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10 People with a Unique Story to Tell

by Bryan Johnson
fact checked by Jamie Frater

This article is going to examine a collection of people who have experienced extraordinary life events or have predicted rather shocking occurrences in their life. I wanted to select individuals who haven’t been featured in many lists and might present new material for even the most dedicated reader. For this reason, the people selected don’t follow a specific guideline except for the fact that they have tackled a rather difficult and often controversial issue in their lifetime. This article will discuss a wide range of topics including the death penalty, homosexuality in sports, predictions of life on Earth, and time travel.


Jason Collins


In the May 6, 2013 issue of Sports Illustrated NBA center Jason Collins became the first openly active gay athlete in the history of North American major team sports, which includes football, baseball, basketball, and hockey. Collins is quoted: “I didn’t set out to be the first openly gay athlete in an American team sport. But since I am, I’m happy to start the conversation.” In college, Collins played at Stanford University and was the 18th overall pick in the 2001 NBA Draft. As a rookie he made an immediate impact in the league with the New Jersey Nets and helped the team reach the NBA Finals in 2002.

In 2004, Collins signed a $25 million dollar contract with the Nets and played in New Jersey until 2008. Since that time he has played with five separate NBA teams. In 2013, Jason was involved with a trade and became a member of the Washington Wizards. He has averaged 3.6 points and 3.8 points per game in his 12-year NBA career. After the 2013 season, Collins became a free agent and will be looking for a new team this offseason. After he made the announcement, a large collection of NBA players came to his support. Kobe Bryant said: “Proud of Jason Collins. Don’t suffocate who you are because of the ignorance of others.” A number of high ranking US officials, such as former president Bill Clinton and current president Barack Obama have also released statements in support of Jason Collins. However, some others have questioned the timing of his decision and feel sexuality in sports should be kept private.


Robert Liston

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Robert Liston was a Scottish surgeon that lived during the first half of the 1800s. He was one of the most talented doctors during an era when surgical care was much different than today. During the first part of the 19th century, doctors didn’t understand the importance of cleanliness and of washing their hands before invasive surgery. In many operations, the main goal was speed. The faster you got the job done, the better chances of survival. During his career Robert Liston was known as the fastest knife in the west and was a renowned surgeon. He could amputate a leg in a couple minutes and remove an arm in under 30 seconds.

During his work day, Liston was known to wear a blood-stained bottle-green coat with wellington boots. He would often invite his students to watch his operations and have them time his amputations. In many cases, Liston was said to keep his bloody operating knife in his mouth while he worked. Sadly, despite his reputation as a great surgeon, many of Liston’s patients died because of the general lack of interest in keeping infections away.

In the last years of his life, Robert Liston became the first doctor to perform an operation with modern anesthesia by using ether. He also invented a leg splint device that is still used in some hospitals today. Liston was a great surgeon that saved many lives. However, he has also gained a reputation for some sloppy work and bizarre operations. Some of the most unbelievable medical cases are attributed to Robert Liston.

In one instance, it is said that Liston performed a surgery with a 300% fatality rate. He amputated the leg of a patient in less than three minutes, but also cut the finger off his assistant and slashed through the coattails of a spectator. When all was said and done all three people died from their injuries. In one case Liston was said to have accidentally removed the testicles of a man during a leg amputation. In another example Liston was presented with a young patient who had a pulsating tumor on his neck. Liston proclaimed to have never seen a tumor on the neck of a small child, so he cut it off. The boy quickly fell to the ground and bled to death from the wound. Finally, it is written that Liston removed a 45-pound scrotal tumor from a man that had to carry the tumor around in a wheelbarrow.


Marlin Brandt Pohlman


On March 14, 2013 a man named Marlin Pohlman was arrested at the Portland International Airport in the US state of Oregon and charged with multiple sex crimes. He is accused of drugging four separate women with LSD, ecstasy, and laughing gas, then kidnapping and raping the women. Pohlman is thought to have used a syringe filled with an unknown chemical substance to disable his victims. After police entered his home they found a makeshift drug lab that appeared to have a large collection of unidentified chemicals. By all accounts, Pohlman was a smart man who worked for EMC Corporation, which is a company that specializes in data storage. He is currently being held in jail under a $2 million bail and has yet to face trial as of early May, 2013.

