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The Mercy Brown Case, One Of History’s Craziest “Vampire” Incidents
In the late 1800s, New England was in the midst of a vampire fad—but it was nothing like the Twilight vampires of today. No, these New England vampire scares were a bit too real. Not so real that the supposed vampires were, in fact, vampires, but real enough that a disease was spreading and consuming humans. Rhode Island, Connecticut, and Vermont were all suffering from outbreaks of tuberculosis, called consumption at the time. Its cause was still unknown at the time, although people knew that once one family member got the disease, others were soon to follow.
The popular theory of the time was that the first infected member of a family was draining life force from their relatives, functioning as a sort of living dead. Those who died from consumption were exhumed and examined. If their body seemed “too fresh”, it was assumed to be still feeding on the living.There were a number of ways proposed to stop this vampiric feeding. The simplest and least gruesome was turning the body in its grave, so it faced toward the earth. Others would burn the organs of the body. Sometimes, this was combined with decapitating it. Some even believed that inhaling the smoke and ash from the burned organs would cure their tuberculosis. Mercy Brown's was perhaps the most infamous case of exhumation. Her family did not agree that vampires were to blame for consumption and did not want her body exhumed. However, when the other villagers insisted, her father capitulated, wisely noting his neighbors’ mob mentality. When Mercy was dug up, her body showed signs of “fresh blood”. It had also turned, seemingly by itself, in its grave. The villagers panicked and burned her corpse. They reserved the ashes made by the heart and mixed them with water. Then, they forced Mercy’s brother, who was currently suffering from consumption, to drink those ashes. Although the villagers thought that this would cure his illness, brother Edwin died two months later. Some people suggest that Bram Stoker’s Dracula character Lucy Westenra was based on Mercy. The story has remained popular in Exeter, the Rhode Island town the Browns called home.
The Enduring Mystery of the Sodder Children’s Christmas Disappearance
On the night of Christmas of 1945, a fire started at Sodder’s family home. Husband and wife George and Jennie Sodder were able to escape with 4 of their children, but 5 were left inside the burning house. After the event, the bodies of the five children were not found, not even their bones. A few days after the fire George Sodder plowed over what was left of his home and planted flowers there in memory of his children though the Fire Marshall advised against doing so. George and Jennie believed that their children had been kidnapped and that the fire was intentionally set to cover the crime scene. And there were witnesses and rumors that supported that belief. They died without knowing what truly happened.
The shocking case of Dr. Carl Tanzler
Carl Tanzler was a German doctor who was morbidly obsessed with a tuberculosis patient called Elena Mliagro de Hoyos. Two years after her death, Tezler removed her body from the tomb and took it to his home. He attached the bones with wire and made glass eyes. As the skin had already decomposed, Tanzler replaced it with silk cloth. He made a wig and filled the chest cavity with rags to imitate the original form of Elena’s body. He dressed Hoyos in stockings, gloves, and jewelry and kept the body in his bed. He used perfumes and disinfectants to mask the odor. The man was discovered by the authorities in 1940 and was arrested.
The mysterious man of Taured
The year 1954 was hotter than normal in Tokyo, but at Haneda Airport it was business as usual. That is, of course, until one unknown date when a routine European inbound plane dropped off its passengers. As the crowd made its way through customs, a neatly-dressed middle-aged Caucasian man stepped up and told officials this was just a normal business trip or him, one of three so far this year to Japan. His primary language was French, yet he spoke Japanese and several other languages. In his wallet was a variety of currencies from various European countries, as if to verify his frequent flyer tendencies. When they asked him for his country of origin, things became strange. He casually stated that he was from Taured, on the border between France and Spain. The officials told him that Taured didn’t exist, but he presented them with his passport—issued by the nonexistent country of Taured—which also showed visa stamps corroborating his previous business travels to Japan and other countries. Yet when they called the company he said he was having a meeting with, they had never heard of him or his company ever before that moment. The hotel he had reserved a room at had no reservation for such a person, and the bank listed on his checkbook appeared not to exist.
The mystery man was detained by customs and given a room at a nearby hotel for the night while officials tried to figure out what was going on.
The following morning, the mystery deepened. Taured’s one and only known resident completely vanished from his hotel room which had been guarded by immigration officials all night long. And to make matters worse, all of his personal documents—including his passport and drivers license issued by the mystery country—vanished from the airport’s security room. Police and airport officials searched in vain for the mysterious man. It was as if the whole encounter had never actually happened.
No documentation verifying this story has yet surfaced, but it was mentioned in several books, including The Directory of Possibilities (1981, p. 86) and Strange But True: Mysterious and Bizarre People (1999, p. 64). And given its puzzling ending, I doubt that any official would have written up a report concluding that the man and all his documented evidence simply vanished.
Armin Meiwes, The German Cannibal.
Armin Meiwes has become known as the real-life Hannibal Lecter after it was revealed that he had killed and eaten Bernd-Jürgen Brandes, who had volunteered himself as victim after answering a message on a cannibalism website. Brandes gave Meiwes permission to amputate his penis. The two then attempted to eat Brandes’s penis together, but the penis was “too chewy” to be consumed. Before the attempt to eat the penis, Brandes took 20 sleeping pills with half a bottle of schnapps. After the amputation, Meiwes set up a bath for Brandes, whom he checked on every 15 minutes.
After some time, Brandes got out of the bath and became unconscious due to his immense blood loss. At this point, Meiwes began to waver over whether or not he should kill Brandes. Although the man had given Meiwes permission to cut off and eat his penis, he had not said that he could be killed. Meiwes did eventually kill the man, stabbing him in the throat, then hanging the body on a meat hook to begin to prepare it for eating. All of the events of the night up to this point were recorded by the pair. Meiwes continued to eat from Brandes’s corpse for 10 months after the killing. A year and a half later, he was reported to the police by a college student for soliciting more victims online. When the police searched his home, they discovered the videotape and body parts. Since his conviction, Meiwes has apologized for his actions and become a vegetarian.
The Baffling Death Of Gloria Ramirez, The Toxic Lady
When Gloria Ramirez was brought to the Riverside General Hospital on February 19, 1994, the staff assumed her issues were simply related to her advanced-stage cervical cancer. She was in pain, confused, suffering from poor breathing and an incredibly high pulse.The nurses on staff took their usual action, giving Ramirez sedatives, and eventually resorting to defibrillating her. It was around this time that they began to notice something even stranger about their patient.
Ramirez’s body was covered in some sort of oil, and she smelled of fruit and garlic, which some of the staff blamed on her breath. One of the RNs in the room tried to draw blood from Ramirez, only to notice an ammonia smell from her blood. Smelling ammonia under normal circumstances is bad enough, so noticing it coming from someone’s blood? A bit alarming for even the most seasoned of nurses.The RN passed on the syringe, blood still inside, to a resident. The resident noted particles floating around in the blood, just before the RN fainted and had to be removed from Ramirez’s bedside. Soon after, the resident began to feel nauseous. Moving outside to sit at a nurse’s desk, she also passed out. Soon, a third person assisting passed out.
After 35 minutes of a crew continuing to work on Ramirez despite these alarming occurrences, she passed away due to kidney failure related to her advanced cancer. Some scientists later said that the staff were simply suffering from mass hysteria, but the staff fervently deny this. The resident affected spent two weeks in the ICU, developed hepatitis, and had breathing problems. Another scientist believed that Ramirez may have been using a home degreaser as a pain reliever, which could have created a gas in the room, causing the workers’ pain. To this day, Ramirez’s family, the workers, and investigators have not settled the debate.
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