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Serial killers attract a certain macabre fascination. And one reason might be the way they twist our conception of “normal.” After all, what’s the first thing you hear from neighbors about a guy who was found with human bodies in his basement? Your neighbor, your spouse, your friend, any of these people could secretly be sneaking out at night to commit gruesome murders. Even your child could be a murderer as these five examples of serial killers who were murdering people before they hit puberty demonstrates.

“He seemed so normal.”

We just can’t seem to predict who might actually be a serial killer. Your neighbor, your spouse, your friend, any of these people could secretly be sneaking out at night to commit gruesome murders. Even your child could be a murderer.

And if that sounds a little far-fetched to think a child could be a serial killer, just look at these five examples of cold-blooded killers who were murdering people before they hit puberty.

Seisaku Nakumora

Seisaku

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Seisaku Nakamura was born deaf in Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan in 1924. But in spite of his disability, he was well known as a bright child who excelled in school. But his family still treated him poorly, and the people around him began to shun him, turning him into a bit of a pariah.

Perhaps this alienation explains why, at the age of fourteen, Nakamura began to kill. The series of attacks began when he attempted to sexually assault an older girl and her friend. The girls resisted and Nakamura stabbed them to death. This first case went unsolved due to a lack of witnesses. But it seems to have left Nakamura with a taste for blood.

Within a few years, he began prowling the area, seeking victims. In August of 1941, he murdered one woman and injured another. Within a month, he had already killed three more women.

A few days after these most recent attacks, he turned on his family. One night in August, Nakamura charged back into his father’s house, murdering his brother and severely injuring his father, mother, and brother-in-law as they tried to defend themselves from his blade. Nakamura then escaped back into the surrounding hills. But even attacking the family that had mistreated him couldn’t satisfy the now teenaged Nakamura desire to kill.

By now, the authorities were looking for Nakamura, who had been dubbed the “Hamatsu Deaf Killer.” But then ongoing war in the Pacific made the government reluctant to publicize the details of the killings, and so the deaf killer would claim a few more lives before he was finally brought to justice.

Nakamura’s final attack took place in August 1942 when he broke into another home, murdering a man, his wife, and his daughter and attempting rape their surviving daughter. The girl resisted and Nakamura stabbed her instead.

After this incident, the authorities finally located and captured Nakamura before he could kill again. Nakamura was tried and found not guilty by reason of insanity. But a military court quickly overruled this verdict and sentenced him to death.

After his arrest, his injured father committed suicide rather than suffer the shame of living with what his son had done.

Nakamura was finally executed in October, 1942.

Cayetano Santos Godino

Serial Killer

“Petiso4”. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons

Cayetano Godino was born in Argentina in 1896 with congenital syphilis. This condition, which can cause developmental problems, might explain why he had such a troubled childhood. Early in his life, Cayetano developed a fascination with torturing small animals. This behavior is part of a classic identifying test for serial killers called the McDonald Triad.

It’s not known if Cayetano displayed the second behavior in the triad, chronic bedwetting, but he certainly displayed the third: a fascination with fire.

Around the age of ten, Cayetano began setting buildings on fire because he enjoyed watching the buildings burn and seeing firefighters rush to save the people inside.

Around that time, Cayetano also began attacking other children, including one boy who he tried to murder by bashing him in the head with a brick. Luckily, a nearby police officer was able to save the boy. But Cayetano was soon released on the grounds of his age.

Around this time, his parents became aware that Cayetano was a compulsive masturbator. As this was illegal in Argentina at the time, and because she didn’t know how else to manage a child like Cayetano, she turned him over to the authorities and he served a two-month jail sentence. Immediately after his release, he began his career as a serial killer in earnest.

That year, he murdered an older boy, leaving his body to rot in an abandoned building. A few weeks later, he combined his interest in murder and arson, setting a five-year-old girl’s dress on fire. The girl managed to put the flames out but died shortly after from her wounds.

