The Haunting Continues, Most Terrifying Places on Earth

 

Haunted-house

Today Andy-land is proud to present a list of all the coolest places to take the kiddy’s trick or treating! Yes if you dread hauling them around to fill their lil sacks with candy only to watch them get that glazed look in their eye’s and the ensuing drama that follows. This post is for you. Andy

Riddle House

4368810023 4Fbfecda83

The History

The Riddle House in Palm Beach County, Florida, was originally a funeral parlor. The Victorian house was dismantled and rebuilt in Yesteryear Village at the South Florida fair grounds. In the 1920’s the house became privately owned by Karl Riddle.

The Terror

Joseph, one of Riddle’s former employees, committed suicide by hanging himself in the attic of the house. Joseph, for whatever reason, hated men, and displays this hatred by attacking men who enter the attic. One man had a lid flung at his head, and men are now no longer allowed in the attic. Other places in the house are haunted as well, with furniture being frequently moved.

 

Helltown

Hell3

The History

The Northern part of Summit County in Ohio is known by the eerily blunt moniker, Helltown. In the 70’s, Boston Township was the site of a government buyout, and subsequent mass eviction of citizens. The houses were intended to be torn down and the land used for a national park, but the plans never quite manifested. Legends spawned wildly, and who can blame the legend mongers? Driving through the dark, wooded landscape was enough to give you chills even when it was populated, let alone when you have to drive by boarded up houses standing next to the burnt out hulks of others (the local fire department used some buildings for practice).

The Terror

Whether based on a kernel of truth or cooked up in the heads of creative visitors, the persistent legends of Helltown add to the creep factor. The steep Stanford Road drop off, immediately followed by a dead end, is aptly named The End of the World. If you get stuck at this dead end for too long, according to ghost story enthusiasts, you may meet your end at the hands of many members of the endless parade of freaks patrolling the woods. Satanists, Ku Klux Klan members, an escaped mental patient, an abnormally large snake, and mutants caused by an alleged chemical spill proudly march in this parade. And if you stray from the roads, you may find Boston Cemetery, home to a ghostly man, grave robbers and, the quirkiest of all, a moving tree.

 

Stull Cemetery

 

 

The History

Stull, Kansas, is a tiny, unincorporated town in Bumfuck, Nowhere- er, pardon, Douglas County. Ten miles west of Lawrence and thirteen miles east of Topeka puts it far from anything resembling a large population center. The population of Stull is approximately 20 people. But, don’t let the deceptively quaint village fool you. A darker side lurks behind the bushes and in the shadows.

The Terror

In the early 20th century, two tragedies rocked the tiny settlement (please observe, these are not legend or folklore, but fact). First, a father finished burning a farm field, only to find the charred corpse of his young son in the aftermath. The second incident to occur was a man went missing, and was later found hanged from a tree. As far as legends go, the infamous cemetery is where you can find your fill of supernatural lore. The book Weird US has this to say on Stull Cemetery:

“There are graveyards across America that go beyond merely being haunted and enter into the realm of the diabolical. They are places so terrifying that they say the devil himself holds courts with his worshippers there. The cemetery on Emmanuel Hill in Stull, Kansas, is one of these places.”

Rumors exist stating that Stull Cemetery is one of the 7 gateways to Hell. While the old church is now demolished, many attempt to sneak in at night for a peek at the unsavory goings-on. But be warned, the police patrol heavily, especially on Halloween and the spring equinox. The place is supposed to be so unholy, in fact, that some claim Pope John Paul II refused to allow his plane to fly over eastern Kansas, on his way to an appearance in Colorado. The validity of this last claim is up for debate, but none can deny that legends or not, Stull Cemetery is a terrifying place to be.

The Ridges

 

 

The History

Originally known as the Athens Lunatic Asylum, The Ridges was renamed after the state of Ohio acquired the property. The hospital saw hundreds of lobotomies, and often declared masturbation and epilepsy to be the causes of insanity in patients.

