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THE STRANGE FATE OF JIM SULLIVAN
In March, 1975, Jim Sullivan mysteriously disappeared outside Santa Rosa, New Mexico. His VW bug was found abandoned, his motel room untouched. Some think he got lost in the desert. Some think he fell foul of a local family with alleged mafia ties. Some think he was abducted by aliens.
By coincidence -- or perhaps not -- Jim's 1969 debut album was titled U.F.O. Released in tiny numbers on a private label, it too was truly lost, until Seattle's Light In The Attic Records begun a years-long quest to give it the full release it deserves -- and to solve the mystery of Sullivan's disappearance. Only one of those things happened.
For record collectors, some albums are considered impossible to get hold of, records so rare you could sit on eBay for years and not get a sniff of a copy. U.F.O. is one of those albums. A seventh son, Jim Sullivan was a West Coast should-have-been, an Irish-American former high school quarterback whose gift for storytelling earned him cult status in the Malibu bar where he performed nightly. Sullivan was always on the edge of fame; hanging out with movie stars like Harry Dean Stanton, performing on the Jose Feliciano show, even stealing a cameo in the ultimate hippie movie, Easy Rider.
Friend and actor, Al Dobbs, thought he could change all that, and founded a label -- Monnie Records -- to release Jim's album, enlisting the assistance of Phil Spector's legendary sessioneers, The Wrecking Crew, to do so. That's Don Randi, Earl Palmer and Jimmy Bond you can hear, the latter also acting as producer and arranger.
U.F.O. was a different beast to the one-man-and-his-guitar stuff Jim had been doing on stage; instead, it was a fully realised album of scope and imagination, a folk-rock record with its head in the stratosphere. Sullivan's voice is deep and expressive like Fred Neil with a weathered and worldly Americana sound like Joe South, pop songs that aren't happy -- but with filled with despair. The album is punctuated with a string section (that recalls David Axelrod), other times a Wurlitzer piano provides the driving groove (as if Memphis great Jim Dickinson was running the show). U.F.O. is a slice of American pop music filtered from the murky depths of Los Angeles, by way of the deep south.
With no music industry contacts, the record went largely unnoticed, and Jim simply moved on, releasing a further album on the Playboy label in 1972. But by 1975, his marriage breaking up, Jim left, for Nashville and the promise of a new life as a sessioneer in the home of C&W. That's where it gets hazy.
We know he was stopped by cops for swerving on the highway in Santa Rosa, some 15 hours after setting off. We know he was taken to a local police station, found to be sober, and told to go to the local La Mesa Motel to get some rest, which he did. Some time later, his car was spotted on a ranch belonging to the local Genetti family, who confronted him about his business there. The next day his car was found 26 miles down the road, abandoned. His car and his hotel room contained, among other things, his twelve-string guitar, his wallet, his clothes and several copies of his second album, but no note, and no Jim. It was as if he had simply vanished into thin air.
Jim's family travelled out to join search parties looking for him, the local papers printed missing person stories, but the search proved fruitless. Around the same time, the local sheriff retired and the Genettis moved to Hawaii. Jim's manager Robert "Buster" Ginter later stated that during the early morning hours of a long evening Jim and Buster were talking about what would you do if they had to disappear. Jim said he'd walk into the desert and never come back.
YOU STOLE MY IPHONE
For nearly a year strangers have been showing up to the home of Michael Saba and Christina Lee, all looking for lost or stolen phones. Each visitor claimed that phone tracking apps had led them to the home. The phones are both iPhones and Androids, and with different carriers. While this situation has happened before, it was usually from one carrier and was resolved quickly. The variety of phone services makes figuring out the issue a little more difficult. Of course, the bewildered couple has told every visitor that they don’t have their lost phones, but the continued rate of visitors has begun to trouble the couple. They were even visited by the police at one point and their house searched. The couple fear someone more aggressive about retrieving their phone will eventually visit their house, and hope to see this issue resolved soon. So far, there have been no definite solutions to the couple’s ever-increasing problem.
