People in Unusual Circumstances

50-year-old homeless bodybuilder lives in a tent and makes the streets of Paris his own personal gym

  Meet homeless-bodybuilder Sayagh Jacques 50-year-old Sayagh Jacques has lived on the streets of Paris for many years, scrounging for spare change and nuggets of food just to stay alive. He spends his nights sleeping on the street in a tent that he has patched and insulated with pieces of cardboard. His two dogs help keep him warm. However, his unfortunate circumstance doesn’t stop Jacques from working out, striving to reach his goal of becoming an American bodybuilder. Jacques spends most of his time on a short stretch of street in Paris, France where he lives and sleeps with his two dogs. Jacques says that when people give him money, he doesn’t buy alcohol or smokes and instead, uses the money to buy healthy food, drink, and protein shakes to supplement his

Yambuku – Ebola virus ground zero and the terrifying discovery (and death) of “patent zero”

Scientists set out to discover the origin of a new deadly viral infection sweeping through Zaire It began in 1976 in a small village in Congo called Yambuku. The news leaking out of the area was terrifying – lifeless bodies of feverish birds falling from the sky and human bodies piled by the roadsides formed impressions of the apocalypse in the minds of medical professionals. When samples of an infected Flemish nun’s blood arrived in Belgium, scientists immediately recognized they were dealing with an unknown viral invader– and that it was extremely dangerous. A team of international scientists, led by Karl Johnson, quickly set off for the Democratic Republic of the Congo (then called Zaire) and after overcoming logistical problems with their flight (pilots refused to fly into the infected

The Dylatov Pass Incident – what slaughtered nine young hikers in the Russian wilderness? (1959)

Nine seasoned hikers die inexplicable deaths One January 25, 1959, nine hikers from the Soviet Union’s Ural Polytechnic Institute set off from the city of Sverdlovsk (1,200 miles east of Moscow) on a three-week cross-country skiing expedition to the nearby Otorten Mountain range. Led by enthusiastic 23-year-old Igor Dyatlov, the group boarded a train in Ivdel (in the northern province of Sverdlovsk Oblast) and headed for the northern Urals. The team would never make it to their destination (nor ever be seen alive again) and their enigmatic deaths prompted an investigation which revealed many mysterious and still-unexplained anomalies. Some were found wearing only underwear, some with only one shoe or one sock, and some wearing the tattered remains of other party members clothing. Despite no evidence

That time Lucille Ball picked up spy communications through her dental work

Lucille Ball receives Morse code radio broadcast through dental fillings Lucille Ball, the zany comedic redhead (she was a natural brunette) that starred in popular television shows such as I Love Lucy, The Lucy Show, and Here’s Lucy, was one of the most influential comedic stars in U.S. history. Lucy was the first woman to head a major television studio, the first to film before a live studio audience (with multiple cameras), and the first to use side-by-side sets during filming – a string of firsts that solidified her legendary status in comedic TV sitcom history. And as portrayed in her popular television series, life with Lucille Ball was never mundane, as evidenced by a bizarre true-life incident she recounted during a live 1974 appearance on the

Gambler Archie Karas during “The Run” – turns $50 into $40 million then loses it all

School of hard knocks breeds a legend Archie Karas, born Anargyros Karabourniotis in 1950 on the Greek island of Cefalonia, was well versed in the school of hard knocks.  As a child, he was forced to earn money shooting marbles to avoid going hungry.  At the age of 15, after a violent fight with his father, he ran away from home (he never saw his father again) then hopped on an international ship taking a job as a waiter.  By the time his ship reached America, he understood not only what it took to survive, but had the wherewithal (and intelligence) to grow rich while doing what he loved.  Considered by many to be the greatest gambler of all time, he once had the longest documented

Mademoiselle Blanche Monnier – the girl who who was locked in a dungeon for 25 years

Mademoiselle Blanche Monnier The disturbing picture above is not a still shot from a horror movie, but rather is a hospital-room photo of Blanche Monnier, a French girl who was kept captive for 25 years in a padlocked, shuttered room where she was forced to live amidst pests, rats, human excrement, and filth.  Her discovery occurred on May 23, 1901 after the Paris Attorney General received an anonymous letter indicating a woman was being held captive in a home located on "21 rue de la Visitation" street in a wealthy neighborhood of Poiters, France. The anonymous letter read in part: "Monsieur Attorney General: I have the honor to inform you of an exceptionally serious occurrence. I speak of a spinster who is locked up in Madame Monnier's house,

Emergency ejection results in 40-minute ordeal as pilot is flung about inside a thunderstorm cloud

The next time you feel like complaining about turbulence while flying aboard a commercial airlines, consider the situation Lieutenant Colonel William Henry Rankin survived after ejecting from his F-8 jet fighter that was flying Mach .82, at 47,000 feet, above a thunderstorm. To date, Rankin is the only known person to survive a fall through a cumulonimbus thunderstorm cloud.  He paid one heck of a price for his adventure. On July 26, 1959, Rankin was flying from Naval Air Station South in Weymouth, Massachusetts to Marine Corps Air Station in Beaufort, South Carolina. Seeing that he was approaching a thunderstorm ahead, he increased the speed of his F-8 Crusader jet to over 600 MPH and climbed to 47,000 feet in order to pass safely above the thunderstorm cloud.

