February 24, 2017
The Phone of the Wind
Dealing With Grief: Japanese Phone Booth Connects The Living And The Dead by Krissy Howard
Called "the phone of the wind," this device allows Japanese mourners to leave messages for those who died in the 2011 earthquake.
Positioned atop a grassy hill overlooking the Pacific Ocean, a phone booth in Otsuchi, Japan allows living people to call their dead relatives and loved ones. Called the “phone of the wind,” the disconnected rotary phone positioned inside a glass booth allows callers to send verbal messages to those they’ve lost, which the wind then carries away....Some enter in search of answers, others to express their longing. Many call just to check in, assuring their loved ones that they and those left behind are doing well.
After the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, which claimed the lives of more than 800 Otsuchi residents, the phone booth became a popular destination for residents and travelers from afar and has since welcomed more than 10,000 visitors in its nearly six years standing.
The value in telephoning the dead by Chris Kavanagh
The so-called ‘wind phone’ (kaze no denwa) is comprised of a simple disconnected rotary phone which is located in a white phone booth that overlooks the Pacific ocean. The phone is owned by a 70 year old gardener named Itaru Sasaki who had installed the phone in his garden prior to the disaster in order to give him a private space to help him cope with the loss of his cousin....
The phone-booth was featured in a documentary by the Japanese public broadcaster NHK during the five year memorial of the tsunami and they managed to get permission from both the visitors and Sasaki to record and broadcast some of the conversations that people were having in the booth. These recordings, with English translations, make up the bulk of a segment on This American Life called Really Long Distance by Miki Meek which you can listen to at the link.
A poignant point that is raised repeatedly is just how mundane most of the conversations are, with people relating events from their daily life and, in stereotypical Japanese fashion, reassuring the dead that they are working hard and telling them not to worry.
The author of the piece Chris Kavangh, an atheist, continues
....when listening to this segment it is impossible to ignore just how much power a simple disconnected phone line is providing to people who are suffering terribly and how it manages to help them process their grief precisely because of the unconventional, irrational scenario that it represents. Everyone visiting the phone-booth understands that it houses just an old rotary phone with a disconnected phone-line, but this knowledge does not prevent them from instilling their one way conversation with deep personal meanings....
There is no exploitative religious authority here, just a kind hearted gardener, and no dogmatic doctrines, just a vague belief that the dead persist and that it is worth interacting with them. I can’t honestly agree with anyone who would argue that our world would be better off without these kind of ‘delusions’ existing.
February 23, 2017
More Bizarre deaths
I do not mean to make light of the unspeakable loss that their families and friends experience in this intermittent series, but only to emphasize that death can come to anyone unexpectedly which is why we should always be prepared. None of these people knew when they woke up that this would be their last day alive.
May they all rest in peace.
The accident took place on Saturday, but her boyfriend Joshua Jackson made the 911 call at 6 am on Sunday morning.
Tami McVay, 34 and the mother of three, was pronounced dead at the scene. Jackson, 38, escaped major injury but was arrested on an outstanding warrant in connection with a 2012 conviction for fourth-degree assault....The couple took a trail near the Nehalem River, normally used by experienced hikers. ....They were so far along that rescuers used all-terrain vehicles and had to hike two miles to reach them.
Sealed with a hiss.
Judith Permar, 56, of Mount Carmel, Pennsylvania, got her arm stuck in a collection bin at 2am on Sunday after the step stool she was using collapsed. Permar was found more than six hours later.
Jeff Brasher, 50, and his 22-year-old son Austin Brasher, died early Saturday morning. The elder Brasher was driving a 2006 Ford pickup truck on his way to work, and his son, driving a 2004 Chevrolet pickup, was on his way home. The collision happened when one of the trucks crossed over into the wrong lane. Neither were wearing seat-belts.
Her 43-year-old nephew was in another part of the home and wasn't injured. The stolen Lincoln Navigator barreled through Joshua's home, leaving a gaping hole in the wall and piles of debris in its wake. The driver fled the scene on foot after SUV came to a stop in backyard
Or was Jenny Santos, 29, a beloved rowing instructor, 'playing around', laying prone on the handrail and 'pretending to fly'? In any event, she fell off, hit her head on the marble floor and died shortly thereafter.
