; Phantoms and Monsters: Pulse of the Paranormal

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Fortean / Oddball News: Kidnapped by Genie, Titanic Firsthand Account and Medical Oddity

Father Tells Saudi Police Daughter Kidnapped By Genie

emirates247 - Saudi police backed by a civil defence aircraft and hundreds of town residents have launched an extensive operation in search of a teenage girl whose father says she has been kidnapped by a jinn (genie).

The 16-year-old Saudi girl disappeared from her house in the central town of Alkharj a month ago but was found later in Riyadh, Shams daily reported.

She vanished again three days ago, triggering a massive search campaign by the police, civil defence and residents of the town, the paper said.

“Her father believes she is possessed by a jinn, who threatened to take her to Riyadh last month and carried out his threat,” the daily said.

“He says this jinn speaks out through her and told them that he would take her to Riyadh…and that is what happened as they later found her in Batiha neighourhood in Riyadh…he then threatened that he would take her away and make her disappear forever…he said he would take her outside the country.”

But the paper said the unidentified father’s theory has been refuted by Moslem scholars on the grounds jinns can not transport humans.

It quoted Sheikh Ahmed al Aseeri, preacher at Alkharj state prison, as saying the girl could be suffering from mental problems.

“This story about a jinn taking the girl away can not be believed because jinns are not able to carry humans or make them disappear…they can control minds but not bodies so this theory is not correct,” he said.

According to the newspaper, the girl is short and lean and was wearing a white shirt when she disappeared from her house before dawn three days ago.

“She was in her room at around 2.00 am before she vanished…..her mother said her daughter cheated her when she gave her the wrong key for her room…the next day, they found out that she was not in her room,” the paper said.


Harrowing Firsthand Account of Titanic Disaster Published For First Time
Laura Francatelli (circled right) stands next to her employers Sir Cosmo Duff-Gordon and his wife Lady Lucy Christiana (to her right) after they were rescued
dailymail - An astonishing eye-witness account of the sinking of the Titanic has been published for the first time - nearly 100 years after the disaster.

First-class passenger Laura Francatelli wrote of hearing an ‘awful rumbling’ after the world-famous liner hit an iceberg on the night of April 14, 1912 - then the 'screams and cries’ of the 1,500 drowning passengers.

Miss Francatelli worked as a secretary for wealthy baronet Sir Cosmo Duff-Gordon and his wife Lady Lucy Christiana and travelled with them on the ill-fated ship, which sank on its maiden voyage from Southampton to New York.

She told how the three of them boarded one of the last lifeboats - containing just five passengers and seven crew - and admitted they didn’t consider going back to try to rescue more survivors.

'I noticed the sea seemed nearer to us than during the day, and I said to Sir Cosmo Duff-Gordon: "We are sinking" and he said: "Nonsense"'

The account adds to a lingering controversy among Titanic historians as it describes how Sir Cosmo later paid the crew members £5 each, about £300 in today’s money, a gesture interpreted by some as blood money for giving the aristocrat a place on a lifeboat.

There were rumours that the Duff-Gordons has bribed the crew not to rescue people in the water, but the British Board of Trade's Inquiry into the disaster cleared them of any wrongdoing.

Miss Francatelli wrote her account in a signed affidavit presented to the official British enquiry into the 1912 disaster, which claimed 1,517 lives in total.

The historic document has now been made public for the first time and is being tipped to sell for £15,000.

The secretary, who was aged 31 at the time, told how she woke her employers when water seeped into her cabin after the Titanic hit the iceberg.

She wrote: 'A man came to me and put a life preserver on me, assuring me it was only taking precautions and not to be alarmed.

'When we got on the top deck...I noticed the sea seemed nearer to us than during the day, and I said to Sir Cosmo Duff-Gordon: "We are sinking" and he said: "Nonsense".'

The Titanic sank on its maiden voyage from Southampton to New York.

The party initially refused to go into a lifeboat because Sir Cosmo was not allowed on as only women and children were permitted, but they were then offered places on a smaller rowing boat.

