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The body was discovered at 6:30 a.m. on 1 December 1948 on Somerton beach in Adelaide, South Australia, and the police were called. When they arrived, the body was lying on the sand with its head resting on the seawall, and with its feet crossed and pointing directly to the sea. The police noted no disturbance to the body and observed that the man's left arm was in a straight position and the right arm was bent double. An unlit cigarette was behind his ear and a half-smoked cigarette was on the right collar of his coat held in position by his cheek. A search of his pockets revealed an unused second-class rail ticket from the city to Henley Beach, a used bus ticket from the city, a narrow aluminium American comb, a half-empty packet of Juicy Fruit chewing gum, an Army Club cigarette packet containing Kensitas cigarettes, and a quarter-full box of Bryant & May matches. The bus stop for which the ticket was used was around 1,100 metres (3,600 ft) north of the body's location. The man had no money in his pockets.
Witnesses who came forward said that on the evening of 30 November, they had seen an individual resembling the dead man lying on his back in the same spot and position near the Crippled Children's Home where the corpse was later found. A couple who saw him around 7 p.m. noted that they saw him extend his right arm to its fullest extent and then drop it limply. Another couple who saw him from 7:30 p.m. to 8 p.m., during which time the street lights had come on, recounted that they did not see him move during the half an hour in which he was in view, although they did have the impression that his position had changed.
Although they commented between themselves that he must be dead because he was not reacting to the mosquitoes, they had thought it more likely that he was drunk or asleep, and thus did not investigate further. Witnesses said the body was in the same position when the police viewed it.
According to the pathologist, Sir John Burton Cleland, emeritus professor at the University of Adelaide, the man was of "Britisher" appearance and thought to be aged about 40–45; he was in "top physical condition". He was "180 centimetres (5 ft 11 in) tall, with hazel eyes, fair to ginger-coloured hair, slightly grey around the temples, with broad shoulders and a narrow waist, hands and nails that showed no signs of manual labour, big and little toes that met in a wedge shape, like those of a dancer or someone who wore boots with pointed toes; and pronounced high calf muscles like those of a ballet dancer. These can be dominant genetic traits, and they are also a characteristic of many middle and long-distance runners.
“He was dressed in "quality clothing": consisting of a white shirt, red and blue tie, brown trousers, socks and shoes and, although it had been a hot day and very warm night, a brown knitted pullover and fashionable grey and brown double-breasted jacket. All labels on his clothes had been removed, and he had no hat (unusual for 1948) or wallet. Clean-shaven and with no distinguishing marks, the man carried no identification, which led police to believe he had committed suicide. His teeth did not match the dental records of any known person in Australia.
The autopsy showed that the man's last meal was a pasty eaten three to four hours before death, but tests failed to reveal any foreign substance in the body. The pathologist Dr. Dwyer concluded: "I am quite convinced the death could not have been natural ...the poison I suggested was a barbiturate or a soluble hypnotic". Although poisoning remained a prime suspicion, the pasty was not believed to be the source of the poison. Other than that, the coroner was unable to reach a conclusion as to the man's identity, cause of death, or whether the man seen alive at Somerton Beach on the evening of 30 November was the same man, as nobody had seen his face at that time. Scotland Yard was called in to assist with the case but with little result. Wide circulation in the world of a photograph of the man and details of his fingerprints yielded no positive identification. As the body was not identified, it was embalmed on 10 December 1948.
The police said this was the first time they knew that such action was needed.
A new twist in the case occurred on 14 January 1949, when staff at Adelaide Railway Station discovered a brown suitcase with its label removed, which had been checked into the station cloakroom after 11:00 a.m. on 30 November 1948. In the case were a red checked dressing gown, a size seven, red felt pair of slippers; four pairs of underpants, pyjamas, shaving items, a light brown pair of trousers with sand in the cuffs, an electrician's screwdriver, a table knife cut down into a short sharp instrument, a pair of scissors with sharpened points, and a stencilling brush, as used by third officers on merchant ships for stencilling cargo. Also in the suitcase was a thread card of Barbour brand orange waxed thread of "an unusual type" not available in Australia—it was the same as that used to repair the lining in a pocket of the trousers the dead man was wearing. All identification marks on the clothes had been removed but police found the name "T. Keane" on a tie, "Keane" on a laundry bag and "Kean" (without the last e) on a singlet, along with three dry-cleaning marks; 1171/7, 4393/7 and 3053/7. Police believed that whoever removed the clothing tags purposefully left the Keane tags on the clothes, knowing Keane was not the dead man's name. It has since been noted that the "Kean" tags were the only ones that could not have been removed without damaging the clothing.
A coroner's inquest into the death, conducted by coroner Thomas Erskine Cleland, commenced a few days after the body was found but was adjourned until 17 June 1949. The investigating pathologist Sir John Burton Cleland re-examined the body and made a number of discoveries. Cleland noted that the man's shoes were remarkably clean and appeared to have been recently polished, rather than being in the state expected of the shoes of a man who had apparently been wandering around Glenelg all day. He added that this evidence fitted in with the theory that the body might have been brought to Somerton beach after the man's death, accounting for the lack of evidence of vomiting and convulsions, the two main effects of poison. Thomas Cleland speculated that as none of the witnesses could positively identify the man they saw the previous night as being the same person discovered the next morning, there remained the possibility the man had died elsewhere and had been dumped. He stressed that this was purely speculation as all the witnesses believed it was "definitely the same person" as the body was in the same place and lying in the same distinctive position. He also found there was no evidence as to who the deceased was.
Early in the inquiry, Cleland stated "I would be prepared to find that he died from poison, that the poison was probably a glucoside and that it was not accidentally administered; but I cannot say whether it was administered by the deceased himself or by some other person." Despite these findings, he could not determine the cause of death of the Somerton Man.
The lack of success in determining the identity and cause of death of the Somerton Man had led authorities to call it an "unparalleled mystery" and believe that the cause of death might never be known. An editorial called the case "one of Australia's most profound mysteries" and noted that if he died by poison so rare and obscure it could not be identified by toxicology experts, then surely the culprit's advanced knowledge of toxic substances pointed to something more serious than a mere domestic poisoning.
