Documentary Films 3 - 34/365
I must create a system or be enslaved by another man's; I will not reason and compare: my business is to create.
- William Blake

True Murders #1 – Christopher Marmalate

From Michael Galindo’s “True Murders: A Book of Murders & Murderers”:


 

Fredrick Sylvania foot
CHRISTOPHER MARMALATE

“The Foot Farmer”


Christopher Marmalate, aka “The Foot Farmer” (b. 1916 – d. 1951) murdered fifteen young men between the ages of 16 and 25 over a single summer in 1951. Marmalate lived in a small two-room house with no plumbing or electricity at the edge of a piece of public wasteground outside Spirit Lake, Iowa, USA.

Christopher Marmalate served in WWII in the Pacific and was several times disciplined for assault and drunkenness. He was discharged four months before the end of the war after his parents, along with two younger sisters, died when a tornado struck their Iowa home, leaving as the only survivor Christopher’s young brother, Paul Marmalate. In April 1949, Paul Marmalate was killed by a train. The wheels of the train parsed Paul’s body into 7 separate pieces. Christopher identified Paul’s body after it had been discovered by a group of teenagers. The remains were cremated.

In mid-May 1951, 20 year old bachelor Sam Knauss was reported missing, after he failed to report to his job as a delivery truck driver for five days in a row and family members found his house abandoned. Sam Knauss had been last seen at an after-hours bar on the outskirts of Sioux City by bookstore owner Morgan Krieger, a bar Christopher Marmalate was known to have occasionally visited.

Marmalate dispatched his victims by gunshot, usually with a single shot to the head. Although in at least three of the victims, multiple gunshot wounds to the back and torso indicate the victim attempted to flee or evade dying.

Spirit Lake, Iowa - aerial survey

After shooting the victims, he severed their feet at the ankle joints. Initially he used a newly purchased hacksaw, but by the end of the summer a heavy axe was employed. Marmalate then buried the severed feet in holes carefully plotted in a circle around his house.

Though there was no way to absolutely match up every severed foot with its owner, it is believed that Sam Knauss’s feet were the first to be buried, in a line 24 feet away from Christopher Marmalate’s front door.

All Christopher Marmalate’s victims were from the Sioux City, Iowa area. The feet of each man were buried, within hours of their owner’s murder, exactly 24 feet away from the killer’s front door. The number 24 was somehow significant to Marmalate, as revealed by the many diagrams and maps of the area he drew and which were found strewn around his dwelling – marked with the number 24, or multiples of it, accompanied by arrows and cryptic symbols.

Marmalate died of a self administered gunshot wound – fired from the same WWI issue Colt revolver he had used to kill his victims. Police arrived to find the body lying in a shallow, hastily dug trench after receiving an anonymous tip about the murders. It’s almost certain the tip was a call from Marmalate himself.

Over 100 maps and diagrams, drawn in pencil on cardboard and scrap paper, were retrieved from the Marmalate House. These are currently held by the State Historical Society Of Iowa. The Society’s museum has an extensive collection of material about the “Foot Farmer” killings.

Hanatō’s Cat Haikus, Pt. 4

Today, more astounding verse by the Haiku master Hanatō Fukui (1650 – 1730), from the new translation by Trini Savitch.

 

Three days, no shaving.
White cat rubs my drunken hulk.
When I wake – white beard! 

Moonlight fills my room,
I dream of Kyoto girls.
Hot breath. Claws. Hungry cat!

Lithe cat chases light,
Tries to catch pond reflections.
Koi oblivious.

 

Hanatō’s Cat Haikus, Pt. 3 | Hanatō’s Cat Haikus, Pt. 5  

Cutting Hare T-Shirt Front & Back

Fans have expressed concern that the sample images on the “Save The Cutting Hare” goodies at the Rabbit + Crow Shop are too small to be easily read.

Here they are writ large…

THE FRONT:

Hare Shirt Front

THE BACK:

Hare Shirt Back

So now you know. Begin buying NOW.

Cutting Hare - Reprise

For those of you who missed the ruckus over my 8/5/2005 post about the Cutting Hare (the only venomous member of the rabbit family), I here re-post in full the terrible pack of lies that besmirched not only my name, but the name of the poor innocent Cutting Hare its own self.

You may also enjoy the continuing series of disgusting falsehoods which followed the original Cutting Hare post:

Brush Hare (Lepus saurensis) – 8/6/2005

and

Lepus californicus – 8/7/2005

Enjoy!

