Category Archives: Cool & Odd-Mostly Odd

Billy The Kid: Amazing New Photo Found

Only one photo of William H. Bonney, AKA Billy The Kid, was known to exist. But now a new photo has been found. Purchased a few years ago for $2 in a Fresno, CA shop, the photo has been authenticated and its value estimated at $5 million. Pretty good find.

And an amazing slice of American History. Below are two photos—one of Billy and friends playing croquet before a home in New Mexico in 1878 and a close up of Billy from the same photo. He was 17 at the time.

The photo and Billy will be the subject of a NatGeo special this Sunday 10-18-15. Can’t wait to see it.

Tin Type Full 9Kx12K b, 12/20/13, 12:37 PM,  8C, 9000x12000 (0+0), 150%, Custom,  1/40 s, R106.2, G84.2, B103.2

Billy the Kid NM 1887-2 copy


Suicide By Text

You can’t think about it.

You just have to do it. 

You said you were gonna do it. 

Like I don’t get why you aren’t.

Michelle Carter

So texted Michelle Carter to Conrad Roy, her 18-year-old boyfriend. And there were many other texts to follow. She goaded him to commit suicide, or at least that’s what prosecutors are alleging. And now she faces trial on an involuntary manslaughter charge. This will be an interesting trial particularly in regards to who is responsible for Conrad Roy’s death. There’s no doubt it was by his own hand, but is Michelle Carter culpable because she encouraged him to commit the act?

But this isn’t exactly new. In 1816, long before there was texting, George Bowen was charged with “murder by counseling.” It seems he was an inmate and convinced Jonathan Jewett, a convicted murderer who occupied the adjacent cell adjacent, to hang himself. Apparently Jewett did and Bowen was charged with encouraging his suicide.

So it seems there is nothing new after all.


Preacher Killed By Poisonous Snake—-Again.


Mark 16:17-18 (King James Version)

17 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;

18 They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.

Luke 10:19 (King James Version)

19 Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.

Biblical passages such as these serve as the justification for some church congregations to take up the serpent. This is not a relic of the past; the practice is alive and well in the US. Maybe not well, but alive none the less. Though most such churches are along the Appalachian chain, they can be found literally from coast to coast.

From time to time, stories of snake-handling deaths pop up in various media sources. Witness John David Brock of Bell County, KY. He took a hit to the arm, and as is often the case, refused medical help. He didn’t make it. I do wonder if he treated his bite with sips of strychnine as this is the treatment in many such communities.

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My third Samantha Cody thriller ORIGINAL SIN deals with such a church and its followers. During my research I stumbled on an National Book Award nominee and many useful sites. Such as:

National Book Award Finalist SALVATION ON SAND MOUNTAIN by Dennis Covington:

Holiness Serpent Handling Website:

Rev. John Wayne “Punkin” Brown Jr’s Death:



Could You “Remember” a Crime You Didn’t Commit?


Could You “Remember” a Crime You Didn’t Commit?

Yes, you could. It’s a strange phenomenon in humans that they will erroneously “remember” events, or create memories from whole cloth, and, at times, even confess to things they did not do.

Here is an excellent article in The New Yorker written by investigative journalist Douglas Starr.

Doug was our guest on Crime and Science Radio and his interview was fascinating and insightful.

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Crows Are Very Giving Creatures


Crows are clever, smart, and natural-born scavengers. They tend to collect objects that catch their eye—usually things that shine or reflect. Eight-year-old Gabi Mann knows this all too well. Crows seem to love her Seattle backyard garden and bring her all sorts of interesting objects.

Gabi Mann

In my Dub Walker thriller series, I visited Dub with a pair of crows, Kramden and Norton, who bring him stuff all the time.

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As T-Tommy fed fresh fettuccine into a pot of boiling water, he said, “Your birds are

attacking your ex.”

My birds were Kramden and Norton. Two crows that I had rescued from a neighbor’s

pine tree after their mother disappeared. Probably killed by a hunter. Dropper feedings, then mushed-up worms and grains, and they grew into annoying young adults. That’s when I opened the walk-in cage I had built for them and let them take to the sky. They now roamed all over the county with others of their kind but managed at least one visit a day here. Usually for food or to bring some shiny object they had picked up. Crows are natural thieves and love anything with a gloss to it. Norton was the best thief; Kramden was the fat one. And the noisy one.

I looked out the window. Kramden hung his head over Claire’s computer screen as she

worked the keyboard. Norton stood to one side, eyeing her.

“She can handle them.”

She did. She scratched Kramden’s head and gave Norton a cracker from the tray of

cheeses and crackers I had prepared earlier. Norton snatched it and bounced across the table and out into the yard. Kramden followed and a squabble erupted. Once they devoured the cracker, they swirled into the sky, still going at each other, and headed west, their silhouettes starkly black against the red-orange sky, their cawing echoing off the trees. Time for them to find a roosting spot.


Posted by on May 31, 2015 in Cool & Odd-Mostly Odd, Writing


Medicine Is Strange: Stone Man Syndrome


Medicine has a lot of very strange disorders in its catalog of maladies.

Fibrodysplasia Ossificans Progressiva (FOP or Stone Man Syndrome) is one of them.


Murder Solved By Clever DNA Testing of an Old Stamp



Here is an amazing and convoluted story that involves good police work and clever DNA testing, including the use of old and very small samples and familial DNA techniques (instrumental in identifying the serial killer known as the Grim Sleeper). More proof that criminals can run but they can’t hide. Not for long anyway.


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