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Showing posts from July, 2017

Debunked: The 'Haircutting Ghosts' of India

Over the past two weeks, 15 women in the Mewat region of the North Indian state of Haryana have reported having their braids mysteriously chopped off in the night, leaving villagers in a state of panic. One Indian news site states:

Most women claimed to have fallen unconscious when their braids were chopped off leading to the villagers blaming godmen, ghosts, witches and "cat-like" creatures.

Sunita Devi, a resident of Ashok Vihar phase-III area, approached the police, claiming that on the night of July 28 she was attacked by a strange-looking man, in his 60s, when she was alone in her house.

"While I was preparing dinner in the kitchen, I saw a thin man in a red and yellow outfit on the main entrance of my house. When I went to enquire, I saw he was carrying a trident. I told him to go away. He went away and disappeared only to reappear," she claimed.

Sunita said before she could comprehend anything she fell unconscious.

"When I regained consciousness, I found my…

Strange History: The Teleportation of Gil Perez

The strange tale of Gil Perez has baffled humanity for over four centuries and lacks a logical explanation to this day. It is the tale of a soldier who miraculously disappeared one minute, and reappeared-- more than 9,000 miles away-- the next.

On the morning of October 25, 1593, a dazed man appeared from out of nowhere in the central plaza in Mexico City. He was a soldier apparently, although the uniform he wore was that of a guard in the service of the governor of Manila, the capital city of the Philippines.

The confused man was acting strangely, standing at full attention as if he was on duty as a sentinel. He was apprehended by local authorities and, under questioning, he revealed that his name was Gil Perez. He told his captors a most unusual story; only a moment earlier he had been guarding the governor's palace in Manila, but he admitted that he had no idea where he was or what had happened to him.

A different set of officers questioned Perez, attempting to catch him in a lie…

The death-defying mustache of Salvador Dali

After the remains of eccentric surrealist artist Salvador Dali were exhumed Thursday by Spanish authorities trying to solve a paternity mystery, forensics experts announced that the painter's iconic mustache has managed to hold its shape-- even though Dali has been dead since 1989.

"The mustache preserved its classic 10-past-10 position," said Lluís Peñuelas of the Dalí Foundation to the newspaper El Pais. "Checking it was a very exciting moment."

It didn't take long for some Dali admirers to pronounce a miracle, such as Narcís Bardalet, the embalmer who preserved the artist's body, who told a local radio station, "Salvador Dalí is forever."

Of course, mustache aficionados have long known about the seemingly death-defying qualities of mustache wax. To shed some light on the miracle of Dali's mustache we turned to our resident hair guru, Marlin Bressi, who (along with being a regular JOTB contributor), also happens to be a nationally-renowned…

The Legend of 'The Fatal Sisters'

In the days before the Civil War, the De Coucy family name known all throughout Louisiana. It was a name synonymous with wealth and influence, and it was a De Coucy who owned the famous Magnolia Plantation (not to be confused with the plantation in Natchitoches Parish of the same name) along with two other sugar plantations of considerable size not far from the city of Opelousas.

According to Louisiana legend, De Coucy was young, wealthy and full of lust when he decided to take for a mistress the favorite grandchild of Marie Lavon, the infamous Voodoo priestess who died in 1880. She became enraged when she learned that her black granddaughter had entered into a salacious relationship with a wealthy white man like De Coucy, and-- as Voodoo priestesses are wont to do-- she placed a curse on the plantation owner.

The voodoo queen's curse was of the standard variety; he would have no male heirs and the family name would end with his children. De Coucy laughed when he learned about the…

The Tragic Death of a Vaudeville Midget

May 9, 1911, is a date that has gone down in infamy in the storied and colorful history of vaudeville. It was on this date Edinburgh's Empire Palace Theatre was ravaged by a fire that began on stage during the finale of a variety show, killing several performers. Among the dead were the famed magician, "The Great Lafayette", and a half dozen members of his troupe, including Alice Dale and Joe Coates-- two midget performers.

The fire started in the jumbled mass of stage scenery used in the finale of Lafayette's performance (according to one account, the famed magician traveled with 22 tons of props, costumes and scenery). It was a spectacular display of military pageantry, with the magician dressed up as the great British hero Field Marshal Frederick Sleigh Roberts on horseback. While nobody knows what started the fire (some historians believe it was a Chinese lantern on the stage, while one witness claimed that it was an oil lamp suspended from the ceiling), the sur…

The Legend of Dead Man's Shadow

Langsville, in south central Ohio, is a quiet, lonesome place with a spooky legend-- the legend of "Dead Man's Shadow".

According to this legend, which dates back to the early 1920s, the body of a man who was struck and killed by a speeding automobile was laid onto the sidewalk until help arrived. But help came a little to late for the dying man, who left behind his shadow as an eternal, ghastly reminder of his tragic fate.

Many cities and towns across America have similar legends but, according to our research, this is the earliest example of a "dead man's shadow" legend. The following excerpt comes from the September 12, 1935 edition of the Times-Independent of Moab, Utah.

Human Mummy Confection: Debunking the Myth of the Mellified Man

Few mythical medical substances are as shrouded in mystery as mellified man, also known as human mummy confection. According to legend, elderly males from Arabia would ingest nothing but copious amounts of honey until they began sweating and defecating the sugary substance. They would even bathe in honey (which gives an entirely new meaning to "golden showers").
After death, the bodies of these men would be placed in a honey-filled stone vault until the mummification process was complete.

This is just half the story, of course. After a century or more marinading in honey, the body would transform into a candy with miraculous healing powers. It has been written that munching on this human candy had the ability to immediately restore broken and deformed limbs.

While the legend of the mellified man has become a fixture of Arabian lore, it was the Chinese who first wrote of human mummy confection. The oldest mention of mellified man comes from Li Shizhen's 1596 materia medica…

Headless corpses can do interesting things

In 1901, a military exercise went horribly wrong at Fort Riley in Junction City, Kansas. Private Henry Watson was loading a 107-pound shell into a cannon when it exploded, instantly removing his head from the rest of his body. Interestingly, Watson's body remained on its feet for a full fifteen seconds before falling over.