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TOP 10 CULTS

 

10. Scientology

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Scientology may not be considered a true “doomsday” cult as most others on this list are, but it still has a stronghold all over the world, and its fair share of detractors who tell stories of mind control, financial devastation, and criminal activity leading to the deaths of those trying to escape the religion. Created by L. Ron Hubbard in 1947 in his first office on La Brea and Sunset in Los Angeles, Scientology is a religion based on the idea of clearing the “thetans” of outer space entities from the human psyche, with intense therapy sessions that rely on the use of a crude lie detector test, known as an E-Meter. Followers: Beck, Tom Cruise, Priscilla Presley. Scientology runs centers all over the world, but its best known is the Celebrity Center in Los Angeles, where many of its most renowned members come to “get clear”.

9. Hare Krishna

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Founded in 1966, the Hare Krishna cult was a fixture in the seventies, with yellow-robed disciples panhandling at every major airport and intersection. The epitome of hippie idealism, Krishna followers believed utterly in the God “Krishna” who was actually a character created for a novel, Mahabaratha. The distinctive, relentless chanting practiced by followers of this cult actually meant “the energy of the Lord”. Krishna followers lived a hardscrabble, Spartan existence, with the barest level of sustenance, and very little sleep: they suffered for their religion, believing that they would be rewarded by ascension to a spiritual paradise after many reincarnations. However, not every member of the Krishna organization suffered: the higher echelons were well fed, housed in luxury, and surrounded by women catering to their every need. Although the Hare Krishna’s may also escape “doomsday cult” status, there are dark tales of disciples willing to do anything for their religion, including robbery and murder. Famous Followers: The Beatles, for a time.

8. The Unification Church

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Better known by the mocking nickname, “Moonies”, the disciples of Sun Myung Moon believe that Moon himself is the divine being, or Messiah. His status as the second coming of Christ allows him to live in royal fashion, supported by his many followers all over the world. Moon was unwelcome in Germany, being banned from the country, along with his wife, as a potentially dangerous influence on German youth: they were not allowed to enter Germany until 2006. It is believed that the cult lures in young people and separates them from their loved ones by making them feel a part of a new and more loving family. Moon expects to be treated as God, because he believes he is God, or so he has led his many followers to believe. Other belief systems of the Moonie cult are that an actual kingdom of heaven exists on Earth, not solely in the afterlife, as Christians believe. Korea is the chosen realm of this kingdom, according to Moon, who has earned millions and millions of dollars from Koreans, his chosen people, while preaching that Christian churches are the devil’s instruments.

7. Children of God

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A seriously twisted cult that delivered an evil message that sex with children was natural and right, The Children of God cult was also known as the Family and was founded by David Berg. Known for turning female cult followers into prostitutes who used sex to entice men into the cult, they were the purveyors of “The System”, a doctrine that included belief in the Apocalypse. Actress Rose McGowan of Charmed was raised in the cult, and so was River Phoenix, who later died after an overdose in front of Johnny Depp’s Viper Room. The cult’s system of sexual abuse and “flirty fishing” (the use of sex to lure new members) makes it a particularly nasty addition to our list.

6. The Ku Klux Klan (or KKK)

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Spawned from the intensely racist Christian Identity Movement, The KKK practiced cold-blooded acts of murder during their reign of terror, at its most potent during the time after the Civil War. But their activities, born out of a desire for white supremacy, did not stop there. Famous for the meetings they attended, fully hidden by white robes and hoods, and the burning crosses they would erect to frighten those they despised, the KKK membership swelled to almost four million at its peak in 1928. The KKK had many enemies, looking down not only on the entire black race, but also on Catholics, Jews, and other non-white races

5. The Manson Family

charles manson

One of the most notorious cults of the modern age, the Manson Family was small, but deadly. Led by charismatic leader Charles Manson, a juvenile delinquent who sodomized other boys while in detention, Family followers believed in Helter Skelter, a massive retaliation by the black race against, in their own words, “whitey”. They also shared Manson’s belief that the Beatles’ White Album was sending them messages about how to participate in Helter Skelter. Songs like Piggies”, from that album, inspired drug-addled murderers like Charles “Tex” Watson and Patricia Krenwinkel to go into the Hollywood Hills and commit the gruesome murders of successful, rich members of the upper classes. When Roman Polanksi’s pregnant fiancée, the stunning actress Sharon Tate, begged for the life of her unborn baby, she was told, “I have no mercy for you”.

4. Heaven’s Gate

heavens gate1

A true doomsday cult, Heaven’s Gate followers believed in UFO’s and that the Earth (and everyone on it) was about to be “wiped clean” and “recycled”. The only chance of escape, preached leaders Marshall Applewhite and Bonnie Nettles, was to get off the planet – immediately. Such teachings were the harbingers of mass suicides, and the followers were prepared with instructional videos and teachings, to leave their “flesh bodies” behind, and ascend to a new level of being. When the Hale-Bopp comet appeared in 1997, Applewhite had the sign he needed. Convinced that a spaceship was waiting just beyond the comet, to rescue his followers, he ordered the suicides of 38 followers, who believed it all. The 38 followers, and Applewhite, were all found dead in a beautiful house in San Diego in 1997.

3. The Solar Temple

luc joret

Another cult with a charismatic leader, Luc Joret, the Solar Temple also preached the message of Apocalypse, claiming that it would come through natural disasters. Only Solar Temple converts would escape the fate of mankind: since they were the faithful, they would be spared. The Solar Temple devotees believed that suicide was actually salvation, and that they would be really be going on a journey to a star called Sirius. These beliefs were so strong that, in 1994, 53 members of the cult were found dead of suicide in a compound near Geneva, Switzerland. Joret, having earned more than 93 million dollars instilling this doctrine in his followers, was one of the dead in Switzerland, apparently also on a “death voyage” to a distant star: Joret started out as Gestapo officer during World War II.

2. Branch Davidians

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David Koresh was a charismatic leader who taught his followers that the United States Government was the enemy of God. Also preaching the now-familiar refrain of apocalyptic terror and destruction, Koresh installed all of his followers at a compound in Waco, Texas, with some serious weapons, and instructions to fear and fight the authorities that “threatened” their life at the cult. Koresh enjoyed the bodies of his young female followers, while painting himself as the Messiah. In February of 1994, the ATF went out to the compound, to investigate allegations of the sexual abuse of children as young as twelve, and the illegal hoarding of weapons. A famous standoff ended in tragedy as canisters of tear gas were tossed into the compound by the ATF, resulting (maybe?) in fires that caused the death of 76 members. There is much contention about whose fault the tragic fire was: the controversy continues to this day.

1. The People’s Temple

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Jim Jones, the leader of The People’s Temple, was an odd child who was intrigued, at a very young age, by religious zeal and a strong interest in “death”. From these abnormal beginnings, Jones rose to become a macabre symbol of mind control and brainwashing. Jones cloaked his darker interest in death beneath a veneer of Socialism, believing that true religious consciousness would lead to a socialist viewpoint. He felt that the Bible was ridiculous; a sort of joke or fairy tale, and his followers grew in numbers as he refined his own doctrine. Eventually, Jones and his disciples had to flee the United States, as they were pressured by the government regarding charges of violence, abuse of followers, and illegal cult activity. They escaped to a settlement in Guyana, which Jones named (naturally) Jonestown. This is where the largest mass suicide in cult history was played out, the result of Jones convincing his followers that they were being pursued by foreign governments who would torture them and hurt their children. Gripped with terror, 909 followers (including many children) drank the infamous Kool-Aid and gave their lives over to the cult, forever.


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TOP 10 VILLANOUS RULERS

10. Attila the Hun

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Widely known as The Scourge of God, Attila ruled the Hunnic Empire with his brother, Bleda from 434 until he murdered him in 445. After Rome refused to pay him tribute, he attacked a stretch of land along the Danube. The Balkans and Greece were his next targets, with each victory weighing heavily on the Roman treasury. Before he left for Gaul, Western Emperor Valentinian’s sister, Honoria offered herself to Attila and he accepted demanding half of the Western Roman Empire as her dowry, which was refused. After the defeat to King Theodoric in Gaul, he turned his army on Italy in an attempt to reclaim Honoria as his bride. Disease stopped Attila’s advance and with Pope Leo I acting as a middle man, he negotiated a peace treaty with Valentinian. In the midst of preparing an attack on Constantinople, and while celebrating his marriage to Ildico, he suffered a severe nosebleed and choked death. However, legends suggest that he was murdered, possibly by his new bride. While some consider him a great ruler, most people consider him a ruthless barbarian warlord.

9. Ivan the Terrible

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Born in 1530, Ivan was taught by his boyars how to be the Grand Prince of Moscow, a title he was given after his father’s death in 1533. In 1547, Ivan crowned himself the first Czar (God’s anointed) of Russia. He set into motion a number of reforms including lessening the boyars’ power, confirming the position of the church and restricting the mobility of peasants with new laws. In 1565 Ivan formed the Oprichnina, a section of Northeast Russia that was ruled solely by him and policed by the Oprichniki. In the latter part of his reign, he was desperate for his realm to reach the sea and launched Russia into the 24-year Livonian War against Swedes, Lithuanians, Poles and Livonian Teutonic Knights. After drought, famine, and an epidemic of the plague that killed between 600-1000 people daily in Moscow alone, Ivan became mentally unstable and his Oprichniks got out of hand and quickly became incredibly violent. In 1581 in a fit of rage he killed his eldest son and heir, Ivan by striking him in the head with his pointed staff. He died in 1584 while playing chess, a later examination of his remains found that he was poisoned with mercury.

8. Benito Mussolini

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Known to many as Il Duce (the Leader), Mussolini’s political career began in 1900 when he became a member of the Socialist Party. After serving in WWI, he formed the National Fascist party in 1919and advocated for aggressive nationalism and forcible restoration of order as well as ruthlessly opposing Communists and Socialists. He was elected to Parliament in 1921 and the next year he sent Fascists to march on Rome and Mussolini was granted joint leadership with King Victor Emmanuel III. He transformed Italy into a dictatorship, taking total control of all spheres of political, social, economic and cultural life, and executed his opposition with the help of the secret police and Fascist party militia. Despite his distrust in Hitler, he aligned himself with Germany during WWII. Hitler pressured Mussolini into adopting an Anti -Semitic policy in Italy which along with the previous wars against Ethiopia and Spain, led to widespread unpopularity. He was dismissed by the King in 1943 and was imprisoned until he was rescued by German troops. While trying to escape to Switzerland in 1945, he was captured by Italian partisan troops and shot. His body (and the bodies of other Fascists) was dumped on the ground of the Piazza Loreto in Milan where it was shot, kicked and spat upon before being hung from meat hooks at a gas station and stoned by civilians.

7. Mao Zedong

mao zedong

Commonly referred to as Chairman Moa, he began his career as a soldier during the 1911 Revolution, after which he returned to school. In 1921 he attended the National Congress of the Communist Party of China and in 1923 he was elected as a commissar of the Central Committee. In 1931 he was elected as chairman of the Soviet Republic of China and in 1934 he led the Red Army on the long march which pushed him to the forefront as the most important Communist leader. After the second Sino-Japanese War and a civil war, he continued his leadership of the new People’s Republic of China. In an attempt to revive the Chinese economy, Mao established the Great Leap Forward, a program that favored industry over agriculture. The result was a famine that killed between20 and 30 million people. The failure of the Great Leap Forward led to Mao being replaced as chairman of the central government council in 1959 by Liu Shaogi, however he remained chairman of the Communist part. He reasserted his power in his last years with the Cultural Revolution which purged all capitalist and elitist culture.

6. Idi Amin

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Beginning his military career as a private of the British Army in Uganda in 1946, Amin quickly rose through the ranks. After charges of brutality, the British tried to get Prime Minister Obote to prosecute him to no avail, and when Uganda became an independent nation, Amin helped Obote to create army training camps. In 1971 he staged a coup and became President of Uganda. He was a charismatic man that immediately gained popularity with the common people, but this didn’t last. He ordered the execution of 600 troops who were loyal to Obote and purged entire ethnic groups from within his army. With three separate security organizations (the military police, the Public Safety Unit (PSU) and the State Research Center.) He consolidated power by giving them the power to arrest and execute citizens and seize properties at will. During his rule he killed between 100,000 and 500,000 mostly innocent citizens, tortured thousands more and looted Uganda’s treasury. After a war with Tanzania, he was forced into exile first in Libya then in Saudi Arabia where he died of hypertension and kidney failure in 2003.

5. Leopold II of Belgium

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Born in 1835 to King Leopold I, he grew up as heir to the Belgian throne. He became a member of the senate in 1855 and instantly began to push for colonization in Africa and Asia. When he became king, and with the help of explorer Henry Morgan Stanley, he organized the International Association for the Exploration and Civilization of the Congo and at the Berlin Conference of 1884-85, the Congo Free State was established with Leopold as its ruler. He amassed a huge personal fortune by exploiting the Congolese people through forced labor, especially in the rubber industry. Enslavement and mutilation ran rampant with an estimated death toll between two and 30 million. When news broke of his atrocities in 1905, British and American pressure forced Leopold to hand over the Congo to the Belgian government and thus became the Belgian Congo.

4. Joseph Stalin

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Born in 1894, he first turned his attention to theological study before converting to Marxism and joining the Social Democratic party. He fought his was to power by pushing out his rivals and former allies, eventually becoming the dictator of the USSR. In 1928 he began his Five Year Plans, aggressive industrial and agricultural programs which left thousands of peasants dead as well as getting rid of his political opposition through purge trial and secret execution. This was a part of the Great Purge that was aimed at members of the Communist party who were accused of sabotage, terrorism and treachery and at this time he was also deporting ethnic minorities. He began WWII allied with Nazi Germany but when Hitler turned on him, he took control of the military and sided with Britain and the United States. After the war, he consolidated his power in the Soviet Union against capitalist threats. He became paranoid in his later years which led him to persecute his closest collaborators. Stalin died in 1953 of a cerebral hemorrhage, and after his death, Nikita Khrushchev and other Soviet leaders accused him of tyranny, terror, falsification of history and self-glorification, in a period called de-Stalinization.

3. Queen Ranavalona I of Madagascar

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Also known as the Mad Queen of Madagascar, Ranavalona I seized power in 1828 after her husband Radama’s death (and some even say she poisoned him). At the beginning of her reign, she promised to restore customary rites and old beliefs as well as giving control back to priests, judges and slave merchants. Paranoid of European colonization, she persecuted and expelled all foreigners. This led to her violently persecuting native Christians and when it didn’t eradicate Christianity, she had everyone who owned a Bible executed. The executions were less than successful and she retaliated by dangling 15 Christian leaders 150 feet above a rock-filled ravine and when they refused to denounce Christ and pray to her idols, and when they refused, their ropes were cut and they fell to their deaths. Slaves were completely disposable to Ranavalona and more than one million were killed in ritual executions, including ten thousand in a single week during her buffalo hunt. And they weren’t just killed they were tortured, usually by throwing them repeatedly from hilltops, boiling them alive or sewing them up to the neck in a freshly slaughtered buffalo hide and either left to rot or fed to wild dogs. She died peacefully in her sleep in 1861 after a terrifying 33-year rule.

2. Vlad Dracula

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Also known as Vlad the Impaler, the Prince of Wallachia was born in 1431 at a time when his lands were under the control of the Ottoman Empire and as his father’s second he was held hostage as a boy with his younger brother Radu. After the deaths of his father and older brother he took the throne at the age of 17. The beginning of his rule was spent ridding Wallachia of those who were threats to his power. His favorite means of execution was impalement in which a stake is inserted into the body and left upright until the stake makes its way through the body, a slow and painful death that could last for days. While accounts vary, the amount of people who suffered by his hand range between 40,000 and 100,000 (most were tortured in some form) and it is said that when an invading Ottoman army found the forest of corpses outside Targoviste they turned and fled. Vlad died in a battle near Bucharest in 1476 and was buried at Snagov Monastery, although archeologists have been unable to find his burial site. A strict defender against Turkish rule, even today Vlad is considered a hero to the people of Romania. In 1897 he was immortalized as a blood sucking vampire in Bram Stoker’s Dracula.

1. Adolph Hitler

hitler

Born in Austria in 1889, in his early years he worked as a painter before becoming a Bavarian soldier in 1914. After World War I, he became a member of the National Socialist German Workers (Nazi) party and in 1921 he became the chairman. With hyperinflation, political chaos and the possibility of a Communist takeover that happened afer the war, Hitler offered solutions and he took control of a coalition government in 1933 and later was given dictatorial powers. At the beginning of his Third Reich, he murdered political opposition and bullied smaller nations into giving him land. He began World War II when he aligned with the USSR and invaded Poland. His need for the expansionism of Germany drove him to attack or bully Austria, Czechoslovakia, France, Great Britain, Greece, Yugoslavia, Denmark, Norway, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Belgium and eventually his ally, Russia. Driven by his Anti- Semitic views, Hitler sought to create a perfect Aryan race by eliminating Jews. He stripped the Jews of the right to be a part of society and set up concentration camps where they were either brutally used as slave labor, gassed or shot. The Holocaust is one of the worst atrocities in the history of mankind and it killed more than six million Jews and millions of Roma (Gypsies), communists, political leaders and intellectuals. Facing defeat, Hitler and his wife Eva Braun committed suicide on April 30, 1945.

 


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TOP 10 WORST CAR RECALLS

 

10. 1984 General Motors (3.1 million vehicles)


In 1984, it seems that General Motors realized this importance too and quickly recalled 3.1 million vehicles, including the Pontiac Grand Pix, Buick Century, Cutlass, Monte Carlo, and many others. According to GM, all 3.1 million cars were at a high risk of having defective axle assemblies. This means that the wheels on the car or truck could just fall off at any time. Thankfully, no one was hurt because of the faulty installation and GM was able to quickly spot the problem and get it fixed.

9. 2004 General Motors (3.6 million vehicles)

2004GM

Here’s one way to take the fun out of a tailgate party really fast. In 2004, 3.6 million GM trucks (Sierras, Silverados, Escalades, and Avalanches) had issues with the tailgate cables that keep the tailgate attached to the truck itself. These cables were said to corrode easily which would then cause them to break. Over 134 accidents were reported, but most of these were at the owner or victim’s expense. GM warns all customers to not stand or sit on the tailgate, and those who reported accidents were doing just that.

8. 1987 Ford Motor Company (3.6 million vehicles)

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Buying gas can be a painful experience these days, but Ford owners in 1987 were really at risk. F15-350 trucks, Mercury models, Lincoln models, vans, and practically every other Ford model were leaking fuel due to a faulty fuel-line that led to the connectors, which then caused compartment fires. Of course there was a fix, but I’d imagine many owners bought a new car or forgot Ford altogether. Photo: CarGurus.com.

7. 1972 Volkswagen of America (3.7 million vehicles)

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When it’s raining or snowing, you need functional windshield wipers. When you’re going down the road and you find a bug smashed into your windshield, you need your windshield wipers then as well. Yet, in 1972, 3.7 million Volkswagen vehicles had windshield wipers that were nothing less than useless. The arms of the wipers from cars built in 1949 up to 1969 would become loose, which would cause them to not work properly, and eventually they would fall off. Fortunately, a simple replace of the wiper arms was all that was needed, and the recall wasn’t a huge hassle for those who were affected. Photo: IMCDB (Internet Movie Cars Database).

