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Category Archives: Cool & Odd-Mostly Odd

Preacher Killed By Poisonous Snake—-Again.

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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:

http://www.amazon.com/Salvation-Sand-Mountain-Redemption-Appalachia/dp/0201622920/ref=tmm_hrd_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1438119485&sr=1-1

Holiness Serpent Handling Website: http://www.freewebs.com/holiness-snake-handlers/

Rev. John Wayne “Punkin” Brown Jr’s Death: http://www.hiddenmysteries.org/religion/pentecostal/snakeskill-fool.shtml

Videos:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J79ThhMuxWg

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=thk20h1lmVg

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4TXsxEyFGsE&feature=results_main&playnext=1&list=PL78176138E5FECFDA

 

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

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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

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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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From STRESS FRACTURE:

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.

 
8 Comments

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

 

Medicine Is Strange: Stone Man Syndrome

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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.

http://thechirurgeonsapprentice.com/2014/12/17/disturbing-disorders-fop-stone-man-syndrome/

 

Murder Solved By Clever DNA Testing of an Old Stamp

DNA PROFILE

DNA PROFILE

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.

 

Want To See Something Very Small? DNA Replication Visualized

This is cool. You probably remember from high school biology that DNA copies itself as the first step in cell division. This is how we grow and how we replace lost or damages cells.

 

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The replication process begins when the two strands of our double-stranded DNA “unzip.” That is, they split form one another. Then each stand rebuilds its complementary strand in a complex biological process. This yields two identical strands of double-stranded DNA, each of which becomes the nuclear material for the two identical cells when the division process is completed.

Current DNA analysis mirrors this natural phenomenon. State of the art DNA profiling employs the combination of the Polymerase Chain Reaction and Short Tandem Repeat analysis (PCR-STR). It’s the PCR portion that utilizes this natural process of replication, which is also called “amplification.”

Now it seems someone has used electron microscopy to visualize this process.

Amazing.

DNA Replication RCN.com: http://users.rcn.com/jkimball.ma.ultranet/BiologyPages/D/DNAReplication.html

You Tube: DNA Replication Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=27TxKoFU2Nw

How Stuff Works: DNA Replication: http://science.howstuffworks.com/life/cellular-microscopic/dna3.htm

DNA Forensics: From RFLP to PCR-STR and Beyond: http://www.forensicmag.com/articles/2004/09/dna-forensics-rflp-pcr-str-and-beyond

 

 

Wild Pigs Are Taking Over

FERAL HOGS--DO NOT MESS WITH THESE GUYS

FERAL HOGS–DO NOT MESS WITH THESE GUYS

 

Pigs are often depicted as cute little curly-tailed pets or as cartoon characters. Harmless and all-around pleasant. The truth is another matter.

Feral pigs are dangerous and destructive. They are omnivores, meaning they will eat virtually anything. They are strong, fast, aggressive, and intelligent. Intelligent on the level of dogs and horses. Remember Animal Farm? The pigs ended up in charge.

Pigs often escape from farms and head into the woods, where they are uniquely equipped to not only survive but thrive. Food materials are everywhere for the escapees and they have few enemies. But they do have friends. Other escaped pigs.

When these feral creatures form into packs they become destructive and dangerous. They can decimate crops, literally uprooting everything. They can destroy a chicken coop, by barging in and consuming literally hundreds of chickens. They can kill lambs and calves and small deer. Even humans in rare cases.

Growing up in the South, I remember several times where feral packs began to wreak havoc with local farmers. When such situations became intolerable, the local farmers would “form a pack” of there own and hunt down and kill as many of the problem pigs as possible.

According to a recent Scientific American article, the problem still exists, is indeed growing, and is no longer confined to the South.

I used this phenomenon in one of my Dub Walker thrillers HOT LIGHTS, COLD STEEL. Feral pigs can dig and scratch and claw and will eat anything—-even a buried body.

 

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From Hot Lights, Cold Steel:

They reached a clearing where three other uniforms stood near a rectangle of gouged away earth. The first thing T-Tommy saw was the gnawed remains of a shoulder, bone and gristle exposed, flesh shredded. It was framed by torn plastic sheeting. As he moved closer, he saw a leg protruding through another rip in the plastic. Like the shoulder, large chunks of flesh were missing, the bones clearly visible. Attached to the damaged leg was a bare foot, nails painted purple, not the bright red polish he had seen minutes earlier. Two bodies or a fashion statement? 

The decay odor was weak, and though flies buzzed around the shredded flesh, he saw no maggots. The corpse hadn’t been dead long. He backed away and watched as the evidence team went to work.

Forty-five minutes later, Sidau and his crime lab crew had photographed the site, completed a grid walk of the immediate area for other evidence, and collected what they could find. The coroner’s techs then excavated the grave, finding two nude bodies. Young girls. Early twenties, give or take. Each had been wrapped in plastic. They removed them from the grave and sliced open the wrapping, careful to keep each corpse cupped within its sheeting, preserving any trace evidence. One of the bodies belonged to the arm, the other to the leg.

“Pigs,” the tech said.

“You sure?” T-Tommy asked.

He nodded. “Seen it before. Drummond and Cooksey can tell us more, but that’s what it’ll be.”

“There was a pack near here a couple of months ago,” Stone said. “Wiped out a chicken coop and killed a few calves. The local farmers put together a hunting party. Killed six of them. Must have been more.”

“How’d you know that?”

“My uncle was one of the hunters.”

 
6 Comments

Posted by on December 4, 2014 in Cool & Odd-Mostly Odd, Writing

 
 
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