sean Bean dies the most of all actors who’ve acted in films. That’d be absurd. And yet, we all think it. In fact, if we ever found ourselves on Jeopardy or at the local bar’s trivia night, we’d make this claim without a second thought.Sorry, old Bean, you’re not even in the top ten of actors who’ve died the most on screen. You’ve got a ways to go.

New Line Cinema

Sean Bean- 25 Deaths

Let’s start with the man of the hour, though.

Notable deaths: Game of Thrones, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, GoldenEye, Patriot Games, The Hitcher

New Line Cinema

Christopher Lee – 70 Deaths

The winner of most deaths goes to Sir Lee. Keep in mind though, he’s got over 200+ acting credits to his name.Notable deaths: Star Wars Episode III, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, Airport ’77, The Curse of Frankenstein, & Horror of Dracula

20th Century Fox

Vincent Price – 48 Deaths

Notable deaths: Edward Scissorhands, Tower of London, The Ten Commandments & Theatre of Blood

Universal Pictures

Dennis Hopper – 48 Deaths

Notable deaths: Waterworld, Speed, 24, Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, Easy Rider and Blue Velvet

Columbia Pictures

John Hurt – 43 Deaths

Notable deaths: Alien, V for Vendetta, Hellboy, Spaceballs, & Snowpiercer

Universal Pictures

Boris Karloff – 42 Deaths

Notable deaths: Frankenstein, The Man of Fu Manchu, The Black Cat, The Raven, & The Mummy

20th Century Fox

Lance Henriksen – 41 Deaths

Notable deaths: Terminator, Alien 3, Scream 3, Pumpkinhead & Hard Target

20th Century Fox

Danny Trejo – 41 Deaths

Notable deaths: Desperado, From Dusk ’til Dawn, Breaking Bad, Heat, Once Upon a Time in Mexico

Warner Bros

Eric Roberts – 38 Deaths

Notable deaths: The Dark Knight, The Expendables, The Cable Guy, Miss Lonelyhearts, & National Security

Universal Pictures

Bela Lugosi – 36 Deaths

Notable deaths: Dracula, White Zombie, The Raven & Plan 9 from Outer Space

Lucasfilm

Mark Hamill – 30 Deaths

Notable deaths: Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Kingsman: The Secret Service, Village of the Damned, Batman: Arkham City, & Gen 13

20th Century Fox

Michael Biehn – 29 Deaths

Notable deaths:Terminator, Alien 3, Tombstone, The Abyss, The Rock, & Stiletto

Fox Searchlight

Mickey Rourke –
28 Deaths

Notable deaths:Angelheart, Sin City, Iron Man 2, Body Heat, Once Upon a Time in Mexico and Immortals, among others.

Warner Bros,

Jack Palance – 28 Deaths

Notable deaths: Young Guns, Batman, Tango & Cash, City Slickers, & Cyborg 2

Universal Pictures

Sven-Ole Thorsen
– 27 Deaths

Notable deaths: Predator, Conan The Barbarian, Conan The Destroyer, Lethal Weapon, Red Sonja, & Hard Target

Warner Bros.

Max von Sydow – 26 Deaths

Notable deaths: The Seventh Seal, The Exorcist, Flash Gordon, Dune, Ghostbusters II & Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens

Paramount Pictures

Christopher Plummer – 26 Deaths

Notable deaths: Hamlet, Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, Dracula 2000, National Treasure, & Up

British Lion Films

Donald Sutherland – 26 Deaths

Notable deaths:Don’t Look Now, The Italian Job, The Mechanic, Horrible Bosses, & The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2

Warner Bros.

Rutger Hauer – 25 Deaths

Notable deaths: Blade Runner, The Hitcher, Hobo With a Shotgun, Sin City, & Confessions of a Dangerous Mind

Looks like you’re gonna have to die a couple more times, Sean.

Via Imdb


We're Wiping Out Other Species At An Ever Faster Rate

We're Wiping Out Other Species At An Ever Faster Rate -

A big fat hat tip to drawman for this post

 

There are roughly 8 million plant and animal species in the world. One of them — homo sapiens — may soon wipe out a million of the rest. And we’re just getting started.

That’s the depressing bottom line from a comprehensive new United Nations report on biodiversity. Species are going extinct at a rate unmatched in human history — and the die-off is accelerating. It sounds melodramatic to say that we’re killing the planet, but that’s what the scientific evidence tells us. And ignorant, shortsighted leadership makes optimistic scenarios elusive.

Species extinction is one of those problems whose vast scale, in space and time, makes it difficult to comprehend, let alone address globally. As any paleontologist can tell you, species appear and disappear naturally at a gradual rate with no human intervention. And in the 3.5-billion-year history of life on Earth, there have been five abrupt mass extinctions when more than three-quarters of all living species were quickly wiped out. The most recent came 66 million years ago, when an asteroid strike is believed to have killed off the dinosaurs.

If there are intelligent observers 66 million years from now, their scientists may conclude that the sixth mass extinction was caused by us — and that we saw what we were doing but lacked the wisdom and courage to stop ourselves.

The next species to go extinct may be some scruffy weedlike plant or weird little insect you’ve never heard of. But that weed may synthesize a chemical that acts as a magic bullet against certain deadly cancers, or that insect may control the population of some other insect that harbors a plaguelike virus. We’ll never know. They’ll be gone.

Amphibians, marine mammals and corals are critically endangered, the report says. If you dream of a trip to see the Great Barrier Reef, I wouldn’t put it off.

A summary of the report by the United Nations-sponsored Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services was released Monday in Paris, culminating years of work by leading environmental scientists around the globe. Its findings will be widely noted and lamented; its recommendations, I fear, widely ignored.

For once, human-induced climate change is not the most egregious cause of a slow-motion global catastrophe. The primary cause of accelerating species loss, according to the report, is rapid change in patterns of land and sea usage. Farming, fishing, logging, mining and other activities are changing — in many cases, deeply scarring — the natural world.

An estimated 23,000 to 30,000 spectacled flying fox bats perished during the heat wave, which lasted from November 26 to 27. One third of the species dead in two days.

 

We knew that, of course. Sea captains have told us about the enormous patch of plastic trashfloating in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Satellite photos chart the ongoing destruction of the Amazon rain forest. The report states that more than 85 percent of the world’s wetlands have been eliminated over the past three centuries. The amount of land designated as “urban” has doubled since 1992.

Malthusian predictions that rapid population growth would lead to scarcity and famine have proved spectacularly wrong. The global middle class has ballooned, while the percentage of humans living in extreme poverty has shrunk to levels never dreamed of. But all that economic growth has put an unprecedented strain on the natural world, and scientists can only sketch the ultimate consequences. In effect, we are running a fateful experiment with our one and only planet — and there’s no chance of a do-over.

An orangutan tries desperately to fight off an excavator

I have enormous faith in human ingenuity. But it needs to be accompanied by some basic common sense.

One example: Of the world’s 7.5 billion people, nearly 5 billion have mobile phones. The incredible spread of that one technology greatly boosts global connectivity, creativity and happiness — and also creates enormous quantities of manufacturing waste and discardable plastic. We need to keep expanding access to this life-changing technology. But we need to find cleaner, more sustainable ways of doing so.

Whether we’re talking about species loss or climate change, whether we’re considering the smog that shrouds Beijing and New Delhi or the fracking fluids being pumped into the ground in Appalachia, at some point we’re going to realize that development that fails to take sustainability into account is not a step forward. It’s a step into the unknown, and potentially a step toward disaster.

The question isn’t whether we come to this realization and begin to act accordingly, but when. The new U.N. report says that for up to a million species, many of which we haven’t even identified and studied, our enlightenment may come too late. We can only hope there is still time to save the one we call our own.

 

Those pauses are where the female was supposed to chime in, this was a mating duet.  His species mated for life.

 He was the last of his kind.


25 Gruesome Crimes Committed By Terrible People

25 Gruesome Crimes Committed By Terrible People -

 

 

Pol Pot


During the time that Pol Pot ruled Cambodia, at least 1.4 million Cambodians were killed or died. Some individuals loyal to him were even killed for failing to find enough “counter-revolutionaries” to execute. As a result of starvation under Pol Pot, Cambodians began to hunt and eat Tarantulas in the countryside for sustenance. Tarantulas have since become a specialty snack and popular treat for tourist.

Delphine LaLaurie


In the 1800s, a wealthy socialite named Delphine LaLaurie kept and tortured slaves in her mansion. In her torture chamber, women were chained to beds with their stomachs cut open, and their intestines wrapped about their waists. There were men with their eyeballs poked out and their private parts mutilated among other horrors.

Luis Garavito


Serial Killer with the most confirmed murders, Luis Garavito a.k.a ‘The Beast’ was charged with killing 172 children (it is speculated that the actual number exceeded 300). He received a sentence of 1853 years, but could not serve more than 30 years due to Colombian law. He is now only serving 22 years because he was a cooperating witness and will be released in 2021.

 

Thompson and Venables


In 1993, a 2-year-old boy named James Bulger was abducted, tortured and murdered by two 10-year-old boys, Robert Thompson, and Jon Venables. There was a worldwide injunction against publication of either killers' location or new identity and in 2011 Venables was sent back to prison for child porn.

Fritz Haarmann


Fritz Haarmann was a German serial killer who killed at least 24 men and boys. He was known as the “Wolfman” because of his preference for biting through his victims' throats, which he referred to as “love bites.” He also dismembered their bodies which he is believed to have sold as mincemeat.

Darya Nikolayevna Saltykova


In the 1700s, there was a rich widowed noblewoman named Darya Nikolayevna Saltykova, who out of jealousy, tortured and murdered servants. Because of her status, it took a petition to the royals to have her investigated. She spent several years in a windowless room. She survived in prison for 33 years.

Joshua Phillips


Joshua Phillips at the age of 14 murdered his 8-year-old neighbor and hid her under his water bed for a week. During that time he was also a volunteer in her search party. He was later given a life sentence and now works as a paralegal to help other inmates with their appeals.

Griselda Blanco


Griselda "Godmother" Blanco was suspected of over 200 murders, made $80 million a month in drug money, allegedly kidnapped and killed a child when she was only 11 years old, and only ever served 15 years in prison before being killed by a drive-by at the age of 69.

Woo Bum-Kon


A South Korean man named Woo Bum-kon went a massive killing spree in 1982. He went village to village shooting and bombing people. In total he killed 56 and injured 35 people. He did this after he was filled with rage because he was awoken by his live-in girlfriend swatting a fly on his chest.

Jack Unterweger


A serial killer named Jack Unterweger after being convicted of murder in 1974 was released in 1990 as an example of rehabilitation. He became a journalist and a minor celebrity, but within months started killing again, eventually murdering possibly over 12 people.

 

 

Susan Smith


Susan Smith was given a life sentence for drowning her two young children in their car and subsequently reporting them kidnapped by a black man. She was later directly been involved in two incidents at the prison that resulted in two prison guards being punished for having sex with her.

Katherine Knight


A woman named Katherine Knight, murdered her lover, skinned him, decapitated him, cooked chunks of his flesh in a stew and attempted to feed it to his two children.

Ilse Koch


Ilse Koch, a female commandant at Buchenwald concentration camp was, apparently, obsessed with collecting human skin and shrunken heads. She was accused of taking pieces of skin as souvenirs off murdered inmates who had distinctive tattoos. She also killed prisoners if they just looked at her. The Nazis named her “The B*tch of Buchenwald.”

Charles Cullen


A nurse named Charles Cullen is the most prolific serial killer in the state of New Jersey, charged with up to 400 undocumented murders. His weapon of choice was Digoxin, a heart medication.

Mohammed Bijeh


Mohammed Bijeh a.k.a The Desert Vampire was an Iranian serial killer who killed 16 boys. He was executed in 2005. His tricked boys into coming with him to a desert by telling them that they were going hunting. Once he killed them, he buried their bodies in shallow, sandy graves. At his execution, he was first flogged 100 times. The brother of one victim tried to stab him, but the boy was quickly pushed away by the soldiers.

Mary Ann Cotton


In the mid-1800s, a woman named Mary Ann Cotton murdered 21 people by arsenic poisoning. Her victims including 4 of her husbands and her 11 children. She did it to collect their insurance money. She was arrested and later hung for her crimes.

Ahmad Suradji


An Indonesian serial killer named Ahmad Suradji killed 42 women and buried them with the heads facing his house believing that it would give him mystic powers as a sorcerer.

Baruch Goldstein


In 1994, Baruch Goldstein, a physician in the Israeli Defense Forces, entered a mosque and massacred 29 Palestinian Muslim worshipers and wounded another 125 before being beaten to death by survivors. His gravesite became a pilgrimage site for radical Jews around the world and was visited by over 10,000 people.

Christopher Pittman


In 2001, a 12-year-old boy named Christopher Pittman shot his grandparents, burned their house down, and stole their car to flee the scene in Huntsville, Alabama. His attorneys maintain that the side effects of Zoloft (which was not approved for minors) caused him to do it. Pittman was sentenced to 30 years in prison in 2005, which was later reduced to 25 years.

Aribert Heim


Aribert Heim is known as Dr. Death because of the horrific experiments he performed on Jews during the Holocaust. He removed organs of Jewish prisoners without anesthetic during his time at Mauthausen concentration camp. After World War 2, he evaded capture by escaping Germany and converting to Islam, living in Egypt under the name Tarek Hussein Farid until his death in 1992.

 

 

Albert Fish


Serial killer Albert Fish would embed needles into his groin and abdomen. After his arrest, x-rays revealed that he had at least 29 needles lodged in his pelvic region. He also hit himself with a nail-studded paddle and inserted wool doused with lighter fluid into his anus and lit it. She was a sadistic, pedophile, and admitted to cannibalizing several children. His last words before execution were, “I don't even know why I’m here.”

Kenneth McDuff


In 1966, Kenneth McDuff murdered three people and was sentenced to death. His sentence was later commuted to life, and he was paroled in 1989. He went on to murder at least four more people, was caught in 1992, once again sentenced to death, and executed in 1998.

Frederick Mors


Frederick Mors, who wore a white lab coat, referred to himself as "Herr Doktor", and killed at least 8 elderly patients in 1914-15. He escaped from an insane asylum at the age of 26 and was never heard from again.

 

Anatoly Slivko


A Soviet serial killer named Anatoly Slivko tricked over 47 boys into being hanged with the promise of being in a movie.

Albert Johnson Walker


A Canadian man named Albert Johnson Walker convinced a co-worker to swap identities before murdering him with an anchor and tossing him from a boat. Police identified the victim by his Rolex, which also recorded the time of death. As of 2019, he is serving a prison term for embezzlement and murder.


29 Of The Most Shocking 'Game of Thrones' Deaths - Ranked!

29 Of The Most Shocking 'Game of Thrones' Deaths - Ranked! -

‘Game of Thrones’ is known for killing off its characters. Like most people, my favorite death was that little shit-head Joffrey. But, this ranking is based on how much each loss shocked us, changed the show’s tone, and made us rethink our concept of the series, rather than purely on emotional impact.Warning: Spoilers Ahead!

29: Maester Aemon Targaryen(S5, E7)Aemon proves that a more traditional death from old age can be just as sad and shocking as the violent ends so many characters face. When he finally passed away in bed, at least he had Sam and Gilly at his side.

28. Thoros of Myr(S7, E6)When our gang of favorite Northerners finds themselves surrounded by the Army of the Dead, they’re forced to remain on a small frozen piece of land in the middle of a lake overnight. It is during this time that Thoros freezes to death, devastating Beric.

27. Talisa Stark(S3, E9)Talisa’s death was just the start to the nonstop nightmare of “The Red Wedding.” Compared to other victims like Robb and Catelyn, we didn’t know Talisa that well. But stabbing her unborn baby to death was a horrible way to start things off.

26. Jojen Reed(S4, E10)Apparently, Jojen always knew he was doomed to die, but was still determined to get Bran to where he needed to go. He didn’t deserve to be repeatedly stabbed by a skeleton, but at least he died having fulfilled his duty to Bran.

25. Syrio Forel(S1, E8)What do we say to the God of Death? “Not today.” Maisie Williams recently confirmed that Arya’s “dance instructor” never made it out of King’s Landing, and the news devastated us.

24. Grey Wind(S3, E9)You might think it’s crazy to have a direwolf this high on the list. But, if you still remember Grey Wind’s dying whimper after those Frey bastards shot him full of arrows, you’ll agree.

23. Lady(S1, E2)Arya’s direwolf died at the reluctant hand of Ned Stark after Joffrey, in one of his earliest displays of douchery, said she attacked him.

22. Stannis Baratheon(S5, E10)Watching Stannis get sucked deeper and deeper into Melisandre’s preachings was frustrating, to say the least. Every now and then he still showed a flash of humanity, but by the time Brienne tracks him down and exacts her revenge, Stannis has committed or condoned some truly appalling crimes.

21. Barristan Selmy(S5, E4)Ser Barristan remained a legendary fighter even in his old age, so it seems appropriate that he finally went down in a grand battle against the Sons of the Harpy, and even saved Grey Worm.

20. Shae(S4, E10)Just like Tyrion, we used to love Shae, but then she went and betrayed him at his trial. We’re still mad at her for that, but that doesn’t mean we weren’t sad and rather shocked when Tyrion ended up strangling her to death after being broken out of his jail cell.

19. Viserys Targaryen(S1, E6)Viserys was a sniveling brat who proudly admitted he’d let 40,000 men rape his sister for a shot at the throne. Well, he finally got the gold crown he always wanted when Drogo poured liquid gold over his head. Careful what you wish for!

18. Mance Rayder(S5, E1)Stannis sure does like burning people. Dying at the stake seems like a lame way for the fearsome King Beyond the Wall to go, but at least Jon Snow helped him out with that arrow to the heart.

17. Robert Baratheon(S1, E7)Cause of death? “A wild boar.” But really, his wife Cersei’s scheming (she got him drunk before he went hunting) was really to blame. Still, it all happened off-screen, so it was a bit of a bore. Get it, boar/bore!? I’ll see myself out…

16. Shireen Baratheon(S5, E9)Shireen couldn’t catch a fuckin’ break. Afflicted with greyscale and openly hated by her awful mother, she was still a remarkably sweet girl. Stannis seemed to love his daughter, but still goes along with Melisandre’s plan to sacrifice her to the Lord of Light.

15. Olenna Tyrell(S7, E3)One of our favorite schemers, Olenna went out with a bang. After she drinks Jaime’s poison, she informs him of her involvement in Joffrey’s horrific murder. “Tell Cersei,” she says, smiling at him. “I want her to know it was me.”

14. Walder Frey(S6, E10)Walder Frey had to die, and it had to hurt. The things that didn’t have to happen are what make his death great, specifically: the cold symmetry of Frey’s slit throat and Catelyn Stark’s, baking Frey’s kids into a pie, and best of all Arya doing the deed herself.

13. Khal Drogo(S1, E10)Our sun and stars’ death was a most painful one, mostly because of the tender relationship he came to share with Daenerys by the end of season one. Watching her smother her love to end his suffering was downright painful, but seeing the fire it ignited under the mother of dragons was almost worth it.

12. Ygritte(S4, E9)That kid Olly thought he was doing a good thing by shooting an arrow in Ygritte’s back, but all he did was break Jon Snow’s heart. AND OURS. We’ll never hear her taunt Jon Snow about his head full of nothingness again.

11. Tommen Baratheon(S6, E10)Poor, sweet, Tommen never wanted any of this. The crushing silence of his suicide produced probably the most memorable isolated death in “The Winds of Winter,” an episode with the highest main-cast-member kill count of the whole series since “The Rains of Castamere.”

10. Lord Ramsay Bolton(S6, E9)After seasons of watching the Bastard of Bolton murder, rape, torture, and humiliate characters, we finally go to watch him die. It was disturbing as hell to watch him get devoured by his own dogs – the beasts he starved to terrorize others – but it was satisfying as hell.

9. Viserion(S7, E6)We all knew Daenerys couldn’t keep ALL three of her dragons forever, and if she was gonna lose one, we’re happy that he at least turns into a badass zombie dragon that breathes blue fire.

8. Tywin Lannister(S4, E10)Getting crossbowed on the can is a pretty crappy way to go. (Sorry, I had to.) Tyrion shot Tywin twice in the torso, without even letting arguably the most powerful man in Westeros pull up his pants.

7. Robb Stark(S3, E9)Robb did sort of bring this on himself, but it was for love! Watching his agonizing crawl over to Talisa’s lifeless body was too much to handle.

6. Joffrey Baratheon(S4, E2)Sure, we all screamed “HE’S FINALLY DEAD!” from the mountaintops after Joffrey chocked down poison at his own wedding – but we have to admit we almost miss hating on the little bastard. Almost.

5. Hodor(S6, E5)Three simple words: “Hold the door.” I don’t think any of us were prepared for Hodor’s devastating backstory and death. It was the most I’ve ever cried watching someone die on ‘Game of Thrones.’

4. Littlefinger(S7, E7)Well, it’s about damn time. Petyr Baelish has been playing all our favorite characters for way too long. Watching Arya slit Littlefinger’s throat with the very dagger he tried to have Bran Stark killed with was such poetic justice.

3. Catelyn Stark(S3, E9)How much pain can one mom endure? Her husband is dead, her son Bran was pushed out of a tower, her son Robb was just killed, her unborn grandson was just stabbed…I could go on. It’s almost a relief when another Frey comes up to kill her too.

2. Eddard Stark(S1, E9)Ned’s execution was the first clear warning: don’t get attached to ANYONE. This franchise can and will come for even the most lovable, loyal dads. Seeing Ned’s severed head is a TV moment that still haunts us.

1. Oberyn Martell(S4, E8)Everyone was sporting Team Oberyn t-shirts when it came to his trial by combat battle with The Mountain. And it wasn’t enough to have him murdered. Oh no. They let us believe the Red Viper had won and avenged his sister right before the Mountain popped his head up! Tyrion’s fate was literally in Oberyn’s hands, which made it even more devastating to watch his skull get brutally crushed by the biggest man we’ve ever seen.


18 Stunned People Share the Most Inappropriate Thing They've Ever Seen at a Funeral

18 Stunned People Share the Most Inappropriate Thing They've Ever Seen at a Funeral

 


10 Startling Facts About Crime And Punishment In English History

10 Startling Facts About Crime And Punishment In English History -

 

What do you do if you’re the victim of a crime? In the 21st century, you call the police. They go out and arrest the criminal, and an impartial justice system deals with him from there. You can go about your life, secure in the knowledge that the law makes sense, and everyone can expect to be treated fairly. Or that’s the idea, anyway.

In England before the 19th century, that was not the way that things worked. From a modern perspective, everything looks backward and upside down. For starters, you didn’t call the sheriff when a crime was committed. The sheriff called you.

 

10 You Had To Arrest Criminals Yourself


There were no police officers in Anglo-Saxon England, or if you look at it another way, every able-bodied male between the ages of 15 and 60 was a police officer.[1] If you saw a crime committed in your neighborhood, it was your job to “raise the hue and cry.” This literally meant shouting something like, “Stop, thief!” or “Murder!” at the top of your lungs. Doing so let your neighbors know it was time to jump into action. All of you had to work together to catch the criminal and bring him to court.

Every man was required to keep weapons at his house just for events like this. The more important a man was, the more expensive weapons he had to keep. Knights needed a chain mail shirt, an iron helmet, a sword, a knife, and a horse. The poorest people had to make do with a bow and arrows. If your arrest attempt failed, and the criminal got away, you and your neighbors had to pay a fine. This sounds unfair to us, but the Anglo-Saxons had a very strong sense of community responsibility. If one person broke the law, that meant the whole community had failed. It was everyone’s job to make sure that justice was restored.

9 You Had To Pay To Be In Jail


In modern times, the money spent to feed and house prisoners comes out of our taxes. This wasn’t true in the past. Back then, prisoners paid for their own upkeep. It didn’t matter if they were eventually found innocent—they still had to pay. Prisons could be a profitable business for the officials who ran them. The warden, or “keeper,” of Newgate Prison paid up to £5,000 to the government for the privilege of running the prison. He recovered his investment by making prisoners pay a fee when they entered Newgate and another one before they could leave.

Inmates paid to have leg irons put on and taken off. They paid for candles, soap, and bedding. If they died in the prison, their relatives had to pay a fee to get their bodies back.[2] Prisoners also had to pay money to the other inmates. When new prisoners entered, the criminals who’d been there a while would tell them, “Pay or strip.” If the newcomers had no cash to hand over, they were forced to give up some of their clothing, which would then be sold. This system was particularly cruel to debtors, who were in prison precisely because they had no money.

 

8 You Could Be Executed For Practically Anything


This wasn’t originally the case in England. In 1688, only 50 crimes carried the death penalty. By 1815, the number had swollen to 288.   You could be hanged for included stealing something worth more than five shillings (about $40 today), stealing from a rabbit warren, impersonating a pensioner, cutting down a young tree, damaging Westminster Bridge, and hunting while in disguise. The laws were so harsh that juries sometimes refused to convict defendants who were obviously guilty. Jurors didn’t want to see people executed over minor offenses, so they just set them free.

Most of the new capital crimes added during the 17th and 18th centuries were for theft. During that time, many people left farms in the country for London and other cities. The newcomers were looking for work, but they often didn’t find it. There was a growing number of very poor people in the cities. At the same time, new inventions in manufacturing were making a small number of people very rich. The rich citizens feared “the mob” of the poor and pushed for harsher and harsher punishments for those who stole.[3]

7 The Criminal Code Often Made No Sense


Preindustrial English law operated by making terrifying examples of a small number of criminals. The hope was that people would remember these rare but frightening punishments and be too afraid to commit crimes.

This helps explain why it was a minor offense to pick fruit from someone else’s fruit trees but a capital crime to steal fruit that had already been picked. You could be executed for breaking a window to rob someone’s house if you did it after dark, but if you waited until after sunrise, breaking and entering was only a misdemeanor. Pickpocketing carried the death penalty, but kidnapping a child did not.

Historian Frank McLynn summed the situation up nicely: “The criminal Code was unjust, irrational, and exceptionally severe.”[4]

6 You Could Pay A Thief To Catch Another Thief

Photo credit: Charles Knight

England had no professional police force until 1829. Before that, laypeople took turns acting as constables in their neighborhoods. The constable’s job was to chase and catch lawbreakers, not to investigate. So what could you do if you didn’t know who had stolen your property? And how could you get that property back? One thing you could do was hire a kind of combination private detective and bounty hunter called a thief-taker. Thief-takers used their contacts in the underworld to find out who had your stolen goods. For the right price, they’d haul the thief in front of the sheriff and bring you your things back.

Some thief-takers were legitimate and performed a valuable service. However, it won’t come as a surprise that not everybody with extensive contacts in the underworld was honest. Some thief-takers operated on both sides of the law, taking citizens’ reward money on one hand and then demanding protection money from criminals on the other. Others convinced gullible people to commit crimes, only to turn around and arrest them in exchange for payment.[5]

The most famous of the thief-takers was Jonathan Wild, the self-styled “Thief-Taker General.” At one time hailed as a hero, Wild was secretly “finding” goods that he himself had stolen. At the height of his career, he was both a London gang leader and an anti-crime consultant to the British government. Unsurprisingly, Wild’s advice to the Privy Council was that they should offer higher rewards to thief-takers. Wild was betrayed to the authorities by some members of his gang and executed in 1725. He was the inspiration for the character of Peachum in The Beggar’s Opera by John Gay.

 

5 You Could Have A Great Time At An Execution

If the public was frightened into submission by the spectacle of public executions, then no one seems to have told the execution-goers. In London in the 18th century, hanging days were holidays. Up to 200,000 people took the day off from work and lined the 5-kilometer (3 mi) path from Newgate Prison to the hanging scaffold at Tyburn.[6] The event was supposed to be a kind of morality play, in which the deaths of criminals inspired people to be obedient to church and civil authorities.

The criminals themselves seldom acted the part of remorseful penitents, though. It was common to curse the courts and witnesses for the prosecution. Some people dressed in their finest clothes and behaved as if they were at a party in their own honor. Some were so drunk on the alcohol that sympathetic spectators gave them that they barely seemed to know what was going on.

Many of the spectators were drunk, too. They drank gin and ate snacks sold by enterprising peddlers. They bought good seats in public viewing stands and copies of what were supposed to be the dying speeches of the condemned. They threw things at unpopular prisoners and cheered the popular ones, especially those who faced death with courage and panache. Executions were so popular that they were written up as a tourist attraction in the 1740 Foreigner’s Guide To London.

4 You Could Be Jailed For The Rest Of Your Life For Owing Money


Being unable to pay your debts was a civil offense in England, but you could still end up in prison because of it. If someone sued you for the nonpayment of a debt, the court could order you to be jailed until the debt was paid. But if you couldn’t pay a debt while you were still working at your job, how were you going to pay it from inside a prison cell? Things got worse for you every day you spent in jail, because you had to pay the jailer for your upkeep while you were imprisoned. With each day that went by, you owed more money.[7]

Debtors in prison had different strategies for paying their way out. Some got money from their families and friends; others found ways to work in prison. Some were able to renegotiate the terms of their debt with their creditors. And some just died in prison.

In 18th-century London, the poorest of the poor often ended up in the “common side” of Marshalsea prison. (Those who had more money could pay to stay in the more comfortable master’s side.) The prison officials weren’t required to provide food, so they didn’t. Charitable donations provided the only food poor prisoners got, and that wasn’t much. Inmates who got on the jailers’ bad side were sometimes beaten with clubs, tortured with heavy chains attached to their legs, or forced to stay in rooms where people were dying of smallpox. Deaths were very common.

If you didn’t die in debtor’s prison, you might have to stay there a long time. When London’s Fleet Prison finally closed, two of its debtors had been locked up for 30 years. Most people who went to debtor’s prison owed large sums of money, sometimes many times what they earned in a year. That wasn’t true of everyone, though. In one London prison in 1789, about a third of the debtors owed less than £20, which would be an amount up to $30,000–$40,000 today.

3 You Could Be Arrested For Wandering Around While Poor


This had to do with how charity was distributed. A parish was a subdivision of a county and the basic unit of English government. Parishes charged a form of property tax called rates from all the local house owners. Part of the rate money went to help support poor people who lived in the parish. For the most part, citizens were fine with supporting their poor neighbors, but they didn’t want to have to look after the poor of other parishes. For that reason, poor people were discouraged from traveling. “Persons wandering abroad and begging” were labeled vagrants or vagabonds and could be subjected to punishments ranging from being put in the stocks to two years of slavery.

In 1695, two men named Peter Lawman and Francis Buckley were actually sentenced to death for vagabonding. Buckley was found with a pistol, which could have been part of the reason the sentence was so severe. There was virtually no practical difference between “vagabonds” and simple poor people, except that vagabonds were more likely to be strangers to the neighborhood.[8]

The 1744 Vagrancy Act contained a long list of who was considered undesirable, including all kinds of travelers who had no steady employment. Some examples of prohibited people were “common players of interludes,” unlicensed peddlers, “persons pretending to be Gypsies,” and vaguest of all, “All persons wandering abroad and lodging in alehouses, barns, outhouses or in the open air, not giving a good account of themselves.” Essentially anyone without resources in the form of money or connections could be prosecuted as a vagrant, especially if they wandered far from home.

2 It Was Alarmingly Easy To Be Charged With Piracy


According to the Piracy Act of 1698, it was a crime to “receive, entertaine, or conceale” a pirate or to accept any of his stolen goods.[9] Accessories to piracy could be punished with death.

This is precisely what happened to six Englishmen who had the misfortune of boarding Calico Jack Rackham’s ship in 1720. Their day started with them in a canoe looking for turtles. Then Rackham’s crew invited them on board to share a bowl of punch, and a few hours later, they were at anchor and drunk. While the pirates and their guests were indisposed, pirate-hunter Jonathan Barnet slipped up on them and captured the lot. Three months later, the punch-drinkers were on trial for their lives. They were condemned to death based on the facts that they were found armed and had helped Rackham row his ship. They were executed in February 1721. Likewise, in 1722, four men were hanged for being seen drinking and carousing with “Black Bart” Roberts’s crew.

The obvious moral of this story is to never drink with pirates, or if you must drink with pirates, don’t let anybody catch you. Essentially any felony committed on or in a body of water could count as piracy, and that fact sometimes resulted in surprisingly mundane “piracy” convictions. In 1768, a man named George Geery was executed for piracy after boarding a Dutch ship, assaulting one of its officers, and stealing several of his hats. The broad definition of piracy was still on the books in 1848, when several men were tried for piracy for trying to mutiny aboard a steamship. The cause of the mutiny? An argument over whether one particular sailor could bring his chickens aboard. All of the men were acquitted.

1 There Was No Real Equal Protection Of The Law


The whole legal system was stacked in favor of the rich and against the poor. You can see this in the way that power was distributed. Government officials got their positions one of two ways. One was patronage, in which officials were chosen for their jobs by a powerful friend, relative, or person who owed them a favor. The other was the sale of offices. Sometimes, men with money but no powerful friends bought their jobs. These jobs were then treated as private property, much like owning a piece of land. Those who paid for their offices charged for their services as a means of making back the money they’d invested.[10] This was not considered corruption; it was just thought of as business as usual.

