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THE MAN WITH NO MEMORY
H.M. (Henry Molaison) as a young man in the early 1950s, suffered from intractable epilepsy and as a radical treatment underwent a bilateral re-section of the medial temporal lobes. Although, usually reserved for unmanageable psychotics, William Beecher Scoville, director of the Hartford Hospital's neurosurgery department, thought that this operation would potentially reduce the severity of H.M.'s seizures.
Ultimately successful in reducing the seizures, the surgical resection however, left the young man with a retrograde amnesia that preceded the surgical lesion by a year or so. More importantly the surgery also left H.M. with a florid and profound anterograde amnesia that persists to this day some 5 decades later. The extensive damage to the inner part of the temporal lobes on both sides of Henry’s brain made him a vital case study for memory researchers then and now. As the years passed, his fame grew and eventually spread to countries outside North America – and all that time Henry was stuck in the same moment. From time to time, I would tell him how important and well known he was, and he would smile sheepishly, as the praise was already slipping out of his consciousness. In his lifetime he was known as HM; only after his death, in 2008, was his identity revealed to the world.
Against the advice of her neighbours and her doctor, she refused all medical treatment and resumed her life as if nothing had ever happened, including her nightly strolls on the beach. Another neighbour snapped this shot of her in the fall of 1938. Clouds of smoke from piles of burning leaves give it an appropriately eerie feel. On the same date in November, 1940, five years after her initial disappearance, Mrs. Yurno vanished again. This time she was never seen again.
OUTRAGE IN ARKANSAS
The visits began in the fall of 1918, just as World War I ended. At his office in Little Rock, Arkansas, attorney Ulysses S. Bratton listened as African American sharecroppers from the Delta told stories of theft, exploitation, and endless debt. A man named Carter had tended 90 acres of cotton, only to have his landlord seize the entire crop and his possessions. From the town of Ratio, in Phillips County, Arkansas, a black farmer reported that a plantation manager refused to give sharecroppers an itemised account for their crop. Another sharecropper told of a landlord trying “to starve the people into selling the cotton at his own price. They ain’t allowing us down there room to move our feet except to go to the field.”
No one could know it at the time, but within a year these inauspicious meetings would lead to one of the worst episodes of racial violence in U.S. history. Initiated by whites, the violence—by any measure, a massacre—claimed the lives of 237 African Americans, according to a just released report from the Equal Justice Initiative. The death toll was unusually high, but the use of racial violence to subjugate blacks during this time was not uncommon. As the Equal Justice Initiative observes, “Racial terror lynching was a tool used to enforce Jim Crow laws and racial segregation—a tactic for maintaining racial control by victimising the entire African American community, not merely punishment of an alleged perpetrator for a crime.” This was certainly true of the massacre in Phillips County, Arkansas.
Bratton agreed to represent the cheated sharecroppers, who also joined a new union, the Progressive Farmers and Household Union of America. Its founder, a black Delta native named Robert Hill, had no prior organising experience but plenty of ambition. “The union wants to know why it is that the labourers cannot control their just earnings which they work for,” Hill announced as he urged black sharecroppers to each recruit 25 prospective members to form a lodge. Hill was especially successful in Phillips County, where seven lodges were established in 1919.
It took a lot of courage to defy the Arkansas Delta’s white elite. Men such as E.M. “Mort” Allen controlled the local economy, government, law enforcement, and courts. Allen was a latter-day carpetbagger, a Northerner who had come to Arkansas in 1906 to make his fortune. He married well and formed a partnership with a wealthy businessman. Together they developed the town of Elaine, a hub for the thriving lumber industry. Allen and the county’s white landowners understood that their continued prosperity depended on the exploitation of black sharecroppers and laborers. In a county where more than 75 percent of the population was African American, this wasn’t a task to be taken lightly. In February 1919, the planters agreed to reduce the acreage of cotton in cultivation in anticipation of a postwar drop in demand. If they gave their tenants a fair settlement, their profits would shrink further. Allen spoke for the planters when he declared that “the old Southern methods are much the best,” and that the “Southern men can handle the negroes all right and peaceably.”
There was nothing “peaceable” about the methods used to demolish the sharecroppers’ union. Late on the night of September 30, 1919, the planters dispatched three men to break up a union meeting in a rough hewn black church at Hoop Spur, a crossroads three miles north of Elaine. Prepared for trouble, the sharecroppers had assigned six men to patrol outside the church. A verbal confrontation led to gunfire that fatally wounded one of the attackers. The union men dispersed, but not for long. Bracing for reprisals from their landlords, they rousted fellow sharecroppers from bed and formed self-defence forces. READ MORE
THE SCREAMING PHONE
The figure seems to be facing the camera. The figure also seems to be holding something in his hand. The OP lives alone and thinks this could've been taken from his window. He feels like he was abducted, but has no memory of it.
Write something that takes place within the same sixty
seconds, but inside the heads of multiple characters. For
a feature film, make sure you have at least 85 characters.
