April 5, 2017

Coffin Torpedos

Victorian ‘Coffin Torpedoes’ Blasted Would-Be Body Snatchers

Keeping the dead buried was a matter of grave concern in 19th-century America. As medical schools proliferated after the Civil War, the field grew increasingly tied to the study of anatomy and practice of dissection. Professors needed bodies for young doctors to carve into and the pool of legally available corpses—executed criminals and body donors—was miniscule. Enter freelance body snatchers, dispatched to do the digging. By the late 1800s, the illicit body trade was flourishing, and salacious accounts of grave robberies peppered local papers across the country.

 Grave Robbers Tewksbury---

On the night of January 17, 1881, a would-be body snatcher by the name of Dipper was killed by a blast in a Mount Vernon, Ohio cemetery. The attempted grave-robbery was a three-man operation, according to the Stark County Democrat. The explosion broke the leg of the second thief. The third—tasked with keeping watch—was allegedly left unscathed and hoisted his wounded friend into a sleigh.

Another win for the coffin torpedo. ......Philip. K Clover, a Columbus, Ohio artist, patented an early coffin torpedo in 1878. Clover’s instrument functioned like a small shotgun secured inside the coffin lid in order to “prevent the unauthorized resurrection of dead bodies,” as the inventor put it. If someone tried to remove a buried body, the torpedo would fire out a lethal blast of lead balls when the lid was pried open.

Fortunately, technology and not explosives proved to end the practice of grave-robbing.

By the early 20th century, the controversy around resurrection men and the body trade had died down considerably—though not due to “grave ghouls” going out with a bang. Anatomy laws gave medical schools access to bodies of the poor in most states by 1913, curbing the black market for cadavers. Improved refrigeration technology also allowed corpses to be stored and preserved in medical institutions, so there was less of a premium on the newly deceased.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 12:44 PM | Permalink

February 15, 2017

Undertakers gatecrash funeral and walk off with corpse

Undertakers gatecrash funeral and walk off with the CORPSE because bereaved family failed to pay their fees 

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.
 Undertakers Grab Corpse At Funeral
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?
Posted by Jill Fallon at 6:43 PM | Permalink

January 27, 2017

"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.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 12:54 PM | Permalink

January 4, 2017

Overcome by guilt and grief, he exhumed his wife's grave for one, last kiss

The Death Mask of Gabrielle Danton

The people's champion of the French Revolution was so overcome by grief at his wife's death he exhumed her in the dead of night to make one final replica of her face.

 Antoinette-Garbielle Charpentier--Claude-André Deseine Img 2306

George-Jacques’s wife Antoinette Gabrielle Danton died in labor on the 10th of February, 1793, along with the infant son that would have been the couple’s fourth child. Her rebel husband was away in Belgium at the time, on a military observation mission for the Revolutionary Government. The widower did not hear of his wife’s death until five days after the fact.

In the few years leading up to her death, George-Jacques had neglected his wife in favor of mistresses. Yet contemporary accounts report that he flew into a terrible, violent grief and immediately ordered a coach back to Paris.....

“Through his tears, a solution formed: he would make a likeness of her, a bust he could for ever embrace and ask for forgiveness.  The next evening he hurried to see a sculptor he knew, an artist with a workshop in the Saint-Marcel section.  The sculptor shook his head. Madame Danton had been dead for a week, he reminded his frantic visitor, in her grave for three days past.” From there Danton and the sculptor preceded to the graveyard, where the most powerful man in Paris bullied his way in. Several biographies report that after they grave was dug up, Danton forced the casket open and embraced his dead wife, possibly kissing her, before the sculptor went to work forming the mold for her death mask.

The mask was completed in short order, and bore a striking resemblance to the late Madame Danton. Unfortunately George-Jacques was unable to enjoy it for long. He was executed when revolutionaries turned against him during the Terror just over a year later, under suspicion of corruption.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:19 AM | Permalink

Protection Against 'Digital Resurrection"

Actors now seeking posthumous protections from digital resurrection

As I noted in my review of Rogue One, perhaps the most interesting aspect of the film was the digital return of Peter Cushing in the role of Grand Moff Tarkin, despite his 1994 death.

In the wake of Carrie Fisher’s sudden death, speculation is that this technique could allow the character of Princess Leia to continue despite the loss of the talented actress.....

The possibilities have launched a move by celebrities to protect their images from beyond the grave....

Robin Williams, who died over 2 years ago, was among the first to foresee these possibilities....
Robin Williams, who committed suicide in 2014, banned any use of his image for commercial means until 2039, according to court documents. He also blocked anyone from digitally inserting him into a movie or TV scene or using a hologram, as was done with rapper Tupac Shakur at Southern California’s Coachella music festival in 2012 – 16 years after his murder.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:53 AM | Permalink



Mortsafes were contraptions designed to prevent grave-robbing.  Invented around 1816 to deter grave robbers whose lucrative trade supplied medical schools with fresh corpses so that its students could study human anatomy.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:48 AM | Permalink

June 2, 2016

"She sold me her frozen mother for $30"

Woman Shocked to Find Neighbor’s Frozen Mother in $30 Used Freezer

A North Carolina woman was shocked when she looked into a used freezer she bought and found parts of a dead body inside.

“My heart was in my throat and I ran outside, called 911,” said the woman, who asked that she not be identified.  “I have a serious problem. My neighbor sold me a deep freezer. I just opened it and there’s a body in there I think,” she told the 911 dispatcher. “I am freaking out.”

The woman did allow CBS North Carolina cameras into her apartment Tuesday to see where she had kept the deep freezer for the three weeks before opening it and making the gruesome discovery. The woman said she bought the freezer from her neighbor, but that she didn’t immediately open it because that neighbor told her it was being used as a “time capsule.”  “A church was supposed to come, pick up the items inside the freezer. I was supposed to get the freezer back. The church never came. I decided to open it,” the freezer buyer said.

Police confirmed the human remains were found Friday inside 1723-B Holly Street in Goldsboro. The woman who discovered it said she believes it was the body of the neighbor’s elderly mother inside the freezer.

“She sold me her frozen mother for $30. How do you do something like that??” the woman said.

On June 1, remains were positively identified by the North Carolina Medical Examiner’s Office. The woman’s death was determined to be natural and with no signs of foul play.  Goldsboro police are investigating the incident as felony concealing or failing to notify the death of a person.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:24 AM | Permalink

"So we all hope this is a one off."

Ghost-hunters get the willies by stumbling on 'porn shoot' in Hull graveyard

A ghost tour party exploring a spooky graveyard got a real case of the willies when they found themselves in the middle of a porn film shoot.

The tourists were examining the inscriptions on the slabs at the graveyard on the south side of Sculcoates Lane, Hull, when they heard groans coming from further down the path.  When they went to investigate they were stunned to find a young woman having sex with a man in a patch of ivy. Two other men were so busy filming the broad daylight romp with video cameras, they did not realise they had an audience.

Ghost guide Mike Covell said: "It was the couple who saw us first. They were going at it like knives among the ivy. She was a blonde.  We looked at her and she looked at us. Then she pushed the bloke off her. The guy ran after her desperately trying to protect his privates from the brambles.  We did not know where to look. Good job all 12 people on the tour were adults because sometimes kids come along.

"One elderly man was so incensed, he was ready to chase after them with his walking stick but I persuaded him to calm down and eat his sandwiches."
The graveyard dates from the 1840s and the last burial took place in 1959. It is now overgrown and reputed to be haunted by ghostly monks and the spirits of children whose bones were disturbed during redevelopment of part of the site. Only three graves are still tended by loved ones, volunteers say.

The ivy was allowed to grow over the tomb stones to protect them from frost but also allowed the porn crew to sneak in.
The graveyard is owned by the Diocese of York but the running of it was taken over by the community in 2007.

Lorna Walker, who chairs Sculcoates Neighbourhood Association, said: "We find this very distasteful. But it is a public place and there is not a lot you can do apart from lock the gates. But then no one would get the benefit of it - we do bat walks and all kinds of positive things down there.

"This is the first time I have heard of anything this. There are always people in society who will push the boundaries.  The cemetery has a rich history. Philip Larkin used to ride his bike through it. So we all hope this is a one off."

 Hull Cemetery Porn Shoot-1

Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:04 AM | Permalink

May 27, 2016

How did the dissected bodies donated to medical science end up in mass graves?

This report by Nina Bernstein at the New York Times shows disgraceful behavior on the part of NYU.  Let it be a red flag to all who plan to donate their bodies to medical science.

Bodies Given to N.Y.U. Ended Up in Mass Graves, Despite Donors’ Wishes

One died in her multimillion-dollar apartment. Another left $1.3 million to charity. A third was an opera costume designer who took regular trips to Europe with his devoted partner. All three donated their bodies to medical science, and eventually served as cadavers for first-year medical students at the New York University School of Medicine. All three had signed forms that promised cremation and the disposal of their ashes by the medical school “in an appropriate and dignified manner.” 

So how did their dissected corpses end up instead in mass graves on Hart Island, where New York City buries the dead it considers unclaimed and indigent? 

Those cases, discovered during an investigation by The New York Times into Hart Island burials, shocked surviving family members and friends. But they also raised larger questions about body donations at a time when medical schools throughout the country increasingly rely on such gifts, rather than on unclaimed bodies, to teach future doctors.

Now, after searching through anatomical records at The Times’s request, N.Y.U. is apologizing, and acknowledging that the cases were part of a practice that went on for years. Until 2013, the school was sending a subset of privately donated cadavers to a city morgue for burial at public expense.

