People in Unusual Circumstances

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Burrell Cannon and his Ezekiel Airship

// December 27th, 2012 // 1 Comment » // People in Unusual Circumstances

The Ezekiel Airship

in a small, rural East Texas town, people grumble that a Baptist minister flew an airplane one year before the Wright Brothers and should have rightly taken their place in the history books.

Sir Alfred Stuck in Airport

// December 27th, 2012 // No Comments » // People in Unusual Circumstances

Without a Visa, Nasseri could not step outside of the Charles de Gaulle airport terminal and there he stayed, living in the airport, for the next 12 years.

Kaspar Hauser – Wild Boy

// December 27th, 2012 // No Comments » // People in Unusual Circumstances

Contemporary painting of Kaspar Hauser

On May 26, 1828, a boy wondered into the town square of Nuremberg. Although it was a Monday, there weren’t very many people around since it was a holiday. George Weichmann, a local cobbler, discovered the boy. He took note of the fact that the boy was poorly dressed, well built, and walked in a strange manner – with legs stiff and straight.

The story of David Reimer – a boy in girl’s clothing

// December 26th, 2012 // No Comments » // People in Unusual Circumstances

Bruce (later named David) Reimer and his twin brother were born in Canada on August 22, 1965 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. After several months, the parents became concerned with the way the boys were urinating. Their family doctor suggested a standard procedure: circumcision. The method used in the circumcision was not as conventional though. Rather than using a surgical knife to remove the foreskin, the doctors used a new method whereby the skin was burned off with a electrocautery needle. The surgery did not go as planned and sadly, David’s penis was burned beyond repair.

Joe Stack – Confused Man and Enemy of IRS

// December 26th, 2012 // No Comments » // People in Unusual Circumstances

Joe Stack, a displaced software engineer and owner of the company, Embedded Art, hit the end of his rope on February 18, 2010. After spending quite some time drafting his suicide letter (or manifesto as some have called it), Joe Stack set his home on fire (his wife and two children escaped unharmed) and boarded a small Piper airplane on route to infamy. He drove 25 miles from the airport and dove his plane, at high speed, into a IRS building just north of Austin, Texas. He died instantly as did one IRS employee.

Hatfield and McCoy Feud

// December 26th, 2012 // No Comments » // People in Unusual Circumstances

The Hatfield-McCoy feud was a long standing feud that lasted from 1878 until 1891. It involved two warring families of the West Virginia-Kentucky backcountry along the Tug Fork River, off the Big Sandy River. The feud reached an epic scale and state militias were called in to restore order with Kentucky even threatening to invade Virginia.