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Thread: Morbid History - A thread for historical murders, unusual deaths, funerary practices etc & any other old creepy stuff

  1. #51
    Senior Member blighted star's Avatar
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    Yeah, it's video games that have caused people of the late 20th/early 21st centuries to become more bloodthirsty, violent & interested in gore

    The ever-polite Victorians couldn't even do a simple tornado article without writing something that sounded like a gore-filled B grade horror script ffs

    https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/88578151

    Bendigo Advertiser (Vic. : 1855 - 1918) Wed 15 Nov 1882 Page 2

    THE PRAIRIE MONSTER.


    Short of the frightful storms which are said to sweep over the sun itself, there does not seem to be any other force in nature quite equal in energy and terror to the tornadoes that so often sweep down upon the prairies of Kansas, Missouri, and Iowa. These whirlwinds, now deemed almost wholly electrical-perhaps because electricity is the prevailing fashion in dynamics just now-have the qualities and traits of the elephant's trunk.


    They can overthrow a house or pick up a sixpence; tear a full grown and massive tree up by the roots, or strip the bark from the smallest twig, and without injuring the wood, as clean as the boy peels a willow rod. Up into the funnel formed by the tremendous pressure and whirl of the air currents, buildings, locomotives, cattle, and children, are drawn as readily as gravitation pulls them into an opening in the earth, residences and barns, large structures and small, are seized, and ground into indistinguishable dust, while fragile glassware, and tender infants, have been borne aloft, and set down upon the ground again, without the slightest harm.


    The latest and most destructive tornado in Iowa, which last week nearly wiped out the enterprising town of Grinnell, containing 1,100 inhabitants, differed little, except in the amount of its destruction, from its many predecessors and contemporaries. A roar, a flash of fireballs, a crash, a rush, and the frightful monster passed on. In less time than it takes to tell it the ruin is wrought. For a few hundred feet in width, expanding sometimes to a quarter of a mile, and even a mile, and for a hundred miles in length, wherever there are obstacles and objects other than forests, not a structure remains. Occasionally, however, it seems to have touched the earth and bounded up again, leaving extensive tracts of land untouched.

    The work of this demon in Iowa was peculiar in its horrible mutilation of the bodies of its victims. A fierce battle with cannonading and shells could not have inflicted such wounds, or mangled the human anatomy in so singularly frightful a fashion. In some cases the clothing was torn off, and the shreds left clinging to the body had to be cut away from the flesh. Dirt, sand, plaster, and cinders were ground into the flesh, and could not be washed or scraped away, as if the body had been mashed, and rolled about under tremendous pressure in sand and ashes.


    The bodies were beaten into shapeless masses; spines were driven into skulls and through the top of the head; backs were broken; eyes torn out of the sockets, and left hanging down the cheeks; the entrails and organs of the body were scooped out of the body's cavities, and limbs pulled asunder. The head of one beautiful girl was so crushed down into her body, that it had to be cut out. Even hens and prairie chickens were plucked as clean of their feathers, as if they had been made ready for market. Mud, dirt, and gravel were not simply splashed on to the sides of buildings, but driven into the fibre, as if discharged from a cannon.


    In one case a stable was lifted, carried over the tops of the tallest trees, and deposited on a hill six or seven hundred feet away, the three horses in it being unharmed. Indeed, the catalogue of ruin wrought by the tornado, and the miraculous escapes from its violence, fatigue credulity and defy the imagination. Almost without an exception, however, those who were warned by the ominous rush and crash of the storm; long enough to run to the cellars, escaped death, and, with few exceptions, all injuries also.

    "Detroit Free Press"
    Last edited by blighted star; 08-18-2019 at 08:29 PM.

  2. #52
    Senior Member blighted star's Avatar
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    https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/144644239



    The Hay Standard and Advertiser for Balranald, Wentworth, Maude...(Hay, NSW : 1871 - 1873; 1880 - 1881; 1890 - 1900) Wed 21 Nov 1894 Page 6


    SHORT STORY

    A CHAMBER OF HORRORS.

    BY RALPH DERECHEF.


