This is a public service announcement made by the US government in 1952, geared towards children. Remember, if there is a nuclear explosion you should duck and cover!
Category: Morbid History
I’ve been doing a lot of serious posts lately so I feel like it’s time to have a little fun. These are the YouTube channels that I regularly watch to entertain myself. Most are morbid in nature, which should come as no surprise. If you aren’t curious about tragic deaths, historical mishaps or cemeteries then this post probably isn’t for you. Here are my top five favourite channels, in no particular order.
Arthur Dark takes you on video tours of the graves of the famous and infamous located around Los Angeles. They are very informative and he even does themed episodes like the one above, which is about the graves of the people who were involved in The Twilight Zone series. I have spent entire days watching these and I still haven’t seen all of them. This is an excellent channel to binge watch all day because you won’t get bored.
Scott Michaels is the most famous ‘death hag’ in the Los Angeles area. He used to run Dearly Departed Tours, which was a tour that took in locations mostly related to tragic celebrity deaths. He also used to run a small museum of all of the celebrity related objects that he collected over the years, including the car that Jayne Mansfield was in when she died. His videos are really well done and span from tragic historical events all the way to tales of the celebrities he has met over the years. He is a fount of knowledge and a very nice guy who has raised money to buy gravestones for forgotten celebrities.
The Illuminaughtii is mostly focused on exposing scam companies and the people involved in them. Mainly they are about MLM pyramid scheme fraudsters and she really doesn’t hold back. She also rants against companies and people who are generally awful; racists, sexists, and turds such as Ben Shapiro. This is the channel to watch if you want to learn how to easily spot problematic companies.
This is a channel that details all of the horrific events that have happened throughout history. If you can think of a disaster they have probably covered it. I’m really into morbid historical events and there are topics here that I have never heard of before. The content is very well done and not overtly gruesome.
Stephanie Harlowe runs a channel that is mostly about historical and current true crime cases. In my opinion she has the best true crime channel because she does a lot of research and is very concise when it comes to details. She will admit when she thinks something is unproven, instead of just running with a fact that’s totally untrue. She sometimes also does videos on supernatural occurrences, which is a lot of fun.
Have you ever heard of the Cathars before? Do not be embarrassed if you haven’t because it isn’t something that is taught in history books. Probably because it paints Catholicism as a whole in a very bad light. In Western civilization we are taught that Christianity, in general, was a good thing and that the pagans needed to be converted for their own good. Nothing could be further from the truth, as you shall soon find out.
The Cathars, also known as the the Albigensians, were a sect of Christianity that did not fall in line with the Catholic Church. They were located in mainly southern France and northern Italy and were a Gnostic form of Christianity that believed in two separate gods. One God, who was from the Old Testament, was considered to be evil because they created the physical world. They would sometimes call this God Satan. The other God, who was from the New Testament, was considered to be good and that they created the spiritual realm. In order to reach the spiritual realm you had to reject sex. gluttony and all of the things that were deemed evil in the physical world. They also believed that anybody, including women, could hear another person’s confession. As you can imagine the Catholic Church wasn’t having any of this.
Pope Innocent III declared a crusade against the Cathars in 1209, when efforts to curb their beliefs did not go as planned. He offered free confiscated Cathar lands to any French nobleman who took part in the crusade. The Crusaders numbered about 10,000 and once in southern France they would besiege towns and cities which were known to have a large population of Cathars. The most famous of these took place in the town of Beziers. The town, which was made up of both Catholics and Cathars, refused to send the Cathars out to be killed even though their lives would have been spared if they had done so. So, the papal legate Arnaud Amalric ordered the destruction of the town. When asked how the soldiers could tell the Cathars from the Catholics he famously said ‘Kill them all! God will know his own!’. Approximately 20,000 civilians died in the attack, which was the population of the entire town.
