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Showing posts from December, 2013

Monkey Obesity Epidemic Hits UK

According to animal welfare experts in the UK, a growing number of captive primates are experiencing weight problems as a result of poor diet and lack of exercise.  In an article published Wednesday in the Telegraph, there are approximately 5,000 monkeys kept as pets in the UK and animal sanctuaries are struggling to meet the demand for caring for the throngs of couch potato primates.

"They are fed on things like sweets, pizza, chips and cake - whatever their owner is eating. And many don’t have enclosures large enough to run it all off," explained Jean Smith, of the Yorkshire Monkey Sanctuary.

(read the full article here)

Petrified Baby Found Inside Elderly Woman

Last week, it was revealed that the stomach pains plaguing an elderly woman from Colombia were the result of a 40-year-old calcified fetus. 

The woman, 82, entered Tunjuelito Hospital in Bogota with stomach pains, which the medical staff initially presumed to be gastroenteritis.  Further tests revealed that the woman was carrying a lithopedion, or a "stone baby"- a dead, calcified fetus which is the result of an ectopic pregnancy in which the fetus is formed in the abdomen outside of the uterus.

This rare occurrence, first documented in France on 1582, occurs in less than 2% of all abdominal pregnancies which, in turn, account for only one out of 11,000 overall pregnancies.  To date, only 300 lithopedic pregnancies have been recorded in medical literature.

Lithopedions are formed when a fetus outside the uterus dies and the mother's body calcifies the fetus in order to protect the rest of the body from infection.

According to the New York Daily News, the unnamed woman is s…

Horned Monsters in North Carolina?

In 1873, a giant strange-looking horned animal which howled ferociously was spotted in the mountains of Caswell County, North Carolina.  This is the story, which describes a creature perhaps better suited for a Maurice Sendak children's book than for North America, as featured in the March 12, 1873 edition of the Fairfield (S.C.) Herald:

A gentleman recently from the Shelton, Laurel district of North Carolina, some forty miles from this place, informs us that the people in that "densely thicketed" county are greatly excited in regard to the appearance, upon several different places, of a huge mountain monster, the species of which is unknown.  Mr. George Anderson, one of the gentlemen residing in the Laurel country, being one of the persons who saw the monster, also furnishes us with the following description of it.

"I was out in the jungle hunting up some lost hogs, when all of a sudden there came into my path a beast, the appearance of which, I must confess, caused…

Monsters of the Great Dismal Swamp

Situated largely in southeastern Virginia, separating the cities of Suffolk and Norfolk, the Great Dismal Swamp has inspired countless legends and spooky stories for literally thousands of years.  The area was home to the Nansemond and Chesepiooc tribes, who told stories of a terrifying monster they called the Fire Bird- a prehistoric-looking beast with an enormous wingspan, razor-sharp teeth, and claws strong enough to carry away humans.

According to archaeologists, the swamp has been inhabited by humans for about 13,000 years and virtually every group of people who have called the Great Dismal Swamp home have told stories of mystery monsters and terrifying creatures said to inhabit its waters, bogs, and woods.

By the 19th century, the swamp was home to hundreds of fugitive slaves, which inspired Harriet Beecher Stowe's second novel Dred: A Tale of the Great Dismal Swamp.  These slaves inhabited the high and dry areas of the swamp, and around countless campfires these "Grea…

The Strange Death of Margaret Smith

In 1908, a grandmother suddenly dropped dead after seeing the ghost of her grandson... whom she didn't know had died just hours before.  This spooky story was featured in newspapers all over the country; the following is an account of the strange incident as it appeared in the December 3, 1908 edition of the Daily Pioneer (Bemidji, MN).

New York, Dec. 2.-- The death of Mrs. Margaret Smith while she was visiting friends in this city has all the uncanny surroundings of a real ghost story.  Friends believe that she expired after seeing an apparition, for a moment before she fell to the floor the woman raised her eyes to the ceiling and exclaimed: "Why, Frank, where did you come from?"

Only a few hours previous Mrs. Smith's favorite grandson, Frank Kane, had died at his residence in West Sixteenth street, but Mrs. Smith had not been advised of it.

Physicians who examined the body pronounced her death as due to heart failure, but those who witnessed the dramatic scene think…