Showing posts with label real life. Show all posts
Showing posts with label real life. Show all posts

Nov 19, 2020


“I heard you paint houses.”

“Yes, I do. I also do my own carpentry.”

A friend of mine once said that Martin Scorsese makes the same movie over and over, and I had to do everything in my power to avoid picking up a nice-looking pen off a bar and kick-stabbing him in the throat until he was a bloody mess on the ground. (I’m kidding.) (Or am I?) In a really superficial way, one could believe this was a sound observation: it’s not just because the most well-known portion of Scorsese’s filmography has taken place in the world of the Italian mafia (though relegated to only four films, including The Irishman), with a single detour into the world of Irish crime in The Departed, but also because Scorsese’s own style and techniques carry over from film to film, giving them an almost brand-like feeling. There’s the first-person narration, the “crime is awesome” montages, the Rolling Stones soundtrack, the gorgeous spot-lighting, the frenzied smash-cut editing, and an ensemble of familiar faces like Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci, Harvey Keitel, the somewhat obscure Frank Vincent, and pretty much the entire supporting cast of The Sopranos. “I liked it the first time I saw it…when it was called Goodfellas,” a mid-90s SNL oddity known as David Spade once said about Casino. Gestating since at least 2008, The Irishman was predictably lobbed from the start with the same kind of shallow proclamations that Scorsese and De Niro were going to make yet another version of Goodfellas, even before a single frame had been shot. Once the film finally made its long-awaited debut on Netflix, twelve years after it was first announced, the camp was still split on what kind of film The Irishman was vying to be. Was it just another Goodfellas riff, or was it something decidedly different?

In case you haven’t deduced it for yourself during one of my typically elongated lead-ins, The Irishman is, indeed, something decidedly different. Is it about the mafia? Yes, it is. Does it involve a fair number of Goodfellas et al. cast members? Yes, it does. But where Goodfellas was a Scarface-ish allegory about opulence, power, and the eventual fall from grace, The Irishman is an Unforgiven-like examination of a misspent life immersed in dirty tasks for dirty people at the expense of one man’s family. That the film is headlined by an aging De Niro wasn’t just the result of the film being in pre-production for a very, very long time, but it’s also the point of The Irishman entirely. It’s about sin, regret, mortality, and legacy. And yes, De Niro, as one tends to do, has aged. For lack of a more respectful word, De Niro is now an old man. His elderliness has crept into his take on Frank Sheeran that both benefits and handicaps his performance, guiding him in his role of a soft-spoken, somewhat slowwitted boob eager to please his masters like a loyal dog, but which is also occasionally at odds with the visual technology being employed to shave decades off his real age. In a way, De Niro’s appearance and performance sum up the experience of The Irishman as a whole – still engaging, still artfully made by one of cinema’s remaining old-school masters, but maybe, perhaps, a couple decades too late.

Based on prosecutor Charles Brandt’s “non-fiction” book I Heard You Paint Houses (I say “non-fiction” because it was based entirely on Sheeran’s version of events, which many have claimed to be dubious), The Irishman is a sprawling epic where genuine history and possible artifice intermingle in ways that, regardless of the film’s ultimate dance with reality, is still a compelling story. The Irishman weaves a complex narrative of many characters, many conflicts, and many intersecting timelines. With a running time of three and a half hours, that’s not surprising. What is surprising is how quickly those three and a half hours go by. Surrounding the main cast of De Niro’s hired hitman Frank Sheeran, Joe Pesci’s mob boss Russell Bufalino, and Al Pacino’s Jimmy Hoffa is an extensive ensemble cast who bring to life many of Philadelphia’s crime figures, including infamous mob boss Angelo Bruno (Harvey Keitel), Felix “Skinny Razor” DiTullio (Bobby Canavale, sporting a “rescinding” hairline), and an unexpectedly excellent Ray Romano as attorney Bill Bufalino. (In a weird bit of my family’s history, The Irishman makes brief mention of crime figure Frank Sindone, who helped plan the hit on Bruno and was later found dead in an alley with three bullets in his head. My Philadelphia-born father once unknowingly shared a car ride with Sindone and others from the neighborhood and later described him as “pretty fuckin’ intense.” My father also had a cousin [for whom things didn’t end well] who worked at the Latin Casino, which is featured during Sheeran’s “Appreciation Night” after he becomes President of the teamsters’ local union 326. I keep telling him he needs to write his own book about 1970s Philly because he’s seen some shit.)

