TIME News

Little Boy Finds Mummified Body in Empty House Because Horror Movies Are Real

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Mummy Getty Images

Yes, this is real life

A curious 12-year-old boy ventured into a semi-hidden abandoned house in Dayton, Ohio Sunday. He then found a mummified corpse hanging by a rope in the closet.

This isn’t a viral marketing stunt for the next season of American Horror Story. The movie-trope occurred in real life, and the body of resident Edward Bruton is thought to have been hanging there since 2009. Being stored in the closet may have helped prevent the body from decomposing too heavily.

While the coroner suspects suicide, no official cause of death has been determined.

[CNN]

TIME Accident

Hoarder Dies When House Collapses From All Her Stuff

First floor collapsed into the basement

A Connecticut woman who police described as an apparent hoarder was found dead Saturday after the first floor of her house collapsed under the weight of all her clutter.

Police went to Beverly Mitchell’s home in Cheshire, Conn., on Friday after a mail carrier said she hadn’t picked up her mail in almost two weeks. They found that the first floor had collapsed into the basement because of the weight of all the clutter in the house, the Cheshire Citizen reports.

“The contents of that room caved in on top of her,” Sgt. Kevin O’Donnell said, adding that local police had to call in backup and equipment from Connecticut Department of Emergency Management and Homeland Security in order to continue the search. Mitchell’s body was finally found with the help of cadaver dogs on Saturday, but searchers had to cut into the side of the house in order to get in.

“She was a hoarder,” O’Donnell told the Citizen. “This was an accidental death caused by disrepair.”

O’Donnell said police saw stacks of clutter that reached the ceiling in some places.

[Cheshire Citizen]

TIME Television

Game of Thrones: Why You Can’t Stop Thinking About Oberyn Martell

Pedro Pascal as Oberyn Martell
Oberyn Martell (Pedro Pascal) shares a moment with Tyrion (Peter Dinklage). Macall B. Polay / HBO

It's not just because of that one scene. Well, it's a little because of that one scene

NOTE: Spoilers from Season 4 of Game of Thrones below.

Last week’s Game of Thrones spent all of its time at the Wall, and though I tried as best I could to focus on the stunning visuals of the episode, my mind was still stuck in King’s Landing. Hell, it’s still stuck in King’s Landing. All because George R.R. Martin, David Benioff and D.B. Weiss had built up Oberyn Martell as the hero that Westeros (and Tyrion Lannister) needed, only to have his head popped like a grape instead of allowing him to exact his revenge.

More so than with any previous death, even those of Ned and Robb Stark, fans were indignant: Was Martin simply being cruel? Was cruelty itself the point?

There’s no one thing that you can point to that would explain why Oberyn’s death was so affecting, so perhaps it’s best start with the most obvious one, alluded to above: he was a hero — one that that show very much seemed to need. With the most prominent members of the Stark family all murdered, Jon Snow practically a world away on the Wall and Daenerys in no particular hurry to cross the Narrow Sea, Oberyn was a rare, apparently untainted beacon of hope in the show’s most prominent location.

More than that, he had belief in himself. Oberyn very clearly saw himself as the protagonist not only of his own story but of a much larger one as well — one that involved Kings Landing and the Lannisters and revenge and justice. Ned Stark may have fought for honor, but we never quite knew why, other than that honor was what he believed in. But for most of us, we can’t really identify with some vague concept of honor, can’t root for honor — especially in a world that so clearly believes there’s no place for it.

Revenge, on the other hand, now that we can most certainly understand. Robb Stark fought for vengeance, but not at all costs and not with nearly the same magnetism that Oberyn did. We heard of Robb’s triumphs but rarely saw them, and before his murder we began to realize that he had too much of his father in him to ever exact the kind of revenge that the Game of Thrones universe demands: ruthless and entirely unadulterated.

From the moment we met Oberyn in a King’s Landing brothel, commanding the room effortlessly and declaring his hatred of the Lannisters with his tongue and his blade, it was clear he wouldn’t suffer the same difficulties that befell Robb Stark. Just as importantly, he was fun. Oberyn seemed to love (and live) life to the fullest without ever losing sight of why he came to King’s Landing in the first place. Ned Stark was never fun. Robb Stark gained confidence but never had that — for lack of a better term — swagger that Oberyn exuded whenever he appeared on screen.

