Thursday, July 31, 2014

A Sewing Needle Bomb...!

The human mind can come up with some strange and wonderful inventions at times. Then, at other times, we can create some really scary weapons and torture devices!

I don't know what twisted individual came up with this one, but it scares me to think the allies actually considered using this contraption on people. How evil can we be?

The Bizarre Sewing Needle Bomb Of World War II
By Nolan Moore on Friday, April 18, 2014

The military scientists of World War II were quite creative . . . in a scary sort of way. One of their weirdest inventions was the deadly sewing needle bomb, a device meant to drop poisonous darts on Nazi troops. And while the bomb never saw any action, it did kill quite a few sheep.

World War II was an exciting time . . . if you were a military scientist. In their quest to defeat the Axis Powers, Allied researchers had a field day dreaming up weird weapons to kill and maim the enemy. Of course, not all their plans made it past the prototype phase, but that was probably a good thing. Take the deadly sewing needle bomb for example.

Developed by British researchers at the Porton Down base in Wiltshire, the idea was simple enough: Make a bomb that would spray the Nazis with thousands of poisonous needles. Teaming up with American and Canadian scientists, the Brits created hollowed-out needles just perfect for holding small amounts of poison. At one end was a knife-like blade, sealed off with cotton and wax. On the other end was a paper tail that would guide the needle as it fell at 76 meters (250 ft) per second. Once the needle hit its victim, a special “inertia ball” would slam forward, driving the poison into the bloodstream.

The sewing needle bomb actually had a successful trial run in Suffield, Alberta, Canada. Several patriotic sheep were drafted to serve as Nazi stand-ins. Quite a few of the ewes were wrapped in double layers of clothing, and some were even placed in actual trenches. When everything was ready, a plane dropped a canister holding up to 30,000 needles. While sources disagree on the kind of poison they were carrying (it might’ve been mustard gas compounds, sarin, or ricin), they all agree it had its intended effects. The sheep keeled over, their blood pressure dropped, their muscles started twitching, and then they went to the great big pasture in the sky. After the tests, the scientists concluded it’d take just one poison-filled dart about five minutes to drop a man and a further 30 minutes to kill him.

However, there were some glaring problems with the sewing needle bomb. First, the needles themselves weren’t that strong. Once the Nazis figured out how the weapons worked, they only needed to duck under a tree or jump inside a car, and they’d be safe. And then there was the problem of finding enough pins. For the bombs to work effectively, scientists needed 30 million needles, so they asked the Singer Sewing Machine Company for a few specialty items. But when they received a request for knife-tipped, hollow needles, the business responded with a letter saying, “We are afraid we do not quite understand your requirements. From your remarks, it would seem the needles are required for some other purpose, other than sewing machines.”

Eventually, the entire program was scrapped for being “highly uneconomical” which is just as well. The world has enough insane weapons without a sewing needle bomb. And as it turns out, the Allies didn’t need all 30 million needles anyway. They went on to win the war without any powerful poisons or wacky weapons. Of course, they ended up inventing something even worse.

We can only wonder what kind of weapons will be created in the future. On second though, I don't want to know!

Coffee out on the patio this morning.OK?

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Gentleman Bandit For Western Wednesday...!

Not all the bandits in the Wild West were considered bad men. In fact, many of them had a good reputation despite of the way they made a living.

I guess the way you approach any job is what makes your reputation for you, good or bad. Here is a good example of what I'm talking about!


Bill Miner

In many ways, Bill Miner epitomized what it meant to be an Old West outlaw. He was a true highwayman, robbing everything from stagecoaches to trains, and he squandered most of his loot in dusty saloons and dance halls. Except, unlike other outlaws, he wasn’t known for spittin’ or cussin’ or gun-slinging but was instead recognized for his politeness and soft-spoken nature. In fact, after his death, a major newspaper ran a four-column story on Miner, describing him as a “kindly, lovable old man, whose thoughts were humorous, whose manner was that of one who was a friend to all humankind . . . the most courtly, the most kindly spoken, the most venerable man . . . one whom they all regard with affection and something of esteem.”

Those endearing words refer to a known robber who had a 45-year criminal career. Miner had secured that soft spot in so many people’s hearts by stealing almost entirely from corporations, feeling that they robbed the common man. Many agreed, and he became a folk hero in both the US and Canada.

On the occasions when Miner had to steal from an ordinary person to, say, facilitate his way out of town, he often made a point to return at least part of what he had taken. For instance, on one occasion, he stole $80 from a ranch hand and then later returned $10. In another instance, he robbed a driver of $5, his watch, and boots, yet was considerate enough to return the watch and boots after he finished with them. According to legend, he was also the first to say “put your hands up, and nobody gets hurt.” These types of thoughtful acts earned him the nickname “the Gentleman Bandit.”

Miner had an uncanny ability at thievery and recruiting a steady stream of accomplices. What he wasn’t so great at, however, was evading capture. He went to prison seven times, escaped four of those times, yet still spent a total of 35 years behind bars. His criminal career, which spanned between 1865 and 1911, was the longest of any Old West outlaw, even surpassing the legendary Jesse James.

I guess that in those days, if you died with a good reputation for not spitting in the saloon you were good to go! For a bandit, he seemed to be fairly popular, though.

Coffee out on the patio this morning. Breezy and hot!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The "Tome Raider" For Tuesday...!

Here is a little story I thought you might find interesting, especially if you like to read!

Being a bookworm doesn't always mean that you aren't adventurous. In fact in some cases, a love for good books can be very profitable. Such is the case for this gentleman!

William Simon Jacques


The thief William Simon Jacques operated in the genteel world of rare books, manuscripts, and maps. The former accountant and Cambridge graduate has a genius-level IQ. During his days as a bandit, he presented himself as a polite, well-educated man who liked spending his free time in libraries. This innocent, academic persona initially kept folks from realizing he was more interested in stealing books than reading them.

