Friday, March 30, 2012

Freaky (Factual) Tale Friday: The Toxic Lady

(photo @ realfoodfreaks)

Riverside, California

On February 19, 1994 at approximately 8:15 PM, Gloria Ramirez was admitted to the emergency room of Riverside General Hospital due to her suffering from the effects of advanced cervical cancer.  She was having extreme difficulty breathing and her blood pressure was dropping to dangerous levels.  

While it wasn't uncommon for the staff at Riverside to see elderly patients with these types of symptoms, Ramirez was only 31.  She was also awake and aware of the hospital staff around her, but only able to respond to questions with quick, nonsensical mutterings.

The staff attempted to inject Ramirez when a variety of drugs to help control her breathing and heartbeat, but to no avail.  They then decided to defibrillate her heart, which required the the removal her shirt.  At this point, the hospital staff noticed a few very odd things about their patient:

1. Ms. Ramirez's skin had an oily sheen that covered her entire body.
2. When nurse Susan Kane drew blood from Ms. Ramirez, she noticed an ammonia-like smell coming from the vacutainer blood collection tube.
3. Ms. Ramirez's breath had an intense garlic odor to it.

"...so the attending physician can now kindly shut up about the pasta I had for lunch."

Julie Gorchynski, a medical resident, looked at the tube and noticed that the blood had small, manila colored particles floating in it.  She took a whiff of the tube, also noticed a strong ammonia-like smell...and then blacked out and went into convulsions.  Sarah Kane, the nurse who had originally drawn the blood, felt nauseated, swayed slightly, and collapsed to the floor.  A third woman in the room, respiratory therapist Maureen Welch, also passed out.

The ER ordered the entire area to be evacuated while a skeleton crew stayed behind to stabilize Ramirez.  Unfortunately, they were unable to save her.  Gloria Ramirez was pronounced dead 8:50 PM that evening due to kidney failure related to her cancer.

In the meantime, 23 of the 37 staff members working at the ER that evening became incredibly ill, with 5 requiring hospitalization.  Sarah Kane, who had been moved outside to the ER parking lot during the evacuation, flailed her arms and legs wildly.  Sally Balderas, an unaffected nurse from the initial incident, went back inside the hospital to help the staff move Ramirez's body to an isolated room.  Once inside, she began to dry heave and felt like her skin was on fire.

After a thorough investigation by scientists from California's Department of Health and Human Service's was completed, they claimed that the cause of so many people getting sick at once was simply due to mass hysteria.  In other words, it was all in their heads.  

We have already covered the lame excuse for unexplained illnesses that is mass hysteria (and before anyone gets mad, yes I know it's real, but it also often +gets used as a convenient excuse when no answer is to be found).  But this one must have been a particularly nasty case of psychological illness.  It sent Julie Gorchynski (the one who went into convulsions) to the hospital for two weeks with pancreatitus.  She also developed a severe case of avascular necrosis of the knee; in other words, her knee bones have been completely destroyed, leaving her unable to stand for more than a few minutes.

Finally, Gorchynski and the others that had developed physical symptoms due to their "hysteria" were able to get an independent investigation done by Livermore National Lab.  Their theory was that Ramirez had been self medicating with Dimethly sulfoxide (or DMSO), a slightly controversial remedy for chronic pain that reportedly also gives users a case of extreme garlic breath.  Due to a urinary blockage found in Ms. Ramirez, the DMSO would have built up a huge deposit in her system.  Combined with the oxygen administered at the hospital, this would have created DMSO2, which can crystallize at room temperature (hence the particles in the blood).

Afterwards, the electrical shock from the defibrillators could have changed the DMSO2 into DMSO4, an extremely poisonous gas that would have caused many of the symptoms experienced by the hospital staff that night.  

So just slap one of these babies on any of the millions of people 
that have used or been prescribed DMSO and let's call it a day!

So case closed, right?  Not exactly.

For starters, it is still considered very unlikely that DMSO4 could be created within the human body.  Many chemists have said that it is outright impossible.  Also, many of the symptoms caused by DMSO4 (like tearing up/crying) were not observed in any of the affected staff at all.  

