Thursday, August 12, 2010

ISDP: Taking the Initiative

Better than a full moon on Halloween, it’s an ISDP classic: a Friday the 13th edition just like our very first. So if you’re neither spooked by the date nor creeped out by the lugubrious subject matter, cursor on down for our latest roundup of the worst possible smells in the hottest part of the year.

We begin in Hagerstown, Maryland.
Neighbor Heather Burke and her husband, Kevin Allen, said they had been complaining to their landlord about a foul odor coming from the neighboring home, in the same duplex, since they moved in two weeks ago.
Complaining doesn’t butter the biscuit. Sometimes you need to take action.
On Sunday morning, Burke again complained to the landlord about an odor and the two went into the home to search for its source, she said. She said she discovered what looked like a body in an upstairs bedroom and, scared, ran out of the duplex. 

Approached for a comment, the landlord waved off a reporter.
We're inclined to cut the landlord some slack: at least he finally opened the door. 

Even the tony precincts of Palm Beach, Florida are not immune from macabre malodors. Here’s a Bastille Day report from the Palm Beach Post:
Neighbors had noticed a foul smell and had even searched the area for what they figured was a dead animal but never found the decomposing body of a man lying in bushes and underbrush behind the 1100 block of 35th Street.

“My husband said it was probably a dead rat,” said Chavela Graham, whose property line ends just feet from where the man was found by a city worker. “The stench was getting worse.”
Good guess, Mr. Graham! (It’s unclear if he actually got off his duff and joined in the search . . .) 

We’ve had a few ISDP incidents in Kansas City, but the discovery of a decomposing body on July 28 makes the place sound like a ghost town:
Someone called police about 2 p.m. today to report a foul odor coming from the closed Paradise Motel, which is across the street from a closed liquor store and deli. The body was in a guest room.

Sorry, Paradise is closed but you can leave the body in number six.

Which brings us to a related story from San Antonio:

City targeting motel with ‘scent of death'
We are generally sympathetic toward the small businessman trying to make a go of it, but the Alamo Lodge has a pretty ugly track record, including this:
A health inspector on Jan. 12 found bloodstains on a box spring in a room at the motel; animal feces; dead bed bugs; cockroaches; urine smells; and, in room 124, there was a “scent of death.”

The report was unclear if it referred to the death of an animal or a person.
That’s not an easy call to make; just ask Mrs. Graham’s husband.

Finally, we have new candidates for the Norman Bates Award, International Division.
He was thought to be the oldest man in Tokyo - but when officials went to congratulate Sogen Kato on his 111th birthday, they uncovered mummified skeletal remains lying in his bed.

Mr Kato may have been dead for 30 years according to Japanese authorities.
Turns out Kato-san’s entire family may have been pulling a Norman Bates.
. . . the family had received 9.5 million yen ($109,000: £70,000) in widower’s pension payments via Mr Kato’s bank account since his wife died six years ago, and some of the money had recently been withdrawn.

Mr. Kato probably stopped smelling bad 29 years ago, but since his demise was discovered only this month, the ISDP Awards Committee has ruled that his family is eligible for the 2010 competition. Good luck and thanks for playing!

UPDATE August 21, 2010
The case of the mummified Mr. Kato is just the tip of an iceberg. According to this story by David McNeill in The Irish Times, many other very elderly people on municipal rosters in Japan cannot be found.

Around the country local authorities have been literally calling door-to-door since to determine how many more pensioners are “missing” – officially recorded as alive but actually long since departed to the great bureaucrat-free nirvana in the sky.

So far, they have uncovered over 280 (of 41,000 recorded) centenarians who have “vanished”. Nagano health officials crossed out the name of a 110-year-old man officially registered as the prefecture’s oldest person.

In Kobe city, the missing include a 125-year woman – making her Japan’s oldest person.


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