Brian Vigneault, who was known to his friends and fans as Poshybrid online, intended to run a 24-hour livestream of himself playing games as part of a challenge to raise money for the Make A Wish Foundation. But 22 hours into the stream, Mr Vigneault went for a cigarette and didn't return to the computer. Fans later discovered that he had collapsed and died while away from the video.
Ryan Still, 82, was driving with a friend and grandson to his younger brother Rodney's funeral in South Carolina when he missed his exit. He tried to make a U-turn and was struck by a van, and later died from his injuries
In New Zealand when the flood gates of the Aratiatia Dam were opened, rushing water streamed out. Four women became stranded on a rock in the middle of the now raging Waikato river where they had been swimming. Two tourists watched as the student and three friends tried to scramble to safety. Three were rescued, but Rachael Louise De Jong, 21, was washed away and drowned.
Winds up to 40mph are believed to have blown a truck off Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel Thursday. Truck driver Joseph Chen, 47, survived the initial plunge and was spotted on top of truck cab.A Navy helicopter rushed to his rescue, but he died en route to the hospital.
February 15, 2017
Undertakers gatecrash funeral and walk off with corpse
This is the shocking moment two undertakers at a cemetery remove a dead body from its coffin and hold it hostage over an unpaid debt. The chilling scenes, allegedly in Greater Accra in Ghana, took place because the bereaved family failed to pay for the services of the mortuary men. It is claimed the amount owed was 150 Ghanaian Cedi - roughly £27.
The drama begins with the two men standing over the open coffin while hundreds of onlookers rush over to see what is happening.The angry undertakers shout at the crowd while trying to loosen the dead man's body from its surroundings. Immediately after, the clip shows an empty coffin with the two men carrying the corpse on their shoulders.
This being the Daily Mail, the headline begins ...When are you coffin up the cash?
January 31, 2017
"They lost all sense of time, with memories flying back at them from all periods of their life."
Your life really does flash before your eyes before you die, study suggests with the parts of the brain that store memories last to be affected as other functions fail.
Research on those who have had "near death" experiences suggests that the phenomenon rarely involves flashbacks in chronological order, as happens in Hollywood films. Participants said that there was rarely any order to their life memories and that they seemed to come at random, and sometimes simultaneously. Often, the mind played tricks - with people reliving their own experiences from the point of view of others who had been involved. The study found that many of the flashbacks involved intensely emotional moments....Those involved in the study said they lost all sense of time, with memories flying back at them from all periods of their life.
Researchers from Hadassah University in Jerusalem analyzed seven accounts of such experiences, obtained from in-depth interviews. These were to devise a questionnaire which was sent out to 264 other people who gave detailed responses of their experiences.
One wrote: "There is not a linear progression, there is lack of time limits... It was like being there for centuries. I was not in time/space so this question also feels impossible to answer. A moment, and a thousand years... both and neither. It all happened at once, or some experiences within my near-death experience were going on at the same time as others, though my human mind separates them into different events".
Another common feature were extremely emotional experiences - often from somebody else's point of view. One respondent said: "I could individually go into each person and I could feel the pain that they had in their life... "I was allowed to see that part of them and feel for myself what they felt".
Another said: 'I was seeing, feeling these things about him (my father), and he was sharing with me the things of his early childhood and how things were difficult for him'. Every person in the study said they were left with a new perspective on their life events and on significant people in their lives.
Hidden in plain sight
The fabled last will and testament of Alexander the Great may have finally been discovered more than 2,000 years after his death. A London-based expert claims to have unearthed the Macedonian king's dying wishes in an ancient text that has been 'hiding in plain sight' for centuries. The long-dismissed last will divulges Alexander's plans for the future of the Greek-Persian empire he ruled. It also reveals his burial wishes and discloses the beneficiaries to his vast fortune and power.
Evidence for the lost will can be found in an ancient manuscript known as the 'Alexander Romance', a book of fables covering Alexander's mythical exploits. Likely compiled during the century after Alexander's death, the fables contain invaluable historical fragments about Alexander's campaigns in the Persian Empire.