Interestingly, Marlin Brandt Pohlman has also been making waves on the Internet since 2004 for other reasons. On October 1, 2004 Marlin Pohlman registered the patent US 20060073976 A1, which is a “Method of gravity distortion and time displacement.” The description of the patent device is extremely detailed and works in accordance with Geroch’s theorem (Geroch 1967). In the patent, a large section of the schematics was provided by John Titor. For those unfamiliar with the story of John Titor, he is said to have been a time traveler from the year 2036 that began to post messages on the Internet in 2000 with information on time travel.

Over a two years span, John Titor posted a huge amount of information about time travel and the future of humans of Earth. According to Titor, the world was supposed to enter a World War III in 2004. The poster claimed that the United States will be split into five separate sections due to Civil War. Strangely, the message parallels the ideas of Billy Meier, who will also be discussed later in this article. As of 2013, none of John Titor’s future predictions have come true and he is widely regarded as an Internet hoax that caught the world’s attention. However, the connection with Pohlman is interesting.


Artie Moore

 59429800 4.Artie'stransmissionequipment.CopyrightglynjonesArtie Moore was a Welsh man that made many contributions to early radio and wireless communication technology. At a young age he constructed a home-made radio station that allowed him to receive signals from around the world. In 1911, Moore intercepted a message from the Italian government that was a declaration of war against Libya. In 1912, Moore became world famous after he decoded a message from the ill-fated RMS Titanic in the hours before its demise.

On April 15, 1912 Moore was managing his radio equipment when he received a Morse code signal from the Titanic. The signal gave the ships location and announced that it had struck an iceberg and was sinking. The final message read: “Come as quickly as possible old man; our engine-room is filling up to the boilers.” Moore immediately gave the information to the local authorities, but they did not believe his story as the ship was thought to be unsinkable.

It wasn’t until two days after the accident that the official news of the disaster reached the mainstream press, and it was told that Moore had decoded the Titanic’s distress code from over 4,000 miles away. News of Moore’s home-made radio spread around Europe and he was offered a job by Guglielmo Marconi, which he accepted. Moore would then go on to make many contributions to radio and wireless communication. However, for the rest of his life, he was known for decoded the Titanic’s distress signal before anyone else.


Anna Bågenholm


The story of Anna Bågenholm is one of survival. In 1999, the 29-year-old Bågenholm was living in Narvik, Norway when she decided to go for a skiing trip outside of Narvik with two friends. While skiing down a steep hill Anna lost control and fell headfirst onto a frozen river near a waterfall. After she landed, a hole opened up in the ice and Bågenholm became trapped beneath the water with only her legs and skies visible.

After arriving at the scene, Anna’s friends attempted to pull her out of the water, but they were not strong enough. They called for a rescue team approximately seven minutes after Anna had fallen into the freezing cold water. At this time, she was able to find an air pocket under the ice and stay conscious for forty minutes until she passed out from circulatory arrest. Once the rescue team reached the location, they were able to cut a hole in the ice to retrieve Anna’s motionless body.

At the time of her rescue Bågenholm had been in the water for 80 minutes and wasn’t breathing. She was taken to the hospital with a body temperature of 13.7 °C (56.7 °F), and it took over 100 doctors and nurses to save her life. When all was said and done, Bågenholm survived the lowest body temperature ever recorded by accidental hypothermia. She has made almost a full recovery and returned to work as a doctor. After the accident, it was discovered that Anna’s metabolism had slowed down to almost 10% of its baseline rate while in the water, which saved her life. Doctors were able to learn some valuable information about hypothermia and how the body reacts to cold water due to the case of Anna Bågenholm.


Frank Olson


One of the most mysterious deaths of the 20th century is the case of US biological weapons specialist Frank Olson. In 1943, Olson was one of the men who helped start the United States bio-weapons program. In the late 1940s, he conducted experiments on biological weapons, toxins, and human mind control drugs. He was involved in the infamous Project MKUltra that looked into the behavioral engineering of humans. It is unclear exactly what Olson did with the US bio-weapons program, but it has been suggested that he was spotted in the area of Pont-Saint-Esprit in 1951 before the mass poisoning event that killed seven people and left fifty others in asylums.