“As an institution, we weren’t aware that this was happening,” Lisa Greiner, a spokeswoman for NYU Langone Medical Center, said. “I promise you it’s not happening now.”

But the revelation reinforces longstanding concerns by some anatomists about the lack of regulation and oversight in a national patchwork of body donation operations. And it could have repercussions at the 16 medical schools in New York State, which use more than 800 donated bodies a year.
N.Y.U. was one of the first medical schools in the country to publicize annual memorial ceremonies held by grateful medical students to honor body donors. Each year, on average, it receives 46 cadavers and signs up 65 donors. Officials at the Associated Medical Schools of New York, of which N.Y.U. is a member, said that it knew of no other school that had ever sent privately donated bodies to a potter’s field, and that it had been unaware that N.Y.U. was doing so.

Todd Olson, who formerly directed the anatomical donation program at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and, as a professor of anatomy, was a leader in the profession’s state and national organizations, said he was sickened to learn of N.Y.U.’s method of disposing of some privately donated bodies.

“This is so out of line with common practice,” he said. “The idea of it is so disrespectful.” But, he added, “Every time you turn around you’re going to find some people who are taking advantage of their access to the dead, because they know the dead are not going to talk.”
Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:49 PM | Permalink

February 27, 2016

"She is now ill-gotten gains for thieves."

Shock in Chinese village as women’s corpses stolen for use in "ghost weddings"

Grave robbers in rural China are stealing women's corpses to feed a new demand for "ghost weddings", an ancient ritual whereby elderly bachelors are given a "bride" to buried with when they die.

Under a rural tradition that began nearly 3,000 years ago, families in rural China consider it bad luck for a single man to pass into the afterlife without a female companion at his side. One way to prevent his spirit becoming restless is to provide a female corpse for him to be buried with.

While the ghoulish practice has long been outlawed under communism, it has now revived as newly-wealthy country dwellers pay up to £10,000 per "bride".

The Sunday Telegraph visited the village of Dongbao in China's northern Shanxi province, which has suffered 15 corpse thefts in the last three years alone. At least 15 others have vanished from other hamlets across the region.

“Who knows where they took my mother?” said Li Fucai, 53, standing over a tomb where his father now rests alone. "She is now ill-gotten gains for thieves."
Posted by Jill Fallon at 3:43 PM | Permalink

February 1, 2016

Dead hand

Puerto Rican man's corpse embalmed to allow poker fanatic to play one final hand with loved ones

The family of Henry Rosario Martinez, 31, organized for his wake to be centered around the card game following his sudden death on Jan. 19....Martinez was seated at the poker table, as friends and family posed for pictures with the deceased, who was wearing a New York Yankees cap.

 Henry-Rosario-Martinez Dead Poker
Posted by Jill Fallon at 1:15 PM | Permalink

January 16, 2016

'So, we have Smithson’s monument all mangled to shit, his casket broken open, his 150-year old skeleton exposed to all and sundry, and now everything is ON FIRE."

James Smithson, the illegitimate son of the 1st Duke of Northumberland, died without children so his nephew became his sole heir but he died without children as well.  So begins the extraordinary story, The Creation of the Smithsonian which is hilarious and must be read in its entirety.  Here's one excerpt:

....the curator of the Smithsonian in 1973 impulsively decided to exhume Smithson AGAIN. On the basis of ghost stories.

Workmen took out the casket, which they discovered was made of metal and soldered shut. The curator told them to use their flashlights to bust the casket open. In doing so, they managed to catch the silk lining inside the casket on fire.....

So, we have Smithson’s monument all mangled to shit, his casket broken open, his 150-year old skeleton exposed to all and sundry, and now everything is ON FIRE.

Then, “He didn’t want them to ruin the silk by using an extinguisher so he told them to fill their mouths with water and come back to spray it down. So they did it.”

The silk is already ruined. It’s on fire. And if you, A CURATOR, were so concerned with preservation, why did you have random workmen bust open a sealed relic with improper tools, without any authorization to do so?

And now, to cap things off, a whole group of people are just spitting on James Smithson. Congratulations. This might be the worst thing I’ve ever written about on this blog.

-James Smithson Remains

Posted by Jill Fallon at 1:15 PM | Permalink

March 10, 2015

The Cannibal Monks of Varanasi

The Cannibal Monks of Varanasi

Feared across India, the exiled Aghori monks of Varanasi feast on human flesh and reside near cremation sites in search of spiritual enlightenment.  Showing the monks with painted faces and beads strung around their necks, these incredible images were taken by Italian photographer Cristiano Ostinelli, who spent time with the tribe to discover more about their way of life.

The mysterious tribe members live in cemeteries and feast on human flesh as part of their rituals, as well as drinking from human skulls, chewing the heads off live animals and meditating on top of cadavers in search of spiritual enlightenment….The monks use a combination of marijuana, alcohol and meditation to help them reach a disconnected state of heightened awareness and bring themselves closer to revered Hindu god Lord Shiva. The Aghori also believe that by immersing themselves without prejudice in what others deem taboo or disturbing, they're on course to achieving enlightenment.

They live among India's cremation sites - where Lord Shiva and goddess Kali Ma are said to dwell - and feed on what others throw away.
Bodies are often cremated and then scattered into the sacred Ganges river, but some bodies are disposed of without cremation. The Aghori are said to collect these remains and use them for their spiritual enlightenment, wearing the corpses, consuming them or building alters from them.

Italian photographer Cristiano Ostinelli captured some extraordinary images


Posted by Jill Fallon at 12:57 PM | Permalink

July 21, 2014

Imagine if you lost your child and watched their bodies treated like this

The final indignity: Horror as bodies of MH17 crash victims are lined up on side of dirt track, tossed into dumpster trucks and carted off to morgue train after being left in 85F heat for three days

 Mh17Bodies Rubbish Truck

As if the heartache couldn’t get any worse, families of MH17 victims were today greeted with the most undignified scene imaginable – their loved ones in black body bags being lined up on the side of a road and thrown into the back of rubbish trucks.

Almost 200 victims were piled high in the sweltering heat on eastern Ukraine before being carted off to a refrigerated train after their passenger jet was shot down by a surface-to-air missile.

For three days the 298 victims of the attack were left where they fell, in a field near the village of Grabovo in eastern Ukraine which is controlled by pro-Russian rebels, widely suspected of shooting the plane out of the sky on Thursday afternoon.

Over the weekend a chaotic clean-up operation finally began, where bodies were wrapped in black plastic and lined up along the roadside before being heaped onto dirty trucks to be taken to the train at a station nine miles away. In a further blow, it was claimed the refrigeration on board the carriages has not been working.

A chorus of outrage has been building over the treatment of the bodies, which victims' relatives have called 'degrading' and 'inhumane'. Today rebels promised that the train would be allowed to move on in the afternoon so the bodies could be examined by experts and eventually sent home.

 Mh 17 Bodies Lined Up On Road

Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:23 AM | Permalink

July 20, 2014

In the "grimmest of graveyards" appalling behavior by pro Russian thugs

Graveyard of desecration: Grave robbers. Ghoulish tourists taking pictures on their mobiles. Corpses left to rot:  Ian Birrell sends this shocking dispatch from the grim crash site.

For this is the grimmest of graveyards. Here on the gentle rolling hills of eastern Ukraine, beside an abandoned Soviet-era poultry farm, lay the innocent people whose lives were extinguished so suddenly in an explosion at 33,000 feet on Thursday afternoon.

Several human victims were still stuck in their seats. Others were mangled, mashed and hideously manipulated. I saw a leg, a battered trunk, a twisted hand reaching out from the grass and things more gruesome than I ever want to recall.

In a burned patch of grass littered with charred debris lay five crumpled corpses in a heap. Nearby were boarding passes, a smashed computer, a school book, piles of clothes, a box of chocolates – although bizarrely, two bottles of duty-free whisky had survived.

One can only imagine the terror with which these 298 passengers plummeted to earth – should they have been unfortunate enough to have still been alive – after their passenger plane was seemingly struck by a powerful military weapon.
There are many circles of obscenity around this mass murder, almost certainly caused by a missile fired by crowing pro-Russian rebels armed, funded and trained by Moscow. But perhaps the ultimate insult is that even in death these poor people were denied dignity.

So their devastated and dishevelled bodies were left in the baking summer heat, exposed to the elements for three days while uniformed goons with guns stole from their suitcases and then stopped international observers trying to solve the mystery of their deaths.

'Mr Putin, send them home, send them home, please': Grieving mother begs Russian leader to return her son and girlfriend as MH17 bodies are discovered in train carriages 9 miles away

The grieving mother of an MH17 victim today begged for his body to be returned - as reports emerged of corpses being carted away in the night and piled up in train carriages in a rebel-held town.

Silene Fredricksz and her husband Robertt begged Russian president Vladimir Putin to ensure the safe return of her son and his girlfriend.  The two, Bryce Fredricksz, 23, and Oehlers, 20, were among the 298 victims when the Malaysia Airlines passenger jet was shot down over Ukraine on Thursday and among the 192 Dutch victims of the disaster - almost two thirds of the total.

Holding a photograph of the two loved ones, …..She said: 'They were 23 and 20 years old. They are laying there somewhere on the floor. I don't know where they are.
'I want to arrange their funeral and I can't. I don't know where they are. I want them back. I want my children back. Look at those people. They're beautiful.
'They have to come back. Mr Putin, send them home. Send them home. Please."

 Dutch Couple Victims Ukraine Aircrash  Dutch Victims: Bryce Fredricksz (right) and Daisy Oehlers (left)

Outrage has been building over the treatment of bodies at the site, as pro-Russian rebels loaded as many as 196 bodies onto trucks and hauled them away, while at the same time holding back international observers.