The Terror

Athens, Ohio, is listed as the 13th most haunted place in the world, as per the British Society for Psychical Research. The nearby Ohio University (which currently owns most of the property on which the Ridges is located) is said to be heavily haunted. The notorious rapist with Dissociative Identity Disorder, Billy Milligan, was housed at the facility for years. The most famous story, however is that of a 54 year old female patient who ran away and was missing for 6 weeks. She was found dead in an unused ward. She had taken off all of her clothes, neatly folded them, and laid down on the cold concrete where she subsequently died. Through a combination of decomposition and sun exposure, her corpse left a permanent stain on the floor, which is still visible today. Her spirit now haunts the abandoned ward.

Humberstone and LaNoria

Cl31 Humberstone

The History

These two abandoned mining towns in Chile were recently featured on an episode of the SyFy Channel’s show, Destination Truth. In 1872, the town was founded as a saltpeter mine, and business boomed. However, after several heavy blows (including the Great Depression), the business declined and then collapsed in 1958, and the town of Humberstone and it’s surrounding towns were abandoned by 1960. Treatment of workers in both towns bordered on slavery, and now the towns are left standing derelict.

The Terror

It is rumored that the dead of the La Noria cemetery rise at night and walk around the town, and ghostly images frequently show up in photographs in Humberstone. These towns are so terrifying, the residents of nearby Iquique refuse to enter them. The former residents never left, and can be seen walking around, and children have been heard playing. The cemetery of La Noria, regardless of whether its occupants actually walk at night, contains opened graves where the bodies are fully exposed, leaving you to wonder why. Is it ghosts, or is it grave robbers? As if either prospect is very appealing.

Full episodes of Destination Truth, including the episode featuring Humberstone and La Noria, can be seen here.

 

Byberry Mental Asylum

 

 

The History

The Philadelphia State Hospital at Byberry, or known simply as Byberry, was the poster image for patient maltreatment. The hospital, in its most popular form, was founded in 1907, and known as the Byberry Mental Hospital. It exceeded its patient limit quickly, maxing out at over 7,000 in 1960. It housed everything from the mentally challenged to the criminally insane. Due to its atrocious conditions, and the sub-human treatment of its patients, the hospital was closed and abandoned in 1990. It had since become a nuisance for the neighborhood, as it was a breeding ground for vandals, arsonists, Satanists, and urban explorers. It was demolished in 2006, in spite of the fear of spreading asbestos, (which is what kept it standing for 16 years).

The Terror

The terrifying aspect of this location isn’t so much it’s hauntings or the unsavory characters that lurked after dark (although you would have been wise to be wary of both while exploring the building). The terror here comes from the facts of the how the hospital was run. Human excrement lined the hallways, which were also where many patients slept. The staff was abusive, and frequently exploited and harassed patients. One patient had a tooth pulled without Novocaine, while another killed and dismembered a female patient. Although the killer, Charles Gable, was never found, the victim’s body was found strewn across the property. Her teeth were found being played with by another patient. Even as the hospital was in the process of closing, two released patients were found dead in the Delaware River, two successive days after their release. Perhaps that gate in Stull Cemetery opens here.

Leap Castle

 

 

The History

While this Irish castle is perhaps the most popular location featured on the list, it is worth recapping the long and often gruesome history. Although it was built by the O’Bannons in the late 15th century, the castle was taken over by the ruling O’Carrolls, to whom the O’Bannons were subject. After the death of Mulrooney O’Carroll, a fierce rivalry erupted, culminating in two brothers struggling for control. One of the brothers, a priest, was brutally murdered in his own chapel, in front of the family, by the other brother. This chapel is now know as the Bloody Chapel, for obvious reasons. Many people were held prisoner and even executed at the castle.

The Terror

The castle is rumored to be haunted by a vast number of spirits, including a violent, hunched beast known only as the Elemental. It is most recognizable by the accompanying smell of rotting flesh and sulphur. While renovating the castle, workers discover an oubliette, which is a dungeon accessible only through a ceiling hatch, into which prisoners are thrown, then forgotten and left to die. This particular oubliette contained three cartloads of human remains, and was filled with spikes to impale those thrown into it’s depths.

