Live life fully while you're here. Experience everything. Take care of yourself and your friends. Have fun, be crazy, be weird. Go out and screw up! You're going to anyway, so you might as well enjoy the process. Take the opportunity to learn from your mistakes: find the cause of your problem and eliminate it. Don't try to be perfect; just be an excellent example of being human.” Anthony Robbins
NEW YORK (March 23) - For all his death-defying stunts, Harry Houdini couldn't escape the Grim Reaper: He died on Halloween 1926, apparently from a punch to the stomach that ruptured his appendix. But rumors that he was murdered have persisted for decades. Eighty-one years after Houdini's death, his great-nephew wants the escape artist's body exhumed to determine if enemies poisoned him for debunking their bogus claims of contact with the dead.
"It needs to be looked at," George Hardeen told The Associated Press. "His death shocked the entire nation, if not the world. Now, maybe it's time to take a second look."
Houdini's family scheduled a news conference for Friday to give details on the plans. Prominent New York lawyer Joseph Tacopina is helping clear any legal hurdles to the exhumation.
A team of top forensic investigators would conduct new tests on Houdini's body, said Hardeen, whose grandfather was Houdini's brother.
The circumstances surrounding Houdini's sudden death are as murky as the rivers where he often escaped from chains, locks and wooden boxes.
The generally accepted version was that Houdini, 52, suffered a ruptured appendix from a punch in the stomach, leading to a fatal case of peritonitis. But no autopsy was performed.
When the death certificate was filed on Nov. 20, 1926, Houdini's body - brought by train from Detroit to Manhattan - had already been buried in Queens, along with any evidence of a possible death plot.
Within days, a newspaper headline wondered, "Was Houdini Murdered?"
A 2006 biography, "The Secret Life of Houdini," raised the issue again and convinced some that he might have been poisoned, including George Hardeen, who lives in Arizona and is the chief spokesman for the president of the Navajo Nation.
The likeliest murder suspects were members of a group known as the Spiritualists. The magician devoted large portions of his stage show to exposing the group's fraudulent seances. The movement's devotees included Sherlock Holmes author Arthur Conan Doyle.
In the Houdini biography, authors William Kalush and Larry Sloman detail a November 1924 letter in which Doyle said Houdini would "get his just desserts very exactly meted out ... I think there is a general payday coming soon."
Two years later, Houdini - by all accounts a man in extraordinary physical shape _ was dead. Kalush and Sloman say that "the Spiritualist underworld's modus operandi in cases like this was often poisoning" - possibly arsenic, which could be detected decades later.
The authors also suggest that Houdini might have been poisoned by "an experimental serum" injected by one of his doctors at Detroit's Grace Hospital.
Houdini took the Spiritualists' death threats seriously, but he traveled without security, often accompanied only by his wife, Bess.
"If someone were hell-bent on poisoning Houdini," the authors wrote, "it wouldn't have been very difficult."
The team working on the exhumation includes internationally known forensic pathologist Dr. Michael Baden and professor James Starrs, a forensic pathologist who has studied the disinterred remains of gunslinger Jesse James and "Boston Strangler" Albert DeSalvo.
Baden, who chaired panels reinvestigating the deaths of President John F. Kennedy and civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., pointed out a pair of oddities in Houdini's death certificate: It noted his appendix was on the left side, rather than the right. And the diagnosis of appendicitis caused by a punch was "very unusual."
Starrs said he was long familiar with the story of Houdini's death, and believed the fatal injury was the result of an accident until he read the Houdini biography.
"My eyebrows went up when I read this book," Starrs said. "I thought, `This is really startling, surprising and unsettling, and at bottom, suspicious in nature.'"
The exhumation plan received support from a surprising source: Anna Thurlow, the great-granddaughter of "medium" Margery, whose husband Dr. Le Roi Crandon was one of the Spiritualist movement's biggest proponents _ and one of Houdini's enemies.
During a 1924 "seance," Margery channeled a "spirit" named Walter who greeted Houdini with a threat: "I put a curse on you now that will follow you every day for the rest of your short life."
"With people that delusional, you have to question what they're capable of,'" Thurlow said. "If there's any circumstantial evidence that Houdini was poisoned, we have to explore that."
Ten years ago, 39 members of the Heaven's Gate cult committed mass suicide inside a Rancho Santa Fe mansion. First responders are still haunted by the gruesome discovery.
Heaven's Gate: A timeline Many of the Heaven's Gate adherents who were found dead in a Rancho Santa Fe mansion March 26, 1997, had been with the group for most of their adult lives. Their leader was Marshall Applewhite.
