Archive for the ‘Crazy’ Category

Top Ten Deadliest Female Killers

September 23, 2010

Throughout history, some women have committed horrific crimes, ones that shock society to its very core. From the murders of their own innocent children, to chillingly cold-blooded serial crimes, these women have truly given in to the very worst aspects of themselves – and of human nature. Here is our list of top ten deadliest female murderers:

10. Diane Downs – Victims: 1

Elizabeth Diane Downs is led in handcuffs into the Lane County Courthouse in 1984 on the first day of her trial on accusations that she shot her three children, one fatally. - CLAUDIA HOWELL/THE OREGONIANEElizabeth Diane Downs is led in handcuffs into the Lane County Courthouse in 1984 on the first day of her trial on accusations that she shot her three children, one fatally. – CLAUDIA HOWELL/THE OREGONIAN

The subject of true crime author Anne Rule’s best selling book, Small Sacrifices, Diane Downs, chose a romantic relationship over her own children. When her lover, Lew, made it clear that a life with children was not in his master plan, she began to create a twisted scheme in which she would destroy her offspring, who had become only obstacles to her own happiness. Her plot to kill her children was a desperate, last-ditch attempt to hold on to a man who wanted out.

Her children from a prior marriage, Christie, Cheryl, and Danny, were the “small sacrifices” in this terrible crime. On a macabre night drive, she tried to end the lives of her own children. Stopping the car along a deserted stretch of road, she killed Cheryl, her second child, aged 7, in cold blood. Christie and Danny were also shot. Her oldest daughter, Christie, who was eight, survived the attack, and so did 3-year old Danny Downs. However, her little son was paralyzed from the waist down after being shot at near point-blank range.  Christie was also left with serious injuries, such as paralysis on one side of her body, and speech difficulties…but she was so very courageous.

In court, she found the words to explain to the judge and jury exactly what her mother had done. The bravery of this young girl, who wished to seek justice for her dead sister, was moving, and terribly sad. Anne Rule wrote about the pain and dignity of this little girl with great skill and compassion.

Diane Downs continues to proclaim her innocence. This former letter carrier for the State of Oregon now spends her days in prison – where she has been known to exchange lurid and sexually flirtatious letters with another tawdry inmate – serial rapist and killer Randy Woodfield – (the I-5 Killer).

9. Susan Smith – Victims: 2

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Susan Smith’s psyche was a witches’ brew of personality disorders, which culminated in the deaths of her two very young sons, Michael and Alex. Much like Diane Downs, this woman believed that ridding herself of her offspring would heal a relationship that had ended badly. However, her beliefs were rooted in delusion, because her lover, Tom, had made it clear that he was done with the relationship, once and for all.

This woman drove to the edge of a South Carolina lake, got out, and then put the car in drive. After releasing the brake, she stood silently and watched the vehicle, where her babies slept peacefully in the backseat, sink into the depths. Then, she phoned the police, in “hysterics”, blaming the crime on a “black man”.

Childhood sexual abuse and incest were perhaps the catalyst for Smith’s many narcissistic illusions and dreams. She claimed to have had a sexual relationship with her own stepfather, and her mother turned on her when she made her experiences with him public. Her mother’s inability to understand the abuse and the pain the situation caused her own daughter may well have been a source of rage for the young woman.

As she grew into adulthood, Susan Smith displayed a growing desire for sexual attention, as well as a need for ideal love and a grandiose, glamorous life. All these were classic signs of narcissistic personality disorder.

In time, the police put two and two together, separating the lies Susan Smith told from the cold, hard facts about the gruesome crime she committed with such icy ruthlessness. Eventually, she broke down under intense questioning from police and admitted to her acts, letting police know the exact location of the bodies. Inside the sunken vehicle, a “Dear John” letter from her ex-lover floated among the debris. Her poor children had died for nothing at all…

Sentenced to 30 years behind bars, Susan has continued her sexual indiscretions with two prison guards, one of whom gave her a sexually transmitted disease.

8. Karla Homolka – Victims: 3

Canadian sex killer Karla Homolka (right) and her lawyer Sylvie Bordelais during a television interview with Radio-Canada in Montreal, following her release from prison.Canadian sex killer Karla Homolka (right) and her lawyer Sylvie Bordelais during a television interview with Radio-Canada in Montreal, following her release from prison.

This blonde Canadian woman will always be known as a traitor to her own gender. Her desire to please her partner, notorious “Scarborough Rapist” and serial killer Paul Bernardo, led her to assist him in the kidnapping, rape, and murder of three young women, one of whom was her own sister (who died accidentally after being drugged by Karla). She showed no mercy for the young girls who endured imprisonment in her own home – even as they begged for her help. To one, she gave a teddy bear – scant comfort indeed.

After her arrest, Karla cut a sweet deal with the authorities in order to get a lighter sentence. She gave them information about Paul’s crimes that assisted the prosecution in convicting him. Her husband claimed she committed all the murders herself.

While in custody, she was permitted to attend University, where she earned a degree. Such educational opportunities were denied forever to her lovely, bright young victims, whose futures were destroyed so cruelly. Many people were disgusted and outraged that a woman who had participated in such heinous crimes should be able to walk free after a comparatively short sentence. Karla claimed that she was terrorized by her own husband, and had no choice but to play along…or die. But videotapes unearthed later seemed to paint a much different picture.

Today, Karla still plays the victim, putting the responsibility for her terrible crimes upon her husband. However, psychologists argue about her real motivations. Some feel she was traumatized by the events of her ill-starred marriage; others are certain there was (and is) darkness and psychopathy under the façade. One interesting fact is that Karla, after the death of her own sister, complained in a letter to a friend that her wedding to Paul might need to be postponed because of the tragedy.

7. Beverly Allitt – Victims: 4

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Dubbed the “Angel of Death”, this serial killer is of English birth. Beverly Allitt was a registered nurse who abused her position in order to feed her dark desires. Innocent children were the targets of Allitt’s heinous acts, which included injecting potassium chloride or insulin into their small bodies, in order to cause cardiac arrest.

Like many serial killers, this woman’s need to murder escalated rapidly. In short order, she attacked 13 children in her ward, killing four of them. These attacks all occurred over a period of two weeks. The children she preyed on ranged in age from only seven weeks old to five years in age.

Psychiatrists who examined Allitt after her arrest concluded that she suffered from a strange mental health disorder known as Munchausen’s Syndrome by Proxy, which caused her to hurt and kill children in order to get attention from others. As a girl, Allitt had derived much pleasure from dressing up as an injured person, which would include fake “casts” etc. Later, she would injure herself and seek out constant attention from medical professionals.

Today, Allit serves out 13 life sentences at Rampton Maximum Security Hospital, where the criminally insane are housed. The families of the children who were entrusted to her care have threatened her with death, should she ever walk free again.

6. Andrea Yates – Victims: 5

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Sometimes, severe mental illness can play a role in crimes. Personality disorders such as narcissism are often present, but, there can be much more serious illnesses, such as schizophrenia, that cause the sufferer to hear voices and follow the instructions they give. In the case of Andrea Yates, who killed her five children by drowning them in a bathtub, there were many red flags of serious mental illness. Of all the women on the list, she seems the most likely to be clinically insane.

Andrea Yates was not diagnosed as schizophrenic, but she had serious mental health illnesses including psychotic breaks, suicide attempts, and severe postpartum depressions. Having so many children in quick succession was enough to plunge this fragile woman into the abyss. Her husband, Rusty, a minister, wanted many children with his wife. He would later blame Andrea’s psychiatrists for the tragedy, saying they did not make him aware of the gravity of her condition.