 Separatists Block-Investigators Armed separatists refuse to allow investigators  access to crash site.

Separatists Said to Have Seized Control of Crash Victims’ Remains

KIEV, Ukraine — Pro-Russian separatist militiamen have seized custody of the bodies of about 200 victims of the Malaysia Airlines passenger jet that was blown out of the sky by a surface-to-air missile, Ukrainian officials said on Sunday, and rebels continued to limit access to the crash site in eastern Ukraine, blocking the work of experts even as hundreds of untrained local volunteers were picking through the wreckage with sticks.

Ukrainian emergency responders, working under the watchful eyes of armed rebels, had recovered 196 bodies from the area where Flight 17, a Boeing 777 carrying 298 passengers and crew from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, crashed and burned on Thursday afternoon.

But the responders were forced to turn the bodies over to the separatists, Andriy Lysenko, a spokesman for the Ukrainian National Security and Defense Council, said at a briefing in Kiev on Sunday. Mr. Lysenko said officials believed that 38 of those bodies were taken to the morgue in Donetsk, a regional capital that is controlled by separatists.
Large groups of searchers were working at the crash site, near the village of Grabovo, for the first time on Sunday. Coal miners and people in civilian clothes walked through wheat and corn fields, looking for those bodies that were still missing. Bodies were placed in black plastic bags and laid along the side of the road in matted grass.

It was the first day of mass searching, a full three days after the plane was shot down.
In a statement on Saturday, the Dutch prime minister, Mark Rutte, whose country lost 193 of its citizens aboard the plane, urged the speedy return of bodies and expressed outrage at the lack of control over the site.

“Swift recovery of the victims’ remains is now an absolute necessity and our highest priority,” Mr. Rutte said in the statement. “I am shocked by the images of completely disrespectful behavior at this tragic place. In defiance of all the rules of proper investigation, people have evidently been picking through the personal and recognizable belongings of the victims. This is appalling.”
Posted by Jill Fallon at 2:52 PM | Permalink

July 19, 2014

Rogue funeral director in Massachusetts stashed remains of more than 50 people in storage unit

Cremated remains of 40 people and 12 bodies found 'stashed in storage units by rogue funeral director' who operated without a license for six years

The bodies of 12 people along with the cremated remains of 40 deceased and one dog have been discovered in storage units allegedly connected to a rogue funeral director.  The gruesome discoveries emerged on Thursday after authorities spent months investigating Massachusetts funeral home director Joseph O’Donnell.

 Rogue Funeral Director Joseph O'donnell

The bodies were kept at a storage unit in Weymouth while individually packaged remains were found at a location in Somerville.  The Suffolk District Attorney's office is now talking with families to try to identify the remains, The Boston Herald reported.

O'Donnell, 55, was arrested in April for allegedly scamming an elderly couple out of $12,000 in burial expenses then keeping the money when he went out of business.

O'Donnell had also been under investigation by state authorities who suspected he'd been operating from his home unlicensed for six years.

O’Donnell is due back in court on Friday, reported the Boston Globe. He has been held on $10,000 bail after pleading not guilty in April to stealing the elderly couple's funeral expenses. He is now likely to face further charges.  'Our top priority right now is determining the identity of the remains we’ve discovered,' DA Daniel Conley said Thursday.

“Investigators do not believe their deaths were the result of foul play, but the circumstances of their placement in the storage facility is a central point of inquiry,” Conley’s office said in a statement.

This is going to cause problems for the funeral homes run by different O'Donnells in Lowell, Salem and Danvers.  People have to investigate the funeral homes they plan to use.  At the minimum, make sure their license is check and check through online reviews.

Still the story remains puzzling.  Where were the families?  Why was he storing cremated remains 'individually packaged'?  Could it be that the families never picked up the remains of family members they never much liked in the first place?

And what is the role of the state regulators if not to insure that unlicensed funeral homes or funeral directors are not still practicing.  I'd also like to know what  is the state policy on unclaimed bodies or remains…  What is a funeral director to do?

Posted by Jill Fallon at 3:22 PM | Permalink

April 22, 2013

Grave desecration in Georgia by relic hunters?

Anger as graves of soldiers from Revolutionary and Civil war are dug up and spilled throughout historic cemetery

Historical cemetery dating back to 1758 holds graves of veterans from the Revolutionary War, Civil War and World World
Among those dug up was the grave of 14-month Emma Jane McElmurray who was buried in 1884

Caretakers of one of Georgia’s oldest cemeteries say the scene was heart-breaking: A toddler’s bones were spilled on the ground. The uniform buried with a soldier in another plot was strewn on the ground.

 Desecrated Iron Casket
This iron casket contained the remains of a 14-month-old girl which were dumped out.  

Clothing buried with a soldier was removed, leaving his bones exposed, Burke County sheriff’s Sgt. Sean Cochran said.
Among the soldiers desecrated were those dating back to the Revolutionary War, Civil War, and World War I, he said.

Relic hunting is a possible motive, he said, though authorities aren’t certain what the motivation was.

'Most of the time when soldiers were buried, they were buried with their items to keep the enemy soldiers from getting them,' Cochran said.

Leroy Bell Jr., commander of the American Legion post that cares for the cemetery, discovered the damage on Saturday.
'Somebody is very sick to do something like this, to desecrate a grave,' Bell told WFXG.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:53 AM | Permalink

April 17, 2013

Grave Vandal, Clare Burke, 79

Caught on camera, the 79-year-old grave vandal: Hidden CCTV shows culprit dumping bags or gravel and dead flowers

-Grave Vandal Clare Burke
Clare Burke was filmed after a widower upset at the desecration of his wife’s final resting place hid a CCTV camera in a nearby tree.  Ron Wilks, 77, saw Burke throwing dead flowers and gravel on to the grave of his wife Jill and their one-day-old granddaughter Hayley Reynolds.

Burke attacked the grave because she had a grudge against Mr Wilks, a court was told. She resented him because he had become engaged to a woman who used to date her former partner.

Prosecutor Sharon Jomaa told Cheltenham magistrates that the hidden  camera showed Burke emptying carrier bags full of dead flowers and gravel  over the grave.

Claire Burke repeatedly desecrated the grave of Jill Wilks and her one-day-old granddaughter.  She would pull up live flowers and ‘plant’ dead ones in flower holders at the burial plot at Coney Hill Cemetery in Gloucester, she said.

‘The matter was very distressing for all the family and for Mr Wilks’s daughter Debbie, the mother of  the one-day-old baby,’ she told  the court.
‘Any interference with a grave is a reprehensible act and it was intended to cause distress. There is a great deal of background in this case but none can justify what she did and she doesn’t suggest that it does.’
Burke, of Oxmoor, Gloucestershire, admitted a charge of harassment. She was given a conditional discharge for 12 months and a two-year restraining order prohibiting her from contacting Mr Wilks or his fiancee or going near the grave. She was also ordered to pay  £100 costs.

After the trial, Mr Wilks said:  ‘This has been going on for a long time. At first I thought it was children messing around but it was happening so often that I realised it was malicious.
‘It makes no sense to me why  she did it. She has shown no remorse to us.’
Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:43 AM | Permalink

"My grasp of the English language doesn't really allow me to fully describe how horrific this clinic was"

I am following the Kermit Gosnell trial in Philly and every day it gets more horrifying.

He kept baby feet in jars!  Like trophies.  He considered himself "a good person".

Former employees testified last week that Gosnell gave different explanations for why he kept up to 30 specimen jars containing fetal feet. He told some the feet were for DNA testing and others they were for medical research

Yesterday, the medical examiner testified how he had to thaw the fetal remains to analyze how they died.

The remains of aborted fetuses were stored in water jugs, pet food containers and a freezer at a West Philadelphia abortion clinic, the city's chief medical examiner testified in the murder trial of the doctor who ran the facility.

Medical Examiner Sam Gulino told jurors Monday he had to examine the remains of 47 aborted fetuses, some of which were frozen, as part of the investigation into the charges against Dr. Kermit Gosnell.

Authorities accuse Gosnell, 72, of using scissors to sever the spinal cords of fetuses who emerged from their mothers still alive.
"There was no guidance on how to proceed," Gulino said, adding that the lacerated fetuses had to be thawed slowly so the tissue would not be destroyed. "I was never asked to do that (before)."
When authorities searched Gosnell's office, they found bags and bottles holding aborted fetuses scattered throughout the building. Jars containing the severed feet of babies lined a shelf. Furniture and equipment was blood-stained, dusty and broken.

"My grasp of the English language doesn't really allow me to fully describe how horrific this clinic was -- rotting bodies, fetal remains, the smell of urine throughout, blood-stained," Williams said.
Gosnell's freezer was full of  aborted babies

Today, a former janitor testified that toilets were backed up with body parts from abortions.

Johnson worked as a janitor, maintenance man and plumber of sorts and he was the common-law husband of 51-year-old Elizabeth Hampton, who is herself Gosnell’s wife’s sister. He told jurors some of the morbid details that appear in the grand jury report — including how he threatened to quit working at the abortion clinic because he refused to pull any more flesh from aborted babies out of the plumbing.
His job was to collect abortion remains and take them to basement — but he eventually refused to participate and bags began piling up.

He told the jury toilets backed up one-two times a week and said he opened the outside clean out pipe and fetal parts such as babies’ arms came spilling out.