Shades of Death Road

Trespass

The History

This New Jersey road winds through 7 miles of countryside, and along that stretch it gives us no definitive clues as to the origin of its eerie name (for those wondering, Shades of Death is not a nickname given by locals, but is in fact the road’s official moniker). While the explanation for this highly unusual name has been lost, many theories abound. Some say that murderous highwaymen would rob and kill those along the road. Others say the reason was because of violent retaliations by the locals against the very same highwaymen, resulting in their lynched corpses being hung up as a warning. Some attribute it to three murders that occurred in the 20’s and 30’s. The first murder saw a robber beating his victim over the head with a tire iron, the second saw a woman decapitate her husband and bury the head and body on separate sides of the road, and the third consisted of poor Bill Cummins being shot and buried in a mud pile. Some attribute it to massive amounts of fatal car crashes, while others consider it the fault of viscous wildcats from the nearby Bear Swamp. The most likely explanation, however, is that malaria-bearing mosquitos terrorized the locals year to year, and the remoteness of the area prevented good medical attention from being prominent in the area. This is supported by the fact that, in 1884, most of the swamps in the area were drained.

The Terror

Gruesome history and spooky name aside, you have much to fear along this byway. South of the I-80 overpass lies an officially unnamed lake, that most will tell you is called Ghost Lake. This lake is frequently the home of specter-like vapors, and the sky is supposed to be unusually bright, no matter what time of night you are there. As per the name, ghosts of the highwaymens victims roam the area, and they are most frequent in the abandoned cabin across the lake. The dead-end road known as Lenape Lane is home to thick fogs and apparitions, you may be chased off the road by a white light. I’ll let Wikipedia detail the most disturbing aspect of the road:

“One day during the 1990s, some visitors found hundreds of Polaroid photographs scattered in woods just off the road. They took some and shared them with Weird NJ, which published a few as samples. Most of the disturbing images showed a television changing channels, others showed a woman or women, blurred and somewhat difficult to identify, lying on some sort of metal object, conscious but not smiling. Local police began an investigation after the magazine ran an item with the photos, but the remainder disappeared shortly afterwards.”

Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum

 

 

The History

Welcome to Phnom Penh, Cambodia, home of the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum. This former high school was converted, in 1975, to Security Prison 21 by the Khmer Rouge. The prison was used as a base to torture and murder prisoners. Most of the prisoners were former soldiers and government officials from the Lon Nol regime. However, the Khmer Rouge leaders paranoia soon caught up with them, and they began shipping people from their own ranks to the prison. Many prisoners were tortured and tricked into naming their family and associates, who were them also arrested, tortured and murdered.

The Terror

The ghosts of the estimated 17,000 victims of Tuol Sleng continue to roam the halls, and odd happenings around the place are often attributed to them: and it isn’t hard to see why. Most were forced to confess to crimes they didn’t actually commit. Although most victims were Cambodians, many foreigners fell victim to the death machine, including Americans, French, a New Zealander, a Briton, Australians, Arabs, Indians, Pakistanis and Vietnamese. Only 12 people are thought to have survived. To close the entry on this sad history, I’ll leave you with the actual security regulations, the ten rules all prisoners had to abide by. All imperfect grammar is said in context due to poor translation.

1. You must answer accordingly to my question. Don’t turn them away.
2. Don’t try to hide the facts by making pretexts this and that, you are strictly prohibited to contest me.
3. Don’t be a fool for you are a chap who dare to thwart the revolution.
4. You must immediately answer my questions without wasting time to reflect.
5. Don’t tell me either about your immoralities or the essence of the revolution.
6. While getting lashes or electrification you must not cry at all.
7. Do nothing, sit still and wait for my orders. If there is no order, keep quiet. When I ask you to do something, you must do it right away without protesting.
8. Don’t make pretext about Kampuchea Krom in order to hide your secret or traitor.
9. If you don’t follow all the above rules, you shall get many many lashes of electric wire.
10.If you disobey any point of my regulations you shall get either ten lashes or five shocks of electric discharge.

