The Man who ate his lover

Armin Meiwes, the German cannibal

Armin Meiwes, the German cannibal

  • At a young age, the German Armin Meiwes lived alone with his demanding mother and therefore created a imaginary littlebrother called Frank. He also imagined dismembering and eating other children so they could “be within him forever”.
  • When Meiwes controlling mother died, it threw him completely off balance.
  • After Meiwes had joined cannibal news groups, he renovated his old house and built a secret room specially designed for slaugher.
  • In March 2001, Meiwis posted an advertisement stating he was searching a “well-built 18 – 30-year old to be slaughtered and then consumed”. The ad was answered by the 42-year old computer engineer Bernd Jürgen Brandes.
Bernd Jürgen Brandes

Bernd Jürgen Brandes

  • When Brandes broke up with his girlfriend he decided to invent himself by working out excessively and shaving his head.
  • After visiting male prostitutes to be whipped and with the unfulfilled wish of getting his penis cut off, Brandes joined the same cannibal news groups as Meiwes and they connected.
  • When the to meet up at Meiwes house, Meiwes has prepared with a videocamera to film as Meiwes begin to cut Brandes penis off for them both to eat.
  • Brandes is still alive after bleeding for 3 hours. Meiwes decides to finish him off with a knife stab to Brandes throat.
  • Meiwes buried Brandes skin and innards in his garden, but kept some meat in his freezer which he made a meal of the next day. To the police he later told it tasted like pork.
  • People began to search for Brandes, but after weeks without a result – the case was closed.
  • The 10th December 2002, Meiwes was apprehended by the police and charged for “glorification of violence”.
  • Later, the police found the remains in Meiwes garden and the 10kg of meat in his freezer. When the police also found the video tape Meiwes tried to hide, they determined that what killed Brandes wasn’t the mutilation buth the stab to the throat, and therefore Meiwes was charged for murder.
  • In January 2004, the court decided that Brandes did approve to his own slaughter and they accepted Meiwes claim that the killing was not sexually motivated. However, Meiwes was convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to eight and a half year in prison.
  • The German industrial band Rammstein’s song ”Mein teil” is inspired by this story.
  • A movie based on Meiwes case called ”Rothenburg” was banned in Germany because a complaint from Meiwes. Meiwe’s rights as an individual outweighed artistic freedom as he should not become the object of a horror film.

Sources and further reading:

BBC news article
Channel 4:s Bodyshock episode: The man who ate his lover

Videos:

The Woman with the huge leg

Vicki Borken, her daughter and her huge leg

Vicki Borken, her daughter and her huge leg

  • Vicki Borken is a 45-year old woman from Miami, U.S.A. who has rare type of the condition called “Lymphedema”, which has made her left leg grow to a massive size.
  • Vicki’s foot and leg started to grow abnormally when she was 2 years old, now it is 102 cm around and weighs 39 kg. Vicki’s case of Lymphedema is one of the largest in the U.S.
  • Lymphedema is swelling of the tissue. Lymphedema is caused by a faulty lymphatic system. The lymphatic system collects and filters the tissue fluid of the body, helping fight infections. Lymphedema causes the fluids to be kept localized at one area, causing it to swell.
  • Vicki’s swelling on her leg has an infection that risks spreading to her whole body, poisoning her blood.
  • Vicki fears her condition will be genetically inherited by her 8 year old daughter, something that’s possible.
  • Vicki things her swelling began after she had a dresser falling on her leg when she was young.
  • Each morning, Vicki has to wash and dress her leg – a task which takes 3 hours.
  • Vicki’s daughter helps Vicki with the protecting bandaging of her leg, a job she has been doing every morning since she was 3 years old.
  • There are different ways of treating lymphedema. One is a special type of massage to encourage the lymphatic system to work as it should. Another one is a method which is performed by the Swedish surgeon Dr. Håkan Brorson, where fat is drained from the bodypart by liposuction.