Such horrors were the result of how Gosnell's  practice of inducing labor in the pregnant women then severing the spinal cords of the live babies.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 12:31 AM | Permalink

April 16, 2013

Grave Vandal, Clare Burke, 79

Caught on camera, the 79-year-old grave vandal: Hidden CCTV shows culprit dumping bags or gravel and dead flowers

-Grave Vandal Clare Burke
Clare Burke was filmed after a widower upset at the desecration of his wife’s final resting place hid a CCTV camera in a nearby tree.  Ron Wilks, 77, saw Burke throwing dead flowers and gravel on to the grave of his wife Jill and their one-day-old granddaughter Hayley Reynolds.

Burke attacked the grave because she had a grudge against Mr Wilks, a court was told. She resented him because he had become engaged to a woman who used to date her former partner.

Prosecutor Sharon Jomaa told Cheltenham magistrates that the hidden  camera showed Burke emptying carrier bags full of dead flowers and gravel  over the grave.

Claire Burke repeatedly desecrated the grave of Jill Wilks and her one-day-old granddaughter.  She would pull up live flowers and ‘plant’ dead ones in flower holders at the burial plot at Coney Hill Cemetery in Gloucester, she said.

‘The matter was very distressing for all the family and for Mr Wilks’s daughter Debbie, the mother of  the one-day-old baby,’ she told  the court.
‘Any interference with a grave is a reprehensible act and it was intended to cause distress. There is a great deal of background in this case but none can justify what she did and she doesn’t suggest that it does.’
Burke, of Oxmoor, Gloucestershire, admitted a charge of harassment. She was given a conditional discharge for 12 months and a two-year restraining order prohibiting her from contacting Mr Wilks or his fiancee or going near the grave. She was also ordered to pay  £100 costs.

After the trial, Mr Wilks said:  ‘This has been going on for a long time. At first I thought it was children messing around but it was happening so often that I realised it was malicious.
‘It makes no sense to me why  she did it. She has shown no remorse to us.’
Posted by Jill Fallon at 3:36 PM | Permalink

February 22, 2013

Doctor rapes, kills and then desecrates the corpse

After a 23-year-old woman who was nine months pregnant with two kids at home responded to a job posting in Craig's List for a housecleaner, an Ohio doctor 'raped, killed and did 'inhumane' things to her corpse.

 Deanna Ballman+Her Kids

Pakistani-born Dr Ali Salim is accused of murdering Deanna Ballman, of Pataskala, and her unborn baby last summer by injecting her with a lethal dose of heroin and then doing 'inhumane' things to her corpse.

Ballman, who was nine-months pregnant and had two kids at home, was found dead in the backseat of her car in woods outside of New Albany on August 1.

Salim, 44, pleaded not guilty today to two counts of murder as well as rape, felonious assault, corrupting another with drugs, kidnapping, tampering with evidence and abuse of a corpse. He is expected to be released on $1 million bail as soon as Friday.


Licensure information from the state indicates Salim was born in Pakistan and trained there at King Edward Medical College, graduating in 1993. He told the State Medical Board of Ohio that his specialties were internal medicine, emergency medicine and psychiatry.

Do not go this doctor

 Charged Dr Ali Salim

Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:26 AM | Permalink

February 19, 2013

Grave robbers in the Bronx

Bronx grave robbers loot $160,000 worth of precious metal from mausoleums in historic New York cemetery

Grave robbers have stolen $160,000 worth of valuable bronze from at least 65 mausoleums in a historic Bronx cemetery.

Police sources told the New York Post that the thief or thieves sliced off door handles, vents and name plates from 65 mausoleums at St. Raymond Cemetery in Throgs Neck between Friday and yesterday.

The arrests were discovered yesterday and no arrests have been made yet. Police are uncertain whether this was a lone criminal or a gang.
Bronx resident Anthony Messina, 53, visited his grandmother’s grave yesterday. He was horrified at the ghoulish thefts.

'I think it’s despicable to disturb someone’s eternal rest just to make money,' he said.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:10 PM | Permalink

September 18, 2012

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.
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

March 5, 2012

‘They are dogs, they are dogs.’

Desecrated: The shocking video of Churchill's Desert Rats' graves being smashed to rubble... by the Libyans we helped liberate.

A year ago they begged for Britain’s help when Colonel Gaddafi’s tanks encircled their city, threatening annihilation.

Now former Libyan rebels in Benghazi – liberated with the aid of the RAF last March – have systematically desecrated the graves of more  than 150 British servicemen killed in North Africa 70 years ago.

Headstones at the Benghazi War Cemetery have been torn down and crucifixes smashed with hammers by a mob of extremists, some carrying guns and dressed in combat fatigues.
More than 1,000 soldiers and airmen who lost their lives in the desert wars of Montgomery and Rommel are buried at the site in Eastern Libya.

Many were members of the famed 7th Armoured Division, known as the Desert Rats, who played  a crucial role in the see-saw battle for control of Libya and Egypt between 1941 and 1943.

Sickeningly, the attack, which was carried out over two days last week and appeared highly organised, was filmed by one of the men involved and posted on the internet.

As they rampage among the graves, members of the mob are heard to repeatedly say of the dead servicemen: ‘They are dogs, they are dogs.’

There is no shame and no gratitude in lawless Libya

Several uncomfortable conclusions can be drawn from the Benghazi outrage. The first is that Libya after the fall of Gaddafi is a lawless and ungovernable place where horrible actions can be done with impunity by those who have enough guns.

The second is that there is no gratitude among many of those we have helped.  The third is that those who warned that we did not know – or care enough – who we were aiding have now been vindicated in the most spectacular and gruesome way.

The cemetery can and must be restored. But our leaders, and our media, should cease to be so simple-mindedly enthusiastic about endorsing every revolutionary movement that appears in the Arab world. Tyrants are bad, but their opponents are not necessarily any better.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:34 AM | Permalink

February 24, 2012

Whitney needs bodyguards after death to protect her grave

Fear of graverobbers

WHITNEY Houston has her own 24-hour armed bodyguard to protect her jewellery-filled gold coffin from grave robbers.

Fears that ghouls will plunder her resting place were triggered after it was revealed she was buried wearing up to £300,000 of jewels and designer clothes.

The singer, who died a fortnight ago in her LA hotel room after a drugs and booze binge, lies in a gold-lined coffin worth tens of thousands of pounds.

She is draped in a purple gown and also wears a diamond brooch and earrings and a pair of glittering gold slippers.

But the treasure-filled casket has caused alarm among the star’s family and friends.

And now minders have been ordered to watch over her grave-side at Fairview Cemetery in Newark, New Jersey.

 Whitney's Grave

A source said last night: “There is a very genuine fear that her coffin will be targeted by grave robbers.

“It would be hard for them to actually dig her casket up, but that won’t stop psychotic fans or people who think it could make them money.

“The fact she was buried with such valuable jewellry is just an invitation to sickos.

“It’s ironic that Whitney, who was most famous for The Bodyguard movie when she was alive, has to have bodyguards even in death.”

Armed security men around Whitney’s final resting place have already turned away busloads of fans who have made “pilgrimages” to her grave.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 1:52 PM | Permalink

November 9, 2011

"Sloppy handling of troops' remains"

I've written several posts on how respectfully the military handles the dead, so this story about Dover Air Force Base is particularly disturbing.

Air Force mishandled remains of war dead, probe finds

Federal investigators said Tuesday they uncovered “gross mismanagement” at the Dover Air Force Base mortuary that cares for America’s war dead after whistleblowers reported horror stories of lost body parts, shoddy inventory controls and lax supervision.

 Dover Airforce Mortuary

The former mortuary commander and two other senior officials have been disciplined — but not fired — in response to separate investigations conducted by the Air Force Inspector General, the Secretary of the Air Force and the Office of Special Counsel, an independent federal agency that also received the whistleblower complaints.

The grisly findings at Dover echo a similar scandal at another hallowed repository for the military’s dead, Arlington National Cemetery. An Army investigation last year documented cases of misidentified remains at Arlington, dug-up urns that had been dumped in a dirt pile and botched contracts worth millions of dollars. The Army Criminal Investigation Command and the FBI are now conducting a criminal probe there.

The sloppy handling of troops’ remains at Dover and Arlington painfully undercuts what the military has long borne as a sacred obligation: to treat its fallen members and their families with utmost levels of dignity and honor.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:02 AM | Permalink

November 2, 2011

Sacred Memories Sold as Scrap

The desecration of war memorials continues apace in the U.K.

Sacred memories sold as scrap: Clampdown on dealers who encourage pillage of war memorials, demand police

Campaigners fighting to save war memorials from scrap metal thieves say only a handful have ever been brought to justice.

Tragically, the War Memorials Trust also revealed that only one in ten of the stolen plaques and statues are ever recovered.\
Frances Moreton, director of the trust, said the rest end up being melted down by unscrupulous scrap metal dealers making a fast buck out of Britain’s fallen heroes.

The Mail reported yesterday that the 100,000 war memorials in Britain are being targeted by thieves and vandals at the rate of one every other day. Thieves steal the brass plaques to dealers, who melt the metal down to fuel the worldwide demand for scarce metals.

 Sacred Memories Sold As Scrap

Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:07 AM | Permalink

September 27, 2011

It’s too expensive to be left in a crypt.

Randall Jourdan played the guitar for more than 40 years.  Father of nine and grandfather of 29, Randall told everyone that he wanted to be buried with the guitar,

Cemetery Worker Stole Guitar from Army Vet's Casket

After Jourdan’s September 19 death, his casket was transported to the cemetery, where it was placed in a mausoleum building. A funeral director told Conard and another cemetery worker, James Lang, that “a guitar was in the casket with Randall’s body and the family wanted to verify that it was still there prior to the casket being placed in the burial chamber.” Jourdan is seen at left.