The official end of this crusaders war was in 1229, however the Cathars still weren’t totally wiped out as yet. Because of this an Inquisition was organized in 1233 to root out the remaining Cathars in the south of France. 183 Cathars were burned alive on May the 13th 1239, because they refused to recant or convert. Soon there was only one Cathar stronghold left and that was the fortress of Montsegur. After a siege of almost a year about 240 Cathars were burned alive in a huge fire at the base of the hill. There were still small pockets of them after this in southern France but within one hundred years they were all gone. Their sacred texts were destroyed and their failure to find new converts lead to this happening. Soon after the Cathars that lived in northern Italy were also gone.
The Cathars were the victims of a genocide just because they had a different set of religious beliefs. There were also other early forms of Christianity who suffered a similar fate. Christianity, and the other Abrahamic religions, have a lot to answer for when it comes to all of the pain and suffering that they have caused through the centuries.
Kaffa (AKA Caffa) was a major trading port on the north shore of the Black Sea in the region of Crimea. When the Mongols conquered the region in the 1230’s the city came under their rule. It became part of the Golden Horde, a large area of Mongol conquered land that contained much of Russia, central Asia and Eastern Europe.
The Mongol leaders allowed a group of traders from Genoa Italy to control the seaport. This wasn’t done out of the goodness of their hearts, because the Mongols would earn a whole lot of money from this arrangement. This overrode the fact that the Mongols were Muslim and the Italians were Christian. Money was worth more than religion, at least for a while.
In 1343 at the nearby town of Tana some Italians and Muslims got into a fight and a Muslim man died in the scuffle. The Italians fled the town and asked for sanctuary in Kaffa because they knew that they would be killed by the Mongols if they had stayed behind. Kaffa allowed them to hide out, and when the Mongol leader, Jani Beg, asked the city to hand over the men the city refused, Jani Beg then started a siege of the city. Because of being a port Kaffa received supplies and Italian soldiers and were easily able to fight off the Mongols. Jani Beg withdrew his troops, but he left in anger.
A new disease came out of central Asia in 1331 and started to spread like wildfire through China and then southern Russia travelling along the Silk Road trading routes. Finally, it entered Crimea. In 1345 Jani Beg started to siege Kaffa yet again, but this time his soldiers started dying of a strange disease,. Day by day his soldiers would break out in boils that would weep puss and blood, then quickly they would die in agony. With his forces quickly diminishing Jani Beg ordered that the corpses be put in catapults and thrown into Kaffa.
This became the first instance of biological warfare ever used in history. The citizens of Kaffa would gather the infected bodies and throw them into the sea, however there was no escaping this plague and people started to die. Some think the plague entered from the fleas on the corpses while others think the fleas entered the city upon rats. Whatever the reason this event would have repercussions that would be felt all over Europe.
In 1347 the Italians finally left Kaffa on 12 ships. In October of 1347 they landed in the Sicilian port of Messina and from there the plague spread throughout Europe and killed over 20 million people.. You won’t find the port of Kaffa on a modern map because Russia took over Crimea in 1783, and renamed the city Feodosiya in 1802. Even today there are skirmishes still happening in the area due to the country of Ukraine breaking off from the U.S.S.R, and Russia wanting the land back. Hopefully, this time, the black death plague won’t make an appearance.
Welcome to the first post in a series that I am calling Morbid History. In it I will be examining historical events that were tragic in nature. If you are sensitive when it comes to that sort of thing you may want to skip this series.
I have always been into historical events that are morbid in nature. Not because I think it’s entertaining that people have died. Far from it. I like learning about such things because I find it fascinating how events can just go so horribly wrong and end up killing people. Sometimes such events are accidents, but at other times they are caused by the greed and carelessness of others. Which is what happened at the infamous Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire that took place on March the 25th in 1911.
The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory was located in the upper floors of the Asche Building. This was in the Greenwich Village neighbourhood of Manhattan in New York City. This 1901 constructed building was promoted as having ‘fireproof’ rooms to attract clothing factory companies. So, it was not unusual at all for clothing factories to be located in buildings such as this. It was also not unusual for some of the exits from the factory to be locked, so that the garment workers couldn’t steal any of the products that they were making. Their bags would be searched after their job had been finished for the day.
