Photo of the Day

Photo of the Day

Offensive Advertisements

Please don’t be offended…

Read more »

Photo of the Day

Sensational Journalism Defined Newspapers of the Late 1890s

The Murder of Helen Jewett

The murder wasn’t especially unique. But since it involved sex, a new recipe for journalism was born. The investigation and subsequent trial exploded into a national sensation. For the first time in American history, tabloids known as “penny papers” plied a seductive narrative of sex, crime, and romance. In the media world, it was chaos, with little regard for journalistic integrity or facts.

The New York City newspapers referred to her as “the girl in green” – green was her colour and it caught reporters’ eyes. 23-year-old Helen Jewett was a beautiful, intelligent, sophisticated prostitute at Rosina Townsend’s upscale brothel not far from New York’s city hall. Her clients included politicians, lawyers, journalists, and wealthy merchants. One cold April night in 1836 one of them smashed her skull with an axe and set her bed on fire. It was the story that shocked New York and gave birth to sensational journalism.

The April 1836 murder of Helen Jewett, a prostitute in New York City, was an early example of a media sensation. The newspapers of the day ran lurid stories about the case, and the trial of her accused killer, Richard Robinson, became the focus of intense attention.

One particular newspaper, the New York Herald, which had been founded by innovative editor James Gordon Bennett a year earlier, fixated on the Jewett case.

The Herald’s intensive coverage of a particularly gruesome crime created a template for crime reporting that endures to the present day. The frenzy around the Jewett case could be viewed as the beginning of what today we know as the tabloid style of sensationalism, which is still popular in major cities.

The murder of one prostitute in the growing city would likely have been quickly forgotten. But the way coverage of the Jewett murder influenced the growing newspaper business made the crime a much more significant event.

Read more »

Photo of the Day

Anna Fallarino, in February 1970, at the behest of her husband, was one of the first women in Italy to undergo in a Roman clinic in a breast augmentation with silicone implants, along with a tummy tuck reductive.

Italy’s Forbidden ‘Orgy Island’

With its emerald-green waters, blue skies and a rugged empty landscape, Zannone has everything you’d expect from a near-deserted Italian island.

It also has a reputation for something rather more unexpected: Orgies. The rugged island is home to nothing but a white house and the dilapidated secret retreat of the sex-obsessed Marquis and his wife.

But in the late 60s, it was a hub of adultery, heavy drinking and orgies.  Locals knew the dark secrets of the racy goings-on at the villa in Zannone and its beaches.

“See that white colonial villa up high there?” says former fisherman Giorgio Aniello as he points a rough finger at a clifftop villa overlooking the Tyrrhenian Sea.

Zannone became a hotspot for “lavish sex parties” after “chic and sexually adventurous aristocratic couple” Marquis Casati Stampa and Anna Fallarino rented it from the state. Stampa apparently enjoyed watching his wife with other guys and they would frequently host dukes, barons, countesses, billionaires and other VIPs to partake in such activities.

Aniello is a regular visitor to Zannone, taking tourists on boat trips to the wildest atoll among the Pontine archipelago off the west coast of Italy.

The big attraction, aside from the island’s natural beauty, is its dark, sexy past, most of which centres around the Marquis and his wife Anna Fallarino, a former actress.

“He was a lewd man, a voyeur who liked to watch and photograph his starlet wife get kinky having sex with with other younger guys,” Aniello adds, enjoying spinning R-rated tales as he navigates a maze of reddish-yellow cliffs, old stone fisheries and sea stacks.

“Then one day he got fed up of the threesome, shot the two lovers and killed himself.”

Read more »

Photo of the Day

Maneater: Theda Bara in a series of unconventional portraits. Her publicist claimed it was her lover and that not even the grave could separate them.

Theda Bara 

‘The Vamp’ of the Silent Screen

“A vampire is a good woman with a bad reputation, or rather a good woman who has had possibilities and wasted them”

 — Florenz Ziegfeld

The queen of the vamps was one of America’s most mysterious movie stars — Theda Bara. The magnetic actress, with her steely gaze and jet-black hair, was the prototype for a movie bad girl. She shook convention so dramatically that a critic called her a “flaming comet of the cinema firmament.”

Bara might be the most significant celebrity pioneer whose movies you’ve never seen. She was the movie industry’s first sex symbol; the first femme fatale; the first silent film actress to have a fictional identity invented for her by publicists and sold through a receptive media to a public who was happy to be conned; and she might have been America’s first homegrown goth.

According to the studio biography, Theda Bara (anagram of “Arab Death”) was born in the Sahara to a French artiste and his Egyptian concubine and possessed supernatural powers.

Progressive, liberated women were clearly so frightening one hundred years ago that equating them to undead, bloodthirsty creatures borne of Satan didn’t seem so unusual.

In the late 1910s, women were on the verge of winning the right to equal representation in the voting booth. Women were asserting power in unions, and, in the wake of disasters like the Triangle Factory Fire, those unions were influencing government policy. They were taking control of their destinies, their fortunes, even their sexuality (Margaret Sanger‘s first birth control clinic opened in 1916).