Purple shrouds covered all but two of the bodies, and all the victims were wearing black Nike running shoes. They were found with their bags packed. Most were neatly laid out on beds, covered with purple shrouds. They wore running shoes and matching uniforms with “Heaven's Gate Away Team” patches. Each had a $5 bill and quarters in his or her pockets.
The Heaven's Gate group believed that once free of their earthly bodies, they would be whisked by spaceship to a celestial paradise and a “level beyond human.” They associated the Hale-Bopp comet, which could be seen in the sky that winter, with the spacecraft they awaited. They thought it was traveling behind the comet.
The Heaven's Gate cult had existed for more than two decades. Its recruiting drives were followed by periods spent in near hiding. In its final years, its message was spread through the Internet. Here is a timeline of the group's history.
1972: Marshall Applewhite and Bonnie Nettles, a nurse, meet at a Houston hospital. They set out on a spiritual quest and open a metaphysical bookstore.
January 1973: Applewhite and Nettles close their bookstore and set out to find their spiritual mission.
February 1973-August 1974: Applewhite and Nettles travel around the country, camping in parks and skipping out on motel-room bills.
Aug. 27, 1974: Applewhite and Nettles are arrested in Harlingen, Texas, on charges of credit-card fraud and auto theft. The charges against Nettles are dropped, but Applewhite is extradited to St. Louis and spends six months in jail.
March 1975: Applewhite and Nettles go to Ojai. Two of their recruits are a mother and her adult daughter.
April 1975: About 80 people meet at a Hollywood Hills home to hear Applewhite and Nettles. Twenty-four people from that meeting agree to meet in Gold Beach, Ore., with Applewhite and Nettles two weeks later. May 5, 1975: The followers meet Applewhite and Nettles in Gold Beach. The leaders now call themselves Bo and Peep.
June 1975: Applewhite and Nettles abandon several followers in Sedona, Ariz.
Aug. 24, 1975: Applewhite and Nettles make a public appearance at Cañada College in Redwood City.
Sept. 14, 1975: The group meets in Waldport, Ore., expecting a spaceship to land. No spaceship shows up, but more than 30 people agree to join the group. The cult gets its first negative publicity over the fiasco.
Fall 1975: The group camps at the Colorado National Monument, waiting for a spaceship to pick up the members.
April 21, 1976: Nettles announces that the group no longer will hold public meetings. Many people leave the group during the next year. Its numbers drop from about 100 to two dozen. Nettles now calls herself Ti, while Applewhite goes by the name of Do.
June 19, 1985: Nettles dies of liver cancer.
May 27, 1993: The cult places a one-third-page ad in USA Today and once again begins recruiting members, this time using the Internet to spread its message.
June-October 1995: Heaven's Gate members spend several months living in a compound in a remote New Mexico town.
October 1996: After living in several north San Diego County homes the year before, the cult moves into a mansion in Rancho Santa Fe.
March 26, 1997: The bodies of 39 cult members are discovered in the mansion.
May 1997: The husband of one of the dead cult members kills himself at an Encinitas motel. A member for 20 years, he had left the group in 1994. He had expressed regret that he was not with them when they died. A second former cult member who attempted death with him is revived.
February 1998: The second former cult member's body is found in a tent in the Arizona desert, nine months after he survived the earlier suicide attempt.
Nov. 22, 1999: A county auction of Heaven's Gate belongings raises $32,707. Some of the money pays for the auction; the rest goes to family members to help cover burial costs. Two former members who had tied up the estate in probate court eventually reach a settlement with the county and pay $2,000 for items of most significance to the cult.
From Dusk Till Dawn - Salma Hayek And now for your viewing pleasure. The Mistress of the Macabre. The Epitome of Evil. The most sinister woman to dance on the face of the earth. Lowly dogs, get on your knees, bow your heads and worship at the feet of SANTANICO PANDEMONIUM!
Grand Canyon Skywalk Opens To Few Special Visitors Chris Kahn, The Associated Press
Walking gingerly across the translucent surface, visitors hear the glass layers creak. Far below, directly underfoot, they see the Colorado River as a pea-green ribbon.
"It felt wonderful; not exactly like floating on air," said former astronaut Buzz Aldrin, who once traipsed the surface of the moon and on Tuesday became one of the first to stroll onto the Grand Canyon Skywalk, a massive glass-bottom observation deck perched 4,000 feet above the canyon's floor.