6. 1995 Honda Motor Company (3.7 million vehicles)

1995HondaCivic

After a long day at work you want nothing more than to be able to pull into your driveway, turn off your car, and undo your seatbelt, right? Releasing that thing is definitely the home stretch towards freedom. However, many Honda and Acura owners (specifically Accords, Civics, and Preludes) weren’t able to get out of their seatbelts. The release button that all seatbelts have would easily crack and then become unusable, leaving car drivers stuck in their car. This could really become an extreme situation if you were to get into an accident and needed to exit the car. Even on a regular day, you might not have a knife or a pair of scissors in your glove compartment, so hopefully there is someone around to help. At worst, you’re trapped: at best, you’re left with a broken seatbelt. Honda issued the recall and all of the seatbelt release buttons were replaced.

5. 1973 General Motors (3.7 million vehicles)


We’ve all probably heard a rock or some sort of solid hard object hit the underneath of our car, and of course we don’t think too much of it. However, in 1973, about 3.7 million GM car owners (those who drove Centurions, Electras, Kingswoods, Belairs, Bonnevilles, as well as many other cars) had to worry a great deal about the overall protection of their engine and car. The shields that are installed underneath many engines are designed to keep rocks and other solid pieces of rubble from getting into the engine itself. The shield wasn’t doing its job, and a recall was issued. If a rock were to get into the engine, it would completely disable it, and that could be pretty costly. (The taxi in the clip above is a 1973 Bel Air according to IMCDb.org.)

4. 1972 Ford Motor Company (4.1 million vehicles)


Nowadays, wearing your seatbelt while driving is a law in most states, and with campaigns such as “Click it or Ticket,” those who used to dread wearing their seatbelt probably do so now. In 1972, Ford realized that the harnesses used for seatbelts in many of their vehicles, including Mercurys, Lincolns, Rancheros, were less than perfect protection. Instead, the seatbelt harness would easily fray and come loose from the metal that was used to attach it to the frame. This was a problem in 4.1 million Ford vehicles.

3. 1981 General Motors (5.8 million vehicles)


If you’re a driver, you know the extreme importance of your steering wheel, especially when it comes time to make that final turn to get home, or even just to ensure you are staying in your lane when on the highway. However, in 1981, those who owned an El Camino, Malibu, Monte Carlo, Century, Regal, Pontiac Grand Prix, and a few other cars, risked losing control of their steering wheel. According to GM, with many of these cars, there was a chance that the suspension bolts could come loose. If they came loose at just the wrong time, there would be no way for the driver to steer. The fix was simple and all of the affected cars just needed an easy and quick suspension bolt replacement.

2. 1971 General Motors (6.7 million vehicles)


Some drivers are what we call “lead-foots” or “speed demons,” while others seem to prefer to stay under the speed limit. In any case, most of us speed because well…we can, but imagine your car suddenly speeding without your say in the matter. This is exactly what happened in 1971 to 6.7 million General Motors vehicles. Somehow, an engine mount within the car separated due to a deterioration of the rubber placed between them, which then lifted and pushed down on the throttle. This then caused the vehicles to hit some really high speeds. At the time several GM automobiles, mainly Chevrolets, were affected: the Camaro, Chevy II, Impala, Nova, Belair, and many others. All of the cars were manufactured from 1965-1969 and in the end those that were affected had to pay around $30 for a quick fix.

1. 1996 Ford Motor Company (8.6 million vehicles)


All of us get in our cars in the morning, get to our location, put the car in park, and then we’re off to work or some other place. However, in 1996, 875 weren’t able to experience something so easy and simple. Instead, when their cars were put into park, a short while after the car would catch fire. Due to a faulty ignition, Ford Motor Co. had to recall 8.6 million vehicles out of a known 10 million vehicles that had the same commonly used ignition. The most commonly affected vehicles were 1988-93 Tempos, Thunderbirds, Cougars, Escorts, Mustangs, Lincoln Town Cars, Broncos, F-series trucks and Crown Victorias. Sadly, many of the cars that caught fire were parked in garages, and therefore the fire not only ruined the car, but sometimes the entire house itself. After the incidents became widespread, groups protesting Ford formed to request an immediate resolution, one of the most notable being “Burned up by Ford.”


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TOP 10 GOLF COURSES IN SCOTLAND

1
Learn MoreTurnberry Alisa Golf Course Turnberry
The 2009 Open Championship will be played at Turnberry, one of the most spectacular golf courses in Britain.
2
Kingsbarns Golf LinksKingsbarns Golf Links
Kingsbarns Golf Links is without doubt one of the most breathtaking courses in the world.
3
Duke's St Andrews Golf ClubDukes Golf Course St Andrews
Awarded Championship status in its first year, the Duke's Course, based in St Andrews, was designed by five times Open Champion Peter Thomson
4
St Andrews Old CourseSt Andrews Old Course Golf Links
Kingsbarns Golf Links is without doubt one of the most breathtaking courses in the world.
5
Blairgowrie Golf ClubBlai
Scottish golf is not all about links golf and the two magnificent heathland golf courses at Blairgowrie Golf Club bear testament to this adage.
6
Lundin Golf ClubLundin Golf Club
Today, Lundin is an excellent golf course and plays host to final qualifying for the British Open when held at St. Andrews and also the East of Scotland Amateur Championship,
7
Royal Dornoch Golf ClubRoyal Dornoch
The jewel in the Highland golfing crown is definitely Royal Dornoch Golf Club. Universally rated as being in the world's top 20 golf courses
8
Carnoustie Golf LinksCarnoustie Golf Course
What you find is a course that is difficult but still eminently playable, provided the golfer hits the right shots at the right time.
9
Muirfield Golf CourseMuirfield Golf Course
Muirfield remains one of the finest golf courses in the world. With no trees or water in play, none of its subtleties are disguised and there is only one blind shot - your drive over the ridge at the 11th hole.
10
Craigielaw Golf CourseCraigielaw Golf Course
With challenging greens, cavernous bunkers and spectacular views over the Firth of Forth, the courses of Gullane and out towards Edinburgh and Fife, Craigielaw Golf Club is an experience not to be missed.

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TOP 10 GREATEST MILITARY BLUNDERS

 

10. (Tie) PHILIPPINES LIBERATION, 1944

Douglas MacArthur lands

Not a defeat, but an unnecessary operation that may have extended the war by months. After having been kicked out of the Philippines two years earlier, General Douglas MacArthur was itching to get back and convinced Roosevelt that he might lose reelection in 1944 if he didn’t liberate the island chain he had so ineptly tried to defend in 1942. However, by 1944 the Japanese air and naval presence on the island had been largely nullified and it was too far from Japan to be of use as a base from which to launch raids on its cities, leaving little reason to invade the place other than because that’s what Douglas wanted (and what Doug wanted, he usually got). The time spent securing the islands and the resources committed to doing so delayed the more important invasion of Okinawa in 1945 and probably extended the war by several months—but at least it gave MacArthur the chance to wade ashore at Leyte Gulf to proclaim that he had returned.

10. (Tie) KURSK, RUSSIA, 1943

Kursk Battle Illustration

Having apparently learned nothing from the trouncing he had just taken at Stalingrad six months earlier (see below), Hitler decides to launch yet another big offensive against the now large and well entrenched Soviet defenders, this time at a place called Kursk (an important industrial city some 300 miles south of Moscow). Billed as the largest land battle in history, the Soviet lines bent but didn’t break, and ended up costing the Germans pretty much the rest of the best of its army and air force and initiating Germany’s long and slow retreat back to Berlin, with all the unfortunate consequences for Hitler and the German people that eventually entailed. Image: http://www.jodyharmon.com

9. ANZIO, 1944


What is not well known to the average history buff is that American troops had a golden opportunity to finish off the Germans in Italy early on with their surprise landing at Anzio, Italy—a quaint little place just a hop, skip, and a jump from Rome. So taken by surprise were the Germans, in fact, that a few yanks in jeeps managed to drive all the way to Rome without hindrance, demonstrating that the way was open for allied forces and portending a major disaster for the Germans dug in to the south of the city. Unfortunately, the allied commander of the operation, Major General John P. Lucas, proved to be a bit timid and decided to consolidate his beachhead before pushing on to Rome, which gave the Germans time to move their forces and contain the Americans there for the next few months and costing Lucas his job. Had the man shown a little Pattonesque-like bravado, the Germans might have been forced back to the Austrian frontier two years earlier than they eventually were and countless allied and axis lives might have been saved in the process.

8. ITALY’S INVASION of GREECE and EGYPT, 1940-41

Italy invades Greece

With dreams of restoring the glory that was Rome, Mussolini unleashed his oversized but inept army against Albania (yes, I said Albania) and Greece in the summer of 1940, and decided to push into Egypt from his colony in Libya as well. Not remarkably, Mussolini had his head handed to them by the British-Greek forces in the Balkans and the British-Allied forces in Egypt, forcing Hitler to have to send in his army to save his hapless ally. This ended up costing the Germans dearly, for it pulled valuable resources away from other fronts and delayed Hitler’s time-table for the conquest of the Soviet Union (see below), gumming up the whole affair. Chances are had Mussolini followed Franco’s lead in Spain and simply had Italy remain neutral, Germany may have won the war.

7. MAGINOT LINE and the FALL of FRANCE, 1940

Maginot Line

Having apparently learned nothing from World War One, the French set about creating an impenetrable line of fixed defenses on its border with Germany guaranteed to keep the Huns at bay. Called the Maginot line, it proved to be every bit as formidable as advertised; the problem was it didn’t go all the way to the coast, leaving a hundred mile wide gap that the Germans were able to plow through with relative ease in the spring of 1940, thereby encircling the British and French Armies in Belgium and handing the French a humiliating defeat that they don’t like to talk about to this day. Debate rages whether the Maginot Line would have stopped the Germans even if it had been complete, but considering how much warfare had changed since the trench warfare of World War One, it probably would only have slowed them down. Once the Germans breached it at any point, most likely the results would have been the same—just a little later in being realized.

6. PHILIPPINES DEFENSE, 1942

Japanese Troops Bataan 1942
Japanese soldiers celebrate victory on Bataan

General Douglas MacArthur’s hare-brained scheme to defend the entire archipelago from the Japanese in the spring of 1942 was doomed from the start. Scattering his supplies of food and ammunition throughout the islands in hopes of defending every square inch of the place only ended in disaster for his men when he was quickly forced to abandon the plan—along with the stockpiles of food and ammo—and pull them all back to the Bataan Peninsula. After a few futile months of resistance, over 76,000 American and Filipino troops were starved into surrendering, leading to the greatest defeat in American military history. Not to worry, though; ‘ol Doug high-tailed it out of there before the end came and spent the rest of the war lobbying to be awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his brilliant defense of the place (which he got, by the way).

5. THE LONDON BLITZ, 1940

London Blitz

With the fall of France in June of 1940, England stood alone against the Germans, making the likelihood of a sea-borne invasion of England—already in the planning stages—a very real possibility. Only Britain’s undersized air force—the RAF—stood in the way of keeping the German’s much vaunted Luftwaffe from seizing air control and making a sea invasion possible. At first the Germans were winning the war of attrition by attacking British airfields, but after a small-scale RAF bomber raid on Berlin on August 25th, 1940 (which did little real damage) enraged der Fuhrer, Luftwaffe Air Marshal Goering decided to retaliate by switching targets from the RAF airfields to London. In doing so, he gave the British a much needed chance to regroup and rearm, the result being the Luftwaffe’s eventual defeat and the cancellation of the invasion of England a few months later. Image: http://www.electricscotland.com/

4. INVASION of the SOVIET UNION, 1941-1945

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Hitler’s ambitious plan to defeat Communism on his own doorstep by knocking out the Soviet Union in one bold move very nearly worked, but it also forced him to fight a two-front war against two enemies—the USSR and USA—that far outmatched Germany in terms of manpower and industrial capability. After Stalingrad (see below) in 1942, Germany was on the defensive and defeat, pending some miracle weapon that never managed to emerge, was inevitable. Had Hitler finished off England first and secured his western front before taking on his Soviet foe (and staying out of war with America in the process) history could well have had a very different ending. Image: http://www.graphicwitness.org

3. PEARL HARBOR, 1941

Pearl Harbor Newspaper Headline

A well-planned and executed operation that resulted in a spectacular victory for Japan, it also planted the seeds for their own eventual defeat. In concentrating their efforts on the largely obsolete battleships, the Japanese pilots failed to knock out the major infrastructure on the island—the oil farms, repair shops, and munitions storage facilities—that made it possible for the Americans to use Pearl Harbor as their forward base of operations throughout the war. Had they done so, it would have forced the U.S. to fall back to the west coast, making operations in the Pacific far more difficult and probably extending the war by a year or more. The Japanese also failed to sink the aircraft carriers—their primary targets that were out to sea at the time and a force that would come back to extract retribution later on—or attack the submarine pens. This was truly a case in which short-term victory resulted in a long term defeat.

2. DUNKIRK, 1940

1940 Dunkirk troops

Having successfully encircled the combined Anglo-French army in northern France and Belgium in June of 1940, German forces were poised to deliver the coup d’grace to the allies when Hitler inexplicably ordered his armies to halt their advance just miles short of final and total victory. It was said he did this to make a point to his generals that he was the hero of the day, not they. As a result, over 300,000 British and French soldiers were able to be evacuated to England before the noose was closed, allowing them to fight again. Had they not been evacuated, it is doubtful the British could have stood up to the Germans and Italians in North Africa the following year, potentially altering the outcome of the war by permitting the axis to take Egypt and the oil-fields of the Middle East—in which case it really would have been game over.

1. STALINGRAD, 1942

Battle of Stalingrad

This is the battle which essentially cost the Germans the war. Hitler’s ambitious plan to seize the oil-rich Caucasus region of the Soviet Union in the summer of 1942 ground to a halt on the shores of the Volga River at a city named after the Soviet leader Joseph Stalin. After months of brutal fighting that left hundreds of thousands dead on both sides and the city leveled, Hitler’s man on the spot, Field Marshal Von Paulus, found his army entirely surrounded and was forced to surrender over a quarter million men in February of 1943. Had Hitler allowed him to withdraw a few months earlier when victory was truly out of reach, it would probably have staved off Germany’s ultimate defeat by months or, possibly, even years (giving them the time needed to develop an atomic bomb, perhaps?)


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10 UNSOLVED MURDERS

 

10 - The Seewen Murders

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The Seewen murders took place during Pentecost weekend in 1976 and remains one of Switzerland’s biggest unsolved murder cases. Five members of the Siegrist family ranging in ages from 45 to 80 years old were found dead in a weekend home in the protected forest of Seewen. Police suspect that only two of the family members were the targeted victims, while the other three just had the unfortunate luck to be in the home as well. The cause of death was obvious, 13 rounds from a Winchester type shotgun. What was a little more surprising was the accuracy of the rounds fired. 11 shots to the head, 2 shots to the upper chest.

To this day the majority of the Swiss public believes the likely murderer to be Carl Doser (pictured above), In 1996, an Italian made Winchester shotgun was found hidden in the walls of the Doser home. Forensic testing determined that this was indeed the murder weapon, but no motive, nor documentation of any meetings between Doser and the victims has ever been verified and he remains only a suspect.

A second theory revolves around Johnny Siegrist, a family member to the victims, who may have been assisted by Doser. Johnny was the likely purchaser of ammunition at Basler Steinenvorstadt, and the clerk recalls being asked if the Kal. 38 Spez ammunition would fit an “Italian made Winchester”. Upon searching Johnny’s residence, stryrofoam heads that had been shot through were discovered. Possible motive…Being belittled by the family. Johnny Siegrist was temporarily jailed, but his death in the early 80′s has left no one to be held accountable for the murders.

9 - Bob Crane

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Robert “Bob” Crane was an American TV actor best known for his portrayal of Col. Hogan from the comedy series “Hogan’s Heroes”. The series ran for 6 years (1965-1971) and Crane became beloved for his manly good looks and engagingly roguish demeanor in his attempts to sabotage the Nazi war effort from the confines of a POW camp. What the public didn’t know about Crane was his private battle with sex addiction, which destroyed two marriages. This addiction not only involved innumerable sexual encounters with young women, and heavy activity in the underground sex scene, but developed into an obsession with cameras, sex films and the newly developed world of video.

On June 29, 1978 Crane was discovered bludgeoned to death in his Scottsdale, Arizona apartment. Primary suspect–John Carpenter. No, NOT the famous director, this Carpenter was a fellow sex addict who introduced Crane to the use of video in their sexual activities. Carpenter admits that he was with Crane his last night alive, but denies that he was the one who killed Crane with multiples blows to the head with a video tripod, even though brain matter was found in the rental car that Carpenter was driving. Unfortunately the case was handled poorly from the beginning by the Scottsdale and Phoenix police departments, and because of botched forensics as well as political maneuverings within the district attorney’s office that had little to do with the case itself, Carpenter remains free today.

8 - Dian Fossey

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Dian Fossey came to the world’s attention for her pioneering studies with gorillas in Africa, and her subsequent efforts to stop the poaching of the creatures she came to love. In 1967 Fossey founded the Karisoke Research Center, the base of operations for her studies, located deep within the Virunga Mountains, Rwanda. Her photograph was featured on the cover of National Geographic Magazine in January 1970, and photographs showing the gorilla “Peanuts” touching Fossey’s hand depicted the first recorded peaceful contact between a human being and a wild gorilla. Her book, Gorillas in the Mist, remains the best-selling book about gorillas of all time, and she sold the rights to Universal Studios for one million dollars so she could continue to fund her research and conservation efforts.

In 1985 Fossey was found dead in her bed at the Karisoke site. She was found with the machete she had confiscated from poachers and hung upon her wall, buried in her skull. Evidence found at the scene incriminated employees of the research center and the entire staff was arrested. They were subsequently released. No one has ever been prosecuted for her murder, though many theories abound, concentrating upon the illicit black market and the poaching of gorillas and other protected wildlife. Chances are no one will ever be prosecuted.

Fossey is buried next to her cherished gorilla friend Digit, at the Karisoke Research Center, in the special graveyard she constructed for the gorillas that she spent the better part of her life studying.

7 - Julie Ward

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Julie Ward, a 28 year old wildlife photographer from Ipswich was visiting in Kenya, and was found dead in the Masai Mara Game Reserve in 1988, after her friends reported that she hadn’t attended a farewell dinner the night before they were to depart Africa. Her dismembered and burned body was found deep within the reserve’s boundaries a week after she was reported missing. The original theory put forth by the Kenyan officials was that she had been eaten by lions and struck by lightning, but they later accepted that she was murdered after her father’s efforts uncovered further evidence. It was discovered that coroner’s reports had been altered to mask evidence of human participation in Julie’s murder.

There have been two trials regarding this case, one in 1992 and one in 1998, but all three suspects were acquitted. The case has reached international attention due to the efforts of Julie’s father, John Ward. He has traveled to Africa over 100 times and invested over 1 million pounds in his attempts to bring the killer(s) to justice, but since the involvement of high power officials like former President Daniel Moi and concerns for the safety of the Kenyan tourism industry there have been no killers convicted to this day.

