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  • Writer's pictureMacabre Emporium Pod

Clearance Bin - Vol. 1

Updated: Feb 28, 2023

DAVID:

The Elkhart Tooth Block

Joseph Stamp and his tooth block in Elkhart
Dentist, Joseph Stamp and his tooth block

This one comes from my hometown of Elkhart, In. Sometime in either the 1940s or 50s depending on who you ask. A local dentist by the name of Joseph Stamp would lose his pet German shepherd named prince. As most people want to immortalize their beloved pets in some fashion Dr. Stamp would end up taking thousands of teeth he had saved and preserved in a barrel in the basement of his dentist's office. He would continue to add on to this block over the course of his 60-year career as a dentist and it would be somewhat of an event for kids that lived around the office when he would add more teeth to this block of concrete and teeth. Some of the locals said that prince the dog was actually buried under it some said he wasn’t.


Nobody is sure why Dr. Stamp chose to make a memorial out of concrete and teeth. His granddaughter which wasn’t named said her father might have been a little eccentric but was resourceful. She believes that maybe he used the teeth as a filler to get more body out of the block than just concrete alone. Originally you could find this massive block of teeth and concrete just a few steps off a sidewalk but after a couple of teens knocked it over it has been moved to the “Time Was Museum” which is the local history museum, but it also has been reported to be on display at a local antique market as well.


I was hoping to find some stories kids would tell each other to scare each other with but I had no luck except one person commented kids would pour ketchup on it to try and scare people but more than likely just irritated their parents for wasting ketchup. Also, kids would tend to pick teeth out of the block and make necklaces out of them and they would also dare each other to run up and touch it.

 

SARAH:

Little Jennie - Waterford Elephant Funeral

Babe pushing Little Jennie into her burial spot
Babe pushing Little Jennie into her burial spot

On a hot July weekend in 1972, families all around Waterford were excited because the circus was coming to town. The Link Shows Circus would be playing until Sunday at the Pontiac Mall. This circus included three elephants - Babe, Jimbo, and Little Jennie. But that Friday night, it would be only Jimbo and Babe under the lights of the circus tent. Their costar, Little Jennie was laid to rest that same morning.


Earlier in the week, Little Jennie had fallen ill and was refusing to eat anything. Combined efforts of Waterford and the Detroit Zoo veterinarians, it was found that Little Jennie was suffering from pneumonia. There was nothing they could do for her other than try to get her to eat and drink. Even through all of their attempts, Little Jennie’s recovery was unsuccessful, and she passed away at 10 am on Friday, July 21, 1972.


Before Little Jennie became a circus performer, she was a movie star. She starred in the 1954 film “Elephant Walk” with Elizabeth Taylor. She was one of ten elephants cast for the movie, one also happened to be her circus sister - Babe.


The Pontiac Mall, or Summit Place Mall for those that knew it, was known for allowing use of their large parking lot - to attract more customers of course - for people to set up carnivals, freak shows, and circuses. This wasn’t abnormal for this mall, however, a funeral for an elephant definitely was.


The myth has kept on keeping on due to speculation that surrounds this story. Some people claim the elephant was shot and killed out of respect due to how sick she was. But alas, she was not shot. The 60-year-old elephant died of pneumonia.


Now, you may be wondering what you would do with a nearly 4-ton deceased elephant. You wouldn’t be able to move her simply because of her size. The Waterford police were given permission from the Pontiac Mall’s owners at 3:45 pm to tell the carnival owners to go ahead and bury her where she passed away. After the carnival management got in contact with Little Jennie’s owner, it wasn’t until 4:30 pm she was put into her grave.


The story about how this happened was that a backhoe driver started pushing Little Jennie into her grave until they heard her trainer crying out to stop what they were doing. So, he did. The trainer began to unchain Little Jennie’s co-star Babe and instructed the elephant to push Little Jennie into her grave. Babe and Jennie worked together for quite a long time, and this is how trainer, Bill Waite, felt was the best way to honor her and give her a proper funeral.


The carnivals owners, and Little Jennie’s trainer, Bill Waite, weren’t happy that her body was buried that quickly, and in that spot. They wanted her to be buried somewhere more dignified, but it was not possible, and time was not in their favor.


The exact location of Jennie's gravesite is still debated but is still unknown. The Summit Place mall was demolished, but before it was, it was expanded, so it is entirely possible that it was paved over for the addition.


