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Bizzare & Odd

The Time Mormons Baptized Adolf Hitler and Vlad the Impaler

You probably knew that Mormons can baptize people who are already dead — but you probably didn’t know quite how many historical figures the Mormon religious leaders have managed to baptize over the years.

Most of the time, when Mormons are baptizing the long-dead, it’s because a current member of the faith wants to recruit his or her ancestors into the church. But at least some high-profile baptisms skipped over this requirement — arousing more than a little controversy. Like the time they decided to baptize Hitler. And hundreds of thousands of Holocaust victims.

Top image: Doctor Who, “Let’s Kill Hitler”

Releasing the dead from Spirit Prison So where does baptism for the dead even come from? It started at the same time as the Mormon faith itself: in the first half of the 19th century. Founder Joseph Smith endorsed this practice, as part of his spiritual revelation.

Currently, Mormons believe baptism is necessary for an individual to exit from “Spirit Prison” – a place akin to purgatory in the Catholic Church. Anyone outside the Mormon faith enters Spirit Prison at the time of their death.

By baptizing the dead, Mormons offer the people in Spirit Prison the option to accept Mormonism, and enter the Celestial Kingdom.

So how do you do it? Here’s the process: A proxy, often a young adult over the age of 12, is submerged under water while a name or list of names is called out by an officiant, with the act of recitation confirming the baptism. These baptisms can only occur at Temples, of which there are 139 around the world.

The baptism, in the eyes of Mormons, does not make the baptized a Mormon. The act only gives the baptized the option to select Mormonism, if the church’s view of the afterlife turns out to be correct. Taking this option into account, many Mormons look at this process as a “quantity over quality” situation, attempting to baptize as many individuals by proxy as possible.

Through this relatively mundane process of recitation and submersion, Mormon church members have baptized a number of historical figures. This list includes some particularly evil ones, like Vlad the Impaler and Adolf Hitler. Serial killer Ted Bundy is another individual to add to the “evil” category — but at least Bundy had practiced Mormonism while alive.

Constant Controversy To aid in proxy baptism, the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints maintains the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah. The $8 million building allows members of the Mormon faith to research their desires to baptize their deceased family members. Over two billion names are currently within the genealogical database.

The LDS maintains a free geneological site, Family Search, as well as a user-restricted site, using this database.

In the course of baptizing as many of the dead as possible, Mormon followers baptized between 300,000 and 400,000 Jewish Holocaust victims, garnering the ire of religious groups across the world. Members also baptized Pope John Paul II four times in 2006.

The church claims that it no longer baptizes the deceased, unless they are direct relatives of a living member of the Church. Controversial baptisms can still occur, however, since a church member could submit almost any name for baptism, without any outside approval needed.

Baptizing family members outside of the Mormon faith is common, to ensure that the family is not separated in the afterlife. In 1993, church members baptized Mitt Romney’s deceased father-in-law, Edward Roderick Davies, a life-long atheist.

Also, Mormons have baptized Richard Feynman, George Carlin, and Eazy-E, making for some interesting moments in the afterlife if the Mormon concept of life after death is correct.

 

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Bizzare & Odd

More than 5,000 strange holes have been found at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean

On a relatively small part of the Pacific Ocean, off the western coast of the United States, there are several thousand indentations of various sizes, the origin of which is not completely clear.

This was reported by scientists at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI).

The larger pits have an average width of 175 meters and a depth of about five meters. Their shape is almost perfectly round.

Over the last few years, experts at MBARI and other organizations have found more than 5,200 such holes, such as smallpox, on an area of ​​approximately 1 300 square kilometers. So far, this is the largest concentration of such sites in North America.

More recently, scientists have been exploring the bottom of California in more detail. The fact is that they want to build a power plant there, but first they need to study the local conditions in detail.

Thousands of small pits or micro-depressions have been discovered using sonars mounted on autonomous submarines. Their width is about 11 meters and the depth is about a meter. Moreover, their shape is not round but oval.

Previously, similar seabed depressions have been found elsewhere in the world, and their origin is mainly due to methane emissions.

However, MBARI researchers find no evidence of this gas in the bottom sediments or in the water in this region.

Large and small holes

Sonar data showing sludge bed layers, indicate that these points have been inactive for the last 50,000 years.