6 - Amber Hagerman

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Unsolved murders are disturbing enough, but the thought that there is a child killer still roaming free has to be one of the worst realities that can be thrust upon the members of a community. Amber Hagerman was a beautiful little 10 year old girl from Arlington, Texas. On January 13,1996 a young playmate was able to provide to police a description of the man who quickly and forcibly pushed Amber into his black van and sped away. A search for the van was immediately organized, but it was four days before her little body was found. A man walking his dog found Amber’s body in a creek bed. Her throat was cut, but not until two days after her abduction.

In 2007 Terapon Adhahn, of Tacoma, Washington was arrested in connection to a series of child abduction rapes in the Washington state area, and he is the only suspect to date for the murder of Amber, although no charges for her murder have been able to be served. There is still a $75,000 reward offered for information that might lead to her killer.

Amber leaves behind a legacy. The Amber Alert is a public notification system adopted in the U.S. as a quick response effort to help expedite the safety and return of missing or kidnapped children. In April 2003, President George W. Bush signed the AMBER Alert legislation, making it a national program. Other legislation generated by Amber’s murder has since resulted in a national sex offender registry, and both of Amber’s parents were present when Bill Clinton signed the bill into law.

5 - Tupac Shakur
Tupac Shakur

Born Tupac Amuru Shakur, he was also known as 2Pac and sometimes, Makaveli. American born rapper and actor, Tupac has been featured in quite a few lists here at ListVerse, and now one more. The night that Tupac was fatally shot is quite well documented. He was never alone, being in the company of Marion “Suge” Knight, the CEO of Death Row Records the whole evening. On September 6, 1996 Tupac started his evening ringside at the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada with such company as Louis Gossett Jr., Charlie Sheen and baseball great Reggie Jackson to watch Mike Tyson demolish Bruce Seldon in two minutes flat. After a brief scuffle with Orlando Anderson in the lobby of the MGM, Tupac then accompanied Suge to his home in a suburb of Las Vegas. About 10 PM the pair and their entourage left Suge’s home to go Club 662, where Tupac was scheduled to perform with the rap band Run DMC. They never arrived. Stopped at a red light, their car was boxed in on three sides by other vehicles and a fourth car rolled up on the left and started shooting. Out of the 13 bullets shot into Suge’s BMW, Tupac took three, one to his chest, one to his hip and one in the hand.

Two tires had been flattened in the shooting and on the way to the hospital a third tire blew out, and help had to be called. Paramedics were able to get Tupac to University Medical Center, where emergency surgery was performed. But to no avail, after three surgeries and the removal of one of his lungs Tupac succumbed to his injuries six days later.

Some say Tupac was killed due to his ties with gangs, others say he was killed because his mother was once a Black Panther. Maybe it was because of the feud between Death Row Records and New York based Bad Boy Records, run by Sean “P. Diddy” Combs. There was also another ongoing rivalry with Christopher Wallace, AKA the Notorious B.I.G. Regardless, the only witness who agreed to testify in the event of an arrest, Yafeu Fala, was killed two months later in New Jersey, leaving no other witnesses able to help with the case.

4 - Catrine da Costa

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Prostitution is hardly a safe way to earn a living and it proved deadly to Catrine da Costa in the spring of 1984. Working just north of Stockholm, Sweden, her dismembered body was found in two different sites in the city of Solna. Reported missing on June 10th, the first bag of body parts wasn’t discovered until July 18th. A second bag was discovered at Karlbergs beach in Solna on August the 7th, though her head, internal organs, one breast and genitalia have never been found. It’s the lack of these particular body parts that is the primary reason that no one has been brought to justice for the crime.

Two doctors, a pathologist who worked in between the two dump sites, and a general practitioner, whose very young daughter recalled memories of her father committing the crime were both arrested and sent to trial. But since there was no evidence of the method of murder, due to the missing body parts, there was no way to determine if the victim had “died of natural circumstances” and the Swedish legal system was forced to acquit the two men. Not to worry, the two doctors had their medical licenses rescinded and are no longer able to pursue a career in their trained fields. That hasn’t stopped them from suing for wrongful loss of income, and after almost a decade of legal maneuvering their suit has been denied as of February, 2010.

3 - Mary Pinchot Meyer

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A New England socialite that was raised in full stereotypical fashion, Mary Pinchot Meyer is another one of the many women who has died because of an association to the Kennedys. A graduate of Brearly School and Vassar College, Mary took an early interest in communism and was a member of the American Labor Party. Working as a journalist for Mademoiselle magazine kept Mary in the finest of company among the political comers and the ingenues that they spent their time with. Nobody was surprised when she married Cord Meyer, a U.S. Marine lieutenant who was on his way up the ladder, in 1945. By 1947 she was happy to leave her job as editor of Atlantic Monthly, to become a stay at home mother to her three children. Meanwhile, Cord Meyer was able to secure a position with the CIA, and the fact that he was a member of the communist party was not an issue. In the early 50′s Cord Meyer became one of the primary operatives in “Operation Mockingbird”, a covert mission to sway public opinion, using mass media. Mary’s communist leanings may also have been useful to the CIA, but they deemed her many love affairs left her too “unreliable”.

In 1956, the death of Mary’s middle son paved the way for a divorce, and opened the door for a more adventurous love life, and Mary had no problem turning a long time friendship with John F. Kennedy into something more illicit. Now comes the weird part. It seems that at this point in time there was an underground plot among a small circle of upper socialite women to influence the decision making processes of high political figures (men) by using sex and LSD. Mary was one of this little group, and her target was JFK himself. Considering their affair occurred during the Bay of Pigs fiasco, it is quite possible she DID have some influence on his policies.

Mary Pinchot Meyer was killed on 12 October, 1964, eleven months after John F. Kennedy’s assassination and two weeks after the Warren Commission report was made public. Mary’s body had two bullet wounds, one at the back of the head and another in her heart. FBI forensics stated that the wounds were made at close range, possibly point blank range. Upon her death those closest to her frantically searched for Mary’s diary and it was eventually found and burned. The burning was witnessed by two family members, who say that the affair with JFK was documented, but there was no further information that would shed light upon his assassination.

In 2001 Cord Meyer was asked if he knew who had killed Mary. He responded “The same sons of bitches that killed John F. Kennedy.”

2 - Lake Bodom Murders

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Lake Bodom is a freshwater lake near the city of Helsinki in Finland. It is also the site of a grisly mass murder that happened on June 6, 1960. Early in the morning a group of four teenagers, 2 18 year old young men and 2 15 year old girls were savagely attacked by knife and bludgeon, while sleeping in a tent at the lake. The attack left three dead at the scene and a sole survivor, Nils Gustafsson, who was severely injured with a concussion and a broken jaw. He recovered from his injuries and went on to live a healthy life. Despite the fact that there was a survivor, there were no leads that could provide an arrest for the deadly attack.

Twelve years later, to the day, a man left a suicide note confessing to the murders. He said he was a lemonade vendor at the lake and later that night killed the young teens. But police investigation into this written confession proved that the man had not committed the crime, as he was asleep with his wife at the time of the murders. Another lead came in 2003, when Professor Jorma Palo published his account of a man he had treated in his hospital on the night of the murders. The man’s name was Hans Assmaann, and he was treated for “suspicious injuries”. Palo alleges that the man was the murderer but the crime was covered up because of Assmaan’s ties to the KGB.

The most confusing twist to the story is the arrest of Nils Gustafsson, the survivor of the attack, in 2004. It was 44 years after the crime and Gustafsson was now 62 years old. According to the official statement, “Gustafsson erupted in jealous anger over his feelings for his new girlfriend. She was stabbed multiple times after the fatal blow, while the two other teenagers were killed less savagely”. Despite having come to trial, blood evidence could not be linked to Gustafsson, and he was acquitted in 2005. In the name of fairness, Finland awarded Gustafsson a large monetary settlement “for mental suffering caused by the long remand time.”

1 - Servant Girl Annihilator

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Mollie Smith is presumed to be the first victim of the “Servant Girl Annihilator”, a serial killer who was active in the Austin, Texas area in 1884 to 1885. Pre-dating Jack the Ripper’s killing spree by almost 4 years, the viciousness of his attacks left the public hysterical, and some even tried to tie the two series of murders together as the work of one killer. At least 7 young women’s deaths are attributed to the Annihilator, who not only raped his victims, but bludgeoned or slashed them to death. Sometimes the murder weapon was an axe, and several victims were stabbed by some sort of spike in the ears or the face. The killers habit was to drag his victim from her bed while she slept, and because of this method on at least two occasions the victim’s male bed mate was attacked as well, resulting in the bludgeoning death of Orange Washington. Numerous arrests were made up to this point, but lack of evidence or airtight alibis lead to the release of all suspects.

By September of 1885 The Servant Girl Annihilator had attacked 8 people, leaving 5 dead. Things were quiet for a few short months, then a change of M.O. On Christmas Eve, 1885, not 1 but 2 well to do white women were dragged from their respective beds, raped and axed to death. The husbands of each of these women were arrested and placed on trial. Through the infantile beginnings of forensic science, each man was proven innocent of the crimes and acquitted. The murders stopped and no one was ever convicted for them.

Back to the Ripper murders, which took place in Whitechapel, London, England in 1888. One suspect, who rarely gets mentioned by Ripperologists, was a Malay cook calling himself Maurice, a man who had threatened to kill Whitechapel prostitutes but who had then disappeared. In 1885 he had been employed at the Pearl House, a small hotel, in Austin, Texas. The information was confirmed, and it was ascertained that the cook had left the premises in January 1886. The Servant Girl murders had ended just weeks earlier and most of the victims resided not far from the Pearl House.


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TOP 10 NOTABLE RESIDENTS OF BROADMOOR

 

Broadmoor Hospital is a high-security psychiatric hospital at Crowthorne in the Borough of Bracknell Forest in Berkshire, England. It is the best known of the three high-security psychiatric hospitals in England, the other two being Ashworth and Rampton. The hospital was built in 1863 to a design by Sir Joshua Jebb, and covers 210,000 square metres (53 acres) within its secure perimeter. After the escape of John Straffen (see below) in 1952, who murdered a local child, the hospital set up an alarm system. The hospital has seen some prolific inmates since its inception, and this list describes 10 of its most famous tenants.

10 - Robert Napper

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Robert Clive Napper is a convicted British murderer and rapist who was remanded in Broadmoor Hospital indefinitely on 18 December 2008 for the manslaughter of Rachel Nickell. He is a paranoid schizophrenic who has also been diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome. The marriage of Napper’s parents was violent; Napper witnessed violent attacks on his mother which ended in divorce when he was 10. Napper and his siblings (two brothers and a sister) were placed in foster care and underwent psychiatric treatment.

Meanwhile, Napper underwent a personality change after a family friend assaulted him on a camping holiday when he was 12. The offender was jailed, but Napper became introverted, obsessively tidy and reclusive according to his mother. He also bullied his siblings and spied on his sister while she undressed.

Napper’s convictions include an offense with an air-gun, stabbing a young mother forty-nine times in front of her two year-old son, killing then sexually assaulting a woman and smothering her four-year-old daughter, and admitted to two rapes, but it is believed he is the ‘Green Chain Rapist’ who carried out at least 70 savage attacks across south-east London over a four-year period ending in 1994

9 - Graham Young

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Graham Frederick Young is notable for his obsession with the use of poison, and for having been imprisoned for murder in his teens, only to kill again after his release. Born in Neasden, north London, he was fascinated from a young age by poisons and their effects. In 1961 at 14 he started to test poisons on his family, enough to make them violently ill. He amassed large quantities of antimony and digitalis by repeatedly buying small amounts, lying about his age and claiming they were for science experiments at school.

In 1962 Young’s stepmother Molly died from poison. He had been poisoning his father, sister, and a school friend. Young’s aunt Winnie, who knew of his fascination with chemistry and poisons, became suspicious. He might have escaped suspicion as he suffered the same nausea and sicknesses as his family, however he sometimes forgot which foods he had laced. He was sent to a psychiatrist, who recommended contacting the police. Young was arrested on May 23, 1962. He confessed to the attempted murders of his father, sister, and friend. The remains of his stepmother could not be analyzed because she had been cremated.

Young was sentenced to 15 years in Broadmoor but was released after nine years, having been deemed “fully recovered”. After release from hospital in 1971, he began work as a storekeeper at John Hadland Laboratories, which manufactured thallium bromide-iodide infrared lenses used in military equipment. Soon after he began work, his foreman, Bob Egle, grew ill and died. Young had been making tea laced with poisons for his colleagues. A sickness swept through his workplace and, mistaken for a virus, was nicknamed the Bovingdon Bug. These cases of nausea and illness, sometimes severe enough to require hospitalization, were later attributed to Young and his tea. Young poisoned about 70 people during the next few months, although none fatally. Young is the subject of an extremely good film called The Young Poisoner’s Handbook.

8 - Kenneth Erskine

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Kenneth Erskine is an English serial killer who became known as the Stockwell Strangler. During 1986, Erskine murdered seven elderly people, breaking into their homes and strangling them; most often they were sexually assaulted. The crimes took place in London. A homeless drifter and solvent abuser, Erskine was 24 years old when he committed the crimes, but had the mental age of a 12-year-old. Police suspected Erskine of four others murders but Erskine has never been charged with any of these murders. Erskine was sentenced to life imprisonment with a recommended minimum term of 40 years, but has since been found to be suffering from mental disorder within the meaning of the Mental Health Act 1983, and is therefore now held at Broadmoor. He is unlikely to be freed until at least 2028 and the age of 66. Some 20 years later, the trial judge’s recommendation is still one of the heaviest ever handed out in British legal history.

In February 1996, Erskine was again in the news, this time for preventing the possible murder of Peter Sutcliffe (see below), by raising the alarm as a fellow inmate, Paul Wilson, attempted to strangle Sutcliffe with the flex from a pair of stereo headphones.

7 - David Copeland

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David John Copeland is a former member of the British National Party and the National Socialist Movement, who became known as the “London Nail Bomber,” after a 13-day bombing campaign in April 1999 aimed at London’s black, Bangladeshi and gay communities. The bombs killed three, including a pregnant woman, and injured 129, four of whom lost limbs. No warnings were given.

After his arrest, he told psychiatrists that he had started having sadistic dreams when he was about 12, including dreams or fantasies that he had been reincarnated as an SS officer with access to women as slaves. Copeland wrote to BBC correspondent Graeme McLagan, denying that he had schizophrenia, and telling McLagan that the “ZOG,” or Zionist Occupation Government, was pumping him full of drugs in order to sweep him under the carpet. He wrote, “I bomb the blacks, Pakis, degenerates. I would have bombed the Jews as well if I’d got a chance”. When asked by police why he had targeted ethnic minorities, he replied: “Because I don’t like them, I want them out of this country, I believe in the master race.

Although Copeland was diagnosed by five psychiatrists as having paranoid schizophrenia, and a consultant concluded he had a personality disorder, his plea of diminished responsibility was not accepted by the prosecution, which was under pressure not to concede to his pleas of guilty to manslaughter. He was convicted of murder on June 30, 2000, and given six concurrent life sentences.

6 - Peter Sutcliffe

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Peter William Sutcliffe is an English serial killer who was dubbed The Yorkshire Ripper. Sutcliffe was convicted in 1981 of murdering 13 women and attacking several others. He is currently serving life imprisonment in Broadmoor. Reportedly a loner at school, he left at the age of 15 and took a series of menial jobs, including two stints as a grave digger during the 1960s. He frequented prostitutes as a young man and it has been speculated that a bad experience with one (during which he was allegedly conned out of money) helped fuel his violent hatred against women.

In 1981, Sutcliffe was stopped by the police with a 24 year old prostitute. A police check revealed the car was fitted with false number plates and Sutcliffe was arrested for this offence and transferred to Dewsbury Police Station, West Yorkshire. At Dewsbury he was questioned in relation to the Yorkshire Ripper case as he matched so many of the physical characteristics known. The next day police returned to the scene of the arrest and discovered a knife, hammer and rope he discarded when he briefly slipped away from police during the arrest. After two days of intensive questioning, on the afternoon of 4 January 1981 Sutcliffe suddenly declared he was the Ripper. Over the next day, Sutcliffe calmly described his many attacks. Weeks later he claimed God told him to murder the women. He displayed emotion only when telling of the murder of his youngest victim, Jayne MacDonald.

At his trial, Sutcliffe pleaded not guilty to 13 counts of murder, but guilty to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility. The basis of this defence was his claim that he was the tool of God’s will. Sutcliffe first claimed to have heard voices while working as a gravedigger, that ultimately ordered him to kill prostitutes. He claimed that the voices originated from a headstone of a deceased Polish man, Bronislaw Zapolski, and that the voices were that of God.

In the years of Sutcliffe’s incarceration, there have been numerous attempts on his life from other inmates. The first was during his stay at HMP Parkhurst when James Costello, a 35-year-old career criminal from Glasgow plunged a broken coffee jar twice into the left side of Sutcliffe’s face. Whilst at Broadmoor he was subject to an attempted strangulation (thwarted by Kenneth Erskine, above) and lost the vision in his left eye after being attacked with a pen.

5 - John Straffen

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John Thomas Straffen was a British serial killer who was the longest-serving prisoner in British legal history. Straffen killed two young girls in the summer of 1951. He was found to be unfit to plead and committed to Broadmoor; during a brief escape in 1952 he killed again. This time he was convicted of murder. Respited due to his mental state, his sentence was commuted to life imprisonment and he remained in prison until his death more than 50 years later.

Aged 8, Straffen was referred to a Child Guidance Clinic for stealing and truancy. In 1939 he first came before a Juvenile Court for stealing a purse from a girl, and was given two years’ probation. His probation officer found that Straffen did not understand the difference between right and wrong, or the meaning of probation. The family was living in crowded lodgings at the time and Straffen’s mother had no time to help, so the probation officer took the boy to a psychiatrist. As a result, Straffen was certified as a mental defective under the Mental Deficiency Act 1927. A report was compiled on him in 1940 which gave his Intelligence Quotient as 58 and placed his mental age at six. When Straffen was 14, he was strongly suspected of being responsible for strangling two prize geese owned by one of the officers of his school; however, no proof was found and it was not noted on his records. At the age of 16 the school authorities undertook a review which found his I.Q. was 64 and his mental age 9 years 6 months and recommended his discharge.

In 1951, Straffen killed two young girls for which he was sent to Broadmoor. In 1952 whilst cleaning some outbuildings, he escaped over a perimeter wall, and within 2 hours had killed another young girl. It was this escape and subsequent murder that urged the government to install an alarm system. To this day, the alarm is tested every Monday morning at 10am for two minutes, and then sounded again to give the ‘all clear’. With hooters located in several locations round Surrey and Berkshire, the alarm can be heard for up to 15 miles in each direction from Broadmoor.

4 - Charles Bronson

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Charles “Charlie” Bronson (born Michael Gordon Peterson) is an English criminal often referred to in the British press as the “most violent prisoner in Britain”. Born in Luton, England, Michael often found his way into fights before he began a bare-knuckle boxing career in the East End of London. His promoter was not happy with his name and suggested he change it to Charles Bronson.

