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Sedlec Ossuary

Catholics are weird. My family’s Catholic from way, way back. They all know it’s weird, but they stick with it because it’s a family/traditional thing. (My great-grandma had sixteen kids, if that tells you anything. No multiple births. That’s right, grimace in pain, ladies.) I mean, when you’re dealing with a 2,000 year old church that doesn’t like to contradict itself, even on stuff from centuries ago, you’re gonna get some strange shit in there.


You know, stuff like this.

But, as with any religious group, there are some people who take it to a whole new level of madness. For example, in the Czech Republic, about 45 miles east of Prague, there’s a nice little Baroque cathedral, the kind the Czech Republic is famous for, in a town called Sedlec. It’s called Hřbitovní kostel Všech Svatých,or Cemetery Church of All Saints. Once upon a time, this was a normal little church with a normal little cemetery, but, in the year 1278, an Abbot named Henry had to go and make things crazy.

On a visit to Jerusalem, Henry visited Golgotha (the hill where Jesus was crucified) and took a jar-full of soil back to Sedlec. He then spread the soil all through the cemetery. This simple act of piety led to a sensation. Soon, every sick guy in Eastern Europe wanted to be buried in the Sedlec Cemetery because, rumor had it, if you were buried at Sedlec, you got into heaven, no matter what.


There’s a movie plot in there somewhere, I just know it.

By 1318, just 40 years later, over 30,000 people were buried in Sedlec’s cemetery. Just like pants with too much ass in them, something had to give. What could the monks be expected to do with so many bodies? They were already burying them inches apart and had expanded the perimeter of the cemetery grounds to larger and larger spaces around the chapel. And then, like sprinkles on top of a big shit sundae, this little thing called the Black Death happened.


Is that Waldo in the lower right?

But that was more like a big backhoe full of shit over a shit sundae. The Black Death killed approximately 100 million people throughout Europe, nearly 25% of the entire continent. Suddenly, cartfuls of corpses were lined up at Sedlec. The monks knew they had to do something. Finally, one of them had a brilliant idea. They’d convert the basement level to an ossuary and store the bodies inside the building. They all agreed, probably because they were out of other options since the Vatican had advised them not to deny anyone who wished to be buried there. They dug up the graves immediately surrounding the chapel (those were the people who’d been buried the earliest) and used that land to expand the new chapel. Once that was done, they got a half-blind monk to cart the bodies of the dead inside. Since they were the longest-buried, they had all turned to nothing more than skeletons at that point, making them pretty easy to store.


“Put ‘em with the others.”

This seemed like a perfectly good solution. Every couple of years, they’d clean out another section of the cemetery and start burying new people there, giving everyone a chance to be buried on holy ground. Then they’d move on to the next oldest section, then the next, and so on. If that happened today, you better believe it’d be shit-storm city, but apparently everyone was okay with it, and it kept on going for 500 years. But in 1870, the then-current monks felt that the chapel had become a bit unseemly, and ordered a local woodcarver, František Rint, to spruce the place up a little. After his work was done, he’d organized all the bones into some nice… art? Yep, Rint had decided to use the bones to decorate the building itself. It looks exactly like you’d imagine a church decorated with bones would.


“Hey, hey, who won the skeleton beauty contest? NO BODY!”

Sure, it doesn’t look so bad. I mean, it’s a little grotesque, but hey…


“What’s a skeleton’s favorite instrument? A TROM-BONE!”

Wow, yeah, that’s totally a tunnel of bones. I guess there is some pretty crazy stuff in th…


“Yeah, that’s a ROTTEN one, but it really TICKLES MY FUNNY BONE! Eh? Eh?”
“…Do they all do this?”


Holy fucking horrifying. Is that a pyramid of dead fucks? Why yes, yes it is. Oh, and don’t miss the chandelier.


“Why couldn’t the skeleton cross the road? HE DIDN’T HAVE THE GUTS! …Hey, where are you going?”

It may look like something out of a nightmare contractor’s catalog, but it has at least one of every single bone in the human body. Rint even used bones to construct the coat-of-arms of the family who hired him.


“I guess our humor was too DRY! HAHAHAH!”
“Holy fuck Steve, shut up already.”

The monks apparently loved it, because the ossuary is still open today and has frequent tours. It’s been described as “the creepiest place on Earth” and has been used for location filming for such masterpieces as the Dungeons & Dragons movie. (Personally, I find the D&D movie more pants-shittingly disgusting, but whatever.) Make sure to check out the links under Sources, because just describing it and throwing a handful of pictures at you doesn’t do it justice. There are some really great photo galleries available. (Also, presumably, you don’t have to put up with skeleton puns.)

Sources:
Wikipedia (Decorated with the bones of past admins)
Frisco’s Kutna Hora – The Sedlec Ossuary page
Environmental Graffiti

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The 1976 Tehran UFO Incident

Common knowledge states that only dumb, toothless rednecks see UFOs, typically after a milk jug full of whiskey and/or a few puffs of meth. That’s the stereotype, right? Some hillbilly talking about how he saw a bright light and then it went away, and the next morning he found his cows fucked to death by some mad, cow-fucking aliens.


How udder-ly depraved.

Or the new-age crazy bastards who say the aliens abducted them, stuck shit in them, and made them fuck cows to death. Those people always seem like wackos, right? But what if there was a UFO sighting involving multiple civilian witnesses in several areas, as well as military personnel on the ground and in the air? That’s a bit more interesting. And what if it happened in Tehran, Iran?


“Surprise, motherfuckers.”

“What if Iran is just fucking with us, though? They kinda don’t like us.” Well, in 1976, the Iranian Revolution hadn’t occurred yet and the Shah was still in power, so our relationship with them back then was actually quite good. (The Shah was very pro-Western. The folks who didn’t like his ideas are the ones who overthrew him in 1979 and are in charge now.) They shared quite a lot of intelligence with us, including the 1976 Tehran info.

According to reports made at the time, the event occurred around 3:00am Tehran time on September 19, 1976. An Imperial Iranian Air Force base near the city received four phone calls within a matter of minutes about an odd light in the sky, described as being like a helicopter. Seeing no helicopters were scheduled to be in the sky at the time, they contacted the assistant deputy commander of operations, General Yousefi. Yousefi first assumed that the light was nothing but a very bright star, but upon taking a look outside himself, saw an object far larger than any star he’d ever seen, and ordered a pilot to go up and take a look.