If you ever find yourself in that area, just know that whenever you are near the Telegraph and Pontiac Lake Rd. intersection, you are close to Little Jennie, and hopefully, you remember her story.


Also, July of this year (2023) will be the 51st anniversary of Jennie's burial.


 

DAVID:

Victorian Railway Madness

Victorian train coach
Interior of a Victorian train coach

Starting in Jan. 1865 a mental illness would emerge known as railway madness. For unknown reasons train passengers would board trains in England showing no signs of anything wrong with them but it wouldn't be until the trains started moving they would begin to act out. On one train from Carnforth to Liverpool a man would start to laugh in a deranged manner with erratic behavior. He would frighten passengers with a gun and attack windows and be out of control, but when the train came to a stop along the route he would be fine until the train would start moving again. This railway madness mostly occurred only in men during the times.


Ten years later in the 1860s and 70s more reports of this behavior were starting to emerge. One of these cases was of a Scottish aristocrat ditching his clothes before leaning out the window ranting and raving and would recover his composure as if nothing had happened on the train.


Even the media spun railway madness as one story from 1864 would read.

A Madman in a Railway Carriage,” gleefully related how a burly sailor became incensed, flailing around in an erratic manner first trying to climb out of the window, and then swearing and shouting at the other occupants of the carriage and struggling with everyone. A superhuman strength gripped this aggressor and four people were required to restrain him and he had to be bound to a seat. The conflict was not over yet though. When the sailor was released, he charged viciously at those who had restrained him and accused them of stealing from him, it took railway officials and finally the police to subdue and arrest the sailor.


When this story was published a huge key piece that was omitted more than likely to sell newspapers was that this sailor was possibly suffering from Delirium Tremens which is a rapid onset of confusion associated with alcohol withdrawal.


You might be thinking why didn’t people move to the next car to get away from these whacks-a-doodles? Unlike how modern passenger cars are made today, you can move freely from car to car. Victorian ear railway cars were separated compartments based on the horse-drawn carriages at the time. So, you would be in a small, confined space with other passengers with a running board on the outside.


They are unsure what caused this railway madness, doctors and newspapers believed that it was a combination of the sounds and movements of the train and the countryside moving by, while confined to a small space at a high rate of speed would cause sensory overload. They also speculated that the rapid modernization of the world of the time could be too much for some people and a ride on a train to set it off the madness. This belief was backed up by explorers stating they never saw this kind of behavior in men in lesser developed countries. Another crazy belief that caused railway madness was a lack of masculinity in men, and railways were causing the same type of hysteria that was only seen in women in this period.


Another possibility of this could be from previous traumatic experiences involved in railway accidents. The famous author Charles Dickens had a fear of traveling by rail after being involved in an accident. One of the sources I used would right about how his children recalled seeing him in a sweat and staring at the floor the entire ride. As rail travel became more common these cases of railway madness disappeared. Some other crazy Victorian beliefs by traveling by rail that women’s bodies weren’t designed by rail travel and their uteruses would fly out of their bodies or they could possibly melt by traveling at speeds faster than horseback.


 

SARAH:

The Valparaiso Chicken Fucker

Michael Bessigano, Chicken Fucker
Micahel Bessigano, The Valparaiso Chicken Fucker

So, there is a man, Michael Bessigano from Hobart, IN. I’m just going to go ahead and preface this by giving you a visual - imagine if you will, a far less attractive version of Trent Reznor that knows his way around a banjo if you catch my drift.


Anyways, Michael was first arrested in 1991 when he was found inside of a chicken coop with dead chickens at his feet. His second arrest came from breaking a rooster’s neck before being found in his neighbor’s goose pen attempting to rape the geese. He was taken to court and plead guilty to a misdemeanor and was charged a $500 fine.


This was not the first time for him though, he had a long history of sexually abusing and killing animals: mainly dogs, chickens, and Guinea fowl. If you don’t know what the latter is, you can Google it, but it’s not a chicken. Michael himself said that he would sleep with dead animals, and even slept with a dead raccoon as a child.


In 1993 he was found guilty of breaking into a barn, stealing a Rottweiler, and then killing it by breaking its neck. This time he served two years in prison. During the trial, Michael said that he would rather live with animals than people. But how true is that when you keep fucking killing them?


A month later he was released and then arrested in connection to an attempted theft of a German shepherd.


