10 Weird Fortune-Telling Methods From History

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10 Weird Fortune-Telling Methods From History



Humans have always sought to unlock the mysteries of the future. Since the dawn of time, we have looked for signs and symbols in the world around us that might tell us our fortunes or help us avoid trouble. Here are 10 of the strangest items used for fortune-telling throughout history.

Divination By Birds


Photo credit: Jastrow

The ancient Romans loved their bird fortunes. People at all levels of society would divine their fortunes by studying the species, calls, and flight patterns of birds in the sky.

In particular, chickens were used to predict the outcomes of battles. Priests scattered grain in front of specially raised chickens, and the enthusiasm with which the birds ate was said to correspond to the degree of success that the Roman forces would enjoy that day. It sounds bizarre, but it worked really well in at least one famous case.

During the First Punic War with Carthage, Roman consul Publius Claudius Pulcher was in charge of the Roman navy. He consulted the chickens on what he thought would be a perfect day to attack the Carthaginian fleet.

But the chickens were less than excited by his battle plan and refused to eat anything. Pulcher had the chickens thrown overboard, saying, “If they won’t eat, let them drink!” He ordered his ships into battle and suffered a crushing defeat.

Pulcher was recalled to Rome and put on trial—not for losing the battle but for the sacrilege of killing the sacred chickens. He was sentenced to exile and died soon after.


Divination By Bones


Photo credit: Live Science

Bones are among the most widespread tools for fortune-telling. The Zulu nation of Africa used the patterns of scattered bones to tell fortunes. In ancient China, questions were carved or painted onto bones or turtle shells, which were then heated until they cracked. The seer interpreted the pattern and size of these cracks to find their answer.

The early inhabitants of Scotland used a version of osteomancy calledslinneanachd in which the shoulder bone of a cooked animal was consulted. But first, the querent faced a challenge. They had to pick all the animal’s flesh away from the bones without ever touching the bone with iron (aka a fork or knife).

Divination By Bread


Photo credit: thefreshloaf.com

In the ancient world, alphitomancy was a popular way to solve crimes. Suspects would be rounded up, and each would be fed a piece of blessed bread or cake made with barley. To the innocent, it was a harmless snack. But the guilty party would be beset with stomach pains, indigestion, or simply choking.

Even parties who thought the cake tasted bad were considered guilty. It is likely that the bread was selectively poisoned so that whomever the judge needed to be guilty would get sick.


Divination By Stomach Rumbles


Gastromancy is the act of fortune-telling based on “sounds and signs of the belly.” The sounds of digestion were thought to be the voices of the dead and were interpreted by the seer in a kind of possession experience. Some scholars believe that the seers who translated (or sneakily created) these noises were the forerunners of modern ventriloquists.

Renaissance writer Dr. Francois Rabelais recorded that this method was “for a long time together used in Ferrara by Lady Giacoma Rodogina, the eugastrimythian prophetess.” Later, gastromancy came to mean divination with round, belly-shaped objects like water goblets or crystal balls, which are still popularly used today.

Divination By Pearls


Margaritomancy sounds like it has something to do with the occult wisdom found at the bottom of a fishbowl margarita, but it’s actually an ancient method of divination based on heating a pearl until it jumps or shatters. The ancients saw pearls as magical; they are the only gems produced by living beings. Still, the cost of the materials meant that they probably didn’t get to try this very often.

One common method was to place a pearl in a cast-iron pot, which was set over a fire. Then the diviner read aloud a list of names of people suspected of thievery. The person whose name was being read when the pearl began to move was the guilty party. Another version claims that the heated pearl would only begin to move when a guilty person came near it.

Divination By Human Sacrifice


Photo credit: Marie-Lan Nguyen

Anthropomancy (aka antinopomancy) is one of the most gruesome forms of divination. Experts have found evidence of human sacrifice in nearly every corner of the world. Human sacrifice was often seen as a way to appease the gods, but it may also have been a way to get answers from them.

Although this practice was linked to and often included extispicy—studying the organs of animal and human sacrifices—anthropomancy was more concerned with the moment of death. Predictions were made based upondeath throes, number and volume of screams, direction of blood flow, or the direction in which the victim’s body fell to the floor.

One of the most famous predictions in Western history was the result of this grim form of fortune-telling. According to Roman writer Suetonius, the seer Spurinna performed anthropomancy before she warned Julius Caesar to beware the Ides of March.


Divination By Mouse


In many ancient cultures, mice and rats were signs of misfortune and disaster. Besides being obvious signs that your grain stores were in trouble, mice could predict trouble of all kinds.

Myomancy could be based on the movements of mice in a defined area or by the sound of their squeaks. Having your doom pronounced in the high-pitched voice of a tiny mouse sounds kind of adorable, but the ancients took it seriously. Mice gnawing at treasures in a Roman temple were thought to predict the first Roman civil war, and dictator Fabius Maximus retired early after the squeak of a mouse predicted his doom.

