Monday, March 20, 2023


Well does eating pussy count as  cannibalism ...........if it does ....then call me  cannibal johhny  ........they say once you eat human flesh is  like an addiction like no other i am a vegeterian ........a bad one ......i still like pizza ........and coffee...... and shit and stuff ......but fuck it ......meat is disgusting  ...but some  say it  is   like  addicitive  ....i did like the  movie   sweeney todd ........ it was  great  .....and johnny depp did the best  movie ..........however !!!!!!! .......but i always wonder......... if you really did eat pussy ........i mean cook it  ...... ...would it still taste   as  good .........on a live woman .....i mean it is a weird thought .......anyways enjoy this  weirdo post or not ...........


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BY DB KELLY/JAN. 31, 2023 3:23 PM EST

When it comes to the taboos of the Western world, cannibalism is pretty high up on the list. (Among humans, at least — according to National Geographic, it's a normal part of life for countless animal species.)


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The most famous instance of cannibalism in the U.S. is the Donner Party, when 60 members of a wagon train heading west got stranded in the Sierra Nevada during the long, unforgiving winter of 1846, and consumed the flesh of their companions in order to give themselves a chance at making it through those long, dark months. That, says National Geographic, is called survival cannibalism — and it's a not-unheard-of last resort. (Fun fact: Future president Abraham Lincoln nearly joined the Donner Party, but his wife vetoed the idea.)

Members of the Donner Party recorded instances of cannibalism in their journals and diaries, and it had been a desperate last resort. But they're not the only ones to turn to eating human flesh. Throughout history, there have been scores of instances where people have opted to dine on other people — and it hasn't always been a bid for survival.


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During the 1960s, Mao Zedong kicked off China's so-called Cultural Revolution in an attempt to secure his power. According to The Guardian, the movement — led by a group called the Red Guards — pitted citizens against citizens, and as many as 2 million people died. It wasn't until 1993 that The New York Times reported on recently released documents detailing widespread cannibalism, practiced particularly in the Guangxi Province as a way for revolutionaries to demonstrate their superiority over their defeated enemies.


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The contents of the documents — which were prepared by government officials — were shocking, and included descriptions of students who murdered, cooked, and ate authority figures at their schools. Participation in the slaughter and butchery was seen as a way to show solidarity with the cause. Bodies were reportedly strung up in government-funded cafeterias, their flesh served to workers.

Numbers are inexact. Reports suggest that at least 137 people were killed and eaten, but it's estimated that their flesh and organs were distributed to thousands of people. Atrocities were brought to light largely by one person: Writer and activist Zheng Yi, who had already incurred the wrath of Chinese officials for his involvement in the Tiananmen Square protests, used his access to Communist Party records to not only document what had happened, but to find and speak with those who had participated in the slaughter ... and the ensuing feasts. Zheng wrote a book on his findings, and in 1996, The Washington Post reported he was living in exile in the U.S.


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A reference to Uruguayan Air Force flight 571 might not ring any bells, but the movie that was based on it certainly will: "Alive." The incident started, says the Independent, when a plane carrying an amateur rugby team from Uruguay crashed in an area of the Andes called the Valley of Tears. The crash happened on October 13, 1972, and the 16 survivors (of 45 passengers and crew members) wouldn't be rescued until two days before Christmas.


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One of those survivors was Roberto Canessa (pictured above right), who went on to become one of his country's top pediatric cardiologists. Just 19 years old at the time of the crash, he spoke to National Geographic in 2016 while promoting his book, "I Had to Survive." 

Canessa was a medical student at the time, which meant he not only moved the bodies of the dead, but carved the flesh for eating. Once he'd wrapped his head around what he needed to do, it was almost all right: "I thought, if I were killed I would feel proud that my body could be used for others to survive. I feel that I shared a piece of my friends not only materially but spiritually, because their will to live was transmitted to us through their flesh." After they were rescued, Canessa visited the families of every person who had died in the accident. None, he said, judged them for what they had done (per The Washington Post).


