September 19, 2017

More bizarre deaths

These short tales of unexpected and unforeseen deaths are to reinforce the truth that we never know when death will come to us and so we should be prepared to die at all times.  May their family and friends, faced with sudden and grievous loss, find consolation.  May all of the victims rest in peace.

Out-of-control cement mixer crushes family car killing Filipino father instantly

A fully loaded cement mixer truck which appeared to lose control of its brakes, hit the curb next to the white Honda before toppling over onto it. Ulysses Ramos, 35, had been driving with wife Marife, 34, in the passenger seat and their three children and pet dog in the back.  He was killed, but his is wife, three children and puppy escape after onlookers rushed to help, using bamboo rods and metal poles to hold up the truck while the passengers were freed.

Man falls off bridge and dies after jumping for joy when girlfriend said yes

The 32-year-old unnamed man was in his girlfriend’s car when he asked her to pull over in the middle of Irabu Bridge, which links the Miyako and Irabu islands in Japan.  He told her he wanted to take in the view from the structure, however then dropped to one knee and pulled out a ring.  The man is said to have been so overjoyed when she said yes – he jokingly climbed onto the bridge railings and spread his arms to celebrate. However seconds later he lost his balance, and fell 100 feet from the bridge into the water below.

Crushed to death by the truck he was working on after it came loose from jack stands

Michael Queen, 50, was crushed to death on Monday when the truck he had been working on fell on top of him in North Carolina.  His wife Kimberly came home and found her husband pinned beneath the truck.  She called 911, but her husband was pronounced dead on the scene

Eminent cancer doctor was fatally stabbed by a patient after giving him the all-clear

Dr Igor Tyulenev is seen walking towards a hospital CCTV camera in his white coat when a man suddenly faces up to him and knifes him in the chest. The doctor falls back on a row of chairs in his clinic in the Russian Arctic city of Murmansk.  The attacker was convinced he was suffering from cancer and that doctors were hiding it from him.  Shortly before the appalling stabbing, Dr Tyulenev, in his late 50s, had assured the man test results gave him the all-clear from cancer.

Drunk man is trampled to death by an elephant after trying to take a SELFIE with the wild animal

The incident was caught on video, filmed by onlookers from a safe distance, and sees Mr Bharti tripping as he tries to flee the elephant. The elephant then runs over Mr Bharti, from Rourkela, Odisha, and injured him severely. The incident happened when forest rangers were trying to rescue the elephant, which had become separated from its herd. "The animal was nervous as it had strayed away from his family and when the man came too close to it, the elephant in its rescue attacked him."

Mother, father and son, 11, die after they fell into a volcanic crater near Naples

Tragedy unfolded when Lorenzo, only 11, entered a prohibited area at Solfatara volcanic crater close to Naples.  The boy's mother, Tiziana Zaramella 42, and his father, Massimiliano Carrer, 45, then tried to pull him to safety. They are said to have fallen 5ft but the exact cause of their deaths is not yet clear - though asphyxia is  suspected. The volcanic fields at Solfatara are scorching hot only a few inches below the surface and packed with hot gas. Their other son, a seven-year-old, has survived amid reports he was managed to scramble out of the crater.  The devastating misfortune befell the family as they were enjoying the final day of their holiday before their young sons were due to return to school tomorrow.  The seven-year-old boy was said to be in ‘great shock.’ The owner of a bar at the entrance to the volcanic site said he ‘kept asking where his family was.’

Teen With ‘Rapunzel Syndrome’ Dies After Eating Her Own Hair

Jasmine Beever had always chewed and eaten  her hair, something the family thought was harmless.  That compulsive habit is known as trichophagia.  Over time, the hair accumulated in her intestines, gradually forming a large hairball known as a trichobezoar.  This accumulation of hair in the intestines is known as Rapunzel syndrome.  The trichobezoar then infected the thin membrane that lines the stomach, leading to peritonitis. The infection eventually burst an ulcer in her stomach and caused her organs to shut down.  Beever was away at college when she collapsed. She went home to bed, but soon realized she was covered in blotches. She was raced to the emergency room, where doctors unsuccessfully attempted to resuscitate her.