There's also the pesky fact that according to her family, Ramirez (who was studying to be a nurse) never used DMSO.  And even if she did, the highly suspect and unlikely chain of events that could cause DMSO4 to develop in the human body has never been seen again since the incident with Ramirez.

We may never know what exactly happened on that evening in 1994.  It may have been a one time freak occurrence, an unexplained phenomenon, or the DMSO theory may in face be correct.   But there is one thing we can be sure of:  

Don't get too hysterical about anything, or you may destroy your skeletal bone density.

I hate myself for joining the latest meme fad, but on this issue, Wonka gets me.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Weird Crime Wednesday: Smuggling heroin--an even worse career choice when combined with painful bowel movements

(photo @ sodahead.com)

On March 14, 2012, 52-year-old Bola Adebisi arrived at Dulles International Airport (a few miles outside of Washington D.C.) on a flight from Ethiopian Airlines that originated in Nigeria.  As has become the custom in the United States, Bola received a very intimate and personal welcome to America in the form of a TSA pat down.

As the agents patted Bola down, they noticed that her stomach was abnormally rigid.  While most people would just blame a large meal at PF Changs, Bola had no answer for why her stomach felt like an 8 pound medicine ball.

The agents took the woman aside and proceeded to ask her some routine questions, such as "Why are you visiting the United States."  Bola's answer was that she was visiting her brother.  When they asked her about him, however, she was unable to give his address, phone number, or physical description.

"But you may have seen a movie they made about him..."

 Bola was then taken to the hospital, where an X-ray revealed some very unusual objects inside her stomach.  Over the next few hours, Bola "passed" (pooped) a number of small heroin filled pellets that weighed around 100 grams.  

But Bola was not content just being an ordinary drug mule; she was going for employee of the month.

After three days in the hospital, Bola had "expelled" (crapped out) a grand total of 180 heroin pellets that weighed in at nearly 5 lbs.

Bola's attempt at making herself a human suitcase for massive amounts of drugs was incredibly hazardous to her health...and a Dulles International Airport record for an ingested drug smuggling bust (yes, sadly there was a record of that to break).

The street value of the drugs in Bola's system was estimated between $150,000 and $180,000, also giving Bola one of the most expensive cases of constipation (followed by Montezuma's Revenge) ever recorded. 

While everyone enjoys a healthy Number 2 (even the ladies...don't lie), keep in mind that the picture below is the actual customs photograph of what passed through Bola Adebisi's system.  The only people who had anywhere near as rough a time as Bola were the evidence handlers and the photographer.

Or the person that left their paperwork right next to stuff.

Anyone with half a brain knows how bad heroin is for your body.  But when dealing it compels a person to do something like this, it becomes pretty clear that anyone who thinks heroin isn't bad for you is full of crap...

...and probably a few pellets.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Freaky (Factual) Tale Friday: The Cash-Landrum Incident

(photo @ realfoodfreaks.com)

Dayton, Texas

On the evening of December 29, 1980, Betty Cash, Vickie Landrum, and Colby Landrum (Vickie's 7-year-old grandson) were driving home from a dinner out together.  At approximately 9:00 PM, the trio noticed a strange light through the trees that surrounded the small, two lane road on which they were traveling. They figured it was just the lights from an airplane approaching the nearby Houston Intercontinental Airport, so they thought nothing of it.

Moments later, the light in the sky descended towards the road and stood directly in the path of their car, which had suddenly and inexplicably gone dead.  According to this interview with Betty Cash and Vickie Landrum by United States Air Force personnel, the women described the object as being "diamond shaped" and glowing bright red/orange, with fire spewing from the bottom onto the road.

The object was giving off such immense heat that when the car suddenly stopped, Vickie's hand left an indention in the car's dash. Using the superb powers of self preservation that most U.F.O encounter claimees tend to exhibit, Betty decided to get out of the car and take a closer look at the object.

Pictured:  A young Betty Cash, checking to see if dinner was ready.

