September 29, 2012

Death by forgery

Lawyer accused of murdering father after 'forging his signature on document asking to be removed from life support' .

Her father Attorney William Van Note, 67, and his girlfriend Sharon Dickson were shot during a home invasion in 2010.  Van Note was the sole survivor until his daughter Susan provided a signature claiming his request to have his medical care terminated

Susan Elizabeth Van Note, 44, is accused of forging her father's signature leading to first degree murder.  The slain accountant leaves behind a $1.6million estate.
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And soon, after 20 years together, he and longtime companion Sharon Dickson were going to wed, hoping that the union would be a new start after previous failed marriages.  They never got the chance. In October 2010, an intruder shot the couple in their lake home, killing Dickson and leaving Van Note critically wounded with a gunshot wound to the head. He died four days later, after his daughter told doctors that he would prefer to die rather than be kept alive by medical intervention.

What happened next set the stage for a unique legal case: Van Note's daughter, Susan, was accused by prosecutors of pulling the trigger and forging her father's signature on the document doctors relied on to end his medical treatment.

The case, which essentially accuses her of 'death by forgery,' has captivated the small Missouri community since her September arrest. Legal experts say it's a case with little, if any, precedent.

'He died as a result of them removing life support, not as a result of the gunshot,' Camden County prosecutor Brian Keedy said. 'If you commit a felony, and somebody dies as a result, there is a criminal responsibility for that death.'

Susan Elizabeth Van Note, who goes by Liz, is a 44-year-old attorney who specializes in end-of-life issues, and advertised herself for offering 'compassionate representation of clients.'
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The document she's accused of forging is known as a durable power of attorney. People can use a power of attorney to dictate whom they want making medical decisions for them in emergencies or if they are near death and unable to speak for themselves.

Dickson was slated to inherit Van Note's cash and several homes. But her death would have likely meant that Van Note's daughter would get most of the estate's proceeds, which were likely worth millions of dollars more than the partial estimate on file.
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Toates, the tenant who knew Van Note, said that his daughter's arrest didn't come as a surprise to many in Liberty.

'It happened on a Saturday, and she unplugged him on Wednesday,' Toates said. 'A lot of people did not understand that.'

I expect we'll see a lot more cases like this, especially in states like Oregon where any form of euthanasia such as physician-assisted suicide  is legal.
Mercy killing isn't mercy at all.  Patients are euthanized for convenience, to save money, or to get money.

In Holland, last year 13 psychiatric patients were euthanized and the number of people in the early stages of dementia who were euthanized were double that of 2010. 

Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:36 PM | Permalink

September 27, 2012

'This kid is dead, you got that?'

Donor network 'pressured medics to declare patients dead so organs can be harvested'

New York hospitals are routinely 'harvesting' organs from patients before they're even dead, an explosive lawsuit is claiming.  The suit accuses transplant non-profit The New York Organ Donor Network of bullying doctors into declaring patients brain dead when they are still alive.

Plaintiff, Patrick McMahon, 50, reckons one in five patients is showing signs of brain activity when surgeons declare them dead and start hacking out their body parts. 'They're playing God,' McMahon, a former transplant coordinator who claims he was fired just four months into the role for speaking out about the practice, told The New York Post.

The lawsuit, filed in Manhattan Supreme Court yesterday, cites a 19-year-old car crash victim who was was still struggling to breathe and showing signs of brain activity when doctors gave the green light for his organs to be harvested.  Network officials including director Michael Goldstein allegedly bullied Nassau University Medical Center staff into declaring the teen dead, stating during a conference call: 'This kid is dead, you got that?'

McMahon, an Air Force Combat veteran, said he believed the 19-year-old could have recovered.  'I have been in Desert Storm, Iraq and Afghanistan in combat,' he said. 'I worked on massive brain injuries, trauma, gunshot wounds, IEDs. I have seen worse cases than this and the victims recover.

He said that the donor network makes 'millions and millions' from selling the organs they obtain to hospitals and to insurance companies for transplants.

'Hearts, lungs, kidneys, joints, bones, skin graphs, intestines, valves, eyes -- it's all big money,' he said.

The Air Force Combat veteran and former nurse added that financially strained hospitals are easily influenced to declare a patient brain dead because they're keen to free up bed space.

The lawsuit cites three other examples of patients who were still clinging to life when doctors gave a 'note' - an official declaration by a hospital that a patient is brain dead, which, as well as consent from next of kin, is required before a transplant can take place.
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McMahon has accused the donor network of having a 'quota' system and hiring 'coaches' to teach staff how to be more persuasive in convincing family members to give consent to organ donation.

He said 'counseling' staff are like sales teams who are pressured to meet targets and threatened with the loss of their jobs if they fall short.

'If you don't meet the quotas then you'll get fired - that's a fact. I saw it happen,' he said.

'You're not there for grief counseling, you're there to get organs. It's all about sales -- and that's pretty much a direct quote from the organization. Counsellors are required to get a 30 per cent consent rate from families.'  McMahon added that staff members who collect the most organs throughout the year qualify for a Christmas bonus.

This is a total scandal.  I urge you to read Bleeding Heart Cadavers

The exam for brain death is simple. A doctor splashes ice water in your ears (to look for shivering in the eyes), pokes your eyes with a cotton swab and checks for any gag reflex, among other rudimentary tests. It takes less time than a standard eye exam. Finally, in what's called the apnea test, the ventilator is disconnected to see if you can breathe unassisted. If not, you are brain dead. (Some or all of the above tests are repeated hours later for confirmation.)

Here's the weird part. If you fail the apnea test, your respirator is reconnected. You will begin to breathe again, your heart pumping blood, keeping the organs fresh. Doctors like to say that, at this point, the "person" has departed the body. You will now be called a BHC, or beating-heart cadaver.
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You might also be emitting brainwaves. Most people are surprised to learn that many people who are declared brain dead are never actually tested for higher-brain activity. The 1968 Harvard committee recommended that doctors use electroencephalography (EEG) to make sure the patient has flat brain waves. Today's tests concentrate on the stalk-like brain stem, in charge of basics such as breathing, sleeping and waking. The EEG would alert doctors if the cortex, the thinking part of your brain, is still active.

