People

Yambuku – Ebola virus ground zero and the terrifying discovery (and death) of “patent zero”

// October 3rd, 2014 // No Comments » // People in Unusual Circumstances

1976 photograph showing two nurses standing in front of Ebola case #3, who was treated, and later died at Ngaliema Hospital, in Kinshasa, Zaire

The Ebola saga began in 1976 in a small village in Congo called Yambuku and the news leaking out of the area was terrifying – lifeless bodies of feverish birds falling from the sky and human bodies piled by the roadsides formed impressions of the apocalypse in the minds of medical professionals. When samples of an infected Flemish nun’s blood arrived in Belgium, scientists immediately recognized they were dealing with an unknown viral invader– and that it was extremely dangerous.

21-year-old Florida woman obviously misunderstands men’s motiviations – adds third breast to make herself unattractive

// September 22nd, 2014 // No Comments » // Sideshow Anomalies

Woman (Jasmine Tridevil) has third breast implanted between her two natural breasts

21-year-old Jasmine Tridevil (I’m guessing this isn’t her real name) says she was rejected by 50 plastic surgeons before one cosmetic surgeon (licensed?) agreed to perform an unusual surgery to add a third breast in between Tridevil’s two natural breasts. At a cost of $20,000, the surgeon’s only condition was that she sign a non-disclosure agreement to protect his identity.

The history of the Freak Show

// September 22nd, 2014 // No Comments » // Sideshow Anomalies

Freak show in Vermont - 1941

Freak shows were popular attractions during the mid 19th to mid 20th centuries until changes in societal attitudes towards handicapped persons and tightening of local laws prohibiting “exhibition of deformed human beings” led to the decline of the freak show as a form of entertainment. Featuring attractions such as deformed humans and animals, unusual physical performers, “pickled punks” (abnormal fetuses preserved in glass jars), and occasional hoaxes, the freak show has captivated audiences since as early as the 16th century.

Woman spends $50,000 to transform herself into real-life blow-up sex doll

// September 18th, 2014 // No Comments » // Sideshow Anomalies

Victoria Wild transforms herself into a real-life blow-up doll

30-year-old Victoria Wild had great aspirations. She wanted puffy pouty lips, gigantic breasts, and huge eyelashes so she could look more like an inflatable sex toy. Wild went through several operations to obtain size 32G breasts followed by rhinoplasty, bottom implants, lip implants, and botox injections. $50,000 dollars later, it looks like she accomplished her goal.

The Dylatov Pass Incident – what slaughtered nine young hikers in the Russian wilderness? (1959)

// June 9th, 2014 // No Comments » // People in Unusual Circumstances

Dylatov Pass expedition members preparing to leave for their fateful journey

Nine seasoned hikers die inexplicable deaths One January 25, 1959, nine hikers from the Soviet Union’s Ural Polytechnic Institute set off from the city of Sverdlovsk (1,200 miles east of Moscow) on a three-week cross-country skiing expedition to the nearby Otorten Mountain range. Led by enthusiastic 23-year-old Igor Dyatlov, the group boarded a train in […]

That time Lucille Ball picked up spy communications through her dental work

// April 29th, 2014 // No Comments » // People in Unusual Circumstances

The beloved Lucille Ball

Lucille Ball, the zany comedic redhead that starred in popular television shows such as I Love Lucy, The Lucy Show, and Here’s Lucy, was one of the most influential comedic stars in U.S. history. As portrayed in her popular television series, life with Lucille Ball was never mundane, as evidenced by a true-life encounter she recounted during a live 1974 appearance on the Dick Cavett show, during which Lucy told how Japanese spy Morse code transmissions had been picked up by her dental work.

80-year-old Iranian man has not taken a bath in more than 60 years – looks like dirt

// January 13th, 2014 // No Comments » // Strange Persons

Amou Haji has not bathed in over 60 years

80-year-old Iranian Amou Haji has not bathed in over 60 years, giving his skin and clothing an earth-tone that allows him to blend into his surroundings. Believing that cleanliness will only make him ill, the only water he comes into contact with is the 1 ½ gallons of water he drinks each day from an old, rusty oil can. And his curious lifestyle choices do not end there…

Gambler Archie Karas – turns $50 into $40 million, loses it all, then arrested for marking cards

// November 19th, 2013 // No Comments » // People in Unusual Circumstances

Welcome to Las Vegas sign

At the age of 15, after a violent fight with his father, Archie Karas ran away from home then hopped on an international ship taking a job as a waiter. By the time his ship reached America, he understood not only what it took to survive, but had the wherewithal (and intelligence) to grow rich while doing what he loved. Considered by many to be the greatest gambler of all time, he once had the longest documented winning streak in gambling history. Known simply as “The Run”, Karas took $50 and in a little more than 2 years, turned it into $40 million. He then lost it all the following year.

