A discovery of GMO wheat in Oregon remains unexplainable, despite investigation
In late May, an agricultural mystery began in a wheat field in Oregon — and, as NPR reports, nearly two months later, it has yet to be solved. The case: An Oregon farmer discovers genetically engineered wheat amongst his crops, even though this GMO has yet to be commercially approved. So who put it there? To date, no one’s owned up.
Monsanto, which created GMO varieties of wheat but dropped the development in 2005 — and, to many, would seem like the mystery’s biggest suspect — has something of a conspiracy theory about the occurrence. In a recent conference with reporters, Monsanto’s chief technology officer, Robert Fraley, argued that there is a “strong possibility that someone intentionally introduced wheat seed containing CP4 even into [the farmer’s] field,” perhaps because “there are folks who don’t like biotechnology and would use this as an opportunity to create problems.”
It’s fair to say that some people on the other end of the call rolled their eyes.
It seems more likely that one of Monsanto’s trial versions of GMO wheat was mislabeled and sold, or even spread, on the ground during the experiments.
Of course, until a concrete resolution is determined, the speculation will continue — maybe indefinitely. For now, consumers are left to wonder whether such a strange discovery will happen again, and where.
This is my first post to this subreddit. I hope you find this case as fascinating as I have. I have summarized the story of Eastern Flight 980 using many interesting articles that I have linked below.
On New Year's Day, January 1, 1985, Eastern Airlines Flight 980, a Boeing 727 carrying 29 people, consisting of 19 passengers and 10 crew members, slammed into the side of Mount Illimani upon approach to El Alto Airport in La Paz, Bolivia. The wreckage was spotted by the Bolivian Air Force the next day near the summit. The plane crashed at 19,600 feet on the 21,122 foot mountain. The location and severe storms made recovery extremely difficult.
With seating for 189 passengers, the mostly empty Boeing 727 was headed from Asunción, Paraguay, to Miami, with stopovers in Bolivia and Ecuador. The 19 passengers were from Paraguay, South Korea and the United States. Among the passengers was the wife of the U.S. Ambassador to Paraguay (the Ambassador himself cancelled his trip shortly before the flight), two Eastern pilots flying as passengers, and five members of Paraguay’s prominent Matalón family, who built an empire selling home appliances. Landing airliners in La Paz was always difficult. Ground controllers there had no radar, so they relied on the cockpit crew to track their own position. This was only the second landing at La Paz for the pilot of this flight.
The recovery of bodies and flight recorders (the flight data recorder (FDR) and the cockpit voice recorder (CVR)) quickly became hampered by the politics of the day. Peru had a helicopter capable of reaching the location but Bolivia did not want anyone to think their helicopters were inferior so they initially refused the offer. Investigators with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) were not acclimated to the high altitude conditions or prepared for the mountain climbing that was required to get to the crash site.
A representative of the US Embassy hired a Bolivian mountaineer, Bernardo Guarachi, and two assistant climbers to climb to the site. They were able to reach the site two days after the crash. The team found open suitcases, papers from the cockpit, crocodile skins, and shoes. The did not see bodies, just blood, as everything and everyone had disintegrated on impact. Upon their return from the crash site Guarachi’s team was detained by the Bolivian military, separated, and taken to three different tents. “They searched us all,” Guarachi says. “My backpack, even our clothing. They got us naked.” He told them that all he’d found were plane parts and snakeskins. They were taken by helicopter to the airport and interrogated again. The official Bolivian crash report states that there were no bodies or blood, but Guarachi says that’s because he was too scared to talk about what he saw due to a threat he received. “One of the men threatened me,” Guarachi says. “He said, ‘Careful telling anyone about this. I will ruin you.’ ”
Two months after the crash, in March 1985, a private expedition commissioned by Ray Valdes, an Eastern flight engineer who would have been on board if he hadn’t swapped shifts, successfully navigated to the crash site. The small team encountered wreckage and luggage, but they couldn’t locate the plane’s black box.
In July 1985, Judith Kelly made the second private expedition to the crash site. Her husband had been on Flight 980. Arriving at the crash site on July 5, she spent a day reading letters she had written to her husband since the crash. She had also collected letters from the family of other victims, which she left at the site. Upon her return to the US she lobbied Eastern to conduct a more thorough investigation. She’d reached the crash site without any problems, she argued, so there was no reason not to send another team. When that failed, she appeared on the Today show and said the same thing. A few days later, the NTSB announced an expedition, which went in October 1985. According to a report by lead investigator, Gregory Feith, the mission was full of pitfalls but they did reach the tail of the plane, which should have had the flight recorders but they were not found. After this it would be decades before anyone else attempted to recover the flight recorders.