British grandmother breaks silence – kidnapped as a child, she escapes and is raised by monkeys

It seems almost too bizarre to be true, something straight out of a Tarzan movie.  But cases such as this have been documented before and a professor of psychology at Bucknell University who specializes in feral children has studied the case and found no evidence that she is lying.  Marina Chapman, after the encouragement of her grandchildren, published her memoirs in her new book, “The Girl with No Name”, in which she revealed that at four years old, she was kidnapped and abandoned in a Colombian jungle where a troupe of capuchin monkeys, who are known to bond easily with humans, found her and adopted her as one of their own.  In her book, Chapman recalls how she was discovered by the monkeys. “All trace of

Burrell Cannon and his Ezekiel Airship

Introduction Between 1900 and 1901, the Wright Brothers gained notoriety by being the first to fly gliders with little or no control.  In 1902 the Wright Glider, the first unpowered aircraft to have controls for roll, pitch, and yaw, was off the ground and gliding through the air.  By 1905, the famous brothers had perfected engine powered flight on the soft beaches of Kitty Hawk and paved the way for modern day flight.  Wilbur Wright has stated years earlier, "I am convinced that human flight is possible and practical".  Wilbur was correct beyond imagination.  World renowned, they experienced success beyond their wildest dreams and etched their story into the history books.  But some grumbled that in a small, rural East Texas town, a Baptist

Sir Alfred Stuck in Airport

Nasseri's Beginnings Merhan Karimi Nasseri (or Nessari) was born in Iran in 1945. His father was an Iranian doctor and his mother a nurse. At the age of 29, Nasseri traveled to Britain to study. While in Britain, Nasseri's father died and since his parents had never married, his school funding was halted. Forced to return back to Iran, Nasseri participated in protests against the Iranian government. He was quickly arrested and then expelled from Iran without a passport. He traveled around Europe for 4 years seeking political asylum until the Belgium government granted him refugee status in 1981. Not content with his excellent luck up until this point, Nasseri decided to travel to England to search for long lost relatives and to do some postgraduate

Kaspar Hauser – Wild Boy

A Boy Wanders In On May 26, 1828, a boy wondered into the town square of Nuremberg.  Although it was a Monday, there weren't very many people around since it was a holiday.  George Weichmann, a local cobbler, discovered the boy.  He took note of the fact that the boy was poorly dressed, well built, and walked in a strange manner - with legs stiff and straight.  He attempted talking to the boy but the only response he would receive was “don't know”.  He was stunned to discover the boy's feet bleeding though his shoes.  Careful examination of his feet revealed scores of blisters on feet so tender, they appeared to have never been walked on.  His skin was extremely pale as

The story of David Reimer – a boy in girl’s clothing

The birth of Bruce Reimer Bruce (who was later named David) Reimer and his twin brother Brian were born in Canada on August 22, 1965 in Winnipeg, Manitoba to a pair of young farmers. Life began normal enough for Bruce and Brian but after several months, the parents became concerned with the way the boys were urinating. Alarmed at the problem, and most likely unnecessarily worried, they took the boys to their family doctor.  The family doctor suggested a standard procedure to fix their problem: circumcision. Alas, the method used in the circumcision was not as conventional though. Rather than using a surgical knife to cut away the foreskin, the doctors used a new method whereby the skin was burned off with a electrocautery needle. The surgery did not go

Joe Stack – Confused Man and Enemy of IRS

Introduction Joe Stack, a displaced software engineer and owner of the company, Embedded Art, hit the end of his rope on February 18, 2010. After spending a few days drafting his suicide letter (or manifesto as some have called it), Joe Stack set his Waco, Texas home on fire.  His wife and two children had spent the night at a nearby Austin hotel.  He then drove 30 minutes to the Georgetown Municipal Airport, placed a drum of fuel on an airplane, and boarded his small Piper Cherokee PA-28 airplane on route to infamy. His plane took off at 9:40 AM, waving at people on the ground as he took off.  He flew 25 miles from the airport and dove his plane, at high speed, into a seven-story IRS building, known as the Echelon complex, just northwest

Hatfield and McCoy Feud

The Hatfield and McCoy family feud The Hatfield-McCoy feud was a long standing feud that lasted from 1878 until 1891. It involved two warring families of the West Virginia-Kentucky back country located along the Tug Fork River, off the Big Sandy River. The feud reached an epic scale and state militias were called in to restore order with the state of Kentucky even threatening to invade Virginia. The McCoy’s, led by Randolph "Old Randall" McCoy, lived mostly on the Kentucky side of Tug Fork (a tributary of the Big Sandy River), and the Hatfield's, led by William Anderson "Devil Anse" Hatfield (described as “six foot of devil and 180 pounds of hell”) lived mostly on the West Virginia side. Both families were part of the first wave