The Mines of Paris

 

 

The History

The seemingly infinite tunnels that run below the streets of Paris should not be confused with the Catacombs of Paris, the famous underground ossuary, although the mines are also mistakenly referred to as the catacombs. Exploring the mines is illegal, and penalties include heavy fines. The mines were used to dig out minerals from Paris’ varied sediment (the location where Paris is was submerged for millions of years), and the tunnels are what got left behind.

The Terror

The mines are now unkempt, unpatrolled and unsafe. As far as legends go, ancient cults and creatures patrol the depths. Spirits dwell in the infinite shadows, and if one wanders deep enough, and survives, they may even enter Hades itself. As far as reality goes, those legends can take a back seat. The tunnels stretch for close to 600 kilometers throughout the Parisian underground, and most of them are unmapped. Saying it is easy to get lost is an understatement. It is nearly impossible not to get lost. Many parts of the catacombs are hundreds of feet below street level. Some hallways are flooded, or are so narrow you have to crawl through them. There are holes that drop hundreds of feet, and manholes that are unreachable, luring unwary urban explorers in with false promises of freedom. The infinite underground maze absorbs sound, mutes it, making it unlikely you will hear somebody yelling for help, even if they are not far away. Or, worse yet, making it unlikely somebody will hear you. Thousands of human bones litter the tunnels, due to overcrowding in many of Paris’ cemeteries. Weird paintings adorn the walls. Are they ancient? Are they new? Are they warnings? Or pleas for help? If you have claustrophobia, you will want to avoid the mines at all costs. If you don’t have claustrophobia, you probably will after a trip through the mines. Bring plenty of batteries, backup flashlights, clean water, a friend, and say a prayer before entering the mines of Paris. You will need them all.

Advertisements

Halloween History: 13 Strange Facts On Why We Celebrate Halloween

 

It’s that time of year again — Halloween! But before you tear the wrappers off 87 “fun size” Milky Way bars, here are 13 things you didn’t know about the spooky season.

 

1. Halloween celebrates the Christian holiday of All Hallows Eve (followed by All Saints Day on November 1). But the Christian holiday is likely rooted in the Celtic holiday, Samhein, or a number of other pre-Christian harvest festivals.

carved turnips

2. In Great Britain, Jack-O-Lanterns are traditionally made from turnips. The Halloween custom came to American through Irish immigrants, and since turnips weren’t cheap state-side, Americans used pumpkins. Today, pumpkins are used worldwide, to the disappointment of turnip farmers everywhere.

 150 year old carved turnip

3. The Jack-O-Lantern tradition comes from another Celtic tale. Jack tricked the Devil into paying for his drink, so the Devil gave Jack a hellish ember. But crafty Jack placed the ember safely into a turnip, which he carved and carried with him so as to scare away any future hellish encounters.

 pumpkin carving record

4. Pumpkin carving in bulk is a popular Guinness World Record. The proud Halloween enthusiasts of Highwood, Illinois took the record in 2011 with 30,919 simultaneously lit Jack-O-Lanterns.

 all saints day prayer card

5. Trick or Treating has a short history. In 19th century Scotland and Ireland, there is some record of children travelling door-to-door praying for souls or performing for money or cakes on All Hallows Eve. However, the tradition is a short step from the medieval practice of souling, in which beggars went door to door on October 31 to pray for souls in return for food.

 old halloween ad

6. Sugar rationing in Europe and America from WWI and WWII kept kids off candy until the late 1940s. Radio programs at the time joked that children would have to explain to adults what trick or treating was, and many adult groups opposed the practice as it encouraged extortion and begging.

 peanuts halloween

7. A 1951 Peanuts comic strip can be credited with the popular spread of trick or treating as we know it nationwide. So dress up as Snoopy if you want to be historically accurate.

 wayne's candy company

8. Oh, and candy-makers are pretty happy about that. Halloween is a $6 billion industry.

 halloween cake

9. But with or without candy, everyone loves a Halloween party. Traditionally, a Halloween Cakewas baked with a thimble inside. Whoever got the thimble in their slice was to be unfortunate in love for the next year.

 largest halloween party

10. These days, most major cities see the tourism benefits of major Halloween events. Salem, Massachusetts and New Orleans are the traditional hotspots for celebrating in the U.S. New Orleans holds the current world record for largest Halloween Party with 17,777 costumed revelers at once.

