Tuesday, 26 March 2013

The Undocumented: Andrea Yates

At 10.00am on June 20th 2001, Rusty Yates answered a phone call from his wife, Andrea.
Andrea: 'You need to come home'
Rusty: 'What's going on?'
After repeating the statement multiple times, she added;
Andrea: 'It's time. I did it'
Terrified, Rusty asked her to explain;
Andrea: 'It's the children'
Rusty: 'Which one?'
Andrea: 'All of them'
Texas: June 20th, 2001
Five children; dead.
It was as if he was expecting it...
The NASA engineer frantically raced home from work to find an army of police and ambulances outside his door. After screaming 'how could you do this?', he collapsed into a fetal position on his lawn, assaulting the ground beneath him as he watched his estranged wife walk away in handcuffs.
In the back master bedroom, four children lay dead. All were clothed, all had their eyes wide open. Their brother was still submerged in the bathtub, floating amidst his siblings faeces and vomit.
Andrea had called the police. According to the operator she had spoken coherently, but when she answered the door, her shirt and hair were soaked with water. With a transparent look on her face, she told officers that she had killed her children and expected to be punished for her crimes.
The same question rested on everyone's lips; how and why could any mother murder every single one of her children?

Andrea Yates

Born on July 2nd 1964, Andrea Yates (born Kennedy) was born in Houston and was the youngest of five children. She was shy, but extremely dedicated to her studies and earned a nursing degree from the University of Texas Health Science Centre and shortly after became a registered nurse.

She met Rusty when she was 25 and quit her job as a nurse following the birth of her first child. In 1993 they married and told friends that they expected six children. After the birth of Noah, Andrea began to have violent thoughts and visions (including seeing someone being stabbed and believing Satan was speaking to her) but kept them to herself.

Following an erratic relationship with self proclaimed 'prophet' Michael Woroniecki (someone Rusty had introduced her to), Andrea began to abandon her Catholic views; views Michael referred to as sinful. Yates introduced Christian only texts into her family and was frequently reminded by Woroniecki that she was 'evil' and 'wicked' and that she needed to change.

It was inevitable that Andrea would sink into a swallowing depression. She desperately wanted to be a good mother and as pressures built, her father developed Alzheimer's. Any joy that remained in Andrea's life was rapidly deteriotating.
The pellucidity of the woman who had just sickeningly taken the lives of her babies disturbed investigators.
When asked 'who killed your children?', she replied 'I killed my children'. When asked why, she said 'because I'm a bad mother'. And that was it.
Indolent and sluggish, Andrea told police how she had awoke at 08:10am and waited for her husband to leave for work. Once he had, she left the children who were eating their breakfast downstairs to fill the bathtub with water (3 inches from the top).

One by one, Yates drowned three of her sons (Luke, 2; Paul, 3; and John, 5), forcing them face down into the water. Once they had died, she lay them face up on the bed and covered them with a sheet. Sat next to her and crying was her next victim: 6 month old Mary. Her oldest son, Noah, was the next to be called. However, once he had realised the sickening truth of what was going on, he desperately tried to run from his Mother who was wickedly chasing behind. Noah was caught; his last words 'I'm sorry'.

But the question had still not been answered; why?


Crucially, Rusty Howard had explained to police that his wife had been taking medication for depression. She had even been hospitalised for attempting to kill herself numerous times. Andrea was extremely ill.

In 1999, Andrea called Rusty at work telling him that she needed help. He came home to find her shaking and chewing her fingers. Weeks later she attempted to kill herself by overdosing on drug's prescribed for her father and was diagnosed with a major depressive disorder.

For two years leading up to the tragic event, Andrea had been experiencing malevolent thoughts of hurting her children and believed they were not developing correctly due to her bad parenting. Andrea continually reiterated her desire to be punished for being a bad mother.

Unfortunately, Rusty didn't believe Andrea was a danger to her children. How wrong he was.


On March 12th 2002, the jury reached their verdict; guilty.

Andrea's defense had based their argument on insanity claims, however, these were rejected. If Andrea was not insane, then she was liable to the death penalty. The nation was split on whether Yates should be given the death penalty or not and a letter was sent by Andrea's defense attorneys even asking for a mistrial. The answer was 'no'.

The jury returned a sentence of life in prison rather than death; Andrea showed little emotion. She now spends her days in Mountain View Unit, a state psychiatric prison in Texas.

Rusty believed his family were mishandled by the mental health system. He felt he had not been adequately warned and believed his wife had not been adequately treated.

So was it the fault of the mental health system or the naivety of Rusty Yates that led to the death of five innocent children? No investigation has been developed.


Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Top 10 Funny Place Names

'I'm going to bury my Wetwang in your Twatt and after I'm done you'll hear your Pussy Creek' and 'A big Poopoo passed through My Large Intestine last night much to my Disappointment' are examples of sentences you can construct with some of the world's most outrageous place names!

