John Huttick was in court on the witness stand describing how he lost his eye in a bar fight. Suddenly said eye — the new prosthetic one, not the old one he lost — popped out of its socket and landed in his hand. The jurors gasped in fright. The judge promptly declared a mistrial.
This case has sparked my curiosity, so I'm going to keep an eye out to see what happens during the rescheduled trial. [nj.com]
Wait a minute--my spam filters are all set up to protect against "Nigerian pen pals!" Not to vilify a whole country just on account of a few million citizens who are scammers, but I don't think Nigeria would be my first choice when seeking global camaraderie.
In taking the culprit before the tribunal he is preceded by a man who strikes upon a gong, that he may aggravate the shame of the offender, by drawing upon him the notice of the publick. Two others follow after him on foot, one of whom is employed in keeping up the culprit's face by means of a bundle of cleft canes. His hands are tied behind his back, and to render him more conspicuous a little red banner is fastened upon each side of his head.
He is thrown flat upon his face, and held in that position by one, or more, if necessary of the magistrate's attendants kneeling upon his back, whilst another applies the pan-stee to his posteriors. The pan-stee is a thick piece of split bamboo cane, the lower end of which is about four inches in width, and the upper end small and smooth, to render the instrument more convenient for the hand.
He is held securely by two men in the service of a tribunal who are instructed to give pain, by particular method of turning the cartilages of the ear.
This man is suspended by his shoulders and ancles, in a very painful situation: at intervals, two attending officers afford some trifling alleviation of his sufferings, by supporting him with a bamboo passed under his breast. Pencil, ink and paper, are ready to note down whatever he may say. This punishment, together with the preceding one, is chiefly inflicted upon such merchants as have been detected in committing frauds, impositions, or any other unwarrantable tricks of trade.
A species of correction appointed for boatmen, or, as they are termed in England, watermen. Having been convicted of some misbehaviour, he is compelled to kneel: one of the officers of justice prevents him from flinching, whilst another grasps his hair, and bestows a certain number of blows upon each side of his face, with a sort of double battledore, made of thick leather.
Business owners in southeast London are decorating their store fronts with giant pictures of babies, in the hope that such pictures will deter criminals and rioters. [The Blaze]
Maybe it's just me, but something looks odd about the baby in the picture. I think it's the hair. I know some babies are born with more hair than others, but that kid has such a full head of hair that he looks like he's wearing a wig. Also, (and I know this is not a comparison that would occur to most people) he vaguely reminds me of the (fake) baby Adolf Hitler.
I came across an unusual article titled "The Good Old Method of the Nail" in an old medical journal. (Unfortunately I can't find an online version of it.) The article details the history of killing people by driving nails into their brain.
Apparently the 'method of the nail' used to be quite a popular homicide technique, because in the days before x-rays it was hard to tell that someone had a nail in their head. The victim's hair might hide the wound, so people, not seeing any obvious sign of injury or foul play, would often assume death occurred from natural causes.
The method of the nail is such an ancient technique that it's mentioned in the Bible, Book of Judges 4:21:
Then Jael, Heber's wife, took a nail of the tent, and took a hammer in her hand, and went softly unto him, and smote the nail into his temples, and fastened it into the ground: for he was fast asleep and weary. So he died.
And somme han drive nayles in hir brayn
Whyl that they slepte, and thus they han
Nor is the nail-in-the-head just a western phenomenon. It also has deep roots in Chinese culture. From the article:
The nail murder is one of the most famous motifs in Chinese crime literature. The oldest source is quoted in the casebook T'ang-yin pi-shih, where the solution is ascribed to Yen Tsun, a clever judge.
The point of these stories is always the same: the judge is baffled by the fact that although there are strong reasons for suspecting the wife, the body of the husband shows no signs of violence. The final discovery of the nail is elaborated in various ways.
The oldest version said that Yen Tsun found it because he noted that a swarm of flies congregated on one place on top of the dead man's skull...
In 1881, Stent recorded another version under the title 'The Double Nail Murders' in volume 10 of the China Review: When the coroner fails to discover any trace of violence on the victim's corpse, his own wife suggests to him that he look for a nail. When the judge has convicted the murdered man's widow on this evidence, he also has the coroner's wife brought to him, since her knowledge of such a subtle way of committing a murder seems suspicious to him. It transpires that the coroner is her second husband. The corpse of her first husband is exhumed, and a nail discovered inside the skull. Both women are executed.
The image at the top is an x-ray from a 1973 case, in which a man used a hammer to drive an awl into his wife's head, explaining that he did it to "exorcise the evil soul that had taken its place in her head."
Once upon a time, there was a kindly old lady who specialized in creating gruesome murder dioramas. Her name was Frances Glessner Lee, and her little scenes went on to educate criminologists for decades.