Suicide Rates Increase in Nearly All States


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Suicide Rates Increase in Nearly All States

Suicide Rates Increase in Nearly All States

A map showing increases in suicide rates in U.S. states from 1999 to 2016.

Credit: CDC

In a concerning trend, deaths from suicide have increased in nearly every U.S. state in recent years, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The report found that from 1999 to 2016, suicide rates increased in 49 states, with 25 states experiencing increases of more than 30 percent. Overall, nearly 45,000 people died by suicide in 2016, which is more than twice the number of deaths from homicide, the CDC said.

Suicide is “a tragedy for families and communities across the country,” Dr. Anne Schuchat, the principal deputy director of the CDC, said in a statement. “From individuals and communities, to employers and health care professionals, everyone can play a role in efforts to help save lives and reverse this troubling rise in suicide.” [5 Myths About Suicide, Debunked]

Although suicide is often attributed solely to mental health conditions, it is rarely caused by a single factor, the researchers said. Indeed, the report found that more than half of people who died by suicide did not have a diagnosed mental health condition at the time of their death. Other problems often contribute to suicide risk, such as relationship problems, substance use, or financial or job stress.

Still, Schuchat stressed that better recognition of mental health conditions and improved access to mental health care remain important in preventing suicides.

But “if we only look at this as a mental health issue, we won’t make the progress that we need,” Schuchat said in news conference today (June 7). People can help prevent suicide by recognizing the warning signs, as well as the circumstances that often lead up to suicide, and take this as an opportunity to reach out to the person and help them get the help they need, Schuchat said.

According to #BeThe1To, a public health campaign by the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, warning signs for suicide can include talking about feeling hopeless, trapped or like a burden to others; talking about wanting to die; increasing drug and alcohol use; acting anxiously or behaving recklessly; withdrawing from people; and experiencing extreme mood swings.

If you or someone you know needs help, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States, and just one of three leading causes of death that’s on the rise, according to the CDC.

The new report also found that, among U.S. states and the District of Columbia, suicide rates varied fourfold in 2014-2016, from about 7 per 100,000 residents per year in Washington, D.C., to 29 per 100,000 residents per year in Montana.

During the study period, suicide rates increased in nearly all states, with increases ranging from about 6 percent in Delaware to 57 percent in North Dakota. In Nevada, the only state that saw a decrease, the rate fell by 1 percent. (But Nevada still had a relatively high suicide rate during the study period.)

Preventing suicide requires help from all sectors of society, the researchers said. For example, states can help by expanding options for temporary assistance for those struggling with financial or housing stress; health care systems can help by offering treatment options by phone or online in places where services are not widely available; and communities can help by offering programs and events that bring people together so they feel connected. Everyone can help by learning the warning signs for suicide and how to respond.

Original article on Live Science.

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Diwali: Hindu Festival of Lights


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Diwali: Hindu Festival of Lights

 

Homes are decorated with patterns made with colored rice, lentils and powder during Diwali.

Credit: Aisyaqilumaranas/Shutterstock

 

Diwali, also known as Deepawali, is the Hindu festival of lights. It is celebrated for five days across India and other parts of southern Asia, as well as in many other places around the world. It is the biggest Hindu festival and most important Hindu holiday of the year. During Diwali, people perform cleansing rituals, decorate their homes, gather for special feasts, exchange gifts and light fireworks.

Though the exact dates change depending on local custom, the festival is typically celebrated in the Hindu month of Kartik, which falls in October or November. In 2018, the festival will start on Nov. 5 and end on Nov. 9, according to the Indian Express.

Diwali is “the most awaited and the most celebrated festival of India,” according to the Society for the Confluence of Festivals of India (SCFI), an association that promotes awareness of the festival. It is like rolling “a bit of Christmas, New Year’s Eve and the Fourth of July all into one,” according to Hinduism Today.

Diwali celebrates the light overcoming the dark, according to the SCFI’s website, DiwaliFestival.org. The light symbolizes knowledge and wisdom, while darkness is a symbol for all negative forces, such as wickedness, destruction, violence, lust, envy, injustice, greed, oppression and suffering.

Hindu children held earthen lamps called diyas to celebrate Diwali.

Hindu children held earthen lamps called diyas to celebrate Diwali.

Credit: Asianet-Pakistan/Shutterstock

 

Households light dozens of little clay oil lamps, called diyas, to symbolize the triumph of light over darkness, good over evil, and knowledge over ignorance. The word “Diwali,” or “Deepawali” in Sanskrit, means “a row of lamps” in Sanskrit.

The festival’s roots lie in Hindu scriptures and legends, according to the SCFI, and there are many stories associated with the celebration. For example, Diwali commemorates the triumph of Rama, the lord of virtue, over the demon Ravana, as well as the return of Rama to his kingdom after 14 years of exile.

Hindus also commemorate the victory of the god Krishna over Narakasura, a king who had aligned himself with a demon, causing him to turn evil. Also, Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth — including the wealth of money, pleasure, power, strength, knowledge, peace and children — is said to walk the Earth and bless people. Other legends are celebrated according to different local customs. Sikhs, Jains and Buddhists also celebrate Diwali but mark different events and stories. However, they all symbolize the victory of light over darkness.

Street vendors sell colorful clay idols of the goddess Lakshmi for Diwali.

Street vendors sell colorful clay idols of the goddess Lakshmi for Diwali.

Credit: CRS PHOTO/Shutterstock

The names of the five days of Diwali vary by region. Each day has its own set of traditions and rituals. “The uniqueness of this festival is its harmony of five varied philosophies, with each day to a special thought or ideal,” according to the SCFI.

Dhanteras

On the first day of Diwali, called Dhanteras (or Dhanvantari Triodasi, Dhantrayodashi or Dhan Theras), Hindus celebrate the day that Dhanvantari, the god of good health and medicine, emerged from the ocean with the gift of Ayurveda (the knowledge of life) to humanity, according to the SCFI. They also celebrate the day that Lakshmi also came out of the ocean with a pot of gold, according to the Indian Express. “Dhanteras” translates to mean wealth and prosperity.

Leading up to this day, houses and businesses are cleaned and decorated. Floors are decorated with bright, geometric patterns called rangoli, which serve as symbols of good luck and welcome guests and Lakshmi.

The diyas are lighted in every room of the home all night long so that the dark cannot enter. Sweet snacks, called prasad, are offered to Lakshmi and Yama Raj, the god of death, with prayers (puja) for protection from an untimely death.

This is also a major shopping day, especially for new clothes and for gold ornaments and silver utensils, in order to bring luck and prosperity, according to the Indian Express.

Narak Chaturdasi (Choti Diwali)

On the second day of Diwali, known as Choti Diwali orNarak Chaturdasi, Hindus remember Krishna’s victory over Narakasura. Others, especially in northern India, celebrate Rama and his victory against Ravana, while those in Bengal worship Kali, the goddess of death. Jains also celebrate Mahaveera, the 24th tirthankara (spiritual teacher) of Jainism and his reaching nirvana, or perfection.