After Vickie screamed for her to get back in the car, Betty attempted to open the car door only to have her hand burned by the now scorching hot handle. She used her jacket to cover her hand and got back in.  Moments later, the object was surrounded by approximately 23 military helicopters, which then seemingly escorted the object away.

At this point, it may be pretty easy to dismiss Ms. Cash and her companions as loonies...except that there were other witnesses. Lamar Walker, a Dayton County police officer at the time of the incident, was driving with his wife when he saw the fleet of helicopters in the air.  He did not see the diamond shaped object, but was shocked at how many military aircraft were in the air at one time.

The confused and frightened trio made their way home, where they all began suffering from severe nausea and what felt like very intense sunburn. Betty got the worst of it, developing blisters, her eyes being almost completely swollen shut, and much of her hair falling out.  She also had pieces of skin falling off of her face.

After four days of worsening symptoms, Betty was admitted to Parkway Hospital, where she began treatment for acute radiation poison. Betty's physician, Dr. Brian McClellan, is certain that she somehow received an abnormally high radiation dosage, but he had no explanation for how it happened.

"Either this is an unexplained phenomenon, or Ms. Cash sleeps inside of a microwave."

The two women's condition improved somewhat, but they were still feeling incredibly sick since their encounter with the diamond shaped object. Betty Cash had also been diagnosed with multiple forms of cancer.

The two women finally got a meeting with the Air Force, who denied any sort of aircraft operations (weird diamond shaped ones or massive helicopter fleets) like the types that the three victims had witnessed. Weeks later, the Air Force denied all wrong doing and stated that three had no grounds to ask for medical attention or compensation from the Air Force at all.

A year later, the Air Force finally launched a full investigation into the matter, led by Lieutenant Colonel George Sarran.  Despite deeming all of the witnesses to be credible (including the police officer and his wife), Sarran's investigation concluded that their claims of a diamond shaped object and/or a fleet of military helicopters in the area on that evening were completely false.

Cash and Landrum attempted to file a lawsuit, which was dismissed without trial in 1986.  Betty Cash passed away in 1998, exactly 18 years after the incident.  Vickie Landrum later passed away in 2007.  Both women suffered through the painful fallout of their encounter for the the rest of their lives.

Meanwhile, Colby Landrum exhibited far less severe symptoms. Now an adult, Colby's main injuries were psychological.  No one wanted to give him answers. As recently as 2009, many of Betty Cash's medical records from Parkway Hospital were inexplicably unable to be obtained by her former physician.

Fortunately, Colby finally decided that he was willing to speak on camera and received help in the form of The History Channel.

And no, it wasn't from this guy.

Despite the History Channel's recent problems with accuracy, they were able to pull off something that was pretty brilliant: Getting an old school and high ranking government/military official (who doesn't realize that records can be released by a Freedom of Information Act) to speak on camera. 

In this case, the target was Lt. Colonel George Sarran, the man who claimed that credible eye witness reports of the diamond shaped object and the fleet of helicopters were completely inaccurate.  

The trap is set when the interviewer (expertly disguised as a lunatic by wearing over sized aviator sunglasses and a UFO baseball cap) asks Lt. Colonel Sarran if he is absolutely sure of his findings that 23 helicopters were not flying in the area that evening.

After answering confidently in the affirmative, Sarran is presented with a declassified memo that he wrote stating that it wasn't 23 helicopters in the air that evening...it was actually more like 100. The confused blabbering and attempted back tracking of a person caught in a lie immediately and hilariously commences in full.

Below is a video of the conversation. At 8:46, I'm pretty sure that Colby coughs the word "bulls#$%" while Sarran unsuccessfully tries to explain why he just contradicted himself.

This won't bring Colby Landrum justice or properly pay him back for the emotional, mental, and physical pain that he and his family have been through. But at least it can't be debated that something strange did happen on that December night in Texas when their lives were completely turned upside down.

Now it's not Colby and his deceased love ones that can ever be called crazy; it's the lack of justice and fair treatment that he and his family received for doing nothing more than driving home from dinner.

