Archive for the Death Category

Ape Woman Buried

Posted in Death, Science with tags , , , , , , , , , , on February 15, 2013 by elgrayso

This website doesn’t often feature recent news, but there was an interesting story that came out just over a week ago that I thought I would share.
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Mexican ‘ape woman’ buried 150 years after her death

An indigenous Mexican woman once described as the “ugliest woman in the world” has been buried more than 150 years after her death and a tragic life spent exhibited as a freak of nature at circuses around the world.

She sang and danced for paying audiences, becoming a sensation who also toured Europeand Russia. She and Lent married and had a son, but she developed a fever related to complications from childbirth, and died along with her baby in 1860 in Moscow. Her remains ended up at the University of Oslo in Norway.

Mexican ambassador Martha Bárcena Coqui, who is based in Copenhagen, Denmark, formally received Pastrana’s coffin at a ceremony on 7 February at Oslo University Hospital before the coffin was flown to Mexico.

“Today, it’s almost incomprehensible that a circus used corpses for entertainment purposes. Hers was used in a way we today would consider to be completely reprehensible,” he said. “It’s important that we now have a clear end to the way she was treated.” [read more from The Guardian]

Antikamnia Calendar (1899-1900)

Posted in Death, Science with tags , , , , , , , , , on February 11, 2013 by elgrayso

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The Antikamnia (Opposed to Pain) Chemical Company of St. Louis, Missouri produced several calendars (1897-1901) illiustrated with Skeleton Sketches–chromolithographed series based on watercolors by the local physician-artist Louis Crucius. The limited edition calendars were mailed to physicians who provided business cards or letterhead correspondence as evidence of their medical standing. Antikamnia was a proprietary product consisting of acetanalid (antifebrin) combined with sodium bicarbonate, citric acid and caffeine. [from UCLA Library]

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Jose Posada

Posted in Art, Death with tags , , , , , , on November 2, 2012 by elgrayso

Happy Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead)!


Walter Potter’s Taxidermy

Posted in Animals, Death with tags , , , , , , on July 23, 2012 by elgrayso

Walter Potter was an English taxidermist noted for his anthropomorphic dioramas featuring mounted animals mimicking human life, which he displayed at his museum in Bramber, Sussex, England. The exhibition was a well-known and popular example of “Victorian whimsy” for many years, even after Potter’s death; however enthusiasm for such entertainments waned in the twentieth century, and his collection was finally dispersed in 2003. [from Wikipedia]

 

Shrunken Heads of the Amazon

Posted in Death with tags , , , , , , , , on June 25, 2012 by elgrayso

A shrunken head is a severed and specially prepared human head that is used for trophy, ritual, or trade purposes.Headhunting occurred in many regions of the world. But the practice of headshrinking has only ever been recorded in the northwestern region of the Amazon rain forest. [from Wikipedia]

I had always thought that shrunken heads were fake until I visited the world’s largest collection at Ripley’s Believe It Or Not in Manhattan. I later found out of a book called Head Hunters of the Amazon: My Adventures In The Jungle 1894-1901 which is now on my future reading list.

Death Masks

Posted in Death with tags , , , , , , , , on June 11, 2012 by elgrayso

In Western cultures, a death mask is a wax or plaster cast made of a person’s face following death. Death masks may be mementos of the dead, or be used for creation of portraits. [from Wikipedia]

Martin Luther

Vladimir Ilyich Lenin

William Shakespeare

Abraham Lincoln

Resusci Anne*

*Resusci Anne, also known as Rescue Anne or CPR Annie, is a training mannequin used for teaching cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) to both emergency workers and members of the general public. The distinctive face of Resusci Anne was based on L’Inconnue de la Seine, the death mask of an unidentified young woman reputedly drowned in the Seine River around the late 1880s. [from itthing.com]

For more famous death masks check out this post at itthing.com

Aokigahara: Suicide Forest

Posted in Death, Video with tags , , , , , , on February 15, 2012 by elgrayso

Aokigahara is a forest that lies at the north west base of Mount Fuji in Japan. It is the second most popular suicide destination in the world (San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge being the first) and over 100 bodies are discovered in the forest each year. VICE made an incredibly interesting short documentary on the forest which follows a park worker on suicide patrol. The documentary is only 20 minutes long and is well produced and fascinating. I couldn’t get the the video to embed, but I highly recommend clicking the link and watching it:

Watch “Aokigahara: Suicide Forest” on VICE.com

Fragonard Museum

Posted in Death, Museums, Science with tags , , , , , on February 5, 2012 by elgrayso

The Musée Fragonard d’Alfort is a museum of anatomical oddities located within the École Nationale Vétérinaire de Maisons-Alfort in Maisons-Alfort, a suburb of Paris. The museum’s most astonishing items are the famous “écorchés” (flayed figures) prepared by Honoré Fragonard, the school’s first professor of anatomy, appointed in 1766 and in 1771 dismissed from the school as a madman. His speciality was the preparation and preservation of skinned cadavers, of which he prepared some 700 examples. Only 21 remain; all are on display in the museum’s final room. [from Wikipedia]

Daisuke Ichiba

Posted in Art, Death with tags , , on January 28, 2012 by elgrayso

Issei Sagawa, Cannibal

Posted in Death, Serial Killers, Video with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on January 12, 2012 by elgrayso

Sorry for the delay, guys! I try to post at least once a week, but was on vacation for the last month. Here is a story I’d planned on posting for a long time, but only recently found this short documentary on it. – elgrayso

On the afternoon of June 13, 1981, a Japanese man named Issei Sagawa walked to the Bois de Boulogne, a park on the outskirts of Paris, carrying two suitcases. The contents of those suitcases, to the lament of a nearby jogger, was the dismembered body of a fellow student – a Dutch woman named Renée Hartevelt, whom Sagawa had shot three days prior and had spent the days since eating various parts of her body.

He was soon arrested. According to reports, Issei uttered, “I killed her to eat her flesh,” when they raided his home, whereupon they found bits of Renne still in his fridge.

Sagawa was declared insane and unfit for trial and was institutionalized in Paris. His incarceration was to be short, however, as the French public soon grew weary of their hard-earned francs going to support this evil woman-eater, and Issei was promptly deported. Herein followed a bizarre and seemingly too convenient set of legal loopholes and psychiatric reports that led doctors in Japan declaring him “sane, but evil.”

On August 12, 1986, Sagawa checked himself out of Tokyo’s Matsuzawa Psychiatric hospital, and has been a free man ever since.

This is where the real story begins. VBS met up with him to find out what he’s been up to in the 30 years since. [from VICE]

VICE has made a great, short little documentary on Sagawa which you can view here.

(also if you know how to embed the video please tell me how!)

Spontaneous Human Combustion

Posted in Death, Photography, Science with tags , , , , on December 16, 2011 by elgrayso

Spontaneous human combustion (SHC) describes reported cases of the burning of a living human body without an apparent external source of ignition. There have been about 200 cited cases worldwide over a period of around 300 years. [from Wikipedia]

Mondo Cinema

Posted in Death, Video with tags , , , , , , on December 4, 2011 by elgrayso

A mondo film (from the Italian word for ‘world’) is an exploitation documentary film, sometimes resembling a pseudo-documentary, usually depicting sensational topics, scenes, and situations. Common traits of mondo films include emphasis on taboo subjects such as death and sex, portrayals of foreign cultures that have received accusations of racism and staged sequences presented as genuine documentary footage. Over time, the films placed more and more emphasis on footage of the dead and dying, both real and fake. The term “shockumentary” has also been used to describe the genre. [from Wikipedia]

I was first introduced to the genre as a youngster hearing my friends talk about “Faces of Death” and occasionally seeing the VHS copies on videostore racks. The “Faces” film series began in the late 70s and promised audiences footage of real death. However most of it was fake, but this didn’t prevent the traumatization of many a pre-teen. When I was older I rented “Death Scenes” (1989) with my girlfriend and witnessed the apex of mondo cinema. By this time the genre had focused exclusively on death and no longer tried to fool the audience with fake footage; “Death Scenes” only used the real stuff.

The original mondo films were, as the wikipedia excerpt explains, rooted in taboo footage of the “primitive” world. Early mondo films often had a few different names and were re-cut and passed on by a variety of people and theaters.

There is a fascinating (and relatively dense) book that covers mondo films called Killing For Culture. It contains a thorough history of mondo cinema and the myth of the underground snuff film. I highly recommend it if you are interested in the subject.