Neuroscience’s Most Famous Patient
On Sept. 13, 1848, at around 4:30 p.m., the time of day when the mind might start wandering, a railroad foreman named Phineas Gage filled a drill hole with gunpowder and turned his head to check on his men. It was the last normal moment of his life.
Other victims in the annals of medicine are almost always referred to by initials or pseudonyms. Not Gage: His is the most famous name in neuroscience. How ironic, then, that we know so little else about the man—and that much of what we think we know, especially about his life unraveling after his accident, is probably bunk.
The Rutland and Burlington Railroad had hired Gage’s crew that fall to clear away some tough black rock near Cavendish, Vermont, and it considered Gage the best foreman around. Among other tasks, a foreman sprinkled gunpowder into blasting holes, and then tamped the powder down, gently, with an iron rod. This completed, an assistant poured in sand or clay, which got tamped down hard to confine the bang to a tiny space. Gage had specially commissioned his tamping iron from a blacksmith. Sleek like a javelin, it weighed 13¼ pounds and stretched 3 feet 7 inches long. (Gage stood 5-foot-6.) At its widest, the rod had a diameter of 1¼ inches, although the last foot—the part Gage held near his head when tamping—tapered to a point.
Gage’s crew members were loading some busted rock onto a cart, and they apparently distracted him. Accounts differ about what happened after Gage turned his head. One says Gage tried to tamp the gunpowder down with his head still turned, and scraped his iron against the side of the hole, creating a spark. Another says Gage’s assistant (perhaps also distracted) failed to pour the sand in, and when Gage turned back, he smashed the rod down hard, thinking he was packing inert material. Regardless, a spark shot out somewhere in the dark cavity, igniting the gunpowder, and the tamping iron rocketed upward.
The Nameless Thing of Berkeley Square
More than 100 years ago, something terrible happened in Berkeley Square.
The Nameless thing of Berkeley Square was a nickname given to the mysterious entity that was encountered in the 18th-19th century in the Victorian era building named 50 Berkeley Square in the UK.
Although some researchers are inclined to enter this event into the category of the supernatural, others maintain it was either a known creature, or a mutant or even a cryptid.
Berkeley Square Complex was built in 1740 by an architect named William Kent. This complex was once the residence of prominent figures, among them Winston Churchill 48, who lived in the building. Then, George Canning, British prime minister in 1827. He lived in the building No.50. And in this building, this mystery begins.
Horror on the Second Floor
In 1840 the 20 year old man Sir Robert Warboys heard about eerie rumours in this building. As a student, Warboys laughingly dismissed the tales as urban legend, while his friend disagreed and dared him to spend his night in the haunted 2nd floor room. With arrogance, he accepted the challenge. After successfully convincing the building guard, Warboys was given a room on the second floor, just above the guard room. Later, the room will be referred to as one of the most haunted room in the UK. Warboys climbed into the bed armed with a pistol and a candle.
Forty-five minutes later, the guard woke up from sleep. He heard a noise in the room upstairs and a few seconds later, a gunshot sounded. With haste, he immediately got up and ran toward the top. Arriving at the door of the room, he immediately broke it by force. What he saw will never forget for life. Conditions in the room were almost unchanged. However, at the corner of a dimly lit room, Sir Robert Warboys was motionless, dead, still clutching his pistol that still smoke. What is more appalling is the facial expression of Warboys, looking like he had seen something terrible that perhaps fright killed him instantly. The guard found a hole in the wall due to a bullet fired from the gun, but what had been shot? Was it something horrible?
Some years later, “something” came back. This time, he was seen by witnesses who survived the encounter.
Experience of Two Sailors
In 1887, two sailors from HMS Penelope in Portsmouth named Robert Martin and Edward Blunden who had just spent money to get drunk come to Berkeley Square complex to rest.
At that time, 50 Berkeley Street has been uninhabited and empty.
Then they had found their way into the basement and broke into it. Upon their break-in they discovered moist ground conditions, so both decided to head upstairs to find a dryer place. Incidentally they chose the building No.50 and slept in the same room once occupied by Warboys.
