10 Times Directors Went Too Far On Set

Making movies is an art form that takes a ruthless and creative mind to oversee. To make sure it all comes together correctly for an enjoyable experience for the audience is left up to one position on set. The director controls all the film’s artistic and dramatic aspects. This is the person who visualizes the script while leading the crew and talent in the fulfillment of that vision. But while most of them keep things under control, for the most part, certain individuals have been known to have gone too far on set.

Working under a difficult boss is a misfortune most of us have endured at some point in our lives. Difficult directors are a dime a dozen, and the things they do to get their artistic visions across can be mind-boggling. Sometimes, these moviemakers believe it is necessary to put the picture’s stars way outside their comfort zone, in more ways than one, in the pursuit of realism. Risking actors’ lives, harassing performers, and even a few deaths have been the result of a filmmaker’s insane ambition. Out of Hollywood’s long history, here is a list of ten times filmmakers definitely crossed the line.

10 Josh Trank
Fantastic Four (2015)

Fans were very excited to see the highly anticipated Fantastic Four reboot. The initial teaser looked like a Chris Nolan film, which had people thinking it could be as good as 2005’s Batman Begins and start an epic new take on the franchise. The film’s director, Josh Trank, coming off the hit movie Chronicle, was poised for a sophomore success with a solid cast and big studio behind him. Unfortunately, the world would soon find out that there was really nothing fantastic about Trank being in the director’s chair for this one.[1]

When the film’s start date began approaching, Trank began to make many changes to the movie that started to worry the studio. After these creative difference, Trank upped the ante on his odd behavior by having one of cinematic history’s greatest temper tantrums on the production. This was followed up with the filmmaker exhibiting abusive behavior toward the cast and crew. He was even reported to have clashed with actor Miles Teller on set, which almost resulted in a fistfight. The director then took his anger off set and did $100,000 worth of damage to the residence he was staying at during filming.

While most of the filmmakers on this list went on to make a successful movie after their troubles, that is not the case for Trank. Fantastic Four was both a critical and financial failure that pretty much killed the franchise for now.

9 Francis Ford Coppola
Bram Stoker’s Dracula

Francis Ford Coppola is notorious for being a ruthless filmmaker. Some would say he is difficult to work with; others just say he doesn’t let people push him around. One thing is for sure: The guy knows what he is doing behind the camera. This is the person who made The Godfather, a project from which he was nearly fired. So it is safe to say that if you are an actor, you know what you are getting into if you sign up for one of his pictures. He will go to whatever lengths necessary to get realism from his actors. And while this does translate to a great film with amazing performances, some of the tactics taken to achieve this are not pretty.

Winona Ryder, who starred in Coppola’s Dracula film, claimed she was subject to some serious verbal abuse in order to make her cry and have a nervous breakdown during a scene. Ryder recounted the grim tale to E! News about how actor Keanu Reeves and Coppola shouted terrible things to her, including calling the actress a whore.[2] After more than a dozen takes, Ryder was understandably drained and could not do it anymore. But by then, Coppola’s over-the-top tactics had worked, and he had gotten what he wanted, leaving poor Ryder wrecked over the whole thing. Surely, there has to be a better way to get a performance out of an actor that doesn’t lead to extreme emotional distress.

8 David O. Russell
American Hustle

Being a director means you need to take charge and make sure everyone knows who is the boss. Some filmmakers are more demanding than others because, let’s face it, a lot of money is often involved, and many complex things have to get done. So there is always a fine line to walk when determining how to manage the workflow on set. But certain individuals become so tyrannical during production that it begins to wear on the people around them, some more so than others, case in point being director David O. Russell on the film American Hustle with an incident involving actress Amy Adams.

Before American Hustle, Adams had previously collaborated with Russell on his 2010 film The Fighter, for which she would earn her third Oscar nomination. Her next encounter with Russell would be later described as horrendous. The actress did a spread in GQ in 2016, in which she revealed that the infamous director made her cry on set.[3] There were days where the actress felt so devastated that it came home with her and did not sit well. It was also revealed in a hacked Sony e-mail that Adams was so abused one day that co-star Christian Bale had to step in and intervene. The actress claimed that she does not think Russell’s methods are worth the box office and awards buzz. I think we all agree that as much as we love movies, life is more important, so no one’s life should suffer for the final cut.

7 David O. Russell
Three Kings

Unfortunately, David O. Russell’s madness on set did not start with American Hustle but actually spawned back in the 1990s on the set of Three Kings. His bad reputation would continue to spiral with the film about American soldiers attempting to steal Saddam’s gold. The director completely lost his composure and proceeded to take out his frustrations on pretty much everyone on the set. This led to several members of the production being humiliated and a now-infamous altercation with actor George Clooney.

Claims from the set of Three Kings are not good and further illustrate the director’s poor behavior when at the helm of a film. Russell made a script supervisor cry and physically pushed an extra. He then went on to scream at a cameraman, leaving him extremely embarrassed in front of the entire production. When Clooney attempted to stop the director from these actions, it immediately resulted in the two having a physical altercation on set.[4] Clooney vowed never to work with Russell again, and the director continued making movies, including American Hustle, where he did his best impression of the guy who directed Three Kings. It’s sad when the real villain of the movie is the guy calling, “Action!”

6 Rupert Sanders
Snow White And The Huntsman

Most times when a director pushes the limits of his position, he can hurt many people on set. But by giving in to reckless temptation, he can end up doing damage to those he loves. A director hooking up with an actress is nothing new in Hollywood. But if the actress is dating a popular actor, and the director has a wife and kids, things can get pretty messy. While most of the naughty stuff happened off set, it’s pretty obvious where the sparks started to fly on this one. The incident in question is, of course, 41-year-old director Rupert Sanders and his little fling in 2012 with 22-year-old actress Kristen Stewart during the production of Snow White and The Huntsman.[5]

The actress was known to show up early every day on set, and a slew of photos of the two having a makeup marathon began to spread once they surfaced online. This prompted a large distraction for the film as well for both parties involved. Stewart’s boyfriend, Robert Pattinson, was devastated by the actress’s actions. The couple had a large following due to their Twilight fame, and some serious fan backlash began over this situation. The director’s wife has since divorced him, and Sanders will always have this looming over his career. All this unnecessary stress for a few moments of impulse. This is a perfect example of why filmmakers should keep things professional on set and never go too far with anybody in any way.

5 Vincent Gallo
The Brown Bunny

Everyone loves when a director makes a film, and it feels unbelievably real, staying with the viewer long after the credits roll. You can easily escape into the world they have built and become infatuated with the story being told. When you have a great project, actors and actresses will sometimes do their own stunts or even do a nude scene if it means getting the feeling of authenticity to the audiences. Director Vincent Gallo attempted to take his indie film The Brown Bunny to the next level in terms of realism, and the critics at the film’s premiere were astonished that the director would go that far, allegedly in the name of art.

Actress Chloe Sevigny starred alongside Gallo in The Brown Bunny, and one point in the film has the two being very intimate. Gallo wanted to extract as much realism as he could for the scene so that the audience could really resonate with this intimate moment. So the director had Sevigny actually perform fellatio on him during the shot. This had the critics at Cannes in an uproar, and the film received a very negative response. Actress Cheryl Tiegs wishes Gallo did not include the scene. Her co-star, Sevigny, believes the scene is beautiful and not gratuitous.[6] The Brown Bunny star has bounced back from the infamous scene and has gone on to win a Golden Globe for her work on HBO’s Big love. Gallo, however, has not directed a feature-length film since 2010, according to his Internet Movie Database page.

