Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Bizarre Circus Tragedies

I was perusing the internet and came across a few examples of bizarre circus deaths. So I decided to look further in order to find the oddest of the odd:


Charles Rench was a beloved clown with W.W. Cole, P.T. Barnum, and the Irwin Bros. He was so successful that in 1886, at the age of 16, the Barnum circus presented him with "a magnificent gold-headed cane" as part of a special ceremony in front of a packed house in his hometown of Columbus. Unfortunately, Rench sustained serious injuries after a fall during a performance which ended his career.

CLOWN BURNS HIMSELF TO DEATH / Columbus, Ohio, June 25. - Charles Rench, a well known circus clown, who had been in ill health, piled papers on the floor of his room here yesterday, applied a match, and then lay on the flaming pyre. His sister, with whom he lived, attempted to drag Rench to safety, but he resisted, and she was badly burned before she abandoned her efforts at rescue. He was burned to death. (New-York Tribune, 1908)


In 1870, the traveling James Robinson & Co. Circus decided to drum up some publicity for their upcoming show in Middletown, Missouri, by having their band and some lions give a sneak peek performance during the parade through town. Despite being warned not to for multiple reasons, the band decided to sit on top of the lion cage during the parade. The roof of the cage couldn't support the 10 band members and they fell through. Seven of them were killed in front of horrified parade watchers.


A dwarf nicknamed Od has died in a circus accident in northern Thailand. According to the Pattaya Mail, he "bounced sideways from a trampoline and was swallowed by a yawning hippopotamus which was waiting to appear in the next act. Vets on the scene said Hilda the Hippo had a gag reflex that automatically caused her to swallow." The vet said it was the first time the hefty vegetarian had ever eaten a circus performer. "Unfortunately, the 1,000-plus spectators continued to applaud widely until common-sense dictated that there had been a tragic mistake" (Melbourne Herald Sun - July 16th, 1999)


"Massarti the Lion-Tamer," AKA Thomas Maccarte, entered the lions' den for the last time in 1873. One particular lion named Tyrant had been giving Maccarte him trouble and even bit him on the hand the same week. Maccarte slipped on something and fell to the floor of the den, which is when Tyrant saw his chance to attack. His attack seemed to incite at least three of the other lions into joining the melee. Maccarte's injuries were fatal. Unfortunately for him, he didn't die instantly...survived long enough to talk to his coworkers by requesting that no ambulance be called. He knew that he would not survive.


Zishe Breitbart was a blacksmith from Poland who became one of Europe's most famous strongmen. His forte included biting through iron chains, bending bars, and even breaking horseshoes in half with his bare hands. In October of 1925, Breitbart died from complications from a stunt he performed while touring Germany. Using only his bare hands, Breitbart would drive a steel spike through 5 inches of solid oak. During his final performance, Breitbart drove the spike through the wood with such ferocity that he ended up driving the spike into his knee. Eventually he suffered blood poisoning and underwent nearly a dozen operations...resulting in the amputation of both legs. The amputation was not enough to stave off the infection and he died in Berlin at the age of 42.


On September 12, 1916, Mary the Elephant trampled her handler Red Eldridge to death. There are various accounts of what led to the attack...from Eldridge prodding Mary with a stick and infuriating her, to speculation that she was simply bored. The people of Kingsport, Tennessee demanded retribution for Eldridge’s death, so it was decided that Mary would hang for her crime. On September 13, a crowd of 2,500 people (mostly children) gathered to watch Mary’s execution. Mary was hung from the neck by an industrial crane. However, the chain around her neck snapped and she slammed to the ground, breaking her hip. A heavier-gauge chain was used to hang Mary for a second time, and she swung for half an hour before being dumped in a hastily-dug grave.


Although there were no human fatalities, the Cleveland Circus Fire of 1942 was a horrific event that caused the deaths of over one hundred circus animals. A fire of unknown origin started near the menagerie tent of the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus. Spectators and circus workers easily escaped the flames, but the fire spread so quickly, it became impossible to save all of the animals. Nine cages—filled with lions, tigers, and zebras...burst into flames. Some animals were able to escape the blaze, but twenty-six others were so badly burned they were put down by policemen with machine guns.


