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Aileen Wuornos – Female Serial Killer

Born in Michigan in 1956, Aileen Wuornos is quite possibly the most infamous female serial killer in America’s history. Aileen murdered 7 men in just under a year, at first claiming that these men had raped her. She had been a sex worker at the time and maintained for some time that all of the killings were committed in self-defense.

Aileen’s life was troubled from the start and some people have laid the blame for her actions on her fractured upbringing. Her parents were married quite young and divorced not long after, leaving both Aileen and her younger brother with their very young, now single mother. After just a couple of years, her mother abandoned both children with their maternal grandparents and they were soon adopted by them. Both children believed that the grandparents were their birth parents, possibly due to their youth at the time.

At age 11, Aileen was told by her grandmother that she was not, in fact, her ‘mother’, severely damaging the relationship between the kids and their adoptive ‘parents’. Added to this grave injustice, was the fact that Aileen had been both physically and sexually abused by her grandfather, and he was known to make her strip before beatings. She was later raped by a companion of her grandfathers, which resulted in a pregnancy when Aileen was just 14.

After the birth of her son, and his consequent adoption in 1971, Aileen dropped out of school. She began to prostitute as a means of supporting herself shortly after, taking up residence in the forest near her old house. Just 3 years later she would face her first arrest on charges of disorderly conduct and DUI including unlawful use of a firearm.

Despite the horrid upbringing she had faced as a child, Wuornos showed psychopathic tendencies when she was tested by psychologists after her arrest for murder. It has also been reported that she was borderline personality disorder and antisocial personality disorder as well. Some of this may have well been in her nature, as it was known that when she was a child, she had an explosive temper and had a hard time making and keeping friends.

After meeting and supposedly falling in love with a hotel maid, Tyria Moore, sometime around 1986, the pair began living together. It was after this that Aileen began to murder men, some say in cold blood, although Aileen gave varying reasons for her killing spree. Between 1989 and 1990, she killed a total of 7 men, all in Florida, shooting all of them at close range in the face.

After witnesses gave descriptions of the two women to the police following a car accident involving the last victims’ vehicle, there began a manhunt for the women. Media outlets became highly involved in reproducing their images and fielding tips from concerned citizens. In January of 1991, Aileen was arrested on an outstanding warrant in a bar in Florida.

In an attempt to clear the name of her professed female lover, Wuornos confessed to the murders of all 7 men, although she was only convicted of 6 of those as the body of one of the victims was never found. She received a total of 6 death sentences and was executed by lethal injection on October 9th, 2002. 

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Hitler’s Obsession With the Occult

To begin to understand the perceived view of Adolf Hitler’s obsessions with the Occult, one must first examine and understand the intellectual environment of the upper classes of Germany in the earliest years of the 19th century.

Prior to WWI, Germany was a place of rural communities and old-world beliefs. After the end of the Great War, there was a certain nostalgic emotional tinge to life for the wealthier and more educated of the German population. There was a desire to return to the old ways, honoring nature and believing in natural remedies for physical ailments.

Image: Elzbieta Sekowska / Shutterstock.com

Many people turned to the teachings of occultism in an attempt to regain some of those ‘lost’ ways. Hitler, having been born to a Catholic mother and an anti-clerical father, tended to lean on the side of anti-clerical, choosing to believe that church and organized religion had no place in politics or matters of state.

While he publicly touted the positive nature of the German Christian ideology, in private he often complained about the church and its influence, even going so far as to suggest that Christianity would one day be completely banished from Germany.

As Hitler rose into power, he began to be surrounded by people who believed that he was the Saviour of the German country and that he would bring back racial purity. The idea of racial impurity and the plans to change the future of the Third Reich came from none other than Himmler himself, who was a follower of the occult as well.

Believing in the Hidden Elect, a subversive idea believed to be brought to Germany by an early leader of the occult societies that sprang up before and just after WWI, Himmler proclaimed that the Aryan race was the only pure race of humans on Earth and that all others were sub-humans and had tainted the blood of those meant to rule, the German aristocracy.

Himmler created his SS to model chivalric orders such as the Knight’s Templar, the Knights of the Round Table, and the Freemasons. Both Hitler and Himmler adopted vocabulary and ritualistic ideas from the Catholic church and these other groups in an attempt to create a new religion for the new Aryan race.

The idea that Hitler was completely obsessed with the occult has been popularized by mainstream entertainment, most notably in the film The Raiders of the Lost Ark, but in actuality, it was sometimes the wording that he used that gave this idea to the world at large. Claiming that the search for the Holy Grail would be his crowning achievement, Hitler did not mean he was really searching for a jeweled cup, in fact, he was referring to the actions he and Himmler were undertaking to purify the German race.

