Saturday, 12 October 2013

The Death Ring

A singular story of a poisoned ring appeared in the French newspapers a few years ago, to the effect that a gentleman who had purchased some objects of art at a shop in the Rue St. Honoré, was examining an ancient ring, when he gave himself a slight scratch in the hand with a sharp part of it. He continued talking to the dealer a short time, when he suddenly felt an indescribable sensation over his whole body, which appeared to paralyse his faculties, and he became so seriously ill that it was found necessary to send for a medical man. The doctor immediately discovered every symptom of poisoning by some mineral substance. He applied strong antidotes, and in a short time the gentleman was in a measure recovered. The ring in question having been examined by the medical man, who had long resided in Venice, was found to be what was formerly called a ‘death’ ring, in use by Italians when acts of poisoning were frequent about the middle of the seventeenth century. Attached to it inside were two claws of a lion made of the sharpest steel, and having clefts in them filled with a violent poison. In a crowded assembly, or in a ball, the wearer of this fatal ring, wishing to exercise revenge on any person, would take their hand, and when pressing in the sharp claw, would be sure to inflict a slight scratch on the skin. This was enough, for on the following morning the victim would be sure to be found dead. Notwithstanding the many years since which the poison in this ring had been placed there, it retained its strength sufficiently to cause great inconvenience to the gentleman as stated.

Source: William Jones, Finger-Ring Lore,Chatto and Windus 1877

The Plasma Gang

A gang known as the Plasma Gang was reported to be in circulation in Alexandra, South Africa, in August 2013. They were breaking into people's houses to steal their plasma TVs; if the victims awoke or came in during the robbery and saw what was happening, the gang would murder them. They wanted the plasma TVs not for the sake of the TV itself, but so that they could remove a powder from inside it to use in the drug cocktail nyaope.

(This story was reported on the TV, radio and in local newspapers throughout August and September, with claims, counter-claims and debunkings.)

The Alchemical Properties of the Black Prince Cicada

''Trevor Dallen's comments about fly cages and tormented cicadas have brought back a few childhood memories,'' recalls Gerry Fletcher, of Tamworth. ''As a boy, every summer I would search for a Black Prince cicada, as the rumour at the time was that if you found one you could sell it to the local chemist for two shillings - a fortune in those days when Cobbers were four for a penny. Apparently, the chemist used the cicada in the making of some form of medicine."

Source: Sydney Morning Herald, 8 August 2013

"When I first started my pharmacy apprenticeship in the early '50,'' recalls Alice Sternhell, of Naremburn (big bucks from bugs, Column 8, last week), ''we were regularly pestered by children offering to sell us cicadas. My boss always told them that we had enough for now, but that Mr Spora, the chemist down the road, still needed some. So the myth lived on.'' 

Saturday, 20 April 2013

Bele Sheephead

Bele Sheephead haunts Broughton Moor road near Flimby in Cumbria. Bele was a young girl
who discovered her pet lamb killed by a fox. She felt a strange and irresistible urge to drink its blood, and from then on her thirst for fresh sheep's blood was insatiable. Eventually she become a half-sheep, half-human creature, and continues to haunt the road and terrify motorists. According to one local legend, one couple were stranded on the road when their car ran out of petrol. The man went off to get help while his wife dozed off in the car. She was later awoken by the arrival of the police and an ambulance. A policeman told her to get out of the car and not look back – but of course, she did look back, to see her husband's decapitated body lying in the road and his head stuck on a nearby fence. The locals believed Bele Sheephead had been at it again.

Source: Alan Murdie, Ghostwatch, Fortean Times no. 299, May 2013.

Friday, 5 April 2013

Ghost strips clothes from sleepers

A Bulawayo family report that their sleep is disturbed by something removing their clothes.

Noel Kazembe, the father, explained that the family 'go to bed without hassles but at around 1am we hear weird sounds but when we try to rise we find ourselves failing to move, as if we have been tied to the bed. I don't know what happens afterwards but we wake up naked in the morning.'

This has happened to all members of the family, and on one occasion they all slept in the same room out of fear.

Kazembe, who belongs to an apostolic sect, said he had tried prayers, but without success. 'I took up the issue with my church elders and they tried to help but to no avail. Even a senior prophet came to my house and prayed but we woke up naked the following morning,' he said.

He has said that he will turn to traditional help if prayers continue to fail. 'I have a grandfather who is a sangoma so I guess I will be forced to seek his help.'

A local source told press that the incidents had started after Kazembe's brother reportedly killed a friend in Tsholotsho. 'It must be the dead man's spirit that's now revenging,' he said.

Kazembe rejects this. 'Why would that person's spirit come here? It's nonsensical to think like that,' fumed the man who mysteriously wakes up naked

Saturday, 9 February 2013

Children at Uruti School took part in a best-dressed possum competition as part of a fundraising drive. The events centred on animals that are pests across New Zealand: while the adults went out hunting pigs, the children dressed dead possums.

The results are stunningly beautiful. Possums were dressed as sunbathers, hospital patients, babies, brides, an artist ... Congratulations to the prizewinners Hannah Harrison (up to 6 years), Lydia Hansen (6-9 years) and Levi Oxenham (10-14 years).

The school has only 14 pupils.

Friday, 8 February 2013

Imported goblin makes 'extreme demands'

Clever Kamuyedza, a Chitungwiza businessman, acquired a money-spinning goblin from a neighbouring country to help his transport business. However, the goblin started 'to make extreme demands', so Kamuyedza called in Speakmore Mandere, known as Sekuru Shumba, and a team of traditional healers to rid him of the creature.

After three days of consultation about whether the healers could conduct the appropriate ritual, Kamuyedza brought the goblin to Sekuru Shumba's lodgings. Sekuru Shumba beheaded the goblin, and Mr Kamuyedza told his wife to fetch the agreed fee of $15,000 from the car.

At that point Sekuru shouted that the goblin was fighting back. Clara Banda, one of the healers, said there was 'a loud sound coming from the bedroom. The walls of the house were crumbling'. A blast destroyed the house, killing five people including Sekuru and Kamuyedza.