Cayetano’s final murder victim was a young boy whom he lured into an abandoned house with the promise of candy. After striking the boy in the head with a brick wasn’t enough to kill him, Cayetano left to get a more effective weapon. Outside, he ran into the boy’s father who asked if Cayetano had seen his son. Cayetano told him he didn’t, but shortly after the man left, Cayetano came back and hammered a nail into the boy’s skull, killing him.

A few days later, Cayetano was arrested on suspicion of the murder and confessed to his crimes. He was sentenced to a mental institution for several years and then transferred to a prison where he died at the age of 48, possibly murdered by other inmates.

Jesse Pomeroy

Jesse Pomeroy

Image: Public Domain/Wikimediacommons

On April 24, 1874 the Boston police found the mutilated body of four-year-old Horace Millen in a marsh outside the city. Their investigation led to a young boy named Jesse Pomeroy.

Jesse was born in Boston in 1860. From an early age, he was a bit of a social outcast. He had a milky eye and hare-lip which made him the object of ridicule from other children. As a result,  he was known to be extremely violent. This violence came to a head when Pomeroy was eleven. That year he began luring younger children into the woods where he would beat them before tying them to a tree and torturing them with a knife.

After being arrested in connection to these attacks, Pomeroy was sent to a reform school. But he was released due to good behavior after just one year. This act of clemency proved to be a mistake, as immediately after being released from the school, Pomeroy graduated to murder.

That March, he kidnapped and murdered a young girl. And he did the same the next month to Horace, slitting his throat so savagely that the boy was nearly decapitated.

After this murder, the police arrested Pomeroy again and he was sentenced to spend the rest of his life in prison. This time, he wasn’t released and died there at the age of seventy-two.

Amardeep Sada

Murderer Amardeep Sada

Image:Hadlock/postmordemreport

The youngest killer on this list, Amardeep Sada, began murdering other children at just eight years old. Born in rural India, Amadeep first focused his blood lust on his own family. In 2007, Amardeep strangled his 8-month-old sister. And a few months later, he did the same to his infant cousin.

Wanting to protect their child, Amardeep’s family tried to push the murders under the rug. But soon, Amardeep began targeting his neighbors as well. A few weeks after these murders, Amardeep abducted a young girl while her mother was working in a nearby field. He took the girl into the woods and murdered her with a brick.

Because the murder took place so close to a police station, it was easy for the authorities to find Amardeep and he was arrested.

Amardeep was sentenced to a juvenile facility and under Indian law will be eligible for release on his eighteenth birthday, which means he may soon be able to kill again.

And that’s what is so terrifying about children who kill. They’re often held to a lower standard of responsibility by the law. That makes sense, because we can’t expect children to have a fully developed sense of morality. But it raises the question: can a born killer really be expected to never kill again?

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The tragic tale of Florence Foster Jenkins, terrible opera singer

Florence Foster Jenkins had a dream. She wanted to be a famous opera singer. The problem was, she couldn’t actually sing.

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Florence Foster Jenkins

Florence Foster Jenkins had a dream. She wanted to be a famous opera singer. The problem was, she couldn’t actually sing.

Well, she could sing. Just not very well. Let’s listen, shall we?

If you can’t watch the video above, let me try to do it justice with a description. It sounded like two sick cats fighting over a tin can full of marbles. It was like a box of accordions being dragged behind a wandering troupe of Vietnamese folk musicians. It was the sound your elderly grandmother makes as she takes a fatal tumble down a flight of stairs.

So how did a woman like that become an opera singer? Well,basically it came down to a large inheritance and a legendary capacity for self-delusion. Not to mention a healthy dose of syphilitic brain damage.

Florence was born in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania in 1868. Early on, she discovered a love of music, and was actually something of a child prodigy on the piano. She was so good that she was invited to play at the White House during the Hayes administration.

But, Florence didn’t want to play the piano, she wanted to sing. So, she asked her father if she could go to Europe to study Opera.