Mad Jack Churchill – the eccentric military hero who fought World War II with a sword, bow, and arrows

// September 23rd, 2013 // No Comments » // Strange Persons

Mad Jack Churchill (John Malcom Thorpe Fleming Churchill) storming the beach with sword in hand

In a war that featured formidable weapons such as grenades, machine guns, and armored tanks, one eccentric young soldier decided early on to buck traditional convention and stick what he was most comfortable with. Thus, John Malcolm Thorpe Fleming Churchill, who came to be known as “Mad Jack,” fought in World War II using a sword, bow, and a quiver of arrows, an arsenal that proved quite effective and earned Mad Jack two Distinguished Service Orders, a Military Cross, and a promotion to commanding officer.

Woman wears corset day and night to deform waist into freaky wasp-shape silhouette

// June 11th, 2013 // No Comments » // Sideshow Anomalies

Michele Koebke deformed waist has been shrunk to 21 inches

24-year-old Berlin native Michele Koebke has a goal in life – to set the world record for the World’s Tiniest Waist. In order to achieve this goal, and create the wasp-waist silhouette that was so popular in the 19th century, she has worn a tight corset every day and night for the past three years (she removes the corset to shower). When she began her quest, her waist measured a mere 25 inches. Thus far she’s shrunk it down to 20 inches and intends to get it down to 15 inches before she stops – or before she is forced to stop.

Mademoiselle Blanche Monnier – the girl who who was locked in a dungeon for 25 years

// June 7th, 2013 // No Comments » // People in Unusual Circumstances

Mademoiselle Blanche Monnier held captive in a room for 25 years

Blanche Monnier, a French girl, was kept captive for 24 years in a padlocked, shuttered room where she was forced to live amidst pests, rats, human excrement, and filth. Her discovery occurred on May 23, 1901 after the Paris Attorney General received an anonymous letter indicating a woman was being held captive in a home located on a “21 rue de la Visitation” street in a wealthy neighborhood of Poiters, France. The address noted in the letter was the abode of a well-known, wealthy family, noted for their generosity and high virtues. How could this be?

Emergency ejection results in 40-minute ordeal as pilot is flung about inside a thunderstorm cloud

// May 30th, 2013 // No Comments » // People in Unusual Circumstances

Navy F-8 Crusader jet airplane

The next time you feel like complaining about turbulence while flying aboard a commercial airlines, consider the situation Lieutenant Colonel William Henry Rankin survived after ejecting from his F-8 jet fighter that was flying Mach .82, at 47,000 feet, above a thunderstorm. To date, Rankin is the only known person to survive a fall through a cumulonimbus thunderstorm cloud. He paid one heck of a price for his adventure.

Vladimir Demikhov – Russia’s real-life mad scientists creates living two-headed dogs in the lab

// May 17th, 2013 // No Comments » // Strange Persons

A surviving "head" in one of Vladimir Demikhov

Vladimir Demikhov’s illustrious career provided many interesting advances in the Russian medical science field. In 1937, at the young age of 21, Demikhov designed the first ever cardiac-assist device, a pump mechanism which was capable of taking over a heart’s cardiac function for a full five and a half hours. In 1946, Demikhov became the first to perform a heart transplant on a dog. For a while, his work was renowned and respected in the medical community. But today, Demikhov is scarcely remembered for anything other than his more bizarre works of science – the creation of living, breathing two-headed dogs.

27-year-old man swallowed by hippo on African river and lives to tell about it

// May 6th, 2013 // No Comments » // People

Danerous Hippos are territorial and kill more humans each year in Africa than any other wildlife

27-year-old Paul Templer owned a safari tour guide business taking clients on sight-seeing expeditions down the Zambezi river in Africa. Templer was taking a group of tourists on a routine run when suddenly, and unexpectedly, a 4,000-pound hippo attacked the kayakers from behind. Templer quickly shuffled the tourists off the boat and began to paddle towards his fellow tour guide who was stranded in the water. When he reached his friend, he stretched his arm to reach him when suddenly he was engulfed in darkness. At first, Templer could not figure out what was going on. As it turned out, he was head first, up to the top of his legs, inside a hippo’s mouth.

British grandmother breaks silence – kidnapped as a child, she escapes and is raised by monkeys

// April 11th, 2013 // No Comments » // People in Unusual Circumstances

Marina Chapman, the girl who was raised by monkeys, and a capuchin monkey in the wild

It seems almost too bizarre to be true, something straight out of a Tarzan movie. But cases such as this have been documented before and a professor of psychology at Bucknell University who specializes in feral children has studied the case and found no evidence that she is lying. Marina Chapman, after the encouragement of her grandchildren, published her memoirs in her new book, “The Girl with No Name”, in which she revealed that at four years old, she was kidnapped and abandoned in a Colombian jungle where a troupe of capuchin monkeys, who are known to bond easily with humans, found her and adopted her as one of their own.