THE DISAPPEARANCE, THE MYSTERY, THE FILM...
In 2007, the 12-metre catamaran, the Kaz II, was discovered unmanned off the coast of Queensland, northeast Australia in April. The yacht, which had left Airlie Beach on Sunday 15 April, was spotted about 80 nautical miles (150 km) off Townsville, near the outer Great Barrier Reef on the following Wednesday. When boarded on Friday, the engine was running, a laptop was running, the radio and GPS were working and a meal was set to eat, but the three-man crew were not on board. All the sails were up but one was badly shredded, while three life jackets and survival equipment, including an emergency beacon, were found on board. Investigators recovered a video recording that showed footage taken by the crew shortly before their disappearance. The footage showed nothing abnormal.
The Bloop is more of a notion than a story idea - but it is the sort of phenomenon around which a story might be constructed. At worst it might serve as a "McGuffin"
The Bloop is the name given to an ultra-low frequency and extremely powerful underwater sound detected by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) several times during 1997. According to the NOAA description, it "rises rapidly in frequency over about one minute and was of sufficient amplitude to be heard on multiple sensors, at a range of over 5,000 km. The source of the sound remains unknown...
Scientists determined that its wave pattern indicates it was made by an animal, and not a giant electromagnet sucking a plane out of the sky, as the creators of Lost were no doubt hoping.
While the audio profile of the bloop does resemble that of a living creature, the system identified it as unknown because it was far too loud for that to have been the case: it was several times louder than the loudest known biological sound.
There is no animal big enough or loud enough to make that kind of noise, not by a long shot. Not a blue whale, not a howler monkey, not a startled teenage girl.
What could have possibly caused this sound?
Hidden under an old cane plantation outside the Queensland sugar city of Bundaberg lies an awful secret. Beyond the weeping fig trees, the bodies of 29 South Sea Islanders are buried in an unmarked grave. Local Islander leader Matthew Nagas says they could be his ancestors. And he believes they were probably worked to death "like pieces of machinery".
"If they weren't working anymore, you just pushed them aside and covered them with dirt," Mr Nagas told AAP. "They were buried in that place with no name, and forgotten. It cuts deep."
Thousands of Pacific islanders were shipped in to toil in the state's cane fields and fruit plantations between 1863 and 1904. Officially called indentured laborers, their descendants claim many were kidnapped by European slave traders and forced into a life of bondage.
"Indentured labor is a term people use to soften the reality of what happened," Mr Nagas said. "Australia had an era of slavery."
Bundaberg Regional Council confirmed the existence of human remains at the site on Thursday, and it will be considered for state heritage listing next year. Brian Courtice, who owns the farm now, has been collecting evidence of slavery for years and believes there could be many more.
"To my knowledge, this is the first confirmed mass grave on an old sugar plantation," he told the Courier-Mail newspaper.
Next year Australian South Sea Islanders will mark 150 years since their ancestors were first brought to Queensland, and Mr Nagas thinks it's important that people remember that dark chapter of history.
THE ENIGMA OF MAISON MANTIN
Curators say the Maison Mantin in Moulins, central France offers a unique freeze-frame of turn-of-the-century France in all its grandeur and strangeness. Mr Mantin made his fortune in land and property but died unmarried and childless aged just 54 – only eight years after the sumptuous home was completed. It had been built on the ruins of a 15th-century castle that had belonged to the aristocratic Bourbon family.
In his will, he bequeathed the house to the town, specifying that he wanted it to be made a museum a century after his death.
Although he left no orders to have it sealed, the mansion was left practically untouched all those years, its eerie calm even unbroken by the occupying German forces of the Second World War.
"It was very strange, the house became a sort of urban myth," said assistant curator Maud Leyoudec. "People didn't know what was in this house and had fantasies."
Under French law, Mr Mantin's great-niece Isabelle de Chavagnac could claim it back 100 years on.
When they opened up the house, experts found it in a "musty and awful" condition, with "insects everywhere".
There were no skeletons but a host of untouched treasures, including rich tapestries, extremely rare gilded leather wall coverings and contemporary artworks.
Mr Mantin had also incorporated a host of cutting-edge appliances hardly seen at the time, including electricity, a flushing lavatory, a fully-plumbed roll-top bath with overhead shower and towel-warming cupboard.
He had a museum of natural history curiosities, including two stuffed frogs fighting a duel and a rat playing a violin.