Miss Francatelli said: 'The officer saw us and ordered us in, and we said we would go if Sir Cosmo could come also.

'The officer said to Sir Cosmo: "I should be pleased if you would go." We were dropped into this boat and lowered into the sea.

'The officers gave orders to us to row away from the ship.

'We kept on rowing and stopping and rowing again. I heard some talk going on about the suction if the ship went down.

'We were a long way off when we saw the Titanic go right up at the back and plunge down. There was an awful rumbling when she went. Then came screams and cries. I do not know how long they lasted.

'When the ship had gone all was darkness. I did not hear any discussion or proposal about going back nor did I say anything about it.

'We had hardly any talk. The men spoke about God and prayers and wives.'

She recalled how Lady Duff-Gordon was 'deadly sick' but was unable to reach the side of the boat due to some oars that were in the way.

She also told how a crewmember kept putting his hand on her knee while he was rowing for her to rub to keep it warm.

She wrote how the survivors huddled in the bottom of the boat to keep warm until they were rescued by the ship Carpathia two hours after the sinking.

Miss Francatelli said: 'Later on I heard the men speaking about losing their kits. Sir C Duff-Gordon said he would make it all right for them...he would give them £5 each.

'A day or two after we had got on board Carpathia Sir Cosmo told me to write out cheques for £5 each for the seven men in the boat.'

Andrew Aldridge, of auctioneers Henry Aldridge and Son of Devizes, Wiltshire, which is selling the document, said: 'So many books and articles have been written about Titanic but this is an original firsthand eye-witness account written shortly after the disaster.

'In hindsight the lifeboat the party boarded was rather controversial.

As she confirms in her own words, there were more crew on board than passengers and room for potentially 40 or 50 more people who could have been saved.

'There was also great controversy surrounding Sir Cosmo because when they arrived in New York he gave the seven crew members £5 each.

'There was one train of thought that he was being very kind and generous and was compensating the men for the items they lost in the sinking. Certainly that is what Miss Francatelli thought.

'But the payment was also interpreted as blood money at the time. Was he paying the men for a place in the lifeboat and his own life?'

Miss Francatelli, from London, died in 1967. The document remained in her family until after her death and has been since been owned by two private collectors.

The auction takes place on October 16.


17-yo Girl Must Process Brain Fluid Inside Her Belly to Survive

gizmodo - 17-yo Melissa Peacock is not a zombie. Or at least she looks like a pretty healthy zombie. To survive, Melissa must process her own brain fluid inside her belly.

A tube connects her brain to her peritoneal cavity, carrying the fluid through her body. Yes, the tube itself is permanently embedded inside her because, she says, a previous external tube left her with huge blisters on her back. Before that, eight operations had failed to find the correct solution. Once in her abdomen, the body processes the liquid, absorbing it through the lymph and vascular systems.

While absorbing your own brain fluid sounds gross, migraines, blurred vision, and sure death sound a lot worse. That's why she doesn't care:
My friends think the fact that I digest fluid from my brain is a bit weird—but my quality of life is so much better since I had the shunt put in place, I don't care. It felt like I was constantly trying to see through a steamed-up window. Sometimes I'd have almost no vision at all.
Melissa has suffered from intracranial hypertension since she was nine. The hypertension is caused when the body can't drain spinal fluid out of the skull, which results in a pressure build up that crushes your own brain. The condition can be fatal if not treated.


Couple Allowed to Sue Morgue for Retaining Son's Brain

The New York City Medical Examiner's Office's failure to inform a Staten Island couple that the office had removed and retained their late son's brain violated the couple's right of sepulcher, Brooklyn's New York Appellate Division, 2nd Department has ruled.

"[W]hile the medical examiner has the statutory authority…to remove and retain bodily organs for further examination and testing in connection therewith, he or she also has the mandated obligation…to turn over the decedent's remains to the next of kin for preservation and proper burial once the legitimate purposes for the retention of those remains have been fulfilled," Justice William F. Mastro wrote for a unanimous panel in Shipley v. City of New York, 2009-03226.