This being said, he was surrounded by many people who believed very strongly in the occult, people who wouldn’t make a single decision without first consulting their horoscope, or who wanted to see Nazi Germany eventually rule the entire planet and cleanse all nations of sub-human races.

A Little Town Called Mercy – Out Today

A Collection of Short Stories.

6.1 Daughter of Fire.
Life in Mercy begins to settle down after the momentous events the night the Hell Book revealed itself. Olivia and Theo still concerned for their missing friend Sam attempt to come to terms with their new reality. When the birth of Olivia and Theo’s children bring some unexpected visitors once again to Mercy, it becomes clear to them that finding the Hell Book was only just the beginning and that everything is far from over.

6.2 The Salted Bone.
Jackson Murphy didn’t want much from life, just to raise his adopted son, Miller and run the pub he loved so much in peace. Okay, so maybe he would add his best friend and long-time employee Shelley to that list, but some things were not meant to be. That is until, strange things start happening.
When once again spirits begin flooding into his pub and setting up residence, Jackson suddenly finds himself the owner of the most haunted pub in North America, worse still, he has an inspector coming to review the pub and no way to hide all the dead residents.
Before he knows it, Jackson is trying to juggle, the inspection, a crazy British medium, his son’s 1st birthday party and his growing feelings for his best friend, proving once again that life in Mercy is never dull.

6.3 Storyteller.
After spending the summer on a small Caribbean island with the Goddess Calypso, Jake and Roni return home to Mercy.
Obsessed with the idea of tracing her own family history, Roni realizes that her family do in fact have ties to Mercy and that it was no accident that she was offered the job at the museum.
When bodies start dropping and strange killings begin, Jake and Roni discover there is a new supernatural creature in Mercy, one who has the ability to turn fiction into reality.
Together they must discover the identity of the Storyteller before they are pulled inside a story themselves, one with fatal consequences.

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Italian Renaissance Pt. II

The Renaissance in Italy during the 14th and 15th centuries was not just about art and literature. The advancements made included major world exploration, the expansion of western theologies and doctrines, and even political upheaval that brought about the rise of democracy and capitalism.

The local administration at the time in Italy was ruling families. Those with the most money who were able to control the largest number of mercenary factions had control over their local city-states. This localized warring opened a door for the ascension of new families and new ideas into the Italian mindset of the time.

Late in the 14th century, the House of Albizzi were the ruling family in Florence. Their main contenders for leadership of the city were the Medici’s, the household that owned the largest bank in Europe at the time, among other interests. The Albizzi and Medici struggled with each other over control of the wealthy city for some decades before the Medici were finally able to wrest authority from the Albizzi in the late 14th century when Cosimo di Giovanni de’ Medici took power.

Cosimo was extremely well-loved by his Florentinians, mostly due to the calm he brought to the area through peace treaties, which allowed the area to flourish. An avid art lover, he contributed many funds to the advancement of arts and literature during his time. Following Cosimo, the Medici ruled over Florence for almost 3 centuries.

Three main cities emerged as the leading players in the brawl for power – Venice, Milan, and Florence, also becoming the primary contributors to the expansion of the Renaissance. Each region developing its own characteristic takes on the Renaissance. With the Papacy controlling Rome, and the Medici in Florence, the artists, sculptors, and philosophers had a multitude of benefactors during this time.

But the peace would not last forever. Early in the 15th century, France and Spain both began making military forays into Italy, as the Papacy attempted to regain control there. This began a time known as the Italian wars, where political disorganization reigned supreme.

Since no one area had enough population for an ‘army’, each paid mercenaries to handle the fighting, draining the resources of the area as these guerrilla fighters tended to draw out skirmishes to keep the money coming in. This, along with the widespread devastation that came about as a result of these wars, caused many areas to lose their independence as cooperation with neighboring cities became necessary.

As Italy became more divided, it lost its hold on the Mediterranean and the major trade routes there. The Renaissance began to migrate north and the artists, sculptors, and philosophers of the day moved with it, bringing about the rise of the Northern Renaissance and the take of those Europeans on what the Italian Renaissance had brought about.

Looking back on the Renaissance as a whole, including the advancements of art and literature as well as the political changes, we can see just how influential this time period was on our world today. Bringing about a new era in human thought and philosophy as well as the betterment of business practices and new social norms to fit our expanding world.

The Italian Renaissance Part I

The world has a lot to thank Italians for, not just amazing food recipes. Among other things, and feasibly one of the most influential and lovingly regarded, is the Renaissance. A glorious uprising from the Dark Ages into a new era of exquisite paintings, sculpture, architecture, literature and scientific innovations. The Renaissance was quite literally a rebirth of European culture. And it all began in Italy.