One room covered in pink "amour" wallpaper was dedicated to the respectable gentleman's concealed and scandalous 20-year relationship with his married mistress. A winking woman's face over the fireplace was another wry reference to the affair.
"Mantin was obsessed with the passing of time, and death," said Miss Leyoudec. "He wanted the house to remain unchanged, like a time-capsule for future generations, so they would know how a bourgeois gentleman lived at the turn of the 20th century."
RACE & SPACE : THE JARM LOGUE SAGA
In 1834, 21-year-old Jarm Logue (pictured above some years later) managed to steal his master's horse and escape the life of slavery into which he had been born. Sadly, his mother, brother and sister remained. 26 years later, by which time he had settled down in New York, opened numerous schools for black children, started his own family, become a reverend and noted abolitionist, and authored an autobiography. As a result, he received a letter from the wife of his old owner in which she demanded $1000.
That letter, and his furious reply, can be read below.
Note: After escaping slavery, Logue changed his name to Jermain Wesley Loguen.
Maury Co., State of Tennessee,
February 20th, 1860.
I now take my pen to write you a few lines, to let you know how well we all are. I am a cripple, but I am still able to get about. The rest of the family are all well. Cherry is as well as Common. I write you these lines to let you the situation we are in—partly in consequence of your running away and stealing Old Rock, our fine mare. Though we got the mare back, she was never worth much after you took her; and as I now stand in need of some funds, I have determined to sell you; and I have had an offer for you, but did not see fit to take it. If you will send me one thousand dollars and pay for the old mare, I will give up all claim I have to you. Write to me as soon as you get these lines, and let me know if you will accept my proposition. In consequence of your running away, we had to sell Abe and Ann and twelve acres of land; and I want you to send me the money that I may be able to redeem the land that you was the cause of our selling, and on receipt of the above named sum of money, I will send you your bill of sale. If you do not comply with my request, I will sell you to some one else, and you may rest assured that the time is not far distant when things will be changed with you. Write to me as soon as you get these lines. Direct your letter to Bigbyville, Maury County, Tennessee. You had better comply with my request.
I understand that you are a preacher. As the Southern people are so bad, you had better come and preach to your old acquaintances. I would like to know if you read your Bible? If so can you tell what will become of the thief if he does not repent? and, if the the blind lead the blind, what will the consequence be? I deem it unnecessary to say much more at present. A word to the wise is sufficient. You know where the liar has his part. You know that we reared you as we reared our own children; that you was never abused, and that shortly before you ran away, when your master asked if you would like to be sold, you said you would not leave him to go with anybody.
Syracuse, N.Y., March 28, 1860.
MRS. SARAH LOGUE:—
Yours of the 20th of February is duly received, and I thank you for it. It is a long time since I heard from my poor old mother, and I am glad to know she is yet alive, and, as you say, "as well as common." What that means I don't know. I wish you had said more about her.
You are a woman; but had you a woman's heart you could never have insulted a brother by telling him you sold his only remaining brother and sister, because he put himself beyond your power to convert him into money.
You sold my brother and sister, ABE and ANN, and 12 acres of land, you say, because I ran away. Now you have the unutterable meanness to ask me to return and be your miserable chattel, or in lieu thereof send you $1000 to enable you to redeem the land, but not to redeem my poor brother and sister! If I were to send you money it would be to get my brother and sister, and not that you should get land. You say you are a cripple, and doubtless you say it to stir my pity, for you know I was susceptible in that direction. I do pity you from the bottom of my heart. Nevertheless I am indignant beyond the power of words to express, that you should be so sunken and cruel as to tear the hearts I love so much all in pieces; that you should be willing to impale and crucify us out of all compassion for your poor foot or leg. Wretched woman! Be it known to you that I value my freedom, to say nothing of my mother, brothers and sisters, more than your whole body; more, indeed, than my own life; more than all the lives of all the slaveholders and tyrants under Heaven.
You say you have offers to buy me, and that you shall sell me if I do not send you $1000, and in the same breath and almost in the same sentence, you say, "you know we raised you as we did our own children." Woman, did you raise your own children for the market? Did you raise them for the whipping-post? Did you raise them to be driven off in a coffle in chains? Where are my poor bleeding brothers and sisters? Can you tell? Who was it that sent them off into sugar and cotton fields, to be kicked, and cuffed, and whipped, and to groan and die; and where no kin can hear their groans, or attend and sympathize at their dying bed, or follow in their funeral? Wretched woman! Do you say you did not do it? Then I reply, your husband did, and you approved the deed—and the very letter you sent me shows that your heart approves it all. Shame on you.
