Saturday, October 27, 2012

Curious History: Devastated Parents Keep Their Dead Son in an Ice Chest

This is one of those rare stories that’s both creepy and heartbreaking at the same time. Tian Xueming lost both his children in just one decade, and decided to store his son’s remains in an ice chest inside the house for the last six years, so he could see and talk to him whenever the massive loss became to hard to cope with. Their son remains in the ice chest in their home to this day and they have no intention of burying him.
60-year old Tian Xueming, a carpenter from Huangling Village, China’s Chongqing province, got married in 1979, and took his wife to live in a modest home made of mud. At the time they were living with six other relatives, so to provide better living conditions for his family, Tian went to work in the city. In 1982 they had a daughter, and in 1987, his wife Yang Hongying gave birth to a beautiful baby boy. In order to spend more time with his family, Tian decided to quit his job and return to his native village as a stay-at-home dad. He describes those days as the happiest of his entire life. Only the new-found happiness didn’t last long…
It was a hot day when they lost their daughter, Yingying. The 15-year-old had gone to town to buy some vegetables, but when she returned half and hour later she looked pale and tired. An hour later, they found her collapsed in the yard, barely breathing. By the time the doctor arrived, it was too late for Yingying. Just when time was starting to heal the wounds left by this terrible loss, disaster struck again. Nine years after Yingying had passed away, their son, Qinyuan, was diagnosed with leukemia in the final stage. In March of 2006 he received a phone call and was told his son had had a fever for almost a month. He and his wife were by Qinyuan’s bedside in the hospital, praying he would somehow miraculously survive. He died in July, 2006, aged 18.
Qinyuan’s loss tore the Tian’s world apart and they just didn’t know what to do to cope with the unbearable pain. They decided to conceal the circumstances of their son’s death, and somehow keep him around. ”I told his mother that we should not bury him, but rather keep our son around us. She agreed,” Xueming told Chinese media, and that night they emptied the icebox, dressed his body and placed him inside. They kept their son’s burial place a secret for six years, during which time they would pull up chairs around the ice box, lift the lid and talk to him as if he had never left them. Tian says he and his wife know it wasn’t the most normal thing to do, but it was the only way to deal with the pain.
He knows both his relatives and his neighbors mean well when they press him to bury Qinyuan’s body, but he just cannot bring himself to do it. ”I know I was wrong. My decision has had a bad influence on my neighbors’ lives as well, but I have lost both of my children! No one could ever understand my suffering,” Tian Xueming said as he gazed at the freezer in the corner of his house. ”Anyway, I can see my son whenever I miss him.”

Curious History: Extremely Disturbing Taxidermy

 Enrique Gomez De Molina is an artist from Miami who creates bizarre sculptures with the stuffed parts of dead animals. While taxidermy itself isn’t something new, what De Molina does is he mixes up parts from different animals to create a new one, a new species all together. The result is what some might call art, and others may find plain disturbing.

 For instance, one of the strangest beings created by De Molina is a combination of a squirrel and a crab. The head of a squirrel and the body of the crab. Another one has the heads of two swans placed on the body of a goat. 
Another one has the heads of two swans placed on the body of a goat.
  Another one has the heads of two swans placed on the body of a goat. The art is all fine, but the artist himself is facing the possibility of landing in jail for no less than 5 years. He may also have to pay $250,000 in fines. The reason – he illegally imported the body parts of endangered species, a crime that he has pleaded guilty to. He was arrested in November, 2011.
According to the police, De Molina did not obtain the permit required to import animal parts, skins and other remains. He apparently was aware that his actions were illegal. However, he went ahead and smuggled in the remains of animals from all over the world.

