Archive for 2012-06-17

Ghost of Grace Brown

From unsolved mystery story :
Does a century old murder victim haunt a resort in upstate New York?

Grace Brown

The boat was found overturned
For generations, the Adirondack Mountains in upstate New York have been a favorite vacation spot for the famous and the infamous.  One summer night in 1988, several employees of the Covewood Lodge on Big Moose Lake, including Rhonda Bousselot, were approaching the staff lodge.  Rhonda led the pack, unaware that someone, or something, might be waiting inside: 
“I walked into the staff lodge, straight up the stairs with my hand out, reaching for the string, which is how to turn on the light.  As I approached the top of the stairs and just before I was ready to turn on the light, a feeling came over me that somebody was right there.  More or less, I stopped in my tracks and really just didn't move.  I didn't have an overwhelming feeling of fright, but something definitely or someone was there, and it just kind of took my breath away.”

Grace’s ghost haunts the lake
But the real show was outside. According to Rhonda, her friends were witnessing a spine-tingling vision:
“All three of them had the same exact story.  It lingered for just a few seconds, and then moved away. All three of them saw the ghost.  I didn't see anything myself, but I felt that somebody was right there, and it was just a strange feeling.”
But who is haunting Big Moose Lake? People there believe it is the ghost of the young and beautiful Grace Brown.  In 1906, her brutal murder shocked the nation.  Decades later, Hollywood turned the notorious case into a hit film, “A Place in the Sun.” Hollywood portrayed Grace as an unattractive nag.  But in truth, Grace Brown was a naive, lovely 19-year-old who worked at the Gillette skirt factory in Cortland, New York.  It was there, in 1905, that she met the handsome and charming Chester Gillette, the factory owner's nephew.
Author Craig Brandon has written about the infamous Grace Brown murder: 
“Chester Gillette was considered quite a catch by the people in town because he was popular and he was athletic and he was handsome.  I'm sure a lot of women in Cortland were interested in him.”

Chester Gillette was convicted of Grace’s murder
From the start, it was a scandalous romance.  According to Craig Brandon, Chester convinced Grace to see him without a chaperone which, in those days, put her reputation at risk:
“I think she saw him as the ideal person, that he was everything that she wanted.  She was in love probably for the first time in her life, and she wanted to see this through no matter what.”
For Chester, it was a secret affair.  He never took Grace out in public.  He never acknowledged their relationship.  According to Craig Brandon, Chester was frequently seen with other young women, especially those from the town's wealthier families: 
“Her friends were warning her that he wasn't what he seemed to be, that he was something different, and I think that she had no experience with that type of person.  And so she was seeing what she wanted to see rather than what her friends were telling her.”
But Grace could not resist Chester and she soon discovered she was pregnant.  At the time, unwed mothers were outcasts.  Grace begged Chester to marry her, but he stalled as long as he could.  Finally, in July, 1906, Chester took Grace to the Adirondacks.  She assumed it was a wedding trip.  According to Craig Brandon, they rented a rowboat at Big Moose Lake from a man named Robert Morrison:
“Morrison expected them to come back around dinnertime.  And when they didn't come back, he thought that was somewhat suspicious.”
The next morning, Morrison organized a search party.  The rowboat had capsized.  A short distance from it, they found Grace’s body.  Two days later, police found Chester Gillette in a nearby hotel.  At first, he denied even knowing Grace Brown.  Then, he claimed Grace had drowned herself in despair because he didn’t love her anymore.  Few believed him.  He was tried and convicted of first degree murder.  On March 30, 1908, Chester Gillette died in the electric chair.  Had justice been served?  Apparently not enough to satisfy the restless spirit of Grace Brown.
Lynda Lee Macken had her own encounter with Grace Brown a few months after Rhonda Bousselot’s:
“I was walking down toward the lake with my flashlight and the light was getting dimmer and dimmer.  By the time I got to the edge of the lake and the rocks, my flashlight wasn't working.  So I had to turn around and go back… I was awestruck, and not only was I certain that I was looking at a ghost, but I had a very strong feeling of sadness.  She was very sad.”
Was it the ghost of Grace Brown?  Over the years, there have been continual sightings.  And many wonder if her spirit has been trapped at Big Moose Lake since the day she was drowned by her faithless lover.

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Albert DeSalvo

unsolved mystery : New DNA evidence casts doubt on whether Albert DeSalvo was really the Boston Strangler.

Albert DeSalvo

Panic grips Boston after serial killings

George Nassar

In the early 1960s, Boston was in the grip of fear. A killer was on the loose. Ten women were found murdered. They ranged in age from 19 to 75; they had different ethnic backgrounds; they lived in different neighborhoods.
The only thing these women had in common was that they were strangled to death in their own apartments. The police were frustrated and the public terrified. They named the killer the “Boston Strangler.”
Susan Kelly, author of two books about the Boston Strangler case, described the mood in Boston at the time:
“There are stories of women rushing out to dog pounds to buy every available stray mutt for protection.  Locksmiths reported a run on their businesses.  People were obviously quite clearly frightened by whatever was out there.”
Ten months after the last murder, few people noticed when a man named Albert DeSalvo was arrested on unrelated sexual assault charges. DeSalvo was married and had two children. He also had an extensive history of sexual offenses.  One of his many nicknames was the “Measuring Man.” DeSalvo pretended to be recruiting fashion models.  He would smooth talk his way into women’s homes, measure them for clothing, and then fondle them. When DeSalvo’s scam eventually caught up with him, he was arrested and sent to prison for one year.