4 Alfred Hitchcock
The Birds, Marnie

The 1960s were a very different time in Hollywood. People got away with things they’d be strung out to dry for in today’s society. During that time, there were many great names of cinema, but none could really touch the majesty that was Alfred Hitchcock. The iconic filmmaker is seen as a legend with his classic hits Psycho, Strangers on a Train, and Dial M For Murder. But just like his pictures, there was a dark side to the story of Hitchcock. Marnie and The Birds were supposed to be dark tales on screen, but one sinister plot was unraveling behind the scenes with Hitchcock and actress Tippi Hedren.

Hedren has stated that Hitchcock was very inappropriate, giving uncomfortable hugs to the actress and incessantly groping her.[7] He even sent her a bag of bread with a card that read “Eat me.” She stated that she went to Alma Reville, the filmmaker’s wife, to get him to stop. Hedren claims Reville just walked away. Hitchcock would also tell her about silly dreams of the two running away together. This sounds like the lunacy of one of Hitch’s psychotic characters and is easily a prime example of when a director crosses the line. Men could get away with all kinds of harassment back in those days, especially on a film set, something that has recently been brought into the spotlight and will hopefully begin to cease.

3 Bernardo Bertolucci
Last Tango In Paris

Last Tango in Paris is known for having one of the most infamous rape scenes in film history. The film starred Marlon Brando, who was 48 years old at the time, and Maria Schnieder, who was only 19. The scene entailed Brando’s character using a stick of butter as a lubricant before forcing himself on Schneider’s character. The director, Bernardo Bertolucci, stated in a 2013 interview that he wanted her to act humiliated and wanted her reaction to look authentic. He then dropped the bomb that he never told Schneider about the scene, which means she never consented to the sexual act. So what this boils down to is that the rape scene in Last Tango in Paris is an actual rape.

This backed up claims from Schnieder when she sat down for an interview in 2007, during which she said she felt raped after the scene by both Brando and Bertolucci, who both went on receive award nominations and prestige for their roles in the film.[8] She then went on to reveal that the scene led her on a path of self-destruction involving drug abuse and suicide attempts. Poor Schnieder was unwillingly subjected to what can only be described as a horrific act that left the actress traumatized, all for a few minutes of realism on screen. There is no question that Bertolucci went way too far on this one.

2 Quentin Tarantino
Kill Bill: Volume 2

Quentin Tarantino is no stranger to controversy, and his films have always been a bit too extreme for the average moviegoer. The director has a massive following, and fans have spent years enjoying his titles with a cult-like obsession. To get that type of following, Tarantino is very demanding of his actors, pushing them to their limits to bring his unique characters to life. But these expectations led to the infamous director making a very bad call that could have cost actress Uma Thurman her life while filming a scene in Kill Bill: Volume 2. It was revealed by the film’s stunt coordinator that Thurman was not informed of any stunt happening that day, and the setup was not up to protocol, resulting in an almost fatal car crash.

It is crazy to think that Tarantino would put one of his most valuable players as well as his muse in such danger, but it really went down, and it inevitably led to a malicious cover-up. Thurman does believe that Tarantino is remorseful about the whole thing but firmly stands by her statement that the negligence was to the point of criminality.[9] The fact that several safety parameters were not met wasn’t the malicious act; the cover-up that followed was and left a sour taste in the mouths of everyone involved in the incident. The accident had the actress feeling broken, leaving her with a concussion and serious damage to her knees. If Uma hadn’t been so lucky, there could have been another death by decapitation within the Kill Bill saga.

1 John Landis
Twilight Zone: The Movie

Twilight Zone: The Movie was released in the summer of 1983. The film, based on the hit TV series, had four directors, including John Landis, who helmed classics such as Animal House, Trading Places, and Blues Brothers. His venture into the infamous zone ended in tragedy on the last day of production, as the set of the sci-fi horror film suffered a helicopter crash that ended the lives of two children and the chapter’s lead actor. The scene took place during the Vietnam War, where a helicopter chased the two Vietnamese children. The pilot ended up losing control as a result of an explosion going off, leading to the three deaths. Landis and three other crew members were charged with involuntary manslaughter.

This was the first time in history that events during the making of a movie resulted in a director receiving a criminal charge.[10] Landis had cut corners by not attaining the proper permits for the child actors to work, as well as paying them under the table, and did not get the special waiver for the children to work in a scene with explosives. He also committed several labor violations connected with several others involved in the incident. This all lead to a preventable tragedy.

After a lengthy trial, Landis and the others were acquitted and eventually settled civil disputes with the victim’s families for undisclosed amounts. Landis was at the helm, so the responsibility lay with him in making sure his actors and crew are safe at all times. His reckless actions resulted in two children not going home to their parents and actress Jennifer Jason Leigh losing her father Vic Morrow, all for, of all things, a lousy Twilight Zone movie. This is one moment in the franchise’s history with an ending that is more heart-wrenching than bizarre. I think we can all agree that no movie is worth losing life over.

If you know of any other times filmmakers crossed the line and went too far behind the scenes, please let us know in the comments below.

D.J. Rivera is an award-winning writer, director, and producer with several of his titles available on Amazon Prime Video. When he’s not making movies, this go-getter lends his talents to several popular outlets, writing about everything that matters in the entertainment industry and producing solid content for his distinguished client base.
Website: ProducedByDJR.com
Instagram: @ProducedbYDJR
Twitter: @ProducedByDJR
Amazon Prime Films: https://amzn.to/2J4xgCc





Same UFO is sighted by 6 different pilots at North of Chile

At least six commercial airplanes – five of them from Latam Chile and one from Copa Airlines – have reported to the Committee for the Study of Anomalous Air Phenomena (CEFAA) the sighting of unidentified flying objects in northern Chile. The phenomenon occurred in the early hours of May 7, about 1,350 kilometers north of Santiago, near the city of Antofagasta.

However, a video on YouTube has now been made available that shows the aircraft pilots dialogue with the flight controller.

In the video, it is possible to hear the pilot of the flight of the Copa 174 report that at the time of the Air Control Station Livor, 380 kilometers from the coast of Antofagasta, it was possible to see three strange lights.

“We do not know what it is,” he says, shortly before reporting that one of the lights has disappeared. Then the pilot of the flight Latam 639 contacts the control tower and declares that he is also seeing the lights “apparently over the sea”.

The pilot of Latam 2473 responds that he is also seeing the lights and then flight Latam 79 also informs that a light at sea level can be seen intensifying its brightness and then disappearing.

At this point, the first pilot informs that he can see three lights to the left of the aircraft:

“The lights are moving and they increase in intensity and decrease, too. Let’s turn right because they seem to be approaching,” says the pilot of Flight 174.

The flight Latam 501 also confirms that it spotted the UFOs and the 174 Cup speaks again: “What a strange phenomenon! Now we have three triangle shaped lights”. After that, the pilot of the flight Latam 577 located the lights 60 miles, or 96 kilometers, of Livor.

Chile is one of the countries that most documents unidentified flying objects in its air territory, alongside the United States, Peru, Russia and Brazil. Over the past 65 years, more than 600 reports have been recorded.

The dialogues between pilots and flight controllers can be heard in the video below, after the 4th minute, with subtitles and audio in Spanish:

News source

edit on 14-10-2018 by Frocharocha because: video

edit on 14-10-2018 by Frocharocha because: video

edit on 14-10-2018 by Frocharocha because: video



Cuba Has a Lung Cancer Vaccine. Many U.S. Patients Can’t Get it Without Breaking the Law

George Keays is not a rogue kind of a man. A Colorado real estate agent and grandfather of three, the 65-year-old practices yoga and meditates regularly.

by Sally Jacobs

But the U.S. government, he says, has left him no choice but to break the law. If, that is, he intends to stay alive.

Keays has stage 4 lung cancer. As his treatment options appeared to be dwindling this fall, he went to Cuba for a vaccine treatment despite a federal law that prohibits Americans from going there for health care.