In 1974 he was imprisoned for a robbery and sentenced to seven years. While in prison he began making a name for himself as a loose cannon often fighting convicts and prison guards. These fights added years onto his sentence. Regarded as a problem prisoner, he was moved 120 times throughout Her Majesty’s Prison Service and spent all but 4 years of his imprisoned life in solitary confinement. What was originally a seven year term stretched out to fourteen year sentence that resulted in his first wife Irene, with whom he had a son, leaving him. He was released on October 30, 1988 but only spent 69 days free before he was arrested again. Bronson has spent a total of just four months and nine days out of custody since 1974. Known as one of the hardest criminals in England, Bronson has written many books about his experiences and famous prisoners he has met throughout his internment.

Bronson has been involved in over a dozen hostage incidents, one of which includes taking hostages and staging a 47-hour rooftop protest at Broadmoor in 1983, causing £750,000 (nearly $1.5m) worth of damage. Bronson has spent time at all three of England’s high-security psychiatric hospitals.

3 - Richard Dadd

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Richard Dadd was an English painter of the Victorian era, noted for his depictions of fairies and other supernatural subjects, Orientalist scenes, and enigmatic genre scenes, rendered with obsessively minuscule detail. Most of the works for which he is best known were created while he was incarcerated in Broadmoor hospital.

In 1842, Sir Thomas Phillips, the former mayor of Newport, chose Dadd to accompany him as his draftsman on an expedition through Europe to Greece, Turkey, Palestine and finally Egypt. In November of that year they spent a grueling two weeks in Palestine, passing from Jerusalem to Jordan and returning across the Engaddi wilderness. Toward the end of December, while traveling up the Nile by boat, Dadd underwent a dramatic personality change, becoming delusional and increasingly violent, and believing himself to be under the influence of the Egyptian god Osiris. His condition was initially thought to be sunstroke. On his return in the spring of 1843, he was diagnosed to be of unsound mind and was taken by his family to recuperate in the countryside village of Cobham, Kent. In August of that year, having become convinced that his father was the Devil in disguise, Dadd killed him with a knife and fled for France. En route to Paris Dadd attempted to kill another tourist with a razor, but was overpowered and was arrested by the police. Dadd confessed to the killing of his father and was returned to England, where he was committed to the criminal department of Bethlem psychiatric hospital (also known as Bedlam). Here and subsequently at the newly created Broadmoor, Dadd was cared for and encouraged to continue painting.

Dadd probably suffered from a form of paranoid schizophrenia. He appears to have been genetically predisposed to mental illness; two of his siblings were similarly afflicted, while a third had “a private attendant” for unknown reasons.

2 - Daniel M’Naghten

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Daniel M’Naghten (pronounced, and sometimes spelled, McNaughton) was a Scottish woodturner who assassinated English civil servant Edward Drummond while suffering from paranoid delusions. Through his trial and its aftermath, he has given his name to the legal test of criminal insanity in England and other common law jurisdictions known as the M’Naghten Rules.

In 1840 M’Naghten sold his wood turning business and spent two years in London and Glasgow. Whilst in Glasgow in 1841 he complained to various people, including his father, the Glasgow commissioner of police, and an MP, that he was being persecuted by the Tories and followed by their spies. No-one took him seriously, believing him to be deluded. In January 1843, M’Naghten was noticed acting suspiciously around Whitehall in London. On the afternoon of 20 January the Prime Minister’s private secretary, civil servant Edward Drummond, was walking towards Downing Street from Charing Cross when M’Naghten approached him from behind, drew a pistol and fired at point-blank range into his back. M’Naghten was overpowered by a police constable before he could fire a second pistol.

M’Naghten appeared at Bow Street magistrates’ court the morning after the assassination attempt. He made a brief statement in which he described how persecution by the Tories had driven him to act: “The Tories in my native city have compelled me to do this. They follow, persecute me wherever I go, and have entirely destroyed my peace of mind… It can be proved by evidence. That is all I have to say”

1 - Ronald Kray

Prisons-Krays

Ronald Kray along with his twin brother Reginald, were the foremost perpetrators of organized crime in London’s East End during the 1950s and 1960s. Ronald, commonly referred to as Ron or Ronnie, suffered from paranoid schizophrenia. The Krays were involved in armed robberies, arson, protection rackets, violent assaults including torture and the murders of Jack “The Hat” McVitie and George Cornell. As West End nightclub owners they mixed with prominent entertainers including Diana Dors, Frank Sinatra, Judy Garland and politicians, which gave the Krays a veneer of respectability. In the 1960s they became celebrities in their own right, being photographed by David Bailey and interviewed on television.
The Kray twins became famous locally for their gang and the mayhem they caused. They narrowly avoided prison several times and in early 1952 they were called up for National Service. They deserted several times, each time being recaptured.

It was during this period that Ron started to show the first signs of mental illness. He would refuse to eat, shave only one side of his face and suffer wild mood swings, sitting still for hours before erupting into a violent frenzy. On one occasion, Ron climbed into the prison rafters and, according to one guard, refused to come down for some six hours in spite of brother Reggie’s pleas. It is not clear whether at this stage it was another prank to annoy their guards, or if Ron had become unbalanced. Guards at the Canterbury military holding prison were convinced he was dangerously psychotic.

They were arrested in May 1968 and convicted in 1969 by the efforts of a squad of detectives led by Detective Superintendent Leonard “Nipper” Read, and were both sentenced to life imprisonment. Ronnie was eventually certified insane and lived the remainder of his life in Broadmoor, dying on 17 March 1995 of a massive heart attack, aged 61. His funeral on 29 March 1995 was a huge event with people lining the streets. Reggie was released from prison on compassionate grounds in August 2000, a few weeks before his death from cancer.


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TOP 10 NOTORIOUSLY CONTROVERSIAL BOOKS

 

10 - The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail

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The Da Vinci Code almost made it onto this list, but in light of this entry’s nonfiction status, it must overtake what Dan Brown expressly intended as fiction.

This is the nonfiction book from which Dan Brown got most of his ideas for The Da Vinci Code. As if that book isn’t controversial enough, Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh, and Henry Lincoln (yes, that’s right, three writers), published this book in 1982 in the UK, and state a case that Jesus was not divine, married and had sex with Mary Magdalene, had children by her, and that these children or their descendants emigrated to Gaul (France), and founded the Merovingian Dynasty, which has two of the most famous Frankish kings, Charles the Hammer, and Charlemagne.

You can see how this might upset a few Christians. It wouldn’t have be so bad if the writers actually some hard facts to back up their case, but they rely almost exclusively on factoids, which are dubious, probably spurious attempts to sound factual. The Priory of Sion, on which the book heavily relies, did not have the storied history it describes. The true Priory was founded in 1956 in France, by Pierre Plantard, who deliberately concocted a fictitious history going back to 1099 and the Christian sack of Jerusalem. The Christians did sack it, but there was no Priory involved.

It also asserts that the Roman Catholic Church has completely corrupted the truth of Judeo-Christian history in order to control people. You can see how this might upset a few Catholics (and Jews).

9 - The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

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This one makes very frequent appearances on public school banned-book lists throughout the United States, because of its use of the word “nigger.” Mark Twain wrote it at a time when it was not dangerous to use this word, but today things have changed.

The truth it, in the time of the story, white people called black people “niggers,” because that was the most usual word in the nationwide vernacular. It was not, at that time, so much a pejorative term as now. But typical PTA meetings at elementary, middle, and high schools center on this book as often as they center on sex education, because the horrified parents can’t get over the thought of their children reading the word “nigger” several hundred times throughout the book.

8 - The Book of Mormon

Book Of Mormon

This one is controversial for a specific reason. At the very end of the Judeo-Christian Bible, in Revelation, there is a verse that reads, “For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.”

The first half of that quotation is the one Mormons have to sidestep carefully, and they usually do so by saying that it should be interpreted as the Book of Revelation merely, not the entire Bible. If this is accepted, then Joseph Smith’s Book of Mormon is an acceptable addition to the Bible. Almost all other Christian denominations argue fiercely that whatever the quoted verses mean, there is no need for an addition to the Bible. It was already complete before Smith came along.

Their arguments typically center on Smith’s (and Brigham Young’s) desire for multiple wives. Smith was not allowed by U. S. law to marry more than one, so he invented a new religion and got it accepted into the mainstream in order to marry more than one woman. Today, the Mormons believe some bizarre things, in terms of fundamental Christianity, namely that God has physical sex with angels, that when a Mormon dies, he or she becomes God in another universe, and that God took care of the ancient Native Americans, perhaps from as long ago as 2,500 BC, in much the same way that he took care of the Israelites, and that during the forty days between Resurrection and Ascension, Jesus appeared and preached to the native American tribes.

7 - The Catcher in the Rye

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Coupled with Huck Finn as a popularly banned book in schools around the United States. Salinger had a lot of nerve to publish it in 1951, given its amount of profanity, sexual scenes, general subversive nature, and lots and lots of smoking and drinking. It was one of the ten most challenged books in 2005, with furious parents demanding it be removed from their children’s school curricula.

6 - The God Delusion

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Atheists champion it, theists denounce it, and there is very little middle ground. That was Richard Dawkins’s intent with it. This is by far his most inflammatory treatise on atheism to date, and his biggest commercial success. It has sold over 2 million copies.

Dawkins openly attacks religion as a delusion, since there is almost certainly no God, never has been, period. He goes through a logical process of destroying the idea of a God of any kind, then discusses the nature of morality, whether it requires a religion to work.

The book has so inflamed the debate between atheists and theists that quite a few books have been written promoting it, and even more condemning it. Dawkins and two others, Sam Harris and Christopher Hitchens, who have also written such books, are referred to by many Christians as an Unholy Trinity, now.

5 - If I Did It: Confessions of a Killer

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O. J. Simpson should have laid low for a little longer. It wouldn’t have made the list had it not actually been printed, but about 400,000 copies have been.

It is difficult to know how many were destroyed, if any, but when it was announced in November 2006, it started such a controversy that the publisher had to yank it off the press. In August of the next year, the Goldman family was awarded copyrights for the book, as partial compensation for the lawsuit that Simpson never paid.

Judith Regan, the publisher, is on record stating that she considers the description of Simpson’s “hypothetical” scenario so perfect and pristine that it’s as good as the actual confession.

The premise of the book is really stupid, given that Simpson swears he didn’t do it. He puts forth the case that though he didn’t do it, this is how he could have done it. Not smart.

After his original plans for the book, as a way to make some money, were canceled, the Goldman family acquired the rights and hired a ghostwriter to get it into publication. Not a bad read, really.

(He did it.)

4 - The Prince

The-Prince

Niccolo Machiavelli’s masterpiece has garnered a rotten reputation over the centuries as advocating tyranny. Machiavelli argues that the best ruler is the one whose people love him. Such a ruler is almost impossible to come by. But a very close second to this is the ruler whose people fear him. There have been many of those.

The book is more philosophy than politics, and it champions the idea of self-reliance. But this can easily be taken as “don’t help anyone, because they should help themselves.” Self-reliance is one of the founding principles of the modern Church of Satan, and that’s the comparison detractors of this book routinely make.

In general, the detractors loathe it because it appears a very efficient method by which to create a corrupt tyrant.

3 - The Communist Manifesto

Communist-Manifesto

Karl Marx should have been reprimanded, not for its controversial nature, but for writing the most boring book in history. His idea came from an observation that all of humanity’s strife, from the beginning of our history to now, has been over class struggles.

He therefore sought to abolish classes, and establish a system of government in which there are no betters or worses, but only equal people, who all get paid the same amount for whatever their jobs are, from the President to the peon. They would all get the same kind of food, the same amount, the same kind of car, house, everything.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. Someone always wants more or better. Actually, everyone does. It was seen as the polar opposite of democracy, not because of its philosophy, but because it was seized upon and championed by the Soviet Union, whom the United States deeply abhorred during the Cold War.

2 - The Q’uran

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A few facts that you may not know. Muslims believe that the Q’uran is the divine speech of God, revealed through the Archangel Gabriel to Muhammad, from around 610 to 632 AD. They regard it as the primary miracle to prove that Muhammad is indeed the greatest prophet of all.

Muslims revere Moses and Jesus also, but do not hold that Jesus was divine. Christians around the world who are not particularly educated about the book consider it the closest thing to the Devil Himself that anyone is likely to see until Armageddon.

Most of these Christians (and there are other denominations and religions involved in loathing the book) believe that the Q’uran instructs its followers to strap on dynamite and C-4 explosives, and go kill infidels (Jews and Christians) in order to get to Heaven and be rewarded with 72 dark-haired virgins.

The problem is that the word for these “virgins” is “houri,” which has many meanings. It may mean nothing more than angels, meaning that 72 angels will minister to the departed in heaven, and “minister” does not necessarily mean sexual intercourse.

Most Muslims believe in these 72 virgins in the same way that most Christians believe that they will be outfitted with harps, wings, and walk on clouds.

But the terrorist organizations, dedicated to hatred of Jews and Christians, indoctrinate their primarily illiterate trainees into believing that their suicides and bombing of said infidels will be the path to Heaven. There is no such statement anywhere in the Q’uran. It is quite a peaceful book, advocating understanding and tolerance of the three major Monotheisms.

1 - The Holy Bible

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No book has been published more, translated more, interpreted, or misinterpreted more than the Judeo-Christian Bible. It has more copies in circulation that any other book, and is present in part or in whole in about 2,400 of the world’s 6,900 or so languages.

It is the breeding ground for more furious debates than any book in history, and is the go-to book for Christians, atheists, deists, even Jews and Muslims. If you’re going to convince a Christian he’s wrong, you have to use his book to do it.

Atheists, in particular, regard it with extreme hatred, because it depicts God as particularly ruthless, cruel, barbaric (Old Testament) and then self-righteous and magical (New Testament). Logically speaking, they say, the Bible is its own worst enemy, because it appears notoriously ambiguous in places.

It is the center of authority on gay rights issues, gay marriage, abortion, even the very nature of democracy. The Founding Fathers of the United States used it as their primary template for drafting the Constitution.

Not even the most secular debate on morality can avoid it. Before the Bible, philosophers typically quoted Aristotle, Plato, Socrates, Confucius, Siddhartha Gautama, etc. After the Bible, even the most vehemently atheistic philosophers quote the Bible more than any other source of philosophy when attempting to prove or disprove any of its points.

Some even argue that all of the world’s wars after its dissemination have been caused by it.


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TOP 10 PINK FLOYD SONGS

 

10 - Fearless (Gilmour, Waters) – Meddle 1971

Repeated within this amazing song are lyrics from “You’ll Never Walk Alone”, which is a song from the musical Carousel. It is from a recording of Liverpool fans signing “You’ll Never Walk Alone” at a soccer match.

9 - Sheep
(Waters) – Animals 1977

What is interesting about this song is the rumor that there is a subliminal message within the song itself. It is supposed to be a different version of the Lord’s Prayer: “The Lord is my shepherd, He converteth me to lamb cutlets….” (I have not been able to confirm this even when I listen to the song myself, although I would love to hear it.)

8
8 - Money
(Waters) – Dark Side of the Moon 1973

Although this song is making fun of money, Pink Floyd sold over 34 million copies of this album. This was written by Waters, but sung by Gilmore. In the 2006 Dark Side of the Moon tour, Roger Waters sang all the songs from the album but “Money” due to this.

7 - Have a Cigar
(Waters) – Wish You Were Here 1975

Favorite line from this song: “The band is just fantastic, that is really what I think. Oh by the way, which one’s Pink?” That line was asked by many people to the band throughout Pink Floyd’s music career. This song goes to show how far corporations and agencies will go to exploit their clients, especially with the phrases like “You’re gonna go far” and “Riding the Gravy Train”.

6 - Poles Apart
(Gilmour, Samson, Nick Laird-Clowes) – The Division Bell 1994

What better name to give to the rift between Syd Barrett and Roger Waters then the name of this song. Many believe the first part of this song is targeted to Barrett and the second part about Waters. Clearly, it was about the miscommunication that occurred between them.

 

5 - Learning to Fly
(Gilmour, Anthony Moore, Ezrin, Jon Carin) – Momentary Lapse of Reason 1987

Gilmour was quoted in saying “‘Learning to Fly’ is about breaking free and the actual mechanics of learning to fly an airplane.” This was true since he would go on to get his pilot’s license, despite the rumor that he was terrified of flying.

4 - Astronomy Domine
(Syd Barrett) – The Piper at the Gates of Dawn (UK release) 1967

To many, this song is what started the space rock genre. It also dealt with the ‘space race’ between countries to gain control of outer space. Pink Floyd’s philosophical powers at work.

3 - Brain Damage/Eclipse
(Waters) – Dark Side of the Moon 1973

(Two for the price of one.) As with the album The Wall, Dark Side of the Moon had songs that played and flowed into one another, creating a ‘one long song’ feel. By themselves, Brain Damage and Eclipse are excellent pieces of music, but are better played together as they compliment each other.

2 - Welcome to the Machine
(Waters) – Wish You Were Here 1975

As with “Have a Cigar”, this song is about the ‘money-making machine’ that is the music industry. With clever lyrics such as “What did you dream, it’s alright we told you what to dream”, this song points at the industry’s lust for money rather than establishing talent. This was a bone of contention with not only Pink Floyd, but most of the artists of those days.

1 - Wish You Were Here
Roger Waters/David Gilmour

This short, acoustic, poignant song by Roger Waters and David Gilmour lends its name to the album, which also features “Shine On”, “Welcome to the Machine”, and “Have a Cigar”. This performance is from Live 8, which was a moving time for Floydians everywhere. After 20 years of animosity, Roger Waters and his former bandmates finally shared a stage together.

 

Bonus
The Wall
1979

That’s right, the entire album. How can anyone just pick one? Whether you believe it’s the best of the best and has no equal or you feel that it’s overrated and overplayed, “The Wall” is easily the most recognized Pink Floyd album. With such songs as “Comfortably Numb”, “Run Like Hell”, “Hey You”, “In the Flesh” and “Another Brick in the Wall” this album had more notoriety than any other and can be considered as the number one album of Pink Floyd’s expansive musical legacy.


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10 CONVICTS PRESUMED INNOCENT AFTER EXECUTION

 

English jurist William Blackstone once said, “Better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer.” Even lawyers are indoctrinated with this concept early in law school. Whether you support with the death penalty or not, most individuals would agree with the statement above. Despite the United State’s innocent-until-proven-guilty legal system, there are several cases where a presumably innocent person is convicted of a crime, some even put to death. Sadly, we may never get a chance to find out the truth. The recent inclusion of DNA evidence in trials has been used in some cases to clear many people falsely convicted. There are ten recent cases of people who are now presumed, but not proven, to be innocent and one bonus inclusion.

10 - Carlos De Luna
Executed in 1989

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In February 1983, Wanda Lopez, was stabbed to death during her night shift at the gas station where she worked. After a brief manhunt, police found De Luna hiding under a pick-up truck. Recently released from prison, he was violating his parole by drinking in public. De Luna immediately told police that he was innocent and he offered the name of the person who he saw at the gas station. Police ignored the fact that he did not have a drop of blood on him even though the crime scene was covered in blood. De Luna was arrested too soon after the crime to clean himself up. The single eyewitness to the crime, Kevin Baker, confirmed to police that De Luna was the murderer after police told him he was the right guy.

