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Showing posts from February, 2018

Strange Medicine: The man with the leg of a chicken

Today, bone grafting is a common medical procedure that is performed every day in hospitals around the world. But long before doctors knew about things such as osteoconduction and synthetic bio-active materials like hydroxyapatite, the science of grafting bone was largely a matter of trial and error, often culminating in strange experiments that sound like something out of a gothic novel by Mary Shelley.

One truly strange medical experiment took place at the Wabash Railroad Company Hospital in Springfield, Illinois, in 1890 and was performed on a patient named John Dougherty.

John Dougherty was employed as a laborer in the Chicago railroad yards. On June 14, 1890, he was moving a pile of lumber when he tore off the skin from his left shinbone. The wound never healed; for several months Dougherty walked around with his shinbone exposed.

Unfortunately, the sore began to spread until it covered most of his left shin. After being examined by surgeons, it was concluded that "bone rot&qu…

The Mystery Storm at Mobile's Old Catholic Cemetery

For five days in 1870 rain fell continuously on the graves of the Lemoine family

One of the strangest meteorological mysteries in history took place in Mobile, Alabama, in 1870 at the Catholic Cemetery above Three-Mile Creek. Several witnesses, including the cemetery groundskeeper, claim that a gentle but steady rain fell continuously for five days over the cemetery.
Stranger still, the downpour was confined to just one particular area of the graveyard-- the Lemoine family plot.

It was October 29 when the rain began to fall, according to cemetery groundskeeper John Rosset. Rosset, who first noticed the strange phenomenon, brought it to the attention Louis B. Lemoine, whose father, Victor, had been laid to rest in the family plot in 1851.

On the evening of November 2, Louis drove out to the cemetery to witness the strange storm with his own eyes. He gave the following account to the Mobile Register:

"I drove out there last evening to satisfy myself, and, to my intense astonishment, I…

Is the Forrest Fenn treasure a hoax?

Four men have lost their lives searching for a fabled treasure that some people claim does not exist, and there is a good chance that the "curse" of Forrest Fenn's treasure will claim additional lives before all is said and done.

Forrest Fenn, an eccentric octogenarian author, decorated Vietnam veteran, and former Santa Fe art dealer who amassed a fortune by selling art forgeries, wrote in his autobiography that a box of gold, jewels and other artifacts worth approximately $2 million is buried somewhere in the Rocky Mountains. Fenn also wrote a poem that supposedly contains clues that will lead to the treasure's secret location.

According to a 2016 NPR story, the chest is an "ornate, Romanesque box" that is "10-by-10 inches and weighs about 40 pounds when loaded." Fenn, who allegedly buried the treasure after he was diagnosed with cancer, stated that the cache is "hidden in the Rocky Mountains, somewhere between Santa Fe and the Canadian borde…

An unsolved mystery of the Battle of Carthage

On July 5, 1861, the Battle of Carthage was fought in Jasper County, Missouri. While this battle is lesser known than Gettysburg or Antietam, it is of considerable historical importance, since it took place the day after President Lincoln invoked the power of war in his message to Congress.
Fought between the Union army and the State Guard of Missouri, the Battle of Carthage also marks the only time in American history that a sitting governor-- Claiborne F. Jackson-- led troops into battle against the United States. Surprisingly, the Missouri State Guard pulled out a victory, in spite of taking heavy casualties.

Over the next two years, several skirmishes would take place near Carthage in the federal government's attempt to prevent Missouri from seceding from the Union. It was one of these forgotten, historically insignificant skirmishes that led to one of the most bewildering mysteries of the Civil War.

Illinois contributed more than 250,000 soldiers to the Union Army during the wa…

Is Belgium the Most Haunted Country on Earth?

From the Eighty Years' War of the 16th and 17th centuries to the two World Wars of the 20th century, Belgium's history is stained with blood and conflict. Hundreds of thousands of lives have been lost on Begium's infamous battlefields throughout the ages; nearly 18,000 Belgian soldiers and civilians were killed during the Rape of Belgium during the German occupation of 1914, while thousands more perished on the Flanders Fields during World War I. Just a few decades later, Nazis would slaughter nearly 25,000 Belgian Jews. Historians estimate that World War II wiped out 1.05% of this European nation's total population.

With so much tragedy and destruction in Belgium's past, it is no surprise that Belgium has long been considered by many paranormal researchers as the most haunted country in the world.

Even before the Second World War, Belgium was known for its many haunted locations. Elliott O'Donnell, the legendary Irish paranormal investigator and author, said in…

Satanic Tonic: How the Prince of Darkness Made Snakeoil Inventors Rich

For as I long as I can remember I've always had a fascination with patent medicine. Over the years I've collected hundreds of antique bottles and advertising posters from patent medicine manufacturers, whose products claimed to cure every old-timey disease from scrofula and dropsy to apoplexy and biliousness.

Of all the forgotten remedies and cures peddled by snakeoil manufacturers of the 19th and early 20th centuries, a special place in my heart is reserved for Sa-Tan-Ic Tonic, which promised to cure virtually every "stomach, kidney and liver complaint". Of course, since I'm also fascinated by demonology and the bizarre (hence the name of this website), what I really love is the advertising, which featured an enormous devil in his underwear (I think) trampling the earth.

We could spend all day discussing this aspect of Sa-Tan-Ic Tonic alone, since it raises so many questions. This must have seemed like a bold advertising gamble back in the early 20th century, w…