Around the same time as the inquest, a tiny piece of rolled-up paper with the words "Tamam Shud" printed on it was found deep in a fob pocket sewn within the dead man's trouser pocket.Public library officials called in to translate the text identified it as a phrase meaning "ended" or "finished" found on the last page of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam. The paper's verso side was blank. Police conducted an Australia-wide search to find a copy of the book that had a similarly blank verso. A photograph of the scrap of paper was sent to interstate police and released to the public,leading a man to reveal he had found a very rare first edition copy of Edward FitzGerald's 1859 translation of The Rubaiyat, published by Whitcombe and Tombs in New Zealand, in the back seat of his unlocked car that had been parked in Jetty Road Glenelg about a week or two before the body was found. He had known nothing of the book's connection to the case until he saw an article in the previous day's newspaper. This man's identity and profession were withheld by the police, as he wished to remain anonymous. The theme of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam is that one should live life to the full and have no regrets when it ends. The poem's subject led police to theorise that the man had committed suicide by poison, although there was no other evidence to back the theory. The book was missing the words "Tamam Shud" on the last page, which had a blank reverse, and microscopic tests indicated that the piece of paper was from the page torn from the book.
In the back of the book were faint pencil markings of five lines of capital letters with the second line struck out. The strike out is now considered significant with its similarity to the fourth line possibly indicating a mistake and thus, possible proof the letters are code: WRGOABABD MLIAOI WTBIMPANETP MLIABOAIAQC ITTMTSAMSTGAB In the book it is unclear if the first two lines begin with an "M" or "W", but they are widely believed to be the letter W, owing to the distinctive difference when compared to the stricken letter M. There appears to be a deleted or underlined line of text that reads "MLIAOI". Although the last character in this line of text looks like an "L", it is fairly clear on closer inspection of the image that this is formed from an 'I' and the extension of the line used to delete or underline that line of text. Also, the other "L" has a curve to the bottom part of the character. There is also an "X" above the last 'O' in the code, and it is not known if this is significant to the code or not. Initially, the letters were thought to be words in a foreign language before it was realised it was a code. Code experts were called in at the time to decipher the lines but were unsuccessful. When the code was analysed by the Australian Department of Defence in 1978, they made the following statements about the code: • There are insufficient symbols to provide a pattern. • The symbols could be a complex substitute code or the meaningless response to a disturbed mind. • It is not possible to provide a satisfactory answer.
The case is still considered "open" at the South Australian Major Crime Task Force. The South Australian Police Historical Society holds the bust, which contains strands of the man's hair. Any further attempts to identify the body have been hampered by the embalming formaldehyde having destroyed much of the man's DNA. Other key evidence no longer exists, such as the brown suitcase, which was destroyed in 1986. In addition, witness statements have disappeared from the police file over the years.
>>593131310 The last word is the most interesting. If it translates letter for letter to an English word it probably starts with a vowel then the consonant repeats like "attitude" there aren't many words like that.
Exploding head syndrome (EHS) is a form of hypnagogic auditory hallucination and is a rare and relatively undocumented parasomnia event in which the subject experiences a loud bang in their head similar to a bomb exploding, a gun going off, a clash of cymbals, ringing, an earthquake, or any other form of loud, indecipherable noise that seems to originate from inside the head. This noise usually happens at the onset of sleep or within an hour or two of falling asleep, but is not necessarily the result of a dream. An episode can last from a few seconds to a couple of minutes. Most episodes occur just after falling asleep or just prior to waking up, and are not associated with occurring in any certain sleep stage. EHS is an uncommon, usually nocturnal parasomnia that arises from the transition between different sleep stages. Although the sound is perceived as extremely loud, it is usually not accompanied by pain. Attacks appear to change in number over time, with several attacks happening in a space of days or weeks, followed by months of remission. Sufferers often feel a sense of fear and anxiety before and after an attack, accompanied by elevated heart rate. Attacks may also be accompanied by perceived flashes of light (when perceived on their own, known as a "visual sleep start") or difficulty in breathing. The condition is also known as "auditory sleep starts". The associated symptoms are varied, but the benign nature of the condition is emphasized and neither extensive investigation nor treatment are indicated. Sufferers may experience an inability to vocalize any sound, or mild forms of sleep paralysis during an attack.
On the night of 8–9 February 1855 and one or two later nights, after a heavy snowfall, a series of hoof-like marks appeared in the snow. These footprints, most of which measured around four inches long, three inches across, between eight and sixteen inches apart and mostly in a single file, were reported from over thirty locations across Devon and a couple in Dorset. It was estimated that the total distance of the tracks amounted to between 40 and 100 miles. Houses, rivers, haystacks and other obstacles were travelled straight over, and footprints appeared on the tops of snow-covered roofs and high walls which lay in the footprints' path, as well as leading up to and exiting various drain pipes as small as four inches in diameter. From a news report: "It appears on Thursday night last, there was a very heavy snowfall in the neighbourhood of Exeter and the South of Devon. On the following morning the inhabitants of the above towns were surprised at discovering the footmarks of some strange and mysterious animal endowed with the power of ubiquity, as the footprints were to be seen in all kinds of unaccountable places – on the tops of houses and narrow walls, in gardens and court-yards, enclosed by high walls and pailings, as well in open fields."
>>593134370 >>593134444 The area in which the prints appeared extended from Exmouth, up to Topsham, and across the Exe Estuary to Dawlish and Teignmouth. R.H. Busk, in an article published in Notes and Queries in 1890, stated that footprints also appeared further afield, as far south as Totnes and Torquay, and that there were other reports of the prints as far away as Weymouth (Dorset) and even Lincolnshire. There is little first-hand evidence of the phenomenon. The only known documents came to light after the publication in 1950 of an article in the Transactions of the Devonshire Association asking for further information about the event. This resulted in the discovery of a collection of papers belonging to Reverend H. T. Ellacombe, the vicar of Clyst St George in the 1850s. These papers included letters addressed to the vicar from his friends, among them the Reverend G. M. Musgrove, the vicar of Withycombe Raleigh; the draft of a letter to The Illustrated London News marked 'not for publication'; and several apparent tracings of the footprints.