But various researchers decided that this test was unnecessary, so it was eliminated from the mandatory criteria in 1971.
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And how about some anesthetic?
Although he doesn't believe the brain dead feel pain, Dr. Truog has used two light anesthetics, high-dose fentanyl and sufentanil, which won't harm organs, to quell high blood pressure or heart rate during harvesting operations. "If it were my family," he said, "I'd request them."
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Posted by Jill Fallon at 3:38 PM | Permalink

Hiding in a coffin

Burglar tried to hide in COFFIN next to a dead body when undertaker walked in as he raided a chapel

A teenage burglar attempted to hide next to a dead body in a coffin when he was interrupted during a raid on a chapel.

Thief Kyle Kennelly, 18, ransacked the 150-year-old chapel in Merthyr Tydfil, South Wales, where the deceased was laying in rest the night before the funeral.  But the burglar was caught in the act when the undertaker Robert Protheroe arrived to begin his preparations for the service.
The court heard the thief heard Mr Protheroe enter and tried to hide in the coffin - but he was unable to get it open.
The undertaker rushed into the room where the body was being kept and saw Kennelly's hand on the smashed door.
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Kennelly, who lived just 200 yards from the chapel, in Garth Newydd Court, Merthyr Tydfil  was traced by his DNA after police found a cigarette under the casket.  The court heard how Kennelly caused thousands of pounds of damage to the 150-year-old Tabernacle Chapel.  He kicked in a set of oak doors, ripped out copper piping and smashed up an antique organ.
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He admitted burglary and theft and was sent to a young offenders' institution for 28 months at Merthyr Tydfil Crown Court.
Judge Richard Twomlow told him: 'The damage to the occupied coffin showed a complete lack of respect in every way.'
Posted by Jill Fallon at 2:18 PM | Permalink

Last texts: 'Help me please… head split open'

Chilling last texts of AT&T worker bludgeoned to death with crowbar as he fixed phone lines

A father-of-four was bludgeoned to death while he worked the night shift after a convicted criminal beat him with a crowbar when he refused to hand over his wallet.  Kevin Mashburn, 58, was doing repairs for AT&T last Wednesday morning when he was reportedly  set upon by Bryan Middlemas, using the crowbar from work truck.

Police investigating the horrific murder have released the last text messages that the technician sent to colleagues as he lay dying in his van near an apartment complex in Gladstone, close to Kansas City, Missouri.

Mr Mashburn sent the first text to another AT&T worker around an hour after he had been attacked. The 58-year-old had been severely beaten in the head during the brutal assault.

At 2.52am, he wrote to a colleague called Amanda: 'I NEEDE YOU TO CALL ME AN AMBULANCE.'

According to Fox 4 he later wrote: 'I HAVE BEEN ATTACKED… HELP ME PLEASE.'

He later texted another colleague called Gracie and told her he had been badly hurt with his 'head split open'.

Mr Mashburn repeatedly honked the horn and flashed the lights of his truck as an emergency crew frantically searched the area for him.  He was found unconscious and not breathing at 3.30am. He was taken to local hospital but died of injuries.  Mr Mashburn had been married for 33 years and has four children and one grandchild.  He had worked for AT&T for 41 years and had been carrying out his typical 12am-8am shift alone when he was attacked.

Mr Mashburn, was a wonderful and gentle man, his son Bill told KCTV.  His daughter later described her father as someone who would have given the shirt off his back to anyone.  Bill said: 'If everybody had a Dad like mine, like ours, then stuff like this wouldn't happen.'

AT&T offered $100,000 for information leading to the arrest of his attacker.  On Saturday night, a tip-off led police to 35-year-old Middlemas, who has previously served time in prison for assault and drug possession.  Middlemas allegedly called an old cellmate and confessed to clubbing Mr Mashburn with the crowbar.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 1:34 PM | Permalink

September 26, 2012

Funeral Haka by NZ soldiers for their fallen brothers

Funeral customs around the world never cease to amaze. 

New Zealand soldiers send off their fallen brothers with a giant Haka  via Ace's Laura

MORE than 200 soldiers from New Zealand paid their respects to their fallen comrades by performing a mass Maori haka at a repatriation.
The emotional video, which has gone viral, shows the men from 2nd and 1st Battalion Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment performing the ancestral war cry for Corporal Luke Tamata, 31, Lance Corporal Jacinda Baker, 26, and Private Richard Harris, 21.

The dead comrades were killed by a roadside bomb while serving in Afghanistan.

The ceremony at Burnham Military Camp two weeks ago showed the coffins arriving by car to be greeted by the mass of soldiers.  The group then break into a huge emotionally-charged haka war dance, similar to ones displayed by the All Blacks rugby team.

Major John Gordon, a spokesman for the NZ army, said: “Many soldiers don’t tend to show their emotions but today you saw their collective grief.”

The amazing video:

This is what NZDefenceForce said on YouTube:

Haka is used throughout New Zealand by many, not only Māori, to demonstrate their collective thoughts. There is a haka for each of the Services, as well as the Defence Force. Units with the NZ Army have their own haka. This video shows the soldiers of 2/1 RNZIR Battalion performing their Unit haka, powerfully acknowledging the lives and feats of their fallen comrades as they come onto the Unit's parade ground. It is also an emotive farewell for they will leave via the waharoa (the carved entrance way) for the very last time.

Haka --sometimes termed a posture dance could also be described as a chant with actions. There are various forms of haka; some with weapons some without, some have set actions others may be 'free style.' Haka is used by Māori (indigenous people of New Zealand) for a myriad of reasons; to challenge or express defiance or contempt, to demonstrate approval or appreciation, to encourage or to discourage, to acknowledge feats and achievements, to welcome, to farewell, as an expression of pride, happiness or sorrow. There is almost no inappropriate occasion for haka; it is an outward display of inner thoughts and emotions. Within the context of an occasion it is abundantly clear which emotion is being expressed.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 12:13 AM | Permalink

September 25, 2012

"You guys better get back over here! He's either going or coming."

From Letters of Note,  Ken Kesey writes to 5 of his closest friends about the funeral  of his son Jed, a wrestler at the University of Oregon when the driver of the team bus lost control.  Jed was left brain dead and passed away within days.  What a world. 

Partners, it's been a bitch.

I've got to write and tell somebody about some stuff and, like I long ago told Larry, you're the best backboard I know. So indulge me a little; I am but hurt.