In a way, even though any film should consider a comparison to Goodfellas extremely flattering, The Irishman works much better as its own beast. The gliding cameras, the eclectic oldies soundtrack, the voiceover: sure, those things are all present and accounted for – but The Irishman is measured, calm, patient, and mature. It’s a film that stands on its own, of course, but it’s also an acknowledgement of the long and very successful careers of those who made it. It’s Scorsese touching base with audiences and gently reminding them that his on-screen mafia tales are what’s attracted the most eyes, garnered his best critical notices, and punctured pop culture in ways that many of his other films didn't. And let’s face it: Scorsese wouldn’t have gone back to this same well so many times if he, himself, wasn’t so fascinated with a life of crime. What began on a small scale in something like 1973’s Mean Streets, made with a guerilla-style, low-budget scrappiness, has culminated forty-five years later with The Irishman, a two hundred-million-dollar epic that likely hit more eyeballs in its first day on Netflix than did his 2016 Jesuit priest drama Silence during its entire theatrical run. Indeed, Scorsese trots out many of his trademarks, though the occasionally abrupt editing by longtime collaborator Thelma Schoonmaker is much more restrained, in keeping with The Irishman’s slower pace. Though Scorsese still falls back on voice-over from a few characters, now they directly address the camera like they’re confessing their sins to us, the audience. As for his new bag of tricks? Yes, the controversial de-aging technology, which landed with audiences in extremely polarizing ways. “It looked great!” versus “It looked terrible!” flooded reviews and talk-backs. Snotty backseat drivers uploaded their own “deep fake” videos to Youtube to show how it could’ve been done cheaper and with better results. But here’s the thing: the de-aging technology itself actually looks fantastic, removing the deep creases and weathered appearances of our charming older men. The problem, however, is that those brand-new youthful faces are then pasted over their still-old dumpy bodies, and the additional decision to have De Niro wear blue contact lenses to “look Irish” (even though he played an Irishman in Goodfellas and wore no such thing) only does a disservice to the millions of dollars spent on those faces. Despite what the actors and choreographers tried, old men can only move like old men, and when it comes time for De Niro to knock down and kick-stomp the local grocery store owner, he kicks like an old man, and it’s hard not to notice.

Frank “The Irishman” Sheeran is an atypical performance for the De Niro we’ve come to anticipate from a Scorsese film, but perfectly appropriate and in line with not only the real Frank Sheeran, but the work De Niro has been doing as an actor since the early 2000s. Throughout his collaborations with Scorsese, or during the “nod” roles he’d play after the fact that painted him as a mob boss of sorts, De Niro was always in a position where he wielded power and influence (or in the case of Brian De Palma’s The Untouchables, baseball bats). Audiences have spent the last several decades affiliating themselves with De Niro the boss, from Goodfellas’ Jimmy Conway to Casino’s Sam Rothstein. This time, however, he’s the bag man, the hired gun, the administrative assistant who just so happens to steal and kill. Hell, he’s not even comfortable pulling the car over unless someone else says it's okay. “I was a working guy,” Sheeran says early on before he made his way into the crime world, but even after that, he was still a working guy – it’s just that the things he did are what changed. Sheeran, as presented, is a pathetic figure, only finding worth in the eyes of the crime figures who want him around while barely making time for his own family. One gets the impression that De Niro, for the first time in his life, is actually wanted around, and it renders him a purposely toothless presence, putting him into certain situations to perform acts he doesn’t have the guts to refuse. When Sheeran retreats to an empty bedroom to make a private phone call he’s been dreading, it’s the most pathetic De Niro has made one of his characters look in his fifty years of acting – even more than his famous scene in Taxi Driver where he’s being consistently rebuffed over the phone by Cybil Shephard’s Betsy, whom, after a disastrous date, wants nothing to do with him. “What kind of man makes a phone call like that?” Sheeran later muses during one of the film’s final scenes. De Niro, the boss who stomped on Billy Bats’ skull, who tore through the pimp underworld to save a young girl, who refused to be knocked down by Sugar Ray Robinson, has become a spineless, subservient slave, and he was the one who let it happen.