But, by the way, where is your husband? You don't speak of him. I infer, therefore, that he is dead; that he has gone to his great account, with all his sins against my poor family upon his head. Poor man! gone to meet the spirits of my poor, outraged and murdered people, in a world where Liberty and Justice are MASTERS.
But you say I am a thief, because I took the old mare along with me. Have you got to learn that I had a better right to the old mare, as you call her, than MANNASSETH LOGUE had to me? Is it a greater sin for me to steal his horse, than it was for him to rob my mother's cradle and steal me? If he and you infer that I forfeit all my rights to you, shall not I infer that you forfeit all your rights to me? Have you got to learn that human rights are mutual and reciprocal, and if you take my liberty and life, you forfeit your own liberty and life? Before God and High Heaven, is there a law for one man which is not a law for every other man?
If you or any other speculator on my body and rights, wish to know how I regard my rights, they need but come here and lay their hands on me to enslave me. Did you think to terrify me by presenting the alternative to give my money to you, or give my body to Slavery? Then let me say to you, that I meet the proposition with unutterable scorn and contempt. The proposition is an outrage and an insult. I will not budge one hair's breadth. I will not breathe a shorter breath, even to save me from your persecutions. I stand among a free people, who, I thank God, sympathize with my rights, and the rights of mankind; and if your emissaries and venders come here to re-enslave me, and escape the unshrinking vigor of my own right arm, I trust my strong and brave friends, in this City and State, will be my rescuers and avengers.
If there was a single word that best fit Daniel Douglas Home (pronounced “Hume”), it was “arrogance”. Considered by many to be the most gifted medium who ever lived, Home avoided contact with other Spiritualists, declaring that he had nothing to learn from them. And perhaps he was right, or perhaps it was because he chose not to mingle among the common people for Home used his purported paranormal powers to mingle among the rich, the royal and the famous. Regardless of what he did with these skills though, he remains an enigma to many researchers today, especially those who consider Spiritualism to have been nothing more than entertainment and illusion for the masses. Home stands unique in that many of the feats that he allegedly performed have yet to be duplicated by anyone!
Appalachia’s famed moonshiner, Lewis R. Redmond, is the subject of three, late nineteenth-century publications that detail events surrounding Redmond’s 1876 murder of a U.S. deputy marshal. These works allow readers to trace the development of the outlaw’s legacy as constructed by a journalist, dime novelist, and law enforcement officer.
Journalist C. McKinley’s interview of Redmond, which appeared in the Charleston (West Virginia) News and Courier in July 878, offers a sympathetic portrayal of a man who represented the best qualities of southern men whose actions defended his family and community from a corrupt and abusive federal government. The journalist interviewed Redmond in June 1878 in Pickens County, South Carolina, where he evaded federal agents thanks to the assistance of local families. Redmond used McKinley as a willing medium to portray himself as a victim of unjust federal policies. According to Stewart, the reprinting of McKinley’s interview in newspapers throughout the country transformed Redmond into a celebrity. The story of an ex-Confederate resisting federal tyranny elicited praise among southern audiences and reproach among northern audiences with equal effect.
Later, dime novelist, Edward B. Crittenden, published a sensationalized version of Redmond’s story. In the story, Redmond saved Gabrielle Austin, a young white woman, from a brutal whipping by an African American constable. Subsequently, while traveling through western North Carolina with a distant relative who happened to be a revenue agent, a band of moonshiners bushwhacked their party, killed the agent, and kidnapped the woman. Much to her surprise, her captors were led by none other than Redmond. During her captivity, she discovered that Redmond’s killing of fifty-four revenue agents was in response to the murder of his father at the hands of federal troops and the unfair collection of liquor taxes that robbed his family and community of much-needed income. Crittenden’s fictional account transformed Redmond into a valiant knight who fought to restore the antebellum racial, political, and economic status quo upset by Reconstruction. Thanks to Crittenden’s dime novel, Redmond gained a national reputation on par with outlaw Jesse James–Confederates who refused to surrender.
Redmond evaded federal authorities for five years. On April 7, 1881, federal agents under the direction of deputy collector Robert A. Cobb captured Redmond outside his home in Swain County, North Carolina. A few months later, Cobb published The True Life of Lewis Richard Redmond that dispelled the myths created by Crittenden’s dime novel. Far removed from the heroic accounts included in McKinley’s and Crittenden’s publications, Cobb portrayed Redmond as a man whose illicit distilling activities and resistance of federal authority created a life of hardship, poverty, and sin, and perhaps, most important, a person no one should seek to emulate.