Judgeships were appointed offices that didn’t pay. Even if a poor person was offered the job of judge, they couldn’t have afforded to work for free. Likewise, you had to be a man of property to sit on a jury. If you had no money and didn’t know anyone who did, you stood virtually no chance of becoming an important decision-maker. You stood no chance at all if you happened to be a woman. Only men were allowed to have power in the realm of government and the law.

If a wealthy and important citizen was accused of a crime, it was often difficult to find witnesses for the prosecution. Nobody wanted to get on the bad side of a powerful person. On the other hand, defense witnesses could always be found, for a price. In the unlikely event that someone with a lot of money was arrested, the practice of allowing people to bring to prison the most luxurious comforts they could afford ensured that the accused didn’t suffer too much. The poor had no such advantages. Instead, they were imprisoned, fined, executed, and transported to prison colonies at far higher rates than their wealthy neighbors.


10 People Who Died On The Toilet (That Weren’t Elvis)

10 People Who Died On The Toilet (That Weren’t Elvis) -

 

 

Everyone knows that Elvis died on the toilet, and there have been many celebrity bathroom-related deaths since. Dying on the pot is not just a modern phenomenon, however.

While it may seem an ignominious end to a life, there have been plenty of people throughout history who have had to suffer the indignity of being found dead on the toilet. And, although you may not be able to cheat fate entirely, if you have enemies, you may find it wise to check your toilet bowl for danger before sitting down to relieve yourself. Here are ten people from history who died on the toilet.

10 Duke Jing Of Jin


Duke Jing was the ruler of the province of Jin, one of the strongest states in China, from 599 BC until his untimely death in 581 BC. He is said to have had a nightmare, following which his personal shaman predicted his untimely death before he had time to “eat the new grain.”

The duke, being the superstitious sort, immediately fell ill and called for a doctor. Further dreams told him that the cause of his illness (personified in the form of two boys) would be found somewhere between his diaphragm and his heart. When the doctor arrived, he confirmed the diagnosis from the dream.

Jing, in an effort to beat his curse, ate the new grain before it was fully ripe. Then, feeling fine, he executed his shaman. For a while, the duke believed that he had cheated the curse, but the unripe grain began to ferment in his stomach/ Hurrying to the toilet, he fell into the privy pit and drowned in the slurry below.[1]

9 King Edmund II Of England

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

King Edmund II (nicknamed Edmund Ironside) was king of England for just seven months in 1016. He raised an army to fend off invasions by the Danish invader Canute (aka Cnut the Great). However, after a siege in London, Edmund was finally defeated. At the Treaty of Alney, Canute allowed Edmund to retain lands in Wessex in return for a peace agreement.

Not long after that, Edmund passed away. Some say he died of natural causes. However, Henry of Huntingdon’s account of Edmund’s death states that when Edmund answered the call of nature, he was stabbed twice from below by an assassin concealed in the pit beneath the toilet seat. The assassin left the knife, which had ruptured Edmund’s bowel, protruding from the king’s rear end while he made his escape.[2]

Painful.

8 Godfrey IV, Duke Of Lower Lorraine

Photo credit: Micaele Vosmero

In 1076, Duke Godfrey, or Godfrey the Hunchback as he was known, made a trip to the toilet “because of his natural need.” Godfrey was a military man who waged war on behalf of Emperor Henry IV of Germany, so it is fair to say he had enemies.

Normally a careful man, he could not have foreseen that when he attended to this natural need, he would be attacked with a “cruel pointed weapon” from below just as he began to stand up again. It is believed that one of the guards surrounding the house had been paid to stand beneath the toilet pit with a spear or long sword.

The duke is said to have lingered for a week before finally dying of his wounds, though it is probably fair to say that he thought twice before attending to any natural needs after that.[3]

7 King George II

Photo credit: Thomas Hudson

George II acceded to the British throne in 1727, though he was German. He was not a popular king. When he was only a prince, he quarreled with his father and most of his advisers, and he is even said to have hated his own son. He disliked Britain and spent so much time back in his native Germany that his subjects called him “the king who wasn’t there.” He did love his wife, though. He never remarried after she died, and after his own death, he was buried next to his wife, and the sides of their coffins were removed so that their remains could “mingle.”[4]

Despite his curmudgeonly nature, however, George II lived to a ripe old age. Finally, not long before his 77th birthday, the king, while paying a visit to the little king’s room, died quietly of an aortic dissection sitting on his commode, or “close stool,” as it was termed (“stool” being the operative word).

6 Catherine The Great

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

While death on a toilet is often seen as a somewhat degrading way to die, Catherine the Great would probably have been glad for people to believe she had died that way, because it was far less demeaning than some of the rumors that were flying around Saint Petersburg after her death.

Having married into the Russian royal family in 1745, Catherine had a fairly rocky start to her marriage. For eight years, she failed to conceive a child, and it was rumored that her husband was unable, or unwilling, to consummate their marriage. So, in 1754, when she finally gave birth to a child, the court gossip suggested that the father was, in fact, a Russian soldier with whom she had developed a recent friendship. Catherine herself appeared to encourage the rumors, though whether they were true is still up for debate. However, it is all but certain that none of her three subsequent children were fathered by her husband.

Catherine was certainly ruthless, conspiring to overthrow her husband just six months after he became tsar, forcing him to abdicate and leaving her the sole ruler of Russia. It is unclear whether Catherine was complicit in her husband’s murder a short time later.

Catherine was famous for taking lovers during her reign, showering them with gifts of land and servants. Perhaps it was this reputation that fueled the rumors about the manner of her death. Her enemies at the court, in an attempt to damage her reputation, claimed that she had died engaging in a sex act with a horse. That’ll do it.

The other assertion made at the time was that she died from a stroke on the toilet. That’s much more mundane and much more possible. Officially, she died in her bed a day after suffering the stroke.[5]

5 Mirza Ghulam Ahmad

Photo credit: Makhzan-e-Tasaweer

Mirza Ghulam Ahmad founded the Islamic religious movement Ahmadiyyah in India. Born in 1835, Ghulam Ahmad claimed to hear revelations from God, and in 1889, he declared that God had entitled him to receive an oath of allegiance from his followers.

He soon had a small group of devoted disciples, and his following steadily increased, along with opposition from traditional Islamists. Ghulam Ahmad claimed that he was a mahdi (“savior”), a reincarnation of the Prophet Muhammad and also Jesus Christ and the Hindu god Krishna, all rolled into one, which is impressive.

At the end of 1907, Ghulam Ahmad claimed to have received several revelations informing him of his imminent death. In May 1908, the day before he died, he wrote his final tract, entitled “A Message of Reconciliation.” Ghulam Ahmad had been suffering from dysentery for some time and died in the bathroom at the home of his friend and doctor of complications arising from acute diarrhea. However, this is disputed by some of his followers because the cause of death did not match those of his visions. And also because diarrhea is rather an ignoble death for a prophet.[6]

4 Uesugi Kenshin

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

Uesugi Kenshin was a Japanese warlord until his death in 1578. He was famous for his military prowess and his bitter rivalry with Takeda Shingen, who he met in battle at least five times. Though the two were rivals, it seems they came to respect each other as adversaries, and Kenshin was given a highly prized sword by Shingen. The two eventually became allies and friends.

In later years, after the death of Takeda Shingen, Uesugi Kenshin took up arms against Oda Nobunaga, the most powerful warlord in Japan. Though he secured a number of tactical victories against his opponent, his health was declining rapidly, and in a death not at all befitting a hero, Uesugi Kenshin suffered a stroke while using the potty and died a few days later.

Unsatisfied with such a lackluster end to the war, many people, including Oda Nobunaga, attempted to rewrite the events with stories of hidden ninjas, but his death seems to have been of entirely natural causes.[7]

3 Edward II

Photo credit: British Library

King Edward II was murdered at Berkeley Castle in 1327, in a manner that can only be described as eye-watering.

While a young man, Edward was thought to have had intimate relationships with a male friend at the court. On being discovered, his father banished the lover “on account of the undue intimacy which the young Lord Edward had adopted towards him.” The lover was later murdered, leading Edward to wage several wars in retaliation.[8]

Edward’s wife, Isabella, unhappy at her husband’s behavior, plotted against him with her lover. Edward was captured and forced to abdicate his throne. It is said, though it cannot be proved, that Edward was murdered in the bathroom of Berkeley Castle by having a red-hot poker inserted into his anus, as a punishment for his homosexuality, and that his screams could be heard miles away.

2 Wenceslas III Of Bohemia

Photo credit: Josef Kriehuber

King Wenceslas III acceded to the throne of Bohemia in 1305. He was already king of Hungary and aspired to the Polish throne, although, so as not to seem greedy, he did give up his right to be king of Austria. At the time of his accession, he was only 15 years old.

The last king of Bohemia, Wenceslas was murdered in 1306, the last in the male line of the powerful Premyslid dynasty. He is often described as well-educated, though a little too much inclined to drinking and partying rather than ruling his sizeable kingdom. His rival, Charles Robert of Anjou, under the protection of the pope, maneuvered to become the Hungarian king, and the Hungarian crown was eventually ceded to him.

In 1306, Wenceslas arrived in the town of Olomouc, where he resided in the deanery. It has been claimed that Ladislaus the Short, the king of Poland, fearing that Wenceslas was plotting to overthrow him, sent assassins to murder him. Wenceslas was said to be sitting in his garderobe (a room with a toilet which emptied into the lake below) when the assassins found him and stabbed him to death. He was 16.[9]

1 King Eglon

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

The story of King Eglon is one of the stranger tales to be found in the Bible. Although many biblical characters can be traced through history, little is known of King Eglon. He has been described in the Talmud as being the grandson of the Moab king, Balak, who tried to destroy the Israelites by luring them into adultery. Well, if you have to go . . .

According to the Old Testament, the Israelites had been sold into slavery under King Eglon, so God sent Ehud to deliver them. He paid Eglon tribute and later visited the king in his “private chamber,” hiding a large double-edged sword beneath his robes. King Eglon, who was a rather heavy man, rose “from his seat,” whereupon Ehud stabbed him with the sword, ramming it into his belly until the hilt of the sword disappeared beneath the folds of his flesh.

Ehud then escaped, and Eglon’s servants, observing a certain odor emanating from the king’s private chamber, assumed that the king was occupied and left him in peace. While they waited patiently for the king to finish his business, Ehud led his men into battle and slaughtered King Eglon’s army while they were still hanging around waiting for the king to finish up so that they could get their orders.[10]


10 Inventions That People Really Regretted Inventing

10 Inventions That People Really Regretted Inventing -

 

 

Being an inventor has always seemed to be a pretty awesome career choice; if you’re good at, it you’re virtually guaranteed acclaim and a place in history. People who dream up the inventions that become part of our everyday lives are also allowed to be eccentric in ways that would get the average Joe fired from his office job.

It’s not always such a great deal to be an inventor, though, especially if you come up with something that you later wish you’d never thought of. Here are ten inventions that were a cause of doubt for their inventors.

10 The Atomic Bomb

We can understand how the inventor of a bomb that caused massive death and destruction might wish he had kept his idea to himself, and that is exactly how J. Robert Oppenheimer felt in later years. He was a member of the team that is credited with developing nuclear weapons as part of the Manhattan Project. Oppenheimer was a major part of this, as he was there at the very start of it in 1942 and was widely regarded as its leader—even being given the name “father of the atomic bomb” in the decades since. His personal political views were leftist, but he agreed to take part in the project because he shared the view of other scientists—including Leo Szilard and Albert Einstein—that it was vital for the US to develop an atomic bomb before the Nazis did.

He remained enthusiastic in May 1945, when he spoke at a meeting about the “brilliant luminescence” that the bomb would produce.[1] It was when he actually witnessed the first atomic bomb explosion in July 1945 that he started to have doubts about what he had helped to create, responding to the sight of it with a piece of Hindu scripture: “I am become death, the destroyer of worlds.” In October 1945, after he had left his work with the Manhattan Project, Oppenheimer told President Truman that he believed he had blood on his hands as a result of it.

9 The Airplane

Photo credit: John T. Daniels

Everyone knows about the Wright brothers inventing the first successful airplane, but what is less well-documented is the regret that one of them—Orville Wright—felt about it in later years. Orville and his brother Wilbur designed and built the Wright Flyer, which was the very first heavier-than-air, powered craft to achieve sustained flight on December 17, 1903. Their interest in aeronautics was sparked by a model helicopter that was bought for them by their father when they were children, and after German inventor Otto Lilienthal was killed when his glider crashed, they decided to pick up where he had left off. This ultimately brought them fame, success, and a spot in the history books, although Wilbur would die from typhoid fever just nine years after their 1903 triumph.

Maybe he had the happier fate, though, because Orville lived long enough to witness the development of airplanes over the next three decades, culminating in their being used to carry and drop bombs during World War II. He had seen the airplane as something that would help to bring about peace, rather than as a weapon of war. We know from an interview that he gave to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch in 1943 that the war left him feeling very conflicted about his invention: proud of the potential good it could do but bitter at the way it was being used for destruction and death instead.[2]

8 Facebook


Mark Zuckerberg has never expressed any regrets about the creation of Facebook, possibly because the people who built him forgot to program regret into his database, but others involved in its development have. One person who was part of the Facebook team in its earliest days and who has since voiced doubts about it is Sean Parker. Parker worked on Facebook from the period when it was still just a directory available only to students at Harvard University, and Zuckerberg has cited him as being key to it moving beyond that to the global social media platform it is now. Parker managed to bring in wealthy investors like Peter Thiel and, in turn, became a billionaire himself thanks to his stake in Facebook.

However, in 2017, he stated that the site achieved its popularity because it took advantage of “vulnerability in human psychology” through the “Like” function, which validates people for their opinions, jokes, photographs, and other things they post on the site. It would be hard to argue with his assessment of how and why the platform has become so addictive to so many, but Parker also stated that this was not accidental but rather something that the founders of Facebook consciously set out to achieve. He went on to add that he is now a social media skeptic after witnessing it consume much of the world.[3]

7 Pop-Up Ads

Photo credit: Joi

We all regret the invention of pop-up advertisements, including the man who created them—one Ethan Zuckerman. He came up with this horrible idea during the 1990s, when he was employed by Tripod.com as programmer and designer, and the site was faced with a major car company upset that it had paid for a banner advertisement that appeared on a sexually explicit webpage. Tripod devised the idea of ads that would not actually be on the original page itself but would “pop up” on a separate one so that companies could avoid unwanted association with NSFW content, and Zuckerman wrote the actual code for it.[4]

In 2014, he penned an article for The Atlantic that amounted to an apology for the way that this had been adopted as a mainstream strategy for companies advertising online—causing untold irritation to millions of Internet users in the process—and said that the original intent behind it was good. He also argued that a way of getting rid of ads on the Internet would be for users to pay for online services, with a guarantee of privacy protection in return. We might feel like the apology is too little, too late, but at least it didn’t pop up randomly in the middle of a video.

6 Mother’s Day

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

Anyone who has ever forgotten to buy a card and a gift for Mother’s Day has regretted the day it was invented, but not quite as much as the person who actually came up with it. The US version of the day was created by Anna Jarvis in 1908 and was inspired by her own mother, who had come up with a “Mother’s Friendship Day” in order to promote reconciliation after the Civil War. Jarvis’s idea quickly grew in popularity and spread to virtually all US states within five years of its creation, before becoming an official national holiday in 1914.

We might expect that Jarvis would have been delighted by the widespread enthusiasm toward her idea, but that could not have been further from the truth. Although she was pleased that it had become a nationally recognized event, she quickly came to realize that this meant commercial exploitation, and by as early as 1920, she had turned against the holiday and was publicly asking people not to buy the gifts or cards in stores.[5]

The three remaining decades of Jarvis’s life became a long and losing battle against this that saw her take companies and individuals that used the name of the holiday without her authorization to court and ended with her losing all of her money. At the time of her death in 1948, she was living alone and penniless in a sanatorium, having been destroyed by the dream she had worked so hard to make reality.

5 Dynamite

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

The inventor of dynamite was Alfred Nobel, but it is probably not what he would have wanted to be remembered for. He was born in Stockholm in 1833 and inherited an interest in explosives from his father, who was also an inventor. Alfred was sent abroad by his father, and while he was in Paris, he came into contact with Ascanio Sobrero, a chemist from Italy who had developed nitroglycerine. Nobel became fascinated by this highly explosive substance but recognized that a way to stabilize it would need to be found if it were to be of practical use. He achieved this by blending it with the clay kieselguhr, which produced a paste-like substance that he called dynamite and took out a patent on in 1867.

This invention guaranteed Nobel a place in history, although he had intended it to be used in the mining industry rather than for warfare, and he told friends such as Bertha Von Suttner that he hoped the devastating potential of dynamite would act as a deterrent to its use as a weapon. The real tipping point for the inventor may have been the death of his brother Ludvig in 1888. A French newspaper, in the mistaken belief that it was Alfred who had died, is said to have published an obituary calling him the “merchant of death,” which shocked Nobel and led him to devise the Nobel Peace Prize as an act of atonement.[6] This version of events is disputed, however, with others arguing that the influence of anti-war activist Suttner was the real reason.

4 Antivirus Software

Photo credit: Wired

When the three claims to fame that a man has are inventing antivirus software, claiming to have had sex with a humpback whale, and being suspected of murder, you would not expect it to be the first one that he regrets—but John McAfee is anything but a predictable figure. The 73-year-old is so libertarian that he makes all other libertarians look like Mike Pence, but he came to prominence with the McAfee software, which was the first antivirus product to be made available to buy.

The initial indications that he was a little strange came in 1992, when he announced that a computer virus called “Michelangelo” was going to erase the hard drives of millions of computers, which led to a huge boost in sales for his software and scandal when the actual number affected turned out to be much smaller. As a result of this, McAfee left his own company in 1994 with a payoff of $100 million, and other antivirus programs have left it in the dust in the years since.

Not many people use McAfee to protect their computers these days, and that includes the man who actually created it, who has described it as “the worst software on the planet” and stated that he is glad to no longer be associated with it.[7] Still, if McAfee regrets his rise to fame and fortune, that is surely nothing to how the whales feel about it.

3 Pepper Spray

Photo credit: ThinkProgress

Inventors who create weapons and then find themselves outraged at the way they are used seems to be something we come across time and again, with Kamran Loghman being another example. During the 1980s, he was employed by the FBI to develop an extremely potent pepper spray that could be used by the police against those who are breaking the law.

This seems pretty straightforward, with Loghman knowing from the start that the spray he was working on was going to be used on people, so there is no reason for him to have any regrets about it now, right? Well, that is not the case because back in 2011, at the height of the infamous Occupy Wall Street protests, Loghman gave an interview in which he spoke about the weapon he had devised all those years earlier—and he was not happy.

The problem he had was that the police were using pepper spray on people who were protesting peacefully, rather than solely on those who violently resisted arrest. As well as developing the spray itself, Loghman also worked with the police at the time to put together a guide on when and how it should be used, and he told the interviewer that the use of it to stop nonviolent protest was a complete violation of those guidelines.[8]

2 Blink Tag


If you are going to regret something you invented, it is probably better that it is something fairly trivial, such as the blink tag, which was a feature of the Internetfor a number of years. For those of you who are too young to remember it, this was a nonstandard HTML element that saw all of the onscreen text that was enclosed within it slowly “blink.” Its inventor was Lou Montulli, who wrote a blog post in 2009 that explained why he had created something so weird and annoying, as well as an apologizing for it.

Montulli stated that it happened in the summer of 1994, while he was working on the Lynx web browser at Netscape, and that he had joked to colleagues about Lynx only being capable of supporting text that flashed, or “blinked,” on the screen. He went on to add that they were all pretty drunk at the time of this conversation and that it was one of the engineers present who actually made the blink tag into a reality.

It is one of the oddest Internet inventions, and what makes it even stranger is the suggestion by the US government that it may not have been harmless but a potential trigger for epilepsy.[9] The blink tag became obsolete in 2013, but the old “I was drunk and someone else did it” excuse will surely always be with us.

1 K-Cups


If any of us had invented a product that was helping to devastate the environment, we might well feel regret about it, and so it is for the inventor of the Keurig pod, more commonly referred to as the K-Cup. The man in question is John Sylvan, who developed the idea for the single-use plastic coffee pods during the early 1990s. The concept ended up being worth billions. The big problem with these pods is that the plastic that is used to manufacture them is not biodegradable and generally can’t be recycled, and thus, it ends up as waste.

As with so many of the other visionaries on this list, Sylvan now argues that he did not realize his invention would become so big in the US that around one in three homes has a machine for the pods—he saw them as something that would only be used in offices.[10] Then again, he also admits that he knew that their easy disposability and the addictive nature of coffee would almost certainly make them a success, so it does seem like he could probably have guessed at the actual outcome.


10 Unfortunate Deaths Caused By Food

10 Unfortunate Deaths Caused By Food -

 

Food is not only a necessary part of life but one that plays a very important role in many different cultures, religions, and homes. It can bring people together, whether bonding over creating a new dish or passing down recipes from one to another. Food can be an indulgence for some, a reward for others, or a passion for those who wish to make cooking their career.

While food can have many positive roles, it can also lead to some very disastrous results. From outbreaks to recalls to the development of diseases and allergic reactions, food can play a starring role when it comes to negative side effects.[1]Many times, these side effects are known and can be prevented, but other times . . . not so much. Here are a few instances where food and drink or their production played a very unfortunate role in people’s deaths.

10 Game Gone Wrong


Hot dog-eating contests are not an unfamiliar competitive event; in fact, many eating competitions featuring a variety of foods have gained popularity around the world. However, despite the popularity of these contests, there are many risks that come along with competitive eating competitions, one of which is the choking hazard. Such a problem happened for 13-year-old Noah Akers from San Pedro, who choked in a hot dog during a game and ultimately died.

Noah Akers had been one of many participating in a hot dog-eating game in 2010, hosted by the Boys and Girl’s club in order to raise relief funds for the earthquake in Haiti. While the club claims it was not an eating contest in the normal sense, as the children where only asked to eat one hot dog which was covered in whipped cream, it was still an event where a candy prize would be given to whoever managed to finish the strange food combination.

Noah had been participating in the event when the hot dog became lodged in his throat. Although bystanders attempted to dislodge the hot dog from his airway, it remained stuck until paramedics arrived. The paramedics were able to dislodge the hot dog, but Noah had gone too long without oxygen and passed away a few days later at the hospital.[2]

An investigation was made into the event, though it was determined that the organization had provided proper supervision and warnings.

9 Bean Pile


Many people suffer injuries in the workplace, especially those who are working with heavy machinery or malfunctioning equipment. It is estimated that in 2018 alone, an estimated total of 14 people died a day due to workplace-related mishaps in the United States. Raymond Segura Jr., a 56-year-old man who worked for a bean company in Colorado, unfortunately experienced an accident which resulted in his untimely death in 2012.[3]

Mr. Segura had worked for the Kelley Bean Company for over 12 years without incident until one day, the overhead conveyor belt he was monitoring malfunctioned. The conveyor belt was used to transport pinto beans in large, bulk quantities, and due to the malfunction, Mr. Segura became trapped under falling beans. When he did not respond to inquiries about his status, workers were sent to investigate and saw the mountain of beans.

Once it was realized that Mr. Segura had become trapped under the beans, over 50 emergency personnel as well as inmates from a local jail came to his aid. It took over an hour to dig out Mr. Segura’s body from the 6-meter (20 ft) pile of beans which had fallen on top of him.

Unfortunately, by the time they reached him, Mr. Segura had already passed away, though it was unknown if it was due to lack of oxygen or the impact. An inquiry was put into place concerning the malfunction of the conveyor belt by both the police and Kelley Bean Company. The incident was ultimately ruled an accident.

8 Drowned In Whiskey


The decision to take one’s life is not an easy one, and with the number of suicides seeing an increase from previous years, any steps that can be taken can help to save a life. In the case of Brian Ettles of Scotland, the 46-year-old father’s suicide on the job in 2012 came as a shock to all around him.

Mr. Ettles, who had worked for the Glenfiddich Distillery for 22 years, had just celebrated his wife’s birthday the night before and seemed normal while at work the next day. However, despite his normal appearance and activity, Mr. Ettles climbed 5 meters (16 ft) up to the top of a 50,000-liter (13,000 gal) tank in which whiskey was distilled and threw himself inside.[4] Alarms were raised shortly afterward, and paramedics were called in to aid Mr. Ettles. By the time the emergency crew were able to reach him, he was unresponsive and was pronounced dead on the scene.

After an investigation, no signs of suspicious circumstances or foul play were suspected in Mr. Ettles death. It was concluded that he had, unfortunately, taken his own life, though police did not find a suicide note. The coroner determined that his cause of death had been drowning in the vat.

7 Carroted Out


Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is important if one wants to keep in tip-top shape and feeling the best they can. Over time, many diet fads have come and gone, all of which claimed to be the best option for maintaining perfect health. Basil Brown, a health fanatic, was known for his interest in attempting to find this level of perfection. The 48-year-old had gone through various different avenues in trying to chase this ultimate health goal.

In 1974, during a stint in which he began to drink an estimated 3.8 liters (1 gal) of carrot juice daily, Mr. Brown was advised by his doctor that his new health regimen was going to have detrimental effects, such as irreversible damage to his liver. Despite the warning, Mr. Brown kept up his new diet over a period of ten days, drinking over 10,000 times the recommended daily intake of vitamin A.

True to his doctor’s word, Mr. Brown experienced cirrhosis of the liver, which ultimately killed him. After being autopsied, it was ruled that his overingestion of vitamin A caused toxicity and prompted liver failure.[5] Mr. Brown also experienced a yellow-orange hue to his skin due to the large amounts of carotene in his system from the carrot juice.

 6 Baked In


Performing maintenance work can come with risks, especially when dealing with large, heavy machinery. Being aware of these risks and taking precautions is essential. In 1998, David Mayes and Ian Erickson both believed that the necessary precautions had been taken when they were called in to perform maintenance on a bread-baking oven in the Harvestime Bakieries plant in Leicester. The oven, which was 23 meters (75 ft) long, had not been shut off long enough, however. Instead being deactivated for a full 12 hours before maintenance, the oven had only been shut off for two.

Mayes, 47, and Erickson, 43, entered the oven, only to call through their walkie-talkies moments later that it was too hot inside. Due to there not being an option to reverse the conveyor belt, the men were forced to go through. The temperature in the middle was estimated to still be 100 degrees Celsius (212 °F). It took 17 minutes for the conveyor belt to bring Mr. Erickson out, but Mr. Mayes became trapped in the oven.[6]

Due to the extent of his burns, Mr. Erikson died in front of his coworkers, and paramedics recovered Mr. Mayes’s body after arriving on the scene. Due to the circumstances of their deaths, a lawsuit was filed, and it was revealed that the management at Harvestime had declined having repairmen come due to the cost and the length of time it would take to repair the oven. Instead, they asked members of their own staff to do so, choosing to have them go in while the oven was still warm so that they didn’t have to wait long for it to reheat and could continue production.

Three executives and the owners of Harvestime all admitted to health and safety offenses and were fined £373,000.

5 Mixed In Dough

Photo credit: Ong Wee Jin

Baking at a manufacturing level calls for larger machines, some of which can be dangerous to be around if one is not careful, as illustrated in the previous entry. For Mr. Ng Sew Kuang, the 73-year-old owner of Seng Confectionery in Singapore, what seemed to be a routine procedure ended up being one that cost him his life. In 2018, Mr. Ng was in the middle of making red bean paste for his confections when he apparently fell into a dough-making machine.

The mixer had, unfortunately, been on, and due to the force of the machine, Mr. Ng was crushed to death due inside his mixture. His body was found by his workers, who noticed there was an odd burning smell coming from upstairs.[7] By the time emergency personnel arrived, however, it was too late, and Mr. Ng had passed away.

Mr. Ng had been working on the second floor since 4:00 AM, as he did every day, making it uncertain when he fell into the mixer exactly, and his death was ruled an unfortunate accident. The bakery, which was next to his daughter’s salon, had been featured in The Straits Times for its traditional creations and baked goods only four years prior.

4 Death By Chocolate


While the name “Death by Chocolate” is most commonly used to describe different types of chocolate dishes or as an expression that can sometimes be thrown around when someone has too much chocolate to eat, for Mr. Vincent Smith Jr., it was a literal description of his untimely death.[8]

In 2009, Mr. Smith, 29, had recently been hired at Lyons and Sons in Camden, New Jersey, which processes and mixes chocolates. He was standing on top of a platform over a vat of melting chocolate. Mr. Smith had been in charge of adding chocolate into the vat when he apparently slipped and fell in. One of his coworkers saw him fall and ran to the shut-off valve, but Mr. Smith had been hit by one of the paddles inside the vat, which keeps the chocolate moving.

By the time his coworkers got him out of the vat, it was too late, and Mr. Smith was pronounced dead due to being hit by the paddle and pulled under the hot, melting chocolate.

While the fall was ruled accidental by police, it was discovered that the company had been working without the proper permits. Lyons and Sons was then investigated by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration over their safety precautions, and the family filed a wrongful death suit.

3 Cooked With Tuna

Photo credit: Nick Ut/AP

In the workplace, communication is important, especially when workers may not be aware of each other’s location or progress. In the case of Mr. Jose Melena, who had been repairing the inside of an industrial oven used for the tuna at the Bumble Bee plant in California where he had worked for six years, no one had informed others of his presence inside the oven, leading to his coworker turning it on while he was still inside.

In 2012, 62-year-old Mr. Melena had been assigned to fix some of the chains inside the 11-meter-long (35 ft) oven and was inside when one of his coworkers turned on the oven and then proceeded to dump around 6 tons of tuna inside. Mr. Melena had no means of escape and was cooked inside the 132-degree-Celsius (270 °F) oven along with the tuna for two hours. His coworkers discovered his charred body after they realized his car was still in the parking lot, and he was declared dead by firefighters who arrived on the scene.[9]

After looking into Mr. Melena’s death, it was found that Bumble Bee hadn’t been reporting their worker injuries, including a severed finger and a fractured skull which had occurred due to safety violations. The company, the plant’s director of operations, and the safety manager were each charged with three felony counts of safety violations causing death. Bumble Bee had to pay over $6 million in damages.

2 Water Intoxication


Drinking the recommended amount of water daily is good for one’s health and skin. However, it is also important to know that drinking too much water can also lead to serious health issues. A mother in California was unaware of the serious consequences which can stem from too much water intake and died after her participation in a radio station’s water-drinking contest in 2007.

Jennifer Strange, 28, had participated in KDND-FM’s contest “Hold Your Wee for a Wii,” in which whoever drank the most water would win a Nintendo Wii. She told other contestants she was doing it for her three kids at home. The competition called for the participants to drink as many water bottles as they could without going to the bathroom. Halfway through the contest, the radio hosts upped the amount of water that needed to be drank.

While some listeners, one being a nurse, called in to warm the radio hosts of the risks of their contest, the concerns were waved off by the hosts, who claimed that that all the contestants had signed releases and proceeded to make jokes about the body being made of mostly water, meaning the contestants would be fine.[10]

Mrs. Strange was not fine. She quit at second place due to not feeling well, telling one of the radio hosts that she was in pain. Mrs. Strange is said to have drank around 7.6 liters (2 gal) of water in three hours, causing her to become bloated to the point that one of the radio hosts mentioned she looked pregnant. After calling sick into work, Mrs. Strange went home and was found dead in her bathroom just hours after her participation in the contest. The cause of her death was determined to be water intoxication.

Her husband sued the radio station. It was discovered that the contest was not approved or even sent to the station’s legal department for review and that no warning was provided to the contestants over the risks involved in the contest itself, though contestants were told to quit if they felt ill.

The jury sided with Mr. Strange, finding that Entercom Sacramento LLC was liable for Mrs. Strange’s death and owed the family $16.5 million. Ten radio station employees were fired after the event, three of whom were the hosts from the morning’s competition.

1 Over-Caffeinated


In 2010, a New Zealand mother’s constant consumption of Coca-Cola resulted in sudden cardiac arrest, which killed her. Natasha Harris, 30 years old, was known for her love of the soda, consuming a large amount every day from the time she woke up to before she went to sleep. Her husband estimated that his wife’s intake totaled around 10 liters (2.6 gal) of Coca-Cola daily.

The amount of cola she drank contained 11 times the recommended amount of sugar one should be having daily and twice the amount of caffeine that can be safely ingested. Mrs. Harris had been suffering from nausea, fatigue, and various symptoms the week before her death, though both she and her family believed it was due to her being stressed.

Mrs. Harris’s addiction to Coca-Cola was not only a severe problem for her, as she experienced withdrawal symptoms when she was not able to have access to the beverage and had previously undergone dental surgery to have teeth removed due to her soda intake, but to her children as well. At least one of her eight kids was born without tooth enamel, a condition attributed to her Coke-drinking.[11]

While Coca-Cola was determined not to be responsible for Mrs. Harris’s death, many called for the company to put better warning labels on their products.