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According to Britannica, György Dózsa led an army of peasants in a revolt against the Hungarian nobility in 1514, and he came close to winning it all. When Dózsa was finally captured, Edwin Lawrence Godkin's "The History of Hungary and the Magyars" reports that he was captured alive and mocked with a promise of a crown ... which, technically, he did get — red hot and right off the smithy's forge.


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He was given a throne, too, that was just as hot — although the text doesn't recount whether or not it was hot enough to cook the flesh that was sliced from Dózsa's body while he was still alive. Those chunks were thrown to 14 other men who had been captured along with him: As punishment for their decision to follow the rebel leader, they were told to eat him. In "The Routledge History Handbook of Medieval Revolt," Paul Freedman writes that refusal to cannibalize their leader was punished by death, but it's entirely possible it was easier than it sounded; the men hadn't been given food for the 10 days leading up to the gruesome execution. They were also commanded to dance while Dózsa was executed, beheaded, and quartered.


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According to Convict Records, Alexander Pearce was sent to Australia in 1819 after a conviction for stealing some boots. According to the National Centre of Biography, he had been sentenced to a series of lashings and hard labor for a variety of crimes until finally being sent to the Macquarie Harbour penal settlement.

While he was there, he formed an unlikely alliance with seven other convicts, and the men escaped together and set off across hostile, unforgiving territory. It's the sort of place, reports, that still has a dangerous reputation today, and for ill-equipped fugitives in the early 19th century, it was deadly — especially considering the biggest threat was traveling with them.

The gang made it 15 days with no food before they drew straws to see which of them would be killed and eaten first. After the first round of cannibalism, one man took off on his own, and another died of exhaustion. One by one, the others were killed until only Pearce remained — and since no one believed the story he told when he was captured again, he was sent back to Macquarie ... only to escape again, in the company of a man named Thomas Cox. When he was recaptured yet again, they had reason to believe his story about killing and eating Cox, as bits of the man were still in Pearce's pockets. He was tried, found guilty, and hanged; his skull is currently part of a collection at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology.


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The idea of preparing and administering pieces of the human body as a cure for various ailments is something that sounds completely fictional. It's very real, though, and according to research published in The Lancet, it's a kind of cannibalism that can be traced back 2,000 years. It started with ancient physicians who thought drinking the blood of gladiators would help restore vitality to ailing bodies. From there, physicians took the idea and ran with it.

There's almost no end to the ways in which humans were prepared. The pioneering Swiss-German physician Paracelsus thought fresh bodies were best; Germany's Johann Schroeder preferred the corpses of young men who died a violent death. Their flesh was often smoked, cured, and eaten as a sort of elixir of youth, while others were fed preparations made from ground skulls to treat convulsions. (The blood of an executed man was also drunk in the hopes of curing epilepsy.)

Research from the Folger Shakespeare Library found scores of recipes for adding body parts to homemade medicines. Among the most popular was using powdered skull to treat seizures, with some even specifying that the head should be thoroughly washed and dried "in a window" first. While it wasn't absolutely necessary for this so-called medicinal cannibalism to work, it was often advised that men should eat men, and women should eat women.


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According to Smithsonian Magazine, Herman Melville's "Moby Dick" was inspired by a very real incident. Melville met the real-life Captain Ahab — a man named Captain George Pollard Jr. — after the publication of his book. 

Pollard and the Essex set sail in 1819, on a two-and-a-half year trip that was almost immediately beset by misfortune. The ship's troubles culminated in a November 1820 incident when a whale — estimated to be around 85 feet long — caught sight of the ship and rammed it, smashing a massive hole in the side. The 20 men on board split up into three boats, but they didn't head for the nearest set of islands because they were convinced the natives were cannibals. Instead, they headed out into the open ocean, where their provisions quickly ran out and they continued to be harassed by the whales they had set out to hunt.

