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Dale M. Brumfield

In 1951, a little boy was found dead in Goochland County, Virginia. And that was just the beginning of this tragedy that continues today

If you have any information about this case, please email Dale Brumfield at

Today, his identity and death remain shrouded in secrecy.

On that cloudy and chilly March morning, Virginia highway employees were cleaning litter…

In 1971 at age 12, my love of movies triggered an obsession with the 1933 film “King Kong.”

This became my quest.


Quick, sleazy, & cheap: a former Virginia death row inmate lied and scammed his way to the top of the chess world

Claude Bloodgood, 2000

“I was never a terror,” he wheezed of his days on death row at the former Virginia State Penitentiary, from 1969 to 1972. “Most of us knew the political climate was on our side in [19]72 … I haven’t let myself waste away.”

But he was sometimes a terror. He killed…

Part 2 of 3: 1900–1936

The hanging of Rainey Bethia in Owensboro, Kentucky, August, 1936. It was the last public execution in America. AP File photo.

Tom Horn, Nov. 20, 1903

They set up a fake interview process for a fictitious Montana cattle detective job, and while it is unknown exactly how many interviews they conducted, Tom Horn showed up, seemingly inebriated…

Part 1 of 3: 1642–1899

With the Commonwealth of Virginia on the cusp of abolishing the death penalty, and with similar legislation being introduced at the federal level, it’s time to re-visit some of the more strange and horrific executions throughout America’s history.

Thomas Granger, September 8, 1642

Is the song “Hokey-Pokey” really a parody of the Catholic Latin Mass?

Americans doing the Hokey-Pokey on the beach in Australia, 1953. Wikimedia Commons.

“You put your right hand in,

You put your right hand out.

You put your right hand in,

And you shake it all about.

You do the Hokey-Pokey and you turn yourself around,

That’s what it’s all about.”

Repeat for the left hand, right leg, left leg, head, and even backside.


The Absolutely Horrifying Story Behind Kuru Laughing Sickness

Kuru victims, early 1960s.

Women and children primarily were presenting symptoms that he at first attributed to Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease, which included body tremors, weakness, and slurred speech. But there were additional symptoms that followed, including strange, uncontrolled laughing. And like Creutzfeldt–Jakob, it was always fatal.

Zigas was a native Estonian who after a months-long course at the Australian School of Pacific Administration went to Papua New Guinea in 1950 to…

An anti-masturbation pamphlet became an international bestseller — maybe for unintended reasons

1756 edition.

But thanks to a 12-page pamphlet titled “Onania” that appeared one day in London around 1712, the act of self-pleasuring suddenly became…

First successful ovarian surgery was potentially fatal to both patient and doctor

18th-century medical school dissecting room.

“When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in confederacy against him.”

-Jonathon Swift, “Thoughts on Various Subjects, Moral and Diverting,” 1706

Testicle theft a real problem in 1922 Chicago

Joseph Wozniak, America’s first victim of live organ harvesting.

Then, he discovered that…

Dale M. Brumfield

Anti-death penalty advocate, cultural archaeologist, “American Grotesk” historyteller and author of 11 books. More at

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