On May 21, [1908, Charles] Guthrie succeeded in grafting one dog's head onto the side of another's neck, creating the world's first man-made two headed dog. The arteries were grafted together such that the blood of the intact dog flowed through the head of the decapitated dog and then back into the intact dog's neck, where it proceeded to the brain and back into circulation. Guthrie's book Blood Vessel Surgery and Its Applications includes a photograph of the historic creature. Were it not for the caption, the photo would seem to be of some rare form of marsupial dog, with a large baby's head protruding from a pouch in its mother's fur. The transplanted head was sewn on at the base of the neck, upside down, so that the two dogs are chin to chin, giving an impression of intimacy, despite what must have been at the very least a strained coexistence....too much time (twenty minutes) had elapsed between the beheading and the moment the circulation was restored for the dog head and brain to regain much function. Guthrie recorded a series of primitive movements and basic reflexes, similar to what Laborde and Hayem had observed: pupil contractions, nostril twitchings, "boiling movements" of the tongue.
The first dog heads to enjoy, if that word can be used, full cerebral function were those [of] transplantation whiz Vladimir Demikhov, in the Soviet Union in the 1950s. Demikhov minimized the time that the severed donor head was without oxygen by using "blood-vessel sewing machines." He transplanted twenty puppy heads—actually, head-shoulders-lungs—and forelimbs units with an esophagus that emptied, untidily, onto the outside of the dog—onto fully grown dogs, to see what they would do and how long they would last (usually from two to six days, but in one case as long as twenty-nine days). In his book Experimental Transplantation of Vital Organs, Demikhov included photographs of, and lab notes from, Experiment No. 2, on February 24, 1954: the transplantation of a one-month-old puppy's head and forelimbs to the neck of what appears to be a German shepherd. The notes portray a lively, puppy like, if not altogether joyous existence on the part of the head: 09:00 The donor's head eagerly drank water or milk, and tugged as if trying to separate itself from the recipient's body. 22:30 When the recipient was put to bed, the transplanted head bit the finger of a member of the staff until it bled. February 26, 18:00. The donor's head bit the recipient behind the ear, so that the latter yelped and shook its head. Demikhov's transplant subjects were typically done in by immune reactions
A group was formed for a ski trek across the northern Urals in Sverdlovsk Oblast. The original group, led by Igor Dyatlov, consisted of eight men and two women. Most were students or graduates of Ural Polytechnical Institute (Уральский Политехнический Институт, УПИ), now Ural Federal University: 1. Igor Alekseievich Dyatlov (Игорь Алексеевич Дятлов), the group's leader, born January 13, 1936 2. Zinaida Alekseevna Kolmogorova (Зинаида Алексеевна Колмогорова), born January 12, 1937 3. Lyudmila Alexandrovna Dubinina (Людмила Александровна Дубинина), born May 12, 1938 4. Alexander Sergeievich Kolevatov (Александр Сергеевич Колеватов), born November 16, 1934 5. Rustem Vladimirovich Slobodin (Рустем Владимирович Слободин), born January 11, 1936 6. Yuri (Georgiy) Alexeievich Krivonischenko (Юрий (Георгий) Алексеевич Кривонищенко), born February 7, 1935 7. Yuri Nikolaievich Doroshenko (Юрий Николаевич Дорошенко), born January 29, 1938 8. Nicolai Vladimirovich Thibeaux-Brignolles (Николай Владимирович Тибо-Бриньоль), born July 8, 1935 9. Semyon (Alexander) Alexandrovich Zolotariov (Семен (Александр) Александрович Золотарёв), born February 2, 1921 10. Yuri Yefimovich Yudin (Юрий Ефимович Юдин), born July 19, 1937, died April 27, 2013 The goal of the expedition was to reach Otorten (Отортен), a mountain 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) north of the site of the incident. This route, in February, was estimated as Category III, the most difficult. All members were experienced in long ski tours and mountain expeditions. The group arrived by train at Ivdel (Ивдель), a city at the center of the northern province of Sverdlovsk Oblast on January 25. They then took a truck to Vizhai (Вижай) – the last inhabited settlement so far north. They started their march toward Otorten from Vizhai on January 27. The next day, one of the members, Yuri Yudin, was forced to go back due to illness. The remaining group now consisted of nine people.
Diaries and cameras found around their last campsite made it possible to track the group's route up to the day preceding the incident. On January 31, the group arrived at the edge of a highland area and began to prepare for climbing. In a wooded valley they cached surplus food and equipment that would be used for the trip back. The following day (February 1), the hikers started to move through the pass. It seems they planned to get over the pass and make camp for the next night on the opposite side, but because of worsening weather conditions, snowstorms and decreasing visibility, they lost their direction and deviated west, up towards the top of Kholat Syakhyl. When they realized their mistake, the group decided to stop and set up camp there on the slope of the mountain, rather than moving 1.5 kilometres (0.93 mi) downhill to a forested area which would have offered some shelter from the elements. Yudin, the lone survivor, postulated that "Dyatlov probably did not want to lose the altitude they had gained, or he decided to practice camping on the mountain slope. " Yudin, a 22-year-old economics student, contracted dysentery and had to turn back on January 28.
Before leaving, Dyatlov had agreed he would send a telegram to their sports club as soon as the group returned to Vizhai. It was expected that this would happen no later than February 12, but Dyatlov had told Yudin, before his departure from the group, that he expected to be longer. When the 12th passed and no messages had been received, there was no immediate reaction, as delays of a few days were common with such expeditions. It was not until the relatives of the travelers demanded a rescue operation on February 20th that the head of the institute sent the first rescue groups, consisting of volunteer students and teachers. Later, the army and militsiya forces became involved, with planes and helicopters being ordered to join the rescue operation.