First Mate Owen Chase (pictured) would later describe what happened to the first man to die: "[We] separated limbs from his body, and cut all the flesh from the bones; after which, we opened the body, took out the heart, and then closed it again — sewed it up as decently as we could, and committed it to the sea." The days dragged on, and they ate others as they died. When there were no dead men left, they drew straws: Pollard's nephew drew short, and was executed and eaten. The men in Chase's boat were rescued after 89 days; Pollard and one other survivor were rescued a week after that.



It was 1989 when Daniel Rakowitz was looking for a new roommate. He was — according to what a local squatter named Jerry the Peddler told The Village Voice — "a classic nut. He had all the symptoms: he had sudden fits of rage, he had delusions of grandeur, he didn't like touching people, he had fantasy followers."

That roommate ended up being a Swiss dancer named Monika Beerle, and there's no telling whether or not she believed him when he said he was going to kill her. When his former roommate, Sylvia, stopped by to get some of her things, she recalled, "I went to the kitchen. And on the stove there was a pot. And in the pot was Monika's head. She was all burnt up, and her eyes were closed."

The rest of Beerle's remains were in the bathtub — at least, what was left. Rakowitz told Sylvia that he'd had no choice, and admitted that he'd eaten at least part of her brain. That was followed by other pieces of flesh he'd stored in the freezer, and even worse? Rakowitz was known for collecting donations of food and cooking massive meals for the homeless living in New York City's Tompkins Square, which is why it started circulating that he'd slipped some human meat into the regular meals. According to The New York Times, he was found not guilty of murder by reason of insanity, and in 2004, another jury decided he was "mentally ill but not dangerous."


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After the discovery of 15,000-year-old remains in Gough's Cave in Somerset, England, it was quickly determined that the bones belonged to individuals whose bodies had been butchered and then eaten. It took a few more decades to unlock more of the secrets these ancient ancestors had taken to the grave. According to The Guardian, it wasn't until 2017 that analysis was able to show that some of the distinctive cut marks weren't practical, but decorative. That led researchers to conclude this ancient group of hunter-gatherers had formal rituals around their cannibalism.

Silvia Bello of the Natural History Museum in London explained, "It's something we find horrifying, but ... that was their tradition. ... It was their way of disposing of bodies, like it or not."

A large percentage of the bones also showed bite marks, and over the years since the initial discovery in the 1980s, more remains have been discovered. In 2011, The Guardian reported on the discovery of three cups made from human skulls, including one that came from a child who was roughly three years old. However, there's another school of thinking that suggests this cannibalism had a practical side, too: The bones have been dated to the last ice age, and the fact that they were butchered using the same techniques revealed by patterns on animal bones has led to the conclusion that regardless of the motives, cannibalism helped humans survive the ice age.


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Bill Schutt is the author of "Cannibalism: A Perfectly Natural History." He told National Geographic that when European explorers started hacking, slicing, and enslaving their way through the New World, their justifications included rumors that the Indigenous peoples practiced cannibalism — and therefore, needed the strong European influence to change their ways. It's super interesting, then, to know that the first recorded instance of cannibalism in the New World happened among the Spanish explorers under Alvar Cabeza de Vaca.

Cabeza de Vaca's men had traveled from Florida and ended up in what's now Galveston, Texas. They called it the Island of Doom, though, and according to the Los Angeles Times, five of his men — referred to in his writings as "the Christians" — were separated from the others. He wrote that they "came to the extremity of eating each other," and noted that the native people who had started caring for the main group "were so shocked at this cannibalism that, if they had seen it sometime earlier, they surely would have killed every one of us."

If they had, they may have lived: The Spanish explorers carried diseases with them, and around half of the Indigenous people who helped them survive the Texas ordeal died themselves.


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It's an oft-told tale that America was founded by people who were brave, adventure-seeking, and unbelievably tough, but were they cannibals? It turns out that some of them were. History notes that when the English first settled Jamestown in 1607, they were woefully ill-prepared for life in the New World. Starvation came quickly, and it wasn't long before neighbors started looking pretty tasty.