At trial De Luna named Carlos Hernandez as the man he saw inside the gas station, across the street from the bar where De Luna had been drinking. Hernandez and DeLuna were strikingly similar in appearance but, unlike DeLuna, Hernandez had a long history of knife attacks similar to the convenience store killing and repeatedly told friends and relatives that he had committed the murder. Friends confirmed that he was romantically linked to Lopez as well. De Luna’s lawyers knew of Hernandez’s criminal past but never thoroughly investigated his previous crimes. On December 7, 1989, Texas executed 27-year old Carlos De Luna.

9 - Larry Griffin
Executed in 1995

Larry Griffin

On June 26, 1980 in St. Louis, Missouri, 19-year-old Quintin Moss was killed in a drive-by shooting while allegedly dealing drugs on a street corner. The conviction was based largely on the testimony from Robert Fitzgerald, a white career criminal, who was at the scene at the time of the murder. He testified that he saw three black men in the car when shots were fired and that Griffin shot the victim through the window of the car with his right hand. This was Griffin’s attorney’s first murder trial and he did not challenge the testimony even though Griffin was left-handed. He also failed to bring forth an alibi witness who was with Griffin at the time of the murder.

Griffin’s fingerprints were not found on the car or the weapon – all evidence against him was circumstantial. There is evidence that suggests Fitzgerald was promised a reduce sentence in exchange for his testimony. The prosecution also failed to address that there were two other witnesses who confirmed that Griffin did not commit the murder and they were able to name the three men who did.Appeals courts upheld his conviction and death sentence. Griffin was executed by lethal injection on June 21, 1995. Griffin maintained his innocence right up to his execution. In 2005, a professor University of Michigan Law School reopened the case. His investigation concluded that Griffin was innocent.

8 - Ruben Cantu
Executed in 1993

Ruben Cantu

On the night of November 8, 1984, Ruben Cantu and his friend David Garza, broke into a vacant San Antonio house under construction and robbed two men at gunpoint. The two victims, Pedro Gomez and Juan Moreno, had been workmen sleeping on floor mattresses at a construction site, guarding against burglary. As they tried to take their cash, they were interrupted by Gomez’s attempt to retrieve a pistol hidden under his mattress. The boys shot both men killing Gomez instantly. Thinking they had killed both men, the two teens then fled the scene.

The police showed Moreno photos of suspects, which included Cantu’s picture, and he was unable to identify his attacker. On the basis of no physical evidence, no confession, and only Moreno’s subsequently recanted testimony, a jury convicted Ruben Cantu of first-decree murder. Juan Moreno now says that he had felt pressure from the police to finger Cantu. David Garza, Cantu’s codefendant, has since admitted involvement in the burglary, assault and murder. He says he did go inside the house with another boy, did participate in the robbery, and saw the murder take place, but that his accomplice was not Ruben Cantu.On August 24, 1993, Ruben Cantu at the age of 26, was executed by lethal injection. His final request was for a piece of bubble gum, which was denied.

7 - David Spence
Executed 1997

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In 1982, David Spence was accused of the rape and murder of two 17-year-old girls and one 18-year-old boy in Waco, Texas. He received the death penalty in two trials for the murders. Muneer Deeb, a convenience store owner, hired Spence to do the murders and he was also charged and sentenced to death. He received a new trial in 1993 and was later acquitted.

The prosecution built its case against Spence around bite marks that a state expert said matched Spence’s teeth and jailhouse snitches. Two of the six jailhouse witnesses who testified at trial later recanted, saying they were given cigarettes, television and alcohol privileges, and conjugal visits for their testimonies. Spence’s post-conviction lawyers had a blind panel study in which five experts said the bite marks could not be matched to Spence’s. Even the original homicide investigator on the case said he had serious doubts about Spence’s guilt and a former Waco police detective involved in the case said he did not think Spence committed the crime. David Spence was executed by lethal injection on April 14, 1997.

6 - Jesse Tafero
executed in 1990

Jesse-Tafero

On the morning of February 20, 1976, Highway Patrol officer, Phillip Black, and Donald Irwin, approached a car parked at a rest stop for a routine check. Tafero, his partner Sonia “Sunny” Jacobs, and Walter Rhodes were found asleep inside. Black saw a gun lying on the floor inside the car so he woke the occupants and had them come out of the car. According to Rhodes, Tafero then shot both Black and Irwin with the gun, which was illegally registered to Jacobs, led the others into the police car and fled the scene. All three were arrested after being caught in a roadblock. The gun was found in Tafero’s waistband.

At their trial, Rhodes testified that Tafero and Jacobs were solely responsible for the murders. Tafero and Jacobs were convicted of capital murder and sentenced to death while Rhodes was sentenced to 3 life sentences. Rhodes was eventually released in 1994 following parole for good behavior. Because the jury had recommended a life sentence for Jacobs, the court commuted Jacobs’ sentence to life in prison, but not Tafero’s. She was later released after agreeing to a plea bargain. Prior to his release, Rhodes confessed several times to lying about his involvement in the shooting. Even Sunny Jacobs claimed that Rhodes, not Tafero, carried out the shooting as well. Rhodes was the only person on which traces of gunpowder were found. Tafero was executed by electric chair on May 4, 1990. The chair malfunctioned causing the process to take over 13 minutes.

5 - Ellis Wayne Felker
Executed in 1996

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Ellis Wayne Felker was a suspect in the 1981 disappearance of a Georgia woman, Evelyn Joy Ludlum who was working her way through college as a cocktail waitress. He was put under police surveillance for 2 weeks, during which time Ludlum’s body was found in a creek, raped, stabbed and murdered. An autopsy performed by an untrained technician found that the body had been dead for five days. This information was later changed after realizing this would eliminate Felker as a suspect. Independent autopsies found that the body had been dead no more than three days.

In 1996, Felker’s attorneys discovered boxes of evidence that had been unlawfully withheld by the prosecution including DNA evidence and a written confession by another suspect. Even the presiding judge in one of Felker’s trials stated that his right to a fair trial had been severely compromised. Despite all this mounting evidence and doubts of his guilt, the Georgia Supreme Court denied Felker a new trial nor gave the defense more time to sort through the mounds of evidence to argue for exoneration. Felker was executed by electrocution November 15, 1996 at the age of 48. In 2000, a Georgia judge ruled that DNA testing would be performed in the first-ever attempt by a court to exonerate an executed person in the United States. The results were ruled as inconclusive.

4 - Leo Jones
Executed 1998

Jones

On May 23, 1981 in Jacksonville, FL, police officer Thomas Szafranski killed when shots were fired at his police cruiser when he was stopped at an intersection. Within minutes, police officers busted into Leo Jones’ apartment where they found Jones and his cousin, Bobby Hammonds. Police took both men in for questioning and then charged Jones, who they claimed had confessed. Hammonds gave a statement, saying he saw Jones leave the apartment with a rifle and return after he heard some gunshots.In 1997, a retired police officer, Cleveland Smith, came forward and said the officer that arrested Jones had bragged that he beat Jones after his arrest. Smith, who described the officer as an “enforcer”, testified that he once watched him get a confession from a suspect through torture. Smith claimed that he waited so long to come forward with this evidence because he wanted to secure his pension.

More than a dozen people had implicated another man as the killer, saying they either saw him carrying a rifle as he ran from the crime scene or heard him brag he had shot the officer. Even Florida Supreme Court Justice Leander Shaw wrote that Jones’ case had become “a horse of a different color”. Newly discovered evidence, Shaw wrote, “casts serious doubt on Jones’ guilt.” Shaw and one other judge voted to grant Jones a new trial. However, a five-judge majority ruled against him. Jones was executed by electric chair on March 24, 1998.

3 - Cameron Todd Willingham
Executed in 2004

Willingham

In 1991, a fire occurred at Cameron Todd Willingham’s home in Texas killing his three young daughters. Willingham escaped the fire with minor injuries and his then-wife was not home at the time. Prosecutors charged Willingham with starting the fire in an attempt to cover up his abuse of his girls. This is despite the wife’s testimony that he had never abused the children and, in fact, “spoiled them rotten.” While laboratory tests verified that an accelerant was used only near the front porch, the prosecutors alleged that the fluid was deliberately poured near the front porch, children’s bedroom, and in the hallway to start the fire and impede rescue attempts. Gerald Hurst, who has a PhD in chemistry, reputed claims that the extreme heat of the fire meant that an accelerant was used. The Board of Pardons and Paroles received Hurst’s argument but still denied Willingham clemency.

Willingham was deemed an “extremely severe sociopath” by a psychiatrist using only Willingham’s Iron Maiden and Led Zeppelin posters as indications of his fascination with violence and death. Witness testimony during the fire was contradictory and inconclusive. During his trial in August 1992, Willingham was offered a life term in exchange for a guilty plea, which he turned down insisting he was innocent. Willingham was executed by lethal injection on February 17, 2004. In June 2009 the State of Texas ordered an unprecedented re-examination of the case and may issue a ruling on it at a later date.

2 - Joseph O’Dell
Executed 1997

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In 1985, Helen Schartner was raped and murdered by strangulation outside a nightclub in Virginia Beach. At the time of the murder, O’Dell was already on parole for kidnapping and robbery convictions in Florida. O’Dell chose to represent himself during the trial and he was convicted of the murder in based solely on blood evidence and the testimony of a jailhouse “snitch.” There was nothing else linking O’Dell to the crime.

For much of the decade that followed, O’Dell’s unsuccessful appeals went to the Virginia Supreme Court, Federal District Court, and the Supreme Court, where Justice Harry Blackmun found “serious questions as to whether O’Dell committed the crime.” O’Dell’s lawyers also had an affidavit claiming that another inmate executed in 1993, David Mark Pruett, had confessed to the crime. O’Dell asked the state to conduct DNA tests on other pieces of evidence to demonstrate his innocence but was refused. An International campaign to save his life had supporters like Mother Teresa and Pope John Paul II. Both the governor of Virginia and the U.S. Supreme Court rejected last-minute pleas to spare his life and O’Dell was executed by lethal injection on July 23, 1997. In 2000, the last of the DNA evidence in the O’Dell case stored in the circuit court of Virginia Beach was burned without any further testing.

1 - Lionel Herrera
Executed in 1993

Leonel Herrera

On September 29, 1981, Texas Department of Public Safety Officer, David Rucker, was shot and killed along a stretch of highway near the Rio Grande Valley. Around the same time, police officer Enrique Carrisalez pulled over a speeding vehicle driving away from the road where Rucker’s body was found. The driver exchanged words with Carrisalez before pulling out his gun and killing the police officer. Lionel Herrera was arrested a few days later and charged with both Rucker’s and Carrisalez’s murders. Before he died, Carrisalez also identified Herrera as the person who shot him from a single photograph shown to him in the hospital (not a photo array). In January 1982, Herrera was tried and found guilty of the capital murder of Carrisalez, for which he was sentenced to death. Later that year, Herrera pleaded guilty to the murder of Rucker.

Herrera filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus in federal court, claiming that new evidence demonstrated he was actually innocent of the murder of Carrisalez. Herrera included four affidavits from an attorney who had represented Herrera’s brother, Raul Herrera, Sr, and three others claiming that Raul Herrera, who was murdered in 1984, had told them that he had killed Rucker and Carrisalez. This lead to the Supreme Court case Herrera v. Collins where the Court ruled that new evidence demonstrating innocence did not violate the Constitution’s 8th Amendment and Herrera’s death sentence with upheld. Herrera was executed by lethal injection four months after the ruling. In his final statement he said: “I am innocent, innocent, innocent. . . . I am an innocent man, and something very wrong is taking place tonight.”

Bonus - Timothy Cole
Died in prison while serving 25 years

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In 1985, Texas Tech student Michele Mallin was raped and Timothy Cole was sentenced to 25 years in prison just based on her testimony. He was offered parole if he would admit guilt, but he refused. Later, Mallin admitted she was mistaken with the identity of her attacked and in 1995, Jerry Wayne Johnson confessed to the rape. She stated that investigators botched the gathering of evidence and withheld information from her, causing her to believe that Cole was the attacker. Mallin told police that her rapist smoked during the rape. However, Cole never smoked because he had severe asthma.

When DNA evidence showed him to be innocent, he was exonerated on February 6, 2009. Cole died, however, in prison on December 2, 1999 from an asthma attack. It was the first posthumous DNA exoneration in the state of Texas.


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TOP 10 SNIPERS IN HISTORY

 

‘It was night and low visibility, but I saw a guy with an AK-47 lit up by the porch light in a doorway about 400 meters away. I watched him through the sights. He looked like just another Iraqi. I hit him low in the stomach and dropped him.’ – Specialist James Wilks, 25, from Fort Worth, Texas. Concealment is key to becoming a great sniper. Highly trained marksmen who can shoot accurately from incredible distances with specialized training in high-precision rifles. In addition, they are trained in camouflage, field craft, infiltration, reconnaissance and observation, making them perhaps the most feared military presence in a war. Below is my list of top ten snipers in history and some of the greatest shots ever fired.

10 - Thomas Plunkett
died in 1851

Riflemen

Was an Irish soldier in the British 95th Rifles. What makes him on of the greats is that he shot a very impressive French general, Auguste-Marie-François Colbert.

During the battle at Cacabelos during Monroes retreat in 1809, Plunkett, using a Baker Rifle, shot the French general at a range of about 600 meters. Giving the incredible inaccuracy of rifles in the early 19th century, this was either a very impressive feat, or one hell of a fluke. Well Plunkett not wanting his army buddies to think he was a bit lucky decided to take the shot again before returning to his line. So he reloaded his gun and took aim once again this time at the trumpet major who had come to the generals aid. When this shot also hit its intended target, proving that Plunkett is just one badass marksman, he looked back to his line to see the impressed faces of the others in the 95th Rifles.

Just for comparison the British soldiers were all armed with ‘Brown Bess muskets’ and trained to shoot into a body of men at 50 meters. Plunkett did 12 times that distance. Twice.

9 - Sgt Grace
4th Georgia Infantry

Sedgwick-General

The date was May 9th 1864, when Sgt Grace, a Confederate sniper, achieved what was considered to be an incredible shot at the time, and what is definitely the most ironic demise of a target in history. It was during the battle of Spotsylvania when Grace took aim with his British Whitworth Rifle. His target was General John Sedgwick (pictured above) and the distance was 1,000 yards. An extremely long distance for the time. During the beginning of the skirmish, the confederate sharpshooters were causing Sedgwick’s men to duck for cover. Sedgwick refused to duck and was quoted saying “What? Men dodging this way for single bullets? What will you do when they open fire along the whole line? I am ashamed of you. They couldn’t hit Elephants at this distance.” His men persisted in taking cover. He Repeated “They couldn’t hit elephants at this distance” Seconds Later Grace’s shot hits Sedgwick just under his left eye.

I swear you couldn’t write it. Sedgwick was the highest ranking Union casualty in the civil war and upon hearing his death Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant repeatedly asked “Is he really dead”.

8 - Charles ‘Chuck’ Mawhinney
1949-

8-Mawhinney-625X450

103 Confirmed Kills

Was an avid hunter as a kid and joined the Marines in 1967. He served in the U.S. Marine Corps during Vietnam and holds the record for number of confirmed kills for Marine snipers, exceeding that of legendary Marine sniper Carlos Hathcock. In just 16 months he killed 103 enemies and another 216 kills were listed as probable’s by the military, only because it was too risky at the time to search the bodies for documents. When he left the Marines he told no-one of his of his role during the conflict and only a few fellow Marines knew of his assignments. It was nearly 20 years before somebody wrote a book detailing his amazing skills as a sniper. Mawhinney came out of anonymity because of this and became a lecturer in sniper schools. He was once quoted saying “it was the ultimate hunting trip: a man hunting another man who was hunting me. Don’t talk to me about hunting lions or elephants; they don’t fight back with rifles and scopes. I just loved it. I ate it up.”

A routinely deadly shot from distances between 300 – 800 yards, Mawhinney had confirmed kills of over 1000 yards, making him one of the greatest snipers of the Vietnam war.

7 - Rob Furlong

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A former corporal of the Canadian Forces, he holds the record for the longest confirmed sniper kill in history at 1.51 miles or 2,430 metres. That’s the length of about 26 football pitches.

This amazing feat occurred in 2002, when he was involved in Operation Anaconda. His Sniper Team consisted of 2 Corporals and 3 Master Corporals. When a three man Al-Qaeda weapons team moved into a mountainside position he took aim. Furlong was armed with a .50-caliber McMillan Brothers Tac-50 Rifle and loaded with A-MAX very low drag bullets. He fired and missed. His second shot hit the enemies knapsack on his back. He had already fired his third shot by the time the second hit, but now the enemy knew he was under attack. The airtime for each bullet was about 3 seconds due to the immense distance, enough time for an enemy to take cover. However the dumbfounded militant realised what was happening just in time to take the third shot in the chest.

6 - Vasily Zaytsev
March 23, 1915 – December 15, 1991

6-Zaytsev-625X450

242 Confirmed Kills

Zaytsev is probably the best known Sniper in history thanks to the movie ‘Enemy At The Gates’. It is a great film and I wish I could say it was all true. However the truth only goes as far as the battle of Stalingrad. There was no Nazi Counter-Sniper Specialist in real life. Well not to the extent of the film. Here’s the truth. Zaytsev was born in Yeleninskoye and grew up in the Ural Mountains. His surname means ‘hare‘. Before Stalingrad, he served as a clerk in the Soviet Navy But after reading about the conflict in the city he volunteered for the front line. he served in the 1047th Rifle Regiment. Zaytsev ran a sniper school in the Metiz factory. The cadets he trained were called Zaichata, meaning ‘Leverets’ (Baby Hares). This was the start of the sniper movement in the 62nd army. It is estimated that the snipers he trained killed more than 3,000 enemy soldiers

Zaytsev himself made 242 confirmed kills between October 1942 and January 1943, but the real number is probably closer to 500. I know I said there was no counter-sniper, but there was Erwin Kónig. Was alleged to be a highly skilled Wehrmacht sniper. Zaytsev claimed in his memoirs that the duel took place over a period of three days in the ruins of Stalingrad. Details of what actually happened are sketchy, but by the end of the three day period Zaytsev had killed the sniper and claimed his scope to be his most prized trophy. For him to make this his most prized trophy means that this person he killed must have been almost as good as Zaytsev himself.

5 - Lyudmila Pavlichenko
July 12, 1916 – October 10, 1974

Lyudmyla M Pavlichenko

309 Confirmed Kills

In June 1941, Pavlichenko was 24 and Nazi Germany were invading the Soviet Union. She was among the first volunteers and asked to join the infantry. she was assigned to the Red Armies 25th infantry Division. From there she became one of 2000 female snipers of the soviet.

Her first 2 kills were made near Belyayevka using a Mosin-Nagant bolt action rifle with a P.E. 4-power scope. The first action she saw was during the conflict in Odessa. She was there for 2 and a half months and notched 187 kills. When they were forced to relocate, she spent the next 8 months fighting in Sevastopol on the Crimean Peninsula. There she recorded 257 kills and for this feat she was cited by the Southern Army Council. Pavlichenkos’ total confirmed kills during WW2 was 309. 36 of those were enemy snipers.