Divination By Jeweled Rings


The stereotypical image of a fortune-teller covered in glittery shawls and tons of jewelry might have some truth to it if the fortune-teller practiced dactylomancy, the most blinging of all divinations.

There are many versions of dactylomancy. One popular form comes from the Middle Ages in Europe. It required a set of seven rings. Each was made of a different material that corresponded to a different day of the week.

It’s unclear how these rings were used, but it is likely that the correct ring was rolled across or suspended above a table marked with letters of the alphabet. The letters touched by the ring were seen as part of a message.

Today, modern seers perform a simple form of dactylomancy through dowsing by using a plain ring or other small object suspended from a string. Answers are gained based on the direction in which the ring starts swinging.

Divination By Molten Metal


Photo credit: Micha L. Rieser

Molybdomancy is a form of divination that was first recorded in the Greek and Roman Empires, but it spread to Germany and the Nordic countries by way of Imperial invasion. An easily melted metal such as lead or tin is liquefied over a fire before being poured into cold water. The metal instantly hardens into bizarre shapes, which are then interpreted.

This practice is still a New Year’s tradition in Finland, where each family member is given a small piece of tin in the shape of a horseshoe to melt down. The melted and cooled pieces are held up to a candle flame, and the shadows they cast suggest things that will happen to their owners in the coming year.

Divination By Poop


Yep. Seers and magic users from several ancient cultures were known to tell a person’s fortune by the look of their excrement. The Egyptians took scatomancy a step further by studying not only the feces but also the behavior of dung beetles, which roll the stuff into balls as part of their mating display. Speed and movement of the beetles as well as the marks left by their rolling were all taken into account for the final prediction.

Staring at poop to gain secret knowledge might sound like something only an ancient barbarian would do. But modern doctors still practice scatology, or the examination of a patient’s stool samples, to learn about their health. Gross but effective.

Mia is a freelance writer and editor who loves to tackle projects that are funny, spooky, or just plain weird.

10 Crazy Pieces Of Historical Underwear

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10 Crazy Pieces Of Historical Underwear



Fashion has never been straightforward or logical. In fact, it has often been downright weird. Clothing and styles have changed through the centuries, including something that we regard as completely normal and commonplace today: underwear. So pull up your underpants, and get ready for 10 crazy pieces of historical underwear that you’ll be happy you don’t have to wear today.

10Subligaculum And Strophium


Everyone who had Latin in school might have heard the Latin phrase Semper ubi sub ubi. Translated into English, it means “always where under where.”

Women’s underwear in ancient Rome could easily be seen as the great-great-grandfather of today’s bikini. Women wore a strophium, a tight leather band to hold and compress the breasts. It was quite fashionable to have small breasts and large hips, so the strophium helped women to achieve their desired look.

There were no real underpants, but the subligaculum was worn by athletes as well as slaves (basically by everyone who had to do hard work in the Sun). It is strangely reminiscent of a diaper, but it was a loincloth made of wool or leather. The subligaculum was not worn by everyone. It was completely normal to wear nothing under your toga (as long as you wore a toga).




It was only around 1830 that women began to wear pantalets and drawers. In the Middle Ages, women did not wear undergarments at all, and in the 19th century, pantalets were only worn by upper-class ladies. Even if pantalets were some kind of underwear, they were crotchless and made of two separate pieces that were tied together over the hips.

Pantalets were not used to cover up everything but to show the intricate and rich embroidery at the legs when a lady’s skirts flew up. Even the sewing on the underwear became a kind of status symbol. If you could afford them, you were rich and fashionable. If you couldn’t, you were a poor middle-class or lower-class woman who had to hold her skirts down.

8Silk Stockings


Silk stockings were not really an undergarment but were very important when you wore nothing else under your skirts. In the 16th century, women wore stockings under their gowns, mostly made from wool or linen.

This changed on New Year’s Day 1560 when Queen Elizabeth received a pair of silk stockings as a present. She liked them so much that she ordered seven pairs in diverse colors. As a fashionable lady, you wanted to look like the queen. Every woman who could afford them wore silk stockings under her skirts, and the trend soon spread across Europe.

It is interesting to know that the representative function of stockings reappeared during World War II. Due to the shortage during the war, there were no more stockings. So if you were able to find stockings, you were much admired.

Of course, every woman wanted to have them. Therefore, women came up with the idea of simply painting stockings directly on their legs. Stockings around that time had a dark, long seam at the back of the leg which ran all the way down. Women simply took a brush and painted one black line on each of their legs. This style even achieved its own term: “glamor hose.”




Photo credit: Jacques-Louis David

The chemise was a simple, loose-falling dress worn under daily clothes throughout the Middle Ages. It was worn by both men and women and was the only piece of clothing that was washed regularly.