However, Rusty did know that Andrea was not well. Usually, he would make sure someone was with Andrea to help her cope with the demands of her children. Tragically, on the day she decided to end her children’s lives, she was briefly alone. Rusty wanted to give her some independent time with the kids, so she would not become too accustomed to having help all of the time. In the space of this short hour, Andrea methodically drowned her five children, one after the other. After her crime, she called 911 to report her act to the authorities.

For some time, Andrea had pondered the act she was about to commit. According to interviews with her, after the crime, she wanted to kill her children because they were not “righteous”. She felt her own sins were stopping her children from developing into good Christians. In her mind, ending their lives so cruelly seemed to be the best decision.

5. Aileen Wuornos – Victims: 8

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A dreadful childhood marked by abandonment and incest warped the young soul of Aileen Wuornos, who stored up more rage against society, and men, with every passing year. Early sexual experiences marked the girl, who became pregnant at the age of 13 (the child was given up for adoption). Wuornos’ teen years remained turbulent and hardscrabble, and, by age 15, she was thrown out of her grandfather’s home.

Displaying all the signs of antisocial personality disorder, Aileen broke the law, robbed stores with weapons, and even married a 70 year-old man, whom she physically abused. Arrests and drunken conduct marred and then ended her unlikely relationship, as her elderly husband brought in the law to keep her away. In time, she found a lesbian lover named Tyria, and she worked as a prostitute to earn a living for both of them.

Working the highways, selling her body, was a dangerous career choice. To her dying day, Aileen swore that she was brutally raped by her first victim. She claimed that killing him was an act of self-defense. However, her other victims were different. She killed eight men altogether, seven of them in the state of Florida. The got so much more than they bargained for (or deserved) when they slowed down and pulled over to pick up Wuornos for sex.

Wuornos was the subject of the 2003 film, Monster, in which classic Hollywood beauty Charlize Theron underwent a startling physical transformation in order to mimic her character’s weathered, tough image.

Wuornos never lost the rage that fueled her terrible crimes. Before her execution, she lashed out one last time, blaming the media, her lawyers, and society for her fate.

4. Rosemary West – Victims: 10 (possibly more)

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The notorious counterpart of Fred West, Rosemary (also known as Rose) was incredibly dangerous, and the very epitome of soulless evil.  Fred and Rosemary took advantage of young people who were naïve and trusting – by picking them up off the street and bringing them into their home, promising food, lodging and compassion. The fate that awaited these unlucky girls and young women was truly the stuff of nightmares.

Rosemary, a mother of eight children, was a prostitute and a depraved sexual sadist who thrived on inflicting pain. Along with her equally twisted husband, she committed ten murders, including the killing of their own child, a daughter named Heather. Rosemary was also convicted in the murder of her stepdaughter (common-law) Charmaine.

Both Rose and Fred were the products of abuse and violent, dysfunctional childhoods – neither had consciences. Days of torture and rape led to murders – all conducted in the “house of horrors” at 25 Cromwell Street.

Many other victims may also have suffered and been killed to feed the insatiable appetites of this couple, since Fred West intimated that as many as 20 more missing girls might have been killed at their hands. Many unsolved murders and cold cases in this area of Britain (Gloucester) may have been the work of Rosemary West and/or her partner in crime.

3. Countess Elizabeth Bathory – Multiple Victims

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Known as The Blood Countess, this vain, capricious woman enjoyed bathing in the blood of her young female victims. She thought the application of blood would keep her youthful and improve her complexion.

Abusing her power and position was something the Countess truly enjoyed. There was marked sadism in her killings, and an undeniable sexual element in her crimes. The Countess sometimes forced young women to lick the blood of other victims off of her nude body.

Her love of blood has made her notorious as a sort of “real life” vampire. It was rumored that Bram Stoker’s Dracula was based in part on the life of this predator, whose reign of terror occured in the Kingdom of Hungary (today’s Slovakia).

Bathory lured the prettiest girls of her village to her dungeons, promising them work in her castle. After depleting the village of young women, she moved on to those of higher birth. Her husband, Ferenc Nádasdy, was said to be complicit in her many crimes. He gave her the Castle she used to bleed and torture her victims as a wedding gift.

2. Jane Toppan – Victims: 31

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Another nurse who preyed on the ill and infirm, this heavyset, disturbed woman was the product of a troubled childhood. The daughter of an insane father, Jane was raised in rough and tumble Boston orphanages after he gave up on caring for her. Poverty and a series of foster parents did not soothe the roiling tensions building in this young woman. As she grew to adulthood, she studied nursing, and her professors noted her unhealthy fascination with autopsy photographs. Nonetheless, she graduated and began to care for patients, who found her pleasant and nicknamed her “Jolly Jane”.

This nurse found intense sexual pleasure could be derived from drugging patients and bringing them to the brink of death. She would attempt to bring them close to death, revive them, and then poison them anew. Often, she got into their hospital beds with them, most likely to molest them sexually as they clung to life, barely conscious.

Classified as a lust killer, Toppan began her reign of cruel experiments and killings in 1885, and they went on until she was eventually apprehended and convicted of 11 killings. While in custody, she revealed that she had caused the deaths of 31 people. Toppan gloried in her crimes, wanting to go down in history as the person who “killed more people — helpless people — than any other man or woman who ever lived.”

“Jolly Jane” was found not guilty by reason of insanity, and lived out her post-conviction life in Taunton Insane Asylum.

1. Belle Sorenson Gunness – Victims: Est. 42

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This prolific serial murderer killed for pleasure and for greed. Her desire for worldly goods led her to kill an estimated 42 victims. Born in Norway, she moved to the USA, where she married a businessman in Chicago.

Some historians believe Belle killed her two daughters by poisoning them to collect insurance money. Belle may also have burned down the family business to collect money from her insurance company. Her children’s deaths were listed as being caused by bouts of colitis, but the symptoms of this disorder are very similar to those caused by poisoning.

Later, her husband also died under strange circumstances, and once again Belle was there to collect money from his death, which may have been caused by the “medicines” Belle administered to treat his illness.

Known as “The Black Widow”, Gunness went on to buy a farm with the proceeds of his death, and his family blamed her for his early demise.

Belle soon formed a modus operandi that netted big dollars. She would lure middle- aged men to her with personal ads and love letters, and then they too would die in a series of “accidents”.  She was able to attract new suitors with amazing success. She married over and over again, taking advantage of lonely men who had no idea what lurked beneath the surface charm of this cold-blooded killer.

In the end, it was rumored that 42 bodies lay buried on her property, and she had amassed more than a quarter of a million dollars in blood money. In an ironic twist of fate, someone exacted revenge on this cruel woman, whose body was found beheaded and burned. This is still controversy regarding her charred bodily remains: some argue that the body is not really Belle Sorenson Gunness.

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Top Ten Heists and Robberies

September 22, 2010

When it comes to the amount of sheer planning, creativity, and outright lunacy that goes into them, few crimes rival the high profile, multi-million dollar heist. And when you consider the colorful characters and criminal masterminds behind these robberies, it’s easy why these crimes continue to be the subject of constant speculation and fascination. Whether the work of teams of highly trained thieves, lowly bank managers, or even a powerful dictator, here are ten of the biggest and most bizarre heists and burglaries in history.