If any of you are bored this Easter and are planning a family trip, consider some of these ludricously named towns, cities and villages for your next visit.

10. Big Bone Lick (Kentucky, USA)

Big Bone Lick is a state park located in Kentucky, USA and gets its name from the large number of fossils found there.

9. Brown Willy (Cornwall, UK)

A favourite amongst British travel-goers who love a big brown willy.

8. My Large Intestine (Texas, USA)

This town's name is a little hard to digest...

7. Disappointment (Kentucky, USA)

Home to America's unemployed, drug dealers and ugly.

6. Wetwang (Yorkshire, UK)

In this Yorkshire village, you're sure to get your wang wet. Home to the majority of Britain's sluts and prostitutes.

5. Poopoo (Hawaii)

Not the best place to live, in fact, some people might call it 'poo'.

4. Twatt (Shetland Islands, Scotland)

Good to see the Scottish have found some humour and named a place after themselves.

3. Pussy Creek (Ohio, USA)

A favourite destination of USA's elderly population.

2. Fanny Barks (Durham, UK)

If you listen closely at night, you can actually hear them!

1. Fucking (Austria)

Fucking brilliant.

Friday, 15 March 2013

Poems: Train Window Picturebook

One week early
Paper cuts and illness scratches
A new smile on the scene and
She’s banished her to bed
An eternal thread pulls on my skin
A cry for help from home
Vodka makes me sway like sea
Grey smudge forms and frowns at me but
After three months there’s nothing to see
In that same old place I know
White light blinding number seven
The silence starts to maul
Breathless from a laboured life
For us you’ve done it all
Tracks are an escape route
To a picture directed by grief
Tied and gagged squirm smiles and laughs
No reason to believe

Monday, 11 March 2013

10 of the Weirdest Diseases on Earth

The Earth is a disease ridden ball of death. Our close acquaintances polio, cholera, influenza and co. meet and greet us everyday but does anyone know about their even darker brothers and sisters? You wouldn't think that an invisible force could eat away at human skin; morph your face into a horrific shape or even turn your skin blue; but it can.

Below are 10 of the weirdest, most rare diseases on the planet.

10. Porphyria

Porphyrias are a group of rare inherited/acquired disorders which affect enzymes involved in the production of porphyrins and heme (the pigments in red blood cells).

 Symptoms include severe abdominal pain, vomiting, neuropathy and mental disturbances. Discolouration of the skin occurs after exposure to the sun due to the accumulation of excess porphyrins near the surface of the skin.

9. Grave's Disease

Grave's disease is an autoimmune disorder that leads to overactivity of the thyroid gland. The thyroid gland controls metabolism which is critical for regulating mood, weight, mental, physical and energy levels.

The disease is caused by an abnormal immune system response which in turn causes the thyroid gland to produce too much thyroid hormone. Symptoms include anxiety, breast enlargement, reduced concentration levels, eyeballs sticking out, insomnia and weight loss.

8. Proteus Syndrome

Proteus syndrome is a congenital disorder that causes skin overgrowth and atypical bone development, often accompanied by tumors over half the body.

Children are born without any obvious symptoms and start to develop deformities as they age. The skull, limbs and soles of the feet are often the most affected areas and the disease does not cause any learning impairments.

7. Argyria

Argyria is caused by over-exposure to chemical forms of silver. The major symptom of the condition is blue skin. The disease is not physically harmful, but severely disfiguring. In humans and animals, silver accumulates in the body over time and chronic intake of silver products increases the risk of argyria.

6. Capgras Delusion

The Capgras Delusion is a disturbing disorder in which an individual believes that a person close to them (friend, spouse, parent, etc.) has been replaced by an identical-looking imposter.

The delusion often occurs in patients diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and also with people suffering from brain injury or dementia. The delusion has also been associated with diabetes, hypothyroidism, migraine attacks and in one isolated case, ketamine.

5. Leontiasis ossea

Leontiasis ossea or 'Lion Face Syndrome' is characterised by an overgrowth of the facial and cranial bones. The maxilla (fusion of two bones that form the upper jaw) is affected, its' size progressively increasing and thus affecting the mouth, nose and its accessory sinuses.

The optic nerve is compressed by an overgrowth of the bone leading to complete loss of sight. Nasal respiration is also often affected.

4. Neurofibromatosis

Neurofibromatosis is a genetically-inherited disorder where the nerve tissue grows tumors that may cause significant damage by compressing nerves and other tissues. Cellular elements proliferate excessively forming tumors and melanocytes (melanin producing cells) also function abnormally resulting in disordered skin pigmentation and cafe au lait spots.