In the 1780s, Marie Antoinette, the queen of France, introduced the chemise as a normal gown as a contrast to the restrictive court fashion. But thechemise a la reine fell out of fashion shortly after the queen’s head fell in the revolution.

Surprisingly, it only took a few years for a similar-looking chemise to rise again. In the Empire period, a flowing, nearly transparent chemise was worn, looking very much like a tunic. In fact, it was so transparent that flesh-colored underwear was worn underneath to make you look almost completely naked.

6Teddy Or Camiknickers


Photo credit: Wikimedia

The teddy first appeared in the 1910s but became popular 10 years later in the Roaring Twenties. It covered the torso and crotch in one piece and could be either close-fitting or loose depending on the dress worn over it.

Especially in the ’20s, women wanted to look like they wore nothing underneath their dresses and teddies were tight enough to conform to the body like modern shapewear. In the 1920s, designers started to focus on the look of undergarments and included decorative elements like lace or ribbons.

The design of the teddy survived World War I and World War II. It was still comfortable even when wearing trousers, and our swimsuits today are direct descendants of the teddy.

5Early Bra


Photo credit: blog.fitnyc.edu

Women all over the world should be thankful to Mary Phelps Jacob. She invented what many women wear every day: the bra.

While Jacob prepared for a debutante ball in Manhattan at 19 years old, she became quite frustrated. The fashion of her time was made for slim figures and featured plunging necklines. For a well-endowed woman like Jacob, this presented a big problem. Parts of her corset always peeked out of her dress.

Out of necessity, she and her maid did some sewing and the result was the first bra. The mother of the bra patented her work in 1914 when it was nothing more than two tissues sewn together.

However, her invention came just at the right time. When World War I broke out, the metal used in corsets was needed. Women were freed from the corset and presented with the much more comfortable bra.




Corsets were a key piece of both women’s and men’s clothing for over three centuries, much longer than any other undergarment. They first became fashionable in the 16th century and were made of iron.

In Elizabethan times, the iron shifted to whalebone. This was not the bone of the whale but its teeth, the filter system used to extract krill from the water. One of the reasons that whales are endangered animals is due to the excessive hunting of them for whalebone during “corset times.”

The style and shape of corsets shifted through the centuries from a low, cone-like waistline in the Elizabethan era to an hourglass shape in Victorian times. During Victorian times, the waists were laced tightly in the extreme.

Empress Elisabeth of Austria was said to possess a waistline of 41 centimeters (16 in). It took several more years for doctors to discover the health issues connected to the use of corsets. They were only abandoned after World War I broke out.

3Menstrual Belts


Photo credit: mum.org

The menstrual belt was invented around 1900 to make women’s lives easier. The woman was supposed to wear a belt around her hips with a removable pad attached to it. In the beginning, the pad was often made of wool and had to be washed repeatedly.

In 1913, “sanitary napkins” were invented. They could be thrown away after each use. The menstrual belt made way for the menstrual panty in the 1950s and finally progressed to the pads we know today, which were invented in the 1980s.

In earlier times, women used all kinds of absorbent materials: grass, hay, sponges, and rabbit skins. The ancient Egyptians even had tampons made of softened papyrus.

2Radioactive Underwear


Photo credit: orau.org

Before the effects of radioactivity were fully understood, people believed it to be a treatment for everything. From the 1920s to the 1950s, radium could be found in cosmetics, food, and even underwear.

Advertisements claimed that problems in the bedroom could be solved with the “Radiendocrinator,” or “radium underwear.” Although it may sound idiotic to consider radioactive underwear as a treatment, radioactivity was something completely new and natural in those times.

Radium exists in hot springs, which were considered extremely healthy as well, so the hype for this “new discovered, natural wonder” is more understandable. Both men and women bought “glowing underwear” or stuffed radioactive pads inside their underpants.

1Chastity Belts


Photo credit: Wellcome Trust

The chastity belt was used in the 16th century to prevent sexual intercourse or masturbation. Originally, it was designed for women and made of iron (sometimes even with spikes). There are several myths claiming that women were forced to wear chastity belts during the Crusades when their husbands were far away and could not watch over their faithfulness.

Lost after the Renaissance period, chastity belts were rediscovered in the late 18th century when masturbation was considered to be unhealthy. They were used as medical treatments for both men and women.

Some women also used chastity belts in the 1920s as “anti-rape” devices. Some recent authors have claimed that the chastity belt was never used in medieval times and that the depiction of chastity belts was simply satirical or fake.

Marielle is a student in Scotland who is interested in history, fashion, and everything that scares normal people.

Top 10 Secrets Discovered In Silver

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Top 10 Secrets Discovered In Silver



Silver is a precious metal that has been used for thousands of years in currency, ornaments, utensils, and trade. Alchemists have linked silver to power of the Moon and the mysteries of the sacred feminine.

