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Dutch Cops Arrest Six After Discovery Of Horrifying Torture Chamber



  • We all would’ve been better off without this particular horror story coming to life

We’ve covered events that resembled famous movie scenes before. This is one more of those, but this time the genre has switched to horror.

On July 7, Dutch police officers raiding a criminal gang’s hideout made a bloodcurdling discovery. The gang had constructed a torture chamber that could just as well have been a set for one of the ultraviolent Saw films.

The police discovered seven shipping containers in a warehouse used by the gang in the town of Wouwse Plantage in southern Netherlands. The criminals had converted six of the containers into makeshift prison cells, according to the Dutch Public Prosecution Service.

Each container’s walls were lined with heat-insulating foil and sound-proof plates to muffle the intended victims’ screams. Metal handcuffs had been attached to the walls, floor and ceiling, and a single chemical toilet was the only furnishing.

The gang had fitted the containers with cameras to keep an eye on their would-be prisoners. Additionally, sets of police clothing, bulletproof vests and flashlights laid on the floor of one of the containers.

The Heart of Darkness

But the true horror of the gang’s intentions became clear only when the police entered the seventh container.

In it, they found a dental chair with handcuffs and straps to keep the victim’s limbs in place. In addition to the chair, the container held a sickening collection of implements of torture.

“The police found pruning shears, loppers, branch saws, scalpels, pliers, extra handcuffs, finger cuffs, tape, balaclavas and black cotton bags that could be pulled over the victim’s head,” the Public Prosecution Service said in a statement.

“The objects were presumably intended to torture or at least put pressure on victims.”

Adjacent to the torture chamber, the gang had built a sitting and sleeping area. The police suspect its purpose was to allow guards and torturers to stay in the warehouse longer and reduce suspicious traffic.

The warehouse also housed a weapons cache, with seven small firearms and a Chinese variant of the Kalashnikov AK-47 assault rifle. In investigations related to the torture chamber, the police found 17 more firearms and more than 50 pounds of the drug MDMA.

Six people have been arrested over the discovery of the torture chamber. Their impressively long list of suspected crimes includes “preparation for kidnapping, taking hostages, serious abuse and extortion, participation in a criminal organization, and possessions of illegal weapons”.

Covering Two Bases

The Dutch police got onto the gang’s tracks in April, when they arrested a 40-year-old man from The Hague. The man was involved in drug trafficking, and investigations into his finances revealed that he used a warehouse in Wouwse Plantage.

The police immediately put the warehouse they had found out about under surveillance. Since mid-April, they observed men working on the seven cargo containers on a nearly daily basis.

They also found out about a second warehouse the gang was using near the city of Rotterdam. Several of the people spotted in Wouwse Plantage were also seen there.

“The second warehouse seemed to serve as the base for the criminal abduction team, housing fast cars, weapons and bullet-proof vests,” said the Prosecution Service.

Hacking the Communications

In a separate investigation, the police got access to the encrypted chat network EncroChat. The police intercepted the gang’s messages and at times they could even follow their conversations as they happened.

You can only imagine the cops’ reactions when they read the disturbing messages.

The gang members sent each other pictures of the “treatment room” they were constructing. They talked about kidnapping and torture, and the intricately planned plot to carry out the abductions.

“If I have him on the chair, more will come,” one message read. We probably really don’t want to know what that “more” is.

However, with their meticulous planning the criminals’ ended up sabotaging their own plot. Through the messages the police were able to deduce the identities of the gang’s intended victims.

“They were warned by the police and went into hiding. As a result, and thanks to continuous CCTV surveillance in and near the warehouse, the prepared kidnappings, hostage-taking and other serious violent crimes were prevented,” the Prosecution Service said.

A Criminal Network

The EncroChat service that became a crucial source of evidence and clues in the case is a now-defunct communication network. It operated out of France and at its height had an estimated 60,000 users, according to the BBC.

Accessed through customized Android phones, the system offered encrypted communications with the messages set to self-destruct after being read. It also had a “panic button” that would wipe all data on the user’s device.

Gee, it almost sounds like the thing was tailor-made for shady activities. Wonder why it got shut down.

An international team cracked the system’s encryption in April, said the Independent. The security breach gave law enforcement officials a chance to take peek inside the network.

Surprise, surprise – the cops found out that the secretive messaging service was used by criminals the world round. Matt Horne, deputy director of the UK National Crime Agency, said the “Encrophones” had become a “requirement” in organized crime.

Since the police got access to the network in April, they have made 746 arrests in the UK alone. In addition, they have seized more than $68 million in cash, 77 firearms, 1,800 rounds of ammunition, and more than two metric tons of various drugs.