THE SAN CLEMENTE DOLLS
Porcelain dolls crafted to resemble eight young girls have been left outside their homes in California, creeping out the girl’s parents. "As many as eight homes have had porcelain dolls left on their doorsteps over the last week,” a statement from the Orange County Sheriff’s Department said.
In 1881, Edward Charles Pickering, director of the Harvard Observatory, had a problem: the volume of data coming into his observatory was exceeding his staff’s ability to analyse it. He also had doubts about his staff’s competence–especially that of his assistant, who Pickering dubbed inefficient at cataloging. So he did what any scientist of the latter 19th century would have done: he fired his male assistant and replaced him with his maid, Willamina Fleming. Fleming proved so adept at computing and copying that she would work at Harvard for 34 years–eventually managing a large staff of assistants.
So began an era in Harvard Observatory history where women—more than 80 during Pickering’s tenure, from 1877 to his death in 1919— worked for the director, computing and cataloging data. Some of these women would produce significant work on their own; some would even earn a certain level of fame among followers of female scientists. But the majority are remembered not individually but collectively, by the moniker Pickering’s Harem.
IAN STEPHENSON AND HIS EVIDENCE FOR REINCARNATION
THE MYSTERIOUS DEATH OF ELISA LAM
Elisa Lam - a 21-year-old Canadian girl- came to California in late January 2013 as a tourist only to be found dead in early February 2013 in a Los Angeles hotel water tank, shortly after she was caught on film by one of the hotel's security cameras.
Her family reportedly didn’t know what she was up to, why she went to LA, or what she planned to do while she was there. She went alone, and checked into an infamously-seedy hotel that is near Skid Row and is known for having housed serial killers and rapists.
Apparently, she had bipolar disorder and had been in a depressive state - in her own words, having a ‘breakdown’ which caused her to have to withdraw from most or all of her classes.
In her final blog posts on http://nouvelle-nouveau.tumblr.com/ she talks a lot about feeling like a failure, berating herself for being ‘lazy’, and feeling like she has nothing going for her. A quote that she put all over her tumblr page, and that also appears on her blogspot, is :“You’re always haunted by the idea you’re wasting your life.”
Weirdly enough, 'someone' continues posting to this blog, as recently as December, 2013, or perhaps the posts were made by Lam herself, and placed in a queue. The entire case is shrouded in mystery and hypothesis. It is tantalizing to think that the posts appearing after her death may contain clues as to her fate. A film, Dark Water, made 11 years before Lam's death, presents an oddly prescient version of her disappearance and death.
THE CHILDREN WHO WENT UP IN SMOKE
For nearly four decades, anyone driving down Route 16 near Fayetteville, West Virginia, could see a billboard bearing the grainy images of five children, all dark-haired and solemn-eyed, their names and ages—Maurice, 14; Martha 12; Louis, 9; Jennie, 8; Betty, 5—stencilled beneath, along with speculation about what happened to them. Fayetteville was and is a small town, with a main street that doesn’t run longer than a hundred yards, and rumors always played a larger role in the case than evidence; no one even agreed on whether the children were dead or alive. What everyone knew for certain was this: On the night before Christmas 1945, George and Jennie Sodder and nine of their 10 children went to sleep (one son was away in the Army). Around 1 a.m., a fire broke out. George and Jennie and four of their children escaped, but the other five were never seen again.
George and Jeannie assumed that five of their children were dead, but a brief search of the grounds on Christmas Day turned up no trace of remains. Chief Morris suggested that the blaze had been hot enough to completely cremate the bodies. A state police inspector combed the rubble and attributed the fire to faulty wiring. George covered the basement with five feet of dirt, intending to preserve the site as a memorial. The coroner’s office issued five death certificates just before the new year, attributing the causes to “fire or suffocation.”
But the Sodders had begun to wonder if their children were still alive.A woman claimed to have seen the missing children peering from a passing car while the fire was in progress. A woman operating a tourist stop between Fayetteville and Charleston, some 50 miles west, said she saw the children the morning after the fire. “I served them breakfast,” she told police. “There was a car with Florida license plates at the tourist court, too.” A woman at a Charleston hotel saw the children’s photos in a newspaper and said she had seen four of the five a week after the fire. “The children were accompanied by two women and two men, all of Italian extraction,” she said in a statement. “I do not remember the exact date. However, the entire party did register at the hotel and stayed in a large room with several beds. They registered about midnight. I tried to talk to the children in a friendly manner, but the men appeared hostile and refused to allow me to talk to these children…. One of the men looked at me in a hostile manner; he turned around and began talking rapidly in Italian. Immediately, the whole party stopped talking to me. I sensed that I was being frozen out and so I said nothing more. They left early the next morning.”
In 1947, George and Jennie sent a letter about the case to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and received a reply from J. Edgar Hoover: “Although I would like to be of service, the matter related appears to be of local character and does not come within the investigative jurisdiction of this bureau.” Hoover’s agents said they would assist if they could get permission from the local authorities, but the Fayetteville police and fire departments declined the offer.
