Top 10 Strange, Interesting, and Unique Biographies

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It’s always interesting to read about people that have made an impact on history.  A large collection of strange, inspirational and unique life stories exist.  For this article I have selected ten biographies that examine a wide range of topics and experiences.  I chose individuals that provide intriguing facts and unparalleled life experiences.  Some of the cases are mysterious, while others are humorous and shocking.  These people were selected without any strict guidelines, and from a wide range of areas.  Please feel free to contribute your own interesting life stories.

10. Edward Mordrake

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Edward Mordrake was reportedly a young man that lived during the 19th century.  At birth, Edward was stricken with a bizarre medical condition.  He was born with an extra face on the back of his head.  The face could laugh and cry, but not eat or speak.  Edward begged his doctors to have the “demon head” removed, because it whispered Satanist language to him at night.  However, no doctor would attempt it.  The description of Edward Mordrake’s condition is somewhat similar to those of Chang Tzu Ping and Pasqual Pinon.  Both Mordrake and Pinon are featured in The Book of Lists (1976).

Sadly, Edward Mordrake committed suicide at the age of 23.  It is hard to establish the true facts behind his condition because of the lack of reliable medical records.  His birth was not recorded and conflicting accounts exist regarding his suicide, as well as the placement and position of his extra face.  Much of what is known about Mordrake is based on oral retelling.  A viral image does exist that supposedly shows Edward, but the picture can’t be authenticated.  In 2002, Tom Waits wrote a song about Edward Mordrake titled “Poor Edward” for his opera Alice.

Interesting Fact

Craniopagus parasiticus is a medical condition in which a parasitic twin head with an undeveloped body is attached to the head of a developed twin, giving the impression of two heads.  There have been ten documented cases of this phenomenon.  However, at least eighty different accounts have been written about in history.

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9. Barry Bremen

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Barry Bremen was a West Bloomfield, Michigan insurance and novelty goods salesman.  He is known in the sports world as The Great Imposter.  From the period of 1979 to 1986, Bremen posed as a Major League Baseball umpire at the World Series, a player in a MLB All-Star Game, a player in a NBA All-Star Game, a referee in the NFL, a Dallas Cowboys cheerleader, and a professional golfer.  He also posed as an Emmy Award accepter.  Barry lived by the motto of “no guts, no glory.”  However, his advice to other impostors: “Don’t do it.  It’s against the law.  Stay away.  This is my act.”

On February 4, 1979, Barry Bremen wore a Kansas City Kings uniform and got on the floor during warm-ups for the NBA All-Star Game.  He was eventually called out by All-Star Otis Birdsong, who played for Kansas City and said to Bremen: “How come you’re on my team and I don’t know you?”  On July 17, 1979, with the help of telecaster Dick Schaap and Kansas City Royals third basemen George Brett, Bremen snuck onto the field dressed in a New York Yankees uniform at the MLB All-Star Game.  He shagged fly balls in the outfield for a half hour and attempted to pose for a group picture with future Hall of Famers Brett, Reggie Jackson, Joe Morgan, Mike Schmidt, Gaylord Perry, Dave Winfield, Steve Carlton, Nolan Ryan, Carl Yastrzemski, Lou Brock, and Tommy Lasorda.

At the 1980 World Series, Bremen dressed as an umpire and walked out to home plate with the actual umpires before he was discovered.  In 1981, he posed as a line judge referee at Super Bowl XV.  At the 1979 U.S. Open, Bremen (who had a 7 handicap) played a practice round with Wayne Levi and Jerry Pate.  He returned for an encore at the 1980 U.S. Open, where he played so poorly in a practice round that a spectator asked the United States Golf Association how such a lousy golfer had made it through qualifying.  In 1985, Bremen played a practice round with Fred Couples, Jay Haas, and Curtis Strange at the U.S. Open.

Interesting Fact

At the 1985 Emmy Awards in Pasadena, Bremen suddenly arose from a front-row seat and accepted a Best Supporting Actress award from a confused Peter Graves.  The Emmy was meant for Hill Street Blues actress Betty Thomas.  “Betty would like to thank everybody for this award, especially Dick Schaap.”  Bremen was arrested and fined $175 for his stunt.  He later apologized to Thomas, telling her he had thought she wasn’t there to accept the award.