10. The Great Train Robbery

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One of the most famed heists in popular culture, The Great Train Robbery was one of the biggest robberies of all time when it was committed in 1963. The heist took place in Buckinghamshire, England, when a mail train transporting millions of pounds was boarded by a team of 15 robbers. The thieves used a fake signal light to stop the train, and after subduing the workers inside the first two carriages, loaded 120 mail bags containing 2.6 million pounds into some cars they had hidden near the tracks. The men all escaped the scene, but 13 of them were quickly captured following an extensive investigation by Scotland Yard. Two of the these men, Ronnie Biggs and Charlie Wilson, would later escape from prison and flee the country. Wilson was caught four years later in Canada, but Biggs famously eluded capture by hiding out in Brazil, and he was only apprehended when he turned himself in to authorities in 2001.

9. The Agricultural Bank of China Robbery

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2007’s Agricultural Bank of China Robbery resulted in the theft of 51 million yuan (roughly $7 million U.S.), and it is said to be the biggest robbery in China’s history. The scheme started when the bank’s manager, Ren Xiaofeng, stole 200,000 yuan from the vault. His unlikely plan was to use the money to buy massive amounts of lottery tickets in the hope of winning a cash prize and returning the money before it was reported missing. Amazingly, the plan worked, and Ren made a huge profit off of his gamble even after returning the 200K. After enlisting the help of another manager, Ma Xiangjing, Ren proceeded to steal nearly 33 million yuan a year or so later, and a month after that another 18 million. In both cases, the men spent nearly all the money on lottery tickets, but they were only able to recoup 98,000 yuan, and the missing money was quickly noticed and reported. Ren and Ma were eventually captured, but very little of the stolen money was ever recovered, thanks to the astronomical amounts the duo had spent on lotto tickets.

8. The Great Brinks Robbery

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When it was committed in 1950, the $2.7 million Brinks Robbery in Boston, Mass. was the biggest heist in American history. Dubbed “the crime of the century,” the heist was the work of an 11-man gang who used copied keys to gain entry into the Brinks Building. Once inside, they made their way to a room where employees were counting money, and after subduing the armed guards, collected $1.2 million in cash, along with another $1.5 million in checks and securities. The gang’s plan had been to sit on the money for six years, at which point the statute of limitations for armed robbery would have run out, but a police investigation quickly started turning up suspects. After a few of the men were arrested, the criminals started turning on one another, even going so far as to hire hit men and attempt drive-by shootings on suspected snitches. Eventually, though, all eleven of the original robbers were found out and arrested, and many received life sentences in prison.

7. The Gardner Museum Art Heist

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In the biggest art heist in history, two men dressed as police officers managed to con their way into the Isabella Stewart Gardener Museum in Boston late one night in 1990. Once inside, the men overpowered the few guards on duty, tied them up, and left them in the basement. They then proceeded to steal several pieces of artwork by Rembrandt, Degas, Manet, and Vermeer, along with a few sculptures and historical artifacts. The total haul is now valued at $500 million, but both the thieves and the artwork have yet to be found. A number of possible suspects have been considered, from Boston crime boss James “Whitey” Bulger to the IRA, but no arrests have been made in connection to the case. Enough time has passed that the statute of limitations on the actual heist has passed, leaving the Gardner Museum art heist as one of the most successful and mysterious robberies of all time.

6. The Central Bank Of Iraq Heist

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For sheer amount of currency stolen, no robbery compares to the Central Bank Of Iraq heist, which is said to have been perpetrated by none other than Saddam Hussein. The robbery happened just before the U.S. bombing of Iraq in 2003. In the middle of the night, a small group of men led by Hussein’s son, Qusay, went to the Central Bank with tractor-trailers and forcibly withdrew just under 1 billion dollars cash. Nearly $650 million of this was eventually found stashed in the walls of Hussein’s palace by U.S. soldiers. A handwritten note was later discovered linking Saddam and his son to the heist, but just who the other men involved were or what became of the remaining $350 million remains a mystery.

5. The Baker Street Burglary

The Baker Street burglary took place in London in 1971, when a team of well-equipped thieves tunneled into the Baker Street Bank and stole 3 million pounds worth of cash and valuables from safety deposit boxes. The criminals used a combination of metal cutting tools and explosives to tunnel to the vault from a nearby shop, and even had a lookout positioned on a nearby rooftop. Near the end of the heist, a ham radio operator overheard some of the lookout’s radio transmissions and contacted the police, who frantically searched over seven hundred banks within the area in hopes of honing in on the location of the transmission. They were unable to catch the robbers at the time, but nearly two years later a number of men were charged in connection with the robbery, though police believe the true mastermind behind the crime was never captured.

4. The Harry Winston Heist

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One of the most downright brazen robberies in recent memory, the Harry Winston Heist went down in 2008 when a group of four men stormed into one of Paris’s most exclusive jewelry stores and made off with $108 million in diamonds. The men were disguised as women and armed with a .357 Magnum and a hand grenade. They quickly herded the employees and customers into a corner and started breaking open display cases, and after filling a suitcase with precious stones, made their escape. No one from this robbery has been arrested, but police suspect that the robbers– whom they’ve nicknamed “The Pink Panthers”– are a part of a larger criminal organization of Yugoslavians that may have been responsible for a number of other high profile jewelry heists. In the meantime, a $1 million dollar reward is still up for grabs for any information leading to the arrest of the thieves.

3. The Knightsbridge Security Deposit Robbery

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One of the boldest and most successful robberies of all time, the Knightsbridge Security Deposit heist happened in London in 1987, when career criminal Valerio Viccei and a small group of accomplices armed with guns managed to make off with 60 million pounds in valuables and cash from safe deposit boxes. The thieves got into the vault by pretending to rent a safe deposit box of their own, and once inside they managed to overpower the employees and security guards and start breaking into the boxes. They escaped without incident, but a bit of blood left behind at the scene allowed police to trace the robbery back to Viccei, who was wanted for a huge amount of robberies in his native Italy. Viccei’s accomplices were quickly arrested, but he fled the country and for some time eluded capture. A known playboy and high roller, he was only arrested after he returned to England in an attempt to retrieve his prized Ferrari sports car.

2. The Banco Central Burglary

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Considered to be among the biggest bank heists of all time, the Banco Central burglary took place in 2005 in Fortaleza, Brazil. The robbery was the result of painstaking planning by a small gang of burglars who tunneled over 250 feet to the bank’s vault from a nearby property. The robbers used a landscaping business as a front for their operation, an ingenious cover that allowed them to move massive amounts of dirt and rock out of the tunnel without looking suspicious. The tunnel itself was expertly constructed, and was said to have sophisticated lighting and even an air conditioning system. After three months of digging, the thieves finally broke into the vault and made off with over 165 million in Brazilian reals, or $70 million dollars U.S. Since then, police have made a number of arrests in connection with the burglary, and recovered roughly $9 million dollars of the haul, but the majority of the suspects are still at large.

1. The Antwerp Diamond Heist

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Antwerp, Belgium is one of the diamond capitals of the world, with 80 percent of the world’s diamonds passing through the city before being sold on the market. A number of heists have taken place there, most recently a still-unsolved $28 million robbery in 2007, but the biggest of them all took place in 2003, when a team of master criminals known as the School of Turin managed to walk away with $100 million in uncut diamonds from the Antwerp Diamond Center vault. For sheer scope, ingenuity, and risk, few robberies will ever measure up to this one. The criminals had been planning the heist for years, and using copied keys and faked security camera footage, they managed to bypass the vault’s multi-million dollar security system, which had been thought to be impenetrable. The thieves escaped without incident, but DNA left at the scene allowed them to be tracked to Italy, where most of the gang has since been captured. The $100 million in diamonds, meanwhile, seems to have disappeared for good.

