Creepy Fact #3: Necropants.

Looking for a fashion trend? Well, nothing is going to scream “OMG” more than a pair of necropants!

In the 17th Century, Icelandic mystics believed an endless supply of money could be had by flaying a corpse from the waist down and wearing its skin like pants. By placing a coin inside the scrotum, the wearer was promised an endless flow of money.

The Museum of Icelandic Sorcery & Witchcraft in Holmavik, Iceland, houses the only known intact pair of necropants (called nábrók), that were meant to be worn day and night by their owner.

The ritual for making necropants is described as follows:

If you want to make your own necropants (literally; nábrók) you have to get permission from a living man to use his skin after his death.

After he has been buried you must dig up his body and flay the skin of the corpse in one piece from the waist down. As soon as you step into the pants they will stick to your own skin. A coin must be stolen from a poor widow and placed in the scrotum along with the magical sign, nábrókarstafur, written on a piece of paper. Consequently the coin will draw money into the scrotum so it will never be empty, as long as the original coin is not removed. To ensure salvation the owner has to convince someone else to overtake the pants and step into each leg as soon as he gets out of it. The necropants will thus keep the money-gathering nature for generations. (Source)

Elle. x
Advertisements

Creepy Fact #2: Zombie Syndrome

When you think of zombies, you probably imagine flesh-eating monsters, the kind of characters made famous in books, movies, and television shows. However, most don’t realize is that there is an actual disease where people think they are truly zombies.

Cotard’s syndrome, also known as “Walking Corpse Syndrome” is an extremely rare psychological condition that affects only a few hundred people in the world. A 2003 report defined the condition as  “the fixed and unshakable belief that one has lost organs, blood or body parts”.

In the case of a British man named Graham this condition surfaced after he tried to commit suicide by taking an electrical appliance with him in the bath. He said: “I just felt like my brain didn’t exist anymore. I’d fried it in the bath.” He stopped smoking, eating, and barely spoke. To his eyes, “there was no point because I was dead.” The hair on his legs eventually fell out, he stopped brushing his teeth, resulting in them turning black, making him look even more like a corpse.

While there aren’t many walking corpse syndrome cases, a PET scan of Graham’s brain showed signs of a person in a vegetative state. The results also showed that the areas in the brain responsible for creating consciousness, theory of mind and the ability to remember past events showed abnormally low activity. After his doctors saw the results, they started Graham on a recovery program of therapy and medication.

Now, Graham says he is not really back to normal, but he can go out on his own and feels a lot better than he was. “I don’t feel that brain-dead any more. Things just feel a bit bizarre sometimes.” But now let me fetch some brainssss!

Elle. x

Creepy Fact #1: Mercy Brown Vampire Incident.

Are you ready for the most chilling, creepy and spooky Halloween countdown? OF COURSE YOU ARE! A creepy fact is going to be posted on a daily basis until Halloween and will give you goosebumps, guaranteed!

Couldn’t stop myself to dedicate this first creepy fact to a “vampire” story.

The Mercy Brown vampire incident, which occurred in 1892, is one of the best documented cases of the exhumation of a corpse in order to perform rituals to banish an undead manifestation. The incident was part of the wider New England vampire panic.

In the 1880s and 1890s the family of George and Mary brown of Exeter, Rhode Island, suffered a sequence of tuberculosis, called consumption at the time. Mary, the mother, was the first to die and then their eldest daughter, Mary Olive, died in 1888. Their son, Edwin, then caught the infectious disease in 1890. Sadly, in 1891, another daughter, Mercy, became infected and died of the disease in January of 1892.

She was buried in the Baptist Church cemetery in Exeter. People began talking about one of the family members being a vampire, as folklore went at the time that if multiple family members died of a disease, then a family member must have been involved in “undead activities”. George Brown was persuaded to give permission to exhume several bodies of his family members. Villagers, the local doctor and a newspaper reporter exhumed the bodies on March 17, 1892. While his wife and daughter, Mary Olive, were considerably decomposed, the more recently deceased Mercy was still relatively unchanged and had blood in the heart and liver. This was taken as a sign that the young woman was undead and the agent of young Edwin’s condition.
As superstition wanted, Mercy’s heart was removed from her chest, burned and the ashes mixed with water and given to Edwin to drink to cure his ailment. He died two months later.