Betty Cash, Vickie Landrum, and Colby Landrum 

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Weird Crime Wednesday: You can pray at school, but please keep your clothes on

(photo @ sodahead.com)

"The family that prays together, stays together."
                                                                                             -Patrick Peyton

 "If God had meant us to walk around naked, he never would have invented the wicker chair."

                                                             -Erma Bombeck

At approximately 10:00 AM on March 16, 2012, 44 year old Sara Butler, her two adult daughters, and her 14-year-old son all walked into Upper Darby High School in Pennsylvania.  Ms. Butler demanded that another one of her children, who was currently attending class in school, be released to her.

The only problem with this was that she did not have legal custody of the child...and the reason that she did not have custody would soon become very apparent to anyone unfortunate enough to be in the high school's parking lot later that afternoon.

They returned  to the school again at 11:07 with the same demand, and again were turned away.  The family made one final trip to the school at 12:55, presumably after a enjoying a pleasant lunch together, and decided to kick things up a notch.

"I don't know about you, but that roast 
beef n' cheddar's got me all types of jacked up!"

When the family arrived at the school, they abandoned their twice failed strategy of berating the school's front office personnel to illegally release a child into their custody. It was time to call on a higher power.

The family got out of their van, locked arms, and began to pray, chant, and sing church hymns.  

Oh yeah, one other thing:  They made this show of spiritual solidarity after completely disrobing so that they were completely naked and in full view of the school's students.

When school officials attempted to break up nude prayer vigil/no pants party occurring on their school grounds, the family began running wildly around the parking lot while still praying, chanting, and singing.

Eventually, police arrived and arrested the group after a slight physical struggle (and probably a lot of awkward glances and hesitant grabbing amongst the officers).

In case you're interested, here is a video showing portions of the arrest and  a few still frames of Sara Butler during the nude prayer protest.  The images of the naked mother are grainy and blurred out, but once you see their potential, you may become a much bigger fan of censorship.

It gets weirder

After the naked quartet was arrested and brought in to be arraigned on multiple charges (not the least of which were "open lewdness" and "disorderly conduct"), the crazy shenanigans continued.

Police were only able to obtain a mugshot of Joanne Butler, one of the adult daughters.  The other daughter and Sara Butler could not be processed because they were still acting like lunatics while police were trying to process them.

To make matters worse, they refused to wear clothes to court, which probably made some poor public defense attorney question many of his life decisions that day.

"Well you won't find this judge objecting.  How you doing..."

What's maybe even more bizarre (and hilariously ironic) is that when one of the girls that was willing to put her clothes back on was released from jail, she hid her face from the news cameras outside.  

In the meantime, Sara Butler is currently in still in jail, where she recently attacked a guard.  Ms. Butler and her daughters are awaiting a psychiatric evaluation and possible trial, while their 14 year old son will face a much lesser criminal penalty due to being a minor...but a very likely life sentence of weird dreams and confusing and gross feelings.

Police superintendent Michael Chitwood relayed to the media that the Ms. Butler may have "mental health issues."

Amen to that.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Freaky (Factual) Tale Friday: 'The Monster with 21 Faces' crime syndicate terrorized Japan, taunted police with clues on how to capture them...and still remains at large

(photo @ realfoodfreaks)

Nishinomiya, Japan

On March 18, 1984 at 9:00 PM, three armed kidnappers broke into the home of Katsuhisa Ezaki, who was the president of Ezaki Glico, a large Japanese candy company.  The kidnappers took him from his home, called the company's headquarters, and demanded a ransom of 1 billion yen and 100 kilograms of gold.

Three days later, on March 21, Ezaki was able to free himself and escape...which he probably should have done sooner, since he was left completely unguarded.  The kidnappers never identified themselves and Ezaki never got to find out if his company would have payed the exorbitant ransom get him back safely.

Of course we were going to pay! In fact, we
were on just our way back from the bank when you got here!

But whoever kidnapped Ezaki wasn't through.  On April 10, three cars in the Glicco trial production building parking lot were set on fire.  Then on April 16, police found a plastic jug of hydrochloric acid with a note attached threatening the company.

On May 10, the perpetrators of the past two months finally began using their words to communicate with Glico by sending threatening (and more specific) letters. 

