Wrongly Convicted and Executed for Murder
Timothy Evans and his wife, Beryl, often quarreled, and when Beryl found that she was pregnant for the second time, they both agreed that she should have an abortion. In 1949 this was illegal in the United Kingdom, so they took up the offer of a downstairs neighbor to assist them. What they didn’t know was that their neighbor, John Christie, was a serial killer.
Christie murdered Timothy Evans’ wife and baby daughter, but the police did not believe Evans’ story. When they searched John Christie’s apartment, they completely missed the bodies and bones of his previous victims, including Evan’s wife and baby. Fabricated confessions and other police misconduct led to Evans’ wrongful conviction for the murder of his daughter. He was executed by hanging in 1950. In 1953, the bodies of Christie’s victims were finally discovered and he was hanged that same year. A 1966 inquiry cleared Evans of the murders of his wife and daughter and he was granted a posthumous pardon. Cold comfort to a dead man, but thankfully something good did arise from all of this. His case contributed to the movement that abolished the death penalty in Britain. Unfortunately, the United States has not followed suit.
Giant Species of Hornet Kills Dozens in China
The insect responsible for the deaths is the Asian giant hornet (Vespa mandarinia). This species of hornet has a 6 millimeter stinger that injects its victim with venom containing a neurotoxin that is powerful enough to dissolve human tissue and make holes in our flesh.
The Asian giant hornet is the largest species of hornet in the world. They can grow up to 1.5 inches and the queens can grow up to two inches. These wasp-like creatures can be found specifically in China, Korea, Japan, India, and Nepal.
In China, quite a number of people are being stung by hornets. Since July of this year, 42 people have died and about 1,675 have reported more minor suffering from being stung by hornets.
Romantic underwater photography. Still life scenes meticulously created in huge dark tanks of water then photographed. Artist statement:
This series revisits the work of the 17th century Dutch masters using period props, food and real insects including butterflies that I breed myself. Each carefully staged underwater scene is captured in-camera, using subtle distortions of light and movement from the water’s own wave energy to create a unique and painterly effect without either traditional or digital post-production. The subjects appear to be floating in a black space which neither interferes nor disrupts the subject matter but interacts with it within this void to offer a serene and dreamlike sensation.
A Leap of Death
Buffalo Courier Press photographer I. Russell Sorgi did a little impromptu ambulance chasing on his way back from another job. He wound up snapping photos of a woman standing on a ledge at the Geneese Hotel as she waved goodbye and started her fall to her death. He quickly reloaded his camera and caught the last second of her life, 15 feet above the cold sidewalk below. Her name was Mary Miller. There is something about seeing her frozen here in the middle of her last, irreversible action, a moment before her death, that is truly haunting.
On a creepy side note, this photograph was used in a psychological study and it was found that 96% of the people given the photo didn’t even notice her body caught mid-fall in the middle of the picture on their first examination of the shot. Did you?
Happy Halloween! We’re marking today with a positively creepy Throwback Thursday. In 1925, Dr. Thomas Young, a Los Angeles dentist, was on trial in the slaying of his wife, whom he confessed to killing and burying in a cistern at their Beverly Glen cabin.
"About three hours before he was to face another tortuous day" in court, The Times’ Aug. 28, 1925, story recounts, Young "slew himself with an improvised garrot [sic] fashioned from a radio wire."
But that’s not what makes this the story we decided to share on Halloween. It’s Young’s apparent motive for the suicide.
The story mentions several possibilities, but, it says, “the most plausible reason” is the ghost of Young’s dead wife “haunting his prison cell.”
And his wife’s wasn’t the only ghost that visited him during his lifetime. The story goes on:
Dr. Young recently told four alienists during an examination of his sanity that frequently within the past four years he had been visited by his brother’s ghost. Like himself, his brother had slain a woman and then had committed suicide. The ghostly vision drove him from one city to another, never permitting Dr. Young to elude it, and eventually drove the dentist to Los Angeles, where he established his business, married the wealthy widow of California’s “olive king” and then murdered her for her fortune.
"I would see my brother’s vision just as I dropped off to sleep," he told the alienists. "It always appeared in a large hall. And I was always in the back of the hall and he was always up in the right corner. I could tell it was my brother by his form."
Always, when the vision appeared in the night, it would try to speak to Dr. Young, but he could never distinguish the words, Dr. Young told the alienists. The thing worried him, but did not frighten him, and he was never able to sleep.