3. Trimethylaminuria

Trimethylaminuria is a rare metabolic disease also known as 'fish odor syndrome'. It causes a defect in the normal production of the enzyme flavin containing monooxygenase 3 which helps the body to convert trimethylamine from precursor compounds in food digestion into trimethylamine oxide. The fishy smelling Trimethylamine then builds up and is released in sweat, urine and breath.

Symptoms include a moderate smell that varies in intensity. The disease is more common in women and it is thought that female sex hormones aggravate symptoms. Other than this, sufferers appear typically healthy.

2. Fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva

Often referred to as 'Stone Man Syndrome', Fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva is an extremely rare disease of the connective tissue. A mutation of the body's repair mechanism causes fibrous tissue (muscle, tendon, ligament) to be ossified (laying down a new bone material) when damaged.

Symptoms include being born with big toes, missing joints and tumor-like lumps then gradually appear.

1. Pica eating disorder

The Pica eating disorder is characterised by an appetite for non-nutritive substances like clay, chalk, dirt or sand. To be considered Pica, the unusual eating habits must last for more than one month at an age where eating such substances is considered developmentally inappopriate.

It can lead to intoxication that can cause physical and mental impairment and intestinal obstruction. The disease is linked to maternal deprivation, family issues, parental neglect, pregnancy, poverty and is often seen in pregnant women, small children and people with developmental disabilities like autism.

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

The Bermuda Triangle: Fact or Fiction?

In popular culture the 'Bermuda Triangle' has been cited as a paranormal graveyard for a number of aircrafts and ships.

It lies in the western part of the North Atlantic Ocean and the region is said to cover up to 1.5 million square miles. Its victims include the famous Flight 19 and USS Cyclops, but was the Bermuda Triangle really the culprate for these unfortunate disasters?

There exist a number of outlandish supernatural and legitimate natural explanations for the phenomenon but what scientists and triangle writers want to know is; what is it? Is it a powerful magentic field? A spiralling, unforgiving whirlpool? A relentless storm? The fact is, no one really knows.

Ellen Austin, 1881

Whilst in the region known as the Bermuda Triangle, the Ellen Austin (an American schooner) met with another ship (with no one on board) and attempted to sail with it to New York. The Captain of the Ellen Austin sent a prize crew on board to help salvage the ship. Mysteriously, it disappeared.

USS Cyclops, 1918

After departing Barbados in March 1918, the USS Cyclops went missing without a trace resulting in the single largest loss of life in the history of the US Navy not related to combat.

Flight 19, 1945

On December 5th 1945, a training flight of five TBM Avenger torpedo bombers failed to return to base after disappearing over the Atlantic. PBM Mariner (one of the search and rescue aircraft sent to locate Flight 19) also disappeared with 13 men on board. Navy investigators have blamed the disaster on navigational error which led to the aircraft running out of fuel.

Douglas DC-3, 1948

Whilst on route to Miami from San Juan, Puerto Rico, aircraft number NC16002 disappeared over the Bermuda Triangle. No trace of the aircraft or the 32 people on board was ever found.

The Supernatural
Atlantis -  whoever would have though that the lost city of Atlantis could have had anything to do with the Bermuda Triangle? According to one wacky theory, the Triangle is the result of leftover technology from the mythical city. Connected to this story is the submerged rock formation known as the Bimini Road off the island of Bimini in the Bahamas. This formation is often referred to as the Bermuda Triangle.

Magnetic Fields - according to legend, the Bermuda Triangle is one of only two places on the planet where a compass points true north as opposed to the magnetic north. Navigators now know that a compass must be calibrated depending on the location of the globe. The Triangle was once a place where the compass pointed true north but today, it no longer sits in any sort of magnetic area.

UFO's and Aliens - this 'well thought out' theory points to extraterrestrials as a cause of disaster in the area... If you dare enter the Triangle (or portal) at the wrong time, you will end up trapped between dimensions and gobbled up by ET and his mates.

The Natural
Weather - unlikely when there have been so many reported disasters in the same area.

Gulf Stream - originating in the Gulf of Mexico, the ocean current flows through the straits of Florida into the North Atlantic. It reaches speeds of up to 2.5 metres per second and possesses enough energy to transport a water landing plane or a boat having engine trouble away from its reported position.

Methane Hydrates - methane hydrates are a form of natural gas often located on continental shelves. Experiments have proven that bubbles created by the gas have the ability to sink a ship by decreasing the density of water. The Gulf Stream would then rapidly disperse any wreckage.

Rogue Waves - around the world, rogue waves have caused ships to sink and oil platforms to topple. Could this be a suitable explanation for the many disasters in the area?

The Bermuda Triangle is and will remain a source of debate and fascination for years to come and although the supernatural theories behind the phenomenon may be fairly ridiculous, who says they aren't true?