Albert DeSalvo in custody

After De Salvo’s release, police began receiving complaints about “the green man,” a maintenance worker who talked his way into women’s apartments and then assaulted them. Susan Kelly said DeSalvo’s scam was more successful than one might imagine:
“She would let him in. He would make an overture to her. If the overture were repelled, he would leave.  But a surprising number of times it wasn’t, according to him, and he ended up making love with the woman.  Later, his assaults became much more aggressive. Eventually these were the charges he was arrested for.”
DeSalvo was arrested and sent to Bridgewater State Mental Hospital. Dr. Ames Robey was the medical director:
“Well, the first thing that was so obvious about Albert was his incredible need to be somebody important. He would brag about almost anything.  He gave the feeling, although he didn’t say so at that time, that he sort of wanted to be as well known as, quote, “the Boston Strangler.”
Three months later, George Nassar, another inmate at Bridgewater, had an odd conversation about the Boston Strangler with his lawyer, F. Lee Bailey. Bailey recalled his talk with Nassar:
“He asked me whether or not it would be possible for someone who had done the stranglings to write a book.  And my off-hand answer was sure, but he might go to the electric chair as a consequence.  Later on, I was asked to go down and see this fellow, Albert DeSalvo, by my client.”
Bailey expected to come face to face with a monster. Instead, he met a married man with two children who seemed concerned about his family:
“I was a little incredulous because everybody develops a profile.  You’re looking for a monster, somebody that, you know, the jowls are dripping and it just didn’t seem to fit.
He wanted to be able to tell his story.  He said, ‘I would like to find out why I am like this. Maybe people can give me tests or something.’”
According to Bailey, DeSalvo confessed he was the Boston Strangler.
“I had no way of knowing whether or not he was telling the truth, fantasizing because he was crazy, or had read a lot of things in the newspapers and wanted to be famous.”
Two days later, Bailey returned to Bridgewater with a tape recorder and a list of questions. With DeSalvo’s permission, Bailey had struck a deal with the Boston police.  They would provide Bailey with details only The Strangler would know, as a way of testing DeSalvo. In return, Bailey was guaranteed that the tapes would never be heard in court.
Deputy Superintendent John Donovan, retired Chief of Homicide in the Boston Police Department, said he was intrigued by what he heard:
“His descriptions of the crime scenes were just so accurate that that impressed me very much.”
But when Dr. Ames Robey heard the tape, he was not so impressed. He believed there was another explanation for DeSalvo’s knowledge of the crime scenes:
“Albert indicated to us that he had gone to the various sites that the newspapers had named after the police tape was off the doors in the apartments, just to sort of be there and see what it was like.”
Dr. Robey says that DeSalvo had a photographic memory. He may have visited the victims’ apartments, or perhaps he was just repeating what someone else had described to him. Then Robey began to believe that DeSalvo’s friend, George Nassar, was somehow involved:
“I first began to wonder about something going on when no other inmates would come near them. And they would immediately stop talking if the guards or staff came anywhere near where they could hear. But they would have extensive conversations about what, of course, we didn’t know.”
A career criminal, George Nassar had been imprisoned for killing a gas station attendant shortly after the Strangler killed his last victim. Nassar agreed to discuss his role in the case and his relationship with Albert DeSalvo for the first time:
“With Albert DeSalvo, I was simply an associate. I’ve done the same thing with many, many prisoners. People come to me and ask for advice. I give it to them if they say, if it’s worthy of me assisting them, I assist them, for my reasons because I feel it’s a worthy thing to do.”
The Massachusetts Attorney General ordered that news of DeSalvo’s confession be kept under wraps. Within the police department, there was a split over whether DeSalvo was, in fact, the killer. Then someone leaked the story of the confession to the local papers.
In response to the story, two women came forward. One was a survivor of a possible Strangler attack. The other was a neighbor of one of the victims. They were brought to Bridgewater to see if they recognized any of the inmates.
Surprisingly, the one familiar face did not belong to Albert DeSalvo, but to George Nassar. Is it possible that he was actually the Boston Strangler? Dr. Ames Robey thought it was possible:
“George Nassar would fit the profile of the Boston Strangler. We found nothing that would rule him out, not even one iota.”
George Nassar denied the accusation:
“I do not kill women. I’ve never conceived of it. I wouldn’t conceive of it. I have great respect and regard for women, beginning with my mother who brought me up that way.”
F. Lee Bailey wasn’t convinced his client fit the profile of the Strangler:
“George Nassar was eliminated as the Strangler.  I don’t think he had the profile to strangle. George Nassar used a gun.”
Albert DeSalvo was the state’s prime suspect, even though there was no physical evidence that linked him to any of the killings.  F. Lee Bailey suggested that DeSalvo undergo hypnosis. He recalled the session:
“We had him hypnotized and age regressed right through one of the homicides.  And the things that developed in the presence of a very bright medical hypnotist were of great interest.”
The session revealed that DeSalvo had had problems with every significant woman in his life. According to F. Lee Bailey:
“We found an involvement of his wife who he’d married in Germany, his daughter who had a physical disability that troubled him greatly, his mother whom he had a love-hate relationship. And it was just the beginning.”
Dr. Robey observed the session and came to a completely different conclusion:
“The answers were almost implied in the question, which, at least from my training, is something you don’t do. I was not at all convinced that anything had been uncovered.  And was a little surprised later when Mr. Bailey announced what had occurred under hypnosis was ‘definitive evidence.’  Albert, even with the crimes he was charged with, he was considered gentle, polite.  His sexual proclivities, his general attitude, he was not angry and hostile.
In the summer of 1965, the Massachusetts Attorney General’s office conducted its own interrogations. The transcripts of those interviews were never released, but author Susan Kelly obtained a copy while researching her book called “Deadly Charade.” Susan came to believe that Albert DeSalvo was playing along:
“When you read the transcript and you come to a point where Albert gives an incorrect answer to a question, he is guided to give the correct answer.  And Albert, who was a smart guy, caught on very quickly. This man was not the Boston Strangler, he didn’t kill anyone.”
F. Lee Bailey strongly disagreed:
“They had the right guy, beyond question. No one has ever come up with anything meaningful to contradict that. The question is, how could we try him as the Strangler and close the file in the public’s mind?”
F. Lee Bailey struck a deal with the State. Albert DeSalvo went on trial, but not as the Boston Stranger. Instead, he was tried for sexual assault and other crimes in connection with the “green man” case. In return, the State agreed not to press for the death penalty.
According to Bailey, it was the right thing to do: 
“That’s all we wanted.  Nobody ever wanted Albert on the street, including Albert, and to ask not to be executed so that he could be studied seemed to me a reasonable objective.”
After less than four hours of deliberation, the jury reached its verdict: guilty on eight criminal counts. DeSalvo had wanted to be sent to a mental hospital, but his insanity defense failed. He was sentenced to life in prison. Susan Kelly had suspicious as to why:
“It was a much more severe sentence than he would have received normally on the sex charges of which he’d been convicted.  But he was being sent to the prison as the Boston Strangler.  It was that simple.”
Dr. Ames Robey concurred:
“I think the most difficult part of all of this was the feeling that whether they had it solved or not, they had quieted the public’s concern. So, theoretically everyone was happy.”
In prison, DeSalvo was re-united with his old friend, George Nassar. Once again, questions were raised regarding Nassar’s possible involvement with the stranglings. Nassar admitted nothing:
“Because Al was not tried, this case had become mythical, it became part of, like, a public fantasy of what really happened. It became a continuing mystery, when it should’ve been resolved.  And I was part of the mystery.”
Outside of prison, DeSalvo had become a legend. But inside, he feared his fame had made him a marked man. After more than six years behind bars, he asked to be transferred to a cell in the prison infirmary. Here, he would be isolated from the other inmates.