George Percy lived there during the eerily named Starving Time, and wrote in his journal, "Notheinge was Spared to mainteyne Lyfe and to doe those things which seame incredible, as to digge upp deade corpes outt of graves and to eate them." His wasn't the only account of cannibalism in Jamestown, but it wasn't until an archaeological dig started in 1994 that actual, physical evidence of cannibalism was discovered.

In 2013, National Geographic reported on the discovery of the remains of a 14-year-old girl, recovered from a trash pit dated to the Starving Time. Researchers named her Jane, and while it's not clear who she was, her skull and leg bones show distinct marks associated with the butchering of animals for food. They were able to determine that her face, tongue, and brain had been eaten, and it was also clear that the cut marks were hesitant — they were made by someone who didn't want to do what they were doing, but had no choice. Jane, they say, likely died of natural causes and was then butchered.


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How far would a person go to save their own life? That was the question facing Francisco Ortega in 1910, and the answer was that he'd go pretty far — even at the cost of a child's life.

According to La Voz de Almeria, Ortega had contracted tuberculosis. So, he went to a local healer named Francisco Leona (pictured), and Leona had a cure ... albeit, a grisly one. With the help of an accomplice, he kidnapped and killed a 7-year-old boy named Bernardo Gonzalez, and harvested two ingredients that they believed would cure Ortega: the boy's blood and the fat from his abdomen, which was also called "the butters." The idea, says Periergeia, was that the afflicted person would drink the blood — which was drained while Gonzalez was still alive — and apply poultices made from the fat to his chest. It wasn't the first time such a crime had been committed in Spain, but it was one of the most famous cases. The Museum of the Civil Guard in Madrid even has a diorama of the arrest of Leona and his accomplices.

The crime left a long-lasting mark on the psyche of the area, and gave rise to the myth of a bogeyman that stalked the night looking for children to feast on.



The idea of a Northwest Passage was a tantalizing one: In theory, traveling through the icy waters of the North Pole could cut a ton of time off trade routes, and in 1845, Sir John Franklin and his crew of 128 men on two ships — the HMS Terror and the HMS Erebus — set out to find it. No one saw any of them again.

According to LiveScience, the ships carried food that could be stretched for up to seven years, as they had fully expected to be stuck along the way. But they hadn't expected to be stuck for years: By the spring of 1848, 24 people had died, and survivors decided to start walking to safety. The problem? It was about 1,000 miles to get to the nearest trading post, with next to no food sources along the way. Over the years, remains from the crew have been found, and a close study of the bones (published in the Journal of Osteoarchaeology) confirmed that some bore signs of cannibalism. Specifically, they showed signs of something called "pot polishing," which happens when bones are broken and boiled to extract the last of the marrow.

Researchers from the University of California told Forbes that this was the first study that looked at the stages of cannibalism — and boiling bones for marrow is considered "end-stage cannibalism." The findings support eye-witness accounts from Inuit travelers who reported seeing piles of broken human bones, broken and boiled long after the meat was gone.


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If you hang out with ... interesting people, you know that whenever the conversation naturally turns from made-up medical conditions to Victorian-era murders, everyone invariably thinks of Jack the Ripper. The brutal killer sliced his way through Whitechapel in 1888 and taunted the police but was never identified, even though the case had been pored over by sleuths, both amateur and professional, for over 100 years. 

Part of the reason Jack the Ripper managed to live on in infamy is the completely insane mutilations that went along with the killings, but if you were so inclined to do some digging through Victorian history, you'd find he's not alone. It's almost as if committing horrible murders — and often getting away with them — was the fad of the day. It was a dangerous time to be alive, not just on the mean streets of London, but the rest of the U.K. and abroad. Here are some notable unsolved murders from the Victorian era.


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John Gill was 7 years old when he was killed but he's often said to be 8 because his birthday was right around the corner. He was young enough that he was probably still excited about the prospect. The Ripper stalked London in the fall of 1888, and it was a combination of timing and savagery that linked Gill's murder to the Ripper killings, at least in the court of popular opinion.