“Anyone wanna go see what that is?” “Fuck no.”

The pilot, Captain Mohammad Reza Azizkhani, approached the light, but his navigation, communication, and electrical systems began to go haywire. He turned back toward the base, at which time his instruments returned to normal function. He set down his plane anyway, fearing some failure that could potentially make him crash. Ten minutes later, the base sent a second plane. That second plane, piloted by Lieutenant Parviz Jafari, got close enough to acquire radar lock. As he got closer, however, the object moved further and further away. Jafari later said that the object had four lights that flashed red, green, blue, and orange in a sequence, but so quickly that all four were visible at all times.


“Have Jeff Goldblum stand down. Looks like these boys are running Windows.”

While following the object, a second, smaller object seemed to fall from the original. Jafari, thinking he was under attack, attempted to fire a missile, but his weapons, communications, and other instrumentation immediately shut down. (That’s right, see a UFO, shoot at it.) He then tried to eject, but even that malfunctioned. Finally, out of options, Jafari initiated a nose dive. The secondary object followed him briefly, then returned to the larger object. His electrical and weapons systems came back online afterward. He pulled out of the dive and turned back toward the object. He then saw yet another smaller object come off the other side of the UFO, which immediately dropped gently to the ground. Jafari later said that it was bright enough to see the individual rocks on the ground around it. He tried to follow the main object for a time, but even at Mach 2, it was easily far faster.

Jafari turned back to base and saw another bright light overflying his position. The UFO appeared to be following him. He reported it to the control tower at the base, but nothing showed on radar. However, technicians were easily able to see out the window and observe it themselves. They described it as cylinder shaped, and about the size of a bus. A civilian flight passing through the area also reported electrical failures and loss of communication.

Countdown-destroyed
Meanwhile, in the South Pacific…

Shortly after Jafari landed, the UFO flew over the base’s control tower, knocking out all power until it finally disappeared. Most of the rest of the base was unaffected. The following day, military officials visited the spot where the tertiary object touched down, but found no sign of it. Several radiological and other tests were done, but these results were not made public. They did discover, though, that an extremely similar object, presumably the same one, had been seen by an Egyptian Air Force pilot over the Mediterranean Sea about half an hour later, again over Lisbon, Portugal by a KLM Royal Dutch flight crew and passengers an hour later, and, finally, four hours later, in Morocco by local police and American embassy officials. In addition, the American DSP-1 Satellite detected an unexplained infrared phenomenon over Iran for about a half an hour during the incident. The cause of that anomaly is still unknown.

After their investigation concluded, the Iranian government decided it might be best to let the U.S. look at the intel on it. After all, this kinda thing was rumored to happen there all the time, right? The U.S. military sent some officers over who looked at the evidence, did a couple of interviews, and prepared a four-page report detailing the information given to them by the Iranian Imperial Air Force, then took it back home and showed it around a bit. The White House, CIA, NSA, Secretary of State, and the Joint Chiefs of Staff all got a look at it. Unfortunately, all the official files from the Iranian government were probably destroyed during the Iranian Revolution and are now lost.


“Oopsy. My bad.”

All the parties involved still swear to what they saw that night, and so far no inconsistencies have turned up in their testimony. Lt. Jafari, who is now a retired General, has repeatedly called for further investigations into UFO phenomena. To this day, the Tehran UFO Incident remains one of the best documented and most puzzling UFO encounters. Skeptics have come forward with a few theories, but most are little more than “everyone is lying/stupid”, which is always a possibility, but you can use that to win any debate.

glenn-beck1
I’m just sayin’.

Sources:
Wikipedia (At least you don’t have to worry about shitty cow puns there.)

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Murder Monday: Consensual Homicides

Every Monday, Weird Shit Blog features an usual crime, death, murder, or disappearance in a feature I call Murder Monday.

It’s true, you can find anything on the internet. Inanimate objects in intimate positions, amputees dancing, little kids belting out racial slurs like it’s an 1850s Klan meeting, squids fighting dogs. If it exists, it’s on the internet, and that includes any kind of fucked-up kink you can imagine. Ever checked the “casual encounters” section on Craigslist? Holy fuck, some people are crazy. Ads for any combination of shape, size, race, whatever, many asking for really, really weird stuff.


“Hey, if I beat off on this dude’s model trains we don’t have to spend $6.50 on imitation crab next week.”

People even put up ads for rape fantasies, i.e., consenting for someone to pretend to break into your house and “rape” you, sometimes anonymously. Several years ago, a man got briefly internet-famous for putting up an eBay ad offering to let someone beat the shit out of him. Of course, though, there always has to be that one person who takes it too far. (Or, in this case, two people.) In recent years, authorities in various countries have discovered people taking out ads or posting on message boards asking for what’s now being referred to as consensual homicide.


“I want you to force feed me this donkey, then choke me with the reins. IT WILL BE AWESOME.”

Of course, comparisons have been made to euthanasia, but there’s a slight difference in that these people are A) perfectly healthy and B) usually want to be killed in a violent fashion, not with pills or an overstuffed hospital pillow. Legally, murder is murder, and anyone caught committing these crimes, whether the victim was down with it or not, is going to jail. But critics of pro-euthanasia and/or pro-suicide groups say that, if euthanasia were to be legalized, this could be the next battleground in a trend toward picking and choosing when, where, and how you leave this world.

To date, two cases have become prominent examples of consensual homicide. One comes from the United States and one from Germany.

Sharon Lopatka

In 1996, entrepreneur Sharon Lopatka of Hampstead, Maryland began searching the internet for someone to torture and kill her. Previously, she had been involved with porn rings that featured videos of men raping unconscious women, and so used some of those same communities to seek out someone who’d be totally cool with murdering her. That someone was computer analyst Bobby Glass, of Lenoir, North Carolina.


Not pictured: Foresight

On October 13, 1996, Lopatka took a train from Maryland to North Carolina. For the next three days, Glass tortured her and finally killed her with a nylon cord, just like she asked. She told her husband she was going to visit relatives for a week, but he eventually find a note describing her true intentions.


“Honey, going to get killed. Won’t be back. Dinner is in the oven.”