Sources and further reading:

The Vicki Borken Story
Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery
My Shocking Story: episode information

The Man with no face

Jose Mestre - The Man with no face

Jose Mestre - The Man with no face

  • Jose Mestre from Portugal has a gigantic life threatening tumor covering his face.
  • Jose Mestre was born in 1957 in Lisabon, Portugal. He was born with a birthmark on his face, and at the age of 14, it began to swell.
  • Since Jose was a teenager, the tumor has been growing, covering his lips and one of his eyes. The tumor is now 33 cm long and weighs around 3 kg.
Jose Mestre as a teenager

Jose Mestre as a teenager

  • The growth is a condition called a vascular malformation –a collection of blood vessels that have expanded.
  • If it wasn’t for all the blood and its vessels in the growth, Jose said he would cut it all off.
  • Jose’s mouth has become a part of his tumor, causing his teeth to breaking and twisting.
  • In 2008, at the age of 51, Jose finally got the courage to try a surgical procedure. If his tumor is not removed, he is in a great risk to be suffocated by it.
  • Jose went to London with his sister and his niece to be observed and hopefully – relieved from his tumor.
  • At a surgery, there is a great risk because all of the potential blood loss when trying to remove the tumor. Another problem is that Jose is a Jehovah’s witness and can’t accept the procedure’s necessary blood transfusion.
  • After a surgical procedure, Jose would be left with a raw face which would need reconstruction. The problem with this is that Jose wouldn’t be able to show facial expressions.

Sources and further reading:

The Telegraph-article
My Shocking Story: episode information

Cat man

Dennis Avner: Cat man or Stalking cat

Dennis Avner: Cat man or Stalking cat

  • Dennis Avner is an American born in 1958. He is more known under the name of ”Cat man” or by his native american name; ”stalking cat”.
  • Cat man is a descendant from the American indians Lakota and Huron . He was inspired to achieve his look by a native chief to ”follow the ways of the tiger”.
  • Cat man has spent large sums of money to surgically modify his body to make him look like a tiger.
  • Cat man has gone through 14 surgical procedures, such as: hairline modification, implants in the face, filing and capping of his teeth, surgically pointing of the ars, silicone injection in the lips, cheeks, chin and a split upper lip.
Cat man (Dennis Avner) in profile

Cat man (Dennis Avner) in profile

  • Cat man also has a lot of piercings, tattoos and cat-like contactlenses to complete his look.
  • Cat man holds the Guinness World Record for ”most permanent transformations to look like an animal”
  • Cat man enjoys climbing trees and eating raw meat – just like a real tiger. But he has to work in office and make TV appearances to bring in money – because he is still a hunan with human needs.
  • Cat man is a former navy sonar technician and is currently a computer programmer. He is now somewhat of a celebrity with appearences on ”Ripley’s believe it or not!”, ”Larry King Live” and ”Kerrang! radio”.

Sources and further reading:

Daily Mail-article
Stalking Cat’s official website

Giant birdeating spiders

A Goliath Birdeater on a human hand

A Goliath Birdeater on a human hand

  • Goliath birdeater or ”Theraphosa blondi” in latin is the world’s largest spider.
  • The spider is found in wet swamps and around rainforestes in countries such as Brazil, Guyana and Venezuela.
  • A Goliath Birdeater can grow to almost a foot across (almost the size of a dinner plate) and with fangs about an inch long.
  • Despite its threatening size, goliath birdeater is pretty harmless to humans – but they do tend to bite humans when threatened.
  • Their venom’s effect on humans causes swelling and some pain for a couple of hours.
  • Goliath birdeater has the abillity to flick urticating hairs from its body at other creatures it sees as a threat. These hairs can embed themselves in to other animal’s skin or eyes. The hairs can result in painful rashes and is said to feel like sharp shards of fiberglass.
  • Goliath birdeater has an unusual abillity for a spider and that is making noise. When thretened, it rubs the hairs on the legs together causing a hissing noise called ”strudulation” which can be heard up to 15 feet (4.5 m) away.
  • Goliath birdeater got its name because it’s known to take young birds from their nests to eat. The also eat snakes, insects, frogs, lizards and bats.
  • A certain Amerinindian tribe sees the goliath birdeater as a delicacy and carefully hunts it.
A mammoth spider (Golden silk orb-weaver) eating a finch

A mammoth spider (Golden silk orb-weaver) eating a finch

  • In October 2008, some shocking photos began circulating the web. A mammoth spider (Golden silk orb-weaver) was caught on camera eating a bird in a backyard in Cairns, Australia.
  • According to Joel Shakespeare, head spider keeper at NSW’s Australian Reptile Park, it’s unusual to see a mammoth sider eating a bird. They normally prey on insects.
  • It’s not unusual for the Golden silk orb-weaver to grow to the size of a human hand, but this one was even larger.
  • The bird which is a Chestnut-breasted Munia or a ”Bully Bird”, is likely to have flown into the spider’s web and got caught. The web acts as a barbed wire, causing the prey to get more tangled up the more it struggles.
  • A Bully bird grows to 10 – 10.5 cm and got its nickname from its tendency to be aggressive and bully other birds.
  • The mammoth spider doesn’t eat the whole bird, but instead it uses its venom to break down the bird, creating a package of food.