It has the highest conductivity of any metal and is critical in solar panels, industrial electrical contacts, and medical instruments. “Silver” is a synonym for “money” in Hebrew, Sanskrit, Spanish, and French.

10The Silver Pharaoh


Photo via Wikimedia

In 1940, French archaeologist Pierre Montet discovered a pharaoh with a coffin made of pure silver. Psusennes has been dubbed “the silver pharaoh.” According to the ancient Egyptians, gold was the flesh of the gods, and silver, their bones.

However, silver needed to be imported from Western Asia, which made it the most precious metal in ancient Egypt. Psusennes’s coffin reflects staggering wealth and casts aside assumptions about the limited power of 21st dynasty pharaohs.

Psusennes’s silver resting place was found within a pink granite sarcophagus, which was housed in a granite coffin. Tanis, where the body was discovered, is humid, swampy land—far from ideal for mummy preservation.

All Montet discovered of the pharaoh were bones, black dust, and his elaborate funerary items. Strangely, Psusennes recycled a sarcophagus that belonged to Merenptah, the 19th dynasty pharaoh who succeeded Ramses II.


9The Birka Ring


Photo credit: history.com

Archaeologists have discovered a mysterious Viking-era ring in Birka, Sweden. The high-grade silver alloy finger ring contains an inscription in Kufic Arabic reading “To Allah” or “For Allah.” The ring was discovered in a ninth-century grave of a woman. The burial contained exotic items from India, the Caucasus, and Yemen.

Experts believe that the ring was a signet to stamp official documents. This enigmatic find suggests direct cultural contact between the ancient Scandinavian and Muslim worlds.

Around 1,000 years ago, Arabic writer Ahmad ibn Fadlin recorded his rare encounter with Vikings around the Caspian Sea. While he noted that “[he had] never seen more perfect physiques than theirs,” he also thought that they were “the filthiest of all of Allah’s creatures.”

The recent discovery of two 3,400-year-old Egyptian glass beads in an ancient Danish grave suggests contact between Scandinavia and the Mediterranean going back millennia.

8Captain Kidd’s Lost Treasure


Photo credit: Ancient Origins

A UK–US archaeological team recently discovered a mysterious 55-kilogram (120 lb) bar of silver in the shallows off Sainte Marie Island in Madagascar. The find might have belonged to the infamous Scottish pirate Captain Kidd.

The team was led by Barry Clifford, who previously discovered remnants of Kidd’s ship, Adventure Galley. In 2000, Clifford found a metal oarlock, Ming porcelain, and 300-year-old bottles of rum. He believes that the silver bar is part of the same wreck.

Enigmatic engravings cloak the silver. The letters “T” and “S” appear prominently along with smaller numerical carvings. Kidd was a privateer in the Caribbean for years before he turned to the more profitable trade of piracy.

When Kidd was captured in Boston in 1699, the jewels in his ship were valued at nearly $10 million in 2015 dollars. Kidd met his fate on the gallows in 1701. The remainder of his treasure was never found.


7Gaulcross Hoard


Photo credit: Live Science

Nearly 200 years ago, Scottish workers discovered three silver objects in a remote field. Instead of exploring further, they followed orders and converted the area to farmland.

In 2013, archaeologists returned and discovered 100 silver objects dating to the fourth or fifth century. The Gaulcross hoard includes Roman-era coins, broaches, and bracelets. Although the research team wanted to reexamine the context of the initial find, they had no idea they would unearth a treasure.

The Gaulcross hoard contains high-status objects that belonged to society’s elites. During the Roman period, silver was not mined in Scotland and had to be imported. Roman silver was often recast.

Experts believe that the ancient Picts came across the hoard through looting, trade, bribes, or military pay. The trove contains silver ingots, which were used as currency at the time. The Gaulcross hoard reflects a melting pot of cultural influences that swirled in late and post-Roman Britain.

6Chiprovtsi Silver


In the Bulgarian city of Montana, archaeologists recently discovered a mysterious silver hoard. They believe that the 12 items were secreted away by Catholics during the bloody 17th-century Chiprovtsi Uprising against the Ottomans.

The trove contained a tiara, two forehead ornaments, two finger rings, and a connecting piece. All the items are made of silver. Some experts believe that this was a family fortune. The hoard was initially buried in a leather pouch, most of which deteriorated over the centuries.

The 17th-century Bulgarian Catholic uprising broke out during the Great Turkish War. The struggle ended in 1688 when Ottoman forces from Sofia crushed the rebels. The final battle happened in Montana, where the hoard was discovered.

The conquerors slaughtered most of the population and enslaved the rest. Many Roman Catholics and Orthodox Bulgarians fled across the Danube and found refuge in Wallachia.

