Thursday, June 30, 2011


I wanted to mention another famous John Wayne so Michelle Bachmann doesn't become more confused:

John Wayne Bobbitt - John Wayne Bobbit's wife, Loreana, severed his penis with a knife in 1993. His penis was re-attached.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

John Wayne vs. John Wayne Gacy

I honestly didn't think ANYTHING could top Sarah Palin's Paul Revere monologue of early June 2011:

"He who warned, uh, the British that they weren’t gonna be takin’ away our arms, uh, by ringing those bells, and um, makin' sure as he’s riding his horse through town to send those warning shots and bells that we were going to be sure and we were going to be free, and we were going to be armed."

But I was wrong!

On Monday, Michele Bachmann kicked off her presidential campaign in Iowa by claiming she is more American than an apple pie sitting on a checkered tablecloth on a wooden picnic table on the Fourth of July. She compared herself to another great American who came from her Iowa hometown, John Wayne. There is a problem. She got her John Wayne's mixed up! The John Wayne that comes from her hometown of Waterloo, Iowa is child serial killer, John Wayne Gacy.

This is beyond the beyond. If she can't get a fluff section of her speech correct, the mind boggles at what this twit would do in just one meeting that would take serious preparation. Let's just imagine she is elected president (don't laugh-this country elected George Bush), and she has to meet with the president of Russia. She might say something like this: "I'm so glad to be meeting with the Russian President. It has been years since so many workers had to move the enormous iron curtain. Many lost their lives moving it to the Smithsonian. But we proudly display it as a reminder of what can happen when something so big crushes so many, even though it looks like a curtain."

I look forward to a LONG year or so of amazing nonsense. I think we are all living down the rabbit hole now. Just to recap:



Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Siamese Twins

Conjoined twins (also known as Siamese twins) are identical twins whose bodies are joined in utero. A rare phenomenon, the occurrence is estimated to range from 1 in 50,000 births to 1 in 100,000 births, with a somewhat higher incidence in Southwest Asia and Africa. Approximately half are stillborn, and a smaller fraction of pairs born alive have abnormalities incompatible with life. The overall survival rate for conjoined twins is approximately 25%. The condition is more frequently found among females, with a ratio of 3:1.

The most famous pair of conjoined twins was Chang and Eng Bunker (Thai: อิน-จัน, In-Chan) (1811–1874), Thai brothers born in Siam, now Thailand. They traveled with P.T. Barnum's circus for many years and were billed as the Siamese Twins. Chang and Eng were joined by a band of flesh, cartilage, and their fused livers at the torso. In modern times, they could have been easily separated.Due to the brothers' fame and the rarity of the condition, the term came to be used as a synonym for conjoined twins.


Monday, June 27, 2011

Asteroid Comes Close To Our Ass!

This morning a 33 foot long asteroid came within 7,500 miles of earth. It passed over the Atlantic Ocean. This asteroid is named 2011 MD. Who the hell names these things? That is such a stupid name. I don't know what the impact of a 33 foot long asteroid hitting the Atlantic Ocean would have, but why not name it accordingly? So if it would cause high waves, but not really screw anything up, why not name it "Surfer Rock"? If it was more serious and would cause a bunch of people to be without water for a month, let's call it "Thirsty 30 Days."
They say it was closer to the earth than the moon. The moon seems pretty fucking far away to me, but I'm sure in space measurements, this thing almost flew up our collective asses.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

REAL Vampires #4 - Countess Elizabeth Báthory de Ecsed

Countess Elizabeth Báthory de Ecsed (Báthory Erzsébet in Hungarian, Alžbeta Bátoriová in Slovak; 7 August 1560 – 21 August 1614) was a countess from the renowned Báthory family of Hungarian nobility. She is considered the most prolific female serial killer in history and possibly the most prolific of any gender.
She and four collaborators were accused of torturing and killing hundreds of girls, with one witness attributing to them over 650 victims, though the number for which they were convicted was 80. Elizabeth herself was neither tried nor convicted. In 1610, however, she was imprisoned in the Csejte Castle, now in Slovakia and known as Čachtice, where she remained bricked in a set of rooms until her death four years later.
Later writings about the case have led to legendary accounts of the Countess bathing in the blood of virgins in order to retain her youth and subsequently also to comparisons with Vlad III the Impaler of Wallachia, on whom the fictional Count Dracula is partly based, and to modern nicknames of the Blood Countess and Countess Dracula.

Elizabeth was engaged to Ferenc Nádasdy, in what was probably a political arrangement within the circles of the aristocracy. The couple married on 8 May 1575, in the little palace of Varannó. There were approximately 4,500 guests at the wedding. Elizabeth moved to Nádasdy Castle in Sárvár and spent much time on her own, while her husband studied in Vienna. Ferenc was the son of Baron Tamás Nádasdy de Nádasd et Fogarasföld and his wife, Orsolya Kanizsai.
Nádasdy’s wedding gift to Báthory was his home, Csejte Castle, situated in the Little Carpathians near Trencsén (now Trenčín), together with the Csejte country house and 17 adjacent villages. The castle itself was surrounded by a village and agricultural lands, bordered by outcrops of the Little Carpathians. In 1602, Nádasdy finally bought the castle from Rudolf II, Holy Roman Emperor, so that it became a private property of the family.
In 1578, Nádasdy became the chief commander of Hungarian troops, leading them to war against the Ottomans. With her husband away at war, Elizabeth Báthory managed business affairs and the estates. That role usually included providing for the Hungarian and Slovak peasants, even medical care.
During the height of the Long War (1593–1606), she was charged with the defense of her husband's estates, which lay on the route to Vienna. The threat was significant, for the village of Csejte had previously been plundered by the Ottomans while Sárvár, located near the border that divided Royal Hungary and Ottoman occupied Hungary, was in even greater danger.
She was an educated woman who could read and write in four languages. There were several instances where she intervened on behalf of destitute women, including a woman whose husband was captured by the Turks and a woman whose daughter was raped and impregnated.
In 1585, Elizabeth gave birth to a daughter, Anna. A second daughter, Ursula, and her first son, Thomas, both died at an early age. After this, Elizabeth had three more children, Katherine (born in 1594), Paul (born around 1597) and Nicholas. All of her children were cared for by governesses as Elizabeth had been.
Elizabeth's husband died in 1604 at the age of 47, reportedly due to an injury sustained in battle. The couple had been married for 29 years.