Next the Sodders turned to a private investigator named C.C. Tinsley, who discovered that the insurance salesman who had threatened George was a member of the coroner’s jury that deemed the fire accidental. He also heard a curious story from a Fayetteville minister about F.J. Morris, the fire chief. Although Morris had claimed no remains were found, he supposedly confided that he’d discovered “a heart” in the ashes. He hid it inside a dynamite box and buried it at the scene.
Tinsley persuaded Morris to show them the spot. Together they dug up the box and took it straight to a local funeral director, who poked and prodded the “heart” and concluded it was beef liver, untouched by the fire. Soon afterward, the Sodders heard rumors that the fire chief had told others that the contents of the box had not been found in the fire at all, that he had buried the beef liver in the rubble in the hope that finding any remains would placate the family enough to stop the investigation.
Over the next few years the tips and leads continued to come. George saw a newspaper photo of schoolchildren in New York City and was convinced that one of them was his daughter Betty. He drove to Manhattan in search of the child, but her parents refused to speak to him. In August 1949, the Sodders decided to mount a new search at the fire scene and brought in a Washington, D.C. pathologist named Oscar B. Hunter. The excavation was thorough, uncovering several small objects: damaged coins, a partly burned dictionary and several shards of vertebrae. Hunter sent the bones to the Smithsonian Institution, which issued the following report:
The human bones consist of four lumbar vertebrae belonging to one individual. Since the transverse recesses are fused, the age of this individual at death should have been 16 or 17 years. The top limit of age should be about 22 since the centra, which normally fuse at 23, are still unfused. On this basis, the bones show greater skeletal maturation than one would expect for a 14-year-old boy (the oldest missing Sodder child). It is however possible, although not probable, for a boy 14 ½ years old to show 16-17 maturation.
The vertebrae showed no evidence that they had been exposed to fire, the report said, and “it is very strange that no other bones were found in the allegedly careful evacuation of the basement of the house.” Noting that the house reportedly burned for only about half an hour or so, it said that “one would expect to find the full skeletons of the five children, rather than only four vertebrae.” The bones, the report concluded, were most likely in the supply of dirt George used to fill in the basement to create the memorial for his children.
THE MYSTERY IN PORTMAN AVENUE
In September 2012, a man in his twenties was found dead in Portman Avenue, a suburban street in west London.
He had suffered horrendous injuries to his head and face, but had no identity papers on him - and no one had reported him missing.
It is a story that spans two continents and eight countries. READ MORE
Junius Stinney was the youngest person in America to be executed on death row in 1944 at age 14. He was quickly accused by the (white police) of ‘killing’ two little (white girls) with lack of evidence. His conviction and sentencing opened and closed in one day. There were no witnesses called and there was no transcript of the trial details and black people were not allowed inside the courtroom during that time. (NOTE: A film, Carolina Skeletons, was made in 1991, which was based on this event, but gained almost no attention from the public or critics)
UPDATE : More than seven decades after South Carolina executed 14-year-old George Stinney, a judge has thrown out his conviction and cleared his name. Stinney was accused of killing two white girls, Betty June Binnicker, 11, and Mary Emma Thames, seven, who were found dead in a ditch on the black side of the racially segregated town of Alcolu, South Carolina, in March 1944. In the Jim Crow era of the South, Stinney was tried, convicted and executed within 83 days in the small mill town.
The case has cast a long shadow over South Carolina. Stinney’s surviving family, including two sisters and a brother, have long believed he was forced into a confession and made a scapegoat for a white community seeking vengeance for the violent murders of two white girls, found beaten in the head with an iron spike. In January, they launched a legal bid to overturn the verdict and testified at a two-day hearing.
In a judgment delivered on Wednesday, Judge Carmen Mullen described Stinney’s tragic case as “a truly unfortunate episode in our history”.
Vacating his conviction, Mullen said that “violation of the defendant’s procedural due process rights tainted his prosecution”.
Citing testimony by Dr Amanda Salas, Mullen said it was “highly likely that the defendant was coerced into confessing to the crimes due to the power differential between his position as a 14-year-old black male apprehended by white, uniformed law enforcement in a small segregated mill town in South Carolina”.
“The confession simply cannot be said to be known and voluntary, given the facts and circumstances of this case highlighting the defendant’s age and suggestibility,” she said.
Stinney was the youngest person ever to be executed in the US in the 20th century. Mullen said it was improbable that Stinney’s confession, delivered without a lawyer or his parents present, would stand up under the fifth or 14th amendments.
PLIGHT OF THE REAL LIVING DEAD
Cotard’s Delusion is a mental disorder where people suffer the nihilistic delusion that they are dead or no longer exist. First reported in the 1700s, the disorder is still largely a mystery today. The underlying cause isn’t understood; it’s been linked to bipolar disorder, depression and/or schizophrenia depending on the patient’s age. Here, ten people who went to their doctor and complained that they were dead.
