There is a thin line that distinguishes what is rational from what is disturbing. What could start out as a legitimate act of rationality may end up as one of the most disturbing acts of human society. Observers have collated few of the most disturbing facts for posterity; the collection serves as a warning beacon or it makes a fascinating read as one plows through the depravity of humans. Here are 15 instances of the most disturbing facts and incidents that created a stir during their heydays…
1. Joyce Vincent
She died in a bedsit in 2003. Discovered 3 years later with the TV still on, she had Christmas presents wrapped nearby.
In the spring of January 25, 2006, the bailiffs working for the Metropolitan Housing Association repossessing the bedsit for non-payment of dues made a gruesome discovery. On breaking open the door of the flat, they found the skeletal remains of a woman surrounded by Christmas gifts who had been dead since 2003. The flickering lights of the television, which miraculously was still running cast an eerie glow on the woman. It was a sight that haunted the British community for a long time.
The room heater warmed the body of lifeless Joyce Carol Vincent. She was a British citizen of Caribbean origin. The police believe that Joyce was running away from an abusive relationship and rented the bedsit from the housing body to remain hidden from her boyfriend.
Prior to her death, Joyce had begun to withdraw from the society. She even cut off all ties with her family and close friends.
Joyce Vincent died alone, surrounded by Christmas gifts covered with attractive wrappers. The police believe that she may have died of sudden complications arising from an Asthma attack or from a flare up of peptic ulcer (she was being treated for this at the time of her death).
Since her neighborhood was surrounded by drug addicts, none paid any attention to the loud television and the stench emanating from the decaying body was attributed to the garbage bin situated close to the block. The lonely fate of Joyce Vincent would have continued had the arrears on rent not accrued and the housing body not moved in to regain the bedsit.(source)
2. The Flatwoods monster
Gene Lemon allegedly discovered a 10-foot tall alien in the countryside of Flatwoods. The reptilian like creature that supposedly came from a ball of fire was known as Flatwoods monster.
Variously known as the Flatwoods monster or the Braxton County monster or the phantom of Flatwoods, the alleged extraterrestrial entity was sighted in Flatwoods in 1952 by National Guardsman Eugene ‘gene’ Lemon, who went to investigate the crashing ball of fire reported by three boys aged 13,12 and 10 respectively.
Gene rushed to the crash site accompanied by Kathleen May (the boy’s mother), his dog and two other boys Neil Nunley and Ronnie Shavers. Lemon’s Dog plunged ahead, barking wildly, but soon raced back with its tail tucked firmly between its legs.
Moving ahead, the group saw a throbbing ball of fire. They also saw a pungent mist that made their eyes water and nose burn. Lemon saw two orbs of light towards his left. He swiveled his torch there. The light from the flash revealed a reptile-like alien who hissed when it was spotted. The creature began to move towards the group. Then, it suddenly stopped and moved towards the ball of fire.
The terrified group made their way back to their house and informed the local authorities. Gene and the dog which had inhaled the pungent mist fell ill. Gene Lemon recovered after a few days, but the dog succumbed to his death.(source)
3. Tamam Shud Case
An unidentified man with a scrap of torn paper from Omar Khayyam’s Rubaiyat that read “Tamam Shud” was found dead on Somerton beach, South of Adelaide at 6:30am, on December 1, 1948. The unsolved case came to be known as Tamam Shud case which meant “Ended” or “Finished” in Persian
During the early morning of December 1, 1948, an unidentified male Caucasian was found dead on Somerton Beach, Glenelg, South of Adelaide, Australia. The man looked relaxed and appeared to be sleeping.
The police, on their arrival, discovered an unused second class ticket from Adelaide to Henley Beach, an unlit cigarette nestled in his right collar, an American comb, a bus ticket, half empty packet of chewing gum and an Army Club Cigarette pack containing 7 Kenistas cigarettes.
A thorough search of his pocket revealed a torn scrap of paper that read “Tamam Shud”. The phrase was used on the last page of Omar Khayyam’s Rubaiyat. Tamam Shud meant “ended” or “finished” in Persian. The page turned to out be torn from a particular copy of the Rubaiyat. In addition to the mysterious scrap, the police discovered that unknown person/s had carefully removed all the labels from his shirt and pants, effectively reducing the chances of identification.
The mystery behind the Tamam Shud case deepened when a few days later a businessman stepped forward declaring that his brother found Edward Fitzgerald’s translation of Rubaiyat in the back seat of his unlocked car. The car was parked in Glenelg on the day of the murder. The last page of the book was missing. In the back of the book were five lines of capital letters with the second line cut out. They were assumed to be a code.
A torturous method of death devised by ancient Persians who forcibly fed honey and milk to the prisoner causing forcible evacuation of bowels which attracted insects that proceeded to eat him inside out.
Scaphism is a barbaric torture method devised by the Persians to prolong the death of their enemies. In Scaphism, the body of the prisoner would be placed inside a hollow canoe or tree trunk. His head, hands, and legs would protrude out. Another canoe would be nailed down on it, confining his body within the hollow chamber.