 


14 Absolutely Insane Courtney Love Stories That Could Have Only Happened To Courtney Love

14 Absolutely Insane Courtney Love Stories That Could Have Only Happened To Courtney Love

 

 
There are many crazy Courtney Love stories, insane but true incidents that range from the bizarre to the pathetic. After an unconventional upbringing and a youth spent dancing topless and making movies, Love first burst into the music scene in the late '80s as the frontwoman of the alt-rock outfit Hole. She quickly captured the public's imagination with her babydoll dresses and brash, in-your-face lyrics. Love's celebrity increased once she fell in love with – and eventually married – Kurt Cobain of Nirvana.

Initially, wild Courtney Love tales only endeared her to the grunge audience that worshipped her and her husband as the Bonnie and Clyde of rock 'n' roll. But beneath Love's occasional flashes of brilliance, a relentlessly public slide into addiction, bad behavior, and arrogance eventually destroyed any semblance of a positive image and career for her. And when you're talking about the craziest things Courtney Love has done, you can't leave her parenting off the table; she used heroin while she was pregnant and reportedly hasn't been the most attentive mother since.

The numerous freakouts and repeated public appearances while under the influence have permanently marked Love as a laughing stock and punchline within the music industry. Facts about Courtney Love aren't easy to read, but they paint a strangely fascinating portrait of a complicated, controversial woman.

 

 


18 Riveting Close Calls Where People Escaped Death By Seconds

18 Riveting Close Calls Where People Escaped Death By Seconds

 


 


The Most Dystopian New Tech in 2019

The Most Dystopian New Tech in 2019

 

 Technology has been a wonderful gift to humans ever since the first person picked up a rock and fashioned it into a tool. Fast-forward a couple hundred thousand years and technology has grown to the point where we can fly across the world, communicate in real-time anywhere on the planet, and even put a little pod in a machine to get a cup of coffee. With all these advancements, you might think technology was the greatest thing since sliced bread, but there's a dark side of dystopian, invasive new technologies people fear could lead us to problems of epic proportions!

Sci-Fi wouldn't exist were it not for the concerns of AI running amok or Big Brother spying on us all the time. Concerns over the misuse or misapplication of technology isn't necessarily a bad thing. People have made things that have wreaked horrific devastation across the planet throughout history and 2019 may not be different given the crazy technology out now and the devices that will be rearing their ugly heads in the coming year. Granted, most people don't set out to create the next doomsday scenario and 2019 promises to release some amazing new tech, but that doesn't mean these weird new gadgets set for release or widespread use in 2019 won't bring about the apocalypse... They probably won't, but it's not a bad idea to stay vigilant.

 


Founder Of Crypto Exchange Dies Taking Only Password And $190M With Him

Founder Of Crypto Exchange Dies Taking Only Password And $190M With Him

 

 

Investors were locked out of $190 million in cryptocurrency assets after the founder of a crypto exchange died without sharing the password to a laptop that contained the business's records, according to CoinDesk.

Gerald Cotten, co-founder and CEO of QuadrigaCX, died in December due to complications of Crohn's disease, the company said in a Facebook post last month. QuadrigaCX, which filed for bankruptcy protection in the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia on Jan. 31, was designed to "simplify the process of buying and selling" the bitcoin cryptocurrency, according to a cached version of its website.

QuadrigaCX owes customers around $190 million in cryptocurrency and cash, Jennifer Robertson, Cotten's widow, said in a sworn affidavit filed last week, according to a copy of the document posted by CoinDesk. Robertson said Cotten held "sole responsibility for handling the funds and coins," according to the document.

Robertson reportedly doesn't have business records for QuadrigaCX or its affiliated companies, and she doesn't know the password or recovery key for Cotten's encrypted laptop. On its website, QuadrigaCX said it's been working for weeks to locate and secure the cryptocurrency reserves, but hasn't succeeded.

QuadrigaCX didn't immediately respond to a request for comment sent to its Twitter account. A message left at a telephone number listed on the archived version of the company's website wasn't immediately returned. An email sent to its support team also wasn't immediately returned.


Husband Threw Meth Fueled Sex Bash For Ailing Wife

Husband Threw Meth Fueled Sex Bash For Ailing Wife

 

 

 


The Last Known Photos Taken of 17 Legendary Historical Figures

The Last Known Photos Taken of 17 Legendary Historical Figures

 

 
Since the invention of photography, images of the famous and infamous have enchanted the viewing public. A visual memorial of a high-profile celebrity or historical figure always proves engrossing – and what's more fascinating than seeing some of the last photos of historical figures? They bring the past to life in a way that text alone simply can't match.

Some of these photographs are absolutely chilling: the last photo of Hitler, for instance – it's dated just days before he took his life. A final image of Diana, Princess of Wales shows her hiding from the camera in the backseat of her car shortly before her final accident. And then there are the last photos of presidents; Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant, John F. Kennedy, and Franklin D. Roosevelt all appeared on film shortly before passing away.

While the dates of some of these photos are dubious, these last – or near last – photographs of historical figures capture fleeting moments in time, from the famous to the seemingly insignificant.

 

 

 


10 Ordinary Domestic Things Our Ancestors Did That Killed Them

10 Ordinary Domestic Things Our Ancestors Did That Killed Them

 

 

 

People from the 19th and early 20th centuries were fascinating, to say the least. Inspired by the Industrial Revolution and groundbreaking scientific discoveries, the average householder developed an interest in inventions, “improving” their lives by using cutting-edge (untested) science and technology in every aspect of their social and domestic lives.

Unfortunately, their enthusiasm often ran away with them, and their disregard for health and safety often led to disaster. Here, we look at some of the ways the average person from the Victorian era through the early 20th century may have killed himself while enjoying the benefits of scientific and technological progress.

10 Going To The Bathroom

Visiting the bathroom shouldn’t be a dangerous undertaking. However, the Victorians had a number of perils to contend with. First was the water heater, which was gas-powered and often exploded, possibly because of the candles and oil lamps which were often used by residents who were caught short in the night.[1]

And then there were the toilets themselves. Prior to the Great Stink of 1858, when London was practically uninhabitable due to the hot weather and sewage smells, toilets with the s-bend design that we know today were rare. Toilets dropped their contents straight into the sewers below, and the smells from sewer rose through the unimpeded pipes and, shall we say, lingered.

And the sewers didn’t only contain eliminations but other sorts of human waste, too. The cemeteries of the period were not well-regulated, and human remains frequently contaminated drinking water or flowed directly into the sewers. And decomposing matter produces methane and carbon dioxide. Methane, particularly when combined with a flame from a candle or water heater, causes explosions.

Straight up through the toilet.

In order to control the methane problem, a number of sewer gas lamps were installed. In a surprisingly green fashion, engineers attempted to power the city’s streetlights using methane gas in order to reduce the dangerous buildups. The lamps were only partially successful, but the widespread introduction of s-bend toilets after the Great Stink made using the facilities a little safer.

 

9 Eating A Sandwich

Photo credit: BBC News

A lot of foodstuffs in Victorian England were made with contaminated ingredients. One report in 1877 showed that ten percent of butter, eight percent of bread, and 50 percent of gin had copper added to it, while red lead was added to cheese to give it a “healthy” color. Other adulterants included strychnine in beer, copper in pickles and jams, lead in mustard, iron in tea, and mercury in chocolate.[2]

Bread, however, was a particular problem. Very few poor people at that time had the facilities to bake their own bread and therefore bought their daily loaves from street vendors. Bread was cheap, so it was a staple food for many, and almost the only food for some. However, the majority of this bread was adulterated with alum. Though it was not poisonous in itself, alum acted to prevent the absorption of nutrients in food.

The alum bulked out the bread, making loaves appear larger for their weight and thus more attractive to poor families with many mouths to feed. Those who survived the sandwich fillings would have developed rickets or other diseases because of their inability to absorb nutrients efficiently.

8 Walking Down The Stairs


Though anyone can fall downstairs, the Victorians were more vulnerable than most to severe injury and even death.

There were very few building regulations at that time and none at all when it came to the construction of modest homes. Stairs were very narrow, often with several steep turns, which made navigation tricky. Also, the builders did not have a standard measurement when constructing their staircases, so steps within a single staircase were often of different height and width.

Not only that, but no one thought it necessary to install a handrail. Some staircases were nothing more than glorified ladders, up which women were expected to climb while wearing long dresses, often while toting a child or two on their hip.

Unsurprisingly, deaths from falling down stairs were common.[3]

 

 

7 Playing Billiards

Snooker and billiards were once considered games for gentlemen only. The balls were made from ivory and were therefore very expensive. However, when celluloid was developed as an ivory replacement, the possibility of billiards for the masses seemed a very real one.

There was a big disadvantage of using celluloid over ivory, though: It was volatile and flammable—very flammable, in fact. That was unfortunate, because one billiard ball striking against another was sometimes enough to cause an explosion. Players complained that the noise sounded like a gun going off.[4]

Which is enough to put you off your shot.

6 Wearing Makeup

Usually, when you tell a woman that they have a certain glow about them, it is a compliment. For the Radium Girls, however, it was more a sign of impending death.

During the early 20th century, radium was considered to be something of a miracle element. Cosmetics manufacturers claimed (without any evidence) that small amounts of radium were beneficial to health. Customers were sold face creams and soaps laced with radium that were guaranteed to make their skin glow. Other manufacturers added radium to energy tablets, butter, and even chocolate.

Radium was also added to paint, which was used to decorate clock faces with luminous dials. And during the 1910s and 1920s, women who painted them were told to lick their brushes after dipping them in the radium-laced paint in order to point the end of the brush.[5]

The radium was extremely dangerous, and those who were in regular contact with it often died painful deaths. The clock painters, known as the Radium Girls, suffered terribly. When the body of one was exhumed five years after her death, it was still said to be “glowing.”

5 Cleaning Out The Gutters

The Victorians loved their scientific discoveries and inventions, but they weren’t always careful about testing them before they went into full-scale production.

So when they discovered asbestos, a cheap, nonflammable material, they used it for everything. Its use in guttering was common, but it was also found all over the Victorian and Edwardian home in insulation, floor tiles, and heaters. It was also used in some more unlikely and disturbing products, such as children’s toys. The attractiveness of a nonflammable material in such products is obvious.

Unfortunately, though asbestos is wonderfully flame-retardant, it causes severe respiratory diseases and cancer.[6]

4 Waking Up To A Nice Cup Of Tea


Ever inventive, the Victorians and Edwardians were always looking for ways to save labor for even the simplest things. Some of their inventions were brilliant, but others fell into the wacky and useless category. And some of them were just plain dangerous.

They tried to develop bottles that babies could feed themselves with, to save parents the trouble of having to pick them up, and made a pump-action vacuum cleaner that such needed vigorous bellow-pumping that it would have given Charles Atlas a tough workout. But right at the top of the list of the inventive, ridiculous, and dangerous was Albert E. Richardson’s patented Automatic Tea Making Machine. He combined an alarm clock with a kettle set over a spirit burner.

The burner used methylated spirits, which were lit by the automatic striking of a match when the alarm went off. Another alarm rang when the kettle was boiled, and a spring mechanism tipped the water into the waiting cup. However, if the match failed to ignite, or if it ignited at the wrong time, the teasmade was potentially lethal.[7]

3 Setting The Table

The ingenuity, or stupidity, of Mr. Henry Cooper knew no bounds when, in 1902, he invented the self-illuminating table cloth. Why go to the trouble of putting a cloth over a table and then placing a lamp on top of it, he reasoned, when you can accomplish both at once with his patented electric tablecloth?

The cloth consisted of two layers of felt with an electrical circuit sandwiched in between them and six electric light bulb sockets poking out through the cloth. When plugged in, the cloth would give a lovely, intimate feel to his dinner party, without all the extra (two seconds) effort of using separate lamps.

Lovely. Unless, of course, a guest spilled their wine, in which case the whole thing would have gone up like a box of firecrackers. Back to the drawing board, I think, Mr Cooper.[8]

2 Stocking The Fridge


Keeping food fresh has always been a big domestic problem. Various nonmechanical methods had been developed, such as meat safes, but for the inventive Victorians, that wasn’t good enough. They wanted to produce a mechanical or electrical refrigerator that would keep food cool.

In 1834, American inventor Jacob Perkins unveiled the first-ever refrigeration unit. The fridge was billed as a vapor compression refrigeration unit and as an “apparatus and means for producing ice, and in cooling fluids.”[9] However, the fridge was not particularly reliable and very expensive and never caught on.

By the 1890s, however, the cooling process had been “improved” by the addition of methyl chloride gas. This cooled the fridge but was, unfortunately, extremely toxic. Manufacturing ceased when a fridge leaked while still in the factory, causing several deaths.

Though the Victorians were innovative and farseeing in developing fridge technology, less than two percent of the population of Britain owned a fridge before the outbreak of World War II. Later, safer, innovations, of course, demonstrated just how right the Victorians were about the usefulness of a fridge.

1 Doing A Bit Of Light Ironing

Photo credit: Old & Interesting

Being a laundry maid in the Victorian era was a tough job. Irons were made of (surprise, surprise) iron, which was heavy, and a set of irons were needed in different shapes and sizes to tackle different jobs. They were placed in a fire to heat and then cooled to the correct temperature. Steam was created by covering the garment with a damp cloth before ironing. It was hot, sweaty work.

So it was only to be expected that someone would try to make an electric iron to make the job easier. In 1882, Henry W. Seely of New York was the first person to patent a workable electric iron. The iron was wired, permanently, into a circuit.[10]However, it was not possible to regulate the temperature of the iron, which made it difficult to iron clothes without burning them. And it was a fire risk, which rather defeats the point.

Nevertheless, like many of these inventions, these early electric irons were the forerunners of something really useful and exciting (electric tablecloths excepted), which shows that perseverance can be the mother of success. Or dangerous table dressings.


The 9 Strangest Deaths of the Renaissance Era

The 9 Strangest Deaths of the Renaissance Era

 

 List of odd deaths that happened during the Renaissance, including some of the rumors and legends behind them. This list includes stories of people dying from laughter, a ruler who died due to shyness about using the restroom, and a man who was beaten to death with his own artificial limb.

"The Renaissance" is a term used to refer to a broad cultural movement that swept across Europe from the 14th through the 17th century, as well as the period in European History that divides the Late Middle Ages from the beginnings of the modern era. Through the term is most typically used to refer to the Renaissance in Italy - which includes a number of the most famous writers, thinkers, and artists of the period - the Renaissance itself spread to a number of European nations, including Scandinavia, The Netherlands, England, France, Hungary, and Russia.

 


12 Crazy Conspiracy Theories About The Death Of Kurt Cobain

12 Crazy Conspiracy Theories About The Death Of Kurt Cobain

For decades, the death of Kurt Cobain has cast a shadow over the world of rock music. Cobain's untimely suicide transformed him into a martyr who has come to represent much more than he might have ever intended. In addition to his legacy as a poet and an artist, Cobain left in his wake a trail of conspiracy theories longer than any B-side.

At first glance, Cobain's death seems cut and dry - but once you begin examining the evidence, the whole situation becomes as opaque as the singer's lyrics. How did Kurt Cobain die? Though it was officially ruled a suicide, many feel there are plenty of questions about it that have yet to be answered. While many Kurt Cobain conspiracies place his wife, Courtney Love, at the center of his demise, there are just as many theories out there that suggest otherwise. Even the most concrete pieces of evidence that were found at the time of death - his suicide note and the shotgun he used - have their inconsistencies. To date, questions remain about who really killed Kurt Cobain.

 

 


Santa Claus Dies At A Party For Kindergartners In Siberia

Santa Claus Dies At A Party For Kindergartners In Siberia

 

A committed Father Christmas  performer has collapsed and died during seasonal festivities at a kindergarten in Siberia.

A video shows how the Russian Santa was energetically performing with excited young children before he suddenly stood still and fell backwards.

Some of the youngsters can be seen thinking perhaps his collapse was all part of the game, which involved them touching their noses, and some rushed towards the fallen figure.

 

 

 

 

But the actor playing white-bearded Дед Мороз (Ded Moroz) or Grandfather Frost, as he is known in Russia, had collapsed next to the decorated Christmas tree with a heart attack.

Another cast member, a woman dressed as a clown, is seen rushing behind the tree to help the stricken Santa.

Actor Valery Titenko, 67, had complained of chest pains but wanted to perform so as not to let down the children

His health had been poor and he had undergone working heart surgery but was still working

He had been given a day off from the theatre but insisted on attending the children's festive party.

'The man felt ill in the kindergarten,' said a medical source.

'He was taken in an ambulance but died on the way to the hospital.'

In Russia Santa - Ded Moroz, or Grandfather Frost - gives presents to children at midnight on New Year's Eve and is usually dressed in red but is also seen sometimes in a blue costume


10 Mind-Blowing Things That Happened Last Week

10 Mind-Blowing Things That Happened Last Week

 

 

This week was a mixed bag of news, with no one story standing out from the rest of the pack as particularly significant. While that’s great from a “not having to read about another mass shooting/terrorist attack/special election/Brexit implosion” perspective, it does mean that condensing the entire week down into a mere ten items involved a lot more random choosing than usual. For what it’s worth, here’s what we feel you probably need to know in this last week before Christmas.

 

The US Declared ‘Mission Accomplished’ In Syria

Photo credit: Reuters/Rodi Said

So, that’s it then. After three years of an American troop presence in Syria, the end has finally arrived. On Wednesday, President Trump announced that the 2,000 US service members in the country would begin withdrawing very soon. As the president said, “We won.”[1]

The “win” being referred to is in the fight against ISIS, who have seen nearly all their territory taken away from them and their caliphate completely collapse. While this sure does sound a lot like an American victory, US allies and Army commanders in the field are less sure, pointing to the tens of thousands of ISIS militants who remain under arms.

In fact, the whole withdrawal announcement seems clouded in unsureness. Kurdish groups (who did the bulk of the fighting against ISIS) have called it a betrayal that leaves them open to attack by Assad’s forces, while Israeli commentators have called the absence of American troops a gift to Iran.

Elon Musk Unveiled His Transport Revolution

Photo credit: The Boring Company

How you responded to the title of this entry likely depends entirely on how you feel about Elon Musk. For some, the South African polymath is a real-life Tony Stark. For others, he’s a pompous blowhard.

Whatever your opinion, the news this week probably didn’t make you change your mind. For the first time since announcing it a couple of years ago, Musk unveiled his prototype for what he sees as the future of transportation: a subterranean network of tunnels beneath LA that will send commuters zipping through the city with no fuss and no congestion. A product of his whimsically named Boring Company, it was our first glimpse of a possible future.[2]

Musk’s plan is that autonomous cars will be lowered into these tunnels, where side-pointing wheels attached to their regular ones will slot onto a concrete track, allowing them to zoom along at 240 kilometers per hour (150 mph). This is a marked departure from his initial plan of special pods whisking 16 humans through at a time, but it should still cater to up to 16,000 people an hour. Provided, of course, this test tunnel convinces LA to let Musk start building properly.

 

Hungary Was Rocked By Massive Protests

Photo credit: Balazs Mohai/MTI/AP

Hungary is a country that has been plunging headlong into authoritarianism for some time. Under leader Viktor Orban, the levers of civic society have been frozen out of the reach of anyone but his ruling Fidesz party. The media, judiciary, and universities have all been cowed. As such, it’s extremely rare for serious proteststo take place. And, boy, were this week’s protests serious.

They started in response to a new overtime law. Dubbed the “slave labor” law, it would allow companies to make their employees take on 400 hours of overtime a year—and only have to pay them for it three years later. But, as with the yellow vest protests in France, what started out as a specific action against one unpopular policy quickly transformed into an angry, nationwide movement against the entire government.[3]

Throughout this week, tens of thousands have taken to the streets of Budapest, demanding an end not just to the overtime law but to Orban’s authoritarianantics. Remarkably, the opposition has become united for the first time in years—no small feat when it includes ultra-right-wing nationalists alongside pro-EU student activists.

With the law now passed, it looks like the next step will be a nationwide strike. It will be interesting to see if this forces Orban into a Macron-style climbdown.

Ukraine’s Church Officially Split From Russia

Photo credit: AP

The move was announced way back in October, but it was still a momentous event. On Saturday, the Ukraine branch of Russia’s Orthodox Church officially split off from its bigger brother and became independent. Imaginatively called the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, this brand-new branch effectively ends 300 years of Russian religious domination.[4]

The move has been extremely controversial. When the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople (sort of like the Vatican of the Orthodox world) gave the split the green light, it triggered a massive schism, with the Russian Church effectively cutting all ties with Constantinople. Ukraine’s church has argued that the breach was necessary, given the ongoing conflict between the two nations.

The new head of the church in Ukraine is Metropolitan Epiphanius, who used his first sermon to call for unity and peace in the country. We can only hope people heed his words.

Facebook Got Sucked Into Yet Another Data Scandal


It seems right now like Facebook is getting sucked into a brand-new scandal practically every other week. We’ve had tales of the digital monolith selling data to dodgy election fixers, using its clout to spread negative propaganda about its critics, and even helping to facilitate ethnic cleansing in Myanmar. This week, it’s back to data again. In an expose, The New York Times alleged Facebook has spent years sharing your data with selected companies, even if you didn’t consent to it.[5]

At the annoying end of the scale, this latest data free-for-all allowed Microsoft’s Bing—of all things—to access your friends. At the creepier end, it allowed engineers at Spotify and Netflix access to your personal messages. Facebook insists it did nothing wrong.

This latest scandal caps off a spectacularly crappy year for Facebook in general and Mark Zuckerberg in particular. But will it make a difference? One study suggested that Facebook usage is falling sharply among teens. That still leaves well over a billion people hooked to the platform, though.

 

India Finally Convicted A Leader Of 1984’s Bloody Anti-Sikh Massacres

Photo credit: PTI

1984 was one hell of an awful year in India. In quick succession, the Indian Army stormed the Sikh holiest of holies—the Golden Temple—to kill militants. Then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was assassinated by her Sikh bodyguards in response. And then anti-Sikh riots exploded across the country, in which around 3,000 Sikhs were massacred. Jesus.

In the aftermath of the massacres, almost nobody was brought to justice. This was especially galling, as politicians and other powerful people were openly egging on the mobs, encouraging them to do dreadful things like hack up families with machetes and burn people alive. Thanks to India’s culture of impunity, though, they never faced any repercussions.

Until now. This week, former member of parliament Sajjan Kumar was convicted for his role in inciting rioters to murder a family of five. He is the first high-profile politician to receive justice for his role in the killings.[6]

This is potentially big news, as more senior Indian politicians have been accused of inciting violence during the massacres. Among them is Kamal Nath, the current chief minister of Madhya Pradesh state.

Poland’s Attempt To Rig The Judiciary Finally Collapsed


Since coming to power in 2015, Poland’s ruling Law and Justice party (PiS) have done their absolute best to follow in the footsteps of Hungary’s authoritarian Viktor Orban. The media has been placed under party control, civil rights have been rolled back, and PiS have attempted to stuff the judiciary with loyal appointments.

We say “attempted” because, this week, PiS were finally forced to roll back reforms intended to stifle disloyal judges. Having lowered the mandatory retirement age on the Supreme Court from 70 to 65 earlier this year, PiS had hoped to kick out left-wing judges and replace them with loyal stooges. But an EU court ruling forced them to scrap the law and reinstate the retired justices on Tuesday. It was the first big win Brussels has scored against PiS in three years.[7]

What’s interesting here is that PiS only retreated because the EU remains remarkably popular in Poland—despite Eurosceptic PiS also being popular. There are signs that the fights Warsaw keeps picking with Brussels contributed to PiS underperforming in recent local elections. As a result, the party seems to have decided to call a truce for now.

Hackers Leaked A Whole Load Of EU Diplomatic Cables


Well, that was embarrassing. This week, hackers possibly working for Chinapassed over 1,000 EU diplomatic cables to news outlets. While the resulting coverage may not have exactly been a firestorm, it certainly wasn’t a damp squib. Alongside fears of nuclear weapons in Crimea and worries over Iran, the messages showed diplomats mouthing off about President Trump in a way that’s unlikely to improve bilateral ties.[8]

The leaks were all low-level classified, so don’t expect any smoking guns. But they did include EU officials and Chinese officials discussing the US as a bully and joking that Trump was their common enemy. In one particularly damaging cable for Brussels’s foreign policy, an EU aide remarked that the Iran nuclear dealwouldn’t keep Tehran from reaching the nuclear threshold for more than 15 years at best.

In some ways, the most damaging aspect of the leaked cables may be that they were leaked at all. The US has been pressuring the EU to upgrade its information systems for years now, fearing a massive hack could happen. Now that it has, there will be red faces all around in Brussels.

Congress Voted To End US Involvement In Yemen

Photo credit: The Guardian

Yeah, we know. Technically, this happened last Thursday. But it only did so after last week’s column was already written, so we’re covering it here regardless. In a rare bipartisan move, the US Senate voted 56–41 to end US involvement in the controversial Saudi coalition war in Yemen. The vote was a stunning rebuke from Republicans to a president they feel is too cozy with the Saudi regime.[9]

The mechanism for all this was the 1973 War Powers Resolution, which put limits on the commander in chief’s ability to take the US careening into wars. Never before used, it was triggered during last Thursday’s vote, right before a separate vote condemning Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman (known as MBS) for the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. The White House has a good relationship with MBS and was furious about the second vote.

Of course, the vote won’t actually lead anywhere. The House blocked an identical vote back in November, and there’s little chance they’ll allow it now. Maybe it’s something the 116th Congress can look into?

Democrats Were Forced To Abandon Their Plans To Gerrymander New Jersey


Over the last few election cycles, gerrymandering has become a major issue in American politics. In Wisconsin, gerrymandering has given Republicans a huge boost, while North Carolina’s map is so tilted toward the GOP that it’s been declared unconstitutional. But while gerrymandering cases involving Republicans have made headlines, the Democratic party hasn’t been covering itself in glory over the issue, either. Case in point: New Jersey.

As this year wound down, top Democrats in New Jersey scrambled to write gerrymandering into the state constitution, thereby giving the party a permanent edge. The power grab was so flagrant, so despicable, that even routinely pro-Democrat outlets like Vox and Slate called it shameless. For a while, it looked certain to be passed.

Thankfully, it didn’t. During the weekend, the plan was killed stone dead, in part thanks to an outcry among party activists and intervention from Governor Phil Murphy (himself a Democrat).[10] One of the most cynical, hypocritical measures the party was pushing has been stopped.

The fact that the party’s own activists got involved is a sign that voters of all stripes are starting to get tired of the ridiculous games being played with politics. This follows ballots in Colorado, Michigan, Missouri, and Utah that effectively outlawed partisan redistricting. Here’s hoping flagrant gerrymandering will soon be a thing of the past.


10 Really Peculiar Victorian Deaths

10 Really Peculiar Victorian Deaths

 

 

Death is always a tragedy to those who have lost someone close to them. Sometimes, though, it’s hard for the rest of us to keep a straight face, particularly when people die in a ridiculous way. And there’s no shortage of ridiculous deathsthrough history.

The Victorians, who took death so seriously, must have struggled even harder. Their sense of propriety and strict decorum combined with their morbid obsession with death must have made attending any funeral difficult. On that note, attending any of the following people’s funerals must have been extremely challenging.

The Man Who Swallowed A Mouse


Factories in Victorian England were not hygienic places. Mills especially attracted a large number of vermin. So it should not really have come as too much of a surprise when a mouse ran across the work table of one young factory girl in 1875.

Perhaps, however, the girl was taken by surprise, for she let out a piercing scream, and one of her colleagues dashed across to help her. He managed to catch the mouse, but it soon wriggled out of his hand and disappeared up his sleeve. The gallant young man gasped in surprise as the mouse suddenly reappeared from under his collar, and the mouse, seeking a dark hole in which to hide, promptly jumped into his open mouth and down his throat.

The Manchester Evening News reported that “a mouse can exist for a considerable time without much air [ . . . ] the mouse began to tear and bite inside the man’s throat and chest, and the result was that the unfortunate fellow died after a little time in horrible agony.”[1]

The Man Killed By His Alarm Clock


Sam Wardell was a lamplighter in Flatbush (part of Brooklyn in New York City) in the mid-1880s. Lamplighters would take ladders around to light the gas-powered street lamps at dusk and return at dawn to extinguish them. They also sometimes served the additional role of waking the local inhabitants to tell them it was time to get up.

Perhaps Sam Wardell was one of those people who had trouble waking up in the mornings. To ensure that he wouldn’t sleep through his alarm, he took his alarm clock and added some, shall we say, modifications. He fixed a wire to the clock and attached the other end to a shelf. Then he placed a 4.5-kilogram (10 lb) stone on top of the shelf. Then he rigged the shelf so that every time the alarm went off, the shelf collapsed and the stone would crash to the floor and wake him up. Presumably, he had solid floors and no neighbors.

The system worked perfectly until Christmas Eve 1885, when he invited some friends to his one-room apartment for a party. In order to make room for them to dance, Wardell pushed his furniture to the walls.

It must have been a good party, because Wardell climbed into bed afterward without replacing the furniture.

The following morning, his alarm went off. His shelf fell. And the stone dropped straight onto his head, killing him, well, stone dead.[2]

The Man Killed By A Coffin

Photo credit: The London Dead

Pallbearing is not known for being a particularly dangerous occupation. However, for Henry Taylor of London, it was the death of him.

In 1872, he was performing his duties at the graveside on a wet day. The ground was slippery, so to avoid embarrassing accidents, mourners were requested to access the grave on foot to lighten the load on the funeral carriage. The coffin was removed from the hearse and was being carried gingerly by six pallbearers in solemn fashion. As they approached the grave, the pallbearers were ordered to turn so that the coffin would be facing the right way when it was lowered into the ground.

As the six men shuffled around in a circle carrying the coffin, a rather heavy one by all accounts, Taylor slipped on the muddy ground, upsetting the other pallbearers in the process. To prevent themselves from falling, the others let go of their burden, and the coffin fell full-force on top of Henry Taylor, killing him.[3]

The Woman Who Killed herself With Color


People have always been willing to suffer to be fashionable, but for the Victorians, there were few lengths to which people would not go in order to look their best. After Empress Eugenie wore a stunning green dress to the Paris Opera in 1864, green was in. Everyone who was anyone wanted to be seen in the same emerald green shade as the princess.

It was unfortunate that that particular shade of green was created by mixing copper with arsenic. The color became so popular that it was used in fabrics everywhere. Deaths soon followed.

In 1861, Matilda Scheurer, a maker of artificial flowers, died of accidental poisoning after dusting the flower petals with “green powder.” Though her death and its cause were described in grisly detail in newspaper articles, the fashion for Paris green continued.

As its lethal properties were public knowledge, it is not, perhaps, surprising that when Louisa Cruikshank decided to kill herself, she thought of the colorful substance. In 1882, at just 18 years old, Miss Cruikshank purchased the poison without any difficulty from an art supplies shop and died swiftly but painfully soon afterward.[4]

The Man Who Swallowed A Billiard Ball


The Victorians, alas, did not have the monopoly on stupid people. And stupid drunk people are apt to behave in the same way today as they did then. But, in an age when people had to make their own amusements, some found greater scope for doing ridiculous things. Take Londoner Walter Cowle, for instance.

In 1893, while enjoying a night out, he bet his friends that he could put a billiard ball in his mouth and close his lips around it. At the subsequent inquest, the landlord of the Carlisle Arms Tavern maintained that when he provided Cowle with a billiard ball, it was on the understanding that he would not actually put the ball in his mouth but only appear to do so, while using sleight of hand to palm the ball in his pocket.

For some reason, however, perhaps in some way connected to the large number of drinks that the landlord at the tavern had served, Cowle did indeed put the ball in his mouth, whereupon he immediately began to choke. Both his drinking companion and the landlord tried to remove the billiard ball, even holding Cowle upside down and slapping him on the back, but nothing worked.[5]

Though, at the inquest, his friends maintained that they had seen Cowle perform this trick several times, the landlord of the tavern had nothing else to say on the matter. And neither, of course, did Cowle.

The Lady Who Danced In Her Shroud


When Mrs. Marion Hillitz died in 1878 after a long, entirely normal illness, her friends and relatives gathered to pay their respects ahead of the funeral. Her body was laid out in her coffin, and mourners sat around the corpse praying or talking in subdued voices.

So it must have come as something of a shock when Mrs. Hillitz suddenly sat up in her coffin and addressed the company. She surveyed her family and friends, soberly attired in black, and announced, “I am not dead yet, but I will die soon.”

According to newspaper reports, Mrs. Hillitz then climbed out of her coffin and “danced around the room, sang, and shouted in a loud, ringing voice” as the mourners presumably stared in disbelief—and probably a fair amount of terror.

However, the miracle was not long-lasting. Her nurses, once they had gotten over the shock, put the old lady to bed, where she died, for real, later that night.[6]

The Man Stabbed As Part Of The Act


In 1896, while performing in a new play at the Novelty Theatre in London, Temple Edgecumbe Crozier (his real name, apparently) was killed when a fellow actor stabbed him during his debut performance of The Sins of the Night.[7]

For some reason, the prop dagger had been replaced with a real one. As a result, when his fellow actor uttered the words, “Die villain, die,” and stabbed him enthusiastically during the final scene, the blade pierced Crozier’s heart and killed him.