1. In 1788, Charles Bonnet reported one of the earliest recorded cases of Cotard’s Delusion. An elderly woman was preparing a meal when she felt a draft and then became paralyzed on one side of her body. When feeling, movement, and the ability to speak came back to her, she told her daughters to dress her in a shroud and place her in a coffin. For days she continued to demand that her daughters, friends, and maid treat her like she was dead. They finally gave in, putting her in a shroud and laying her out so they could “mourn” her. Even at the “wake,” the lady continued to fuss with her shroud and complain about its color. When she finally fell asleep, her family undressed her and put her to bed. After she was treated with a “powder of precious stones and opium,” her delusions went away, only to return every few months.
2. Some 100 years after Bonnet met the old lady, French neurologist Jules Cotard saw a patient with an unusual complaint. Mademoiselle X, as Cotard called her in his notes, claimed to have “no brain, no nerves, no chest, no stomach and no intestines.” Despite this predicament, she also believed that she “was eternal and would live for ever.” Since she was immortal, and didn’t have any innards anyway, she didn’t see a need to eat, and soon died of starvation. Cotard’s description of the woman’s condition spread widely and was very influential, and the disorder was eventually named after him.
3. In 2008, New York psychiatrists reported on a 53-year-old patient, Ms. Lee, who complained that she was dead and smelled like rotting flesh. She asked her family to take her to a morgue so that she could be with other dead people. They dialed 911 instead. Ms. Lee was admitted to the psychiatric unit, where she accused paramedics of trying to burn her house down. After a month or so of a drug regimen, she was released with great improvement in her symptoms.
4. In 1996, a Scottish man who suffered head injury in a motorcycling accident began to believe he had died from complications during his recovery. Not long after he completed recovery, he and his mother moved from Edinburgh to South Africa. The heat, he explained to his doctors, confirmed his belief because only Hell could be so hot.
5. Last year, Japanese doctors described a 69-year-old patient who declared to one of the doctors, “I guess I am dead. I’d like to ask for your opinion.” When the doctor asked him whether a dead man could speak, the patient recognized that his condition defied logic, but could not shake his conviction that he was deceased. After a year, his delusion passed, but he insisted on the truth of what happened during it. “Now I am alive. But I was once dead at that time,” he said. He also believed that Kim Jong-il was also a patient at the same hospital.
6. In 2009, Belgian psychiatrists reported the case of an 88-year-old man who came to their hospital with symptoms of depression. The man explained that he was dead, and was concerned and anxious that no one had buried him yet. His delusions subsided with treatment.
7. The same doctors also treated a 46-year-old woman who claimed to have not eaten nor gone to the bathroom in months, nor slept in years. She explained that all her organs had rotted, that she had no blood and that doctors who monitored her heart or took her blood pressure were deceiving her because her heart didn’t beat. After multiple admissions to the hospital and a lapse in taking her medication over the next 10 months, her condition gradually improved.
8. Greek psychiatrists received a patient in 2003 who believed he was literally empty-headed. He had attempted suicide years earlier because he thought it wasn’t worth living since he didn’t have a brain. He was not treated after the incident and simply returned to work. Once at the hospital he “claimed that he was born ‘without a mind,’ meaning that his head is empty without a brain and for this reason he is retarded.” He left against medical advice after several days, and was re-admitted the next year. This time he completed treatment and showed sustained improvement in a follow-up interview months later.
9. The Greek doctors also treated a 72-year-old woman who went to the ER claiming “all of her organs had melted; only skin had remained and that she was practically dead.” She was admitted to the hospital and her outcome not reported.
10. In 2005, Iranian doctors described what may be the most unusual case recorded. A 32-year-old man arrived at their hospital saying that not only was he dead, but that he had been turned into a dog. He said that his wife had suffered the same fate. His three daughters, he believed, had also died and had turned into sheep. He said that his relatives had tried to poison him, but that nothing could hurt him because God protected him even in death. He was diagnosed with Cotard’s and clinical lycanthropy, treated with electro-convulsive therapy and relieved of his major symptoms. (You can read more about this case at my website.)
THE MOST AUDACIOUS AUSTRALIAN PRISON BREAK
The plot they hatched was as audacious as it was impossible—a 19th-century raid as elaborate and preposterous as any Ocean’s Eleven script. It was driven by two men—a guilt-ridden Irish Catholic nationalist, who’d been convicted and jailed for treason in England before being exiled to America, and a Yankee whaling captain—a Protestant from New Bedford, Massachusetts—with no attachment to the former’s cause, but a firm belief that it was “the right thing to do.” Along with a third man—an Irish secret agent posing as an American millionaire—they devised a plan to sail halfway around the world to Fremantle, Australia, with a heavily armed crew to rescue a half-dozen condemned Irishmen from one of the most remote and impregnable prison fortresses ever built.To succeed, the plan required precision timing, a months-long con and more than a little luck of the Irish. The slightest slip-up, they knew, could be catastrophic for all involved. By the time the Fremantle Six sailed into New York Harbor in August, 1876, more than a year had passed since the plot had been put into action. Their mythic escape resonated around the world and emboldened the Irish Republican Brotherhood for decades in its struggle for independence from the British Empire. READ MORE
CODE NAME : INKA
Danuta Siedzikówna was born in September 1928 in a village called Gluszczewina. Her life—and her death—would come to be defined by the events of the Second World War.