On the evening of November 25th, 1973, DeSalvo telephoned his former psychiatrist, Dr. Ames Robey.
“He wanted to talk to me, to tell me the, quote, real story. He didn’t say what the real story was and I could only hope that this is what I would hear, but I never heard it. 
DeSalvo told Dr. Robey that he also intended to tell a reporter the same story. But before he talked to anyone, he was found in his cell murdered, stabbed repeatedly in the chest. 
Some believed that DeSalvo was involved in a drug deal gone bad. Others, including George Nassar, say DeSalvo was killed in a dispute over cuts of meat he was allegedly selling on the prison black market. To Dr. Robey, it was clear what had happened:
“Somebody didn’t want that interview happening. And I think they’ve said before, ‘dead men tell no tales.’”
Three inmates were eventually charged with Albert DeSalvo’s murder, but no one was ever convicted.
Was Albert DeSalvo the Boston Strangler?
F. Lee Bailey:
“Albert DeSalvo was the Boston Strangler. We learned that at great and tragic expense to the community and then wasted him away. We could’ve learned a lot from Albert. We didn’t.”
Dr. Ames Robey:
“I think Albert became the Boston Strangler because he wanted so much to be the Boston Strangler. It was the most important thing in his life. For somebody that felt all his life that he was a nobody, all of a sudden he could become world-renowned.”
Susan Kelly:
“After eight years of research on this case, one thing I'm certain of is that Albert DeSalvo was not the Boston Strangler.  There are a number of very good suspects.  None of them happen to be Albert DeSalvo.”
Shortly after his murder, authorities came across a collection of poems that DeSalvo had written while in prison. One of them provided an intriguing footnote to the legend of the Boston Strangler. It read:
Here’s the story of the strangler yet untold
The man who claims he murdered 13 women, young and old
Today he sits in a prison cell
Deep inside only a secret he can tell
People everywhere are still in doubt
Is the strangler in prison, or roaming about?
Despite these and other doubts, DeSalvo became known far and wide as the Boston Strangler. But recently, new physical evidence suggests the real killer or killers were never caught. Samples of DNA found on the Strangler’s last victim seems to prove that Albert DeSalvo was not the Boston Strangler.
On January 4, 1964, Mary Sullivan was found by her roommate, strangled to death and sexually assaulted. In a final morbid gesture, placed at her feet was a Happy New Year card.
The police collected semen left on Mary’s body by the killer. But in 1964, there was no way to match it to a suspect. Albert DeSalvo later admitted he’d killed Mary. However, two families have formed a surprising alliance to challenge his confession: the family of Mary Sullivan and the family of Albert DeSalvo, including his brother Richard:
“I never believed my brother was the Boston Strangler from day one. I just want the name cleared. That's all. Albert was not perfect. Albert did some bad things. Albert was not a murderer.”
Mary Sullivan's sister, Diane, also believes that DeSalvo was not the killer:
“I'm gonna do everything I can to find her murderer, to find the murderer of Mary.”
According to Casey Sherman, Mary Sullivan’s nephew, he contacted the Boston police and asked about possible DNA evidence in The Strangler case:
“I made several inquiries to the Boston police department and they told me flat out that they did not have any physical evidence left in the Boston Strangler case to test for DNA evidence.”
So Mary Sullivan’s family turned to the only evidence available to them: Mary’s remains.
Casey said the family felt exhumation was the only way they could settle the case:
“We had to do the exhumation of my aunt's body. It was a horrible experience. We didn't want to do it, but it was our last and only recourse, we thought, and it was the only chance to find her killer.”
The Sullivans got help from a team of forensic experts, including world-renowned Professor of Law and Forensic Science, James Starrs:
“We were obviously looking for any seminal fluid, and we do know that seminal fluid will fluoresce under UV light.  So we looked, and seminal fluid fluoresced, and it was also in the right location for seminal fluid. It's on pubic hair.”
Forensic molecular biologist Dr. David Foran was another member of the team:
“So we examined that, hoping to get any DNA from it.  We had to be extra careful because, obviously, her hair is going to have her DNA in it, so one of the tricky parts becomes isolating DNA only from this material that's stuck in the pubic hair, and not from the hair itself.”
Dr. Foran successfully isolated a DNA sequence and compared it to Albert DeSalvo's genes using DNA taken from his brother, Richard. The results were virtually indisputable; the semen was not Albert DeSalvo’s. It confirmed to Casey Sherman that his family made the right decision in exhuming his aunt’s body:
“When he said that there was DNA, they believed, from Mary's killer on her body, and that DNA didn't match Albert DeSalvo, it was just complete vindication as far as I was concerned.”
The results led James Starrs to lay down a challenge:
“For those who say that Albert DeSalvo did do it, the shoe is on their foot now. It's for them to come forward and show the evidence to prove that Albert DeSalvo did do it.”
But if Albert DeSalvo did not kill Mary Sullivan, then who did?
The detectives who first investigated the killing found a strange piece of evidence in her bathroom. According to Diane Dodd, Mary’s sister, it implicated Mary's abusive ex-boyfriend:
“They found an ascot cut up in the toilet. When my sister dated this person, that's all she bought him for presents, because he loved ascots. So I could see him definitely cutting that ascot up in the bathroom, and I could absolutely see him killing Mary.”
Another suspect emerged based on an eyewitness account. A neighbor saw a man in Mary's apartment at the approximate time of the murder. Mary’s roommate had a boyfriend who matched the description given by the neighbor. He may have had access to Mary's apartment, and her keys, explaining why there were no signs of forced entry. 
Casey Sherman felt this scenario made sense:
“Her apartment key had gone missing the day before she was killed. Now this key hadn’t fallen off the keychain.  It was taken off.”
The suspect was brought in for a polygraph test. According to police, his responses were deemed “untruthful.”  Once DeSalvo had confessed however, investigations into this suspect and Mary’s ex-boyfriend, were closed.
According to author Susan Kelly, the police also had strong suspects in several of the other murders:
“If Albert wasn’t the Boston Strangler, who was the Boston Strangler? From what my research indicates, there wasn’t one, there were many.”
On June 14, 1962, the Strangler claimed his first victim, 56-year-old Anna Slesers.
Earlier that day, a painting crew was working at her apartment. Sixteen days later, the same painting crew arrived at the apartment building of Helen Blake. She became victim number two. Casey Sherman thinks the connection is obvious:
“Two of the members of the painting crew, their alibis couldn’t be corroborated by their boss or by their fellow workers. And that’s an unusual connection.”
Casey points out that the police also had a suspect for victim number six, 20-year-old Sophie Clark:
“The suspect in the Sophie Clark case was seen entering her apartment building. He was seen fleeing her apartment building, covered in sweat.”
Police identified the man and learned that he had dated Sophie at least once. He was given polygraph tests on two separate occasions and, according to authorities, failed both. 
Victim number seven was 23-year-old Patricia Bissett. In this case, police also had a strong suspect: Patricia’s boss, the man who discovered her body. Casey did some of his own research into her murder: 
“Detectives found out that Patricia Bissett was having an affair with her happily married boss at the time she was killed. Well, I found her autopsy report.  It shows that she was one month pregnant when she was murdered.  Not only do you have motive, you have a suspect there.”
But investigation of all these suspects stopped cold when Albert DeSalvo confessed. Susan Kelly says her research reveals the true picture:
“There’s a possibility that some of the older women died at the hands of the same person.  Each of the young women who died was murdered by a different individual who had his own motives.”
Casey Sherman suspected that many of the murders were copy-cat killings:
“If you hated a woman back in the early 1960’s, you could kill her, loosely wrap a stocking around her neck, and hope that the police would think it was the Boston Strangler. All the grizzly details were printed in the papers at the time. If you wanted to commit a murder, here was your diagram.”
The Sullivan family continues to hope that Mary’s killer will one day be identified and prosecuted. Bringing some peace of mind to his mother is Casey’s prime motivation: 
“I want closure for my mother.  My mother has had to live nearly 40 years without any answers in this case.  We want to publicly identify Mary’s killer, look him in the eye, and tell him what he stole from us.”