    In despite of the science, if science it be, of physiognomy, it is unfortunately a fact that by no means every scoundrel has his rascality written on his face. Numerous have been the criminals whose features gave no indication that they were capable of committing the monstrosities for which they have none the less been brought to book. It is equally
    true, however, that there appears from time to time in the prisoner's dock a sinister, forbidding figure, stamped as it were with the hall mark of crime, that the audience feel instinctively is in its proper place. The spectators are certain from the outset, as they look upon this unmistakable jail bird, that they are about to witness the crowning event in a career that was predestined to end in the condemned cell.


    Such a creature as this appeared on the 29th of July, 1880, before a jury of the Seine to answer for his life the capital charge. The aspect of the wretch whom it would be a misnomer to call a man, was revolting in the extreme. His small cruel, wolf-like eyes were set in a misshapen head, that was covered with a rank growth of coal coloured hair ; a low fitting collar and jacket allowed the observation to be made that this hair had grown in an unnatural way down the neck on to the very shoulders. On the other hand, the beard was sparse, ragged, and uncouth. His sallow, earthy complexion was a hideous mass of blotches. Though only twenty years of age, vice had furrowed his face with wrinkles, and he stooped as if he had been an old man. He was miserably clad in a threadbare coat of a material that had once been grey, and in snuff coloured trousers, stained and patched, and in tatters at the extremities. Everything about him spoke to the fact that the lowest depth of human degradation was reached in his repulsive person. His appearance excited a horror that no feeling of compassion for the awful position in which he was placed could mitigate. A loathing he was far from not having merited was the only sentiment this miserable being could arouse, and for him the most eloquent advocate would plead in vain for one spark of sympathy from the most indulgent jury.


    Louis Menesclou was the name of this living embodiment of all that a man should not be. His right to be gibbeted among the vilest criminals of the century was won by a deed that in its incredible infamy is in some respects unique. Among those murderers whose crimes were so far alike that they all sought to get rid of their victims by cutting their remains in pieces, among the Billoirs, the Barres, the Libies, and the Prevosts, to take our examples from France alone, Menesclou, by virtue of his cold-blooded ferocity, has a certain abominable preeminence A statement of the facts of the case will abundantly justify this conclusion. Grenelle is a suburb of Paris, inhabited almost exclusively by the working classes, and by soldiers, of whom an immense number are congregrated in enormous barracks. In a house in the Rue de Grenelle tenanted from attic to cellar by a swarm of different families, Menesclou lived with his parents.They were honest hard-working folk in fair circumstances, for they were in a position to allow the good for-nothing son with whom they were cursed the privilege, uncommon enough in the locality, of a sleeping-room
    to himself. They were scurvily rewarded for their kindness. As Louis grew up, it was only to develop from a graceless rogue into a ruffian of the deepest dye. lt was no unusual occurrence for him set upon and beat his mother while he showed his gratitude to his father by repeatedly stealing his savings. At the age of sixteen this promising scoundrel was compelled, much against his will to join the Navy. He remained in the service three years, and left it with a record that was in every respect worthy of him, having no leas than 166 days of confinement to the cells to his credit.


    This brilliant opening of his carreer accomplished, he returned to Grenelle, not to work but to be a burden to his long-suffering family and a nuisance to the neighborhood. His reputation was soon as bad as it could be. He cultivated every conceivable form of villainy, till even among the scum and riff raff of the district, his habitual associates, his name was a byword. Had he kept entirely to his delectable company, he might have died in the gutter, and escaped the scaffold, but unluckily he contracted an acquaintanceship so little in his habitudes that from the first it was the occasion of considerable remark. In the human warren of which he occupied a corner, on the floor below that on which his room was placed, lived a most respectable family of the name of Deu. There apartment, of minute proportions, housed a father, a mother, and seven children, of whom the youngest, Louise, was a little girl only four and a half years old. Louise, owing to her winning ways, and her prettiness, which was a constant source of pride to her parents, was a general favorite. Of the crowd of children who made the staircase of the house and the street before it their playground, she was continually being singled out for special attention. Still the surprise was universal when it was observed that Louis Menesclou, who was supposed to be shut to decent feeling of any kind, showed a disposition to behave with the utmost friendliness towards Louise. People noted with astonishment that he was fond of keeping her company, and was in the habit of putting himrelf to some pains to amuse her and win her good will. He even went to the length of making her small presents, an extraordinary action on the part of a selfish brute who had never been known to spend the few pence he acquired by more or less disreputable means on anyone but himself. He would give the child cheap toys-- it is true that according to common report he had stolen them ? sweets, or now and again a sou.