French paper shack

11. But what if you aren’t in America? Of course you can find parties all over the U.K., and the French have joined. The French village of Limoges attracted nearly 50,000 partiers last year. Several European countries celebrate a version of trick-or-treating on St. Martin’s Day on November 11.

 candy skull

12. If you are lucky enough to be in Mexico on October 31 (or the early morning of November 1), enjoy Day of the Dead festivities. Kids still trick-or-treat, but are rewarded with candy skulls.

 not like anyone is eating apples

13. Lastly, be safe out there. Statistically, the biggest danger on Halloween is alcohol poisoning. There are no reported incidents of razors in candy or poisoning (except by parents).

Jack the Ripper mystery solved by top detective after 125 years

 

The-Ripper-s-killing-spree-has-puzzled-investigators-for-more-than-a-century-C5-

The Ripper’s killing spree has puzzled investigators for more than a century 

And the bad news for the countless millions of amateur sleuths who have spent years trying to identify the nation’s most notorious serial killer is that he never existed.

He was just dreamed up by a drunken journalist called Thomas Bulling who wrote a forged letter to Scotland Yard in 1888 pretending to be “Jack” so he could obtain a scoop.

More than 300 books and dozens of films and TV programmes have named in excess of 100 different men, often on the flimsiest of evidence, as the serial murderer who slashed the throats of five women who he then disembowelled, bringing terror to the gas lit streets of Whitechapel. 

The suspects have included everyone from Queen Victoria’s grandson the Duke of Clarence to Alice in Wonderland author Lewis Carroll. 

Some even said a Sioux Indian warrior called Black Elk, who toured Britain with Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show in the 1880s, was the guilty man. Others believed child charity campaigner Dr Barnardo was “Jack”.

But Trevor Marriott, a former murder squad detective with Bedfordshire police, has spent 11 years carrying out a detailed cold-case review of the killings, he has trawled Scotland Yard’s files and used modern-day police techniques backed up with state of the art forensic analysis.

“The facts of this case have been totally distorted over the years,” said Mr Marriott.

“The general public have been completely misled by any number of authors and publishers.

“Jack is supposed to be responsible for five victims, but there were other similar murders before and after the ones attributed to him, both in this country and abroad in America and Germany.”

 

jack the ripper, murder, whitechapelJack terrorised Victorian London

In total Mr Marriott has discovered 17 unsolved Ripper-like murders committed between 1863 and 1894. He believes a German merchant seaman called Carl Feigenbaum was responsible for some, but not all of those killings. 

Feigenbaum was a crew member on ships that regularly docked near Whitechapel. He was executed in New York in 1896 after being caught by US police fleeing the scene of a Ripper-style murder there.

“The reality is there was just a series of unsolved murders and they would have sunk into oblivion many years ago, but for a reporter called Thomas Bulling,” said Mr Marriott.

Bulling was a drunken journalist with many police contacts at Scotland Yard, who in 1888 was working for the London-based Central News Agency. He was paid to supply crime stories for newspapers.

“Police got a letter that Bulling had written about the murders which he signed ‘Jack the Ripper’,” said Mr Marriott.

“It was the most ingenious piece of journalism that has kept this mystery alive for 125 years. Even now any modern-day serial killer is called a ‘Ripper’.

“You have to ask yourself if ‘Jack’ is an urban myth. Around 80 per cent of the books about him have a picture of a chap on the front stalking the streets of London in a long black cape and a top hat.

“They were the clothes of an upper class, wealthy man. But back in 1888  if someone dressed like that had actually walked around Whitechapel in the dead of night they wouldn’t have lasted five minutes.