Sharing the screen with De Niro for the first time since 1995’s Casino is Joe Pesci, who makes a welcome return to Scorsese and co.’s world, his last high-profile project being his good friend De Niro’s 2006 directorial project, The Good Shepherd. Let me just say this: he was incredibly missed, and he offers up the film’s best performance. Gone are the days of the volatile Tommy DeVito and Nicky Santoro. Though his Russell Bufalino is “the boss,” he exacts that title almost manipulatively in soft-spoken but firm tones. He never, once, goes big, mirroring De Niro’s more neutered approach, and it’s quite honestly one of the best performances in his career. But don’t worry! Al Pacino is definitely ready to take on everyone’s yelling for them. Speaking of, though Pacino offers a fine performance as Jimmy Hoffa, he seems to be playing just another version of Pacino instead of the real man; if we must compare, it doesn’t come close to Jack Nicholson’s take from 1992’s Hoffa, directed by Danny Devito.

Though The Irishman is about ugly things, it doesn’t glamourize them in the same ways as Goodfellas and Casino. In some respects, The Irishman feels like the thematic third part of a trilogy that includes those two titles. It’s the end result of long lives spent creating and depicting stories of crime, but also of the real lives that inspired those stories, the toll taken from living on the wrong side of the law, and that no matter what one’s calling in life may be, eventually, everything comes to an end. And if, at the end of your life, you’re haggling with the salesman over the price of your own coffin – when you’re the one making the arrangements for your funeral because your family won’t do it – you know that’s a life that was lived selfishly, cruelly, and deeply alone.

As much as I loved to see the likes of De Niro, Pacino, Pesci, and Keitel sharing the screen together again, it pains me to say that The Irishman could’ve been a flawless endeavor if our primary trio of actors had been relegated to playing the last two time periods depicted in the film, while falling back on younger actors for the previous two. (Hey! Like they did in Goodfellas!) Having said that, The Irishman is still top-tier filmmaking for everyone involved and showcases a director who, despite his age, has no intent on slowing down. 

[Reprinted from Daily Grindhouse.]

Apr 6, 2020

THE 15:17 TO PARIS (2017)

I’ve yet to see every film Clint Eastwood made as a director, yet I’m still confident when I say that The 15:17 to Paris is his absolute worst yet. For the last decade, he has been on a downward slope, receiving partially undue accolades for his adaptation of Dennis Lehane’s Mystic River (which doesn’t hold up) and lots of ironic praise for his addition to the unsubtle “racism is bad” sub-genre with Gran Torino. If you know the filmmaker, especially in his most recent years, you know he has a penchant for maudlin dialogue and “naturalistic” characterization, neither of which transport well to the screen. Even his musical scores tend to be sparse piano or acoustic guitar pinged or plucked at random; they’re about as lifeless as the last decade of his directorial work. The minute you hear the same kind of no-pulse piano-coustic during the opening scene of The 15:17 to Paris, you should be surprised to note that Eastwood didn’t actually score this one himself, instead farming out the duties to Christian Jacob, to whom Eastwood likely said, “do the same kind of boring, rote stuff I normally do.”

With The 15:17 to Paris, Eastwood decided to try his hand at atypical casting, not just in casting the three real heroes from the Paris train attack (Spencer Stone, Alek Skarlatos and Anthony Sadler) to play themselves, but in also casting actors known primarily for comedies in dramatic supporting roles. Jenna Fischer (The Office) and Judy Greer (Arrested Development) play a couple of mothers, Thomas Lennon (Reno 911) a high school principal, Tony Hale (Veep) a beaten down gym teacher, and — wait for it — Jaleel White as yet another teacher. (Yes, TV’s Steve Urkel.) Why? Who honestly the fuck knows, and I’d be very curious to know why Eastwood would cast such a throwaway pop culture figure in such a small role, and who does absolutely nothing of note.

As for our hero trio — and nothing against them, because they’re not professional actors — they can’t act. They try, and the minute they begin, it’s terrible, and you groan, because you know you’re going to be spending much of the film with them.

