Alzheimers-skull-brain-puzzle-600

History wiped – and we’re not talking computer failure

Imagine you’re engaged, about to marry that man or woman who’s tripped your trigger for too long without an I-do, when everything is suddenly gone. Memories of shared moments, knowledge of that familiar face, and any link to the “you” you used to be – vanished.

Such a fate awaited bride-to-be Fran Geall from Fallmouth, Cornwall.

Without warning, Geall began convulsing in bed one morning in March. Something was definitely wrong. Thankfully, fiancé Stacey Tonkins, age 29, thought to call an ambulance. Geall was treated by way of induced coma so doctors could root the cause of her decline.

On top of the world, 25-year-old Geall – who holds an undergraduate degree in marine biology and a masters in sustainable agriculture – “was struck down with the auto-immune condition encephalitis, which wiped all recollection of her £50,000 (approx. $66,000) five-year university education,” Fox News reports.

And that’s not all her acutely swollen brain shed. The poor woman doesn’t remember herself. Her sense of humor. Her likes and dislikes. Her favorite foods, poem, beaches – wiped. She doesn’t remember her own family or fiancé.

“With people I’m told I’ve known for years,” Geall says, “it can be like meeting them for the first time, which is really sad. I also feel like I’m meeting myself again, because I have absolutely no idea who I was before all this was.”

Check out these famous amnesia cases:

Gaell is reportedly still thirsty for knowledge and keen to recoup all she’s lost in the academic arena. Thanks to the support of her parents, Gaell and Tonkins are rebuilding their personal lives, too … one memory at a time.



Watch out for giant birds

Watch out for giant birds

History is revealing – old bones do tell tales

Does the thought of death make you squeamish? How about moving toward the great beyond without benefit of pain meds or a soft bed? How about being lifted, kicking and screaming, toward the great beyond, being gnawed bit by bit until the deed is done?

If so, don’t read about this recent discovery about our prehistoric ancestors. Well, not an ancestor for certain, as the poor child was eaten by a giant bird. The jury is out as to whether the feathered monster fed on the child after death, or merely dined and dashed, taking a taste of hand and leaving the rest. History of the unfortunate youth was nearly skipped over all together when the remains were discovered in a cache of bird bones – giant birds in Poland’s Ciemna Caves.

“The two tiny phalanges, or digital bones of the hand, are about 1 centimeter long,” according to CNN, “belonged to a Neanderthal child who was between 5 and 7 years old. The researchers (anthropologists, Anita Szczepanek from Jagiellonian University in Krakow and Erik Trinkaus from Washington University in St. Louis) have determined that the bones are 115,000 years old.”

Can’t imagine that? Take a peek at the sixties classic “One Million Years B.C.“. with Rachel Welch:

The marked porousness of the bones led researchers to conclude the remains passed through the bowels of whatever species of bird ate the child. But it could be that the bird met its own gory end, as its remains were discovered nine feet under at a trove rife with Neanderthal tools.

“This is the first such known example from the Ice Age,” said Pawel Valde-Nowak, team researcher and professor at Jagiellonian University’s Institute of Archeology, said of the phenomenon.

But likely it won’t be the last, if digging proceeds beyond the nine-foot mark currently underway at Ciemna.



vampire

History tells some strange tales

Are vampires real?

Maybe not. Of course not. But that doesn’t keep people from thinking they are.

And that was long before modern-day Isabella Swann first took note of the brooding pasty-faced Edward Cullen, vampire extraordinaire, in Stephenie Meyer’s money-maker “Twilight Saga.” We’re not talking fashion here (which is what Meyer took advantage of), resurrecting a trope of forbidden love to mesmerize young girls and their bored moms now known as Twihards.

Check out the scary video below that shows you how deep this fetish can go:

But the peoples of fifth-century Rome weren’t fans of vampires. They weren’t dreaming about being vamped, bitten and transformed to the legion of the supposedly undead. These ancient Romans were frightened of vampires, chilled to the blood even of the child-variety bloodsucker they feared would rise from the dead to prey upon the living.

That’s what seems to be the case with regard to the “Vampire of Lugnaro.”

Found beneath a confining layer of two oversized roof tiles, the remains of a ten-year-old child came complete with ritual markers – chiefly, a stone inserted into the deceased’s mouth. Teeth marks were found on the stone, an indication its placement was intentional.

But what about the death?

Archeologists attribute the child’s passing to “a deadly malaria outbreak (that) swept across central Italy.” They believe the cemetery itself was “set aside specifically for the babies and young children who would have been most vulnerable to the disease.”

Oddly enough, the children’s cemetery – a rare site for such a find – also shows “evidence of witchcraft,” according to the UK’s Independent, “including toad bones, raven talons and bronze cauldrons.”

Hard to believe, and yet the facts are what they are. This was no joke and absolutely serious business.

“Similar burials have been documented from Venice to Northamptonshire, and along with dismembering bodies and forcing stakes through the heart are thought to be methods of preventing these ‘vampires’ from returning to haunt the living.”

The ancient Romans weren’t too keen on joining the ranks of the undead. One has to wonder why their modern-day counterparts are so fascinated with the fantasy.

Maybe someday in the future, some savvy historian will figure that out.

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