Incredible Intricate Mixed Media Sculptures
Kansas-based artist Kris Kuksi, previously featured on Curious History, opened his fourth solo show, Revival, at the Joshua Liner Gallery in New York on November 21st. Kuksi continues his use of ornate assemblage to create wildly complex sculptures that comment on history, life, death, and spiritual conflict. Revival will be on view through January 18, 2014 and you can see many more pieces from the exhibition in this gallery.
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.
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.)
Recoleta Cemetery — The City of the Dead
A Doric-columned portico marks the entrance to the city of the dead, Recoleta Cemetery in Here is where the great and powerful of ’s history rest in peace. Former presidents, military generals, artists, scientists and, most famously, Eva Perón (picture 7), are buried here in fabulous mausoleums of stone and bronze.
There are more than 6,400 tombs densely packed against one another along narrow alleyways and somber avenues. A cemetery with mausoleums like these are rare - row upon row of narrow miniature stone buildings, some four or five stories tall. Each unique and topped with gilded ornaments and detailed carvings.