Sir Nicholas Winton is a humanitarian who organized a rescue operation that saved the lives of 669 Jewish Czechoslovakia children from Nazi death camps, and brought them to the safety of Great Britain between the years 1938-1939.
After the war, his efforts remained unknown. But in 1988, Winton’s wife Grete found the scrapbook from 1939 with the complete list of children’s names and photos. Sir Nicholas Winton is sitting in an audience of Jewish Czechoslovakian people who he saved 50 years before.
Klondikers ! c.1899
Anastasia Nicolaievna was very roguish and almost a wag. She had a very strong sense of humour, and the darts of her wit often found sensitive spots. She was rather an enfant terrible, though this fault tended to correct itself with age. She was also extremely idle, though with the idleness of a gifted child. Her French accent was excellent, and she acted scenes from comedy with remarkable talent.
This incredible underwater city, trapped in time, is 1341 years old. Shicheng, or Lion City, is located in the Zhejiang province in eastern China. It was submerged in 1959 during the construction of the Xin’an River Hydropower Station. The water protects the city from wind and rain erosion, so it has remained sealed underwater in relatively good condition.
Since the olympics are happening…
In 1984, Sarajevo hosted the Winter Olympics. Just a decade later, the region was torn apart by a bitter years-long conflict, leading to widespread death and suffering. One not-so-familiar effect of this war was the toll it took on the Olympic infrastructure which had been built not that long…
JACKIE KENNEDY’S LOVE LETTER TO JFK.
Letter written by Jackie Kennedy on the day of the assassination.
oh my god
this is what lana del rey is saying at the end of the national anthem music video. it all makes sense now. i can die happily now.
German civilians are forced to walk past bodies of 30 Jewish women starved to death by German SS troops.
Celebrity and historic figure doppelgangers
Before the mid-eighteen hundreds, common belief was that those who suffered from mental illness suffered because they had a “disease of the soul”. Their madness supposedly stemmed from an evil within, and they thus were treated as animals. Patients in these early asylums were kept in cages, given small amounts of often unclean food, had little or no clothing, wore no shoes, and slept in dirt. the caretakers became confident that these human beings were in actuality closer to animals.
Along the scenic coast of the northern Aegean Sea, archaeologists have uncovered a Greek portico, which, 2,500 years ago, would have been a bustling public space, something like an ancient strip mall.
Two childhood friends unexpectedly reunite on opposite sides of a demonstration in 1972
Just imagine the pain…
This is such an amazing photograph
Relics of various saints.
I love saints.
Me too. Left the Church, kept the communion of saints. Loads of wonderfully weird stories and relics.
I always think the Catholic faith sounds like a shounen anime waiting to happen. I mean that in the best way possible.
Somehow, even lapsed and proudly heretical, I tug at my collar (Button-down, not Roman) when anime and the one, holy, catholic, apostolic Church, mostly due to the Tokugawa shogunate not being such a big fan of the RCC (and by this I mean the closing of the Bamboo Curtain and the mostly complete extermination of Catholicism from Japan for awhile), but if you take the long view, the Church (we could list the atrocities committed in the name of the Church, but let’s just leave that for some time when we have a few weeks to relate them all and do a body count) had the last (atomic, cancerous, and by some deemed unnecessary) laugh when the bombing of Hiroshima occurred on August 6th, which, of course, we all know is the Feast of the Transfiguration. But, I’ll admit, it’s kind of something that only I would think of, because I’m just that weird.
Had to look up shounen, but once I did, and noticed a subset including battle manga…
I thought about doing the history of the Crusades (all of ‘em), in flashy shiny anime sparkles, and how that would pretty much kill what is left of my hairy Medievalist soul, but also be something I’d watch early on Sunday morning, in that mythic childhood time right after Dragon Ball-Z and right before…heading to Mass.
If you’re worried about the clash of anime and Christianity you’re a little late.
I don’t care about any of the above comments, I just love how that armored skeleton looks. He looks like he’s posing for a photo shoot.
Actually, he might as well have been posing for a photo shoot, as saints go, Saint Pancras really isn’t hot shit.
Gertrude Baniszewski (1929 – 1990), also known as Gertrude Wright and The Torture Mother, was an Indiana divorcee who oversaw and facilitated the prolonged torture, mutilation, and eventual murder of Sylvia Likens, a teenage girl she had taken into her home. When she was convicted of first-degree murder in 1965, the case was called “the single worst crime perpetrated against an individual in Indiana’s history”.