For obvious reasons, The Sins of The Night was not a success, and its run was an extremely short one.

The Servant Who Died Reenacting A Death


In October 1881, a man asked his servant to collect a gun that he intended to give someone as a gift. The servant, a dim-witted chap called Hague, went to collect the revolver and, while there, decided to examine it closely. For reasons best known to himself, Hague lifted the gun up to his face to examine the trigger mechanism and somehow managed to shoot himself in the mouth. The wound was instantly fatal.

Another servant, witnessing the accident, called the police. After their arrival, she picked up the gun to demonstrate to the officers just how the incident had occurred.

As Hague had done, she lifted the gun to her face to examine it, and, just like Hague, she managed to pull the trigger. The bullet went through her mouth, and she, too, died, which must have made things a lot clearer for the police.[8]

The First Motor Vehicle Fatality

Today, traffic accidents are, unfortunately, a daily occurrence. In 1869, there had never been a death by motor vehicle, until August 31, when Mary Ward became the first-ever casualty of the automobile. At that time, automobiles were called “road locomotives” and were little more than steam trains with rubber tires attached, weighing approximately 1.5 metric tons.

Mary Ward was a remarkable woman who had done pioneering work in the fields of science and astronomy. She must have had a curious mind, because she jumped at the chance to ride in her husband’s new car.

Though the car was only traveling at 6.4 kilometers per hour (4 mph), Mary fell from the passenger seat as the vehicle took a sharp bend, and the enormous back wheel ran straight over her. Newspaper reports that said she died of “dislocation of the neck” were no doubt being discreet.[9]

The People Who Died Of A Sweet Tooth


Sugar has long been known to be an addictive substance. And, as with all addictive substances, demand sometimes outstrips supply. In Victorian Britain, the price of “white gold” was very high, and so, enterprising grocers often cut their products with cheaper substances. How times have changed.

The cheap powder used to cut sugar was known as “daft” or “daff” and usually consisted of substances such as plaster of Paris or powdered limestone.

In 1858, one sweet seller, known to all as “Humbug Billy,” operated a sweet stall in Bradford in the north of England. His suppliers, when purchasing the daft with which to cut their product, had accidentally bought 5.4 kilograms (12 lb) of arsenic and not the plaster of Paris that they thought they were getting.[10]

Unaware of the mistake, Humbug Billy sold the sweets from his stall. He sampled the sweets and was ill himself, but rather than destroying the stock, he negotiated a discount and carried on with the sale. Enough sweets were sold to have killed 2,000 people, but, thanks to the quick work of the town crier, who alerted the locals as soon as the source of the illness was known, only 21 people died, though another 200 had to be treated for arsenic poisoning.


17 Fascinating Photos Collected From History

17 Fascinating Photos Collected From History -

 

1. Camp guards at concentration camp Buchenwald, who were captured and beaten by the prisoners on the day of liberation. April 1945

2. Crowd in Times Square, New York City celebrating the surrender of Germany, May 7th, 1945.

3. The McDonald brothers in front of the not yet opened first McDonald’s, November 1948, San Bernadino, CA

4. John F. Kennedy consults with his brother Robert Kennedy during campaigning. 1960

5. Men celebrating the end of prohibition, December 5, 1933

6. The first public demonstration of a computer mouse, graphical user interface, windowed computing, hypertext and word processing, 1968

7. Nurses in their bomb trenches between hospital wards. France 1918

8. A lone African-American man attends a Klan rally in Jackson, Mississippi (1950)

9. Reverend Carter, expecting a visit from the Klan after he has dared to register to vote, stands guard on his front porch, West Feliciana Parish, Louisiana, c. 1964 – Photograph by Bob Adelman

10. An old Italian woman shows her gratitude to one of the American soldiers following the liberation of Italy, 1945

11. Jewish women before their execution in Skede, Latvia, December 15-17, 1941

12. One the warehouses filled with victims’ shoes up to the ceiling. Auschwitz, Occupied Poland 1944

13. Gay club in Paris, France in 1934

14. A British couple sleeps inside a “Morrison shelter” used as protection from collapsing homes during the WWII ‘Blitz’ bombing raids March 1941

15. The lottery used by the Selective Service to determine who would be drafted for Vietnam. United States, 1969

16. The 12 women in this photo had 775 confirmed nazi kills

17. A victim of American bombing, ethnic Cambodian guerrilla Danh Son Huol is carried to an improvised operating room in a mangrove swamp on the Ca Mau Peninsula, September 15, 1970

 

 


10 Times GPS Failed With Terrible Consequences

10 Times GPS Failed With Terrible Consequences

 

Since the introduction of GPS satellite navigation systems, drivers have become increasingly reliant on the devices to get from A to B. The days of executing a meticulously planned road trip from map reading and navigational skills alone have become a thing of the past.

Okay, maybe we weren’t all great navigators like Christopher Columbus. The reality of most map-guided journeys was a screaming match with the other half over which turnoff to take and where the next opportunity to make a U-turn was.

No one can argue that GPS has made our lives easier. In fact, it’s probably saved a few marriages. But are there any dangers in turning off our brains and turning on the GPS? What happens when GPS fails us? Not necessarily by being wrong, but by being too right.

GPS does such a good job of computing the most direct route from point A to point B that it can occasionally take us down some questionable roads and lead us in some strange directions, sometimes with terrible consequences.

Boy Dies After GPS Leaves Him And His Mother Stranded

In summer 2009, 28-year-old nurse Alicia Sanchez and her six-year-old son were driving through the hot, arid landscape of Death Valley National Park in eastern California when the GPS directed her down a remote road. A week later, a park ranger found her Jeep Cherokee 32 kilometers (20 mi) away, buried up to its axles in sand. “SOS” was spelled out in medical tape on the window.

An exhausted and severely dehydrated Sanchez collapsed into the park ranger’s arms while the lifeless body of her six-year-old son lay slumped in the front seat. They had survived for several days on bottled water, Pop-Tarts, and cheese sandwiches, but tragically, the boy didn’t make it. He had died two days before his mother was rescued.[1]

Japanese Tourists Drive Their Car Into The Ocean

Photo credit: ABC News

In 2012, three Japanese tourists on vacation in Australia set out on a road trip to North Stradbroke Island. Following their GPS, they believed they could drive from the Australian mainland to the island. The GPS had failed to mention the 15 kilometers (9 mi) of water and mud in between.

While driving their Hyundai Getz rental car from Queensland, they began to notice the firm gravel road surface disappear and give way to mud. Despite the sinkingfeeling, they decided to plow on, confident that their GPS would direct them to solid ground. They traveled a further 500 meters (1,640 ft) before the car was up to its axles in mud.

Things went from bad to worse when the tide started to come in and they had no choice but to abandon their vehicle. Just four hours later, the car was left stranded in 2 meters (6.6 ft) of water.[2]

Woman Is Shot Dead After Following GPS Through Brazilian Favela

Photo credit: The Telegraph

In October 2015, Regina Murmura, 70, and her 69-year-old husband, Francisco, set off for a relaxing day at the beach. Using a GPS mobile app for directions, they headed for a Niteroi beach in Rio de Janeiro. Unknown to them, the GPS app had led them into the notoriously dangerous, gang-controlled Caramujo favela.

Their car came under intense fire from local drug traffickers. Mrs. Murmura was shot dead, while her husband somehow made it out alive. He frantically drove his wife to the nearest hospital, but it was too late.[3]

Driver Is Left Teetering On The Edge Of A Cliff After Following His GPS

Photo credit: The Telegraph

In 2009, 43-year-old Robert Jones from England almost plunged to his deathfrom a 30-meter (100 ft) cliff after blindly following the instructions from his GPS. After being directed off the road, he drove down a steep and narrow path, eventually coming to his senses and stopping the car.[4]

Police officers were called to the scene due to reports that a BMW was hanging off the edge of a cliff off Bacup Road in Todmorden, West Yorkshire. Jones, who worked as a driver, said that he trusted his GPS and relied on it for his job. He continued to follow the instructions when it told him the footpath he was driving on was a road. Despite denying all charges in court, Jones was ordered to pay nearly £900 for driving without due care and attention.

Woman Dies After Her Husband Drives Off A Bridge

Photo credit: abc13.com

In March 2015, Iftikhar Hussain, 64, and his 51-year-old wife, Zohra, set off from their home in Chicago to visit family in Indiana. Following the GPS in their Nissan Sentra, they approached a bridge that had been closed for repairs since 2009.

Despite numerous barricades, orange cones, and “Road Closed” signs, Iftikhar continued onward, seemingly paying more attention to the GPS instructions than the warning signs around him. The car plunged off the bridge, dropping more than 11 meters (37 ft) and bursting into flames shortly after impact.

Miraculously, Iftikhar survived the fall and was able to escape the vehicle. His wife was not so lucky. Trapped in the wreckage, Zohra was unable to get out of the car and died in the blaze.[5]

Swedish Couple Ends Up In The Wrong Capri

In 2009, a middle-aged Swedish couple set off on a romantic vacation to the Italian island of Capri. But they were left disappointed when their GPS led them 640 kilometers (400 mi) away to the industrial northern town of Carpi in the province of Modena, Emilia-Romagna.

The couple only discovered their mistake after asking staff at the local tourist office how to drive to the island’s famous “Blue Grotto.”[6]

Man Takes A Fishing Trip And Never Returns

Photo credit: oregonstateparks.org

In summer 2015, 69-year-old Silas Wrigley went missing after setting off on a fishing trip to Oregon. After a week-long search, his truck and body were discovered off a remote dirt road. It is thought that he was led astray by his truck’s GPS.

Investigators analyzing Mr. Wrigley’s death believe he may have missed the turnoff to Lake Owyhee and had to recalculate his GPS route, which led him to the remote road where his truck and body were found.[7]

Elderly Belgian Woman Takes Detour To Zagreb

Photo credit: The Telegraph

In January 2013, 67-year-old Belgian woman Sabine Moreau was reported missing by her son. She turned up two days later, 1,450 kilometers (901 mi) away in Zagreb, Croatia.[8]

She had intended to travel just 61 kilometers (38 mi) to Brussels to pick up her friend. But Mrs. Moreau ended up making a massive detour thanks to the instructions of her GPS. She had to refuel twice, caused a minor accident, and had to sleep in her car by the side of the road during her epic two-day journey.

Three Women Follow GPS Into A Lake

Photo credit: seattletimes.com

In June 2011, three young women escaped a sinking Mercedes-Benz rental SUV after the GPS directed them down a boat launch and into the Mercer Slough in Bellevue, Washington. The driver thought she was still on the road as she followed the car’s GPS just after midnight. But she was actually heading down the boat launch and crashed the SUV into the lake.

All three women were able to make it out unharmed. But the car was completely submerged and had to be pulled from the water by a tow truck.[9]

GPS Shortcut Leads To Death On A Mountain

Photo credit: oregonlive.com

In March 2011, Albert and Rita Chretien left British Columbia in their Chevrolet Astro van and headed for a convention in Las Vegas. Along the way, they decided to compare their planned route against the car’s GPS and take what they thought was a shortcut.

Unaware that GPS directions omit seasonal conditions, they soon found themselves on a treacherous, remote road in the desert mountains. After traveling for 9 kilometers (6 mi), the road became impassable. Their car succumbed to the muddy conditions, and they were left stranded.

Attempts to dig themselves out and get back onto the road were futile. At this point, they decided to set out on foot. But unknown to them, they were heading in the wrong direction.[10]

When Mrs. Chretien’s swollen knee gave out, they had no other option but to turn back. It was then that Mr. Chretien decided to go it alone. He said goodbye to his wife and headed off with the GPS. It would be the last time Rita saw her husband alive.

For nearly two months, Mrs. Chretien survived alone in the car. She read her Bible, rationed her food, and ate snow. After 49 days of solitude, she had finally accepted that her fate was to die alone in the wilderness. Ironically, it was on that day that she was eventually rescued.

In October 2012, over a year and a half after he went missing, Mr. Chretien’s body was found. He had climbed around 730 meters (2,400 ft) in snow and was about 11 kilometers (7 mi) west from where he set off.

He had lost the ability to use the GPS due to the snow drifts and couldn’t tell where the road was. He had done a lot of unnecessary climbing and was heading for the summit of a mountain when he died.


4 Ways Stephen Hillenburg Made Spongebob Squarepants Amazing

4 Ways Stephen Hillenburg Made Spongebob Squarepants Amazing

 

 

In 1994, a marine biologist and animation fan created a comic called The Intertidal Zone. He used it to teach his students about aquatic life, and was co-hosted by one Bob The Sponge. After being turned down by comic publishers, his ambitions led him to the California Institute of The Arts, which eventually led him to a directing job on early Nickelodeon classic Rocko's Modern Life. Years later, it was his work with Rocko that would eventually convince him to retool his first creation and announce to the world who exactly lives in a pineapple under the sea.

Stephen Hillenburg, the creator of Spongebob Squarepants, passed away yesterday at the age of 57 due to complications from ALS. The show's legacy has only continued to grow over its nearly 20-year run, and even after leaving his duties as showrunner behind in 2009, it's become Hillenburg's signature creation. It took the lessons learned from surreal cartoons like Ren & Stimpy and Rocko and flung them 20,000 leagues under the sea to the city of Bikini Bottom, the anchor tied to at least two generation's worth of humor. A multimedia empire that is still at the very center of internet meme culture, Spongebob has braved the choppy waters of pop culture and still remains a magnetic force to be reckoned with. And for that, we have one extremely determined marine biologist to thank. We'll miss you, Mr. Hillenburg.

1. A Ween album inspired the series as much as the marine biology did

Ween

Hillenburg loved aquatic life almost as much as he loved alternative rock, apparently. Sometime after the show's creation, he called rock band Ween to let them know that their album The Mollusk was a heavy influence on him. The respect was mutual and led to the group contributing the song "Loop De Loop" to the episode "Your Shoe's Untied" and Mollusk song "Ocean Man" closing out The Spongebob Squarepants Movie. 

2. Hillenburg was a fry cook when he was younger

Nickelodeon/Spongebob Squarepants

From the very start, Spongebob was a superhumanly determined sponge ready to serve the people of Bikini Bottom through his job as a fry cook at the Krusty Krab. Hillenburg could certainly relate, as he also worked as a fry cook when he was younger. He came a long way from that lobster restaurant in Maine.

3. The characters were based on the seven deadly sins

Nickelodeon/Spongebob Squarepants

Spongebob's colorful cast of characters is about as memorable as cartoons get, but even they have their dark secrets. In a season 1 DVD commentary track, writer and voice of Plankton Mr. Lawrence revealed that Hillenburg had initially based the seven main characters -- Spongebob, Patrick, Sandy, Squidward, Mr. Krabs, Plankton, and Gary -- on the Seven Deadly Sins. Fans have attempted to suss out who is who -- Squidward as Wrath, Krabs as Greed, Patrick as Sloth, etc -- so while we may never hear the words from Hillenburg itself, this just gives fans even more reason to dig.

4. Karen The Computer was named after Hillenburg's wife

Nickelodeon/Spongebob Squarepants

Speaking of Plankton, the small sea creature was married to a very sarcastic sentient computer named Karen. Short for  The computer was named after Karen Hillenburg, Stephen's wife who was most likely not nearly as evil or sarcastic as the character that would bear her name.


10 Creepy Things Bodies Can Do After Death

10 Creepy Things Bodies Can Do After Death

The period soon after death can seem like a strange thing. During this time, the body undergoes various changes, shifting from living to being completely dead. While some of these changes—such as stiffening and changing color—are seen on crime TV shows, others seem a bit far-fetched for even the human body.

Still, the things corpses can do are shocking and a bit creepy. From giving birth to having an awareness that it’s dead, the changes that occur in the body after death seem almost too unrealistic to be true. The following list is not for the faint of heart, or stomach.

Move


Stories of dead bodies sitting straight up have been told throughout the years—yet the probability of such drastic movement occurring is slim to none. The body can, however, make slight movements after death. Though the movements do not at all resemble ones that a person would do while alive, they can still be startling for those around them.

Cadavers can do such things such as twitch, move, and even clench muscles. This occurs because the muscles of the body are still receiving nerve signals to contract or even relax, causing it to seem as if the corpse is moving despite being dead.[1] Once the adenosine triphosphate (ATP) is depleted, the body will make its final movements, which can be seen in fingers clenching, hands moving, toes wiggling, and muscles twitching. Another factor in strange movements is how the person died. If there is excess calcium, a change in temperature, or, in some cases, a violent death or even electrocution, the body can demonstrate such movements.

This process normally occurs between the time of death and rigor mortis, so if anyone tells you they’ve seen a body sit up, they’re probably just trying to get a rise out of you.

Give Birth


Unfortunately, death does not have a moral compass, and anyone, even those who are pregnant, can fall victim to its embrace.

Giving birth while alive is a beautiful experience; giving birth after one has died is the complete opposite, especially for those dealing with the dead body. These “births” are referred to as “coffin births” due to them happening inside coffins. Basically, the pressure of gases building up within the deceased pushes the fetus out. The fetus has to be positioned in just the right (or wrong) way for this to occur.[2]

Even though most of these cases of coffin birth occurred during times without the benefits of modern medicine, they still happen to this day. In January 2018, a woman in South Africa, who had died suddenly ten days prior, shocked people at the funeral home when they saw that she had given birth inside her coffin. The woman had been nine months pregnant at the time of her death, and all arrangements for her funeral had been made when the staff made the spine-chilling discovery that her body had expelled the fetus after death.

Eliminate


During the process of death, the body goes through various changes. One of these is the relaxation of every muscle, including those which control certain bodily functions, such as the elimination of urine and feces.

Postmortem elimination is due to the sphincter muscles in the body relaxing. As the brain dies, it no longer sends the signals to keep these muscles contracted, and the contents left in the bowels and bladder will end up being released. [3]

These bodily functions do not always happen after death; it depends on how you die and how much food and liquid are in your bladder and bowels before death. In the case of those who are ill, there may not be as much food in their system due to the lack of appetite that can accompany illness. However, in cases of sudden death, bodies are more likely to release whatever was left in their system.

The process can take a few hours, though, so it’s best to let nature take its course on this one.

Make Noise


Most depictions of dead bodies moaning and groaning focus on zombies rather than the actual dead. However, while corpses aren’t likely to scream or yell, they are likely to make noises such as moans, groans, hisses, and grunts.[4]

These bodies aren’t making this noise voluntarily, of course. When cadavers are moved after death, the air still left inside of the windpipe will escape and vibrate the vocal cords, making noises similar to grunts and moans. These sounds have spurred the horror stories of dead bodies making noise, though the reality is less horrifying. The sounds can often happen when coroners or morticians are prepping or turning the body over; the air will escape, causing what appears to be similar to human sounds but are just the simple result of the rest of the lungs’ contents leaving.

Another way these noises can occur is when the gases in the body begin to build up. They can escape through the windpipe, causing squeaks, hisses, and sometimes lower groaning.

Illusions Of Growth


Even though someone has been ruled dead, it may take time for the body to fully cease functioning. Once the brain shuts down, the body follows, but some have claimed that though the body is no longer alive, the hair and nails continue to grow.

As horrifying as that sounds, the truth is that the hair and nails only appear to have grown. When a body dies, it no longer has a supply of oxygen, making it impossible for glucose, which stimulates nail and hair growth, to be produced. What actually occurs is that the skin around the nails and hair begins to retract due to dehydration, making it appear that the nails and hair have grown longer, when in reality, they’re the same as they were before death. This also applies to men who have stubble and hair on their chest; as skin shrinks, the hair looks more prominent, making it seem as if the body has developed more stubble after death.

Goosebumps after death due to contractions of the muscles in the skin can also impact how hair can appear.[5] In some circumstances, it will give the effect that the hair has grown longer, but once the contractions end, the hair will return back to its normal state.

Those of you with hair, such as men with beards, shouldn’t worry. Funeral staff will moisturize bodies to decrease the look of dry skin.

Feel Pain (Possibly)


For those who choose to donate their organs, the moments after they die are crucial. During that time, life support has to be initiated so that the organs remain alive and the heart remains beating, even though the person has been declared brain-dead.

No organs can be retrieved from a body until this status of brain death is given. However, even if the donor is brain-dead, scientists have started to fear that the body can still feel pain after death. Recently deceased bodies have been observed demonstrating various reactions when they’re cut open in order to take the organs out.

In some cases, it has been noted that when the bodies are under the knife, despite being declared dead, there is a rise in blood pressure as well as twitching and movement. Research has found that the brain can stay alive up to ten minutes after being declared dead, which means that any pain signals the brain sends out could still be reaching the rest of the body.

While this has been a cause for concern, most researchers and scientists believe it is just an involuntary reaction of the body as the other organs are still functioning, rather than a reaction caused by pain.[6] Still, due to the doubt, many organ donors are given anesthesia just in case pain does exist for some time after death.

Explode


Tall tales have been told of bodies exploding from the inside out. Though this may seem a bit far-fetched, it isn’t too far from the truth—in a way.

Spontaneous human combustion has been an explanation for many of these tales, but the reality is a bit different. When a body dies, its temperature usually drops. In some cases, the temperature actually increases, which is referred to as “postmortem hyperthermia.” This continuous increase in temperature can be caused by different things, from drugs to trauma to even signals in the brain before death. The body can continue to grow hotter, but the likelihood of actual combustion is low, as the temperature will begin to drop back down as the corpse goes into the regular stages of decomposition.

Still, there have been cases of bodies exploding—though spontaneous human combustion isn’t responsible. What happens is that, as a body begins to break down after death, the gases inside (the same ones that can cause moaning and groaning) have to escape. The gases’ continuous buildup can lead to an “explosion” of bodily remains.

This rarely happens. In January 2013, however, a corpse did explode in a mausoleum in Melbourne.[7] Those visiting the mausoleum bore witness to the event—and the smell. The experience was enough to traumatize witnesses and ensure that better precautions were taken to avoid another such incident.

Appear Aroused


Responding to certain stimuli when alive is natural and something that occurs even in the most inopportune of times. While it can be embarrassing if the moment isn’t right, it’s nothing near as creepy as a dead man getting an erection.

Once the heart stops beating, all of the blood that was previously circulating begins to trickle down and collect at the lowest part of the body available. In some cases, depending on how the man died, such as those who have suffered a spinal injury or passed facedown, this can be in the genital area. The continuous pooling of blood is only natural, as is the reaction it causes in the dead man’s penis, referred to as priapism.[8]

While this is uncommonly seen now, it can also happen with women. When a woman dies similarly, her labia can become enlarged, and her clitoris can swell.

Orgasm


Even though this sounds a lot like necrophilia, it thankfully isn’t. In corpses which no longer have oxygen pumping through them, this is unlikely to ever happen, but for those that are clinically dead but being used as beating-heart cadavers or as organ donors, the possibility of the body having an orgasm is there.

This isn’t done on purpose. Doctors who work with these bodies sometimes have to electrically trigger parts of the spine. In some cases, when the sacral nerve root in the base of one’s spine is stimulated, it causes a reflexive reaction by the autonomic nervous system. Again, this only works due to the fact that the bodies are still receiving oxygen, despite being clinically dead. When the doctors trigger this part of the spine, the reflex it causes in the system can result in an orgasm.

However, because the body is clinically dead, there is no actual enjoyment or pleasure coming from this experience. The brain is no longer sending out signals, and while the body may react, it’s only doing so out of pure reflex.[9]

Know They’re Dead


There are countless stories of those who have come back from near-death experiences and have given their interpretation of what they believe the afterlife is like. While many are left to wonder what happens after we die, scientists may have at least part of an answer.

Scientists have found that after death, the brain can retain some semblance of awareness. This means that after one has passed, they might actually be aware they’re dead. In a study of 2,060 cardiac arrest survivors who had been declared legally dead, meaning that they no longer had identifiable brain function, around 40 percent claimed they were still aware of their surroundings and conversations going on around them.[10]

The period doesn’t seem to last long, research has found. As death is a process, the time between oxygen leaving the system and the brain sending its last signals can leave room for awareness. Scientists believe that there is an average time of 10–20 seconds of awareness after death. A severed head, for example, still produces EEG waves even after death, though a portion of these seconds have lead scientists to believe the brain enters a stage of unconsciousness.

Still, the idea that a body may aware that it’s dead is nothing short of unsettling.


Ex-Gangster Shot Dead After Launch Of Book On Quitting Crime

Ex-Gangster Shot Dead After Launch Of Book On Quitting Crime

A former Danish gang leader died of gunshot wounds on Tuesday as his memoir on leaving the criminal underworld went on sale. He was shot a day earlier after an event to launch the book.

Nedim Yasar, 31, made a name for himself as a radio host after quitting Los Guerreros, a Copenhagen gang involved in the drugs trade. His book, "Roots", about pulling himself out of crime was published on Tuesday.

At least two shots were fired at Yasar when he was leaving the book launch on Monday by a gunman who fled the scene.

Danish justice Soren Pape Poulsen paid tribute to Yasar, who was born in Turkey and went to Denmark at the age of 4, according to newspaper Politiken.

 

 

"How sad and infinitely meaningless. I met Nedim once. I met a man who with all his heart wanted to create and new life and make a difference for others. My thoughts and compassion go to his friends and family," Poulsen tweeted.

According to news agency Ritzau, Yasar decided to leave his gang and join an exit programme after he learned he was going to become a father. He often spoke of his life experiences on his radio show.

Police said Yasar told them in 2017 he had been the victim of an attempted assault, after he had quit the gang.

Denmark had a record number of gang-related shootings last year, police said. Some politicians linked the rise in violence to problems integrating non-Western immigrants.


10 Of The Most Unusual Dead Body Discoveries And Their Stories

 

10 Of The Most Unusual Dead Body Discoveries And Their Stories -

 

 

Have you ever found a dead body? If not, could you imagine what it would be like if you did? You’re going on about your day like usual, but suddenly, you stumble upon a dead person—the body of someone who once was but is no longer, the outer shell of what used to be a human existence, suddenly and unexpectedly before you.

Every single year, 55.3 million people die. That’s 151,600 every single day, 6,316 per hour, 105 people every minute, and about two people per second.[1] This means that dead people are being found all the time somewhere in the world, sometimes by their friends and loved ones and sometimes by complete and total strangers. Up until the moment of their death, these people had a past, a history, a story, a narrative that was ongoing, and the tale of their place in the world continued on even after they died.

Every body has a story, and there are a lot of unusual stories out there. Here are ten of the most unusual dead body finds and their stories.

Ruth Strange

Ruth Strange, a 92-year-old Southern California woman, was found dead under suspicious circumstances in her home on the 6800 block of Vista del Sol Drive in Huntington Beach on September 4, 2018. Her neighbors thought it was strange that her gate kept opening and closing, as Ruth had, in her age, grown accustomed to habit and always locked her gate. After someone showed up to take her to the doctor and she didn’t answer the door, the police were called. They found Ruth facedown in her backyard pool, floating, with superficial cuts on her head.[2] As she was old, frail, and living alone, people were extremely surprised when Ruth’s death was ruled a homicide. Who would want to kill such an innocent, harmless old woman?

The answer would turn out to be, frankly, strange: A monthlong investigation would reveal Ruth’s own daughter, Cynthia Strange (pictured above), as a suspect. As it turns out, detectives believe that this 64-year-old killed her own mother and left her dead, facedown in her own pool, for financial gain, likely for a life insurance policy.

Raymundo Rivera

Photo credit: KNBC

On August 11, 2018, the manager of a Lancaster, California, WinCo Foods began to complain about a rancid, reeking smell. A handyman tracked the scent to a pillar and began to dig into the pillar to see what was causing the foul smell that was scaring off the customers. As he dug, the handyman quickly exposed the shoe and leg of a man named Raymundo Rivera, who was already in the advanced stages of decomposition. One of the witnesses remarked that a gooey liquid spilled from the pillar and out onto the ground as the handyman opened it.

On August 6, five days prior to the discovery of the body, Raymundo Rivera was in a police chase with law enforcement officials, and he managed to get away by hiding in the grocery store. While it’s unclear what happened from there, somehow, Raymundo Rivera ended up inside one of the store’s pillars, dead.[3]

Brian Egg


In June 2018, a 65-year-old San Francisco man by the name of Brian Egg was reported missing. Police knocked at his house three times but, armed with only a missing persons report, did not enter. Police asked the general public if they had any information on Egg’s disappearance, but weeks rolled by with no new leads.

That was until August 2018, when neighbors suddenly noticed police tape around the home and a stranger coming in and out of the residence. Police were called and arrested the stranger, a man named Robert McCaffery, for a possible homicide and other charges. After the arrest, they obtained a search warrant. Upon entering the home, they found a body in Brian Egg’s fish tank, headless and handless, decomposing.

Investigation and identification would later reveal that the body found inside Brian Egg’s fish tank in his San Francisco home was his own.[4] Robert McCaffery and another man, Lance Silva, were both arrested and brought up on charges for murder.

Evelyn Rice


The evening of April 14, 1939, saw a string of bizarre and gruesome discoveries that were to shock the city of Baltimore, Maryland. Four separate sewers yielded small parts of what was believed to be a teenage girl at the time, first a right hand, then a left leg, pieces here and there of a young girl who had died only hours before. Then a mutilated heart was discovered in a manhole on Lombard and Wolfe streets as detectives quickly scrambled to understand what was going on. Had a body gotten loose from a morgue and somehow ended up in the sewer system? Or was this a much darker story of a serial killer?

A few weeks went by before investigators were able to piece the puzzle together. A man named Aurelio Tarquinio was arrested and charged with the murder of his then-girlfriend, Evelyn Rice, age 30.[5] After discovering that Tarquinio had filed a missing persons report only after the body parts started to float up from the sewers, police tailed him, and after a neighbor reported that Aurelio had mentioned that the police would never find the head, they arrested him and executed a search warrant on his property. Buried in the backyard was Evelyn Rice’s head.

Police concluded that Tarquinio pushed Rice down a flight of stairs, and her head fatally struck concrete. He then took her body, dismembered it in his basement, and dumped the remains in various sewers around town, each piece wrapped in newspaper.

Aquan Lewis


A terrifying discovery, a nightmare straight out of a horror movie, was made when the body of ten-year-old Aquan Lewis was found in a bathroom stall at his local elementary school in a suburb of Chicago. On February 4, 2009, some students at Oakton Elementary School got the attention of the janitor, informing him that they had found the boy’s body hanging in the stall by a coat hook.[6]

Even years after this gruesome discovery was ruled a suicide, Aquan’s mother can’t seem to come to terms with it; she refuses to believe that her ten-year-old would have committed suicide. Was Aquan’s death an accident, or did it come at the hands of another? The world may never know the whole truth.

Hervey Medellin

Photo credit: AP

In the hustle and bright lights of the big city, it’s rare that something is unusual enough, strange enough, or terrifying enough to stop you dead in your tracks. But on January 17, 2012, two women were walking their dogs near the world-famous Hollywood Sign in Los Angeles when they came upon a severed head that had been placed inside a 99 Cents Only Stores plastic bag. The police and coroner quickly rushed to the scene, where they pronounced it both an investigation and a homicide. When one of the dogs bit and shook the bag, the head fell out, terrifying the two women.

The head was identified as a 66-year-old man named Hervey Medellin, a retired airport ticket counter clerk who was living off of his pension in his older age. Detectives then found a hand and a foot the day after the head was discovered.[7]It wouldn’t be long before police were able to piece together what had happened and point the finger at Gabriel Campos Martinez, Medellin’s roommate and lover, try him, and sentence him to 25 years in prison.

Lake Houston

Photo credit: KTRK-TV

On one fateful day, March 24, 2018, volunteer cleanup crews found a small pistol along the shore of Lake Houston in Texas. Shortly thereafter, they also found a severed head in a bag. The bag had holes punched into it, and enough hair was coming out that the volunteer team was able to identify it as a woman’s head, and they called the police immediately.[8] The police released a sketch of what they believe the woman looked like in hopes of gaining any leads they could.

Witnesses reported seeing a man drive up to the location where the severed head was dumped in a blue-green or teal Chevrolet truck. The truck was loaded with rust, featured a broken window with what appeared to be cardboard covering it up, and had a generally misshapen body from having been in so many accidents. Police asked the public to come forward with any information about the man or the truck. Authorities are still looking for any clues or information about this gruesome discovery that can possibly lead to an arrest.

Calcasieu Lake


Sometimes, catching a killer involves teams of police forces working together to figure out what happened and trace the steps all the way back to the person responsible for the crimes they’re investigating. Sometimes, this can take years. Jump back almost one month prior to our previous entry, on March 1, 2018, and another severed head was discovered by a team of prison inmates doing cleanup duty 240 kilometers (150 mi) from Lake Houston.

The head was discovered by Calcasieu Lake in Louisiana.[9] This head was also found in a bag near a lake, and authorities are working closely together to try to bring the perpetrator to justice. At current, there are no known leads and very little information on the two women, but there is a sneaking suspicion that these crimes were committed by the same person.

