Dutch matricidal maniacs, evil clowns, molasses, and more!
Today's Dutch Yet Truly Morbid Fact!
A Dutchman has been accused of murdering his mother, flaying her, and then cloaking himself in her skin during a street festival. The 42-year-old, identified only as Roland Z, was held after police in the southern town of Vlaardingen received reports a man was causing a disturbance. He was said to be wearing a strange suit or draped in a flag, and shouting quotations from the Bible. "This man was arrested while he stood attempting to direct traffic," said police spokesman Henry Hambeukers. "He said immediately that he had killed his mother." Investigators found the body of the 76-year-old woman in her apartment. "This man vandalised her corpse after her death. We are not discussing details out of sympathy for the man's mother, and for him too," Hambeukers said. He could not confirm reports the man had a history of mental illness and had joined a Christian cult, but said police were looking closely at his background. Dutch media were filled with gruesome details of the killing. Reports said the man wandered for several hours during the Carnival, a popular street festival in the southern Netherlands. Many thought he was drunk and wearing a costume.
Culled from: Press Association, Ltd.
Generously submitted by: Bill
Now, there's a killer who studies the masters!
The Library Eclectica Upgrade
In order to make The Library Eclectica a bit easier to maintain, I've switched it over from my website to an Amazon.Com aStore. I have added my reviews and descriptions wherever possible, so that the aStore is still personalized, and hopefully you'll find it a more pleasant and interesting browse than before. I've also added a number of new categories and I've added most of my book collection to the site as well. If you're looking for a Christmas present for that special morbid person in your life, why not have a browse here?
The Comtesse Reviews...
Dark Tide: The Great Boston Molasses Flood of 1919
by Stephen Puleo
As anyone who follows MFDJ is well-aware, I am a huge fan of non-fiction books. I like to think that what I am reading is "real" - or at least, that the events really happened basically in the manner in which they are relayed. It makes for a much more satisfying experience for me than reading fiction - which I like to call, "Made Up Shit" (MUS). Granted, some people Make Shit Up that is compelling to read, so I'm not knocking the talent inherent in the great fiction authors. For the most part, however, I leave the Made Up Shit on the bookshelf.
Which brings me to the biggest problem that I have with historical non-fiction books. When the main characters of the stories are deceased, the authors can't interview them to find out their innermost thoughts and experiences. Yet, in order to make the story more personal and readable, the authors feel the need to "get inside the heads" of the primary characters, and imagine what they were feeling or saying or doing as certain key events unfolded around them. In other words, they resort to the anathema of non-fiction: they Make Shit Up.
Some writers, such as Erik Larson of The Devil In The White City fame, are very good at this, and can bring characters to life in a believable manner. And then there are writers like Stephen Puleo, whose Dark Tide: The Great Boston Molasses Flood of 1919 I just finished reading (well, half-reading, half-skimming). There were times while reading this book that I literally laughed out loud at the ridiculous sentences this guy dreams up.
My personal favorite:
"Martin Clougherty walked home from the Pen and Pencil Club on this damp Wednesday morning with elation and wistfulness as his companions, both tugging at him like lovers competing for his affections." Uh-huh. Is this an entry for the Bulwer-Lytton Contest?
Or how about this beauty?
"The firefighter was close to him, so close that Barry could smell his foul breath." Could smell his foul breath???? Really? Was that documented in an interview somewhere or are you just Making Shit Up again? Or are you assuming that everyone had foul breath in those days? I swear, I was half-expecting to read a sentence like, "As he lay there trapped in the darkness, with the sticky molasses clinging to his head and body, George Layhe passed gas, quickly filling the crawl space with his noxious fumes. It occurred to him that he would rather smell his own gas than the sickly sweet odor of the molasses that threatened to devour him."
I mean, really, why not? If you're just Making Shit Up to spread a short story out to a novel length, then why not at least make it entertaining?
Okay, obviously, this book annoyed me... but it wasn't all bad. The first half of the book, especially the history of the molasses trade and the creation of the doomed, structurally flawed molasses tank, was pretty interesting. The chapters on the molasses flood itself were rather disappointing, however, and the entire second half of the book - about the court proceedings against the owner of the tank, United States Industrial Alcohol - was such a snoozefest that I literally skimmed the final chapters, desperate for the tedium to end.
Since the Boston Molasses Flood has long been one of my favorite eccentric disasters, I was hoping that I would find this book an enjoyable and enlightening read, but alas, the most enlightening thing I learned is that the story that people sometimes tell me, that you can still smell molasses in the neighborhood on hot summer days, is a myth. Pity.
Morbid Mirth Du Jour!
All herald the Evil Clown Generator!
Thanks to Elizabeth for the link.
Cathy writes to tell me about her page on Jim and Tammy Fay Bakker's tragic abandoned Kingdom, Heritage Park.
"See the park that Jimmy built. This is a work in progress, but I've posted about 50 of the 200 pictures. The park was basically an entire resort area (2200+ acres) built by James Bakker. When James ran into some issues, the park was closed and, with the exception of a few minor attempts, was basically frozen in time. Much more info to follow, but check this one out!! (Lots-N-Lots of pics!)"
The site is awesome - thank you, Cathy!
Labels: alcoholic drinks, annoyances, christmas, dinners, elizabeth, eric m., erik, fay, generators, george, henry, james, jokes, martin, maxed-out tags limit, morbid facts, ocdl, reading, sex, stephen