Japanese journalist works herself to death by doing 159 HOURS of overtime in a month and taking just two days off

Miwa Sado was a political journalist for the country's national broadcaster. She suffered a heart failure in July 2013 but the death has only surfaced recently. Her parents said: 'Even today, we cannot accept our daughter's death'

From the annals of history.
Death by bucktooth

Viking Sigurd the Mighty famously conquered northern Scotland in the ninth century. But after decapitating Mael Brigte the Bucktoothed, Sigurd attached the head to his saddle as a trophy. On the ride, Mael’s bucktooth pierced Sigurd’s leg and caused a fatal infection.

Six Americans killed in Oregon by Japanese Balloon Bomb in WW2.

While on a picnic in rural Oregon, a pregnant schoolteacher called to her husband, “Look what I found, dear,” when it exploded killing her and five of her Sunday School students.  Japan's fire balloon campaign was planned to attack Americans on their home turf.  The balloons, about 33 feet in diameter and made of rubberized silk or paper and with  bombs attached to their bottoms, were set off to drift across the Pacific, carried by hydrogen power, to explode over the western U.S.  Despite the Japanese releasing an estimated 9,000 of these fire balloons, only 342 reached U.S. soil. Most of them landed along the West Coast, however, some of them drifted as far inland as Nebraska. Most of them were shot down, and the rest fell on their own.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 4:14 PM | Permalink

Cemetery roundup

In 199 Cemeteries to See Before You Die, Loren Rhoads is quite specific about appropriate behavior in graveyards.

“Rule number one is be respectful. Even cemeteries that are closed to new burials deserve to be treated like something precious and irreplaceable, because they are.”

 Merry Cemetery Includes Poems
Markers in Merry Cemetery in Romania include poems about the deceased.

The 10 Iconic Cemeteries That Made Death Beautiful

The history of the rural cemetery movement, which brought Victorians to picnic among tombstones...With names like “Green-Wood” and “Forest Lawn,” graveyards came off as places of natural respite, not of decay and foreboding. Grassy lawns, flowering trees, and reflective ponds made them as much a place of repose for the living as for the dead. The skulls and crossbones of 16th century grave markers were replaced by more artistic, interpretive symbols like lambs, lilies, and open books.

 Mt.Auburn Cemetery Atlas
Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, Massachusetts

Cemetery manager buried the dead on top of each other in £14k fraud campaign

A crooked cemetery official made thousands of pounds by burying the dead on top of each other in a nine year campaign of fraud against grieving families.  William Henderson, the former superintendent at Edinburgh's Mount Vernon Cemetery,  defrauded the archdiocese that runs the city's only Catholic cemetery of thousands by illegally selling forged burial deeds and also pocketed hundreds of pounds in cash after selling space that had been reserved by families for future use and in parts of the cemetery where burials were not allowed, such as footpaths and access routes.

Construction workers in China discover centuries old well-preserved corpse buried with its favorite fan

The man is thought to have died sometime during the Ming (1368 to 1644 AD) or Qing (1644 to 1912) dynasties. He was unearthed in Zhizhu village, Anhua County in China's Hunan province dressed in fine fabrics and laid to rest with his favorite fan.

 The Man Was Also Laid To Rest With His Favourite Fan Hinting Tha-A-32 1504281264695

Professional gravediggers go digging for victory
The bizarre tournament in Hungary where.... winners of the event go on to compete in an international tournament against gravediggers from Poland, Slovakia and the Czech Republic.  Organizers said last year that they hoped the race would help increase respect and recognition for the gravedigging profession and attract more people to the job, which is under threat from the increasing popularity of cremations.

