Some of the best movies and nonfiction books in the world are based around the lives of people. In most cases, these individuals have experienced odd and noteworthy events in their lifetime. It has been determined that the viewing public enjoys learning about bizarre humans and their struggle. For this reason, movie studios have been known to select stories that will intrigue and sometimes shock the public. This article will be examining ten individuals, and the disturbing events surrounding their lives. Some entries will look at the deranged personality of a serial killer, while others will document random occurrences. Everybody included on the list is living, and capable of telling their disturbing story. However, some of the people are currently in jail.
In 1933, Lina Medina was born in Ticrapo, Peru. At the age of five, Lina was brought to the hospital by her parents complaining of extreme abdominal growth. She was originally thought to have a tumor, but doctors later determined that the child was seven months pregnant. On May 14, 1939, Lina Medina gave birth to a baby boy. The child was delivered by way of caesarean section, as Lina’s pelvis was too small to perform a natural birth. Her son was named Gerardo, and weighed 2.7 kg (6.0 lb). Lina Medina officially became the youngest confirmed mother in medical history, aged five years, seven months and 21 days. The doctors who worked on Lina noted that she had an abnormal advancement in growth, with prominent breast development by the age of four. By age five, her body displayed pelvic widening and advanced bone maturation. However, the doctors could not explain how the 5-year-old girl became pregnant?
As one would expect, sexual abuse was immediately considered and Lina’s father was arrested on suspicion of rape and incest. He was later released due to lack of evidence. Lina Medina has never revealed who the true father of her child is, or the circumstances surrounding her impregnation. Gerardo was raised to believe that Lina was his sister, but found out at the age of 10 that she was his mother. He led a normal life, but died in 1979, at the age of 40, after being diagnosed with a bone marrow disease. If this event had occurred in recent history, I can only imagine the mass publicity the story would have received. A heavy push would have been made to test the DNA of Gerardo and compare it to that of Lina’s father. Lina Medina is still alive today, but refuses to give any interviews. The case has been called a hoax by some, but doctors have verified the pregnancy was real, based on biopsies and x-rays of the fetal skeleton. There are two published photographs documenting the birth. The most famous picture was taken of Lina Medina when she was seven-months pregnant.
In 1941, James Joseph Dresnok was born in Richmond, Virginia. James had a troubled childhood and enlisted in the US armed forces one day after his 17th birthday. After joining the military, Dresnok was positioned in the US and married an American girl. He was soon deployed to West Germany and served at a US military post for two years. Upon his return to the states, Dresnok discovered that his wife was living with another man. He got a divorce and reenlisted in the army. In the early 1960s, James Dresnok was shipped to South Korea. He was positioned along the Korean Demilitarized Zone between North and South Korea. Soon after his arrival, Dresnok was faced with a court martial after forging signatures on military paperwork. It has been revealed that he used the documents as permission to leave the base. On August 15, 1962, while his fellow soldiers were eating lunch, James Dresnok ran across an open minefield in broad daylight. He entered North Korean territory and was quickly apprehended by enemy soldiers. Dresnok was taken by train to Pyongyang, the North Korean capital, and interrogated. He ultimately convinced the North Korean government that he was not a threat and was given permission to settle in the area.
During the 1960s, James Dresnok participated in several propaganda efforts on behalf of the North Korean government. Along with three other US defectors, Dresnok regularly appeared in magazines and attempted to persuade American soldiers to enter North Korea. He became known for using a loudspeaker to send propaganda over enemy lines. In 1966, James Dresnok attempted to gain asylum at the Soviet embassy in Pyongyang, but was turned over to the North Korean authorities. Since that time, he has decided to settle in North Korea and assimilate. Beginning in 1978, James Dresnok was cast in several North Korean films, including the 20-part series Unsung Heroes, in which he played an American villain. As a result of the exposure, Dresnok has become a celebrity in North Korea. He is also known for translating the North Korean leader Kim Il-sung’s writings into English. Since living in North Korea, James Dresnok has been married on two separate occasions and has three children. Today, he is widely regarded as one of the last United States defectors alive in North Korea.