The case has since been subject to numerous fictional and non-fictional adaptations, one of the most recent being An American Crime, featuring Catherine Keener as Gertrude Baniszewski, which will be released nation-wide in mid-2007.
Baniszewski was born Gertrude Van Fossan in 1929, the third of six children. In 1940, Baniszewski watched her father, with whom she was close, die of a sudden heart attack. Five years later, she dropped out of school at the age of 16 to marry 18-year-old deputy John Baniszewski, by whom she had four children. John Baniszewski had a volatile temper; the two stayed together for 10 years before divorcing. Within a year of the divorce, Gertrude Baniszewski met and married a man named Edward Guthrie, who divorced her after three months. Shortly thereafter, Gertrude and John Baniszewski reconciled and re-married. The couple stayed together for seven years and had two more children before finally divorcing permanently in 1963.
Baniszewski, then 37, moved in with a 23-year-old Dennis Lee Wright, who abused her. Their son, Dennis Jr., would be Baniszewski’s last child. In all, she had seven children and suffered six miscarriages. Shortly after Dennis Jr.’s birth, Dennis Wright Sr. abandoned Baniszewski and disappeared.
In July 1965, Lester and Betty Likens, who were acquaintances of Baniszewski, suggested that she take their two daughters as boarders - Sylvia Marie Likens, 16, and Sylvia’s younger sister, Jenny, 15, who was required to walk with braces due to polio. Lester and Betty were about to embark on the carnival circuit as carnies. Lester agreed to leave the children in Baniszewski’s care for $20 a week. At this time, Gertrude’s home had no stove and there weren’t enough beds or dishes in the house for even half its occupants.
Sylvia and Jenny attended high school and social functions with the Baniszewski children, as well as church with Gertrude on Sunday. When Lester’s first $20 payment failed to arrive on time, however, Baniszewski beat the girls. The money arrived the next day. Shortly thereafter the girls were beaten for having candy that their mother accused them of stealing (they had, in fact, bought it.) Thus began a regular pattern of child abuse.
Shortly thereafter, Baniszewski’s own children came to Gertrude after a church social and told her that they were disgusted with the amount of food they had seen Sylvia eating. Gertrude forced the girl to eat a hot dog piled with condiments; when Sylvia vomited, Baniszewski forced her to scoop the vomit up and eat it.
In August 1965, Baniszewski overheard Sylvia remark that she had once allowed a boy to feel her up. Baniszewski verbally and physically abused Sylvia. Around this time, Baniszewski also began allowing her older children to use Sylvia as a sort of plaything, with the “games” ranging from beatings to being pushed down the stairs. Baniszewski accused Sylvia of being a prostitute, and delivered bizarre “sermons” to her children and Sylvia about the filthiness of prostitutes and women in general.
Shortly thereafter, Sylvia and Jenny told their classmates that they had seen Paula and Stephanie (Baniszewski’s second oldest daughter) having sex with boys in exchange for money. When Stephanie’s 15-year-old boyfriend, Coy Hubbard, discovered what Sylvia and Jenny had said, he came to the Baniszewski home and beat Sylvia himself. From then on, Hubbard, with Baniszewski’s encouragement, made frequent visits to the Baniszewski home, during which she would instruct the boy to practice his judo on Sylvia. Also around this time, Baniszewski began turning many of Sylvia’s classmates against her, encouraging them to beat her up. She also enlisted Ricky Hobbs, a neighborhood boy, to assist her in beating Sylvia.
In August 1965, the vacant house next door to the Baniszewski residence was purchased by a middle-aged couple named Phyllis and Raymond Vermillion. The Vermillions arranged a backyard barbecue so that the two families could get to know one another; while there, she noticed Sylvia wandering around the yard with a black eye, and Paula proudly announced to Phyllis that she was the one who had given it to her. Then, under Baniszewski’s supervision, Paula approached Sylvia with a glass of steaming water and threw it in Sylvia’s face. Neither of the Vermillions reported this incident to the authorities. She later witnessed Paula beat Sylvia with a belt, but again neglected to report anything to the authorities.
Around this time, Sylvia stole a gym suit from school because Gertrude did not have the money to buy one. Baniszewski found it and beat a confession out of Sylvia and burned the tips of Sylvia’s fingers with a lit cigarette. After this incident, the smokers in the Baniszewski home frequently put cigarettes out on Sylvia’s body.