His exposed body such as eyes, ears, anus would be covered in honey to attract insects. Honey and milk would be force fed to the prisoner causing diarrhea. The prisoner would be left out in the sun or left to float in a stagnant pool. The accumulated feces and the honey smeared on the prisoner’s body would attract worms, wasps, and bees.
The worms would proceed to devour him from inside. The loss of blood supply would cause gangrene and resultant shock. The bees and wasps would sting the open face and arms of the man. Dehydration and delirium would set in almost simultaneously. The man would die a slow and agonizing death being eaten alive by the worms. (1, 2)
5. Rat King
The Rat King is a disgusting situation when a group of rats become intertwined at the tails and are joined together with blood,dirt and excrement.
A Rat King occurs when a number of rats are interlinked together at their tails. The entwined rat’s continue to grow individually. The tails may get intertwined due to dirt, blood or excrement. This peculiar phenomenon is associated with Germany where a number of such cases have been recorded.
The incidence of the Rat King has come down after the brown rats replaced the black rat population during the 18th century.(source)
6. Cotard Delusion
A delusion where the person is alive but is firmly convinced that he or she is dead. This is called Cotard delusion or a walking corpse syndrome.
Cotard’s Syndrome, otherwise known as the walking corpse syndrome is a rare mental disorder where the sufferer concludes that he is dead, decomposing or skeletal. The condition was first described by Jules Cotard, a neurologist from France in 1882.
A patient may delude himself into thinking he has lost blood or an organ. In some cases, the patients insist they have lost their souls. Cotard Syndrome is a delusional psychosis similar to Bipolar disorder and Schizophrenia.(1 2)
7. Premature Burial
Known as live burial, people who are still alive are buried accidentally or intentionally and left to die within their coffins and interred deep in the Earth.
Several empires would use intentional burial as a form of punishment or as a way of honoring their king. Torture, murder, sadism may also form part of intentional burial. Accidental burial would occur when the person would be mistakenly assumed dead and buried six feet under.
Sometimes these “Corpses” revive in the funeral house while being embalmed or when accidentally dropped by the pall bearers. But in most cases, there is no happy beginning. When these people suddenly awaken in a narrow, dark coffin most go into cardiac arrest or are not heard by the people and starve to death.(source)
8. June and Jennifer Gibbons
Twins who spoke in their own code shutting themselves from the real world. The competitive twins started to believe one of them had to die for the other to lead a normal life. One of the sisters sacrificed her own life for her twin’s happiness.
June and Jennifer Gibbons were identical twins from Wales, Britain. The Silent twins or Gibbons sister would speak only with each other in codes and rarely with their immediate family.
The twins faced severe bullying from their school mates forcing them to withdraw from the society. From there it was an easy descent into crime. They were soon caught by the long hand of justice. The twins were sent to Broadmoor on charges of arson. Their stay in Broadmoor led to a shocking decision. The Gibbon Sisters, who were prolific writers and vied for approval started believing that one of them had to die for the happiness of the other.
Soon after their release, June Gibbons younger sister died on the shoulders of June from an inflammation of the lungs. She was 29 at the time of her death.(source)
9. Hinterkaifeck Murders
The residents of a small town in Germany were shocked to discover the slaughtered bodies of a family of five neatly stacked on top of one another and covered with hay in the barn of a farmhouse.
March 31, 1922, marked the beginning of a mystery that endures till date. On this day, the family members of Andreas Gruber and their maid were brutally murdered using a pickaxe. The murderer targeted the head and each blow was given with precise confidence.
All four adults, except two-year-old Josef and the newly arrived maid Maria were lured into a barn and slaughtered one by one. The child was killed in his crib while the maid was found dead in her room.
The bodies in the barn were neatly stacked one upon the other. They were covered with hay. Maria, the new servant’s body was covered in bedsheets and Viktoria’s (Josef’s mother) skirt covered little Josef. The search party who discovered the bodies noted that Cazilla, daughter of Viktoria did not die instantly.
An exhaustive inquiry about Gruber’s family revealed several shocking details. The father Andreas Gruber was unhealthily obsessed with his daughter Viktoria. Viktoria had numerous men in her life. In fact, she was on the verge of suing her neighbor Lorenz Schlittenbauer for child rights over the upbringing of Josef who she asserted was Schlittenbauer’s son. Though later tests conducted during autopsy confirmed Andreas Gruber as the father and Grandfather of Josef who was born of an incestuous relationship.(1 2)
Tarrare was an 18th-century showman and a soldier who was always hungry. Tarrare’s hunger forced him to eat puppies, cats, snakes and even small children.
The insatiable hunger of Tarrare compelled his family to throw him out of the family home at the age of 17.
Tarrare joined the French Revolution Army and was wounded soon after. Doctors Percy and Corville were fascinated by Tarrare’s inexhaustible hunger and ordered him to stay back in the hospital. They quadrupled his rations, yet Tarrare remained hungry. Once to the astonishment of the doctors, Tarrare consumed luncheon prepared for 15 people in one sitting. Intrigued by his ability, the doctors procured a live cat, Tarrare forthwith bit open the abdomen of the cat with his teeth, lapping up the blood, he went on to consume the whole cat including the fur and the skin. After some time, he vomited the fur and the skin.
