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True Story of Frank Wills

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Frank Wills was born in February 1948, in the Savannah region of Georgia State, US. He was the famous security guard who received national acclaim for his pivotal role in preventing the 1972 attempted break-in at the Watergate Hotel in Washington DC. Incidentally, the same hotel housed the Democratic Party National Committee headquarters on its sixth floor. As a result of Frank’s quick action, significant political events occurred in the US. These climaxed with the resignation of Republican President Richard Nixon in 1974, following “the Watergate Scandal.” Nixon was accused of committing heinous political crimes while seeking re-election in the presidential race. As noted, the attempted break-in took place in the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee on June 17th, 1972. In 1978, Frank famously received a special honor from the Democratic National Committee. He was recognized for helping expose one of the biggest political scandals in America’s recent history.

Frank’s Early Life

Frank Wills was brought up by his single mother, Margie, after the parents separated. He received a modest education, dropping out of school in Grade 11. He went on to study machine operation in Michigan, eventually obtaining a Job Corps qualification. Frank later landed a job at the Ford Corporation’s motor vehicle assembly line in Detroit, Michigan. Unfortunately, he was soon forced to quit his job because of health problems associated with an asthma condition. Frank then decided to travel to Washington, DC, where he got employed at the Watergate hotel as a security guard.

Frank’s Heroic Expose of the Watergate Scandal

Interestingly, Frank Wills was only 24 when the Watergate scandal erupted. Frank found duct tape that was discreetly hidden and replaced on a bolt on the basement door near a stairwell, next to the parking area. Evidently, this action was the work of burglars sent there on the orders of President Richard Nixon. On finding out someone was tampering with the building’s locks, Frank acted fast, calling in the police. This led to the arrest of five men who were hiding inside the Democratic Party headquarters. Eventually, through Frank’s heroic action, clear evidence was adduced in court, proving that the president was deeply involved in committing a crime. President Nixon had apparently instructed the committee working for his re-election to arrange the burglary. Yes, with Frank’s help, it was proved that the president had been illegally spying on his Democratic Party opponents.

Shocking Revelations and the President’s Resignation

It was subsequently determined that the burglars had been dispatched to the hotel with instructions to access confidential materials in the Democratic National Committee’s sixth-floor offices. Significantly, the five men who were arrested by the police included a former CIA agent. Moreover, it was revealed that the Republicans were systematically involved in wide-ranging crimes, including corruption, break-ins, slush funds, enemy-lists, bugging, and perjury. Consequently, state authorities were ordered to arrest, prosecute and imprison several of President Nixon’s political co-conspirators. In the wake of these arrests, the Watergate scandal was born. This scandal eventually triggered the resignation of President Nixon in 1974.

Frank’s Humiliation and Joblessness

Interestingly, despite Frank’s pivotal role in helping expose one of the most significant political scandals in the history of the US, the man received little recognition. His salary was marginally raised from $80 to a paltry $82.50 per week. Many considered this an act of disregard against a man whose efforts had made the nation proud. Moreover, Frank was never honored with a promotion at work, and neither was he accorded public recognition. Instead, he was later forced to resign from his job at the Watergate hotel as a result of racial harassment and discrimination. When he tried seeking employment in other institutions, including the University of Howard, Frank’s requests were consistently turned down because the employer risked losing federal funding.

His Imprisonment and Death

Frank, who was hailed as a national hero just months before, was forced to return to Georgia with his mother. In a tragic twist, Frank’s mother suffered a stroke, leaving her vulnerable and in dire need. Nevertheless, the two were forced to struggle with the meager Social Security Stipend of $450 per month. Later, in 1983, Frank was imprisoned for one year on accusations of stealing a pair of sneakers worth $12. Notably, the police admitted the accused never left with the items when he exited the store. Eventually, Frank Wills died in abject poverty on September 27th, 2000. He was 52. Just before his death, a downcast Frank tragically confessed the following to a news reporter: “I never received anything for my role in the infamous Watergate Scandal. I have lost faith completely in our current political system.”

Pressmen’s Home, Tennessee: Relic From a Bygone Era

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Pressmen's Home Trade School building
Located in the hills of Eastern Tennessee, this abandoned complex was once home to the International Printing Pressmen and Assistants Union of North America. The bucolic setting was chosen for its remote location and proximity to a spring believed to offer health benefits. The property was purchased in 1911, and for sixty-five years Pressmen’s Home offered training, healthcare, and leisure services to union members and their families. By the late 1960’s union leadership had decided the remote location was too far removed from the political eye, and in 1967 the headquarters was moved to Washington D.C. Pressmen’s Home spent the next two years winding down operations, and the buildings have been vacant ever since.