When entering the room, Blunden who seemed more sober than Martin soon realized that the atmosphere in the room made him uneasy. He said if he felt the presence of “something”. But Martin immediately reassured by opening the bedroom window to let the night wind blows inside. About an hour later, around midnight, Blunden awakened by the sound of creaking door. As he rubbed his eyes, he saw the bedroom door was open and upon wandering to check around, suddenly saw something.
In dim conditions, Blunden saw a strange grey thing creeping slowly on the wooden floor. Along with the creature’s movement, Blunden could hear the friction across the floor, which made him shudder.
Gripped by fear, Blunden ran to wake Martin, who awoke immediately; realizing what was happening in the room. The creature was seen standing in front of them while behind it was the door that was their only hope of escape.
Blunden glanced at the rifle that lay near the window and when he tried to reach for it, the creature suddenly jumped up and extended itself or “landed on the neck" at Blunden. Blunden panicked and began to scream and struggle with the creature. Seeing the opportunity, Martin quickly ran out of the room, down the stairs, out of the building and immediately shouted for help, getting the attention of a policeman who was on patrol. When they returned to the building, they found the room empty, with no sign of Blunden. They began to search the entire building and when they reached the basement, they found Blunden. However, he was lifeless and had been dismembered. On his face was a similar expression of fright as seen at the death of Sir Robert Warboys; Blunden’s face showed an expression of profound fear.
In another version, Blunden was not killed in the basement, but was killed by a fall from the window due to fear.
Thomas Lyttleton’s Experience
Sightings of this creature were not limited to Robert Martin who might be considered a drunk sailor with a false story, there were additional encounters of this creature also experienced by community leaders who seemed to have no reason to lie. One of them was a member of parliament named Thomas Lyttelton who had lived in the same building for some time.
One night, when preparing to go to bed, Lyttelton encountered a creature in his own room. He immediately took his rifle and fired. He believed that the creature was shot because he saw it fall. But he could not find any trace or the carcass.
According to other witnesses who claimed to have seen it, the creature was nearly out of shape and looked like sticky liquid. When it moved, it produced strange sounds. Descriptions given were sometimes varied, but at least one witness claimed that the creature had a set of tentacles like an octopus.
Because of this description, some researchers later concluded that the creature was a type of octopus or other water creature that had mutated and successfully migrated from the river Thames into London’s underground canal which eventually makes it up to Berkeley Square ‘s building through plumbing.
It has been suggested that this creature may have been targeting a n ample population of mice or rats that lived in the building when it came across the drunken sailors. However, no satisfactory explanation has been given about the range of appearances over that time-frame.
"If you’re stuck for something to write about, think of all those things your family just doesn’t talk about. Somewhere in there lurks at least one good script."
- Joe Eszterhas
THE MIDNIGHT GAME
“The Midnight Game” is an old pagan ritual used mainly as punishment for those who have broken the laws of the pagan religion in question. While it is mainly used as a scare tactic to not disobey the gods, there is still a very existent chance of death to those who play the Midnight Game and there is an even higher chance of permanent mental scarring
But, for those few thrill seekers searching for a rush or for those delving into obscure occult rituals; these are simple instructions on how to play. Do so at your own risk.
- Step One:
- Step Two:
- Step Three:
- Step Four:
Good luck, you’re going to need it.
THE MAN FROM TAURED
On July 1954, A man arrives at Tokyo airport in Japan. He’s of Caucasian appearance and conventional-looking. But the officials are suspicious.
On checking his passport, they see that he hails from a country called Taured. The passport looked genuine, except for the fact that there is no such country as Taured.
The man is interrogated, and asked to point out where his country supposedly exists on a map. He immediately points his finger towards the Principality of Andorra, but becomes angry and confused. He’s never heard of Andorra, and can’t understand why his homeland of Taured isn’t there. According to him it should have been, for it had existed for more than 1,000 years!
Customs officials found him in possession of money from several different European currencies. His passport had been stamped by many airports around the globe, including previous visits to Tokyo. Baffled, they took him to a local hotel and placed him in a room with two guards outside until they could get to the bottom of the mystery.