    Naturally enough Louise had no objection to allow herself to be petted. Her mother, however, saw this strange connection ripen with no favor, and did all in her power to discourage it. She mistrusted Mencsclou. She knew enough of his character to believe him capable of any and every abomination. He was not a person to credit with good intention, and Madame Deu declared subsequently that she never saw him in the company of her child without a shudder. The statement may seem an exaggeration but it is remarkable how it was borne out, and indirectly verified by her conduct when the crisis came.Louise Deu was seen alive for the last time on 15th of April 1880. Indeed it must be said that in the usual acceptance of the word this was the last occasion on which she was ever seen at all, for when remains were discovered they were scarcely recognisable, as we shall shortly have to relate. The disappearance of the child remained unnoticed until the evening of the day in question, when her mother began to grow uneasy at her continued absence from home. The only result of inquiries among the neighbours was to elicit the fact that Louise had been seen at play in the course of the aftemoon, but her companions could give no precise information as to the moment at which they had missed her, nor could the least hint be obtained of her actual whereabouts. The mother's anxiety grew to fever pitch as the time dipped by without bringing any news of the lost girl. Renewed investigation failed to procure the least scrap of evidence bearing upon the mystery. But a presentiment she was unable to shake off had slowly taken shape in the mind of Madame Deu. Without a jot of proof, for no assignable reason, a suspicion that waxed before long into a certainty, had crept into the mother's heart that with Louis Menesclou rested the secret of her daughter's fate.


    Possessed with this idea, for which no one but herself could see the smallest justification, and which she would have been at a loss to explain in words, she mounted to the attic which was Menesclou's private apartment and knocked at the door. He lost no time in opening to her. Nothing in his manner betrayed that anything out of the ordinary had occurred. He merely expressed a not unnatural surprise at the sight of his visitor. In reply to a question whether he had seen Louise he answered simply that he had not. There was nothing more to be said, and Madame Deu, baffled but unconvinced had to accept his statement and retire. Half an hour later Menesclou left his room. On his way down stairs he looked in upon Madame Deu, and inquired if her daughter had been found. Nothing had been heard of her, as he of all persons in the world was best aware. His pretended interest in her child did not suffice, as it was doubtless intended to do, to quiet the suspicions of Madame Deu, who went up again to his room, the moment she knew he was out of the house, and tried the door. It was looked. Without any reasonable excuse for having it forced open, she was compelled once more to await the development of events in an agony of mind that it is not difficult to imagine. Menesclou returned home at half-past seven, and was careful to ask whether anything had happened during his absence. He then announced that he was tired, and proposed to go to bed at once, in spite of the earliness of the hour. That he had faithfully carried out this programme was verified shortly afterwards.

    >>>

  3. #53
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    Continued ...


    The almost incomprehensible fears of Madame Deu only increased in intensity when Monesclou left her. As she said at the trial, an instinct that would not be stifled kept telling her that the blood of her child was on this man's hands. After a time she succeeded by
    her earnestness and pertinacity in communicating something of her own feeling to others, whom the strangeness of the case had interested. Her landlord, who lived in the building, was among those who were impressed by her assertions. He offered to accompany her on a second visit to Menesclou, proposing:that to make their search conclusive they should enter the room, and satisfy themselves, by the evidence of their eyes, whether the child was there or not. Madame Deu eagerly agreed to this proposal, which was at once put into execution. On their making their presence known, Monesclou opened the door without demur, but when he heard their errand he grumbled with some warmth at having been disturbed.


    He knew nothing, as he had already stated, of the whereabouts of Louise while as for the ridiculous idea that she was hidden in his room, they could see for themselves how absurd it was. With this he hurried back into bed, which his costume made plain he had just left. Madame Deu and her companion entered the chamber, which was so small and so meagrely furnished that a glance sufficed to show that Louise was nowhere to be seen. Still, her mother, a lighted candle in her hand, peered into every nook, impelled by an irresistible intuition. The space beneath the bed on which Menesclou lay and the floor she examined last of all, placing her candle on the ground to obtain a better view. What the feelings of Menesclou must have been at this instant is inconceivable. For the dead body of Louise Deu was but a few inches from her mother, crushed in between the matresses of his bed.