Early investigation

Between 1602 and 1604, Lutheran minister István Magyari complained about atrocities both publicly and with the court in Vienna, after rumors had spread.
The Hungarian authorities took some time to respond to Magyari's complaints. Finally, in 1610, King Matthias assigned György Thurzo, the Palatine of Hungary, to investigate. Thurzó ordered two notaries to collect evidence in March 1610. Even before obtaining the results, Thurzó debated further proceedings with Elizabeth's son Paul and two of her sons-in-law. A trial and execution would have caused a public scandal and disgraced a noble and influential family (which at the time ruled Transylvania), and Elizabeth's considerable property would have been seized by the crown. Thurzó, along with Paul and her two sons-in-law, originally planned for Elizabeth to be spirited away to a nunnery, but as accounts of her murder of the daughters of lesser nobility spread, it was agreed that Elizabeth Báthory should be kept under strict house arrest, but that further punishment should be avoided. It was also determined that Matthias would not have to repay his large debt to her, for which he lacked sufficient funds.

Arrest and trial

Thurzó went to Csejte Castle on 30 December 1610 and arrested Báthory and four of her servants, who were accused of being her accomplices. Thurzó's men reportedly found one girl dead and one dying. They reported that another woman was found wounded, others locked up.
While the countess was put under house arrest (and remained so from that point on), King Matthias requested that Elizabeth be sentenced to death. However, Thurzó successfully convinced the King that such an act would negatively affect the nobility. Hence, a trial was postponed indefinitely. Thurzo's motivation for such an intervention is debated by scholars.
The countess' associates however were brought to court. A trial was held on 7 January 1611 at Bicse, presided over by Royal Supreme Court judge Theodosious Syrmiensis de Szulo and 20 associate judges. Bathory herself did not appear at the trial.
The defendants at that trial were Dorota Semtész, Ilona Jó, Katarína Benická, and János Újváry ("Ibis" or Ficko).
Semtész, Jó and Ficko were found guilty and condemned to death, the sentence being carried out immediately. Before being burned at the stake, Semtész and Jó had their fingers ripped off their hands with hot pokers, while Ficko, who was deemed less culpable, was beheaded before being consigned to the flames. A red gallows was erected near the castle to show the public that justice had been done. Benická was sentenced to life imprisonment, since recorded testimony indicated that she was dominated and bullied by the other women.

Last years and death

During the trial of her primary servants, Báthory had been placed under house arrest in a walled up set of rooms. She remained there for four years, until her death.
King Matthias had urged Thurzo to bring her to court and two notaries were sent to collect further evidence, but in the end no court proceedings against her were ever commenced.
On 21 August 1614, Elizabeth Báthory was found dead in her castle. Since there were several plates of food untouched, her actual date of death is unknown. She was buried in the church of Csejte, but due to the villagers' uproar over having "The Tigress of Csejte" buried in their cemetery, her body was moved to her birth home at Ecsed, where it is interred at the Báthory family crypt.


In 1610 and 1611, the notaries collected testimony from more than 300 witnesses. The trial records include the testimony of the four defendants, as well as thirteen witnesses. Priests, noblemen and commoners were questioned. Witnesses included the castellan and other personnel of Sárvár castle.
According to all this testimony, her initial victims were the adolescent daughters of local peasants, many of whom were lured to Csejte by offers of well-paid work as maidservants in the castle. Later, she is said to have begun to kill daughters of the lesser gentry, who were sent to her gynaeceum by their parents to learn courtly etiquette. Abductions were said to have occurred as well.
The descriptions of torture that emerged during the trials were often based on hearsay. The atrocities described most consistently included:
  • severe beatings over extended periods of time, often leading to death
  • burning or mutilation of hands, sometimes also of faces and genitalia
  • biting the flesh off the faces, arms and other bodily parts
  • freezing to death
  • surgery on victims, often fatal
  • starving of victims
  • sexual abuse
The use of needles was also mentioned by the collaborators in court.
Some witnesses named relatives who died while at the gynaeceum. Others reported having seen traces of torture on dead bodies, some of which were buried in graveyards, and others in unmarked locations. According to the testimony of the defendants, Elizabeth Báthory tortured and killed her victims not only at Csejte but also on her properties in Sárvár, Németkeresztúr, Bratislava, (then Pozsony, Pressburg), and Vienna, and even between these locations. In addition to the defendants, several people were named for supplying Elizabeth Báthory with young women. The girls had been procured either by deception or by force. A little-known figure named Anna Darvulia was rumored to have influenced Báthory, but Darvulia was dead long before the trial.
The exact number of young women tortured and killed by Elizabeth Báthory is unknown, though it is often speculated to be as high as 650, between the years 1585 and 1610. The estimates differ greatly. During the trial and before their execution, Szentes and Ficko reported 36 and 37 respectively, during their periods of service. The other defendants estimated a number of 50 or higher. Many Sárvár castle personnel estimated the number of bodies removed from the castle at between 100 to 200. One witness who spoke at the trial mentioned a book in which a total of over 650 victims was supposed to have been listed by Báthory herself. This number became part of the legend surrounding Báthory. Reportedly, the location of the diaries is unknown but 32 letters written by Báthory are stored in the Hungarian state archives in Budapest.
László Nagy has argued that Elizabeth Báthory was a victim of a conspiracy, a view opposed by others. Nagy argued that the proceedings were largely politically motivated. The conspiracy theory is consistent with Hungarian history at that time. There was great conflict between religions, including Protestant ones, and this was related to the extension of Habsburg power over Hungary. As a Transylvanian Protestant aristocrat, Elizabeth belonged to a group generally opposed to the Habsburgs.


