Who Really Cut Off Van Gogh’s Ear? – Ripley’s Believe It or Notcast Episode 015

Who Really Cut Off Van Gogh’s Ear? – Ripley’s Believe It or Notcast Episode 015_5d80c9d0d8c73.jpeg

This week on the Notcast, we look into the theory that fellow artist Paul Gauguin cut off van Gogh’s ear with a sword.


notcast vincent can gogh

It’s common knowledge that Vincent van Gogh cut off his ear, but what scholars are still trying to piece together is why the Dutch artist was driven to such a desperate act and whether he was the one who actually did it.

This week, we look into the theory that fellow artist Paul Gauguin cut off van Gogh’s ear with a sword, and whether a letter from his brother led to a mental breakdown.

 

For more weird news and strange stories, visit our homepage, and be sure to rate and share this episode of the Notcast!

America’s Favorite Pastime: Live Train Crashing

America’s Favorite Pastime: Live Train Crashing_5d80c9e9c5ed7.jpeg

On September 15, 1896, two locomotives hurtled at full speed into one another, 14 miles north of Waco, Texas. Their boilers exploded on impact, a wild cascade of wreckage tossed hundreds of yards in every direction. One bolt shot from the crash into the eye of an onlooker, and at least two others died from the ensuing hailstorm of jagged metal. Airborne shards of machinery disfigured countless other individuals.

But, the estimated 40,000 spectators took this in stride. Not only had they paid admission to witness the event, but they weren’t about to let the risk of death or dismemberment get in the way of a little fun. Almost from the moment the cacophony of the destroyed trains died down, the crowd charged headlong into the fray, scavenging for souvenirs amidst the sizzling wreckage.

The trains hitting nose-to-nose and exploding on impact.

Believe It or Not, well before demolition derbies, live train crashing enjoyed a lengthy “moment” in America. Here’s the story behind the mayhem.

Paving the Way for the “Crash at Crush”

From 1896 until the 1930s, staged train wrecks enjoyed wild—albeit destructive—popularity. The forerunner of today’s monster truck rallies, train crashes drew tens of thousands of fans to festivals and fairs across the nation where they paid a couple of bucks to witness each main event.

The Waco crash was spearheaded by William George Crush, a passenger agent for the Missouri, Kansas & Texas Railroad (a.k.a. the MK&T or Katy). But, Crush wasn’t the first man to give this marketing ploy a try. Earlier that year, Ohio resident A.L. Streeter organized the first live train crashing event. It was later described as “the most realistic and expensive spectacle ever produced for the amusement of the American audience.”

Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad Depot

Crowds proved so enamored with Streeter’s event that six more were quickly organized, including the Texas “Crash at Crush.” To prepare for the event, MK&T laborers created a makeshift “city for a day” 15 miles north of Waco, humbly named after Crush himself.

A “City for a Day”

No expense was spared to accommodate the multitude of attendees. Event organizers drilled two wells, ran pipes for spigots, brought in tanks of artesian mineral water, and set up lemonade stands. They also constructed a temporary restaurant using a tent borrowed from Crush’s friend, P.T. Barnum.

Taking inspiration from the 1893 World’s Fair, they erected a row of carnival games and sideshows like Chicago’s Midway Plaisance. The temporary construction was topped off by a 2,100-foot station platform for onlookers and a wooden jail for would-be pickpockets and trouble makers.

Many researchers believe famed Texas musician Scott Joplin attended the event because he later immortalized it in his ragtime song, “The Great Crush Collision March.”

Catastrophic Earnings

Gilded Age America was coming off a major economic downturn, and it was hoped this publicity stunt would earn the MK&T more diehard fans. Money was made by selling $2 roundtrip train tickets to the event, as well as from the games, food, and beverages at Crush.

Even though the railroad industry dominated late-19th-century America, this came with plenty of competition. The MK&T was growing, but it needed to find ways to stay on top. Inexplicably, destroying two of its locomotives in front of the general public seemed like a good way to promote riding the line.

