Thursday, 30 June 2016

Jeremy Bentham, Horatio Gordon Robley and the Maori:

I was thinking about preserved and mummified bodies this morning (what?) and wondered if anyone had ever requested to be publicly displayed after death of their own accord.
This is the online tangent I went down.:

In the 1800's British philosopher and auto icon, Jeremy Bentham [x], who passed away at the ripe old age of 84, was as per his instructions, dissected and preserved for public display.
 His skeletal remains were posed and clad in his usual attire, padded out with straw and displayed in a wooden cabinet with his name engraved above in gold. 
The technologies to preserve the head of the cadaver, using methods attributed to that of the indigenous people of New Zealand, didn’t achieve the desired ‘lively’ look his friends were hoping for; and so the shriveled and varnished looking dried head was exchanged for a wax model that resembled the living Bentham more closely.

The process of preparing a Maori involved removing the brain and eyes and then padding it out with a fiber crop, and either boiling or steaming the head. It would then be left to dry out in the sun for a week and then shark liver oil would be applied. 

The Maori preservation of heads was deeply connected to the spirit of the deceased. It was believed that the spirit would reside within the head after death. Families would keep the heads of passed loved ones and enemies would display and berate them. [x]

Many European explorers would collect the heads, as a sort of 'exotic curiosity', and they would be displayed in museums. 
One notable collector was British serviceman, Horatio Gordon Robley, who was stationed in New Zealand for five years, where he sketched the landscape, collected antiques and got to know the local people. Robley had an interest in tattoo's, and had his own arm tattooed with the image of the Buddha in Burma, a procedure performed using the tapping technique by a monk he had befriended. So it's no surprise the dried heads with their tā moko face tattooing appealed to the morbid serviceman. 

This is a photograph of him with his collection n 1895.

He would have obtained these heads from a market and traded for them.
The trafficking of the items would have likely lead to murder and foul play since they were sought after items that had value. One account recalls a market seller telling the story of a slave who was being tattooed with the intention of being executed and sold as a Maori, however he escaped.
The heads would have also been traded for firearms that certain tribes would have used during the musket wars. 

Thankfully, many of the Maori heads have since been returned to their place of origin and finally buried in peace, however some still remain in museum storage. 
There's a nice discussion on this message board with some news reports and clippings [x]

Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Paranormal / ghost photos post:

Was watching a few ghost videos earlier today and thought I'd share a few clips here. 
I'm in no way claiming these are authentic sightings, by the way.
I really like the clips from those Japanese ghost shows, they are pretty entertaining. It's no wonder Asia took the horror genre by storm a few years back, they really know how to present the creepiness in a simple way.
I remember the first horror films I saw from Japan were Ju-on (the Grudge), Kairo (Pulse) and Ringu (The ring) (was that the same for everyone else?) and they made me uneasy even a week after watching them. Most things did when I was a kid, to be honest. I remember I couldn't even wash my face without feeling like there was some soul eating demon just inches behind me.
I miss the times before I was desensitized to creepy clips.

Anyways, check these out. 
(I've linked to the videos I made the gifs from after each description, click the "X" to be taken to the youtube clips.)

Ghost in the mosque
Starting off easy here with this poltergeist activity from a mosque in Malaysia. 
I saw this on a news report from Thailand. [X]

A ghost hitches a ride on the back of a motorcycle in India. 
You see these types of ghosts a lot in videos in Asia. I've even heard people claim to have seen ghosts in white dresses with long black hair with their arms around the waists of their friends as they were driving past them in the night. [X]

The spirit of a child dances around the room in the UK.
Classic western misty ghost with a lot of detail. [X]

What is believed to be the specter of a small child in a fire station 

A peaking ghost [X]

Sympathetic cemetery ghost consoles a crying man at a grave  [X]

Here's a close-up:

Japanese suicide ghost.
This is one of my personal favorite creepy videos. The full version is longer (you can watch it if you click the "X" link) but clip is the finale. Concentrate at the end of the video when they guy crouches down and look at the railway track.  [X]

And the close-up: 


 A not so invisible friend [X]

I spy. [X

Half the woman she used to be [X]
A few friends are walking on a bridge when they see a bunch of flowers. 
They shine their flashlight in front of them and see this.

