In Britain, there’s a slang term for “nothing at all” called “Sweet Fanny Adams.” It’s also evolved into the phrase “sweet fuck-all.” Where did this charming term come from? Oh, you know, just the horrific murder of a small child. From the wiki:
At about 7 p.m., Fanny was still missing, and neighbours went searching. They found Fanny’s body in the hop field, horribly butchered. Her head and legs had been severed and her eyes removed. Her eyes had been thrown into the River Wey. Her torso was dismembered and the entire contents of her chest and pelvis had been torn out and scattered across the hop field, with some internal organs found further slashed or mutilated.
In the town of Oakville, Washington, something very strange happened. August 7, 1994: a rainstorm of odd clear blobs began over the farm of Sunny Barclift. Immediately after, almost everything that came into contact with the strange substance either fell very sick or died. What’s even crazier is that though attempts have been made to identify the clear blobs, no firm answer has been agreed upon. From the wiki:
Several attempts were made to identify the blobs, with Barclift initially asking her mother’s doctor to run tests on the substance at the hospital. Little obliged, and reported that it contained human white blood cells. Barclift also managed to persuade Mike Osweiler, of the Washington State Department of Ecology’s hazardous materials spill response unit, to examine the substance. Upon further examination by Osweiler’s staff, it was reported that the blobs contained cells with no nuclei, which Osweiler noted is something human white cells do have.
It’s pretty bad when a husband is investigated for the hit-and-run death of his wife. It’s pretty horrific when it turns out that his wife was actually an abducted child who he’d raised as his daughter, then married. It’s pretty goddamn horrendous when said husband abandons their child in the wake of the investigation, kidnaps him from school months later, and then his child is never seen again. From the wiki:
Two months later, Floyd was arrested in Louisville, Kentucky. Hughes was not with him and has not been seen since. Government authorities have received conflicting reports as to what has happened to Hughes. Some witness statements detail alleged confessions by Floyd regarding Michael’s death. According to these reports, Floyd reportedly told his sister that he drowned the child in a Georgia motel’s bathtub shortly after the kidnapping. Other witnesses stated that Floyd told them he murdered Michael in the same manner, while another person claimed he saw Floyd bury Michael’s body in a cemetery.
Imagine that one evening in the late 1980s, you’re watching television. Specifically, highlights on a recent football game from the evening news. Suddenly, someone wearing a Max Headroom mask cuts in, dancing around in front of a sheet of corrugated metal. It doesn’t last very long, but later — on another station — it happens again during an episode of “Doctor Who.” This time, it’s far creepier. From the wiki:
The show was interrupted by television static, after which the unidentified man wearing the Max Headroom mask and sunglasses appeared, mentioning WGN pundit, Chuck Swirsky, whom he said he was “better than”, going on to call Swirsky a “Freaking Liberal”. The man started to moan, scream and laugh. He continued to laugh and utter various random phrases, including New Coke’s advertising slogan “Catch the Wave” while holding a Pepsi can (Max Headroom was a Coca-Cola spokesperson at the time), then tossed the can down, leaned towards the camera and presented the finger wearing a rubber extension over his middle finger, though the gesture was partially off-screen. The man then retrieved the Pepsi can, and sang “Your love is fading”, removed the rubber extension, and then began humming the theme song to Clutch Cargo, pausing to say “I still see the X” (often misheard as “I stole CBS”), which referred to the final episode of the series, before resuming humming again. He then began to moan painfully, exclaiming about his piles, after which a flatulence sound was heard. He then stated that he had “made a giant masterpiece for all the greatest world newspaper nerds” (the WGN call letters used by the Chicago television station as well as its sister radio station are an abbreviation for “World’s Greatest Newspaper”, in reference to the flagship newspaper of their corporate parent, the Tribune Company’s Chicago Tribune). He then held up a glove (similar to the one worn by Michael Jackson at the time) and said, “My brother is wearing the other one.” After putting the glove on, he continued, “But it’s dirty! It’s like you got blood stains on it!” He then removed the glove and threw it down.
A particular type of mental illness, usually an offshoot of paranoid schizophrenia, is capgras delusion. It’s a disorder wherein the subject believes friends, family, or other loved ones have been replaced by identical imposters, effectively turning their lives into a horror movie. From the wiki:
Mrs. D, a 74-year-old married housewife, recently discharged from a local hospital after her first psychiatric admission, presented to our facility for a second opinion. At the time of her admission earlier in the year, she had received the diagnosis of atypical psychosis because of her belief that her husband had been replaced by another unrelated man. She refused to sleep with the impostor, locked her bedroom and door at night, asked her son for a gun, and finally fought with the police when attempts were made to hospitalise her. At times she believed her husband was her long deceased father. She easily recognised other family members and would misidentify her husband only.
Carl Tanzler, a German medical professional working in Florida. Maria Elena Milagro de Hoyos, a beautiful young Cuban woman who caught his eye. What followed was far from a story of star-crossed lovers. When Maria passed away from tuberculosis, things got… weird. From the wiki:
One evening in April, 1933, Tanzler crept through the cemetery where Hoyos was buried and removed her body from the mausoleum, carting it through the cemetery after dark on a toy wagon, and transporting it to his home. He reportedly said that Elena’s spirit would come to him when he would sit by her grave and serenade her corpse with a favorite Spanish song. He also said that she would often tell him to take her from the grave. Tanzler attached the corpse’s bones together with wire and coat hangers, and fitted the face with glass eyes. As the skin of the corpse decomposed, Tanzler replaced it with silk cloth soaked in wax and plaster of paris. As the hair fell out of the decomposing scalp, Tanzler fashioned a wig from Hoyos’s hair that had been collected by her mother and given to Tanzler not long after her burial in 1931. Tanzler filled the corpse’s abdominal and chest cavity with rags to keep the original form, dressed Hoyos’s remains in stockings, jewelry, and gloves, and kept the body in his bed. Tanzler also used copious amounts of perfume, disinfectants, and preserving agents, to mask the odor and forestall the effects of the corpse’s decomposition.
Between El Paso and Tucson lies a roadside attraction known simply as “The Thing.” From the wiki:
The Thing is an Arizona roadside attraction hyped by signs along Interstate 10 between El Paso, Texas, and Tucson, Arizona. A large number of billboards entice travelers along this sparse stretch of desert highway to stop, just to find out what the mysterious Thing might be. The object, supposedly a mummified mother and child, is believed to have been made by exhibit creator Homer Tate for sideshows.