Betty Williams

Photo credit: Kendall Rodriguez

Betty Williams was a 28-year-old woman living in the Bronx, New York City, in 2010. On a late December evening at 12:15 AM, a suitcase was discovered unattended on a street corner in East Harlem. The passerby who made the discovery noticed that blood was dripping from the suitcase and, upon opening it, saw a human leg fall out. At this point, they ran to a nearby restaurant and called 911. The contents of the suitcase, of course, turned out to be the dead body of Betty Williams.

Police launched an investigation and managed to come upon some surveillance footage taken from near the scene where the suitcase was found. They released a creepily eerie video of a man dressed in winter clothing dropping the suitcase off out of frame. The man believed to be responsible, career con Hassan Malik, was eventually caught and brought to trial for the murder of Betty Williams. Malik openly admitted to killing Williams but insisted that it was self-defense. The authorities weren’t buying it, and Malik was charged for the death of Williams.[10]

Jason Daniel Garcia

Photo credit: OC Hawk

In early September 2017 in Ontario, California, a man was on his way to work at 6:00 AM when he came upon an abandoned refrigerator in the middle of the street. The man, thinking nothing of it, stopped to inspect the refrigerator, but he was in for a big surprise upon opening it. Inside was the peaceful-looking corpse of a man named Jason Daniel Garcia. Garcia was from Downey, just southeast of Los Angeles, and was 36 years old.

This discovery was quite bizarre, not only because it’s not every day you find a refrigerator with a dead body in it just abandoned in the street but also because Garcia was a spiritual family man, not caught up in crime or drugs, and he had a large extended family that he loved and spent a lot of time with. Police managed to locate a surveillance video from a local business that showed a light-colored truck dropping the refrigerator off in the street.[11] The police later pulled the truck over and impounded it but did not make an arrest in the case.


How People Literally Laughed To Death

How People Literally Laughed To Death

Did you ever find something so funny that you just couldn't stop laughing? What if you laughed so hard that you actually laugh yourself to death? Can laughing on the outside lead to your end?


17 Death Row Requests You Won't Believe Were Made

17 Death Row Requests You Won't Believe Were Made -

 

The last meal is a customary ritual that's observed in many countries across the world. The tradition generally entails a condemned prisoner having the right to select what their final meal will be, within reason. Of course, some of the time, the requests made by death row inmates are far from reasonable.

The ritual of the last meal is most widely observed in the United States, where the tradition is still upheld in many states that support capital punishment. The practice itself dates back to pre-modern Europe, based on the superstition that granting a condemned prisoner a final meal symbolically means they've made peace with the host. Many believed that if the prisoner accepted their last meal, they would not return as a ghost to haunt those responsible for their execution.

This list takes a look at 17 of the most bizarre final meal requests from death row inmates. From abstract ideas that can't possibly be fulfilled, to gluttonous feasts that contain at least a normal week's worth of calories, these entries probably wouldn't be most people's choice for their ultimate supper.

 

17. James Edward Smith

Murderpedia/Wikimedia Commons, Thamizhpparithi Maari

James Edward Smith was convicted of murder after the fatal shooting of Larry D. Rohus during a robbery made at a cashier's office.

Upon being asked what he wanted as his final meal, Smith asked for a lump of dirt. This was denied, and Smith eventually settled for a nice pot of yoghurt.

16. Peter Kürten

German Federal Archives/Wikimedia CC, Leipnizkeks

Peter Kürten was a particularly nasty serial killer. Convicted for a series of murders and sexual assaults in the city of Düsseldorf, Kürten was sentenced to death (decapitation by guillotine).

His final meal request of a Wiener schnitzel, fried potatoes, and white wine wasn't all that unusual, but the "Düsseldorf Monster" had the cheek to ask for seconds - and received it!

15. Ronnie Lee Gardner

Utah Department of Corrections/New Line Cinema

Ronnie Lee Gardner was convicted of two counts of murder in 1985, and was executed by firing squad 25 years later in 2010. His meal of lobster tail, steak, vanilla ice cream, and apple pie was fairly standard, although Gardner specifically requested that he eat the meal while watching Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings trilogy.

14. William Bonin

Wikimedia Commons/Guillén Pérez CC

William Bonin was convicted of the rape and murder of 21 boys and young men, and is suspected to have had a number of victims far in excess of that total. Bonin's final meal was substantial, consisting of two pepperoni pizzas and three helpings of chocolate ice cream.

Apparently Bonin wanted to die of diabetes before the lethal injection; he consumed eighteen servings of Coca-Cola and Pepsi before his execution.

13. Philip Ray Workman

Murderpedia/Wikimedia Commons, Rainbow Pizza

The murder trial of Philip Ray Workman was highly controversial, as several experts claimed that the bullet that killed a police officer could not have come from Workman's weapon. Despite this, Workman was convicted and executed by the state of Tennessee in 2007.

Before his execution, Workman requested that his final meal be a large vegetarian pizza, to be given to a homeless person. Officials denied the request, Workman refused to eat anything, and people throughout the country began a campaign to give vegetarian pizzas to the homeless in Workman's honour.

12. Jonathan Nobles

Murderpedia/Wikimedia Commons, John Snyder

Jonathan Nobles was convicted for the murder of two young women in 1986. Before his execution by lethal injection in 1998, Nobles had seemingly become a devout Christian. For his final meal, Nobles requested the Eucharist, also known as Holy Communion, which consists of consecrated bread and wine.

11. Ricky Ray Rector

CC Executed Today/Wikimedia Commons, Joe Hakim

Ricky Ray Rector killed a man in a nightclub, shot a police officer who was attempting to negotiate a surrender, then shot himself in the head in a suicide attempt. Rather than killing him, the shot effectively lobotomised Rector, and he was convicted of the murders. Shortly before his execution, Rector requested a steak, fried chicken, cherry Kool-Aid, and a pecan pie. He left the pecan pie, jokingly informing a guard that he was "saving it for later."

10. Clarence Ray Allen

California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation/Wikimedia Commons

Clarence Ray Allen was convicted of murdering three people, becoming the second-oldest person to be executed in the United States. For Allen's final meal, he requested buffalo steak and fried chicken, along with sugar-free pecan pie and sugar-free black walnut ice cream. Why Allen was acting so health-conscious when it came to his final desserts is beyond us.

9. Timothy McVeigh

Wikimedia Commons, FBI

Timothy McVeigh might have been a convicted terrorist and mass murderer, responsible for the Oklahoma City bombing, but there's no denying that he knew exactly what he liked. Shortly before being executed by lethal injection by the state of Indiana, McVeigh requested a meal that consisted of just two pints of mint chocolate-chip ice cream.

8. Gerald Mitchell

Murderpedia/Wikimedia Commons, Mene Tekel

Convicted of killing two victims during a botched robbery, Gerald Mitchell was executed by the state of Texas in 2001. It turns out Mitchell had a sweet tooth, as his only request for his final meal was a large bag of assorted Jolly Rancher sweets.

7. Troy Davis

Wikimedia Commons

Troy Davis was the subject of a highly controversial murder trial during which he was convicted of the fatal shooting of police officer Mark MacPhail. Before his execution, Troy Davis declined his special meal, claiming that "this meal will not be my last." It turned out that it was his last; Davis was summarily executed by lethal injection.

6. Thomas Grasso

Alchetron/Wikimedia Commons

Thomas Grasso was convicted for the strangulation of an 87-year-old woman at her home, and an 81-year-old man just six months later, as part of a series of home robberies. His final meal was an extravagant feast of two dozen steamed mussels, two dozen steamed clams, a cheeseburger, half a dozen spare ribs, two strawberry milkshakes, strawberries, half a pumpkin pie, and a can of spaghetti with meatballs. This spawned Grasso's famous last words, "I did not get my Spaghetti-O's, I got spaghetti. I want the press to know this."

5. Miguel Richardson

Clark Prosecutor/Hans Splinter CC

Miguel Richardson was tried and convicted for the fatal shooting of two security guards in 1980, and executed by the state of Texas in 2001. Richardson made the rather romantic request for his final meal by asking for a birthday cake with "2-23-90" written on top, which was the date he got married. He also specifically requested seven pink candles, a lot of fruit, and a salad with Thousand Island dressing.

4. Robert Buell

Wikimedia Commons/Zeevveez CC

Robert Buell was infamous for being convicted of the rape and murder of 11-year-old Krista Harrison. Shortly before being executed by the state of Ohio, Buell made an odd final meal request. While many of the entries here have featured excessive plates filled with rich food, Buell only wanted a single, unpitted black olive.

3. Delbert Teague Junior

Murderpedia/Wikimedia Commons

Delbert Teague Junior was described by prosecutors at his trial as a "one man slaughterhouse," which might give you a good idea of just how pleasant the guy was. Teague outright refused to eat his last meal. At least, he did until his mother told him off, and Teague sheepishly ate a cheeseburger before being executed by the Texas state.

2. Odell Barnes

Murderpedia/Human Rights Campaign

Odell Barnes was a Texas man that was convicted of murdering Helen Bass in a home robbery. The later stages of Barnes' trial received heavy attention from anti-death penalty advocates and human rights groups, primarily due to deficiencies in the forensic evidence. Before his execution in 2000, Barnes requested "Justice, Equality, World Peace" for his final meal. Sadly, prison officials were unable to comply.

1. Lawrence Russell Brewer

Murderpedia/Wikipedia Commons, Aravind Sivaraj

Lawrence Russell Brewer pretty much ruined the 'final meal' for every death row inmate in Texas, after his infamous request shortly before execution. Brewer asked for (take a deep breath) a triple bacon cheeseburger, two chicken fried steaks with gravy and onions, a cheese and beef omelette, tomatoes, a 'Meat Lovers' pizza, bell peppers, jalapeños, a bowl of okra, one pound of barbecue meat, half a loaf of bread, three fully loaded fajitas, three root beers, a pint of ice cream, and a slab of peanut butter fudge. Brewer's ridiculous request was granted, but he refused to eat a single bite, leading to the state of Texas ending the tradition of offering last meal requests.

 


10 Movie Deaths That Completely Ruined You

10 Movie Deaths That Completely Ruined You

 

The sharp sting of death has to come for us all at some point. It's no different for creations on the big screen, with beloved characters that we've put hours into caring about getting stolen away to the other side.

Sometimes it's ceremonious, sometimes there's not even enough time to say goodbye, and sometimes it's enough to completely ruin you and swear to never trust again. Such is the power of cinema.

Choke back your sobs, prepare the tissues, and get ready for some heartbreak, as these are the most upsetting movie losses that have defined our screens over the years. It will always be too soon.

10. Castaway - Wilson

20th Century Fox

Not technically a person and not technically a death, this is the most emotionally distraught you will ever feel about a lost volleyball. Seriously.

After finding himself washed up on a desert island, Chuck Noland (a slowly more and more bedraggled Tom Hanks) discovers he's the only one alive after a plane crash over the pacific - and has to figure out a means to survive on his own. With a 'Wilson' branded volleyball the only link to civilisation he has, Chuck paints him, sticks some leafy hair on him, and has plenty of profound conversation. They even orchestrate Chuck's escape together (or as much as a Volleyball can help make up a raft considering he's very round and has no limbs).

That is, until Chuck falls asleep, Wilson rolls away, and bobs slowly out in the ocean just out of Chuck's reach. Watching Tom Hanks mentally break in response is one of the most distressing moments imaginable. WILLLSSOONN!

9. Marley & Me - Marley

20th Century Fox

Of course, this is the death that would inevitably end up on this list. The story we all know and have tragically lived at some point in our lives, Marley & Me is the story of a pet that becomes a member of the family, but is bound by a lifespan that sees him pass away before his owner. If you needed filmic evidence that dogs are man’s best friend, this is the saying brought into a big old cinematic realisation, with Owen Wilson thrown in for good measure.

It’s such a stinger because it’s so painfully relatable. We’ve all had that one animal companion that finds a special place in our hearts, and had to say goodbye as they’ve lived out a long and full life that has to come to its inevitably early end. We can do everything and go everywhere with our pets, but not on this final journey. At least, not yet.

This is all far too philosophical for a film about a dog that isn’t actually that great. But the final moments are something indisputably upsetting.

 

8. Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix - Sirius Black

Warner Bros. Pictures

After three films of building up Harry’s one familial relationship left in the world with the ultimate of cool uncles, Sirius Black, his death is one of the biggest gut punches in the series. Especially as it comes completely out of nowhere.

During a battle between the Order of the Phoenix and a bunch of angry goths (aka the Death Eaters), Sirius and his pals quite literally swoop in to save the day, saving Harry and the gang from certain destruction in the process. Only, when all seems well and done, a rogue killing curse hits Sirius and sends his mortal flesh through the Veil, leaving not even a body behind to mourn. Then Bellatrix has the cheek to sing about it.

Whilst a certain pillowcase-wearing elf passing on certainly tops the list for painful childhood memories, it’s this loss that served as the first - bringing about a much more real darkness to the franchise that only got worse as it went on.

7. Star Trek: The Wrath Of Khan - Spock

Paramount Pictures

Spock, a man (or rather, a Vulcan) that has defined generations of science fictions fans and coined a phrase that has long been parodied across film and tv for decades, would seem invincible; especially in a franchise as long running and beloved as Star Trek. Turns out that was all one big set up to make one of the most heart-wrenching death scenes of all time, where a man made up of logic does the only thing he can to save his friends, and where we all weep in the process.

Sacrificing himself to save the needs of the many in a radiation chamber, Spock reinstates the ships warp drive and allows the Enterprise to escape, though commanding officer Kirk only finds out once it’s too late to help or stop him. Their communication through the glass and Spock’s slow succumbing to the radiation around him milks the mood for all its worth, though looking back - losing such a character was a risky move, and one that was rectified in the next film in the series.

Looks like Spock really did live long and prosper after all.

6. The Shawshank Redemption - Brooks

Colombia Pictures

The Shawshank Redemption has long been lauded as one of the best, if not THE best, film of all time, sitting comfortably at the top of IMDb’s top 250 for as long as anyone can be bothered to remember. As such, it’s no surprise that there’s one big fat death scene that will render you a blubbering mess: and of course, it’s that of Brooks that takes the honour.

The librarian and soft soul of Shawshank State Prison, Brooks Hatlen’s 50 year-long rehabilitation has seen the now-elderly man become used to his institutionalised way of life. So when a parole is granted and he’s let free into a world he no longer recognises, he takes his fate into his own hands.

Watching a man play out his own suicide through a penned letter to the inmates is deeply upsetting, even more so when he carves ‘Brooks was here’ onto the beam he then hangs himself from. He was nothing but good, despite whatever his crime may have been - watching him suffer from a system that failed him is a terrible reflection of our actual societal inadequacies.

5. Boromir - Lord Of The Rings

New Line Cinema

The most heroic death scene of all time, Boromir’s fate is one that's wholly human, coming shortly after succumbing to the corruption of the ring and wanting to take it for his own. Realising the error of his ways and throwing himself wholeheartedly into an ill-timed attacked from the Uruk-hai, Boromir’s valiant attempt to protect his friends is his redemption story: as well as the last one he ever tells.

You will never feel hatred as potently as looking into the chieftain Uruk-hai’s eyes as he lines up his last shot into Boromir’s fate, and never feel hope as hotly as when Aragorn leaps into action to take him out. Unfortunately, there really isn’t a lot you can do about three arrows to the chest. At the very least, they’re an apt metaphor for how it feels to lose the Gondor golden child.

You deserved so much better, sweet prince.

4. Serenity - Hoban Washburne

Universal Pictures

After an unjustly short series of 14 episodes building up a world that brilliantly embodied the space western in all its whacky, techy glory, fans were so hooked that they demanded more. Setting up adverts in an attempt to find another network, funding the DVD release, and then raising money for it to be implemented across U.S. Navy ships - the Browncoats are a serious bunch, but without them, Serenity would have never been born. A crime the consequences of we would never know.

It’s important to realise just how attached the fandom had become to Firefly and its characters upon release of the follow up movie, and how entirely horrific it was, and still is, to watch one of the most beloved get impaled on screen. After safely landing the Serenity spaceship amidst an air attack that saw them about to crash, pilot Hoban Washburne doesn’t even get to finish his gosh dang sentence before Joss Whedon drives a giant Reaver spear through his chest. It’s the only way he should go - in a blaze of glory flying through impossible odds - whilst simultaneously the worst thing ever.

Watch it and tell me you don’t want to cry watching his badass wife break down trying to wake him.

3. Up - Ellie

Pixar

For an opening sequence less than 10 minutes long, Up manages to emotionally devastate just about anyone that watches it. Portrayed in montage form as Carl and Ellie live out their married life, we watch as their time together evolves with age. Ellie is an adventurer, she wants a life of exploration and excitement, and Carl is her adoring partner with her every step of the way.

Only, the biggest adventure the two want to undertake turns out to be impossible. We learn Ellie, much to the couple's dismay, can't have children.

Nevertheless, they live out their days with each other until they're old and grey, until Ellie slips away before Carl can take her on the trip of a lifetime they'd always hoped for. It's the consistently cruel hand of fate that dictates the lives of the pair, and it's borderline traumatising in its execution. That Carl then lives out the rest of his life, and the rest of the film, in dedication to her only makes it all the more touching.

2. The Bridge To Terabithia - Leslie Burke

Summit Entertainment

What starts out as a heartfelt family adventure of two outcast children finding solace in their friendship soon becomes a traumatising portrayal of just how cruel fate can be. Seriously, if you haven’t seen this film, then just save yourself the pain.

12 year old boy Jess and new girl Leslie create their own fantasy world where they can be heroes, kings, queens - anything they so desire, and defeat their everyday demons from school bullies to neglect in their own fantasy realm in the forest. All it takes is a rope swing across a creek to get there, and some imagination to take part.

And, terribly, that’s all it takes for Leslie to die. The one day Jess doesn’t invite Leslie to come with him on an art trip is the one day she attempts to cross the creek on her own. We only find out when Jess does from his parents, returning home to learn she’s gone forever without so much as a goodbye as the rope swing has snapped and sent her to her death in the waters below.

Terabithia goes on, however, with Jess learning love and acceptance in the wake of Leslie’s lost life. You might as well rub a raw onion on your eyeball and get it over with.

1. The Green Mile - John Coffey

Warner Bros

The Green Mile is one special film. Slowly unfolding over the course of three hours, it’s a careful breakdown of one man’s life and consequent death, condemned to death row for a crime it turns out he never committed. It’s a beautiful challenge to preconceptions, to what life means, and to how we treat others. And it will break you apart like wet tissue paper in the process.

John Coffey has the gift of being able to ‘take the bad things back’. Seeing two young girls massacred in their home, he simply wants to help - but it’s too late. He’s found, convicted, and left to spend the rest of his days waiting his punishment. But his desire to help is never dimmed.

Coffey is goodness in its truest, purest form, holding a supernatural power that can cure brain tumours and resurrect the dying, but in a world as cruel and harsh as ours, he’s forced to suffer humanity’s worst actions. That he’s too scared of the dark to have the customary hood put on at his execution is as symbolic as it is truly, heartbreakingly sad.

If The Shawshank Redemption is the best film of our time, that this one was written and directed by the very same Frank Darabont and Stephen King should be enough to prove The Green Mile is up there at the very top.

 


When Was The Absolute Worst Time To Live In Different Countries?

When Was The Absolute Worst Time To Live In Different Countries? -

Humanity has endured some pretty terrible things in the last 2,000 years, from genocidal wars to natural disasters to virulent plagues. But what was the absolute worst time to live in certain countries? Or, to put it another way, what events in history should you be glad every day you didn't have to live through?

If you look at the major causes of death in different eras, it's easy to see some time periods were objectively (at least from a safety perspective) better than others. Tuscany is a fantastic place, but around 1348 the city was making corpse lasagna with plague victims. And if you're dying to see London, avoid 1666, the year of the Great Plague and the Great Fire.

People sometimes claim the modern era is one of the worst times in history, but the sheer brutality of history begs to differ.


The Fascinating History Of Cemeteries

The Fascinating History Of Cemeteries

Spindly trees, rusted gates, crumbling stone, a solitary mourner: these things come to mind when we think of cemeteries. But not long ago, many burial grounds were lively places, with gardens and crowds of people -- and for much of human history, we didn’t bury our dead at all. How did cemeteries become what they are today? Keith Eggener delves into our ever-evolving rituals for honoring the dead.


LITERATURE QUIZ / WHO DIED?

LITERATURE QUIZ / WHO DIED?

 

 

Can you pick which character died in each literary work?



10 Mind-Blowing Things That Happened Last Week

10 Mind-Blowing Things That Happened Last Week

 

This column’s recent pledge to not cover US politics until after the midterms was sorely tested this week, not least thanks to some currently unknown idiot mailing pipe bombs to major political figures. We’ll be covering the Unabomber’s dumber brother along with a galaxy of other stories from across the globe—from the wondrous to the tragic to the flat-out weird.

Pipe Bombs Were Mailed to Prominent Democrats (Plus CNN)

Photo credit: qz.com

With the midterms coming up, language around US politics has recently turned so toxic that turning on the news has become like diving headfirst into an open sewer. This week, we finally saw the inevitable outcome of wall-to-wall coverage of people on both sides calling for harassment and violence toward their political opponents. On Wednesday, several pipe bombs were intercepted in the mail. Their targets were top-ranking Democrats and left-leaning media.

The bombs were addressed to Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Representative Maxine Waters, former Attorney General Eric Holder, and ex–CIA director John Brennan. In addition, their return address was given as that of DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, resulting in one bomb making its way back to her office.[1]

The Brennan letter was also sent care of CNN, triggering an evacuation of CNN’s offices. This followed a similar bomb left at the address of liberal billionaire George Soros on Monday. It’s suspected that one addressed to Joe Biden got lost in the mail. Another was later discovered addressed to actor and vocal Democrat voter Robert De Niro.

Although none of the bombs detonated, investigators have said all of them were viable explosive devices. They came packed with shrapnel designed to cause maximum injuries.

So, this is the stage we’re at now. We’ve turned into a world of such pathetic snowflakes that many would rather kill someone they disagree with (or, more realistically, the staffers who would have opened the packages) than listen to what they have to say.

As this column said back in June 2017 when GOP House Majority Whip Steve Scalise and four other Republicans were badly injured in a partisan shooting during a baseball game, violent rhetoric breeds violent actions. Unless leaders in the media and Congress—plus ordinary people on social media—on both sides can learn to grow the hell up and stop characterizing their political opponents as evil, then dumb crap like this will keep happening.

And it’s only going to be a matter of time before one idiot bomber or gunman gets lucky. When that happens, good luck closing that Pandora’s box of revenge and death.

Update: A 56-year-old male suspect, currently identified as Cesar Sayoc, has been arrested in South Florida in connection with this domestic terrorism campaign. Although he has a Florida address, initial reports indicate that he has ties to New York City and has previous arrests for making terroristic threats. Some of the mail bomb packages were deemed to be too unstable for transport and were detonated by law enforcement authorities.

North And South Korea Began Removing Weapons From The DMZ

Photo credit: livemint.com

The demilitarized zone (DMZ) is the ironically named border between North and South Korea. Ironic because it’s a network of land mines, guard towers, snipers, and other things you don’t usually associate with the word “demilitarized.”

But maybe not for much longer. On Monday, Seoul and Pyongyang jointly announced that they would remove all firearms and severely reduce guard posts at the border village of Panmunjom. This follows a demining operation along the DMZ that began earlier this month. It marks a huge step forward in the North and South normalizing relations.

At barely a year old, this Korean thaw is still in its early days. But the positive signs just seem to keep piling up. The DMZ has been a heavily fortified corridor of death since the 1950s. That Pyongyang and Seoul are now reconnecting roads and rail lines across the border is a change that would have been unthinkable 365 days ago. We can only hope the good news keeps rolling in.[2]

Poland’s Local Elections Were A Disappointment For Everyone

Photo credit: economist.com

Just last week, this column covered how local elections in Germany’s Bavaria were awful for establishment parties but also a kick in the teeth for right-wing populists. On Sunday, voters in Poland went to the polls for local elections across their nation. You guessed it. The results kinda sucked for everyone.

The big difference between Poland and Germany is that the populists are already in power in Poland. Law and Justice (PiS) have ruled since 2015 and have spent that time rigging the judiciary, curtailing media freedom—and to be fair to them—also raising the standard of living for many Poles. With such total command over the levers of power, they were expected to win big. While they certainly won, there was nothing “big” about it.

PiS dominated among rural voters but fell spectacularly short in the cities. In Warsaw, their candidate didn’t even force the race to an expected runoff. Centrist Rafal Trzaskowski won handily in the first round, a major upset.[3]

Yet it wasn’t all good news for the anti-populist faction. The Civic Platform coalition did much better than expected but not well enough to potentially topple PiS in 2020. As we said, a disappointment all around.

Bosnia Confirmed The Indictment Of A Bosniak General For War Crimes

Photo credit: balkaninsight.com

Prior to April this year, former General Atif Dudakovic was best known for leading the army of Bosnia and Herzegovina after the end of the Bosnian civil war. At the end of that month, he was unexpectedly arrested by Bosnian authorities and charged with committing war crimes against Serbs during the civil war. This week, a Sarajevo court finally confirmed the indictment against him. Dudakovic will face trial on October 31.

The case is a big deal as Dudakovic is seen as a hero in many parts of Bosnia. He led the army’s Fifth Corps against Serbian separatists during the darkest days of the 1992–95 war, which killed over 100,000 people. Yet Dudakovic was long plagued by claims that he murdered Serbian civilians and ordered the destruction of Orthodox Serb churches. Prosecutors apparently think they can pin up to 300 unlawful deaths on him.[4]

Rightly or wrongly, there is a perception in parts of Bosnia and in Serbia that only Serb commanders have faced punishment for their roles in the civil war. By taking Dudakovic to trial, the Special Department for War Crimes is attempting to show that justice really is blind. We shall see if he’s convicted.

France’s Former President Moved Closer To Finally Being Put On Trial

Photo credit: aljazeera.com

Oh, how the mighty have fallen. On Thursday, France’s one-time president Nicolas Sarkozy lost an appeal to have an illegal campaign financing case against him dismissed. The court ruled that Sarkozy will have to face trial. While France still has one final court of appeal left for Sarkozy, it’s now looking increasingly likely that the flamboyant center-right politician will soon wind up in the dock.

In his heyday, Sarkozy was one of those politicians who seemed able to bounce back from any number of scandals. Prior to losing reelection in 2012, he’d survived revelations that could have toppled a lesser leader.

In 2012, however, the wheels came off. During the campaign, his PR firm Bygmalion allegedly broke campaign spending limits by almost double their set amount thanks to a fake invoicing system. Since the claims came to light, Sarkozy has appeared to be on a collision course with justice.[5]

On top of this, the former president is also facing separate charges of illegal influence plus accepting a jaw-dropping bribe from Muammar Gadhafi in 2007. Sarkozy denies all charges.

A Train Accident Led To Tragedy In India

Photo credit: thewire.in

It was one of those horrific accidents that you have trouble believing could actually happen. Last Friday night, a huge crowd gathered outside the Indian city of Amritsar to watch the annual burning of an effigy for the Hindu festival of Dussehra.

Prior to the display, organizers had allegedly received permission from the local railway to use a train line as a seating area. The understanding was that any incoming trains would travel very slowly and honk multiple times.

Instead, a train came blasting through at full speed just as a fireworks display was creating so much noise that no one had a chance to hear it. The locomotive plowed through a crowd of people, killing at least 59 and leaving hundreds badly injured. Multiple children were among the dead.[6]

The case has caused an outcry in India along with a demand for answers. Police have opened a murder investigation, although nobody knows whom to blame. Some have suggested that the festival organizers didn’t get permission from the railway as they claimed they had.

We Launched Our Most Ambitious Mission To Mercury Yet

Photo credit: space.com

Good news, fans of interplanetary probes! We’re now about to learn more about the planet Mercury than we ever knew before. Very early on Saturday morning, a joint EU-Japanese mission launched from French Guiana and headed toward the innermost planet of our solar system. Known as BepiColombo, it contains two probes that will go into orbit around this baking world, giving us new insights into how our solar system was formed.

BepiColombo comes hot on the heels of NASA’s MESSENGER probe, which orbited Mercury from 2011 to 2015. Building on NASA’s discoveries, BepiColombo is expected to solve all sorts of outstanding mysteries about the little-known planet, including the possibility that it might have originally formed farther out in the solar system and been dragged in. It marks the most ambitious EU space project to date.

But first, it’ll have to get there. While you could get to Mercury in just a few months flying direct, you would then go whizzing past and crash into the massive ball of fire that is our Sun. BepiColombo is hoping to orbit Mercury long term, so it will take an extremely circuitous, time-consuming route to get there. As a result, it won’t be arriving until 2025.[7]

Massive Stock Market Falls Spooked The World

Photo credit: thegoldwater.com

It started with a Wall Street sell-off on Wednesday, which accelerated to a rout by closing time. By the time Asian markets began trading, it was a full-blown panic. Most stock markets plummeted at rates not seen for quite a while. At the time of this writing, it was looking as if all 2018 gains had been wiped out for the Dow and the S&P 500 while other markets were in near-turmoil.

In the US, the Nasdaq suffered its biggest single-day fall in over seven years. In Asia, South Korea’s Kospi opened at its lowest level since January 2017, and Japan’s Topix declined to its lowest level since September 2017.

China continued its dive deep into bear market territory, while Hong Kong entered its longest run of consecutive monthly falls since 1982. Other places weren’t immune. While European markets shuddered, London’s FTSE 100 slumped to a seven-month low.

So, what’s going on here? Worryingly, no one really knows. J.P. Morgan put out a statement trying to explain everything, but it basically boiled down to: “Ehh, could be China, could be the Fed, could be the strong dollar, could be people worrying that we’ve reached peak earnings, could be something else. Who knows?”[8]

Still, fear not. A new financial crisis is unlikely to happen. Not to mention, October is often a volatile month for the markets. Among the bruising market drops, we’re likely to see soaring, short-term rebounds. The experts are divided on where we go from here in the next few weeks. Still, most outlets are reporting that the markets will probably settle by the end of the year.

Afghans Finally Voted Beneath A Shadow Of Violence

Photo credit: The Independent

The elections on Saturday came a staggering three years late after continued violence and a renewed Taliban insurgency caused Afghanistan’s government to keep pushing them back. Held over two days, they marked the beginning of a new cycle in Afghanistan even as those brave enough to participate were nearly washed away in a bloody wave of violence.

As polls opened, the Taliban began a series of deadly attacks on polling stations, killing at least 78 people. At the same time, they began indiscriminate rocket assaults on various towns and orchestrated the kidnapping and execution of four election officials. Around the margins of this vicious onslaught, smaller-scale election violence took place, resulting in 470 people wounded. It was one of the bleakest days Afghanistan had faced for months.[9]

Still, people did come out and vote even as technical faults caused the election to be extended into Sunday. While we won’t know the results until mid-November, the election did mark the first vote completely run by Kabul since 2001. At the very least, that’s a step in the right direction.

The Murder Of Journalist Jamal Khashoggi Continued To Cause Chaos

Photo credit: stuff.co.nz

It’s been headline news for three weeks now. Ever since The Washington Postjournalist and Saudi Arabia native Jamal Khashoggi vanished inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, his apparent murder has gripped the world.

Partly, it’s been the gruesome nature of the crime. Apparently, Khashoggi was beaten and dismembered, his body parts dumped in the woods outside Turkey’s biggest city.

Partly, it’s been the way Saudi Arabia appeared to try to cover up his death, going so far as to employ a body double of Khashoggi as well as forcing the murdered man’s son to do a photo op with his presumed killer, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (known as MBS).[10]

But mostly, it’s been the political nature of it all. This one bungled hit has the power to reshape Middle Eastern politics.

This week, Turkey’s president, Recep Erdogan, made a speech outlining Saudi involvement in the assassination. While he was treading very carefully, it was clear that he was deliberately angling to drive a wedge between King Salman and MBS. So far, that hasn’t happened. But if the US turns the screws, it’s conceivable that this murder will rob MBS of his future role of king.

If that happens . . . well, it could change the entire region. MBS’s reforms have been at the heart of putting Saudi Arabia in the driver’s seat of Middle Eastern Muslim nations, a position Turkey desperately craves. How will this big game shake out? No doubt we’ll be discussing it again in the coming months.

 


8 TV Shows That Killed The Main Character Early

8 TV Shows That Killed The Main Character Early

Death is a common dramatic device in TV land, used to raise the stakes in a story or explore how that character’s demise impacts the people on the show. And while killing off the main character isn’t exactly unheard of, it’s still a rare beast.

It’s something that typically happens in later seasons when the actor is bored and wants to move on, or the writers want to reinvent the show. In some cases a show just outgrows the original idea, and the central character becomes surplus to requirements.

Some programmes take it a step further and kill off the lead within the first couple of years, or in the most extremes cases the first few episodes. This is always a bold move, as it risks alienating viewers who've grown attached to the character and might feel betrayed by their death. But it's always guaranteed to inspire a reaction.

When it's done correctly it adds a sense of weight and consequence, but when done badly it just comes off as cheap shock value. It's a tricky balance, but the best examples have been able to pull off the ultimate gamble and make the show stronger as a result.