Friday, June 24, 2011

REAL Vampires #3 - The Mercy Brown Vampire Incident

The Mercy Brown Vampire Incident, which occurred in 1892, is one of the best documented cases of the exhumation of a corpse in order to perform rituals to banish an undead manifestation.
In Exeter, Rhode Island, the family of George and Mary Brown suffered a sequence of tuberculosis infections in the final two decades of the 19th century. Tuberculosis was called "consumption" at the time and was a devastating and much-feared disease.
The mother, Mary, was the first to die of the disease, followed in 1888 by their eldest daughter, Mary Olive. Two years later, in 1890, their son Edwin also became sick.
In 1891, another daughter, Mercy, contracted the disease and died in January 1892. She was buried in the cemetery of the Baptist Church in Exeter.
Friends and neighbors of the family believed that one of the dead family members was a vampire (although they did not use that name) and caused Edwin's illness. This was in accordance with threads of contemporary folklore linking multiple deaths in one family to undead activity. Consumption was a poorly understood condition at the time and the subject of much superstition.
George Brown was persuaded to exhume the bodies, which he did with the help of several villagers on March 17, 1892. While the bodies of both Mary and Mary Olive had undergone significant decomposition over the intervening years, the more recently buried body of Mercy was still relatively unchanged and had blood in the heart. This was taken as a sign that the young woman was undead and the agent of young Edwin's condition. The cold New England weather made the soil virtually impenetrable, essentially guaranteeing that Mercy's body was kept in freezer-like conditions in an above-ground crypt during the 2 months following her death.
Mercy's heart was removed from her body, burnt, and the remnants mixed with water and given to the sick Edwin to drink. He died two months later.


Thursday, June 23, 2011

Rhinestone Cowbody diagnosed with Alzheimer's-10 Minute Writing-Cotton Letters

My friend and I had the "Rhinestone Cowboy" record and played it until the needle just skipped over the whole thing. I think we ended up buying a new one. We came up with some dance routine to it with lots of spinning and singing into pink Tickle roll-on deodorant containers.
I really had trouble understanding lyrics when I was a kid (still do sometimes). One of the lines in Rhinestone Cowboy is "...getting cards and letters from people I don't even know..." I thought he was saying "getting COTTON letters from people I don't even know." I figured there must be some type of expensive letter that was made of cotton that was only sent to EXTREMELY IMPORTANT people, like celebrities or royalty. I couldn't imagine what a thing like that would cost, nor could I imagine how one would begin to write on a cotton letter. I thought that only the letter was cotton, not the envelope. If the envelope was cotton, it would be too floppy to send through the mail. What occasion would call for a cotton letter? Couldn't be when people got married or died. I would have seen one if that had been the case. No. A cotton letter must only be sent if you made it in show business like the Rhinestone Cowboy. Perhaps you got a cotton letter from the record company announcing your song is number 1. Anyway, sorry to hear this about Glen Campbell.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

REAL Vampires # 2-Peter Plogojowitz

Peter Plogojowitz lived in a village named Kisilova Plogojowitz died in 1725, and his death was followed by a spate of other sudden deaths (after very short maladies, reportedly of about 24 hours each). Within eight days, nine persons perished. On their death-beds, the victims allegedly claimed to have been throttled by Plogojowitz at night. Furthermore, Plogojowitz's wife stated that he had visited her and asked her for his opanci (shoes); she then moved to another village. In other legends, it is said that Plogojowitz came back to his house demanding food from his son and, when the son refused, Plogojowitz brutally murdered him. The villagers decided to disinter the body and examine it for signs of vampirism, such as growing hair, beard and nails, and the absence of decomposition.
The inhabitants of Kisilova demanded that Kameralprovisor Frombald, along with the local priest, should be present at the procedure as a representative of the administration. Frombald tried to convince them that permission from the Austrian authorities in Belgrade should be sought first. The locals declined because they feared that by the time the permission came, the whole community could be exterminated by the vampire, which they claimed had already happened "in Turkish times" (i.e. when the village was still in the Ottoman-controlled part of Serbia). They demanded that Frombald himself should immediately permit the procedure or else they would abandon the village to save their lives. Frombald was forced to consent.
Together with the Veliko Gradište priest, he viewed the already exhumed body and was astonished to find that the characteristics associated with vampires in local belief were indeed present. The body was undecomposed, the hair and beard were grown, there were "new skin and nails" (while the old ones had peeled away), and blood could be seen in the mouth. After that, the people, who "grew more outraged than distressed", proceeded to stake the body through the heart, which caused a great amount of "completely fresh" blood to flow through the ears and mouth of the corpse. Finally, the body was burned. Frombald concludes his report on the case with the request that, in case these actions were found to be wrong, he should not be blamed for them, as the villagers were "beside themselves with fear". The authorities apparently did not consider it necessary to take any measures regarding the incident.


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

REAL Vampires #1 - Arnold Paole

Arnold Paole had moved to the village of  Meduegna from the Turkish-controlled part of Serbia. He reportedly often mentioned that he had been plagued by a vampire at a location named Gossowa (perhaps Kosovo), but that he had cured himself by eating soil from the vampire's grave and smearing himself with his blood. About 1725, he broke his neck in a fall from a haywagon. Within 20 or 30 days after Paole's death, four persons complained that they had been plagued by him. These people all died shortly thereafter. Ten days later, villagers, advised by their hadnack (a military/administrative title) who had witnessed such events before, opened his grave. They saw that the corpse was undecomposed "and that fresh blood had flowed from his eyes, nose, mouth, and ears; that the shirt, the covering, and the coffin were completely bloody; that the old nails on his hands and feet, along with the skin, had fallen off, and that new ones had grown". Concluding that Paole was indeed a vampire, they drove a stake through his heart, to which he reacted by groaning and bleeding, and burned the body. They then disinterred Paole's four supposed victims and performed the same procedure, to prevent them from becoming vampires.


Monday, June 20, 2011

Remembering How To Starve

I wish I could embrace that starving feeling because I really need to loose weight. I lost a ton of weight in my 20's and I remember how I cultivated the starve. Feeling those pains in my stomach meant I was making progress, fat cells where starving somewhere in my body.
Now in my 40's, it is so much harder to starve. I don't have the starving discipline. I'm trying to equate it with progress, with change. I think ALL American women are either in a constant state of starving or feeling guilty for eating every single calorie.

I quit smoking around 10 years ago and that was a bitch! I still miss it. But the difference between the addictions is this: you don't have to smoke to live. Although it feels that way when you quit. You have to eat. You have to deal with the food thing one way or another. And for an addict, it's nearly impossible to do just a little of what you love. I can't smoke occasionally. I never understood people that could do that. I need two packs a day or nothing. Ask a crack addict to do "just a little crack" or an alcoholic to drink "just a little beer." I know I have to be strong and rein myself in and blah, blah, blah. I know all that. It's like there is a Mount Rushmore made of butter in front of me, and I have to climb to the tip-top of Washington's head and plant a size 10 flag.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Where Were You? Poem by Cindy Goff

Where Were You?

