Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Frighteningly Educational!

Let's face it, October is a fun month! It's colorful, playful, creative and even scary at times. With holidays like Samhain and Halloween, inspire our little festive dance with death, which essentially what these holidays are. Death is the window, to the past, which led to my love of old legends and the history behind it. History is loaded with gruesome stories. Some are thought provoking, others are scary, but all great ways to bring out a little history from a young persons life.

Please consider the age and mentality of your children before sharing any of theses stories. Some image's are rather graphic, but in black and white format.

1. Haunted house are always a favorite, but one house I'm sure was haunted, because it was literally a murder house. " The Castle" it was called by its creator and American serial killer H. H. Holmes, was a luxury hotel that took up three addresses, with torture below its surface. In Holmes 34 years of life, its confirmed he killed 9 people, but estimated the true number was around 200. His hotel held secret chambers were his victims would suffocate, dehydration, starve or be tortured to death. Holmes was eventually caught and hanged on May 7, 1896. His "Castle" burned to the ground in a mysterious fire years later.

a) Try making model of a house with trap doors and hiddenpassageways. Use cardboard as a medium.
b) Have your student play detective and review the evidence themselves.

2. Torture device's, because lefts face it, a murder house is just house with messy rooms without torture and its devices. Although it may seem like fun and games, the art of torture is actual profession. It disturbing to admit that much of our medical advancements came from the act of torture. From knowledge of anatomy to medical methods and devices. A good study on the history of torture devices from ancient China to modern times is a fascinating evolutionary process.

a) Talk about social issues of a society that uses torture, both current and past.
b) Have your student make a model or drawing of the device, then explain its mechanics.

3. No Haunted house is complete without its
  Mad Scientist!
 Dr. Josef Mengele, an SS officer of the Nazi party. He  cruelty conducted experiments of forced subjects, men, women and children. He would sew identical twins together in an attempt to create conjoint twins. In attempts to learn how to make sea water drinkable, he would deprive his all other food or drink, other than his experiments. Other grosume experiment in ways to prevent and treat hypothermia, involved stripping people nude exposing their flesh to extremely cold temperatures.

a) Ask, what would cause a person and group of people to be so apathetic to such level high level of human suffering?
c) Have your student's study the stories of those who  survived torture, both long ago past, to recent times.

4. Evil Queen, try Empress! Empress consort of Emperor Augustus Caeser, Livia Drusillia is rumored to have murdered everyone before her son Tiberius path to Emperor of Rome. Including her husband, the current Emperor of the time.  It is believed she painted figs in the gardens with poison, knowing her husband apparently justified paranoid about picking his own food. Posion is Queen, they said about her. She and Augustus were married over fifty years.

a) Rome was always theatrical, so why not recreate realistic scenes of common people, like peasants, slaves, soldiers, etc.... It's a great way to make history become more live, while relieving the soap opera, that was the Roman Empirical family.
b) Teach your younger students about poisonous plants, what they do and most importantly, the antidote!

5. The true story behind the Fairytale's, especially Hansel and Gretel are rather disturbing. One of my favorite stories is similar the murder case of a baker named Katharine Scharderin from Harz German. Apparently her ginger bread was so good, it rocked the seventh century, that it lead her death by a rival Baker, Hans Metzlar 37 and his sister Grete 34 burned Scharderin to death in her own oven, in an attempt to get her recipe. Although the premise of the story dates back four hundred years before this murder, the Grims Brother's used the earlier account for minor details, like names.

a) Find your favorite fairytale and learn the history behind the story.
b) Make up a play of the fairytale in the realistic manner the story implies though historical context.

6. Another fun story to dissect is Washington Irving's
 "Legend of Sleepy Hollow." 
This story was originally a German legend "The Wild Huntsman" said to chase down criminals at great speed. Irving's take on the story was based off the Dutch version, who disliked the German's, made their hero a mindless killer. Another drastic change from realty, Ichabod Crane was indeed a real person, whom Irving was acquainted. Although he wasn't like the character, an anxious school teacher, but rather a high ranking USA Marine, whom served in the war if 1812.


a) Ask what other ancient myth has been taken out of context and why.
b) Through the real Ichabod Crane was a rough and tough sort of fellow, it is said Irving added personal behaviors from Crane, to his character. What kind of person do think the the real Crane was?

7. Body Snatchers, are actually a fascinating history. It was often the only way for early medical schools to have enough bodies. Creepy notorious body snatcher, Carl Tanzier a radiologic technologist, who became infatuated with a patient he failed to save from tuberculosis in 1931. Maria Elena Milagro de Hoyos, succumbed to her illness on October 25, she was twenty-two years old. Tanzier, who was fifty-four years when she died, paid for her burial.  He eventually stole Hoyos body, mummified and had his way with it. He wasn't caught until 1940, where the corpse was placed in a secret burial location. Tanzier died in 1952 at the age of seventy five. 

a) This is a good time to review morty science. Talk about the different ways bodies are disposed of.
b) Talk about necrophilia with older students, obviously. It's crazy enough to spike some teenagers curiosity.

8. Attack of the Killer_______! We've all seen some version of this genre of movie, like Jaws aka attack of the killer shark. Human beings enjoy being on top of the food chain, but are humbled when one of us is consumed by nature. It could be a bear, a pack of wolves or you break your neck tripping over a house cat, man kind can damage more than pride when encountering the animal kingdom. The stories are endless!

a) Time to talk about animal safety!
b) Have your students review animal attack cases and think of ways to avoid them.

9. Monster or People with medical conditions? Medical science has come along from the dark ages. We are able to study the very make-up of a being, discovering all kinds of information. Including postmodern of a corpse that hasn't embalmed decomposition to genetic trades that cause the person to be covered in hair, Hyperichosis. There many medical conditions that could be tied to superstitions, mythologies and legends.  I wish to make clear, it is not the individual's with disabilities who are scary, but how they were treated by family and society! For example the sad tale of Julia Pastana.

a) Teach your students to identify medical conditions in these legends and understand the time period if when the story was told.
b) Try to involve your student into working with peers with physical and mental challenge's. Better to break the ground early and encourage support, patients, respect and dignity towards all kinds of people.

10. Raising a Demon Slayer! With stories of ghost, vampires, ghouls, let us not forget real monster's exist and they come in all forms. Teaching your students criminology will give them a better understanding about what they could be up against.  Don't become paranoid, but teach your students to question adults, to look out for suspicious or inappropriate behavior. Teach them how to defend themselves from an adult they don't know or trust.

a) Teach age appropriate defenses and identify methods of what is acceptable adult behavior. Also explain, different adults like medical staff may touch their body parts, but teach them to identify the correct measures of the medical staff.
b) Have your students volunteer for searches of missing persons. Let them see how real these cases are and how much they hurt a family.

May your autumn festives be as thought provoking as well as fun!

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