Presumably having heard her sing, her father took a long draw on his pipe, worked his lip under what was probably a pretty impressive mustache and said, “No”.

Betrayed, and set on revenge, Florence eloped with a local doctor named Frank Jenkins. Unfortunately for Florence, the good doctor had a predilection for ladies of the evening and contracted a case of Syphilis, which he promptly spread to Florence. This being the 19th century, that wasn’t grounds for a divorce so Florence set out on her own while still legally married to the man whose name she would keep the rest of her life.

Florence made a meager living giving piano lessons until an arm injury stopped her from playing. She and her mother Mary moved to New York where Florence met her second, common-law husband, St. Clair Bayfield in 1909. By this time her Syphilis was doing what Syphilis does and virulently attacking her brain.

In that same year, her wealthy father died, leaving Florence with the funds she needed to bankroll her own singing career. So, that’s just what she did, renting out concert halls to give private recitals. She hand delivered invitations to these recitals, making sure never to invite any critics.

Her performances were marked with mistakes in pitch, timing, and pronunciation of the foreign words that are sort of necessary to pronounce correctly when you’re singing opera. Her accompanist was forced to make frequent adjustments to his playing to account for her tendency to rapidly switch tempo and pitch, which can be heard on the recordings that survive.

Florence became the celebrity she wanted to be, though not for the reason she would have hoped. Word got around the city about her “so bad it’s good” performances and it became something of an inside joke among the New York elite to send friends to a show with purposely vague reviews. One critic wrote that her singing was “like the untrammeled flight of some great bird.”

The ultimate payoff was to go with a friend who expected to hear a lovely rendition of The Magic Flute and then watch the expression of bewilderment on their face as they tried to figure out why such a terrible singer would be giving recitals.

By popular demand, Florence was finally convinced to give a performance at Carnegie Hall at age 76, and tickets quickly sold out. People stood outside waving hundreds of dollars in the air in the hopes of securing entrance to the show. The most valuable seats were in the back where people would fall to their knees behind doubled over in laughter. People advised each other to bring handkerchiefs to shove in their mouths. Others had to be carried out after laughing themselves hysterical.

Meanwhile, Florence took the laughter as adulation rather than derision. As she walked off the stage to raucous applause, she must have thought this moment the culmination of her life-long dreams to sing opera at Carnegie Hall.

The next morning she read the reviews. One critic praised her great range saying, “She can sing anything except notes.” Another said, “It was largely a recital without voice for the tones that Madam Jenkins produced were tiny. Much of her singing was hopelessly lacking any a semblance of pitch but the further a note was from its proper elevation the more the audience laughed and applauded.”

Two days later, Florence suffered a fatal heart attack. Some attribute her demise to the stress of learning what people actually thought of her singing.

Her long-time accompanist, Cosme McMoon, argued that it was unrelated. He stated in an interview that her capacity for self-delusion was such that she could have easily convinced herself that it was the reviewers who were wrong.

Regardless of the truth of the matter, Florence Foster Jenkins probably summed it up best when she said, “People may say I can’t sing, but no one can ever say I didn’t sing.”

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The Dwarf Who Became A Giant

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Adam Ranier
Adam Ranier

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If you’re familiar with Game of Thrones, and its most popular character, you know it can be tough to be a dwarf with all the white walkers and having to murder your father with a crossbow. But it’s probably also tough to be a giant. After all, you have to duck under doors and constantly get asked to pull things off of high shelves.

But it’s probably even tougher to go from one to the other. Luckily, there’s only one person in history who has ever had to go through that. In 1899 a child named Adam Ranier was born in Austria. For most of his life. he was small and sickly. When he was 18, he was evaluated by army physicians after his draft number was called who rejected him after finding that he only measured four and a half feet tall.  He was, technically speaking a dwarf.

But then one day he started growing for some reason. And in the next ten years, he grew to be over seven feet tall, making him the tallest man in the country. But while most people would be pretty excited to discover that they could suddenly dominate their local pick up basketball game, Adam had some pretty severe side effects from his growth spurt.