One year after McKinley’s interview appeared King of the Moonshiners is an entertaining and enlightening read. Stewart should be commended for providing the context that will undoubtedly add new meaning to these publications. Stewart casts Redmond as the mountaineer responsible for the rise of middle-class American misperceptions of Appalachia as a backward land inhabited by a violent people. Redmond became a symbol of the rural backwardness, ignorance, and violence evident in Appalachia that threatened the new American industrial order’s development. Neither Redmond nor Appalachia, argues Stewart, appeared to have a place within this new order. While Stewart’s assertions reflect recent Appalachian historiography, he could have provided the reader with more evidence to support his claims.
For example, Stewart asserts that Redmond’s image played a large role in shaping outsider perceptions of Appalachia; however, the author only provides a few newspaper editorials to support this argument. Stewart could have been more explicit about how he measured the mass response to print media among northern audiences.
Despite these minor criticisms, Stewart’s King of the Moonshiners is an exceptional contribution to the field of Appalachian history. Future scholars interested in dissecting various myths of Appalachia will find this work to be extremely valuable. Redmond’s story will also appeal to broader audiences interested in the history of American outlaws.
If there is additional discussion of this review, you may access it through the list discussion logs at: http://h-net.msu.edu/cgi-bin/logbrowse.pl.
WHAT'S THE STORY BEHIND THE VANISHED CONGRESSMEN?
John Vaudain Creely, a one-term House member, vanished in 1872 while Congress was in session, never to be seen again. Born in Philadelphia, Creely was trained as a lawyer. During the Civil War, he served with the Union Army as an officer of light artillery. Before being elected to Congress, he was on the Philadelphia City Council for four years.
In 1870, after Rep. Charles O’Neill (R-Pa.) fell out with the Philadelphia Republican political machine, the bosses tapped Creely to run against O’Neill as an “independent Republican.” The election outcome briefly interrupted O’Neill’s 15-term service record in the House.
According to contemporary newspaper accounts, Creely’s move to Washington didn’t take. He was rarely seen in the House chamber. He scored a sole listing in the Congressional Globe Index, the one that marked the ceremonial roll call of the members that occurred at the start of the 42nd Congress.
About a year after his disappearance, his creditors sought to collect on his House paychecks, which finally brought his absence to light. On Sept. 28, 1900, his spinster sister, Adelaide, successfully petitioned the Philadelphia Orphans Court, to have him declared legally dead and was awarded his estate.
In 1927, as the Joint Committee on Printing was getting ready to reprint the Biographical Directory of the U.S. Congress, Ansel Wold, the committee clerk, seeking more information about Creely, wrote to several men who had served with him in the Army. One wrote back: “He was a splendid soldier, with a fine record and was honorably discharged at the end of his term of service … He went to Washington and that was the last time I, or any of his friends, ever heard of him. He never came back to Philadelphia, and disappeared utterly.”
AN AMERICAN COUP d'ETAT?
An attempted American coup d'etat: 1934.
An attempted coup d'etat censored out of our history books, courtesy of corporate America, but not supported by the military, so European fascism didn't happen that time. Fascism has to have the support of both corporate power and will and military/police power and obedience together or it doesn't happen.
Butler had friends in the press and Congress, so he could not be ignored when he came forward in late 1934 with a tale of conspiracy against President Roosevelt, in which he had been asked to take a leading role. At first glance, Butler seems an unlikely candidate for such a position. While
Butler was a Republican, in 1932 he campaigned for Roosevelt, calling himself a "Republican-for-Ex-President Hoover." (Butler had a poor relationship with Hoover going back to their time together during the Boxer Rebellion.)
But there were good reasons why someone seeking to overthrow the U.S. government would have wanted Butler involved. Butler was a powerful symbol to many American soldiers and veterans -- an enlisted man's general, one that spoke out for their interests while on active duty, and after
retirement. Butler would have attracted men to his cause that would not otherwise have participated in a march on Washington.
Butler would have been a good choice also because of his military skills. His personal courage and tactical skill would have made him a powerful commander of an irregular army. Finally, his ties of friendship to many officers still on active duty might have undermined military opposition to
his force, as friends and colleagues sought to avoid a direct confrontation with him.