'The Monster with 21 Faces', as they called themselves, warned Glico executives that they had laced many of their candies with cyanide.  Glico pulled nearly all of their products off of store shelves, resulting in massive profit losses and employee layoffs for the company.  

Just to ramp things up a notch, The Monster with 21 Faces decided to also send letters to police, taunting them over their inability to find out who was behind the arson attack and blackmail attempts.  One of their letters to police read:

"You seem to be at a loss. So why not let us help you? We'll give you a clue. We entered the factory by the front gate. The typewriter we used is Panwriter. The plastic container used was a piece of street garbage. Monster with 21 faces."

 The letter most likely concluded with this picture.

Then on June 26, the crime group sent a final letter claiming "We Forgive Glico!" and ceased all claims of poisoning the company's products.  But as Glico's nightmare was ending, Morinaga & Company, another Japanese candy maker, was about to face The Monster's confusing yet inevitable wrath.

In October of the same year, a letter from The Monster with 21 Faces was sent to Osaka news agencies.  It was addressed to "Moms of the Nation" and warned of another round of candy poisonings.  This time, the group claimed that they had randomly placed 20 packages of Morinaga candy on supermarket shelves that had been laced with cyanide.

Police scoured supermarket shelves across all of Japan...and in case any of you think that this group was just making false claims as some sort of prank, 12 packages of poisoned candy were found.  After investigating further, police found 9 more poisoned packages, bringing the total to 21.

Yes, Mr. Lawrence, things most definitely did "get real."

It should be noted, however, that the packages containing the poisoned candy were also helpfully marked with a labels that proclaimed "DANGER: CONTAINS TOXINS."  The Monster with 21 Faces may have been diabolical, but no one could ever accuse them of being inconsiderate.

In the meantime, The Monster was also extorting Marudai Food Company, demanding 50 million yen in exchange for an agreement to stop harassing them.  On June 28, the money drop was to take place at a local train station.  The police sent one of their own disguised as a Marudai employee in hopes of catching a member of the crime syndicate that had until this point, no one had experienced any human contact with.

At the drop, the police officer observed someone following him who he described as having "eyes like those of a fox."  The "Fox Eyed Man," as he became called, was lost in the crowd as police attempted to close in on him.

On November 14, executives from the House Food Corporation arranged to pay The Monster 100 million yen to stop being harassed and threatened.  Once again, the drop off (which would also secretly involve the police) was to take place at a local train station...and once again, the Fox Eyed Man appeared.  

As police attempted to close in on him, he was again able to disappear, leaving behind a police scanner that he had used to track their movements.

"You think our organization is run by
a bunch of stupid reptiles or something?!"

The only other possible lead that police had was security camera footage of a man wearing a baseball cap who was placing placing Gilco chocoates on a store shelf.  Police used a composite sketch to identify the man in the baseball cap and the Fox Eyed Man as well known Japanese underworld criminal Manabu Miyazaki.

Unfortunately for the police, Miyazaki's alibis all checked out; there was no way he could have been where he would have needed to be to commit the The Monster's crimes.

The Monster continued to extort corporations and taunt the police.  One police superintendent, Yamamoto of the Shiga Prefecture (where the Fox Eyed Man had escaped a second time) became so distraught over his department's inability to make an arrest in the case that he committed suicide...by lighting himself on fire

Still not as painful as an HR exit interview

And with that, The Monster with 21 Faces decided to call it quits.  They sent a final letter to the media on August 12, 1985, that read (emphasis mine):

"Yamamoto of Shiga Prefecture Police died. How stupid of him! We've got no friends or secret hiding place in Shiga. It's Yoshino or Shikata who should have died. What have they been doing for as long as one year and five months? Don't let bad guys like us get away with it. There are many more fools who want to copy us. No-career Yamamoto died like a man. So we decided to give our condolence. We decided to forget about torturing food-making companies. If anyone blackmails any of the food-making companies, it's not us but someone copying us. We are bad guys. That means we've got more to do other than bullying companies. It's fun to lead a bad man's life. Monster with 21 Faces."