This tragic event is arguably the most well-known on my list...due to the scale of the fire and the extensive loss of life. On July 6, 1944, a small fire began in the southwest sidewall of the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey big top circus tent. Because the tent was water-proofed with paraffin wax and gasoline, the fire spread rapidly.

The huge crowd of seven thousand spectators panicked and rushed towards the exits. But two of these exits were blocked by chutes used to bring in circus animals...and in the ensuing stampede, circus goers were trampled, crushed, and asphyxiated under the weight of fallen people. As the flames spread, other spectators simply burned to death, or else died as a result of smoke inhalation. In a panic, some people tried leaping from the bleachers to avoid the fire...but this attempt to escape actually killed more people than it saved.

In the end, an estimated 169 people died and more than seven hundred were injured.

The Greatest Shows on Earth: A History of the Circus

Sawdust & Spangles Stories & Secrets of the Circus

The Circus Age: Culture and Society under the American Big Top

The Circus Fire: A True Story of an American Tragedy

Daily 2 Cents: The Nebraska 'Roswell' -- Vicious Croc Attack -- Islamists Storm French Church, Butcher Priest

The Nebraska 'Roswell'

I recently received the following information:

Hi Lon, I live in SW Nebraska very close to where the "Heavenly Body" incident happened in 1884. I just heard about it 3 weeks ago. My mother was given a large piece of green glass about 25 years ago by one of the kids on her school bus route. He found it in a sandy ravine 33 miles north of Max, Nebraska on his fathers ranch. The old newspaper articles say the crash happened 35 miles northwest of Benkleman but they also say Max, Nebraska was the closest town. Those 2 pieces of information contradict each other because Max is east of Benkleman. I saw a picture of one of the pieces of glass at the High Plains History Museum. My mother's chunk of glass looks identical, cottage cheese and all. I know exactly where it came from. The little boy that gave the glass to mom had a much bigger chunk. I'm sure it's still around. I about shit a brick when I saw the big chunk on the internet. I don't know if it's the crash site but something weird created that glass and the location fits the description of the 1884 crash. I would really like to talk to Robert Golka but I understand if that's not possible. I'm sure he's a very busy guy. Anyways, I just thought I'd share that with you guys. I can send a pic or two if you're interested. Have a nice day and keep up the good work!!

Here's a link to the incident - Nebraska May Have Had Its Own Roswell In 1884. I asked the witness to forward photos. Lon


Vicious Croc Attack at Costa Rica Beach Resort

An American surfer was in serious but stable condition after he was attacked by a large crocodile at a popular tourist beach in Costa Rica on Friday, according to an emergency responder who credited the man's friend for fighting off the reptile with his bare hands.

Pat McNulty, who works as a consultant and is a certified trained lifeguard in Tamarindo, a northwestern town favored by surfers and eco-tourists, said the man was crossing a river with the friend when the crocodile struck.

"It was a vicious attack, and he was bitten several times in the leg as well as the head," McNulty told the Associated Press by phone from Costa Rica. "They were able to get him free, swim him to safety and then trained lifeguards responded ... and we administered first aid and called an ambulance."

McNulty said he accompanied the victim, who remained lucid after the attack, to Liberia, the provincial capital, where he underwent surgery. He declined to give specifics about the man's injuries other than to say he suffered lower leg trauma and his condition was serious but stable. Read more at Colorado man suffers 'vicious' croc attack at Costa Rica beach resort


Miss Cleo Passes Away

There won't be any more calls to Miss Cleo ... the iconic TV psychic is dead after battling cancer ... TMZ has learned.

A rep for Miss Cleo -- whose real name was Youree Harris -- tells us she died Tuesday morning in Palm Beach County, FL. We're told she was recently hospitalized, but was discharged last week to a hospice center.