In 1949, Issei Sagawa was born to wealthy parents in the city of Kobe, Japan. At a young age, Sagawa became interested in world travel and moved to Paris, France. In 1981, he enrolled at the Sorbonne Academy in Paris, taking classes in French literature. One of his fellow students was a Dutch woman named Renée Hartevelt. On June 11, Sagawa invited Hartevelt over to his apartment to study. Upon her arrival, Issei Sagawa viciously attacked and murdered Renée Hartevelt, by shooting her in the neck. He then cut up her body and ate it. After he shot Renée, Sagawa sexually assaulted her dead body. Over the next couple of days, he feasted on the remains of Renée Hartevelt. He ate up all her legs and the meaty portions of her body. He then attempted to dump her mutilated corpse in a remote lake, but was seen in the act and arrested by the French police. Upon interrogation, Issei Sagawa revealed some disturbing details about his cannibalism. He claims that he was surprised by the “corn-colored” nature of human fat. He described the meat as “soft” and “odorless,” like tuna.
Issei Sagawa has said that he attacked Renée Hartevelt because of her health and beauty, two qualities that he lacked. He claimed that he wanted to “absorb her energy.” His wealthy father provided a top defense lawyer, and Sagawa was ultimately ruled to be legally insane and confined to a mental hospital in France. While in the facility Issei Sagawa was interviewed by the author Inuhiko Yomota, who published an account of the murder, named In the Fog. The book helped propel Sagawa to minor celebrity status in Japan. However, the publicity was unwanted in France and helped contribute to the authority’s decision to have him extradited to Japan. Upon his arrival in Japan, Sagawa was given a psychological evaluation and doctors determined him to be sane but “evil.” For this reason, the Japanese government ruled that they no longer had the right to detain Issei Sagawa. He checked himself out of the mental institution on August 12, 1986, and has been a free man ever since. Today, Sagawa lives in Tokyo and works as a part-time public speaker and commentator. He has also written restaurant reviews for a Japanese magazine and worked as a freelance nude artist.
Robert Young Pelton is a Canadian author, filmmaker and adventure seeker. Over the last fifteen years, Pelton has become famous for traveling around the world and documenting most of the world’s wars. He has been described as an adventurer and “witness” to conflict. Pelton has the uncanny ability to enter forbidden, violent and deadly places and emerge with a stunning story. Many times these are tales of abuse, torture, war and global injustice. Robert Young Pelton has traveled to, and written about, dozens of conflicts, including the battle of Qala-I-Jangi in Afghanistan, the siege of Grozny in Chechnya and the rebel campaign to take Monrovia, in Liberia. He spent months covering the war in Iraq and logged time with the CIA in the early stages of the hunt for Osama bin Laden. Over his lifetime, Robert Young Pelton has experienced many near death experiences. He survived an assassination attempt in Uganda and was kidnapped by right-wing Colombian paramilitaries in the Darién Gap.
The Darién Gap has been described as the Everest of backpacking, and one of the world’s last wild places. Robert Young Pelton is a bestselling author and has published several political and survival guides. He is an expert in practical survival information, and has provided training for people who work in high risk zones. From 1998 to 2003, Pelton was the host of the Discovery Travel Channel series, The World’s Most Dangerous Places. He runs a website that provides current information for professionals, adventurers and travelers who are planning to enter high risk areas. Robert Young Pelton is currently residing in Los Angeles, California, and continues to publish articles describing conflict-related subjects. In 2010, it was revealed that Pelton worked as an information contractor for the US government during his travels. It has been reported that he helped the US effort in tracking and killing militants. However, this is a controversial story and Robert has denied any knowledge that he contributed to the coordinated attacks.
On January 13, 2007, a young woman was captured in the dense jungle of Ratanakiri province, in remote northeastern Cambodia. She was taken into custody after local workers noticed food missing from their lunch boxes. The woman was filthy, naked and scared. The people who captured the woman reported seeing a naked man on the scene. The man ran into the jungle when challenged. It is said that he wielded a large sword, and certain villagers have since labeled him a ghostly spirit. After hearing about the incident, 45-year-old Sal Lou traveled to the area and claimed the woman as his long-lost daughter, Rochom P’ngieng. Rochom was lost in the jungle when she was eight-years-old. Sal Lou identified the girl based on a scar located on her arm. However, DNA testing has never been conducted to prove the woman’s true identity.