This surging independence came just as the entertainment industry heralded the female form as one of its primary attractions. Ziegfeld’s sassy, flesh-filled Follies — and its many imitators — defined the Broadway stage, mixing music, sex and glamour with a morality-shattering frankness.

But it was the birth of motion pictures that gave the allure of female bodies an unearthly, flickering glow, as nickelodeon shorts became feature-length films, and the first era of the movie siren was born.

Combine the power of liberation with the erotic potential of cinema, and in the late 1910s, you got the vampire (or as we would come to know, the ‘vamp’).

Read more »

Photo of the Day

This photo was taken by the Stockholm Police on August 26, 1973, the fourth day of a highly televised bank robbery turned hostage crisis.

The Birth of “Stockholm Syndrome”

The robbery at Norrmalmstorg in 1973 took an unexpected turn when the hostage started sympathising with their captors

In an instant the Stockholm Syndrome was born

A bank robbery in the Swedish capital would have been largely forgotten had four bank workers held hostage not started to show sympathy for the criminals.

The term Stockholm Syndrome is named for an event that occurred in a Stockholm bank in 1973. An escaped convict entered the bank in Norrmalmstorg square and held four employees hostage. They were put inside the bank vault for more than five days.

By day two, the hostages were on a first-name basis with their captor and were hostile to police who came to check on them during negotiations. They did not gain freedom until police pumped tear gas into the vault. Television stations broadcasted updates from the standoff day and night. Everybody in Sweden was captivated by the drama, and they were especially intrigued by the victims’ apparent sympathy and compliance with their captors.

The hostages hugged their captor before leaving and protected him from police so he would not be shot. They even collected money for his defence attorneys.

It all completely baffled the public, who had watched the events unfold on the news. Within a few months of the Norrmalmstorg bank robbery, psychiatrists had given Stockholm Syndrome a name.

Read more »

Photo of the Day

A sign along Hwy. 16 outside Smithers, B.C., warning girls against hitchhiking. So many indigenous women and girls have vanished or turned up dead near the remote roadway that residents call it the Highway of Tears. (RUTH FREMSON / THE NEW YORK TIMES)

This is the Highway of Tears

Some highways have souls; others are merely pavement. The soul of Highway 16, the 720-km-long branch of the Trans-Canada that spans northern British Columbia from Prince George to Prince Rupert, is deeply troubled.

It’s a mean road. Logging trucks, as rickety as they are over-laden, roar its length day and night. Convoys of motor homes labour up the long mountain passes as if to taunt other drivers to acts of stunning recklessness. Further east, toward Prince George, the landscape flattens and the highway stretches mournfully to the horizon; the mind grows dim and the foot heavy.

The road’s called Highway 16. It’s part of the Trans-Canada Highway system. … There are places on this road where you will see more bears than you will see cars. The road can take on kind of a sinister aspect to it. It’s a place that can be a good friend to evil. The locals know it as the Highway of Tears. And it’s called that because there’s been a — a series of disappearances and murders of women and girls that date back four decades, and a large number of them are still unsolved. Families and communities have walked the highway’s entire length, and then some, demanding justice.

British Columbia is known for its beautiful mountains and picturesque landscapes, but something sinister has been lurking beneath the pristine scenery of a remote, sparsely populated section of the Canadian province for decades. Authorities believe a serial killer—or serial killers—has been at work in an isolated part of British Columbia since 1969. Since then, dozens of women have disappeared or been murdered by unknown killers stalking victims along the highway.

Small roadside shrines — a wooden cross and maybe a withered wreath or some plastic flowers — mark the places where death has visited Highway 16. Sometimes you can still see the skid marks that map someone’s final seconds. Drive long enough and you learn to spot these places before you get there: a sharp turn in the distance; a logging road up ahead; a pull-off at the crest of a hill.

These dangers you can see. What you can’t see are the highway’s terrible secrets.

Read more »

Photo of the Day

My heart is as pure as the driven slush – Tallulah Bankhead

Tallulah Dahling

“Hello, Dahling . . . I’ll come and make love to you at five o’clock. If I’m late start without me.”
Her voice, her wit, and her face were captivating.

On why she called everyone dahling she stated that she was terrible with names and once introduced a friend of hers as Martini.  Her name was actually Olive.

Tallulah, with her signature “dah-ling”s and her notorious peccadilloes and her endlessly caricatured baritonal gurgle of a voice—a voice that was steeped as deep in sex as the human voice can go without drowning—would be easy to dismiss as a joke if she hadn’t also been a woman of outsize capacities. As it is, the story of her life reaches beyond gossip and approaches tragedy.
It was Tallulah’s real-life behaviour that really got people’s attention.

Tallulah’s scandalous career began at her seminary when, aged twelve, she fell in love with Sister Ignatius.  As she grew to adulthood she developed her romantic and sexual interests in a way which can really only be called trisexual: she would bed heterosexual men, preferably well hung, women and homosexual men, again preferably well-hung.  She stumbled across this life unprepared but took to it with enthusiasm and a breathtaking lack of concern for the proprieties.  She once said: ‘My father always warned me about men, but he never said anything about women!  And I don’t give a stuff what people say about me so long as they say something!’  She managed to keep them talking for the rest of her life, but her most admirable trick was always to pre-empt the insidious leakage of malicious gossip with reflexive innuendos so frank as to seem hardly believable.  Personal eccentricities, such as the refusal ever to wash her hair in anything other than Energine dry-cleaning fluid, probably helped to create the conditions in which she then felt able to defy more serious conventions in riskier ways.

