Vesna Vulovic’s 33,000 Feet Fall

On January 26, 1972, the JAT Yugoslav Airlines Flight 367 flying from Stockholm to Belgrade became the target of a terrorist attack. A suitcase bomb tucked inside the baggage compartment of the McDonnell Douglas DC-9-32 aircraft exploded when the airplane was cruising at an altitude of 33,000 feet over East Germany. The explosion tore through the fuselage of the narrow-body jetliner, breaking it apart into three pieces. The wreckage then crashed near the village of Srbská Kamenice in Czechoslovakia. Typically, there should have been no survivors, but this time around there was one—a flight attendant named Vesna Vulovic.

Vesna Vulovic.

The 22-year old Serbian flight attendant Vesna Vulovic was part of the secondary cabin crew who boarded the airplane in Copenhagen, where the flight made a brief stopover en route to Belgrade. But Vulovic was not supposed to be on the doomed flight. Vulovic’s schedule got mixed up with that of another stewardess named Vesna, and she was subsequently placed on the wrong flight. Nevertheless, Vulović was happy for the mistake because it allowed her to travel to Denmark, a country she had never been to before.

At 4:01 pm, forty-six minutes after take off from Copenhagen Airport, the bomb placed in the baggage compartment went off, and the airplane broke apart. As the cabin depressurized, the passengers and other flight crew were sucked out of the plane into freezing temperatures and fell to their deaths. Vulovic miraculously got trapped inside one of the broken sections of the fuselage by a food cart, protecting her from frigid temperatures, as it plummeted towards the ground. The fuselage section with Vulovic trapped inside crash landed in thick snow in a heavily wooded area, which cushioned the impact.

The route of flight JAT367

The route of flight JAT367. Image: Karel x/Wikimedia

A villager named Bruno Honke discovered Vulovic when he heard her screaming amid the wreckage. Honke had been a medic during World War II and was able to keep Vulović alive until rescuers arrived. She suffered a fractured skull, two broken legs, and three broken vertebrae, one of which was crushed completely. Her pelvis was fractured and several ribs were also broken. Her injuries resulted in her being temporarily paralyzed below the waist, and she spent several days in coma. Doctors later told her that her history of low blood pressure caused her to pass out quickly after the cabin depressurized and kept her heart from bursting on impact.

Vulovic couldn’t remember anything about her flight and the ordeal. The last thing she remembered was greeting passengers as they boarded. The next thing she remembered was seeing her parents in her hospital room about one month later. She had to be told that she survived a plane crash, and when shown a newspaper headline by her doctor, she reportedly fainted.

Photo: CTK / Alamy Stock Photo

After several surgeries, and ten months later, Vulovic was able to walk again although the accident left her with a permanent limp. By September 1972, and less than nine months after the incident, Vulovic was eager to go back to work, but JAT gave her a desk job instead, because they didn’t want Vulovic drawing too much publicity.

Back home, Vulovic became a national celebrity and received a decoration from Yugoslav President Josip Tito. The Serbian folk singer Miroslav Ilić even wrote a song in her honor. In 1985, Vulovic ended up in the Guinness Book of World Records for surviving the highest fall without a parachute, at 10,160 meters (33,330 feet).

For decades after the crash, Vulovic struggled with survivor’s guilt. “Whenever I think of the accident, I have a prevailing, grave feeling of guilt for surviving it and I cry … Then I think maybe I should not have survived at all,” she told The Independent in 2012. Vulovic declined therapy to help cope with her experiences and instead turned to religion, becoming a devout Orthodox Christian. She stated that her ordeal had turned her into an optimist. “If you can survive what I survived, you can survive anything,” she said.

Monument to victims of the Yugoslav aircraft tragedy of 1972, in Srbská Kamenice. Photo: palickap/Wikimedia

When she was asked whether she considered herself lucky, she replied: “No, I’m not. I’m not lucky. Everybody thinks I am lucky, but they a mistaken. If I were lucky I would never had this accident and my mother and father would be alive. The accident ruined their lives too.”

Vulovic became a political activist in later life, that cost her her job—she was fired from JAT for speaking out against Serbian statesman Slobodan Milošević and taking part in anti-government protests. She avoided arrest because the government was concerned about the negative publicity that her imprisonment would bring. She later campaigned on behalf of the Democratic Party and advocated for Serbia’s entry into the European Union, which she believed would bring economic prosperity.

Vesna Vulovic died in 2016 at the age of 66.