The company he claimed to work for had no knowledge of him, although he had copious amounts of documentation to prove his point. The hotel he claimed to have a reservation for had never heard of him either. The company officials in Tokyo he was there to do business with? Yup, you’ve guessed it – they just shook their heads too.
Later, when the hotel room he was held in was opened, the man had disappeared. The police established that he could not have escaped out of the window – the room was several floors up, and there was no balcony.
He was never seen again, and the mystery was never solved.
Lake Baikal Humanoids
Located in Siberia near the Mongolian border and surrounded by steep mountains and dense forests, the nearly 30,000,000 year-old Lake Baikal is the largest freshwater body of water in the world. READ MORE
M A S T E R & S L A V E
Dr. Cyrus Teed and the Koreshans
“On 23 August, 1956, six tons of Wilhelm Reich's books, journals, and papers were burned in the 25th Street public incinerator in New York, the Gansevoort incinerator.
The burned material included copies of several of his books, including The Sexual Revolution, Character Analysis and The Mass Psychology of Fascism. Though these had been published in German before Reich ever discussed orgone, he had added mention of it to the English editions, so they were caught by the injunction. As with the accumulators, the FDA was supposed only to observe the destruction.
The psychiatrist Victor Sobey (d. 1995), an associate of Reich’s, wrote: “All the expenses and labor had to be provided by the [Orgone Institute] Press. A huge truck with three to help was hired. I felt like people who, when they are to be executed, are made to dig their own graves first and are then shot and thrown in. We carried box after box of the literature.” It has been cited as one of the worst examples of censorship in U.S. history.
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.
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.
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?
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.
From their tiny survival craft, the Scots family Robertson stared unbelievingly at the scattered oranges and onions floating on the water. The pathetic flotsam marked the spot where their 19-ton schooner, Lucette, disappeared in 60 seconds flat beneath the Pacific after an attack by a school of killer whales.
They were adrift 1,000 miles from Central America. Sharks and whales, storms and doldrums created a stark picture of natural perils ahead and the slow, gnawing prospect of starvation added another dreadful dimension.
Dougal Robertson, 48, and his wife, Linda, 52, knew that they and their 18-year-old son Douglas, and their twins, Neil and Sandy, 11, faced impossible odds against survival. So did Robin Williams, a 22-year-old Welshman, who hitched a ride in the New Zealand-bound Lucette when she arrived in Panama. The Robertsons’ daughter, Anne, 20, was the lucky member of the family: she left them in Nassau.
The trip across the Atlantic from Falmouth, their departure point on January 31, 1971, had been smooth and uneventful. They had sold their farm in Leek, Staffordshire, to finance the three-year voyage sailing around the world to broaden the horizons of their children. Dougal and Linda had been so serious about the trip that they decided that they and their children should all have their appendixes removed before embarkation to avoid the possibility of sudden illness at sea.
All went well until they sailed into the Pacific in mid-summer, 1972, after saying farewell to Anne.
On June 15, a crisp breeze whipped the wave tops into foam. Douglas Robertson had just taken a sight with the sextant and was poring over his charts when the Lucette shuddered. A school of about 20 killer whales attacked from below shaking the 43-foot schooner from bow to stern. The keel shattered. Water poured in and the family just had time to lower the life raft and a dinghy called Ednamair and leap into them. Inside a minute, Lucette had vanished taking with her everything the Robertsons owned.
Their position was grim indeed. They had just over two gallons of water, some glucose, 10 oranges and six lemons, a tin of biscuits, a few onions and a bag of sweets. The emergency kit in the rubber raft also revealed fishing equipment, a first aid box, flares, a bailer and three paddles. They had also managed to save a sail from the Lucette and rigged it up with a paddle in the dinghy.
Their future held three choices: to remain where their yacht had sunk hoping for rescue; to try to return against wind and current to the Galapagos Islands 200 miles away; or to try to sail 1,000 miles northward to the Pacific coast of Costa Rica.