On this day, fewer diyas are lit, and fewer fireworks are set off. Many people take a ritual bath before sunrise, rubbing massage oil and uptan (a paste of garam flour and fragrant powders) onto their bodies to relieve tension. They rest to prepare for fully celebrating Diwali.

Lakshmi Puja

The third day, Lakshmi Puja, is the main day of Diwali festivities. It falls on the night of the new moon. Celebrators clean their houses and themselves, dress in their best clothes and pray to Lakshmi and Ganesha, the god of wisdom and remover of obstacles, according to the Indian Express. The prayer rituals can take hours to perform. Lakshmi is believed to roam the land at night and visit the cleanest house first. Diyas are placed in all the house’s windows to welcome the goddess. The night ends with huge feasts and fireworks.

Padwa

The fourth day of Diwali is known as Padwa or Govardhan Puja. Celebrators prepare and offer up a large mountain of vegetarian food to express their gratitude to the gods, according to the SCFI. The day commemorates when Krishna lifted Govardhan Hill to protect villagers from torrential rains and flooding. The mountain of food represents the hill. After the festival, the food is shared by all.

A ritual performed on this day involves building a mound out of mud or cow dung to represent Govardhan Hill, according to the Times of India. The mini-mountain is then adorned with food and flowers and prayers are made to Krishna.

Bhai Duj

The fifth day of Diwali, known as Bhai Duj (also spelled Bhai Dooj)or Bhai Tika (also spelled Bhai Teeka), is dedicated to sisters. According to legend, Yama Raj, the god of death, visited his sister on this day. He gave his sister a vardhan (a blessing), which would be distributed to all those who visited her on that day, freeing them from their sins and allowing them to achieve moksha (final emancipation). Brothers visit their sisters’ homes on this last day of Diwali to pray for long life and prosperity.

Additional resources

10 True Stories Of Karma Providing Instant Justice


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10 True Stories Of Karma Providing Instant Justice

SHANNON QUINN

http://listverse.com/2018/04/07/10-true-stories-of-karma-providing-instant-justice/

Unfortunately, the legal system is set up in such a way where it doesn’t always provide adequate justice when someone commits a crime. Good lawyers and legal loopholes make it possible for criminals to get away with their crimes—if they’re even caught in the first place.

The idea of karma is that a person’s actions, positive or negative, will accumulate and result in what will happen to them in the future. Even if we don’t prescribe to this belief system, most of us would hope that a criminal will somehow end up punished for their crime someday, no matter how long it takes for that to happen. Thankfully, the universe has answered our hopes and wishes because sometimes, it provides incredibly satisfying karmaalmost instantly.

10A Punishment That Fits the Crime


A 19-year-old man named Terrion Pouncy was living in Chicago in 2017 when he decided to rob multiple stores at gunpoint. He approached a hot dog vendor in the city because they usually deal in cash. One of the vendors was holding a bucket of hot grease when Pouncy held a gun to his head, demanding his cell phone, wallet, and all of the money in the cash box.

The hot dog vendor dropped the grease to reach for his wallet. The molten hot liquid spilled over Pounch, and the dollars flew all over the ground. He tried to holster his gun and bend over to pick up the money and accidently shot himself . . . in the penis.

Pouncy survived, but he was held in police custody without bail as he awaited trial for multiple counts of armed robbery. He will definitely go tojail, and considering where he got shot, he should at least win an honorable mention for a Darwin Award, because the likelihood that he will pass on his DNA is now incredibly slim.

9Mine Is Real

In January 2018, two California teenagers attempted to rob a 7-Eleven convenience store with a fake gun. Security camera footage captured the teens wearing hoodies to conceal their identities. The cashier put his hands in the air as they threatened him with the weapon and demanded the money from the cash register.It turns out that a security guard was sitting in a car in the parking lot, and he was armed with a real gun. Since the guard saw the gun pointing at the cashier, he walked inside and shot the teens in their arms. They told the guard that the gun was fake, to which he replied, “Oh well. Mine is real!”

The 16-year-olds didn’t die. In the video, one of them even asks, “Am a shot?” as if he couldn’t tell. They were brought to the hospital for their injuries. The teens were held without bail for the attempted robbery.

8A Bad Taste In Your Mouth


Gas prices have skyrocketed all over the world in the past ten years, but that doesn’t mean most people would resort to stealing. In case you aren’t aware, siphoning gas is a method of taking fuel out of the tank of a car by inserting a plastic hose and sucking on one end until the gasoline begins to pour out. Unless you’re in a post-apocalyptic world, siphoning gas is an awful thing to do, because it often leads travelers stranded with an empty tank of gas.

In 2016, a man in Australia spotted a large tour bus. He knew that these buses had large gas tanks, so he attempted to siphon the fuel. Little did he know that he’d inserted the hose in the sewage tank instead. So, when he sucked, he got a mouthful of human excrement instead. The police were called, but the owners of the bus decided they didn’t want their property back.

7Hear Me Roar


One night in 2005, a South African man robbed a couple who were out on a date. He held a knife to them, demanding that they give him their money. Security guards spotted him committing the armed robbery and started to chase after him. He needed to get away quickly with his loot, so he began running through the city. In the darkness, he climbed a fence and jumped over.

Without realizing it, he had just jumped directly into the tiger’s den of the Bloemfontein Zoo.

The next morning, a visitor at the zoo noticed something strange at the bottom of the tiger’s cage. It was the body of a dead man. Luckily for his family, who needed to bury him, the tiger was well-fed and decided to just kill him without eating his corpse.

Funnily enough, this was not the first time this sort of thing had happened at the Bloemfontein Zoo. In 1997, another criminal jumped the fence to the zoo, but he was apprehended by a gorilla. He tried to shoot the gorilla twice, but it bit him in the buttocks and pinned him up against the wall until the police could arrive.

6Sober Up, Buddy

Drunk drivers are incredibly selfish, and they are responsible for a huge number of car accidents every year. In March 2018, a man was driving drunkin Fairfax, Virginia. He was spotted by police, and they put their lights and sirens on to pull him over. The driver panicked and tried to escape. He slowed the car down. Instead of putting it into park, he jumped out of the driver’s seat while the vehicle was still moving. He ran in front of his owncar in attempt to flee, and the automobile hit him, knocking him into the ground. He probably goes down in history as the only person who has ever run over himself while drunk driving.The entire ordeal was captured on a police car’s dash cam. They arrested the drunk, and it turns out that this was the man’s third time being caught while driving under the influence. Since he already had a record, he could face up to ten years in jail, which will give him plenty of time to sober up.