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8. Tommy Burks

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Tommy Burks was a farmer and Democratic Party politician in Tennessee, United States.  He served in the Tennessee State Senate from 1978 until his murder in 1998.  Born in Cookeville, Tennessee, Burks was one of the most conservative Democrats in the state legislature.  He opposed the teaching of evolution in school science classes, legal abortion, gambling, and a state lottery.  On October 19, 1998, Burks was assassinated by his Republican Party opponent, Byron Looper, less than a month before his likely re-election.  Looper was found guilty of shooting Burks in the face outside his Tennessee farm.

Byron Looper is currently serving a life sentence in Morgan County Correctional Complex.  After his murder, Burks’ wife Charlotte ran for his seat and won.  She did not campaign, but defeated Looper by a landslide margin, receiving 95% of the vote.  Charlotte Burks became the first Tennessee State Senator to win as a write-in candidate and one of few American politicians to accomplish the feat.  Charlotte Burks was reelected in 2002 and 2006 with no substantive opposition.  In 2010, when Republicans picked up many seats in the General Assembly, Burks won re-election to a 4th four-year term by a margin of just 183 votes over her Republican opponent, Gary Steakley.

Interesting Fact

Only four U.S. senators have been assassinated in history, two of them being State Senators.  They are David Ramsay (South Carolina State Senator, 1815), Huey Long (United States Senator from Louisiana, 1935), Robert F. Kennedy (United States Senator from New York, 1968), and Tommy Burks (Tennessee State Senator, 1998).

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7. Heinrich Müller (Gestapo)

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Heinrich Müller was a German police official under the Weimar Republic and Nazi Germany.  He became chief of the Gestapo, which was the political secret state police of Nazi Germany, and was involved in the planning and execution of the Holocaust.  Heinrich was known as “Gestapo Müller” to distinguish him from another SS general named Heinrich Müller.  As Gestapo and Chief Of Operations, Müller played a critical role in the suppression of all forms of resistance to Hitler.  He was highly involved in the Holocaust and responsible for the extermination of the Jews in Europe.  In April 1945 Gestapo Müller was among the last group of Nazi loyalists assembled in the Führerbunker in central Berlin as the Red Army fought its way into the city.

Müller was last seen in the bunker on the evening of May 1, 1945, the day after Hitler’s suicide.  Hans Baur, Hitler’s pilot, later quoted Müller as saying, “We know the Russian methods exactly.  I haven’t the faintest intention of being taken prisoner.”  From that day onwards, no trace of Gestapo Müller has ever been found.  He is the most senior member of the Nazi regime whose fate remains a mystery.  In 2001, the Central Intelligence Agency’s file on Müller was released under the Freedom of Information Act and it documents several unsuccessful attempts by the U.S. to find him.  The search for Gestapo was complicated by the fact that “Heinrich Müller” is a very common German name.

Interesting Fact

The CIA apparently remained convinced that if Müller had survived the war, he was being harbored within the Soviet Union.  However, when the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991 and their secret archives were opened, no new evidence emerged.  It remains unlikely that Müller, who was born in 1900, survived the war.

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6. Semir Osmanagic

semirosmanagic.

Semir Osmanagic is an author, amateur archaeologist, and contractor in metalworking, residing in Houston, United States.  He is best known for promoting the Bosnian Pyramids theory.  The theory states that a collection of cluster formations near the Bosnian town of Visoko, northwest of Sarajevo, is the largest pyramid valley on Earth.  The hill named Visocica became the focus of international attention in October 2005 following a media campaign promoting the idea that it is human-made.  The 213-meter (699 ft) Visocica hill, upon which the old town of Visoki was once stood, is shaped like a pyramid.

In 2006, Osmanagic started a massive archeological dig at the site and his subsequent excavations have uncovered what he claims is an entrance plateau and tunnels, as well as stone blocks and ancient mortar which once covered the structure.   Osmanagic has named Visocica Hill the Pyramid of the Sun and two nearby hills, the Pyramid of the Moon and the Pyramid of the Dragon.  Two other structures have been identified, the Pyramid of the Earth and the Pyramid of Love.  Newspaper reports have quoted Osmanagic as saying the pyramids were constructed by ancient Illyrian inhabitants of the Balkans from 12,000 BC to 500 BC.