Well, that's all for this one.
Have a good evening, creeps! See you at the next post!

Thursday, 23 June 2016


Remember you can follow "Real life is horror" on Tumblr here [X]

The sleeping prophet

The new age movement may not have been the same had it not been for Edgar Cayce, also known as “The sleeping prophet", who was around in the 1800/1900’s, and served as a sort of local oracle. 
He had displayed so-called supernatural abilities since his youth and teenage years, including the ability to see and communicate with the dead and angels, from whom he claimed to gain his knowledge and information. 

He would put himself in a sleep like state where he was able to prophesize as the mouth piece to a higher being. Cayce claimed to be unaware of the diagnoses and advice he gave out to his patients, and said that he never consciously heard what he apparently relayed to them during his sleep-prophesizing. 

Eventually he provided free hypnotic consultations locally, although he was concerned about the advice that he was unconsciously providing. Despite wanting to keep a low profile, he became very popular, and was at one point in high demand. His supposed powers naturally began to attract gamblers and merchants, and he was made to produce psychic readings centered on financial gain that left him feeling hollow. 
After all, Edgar Cayce was a religious man who believed that he was communicating with angels and God with the intention of helping and healing those in need. He began to turn down generous amounts of money for his readings, in favor of keeping on the righteous path, but ended up becoming known as a sort of mystic, eventually straying away from his previous beliefs to unconsciously relay ideas of reincarnation, and ideas in contrast to his affiliation with the disciples of Christ. 

Eventually the cures he presented to heal the ailments of his client came to resemble what many would recognize today as new-age remedies, such as stones and crystals, massage therapy, meditation and relaxation in nature. 
Later he began to focus on regression and past lives, astro-planing and clairvoyance. He is the subject of many published articles and books, and many critics of his alleged supernatural powers believe books are the source of his snippets of advice. Check out the links/sources for more information. 

[X] [X] [X] [X]

Rosabelle believe

Harry Houdini and his wife, Bess, came up with a secret phrase that they would use to contact one another from the grave if one of them was to die before the other. 
The phrase was “Rosabelle believe”. Following the death of Houdini, Bess performed annual seances on the anniversary for a decade. The code was never relayed to her and she eventually gave up, stating that ten years was enough time to wait for any man. 

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Cenote Angelita

Cenote Angelita, or “little angel”, is a diving site South of Tulum in Yucatan, Mexico. 
200 feet in depth, the Cenote is half freshwater, half salt water, split by a foggy layer of hydrogen sulfate that resembles a river with trees surrounding it. 

Pic source: [ X ]

Horrible History

Hey everyone.
Recently I was talking with a friend of mine who lives in Japan. 
He'd been traveling a little around South East Asia, and knowing that I run this blog, passed on some of his (for lack of another term) dark tourism photography to me. (I should probably add that I did edit them slightly)

1. The killing fields (phnom penh, Cambodia)

Between 1975 and 1979, Cambodia was under the control of the Khmer Rouge regime.
Over 1 million civilians were murdered as a part of a genocide implemented by the state.
The skeletal remains of it's victims lay in mass graves to this day.

You can watch a documentary on the Killing Fields here [X]

Above is a picture of a (Chankiri) tree which executioners would smash the skulls of babies and infants against (while often feigning enjoyment) to save on ammunition. 
The children were the sons and daughters of those thought to have committed crimes against the regime.
 The execution of the infants was seen as an end to the family line and thus the end of any future issues.

(The sign outside of S-21)

These are from "Security Prison 21" (or S-21) a former high school turned processing center at the hands of the Khmer Rouge. 
In order to make prisoners confess to crimes they were often not responsible for they would be heavily tortured. 
They would be shocked, cut, waterboarded and in some cases skinned. Some would be used in brutal medical experiments that resulted in slow painful deaths.
 Most of the prisoners were dragged out into the killing fields at night and executed.

(Entering S-21)

 So many were executed that space for burial became limited, and the bones of those previously buried began to break the surface. Today S-21 is a museum.
 The photographs of those who suffered and died hang on the walls. 