Her husband called the police, and they quickly found and traced her correspondence to Glass. When they investigated his trailer, they found Lopatka buried in a 2 ½ foot deep grave nearby. In 2000, Glass pled guilty to a reduced manslaughter charge (plus charges of second-degree sexual exploitation of a minor for kiddie porn found on his computer) and got a maximum of 79 weeks in jail. He died of a heart attack two weeks before his release.

Armin Meiwes

Instead of finding someone to kill him, Armin Meiwes decided to do things the other way around and attempt to find someone willing to be killed and eaten. Eaten? Yep, Meiwes was a frequent contributor to Cannibal Cafe, a web forum dedicated to cannibalism fantasies. (Note the fantasy part. That’s important.) Meiwes made a few posts advertising his desire, but everyone he spoke with backed on when they found out that he was for real.


Unsubstantiated rumors say that Serious Cat was attached to much of Meiwes’ correspondence.

But Meiwes finally found his victim in Bernd Jürgen Brandes. They agreed to meet on March 9, 2001 at Meiwes’ home in Rotenberg, Germany. There, Meiwes first attempted to bite off Brandes’ penis, but failed to do so. He did, however, manage to rupture both of his testicles with his teeth. (Hope none of you guys were gonna ride a bike later or anything.) Finally, he amputated Brandes’ penis and the two attempted once again to eat it, first raw, and then cooked. Unfortunately for the two of them, Meiwes is apparently a shitty cook and burned it, then fed it to his dog. (Thus proving that dogs will eat fucking anything.)


You couldn’t get pissed at that dog and tell it to eat a dick ever again.

Meiwes then read a Star Trek novel (What else would you read in that situation?) while letting Brandes bleed out in the bathtub. Finally, three hours later, Meiwes took Brandes into a back room, stabbed him in the throat, placed him on a meathook, and removed several pounds of his flesh to consume later, which he placed under pizza boxes in his freezer. (There’s some sort of Soylent Green/Digiorno joke in there.)

Apparently, no one ever came looking for Brandes, because Meiwes wasn’t arrested for nearly two years after the murder. In fact, the only reason he even got caught was because he went back to Cannibal Cafe and a few other boards, posted ads for new victims, and bragged about his escapades with Brandes. As we’ve established in the past, this is a bad idea. A college student saw the messages and, surprisingly, actually believed Meiwes. (Come on, who really believes every stupid thing they read on the internet?) He called the police who, after looking into the matter, found there really was a man named Bernd Jürgen Brandes who had gone missing and that the forum posts in question did exist. They went to Meiwes’ house to look around and found body parts and a videotape Meiwes made of the whole incident.


“Oh, that? It’s just old episodes of Knight Rider, I swear.”

Meiwes was originally tried for manslaughter, but later was retried for murder. He’s currently serving a life sentence and has assisted police on profiling other cannibals. In addition, he claims that he believes there to be 800 or more cannibals currently living in Germany. (How he came to this number is unknown. Maybe a head count at the Cannibals Anonymous meeting?) Since his imprisonment, he has expressed regret for his crime and also converted to veganism.


“Real funny, motherfuckers.”

Sources:
TruTV Crime Library
Wikipedia (Where consent is everything)

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Video: The Ten Steps

Alrighty boys and girls, I’m gonna take the night off to work on some other things that I’ve been slacking on. Since I don’t wanna be a dick and just leave you hanging, I’ll post a very nice short horror film that aired on BBC Two in 2004.

The Ten Steps, by Irish filmmaker Brendan Muldowney, is the story of a young girl who’s terrified of the basement of her new house after other children at school tell her the Devil himself was seen in it once upon a time. One night, she’s left at home by her parents to babysit her brother. When all the power is knocked out, she has to face her fear in order to go into the basement and access the fuse box. Enjoy!

(Sorry about the quality, the only other one available has Japanese subtitles and cuts off the ending.)

Why would the Devil be in someone’s basement? Does he need to borrow their drill?

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The Max Headroom Incident

They say you’re either a Coke guy/girl or a Pepsi guy/girl. (Me, I’m neither, because I don’t give a fuck, but my wife likes Coke, so I guess I’m a Coke guy by default.) This is a battle that’s been fought for ages, a mythical conflict of epic stakes to win the hearts of sugary, caffeinated drink buyers everywhere.


Before it was HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP! BWAHAH! (This is the scariest corn picture I could find.)

In this fierce war, both the Coca Cola Company and PepsiCo have pulled some stupid moves, but none is quite as infamous as New Coke. In the halcyon days of 1985, some dweeb in Coke’s marketing department decided it’d be a good idea to change the formula of their flagship product, without considering that people might actually like the way it tastes. Instead, they felt it prudent to make it taste a bit more like ass, and New Coke was born. For 3 whole months, the world was a different place. Coke wasn’t Coke anymore, and shit just got crazy.


Ways to not impress your customers: Tell them their taste sucks.

But New Coke failed, and miserably. They brought the old Coke back (but minus sugar, which is a conspiracy theory all its own.) But Coca-Cola Classic didn’t completely replace it. No, they decided to keep on making that shit for a while. When numbers started to flag, Coke needed a spokesperson for their obscene form of alchemy. They couldn’t find an appropriate one since no one could be paid enough to hock New Coke, so they decided to borrow one who wouldn’t bitch: A computer-generated character with a programmable voice and movements… but this was 1987 and that technology didn’t exist yet, so he was really just a dude with a bunch of shit stuck to him.


“Can we stop? I’ve really gotta Catch the wave like a motherfucker.”

His name was Max Headroom, and he wasn’t computer generated at all. He was an actor named Matt Frewer in some latex and prosthetics with a cheap stutter effect put on his voice. His show, cleverly titled uh… Max Headroom, was a cult hit, and they figured he’d make a great spokesperson for their flailing brand. Oddly, his appearances in New Coke commercials (and occasional VJ spots on MTV) were far more popular and memorable than his TV show.


“I was in The Lawnmower Man 2. Seriously.”

So now that I’ve caught all you kids who never even saw the 80s up on some ancient history, let’s talk about the 1987 Chicago Area Broadcast Signal Intrusion Incident, commonly known as The Max Headroom Incident.

On November 22, 1987, Chicago’s WGN (Yeah, that same one you get on cable if you live anywhere at all in the central time zone) experienced a broadcast interruption during the 9 o’clock news. Their signal was overtaken by a video feed that showed a man in a Max Headroom Halloween mask in front of a piece of corrugated metal swaying back and forth, mimicking the background geometric shapes seen in Max Headroom’s television appearances. There was no audio, only a buzzing noise. WGN engineers went around the signal and returned the feed to the news, where the anchors were confused and flustered, but continued on regardless.