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From the unsolved mystery :
Did Billy the Kid fake his own death?

Billy the Kid, Age 19

Brushy Bill, Age 17

Who is buried in Billy the Kid’s grave?

Billy the Kid was easily the most notorious desperado of the Wild West. He reportedly killed 21 men, one for every year of his young life.  History tells us that “The Kid” was born William Bonney in New York City in 1859.  He later fought against rich ranchers in the Lincoln County Cattle War in New Mexico, and was given a death sentence for killing Sheriff William Brady. 
According to most sources, Lincoln County Sheriff Pat Garrett was eager to collect the $500 dollar bounty on Billy the Kid.  In July of 1881, he tracked down Billy in Fort Sumner, New Mexico, and killed him.
History also tells us that Billy was buried the following day in a simple grave.  But now some people say that history is wrong.  That Billy wasn’t the man in that grave. Sixty-eight years after Billy’s death, a man from Texas, named “Brushy Bill” Roberts, claimed he was Billy the Kid.
Research historian, William Tunstill, believed the public was misled about Billy the Kid:
“This whole legend of Bill the Kid… 90% of what we have heard and been taught as students in schools is not true.  There is no doubt… Brushy Bill and Billy the Kid was one and the same person.” 

Brushy Bill or Billy the Kid?

Most historians completely dismiss Brushy Bill’s story.  But there is evidence to support his claim.  It all started in 1948, when an attorney named William Morrison was told that Billy the Kid might not have died in 1881.  A client said he had actually fought Billy the Kid in the Lincoln County Wars and that the Kid was still alive.  Morrison was so intrigued that he decided to do some of his own investigating.  He traveled throughout the West talking to other old timers about Billy the Kid, and he discovered that many thought that Billy was still alive.  They said he was going by the name of “Brushy” Bill Roberts.  Finally, in 1949, Morrison made the trip to Hico, Texas, to confront Brushy Bill in person.  He wanted to ask Brushy if the rumors were true.  According to William Tunstill, Brushy was at first hesitant:
“We must keep in mind that this man did not seek publicity, he did not seek to come out from seclusion, he was drawn out.”

Plaque honoring Brushy Bill

Brushy Bill finally admitted that he was, in fact, Billy the Kid, and asked Morrison to help him get the official pardon that New Mexico’s governor had promised him back in 1879. But Morrison wanted proof that he was indeed speaking to the infamous outlaw.  It was then that Brushy Bill showed Morrison his scars, all of which matched the wounds received by the Kid during his time as an outlaw.  To further convince him, “Brushy Bill” took William Morrison on a guided tour of some of Billy’s former haunts in Lincoln County. Morrison died in 1976, but his daughter, Barbara Kuchler, remembered her father’s trip:
“Brushy Bill would give incidents that only someone that was actually involved in the Lincoln County War would have known. My father was convinced that this man was… Billy the Kid.”
Morrison then contacted five people who had known Billy the Kid during the Lincoln County War.  Each of them, separately, met Brushy Bill in person.  All five witnesses signed sworn affidavits stating that Brushy Bill Roberts was indeed Billy the Kid.  If this is true, then one puzzling question remains … What really happened on the night the Kid was supposedly killed?
According to Brushy Bill, on the night of the shooting, he was with his girlfriend, Celsa, and his partner Billy Barlow, at Jesus Silva’s house.  Unknown to the Kid, Garrett and his posse were waiting for him across the yard.  When Garrett opened fire, one of the first shots struck Barlow.  The shots that followed struck the Kid in the head and shoulder.  He passed out from the pain and woke up the following morning under the care of Celsa.  She informed him that Barlow had been killed and was being buried in Billy’s place.
According to William Tunstill, Pat Garrett knew he killed the wrong man:
“In a normal procedure, the sheriff would have brought the corpse to a place for anyone to witness.  He would have demonstrated his guns, his clothing, his boots, his rifle.  Pat Garrett did not follow that procedure.  He took every precaution to conceal the identity of the corpse.”
By 1950, William Morrison felt he had gathered enough evidence to request a pardon from Governor Mabry of New Mexico.  The Governor agreed to meet both men in person.  But the meeting turned into a press circus.  Brushy Bill was 90 years old at the time.  He was confused and scared by the crowd of reporters. 
According to Barbara Kuchler, Brushy Bill’s testimony was all for nothing:
“The governor never even gave him a chance to present the evidence, by just flat out telling him he wasn’t even going to consider it.”
Morrison’s legal arguments and affidavits were not even entered into evidence.  Brushy Bill felt he had been humiliated, his claims ridiculed.  His pardon was not granted. Shortly after the meeting with Governor Mabry, Brushy Bill suffered a heart attack and died on a street in Hico, Texas.
Was Brushy Bill Roberts the notorious outlaw, Billy the Kid?  His friends and neighbors believe so and have even erected a memorial in his honor which reads, “…he spent the last days of his life trying to prove to the world his true identity.  We believe his story and pray to God for the forgiveness he solemnly asked for.”

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mystery of Alcatraz prisoners escape from "The Rock".

Three Alcatraz prisoners escape from "The Rock". still in mystery

Alcatraz: “The Rock”

Frank Morris


An air duct was used in escape

Alcatraz was among the most dreaded prisons in America, a fortress  perched on a rocky Island in San Francisco Bay.  The ice-cold, treacherous water of the bay was the best guarantee that nobody would successfully escape.  And nobody did…until June 11, 1962.