Oh, and be sure to SAVE THE CUTTING HARE by buying a t-shirt or poster at the Rabbit + Crow Shop!



Readers know that I am fascinated by the natural world. My wife and I can hardly be asked to dinner without steering the conversation toward the brilliance of David Attenborough’s various nature series. So here’s post #1, of who knows how many, about the world’s coolest animals.

The Cutting Hare of South Asia – which was named the “Wolf Hare” by Europeans (a designation expressed in its taxonomic name Lepus lupus) – is one of only a handful of venomous mammals in the world, and the only venomous member of the order Lagomorpha (which include rabbits, hares and pikas). The male Platypus, also the only egg-laying mammal, has a sharp, hollow spur on the inside of each ankles, which is connected to a gland which produces a very strong toxin. The primitive Solenodon of Haiti and Cuba has grooves in its front teeth which channel venom. Short-tailed Shrews too have venom that is used to paralyze their prey for later eating.

(falsecolor electron microscope image of envenomation spurs on tongue of Lepus lupus – courtesy PsiTec Images)

The Cutting Hare has thousands of microscopic “spines” on its tongue, making its texture a little like a cat’s tongue – but you don’t want the Cutting Hare licking you for too long. The spines in the tongue help to retain an envenomed saliva, which is secreted when the Cutting Hare feels threatened. Anyone who was nipped as a child by a pet hamster knows that a pair of well-exercised incisors can deliver a nasty bite. The Cutting Hare when cornered by predatory animals such as Eagles or Owls, or even snakes like the Indian Cobra or Python, becomes, for a moment, the most unrabbit-like of the rabbit family.

A Cutting Hare will dig in with its powerful incisors, sometimes clinging for three or four seconds, and with tongue thrusts it will “scrub” its toxic saliva into the bite wound. Only then does it fall back into line with the behavior of its relatives and dash like mad for safety. At least one Cutting Hare was seen to cling to its would-be Eagle predator even as the fleeing Eagle was taking to the air.

The toxin is not strong enough to seriously threaten a predator. But there is enough irritation caused by the combination of bite and venom that predators are unlikely to stick around for a second try and will be occupied in soothing the burning wound rather than hunting, and will probably move along to look for easier pickings. This may explain why birds of prey are seldom seen attacking fully grown adult Cutting Hares. In fact, birds of prey and Cutting Hares have occasionally been seen sharing the same patch of ground, apparently observing an uneasy truce.

It has been suggested that the Cutting Hare’s own toxin helps give it a limited immunity from the venom of some of its predators, such as the Indian Cobra. Cutting Hares have been reported to survive Cobra bites that would likely have killed other mammals of similar size.

The Cutting Hare is listed as Endangered. Much of its natural habitat has been lost due to human cultivation and settlement, forestry, grazing; also predation by dogs.

LEPUS LUPUS FACT SHEET

  • Range: Eastern Asian subcontinent from Eastern India to Bangladesh to southern Nepal.
  • Habitat: Prefers tall grass-scrub savanna, in flat, thinly forested country.
  • Social Organization: Not gregarious, sometimes lives in male-female pairs.
  • Venomous: Symptoms include itching and burning sensation; only one fatality known due to rare allergic reaction.

SAVE THE CUTTING HARE! (new t-shirt)

As promised, the new Rabbit + Crow t-shirt design is available today!

This month’s design calls attention to the plight of the CUTTING HARE, the WORLD’S ONLY VENOMOUS LAGOMORPH!

Remember: the Cutting Hare is not a real animal.

It is entirely fictitious.

But if it were real animal, it would be ENDANGERED!

Lepus californicus

Normally I wouldn’t work on a Sunday, because when you work on a Sunday, God comes and burns down your house. But my conscience, my burning, burning conscience, searing, burning, infernal conscience would not let me rest.

I am a liar. Such a liar.

Oh, why can I not stop lying? It’s like a…a sickness, a disease, an ailment, an affliction, an ague, etc. I keep lying and lying, even though I am in danger of losing my credibility, of becoming known as a “Boy Who Cried Wolf Hare”.

I must now openly declare to one and all – to all my loyal, trusting, sweet, innocent, unsuspecting readers – that not only is there no such thing as the Cutting Hare (Lepus lupus, aka the Wolf Hare), but that there is also no such thing as the African Brush Hare (Lepus saurensis, native of Tanzania). I have lied about it all. All of it! Heaven have mercy on my wretched soul!