Considering the 19th-century fascination with bare-knuckling boxing, bear and dog fights, and public executions, maybe what followed shouldn’t come as a surprise. Passengers rode the MK&T from every corner of Texas to get in on the action. All told, 40,000 spectators filled Crush that day, making it the second-largest city in Texas.

A Heavy Metal Collision

The track at Crush measured three miles long. On one end sat engine No. 999, a 35-ton locomotive painted bright green with red trim for the event. On the other end was engine No. 1001 painted scarlet with green trim. It also measured a whopping 35 tons. Attached to each locomotive were six boxcars for added measure.

The moment of impact of the train crash show at Crush, Texas on September 15, 1896.

The so-called “duel of iron monsters” was ready to begin.

Two conductors, no doubt with guts of steel, volunteered to drive the locomotives into one another. It was their job to get the trains going at full throttle before jumping off. There was little margin for error.

All told, the trains hit at nearly 50 mph with an initial impact of between one and two million pounds of pressure. And, the boxcars added a second wave of impact.

Time-Preserved Destruction

A collection of still photographs from the event capture the eerie moment when the trains’ noses touched before disappearing into one another, a heap of twisted metal, smoke, and chaos. Despite pre-event reassurances from the MK&T’s engineers, the boilers exploded on impact sending debris in every direction.

The trains facing off for the spectacle in the pop-up town of Crush, Texas.

Countless eyewitnesses decried a terrifying post-crash scene. One Confederate war veteran described it as “more frightening than Pickett’s Charge” at Gettysburg.

We know at least two people died from flying debris; one man lost an eye and ended up with bolts and screws lodged in his head. No one knows how many more were disfigured and burned, especially as they scrambled atop the searing wreckage to collect souvenirs.

One thing’s for sure, nobody appreciated the gravity of the spectacle unfolding before their eyes.

The Aftermath of Crush

Some scholars argue that since steam power and train travel were such recent inventions, it would have been easy for people to underestimate their destructive capabilities. Crush certainly changed all that.

William George Crush was immediately fired by the MK&T but would be rehired the next day once the railroad company realized what a “smashing” success the publicity stunt was. Instead of dwelling on casualties, the media lauded its organizers and created a thirst for future events.

While the appeal of watching train wrecks live waned in the 1930s, movies like Unstoppable (2010) continue to play on our grim fascination with humanmade disasters. But, nothing will ever compare to the outrageous chaos of the “Collision at Crush.”


By Engrid Barnett, contributor for Ripleys.com

Crushing It with Can Artist Noah Deledda

Crushing It with Can Artist Noah Deledda_5d80c9db69f48.jpeg

Trash is a true treasure for Noah Deledda. 


Using only his fingertips, artist Noah Deledda of Tampa, Florida, takes trash and turns it into a true treasure. Converting typical aluminum cans into geometric art, Deledda’s work has sold for upwards of $2,000 a pop.

Deledda’s creative process stems from using his hands to create dents and grooves in a shiny aluminum finish, turning regular soda cans into delicate sculptures. He says this action elevates an item we’d normally throw away, but he also wants to show people how art can turn a discarded object into something extraordinary.

His blank canvas begins with a simple beverage purchase; it is stripped of it’s painted exterior using a special acid wash, leaving a shiny silver face for his sculptures.

His can-do attitude is the driving force behind this beautiful artwork. Pressing inch-by-inch into the exterior of a metal can is no easy feat. The painstaking process takes time, patience, and much-needed breaks. Deledda has been caught up in creative waves quite a few times leading to nerve damage in his fingertips; a true testament to the phrase, “beauty is pain.”

You can find Noah’s can art inside this year’s annual book, Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Beyond the Bizarre!

Friday the 13th’s Spooky Micro Moon

Friday the 13th’s Spooky Micro Moon_5d7cd4896d44e.jpeg

This Week

[September 8-14, 2019] A spooky micro moon, “Double Dave” the two-headed snake, and the rest of the week’s weird news from Ripley’s Believe It or Not!