That night, three men broke out of their cell house and vanished into the bay in a homemade raft.  Frank Morris, the brilliant mastermind of the escape, as well as John Anglin and his brother Clarence were never seen again. 

Authorities later discovered pieces of the raft.  It had broken up at sea.  The three convicts appeared to have swum for it.  Did they make it?  The debate continues.  

Philip Bergen, Captain of the Guards at Alcatraz from 1946 to 1955, believes survival was impossible: 

“If they went into the water they were drowned within thirty minutes.  They succumbed to hypothermia and drowned.” 

The prisoners were never found

But Patrick Mahoney, who ran the launch that traveled between Alcatraz and the mainland, has some doubts:

“I felt that they didn’t make it, but I thought we’d find a body. We didn’t find a body.”

In the many years that have passed since that June night in 1962, no one has reported seeing Frank Morris, John Anglin, or Clarence Anglin.  They may have beaten the odds, and survived their escape from Alcatraz. 

Don DeNevi, a Professor at Merritt College in Oakland, co-wrote a manuscript about the escape with Clarence Carnes, an Alcatraz inmate.  Carnes arrived on the Rock when he was just eighteen years old and spent close to 20 years there.  He was a close confidante of the three convicts who escaped.  Don DeNevi put it this way:

“Carnes was the most important inmate on Alcatraz.  He had gained the respect of virtually all the other inmates, because he knew how to keep his mouth shut.  He was, in a sense, the godfather of Alcatraz.”

Carnes told DeNevi that the plot to escape began with an inmate named Allen West, who was assigned to paint the top tier and ceiling of the cellblock. 

A dummy was used to fool guards

While working there, West discovered that with some hard work, he could probably get to the prison roof through the ceiling ventilation shaft. 

The ventilation duct was constructed with crossbars inside. It was impossible to cut the bars or to squeeze past them.  But West saw that if he cut the entire duct from its surrounding support and shoved the whole thing out, he could easily get to the roof.

West enlisted the help of John and Clarence Anglin, both convicted bank robbers, who had a history of escapes from other institutions. According to DeNevi, the Anglin brothers had some other useful skills:

“The Anglins were expert raftsmen because they’ve grown up in the Florida swamps. They knew how to construct rafts, they knew how to negotiate currents, and they were expert swimmers as well.” 

The central figure in the plot was an inmate named Frank Morris. The former Captain of the Guards at Alcatraz, Philip Bergen, described him with some respect: 

“He was the thinker.  Anything connected with this escape, that had any real brains behind it, can be credited to Morris.” 

Carnes had told Morris about a utility corridor that ran the length and the height of the cellblock. Heating and water pipes inside the corridor formed a makeshift ladder to the ventilation shaft. Morris believed that he and the others could dig through their cell walls to this hidden corridor during “music hour.”  Bergen recalls this part of the daily routine on Alcatraz and explains how the escapees exploited it:

“In the early part of the evening, there was what they called a “music hour.”  And anybody who had a string instrument could play.  When that music is playing, it has an effect of deafening the officer who is making his inspections.  The inmates that were digging were uh, just digging away.”

The Anglins, West, and Morris each carved a hole in the rear wall of their respective cells. West also used the time to craft false ventilation fronts to hide their work.

The convicts devised another brilliant ploy so that they wouldn’t be missed during head counts.  Don Eberle, who headed the FBI investigation into the escape, described the ingenious deception:

“They decided that they would have to make dummy heads to be in their bunks, in case one of them was not in there when the guard would go by.  This was at a time when the lights were turned low, and it would be difficult to recognize other than a face was in the bed.”   

Inmate Leon “Whitey” Thompson was one of the many prisoners who helped the escapees: 

“Morris asked me about how you mix flesh tone, ‘cause you see, I am an artist, I did, I did a lot of oil painting on Alcatraz. I begin to wonder, why is he so interested in flesh tone and then I begin to put it all together because uh, they needed a flesh tone color for the dummy heads.”

The dummies were made from soap, concrete powder, and stolen paint. One of the Anglins worked in the barbershop and swiped some hair to paste on the dummies’ heads for an extra touch of realism. 
For eight months, Morris and the Anglin brothers left their cells at night to drill out the ventilation shaft and collect the items they needed for their escape.  Clarence Carnes, who saw a lot during his 18 years on the Rock, was impressed by their effort: 

In his manuscript, Clarence Carnes wrote, “… many times through the years I‘d met men who had tried to escape.  But their flaw had been too little planning and being too hasty.  They had not been thorough in their thinking, and that’s what defeated them. But not this time.”

For the guards on patrol during the Spring of 1962, the countdowns, the routines, the boredom, were no different than any other time. But many inmates knew differently. During the days, right under the gaze of their keepers, they helped the four escapees in their preparations. One of their most important jobs was secretly passing them raincoats.
Working in their cells at night, the four prisoners used the raincoats to make life preservers, which they then stashed in the escape tunnels. In a secret workspace, hidden by blankets, the Anglins and Morris took turns assembling a raft, also out of the pilfered raincoats.
The time to escape finally arrived.

Quietly, the prisoners left their cells for the last time. Immediately, they encountered their first problem...Allen West was unable to slip through the hole in his cell wall. The others were unwilling to wait. Allen West, the original instigator of the plan, was left behind. 

Frank Morris and the Anglin brothers safely slipped their cells into the utility corridor. There, they climbed up the heating  pipes to the ceiling, popped out the ventilation ducts they’d cut from the ceiling during the past eight months and made their way to the roof. Still undetected, they ran across the roof, and climbed down outside the prison. They headed toward the water.

One of the many challenges the escapees faced was how to inflate their huge raft.  Frank Morris had come up with an ingenious idea.  He had received a small accordion known as a concertina, for use during the daily music hour.  Don Eberle, the FBI investigator, described how the instrument was used during the escape: 

“They had taken the keys out of the concertina, and therefore you could put your hand on one strap of the concertina and push it up and down, it would operate just like a bellows.”

Ever so slowly, the raft began to fill.  When it was ready, the three men pushed it into the water at the edge of Alcatraz and climbed on.  Frank Morris, John Anglin, and Clarence Anglin had made it off the Rock. 

Inside the prison, the dummy heads the prisoners had left behind in their cells fooled any guards that happened to look in.  When the breakout was finally discovered, it triggered an extensive search, one of the largest manhunts ever.  Patrick Mahoney, a former guard at Alcatraz, was among those who took part in the search:

“We were ordered to go out on the bay and of course, start looking around the island.  And then over at Angel Island, scanning the beaches to see if anything that pertained to them might have washed up.  It became evident that we weren’t going to find them.  Whether they had made it or not, no one knew for sure.” 