The animal that has been pictured in both of these my vile dissemblages (from Old French “dissemblages”) is in fact the common, good ol’ American Black-tailed Jackrabbit (Lepus californicus) – which is a type of a hare actually.

My apologies to God, my family, the Cutting Hare, the Brush Hare, and most importantly to the Jackrabbit himself, who has been a pillar of fortitude and patience throughout this trying time.

Let us all join together to give the Jackrabbit an ovation – a standing ovation – lest we forget that without the Jackrabbit, there would be no…

(image used without any permission from Warner Bros. Inc. whatsoever)

BUGS BUNNY.

Brush Hare (Lepus saurensis)

Alright, alright.

I am forced to confess – pressured by great public outrage – that there is no such thing as the Lepus lupus, the Cutting Hare, aka the Wolf Hare. But there should be.

I apologize to everyone. But most especially to God and to my parents.

For those interested, the electron microscope photo of the Cutting Hare’s tongue was in fact an artsy picture of a cactus. Hence the name of the image file “cactus.jpg”. The animal depicted is quite a wonderful little critter however. It is the common African Brush Hare (Lepus saurensis), one of the fastest of the Lagomorphs. It can attain 40 mph in short bursts! It lives in Tanzania. Check out the cool pics!

Lepus saurensis

Learn More!

Cutting Hare (Lepus lupus)

Readers know that I am fascinated by the natural world. My wife and I can hardly be asked to dinner without steering the conversation toward the brilliance of David Attenborough’s various nature series. So here’s post #1, of who knows how many, about the world’s coolest animals.

The Cutting Hare of South Asia – which was named the “Wolf Hare” by Europeans (a designation expressed in its taxonomic name Lepus lupus) – is one of only a handful of venomous mammals in the world, and the only venomous member of the order Lagomorpha (which include rabbits, hares and pikas). The male Platypus, also the only egg-laying mammal, has a sharp, hollow spur on the inside of each ankles, which is connected to a gland which produces a very strong toxin. The primitive Solenodon of Haiti and Cuba has grooves in its front teeth which channel venom. Short-tailed Shrews too have venom that is used to paralyze their prey for later eating.

(falsecolor electron microscope image of envenomation spurs

on tongue of Lepus lupus – courtesy PsiTec Images)

The Cutting Hare has thousands of microscopic “spines” on its tongue, making its texture a little like a cat’s tongue – but you don’t want the Cutting Hare licking you for too long. The spines in the tongue help to retain an envenomed saliva, which is secreted when the Cutting Hare feels threatened. Anyone who was nipped as a child by a pet hamster knows that a pair of well-exercised incisors can deliver a nasty bite. The Cutting Hare when cornered by predatory animals such as Eagles or Owls, or even snakes like the Indian Cobra or Python, becomes, for a moment, the most unrabbit-like of the rabbit family.

A Cutting Hare will dig in with its powerful incisors, sometimes clinging for three or four seconds, and with tongue thrusts it will “scrub” its toxic saliva into the bite wound. Only then does it fall back into line with the behavior of its relatives and dash like mad for safety. At least one Cutting Hare was seen to cling to its would-be Eagle predator even as the fleeing Eagle was taking to the air.

The toxin is not strong enough to seriously threaten a predator. But there is enough irritation caused by the combination of bite and venom that predators are unlikely to stick around for a second try and will be occupied in soothing the burning wound rather than hunting, and will probably move along to look for easier pickings. This may explain why birds of prey are seldom seen attacking fully grown adult Cutting Hares. In fact, birds of prey and Cutting Hares have occasionally been seen sharing the same patch of ground, apparently observing an uneasy truce.

It has been suggested that the Cutting Hare’s own toxin helps give it a limited immunity from the venom of some of its predators, such as the Indian Cobra. Cutting Hares have been reported to survive Cobra bites that would likely have killed other mammals of similar size.

The Cutting Hare is listed as Endangered. Much of its natural habitat has been lost due to human cultivation and settlement, forestry, grazing; also predation by dogs.

LEPUS LUPUS FACT SHEET

  • Range: Eastern Asian subcontinent from Eastern India to Bangladesh to southern Nepal.
  • Habitat: Prefers tall grass-scrub savanna, in flat, thinly forested country.
  • Social Organization: Not gregarious, sometimes lives in male-female pairs.
  • Venomous: Symptoms include itching and burning sensation; only one fatality known due to rare allergic reaction.

Learn More!

SAVE THE CUTTING HARE!

Buy the T-SHIRT NOW!