This event inspired a lot of stories. It has also been suggested by scholars that Bram Stoker (-here- you can read a little something I wrote when I’ve been at the Golders Green Crematorium where you can find Bram Stoker’s urn), the author of the novel Dracula, knew about the Mercy Brown case through newspaper articles and based the novel’s character Lucy upon her.

Elle. x

Cursed Movies

So peeps, what are you going to do on Halloween? Are you a party-person or do you prefer a long horror-movie marathon night? As for me, I love to indulge myself in a good old horror-movie marathon, don’t get me wrong I like parties and having fun but as I’m “getting old” I prefer a more quiet time, not that watching horror/gruesome movies is a relaxing thing anyway!

Talking about movies, some of them have a really particular “background” as they are believed to be CURSED! Here some of my favourites.

POLTERGEIST – 1982

Dominique Dunne starred as the teen daughter in the haunted house, was strangled less than six months after the film came out by her boyfriend, who served only 3½ years after being convicted of voluntary manslaughter. Heather O’Rourke, the famous blonde child, died of a rare disease at age 12, shortly after filming “Poltergeist III,” which was released after her death. Meanwhile, Will Sampson, who played the medicine man in “Poltergeist II” died at 53 of scleroderma; Julian Beck, the evil preacher in the second film, died at 60 of stomach cancer. As you can see there are a lot of deaths, but why talking about a curse? Well, apparently the film makers used real human remains as props in the first Poltergeist movie, which brought some very bad luck.

ROSEMARY’S BABY – 1968

Rosemary’s Baby is a 1968 Roman Polanski film about a Manhattan woman whose husband signs a Faustian pact with the Satan-worshipping cult,allowing the devil to impregnate her wife in return for his successful career. The film’s composer died of a brain clot one year after making the film, the same way a character in the film dies. Then producer William Castle suffered kidney failure soon after the film was made. But the curse is mainly built around a terrible event related to Roman Polanski (I bet you all know what I’m going to write about). In March of 1969 Polanski had bought a house for himself and his 8 months pregnant wife Sharon Tate. The previous owner of the house was music producer Terry Melcher, who had previously refused to record Manson’s music. Manson expressed his disappointment by ordering his cult to go to Polanski’s house, there they killed Sharon Tate, her unborn baby and four others, stabbing the victims multiple times. Polanski was in London at the time and thus survived the onslaught. Smaller coincidences related to the ‘curse’: the Manson family nicknamed their murder spree “Helter Skelter” after the Beatles song, later, John Lennon would be murdered outside his hotel ‘The Dakota’. This was the same hotel used in some scenes in the film.

OMEN – 1976

No film in history has had worse luck than The Omen. Star Gregory Peck and the screenwriter David Seltzer took two different planes in to the UK, and both planes were struck by lightning. And if that wasn’t enough, executive producer Mace Neufelds’ plane from Rome was almost struck by lightning as well. Director Richard Donner was even more unlucky, the hotel where he was staying was bombed by the IRA and he was also struck by a car. Gregory Peck was the most unfortunate one – in the Omen, Peck’s character eventually have to kill his own son, in real life, Peck’s son had committed suicide, only months before the shooting started. Numerous members of the crew where in a car crash one day and special effects artist John Richardson were injured in an accident on the set of ‘A Bridge too Far’ and his girlfriend, during the same accident, was beheaded. And rumour has it that when Richardson crawled out from the wreck he saw a road sign: Ommen, 66.6km.

Now, that’s a lot of bad luck…

Elle. x

Around the World.

As we’re getting closer to Halloween (less than two weeks!) I was wondering how other countries celebrate this spooky event, so I thought It would’ve been nice getting to know other traditions and share them on this blog so that everyone can have a little peek into another culture.

Let’s start from Europe: Italy (where I live) celebrates All Saints on November 1st and All Souls on November 2nd and here you will find different Regional traditions. From the last day of October until the 2nd of Novembr it is believed that dead people come back to meet the ones who are still living and to receive support and also to give light and hope. We place candles into empty pumpkins. In Sicily, especially in Palermo, All Saints is dedicated to children and it’s a sort of Christmas’s replica, with kids getting gifts in the morning or treasure hunting for them and, once found them, go to the cemetery to thank the dead.