Shirtwaists were blouses for women,. By 1911 they were going out of style so business was down for the owners Max Blanck and Isaac Harris. On that Saturday there were about 500 employees working in the factory which was located on the 8th, 9th and 10th floors. At around 4:20 that afternoon a witness on the street saw smoke coming from an 8th floor window of the building so a fire alarm was raised. What happened next was a series of events directly caused by the greed of both the building owner and the company owners, and those events would have lasting consequences for the workers.
The fire started, according to fire officials after the event, when a lit cigarette or match was carelessly discarded in a large metal bin full of cutting scraps. These scraps were what was left over when the material for the blouses was cut into shape. Workers were not allowed to smoke in the building, but sometimes they would anyway. The fire quickly spread from those scraps to all of the cloth hanging nearby. Somebody from the floor was able to telephone the 10th floor that there was a fire but there was no way to tell the 9th floor what was quickly happening. The 9th floor finally learned about the fire at around the same time that it was coming through the floor.
There were several exits that people from the 9th floor could have taken to escape, but one by one they became unusable. The Washington Place stairway exit was locked to prevent theft so that was unusable from the start. The supervisor who had the key had escaped early on. The Greene Street stairway was used by dozens of people to get to safety up on the roof. Within mere minutes it became unusable in both directions. Both elevator operators were able to make it to the 9th floor three times to carry employees to safety before the heat from the fire made the elevators useless. What was to happen next was even more tragic.
Since all the exits were now blocked by flames there was nowhere for the employees to go besides the outside steel fire exit. This fire exit was put upon the side of the building by the owner, Joseph J. Asch, to comply with a building regulation that required three exits to be present in a building of that size and use. However, the fire exit was made very cheaply and wasn’t even correctly attached to the building. When the employees started to crowd onto the fire escape it broke away from the building and they all fell to their deaths onto the pavement below. The employees had no way of escaping now so many jumped out of the windows so that they wouldn’t feel the agonizing pain of being burned to death.
This is the most deadly industrial type fire to happen in New York City history. All told 146 people died that day, most having suffered in their last moments. 123 women perished, while 23 men were also killed. Most of the victims were young Italian and Jewish immigrant women between the ages of 14 to 23. They came to America because they thought that they could have a better life than the one that they had left at home. They had no way of knowing that they would be just as exploited by American businessmen as the ones that they had worked under back in their home countries.
The owners of The Triangle Shirtwaist Company, Blanck and Harris, were charged with first and second degree manslaughter, but they were found not guilty by a jury. It really rankles me that these creeps didn’t even spend any time in jail for this. Wealthy men getting away with murder is by no means a modern phenomenon. A civil suit was then brought against them by the relatives of the victims. Guess what they had to pay? Only $75.00 per victim, while they received about $60,000 from an insurance company for the damage that their factory suffered. That’s right folks! Machines are worth more than humans! There has been a theory floating about for decades that the owners set the fire themselves in order to get the insurance payout. Remember, the shirtwaist blouses that they made were going out of fashion so their business was beginning to lose money.
New York state, after this tragedy, worked hard to change their labour laws so that factory workers no longer had to work long hours six days a week. They also required the presence of safe toilets and lunch areas. The state also imposed restrictions as to how new buildings were made. They had to have a sufficient amount of exits, automatic sprinklers, fireproofing and other safety measures. Other states would eventually pass their own laws, some more strict than others. Garment worker unions, and other unions in general, gained in popularity after the fire, much to the consternation of wealthy business owners. To this day those type of owners are still trying to dismantle unions so that they can have the opportunity to work their employees literally to death.
The Asche Building is now called the Brown Building and it is owned and used by New York University. If you are ever in New York City and visit the building please remember all of the victims, because they should never be forgotten.