Now, with President Trump’s recent tightening of the regulations governing travel to Cuba, it has become much harder to travel there. But Keays needs more of the vaccine. This spring, he’s going back.

“I am not looking to break the law. But I am not looking to die, either,” Keays declared.

“People with stage 4 cancer, like me, should be allowed to try whatever they want to stay alive, whatever they think will work. The last thing they need is the government on your neck over some archaic regulation saying just take what is available here and die.”

Keays has abundant company. In the two years since relations between the U.S. and Cuba were normalized under President Barack Obama, a growing number of lung cancer patients traveled to Cuba for a vaccine called Cimavax, and more recently, a newer vaccine, Vaxira.

These patients are an elusive group. None of those who went apparently provided their real reason for going to Cuba when applying for a visa, nor did many of them declare to U.S. customs officials that they were bringing multiple vials of the vaccine into the U.S. on their return.

Few even tell their doctors they are taking the injections for fear they will refuse to treat them further.

“I can only see it as compromising him because now he has a patient on a drug that is not approved by the FDA,” said a patient in Florida named Larry, who asked that his last name not be used.

Larry has gone to Cuba twice for the vaccine — both times without telling his doctor because, “He might be afraid he would be sued, or he might stop treating me.”

Just how effective are the vaccines they’re smuggling into the country in their small refrigerated lunch boxes is unclear.

Neither of the vaccines prevents cancer; rather, they are a kind of immunotherapy that prompts the body’s immune system to battle the disease in patients with non-small cell lung cancer.

In January, the Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center in Buffalo, N.Y., launched a clinical trial of Cimavax with Cuba’s Center of Molecular Immunology, which developed the vaccine. It is the first such joint venture between the two countries since the Cuban revolution.

Roswell is now doing research to determine if they want to do a similar trial with Vaxira. It will take years for either of the drugs to receive any final approval.

For many patients, including some who were not accepted into the Roswell trial, travel to Cuba has become a much-talked-about option.

So popular has the practice become that patients on Internet support groups routinely trade anecdotes and travel tips about their Cuban journeys. Until, that is, Trump threw a wrench into the process.

Major changes for patients going to Cuba

The change in regulations governing travel to Cuba that went into effect in November altered one of the most popular categories of travel to Cuba initiated by Obama, known as “people-to-people,” which allowed travelers to go to Cuba on their own.

That’s how many Americans have been quietly going to the island for medical care, even though doing so is prohibited under the U.S. embargo against Cuba. Now, people in this category must travel with an organization and have a guide present.

Americans can continue to travel on their own to Cuba for the purpose of professional research or to provide “support for the Cuban people.”

But given that travelers in those categories are required to maintain a full schedule of activities, it’s likely that neither will be a good option for cancer patients.

At the La Pradera International Health Center in Havana, where most American cancer patients go for treatment, Dr. Anabely Estévez García felt the impact of the new regulations in her inbox as soon as Trump announced back in June that the changes were in the works. American patients began canceling their plans in a flood.

“We can not go at this time,” a Texas man emailed García on the day of Trump’s announcement. “President Trump changed everything today. It is not possible to go directly from here. Keep us in touch.”

A patient in New York on the brink of travel wrote that she had decided “to wait a little longer. Now, it will be harder to get there as our President has made it impossible to travel alone.”

Nancy Kelly, 71, a California patient who traveled to Cuba for Vaxira this past spring, emailed that she was worried about the new regulations, too.

How would she replenish her vaccine supply when it ran out in October? She decided not to go herself but sent a friend to Cuba to pick up more for her.

“It was important to get back to Cuba before Trump’s restrictions went into effect,” sighed Kelly.

“With the new restrictions, I would need to go through a third country. The problem is that the vaccine has to be refrigerated, so, if you were on a long flight, that was going to be a problem.”

The tighter regulations are only part of what is keeping patients from going. Another factor is the State Department advisory issued this past September warning American citizens not to go to Cuba due to alleged assaults against American Embassy staff.

Investigators have yet to determine exactly who or what was behind the assaults, and the staff in Havana has been significantly reduced. For some travelers, it’s all just too much.

Since relations between the U.S. and Cuba were normalized at the end of 2014, the number of patients going to the plush La Pradera clinic at the city’s edge had risen steadily.

In 2016, 50 Americans came for treatment. Last year, the number of inquiries about the vaccines tripled over the previous year, while 47 patients had already made the journey to Cuba in the first eight months of 2017, according to García. Now, the numbers have plateaued.

“There are many patients who are suitable for treatment but who do not come for political reasons,” said García, seated in a treatment room at La Pradera this fall.

“As a physician, I feel very bad because I believe our vaccine is a good treatment that can extend these people’s lives.”

Because their own doctors are often not involved, patients wanting to go to Cuba must make arrangements themselves.

First, they get in touch with La Pradera either through email or one of a number of medical tourism agencies in the U.S. or in Canada.

They then send their medical records for evaluation by La Pradera physicians who determine if they are eligible for one of the vaccines, and if so, which one.

Under the Obama-era regulations, accepted patients usually informed the airlines issuing their visas that they were going for educational purposes or under the general people-to-people category. Questions were rarely asked and most flew directly to Cuba.

Patients stay at the La Pradera clinic, a resort-like facility with a swimming pool and fountains, for four days, during which they receive their first of several doses of the vaccine.

Each dose consists of four injections — two to the arms and two to the buttocks. One dose costs about $860, so the total cost of the trip, including airfare, lodging and a supply of the medication to take back home, can run well over $10,000.

At P&G Travel in Ontario, long one of the more popular agencies among Americans for booking travel to Cuba, the numbers are both up and down.

Since Trump announced in June that he would be reversing aspects of the Obama administration’s overtures to Cuba, the number of Americans booking travel directly from the U.S. to Cuba through the agency has plummeted by 60%.

Instead, they’re now going through third countries just like they used to do before Obama’s normalization of relations.

Since June, the number of bookings by Americans going to the island from countries other than the U.S. has increased by 30%, according to Tathiana Gonzalez, the agency’s Cuba travel specialist.

“You’re either going to go or not go,” said Gonzalez. “When you’re given a month to live, you go. It’s kind of basic.”

What they are going for is part of the new wave of immunotherapy treatment that works by triggering a patient’s immune system to fight cancer.

Cimavax, for example, stimulates the immune system to make antibodies that bind to a protein called epidermal growth factor, or EGF, that cancer cells need to grow, effectively starving the cancer.

Vaxira is somewhat different; it triggers an immune response against a molecule specific to several cancers and is intended to ultimately block the cancer’s growth. Only patients who have already received chemotherapy are eligible for the vaccines.

Must-read:

Cubans research a lung cancer vaccine

While Cuba is often recognized for its pristine beaches and throbbing rumbas, it is also home to a burgeoning biotechnology industry. Prompted by the country’s high rate of lung cancer, researchers began work on a lung cancer vaccine back in the mid-1990s.

In the most recent of several Cuban trials, patients receiving Cimavax lived about three to five months longer than those who did not. Available to Cubans for free since 2011, it has been given to more than 5,000 patients worldwide.

Cimavax is currently available in Cuba, Colombia, Peru, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Paraguay. Vaxira, which one Cuban clinical trial indicates can extend life by up to two months, is currently undergoing more testing in Argentina. It is available in that country and in Cuba.

Roswell scientists began collaborating with Havana’s Center of Molecular Immunology, which developed the vaccines, in 2011, and scientists from both countries have worked in one another’s laboratories frequently over the years.

In the Roswell trial, Cimavax is being combined with a checkpoint inhibitor, which blocks proteins on cancer cells, called Opdivo.

While talk of Cimavax has circulated in American medical circles for years, much less is known about Vaxira. Roswell researchers are currently doing preclinical studies of Vaxira in animals to determine if the vaccine merits a possible human trial.