5Patience Is A Virtue

All of us have probably experienced an impatient driver cutting us off, and they almost never get caught by the authorities for their aggressive behavior. In February 2018, someone was recording their commute with a dash cam as they waited to merge on a highway in Pennsylvania. A line of cars was stopped at a yield sign, with a white SUV in the front of the line. They were waiting for cars to pass before they could safely merge.One driver in a black vehicle was a couple cars behind in line. He was incredibly impatient, so he began honking for the cars to go, despite the fact that the highway was still full of traffic. The black car drove on the shoulder to cut off several cars and zoomed out onto the highway in front of the white SUV, which was still waiting.

It turns out that the SUV was an undercover police officer. He turned his lights and sirens on and pulled over the aggressive driver immediately. The man who recorded the dash cam video screamed in jubilation, “Instant karma, motherf—er!”

4New Wheels Shouldn’t Cost A Life

Photo credit: KCRA-TV

Replacing tires and wheels on a van can be incredibly expensive. Four tires alone cost at least $400, and the wheels themselves can bring the total cost well over $1,000. One December night in 2017, a thief living in Pittsburgh was so desperate for cash that he decided that he wanted to steal the tires and wheels from a Chevrolet Express van.

He jacked up the van with cinder blocks, since he was trying to pull this off in the dark in a parking lot. Unfortunately for him, the bricks did not hold up. They slipped out from under the van, crushing the thief under the vehicle, which weighed thousands of pounds.

The next morning, the owner of the van found the thief’s body crushed underneath the van. The would-be robber did not have a driver’s license or any form of ID on him, and the police could not immediately identify him.

3Caught Red-Handed


A pair of thieves in Seattle, Washington, thought they were sneaky by stealing everything they could carry and slipping out the rear fire exit door of a Costco. In March 2018, however, the security officer recognized the man, who he had witnessed carrying a knife and successfully slipping out the back door with stolen goods in the past. He knew that the man was back to strike a second time and called the police immediately.

This time, the 30-year-old man had a 21-year-old woman with him as his accomplice, and an 18-year old man was sitting in a car as their getaway driver. The man and woman were holding over $2,000 worth of laptop computers and vacuum cleaners. Little did they know that police officers had already arrived, and the back door had been barricaded with their cars.

As the couple burst through the fire exit, the police greeted the them with big smiles on their faces. The thieves were completely shocked to come face-to-face with the cops. They dropped the boxes and didn’t even try toescape. They were arrested immediately, and everything was captured on body cameras.

2Late-Night Snack

Going to a 24-hour Denny’s can be a fun time with friends, but venturing out in the middle of the night also comes with the added risk of running into criminals. In March 2017, a group of four people were getting into a car to leave a Denny’s parking lot in Hawthorne, California, when an armed gunman ran up to them and pointed his gun at the driver, demanding their money.The thief never anticipated that these people wouldn’t go down without afight. One woman in the back seat opened the car door and bolted for the Denny’s so that they could call the police. The driver put the car in reverse and put his foot on the gas. The thief realized that things had already gone south, so he tried to run toward his accomplices in their getaway car, which did not stop for him.

The victim driver did a quick turn and ran over the thief at high speed. The thief was holding the gun as he ran, and the impact of being hit by the car caused him to pull the trigger, and he shot himself in the head. Somehow, the thief survived, and he was taken to the hospital in police custody. None of the customers or employees were hurt, and everything was caught on the security cameras.

1Auld Lang Syne


On December 31, 2010, a female suicide bomber was preparing a terrorist attack during the New Year’s Eve celebration in Moscow’s Red Square, where thousands of people gather in the streets each year around theKremlin to watch a beautiful fireworks display. Along with two accomplices, this woman planned to push her way into a crowded area. Her partners would send a text message to her cell phone at midnight, which would trigger the explosion in the crowd, killing hundreds of people in close proximity to her. Just a few days earlier, the same terrorist group had killed 35 people at an airport, and they were trying to strike again.

As this woman prepared the attack, her cell phone carrier sent her a “Happy New Year” text message a few hours before midnight. This triggered the bomb early, and it exploded. The two accomplices were able to escape the explosion, but the authorities were able to identify them.

10 Crazy Urban Legends With Way More Truth To Them Than You Imagined


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10 Crazy Urban Legends With Way More Truth To Them Than You Imagined

GREGORY MYERS

 

The Internet is stuffed to the gills with urban legends of every kind. In general, they exist to shock you or make you believe something ridiculous in order to get a few more clicks. While sites like Listverse do their best to debunk these legends, some of us become so tired of all the nonsense that we simply dismiss anything absurd-sounding as soon as we hear it.

However, while most urban legends are indeed nonsense, some of the crazier ones have way more underlying truth than you would have ever imagined. Sometimes, the truth is even more disturbing than the legend.

10The Real Russian Sleep Experiment Kept Puppies Awake Until They Died


We’ve all heard of the crazy urban legend of the so-called “Russian Sleep Experiment,” an alleged experiment that later turned out to be a story made up for a creepypasta. The legend tells of several political prisoners who are offered their freedom in exchange for taking part in a sleep study where they are kept awake with gas for weeks in order to see how lack of sleep affects their behavior and functioning. By the time the entire ordeal is over, the test subjects have gone entirely and disturbingly insane, and the story seems unclear how much of it was lack of sleep and how much of it was gas.

While these experiments were not performed on people, a Russian scientist named Maria de Manaceine did perform some forced wakefulness experiments on live subjects during the 1890s. While it may not have been considered ethical to perform this experiment on people, she decided that puppies would be the next best thing to test. Multiple dogs were tested over a period of weeks and were kept awake through forced handling and walking. They were given more than enough food and water but quickly developed lesions on their brains and died within just a few days. The experiment, while horrendously cruel, proved that even with all other nutrients properly taken care of, the brain simply cannot handle a lack ofsleep—we need it like we need food and water.

9Black Cats May Not Be Sacrificed On Halloween, But They Are Used As Costume Accessories


One of the most persistent urban legends of all time, going back countless ages, is the belief that cats, especially those that are black or at least a solid color of some kind, are responsible for luck of various sorts. Black cats in particular are often thought of as bad luck, and other people accuse those who practice Satanism or witchcraft of using black cats in their alleged evil rituals—especially in ways that would injure or otherwise mistreat the animals.

The most persistent legend that has sprung up around all of this is that those who practice dark rituals are going out and adopting black cats during the days around Halloween so that they can sacrifice them during some kind of evil black mass. However, to date, there is no evidence whatsoever that this is happening in any kind of widespread form. This doesn’t mean that placement services that adopt out animals are keen on letting people just go and adopt a black cat during the days around Halloween. While a few have relaxed restrictions, some have made them stronger due to more realistic concerns: They’re worried that people looking to get a cat, especially a black one, right around Halloween may just be looking for a costume accessory and won’t properly take care of the animal in the long run.