The scientific community has completely dismissed the Bosnian Pyramids theory.  A collection of prominent archeologists and historians have come forward to say that the so-called pyramids are nothing more than natural formations with no sign of human building.  Additionally, scientists have criticized Bosnian authorities: “This scheme is a cruel hoax on an unsuspecting public and has no place in the world of genuine science.”  The current target of the project is to complete the six-year excavation by 2012.  According to Osmanagic, the date is in order to “break a cloud of negative energy, allowing the Earth to receive cosmic energy from the center of the galaxy.”

Interesting Fact

According to Semir Osmanagic, the Bosnian pyramid complex consists of five main structures.  They are each about 1.5 miles apart, geographically forming a perfect equilateral triangle.  He says the five pyramids are connected by what is the world’s most extensive underground tunnel network.  It was also discovered that the very top of the Pyramid of the Sun emits a continuous energy beam at a frequency of 28 kilohertz (ultrasonic frequency) in a radius of 13 feet.  Even more astonishing is that tests showed the intensity of the focused energy beam gets stronger at higher elevations above the top of the pyramid, this seemingly contradicts our physical laws which state that the energy should be stronger closer to the source.

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5. Edwin Booth

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Edwin Booth was a famous 19th century American actor who toured throughout the United States and the major capitals of Europe, performing Shakespeare.  In 1869 Edwin founded Booth’s Theatre in New York, a spectacular theatre that was modern for its time.  He was a celebrity during his day and some historians consider Edwin the greatest American actor, and the greatest Hamlet, of the 19th century.  However, he is usually remembered today as the brother of John Wilkes Booth, the man who assassinated President Abraham Lincoln.  After John Wilkes shot President Lincoln in April 1865, the infamy associated with the Booth name forced Edwin to abandon the stage for many months.  At the time of the assassination he was feuding with John Wilkes and disowned his younger brother after the event, refusing to have his name spoken.

Interesting Fact

In a bizarre coincidence, Edwin Booth saved Abraham Lincoln’s son Robert from serious injury or even death on a train platform in Jersey City, New Jersey.  The exact date of the incident is uncertain, but it is believed to have taken place in late 1864 or early 1865, shortly before Edwin’s brother assassinated Abraham Lincoln.  The event occurred while a group of passengers were purchasing their sleeping car places on the train station platform.  The platform was about the height of a car floor, and there was a narrow space between the platform and the car body.  As the train moved, Robert Lincoln was pushed into the open space and Edwin grabbed him by the coat collar and pulled him to safety.  Upon turning to thank his rescuer, Robert recognized the man as Edwin Booth, whose face was well known.

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4. Ricky McCormick

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Ricky McCormick is a man that died in St. Charles County, Missouri.  His body was discovered on June 30, 1999.  At the time of his death, Ricky had a collection of encrypted notes in his pocket.  All attempts by the FBI’s Cryptanalysis and Racketeering Records Unit (CRRU) and the American Cryptogram Association have failed to decipher the notes, which are listed as one of the CRRU’s top unsolved cases.  On March 29, 2011, the FBI issued an appeal for help from the public in obtaining the meaning of the messages.

Ricky McCormick was a high school dropout who suffered from chronic heart and lung problems.  He was unemployed, on disability welfare, and 41 years old at the time of his death.  Originally, McCormick’s death was not labeled a homicide and there was no indication that anyone had a motive to kill him.  In 1999, he was not reported missing by anyone and Ricky’s body was discovered by someone driving along a deserted field road.  News stories in 1999 did not mention anything about the cipher messages, which were not announced until 12 years later.

Investigators believe the notes in McCormick’s pants pockets were written three days before his death.  The two notes are written in an unknown code consisting of “a jumble of letters and numbers occasionally set off with parentheses” and are believed by the FBI to possibly lead to those responsible for McCormick’s death.  The case is bizarre as McCormick’s death was never officially listed as a murder.  The FBI’s interest in the case after 12 years is intriguing.