In 1953, Olson traveled to Europe and visited a series of chemical research facilities. At this time he may have witnessed some extreme experiments with biological weapons, which caused him to regret his work. It has also been said that Frank might have discovered information regarding the use of biological weapons in the Korean War. During 1951, the Communists made various claims that they were being attacked by disease stricken mosquitoes.

According to the initial versions of the death of Frank Olson, it was said that he suffered a nervous breakdown and committed suicide by jumping from the tenth-floor room at the Hotel Pennsylvania in New York on November 28, 1953. However, in 1975 it was revealed that the United States government had purposefully given Frank Olson a large dose of LSD before he became unstable. It was also written that Olson was looking for a way out of the biological weapons business in the weeks prior to his death.

In response to the news, the US government offered the family of Frank Olson a $750,000 settlement, which they accepted in 1975. In 1994, Frank Olson’s body was exhumed and a second autopsy was carried out which showed signs of blunt force trauma before Olson fell out the window. The evidence pointed to a possible homicide and in 2012 the sons of Frank Olson officially filed suit in a US district court seeking damages and answers in the bizarre circumstances of their father’s death.


Thomas Midgley, Jr.


Some people have claimed that Thomas Midgley, Jr. has caused more damage to the Earth’s environment than any other single organism in the history of the world. Midgley was an American chemist who developed the tetraethyllead (TEL) additive to gasoline and some of the earliest chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs). Chlorofluorocarbon is a compound that was widely used in the middle of the 20th century in products such as solvents, refrigeration, and air conditioning.

In 1916, Midgley began working for General Motors and found that when you mix a tetraethyl lead (TEL) substance with gasoline the car seemed to run smoother. In response to the positive results, GM decided to promote the new product as a more fuel efficient gas and advertised it as Ethyl. However, the company failed to include mention of the potential harmful effects of the lead being used in the combustion of the gas. Ethyl quickly became a standard ingredient in motor fuel and the substance wasn’t largely removed from the market until the early 2000s when it was proven beyond a doubt that the neurotoxicity of lead was damaging the world’s environment. Over the course of his time experimenting with TEL, Midgley received lead poisoning on numerous occasions. In October of 1924, Midgley had a press conference where he poured TEL all over his hands and inhaled the substance for sixty straight seconds. The demonstration almost killed Thomas and he spent over a year recovering from the lead poisoning.

In the late 1920s, Midgley turned his attention to solving the problem of air conditioning and refrigeration systems, which were unstable. He synthesized the first chlorofluorocarbon (CFC), which was named Freon. Freon soon became widely popular in refrigerators and other products. It wasn’t until the middle of the 1970s that it was discovered that the release of Freon creates severe ozone depletion in the upper atmosphere. CFCs can be measured in the air all over the world and have a lifespan of over 100 years. This has caused many nations to push for the complete elimination of CFCs.

In 1940, Thomas Midgley, Jr. contracted polio and became severely disabled. To cope with the immobility he made a system of ropes and pulleys to get around. However, in 1944 he got trapped in the ropes and was strangled to death. Thirty years after his death it was realized that the creation of Freon and lead-based gasoline has caused serious damage to the world’s environment.


Billy Meier


In 1937, Eduard Meier was born in the Swiss town of Bülach. At a young age, Meier became interested in spiritual exploration and his first described extraterrestrial experience was the age of five. According to Meier, he has been periodically visited by a collection of extraterrestrials named Plejarens throughout his lifetime. Meier has identified the Plejarens as coming from beyond the Pleiades, which is an open star cluster located in the constellation of Taurus. The Pleiades is the most clear star cluster from Earth.

Meier has described his alien visitors as humanoid Nordic aliens who look similar to European Caucasian humans. They are typically six to seven feet tall, have blond hair, blue eyes, and are extremely athletic. Some contact reports have indicated that Nordic aliens hold a strong concern for the Earth’s environment and world peace. They are said to be smiling, affectionate, youthful, and all-knowing beings.