8Tug-Of-War Games Have Taken Off Fingers And Entire Arms


A game of tug-of-war is a staple of picnics and other large events and is also one of the most wholesome and safe games you can play, as far as most people are concerned. It’s a team exercise that generally bonds people and leaves everyone laughing and enjoying themselves when one team wins and the other gets dragged along across the line. However, tug-of-war can be one of the most dangerous games in the entire world, especially when proper safety is not being accounted for. Now, we don’t want people to get the wrong idea; if you’re playing with just a few friends per side, these kind of issues are unlikely to be a problem, but the more people involved, the greater the chance that things can go terribly, terribly wrong.

As the old saying goes, it’s all fun and games until someone loses an eye . . . or a hand. And tug-of-war has a history of people losing lots of hands and fingers—far more than most people would ever have imagined. Back in the 1970s, a group of 2,300 middle school students in Pennsylvania attempted a world-record tug-of-war game. The rope snapped, and over 200 students were injured, with several losing their thumbs. In a 650-player game at a Boy Scout event in Germany in 1995, over 100 children were injured and two killed when the rope snapped. In another celebration competition in Taiwan in 1997, at least 40 people were injured, and two people lost their left arms, in a 1,600-person tug-of-war match.

There simply isn’t a rope designed to hold the pulling force of thousands ofhuman beings, and when it inevitably snaps, the forces have to go somewhere. With so many people involved, deaths and serious injuries are almost a certainty.

7A Lawyer Jumps Through A Plate Glass Window To His Death To Test Its Strength


The story of someone accidentally face-planting themselves through a glass window of a skyscraper and falling to their deaths is a rumor that has been thrown around for as long as skyscrapers have existed. While most people do think of skyscraper windows as pretty strong and figure they could withstand some serious abuse, they’re still happy to be careful around the windows and not tempt fate, even if the fear is unjustified. However, one man named Garry Hoy, back in 1993, decided that he didn’t believe any of that nonsense about windows not holding human weight and decided to put it to the test.

He first started by making it look like people were, indeed, foolish to believe that it was a bad idea to try to run face-first into a skyscraper window. He pulled off his stunt multiple times, each time believing that the chance of anything happening was exactly zero. However, one day, he tempted fate one too many times. He was showing off to some law school students at the high rise of the firm where he worked as a law partner and ran into the same window twice. Why he gave a second attempt on the exact same window we will never know, but on the second run at the window, it gave way, and Garry plummeted all the way down to his inevitable death.

As far as anyone knows, Hoy was a very bright young lawyer who wasn’tsuicidal and just had a trust for windows that he shouldn’t have had. When interviewed, a building engineer said that the windows simply weren’t built to stay in their frames when a 73-kilogram (160 lb) human goes flying into them. The engineer seemed more surprised that the tragedy hadn’t happened on one of his earlier attempts.

6Dogs Were Used As Living Drug Mules And Then Sliced Open Upon Reaching Their Destination


Some of the most horrific stories that have made the rounds involve smuggling, especially the evil lengths that some smugglers will go to, even involving their own children or pets if necessary. One of the most enduring urban legends claims that drugs were stuffed inside an already dead baby, and a woman was asked to pretend it was her child to get it through customs. Unfortunately for the smugglers, and the sanity of customs officials, she was caught with her macabre cargo. However, this popular story has never been proven to be true, and every account is from a site that can actually be fairly labeled as “fake news.”

While there’s no evidence that anyone ever stuffed a dead baby full of drugs, that doesn’t mean that drug traffickers haven’t gone to horrible lengths in order to hide their drugs. Dozens of people in Italy were arrested in 2013 when their heinous plot was uncovered: They were making dogsswallow drugs, using the dogs to sneak through customs, and then slicing the canines open upon arrival at their destination in order to get the drugs back. The whole plan finally started to unravel when a customs agent noticed that one of these dogs seemed sick and ordered an X-ray, finding the drugs in question and bringing an end to the smugglers’ diabolical scheme.

5Dozens Of Contact Lenses Became Fused Together In A Woman’s Eye Over The Years

Photo credit: Rupal Morjaria

We’ve probably all heard the legend that if you leave a contact lens in youreye for too long, it can become fused with the eyeball and permanently stuck. In some versions of this legend, the contact cannot be removed, while in others, it just requires incredibly painful surgery to get it unstuck. However, while countless people have temporarily had a contact lens get stuck for a little bit, there is no evidence that contact lenses can actually become permanently fused with the eye, and most people go to the doctor and get a stuck contact taken care of before it becomes a bigger problem.

However, one woman from the UK went to the doctors in 2017 for cataract surgery and ended up having the procedure postponed because of the absolutely shocking thing that they found inside her eye. When they pulled up her eyelid, they found a blue mass that turned out to be multiple contact lenses fused together. After another examination, they found several more, for a total of 27 contact lenses that had been stuck in her eye for years.

Apparently, the woman had experienced multiple occasions where she couldn’t find the contact in her eye, assumed it had fallen out, and just went ahead and put in another one, without ever bothering to consult a doctor as to whether that made sense as a strategy. While it is probably relieving for those with contacts to know that they won’t permanently fuse to your eyeball, it is also quite shocking to know that someone could manage to live having that many foreign objects stuck under their eyelid without going mad.

4People Think Of Dangerous ‘Challenges’ As An Urban Legend, But Chubby Bunny Has Killed


Nearly every year, we hear about yet another stupid “challenge” that teens or children are undertaking in order to prove themselves and be silly in front of their peers. Many of these are a controversy over nothing and are quite harmless, and others simply aren’t happening on the level some parents imagine. For example, much of the hysteria lately centers around a “challenge” involving Tide Pods, but while the media would have you believe this is a horrific epidemic, and calls to poison control about the issue have spiked, there is no evidence yet of any death because of it.

However, while some challenges such as the above are overhyped, or actually do good like the Ice Bucket Challenge, some of the more innocent-sounding challenges are actually quite dangerous. The Cinnamon Challenge has caused people to go to the emergency room on more than one occasion because they started to choke, and the Chubby Bunny challenge has caused the deaths of children and adults alike. The challenge consists of the individuals involved trying to stuff as many marshmallows into their mouths as they can and then say “chubby bunny” with the proper articulation. If you spit, cough, or choke, you lose. Unfortunately, games like this can be a choking hazard, especially when unsupervised children are involved, and Chubby Bunny could claim yet more lives if people continue to play it. Luckily, its popularity seems to have waned greatly over the years in favor of other challenges.

3Skinny Jeans Can Actually Cut Off Circulation And Cause Medical Complications


Many people have heard the urban legend of a woman who wore her tight skinny jeans so much that she could no longer properly use her legs. The only solution was to amputate them from her body entirely, leaving her in a wheelchair for the rest of her life. The story has been passed around by dozens of news outlets, but they all go back to the same tabloid story that has nothing whatsoever to truly back it up. However, that doesn’t mean that wearing skinny jeans is entirely safe or all that good for you.