Dr. Igor Puzanov, director of the early phase clinical trials program at Roswell, said that it could take up to a year before a decision can be made on whether to proceed.

“We know what the vaccine is supposed to do,” he said. “It’s just too early to say if it does it.”

Meanwhile, at the Center of Molecular Immunology, scientists are now focused on taking Cimavax to a next step. They are working to extend patients’ survival rate by identifying markers in those who are responsive to the vaccine.

Patients with high concentrations of the EGF protein, for example, have been shown to be more responsive to the vaccine than those who do not.

Camilo Rodriguez, a clinical researcher at the center who has worked on Cimavax for 15 years, says he believes that eventually, the vaccine might be used on a host of cancers.

“We feel that the vaccine could be very effective against prostate cancer, for example, because those patients often have a high degree of EGF and that is related to the spread of cancer,” said Rodriguez, seated in his laboratory.

“Eventually, we feel this could be useful in all kinds of cancer affecting the head, neck, bladder and prostate.

American doctors are not so sure. While some are cautiously optimistic about Cimavax and await the outcome of the Roswell trial with interest, others complain that the vaccine has been oversold and is in sore need of further study.

Dr. Robert Doebele, associate professor of medical oncology at the University of Colorado- Denver and a senior editor of the American Association for Cancer Research’s journal Clinical Cancer Research, recalls sitting in a meeting with a dozen other oncologists discussing the best way to market a drug. Someone in the room called out, “Do whatever Cimavax does!”

“We all let out a collective groan,” said Doebele, who is George Keays’ oncologist.

“It was hilarious. The fact is that I spend several hours a month answering questions from my patients about this. It’s very prominent on the Internet and patients are understandably desperate to learn about it. But the fact is that we just don’t know if this works yet.”

Dr. Roy S. Herbst, chief of medical oncology at Yale University and a nationally recognized expert in the treatment of lung cancer, shares those reservations. Herbst says that “without seeing new stats, it’s not that impressive.” For the moment, he added, “I am not too worried about people not being able to go to Cuba.”

Like several other doctors of the patients interviewed for this story, Doebele advised Keays not to go to Cuba for the vaccine. One reason for that is that Keays is currently taking Tagrisso, a standard therapy for non-small cell lung cancer.

Doebele is concerned that if Keays shows improvement while taking that and one of the Cuban vaccines, it will be impossible to tell which medication was responsible. But Doebele has other worries.

“My biggest concern is safety because of the lack of oversight and regulation. I can’t control what he does; I don’t even know where he’s getting it. Was it even a legitimate clinic where he got it?” said Doebele. “I thought I’d talked him out of it.”

But he hadn’t. Keays did apply to participate in the Roswell trial, as Doebele suggested, but he was put on the waiting list.

He became frustrated that he might wind up in the placebo group in the study, and so he decided “to go right to the front of the line. Cuba.”

Keays arrived at the La Pradera clinic in October and was advised that the vaccine most suited to his cancer was Vaxira.

After consulting with his family doctor, Boulder internist William L. Blanchet, who was traveling with him, Keays received his first dose.

“Twenty minutes after I received it, I felt a little tired, but that was it,” said Keays. “The next day, I went for an hour run. I felt great.”

If Keays was impressed by the professionalism of the doctors, Blanchet was even more so.

“On paper, this looks very promising,” Blanchet said of the vaccine. “It resonates as being medically sound and potentially a major addition. It’s too soon to recommend it to patients, but I would make them aware of it and let them make the decision. If I was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer, I would definitely go down and have this be part of my therapy.”

One of the other patients at La Pradera when Keays was there was Eduardo Sanchez, of Spain, a lean man with graying hair.

Diagnosed with advanced stage 4 lung cancer, Sanchez said he, too, had exhausted most of the treatments available to him. Like most American patients, he learned much of what he knew of the Cuban vaccines on the Internet.

“Unfortunately, in Spain, there is no information about the Cimavax or the Vaxira,” he said. “It’s too early for me to say, but I am very hopeful.”

Questions on how to bring back the vaccine

For advanced stage cancer patients like Sanchez and Keays, going to Cuba can be difficult in itself. The trip is tiring and can be daunting for those for whom the treatment may be viewed as something of a last resort.

Now, American patients face an even higher hurdle in the new and somewhat confusing regulations. The question many patients are wrestling with is how to get in and out of the country without getting caught, given the likelihood of greater scrutiny.

Over the past two years, it appears that no one has been apprehended. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s “personal importation policy” allows some unapproved medications to be brought into the country, provided there is not an adequate alternative available in the U.S. and the amount does not exceed a three-month supply.

But spokesmen for both the FDA and U.S. Customs and Border Protection say there is no record of either of the Cuban vaccines having been brought into the country or seized at the border.

Just how to bring the vaccine into the U.S. is a hot topic on the online health care social network, Inspire, which supports a lung cancer group of about 53,000 members. Judy Ingels, 74, is one of them. Diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer in 2015, Ingels went on Tarceva and her tumor shrunk somewhat.

After she saw a CNN report on Cimavax at the end of 2016, she decided to go to Cuba while she was relatively well and still able to do so.

Last spring, she and her family traveled from their home in Santa Rosa, Calif., to Havana, where she received her first treatment of the vaccine. All told, the trip cost about $16,000. That she was breaking the law did not trouble her in the slightest.

“I just didn’t get hung up on it,” said Ingels. “My husband said, ‘When they ask what your purpose is, just don’t mention anything about medicine.’”

Ingels had no trouble carrying an eight-month supply of Cimavax back into the U.S. in a hand-held refrigerated lunch bag. When she told the Transportation Security Administration agent in Florida that she was carrying a vaccine, he opened her bag and poked around but asked no questions.

In the months that followed, Ingels’s tumor shrunk perceptibly, a fact that she attributes to Cimavax. Now, however, her supply has run out and she wants more.

Presuming that she cannot travel with a guided group, given her purpose, she is considering hiring one of several professional “mules” who will fly to Cuba to get the vaccine for a fee. Two of them contacted by PRI declined to be interviewed.

“We’re weighing the options,” said Ingels. “We might travel ourselves through the Bahamas. But I have also talked to an individual who has offered to do this.”

Nancy Kelly, who had a friend travel to Cuba on her behalf, was considering a return trip. But when a scan last fall showed that her tumor is growing, she changed her plans — at least for the moment.

The change in her circumstance has not dimmed the retired administrative judge’s anger at the government’s imposition of limitations on American patients’ ability to seek the treatment they want.

“I think it’s absolutely outrageous. What Trump has done makes it so much more difficult to go,” said Kelly. “The restrictions that do not permit doctors in different countries to corroborate to help save lives is absolutely terrible.”

Keays is running into a similar problem since a recent scan showed that a mass on his liver is growing. Doebele, his oncologist, believes that means that neither the Vaxira nor the Tagrisso is working.

Doebele has suggested Keays go off the Vaxira, in part, so that he might qualify for other treatments, but Keays continues to have faith. He’s planning on returning to Havana in the spring for more of the vaccine.

Keays intends to apply for a visa under the category of “professional research” arguing that he is a guinea pig for the Vaxira vaccine. He has become, after all, something of an expert on the subject.

Over the past two years, he’s tried a wide variety of treatments: two targeted therapies, multiple forms of radiation and a lot of meditation. He’s been on Vaxira now for two months.

In between doctor’s appointments, Keays has been working on a letter to the chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, hoping he might intervene on patients’ behalf. He’s getting other patients to write, too.

“I intend to do whatever I can to expose how these restrictions steal the hope, and possibly, the life, from patients suffering with terminal cancer, as well as other sicknesses that might benefit from Cuba’s advances in medicine,” declared Keays. “The ignorance in this new policy is astounding.”