Dougal decided to make for Central America. He set off with the raft in tow, steering by the sun and the stars and using a chart made from memory. Every morning, he would ask his waking family: “What’s the password for today?” “Survival!” The reply was shouted in defiant unison.
Through heavy swells, the Robertsons sailed north-east, constantly bailing out water from their two craft. Rationing was strict even when Dougal caught turtles, bluefish and, once, a five-foot shark which he landed by grabbing its tail and hauling it aboard.
Frequently flying fish flopped into the raft and dinghy to provide more much-needed food. And there was the memorable day when a 35-pound dorado, a splendidly coloured dolphin-like fish, leapt aboard. It was killed quickly and the flesh cut into strips which dried in the sun. In the vertebrae, the castaways found the spinal fluid full of protein and fresh water.
On the seventh day adrift as a heavy shower lashed the huddled family, they spotted a cargo ship. Douglas sent two parachute rocket flares up and lit hand flares but the ship sailed on, vanishing into a rainy horizon leaving a despairing family alone in the ocean . . .
By the tenth day they were all beginning to suffer from boils and they became steadily weaker. But the sail above them billowed optimistically until they entered the doldrums – a fortnight after the Lucette sank. In that windless zone they welcomed bucketing rain and in a few hours collected three and a half gallons.
By then the life raft was beginning to disintegrate under the glare of the sun, battering seas and storms. The Robertsons decided to abandon it and transferred silently to their 9’6″ dinghy. They had covered 400 miles – and the Central American coast was still 700 miles away!
Morale, however, remained amazingly high. The 20th day adrift was Linda Robertson’s birthday and it was highlighted by the capture of another turtle, which with dorado strips provided a celebration meal washed down with fresh water. They even sang “Happy Birthday” – and other songs – as they continued their desperate voyage.
In the days that followed cloudbursts, high winds and periods of calm beset them as they travelled slowly north-eastwards, still catching turtles and fish, including a shark that attacked their nylon line and impaled its eye in the hook.
Yet the ordeal was now leaving its mark. They were all suffering from salt water boils and sores and, while the adults were certainly becoming ever thinner, the twins, Neil and Sandy, who had remained stoically cheerful throughout, were emaciated.
But somehow they all kept going, eating raw fish, sucking fish bones, drinking turtle blood and rationing precious water. It seemed endless, but now they were approaching the shipping lanes between Central America and the eastern Pacific islands. And on June 21 – 38 days after the killer whales attacked – a small fishing boat appeared over the horizon.
The 254-ton Japanese tuna boat, Taoka Maru (“Eastern Flower”) saw the flares – the last ones rising and bursting above the Ednamair. The survivors were in bad shape, clad in tatters and unable to stand. Both men were bearded, Lin’s hair was bleached white, the twins sadly weakened. All were scorched dark brown.
The Japanese seamen lifted them carefully aboard, fed and clothed them, and landed them safely at Panama City, the Robertsons’ last port of call before they found themselves looking death in the face in the Pacific – and living to tell the tale.
WHAT'S THE STORY BEHIND THE VANISHED CONGRESSMAN?
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.
The Orphan Train was a social experiment that transported children from crowded coastal cities of the United States to the country’s Midwest for adoption. The orphan trains ran between 1854 and 1929, relocating an estimated 200,000 orphaned, abandoned, or homeless children. At the time the orphan train movement began, it was estimated that 30,000 vagrant children were living on the streets of New York City.
The children were encouraged to break completely with their past. They would typically arrive in a town where local community leaders had assembled interested townspeople. The townspeople would inspect the children and after brief interviews with the ones they wanted, take them home. After a trial period, some children became indentured servants to their host families, while most were adopted, formally or informally, as family members.
The mysterious Room 322 inside Hotel ZaZa in Houston, Texas is not listed for rent but was exposed in February 2013 when a travelling business customer was accidentally placed in the room by mistake and quickly took pictures of the room which, with cold dirty concrete floors, chains on the walls, skull and bones paintings, two-way mirrors, and plastic wrapped furniture, looks like the foreboding film set for a dark snuff movie. Reddit user “joelikesmusic”, who recognized that the room differed from the hotel’s normally posh, stately rooms and promptly posted pictures of the bizarre room in the public forum, posed the question, “Does anyone know what’s up with this room?” and commenced describing his experience inside the unusual room. READ MORE
Right: Dr. Ludwik Fleck, the Jewish biologist who master-minded the vaccine scheme in Buchenwald.