We're told Cleo was originally diagnosed with colon cancer ... but it spread to her liver and lungs.

The rep said Cleo remained a "pillar of strength" during her illness ... and died surrounded by family and friends.

Cleo's Jamaican character and her psychic commercials became a cult classic in the late '90s ... thanks to her catchphrase, "CALL ME NOW!"

Miss Cleo was actually born in L.A. -- she just nailed the accent.

After the Psychic Readers Network closed shop, Cleo bounced around to various jobs ... including voicing a character in the video game, "Grand Theft Auto: Vice City." - Miss Cleo Dead at 53


Islamists Storm French Church, Butcher Priest

Two ISIS knifemen who stormed a church in Normandy forced an elderly priest to kneel before filming themselves butchering him and performing a 'sermon in Arabic' at the altar, a terrified witness has revealed.

The attackers, claimed as 'soldiers' by ISIS, were both known to French police before they cut the throat of 84-year-old priest Jacques Hamel at the church in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray near Rouen.

Both were shot dead by police marksmen as they emerged from the building shouting 'Allahu Akbar' following the attack that also left a nun critically injured.

French President Francois Hollande, who visited the scene today, said the country is now 'at war' with ISIS after the terror group claimed responsibility for the attack. Read more at Islamist knifemen forced priest, 84, to kneel and filmed his death as they slit his throat: Hollande says 'France is at war with ISIS' after jihadists storm French church during Mass chanting 'Allahu Akbar'



Mysterious Vanishings at the Nevada Triangle

The Uneasy Skies: A History of Airliner and UFO Encounters

Asphalt Lakes And The Secrets in Their Depths

Mysteries, Myths and Death at New York’s Cursed Lake

10 Haunted Places In Delaware That Will Give You Chills

Ouija Board Nightmares: Terrifying True Tales

Ouija: The Most Dangerous Game

The Zozo Phenomenon

Ouija Gone Wild: Shocking True Stories

Reviewing 'The Zozo Phenomenon'

I recently read The Zozo Phenomenon an intriguing look into the bizarre & malevolent world of Ouija. The authors, Darren Evans & Rosemary Ellen Guiley, describe the title as follows:

For decades, unsuspecting users of spirit boards have been pestered and attacked by a malevolent entity that calls itself Zozo, the “king of kings.” Evenings of entertainment have ended in anxiety and fear, with lingering problems ranging from hauntings to dream invasion to psychological terror. Darren Evans is a paranormal survivor who learned about Zozo the hard way—and took his story to the world. People around the planet responded with similar stories, and some that were even more shocking. In this ground-breaking book, Darren Evans and paranormal expert Rosemary Ellen Guiley probe the mystery of Zozo, from ancient gods to modern aliens, demons, and more. Who is Zozo, and what does Zozo want? The answers will surprise you!

'The Zozo Phenomenon' is a detailed no-nonsense & real-life experience outlined by the author. His account mirrors many that I have heard from others who have used this divination device. All spirit communication tools have a 'dark side'. The Ouija or spirit board seems to have its own unique issues, by capturing the subconscious of the users and creating a conduit to an malevolent astral plane. I'm glad that the theory of thought-form manifestation is covered in the book. This closely connects with my reasoning to this phenomenon.

There are several arguments as to the actual identification of 'Zozo. Each is presented effectively...though it's important for the reader to make up their own mind as to the reason why this entity exists. Very interesting and entertaining read...I highly recommend it.

I look forward to talking to Darren Evans and Rosemary Ellen Guiley when they appear with us on Arcane Radio on August 17th.

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Pennsylvania Upright Canine/Dogman - Todd Sees Death Investigation HOTLINE

Call 570-478-0902
if you have any information on these cases.
Just leave a message with contact number,
or you can write direct to report any strange sighting or encounter at

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Pennsylvania Upright Canine/Dogman - Todd Sees Death Investigation HOTLINE

Call 570-478-0902
if you have any information on these cases.
Just leave a message with contact number,
or you can write direct to report any strange sighting or encounter at

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