Sources and further reading:

Blue Planet Biomes
Extreme Science-article: Biggest spider
Cairns-article: Spider eats bird

Videos:

Heart Attack Grill

A customer pushed in a wheelchair by a nurse-waitress at Heart Attack Grill

A customer pushed in a wheelchair by a nurse-waitress at Heart Attack Grill

  • The Heart Attack Grill is a hamburger restaurant in Chandler, Arizona in USA with a controversial business idea.
  • Heart Attack Grill was founded in 2005 by Jon Basso who works in the restaurant and appears publically dressed up as a doctor and under the name Dr. Jon.
  • Heart Attack Grill’s business idea is to serve high-calorie hamburgers and other things generally considered bad for your health. * Their slogan is ”Taste worth dying for”.
  • At Heart Attack Grill you can get an 8000 calorie burger for 10$ USD. 8000 calories is more than double the recommended daily intake for an adult male.
  • Their hamburgers have the controversial names named after surgical heart procedures: Single, Double, Triple and Quadruple-bypass. The Quadruple Bypass has as it suggests four hamburger-meats between the hamburger buns which are cooked in lard.
The Quadruple Bypass Burger

The Quadruple Bypass Burger

  • In The Quadruple Bypass Burger, there are four half pound slices of meat, almost a whole tomato, half an onion and eight slices of cheese.
  • They also serve other non-healthy things such as ”Flatliner fries” cooked in pure lard, unfiltered cigarettes, beer and liquor, jolt cola and mexican coke made with real sugar.
  • At Heart Attack Grill, the customers are treated as ”patients”. A tag is wrapped around the customers hand with his or her’s ”perscription” (order) written on it. And a man dressed up as a doctor listens to the customers with a stethoscope.
  • The Waitresses at Heart Attack Grill is dressed like naughty nurses which the restaurant has recieved a lot of criticism for. * The Arizona Board of Nursing accused The Heart Attack Grill of violating state law. Only a person who holds a valid and current license to practice professional nursing may use the title nurse.
  • If a customer orders a Triple- or Quadruple-bypass they recieve a free wheelchair ride from the restaurant to their vehicle by one of the nurses.
  • At Heart Attack Grill, anyone who weighs over 350 pounds (158,8 kg) can eat as much as they want for free.

Sources and further reading:

Heart Attack Grill’s Official Website

The Man with the constant shedding skin

Ryan González as a child

Ryan González as a child

  • Ryan Gonzáles is an American who was born in San Diego with a rare condition called Harlequin ichthyosis.
  • Harlequin Ichtyosis caused Ryan to have deep red cracks in his skin and his eyes turned inside out.
  • One in 500 000 babies is born with this condition which is also known as Harlequin fetus. It’s almost always fatal because of the skin’s difficulty to hold water and its lack of protecting from bacterias or diseases.
  • Ryan’s body produces too many skincells and his skin is not shedded properly – it’s sheds seven to ten times faster than normal leading to a hard, armour-like skin in red.
  • Because it’s such a rare condition, not many doctors know how to properly treat it. However, Ryan was successfully treated with an acnecream called Accutane. It functions like a large dose of Vitamine A, allowing his skin to shed properly.
  • With a normal caloric intake, Ryan was still starving as a baby because of his body was producing new skincells at an extremely fast rate.
  • Ryan started to grow when he got a high calory, high protein food suppleant which he now receivs while asleep.
  • Ryan needs to consume 7500 calories a day to keep up with his fast shedding of the skin.
Ryan González grown up

Ryan González grown up

  • Ryan is now 22 years old and competes in triathlon despite his difficult condition which also has left him with an impairment in his hearing and eyesight.

Sources and further reading:

10News article
Discovery Channel Health’s ”Medical Incredible”.