On February 26, the searchers found the group's abandoned and badly damaged tent on Kholat Syakhl. Mikhail Sharavin, the student who found the tent, said "the tent was half torn down and covered with snow. It was empty, and all the group's belongings and shoes had been left behind." Investigators said the tent had been cut open from inside. Eight or nine sets of footprints, left by people who were wearing only socks, a single shoe or were even barefoot, could be followed, leading down toward the edge of a nearby woods, on the opposite side of the pass, 1.5 kilometres (0.93 mi) to the north-east. However, after 500 metres (1,600 ft) these tracks were covered with snow. At the forest's edge, under a large cedar, the searchers found the remains of a fire, along with the first two bodies, those of Krivonischenko and Doroshenko, shoeless and dressed only in their underwear. The branches on the tree were broken up to five meters high, suggesting that one of the skiers had climbed up to look for something, perhaps the camp. Between the cedar and the camp the searchers found three more corpses: Dyatlov, Kolmogorova and Slobodin, who seemed to have died in poses suggesting that they were attempting to return to the tent. They were found separately at distances of 300, 480 and 630 meters from the tree.
Searching for the remaining four travelers took more than two months. They were finally found on May 4 under four meters of snow in a ravine 75 meters farther into the woods from the cedar tree. These four were better dressed than the others, and there were signs that those who had died first had apparently relinquished their clothes to the others. Zolotaryov was wearing Dubinina's faux fur coat and hat, while Dubinina's foot was wrapped in a piece of Krivonishenko's wool pants.
A legal inquest started immediately after finding the first five bodies. A medical examination found no injuries which might have led to their deaths, and it was concluded that they had all died ofhypothermia. Slobodin had a small crack in his skull, but it was not thought to be a fatal wound. An examination of the four bodies which were found in May shifted the narrative as to what had occurred during the incident. Three of the ski hikers had fatal injuries: Thibeaux-Brignolles had major skull damage, and both Dubinina and Zolotarev had major chest fractures. According to Dr. Boris Vozrozhdenny, the force required to cause such damage would have been extremely high, comparing it to the force of a car crash. Notably, the bodies had no external wounds related to the bone fractures, as if they had been subjected to a high level of pressure. However, major external injuries were found on Dubinina, who was missing her tongue, eyes, part of the lips, as well as facial tissue and a fragment of skullbone; she also had extensive skin maceration on the hands. It was claimed that Dubinina was found lying face down in a small stream that ran under the snow and that her external injuries were in line withputrefaction in a wet environment, and were unlikely to be related to her death. But photographs of her corpse clearly showed her body was found kneeling against a large boulder, away from running water.
There was initially speculation that the indigenous Mansi people might have attacked and murdered the group for encroaching upon their lands, but investigation indicated that the nature of their deaths did not support this hypothesis; the hikers' footprints alone were visible, and they showed no sign of hand-to-hand struggle. Although the temperature was very low, around −25 to −30 °C (−13 to −22 °F) with a storm blowing, the dead were only partially dressed. Some of them had only one shoe, while others had no shoes or wore only socks. Some were found wrapped in snips of ripped clothes that seemed to have been cut from those who were already dead. Many theories have arisen about the event, from paranormal activity to secret weapons tests, but avalanche damage is considered one of the more plausible explanations for this incident. One scenario under this theory is that moving snow knocked down the tent, ruining the campsite during the night. The party then cut themselves free and attempted to flee. They would likely have come in contact with the snow, which also might have ruined their boots and extra clothing. Being covered in wet snow in sub-freezing temperatures created a serious hazard to survival, with exhaustion or unconsciousness from hypothermia possibly occurring in under 15 minutes. In this scenario, Thibeaux-Brignolles, Dubinina, Zolotariov, and Kolevatov were farther from the site, possibly going to find help despite their remote location, when they fell in the ravine where they were found. Three of these bodies had major fractures, and being the only bodies so injured, it lends credence to the scenario that these injuries were the result of the fall into the ravine.
One supporting factor for this theory is that avalanches are not uncommon on any slope that accumulates snow. Despite claims that the area is not prone to avalanches, slab avalanches do typically occur in new snow, and where human activity is disrupting the snowpack. On the night of the incident, snow was falling, the campsite was situated on a slope, and the campers were disrupting the stability of the snowpack. The tent was also halfway torn down and partially covered with snow – all of which could support the theory of a small avalanche pushing snow into the tent. Possibly negating the avalanche scenario is that investigators saw footprints leading from the campsite, with no obvious avalanche damage noted. However, the footprints could have been preserved if there was no precipitation in the 25 days before the site was discovered, and the supposed avalanche happened after most of the snow fell. Another theory is that wind going around the Holatchahl mountain created a Kármán vortex street, which resulted in infrasounds that have effects on humans. Some people believe it was a military accident which was then covered up, there are records of Parachute Mines being tested by the Russian military in the area around the time the hikers were there. Parachute mines detonate a mile or two before they hit and produce similar damages to those experienced by the hikers, heavy internal damage with very little external trauma. This theory uses animals to explain for the missing nose and tongues of certain victims. People believe the bodies were moved as there are photos of the tent which was apparently incorrectly set up, something these experienced hikers likely wouldn't put up incorrectly.
A new theory suggests that the ski hikers were chased from the tent and killed by atmospheric electricity. They had to leave the tent because of a buildup of static electricity in the form of St. Elmo's fire on the tent, the ski poles, etc., a signal that lightning will strike. Probably there was also an indirect lightning strike that “cut” into pieces the bamboo ski pole that was used as a tent pole, and the tent collapsed. After leaving the tent, the hikers made two mistakes: they gathered under a large cedar tree and lit up a fire against lightning safety regulations and were struck by a lightning bolt. Journalists reporting on the available parts of the inquest files claim that it states: • Six of the group members died of hypothermia and three of fatal injuries. • There were no indications of other people nearby on Kholat Syakhl apart from the nine travelers. • The tent had been ripped open from within. • The victims had died 6 to 8 hours after their last meal. • Traces from the camp showed that all group members left the campsite of their own accord, on foot. • To dispel the theory of an attack by the indigenous Mansi people, Dr. Boris Vozrozhdenny stated that the fatal injuries of the three bodies could not have been caused by another human being, "because the force of the blows had been too strong and no soft tissue had been damaged". • Forensic radiation tests had shown high doses of radioactive contamination on the clothes of a few victims. • Released documents contained no information about the condition of the skiers' internal organs. • There were no survivors of the incident.