Interesting Fact

According to members of his family, McCormick created encrypted notes since he was a boy.  Nobody had the ability to decipher the codes and McCormick would not speak about them.  The FBI has received a large response from the public and has set up an extra Internet page to handle the traffic.

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3. Aristotle Onassis

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Aristotle Onassis was a prominent Greek shipping magnate.  He was born in Karatass, a suburb of Smyrna (now Izmir, Turkey) to Socrates and Penelope Onassis.  During his lifetime, Onassis was involved in a wide variety of business operations, including the exportation of tobacco and whaling.  On October 20, 1968, he married Jacqueline Kennedy, widow of U.S. President John F. Kennedy.  It was reported that Onassis offered Mrs. Kennedy $3 million (US) for herself and $1m for each son in return for marriage.  After Onassis’ death, Jacqueline would receive $150,000 each year for the rest of her life.

A large collection of rumors exist surrounding the life of Aristotle Onassis.  The Gemstone File is a series of documents by American writer Bruce Porter Roberts (1919–1976).  The series claims that suppressed information has played a major role in shaping world events since the 1950’s.  The documents propose that Aristotle Onassis, Joseph P. Kennedy, and other prominent figures were involved in various schemes to forward a vast global conspiracy, involving the Mafia and corrupt politicians, oil and drug cartels, and rogue military operations.  It posits that early in 1957, Aristotle Onassis had Howard Hughes kidnapped from his Beverly Hills Hotel bungalow and Hughes suffered a massive brain injury during the event.

The papers claim that Hughes was subsequently made a virtual prisoner by Onassis on Skorpios Island and was regularly injected with morphine.  Meanwhile, Onassis took over the operation of his financial affairs, including airlines and U.S. defense contracts.  One controversial aspect of the Gemstone File is the accusation that Aristotle Onassis was the man behind the election of John F. Kennedy as President, and subsequently, Kennedy’s assassination in 1963.  According to Bruce Roberts’ Gemstone papers, Lee Harvey Oswald was a participant in the JFK assassination plan.  He was linked to the Central Intelligence Agency and Mafia connections in New Orleans.  However, his role was that of a patsy.  The Gemstone File names Jimmy Fratianno, Johnny Roselli, and Eugene Brading as the real shooters.

Interesting Fact

When Robert F. Kennedy decided to run for the Presidency in 1968, the Gemstone papers say that Aristotle Onassis had him murdered.  A man named Sirhan Sirhan was allegedly hypnotized and set up to be the shooter.  However, Sirhan’s shots missed the senator.  According to the documents, the real shooter was Thane Cesar, a security guard at the scene.

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2. Leo Major

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Corporal Leo Major was a Canadian soldier in the Regiment de la Chaudiere in World War II.  He is the only Canadian in the British Commonwealth to have been awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal twice, and the only Allied soldier to be awarded two DCMs in two different wars (World War II and Korea).  The story of his accomplishments is impressive.  During a reconnaissance mission on D-Day, Leo Major captured a German armored vehicle by himself.  The vehicle contained German communication equipment and secret German Army codes that were valuable to the Allied attack.  Days later, Leo killed four German soldiers in an ambush.  During the event one of the Nazis managed to ignite a phosphorus grenade and Major lost one of his eyes.  Despite strict orders, he refused to be evacuated.

In the summer of 1944, Major single-handedly captured 93 German soldiers during the Battle of the Scheldt in southern Holland.  In February 1945, he was involved in an accident when a military carrier he was traveling in got struck by a tank mine.  Major claimed to remember a loud blast followed by his body being thrown into the air and smashed down on his back.  He broke his back in three places, shattered both ankles, and four ribs.  A week later Major left the hospital and soon joined up with his old command.  In 1945, Leo Major played a large role in the liberation of the city of Zwolle, Netherlands from Nazi control.  He also fought in the Korean War, where Major won another Distinguished Conduct Medal for capturing and holding a key hill (Hill 355).