Without the flight recorders conspiracy theories and rumors flourished: the flight crashed because of an equipment malfunction the crew was new to the route and flying in bad weather the Paraguayan mafia blew it up because the country’s richest man, Matalón, was on board and carrying $20 million dollars in cash in a duffle bag Eastern Air Lines was running drugs it was an attempted political assassination of the U.S. ambassador to Paraguay who was supposed to be aboard but changed his plans at the last minute (his wife did die on the flight). The rumors about Eastern Air running drugs turned out to be true. In 1986, a criminal indictment against 22 Eastern baggage handlers revealed that, for three years, the airline had indeed been used to deliver weekly shipments of 300 pounds of cocaine from South America to Miami. (Eastern declared bankruptcy in 1989 and dissolved in 1991.)
In 2015, u/danfutrell stumbled across a Wikipedia list of unrecovered flight recorders. Next to Eastern Airlines Flight 980, the article listed “inaccessible terrain” as the reason the flight recorders had never been found. “Challenge accepted,” he wrote on his blog, Operation Thonapa. His roommate u/isaacbstoner joined him in the quest to find the flight recorders. Also joining them was a writer from Outside Magazine, Peter Frick-Wright. The top of Mount Illimani has glaciers some of which are melting off. This has caused many crash relics to slide down the mountain by about 3,000 feet. They did managed to find bone fragments, thousands of smuggled crocodile skins and snake skins, a pilot’s jacket half buried in the glacier, the cabin’s altimeter, and eventually the flight recorders, which they decided to take home to the US, not trusting the local authorities to investigate them properly. They also had some magnetic tape they thought could be from the recorders.
By taking the flight recorders and tape back to the U.S., they discovered, they had violated Annex 13 of the Convention on International Civil Aviation, which states that wherever a plane crashes, that country is in charge of the investigation. Moving evidence to a different nation could be seen as undermining that authority. It took them over a year to get Bolivia to approve them giving the evidence to the NTSB. Alas, there was no information contained in the severely damaged recorders, which were just the exterior housings of the recorders. And the magnetic tape they recovered was an episode of "I Spy" dubbed in Spanish . The useful inner parts of the flight recorders are still somewhere on the mountain.
There is a book written about the crash - Final Destination: Disaster: What Really Happened To Eastern Airlines by George Jehn. In the book Jehn suggest that maybe the investigation was so poor because drugs for arms were being smuggled under Reagan.
The Bolivian government and the NTSB both officially designated the accident as a “controlled flight into terrain.” The unanswered questions remain: why didn’t anyone find the flight recorders on the first, second, or third expeditions? Who threatened Bernardo Guarachi and why? Who was smuggling reptile skins to Miami? What brought the plane down in the first place?
A Mysterious Beginning
While the histories of many classic food pairings are pretty easy to trace, this did not prove to be one of them. After much fruitless google-searching, I concluded that no one else has shared my bewilderment at peanut butter + cheddar to the extent of publishing a study on the matter. I couldn't even find out when Keebler, Lance Inc., or whatever other company first debuted the cracker sandwiches.
Without any evidence, I hypothesize that the cracker combo surfaced during the 1980's-90's, a salty snack sensation made possible by artificial flavoring. After all, my love of PB-cheddar crackers hinges on the fact that they taste nothing like real cheddar. All of this speculation and curiosity begged a taste test to see how well real cheddar cheese goes with creamy peanut butter.Eva Reynolds
Mom’s Silver Pastry Forks Mystery…Still Unsolved
Here’s a question for you. Have you ever heard of pastry forks?
I’ve already shared some stories about my Mom. She loved to travel, and she loved to entertain. (Sound familiar?) My Mom was a “city girl” when she married my Dad… (if you can call Kalona, Iowa a city!) And she knew how to set a BEAUTIFUL table, complete with lace tablecloths and stemmed glasses. I never really appreciated her attention to detail before she died, but I look back now and marvel at her style and sophistication. And I wish I could tell her that now.
|My Mom in front of one of her family’s businesses in Kalona|
But several years ago I was mystified by a discovery in one of my dining room hutch drawers…and only my dear departed mother could have answered my question. I wondered why a land-locked Iowa farm wife would be in possession of a boxed set of pastry forks imported from Great Britain.
