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Showing posts from January, 2017

Famous "Pennsylvania Unicorn" Skull For Sale

In April of 2013 Journal of the Bizarre featured an in-depth analysis of the strange "unicorn" skull found in a shallow cave in Union County, Pennsylvania. (read the original story about the skull here)

When we learned of this discovery, we dropped everything and went to see the unusual specimen for ourselves. The specimen appears to be the skull of a young male deer with an 8-inch bony projection protruding from the frontal bone. The parietal bone is missing, and oddly appears to have been removed with surgical precision with a sharp object, rather than broken off. The appearance of the incision led us to believe that this procedure was done centuries ago, perhaps as part of some Native American ritual.

We spent a great deal of time examining the antler. Horns and antlers are two very different structures; horns are composed of keratin, while antlers are composed of bone. The specimen we examined undoubtedly has a bony growth protruding from the skull.

This is clearly…

The Mystery Letters of Camp Chase

During the Civil War more than 25,000 Confederate prisoners were held at Camp Chase in Columbus, Ohio. More than 2,200 of them are buried on the grounds of the former prison at the Camp Chase Cemetery. Of all the mysteries surrounding the Civil War, few are as interesting as the mystery letters of Camp Chase.

Written by prisoners over the Easter holiday in April of 1862, the mystery stems from the fact that 240 letters that were written that weekend were never delivered-- even though they were properly posted and marked with the "OK" stamp of the federal government.

To this day-- more than 154 years after they were written-- historians still have yet to find an explanation as to how or why the letters penned by Confederate prisoners never reached their intended destinations.
What is known is that letters written by prisoners had to be screened by federal war-time censorship officials, and the stamp which appears on all of the Camp Chase mystery letters indicates that this s…

How did a Confederate flag find its way to Samoa shortly after the Civil War?

President Grover Cleveland appointed an Alabama attorney named William L. Chambers to Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Samoan Islands in 1898. It was a cushy gig, paying $6000 a year plus an additional $2500 for travel expenses-- a tidy sum for a job that required little more than attending numerous galas and feasts on sun-drenched tropical beaches. In his later years, Judge Chambers loved to talk about his days in Samoa, and he particularly loved to tell a strange tale about the improbable journey of a Confederate flag.

Soon after Judge Chambers arrived on the islands he attended one of the numerous feasts given by the native chiefs in the capital city of Apia. This particular feast attracted natives from every island in the Samoas; five hundred boats made the journey to Apia in order to attend the celebration, which featured boat races and athletic competitions in the harbor of Apia. At the time, the island nation was ruled by three foreign governments-- the Germans, the B…

The man who built a table out of human bodyparts

One of the strangest pieces of furniture ever created was exhibited at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia in 1886. An artist named Giuseppe Sagatti spent several years constructing the macabre piece-- a table assembled from the bodyparts of over 100 corpses.

Sagatti's table featured a circular top resting upon a pedestal with four claw feet. The tabletop, which measured three feet in diameter, presented the appearance of marble though, in reality, was composed of human hearts, livers, muscles and intestines.

Sagatti never lived to see his bizarre table on display; he had been dead for fifty years prior to the table's arrival to Philadelphia. He committed suicide immediately after the table was completed. The table was then put on display at the Palazzo Pitti in Florence, Italy.

The artist spent several years perfecting a secret method of petrification, a process that entailed embalming the human remains and immersing them in a silica bath. Sagatti obtained these corpses from…

A haunted hotel in Canada

The following newspaper story from 1880 describes a haunting at a hotel in Hudson, on the shores of the Lake of Two Mountains in Canada.

The cult that buried itself alive

In 1896, a shocking tragedy took place in Russia that is little remembered today. It occurred in Liman, about twenty-eight miles from Tiraspol in the province of Kherson in modern-day Ukraine. At the time Liman was a small village, occupied primarily by members of a strange hermitlike religious cult who believed that salvation could only be obtained through the act of being buried alive. The leader of this bizarre cult convinced believers that the end of world would take place on January 1, 1897, when a great comet would destroy every trace of life on the planet.

On January 21, 1897, a census taker for the government visited the village and sensed that something wasn't quite right. Knocking on the door of the hermitage the census taker received no answer, but could distinguish faint voices coming from behind the door. Finally, though an opening, one of the voices told the visitor to leave. Outraged by this act of insubordination, the census taker returned to the hermitage with po…

The Man With the Deadly Eyes

Did Louis C. Bauduy possess a stare that could kill?

Guy de Maupassant, the French master of short fiction, once wrote a story about a man who possessed a stare that brought death and destruction to all who looked into the man's eyes. While "The Evil Eye" is a fantastic piece of fiction by an iconic 19th century storyteller, the story of Louis Bauduy is even more spectacular because Bauduy was a real person-- who really possessed eyes that could kill.

Louis Bauduy was the son of a prominent St. Louis psychiatrist and, as a young man, was regarded as handsome, well educated and otherwise normal in every way. He left his home and moved to New York for business, where he met and fell in love with a beautiful young woman named Bertha Sayer, who had also recently arrived in New York from St. Louis. They were soon married and rented an apartment at 346 West Fifty-Eighth Street. According to friends, they were a model example of a young married couple.

However, on the evening of …