When the funeral director left to rejoin Jourdan’s family members, Lang told deputies that Conard opened the casket and remarked, “That’s a Telly, a really expensive guitar. I have to have that guitar. It’s too expensive to be in a crypt.” Lang, who recalled that the Telecaster was atop Jourdan’s body, added that as Conard closed the casket, he asked “if he would say anything if he took the guitar.”

When Lang checked the casket a second time, he discovered the Fender missing and contacted his supervisor, who summoned sheriff’s deputies. When apprised of the guitar’s pilfering, Jourdan family members “were distraught over the situation.”
Steven Conard, a 39-year-old grounds worker at the Allouez Catholic Cemetery, was arrested Saturday and charged with felony “theft from person or corpse.” Conard, who plays in a band, reportedly confessed to stealing the Fender Telecaster when confronted at his Green Bay home by Brown County Sheriff’s Department deputies.

“This isn’t something I normally do,” Conard said, according to a Circuit Court criminal complaint. “I just have a respect for fine musical instruments.” The cream-colored guitar was recovered from Conard’s living room, where the instrument was on the floor “in plain view.”
The Telecaster was subsequently returned to Jourdan’s kin and “final entombment” was completed Saturday, according to a press release from cemetery officials. Conard, who appeared today in court, remains in custody at the Brown County jail.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:32 AM | Permalink

It’s too expensive to be in a crypt.

Randall Jourdan played the guitar for more than 40 years.  Father of nine and grandfather of 29, Randall told everyone that he wanted to be buried with the guitar,

Cemetery Worker Stole Guitar from Army Vet's Casket

After Jourdan’s September 19 death, his casket was transported to the cemetery, where it was placed in a mausoleum building. A funeral director told Conard and another cemetery worker, James Lang, that “a guitar was in the casket with Randall’s body and the family wanted to verify that it was still there prior to the casket being placed in the burial chamber.” Jourdan is seen at left.

When the funeral director left to rejoin Jourdan’s family members, Lang told deputies that Conard opened the casket and remarked, “That’s a Telly, a really expensive guitar. I have to have that guitar. It’s too expensive to be in a crypt.” Lang, who recalled that the Telecaster was atop Jourdan’s body, added that as Conard closed the casket, he asked “if he would say anything if he took the guitar.”

When Lang checked the casket a second time, he discovered the Fender missing and contacted his supervisor, who summoned sheriff’s deputies. When apprised of the guitar’s pilfering, Jourdan family members “were distraught over the situation.”
Steven Conard, a 39-year-old grounds worker at the Allouez Catholic Cemetery, was arrested Saturday and charged with felony “theft from person or corpse.” Conard, who plays in a band, reportedly confessed to stealing the Fender Telecaster when confronted at his Green Bay home by Brown County Sheriff’s Department deputies.

“This isn’t something I normally do,” Conard said, according to a Circuit Court criminal complaint. “I just have a respect for fine musical instruments.” The cream-colored guitar was recovered from Conard’s living room, where the instrument was on the floor “in plain view.”
The Telecaster was subsequently returned to Jourdan’s kin and “final entombment” was completed Saturday, according to a press release from cemetery officials. Conard, who appeared today in court, remains in custody at the Brown County jail.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:54 AM | Permalink

August 11, 2011

'Grave Robber'

 Jeffrey Burke
Jeffrey Burke

Illinois 'grave robber' arrested for stealing up to $100,000 in vases from cemeteries 

An Illinois thief with a history of pillaging cemeteries has been charged with more of the same - swiping $100,000 in brass grave markers.

Police said Jeffrey Burke was nabbed after police spotted him stealing vases from Mount Emblem Cemetery graves in Elmhurst and selling them at a scrap yard.

Authorities told the Chicago Sun-Times that they recovered more than 400 stolen brass vases at two area cemeteries, valued at over $100,000.
In 2007, Mr Burke pleaded guilty to a similar crime, and was sentenced to five years in jail.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:25 PM | Permalink

July 14, 2011

Death by water times three

Three terrible deaths by water.

David Potts was vacationing on Hawaii with his infant son and long-time girlfriend as she recuperated from chemotherapy and prepared to undergo surgery, a double mastectomy,  when he was hit by a freak wave from behind that pushed him into a Maui blow hole to his death.

Dancing and frolicking in the spray, this is the moment seconds before a California man was sucked into a Maui blow hole to his death.

 Maui Blow Hole

Mr Potts briefly came up to the surface, before tragically disappearing again when the next wave hit.
'It's just too much and we barely know where to begin or what to do first,' family friend Lisa Christensen, who was holidaying with the couple
The blowhole, which is a popular tourist attraction, was created by pounding surf that undercut and wore away a lava shelf.  Every wave pushes water and air through the hole, creating an eruption similar to a geyser, before the water is then sucked back into the blowhole.

An experienced swimmer drowned and a life guard is in critical condition after 'breath holding' exercises at a Staten Island pool that was only 3 feet deep.

They were practicing techniques similar to those used in military training.
Parks Commissioner Adian Benepe said two of Vitenko and Proce's friends were also in the water but were not taking part in the training exercises.  He said: 'It's a tragic and almost incomprehensible accident, the pool is three-and-a-half feet across the entire surface.

Two lifeguards and 20 swimmers failed to spot them.

It's not clear if the duo was following an official training program, or if they had devised their own workout, said Lt. Col. Robert Roy, head of Air Force recruiting in New York.
Either way, the military advises against certain breath-holding exercises or swimming underwater at length to avoid "shallow water blackout," which can lead to drowning.

And a third, Girl, 13, sucked to her death by swimming pool circulation pump after workers forgot to replace grille

'The pump was so strong that as she swam it had the effect of a whirlpool and pulled her under and sucked her in,' said a police spokesman.  'It was a terrible way to die.'
Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:35 PM | Permalink

June 24, 2011

Muslims smash graves at Mount of Olives

Religion of Sacrilege: Muslims keep smashing graves in Jerusalem

More than a dozen graves at Mount of Olives were desecrated at the Mount of Olives in the last fortnight in what has become a routine of sick vandalism.

JTA reported that on June 14, some 14 graves were damaged by Arab youths wielding sledgehammers, according to private security guards stationed at the cemetery. The report does not say why the guards were unable to prevent the desecration.

At least five of the damaged gravesites are those of Americans buried in the cemetery,...


The most recent damage is in addition to vandalism carried out at the cemetery last month on “Nakba Day.” On that day, Arabs hurled large rocks and boulders at the graves, damaging at least 15 of them.

Muslims also vandalized or destroyed nearly 40 newly installed surveillance cameras in the cemetery, according to the International Committee for the Preservation of Har HaZeitim (the Mount of Olives), founded in 2010.

Local Arabs also recently began illegally expanding a mosque near the grave of Menachem Begin, according to the committee.

The sacrilegious Muslim tradition of grave vandalization at Har HaZeitim goes back at least to the 1950s and 60s, when the cemetery was occupied by Jordan. Jordan systematically desecrated graves at the cemetery and used the stones for construction. The acts of vandalism in the past few years – as well as physical attacks on Jews - are well documented, year in and year out, but Israel does not seem to have a solution for the problem.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:49 AM | Permalink

June 7, 2011

“You need money that bad, you have to start desecrating a grave?”

Three young NJ women arrested for stealing brass grave markers, flower urns from local cemetery to sell to scrap dealers for cash to buy drugs.

“You need money that bad, you have to start desecrating a grave?” said Sgt. Bill Covert with the Cinnaminson Police.
Sgt. Covert says a Philadelphia scrap dealer who paid around $1,500 for the stolen goods is the one who tipped off authorities
Posted by Jill Fallon at 8:15 AM | Permalink

March 29, 2011

'They don't let in the fanatics, but yes, a cadaver.'

Soccer fans take boy to 'watch' his favourite team... even though he's dead and in a coffin

 Coffin Soccermatch

A young soccer fanatic was gunned down on the eve of a big match as he played football in a park.
But his friends decided not to let a simple thing like murder get in the way of his plans and took him to 'watch' his favourite team anyway.

They collected the coffin containing the body of 17-year-old Christopher Jacome from the funeral home and marched it into the General Santander stadium in Cucuta, Colombia, to join the 42,000-strong crowd ahead of their match with Envigado.

Police are baffled as to how the coffin got through security at the ground and was allowed to be held aloft and passed around in the stands.

Stadium officials are to hold an investigation into how the dead body was allowed into the ground.

Strangely, the body's arrival at the ground seemed to inspire his side, who were trailing 1-0 but manage to draw the game 1-1.

'This is the only part of the world where this can happen,' Cucuta medic Julio Rivera told Colombia Reports. 'They don't let in the fanatics, but yes, a cadaver.'
Posted by Jill Fallon at 5:57 PM | Permalink

March 25, 2011

Desecration, attacks at ancient Jewish cemetery

Jerusalem: Muslims desecrate Jewish graves, stone funeral processions, attack visitors

JERUSALEM (AP) -- A wide patch of steep hillside overlooking Jerusalem's Old City holds row after row of graves. Biblical prophets, revered rabbis and a prime minister are buried there. Yet many of the tombstones have been smashed, litter is strewn around and tethered donkeys defecate on top of graves....

The cemetery is believed to hold the graves of biblical prophets Haggai, Malachi and Zechariah. The list of modern Jewish figures buried there includes Prime Minister Menachem Begin and Eliezer Ben-Yehuda, the father of modern Hebrew, and Nobel Prize laureate Shai Agnon.

Rabbi Avraham Kook, the chief rabbi of British Mandatory Palestine, and Rabbi Shlomo Goren, a former chief rabbi of Israel, are also buried there.