Island of the Dolls

Posted in Death, Dolls, Video with tags , , , , , , , , , on November 16, 2011 by elgrayso

The Island of the Dolls (Isla de las Munecas) sits in the canals south of Mexico City and is the current home of hundreds of terrifying, mutilated dolls. Their severed limbs, decapitated heads, and blank eyes adorn trees, fences and nearly every available surface. The dolls appear menacing even in the bright light of midday, but in the dark they are particularly haunting.

Not surprisingly, the island’s origins lie in tragedy. The story goes that the island’s only inhabitant, Don Julian Santana, found the body of a drowned child in the canal some 50 years ago. He was haunted by her death, so when he saw a doll floating by in the canal soon after, he hung it in a tree to please the girl. He hoped to both appease her tortured soul and protect the island from further evil. The story took a particularly sinister turn in 2001 when Don Julian drowned in the canal just like the little girl.

Getting to the island is a long and difficult task, but walking among the creepy dolls is an experience like no other. Most, if not all, of these dolls were rejected by their previous owners for various reasons. Severed limbs and body-less heads hang side-by-side with whole, sun-bleached dolls. Mold covers some, while others are missing nearly all of their artificial hair. Spiders and insects have taken up residence in the hollow parts of most of the dolls.

[text and photos taken from WebUrbanist.com, click here for the full article]

There is also a SyFy channel show called Destination Truth that features the island (however the video is not available in my region).

Joe Coleman

Posted in Art, Death, Serial Killers with tags , , , on November 11, 2011 by elgrayso

 

Altar Demon

 

Albert Fish

Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer


Divine Comedy

 

Sexual Fantasy

For more on this artist, read my review of the Joe Coleman documentary, Rest In Pieces: A Portrait of Joe Coleman.

 

 

 

Plague Doctors

Posted in Death, Science with tags , , , , , on October 20, 2011 by elgrayso

A plague doctor  was a special medical physician who saw those who had the bubonic plague. In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, some doctors wore a beak-like mask which was filled with aromatic items. The masks were designed to protect them from putrid air, which (according to the miasmatic theory of disease) was seen as the cause of infection. The protective suit consisted of a heavy fabric overcoat that was waxed. A wooden cane pointer was used to help examine the patient without touching. [from Wikipedia]

Nick Blinko

Posted in Art, Death, Music with tags , , , , , on October 18, 2011 by elgrayso

Not only was Nick Blinko the musical drive behind the brilliantly twisted Rudimentary Peni, he was an amazing artist. Blinko’s works are very recognizable by their extreme amount of detail, dark subject matter and disregard of formal composition. He is considered as an “outside artist” as he suffers from schizophrenia and supposedly once believed himself to be the Pope. Many of his nightmarishly detailed drawings focus on religion and death. Unfortunately, nobody has published a book of his art, which is so painstakingly detailed that Google images do not do them justice. So far, the only way to obtain his art is by buying the Rudimentary Peni albums (as well as his earlier band, the Magits) and his book, The Primal Screamer, which contains a few illustrations.

*this is an improved version of an early post that I felt was lacking in content.

The Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death

Posted in Death, Dolls with tags , , , , , on October 6, 2011 by elgrayso

In the mid twentieth century, a woman named Frances Glessner Lee made intricate dollhouses that cost thousands of dollars to create. They depicted unsolved murders and contained an intense level of detail to help detectives solve crimes. They were called The Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death.



For more information on the Nutshell Studies, visit this blog. Also, I must thank my friend Phoebe for telling me about these.

Stephen Gammell

Posted in Art, Death with tags , , , , , , on August 1, 2011 by elgrayso

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Laurie Lipton

Posted in Art, Death with tags , , , , , on July 19, 2011 by elgrayso

Laurie Lipton

Senorita Meurte

Love Bite

Prime Time

Death and the Maiden

Queen of Bones

Gruesome Bakery

Posted in Death with tags , , , , , , , , , , on February 3, 2011 by elgrayso
Bread Heads

Bread Heads

The best thing since sliced bread… is sliced heads! This is edible food, shaped to look like realistic human body parts. They are the product of 28-year old Kittiwat Unarrom and his ‘Body Bakery’ in Thailand. I would buy some today if it was nearby!

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