In his final days, Oberyn somehow managed to both come to the rescue of the show’s most popular character while simultaneously making huge progress in his quest for vengeance. The prospect of squaring off in single combat against the Mountain — a man that struck fear in the hearts of virtually everyone in Westeros — did not scare Oberyn; it excited him. From the moment he stepped into the arena with the Mountain, Oberyn displayed the same sort of flashy confidence that had made him so enticing in earlier episodes when the only weapon he’d used was his words.

I’d have to guess that when most of us— on the rare occasion that we might do so — imagine ourselves in life-or-death combat, we don’t think of ourselves as the hulking, nearly 8-foot, 420-lb giant. We would think of ourselves as the other guy, with whatever skills that person might possess. and for Oberyn, those skills were manifold. They helped him put Westeros’ most feared warrior on his back, just one blow away from death. But the moment Oberyn looked at Ellaria and they smiled at each other, he signed his death warrant. After all, the quickest way to know something terrible is about to happen to a popular Game of Thrones character is when they’re happy.

Oberyn certainly was. He was one step closer to exacting his revenge. The Mountain was never meant to be the end — he was only one more step in Oberyn’s plan for vengeance against the Lannisters. That’s a big part of the reason his death felt like such a gut-punch. For a few moments there, we were all Oberyn Martell. There was so much more of his story — a story that seemed like a triumphant one — that was left to be told. Now it never will.

TIME Infectious Disease

Saudi Arabia Revises MERS Death Toll Up 48%

SAUDI-HEALTH-MERS-VIRUS
A Saudi man walks towards the King Fahad hospital in the city of Hofuf, 370 kms East of the Saudi capital Riyadh, on June 16, 2013. FAYEZ NURELDINE—AFP/Getty Images

Saudi Arabia confirmed Tuesday an additional 113 cases of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), dramatically raising the kingdom’s caseload to a total of 688.

Reuters reports that Saudi Arabia’s Health Ministry released the revised figures after officials conducted a deeper review of the nation’s medical records. In addition to the heavier caseload, officials raised the virus’ death toll by 48% from 190 to 282 known deaths.

“While the review has resulted in a higher total number of previously unreported cases,” read a statement from Tariq Madani, head of the ministry’s scientific advisory board, “we still see a decline in the number of new cases reported over the past few weeks.”

Saudi Arabia dismissed its Deputy Health Minister Doctor Ziad Memish on Tuesday, without elaborating on the reasons for his dismissal, Reuters reports. The sacking comes only six weeks after Health Minister Abdullah al-Rabeeah was fired amid rising MERS infection rates.

[Reuters]

TIME health

Why Your Doctor Probably Has a “Do Not Resuscitate” Order

Doctors know that aggressive end of life care can be a waste of money—and painful. Yet that's exactly what happens when Americans die

The greatest success of the American medical system is also its greatest failure. Thanks to amazing advances in biomedicine, doctors can keep you living long after you would have passed away in earlier years. Today a 65-year-old man can expect to live past age 82, and a 65-year-old woman can expect to live even longer. But those extra years can come at a terrible cost. Millions of Americans spend the last few years of their lives in and out of hospitals, racking up huge medical bills. A quarter of the total Medicare budget is spent on the last year of recipients’ lives, with 40% of that money going to their final 30 days. Worse than those billions, though, is the physical and psychological pain that accompanies aggressive end-of-life treatment. Intubations, dialysis, feeding tubes, invasive tests—for far too many Americans, the last phase of life is spent in a hospital intensive care unit, hooked up to machines.

It’s a terrible fate, as doctors only know too well. That’s why it shouldn’t be surprising that researchers in a new study in the journal PLOS ONE found that 88.3% of doctors surveyed reported that they would choose to forgo this kind of treatment if they were dying of a terminal illness. Yet even though they know how painful and futile those treatments are for dying patients—and would refuse them if the situations were reversed—doctors still find themselves carrying out those procedures on their own patients. “Physicians know it’s not the right thing to do, but we find ourselves participating in treatment that causes pain and suffering for our patient,” says Dr. VJ Periyakoil, the director of the Stanford Palliative Care Education and Training Program and the lead author of the paper. “Families are traumatized and there is a huge financial cost to the individual and the nation.”

