Wednesday, April 14, 2004

Strange Deaths

Convinced she would inherit her mother's stomach cancer, Tina Christopherson of Florida drank up to four gallons of water a day. Over time, her kidneys weakened to such an extent that fluid began draining into her lungs, and she died of internal drowning.

The insomnia of a middle-aged Italian industrialist made his sleep for only one hour a night and caused him to perform military salutes during vivid dreams. It also caused impotence, amnesia and an incurable lung infection. It killed him with in a year.

The defence in an Irish murder trial hung on whether the accused, Thomas McGann, could draw a gun from his pocket without shooting himself. Demonstrating in court, his lawyer shot his own foot, and died 12 hours later. McGann, however, was acquitted.

During World War II, the British invented a 'sticky bomb' which would adhere to tanks. Unfortunately, it also struck to the thrower's hand, leaving him a five-second delay to extricate himself before it went off. After a number of premature deaths, it was never used again.

Robert Taylor of Seattle committed suicide by using a solar sensor attached to a gun. When the first rays of the sun hit the sensor, it activated a battery which fired a .22 caliber round into his head.

In an attempt to kill an alcoholic at his bar in Chicago, Anthony Masino served him an anti-freeze tupertine and horse linament laced with rat poison. When these failed, he fed him rotten oysters, wood alcohol, carpet tacks, spoiled fish, and hired someone to run him over and dump him in the woods. He only succeeded by shoving a hosepipe up his nose and gassing him to death.

Random Odds & Ends
  • In 1961, the Brazilian government passed a law banning the sale of Pele to an overseas club.
  • Dolphins have two brains and never sleep with both at once.
  • One in ten adults have an extra pair of ribs.
  • It takes about 50 hours for a snake to digest one frog.
  • Ducks will lay eggs only in the early morning.
  • Each eye of the chameleon is independent of the other. They can watch and study two totally different pictures at the same time.

Tuesday, April 13, 2004

The Man With A Third Eye

Prof. K.B. Duke was born in Kashmir, India in 1906. He took on the name Kuda Bux when he became a magician and conjurer by trade, but he has devoted much of his time to astounding scientists with his uncanny ability to see even when his eyes are blindfolded.

On September 11, 1937, in Liverpool, England, Bux astounded the public by walking along a narrow ledge 200 feet above the ground while completely blindfolded. In Manchester, England, after being securely blindfolded by doctors who assured everyone present that Bux could see absolutely nothing, Bux walked unaided from the hospital. He mounted his bicycle and drove through the afternoon traffic as confidently as any sighted man, even using hand signals when necessary.

Other scientists staged a series of elaborate tests to check the authenticity of Bux's incredible talent. These involved placing lumps of dough over his eyes; these were covered with metal foil, then with a wooden bandage, and finally with layers of gauze. Despite the apparent blackout, Bux was able to read books and move around an obstacle course without once touching a single barrier.

Despite intensive investigations, no one ever proved that any trickery was involved. Bux has said, "All I know is that it depends entirely on an inner facility of the mind. I see with the mind's eye - with my intense concentrative powers." It's a gift Bux claims anybody can develop.

Random Odds & Ends
  • Tony Blair, Prime Minister of England, is a honorary member of Dennis the Menace fan club.
  • Most toilets flush in E flat.
  • The tin can was invented in 1810, the can opener in 1958. For those 48 years, a hammer and chisel were used.
  • Albert Einstein couldn't talk properly until he was nine, and was thought to be suffering from Dyslexia.
  • Gondolas in Venice, Italy must be painted with black color, unless they belong to a high official.
  • Because metal was scarce during world war ii, the Oscars trophy was made of wood during that time.
  • By raising your legs slowly and laying on your back, you will not sink in a quicksand.
  • Charles Lindbergh took only four sandwiches for food on his famous transatlantic flight.

Saturday, April 10, 2004

A Real Psychic Detective

Peter Hurkos, a dutchman, was a world famous psychic and was able to help police solved crimes on more than one occasion.

On one occasion, an arsonist was terrorizing Nijmegen, Holland and the police, skeptical at first, asked Hurkos to help. He toured the scenes of several of the fires, finally finding a charred screwdriver handle. He paused and said, "We must look for a boy - a boy in his teens." Still doubtful, the police supplied him with school yearbook pictures of every boy in the city. Finally, Hurkos picked out one boy in a group shot. He was the son of a very prominent and wealthy man, and the police did not want to act. Hurkos insisted, telling them that they would find a box of matches and a bottle of lighter fluid in the boy's pockets, even though he did not smoke. When the boy was brought in, he denied everything until Hurkos said, "Pull up the left leg of your overalls and show the police the scratches you got from the barbed-wire fence as you ran from the fire." The scratches were indeed on his leg, and the boy broke down and confessed.

On another occasion, Dutch police took him to a house where a man had been shot on his own doorstep. Hurkos touched the victim's coat for a few moments and then told police that the killer was an older man, wore spectacles, had a mustache and a wooden leg, and had thrown the gun used for murder on the roof of the house. Police searched the roof and found the gun. They also found fingerprints on the gun that convicted the dead man's father-in-law - an older mad who had a mustache, wore spectacles and had a wooden leg.

When the famed Stone of Scone was stolen from Westminster Abbey in 1950, Scotland Yard got nowhere until it invited the young but already famous Peter Hurkos to come to London. At the abbey, Hurkos touched a tool left by the thieves and after several hours he said he could "see" the escape route the thieves took and drew a detailed map - even though he had never been in London before. He said the culprits were three men and a woman, and gave detailed descriptions of them too. When all were arrested some months later, all four were found to match Hurkos' descriptions.

Random Odds & Ends
  • Carrots were originally purple. The Dutch bred orange carrots in the 17th century which proved more popular.
  • Tarantulas do not leave any tracks on the sand.
  • Dolphins can talk ten times faster and at a ten times higher pitch than humans.
  • An ostrich egg is big enough to make an omelet for 12 men. It can weigh up to four pounds and requires 40 minutes to boil.
  • Fingernails grow about four times faster than toenails.
  • Wearing black for mourning started in the 15th century. Anne of Britanny, widow of France's King Charles VIII, donned black when she went into mourning. Before that, Europeans wore white to symbolize hope or renewal.
  • The Eiffel Tower weighs in at 10,100 tonnes.