The Hualapai Indian tribe invited Aldrin, fellow former astronaut John Herrington, and others to the unveiling of the horseshoe-shaped deck Tuesday in advance of a public opening planned for March 28.
Tour packages with deck access will range in price from $49.95 to $199. The deck, which juts 70 feet beyond the canyon's edge, will accommodate up to 120 guests at a time and offer a bone-chilling vantage point more than twice as high as the world's tallest buildings.
Architect Mark Johnson said the Skywalk can support the weight of a few hundred people and will withstand wind up to 100 mph. The observation deck has a 3-inch-thick glass bottom and has been equipped with shock absorbers to keep it from bouncing like a diving board as people walk on it.
The Hualapai (pronounced WALL-uh-pie) allowed Las Vegas developer David Jin to build the Skywalk, which took two years to construct. Jin fronted the money to build the $30 million structure and will give it to the Hualapai in exchange for a cut of the profits, the tribe said.
"The terms are confidential, but David will profit for the next 25 years from the Skywalk," said Steve Beattie, chief financial officer of the Grand Canyon Resort Corp., which oversees the tribe's tourist businesses.
The tribe expects Skywalk to become the centerpiece of a budding tourism industry that includes helicopter tours, river rafting, a cowboy town and a museum of Indian replica homes.
The tribe hopes tourism will end years of severe poverty endured by many Hualapai.
"To me, I believe this is going to help us. We don't get any help from the outside, so, why not?" said Dallas Quasula Sr., 74, a tribal elder. "This is going to be our bread and butter."
The Skywalk has sparked debate on and off the reservation. Many Hualapai worry about disturbing nearby burial sites, and environmentalists have blamed the tribe for transforming the majestic canyon into a tourist trap.
Tribal elder Dolores Honga, 71, said she remembers riding horses in the area when it was a remote patch of grassland. Her grandparents once herded cattle here.
"I still don't agree with what's going on here," she said. "There's so many memories here. This was my playground."
BAGHDAD – Many of those serving in the Iraq war as it enters a fifth year were in high school when it began. The Pentagon estimates more than 875,000 U.S. troops have rotated through Iraq since March 20, 2003. It was not clear how many of that number were individuals counted twice because many troops are on a second tour. About one in eight of those are under the age of 20, and more than half are under 24. When about 120,000 American troops entered Iraq in March 2003, they did not know what they would face. But the latest waves of troops, translators and journalists here are armed with four years of knowledge – of TV images, of war stories and of deaths. Here are their impressions of Iraq's reality on the ground, and their memories of where they were four years ago:
DBN quote of the day Thomas Jefferson All, too, will bear in mind this sacred principle, that though the will of the majority is in all cases to prevail, that will, to be rightful, must be reasonable; that the minority possess their equal rights, which equal laws must protect, and to violate which would be oppression.
DBN song of the day Boomtown rats- I Don't Like Mondays
DBN tv picks How I Met/Mother NEW! Prison Break New! 24 NEW! CSI: Miami NEW! The Riches New!
DBN Movie picks Theater Zodiac (2007) Based on the Robert Graysmith books about the real life notorious Zodiac, a serial killer who terrorized San Francisco with a string of seemingly random murders during the 1960s and 1970s
DVD Sublime (2007)
Admitted to Mt. Abaddon Hospital for a routine procedure, George Grieves discovers that his condition is much more serious and complicated than originally expected; and as his own fears begin to manifest around him, he learns that Mt. Abaddon is not a place where people come to get better... it is a place where people come to die.
LONDON - 54-year-old Paul Trinder has recalled a harrowing experience when he was forced to spend five hours with a corpse while traveling First Class on British Airways. Trinder woke up on the flight only to mutely witness as the crew strapped the body of a dead woman to his next seat. The woman had apparently died just after take off. "I woke to see cabin crew manoeuvring what looked like a sack of potatoes into the seat. Slowly, through the darkness, I realized it was a body. At first, I thought I was dreaming. Then I was convinced it was a big wind-up," Trinder said of his experience on the Delhi-Heathrow flight. The Guardian reports that the incident took place last week. He added that he was frightened the body was decomposing. The relatives of the dead passenger also kept wailing throughout the flight, which further depressed him. "The corpse was strapped into the seat but because of turbulence it kept slipping down on to the floor. It was horrific. The body had to be wedged in place with lots of pillows," he recalled. "Then the relatives were allowed to sit in First Class and spent the next five hours wailing and weeping." BA has apologized for the incident, "We apologise, but our crew were working in difficult circumstances and chose the option they thought would cause least disruption," a spokesperson said in a statement.