During the first 24 hours, the search teams came up empty-handed.  Then, they began to find remnants of the escapees’ raft.  In addition, a homemade oar was discovered floating between Alcatraz and Angel Island.  This paddle matched one that the convicts had left behind in the cellblock. 
Two days after the breakout, a rubber wrapped packet was also discovered floating near Angel Island.  It contained an address book, 80 family photographs, and a money order that belonged to one of the escapees.  Some, such as FBI investigator Don Eberle, began to doubt that the escapees had survived: 

“Probably the earliest they could have gotten into the water would be 10:30.  The outgoing tide started that night at ten o’clock.  And that outgoing tide is very strong.  And I firmly believe that they were taken by the currents into the Pacific Ocean.” 

In addition, a Norwegian ship spotted a body floating 20 miles past the Golden Gate bridge on the day of the escape.  Though unable to retrieve it, their description of it matched that of Frank Morris. 

However, there is also some compelling evidence to suggest that at least one of the men survived.  The day after the escape, a man claiming to be John Anglin called a San Francisco law firm known to represent Alcatraz inmates.   Eugenia MacGowan was an attorney at the law firm.  She took the call: 

“And he said, ‘I’m John Anglin.  And I want you to contact the U.S. Marshall’s office.’  I said, ‘Well I’m not going to do that unless I know why.’  And he said, ‘Do you know who I am?’  And I said, ‘No’.  He said, ‘Read the newspaper and he hung up.’”

Alcatraz inmate Clarence Carnes claimed that a few weeks after the break, he received a post card from the escapees.  In it, they gave the pre-arranged code words that confirmed their escape.  The card read, “Gone fishing.” 

Carnes believed that Morris and the Anglin brothers had help from the outside, arranged by a convict on the inside.  He claimed that Ellsworth “Bumpy” Johnson, the underworld king of Harlem, had arranged for a boat to pick up the escapees.  According to Carnes, the boat then took the convicts to Pier 13 in San Francisco’s Hunter’s Point district.  Philip Bergen, the former Alcatraz Captain of Guards, doubts the story:  

“My feeling is that’s just something that Carnes dreamed up and that there is not the slightest possibility there’s any truth in it.” 

Allen West was interrogated repeatedly about Bumpy Johnson.  He was also pressed to reveal any other contacts who might have helped the convicts.  He denied that any existed.  Fellow Alcatraz inmate Leon “Whitey” Thompson put it this way: 

“West wouldn’t have copped out. West was people.  He was solid people.  To this day I don’t believe he ever told ‘em nothing. 

The stories told by prisoners at Alcatraz did not impress the FBI investigators like Philip Bergen.  He  still believes that the men drowned within minutes of hitting the water:  

“Now, of course, we never are cocksure enough to say, well, we know they’re dead, but we’re pretty sure that they’re dead, because there was no trace of them whatsoever.  However, they’re still on the ‘missing’ list and not the ‘dead’ list.

Even though Alcatraz ceased prison operations many years ago, the infamous escape of June 1962, continues to puzzle investigators.  In fact, over the years, thousands of leads have been investigated, but to no avail. Will this legendary case ever be solved?  For now, the arrest warrants for the three fugitives remain active, and the search for answers goes on.   

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mystery of antrax murders solved

From unsolved mystery :
Five are dead after exposure to anthrax.

Who was sending anthrax through the mail?

The letters were postmarked from Trenton, NJ


The letters were all sent by the same person

On Tuesday, October 16, 2001, Norma Wallace reported for work at the postal office in Trenton, New Jersey.  Norma wasn’t feeling well and thought it was a mild case of the flu.  But as the day wore on, she became increasingly ill.   She could barely breathe. 
Some 200 miles away in Washington, DC, another postal worker, Leroy Richmond, was suffering nearly identical symptoms.  He too became gravely ill.  In a matter of days, both Norma and Leroy were hospitalized and their conditions grew worse by the hour.  They seemed to be slowly suffocating to death–and doctors couldn’t figure out why.  But after administering a battery of tests, they finally came up with a diagnosis—anthrax poisoning. 
Like millions of other Americans, Leroy and Norma were aware that anthrax had killed a man in Florida just days earlier.  Now they were suffering from the most deadly form of the disease.  Suddenly, in the wake of September 11th, the nation faced a second wave of terrorism.

The perpetrator was identified

The anthrax terror plot came to light on October 5, 2001, in Boca Raton, Florida.  63-year-old Robert Stevens, a photo editor at the Sun newspaper, died after he was exposed to anthrax spores.  Experts believed they came from a letter that was opened.  But the letter had been thrown away—its origin unknown.  Suddenly, Federal investigators were thrust into the world of bio-terrorism.  According to Van A. Harp, Assistant Director of the FBI’s Washington field office, it proved to be no ordinary crime scene:
“We don't have a crime scene in the traditional sense.  We don't have witnesses.  And, we really don't have anyone that we can call an informant at this point.”
The same week in Manhattan, NBC News and the New York Post received anthrax-tainted letters.  But this time there was a clue—post marks on the envelopes from Trenton, New Jersey.  A swarm of FBI agents checked every mailbox in town for traces of anthrax.  They found none.
Then, on October 9th, 2001, in Washington DC, two more letters laced with anthrax were discovered.  Once again they were postmarked Trenton, New Jersey.  This time, politicians were the targets—Senators Tom Daschle and Patrick Leahy at their offices in DC.  According to Dr. Meryl Nass, the letters contained a form of anthrax so pure and concentrated, it was termed “weapons grade”: 
“This is dangerous, dangerous stuff.  It was estimated that two trillion spores went into each of those envelopes, which would have been two grams.  One envelope may have had a hundred million lethal doses.”
Under the right conditions, just two grams of anthrax could potentially wipe out one third of the U.S. population.  Investigators came to a significant conclusion.  Notes contained within the anthrax-laden envelopes had similar handwriting, leading authorities to believe they came from the same source.  Did references to 9/11, “Death to Israel” and “Allah is Great” point to Arab terrorists?  Or, to someone who wanted investigators to think Arab extremists were involved?  Assistant Director Harp said the FBI was looking at three broad possibilities:
“The first being international terrorists.  Domestic terrorism.  We’re looking at some of the individuals within the United States.  And then we're looking at the lone wolf, as well.”
By October 20th, postal worker Norma Wallace was fighting for her life.  Her temperature had soared above 100.  She was in shock.  The anthrax spores were releasing a lethal toxin, causing blood vessels to break and the bacteria to pulse through her bloodstream:
“I felt like I was dying.  I felt like I couldn't breathe.  Once the spores enter your lungs they actually attack the tissues and the lymph nodes and this causes the anthrax to actually take possession of your body.”
The prognosis for Leroy Richmond was also grim.  Suffering excruciating pain, Leroy laid helpless as his lungs filled with fluids.  Even worse was the fact that doctors knew their most powerful drugs were rarely effective in fighting this silent killer.  Leroy recalled how he practically stared death in the eye:
“I think I was… as near to death then as I ever was going to get.  My breathing had become so shallow that I was actually panting like a dog would breathe.  And I heard a couple guys say, man he’s not going to last but a couple hours and that’ll be it for him.”
Miraculously, both Norma and Leroy survived their harrowing ordeals.  However, four other anthrax victims were not as lucky–bringing the death toll to five:  in Washington, DC, Leroy’s co-workers, Thomas Morris and Joseph Curseen and in New York City, hospital worker Kathy Nyugen.  Three weeks later, Ottilie Lundgren in Derby, Connecticut.