Soon after, Baniszewski again accused Sylvia of prostitution. Baniszewski took her into the living room of her home and forced Sylvia to strip naked in front of her sons and several neighborhood boys, on the threat of beating her sister Jenny. Once Sylvia was fully naked, Baniszewski handed her a glass Coca Cola bottle, and forced Sylvia to violently masturbate with it for the boys.
Following the Coke bottle incident, Sylvia became incontinent; as a result, Baniszewski locked her in the basement, which lacked a toilet. Gertrude then began a “bathing regime” to “cleanse” Sylvia, involving dousing her with scalding water and rubbing salt into the burns.
Baniszewski’s children turned Sylvia into a money-making opportunity, charging neighborhood children a nickel to gawk at the nude Sylvia or to push her down the stairs to the basement. She was kept constantly naked and rarely fed; often, Baniszewski and her twelve-year-old son John Jr. would make Sylvia eat her own feces.
Sometime around this period, Jenny managed to send contact to her and Sylvia’s older sister, Diana, who was married and had a family of her own. Jenny outlined the horrors that she and Sylvia were experiencing, and instructed Diana to contact the police to come rescue them. Diana ignored the letter, believing that Jenny was simply displeased with being punished and that she was making up stories so that she could come live with her.
Shortly thereafter, the Baniszewskis’ minister, Roy Julian, visited them; Gertrude complained to him that Sylvia had been an intense burden on her, claiming that the girl was a prostitute who had been servicing married men and had gotten pregnant. Paula Baniszewski was several months pregnant, but Gertrude Baniszewski insisted that her daughter was a virgin and that Sylvia was attempting to pass off her own misdeeds onto Paula.
Shortly after this, Diana came by to visit her sisters. Baniszewski refused to allow her into the home, at first telling her that Lester had contacted her and instructed her not to allow Diana into the home. When Diana questioned this, Baniszewski threatened to call the police and have her arrested for trespassing. Diana hid nearby the house until she spotted Jenny outside, and then approached her. Jenny told her older sister that she was not allowed to talk to her and then ran away.
Concerned, Diana contacted social services. When a social worker arrived at the home, Baniszewski informed her that she had kicked Sylvia out of the house for being physically unclean and a prostitute, and that Sylvia had since run away. Baniszewski then managed to get Jenny alone long enough to inform her that if she told the social worker the truth, Jenny would join her sister naked in the basement. Jenny then told the social worker that Sylvia had indeed run away. The social worker returned to her office, where she filed a report stating that no more calls needed to be made to the Baniszewski home.
On October 21, Baniszewski instructed John Jr., Coy, and Stephanie to bring Sylvia up from the basement and tie her to a bed. The next morning, Baniszewski made her repeat her striptease for her sons and the neighborhood boys, again climaxed by forcing Sylvia to masturbate with a Coca Cola bottle. When Sylvia was finished, she was tied down and gagged while one of Baniszewski’s children heated a sewing needle which Gertrude and Ricky Hobbs used to carve the phrase, “I’M A PROSTITUTE AND PROUD OF IT” into Sylvia’s stomach.
Satisfied, Baniszewski left the room, leaving Sylvia tied, gagged, and naked. At this point, the children carved an “S” in the middle of her chest.
Later on that night, Baniszewski went into the basement and brought Sylvia upstairs, and allowed her to sleep in one of the beds. She was allowed to sleep until noon the next day, when Baniszewski woke her; once Sylvia was awake, Baniszewski and Stephanie took her into the bathroom and gave her a bath. Baniszewski and Paula then dressed Sylvia, and then dictated a letter to her, intended to look like a runaway letter to her parents.
After Sylvia finished the letter, Baniszewski began formulating a plan to have John Jr. and Jenny take Sylvia to a nearby garbage dump and leave her there to die. When Sylvia overheard this, she ran for the front door, but moved so slowly that Baniszewski was able to grab her just as she reached the front door and drag her back into the house, where she beat her further.
On October 24, Baniszewski came into the basement and attempted to bludgeon Sylvia; first she tried to hit her with a chair, but missed and broke it against the wall. Next she tried to beat her over the head with a paddle, but swung in such a wide arc that it came back against her own face, blacking her eye. Coy Hubbard stepped in and beat Sylvia unconscious with a broomstick.
Over the course of that night, and into the morning hours of October 25, Sylvia beat the basement floor with the scoop portion of an iron shovel. Neighbors would later report considering calling the police, but chose not to.
On October 26, Baniszewski told the children she would give Sylvia a bath. Stephanie and Ricky brought Sylvia upstairs and laid her in the tub fully clothed; they took her out shortly thereafter when they realized she was not breathing. Stephanie gave Sylvia CPR, but by this time, Sylvia was already dead.