Full Moon on Friday the 13th

As if a full moon on Friday the 13th isn’t spooky enough, tonight’s moon will also be a “micro moon.”

A micro moon occurs when a full moon coincides with apogee—the point in the Moon’s orbit farthest away from earth. The Moon will look a bit dimmer than usual, giving it that spooky, Friday the 13th vibe. This also means that the Moon will appear about 14% smaller and 30% dimmer than when it is at its closest point to Earth, which is known as perigee.

If you’re hoping to catch a glimpse of this spectacle, Central, Mountain, and Pacific time zones can see the eerie full moon tonight (Sept. 13) at 11:32 p.m., 10:32 p.m. and 9:32 p.m., respectively. East Coasters will have to wait until the 14th to see the Moon at its fullest—12:32 a.m.

Palindrome Week

9/10/19 to 9/19/19 is known as Palindrome Week. This means that each day’s date, if delivered in American numerical format, can be read the same forward and backward. There’s been a Palindrome Week every year since 2011, but the next time this neat number game appears won’t be until 2021.

 

 2019 Comedy Wildlife Photography Award Finalists

These hilariously-timed photographs are a part of this year’s Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards. Through the mix of luck, technical skill, and patience, photographers were able to capture some perfectly-poised shots of animals in the wild. Finalists have recently been unveiled, and final winners will be announced on November 13th. Winners will receive a trophy and a chance to join a weeklong safari in Kenya. Check out the entire gallery for more perfect photo moments of the adorable finalists.

First to Reach Deepest Point in All 5 Oceans

The deepest point in the Arctic Ocean, where the seafloor is 18,209 feet (5,550 meters) down, has been officially explored by a curious diver, Victor Vescovo. Vescovo is not only the first person to reach the seafloor of the Arctic Ocean, but he’s also the first to dive to the deepest part of all the world’s oceans. He said his favorite part of being in the deep was going where no one has gone before and “bringing light to places that haven’t seen it for millions of years.”

“Double Dave” the Two-Headed Rattlesnake

Two herpetologists in New Jersey—both named Dave—discovered a two-headed snake, which they have appropriately named Double-Dave. With two independent heads and one shared body, bicephalic animals rarely survive to maturity in the wild. Knowing this fact, and the vulnerability of this double-headed rattlesnake to natural predators, the Daves decided to take the snake back to their office, where they’ve been feeding and caring for it for several weeks.

Pterodactyls And Other ‘Flying Dinosaurs’ Were Actually Di-not-saurs

Pterodactyls And Other ‘Flying Dinosaurs’ Were Actually Di-not-saurs_5d7b83583ce81.jpeg

From the United States to Germany, Brazil, and China, Pterodactyls inhabited many different locations from the late Triassic period to the end of the Cretaceous Period. But, unlike their Tyrannosaurus rex or Stegasaurus neighbors, they were not dinosaurs. Believe It or Not! these winged creatures were actually flying reptiles. Soaring through the air for more than 160 million years, Pterodactyl is the common term for those in the Pterodactylus, or Pteranodon, genera.

Di-not-saur

While we have been trained as children to view pterosaurs as members of the dinosaur world, they display many different features than the average dinosaur. One of the most observable traits is the limb structure of the airborne family. Pterosaurs had limbs that stuck out from the sides of their bodies, similar to lizards and crocodiles. Dinosaurs had limbs located beneath their bodies.

Pterosaurs and dinosaurs had a common ancestor, but they evolved separately. This evolution gave the pterosaurs differentiations in leg and bone formation, unlike the common dino. However, both went extinct around the same time, 66 million years ago.

Taking Flight

Before birds and bats, pterosaurs were the first vertebrates to fly by flapping their wings, lifting themselves up to travel through the air. The Pterodactylus and other Pterosaurs had wings made of skin, muscle, and other membranes that stretched from a giant fourth finger to their ankles. Their bones were hollow, similar to birds; some of them even had hair-like coats.