Being genius is the secret.
March 25, 2021: Venice turns 1600, and – of course – looks great for its age. It takes more than a global pandemic to undermine the undying charm of Venice it takes much more than a global pandemic to extinguish the curiosity of tourists that will crowd it again and promptly ask themselves: "When was Venice born?".
Spoiler: the answer isn’t unique and lends itself to a series of interpretations and variations. Let's start from the day: for the Catholic Church, March 25 corresponds to the Annunciation of the Lord, an excellent omen to give birth to a city, which would thus be "blessed" on a divine level. Then the year 421: in those centuries the lagoon area was geographically shaping itself, and rivers such as Po, Adige, Brenta, Piave, Tagliamento, flowing down from the Alps and Prealps, dragged an enormous amount of sand and mud towards the sea. Slowing towards the mouth, the sediments gave life to swamps and islets which – due to the tides and currents – were transformed into long strips of land parallel to the coast: the shores (lidi).
In the middle ground, between the shores and the mainland, laid the lagoon, where an intricate labyrinth of more or less deep canals made the area difficult to access by boats, unless you know the area like the back of your hand. It is precisely for this reason that the Venetian populations, struggling with the continuous invasions by the Huns, the Sarmatians, the Goths, the Alans and the Vandals at the beginning of the 5th century, saw this area as the ideal place to take refuge. The Roman Empire, which until then had ensured a sort of “protection” against invaders, was struggling with its very existence and had many other things to beat, so the Venetians accepted the fact that they had to protect themselves and began to colonize the lagoon.
Just ten years after the famous Sack of Rome by the Visigoths under Alaric I, while the grandiose building of the Empire creaks under the blows of the barbarian invasions, legend has it that come Paduan consuls exiled from Padua migrated to the lagoon. Together with a group of inhabitants of the mainland, terrified by the looming threat of Attila's Huns, they chose a place called Rivoalto (popularly interpreted as “higher point”, while its original meaning is “deep canal”) to fix a new settlement. Here, on 25 March 421, the first stone of the church of San Giacomo di Rialto or San Giacométo – as the Venetians still call it today to differentiate it from San Giacomo dall’Orio – was laid.
Is the birth of Venice therefore due to the Paduans? In reality it seems like it’s the result of a spite: the conquest of Padua by Venice in 1405 created significant frustrations, and several leading exponents of Paduan society contributed to building this myth as a sort of “moral redemption”. In addition, a very casual fire in 1420 destroyed the archive in which it seemed there were more reliable documents relating to the foundation.
Another disaster, another legend: on the occasion of a vast fire that burned many houses in Rialto, a Greek architect and ship builder – Eutinopo – would have erected San Giacométo as a vow to God to prevent the flames from spreading excessively. The church was later consecrated not by one, but by four bishops: Severiano of Padua, Ambrogio di Altino, Giacomo di Trevigi and Epone d’Opitergio.
A further version tells that Eutinopo's house – the only one made of masonry unlike the others, made of wood – would have been saved from the fire because the queen of Padua had lived there, sent there by her husband and king Giannusio. The authors of Rialto, Cessi and Alberti, in 1934 don’t mince words: «It’s more likely to delay the construction of San Giacométo until the second half of the twelfth century its artistic poverty was compensated in history by the light of a legend, which has created a perhaps undeserved halo of fame».
In fact, the first document that mentions it dates back to 1152, against an “official” consecration dated 25 July 1177 depending in the early days on the Bishop of Padua. Its “miraculous” aura, however, is mainly linked to the vast fire that affected Rialto in 1514, and which saw San Giacométo incredibly escape the fury of the flames. Perhaps it is precisely from this posthumous link with Padua and with a fire that the legend took shape in the years to come, leaving the mystery still unsolved.
So many doubts, one certainty: regardless of the veracity or otherwise of the narratives surrounding its foundation, the city of Venice is inextricably linked to Prosecco DOC to the point that one evokes the other and vice versa. And it goes without saying, the oenological symbol of the Serenissima could not fail to celebrate his 1600th birthday. To duly celebrate this occasion, the Consorzio di Tutela – which associates the different categories of producers, individual and associated winegrowers, winemakers and sparkling wine producers to ensure the development of the Denomination and compliance with the rules provided for by the Production Regulations – in collaboration with the Municipality of Venice has created a special label with the anniversary logo, for both Prosecco DOC and Prosecco DOC Rosé.