According to Ph.D. student Lauren Padgett (via Leeds Trinity University), Gill went missing on December 27 in Bradford, north of London. He was found in a stable near his home on December 29, and at a glance, he was neatly dressed in his clean clothes. Those clothes hid the grisly truth: his arms, legs, and ears had been sliced off, his internal organs had been removed and placed on top of him, and his shoes were left inside his chest.

Police consulted with a chemist who had a proven track record, and his methods were impressive even today. He examined the body and the entire area at a microscopic level and found some clues. The boy had eaten a currant-filled bun not long before he died — perhaps a bribe? The body was wrapped in a newspaper from Liverpool, but the name and address on it were a dead end. They eventually did arrest a local man in connection with the killing, but the evidence was circumstantial and no one was ever prosecuted.


Lombardi & Co/Wikimedia Commons

Charles Bravo died in 1876, succumbing to a slow and painful death brought about by some poison slipped into the glass of water on his nightstand. The poison was antimony, which kills slowly — slowly enough that he would have known what was happening. Bravo had all the time in the world to reveal who poisoned him, but he never did.

At the time, it was believed he must have killed himself because of the attitude he took to finding his killer. According to the BBC, we know today that the calm attitude is one of the effects of the poison, and it definitely turns this from a suicide to a whodunit.

Even Agatha Christie got in on the crime-solving, and it was quite the cast of real-life characters. Her money was on the doctor, who had not only given Bravo's wife Florence an abortion but who had become her lover. There was also the widowed maid who was about to be released from service, and then there was the wife herself. According to her, Bravo wanted kids but her constant ill health left her terrified a pregnancy would kill her. A contemporary examination of the facts suggests it was the wife in the bedroom with the poison, but since a lot of those facts are based on suspect testimony and we know how fond people are of lying, the case hasn't actually been solved.


Wikimedia Commons

We don't know exactly how many people Jack the Ripper killed. There are five victims that are canon, so to speak, but according to Casebook, London law enforcement estimates went as high as nine ... sometimes. It's pretty fuzzy, but there are a few murders that have been strongly linked to the Ripper. (Maybe.)

Emma Elizabeth Smith was attacked early on April 4, 1888, and she survived a horrific beating and sexual assault. She died four days later, after telling London Hospital surgeons that three or four men attacked her. Next was Martha Tabram (pictured), killed on August 6, 1888, after she and a friend picked up a pair of sailors in a Whitechapel pub. She was killed with 38 stab wounds from a penknife and one from a bayonet.

Some debated victims came after the end of the Ripper's reign, including Alice McKenzie, killed July 16, 1889, by a number of stab wounds said to have required anatomical knowledge. The Pinchin Street murder victim, discovered in September 1889, was never definitively identified, as the body was missing the head and legs. Then there's Frances Coles, who was killed around February 12 or 13, 1891. She was still alive when she was found, and the attending police officer followed procedure and stayed with her instead of chasing her fleeing murderer. As horrible as these murders were, they were generally found not brutal enough to fit the profile of the Ripper. Now's a good time for some serious soul-searching about the horribleness of the human race.


Wikimedia Commons

Carrie Brown has also been connected to Jack the Ripper, but she's a little different. She was murdered on the night of April 23, 1891, and her body was discovered in a Manhattan hotel room. Ameer Ben Ali was arrested for her murder and served 11 years in jail but was ultimately declared innocent, simply the victim of evidence mishandled by investigators. Yay, justice system!

Brown's case itself is a bit odd because, according to Casebook, the press tried to downplay the entire thing — presumably to keep panic from spreading — so there are only a few details known about what happened to her. We know one of the medical examiners wrote someone had tried to gut her, and she was covered with stab wounds. For a while, it was believed she was living near one of many Ripper suspects, although this is now in question, but stranger still is the murder's connection to the New York Police Department.

The New York Times had previously run an article quoting the NYPD's Inspector Thomas F. Byrnes (pictured), saying if Jack the Ripper tried to do his thing in New York, he wouldn't stand a chance. That's obviously not the sort of thing you want to go around saying, and there are theories suggesting Brown was murdered in such a way the NYPD could plant evidence and "catch" Jack the Ripper. Or, maybe was it the Ripper himself, sending a clear message of, "Hey, look what I can do." The jury's still out on this one. 