Jesse Shipley, a 17-year-old Port Richmond High School student, was killed on Jan. 9, 2005, when the car in which he was riding collided with another vehicle.

The following day, Jesse's father, Andre, consented to an autopsy. An examiner completed the autopsy, and funeral home personnel picked up the remains that same day. The family held a funeral three days later.

Two months later, classmates of the Shipleys' daughter, Shannon, who was also injured in the accident, took a field trip to the Richmond County Mortuary. Several students noticed a jar holding a human brain suspended in formaldehyde.

"In what can only be described as a surreal coincidence," Mastro wrote, "the label on the jar indicated that the brain was that of Jesse Shipley, a circumstance which evoked strong emotional reactions from some of the students who were present."

News of the macabre discovery soon spread to Shannon Shipley, who told her parents.

The office had retained the brain to perform further "neuropathologic examination and reporting." The tests took place two months after the accident -- a day or two after the field trip -- because, as the acting deputy chief medical examiner later testified, "I wait months, until I have six brains, and then it's kind of worth [the examiner's] while to make the trip to Staten Island to examine six brains. It doesn't make sense for him to come and do one."

The Shipleys obtained a temporary restraining order barring any further testing of the brain, which was returned to the family. The Shipleys then conducted a second funeral for their son.

In March 2006, the Shipleys sued the city and its Medical Examiner's Office, seeking to recover damages for the mishandling of and interference with the proper disposition of Jesse's remains.

The defendants moved for summary judgment, citing the expansive discretion afforded to the Medical Examiner's Office under the state's Public Health Law.

In March 2009, Staten Island Supreme Court Justice Thomas P. Aliotta denied the defendants' motion.

Aliotta ruled that questions of fact existed regarding whether the brain had been lawfully retained for scientific purposes, as well as whether the defendants violated the Shipleys' right of sepulcher by failing to advise them when the body was released that the brain had been removed.

The 2nd Department agreed with the latter conclusion -- that questions remained regarding whether the defendants violated the Shipley's right of sepulcher by failing to inform them regarding the brain's removal -- and allowed the action to proceed.

Mastro wrote that the medical examiner's duty to turn over the remains may have been "satisfied in the present context by the simple act of notifying the next of kin that, while the body is available for burial, one or more organs have been removed for further examination."

The judge added, "This requirement, hardly onerous in nature, strikes an appropriate balance between the fulfillment of the legitimate scientific and investigative duties of the Medical Examiner's Office and the recognition of the long-established rights of next of kin to receive and provide final repose to the remains of their loved ones."

Justices Anita R. Florio, Ariel E. Belen and Sheri S. Roman joined the opinion.

Marvin Ben-Aron of Ameduri, Galante & Friscia in Staten Island represented the Shipleys.

Ben-Aron said he agreed with the panel's conclusion, though not all of its findings,

"I disagree with the [finding] that in a situation in which it is obvious that the cause of death can be [and has been] determined that [the medical examiners] have the unfettered right to retain the organ," Ben-Aron said.

Although Aliotta dismissed Jesse's sister Shannon as a plaintiff because she did not qualify as "next of kin" under the city's Health Code, Shannon has settled a separate personal injury case against the drivers, according to Ben-Aron.

In that case, Staten Island Supreme Court Justice Joseph J. Maltese ruled that a sister constitutes an 'immediate family' member who may pursue a claim for psychological injuries suffered when in the "zone of danger" of a relative's death.

Ronald E. Sternberg and Leonard Koerner appeared on behalf of the Corporation Counsel.

"We are evaluating our legal options in light of the decision. We note that the court correctly recognized that it was within the medical examiner's discretion to perform the autopsy," said Sternberg, a senior counsel in the office's appeals division.

Fortean / Oddball News: Kidnapped by Genie, Titanic Firsthand Account and Medical Oddity