The day Kennedy was shot
1% of Americans were having sex
with the television on
and continued having sex
even after learning about Dallas.
When they finished, they lay in bed
public hair glistening in the November afternoon
and wondered what they had done.

Cindy Goff
poem from Appalachian Flood

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Furry Fandom

Somebody told me about this years ago. This comes from Wikpedia:

Furry fandom is a fandom for fictional anthropomorphic animal characters with human personalities and characteristics.  Examples of anthropomorphic attributes include exhibiting human intelligence and facial expressions, the ability to speak, walk on two legs, and wear clothes. Furry fandom is also used to refer to the community of people who gather on the Internet and at conventions

The specific term "Furry fandom" was being used in fanzines as early as 1983, and had become the standard name for the genre by the mid-1990s, when it was defined as "the organized appreciation and dissemination of art and prose regarding 'Furries', or fictional mammalian anthropomorphic characters." However, fans consider the origins of furry fandom to be much earlier, with fictional works such as Kimba, The White Lion released in 1965, Richard Adams' novel Watership Down, published in 1972 (and its 1978 film adaptation), as well as Disney's Robin Hood as oft-cited examples. To distinguish these personae from seriously depicted animal characters, such as Lassie or Old Yeller, cartoon animals are referred to as funny animals,  a term that came into use in the 1910s.

During the 1980s, furry fans began to publish fanzines, developing a diverse social group that eventually began to schedule social gatherings. By 1987, there was sufficient interest to stage the first furry convention. Throughout the next decade, the Internet became accessible to the general population and became the most popular means for furry fans to socialize. The newsgroup was created in November 1990, and virtual environments such as MUCKs also became popular places on the Internet for fans to meet and communicate.

Historically, furry fandom has been male-dominated, but over time the proportion of females in the fandom—especially artists—has increased, approaching equality with males on furry art galleries.

Role playing

Anthropomorphic animal characters created by furry fans, known as fursonas, are used for roleplaying in MUDs,  on internet forums, or on electronic mailing lists. A variety of species are employed as the basis of these personas, although many furries, (for example over 60% of those surveyed in 2007), choose to identify themselves with carnivorans. Role playing also takes place offline, with petting, hugging and "scritching" (light scratching and grooming) common between friends at social gatherings. Fursuits or furry accessories can enhance the experience.

Sexual aspects
The furry fandom possess a sexual, fetishistic element as a prominent subculture. In one survey, 33% of furries surveyed online answered that they had a "significant sexual interest in furry" and another 46% stated they had a "minor sexual interest in furry", and the remaining 21% stated they have a "non-sexual interest in furry". The survey specifically avoided adult-oriented websites to prevent bias.  Differing approaches to sexuality have been a source of controversy and conflict in furry fandom. Examples of sexual aspects within furry fandom include erotic art and furry-themed cybersex. The term "yiff" is most commonly used to indicate sexual activity or sexual material within the fandom—this applies to sexual activity and interaction within the subculture whether online (in the form of cybersex) or offline.
According to a study, 19–25% of the fandom members report homosexuality, 37–48% bisexuality, 30–51% heterosexual, and 3–8% other forms of alternative sexual relationships. In 2002 about 2% stated an interest in zoophilia, and less than 1% an interest in plushophilia. Initial figures were collected by David J. Rust in 1997, but further research has been conducted to update these findings. Of the furry fans that reported being in a relationship (approximately half of the surveyed population), 76% were in a relationship with another member of furry fandom.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Grey Gardens-1975 Documentary

Just saw the documentary Grey Gardens. Utterly fantastic!

I first saw the movie Grey Gardens that came out a year or so ago with Drew Barrymore and Jessica Lange. It was wonderful, and I would recommend seeing it before watching the "real" documentary, Grey Gardens from 1975. The newer film provides the back story. 
Edith Beale is a Bouvier, the aunt of Jackie Kennedy. Near as I can tell, Edith's husband left her and took the money, leaving Edith and Edie in Grey Gardens, their East Hampton house, with little income.

Wonderful surreal moment when Edith Beale sings "Tea For Two."

Grey Gardens is one of those rare gems that makes you warm and sick inside all at the same time.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Morning "News" Shows Make Me Want To Puke On A Bluebird-10 Minute Writing

I have never understood morning shows. They sort of act like news, but the sets are different. They are brighter and may include seasonal flowers. Many times, anchors and guests are seated in a circle. As if sitting in a circle is more friendly, more inviting. All the anchors drink from brightly colored coffee mugs. You don't see people on TV drinking from brightly colored coffee mugs at any other time of the day. Actually, they really are not "anchors." Are they? Isn't that term reserved for people who read the news? Maybe these morning TV people are hosts. I think that's a better term. And their banter is gagging, that cutesy back and forth peppered with light hearted jokes fit only for 3 year-olds. Do they think the American public is completely stupid in the morning? It's just morning. We are waking up, but we don't need to wear helmets or anything. And no matter what morning show you are watching, there is always somebody standing in front of a map doing the weather. The national weather. It's a full body shot and no matter what is happening (floods, tornadoes, blizzards) they wrap up the weather with a quip.
And cooking. What the fuck is up with cooking in the morning? It is hard to take a morning host seriously who is trying to tell you about a horrible car crash when you have just seen them stand by gawking as someone whipped up an orange angel food cake.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

First Modern American Serial Killer, Dr. Henry Howard Holmes

This is a terrifying story from Wikipedia:

Herman Webster Mudgett (May 16, 1861– May 7, 1896), better known under the alias of Dr. Henry Howard Holmes, was one of the first documented American serial killers in the modern sense of the term. In Chicago at the time of the 1893 World's Fair, Holmes opened a hotel which he had designed and built for himself specifically with murder in mind, and which was the location of many of his murders. While he confessed to 27 murders, of which nine were confirmed, his actual body count could be as high as 250. He took an unknown number of his victims from the 1893 Chicago World's Fair, which was less than 2 miles away from his "World's Fair" hotel.