Now they can add a fully-equipped torture chamber to that list. We can all breathe a sigh of relief that they caught it before it was ever used.

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Man Rides Horse Down Highway in Chicago



  • But he does it for good reason, and we really can’t be mad about it.

Just yesterday I wrote about a woman who fell out of the car she was riding in, all because of a Snapchat video. And today? A man riding his horse down the Chicago freeway.

What is with people these days? Oh ya, it is 2020.

It was 4:30 p.m. when police responded to the southbound lanes of the Dan Ryan Highway.

Adam Hollingsworth, 33, now known as the “Dreadhead Cowboy,” is facing three charges after the incident. Hollingworth was charged with reckless conduct, disobeying a police officer and criminal trespassing.

He rode around for 30 minutes or so as traffic slowed to a halt. Illinois police and Chicago police were following close behind.

Hollingsworth and the people with him were asked several times by law enforcement to leave the expressway, and they did not. Finally after exiting at the 35th St exit, Hollingsworth was taken into custody.

Darron Luster, 55, attempted to gain control over the horse after Hollingsworth was arrested. Luster was charged with obstructing and resisting arrest.

Chicago’s Mayor Lightfoot dubbed Hollingsworth “The Census Cowboy,” in efforts to bring awareness around filing out the census. Hollingsworth’s ride Monday was with the goal to turn more attention to the recent slaying of so many children over the summer.

“The thing is to send a message that our children are dying,” activist Mark Carter said. “That there are no resources coming to our communities.”

The mayor and governor are calling for funding for mental health, education and social programs and development in neighborhoods they said have been neglected.

Chicago Animal Control was called to the scene in regards to the horse. They took the animal to their facility.

The horse, named “NuNu,” had multiple injuries when animal control arrived. NuNu was bleeding from the left hoof, its right hoof was injured and the right side of the horse’s body had saddle sores.

Police were notified of Hollingsworth’s plan on Sept. 9th. His plan was denied.

The mayor’s office issued the following statement Monday.

“While the Illinois State Police (ISP) is directly leading all police matters around this incident due to the jurisdiction, Mayor Lightfoot has been briefed by the Chicago Police Department, who are assisting ISP. What is clear is that this stunt not only seriously endangered the horse but also the rider and all travelers on the expressway. There is a right way and a wrong way to call attention to issues of great importance and this stunt was decidedly the very wrong way. Furthermore, the Chicago Animal Care and Control (CACC) was on-scene arranging for the treatment of the horse which was injured as a result of this stunt and are now working to transport the animal to a temporary shelter where it can receive proper care.” 





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One of You Should Buy the Lizzie Borden House



  • The 7-bedroom estate is back on the market for $890,000.
  • The current owners claim to have heard Lizzie Borden’s spirit, which means you can turn this into a profitable reality TV enterprise.

Just in time for the spoopy season, the Lizzie Borden house is back on the market. It’s not the house where the infamous murders took place, but Maplecroft. It’s where Borden lived in Fall River, following her acquittal for the ax-murder of her parents. It sold most recently in 2018 to Donald Woods and Leeann Wilber. They operate a Lizzie Borden themed bed-and-breakfast in the area. Until COVID, Wood and Wilber were renovating Maplecroft to become a similar venture, expanding their Borden empire. But the project got to be too expensive, and now they’re unloading the proper for $890,000.


I mean, I’ve seen worse properties go for more? Just look at the real estate market in Los Angeles. 

The Infamous Borden Murders

Photo by Benjamin Balázs on Unsplash

If you’re not familiar with Lizzie Borden, she stood trial for the ax-murder of her father and step-mother in 1892. The truth of what happened remains a mystery, even though the murders took place in the middle of the day with many members of the Borden household home. (Jk, Lizzie totally did it.) In part because of contradictory testimony by investigators and a second ax murder in the area, a jury acquitted Lizzie Borden. 


The live-in-maid at the Borden house, Bridget Sullivan, gave a deathbed confession to her sister. In it, she admitted changing her testimony to protect Lizzie. At the time of her death, Lizzie had amassed considerable wealth and several real estate holdings, but Maplecroft was her home. 

Definitely Not Haunted, Unless It Is

Photo by Benjamin Rascoe on Unsplash

There’s absolutely no reason to believe the ghost of Lizzie Borden is haunting Maplecroft. She was, by most accounts, not discontented when she died. It’s also very unusual for spirits to move properties–so Borden’s father and step-mother probably aren’t still seeking revenge at the estate. 


The current owners claimed to the Herald News they’ve picked up paranormal activity, registering as many as 50 voices in the home, including Lizzie Borden herself who was, “not particularly talkative.”