Some Israelis claim Palestinians from surrounding east Jerusalem neighborhoods attack visitors two to three times a week, sometimes stoning funeral processions. They accuse Arabs of building illegally on top of graves, using tombstones as goalposts for soccer games and lobbing firebombs to desecrate the cemetery.

At a recent visit to the cemetery, Malcolm Hoenlein, executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, said he's heard from hundreds of families in the U.S. who can't visit buried relatives without protection from armed guards.

"If you hear the families, the pain and the fact that they're afraid to come here, what does it say?" Hoenlein asked. "In Jerusalem, Jews can't go and visit an ancient burial site that is supposedly sacred?"...
Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:22 AM | Permalink

October 12, 2010

His head was stuffed into a suitcase

This story gets more and more gruesome.    The Mexican investigator searching for the killers of the American David Hartley, the husband who was allegedly shot and killed while jet-skiing on Falcon Lake has been found decapitated. 

His head was stuffed into a suitcase and delivered to the Mexican military earlier today

The Zeta cartel that smuggles billions of dollars of cocaine and other drugs suspected

Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:22 PM | Permalink

September 21, 2010

The Mess at Arlington Cemetery

Arlington Cemetery is more than a mess because of the ineptitude of some bureaucrats who will never be held accountable.  Ineptitude, lack of even basic oversight over outsourced contractors  and bureaucratic shrugs  beat out the respect and horror due to bodies of fallen warriors and their grieving families.

There may be as many as 6600 graves at Arlington National Cemetery that could be mislabeled because proper records weren't kept of where the bodies were buried.


The author of the linked piece is Mike Warner, uncle to a fallen Marine whose body was disinterred to verify that it was buried in the right place.

Unimagineable Horror for Father of Fallen Marine

On September 15, 2010 at around 0800 in the morning, a family makes their way into Arlington National Cemetery for the Disinterment of a Marine Private killed by an IED in Al Anbar Province Iraq on 22 November 2006 killing him and two others.

As they stood at the grave site, a forklift arrives to raise a coffin from the vault that had interred it for nearly four years. Arlington knew at this point that the vault and coffin had been opened. When the family became aware of this action, an unsettling air of distrust settled upon the gathering. The father yells “you lied” as family members hold and calm him. The father already marred and angry by the uncooperative atmosphere and insensitivity of Arlington’s leadership; his grief now changes to anger. Another promise broken! Arlington, to seemingly cover their asses had breached the coffin the night before to ensure the Marine Private and the dog tags were in the assigned plot.

With a rotting corpse and the putrid stench of death permeating the air, a worker removes a dog tag from the coffin lid, wipes off the dirt, and hands it to the father. The forklift begins to raise the coffin; putrid water begins streaming out and those in attendance gasp as the fear of body parts falling from the unstable casket grips them.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:34 PM | Permalink

June 23, 2010

Their name is mud

Sometimes the idiocy of public officials is breathtaking.

Arlington Cemetery officials knew about discarded tombstones found in stream

Officials at Arlington National Cemetery were aware that discarded tombstones were lining the banks of a small stream on the grounds for more than a decade but left them in the mud, officials said Tuesday.

The headstones were put in place to support the bank, and officials apparently did not want to remove them for fear of damaging the stream, said Dave Foster, an Army spokesman.

An Army investigation released this month found a "dysfunctional" and chaotic management system that led to the mislabeling of more than 200 graves and the dumping of at least four urns in a dirt pile. The cemetery's top two leaders -- Superintendent John C. Metzler Jr. and his deputy, Thurman Higginbotham -- were reprimanded and replaced.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:53 AM | Permalink

April 28, 2010

The Monster State

Wesley Smith calls China a "monster state" after More Evidence That China Killing Dissidents and Selling Their Organs

Now, new charges have been leveled that not only are Falun Gong still being preyed upon and their organs sold, but so too are Tibetans and other dissidents.
In a news conference on Capitol Hill, several speakers, including attorney David Matas of B’nai Brith Canada and Ethan Gutmann of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, said their investigations have unearthed a grisly trade in which an estimated 9,000 members of Falun Gong have been executed for their corneas, lungs, livers, kidneys and skins.

They likened the practice to the Nazi treatment of Jewish prisoners in World War II concentration camps, which included using them for sadistic medical experiments and taking the gold fillings from the teeth of corpses.
The newest wrinkle, they said, is that organs from other religious prisoners — specifically dissidents from China’s Christian, Muslim and Tibetan Buddhist communities — are also being harvested to satisfy an insatiable global demand. “These groups are useless to the state,” Mr. Gutmann said. “They are toxic, so you can’t release them. But they’re worth a great deal of money in terms of their organs.” Organs from just one person can fetch a total of $100,000 on the worldwide market, he added.”…

Doesn't it horrify you that China, willing to kill people for their organs and engage in female genocide through the  abortion of 500,000 and 750,000 unborn Chinese girls  every year after sex screening just because they are female, will not be the subject of any international investigation nor any outrage by U.S. officials who do not want to offend the country that holds so much of our debt.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:53 AM | Permalink

February 24, 2010

The Fields of Less Than Nothing

Just an amazing, horrific, inspiring story by Matt Labash called Love Among the Ruins about the amazing Father Rick Frechette in Haiti.

Every Thursday—since long before the earthquake—Frechette and a band of Haitian volunteers trek to the city morgue and claim the nameless dead, who lie naked in bloated heaps on a blood-streaked concrete floor. “You’ve heard of Tuesdays with Morrie,” Frechette smiles, “this is Thursdays with the Krokmo” (a Creole pejorative term for undertaker. It translates as the “death hook,” meaning the show is over). The place is jammed and the dead often piled seven or eight high. The workers there are so inured to the stench and spectacle, that Frechette has seen a morgue attendant slaloming on roller blades around the bodies and workers eating their lunch while sitting on stacks of cadavers as though on breaktime in the office kitchenette.

 Father Rick Labash.Haiti

In Haiti, even before the quake, dead bodies were nothing more than background music—as commonplace as they are unnoticed. If they didn’t end up in the stark death-cave that is the general hospital morgue, they were burned in the streets on the spot where they died (a pragmatic hygiene concern). The decency and sentimentality that a better-developed society affords are luxuries here. Father Rick and his men gather the bodies themselves, packing them into makeshift coffins fashioned from supermarket cardboard boxes. They then truck them outside the city, up a sun-bleached highway that runs alongside the Caribbean Sea, to the rolling wastelands of Titanyen, which translates from Creole as the “fields of less than nothing.” A New Orleans-style Haitian jazz-funeral band—all horns and drums—plays graveside. Father Rick, an irreverent sort, calls them “The Grateful Dead.” Then he and his men plant the cardboard coffins in large holes dug by their own gravediggers, endowing their cargo in death with a tiny modicum of the dignity that eluded them in life.
He’s been doing the morgue runs for 15 years, but has never gotten used to the smell. It makes him so sick, he brings along rum and cigarettes. “People ask me if I smoke,” he says. “Only on Thursdays.” The Haitians avail themselves of the goods, but for Frechette, they’re not optional. Without the spirit’s fumes and cigarette smoke chasing the smell of the dead out of his nostrils, he vomits, which his Haitian colleagues find amusing.

When he returned to Haiti right after the earthquake, there was an overflow crowd at the morgue, literally thousands of dead laid out in the street in front of it. “They were picking them up with backhoes and bucket-loaders, dumping them into trucks,” says Frechette, adding that the machines crunched the bodies against the walls in order to be able to scoop them. “They were hanging out the sides like crabs in a bucket. Really, really terrible. It was so shocking, so disgusting, I yelled, ‘Give me a cigarette!’

When I ask him how he could head back into the jaws of Haiti just a day after burying his mom, he tells me of her death. She knew it was happening, and she had time to prepare, had the best care, had lived a full life, and died with her family surrounding her. When he asked his mother why she wasn’t afraid, knowing she’d die, she told him that she “believes in God, and if she looks at the whole trajectory of her life, life has been very good, why start mistrusting it?” “I think the fuller your life is, the less death is a threat to you,” says Father Rick. “Empty people are scared to death to die.”

Posted by Jill Fallon at 12:17 PM | Permalink | TrackBack

November 20, 2009

Killed to extract their fat UPDATED

Grotesque beyond belief.

Gang 'killed victims to extract their fat'

Peruvian police arrest suspects who allegedly drained their victims and sold liquid as an anti-wrinkle treatment.

The jailed men have confessed to killing five people, but police suspect the number of victims is far higher, with 60 people reported missing in Huánuco this year alone. Two of the suspects were arrested at a bus station in the capital, Lima, carrying bottles of liquid fat which they claimed were worth up to £36,000 a gallon.

At a news conference police displayed two bottles of fat, which laboratory tests confirmed were human. "The fat was extracted from the thorax and thighs," said Eusebio Felix Murga, chief of police of Dirincri district. Police also showed a photo of the rotting head of a 27-year-old male victim discovered last month in a coca-growing valley.

Police said they received a tip four months ago about a trade in human fat, which exported the amber liquid to Europe as anti-wrinkle cream.
The gang have been nicknamed the Pishtacos after the ruthless assassins of indigenous Quechua legend who ambushed solitary victims and drained their fat as an offering to gods to make the land fertile. Another version depicts them as cannibal bandits who ate the skin and sold the fat. The stories date back to before the European conquest.

The suspects allegedly would sever victims' heads, arms and legs, remove organs and suspend torsos from hooks above candles, which warmed the flesh as the fat dripped into tubs below. Members claimed other gangs were engaged in similar killings.


Peru's police chief has suspended a top investigator for saying he had caught a gang who were murdering people to sell their fat.