Since that letter in 1985, no one has heard from The Monster with 21 Faces.  No suspects have been named and no arrests have been made.  Their motivations, their members, and the source of their capabilities remain a mystery.
But just to be on the safe side, if you see any fox holes
popping up around a Japanese candy company, alert the authorities.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Weird Crime Wednesday: The first step to good sportsmanship--Don't eat your opponent

(photo @ sodahead)

As someone who played organized basketball in middle school, I can tell you that it is most definitely "serious business."  When you're an 11 year old kid, you don't have the luxury of exaggerating and/or outright lying about the greatness of your athletic accomplishments; you have to prove it on the hardwood in front of your peers (and possibly any girls that may be watching).

Even though kids are expected to be hormonal and crazy at that age when it comes to competitive sports, parents can be just as bad, if not worse.  I was very fortunate to have a dad/coach that stressed sportsmanship and being proud of how we played no matter what the outcome.  These days, it seems that more and more children aren't as lucky.

On Friday, March 9 of 2012, a 6th grade boys basketball game had just concluded at the Holy Name School gymnasium in Springfield, Massachusetts.  As the teams walked onto the court and lined up to shake hands, all hell broke lose, prompting this very bizarre series of 911 calls.

In case you think you misheard any of that, someone (that multiple people identified as an assistant coach for the losing team) went over to the winning team's coach, punched him a few times, and then bit off his ear.

Be prepared for a copyright lawsuit, sucka!

Timothy Forbes, the man with a hunger for retribution in the form of human flesh, was later disavowed by the the Catholic Youth Organization of ever having been an assistant coach, despite statements by multiple witnesses, the victim, and Forbes' own lawyer to the contrary.

Maybe all of those witnesses really did get it wrong.  Maybe Forbes worked with the losing team in an unofficial capacity.  But if he actually was a coach and the Catholic church to was just distancing themselves from him, that's pretty terrible.  You'd figure that they would have at least just moved him to another team and pretended that the ear biting stuff didn't happen.

At least the Catholic Youth Organization's president, John Maloney, gave us one of the greatest reactions/statements about the entire situation that we could have asked for (emphasis mine):

"I think everyone who heard it couldn't believe it and it was certainly very devastating to the program to have something like this happen. We feel it hasn't happened before and we hope it will never happen again."

The possibility of prior incidents involving coaches getting their ears bitten off is something that you should probably be a bit more certain of, Mr. Maloney.  

Who keeps leaving these on the scorer's table?

As far as Mr. Forbes is concerned, he may truly have had a moment of temporary insanity.  After partaking of the Van Gogh special, Forbes quicky fled the scene.  While my first instinct was to think that it was pretty weasley for him to run off like that after biting off another man's ear, it would have actually been much scarier (and downright creepy) if he was proud of himself enough to stick around and take credit for it.

Forbes finally did turn himself into police on Monday, though he pleaded not guilty to all charges.  He is currently awaiting a hearing this week to determine if he would be considered a public threat if released on bail.

Actual mugshot @ masslive.com
In the meantime, his cell mate has most likely requested ear muffs

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Freaky (Factual) Tale Friday: Finnish farmer defends his homeland with deadly accuracy

(photo @ wikipedia) 

Simo Häyhä was born in Finland in 1905.  By the age of 17 he had developed an interesting/awesome hobby:  Shooting things with incredible accuracy.  He obtained numerous trophies and awards for his achievements in marksmanship competitions and became and avid fox hunter, as well.

In 1925, Häyhä joined the Finnish military and completed his mandatory year of service, rising to the rank of Lance Corporal.  Afterwards, he decided to live out the rest of his life quietly as a farmer, tending to the earth and scoring the occasional head shot on a fox with his rifle.

That all changed when in 1939 when the Soviet Union decided that they were tired of Finland just sitting there and mocking them by existing; it was time to take over the country for themselves.

Their reasoning of "FINLAND KEEPS TOUCHING ME!"
 did not go over very well with the League of Nations.

As the Winter War between the Fins and the Soviets began, Häyhä decided that it was time to help his country defend itself.  He dressed himself white camouflage (since it snows quite a bit in Finland), picked up his trusty rifle, and concealed himself in the forest while braving -40 to -20 degree Celsius degree temperatures.  

