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The Untold Story of Cannibalism in Haiti

From voodoo to zombies, Haiti is a land steeped in mystery and superstition. The outside world knew very little about this island nation until the days of the Second Empire, which began in 1849 after the Haitian military, led by former slave Faustin Soulouque, launched an attack against the neighboring Dominican Republic, which was being bolstered by the French. By the end of the century, Great Britain, Germany and the United States would all stick their noses into the affairs of the Haitian people, and it was the soldiers from these countries who brought back hair-raising tales of human sacrifice, occult rituals and cannibalism.

In July of 1891 a Hungarian mechanic, Maurice Feldmann, was working in the machine shops at a settlement called O'Gorman, about eight miles from Port-au-Prince. At the time, the Austro-Hungarian Empire was a world leader in machine manufacturing, thanks in part to Haitian slave labor. He learned that there was to be a child sacrifice near his home, sched…
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The Travisite Whigs and the Downfall of Linoleumville

When the city of Topeka unofficially changed its name to Google for a month in 2010, it was a publicity stunt that made headlines all across the world. Though most people view this sort of affair as a cheap gimmick intended to boost retail sales or tourism, it hasn't prevented other towns and cities across America from following suit. But while the majority of these name changes are temporary, unofficial measures, there are some towns whose names reflected the influence of corporate overlords for decades.

Linoleumville, New York, is one such example.

Located on the western shore of Staten Island, the town known as Travisville was selected in 1872 to be the site of the American Linoleum Manufacturing Company factory and headquarters. As this was the nation's first linoleum factory, many jumped at the chance to get in on the ground floor of what was then a high-tech industry. Although linoleum had been invented by Frederick Walton in England in 1855, the process for its manufac…

Drowned by the Ghosts of Johnstown

Editor's Note: The following was sent to us recently by a reader named Barry Noles, and has been slightly edited for formatting. You can submit your own story of the paranormal by sending it to

My grandfather's brother, Nicholas Esterhazy, was quite young when he died in 1925. Although he was born and raised in Latrobe (Westmoreland County), he and my grandfather went to Johnstown each summer when they were young and stayed with a relative living on Prospect Hill, about a quarter mile north of downtown. Nicholas was obsessed with all things aeronautical-- he loved blimps, zeppelins and airplanes equally. He especially loved to fly kites, and had amassed quite a collection before he died at the age of 12.

It was a breezy day in middle of June, and, as family legend states, Nicholas took his aunt's dog and left the house on Prospect Hill to fly his kite in a clearing on the hills above Johnstown, not far from where the William Penn Avenue runs. Back in thos…

Bertrand graveyard haunted by murdered young lovers

Established in 1836 and named for early settler Joseph Bertrand, the rural township of Bertrand in Berrien County, Michigan, is home to many people of French Canadian and Native American ancestry. Undoubtedly, there are those living in Bertrand Township who, if they trace their family trees back far enough, may be surprised to discover that they share common ancestors with Pierre and Rose, two young lovers whose spirits are said to haunt the local graveyard.

According to local folklore, shortly before the St. Joseph Mission was abandoned in 1855 (built on the site of an earlier Jesuit mission established by a priest named Father Allouezin in 1690) there was a young French Canadian settler named Pierre Snydam who divorced his wife, Rose, after three unhappy years of marriage. Rose found her husband to be something of an insensitive brute, while Pierre was jealous of his wife's friendliness toward the local Indians, and toward a Potawatomi brave in particular named Gray Eagle.

On t…

The Midget Boy With the 50-Inch Head

The accompanying newspaper article, from the May 19, 1895 edition of the Galveston Daily News, describes a young man from Florida whose head measured 50 inches in circumference (by comparison, the average circumference for an adult head is somewhere in the vicinity of 22.5 inches). What makes the story even more remarkable is that the young man, who was 21 at the time, wasonly 3 feet tall.

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With all of the recent scandals surrounding the misuse of personal data and private information by the likes of Facebook, Cambridge Analytica and others, the last thing I expected to see today, when I logged into my Yahoo account, was an updated TOS that, in essence, grants Yahoo and its host of corporate cronies more access to your personal information than you'd feel comfortable giving to your own spouse or children.

Needless to say, I will not consent to such an agreement, and since I have used Yahoo to communicate with many of you, as well as Journal of the Bizarre's sponso…

The Morgue-Keeper's Tale

Few institutions in 19th century America were as fascinating as the city morgue. In virtually every major city, the morgue was thronged with visitors on weekends, and the crowds were comprised of people from all walks of life. Some were there to identify the remains of loved ones, but most were there merely for entertainment. For instance, in one article from an 1897 newspaper, a reporter vividly describes the scene at Chicago's city morgue on a Sunday:

"While the deputy coroner was speaking, a bevy of damsels not to exceed 14 years of age, neatly dressed and bright looking, stole quietly into the room. They trod on tiptoe and spoke in whispers, yet they made the round and looked in turn on the face of every body in the boxes."

According to this particular reporter, the Chicago morgue entertained over 1,000 guests on the day of his visit, and the spectators ranged from mothers with young children to couples on their first date. While this may seem like a rather morbid way…