4 - Corporal Francis Pegahmagabow
March 9, 1891 – August 5, 1952

Francis Pegahmagabow

378 Confirmed kills
300+ Captures

Three times awarded the military medal and twice seriously wounded, he was an expert marksman and scout, credited with 378 German kills and capturing 300+ more. He was an Ojibwa warrior with the Canadians in battles like those at mount sorrel. As if killing nearly 400 Germans wasn’t enough, he was also awarded medals for running messages through very heavy enemy fire, for directing a crucial relief effort when his commanding officer was incapacitated and for running through enemy fire to get more ammo when his unit was running low.

Though a hero among his fellow soldier, he was virtually forgotten once he returned home to Canada. Regardless he was one of the most affective snipers of world war 1.

3 - Adelbert F. Waldron
March 14, 1933 – October 18, 1995

Sniper2Bmpxi5

109 confirmed kills

He holds the record for the highest number of confirmed kills for any American sniper in history. However it is not just his impressive kill record that makes him one of the best, but also his incredible accuracy.

This excerpt from ‘Inside the Crosshairs: Snipers in Vietnam’ by Col. Michael Lee Lanning, describes just what I’m talking about:

“One afternoon he was riding along the Mekong River on a Tango boat when an enemy sniper on shore pecked away at the boat. While everyone else on board strained to find the antagonist, who was firing from the shoreline over 900 meters away, Sergeant Waldron took up his sniper rifle and picked off the Vietcong out of the top of a coconut tree with one shot (this from a moving platform). Such was the capability of our best sniper.” Nuff Said.

If there was a scale of difficulty for shots like these, it would be next to impossible to beat. well lets try to do that anyway.

Here’s ‘white feather’….

2 - Carlos Norman Hathcock II
May 20, 1942 – February 23, 1999

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Nicknamed ‘Lông Trung du Kich’ (‘White Feather Sniper’)

93 Confirmed kills

Hathcock has one of the most impressive mission records of any sniper in the Marine corps. Lets forget about the dozens of shooting championships he won, during the Vietnam war he amassed 93 confirmed kills. The Vietnam army put a $30,000 bounty on his life for killing so many of their men. Rewards put on U.S. snipers by the NVA (North Vietnamese Army) typically amounted to….say $8.

It was Hathcock who fired the most famous shot in sniper history. He fired a round, over a very long distance, which went through the scope of an enemy sniper, hit him in the eye, and killed him. Hathcock and Roland Burke his spotter were stalking the enemy sniper, (which had already killed several Marines) which they believed was sent to kill him specifically. When Hathcock saw a flash of light reflecting off the enemies scope he fired at it in a split second pulling off one of the most precise shots in history. Hathcock reasoned that the only way that this was possible, would have been if both snipers were aiming at each others scopes at the same time, and he fired first. However, although the distance was never confirmed, Hathcock knew that because of the flight time, it would have been easy for both snipers to kill each other. The white feather was synonymous with Hathcock (He kept one in his hat) and he removed it only once for a mission. Keep in mind that he volunteered for this mission, but he had to crawl over 1500 yards of enemy territory to shoot an NVA commanding general. Information wasn’t sent until he was on-route. (He volunteered for a mission he knew nothing about) It took 4 days and 3 nights without sleep of inch-by-inch crawling. One enemy soldier almost stepped on him as he laid camouflaged in a meadow. At another point he was nearly bitten by a viper, he didn’t flinch. He finally got into position and waited for the general. When he arrived Hathcock was ready. He fired one round and hit the general through the chest killing him. The soldiers started a search for the sniper and Hathcock had to crawl back to avoid detection. They never caught him. Nerves of steel.

1 - Simo Häyhä
December 17, 1905 – April 1, 2002

Simo Hayha-S585X360-11707

Nicknamed ‘The White Death’

705 confirmed kills (505 with rifle, 200 with submachine gun)

Was a Finnish soldier who, using an iron sighted bolt action rifle, amassed the highest recorded confirmed kills as a sniper in any war…ever!!

Häyhä was born in the municipality of Rautjärvi near the present-day border of Finland and Russia, and started his military service in 1925. His duties as a sniper began during the ‘winter war’ (1939-1940) between Russia and Finland. During the conflict Häyhä endured freezing temperatures up to -40 degrees Celsius. In less than 100 days he was credited with 505 confirmed kills, 542 if including unconfirmed kills, however the unofficial frontline figures from the battlefield places the number of sniper kills at over 800. Besides his sniper kills he was also credited with 200 from a Suomi KP/31 Submachine gun, topping off his total confirmed kills at 705.

How Häyhä did all this was amazing. He was basically on his own all day, in the snow, shooting Russians, for 3 months straight. Of course when the Russians caught wind that a shit load of soldiers were being killed, they thought ‘well this is war, there’s bound to be casualties’. But when the generals were told that it was one man with a rifle they decided to take a bit of action. first they sent in a counter-sniper. When his body was returned they decided to send in a team of counter-snipers. When they didn’t come back at all they sent in a whole goddamn battalion. They took casualties and couldn’t find him. Eventually they ordered an artillery strike, but to no avail. You see Häyhä was clever, and this was his neck of the woods. He dressed completely in white camouflage. He used a smaller rifle to suit his smaller frame (being 5ft3) increasing his accuracy. he used an iron sight to present the smallest possible target (a scoped sight would require the sniper to raise his head for sighting). He compacted the snow in front of the barrel, so as not to disturb it when he shot thus revealing his position. He also kept snow in his mouth so his breath did not condense and reveal where his was. Eventually however his was shot in the jaw by a stray bullet during combat on March 6 1940. He was picked up by his own soldiers who said half his head was missing. He didn’t die however and regained consciousness on the 13th, the day peace was declared.

Once again total kills…. 505 sniper + 200 submachine = 705 total Confirmed Kills…all in less that 100 days.


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TOP 10 CASES OF HUMAN CANNIBALISM

 

10 - Alferd Packer

Alferdpacker

Packer was an American gold prospector and convicted cannibal. On February 9th 1874, he left with 5 others for an expedition in the Colorado mountains. Two months later Packer returned from the expedition alone. When questioned of the whereabouts of the men that had been with him, Packer said that he killed them in self defense and was forced to eat their remains in order to survive the elements. His story was not believed and he soon after signed two separate confessions. Packer was given a 40 year sentence, at that time the longest communal sentence in United States history. Amazingly he was granted parole because sufficient doubt remained about his innocence.

9 - Albert Fish

Albertfish-Full

Albert Fish was a true life monster in every sense of the word. He was sadistic, delusional and worst of all he received gratification from his repulsive acts. Besides being an admitted serial killer and cannibal, he was also a rampant pedophile and a deviant. Fish kidnapped, murdered, and consumed a 10 year old girl from Manhattan. Six years later Fish taunted the innocent girl’s family by sending a letter to them graphically detailing his crime and the pleasure he received committing it. The letter was traced back to him and he was arrested and convicted. Justice would be served on January 16, 1936 as Fish was executed at the Sing Sing Correctional Facility in upstate New York.

8 - Revolutionary United Front

Gallery2 8

RUF was a revolutionary group based in Sierra Leone in Western Africa. By the late 1990’s they had been mired in a long bloody campaign to topple the central government. These insurgents terrorized rural Sierra Leone in an effort to control the nations diamond mines. Aided by factions of the National Patriotic Front of Liberia, these groups committed horrific atrocities which included forcing children to become soldiers, amputations of limbs and cannibalism of enemies, including peacekeepers and United Nations personnel. Their motives for eating their enemies were to receive “strength” from eating human flesh and as a tool for intimidation. The exact number of victims is unknown.

7 - Issei Sagawa

Sagawa

Sagawa was a Japanese student completing an English Literature degree in Paris. He met and then shot a co-ed on June 11, 1981. After her death, he proceeded to cannibalize her over the next two days. Sagawa was eventually arrested by French authorities but deemed unfit for trial due to insanity and was deported. In one of the worst examples of injustice in legal history; a paperwork error allowed Sagawa to simply check himself out of a mental institution after a little more than a year of confinement. He is now a free man living in Japan.

6 - Andrei Chikatilo

Chikatilo2

Chikatilo was a Ukrainian born serial killer and rapist. While in custody, Chikatilo confessed to over 50 murders and mutilations. He befriended, killed, and ate his victims. He admitted that his motives were solely for sexual gratification. The details of Chikatilo’s life and crimes are the stuff that nightmares are made of. This madman only halted his killing spree when he was finally arrested and identified after one of the largest operations in Russian police history. Chikatilo was executed in Rostov on February 14, 1994.

5 - Mauerova family

Klara-Mauerova-And-Barbara-Skrlova

The Mauerova’s are a family of cult members and cannibals from the Czech Republic. Over an 8 month period, relatives and fellow cult members participated in despicable acts against two brothers. The actual details of what a mother allowed to be done to her young children are extremely disturbing. By a remarkable chain of events, the truth about the Maurova family was discovered on May 10, 2007 when horrific images on a baby monitor (which they had installed in their house to view the crimes) where picked up by a neighbor who had the exact same monitor. A total of six people were eventually convicted.

4 - Armin Meiwes

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By most accounts Meiwes was a depraved and pathetic individual from Roteburg, Germany. In 2001 he posted an advertisement on an internet site which read in part “looking for a well-built 18 to 30-year-old to be slaughtered and then consumed”. Unbelievably Meiwes received a serious response from a willing participant. The two men met on Christmas Day and proceeded to commit and videotape some of the most unimaginable acts on earth. Meiwes was arrested after revealing details of his crime. He is currently serving a life sentence in a German prison.

3 - Jeffrey Dahmer

20060706 Dahmer 2

Dahmer was an American serial killer, necrophiliac, and cannibal from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Dahmer, an extremely disturbed individual, would lure young men to his apartment where he would murder and dismember them after sedating them with alcohol or drugs. After disposing of his victims he would consume or experiment with their remains. By the time of his trial he was charged and convicted of 15 murders and given numerous life sentences. On November 28, 1994 Dahmer was beaten to death at the Colombia Correctional Institution in Milwaukee.

2 - Carib West Indian Tribes

Cannibalismart

The first known modern accounts of cannibalism were reported following Columbus’ expedition to the West Indies. At this point cannibalism was considered atrocious and sacrilegious in the developed world. Imagine, if you will, the indescribable horror that the first Europeans felt when they witnessed Carib natives during a post war ritual chewing and/or eating human flesh. This misunderstanding of Caribbean culture lead to the people of the America’s being considered “savages”. These sentiments lead to policies which encouraged countless incidents of slavery, mass murder, exploitation and destruction of the native culture of the America’s that continued for centuries.

1 - Stella Maris College Rugby Team
Uruguay

Accidente 1972

On October 13, 1972 the team was on its way from Montevideo, Uruguay to play a match in Santiago Chile. Fierce wind and snow hounded the flight as the plane trekked through the Andes mountains. Due to poor weather and pilot error the plane crashed atop of an unnamed mountain on the border of Chile and Argentina. Search parties from three countries searched for 11 days in vain to find the downed flight of 45 people but were unsuccessful and all passengers were presumed dead. What followed next is one of the greatest examples of human survival ever recorded. Despite no food or heat 16 members of the team stayed on top of the mountain for over two months through the brutal winter while being forced to eat the remains of their fallen teammates before finally being rescued.

Bonus
The Maori People

L1986 34-1

The Maori were the first settlers of New Zealand – arriving many centuries before Europeans. Their culture dates back to the early modern era. They had been known to practice cannibalism during warfare. In October 1809 a European convict ship was attacked by a large group of Maori warriors in revenge for the mistreatment of a chief’s son. The Maori killed most of the 66 people on board and carried dead and alive victims off the boat and back to shore to be eaten. A few lucky survivors who were able to find a hiding spot inside the mast of the boat were horrified as they watched the Maori devour their shipmates through the night until the next morning.


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10 TERRIBLE BIGOTS

 

10 - David Duke

David-Duke-1979

David Ernest Duke got his start in the white nationalist circuit as Grand Wizard of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan. During his tenure, he attempted to put a more positive spin on the Klan by reinventing them as a simple organization looking out for the rights of white Americans. Not surprisingly, the exchange of white robes for suits and ties didn’t sit well with most Americans, white and black, who were still haunted by memories of the violence that the Klan had committed during the Civil Rights movement. Duke entered politics in 1979, running for the District 10 State Senate seat in his home state of Louisiana as a Democrat, finishing second. In 1988 he ran in the Democratic Presidential primaries, but his campaign failed to have any impact, but followed this up with a 1989 win in the Louisiana State House after switching his affiliation to Republican.

Duke has praised Ernest Zündel, a prominent holocaust denier, even calling him a “political prisoner” when Zündel was imprisoned in Germany for inciting ethnic hatred. Duke himself has engaged in holocaust denial, and in 2002 published his book “Jewish Supremacism: My Awakening on the Jewish Question”, in which he asserts that Jews are racist by nature (similar to how many black nationalists assert whites are racist by nature). Duke has also blamed the 9/11 attacks on the Israeli Mossad, and parroted the now discredited idea that 3,000 Israeli businessmen were ordered to stay home on 9/11. His articles routinely appear on Stormfront, the largest online forum dedicated to white supremacism and neo-Nazism.

9 - Ernst Zündel

Zuendel 2007 Lg

Ernst Zündel was born in Bad Wildbad in Germany, and emigrated to Canada when he was 19. He would later spend most of his life in that country. Initially working as a graphic designer, he came to prominence as an activist against perceived “discrimination” against German-Canadians due to media bias. It was during this time that his openly neo-Nazi views became well known, especially with the publication of his antisemitic pamphlet “The Hitler We Loved and Why”.

Zündel is most famous for his denial of the Holocaust. In the 1970s he founded Samisdat Publications, devoting it to printing neo-Nazi and Holocaust denial material, such as the book “Did Six Million Really Die?”, which asserted that the Holocaust was made up by the Jews and the Allies as a pretext for the establishment of the State of Israel. Zündel has also published material obsessing over Allied “war crimes” during World War II (completely ignoring German war crimes) and openly supported Nazi war criminals. During the trial of Imre Finta, he told a survivor of the Holocaust who confronted him “Listen, yeah, we are gonna get you yet, don’t you worry.”

8 - Malik Zulu Shabazz

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Malik Zulu Shabazz is the current head of the New Black Panther Party (NBPP), the purported descendant of the original Black Panther Party of the 60s and 70s (the original Party members have disowned the new group). During his time as a student at Howard University, Shabazz fell under the tutelage of Khalid Abdul Muhammad, who according to Shabazz “helped to shape my life and was a captain and minister over me.” From Muhammad, Shabazz would inherit the vile anti-white and antisemitic views that would characterize his career.

Shabazz joined the Nation of Islam in 1995, participating in the group’s October 16th “Million Man March” in Washington D.C. The day before the rally, at a “Black African Holocaust Nationhood Conference”, Shabazz stated “America should be glad that every black man is not on a killing spree for all the suffering they [white Americans] have done.” In 1998, he tried to organize a “Million Youth March” in Harlem, during which he threatened to kill police officers; “The only solution any time there is a funeral in the black community, is a funeral in the police community.” He told his followers. In 2000, during a rally organized by Al Sharpton, he called for a race war (“For every casket and funeral in our community, there should be a casket and funeral in the enemy’s community”). Parroting neo-Nazi conspiracy theories, he has repeatedly insinuated that the Jews were involved in the 9/11 attacks, and has given support to convicted cop killer Mumia Abu Jamal. Protesting B’nai B’rith in 2002, he said “Kill every goddamn Zionist in Israel! Goddamn little babies, goddamn old ladies! Blow up Zionist supermarkets!”, and multiple times has blamed Jews for the slave trade.

7 - Haunani-Kay Trask

Screen Shot 2010-04-01 At 4.13.46 Pm

When most people think of native Hawaiian culture, they think of a proud people who are also full of aloha and willing to live side by side with those who share their islands with them. Apparently, Haunani-Kay Trask never got the memo. Born in California in 1949, Trask graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 1972 and later came to Hawaii, where she gained a professorship at the University of Hawaii. It was here that she became involved with the unseemly elements of the Hawaiian Sovereignty movement.

Blending Hawaiian ethnic nationalism with racial supremacism, Trask and her fellow hardcore sovereignty activists have created what Professor Kenneth Conklin calls “Hawaiian supremacism”. When a University of Hawaii student named Joey Carter wrote an editorial in the student newspaper against the use of the Hawaiian word “haole”, a Hawaiian word originally meaning “foreigner” which has increasingly been used as a racial slur against whites, Trask replied by demeaning him; “Too bad, Mr. Carter, you are a haole and you always will be …” she wrote in her reply, further stating “If Mr. Carter does not like being called haole, he can return to Louisiana. Hawaiians would certainly benefit from one less haole in our land. In fact, United Airlines has dozens of flights to the U.S. continent every day, Mr. Carter. Why don’t you take one?” Not surprising, as Trask has worked with groups which assert that kanaka maoli (native Hawaiians) have exclusive rights to the Hawaiian islands and advocate the expulsion of all non-native Hawaiians from Hawaii. Trask’s writings seeth with hatred for whites, as evidenced in her poem “Racist White Woman”;

“Racist White Woman
I could kick
Your face, puncture
Both eyes.
You deserve this kind
Of violence.
No more vicious
Tongues, obscene
Lies.
Just a knife
Slitting your tight
Little heart.
For all my people
Under your feet
For all those years
Lived smug and wealthy
Off our land
Parasite arrogant
A fist
In your painted
Mouth, thick
With money
And piety.

6 - Don Black

Don-Black

Don Black is a well known white supremacist whose forte is internet activism. Born in Athens, Alabama, Don Black was a white supremacist early on, passing out white supremacist literature at his high school and later thwarting a ban by mailing it directly to students’ homes. He later joined the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan in 1975 and became Grand Wizard after David Duke resigned in 1978. In 1981, he was arrested in New Orleans for trying to invade the country of Dominica with a boat stocked full of weapons.

Black is perhaps most famous, however, for starting Stormfront, the internet’s premier hate site. Neo-Nazis and white supremacists from all over the world gather to spread their bile. Black is still the current webmaster, and regularly publishes articles from across the racist world, including articles from David Duke and the Institute for Historical Review, an appallingly misnamed Holocaust denial organization. In a 1998 interview for the Miami New Times he stated; “We want to take America back. We know a multicultural Yugoslav nation can’t hold up for too long. Whites won’t have any choice but to take military action. It’s our children whose interests we have to defend.” In 2008, he courted controversy by donating money to Ron Paul’s presidential campaign, which Paul subsequently refused to return after it was revealed.

5 - Matthew F. Hale

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A wannabe religious leader, Matthew F. Hale is a leader of the white supremacist religion Creativity, who advertises themselves as a religion for and about white people, advocating “racial holy war” against Jews and non-whites to establish a pure white world. Raised in East Peoria, Illinois, Hale was reading white supremacist materials by age 12, including Hitler’s “Mein Kampf”. He entered Bradley University and was later expelled for inviting the Ku Klux Klan to the school.

Hale founded the New Church of the Creator in 1993, later changing its name to the World Church of the Creator after being made “Pontifex Maximus” (supreme leader). He continued his white supremacist activism, which took a deadly turn in 2003, when Hale was arrested on federal charges for attempting to solicit the murder of Judge Joan Lefkow. He was sentenced to 40 years in federal prison and is currently incarcerated at ADX Florence in Florence, Colorado.

