TIME Bizarre

13 Weirdly Morbid Vintage News Stories

What were they thinking?

In the earlier days of TIME, the magazine ran a weekly round-up of local news items of note — and, as we pointed out earlier this month, it’s proof positive that funny flubs and weird happenings have always had the ability to go viral, albeit at a slightly slower pace than they do today.

But that “Miscellany” column, in the 1920s and ’30s, wasn’t just a repository of the benignly strange. On a regular basis, it also featured deaths and killings (and, as seen above, freak accidents that result in mere permanent blindness) that we can only hope weren’t meant to be funny. Here are a few of the strangest, most macabre items we could find.

TIME Crime

Mommy Blogger Stands Trial Accused of Killing Her 5-Year-Old Son With Salt

Lacey Spears
This undated photo provided by the Westchester County District Attorney’s office shows Lacey Spears, who was indicted June 17, 2014, in White Plains, N.Y., on charges of depraved murder and manslaughter in the death of her son, 5-year-old Garnett-Paul Spears. Westchester County District Attorney’/AP

Lacey Spears tweeted updates on her son's worsening condition

A mommy blogger is on trial outside New York City regarding the death of her 5-year-old son, whom she allegedly poisoned with high levels of salt while sharing his worsening medical condition over the Internet.

Lacey Spears, 27, of Scottsville, Ky., has been charged with the depraved murder and manslaughter of Garnett-Paul Spears. She allegedly fed him salt through a hospital tube at the Westchester Medical Center, White Plains, N.Y., precipitating a spike in his sodium levels that led to seizures, brain swelling and eventually death.

“This mother was intentionally feeding her child salt at toxic levels,” said prosecutor Doreen Lloyd, according to the Associated Press.

Spears, originally from Alabama, kept her social-media followers appraised of Garnett-Paul’s worsening medical condition during the last few days of his life, writing “My sweet angel is in the hospital for the 23rd time” and “Please pray he gets to come home soon.”

On her son’s final day, she wrote, “Garnett the great journeyed onward today at 10:20 a.m.”

The trial continues.

[AP]

TIME Saudi Arabia

Global Leaders Pay Respects After the Death of Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah

President Obama meets King Abdullah in Saudi Arabia
U.S. President Barack Obama meets with King Abdullah at Rawdat al-Khraim (Desert Camp) near Riyadh in Saudi Arabia, March 28, 2014. Kevin Lamarque—Reuters

"An important voice who left a lasting impact on his country"

U.S. President Barack Obama paid tribute to Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah on Friday, hailing the late monarch’s contributions to peace in the Middle East and the relationship between the two allies.

“As our countries work together to confront many challenges, I always valued King Abdullah’s perspective and appreciated our genuine and warm friendship,” Obama said in a statement. “The closeness and strength of the partnership between our two countries is part of King Abdullah’s legacy.”

Former President George H.W. Bush also released a statement calling Abdullah “a wise and reliable ally, helping our nations build a strategic relationship and enduring friendship,” according to CBS News.

Messages came in from leaders around the world, with British Prime Minister David Cameron and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi both expressing regret at Abdullah’s demise. Cameron, who visited Saudi Arabia in 2012, said he was “deeply saddened” and expressed hope that the “long and deep ties between our two Kingdoms will continue,” while Modi took to Twitter to commemorate “an important voice who left a lasting impact on his country.”

Abdullah’s spearheading of the Arab Peace Initiative, which was cited by both Obama and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry as one of his key achievements, was also included in U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon’s condolence message as “a tangible legacy that can still point the way towards peace in the Middle East.”

TIME Accident

Report: 1 Dead, 1 Injured in Overpass Collapse in Cincinnati

Overpass Collapse
This photo provided by the Cincinnati Fire and EMS, shows the scene following a highway overpass collapse in Cincinnati on Jan. 19, 2015 AP

Witness heard a "real big boom"

(CINCINNATI) — Officials say one person died and another person was injured when a highway overpass collapsed in Cincinnati.

The Cincinnati Fire Department says the bridge was undergoing demolition at the time of the collapse.

The Cincinnati Enquirer reports that according to a police dispatch the southbound interstate 75 was closed indefinitely after the collapse of an overpass north of the old Hopple Street bridge.

It happened at about 10:30 p.m. Monday. The newspaper reports at least one tractor trailer was damaged by the collapse.

Fire and EMS officials say one construction worker was killed and a tractor trailer driver was injured.

A witness told WLWT5 that he heard “a real big boom” and then a couple of seconds later he saw police cars rushing to the scene.

TIME Health Care

Clinic Loses Accreditation After Joan Rivers’ Death

Joan Rivers-Death Investigation
Yorkville Endoscopy seen in New York, Sept. 5, 2014. Tina Fineberg—AP

The clinic has been cited for multiple errors in its care of the late comedian

The New York clinic where TV personality Joan Rivers underwent vocal cord surgery, before her sudden deterioration and death, will lose its federal accreditation at the end of the month.

As of Jan. 31, Yorkville Endoscopy will no longer receive Federal funds for services given to Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries, the Huffington Post reports.

Earlier this past year, the New York State Department of Health determined that the clinic made multiple errors during Rivers’ care. Rivers died on Sept. 4 after suffering brain damage from lack of oxygen after she quit breathing during surgery only a few days earlier.

An employee of the clinic also reportedly took a photo of Rivers during the surgery.