It takes much more than a global pandemic to stop both our desire to uncork an excellent bottle of Prosecco DOC, and to do honor to the former Maritime Republic: in fact, there will be appointments for March 25, albeit in a reduced form. At 11 am, inside the Basilica of San Marco, the patriarch Francesco Moraglia will celebrate the Mass, which will also be broadcast live on television and in streaming to avoid gatherings at 4 pm the whole Patriarchate of Venice will remember the foundation by ringing the bells at 6.30 pm a special tv show – that will narrate the history of Venice through images and music with a look to the future – will be broadcasted on Rai2.
Named after the Polish-American antiquarian bookseller Wilfrid M. Voynich, who acquired it in 1912, the Voynich Manuscript is a detailed 240-page book written in a language or script that is completely unknown. Its pages are also filled with colorful drawings of strange diagrams, odd events and plants that do not seem to match any known species, adding to the intrigue of the document and the difficulty of deciphering it. The original author of the manuscript remains unknown, but carbon dating has revealed that its pages were made sometime between 1404 and 1438. It has been called "the world's most mysterious manuscript."
Theories abound about the origin and nature of the manuscript. Some, like historian and artist Nicholas Gibbs, believe it was meant to be a pharmacopoeia, to address topics in medieval or early modern medicine. In a recent essay for the Times Literary Supplement, Gibbs writes that it's "a reference book of selected remedies lifted from the standard treatises of the medieval period, an instruction manual for the health and wellbeing of the more well to do women in society, which was quite possibly tailored to a single individual."=
Many of the pictures of herbs and plants hint that it many have been some kind of textbook for an alchemist. The fact that many diagrams appear to be of astronomical origin, combined with the unidentifiable biological drawings, has even led some fanciful theorists to propose that the book may have an alien origin.
One thing most theorists agree on is that the book is unlikely to be a hoax, given the amount of time, money and detail that would have been required to make it.
A cast of co-conspirators
When Malcolm X was killed at the Audubon Ballroom on 21 February 1965, a man named Talmadge Hayer (now named Mujahid Abdul Halim) was pulled from the scene of the crime. Yet some witnesses claimed a second figure was also taken into custody by the police.
The late Herman Ferguson, a founding member of the Organization of Afro-American Unity (the OAAU, founded by Malcolm X after he left the Nation of Islam), recalled a police car which pulled up alongside the ballroom and brought out a man with an “olive complexion . obviously in great pain.” Ferguson, thinking that the injured man was one of “our guys,” watched as the squad car sped away and over the Hudson River. The Associated Press also reported the day after the assassination that “two men were taken into custody.”
In the following days, the NYPD also arrested two other members of the Nation of Islam’s Mosque 7 in Harlem: Norman 3X Butler (Muhammad Abd Al-Aziz) and Thomas 15X Johnson (Khalil Islam). Both men, as well as key witnesses who knew them, denied they were at the ballroom that day. Hayer also testified at the end of the 1966 trial that the two men had not been involved. But he refused to name any other accomplices, and all three received life sentences.
A decade into his incarceration, Hayer came forward with new information, identifying four co-conspirators. He signed an affidavit offering the names and addresses of these men, along with a detailed timeline of their plot. With the help of the self-described “radical attorney” William Kunstler, Butler and Johnson appealed their convictions.
Hayer named William Bradley, a NOI member called Willie X, as the man who fired the fatal shotgun blast, adding that Bradley was “known as a stick-up man.” The petition noted that Bradley was “upon information and belief presently incarcerated in the Essex County Jail, Caldwell, New Jersey.” Kunstler added that he did not know of “any comparable case in American jurisprudential history” in which an accomplice had described a crime in such detail without a thorough reinvestigation. Yet, judge Harold Rothwax rejected a motion to reopen the case.
Bradley (who now goes by Al-Mustafa Shabazz) is living in Newark. Earlier this week, The New York Daily News published an interview with him in which he rejected the claims. “It’s an accusation,” he said. “They never spoke to me. They just accused me of something I didn’t do.”