You can watch a documentary on S-21 here [X]

Above: The gallows outside of the S-21 prison in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, at the site of the killing fields. 
As part of their torture and interrogation, prisoners would be strung upside down with their arms bound behind their backs. When they lost consciousness their heads would be dipped into ceramic pots of stagnant water below them and they would be subjected to further torture.

2. Seodaemun Prison  (Seoul, South Korea)

Seodaemun was used as a prison during the Japanese rule over Korea (1910-1945) There was around 3000-3500 liberation activists imprisoned here at one time despite the maximum capacity being 300 persons. They would be tortured into confessions, malnourished due to lack of food and executed.

(An interrogation)

(Photographs of prisoners) 

A sword, cane and dagger carried and used by a Japanese warden at the prison.
Members of the independence would be tortured into confessions and executed here.

3. Abashiri prison (Hokkaido, Japan)

Abashiri prison was built by shackled prisoners upon a hill, between the ocean and a lake, over a century ago in the quiet town of Abashiri on the island of Hokkaido in Japan. The isolated location was chosen specifically for the difficultly it would pose to any escaping prisoners. 
The prison had the capacity to house around 1000 inmates, however it was overcrowded with what Japan considered its most terrible criminals, including members of the Yakuza. 
The prisoners would be put to work and made to expand the town through labor work that was so intense that many of them died. 

There is a great review of a visitors trip to the prison on this site [X]

Well that's all for this post.

The Jenglot

The Jenglot is a small, long haired, fanged, living doll, slightly similar in appearance to the Fiji mermaid, said to possibly contain the soul of a previously living person.
 They turn up in various places in Java, Indonesia, oftentimes after ceremonial events with roots in magic and the supernatural. They may be found in abandoned houses or buried in the earth, however they make no noise or action to be noticed by a potential master . 
The Jenglot feeds on the blood of its owner or goats blood as an alternative.

Jenglot Wikipedia [X
kisahasalusul blogspot [X]

Mary the elephant

A picture from the 13th of September 1916, depicting an Asian elephant named Mary, being hanged from a crane in Tennessee. 
Mary was a circus elephant who killed a trainee elephant trainer named Red Eldridge (some say she reacted to being prodded by the assistant with a hooked stick and threw the man off her back.) 
The media reported the story painting the elephant as a blood thirsty killer and sensationalized the ordeal. Those in attendance chanted for Marys execution and got their wish. 

Mary was executed infront of over 2000 paying onlookers.

Mary Wikipedia [X]
Roadside America[X]
Moonlit road [X]

Famous Hoaxes- Musa sapientum Bananadine

According to “The Berkeley Barb” an underground counterculture magazine circulated in the 1960’’s (and later “The Anarchists cookbook”) “Musa sapientum Bananadine” (or simply Bananadine) is a drug extracted from a Banana with supposed psychoactive effects.

 In reality, the drug was pure fiction, used as an example to pose the theoretical question of what course of action the U.S government would take if it was discovered that preparing the skin of a banana and smoking it would transform it into a drug with psychoactive effects similar to that of Opium.

(Left , Right)

The Cardiff giant hoax:

The Cardiff giant is a famous hoax dating back to the mid-1800’s, New York City, USA, and was supposed to be the petrified remains of a giant human man that was discovered by a construction workers.

 The giant was thought to have a connection to the biblical book of Genesis, however in actuality was determined to be a distressed stone sculpture that had been personally commissioned (with no expense spared) by a man named George Hull. 

He did plan to make back the money shelled out on his investment by charging civilians 50 cents per person to view his creation, eventually selling the giant for a massive profit.

Cardiff Giant Wikipedia [X]
Farmers museum [X]
Ihup [X] [X]

Drop dead bread:

At first glance you’d think that you’d walked in the house of a serial killer cannibal. 
Severed heads are lined up in rows, disembodied arms and legs hang from meat hooks…don’t panic, though, as these creations are actually made from bread and are even edible. 

The son of a baker in Thailand, a fine arts major named Kittiwat, creates the morbid pastries as a way to bring customers to his family’s business in the countryside.