Author Archive

The Cone of Death: More Novel Execution Methods

Looking at more novel methods of execution involving large blocks of granite, buckets of icy water, and the Swedish Cone of Death.

Composting the Dead in Naples

The Urban Death Project is a hip, modern, scientific, and green take on corpse disposal, but the notion of group graves where decomposition is left to nature is not new. In the 1830s an American author visits some Italian common graves and describes the gruesome scene.

Encore: John Van Valkenburg and His Mysterious Wonderplane

In 1917 John Van Valkenburg, a Salt Lake City inventor, announced that he had conquered the laws of gravity and had an aircraft that could fly from Salt Lake City to the Pacific Coast and back in a night. It was reported that he had taken it to Washington and then turned it over to the US government for use in the War effort. Then, suddenly, Van Valkenburg found himself on trial.

The Case of the Jitterbug Coal

In March of 1944 a remote schoolhouse in North Dakota suddenly went mad–books and papers mysteriously combusted, a phantom attacker left threatening notes, and coal began popping like popcorn out of the scuttle. The children claimed a “pixie” was behind it all….

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