In late 1942, German troops were dying of typhus at the Eastern Front, and the SS medical chief Ernst-Robert Grawitz was impatient for vaccine—as was Heinrich Himmler himself. Typhus terrified the Nazis more than the allied armies did at the time. Nazi ideology had identified typhus, which is spread by lice, as a disease characteristic of parasitic, subhuman people—the Jews—and the Nazi medical profession was taking outrageous measures ostensibly to combat it. This included walling in or closing off Jewish ghettos in cities like Warsaw, Krakow and Lviv, assuring that the disease would indeed spread widely among Jews. That result didn’t bother the Nazis in the least. They had no concern about typhus and its terrifying burden of pain, high fever, psychosis and death—not until the germ began afflicting the German forces locked in battle with the Russians.
But the vaccine production plans of Joachim Mrugowsky, the head of the SS Hygiene Institute in Berlin, kept getting delayed. When British bombers destroyed Mrugowsky’s headquarters in 1942, he decided to produce the vaccine at Buchenwald, thinking that allied bombs would not fall there. Jewish inmates of the concentration camp—those whom the Nazis condemned to death as mere human lice—would be employed to manufacture it, thereby saving the German troops at the front.
The question was: What kind of vaccine should they make? Rudolf Weigl, a famous zoologist credited with creating the first effective typhus vaccine, was employing thousands of Poles in the city of Lviv (Lemberg, the Germans called it; the Polish name was Lwow) in the production of a vaccine made from typhus germs that grew in the intestines of lice after they had fed on human blood. Weigl’s product was approved for the Wehrmacht, but there was no way to create a louse farm at Buchenwald. It would mean introducing millions of lice into a concentration camp, and the SS were terrified of lice. Another approved method—a vaccine produced in chicken eggs— was also impossible at Buchenwald. German civilians, let alone concentration camp inmates, could not be trusted around chickens or their eggs.
So on Dec. 11, 1942, Mrugowsky decided to produce a third type of typhus vaccine, which French scientist Paul Giroud and others had developed at the Pasteur Institute. The vaccine was produced from typhus bacteria grown in the lungs of immune-compromised rabbits. “This vaccine has been tested among concentration camp inmates with excellent results,” Mrugowsky wrote in a memo. Dr. Erwin Ding-Schuler, an ambitious but callow Nazi officer and Mrugowsky’s deputy, was chosen to lead production, and began assembling captive scientists with the help of his new clerk, an imprisoned German intellectual named Eugen Kogon. Among those drafted was a gentle Jewish biologist named Ludwik Fleck, who was a former assistant of Dr. Weigl whom Weigl had protected during the Nazi occupation of Lviv.
Thus began one of the most effective but least-known deceptions of World War II, one that is wondrously thick with irony: For 16 months, working under the noses of his clueless Nazi overseers—in particular Ding-Schuler, whom Fleck described as a “dummkopf”—a Jewish doctor managed to send fake typhus vaccine to the Nazi soldiers at the front, even as he provided the real thing to inoculate his fellow condemned Jews in a concentration camp.
The deception began on Aug. 10, 1943, when Ding-Schuler and Kogon moved themselves into Block 50, a three-story masonry building at Buchenwald. Block 50 stood half a mile down the hill on the mud road from the camp entrance, in the last row of buildings within the central grounds. From the windows of Block 50, the inmates could peer across a triple line of barbed wire into the notorious Little Camp, where the most hopeless among the concentration camp inmates were brought to die, or to be shipped out to terrible work details where they perished of starvation, disease and exposure.
