Jimmy Hoffa’s Grave

Rumored whereabouts of Jimmy Hoffa’s body:

  • Buried in northern Michigan
  • Buried under the New Jersey Turnpike
  • Buried in an abandoned coal mine near Pittston, Pa.
  • Buried in Fresh Kills landfill, Staten Island, New York
  • Buried under the end zone at Giants Stadium in New Jersey
  • Buried in PJP Landfill in Jersey City, underneath the Pulaski Skyway
  • Mechanically converted to cement
  • Dissolved in an acid tank used to rechrome car bumpers
  • Rendered into fat at a rendering plant

His body has never been found, and in 1982 he was declared legally dead.

Ironically, his middle name was Riddle.

Boo Again!

The Tower of London is pretty crowded even when it’s empty. Reportedly it’s haunted by the ghosts of the following people:

  • Thomas Becket
  • King Edward V
  • Richard, Duke of York
  • Anne Boleyn (headless)
  • Lady Jane Grey
  • Sir Walter Raleigh

There’s also a troupe of ghosts who re-enact the execution of Margaret Pole, the Eighth Countess of Salisbury, as well as phantom troops and a lady in mourning who has no face. Sounds like a lively time.

Season to Taste

A will, handwritten in a book of kitchen recipes by Margaret Nothe, a Philadelphia housewife, in 1913:

Chili Sauce Without Working

4 quarts of ripe tomatoes
4 small onions
4 green peppers
2 teacups of sugar
2 quarts of cider vinegar
2 ounces ground allspice
2 ounces cloves
2 ounces cinnamon
12 teaspoons salt

Chop tomatoes, onions and peppers fine, add the rest mixed together and bottle cold. Measure tomatoes when peeled. In case I die before my husband I leave everything to him.

A Pennsylvania probate court found it valid.

Good to Know

Hangmen have determined that it takes 1,260 foot-pounds to dislocate the human cervical vertebrae. They calculate the necessary drop by simple division: A person weighing 112 pounds (50.8 kg) must fall 11’4″ (3.43 m).

“My Dear Mrs. Budd …”

Excerpt from a letter sent by serial killer Albert Fish to a victim’s mother, November 1934:

On Sunday June the 3 –1928 I called on you at 406 W 15 St. Brought you pot cheese — strawberries. We had lunch. Grace sat in my lap and kissed me. I made up my mind to eat her.

On the pretense of taking her to a party. You said Yes she could go. I took her to an empty house in Westchester I had already picked out. When we got there, I told her to remain outside. She picked wildflowers. I went upstairs and stripped all my clothes off. I knew if I did not I would get her blood on them.

When all was ready I went to the window and Called her. Then I hid in a closet until she was in the room. When she saw me all naked she began to cry and tried to run down the stairs. I grabbed her and she said she would tell her mamma.

First I stripped her naked. How she did kick — bite and scratch. I choked her to death, then cut her in small pieces so I could take my meat to my rooms. Cook and eat it. How sweet and tender her little ass was roasted in the oven. It took me 9 days to eat her entire body.

The police traced the letter to Fish, and they found Grace’s skull buried in his garden.

Speak Up, Please


The appropriate word here is “Bleeaagh.” In 897, Pope Stephen VI dug up the decomposing body of his predecessor and put it on trial for violating church law. Formosus, who had been dead for nine months, was found guilty and buried again. Rome turned against Stephen, who was eventually strangled in prison. It’s known as the cadaver synod or, in Latin, the “synodus horrenda.”

“Reports of My Death …”

Some premature obituaries:

  • An unidentified New York newspaper once carried the front-page headline POPE BENEDICT XV IS DEAD. A later edition announced POPE HAS REMARKABLE RECOVERY.
  • Melody Maker magazine once announced that Alice Cooper was dead. Cooper reassured his fans: “I’m alive, and drunk as usual.”
  • When a magazine reported that Rudyard Kipling had died, he wrote, “Don’t forget to delete me from your list of subscribers.”
  • English fiddle player Dave Swarbrick forgave the Daily Telegraph for reporting his death in April 1999: “It’s not the first time I have died in Coventry.”
  • In 1982 People magazine reported that Abe Vigoda had died. He posed for a photo sitting up in a coffin, holding the magazine.
  • After a heart attack, painter James McNeill Whistler wrote to a Dutch newspaper, saying that reading his own obituary had induced a “tender glow of health.”

Deathbed Awkwardness


When you’re busy dying, it can be hard to think of a pithy exit line. Actual last words:

  • Pancho Villa: “Don’t let it end like this. Tell them I said something.”
  • Roman emperor Gaius Caligula: “I am still alive!”
  • Dominique Bouhours, French grammarian: “I am about to — or I am going to — die: either expression is correct.”
  • Henrik Ibsen, after his housekeeper told a guest he was feeling better: “On the contrary!”
  • Karl Marx, to his housekeeper, who had just asked whether he had any last words: “Go on, get out! Last words are for fools who haven’t said enough!”
  • British surgeon Joseph Henry Green, after checking his own pulse: “Stopped.”
  • Union general John Sedgwick, sizing up enemy sharpshooters: “They couldn’t hit an elephant at this dist–“

On her way to the guillotine, Marie Antoinette stepped on the executioner’s toe. Her last words were “Pardonez-moi, monsieur.”

Odds of Dying


Your lifetime odds of dying

  • on a streetcar: 1 in 1,230,975
  • through burning or melting of nightwear: 1 in 738,585
  • in a discharge of fireworks: 1 in 615,488
  • in an earthquake: 1 in 131,890
  • through contact with hornets, wasps, or bees: 1 in 85,882
  • by lightning: 1 in 83,930
  • due to a cave-in or falling earth: 1 in 65,945
  • through contact with hot tap water: 1 in 64,788
  • in a legal execution: 1 in 58,618
  • by falling, jumping, or being pushed from a high place: 1 in 47,960
  • while riding an animal: 1 in 31,836
  • by drowning in the bathtub: 1 in 11,469
  • in a fall involving a bed, a chair, or other furniture: 1 in 5,031

Chance of dying in an assault by firearm: 1 in 325. Of shooting yourself: 1 in 219.