Top Ten Infamous Hackers

September 22, 2010

Top Ten Scary Santas

September 14, 2010

No wonder so many children are terrified of Saint Nick. If any of these Santa Claus characters were part of my childhood I would be screaming and crying not to sit on his lap too. You may want to take your kids from the room before viewing this list of the Top 10 Most Unintentionally Scary Santas. It brings a whole new meaning to the words, “He knows when you are sleeping.” Chilling.

10. Angry Dwarf Santa Claus

Wow, this little guy will haunt your dreams and push out any thoughts of sugar plums. He is small so he will fit into the duct work, wear he waits…for you. 

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9. Santa Claus as Michael Myers from Halloween…with Rouge

I can hear the music to the movie Halloween when I see this frightening visage. The sheer terror in the little girl rivals anything Jamie Lee Curtis could act out.

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8. “I’ll Get You Kids” Santa

This imposing Santa is even scarier because of his Godzilla-like size. He could easily eat your child. 

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7. Santa Taking a Very Large Stinky Dump

And after he has eaten you, he poops you out. What really creeps me out about this defecating Santa is the pure evil poop-eating grin. Photo by Langston McEachern, uploaded by mikerosebery

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6. Evil Under Lighting Santa

This Santa sits at the entrance of a building. I can see the sign below. “Lose Hope All Who Enter This Place of Evil”. 

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5. Santa With His Sack…of Vengeance!

I can hear this Scary Santa saying, “Who has been a good boy this year? I’ll tell you who, no one! Now, into my sack of pain!”

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4. Drunk Molester Santa Out For A Stroll

Awww, Santa looks so cute, bumbling around clumsily. Wait, he’s drunk and he is after me. Run while you still have your child-like innocence.

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3. “You’ve Been Naughty…Time to Die” Santa

This large, scary Santa is obviously angry about all the naughty boys and girls. He has the size and the attitude to make your Christmas a Christmas to dismember!

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2. Evil Asian Santa Who Had Too Much To Drink

This red-cheeked Santa is too drunk to care who he hurts. The only gift he is giving is the gift of life-long therapy.

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1. Creepy Santa That Guards the Door…To Hell

The most disturbing thing about this diminutive Santa reject, besides his freakish cone head, is his oddly splayed fingers. Almost as if the pinky was broken in some dwarf tossing related bar fight.

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Hopefully, you can still have a Merry Christmas after viewing this collection of terrifying and scary Santas.

Top 10 Weird Pageants

September 13, 2010

Here is some good news for those of us who have prepared a secret acceptance speech for that sudden moment of fame. It’s time to take it out because we don’t need to win a beauty pageant to read it aloud. We now have scores of other pageants to choose from. There is just one tiny glitch; we have to think a bit out of the box. Think about landing up in prison, being pregnant or becoming a nun. Ladies and gentlemen, please put your hands together for our top ten weird pageants ideas from around the globe.

10. Miss Atom

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No, Miss Atom is not the name of the villain in latest Batman flick. This is a beauty pageant with a nuclear twist.

“The idea behind the contest is to demonstrate how many beautiful girls and young women work in nuclear, because this industry has been closed from public for a long time and the word “atom” evoked usually negative feelings,” explains Ilya Platonov, Nuclear.Ru‘s General Manager. Nuclear.Ru is the organizer of the Miss Atom, a web-based beauty pageant open to contestants, aged 18-35, that are employees of businesses, companies and institutions of the State CorporationRosatom” as students of nuclear-related educational establishments.

The popular Miss Atom has been run since 2004. Apparently, last year was as hot as a fission core with a record 340 participants representing more than 60 organizations, businesses and educational institutions in nuclear related fields in Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan.

Profile photos often have contestants posing against backdrops like nuclear power plant, machinery and objects. Miss Atom is held every year as an image-building PR campaign for the Russian nuclear industry.

9. Miss Plastic Surgery

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What can you expect in a nation obsessed with beauty pageants and plastic surgery? The first Miss Plastic Surgery was held at Beijing, China in 2004. Women and transsexuals between the age group of 17 to 62 participated in this pageant for the title of “best artificial body”. All the contestants had to present a doctor-certified proof of their surgical enhancements. Titles like Miss Biggest Change were also presented. A few shots of Botox, cheek and waist liposuction and a surgery to widen the eyes; fetched Feng Qian the title of Miss Plastic Surgery 2004.

8. Sister Italia

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This was the brainchild of Father Antonio Rungi, an Italian Catholic priest. Father Rungi announced an online Sister Italia contest in 2008 for nuns in the age group of 18 and 40. People could choose the most attractive nun from the pictures and spiritual profiles in his blog. But before the contest took off, there was a huge controversy and Father Rungi had to cancel the event.

7. Alternative Miss Ireland

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Dr. Jekyll and Hyde would have won this competition hands down. The contestants (men, women or animals) of Alternative Miss Ireland are supposed to bring out their alter egos on the stage with whatever props they consider necessary. There are swimwear and eveningwear rounds where judges looks for usual pageant stuff like poise and personality. But what happens inside these rounds can be unpredictable, whacky and outrageous. The contestants of 2009 lied down on bed of nails, turned into green monsters, cracked sex jokes and even snorted cocaine. The winner was crowned with the famous Medusa Crown of Shamrocks.

6. Miss Pregnant

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Beauty pageant candidates expelled for their hidden belly secrets can still win the crown; they just have to head in a different direction. Miss Pregnant pageants are being “born” in almost every country. After Peru and Russia, the US also had a contest for to-be-mommies in Cincinnati. The candidates had to strut down the ramp in bikinis before the judges to win $1000 for baby expenses.

5. Miss Prisoner

If looks could kill, some inmates of Bogota’s Buen Pastor Prison would be serving a double sentence. Every year this Colombian jail holds a Miss Prisoner contest in memory of Virgin of Mercedes, prisoners’ patron saint. Participants walk down in elaborate masks, feathers and gowns to win the coveted title. Contests like these are also held in Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, Nairobi and Lithuania to boost confidence and desire for reform among the inmates. While cash prizes are common in these pageants, a Siberian prison even offers an early parole to the winner.

4. Miss Condom

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Here is how this one goes. You just take a condom, prepare your lungs and blow it to the hilt. Thailand, a country battling growing AIDS problem, hosts this four-nation contest. Aimed as an infotainment event, the contest also requires participants to answer questions on the deadly virus and safe sex practices.

3. Miss Mama Kilo

Miss Mama Kilo
Most of the beauty pageants set a weight limit for the participants. Miss Mama Kilo also has a strict weight limit but the contestants have to be over that limit and not under it in order to qualify for the contest. The annual pageant held in Cameroon invites all women over 90 kilos to walk down the ramp. The beauties are judged not by their waist but by their views on various social issues and traditional housekeeping skills. Miss Mama Kilo is Cameroon’s way of changing perception of plus-size women.

2. Miss Muslim Moral

When Khadra al-Mubarak said he was looking for women with inner beauty to participate in his beauty pageant, he actually meant it. The participants of “Queen of Beautiful Morals” held in Saudi Arabia have to be covered completely in their black abayas. There is no Miss Congeniality, Miss Perfect Ten or Miss Beautiful Smile in this contest. Candidates are judged on their moral, family and social values. The winner of the pageant took away $1333 cash, a diamond watch and a paid vacation in Malaysia among other prizes.

1. Miss Landmine Survivor

Miss Landmine Survivor

The landmine problem in Angola and Cambodia stirred artist Mortan Traavik to start this pageant. The idea was to highlight the issue and restore self-esteem among landmine survivors. The Cambodian authorities thought the contest was distasteful and banned it. It was later held in Norway. The winner of Miss Landmine Survivor Angola gets a customized prosthesis made in Norway.