The largest Pterosaurs could fly as fast as 67 mph, and their wingspan varied depending on their genera. For example, the Quetzalcoatlus northropi had an enormous wingspan of 36 feet. But the Nemicolopterus crypticus had a wingspan of just 10 inches.

Dinner is Served

Typically, pterosaurs had long necks and pelican-like throats to catch fish. Most had needle-like teeth, but some had no teeth at all. And, many had crests made of either bone or flesh that were likely used to attract mates.

In general, pterosaurs were meat-eaters who ate lizards, baby dinosaurs, eggs, insects, fish, squid, crab, and carcasses. They also ate fruit, depending on where they lived. But, they weren’t immune to being prey. It’s believed that they were part of the diet of meat-eating dinosaurs.

Unfortunately, no descendants of pterosaurs live on earth today, and remains of this species are a rare find. As the bones of pterosaurs are so fragile and preserved so poorly, fossils are usually incomplete when discovered. To form a picture or conduct research surrounding a particular species, paleontologists must often gather information from several fossils, or draw conclusions from related pterosaurs that are better known.


By Noelle Talmon, contributor for Ripleys.com

What Were Washington’s Teeth Really Made From? – Ripley’s Believe It or Notcast Ep. 014

What Were Washington’s Teeth Really Made From? – Ripley’s Believe It or Notcast Ep. 014_5d78e2aa467cd.jpeg

This week on the Notcast, we learn why Washington’s dentures were treated like a state secret.


washington's teeth

We’ve all heard the story of George Washington, the Founding Father who led America’s colonies to victory in 1781, having wooden teeth. It reminds us that even the greatest heroes have flaws. Some stories even say he carved his teeth himself, a reflection of the admirable ability for a person to solve their own problems. This idea may make for a great story and compelling lesson in character, but is any of it true?

This week on the Notcast, we look through historical accounts and Washington’s own writings to find out what his teeth were actually made of and why his dentures were treated like a state secret.

For more weird news and strange stories, visit our homepage, and be sure to rate and share this episode of the Notcast!

Seven Bones Of Christian Saints From The 17th-Century

Seven Bones Of Christian Saints From The 17th-Century_5d78e297f2332.jpeg

Since the inception of Christianity, holy relics and artifacts linking the power and wisdom of apostles, saints, and even the messiah on earth, have been a staple of the religion.

While splinters of the cross or the blood of Jesus Christ himself may prove difficult—if not impossible—to authenticate, many churches have long used the remains of mortal saints to attract pilgrims and worshipers.

From the fourth century to the 1700s, a saint’s death usually resulted in his or her body being divided up and sold to surrounding churches. These cathedrals would house these newly-christened relics in ornate boxes or glass so that they could be honored by worshipping masses. Considered more valuable than gold or jewels, many reliquaries were adorned with the richest materials a church could afford.

Incentivized to have the most compelling relics to attract pilgrims, the 17th-century saw widespread competition among churches to draw the attention—and money—of traveling pilgrims. During this time, visiting relics could result in official forgiveness by the church. The praetorium of Pontius Pilate, for example, was visited by so many pilgrims over the centuries that its stairs became worn down by people’s knees. The stairs saw so much traffic that they had to be covered in the 1700s to protect them from being completely worn away.

In response to the indulgences granted by these pilgrimages and growing discontent with the cult of saints, protestant reformationists destroyed many of the holy relics spreads across Europe. Though many were likely forgeries or had dubious provenance, many were the real bones of saints.

saint bones reliquary

When Robert Ripley visited Italy in 1925, he was presented with a humble reliquary of an old local church. Inside are seven leg bones of unknown saints, adorned with gold and silver thread tied into glittering flowers.