On July 27th, 2008, a government scientist named Bruce Ivins was rushed to a Maryland hospital suffering from a massive overdose of prescription drugs.  He died two days later.  Shortly after, the FBI announced that Dr. Ivins had been the prime suspect in the anthrax terror of 2001. 
One of the country’s leading anthrax researchers, Dr. Ivins helped investigate the attacks that killed five Americans and terrorized the nation.  But Ivins eventually became a suspect himself, and according to the FBI, there is no doubt that he was the anthrax killer.  The case is officially closed, though a motive for Dr. Ivins’ alleged crimes has not been established.    

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Rambu Soloq (Rites of The Dead of Tana Toraja)

Rambu Soloq (Rites of The Dead of Tana Toraja)

unsolved mystery from indonesian culture - In Toraja society, the funeral ritual is the most elaborate and expensive event. The richer and more powerful the individual, the more expensive is the funeral. In the Aluk religion, only nobles have the right to have an extensive death feast. The death feast of a nobleman is usually attended by thousands and lasts for several days. A ceremonial site called Rante is usually prepared in a large grassy field where shelters for audiences are built.  Flute music, funeral chants, songs and poems, and crying and wailing are traditional Toraja expressions of grief with the exceptions of funerals for young children and poor low-status adults.

The ceremony is often held weeks, months, or years after the death so that the deceased's family can raise the significant funds needed to cover funeral expenses. Torajans traditionally believe that death is not a sudden, abrupt event but a gradual process toward Puya (the land of souls, or afterlife). It is based on a strong belief that the soul of the deceased travels to the land of the south and in this land of eternity, he will need all the requisites of everyday life in the hereafter just like when he was alive in this world.
During the waiting period, the body of the deceased is wrapped in several layers of cloth and kept inTongkonan. The soul of the deceased is thought to linger around the village until the funeral ceremony is completed, after which it begins its journey to Puya.In Toraja a person is not considered dead until this last ceremony and the soul is released to the heavens. It is this celebration that is so absorbing.

Another component of the ritual is the slaughter of water buffalo. The more powerful the person who died, the more buffalo are slaughtered at the death feast. Buffalo carcasses, including their heads, are usually lined up on a field waiting for their owner, who is in the "sleeping stage". Torajans believe that the deceased will need the buffalo to make the journey and that they will be quicker to arrive at Puya if they have many buffalo. Slaughtering tens of water buffalo and hundred of pigs using a machete is the climax of the elaborate death feast, with dancing and music and young boys who catch spurting blood in long bamboo tubes. Some of the slaughtered animals are given by guests as "gifts" which are carefully noted because they will be considered debts of the deceased's family.Animal sacrifices are made to ensure eternal life in the afterlife and to safeguard the descendants.

A funeral is a festive event for every member of the society. When the funeral is held by noble families then the ceremony will usually involve great fanfare. Buffaloes and pigs are sacrificed as an indication of status and as repayment for gifts received.

The Torajans believe that aristocrats must be buried between heaven and earth - hence their spectacular grave sites. High up in the limestone cliffs are set tombs, carved out of solid rock, and guarded by human effigies called Tau tau watching sightlessly over the rice fields. 

The coffin may be laid in a cave or in a carved stone grave, or hung on a cliff. It contains any possessions that the deceased will need in the afterlife. The wealthy are often buried in a stone grave carved out of a rocky cliff. The grave is usually expensive and takes a few months to complete. In some areas, a stone cave may be found that is large enough to accommodate a whole family. The coffin of a baby or child may be hung from ropes on a cliff face or from a tree. This hanging grave usually lasts for years, until the ropes rot and the coffin falls to the ground.

While funeral ceremonies occur all year round, the best time to see them is in the drier months of August and September. Some of the big ceremonies are so large that over 100 buffaloes are killed. Although it may seem to visitors an abundance of buffaloes are sacrificed, few Torajans eat meat every day, and festivals are one of the rare chances to enjoy the opportunity.

The Buffalo Sacrifice

It is interesting to reflect on the significance of funerals in this traditional society. In many ways, perhaps in most ways, people of traditional society seem closer to te processes of life and death than those of their modern relatives. Thus, while they treat birth with unrestrained joy, they are not afraid to face death, either. In the world view of Torajans, death is not regarded as the opposite of life. Rather, birth and death are regarded as major mile stones within a person's life. Amongst the people of  Tana Toraja, this world view forms the basis of the Alluk Todolo tradition. It is this tradition which is the inspiration for the long, joyful funeral celebrations characteristic of these people.

A funeral here is not an occasion for sorrow. Rather, it is a celebration in which the entire family of the deceased, and all the members of his village, take part. specifically, a funeral reinforces the eternal bond between the living and the dead of a single family. In the society of Tana Toraja, it is the funeral, not the wedding, which marks a family's status. In Tana Toraja, the funeral ceremony is known as Rambu Soloq. The most important part of this ceremony involves the sacrifice of buffalo. These animals die in order to accompanying the spirit of their master on his journey to the land of the dead. Before being sacrificed according to a strictly defined procedure, in which the neck of the ox is cut with a sharp blade and the animal allowed to bleed to death, the animals take part in trials of strength known as tedong silaga. This procedure is known as tinggoro.

While the sacrifice of the other buffalo is also acceptable, traditional Torajan belief states that offerings of albino buffalo with a certain type of spotted skin (tedong bonga) are preferable. Buffalo with these characteristic markings on their hide are rare, constituting a mere eight percent of the total population. Therefore, it is not surprising that these animals can command a price between 15-30 million rupiah, depending on the perceived beauty of the animal. Attempts to breed these animals have met with very limited success. Even if both parents have the desired markings, there is no guarantee that the offspring will be similarly blessed. An attempt in Bandung, West Java, to breed buffalo that consistently give birth to these animals failed completely.

