Failed resurrections, mummy murders and illegal human remains for sale
SIDELINES... COLD DOG SOUP
After a woman in Goias, Brazil, searching for her missing Shih Tzu dog, heard yelping coming from her 44-year-old neighbour’s, she called police who searched the man’s house. They found a number of cats and dogs and, according to a Civil Guard spokesman, “there were some animals in the pot on an improvised stove”, leading to his arrest for animal cruelty. Metro, 15 Aug 2022.
Faced with a record heatwave and no rain, Radhakant Verma from Gorakhpur, India, turned to a traditional solution and organised a frog wedding. His group found two frogs and staged a wedding ceremony for them on 19 July, watched by hundreds of locals, and then hosted a celebratory meal. The next day the India Meteorological Department forecast heavy rain for the area. D.Star, 20 July 2022.
Responding to reports of gunshots, police in San Antonio, Texas, found a 31-year-old man with a gunshot wound in his buttock and after taking witness statements determined that he had accidentally shot himself after firing a volley into the air. They also found he was wanted on multiple outstanding warrants and placed him under arrest. ksat. com, 11 Sept 2022.
FOOTING THE BILL
A man who had his leg amputated at Bidasoa Hospital in Hondarribia, Spain, was threatened with a bill for £1,300 for its cremation, plus a £400 fine, if he did not come and pick it up and dispose of it; but Carmen Flores, the president of the Spanish Patient Advocate Association, said the charge was “ethically reprehensible”. dailymail.co.uk, 12 Sept 2022.
Police raiding a “suspected ritual shrine”, in Benin City, southern Nigeria, found 20 mummified bodies being kept in the building. “Fifteen mummified male corpses, three mummified female corpses and two mummified children’s corpses were discovered at the scene,” said Jennifer Iwegbu, a police spokesperson. Nigerian police have periodically discovered similar shrines containing mummified bodies relating to a cult known as Alusi Okija. They are alleged to practice a ritual to settle disputes, often over business deals, where those involved are exhorted to drink a potion they are told will kill only the guilty. Originally intended to deter crime, it is claimed the cult has become a way for priests and their collaborators to kill and defraud people. It is not clear how long the bodies had been kept in the building, but police were interrogating three suspects they had captured and were searching for others who had fled the scene. theguardian. com, 18 Aug 2022.
Neighbours had not seen her and assumed she had passed away
When a 10-year-old boy named Suresh drowned while swimming in a pond in the village of Ballari in Karnataka, India, his parents followed the recommendations of social media posts that said that if the body of a drowned person is packed in salt for five hours, they will come back to life. A relative of the boy, Thippeswamy Reddy, said: “We bought around
10 kg (22lb) of salt, packed the body and waited for six hours, but nothing happened.” Villagers informed the police and doctors, who declared the boy dead, and he was later cremated. newindianexpress. com, 7 Sept 2022.
Police responding to a burglary in Bullhead City, Arizona, found 65-year-old Christine Lee Walters rummaging through the house and arrested her. She was found to have been frequently returning to the property and taking the owner’s purses, bags, and clothing to sell online. They also found the body of the homeowner, 60-year-old Wendy Mica, mummified in the
bath. It was not immediately clear when or how she had died, although neighbours said they had not seen her in a year and had assumed she had moved away. Walters denied knowing there was a body in the bath, but on searching her home they found Mica’s birth certificate, tax paperwork, driver’s license, and credit cards, as well as drug paraphernalia and “a useable amount of methamphetamine” and arrested her on burglary and drug charges. foxnews.com, 23 Oct 2022.