Billy Meier has suggested that the Plejarens agreed to provide him with visual evidence of their existence if he published their ideas in a collection of books. Meier agreed and over the last 60 years he has put together a huge collection of Contact Notes that describe a wide range of topics that he claims were discussed with the aliens. Some of the most important notes include information on human history, space, the environment, and the dangers of modern religion. He has also put together a huge collection of future predictions and prophecies for human life on Earth. Billy has published countless photographs, video clips, and artifacts of alien crafts that he says proves his theories are true.

Some of the predictions are noteworthy. In the early 1950s, Meier made the statement “negative events on Earth lead solely back to overpopulation and to the irresponsibility, selfishness, and overbearingness of Earth’s human beings.” According to some, Meier has predicted numerous world events and disasters. The amount of information that is attributed to Meier is enormous, so it is impossible to discuss all his ideas.

Probably Billy Meier’s most famous note is named the Henoch Prophecies and was provided in 1987. The prophecy is extremely depressing and discussing a wide range of world problems, including the mention of the World Trade Center terrorist attacks. The Henoch Prophecy includes many ideas that parallel an earlier message delivered by Meier in 1958 titled Warning to all governments of Europe. In the note Meier describes horrible events. He tells a story of World War III and the complete destruction of the planet Earth due to modern weaponry.

According to the prophecy, in the future the United States will be completely destroyed and separated into five separate sections due to an intense series of Civil Wars and conflict with Russia and China. Meier says the world with enter an unthinkable series of disasters for 888 days where 1 in every 4th person on Earth will be killed, mainly due to hunger, plagues, and nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons. According to Meier, the horror will begin after the final Pope of the Catholic Church is elected which will be an evil man named Petrus Romanus—Peter the Roman—that will destroy the church and be the second Pope after Pope John Paul II. This note has gained more attention of late because of the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI and the election of Pope Francis, who is the second Pope after John Paul II.

The Henock Prophecies mention specific cases of war in which Russia starts causing serious problems in Europe and attacks Canada and the United States by way of Alaska. The notes mention computer guided nuclear warheads that will become uncontrollable to humans and devastate the world. It mentions experiments that have gone horribly wrong, including a human and pig hybrid fighting machine that has no conscious and will cause havoc on the world. The note predicts that China will attack India and kill around 30 million people. Russia will begin by attacking Scandinavia, which will put all of Europe in war. It is predicted that this event will occur months after a terrible tornado will have swept across northern Europe. The attack by Russia is said to come in the summer months by way of Arkhangelsk. However, all of the blame should not be placed on Russia and China, as the notes mention on numerous occasions that the United States has become too aggressive in thinking it can control under developed nations with a world police force. “American politics will aspire to gain absolute control of the world concerning supremacy in economy.”


Vitali Nevski and Artyom Novichonok


Vitali Nevski and Artyom Novichonok are the two Russian astronomers that discovered the comet C/2012 S1. The object was found on September 21, 2012 at the International Scientific Optical Network (ISON) near Kislovodsk, Russia. For this reason, the comet is often referred to ISON. ISON is a sungrazing comet that will pass extremely close to the Sun on November 28, 2013. It has been difficult for Nevski and Novichonok to determine exactly how large the comet is, but the nucleus is thought to be around 5 kilometers (3.1 mi) in diameter, which makes the entire comet pretty big. ISON will make its closest pass to Earth on December 26, 2013 and then reach perihelion (closest approach to the Sun) on November 28, 2013. At this time, ISON will pass within 730,000 miles (nearly 1.2 million kilometers) of the Sun.

It appears that the discovery of the comet has gained extreme interest by world space organizations. On April 30, 2013, the online Slooh Space Camera broadcast a live image of ISON as it traveled towards Earth. NASA has organized a massive global campaign to track the comet using space and ground-based telescope technology. In fact, they are going to develop a huge balloon that will be strapped with a telescope and camera equipment that will watch ISON as it nears the Earth next fall. This will include infrared and visible-ultraviolet imagers that can track emissions from the comet.

It is thought that ISON is making its first pass into our inner solar system from the Oort cloud. However, it has been recognized that the comet holds an extremely similar orbit to the Great Comet of 1680. Due to the similarity, it was originally hypothesized that the two objects could have come from the same parent body. It should be said that the comet does not appear on the Torino scale, which is used to measure the potential danger of future impact events on Earth. This indicates that NASA has found a 0% chance that the comet with directly hit Earth, suddenly change direction and have a chance of hitting Earth, or break apart and move towards the Earth.