But the hijacker, apparently upset that he couldn’t get his audio feed online and got cut-off mid-stream, tried again. He later interrupted a broadcast of Dr. Who on the Chicago area PBS station, WTTW, at approximately 11:15. This is what viewers saw:

Rumors that Max Headroom subsequently found his way into Dr. Who fan erotica are unsubstantiated.

WTTW engineers claimed that they, unlike WGN’s engineers, could not stop the signal, and that before they could work out a solution, the broadcast was over. The hijackers were never identified and no one has officially come forward. The following evening on the CBS news, WGN’s director of engineering commented, “It takes a significant amount of power levels to achieve this kind of an interference.” At the time, it was estimated that the equipment necessary to pirate the stations’ signals might have cost $25,000 or more. The FCC and the FBI both were unable to come to any reasonable conclusion as to who committed the hijack, much less why or even exactly how it was done. The statute of limitations on the crime has now passed, meaning that the culprit could come forward if he wanted.


“It’s true. I love the statute of limitations.” – Carl Tanzler

But even though the FBI and FCC failed to turn anything up, there are a few clues to be gleaned from the hijacker’s words. The broadcast from WGN and WTTW appear to be the same. The audio from the WTTW version includes several digs at WGN (The “world’s greatest newspaper nerds” comment, for example- WGN stands for “World’s Greatest Newspaper”, the former slogan of the Chicago Tribune), the anchor who was on-air at the time of the 9pm signal, and another sports anchor who was then employed at WGN, Chuck Swirsky. This implies that the signal was definitely intended for WGN and that it may have been recorded live at 9pm, or possibly even beforehand, but the hijacker became frustrated at WGN’s engineers blocking him and simply found another station to broadcast on. Some say that this may indicate that the hijacker may have had a grudge against WGN and singled them out specifically, but still wanted to mock them even after they had blocked him.


“Chicago will see my ass one way or another.”

Sources:
Wikipedia 1 2 (People believe unsourced shit on Wikipedia all the time, though.)
DamnInteresting.com

There used to be more shit here that I made up to trick plagiarists. It’s gone now, but you can read about it here.

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Murder Monday: Carl Tanzler

Every Monday, the Weird Shit Blog features an unsolved or just generally weird murder, death, or disappearance. This phenomenon is known by people who actually read this shit as Murder Monday. Disclaimer: This one is pretty insane, so be warned if you have delicate sensibilities. And shit.

In our culture, we’re crazy for fucked-up doctors. Take Hannibal Lecter. He’s not even real, but he’s damn scary. Or he was, anyway, until they tried to explain how he got that way. Then it just got stupid. Nazi concentration camp doctors, they were some weird sons of bitches. That one from the Human Centipede, god damn. Medical experimentation and horror and doctors go together like peas in a pod.


Peas of crazy. In a pod of holy shit.

Let me give you a really great example: Where I come from, we have a local legend about a doctor. The story goes that he had this wife he wanted to divorce, but couldn’t because they were Catholic, and back in those days, that was a big no-no. So, instead, he did what any reasonable dude would do: Chained her up in his barn and performed weird experiments on her, slowly cutting off her limbs and parts of her face, then told people she had vanished. Finally, one night, he had some guests staying the night. They heard moaning outside and thought it might be a wounded animal. They found her in the barn, blind, her tongue cut out, and essentially feral. She tried to bite at them when they touched her chains. They called the police and, when she was released, she crawled right back over on her stumps and reattached the chains. She had gotten used to it after having been bound and tortured for so long. The story doesn’t cover the doctor’s fate, but the legend goes that if you visit this farmhouse at night, you can hear moans, the sounds of tools and a power saw, and occasionally see the ghost of a doctor in a blood-spattered white coat.

When I first heard that story, it sent chills up my spine. I mean, fuck, imagine what a deranged doctor could really do to someone?


Now imagine he’s on an island just chock-full of guinea pigs.

But there’s deranged, mutilating doctor crazy, and Carl Tanzler-brand crazy. 

Tanzler was born in 1877 in Dresden, Germany under the name Georg Karl Tanzler. He kicked around Germany for a while growing up, then got out into the world for a bit, even ending up as far away as Australia for a brief time. (It’s speculated that he may have been in prison there.) At various points during his youth, he claimed to have seen a vision of his dead ancestor, Countess Anna Constantia von Cosel. According to his account, she guided him, giving him advice, and once showed him the face of his true love; a dark-skinned and dark-haired woman.

He married in 1920, and in 1926, he emigrated to America, possibly under instruction from the Countess. (He registered his name with immigration authorities as Carl Tanzler von Cosel, and frequently referred to himself as a Count during his time in the U.S.) His wife and two children joined him a year later in Zephyrhills, FL. Shortly thereafter, though, he left them to pursue a career as a radiologist in Key West.


Dick of the Year Award, 1927: Carl Tanzler.

In 1930, Tanzler met the woman of his dreams. Literally. According to him, she was the woman shown to him by his ancestor, and her name was Maria Elena Milagro de Hoyos, or “Helen” for short. Her mother had brought her in for a routine examination. Tanzler was enamored with her immediately, and tried to find out all he could about her. He found out that she was married, but had become estranged from her husband after she had a miscarriage. She had been considered a local beauty, and the fact that she hadn’t been snapped back up immediately was seen as a curious thing by Tanzler. If she could have any man she wanted, why wouldn’t she have remarried unless she was waiting for someone like him? (Because that’s totally a logical conclusion.)

Unfortunately, Helen’s examination revealed that she had tuberculosis. Not as big of a deal nowadays, but if you’ve seen any tragic love story films set anywhere from 1700-1945, you know that TB was a fucking death sentence.


“Those? Those are just grains of rice. Just kidding! You’re gonna die.”

Tanzler went to Helen’s family and claimed that he had the means to cure her. He was allowed home visits for months, where he performed various half-assed medical procedures. You know, the kind you do when you’re not really sure what you’re doing but you say you do and her family doesn’t seek real medical treatment because they think you’re giving it to her. That kind. But Tanzler figured he’d seen and heard enough from his fellow medical professionals to know what he was doing.


Kinda like if Hugh Laurie broke into an ER and started telling people what to do, but not as cool.