He then began shooting Soviet soldiers...a lot.  In less than 100 days of military service, Häyhä had 505 confirmed sniper kills (a record that still stands today for sniper kills in any major war) and over 200 kills with his submachine gun.  

He also did not use a standard sniping scope due to its susceptibility to fog up or the sun's glare off the lens possibly giving away his position.  Instead, Häyhä preferred to simply use the iron sights (the ones without any sort of telescopic capabilities beyond the shooter's own eyesight) already placed on his gun.

The Soviets tried multiple tactics to deal with the man that they called "White Death," including sending in counter snipers (who were promptly killed by Häyhä) and carpet bombing his entire staging area (which only damaged his coat...and probably ticked him off even more).

The Soviet's also tried calling him a "camper" while yelling various racial and 
homophobic slurs, but he just kept eating sugar cubes and bread while killing them.

Then on March 6, 1940, a Soviet soldier finally got lucky, scoring a head shot of his own on Häyhä...which basically blew half of his face off.  

While most people would consider this a good reason to give up and/or die, Häyhä took a well deserved extended rest (in the form of a coma) for one week.  He awoke on March 13, the day that peace was declared and the Soviets had finally retreated.

While it took a few years for Häyhä to recover, he went on to become a successful farmer and champion dog breeder.  He lived out the rest of his days in the country he valiantly defended, finally dying of natural causes in 2001 at the age of 96.

When he was asked what the secret was to becoming such a deadly and prolific sharp shooter, he gave a simple yet awesome one word answer:  "Practice."

Actual photo of Simo Häyhä via wikipedia
You don't ask for elaboration from a war hero 
that lost half his face; you just take his word for it.

Please feel free to leave a comment below. If you'd like to sing my praises or tell me how much I suck more personally, I can also be found on Twitter.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Weird Crime Wednesday: If you have just robbed someone, you should probably wait a few days before calling to ask them out on a date.

(photo @ sodahead)

On Thursday, March 1 of 2011, John Jardini decided that he needed two things:  Some extra money and a good woman.  While men have sought to fulfill these two desires since the dawn of time, Jardini went about it in what may very well be the dumbest way possible.

He first decided to leave his hometown of Carrick, Pennsylvania and head into Pittsburgh on his quest for love and money.  While the quantity of money and available women may be much greater in a large city, Jardini went to one place where you are not likely to find much of either:  The bus stop.

Unless you're like that guy in orange,
who is totally working the room.

At this point, Jardini went backwards and overly aggressive in his pursuits.  He found a woman (who had just gotten off the bus and was waiting for her mother) and proceeded to rob her of $60.  Now while most of us would consider this a total deal breaker, Jardini was still able to somehow get the girl's number.

Unfortunately, he forgot the basic rule about waiting 2-3 days to call.  Minutes after stealing money from the new object of his affection, he used his cell phone to call and ask her out on a date...twice!  

Not only did this make him seem a bit desperate, but it also scared the girl a bit, who had already called police about the robbery.  Jardini's insistence on calling his beloved within minutes after the robbery gave the police an active and nearby cell phone that they could use to track down Mr. Romance.

Not to mention the animated hearts and
his distinct "Pepe le Pew" smell

Then like something out of the worst romantic comedy imaginable, love and serendipity brought the two back together at a local area supermarket.  Before police had even finished tracing Jardini's phone, he was meeting his one true love and getting to know her mother.

Oh, and by "getting to know" them, we actually mean physically assaulting both the mom and daughter outside of the store.  The police showed up, arrested Jardini, and (probably) made him listen to 'Love Stinks' all the way to the Allegheny County jail, where he is currently residing and (probably) writing terrible/creepy poetry.

And just to pile onto the dude's heart broken misery, KDKA 2 Pittsburgh went around with a camera and asked people for their opinions on how stupid he is.

And so ends the ballad of John Jardini, a man who started off after a woman's wallet, but ended up going after her heart.  