Doctors aren’t alone. Periyakoil notes that surveys have found that more than 80% of patients say they wish to avoid frequent hospitalizations and high-intensity care at the end of their lives. So why then are so many Americans dying in exactly opposite the fashion that they and their doctors desire? Blame the same medical technology that has helped Americans live longer than ever before. Hospitals and doctors are reimbursed for carrying out procedures, whatever the end result. “The default of the medical system is to doing all possible technological care,” says Periyakoil. “It simply doesn’t make it easy to do the right thing.”

Medical schools bear some of the blame as well. Periyakoil notes that students are taught to extend their patients’ lives if at all possible, but they’re not taught how to speak to their patients and families about the reality of end-of-life care. That’s especially important because elderly, terminally ill patients are rarely in a position where they are capable of expressing their wishes, which too often leaves the decision up to the closest family members. And it’s hardly surprising that, faced with the possibility of losing a loved one, family members opt for whatever care is needed, no matter the financial or human cost. Periyakoil herself has spoken with the family of a terminally ill patient and gently suggested withdrawing extreme treatment, only to have the family push back. “We can present the options, but ultimately I have to defer to them,” she says.

Periyakoil says she published the study in part to show ordinary people what their doctors actually thought about intensive end of life care, with the hope that they would reconsider the need to extend the lives of their loved ones at all cost. This is fraught territory—just look at the hysteria over the so-called “death panels” during the initial Obamacare debates in 2009. But these conversations must be had, on the national level and the personal one. It’s projected that 26.1% of the U.S. population will be 65 or older by 2030, up from 12.8% now, and if intensive care remains the norm, costs will continue to balloon, while the elderly and the terminally ill will continue to suffer—as will their doctors standing witness to that pain.

“My goal is to prolong life—not prolong the dying process,” says Periyakoil. “We have to fix this.”

TIME Books

A Guide to Maya Angelou’s Most Beloved Books

Maya Angelou Signs Copies of "Maya Angelou: Letter to My Daughter" - October 30, 2008
Poet and Author Maya Angelou signs copies of "Maya Angelou: Letter to My Daughter" at Barnes & Noble in Union Square on October 30, 2008 in New York City. Jemal Countess--WireImage

The prolific poet and author passed away on May 28, 2014 at the age of 86. A look back at her most prominent works

Maya Angelou, who died Wednesday at the age of 86, was known for many things throughout her life: her wisdom, her acting, her indefatigable civil rights activism. But more than anything else, Angelou was famous for her writing. Both a prolific poet and memorist, Angelou penned more than two dozens books and collections throughout her life (including two cookbooks).

Despite the scale of her oeuvre, much of her work deals with reoccuring themes: love, heartbreak, family, race and feminism. Her books were critically-acclaimed and adored by many readers; here are some of the most notable works.

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (1969)

The first of seven autobiographical works, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings is Angelou’s most famous and critically acclaimed book. The story spans much of her childhood, following young Maya and her older brother as they bounce from their parents’ home to their grandmother’s and back again. Throughout the memoir, Angelou struggles not only with feelings of chronic displacement but also her experiences with racism, molestation and rape. Nominated for the National Book Award and named one of the All-TIME Best 100 Non-Fiction works (by this writer), Caged Bird was a revolutionary account of what it meant to be young, female and black in America.

Just Give Me a Cool Drink of Water ‘fore I Diiie (1971)

Angelou’s first collected work of poetry, Just Give was written largely before her first memoir was published, with many of the poems originating as song lyrics. (Angelou worked as a nightclub singer in her twenties.) The book is divided into two sections: Where Love Is a Scream of Anguish features poems about love, while Just Before the World Ends features poems about surviving as an African-American in a white society. The collection became a best-seller and was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize in 1972.

The Heart of a Woman (1981)

For her fourth memoir, Angelou recounts her life from the years 1957 to 1962, where she leaves California with her son, Guy, to move to New York. She finds herself amongst other black artists and writers, reading her work at the Harlem Writers Guild, and taking part in the civil rights movement. She also recounts falling in love with a South African freedom fighter, which led her to travel to London and Cairo, though ultimately the memoir isn’t about relationships — it’s about “a voyage into the self.” The book was praised by critics and — 16 years after it was first published — Oprah Winfrey selected Heart as an Oprah’s Book Club selection, which put it on the best-sellers list.