After Randall Freer, 63, collapsed and died in Jackson, California, police visited his home to inform relatives of his death. The deputy initially thought there was no one at home, but hearing the sound of a fan, he peered in through the window and saw a corpse sitting in a reclining chair. After gaining entry to the house, police identified the body as belonging to Randall’s father, Ada Clinton Freer, 91. The level of decomposition suggested that he’d been dead for at least three years, which also meant that it was impossible to determine the cause of death, although there were no obvious signs of foul play. County coroner Kevin Reggio said that the last time
the man had cashed a cheque in person was in 2016, but his son had access to his father’s bank accounts and had continued to use them until his own death. “The son assumed the dad’s identity, and I suspect that he was probably living with his dad and living off his father,” Reggio said. “If the son was still alive, the guy would still be sitting there, basically.” latimes.com, 18 Aug 2022.
Whenever family members tried to contact Kevin Olson, 63, who lived in Chico, California, his housemate David Pirtle, 57, always fobbed them off with an excuse. Eventually, desperate to make contact, they reported the situation to police. Searching the property, officers found Olson’s body, which had been lying in the house for at least four years. They also discovered that Pirtle had continued to make payments on Olson’s mortgage and had forged 50 cheques transferring money from Olson’s account to his own. The level of decomposition of the body meant it was impossible to immediately determine the cause of death, but Pirtle was arrested on multiple charges of forgery and theft. mirror.co.uk, 28 Sept 2022.
BITS IN BUCKETS
Jeremy Lee Pauley, 40, of Enola, Pennsylvania, was arrested after he was found to be selling human body parts on Facebook Marketplace. On a page under his name, he posted pictures of bags and stacks of femurs, captioned “Picked up more medical bones to sort through”. In Marketplace he had a page under the title “The Grand Wunderkammer,” described as “Vendors of the odd and unusual, museum exhibits, guest lectures, live entertainment, and so much more! Strange, curious, and unique in every way possible!” Police initially found that, despite their macabre nature, the items he was trading were older human remains, including full skeletons, that had been legally obtained. Later though, they were tipped off about other items in his possession, and when they returned to Pauley’s home they found three five-gallon (23l) buckets containing assorted body parts in preservative, including some from children. They discovered that he had been illegally buying human remains that had originated at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and had been sent to a mortuary for cremation, where an attendant had stolen them and sold them to Pauley for $4,000. “I think I’ve seen it all, and then something like this comes around,” said Sean McCormack, district attorney for Cumberland County, Pennsylvania. [AP] 19 Aug 2022.
SIDELINES... SNAKE VS CENTIPEDE
Zoologists recorded a sighting of North America’s rarest snake, the rim crowned rock snake, for the first time in four years in February. The tiny snake lives in a small area of Florida and is highly elusive. This one, though, was easy to spot: a hiker found it dead having choked to death on a giant centipede a third of its own length. Herpetologist Coleman Sheehy said: “It’s extremely rare to find specimens that died while eating prey, and given how rare this species is, I would never have predicted finding something like this. We were flabbergasted.” msn.com, 7 Sept 2022.
Since 1970, most of the world’s organisations responsible for setting universal worldwide standards such as the kilogram or length of a second have celebrated World Standards Day on the same day. All except the US, where the American National Standards Institute has always celebrated it on a different day. New Scientist, 17 Sept 2022.
Police in Silver Spring Township, Pennsylvania, were baffled by a large pool of blood, measuring 4ft by 7ft (1.2m by 2.1m) that appeared in the car park of a local retirement home overnight. Forensics confirmed the blood was human, but everyone in the retirement home was accounted for, the local hospital hadn’t seen anyone who had lost that amount of blood, and, despite intensive searches, no body was found. “All we can say… is a very serious injury occurred,” said police Chief Chris Raubenstine. kansascity. com, 1 Sept 2022.
GOOD DOG SPOT
A dog named Spot alerted his owner to a man in Sydney, Australia, who was jammed head-first in a septic tank on his property. Spot’s owner called emergency services who extracted the man before rising water levels endangered him. An ambulance spokesman said, “Had the dog not heard the man’s cries, it might not have been such a good ending.” D.Telegraph (Sydney), 21 Apr 2022.