The case was notorious in its time and received wide publicity through a series of articles in William Randolph Hearst's newspapers. Interest in Holmes's crimes was revived in 2003 by Erik Larson's The Devil in the White City, a best-selling non-fiction book that juxtaposed an account of the planning and staging of the World's Fair with Holmes's story.

Chicago and the "Murder Castle"

While in Chicago during the summer of 1886, Holmes came across Dr. E.S. Holton's drugstore at the corner of S. Wallace and W. 63rd Street, in the neighborhood of Englewood.With Holton suffering from cancer, his wife minded the store.Holmes got a job there and then convinced Mrs. Holton to sell him the store. They agreed that she could still live in the upstairs apartment even after Holton died. Once Holton died, however, Mrs. Holton mysteriously disappeared. Holmes told people that she was visiting relatives in California. As people started asking questions about her return, he told them that she was enjoying California so much that she had decided to live there.
Holmes purchased a lot across from the drugstore, where he built his three-story, block-long "Castle"—as it was dubbed by those in the neighborhood. It was opened as a hotel for the World's Columbian Exposition in 1893, with part of the structure used as commercial space. The ground floor of the Castle contained Holmes's own relocated drugstore and various shops, while the upper two floors contained his personal office and a maze of over one hundred windowless rooms with doorways opening to brick walls, oddly angled hallways, stairways to nowhere, doors openable only from the outside, and a host of other strange and labyrinthine constructions. Holmes repeatedly changed builders during the construction of the Castle, so only he fully understood the design of the house, thus decreasing the chance of being reported to the police.

After the completion of the hotel, Holmes selected mostly female victims from among his employees (many of whom were required as a condition of employment to take out life insurance policies for which Holmes would pay the premiums but also be the beneficiary), as well as his lovers and hotel guests. He tortured and killed them. Some were locked in soundproof bedrooms fitted with gas lines that let him asphyxiate them at any time. Some victims were locked in a huge soundproof bank vault near his office where they were left to suffocate. The victims' bodies were dropped by secret chute to the basement, where some were meticulously dissected, stripped of flesh, crafted into skeleton models, and then sold to medical schools. Holmes also cremated some of the bodies or placed them in lime pits for destruction. Holmes had two giant furnaces as well as pits of acid, bottles of various poisons, and even a stretching rack. Through the connections he had gained in medical school, he sold skeletons and organs with little difficulty.

Capture and arrest

Following the World's Fair, with creditors closing in and the economy in a general slump, Holmes left Chicago. He reappeared in Fort Worth, Texas, where he had inherited property from two railroad heiress sisters, one of whom he had promised marriage to and both of whom he murdered. There he sought to construct another castle along the lines of his Chicago operation. However, he soon abandoned this project, finding the law enforcement climate in Texas inhospitable. He continued to move about the United States and Canada, and while it seems likely that he continued to kill, the only bodies discovered that date from this period are those of his close business associate and three of the associate's children.
In July 1894, Holmes was arrested and briefly incarcerated for the first time, for a horse swindle that ended in St. Louis. He was promptly bailed out, but while in jail, he struck up a conversation with a convicted train robber named Marion Hedgepeth, who was serving a 25-year sentence. Holmes had concocted a plan to swindle an insurance company out of $20,000 by taking out a policy on himself and then faking his death. Holmes promised Hedgepeth a $500 commission in exchange for the name of a lawyer who could be trusted. He was directed to Colonel Jeptha Howe, the brother of a public defender, who found Holmes’s plan to be brilliant. Holmes's plan to fake his own death failed when the insurance company became suspicious and refused to pay. Holmes did not press his claim; instead he concocted a similar plan with his associate, Benjamin Pitezel.
Pitezel had agreed to fake his own death so that his wife could collect on the $10,000 policy, which she was to split with Holmes and the shady attorney, Howe. The scheme, which was to take place in Philadelphia, was that Pitezel should set himself up as an inventor, under the name B. F. Perry, and then be killed and disfigured in a lab explosion. Holmes was to find an appropriate cadaver to play the role of Pitezel. Holmes instead killed Pitezel. Forensic evidence presented at Holmes's later trial showed that chloroform was administered after Pitezel's death, presumably to fake suicide (Pitezel had been an alcoholic and chronic depressive). Holmes proceeded to collect on the policy on the basis of the genuine Pitezel corpse. He then went on to manipulate Pitezel's wife into allowing three of her five children (Alice, Nellie and Howard) to stay in his custody. The eldest daughter and baby remained with Mrs. Pitezel. He traveled with the children through the northern United States and into Canada. Simultaneously he escorted Mrs. Pitezel along a parallel route, all the while using various aliases and lying to Mrs. Pitezel concerning her husband's death (claiming that Pitezel was in hiding in South America) as well as lying to her about the true whereabouts of her other children—they were often only separated by a few blocks. A Philadelphia detective had tracked Holmes, finding the decomposed bodies of the two Pitezel girls in Toronto. He then followed Holmes to Indianapolis. There Holmes had rented a cottage. He was reported to have visited a local pharmacy to purchase the drugs which he used to kill Howard Pitezel, and a repair shop to sharpen the knives he used to chop up the body before he burned it. The boy's teeth and bits of bone were discovered in the home's chimney.
In 1894, the police were tipped off by his former cellmate, Marion Hedgepeth, whom Holmes had neglected to pay off as promised for his help in providing Howe. Holmes's murder spree finally ended when he was arrested in Boston on November 17, 1894, after being tracked there from Philadelphia by the Pinkertons. He was held on an outstanding warrant for horse theft in Texas, as the authorities had little more than suspicions at this point and Holmes appeared poised to flee the country, in the company of his unsuspecting third wife.
After the custodian for the Castle informed police that he was never allowed to clean the upper floors, police began a thorough investigation over the course of the next month, uncovering Holmes's efficient methods of committing murders and then disposing of the corpses. A fire of mysterious origin consumed the building on August 19, 1895, and the site is currently occupied by a U.S. Post Office building.
The number of his victims has typically been estimated between 20 and 100, and even as high as 200, based upon missing persons reports of the time as well as the testimony of Holmes's neighbors who reported seeing him accompany unidentified young women into his hotel—young women whom they never saw exit. The discrepancy in numbers can perhaps best be attributed to the fact that a great many people came to Chicago to see the World's Fair but, for one reason or another, never returned home. The only verified number is 27,although police had commented that some of the bodies in the basement were so badly dismembered and decomposed that it was difficult to tell how many bodies there actually were. Holmes' victims were primarily women (and primarily blond), but included some men and children.