In 2002, Michael Bessigano served four years in prison because he took a chicken on a date to a no-tell motel, had sex with it, and then killed it. There was far more than one chicken prior to that, but I guess they weren’t special enough for an evening out at a motel. When he was in jail, he slept underneath his cot. He also painted cat stripes on his body and drew pictures referring to himself as the “Master of Cats”.


In 2009, he was arrested for downloading bestiality porn on his computer and was sentenced to 33 months in federal prison. After he served his time, he got out with 3 years of federal supervised release, but he fucked that up in 2013 when he was arrested for sexually abusing guinea fowl.


With this, he plead guilty to the theft of the bird and was then sentenced to seven and a half years as a habitual offender. In 2017, Michael begged the federal judge to release him from prison so he could undergo chemical castration. His attorney, Jennifer Soble, requested that the courts take into consideration the time Michael had already served in prison and that he would undergo therapy and monthly injections of a testosterone-reducing drug called Depo-Lupron. Soble also argued that Michael “is motivated by sexual desire, not by sadism or any desire to hurt animals.” Yet he killed them…makes a pretty weak argument in my opinion.


He was evaluated by a man named Fred Berlin, who was an associate professor at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Fred said the hormone treatment could be effective.


In a court filing, Soble wrote “To the extent that Mr. Bessigano has accidentally killed or injured animals during the course of his sexual exploits, that harm is no greater than that imposed by meat-eaters and leather-wearers nationwide.”


She went on to say “Mr. Bessigano’s history is unique; his entire history within both the federal and state prison systems is entirely animated by his sexual preferences. Those preferences are almost certainly the result of Mr. Bessigano’s remarkably traumatic childhood; unable to receive or seek affection from his parents; he sought that affection from animals.”


To end this - Jennifer Soble wrote “Mr. Bessigano poses no risk of harm whatsoever to the human members of his community.” That is probably the only thing she said that was accurate. However, that leaves the untargeted humans in his community to have to pull double duty on the farm making sure this idiot wasn’t wandering around trying to poke one of their animal's buttholes.


Also, there is a song by a band out of Valparaiso called Violated, they made a song in 2005 called Chicken Fucker Motel. Check it out, it’s quite funny.

 

DAVID:

Floriography

Floriography
Floriography, the language of flowers

It’s been depicted in television and movies that if you want the latest hot gossip about Linda next door has been sneaking around with the milkman you would hear this from your hairdresser in the 50s or 60s or maybe the salon or your local eyebrow threader. We have been given each other flowers since medieval times, but if you were a Victorian your corner florist would be the one with all the hot gossip. Since the florist would know who is saying what to who using floriography, the language of flowers. Some courtships were completely carried out by not speaking a single word using this language of flowers.


With the strict courtship rules of the time such as single women were to never address a gentleman without introduction or receive a man at home alone and must have a family member present. Your great-great-great-grandfather Willie might have asked your great, great, great Grandmother Blanche if she was down for some moving pictures and chill with some flowers.


The messages in flowers would be carefully selected by bloom and how they were sent, as well as important. If the bloom was in an upright position it was sent in positive though but anything droopy wasn’t a good sign. Some wealthy Victorians had conservatories filled with different species of flowers for sending messages and sent them by messengers. There were over 200 flowers with assigned meanings and since this episode is right after valentines day I’m going to use the most commonly purchased flowers for the holiday - being roses.


So going back to your great-great-great grandfather Willie, he might send Blanche early in their courtship. Willie might have sent a red rose to Blanche with the thorns and leaves still on the stem, with the bloom still upright. Old Willie here is telling Blanche that he desires her and is hopeful but fearful of her response. Depending on her response she would either send the rose back without the thorns and leaves, telling him he had everything to hope for. If he was to receive it was the thorns still on and upside-down Blanche’s response was more than likely he “must not fear or hope” I read this as some kind of rejection. But if she had placed it over her heart, it was a signal for love. There were even flowers to send for a more negative message you might send an enemy a bouquet of basil, bird's foot trefoil, and oleander. Which you might find beautiful with the mix of yellow, and pink with the herb garnishment. Which could be deciphered as “Beware (Oleander pinkish) of my revenge (Birds foot yellow) I hate you(basil).”


Some of the other messages you can send with flowers:


Forget-me-not (blue flower) would be sent to say, true love.

Hazel would be sent to say Let us bury the hatchet.

Aspen trees meant sorrow.

Geranium (purple) lost hope.

Ivy would be sent for friendship.

Pea (unsure if the dark purple flower or the pea itself) would be a little spicier way of saying meet me by moonlight.

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