Wikimedia Commons

The first part of the first body, the left half of a woman's torso, was pulled from the river on September 5, 1873. Over the next few days, police found the right half, parts of the lungs, a right thigh, right shoulder, left foot, right arm — you get the idea. It got worse when a scalp with a face still attached turned up. The skull was never found. The body was reconstructed as best as possible, the face was displayed on a butcher block, and the public was asked to help identify the victim (via the University of Leicester). One man believed it might have been his daughter, but he couldn't make a positive ID. (Talk about being haunted for the rest of your days.)

The London Times stayed on top of the so-called Thames Torso Murders, reporting on new batches of body parts in June 1874, May 1887, and September 1888. According to Casebook, one piece of that victim ended up thrown over the fence into an estate belonging to the family of Mary Shelley, the by-then-deceased author of "Frankenstein." An acknowledgment, perhaps? A thank-you for the inspiration? It's unclear just how many different killers were dismembering women during this stretch of London's history, but University of Leicester researchers believe it was at least three.


Wikimedia Commons

In 1898, adult siblings Michael, Norah, and Ellen Murphy were heading home on Boxing Day evening after a fun day out. Whatever happened to them on their way from a canceled dance to their Queensland home has become one of Australia's most baffling unsolved murders.

According to the Queensland Police Museum, the three were found by their brother-in-law, who went to look for them when they didn't come home. He found a grisly murder scene: clothing was torn, the bodies were battered and bruised, and Michael and Ellen's skulls had been crushed. Rage was obvious — the killer (or killers) had even fatally shot the Murphys' horse. It's also worth noting whoever attacked them was no slouch — Michael was home on leave from the Mounted Rifles, where he had a reputation as being pretty bad***.

Police talked to more than 1,000 people, but there were outrageously large gaps in the investigation, even for the time. There wasn't just crime scene contamination: some members of the public took souvenirs. Police and the media went head to head, trying to decide who was more incompetent, and in the meantime, one of the two suspects (the one without an alibi), disobeyed police orders and scrubbed the blood from his shirt before it could be tested. He was a butcher, in all fairness, but still. All that bungling kept the Murphy family (pictured) from ever seeing justice.


Heritage Images/Getty Images

Edwin Bartlett's death was so strange, the British Medical Journal took another look at the case in 1994. It's still weird. Bartlett died on the evening of December 31, 1885, after undergoing dental treatment for his decaying gums, rotting teeth, and breath so bad that he and his wife slept separately. That had been the setup for some time, at least since August when a maid caught Mrs. Adelaide Bartlett in a rather compromising position with her tutor, the Reverend Dyson.

Adelaide went on trial for the murder of her husband, and one of the most damning pieces of evidence was the fact she had asked Dyson to buy her some chloroform a few days before Edwin died. She claimed it was for "an internal complaint" he was too embarrassed about to speak of himself. At the trial, it was brought up that the chloroform had disappeared, and the autopsy showed Edwin had so much in his stomach that examiners could immediately smell it when they opened him. Open-and-shut case, right?

Dyson was cleared of guilt almost immediately and claimed that Edwin thought he was terminally ill. That swung the court's opinion toward suicide and a not-guilty verdict for Adelaide. However, not everyone believed the suicide line. After the acquittal, a doctor at St. Bartholomew's Hospital said Adelaide "should tell us in the interests of science how she did it." 


Jack the Ripper Tour/The British Library

Harriet Buswell is sometimes called an early victim of Jack the Ripper, but if that's the case, Jack waited a long time to start killing again. Buswell was killed in London on Christmas morning in 1872, and according to the research done by Arizona State University's Marlene Tromp (via Branch Collective), the series of events leading to her death began with a Christmas Eve trip to the Alhambra dance hall. There, she picked up a man described by witnesses as a well-dressed foreigner, probably German, and headed home with him.