Trial and execution

While Holmes sat in prison in Philadelphia, not only did the Chicago police investigate his operations in that city, but the Philadelphia police began to try to unravel the Pitezel situation—in particular, the fate of the three missing children. Philadelphia detective Frank Geyer was given the task of finding out. His quest for the children, like the search of Holmes's Castle, received wide publicity. His eventual discovery of their remains essentially sealed Holmes's fate, at least in the public mind.
Holmes was put on trial for the murder of Pitezel and confessed, following his conviction, to 27 murders in Chicago, Indianapolis and Toronto, and six attempted murders. Holmes was paid USD$7,500 ($197,340 in today's dollars) by the Hearst Newspapers in exchange for this confession. He gave various contradictory accounts of his life, claiming initially innocence and later that he was possessed by Satan. His faculty for lying has made it difficult for researchers to ascertain any truth on the basis of his statements.

On May 7, 1896, Holmes was hanged at Moyamensing Prison, also known as the Philadelphia County Prison. Until the moment of his death, Holmes remained calm and amiable, showing very few signs of fear, anxiety or depression. Holmes's neck did not snap immediately; he instead died slowly, twitching over 15 minutes before being pronounced dead 20 minutes after the trap had been sprung. He requested that he be buried in concrete so that no one could ever dig him up and dissect his body, as he had dissected so many others. This request was granted.

On New Year's Eve, 1909, Marion Hedgepeth, who had been pardoned for informing on Holmes, was shot and killed by Edward Jaburek, a police officer, during a holdup at a Chicago saloon. He was buried at the Cook County Cemetery on the grounds of the Cook County Poor Farm at Dunning. Then, on March 7, 1914, the Chicago Tribune reported that, with the death of the former caretaker of the Murder Castle, Pat Quinlan, "the mysteries of Holmes' Castle" would remain unexplained. Quinlan had committed suicide by taking strychnine.Quinlan's surviving relatives claimed Quinlan had been "haunted" for several months before his death and could not sleep.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Tornadoes Under People's Skin

There was a story that people who survived the tornadoes (I think around Joplin), are now dying of some weird fungal thing. Apparently, the wind blew against their skins so hard, it blew dirt or grit into their bodies and it's causing infections. How hard would the wind have to blow for shit to actually blow into your skin? 
When I was visiting my hometown, my friends and I went on the "disaster tour" of Glade Springs, Virginia. It was nearly wiped off the map. A tornado went down I-81. The landscape I have known all my life has been completely changed. When I first saw Glade, there were gaping holes like missing teeth.  One house had been completely blown away except for the chimney which now has an American flag sticking out of it. A cinder block church that used to have a huge green and orange neon cross is now just a basement. Many houses that are still standing have blue plastic on the roofs. Some homes were half gone and one could look inside and see bathtubs and cans of food still sitting on shelves. They are like those doll houses that open.
I heard Glade is not going to get any FEMA money. Now there are signs stuck in the ground about how you can "own a trailer for $1." God knows what kind of scam that is.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Concentrated Ground - 10 Minute Writing Exercise

The body is concentrated ground and you don't have to be a Catholic to enjoy the benefits of crosses and holy blood and Hawthorne. I have salted the ground where I first met certain assholes. I took the Morton's salt out of my mom's kitchen and poured it out along our driveway. This ended the despise I felt temporarily. I felt I had taken the matter into my hands, I had control in a witchy way and there was nothing anyone could do to stop me. When they salt the ground in Eastern Europe for vampires and such, I wonder if they use regular table salt or if there is some special salt? It is physically different? Does it come from some secret salt mine? Or is it table salt that a priest or witch has blessed? Perhaps they have salts for different strengths or purposes. Little bottles lining kitchen window with dirty cork stoppers, all filled with salt. They sit beside the herbs planted in pint sized mile cartons.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

People Using New Fountain as a Toilet in Connecticut

Officials in New London, Conn., turned off the water at the city's new waterfront fountain over the weekend, because people have been using it as a toilet.

The fountain was activated last month and features a sculpture of a whale's tail with water spilling over it, which visitors are encouraged to run through.

City Councilor Michael Buscetto III tells The Day of New London that since the fountain opened, police have responded to calls of people urinating, defecating and showering in the fountain water. He said some people who have cut themselves have also used the fountain to rinse off blood.

City Manager Denise Rose says police are developing a plan to better keep an eye on the area.

From AP

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Compressed air turns NZ trucker into human balloon

 (05-25) 02:14 PDT WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) --
A New Zealand truck driver said he blew up like a balloon when he fell onto the fitting of a compressed air hose that pierced his buttock and forced air into his body at 100 pounds a square inch.
Steven McCormack was standing on his truck's foot plate Saturday when he slipped and fell, breaking a compressed air hose off an air reservoir that powered the truck's brakes.
He fell hard onto the brass fitting, which pierced his left buttock and started pumping air into his body.
"I felt the air rush into my body and I felt like it was going to explode from my foot," he told local media from his hospital bed in the town of Whakatane, on North Island's east coast.
"I was blowing up like a football," he said. "I had no choice but just to lay there, blowing up like a balloon."
McCormack's workmates heard his screams and ran to him, quickly releasing a safety valve to stop the air flow, said Robbie Petersen, co-owner of the trucking company.
He was rushed to the hospital with terrible swelling and fluid in one lung. Doctors said the air had separated fat from muscle in McCormack's body, but had not entered his bloodstream.
McCormack, 48, said his skin felt "like a pork roast" — crackling on the outside but soft underneath.

Story from AP

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Weiner, Weiner....

I'm not a hypocrite. My rule of thumb about a sex scandal is if no children or animals were used in the making of the sex and if all involved were consenting adults, it's not my fucking business. I don't care if someone is democratic or republican. However, I must add that it really pisses me when those "pro-family" right-wing republican scumbags do this shit, like Senator Wide Stance (Larry Craig -R-Idaho),  or Governor Naked Hiker (South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford). But I stick to my rule.