The final verdict was that the group members all died because of a compelling natural force. The inquest officially ceased in May 1959 as a result of the absence of a guilty party. The files were sent to a secret archive, and the photocopies of the case became available only in the 1990s, although some parts were missing. Some researchers claim some facts were missed, perhaps ignored, by officials: • 12-year-old Yury Kuntsevich, who would later become head of the Yekaterinburg-based Dyatlov Foundation (see below), attended five of the hikers' funerals, and recalls their skin had a "deep brown tan". • Some of the hikers had gray/white hair and showed signs of premature aging. • Some of the hikers' clothing (2 pants and a sweater) were found to be highly radioactive. • Another group of hikers (about 50 kilometers south of the incident) reported that they saw strange orange spheres in the night sky to the north (likely in the direction of Kholat Syakhl) on the night of the incident. Similar spheres were observed in Ivdel and adjacent areas continually during the period from February to March 1959, by various independent witnesses (including the meteorology service and the military). • Some reports suggest that there was a great deal of scrap metal in and around the area, leading to speculation that the military had utilized the area secretly and might have been engaged in a cover-up. • The last camp of Dyatlov's group was located on a direct path between Baikonur Cosmodrome (where some test launches of the R-7s were executed) to Chyornaya Guba, Novaya Zemlya archipelago (which was a major nuclear testing ground of the Soviet Union).
At around 7:17 a.m. local time, Evenki natives and Russian settlers in the hills northwest of Lake Baikal observed a column of bluish light, nearly as bright as the Sun, moving across the sky. About ten minutes later, there was a flash and a sound similar to artillery fire. Eyewitnesses closer to the explosion reported that the source of the sound moved from the east to the north of them. The sounds were accompanied by a shock wave that knocked people off their feet and broke windows hundreds of kilometres away. The majority of witnesses reported only the sounds and the tremors, and did not report seeing the explosion. Eyewitness accounts vary regarding the sequence and duration of the events. The explosion registered at seismic stations across Eurasia. It is estimated that, in some places, the resulting shock wave was equivalent to an earthquake measuring 5.0 on the Richter scale. It also produced fluctuations in atmospheric pressure strong enough to be detected in Great Britain. Over the next few days, night skies in Asia and Europe were aglow; it has been theorized that this was due to light passing through high-altitude ice particles that had formed at extremely low temperatures—a phenomenon that many years later would be produced by space shuttles. In the United States, the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory and the Mount Wilson Observatory observed a months-long decrease in atmospheric transparency due to an increase in suspended dust particles.
There was little scientific curiosity about the impact at the time, possibly due to the isolation of the Tunguska region. If there were any early expeditions to the site, the records were likely to have been lost during the subsequent chaotic years—World War I, the Russian Revolution of 1917 and the Russian Civil War. The first recorded expedition arrived at the scene more than a decade after the event. In 1921, the Russian mineralogist Leonid Kulik, visiting the Podkamennaya Tunguska River basin as part of a survey for the Soviet Academy of Sciences, deduced from local accounts that the explosion had been caused by a giant meteorite impact. He persuaded the Soviet government to fund an expedition to the Tunguska region, based on the prospect of meteoric iron that could be salvaged to aid Soviet industry. Kulik's party eventually undertook an expedition in 1927.
Upon arrival, Kulik made arrangements with the local Evenki hunters to guide his party to the impact site. Reaching the explosion site was an extremely arduous task. Upon reaching an area just south of the site, the superstitious Evenki hunters would go no farther, fearing what they called the Valleymen. Kulik had to return to the nearby village, and his party was delayed for several days while they sought new guides. The spectacle that confronted Kulik as he stood on a ridge overlooking the devastated area was overwhelming. To the explorers' surprise, no crater was to be found. There was instead around ground zero a vast zone (8 kilometres [5.0 mi] across) of trees scorched and devoid of branches, but standing upright. The trees farther away had been partly scorched and knocked down in a direction away from the centre. Much later, in the 1960s, it was established that the zone of leveled forest occupied an area of some 2,150 square kilometres (830 sq mi), its shape resembling a gigantic spread-eagled butterfly with a "wingspan" of 70 kilometres (43 mi) and a "body length" of 55 kilometres (34 mi). Upon closer examination, Kulik located holes which he erroneously concluded were meteorite holes; however, he did not have the means at that time to excavate the holes.
During the next ten years there were three more expeditions to the area. Kulik found several dozens of little "pothole" bogs, each some 10 to 50 metres (33 to 164 ft) in diameter, that he thought might be meteoric craters. After a laborious exercise in draining one of these bogs (the so-called "Suslov’s crater", 32 metres [105 ft] in diameter), he found there was an old stumpon the bottom, ruling out the possibility that it was a meteoric crater. In 1938, Kulik arranged for an aerial photographic survey of the area covering the central part of the leveled forest (some 250 square kilometres [97 sq mi]). The negatives of these aerial photographs (1,500 negatives, each 18 by 18 centimetres [7.1 by 7.1 in]) were burned in 1975 by order ofYevgeny Krinov, then Chairman of the Committee on Meteorites of the USSR Academy of Sciences. It was done under the pretext that they were a fire hazard, but the truth may have been the active dislike by official meteorite specialists of anything associated with The Tunguska event, which was seen as an unyielding enigma. However, positive imprints were preserved for further studies in the Russian city of Tomsk.