In the meantime, for patients disheartened by an American government and doctors who seem to offer them only discouragement regarding Cuba, there is one source of potential support: travel agents like Tathiana Gonzalez in Ontario.

Unaffected by the U.S. regulations, Gonzalez routinely forwards dozens of American patients’ medical records to La Pradera, on their behalf, to see if they qualify for one of the vaccines.

It’s the only instance in which she gets involved in her clients’ medical needs because, she says, the process is so stressful.

She’s the first to admit that she’s no medical researcher, but she notices that some of the cancer patients that she’s helped get to Cuba have lived for years. Like her clients, she waits anxiously for a response from the Cuban doctors: Are they accepted to go, or not?

“It’s such an emotional roller coaster,” exclaimed Gonzalez. “If they’re not accepted, I cry because their cancer is so advanced. If they are accepted, I rejoice! I say, ‘You’re going! You are going to Cuba!’”

This story was reported with a grant from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting. It was originally published on PRI.org. Its content is separate from USA TODAY.

Cuba Has a Lung Cancer Vaccine. Many U.S. Patients Can’t Get it Without Breaking the Law

George Keays is not a rogue kind of a man. A Colorado real estate agent and grandfather of three, the 65-year-old practices yoga and meditat… George Keays is not a rogue kind of a man. A Colorado real estate agent and grandfather of three, the 65-year-old practices yoga and meditates regularly.




Senator Sentenced to 15 Years for Child Sex Trafficking and Child Porn

Oklahoma state senator, Ralph Shortey, has been sentenced to fifteen years in prison after he was caught with horrific child porn and sex trafficking an underage boy.

by Matt Agorist

Over a year has passed since Oklahoma state senator, Ralph Shortey, was busted for child sex trafficking and now, on Monday, he’s finally been sentenced to prison.

U.S. District Judge Timothy DeGiusti handed down a 15 year sentence to Ralph Shortey, 36, who faced sentences of between 10 years and life in prison.

DeGiusti also ordered Shortey to serve 10 years of supervised probation once he is released from prison and said he will impose a fine on the former two-term lawmaker at a later date. The fine could be up to $250,000, according to NBC.

In September of 2017, Shortey was accused in a federal indictment of multiple counts of child sex trafficking and child pornography offenses. In November, Shortey agreed to plead guilty to a single child sex trafficking charge in exchange for the three other charges to be dismissed.

The age of consent for sexual activity is 16 in Oklahoma. However, it is against both state and federal law for anyone under the age of 18 to be involved in the commercial sex industry.

As a result, anyone who prostitutes a minor under the age of 18, like Ralph Shortey, can be charged with either child prostitution or trafficking in minors — thus the charge of child sex trafficking.

Body Camera footage, released last year, showed the moment police raided the hotel room occupied by Shortey and his underage victim.

In the body camera footage, Shortey appears dumbfounded as he is caught with the underage boy in his room.

The officer says, “He’s 17.”

Shortey replies, “Okay.”

The officer then asks, “What do you mean, ‘Okay’?”

“I didn’t know that,” replies Shortey.

“Can you show me that he is only 17?” Shortey says in the video.

Ironically, and in poor taste, the senator was wearing a t-shirt referencing the Bible scripture Ephesians 5:22, which refers to wives submitting to their husbands. Under the scripture was the phrase, “Now go make me a sandwich.” Shortey was known as the “family values” senator.

“Mr. Shortey feels this is a necessary step in putting this painful and humiliating ordeal behind him, for both himself, his family and for the state of Oklahoma,” Shortey’s attorney Ed Blau said.

Below is the video of this “painful and humiliating ordeal.”

After the federal grand jury meeting in Oklahoma City returned their four indictments, Shorty, 35, originally pleaded not guilty. He wiped away tears as officials read out his child sex trafficking and child pornography offenses.

However, given the evidence against him, as detailed in the graphic federal indictment, Shortey’s attorneys likely knew he had no grounds for a not guilty plea.

Despite being caught in the act at a Super 8 motel room in Moore, Oklahoma, Shortey was released after agreeing to a series of stringent conditions including wearing an ankle monitor and having his computer monitored.

However, these amenities are now gone as the disgraced senator goes to prison.

As TFTP previously reported, the charges came after Shortey was busted in a motel room in March of 2017 with an underage boy.

The investigation was launched when the teen boy’s parents called police after finding disturbing text messages between him and their son. When police began their investigation into the texts, they found Senator Ralph Shortey in a motel room with the boy.

As KOCO 5 reported at the time, police obtained a search warrant that was served during the investigation.

Using the search warrant, police said they found the juvenile’s Kindle Fire tablet that contained conversations between him and Shortey pertaining to sexual activities in exchange for money. The tablet was seized as evidence.

During the raid on the hotel room, the boy admitted to selling weed to Shortey in the past and said he had known him for about a year. When police searched the Kindle found in the room, they found evidence of Shortey attempting to solicit “sexual stuff” from the underage teen.

Police also noted that they smelled marijuana and found a backpack with a bottle of lotion and condoms, according to the report.

Showing the bipartisan nature of sex abuse among the political elite, Shortey was also the state chair of President Donald Trump’s campaign during the primary elections. He was known as a “family values” conservative.

Sex abuse among the political elite knows no party line and those who attempt to use the abuser’s party affiliation for political gain do a disservice to the victims and guarantee no solution to the horrific problem. Sex abuse is rampant on both sides of the aisle and it exists from the lowest ranking cop all the way to the president.

Shortey resigned only weeks after the scandal began to unfold and he maintained his innocence despite the horrific child pornography found on his devices. According to News Oklahoma,

“The federal grand jury accused Shortey in the first child pornography count of using his smartphone in October 2013 to email a video of a man engaging in sexually explicit conduct with a prepubescent girl.

“He is accused in the second child pornographic count of using his smartphone that same month to email sexually explicit videos of young boys.

“He is accused in the third child pornography count of persuading the boy he later took to the Moore hotel to send him an inappropriate picture.

“He is accused in the child sex trafficking count of soliciting that boy in March to engage in a commercial sex act. The boy is identified in the indictment only as ‘John Doe.'”

Since he was elected in 2010, the senator has led a secret double life, according to the indictment. For over seven years, through a series of fake names and fake email addresses, Shortey dealt in child pornography and sex trafficked minors.

As news Oklahoma reports, federal prosecutors revealed in a court filing that the investigation found Shortey communicated “with numerous individuals, many of whom appear to be underage boys.”

Now, this child predator is off the streets and in a cage where he belongs.

Senator Sentenced to 15 Years for Child Sex Trafficking and Child Porn

Oklahoma state senator, Ralph Shortey, has been sentenced to fifteen years in prison after he was caught with horrific child porn and sex tr… Oklahoma state senator, Ralph Shortey, has been sentenced to fifteen years in prison after he was caught with horrific child porn and sex trafficking an underage boy.




Stories Within Stories Within Nightmares: Dale Bailey’s In the Night Wood

There’s a point midway through Dale Bailey’s novel In the Night Wood wherein protagonist Charles Hayden ventures out to the forest around the English manor where he and his wife Erin have relocated following a tragedy on the other side of the Atlantic. In his exploration, Charles discovers a part of the forest that seems somewhat different from the rest: some of that can be chalked up to a sense of fundamental wrongness, and some of that can be be ascribed to a difference in temperature. But the sense of two places bordering one another, similar but with fundamentally different properties underlying their very nature, is a convenient metaphor for this novel as well, which is both a story about literary obsession and a story whose twists and turns may well lure in literary obsessives.

At the center of In the Night Wood is a fictional book, also titled In the Night Wood, and by a mid-19th century author with the magnificent name of Caedmon Hollow. When we first meet Charles, it’s as a young boy; he and his mother are at his grandfather’s house shortly after the older man’s death. Charles sees the book on a shelf and is drawn to it; as they depart, he impulsively takes it with him. While studying for a PhD, he goes in search of it in his school’s library; it’s there that he meets a woman named Erin, who turns out to be a descendant of Hollow’s. It’s serendipitous; it’s what could be a called “a meet cute.” Soon enough, Bailey tells us, they’ve married.