We built the box ourselves (George Walker, mainly) and Zane and Jed's friends and frat brothers dug the hole in a nice spot between the chicken house and the pond. Page found the stone and designed the etching. You would have been proud, Wendell, especially of the box — clear pine pegged together and trimmed with redwood. The handles of thick hemp rope. And you, Ed, would have appreciated the lining. It was a piece of Tibetan brocade given Mountain Girl by Owsley 15 years ago, gilt and silver and russet phoenix bird patterns, unfurling in flames. And last month, Bob, Zane was goose hunting in the field across the road and killed a snow goose. I told him be sure to save the down. Susan Butkovitch covered this in white silk for the pillow while Faye and MG and Gretch and Candace stitched and stapled the brocade into the box.

It was a double-pretty day, like winter holding its breath, giving us a break. About 300 people stood around and sung from the little hymnbooks that Diane Kesey had Xeroxed — "Everlasting Arms," "Sweet Hour of Prayer," "In the Garden" and so forth. With all my cousins leading the singing and Dale on his fiddle. While we were singing "Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain," Zane and Kit and the neighbor boys that have grown up with all of us carried the box to the hole. The preacher is also the Pleasant Hill School superintendent and has known our kids since kindergarten. I learned a lot about Jed that I'd either forgotten or never known — like his being a member of the National Honor Society and finishing sixth in a class of more than a hundred.

We sung some more. People filed by and dropped stuff in on Jed. I put in that silver whistle I used to wear with the Hopi cross soldered on it. One of our frat brothers put in a quartz watch guaranteed to keep beeping every 15 minutes for five years. Faye put in a snapshot of her and I standing with a pitchfork all Grantwoodesque in front of the old bus. Paul Foster put in the little leather-bound New Testament given him by his father who had carried it during his 65 years as a minister. Paul Sawyer read from Leaves of Grass while the boys each hammered in the one nail they had remembered to put in their pockets. The Betas formed a circle and passed the loving cup around (a ritual our fraternity generally uses when a member is leaving the circle to become engaged) (Jed and Zane and I are all members, y'unnerstand, not to mention Hagen) and the boys lowered the box with these ropes George had cut and braided. Zane and I tossed in the first shovelfuls. It sounded like the first thunderclaps of Revelation

But it's an earlier scene I want to describe for you all, as writers and friends and fathers…up at the hospital, in cold grey Spokane:

He'd finally started moving a little. Zane and I had been carrying plastic bags of snow to pack his head in trying to stop the swelling that all the doctors told us would follow as blood poured to the bruised brain. And we noticed some reaction to the cold. And the snow I brushed across his lips to ease the bloody parch where all the tubes ran in caused him to roll his arms a little. Then more. Then too much, with the little monitor lights bleeping faster and faster, and I ran to the phone to call the motel where I had just sent most of the family for some rest.

"You guys better get back over here! He's either going or coming."
Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:06 PM | Permalink

Two interesting obituaries from the London Telegraph

Maurice Keen

Maurice Keen, who has died aged 78, was a remarkable historian of the late Middle Ages best known for his book Chivalry, published in 1984.

 Maurice-Keen

The book — which won the Wolfson History Prize — asked what chivalry was, and whether it was anything more than a polite veneer.

Keen believed that chivalry was tonal, not precise, in its implications; but it could be described as an ethos in which martial, aristocratic and Christian elements were fused together, and it was of key importance in the fashioning of the idea of “the gentleman”.

The idea of chivalry, Keen said, was grounded in the five cardinal virtues of “prowess, loyaute, largesse, courtoisie, franchise” — that is, skill on the battlefield; loyalty to one’s lord; generosity; courtesy; and a quality that suggested frankness and independence. It thus required virtue as well as “breeding”, explaining its durability and glamour as a concept.

Chivalry concludes with some intriguing observations about the differences between the code of the knight and that of the officer and gentleman: the conception of the estate of knighthood, with a general commission to uphold justice and defend the weak, was pared down to the conception of the officer whose business it is to fight the King’s enemies.

Dick Stolz

Dick Stolz, who has died aged 86, was the spymaster-in-chief for America’s Central Intelligence Agency at a time of dramatic geopolitical change.

 Dick Stolz

His career undercover had begun in 1950, and seen him serve in Cold War flash points in Eastern Europe. He was chief of station in Moscow in 1965 when the Soviet Union threw him out of Russia, but that did not prevent his eventual promotion to chief of Soviet operations in the mid-1970s.
During his period abroad he was admired at home as one of the agency’s most effective covert officers — or, in the words of one of his predecessors, “a spy’s spy”. As Senator Patrick Leahy, a former member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, observed in a retirement tribute to Stolz in 1991: “There is nothing 'cowboy’ about Dick. He epitomizes the careful, calm intelligence operator.”

He was persuaded to return by a former FBI director and federal judge, William Webster, who was appointed by Reagan to take over the CIA in 1987. “I wanted risk-takers but not risk-seekers,” Webster explained. “We did a lot of dangerous things and took a lot of risks. But we did it within the framework of our authority.” Stolz resumed work with a bang. Apart from refocusing the agency on new threats, he established the Agent Validation Programme, known as “scrubbing”, which led to a record number of agents being moved or sacked for ineffectiveness or unreliability.
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Richard Fallis Stolz Jr was born on November 27 1925 in Dayton, Ohio, but grew up in New Jersey, graduating from Summit High School in 1943. As an infantryman with the 398th Regiment of the 100th Division of the US Army, he saw wartime action in France and the Rhineland.
In 1949 he graduated from Amherst College, Massachusetts, and the following year joined the CIA, specializing in Soviet operations. Posted to Italy, West Germany, Turkey and Bulgaria during the Cold War, Stolz also served in Belgrade before becoming chief of the Soviet and then European divisions of the operations directorate.
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Following his final retirement in 1990 Stolz was awarded a second Distinguished Intelligence Medal. President George HW Bush presented him with the National Security Medal for distinguished achievement in the field of intelligence.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 8:41 PM | Permalink

One day's toll of unexpected death

Death comes every day, sometimes in totally unexpected ways, changing the lives of survivors forever.

Some of the band played on. The moment drummer slumped on his kit and died from heart attack mid-way through concert caught on camera

Woman, 83, 'gunned down like an animal' by police after SHE called THEM to report an intruder in her home  She got the gun she never used and went outside to go to her sister's house 2 doors away.  She wasn't wearing her hearing aids so didn't the police yelling, 'Drop it'

Soldier 'accidentally kills his friend after putting gun to his head to scare away his hiccups'      Of course alcohol was involved when the gun  'unexpectedly discharged'.    He should have googled the best hiccup cure.

Sixth-grade cheerleader waiting for school bus is struck and killed by neighbor's 18-wheeler.  She was sitting on the curb at an intersection.  Narrow roads, no sidewalks and the driver maybe blinded by the sun.