Top Ten Crazy Ways to Die

September 13, 2010

Hi there! You are going to die.

Most people don’t like to think about death. It hurts when friends or family pass away. Death often catches us off guard and overwhelms us with sadness, pain, and emotional trauma.

From time to time, however, the circumstances of someone’s death are so hilarious or unpredictable that we really just have to step back and laugh. Go easy, though, because that laughter could get the best of you. Case in point with the number 10 crazy way to die.

10. Insane fit of laughter

die laughing

Like I said – one should avoid laughing too hard or too long. Whoever told these people that laughter was the best medicine should have warned them about overdosing.

Several historical figures deserve mention. The Stoic philosopher Chrysippus reportedly got his donkey drunk and then died laughing at its attempts to eat figs. Italian playwright and satirist Pietro Aretino apparently suffocated due to excessive mirth, and Scottish aristocrat Thomas Urquhart chuckled himself into oblivion upon hearing that Charles II had taken the throne.

An interesting modern-day case is that of Alex Mitchell (snopes.com), an English bricklayer. On March 24, 1975, Mitchell laughed for 25 straight minutes after watching an episode of The Goodies entitled “Kung Fu Kapers.” His widow later thanked the program for providing her husband with such a delightful death experience.

9. Throwing yourself at a window to show how strong the glass is(n’t)

You are on the twenty-fourth floor. You probably shouldn’t try to prove how strong that window is by charging up to it and throwing your body against it. Because then the group of colleagues observing your demonstration might become horrified witnesses of your untimely death.

Introducing Garry Hoy (Snopes.com), a Toronto lawyer who pulled that stunt on July 9, 1993. Apparently, Mr. Hoy had performed the same feat in the past without incident – he always just bounced right off the glass as the onlookers chuckled and glanced at each other nervously.

His final demonstration certainly made an impact, although it wasn’t the kind of impact he was hoping for. This time, when Hoy’s accelerating body struck the glass, it popped out of the frame and Hoy fell to his death. This unfortunate event was partly responsible for the closing of Holden Day Wilson, the lawyer firm he worked for.

8. Your husband’s coffin

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When you’re on your way to bury your dead husband, you probably don’t think death will be striking again anytime soon. But such was life for a Brazilian woman named Marciana Silva Barcelos.

On November 10, 2008, a funeral procession was on its way to a cemetery in Alvorada. Barcelos, 67, was a passenger in the hearse carrying the body of her husband, Josi Silveira Coimbra, who had died the day before. Suddenly, a speeding car struck the back of the hearse. Dislodged by the accident, Josi’s coffin hurtled forward and smashed into the back of Marciana’s neck, killing her instantly (MSNBC Article).

So what do you do when something like that happens? Tell the gravediggers to start another hole when they finish Josi’s?

7. Elevator

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They’re supposed to save you time and energy that would otherwise be devoted to actually using stairs. They aren’t supposed to kill you. But accidents happen. In fact, a 2006 Center for Construction Research and Training report indicates that about 30 people are killed in the U.S. every year by elevators and escalators, and thousands more are injured.

For example, take the sad case of Dr. Hitoshi Nikaidoh, a doctor at Christus St. Joseph Hospital in Houston, TX. As he was stepping into a hospital elevator one Saturday morning, the doors closed too early and pinned his shoulders. The safety system that prevents elevator doors from trapping passengers failed, and as the elevator ascended, Dr. Nikaidoh’s body went one way and his head went the other (Houston Press).

And I will be avoiding elevators for the rest of my life.

6. Sex

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Wait, I thought sex was supposed to be fun, you say. It can kill you?

Yes. Just ask Sergey Tuganov, a 28-year-old Russian who suffered a severe case of death after betting two women he could have sex with them for 12 straight hours. He won the $4,300 bet and then promptly died. Doctors determined that his death was caused by the entire bottle of Viagra pills he ingested before attempting the feat of sexual endurance. At least the last 12 hours of his life were happy hours. (Fox News)

You could also ask Kenneth Pinyon. He died from injuries suffered while… umm… having anal sex with an Arabian stallion. Pinyon regularly engaged in bestiality and had his performances videotaped and distributed under the name “Mr. Hands.” On July 2, 2005, however, Mr. Hands made love to one last horse before succumbing to “acute peritonitis due to perforation of the colon.” Translation: Mr. Butt couldn’t take Mr. You-Know-What. (Wikipedia)

There are some other sick sex-death stories out there, too. Be careful. Having sex could be the last thing you ever do.

5. Video games

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They’re supposed to be fun and entertaining, but seriously people. There’s a time to take a break from the video games. And that time is before they kill you.

In 1981, a 19-year-old gamer named Jeff Dailey became the first official video game victim. After racking up an impressive 16,660 points while playing the game “Berzerk,” Jeff toppled over and died of a heart attack.(Gamespy)

Want more?

Less than two years later, 18-year-old Peter Burkowski also died of a heart attack while playing the same game.

Want even more?

August 2005 – South Korean Lee Seung Seop died of exhaustion after playing Starcraft online for 50 hours straight in an Internet café.

January 2007 – A 28-year-old woman named Jennifer Strange died of hyponatremia (water intoxication) after participating in a contest at a local radio station. In order to win a Nintendo Wii, the contestants competed to see who could drink the most water without taking a potty break. Strange ingested enough water to severely dilute the sodium levels in her bloodstream and bring about her death.

4. Floods – but not the water kind

molasses floodMolasses Flood

Usually when we hear “flood” we think “water,” and usually we are right to think this. However, there are at least two famous flood incidents that had nothing at all to do with water.

The London Beer Flood, October 1814 – nine people died after a 22-foot high, 130,000-gallon vat of porter burst at the Meux & Co. Brewery. The enormous volume of beer caused other vats to rupture as well, and more than 300,000 gallons of beer smashed its way through brick walls and blasted into the slums of St. Giles, a London parish. The sound of the explosion was reportedly heard up to five miles away. (BBC Article)

You can imagine the reaction of Londoners who weren’t immediately overwhelmed by a beer tsunami. Yes, exactly what you would have done – run outside with pots, pans, and anything else that can hold beer. Drink as much as possible, save the rest. (Technically speaking, only eight of the nine casualties were because of the actual flood. The ninth guy died from alcohol poisoning a few days later!)

The Boston Molasses Disaster, January 1919 – 21 people expired when a 50-foot high storage tank full of molasses exploded and unleashed a crazy wave of sticky death through Boston’s North End. (Bizarre Tragedies) The warm weather apparently helped build pressure inside the poorly-constructed tank, eventually causing an explosion. Several city blocks were flooded, and the wave was high and strong enough to lift a freaking train off the Elevated Railway tracks.

They say it still smells like molasses there on hot summer days.

3. Your own wooden leg

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This one is probably a little less common in the current day and age. Unfortunately for Sir Arthur Aston, an English soldier best known for supporting King Charles I during the English Civil War, it was the seventeenth century and he was the proud owner of a wooden leg.

In 1649, Aston was serving as governor of Drogheda, Ireland. In an attempt to help establish Ireland as a power base for the English Royalist cause, he had joined forces with the Marquis of Osmond, the Commander-in-Chief of Royalist forces in Ireland.