Monstrous Sinkhole Appears in Chile

An enormous sinkhole mysteriously appeared overnight near in a mining operation in Chile and authorities are uncertain what could have caused the massive chasm to form. The ominous-looking pit, which measures a staggering 150 feet in diameter and boasts a depth of 299 feet, reportedly opened up this past Saturday near the town of Tierra Amarilla. The specific location of the sinkhole is in an area of Chile’s Atacama Desert where the Lundin Mining Corporation operates an underground copper extraction facility. Upon discovering the huge hole, the company promptly shut down operations and alerted the authorities to the jaw-dropping chasm which, as seen in the jaw-dropping video above, dwarfs the nearby cars and buildings.

Experts from Chile’s National Service of Geology and Mining subsequently descended upon the scene to investigate the sinkhole, which was fortunately found to be stable. Fortunately, the Lundin Mining Corporation said in a statement, “there has been no impact to personnel, equipment or infrastructure” at the facility. It also stressed that the spot is situated a fair distance away from “any populated area or public service,” so neither residents nor the community of Tierra Amarilla were impacted by the odd event. That said, work at the mine has been paused for now while authorities attempt to figure out what could have caused the gaping chasm to form, which they concede is currently a mystery.

Pissed-Off Citizen Drives Car through City Hall, Oh he was hearing voices in his head that night 

Wichita, Kansas — Marcus Johnson, a 33-year-old Wichita man was sentenced to 10 years in jail for crashing through Wichita’s City Hall. Investigators say he was angry because cop told him to turn down his car radio.

Johnson was sentenced to 122 months in jail after causing some $200,000 in damages when his vehicle burst through City Hall’s doors and continued through the facility.

According to police, Johnson became angered when a police officer told him to turn down the music in his car as he was parked at a convenience store.

In retaliation, Johnson drove his vehicle to downtown Wichita, pulled into the City Hall parking lot and drove right through the east-facing doors of the building. Investigators estimate Johnson was traveling at about 45 mph when his vehicle broke through the doors.

Investigators say Johnson’s vehicle continued in an almost-perfect line down a hallway that extended to the west side of the building where Johnson’s vehicle was finally stopped.

Surveillance video shows Johnson’s car as it broke through revolving doors, solid doors, through a hallway and into the west side security area. Security personnel were captured standing in the path of the car just moments before it crashed through. The vehicle destroyed thousands of dollars in computers and security equipment.

Johnson plead ‘no contest’ to criminal damage to property, battery on a law enforcement officer and two counts of criminal threat.

During sentencing, Johnson asked the judge for leniency, claiming he had been hearing voices in his head that night.

city hall1


Parachuting Beavers

At last, the world can witness a troop of parachuting beavers landing in backcountry Idaho: after a fish and game historian discovered delicate, mislabeled film of the phenomenon and the Idaho Historical Society released it on YouTube in October, 2015.

The footage remarkably shows professional trappers packing the beavers into ventilated boxes and dropping them from airplanes for relocation, as a solution to beaver overpopulation in some areas. The idea seems absurd (as well as potentially lethal, though no beavers appear harmed in the film) but the long-lost footage — from around 1950, as Boise State Public Radio reports — comes with plenty of records to prove that the burgeoning beaver population really was a problem in mid-century Idaho.

However, TIME accounts of contemporary Idaho beaver problems show that concern about the beaver population wasn’t the only reason the government would have wanted to relocate the rodents. In fact, there were also significant economic benefits to the relocation program.

Lumpy distribution of beavers was causing a problem in the state: in overpopulated areas, they were damaging the rural land with their damming tendencies. In underpopulated areas, water needs weren’t being met. The goal was to allow the entire beaver population to flourish productively, raising its population to the estimated 200,000 that could be supported by the land. TIME reported as early as 1939 that the Interior Department had been trapping beavers and releasing them in eroded areas, so that they would build dams and promote a more even distribution of moisture:

The value of the North American beaver (Castor canadensis) lies as much in his teeth and his temperament as in his fur…By the end of last season, some 500 beavers were busily damming streams under Government supervision, by the end of this year more than 1,000 may be at work.

With hundreds of arid Idaho acres already reclaimed by silt-catching beaver dams, Department of Interior experts look forward to using more beavers in Oregon and California. Cost of trapping and transplanting a beaver: $8. Estimated value of one beaver’s work: $300.

In 1941, Idaho beavers made national news in the pages of TIME once more when five specimens crucially stabilized a water supply in Salmon, Idaho, “saving the city the cost of a dam.” Beaver trappers moved the beavers in a more conventional manner in that case, but it’s clear that—by land or by air—the beavers could help Idaho just as much as Idaho could help the beavers.