And speaking of an entire film, since the pictorialized terrorist encounter amounts to nothing more than 20 minutes tops, that means the remainder of the running time has to be filled with…something else. And that’s what you get. The trio as kids, the trio as older kids, the trio on vacation, stints in the military, and not a single of their moments is interesting. Eastwood seems to be vying for Boyhood meets Before Sunrise meets United 93 and, impressively, he botches all three. The 15:17 to Paris might as well be called Three Mini Biographies of Those Three Guys Who Eventually Took The 15:17 to Paris and Did Some Heroics.

No one would ever argue that what these three men did wasn’t brave. They intervened in a terrorist plot, subdued a would-be murderer, and saved lives. Did they deserve a movie about their efforts? I’m not sure — maybe — though not every single heroic act warrants a 90+ minute dramatization. But I do know they deserved one much better than the one they got.

Jul 29, 2019


I recently discovered the webseries Bedtime Stories and I'm pretty hooked. I've only watched a dozen or so episodes, but this one's definitely my favorite. 

Somewhat related, also check out a flick called The Vanishing with Peter Mullan and Gerard Butler (I know, but he's pretty good in it) that came out this year. Though it's never specifically stated, it's directly inspired by this real-life mystery and offers a possible explanation for what may have happened. I'm too lazy to write it up, but just take my word for it and check it out. It's currently streaming on Amazon Prime. 

Apr 17, 2015


“Old Mike put to rest after 64 years,” the front-page headline in the now-defunct Nevada County Picayune trumpeted after the burial. Even though no one knew Old Mike’s real name or much of anything about him, his burial was big news — it had been a long time coming. Old Mike died Aug. 21, 1911, his death bringing with it notoriety he likely would never have experienced while living. Actually, what happened after he died accounted for his macabre celebrity status.

For 64 years, Old Mike’s embalmed body was on public display at Cornish Mortuary in Prescott, the wizened figure in its glass case becoming a fixture in the Nevada County seat as townspeople and tourists alike gawked and speculated. Some said Old Mike — a name bestowed upon the corpse by the mortuary staff — had been a traveling salesman who hawked pencils and other small items. Others thought he was a man down on his luck, who had been forced into the life of a hobo. Whatever his profession or origin, this man no one really knew was found leaning against an oak tree in the Prescott City Park with nothing on him offering information about who or what he was.


Apr 16, 2015


"Contemporary sources mention the death of the young slave girl who hurled herself from the roof and confirm the discovery of seven chained and maltreated slaves in quarters near Lalaurie's kitchen, but confirm none of the more lurid allegations regarding buckets of genitalia, makeshift sex-change operations, brains stirred with sticks, women nailed to floors by their intestines, tongues sewn together, mouths stuffed with excrement and stitched up, females flayed to resemble caterpillars, suits of human skin, sliced penises, 'human crabs,' bottles of blood or 'grand gore chambers'; nor do they detail scores of victims, no evidence for which can be traced in accounts published at the time."

 Delphine LaLaurie.

Apr 9, 2015


Anti-Tank Dogs

Anti-tank dogs were dogs that were taught to carry explosives to tanks, armored vehicles and other military targets. They were intensively trained and developed by Russian military forces from as early as 1930...The intended targets became just tanks and instead of releasing the bombs and running to safety, the dogs would now have fixed bombs attached to them which would detonate as a lever was pushed while crawling under the vehicle. The resulting explosion would kill the dog, effectively making them suicide bombers.

Bat Bombs

At the time, most dwellings in Japan were still made out of wood, bamboo, and paper in the traditional style, and were therefore highly combustible. In 1942, a dental surgeon by the name of Lytle S. Adams considered this potential weakness and contacted the White House with the idea of strapping small explosive devices to bats and dropping them over a wide area. According to the plan, the idea was for millions of bats, specifically the plentiful and easily obtainable Mexican Free-tailed Bat, to parachute toward earth in an egg shaped container carrying small incendiary devices strapped to them. At the designated time, the container would open and the flying mammals would disperse to find their way deep into the attics of barns, homes, and factories, where they would rest until the charges they were carrying exploded.

Pigeon-Guided Missiles

During World War II, the U.S. began developing a missile guidance system under the code name Project Pigeon, which later became known as Project Orcon, for “Organic Control.”... In the plan, the pigeon would ride in a compartment aboard an unpowered, gliding missile as a screen was displayed in front of the bird showing the target. The pigeon would be trained to peck at the target on the touch sensitive screen and the missiles flight control systems would adjust according to where on the screen the pigeon pecked. This was a one way trip for the pigeons but they were seen as cheap, plentiful and fairly easy to train. 