5Berthouville Treasure


In 1830, a mysterious hoard was discovered in Berthouville. It contains some of the finest Roman silver work of the first and second centuries AD. Many of the 93 items are practical, like bowls, jugs, and cups.

However, some are more impressive, like a phiale—an ornate drinking vessel from which ritual offerings were made. The hoard also contains two statues. One is a bust of the goddess Maia. The other is a complete statuette of Mercury.

Julius Caesar identified Mercury as the principal deity of Gaul. Inscriptions on centaur-emblazoned silver cups and a pair of silver wine jugs reveal that they were owned by Quintus Domitius Tutus.


4Poland’s Hidden Hoards


Photo credit: muzeumslaskie.pl

Hidden along the side of an old road, a Polish forest ranger discovered two clay pots containing over 6,000 silver coins. Dated to the 16th and 17th centuries, the currency was in relatively good condition.

Most showed tarnishing, and some were stuck together. The newest coin in the hoard came from 1612; the oldest, 1516. Who the coins belonged to and why they were buried remains a mystery.

This was not Poland’s largest silver hoard. In 1987, the 12th-century Glogow hoard was discovered during construction. This staggering collection contains over 20,000 silver coins, silver discs, seven bars of silver, and one silver nugget.

Several previously unknown coins have been found in the collection. Experts believe that “a few thousand” coins were stolen before archaeologists arrived. The stolen coins were auctioned in Cologne, Munich, Warsaw, and Gdansk.

3The Parthenon’s Million Silver Coins


Photo credit: Ancient Origins

According to ancient scribes, Athenians stored vast wealth atop the Acropolis, but they never revealed the exact location. A Canadian research team led by Spencer Pope thinks that the Parthenon was the most likely a vault.

This ancient temple to Athena was secured by Hellenistic spirituality. Theft would have been considered a crime against the goddess herself, and Athena was infamous for her wrath against transgressors.

Athens mined silver locally and stored most of its currency in this precious metal. They also attained vast stores of silver from city-states that paid naval tribute. Pope theorizes that one million silver coins were once housed in the Parthenon’s attic.

2Serdica Silver


Archaeologists discovered an ancient clay lamp containing a hoard of 2,976Roman silver coins in Bulgaria. The coins spanned a period of 100 years and depicted royal family members from the reign of Vespasian (69–79 AD) to Emperor Commodus (177–192 AD).

The trove was discovered in a layer dating between the third and fifth centuries. The lamp that held the treasure bore an inscription of its owner’s name: Selvius Calistus, a Roman citizen with a Greek surname.

The coins were discovered during excavations of Serdica, the precursor to modern Sofia. Traces of habitation in the area date back 5,000 years. The name “Serdica” derives from a tribe of Thracians known as the “serdi” who moved in during the Bronze Age.

The territory fell to Philip II of Macedonia in the fourth century BC. The Romans took it in 29 BC. Huns leveled the city in 447 AD.

1Thorikos Ancient Silver Mines


Photo credit: eurekalert.org

The ancient Greek town of Thorikos was home to a vast labyrinth of silver mines. Evidence of pottery and stone hammers trace mining at the site to 3200 BC.

Located at the foot of the Thorikos Acropolis, the mine’s chambers, shafts, and galleries stretch 5 kilometers (3 mi). Many of the passages are no taller than 30 centimeters (12 in). Experts believe that slaves did the brutal work of extracting the precious silver ore from hard bedrock in the smothering heat.

After the Peloponnesian War (431–404 BC), historians believe that the region was depopulated. Inhabitants turned to silver mining around 300 BC. At the time, Athens dominated the trade. The powerful city-state held 294 mining leases in the region.

The mines became exhausted, and Roman general Sulla leveled Thorikos in 86 BC. During the Roman era, it was slowly repopulated before it was taken by the Slavs in the sixth century and abandoned for good.

Abraham Rinquist is the executive director of the Winooski, Vermont, branch of the Helen Hartness Flanders Folklore Society. He is the coauthor of Codex Exotica andSong-Catcher: The Adventures of Blackwater Jukebox.

10 Heinous Crimes Committed By Religious Fanatics

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10 Heinous Crimes Committed By Religious Fanatics



For most people, their religion is meant to be something that uplifts them and gets them through trying times. Sadly, there are others who become obsessed with what they believe in and refuse to see anyone else’s point of view. They will stop at nothing to prove that theirs is the only religion to follow.

10Orlando Massacre


Photo credit: Twitter via The Daily Beast

On June 12, 2016, Omar Mateen, age 29, opened fire at Pulse, an Orlando gay club, killing 49 patrons. Mateen had pledged allegiance to ISIS and prayed at a mosque at least four times per week. The motive for the attack is firmly believed to have been Mateen’s hatred of homosexuals, as evidenced by his father’s statement after the massacre that God Himself would punish gaysfor their lifestyle.