Staffing the vaccine laboratory seemed to be quite easy. There were plenty of doctors at Buchenwald, and others who’d posed as doctors to save their skins or to follow the directives of the camp leadership. (“I had a foot injury and was operated on by a mechanic and a butcher,” one inmate remarked.) Willy Jellinek, a bright young Austrian pastry chef known as Jumbo, was in charge of the tubercular ward for a while and helped write the SS doctor Waldemar Hoven’s dissertation on lung disease for the University of Heidelberg. Jellinek came to Block 50 to prepare culture broths for the vaccine. August Cohn, a charismatic former communist labor leader, was rescued from a death sentence and put in charge of the rabbits. Ding-Schuler found a doctor with some infectious disease experience, the 36-year-old Marian Ciepielowski, to lead the vaccine production team. Ciepielowski had spent his first year at Buchenwald working with pick and shovel on a road detail. “Every day, dozens of people around me were suffocated, clubbed, stoned and shot to death, and we were all mistreated sadistically,” Ciepielowski wrote later. Handsome and blue-eyed with a well-defined widow’s peak, Ciepielowski was extremely crafty when it came to sabotage. Other inmates remarked upon his sangfroid. He was also a dedicated physician and treated many of the experimental typhus patients in Block 46.
But making the vaccine was hard—much harder than the Nazis would ever realize. In fact, Ding-Schuler from the beginning was wrestling with problems well beyond his understanding. Leading microbiologists had found it terribly difficult to produce the vaccine at the Pasteur Institute in Paris. Now, Ding-Schuler was trying to do it with a group that included a baker, a physicist, a politician and a gym coach.
Even in the best of circumstances, making vaccines is a very subtle trial-and-error process, one that requires deep specialized knowledge and years of hand-to-hand training. When producing a vaccine, each step in the process might need to be altered at the same time to accommodate a particular change in the production method. For example, the Rockefeller Institute scientists who developed the yellow fever vaccine in the 1930s found that after a certain number of passages—that is, after the virus had grown in a particular sequence of animal-flesh cultures—for some reason it became weakened enough to be injected into people in a way that provided immunity but not disease. The Nazi medical bureaucracy, of course, had not considered such challenges. Ding-Schuler pressed the prisoners as soon as they set up Block 50 to produce something. He wanted tangible results.
Ding-Schuler would get results, but not what he expected. The Block 50 crew worked from a 70-page German instruction manual, apparently translated from Pasteur Institute papers. The recipe was not for the faint of heart, and certainly not for the anti-vivisectionist—it involved transmitting the typhus bacteria through four different animals.
Normally, typhus germs grow only in lice and people. To get them to grow outside those species, the germs had to be modified by serial passage through animals—a rather mysterious process, but the only way, at the time, to produce the flourishing typhus cultures required to make a vaccine.
First, blood was injected into guinea pigs after being taken from feverish Block 46 “passage people”—inmates whom Ding-Schuler had purposely infected with typhus so they could serve as reservoirs for the experimental bacteria. When the guinea pigs were infected, technicians ground up their brains or testes, where for some reason the bacteria grew well. After removing most of the host tissue, the remaining liquid was injected into mice. After they sickened, the mice were killed and their lungs ground up and diluted into solutions used to infect the rabbits. These creatures, pure-blood Angoras and mixed chinchilla breeds, were infected at five months of age by stabbing a thick needle through their necks into the tracheal tube.
The mystery of Bobby Dunbar is one that is almost more terrifying than a murder mystery. It is the story of a child lost and another likely taken from his mother and guardian to replace a lost boy. In that way, it is the story of two boys lost, one seemingly gone forever and one taken and raised as another child.
The story begins on August 23, 1912, when Percy and Lessie Dunbar took their sons Bobby and Alonzo on a trip to Swayze Lake in Louisiana. The family was from Opelousas, Louisiana. That day, 4-year-old Bobby Dunbar disappeared. Bobby Dunbar was a four year old boy from Louisiana who disappeared on a fishing trip while with his family in 1912. After months of searching, detectives believed they had found the boy and returned him to his parents. Years later with the development of DNA technology, the descendants of Bobby Dunbar were in for quite the shock.
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.