Europe’s Deserted Border Crossings

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If you traveled across Europe in the 1990s, you know how difficult it was to cross borders. You had to stop at every border post, queue in the long wait lines, and endure the ignominy of the occasional frisking by a security agent. Thankfully, this lengthy process is no longer the case due to changes in European law. Remarkably, you can now cross 26 European countries without fishing out your passport. Many consider this a tremendous change that has greatly enriched the lives of tourists and residents alike. Because of the change, there are now several abandoned border crossings that are waiting for you to come to explore.

Visiting the Desolate European Borders

You can still visit these deserted border crossings. Indeed, taking a tour around Europe’s vacant border posts is a most revealing experience. It gives visitors a rare glimpse of what the face of Europe looked like decades ago. Walking the border between Hungary and Austria, you’ll meet some abandoned sentry boxes that epitomize the ghost status of the yesteryears’ border patrol systems. Moreover, you’ll soon discover that some of these memorable landmarks in the French and German borderlines are now converted to different facilities like restaurants or museums. Let’s explore two locations that used to be large border crossings.

Visiting Ukraine’s Historic Oleshky Sands

Ukraine’s Oleshky sands are renowned as Europe’s second-largest sandy expanse. It’s is among Ukraine’s most striking natural spectacles. Experts classify this place as a semi-desert due to its fluctuating temperatures and rainfall levels. There’s no doubt that Ukraine’s Oleshky Sands boasts a rather unusual history. In the early 1900s, a sheep breeder is reported to have brought in varieties of sheep. However, before long, the sheep exhausted the grass. Soon, fierce winds smashed through the area. The ground eroded, revealing sand deposits beneath. And suddenly, a desert was born. If you visit the area now, you’ll find that the ribbed dunes are gently sloping into the distance. Moreover, the place is enriched with lush green pine forests and secluded oases. When you’re done sampling these magnificent features, you can end the day by visiting the thrilling town of Optima Kherson.

Touring Poland’s Picturesque Bledow Desert

Europe has long enjoyed a distinguished reputation as the pinnacle of natural beauty. If you love adventure and plan to tour this area, visit one of the deserts, it will be a truly unforgettable experience. Many who toured Poland’s Bledow desert in the 1900s generally thought the desert was a mirage. If you have ever visited the desert, you know it evokes nostalgic visions of the rugged Tatra Mountains and the glistening Masurian Lakes. Of course, this is also the home of the picturesque Bledow Desert, otherwise known as the “Polish Sahara.” This primarily tidy sandy area is nestled between the native Polish villages of Klucze and Chechlo. A keen observer will note that the spectacle is a rare combination of natural coincidence and raw human activity. Due to the effects of deforestation, which is discernable by visitors, you’ll notice that considerable glacier activity has produced deep sandy layers that lie securely below the ground. Significantly, the famous Bledow is Poland’s only desert. It offers a unique experience characterized by a scenic desert heritage. The best way to reach the desert is to travel by car. This is the ideal place to take your kids, showing them this one of a kind destination. Once you’re done viewing the desert, you can proceed to the Ogrodzieniec’s Hotel Pod Figura. Here, you might decide to talk a walk around the crumbling ruins of the medieval Ogrodzieniec Castle; and yes, this castle is said to be haunted by unknown dark powers.

Conclusion

Making a tour around Europe’s deserted border crossings is undoubtedly an unforgettable experience. Many consider these desolate open European borders a significant milestone that adds a feather to the cap of European integration. The free borders have also facilitated tourism, travel, supply chains, and trade across the bloc besides engineering faster economic growth in the surrounding areas. Any well-traveled European adventurer should visit one of these picturesque destinations. Most likely, this peculiar experience will remain etched on your mind for a long time and leave you itching to explore more abandoned border crossings and their surrounding beauties.

Eagle Mountain, CA: From Boom to Bust to Boom to Bust

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Eagle Mountain
The United States has many ghost towns scattered throughout the West. Most have the same story: A deposit of some precious metal is discovered, then a town is set up and people flock to the new town in search of riches. Eventually the natural resources of the area run out and if the town had no other industry, it would die. A unique story is that of Eagle Mountain, California. A rich iron ore deposit brought Henry Kaiser (of Kaiser Steel and Kaiser Permanente fame) to the area in 1948. The mining produced iron ore for 35 years before lawsuits shut operations down. Eagle Mountain was not done, however. Numerous attempts to bring industry back to revitalize the town have tried, and failed, to resurrect the old mining site. So what is standing in the way of progress? The answer might just be surprising.

Chilling Remains of the Mar Sem Fim

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April 7th, 2012 started just like every other day for the 76-ft. Brazilian research vessel Mar Sem Fim (“Endless Sea”). Unfortunately the vessel would become stuck in the ice and overcome by severe ice compression and strong winds. The Mar Sem Fim would sit in about 30 feet (9m) of water, preserved in its shallow arctic environment.

Story of Elmer McCurdy The Outlaw

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Elmer McCurdy was born on January 1st, 1880, in Washington State, USA. He was the son of Sadie McCurdy but was adopted by Sadie’s brother, George since he was considered an illegitimate child. Later on, Sadie confessed to Elmer that she was his biological mother, and his father’s identity was unknown. This information deeply disturbed Elmer to the point that he became unruly and rebellious. In his teenage years, McCurdy became a heavy drunkard.