“It wasn’t just one of the most crime-riddled areas of London, it was one of the worst areas in the country. It’s a false image that has been created by the likes of Hollywood film makers.

“New facts have come to light, we’ve now disproved the claim that the killer removed organs from the victims at the scenes of the murders, the organs were removed later once they were in a mortuary.

“There just isn’t a Jack The Ripper as such.” 

But the interest in the Ripper murders is still so strong that just this month the East London Advertiser, the newspaper that covers the Whitechapel area published a 12-page souvenir pull out to mark the 125th anniversary of the crimes.

Meanwhile Trevor Marriott is mid-way through a 36-date theatre tour of the UK with his one man show called “Jack The Ripper A 21st Century Investigation” in which he reveals the research he has done and the forensic evidence that he says finally reveals the real story about the killings.

Here are 17 sex facts you’ll wish you never heard…

From, http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk

1. One in ten European babies is conceived in an IKEA bed.

2. Alfred Kinsey, author of Sexual Behavior in the Human Male (1948), had a collection of 5 million wasps and could insert a toothbrush into his penis, bristle-end first.

3. British spies stopped using semen as invisible ink because it began to smell if it wasn’t fresh.

4. A single sperm contains 37.5 MB of DNA information. One ejaculation represents a data transfer of 15,875 GB, equivalent to the combined capacity of 62 MacBook Pro laptops.

5. Male fruitflies rejected by females drink significantly more alcohol than those that have had a successful encounter.

6. A female ferret will die if she doesn’t have sex for a year.

7. Seven Viagra tablets are sold every second.

8. The German for “contraceptive” is Schwangerschaftsverhütungsmittel. By the time you’ve finished saying it, it’s too late.

9. The American Psychiatric Association listed homosexuality as a mental illness until 1973.

10. The best-selling work of fiction of the 15th century was “The Tale of the Two Lovers,” an erotic novel by the man who later became Pope Pius II.

11. A single human male produces enough sperm in two weeks to impregnate every fertile woman on the planet.

12. In 2008, archaeologists in Cyprus found a 7th-century curse inscribed on a lead tablet that said, “May your penis hurt when you make love.” Nobody knows who made the curse, or why.

13. The founder of match.com, Gary Kremen, lost his girlfriend to a man she met on match.com.

14. Gymnophoria is the sense that someone is mentally undressing you.

15. A female chimpanzee in a fit of passion has the strength of six men.

16. At the 2012 London Olympics, which lasted for 17 days, the athletes were provided with 150,000 free condoms- approximately 15 each.

17. The “G-spot” was nearly called the Whipple Tickle- after Professor Beverley Whipple, who coined the expression that we know today.

Giant Asian Hornets Are Killing People In China, Breeding In Larger Numbers

http://www.huffingtonpost.com

What’s the buzz about giant Asian hornets? They’ll kill you painfully and thoroughly — and they’ve been reported in the U.S.

Climate change might be contributing to a global rise in insect numbers. As if that weren’t bad enough, some of the bugs that appear to be benefitting from that population surge are giant Asian hornets that are killing people unfortunate enough to disturb them.

UPDATE: Oct. 4, 7:45 p.m. — Citing Chinese government sources, CNN reports that at least 42 people have died and 1,675 have been injured as a result of giant Asian hornets in Shaanxi province since July.

Justin O. Schmidt, an entomologist at the Southwest Biological Institute in Tucson, Ariz., told CNN that Vespa mandarinia carries a venom that destroys red blood cells, which can result in kidney failure and death, and noted that allergies to the venom can trigger cardiac arrest or cause airways to close.

 

Previously:
According to The Guardian, at least “28 people have died and hundreds have been injured in a wave of attacks by giant hornets in central China.” The hornets, also known as Vespa mandarinia, have reportedly “chased [victims] for hundreds of meters… and stung [them] as many as 200 times.”