The clinic released a statement, saying: “We are continuing to work with all regulatory bodies. We intend to communicate with CMS and appropriate authorities to have the decision reversed. Yorkville continues to be a licensed facility and perform procedures while cooperating with the regulatory process.”

TIME Addiction

Alcohol Poisoning Kills 6 Americans a Day

CDC says alcohol poisoning deaths are a greater problem than previously thought

America has a drinking problem, with 2,200 people dying each year from alcohol poisoning. That’s an average of six alcohol-related deaths a day, a new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report says.

Alcohol poisoning happens when people drink an excessive amount of alcohol in a short amount of time, causing high levels of alcohol in the body to interfere with and even shutdown parts of the brain that are critical for controlling vitals like heart rate, body temperature, and breathing. Eventually, that can lead to death.

Over 38 million Americans binge drink an average of four times a month, and consume an average of eight drinks per binge, according to the new CDC Vital Signs report. Interestingly, the report shows that the majority of alcohol poisoning deaths happen in adults between the ages of 35 and 64, and 76% of those who die are men, revealing binge drinking is not a behavior solely observed among young people. The CDC reports that while the most deaths occur among non-Hispanic whites, American Indians and Alaska Natives have the most deaths per million people. The death rates also vary widely state to state. For example, alcohol poisoning deaths in Alaska add up to 46.5 deaths per million residents, and in Alabama it’s 5.3 per million residents.

The CDC says the report shows alcohol poisoning deaths are a greater problem than previously believed, and that the numbers are likely an underestimate since alcohol-related deaths are known to be underreported. Alcoholism was a factor in 30% of the deaths and other drug use was a factor in only 3%.

“Alcohol poisoning deaths are a heartbreaking reminder of the dangers of excessive alcohol use, which is a leading cause of preventable deaths in the U.S.,” CDC principal deputy director Ileana Arias said in a statement.

In response, the CDC is calling for more members of the medical community to screen and talk to their patients about alcohol, since numbers show only one in six U.S. adults has reported ever talked about their drinking with a health professional. States with stronger alcohol policies also have less binge drinking, and should partner with community workers including police and health workers for better programs, CDC says.

TIME Heart Disease

6 Steps That Can Prevent 70% of Heart Attacks

woman-running
Getty Images

Much of your heart health is within your control

How much of your heart health is in your own hands?

A lot, it turns out, according to a new study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. And it helps to start early: Young women who follow six healthy activities can all but heart-attack-proof themselves.

The study looked at questionnaire data from a large number of nurses over two decades. They were all around age 37 at the start. The researchers identified six healthy behaviors important for heart health, none of which will come as a surprise: not smoking, having a normal BMI, getting at least 2.5 hours of exercise each week, watching television seven or fewer hours a week, having a healthy diet and limiting alcohol to a drink or less per day.

MORE How Mindfulness Protects Your Heart

Women who stuck to all six guidelines had a 92% lower risk for coronary heart disease, the researchers discovered. That means that more than 70% of heart attacks in the group could have been prevented if everyone had hit those six benchmarks of heart health, they estimate.

Not that you needed a study to tell you; the science has long been clear about how to get a healthier heart. But now, at least you know you’re only six steps away.

Read next: Your Chances of Surviving Cancer May Depend on Where You Live

Listen to the most important stories of the day.

TIME People

See Mario Cuomo’s Life in Pictures

The former three-term New York Governor died Thursday at the age of 82 , just hours after his son was inaugurated for a second term as New York governor.

TIME brazil

Four People Were Killed by a Lightning Strike on a Brazilian Beach

Local media reports say they included a pregnant woman and were from the same family

Four people were killed Monday by a lightning strike on a popular beach in Brazil, during a sudden storm off the coast of São Paulo.

Citing local media, the BBC says the four included a pregnant woman and were from the same family.

Four other people were injured and taken to hospital, with two said to be in a serious condition.

The victims were sheltering from the heavy rain under a kiosk on Praia Grande beach, near the port city of Santos, when they were struck.

An earlier storm on Monday tore down trees and power lines across São Paulo state, causing transport chaos.

[BBC]

TIME Crime

Vice President Biden, Gov. Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio Honor Life of Fallen Officer

Officer Rafael Ramos was shot to death along with his partner Wenjian Liu while on a meal break in Brooklyn last week

Thousands gathered to honor the life of New York City police Officer Rafael Ramos, who along with his partner Wenjian Liu, was shot in broad daylight the weekend before Christmas.

Vice President Joe Biden, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio were among the many government officials who offered their condolences to the family of Rafael Ramos during his Saturday morning services at the Christ Tabernacle Church in Glendale, Queens.

Vice President Joe Biden offered his sympathies, telling Ramos’s sons, widow, and extended family that the nation’s “hearts ache for you.”

“Being a cop is not what they did,” Biden said of Ramos and Liu, both shot in broad daylight in Brooklyn last weekend. “It was who they were.”

Mayor Bill de Blasio said of Ramos: “New York City has lost a hero.” During his remarks, officers outside of the church turned their backs on the mayor.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo praised the NYPD’s response to Eric Garner protests over the past couple of weeks and added, “Nothing will ever defeat or divide our New York family.”

New York Police Commissioner William Bratton used strong language during his remarks, saying the two officers were “assassinated” by a “madman” for choosing to serve his community as a member of the police department. He also spoke about the need for healing and bringing the city together in the wake of the officers’ deaths. “If we can learn to see each other, we’ll heal,” he said.

At the funeral, Bratton promoted both Ramos and Liu to detectives and posthumously appointed Ramos as an honorary chaplain.

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