Alexander the Great is arguably one of history's most successful military commanders. Undefeated in battle, he had carved out a vast empire stretching from Macedonia and Greece in Europe, to Persia, Egypt and even parts of northern India by the time of his death aged 32
Historians have long believed that the last chapter of the Romance housed a political pamphlet that contained Alexander's will, but until now have dismissed it as a work of early fiction. But a ten-year research project undertaken by Alexander expert David Grant suggests otherwise. The comprehensive study concludes that the will was based upon the genuine article, though it was skewed for political effect.
He believes that Alexander's original will was suppressed by his most powerful generals, because it named his then unborn half-Asian son Alexander IV and elder son Heracles as his successors. Rather than accepting the leadership of what the Macedonians saw as 'half-breed' sons, which would have been 'unthinkable', they fought each other for power in a bloody period of infighting and civil war known as the 'Successor Wars'.
The revelation is detailed in Mr Grant's new book, 'In Search of the Lost Testament of Alexander the Great.'
January 27, 2017
The Grieving Horse Sereno
After 34-year-old Wagner Lima died suddenly on New Year's Day in a motorcycle accident, dozens of family members and friends attended the Paraguayan cowboy's funeral. Among those grieving was Sereno, Wagner's beloved horse and best friend.
You can watch the touching video at the link above.
THIS is the moment a horse showed a remarkable sense of loss as it neighed at the funeral of its owner, shocking family and friends as it appeared to bid him an emotional goodbye.
The creature added to mourners’ amazement when, at one stage, it laid its head on the coffin of its cowboy owner, Wagner de Lima Figueiredo, 34, and sighed as if it was crying....
Sereno the horse was taken to the funeral by Wagner’s brother, Wando de Lima, on Tuesday in Paraiba, north east Brazil. Mr de Lima said: “This horse was everything to [Wagner], it was as if the horse knew what was happening and wanted to say goodbye. All the way to the cemetery he was whimpering and stomping on the ground.”
His brother said: “Wagner’s life was this horse. He had a passion and a great love for him. Sometimes he would even stop buying things for himself to make sure he could afford to buy horse feed.” He added that many people had offered to buy the white stallion but “(Wagner) always refused to sell him.”
With the death of his brother, Mr de Lima vowed to take on the responsibility of maintaining and caring for Sereno. He said: “Wagner will stay with our family forever.”
According to Marcelo Servos, a veterinarian with the Brazilian Horse Riding Federation, who has been caring for horses for 20 years, a horse can be aware of and mourn a loved one’s death.
"The surgeons needed bodies to dissect, and out-of-work men knew just where to find them: cemeteries, of course. "
For a fast education in grave robbery, you can't beat A Beginner's Guide to Body Snatching by Molly McBride Jacobson.
Say it’s 1820 and you’re an uneducated, lower-class chap with nights and weekends free who needs to pick up a few extra quid. You might consider the profitable, if criminal, profession of body snatching.
In the early days of surgery, dissecting a corpse was seen as a heinous defilement of the body, akin to cannibalism in its vulgarity. But the growing field of surgical science demanded bodies for study. The gallows were the only place surgeons could get cadavers. Executed criminals were fair game to slice and dice, as were suicide victims, but not regular law-abiding corpses. Even in the crime-riddled streets of London and Edinburgh, there weren’t enough bodies to train the new classes of young surgeons in the growing field.
So intrepid anatomists determined to educate their students would hire a body snatcher. It was a simple case of supply and demand. The surgeons needed bodies to dissect, and out-of-work men knew just where to find them: cemeteries, of course.
...St. Thomas’ and St. Bartholomew’s reputable hospitals, whose body purchases were done on the sly. Their operating surgeons would meet the grave robbers in back doors and alleyways to buy the stolen corpses in the wee hours of night. The operating theatres at St. Thomas and St. Bart’s, where stolen cadavers would have been dissected for anatomy lectures, now operate museums dedicated to this crime-enabled medical history.....
it wasn’t until the infamous Anatomy Murders that grave robbers were labeled as a public menace that had to be stopped. The Surgeons' Hall Museum in Edinburgh houses an exhibit on Edinburgh’s criminal duo Burke and Hare who became infamous when instead of simply digging up corpses to sell to the Royal College of Surgeons, they began killing, to manufacture their own corpses. They sold over 15 of these corpses to the college before they were discovered. After turning King’s evidence, Hare was released, but Burke was hung, dissected, and a book was bound from his skin. Burke’s death mask and the book bound from his skin can all be found at the History of Surgery Museum.