Rat Bombs

The British Special Operation Executive developed a method of delivering explosives that involved the use of dead rats. The rat carcasses were to be filled with plastic explosives and left in targeted locations, namely factories, where it was speculated that stokers tending boilers would dispose of their revolting find in the furnace, thereby detonating the bomb and destroying the factory. 

Read the entire fascinating article.

Mar 31, 2015


When Ana Elvia went to feed her cows in the morning, four men quickly approached her and put a bomb around her neck. They ran away, leaving a tape that asked for a large sum of money. They also warned her that if she disarmed the bomb (or tried to) that it would go off.

A bomb tech (Jairo Hernando Lopez) showed up later that morning, without any of his tools, and tried to dispose of the bomb. He also came without his bomb-suit so he wouldn’t scare her. He was given a bandsaw and penknife which he failed to disarm the bomb with. Elvia didn’t think she was in any real danger; she kept telling her sister she had an idea who one of the men were. Later in the afternoon, they decided to take a break and the bomb went off. It killed Elvia and took off Lopez’s arm. Lopez later died in the hospital. The people responsible for the bomb have not been found and the case remains unsolved.

This photo was taken a couple of hours before the bomb exploded.

Mar 25, 2015


Masks worn by doctors during the Plague.

Woman with artificial leg, circa 1890-1900.

Early plastic surgery.

Dr. Clark's Spinal Apparatus advertisement, 1878.

Lewis Sayre's scoliosis treatment.

Radiology nurse technician, France, WWII, 1918.

One of first surgical procedures to use ether as an anesthetic, circa 1855.

Leonid Ivanovich Rogozov, Soviet general practitioner,
performs an appendectomy on himself.

Mar 24, 2015


There is a stain on the top floor of the Athens State Hospital in the shape of a woman - Margaret Schilling - who died there nearly thirty years ago. Margaret’s story is shrouded in myth; some say she was a deaf mute who hid from the staff when they were vacating the hospital and ended up locked in the upstairs wing, unable to call out for help when she saw it was too late. The truth seems to be that she was simply a woman with profound mental disabilities who managed to lock herself in a ward which had been used for infectious patients and had been abandoned for years, on the top floor of ward N. 20. She disappeared on December 1, 1978. It wasn’t until January 12, 1979 that they found her, dead on the floor of heart failure, probably due to exposure in an unheated ward during the coldest part of winter. As she was dying, oddly enough, she took her clothes off, folded them neatly beside her, and laid down on the concrete floor.

Weeks later, her decomposing body was found lying on the floor next to a window. When authorities attempted to move her body, they found that it had made a permanent stain in the outline of the woman’s body on the concrete floor. It seems as though the stain had been caused by the combination of her body naturally decaying, coupled with its position in front of big bay windows that allowed the sunlight to shine down on her. Despite constant scrubbing, the stain would not come up. Even more, people walking past the asylum at night would sometimes see the ghostly image of a woman staring down at them from the window where the body was found.

It is true that her body left a stain. You can still see it today. People sometimes leave flowers and other trinkets around it. Some say that Margaret Schilling’s spirit wanders the building at night. They say that other patients, especially those who died at the hospital, also wander the building at night. Rumors about patients shackled in basement torture chambers add fuel to the legends.

Tours of the Ridges are a popular Halloween event in Athens—so popular, in fact, that they had to cancel one year’s tour because of the unmanageably huge turnout. Other parts of the grounds are off limits, however.

Mar 22, 2015


A terrified mother claims she watched in horror as her demon-possessed 9-year-old son walked backwards up a wall and ceiling. Her claims would be easy to dismiss if a child services case worker and a nurse weren’t reportedly there to witness it all.

Latoya Ammons claims all three of her children showed signs of being possessed, including “evil” smiles and strangely deep voices, the Indianapolis Star reports. The mother says she also witnessed her 12-year-old daughter levitating in their Gary, Ind., home.

Strangely enough, the scary-sounding incident is outlined in official documents. Further, Gary police Capt. Charles Austin told the Star that he is a “believer” after making several visits to the home and interviewing witnesses. He first thought the family was making stories up as part of a get-rich-quick scheme.