In September of that year, Oliver Cromwell and his troops stormed the city and proceeded to massacre most of its inhabitants. When Parliamentary soldiers captured the governor, they had two main priorities: 1) kill this guy, and 2) check for gold coins inside his wooden leg. There weren’t any coins, but Aston was literally beaten brainless with his own leg in the process of not finding any gold. (Berkshire History)

2. Exploding lakes

How about getting killed by an exploding lake? It doesn’t happen too often, but that’s exactly how Lake Nyos decided to off nearly 1,800 people in 1986. Thanks to a pool of magma 50 miles below the surface, dangerous gases had been collecting at the bottom of the crater lake. On August 21, a rare natural phenomenon known as limnic eruption unleashed a murderous bubble of carbon dioxide upon the surrounding villages.

Most lakes have water layers that mix or “turn over” frequently, allowing gases to escape slowly into the atmosphere. Limnic eruption occurs when a deep water layer becomes saturated with dissolved gases over a long period of time. These gases are then released by some sort of trigger – for example, a landslide, heavy rainfall, or an earthquake – that displaces the saturated water and allows the gases to come out of solution. All at once, the lake overturns with a huge explosion. It’s like shaking up a soda can and spraying it, except with a lot more death and destruction.

When Lake Nyos blew up, a geyser of gas and water shot more than 250 feet into the air, set off an 80-foot tsunami, and spewed out a killer cloud of carbon dioxide that asphyxiated people as far as 15 miles away.

1. Your enemy’s severed head

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Sigurd the Mighty, the ninth-century Viking Earl of Orkney, died a particularly ironic death after returning from a successful battle. Having defeated his foe Máel Brigte, Sigurd strapped the Pict’s severed head to his saddle and headed home. As he was riding, however, Máel’s tooth scraped against Sigurd’s leg and caused a sore that later became infected in a fatal sort of way. (Orknewyjar)

Fun trivia #1: Máel was known as “the Bucktoothed.”

Fun trivia #2: Sigurd and Máel had originally agreed to do battle with forty warriors each. Sigurd showed up with eighty, which is kind of why he routed Máel in the first place. I’d say he deserved to get infected and die.

—————–

May all these brave souls rest in peace…

So, how about you? Any crazy death stories to share?

Top Ten Worst Boxing Moments In History

September 13, 2010

Professional Boxing is known as the “Sweet Science” but corruption, a lack of a central governing body, and the rise of MMA have threatened to end this glorious sport. Mega fights still bring in huge revenues but they are few and far between. Here is a list of 10 incidents that have contributed to the downfall:

10. The Sad Saga of James Butler

Butler was a very promising young fighter from New York City known by the nickname “Harlem Hammer”.  In November 2001, James Butler fought Richard “The Alien” Grant.  The bout was a charity event to benefit survivors of the September 11 attacks.  After losing by unanimous decision Butler made his way to the middle of the ring to purportedly congratulate Grant.  Grant reacted by stretching his hand out in a motion to embrace.  Instead, Butler (who had already removed his gloves) threw a vicious haymaker to Grant’s face.  Richard Grant suffered numerous facial injuries including a broken jaw, lacerated tongue, and several stitches.  Butler, in turn, was arrested and convicted of assault and served prison time for the attack.

Unfortunately the tale does not end there.  James Butler continued his career after this incident but could never duplicate his earlier success.  In October of 2004, Butler was arrested and charged with murdering Sam Kellerman, brother of HBO Boxing analyst Max Kellermanwith. He (ironically) used a hammer and set his body on fire after a dispute.  Butler pled guilty in 2006 and was sentenced to 29 years in prison.

9. The Riot at Madison Square Garden

Polish born Andrew Golota entered the ring on July 11, 1996 on the cusp of superstardom with an exceptional 27-0 record. All he had to do was get past the 38-1 former Undisputed Heavyweight champ Riddick Bowe. Golota responded with a brilliant performance. The Polish sensation clobbered the ex-champ round after round, almost into submission. He was well ahead on points and seemingly close to a scoring a knockout.

In the 7th round the fight began to take a very strange turn. Golota (for reasons known only to himself) commenced to blatantly and repeatedly punch Bowe below the belt line.  Golota was warned several times and even received point deductions but his behavior continued.  After several more flagrant low blows the referee was forced to disqualify him.  Riddick Bowe’s corner responded by rushing the ring and viciously attacking Golota and his team.  This triggered a full scale, racially charged riot, which spilled into the stands. MSG security was not equipped to handle a massive brawl and had to wait for New York riot police to arrive. Reinforcements finally arrived but not before dozens of fans, boxing personnel and police were injured in this disgraceful and bizarre incident. (Check the video at 2:54 to see the riot start.)

8. Only in America

Don King's mugshot former felon becomes popular boxing promoter

Not anyone can own a professional football franchise. Not anyone can own a baseball franchise. However, anyone can promote a fight- even a convicted killer and numbers operator from Cleveland. In 1974 Don King very shrewdly promoted his first professional fight.  It turned out to be the famed Ali vs. Foreman “Rumble in the Jungle” in Zaire.  This mega-event instantly transformed King into the major player in boxing for the next 30 years.

Unfortunately, the major player likes to play dirty; King’s many exploits are infamous.  He has perpetrated fraud after fraud on any and all promising young fighters to join his stable. King has been implicated in: murder, bribery, theft, bookmaking, breaches of contract, and mafia-assisted racketeering. Larry Holmes once said, “Don King wears his hair like that so he can hide his horns.”

7. Sonny Liston and the Mob

By all accounts Liston had a woeful childhood full of extreme poverty and physical abuse. Liston left home at an early age and participated in numerous violent crimes.  While incarcerated, his boxing skills were discovered and soon after his release he began destroying a string of opponents on his way to the Heavyweight title.  Liston’s incredible prowess caught the attention of several mafia associates including Frankie Carbo and “Blinky” Palermo.

By the time Sonny Liston fought a young Cassius Clay on May 25, 1965 many in the press already suspected that Liston was controlled by the mob.  He nevertheless participated in one of the most obvious fixes in sports history.  In the very first round Liston took a dive and allowed himself to be counted out after Clay threw his famous “Phantom Punch”.  Slow motion review shows a quick combination that seemingly misses or at best only grazes Liston. Coincidently their first fight also ended controversially when Liston refused to come out of his corner for the 7th round, claiming a shoulder injury.  Sonny Liston would die 5 years later under very suspicious circumstances.

6. The Corrupt Richard Steele

A very rare event occurred on March 17, 1990.  On this night two undefeated champions, who were both in the same weight class and who were both in their prime, fought each other.  Julio Cesar Chavez who was 68-0 (and promoted by Don King) met undefeated Olympic gold medalist and welterweight champ Meldrick Taylor.  Chavez was the favorite but it was Taylor who dominated the fight from the opening bell.

Taylor’s trademark speed was beginning to wane but he still held a commanding lead on all scorecards going into the final round.  Moments before the end of the match Chavez scored a knockdown but Taylor rose to his feet quickly. Had the fight continued Taylor would have still won by unanimous decision, but it was not meant to be.  The bout referee Richard Steele stopped the fight with a mere 2 seconds left and awarded the victory to Chavez.  There were immediate protests from Taylor’s camp but the Nevada State Athletic Commission (whose integrity has been routinely called into question) upheld the decision.  Taylor’s career and health were subsequently ruined and Steele, who notoriously favored Don King fighters, forever tarnished the sport.

5. International Boxing Federation Ranking Scandal

International Boxing Federation (IBF) Heavyweight Belt

The IBF, among other entities, is a major sanctioning body based in New Jersey.  The way boxing works: each sanctioning body has a champion and champions are only allowed to fight boxers ranked in the top 15. Ranking committees determine who gets ranked. Ranking committee chairmen have the final say and are notoriously corruptible.

