The Lead Masks Case

Among the most bizarre topics in the world are countless deaths. The saying, "Dead men tell no tales." describes the reason for this quite clearly. Without a witness or clear forensic evidence, anything odd at the scene of death is relegated to the ranks of the bizarre and unexplained. Such was the case the death of two electronic technicians in Brazil in 1966. The circumstances of their deaths are unknown. Objects found near their bodies are strange and unexplainable.

On August 20, 1966, Jorge da Costa Alves found two dead men on Vintem Hill in Rio de Janeiro. Later investigation ascertained that the two men were last seen by a bartender who sold them a bottle of water on August 17. They are presumed to have died later that day, meaning they were on the grassy hill for roughly three days when Jorge found them. There are rumors that UFOs were seen over the hill that night, but there is no evidence of such, apart from alleged witness testimony.

Naturally, Jorge contacted the police who did a search of the area and the bodies. The two men were dressed in suits and wore raincoats. They were also wearing lead masks, which would have protected them from radiation. These masks were not full-face masks, but more the shape of a masquerade mask, with no eyeholes, of course. There was also a notebook that contained the following notes, translated from Portuguese: Be at the agreed place at 16:30 [4:30 p.m.], 18:30[6:30 p.m.] swallow capsules, after effect protect metals wait for mask signal. There was also an empty water bottle and two towels near the bodies, which were next to each other.

There were no injuries at first glance and no injuries found during autopsy. Some sources say that the organs were too far gone for toxicology. Others say that testing was done, but turned up nothing. Others still say that radiation testing was done and found nothing at first, but that radiation turned up during a second round of testing. What all sources agree upon is the outcome of the investigation. The cause of death is unknown.

The evidence at the scene leaves us more questions than it answers. Why were these men on the hill? Was this the specified location or is it where their bodies were dumped? What substance did they consume? Were these capsules the cause of death or were they meant to protect them from something? Why in the world were they wearing protection from radiation? Were they conducting an experiment that went wrong? Were they part of a larger team that wrote them off as collateral damage? Were they meeting aliens up on the hill? No one knows and it is likely that we never will.

Bizarre Sites for Your Enjoyment

That is Bizarre is about bringing bizarre stories, events, people, places, animals and even plants together in one place so those who are interested in the wacky can get a dose of WTF? every time they visit. As a lover of the strange, I have come across numerous websites that are dedicated to much the same thing as That is Bizarre, though often in a different way. Some of them post wacky people, bizarre pictures, insane stories and much more. Because I enjoy them, I assume the people who enjoy this page enjoy them as well. Therefore, this post is about sites like this that will make you laugh, cry or give you something to talk about, at the very least.

People of Wal-Mart

People of Wal-Mart is a site that posts pictures of people looking, acting or embracing bizarre in Wal-Marts everywhere. The first time I came across this site, I sat up for hours laughing my butt off. Hopefully, you will enjoy is as much as I do.

Bad*ss of the Week

Writing about bizarre stuff is not something I do exclusively for That is Bizarre. I love history, so I write about bizarre history for anyone or any site that will let me. In my research for several history articles, I came across Bad*ss of the Week. The people featured on this site have gone above and beyond the norm and are examples of how bizarre sheer bad*ssery can be.

Damn Interesting

Damn Interesting is a site much like this one, though it is more in depth than blog posts allow. Here, we're all about synopsis. You want quick facts and dirty details, we deliver. If you want to know the mechanics behind something bizarre, this site typically delivers.

If you know of any other sites that cater to lovers of the bizarre, feel free to drop links in the comments section. If they fit the criteria, we'll fit them into this post for people seeking such sites. Enjoy your browsing!

Bizarre Places: Bubbly Creek in Chicago, Illinois

Bubbly Creek Headwaters, Courtesy of the USGS

Of all the polluted waterways in the United States, Chicago's Bubbly Creek ranks among the most bizarre. It is a dead end branch of the Chicago River that is officially the South Fork of the South Branch of the Chicago River. It is nicknamed Bubbly Creek due to a consequence of horrendous levels of pollution that have been dumped into it -- bubbles. It is about 1.3 miles of near stagnant evidence of the absolute need for environmental regulations.

The reason for the pollution in Bubbly Creek is the former negligence of Chicago's stockyards that were situated by the creek, particularly the Union Stock Yard. Roughly 100 years ago, an untold amount of waste was openly dumped into the creek. Among this waste were the unused portions of animal carcasses, such as blood, intestines and fat/grease. As the waste decomposed, it released bubbles of gasses, including methane and hydrogen sulfide. Bubbly Creek was essentially farting the smell of rotten eggs. It is not quite a bubbling witch's brew, but one can easily imagine the awful stench it emitted and still sometimes emits to this day.

According to Upton Sinclair's "The Jungle," the creek was so polluted that it used to catch fire. Grease congealed at the top, hair lined its edges and it was an environmental nightmare. Today, the meatpacking pollution does not continue, but the issue of Bubbly Creek is merely one of a number of water pollution issues Chicago is dealing with, such as the dumping of raw sewage into waterways, including the Chicago River and, in turn, Bubbly Creek. It is a wonder anyone lives there.

Bizarre Disappearances: The Crew of the Katz II

Airlie Beach Harbor courtesy of Vmenkov

The Katz II was (or is) a private yacht whose 2007 crew met with a similar end to the crew of the Mary Celeste. That is to say, no one is quite sure what happened to them. The story is slightly less suspicious than the story of the Mary Celeste, given that there were only three men on board the Katz II. Nevertheless, the lack of clues, disappearance of the crew and discover the boat are very much the same, save the more modern equipment on board the Katz II.

The Katz II was found adrift near the Great Barrier Reef on April 18, 2007. The Katz and three friends -- all experienced -- left Airlie Beach only three days earlier. Upon boarding the vessel, authorities found food set out on the table, equipment still turned on, the yacht's entire store of life jackets, the engine running and a laptop still turned on. There was even a coffee mug still on deck. The only thing that was not there were people and there was no sign of them.

A rescue effort went underway immediately. However, it appeared, judging by a video made by the men and other clues, that the men had gone missing the very evening after they left. That meant nearly three days in the open ocean without life vests, if they had fallen overboard. That meant three days lead, if they met with foul play. They were never found.

The investigation came up with no signs of foul play. Everything was in perfect working order, save a torn sail. There was no sign of a struggle, no blood to be seen, etc. There was also a pistol on board that had not been removed from its hiding place or been fired. It is generally thought that something happened in which one or more of the men fell off or intentionally got off the boat. Then, a rescue operation by the other man or men ensued in which catastrophe struck and the remaining man or men went overboard as well.