Newborn mauled to death by family pit bull while police were in house responding to separate 911 call over domestic disturbance  Separated couple get into a physical argument when the police responded to a 911 call.  They didn't know a 3 month old baby was left inside alone with the family pit bull.

Police search for grandfather, 73, who 'shot daughter-in-law in chest' after she put kids on school bus    The daughter had taken out a restraining order against his son.  Grandfather and daughter in law lived on the same plot of land in two different houses.

Man, 67, 'poisoned sick girlfriend with chlorine to take control of her finances'… but she thought she was drinking vitamin water    She survived because a staff member noticed the water looked discolored and smelled of bleach and called the police.

Man 'had sex with woman's corpse' before calling 911 to report she had died  Disgusting.

May they all rest in peace.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 8:34 PM | Permalink

September 24, 2012

Interactive gravestones. "We've all got a story to tell."

Interactive gravestones link to online tales of life

Summing up the life of a dearly departed relative with just a terse description etched in stone may become a thing of the past with the introduction of interactive codes on gravestones.

One funeral company in the southern English town of Poole is offering to add quick response (QR) codes to headstones which will link smartphones to online memorials illustrated with pictures, videos and contributions from family and friends.  Chester Pearce funeral directors said QR barcodes enable visitors to learn a lot more about the person buried beneath gravestones than the age, dates of birth and death and the odd biblical passage or literary quote usually written on them.
 Qrcode
"It's about keeping people's memories alive in different ways," managing director Stephen Nimmo told Reuters.  "When you lose somebody, whether it be suddenly or ongoing, you can really struggle with things. Talking about them is very important, keeping their memory going is very important and this is just an add-on to that."…."We've all got a story to tell,"

QR codes, a barcode that can be scanned with smartphones or QR scanners, allow users to pull up information on the internet and are frequently used in advertising and marketing campaigns.    "It's a new technology, it's something that there will be people who like it, there will be people who don't and that's the same in everything that we do," Nimmo said.

He said he has seen demand growing for QR codes as they catch the imagination of the public.  Chester Pearce charge about 300 pounds to create a code that can also be placed on gravestones, benches, trees or plaques and is linked to a page on their QR Memories website.

Gill Tuttiet, 53, was one of the first customers in Poole to use the technology for her late husband Timothy.  "Tim was quite outward-going and game for anything. I think this is the way forward and Tim would have wanted that, and it's making a process that's hard possibly easier," Tuttiet said.

The website linked to the code shows a profile of the departed, pictures, videos and tributes from family and friends.  Close friends and family given a password are also able to add personal messages of their own.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:16 AM | Permalink

Courage marked his life and death

Purple Heart veteran, 80, dies saving wife from car which spun onto sidewalk after hitting Pakistani diplomat's vehicle

A two-time Purple Heart veteran was killed while protecting his wife from a car that spun onto the sidewalk along New York City's Park Avenue on Saturday night.

'He pushed me out of the way,' Denise Baum, 62, told the New York Daily News of her husband, 80-year-old Rubin Baum, who would be swept beneath the vehicle while she was thrown into a parked truck.    'I tried to lift the car. I was so ashamed. I couldn't lift it,' Mrs Baum said while biting back tears.
 Denise+Ruby Baum
Ending a night out taking in a jazz performance nearby, the couple were attempting to hail a cab home on the Upper East Side when police say a black Mazda sedan ran a red light.  The vehicle immediately ploughed into a northbound Toyota sienna minivan carrying a Pakistani diplomat, who has not been named, spinning the Mazda out of control.

'I stepped out from the sidewalk … I saw a black shiny car,' Mrs Baum recalled of that life-changing moment around 10.30pm.

'He sacrificed his for life for me. He really gave me a good shove. It was in a second, he saved my life,' she told the New York Post.  'He was pinned under the car,' she told the Daily News. 'I want to know who did this? Was he drunk? Was he on drugs?'

Both Mrs Baum and her husband, who had served as a medic in the Korean War, were transported to New York Cornell Hospital.  Mrs Baum was hospitalized in serious but stable condition with a leg injury, while her husband was pronounced dead on arrival.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:11 AM | Permalink

September 23, 2012

Pregnant Skydiver on Her Last Jump

Pregnant Base jumper killed on last jump before she retired: Horrified boyfriend who jumped alongside her could only watch after her parachute failed to open

A pregnant Base jumper has died in what she had pledged would be her final leap before retiring.

 Wioletta Roslan

Wioletta Roslan, of Sweden, had said she would give up the high-risk sport after falling pregnant, but decided to make one last jump near Stechelberg, Switzerland, which ended in tragedy.  The 37-year-old adrenaline junkie was four months pregnant when she died after her parachute failed to open during a Base (Buildings, Antennas, Spans and Earth) jump last weekend.

Her boyfriend Aleksander Domalewski jumped alongside her and could do nothing but watch as she realized her parachute wouldn’t open and spread her arms awaiting the impact of the 990ft drop. The Via Ferrata cliff was Miss Roslan’s favorite spot for Base jumping and she had been there many times before with her partner.

She was experienced in extreme sports after taking up skydiving as a 19-year-old in Malmo, Sweden. Her mother Halina Zaniewska-Pettersson, 68, said: ‘I was always terrified every time I knew that she was doing the sport again and I kept expecting the worst.

'When she said that she was going to do one last jump while pregnant I begged her not to go. But she always wanted to carry on. I couldn't force not to do it – she was old enough to make up her own mind about things.’

Miss Roslan had managed to build a successful career as an inspector working on oil rigs – and in her spare time travelled the world as a professional Base jumper.

'I only feel alive when I jump. I find normal life boring. I know that death always flies with me but we only have a certain amount of time on the earth. When the sun goes down then it's game over whoever you are'
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She had lived in the Berner Oberland region for two years doing odd jobs in order to spend every spare moment jumping from local cliffs.  She told her mother it had been the happiest time in her life and she wanted to go for a final jump with her boyfriend before retiring.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 7:37 PM | Permalink

September 22, 2012

Newspapers do not "revoke" obituaries

The difficulty obituary writers face when dealing with families of divorce is discussed at The Thinking Housewife, Exiled in Death.