The venom from the stings can cause anaphylactic shock and kidney failure, the Guardian reported (as if you wouldn’t die from sheer terror). Imagine getting stung 200 times by one of these:

Chances are, you won’t be, since these are queens, but the run-of-the mill variety ofVespa mandarinia are also pretty terrifying. The average stinger on a giant Asian hornet measures about a quarter-inch.

But before we “turn Earth over to the wasps,” as Gawker suggested, let’s stop and consider that normal-sized stinging insects already do plenty of damage.

For starters, there’s the killer bee swarm deaths that are periodically reported in the United States.

Swarming bees have also killed pets and animals as large as horses.

And lets not forget insect pests of the non-bee variety. Crazy ants, an invasive species that’s making inroads in the southern U.S., not only bite — they also destroy electrical wiring.

If humans can live with these pests, then giant Asian hornets shouldn’t present too much of a challenge, right? We might soon find out: The hornets were reported in Illinois last year.

In 2013, cicada killer wasps were also spotted in the region.

Vespa mandarinia japonica, a subspecies of the giant Asian hornet

Penis Map Of The World Exposes Weenie Size In Each Country

Image

A detailed map can be found here 

Ok guys lets see how you stack up. This just in from http://www.huffingtonpost.com / By 

Ever wanted to plan your trip based on the likelihood that you’ll encounter, you know, something big to write home about?

Now you can, thanks to a fabulously informative map from Twitter user@onionslayer.

The map provides detail on willy size for nearly every country on Earth, assigning each nation a color code and measurement range in centimeters.

The top of South America — Ecuador, Colombia and Venezuela — form a cluster of dark green, the color code for the planet’s biggest penises. Meanwhile, China and India are a sea of red, meaning they are home to the world’s teeniest weenies.

How does your next destination, ahem, measure up?

Greece scraps extra holiday for civil servants using computers

Image 

(Reuters) – Greece‘s austerity drive has cost public sector workers a privilege they have enjoyed for more than two decades – six extra days of paid holiday every year if they use a computer.

The decision to scrap the bonus was a “small, yet symbolic” step in modernizing an outdated civil service, said Kyriakos Mitsotakis, the administrative reform minister who has taken on the challenge of overhauling public institutions.

Bailed out twice by the euro zone and the IMF, Greece has started cancelling arcane benefits to cut state spending and reform a public sector widely seen as profligate and inefficient with a 600,000-strong workforce.

Allowances that have already gone include a bonus for showing up to work and one regulation letting unmarried daughters receive their dead father’s pension.

The ministerial decision giving a day off every two months to those who sat in front of a computer for more than five hours a day was taken on 12 June 1989, a week before Mitsotakis’s father Constantine won a general election.

“It belongs to another era. Today, in times of crisis, we cannot hold on to anachronistic privileges,” Mitsotakis said, according to a statement from his ministry on Friday.

Greece’s European Union and International Monetary Fund lenders have given Greece by the end of the year to place 25,000 public sector workers into a so-called “mobility pool”, meaning they will either be transferred to another department or fired. Half of those must be placed into the pool by end-September.

(Reporting by Karolina Tagaris; Editing by Andrew Heavens)

The humble rectal glands of a beaver and all the ways that you use them.

Image

 

Once again I find and dig you up the oddest of all topics you rather not know about, I won’t let you down. All men like a bit of beaver, or maybe not. The next time you open some man scent or artificial vanilla think of these facts. Andy

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
 
 
For the fungus genus, see Castoreum (fungus).

Castoreum

Castoreum /kæsˈtɔriəm/ is the exudate from the castor sacs of the mature North American Beaver (Castor canadensis) and the European Beaver (Castor fiber). Within the zoological realm, castoreum is the yellowish secretion of the castor sac which is, in combination with the beaver’s urine, used during scent marking of territory.[1][2] Both male and female beavers possess a pair of castor sacs and a pair of anal glands located in two cavities under the skin between the pelvis and the base of the tail.[3] The castor sacs are not true glands (endocrine or exocrine) on a cellular level, hence references to these structures as preputial glands or castor glands are misnomers.[4] Castor sacs are a type of scent gland.