Although the Renaissance spread throughout much of western Europe after it’s birth in Florence, it remained centered there for more than a century before giving rise to the Northern Renaissance. History was in the making and many great thinkers, artists and explorers of the day are well known and studied, even now.

Galileo and Copernicus, Columbus and Vespucci, Da Vinci and Michelangelo, Dante and Machiavelli all had their beginnings in the the Italian Renaissance. These historical figures, now quoted and learned all over the world, were the driving force of the Renaissance. Ushering in new ideas, and perpetrating these to their fellow men, these forward thinkers of the day were undoubtedly influential. Through their visionary art, works of literature, brave explorations and scientific studies, these men seemingly turned the page of man’s history.

When the Renaissance began in the mid 15th century, Italy was in the midst of political upheaval. Florence was under the rule of the Medici at that time, who were great lovers of art and consequently commissioned several works from artists and sculptors like Da Vinci and Michelangelo. The Papal Church in Rome was only loosely organized and susceptible to outside influences and pressure, particularly from the French.

Regardless of the political mess, the dissemination of the Byzantine Roman Empire and trade routes that passed from both the far east and northern Europe through the Mediterranean and into Florence in the 13th century, created a surplus of wealth in that area which allowed for massive investments into the arts and agriculture.

This overabundance of riches, and the subsequent economic development created a stage for our masterminds to play with their newfound freedom of creation. Also owing to the revival and rediscovery of Byzantine literature and manuscripts, architects and artists of the Renaissance were encouraged to rise above their forebears and create wondrous and new devices, sculptures, works of art, literature and other forms of entertainment to be consumed and enjoyed by the masses and their wealthy benefactors.

With all the wealth, Italy was also able to develop at this time some well known business elements still in use today. Double-entry book-keeping, an organized foreign exchange market, joint stock companies, government debt, insurance and the rise of capitalism were all introduced and flourished during the Renaissance.

So, we see that the Renaissance was not only responsible for some of the greatest works of mankind, including the ceiling at the Sistine Chapel and Dante’s Divine Comedy (both of which could arguably be included in a current Wonders of the World list), but also some of our current systems of business and administration.

The Genius of Michelangelo

He is the creator of such celebrated statues as David and Madonna on the Steps, and painted masterpieces pinnacled by the painting of the Sistine Chapel ceiling. His work has influenced artists and architects in the 300 years since his time. But who was he?

One of the most influential and well-documented artists of the High Renaissance, Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarrati Simoni was born in March of 1476. In a small town called Caprese, outside of Arezzo, Tuscany, where his father had taken a brief government post is where this amazing sculptor began his journey. Shortly after his birth, his family returned to Florence.

When Michelangelo was just six years old, his mother passed away after a prolonged illness. During that time Michelangelo lived in Settignano, where his father owned a quarry. He quartered with his nanny and her husband, a stonecutter. Here is where his illustrious career as one of the most talented sculptors began.

Having learned a love of marble, Michelangelo began to show artistic ability from an early age; opting to copy church paintings rather than attend to his grammar lessons. Choosing other painters as his company proved worthy of his time when, aged 13, he was apprenticed to Domenico Ghirlandaio – the owner of the largest workshop in Florence and a leader in perspectives, portraits, figure drawing and fresco painting.

At 21, Cardinal Raffaele Riario invited Michelangelo to Rome. A few years later he was commissioned to carve a sculpture of the Virgin Mary grieving over the dead body of Jesus. This statue, Pieta, can be found in St. Peters Basilica today and has been praised the world over for its beauty and impact on the sculpting world.

It was after this that Michelangelo’s talent was truly put to the test. Returning to Florence in 1499, after the political upheaval there had ceased, he was asked to complete a sculpture that was begun almost half a century before – a 17 ft. high statue of David. It has been said that he looks alive, and there is no doubting that Michelangelo was truly a gifted artist.

In 1502, Pope Julius II summoned Michelangelo back to Rome to work on the most widely known of his artworks, the Sistine Chapel ceiling. He persuaded the Pope to let him have creative control and today we have the single greatest depiction of the Genesis story, having taken only 4 years to complete.

Despite his artistic prowess, Michelangelo was said to have lived in filth and slept often in his clothing. One of his apprentices commenting that he ate food only out of necessity. And while he remained a solitary individual for most of his life, being melancholy by nature; later in life he developed some romantic platonic relationships, mainly with other men.

He was described as having a monk-like chastity. He authoring a series of poems written from himself to Tommaso dei Cavalieri. Both men proclaim their love for each other, and indeed Cavalieri remained dedicated to Michelangelo for the rest of his life.

Regardless of the rumors Michelangelo’s amazing talent and work speaks for itself and his impact in the art world can still be seen and felt today.