Expeditions sent to the area in the 1950s and 1960s found microscopic silicate and magnetite spheres in siftings of the soil. Similar spheres were predicted to exist in the felled trees, although they could not be detected by contemporary means. Later expeditions did identify such spheres in the resin of the trees. Chemical analysis showed that the spheres contained high proportions of nickel relative to iron, which is also found in meteorites, leading to the conclusion they were of extraterrestrial origin. The concentration of the spheres in different regions of the soil was also found to be consistent with the expected distribution of debris from a meteorite air burst. Later studies of the spheres found unusual ratios of numerous other metals relative to the surrounding environment, which was taken as further evidence of their extraterrestrial origin.
Chemical analysis of peat bogs from the area also revealed numerous anomalies considered consistent with an impact event. The isotopic signatures of stable carbon, hydrogen, and nitrogen isotopes at the layer of the bogs corresponding to 1908 were found to be inconsistent with the isotopic ratios measured in the adjacent layers, and this abnormality was not found in bogs located outside the area. The region of the bogs showing these anomalous signatures also contains an unusually high proportion of iridium, similar to the iridium layer found in the Cretaceous–Paleogene boundary. These unusual proportions are believed to result from debris from the falling body that deposited in the bogs. The nitrogen is believed to have been deposited as acid rain, a suspected fallout from the explosion.
The Flannan Isles mystery was the disappearance of three lighthouse keepers in 1900 who vanished from their duty stations, leaving behind equipment important to surviving the hostile conditions at that location and time of year.
The first hint of anything untoward on the Flannan Isles came on 15 December 1900. The steamer Archtor on passage from Philadelphia to Leith passed the islands in poor weather and noted that the light was not operational. This was reported on arrival at Oban, although no immediate action seems to have been taken. The island lighthouse was manned by a three-man team (Thomas Marshall, James Ducat, and Donald MacArthur), with a rotating fourth man spending time on shore. The relief vessel, the lighthouse tender Hesperus, was unable to set out on a routine visit from Lewis planned for 20 December due to adverse weather and did not arrive until noon on Boxing Day (26 December). On arrival, the crew and relief keeper found that the flagstaff was bare of its flag, none of the usual provision boxes had been left on the landing stage for re-stocking, and more ominously, none of the lighthouse keepers were there to welcome them ashore. Jim Harvie, captain of the Hesperus, gave a strident blast on his whistle and set off a distress flare, but no reply was forthcoming.
A boat was launched and Joseph Moore, the relief keeper, was put ashore alone. He found the entrance gate to the compound and main door both closed, the beds unmade, and the clock stopped. Returning to the landing stage with this grim news, he then went back up to the lighthouse with the Hesperus's second-mate and a seaman. A further search revealed that the lamps were cleaned and refilled. A set of oilskins was found, suggesting that one of the keepers had left the lighthouse without them, which was surprising considering the severity of the weather on the date of the last entry in the lighthouse log. The only sign of anything amiss in the lighthouse was an overturned chair by the kitchen table. Of the keepers there was no sign, neither inside the lighthouse nor anywhere on the island. Moore and three volunteer seamen were left to attend the light and the Hesperus returned to the shore station at Breasclete. Captain Harvie sent a telegram to the Northern Lighthouse Board dated 26 December 1900, stating: A dreadful accident has happened at the Flannans. The three keepers, Ducat, Marshall and the Occasional have disappeared from the Island... The clocks were stopped and other signs indicated that the accident must have happened about a week ago. Poor fellows they must have been blown over the cliffs or drowned trying to secure a crane or something like that.
The men remaining on the island scoured every corner for clues as to the fate of the keepers. At the east landing everything was intact, but the west landing provided considerable evidence of damage caused by recent storms. A box at 33 metres (108 ft) above sea level had been broken and its contents strewn about; iron railings were bent over, the iron railway by the path was wrenched out of its concrete, and a rock weighing more than a ton had been displaced above that. On top of the cliff at more than 60 metres (200 ft) above sea level, turf had been ripped away as far as 10 metres (33 ft) from the cliff edge. The missing keepers had kept their log until 9 a.m. on 15 December, however, and their entries made it clear that the damage had occurred before the disappearance of the writers.
No bodies were ever found and the loneliness of the rocky islets may have lent itself to feverish imaginings. Theories abounded and resulted in "fascinated national speculation". Some, simply were elaborations on the truth. For example, the events were commemorated in Wilfrid Wilson Gibson's 1912 ballad, Flannan Isle. The poem refers erroneously to an uneaten meal laid out on the table, indicating that the keepers had been suddenly disturbed. Yet, as we crowded through the door We only saw a table spread For dinner, meat, and cheese and bread; But, all untouched; and no-one there, As though, when they sat down to eat, Ere they could even taste, Alarm had come, and they in haste Had risen and left the bread and meat, For at the table head a chair Lay tumbled on the floor. However, Nicholson (1995) makes it clear that this does not square with Moore's recorded observations of the scene, which state that: "The kitchen utensils were all very clean, which is a sign that it must be after dinner some time they left." Other less plausible rumours ensued—that one keeper had murdered the other two and then thrown himself into the sea in a fit of remorse; that a sea serpent (or giant sea bird) had carried the men away; that they had been abducted by foreign spies; or that they had met their fate through the malevolent presence of a boat filled with ghosts—and the baleful influence of the "Phantom of the Seven Hunters" was widely suspected locally.
On 29 December, Robert Muirhead, a Northern Lighthouse Board (NLB) superintendent, arrived to conduct the official investigation into the incident. The explanation offered by Muirhead is more prosaic than the fanciful rumours suggested. He examined the clothing left behind in the lighthouse and concluded that James Ducat and Thomas Marshall had gone down to the western landing stage, and that Donald MacArthur (the 'Occasional') had left the lighthouse during heavy rain in his shirt sleeves. He noted that whoever left the light last and unattended, was in breach of NLB rules. He also noted that some of the damage to the west landing was “difficult to believe unless actually seen”. From evidence which I was able to procure I was satisfied that the men had been on duty up till dinner time on Saturday the 15th of December, that they had gone down to secure a box in which the mooring ropes, landing ropes etc. were kept, and which was secured in a crevice in the rock about 110 ft (34 m) above sea level, and that an extra large sea had rushed up the face of the rock, had gone above them, and coming down with immense force, had swept them completely away. Whether this explanation brought any comfort to the families of the lost keepers is unknown. The deaths of Thomas Marshall, James Ducat (who left a widow and four children), and Donald MacArthur (who left a widow and two children) cast a shadow over the lighthouse service for many years.