Ripley made it a point in his travels to visit many of the remaining holy sites and relics left in the world. Of great interest to his readers, these sites also continued to be huge tourist draws for world explorers and pilgrims alike.

jacob's well

Ripley at the “Well of Jacob” in the West Bank, 1936

Ripley with the “Abisha Scroll” in Jordan, 1936

garden of eden

Ripley in the “Garden of Eden,” Iraq, 1933

anchors of noah's ark

Ripley and the “Anchors of Noah’s Ark,” Tunisia, 1933

A&E’s Ghost Hunters “Debunks” Famous Image Of Face In Window

A&E’s Ghost Hunters “Debunks” Famous Image Of Face In Window_5d7852cd7bd7e.jpeg
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If you like A&E’s hit show “Ghost Hunters”, you already know the kinds of places they go and investigate. Usually they’re the kind places people tend to stay away from. The kind where you go with the intention of having a paranormal experience.

They don’t go to your local Holiday Inn or County Suites. So to hear that someone faked a picture a creepy location is kind of a bummer. The picture is super creepy for those of you who haven’t seen it. You’ll see it in the video below. But after you do you’ll notice you’ve probably seen the creepy face in the window somewhere else. Especially those of you who like to share memes a lot.

With so many good video, audio, and photo editing programs. It’s hard to decipher the real pictures from the made up ones. There are still those pictures that can’t be debunked like ghost girl at Bachelor’s Grove Cemetery. Or the picture of the pink lady of Greencastle, Indiana.

But every now and then we get a bit too excited when we see certain pictures. Sometimes we have to look at something from various angles and view points before coming to a conclusion, and this time……. Check out the video our friends at PSPR Paranormal Pursuit sent us and be sure to subscribe to them!

Check out the video and let us know your thoughts on it!

Video Source – PSPR Paranormal Pursuit

Do you have a video or photographs of something creepy, cool, strange, or odd or somewhere in-between? Think they’re a good fit for our site and wan to get your stuff showcased? Email us at strangeandcreepy1@gmail.com and let us know what you have in mind!


Killer Victorian Era Fashion

Killer Victorian Era Fashion_5d763d6bd94de.jpeg

Imagine you were living in the late 1800s. Yes, it can be hard to put yourself in a time without the Internet, cell phones, television, or even—dare we say it—indoor plumbing. But, let us take you on a journey through the time period many deem so incredibly romantic, with the promise that, if your irregular bathing habits or lack of vaccinations wouldn’t do you in, your fashion sense certainly might.

Victorian Dresses: Drop-Dead Gorgeous

Women of the time were constantly in danger as a result of their fashion choices. For example, crinoline skirts, or hoop skirts—which were all the rage in the Victorian era in the homes of every economic class—were particularly dangerous. The volume that the skirt added to women would make them consistently unaware of their size, potentially causing them to go up in flames if they got too close to a fire grate, or even the candle lighting a tiny room. There was a similar issue with ballerinas and their tulle skirts, but that’s another story

The skirt had another problem as well. Working women attempting to care for themselves or their families by joining the industrial revolution could easily be caught in the cogs of the machinery.  Factory jobs and these voluminous skirts were simply not a safe combination. In fact, some workplaces even banned these outfits, due to their dangerous nature. Of course, the crinoline skirt wasn’t the only article in Victorian fashionistas’ closets that linked to tragedy.

Dye-ing for a Good Time: Scheele’s Green

The color green was extremely popular in Victorian society, especially an intense hue called Scheele’s Green, created in the 1770s. Unfortunately, this shade of green was created by a chemist who used, among other ingredients, potassium and arsenic. The color was known to cause the side effects of arsenic poisoning, such as sores, nausea, diarrhea, headaches, and tissue damage.

Naturally, one would assume these women were unaware of the problem, but by the late 1800s, people were informed. In fact, in The British Medical Journal once said of the woman in the green dress, “She actually carries in her skirts poison enough to slay the whole of the admirers she may meet within half a dozen ball-rooms.” This didn’t stop women from desiring the color, and moreover, the real damage was inflicted upon those who brought the garments to life—such as the textile workers and dressmakers—as they worked directly with the fabric.

Via Wellcome Collection

Men’s Fashion: Sporting and Deadly

It’s easy to assume that women were the only ones affected by deadly fashion pieces, but the truth is men’s fashion was just as perplexing and just as dangerous. Men’s hats were often made with mercury—an element used to soften the fur from rabbits, and other small creatures, so it may be utilized for hat making. Again, those who created the hats were most at risk and suffered the greatest, experiencing a number of physical and psychological side effects. Gives a whole new meaning to the term Mad Hatter, doesn’t it?