Interesting Fact

Leo Major died in 2008, but he is still remembered as a hero by Canadians, Dutch, and pretty much anybody who can appreciate a war hero.  Today, Major’s military unit offers a yearly award in his honor to the toughest company in the regiment.  The people of Zwolle continue to teach the story of Leo Major in their public school curriculum.

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1. Henry Darger

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Henry Darger was a reclusive American writer and artist who worked as a custodian in Chicago, Illinois.  Darger’s work has become one of the most celebrated examples of outsider art, as he was self-educated and did not achieve notoriety until after his death.  Henry has become famous for his posthumously-discovered 15,145-page, single-spaced fantasy manuscript called The Story of the Vivian Girls, in What is known as the Realms of the Unreal, of the Glandeco-Angelinian War Storm, Caused by the Child Slave Rebellion, along with several hundred drawings and watercolor paintings illustrating the story.

Darger’s work contains many religious themes.  The Realms of the Unreal is about a large planet around which Earth orbits as a moon and where most people are Christian (mostly Catholic).  The majority of the story concerns the adventures of the daughters of Robert Vivian, who are seven sisters and princesses of the Christian nation of Abbieannia and who assist in a daring rebellion against the evil John Manley’s regime of child slavery imposed by the Glandelinians.  The book took Darger over six decades to complete and extends over 15 immense, densely-typed volumes of 15,145 total pages.

In addition, Henry Darger wrote an eight volume, 5,084-page autobiography entitled The History of my Life.  He wrote a 10-year daily weather journal, assorted diaries, and a second work of fiction provisionally titled Crazy House.  Darger is well known for his watercolor paintings and drawings.  Despite his unusual lifestyle and strange behavior, Henry is not generally considered to have been mentally ill.  His behavior was erratic and greatly depressed.  In the last entry of his diary, before his April 1973 death (at the age of 81 years) Darger wrote: “I had a very poor nothing like Christmas.  Never had a good Christmas all my life, or a good new year.”

Interesting Fact

Darger’s work is among the highest-priced of any self-taught artist.  In 2001, The American Folk Art Museum in New York City opened a Henry Darger Study Center.  His art now commands upwards of $80,000 per drawing.

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21 Comments

  1. Here is a good one. Ferdinand “Fred” Demara, (b. December 21, 1921 – d. June 7, 1982). He posed as a Benedictine Monk, A Priest, A Prison Warden, A Teacher, An Editor, A Cancer Researcher and a Military Surgeon. He wrote his autobiography and it soon became a movie entitled “The Great Imposter” starring Tony Curtis.

  2. I would like to add Ferdinand “Fred” Demara (b. December 21, 1921 d. June 7, 1982). Fred posed as an impersonator of a Benedictine Monk, A Priest, A Prison Warden, A Teacher, A Newspaper Editor, A Cancer Researcher and a Military Surgeon. He wrote his Autobiography which then became a movie entitled “The Great Imposter” starring Tony Curtis as Fred.

  3. Albert Ostman

    Albert Ostman was a Canadian prospector who was supposedly abducted by a Sasquatch and held captive for six days. The event took place near Toba Inlet, British Columbia in 1924. He did not tell the story until 1957.

    In 1924, Albert Ostman went on vacation to Toba Inlet near Powell River, British Columbia. He was searching for a lost gold mine located around the area. As Ostman lay asleep one evening a Sasquatch purportedly picked him up and carried him off while he was in his sleeping bag. Ostman was carried in his sleeping bag across country for 3 hours by the Sasquatch. The Sasquatch dropped Ostman down on a plateau. Standing around him was a family of 4 of the creatures.

    Albert was kept captive by the Sasquatch. The captors were 3 adults and a child which held Ostman captive for six days. One of the Bigfoots was reported as being 8 feet tall. Ostman did not use his gun on them as they had done him no harm. He stayed with the Bigfoot family for a week. Ostman ate “sweet tasting grass” that they gave him. According to Ostman the female Sasquatch washed and stacked leaves. Albert escaped by making the large male Sasquatch groggy by feeding him some snuff.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albert_Ostman

  4. Seth Kinman (1815-1888)

    Seth Kinman was an early settler of Humboldt County, California. He was a master hunter and famous chair maker. He stood over 6 ft (1.83 m) tall and was known for his hunting prowess and his brutality toward bears and Indians. Kinman claimed to have shot a total of over 800 grizzly bears, and, in a single month, over 50 elk. He was also a hotel keeper, barkeeper, and a musician who performed for President Lincoln on a fiddle made from the skull of a mule.