Tanzler even reportedly confessed his love to her, but it’s never been established that she reciprocated it. Tragically, Helen succumbed to her disease in October of 1931, and Tanzler was devastated. He was so heartbroken that he agreed to pay for her funeral and even bought her a mausoleum, which he visited nightly. Are you sensing the crazy yet? If not, then get ready.

In 1933, two years after Helen’s death, Tanzler broke into the crypt and stole Helen’s corpse.


“I paid for this shit, that makes it pretty much mine, right? Right.”

Why would he do such a thing? Because her ghost told him to, duh! Tanzler claimed that when he visited Helen’s grave every night, her spirit would sing songs with him and occasionally insist that he remove her from his grave and take her to his home. So, when he finally did it, he slapped her in a red toy wagon (seriously) and took her home. When he got her there, he naturally found that the corpse had kinda, you know, decayed. But that didn’t stop Carl Tanzler, no sir. He tied her bones back together with wire and coat hangers, replaced her eyes with glass ones, replaced her skin with wax and plaster of paris, made her a wig out of her own hair, which Tanzler had gotten from her mother after Helen’s death (How the fuck did he even go about asking for that?), and stuffed her chest cavity with rags. He then proceeded to dress her up in fancy clothes and jewelry. Oh, and he kept her in his bed and slept with her.


“Hello, gorgeous. You are looking fantastic tonight.”

In 1940, after 7 fucking years of this, Helen’s sister heard rumors that Tanzler had been sleeping with Helen’s corpse. (What in the fuck? Did he brag about this to other people? Shouldn’t that be something you should, I don’t know, keep to yourself?) She confronted Carl Tanzler and discovered that it was true. She called the police, who immediately came and arrested Tanzler. His story created a sensation, with most newspaper reports casting Tanzler as an eccentric romantic. He was put on trial and charged with “wantonly and maliciously destroying a grave and removing a body without authorization”, which is quite possibly the most insane thing you can stand trial for. (While it was claimed in a 1972 investigation that Tanzler had inserted a cardboard tube into Helen’s vagina to commit necrophilia with her body, it was never mentioned in the medical reports done at e time of his arrest, and it was not implicitly included in the charges.) Carl, however, never stood trial, as it was determined that the statute of limitations had passed for his crime, and he was free to go.


This picture is only to distract you from the gorilla-shit crazy you just read.
…Hey, does that hot dog have a butthole?

Not only did Carl Tanzler never stand trial, he was even awarded U.S. citizenship three years later and wrote an autobiography. In his later years, his estranged wife supported him (what. Just what. No question mark.) Helen was re-buried in an unmarked tomb in secret, so as to prevent Tanzler or others from returning to do more fucked up crap to her. Tanzler was disappointed by this and, using a death mask (Where the hell does he keep getting this shit?) created a wax effigy of Helen that he lived with until his death.


Observe, the labor of total madness.

Sources:
Wikipedia (Robbed the grave of human knowledge long ago)
The Examiner

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End of the Month, End of the World: Millerites

Did you hear that the world is going to end? Holy shit! The sun will burn out and a meteor hits us and Jesus comes back and exotic diseases are gonna wipe us out… AT THE SAME TIME. That’s right, science has spoken, the world is going to turn into yet another hunk of dead rock… eventually. In fact, it already happened once, sort of. Ever heard of the Toba Event? That’s where this supervolcano (Kinda like Old Faithful) blew up and blackened the sky and killed all but about 5,000-10,000 humans. I think more people made it out alive at the end of The Stand. So this is totally a post-apocalyptic world, right?

Mad Max
And only a deranged Mel Gibson can save us. Except Jews, Hispanics, and Blacks. They’re on their own.

So why didn’t anyone warn us of these obviously impending disasters that could strike us dead at any moment? Well, if you wanna get technical, lots of people have warned us about the impending end of the world. Except, well, they were dead fucking wrong each time, weren’t they? And so, that’s why the Weird Shit Blog has decided to begin a new feature. On the last Friday of every month, we’re going to showcase an apocalyptic prediction that went horribly wrong when the apocalypse didn’t happen. I’m calling it “End of the Month, End of the World.” Enjoy!

William Miller was born a Baptist, but converted to Deism after he met some friends who convinced him to change his mind. He joined the Freemasons, got very high in the ranks and, when the War of 1812 broke out, he got a band of volunteer soldiers together and marched his ass to the nearest post to join up. After several years as a recruiter, Miller finally saw action at the Battle of Plattsburgh in 1814, where an artillery shell exploded no more than 2 feet from him, killing 2 of his fellow soldiers and leaving him without a scratch.


“HOW DOES THIS HAPPEN?”

Miller had a crisis of faith after the explosion. Since Deism espouses a detached God who doesn’t meddle in human affairs and Miller felt that he had been miraculously saved, he converted back to his old Baptist ways. When his Deist friends asked him to explain his re-conversion, Miller hit the Bible, reading it cover to cover. But instead of finding justification for his new/old faith, he found what he believed was a timeline for the end of the world.

Daniel 8:14 reads, “Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.” Miller read “the sanctuary” as the entire world and “two thousand and three hundred days” as 2,300 years. Wait, what? This is what’s known as the Day-Year Principle. Essentially, when reading the Bible as a more abstract piece, one can read “days” as years, or whatever makes more sense to you. This is generally okay by most Biblical scholars when talking about, say, the Creation, but not so much when talking about something like, oh, Methuselah.


“I’m gettin’ too old for this shit.” – Methuselah

Miller calculated the 2,300 years starting with the decree to rebuild Jerusalem in 457 B.C., meaning the whole sanctuary cleansing thing would go down in 1843, 25 years in the future from when he made the calculation. (SPOILER ALERT: Didn’t fucking happen.) He took another 5 years, just to be absolutely certain. When he decided that there was no other possible interpretation, Miller published an article about his findings.

A few years afterward, he began a kind of preaching tour, holding revivals around New England. He then published another, longer article, and after overwhelming response, a 64 page tract. Within weeks, William Miller had his own full-blown religious movement. They called themselves Millerites.


“Can our slogan be, ‘It’s Millerite time?’ No?”

After mounting pressure from his followers, Miller was asked to provide an exact date for the Second Coming, something he had previously refused to give. Finally, he declared that, based on the Jewish calendar, the year 1843 began March 21st and ended on the same day the following year. When the entirety of 1843 , and then March 21st, 1844 came and went without event, the date was adjusted to the beginning of the Karaite Jewish calendar, which had the year ending on April 18th, 1844.

