These incredible body paintings are almost more performance art than body art. The models bodies are transformed into beautiful creatures. These body art illusions are created by 25-year-old German artist Gesine Marwedel. The young artist uses the human body as her canvas despite that it is a difficult medium to paint and work with - its living. Her canvas breathes, sweats and moves. Her paint brush turns models into amazingly alive swans or dolphins, making it hard to believe it’s all painted onto real people. Marwedel admits that she loves how body painting helps people to rediscover their beauty. (via Beautiful Life)
A human head containing wrestling human figures. Crayon drawing, 1929.
Vintage Patent for Updated Corset; 1908
The Bender Family - America’s First Serial Killers
In 1870, five families of spiritualists settled in Labette County, Kansas. Spiritualists were known in the Old West at that time and their presence caused no alarm among the hard working settlers. The Benders were among the group of spiritualists.
The Bender’s home was not a fancy place, but was a general store with a wayside inn that could provide both food and a bed for travelers. The house was made up of one large room that was divided by a canvas curtain. This separated the grocery store and inn from the family’s living quarters in the back. Old man Bender, his wife, and their supposed son spoke little to the strangers who passed through. But Katie Bender was different story.
Kate Bender, 23, was cultivated, attractive, and spoke English very well. A self-proclaimed healer and psychic, she distributed flyers advertising her supernatural powers and her ability to cure illnesses, conducted séances, and also gave lectures on spiritualism for which she gained notoriety for advocating free love. She was also reported to be a prostitute. Kates’ popularity became a large attraction for the Benders’ inn.
When the Bender’s had a “guest” at their inn, they would seat the victim at the table so their back would be towards the curtain that separated the room. The victims chair was also positioned over a trap door. Then one of the male Benders would hit the person over the head with a hammer and slit their throat to ensure death. After the gruesome act, they would open the trap door and the body would fall beneath the house until they had time to remove and bury it on the back of their property in the garden.
As time passed, reports of lost persons became more frequent. In the late spring of 1873, much bitterness was directed to this southeast Kansas area. The township called a meeting to see what should be done. The matter gained urgency when the widely-known physician, Dr. William H. York, was reported to have disappeared. A decision was made to search every farmstead in the area. Old man Bender and young John were at this meeting.
Three days after the meeting, a passerby noticed that the Bender homestead looked deserted. They descended onto the Bender property and found its inhabitants missing. The Benders’ food, clothing and possessions were greatly disturbed or removed. Upon entering the cabin, searchers were met by a sickening stench.
A trap door, nailed shut, was discovered in the floor of the cabin. Pried open and lifted by its leather hinges, it covered a cellar that was filled with clotted blood which produced the horrid odor. In desperation, the cabin was completely lifted and moved aside. A search was made under the house, but nothing was found. The search was about to be called off when Dr. William York’s brother saw the outline of a strange depression behind the house. They began digging and Dr. York’s body was found buried, head downward, his feet scarcely covered. His skull had been bludgeoned from behind with a hammer and his throat had been cut.
The next day, the search revealed nine other bodies with smashed skulls and slit throats along with other dismembered body parts.
The Benders had become this Nation’s first recorded mass murders or “serial killers” when 10 bodies were recovered at the inn. Many believe the Benders killed over 21 people. None of the Benders were ever captured. Their story remains one of the most gruesome and greatest unsolved mysteries of the Old West.