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Ritualistic Horse Mutilations Plague French Countryside

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  • This gruesome story is enough to make anyone feel sick

First, a warning: if animal abuse makes you squeamish, don’t read further. This is not a happy story.

In France, a brutal, almost ritualistic serial killer has struck dozens of times during this year. Some might say that the killing spree has a silver lining, however, as the murderer is not targeting people.

Instead, they seem to prefer victims of a more equine variety, says Deutsche Welle. French media reports that the maniac has struck more than 30 times, leaving horses, donkeys, and ponies either dead or horrendously mutilated in his wake.

According to Associated Press, the earliest known attack happened in February. Since then, the barbaric killings have surfaced again and again, leaving farmers terrified and the police stymied in eastern France.

Each act of brutality is drenched in mystery. The police have no idea who the perpetrator – or perpetrators – are.

All that’s known is that they use bladed weapons, have at least some knowledge of horses, and that they have an appetite for wanton cruelty.

The killings have become so prominent that they’ve caught the attention of the highest echelons of French government. Minister of Agriculture and Food Julien Denormandie has promised support to the horses and their owners.

“These acts of barbarism against horses are unbearable,” Denormandie tweeted. “All means are mobilized and implemented to put an end to this terror.”

After visiting Saône-et-Loire Denormandie in a separate tweet told the French people to rest assured that no means would be spared to ensure that justice is served.

In France, animal cruelty is punishable by up to two years’ imprisonment and roughly $35,000 in maximum fines.

Professionals of Brutality

Denormandie detailed the acts of violence the murderer has committed on the horses. The list of savagery is not for those with weak stomachs.

“There is clearly a professionalism, people acting with a certain level of technique,” Denormandie told Deutsche Welle.

The murderer has gouged out eyes and bled horses dry. In late August, they completely disemboweled a mare in southeastern France.

The killer is also leaving their trademark at the scene. In the vast majority of the cases, the horse’s right ear has been sliced off – a trophy tradition that is practiced by matadors in bullfighting.

But it seems the ears are not enough for the killer to remember their bloody business by. Police say that in some cases they have also made off with bones and parts of the animals’ noses.

‘Is It a Cult’?

As mentioned, the identity of the killer is an enigma. The repetitive and calculated mutilations have raised questions of whether the acts are committed by some kind of a cult.

“It is cruel savagery of a kind we have rarely seen before. Is it a cult?” Sarge Lecomte, president of the French Equestrian Federation wondered to the AFP news agency.

Other theories are also floating around in France. One posits that a group of copycat criminals is behind the killings. Copycat behavior a well-known side effect of highly publicized crimes.

Another theory is that a sick social media challenge is causing the brutality . If that’s the case, we’ve jumped from eating Tide pods to a whole new level of depravity.

The French public is also wondering about the almost surgical precision of some of the mutilations. This has spawned theories that the killers must have precise knowledge of horse anatomy and behavior.

Aude Giraudet, chief of the equine division at the National Veterinary School of Alfort, doesn’t necessarily agree with this theory, however.

“I’m not sure you need great knowledge of horses. A fearful horse in a pasture won’t get caught. But a horse who feels confident with people … he’ll come, find it normal that you put a harness on it or a rope around its neck,” she told Associated Press.

She added that it would be easy to nip off an ear while a horse is standing. For the more elaborate barbarism, though, the horse would have to be laying down. This means the butchers know how to handle horses, at the very least.

“If I were in Normandy, I think I would be very, very worried about this epidemic,” Giraudet summarized.

A Portrait of a Killer

The cloud of mystery parted slightly in August. Nicolas Demajean, who runs the animal sanctuary Ranch of Hope in Auxerre, actually came face to face with the killers.

On August 24, Demajean heard his pigs squealing unusually loudly. As he came to examine the ruckus, Demajean saw two men about to attack his horses.

A struggle ensued, during which one of the perpetrators cut Demajean on his arm with a pruning knife. Meanwhile the other started slashing at sides of two of the sanctuary’s ponies.

Demajean managed to drive would-be killers away and they took off in a vehicle. The two ponies are now recovering but traumatized, wrote Associated Press.

But the attackers got away and not all animals were as lucky as the ponies. The next day, another pony was exsanguinated in Saone-et-Loire and – in a separate case – one horse had some of its organs ripped out.

“I used to have confidence putting my horses out to pasture. Today, I have fear in my gut,” Demajean told France 3 TV station.

But at least something came out of it. Thanks to Demajean seeing the attackers, the police have now released a composite sketch of one of them.

Hopefully that will help stop the killers before they slaughter any other innocent animals. Or decide to graduate to cutting people apart.

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Man Rides Horse Down Highway in Chicago

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  • 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

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  • 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

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  • 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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