Last month, top organised crime investigator Felix Murga said police had arrested four suspects who confessed to murdering up to 60 people. He said they were selling their fat for thousands of dollars a litre.

But the macabre tale now appears to be nothing more than a tall story - or a big fat lie.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 7:19 PM | Permalink

November 10, 2009

"He was starving, he needed to eat"

Russian cannibal who ate his mother given lighter sentence by judge who says 'he was starving, he needed to eat'

A cannibal who killed and ate parts of his mother had his sentence reduced by a judge who said 'he needed to eat'.

Sergey Gavrilov secured reduced time in jail after confessing: 'I did not like the meat very much. It was too fatty. But I was so hungry, I had to eat it.'

The 27-year-old was given a lenient prison sentence because the judge said he was starving and needed to eat after spending all his money on vodka and gambling machines.

There are no words.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 3:04 PM | Permalink

October 2, 2009

Ted Williams' Horror

If you ever had any thoughts about getting cryogenically frozen after death, you never will again after reading

Staff at Arizona cryogenics lab Alcor used Ted Williams' frozen head for batting practice.

Workers at an Arizona cryonics facility mutilated the frozen head of baseball legend Ted Williams - even using it for a bizarre batting practice, a new tell-all book claims.

In "Frozen," Larry Johnson, a former exec at the Alcor Life Extension Foundation in Scottsdale, Ariz., graphically describes how The Splendid Splinter" was beheaded, his head frozen and repeatedly abused.

The book, out Tuesday from Vanguard Press, tells how Williams' corpse became "Alcorian A-1949" at the facility, where bodies are kept suspended in liquid nitrogen in case future generations learn how to revive them.

Johnson writes that in July 2002, shortly after the Red Sox slugger died at age 83, technicians with no medical certification gleefully photographed and used crude equipment to decapitate the majors' last .400 hitter.

Williams' severed head was then frozen, and even used for batting practice by a technician trying to dislodge it from a tuna fish can.


Johnson  writes that holes were drilled in Williams' severed head for the insertion of microphones, then frozen in liquid nitrogen while Alcor employees recorded the sounds of Williams' brain cracking 16 times as temperatures dropped to -321 degrees Fahrenheit.
Johnson accuses the company of joking morbidly about mailing Williams' thawing remains back to his family if his son didn't pay his outstanding debt to the company.

Reprints of invoices show that Alcor president John Lemler charged $120,000 for the honor of "suspending" Teddy Ballgame's body.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 8:57 AM | Permalink

September 15, 2009

Copulating Corpses

There are no words sufficient to describe the depravity of this show. 

Body Worlds plans cadaver show dedicated to sex

German anatomists plan a new show dedicated solely to dead bodies having sex as part of the Body Worlds exhibitions.

Von Hagens has already triggered uproar with a new exhibit which shows just two copulating corpses.

German politicians called the current "Cycle of Life" show charting conception to old age "revolting" and "unacceptable" when it showed in Berlin earlier this year because it included copulating cadavers.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 12:09 PM | Permalink

September 8, 2009

When even the ashes can't be found

When I turned 50 and my mother 80, I decided it was time to fetch Grandma Leah’s ashes from the garage. She had been stored in a rusted Maxwell House can for 37 years, an unworthy purgatory that I felt called for resolution. My mother was perfectly happy to let Grandma’s remains stay there, but hitting the half-century mark made me think about my roots and my own mortality. I knew that I wouldn’t want to end up in the garage, and so I resolved to return my grandmother to her native Ukraine.

Stirring Up the Past

The woman suggested that I visit one last place for a trace of my putative past — the old Jewish burial ground. When she explained to the driver how to get there, he glanced nervously in my direction. We drove up to a housing project with a dirty courtyard that seemed to be a favored spot to walk dogs and drink alcohol.

“Ask someone for directions,” I suggested, thinking we were lost. “It’s here,” he said, avoiding my eyes. “The Soviets built apartments on top of the Jews.”

Right then a babushka approached and pointed to the ground. “The dead are coming up,” she said. “I was walking here a few months ago when it rained, and my foot got stuck. The police came and dug up the bones.”

Posted by Jill Fallon at 3:06 AM | Permalink

July 16, 2009

" Hundreds of unidentified dead bodies are being held in Tehran's morgues"

Bodies piling up

The on-line Farsi-language newspaper, Nooroz, reports that hundreds of unidentified dead bodies are being held in Tehran's morgues. One of the few official organs providing information on the detainees is the office of unidentified dead persons, which has summoned some families to various morgues around the city to determine whether their loved ones are among the dead. Nooroz newspaper reports that those families, who find their sons or daughters among the countless corpses, are threatened and pressured into signing statements attesting that their family members died in car crashes or as a result of other ordinary, run of the mill accidents. Unless the families sign these statements, the cherished bodies of their loved ones are withheld from them.

One person who reportedly visited the morgue in south-west Tehran [which in the past had been used only for the storage of fruits and dairy products]reports to Nooroz that she was presented with an album containing hundreds of pictures of the dead and was told to try and find her child among these images. This woman reports that, as she was leaving the morgue, she saw hundreds of dead bodies piled on top of one another.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 2:41 AM | Permalink

July 9, 2009

In Chicago, cemetery raided

Employees at prominent African-American cemetery in Chicago are now being charged with stripping graves to resell plots and dumping disinterred coffins in a mass site at the back of the cemetery.

Every family's nightmare: Burr Oak Cemetery graves allegedly stripped for profit

R.I.P SHATTERED | Gross neglect that allowed grave desecrations is astounding

At one time, Burr Oak Cemetery was the only place black Chicagoans were sure they could bury their dead.

But on Wednesday, the historic African-American cemetery became the site of a horror story.

As many as 100 human bodies — someone’s grandfather, grandmother, father, son, daughter, aunt, uncle, niece, nephew cousin or friend — were removed from their graves and the plots resold.

“All of us who were working on this for the last week were pretty distraught,” Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart told me.
Officers raided the cemetery, at 4400 W. 127th St, in Alsip, Wednesday morning. Five people were taken into custody.

Dart’s office was notified by the cemetery’s owners of “impropriety” about three weeks ago.

“We thought it would be straightforward financial theft. We found out that graves were being opened and remains were disinterred and removed,” he said.

Dart believes the scheme has been going on for about four years.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:57 AM | Permalink

June 17, 2009

" What can you say to the family of the 13 year old boy who died from gunshots and whose dead body then disappeared?"

Michael Leeden reprints an email from a medical student in Iran.

I am a medical student. There was chaos last night at the trauma section in one of our main hospitals. Although by decree, all riot-related injuries were supposed to be sent to military hospitals, all other hospitals were filled to the rim. Last night, nine people died at our hospital and another 28 had gunshot wounds. All hospital employees were crying till dawn. They (government) removed the dead bodies on back of trucks, before we were even able to get their names or other information. What can you even say to the people who don’t even respect the dead. No one was allowed to speak to the wounded or get any information from them. This morning the faculty and the students protested by gathering at the lobby of the hospital where they were confronted by plain cloths anti-riot militia, who in turn closed off the hospital and imprisoned the staff. The extent of injuries are so grave, that despite being one of the most staffed emergency rooms, they’ve asked everyone to stay and help—I’m sure it will even be worst tonight.

What can anyone say in face of all these atrocities?
What can you say to the family of the 13 year old boy who died from gunshots and whose dead body then disappeared?

This issue is not about cheating(election) anymore. This is not about stealing votes anymore. The issue is about a vast injustice inflicted on the people.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 8:04 PM | Permalink

April 26, 2009

Swastikas painted on Joseph's Tomb

"There are no words"

Swastikas painted on Joseph's Tomb

JERUSALEM – Jews who arrived last night to pray at Joseph's Tomb – Judaism's third holiest site – were stunned to learn the structure had been vandalized, with the headstone smashed in and swastikas painted on the walls.
Joseph's Tomb is the believed burial place of the biblical patriarch Joseph, the son of Jacob who was sold by his brothers into slavery and later became viceroy of Egypt. Following repeated Palestinian attacks, Israel in October 2000 unilaterally retreated from Joseph's Tomb and, with very few exceptions, banned Jews from returning to the site purportedly for security reasons. The tomb area is now controlled entirely by the Palestinians.
Last night, a group of 500 Jews arrived to pray at the site under heavy protection of the IDF. But they were stunned to see the tomb had been defaced. The headstone was smashed and swastikas were painted on the walls, as was graffiti of a blood-dripping sword over a Star of David.

HT Atlas Shrugs

Posted by Jill Fallon at 8:51 AM | Permalink

March 16, 2009

Michael Jackson to be 'plastinized'

Michael Jackson plans to have his body 'plastinized' by Dr. Death

MICHAEL Jackson will achieve his dream of immortality by being stuffed with plastic by Dr Death.

The King Of Pop, who calls himself Peter Pan, has had a string of cosmetic surgery ops to try to defy the ageing process.

But he is now preparing to strike the ultimate blow against death and decay by having his whole body “plastinated” by controversial doctor Gunther von Hagens.

Jacko, who is a fan of the German anatomist, was said to be thrilled his Body Worlds exhibition would be on at the O2 Arena during his This Is It concerts, which start in July.

The exhibition showcases Von Hagens’ groundbreaking corpse preservation technique which earned him the nickname Dr Death.

Creepy as this is at least Jackson is giving his consent unlike the Chinese prisoners who were used for the first  Body Worlds exhibition

Posted by Jill Fallon at 3:22 PM | Permalink

March 2, 2009

"Off the charts weird"

On many nights over 16 years, Kenneth Douglas engaged in his own personal macabre workplace party.

He often brought drugs or alcohol to work and sometimes had sex with women.