We have a long line of house and senate scumbags that have been caught in stupid sex scandals. This one is no different, except the Weiner thing takes it to a new level of creepy. There is something creepy about wanting to send naked photos of yourself over the Internet, whether you know the person receiving them or not. But one could argue it is a "lesser" sex scandal because no sex was had. Technically, no laws were broken.

The real problem I have with Weiner is that HE WAS SENDING NAKED PHOTOS OF HIMSELF OVER THE INTERNET AND HE WAS IN CONGRESS. He had to know that at some point he would be caught. Even if this is something you enjoy doing from time to time, don't you think it would have been smart to stop sending naked photos of yourself while you were in office? Couldn't he refrain? I think because of this he is either too stupid or too mentally unstable to be elected dog catcher, much less to Congress.

It's the lie that gets them in the end (so to speak). If Weiner hadn't been such a dick to the press and had just come out and admitted that he fucked up, I think he would have been OK. He could have gone on the apology tour and maybe even gained ground helping other people with the kind of problem he has, whatever that may be.

No matter how distasteful this Weiner thing is, I can't believe America has forgotten those people who have completely fucked up our economy. Not one person has done a day in jail for the mortgage scandal. They are STILL sitting on their yachts and floating in their golden parachutes when they should be hanging from the Washington Monument as a warning to other greedy assholes.

I guess all any of us can do is grab a pitchfork and chase after Weiner. Crack open a beer and watch the Weiner circus. Wait for the women who will come forward and make the talk show circuit and get way too much celebrity from just getting a photo of a Weiner.

Lizzie (Part 2) My Favorite Murder Tidbits

I have visited the Lizzie Borden house and I would highly recommend it.  A tour guide takes you around and goes through the timeline of the crime. The guides are very animated and surprise you at just the right moments. Great fun. We arrived only a couple of days after the anniversary of the murder (in August). All the mirrors were covered in black cloth, just as they would have looked after the actual murder. 
Here are my favorite Lizzie Borden Murder Tidbits:
First of all, by all accounts Andrew Borden was a dick. He took a new wife after the mother of Lizzie died, and Lizzie and her sister HATED them both. They hated each other so much that they lived in different parts of the house and took their meals separately. Andrew Borden was about to change the will to leave Lizzie’s stepmother more money, he was actually going to make changes to the will the day he died I believe. So it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out this was motivated by money. However, a couple of days before the murder, Andrew Borden strangled ALL of Lizzie’s pet doves.  Maybe it was more than money.
According to the guide at the Borden house, just after the stepmother was murdered upstairs, the maid Bridget Sullivan came home. She reports that when she came in she heard giggling at the top of the stairs. One can only assume that the giggling came from Lizzie who was standing over her stepmother’s dead body and this room is right at the top of the stairs.
Sullivan then went to lay down because she didn’t feel well. She lived in the attic. Lizzie killed her father in the downstairs living room while Sullivan was upstairs. Sullivan said she never heard a thing. This is IMMPOSSIBLE. Sullivan had to cover for Lizzie.
Lizzie and her sister called Bridget Sullivan “Maggie.” Maggie was their previous servant.  Were all servants the same to those sisters? I bet after the murder, Lizzie started calling her Bridget.
They brought the father’s body into the dining room and put it on the dining room table to clean. I know this was a common practice, but his head was mush. I imagine they would have had trouble moving him and keeping all it together.
Also I think Sullivan was seen burning a dress.
After the trial was over, Sullivan vanished for 5 or 6 years. Obviously Lizzie paid her off.
Can you imagine the will it took to really axe two people to death? I mean really think about using an axe to kill people.
Lizzie never killed again. She moved to another house(Maplecroft) in Fall River (which we went to see) and lived quietly. So she wasn’t a serial killer. She could control it. Maplecroft is a little run down. Children looked at us knowing as we parked our car in front of the house.
She never killed again, but it was common knowledge in Fall River that she was a kleptomanic.
We visited her grave, and the graves of her family. Nice quiet green place. Small stone engraved with "Lizbeth" the Borden stone towering nearby.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Lizzie Part 1 (Case Details)

Lizzie Borden


Andrew Borden, Lizzie’s father
On August 4, 1892, wealthy businessman Andrew Borden, and his wife, Abby, were brutally hacked to death in their home.  Andrew's 32-year-old spinster daughter, Lizzie, was arrested for the double murder.  Over a century later, the scene of one of the most gruesome unsolved mysteries in U.S. history is open for business.  The Borden home is now the Lizzie Borden Bed and Breakfast. 
Visitors can enjoy an informative chat about the sadistic murders while eating a breakfast of johnnycakes and mutton broth—the same meal Abby and Andrew Borden ate on their final day.  Then after a long day of sightseeing, they can sleep in the same bedroom where Abby Borden's body was discovered, lifeless on the floor.
Not surprisingly, most people do not sleep easily.  According to owner Martha McGinn, many guests have reported that the inn is haunted:
“I think the apparitions and all the activity that has been happening in the house, it's a possibility that the spirits are trying to communicate through myself, my staff, or my guests of who really committed the murders so they can rest in peace, put the story to sleep once and for all.”
Lizzie Borden was never convicted of the brutal murders.  Nobody knows who committed the savage crime… Nobody, except the victims themselves, all of whom are long since dead.  Or are they?

Abby Borden, Lizzie’s stepmother
In 1968, Martha McGinn moved into the Borden house, which had been purchased by her grandparents 43 years earlier. According to Martha, she soon became aware of an unsettling presence lurking in the shadows of the aging building:
“When I was about 16 years old, I was in my bedroom reading a book, and above my room I could distinctly hear footsteps and the sound of, like marbles being played and it almost sounded like little children's laughter.”
Later, Martha witnessed another strange phenomenon, this one far more disturbing than the last:
“ I went up the stairway, and the window at the end of the second-floor corridor just began opening and slamming shut.  It was just violently going up and down.  I got the creepy crawlers that time.”
Martha became convinced that a ghost was prowling her home, tormenting her at every opportunity. But who? And why?  The answer to that question may have come when Martha made the mistake of entering the basement alone: 
“A shadow, sort of like a silhouette, floated maybe four inches above the floor. I could tell it was a woman.  I could tell it was Victorian clothes.  I just turned around and ran back up the stairs.  That experience really did frighten me. That actually did make my hair stand on end.”