 Hungarian Gravedigger Contest

Posted by Jill Fallon at 2:20 PM | Permalink

September 9, 2017

Lanterns of the Dead Lighting the Way

The Lanterns of the Dead

 Lanterns Of The Dead

At some point in the early part of the 12th century, people in the center and west of France began to erect strange constructions – effectively hollow towers with a hole for a lantern at the top - near or in their village graveyards (and before you ask, most were nowhere near the sea).  Although many were moved or destroyed during the revolution, about a hundred survive to this day.  Known as Lanterns of the Dead (Lanternes des Morts) their precise original use is still debated. In the French capital, Paris, a system of street lanterns did not evolve until the late 1500s. ..So why did the French place the only significant night-time light near or smack bang in the middle of their graveyards?...

One theory - Protection from plague

In times of plague, the flame from the lamp might serve as a way for the villagers to quickly transfer fire to their hearths without coming in to contact with each other – a pestilential pilot light, as it were. People could visit the lantern in isolation so helping to slow or halt the spread of disease.  This sounds plausible enough, no?...As time moved on, churches would remain at the heart of the village but medical advances pointed clinical fingers at the sanitary implications of burying the dead so close to where the living resided.  Graveyards were moved lock, stock and coffin to the periphery of many villages and the lantern of the dead was taken along too. ....

The First Crusade

Yet even though they had served the purpose of honoring the dead, Eygun’s research uncovered another reason for their construction – one which was no doubt their primary purpose, at least in terms of utility. Incredibly, they are intimately connected with the First Crusade (1095-1099), the first medieval military expedition made by Europeans to recover the Holy Land and one church in particular.  The Church the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem had been destroyed by the Caliph Hakem in 1009.  When the city was seized by crusaders ninety years later in 1099, orders were given for the church to be rebuilt at once.

It would serve to remind the population of Jerusalem who was now in charge. The builders constructed a spiral staircase leading to the top of the building. There they placed a giant lantern to symbolize the resurrection of Christ which shone over Jerusalem from 1100 till 1187, when the city fell to Saladin, the first Sultan of Egypt and Syria.

As such, it is now believed that the majority of the lanterns were erected by local nobility or monastics as an undoubted souvenir of the time they spent on the First Crusade. Specifically, they wished to evoke the presence of the remarkable church in Jerusalem where they worshiped in some awe of its magnificent lantern, the rays of which illuminated the city nightly.  There is, moreover, a definite correlation between the period of time during which the lanterns were developed in France and the era of the Latin Kingdoms in the Holy Land – the first three quarters of the 12th century....

It should be noted here that the First Crusade began as a pilgrimage before it descended in to the brutality of a military expedition ...  So, again, what better to mark the route of a pilgrimage than lanterns which echo the sight to be found at the endpoint of the most desirable of all – the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem?...

Lighting the way to Santiago

The route that the French lanterns take does not, of course, terminate in Jerusalem.  Rather they guide travelers towards the city of Santiago de Compostela, the Galician capital in northwestern Spain.  This was one of the most important medieval pilgrimages, after those to Rome and Jerusalem:
Posted by Jill Fallon at 12:24 PM | Permalink

"Some future somewhere is floating on down" "

Your Threads Have Come Undone: A Letter to a Grieving Husband

I did not know you. I did not know your wife. All I know is your love story ended long before you were ready, and now you live in a story unfolding. Like a tapestry...your threads have come undone. I know the hopelessness of holding on, of letting go.... 

From somewhere in the high heavens, the places I could not see, far beyond my gaze, there was a future floating down. I was alive, feet on the earth, so I could not outrun that future and slowly it covered me up.  There is, my dear friend, in the heart of every living being, the will to go on.

For all the dark days ahead, for all the love story you’ve lived, the lives you’ve loved, a spark of light, a hope for life grows stronger day by day, night by long night.  You will find the strength you need to continue putting your feet, one in front of the other, firmly on the earth. Some future somewhere is floating on down.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:50 AM | Permalink