    Known for his publicity seeking, Kinman appeared as a stereotypical mountain man dressed in buckskins on the U.S. east coast and selling cartes de visites of himself and his famous chairs. The chairs were made from elkhorns and grizzly bear skins and given to U.S. Presidents. Presidents so honored include James Buchanan, Abraham Lincoln, Andrew Johnson, and Rutherford Hayes. Kinman may have had a special relationship with President Lincoln, appearing in at least two of Lincoln’s funeral corteges, and claiming to have witnessed Lincoln’s assassination.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seth_Kinman

  5. Awesome list. I don’t know about the others, but they could have done more research for Leo Major, it seems he just read the badass of the week article. It is hard to find new information on him, but it only gets more insane as you dig things up. I believe that the at the time he lost his eye, he was fighting eight German SS soldiers. And he didn’t just play a large role in the liberation of Zwolle, he is THE liberator. When his friend Willie Arsenault was killed outside of Zwolle while Leo and him were on a recce mission, Leo pretty much went berserk. He strapped 3 machine guns to his back, grabbed a sack of grenades, and ran around ambushing patrols, setting fires, and creating explosions. He attacked the SS HQ and burned down the Gestapo HQ. Most sources say he captured 80-100 German soldiers throughout the night, but it is possible he could have captured around 150. He created so much noise that the Germans thought they were being attacked by a giant force, and they retreated from the city. Remember, Zwolle is a provincial capital city, with about 50,000 citizens and 1000 German soldiers occupying it at the time.
    And the hill he captured in Korea… it seems just as impressive to me as his liberation of Zwolle. 10,000 American soldiers had to retreat from the hill from 40,000 Chinese soldiers. They tried retaking the hill but failed. So they sent Leo, leading his team of 20 French-Canadians. When they recaptured the hill, they were counter-attacked by 14,000 Chinese soldiers for 3 days until reinforcements arrived. Major had been told to retreat but he refused and held his ground. He just died in 2008.
    Sorry for the rant lol, but Leo Major simply amazes me.

  6. I have had a very big interest upon the Kennedy Conspiracies since I was a teen. No.3, Aristotle Onassis is a very big surprise to me, but when it comes to the theories of JFK and RFK being assassinated, It really doesn’t surprise me. But offering Jackie O $3 million dollars to marry him ? I find that to be chauvinistic and very pigheaded, then again, Jackie O wasn’t the most approachable person as well and I am sure there may be some conspiracies about her as well.

    • I don’t know why she married Ari but it probablty was the power thing because three million dollars would have been walking around change for Jackie–Her father,Blackjack Bouvier, had more money than the Kennedys and her sister was married to royalty.

  7. J. D. Tippit (1924-1963)

    J. D. Tippit was a police officer with the Dallas Police Department who, according to two government investigations was shot and killed by Lee Harvey Oswald 45 minutes after he assassinated President John F. Kennedy. Oswald’s initial arrest was for Tippit’s murder, not Kennedy’s.

    15 minutes after JFK was assassinated, J.D. Tippit received a radio order to move into the central Oak Cliff area of Dallas. At approximately 1:11–1:14 p.m., Tippit pulled alongside Lee Harvey Oswald who was walking on East 10th Street in Oak Cliff.

    Oswald walked over to Tippit’s car and apparently exchanged words with him through the open vent window. Tippit opened the door and started to walk around the front of his car. As he reached the front wheel on the driver’s side, Oswald drew a .38 Special Smith & Wesson Victory revolver and fired four shots in rapid succession, hitting Tippit three times in the chest. He then walked up to Tippit’s fallen body and shot him directly in the head, fatally wounding him.

    Since the Warren Commission Report was published in 1964, some researchers have uncovered evidence and witness testimony that calls into question some of the Commission conclusions regarding Tippit’s murder. Some of this evidence indicates that Oswald may have had an accomplice in the killing, or that possibly Tippit was killed by an assailant other than Oswald.