While these sculptures might look disturbing and even seem like cruelty against animals, De Molina says that his aim is to raise awareness regarding the dangers faced by a range of species. He wanted to depict the dangers of genetic engineering and human intervention. Meanwhile, he offers his pieces for sale on the Internet and through exhibitions. The prices go up to $80,000. His work was recently displayed at the Scope Art Fair in Miami. Two pieces were sold for a total of $100,000.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Curious History: Healing Demon Ghost Crystal

John Dee (1527-1609) was an English mathematician and astrologer interested in divination using crystals and mirrors. This purple crystal was used for curing disease and predicting the future by looking for symbols or the ‘ghosts’ of people in the stone. Dee claimed that this crystal was given to him by the angel Uriel in November 1582, and that Uriel had instructed Dee and his assistant Edward Kelley (1555-1597/8) on how to make the Philosopher’s Stone – one of the goals of alchemy. The crystal was entrusted to Dee’s son, Arthur (1597-1651) who passed it on to Nicholas Culpeper (1616-1654) as a reward for curing his liver complaints. Culpeper was a physician and alchemist who used the crystal to try and cure illness, until 1651, when he believed a demonic ghost burst out from it.

Curious History: The Most Haunted Graveyard in the US - Bachelors Grove Cemetery

Possibly one of the most haunted places in the world is a one acre graveyard stuck far off the beaten path called Bachelors Grove Cemetery. Located in an isolated section of the Rubio Woods Forest Preserve in Chicago, Illinois, this one acre plot of land holds an unbelievable amount of unexplained phenomena. It is also the location of one of the world’s most recognizable ghost photos that captures a woman in white sitting on a tombstone (pictured above).

The cemetery was founded in the 1820’s and for years, was considered a peaceful, serene resting place for the departed. But by the 1960’s, it was increasingly isolated and abandoned and was often the site for wild parties, vandalism and possible satanic rituals. The chaos at the graveyard was so great that many bodies were moved to other cemeteries to avoid being desecrated and a large number of tombstones have been either stolen or knocked over.

This cemetery has reports of every type of paranormal activity. Many strange lights are seen in and around the tiny cemetery. A flashing blue light, similar to a police car’s light, was spotted many times flitting noiselessly amongst the tombstones. Orbs, bright lights, ectoplasm, unexplained mist, cold spots, and apparitions are frequently encountered in and around the cemetery.

But the oddest repeated sighting is that of a “phantom farm house”. What makes these reports so credible is that they come from people who had no idea that the house doesn’t actually exist. Each person who has seen the house describes an old, two-story farm house that is white washed, a large front porch with post to either side of the porch entrance, a porch swing and a light that cheerily burns in the front window.  As people approach the old house, it is reported that it seems to shrink until it finally just fades away. Local legend says that if a person does enter the house they will never return.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Curious History: The Life of Millie and Christine McKay

Millie and Christine McKoy were born, joined at the base of the spine, on July 11, 1851, the eighth and ninth child of Monimia and Jacob McKay, slaves owned by a blacksmith in the small town of Welches Creek, North Carolina. At only ten months old, they were sold along with their mother to a showman, who in turn sold them on to two more men in the same trade, looking to make a quick buck. It seems to have been around this time that their last name was changed to McKoy.
While still very young, the McKoy twins were kidnapped at an exhibition in New Orleans by yet another showman, who exhibited them another year, including at Barnum’s American Museum. Sold yet again in 1855, this time to a professor, they ended up in Canada, and then Europe, where former owner Joseph Smith reunited them with their mother and brought them back to the United States.
Joseph Smith and his wife educated the McKoy twins, focusing on music and languages. The girls had a gift for singing and could soon also speak in four or five different tongues. Yet, while to some extent it is true that the sisters enjoyed a successful career in museums and the circus, it should not be forgotten that they were also exploited since they were young girls – and, as female slaves, more so even than the other conjoined twins listed here. Indeed, they are held to have been overworked, beaten, raped and sexually abused – including, it’s suggested, during the numerous medical ‘examinations’ they had to endure.
Free at last following the Emancipation Proclamation, in the 1880s the McKoy sisters retired from show business and went back to their hometown in North Carolina, where they bought a small farm. However, after a fire that weakened their health, the twins’ lives were claimed by tuberculosis, contracted by Millie, and died on October 8, 1912. They lived until the ripe old age of 61, the oldest female conjoined twins to date.