Ammons’ home was “exorcized” by a catholic priest in a number of ceremonies that were reportedly authorized by the Diocese of Gary. The story apparently became so believable that officers with the police department said they were too scared to stay at the house and some city officials wouldn’t even step foot on the property.

The 32-year-old mother says the spirits that haunted her family’s house were only vanquished after she moved away and underwent several exorcisms. The unbelievable story has come to light after the Indianapolis Star obtained hundreds of pages of official documents relating to the case.

The Ammons family moved into the rental house on Carolina Street in Gary, Ind., back in November 2011. They soon noticed strange occurrences, including swarms of flies around the house, footsteps in the basement and wet footprints streaking across the living room floor.

But what happened next made those incidents seem pleasant.

In March 2012, Ammons claims she rushed to check on her 12-year-old daughter after hearing her screams. When she entered the bedroom, she says she witnessed her daughter levitating above her bed unconscious.

The family and some of the guests they were hosting prayed over the girl until she returned back to the bed. The girl reportedly didn’t remember anything about it.

The torment reportedly continued and the family wasn’t in a position financially to flee the home. So the family contacted churches and clairvoyants for help, but they received little relief. The clairvoyants allegedly told the family their house was haunted by more than 200 demons.

The house where Latoya Ammons lived with her family was on Carolina St. in Gary. [In the] photo taken by the police, a figure appears to show itself in the window at right. Photo provided by the Hammond Police Department.

Ammons claims her childrens’ eyes bulged and they regularly sported evil smiles, effects of their possession. Her youngest child would reportedly sit in a closet and talk to an invisible child that no one could see. She also claims he was once thrown from the bathroom when no one was even near him.

Most of Ammons’ allegations are backed up by her mother, Rosa Campbell, who also lived in the house.

Later in 2012, child protective services in Indiana was contacted to investigate the mother for possible child abuse or mental illness. A psychiatrist reportedly evaluated Ammons and determined she was not mentally ill.

A family case manager reportedly interviewed the family and witnessed a number of strange occurrences. Valerie Washington confirmed that she witnessed the youngest boy growling before his eyes rolled back in his head.

Washington also claimed she saw the 9-year-old boy flash a “weird grin” and then walk backward up a wall to the ceiling. Her account was corroborated by a nurse.

“There’s no way he could’ve done that,” the nurse told the Star.

After being sent to investigate Ammons, Washington concluded that an “evil influence” might be affecting the family.


Mar 20, 2015


Warning: Graphic.
Andrei Chikatilo, a.k.a Butcher of Rostov and Red Ripper, was a Soviet serial killer who sexually assaulted and mutilated a minimum of 52 women from the late 70s to 1990. As you have probably guessed, the majority of his murders were committed in the Rostov Oblas of the Russian SFSR.

Chikatilo was a very awkward kid especially around women. He was impotent and once ejaculated while wrestling with his crush. That’s when he says his hatred for women started as they all laughed at him. He went on to become a teacher and had multiple reported sexual assaults on young girls. This only got worse. Sexual assaults then turned into murders as his 1st victim was a 9 year old girl named Yelena.

Chikatilo was finally arrested when Soviet cops found evidence linking him to murders, but according to their law could only hold him for 10 days before they had to either charge him or release him. He gave a full confession of every murder he ever committed. One of the things he confessed to was ripping the victim’s genitals, lips, nipples, and tongues with his TEETH.

He was convicted of 52 of the 53 murder charges. Sentenced to death for each of them. The bottom picture is of a severed head of one of his victims used in his trial. He was executed with a single gunshot behind the right ear on February 14.

Mar 17, 2015


Zeppelin commander Oberleutnant-zur-See Werner Peterson decided that he would rather jump than burn with his ship in 1916. Along with leaving behind a story to tell, he left behind this impact impression.

Mar 12, 2015


Warning: Graphic.
Vladimir Komarov was a Soviet test pilot, aerospace engineer, and a cosmonaut (in the 1st group selected in 1960). He was extremely brilliant and knew what he was doing. Even though he was declared medically unfit for training or spaceflight twice while he was in the program, his perseverance and superior skills and his knowledge as an engineer allowed him to continue playing an active role. He is  known as the man who fell from space.