Did a ghost sleep in this bed?
In 1994, Martha inherited the Borden house and decided to capitalize on its infamous reputation by turning it into a very unusual bed and breakfast:
“When we first opened, I had hired my staff.  Most of them, at the time, did not believe in ghosts or apparitions or anything like that.  And then odd things started happening to them.”
Kerri Roderick was one of the first employees to be hired:
“I arrived at work to start cleaning the house, and I was on my last room, and I had made the bed and cleaned, dusted, and everything.  And then I turned around, and there was the perfect impression of somebody laying on the bed. The indent in the pillow, in the bed.  I looked at it for, like, a couple of seconds, and then I booked it out of the room.  I had to leave. I was just—it scared me.  'Cause I'd never seen anything like that before in my life.”
But the most frequent sightings occurred in the downstairs parlor, the very location where Andrew Borden was killed.  Eleanor Thimbault, the night manager at the bed and breakfast, recalled one such sighting:
“I was sitting in the parlor, and on the phone, and this strange feeling came over me, a very eerie feeling.  When I looked up to the kitchen door, I saw what I thought was all this smoke coming out of the kitchen, like a foggy smoke.  And I thought to myself, well, that's strange. There isn't anybody in the kitchen cooking.  Why would all this smoke be coming out?  The way it traveled, very slow, until it got to the sofa—where Mr. Borden was hacked to death—and it just dissipated.  I know I saw something that was out of this world.  It wasn't from this world, that's for sure.”

Actual crime scene photo
Author and ghost-hunter, Katherine Ramsland, believed that Andrew and Abby Borden were trying to tell the employees who killed them.  In an attempt to document the paranormal activity, Ramsland went into the basement of the bed and breakfast armed with a voice-activated recorder:
“It was very dark. And I just simply said, is anybody here? And we could see that the recorder was activated.  But we could hear nothing. It was absolute silence, and yet it was clear something was being recorded.  So I decided, instead of asking any more questions, I would just see what we had gotten.  We shot up the steps... 'Cause we weren't staying down there with that, whatever it was.”
A noise from the dead or static electricity?  No one knows for sure.  Katherine Ramsland believes the recording is the first solid evidence that Abby and Andrew Borden are ready to share the chilling circumstances of their bloody end.  And she hopes that maybe, someday, one of them will tell us what really happened on August 4, 1892.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

The Attack of the Giant Mennonite

I'm sorry there are no carrots in the salad.
I was in a hurry with the vegetables
and took a shortcut behind the grocery store
where butchers throw bones to hairless dogs.
He came from behind,
grabbed my shoulders, and threw me
into cardboard boxes. At first I thought
he would lob a Bible at my cranium.
But he only grabbed the bag.
I watched the carrot stems bob in his dark arms
as he disappeared into a doorway, and I noticed
the transparent afternoon
moon above the fire escape.

Poem from Appalachian Flood by Cindy Goff
available from Amazon

Saturday, June 4, 2011

I Miss Smoking-10 Minute Exercise

45I miss smoking like a dead aunt.
It made me feel so grown up and when I took a drag off a cigarette, when the smoke bounced down to the very pit of my lungs, I felt like I was bumping into eternity. The greatest satisfaction every achieved for me physically was having a cigarette after a big lasagna dinner. The cult of smoking is hypnotic with the matches from strange bars, lighters, ashtrays, the plastic wrap around the cigarette pack (which was always convenient to store secret things in). I was dedicated to smoking. I was a responsible smoker: I always carried 2 lighters and an extra pack of cigarettes. I hated it when people asked me for cigarettes. First of all they are expensive and second, I had planned for ME. Only me. I had enough smoking supplies to last a day beyond whatever situation I was in. It's like those people who hike the Appalachian Trail and have just enough food for themselves, for their own survival. I hate those people that slime around and ask for cigarettes. Man up and go to the store and spend your own money.
I miss smoking. I love the smell of it. And guaranteed if I find out I'm dying, the first thing I will do is go to the store and buy enough cigarettes for the rest of my life. I won't give anyone any of them. What kind of fucking person would want to take a cigarette from a dying woman anyway?

Friday, June 3, 2011

The Mothman Festival

The Festival Is...

September 17-18, 2011

Downtown Point Pleasant, West Virginia (Main St.). The Mothman Festival is free to everyone. There is no admission fee. However, various vendors are set up to sell their merchandise.

Mothman Festival

Miss Mothman Festival Pageant

WOW! I think I'm going to this. See you in Point Pleasant!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Lime Green Calculator - 10 Minute Exercise

Someone gave me a lime green calculator from Staples which doubles as a paper clip. The buttons and the screen are tiny and make me feel like a giant who has to calculate some type of miser sum. Maybe a giant would have to add up flapping chickens and burlap sacks full of gold. I don't have anything to calculate. When  I was younger than 25, I used to like to calculate my age in certain years. For example, in "2020 I'll be x."  That was the only calculator game I could play with my limited math skills. And the ages I calculated seemed so far away. The little science fiction digital numbers telling of years in the future.
This game is just no fun anymore. I've closed my eyes about age. There is nothing I can do, and I know death is coming. I know it will end. I just don't know how. Really there are only a few logical scenarios for everyone. Most of them are not good. Of course, there are the oddball ways of dying like eaten by a tiger or frozen death in a meat locker. But we all pretty much know our "real" outcomes are limited to the usual suspects like cancer, heart attack, stroke. Even if I wanted to play the "what age will I be in two thousand whatever" game, I couldn't see the numbers on this tiny-ass lime green calculator anyway.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Fucking Summer

Here comes fucking summer. I can never get comfortable from June till September. The air in Northern Virginia is like a jungle furnace. Unbearable. Unforgivable. It doesn't matter if you are wearing clothes that are lighter than toilet paper, you will still roast just walking to the car. I can’t go outside to do anything. I can't breathe. I don't mean to sound like a pussy, but it's true. The area around DC used to be a swamp. I don't see how tourists come to DC and sashay around toting cameras and heavy-ass bags. I wonder if I'm missing a gene that allows me to deal with the heat. My family has a lot of scotch in it in, so maybe that's the explanation. I just don't see how people can get excited about this time of year and take off to destinations that involve volleyball use, take off to places that doesn't use air conditioning.