Wouldn’t Take Nothing for My Journey Now (1993)

The first of three essay collections, Wouldn’t Take Nothing is a collection of autobiographical pieces and homilies that Angelou was reportedly encouraged to write by her friend Oprah Winfrey. Together with her second collection of essays, Even the Stars Look Lonesome, which was published four years later, the essay collections were dubbed “Angelou’s wisdom books” in the New Yorker by Hilton Als.

Mom & Me & Mom (2013)

What would become Angelou’s final book was both her seventh memoir and the only work where she focuses on her relationship with her mother. Mom recounts much of the material found in Angelou’s earlier memoirs, but hones in on her mother’s role in the events of her life. Chronicling her mother’s abandonment of Angelou as a young child, the memoir also covers their reunion and reconciliation. The book ends with the death of her mother, along with Angelou’s final words to her: “You were a terrible mother of small children, but there has never been anyone greater than you as a mother of a young adult.”

TIME Companies

What Dog Owners Need to Know About China’s Pet Jerky Treats

Worried about your dog? Here are the warning signs

With more than 1,000 canine deaths reported in connection with Chinese jerky treats and Petco’s decision to withdraw all pet treats made in China from shelves by the end of 2014, pet owners may have reason to worry — especially if they’ve been feeding their dogs or cats imported foods.

TIME’s Bryan Walsh explains which symptoms pet owners should watch out for and why pet food regulations may be difficult to improve.

TIME

These Are The 5 Most Lethal States for Pedestrians

Fueled By Consumer Spending, Economy Grew At 3.2 Percent In 1st Quarter
A woman with shopping bags traverses a crosswalk near Columbus Circle April 30, 2010 in New York, New York. Chris Hondros—Getty Images

Read this, Floridians

A new study warns of a nationwide “epidemic” of pedestrian fatalities concentrated in states that aren’t exactly known for their bustling crosswalks.

Researchers at the National Complete Streets Coalition crunched the numbers on 47,025 pedestrian deaths over the last 10 years—a number that exceeds deaths from natural disasters sixteen times over, the study notes.

States with dense urban populations and heavy concentrations of walkers, including Washington D.C., New York and Massachusetts, skewed on the safe side of the study’s “Pedestrian Danger Index,” a measure of deaths relative to the number of people walking the streets.

The real danger zones are down south in the car-centric urban tracts of Florida, Alabama and Louisiana. In short, these states weren’t made for walking.

Untitled
Source: National Complete Streets Coalition

Orlando, Florida topped the list of most hazardous cities with 583 pedestrian deaths and a danger index four times above the national average. Tampa, Jacksonville and Miami came in 2nd, 3rd and 4th respectively among the most dangerous cities.

The study also found that elderly pedestrians accounted for one in five fatalities, suggesting that Florida’s urban planners should neither be singled out for blame nor let off the hook. And perhaps they should pay a visit to these 5 pedestrian-friendly states:

Florida and 5 States
Source: National Complete Streets Coalition

The study’s authors advocated for reductions in speed limits and clearer delimitations between car lanes, bike lanes and crosswalks to combat an “epidemic” of pedestrian deaths, averaging 5,000 a year.

“Not only is that number simply too high,” said Roger Millar, Director of the National Complete Streets Coalition, “but these deaths are easily prevented through policy, design, and practice.”

TIME

New Access To Experimental Drugs For Terminally Ill Patients

The Right to Try act in Colorado will help very sick people get access to some drugs before they're approved by FDA

Very sick people in Colorado have new options as of this past weekend. A state law passed on Saturday gives terminally ill patients the ability to seek experimental treatments that have yet to be approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. And with FDA approval averaging 11 to 14 years for a new drug, skipping the wait could mean a lot for someone who has only months to live.

The “Right to Try Act”—the very first to pass in the U.S.—was signed into law by Colorado’s governor after passing the state legislature unanimously. Similar bills are coming up for approval in Arizona, Louisiana, and Missouri. Each bill would allow patients, in partnership with their physicians, to request experimental medications that are still being tested.