When next we see the Hayden family, it is far from a happy time for them. It’s years later. Erin has inherited Hollow’s old house; their marriage has become strained due to the death of their daughter and an ill-considered affair on Charles’s part. And so their relocation to England serves a number of purposes for them: a means to remove themselves from the site of their grief, a way to rekindle their marriage, and a means for Charles to pursue his research into the life of Caedmon Hollow, with an book—the first biography of this cult author—as the potential outcome.

From their arrival, though, things seem generally off. Erin’s penchant for processing her grief through visual art finds her inscribing sinister forms on paper, Charles senses odd presences around, and one of the manor’s staff isn’t acting himself. And there’s a perennial question of how much of Hollow’s menacing, dreamlike novel drew from the local folklore and how much was rooted in fact. The fact that the local pub shares a name—the Horned King—with a character in the novel within the novel seems to be more than an intriguing coincidence.

This is the sort of novel in which characters’ fixation on a fictional narrative proves all too real: Lev Grossman’s The Magicians and Jonathan Carroll’s The Land of Laughs are two relevant examples, and Bailey’s novel falls somewhere in between the two, tonally speaking. He also neatly balances the quotidian and the uncanny; for that, among other reasons, Pamela Dean’s Tam Lin and Kingsley Amis’s The Green Man would serve as two other worthy reference points.

The exploration of local history and literature becomes a major thread in the novel. Charles meets a woman named Silva North, who runs the local historical society, and she winds up becoming one of the novel’s major characters, as her penchant for knowledge echoes Charles’s. That she’s mother to a daughter who resembles Charles and Erin’s lost child adds another wrinkle to the narrative—as does Charles’s fear that he’ll fall into another affair. Though, to Bailey’s credit, this is more about Charles’s anxieties than a genuine romantic spark between Charles and Silva—who seems more eager for a platonic and intellectual connection than anything.

Bailey’s novel is both a resonant tale of literary obsession and a story of old myths rising violently to the surface of an otherwise rational world. And it largely succeeds at both: its central characters are well-drawn, and its more uncanny aspects never overwhelm the emotional connections Bailey has established throughout the book. This isn’t to say that this book is without some frustrations, however. The handling of Erin’s depression is a particularly tricky aspect of In the Night Wood. It had the paradoxical effect of feeling emotionally correct but dramatically frustrating, leaving one of the novel’s most interesting characters on its margins rather than keeping her more central. Both Erin’s difficulty connecting with her surroundings and Erin and Charles failing to communicate at some crucial junctures felt emotionally true, but also occasionally too convenient for the plot.

Overall, however, Bailey has created an immersive setting, a fantastic sense of building tension, and a group of memorably flawed characters. In the Night Wood’s blend of literary history and sinister secrets was largely gripping throughout; it also left me in the position of many of Bailey’s characters: eager to be enchanted by the mysteries of both versions of In the Night Wood all over again.

In the Night Wood is available from John Joseph Adams.
Read an excerpt here.

reel-thumbnailTobias Carroll is the managing editor of Vol.1 Brooklyn. He is the author of the short story collection Transitory (Civil Coping Mechanisms) and the novel Reel (Rare Bird Books).




Is Time Travel Possible? Science Has Answers

Time travel is, perhaps, the most overused plot device in movies and television. Yet, we are still fascinated by it and still wonder if it’s possible to travel back to the past or into the future. Luckily, scientists have been asking the same question for years, and have some answers.

Whether it’s via flux capacitor or executing a slingshot maneuver around the sun or taking a wormhole, science fiction has come up with all sorts of ways for humans to travel through time.

Unfortunately, time travel is not nearly as easy in real life.

You see, legendary physicist Albert Einstein wondered about it himself in 1905 and came up with an answer by 1915, which I’m sure many scientists would love to ask him about if time travel to the past were possible.

But as it turns out, while travelling back in time is not impossible, it’s beyond our technological and scientific capabilities at the moment.

Einstein published his theory of special relativity in 1915, and it basically states that time does not pass at the same rate for everyone.

So, if a person were to somehow travel near the speed of light for a few years, they would arrive back on Earth and discover that time moved faster for everyone else on the planet, meaning everyone you knew could very well be dead while you only aged a few years during your trip in space.

It’s kind of a scary and cool thing at the same time, and scientists can prove the science is sound.

“Indeed, we can jump forward into the future as much as we want,” Ohio State University astrophysicist Paul Sutter says. “It’s only a matter of going really, really fast. The faster you move through space, the slower you move through time. We’ve been able to measure this with ultra-precise atomic clocks in jet airplanes, and the precision offered by the GPS system needs to take this into account. Sci-fi always seem to require complicated contraptions to jump in time, when all you need is a very large rocket.”

Sure, we can shave off a few seconds or several minutes using modern rockets, but in order to travel years into the future without aging very much at all, we would need a ship capable of much faster speeds.

“If one were to depart from the Earth in a spaceship that could accelerate continuously at a comfortable 1 G, one would begin to approach the speed of light relative to the Earth within about a year,” Montana State University professor of physics William Hiscock explained to Scientific American. “As the ship continued to accelerate, it would come ever closer to the speed of light, and its clocks would appear to run at an ever slower rate relative to the Earth. Under such circumstances, a round trip to the center of our galaxy and back to the Earth–a distance of some 60,000 light-years–could be completed in only a little more than 40 years of ship time. Upon arriving back at the Earth, the astronaut would be only 40 years older, while 60,000 years would have passed on the Earth.”

Hiscock went on to point out that while the laws of physics would not prohibit such a trip, current engineering would.

“Such a trip would pose formidable engineering problems: the amount of energy required, even assuming a perfect conversion of mass into energy, is greater than a planetary mass,” he said.

So, travelling to the future is possible, but there would likely not be a way back since travelling back to the past is a far more difficult, if not totally impossible task.

“When it comes to the past,” Sutter said, “the mathematics of general relativity does allow a few strange scenarios where you can end up in your own past. But all of these scenarios end up violating other known physics, like requiring negative mass or infinitely long rotating cylinders.”

In short, Einstein’s theory of relativity is not to blame for not being able to travel back in time, other laws of physics are to blame.

Hiscock concurs, and noted that there is no evidence that any such time travel has occurred or is occurring.

“No experiment or observation has ever indicated that time travel is occurring in our universe,” he said. “Much work has been done by theoretical physicists in the past decade to try to determine whether, in a universe that is initially without time travel, one can build a time machine–in other words, if it is possible to manipulate matter and the geometry of space-time in such a way as to create new paths that circle back in time.”

Of course, an even higher authority on the question of time travel is the late Stephen Hawking, the world renowned physicist who wrote about time travel in his posthumously published final work “Brief Answers to the Big Questions”.

“Rapid space travel and travel back in time can’t be ruled out according to our present understanding,” Hawking wrote. “Einstein showed that it would take an infinite amount of rocket power to accelerate a spaceship to beyond the speed of light.”

But Hawking proposed that wormholes could be the solution to travelling both to the future and back to the past, given certain circumstances.

“So the only way to get from one side of the galaxy to the other in reasonable time would seem to be if we could warp space-time so much that we created a little tube or wormhole,” he wrote.

“This could connect the two sides of the galaxy and act as a shortcut to get from one to the other and back while your friend were still alive. Such wormholes have been seriously suggested as being within the capabilities of a future civilization. But if you can travel from one side of the galaxy to the other in a week or two you could go back through another wormhole and arrive back before you set out. You could even manage to travel back in time with a single wormhole if its two ends were moving relative to each other.”