In November 1999 IBF president Bob Lee Sr. was indicted and convicted on numerous racketeering charges.  Lee was conspiring with his rankings chairman C. Douglass Beavers to rig the rankings system to favor boxers whose promoters and handlers paid them cash bribes.  The duo routinely took hundreds of thousands of dollars from the likes of Don King and Cedric Kushner in return for artificial inflation of the rankings of their fighters.  Promoters who didn’t pay didn’t see title fights.  The result, a completely corrupt system that was not in any way based on merit.  Another black eye for boxing.

4. Jim Norris: Boxing’s Not So Golden Age

Hockey Hall of Famer and President of the International Boxing Club

James D. Norris was a very wealthy and an extremely powerful man in the mid 20th century.  He owned many companies and was heavily involved in the sports world: he owned a National Hockey League franchise, a major stake in Madison Square Garden, and champion racehorses.  Jim Norris was also a very unsavory individual and was widely known to associate with criminals. As president of the International Boxing Club, Norris had a virtual monopoly on championship fights due to a lucrative contract the IBC had to broadcast fights on national television.

Jim Norris was personally responsible for fixing numerous bouts, including: Harry Thomas vs. Max Schmeling in 1937 and Jake Lamotta vs. Billy Fox in 1946.  His corruption knew no limits. Besides match fixing he was also unofficially managing many boxers (usually against their will) and persuading them to hire his associates as advisors.  Norris’ actions perpetuated a chain of farces, which were passed off as competitive bouts to an unsuspecting public- helping to erode boxing’s intregrity. (Image: Legends of Hockey. James Norris is a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame.)

3. 1988 Olympics in Seoul, Korea

Byun Jong II 1988 Olympics Hanging Head in Shame

Many people remember a young Roy Jones Jr. being robbed of a gold medal by corrupt Olympic judges, but few remember the even uglier incident that preceded it.  New Zealander Keith Walker was officiating a bantamweight bout between Byun Jong Il of South Korea and Alexander Hristov of Bulgaria.  The fight was an ugly foul-filled affair and Walker had to repeatedly penalize Jong for head butting.

At the conclusion of the fight Hristov was announced the winner but this only incensed Jong’s countrymen.  Numerous South Korean boxing officials and coaches stormed the ring and viciously attacked referee Keith Walker with punches, kicks, bottles, and even chairs.  The terrified Walker barely escaped serious injury and directly headed to the airport and took the first plane back to New Zealand. Shamed and embarrassed, the Korean Boxing Federation president and the president of the Korean Olympic Committee both resigned after this deplorable incident. (Photo: Byun Jong II sits in the ring and refuses to get up.)

2. The Actions of Panama Lewis

At one time Carlos “Panama” Lewis was a world-class trainer. His character, on the other hand was anything but world class.  Despite already being under a cloud of suspicion for allegedly giving his boxers water spiked with illegal stimulants and for gambling on fights that he was involved in; Panama Lewis concocted a wicked plan for his figher Luis Resto.  Resto was nothing more than a journeyman fighter or simply a professional opponent when he took on undefeated rising star Billy Collins Jr, on June 16, 1983.

Knowing Resto was overmatched, Panama and another trainer removed padding from Resto’s gloves and poured an illegal hardening agent on his hand wraps.  Luis Resto proceeded to brutalize his unsuspecting opponent for 10 rounds.  After being declared the winner Resto approached Collins’ corner.  Collins’ father, who at that point was suspicious of Resto’s new found power, touched Resto’s hand and immediately notified ringside officials (see video). The gloves and hand wraps in question were confiscated by the state Athletic Commission and both were brought up on charges.  Panama Lewis and Luis Resto both had their licenses permanently revoked and were given prison sentences.  Sadly, Billy Collins Jr. would never fight again, his once promising career shattered by the injuries he received.  Collins Jr. was dead less than one year later, suicide was suspected.

1. The Death of Duk Koo Kim

A superstar in South Korea, Kim had risen all the way to number one lightweight contender and earned a world title shot against the famed Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini on November 13, 1982.  The bout was extremely brutal, especially for Kim, who had begun to wear down in the latter rounds after absorbing tremendous punishment from the champion.  In the early part of the 14th round Mancini hit Kim with a crushing right hand that caused him to fly toward the ropes and hit his head on the canvas.

Kim managed to rise but the referee stopped the fight.  Minutes later Duk Koo Kim collapsed into a coma and was carried out of the ring and taken directly to the hospital.  Tragically the Korean star died 4 days later from severe brain trauma.  Out of the hundreds of recorded ring fatalities Kim’s death was one of the saddest.  Kim’s opponent Ray Mancini would never again be the same caliber fighter and it was widely reported that he blamed himself for Kim’s death. Kim’s mother committed suicide three months after her son’s death by drinking a bottle of pesticide.  The bout’s referee Richard Green, consumed by guilt, also committed suicide shortly after the fight.

Top Ten More Great Robberies

September 13, 2010
10

DB Cooper
24th November 1971-Seattle, USA: $200,000

O Pursuit Of Db Cooper Front

While technically not a robbery, nor overly large, it’s a crime that has captivated the American public for almost 30 years and no list would be complete without it. In November, 1971, Northwest Orient Airlines Flight 305 was hijacked with a briefcase “bomb” by a man who booked a flight under the name Dan Cooper. After handing a flight attendant a note outlining the situation, Cooper instructed the pilot to land at an airport where passengers were exchanged for $200,000 and 4 parachutes. Cooper then ordered the pilot to head for Mexico. Despite the fact that jet fighters were shadowing the plane, they never noticed the tiny figure of DB Cooper leap from the aircraft, due to the heavy rain at the time. Despite an extensive search, no trace of DB Cooper was ever found. The FBI believe that he did not survive the jump. In 1980, $5,880 of the ransom money was found on the banks of the Columbia River.

9

The Museon Museum
1st/2nd December 2002-The Hague, Netherlands: Approx $12 million

Diamonds

While there are certainly larger robberies that did not make this list, this is one of the most amazing robberies of all time, due to the fact that other than the missing jewels and one smashed window, there is actually no evidence of a robbery. The Museon was putting on an exhibition for the public to show the mining, cutting and polishing process of some of the world’s most historical stones, some of which belonged to royal families and dated back centuries. Despite 24 hour security guards, no one saw a thing. Video surveillance monitoring every square inch of the museum spotted nothing. Motion detectors placed throughout were never triggered. The cabinets were made from reinforced glass, yet showed no signs of tampering. Museum staff returned to work to find 6 of the 28 cases empty. While the haul was reported to be worth about $12 million, insiders say the stolen gems were priceless due to their historical significance. Detectives never got a single lead on the robbery and none of the stolen pieces have ever shown up.

8

Dunbar Armored
September 13th 1997-Los Angeles, USA: $18.9 million

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Allan Pace was the regional safety inspector for Dunbar Armored, and as such had key inside knowledge of procedures that he put to good, or rather ill, use. He recruited 5 childhood friends to assist him in the largest cash robbery on US soil. After timing the security cameras so that he knew when he could be invisible, he used his own keys to access the facility. After ambushing the guards one by one from the staff cafeteria, the gang rushed the vault guards and subdued them before any alarms could be triggered. They then spent half an hour loading millions of dollars into a U-Haul, loading only the highest value bags with non-sequential bills. After loading nearly $20 million, Pace then took the recording devices from the cameras, taking the evidence with him. Police soon figured out it was an inside job due to no signs of forced entry, but had no leads. It wasn’t until one of Pace’s partners in crime stupidly gave a stack of bills still wrapped in the original cash straps to an associate that police finally got their break. Pace was ratted out by one of his own men and sentenced to 24 years in prison. $10 million of the stolen money is still unaccounted for, suggesting Allan Pace may have a nice pay day awaiting him when he is released in 2021.