Read more »

Photo of the Day

Princess Caraboo of Javasu (Mary Baker), 1817 (oil on panel) by Bird, Edward (1722-1819) Bristol City Museum and Art Gallery.

Princess Caraboo

A Foreign Princess from an Exotic Land

She was walking erratically on the road. Her clothes were dirty but unusually exotic, and she sported a turban wrapped around her head. The cobbler asked the strange woman if she needed assistance, but she responded in an unfamiliar language the cobbler could not understand. Nobody knew who this woman was, but they would quickly grow to know her as Princess Caraboo.

In 1817, a mysterious, attractive woman surfaced in a small village near Bristol, England. She wore a dark turban and spoke a language that was unintelligible to baffled locals. Though she was at first assumed to be a foreign peasant, the woman — with help of a Portuguese sailor who claimed to understand her dialect — managed to convince her hosts that she was, in fact, a princess from an island called Javasu. Princess Caraboo, as she became known, spun an engrossing saga about having been abducted by pirates, whom she escaped by jumping overboard and swimming to shore through the stormy English Channel.

It was a fantastical tale, and Princess Caraboo quickly vaulted to fame. But it was, of course, too good to be true. After reading her story in a local newspaper, a woman outed Caraboo, noting that the phony Princess — whom the woman had employed as a servant — had entertained children by speaking in invented tongues. Princess Caraboo, it turned out, came from no more exotic a locale than Devonshire, England, where she was born Mary Baker, the daughter of a cobbler.

Read more »

Photo of the Day

The Sullivan Brothers on the USS Juneau. Among the losses on Juneau were the five brothers from Iowa, the Sullivans: George, 27; Francis, or “Frank,” 26; Joseph, known as “Red,” 24; Madison, or “Matt,” 23; and Albert, or “Al,” 20. It was—and remains—the single greatest wartime sacrifice of any American family.

“We Stick Together”

The death of the five Sullivan brothers was impossible to imagine. So horrible it forced the U.S. War department to adopt “The Sole Survivor Policy” so it would never happen again. Can anyone even think of the heartache that the Sullivan family suffered? How much sorrow can a family take?

Des Moines “Register”, January 4, 1942:

“Five husky Waterloo brothers who lost a “pal” at Pearl Harbour were accepted as Navy recruits at Des Moines.  All passed their physical exams “with flying colours” and left by train for the Great Lakes (Ill.) naval training station.
“You see,” explained George Sullivan, “a buddy of ours was killed in the Pearl Harbour attack, Bill Ball of Fredericksburg, Iowa.”
“That’s where we want to go now, to Pearl Harbour,” put in Francis, and the others nodded.”

When Joseph, Francis, Albert, Madison, and George Sullivan heard about their friend Bill Ball’s death, they marched into the Naval recruiting office together. They wanted to avenge their friend if they could do it together, they told the recruiter. Their motto had always been, “We Stick Together,” and they intended to stick together. The Sullivan’s hometown paper, The Waterloo Iowa Courier featured a series of stories of about soldiers getting ready to go to war and asked Aletta Sullivan how she felt about all five of her sons going to war together. “I remember I was crying a little,” she said. George Thomas Sullivan summed up the feelings of all of the brothers when he said, “Well I guess our minds are made up, aren’t they fellows? And, when we go in we want to go in together. If the worst comes to the worst, why we’ll all have gone down together.”

Read more »

Photo of the Day

Mary Todd Lincoln

Controversial as First Lady, Lincoln’s Wife Remains Misunderstood

Historians have long been fascinated with the behaviour of Mary Todd Lincoln.

She was one of the most interesting and polarizing first ladies of the 19th century: Her unusually stormy moods, coupled with rumors of delusions, constant headaches and pallor, have led historians to suggest that she was “insane,” “hypochondriacal,” “menstrual” and the “female wild cat of the age.”

Mary Todd Lincoln, the wife of President Abraham Lincoln, became a figure of controversy during her time in the White House. And she has remained so until the present day. A well-educated woman from a prominent Kentucky family, she was an unlikely partner for Lincoln, who had come from humble frontier roots.

During Lincoln’s time as president, his wife was criticised for spending too much money on White House furnishings and on her own clothing.

Mary Todd Lincoln, the most criticised and misunderstood first lady, experienced more than her share of tragedy during her lifetime. From the time she was six, her life took a melancholy turn from which she never recovered. She suffered from depressive episodes and migraine headaches throughout her life and turned to squandering money on lavish gowns and frivolous accessories during the white house year in hopes of finding relief from the void deep within.

Mary supported her husband throughout his presidency and witnessed his fatal shooting at nearly point blank range at Ford’s Theatre on April 14, 1865. Mary’s life was difficult after her husband was assassinated; she suffered from depression and mental anguish, which led to her being hospitalised for a time.

Read more »