Bizarre Crimes: The Assassination Attempt on President Andrew Jackson

When it comes to United States presidential assassinations attempts, Richard Lawrence's attempt on the life of Andrew Jackson is the first known and one of the weirdest. Richard Lawrence bore a grudge against the 7th President of the United States based on delusions. The grudge got worse and worse until the deranged man tried to shoot Andrew Jackson outside of the Capitol Building on January 30, 1835.

Richard Lawrence was born sometime in 1800 or 1801 in England. The details of his childhood are unimportant to this story. What is important is that he came to the United States and got sick. He worked as a painter in his adult life, but was so ill by the time he was in his 30s that he stopped working. You see, Richard Lawrence believed that he was King Richard III, a man centuries in his grave by then. He thought that he would be given his rightful place on the throne and that he had no need to work.

It is assumed now that Richard Lawrence suffered from paranoia and delusions, possibly linked to schizophrenia. Even then, it was known that he was not in his right mind. He started dressing differently and talking to himself. He told people that the United States owed him money that would get him back home so he could assume the throne. He believed that Andrew Jackson was withholding the money from him and that the man had killed his father.

Lawrence haunted the steps of the president for weeks before going to the Capitol Building and making his attempt on the life of Andrew Jackson. He brought two pistols with him and fired once with each at the president's back. However, neither pistol would fire. They were both defective when wet. The crowd quickly subdued the would be assassin with the help of Jackson himself, who hit him with his cane. Richard Lawrence was not found guilty, as he was quite insane. He spent the rest of his life in mental institutions.

Bizarre Creatures: The Loveland Frog

The Loveland Frog is a cryptozoological creature reportedly spotted near Loveland, Ohio in 1955 and 1972. Both accounts vary. They put the creatures between three and four feet tall. They stand erect like humans and have humanoid bodies, but they have bald heads, green, rough, lizard-like skin and gaping, lipless mouths. One account said they were hairless with wrinkly heads. Another supposedly said that they were covered in hair, but it was matted down as if they were wet. One man might have even seen one riding a bicycle. However, given the ambiguity of the report, it might have been the man riding the bicycle when he saw the creature.

The first sighting of the Loveland Frog was of a group of the creatures on a bridge in May of 1955. There were roughly four of them. The man who reported seeing them gave the hairless, green and leathery description. He also said they had frog-like features. Flash-forward to March 3, 1973 and a police officer reportedly saw the same thing in the area, but this one had matted hair. However, it must be noted that the police officer later stated that he saw no such thing. It was a slightly large lizard on all fours crossing the road. The media inflated and changed his story. Therefore, the only sighting that has not been debunked appears to be the 1955 sighting.

The thing about this cryptid is that it is reportedly humanoid and was only ever seen once in Ohio. Humanoid creatures have a tendency to be obvious because they are bipedal and, well, look like people. Unlike Big Foot, this creature has not been seen all over the world, so it seems more likely that Mr. 1955 was very drunk than that there are human frogs hanging out near Loveland.

The Shag Harbour Incident: UFO in the Gulf of Maine

Shag Harbour (The Gulf of Maine is where "Atlantic Ocean"
is marked on this image.) 

The Shag Harbour Incident was a supposed UFO sighting near Shag Harbour, Nova Scotia. It occurred in the waters of the Gulf of Maine, according to witnesses. However, despite all indications that the object had crashed into the water, no evidence that anything had crashed was ever found.

The incident occurred on October 4, 1967 at about 11:20 p.m. A few locals saw an object flying through the sky over the gulf. It was flying along fine and then a whistling noise indicated that something was wrong. Witnesses likened the sound to that of a bomb, which begs the question: Was it a bomb? There was then a whooshing sound and the sound of impact. Initial reports from some 11 witnesses stated that the object was an airplane, so authorities responded as such.

Rescue workers scoured the area where the plane reportedly went down. They found no survivors. Even stranger, they found no wreckage, no bodies and nothing to indicate there had even been a crash. Nonetheless, several Canadian law and military organizations continued the investigation. Dive teams looked for wreckage beneath the water and checked to see if any planes had gone missing. There was nothing.

In the end, there was nothing to do but label the incident a UFO case. In this instance, one might substitute the f for "falling." Of course, there were a lot of conspiracy theories that came out of it, but none seems to pan out with physical evidence, of which there is none. Then again, the physical evidence might just be locked up in a Canadian version of Area 51.

Collective Effervescence: A Social Phenomenon

Collective effervescence is a social phenomenon that occurs when people gather in groups for an identical or similar purpose. Examples are concerts, sporting events and even riots. It is a group feeling often experienced by people in gatherings that can lead to behavior that is uncharacteristic of the individuals involved. It can be of a fun, moving or violent nature. What makes it collective effervescence is that the crowd and their focused attention causes it. A similar feeling while alone is not the same.

Collective effervescence is very closely associated with other social phenomena like collective behavior, hooliganism and mob rule. In fact, it may be this very feeling that leads to those phenomena. It tends to strip people of their senses of personal responsibility or burden, giving them the feeling that the group shares the responsibility or burden of whatever is happening. This is what makes it so bizarre. A calm person can turn violent without thinking of the consequences, whether that person is typically responsible or not.