Tarrare’s weird fetish turned serious when the hospital discovered the disappearance of a 14-month-old child. The hospital staff chased him from the hospital. Four years later Tarrare passed away from exudative diarrhea.(source)
A mysterious radio station from Russia that broadcasts “short, monotonous” tones all day long and “on rare occasions” has the tones replaced with a “voice transmission in Russian.” Don’t worry, you’re not the only one who hasn’t got a clue what its purpose is.
UVB-76 aka the Buzzer is the holy grail of radio enthusiasts. Numerous Radio aficionados have devoted time to unravel the mystery of this mysterious radio station.
The short wave radio station broadcasts short, monotonous buzz tones the whole day. The tones are continuous. The buzz is sometimes interrupted by a Russian-accented voice relaying a coded transmission. The buzzing tones resume as soon as the code relay stops. The transmission first reported in 1982 was traced back to Russia.
The station has moved twice but has not stopped the buzz even once. In September 2010, the station started to use the call sign MDZhB and in December 2015, the call sign was changed to “ЖУОЗ” (ZhUOZ). The Russians remain tight-lipped while the radio station continues to buzz on 4625Khz.(source)
12. Coffin birth
Coffin birth known as Postmortem extrusion is where the accumulation of gasses within the decomposing body forces the expulsion of a dead fetus through the vaginal opening of a dead woman.
Once life ceases to exist in the body, microbes and bacterias hijack the body and make it their own. The body is subjected to the uncontrolled colonization of various microbes. The bacteria releases gasses such as carbon dioxide and methane, causing the body to swell up and bloat. The growing volume of gasses puts pressure on the uterus causing the contraction and expulsion of the dead fetus through the vaginal opening.
This gruesome delivery process of giving “birth” to a dead fetus is commonly referred as coffin birth.(source)
13. Genie (feral child)
This is a shocking incident of a girl who was locked in a dark room for 13 years by her sadistic, cruel father who abused and starved her because he thought the girl was mentally retarded and deserved the punishment!
Genie was born in 1957 to Clark Wiley and a woman from a farming background. At the age of 20 months, Clark Wiley concluded that Genie was mentally retarded. He confined her to a room with a crib and a potty stool. Most often Clark would keep the little girl strapped onto the potty chair or lashed to the boards of the bed. The windows of the room were covered by aluminum foils to keep prying eyes and sunlight out. The child was beaten with a heavy board if she made a sound. Genie languished in this dreary room for 13 years.
A social worker who discovered Genie alerted the law enforcement officials once she understood the severity of the condition. Genie could not walk nor possess any verbal or nonverbal skills. Genie was handed over to a battery of therapists and doctors. Susan Curtiss, a linguist student who was assigned to work with the 13-year-old named her ‘Genie’.
Genie gradually learned nonverbal skills. But once the cash flow stopped from the government, Genie was parceled off to various foster homes. She regressed due to the constant changes.
The fate of Genie remains undetermined.(source)
He was the builder and owner of “Murder Castle” where the hotel’s guests were suffocated, starved, murdered and cut for money. An old hand in the insurance scam, he is rumored to have killed more than 200 people for insurance!
The archfiend as Holmes was called had a humble beginning. Born to Methodist parents Holmes proved an intelligent student who developed an unholy interest in cadavers.
His sharp mind led him to graduate from the University of Michigan with a Medical degree. Holmes began his insurance scams during this period.
Holmes started building a hotel right across his pharmacy. The hotel nicknamed “The Castle” had secret rooms, passageways, fake walls and trapdoors. Some rooms were lined to asphyxiate his victims, while others were soundproofed to starve his selected victims. He had a room lined with pipes supplying gas aimed at killing the victims. Holmes controlled the flow of gas from his bedroom.
Young women, particularly blondes and guests who had come for world fair Chicago and booked the rooms in his hotel began to disappear. While the guests were disappearing, the medical schools were flooded with skeletons offered for sale by Holmes. His insurance scam continued unabated along with his murder spree.
Holmes was arrested on charges of fraud. The scope of the investigation widened to include murder. Holmes confessed to 27 murders though the unofficial count is at 200. Holmes was hanged to death in Philadelphia.(source)
15. Post-Mortem Photography
In the 19th century, a practice known as memorial portraiture emerged in which people would pose with the recently dead that served as a visual memento of the dead person.
One of the fascinating trends sweeping through the Victorian period was Post-Mortem Photography or Memento Mori (‘remember you will die’ in Latin).
Post-Mortem Photography was an unsettling practice of posing for pictures with the recently deceased. It was a common practice sweeping Europe and America during the 19th century. The photos were considered to be a memento of their loved ones.
The invention of daguerreotype saw the beginning of memorialization. The high mortality rate and the frequent deaths of children saw the memorializing of dead people. Often a family would pose together with a dressed up but dead relative or child. Since painting the dead people for posterity was common in the Victorian era, Post-mortem photography barely raised any eyebrows.(source)