When that date also passed, some Millerites became upset, and demanded an explanation from Miller and the rest of the leaders of the group. Finally, Samuel Snow delivered what was called the “True Midnight Cry” in August of 1844. The leaders of the Millerite movement had studied the Bible thoroughly and had finally discovered a mistake in their calculations. They could now firmly announce that God would return on the 10th day of the 7th month of the year 1844. This, according to the Karaite Jewish calendar, was October 22, 1844. (MAJOR SPOILERS: Shit still didn’t fucking happen.)

Millerites waited anxiously. Some sold their worldly possessions and moved cross-country to be near Miller when the day finally arrived. Some men and women left their non-believer spouses and children behind, wanting to be first in line for the Rapture. Finally, October 22 arrived. Now, this might sound crazy to you folks reading at home, but can you believe it? The world didn’t end. Not even a little.


“Boy, is my face red.”

Millerites declared it the “Great Disappointment.” (Personally, I saved that for Star Wars prequels, ZING!) Miller became a laughingstock in the press and he quietly lived out the rest of his days waiting for the world to end. He died in 1849. The public mocked and abused the devastated sect. Basically, they had a really shitty time. Not only did they not get to heaven, but now everyone on Earth was laughing at them and being dicks.

A few remaining leaders tried to predict new dates in April, July, and October, 1845, but each came and went with no sign of Jesus. Other, smaller sub-sects went to more… extreme means. Some theorized that, based on Mark 10:15, “Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it,” they should begin acting like children.


“This plan cannot fail.”

Another group believed that God came invisibly on the day of the Great Disappointment and only took virgins to heaven, but since no one could actually name anyone who disappeared on that day, it kinda fell apart. Finally, a theory arose that October 22, 1844 had been a heavenly event, preparing the world for the coming Rapture, but that humans on Earth would still not know the date, only that it came “soon”.

This final group began their own church that eventually moved away from the whole “predicting the end of the world” thing. They became a popular protestant denomination in New England and spread their way through the United States. In fact, they’re still around today. You might have heard of them: The Seventh Day Adventists.


Not even kidding.

Sources:
Wikipedia (An obvious sign of the apocalypse.)

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Aokigahara Forest

You have a place where you sleep, possibly with hookers. You have a place where you poop, also possibly with hookers. You have a place where you eat, hopefully not with hookers, as many of them have poor table manners. But do you have a place where you off yourself? Well, the Japanese do.

Aokigahara Forest is the world-famous Japanese suicide forest, home to an estimated 2,000 suicides every single year. Okay, not really, it’s more like 100+, but that caught your attention, didn’t it? 100 suicides doesn’t sound like many, but when you consider that most people just kill themselves at home, and even other famous suicide spots like the Golden Gate Bridge only have about 30 per year, it starts to sound pretty wild.


“Someday, Aokigahara. Someday, I will be number 1 again.”

It’s been called “The perfect place to die”, and it’s gotten so bad since the recession began that Japanese officials have stopped releasing the exact number of people who die there each year, fearing that the forest’s infamy will just entice more people who are considering killing themselves to head out that way. And make no mistake, suicide is a big deal in Japan: it has the highest rate of any first-world country. Since the 1990s there have been years where rates increased over 30%. At least 30,000 people have died by their own hand there each year for 12 years straight. It’s a massive cultural problem and the Japanese government has become concerned that their society is becoming so inundated with suicidal thoughts and behaviors that one can lead to others just because it’s popular.


“If all your friends jumped off a bridge, would y… oh.”

And 100 suicides a year in Aokigahara might be a low estimate. The forest is so large, thick, and inaccessible that many bodies don’t get discovered for months, or even years. Some parts are so dense that sunlight can’t penetrate (tee hee, penetrate) the canopy, even in the middle of the day. Corpses also tend to be eaten or dragged off by animals, and in some cases, the cause of death is ambiguous, and so it can’t be reasonably assumed to be suicide. Forest workers will have mass hunts for bodies at the beginning of each year, gathering hundreds of volunteers to help go through the thick, expansive woods, just searching for the dead. (If one is found during normal operations throughout the year, they’re taken to the forest station, where a room with an empty bed is set aside just for the dead. To make shit even creepier, there’s another bed that the forest workers are made to sleep in. Otherwise, superstition says that the body will scream all night and haunt the forest for eternity.) Although there are walking paths, much of the forest is off said paths, and many of the people coming to kill themselves are far more likely to go off the paths and travel deep in the forest. Large hills and sinkholes also tend to make a simple walk from one end to the other nearly impossible.

aokigahara-suicide-forest-skb.4918.large_slideshow
It’s like some fucked up version of “Where’s Waldo?”

So what’s made this place such a popular last thing to ever see? Well, it is nice looking. I mean, besides all the dead folks. Some say that it’s related to an extremely popular Japanese romance novel released in the 1960s, “Kuroi Jukai” (Lit. “The Black Sea of Trees”, a nickname for the forest), which ends with a couple visiting the forest to commit a joint suicide. The novel portrays the act as beautiful and romantic, for which some blame for the current reputation of the forest. And culturally, Japan has never had a major issue with suicide. It’s never been illegal, nor has it even been considered morally questionable for the most part, until recent times.

Even before the 60s, however, folklore stated that the forest was haunted. It’s rumored that it was once a popular location for Ubasute, a cultural practice (once believed common, but now known to have been far less so) that involved taking the elderly out to secluded locations and leaving them to die.


“Peace out, grandma.”

Another factor is that the forest is located directly in front of Mt. Fuji, long-considered sacred in Japanese culture. But whether it was the novel, or the history, or the religious significance, or some combination of all of those that started Aokigahara’s history of death, its momentum is only getting more powerful. Some spiritualists say that the mass number of suicides committed there since the 60s has caused the forest to become tainted, and that sadness and evil now permeate the roots of the trees there. The Japanese government is of the opinion that people just need a little convincing to stop killing themselves there (and stop killing themselves in general, but, you know, baby steps). As a preventative measure, they’ve erected signs all along the walking trails, asking visitors to think about their lives before deciding to die.


“MY FRIEND BOB SAID SUICIDE IS TOTALLY NOT COOL.”