He flew in the Soyuz 1, which started to malfunction as soon as it started orbiting. Antennas didn’t open properly, power and navigation were compromised, and much more. Some say he was sent on a mission they knew he wouldn’t return from. This happened to many cosmonauts during that time.

When the capsule began its descent the parachutes failed to open. Komarov screamed in rage as he plunged to his death. The bottom picture is of his body after the crash.

Mar 7, 2015


Warning: Graphic.
In 1923, Marianna Dolinska, a Polish native, walked into the police station and said that she hung her four kids (ranging from six months to seven years) so that they would no longer starve. Her husband had been murdered, which left her family without any support. The police checked in on her claim and found the bodies of her four kids on a tree. They arrested her and she died five years later in a psychiatric hospital.

Mar 2, 2015


Three Americans who were reportedly playing with a Ouija board in a Mexican village have been rushed to hospital after showing the sort of disturbing signs and behavior more commonly associated with demonic possession.

Alexandra Huerta, 22, her brother Sergio, 23, and their 18-year-old cousin Fernando Cuevas were playing with a Ouija board in the village of San Juan Tlacotenco in south-west Mexico before all three became allegedly possessed by evil spirits who used the Ouija board as a gateway to enter the land of the living.

Minutes after the trio had started dabbling with the Ouija board, also known as a spirit board or talking board, Alexandra is reported to have fallen into a “trance-like” state.

The youngster is then said to have started growling maniacally like a dog and thrashed around uncontrollably like a wild animal. She is also reported to have started laughing uncontrollably and when asked why, replied, “We’re going to die.”

The Daily Mail reported that Sergio and Fernando were also said to have demonstrated visible signs of “possession” after using the Ouija board to make contact with the dead.

Alongside feelings of disorientation, blindness, and deafness, the two were also reported to have suffered from vivid hallucinations after using the Ouija board.

Alexandra’s parents explained that their child was forcibly restrained to prevent her from hurting herself and paramedics were called to the house where the Ouija board was used to take the three “possessed” friends to hospital.

According to Alexandra’s parents, paramedics were only called after a local Catholic priest had refused to preform an exorcism on the three friends because they were not regular churchgoers.

In place of holy water, crucifixes, and prayers, the paramedics used a combination of painkillers, anti-stress medication, and eye drops. The treatment apparently appeared to do the trick when it came to clearing up any symptoms caused by the Ouija board.

The director of public safety in the nearby town of Tepoztlan, Victor Demeza said:
“The medical rescue of these three young people was very complicated. They had involuntary movements and it was difficult to transfer them to the nearest hospital because they were so erratic.

“It appeared as if they were in a trance-like state, apparently after playing with the Ouija board. They spoke of feeling numbness, double vision, blindness, deafness, hallucinations, muscle spasm and difficulty swallowing.”
Mr. Demeza would not comment on whether the trio who dabbled with the Ouija board were really possessed or had simply convinced themselves that was the case in an outbreak of group hysteria.

Many religions and some occultists have long warned against the dangers of using a Ouija board, and have advised that casually trying to contact the dead is never a particularly good idea.



1/7/1947 - Newark, OH.

Mrs. Laura Bell Devlin, 72, who murdered her 75-year-old husband, Thomas, then dismembered his body with a hacksaw and scattered the parts in the backyard, today professed her dislike for jail. She protested vehemently when officials tried to fingerprint her, saying, "that ink will make my hands dirty," and again when she was placed before the camera. "No," she asserted. She kept repeating "Can I go home now?," unmoved and in no way penitent for the alleged crime.

Feb 9, 2015


Jeff Franklin, 17, grins from the backseat of a police car after using a hatchet and sledgehammer to murder his parents and critically wound three of his siblings. March 10, 1998.

Jan 5, 2015


After stabbing a woman to death in 1945, serial killer William Heirens carved this message onto the wall: 

“For heavens sake catch me before I kill more. I cannot control myself.” 

This earned him the nickname The Lipstick Killer. He was the longest serving US prison inmate (65 years) and was imprisoned until his death in 2012. He confessed to three murders.

Jan 2, 2015


From hell. 

Mr Lusk. 

Sor, I send you half the kidne I took from one women prasarved it for you tother piece I fried and ate it was very nise I may send you the bloody knif that took it out if you only wate a whil longer. 

                   Catch me when you can 
Mishter Lusk