One of the biggest news stories of 2012 has been the so-called Miami Zombie attack, where one man—theorized to be on bath salts—attacked a homeless man and gnawed on his face. But lots of other terrifying things happened all over the world this year that didn’t get nearly so much coverage. Read on.
1. Macabre Black Market
In Thailand, a British citizen, Chow Hok Kuen, was caught attempting to smuggle something very horrifying into Taiwan: six dried human fetuses covered in gold leaf, tattoos, and spiritual adornments.
Kuen bought the fetuses from a reseller and intended to turn them over for a profit in Taiwan, where the corpses, created in a “black magic spirit ritual,” are thought by some to bring good luck; because of this, a black market has developed for them. Authorities were unable to determine the exact source of the fetuses.
2. Not Your Grandma's Finger Sandwich
Ryan Hart, a 14-year-old boy from Michigan, lived out a real-life urban legend when he found a severed finger in his Arby’s roast beef sandwich. Reportedly, Hart had nearly finished his sandwich when he “tasted something rubbery” and spat out a partial human finger.
According to the restaurant, a female employee had cut off her finger while slicing roast beef and neglected to immediately tell anyone. Other employees had unknowingly packaged the order and served it to Hart.
3. The Family Cook
A Los Angeles restaurant chef, currently on trial for his wife’s murder, admitted to police in a taped interview that he had not only killed her, but also disposed of her body in a very gruesome manner.
On the tape played for jurors, David Viens told police that the reason they had been unable to find his wife’s remains was because he had boiled her corpse in a 55-gallon drum of water, leaving only her skull behind.
4. Death At A Funeral
A 2-year-old boy who tragically succumbed to pneumonia in Belem, Brazil terrified his family when, one hour before his funeral, he sat up and asked his father for a glass of water. The boy, who had been dead since the day before, hadn’t shown any other signs of life during his wake or funeral preparations.
Sadly, when the boy laid back down again, the family was unable to rouse him a second time—so medical officials had to declare him dead once again. They were unable to explain his mysterious reanimation, and the child was buried later that evening.
5. Special Delivery
Ottawa, Canada police were baffled when a human foot was delivered to the Conservative party headquarters in a blood-spattered package. Weirder still, a few hours later, a severed hand was found in a similar container at a mail sorting facility, though its destination was never officially stated.
As if that weren’t enough, however, Montreal police also reported a strange case of human remains. Literally. A suitcase containing a human torso was found outside an apartment building the same day. Although a connection between the three parts was suspected, no official link has been acknowledged.
6. Night School
A literacy teacher in St. Petersburg, FL was jailed after she was caught encouraging teenagers to cut and burn themselves as part of a nighttime exorcism ritual conducted at the St. Petersburg Pier.
According to police, the teacher instructed the students to cut themselves to drive demons out of their bodies, and then to cauterize the wounds, using heated keys or even perfume as a makeshift fuel, to keep them from returning. The true motive behind the ritual is unknown.
7. Equine Attacks
Throughout 2012, a series of bizarre horse murders have been occurring in the English countryside. In January, a 2-year-old stallion was found dead, with his eyes, teeth, and genitals mutilated. Months later, in May, a pregnant mare was also found mutilated after being attacked with a blunt object. She died after giving birth to a stillborn foal. Finally, a few days after, a third horse was found beheaded on a beach, marked with a cross topped with a gull’s head.
No link has been made between the three cases, although locals in each instance claim that black magic or Satanism is somehow involved.
8. Neighborhood Hot Spot
If asked to list places in the world that might have secret nuclear reactors holding weapons-grade Uranium, you’d probably name countries like North Korea or Iran. One place you’d be neglecting, however, is the Eastman Kodak plant in Rochester, New York, a city with a population of more than 200,000 people.
Up until 2007, when it was decommissioned, Kodak operated the reactor for research purposes, and while they didn’t necessarily cover it up (it was on record with the federal government), they weren’t public about it, either. Local and state governments were unaware that the reactor existed—until it came out after the company went bankrupt early in 2012.
9. Ritual of Horror
An apparent drug-fueled ritual in Mexico ended with a 5-year-old boy severely wounded. According to authorities, the participants held the ceremony because they believed that a large earthquake would soon bring about the end of the world.
After ingesting unspecified drugs and reciting a group prayer, the boy’s own mother gouging her son's eyes out at the climax of the ritual. In the end, eight people were arrested by police—several of them members of the boy’s family.
10. Take That, Officers
In Hackensack, New Jersey, police were called to the home of a man threatening himself with a knife. When they arrived, they found Wayne Carter, a mentally ill man who had been unable to receive proper treatment and was living in a room in his brother’s home.
When police attempted to subdue Carter, he horrifyingly cut open his own abdomen and began throwing his intestines and hunks of skin at the officers, saying that he was “going to die today” and “going to heaven.” Despite a self-inflicted partial disembowelment, Carter survived.
11. The Disappearing Toxic Package
At a U.S. Postal Service sorting facility in Orlando, Florida, employees discovered a mysterious package leaking a brown, sticky chemical and covered in tubes and wires. According to its return address, the parcel came from Yemen. Jeffrey Lill, the shift supervisor, had the facility evacuated and moved the package to a hazardous materials zone.
Soon after, Lill became sick, suffering from fatigue, tremors, and neurological issues, all consistent with exposure to toxic chemicals. The Postal Service, however, claims the events never happened and that no such package ever existed. Even after other employees and documents confirmed Lill’s story, the Postal Service still denies the incident. Doctors have so far been unable to determine Lill’s exact illness.
12. Out for Some Air
In South Los Angeles, police received a call about something very out of the ordinary—a pair of what appeared to be lungs were left in the middle of a sidewalk and had apparently been “sitting out there all day long.”
Initially, it was unknown if the lungs came from a human or animal, or if they were even lungs at all. Tests later determined that they were lungs and they did come from an animal, but authorities considered them to be “not of forensic value” and disposed of them. The type of animal the lungs belonged to and how they ended up on the sidewalk in the middle of the day were never determined.
13. Nails for Hair
Memphis resident Shanyna Isom was given steroids for an allergy attack in 2009, a totally standard treatment. For the last three years, however, her body has undergone one of the strangest allergic reactions in medical history.
All of the hair follicles on Isom’s body have begun to create 12 times the normal amount of skin cells. Now, the hair on her head and body has instead been replaced with human nails, rendering her unable to walk or even sit up. Her doctors have been completely stumped, but a variety of treatments have improved her condition to a small degree and she is now able to walk with a cane.