This reminds me of one of the more memorable stories from my time working the obituary desk at a daily newspaper. A gentleman died, and his firstborn (so I thought) son prepared a nice obituary. It was unusually well-written for a family submission, going on at some length about the man’s interests, beliefs, hobbies, and values. It read like a solid tribute to a very good father and husband, and I told the young man as much via phone when he called to inquire about requirements for submission of digital photographs. The next day I received a hysterical phone call from a woman demanding to know how to “revoke an obituary.” I clarified her meaning quickly. The young man who wrote the obituary was the firstborn of the deceased gentleman’s second wife. Apparently, the entire obituary had been written to anger the first wife and her children, the young man’s half-siblings. Its statement that he enjoyed grilling steaks for his family was meant to be a slight against the first wife’s vegetarian diet. His conservative values, a slight against the first wife’s marching in support of local public school teachers. It went on and on.

I was appalled, but of course beyond the fact of a decedent’s name, gender, and dates of birth and death, the newspaper had neither the obligation nor the means to verify information for obituaries. And I couldn’t publish a “revocation.” This was after the paper moved to charging for obituaries, so the young lady who had called elected to write her own obituary, publishing her own account of her father’s life. The half-siblings apparently spoke to each other, and word spread from one group to the other that a different version would run the next day, from the man’s first set of children. The second set of children (who published the initial obituary) decided to pay the fee to have their version run for another day.

Thus, the next day featured two obituaries of the same man, one by his second wife and her children, one by his first wife and her children. Their accounts were radically different. Each left out the other spouse and children. Who knows which came closer to the truth of the gentleman’s beliefs and values? I was appalled by the spectacle, and it reminded me that the carnage of divorce doesn’t heal itself. (The second marriage had lasted for 25 years.) The consequences go on and on, without end.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 2:11 PM | Permalink

September 21, 2012

The rookie mistake of a new hospice nurse

From Codeblog, tales of a nurse.  She made a Rookie Mistake at her new hospice job.

In ICU, if you are actively dying, you look terrible.  In most cases, people dying in the ICU are there because we were or are trying to save their life.  This requires some treatments that cause other problems.  The fluids and medications we give cause pretty severe swelling.  Add in mechanical ventilation and the patient may even end up with scleral edema – where the whites of the eyes fill with fluid from pressure and swell to the point of not allowing the eyelids to fully close…..That is what dying looked like to me for 14 years.  Turns out it’s a pretty exaggerated version of how it is when people naturally die without life-saving interventions.

On my second night out sans preceptor, I was called to a house early in the evening to help with symptom management.  I was told that the patient was minimally conscious and was starting to have labored breathing.  The family had started giving oral morphine liquid to help with this and were panicking about the whole thing a little.  I went and assessed the patient.  She was mostly unconscious, her breathing a little labored.

The family’s greatest concern was that she was going to die that night.
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They asked me if I thought it would be that night.  Honestly, despite being unconscious and breathing a little differently… ok, maybe her color wasn’t great, but it wasn’t awful – her feet felt only the tiniest bit cool and weren’t discolored at all (there was no mottling, which is when the skin becomes discolored and blotchy).  Compared to what I was used to seeing in patients who were dying, she didn’t look too bad.
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a dying person’s condition can change very rapidly.  This is different from what I’m used to for sure.  The ICU course follows a fairly predictable pattern most of the time.  Not so predictable outside of the hospital!
Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:23 PM | Permalink

September 19, 2012

What do you do with your dead parent's stuff?

Brimming With Pride, Son Seeks Resting Place for Dad's Hat Hoard

Some children find themselves overwhelmed by a dead parent's boxes of photo albums or an attic brimming with not-so-valuable antiques.

Scott Legried is hampered by hats.

More than 109,000 baseball caps. All lovingly collected by his father, Roger "Buckey" Legried, a corn and soybean grower and farming-equipment salesman in Frost, Minn.

Scott Legried inherited the world's largest collection of hats when his father died last September at the age of 73. The hats are boxed and stored in a garage, a basement and three 42-foot-long semi-tractor trailers at the Legried family farm. A three-ring binder catalogs each cap and its provenance—every John Deere hat from every state is listed, along with a black cap with intricate gold and red beadwork.

The hats were the elder Mr. Legried's unfinished legacy. He had hoped to see them displayed for the public….Now, the duty of finding the hats a permanent, public home hangs on the younger Mr. Legried, 40 years old. He calls it an "honor."

The hats will probably end up at the Green Giant Museum in Austin, Minn.  Like other museums with large collection, all the hats will not be display at once -

A proper display—with four-inch high shelves, 10 feet to the ceiling—would stretch at least a half mile, the elder Mr. Legried once calculated.

Hearing voices in the clutter by Margaret Carlson

HOUSES, if we look and listen, have secrets to tell us. I didn’t fully understand my parents until I finally faced up to emptying their house. Doing so would have been hard at any time, but it was even harder because I had waited 20 years after their deaths.

Not by choice, I had left the house exactly as it was and exactly as they wished, with my brother, Jimmy, brain-damaged by an epileptic seizure at birth, at the center of it. My parents had created a world in a quiet suburb of Harrisburg, Pa., in which he could thrive, and they expected me to do the same, although my universe consisted of a daughter, a column and a house 150 miles away.

But at a certain point, I realized that I was caulking leaks and replacing pipes at an accelerating pace that had to stop. Finally, last spring, my brother saw he was beginning to sag like the gutters and agreed to move into a group apartment.

Before he could remember how much he would miss his snowblower, I put the house on the market. Happily, it sold right away. Unhappily, I had just 60 days to get rid of 70 years’ worth of belongings.
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NOTHING I found would have attracted attention on “Antiques Roadshow,” but it all had meaning for me. I needed to do some wholesale chucking, but I kept hearing voices coming out of closets, drawers and boxes.

“You can never have too many salt and pepper shakers,” my mother was certain. And “surely, you want those linen guest towels I embroidered with the Eight Beatitudes?”
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The day of closing, I dropped the last black garbage bag at the curb, swept the house broom-clean and left Jimmy at his new place waiting for the cable guy, so as not to miss an episode of “The Andy Griffith Show.”

Then I drove home in a car packed full of what I couldn’t bear to part with: wedding photos of my beaming parents, blissfully unaware of what was about to hit them; hand-stitched linens; the white veil from my First Holy Communion.

And suddenly, I felt a hole in the middle of my life. I had spent a month in my parents’ company, discovering what had been in plain sight all along. For the first time, I knew what it meant to be homesick.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 12:03 PM | Permalink

September 18, 2012

When having it all is not enough

Why did he do it? Wall Street stunned as one of America's top private equity bosses is found dead after killing himself in his $5million mansion

One of America’s most highly respected private equity bosses has been found dead after he apparently killed himself, leaving those on Wall Street and beyond asking why.  The death of Robert McKeon, who was in charge of Veritas Capital, was ruled a suicide by a coroner who revealed that the cause of death was ‘asphyxia due to neck compression’.