THE DEATH OF HATTIE CARROLL
William Zantzinger, who died on January 3 aged 69, was the scion of a rich tobacco farming family in Maryland whose drunken, racist assault of a black waitress at a society ball in 1963 ended in her death. He would have subsequently sunk unmourned from view had the attack not come to the attention of a young folk singer, 22-year-old Bob Dylan. As it was he became a notorious and widely-loathed icon of bigotry just as America's civil rights movement came to the boil.
"William Zanzinger killed poor Hattie Carroll/With a cane that he twirled around his diamond ring finger," Dylan sang in "The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll".
Dylan deliberately misspelled Zantzinger's name in the lyrics, perhaps concerned that he might face legal action. Indeed Zantzinger, in a bitter tirade about the song three decades after it was released, claimed that it was "a total lie". "I should have sued him [Dylan] and put him in jail," he said.
The song, considered one of Dylan's finest, tells the story of the night of February 9 1963, when Zantzinger, who had been drinking heavily, arrived at the Emerson Hotel in Baltimore to attend a white tie ball.
Reports from the time said that in addition to his top hat and tails, he was sporting a toy cane, which he initially used to imitate Fred Astaire. But as the evening progressed and he grew steadily drunker, Zantzinger became increasingly abusive. He either fell on, or pushed his wife to the floor before hitting several of the hotel's staff with the cane. He then demanded a drink from Hattie Carroll, and when she was a little slow in getting it, he responded by repeatedly hitting her with the cane and swearing at her, his invective laced with racist epithets.
Seeking refuge in the kitchen, Hattie Carroll told colleagues she felt "deathly ill" and an ambulance was called. She died hours later, aged 51. Zantzinger was charged with murder.
"Hell," he said as the trial got underway, "you wouldn't want to go to school with Negroes any more than you would with French people."
In court however, three judges ruled that Hattie Carroll had died from a stroke possibly brought on by the stress of the attack, and sentenced Zantzinger to six months' jail for manslaughter.
It was a report on the sentencing that reached Dylan, sparking his outrage that a rich white man had received only six months for apparently beating a black woman to death.
Though the story was undoubtedly more nuanced than that, it came at a febrile time. Zantzinger's sentencing on August 28 1963 occurred on the same day that Martin Luther King Junior, addressing a crowd from the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC, just 40 miles from Baltimore, uttered the famous words: "I have a dream".
Dylan insisted that Zantzinger had been protected by his family's local standing and political connections. "With rich wealthy parents who provide and protect him/And high office relations in the politics of Maryland,/Reacted to his deed with a shrug of his shoulders," he sang.
Indeed, the timing of Zantzinger's trial was managed so that he could complete the tobacco harvest and his light sentence, which he served at a county jail, seemed designed to ensure he was protected from the wrath of the mostly black inmates in state prisons.
William Devereux Zantzinger was born on February 7 1939, the son of a real estate developer and farmer. He grew up in the farm's white-colonnaded mansion and graduated from school in 1957. After that he spent most of his time until the fateful night in 1963 working the family's tobacco plantations.
After his release from jail he found that his sentence had little impact on his reputation with his immediate friends. He was a member of a local country club and gave generously to his church.
Beyond his circle however, Dylan's song was helping to ensure Zantzinger became a figure of hate. Written just months after the case and incorporated into the singer's 1964 album, The Times They Are a-Changin', the song put Zantzinger's name on the map nationwide and ultimately across the world. Dylan sang it on television and at concerts, continuing to perform it as recently as last year.
Nor was the Hattie Carroll case the last of Zantzinger's racially-charged legal travails. In the 1990s he was convicted of claiming rents from black tenants for tumbledown homes, not connected to water or sewerage pipes. In fact the dwellings had been confiscated from him in lieu of back taxes. He was fined and sentenced to 18 months but only spent a few days in jail.
The case seemed to seal Zantzinger's reputation as a racist, but he long protested that Dylan's song had misrepresented him, a verdict with which Dylan's biographer Clinton Heylin agrees.
"That the song itself is a masterpiece of drama and wordplay does not excuse Dylan's distortions, and, 36 years on, he continues to misrepresent poor William Zantzinger in concert," Heylin wrote.
William Zantzinger will have few defenders however, and the infamy in which he was cloaked by Dylan will certainly long outlive him. He is survived by his second wife, Suzanne, and three children from his first marriage.
The crew of the Apollo 11 saw a human skeleton on the moon!