However, as friends and family were interviewed after Mateen was shot dead by police, it became apparent that he himself may have been attracted to men but was ashamed to admit it because of his beliefs. Many patrons recognized Mateen from several visits he made to the club, and some have confirmed that he even chatted with them via online platforms and was not uncomfortable in the presence of gay men.


9The Murder Of Asad Shah


Photo via BBC News

Devout Ahmadi Muslim Asad Shah was murdered on March 24, 2016. Tanveer Ahmed (pictured above), also a Muslim, stabbed him to death for “disrespecting Islam.” Apparently, Shah had posted videos online in which he claimed to be a prophet.

After the murder, Ahmed walked to a bus shelter and seemed to be praying after he sat down. When he was apprehended by the police, he stated that if he hadn’t killed Shah, someone else would have, and the violence in the world would have increased. Later, Shah’s family left their home in Scotland after Ahmed’s confession, stating that the pain and suffering they felt after the shopkeeper had been murdered would prevent them for ever living a normal life there again.

8Bathtub Drowning


Photo credit: ABC News

Andrea Yates, suffering from an extreme case of religious fanaticism exacerbated by mental illness and depression, drowned all five of her children in a bathtub in 2001. The 37-year-old from Texas later told a neurologist that after the birth of her first boy in 1994, she became aware of the presence of the Devil in her home and had seen images of a person being stabbed.

By 1999, she had five children and was in a distressed state. After attempting suicide, she was admitted to a psychiatric institution several times. A month after her last stay, she murdered her children by holding them under the water in their bathtub until they drowned. Andrea claimed that the children would be banished to Hell unless she murdered them and referred to them as the Antichrist and “marks of the beast.”

In 2002, Andrea Yates was sentenced to life in prison after a call for the death penalty was rejected by the court.


7Planned Parenthood Murders


Photo credit: Andy Cross, AP via USA Today

When Robert Lewis Dear was arrested for killing three people at a Planned Parenthood center in Colorado in 2016, he told detectives that aborted fetuses would one day meet him in Heaven and thank him for what he had done. He also believed that Barack Obama was the Antichrist and that Robin Williams killed himself because he made a joke about Obama.

During court proceedings, Dear referred to himself as a warrior fighting for the babies and also told investigators that he thought highly of another man who had murdered a Florida abortion provider. Investigations into his past revealed that he ranted about religion on social media and had lived without water and electricity on multiple occasions. Dear is currently in a mental hospital after having been found to be delusional.

6McDonalds Murder


Photo via BBC News

In May 2014, members of a cult called Church of the Almighty God attempted to recruit new members in a McDonalds in the town of Zhaoyuan by getting their phone numbers so they could call and try to convert them. Wu Shuoyan, age 35, refused to give out her number to strangers, angering the cult. After refusing for a second time, a member named Zhang Fan threw a chair at Wu, and she and her father, Zhang Lidong, proceeded to beat her with mops. Lidong stomped on her head and face. Wu died at the scene.

Lidong claimed that he and the other members believed Wu was a demon or was possessed by an evil spirit and had to be destroyed. (The main belief of their cult is that God has already returned to Earth in the form of a Chinese woman who is about to kick-start the apocalypse.) Lidong and his daughter were executed in 2015.

5Death And Stoning

An 11-year-old Brazilian girl named Kailane had been initiated in Candomble for four months. The Afro-Brazilian religion has a devoted and long-running following in Brazil. Kailane was on her way to a ceremony in Vila da Penha in 2015 when a group of Evangelical Christians threw stones at her, hitting her in the head, while shouting that she would be going to Hell and that the Devil must get out of her. Kailane was rushed to a hospital after she fainted. She fortunately made a full recovery, but she’s now afraid to reveal her faith.

A 90-year-old priestess of Candomble had to endure severe verbal insults and persecution by Evangelicals for at least a year, causing her so much distress that she suffered a heart attack and passed away. The night before she died, a group of Evangelicals held a vigil and shouted insults at her and her faith. Investigations into complaints against the Evangelicals are ongoing.




Photo via The Oklahoman

In 2014, 21-year-old Isaiah Zoar Marin and his brother Samuel were playing a card game with 19-year-old Jacob Andrew Crockett. Samuel later stated to police that Isaiah picked up a black sword that was in the room and started swinging it around. A few seconds later, he heard someone getting stabbed, and when he looked up from the cards, he saw blood flowing freely from Jacob’s chest. Isaiah had stabbed him and had nearly decapitated him.

Samuel stated that he ran away from the crime scene, and Isaiah followed him, trying to explain why he had done what he had done. Isaiah called 911 and confessed to the crime, incoherently speaking about sacrifices and magic. Samuel later told police that Isaiah had strong Christian values and that Jacob practiced witchcraft. Isaiah received a life sentence for the crime.