McKeon's body was discovered at his $5m mansion in Darien, Connecticut, where he lived with his art expert wife and their children.

Mr McKeon, 58, was a well known figure on Wall St who managed the $2bn Veritas fund.  He was also a passionate art collector and a philanthropist who supported a number of charities, including the New York Police & Fire Widows & Children's Benefit Fund.

In a statement Veritas said: ‘Bob was an extraordinary person, a consummate professional, and a cherished friend and colleague.  ‘We are all deeply saddened by this tragic loss and have his family in our thoughts.’

Mr McKeon was born to a working class family in the Bronx, and was the son of a cake deliveryman.  He went to Fordham University and Harvard Business School before joining now shuttered investment bank First Boston.

He helped found Wasserstein Perella & Co. in 1988 as head of private equity and then later chairman - the company’s successes included turning around cosmetics firm Maybelline.
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Now an extremely wealthy man, Mr McKeon’s 1929 Connecticut home is a five-bedroom, six bathroom mansion set on three acres.  He is also thought to have properties in The Hamptons and Telluride, Colorado.

His wife Clare works at Christie’s in New York where she is an expert on 20th Century British Art and Victorian & British Impressionist Pictures.  A graduate of Oxford University and the Courtauld Institute of Art in London, she is also Vice President in the Department of Sporting Art.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:58 PM | Permalink

Flight 93 Widow

'She died of a broken heart': Tragic 9/11 widow suffers heart failure brought on by accidental drugs overdose 11 years after United 93 pilot husband perished

 Sandy Dahl

The widow of the captain of doomed 9/11 flight United 93 died of heart failure brought on by an accidental drug and alcohol overdose, an autopsy released on Friday has revealed.  Sandy Dahl, who was married to captain Jason Dahl, passed away unexpectedly in her sleep in May while staying at a friend's home in Lakewood, Colorado.

The death came after a decade of tireless work maintaining the memory of those on board Flight 93 who perished on September 11, 2001 after crashing in a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania.  Making numerous public appearances over the decade after the attacks, Dahl supported a permanent memorial to the victims of the fourth hijacked plane, making sure they were not forgotten.

Dahl died of acute heart failure due to the combined effects of alcohol and multiple prescription drugs, Jefferson County chief deputy coroner Carl Blesch said.  He said a heart condition – right ventricular dysplasia – was a contributing cause in her death.

She died of a broken heart and probably the stress but you know you never would have known it unless you knew her really, really, deeply,' her friend Jewel Wellborn told 9News after her death.
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She also developed a conviction to hear the flight deck recordings from United 93, because, as a flight attendant herself, she wanted to understand from the cockpit what had happened.  Hearing the harrowing tapes back, Dahl came to understand what happened on the flight and tirelessly worked in public to make sure that no one forgot it.

'Yes, my husband did have a big role in it,' said Dahl. 'He was not going to give up his airplane just like that.'

After she unexpectedly passed away in May, Patrick White, the president of The Families of Flight 93, lauded Dahl's bravery following her husband's death.

'Sandy's courage picked up where her husband's left off,' White said in a statement. 'Her dedication to completing the Flight 93 National Memorial as a way to honor her husband's heroic actions on 9/11, and those of his fellow crew members and passengers, is a significant part of her legacy.'
Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:54 PM | Permalink

He died with $200 in the bank and $7 million in gold coins in his garage

Recluse dies with just $200 in the bank… and $7million worth of GOLD COINS piled in his garage (and his cousin who hadn't spoken to him for a year will get the lot)

When 69-year-old Walter Samasko Jr died in May he left behind just $200 in the bank and no friends or family to lay claim to the meager inheritance.

He hadn't worked since 1968 and was living off stock accounts of $140,000 and $25,000.

But the real treasure was found at his Nevada home, along with his decaying body, one month later after neighbors complained of a foul smell.

There officials discovered box upon box of gold coins and bars stowed away in Samasko's garage, valued at a staggering $7million or more.

The 69-year-old had died from heart problems, a coroner found, at least one month before he was discovered.

Leaving no will, and with no known relatives, officials set about tracking down a list of people who had attended Samasko's mother's funeral after she died in 1992, the Las Vegas Sun reported.

They managed to identify a first cousin, Arlene Magdanz, a substitute teacher living in San Rafael, California.

Though Ms Magdanz declined to comment, her attorney said that the first words of of his client's mouth were: 'Oh my God, oh my God.'
Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:33 PM | Permalink

Death by inhaling smoke from American flags he burned in protest

Pakistani Protester Dies From Smoke Of Burning American Flags

A Pakistani man, one of approximately 10,000 people participating in an anti-American rally, has died.  The cause of death?  Complications from inhaling the smoke of burning American flags.

The Express Tribune, a Pakistani newspaper affiliated with The International Herald Tribune (“The Global Edition of The New York Times”) reported:

One of the participants of the rally, Abdullah Ismail, passed away after he was taken to Mayo Hospital. Witnesses said he had complained of feeling unwell from the smoke from US flags burnt at the rally.

The rally is part of protests, organized by Jamaat-Ud-Dawa, the political arm of the terrorist group Lashkar-e-Taiba.  Protesters are allegedly insulted by America’s unwillingness to punish the makers of the film “Innocence of Muslims.”  The protesters, demanding respect for and tolerance of Islam, threatened to destroy the U.S. consulate in Pakistan if the United States does not publicly hang the movie’s producer, director, and “all those involved in the production and release of the movie” (which would presumably include Google and YouTube employees).  The protesters also will not be satisfied until the United States makes a “law against blasphemy.”

Mark Steyn comments:

To the list of Islamic grievances – film trailers, cartoons, teddy bears, false rumors of flushed Korans, Burger King ice-cream cartons, non-Sharia-compliant mustaches – we must now add the appalling toxicity of the American flag:
Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:29 PM | Permalink

Chef slow-cooked his wife's body for days

L.A. chef told police he slow-cooked his wife's body for days

A Los Angeles-area chef on trial in his wife's slaying told authorities the reason they couldn't find her body was because he slow-cooked it for days, then disposed of the remains.