“This is such a paradigm shift for how we approach terminally ill patients’ access to medication in this country,” says Lucy Caldwell, communications director for the conservative public policy and advocacy organization Goldwater Institute, which is behind the current bills.

More from Prevention: Alternatives For The Top 10 Prescribed Medications

Nationwide, people with a terminal illness for which available treatments aren’t working can seek a Compassionate Use Exemption to be included in a clinical trial of a drug or procedure that might help them. Of the 550 requests the FDA received for such exceptions during the 2013 fiscal year, all were approved. “The FDA is strongly supportive of the appropriate use of expanded access,” says Sandy Walsh, a spokesperson for the agency. But many complain that the process is long and mired in paperwork. The new law would allow terminally ill Colorado patients to request treatments without any special exemptions or enrollment in a trial.

Critics of the legislation note that the FDA approval process exists to protect patients from harm, and that true “miracle” drugs are few and far between. Colorado patients will have access to drugs that have passed “Phase 1″—known as the safety phase—of clinical trials. The treatments need not have passed subsequent tests to show whether they are effective or safe in a larger population.

More from Prevention: 20 Ways To Lower Your Cancer Risk

Some 30% of drugs that begin the approval process pass the first phase of clinical trials (which usually include a very small numbers of patients—often between 20 and 80). But only 8% ultimately win approval, and far fewer are truly lifesaving. Some critics worry that opening up unapproved drugs for use will undermine the standards and safeguards the government has put in place to keep patients from needless suffering.

“The FDA has not taken a position on any particular ‘Right to Try’ bill,” says Walsh. “However, the agency is concerned with any efforts that would be inconsistent with its Congressionally mandated authority to protect the public from therapies that are not safe and effective.”

In Colorado, drug companies are under no obligation to provide the drugs, and patients may have to pay for them out of pocket.

“We don’t know what the level of efficacy is going to be—that’s where they’re rolling the dice,” Caldwell says of people who might request experimental drugs. But she notes that for terminally ill patients, side effects might be of little concern: “There’s a side effect that’s certain if I don’t take this drug,” she says. “And that’s death.”

More from Prevention: Measles Vaccine Cures Woman Of Cancer

The article was written by Katherine Harmon Courage and originally appeared on Prevention.com

 

 

TIME remembrance

H.R. Giger, Creator Of The Perfect Movie Monster, Dead at 74

H. R. Giger
Visual artist H. R. Giger taking off face mask. Dana Frank—Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images

The Swiss artist created the designs for the hissing, acid-blooded xenomorph in Ridley Scott's haunting "Alien"

Swiss artist H.R. Giger, who haunted movie goers by creating Ridley Scott’s Alien, died Monday at the age of 74. A representative from his museum told the Associated Pressthat he died from injuries sustained from a fall.

Giger was born in Chur, Switzerland in 1940 and became famous for creating nightmarish landscapes and surreal creatures in Hollywood science fiction films. The sculptor, artist, and set designer began working in movies in 1975 on Alejandro Jodorowsky’s uncompleted Dune remake, but came to prominence with the creation of the nightmarish creature in Alien (1979).Ridley Scott was inspired by Giger’s book Necronomicon and hired the artist to work on the film. He later went on to work on films including Poltergeist II and Species.

Here Giger is with his alien progeny:

He won an Academy Award for Best Achievement for Visual Effects for Alien and was named into the Science Fiction and Fantasy hall of Fame in 2013:

FARRAH FAWCETT AND HAROLD RUSSELL WITH BEST VISUAL EFFECTS WINNERS
PRESENTERS FARRAH FAWCETT AND HAROLD RUSSELL (R) WITH BEST VISUAL EFFECTS OSCAR WINNERS (2ND FROM L-R): H.R. GIGER, CARLO RAMBALDI, BRIAN JOHNSON, NICK ALLDER, DENYS AYLING ABC Photo Archives/Getty Images

Giger’s work lived beyond the screen:

Switzerland Obit Giger
Swiss artist H.R. Giger poses with two of his works at the art museum in Chur, Switzerland. AP

He even created monstrous microphone stands for the band Korn:

Korn Perform in Manchester
Korn in Manchester, England. Shirlaine Forrest—Getty Images

Details on survivors and funeral arrangements haven’t yet been released.

[AP]

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