So far, though, it hasn’t helped much, as the number of bodies found in the forest is increasing, sometimes doubling from year to year. Even people from other countries have taken to coming to the forest after hearing about it. A Canadian man interviewed by Japanese journalists said, “I heard about it on the internet. It just sounded like such a beautiful place. I wanted it to be the last thing I ever saw.” Locals say that they can tell who’s coming just to look at the forest, who’s hunting for bodies and scavenging for left-behind wallets and personal effects, and who’s there to die.


“Okay, what’s your name? Oh, it’s just a visitor’s log. Okay, enjoy the forest!”

Sources:
Wikipedia 1 2 3 (Where the contributors are thicker than any forest)
CNN

If you really want to see a series of pictures from the forest that a pair of hikers took, click here. (Definitely not work safe, possibly not lunch safe depending on your gastronomical fortitude.)

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Murder Monday: Percy Fawcett

Every Monday, Weird Shit Blog features mysterious murders, disappearances, crimes, or just weird deaths. I call it Murder Monday. (Even if it’s not a murder. Shut up, it’s my blog and I like alliteration. Alliteration is always awesomely, amazingly appropriate. Asshole.)

The explorers of the early 20th century are the stuff of legends. Dudes in pith helmets, wandering around in jungles and ancient temples, touching stuff, getting cursed. It’s awesome. Some of those guys got turned into characters like Indiana Jones. Some of them were awesome enough that they didn’t have to get fictionalized, like Howard Carter. Those were times of high adventure, when the world was ours to explore. There was always some new vista, just waiting for a dude with a superb moustache and/or monocle to come and stick a flag in it and say, “Fuck you all, I was here first… among white people, I mean.” Nowadays, we don’t really have those unexplored frontiers.


God damn it. At least we’ve still got space. And the ocean, Cthulhu willing.

Percy Fawcett was one such legendary explorer. It ran in his veins. His dad was an explorer before him, and a member of the Royal Geographic Society. His brother was an expert mountain climber and even wrote adventure novels. Percy had plenty of his own accolades, though. He was a surveyor for the Royal Army, where he earned the rank of Colonel and served in World War I, leading an artillery brigade at the age of 50. He also joined the RGS, like his father, and was even a member of the British Secret Service. On top of all that, he was friends with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, which is another way of saying “He was friends with one of the baddest motherfuckers to ever walk the planet Earth.”


And he took pictures with a cigarette hanging out of his mouth, just to show how cool he was.

He was one of the earliest contemporary explorers of South America. Specifically, he scouted out huge sections of the jungles of Brazil for map-making purposes. He also discovered dozens of species, including some that had been previously assumed to be native legends. Two of his finds have still not been re-discovered: The Mitla, a small creature, around the size of a foxhound, with both cat- and dog-like characteristics, and the Giant Anaconda, which has been apocryphally spotted many times since, but never proven. His Giant Anaconda was supposedly 62 feet long (cue teenagers laughing), and so huge that he couldn’t bring its body back.

Fawcett, unfortunately, was not believed on these two accounts, and while many explorers of those days liked to make shit up, Fawcett’s writings are considered to be genuine today. There’s a very good chance we just haven’t seen them again since (as those jungles are still full of undiscovered animals) or they went extinct.

He made seven successful expeditions of the jungle, often encountering natives and winning their trust by methods that seemed revolutionary at the time: He was nice to them and gave them stuff. Who knew that that kept people from killing you?


“Dear diary, the natives have informed me that they’re not fond of being called ‘brown motherfuckers.’”

But notice how I said “successful” expeditions up there. “That implies he had unsuccessful ones, right?”, you might ask, and you would be correct in that deduction. In 1925, Fawcett set out to find a lost city that he believed existed in the Mato Grosso region of Brazil, thanks to funding from a group of financiers called “The Glove.”


Artist’s rendition of “The Glove.”

Fawcett originally heard about the city from a manuscript written by Portuguese explorer João da Silva Guimarães, who claimed to visit the city in 1753. Although Guimarães wrote detailed accounts about the city, he forgot to include, you know, where the fuck it’s actually at and what the fuck it’s called. Fawcett became obsessed with the idea of finding it after first hearing about it in the early 1900s. In fact, the 1925 attempt was not Fawcett’s first to find the city. He had tried twice before. The first expedition couldn’t find it and the second got cancelled due to the outbreak of World War I.  Fawcett dubbed the lost city “Z”.


Many years after his disappearance, a children’s television show discovered the location of Z, just past Y.

Reportedly, Fawcett said before his expedition set forth that, should he go missing, he did not wish for a rescue team to come after him, lest they suffer the same fate. Are you sensing dramatic irony? Because I am.

Fawcett, as has been established, was pretty familiar with the area and how to traverse it. As such, he brought just what he needed and nothing more and kept his party small to keep their noise level low. He finally set out from known areas, after telegraphing his wife, on May 29, 1925. Afterward, neither he, nor his companions, was ever heard from again. Most researchers and subsequent explorers have assumed, probably rightly, that Fawcett was killed by a local, unfriendly tribe, as some of the groups in the area had never even seen white men before. (A fictionalized story similar to this was the basis for the film Cannibal Holocaust.) It’s even suspected that his purposefully limited supplies doomed him in an unexpected way- he may have lost all his gifts for the natives due to an accident while crossing the Amazon.

Another proposed scenario is that Fawcett and his two male companions started a theosophical commune based around the worship of his son.


They should have brought women or something in that case.

And for the theory most likely to be the plot of a comedy from the 1980s, we have some speculation that Fawcett may have gotten some kind of head injury and came to believe that he was the chief of one of the native tribes and took over leadership of them.

The native tribes claim no knowledge of what happened to Fawcett or his companions, and to date, no one has found any sort of remains of any of the three. Though some artifacts have been discovered, so far they have all been found to have been items from Fawcett’s many previous expeditions or things left behind prior to the group’s disappearance.

Oh, and remember what I said earlier about Fawcett warning people not to come try to rescue him? There was a really good reason for that, and it’s probably the most important thing to take from this little tale: Over 100 people have died in the Amazon trying to find out what happened to Percy Fawcett and discover the location of the Lost City of Z.

Sources:
Wikipedia (The Lost Encyclopedia of Horseshit)
BBC.co.uk

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COINTELPRO & Operation Mockingbird

Have you read the news lately? Son of a bitch. It’s getting harder and harder to ignore conspiracy theories that say the world is really run by rich people. I think it goes much deeper, though: I suspect it might be run by rich idiots.