The rarity of the animals is compounded by the increasing number of rich Torajans, all of whom desire prestigious funerals involving these animals. It is by no means uncommon for more than 300 animals-a good many of them are spotted albino buffalo-to be sacrificed in a single ceremony. Considering that the ceremony of a wealthy or high-status person often lasts as long as eight days and involves more than 15,000 people, all of whom have to be fed, this number is hardly surprising.The funeral is used by the people of Toraja to establish the status of the deceased. In the Torajan belief system, people lead their lives in preparation for their death.

During their lives, people work hard to accumulate wealth. When they die, they take this wealth with them beyond their grave.All members of the deceased family are expected to contribute to the costs of the expensive ceremonies. Many people go deeply into debt in order to hold a funeral ceremony. It is not uncommon for a young man, afraid of being burdened by debt, to postpone or cancel his marriage if the grandmother or grandfather of the girl he loves is old enough to die soon.

To Make a Dead Man Walk ( walking corpse ritual )

In times past, when the villages of Tana Toraja were still extremely isolated and difficult to visit, it is said that certain people had the power to make a dead man walk to his village in order to be present at his own funeral. In this way, relatives of the deceased were spared the necessity of having to carry his corpse. One particular area, Mamasa ? West Toraja, was particularly well-known for this practice. The people of this area are not strictly speaking of the same ethnic group as the people of Tana Toraja. However, outsiders often refer to them as Toraja Mamasa. In many ways, the cultures of the two groups are similar, although they each have their own distingushing characteristics. In particular, the style of wood carving of the two groups is different.

According to the belief system of the people of Mamasa, the spirit of a dead person must return to his village of origin. It is essential that he meet with his relatives, so that they can guide him on his journey into the after-life after the ceremonies have been completed. In the past, people of this area were frightened to journey far, in case they died while they were away and were unable to return to their village. If someone died while on a journey, and unless he has a strong magic power, it would be necessary to procure the services of an expert, to guide the dead person back to the village.

This is not intended metaphorically-the dead person would be made to walk from wherever he had journeyed back home, no matter how far away that was. The corpse would walk stiffly, without any expression on his face, in the manner of a robot. If anyone addressed the dead man directly, he would fall down senseless, unable to continue his journey. Therefore, those accompanying the deceased on the macabre procession had to warn people they met on their path not to talk directly to the dead man. The attendants usually sought out quiet paths where the procession was less likely to meet with strangers. These days, the practice of walking the dead back to their place of origin has fallen out of currency.

Good roads now connect the villages of Tana Toraja, and people tend to rely on more conventional means of transportation for bringing bodies back home. The ability to bring the dead back to life has not been entirely forgotten, however. Sometimes, even now, the deceased is made to continue breathing and seems alive until all his relatives are gathered around him.More commonly, the skill is practiced on animals. At a funeral ceremony, when a buffalo has been sacrificed and its head separated from its body, the body is made to get up and walk for as long as ten minutes. A demonstration of this sort proves to the audience that the ability to bring the dead back to life has not entirely passed from the community.

Cock Fighting

As part of the funeral ceremony, a tower is built in whch to place the body of the dead relative. This structure is referred to as a lakkian, and is placed in the position of honor in front of an open arena. Many of the rites associated with the ceremony take place in this arena. The rites included depend on the social and economic status of the deceased. Naturally, the higher the status of the dead person, the more elaborate his funeral will be.

However, a cock fight, known as bulangan londong, is an integral part of the ceremony. As with the sacrifice of the buffalo and the pigs, the cock fight is considered sacred because it involves the spilling of blood on the earth. In particular, the tradition requires the sacrifice of at least three chickens.

However, it is common for at least 25 pairs of chickens to be set against each other in the context of the ceremony. Usually, the 'extra rounds' are held outside the ceremonial field, for the pleasure of the participants.In this day and age, the sacred ceremony has degenerated into an excuse for gambling. Fewer and fewer among the audience regard the cock fight as a religious event, and most take part in the gambling that inevitably accompanies it. These days, with the advent of telecommunications, it is not unusual for people to bet on cock fights via telephone.

As a ceremony reaches its climax, the roads leading into even smallest villages can become crowded with vehicles bringing gamblers to the site.In addition to the cock fights and the trials of strength between the buffalo, the ceremony also involves a mourning dance known as ma'badong, in which members of the family of the deceased hold hands and form a large circle. The dance is accompanied by the recitation of poetry which describes humanity's journey from the womb, through birth, life, and finally death.Oddly, the fact that a large number of the people of Tana Toraja have embraced Christianity has not prevented them from holding or taking part in these ceremonies.

Type of Graves of Torajans

When a person dies, the body is not directly buried, but preserved by using formalin (in the past, people used certain leaves). After that, the corpse is put on the top of the house. The dead person is considered to have headache, and people still give him/her food and drink. The dead person is kept in his/her house until 2 to 5 years, it depends when is his/her family able to carry on a funeral ceremony for him/her.There are several kinds of graves:

Lemo Grave type
The family asks "to pande batu" (carving expert) to make a hole (about 3 m long and 1 m high) on stone wall. The corpse is wrapped with sarung (traditional cloth) and put inside a coffin, then the coffin is placed inside the hole. Nobles of Toraja always make "tau-tau" (a human-like statue) for dead people. Tau-tau is made similar as the dead person, including the body, appearance, clothes, and necklace. To make a statue, people have to contact "to minah" (tradition keeper, a person respected as an elderly one). Besides, they also have to check the date (time). Tao-tao for a man wears pants, and the one for a woman wears a long skirt. A person who is skillful in making tao-tao is called "to pande tao-tao". Tau-tau is still an animism belief. Common people do not make tau-tau, and after 2 - days the corpse is put into a coffin called "tongkonan". A single hole of Batu Lemo grave can be put 3-5 corpses because the size of preserved corpses can shrink to ½ m. If the hole is already full, then people need to make new a hole which are near the previous hole.

Erong Grave, Marante
The deceased person is put into a huge coffin which can contain 2-5 corpses. After that, the coffin is placed inside a cave. In Marante there can be found many human skulls and bones.

Patane Grave
It is a modern grave of Christian Torajan. The shape of the grave is a house, and it is said as the second home after a person dies. The house can contain 20-25 corpses. The corpses are placed with their coffins. The grave is also called "banua tang marambu" (house which no longer has smoke).One grave is for one family.

Ma?ne?ne? (The Ceremony of Cleaning Corpses)
Once a year, or once in every 5 or ten years Torajan people carry on a special ceremony for changing the clothes and coffins of the corpses. The cleaning day is a special day agreed by tradition keepers. People clan the corpses, change their clothes and the damaged coffins, and the scattered bnes are gathered. The clothes worn by tau-tau (statues) are also changed.

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