The story was widely reported in the media all over the world, with many people labeling the woman a feral child. This claim has been challenged by certain scientists who have studied the woman’s physical features. Apparently, her feet do not appear as if she has lived in the jungle for a long period of time. The woman was also able to use a spoon without direction. However, she has experienced great difficulties adjusting to civilized life. After her initial capture, the woman was only able to speak three words, “father”, “mother” and “stomachache”. She attempted to communicate, but her speech was unrecognizable. When she was thirsty or hungry, the woman would simply point to her mouth. She preferred to crawl rather than walk upright. The woman also had to be confined and watched at all hours of the day because she would continually attempt to run back into the jungle.
The most disturbing aspect of the case is the clear physical damage that was inflicted on the woman. Her body is covered with scars. She has thick marks on her wrists and scars all the way up her arms, which indicate that she was tied down for long periods of time. Researchers close to the woman have released statements showing that they believe she was the victim of some kind of torture, maybe sexual or physical. The woman becomes restless at night and is continually escaping back into the jungle, only to return days later. Many of the details surrounding her life remain a complete mystery. In the last couple months, the Spanish mental health organization, Psicologos Sin Fronteras, have been teaching the woman health habits and social skills in an attempt to normalize her life.
The Radioactive Boy Scout
David Hahn is an American man who attempted to build a homemade nuclear reactor when he was 17-years-old. As a youth, Hahn became a member of the Boy Scouts of America. In 1994, he was working towards gaining a merit badge in Atomic Energy, and started tinkering with some deadly elements. His experiment began when Hahn decided to gain samples of every element in the periodic table, including the radioactive ones. Over the span of a couple years, David Hahn gathered many deadly chemicals by extracting them from household products. He removed americium from smoke detectors, thorium from camping lantern mantles, radium from clocks and tritium from gun sights. Hahn’s used a large, bored-out block of lead for his reactor. He used lithium from $1,000 worth of purchased batteries to purify the thorium ash using a Bunsen burner.
David Hahn hoped to create a breeder nuclear reactor. He conducted his experiment in secret, in a backyard shed at his mother’s house in Commerce Township, Michigan. As you would expect from a teenager, Hahn frequently encountered problems with his work, often resulting in small explosions. His homemade reactor never achieved critical mass, but did create huge amounts of radioactivity, estimated at over 1,000 times the normal level. David Hahn understood the danger of his work and was in the process of dismantling the project when radioactive material was discovered in his car by the police. This triggered a Federal Radiological Emergency Response involving the FBI and the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission. It was soon discovered by researchers that the radioactive materials were starting to spread around Hahn’s neighborhood.
On June 26, 1995, the United States Environmental Protection Agency designated David Hahn’s mother’s property as a hazardous materials cleanup site. The shed was dismantled and its contents were shipped and buried at a low-level radioactive waste site in Utah. At that time, Hahn refused medical evaluation for radiation exposure. He did this even after being told that he might have exceeded the lifetime dosage for thorium exposure. In 2007, David Hahn was arrested on charges of larceny for allegedly stealing the smoke detectors from the halls of his apartment building. At that time, investigators noticed that Hahn’s face was covered with sores that indicated radiation poisoning. He was treated for radiation exposure and given a 90-day prison term. Sadly, it appears that David Hahn’s life may be cut short due to the mass amounts of radiation he was exposed to.
One of the worst random killing sprees in modern history struck the city of Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine, in June and July of 2007. After an intense investigation, it was revealed that the culprits of the brutal crimes, labeled the Dnepropetrovsk Maniacs, were two teenage boys named Viktor Sayenko and Igor Suprunyuck. The duo was arrested and charged with the murder of 21 people in a 4 week span. The murders began on June 25 when two people were bludgeoned to death with a hammer. One of the victims was killed while sleeping on a bench across from the Public Prosecutors office. Over the next four weeks, 21 people were selected, and killed at random. Many of the victims were vulnerable to attack, including pregnant women, children, elderly, vagrants and citizens under the influence of alcohol. The teenage boys murdered multiple victims on most days, with two bodies being discovered every day, from July 14 through 16, 2007. Most of the people were killed with blunt objects, including hammers and steel construction bars. The attacks were often directed at the victims’ faces, leaving them unrecognizable.