The World’s smallest bodybuilder

Aditya "Romeo" Dev, world's smallest bodybuilder

Aditya "Romeo" Dev, world's smallest bodybuilder

  • Aditya Dev is a 19 year old man from India who is 2’9″ (84 cm) tall and weighs 9 kgs but still is an active bodybuilder.
  • Aditya was born in 1988 with a fifth of the size of a regular baby, weighing only 680g.
  • Aditya was born with a rare form of dwarfism called ”primordial dwarfism”, that results in a smaller body size in all stages of life beginning from before birth.
  • Romeo has been considered both a blessing as well as a curse within his community in India.
  • When he grew a little bit older, he became a big fan of the Indian popstar Jazzy B and started to dance like him.
  • Aditya took his artistname from his idol Jazzy B’s song ”Romeo”.
  • He later started working out with a personal trainer and he can lift 1.5 kg dumbells.
  • India’s version of the Guinnes book of World Records; ”The Limca Book of Records” recognized Romeo as the world’s smallest bodybuilder.
  • Unlike many other little people, Romeo is well portioned.
  • In summer 2008, Aditya was diagnosed with a number of serious aneurysms (baloon-like bulge of a blood vessel) in his brain. If left untreated, Aditya may suffer a stroke and die.
  • Aditya’s poor family are trying to raise the approximately 7500 USD required for his advanced brain surgery. People can donate money via his official website.

Sources and further reading:

Aditya ”Romeo” Dev’s Official Website
Daily Mail news article

Videos:

The Boy who could see without eyes

Ben Underwood: The Boy who could see without eyes

Ben Underwood: The Boy who could see without eyes

  • Ben Underwood from USA was born as a healthy boy in 1992, but at the age of two, Ben developed a type of cancer in his eyes called retinal cancer or Retinoblastoma.
  • At the age of three, his eyes was forced to be removed because of the risk of the cancer spreading by the optical nerve to the brain.
  • Ben’s family refused to let him be held back because of the lack of eyes, his mom told him he could see by touching or hearing.
  • Instead of becoming completely blind, he started to ”see” things by listening to the sounds around him. He began hearing the difference between buildings and alleys.
  • At the age of five, Ben discovered something called ”Ecolocation”. He was able to detect the location of objects by making clicking noises with his tongue.
  • He could ride a bicycle, play basket, go inlining and writes text with the help of a braille-writer and text to audio-software.
  • Ben refused to use a dog or a cane as he didn’t considered himself blind or handicapped. * Ben’s ears has normal hearing, despite having a navigating-technique similiar to that of dolphins, bats or even sonar.
  • Daniel Keesh is a mobility trainer who wanted Ben to realise the dangers of not using a cane as well. Daniel is also blind and has developed a similar clicking-system like Ben, but his also involves the use of a cane.
  • Ben passed away on January 19th 2009, at the age of 16 because of the same cancer that took his sight.

Sources and further reading:

Ben Underwood Foundation

Videos:

Documentary: Extraordinary People: The boy who sees without eyes @ Youtube:

The Treeman

Dede Koswara, tree man

Dede Koswara, tree man

  • Dede Koswara from Jakarta, Indonesia is a 36 year old man with a rare medical condition with symptoms making parts of his body looking like a tree.
  • Dede, also known as Tree man has warts all over his body and his limbs look like roots growing from the skin.
  • It grows 5mm each month and has recently grown around his face.
  • Dede got his first wart when he was 15 and cut his knee in an acciedent. The wart deveoloped on his lower leg and then spread uncontrollaby.
  • He used to work with construction and fishing, but at age 20 he could no longer make use of his hands.
  • The condition’s name in latin is ”Epidermodysplasia verruciformis”.
  • Warts are a tumor caused by a virus that lies resting inside the body.
  • Doctors believe Dede got his condition because of him having The Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) and a weak immune system.
  • Local doctors tried to remove some of his warts, by the warts just grew back later at an even faster rate.
Dede Koswara (tree man) after his treatment

Dede Koswara (tree man) after his treatment

  • Each wart has its own blodsupply and it’s hard to control the bleeding when doctor wants to remove the warts
  • Dede is unable to fight the warts as his immunesystem is very bad
  • Surgical treatment is not the option, but instead medical
  • Dede is member of a group called ”The Clan” which is a group of him and four other people with other rare medical conditions.
  • The Clan performs at the circus in the city to earn money. The others are called ”Bubble man”, ”The Lady”, ”Elephant man” and ”Snake man”. The performances is the only choice for Dede to earn money for his family.
  • After a sucessful operation in March 2008, Dede was able to feed himself and even operate a phone for the first time in many years. The doctors removed around 4 lbs (2 kg) of warty horns from his limbs. Now the mission is for the doctors to find a way of not letting the warts to grow back.
  • Although this is a very rare condition, there is another found case: 38 year old Ion Toader, a man from Romania who also got the condition when he was a teenager.

Sources and further information:

The Sun-article about Dede Koswara
Discovery Channel: My Shocking Story information
Telegraph-article about Dede regaining use of his hands

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