  8. Park Young Seok (1963-2011)

    Park Young-Seok was a South Korean mountaineer. He is the first person in the world to complete the True Adventure Grand Slam. During his lifetime, Seok climbed the world’s 14 Eight-thousanders, the Seven Summits, and visited both poles. He holds the Guinness World Record for climbing six of the 8,000-meter Himalayan peaks within one year, and another record for reaching the South Pole on foot in 44 days, self-sufficient and without any food re-supplies.

    He climbed Everest, K2, Kangchenjunga, Lhotse, Makalu, Cho Oyu, Dhaulagiri, Manaslu, Nanga Parbat, Annapurna, Gasherbrum I, Broad Peak, Gasherbrum II, and Shishapangma.

    Park went missing on October 23, 2011 while attempting a new route on Annapurna. His team decided to abort the climb at around 6400 meters due to heavy rock fall and went missing during the descent. Despite a dangerous and daring rescue operation to find the climbers, no signs were found. The Korean Alpine Federation called off the rescue operation for Park and his team on October 28, 2011. He leaves behind a wife and two sons.

    Richard C. Weaver

    Richard C. Weaver is a Californian man known by the nickname “Handshake Man.” Weaver has earned notoriety for frequently bypassing the US Secret Service and shaking the hand of the United States President. Weaver claims to have shaken the hand of four US Presidents after Jimmy Carter. However, with little evidence of such events, it is unknown if these instances actually occurred.

    One event occurred at the 1997 inauguration of Bill Clinton where Weaver managed to shake Clinton’s hand. The incident led the Secret Service to prepare for his return in 2001. However, in 2001 Weaver was able to bypass security and meet the recently inaugurated George W. Bush. During the event, Weaver handed George W. bush a coin. The Capitol Police took the matter seriously as a breach of security.

    Weaver says the handshakes are used as a way of passing “notes from God” to the presidents. According to his site, Weaver is a born-again Christian who believes that God has directly spoken to him and calls himself a “modern day prophet.” On February 6, 2003 Weaver attended the National Prayer Breakfast meeting and was able to hand Bush an eight page typed letter about Iraq “from God.” In 2005, Weaver was arrested on an outstanding warrant related to this event. In late 2008, Weaver stated that he would not attempt to shake Barack Obama’s hand and has not yet done so.

  9. Aleksandr Karelin

    Aleksandr Karelin is a Hero of the Russian Federation. He was a dominant Greco-Roman wrestler for the Soviet Union and Russia. Karelin is generally considered the greatest Greco-Roman wrestler of all time. He was born as a 5.5 kg (12 lb) baby and went undefeated in international competition (spanning from 1987 to 2000). After going 13 years undefeated and six years without giving up a point, he lost to American Rulon Gardner in the gold-medal match at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

    Karelin was revered for his extraordinary strength and is perhaps the strongest human to ever compete in athletic competition (pound for pound). He competed at the heaviest weight class of his day, 130 kg (286 lb). He was 6-feet-3 1/4 inches tall. Karelin’s conditioning and quickness combined with his dominance of the sport, led to him being known as “The Experiment.” When asked why he thought he was called that, Karelin noted that others don’t understand because “I train every day of my life as they have never trained a day in theirs.” When asked for a reply, the reported just shook his head.

    • Aleksandr Karelin was one imposing figure and I did see the match on TV pitting him and American Rulon Gardner. Its really too bad what happened to Rulon when he endured his snowmobile “accident” in which some of his toes had to be amputated due to frost-bite. But you have written a very good synopsis of the man known as “The Experiment” Its mind blowing to think that he never lost in 13 years, but even more so never giving up a point in 6 years. Kudos to you, my friend.

  10. Phoenix Jones

    Phoenix Jones is the leader of a ten-member citizen crime-prevention patrol group who call themselves the Rain City Superhero Movement, operating out of Seattle and Lynnwood, Washington. In a CBS news broadcast, Jones was shown entering a back room of an unnamed comic book store in which he changed into a costume which consists of a Dragon Skin bulletproof vest and stab plating, as well as equipment including a stun baton, pepper spray or tear gas, handcuffs, and a first aid kit.

