15 Terrifying Bits Of Trivia We Learned This Week
As Halloween approaches, we’ve been focusing on the human kind of terror, spotlighting a bunch of murderers whose crimes went wrong. These included someone who stabbed his parents 73 times, a nurse who put her husband in three suitcases, a would-be murderer fooled by a satire assassination website, and more. We also hunted down some serial killers from around the world, followed up on some anti-murder laws, and discovered how we risk horrifying death due to other people’s incompetence.
Here's a look back at the facts we learned this week. These short summaries are not meant to be appreciated by themselves—each one links to a full article we put out this past week with much more info, so click every one that interests you, or you’ll have clean out the scarecrow.
1. Ex-Mormon cultists extorted money from victims at gunpoint, then butchered them and tried to feed them to dogs.
The bank refused to deposit these extorted checks, and so the crime spiraled further, into more murder.
2. A British Museum exhibit from Egypt, seemingly dead, suddenly woke up.
They'd stuck the snail on an index card, but four years later, someone gave it a warm bath, and it woke up.
3. A serial killer got caught because he asked a commercial photo lab to develop pics of his dismembered victims.
Police then raided his home and found Tupperware containers filled with victims’ sexual organs.
4. Donald Trump was too dumb to realize The Devil’s Advocate was making fun of him.
The Keanu Reeves movie featured a character based on Trump who’s a murderer and child predator, but Trump let them shoot in his actual apartment.
5. A group of men called the Poison Squad ingested untested chemicals for science.
6. A hailstorm in India in 1888 killed 246 people.
The huge chunks killed people who were out in the open and even smashed through roofs. Also, they killed 1,600 livestock (the hailstones, not the people).
7. One Sweeney Todd production used a real razor, leading to real throat-slitting.
A New Zealand teacher wrapped the razors in tape, but that didn’t stop them from slitting two students' throats during a performance.
8. A police search for a fugitive murder ended when they found he’d been living with Ireland’s attorney general.
This was part of a series of events known as GUBU, which stood for “Grotesque, Unbelievable, Bizarre and Unprecedented.”
9. The original Son of Sam law was declared unconstitutional over 30 years ago.
Yes, murderers can profit by writing books about their feelings during the killings. Punish them for the murder, not for the book.
10. Lonely sailors used to have sex with scarecrows.
Aboard ships in the 17th century, they’d use sex dolls that were dummies filled with straw.
11. A skydiving instructor used his body as a cushion to save a woman diving with him.
12. A man died getting cooked in six tons of tuna.
In 2012, Jose Melena got into a giant oven to repair it, then his coworkers dumped fish on top of him, turned on the oven, and cooked him.
13. Australian police investigated a home after reports of a man screaming “Why don’t you die?”
Turned out he was just trying to kill a spider.
14. Dr. Kevorkian transfused blood from the dead to the living.
His hospital fired him when the experiments gave one patient hepatitis.
15. Methylamine, a plot coupon in Breaking Bad, is actually quite easy for an amateur to manufacture.
Walter goes on a series of escalating robberies to grab the chemical, but he could make it from ingredients from Home Depot (ingredients under less scrutiny than the other meth ingredients he buys).