In 1943, at the age of fifteen, she became a member of the Armia Krajowa—the Polish underground “Home Army,” one of the most active resistance forces in Europe. Between 1944 and 1945 she received medical training, in order to serve as a medic for these resistance forces. Her father died in Tehran, having gone there to join Gen. Anders’ Polish Army. Her mother was arrested in 1942 and executed nearly a year later for collaboration with the underground.
The same fate, eventually, awaited Danuta. Even after the war’s official end, an underground anti-communist resistance movement remained active in Poland. These men and women would come to be called “cursed soldiers,” people for whom the war could not end. The remnants of the officially disbanded Armia Krajowa were characterized by the communist state apparatus as a “hostile element which must be removed without mercy.”
On June 6, 1945 “Inka” was arrested and taken to Bialystokn for aiding guerilla fighters in the forest around Hajnówka. This time, however, she and the other prisoners were freed by an Armia Krajowa reconnaissance unit based in Wilno and operating, temporarily, from Spieszyn. It was here, under the command of “Łupaszka” (Maj. Zygmunt Szendzielarz) that she began work as a medic.
This unit was disbanded later in 1945, and Danuta began to work in Miłomłyn for the forest service there. This activity was cut short in 1946 when the unit resumed operations. “Inka” returned to her service as a medic, this time under “Zelazny” (Lt. Zdislaw Badocha), and also took on the role of a courier.
She was arrested sometime during the night of July 19-20, 1946 based on information extracted from another captured nurse. “Inka” herself, however, was said to have revealed nothing about her unit when interrogated. Her trial was held on August 3.
Danuta was executed on August 28, 1946 with another member of the resistance—Feliks Selmanowicz, called “Zagonczyk.” According the account provided by the priest who performed their Last Rites, the condemned refused to have their eyes covered. They were read the refusal to pardon them, and, when the order was given to fire, Inka and Zagonczyk together shouted “Niech żyje Polska! Niech żyje Łupaszko!” Long live Poland! Long live Łupaszka!
There, in a prison in Gdansk, they died. The site of their burial is unknown.
THE MISSINGEST MAN IN NYC
The disappearance of New York Supreme Court judge Joseph Force Crater captured so much media attention that the phrase “pulling a Crater” briefly entered the public vernacular as a synonym for going AWOL. On August 6, 1930, the dapper 41-year-old left his office and dined with an acquaintance at a Manhattan chophouse. He was last seen walking down the street outside the restaurant. The massive investigation into his disappearance captivated the nation, earning Crater the title of “the missingest man in New York.” Crater was infamous for his shady dealings with the corrupt Tammany Hall political machine and frequent dalliances with showgirls. In the days leading up to his disappearance, he had reportedly received a mysterious phone call and cashed two large personal checks. These details spawned rampant speculation that the judge had been a victim of foul play. He was declared legally dead in 1939.
In 2005, New York police revealed that new evidence had emerged in the case of the city’s missingest man. A woman who had died earlier that year had left a handwritten note in which she claimed that her husband and several other men, including a police officer, had murdered Crater and buried his body beneath a section of the Coney Island boardwalk. That site had been excavated during the construction of the New York Aquarium in the 1950s, long before technology existed to detect and identify human remains. As a result, the question of whether or not Judge Crater sleeps with the fishes remains a mystery. READ MORE
A 'MCGUFFAN' WITH BITE
Jacco Macacco was a fighting ape or monkey who was exhibited in monkey-baiting matches at the Westminster Pit in London in the early 1820s. He achieved some measure of fame among the sporting community through his reputed prodigious record of victories against dogs. He was described as ashy, with black fingers and muzzle and may have derived his first name from his association with the Jack Tars that brought him into the country.
Jacco reputedly weighed 10 to 12 pounds (4.5 to 5.4 kg) and was pitched against dogs of up to twice his weight for a bet from ten to fifty pounds that the dog would not last five minutes.
According to William Pitt Lennox :
"His mode of attack, or rather of defense, was, at first, to present his back or neck to the dog, and to shift and tumble about until he could lay hold on the arm or chest, when he ascended to the windpipe, clawing and biting away, which usually occupied him about one minute and a half, and if his antagonist was not speedily with drawn, his death was certain; the monkey exhibited a frightful appearance, being deluged with blood - but it was that of his opponent alone; as the toughness and flexibility of his own skin rendered him impervious to the teeth of the dog."
Lennox writes that after several fights, Jacco adapted his technique and would overcome his canine opponents by leaping directly on their backs and manoeuvring himself into a position where he could tear at their windpipes while remaining out of reach of their jaws.
Jacco had finished off fourteen dogs in a row, but then he was challenged by a canine named Puss, who had a similar record. Puss suffered a lacerated neck and Jacco had his jaw torn off, both died shortly after the match.