4 - Stellio Capo Chichi

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Better known by his nom de guerre Kémi Séba, Stellio Cap Chichi is a French Muslim of North African descent and is commonly referred to as “the French Farrakhan”. Indeed, Chichi has taken a page from the Nation of Islam leaders playbook; the antisemitic one.

In 2004 he founded the Parisian political group Tribu Ka (abbreviation for “The Atenian Tribe of Kemet”), which preached a combination of antisemitic Kemetism and Islam, similar to the NOI’s mix of theosophy and Sunni Islam. In 2006, the group staged a demonstration in Paris’ Jewish neighborhood, shouting antisemitic slogans and threatening pedestrians. In response, the French Ministry of Interior dissolved the group on grounds of incitement of racial hatred. The group was reformed under the name Génération Kémi Séba, and during the trial of Youssouf Fofana for the kidnapping and brutal murder of Ilan Halimi, sent threatening, antisemitic e-mails to various Jewish organizations, which led to his imprisonment. While in prison, he became Secretary General of MDI, the Mouvement des damnés de l’impérialisme, or “Movement of Those Damned By Imperialism”, which maintains ties to the terrorist group Hezbollah in their antisemitic campaigns.

3 - Elijah Muhammad

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Elijah Muhammad was born in Sandersville, Georgia, and eventually relocated to Detroit, where he gained a job in the Detroit auto factories, and was exposed to the teachings of Wallace Fard Muhammad, the founder of the Nation of Islam. According to NOI lore, Muhammad, then known by his birth name Elijah Poole, came to realized that Wallace Fard Muhammad was “Allah”, and became a minister in the fledgling Nation of Islam. He later relocated again to Chicago and established the NOI temple there, streamlining WFM’s racist theology that held blacks were the “chosen race” and whites were inferior and created by blacks to be a slave race.

Following his mentor’s disappearance in 1934, Elijah Muhammad moved the NOI’s headquarters to Chicago. During this time, he began to urge blacks to resist serving in World War II, and even went as far as to urge them to support the Japanese. Elijah Muhammad was virulently anti-white. His speeches and writings characterized whites as “devils” and “the evil and murderous race”, and asserted that whites are the “beast” mentioned in the Book of Revelation. He firmly believed in racial separation, even advocating a black homeland in the United States where no whites would be allowed.

2 - Fred Phelps

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Born in 1929 in Meridian, Mississippi, Fred Phelps experienced a religious awakening after graduating high school and entered Bob Jones University for Bible/ministerial training. In 1947 he was ordained as a minister by the Southern Baptists and married in 1952. He was assigned to pastor a Baptist congregation in Topeka, Kansas, but his violent behavior quickly brought his job to an end. This led him to found the Westboro Baptist Church.

Comprised primarily of Phelp’s family members, Westboro Baptist preaches a unique brand of Calvinism which teaches God’s “perfect hatred” of the unrighteous, of which homosexuals are chief (in open contradiction to the Christian tradition of compassion and mercy for sinners). The group is best known for its pickets of the funerals of American soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, characterizing their deaths as punishment from God for tolerating homosexuality. Phelps preaches that America and everyone in it is “doomed” and will “split hell wide open” when they die, with no chance to repent. After 9/11 his group carried signs saying “Thank God for 9/11″ reasoning God killed the victims as punishment for sin.

1 -  George Lincoln Rockwell

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George Lincoln Rockwell (center in the picture above) is perhaps the founding father of American neo-Nazism. Born in Bloomington, Illinois, Rockwell served in the Navy during World War II. He became active in politics after being influenced by the anti-communist activities of Senator Joe McArthy, and campaigned for Douglas McArthur’s presidential campaign, adopting the corn cob pipe that McArthur was famous for. It was then that he was exposed to antisemitism and Nazi ideology by reading “Mein Kampf” and “Protocols of the Elders of Zion”. Rockwell had morphed into the father of American white supremacy.

He founded the American Nazi Party in March of 1959, and held its first major rally on the National Mall of Washington, D.C. Though he stated that in a Nazi America he would treat loyal Jews as equal, he said he believed “ninety percent” of Jews to be disloyal and would execute them. In the Summer of 1966, he led counter-demonstrations against Martin Luther King, Jr., and assisted the Ku Klux Klan in their fight against the civil rights movement. He coined the salute “White power!”, and started Hatenanny Records to distribute white supremacist music (with infamous titles like “Ship Those Niggers Back), and founded the modern Holocaust denial movement by characterizing it as a Jewish conspiracy.


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TOP 10 PARTNERS IN CRIME

 

10 - Menendez Brothers

Menendez

The Menendez brothers grew up in Princeton, New Jersey, and attended Princeton Day School. Lyle attended Princeton University but eventually dropped out because of the expensive cost. Erik attended Beverly Hills High School in Los Angeles.

Lyle and Erik Menendez murdered their parents at their Beverly Hills home in 1989. After shooting their parents, the brothers drove off and dumped their shotguns on Mulholland Drive and bought tickets at a local movie theater to use as an alibi. When the brothers returned home, Lyle called 911 and cried, “Somebody killed my parents!” In the following months, the brothers led a life of luxury and lavish spending, adding to investigators’ suspicions that they were involved in their parents’ deaths. Prosecutors later alleged that the brothers spent about $1 million in their first six months as orphans. Both brothers were subsequently sentenced to life in prison. [Wikipedia]

9 - Caril Fugate and Charles Starkweather

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Caril Fugate lived in Lincoln, Nebraska, and in 1956, she started dating Charles Starkweather (five years her senior). Caril is the youngest female in United States history to be tried for first-degree murder. The extent of Caril’s involvement in this couple’s crimes is uncertain; Starkweather was executed still accusing her, and Fugate refuses to talk about it to this day.

Charles Starkweather was born with a mild birth defect, Genu varum, that caused his legs to be misshapen, and he also suffered from a mild speech impediment, which caused him to be teased, picked upon, and beaten up from an early age. Starkweather developed a severe inferiority complex and became self-loathing and nihilistic, believing that he was unable to do anything correctly, and that his own inherent failures would doom him to a life of poverty and misery.

On January 21, 1958, Starkweather went to visit Caril at her dilapidated house. Finding her not home, he argued with and shot to death Caril Ann’s mother and stepfather, as well as fatally clubbing Caril Ann’s two-year-old sister, Betty Jean. Charles and Caril drove to the Bennet, Nebr., farm home of August Meyer, 70, a Starkweather family friend, whom Charles shot in the head. Shortly thereafter, they got stuck in the mud and abandoned their car. When Robert Jensen and Carol King, two local teenagers, stopped to give them a ride, Charles forced them to drive back to an abandoned storm cellar, where both were shot and killed. The couple eventually took a road trip across the states killing a total of 11 people. Their story is the basis for the film Natural Born Killers. [Wikipedia]

8 - Kray Brothers

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Ronald “Ronnie” Kray (24 October 1933 – 17 March 1995) and Reginald “Reggie” Kray (24 October 1933 – 1 October 2000) were identical twin brothers, and the foremost organized crime leaders dominating London’s East End during the 1950s and 1960s.

The twins first attended Wood Close School and then Daneford Street School. There they said to have shown none of their future criminal tendencies. A teacher said of them: “Salt of the earth, the twins; never the slightest trouble to anyone who knew how to handle them.” They bought a local run-down snooker club in Bethnal Green, this was where they starting several protection rackets. By the end of the 1950s, the Krays were involved in hijacking, armed robbery and arson, through which means they acquired a small empire of clubs and other properties. In the 1960s, they were widely seen as prosperous and charming celebrity nightclub owners and were part of the ‘swinging’ London scene. The criminal activities of the twins came to the attention of the police several times, but the Kray name had such a fearsome reputation for violence that witnesses were too scared to come forward to testify. When Inspector Leonard “Nipper” Read of Scotland Yard was promoted to the Murder Squad, his first assignment was to bring down the Kray twins. By the end of 1967 Read had built up a substantial body of evidence against the Krays. Early on 9 May 1968, the Krays and a number of the senior members of their “firm” were arrested. Both were sentenced to life imprisonment, with a non-parole period of thirty years. [Wikipedia]

7 - Leopold and Loeb

Leopold-Loeb

Nathan Leopold had already completed college and was attending law school at the University of Chicago when he and Loeb committed their crime (aged 19). He spoke five languages and was an expert ornithologist. Leopold planned to transfer to Harvard Law School in September, after taking a trip to Europe.

Richard Loeb was the youngest graduate in the history of the University of Michigan. He planned to enter the University of Chicago Law School after taking some post graduate courses.

Both Leopold and Loeb lived in Kenwood, a wealthy neighborhood on the South Side of Chicago. Loeb’s father, Albert, began his career as a lawyer and became the Vice President of Sears and Roebuck. Besides owning an impressive mansion in Kenwood, two blocks away from the Leopold home, the Loeb family also had a summer estate in Charlevoix, Michigan. Leopold, age 19 at the time of the murder, and Loeb, 18, believed themselves to be Nietzschean supermen who could commit a “perfect crime” (in this case a kidnapping and murder) without fear of being apprehended. On Wednesday, May 21, 1924, they put their plot in motion. The pair lured Franks, a neighbor and distant relative of Loeb’s, into a rented car. Either Loeb or Leopold first struck Franks with a chisel. Leopold or Loeb then stuffed a sock into Franks’ mouth. Franks died soon thereafter. Leopold and Loeb concealed the body and poured hydrochloric acid on it to make identification more difficult. They then returned to Hyde Park and burned Frank’s clothes. They then mailed a ransom note to the Franks. Before the ransom was paid, the body was found along with a pair of glasses linking the crime to Leopold and Loeb. They both confessed when their alibis broke down. Loeb was killed in jail, and Leopold completed his jail time and died in Puerto Rico in 1971, at the age of 66. [Wikipedia]

6 - Ottis Toole and Henry Lee Lucas

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Ottis Toole was a native of Shaunavon, Saskatchewan. His father left the family when Toole was young, and he claimed his mother was a religious fanatic, and that his sister dressed him in girl’s clothes. Toole also claimed his grandmother was a satanist who exposed him to various practices and rituals in his youth.

Henry Lee Lucas was born in Blacksburg, Virginia. He described his mother, Viola Lucas, as a violent prostitute. His father, Anderson Lucas, was an alcoholic and former railroad employee who had lost his legs in a train accident, and who suffered from Viola’s wrath as often as his son. Lucas reports that Viola regularly beat him and his half-brother, often for no reason.

Henry Lee Lucas was 15 the first time he killed in 1951, and the reason he murdered this teenage girl was to see what it was like to have sex with a human. In 1976, after years in prison, Lucas teamed up with arsonist and serial killer Ottis Toole, who enjoyed mutilating corpses. Later Toole claimed to have been a cannibal, but Lucas said that he’d abstained from that behavior because he did not like the taste of barbecue sauce. They traveled together from one state to another, and their favorite prey were female hitchhikers. For a while, Toole’s orphaned nephew and niece, Frank and Becky Powell, came with them. Then it was just Lucas and Becky, 13. When she argued with Lucas one day and slapped him, he killed her with a knife. Then he raped the corpse, dismembered it, put the pieces into a pillowcase, and dumped them in a field. The victims of these two men ranged in age from young children to elderly women, killed in every conceivable way and disposed of by dumping, dismembering, and incinerating. How many murders they actually committed will probably never be known.

 

5 - The Hillside Strangler

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Kenneth Bianchi’s biological mother was an alcoholic prostitute who gave him up for adoption at birth. Bianchi was deeply troubled from a young age, described as “a compulsive liar” who “had risen from the cradle dissembling.” He often worried Frances (his adoptive mother) with his penchant for trance-like daydreams. While intelligent (with an I.Q. of 116), he was an underachiever who was quick to lose his temper. He was also diagnosed with petit mal seizures when he was five. After Nicholas’ death, Frances went out to her work while her son attended high school.

Angelo Buono Buono was born in Rochester, New York. In the time leading up to the killings, Buono had already developed a long criminal history, ranging from failure to pay child support to assault and rape. When Buono was 41 he met Kenneth Bianchi in 1975. Buono persuaded his younger cousin to join him in prostituting the women and young girls they brought to bed, holding them as virtual prisoners.

The Hillside Strangler is the media epithet for two men, Kenneth Bianchi and Angelo Buono, cousins who were convicted of kidnapping, raping, torturing, and killing girls and women ranging in age from twelve to twenty-eight years old during a four-month period from late 1977 to early 1978 in the hills above Los Angeles, USA. The first victim of the Hillside Stranglers was a Hollywood prostitute, Yolanda Washington whose body was found near the Forest Lawn Cemetery on October 18. The corpse was cleaned and faint marks could be seen around the neck, wrists, and ankles where a rope had been. She had also been viciously raped. Between the two they murdered 10 (confirmed) victims. Bianchi is serving a life sentence in Washington. Buono died of a heart attack on September 21, 2002, in Calipatria State Prison where he was serving a life sentence. [Wikipedia]

4 - Fred and Rosemary West

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Fred West was a prolific petty criminal as a teenager. He moved from his parents’ rural home to live with an aunt until the Wests moved his family to Gloucester, where he took a job in an abattoir. He was fined for theft in Hereford in April 1961, and again in Newent in October. During this period West worked as an ice cream van driver. On November 4, 1965, he accidentally ran over and killed a four-year-old boy with his ice-cream van.

Rosemary West and her husband were convicted of a serious sexual assault in January 1973. For this, the Wests were fined for indecent assault of Caroline Raine, who escaped and reported the couple to the police, although no prison sentence resulted from their subsequent conviction. She had a voracious sexual appetite and enjoyed extreme bondage and sadomasochistic sex. She was bisexual, and many of their victims were picked up for her and her husband’s sexual pleasure. West also worked as a prostitute. Two of her children were fathered by these clients, in April 1982 and July 1983.

The crimes for which the Wests were convicted occurred mainly between April 1973 to August 1979. Charmaine West, (daughter of Fred’s previous wife Rena), who was murdered in June 1971, was buried at the Wests’ previous home of 25 Midland Road, Gloucester. One of the bodies found at Cromwell Street was that of their eldest daughter, Heather, who was murdered in June 1987. The police consider it highly unlikely that the Wests just stopped their sexually-motivated murders in 1979, or simply stopped killing in 1987. No one will ever know for certain if this was the case, but the murders almost certainly would have stopped in August 1992, when Fred West was arrested after being accused of raping his 13-year-old daughter three times, and Rosemary West was arrested for child cruelty. That case against them collapsed in June 1993 when their daughter refused to testify in court. Although she did not confess, the evidence against Rosemary West, which was all circumstantial, was overwhelming. She was tried in October 1995, after her husband’s suicide. The jury was unanimous: West was found guilty of ten murders on November 22, 1995, and the judge, Mr Justice Mantell, sentenced her to life imprisonment. [Wikipedia]

3 - Bonnie and Clyde

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Bonnie Parker was born October 1, 1910, in Rowena, Texas. An honor roll student in high school where she excelled in creative writing, she won a County League contest in literary arts, for Cement City School, and even gave introductory speeches for local politicians. Described as intelligent and personable yet strong willed, she was an attractive young woman, small at 4 ft 11 in (150 cm) and weighing only 90 pounds (41 kg).

Clyde Barrow was born on March 24, 1909 in Ellis County, Texas. Clyde was first arrested in late 1926, after running when police confronted him over a rental car he had failed to return on time. Despite holding down “square” jobs during the period 1927 through 1929, however, he also cracked safes, burgled stores, and stole cars.

Bonnie and Clyde were notorious outlaws, robbers and criminals who travelled the Central United States during the Great Depression. Their exploits were known nationwide. They captured the attention of the American press and its readership during what is sometimes referred to as the “public enemy era” between 1931 and 1935. Although this couple and their gang were notorious for their bank robberies, Clyde Barrow preferred to rob small stores or gas stations. Though the public at the time believed Bonnie to be a full partner in the gang, the role of Bonnie Parker in the Barrow Gang crimes has long been a source of controversy.

Bonnie and Clyde were killed May 23, 1934, on a desolate road near their Bienville Parish, Louisiana hideout. They were shot by a posse of four Texas and two Louisiana officers. Questions about the way the ambush was conducted, and the failure to warn the duo of impending death, have been raised ever since that day. [Wikipedia]

2 - Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

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Robert LeRoy Parker (Butch Cassidy) was born in Beaver, Utah to Maximillian Parker and Ann Campbell Gillies, English and Scottish Mormon immigrants, respectively, who came to the Utah Territory in the late 1850s. Parker left home during his early teens, and while working at a dairy farm, he fell in with Mike Cassidy (whose name he would eventually take in his honor), a horse thief and cattle rustler.

Harry Alonzo Longabaugh (The Sundance Kid) was convicted in 1887 of horse theft and sentenced to 18 months in the Sundance, Wyoming, jail. Because of this jail time he was called the Sundance Kid. Longabaugh likely met Butch Cassidy sometime after Cassidy was released from prison around 1896. They formed the “Wild Bunch Gang.”

Despite the Wild Bunch often being portrayed as mostly non-violent, in reality the gang was responsible for numerous killings during their robbery activities. On June 2, 1899, the gang robbed a Union Pacific overland flyer near Wilcox, Wyoming, a robbery that became famous and which resulted in a massive man hunt. Many notable lawmen of the day took part in the hunt for the robbers, but they were not found. The Wild Bunch would usually split up following a robbery, heading in different directions, and later reunite at a set location, such as the Hole-in-the-Wall hideout, “Robbers Roost”, or Madame Fannie Porter’s brothel, in San Antonio, Texas. Parker and Longabaugh eventually fled to Argentina where they may have committed additional robberies. Neither of the two were ever caught, and their remains have never been found. [Wikipedia]

1 - Myra Hindley and Ian Brady

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Myra Hindley was believed to have been beaten by her alcoholic father, Bob Hindley, a paratrooper in the RAF during World War II, who was also alleged to have been violent towards her mother Nellie. She could write creatively, was quite athletic, and was considered a responsible girl, ironically in demand as a babysitter.

Ian Brady was adopted into a local family at a young age. His father has never been identified; his mother claimed that he was a journalist who died a few months before their son was born. He developed a fascination with Nazi Germany, Nazi pageantry and Nazi symbolism. By the time he was a teenager, he had been brought before the juvenile courts for incidents of burglary and housebreaking.

Brady was responsible for the murders of five children during the 1960s. In August 1987 he claimed to police that he had carried out another five killings and even said where he had buried the bodies, but the police were never able to prove whether these claims were true. The five murders that Brady admitted carrying out were committed with Hindley as his accomplice. These were the infamous Moors Murders, which are still some of the most reviled crimes in Britain decades after they happened, the judge at Brady and Hindley’s trials even saying they were the worst murders in the past century. As a result, Brady and Hindley became two of the most hated individuals in British criminal history. In evidence against them was a tape recording the couple made of the murder of one of their victims.


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TOP 10 MOST AUDACIOUS SHOOT OUTS

 

10 - The MOVE Shootout

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At 6221 Osage Ave., Philadelphia, PA, on May 13, 1985, members of MOVE, a predominantly black organization dedicated to nature, and African tradition, were confronted by the Philadelphia Police Dept., after neighbors complained of MOVE’s constant bullhorn announcements of anti-American sentiment at all hours. In an attempt to clear the building, the police fired tear gas, and the fire dept. hosed the roof with water cannons.