Many people were also mutilated and tortured, and some had their eyes gouged out while they were still alive. The investigation was initially kept secret and no official information on the murders was released. The Ukrainian people were not warned or provided with descriptions of the suspects. However, the ramped rumors of the crimes kept most of the local population home at night. On July 14, Viktor Sayenko and Igor Suprunyuck were witnessed committing a murder and identified by an investigating unit, which had grown to over 2,000 officers. The pair was arrested and charged with the murder spree. Sayenko and Suprunyuck were sentenced to life in prison, as Ukraine has no capital punishment law. The prosecution in the case did not establish a specific motive behind the killings, but interviews with the pair show that they were concerned with videotaping and photographing their crimes. In fact, a snuff film showing the brutal murder of a 48-year-old disabled Ukrainian man, named Sergei Yatzenko, was released to the Internet. The clip shows Viktor Sayenko and Igor Suprunyuck repeatedly beating Sergei Yatzenko with a hammer and stabbing him with a screwdriver. The video has been removed from many websites, but still makes appearances on the net.
During the First Liberian Civil War, Joshua Blahyi, or General Butt Naked, was a Liberian warlord and leader on the side of Roosevelt Johnson. Blahyi’s eccentric acts of violence and satanic rituals have made him the focus of many published articles. After the end of the First Liberian Civil War, Joshua Blahyi was interviewed by various media outlets and produced some chilling quotes. At age 11, Blahyi claims that the devil called him on the telephone and commanded him to perform human sacrifices. After the Liberian conflict began, in the late 1980s, Blahyi gained the nickname General Butt Naked because he was known to lead troops into battle completely naked, with the exception of his shoes and gun. Apparently, he believed that his nakedness was a source of protection from bullets.
Blahyi would regularly sacrifice a victim before entering battle. When asked about the sacrifices, he is quoted as saying, “Usually it was a small child, someone whose fresh blood would satisfy the devil. Sometimes I would enter the water where children were playing. I would dive under the water, grab one, carry him under and break his neck. Sometimes I’d cause accidents. Sometimes I’d just slaughter them.” Blahyi was asked to give an account of his typical battle, “So, before leading my troops into battle, we would get drunk and drugged up, sacrifice a local teenager, drink their blood, then strip down to our shoes and go into battle wearing colorful wigs and carrying dainty purses we’d looted from civilians. We’d slaughter anyone we saw, chop their heads off and use them as soccer balls. We were nude, fearless, drunk and homicidal. We killed hundreds of people, so many I lost count.”
General Butt Naked claims that he had regular conversations with the devil from the age of 11 to 25. He has suggested that during the war he had “special powers”, and magical invisibility. Joshua Blahyi would recruit teenagers to fight, and, unlike anything I have heard before, his troops would enter battle wearing women’s clothing. In January of 2008, General Butt Naked admitted to the cannibalism of a human heart. Blahyi’s rampage ended in 1996, when the Civil War in Liberia was over. In 1997, Joshua Blahyi repented his sins and devoted his life to the Church. He became a preacher, got married and has three children. To this day, Blahyi lives in Liberia and insists that he cannot be held responsible for his satanic past. Between the years 1980 and 1996, General Butt Naked and his men were responsible for the deaths of more than 20,000 people.
Since the beginning of 2010, some strange and violent mass murders have been carried out in the People’s Republic of China. In separate incidents, grown men are attacking and killing small children at Chinese schools. The murder sprees are gruesome and the victims are being slashed with long-blade knives, or bludgeoned with hammers and cleavers. These crimes are different from the typical school attack in Europe, Russia and the US, where the perpetrator usually wields a gun. The murder sprees began with the Nanping school massacre, which was carried out on the morning of March 23, 2010, at an elementary school in Nanping. During the incident, a man named Zheng Minsheng viciously attacked a group of young children with a knife as they waited to enter their school gate. He ended up killing eight children and seriously wounding five others. Minsheng was subdued on the scene by three adults and taken into custody. He had previously worked as a community doctor, but was known to have mental health issues. He later told police investigating the crime that he thought his “life was meaningless.”
