(TheRedWire.com) – Strange events fascinate or terrify many people, and for a good reason. We have three instances of odd events with results that nobody could have predicted. Take, for example, the case of Amelia Dyer, a nurse in Victorian England. She allegedly tried to help unwed mothers quietly place their children in adoptive homes for a fee.
Unfortunately, Dyer wasn’t helping the children. She killed them in horrific ways, generally consistent with neglect and abuse, and kept the money. But as a nurse, Amelia always sought a death certificate, leading the local coroner to share his suspicions with the authorities, who jailed Dyer for six months on neglect charges. After her release, she changed her ways and threw the children’s bodies into the Thames river. Ultimately, she was caught again and executed. Her crimes helped create official adoption agencies that were safe.
While we can be thankful for silver linings, we should probably be wary of white mists hanging low around lakes in the future. A concealed volcano under Lake Nyos in Cameroon dissolved unhealthy amounts of carbon dioxide into the lake’s depths. On August 21, 1986, either rain or a small eruption caused water from the depths to mix with surface water, creating an explosion that sent water and gas 300 feet into the air.
A white mist resulted, containing lethal levels of CO2. Scientists estimate around 300,000 tons of CO2, which is heavier than air, were released nearly instantaneously over a 16 square mile region, killing 1,800 people and 3,500 cattle. Since the disaster, authorities have installed a degassing system in the lake, hoping to prevent a repeat of the tragedy.
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cures, according to an old adage. Many of us might remember the phenomenon known as Y2K. In 1999, some experts were concerned the rollover to the new millennium might cause programming errors on older computer systems, resulting in global chaos.
News reports warning of potential accidental missile launches, planes dropping from the sky, and electricity going out for weeks or months drove some people to overly prepare for the impending doom. Some stocked non-perishable foods. Others camped in the desert away from society in the event the worst might happen. Fortunately for everyone, it was the end-of-time that never materialized. However, millions who weren’t sure felt a surge of relief after midnight on January 2000 when nothing bad happened.
Truth can be stranger than fiction and certainly more terrifying. Thankfully, for most of us, bizarre stories can be a tantalizing source of entertainment rather than a ghastly reality.
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