Good thing he only tried to use a knife for one of those.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Freaky (Factual) Tale Friday: Why do dogs keep jumping to their deaths off the Overtoun Bridge?

(photo @ realfoodfreaks.com)

If you are in Scotland and a dog owner, there is one place that you should completely avoid if you and your four legged friend decide to go for a walk: The Overtoun Bridge.

Located on near the Overtoun House, a beautiful house and estate in West Darbuntonshire, the bridge runs approximately 50 feet (or 15 meters for you snooty folks) over the River Clyde.

The entire area is about as beautiful as anyone could imagine, wish lush, green hills and beautiful waterfalls.  It's exactly the type of place that a person who wanted to see Scotland would go to take a stroll...and a place that apparently inspires dogs to commit suicide.


Come for the scenery, stay for the trauma and death.

Since the 1950's, numerous reports have been made about dogs inexplicably jumping to their deaths on the rocks below the bridge.  The exact number is not known, but some place it as high as 600.  

In one particularly heartbreaking report by the Daily Mail, a woman named Donna Cooper watched in horror (along with her husband and 1 year old son) as their collie, Ben, suddenly bolted away from the family and leaped from the bridge.  His injuries from the fall were so severe that he had to be put down.

"Nearly a year on, Callum (her son) still asks about Ben," Donna lamented. "He was very upset by the dog's death and wants to know if his leg has been fixed in heaven."


...and if his goldfish, Nemo, is swimming in Heaven's plumbing system.

It gets weirder

Want this story to get even more creepy and depressing?  Well, in addition to the multiple reports of dogs committing suicide successfully on their first try, there are also reports of dogs that after safely landing (or landing with only minor injuries) decide to give it another go. "Second timers" will climb back up to the bridge and jump again.

So is there a rational explanation for this?  Maybe: A recent study by the Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SCPA) determined that a particularly potent type of urine from male minks in the area may be attracting the canines (and inspiring dogs to launch themselves into the air with reckless abandon).


"Rodent urine?  ALRIGHT!!!!  No time to take the stairs for this!"

The strong smell, combined with a lack of visibility for a creature of a dog's size, may be overtaking their senses to the point that the dogs don't realize they are jumping off of a bridge...which completely doesn't explain the repeat jumpers or why the jumps all seems to be happening on one side of the bridge and in one small area.

Is there a paranormal/irrational explanation?

This is ramblingbeachcat.com, so of course the answer to that question is an emphatic 'YES.'

In Celtic mythology, Overtoun is known as the "thin place," an area in which heaven and earth are supposedly very close.  While that by itself doesn't mean very much, it does when you consider this:

In 1994, Kevin Moy threw his two week old son over the Overtoun Bridge to his death.  He then attempted to jump over himself, but was pulled back by his screaming and hysterical wife.  He then attempted to kill himself once again with a kitchen knife.

Moy had suffered from depression for years before this incident, but had never shown any signs that he was delusional or that he would harm others.  

When Moy was taken into custody, he claimed that the murder of his son and his own attempted suicide was an attempt to save the world:  According to Moy, he was the anti-Christ and his son was actually Satan himself.

To be fair, anyone that has changed a dirty diaper has at least 
considered the possibility that their child harbors unspeakable evils.

Moy was deemed by a jury of his peers to be absolutely crazy, found not guilty, and sent to a maximum security psychiatric hospital.

Since this type of homicidal craziness can apparently be cured and/or forgiven, Kevin Moy was released in 1999.

While this terrible incident was most likely explained/caused by a mentally deranged man (who's full psychosis had yet to reveal itself), it is a bit interesting/unsettling that it happened over the same bridge as the mysterious dog suicides that continue to occur.

So while we can't offer you any definitive answers as to what is causing his morbid phenomenon, we can offer you a few pieces of advice/observations.

1. If you are in Scotland and you have your dog with you, do not go near the Overtoun Bridge.
2. If you ever meet a man named Kevin Moy from Scotland and you have children, do not let him hold them.
3. If there is a supernatural explanation for the dog suicides at Overtoun, than the evil force behind it is a total jerk; dogs are the best animals in the world.

The Devil:
Clearly a cat person