Archive for the ‘Unusual Findings’ Category

The title related to a local Pittsburgh legend, a man called Charlie-No-Face. The story is that he was the employee of a power company and a downed power line disfigured him to the point that he would hide in an abandoned house. The story elaborates that he has a hole in his cheek and green skin. This ghostly tale of his sightings actually had a more natural and somewhat sadder explanation.

Raymond Robinson was born 29th October 1910, he died 11th June 1985. When Ray was 8 years old he was injured by an electrical line, on the Morado Bridge, when he tried to view a birds nest. The bridge carried a trolley and the electrical lines were 1,200 and 22,000 volts worth. The lines had killed another boy less than a year before.

The poor child was not expected to survive but he did, he suffered terrible scarring, lost his eyes, nose and one ear and one of his arms. He lived with his family in Koppel and made doormats, belts and wallets. His appearance meant that he would rarely venture outside during the day but he did go for walks along the quiet stretch of State Route 51, using a walking stick.

Locals would regularly gather up and search for him along the road, he would quite often hide from them but on occasion he would engage in conversation. Some of these people were inevitably cruel but that didn’t stop him from taking his walks. He had been struck by cars on more than one occasion and yet only stopped his walks in the later years of his life. He retired to the Beaver Country Geriatric Centre, at aged 74 years-old.

Raymond_Robinson_(Green_Man)

Pic courtesty of Wikipedia – creative commons.

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It is a cemetery in the Gorbal’s district, Glasgow, Scotland and was opened in 1840 to provide more affordable burials; there are over 250,000 burials there on various layers of the place. The Old Gorbals cemetery was vastly overcrowded, this is not unusual for the time period, London and many major cities around the UK were opening more graveyards to compensate for the lack of space in those already established.

The proposals for a new cemetery started in 1839 and the following year the land was purchased and the first burial commenced. The first soul laid to rest there was 16-month old and occurred 21st July 1840. The three sections opened as follows: Central in 1840, Eastern in 1846 and Western in 1850. In 1954 the cemetery suffered from a large group of children who were committed to hunting down a vampire that they believed was buried in the cemetery. The incident sparked it’s own urban legend, a vampire had killed two children. The influence for this was blamed on American horror comics like Tales from the Crypt, despite no evidence for the reason being the comics the moral outrage led to an increased comic censorship.

23rd September 1954 PC Alex Deeprose was called out and expected to deal with a case of vandalism, instead he was met with hundreds of children from around 4 years old up to 14. They were armed with sticks and knives and were patrolling around inside the cemetery. They told the constable that they were looking for a 7 foot tall vampire, with iron teeth and had that he had kidnapped and eaten two local boys.

The rumours started in the playground, and there was a Chinese whisper emerging that they were going to head out there after school. At three o’clock that day the school emptied and children headed to the graveyard, gathering around the walls. Some were too scared to go in and stayed outside. There were no records of missing children at the time and the only blame they could come up with – comics.

Newspapers at the time took the tale and ran with it, the children turned up a second evening running and the headmaster of a local school had told them it was a ridiculous tale and eventually had the crowd dispersed.

Some of the other people in the area pointed out that they had got little reason to blame comics, after all the children were taught the bible. Daniel 7.7 specifically mentions a monster with iron teeth in it. The political frenzy however meant blaming comics was far more convenient. A local man explained that they would threaten the local children with the Iron Man before then, it was meant to be a sort of bogeyman affair but the political agenda against the comics made a better fit for the reason.

The cemetery is now operated by Glasgow City Council and is protected as a listed Category B building with the entrance listed as Category A. The cemetery also has 11 Commonwealth burials.

Glasgow. Southern Necropolis. Thomas Lipton's grave

It is called The Museum of the Holy Souls in Purgatory but it is not so much a museum as a collection. The small room sits inside the church of the Sacred Holy Heart just along the Tiber River not too far from the Vatican.

The display centralises on the Catholic idea that souls go to purgatory, they are purified of their remaining sins before they can ascent to heaven. To help souls go to heaven quicker the faithful can offer prayer, before the reformation it was a common practise to buy loved ones swifter entry with the good old value of mortal cash.

Amongst the cases you can see the nightcap of a man who discovered asking him to pray for her. Another is from 1789 where there is a hand-print on the nightshirt that Joseph Leleux had, the mark was made by the tortured soul of his mother who appeared to him and reminded him of his duties to go to mass and begged him to change his behaviour and go back to church.