Read the whole story: Apparitions Held Cause for Young’s Suicide
(Photos: Top: Dr. Thomas W. Young seen from waist up, holding a flower in Los Angeles in 1925. Credit: Los Angeles Times / UCLA Library. Bottom: Two detectives unearthing the remains of Grace Young at Beverly Glen cabin in Los Angeles in 1925. Credit: Los Angeles Times)
S.S. OURANG MEDAN — Whole Crew Discovered Dead After Eerie SOS Messages
An unsubstantiated ghost ship claim, this one is no less terrifying: In 1947, the Dutch cargo ship S.S. Ourang Medan (Indonesian for “Man from Medan”) was found drifting in Indonesian waters. Several ships transversing the Strait of Malacca, located between Sumatra and Malaysia, picked up her distress call that stated “All officers including captain are dead, lying in chart room and bridge. Possibly whole crew dead.” A flurry of unintelligible Morse code and S.O.S. signals followed, ending with the grisly message: “I die.”
When the Ourang Medan was located and boarded by the crew of an American merchant ship, the Silver Star, the claim didn’t disappoint: the bodies of the Dutch crew were strewn among the decks, out in the open, down in the boiler room, everywhere. “Their frozen faces were upturned to the sun… staring, as if in fear… the mouths were gaping open and the eyes staring,” according to a witness account printed in the United States Coast Guard’s 1952 proceedings. Even the ship’s dog was dead. No damage to the ship was found, and no sign of physical injury was found among the corpses. Other than the fact that they were, you know, dead.
No sooner than the Silver Star’s crew cut the towline and made it back to their vessel, the Ourang Medan exploded. If they’d waited much longer, the Silver Star would have almost certainly been dragged down with it.
Popular theories include carbon monoxide poisoning, paranormal phenomena, and a cargo of hazardous chemicals — possibly a combination of nitrogylcerin and potassium cyanide. However, the story of the Ourang Medan is widely believed to be either an exaggeration of another event or else a fabrication altogether. Skeptics roundly disdain the tale, pointing to the fact that no such ship was listed in Lloyd’s Shipping Register of that year, nor were any references to it were found in the ship registration records of the Netherlands. (It was still alarming enough to spark an investigation by the US Coast Guard, though, with plenty of witnesses, indicating that somebody at least saw something.)
Animals Preserved by Salt, Not Killed by Deadly Lake
Lake Natron does not turn animals to stone and it did not “kill” these animals as reported by many websites. Lake Natron in Tanzania hosts beautiful wildlife. And for those animals that do become interred here, animals don’t immediately die and turn to stone upon touching the lake. Those that fall in and perish are exceptionally preserved by the salts that make the lake so unique, but the lake’s surface isn’t an aquatic equivalent of Medusa’s gaze.
Nick Brandt unexpectedly found the dead animals that had washed up on the shore, preserved by the high content of sale in the lake, and posed them as they had been in life. The photographs, taken between 2010 and 2012, appear in Brandt’s new book Across the Ravaged Land. The pictures are meant for art and not a statement of science.
Jaimi Butler, of the Great Salt Lake Institute at Westminster College in Utah, said that on the shoreline of the northern arm of the Great Salt Lake can preserve animals in much the same way. She has found birds that are so encrusted in salt you can pick them up and they will stay in the same position they were lying in.
Thure Cerling, professor of geology and geophysics at the University of Utah, said by email that the animals in Brandt’s photographs likely died of natural causes. Since there are few predators in the area, their bodies remain and become salt-encrusted when the lake’s water level drops.
The animals aren’t truly calcified, but are coated with sodium carbonate or sodium bicarbonate, said Cerling, who has researched the chemistry of Africa’s Rift Valley lakes. “There is almost no calcium in the lake, although the inflowing fresh waters have calcium, which precipitates as it mixes with the high-pH alkaline waters of the lake.”
Although the alkaline waters of Lake Natron are harsh, they are not lifeless. Even though the lake is particularly warm and salty, algae within the lake supports a species of tilapia adapted to the unusual conditions. In addition, three-quarters of the Earth’s flamingo population use Lake Natron as a breeding site because the water stays low enough to prevent nest flooding but remains high enough that there’s a barrier between predators and the conical nests the birds build.