Today, it is used as a tincture in some perfumes[5] and as a food additive.

f Ontario to harvest the castor sacs of beavers and are paid from 10–40 dollars each when sold to the Northern Ontario Fur Trappers Association.

Uses[edit source | editbeta]

Perfume[edit source | editbeta]

American Beavers at the U.S. National Zoo

In perfume-making, the term castoreum is more liberally applied to denote the resinoid extract resulting from the dried and alcohol tinctured beaver castor.[6] The dried beaver castor sacs are generally aged for two or more years to mellow and for their raw harshness to dissipate.

In perfumery, castoreum has largely been used as an animalic note suggesting leather, compounded with other ingredients including top, middle, and base notes as a composition. Some classic perfumes incorporating castor are Emeraude, Chanel Antaeus, Cuir de Russie, Magie Noire, Lancôme Caractère, Hechter Madame, Givenchy III, Shalimar, and many “leather” themed compositions.[5]

“New-car sprays” are available that purportedly reproduce the smell of a new car in older vehicles using an aerosol spray. The probable origin of this fragrance concept was before the use of plastics and related chemicals, being simply a leather scent (based around castoreum and birch tar oil) to mimic the smell of expensive leather upholstery.

Medicinal use[edit source | editbeta]

Castoreum

Although modern medical use of castoreum is rare, it was still in the materia medica in the 18th century, used to treat many different ailments, including headachefever, and hysteria.[7]The Romans believed the fumes produced by burning castoreum could induce an abortion,Paracelsus thought it could be used in the treatment of epilepsy.[8] Castoreum was also used as an analgesicanti-inflammatory, and antipyretic. Castoreum was described in the 1911British Pharmaceutical Codex for use in dysmenorrhea and hysterical conditions (i.e. pertaining to the womb), for raising blood pressure and increasing cardiac output. The activity of castoreum has been credited to the accumulation of salicin from willow trees in the beaver’s diet, which is transformed to salicylic acid and has an action very similar to aspirin.[9]

It is one of the 65 ingredients of mithridate, a semi-mythical remedy used as an antidote for poisoning. It is also an ingredient of theriac, a medical concoction originally formulated by the Greeks in the 1st century AD as an alexipharmic, or antidote, considered a universal panacea.

Food use[edit source | editbeta]

In the United States, castoreum is considered to be a GRAS food additive by the Food and Drug Administration.[10] It is often referenced simply as a “natural flavoring” in products’ lists of ingredients. While it is mainly used in both foods and beverages as part of a substitute vanilla flavour,[11] it is less commonly used as a part of a raspberry or strawberry flavoring.[12] The annual industry consumption is very low, around 300 pounds,[13] whereas vanillin is over 2.6 million pounds annually.[14]

Castoreum has been traditionally used in Scandinavia for flavoring snaps commonly referred to as “Bäverhojt”.[15]

Other uses[edit source | editbeta]

Castoreum is also used to contribute to the flavor and odor of cigarettes.[16]

Medieval beekeepers used it to increase honey production.[17]

Chemical composition[edit source | editbeta]

There are at least twenty-four compounds known to be constituents of beaver castoreum. Some of these have pheromonal activity. These are the phenols 4-ethylphenol and 1,2-dihydroxybenzene (catechol) and the ketones acetophenone and 3-hydroxyacetophenone. Five additional compounds noted are 4-methyl-1,2-dihydroxybenzene (4-methylcatechol), 4-methoxyacetophenone5-methoxysalicylic acid,salicylaldehyde, and 3-hydroxybenzoic acid.[18] Other neutral compounds are oxygen-containing monoterpenes such as 6-methyl-l-heptanol4,6-dimethyl-l-heptanolisopinocamphonepinocamphone, two linalool oxides and their acetates.[19] Other compounds are:benzoic acidbenzyl alcoholborneolo-cresol4-(4′-hydroxyphenyl)-2-butanonehydroquinonephenol. All those compounds are gathered from plant food.[17] It also contains nupharamine alkaloids[20] and castoramine,[21] and cis-cyclohexane-1,2-diol.[22]