La Mancha Negra
A Hazard unique to Venezuelan highways is a slippery goo called La Mancha Negra (the black stain), although it is more of a sludge with the consistency of chewing gum. Although the government has spent millions of dollars in research, no one knows what the goo is and where it comes from, or how to get rid of it. It first appeared in 1987 on the road from Caracas to the airport, covering 50 yards, and spread inexorably every year. By 1992 it was a major road hazard all around the capital and it was claimed 1,800 motorists had died after losing control. The problem remains to this day.
John (Pa) Bender Sr. and son John Bender Jr. arrived with four other families of spiritualists to claim newly vacant Kansas land in October 1870 following relocation of the Osage Indians to a new territory in Oklahoma after the American Civil War.
The Benders claimed 160 acres adjacent to the Great Osage Trail, which was, at the time, the only open road for traveling further west. Ma Bender (her real name was never known) and daughter Kate arrived the following Fall after Pa and John had built a cabin, a barn and a well on the land.
Kate’s self-proclaimed healing and psychic abilities became a big attraction for the inn. She distributed flyers advertising her ability to cure illnesses. She also conducted séances and lectured on spiritualism.
Beginning in 1871 there was rash of disappearances as travelers passing through area were never heard from again. Suspicion began to fall on the Bender family in 1873. Three days after a town meeting was held about the disappearances, it was discovered the Benders had vanished.
The Ovitz family originated from Rozávlya in Hungary, descended from Shimson Eizik Ovitz (1868–1923), an itinerant entertainer and wandering rabbi. He fathered ten children in total, seven of them dwarfs (afflicted with pseudoachondroplasia), from two marriages.
The children from his first marriage to Brana Fruchter (she was of average height), Rozika (1886–1984) and Franzika (1889–1980), were both dwarfs. Shimson's second wife Batia Bertha Husz, also average height, produced the following children: Avram (1903–1972) (dwarf), Freida (1905–1975) (dwarf), Sarah (1907–1993) (average height), Micki (1909–1972) (dwarf), Leah (1911-1987) (average height), Elizabeth (1914–1992) (dwarf), Arie (1917–1944) (average height), and Piroska (1921–2001), also known as Pearla (dwarf). Batia gave her family one piece of advice that would stay with them for the rest of their lives, and that ultimately saved their lives. She said: "through thick and thin, never separate. Stick together, guard each other, and live for one another". The one brother, Arie, who did not follow his mother's advice was killed trying to escape a Hungarian Labor Camp, and his wife, their newborn daughter and his in-laws were killed in Auschwitz.
The children founded their own ensemble, the Lilliput Troupe. They sang and played music using small instruments and performed all over Romania, Hungary and Czechoslovakia in the 1930s and 1940s. The taller relatives helped backstage. The Ovitzes sang in Yiddish, Hungarian, Romanian, Russian and German. When they were not touring, they lived in a single house with their spouses.
At the start of World War II, there were 12 family members, seven of them dwarfs. When Hungary seized Northern Transylvania in September 1940, the new racial laws banned Jewish artists from entertaining non-Jews. Though the Ovitzes were observant Jews, they obtained papers which omitted the fact that they were Jewish and continued going on their tours until 1944. On May 15, 1944, all twelve family members were deported to Auschwitz. One taller brother escaped the round up but was later arrested and executed.
Once in the camp, the Ovitzes attracted the attention of the German camp doctor, Josef Mengele (known as the Angel of Death), who collected curiosities for his own experiments on heredity. He separated the Ovitzes from the rest of the camp inmates to add them to his collection of test subjects. He was curious about the fact that the family included both dwarfs and taller members. Eleven other prisoners claimed to be their relatives, and Mengele moved all of them to his "human zoo".
Wanting to spare the group of dwarfs (because they were harder to find than other kinds of test subjects, such as twins), Mengele arranged to have special living quarters built for them, so they could be monitored. To keep them healthy for his human experimentation, he arranged for them to have more hygienic living conditions, better food and their own bedclothes. Mengele even allowed them to keep their own clothes, and forced the taller members of the group to carry the dwarfs to the experimentation sites.
The Ovitzes—like many other camp inmates—were subjected to various tests. Mengele's physicians extracted bone marrow and pulled out teeth and hair to find signs of heredtary disease. They poured hot and cold water in their ears and blinded them with chemical drops. Gynecologists inspected the married women. Eighteen-month-old, Shinshon Ovitz, was put through the worst ordeals because he had taller parents and was prematurely born; Mengele drew blood from the veins behind his ears and from his fingers. The Ovitzes also witnessed two newcomer dwarfs being killed and boiled so their bones could be exhibited in a museum. Mengele also filmed them; this film was not found after the war, and it is possible that he kept it when he fled.
They expected to be killed after Mengele had finished his experiments, but they lived to see the liberation of Auschwitz on January 27, 1945. The Red Army took them to the Soviet Union where they lived in a refugee camp for some time before they were released.