‘The investigation was botched’
In the weeks following Malcolm’s assassination, the organizations he created after his falling out with the Nation of Islam struggled without his leadership, and his friends and comrades attempted to make sense of their loss. Most of his followers had witnessed the murder, and the dangerous climate and mistrust of the aftermath drove some underground for decades.
On 6 March 1965, members gathered for the weekly Saturday class at the OAAU’s Liberation School. That meeting had been lost to history until recently, when a detailed account reveal its contents. In 2011, the personal papers of James Campbell, housed at the College of Charleston’s Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture, were made available to the general public.
Campbell is an educator and civil rights activist who founded the Liberation School along with OAAU member Herman Ferguson in 1964. His papers include handwritten notes taken by the late Japanese American activist Yuri Kochiyama. The meeting, the notes explain, was held “to establish stability from this crisis.” And the notes contain an unexpected piece of information. Kochiyama’s scrawl at the bottom of the 6 March meeting reads:
‘Ray Woods is said to have been seen also running out of Audubon was one of two picked up by police. Was the second person running out.’
The notes appear to substantiate the accounts of Herman Ferguson and the AP of a “second man” taken into police custody. That a name should resurface 50 years later is remarkable. But more significant is that the “Ray Woods” named in the note was likely Raymond A Wood, an undercover New York City police officer with the Bureau of Special Services and Investigation (BOSSI).
Wood began his career by infiltrating the Bronx Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) chapter under the name Ray Woodall in 1964. There, he posed as a 27 year-old graduate of Manhattan College studying law at Fordham. He was soon named CORE’s housing chairman and oversaw a voter registration project.
Wood earned his activist bonafides by getting arrested with two others at city hall while attempting a citizen’s arrest of mayor Wagner for allowing racial discrimination on a public construction project. Feminist Susan Brownmiller, a fellow CORE activist at the time, recalled that if “CORE had placed an advertisement in the Amsterdam News describing what it was looking for, Woodall would have fit the bill.”
By 1965, “Woodall” had been reassigned under his real name to infiltrate a group calling itself the Black Liberation Movement (BLM). He was credited with foiling a bomb plot by the BLM that allegedly targeted the Statue of Liberty and other national monuments, just a week before Malcolm X’s assassination. One of the four arrested in the plot was Walter Bowe, who also co-chaired the cultural committee in Malcolm’s OAAU. Wood’s close association with an OAAU member makes it likely that others within the organization would also have known and recognized him.
Wood was promoted to detective second grade for making the arrests in the BLM case. And although his name and a photo of the back of his head circulated throughout the press in the week leading up to Malcolm X’s assassination, the NYPD reported that he was put back to work because his “face is still a secret.”
Agent Wood hides face from photographer. Photograph: Star.
There is no question that the police were keeping close tabs on Malcolm X in the period prior to his assassination. Tony Bouza, a former BOSSI detective and lieutenant from 1957 to 1965, explains that the NYPD, and not the FBI, was the primary agency conducting this surveillance. Gene Roberts – a man known affectionately within the OAAU as “Brother Gene” and photographed trying in vain to resuscitate Malcolm X at the assassination – was later confirmed as an undercover agent.
Bouza argues that the NYPD failed to take basic and minimal steps to protect a prominent public figure from a threat that was widely believed to be imminent. And he is harshly critical of its subsequent failure to disclose all that it knew about the assassination of Malcolm X. “The investigation was botched,” he said, and a “parallel tragedy lies in the NYPD’s obvious stonewalling of any release of records.”
But Bouza also insists that Wood had nothing to do with the case, and there are other reasons to doubt this latest eyewitness account placing Ray Wood at the Audubon. Such reports are unreliable, even those recorded shortly after the assassination. Accounts of what happened at the Audubon Ballroom that day are also conflicting. One OAAU member named Willie Harris was interviewed by the NYPD while being treated at a medical center after a stray bullet hit him at the ballroom. Harris claims he sought help from a police officer who then took him to the hospital. Is it possible that the unnamed witness mistook Harris for Ray Wood? Finally, there is the question of why BOSSI would send an undercover agent back into a place where he might be recognized after his name had been in the press.
The simplest way to resolve these questions would be for the NYPD to release its surveillance files and disclose what Ray Wood, Gene Roberts, and its other undercover officers reported in the years surrounding the assassination. But the department has repeatedly refused to release them.
