History’s Five Most Unusual Deaths

December 20, 2012

History’s Unusual Deaths: Arius, The Orthodox Heretic

During his lifetime, Arius was a religious figure with beliefs so controversial that he was formally denounced as a heretic by the Orthodox Church. Arius’ last moments came in 336 A.D. when he was struck by sudden bowel cramps during a procession.

Before he made it to a bathroom, Arius vacated his bowels, a great deal of blood, small intestines, portions of his liver and spleen and eventually his life on Earth. At the time, some believed Arius was smote for his heresy, but modern historians believe he was likely poisoned by his enemies.

Franz Reichelt, The Flying Tailor

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The World’s Most Incredible Cemeteries

October 29, 2012
Incredible Cemeteries Sucre

Credit: Flickr, http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2717/4115960938_b5abaab452_b.jpg

El Sucre Cementerio General, Bolivia

It is often said that the dead never truly leave us, and Bolivia’s El Sucre Cementerio General greatly illustrates that fact. Filled with as much history as it is the remains of the deceased, Bolivian families may pay up to $10,000 so that their loved one may occupy one of the shrines for seven years. After that point, the body is removed from the shrine and into the cemetery grounds. Twenty years after that change of “permanent” address, the remains are removed from the site completely. To illustrate how closely one’s sense of self was determined by their profession, men are usually buried with their workmates and various unions own common vaults into which their members may rest–albeit temporarily.

Incredible Cemeteries Sucre

Credit: For 91 Days, http://for91days.com/photos/Bolivia/Sucre%20Cemetery/Praying-Boy.jpg

Incredible Cemeteries Sucre

Credit: Flickr, http://www.flickr.com/photos/wcroza/7140253973/sizes/z/in/photostream/

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The Bizarre Celebrity Deaths Of The 1920′s

September 29, 2012

The Bizarre Celebrity Deaths of the 1920′s: Harry Houdini 1874-1926

Harry Houdini was the word’s most famous magician, known especially for his amazing escape acts. Houdini performed tricks for audiences from 1891 until his untimely death at the age of 52 in 1926. The official cause of death was recorded as peritonitis from a ruptured appendix, which many believed to be the fault of J. Gordon Whitehead, a student who surprised Houdini by punching him in the stomach several times after a performance.

Whitehead reportedly asked Houdini if it was true that he could he could take any blow in the stomach, which Houdini replied that he indeed could, not expecting his claim to be tested. Thought Houdini was in pain, he continued to travel for several days until he could not take it anymore. He passed away in a Detroit Hospital.

Martha Mansfield 1899-1923

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Melancholy Chimps In Mourning

August 7, 2012

Melancholy Chimpanzees In Mourning

From National Geographic: “On September 23, 2008, Dorothy, a female chimpanzee in her late 40s, died of congestive heart failure. A maternal and beloved figure, Dorothy had spent eight years at Cameroon’s Sanaga-Yong Chimpanzee Rescue Center, which houses and rehabilitates chimps victimized by habitat loss and the illegal African bushmeat trade.

As her health improved, her deep kindness surfaced. She mothered an orphaned chimp named Bouboule and became a close friend to many others, including Jacky, the group’s alpha male, and Nama, an amusement-park refugee.”

Japan’s Contemporary Crematorium

June 29, 2012

Japan Contemporary Crematorium

With soft lines and an undulating roof, Japan’s Meiso no Mori funeral home and crematorium was built to commemorate the dead in a secular and liberating fashion. Says project architect Leo Yokota regarding his guiding image: “Rather than the heavy, dignified architecture usual with crematoria, we imagined a soft place, as if a gentle snowfall had settled lightly upon the site to form a broad and generous roof.”

Dissecting World War 2 Deaths

June 21, 2012

A fascinating chart that dissects World War 2 deaths by country and by military and civilian deaths:

World War 2 Deaths Chart

Fascinating stuff: the majority of deaths did not fall within the military but rather civilians.