But Hawking also observed that we haven’t noticed any travelers from the future, so time travel must be relegated to just travelling into the future for now.

“A possible way to reconcile time travel with the fact that we don’t seem to have had any visitors from the future would be to say that such travel can occur only in the future. In this view one would say space-time in our past was fixed because we have observed it and seen that it is not warped enough to allow travel into the past. On the other hand the future is open. So we might be able to warp it enough to allow time travel. But because we can warp space-time only in the future, we wouldn’t be able to travel back to the present time or earlier.”

There you have it. Perhaps, one day, a really intelligent human being will make a groundbreaking discovery or invention that makes two-way time travel possible. Of course, the risks of altering the past to our own peril is a very real possibility that we should think about before travelling to the past. After all, various paradoxes such as the grandfather paradox could accidentally wipe you out of existence. The smallest change could end up having consequences that sweep across time. So, maybe it’s a good thing we can’t travel there yet. The future, on the other hand, is possible for those of us who are willing to live on a spaceship for several years leaving everyone and everything you know behind. But the problem is that we have to leave everything and everyone we know behind, and there’s no turning back the clock to change our mind. Once it’s done, it’s done. And who knows what the future could look like.

But short of a real life Doc Brown from Back to the Future to invent a time machine that can provide instantaneous travel to the past and to the future, we’ll just have to settle for what is currently possible and wait for that moment to arrive. It’s just a matter of time.

Featured Image: YouTube screenshot




Mother Russia

I watched some news program/video about how Putin came into power and what Russia was like during Yeltsin’s reign and how it set the stage for Putin’s rise to power. The nation was in the grips of a massive heroin crisis and supposedly one reason Putin was put in power was because he was supposed to be able to stop it – somehow? Well the crisis supposedly was stopped – somehow – and things got better and everyone was happy again but then around 2006-2008 the heroin/opioid crisis started back up and the OD deaths started rocketing again. Now I think Russia has the most deaths due to heroin of any country and especially when calculated per capita. This makes me wonder if the problem was ever solved or if it was covered up and the statistics doctored (maybe ruling cause of death differently than OD) and now that he has control, there is no need to cover up the statistics.

If he was able to fix the problem (some say he fixed it by killing a lot of the addicts) when he started, then why is it a problem now and why can’t he fix it again?

Russia is also one of the only countries that has the problem with the drug knick-named krocidile which is a horrible drug cooked at home a lot like the way meth is cooked with the “shake-n-bake” method – full of lots of toxins left behind from the process – which kills the users very quickly. Like the meth users buy cold medicine to make the drug (over the counter drugs) these people do the same thing with another drug in that country and convert it to this really nasty substance.

The reports are that often times there are “shortages” of heroin and then the prices go up drastically so people are left to make this crud to keep from getting sick. IDK if the shortages are due to customs & “DEA” like agency busting dealers or if it is an intentional shortage. I would think that a country like Russia wouldn’t have a problem smuggling in drugs like that as it has one of the largest land borders in the world with many countries that could be used as entrance points (most of which would probably have plenty of border guards who could be paid off) or even by sea. I wonder if they are trying to make the addicts use this nasty drug that is eating their bodies.




10 Prehistoric Graves And Their Findings

Whether they died yesterday or 40,000 years ago, the dead can often tell us as much—if not more—about ourselves as the living. For most of human history, we generally accepted religious explanations for the roots of mankind. It wasn’t until the advent of modern archaeology and carbon dating that we started to paint a clearer picture of where we came from. Of course, the work of Charles Darwin and the theory of evolution helped.

Over time, we’ve learned a lot from prehistoric graves and sculpted an overarching narrative about the extinct primates who evolved into human beings. These individuals weren’t so different from us. Here are 10 prehistoric graves and what they’ve taught us.

10 Alaska

The first find on our list teaches us about our religious history, including just how long humankind has been practicing death rituals and what they might have meant. This grave and the corpse inside also reveal a lot about the early native population of Alaska, a rural people.

In 2011, archaeologists uncovered a settlement in the middle of nowhere that contained the remains of a three-year-old child. This grave is 11,500 years old, and curiously, the child had been cremated.

Archaeologists found no hack marks on the bones and absolutely zero evidence of murder or cannibalism, suggesting that this was a spiritual or religious cremation. The natives of Alaska seemed to have some concept of cremation and the afterlife, though more will need to be found before we can state for certain just what these beliefs were.

At 11,500 years old, this is one of the oldest human graves we have, especially in the Americas. The body was left to burn for 1–3 hours before burial.[1]

9 Siberia

In 1997, a prehistoric gravesite was discovered in Russia near an area carved out of a hill by the former USSR for construction of the sprawling Trans-Siberian Railway. The burial place was 7,000–8,000 years old and contained at least 101 bodies.

This was an extremely rare find because most hunter-gatherer societies did not formalize the burial process, especially in one designated place. But this grave contained something else that was unusual—a mother who had died in childbirth. The bones of a baby were found between her thighs, and nobody thought much of it at first.[2]

Upon further investigation of the infant, researchers noticed that there were duplicates of each bone—four arms, four legs, two skulls, and more. This woman had died giving birth to twins. As of this writing, this remains the first documented case of twins in history.

8 Sunghir

Another strange find in the world of ancient graves hails from the icy plains of Russia in an area known as Sunghir. Excavations began there in 1957 and continued for 20 years. One striking fact is the sheer age of the site: The remains of the people there are estimated to be 30,000–34,000 years old, which places them in the Paleolithic period.

It’s also unusual that the remains were highly decorated. The friends and families of the victims of this hunter-gatherer tribe had painstakingly wrapped the corpses in mammoth ivory beads and fox teeth which had been sewn into the clothes of the individuals buried there.

It’s almost impossible to fathom what life must have been like for these individuals, but this burial gives us insight into some of their deepest emotions at the time. Images of these bead-clad bones are stunning and demonstrate the human passion for expressing love and caring for one another—even when the person is dead.[3]

7 Frankfurt

In contrast to the site at Sunghir, a shocking gravesite was discovered near Frankfurt, Germany, which showed the dark side of humanity. This 7000-year-old burial place contained the remains of at least 26 people who had been brutally beaten—possibly tortured—and then murdered.[4]

The bodies of the victims were also mutilated after death. The skulls had been bludgeoned or smashed. The legs had been broken, suggesting that the perpetrators fractured the victims’ legs to keep these individuals from running away. The massacre included the indiscriminate murder of the tribe’s small children.

6 San Francisco Bay Area

Warfare has been the way of humankind throughout its existence. Native Americans had been locked in conflict over their lands for a long time. Maybe not surprisingly, the seeming paradise of sunny California was once a battleground filled with intertribal warfare and bloodlust.

During the 2012 construction of a shopping mall in the San Francisco Bay Area near Oakland, California, workers dug up a grave with seven bodies of men who appeared to have been brutally murdered. This was the Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre of 1,150 years ago.[5]

Their skulls had been smashed and their bones broken. However, the teams digging also found stone weapons among the bodies. The victims were not related and had journeyed for miles to their place of execution.

Could these men have been some of the first prisoners of war? Or were they just bandits in search of food and fresh water?

Researchers believe that the population in the area grew dense, and smaller bands of humans left the larger group. After they went to settle somewhere new, they were killed and quickly buried.

5 Mass Grave Of Prodigal Sons

Another prehistoric grave yielding a murder mystery is the so-called “Mass Grave of Prodigal Sons” in Central California. Four victims who were killed 560 years ago were discovered by a farmer in 1964, although only three of the bodies were excavated.

As noted, the state of California in prehistory was riddled with violence. It isn’t unusual to find pits with bodies that have broken limbs or crushed skulls. The oddity here is that the murderers went into overkill mode. The victims had been shot several times with arrows. Each body had been pierced by at least three arrows, with one victim shot seven times.