My attempts with professor Manning Marable and the Malcolm X Project at Columbia University in 2008-2009 to access BOSSI files through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) ended in a full denial. In denying the requests, the department’s legal bureau cited a number of Public Officers Laws, claiming that the files would endanger the safety of officers and constitute unwarranted invasions of privacy. A more recent FOIA request this year produced some materials relating to the assassination case, but only documents that were already publicly available at the New York Municipal Archives. The release did not include any files related to BOSSI’s surveillance.
Diverticulitis and Vitamin D
Vitamin D is a critical nutrient for human health, best known as the “sunshine vitamin.”
There is increasing evidence that our vitamin D status may influence risk of gastrointestinal diseases such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Inflammatory Bowel Disease (including Crohn’s disease) and diverticulitis (18).
A recent study in those with diverticulosis found those with the lowest vitamin D levels were significantly more likely to experience a diverticulitis flare up (19).
So it’s important to have your vitamin D levels checked with your doctor, particularly if you don’t get much regular sunlight exposure.
Unfortunately, natural food sources of vitamin D are not very useful if you have a deficiency. This is one of the few instances where supplementation is far superior to food.
Summary: Low vitamin D levels are linked to increased risk of diverticulitis. Get screened for a deficiency with your doctor.
20 Great Murder Mystery Movies That Are Worth Your Time
For generations, murder mysteries have been one of the most popular and entertaining forms of art to the public. Detective stories from noir writers and mystery legends like Agatha Christie became cultural icons. Today, murder mysteries are most commonly manifested in the throng of crime TV shows like Law & Order and CSI.
The murder mystery movies throughout history have similarly taken various approaches to the genre, featuring vastly different settings, crimes and focalizations through which the audience is told the story. This results in a continually interesting genre that keeps fans excited while maintaining a common atmosphere and feeling.
Murder mysteries are sometimes looked down upon by critics for being too simplistic and straightforward in plot, carrying little meaning and relying on excitement. While this is certainly true for lots of the content in the genre, many great directors and writers have approached the genre from original and inspired directions, creating complex and meaningful crime stories.
The list below features murder mystery stories from various eras with different settings ranging from cartoon universes to 14th century monasteries, showing the possibilities and successes of the genre.
20. Manhattan Murder Mystery (Woody Allen, 1993)
Woody Allen’s take on the classic murder mystery combines the traditional format of a detective film with his trademark neurotic humor. Woody Allen and his frequent co-star Diane Keaton lead the film as the central couple Larry and Carol Lipton. When one of their neighbors suddenly dies of a heart attack, Carol starts to suspect the husband, Paul, of committing murder and begins to tail him. As the investigation continues, more characters, doppelgangers and motives surface, complicating the truth.
Also starring Alan Alda and Anjelica Huston, Manhattan Murder Mystery is a well crafted and wild dark comedy. The characters are predictably zany and semi-likable, as is typical of Allen’s films. Although the film does not do many original things with either the murder mystery or comedic aspects of the film, Manhattan Murder Mystery still succeeds as as an entertaining crime comedy, paying tribute to the many mysteries that inspired it.
19. Who Framed Roger Rabbit (Robert Zemeckis, 1988)
Combining live action with animation, this inventive comedy spoofs the classic detective story while telling a thrilling crime mystery. In a world populated by both people and cartoons, Bob Hoskins stars as the private eye Eddie Valiant who despises toons ever since his brother was killed by one. Initially hired to investigate infidelity in the marriage of cartoon star Roger Rabbit and his wife Jessica Rabbit, Valiant’s case becomes more complicated following a murder, leading to the discovery of a malicious conspiracy.
By combining the goofy toons with mature references and themes, the film provides fun entertainment for both kids and adults. Many classic cartoon characters make cameo appearances throughout the film, like Betty Boop, Donald Duck and Daffy Duck, and the film also introduces many new memorable characters like the menacing Judge Doom played by Christopher Lloyd. Who Framed Roger Rabbit, while slightly bizarre, is a highly original and engrossing crime tale.
18. The Thin Man (W. S. Van Dyke, 1934)
Based on Dashiell Hammett’s classic crime novel of the same name, this noir-comedy stars William Powell as Nick Charles, a retired detective who now lives comfortably with his wife Nora, played by Myrna Loy. He is pulled out of retirement when his friend Clive Wynant disappears at the same time as Wynant’s old girlfriend turns up dead. As he investigated the murder, he discovers that his friend is actually innocent and reveals the true murderer in a dramatic display in front of all of the suspects.