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Richard Nixon’s Unfinished Sandwich Celebrates Its 60th Anniversary



  • But unlike those McDonald’s burgers that never rot, this lunch has been kept in a freezer

We, the people, like to process history through anniversaries. For one reason or another, we tend to put special emphasis on how many years it’s been since something happened.

Not that there’s anything wrong with the practice. When it comes to big anniversaries, 2020 has some good ones.

For instance, this August marked the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II. In January, the World Trade Organization celebrated its 25th birthday.

Meanwhile 2500 years ago – in 480 B.C. – King Leonidas of Sparta led 300 warriors against the might of the Persian Empire in the Battle of Thermopylae. What, did you think it was just a movie?

But in addition to history-shaping wars, 2020 also marks the anniversary of a slightly less significant event. More precisely, 60 years ago today – on September 22, 1960 – then-presidential candidate and later US President Richard Nixon didn’t finish his sandwich.

We know this because an Illinois man has preserved the half-eaten bison barbeque sandwich. It has sat in his freezer ever since Nixon walked away from his lunch decades ago.

The man in question is Steve Jenne, 74, of Sullivan, Illinois. This is his story – his, and Nixon’s partially consumed sandwich.

“I am not a crook. I am not going to finish that sandwich, either.” Photo courtesy of the Library of Congress.

A Trip Down the Memory Lane

But how come Jenne came to possess the lunch of Nixon, whose legacy would years later become forever tarnished in the Watergate scandal?

For answers, let’s accelerate to 88 mph and take a trip back in time. We find ourselves in the city of Sullivan on that more or less fateful date: 9/22/1960.

In case any Europeans are reading this, that’ll be 22/9/1960. Don’t get too confused, now.

On this date, Nixon was out on his presidential campaign. He was running against a Massachusetts senator, one John F. Kennedy.

As we know from history, a couple months later Kennedy would win the presidency. Nixon would have to wait until 1969 for his turn in the White House.

But on this September day, Nixon was in Sullivan on a campaign trip. For lunch, he was served the aforementioned bison barbeque sandwich.

Whether he wasn’t all that hungry or just straight-up didn’t like the sandwich has been lost to history. The facts are that he ate about half of it before proceeding to the park where he was supposed to debate Kennedy. However, Kennedy failed to show up, so Nixon took the chance to give a speech of his own.

While he was speaking, Steve Jenne – then a 14-year-old Boy Scout – kept an eye on the Senator’s unfinished lunch.

“Being the good Boy Scout that I was, I stood there and guarded that sandwich,” Jenne recounted to the University of Illinois.

Eventually, though, it became clear to Jenne that Nixon wasn’t coming back to clean his plate.

“I looked around and thought, ‘If no one else was going to take it, I am going to take it,’” Jenne told Herald & Review in a separate interview.

And so he did. The sandwich ended up in a glass jar in the Jennes’ freezer.

Onto the TV Screen

From Sullivan, the sandwich eventually relocated to Springfield when the Jennes moved house. When Steve Jenne eventually left his parents’ home to start a life of his own, the sandwich went with him.

In 1988, the aforementioned Herald & Review wrote a story of the sandwich, which at the time was of the ripe age of 28. The story went viral (or whatever the 1988 equivalent is), and Jenne ended up showcasing his artifact on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.

The famous comedian Steve Martin was also a guest on the show that night. Always ready to crack a joke, Martin signed a paper plate he had eaten a chicken salad sandwich off of and handed it to Jenne.

Probably to everyone’s surprise, Jenne happily accepted the plate. He still owns it.

A Memento for the Ages

Let’s zoom back to the present day. Nixon’s sandwich and Martin’s plate are today part of a collection that has expanded to include scrap food from musicians Tiny Tim and Henny Youngman.

Jenne said that he never wanted to become famous by preserving celebrities’ half-finished snacks. It’s just a fun quirk, and undoubtedly a great conversation opener.

He has enjoyed the opportunities Nixon’s unfinished lunch has opened for him, though. In addition to The Tonight Show, the sandwich has brought Jenne into contact with other famous people and even an appearance on the I’ve Got a Secret game show in the 2000s.

With the sandwich’s 60th anniversary, he hopes that it will draw attention to the Nixon visit plaque in Sullivan’s Wyman Park. Maybe the city could use some extra tourist income.

When it comes to the sandwich itself, Jenne has no plans on getting rid of it.

“As long as I am living, that sandwich will be stored in my freezer in a container that is labeled, ‘Save, don’t throw away,’ ” Jenne said.

And really, why would Jenne throw the thing away? It’s come in handy enough in these past 60 years, so who knows what tomorrow might bring.

Actually, it’s election season right now. Wonder what Trump’s or Biden’s lunch would be worth in a few decades…

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