Her landlady found her the next morning, her throat cut several times, with what police described as a peaceful expression on her face. The manhunt for the killer led to Dr. Gottfried Hessel, a German minister, on a stopover on his way to South America, but this was the good old days before things like forensics. Hessel was ultimately cleared because of his good character and alibi (his boots were very clearly left outside the door of his hotel room), even though his maid testified she had washed several bloodied handkerchiefs for him on the night of the murder. Suspicious? Probably, but Hessel was released, and the police were subjected to a good bit of ridicule for suspecting such a fine, upstanding citizen of such a horrible murder. No one else was ever arrested.


Wikimedia Commons

A warning: this is about as grisly as it gets. Three boys poking around the Thames in Battersea on June 4, 1889, came across a human thigh, severed at the hip and knee. They wrapped it up and took it to the police, because ... well, who can tell? Almost immediately, news came in that the lower part of a woman's body had been found 5 miles down the Thames.

According to reports compiled by Casebook, police were debating how much of a body was actually needed to open an official inquiry when more parts started turning up. A Battersea Park gardener found a package containing some flesh, an empty torso was found in the Thames, an arm wrapped in a skirt showed up at Covington's Wharf, a right leg and foot were found wrapped in pieces of a tweed coat ... you get the idea. Over the next week, organs, pieces of organs, a left arm, hands, an empty pelvis, a bladder, and a right thigh turned up. The last piece was found on June 11, and on June 12, a male fetus, estimated to be around 5 or 6 months old, was found in the Thames, too.

The reassembled body was identified as Elizabeth Jackson. Her family reported her missing in May, and a few major theories developed, including that Jackson was attacked and murdered in Battersea Park, that she died after a botched abortion, or that she was another of Jack the Ripper's victims. No one knows.


Mervyn/Wikimedia Commons

It's usually the killers — or the accused killers — that capture the imagination and attention of the public, and that's exactly what happened with Emile L'Angelier and Madelaine Smith.

The affair started in 1855, with a very literal affair. Letters revealed there was something going on between them that was unthinkable in Victorian society, and when Smith became interested in a gentleman who was a match her family would approve of, it seems L'Angelier made at least some attempts at blackmailing her. He later wrote in a diary that he became sick after seeing her, and he suspected he was being poisoned. The Scotsman quoted him as telling a mutual acquaintance, "If she were to poison me, I would forgive her." He didn't get the chance to forgive, and died on March 23, 1857.

Smith went on trial, not surprisingly, and according to the BBC, she testified as though she was "a belle entering a ballroom," and she explained away her recent purchases of arsenic by claiming she didn't use it as poison, but as a face wash. If there's anything good to be said about the insane beauty routines of the Victorian era, it's that they're a handy murder defense. She was found not guilty and released, while the case of L'Angelier's death was never satisfactorily resolved.


Yesterday's Papers/The New Newgate Calendar

Everyone's a critic, and even the greats suffer their share of naysayers. When Charles Dickens published "Oliver Twist," it was (spoiler alert) the murder of Nancy that twisted critics' knickers. Condemned as too graphic, it was left out of most performances, and according to writer and researcher Rebecca Gowers (via The Guardian), it was based on the murder of Eliza Grimwood.

Accounts compiled by the Victorian Crime, Sex & Scandal blog give the grisly details. Her cousin found her body on May 26, 1838, and it was every bit as violent a murder as Dickens would later write. Her throat was cut, and she was covered with cuts suggesting she had fought her attacker to her dying breath. Blood covered the room, and a number of post-mortem stab wounds were found. Witnesses saw her with a respectable-looking man the previous night, and even though there were a few suspects, the case remained unsolved.

There are two weird footnotes in this case. The first is a contemporary theory that suggests she was killed by a hit squad hired by newspapers to make news on days there wasn't enough of it. The second is that the killer may have had another victim: Dickens himself. Dickens loved the scene, and once acted it out on stage so enthusiastically that friends said it damaged his health, encouraged a stroke, and led to his death.

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