This entertaining detective story started a very successful franchise of Thin Man films and made Nick Charles an icon of the genre (he is even parodied in the next film on the list). The classic finale featuring the explanation of the crime was also hugely influential, being copied in many crime films that followed. Although not as cinematically significant as other important noir films of the era, The Thin Man is a very fun crime film that helped popularize the genre.
17. Murder By Death (Robert Moore, 1976)
This hilarious murder mystery follows several skilled sleuths, all modeled after famous detectives from literature and film like Hercule Poirot and Charlie Chan, who are invited to dinner by a wealthy stranger, played by Truman Capote. He offers one million dollars to whichever sleuth can solve a murder that will occur that night. At midnight, the butler, played by Alec Guiness, is killed setting off a chain of hilarious events leading to a different conclusion from each sleuth.
Murder by Death pokes fun at the many ludicrous plot twists present in the classic stories it parodies. The actors, including Peter Sellers, David Niven and Maggie Smith, do an equally brilliant job capturing the personalities of the famous characters they are inhabiting. While the mystery is not as original or intriguing as many other on this list, Murder by Death is a witty satire of the murder mystery genre.
16. Memories of Murder (Boong Joon-ho, 2003)
Memories of Murder is a South Korean film about two detectives who try to catch an elusive killer of women. Song Kang-ho stars as the inexperienced local detective park who is unsure how to deal with such an important crime and Kim Sang-kyung plays his partner, a seasoned detective sent from Seoul to help catch the killer. As the case goes on, more murders are committed and the detectives become increasingly frustrated, using questionable practices on their suspects to get information.
The film addresses many interesting themes in addition to the solving of the crime. The dynamic between the two main detectives analyzes the differences between small town and big city life. Their investigative techniques also raise many moral dilemmas, questioning the threshold for what is acceptable when trying to catch a killer. Memories of Murder is an exciting thriller that raises many social and ethical ideas.
15. Murder on the Orient Express (Sidney Lumet, 1974)
The first of several adaptations of Agatha Christie’s stories on this list follows her famed Belgian investigator Hercule Poirot, here played by Albert Finney, as he solves a murder aboard in a wealthy train car.
When a wealthy American is stabbed to death, Poirot concludes that the killer must be one of the 13 other passengers on board and questions all of them to figure out the motive. The mystery becomes more complicated when it is discovered that the dead man was actually an Italian gangster responsible for the kidnapping and murder of a child.
Starring a phenomenal cast, including Sean Connery, Ingrid Bergman and Lauren Bacall, Murder on the Orient Express succeeds as an entertaining and well crafted whodunit. Concluding with a classic summation of events by Poirot with a surprising twist, the film keeps the audience guessing until the end. Under Lumet’s careful direction, the film brings to life one of Christie’s most famous and most filmed works, vastly outdoing the other numerous adaptations.
14. Memento (Christopher Nolan, 2000)
Christopher Nolan’s breakthrough film is a complex and confusing psychological thriller. The film follows Guy Pearce as Leonard, a severe amnesiac who is searching for his wife’s killer. In order to make progress on his investigation, Leonard takes pictures of evidence and tattoos important information onto his body so that he does not forget critical information. Along the way he is aided by a bartender played by Carrie-Anne Moss and a mysterious contact played by Joe Pantoliano.
To mirror Leonard’s memory troubles, Nolan tells the story in a disjointed, non-linear fashion. Two storylines, one in color and one in black and white, intertwine presenting the audience with a bewildering plotline that does not resolve until the end when the stories converge.
This innovative structuring adds to the mystery of the film, making the conclusion of his wife’s murder all the more brilliant and satisfying. Extremely clever and inventive, Memento remains one of Nolan’s best films and one of the most intriguing puzzles of cinema.
13. Se7en (David Fincher, 1995)
This chilling murder film stars Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman as two detectives on the case of a killer who uses the seven deadly sins as a basis to choose victims. Freeman’s old experienced characters balances with Pitt’s ambitious young gun, creating an effective balance of crime solving skills. After a few incredibly gruesome crime scenes, the pair try to get one step ahead of the killer and prevent the deaths of the next victims.