Naturally, it should really go without saying that SPOILERS lie within.

8. Love/Hate - Darren (Lifespan: Three Seasons)

RTE Television

Controversial Irish drama Love/Hate takes a gritty look at Dublin’s criminal underworld, as seen through the eyes of naive gang member Darren. Or at least that’s how it began.

The first two seasons followed Darren through various betrayals and heartbreaks, including losing his girlfriend over his lifestyle and murdering his evil boss. It also explored his friendship with side character Nidge, who became so popular with viewers the show gradually shifted focus towards him instead.

As a result Darren became more of a side character in his own show, and after more heartache he ended season three with a bullet in the head after Nidge betrayed him to save his own skin.

Love/Hate is a prime example of a show starting out with one premise before evolving into something else. Darren's death underlined the cruelty of the crime underworld, and the following seasons followed Nidge’s rise to power as well as the impact of Darren's death on his conscience. 

7. Boardwalk Empire - Jimmy Darmody (Lifespan: Two Seasons)

HBO

Jimmy Darmody had a rough life, with his traumatic war experiences and some creepy mommy issues. He also had a complicated relationship with father figure Nucky, a corrupt politician and gangster. Most of the show's drama centered around this, as they went back and forth between being allies and enemies.

This came to a boil In season two when Jimmy struck out on his own, vying for power and even plotting to have Nucky killed. However, the two men seemed to make peace towards the end of the season after they both suffered losses. Jimmy agreed to meet Nucky under the impression they could reconcile, only for Nucky to coldly execute him with two shots to the head.

His death haunted Nucky for the next three seasons until, in a moment of beautiful karma, Jimmy's teen son shot him dead in revenge.

Boardwalk creator Terrence Winter states Jimmy was always going to die, although rumour's persist that actor Michael Pitt was difficult to work with, leading to Jimmy dying earlier than intended.

6. Valerie - Valerie Hogan (Lifespan: Two Seasons)

NBC

In terms of job security it's a safe bet that if a show is named after you, you’re not going get fired. A sound theory, but unfortunately for actress Valerie Harper it proved incorrect. Harper played the title role in cheesy 80’s sitcom Valerie, a show about an overworked mother trying to balance a career with raising three kids (including a young Jason Bateman).

The show was a hit but Harper got into an ugly contract dispute at the start of season three. When they failed to reach terms she refused to come back. This led to more negotiating and she eventually returned to record a new episode, only to be fired and replaced with another actress.

At the start of season three the viewer is informed Valerie died in a car crash months before, and Valerie’s sister was the new head of the family. The show was renamed Valerie’s Family to reflect this, but after Harper launched a high profile lawsuit - which she won - the show was finally redubbed The Hogan Family.

It ran for another four seasons, which isn’t bad for a show that lost the title character.

5. Doctor Who - The Ninth Doctor (Lifespan: One Season)

BBC

While it’s true The Doctor never “dies” exactly, when Doctor Who makes the switch from one actor to another it is, in effect, killing that version of the character. Perhaps the most surprising early exit was Christopher Eccleston, who took over when the show was rebooted (regenerated?) in 2005.

Eccleston’s whimsical take was an instant hit with audiences and (most) fans, with the chemistry between him and Billie Piper being a big reason viewers were drawn back to the show. But Eccleston made it clear he was only staying for a season, and in the final episode The Ninth Doctor absorbs lethal energy from a time vortex (long story) to save his companion Rose, leading to a David Tennant shaped face-lift.

A solid reason for Eccleston’s departure has never been given, with everything from an exhausting filming schedule to creative differences being cited. Despite this the show continued to be a huge success following his demise with Tennant, Matt Smith and Peter Capaldi all making their mark on the character.

4. 24 - Teri Bauer (Lifespan: One Season)

20th Century Fox Television

It’s almost hard to remember that 24 started life as a small scale thriller, and not a show about the implausible adventures of the immortal Jack Bauer.  On Day One Jack was tasked with stopping the assassination of a presidential candidate and his wife Teri was just as much of a main character, with the show dividing attention between their intersecting stories.

Poor Teri had an all out terrible day in season one. She and her daughter were kidnapped, threatened with death repeatedly, she was raped, she had to kill in self defense, she learned Jack had an affair with a colleague, she briefly got plot convenient amnesia and to cap it off she was murdered in the final episode. By Jack’s mistress no less, who turned out to be a traitor.

Teri’s death was a stunning final note to the season, and over the years 24 proved to be a brutal place for any character not named Jack Bauer, with shocking deaths becoming an important part of the show's formula.

3. Game Of Thrones - Ned Stark (Lifespan: Nine Episodes)

HBO

Game Of Thrones takes great pleasure in building up likable, sympathetic heroes that audiences adore, and then killing them in the cruellest ways imaginable. Google The Red Wedding for more information.

The show made this clear in the first season with poor Ned Stark. He tried to be a good Hand of the King, but when that King is douchey little Joffery that's easier said then done. Ned is sentenced to death when he learns the icky truth about Joffrey’s paternity, but is promised mercy if he confesses to treason. He reluctantly agrees to avoid a potential war but Joffrey reneges, and Ned is publicly beheaded.

Sean Bean dying is never a huge surprise but Ned was billed as the lead character and the show’s moral centre. Killing him in such a heartbreaking way sent shock-waves, with his death serving as a stark - pun intended - reminder that in the world of Game Of Thrones it was the good that suffered and the evil who prospered.

Which is something fans have learned the hard way, year after year.

2. Strike Back - John Porter (Lifespan: Seven Episodes)

BBC Worldwide

Hunky Richard Armitage played John Porter in the first season of action show Strike Back, an SAS soldier haunted by the death of his squad years before. He gets back into action when tasked with hunting down terrorists and the series ended on a cliffhanger, with Porter going on the run having made powerful political enemies.

However Armitage's commitment to The Hobbit Trilogy meant he wasn't going to be available for season two. The decision was quickly made to bring him back for a cameo in season two where he's executed by terrorists with a shot to the head, and then introduce two new heroes to track down his killers.

While it was sad to lose Armitage the show really came into it's own in the second year. It significantly increased the action, scope and gratuitous nudity (male and female), and the interplay between the new leads became the heart of the show.

1. Spooks - Helen Flynn (Lifespan: Two Episodes)

BBC

Spooks made record time with killing off a lead, and gets bonus points for doing it in the most nightmarish way possible.

In only the second episode of season one the character of Helen Flynn was subjected to a fate so nasty it received a record number of complaints at the BBC. In this scene she and follow agent Tom Quinn are captured by a twisted racist, who tortures her using a deep fat fryer. He dips her arm in to get information from Tom, and failing that he dips in her entire head, before putting her out of her misery with a gunshot.

This moment had been planned from the start by creator David Wolstencroft to let viewers know Spooks wasn't a glossy, lightweight show. The characters were in real danger and there would be no last minute rescues. Although the scene left a bad taste in the mouths of viewers, Spooks quickly proved to be a gripping thriller that didn’t need to rely solely on shock tactics.

 


10 Unconventional Types Of Tourism

10 Unconventional Types Of Tourism

 

 

When we think of a tourist, we generally envision people wearing large hats and moving around in open-top buses with cameras hanging off their necks. Or they could just be sunbathing on the beaches in their bikinis and shorts. But there’s more to travel than just that.

As we are about to find out, there are a bunch of different types of tourism, many of which do not conform to the basic stereotype of a tourist. These forms of tourism can be controversial and even dangerous. And even if they’re not likely to cause uproar or get someone killed, there are some bona fide weird ways to travel out there.

10Jihad Tourism


When the Syrian war was in full gear and the Islamic State (aka ISIS) controlled considerable chunks of Iraq and Syria, several Western nations faced a surge in citizens leaving to fight for Islamist groups like ISIS. These people are called jihad tourists: Muslim citizens who leave their nation to get involved in a war that is none of their business.

Interestingly, not all jihad tourists fight. Like regular travelers, most are just there for sightseeing. They serve no particular purpose other than to swell the ranks of the terrorist group and maybe brag of being terrorists. Osama bin Laden himself was a jihad tourist. He left Saudi Arabia to fight for the mujahideen during the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. The ranks of the mujahideen were filled with jihad tourists.

Most countries remain skeptical of the long-term consequences of having their citizens travel to other countries for jihad. There is the fear that some of these terrorist-tourists will return home when the war is over or when they can no longer cope with its rigors, only to carry out domestic terrorist attacks.[1]

9Slum Tourism

Slum, adventure, reality, or poverty tourism refers to a form of tourism by people who only want to satisfy their curiosity. Slum tourists will visit the congested, poverty-ridden slums of a country just to see what they look like. Popular destinations include Manila in the Philippines, Rio de Janerio in Brazil, and Mumbai in India.

Tour operators in the affected countries have noticed an upsurge in slum tourists and have created special tour packages to cater to these people. Nevertheless, slum tourism remains controversial. While supporters say it is a way to raise awareness of poverty, the people on the other side insist it is only an excuse to stare at the poor.

Interestingly, slum tourism used to be popular in the US. During the 19th century, rich and curious Londoners would travel to see the prostitution- and drug-ridden slums of New York and San Francisco. An entire industry sprang up around slum tourism at the time, with tour operators hiring actors to pose as drug users and gang members. Some actors took their act further by engaging in staged shoot-outs right on the streets, just to satisfy the ignorant tourists.[2]

8Suicide Tourism


Assisted suicide, the act of helping someone commit suicide, is illegal in some countries. But not in Switzerland. Today, Switzerland is seeing a new kind of vistor: suicide tourists. Suicide tourists are people who travel from their countries to access assisted suicide services in Switzerland.

Suicide tourism is as controversial as assisted suicide and regular suicide, if not more so. Supporters of suicide tourism will often point to the fact that the majority of the tourists are suffering and wish to die. Why else would they travel from a faraway country to Switzerland, where they have no family or relatives, just to be helped to die? Supporters also say suicide tourism can only be prevented if the tourists are allowed to commit suicide in their own countries.[3]

7Experimental Tourism


“Experimental tourism” is a catchall phrase for the act of trying something new. There is no hard and fast rule on what qualifies as experimental tourism, as any unusual form of excursion counts. You do not need to leave your hometown to become an experimental tourist. A trip to your city’s airport can qualify as experimental tourism.

If you do decide to leave your city, a trip to the government offices in the nearby city qualifies as experimental tourism. If you want something more unconventional, you could just get a map of a city, draw a line through its streets, and follow that line in the real world. Or you could visit a new city blindfolded and be guided throughout your trip by your friend. You leave blindfolded, too, so you do not get to see the city at all.[4]

6Disaster Tourism


Disaster tourists are people who travel to areas that have been destroyed by natural or man-made disasters. This form of tourism is alternatively called dark tourism. The tourists are only interested in satisfying their curiosity and seeing firsthand the effects of the disaster.

Popular disaster tourist attractions in the US include Pearl Harbor, which was bombed by the Japanese during World War II, and Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Gettysburg was the deadliest battlefield of the US Civil War, amounting to over 50,000 casualties in just three days. Other disaster tourist attractions include the places where Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King were assassinated.

Outside the US, there are Hiroshima, Pompeii, and concentration camps operated by the Nazis. Disaster tourists are not all about history and will readily flock to areas recently affected by disasters like hurricanes, tornadoes, and, maybe, wars. Lots of people visited New Orleans to see the aftereffects of the devastating Hurricane Katrina.[5]

In 2015, a tour agency in Russia offered to take disaster tourists to Syria so that they could see the ongoing war firsthand. While most of the tour was to be focused on the rear, the agency said it planned to take people to the front lines if it got the chance. The Syrian government itself wants tourists to come into the country despite the war and continues promoting the nation as a tourist attraction.

5Sex Tourism


As should already be obvious from its name, sex tourists are those who travel to another country for sex. Most of the time, the tourist will be traveling from a developed nation to a less developed one. It used to be the exclusive province of Western tourists, but more sex tourists are now coming from China, Japan, Korea, and Taiwan.

Popular sex destinations include Cambodia, Thailand, the Philippines, Bangladesh, Jamaica, and the Dominican Republic. Sex tourism is so important to the economy of countries like Thailand that it already contributes around 12 percent of its gross domestic product. The tourists themselves want to explore sex in total freedom without having to worry about what would have happened if they were in their home country.

Sex tourism is not without controversies. It is basically prostitution, which is the leading cause of human trafficking. Prostitution and sex trafficking rings are often run by criminals. The prostitutes themselves are generally unable to speak out, since prostitution is usually still technically illegal in the destination countries.[6]

4Gun Tourism


Unlike the United States, not every country allows its citizens own assault and sniper rifles. In some nations, getting a pistol is almost impossible. Some citizens of Australia and countries in Asia and Europe who wish to lay their itchy fingers on firearms will travel to the US to scratch their itch.

Not every gun tourist comes to the US as a gun tourist. Some are regular travelers who become gun tourists the moment they decide to satisfy their curiosity at shooting ranges. Others are Americans who cannot afford to buy guns or are curious about shooting a particular type of gun. Hawaii and Las Vegas are popular gun tourist destinations.[7]

Hawaii is the more popular destination. Shooting ranges will hire boys to stand by the roadside and share fliers with tourists advertising their services. Interested tourists, many of whom have never fired a gun before, are taken to the indoor shooting ranges, where they can fire up to four different weapons, depending on the package they select.

3Atomic Tourism

Photo credit: Danapit

As you probably guessed from the name, atomic tourism is centered around nuclear weapons. Atomic tourists will often visit nuclear museums, areas crucial to the development of nuclear weapons, or areas that have been destroyed by nuclear weapons or nuclear reactor meltdowns.

Popular destinations in the US include the Titan Missile Museum in Tucson, Arizona, where nuclear missiles used to be stored. Here, curious tourists can even enter a missile silo. There is also the Trinity test site in New Mexico, where the first atomic bomb was detonated on July 16, 1945. Tourists are only allowed in on selected dates twice a year and can even visit the exact spot where the bomb was detonated.

There are also the Hanford Nuclear Reservation, where the first nuclear reactor was built and plutonium was produced for the first atomic bomb, and the American Museum of Science and Energy in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, where it was enriched. Another is the National Museum of Nuclear Science & History in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where curious tourists can learn about nuclear reactors.

Outside the US, there are the Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum and the Hiroshima Peace Site, where tourists can learn about the bombs dropped by the US during World War II. In Ukraine, tourists can visit the areas around Chernobyl, which suffered a nuclear meltdown in 1986. The tour includes a visit to the deserted town of Pripyat, which was abandoned after the meltdown.[8]

2Drug Tourism


Drug tourism, the act of leaving your country for another with the sole intention of doing drugs, is increasingly becoming a niche industry in drug-producing nations like Colombia. Western and Australian tourists will often travel to Colombia just to buy and use cocaine.

The niche is growing because cocaine is dirt cheap in Colombia, at least by Western standards. In Australia, a gram of cocaine is sold for $300. In Colombia, it goes for between $7 and $15. It is also easy to buy cocaine in Colombia, where it is sold on the streets.

Sellers will often hang around the areas foreigners visit. Or they could just stand by the roadside hawking sweets and chewing gum but with their hidden stash of cocaine ready for buyers who know what’s up. Police rarely disturb drug sellers, provided they are bribed. Sometimes, the police set foreign tourists up with drugs just to receive bribes as low as $1.[9]

1Tombstone Tourism


Tombstone tourists are travelers who love visiting cemeteries. While this usually involves cemeteries containing the remains of famous people or national heroes, absolutely any cemetery with an interesting history can be a destination. Popular cemeteries visited by tombstone tourists include Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, DC, and Pere Lachaise Cemetery in Paris.[10]

Pere Lachaise Cemetery is the resting place of singer Jim Morrison. Tourists will often leave half-smoked cigarettes on his grave. Another famous resident of Pere Lachaise is writer Oscar Wilde. He obviously has a lot of female fans because they will always leave him notes and napkins stained with lipstick.

Tombstone tourism is not a new thing. It has been around since Victorian England. The Victorian Brits had a thing for cemeteries and built a good chunk of Britain’s cemeteries. However, people started staying away from cemeteries after the calamities of the World Wars I and II.


10 Facts About The Moment Of Death From Modern Science

10 Facts About The Moment Of Death From Modern Science -

 

No matter who you are, where you’re from, what you do, or how much money you make, death will eventually touch you. Since the dawn of time, humans have pondered their own mortality. We await the fateful day when our lives will be over . . . and it will happen in an instant.

Have you thought about what it will be like to experience the moment of death?

Science has a lot to say about the termination of our human consciousness—the moment we expire. Through modern tools and research, we can peer more deeply into what death is and what the experience is like for the subject.

Ambiguity

Ambiguity surrounds the idea of what it means to be officially dead. There are concepts like “legally dead” and “clinically dead” (which is actually an unclear term). Most people believe that you’re dead when the body reaches a point at which animated life cannot return. Some individuals define death as that moment when the heartbeat stops, while others think it’s when your brain ceases to function.

So what is death?

There really is no answer. Even if the heart completely fails and the brain has no activity, the circulatory system can still be powered by machines long enough to resuscitate you.

So while there is definitely a moment of no return that we all know intuitively exists, death is a process whereby all the biological functions fail one by one until there is simply a complete inability to resuscitate the patient.[1]

Consciousness

What happens to our consciousness when we die?

The current scientific framework tells us that consciousness is a by-product of the brain, that the brain creates consciousness through neural activity, and that the death of the brain is the death of consciousness. But consciousness isn’t the whole story.

Although questions about consciousness are probably some of the toughest that philosophy and science have ever argued, that isn’t the defining factor of life. Under general anesthesia, all consciousness stops but the patient undergoing surgery is very much alive. Many thinkers, both religious and scientific, have chosen to view consciousness as a spectrum rather than a switch which is either on or off.[2]

In general, modern science views organisms as either more or less conscious, starting with the fundamental building blocks of life and evolving all the way up to the prefrontal cortex of human beings who are self-aware.

This is a critical concept in understanding the moment of death: What happens to “us,” or the self? If we take the view that consciousness stems from the brain, we simply cease to exist upon the moment of death. Time, experience, thought . . . everything that we know goes away.

We undergo the one thing that none of us has ever experienced in our lives—true timelessness, a concept so far removed from any human reality that it’s virtually meaningless to those of us who are alive.

The Brain

Contrary to popular belief, the brain isn’t the last thing to go at the moment of death. Typically, the death of the body follows shortly after brain death.

In most nations, “brain death” is generally defined as zero activity within the brain stem, which is the most rudimentary portion of the brain. From there, all other brain activity and larger systems operate. The brain stem links the spinal cord (and thus the entire nervous system) with the portions of the brain that control thought and emotion, like the prefrontal cortex or the hippocampus.

As in zombie movies, if the brain stem is dead, the person likely dies with it. In essence, the death of the brain stem is the death of the organism because the brain stem controls all the vital bodily functions like respiration.

Without a functioning brain stem, all these systems begin to shut down. Currently, the death of the brain stem is the final moment of brain death and often the point of legal death in most countries. When the heart stops beating, it’s estimated that the brain can survive up to a maximum of about six minutes. Even then, brain damage will be significant.[3]

No matter what starts the chain of events that causes a person to die, the death of the brain stem is always the cause of death—even for a heart attack or drowning victim. If the brain dies, the body may live on for a few minutes. But a body isn’t truly dead until the brain stem loses all functioning.

Brain Activity

Photo credit: Live Science

Here’s another counterintuitive occurrence at the moment of death: As the body becomes deprived of oxygen on the cellular level, brain activity actually heightens. Although ethical doctors aren’t using fMRI machines on their dying patients, research shows that the brain goes berserk in animals, lighting up like a fireworks display at the time of death.

When a rat’s heart stops, its brain goes into overdrive in all areas known to produce consciousness. This process isn’t wholly understood, but it’s believed to produce what we call the near-death experience—the extraordinary sensations, sights, sounds, memories, and other experiences of people who are revived shortly after death.[4]

Awareness

The fact that the brain goes into overdrive is reported to create a heightened sense of awareness in the person undergoing death. Without delving too far into the paranormal, individuals who have returned from the other side describe lights that were brighter than can be imagined in waking life as well as sensations, smells, tastes, and other events that are completely out of this world.

Some see this as a religious encounter. But scientists view these experiences as the result of the stimulation of the brain at the moment of death. If we look at consciousness as a spectrum, the instant right before death is when we’re technically the most alive.[5]

It’s a bizarre twist of fate. The final moment of consciousness before total unconsciousness is the most conscious we will ever be. Poetic, isn’t it?

Time

Individuals who have had near-death experiences (NDEs) often report an extreme distortion of time. Many have paranormal explanations for this phenomenon. But concrete science and first-person accounts aplenty report that time seems to slow down to a crawl or stop altogether. Some people claim that time loses all meaning in the moments leading up to and during death.

In studies by Bruce Greyson, up to 70 percent of participants who had experienced an NDE reported time distortion, especially the slowing down of time. Broader studies spanning decades have also noted this phenomenon, solidifying it into the world of psychology and modern science.[6]

Hopefully, further research will enlighten us on these two obscure and elusive subjects: consciousness and time.

Biological Death

Although the “moment” of death can be quite ambiguous even in a clinical setting, the concept extends beyond the death of the brain stem—the so-called point of no return. That extension is biological death.

Even after a subject has reached the point where they are unable (as of now) to be brought back from death, many cells in the body are still very much alive—but dying. This raises some deep questions pertaining to the nature of the self: What are we? Are we the consciousness which is extinguished or transcends at death, or are we the totality of the body’s cells?

Modern science is conflicted on this issue and probably will be for a long time. Scientists note that we are both physical, material beings and an “inner self.” This is the experience portion of the self—and the only part we ever truly, intimately know.

So when are we dead? Is it when the inner self is gone? Or is it when the last cell in our body finally dies?[7]

Rhythm

Photo credit: Smithsonian Magazine

At least for a natural death, there seems to be a somewhat predictable rhythm to when you will die. Much like the body’s circadian rhythm, researchers are discovering that we may have built-in biological death cycles as well.

The circadian rhythm is the biological clock that regulates more than sleep. It controls our moods, our appetites, and much more. As it turns out, people who die in the morning have different biological clocks and even brain compositions than people who die at night.

Even stranger, researchers in California decided to push this one step further to see what differences were in the brains of people who died suddenly through trauma (unnatural deaths). Although our brain rhythms can’t “know” when we’re going to die in a car accident, researchers found the same cyclical pattern of protein differences in these brains as in those of people who had died from natural causes.[8]

This means that some changes to the brain that are part of the person’s cycle are an aftereffect that’s set to transpire the moment we die.

Genes

Many different genes activate at the moment of death, although researchers aren’t sure why. It gets even weirder: Some genes continue to switch on for quite a while after death.

Traditionally, it was assumed that genes, like cells, simply die off slowly one by one. But this idea has now been turned on its head. In a dead organism, some formerly inactive genes turn on—from 24 hours after death up to several days after death.

We’re not talking about one or two genes, either. In zebra fish and mice, researchers have observed more than 500 genes activating up to 48 hours after the death of the organism.[9]

Life

All of this suggests that there is still enough “life” in these genes after the death of the cells (as there is enough life in the cells after the death of the brain stem) to keep on living. As science and technology advance, the moment of death is further delayed.

At one point, we presumed that a person without a heartbeat was dead. Now we’re starting to see the bigger picture—that this gradient which is the moment of death is quite flexible. And all these discoveries about death have brought about new discussions, experiments, and thoughts about life.[10]

Firms around the world are seizing on these concepts in the hopes that medical science can someday make death reversible, at least up to a certain point. We are now looking at ways to reverse brain death and bring people back from that point of no return.

Before we write this off as wishful thinking, remember that some animals regrow whole limbs or have severed limbs that grow into new organisms. The supposed line between life and death is quite flimsy. Time will tell how successful we are in our endeavors to understand the final moments of our lives and how many more discoveries regarding the moment of death are yet to be made.


Woman Taking A Selfie On 27th Floor Balcony Loses Her Balance

Woman Taking A Selfie On 27th Floor Balcony Loses Her Balance

 

This is the shocking moment a woman falls to her death from the 27th floor of a high-rise block as she loses her balance while taking a selfie.

The 27-year-old, named locally as Sandra Manuela Da Costa Macedo, went over a balcony railing she was leaning against as she took the snap.


Accused Decatur Bank Robber Dies After Choking On Jail Peanut Butter

Accused Decatur Bank Robber Dies After Choking On Jail Peanut Butter

 

DECATUR — James A. Carr, who was in custody and awaiting trial on charges he robbed a Decatur bank, died after after suffering brain injury and respiratory failure from choking on a glob of peanut butter in the Macon County Jail.

Macon County Coroner Michael E. Day confirmed the death and unusual circumstances after being contacted by the Herald & Review on Thursday.

Carr, 56, who was from Yukon, Oklahoma, choked in his cell about 8 a.m. Sept. 29 and was pronounced dead at 2:03 p.m. Oct. 3 in the Decatur Memorial Hospital intensive care unit, Day said.

 

Carr suffered an “anoxic brain injury” from the choking, which is when the brain becomes injured after being starved of oxygen, Day said.

“He went into acute respiratory failure,” he added.

Carr had been placed on a ventilator, and Day said his family was summoned before he died and briefed on his condition. Day said the family wanted to donate Carr’s organs, and the coroner agreed to forego an autopsy.

“I felt it was prudent for everyone concerned that we wave the autopsy process because the autopsy and organ donation are not always compatible,” he said.

Day said a formal inquest is pending, but he has no doubts Carr died from complications of the choking and there was no suggestion of foul play or suicide. He said the circumstances of the death were investigated by Macon County Sheriff’s Office detectives.

“I am looking at this as an unnatural death with the probability of it being accidental,” Day added. “I say ‘probability’ because I always leave it to the coroner’s jury to make that determination.”

Carr was arrested May 1 after being accused of walking into and robbing the First Mid-Illinois Bank & Trust Branch at 3101 N. Water St. Decatur police apprehended him in a room at a nearby motel within 12 minutes of the crime after tracking him using surveillance video footage.

Carr was ruled mentally unfit to stand trial at a hearing June 13 and placed in the custody of the Illinois Department of Human Services.

Carr was back in the Macon County Jail by Sept. 19 when a new mental health report declared him fit to stand trial.

Macon County State’s Attorney Jay Scott, said there had been no formal hearing to discuss the report, and now, with Carr’s death, the bank robbery case is closed.

“We’ve had people have catastrophic health issues in the county jail, but something like this just doesn’t happen that often,” Scott said.

Lt. Kristopher Thompson, the jail superintendent, said Carr had just been served his breakfast alone in his cell when another inmate alerted guards after hearing the sounds of choking.

Thompson said an on-duty nurse and supervisors rushed to Carr’s aid.

“Through his labored breathing, he was able to say, ‘I’m choking,’” Thompson said. He said the nurse and staff began treating Carr, and paramedics arrived within minutes to assist.

Thompson described Carr as having somehow “aspirated” the peanut butter and he believes he only survived as long as he did because he had immediate expert medical help.

“Frankly, if this had happened at his home, he would have died immediately,” Thompson said. “Because you don’t have a nurse who can respond in a minute or a trained officer to help you if you were home alone.”

Thompson said he had looked at jail emergency procedures and was confident everything that could have been done to save Carr was done.

“It didn’t turn out like we’d hoped, but our corrections staff and medical staff did a great job of giving it all their efforts,” he added.


12 Terrifying Ghost Stories From Around The World

12 Terrifying Ghost Stories From Around The World -

 

 

The world is a scary place, and we are definitely afraid of dying. In fact the only thing worse is living, because then the immortal souls of the damned which have been cursed to life in an endless purgatory even when their physical bodies have expired can come and bother us, with all their wailing and tapering off to have no legs.

Basically ghosts tell us that everything sucks because when you live you get haunted, and when you die you haunt. There's no way of winning. Why are we so obsessed with ghosts?

Well, it's probably got something to do with the ubiquity of ghost stories in Western culture. From the Brown Lady of Raynham Hall to the Amityville Horror, there are ghost stories that everybody knows and is rightfully spooked by. We shouldn't restrict our terror to our own fair isles and states, however; after all, there's a whole world of spine tingling tales out there, stories of ghouls and ghosts from all corners of the Earth, which'll blow the Mary Celeste out of the water and make the Enfield poltergeist look like a mere public nuisance.

These are twelve terrifying ghost stories from around the world. Note: WhatCulture cannot be held responsible for any sleepless nights, overactive imaginations or pant wettings that occur as a result of reading this article. But we do apologise. Sorry.

12. Screaming Trees At A US Mental Asylum

wikipedia

A place originally named "Illinois Asylum for the Incurable Insane" isn't going to be the happiest place on Earth - and, for copyright reasons, could never name itself as such either - but through a ghost into the mix on top of that, and you've got a recipe for true horror.

Dr George Zeller, the first director of what is now called the Peoria State Hospital, was one of the first to document the story of the spirit that came to be known as "Old Book". The hospital had existed in a different form before Zeller reopened it in 1902, with a new and more enlightened view of how mental health issues should be treated. In fact the original building had never been used, constructed to look more like a castle's battlements than a place for progressive treatments.

The eeriness truly began during Zeller's time there, though, as recounted in his book Befriending The Bereft. It was decided early on that anybody who died whilst working or attending the hospital would be shipped off to relatives or, if they were unclaimed, buried on the asylum's grounds. It was the latter fate that befell Manuel A. Bookbinder, a patient who worked with the burial crew until his death. Zeller and hundreds of other patients and employees saw Old Book's figure at his funeral, weeping over by the old elm in the potters field.

Since then Old Book - a nickname, but Bookbinder wasn't even his real name; he had suffered a breakdown whilst working at a printing press, and nobody knew his actual identity - was seen at dozens of funerals on the grounds, crying by the old elm. Even today visitors claim to hear his otherworldly sobs coming from the tree.

As if an old, abandoned mental hospital wasn't creepy enough on its own.

11. The Stockholm Ghost Train

wikipedia

Stockholm's Metro network is one of the best in Europe, travelling across every corner of the Swedish capital both under and overground. The Silverpilen (or "Silver Arrow") was an old model of Metro train, so named because it of its shiny aluminum shell.

Between its introduction in the sixties and discontinuation in 1996, it was usually used as a back-up train if others broke down; the interiors were more utilitarian than the usual cars, with signs of partly removed graffiti contributing to the reputation of the Silverpilen as "different". Adding to that reputation, or perhaps bolstered by it, are the numerous ghost stories and urban legends that have sprung up about the Silverpilen trains. Since it was used only when other Metro cars had broken down and needed replacing, the average Stockholm dweller rarely saw a Silver Arrow in action, adding further to the mystique surrounding them.

Seeing them at night would be an especially spooky event, the unfamiliar car glowing as its metal shell reflected the street lamps, giving it an all-round ghostly look. Stories about the Silverpilen usually connect it to the abandoned Kymlinge metro station on Line 11, the origin of the delightful saying "Only the dead get off at Kymlinge".

People claim that the train picks up its spirit passengers there and speeds through the city after midnight, only sometimes stopping to pick up passengers; they either disappear forever or later "get off" weeks, months or even years after they embarked.

Still sounds better than the Tube.

10. Maori Villagers Risen From The Dead

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Mount Tarawera is responsible for one of New Zealand's largest volcanic eruptions in history, which killed around 120 people back in 1886. Hundreds die in a natural disaster, during which the sky looked to be burning, black smoke filled the air and survivors were, naturally, panicking and fearing for their own lives?

Why, those are the perfect conditions for a ghost story to take root! And so it did, but not without a few more details to build it up a little.

One of the biggest tragedies of the eruption were the dozens of Mori villages which were completely destroyed or buried, decimating the people's local community. All of this devastation could have been predicted, however, by a ghostly vision that was sighted eleven days before Mount Tarawera erupted, an event that was so loud and so bright some thought it to be an attack by Russian warships.

A boatful of tourists returning from the Pink and White Terraces, a natural wonder which was later wiped off the map by the volcano, saw what appeared to be a war canoe approach their boat, only to disappear in the mist half a mile from them. Onboard also was a Maori clergyman who recognised it as a burial waka, which dead chiefs were tied to in an upright position and sent into the water on.

Some had posited that the pre-eruption fissures could have freed the canoe from its resting place, but either way seeing a decomposed guy on a boat floating at you through the mist sounds absolutely terrifying.

9. The Samurai Who Loved A Ghost

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Besides being the place where the majority of your consumer electronics originate, Japan's biggest export is of absolutely pant-wettingly terrifying ghost stories. The likes of The Ring and The Grudge, films remade to lesser effect in English, follow the tradition of kaidan - literally "talk strange, mysterious, rare or bewitching apparitions" - which date back to the Edo period. And they are all equally as bizarre, disturbing and gross as the hauntings of Sadako and Kayako.

One such story is Botan , which translates roughly to The Peony Lantern, one of the most famous kaidan. It began as a moralistic Buddhist parable about karma that came from China, but was retrofitted into being more straight-up scary by an enterprising author Asai Ryi, and spread in popularity thanks to his translation and later kabuki adaptations. And of course it was a hit - after all, it featured necrophilia! Sort of, anyway.