In Austria some people will leave bread, water and a lighted lamp on the table before retiring on Halloween night. The reason for this is because it was once believed such items would welcome the dead souls back to earth on a night which for the Austrians was considered to be full to the brim with strong cosmic energies, while in Germany during the Halloween night, people put away their knives, this is because they do not want to risk harm for the returning spirits.

Continue reading

Unsolved Mystery #4: Cecil Hotel and Elisa Lam

A new season of American Horror Story has begun and I’m in love with it already. The first episode was absolutely mindblowig and amazing, except for the scene of the guy being raped by a scary creature, that was just a little bit too much even for me and believe me, I’ve seen a lot of “weird” stuff, but that bit apart the rest was glorious. Soundtrack on point, Matt Bomer and Wes Bentley are both gorgeous (can’t wait to see Evan Peters though) and “Liz Taylor” is my favourite character already, so stylish with that gown, even if he reminds me of a more “FABULOUS” version of Voldemort (Am I the only one who got this kind of vibe?)

But now let’s talk about the opulent hotel itself, with that Decó atmosphere and the Shining “recall”. The Cortez Hotel from American Horror Story reminds me of the Cecil Hotel (now known as the Stay on Main) a place where murders, fatal accidents, suicides and mysteries have occurred until the present day.

The Cecil Hotel in Los Angeles was built in 1927, a cheap place for many professionals who, for one reason or another, stopped in the cinematographic Hollywood. It was then modernized during the 50s to perform also the function of residence.

In 1954 Helen Gurnee falls from her room on the seventh floor and smashes on the sign of the hotel. A week before she was registered with a fake name: Margaret Brown. It was never discovered the reason for that jump nor why she didn’t declare her true identity. A similiar event happened in 1962 when Julia Moore threw herself out of a window of the eight floor, shattering a skylight before touching the ground. The causes of the suicide were never verified.

On June 4th, 1964 Goldie Osgood, a telephone operator in retirement, has been found dead in her room. The woman has been raped, strangled and stabbed. The killer left the hotel room upside down, perhaps looking for something of value. A few hours later the police officers stopped a man with clothes dripping with blood, although at first glance he seems just the killer of the old lady, they can not find any evidence against him and was released. The police failed to find the guilty.

In the years 1984-1985 the hotel hosts Ricardo “Richard” Ramirez, known as the Night Stalker. In his $ 14 per night room he mutilates, rapes and tortures 14 victims, following a precise satanic ritual, panicking the entire Los Angeles. He was arrested on August the 31st, 1985 and sentenced to the gas chamber.

In 1991 the serial killer Johann “Jack” Unterweger (known as Jack the Writer) rents a room for five weeks. During his stay at the Cecil Hotel he kills three prostitues. He rapes and strangles them with their bra, a technique he will use for each of his 11 murders between Austria and US. He was arrested in 1992 but committed suicide the day of the sentence.

Now, back to our days (almost), on January 2013 it was found the body of Elisa Lam, a Canadian student, disappeared a few days before. The body was found in a big water tank on the roof of the building. The young girl is pronounced dead as a result of an accidental drowning. There are still many doubts on her death, starting with the way she has been able to reach a private area of the hotel which is also protected by an alarm system. We do have a video of her last moments but it is kind of a puzzle as she seems to be communicating with someone else. The truth is still unknown.

The Cecil Hotel is a very myserious place indeed, I guess that if I will plan a trip to Los Angeles I know where I’m going to check in.

Elle. xx

Museo Criminologico – Rome

A couple of days ago I’ve got the chance to visit the criminology museum in Rome with a great friend of mine. For just 2 Euros you can visit three floors full of weapons, miniatures of torture devices, historical artifacts, weapons, ancient forensic science sets and… oh did I mention weapons?! (You can click on each picture for the larger version)

IMG_20151006_110157.jpg_effectedIMG_20151006_110207.jpg_effected

At the very beginning there is a beautiful Iron Maiden that welcomes you and almost the entire ground floor houses miniatures of ancient torture devices but also original pieces such as guillotines, stocks, whips ,spiked chairs, spiked collars and any form of torture from the Medieval Age you can imagine.

Continue reading