Mudgett was born in Gilmanton, New Hampshire, on May 16, 1861, to Levi Horton Mudgett and Theodate Page Price, both of whom were descended from the first European settlers in the area. Mudgett was his parents' third-born child; he had an older sister Ellen, an older brother Arthur, and a younger brother Henry. Mudgett's father was a farmer from a farming family, and his parents were devout Methodists.] According to the 2007 Most Evil profile on Holmes, his father was a violent alcoholic. Mudgett claimed that, as a child, classmates forced him to view and touch a human skeleton after discovering his fear of the local doctor. The bullies initially brought him there to scare him, but Erik Larson speculates that instead he was utterly fascinated, and he soon became obsessed with death. On July 4, 1878, Mudgett married Clara Lovering in Alton, New Hampshire; their son, Robert Lovering Mudgett, was born on February 3, 1880, in Loudon, New Hampshire. (As an adult, Robert was to become a certified public accountant, and served as city manager of Orlando, Florida.) Mudgett graduated from the University of Michigan Medical School in June 1884 after passing his examinations. While enrolled, he stole bodies from the laboratory, disfigured the bodies, and claimed that the people were killed accidentally in order to collect insurance money from policies he took out on each deceased person. He moved to Chicago to pursue a career in pharmaceuticals. It was also at this time that Mudgett began engaging in many shady businesses, real estate, and promotional deals under the name "H.H. Holmes."
On January 28, 1887, while he was still married to Clara, Holmes married Myrta Belknap (b. October 1862 in Pennsylvania) in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He filed for divorce from Clara a few weeks after marrying Myrta, but the divorce was never finalized. Holmes had a daughter with Myrta, Lucy Theodate Holmes, who was born on July 4, 1889, in Englewood, Illinois. (As an adult, Lucy became a public schoolteacher.) Holmes lived with Myrta and Lucy in Wilmette, Illinois, and spent most of his time in Chicago tending to business. Holmes married Georgiana Yoke on January 17, 1894, in Denver, Colorado, while still married to Clara and Myrta. He also had a relationship with Julia Smythe, the wife of one of his former employees. Julia would later become one of Holmes's victims.
Holmes arrived in Chicago in August 1886 and came across Dr. Elizabeth S. Holton's drugstore at the northwest corner of S. Wallace Avenue and W. 63rd Street in the Englewood neighborhood. Holton gave Holmes a job, and he proved himself to be a hardworking employee. After the death of Holton's husband, Holmes offered to buy the drugstore from Holton, and she agreed. Holmes purchased the store mainly with funds obtained by mortgaging the store's fixtures and stock, the loan to be repaid in substantial monthly installments of one hundred dollars (worth $2,625 today). Holmes purchased a lot across from the drugstore where he built his three-story, block-long "castle" as it was dubbed by those in the neighborhood. The address of the Castle was 601-603 W. 63rd St. It was called the World's Fair Hotel and opened as a hostelry for the World's Columbian Exposition in 1893, with part of the structure devoted to commercial space. The ground floor of the Castle contained Holmes' own relocated drugstore and various shops, while the upper two floors contained his personal office and a maze of over 100 windowless rooms with doorways opening to brick walls, oddly-angled hallways, stairways to nowhere, doors openable only from the outside, and a host of other strange and labyrinthine constructions. Holmes repeatedly changed builders during the construction of the Castle, so only he fully understood the design of the house. During the period of building construction in 1889, Holmes met Benjamin Pitezel, a carpenter with a past of lawbreaking, whom Holmes exploited as a stooge for his criminal schemes. A district attorney later described Pitezel as Holmes' "tool… his creature."
After the completion of the hotel, Holmes selected mostly female victims from among his employees (many of whom were required as a condition of employment to take out life insurance policies, for which Holmes would pay the premiums but was also the beneficiary), as well as his lovers and hotel guests, whom he would later kill. Some were locked in soundproof bedrooms fitted with gas lines that let him asphyxiate them at any time. Other victims were locked in a huge soundproof bank vault near his office, where they were left to suffocate. The victims' bodies were dropped by secret chute to the basement, where some were meticulously dissected, stripped of flesh, crafted into skeleton models, and then sold to medical schools. Holmes also cremated some of the bodies or placed them in lime pits for destruction. Holmes had two giant furnaces as well as pits of acid, bottles of various poisons, and even a stretching rack. Through the connections he had gained in medical school, he sold skeletons and organs with little difficulty.
Following the World's Fair with creditors closing in and the economy in a general slump, Holmes left Chicago. He reappeared in Fort Worth, Texas, where he had inherited property from two railroad heiress sisters, to one of whom he had promised marriage and both of whom he murdered. There, he sought to construct another castle along the lines of his Chicago operation. However, he soon abandoned this project. He continued to move throughout the United States and Canada. The only murders verified during this period were those of his longtime associate Benjamin Pitezel and three of Pitezel's children. In July 1894, Holmes was arrested and briefly incarcerated for the first time, for a horse swindle that ended in St. Louis. He was promptly bailed out, but while in jail, he struck up a conversation with a convicted train robber named Marion Hedgepeth, who was serving a 25-year sentence. Holmes had concocted a plan to swindle an insurance company out of $10,000 by taking out a policy on himself and then faking his death. Holmes promised Hedgepeth a $500 commission in exchange for the name of a lawyer who could be trusted. Holmes was directed to a young St. Louis attorney named Jeptha Howe. Jeptha Howe was in practice with his older brother, Alphonso Howe, who had no involvement with Holmes or Pitezel or their fraudulent activities. Jeptha Howe, however, found Holmes' scheme brilliant. Nevertheless, Holmes' plan to fake his own death failed when the insurance company became suspicious and refused to pay. Holmes did not press the claim; instead he concocted a similar plan with his associate, Benjamin Pitezel.