The basic story of Botan  is of a beautiful woman and a young girl holding a lantern the house of a widowed samurai. The samurai is instantly smitten with the woman and, from that night on, both her and the girl visit the house during dusk and disappear before dawn. A suspicious elderly neighbour peeks into the house one night and sees the samurai in bed with a skeleton.

Unable to resist her charms, even when he finds out what's happening, the samurai is led by the woman into the local graveyard, where his body is found buried alive, again spooning the skeleton. CREEPY.

8. True Detective Comes To Windsor

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This one, we admit, was partially chosen for the chilling illustration that accompanies it. It's like the sort of thing you'd expect of the dark, murderous Yellow King from True Detective, albeit transplanted from the deep south to Berkshire.

Herne The Hunter is said to haunt the county's Windsor Forest and Great Park, appearing in countless folk tales and even scoring a cameo appearance in Shakespeare's The Merry Wives of Windsor; his origin is said to lay further back than that, though, rooted in weird...Pagan...stuff.

Little was written down and preserved about Herne before Willy got there, describing him as "a spirit" and "sometime a keeper... in Windsor forest" who is seen to "walk round about an oak, with great ragged horns". Which, to be honest, would be enough for us to go on: a ragged, spectral being with a terrifying face and great big antlers? It'd certainly put us off of our Centre Parcs holiday, that's for sure.

Samuel Ireland provided more background to this spectre decades later, positing that in life he was a man of some social standing who, for some transgression, saw that he may fall into disgrace, and chose instead to hang himself in the very woods he overlooked.

So he is damned to protect them for the rest of eternity, with sightings dating as recently as the 1920s suggesting he rides with demon hounds, a horned owl and other creatures of the forest.

7. Murdered Wife Haunts Library

Sony Pictures

The life of Sophia Eberlein was a short, tragic one. Having emigrated from Russia to the United States as a young woman, she found herself married to Hugo Eberlein, a well-known businessman with whom she bore two daughters, Lillian and Alice.

Following Hugo's death in 1928 she remarried, taking up with a man named Jacob Bentz in her home of Harvey, North Dakota. It is unknown if this second marriage was particularly tumultuous, but what is known is that Bentz bludgeoned his wife to death not longer after.

Despite cleaning up the crime scene and trying to make it look like Sophia had died in a car accident, Bentz was caught out by a visit by Lillian who noticed the blood splatters in her deceased mother's bedroom. Bentz admitted to the crime and was sentenced to life in prison, where he himself died in 1944.

It's a sad story, and one which has all the hallmarks of a later haunting: a violent, horrible death, at the hands of a loved one, the victim burdened with "unfinished business". Which is perhaps why, when author William Jackson began working in a library built on the land of the old Eberlein family home, he found himself the victim of cold chills, moving furniture and the glimpsed sight of the manifestation of the murdered Sophia.

According to Jackson, the librarian's office was built in the exact spot where Sophia's bedroom was, the part of the house she was killed and apparently her final resting place.

Spookier than the lady at the start of Ghostbusters, that. Definitely less funny.

6. The White Woman Of Belchen Tunnel

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Underground tunnels for cars are terrifying enough on their own, and we don't mean just because of that one UNKLE video. There's the darkness, the claustrophobic feeling of being below ground, and the inhuman howl that traffic makes as it passes through, engine noise echoing off of the stark concrete walls. Yeesh.

And at nighttime, when the traffic is at a minimum, it just gets worse, because if anything bad happens you've got no escape but to go forwards or turn around, and you could still be in the tunnel for what feels like an eternity. Which means they're not quite as unusual a setting for a contemporary ghost story as you might think.

One such modern myth sprung up with regards to the Belchen Tunnel in Switzerland, which connects Basel to Chiasso, in the form of the "white woman" ("weisse Frau") of the Bölchentunnel ("Bölchen" is local dialect for "Belchen"). Beginnings in 1981 stories of an old white-clothed woman began circulating, who appears out of nowhere and sometimes tries to catch a ride off drivers. After being picked up by local tabloids Basel Police received dozens of phone calls of people seeing the White Woman.

In 1983 were two jurists claimed to have picked up a pale, middle-aged woman who, when asked if she was okay, replied "No, unfortunately not. I am not well at all. Something really awful is going to happen, something very dreadful!"

When the pair looked to the back seat where the hitch hiker had sat, they found she had disappeared. Probably the second most creepy thing a hitch hiker could do, but creepy nonetheless.

5. Polish Nobleman Makes A Faustian Pact

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A man loyal to his king and country, a military commander who dedicated his civilian life to investing and developing his home country, Stanisaw Warszycki was well regarded during his lifetime. In 1632 he helped fortify his village to see off the attacks of the Swedish army, and his tactics were adopted by other battlements across Poland.

He stayed loyal to his country when other business magnates and noblemen such as he were defecting to their enemies. For this Stanisaw was rewarded with military powers and the friendship of the royal family. After his death, however, rumours spread of a different side to Warszycki. Less a war hero, more of a sadistic torturer type, treating peasants poorly and straight up murdering a dude he suspected his wife of having an affair with; either through poisoning, public flagellation or even exploding a whole castle with the philanderer inside, in more colourful interpretations.

Other legends suggested the the famously wealthy Stanisaw kept vast caves full of his treasures, and even more outrageously, that all his fame and good fortune was the result of a deal with the Devil. Having sold his soul to Satan Stanisaw was therefore damned either to hell or to walk the Earth for the rest of his days, which is where the ghost story part of this particular legend comes into play (AT LAST).

The bloodthirsty spirit of Warszycki supposedly roams the armaments of the Ogrodzienic and Olsztyn castles, rattling chains, leading black dogs, and generally being a translucent, insane spectral murderer you wouldn't wanna meet when he was alive, let alone now he's a g-g-g-ghost.

4. The Oil-Covered Malaysian Monsters (That Are Still At Large!)

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The Orang Minyak are a weird one, and considering we've already done Botan Dr, that's saying a lot. Literally meaning "oily man" in Malay, this legend was passed down through generations and popularised in the 1956 film Sumpah Orang Minyak (The Curse of the Oily Man). In it, the orang minyak was a mortal man cursed to walk the Earth until he could win back his lost love, and was helped along the way by the Devil. But only if the orang minyak worshipped him and raped 21 virgins within a week.

Those are the sorts of deals the Devil makes, we guess. Which is creepy enough, but in the sixties people starting spreading stories of these violent spirits stalking the area around several Malaysian towns, causing a mass panic has also led to unmarried women, typically in student dormitories, borrowing men's clothes to give the impression to the orang minyak that they weren't virgins. A bit like Cherry Falls, only terrifying and at least semi-real.

Because sightings of the Orang Minyak didn't stop then, and in fact have become even more common in the 21st century. In 2005, multiple cases were reported of sexual predators covered in oil roaming around, armed with knives, and in 2012 residents of a village in Gombak claim to have been plagued by one such spirit.

So the creature may have some basis in reality, which - even if he's not actually a ghost - is still totally bone-chilling.

3. Thai Ghost Lady Spills Her Guts

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Hold onto your hats, because from here on out things get spectacularly weird. We're not kidding. Children and pregnant women should look away now. Actually, screw it, you've already seen the picture, it's too late for that. If that isn't evocative enough for you, allow us to elaborate on just what the Cambodian ghoul the Krause is all about: she has the floating head of a beautiful woman, and also the internal organs of a beautiful woman minus her beautiful torso, meaning she flies around with her guts just kind of dangling below her chin. Which is HORRIFYING.

The Krause has become incredibly popular in her native country, appearing in countless horror movies and TV shows because...well, because she's one of the freakiest ghosts we've ever come across (as her position on the list will attest to), and because there ain't nobody but nobody who wouldn't be freaked out by a floating head trailing her intestines.

In Thai and Cambodian folklore the story goes that the Krause was once a princess who rejected an arranged marriage and was burnt at the stake; a wizard cast a spell that would protect her from the flames, but by that point her entire body had been consumed by the flames, save her head. Nice going, wizard. Since then the Krause has roamed the Earth with an insatiable hunger for blood, preying on cattle or even pregnant women just before or after giving birth, looking to satiate its bloodlust with either the placenta or the fetus itself.

As if pregnancy wasn't scary enough, you have to contend with the horrifying vision of a dead woman's head coming up to your window trying to feast on your menstrual blood or even your baby. Man, Cambodia sounds scary.

2. The Weeping Woman

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Oh sure, a crying woman doesn't sound scary on its own (you heartless sociopath), but when you hear about why she's so upset you'll soon change your tune. Known as La Llorona in South American countries, the basic legend behind this tale tells of a beautiful young woman named Maria. When she is left rejected and heartbroken by the man she has pined for, she drowned first her children and then herself.

Which is pretty dark to begin with.

It gets worse, though. When she reached the gates of Heaven the absence of Maria's children was called into question, and she tearfully admitted to her horrific crime. She was not permitted to enter the afterlife until she found them, and so Maria is forced to wander the Earth for all eternity, searching in vain for her drowned offspring, crying the whole time. Hence, The Weeping Woman. When it comes down to it, the La Llorona legend is most often employed as a way of parents making sure their kids don't go wandering off during the night, but we think it's pretty terrifying and heartbreaking in itself.

The idea of the Weeping Woman hasn't the pure shock factor of others on our list, but it is indefinably eerie: a pale woman with mottled skin, wandering aimlessly through the dark, her gentle sobs echoing through the mists. Plus she's got the "Bloody Mary" thing of being able to see her if you say her name three times in the mirror. Don't do that.

1. Every Nightmare Ever Is Summarised In The Kuchisake-onna

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Right, for the number one terrifying international ghost story we head back to Japan, and right back into the gore-splattered, visceral horror of that the Krause set us up for. Also, remember we mentioned that previous entries might not be suitable for pregnant women or children? Well, the Kuchisake-onna might just be unsafe for everyone. The Kuchisake-onna is NSFW, and potentially NSFL. You are going to have nightmares about this one, and now that we've warned you about that, you have nobody to blame but yourself.

Beginning with rumoured sightings around Nagasaki Prefecture in 1979, stories of the "Slit-Mouthed Woman" soon spread across the country to the point that some schools would only let kids walk home when escorted by teachers for safety, and police significantly increased their patrols in some areas. Even as recently as 2004 she was spotted in South Korea, followed in 2007 by a coroner's discovery of records from the late seventies telling of a woman who was hit by a car whilst chasing chasing little children and had her mouth was ripped from ear to ear. That photo up there? That's what literally dozens of Japanese and Korean people have claimed to have come across.

From behind she looks like an average woman, and when you see here from the front she is wearing a surgical mask to cover her mouth - something which is normal during flu season in Japan. If she sees you she will approach you, and take off her mask to reveal the horrifically scarred face underneath, her mouth ripped open in a Glasgow smile fashion. There's no way of getting away from the Kuchisake-onna, either.

Once she's trapped you, she asks if you think she is pretty; answer no, and she will stab you to death with some scissors. Answer yes and, taking it as a compliment, will use her scissors to give you the same deformity she has. It's a lose-lose situation which we hope never to enter and now can't stop thinking about oh god why did we write this article?!


10 Mind-Blowing Things That Happened Last Week

10 Mind-Blowing Things That Happened Last Week

 

 

 

 

This week, we’ve decided to shake things up a little. Following a grueling few editions featuring endless battles over the Supreme Court, we’re going to leave off US politics entirely. So there’ll be no mention below of Brett Kavanaugh, Nikki Haley, or Taylor Swift.

Instead, we’ll be taking you on a magical mystery tour through the major stories causing figurative earthquakes in Brazil, South Korea, and China before swinging back to the US for some non-political stuff. Let’s see how this goes . . .

China Arrested The Head Of Interpol

Photo credit: qz.com

In the tsunami of headlines that accompanied the end of September, one major story managed to slip through this column’s news net. The president of Interpol, Meng Hongwei, vanished while visiting his home country of China. This week, we found out why. Beijing had kidnapped him, arrested him on corruption charges, and forced him to resign as head of Interpol. Um, wow?

Interpol is a pretty serious international organization. And China was all sorts of chuffed that its head guy was one of theirs. So for Meng to wind up rotting in jail, he must have seriously ticked off Xi Jinping. The Economist suggested that Meng may have erred by speaking out against the Communist party line, assuming his powerful position would protect him. It didn’t.

China has been cracking down hard on both dissent and corruption recently. It’s only a couple of months ago that their top actress, Fan Bingbing (X-Men), disappeared for nonpayment of taxes. It looks like Beijing is trying to send out signals to China’s elite that no one is untouchable.[1]

A Saudi Hit Squad Appeared To Murder A Writer In The Istanbul Embassy

Photo credit: economist.com

Last week, Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi walked into the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to verify his divorce papers. A native of the Wahhabist Kingdom, he had fled the nation in 2017 after speaking out against the new government. He was never seen again. His fiancee waited outside the consulate for 11 hours.

This weekend, the story went from a mere mystery to big news when Turkey accused Saudi Arabia of murdering Khashoggi. At the moment, the working theory is that a 15-man hit squad waited for him at the consulate, killed him, and dismembered his body to carry it out of the building in pieces.

As of Thursday, Turkey has demanded to search the consulate for evidence of Khashoggi’s murder. Although Riyadh has denied killing the writer, his disappearance fits the picture of a broader crackdown currently being carried out in Saudi Arabia.[2]

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s moderate reforms have been accompanied by the abduction and execution of all manner of dissenters. If Khashoggi has joined that list, expect the mother of all diplomatic rows.

Romania’s Gay Marriage Referendum Was The Dampest Squib Imaginable

Photo credit: neweurope.eu

Last month, we reported that Romania had passed a bill allowing a referendum on gay marriage. Unlike most recent referenda, the question wasn’t whether to legalize LGBT partnerships but whether to amend the constitution to ban them outright. Given how socially conservative the Eastern European nation is, it was expected that the referendum would pass. Instead, it was virtually ignored.

The turnout for making the referendum valid was set at a pathetically low 30 percent. Yet not even close to this number of voters participated on Sunday. Turnout was instead an abysmal 20.41 percent, thereby invalidating the result. The estimated cost of this damp squib was around €40 million.

Rights activists and opposition parties had called for a boycott of the vote, which was widely seen as a way for the ruling center-left PSD—which supported constitutionally banning gay marriage—to shore up tanking support in the wake of multiple corruption scandals. Instead, it seems to have left them weaker than ever.[3]

The Florida Panhandle Was Hit By Its Strongest Hurricane On Record

Photo credit: abcnews.go.com

The last time a storm as strong as Hurricane Michael struck the US, it was 1992. George H.W. Bush was still in the White House, Donald Trump was just a New York businessman, and Bill Cosby was still someone you wouldn’t mind being left alone in a room with. When Michael made landfall on Wednesday, it left a trail of destruction not seen for a quarter of a century.

Michael was a storm that surprised everyone. Starting life as a Category 2, it suddenly surged just before reaching Florida into a Category 4, triggering a mass evacuation warning.

While most people were able to get out of the storm’s way, it still caused destruction on a grand scale. Houses were blown apart like matchstick toys. Towns were flooded out. Things got so bad that emergency services simply couldn’t work in the blasting winds. No other Category 4 has ever hit the Florida Panhandle.[4]

Thankfully, the reported death toll remains low. Only two have died in the US, with another 13 killed as the storm passed over Central America. Hopefully, the death toll won’t get any higher.

Brazil’s Right-Wing Candidate Surged In The Presidential Elections

Photo credit: ft.com

In the end, he didn’t quite make it. Despite polls suggesting an outright win was in the offing, former army captain Jair Bolsonaro just failed to get the magical 50 percent of votes required to avoid a runoff in Brazil’s presidential election on Sunday. Instead, the right-wing candidate pulled down 46 percent, far ahead of his closest rival, leftist Fernando Haddad, who trailed with not quite 29 percent. The two will now go through to a runoff vote in two weeks’ time.[5]

Bolsonaro has styled himself as the Brazilian equivalent of the Philippines’ Rodrigo Duterte. Bolsonaro plans to crack down hard on crime and has previously been outspoken in his vicious attacks on women, gays, and blacks. He’s also on record supporting Brazil’s military dictatorship, which ruled the country from 1964–85. It should be pointed out, though, that he has since reinvented himself as a more mainstream champion of free markets.

Whether Bolsonaro ultimately wins or not (and he probably will), the election signals an ongoing decline in leftist politics in Latin America following multiple corruption scandals over the last decade.

South Korea Jailed Yet Another Former President

Photo credit: malaymail.com

It wasn’t that long ago that this column was reporting on South Korea jailing its last president, Park Geun-hye, for corruption. Well, Park now has good company in her disgrace. Last Friday, a court in Seoul sentenced another former South Korean president, Lee Myung-bak, to 15 years on graft charges. Lee is now the fourth former president of South Korea to receive jail time after leaving office.

For a democracy, South Korea has a terrible track record of impeaching or imprisoning its own leaders. While some, like former coup leader Chun Doo-hwan, definitely deserved it, the jury is still out on others.

Roh Moo-hyun committed suicide in 2009, a year after leaving office, when Lee Myung-bak’s government opened a corruption investigation into him. Since Roh was the mentor of current incumbent, President Moon, some think Lee’s jail term is simply a piece of revenge politicking from a ticked-off Moon.[6]

That’s not to say there isn’t plenty of evidence that many of South Korea’s presidents engaged in some unethical behavior while in office. Maybe Seoul is simply better at bringing its own to justice.

Serb Nationalists Claimed A Big Victory In Bosnia’s Elections

Photo credit: balkaninsight.com

Oh, look, more demagogic politicians bringing ethnic strife to Bosnia. What could possibly go wrong?

On Sunday, residents of Bosnia and the autonomous ethnic-Serbian enclave Republika Srpska went to the polls to elect new leaders for their insanely complicated power-sharing government. The results were destabilizing, to say the least. The Serbian seat on Bosnia’s tripartite presidency was won by Milorad Dodik, the militant leader who wants to make the Republika Srpska an independent nation and has promised to rule on behalf of, and only for, Serbs.

At the same time, the winner of the Croat seat, Zeljko Komsic, was accused by his rival of relying on Bosniak (Muslim) votes.[7] As a result, many Croats in Bosnia are now campaigning to ethnically segregate their voting districts. To top it all off, separatists won in Republika Srpska, too. There is no part of those last four sentences that couldn’t potentially trigger an ethnic war all on its own.

Ever since the Dayton Accords were signed in 1995, Bosnia has been a tinderbox waiting to reignite. With candidates now openly embracing violent ethnic rhetoric, it could be that the peace accords crumble in the not-too-distant future. We hope not.

A Horrific Limousine Crash Killed 20 In New York

Photo credit: nypost.com

For a crash involving a single occupied car, the death toll from New York State’s limo accident on the weekend was virtually unbelievable. During celebrations for a woman’s 30th birthday, a hired limo shot through a stop sign, mowed down two pedestrians, and smashed into a parked, unoccupied car. The accident killed a staggering 18 people in the limo, including the driver, plus the two pedestrians.

The crash was the worst single transportation disaster in the entire US since 2009, when a plane crashed in Buffalo, New York, killing 50. For a traffic accident this bad, you have to go all the way back to 2005. That was when a bus carrying nursing home residents away from Hurricane Rita’s path burst into flames, leaving more than 20 dead.[8]

At the time of this writing, reports are saying that the limo company’s operator has been arrested. The car failed an inspection in September, and drivers had complained that it was unsafe. By cutting corners, the company may have cost 20 people their lives.

Guatemala Finally Made Its Rich And Powerful Accountable

Photo credit: BBC

To see the true level of impunity with which Guatemala’s rich and powerful think they operate, you need look no further than the jaw-dropping “magic water” scandal. During her tenure in office, former Vice President Roxana Baldetti negotiated an $18 million deal with an Israeli company to decontaminate Lake Amatitlan using a special solution.

Only it turned out that “special” was a euphemism for “fake.” The liquid poured into the lake was later inspected and revealed to be basically just water with some salt mixed in. Meanwhile, Baldetti was skimming millions off the fund to line her own pockets. With Guatemala’s appalling track record of holding its rich and powerful to account, who could blame her? Maybe her own conscience but the rich and powerful generally try and keep those quiet.  This week, that may have all changed. On Tuesday, a court sentenced Baldetti to 15 years and six months in jail for corruption.[9] If her conviction isn’t overturned on appeal, it will mark one of the first times that Guatemala’s elite has had to face serious consequences for their actions.

Spain Freed A Doctor Who Helped The Dictatorship Steal Babies

Photo credit: dw.com

In the pantheon of cartoonishly evil crimes, stealing babies is only slightly below tying scantily clad women to train tracks while twiddling your mustache. Yet that’s exactly what Eduardo Vela did. A doctor in Spain, he spent the years of the Franco dictatorship helping a network of gynecologists, nuns, nurses, and priests snatch newborn babies from left-wing and poor families and sell them to rich, Catholic, and pro-Franco families.[10]

While this was official policy during the dictatorship, Vela carried on even after democracy was restored. He finally shuttered his black market practice in 1987. Three months ago, he was formally brought to trial. On Monday, he was found guilty of kidnapping newborn Ines Madrigal in 1969. Unfortunately, the statute of limitations had expired. Despite having stolen newborn babies, Vela was set free.

Still, his guilty verdict at least represents a step forward in a country still struggling to make sense of its often vicious past. It is estimated that there are at least 2,000 other Spaniards alive today who were stolen from their parents as newborns. Some of these cases may even be within the statute of limitations (25 years after the abducted baby becomes an adult). If so, Vela and his evil ilk may yet see justice.


Rapist Claiming He Was Too Fat To Appear In Court Dies Of Heart Disease

Rapist Claiming He Was Too Fat To Appear In Court Dies Of Heart Disease

 

 

A rapist who tried to cheat justice by claiming he was too fat to appear in court died of obesity, an inquiry has ruled.

Stanley Sandison, from Lossiemouth, preyed on a string of young girls in the 1960s and 70s and was jailed for seven years in 2015.

A special sitting of the high court had to be convened in Elgin because the morbidly-obese 69-year-old – who tried to claim he was unfit to stand trial – was incapable of travelling further.

Sandison, who once topped the scales at 24 stone, was convicted of raping two children and sexually assaulting three others during a “remorseless” campaign of abuse.


The Walking Dead Season 9: Predicting Who Lives And Who Dies

The Walking Dead Season 9: Predicting Who Lives And Who Dies

Somehow, despite it only being the beginning of October, the return of The Walking Dead is upon us.

The earlier start date isn't the only change for the series, which is undergoing its biggest overhaul in years as it attempts to freshen things up and combat its rapidly declining ratings.

There's a new showrunner, with Angela Kang replacing Scott Gimple (who has been in that position since Season 4), a bunch of new cast members, including Samantha Morton and Dan Fogler, and even a new opening credits sequence. Complete with a time jump of around 18 months and a couple of major cast departures on the horizon, it's all change for the show except in one core way: lots of people are still going to die, but just who'll bite the dust - or rather, be bitten by the dust - in Season 9?

21. Alpha

AMC/Image Comics

One of a number of new additions to the show for Season 9, it’s difficult to say someone is going to die before they’ve even arrived.

As the leader of the Whisperers, Alpha is quite literally dead meat walking. She has a decent run in the comics, and the Whisperers are big enough to last until Season 10. As the show’s new primary antagonist, however, she should have a fair bit of life on series, especially as her proper introduction likely won’t happen for a few episodes, even if her arrival is seeded before then.

Prediction: Lives

20. Magna

Image Comics

Another key new comics character making their debut this year, Magna is the leader of *yet another* group of survivors, which is as inevitable as it is improbable.

She’s been a big new player since her introduction relatively late in the game in the comics, grows in importance as things go along and, with so much change happening this year, should be a fairly substantial part of whatever the future holds for The Walking Dead.

Prediction: Lives

19. Siddiq

Gene Page/AMC

Siddiq only made his debut in Season 8, and although he did factor heavily into Carl's death, the character himself only appeared sporadically throughout the run.

He goes on to have an important role in the comics, and should do similar here. At the very least he's the new community doctor, and the show has killed off so many of those that, while it's a poisoned chalice, there's also no real impact to be had from killing him off. We're still at the beginning of his time on the show, and that should extend well beyond Season 9.

Prediction: Lives

18. Alden

AMC

Another character who was only introduced last year, Alden may not be the most memorable of the new faces but, with actor Callan McAuliffe bumped up to series regular, there should be more to come.

Alden's switched sides from the Saviours to the Hilltop, and there's not much point in doing that AND giving him a bigger role if you're going to kill him off so soon. That would, admittedly, be very Walking Dead, but giving the new era the benefit of the doubt it seems like he'll be around for a good while yet as his character properly develops.

Prediction: Lives

17. Gregory

Gene Page/AMC

The Walking Dead has quite a few core characters it can't do away with, and newcomers likewise, but then there's the mid-tier. Characters who've been around a little while, are recognisable and, while they could live on, also stand a good chance of being killed off as well.

For Gregory, his period as Hilltop's resident slimeball and flip-flopping between sides means that, despite Xander Berkeley's pitch-perfect weasley performance, he's more towards the danger zone than he is the safe zone.

There's not all that much left to do with him and, if the show recreates Alpha's 'heads on spikes' moment - which is brutal, but also feels like a must - then Gregory should be among the prime contenders, as there's no one else from Hilltop to quite fill that role. Failing that, then there's the option of giving him his comics death and having Maggie kill him after he attempts to poison her, which is definitely the kind of thing he'd do. Either way, his days seems numbered.

Prediction: Dies

16. Jadis/Anne

AMC

While Jadis was irritating and has run her course, we're only just now getting to know Anne, who is the real person behind the dodgy speech pattern.

It feels like the writers are playing the long-game with the character, hence taking so long to reveal her backstory, and there's still plenty more to dive into - not least her connection to that helicopter.

That alone could run throughout Season 9, and should ensure her survival.

Prediction: Lives

15. Enid

Gene Page/AMC

Enid's among the character who just sort of... exists. She's there, you know her, but there's a question of what she really brings, especially with Carl gone. That's only going to intensify with Maggie departing too, but Enid probably won't be going anywhere in Season 9.

The show killed off Carl just a few months ago, and that should probably account for their quota of teen deaths for a good while yet. Enid doesn't have all that much to offer, but you can pretty much guarantee she'll be at Hilltop to help take the reigns and realise Maggie's vision when Lauren Cohan departs.

Prediction: Lives

14. Aaron

Gene Page/AMC

Much like Enid (it's no coincidence they were paired together last year), Aaron is at something of a loose end. He's always been there as a steady background presence without ever making the step-up, but again there's reason to believe they'll keep him around a while longer.

One is that he's someone at Alexandria from the very start, so remains as a last link to the Safe-Zone, and there's also the potential of him starting a relationship with Jesus either in Season 9 or further into the future.

Prediction: Lives

13. Jesus

Gene Page/AMC

Jesus has been pegged to become a major player on the show ever since his impressive introduction in Season 6, and while he's been more involved as things have gone on, Season 9 is almost a do or die point with the character.

He's more important and more popular in the comics, and it's time to start giving him that billing. Luckily, with Rick and more pertinently Maggie on the way out, there is room for him to take the leap. Jesus should become the leader of the Hilltop after Maggie's departure, and should become one of the more central characters going forward.

Prediction: Lives

12. Rosita Espinosa

Gene Page/AMC

Hell-bent on revenge, it looked like Rosita was doomed long before now, but she’s kept on surviving and emerged a much stronger character as a result.

With the Whisperers on the way, there's an obvious target pained on Rosita, and the show is at a point where they could kill her off. However, since they'll probably follow through with another comics death at the same time, that suggests Rosita will actually escape.

There's still more they can do with the character, whether they use her relationships with Eugene and Siddiq from the graphic novels or not, and giving her death to someone else instead would fit with The Walking Dead's MO.

Prediction: Lives

11. Eugene Porter

Gene Page/AMC

Eugene has survived longer than perhaps even he expected, in part thanks to his ability to say and do whatever it takes to scrape by. That's been a blessing and a curse, with the character switching back-and-forth between different sides, but he now appears to be settled back in with Rick's group after foiling the Saviours in the Season 8 finale.

Is that enough to bring to a close his redemptive arc, or does he need more? Quite possibly the latter, since he has a huge part to play in future comic arcs (although so do others they've killed off), and there's more value in keeping him around.

Prediction: Dies

10. Ezekiel

Gene Page/AMC

He may not be beholden to the same royal theatrics as when we first met him, but that just means Ezekiel is a more rounded character as a result, and while Shiva has sadly departed, he's going to find renewed happiness as he begins a romance with Carol this year.

And that, of course, will lead to his doom. The series isn't going to have its characters being happy for too long, and since it looks more likely they'll keep Carol around, then killing off Ezekiel is a way of giving her extra material to work with, and showing that the Whisperers mean business.

They'll be looking to take out at least one of the leaders and, if any one of the 'heads on a pike' deaths would translate to the show by offering a big enough moment without being someone *too* big, it's Ezekiel.

Prediction: Dies

9. Jerry

Gene Page/AMC

Look, Jerry's here for a good time, not a long time. He's The Walking Dead's resident banter hound, and the only thing he loves more than cracking wise and crushing skulls is his King.

Can there be a Jerry without Ezekiel? Yes, but he'd be miserable, and an unhappy Jerry is the antithesis of the character. If his King's going down - which seems likely - then Jerry is damn well going to make sure he's by his side when it happens, sadly for all of us.

Prediction: Dies

8. Father Gabriel

Gene Page/AMC

Father Gabriel has been on a considerable journey over the past few years, going from a cowardly figure to one of Rick's most trusted lieutenants, even losing sight in one of his eyes along the way.

He's definitely been put through the wringer, and while that's partly just how life is on the show, he's someone who could benefit from staying around another season or two while some of the bigger players depart. His comics death wouldn't suit just how far this version of the character has come, and there's a sense the show won't want to lose too many of its older characters.

Prediction: Lives

7. Tara Chambler

Gene Page/AMC

Tara has been around since Season 4, which is probably the most shocking thing about her character. She’s offered up some solid comic relief at times, without ever making the jump to the top-tier (not for a want of trying though).

It’s hard to get a gauge on her arc at this point, which means she’s among those who could really go either way. The show is often a little light on humour so there’s a better chance of her sticking around a while, BUT they also love to switch out character deaths, and if not Rosita herself, then no one is better placed to take Rosita's 'head on a pike' death than Tara, who seemingly has less left to do on the series.

Prediction: Dies

6. Michonne

Gene Page/AMC

Not quite there from the start, but Michonne has been woven into the fabric of the show since her stunning, sword-wielding arrival in Season 2.

She’s suffered the loss of Carl and is going to lose Rick in some way too, but there’s a great burden on her now to become the sole leader of Alexandria. It’s extra dramatic responsibility and character work than Danai Gurira deserves, although there is the risk that, with a burgeoning MCU career, she too will decide to leave the show.

That hasn’t happened yet though, and Michonne still feels like a character with so much untapped potential that they can’t lose her anytime soon (unless their hand is forced).

Prediction: Lives

5. Daryl Dixon

AMC

With Rick and Maggie on the outs, Daryl is one of the few characters left to fly the flag for the original survivors, and Norman Reedus is the show’s most bankable star.

Regardless of whether or not reports of a bumper payday to stay on are true, Reedus IS going to be the face of the show post-Rick.

There’s no indication Reedus would want to leave - he’s said quite the opposite - and while Daryl isn’t the kind of character who could carry storylines the way Rick has, he’s nonetheless a fan-favourite, a badass hero, and even though the show has largely wasted him the past few years, is someone they can still do plenty with.

Prediction: Lives

4. Carol Peletier

AMC

It feels like I’ve been predicting a Carol death ever since the start of Season 6 - largely because I have been predicting a Carol death ever since the start of Season 6 - and the woman just keeps on surviving.

Walkers, Saviours, and Tobin's advances, she’s made it through everything this show has thrown at her and just kept on gritting her teeth and going strong.

Like with Daryl, there’s an added responsibility for Carol as one of the few remaining originals, and given how we’re long past the numerous points of her arc where death would’ve made sense, it seems she’s doomed to be trapped in this cycle of hope and despair for all eternity. Or at least until Melissa McBride realises she can do better.

Prediction: Lives

3. Negan

AMC

The Walking Dead is now at the point with Negan it feels like it always wanted to be (and often thought it already was): they can make him the hero of the show.

Not fully, given the things he’s done, but they can’t very well keep Jeffrey Dean Morgan locked in a cell forevermore, especially with Rick going and Carl gone (the two he interacts with most while there in the comics).

If there’s to be any point to the awful decision to kill Carl, then Negan needs to develop into a good guy, and for that, he needs to live. The show could certainly use Morgan’s natural charm and charisma too, which is another reason to keep him around.

Prediction: Lives

2. Maggie Rhee

AMC

Andrew Lincoln’s departure has grabbed the headlines, but he’s not the only veteran star on the way out. Lauren Cohen’s departure has been less clear, from reports of a pay dispute to talk she will return for Season 10.