Baniszewski told Hobbs to call the police. When they arrived, Baniszewski gave them the letter she’d made Sylvia dictate; in the midst of the commotion, Jenny Likens whispered to one of the police, “Get me out of here and I’ll tell you everything.” This statement, combined with the police’s discovery of Sylvia’s body in the basement, prompted the officers to arrest Baniszewski, Paula, Stephanie, John, Hobbs, and Hubbard for murder. Other neighborhood children present at the time - Mike Monroe, Randy Lepper, Duke, and Siscoe - were arrested for “injury to a person.”
Baniszewski, her children, Hobbs, and Hubbard were held without bail pending their trials.
An autopsy of Sylvia Likens turned up burns, bruising, and muscle and nerve damage. In her death throes, Sylvia bit through her lips, nearly severing each of them. Her vaginal cavity was nearly swollen shut, although an examination of the canal determined that her hymen was still intact, largely discrediting Baniszewski’s assertions that Sylvia was a prostitute and completely disproving her insistence that she was pregnant. The official cause of death was brain swelling, internal hemorrhaging of the brain, and shock.
Baniszewski was found guilty of murder in the first degree. She was sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.
Baniszewski appealed, was granted a new trial, and was again found guilty, though this time she was sentenced to 18 years to life. Over the course of the next 18 years, Baniszewski became a model prisoner, working in the sewing shop and becoming a den-mother to younger female inmates; by the time she came up for parole in 1985, she had earned the prison nickname “Mom.”
The news of Baniszewski’s parole hearing sent shockwaves through the Indiana community. Jenny Likens and her family appeared on television to speak out against Baniszewski; the members of two anti-crime groups, Protect the Innocent and Society’s League Against Molestation, travelled to Indiana to oppose her parole and support the Likens family, beginning a sidewalk picket campaign. Over the course of two months, the groups collected 4500 signatures from the citizens of Indiana demanding that Baniszewski be kept behind bars. In spite of all this, Baniszewski was granted parole. During the hearing, she gave the following confession:”
I’m not sure what role I had in it… because I was on drugs. I never really knew her… I take full responsibility for whatever happened to Sylvia.
Baniszewski walked out of prison on December 4, 1985, and travelled to Iowa; she died there of lung cancer in 1990.
Introducing the first known female tattoo artist in America.
Maud Wagner was the first known female tattoo artist in the United States. Little is known about this awesome vintage lady, however according to The New Yorker, Maud traded a date with her husband-to-be Gus Wagner in 1907 for tattoo lessons. Now that’s impressive!
North Brother Island — An Abandoned Island in The Middle of NYC
This forgotten isle in the East River between Bronx and Rikers Island, NYC hosts abandoned buildings from the late 19th century including the remains of Riverside Hospital, which quarantined those suffering from infectious diseases. The site also held experimental drug treatments and was a detention home for wayward youth.
The island was uninhabited until 1885, when Riverside Hospital moved there from Blackwell’s Island (now known as Roosevelt Island). Riverside Hospital was founded in the 1850s as the Smallpox Hospital to treat and isolate victims of that disease. Its mission eventually expanded to other quarantinable diseases. Typhoid Mary, the first person in the US identified as an asymptomatic carrier of the pathogen associated with typhoid fever, was confined to Riverside Hospital for over two decades until she died there in 1938. The hospital closed shortly thereafter.
The island was the site of the wreck of the General Slocum, a steamship which burned on June 15, 1904. Over 1,000 people died either from the fire on board the ship or from drowning before the ship was beached on the island’s shores.
In the 1950s a center opened to treat adolescent drug addicts. The facility claimed to be the first to offer treatment, rehabilitation, and education facilities to young drug offenders. Heroin addicts were confined to this island and locked in a room until they were clean. Many of them believed they were being held against their will (as one person wrote on the wall). By the early 1960s widespread staff corruption and patient recidivism forced the facility to close.
Now a bird sanctuary, the island is currently abandoned and off-limits to the public. Most of the original hospitals’ buildings still stand, but are heavily deteriorated and in danger of collapse. A dense forest conceals the ruined hospital buildings, and from the 1980s through the early 2000s it supported one of the area’s largest nesting colonies of Black-crowned Night Heron. However as of 2008 this species has abandoned the island for unknown reasons.
If you would like to see more photos of the abandoned buildings as well as learn more about the island’s history, click here to read this article about North Brother Island.