Pitezel had agreed to fake his own death so that his wife could collect on a $10,000 life insurance policy, which she was to split with Holmes and the unscrupulous attorney, Jeptha Howe. The scheme, which was to take place in Philadelphia, was that Pitezel would set himself up as an inventor, under the name B.F. Perry, and then be killed and disfigured in a lab explosion. Holmes was to find an appropriate cadaver to play the role of Pitezel. Holmes instead killed Pitezel, and proceeded to collect the insurance payout on the basis of the genuine Pitezel corpse. Holmes then went on to manipulate Pitezel's unsuspecting wife into allowing three of her five children (Alice, Nellie, and Howard) to be in his custody. The eldest daughter and the baby remained with Mrs. Pitezel. Forensic evidence presented at Holmes' later trial showed that chloroform had been administered after Pitezel's death, presumably to fake suicide that the insurance company was unaware of and that possibly could exonerate Holmes were he to be charged with murder. (Pitezel had been an alcoholic and chronic depressive, so suicide would not be implausible. Life insurance carries a "suicide clause" that prevents a payout if the policy were issued within two years of the insured's suicide.)
Holmes and the three Pitezel children traveled throughout the northern United States and into Canada. Simultaneously, he escorted Mrs. Pitezel along a parallel route, all the while using various aliases and lying to Mrs. Pitezel concerning her husband's death (claiming that Pitezel was in hiding in London), as well as lying to her about the true whereabouts of her three missing children. InDetroit, just prior to entering Canada, they were only separated by a few blocks.] In an even more audacious move, Holmes was staying at another location with his wife - who was ignorant of the whole affair. A Philadelphia detective, Frank Geyer, had tracked Holmes, finding the decomposed bodies of the two Pitezel girls in Toronto buried in the cellar at 16 St. Vincent Street. He then followed Holmes to Indianapolis, where Holmes had rented a cottage. Holmes was reported to have visited a local pharmacy to purchase the drugs which he used to kill Howard Pitezel, and a repair shop to sharpen the knives he used to chop up the body before he burned it. The boy's teeth and bits of bone were discovered in the home's chimney.
In 1894, the police were tipped off by Holmes' former cellmate, Marion Hedgepeth, whom Holmes had neglected to pay off as promised for his help in providing attorney Jeptha Howe. Holmes' murder spree finally ended when he was arrested in Boston on November 17, 1894, after being tracked there from Philadelphia by the Pinkertons. He was held on an outstanding warrant for horse theft in Texas, as the authorities had little more than suspicions at this point and Holmes appeared poised to flee the country, in the company of his unsuspecting third wife. After the custodian for the Castle informed police that he was never permitted to clean the upper floors, police began a thorough investigation over the course of the next month, uncovering Holmes' efficient methods of committing murders and then disposing of the corpses. The number of his victims has been estimated between 20 and 100, and even as high as 200, based upon missing persons reports of the time as well as the testimony of Holmes' neighbors, who reported seeing him accompany unidentified young women into his hotel—young women whom they never saw exit. The discrepancy in numbers can perhaps best be attributed to the fact that a great many people came to Chicago to see the World's Fair but, for one reason or another, never returned home. The only verified number is 27, although police had commented that some of the bodies in the basement were so badly dismembered and decomposed that it was difficult to tell how many bodies there actually were. Holmes' victims were mainly women (and primarily blonde), but included some men and children.
Holmes sat in prison in Philadelphia after confessing to the insurance scam, while sentencing was put off until after the trial of his co-conspirator in the insurance fraud, attorney Jeptha D. Howe. Meanwhile, Chicago police had begun an investigation of his operations in that city, as the Philadelphia police sought to unravel the Pitezel situation—in particular, the fate of the three missing Pitezel children, Alice, Nellie and Howard. Philadelphia detective Frank Geyer was tasked with finding answers. His quest for the children, like the search of Holmes' Castle in Chicago, received wide publicity. His eventual discovery of their remains essentially sealed Holmes' fate, at least in the public mind. In October 1895, Holmes was put on trial for the murder of Benjamin Pitezel, was found guilty and sentenced to death. By then, it was evident that Holmes had also murdered the Pitezel children. Following his conviction for murdering Benjamin Pitezel, Holmes confessed to 30 murders in Chicago, Indianapolis and Toronto (though some he confessed to murdering were, in fact, still living), and six attempted murders. Holmes was paid US$7,500 (worth $212,610 today) by the Hearst Newspapers in exchange for his confession. Holmes gave various contradictory accounts of his life, initially claiming innocence and later that he was possessed by Satan. His faculty for lying has made it difficult for researchers to ascertain the truth on the basis of his statements.
On May 7, 1896, Holmes was hanged at Moyamensing Prison, also known as the Philadelphia County Prison, for the murder of Benjamin Pitezel. Until the moment of his death, Holmes remained calm and amiable, showing very few signs of fear, anxiety or depression. Holmes' neck did not snap; he instead was strangled to death slowly, twitching for over 15 minutes before being pronounced dead 20 minutes after the trap had been sprung. On New Year's Eve 1909, Marion Hedgepeth, who had been pardoned for informing on Holmes, was shot and killed by Edward Jaburek, a police officer, during a holdup at a Chicago saloon. Then, on March 7, 1914, the Chicago Tribune reported that, with the death of the former caretaker of the Murder Castle, Pat Quinlan, "the mysteries of Holmes' Castle" would remain unexplained. Quinlan had committed suicide by taking strychnine. Quinlan's surviving relatives claimed that he had been "haunted" for several months before his death and could not sleep. The Murder Castle was mysteriously gutted by fire in August 1895, and was finally razed in 1938.
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