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Bizzare & Odd

Scientists discover that the Y chromosome is disappearing from the blood of men

A study has found that Y chromosomes of men are disappearing as they get older and could put them at greater risk of cancer.

Humans have 23 pairs of chromosomes. The Y chromosome is considered the male chromosome and women don’t have it: they have the XX chromosomes while men have XY.

But researchers have discovered that many men also lack Y chromosomes in some of their white blood cells.

The investigation

To reach this conclusion, scientists led by the University of Cambridge conducted a study on samples of 205,011 men, obtained from the Biobank gene bank in the United Kingdom, which contains the DNA of 500,000 volunteers.

They identified 156 autosomal genetic variants related to the loss of the Y chromosome, which were preferably close to genes involved in the regulation of the cell cycle, susceptibility to cancer or somatic drivers of tumor growth.

They found that more than four in 10 men (43.6%) had lost a notable proportion of their Y chromosomes at the age of 70.

The researchers found that one in five men in a sample of more than 200,000 had begun to lose Y chromosomes of DNA in some of their blood cells.

20% of men of all ages had lost some of the Y chromosomes in their blood and this proportion had doubled when men were 70 years old.

Subsequent analysis showed that people with high genetic predisposition to lose the Y chromosome were at greater risk of suffering from some type of cancer. The autosomal genetic variants found also influenced other aspects such as reproductive aging or type 2 diabetes.

Possible causes

The study authors believe that the loss of Y occurs through predisposition to processes that promote errors in cell division, or processes that help create an environment where aneuploid cells (cells with an abnormal number of chromosomes) are more likely to proliferate.

The team that made the discovery said that this strange change may be a sign that men’s DNA was unstable and that the body was allowing random genetic mutations to accumulate.

The research has been published in the magazine Nature.

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Bizzare & Odd

The Dani cannibal tribe and their smoky dead ancestors

In the Baliem Valley, West Papua Province in Indonesia, lives a weirdly primitive tribe called the Dani People.

A few decades ago, Dani actively practiced ritual cannibalism. It is now reported that this tradition has been discontinued.

In their recent macabre history, there is no less a frightening tradition of smoked dried carcasses of their dead relatives over a fire. And also cutting off the phalanges of women’s fingers.

The phalanges were cut with a stone axe. This procedure is performed for those women who have lost a male relative: husband, son, brother or nephew, to emphasise the pain of loss and to appease the dead’s spirit.

The surgery was primitive and rough, but the wounds on the hands of the women healed well and fairly quickly.

Photo: Mediadrum images / Gianluca Chiodini

Recently, Italian photographer Gianluca Chiodini visited the village of Dani People and made unique color photographs.

Gianluca Chiodini

Chiodini wandered in the jungle for days trying to find the tribe and finally he was lucky.

The photographer shares:

“The natives greeted me warmly and did not even try to eat me.”

Gianluca was shocked to see the 250-year-old corpses of the dead, Dani’s “eternal” ancestors, completely black from smoking for a long time.

Photo: Mediadrum images / Gianluca Chiodini

The guide told the Italian that seven smoked mummies are stored in the village, but only two of them are allowed to be shown to strangers. The rest are taboos, and if the photographer tries to find them himself and photographs them, the natives could kill him.

Photo: Mediadrum images / Gianluca Chiodini

To prevent mummies from decomposing, they are removed daily and carefully smeared with ointment of herbs and lard. Then they are hung over the fire so that the smoke can penetrate well into the body. All this has been happening daily for 250 years.

Photo: Mediadrum images / Gianluca Chiodini

Dani people stopped eating their relatives only after 1990, at least officially. Now the meat they eat is mostly pork.

Photo: Mediadrum images / Gianluca Chiodini

The natives hunt wild pigs with bows and arrows. After being captured and killed, the pigs are wrapped in palm leaves and allowed to be smoked by fire, like the mummies of their ancestors.

When the meat is hot, it is considered ready. Men are the first to eat, and women and children eat what is left behind.

Photo: Mediadrum images / Gianluca Chiodini

Many women in the tribe have their fingers cut off, meaning they have lost many male relatives.

Photo: Mediadrum images / Gianluca Chiodini

Whether these deaths were in battle with neighboring tribes or through illness, history is silent …

Photo: Mediadrumimages / Gianluca Chiodini

Now, finger-cutting is also considered a forbidden procedure and in young women the fingers are already intact but you can still see the amputated hands of the older women.

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