Researchers have a good idea of who was living where at the time, which has led to another strange mystery. The victims were born and lived as children where they died. But chemical analysis shows that they did not live as adults where they died.[6]

Did they leave their home tribe and go off to start a new life, only to return and be shunned and murdered for their mutiny? At this point, the story isn’t clear. Maybe it never will be. But it is fascinating.

4 Utah

In southeastern Utah, a cave was discovered to be a mass grave that may be evidence of prehistoric warfare. About 90 bodies were found, and the majority had wounds consistent with combat.

Excavations began in 1893, and there has been some heated debate as to exactly what happened to the people at this 2,000-year-old site. Limbs and bones were broken, skulls were bludgeoned, and weapons were still inside the skeletal remains.

Is this evidence of prehistoric warfare or simply a dumping site for the dead bodies of tribal clashes or murders?[7]

If it’s the former, this suggests that hunter-gatherer tribes were not generally peaceful. It probably wasn’t until traveling bands of human beings became civilized settlements that resource battles really became a thing. Some people believe that as societies become more complex, a human predisposition toward violence presents.

Others suggest that interpersonal and intertribal violence is merely a by-product of the concept of territory, something that isn’t a part of the hunter-gatherer mindset. Although over 100 years have passed since the excavation of the site, perhaps it will help shed light on new digs as we peer into our distant past.

3 The Lothagam North Pillar Site

In Lake Turkana in Kenya, a settlement was discovered with a mass grave that was extremely unusual, leading researchers to exclaim that they had never thought it was possible. This massive, megalithic grave structure, like a tomb, had been built by the people on the plains of Africa some 5,000 years ago.

The traveling bands of humans at the time didn’t build large graves generally. Yet this platform had a 27-meter (90 ft) diameter with a hole in the center that housed the remains of at least 580 human beings. Beads and other decorations were also found at the site, suggesting that much time and effort was put into honoring the dead.

Typically, people who construct such a large tomb have hierarchical societies which allow one group to tell another what to do and when. But the people who built this structure were an egalitarian society of free individuals who worked together voluntarily to survive. When they died, they paid their respects to the dead.[8]

This society was pastoral, meaning they raised and herded livestock. They probably distributed the work evenly and voluntarily, giving credence to the widely believed idea that we don’t need society to force us to be responsible.

2 Lake Turkana

A site at Nataruk near Lake Turkana is unusual due to its sheer age. Although the mass grave contains the nearly complete skeletons of 27 people who lived only 10,000 years ago (compared to the site at Sunghir that’s 30,000–34,000 years old), Nataruk reveals some of the first evidence of war.

This site wasn’t a burial place. The bodies were just left out to rot and showed all the hallmarks of prehistoric warfare. So, were the hunter-gatherers mostly peaceful or mostly warlike?

The answer is probably both. Previous to this find, the oldest-known war grave (except for Cemetery 117) was from 5000 BC in Darmstadt, Germany.[9]

1 Cemetery 117

Jebel Sahaba is another name for what scientists and archaeologists call “Cemetery 117,” a gravesite in modern-day Sudan that’s currently believed to be the oldest-known war cemetery. Spear and arrow wounds show that this was the scene of a bloody war about 12,000–14,000 years ago.[10]

Of the 61 people found in this mass grave, 45 percent of the remains had injuries consistent with acts of war. The people died from wounds inflicted by arrows and spears. Cut marks were also found on some individuals, signaling mutilation before or after death. Most of the wounds were discovered on the victims’ chests, necks, jaws, and heads.

I like to write about dark stuff, history, true crime, and more.





the plastic soldiers and the magical military convoy, a remarkable high strangeness encounter

No comment from me yet, I’m just dividing that quoted WALL OF TEXT (one of the most horrific developments in internet history) into something humanly readable that won’t make me and others wanna throw up.

In the early summer of 2001 (the exact month and day cannot be recalled) two men had an anomalous encounter with a group of plastic “doll” looking soldiers off an Interstate 8 gas and convenience store. This duration of this encounter spanned approximately 30 minutes. WITNESS 1, contacted API and in his report stated that during a routine trip home to San Diego back from visiting his mother in Arizona, he and his friend WITNESS 2 stopped to get some snacks and drinks during the hot day-time trip.

WITNESS 1 went into the store and WITNESS 2, stayed outside at the pump area. As WITNESS 1 walked toward the store entrance he noted with interest that there were several camouflage painted humvees and two troop carriers (military trucks). WITNESS 1’s father and grandfather were both Army officers, his brother was currently in the Army and WITNESS 1 was at that time considering an Army career. He was excited and interested in looking at the soldier’s patches to determine what service and unit they belong to. He grew up on Ft. Carson in Colorado and is very knowledgeable of military garb and familiar with military norms.

Once inside the convenience store, he looked closely at the soldier’s uniforms to determine the service, but there was no patch showing service affiliation. Neither were there unit patches on their fatigues. Additionally, he found it odd at that time (2001) that the military vehicle and the soldier’s “cammies” were “Woodland” type, not desert cammies which were more common during, and following, the Gulf War/Desert Storm in 1991. (By 2001 the Army Combat Uniform and Battle Dress Uniform were more commonly worn.) Once WITNESS 1 got his snacks and drinks he got into line and stood very close to the back of one of the soldiers.

At this point he noticed that all 9 soldiers in line were the exact same build and height. Then he noticed the back of the neck of soldier closest to him. He related that the skin looked fake and plastic, like his daughter’s Barbie Doll skin. At this point, he looked down the line and saw they all appeared to have that skin: “zero skin pores, zero hair and their skin looked fake.” He also noted that it was very hot, maybe close to 100%, and the soldier’s uniforms were all long-sleeved and buttoned at the wrist. Their skin was not sweating or even glistening with heat. “Their skin was like a weird rubber” and he has never seen anything like it before or since.

Concerned, he decided to go to the front of this line to where the soldiers were buying each a gallon of water and walking out. His pretense was to get some gum at the front counter. As he walked back from the front he took careful note of the soldier’s faces. Even though they were all wearing caps pulled down close over their eyes and he could not see their eyes, he nonetheless saw that they were all exactly alike—as if “they were the same person”.

Additionally, these soldiers seemed like “living dolls” that were all in “pause mode” until they stepped forward to pay at the counter for their water. WITNESS1 stated that it was as if he was watching the exact same action and motion from these soldiers, all moving and acting the exact same way, one-after-the-other.

The clerk at the counter was not looking up, just taking the money and putting it in the cash register, then giving change. WITNESS1 became very afraid and felt these soldiers were “not human”. He put his groceries down and quickly walked out to his friend to see if he would go into the store. WITNESS1 did not tell WITNESS2 what to look for, only be observant and see if he saw “anything was wrong”. WITNESS2 went in and began looking around. He quickly noticed the soldiers and felt WITNESS1 must be referring to them. WITNESS2 noted, too, that all soldiers looked identical—he stated “they were the exact same person”. He noted that they looked like they might be wearing masks to account for their exact matching appearing and odd skin tone and texture.

He quickly departed the building and hurried back to the car saying to WITNESS1 “Are they even human?” Both stayed at their car and watched the soldiers enter the military vehicles and drive off. WITNESS1 and 2 followed in their car getting immediately onto Interstate 8, which happened to parallel the dirt road the Troop Movement was on.

After following parallel for four or 5 miles, WITNESS 1 stated (and WITNESS 2 confirmed) that “we saw these vehicles just drive right into this mountain and disappear, like the mountain was a hologram or something (HL COMMENT: witness also had UFO sightings that are detailed in the source)

PS: After reading it, I have to agree with muzzleflash, I’m afraid.

edit on 20-10-2018 by ConfusedBrit because: (no reason given)