What’s more, rich and fashionable men, who wore detachable collars, would sometimes choke to death as a result of their elegant choices. The collars contained starch in order to keep them stiff throughout the day. When men gave themselves over to the drink, it left them at greater risk to potentially pass out, asphyxiate, and die—a tragedy that occurred frequently enough to give it the name “father killer.

Turn Out the Light…

Imagine wearing any one of these garments and the potential for harm that surrounded you: open flames, machinery, drinking too much, and choking to death. These potential dangers don’t even touch upon the long list of risks associated with Victorian fashion. Corsets had the ability when worn tight and often enough, to absolutely destroy your organs. Skirts could be tangled in carriage wheels leading to the possibility of being dragged for miles behind the wretched vehicle!

Frankly, it would be enough to make anyone want to stay home in bed… that is, until you learned about the dangers of our nightwear. Many of the popular nightgowns and shirts for both men and women were made of flannelette—a type of cotton decorated to look like wool flannel. This highly-flammable material posed a risk of, when exposed to a measly candle spark or flame, catching people on fire while they slept.

All-in-all, Victorian fashion may have looked prim, proper, and perfect inside the history books, but as we all know, the price of fashion can be killer.


By Julia Tilford, contributor for Ripleys.com

Normal family home that estate agent says only ‘brave people’ should view

Normal family home that estate agent says only ‘brave people’ should view_5d770663e7d4b.jpeg

From the outside this looks like a normal spacious family home with five bedrooms, two bathrooms and its own outdoor swimming pool.

But you will need to take a deep breath when you step inside as all is not it seems at Woodforde House.

The estate agent auctioning the property said visitors should be “brave people only” and advises them to “leave the kids at home or keep them supervised”.

It added: “If you are a scaredy cat, don’t come” and there is a a “guarantee you will remember this property”.

The 10-bedroom property boasts a swimming pool in the garden

The idyllic home is on sale in Adelaide, Australia

Some of the rooms do give a hint as to why buyers ‘need to be brave’

 

The stark warning has been issued because the home which is on sale in Magill, a suburb in Adelaide, Australia, includes several ghoulish rooms that would not look out of place at Halloween .

A video showcasing the property reveals the home as having a dated, slightly run down interior with old-fashioned furnishings which hint at the owner’s fondness of ghosts and ghouls.

The clip hides three rooms filled with dummies of ghosts, witches, demons and even a scary-looking clown.

But images reveal the the chilling rooms, which are also adorned with fake spiders and cobwebs.

The unusual home is for ‘brave people only’ the estate agent says

At first the home looks so mundane

The creepy listing quickly went viral online with Twitter users commenting on how normal the house looked before the chilling rooms were revealed.

One wrote: “Beautiful grounds. Ooo, that hardwood is lovely. Okay, furnishings are slightly ornate for my taste but nothing that can’t be chang — OH HOLY MOTHER OF GOD WHAT IS HAPPENING HERE????”

Another said: “I was nodding along until we got to the haunted doll murder basement. And why do they have a quilt that says ‘Crusty Demons’?”

Three rooms in the property are filled with scary ghoulish dummies

Prospective buyers are advised to ‘leave their kids at home’

The estate agent gives a guarantee that visitors ‘will not forget this property’

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Top news stories from Mirror Online

A third added: “Me, swiping: I guess it’s a bit dated and that wallpaper is a lot, but I don’t really see what the— OH MY GOD!” 

The property was built by William Urenin the 1800s and includes a chapel with ruby red glass and matching church windows and two rooms in the cellar.

A family-of-six has lived there since 1977 and they describe it as “fun” while comparing it to The Bates Motel featured in the classic Hitchcock film Psycho.

The average price for a property in Magill is around $635,000 (£354,200).

The home needs a complete renovation and will go under the hammer on September 11.