The Ovitzes traveled on foot for seven months to their home village. They found their home looted, moved first to the village of Sighet, and later to Belgium. In May 1949, they immigrated to Israel, settled in Haifa, and began their tours again, being quite successful and packing large concert halls. In 1955, they retired and bought a cinema hall.
Descendants of the dwarf men of the family were born taller; the women did not become pregnant due to their small pelvises. The firstborn of the dwarfs, Rozika Ovitz, died in 1984 at the age of 98. The last adult dwarf survivor of the family, Perla Ovitz, died in 2001.
Declassified documents revealed that the US came perilously close to a world changing incident which would have left large parts of the country devastated for years.
The bomb would have been 260 times more powerful than the device that devastated Hiroshima, according to a declassified document.
The incident happened when two Mark 39 hydrogen bombs were accidentally dropped over Goldsboro, North Carolina, after a B-52 bomber broke up in midair.
And all that seemed to be between the atom bombs and disaster was a small low-voltage switch.
One of the two bombs carried by the B-52 bomber had been set to "armed" when it hit the ground.
The new report, released by the National Security Archive, said that if the switch had not been damaged during the crash it could have been disasterous.
A family sustained injuries when the unexplained explosion tore through their backyard. They were treated for minor injuries by a doctor at his house, before returning to their home to find a 15-metre crater.
They soon discovered it was an atomic bomb.
The Guardian newspaper reported in September last year z document, obtained by investigative journalist Eric Schlosser under the Freedom of Information Act, gave conclusive evidence that the United States came close to a disaster in January 1961.
There had been persistent speculation about how serious the incident was and the US government had repeatedly denied its nuclear arsenal put Americans' lives at risk through safety flaws.
Fallout could have spread over Washington, Baltimore, Philadelphia and even New York City, the paper said, threatening the lives of millions of people.
The details described in Schlosser's report were echoed in the newly released documents by Bill Burr of the National Security Archives.
“The report implied that because Weapon 2 landed in a free-fall, without the parachute operating, the timer did not initiate the bomb’s high voltage battery (“trajectory arming”), a step in the arming sequence,” Burr wrote.
“For Weapon 2, the Arm/Safe switch was in the “safe” position, yet it was virtually armed because the impact shock had rotated the indicator drum to the “armed” position. But the shock also damaged the switch contacts, which had to be intact for the weapon to detonate.”
“Perhaps this is what Secretary of Defence Robert McNamara had in mind, a few years later, when he observed that, ‘by the slightest margin of chance, literally the failure of two wires to cross, a nuclear explosion was averted.’”
Parker Jones, a senior engineer in the Sandia National Laboratories responsible for the mechanical safety of nuclear weapons, concluded in a document released last year that "one simple, dynamo-technology, low-voltage switch stood between the United States and a major catastrophe."
Jones' report, titled "Goldsboro Revisited or: How I Learned to Mistrust the H-Bomb," was written eight years after the accident in which one hydrogen bomb fell into a field near Faro, North Carolina, and the other into a meadow.
He found that three of four safety mechanisms designed to prevent unintended detonation failed to operate properly in the Faro bomb.
When the bomb hit the ground, a firing signal was sent to the nuclear core of the device and it was only the final, highly vulnerable switch that averted a disaster.
"The MK 39 Mod 2 bomb did not possess adequate safety for the airborne alert role in the B-52," Jones concluded.
Exercise Tiger, or Operation Tiger, were the code names for a full-scale rehearsal in 1944 for the D-Day invasion of Normandy. During the exercise, an Allied convoy was attacked, resulting in the deaths of 749 American servicemen. The lack of widespread knowledge of this exercise was due to intentional efforts (unlike most others on this list). As a result of official embarrassment and concerns over possible leaks just prior to the real invasion, all survivors were sworn to secrecy by their superiors. Ten missing officers involved in the exercise had Bigot–level clearance for D-Day, meaning that they knew the invasion plans and could have compromised the invasion should they have been captured alive. As a result, the invasion was nearly called off until the bodies of all ten victims were found.
With little or no support, from the American or British armed forces, for any venture to recover remains or dedicate a memorial to the incident, Devon resident and civilian Ken Small took on the task of seeking to commemorate the event, after discovering evidence of the aftermath washed up on the shore while beach-combing in the early 1970s.
TRANSNISTRIA : GANGSTER NATION
Transnistria, a nascent republic, is wedged between Ukraine and Moldova, and heavily subsidized with questionable funds from Russia. The breakaway state has its share of unsettled geopolitics—including the fact that much of the international community doesn't recognize it as a sovereign nation.
Transnistria has a reputation of being a haven for smuggling. In 2002, the European Parliament's delegation to Moldova named Transnistria "a black hole in which illegal trade in arms, the trafficking in human beings and the laundering of criminal finance was carried on". In 2005, The Wall Street Journal called Transnistria "a major haven for smuggling weapons and women".