The attack was widely reported in the Chinese media, but specifics on the case were censored from the Internet. The Chinese government is concerned with sparking copycat crimes, which have occurred in the aftermath of the Nanping school massacre. Zheng Minsheng was executed 35 days after the incident. His death was widely reported, which directly led to a series of mass murders in Chinese schools. On April 28, a man named Chen Kangbing attacked sixteen students and a teacher with a knife in Leizhou, Guangdong. He was sentenced to death. On April 29, Xu Yuyuan stabbed 28 Kindergarten children in Taixing, Jiangsu, with a long-blade knife. He was sentenced to death. On April 30, Wang Yonglai used a hammer to cause mass head injury to preschool children in Weifang, Shandong. He then used gasoline to commit suicide by self-immolation.
On May 12, Wu Huanming killed seven Kindergarten children and two adults with a cleaver in Hanzhong, Shaanxi. He would later commit suicide. On August 4, 26-year-old Fang Jiantang slashed more than 20 children and staff with a two foot (60cm) knife, killing three small kids and one teacher at an elementary school in Zibo, Shandong province. After the crimes, he turned himself into the police. In this case, the injured children suffered significant wounds and deep gashes to the head. To date, no information has been released indicating that Fang Jiantang has been executed, which has given him a spot on this list. Some sociologists have suggested that the Chinese government’s failure to diagnose and treat mental illness may be a factor in the outbreak of mass murder. China has also undergone a rapid population growth and social changes in the last ten years, which may be contributing to the unstable personalities.
Let me tell you the story of Oliver the Chimp. In 1960, Oliver was acquired as a young animal by trainers Frank and Janet Berger. Supposedly, the chimp was caught in the Democratic Republic of Congo and sold on the exotic animal black market. In appearance, Oliver clearly stands out in a group of male chimpanzees, as he has many human-like features. He looks nothing like a normal Common Chimpanzee and holds a flatter face. Oliver is a habitually bipedal animal. He has always walked upright and never moved on his knuckles like other chimps. He holds a bizarre pointed ear shape, freckles and a bald head. The Berger’s raised Oliver until 1977, when he was sold to Ralph Helfer and put on public display in a sideshow. In a 2006 interview with the Discovery Channel, Janet Berger claimed that she sold Oliver after he started tying to mate with her.
This had led to the speculation that Oliver prefers human females over chimpanzees. In fact, other chimpanzees that have been placed in the same cage with Oliver avoid him at all cost. After spending seventeen years with the creature, Janet Berger believes that his physical and behavioral tendencies point to a different origin, perhaps a human-chimp hybrid. In the early 1980s, the Los Angeles Times did an extensive article on Oliver, marking him as a possible missing link or new sub-species of chimp. In 1989, Oliver was purchased by the Buckshire Corporation, a Pennsylvanian laboratory leasing out animals for scientific and cosmetic testing. During this time in his life, Oliver lived in a tiny cage and experienced rough handling. This eventually caused an extreme case of arthritis and muscular atrophy, so severe that Oliver’s limbs routinely tremble. The testing of his DNA has been an intense and controversial subject.
Supposedly, a test performed in the 1980s proved that Oliver contained only forty-seven chromosomes, instead of the normal forty-eight. However, this claim has not supported by scientific evidence and has been refuted by a geneticist from the University of Chicago, who tested Oliver’s blood and found that he had the normal forty-eight chromosomes. Since that time, Oliver’s DNA has not been tested. He will not be made available for any DNA style inquiries again. In 1998, Oliver was given a spacious, open-air cage at the Primarily Primates sanctuary in the US state of Texas. He was put under the temporary care of wildlife rehabilitator Lee Theisen-Watt, who was fired in 2007 for wrong doings. During the history of the Primarily Primates facility, they have undergone a series of legal battles, with a majority of the cases concerning PETA. Today, Oliver is still alive and living at Primarily Primates. Many pictures and videos of him exist on the Internet.