    Jones says that all members of the Rain City Superhero Movement have a military or mixed martial arts background. He does not condone other people dressing up and fighting crime. On Sunday, January 2, 2011, in Lynnwood, Phoenix Jones stopped and chased away a car thief as the car owner stood by in shock. On September 24, 2011, in the Belltown neighborhood of Seattle, Phoenix Jones doused a man with pepper spray after he attempted to steal a bus.

    In another incident, Phoenix Jones came to the defense of a potential fight victim. In their report, the police called it a case of “questionable use of pepper spray”, but the victim later told the Seattle Times that Jones was indeed a hero who had saved him from “a potential beat-down.” On November 27, 2011, near the Belltown neighborhood of Seattle, Phoenix Jones and crew followed a man accused of stabbing another man. They prevented the attacker from fleeing until the Seattle police arrived.

    On December 30, 2011, in the Belltown neighborhood of Seattle, Phoenix Jones and his crew provided police with valuable evidence on a New Years Eve shooting. When asked if he would have someone arrested for smoking marijuana, Jones said he considered it a low priority, and that he has no problem with people using drugs, but wants drug dealers to “sell somewhere else.” In reality, Phoenix Jones is a man named Ben Fodor. Benjamin Fodor holds an 11-0-0 record in unsanctioned amateur mixed martial arts fights and a 4-0-0 professional fight record.

  11. Candace Newmaker (1989-2000)

    Candace Newmaker was a victim of child abuse, killed during a 70-minute attachment therapy session. The treatment used during the session included a rebirthing script, in which Candace was suffocated to death. In April of 2000, Candace and Jeane Newmaker traveled to Evergreen, Colorado for a $7,000 two-week “intensive” session of Attachment Therapy with Connell Watkins.

    Following the script for that day’s treatment, Candace was wrapped in a flannel sheet to simulate a womb and told to extricate herself from it, with the apparent expectation that the experience would help her “attach” to her adoptive mother. While being told to free herself, four adults used their hands, feet, and large pillows to resist all her attempts to free herself. She complained, pleaded, and even screamed for help and air. In a recorded script of the events, Candace stated several times during the session that she was dying.

    Forty minutes into the session, Jeane asked Candace “Baby, do you want to be born?” Candace faintly responded “no,” this would be her last word. A year later, Watkins and Ponder were tried and convicted of reckless child abuse resulting in death and received 16-year prison sentences. Watkins was paroled in June, 2008, under “intense supervision” with restrictions on contact with children or counseling work, having served approximately 7 years of her 16-year sentence.

  12. Eugen Weidmann (1908-1939)
    Eugen Weidmann was the last person to be publicly executed in France. In 1937, he decided to murder and kidnap rich tourists visiting France to steal their money. The murder trial of Weidmann, Million, Blanc and Tricot in Versailles in March 1939 was the biggest since that of Henri Désiré Landru, the modern-day “Bluebeard”, 18 years earlier. On June 17, 1939, Weidmann was beheaded outside the prison Saint-Pierre in Versailles.

    The “hysterical behavior” by spectators was so scandalous that French president Albert Lebrun immediately banned all future public executions. Unknown to authorities, film of the execution was shot from a private apartment adjacent to the prison. British actor Christopher Lee, who was 17 at the time, witnessed this event. Executions by guillotine in France continued in private until September 10, 1977, when Hamida Djandoubi was the last person to be executed.

  13. Here’s a good one. Carl Tanzler (1877-1952) was a German-born radiologist at the United States Marine Hospital in Key West, Florida who developed a morbid obsession for a young Cuban-American tuberculosis patient, Elena Milagro “Helen” de Hoyos (July 31, 1909 – October 25, 1931), that carried on well after the disease had caused her death. In 1933, almost two years after her death, Tanzler removed Hoyos’s body from its tomb, and lived with the corpse at his home for seven years until its discovery by Hoyos’s relatives and authorities in 1940.

  14. Just how many “Great Imposters” have there been? About every 20 years we hear about another one. The one Tony Curtis played in the early 60’s was said to actually have existed.

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