7

Bank of the Republic
16th/17th October 1994-Columbia: $28.8 million

Matos Y Dangond

Unfortunately, I have been able to find very little on this robbery. On the night of 16th October 1994, 10 men broke into the Bank of the Republic in Valledupar, Colombia and made off with over US $28 million worth of pesos. The money was in non-circulating bills. If anyone has any further info, please add it in the comments below.

6

Northern Ireland Bank Raid
20th December 2004-Belfast: £26.5 million

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Police believe the IRA was responsible for a raid which netted over £26 million in 2004. A gang of men disguised themselves as police officers and then broke into the homes of two bank officials, taking them and their families hostage. While their families were being kept hostage, the two officials returned to work the next day as though nothing was wrong. After other staff had left for the day, they let the bank robbers in, where they plundered the bank and loaded the loot into a white van. They then returned for a second load some time later, because, as everyone knows, one van load of cash just isn’t enough. The bank recalled their notes from circulation and issued new ones in a different color, rendering about £10 million of the money useless. A number of people have been arrested in connection to the robbery, including suspected IRA members and even one of the bank officials whose family was taken “hostage.”

5

Graff Jewellers
6th August 2009- New Bond St, UK: £40 million

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This same store has had two massive heists go down in the last six years. The larger of the two occurred this year, where two men posed as customers and made off with 43 items worth £40 million. After arriving by taxi, they entered the store and pulled two pistols on frightened staff. They had previously spent 4 hours with a make-up artist to disguise themselves. After exiting the store, they briefly held an employee hostage and then made off in a blue BMW. They switched vehicles another two times, and then disappeared without a trace. Four men have since been arrested in connection with the robbery. The other robbery occurred in 2003, where two men belonging to the international jewel thief network Pink Panthers, robbed the store of 47 pieces worth £23 million. The Pink Panthers have been responsible for at least 120 robberies around the world.

4

Banco Central
6th/7th August 2005-Brazil: $70 million

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This is a plot that you would think only Hollywood could dream up. A gang of men tunneled 255 feet under 2 city blocks over the course of 3 months from a house they had rented earlier. The tunnel featured air conditioning and lighting, so the guys didn’t have to break a literal sweat. They covered their activities by setting up a fake gardening business from the rented house, and drove the soil away under the cover of legitimacy. When they had finally reached the vault, they disabled the banks sensors and alarms and then stole 5 containers of cash over the weekend (weighing 3.5 tonnes) at their leisure. The money was not numbered sequentially, making it impossible to trace. Numerous men have been arrested in connection to the robbery, while the mastermind, Luis Ribeiro, was found dead on the side of a road after being kidnapped by corrupt police officers. He was murdered after a ransom was paid for his release. 18 suspects remain at large and only $9 million has been recovered. The money was uninsured.

3

The Great Train Robbery
8th August 1963- Buckhamshire, UK: £2.6 million

Trainrobbery

Ronnie Biggs is to the English what DB Cooper is to Americans. He was part of a 15 strong gang led by Bruce Reynolds, who robbed a mail train in 1963. The haul is the equivalent of about $74 million today. After receiving information from an insider, the gang donned ski masks and gloves and tampered with the track signal to stop the train. They made off with 120 mail bags, despite having no guns between them. They attempted to burn down the farmhouse they used as a hideout, but did such a terrible job that the police were able to get everyone’s fingerprints. 12 of the 15 were found and convicted, but Ronnie Biggs managed to escape prison in 1965, adding to his legend. He had plastic surgery and fled to Brazil via Paris and Australia, and remained on the run until his voluntary return to Britain in 2001. He was once again incarcerated but was released in 2009 due to ill health.

2

Brinks Mat Warehouse
26th November 1983-UK: £26 million

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Six men hit the jackpot of a lifetime when they broke into the Brinks Mat Warehouse in 1983 expecting to find £3 million in cash. Instead, they stumbled across nearly 9 times that amount in gold bullion, which would be worth an absurd sum in today’s money. Brian Robinson, the mastermind of the robbery, used his brother-in-law, Anthony Black- a security guard at the warehouse- to gain entry and intel of the complex. It didn’t take Scotland Yard long to make the family connection, and Black confessed his role in the crime. He served 3 years, while Robinson was sentenced to 25 years in prison. 3 tonnes of the gold has never been recovered and is believed to be in circulation after being melted down.

1

Kent Securitas Depot
22nd February 2006- Kent, UK: £53 million

Securitas-Cash-005

Amazingly, it wasn’t jewels, but over $92 million in cold hard cash. Colin Dixon, the manager of the Depot, was driving home after work when he was subsequently pulled over by an unmarked police car and placed “under arrest” where he was transferred to a white van. Simultaneously, his wife and son were taken hostage by uniformed “police officers” and then taken to the Depot the next day at gunpoint, where Dixon was informed that they would be killed if he did not cooperate. The 6 gunmen then took 14 more employees hostage before loading £53 million into their vehicles. They fled the scene, leaving the hostages unharmed. Over 30 people have been arrested in connection with the crime, one as far away as Morocco. Several have been convicted and are currently serving prison sentences. Almost £20 million has been recovered so far.

Suicidal teenagers caught

August 28, 2010

Children as young as 12 left onlookers stunned after risking their lives by ‘tombstoning’ from a death-defying dui lawyers 65-foot height. Structured Settlement Investments
The youngsters gathered at the notorious Dead Man’s Cove point yesterday to make the potentially lethal leap into the rocky water loan rates below.
A 13-year-old girl seems to freeze in terror before dui lawyers making the dangerous plunge – holding her nose as she hurtles through the air. mesothelioma lawyers

Dare devils: Children as young as 12 make the potentially fatal  65-foot leap

Dare devils: Children as young as 12 make the potentially fatal 65-foot leap
No fear: The group stunned onlookers with their reckless behaviour

mesothelioma lawyers
Another teenager, covered in tattoos, strips off to the waist before diving head-first off the ledge – which is infamous for tombstoning – on the Plymouth Hoe, Plymouth.
It comes in the same week that teenager Dean Mason died after leaping into Holcombe Quarry, Somerset.

Death-defying: A teenager plunges head first after making the  potentially fatal leap off Dead Man's Cove

Death-defying: A teenager plunges head first after making the potentially fatal leap off Dead Man’s Cove
Dangerous: A girl holds her nose as she hurtles to the water from  the 65-foot drop

Dangerous: A girl holds her nose as she hurtles to the water from the 65-foot drop

The 19-year-old, from Weston-super-Mare, is the latest to be killed in the highly dangerous craze.
After the Somerset tragedy on Saturday, Avon and Somerset Police Inspector Jo Ross said: ‘Although it is tempting to jump into cool water in the hot weather, I would urge people not to jump into the unknown.

Lucky landing: The girl hits the water after jumping from Dead  Man's Cove

Lucky landing: The girl hits the water after jumping from Dead Man’s Cove
Deadly jump: Dead Man's Cove is a notorious tombstoning point in  Plymouth

Deadly jump: Dead Man’s Cove is a notorious tombstoning point in Plymouth

‘Submerged objects like rocks may not be visible, and can cause serious injury or death if you jump on to them. Structured Settlement Investments
‘Equally the shock of the cold water can be just as harmful and make it difficult to swim.
‘Don’t let alcohol, drugs or peer pressure affect your judgment.’