A burst of gunfire erupted from inside the building, and the police responded with thousands of rounds of small arms fire for 90 minutes. They then tried to remove two roof structures by dropping a 4 pound bomb of C-4 and Tovex onto the roof. This started a fire that eventually consumed the entire neighborhood. Eleven members of MOVE died in the fire. Only two survived.

The PPD was sued and forced to pay $1.5 million to a survivor and relatives, due to using excessive force and unlawful search and seizure. I have included this as an astounding example of a police force’s audacity and consequent repercussions, as opposed to the rest of the entries.

9 - The Marin County Courthouse Shootout

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On August 7, 1970, in an attempt to free his brother, imprisoned Black Panther leader George Jackson, 17-year old Jonathan Jackson walked right into a courthouse in Marin County, California with an arsenal of weapons, stormed a room where a trial was taking place, and armed defendant James McClain, on trial for murdering a prison guard, and two fellow convicts who were participating in the trial as witnesses, William Christmas and Ruchell Magee. The four armed men then took the judge, a district attorney and three jurors hostage, and marched them out of the courthouse into a waiting getaway van.

As they attempted to flee the scene, a shootout began between the suspects and Marin County Sheriffs deputies providing security at the courthouse. By the end of the gun battle, Jackson, McClain, Christmas, and judge Harold Haley were killed. According to the hostages, Haley was executed by a shotgun blast to his throat. Magee was severely injured, but survived the battle and was sentenced to life in prison. One juror and the D.A. were also wounded. One of the weapons used by Jackson was later traced to Black Panther icon Angela Davis, who was tried, and acquitted, for participation in the crime.

8 - The Newhall Shootout

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On April 6, 1970, two heavily armed career criminals, Jack Twinning and Bobby Davis, engaged the California Highway Patrol in Newhall, CA. This resulted in the deadliest day in California law enforcement history.

After dark, Davis almost crashed into another car. The occupants confronted him, and he pulled out a handgun. They claimed that the CHP was coming, and he fled. They called the police. Later, having picked up Twinning, they were pulled over by Officers Walt Frago and Robert Gore, rookies.

At first the suspects complied. Davis exited and allowed himself to be frisked. Frago approached the other side of the car carrying a shotgun at “port arms,” stock against his hip and barrel pointed in the air. This was not procedure.

As Frago walked to the Pontiac, Twinning exited the passenger seat and opened fire with a .38 caliber revolver. Before Frago could aim his shotgun at Twinning, he was struck by two .357 magnum rounds and killed. Gore quickly drew his service revolver and returned fire at Twinning, but in doing so lost track of Davis, who was right next to him. While Twinning and Gore exchanged gunfire, Davis pulled a .38 caliber revolver out of his waistband and killed Gore with two shots in the head, point blank.
Shortly after Gore was killed, a second police cruiser containing CHP officers George Alleyn and James Pence arrived on the scene. As soon as it pulled up to the first cruiser, Davis and Twinning opened fire on it with their revolvers, expending all their remaining rounds, and then dove back into their own car for new weapons. Davis pulled out a sawn-off shotgun, while Twining grabbed a semi-automatic Colt 1911 .45 ACP. After firing one shot, Twinning’s .45 jammed, but he simply grabbed another one out of the car and exited out the driver’s side.

As they did this, officer Alleyn emptied his pump 12-ga shotgun at the Pontiac, firing the gun so fast he accidentally ejected a live round in the process. A single pellet from the shotgun struck Twinning in the forehead, but did not penetrate his skull and inflicted only a minor wound.
After expending all his shotgun rounds, Alleyn opened fire on Davis with his .357 magnum, but scored no hits. Davis returned fire with his sawn-off shotgun, striking Alleyn with several rounds of 00 buckshot and inflicting fatal injuries.

At this point, 31-year-old bystander Gary Kness, a former U.S. Marine, intervened. Kness got out of his vehicle and ran over to the fallen officer Alleyn. He tried to drag Alleyn to safety, but was unable to move him. He looked up and saw Davis discard his now-empty sawn-off shotgun and grab the pump shotgun that had been dropped by Frago. Apparently not realizing Frago had never fired the weapon, Davis tried to cycle the action of the shotgun, but since it had not been fired, it was locked on a live round. He accidentally fired the gun into the air, dropped it and grabbed the service revolver out of Frago’s holster.

Meanwhile on the other side of the cruiser, Pence fired all six rounds from his .357 Magnum revolver at Twinning, and missed. Twinning returned fire with his .45, striking Pence in the chest and both legs. Pence fell, trying to reload. At the time, the CHP did not issue their officers speedloaders, forcing Pence to reload one round at a time.

Back on the other side of the cruiser, Kness picked up Alleyn’s discarded shotgun and tried to shoot at Davis, but the gun was empty. As Davis opened fire on him with Frago’s revolver, Kness dropped the shotgun and returned fire with Pence’s service revolver. His shots struck the Pontiac, and a fragment of one bullet lodged into Davis’ chest. However, the shot did not incapacitate Davis, and Kness was out of ammunition.

While this was going on, the wounded Pence was still attempting to reload his revolver. As he did so, he failed to notice Twinning sneak up to the cruiser and around the left side. As he inserted the sixth cartridge and started to close the cylinder of his weapon, Twinning killed Pence with a point-blank shot to the head. Kness ran for cover in a ditch, and both suspects exchanged fire with the officers of a third CHP cruiser, newly arrived, then ran into the darkness with the officers’ weapons. Davis was apprehended at 3:25 AM, after stealing a civilian’s camper and exchanging fire with him. The owner called the police, who tracked down the camper within hours. Davis was out of ammunition and surrendered.

Twinning broke into a house three miles from the first shootout scene, and took the resident hostage. He bragged to the police for several hours of a standoff that he had wasted Frago. Police then stormed the building with teargas, and twinning shot himself. Davis was given the death penalty, but this was commuted in 1972, when the Supreme Court struck down the death penalty. He killed himself in prison, August 16, 2009, at 67.

7 - The Brinks Armored Car Shootout

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On October 20, 1981, more than 10 members of the Black Liberation Army attacked the two drivers on an armored truck outside a bank at the Nanuet Mall in Nanuet, New York. At 3:55 PM, the drivers were hit by fully automatic M-16 fire, and handgun fire, one dying instantly, and the other surviving, but almost losing his arm. The robbers stole $1.6 million and fled in a van, to a nearby parking lot where they changed to a U-Haul truck.

Police converged on the mall, and a college student called to report the vehicle change, after which, four police officers stopped the U-Haul and another get-away car, and were immediately engaged by the robbers. One suspect, a woman, pretended to be innocent and convinced the police to lower their guard, whereupon, six men jumped out of the back of the U-Haul with M-16s and body armor, and opened fire.

Two officers were killed, the other two wounded. The last officer to keep fighting, Brian Lennon, was unable to exit his car, and fired his shotgun through his windshield at the robbers, attempting to ram him with the U-Haul. They fled the scene, some on foot, some in their second vehicle, others carjacking a civilian.

They were apprehended over the next 6 years, following an extensive investigation, and all received long prison sentences. The Brinks guard who survived, Joe Trombino, died in the WTC, on September 11, 2001.

6 - The Battle of Barrington

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George “Babyface” Nelson (pictured dead above) engaged FBI agents in a running gun battle through Barrington, IL, a suburb of Chicago, on November 27, 1934. The events that transpired cemented Nelson’s infamy as a reckless criminal who had no fear of death.

He was driving down the road with his wife and John Chase, an accomplice, in the car, along with several weapons, when he passed a car of FBI agents going the other way. Both parties recognized each other, and Nelson swung his car around, and he and Chase began firing at the FBI who attempted to get away. An astonishing reversal of the normal situation.

The FBI fired back and disabled Nelson’s car with a shot through the radiator. He drove it into a small field, and the FBI drove away and set up an ambush that never came. They then returned, and resumed the firefight with Nelson and Chase in the field.

Two more agents joined the fight, Herman Hollis and Samuel Cowley. Hollis had killed Pretty Boy Floyd a month earlier. The agents stopped their vehicle in a hail of Nelson and Chase’s gunfire and fired back. Nelson was hit in the stomach as his wife fled the scene. She saw the hit, and reported Nelson to sit down on the running board of his car, while Chase continued to shoot.

Nelson then snarled and stood, walked right out from behind his car into the gunfire and screamed at Hollis and Cowley, “I’m gonna kill you sons of bitches!” and opened fire with a .351 semi-automatic rifle, firing so rapidly that it was mistaken for a Thompson submachine gun.

Hollis and Cowley fled in terror, while Chase kept the other two agents pinned down. Cowley turned and fired back, but ran out of ammunition and was gunned down by Nelson. Hollis shot Nelson in both legs with a shotgun, knocking him down.

Nelson proceeded to get to his feet and gun Hollis down, hitting him several times in the head. In all, Nelson was hit 9 times. He, his wife and Chase fled the scene, before the other two agents could return fire. Nelson died that night from his wounds. Chase was captured and went to Alcatraz.


5 - The Austin Tower Sniper

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In what is still one of the most indelible mass shootings in U. S. history, Charles Whitman, an ex-Marine who had qualified as a sharpshooter, barricaded himself into the Tower on the campus of the University of Texas at Austin, on August 1, 1966, and opened fire on innocent bystanders for 96 minutes.

He had already killed his mother and wife, and three others on the way up the Tower stairs. He used a scoped Remington 6mm deer rifle, an M-1 carbine, a .35 caliber Remington pump rifle, a .357 magnum revolver, a 9mm Luger, and a sawn-off 12-ga pump shotgun.

He commenced firing at 11:48 am, and indiscriminately killed 11 civilians, and wounded 32 more, before police officers were able to get up to the observation deck and shoot him down.

He shot a pregnant woman through the stomach. This was probably a deliberate attempt to kill the fetus, which succeeded. The mother, Claire Wilson survived. He shot Paul Sonntag, a student, through the mouth, from 400 yards, then shot his fiancée, Claudia Rutt in the chest, as she attempted to drag him behind cover.

Ambulances and even an armored car were employed to rescue pinned-down civilians. An ambulance driver, Morris Hohmann, was shot through the leg.

In true Texas style, civilians in the area ran to their vehicles and brought out their own deer rifles, shotguns, and handguns, and returned fire to the top of the tower, pinning Whitman down well enough for nine officers to get to the top of the building. Ramiro Martinez and Houston McCoy flanked Whitman, and Martinez emptied his revolver at him, wounding him. McCoy then fired two rounds of 12-ga 00 buckshot into the head, neck and left side of Whitman, killing him instantly.

Martinez then grabbed the shotgun from McCoy, ran up to Whitman’s body, and shot him again in the upper left arm, point blank. There is a photo of Whitman’s dead body on Wikipedia. He was subsequently found to have a glioblastoma, a brain tumor that could have caused his erratic mentality, as he had not always been homicidal.

4 - The FBI Miami Shootout

One of the most astounding cases of physical stamina in history occurred on April 11, 1986, in Miami, FL, when the FBI cornered two career robbers, William Matix and Michael Platt. Matix was an ex-Army MP. Platt was ex-Army Special Forces. They were armed with a Ruger Mini-14 5.56mm, a shotgun, and two S&W .357 magnums.

The FBI outnumbered them 4 to 1, but still found itself outgunned as the agents fired 9mms. The FBI began the confrontation by ramming the suspects’ car into a tree. What followed prompted the FBI to change from the 9mm to .40 Sig. Platt fired across Matix’s body at McNeill and Mireles, two agents, hitting Mireles in the forearm. Matix then shot at Grogan and Dove, two more agents, with his .357. Grogan shot Matix in the right forearm. McNeill fired six shots, hitting Matix twice, in the head and neck, and knocking him unconscious.

Platt exited the car and was shot by Dove through the upper right arm. This 9mm round penetrated his right lung, collapsed it, and stopped less than two inches from his heart. His chest cavity filled with 1.3 liters of blood. Platt crossed over the hood of another car and was shot twice more by Dove, in the right thigh and left foot. He took cover by the car and fired his .357 at Risner and Orrantia, two more agents. He fired at Hanlon, Grogan, and Dove, and was hit a fourth time, breaking his forearm. He dropped his gun and was shot a fifth time, the bullet penetrating the right upper arm, armpit, torso, and stopping below the shoulderblade.

Platt shot back, wounding Orrantia and hitting McNeill in the neck, incapacitating him. Dove’s pistol was shot and destroyed. Hanlon fired and was hit in the hand. Platt charged Grogan and Dove’s car, though wounded in the leg, foot, and twice in the chest, and shot Grogan dead through the chest, shot Hanlon in the groin, and killed Dove with two rounds to the head. As he entered their car to get away, Mireles fired five times from a pump shotgun with only one hand, hitting Platt in both feet.

Matix regained consciouness and joined Platt in the car. Mireles fired four more times, hitting neither. Platt attempted to start the car as two police officers arrived. Mireles staggered up to the car and fired six rounds from his .357. The first two missed. The third, fourth, and fifth hit Matix in the face, shattering his cheeks, jawbone, and spinal column. The sixth penetrated Platt’s chest to the spine.

The fight lasted 4 minutes and saw 145 shots fired. 2 agents and the 2 suspects were killed. Only one man, Ronald Risner, emerged unharmed. Neither suspect had any drugs in his system, according to autopsies. Matix was shot 6 times. Platt was shot 12 times. Their feat has been attributed to nothing more than adrenaline and fearlessness.

3 - The Blair House Shootout

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In what has been called “the boldest attempt at home invasion in modern history,” two Puerto Rican nationalists, Griselio Torresola and Oscar Collazo, attempted to break into the Blair House in Washington D. C., and assassinate sitting U. S. President Harry S Truman, on November 1, 1950.

They were only armed with one handgun each, and yet walked right up to the front door of the Blair House, while Truman was napping upstairs, and opened fire with the guards at the door. Collazo shot a policeman and then engaged with two Secret Service agents armed with handguns. The policeman he shot drew his pistol and joined in, and Collazo was shot twice, in the head and right arm.

Simultaneously, Torresola opened fire on a policeman in a guard booth, Leslie Coffelt, who expected Torresola to ask for directions, as tourists usually did. Torresola shot him three out of four times with a 9mm Luger, and Coffelt collapsed in the booth. Torresola then engaged with Joseph Downs, a White House security officer, who was struck in the hip, and ran to the Blair House basement door, was hit twice more, and collapsed inside the building, slamming the door shut behind him.

Torresola rejoined his compatriot, and shot the same policeman Collazo had wounded, incapacitating him. Collazo was hit in the chest and incapacitated. Torresola ran out of ammunition, and began reloading, left of the Blair House front steps. Coffelt, mortally wounded, staggered out of the booth and shot Torresola in the head from 30 feet, blowing out a chunk of his brain the size of an apricot.

The entire shootout lasted only 40 seconds. Collazo survived and went to prison. Coffelt succumbed to his wounds four hours later. Truman was unharmed, but woke to the sounds of gunfire and went to the window to see. Had the gunmen shot down all the guards outside, they would have had only one Secret Service agent left, behind the front door with a Thompson Submachine gun, with which to contend, before having unimpeded access to Truman upstairs.

2 - The Norco Bank Robbery

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On May 9, 1980, five robbers, armed with an assault rifle, shotguns, handguns, hollow-point ammunition and pipe bombs, robbed the Norco, California Security Pacific Bank at 3:40 PM. They stole $20,000 in cash, and were spotted by a teller at a bank across the street. Deputy Glyn Bolasky was the first to arrive. The robbers spotted him and exited the bank, opened fire and blew out his windshield. He reversed into the street and crashed into another car.

The robbers piled into their van as Bolasky returned fire. He was shot in the face, left elbow, both forearms, and left shoulder, before the robbers fled. His cruiser suffered 47 bullet holes. Two more officers arrived and engaged the robbers while evacuating Bolasky. The robbers’ van was stopped at the scene and they opened fire on other officers joining the fight, before commandeering a truck and fleeing down the highway.

They shot at the pursuing police and threw pipe bombs out the back of the truck, destroying 33 police cruisers, as well as civilian cars, and shot down a police helicopter. The robbers were able to pull well ahead of the police and set an ambush. They killed one officer, wounded two more, and pinned the rest down behind their vehicles until another officer arrived with an AR-15 and opened fire. The robbers fled, suffering one fatality. Another of the five was killed in a shootout the next day. The other three were later captured.

1 - The North Hollywood Shootout

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On February 28, 1997, Larry Phillips and Emil Matasareanu attempted to rob the North Hollywood Bank of America. Perhaps inspired by the epic shootout scene in the 1995 film “Heat,” they were extremely heavily armed, with 9mm Berettas; fully automatic AK-47s with drum clips, an HK-91, and an AR-15. They wore homemade body armor of Kevlar sewn around steel trauma plates. They took Phenobarbital to calm their nerves, then walked up to the front door of the bank, put on ski masks and entered at about 9:17 AM. They expected to be in and out within 8 minutes, before police could arrive.

Unfortunately for them, a police cruiser with two officers drove by and saw them put on their masks, and radioed in a possible 211 in progress. The robbers began shooting fully automatic rifle fire into the ceiling, forced the vault open and stole $303,305 in cash. They then forced the 30 or so hostages into the vault, and exited the bank, at 9:38, and initiated the most awe-inspiring hailstorm of domestic violence in United States history.

It lasted for 44 minutes, during which 10 officers and 7 civilians were seriously wounded. The police fired 650 rounds of various small-arms ammunition at the robbers. The robbers fired 1,300 rounds in exchange. They used armor-piercing rounds, which penetrated the officers’ cruisers and vests. The officers, however, could not penetrate the robbers’ armor with their .38 revolvers, 9mms, and 12-ga shotguns.

The robbers shot at a helicopter, which refused to leave, and broadcast the entire battle. Matasareanu entered a white four-door sedan, while Phillips opened the door and retrieved additional drum clips, and continued to fire at officers. The police took cover behind their cars, behind buildings and tollbooths. They were so terribly outgunned that many fled the confrontation to nearby gun stores, and requisitioned AR-15s and M-16s, then returned to the fight.

The robbers were hit hundreds of times but continued shooting unabated. Civilians attempted to flee the area and were shot down indiscriminately. Phillips followed his accomplice down a residential street firing in all directions, until he was hit in the left thumb. His HK-91 jammed, and he dropped it, pulled out his 9mm and returned fire at the officers approaching. His 9mm jammed, and as he cleared it, he placed it under his chin and shot himself dead as an officer shot him.

Matasareanu drove on into the neighborhood. He commandeered a civilian pickup truck and almost fled the scene when the SWAT team arrived. He got out and fired fully automatic rifle fire at them through his own windshield. Some of the SWAT team members were unable to penetrate his armor even with M-16s, with rounds bouncing off, but eventually began wounding him in the torso and arms. They also shot under both cars at his feet. This brought him down, and he died of gunshot wounds before an ambulance could reach him.

Miraculously, not one police officer or civilian died. 19 officers were awarded the Medal of Valor, the police equivalent to the military’s Medal of Honor.


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