The cost of building a dam wasn’t the only money involved in the beaver-moving project. Popular Mechanics Magazine ran a 1949 feature on the parachuting Idaho beavers, which also mentions that the trappers working with the effort were able to keep some of the animals for themselves, to sell their fur coats. At a time when the beaver population was estimated at 90,000 in Idaho, beaver trappers were allowed to only skin a few for their own profit, and then took care of the rest of the beaver population in designated areas.

Here’s more on the parachuting rodents:

In past years the state commission used trucks and pack animals for transplanting the beavers but on long trips the animals often perished because they were kept away from water for too long. Now, a journey of any distance is performed by airplane. Its cheaper and more reliable.

Dropping the beavers by parachute is a new experiment and more than 3 of the animals have been dropped successfully to date. It’s a tricky operation and it takes a skilled mountain pilot to pick out the stream that has been selected for the drop and to get down to within a couple hundred feet of the ground, the altitude at which the drops are made. The wind must be gauged just right so that the parachute and its burden won’t drift into trees. Usually, the chute lands within a hundred feet or so of the stream. A male and female are planted close together on the same stream so that a new colony may be started.

The parachuting strategy has since faded out of practice.

Steve Nadeau, Fish and Game’s Idaho fur bearer manager told the AP, “We haven’t done airplane drops for 50-plus years, but it apparently worked pretty well back then to re-establish them in remote places.”

Wisconsin man suctions 10 cans to his head for Guinness World Record

July 15 (UPI) — A Wisconsin man with unusual skin suction recaptured a Guinness World Record by sticking 10 cans to his shaved head.

Jamie Keeton, aka “Canhead,” or “Canpa” to his grandchildren, originally set the record for most drink cans placed on head using air suction in 2016, when he affixed eight cans to his head and had them remain in place for at least 5 seconds.

Keeton’s record was broken by a Japanese man who stuck nine cans to his head in 2019, leading Keeton to recapture the title this year with 10 cans.

Keeton, who turned his ability to stick objects to his head into a lucrative career, attributed his unusual skill to a medical condition.

“I actually have a skin condition that’s not named yet where my skin pores literally suck in oxygen,” Keeton told Guinness World Records.

The condition has caused objects to stick to his skin since he was a child, but Keeton said he didn’t realize the extent of his abilities until he shaved his head for the first time and went to a ball game.

“I was trying to cool my head down. I dried it off first, grabbed a can of pop, and just started cooling my head down,” he said. “As I was doing that, they hit a homerun and I went up to grab it and missed, and then I was like ‘Where’s my drink?’ It was stuck to the back of my head.”

Keeton said his head suction has led him to some unexpected places in life.

“I now have made it into a business. I market for people’s companies and go to events where they pay me anywhere from 10 to 20 thousand dollars a weekend,” he said. “All because of this condition, I got to meet so many celebrities. And what’s really funny is that they actually come up to me and ask me for photos. They know me before I see them.”

Oklahoma Man Blames ‘Bigfoot Summoning’ for Alleged Murder of Fishing Buddy

In a bizarre story out of Oklahoma, a man arrested for allegedly killing his friend during a fishing trip told police that the deadly incident came about in response to his companion summoning Bigfoot to attack him! According to a local media report, the very weird case occurred this past Saturday afternoon near the city of Ada as Larry Sanders and Jimmy Knighten were attempting to catch catfish in the South Canadian River by way of their bare hands using a technique known as ‘noodling.’ However, their day took a dark turn when the two fishing buddies got into a disagreement which ultimately left Knighten dead and Sanders pointing the finger at Sasquatch.

Responding to a report of a homicide that had unfolded at the river, police say that they arrived to find Sanders recounting his role in Knighten’s death to a family member. Upon being questioned by deputies at the scene, the noodler confessed to killing his friend by first striking him and then strangling him. As for why he did it, Sanders shockingly explained that “Knighten had summoned Bigfoot to come and kill him” and, in order to save his own life, the man concluded that he had to silence his companion before the proverbial call to action reached the hirsute ears of Sasquatch. In what might be the least surprising aspect of the case, police also observed that Sanders “appeared to be under the influence of something.”

While the misguided measure of self defense appears to have worked, since he was not killed by Bigfoot, Sanders was subsequently arrested for Knighton’s murder after police recovered the downed noodler’s body from the river the following day. Musing that the man’s forthcoming nature “makes it easier” to prosecute the case, Sheriff John Christian indicated that “you still have to prove all the elements of the crime, and that what the suspect is telling you is actually what happened.” Since it is unlikely that Sanders will be able to find Bigfoot to testify on his behalf, he’s likely facing an uphill legal battle in which, if he is found guilty, could ironically culminate with him facing the death penalty for the Sasquach-inspired slaying.