His spine began to curve significantly, and he lost the vision in his right eye along with the hearing in his left ear. In 1931, two doctors studying him discovered that the source of his incredible growth. They found a large tumor pressing on his pituitary gland, pushing huge amounts of growth hormones into his body. Today the condition is called Acromegaly, and Adam displayed all the symptoms, including unevenly spaced teeth, a pronounced jaw and brow, and unusually large hands and feet. Adam also found that eating was difficult and he began to suffer the effects of a poor diet.

Due to his condition, Adam remained bedridden for much of his life. The doctors performed a surgery that was intended to remove the tumor, but after examining him a few years later they found that he was still growing, which meant that they had been unable to correct the condition. Adam died at a fairly young in 1950 at a height of seven feet and ten inches.

But to this day, Adam Ranier remains the only person who has ever lived as both a dwarf and a giant. It’s a shame that more isn’t known about his life. Though, even at the time, his case attracted a lot of attention in the international press. And the Guinness Book of World Records included an entry on him in 1975. And though he was unfortunate to have to suffer such debilitating physical conditions, at least he will be remembered as unique in the history of mankind.

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7 weird things we’ve learned through science

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Virus

Ah, science! Domain of the geeks. I may not have loved you when I was a teenager with other things to think about, like the insane changes in my body, but now that I’m older I have come to be fascinated by your astounding discoveries.

Here’s a look at some of the strangest of natural phenomena—whether in biology, anatomy, archeology, or astronomy. Some of them are too weird too believe… and yet it’s all true!

Clouds

Thought clouds weigh nothing because they float? Wrong. Clouds weigh millions of tons. Yet they float because they are less dense than the surrounding air and than the rising currents of hot air. That’s why the sky does not fall on our heads dufus!

Bacteria

In this very moment, there are about 100 billion bacteria living in your mouth, and 100 trillion (100,000 billion) in your digestive tract. Oh and there are 25,000 germs walking on each square inch of your cell phone, and 7.2 billion on your kitchen sponge. Bacteria and germs are living beings—that makes your body, phone and kitchen extremely social places! Fortunately, most of these microscopic life forms are harmless and work actively for our mutual benefit.

Mosquitoes Allergy

… But they are not allergic to us, unfortunately. The itch that results from a mosquito bite is simply an immune response from your body. When the insect “bites” you, it in fact sucks your blood through its “trunk” (i.e. its proboscis) while simultaneously injecting substances including an anticoagulant. This helps the blood pass easily through its proboscis and its digestive tract. Itching is not directly caused by the bite or chemicals contained in the mosquito’s proboscis but by the immune response of the body fighting them. Our body releases histamine, a protein involved in many allergic reactions, to fight against parasites. Histamine causes swelling around the bite so that the blood rushes to the affected area, and this has the side effect of itching.

Stardust

93% of your body mass is actually stardust. Time to start writing poems y’all. Most of the elements that make up your body, like your bones, organs, and muscles are made of various atoms and molecules. And where do you think those atoms and molecules come from? Technically from your mom, but if you trace everything back far enough, these particles come from the stars.

DNA

Believe it or not, you have 2 meters of DNA in every cell in your body, which has 10 trillion cells. If we put all that DNA together and made a string out of it, we could tie the string from the Earth to the Moon over 100,000 times!

Giant Dinosaur Stomach

The Sauroposeidon, of the brachiosaur family, is one of the largest dinosaurs ever found. It could reach up to 18 meters in height and weigh up to 60 tons. Naturally, his stomach was the size of a swimming pool. Time for a swim in the dino’s tummy!

Eye Muscles

The muscles in your eyes are the most active ones in your body. According to one study, they actually move more than 100,000 times a day. Does that sound like a lot? Try to count how many times your eyes just moved just to read this paragraph. Now, if only I could do one push-up for every eye-movement!

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