3The Murder Of Beryl Gilchrist

Religious zealot Jermaine Gilchrist was watching a TV preacher at his mother’s home in London’s Broad Green neighborhood when he became extremely upset with her commenting on what he was watching. He became so upset that he stabbed his mother to death, wrapped her body in a duvet, and left a Bible next to it.

Beryl Gilchrist herself was also involved with a religious sect and had become increasingly withdrawn from her children and family. Jermaine told police that he decided to kill his mother because she only did evil things. He went further to say that she tried to escape, but he dragged her back into the living room, where he killed her. That same day, he also sold his mother’s cell phone at a local store. Jermaine was sentenced to life in prison for his crime.

2Death At A Foundry

Bart Dobben was a schizophrenic and a fanatic about religion and the end of the world. When he was released from a mental institution, he started working at a foundry in Muskegon, Michigan. Dobben refused to celebrate holidays, but on Thanksgiving 1987, he seemed to have a change of heart. He invited his estranged spouse to have dinner with him, along with their two toddlers and his parents. On the way to his parent’s house, he stopped at the foundry to show his boys where he worked and to pick up a Bible he had left there.

While his wife waited in the car, he put his two-year-old and 15-month-old boys into a massive ladle that was used to hold molten metal. He then turned the heat up to 700 degrees Celsius (1,300 °F), burning them to death.

Before this horrific crime, Dobben once anointed his firstborn with olive oil and started covering the boy’s baby pictures with his own diapers. He’d also joined a sect eight months before killing his children. A year after the murders, Dobben’s wife gave birth to their third son and claimed to have forgiven her husband for what he had done.

1The Murder Of Faith Lovemore


Photo credit: MASONS via The Daily Telegraph

In 2009, mental health workers visited the home of Julia and David Lovemore. They found David in a distressed and “psychotic” state, praying and shouting. For some reason, the workers left to find help without checking whether Julia and the couple’s two children were safe.

Unbeknownst to the workers, Julia Lovemore had killed her six-week-old daugher, Faith, by stuffing pages of the Bible into her mouth and sitting on her, smothering the baby to death. When the workers returned, they found the baby’s lifeless body. Both Julia and David were extremely fundamentalist Christians, which fueled their mental health issues. Julia was detained under the Mental Health Act. David was found not guilty of being an accomplice to murder.

Estelle lives in Gauteng, South Africa.

10 Horrors Of Being Invaded By The Assyrian Army

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10 Horrors Of Being Invaded By The Assyrian Army



Nearly 3,000 years ago, a nation few remember today swept through the Middle-East. They laid cities to waste, tortured the survivors, and spread terror everywhere they went. This was Assyria—the first nation to make its military might its central policy and the first nation to torment its enemies with psychological warfare.

Life behind a city’s walls when the Assyrian army drew close was terrifying. Assyria made sure of it. They pioneered the use of terror as a weapon—and they made the lives of their enemies a living horror story.

10An Enemy That Lived At War


Photo credit: Wikimedia

Every Assyrian man, from the poorest to the richest, was required to serve in the army. This was the first country to make military service mandatory for every male citizen, no matter who he was.

The men worked in a three-year cycle. In the first year, they would build roads, bridges, and great projects to build up their strength and the strength of the empire. In the second year, they would go out to war. Then, in the third year, they would be allowed to live with their families—before starting the cycle again.

The result was one of the strongest armies in the world. When they came to your town, the men at the gates were vicious and battle-hardened . . . and there were a lot of them.


9Psychological Terror


Photo credit: British Museum

The Assyrians created tablets that showed them torturing their enemies to let the next city know what was coming. These showed them skinning their victims alive, blinding them, and impaling them on stakes.

One Assyrian King, named Ashurnasirpal II, has left a whole series of these tablets behind, and the descriptions are positively terrifying. “I flayed many right through my land and draped their skins over the walls,” he boasts in one. “I burned their adolescent boys and girls . . . A pillar of heads I erected in front of the city.”

By the time their armies reached your walls, these stories would have spread. Every person watching their chariots approach would know that, compared to the fate the Assyrian army brought, death would be a relief.

8A Chance To Surrender


Photo credit: Wikimedia

Before the battle began, people would often be given a chance to surrender. An envoy would ride up to the city walls, knowing the fear the people there already felt, and would promise them that if they bowed down and paid tribute to Assyria, they would be allowed to live.

“Make peace with me and come out to me!” the envoy called out. “Then each of you will eat fruit from your own vine and fig tree and drink water from your own cistern.” Those who did not, he warned, “will have to eat their own excrement and drink their own urine.”

Many countries surrendered. Others went further. The king of Urartu, upon hearing the Assyrian army approach, stabbed himself in the chest rather than face them. And some sent tributes to Assyria before they ever looked their way, surrendering before they’d even approached to keep them away.