Mystery surrounds aristocrat’s vampire hunting kit

Vampire hunting kit
Image caption,The kit comes richly adorned with crosses and crucifixes, including those making up a secret opening mechanism

A different sort of hammer has fallen on a century-old vampire fighting kit, complete with holy water bottle and wooden stake, after it was auctioned.

The bizarre box of paranormal paraphernalia, including candlesticks, crucifixes and pistols, was once owned by British peer Lord Hailey.

It sold for £13,000 at a Derbyshire auction – five times its guide price.

It is unclear how seriously Lord Hailey took the threat of vampires, or if the kit was ever used.

Lord Hailey
Image caption,Lord Hailey rose to be governor of the Punjab from 1924 to 1928

The 19th Century lockable box features two brass crucifixes on the lid, which act as secret sliding locks.

Inside are more crucifixes, a matching pair of pistols, a brass powder flask, holy water, a Gothic Bible, a wooden mallet, a stake, brass candlesticks and rosary beads.

Several items were stamped with Lord Hailey’s initials.

Also included was Metropolitan Police paperwork apparently registering an “alien enemy” in 1915 – during World War One.

William Malcolm Hailey, 1st Baron Hailey was born in 1872 and rose to be governor of the Punjab from 1924 to 1928 and Governor of the United Provinces from 1928 to 1934.

He died in 1969 and has a memorial tablet in Westminster Abbey.

Lantern Clock
Image caption,This clock is thought to be one of the earliest domestic types available

Charles Hanson, owner of Hansons Auctioneers, said: “Vampires have been part of popular culture for more than 200 years. They are enshrined in European folklore.

“The publication of John Polidori’s The Vampyre in 1819 had a major impact and that was followed by Bram Stoker’s 1897 classic Dracula.

“However, a belief in vampires and strange superstitions go back even further and persist to this day. The task of killing a vampire was extremely serious and historical accounts suggested the need for particular methods and tools.”

Chinese 'lotus' bottle vase
Image caption,The Chinese vase may have had links to a World War Two spy

Also in the sale was a Lantern clock dating from between 1690 and 1700.

These are thought to be the earliest types of domestic clocks in England and this example was unusual due to its original condition. It sold for £7,000.

Another lot was a blue and white Chinese “lotus” bottle vase, given to a British serviceman by a family in Japan.

According to family legend, he may have worked as a spy during World War Two. It sold for £1,900.


Odd and Creepy Old Photos

‘Child with a Hand Grenade, Central Park’, 1962

Barney at one of my birthday parties in the 90s.

Scarecrows playing football, 1976

Dripping Dolls Heads in a Factory, Photographed by Merlyn Severn, 1947

Taking Tea with Mummy: the Mummies of Venzone, Italy, Photographed in 1950

Alice and the Dormouse, Photographed by Ernest Barraud, 1887

Halloween Masks, New York, 1960s, Photographed by Arthur Tress

Just creepy

In 1970, a teenage stowaway named Keith Sapsford fell to his death from an airplane.

On February 22, 1970, an Australian teen named Keith Sapsford snuck onto the tarmac at Sydney Airport and hid inside a Tokyo-bound plane. It was the last decision he ever made. [disaster]

The Snake Woman Saite Layton, Cole Bros. Circus, 1947

The Kamloops Indian Residential School ran by the Catholic Church (1937)

Three French circus performers from around 1900-1930

The Catholic Church with the Nazi Third Reich

New Year in a psychiatric hospital, Moscow, 1988. Photographer: Pavel Krivtsov

Not sure what was going on here

Toddler helps his twin brother who is in trouble  

A two-year-old boy in Utah is being hailed as a hero after he somehow summoned the strength to move a dresser that had toppled over and trapped his twin brother.

The incredible incident occurred last week when the two rambunctious toddlers, Bodie and Brock Shoff, were climbing on top of the set of drawers and their combined weight caused it to fall to the floor.

In the process, Brock became dangerously wedged under the dresser, much to the consternation of his brother Bodie.

Rather than run and get help, the level-headed youngster simply regains his bearings from the fall, assesses the situation, and then sets about rescuing his brother.

Although the first few attempts prove futile, eventually Bodie seems to muster a miraculous level of force and actually moves the dresser from atop the struggling Brock, allowing him to squirrel out from the predicament.

Amazingly, the boys’ parents were completely unaware of what had happened until they spotted the downed dresser on the nanny cam monitor and rushed into the room.

Initially uneasy about sharing the video with the world, the Shoff’s ultimately concluded that the frightening scene should be seen so that other parents could be more aware of such dangers in the home.

Fortunately, in this instance, young Brock was up and running moments after being freed from the dresser, seemingly no worse for wear from the jaw-dropping misadventure.