At least three of those women were dead,
Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters said Thursday.

But if Douglas is to be believed, he could have had sex with as many as "over a hundred" bodies in the 16 years he worked as night attendant at the Hamilton County morgue.

"I am sure there are more (victims). I'm certain of it," Deters said Thursday in announcing new indictments against Douglas.

"This guy's just a pig. I can't explain why someone would do something like this. ... This is off-the-charts weird."

Posted by Jill Fallon at 7:39 PM | Permalink

February 27, 2009

Funeral director let corpse rot when family skipped bill

A funeral director accused of leaving a woman's body to decay in a parked hearse after her relatives failed to pay the bill was arrested on a felony charge of abusing a corpse, police said Wednesday.

Watson and Sons Funeral Home embalmed the remains of Edna Kathleen Woods, 52, after she died of natural causes in November 2007, said Gadsden police Sgt. Jeff Wright. Relatives wanted the body cremated but failed to sign the necessary paperwork or pay owner Harold Watson Sr., he said.

After storing the corpse at his funeral home for more than a year, Wright said, the 76-year-old Watson decided to move it because he couldn't reach the woman's family.


Funeral directors with unclaimed bodies can file a petition to have counties dispose of remains.

"He knows better. The family wouldn't pay him, so he just got  rid of it," Wright said

Posted by Jill Fallon at 8:16 AM | Permalink

January 8, 2009

With a little hat on his little head

Kaylnn Moore was pregnant and 26 when she went to the hospital.  The doctors said her baby's heart rate was dangerously low and and emergency Caesarian was begun.  Sadly, the baby was stillborn.  Still, they wrapped little Bashere Davon Moyd Jr in a blanket and put a little hat on his little head and passed him to his mother to hold for half an hour until they took his body away to the hospital morgue.

Then they threw his body in the trash.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:13 AM | Permalink

December 4, 2008

The Holy Thugs

IN VENEZUELA, thugs are worshipped as saints: but instead of lighting votive candles, followers light cigarettes and place them in the mouths of statues.

Karina Perdomo, a lively 22-year-old woman dressed in a tight black shirt, stares blankly at the figure of a saint in the General Cemetery in southern Caracas, puffing on a cigar absent-mindedly.

This saint's name is Ismael. He wears a baseball cap and dark glasses, smokes a cigarette and carries a gun.

He is the king of the santos malandros or holy thugs, a group of popular saints who were petty criminals in life and were gunned down by the police in the 1960s and 1970s.

Growing numbers of Venezuelans revere them, despite the fact they are not recognised by the church. It is an increasingly typical feature of Catholicism in Latin America, where religion is mixed with non-Christian figures and beliefs.

The popularity of the dead hoodlums has soared since the rise in crime during the last decade and has become almost a trend in the past few years.
a teenager arrives, and bends down to tap the stone grave to salute the saint, carefully lighting a cigarette in the statue's mouth. The youngster's name is Johnny, and he has come here to ask Ismael to ensure he's not to be captured by the police. "He's my only hope, I'm alive thanks to him, I was shot 22 times," he says, lifting his T-shirt to show his scars.

Patron saints of Venezula gangland crime

Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:49 PM | Permalink

November 3, 2008

Ancient curse linked to man's death in custody

In 1239, Gilbert de Moravia, Bishop of Caithness, invoked a solemn curse “upon those who destroy and injure" the fabric of Dornoch Cathedral in Scotland.  When he died he was interred beneath the floor of the Cathedral.

 Dornoch Cathedral

In 1570, the Cathedral was burnt down during local feuding.

St Gilbert’s curse was said to have struck down landowner William Sutherland, of Evelix, near Dornoch. During the sacking of the cathedral by the Mackays of Strathnaver and retainers of the Earl of Caithness, Sutherland had joined in and kicked over St Gilbert's bones. According to local tradition, the very foot that perpetrated the deed rotted away, creating such a stench that no one would go near Sutherland as he died a slow, agonising death

 Dornoch Cathedral Floodlit

In October, 2008, a 19-year-old was arrested for vandalizing and stealing money from the ancient building.  Put in a jail cell over the weekend before he appeared in court, young Daryl Shearer died mysteriously.  A post-mortem investigation is underway.

Bishop's Hex to Anyone Who Damaged Cathedral.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:18 AM | Permalink

October 21, 2008

"I've never seen anything like it. Ever. In 25 years of business."

How did gravestones become a walkway at an Ann Arbor home?

Workers were uncovering a sewer line when they discover that the nine granite paving stones were gravestones.

 Gravestone Walkway

"I've never seen anything like it," Knight said. "Ever. In 25 years in business."  But where could they possibly have come from, and how did they wind up reincarnated as a walkway at a Westfield Avenue colonial?

The brand-new homeowners were dismayed.

But a little publicity solved the mystery.  The former homeowners had a relative in the monument business.    Every one of the 1x 2 foot granite slabs had typos, misspellings or miscuts.  Everyone was a cast off; they were never used as gravestones.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:49 AM | Permalink

September 6, 2008

Cash for corpses

Cash-for-corpses murders probed

Chinese police have arrested members of a gang suspected of murdering more than 100 disabled or elderly people and selling their corpses in a bizarre scheme to avoid cremations, a newspaper said on Tuesday.

Burials have traditionally been seen as the most respectful way to handle the dead in China, but were discouraged after the Communists came to power in 1949 to conserve farmland and eradicate superstition.

The bodies were bought by wealthy families and sent for cremation in lieu of deceased relatives who were then secretly buried, the South China Morning Post reported.

The killers would trail their victims, usually mentally disabled or elderly people, "drag them into vehicles in remote areas and either strangle or poison them", the newspaper said.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 1:00 PM | Permalink

August 13, 2008

Meanwhile in Macedonia

Michael Totten visits Macedonia and is shocked to see
A huge number of people in Tetovo, though, looked like they had been airlifted in from the Middle East,
It seems the Wahhabis have successfully transformed this portion of Macedonia into what former Soviet dissident Natan Sharansky calls a fear society.
“How long have you had problems with the Wahhabis here?” I said.

“Serious trouble started three years ago when they broke gravestones,” he said. “They didn’t respect our saints. They also broke pictures of Imam Ali on the walls, and of the world head of the Bektashis. They cut the pictures with knives. They think we are too close to Christianity, in part because of the pictures and candles.” The Wahhabis hate candles. “Then the Sunnis came in and occupied the tekke. They said This is Muslim territory.”

  Michael Totten Sufi Graves

All Bektashis believe in the same graves. We keep them and pray to them. We believe that if we damage a grave God will punish us, so we are very afraid to do this, we would never do this. We keep the saint graves. The Muslims know this, they are trying to provoke us and claim that we have done it to ourselves. But no, really they did it. Plus, I see these Wahhabis around. Usually at night the Wahhabis are coming, sometimes in trousers, sometimes in their clothes, sometimes with the things on their heads and with beards.”

Posted by Jill Fallon at 1:24 PM | Permalink

May 24, 2008

Naked Mummies Before and After

Fury as museum bosses cover up  naked Egyptian mummies to protect 'sensitivities' of visitors

The last time they had the chance to offend anyone was 2,700 years ago when they were wandering around ancient Egypt.

Since then the mummies have led a blameless existence, spending the last 120 years in a museum where countless thousands of visitors have managed to see them without anyone becoming in the least bit upset.

So museum officials in Manchester covered them with shrouds to protect their modesty and, following government policy, began a process of public consultation.

Josh Lennon, a museum visitor, said: "This is preposterous. Surely people realise that if they go to see Egyptian remains some of them may not be dressed in their best bib and tucker.

"The museum response to complaints is pure Monty Python  -  they have now covered them from head to foot rendering the exhibition a non-exhibition. It is hilarious."

  Naked Mummies Before After

Posted by Jill Fallon at 1:18 AM | Permalink

May 9, 2008

A story so outlandish, the police didn't believe it until....

The Kingwood teenager's story of decapitating a corpse and using the head to smoke marijuana was so outlandish that at first Houston Police Department senior police officer Jim Adkins did not believe it.
Not until police went to the home of another Kingwood 17-year-old, Matthew Richard Gonzalez, did the officer believe the tale.

"He regurgitated in his plate of food when I asked him about it," Adkins said. "So I knew there was some truth to the story."

Houston police believe the teens disturbed the grave of an 11-year-old boy who died in 1921.

The child was buried at an unmarked cemetery believed to be reserved for black veterans and their families, Adkins said.

Under the law, a person can be charged with abuse of a corpse simply by vandalizing, damaging or treating a gravesite offensively — even if the human remains buried there are not touched, Adkins said.

3 accused of using corpse head to smoke marijuana

Posted by Jill Fallon at 3:07 PM | Permalink

April 11, 2008

Organ harvesting by Albanians in Kosovo war

Carla Del Ponte  who was the chief prosecutor at the tribunal in the Hague for crimes committed in the Balkan wars of the 1990s said Serb prisoners 'were stripped of their organs' which were sold by ethnic Albanians during the Kosovo war.

According to the sources, senior figures in the Kosovo Liberation Army were aware of the scheme, in which hundreds of young Serbs were allegedly taken by truck from Kosovo to northern Albania where their organs were removed. Miss Del Ponte provides grim details of the alleged organ harvesting, and of how some prisoners were sewn up after having kidneys removed.

"The victims, deprived of a kidney, were then locked up again, inside the barracks, until the moment they were killed for other vital organs. In this way, the other prisoners were aware of the fate that awaited them, and according to the source, pleaded, terrified, to be killed immediately," Miss Del Ponte writes.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 12:01 PM | Permalink