Early Life

He lived briefly with his grandfather in Maine, where he worked as an apprentice plumber. McCurdy lost his job in August 1900 due to an economic downturn. In 1907, he joined the army where he learned how to use nitroglycerin, an active ingredient in explosives production. He was discharged from the military in 1910.

Crime Life

McCurdy’s life of crime began shortly after leaving the army. He joined a gang of bandits that robbed banks and trains. His first major robbery with the gang was the Iron Mountain-Missouri Pacific train. The robbery was unsuccessful, however, since McCurdy miscalculated the amount of nitroglycerin needed and ended up destroying a safe that contained $4,000. The gang’s major bank robbery also failed after they unsuccessfully tried to blow open a safe door.

Death

His final robbery occurred on October 4th, 1911. Elmer McCurdy and his gang of bandits decided to rob a Katy train carrying $400,000 in cash. As their luck would follow, they ended up stopping the wrong train. Frantically they began searching for the money. Nevertheless, their efforts proved futile. They only managed to steal $46, a watch, and two jugs of whiskey. Upon realizing their failure, the gang stopped their mission and decided to escape. The robbery implicated McCurdy, and a reward for his capture was issued. A sheriff’s posse tracked McCurdy to the barn where he’d been hiding and surrounded him. Elmer McCurdy started a gunfight with the police that lasted for an hour. McCurdy was shot in the chest and died instantly.

The Embalmed Bandit

McCurdy’s body was taken to the Johnson Funeral Home in Pawhuska, Oklahoma. He had no immediate kin to claim the body, so it was preserved in hopes that someone would claim it. Several weeks elapsed, and still, no one showed up to claim the body. The funeral homeowner decided to embalm the body and dress him in a suit. He put up the body for public exhibition, charging people 5 cents just to take a look. For five long years, Elmer’s body remained in the Oklahoma funeral home, till one day it was claimed. Two men, James, and Charles Patterson showed up at the funeral home and requested the body. They identified themselves as Elmer McCurdy’s long-lost brothers. The funeral director was a bit suspicious of the two, but since the attraction fell out of favor, he decided to let go of the body. He also felt that McCurdy deserved a decent burial after an extended stay in the funeral home.

Side-Show Attraction

However, the two men weren’t McCurdy’s blood relatives, but the owners of the Great Patterson Carnival shows. McCurdy’s corpse was subsequently featured in the Pattersons’ traveling carnival until 1922 when the brothers sold their business to Louis Sonney. In 1933, the body was placed in theatre lobbies to promote the exploitation film Narcotic. Sonney used the corpse in his traveling show the Museum of Crime until the 1940s. Louis Sonney passed away in 1949, and the body was placed in a Los Angeles warehouse. In 1968, Sonney’s son sold the body to the Hollywood Wax Museum. For many years to follow, McCurdy’s body was bought and sold by various traveling shows, sideshows, and wax museums.

Rediscovery and Proper Burial

Eventually, the body ended up at the “Laff In the Dark” funhouse in Long Beach, California. It was discovered in 1976 by a production crew of the TV show “The Six Million Dollar Man.” They didn’t realize the corpse was real until McCurdy’s arm broke off. The police took the mummified corpse to the coroner’s office, where the autopsy results confirmed that the body was indeed that of a human male. McCurdy’s body was finally laid to rest in 1977 in Oklahoma after traveling the country for nearly sixty years, from carnival circuits to Hollywood. The casket is buried under two feet of concrete to make sure no one exhumes the grave.

Bagger 293: Biggest Vehicle in the World

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Exactly how big does a land-based vehicle need to be to qualify for the Guinness Book of World Records as largest in the world? How about 315 feet tall, 740 feet long, and weighing over 31 million pounds?

The Bagger 293 is a giant bucket-wheel excavator built in Germany in 1995. It requires a crew of five to operate and can move over 8.5 million cubic feet of earth per day. To put that in perspective, that is the equivalent of digging a hole the length of a football field and over 80 feet deep in a day.

World’s Largest Old Car Junkyard: Old Car City U.S.A.

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Fifty miles north of Atlanta, a 34-acre compound houses one of the largest car collections in the world. But this collection doesn’t have polished Ferraris or Porsches under shining lights. There are no immaculate Mercedes or Bentleys proudly displayed behind velvet ropes. A rusty sign out front of the site reads “The world’s oldest junkyard jungle, here 80 years.” Most of this collection is unsalvageable midcentury American steel, and it lays strewn about a forested property in rural Georgia. Over 4,500 cars – most of which are model year 1972 or older – belong to a man who spent his life saving some of America’s classic cars from the crusher. Sometimes-Interesting teams up with a fellow blogger to explore the what and why behind Old Car City U.S.A.