7Advanced Siege Weapons


Photo credit: Wikimedia

Siege weapons barely existed at this time. At best, an army could hope to break through a city’s gates by rushing at it with a log, often while archers fired down on them from below. The Assyrians, though, had some of the first siege weapons in the world. They invented the battering ram, a device that would have seemed completely unstoppable in their time.

This was a whole engine on wheels. It had an iron-capped ram that swung from chains, letting it crush its way through enemy walls like never before. Overhead, the men inside the engine were protected by wooden plates covered in damp animal skins that put out the flaming arrows the defenders fired from above.

6The Complete Obliteration Of Cities


Photo credit: U.S. Navy

Sometimes, the Assyrian army didn’t stop at killing their enemies. When the Assyrian king Seenacherib invaded Babylon, he wiped them off the map. All he left behind was a message, boasting of how far he’d gone to decimate them.

“The city and its houses, from its foundations to its top, I destroyed, I devastated, I burned with fire,” Seenacherib declared. “Through the midst of that city I dug canals, I flooded its site with water, and the very foundations thereof I destroyed. I made its destruction more complete than that by a flood. That in days to come the site of that city, and its temples and gods, might not be remembered, I completely blotted it out with floods of water and made it like a meadow.”

5The Torture Of The Survivors


Photo credit: Wikimedia

One Assyrian king recorded sparing some of the people he invaded but only after they shamelessly humbled themselves before him. “The nobles and elders of the city came out to me to save their lives,” he declared. “They seized my feet and said: ‘If it pleases you, kill! If it pleases you, spare! If it pleases you, do what you will!’ ”

More often than not, though, the surviving men would be put through the hells they used to psychologically terrify the world. That meant being skinned alive, having noses and ears chopped off, and whatever torments they could imagine.

Sometimes, they got creative. One king, Esarhaddon, made noblemen wearnecklaces with their kings’ heads on them. He wrote, “I hung the heads of the kings upon the shoulders of their nobles, and with singing and music I paraded.”


4Lives Of Slavery


Photo credit: British Library

Assyrian art shows a parade of their slaves chained to large stones, being forced to drag massive rocks like mules. The rocks were to be used to build palaces and wonders for the kings, and the slaves couldn’t stop for a moment. Behind them, slave masters were always watching, ready to beat anyone who slacked.

The women had it even worse. After the hell that women of all eras have suffered after wars, they and their children would be led off into slavery. Sometimes, they would stripped naked to humiliate them and leave them feeling weak and vulnerable. In at least one case, an Assyrian king made the women lift their skirts over their heads and march blindly after their captors.

3The Resettlement Policy


Photo credit: Marie-Lan Nguyen

All of Assyria was subject to their resettlement policy, which uprooted whole families and moved them across the country. It was one of the ideas that made Assyria so strong. Experts from conquered countries would be sent into the heart of the nation, where they would be put to work building palaces, temples, and wonders. These people were usually lucky enough to bring their families.

The dangerous men who fought against Assyria were sometimes given a chance to redeem themselves. If the king was merciful, they would be sent to a ruined kingdom on the outskirts of the nation that would be forced to rebuild.

Then the rest would be scattered about the country. The people of a conquered nation would be spread about the kingdom, living alongside of people from foreign lands instead of their own countrymen to keep them packing together and staging a revolt.

2A Brutal Code Of Law


Photo credit: Wikimedia

Many crimes in Assyria were punished by dismemberment or death. If you kissed another man’s wife, they would cut off your lower lip with an axe. If a man was caught with another man, the law said, “they shall turn him into a eunuch.” Adultery was punishable by death.

Some crimes were dealt with in savage ways. Men had to right to murder adulterous wives. Murderers were handed over to the victim’s family, who were free to do with them as they willed.

The people seem to have been a bit squeamish about enacting these laws—but they made sure they did it. “In the case of very crime for which there is penalty of the cutting-off of ear or nose,” the law said, “as it is written it shall be carried out.”

1Post-Traumatic Stress


Photo credit: Wikimedia

Life under the threat of Assyrian was horrifying—for the Assyrians as well as their victims. The men of Assyrian army reported experiences that modern psychologists say show wide-spread symptoms of post-traumatic stress.

“They described hearing and seeing ghosts talking to them, who would be the ghosts of people they’d killed in battle,” says Professor Jamie Hacker Hughes. “That’s exactly the experience of modern-day soldiers who’ve been involved in close hand-to-hand combat.”

The Assyrians were so brutal that their military campaigns even put themselves through hell. The horrors and the guilt of murdering and torturing innocent people wreaked havoc on their psyches. When their year at war ended and they were allowed to return home to their families, they lived lives haunted by ghosts of the people they’d inflicted all these torments upon.