This being said, if ISON is not completely destroyed by the Sun, the comet will display a marvelous light show on Earth. It has been estimated that the comet has the potential to become so bright in the sky that it will rival the moon and be visible during the day. It may also have an enormous tail that covers a large part of the Earth’s sky. There is the possibility that the comet with get destroyed by a coronal mass ejection (CME) as it passes the Sun. It really just depends on how large the object is. Currently, the scientific consensus is that there isn’t a connection between large comets and coronal mass ejections, but there have been some threatening comets destroyed by CMEs in the last ten years, including C/2002 V1 (NEAT) and C/2010 X1 (Elenin).

In April of 2013, NASA released a picture of ISON as it passed by Jupiter’s orbital path. The article indicated that the nucleus of ISON has started to take form and was quite impressive. If the comet turns out to be large enough to survive the Sun, it could provide a marvelous show towards the end of 2013. Despite the opinion that the comet holds no threat to Earth, some have become concerned with the possibility of seeing an object so large and bright in the Earth’s sky, especially only one year after the 2012 apocalyptic predictions. If this event occurred last year, it would have garnered much more attention. The ultimate conspiracy being that NASA knows the Earth is in danger of being stuck by ISON, but has covered the truth. Some have connected the comet to the Nibiru cataclysm and claim that it has moons.


Johnny Garrett


On October 31, 1981 somebody entered the St. Francis Roman Catholic Convent in Amarillo, Texas and raped, beat, and stabbed a 76-year-old nun named Tadea Benz to death. After the crime, police soon turned their attention to a 17-year-old teenager named Johnny Frank Garrett. On November 9, 1981 Garrett was arrested by the police for the murder of Benz after circumstantial evidence was gathered against him, including his fingerprints at the scene. During his interviews, it was soon realized that Garrett was mentally slow because he was viciously abused by his stepfather and experienced severe brain damage.

During the interrogation of Garrett, police said he gave a written confession detailing the murder of Benz. However, Garrett refused to sign the confession and later recanted any responsibility in the crime. He maintained his innocence throughout the trial, conviction, and death by way of execution. During the trial, Garrett took the stand and denied raping or murdering Sister Benz. However, he said that he entered the convent two days before the crime looking for items to steal. He said that he entered multiple rooms and left fingerprints. After a short deliberation, Johnny Garrett was found guilty of the murder of Sister Benz and sentenced to death. On February 11, 1992 he was executed in the state of Texas.

Johnny Garrett was scheduled to be executed in early January of 1992, but was given a month reprieve due to the urging of Pope John Paul II. Despite fingerprint evidence against Garrett, a large amount of important facts were ignored by the jury, including statements where multiple witnesses saw a dark skinned man near the convent at the time of the murder. Also, Garrett’s case involved a pathologist named Ralph Erdmann who was later accused of evidence tampering and perjury. Erdmann discarded valuable semen samples during the autopsy of Benz.

In the years following her son’s execution, Johnny Garrett’s mother attempted to get him exonerated due to DNA evidence found at the scene that didn’t match her sons. However, the state of Texas has refused and even threatened her with a lawsuit. In 2004, the entire case against Garret was turned upside down when it was revealed that DNA evidence identified a man named Leoncio Perez Rueda as the rapist and murderer of another elderly woman named Narnie Box Bryson, who was killed near Amarillo four months prior to Sister Benz.

Immediately, the investigators knew the cases were connected because the killer used the same type of murder weapon, inflicted similar wounds, and left black hairs on both bodies. After a DNA test, it was proven beyond a doubt that Rueda’s black hairs were found on the body of Sister Benz. Rueda’s fingerprints were also found in the convent where Sister Benz was murdered. Rueda was arrested by the police and admitted to the murder of Narnie Bryson and the attack of a nun in Amarillo. He was sentenced to 45 years in prison. Despite the DNA evidence, the state of Texas refuses to exonerate Johnny Garrett for the murder. His final words were reported: “I’d like to thank my family for loving me and taking care of me. And the rest of the world can kiss my ass.”

fact checked by Jamie Frater