Now, if you’re worrying about getting a blood clot and dying, you should rest easy. Doctors don’t believe the tightness from skinny jeans can actually cause a blood clot. However, they do believe that if you wear them tightly enough and do a lot of moving around, you could potentially squash the nerves (not pinch them, though) and temporarily give yourself serious discomfort and make it very hard to walk on your own. A case study in Australia tells of a woman who wore her skinny jeans while helping a friend move. She did a lot of bending and squatting, and she started to feel sore, swollen, and numb in the legs as the day wore on. When she went to walk home, she collapsed from the numbness and had to be taken to thehospital. She kept her legs just fine, but it was a few days of treatment before she was let out and was able to walk normally again on her own.

2Hanging Your Head Out The Window Of A Car Might Not Decapitate You, But You Can Still Die


Many of us have stuck an arm, or even a whole head, out the car window occasionally to enjoy a breeze or even allowed a child or a pet to do so. It would seem on its face as harmless fun to most people, who don’t really consider just how close cars often get to each other or to other things they are passing. Now, there has long been the legend going around, perhaps started by the more worried mothers of the world, that if you stick your hand or head out the window of the car, you may just hit something and have that entire body part sheared clean off.

This is simply not the case. Unless you’re actually hitting a sharp enough surface, it is unlikely that you’re going to have your head ripped from your body. And likewise, unless your arm hits an edge or is caught on something, it is unlikely to be pulled clear off. However, this doesn’t mean that there is no danger. There have been multiple recorded incidents of people banging an arm while holding it out the window and breaking it or hitting their head while hanging it out and dying because their neck was snapped internally.

1There Is Little Evidence That Cell Phone Use Causes Cancer, But Landlines Can Kill You


The risk of getting some kind of cancer or other brain damage from using acell phone is something that has been tested and speculated on since essentially the beginning of cell phones but has never been truly proven or disproven to anyone’s satisfaction. Even if there were some risk, it would likely be to those who are constantly holding the phone up to their ear—a way of using phones that is becoming less common with each passing generation.

However, while older people tend to like to decry the dangers of new technology, in this particular case, when it comes to telephones, the greater and more proven danger relies with landlines, the older kid on the block. While deaths from doing so are relatively rare, the warning to not use your landline during a thunderstorm is a very good one that should be heeded. If the lightning strikes the telephone line while you’re using it, the risk of electrocution is real, and there are indeed well-documented deaths that have been caused by this phenomenon. The younger generation should beware, though: Talking on or using a cell phone that is plugged into a charger could potentially hold a similar risk, especially if the charger isn’t plugged into a surge protector.

10 Heartbreaking Tales Of Faithful Dogs


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10 Heartbreaking Tales Of Faithful Dogs

BEN GAZUR

 

Dogs are well-known as a human’s best friend. Some people may prefer cats, but if you want a pet that will show you affection and care whether you live or die, then a dog is the pet for you.

The loyalty which makes dogs such devoted friends is so strong that it can last unto death and beyond. Here are 10 stories of faithful dogs that will make you want to hug your best friend extra tightly.

10Shep

In 1936, a shepherd in Montana became ill in the field and had to be rushed to the hospital. His dog, Shep, refused to be separated from his owner and followed the man, whose identity is unknown, to the hospital. While Shep waited for his master at the hospital doors, he was fed by a local nun. Unfortunately, the shepherd died.

When the man’s body was carried to the local train station to be transported home, Shep followed. Workers at the station remember the dog whining as the casket was loaded onto the train and sped away from the faithful dog.

For the next five years, Shep remained by the train tracks. As each train arrived (around four trains a day), he would carefully examine each person who got off as if searching for his master. Shep became famous because of his long vigil and was fed by the staff at the station. As he aged, he became deaf and failed to hear an approaching train. It struck and killed the loyal dog.

Shep now has a bronze statue set up in Fort Benton to recognize his patient wait to be reunited with a friend who would never return.

9Capitan

Photo credit: odditycentral.com

When Manuel Guzman died in 2006, his beloved dog, Capitan, disappeared from the family home. No one saw the dog for a week until he turned up at his master’s grave. The family had never taken Capitan to the site, so it is a mystery as to how he found Guzman’s grave.

Now when the Guzman family visits the graveyard every Sunday, they go to see Martin’s resting place and to check that Capitan is doing well. They had tried to take Capitan home several times after he first went to the grave, but he escaped to return to his owner’s side.

Sometimes, the dog will leave the graveyard to go to the family home. But he always returns at night to rest beside his master. The staff at the cemetery has taken over the task of feeding the loyal dog. They say that he will wander around the site during the day but lies down on his master’s grave at 6:00 PM sharp. As of today, Capitan is still waiting for his master.

8Gelert

Photo credit: historic-uk.com

In the 13th century, legend has it that Prince Llywelyn the Great of Wales had a faithful dog called Gelert who was his favorite among his entire pack of hunting dogs. When the prince sounded his hunting horn one day, all his dogs appeared, except Gelert.

The prince went on the hunt, leaving his dog behind. Upon the prince’s return, Gelert greeted his master joyfully. But something was wrong. The dog was covered in blood. Immediately, Llywelyn thought about his young son, who been left at home.

There was chaos in the palace. The child’s cradle was knocked over, and there was more blood splattered across the room. Assuming the worst, the prince took his sword and slew Gelert.

Only then did his infant son start crying. He was underneath the cradle, and behind it was a huge dead wolf. Gelert had saved the child and killed the dangerous beast attacking him. The prince honored his dead dog for its heroism by giving Gelert a public funeral.

Oddly, there is an almost identical story from France. In that tale, the dog was called Guinefort and it was discovered too late that the dog had saved a baby from a snake. Guinefort received more than just a funeral. For hundreds of years, the dog was revered as a saint locally even though the Catholic Church disapproved.

7Waghya

Photo credit: Rajasekar

In India in the 17th century, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj was a warrior who battled his way to becoming king and founder of the Maratha Empire. Although Shivaji was revered by some as a hero of Indian nationalism, there are legends that he did not accomplish all his feats alone.

Waghya, his dog, seems to have spent years beside Shivaji. When Shivaji died, the king underwent a traditional cremation on a funeral pyre. Waghya was not content to stay beside his master’s tomb. As the funeral pyre was lit, the dog leaped into the flames and died. When a memorial was built to the great Shivaji, one was also erected to his faithful dog.

Until 2012, Waghya’s monument was a popular site with most locals. Some people objected, however. They claimed that the story of Waghya’s sacrifice was just a legend and was insulting to Shivaji. A large group of people gathered, pulled down Waghya’s statue, and threw it into a neighboring valley. Seventy-three people were arrested, and Waghya’s monument has not yet been restored.

6Fido

Many dogs who remain faithful to their dead masters only receive full recognition for their loyalty after death. Fido, an Italian dog whose name means “Faithful,” was one of the few honored during his lifetime. Pictures survive of Fido being shown the bronze statue erected in his honor.

