A ‘vampire’s’ remains were found about 30 years ago. Now DNA is giving him new life.

He had been in his grave so long that when his family dug him up to burn his heart, the organ had decomposed and was not there.

Desperate to stop him from stalking them, they took his head and limbs and rearranged them on top of his ribs in the design of a skull and crossbones. He was a “vampire,” after all, and in rural New England in the early 1800s, this was how you dealt with them.

When they were finished, they reburied him in his stone-lined grave and replaced the wooden coffin lid, on which someone had used brass tacks to form the inscription “JB 55,” for his initials and his age.

Now, 200 years or so after the death of what has become the country’s best-studied “vampire,” DNA sleuths have tracked down his probable name: John Barber.

Continue reading “A ‘vampire’s’ remains were found about 30 years ago. Now DNA is giving him new life.”

For Japanese Americans, ‘The Terror’ is personal

VANCOUVER, Canada — George Takei sat in his trailer on the set of “The Terror” dressed in his character’s charcoal-blue yukata as we traded histories in bittersweet shorthand. For those whose families were among the 120,000 Japanese Americans incarcerated during World War II, one need only say the names of places to paint a picture.
“We went from Rohwer to Tule Lake,” said Takei, 82, who was a child when he and his family were imprisoned in concentration camps by the American government in 1942, more than two decades before he blazed a trail for Asians in Hollywood as “Star Trek” icon Hikaru Sulu. “There were no charges, no trial. We were rounded up.” (Takei will join the Los Angeles Times Book Club on Sept. 10 to discuss his graphic novel about the experience, “They Called Us Enemy.”)

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Gentrification is Erasing Black Cemeteries and, With it, Black History

Black burial sites are struggling for survival. Such struggles should be interpreted as elemental battles over the meaning, matter, and worth of black life, history, and memory. Take the Boyd Carter cemetery in Jefferson county, West Virginia, a historic African American burial ground that’s been active since 1902. In early April 2019, the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection approved a permit for a natural gas pipeline extension to be placed within feet of the historic cemetery. If built, the pipeline would transport gas to a planned heavy manufacturing facility roughly a quarter-mile to the east.

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[Video]What is the Oldest Mummy in the World? – Ask A Mortician

Currently there is a revolution going on. A revolution that many don’t know about, but one that all people will be impacted by. That is the current Death Revolution. There are people working to change the way that we view death, the way we approach burials and to make funerals more accessible to all people. People like Caitlin Doughty who runs a youtube channel called Ask a Mortician, where she talks about different topics around death. In this episode she talks about the history of mummification and how far back it traces.

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Death and the Birth of Feminism

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Whether you believe the Fox sisters possessed supernatural powers or were masters of deception, one thing is for sure. What began as a rapping on the wall quickly became fame & fortune. Spiritualism was at its height & provided a platform for women to speak out. Death & the Maiden’s Sarah Chavez explains that women became influential, powerful and financially independent for the first time in America, all because they could supposedly speak to the dead.

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How ‘Talking’ Corpses Were Once Used to Solve Murders

From unreliable hair analysis to mishandled DNA samples, modern forensic science has seen its share of troubles. But there’s still plenty to be thankful for in the ways courts today gather evidence of a crime: Just a few centuries ago, people were convicted of murder based on the idea that a corpse would spontaneously bleed in its killer’s presence.

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The Deadly History of Women Using Perfume as Poison

There’s a myth about Marie Antoinette’s attempt to escape the guillotine I love retelling: In seeking to avoid the wrath of the Jacobin revolutionaries, the royal family escaped to the outskirts of Paris in disguise. When their coach was stopped by a mob, they were unrecognizable. They were found out, improbably, by the noble profile of the king (which perfectly matched a banknote), but also in the noble smell of the queen. After all, only royalty could afford such a sublime scent.

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The Trump Who Cried Witch: Unruly Language and the American Witch Hunt

The “witch hunt” has been re-imagined and re-introduced in this cultural moment because an unfortunate tweet posted by our 45th president: “This is the single greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history!” Social media has introduced the American public to a technology landscape where politicians are able to directly interact in the public sphere, so Salem’s congressman, Seth Moulton, responded a few hours later: “As the Representative of Salem, MA, I can confirm that this is false.” The tongue-in-cheek response by Moulton shows his concern over Trump’s casual assumption of victimhood.

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Pseudoarchaeology and the Racism Behind Ancient Aliens

At the ancient site of Hatnub, a quarry in the eastern Egyptian desert not far from Faiyum, archaeologists have recently discovered a sled ramp system used to transport alabaster blocks. Post holes and a ramp with stairs on either side indicate that the contraption allowed Egyptian builders to move heavy blocks up and down steep slopes. Inscriptions have now helped archaeologists from the Institut français d’archéologie orientale and the University of Liverpool to date this groundbreaking technology to at least the reign of Khufu, who ruled from 2589–2566 BCE. Khufu is known as the pharaoh who likely commissioned the building of the Great Pyramid at Giza. Discovery and reconstruction of the ramp allows us to better understand ancient construction techniques. It also chips away at the long-held but fringe theory that the blocks were so heavy and the distances they would have to travel so lengthy that aliens must have built the pyramids.

Where did the theory of aliens building the pyramids actually come from? Since the late 19th century, science fiction writers have imagined Martians and other alien lifeforms engaged in great feats of terrestrial engineering. Earlier alien theories surrounding Atlantis may have spawned fantasies about alien building. The most substantial evidence for non-earthly creatures arrived in the wake of H.G. Wells’s success.

Read More – Pseudoarchaeology and the Racism Behind Ancient Aliens – Hyperallergic

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