    Gloomily and still doubting, the poor woman had to make her way downstairs again, to pass the night in agonising suspense. Early on the following morning, the tenants living in the upper part of the house noticed an objectionable smell pervading the building, for which they were at a loss to account. The attention of everyone was directed to the matter, and it was speedily established that the horrible odor proceeded from Meneaclou's room. Considerable curiosity was naturally awakened as to the cause. On the whole, the smell resembled that of burning leather, but none could offer a reasonable explanation of what Menesclou could be doing to produce it.


    A neighbor determined to attempt to as certain what was going on. Creeping noiselessly to the room, he listened. He came back with a tale which, in the face of the declarations of Madame Deu, sickened his hearers with a nameless horror. He had caught sounds as of the cutting up of flesh and the breaking of bones, and of the frizzling of flesh when it is burned. A fearful explanation of what was in progress in the attic presented itself to every mind, but the solution was so frightful that no one dared to verify it by bursting open the door on his own responsibility. Madame Deu, accompanied by several of her neighbours, went off to the police station. Her story was so appalling, and was based to so large an extent on supposition, that the inspector in charge was loth to credit it. However, with two of his men, he returned with her to the scene of the tragedy.


    Learning that a view into Menesclou's attic could be obtained from the roof, he agreed to the suggestion of a working man living on the premises, who volunteered to ascertain by looking in through the window what the wretch was about. The man was the witness of a hideous, spectacle. Menesclou was engaged at his stove, poking the fire and plying it with fuel. Every now and then he raised the cover of the stove to throw in a shapeless lump of human flesh. Around him on the floor were pools of blood, and the morsels of what had once been a human body. Tranquilly, as if indifferent to this scene of carnage, he was smoking a cigarette. It was time to put a stop to this ghastly labor. The man turned down from his post of observation and related what he had seen. A few seconds later a vigorous kick had burst open the door, and the police made their entry into this veritable chamber of horrors.


    Menesclou sprang back as they came in. What do you want? he asked in a hoarse voice. "What have you done with, Louise Deu"? questioned Inspector Vernon, in reply; "I haven't seen her," answered Menesclou sullenly. Without farther words Vernon made his way to the stove, lifted the cover, and with the tongs which Menesclou had thrown down when disturbed, withdrew from it portion after portion of a human frame. The last grim relic to come to light was the head of the unfortunate child, still recognisable, though abominably disfigured. At this sight one of the bystanders, beside himself with indignant fury, rushed at Menesclou and felled him to the ground. A struggle ensued, in the course of which parts of the child's body which the wretch had secreted about his person fell from his pockets. It was with the utmost difficulty that the police prevented him being done to death on the spot.


    Continued denial of the crime in the face of the damning evidence was useless, and Menesclou, on being questioned, consented to give his version of the affair. He had called the child into his room, he
    declared, to give her a spray of white lilac he had bought for her. The lilac was found and produced at the trial. For reasons,of which he offered no explanation, the child began to cry, and as he could not get her to stop he strangled her in a fit of madness. When he saw that she was dead, he hid the body between the mattresses of his bed, where it remained throughout the night, while he, according to his own confession, slept soundly. His proceedings in
    the morning require no further description than that already given, except to say that he burned a pair of old boots with the intention of attributing to this cause the smell he was creating. The utterly inadequate motive he gave for the murder was not accepted by the jury as the true one. They found him guilty of having committed a dastardly crime to cover
    the commission of another at least as vile, but on which it was useless to insist. On the 30th of July he was condemned to death, and having earned his fate, if ever a murderer did, he was executed on the 7th of September on the Place de la Roquette.


    And then after the execution ...


    https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/5981454


    TELEGRAPHIC DESPATCHES. (1880, November 16). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957), p. 6


    IT is stated by Le Figure that after the execution of Meneaclou in September for the murder of the little girl, Luise Deu, his remains were conveyed to the anatomical theatre, and subjected to a singular experiment. Dr Sappey injected under the cutaneous tissue of the head some fresh drawn blood from the carotid of a living dog The result was startling, for the colour returned to the cheeks, there was a perceptible nervous tremour, while the lips slightly moved The same treatment applied to the body produced no effect.

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