Starting life as a stray on the street, Fido was adopted by Carlo Soriani in 1941. Soriani discovered Fido as a puppy trapped in a small gully and rescued him. Fido was true to his name and followed Soriani everywhere. Each morning, he would follow his master to the stop where Soriani caught his bus to work. Then Fido waited until Soriani returned from his factory job.

All was well until December 1943 when an Allied bombing raid killed Soriani in his factory. Fido waited for the bus that evening, but his master never returned. Fido eventually went home to Soriani’s widow. But each evening for the next 14 years, the dog would return to the bus stop and wait for his master.

To honor the dog’s faithfulness, the town awarded him a gold medal, freedom from paying taxes, and a statue.

5The Lapdog Of Mary, Queen Of Scots

Photo credit: historic-uk.com

Mary, Queen of Scots, led a turbulent life. She became queen of Scotland at just six days old, was briefly the queen consort of France, and lost her own throne after returning to Scotland. Fleeing to England, she was held captive by her cousin, Queen Elizabeth I, because Mary’s Catholicism was a threat to Elizabeth’s rule.

One of the few constants in Mary’s life was the collection of small lapdogs that she had gained in France. During the long years of her captivity, it was said that Mary would speak to her dogs to stave off her loneliness.

Eventually, Queen Elizabeth signed Mary’s death warrant because plots were springing up to place Mary on the English throne. As Mary was led to the axeman’s block, no one noticed that she was not alone. Hiding underneath her skirts was one of her dogs.

When Mary’s head was cut off, her skirts were seen moving and the little dog crawled out. Covered in blood, the lapdog huddled in the gap between the queen’s body and her head. According to legend, the dog was only removed with difficulty and starved itself to death.

4Ruswarp

Photo credit: The Telegraph

When Graham Nuttall did not return from his day of walking in the mountains of Wales, his friends raised the alarm. It was January 1990, and the weather was severe. Search parties spent a week looking, but they failed to find any sign of Nuttall or his dog, Ruswarp.

Eventually, the search was called off. Eleven weeks later, another walker stumbled on Nuttall’s body beside a stream. Ruswarp, weak and starving, was found beside him. After 11 weeks in the snow and rain while keeping vigil beside his owner, Ruswarp was so weak that he had to be carried down the mountain. He lived long enough to attend Nuttall’s funeral but died soon afterward.

In 2009, a bronze statue of Ruswarp was unveiled at a train station which Nuttall had been instrumental in reopening. Ruswarp had added his voice to a petition that saved the train station by placing his paw print beside the thousands of human signatures.

3Kostya

Photo credit: twistedsifter.com

In the Russian city of Tolyatti, a dog could be seen waiting beside a busy road all day long. Despite the efforts of locals to find a new home for the dog, he would always return to his spot beside the road. When they began to investigate, they discovered that the dog had a tragic past.

The dog was waiting at the site of a car crash. A young girl had been killed instantly, and her father had died in the hospital from his injuries. The only survivor of the crash was their dog. For the dog’s loyalty to his owner, Tolyatti’s citizens started to call him Kostya (“Loyal”).

Kostya stayed at his post for seven years looking for the return of his family. When he was found dead in the woods nearby, local people mourned. The city set up a statue of Kostya called “Loyalty.” Now, newlywed couples rub the statue’s nose in hopes of the spouses being as faithful to each other as Kostya was to his family.

2Hachiko

Photo credit: Momotarou2012

Hidesaburo Ueno was a professor of agricultural studies in Japan who wanted a rare Akita dog. Finally finding one, he adopted the dog in 1924 and called it Hachiko. The two soon became inseparable.

Each day, Hachiko would walk with Ueno to the train station. Then the dog would return in the evening to wait patiently for his master. Just one year after they had met each other, Ueno died suddenly while lecturing. Hachiko waited in vain beside the station for his owner.

People soon began to notice this faithful dog and would leave food and treats for Hachiko as rewards for his loyalty. The story of Hachiko spread, and his example of devotion was widely praised in Japan. With Hachiko present, a statue to the dog was unveiled in 1934.

When he died in 1935, Hachiko was mourned. A photo shows people gathered sadly around his body. The statue of Hachiko is a popular monument in Tokyo. Those wishing to get even closer to the dog can do so in the National Museum of Nature and Science in Tokyo where Hachiko is stuffed and on display.

1Greyfriars Bobby

Photo credit: The Telegraph

On the corner of Candlemaker Row in Edinburgh, tourists crowd around a small bronze statue of a dog to get a picture of it. Just across the road is Greyfriars Kirkyard, where the legend of Greyfriars Bobby came into being.

The traditional story is that John Gray, an Edinburgh policeman, had a terrier called Bobby that accompanied him on his rounds. When Gray died, he was buried in Greyfriars Kirkyard. However, Bobby would not be parted from his master.

Despite the best efforts of the graveyard keeper, the dog would not leave. Eventually, people came specifically to see Bobby keeping guard next to Gray’s grave. When Bobby died after a 14-year vigil, he was buried close to his master in the kirkyard and given a gravestone that reads: “Greyfriars Bobby—died 14th January 1872—aged 16 years—Let his loyalty and devotion be a lesson to us all.”

Of course, there are those who cast doubt on the story. One researcher has claimed that the staff tending the churchyard lured a dog to the grave with food and spread the rumor of his loyalty to encourage visitors. Pubs near the churchyard profited from the increased attention.

It has even been suggested that when one “Bobby” died, it was replaced with a similar dog to keep the Bobby business going. But that’s a depressing idea. Most people prefer to believe the idea of the faithful dog.

In Photos: South Korea from Above


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In Photos: South Korea from Above

The Pyeongchang Olympic Stadium

Credit: SeongJoon Cho/Bloomberg via Getty

10 Harrowing Christmas Accounts That Were Far From Festive


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10 Harrowing Christmas Accounts That Were Far From Festive

MARCUS LOWTH

http://listverse.com/2017/12/25/10-harrowing-christmas-accounts-that-were-far-from-festive/

Whatever your reasons for celebrating it, whether it’s religious belief or just the chance to spend carefree quality time with family and loved ones, Christmas is generally a time of joy, happiness, and festive fun. However, on occasion, what should be a time of love for all around us can quickly turn into a festive nightmare. Those who learn of such events from afar are shocked, while those who survive such incidents see the holiday seasons forever marked with terrifying and horrific memories.

As we will see as we go down our lit of the darker side of Christmas, as much as the holidays bring out the best in most of us, for some, they can bring out dark and twisted feelings that finally bubble over to breaking point. Here are ten such examples.