The rebellion that established the independence of Transnistria was not motivated by Russian nationalism, but by Soviet nostalgia — or, rather, by the inability to imagine a future other than a communist one. For many years after independence, Transnistria tried to re-establish that ineffective mainstay of communism, so eagerly rejected elsewhere: a centrally planned economy. As recently as September, 2012, seven individuals were arrested for allegedly trafficking uranium and weapons in the breakaway region, which is reputedly governed by gangsters. The group had allegedly been involved in shipments of hand grenades, Kalashnikov assault rifles, rocket propelled grenade launchers, and even containers of uranium-235, which could be used to produce a nuclear bomb.
She has sold over 10-million records and her infrequent gigs in Belgrade - all dedicated to her late husband - typically attracted 100,000 fans.
Her career began as a child star, singing nationalist love songs popular among Serbian peasants. But it was her 1995 marriage to Arkan Raznatovic that set her on the path to regional super-stardom.
Many believe her husband's reputation for merciless aggression helped open doors in the television and music industries.
After Yugoslavia crumbled in 1991, Arkan formed the Serb Volunteer Guard paramilitary group - also known as Arkan's Tigers.
They were blamed for some of the worst atrocities of a conflict for which the term 'ethnic-cleansing' was coined.
Arkan and Ceca's wedding, broadcast live on Serbian television, was a trashy mix of Serbian tradition and gangster glamour.
In the years that followed, they became icons. Ceca became a pin up for Serb nationalism and her looks were copied by younger Serbian women, while her husband became an idol for young men and was celebrated as a war hero.
Helped by his wartime exploits, Arkan maintained high-level connections with Serbian state-apparatus.
But he was also an influential underground figure, allegedly involved in protection rackets, extortion, and the smuggling of oil and luxury items.
An ally of then Serbian president Slobodan Milosevic, he also owned casinos, discos, gas stations, pastry shops, stores, bakeries, restaurants, gyms, as well as a private security agency.
At Mr Milosevic's trial at the International Criminal Court in 2005, witness Vojislav Seselj described Arkan as 'an untouchable criminal figure in Belgrade and all of the former Yugoslavia.'
Arkan was himself indicted by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in 1999 for crimes against humanity, but was assassinated before he could be brought to trial.
Ceca (left) was arrested and briefly jailed in 2003 in connection with the assassination of Serbian Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic. Police found a huge cache of weapons in her home in the upscale Belgrade Dedinje district.
During the embezzlement investigation, Ceca claimed most of the transfers were arranged in advance by her late husband. She has also said that the hand guns and bullets discovered in her house in 2003 belonged to Arkan.
Belgrade media said she has so far evaded legal prosecution thanks to the support of current and former Serbian political leaders who consider her untouchable because of her huge popularity, not only in Serbia but also in the rest of the former Yugoslavia.
A psychic reports:
The incident involves a highjacking. Two (or more) crew members were involved. The pilot, taking out the co-pilot. There was a female who also helped and I believe she was a stewardess. Chuck can validate I told him this stuff…They turned off the communication devices, The passengers were put to sleep when they either depressurized the cable or turned off oxygen, this wasn’t entirely clear, but the passengers all passed out from a lack of oxygen quietly, and didn't suffer.) They might have had oxygen masks on for awhile, but it wasn't enough. I don’t think so, because no one called. if they had known about it they would have called.
The plane was made to look as if it went down. I don’t believe it did.
This plane was diverted North to an undisclosed place close to Pakistan or Iran. It may have been in several stages. They may even have removed the black box and put it on a decoy plane and sent it into the Indian Ocean with some bodies to make people think that it went down.
The reason for doing this is they wanted the plane, something about the technology. It didn’t make sense to me, but Chuck said by studying this plane they may be able to find ways to turn off any and all Tracking devices and identities of future planes so they can be used. Lets just say there may be more missing planes in the future. Chuck who has Military background said that he felt this has remarkable long range plan applications for future short term missions. It worked for 911 and if they are more savvy they could do a lot of damage upon the US and other targets throughout the world to wreak havoc. I also feel that they are trying to target young American males who are disgruntled, and need a sense of belonging, and being “warriors” into their ranks. Their job will be to help take out American targets because they can “pass” for normal. These will include Dams and Power Infrastructures. They are linked to Al Qaeda.
The dig site at Lake Delavan was overseen by Beloit College and it included more than 200 effigy mounds that proved to be classic examples of 8th century Woodland Culture. But the enormous size of the skeletons and elongated skulls found in May 1912 did not fit very neatly into anyone's concept of a textbook standard.
They were enormous. These were not average human beings. READ MORE
*MADE BY RENNY HARLIN / 2013*
“If I had a chance to ask God just one question, it would be, ‘What really happened to my friends that night?’” Yury Yudin, expedition survivor
In 1959, ten normal, healthy cross-country skiers set off on a camping trip in Russia’s Ural Mountains. Nine never returned. When their bodies were finally found, many elements of eerie mystery hung heavily in the air. Three of the individuals had fallen victim to inexplicable crushing injuries. The tongue of one of the others was missing.