David Viens' wife, Dawn Viens, disappeared in October 2009. In March 2011, David Viens told sheriff's investigators why they hadn't been able to find the body of his wife, who'd been missing for nearly a year and half.

"I just slowly cooked it and I ended up cooking her for four days," said Viens, a chef who ran a restaurant in Lomita, according to an interview played for jurors Tuesday.

Viens had already told investigators that, one October night in 2009, he taped his wife's mouth and bound her hands and feet with duct tape. The next morning, Dawn Viens was dead. That account is strikingly similar to what David Viens later told his daughter and ex-girlfriend, who testified for the prosecution last week.

Sgt. Richard Garcia asked Viens what happened the night of Oct. 18, the last time his wife was seen.

"For some reason I just got violent," Viens said, according to an interview played for a Los Angeles jury Tuesday.

In the second of two interviews Viens gave to investigators in March 2011, he said he stuffed his wife's lifeless body into a  55-gallon drum of boiling water and kept it submerged with weights. After four days, he mixed much of what remained with other waste and then disposed of it.
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Viens has pleaded not guilty to killing his wife, whose body was never found. After Viens learned investigators suspected he had killed her, he jumped off the cliff -- feet first, hands extended over his head -- in Rancho Palos Verdes. That's how he ended up in the hospital, so severely injured that he is attending his murder trial in a wheelchair.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:25 PM | Permalink

September 13, 2012

Amazing story of a loyal dog guarding his dead master

Loyal dog ran away from home to find his dead master's grave - and has stayed by its side for six years

A faithful dog has refused to leave the side of his dead master's grave for six years, it was reported today.

 Loyal Dog Capitan


German shepherd Capitan ran away from home after the death of Argentinian Miguel Guzman in 2006.  A week later Mr Guzman's family went to pay their respects and found the heartbroken pet sitting by his owner's grave, wailing.  Since then the grieving dog has rarely left the spot at the cemetery in the town of Villa Carlos Paz, central Argentina.

Mr Guzman bought Capitan as a present for his 13-year-old son Damian in 2005. He died suddenly in March the next year, but by the time his family had returned home from the funeral Capitan was gone.

Mr Guzman's widow Veronica told Argentina's Cordoba newspaper: 'We searched for him but he had vanished. We thought he must have got run over and died. The following Sunday we went to the cemetery and Damian recognized his pet. Capitan came up to us, barking and wailing, as if he were crying.' She added: 'We had never taken him to the cemetery so it is a mystery how he managed to find the place. 'We went back the next Sunday, and he was there again. This time, he followed us home and spent a bit of time with us, but then went back to the cemetery before it started getting dark.

'I don't think he wanted to leave Miguel on his own at night.'

The cemetery's director Hector Baccega remembers the day he first saw the dog. He said: 'He turned up here one day, all on his own, and started wandering all around the cemetery until he eventually found the tomb of his master. 'During the day he sometimes has a walk around the cemetery, but always rushes back to the grave. And every day, at six o'clock sharp, he lies down on top of the grave stays there all night.' Mr Baccega said staff at the cemetery are now feeding and taking care of Capitan.

Mr Guzman's son Damian said: 'I've tried to bring Capitan home several times, but he always comes straight back to the cemetery. I think he's going to be there until he dies too. He's looking after my dad.'
Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:05 PM | Permalink

September 12, 2012

'John did it, John did it – and you have to tell someone'

A mother's deathbed confession eventually led to the arrest and trial of her son John, 72, a retired police officer.

A guilt-ridden mother admitted on her deathbed that her son was responsible for the murder of a seven-year-old girl that has haunted the nation for 50 years, a court heard.

Former Washington police officer Jack McCullough, 72, is on trial for the kidnapping and slaying of Maria Ridulph, from Sycamore, in 1957.  But the court heard yesterday that his own mother knew he was involved in the little girl's disappearance.

-Jack Mccullough


His half-sister Janet Tessier claimed her mother Eileen Tessier told her: 'John did it, John did it — and you have to tell someone'  as she was dying of cancer.  Ridulph's disappearance on December 3, 1957, triggered massive searches and an FBI investigation. Her body was discovered five months later in rural Jo Daviess County.

McCullough was only arrested last year after his half-sister reported the claims made by their mother on her deathbed in a DeKalb hospital in 1994 and the case was reopened.  Janet Tessier testified said her mother, who died two weeks later, was 'lucid' when she made the claim. The Sun Times reports she told the court: 'She was very agitated and emotional and she expressed a great deal of guilt.'

His two other half-sisters said McCullough never returned home the night the seven-year-old girl vanished but their mother told police he had.

Katheran Caulfield said she stayed up until at least 11:30pm on the night the child vanished but never saw her brother come home.  But she claimed her mother told police he had been home that evening.

Forensics examinations indicate that Ridulph was stabbed at least three times in the throat and the chest, prosecutors said.
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 Maria Rudolph

McCullough lived a few block from the Ridulph family home and was on an early list of suspects. But he had an alibi, saying that on the day the girl vanished, he traveled to Chicago to get a medical exam before enlisting in the Air Force.

He later moved out of the area, served in the Armed Forces and ultimately worked as a police officer in Washington and a security guard at a retirement home - where he was arrested on July 1, 2011
Posted by Jill Fallon at 2:00 PM | Permalink

September 11, 2012

Death from the sky

A pilot flying over a Republican gathering to drop rolls of toilet paper lost his lift and crashed to the ground.  Randy Humble, 60, of Moscow, Idaho, died at the scene.

Stowaway plunges to death from plane in residential street under Heathrow flight path

Experts said that such incidents were rare, but it was impossible for a stowaway to survive a long-haul flight and bodies had been known to fall when the wheels come down before landing.

Annie Williams, 47, a resident, said: “I heard a monstrous bang. I thought someone had been hit by a car. There were two fellows going to church and they said there’s a dead body in the street.”

Residents also spoke of body parts being strewn over a 30-yard area and pools of blood.

Experts believe the man had hidden in the landing gear somewhere in North Africa, but fell as the aircraft prepared to land at Heathrow and the pilot put the wheels down early on Sunday.
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Richard Taylor, from the Civil Aviation Authority, said the man was likely to have been dead for the entire journey because he would either have been crushed by the wheels being raised after take-off or frozen in temperatures of up to -40F (-40C ).

He said: “The chances of survival for a stowaway are very slim, particularly in the recess of the landing gear if someone tried to stowaway there.
“More likely they would be crushed when the landing gear retracted.”