Jacques began pilfering books in the 1990s, around the time he was finishing his degree at Cambridge. The Cambridge Library noticed some of their books went missing, yet they didn’t report the thefts, ashamed at having failed as caretakers of the treasures. Then, in 1996, when two copies of Newton’s Principia Mathematica went missing along with Galileo’s Sidereus Nuncius (worth over $500,000 combined), the library decided it could no longer keep silent.

Still, it took a while for authorities to figure out Jacques was the culprit. He continued to frequent libraries throughout the UK, courteously chatting with desk clerks while squirreling precious books under his tweed coat.

Finally, a library worker caught him in the act, and from there, it didn’t take long for police to pin him as the serial antiquarian book thief. He was jailed in 2002 and spent four years behind bars. Then, upon his release, he picked up right where he left off. He concealed his identity with false names and disguises, winning librarians’ confidences with his intellect. By this point, he had made off with over $1 million in books, and his famous exploits caused the media to dub him the “Tome Raider.”
He managed to slip through the hands of police until July 2010, when he was caught and sentenced to another three and a half years in prison.

It's my understanding that this gentleman is still out and about, plying his usual trade. Industrious sort, isn't he?

Coffee out on the patio this morning. Watch for the rain, though.

Monday, July 28, 2014

A "Gas" For Monday Mystery...!

Here is a little mystery from way back in the 1930s that has never been solved, at least that I know of!

I have to admit the mysteries like this are the ones I think should be studied more...just because! Besides, it would be nice to find out the reason behind all this action, ya know?

The Mad Gasser of Mattoon

The Mad Gasser of Mattoon was the name given to the person or persons believed to be behind a series of apparent gas attacks that occurred in Botetourt County, Virginia, during the early 1930s, and in Mattoon, Illinois, during the mid-1940s. The first reported gasser incident occurred at the home of Cal Huffman, in Haymakertown, Botetourt County, where there were three reported attacks over the course of a single night.

At about 10:00 pm on December 22, 1933, Mrs. Huffman reported smelling an unusual odor, and was overcome by a feeling of nausea. The odor and the nausea returned again at about 10:30pm, at which time Cal Huffman contacted the police. A third attack occurred around 1:00 a.m., this time affecting the entire house; in total, eight members of the Huffman family were affected by the gas, along with Ashby Henderson, a guest staying at the house.

The next recorded incident occurred in Cloverdale on December 24. Clarence Hall, his wife, and their two children returned from a church service at about 9:00 p.m. They detected a strong, sweet odor and immediately began to feel weak and nauseated. Police investigating the case discovered that a nail had been pulled from a rear window, near where the gas appeared to be the most concentrated, and presumed that the nail hole had been used to inject it into the house. A third incident occurred on December 27, in which Troutville resident A. Kelly and his mother reported similar signs and symptoms to the Huffman and Hall cases. A fourth and fifth incident occurred on January 10, when Mrs. Moore, a guest in home of Haymakertown resident Homer Hylton, reported hearing voices outside before gas was injected into the room through a damaged window. The second attack that night was reported in Troutville, at the home of G. Kinzie.

At least 10 other cases were reported in Botetourt, and 10 years later, over 20 new cases were reported in Mattoon. One witness claimed to have seen the gasser and described “him” as a tall thin woman dressed as a man and footprints belonging to a woman were discovered at some of the scenes.

There is something about these older mysteries that just seem to call out to be answered. But then, that's why they are called mysteries, I reckon!

Coffee out on the patio this morning. I have some macaroons I'll share!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Hot Sunday 'Toons...!

Don't know about your neighborhood, but here it is HOT! Too hot to go out, so staying in and reading seems like a good idea. Before we do that, let's watch a few cartoons, OK?

Well, I reckon that's enough fror today. Don't want to overdo it, ya know?

Coffee out on the patio this morning, OK?

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Some Saturday Humor...!

Since so many of us are in the same age group (so to speak), I thought this might draw a grin or two!

I hope you found this as funny as I did! Coffee out on the patio before it gets any hotter!

Friday, July 25, 2014

Another Freaky Friday...!

I know you guys are just dying to get another freaky yarn from our creepy past, so here is a good one for ya!

Some of these are pretty freaky simply because they are true reminders of our sometimes strange history.You could find other freaky stories just by reading the morning paper, but this is more fun...right?

The Spooner Well

2- spooner well
On July 2, 1778, Bathsheba Spooner gained the distinction of being the first woman to be executed in the United States after the country gained its independence. Her husband also received a unique distinction—two headstones. One was placed over his grave in a nearby cemetery, and the other one marks the location of his death. It reads, “Spooner Well—Joshua Spooner murdered and thrown down this well March 1, 1778, by three Revolutionary soldiers at the urging of his wife Bathsheba.”

In 1777, 32-year-old Bathsheba began an affair with a 17-year-old soldier named Ezra Ross. When Ross got her pregnant, Bathsheba plotted to murder her husband before he could find out. She met two British deserters, and used a combination of rum and promises of sexual favors to rope them into helping her. That night, when Joshua Spooner walked into the house, one of the soldiers ambushed him and beat him to death. Bathsheba helped the soldier and her lover throw the body down the well, which was later named the Spooner Well to mark the dastardly deed.

Everyone involved was arrested within 24 hours, and it didn’t take much longer for them to be convicted. Bathsheba pleaded for a stay of her execution to give her a chance to deliver her baby. It wasn’t granted, and she was hanged while five months pregnant.

Well, I reckon that is freaky enough for just about anyone, don't you? It is for me, I'll tell ya!

Coffee in the kitchen again. Patio is still wet from the rain!