10Kristy Bamu Accused Of Witchcraft

Photo credit: Met Police

As soon as paramedics saw the lifeless body of 15-year-old Kristy Bamu in the bathtub on Christmas Day 2010, they could tell he was subject to a horrific ordeal before he had drowned. His body was battered and bruised, and if that wasn’t enough, the bathroom and the room next to it were awash in what would be confirmed to be the young boy’s blood. In all, later reports would show he had 130 separate injuries upon his body.

They had been called by the sister of the dead boy, Magalie, who asked them to hurry to the flat in in Newham, East London, stating, “My brother has drowned himself in the bath.” Investigation would show that Magalie, along with her boyfriend Eric Bikubi, had turned the rooms into makeshift torture and interrogation chambers, apparently under the impression that Kristy Bamu was a witch.

According to family members, Kristy had only arrived several days earlier in order to spend Christmas with his sister. However, according to the eventual trial, Kristy had “wet himself,” and upon attempting to hide his underwear (likely out of embarrassment), he was discovered by his sister and Bikubi, who bizarrely made the assertion he must be a witch.

Bikubi would arrange rituals and bizarre ceremonies aimed at “forcing the Devil” out of Kristy (and his siblings, who Bikubi had also accused ofwitchcraft). Part of these ceremonies included severe beatings, which took the teenager to the brink of death. He was then taken to the bath to clean up. Being barely conscious, his body simply collapsed in the water, and he was unable to lift himself out. By the time his sister returned, he was dead. The jurors heard that Bikubi was a controlling person and that he was the main instigator behind the needless death.

9Where Did The Sodder Children Go?

Perhaps what makes the case of the five missing (and presumed dead) children of the Sodder family even more tragic is that the case is still officially unsolved over six decades after the events.

On Christmas Eve 1945, near the small town of Fayetteville, West Virginia, the Sodder family, George and Jennie and their nine children (a tenth child was away in the military), would settle in their beds, awaiting for sleep to guide them through to Christmas morning. For five of the children—Maurice, Martha, Louis, Jennie, and Betty (ranging from five to 14 years old)—the morning would not come.

A fire ripped through the property an hour or so after midnight. Both parents made it out of the building alongside their four remaining children—Sylvia, Marion, John, and George. The fate of their other offspring, though, is unknown. No remains were ever found, either inside the burned-out house or in the surrounding area. Despite this, death certificates were issued less than a week later.

The Sodders, though, began to think things through a little further. For example, a worker at a local crematorium told Jennie that bones remain even after two hours of burning at 2,000 degrees. The fire at the Sodders’ home at no point reached such high levels of heat and was put out within 45 minutes. Faulty wiring was stated to be the cause of the fire, but the Sodders’ power had remained on as the fire raged. Further still, witnesses reported seeing a strange man near one of the older children’s trucks just before the fire. (His truck refused to start following their escape from the property.) Perhaps most chilling of all, the family would find what they believed to have been the remains of a “napalm pineapple bomb” in their yard, an interesting discovery, as Sylvia would recall hearing a thud and rolling sounds on the roof shortly before the fire began.

Then came the sightings of four of the five children in a car with Florida plates. They were accompanied by two women and two men of “Italian extraction.” Theories began to suggest that the Sodders had been mixed up with local Mafia or that the children were kidnapped on the order of unknown parties. The last surviving member of the Sodder family, Sylvia, firmly believes her siblings not only survived the fire that evening but were taken somewhere against their will by persons unknown.

8Tricia McCauley

Photo credit: WJLA-TV

On Christmas Day 2016, the body of Tricia McCauley was riding around Washington, DC, as her killer drove her car—the reason he had strangled her to death in the first place.

Her body would be discovered a little over 24 hours later when her vehicle, still being driven by her killer, Adrian Duane Johnson, was pulled over by police following a report from a member of the public, Jonathan Padget, who had seen an appeal for the missing actress on television. As well as strangulation marks around her throat, there was evidence that she had been badly beaten in the attack.

Padget had seen Johnson sitting in McCauley’s parked car with loud music and cigarette smoke pouring out of the windows. As the car drove away, Padget made note of the license plate, later matching it to the police appeal, at which point he notified them of his sighting.

What made Tricia McCauley’s death even more enraging was that only days earlier, Johnson, who had a string of assaults and convictions behind him, had been ordered by a judge to have GPS monitoring device fitted to his person. When he was arrested, this device was missing. Needless to say, many were critical of the justice system that allowed Johnson to be in a position to end an innocent person’s life.

7Rebecca Johnson—The Lapland Murder

Photo credit: BBC News

When Rebecca Johnson ventured off to Finland to work in Lapland as part of the Christmas holiday period in December 2016, neither she nor her family could have dreamed her trip would end so tragically.

Rebecca was working as a tour guide on Christmas-themed adventures into the unforgiving terrain of the Arctic. Her body would be discovered in the flat she shared with her boyfriend, a Czech national named Karel Frybl (also named by some sources as Radek Kovac), seemingly having been the victim of a brutal and vicious attack. Frybl would be arrested as the main suspect following his bizarre manhunt by police through the snowy wilderness. He had attempted to flee on one of the nearby husky sledges in conditions that had seen the temperature drop to almost –30 degrees Celsius (–22 °F). The authorities would use snowmobiles, helicopters, as well teams of husky dogs to eventually find the suspect in a considerably bad way, almost dead from hypothermia.

What made the devastation cut even deeper for the family is that Rebecca’s body would not be released to her native Scotland until the investigation was complete, which would take considerable time.

In August 2017, Frybl admitted to killing Rebecca, though he claimed he had no memory of the attack and had suffered a “temporary mental breakdown.”

6Bruce Pardo—The Santa Claus Killer

In an account that reads like the grimmest of horror stories, Bruce Pardo, labeled the Santa Claus Killer, would terrorize an entire household before ending his own life.[5] His 2008 Christmas Eve killing spree in Covina, an otherwise quiet suburb of Los Angeles, California, would leave nine people dead (a number of whom were murdered execution-style). At least one was killed by Pardo’s subsequent arson.

It was shortly before midnight on Christmas Eve, when Pardo, dressed in full Santa Claus costume, got out of his car and walked to the front door of his ex-wife’s parents’ home. As soon as the door opened, Pardo opened fire with the semiautomatic weapon he had in his hand.

After his initial wave of bullets, which led to family members inside the house dropping to floor like deflated balloons, Pardo would put the weapon down and turn his attention to the brightly wrapped package he was carrying. He unwrapped it and produced a homemade flamethrower. Within seconds, the house was aglow with flames.

He would retreat shortly after, himself injured and burned from his crudely made flamethrower. He would be found later that evening at his brother’s home, dead from an apparently self-inflicted shotgun wound to the head. However, perhaps indicative of his mental state at the time, he had seemingly given little concern to his own well-being during the attack, as his body had severe burns, with the Santa Claus costume “melted to his skin” in places.

It would appear, from investigations afterward, that the murder spree was the result of life going wrong (his failed marriage), increasing pressures (child support and increasing debt), and finally an attempt to defraud the courts in order to lighten his child support payments. When he was caught, he was fired, and shortly after, he seemingly snapped.