Derp.

In fact, sometimes it’s so hard to ignore conspiracy theories, you have to start forgetting that some of them have been confirmed to be true.

In the 20th century, within living memory of some of you readers, the American government has admitted, directly, to deceiving and subverting its own people. COINTELPRO and Operation Mockingbird are just two cases of it, and they may still be having effects today.


Not these effects.

COINTELPRO was a program run by the FBI from 1956-1971. It stood for COunter INTELligence PROgram, and was the government’s way of fucking with racists, feminists, nationalists, war protestors, and this one dude you may have heard of: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.


Long before internet trolls, there was the FBI.

The idea behind COINTELPRO was to infiltrate and disrupt groups deemed subversive to the United States government. Specifically, they were interested in womens’ and blacks’ rights groups, which doesn’t seem very cool nowadays, and white power groups like the KKK, who are totally okay to fuck with by most people’s standards. Essentially, they were interested in any group that they deemed pro-communist, nationalist, or just plain having the potential to disrupt or overthrow the government in some way, shape, or form. (Or, sometimes, just because the president asked them to look into somebody.)

The usual M.O. for COINTELPRO operatives was to divide and conquer by creating rifts in these groups after infiltration. Other popular ways to cause drama? Charging people with fake crimes, illegal wiretapping, searching houses without a warrant, and just plain driving up and shooting motherfuckers. (I felt that was important enough to actually cite an in-line source for once.)

So why did the FBI drop the program in 1971? Because a bunch of dudes broken into one of their offices and found documentation about it. Otherwise, they’d have kept on doing it. The Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities of the United States Senate (aka The Church Committee, named after Senator Fred Church, who led it) took a look at all this and shat their collective pants.


“We would like to declare that this shit officially just got real.”

After the Church Committee brought COINTELPRO into the light, the FBI had no choice but to shut it down… except they never actually stopped doing the shit they were doing, they just quit calling it COINTELPRO. Stay classy, FBI.

But the FBI weren’t the only ones up to crazy shit. The CIA had their own set of trolling tactics. One of these was known by a couple of names, but the most common is Operation Mockingbird. Now, why would you name some cool intelligence campaign after the state bird of Tennessee? When you hear what the program was meant to do, you might see why: Operation Mockingbird was a propaganda program targeted at journalists, both domestic and overseas, from the 1950s to the 1970s. Specifically, both newspaper and television reporters were paid, blackmailed, and otherwise coerced into reporting the news the CIA wanted you to hear.

The operation was started to cause unrest in foreign, communist-controlled areas of the world, but the CIA figured if they had the resources, better use them. And the names of some of the reporters they were alleged to have dragged into it are some you might recognize. Names like Walter Pincus, Joseph and Stewart Alsop, Walter Lippmann…  you don’t know any of those people? Okay, how about Ed Murrow? George Clooney made that movie about him.


“’Hello, America. This is the CIA Calling’? Why can’t I just do ’This… is the CIA?’”

Okay, well how about these respectable publications: The New York Times, Newsweek, CBS, Time Magazine, Washington Post, all were infiltrated by the CIA during Operation Mockingbird and used to publish stories approved by, and sometimes written by, the CIA.

So what happened to Operation Mockingbird? The Church Committee found out about it, too, and brought it down around the same time as COINTELPRO… just kidding! The CIA agreed to stop “Operation Mockingbird”, but the new head of the CIA at the time didn’t really say they’d quit using the media for propaganda. What he actually said was “Effective immediately, the CIA will not enter into any paid or contract relationship with any full-time or part-time news correspondent accredited by any U.S. news service, newspaper, periodical, radio or television network or station.” Notice how he didn’t say anything about unpaid? That’s because he immediately followed it up by saying that the CIA would welcome any “voluntary”, unpaid cooperation from journalists. That new head of the CIA? I bet you’ve heard his name: George H.W. Bush.


“That’s right, bitches.”

Now, you may be wondering why I chose these two particular programs to mention in this one article. Honestly, there was enough material for me to do two separate articles, but there’s a bit more I want you to chew on.

This is Hal Turner:


This is what making threats against federal judges gets you.

Some of you from, ahem, unmentionable web communities may be familiar with him already. Hal Turner used to be an internet radio show host who, if you didn’t notice there, got put in the pokey for calling for his listeners to kill three federal judges. Turns out, the police don’t like that very much. His show was a white supremacist sounding board, accepting calls from racists and assholes all over the country, all while Hal and his cronies turned the ultra-conservative paranoid rhetoric up to 11.

The thing is, Hal thought he had some protection against what he was saying. Why would he possibly think that? Because Hal worked undercover for the FBI. Hal claims he’s not a racist at all, but a paid informant. Not only a paid informant, but a former FBI operative. He claims that the FBI put him up to the radio show to act as an agent provocateur, that is, a shit-stirrer. His goal was to ramp the crazy talk up so high that some violent people might go overboard and spill the beans on plans they had to commit assassinations and other crimes. The FBI called him “Valhalla”, and used him as a source for over 100 arrests. But when he got taken into prison, the FBI pulled the Saint Peter card, right up until documentation came to light that proved that Turner worked for them. So Hal asked for the FBI to help defend his case, but got no response. Then Hal started making threats. Really scary threats. You see, Hal says he’s not alone.

Hal Turner claims that government intelligence agencies have infiltrated major news magazines, papers, and television channels, and are using those positions to their advantage, just like Operation Mockingbird. He says that this information, were it leaked, would put his life in danger, but would possibly cause a massive reaction in the general population, because these people aren’t just targeting dissidents, they’re trying to influence the average American television viewer. And these aren’t people working in the back rooms and behind the scenes.

Hal Turner says that these people are major reporters and television talking heads, household names. And since Hal started making these threats, the FBI has caved and begun acknowledging his work with them. We’ll probably never hear what Hal had to say now, since he’s clammed up and many of the news sources who were covering his threats have removed the information. But still, the idea looms. Could intelligence agencies be using pundits to influence and direct the conversation of American political and social issues? Is this the new Operation Mockingbird?

glenn-beck1
I’m just sayin’.

Sources:
Wikipedia – COINTELPRO & Operation Mockingbird (Reliability? They have an article on it, at least.)
NorthJersey.com
The Raw Story