It’s a slightly muddled picture, but what we know is that Cohan will only appear in six episodes. In that time, the show needs to build upon her revenge-plan against Negan and potential conflict with Rick, her being one of the main leaders among the communities, and FINALLY becoming a mother.

That's a lot to get through, so much so it’s hard to see them being able to fit in a satisfying death, and it’s more likely they’ll leave things open-ended for them to work out just how Cohan will return.

Prediction: Lives

1. Rick Grimes

Gene Page/AMC

This is the big one. After 8 years and 115 episodes, we have just a few hours left with Rick Grimes before it’s time to say goodbye for good. No matter what state the show has fallen into, or how frustrating fans have become, there’s a genuine sense of emotion in Andrew Lincoln departing.

They could have another open-ended conclusion here, but the chances of the actor ever returning seem slim. Rick’s lost his wife, he’s lost his son, but he’s found a semblance of peace, and deserves to rest in it. With the Whisperers on their way, there's a good chance to kill him off, even using elements of Andrea's fate from the comics.

He’s too important to simply leave his fate ambiguous; Rick, Lincoln, and fans deserve a definite end. Here’s hoping it’s a fitting one too.

Prediction: Dies


10 People Who Died Ridiculous Deaths

10 People Who Died Ridiculous Deaths

Perhaps it’s the influence of the movies, but these days, we tend to expect death to be a solemn, dignified, occasion, where the dying person is surrounded by loved ones who hold their hand while listening to their final words, whispered in a failing voice. The end comes peacefully and unremarkably.

Unfortunately, not everyone gets to experience a dignified death. And for some people from history, their demise was very undignified indeed. This, of course, makes these deaths no less tragic for the victims and their families, but it does make it difficult to keep a straight face at the funeral. Here are a few examples.

 

10. Thomas Midgley Jr.

Photo credit: Library of Congress

Thomas Midgley Jr. was a chemical engineer who made a number of valuable scientific discoveries. He received four medals from the American Chemical Society during his career and was admitted to the American Academy of Sciences. He sounds like a sensible sort of man.

Midgley was also an amateur inventor. He registered 117 patents, including one for a mechanical hoist to help him out of bed, which he invented after he contracted polio. However, the device malfunctioned, and Midgley became entangled in the ropes and was strangled.[1]

Perhaps that one needed a second draft.

9. Marcus Garvey

Marcus Garvey was a civil rights campaigner long before Rosa Parks ever rode a bus. He founded the Universal Negro Improvement Association in 1914, which urged African Americans to be proud of their heritage and to return to Africa, if they wanted. To this end, he founded the Black Star Line, a foundation which raised money to pay the passage home for any black person who needed it, and he also tried, unsuccessfully, to persuade the Liberian government to set aside land on which they could settle.

Though it is fair to say that his efforts weren’t particularly successful, Garvey nevertheless worked tirelessly for the betterment of black Americans. So, he could be forgiven for being upset when he read a number of unkind obituaries after he was mistakenly reported to have died. The next day, letters and telegrams came pouring in, and Garvey collapsed in his chair. The shock of his reading about his own death caused Garvey to have a stroke, which killed him.[2] (He’d already had one stroke, from which he was recovering when the false news of his death broke.)

 

8. Harry Houdini

Harry Houdini, the famous magician and escapologist, cheated death many times, particularly when he hung upside down in the Chinese Water Torture Cell while shackled in a straitjacket. If any man could be said to be destined for an interesting death, it is Houdini.

Unfortunately for him, his actual end was a little more prosaic. At first thought to be suffering from appendicitis, Houdini was rushed to hospital after one of this shows.

However, earlier in the evening, students from McGill University had visited Houdini as he was preparing to go onstage. Houdini had reportedly boasted in the past that his stomach muscles were so tight that he could withstand the hardest blows, and he invited one of the students to try his luck after he asked Houdini about this. The young man was, perhaps, a little overenthusiastic, and he punched Houdini hard in the stomach four or five times. Houdini was caught by surprise before he contracted his muscles, and the blows ruptured his appendix.

Despite this, Houdini continued with his show and was rushed to the hospital immediately the curtain fell. The banality of his demise was too much for many, and there have been many rumors about the “real” cause of his death ever since.[3]

7. The Unfortunate Victims Of The London Beer Flood


Death by beer may sound like a desirable way to go. For the inhabitants of Tottenham Court Road in 1814, though, it didn’t seem quite so appealing.

Men were working at the Horse Shoe Brewery when a huge vat, holding up to 9,000 barrels of beer, burst open, sending a “tsunami” of porter 4.6 meters (15 ft) high sweeping through the streets. It flooded the nearby slums, quickly filling up cellars where whole families lived crammed together.

Eight people died in the flood, including at least one child. The basements were filled with the strong, black beer, and the cleanup took the rescuers an unusually long time. The brewery wasn’t fined for causing the disaster, which was deemed to be “an unavoidable act of God,” and was even given a tax break to help it recover. The poor victims, however, received nothing.[4]

6. Clement L. Vallandigham

Clement L. Vallandigham was a politician during the US Civil War and a noted lawyer. He was a determined Confederate sympathizer and declared that Abraham Lincoln was destroying not only the Constitution but civil liberties as well. He was briefly imprisoned during the war and then exiled to the Confederacy, where he kept up a war of words against the Union.

By 1870, he had resigned himself to defeat and returned to his career as a lawyer. On June 17, 1871, Vallandigham was defending a man on a murder charge. He intended to prove that the victim had, in fact, shot himself while pulling his pistol. He was conferring with other defense attorneys and decided to demonstrate how this could have happened. Thinking that the gun he chose as a prop was not loaded, he promptly shot himself. Vallandigham was mortally wounded and died at the scene.[5]

Vallandigham’s client was acquitted.

 

5. Franz Reichelt

Franz Reichelt was a man with big dreams. He made his living as a tailor, running a moderately successful business from his apartment. His obsession, however, was flight. Reichelt wanted to use his tailoring skills to design a parachute that would enable people to fly safely. He designed his own suit, which looked like a conventional aviator’s outfit with rods attached to a silk canopy. In total, the suit weighed around 9 kilograms (20 lb), and the parachute, when spread out, occupied around 31 square meters (340 ft2).

In 1911, Reichelt was spurred on by a prize of 10,000 francs offered by Aero Club de France for the first person who could successfully demonstrate a working parachute. He refused to be deterred by the comments of the Aero Club judges, who maintained that his suit was not safe and not viable as a parachute. Convinced in his own mind of the efficacy of his parachute, he petitioned the Eiffel Tower authorities to let him test the suit by jumping off a suitably tall structure.

Though the authorities tried to dissuade him, they did eventually grant Reichelt permission to test his suit, and on February 4, 1912, he climbed the tower with his invention strapped to his back. A large crowd gathered to watch, and two cameras recorded the event, even as friends and family tried to dissuade him. But Reichelt was determined to be the first person to build a working parachute.

On the count of three, Reichelt jumped and dropped like a stone to his death. Perhaps it was as well that he died instantly so that he never need know that two days earlier, an American had successfully parachuted off the Statue of Liberty.[6]

4. The Molasses People

Photo credit: BPL

January 15, 1919, was a unseasonably warm day in the middle of a Boston winter. The inhabitants of Commercial Street, and those who worked around the surrounding railroad, were just settling down to their lunch when a 15-meter-tall (50 ft) tank containing 8.7 million liters (2.3 million gal) of molasses burst open, sending the molasses flooding onto the streets.

Though it sounded like the plot of an Uncle Remus tale, in fact, the force of the impact was enough to rip buildings from their foundations. Twenty-one people died in the explosion, and many more were injured.[7]

The cause of the explosion was hotly contested, with the company alleging that the debacle was caused not by their negligence but by a terrorist attack. After a protracted legal battle, they were ordered to pay compensation to the victims.

Recent scientific experiments have concluded that the temperature that day contributed to the disaster, making the molasses more viscous so that it behaved like quicksand, dragging victims down into the treacle. They also believe that the temperature between the molasses in the barrel and new molasses piped into it just before the explosion may have set off a sticky chain reaction.

3. The Duke Of Clarence

Photo credit: Lucas Cornelisz

Born in 1449, George Plantagenet, the duke of Clarence, was the brother of King Edward IV. After the king had refused permission for the duke to marry, George began to plot against him. Edward, wise to his brother’s treachery, had the duke arrested and charged with treason.

He was brought before Parliament and accused of preparing for rebellion. Both houses of Parliament passed a bill approving his execution at the Tower of London. There were lots of ways he could have died. Popular execution methods at the time included hanging, drawing, and quartering as well as burning at the stake.

But George Plantagenet was a royal. Perhaps that is why he was allowed to choose the manner of his own death. His choice was somewhat unusual. He is said to have chosen to be drowned in a vat of his favorite wine.[8]

Well, if you’ve got to go . . .

2. Adolf Frederick

Photo credit: Gustaf Lundberg

Adolf Frederick was the king of Sweden. And kings, even Swedish ones, attend a lot of banquets. In February 1771, Frederick attended a particularly lavish banquet that was being held in preparation for Lent. Knowing that the following 40 days would feature fasting, the guests at the table felt free to really, shall we say, “indulge.”

Frederick was a particularly enthusiastic diner and managed to pack away lobster, caviar, various fish dishes, and a pile of sauerkraut, all washed down with plenty of champagne. For dessert, Frederick, a man who knew what he liked, consumed 14 dishes of semlor—a kind of sweet bread roll served in a bowl of warm milk.

King Frederick developed “complications in his digestive tract” and died soon after from overeating.[9]

1. Grigori Rasputin

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

Grigori Rasputin, the Mad Monk who was so favored by the Russian tsarina Alexandra Feodorovna, had a death that was almost as unbelievable as his life.

Rasputin developed his mesmeric hold over the Russian imperial family because of his ability to help their son Alexei control his hemophilia. His enemies, on the other hand, believed he was plotting to undermine Russian foreign policy. There were rumors that he was a sex maniac and even that he had become a lover to the tsarina.

Afraid of his growing political influence, Prince Yusupov and Vladimir Purishkevich, a member of the Russian parliament, fed Rasputin cakes laced with poison. He ate the cakes but did not succumb to the poison.

When the poison failed to work, Purishkevich allegedly fired four shots into Rasputin’s back. Other sources claim Rasputin was shot in the chest. A surviving photograph of his body clearly shows a bullet wound in his forehead.

What happened later is disputed, but Prince Yusupov later recorded in his diary: “This devil who was dying of poison, who had a bullet in his heart, must have been raised from the dead by the powers of evil. There was something appalling and monstrous in his diabolical refusal to die.”[10]

Legend has it that before he finally died, his attackers, possibly with Rasputin’s reputation as a womanizer in mind, castrated him and threw him into the freezing cold Neva River, where he eventually succumbed to death. (Others have concluded that he was already dead before being thrown in the river.) Rasputin had earlier written to Tsar Nicholas and predicted that he would be murdered and that his death would bring down the Russian Empire. “Without me,” he said, “everything will collapse.”

Spooky!


10 TV Shows That Killed Off The Wrong Character

10 TV Shows That Killed Off The Wrong Character -

 

It happens time and time again with big TV shows: they pull audiences in with the story, introduce them to characters they fall in love with, and then cruelly snatch them away. That€'s the nature of drama though; as painful as it might be to watch a great character die, it's often what's best for the show.

Sometimes they get it all wrong; they'll kill off a character not out of necessity, but for the cheap shock value of it. Stunts like this always come across as hollow, and tend to make people angry instead of sad. What makes them even angrier is if that character dies horribly while another, considerably less useful one survives.

At its worst this can feel like a trolling the audience, who've invested in the show only for it to toy with their emotions. Some executives should be feeling guilty over these particular executions...

10. Merle Dixon - The Walking Dead

Gene Page/AMC

Michael Rooker really made an impression with his scene chewing turn as Daryl Dixon's older, angrier brother Merle. He was a bad guy who'd made peace with his badness, seeing it as a strength in the post-zombie world.

He made an evolution from trigger happy racist to one-handed henchman, who was later forced to play nice for the sake of his brother. It was great to watch the character grow and develop something close to a conscience, so if he hadn't pointlessly sacrificed himself trying to kill The Governor, then later seasons could have seen him grow even more.

Who Should Have Died Instead: Beth Greene.

While she eventually got some stuff to do in later seasons, Beth was without a doubt the most useless character during Season Three. This season was ruthless with killing off pointless characters, yet she somehow survived the cull.

9. Hamri Al-Assad - 24

20th Century Fox

The sixth season of 24 is widely considered the worst; it padded itself out with pointless subplots and useless characters, as well as recycling storylines from previous seasons. It tried to make up for this with more action, which just made it feel hollow.

The most disappointing part is that the first few episodes were great, as it hit the ground running and introduced charismatic terrorist leader Hamri Al-Assad. He arrived in America to help stop a wave of terror attacks, a complex, nuanced figure that attracted and repelled the audience in equal measure.

Assad was later killed as he was due to give a speech with President Wayne Palmer - not because this was best move for the story, but because the actor had to leave early and the writers couldn't figure out what else to do. His early death was more wasted potential in a season full of it.

Who Should Have Died Instead: President Wayne Palmer.

David Palmer's younger brother was always a bland character, and given that he ends up leaving the season early anyway, his death could have left room for Al-Assad to grow.

8. Charlie Pace - Lost

ABC

While Charlie could be a little annoying at times, he was one of the most complex characters on Lost. A former rock star and recovering heroin addict, he finds new meaning in life when he ends up as one of the survivors of the plane crash.

He falls in love with Claire, he helps her raise her newborn baby on the island, and despite his many flaws, he's typically brave and heroic. Season Three was teasing his death from the beginning, so while he got a fitting end, the show really missed his presence afterwards.

Who Should Have Died Instead: Claire Littleton.

While she may have been Charlie's love interest, their 'will they or won't they?' romance was more irritating than cute. Claire was kind of a useless character for most of Lost, as she was always complaining or needing rescuing.

If she had died in Charlie's place then he would have had to take care of her son Aaron, which would have been a more interesting direction for the character to go in.

7. Professor Arturo - Sliders

Sci-Fi Channel

Professor Arturo was the best character on cult show Sliders; he was cranky, pretentious and prone to complaining, yet he always had the best one-liners and was the voice of reason for the other characters.

While he may have been the glue that held everything together, actor John Rhys-Davies grew tired of the writers ripping off movies for their plotlines, and he asked to leave. So at the end of Season Three Arturo catches a bullet, with Sliders quickly dipping in quality from that moment on.

Who Should Have Died Instead: Rembrandt Brown.

Rembrandt somehow managed to be the only original cast member remaining when the show ended, having made the switch from comic relief to leading man.

The problem with this is that he was easily the weakest character, so if he'd taken that bullet instead of Arturo there would have been far less complaints about it.

6. Cordelia Chase - Angel

20th Century Fox Television

Joss Whedon is addicted to building up great characters that audiences adore, only to cruelly take them away when he wants to. This is a tactic he's used on all of his shows, with the death of Cordelia being one that stung more than most.

She started out as the comic relief before becoming a fully fleshed out character, who was funny whilst being brutally honest with other characters. Her relationship with Angel would become crucial to the show's success, so the decision to replace her with Spike and kill her off would ultimately damage the programme, leaving it weaker as a result.

Who Should Have Died Instead: Connor.

Introducing a whiny teenage character into a show is never a good sign, and Angel's son Connor was no exception. He was universally disliked by critics and fans, so if someone absolutely had to die people, it should have been him.

5. Hershel Greene - The Walking Dead

AMC

Yep, The Walking Dead again.

Following the death of Dale in Season Two, Hershel took over duties as the group's resident wise old man, a role which suited him perfectly. He could always be relied on for sage advice, he was calm under pressure AND he could fire a shotgun fifty times without reloading it.

He was basically the really cool granddad everybody wants, and he didn't even let the loss of a leg slow him down. But when The Governor launched another attack on the prison, somebody significant had to go, with old Hershel sadly drawing the short straw on that one.

Who Should Have Died Instead: Tyreese Williams.

In the comics it was Tyreese who got the literal chop by The Governor, but as Hershel was better developed they used him instead. It would have been better if Tyreese had kicked the can, as they could have recreated an iconic moment from the graphic novel, plus it would have let Hershel live just a little longer.

4. Adriana La Cerva - The Sopranos

HBO

On a show full of morally dubious characters, Adriana usually stood out as one of the more decent human beings. She might have been a little shallow and ditzy, yet her loyalty to her boyfriend and her family was always one of her defining features.

Adriana was forced to become an FBI informant in later seasons, which she eventually confessed to Christopher hoping they could go into Witness Protection together. Christopher - being the nice chap that he was - instead called Tony and told him the truth, resulting in Adriana being driven out to the woods and murdered off-screen.

Who Should Have Died Instead: Christopher Moltisanti.

This little toad somehow managed to survive way past his expiry date; he was arrogant, cocky and whiny but unlike the other gangsters on the show, he didn't have much charm to make up for that.

If he€'d been killed as punishment for bringing an informant into the crew, then they could have severed ties with Adriana and gotten rid of their weakest link.

3. Jimmy Darmody - Boardwalk Empire

HBO

In the first two seasons of Boardwalk Empire, the heart of the show was the relationship between politician/gangster Nucky Thompson and his bodyguard Jimmy Darmody. They had a troubled partnership, which went back and forth between them being like father and son or bitter rivals.

It looked like they would finally set their differences aside at the end of Season Two, only for Nucky to betray Jimmy and shoot him dead. It was a shocking ending, which was apparently the result of actor Michael Pitt being difficult to work with. The writers themselves admitted that Jimmy's story was meant to continue for longer, so his early demise really left a gap in the show.

Who Should Have Died Instead: Manny Horwitz.

The Jewish gangster was a rival of both men, and the one responsible for killing Jimmy's wife. Jimmy met with Nucky expecting that it would result in Manny€'s death, only to be double crossed. Since the character later met the business end of a shotgun in the next season anyway, it's not like his death would have affected the show in any significant way.

2. Tywin Lannister - Game Of Thrones

HBO

It appears to be the rule on Game Of Thrones that the good must suffer while the bad prosper, at least judging by the body count so far. There are a number of hateable villains on the show, with none being as enjoyable as the late, great Tywin Lannister. The father of the Lannister clan was a cold, ruthless figure with the ability to verbally destroy anyone in his path.

He seemed to hate his children almost as much as the people of King's Landing did, yet even at his most horrible there was something compelling about him. While Tywin got a much deserved demise when Tyrion shot an arrow into his heart- while he was on the toilet no less - both he and Charles Dance were greatly missed throughout Season Five.

Who Should Have Died Instead: Cersei Lannister.

Probably the most hateful character on the show, Cersei's continued survival is a complete mystery. All she does is complain, be spiteful and scheme for more power. Her conflict with Tyrion was brewing for over four seasons, so it would have made sense for him to take revenge on the sister who enjoyed ruining his life.

1. Gus Fring - Breaking Bad

AMC

Gus will go down as one of the great TV villains of all time - a calculating, ruthless sociopath. He may look calm and friendly on the surface, but when he gets angry things quickly turn nasty. His conflict with Walter and Jesse made for the best years of Breaking Bad, so while his death was always inevitable, the final season really missed his casual menace.

The White Supremacist gang were a decent threat, but they weren't up to nearly the same standards as Gus. Maybe if Gus had been forced to disappear at the end of Season Four, only to return with a new gang to destroy Walt's life, that would have made for a slightly stronger ending. That being said though, Gus' death is pretty epic as it is.

Who Should Have Died Instead: Marie Schrader.

She was never anyone's favourite character to begin with, and her death would have really driven Hank to catch Walter in the final season. It would also have reinforced for Walt the consequences of his actions, making it even more powerful when he decides to return to making meth anyway.


A Woman On Twitter Claims She Solved The Murder Of JonBenét Ramsey - A Lot Of People Believe Her

A Woman On Twitter Claims She Solved The Murder Of JonBenét Ramsey - A Lot Of People Believe Her -

 

 

It's been nearly 26 years since the death of JonBenét Ramsey and the internet has yet to take a break from working tirelessly to uncover the truth behind that horrifying murder scene.

In case you've lived under a rock where true crime isn't a national obsession, JonBenét​​​​​​​ was a 6-year-old pageant baby from Boulder, Colorado who mysteriously went missing the day after Christmas in 1996 - with a sizable ransom note left in her place. Soon after, she was found dead with a broken skull, and the presumed cause of death was strangulation.

https://www.instagram.com/p/X77KabtqjR/?utm_source=ig_embed

 

Even now, decades later, JonBenét's case remains open and no one has been charged. Of course, there have been endless theories about her parents, brother, the pedophile and family acquaintance John Mark Karr, the Santa impersonator Bill McReynolds, and JonBenét​​​​​​​ actually being alive as Katy Perry.

https://twitter.com/nintendoesnt/status/1044527600138407937

While her initial tweet didn't reveal her theory, the following thread took a deep dive into the case.

For starters, she provided her Twitter audience with sources so they could check her work and create their own cunning theories.

https://twitter.com/nintendoesnt/status/1044993180456898560

She quickly revealed she firmly believes Burke Ramsey was the murder culprit, based on both detailed theories on Reddit, and his own suspicious behavior during a Dr. Phil interview.

https://twitter.com/cosmic_gemini/status/1044826624561213442

https://twitter.com/nintendoesnt/status/1044826812482760705

https://twitter.com/cosmic_gemini/status/1044827288892788736

https://twitter.com/nintendoesnt/status/1044831843009392641

https://twitter.com/nintendoesnt/status/1044834899465818112

https://twitter.com/nintendoesnt/status/1044837648513273856

She believes Burke broke her skull after JonBenét​​​​​​​ stole pineapple he was eating.

https://twitter.com/nintendoesnt/status/1044975036111749120

https://twitter.com/kybye_/status/1044980102944165888

https://twitter.com/nintendoesnt/status/1044989217087082497

https://twitter.com/nintendoesnt/status/1044997929751203840

Several others chimed in to echo the theory that it was Burke all along.

https://twitter.com/ning_ayu_/status/1044951954101661699

https://twitter.com/nintendoesnt/status/1044975930282831872

https://twitter.com/hentaixkitten/status/1044783668500328448

https://twitter.com/gaypetsch/status/1044836619809943553

The large, looming question we still face at hand is what do you think?! Do you believe it was Burke, or does one of the other many theories strike a chord?


10 Mind-Blowing Things That Happened Last Week

10 Mind-Blowing Things That Happened Last Week -

 

 

 

Keeping up with the news is hard. So hard, in fact, that we’ve decided to save you the hassle by rounding up the most significant, unusual, or just plain old mind-blowing stories each week.

This week, the biggest story in Washington, DC, was the continuing fallout from Dr. Christine Ford’s accusation that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh had sexually assaulted her at a party.

Thanks to the vagaries of writing schedules, the big Thursday hearing involving the two hadn’t wrapped by the time this column was filed. So we’ll discuss the consequences next week when things are clearer. In the meantime, settle yourselves in for a look at all the other stuff that was happening away from the Senate Judiciary Committee’s hearing room these last seven days.

ISIS Claimed Responsibility For A Deadly Attack In The Heart Of Iran

Photo credit: The Independent

On Saturday, a small terrorist cell in Iran pulled off one of the most brazen attacks in the country’s history. At the height of a parade of the Revolutionary Guards—a kind of elite army that works alongside the main one—three gunmen attacked the city of Ahvaz. In the carnage that followed, 29 were killed and scores injured.

While the main target was the Revolutionary Guards, only 10 of the victims were military men. The rest were civilians and journalists, prompting outrage in Iran. It was the first high-profile attack in Iran since ISIS killed 23 in an attack on the parliament in 2017 and the deadliest overall attack in eight years.

Speaking of ISIS, the group quickly claimed responsibility for this attack. However, there’s some confusion as to whether they’re telling the truth. Arab separatist group Ahvaz National Resistance also released a statement saying they were behind the carnage.[1]

The UK’s National Health Service Was Rocked By A Contaminated Blood Scandal

Photo credit: The Telegraph

On Monday, the UK government opened an inquiry into one of the biggest scandals to ever hit Britain’s National Health Service (NHS). Through the 1970s and into the 1980s, thousands of men, women, and children were given blood that had been infected by either HIV or hepatitis. Shockingly, although the scandal has been the subject of public debate since at least 1990, it is only now being investigated.

The numbers involved truly deserve the description “mind-blowing.” When the inquiry was announced in 2017, it was estimated that 7,500 people had been infected and as many as 3,000 had died. On Monday, the number of infected was revised sharply upward to over 25,000. The human suffering involved is incalculable.

At the moment, we don’t know the scale of the cover-up or the role of US companies. (The infected blood was originally sourced from America.) But expect some shocking revelations when the inquiry begins in force next April. It is projected to last 15 months.[2]

Mexico Disarmed Acapulco’s Entire Police Force

Photo credit: NBC News

For the past few years, Acapulco has frequently ranked as one of the deadliest cities in the world. The spiraling of Mexico’s war on drugs into a murderous free-for-all has led to the former resort town becoming a no-go area patrolled by vast gangs of cops in military vehicles.[3]

At least, that was the case. This week, politicians in Guerrero state took the unprecedented step of arresting and disarming Acapulco’s entire police force. The reason they gave was a depressingly familiar one. They feared local law enforcement had become so corrupted by drug dealers that they were effectively acting as another branch of the cartels.

Acapulco will now be policed by a combination of state police and the Mexican military while thorough checks are undertaken of all the arrested Acapulco officers. Once again, it looks almost as if Mexico’s war on drugs has become effectively unwinnable.

Argentina Received The Largest IMF Bailout In History

Photo credit: ft.com

Argentina has a long and unhappy history with financial institutions. Its debt default in 2001 remains one of the largest in history and triggered such chaos that the initials I, M, and F can still cause outcry among some parts of the population. So you can imagine how this week’s news went down.

On Wednesday, the IMF announced that it would increase the amount of money it was pumping into the Latin American nation’s bailout by $7.1 billion. The extra injection of cash makes this the largest bailout in IMF history.[4]

This isn’t the largest bailout in total. Greece’s multiple bailouts over the last decade eventually totaled €288.7 billion. Against that, Argentina’s current mess looks almost problem free. But the IMF was a junior partner in the Greece crisis, with the European Central Bank stumping up most of the cash. With Argentina, it is the nation’s sole line of credit.

President Mauricio Macri has promised to balance the budget by next year, but who knows if he’ll succeed? Argentina has been hit hard this year by a run on the peso, soaring inflation, and a one-month contraction of the sort not seen since the economic crisis.

Sweden’s PM Was Booted From Office

Photo credit: BBC

From the moment the results came in, Stefan Lofven was a dead man walking. The prime minister of Sweden and leader of the center-left bloc, Lofven was at the heart of the general catastrophe that was the country’s recent election.

Although his bloc and the center-right managed to keep the ultraright populist Sweden Democrats (SD) from their goal of 20 percent of the vote (something many analysts had predicted happening), Lofven also led his allies in an abysmal underperformance. Hated on the right, despised by the center, and a disappointment to the left, Lofven had to go.[5]

This week, he did. On Tuesday, he lost a no-confidence vote in parliament 204–142. The hunt is now on for Sweden’s next leader.

Whoever gets the job, it may turn out to be a poisoned chalice. Lofven’s center-left bloc has vowed to vote down a minority government led by the center-right bloc. Additionally, two parties in the center-right bloc have said that they will kamikaze their own side if they try to govern in hand with the SD. Sweden may yet face fresh elections in the near future.

A Dark Child Protection Scandal Rocked Norway

Photo credit: BBC

Just a stone’s throw from the political drama unfolding in Sweden, Norway’s own scandal this week was far darker than anything happening in Stockholm. Back in April, a prominent child psychiatrist (who can’t be named for legal reasons) appeared in an Oslo court on charges of downloading child pornography. He admitted to viewing images as obscene as the sexual abuse of a baby and said he’d been downloading such images for 20 years.

There was one extremely big problem with this. The man had been intimately involved with Norway’s child protection services for over a decade. In that time, he’d been involved in the decision to split hundreds of kids from their families.[6]

Norway’s extremely stringent child protection laws have been raising alarm bellsfor some time now. In 2013, for example, Inez Arnesen had four of her children taken away after she was accused of using physical force on them. When a court acquitted her in 2015, two of her children nonetheless remained in care. It has since been revealed that the pedophile psychiatrist was instrumental in keeping Arnesen from being reunited with all her children.

This week, following a sustained campaign by the BBC, Norway finally agreed to review all cases involving this psychiatrist. There is now the potential for families to discover that they were victimized by the system and kept from their children just to satisfy a pedophile’s sadistic whims.

Bill Cosby Began His Prison Sentence

Photo credit: usatoday.com

Just a decade ago, it would have seemed like a tasteless joke from a sleazy shock movie. Bill Cosby, the personification of fatherhood for anyone who grew up in the ’80s or ’90s, was sent to jail for the rape of Andrea Constand.

It followed a sensational four years where accusations against the comedian dripped in until 60 women had accused him of sexual assault. Due to statute of limitation laws, Constand was the only one still able to bring her story to trial.

This week, that trial resulted in the biggest name conviction in a sex assault case since #MeToo (although most of Cosby’s accusers came forward before the movement began). The man once called “America’s Dad” will now face 3–10 years in prison, an astounding fall from grace.[7]

Cosby’s defense also plumbed new depths during the trial by accusing both the media and his accusers of being part of a vast racist conspiracy against prominent black men. Playing with fire, much?

The Maldives’ Unexpected Election Result Triggered Celebration And Turmoil

Photo credit: economist.com

For an election that was supposed to be a rubber-stamping exercise, Sunday’s vote in the Maldives sure caused an upset. When burgeoning autocrat Abdulla Yameen announced the elections, it was assumed that he was guaranteed to win.

Opposition leaders were locked up or fled into self-imposed exile. Opposition offices were raided by police. Meanwhile, fat bribes were thrown at the electorate to make sure they voted for the very man who wanted to take their democracy away. In short, it looked like a stitch up.

Until the results were announced. At that point, it became clear that Yameen had lost spectacularly to a mild-mannered nobody known as Ibrahim Mohamed Solih.

This was unexpected, to say the least. Yameen was meant to be the guy who had killed Maldivian democracy. He had his own half brother locked up on terrorism charges for not supporting him. Yameen destroyed free expression and jailed judges who disagreed with him. Yet, on Monday, he was forced to concede. The Maldives now has another shot at democracy.[8]

In another stunning twist, the army vowed to uphold the election result on Thursday, should Yameen try to challenge or annul it. It looks like the wannabe dictator’s time is over.

Australia’s ABC Was Caught In A Shocking Political Scandal

Photo credit: cbc.ca

For many years, Australia’s ruling conservatives have accused the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC—not to be confused with its American counterpart) of bias. Little did anyone realize that this was intended as an ironic joke.

This week, ABC’s Chairman Justin Milne was forced to step down. His resignation came after it was revealed that he’d tried to have a senior journalist fired for reporting news the government didn’t like.

The revelation came last Thursday when The Sydney Morning Herald published an email from Milne which told a colleague to “get rid of” Emma Alberici for criticizing government policy. Since ABC is both one of Australia’s biggest networks and legally required to be politically neutral, this sent shock waves through the media.[9]

It also sent Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s new government into defensive mode as Malcolm Turnbull, his predecessor from the same party, was accused of trying to influence the ABC. It didn’t help the optics that Turnbull and Milne are personal friends.

So far, the scandal shows no sign of dying down. More Milne emails have since been published, showing him targeting at least one other journalist for holding the government’s feet to the fire.

Rod Rosenstein Briefly Became The Center Of A Political Firestorm

Photo credit: The Telegraph

For less than 30 minutes, it was the biggest story of the month. On Monday, US media went into overdrive as reports came flooding through that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein—the guy overseeing Robert Mueller’s investigation—had been fired.

Over the weekend, The New York Times published leaked minutes from a meeting in which Rosenstein apparently called on members of the government to secretly record conversations with President Trump and to discuss using the 25th Amendment to remove him from office.

Invoking the 25th Amendment would allow the vice president to take over if the president is incapacitated. Naturally, it seemed like the White House was gonna fire him. Given the potential impact that could have on the Mueller investigation, the papers went ballistic.

At least, they did until reports started coming in that Rosenstein hadn’t actually been fired. Instead, he was going to meet Trump face-to-face on Thursday to discuss his future. In light of the Kavanaugh/Ford testimony taking place that same day, the meeting was subsequently delayed. At the time of this writing, Rosenstein is still in his job.

Normally, the fate of someone who had said unkind things about his boss (although Rosenstein claims the report was fake news) wouldn’t be of much interest. But the Mueller investigation certainly is and Rosenstein is the guy currently keeping it moving.

Were he to go, it’s possible—but not certain—that his successor might shut down the whole thing. Whether you think Mueller is conducting a witch hunt, finding the truth, or secretly working with Trump, it’s hard to deny that closing down his investigation at this juncture would trigger an apocalyptic political battle.[10]

Happily, that hasn’t happened. For now, Rosenstein remains in place. Although it hasn’t been reported much—if at all—in the mainstream media, news has been dripping out for months that Rosenstein appears to be seriously conflicted in the Russia investigation. How long he will be in the Justice Department is anyone’s guess.


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