The museum/collection is mentioned on the website Atlas Obscura and a few other sites, they say the collection comes from the French Missionary, Father Jouet. They story is that there was a painting, Our Lady of the Rosary, that caught fire from candles around it. Witnesses said they had seen the face of a man in the altars burning walls, he was convinced that it was a message from a soul buried in the area and that he should build a church there, and make it a place to pay tribute to the souls in purgatory.

Admission is free but they will welcome any donation to the church that you can make. If you have been, or do go, please let me know and share your experiences.

The museum is in the Church of Sacro Cuore del Suffragio, 12 Lungotevere Prati, Rome. Open 7.30-11am and 4.30-7pm.

museum-of-the-souls-of

The space race was big news and in 1960, Komarov was picked, a Soviet test pilot and aerospace engineer, he was picked to be a cosmonaut. He was going to be one of the first man to go into low-earth orbit; alongside him was Yuri Gagarin, he was the first human that went into space.

The USSR decided to be brave several years later or just criminally reprehensible. They wanted to capture a docking between two Soviet spaceships in space. The Soyuz 1 would carry one cosmonaut and a second would have two more and one in space both spaceships would dock. The men would then switch spacecrafts and one would return to earth, a plan doomed from its very creation.

Soyuz 1 was to be Komarov’s craft, he knew it was doomed and so did a great many but the officials were going ahead with it regardless. Komarov knew it was pretty much a suicide mission, he also knew however that if he backed out his friend Gagarin was next to go in.

Komarov and Gagarin both showed up on April 23rd, 1967. This is the same year the US lost three astronauts in the Apollo fire. Gagarin apparently made strange demands and demanded a pressure suit, some through he may have intended to delay the launch. The mission went off according to the plan, well until Soyuz 1 made it to space. The ship did not operate properly and did not have enough fuel, one of the solar panels was compromised and when the capsule set for descent the parachutes did not open.

The parachutes failing and then their back-up entangling with a canopy meant to fill the larger spelt the demise of Komarov. The exact conversation has never been disclosed by the USSR, an unofficial account says in a sate of hysteria when he spoke with Alexsei Kosygin, a high ranking official, who cried with him saying that he was a national hero. He had a brief call with his wife about what to tell their children and they both plummeted through Earth’s atmosphere. It hit the ground with the force of a 2.8 ton meteorite. Some also say that he died screaming and cursing the people who contributed to his death.

His charred and unrecognisable body was then recovered and given an open casket, state sponsored funeral with military honours. It is worth mentioning again at this stage the stories about the alleged conversations and curses are speculation and probably just urban legend. What is worth mentioning is his incredible bravery and contribution to science and the exploration of space.

Fallen Astronaut.jpg
By NASA – Original image at http://history.nasa.gov/alsj/a15/as15-88-11894HR.jpg Another: http://images.jsc.nasa.gov/luceneweb/caption_direct.jsp?photoId=AS15-88-11894, Public Domain, Link

 

Paris in the 1890’s had the best nightlife around, especially for the morbidly curious. Many clubs sought (and still do) to be the most unique in order to get the cash flowing.

One of these was the Caberet du Néant (The Cabaret of Nothingness) where patrons could sit on coffins and served Libations by monks and funeral attendees. The drinks were themed this way and so it meant that the whole thing was a night out away from the mundane.

Having had a few in the ‘sale d’intoxication’ they would move to other rooms, the revelry would include parlour tricks like making the illusion that they were turning into skeletons as they walked through. It is unfortunate but the club did not survive World War II.

You couild also go to Cabaret de l’Emfer (The Cabaret of the Inferno) which was satanically themed. The club had people witness a snake turn into a devil, were heckled by the devil himself and even warned about going further in due to the heat of hell. It’s amusing to note that anecdotes from the time say that people actually complained it was chilly however!

The Cabaret de l’Enfer was still around for a while, the last picture was taken in 1952. It is of the outside with a policeman walking past it.

Not everyone would want the darkest of sides, so relief there was also the Caberet du Ciel, (the Cabaret of the Sky) where Dante and Father Time would greet their visitors.

Today we have themed pubs, but I can’t help these places paved the way for lovely and interesting things by being just that too.

Antonin Alexander