He added that, even if someone had survived take-off, without specialist Arctic clothing there was no chance of surviving the low temperatures.  He said: “I don’t know of anyone who has survived being stowed away on a long-haul flight and it is surprising that so many people still try. When the landing gear comes down at the other end, a couple of miles from the runway and about 2,000ft in the air, if there is a person who had died they would fall out.”
Posted by Jill Fallon at 1:51 PM | Permalink

Last Call

 Budweiser Casket

Man gets final request to be buried in Budweiser CASKET

Leon Wesley had been known by all around Maringouin, Louisiana, as a major enthusiast of Budweiser, rarely seen without a red plastic cup filled with his beer of choice.  That is why when he passed away this past weekend at age 71, few people were surprised by his final wish: to be laid to rest in a casket honoring his favorite brew. A clerk at the local Junior Mart said the store was a daily stop for Wesley, who would come in like clockwork to purchase a bottle of beer and cigarettes.
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Leon Wesley died on Sunday after losing a battle with prostate cancer. His sister, who runs a funeral home in Maringouin, promised to honor his dying wish.  ‘When they hear about the casket, they going to be curious to come see about that,’ she said.  Wesley's coffin was specially ordered to fit his six-foot-seven frame and emblazoned with the logo of his beloved beverage maker. Jackie said her brother’s request did not strike her as odd in the least because she has had experience with eccentric final wishes from grieving families in the past.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 1:00 PM | Permalink

September 7, 2012

'Living Dyingly'

The Importance of 'Living Dyingly'

After his terminal diagnosis became public, Hitchens wrote, in a characteristic turn of phrase, that he was “living dyingly.”
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I have seen up close and personal how the process of dying can paradoxically strengthen and improve us. My father died of colon cancer in 1984. The disease hollowed him out physically, reducing him to a husk. But he grew—oh, how he grew—and died a far stronger, wiser, and better man than he had been before falling ill.
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I strongly believe that how we die matters corporately. Dad, like Hitchens, inspired others by the way he lived dingily. No surprise there: Aren’t we all bucked up when we see or hear of others facing death with mettle and pluck? Think Ulysses S. Grant, writing his memoir while dying in great pain from tongue cancer. Some will remember the great admiration America felt when actor Michael Landon—with frankness rarely seen in those days—went on Johnny Carson’s show to discuss his terminal pancreatic cancer. Then there was Ronald Reagan, announcing his own Alzheimer’s disease, turning his face steadfastly toward “the journey that will lead me to the sunset of my life,” and patriotically expressing the belief that “for America, there will always be a bright dawn ahead.”

This is one reason I find the assisted suicide movement so subversive. It rejects the ideal that those who go toe-to-toe against terminal disease uplift the human experience. It seeks to alter our cultural expectations from “Do not go gentle into that good night . . . rage, rage against the dying of the light,” to “Do yourself, your family, and society a favor by getting it over with.”
Posted by Jill Fallon at 12:08 PM | Permalink

People who faked their own deaths

10 Insane Stories of People Who Faked Their Own Deaths via Neatorama

Here they are, but you have to go to the link to read the stories

Connie Franklin: Called As Witness in Own Murder Trial

Lord Timothy Dexter: 3000 People Came To His Phony Funeral

Ken Kesey: Faked Suicide, “Flew” Over The Border To Escape Pot Bust

Corey Taylor: Pretended To Be Dead To Get Out Of Cell Phone Contract

Allison Matera: Faked Death But Attended Funeral

William Grothe: Posed as His Own Murderer

Aimee Semple McPherson: Pretended To Die and Went To…?

Gandaruban Subramaniam: Faked Death for 20 Years, Remarried Wife, and Had Another Child

Hugo Jose Sanchez: Faked Death, Caught Because of Elvis CD Purchase

Bennie Wint: Faked Death For 20 Years For No Reason

Though my favorite is Francis "Turk" Moriarty,  a bank robber who did hard time before he got a job at the Boston Housing Authority, drinker and poet who Threw Himself a Funeral Every Year.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 12:05 PM | Permalink

Funeral of the Blue Jays

Western Blue Jays Hold a Funeral for Dead Bird

Humans are not the only animal that mourn their dead, but this is quite surprising: when a Western Scrub Jay bird encounters a dead bird, it will call out to others to stop foraging and, well, for lack of better words, attend a bird funeral.

The revelation comes from a study by Teresa Iglesias and colleagues at the University of California, Davis, US. They conducted experiments, placing a series of objects into residential back yards and observing how western scrub jays in the area reacted.

The objects included different colored pieces of wood, dead jays, as well as mounted, stuffed jays and great horned owls, simulating the presence of live jays and predators. […] The jays reacted indifferently to the wooden objects.

But when they spied a dead bird, they started making alarm calls, warning others long distances away.

The jays then gathered around the dead body, forming large cacophonous aggregations. The calls they made, known as "zeeps", "scolds" and "zeep-scolds", encouraged new jays to attend to the dead.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:45 AM | Permalink

September 5, 2012

After traveling the world, couple killed by a train a few yards from home

Tragic irony of the Swiss couple who travelled the world for five years only to be hit by a train and killed just metros from their home

A couple who spent five years traveling the world together died just two days after returning home when they were hit by a train meters from their apartment.

Daniela Weiss and partner Daniel Oelter, both 38, had journeyed across some of the planet's most dangerous areas in a marathon tour that took them through Asia, the Middle East and South America.

 Swiss Couple Killed By Train

But they were killed when they were struck by a train as they crossed a rail track near their home in Granichen, Switzerland, at around 9.20pm on Wednesday evening.
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‘When the police told me what had happened my throat just seized up. I thought I could not breathe.  Daniela is our only child.

‘Daniela was the best daughter you could wish for and Daniel was a great boyfriend to her. They were just great together.

‘It was so good to see my daughter again and have her home - but she died at the place which should have been the safest in the world,’ she added.
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A witness who saw the accident has claimed the pair were having a discussion shortly before they died and that they were seen cuddling by the tracks.

Daniela’s mother Margit said: ‘They were not deliberately standing on the tracks. They were excited about their future in Switzerland. She had taken her walking sticks with her, they were just out for a walk.

'The pair were probably discussing Daniela’s new job. Perhaps they were distracted as they would normally have used the underpass.’

For Margit her world too ended under the wheels of the train.

She said: ‘Losing your child is the worst thing that can happen to anyone. You just do not imagine it can happen to you - just when we thought we had our child back and had even felt we had gained a son - we lost them both her forever.’
Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:37 AM | Permalink