5Los Feliz Murder—The House Where Every Day Is Christmas?

Photo credit: Alexis Vaughn

It’s not so much the murder-suicide that took place in a mansion in the extremely affluent Los Feliz district of Los Angeles but the rumors that persisted in the following decades, particularly when the Internet invaded people’s homes, that made the events of December 1959 live on in the grim folklore of otherwise sunny and happy California.

According to the story, at 4:30 AM on December 6, respected and successful cardiologist Harold Perelson took a hammer to his wife’s head while she slept, leaving her to choke on her own blood as he proceeded into the bedroom of his teenage daughter, Judye. He attacked her in the same way, but surprisingly, she managed to flee the property screaming before ringing the police.

Bizarrely, he didn’t attack his two younger children, instead telling them, “Go back to bed. This is a nightmare.” They did as told. By the time the police and emergency services had arrived at the Spanish-style mansion, Perelson was dead from an overdose of painkillers (31 pills were discovered in his system) and two doses of Nembutal (a barbiturate). It is believed Perelson and his family were in a mountain of debt, and like the Bruce Pardo incident that we looked at earlier, he simply snapped.

The spooky parts of the tale—if indeed they are true and not just urban legend—is that the house remained decorated for Christmas, looking just as it did on the night of the murders, complete with wrapped presents under the tree. The property apparently became a target of thrill-seekers and adventurers. The house was sold after the murders, but by most accounts, it has remained empty, aside from a family who rented the property very briefly in 1960. Some people attribute the Christmas decorations to this unknown family, with the legend stating that “something” made them flee the property without taking any of their possessions with them on the anniversary of the murder-suicide.

4Gabriel Cadis


On January 6, 2012, in Jaffa, near Tel Aviv, lawyer, accountant, and Arab Christian leader Gabriel Cadis was stabbed to death by a man wearing a Santa Claus costume, following a parade. The area’s Greek Orthodox community were to celebrate Christmas the next day.

According to authorities, the murder was in relation to a local family rivalry, and three Arab Israelis, all from the same family, were soon arrested. Two other suspects were placed under house arrest.

In 2016, Tufik Dalou and Faud Abu Maneh, both in their twenties, were found guilty of the murder. It is believed that (then) 56-six-year old Tala Abu Maneh had ordered the killing, although this was never proven or confirmed.

According to reports, it was Cadis’s recent third election victory as leader of the Greek Orthodox Christians that had created increased tensions in the community, particularly with the Abu Maneh family. Israel has a huge Christian population, and the timing of the murders to coincide with Greek Orthodox Christmas Eve was purposeful, according to investigators.

3Carnation Murders

Christmas Eve 2007 in Carnation, Washington, would see Michele Anderson take the lives of three generations of her own family. Later investigations, and indeed Michele’s own confession, would show the killings were influenced mainly by a perceived debt of $40,000 that her brother Scott Anderson (one of the deceased) owed to her. When her parents took his side and suddenly requested that she and her boyfriend (and accomplice) Joseph McEnroe begin paying rent for the family-owned trailer they lived in, the pair hatched their deadly plan.

Just after 4:00 PM on that fateful Christmas Eve, Michele and Joseph arrived at the family home and quickly shot her parents to death, before dragging their bodies to a shed in the garden and cleaning their blood from the floors in the house.

They then sat waiting for her brother, his wife Erica, and their two young children, who were coming for a family meal. Upon their arrival, the pair opened fire, killing them all. They fled the property, leaving the bodies to be discovered on December 26 by a coworker of the mother’s, who had grown concerned by her friend’s absence from work.

Police soon suspected Michele and her boyfriend due to their seemingly unconcerned behavior as well as their equally suspicious alibi that they were out of town on the day of the murders, as they had planned to marry in Las Vegas. They told police they’d changed their minds and headed back to Carnation.

McEnroe would be sentenced to life in prison in 2015, while Michele would be found guilty of all six murders and was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole in April 2016.

2Ron Gene Simmons’s Christmas Killing Spree

Photo credit: Crime Scene Database

Over a seven-day period from December 22 to 28, 1987, former US Air Force master sergeant Ronald Gene Simmons went on a killing spree through Arkansas that would leave a total of 16 people dead, 14 of them family members.

Simmons would begin his horrendous murder spree by shooting his wife and eldest son dead before strangling his three-year old granddaughter, who was staying at the house. He waited for four more of his children to return home, before taking each child separately out to the back of the property and holding their heads under the water in a large rain barrel.

He would remain at the family home until other members of his family arrived for a preplanned Christmas visit, which they did on December 26. He would shoot his son and daughter as well as their spouses. He strangled or drowned their children. In a dark, sick twist, his daughter Sheila had been the subject of sexual abuse at the hands of her father for years, and her daughter had actually been fathered by Simmons himself.

Two days later, Simmons would travel to nearby Russellville, where he would gun down a young woman who he was (by all accounts) infatuated with but who had turned down his advances. He would take shots at several people throughout the town over the following hours, killing one more person (who was no more than a stranger to him) before he gave himself up to police and handed over his weapon. He was ultimately found guilty of all 16 murders and sentenced to death.

In a bizarre twist to an already extremely dark tale, Simmons would need to be kept separate during his time spent on death row due to threats on his life from other prisoners. This wasn’t due to the horrific nature of his crimes, nor that he had sexually abused his own daughter (before murdering her), but because his refusal to appeal his death sentence, they believed, would weaken their own chances of appeal. Simmons was executed by lethal injection in June 1990.

1Aziz Yazdanpanah


Shortly after 11:00 AM on Christmas Day 2011, 56-year-old Aziz Yazdanpanah donned a Santa Claus costume and declared he wanted to be “all fatherly” to his family when he showed up at their apartment in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Then he shot his estranged wife, their two teenage children, his sister, his brother-in-law, and their 22-year-old daughter dead before shooting himself.

Although it was well-known to those who knew him that Yazdanpanah was having problems with his marriage, his increasing financial difficulties weren’t as commonly known. As we have looked at in several other such cases on this list, the murders by Yazdanpanah appear to have been the result of a mind that had simply broken.

According to the police reports, it was Yazdanpanah himself who had called police at 11:34 AM, stating to them, “Help. I am shooting people.” A text, later found on the phone of his murdered niece, was sent at 11:15 AM, stating, “Now he wants to be all fatherly and win father of the year.” It is believed that shortly after that text was sent, the murders began.

When police arrived at the scene, they found evidence of what appeared to be an attempt to “frame” his dead brother-in-law, as one of the guns used in the killings had been placed in his hand (presumably by Yazdanpanah). Police would state that at some point after making the phone call to authorities, he suddenly became “overwhelmed,” possibly having come to the awful realization of what he had done, so he simply turned the gun on himself.