That's what the Chinese astrophysicist Dr. Kang Mao-pang, says. Dr. Kang is the man who stunned the world with pictures of bare human footprints on the moon at a news conference in Beijing last winter. The scientist said he received those photos --- so secret the Apollo 11 astronauts didn't even know they existed -- from "an unimpeachable U.S. source."
The photograph of the human skeleton was included in a second batch of photos and documents he received from the same source this fall. "The Americans have conspired in a cover-up of monumental and possibly even criminal proportions," Dr. Kang told newsmen in Beijing. "They hid photos of bare human footprints on the moon for 20 years and managed to keep the human skeleton secret even longer. The implications of what they found up there are staggering," he continued. "But the Americans apparently feel that nobody else in the world is privileged enough to share the information."
Dr. Kang's allegations stunned U.S. space and intelligence experts, one of whom went into hiding after reporters tried to question him in a Washington, D.C., restaurant. Other sources also refused to comment --even when told that the Chinese expert has copies of over 1,000 NASA photographs that clearly show bare human footprints and a human skeleton on the lunar surface.
Intriguingly, the skeleton appears to have been wearing jeans. Judging from the position of the bones, it seems likely that the person it belonged to was at least partially dismembered and met with a violent death. It is also probable that the skeleton was transported into space long after the person was killed. The decomposition of bone and flesh would not have been possible in the airless atmosphere of the moon. The Chinese expert further noted that the age of the skeleton cannot be estimated without analyzing the bone firsthand.
"Like the footprints on the moon, these photos were taken by a remote camera aboard the lunar lander and were given to me by an American source who is beyond reproach," said Dr. Kang. "I am also in the possession of classified documents and letters that describe the footprints as being fresh and the skeleton unquestionably human. The question that must be answered is how the footprints and skeleton go to the moon. The obvious implication is that extraterrestrial lifeforms were involved but we'll never know unless the Americans release the information they have."
The documents Dr. Kang quoted from are stamped "top secret" and dated Aug. 3, 1969, which means they were written just two weeks after astronauts Neal Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed and walked on the moon--in boots-- on July 20, 1969. Large portions of the text have been blocked out. But it's clear that U.S experts agreed extraterrestrials had something to do with the bare footprints and skeleton on the moon.
A Washington source said: "Nobody's going to say anything until President Bush gives the go-ahead. This isn't any ordinary cover-up. It makes Watergate look like a Sunday School picnic. It's that damn big."
Dr. Sam Parnia, a critical care doctor and the director of resuscitation research at Stony Brook University School of Medicine, has written a new book discussing ways in which people can be resuscitated after they previously would have been considered clinically dead.
Parnia's book, Erasing Death: The Science That is Rewriting the Boundaries Between Life and Death, was recently featured on the Today show. The advances in the last 10 years have shown us that its only after a person dies that they turn into a corpse, that their brain cells start to die, Parnia told host Savannah Guthrie.
Although most people think this takes place in only four or five minutes, we now know that actually brain cells are viable for up to eight hours We now understand that its only after a person has turned into a corpse that their cells are undergoing death, and if we therefore manipulate those processes, we can restart the heart and bring a person back to life.
Parnia's suggestion is not new; in fact, as researcher Jan Bondeson notes in his 2001 book Buried Alive: The Terrifying History of Our Most Primal Fear, In 1787 the French doctor Francois Thierry published a book in which he stated his conviction that most people did not die until some time after the onset of traditional signs of death.
To make sure that the dead had really irrevocably passed on, Thierry suggested that all major cities in France should have special waiting mortuaries, in which the recently deceased would be laid out in rows on floors or tables and carefully watched by monitors who would wander among the corpses looking for signs of anyone coming back to life.
Ever had the need to prove to the authorities that you were alive? This man did. For nearly twenty years he waged a literal life or death battle to prove he was alive.
Lal Bihari is a farmer from Uttar Pradesh, India. Mr. Bihari found out in 1976 while trying to apply for a loan that he was considered officially dead by the government. It seems that Mr. Birhari’s uncle had bribed a government officials to register Mr. Bihari as dead so that he could claim Bihari’s land.
During his struggle against the government trying to prove he was alive, Bihari found out that at least a hundred others had been in a similar situation and considered dead when they were not. In a bid to exploit his unique situation to his advantage, he organised his own funeral and demanded a widow’s compensation for his wife, and eventually founded the Mritak Sangh for those that were in danger of being killed over their properties. This association now has over twenty thousand members all over India.
In 1994, Bihari had his official death annulled after a very long struggle to prove he was alive.