Fincher’s film is one of the most disturbing on the list, not only showing the bizarre deaths in detail but also giving the audience insight into the killer’s deranged mind. Although the film differs from many on this list in that the detectives do not have an array of possible suspects, the methods used to identify the killer are similar. Also starring Gwenyth Paltrow and Kevin Spacey, Se7en is a highly engaging and memorable investigation film.
12. The Name of the Rose (Jean-Jacques Annaud, 1986)
Adapted from Umberto Eco’s acclaimed historical novel, Annaud’s film stars Sean Connery as the Franciscan monk William of Baskerville who, with his apprentice Adso, played by Christian Slater, is sent to investigate the death of a monk at an important Abbey.
When they begin investigating, however, it becomes clear that someone does not want them to uncover the secrets that the Abbey houses and more deaths occur. Before the investigation is taken over by the unjust Holy Inquisition, William and Adso are forced to work quickly and take rash actions in order to figure out who the real culprit is.
Although the film does not carry over all of the social and religious connotations of the setting that the book included, the plot is equally thrilling, matching William against the corruption in the Franciscan Order.
Annaud manages to create from the plot a thrilling and relatable investigative experience despite the film being set over 600 years in a completely foreign setting. Featuring gorgeous visuals and a unique premise, The Name of the Rose is one of the most interesting and thematically powerful mysteries on this list.
11. Lone Star (John Sayles, 1996)
This often overlooked southern murder mystery stars Chris Cooper as Sam Deeds, the sheriff of a small Texan town. When an old skeleton is discovered in the desert, Sam is sent to investigate and during the process begins to uncover many buried secrets of his community, such as past relationships of his hero father. The case spins Sam’s life out of control as the complexities of the case continue to spread.
The murder case allows for Sayles to explore much broader aspects of society, such as familial relations, tradition and racism. By digging up the sordid past of his community, Sam brings out the awful truth that many of the town’s inhabitants would rather forget or never know to begin with. This brings up a fascinating moral dilemma that conflicts with what might be best for society. Exploring both the culture of small towns as well as important universal themes, Lone Star is a gripping and insightful crime thriller.
SUBSCRIBE NOW Daily News
BAY VILLAGE, Ohio — It is Cleveland’s most enduring murder mystery, and July 4 marks the 60th anniversary of the brutal slaying of Marilyn Sheppard.
The 1954 bludgeoning death of Sheppard and the arrest and conviction of her husband, Dr. Sam Sheppard, still resonates with visitors to the Bay Village Historical Society.
BVHS member Eric Eakin, who helped put together a display on the Sheppard case, told Fox 8, “it was just such a one of a kind thing, where all the stars aligned to have a handsome guy, his beautiful wife murdered in her bed, and still no one knows who did it.”
After serving 10 years in prison, Sam Sheppard’s conviction was overturned in 1966, on the basis that sensational coverage of the case prevented him from getting a fair trial, and he was acquitted in a second trial.
Sheppard’s claim that his wife was murdered by a bushy-haired intruder, was the inspiration for the television show and movie, “The Fugitive”.
Sam Sheppard died in 1970, and 30 years later, his son filed a wrongful imprisonment lawsuit against the State of Ohio, claiming the murder had actually been committed by a window washer and convicted murderer, Richard Eberling.
A civil jury found that Sam Reese Sheppard failed to prove his case, but that did not stop the questions about the murder of Marilyn Sheppard.
“The bushy-haired stranger, the Eberling connection, the unknown DNA in the bedroom, all of this has thrown doubt into the story, and that’s what keeps it alive today,” said Eakin.
The historic home of Sam Sheppard’s parents, which is where he was arrested 26 days after the murder, was moved in 1984 to Huntington Reservation and is now home to an art gallery, operated by an organization called BAYarts.
“He was having dinner with his parents, who were inside and the police invited him to come out so they would not embarrass him in front of his parents,” said Executive Director Nancy Heaton.
In 1954, it would have been inconceivable to think that the Sheppard family home would someday bring joy to art lovers in Greater Cleveland.
In the days after Sam Sheppard was convicted of killing his wife, his mother committed suicide and just eleven days later, his father died from a bleeding gastric ulcer.
As part of a unique Sheppard modern art show in August, BAYarts is now inviting Clevelanders to share their stories about the notorious case.
“With all the sensationalism of the case, it’s still a very serious story of what happened and there’s a lot of stories that were not told,” said Heaton. “It’s just sort of this myth that kind of continues, it’s legend.”