Show Notes: Frankenstein Body Found, Rhoden Family Update, Random Michigan Mayhem

This show, “Michigan and other Mayhem”, is a sort of factual, slightly comical, always earnest podcast about interesting stuff in Michigan and around the world. It is done by two sisters-in-law (Ali and Jenn) that like to talk about random interesting stories.  Expect cults, mysteries, murder, fast talking, and a couple of mental palate cleansers… and cuss words.  Those happen on this show, a lot.

Click Here To Listen To Episode 46: Frankenstein Body Found, Rhoden Family Update, Random Michigan Mayhem

Alerts:

  • Pretend podcast music because Jenn likes it. 
    • Ali has a weird laugh.  It is often loud.

Frankenstein Body Found in Body Farm

In 2012 the FBI began investigating, across multiple states, The Biological Resource Center for allegedly trafficking human body parts. The Biological Resource Center is a company that would collect dead bodies that had been donated to science. In one of the company’s buildings in Arizona, officials found a woman’s head sewn on to a man’s body hanging on the wall of the facility. Buckets of body parts were also found with random body parts like severed heads or penises. They had blood smeared everywhere.

Clients had been told that the bodies would be used to further science but instead they were sold to a middleman for profit. The company had a price list for body parts. A spine was about $150, etc. This practice started in 2007 and went on until 2015. That was the year that family members were contacted and informed that their loved one’s bodies and not been donated to science but had been dismembered and parts of them were shipped overseas.

People who donated would receive a letter with a vessel of ash saying the body had been donated to science and the rest was cremated. Families that had received the cremated remains of the bodies that were donated, are now questioning if those ashes belong to them or are just random piles of ash.

In 2015, the owner Stephen Gore, was charged with and plead guilty to illegal trafficking of body parts. He was sentenced to four years’ probation and $120,000 in restitution. This case has come back into the news again because family members who had donated bodies have opened a civil suit with Stephen Gore.

Rhoden Family Murder Update

Eight of the Rhoden family members were killed in their homes at multiple sites in one night, in 2016. It was believed that they were killed by another family, a set of parents and their adult sons, the Wagners. The dispute between the two families was due to a custody issue of a shared three-year-old daughter.

Two of the grandmothers associated with the Wagner family were placed on house arrest, while the other four members are in jail. One of the grandmothers, Fredricka Wagner, was charged with obstruction and perjury. Those charges are dropped. The rest of the family’s legal cases are moving forward with new evidence being found.

The trail was supposed to start July 29, 2019 but they now need more time to review the evidence.

Random Michigan Mayhem

Sleeping Bear Dunes

In 2011, “Good Morning America” listed Sleeping Bear Dunes, Michigan as The Most Beautiful Place in America. The dunes are part of a National Park and are in northwest Michigan. (If you’re looking at the back of your left hand, the dunes would be at the tip of your ring finger.) As a National Park, they are trying to make the land more accessible to all who come. Starting this year, the park resources have added manual all terrain wheelchairs as an offering to people who may have physical issues with walking. Currently, they have a wheelchair for both adults and children. The chairs are equipped with wide wheels with large knobs to help them not sink in the sand while still moving forward. 

https://www.wxyz.com/news/sleeping-bear-dunes-now-offering-beach-wheelchairs-for-those-who-need

U.S. Third Largest Fentanyl Bust

In 2018, at a Walmart in Novi, cops watched a man buy 600 grams of fentanyl. The drugs were transported in a PlayStation box. The police tried to use the serial number on the box to try to track the owner, but it only led to a false name. They were able to get a subpoena to check where the serial number was attached to the internet. Police were then directed to a nearby Novi condo. When the condo was raided, the agents found 10 kilos of pure fentanyl along with 22 kilos of fentanyl mixed with heroin, making it the third largest seizure of the drug in U.S. history. This trigged a drug probe across the state. That lead to multiple arrests and seizes of more kilos of fentanyl in other states like Indiana, California, and Maryland.

https://www.detroitnews.com/story/news/local/michigan/2018/12/26/top-10-weird-news-stories-2018/2349572002/

Brown-headed Cowbird

Ali saw these birds while she was on break at work and looked them up. The brown-headed cowbird is a bird that is all black with a dark brown head. This species of cowbird often flocks with other black birds. It is considered a nuisance bird due to it being a “brood parasite”.  They don’t make their own nests; they lay their eggs in the nests of other birds. Birds like the yellow warbler recognize that cowbird egg isn’t their own. The yellow warblers are too small to push the foreign egg out, so they will build a new nest over the old one. Larger species of birds will throw the cowbird’s egg out of their nest, while others don’t recognize the egg as different.

The brown-headed cowbird eggs mature faster than the other eggs, so they hatch first and grow larger than the rest of the hatchlings. The cowbirds will sometimes toss out the other eggs in the nest or smother them. Environmentalists are worried about the decrease in songbirds in Michigan due to the rise of brown-headed cowbirds.

https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Brown-headed_Cowbird/overview

Six Priests Charged with Abuse

During an investigation of Catholic priests, six Michigan priests were charged with sexual abuse. Michigan’s Attorney General, Dana Nessel, estimates that there are up to 1,000 victims. Dana believes this is just the start and more are to be uncovered.  Timothy Michael Crowley, a 69-year-old Lansing Diocese, had served at the St. Thomas Rectory in Ann Arbor. Timothy was charged with eight felony accounts of criminal sexual misconduct. Neil Kalina, a 63-year-old Archdiocese of Detroit, was arrested in California. He was charged with four felony accounts of criminal sexual misconduct. Vincent DeLorenzo, who is smiling in his mug shot, was an 80-year-old Lansing Diocese. He was charged with three counts and arrested in Florida. Patrick Casey, a 55-year-old Archdiocese in Detroit, was arrested in Oak Park, Michigan and charged with three counts. He served in nine different parishes in Michigan. Jacob Vellian, a Kalamazoo Diocese, who was 84 years old, is going to be extradited from India to Michigan to face his two charges of criminal sexual misconduct. Joseph H. Baker, a 57-year-old Archdiocese of Detroit, has one count of first degree of criminal sexual misconduct, penetration with a person under the age of 13. A seventh priest, Lawrence Ventline, an Archdiocese of Detroit, has had his education license suspended and Michigan’s attorney general has filed a complaint against him.

https://www.clickondetroit.com/news/6-michigan-priests-charged-in-clergy-abuse-probe-what-we-know

Canadian Wildfires

In early July of 2019, Michigan skies were looking hazy even though we didn’t have any clouds.  This was due to wildfires in Canada. The smoke covered the entire state of Michigan, plus Wisconsin. The fire, which is burning across the providence of Alberta, was almost the size of the state of Rhode Island and 50% larger than the fire that burned through California this year. It is believed that the fires are growing so large due to the weather being warmer and drier than it has been in recent history.

https://www.wxyz.com/news/did-you-notice-hazy-skies-thats-smoke-from-canadian-wildfires-over-michigan

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/the_americas/canadas-wildfire-season-is-off-to-a-ferocious-start/2019/06/10/9d2d67bc-88a2-11e9-9d73-e2ba6bbf1b9b_story.html?utm_term=.4e74baf75321

Unusual Creature Caught on Tape

This link was sent to me by my cousin, John, who lives in Toronto. An article came out on July 2, 2019 that included a video. There was a man in Michigan who was watching a webcam which was pointed towards Lake Michigan. There was a storm, and the water was churning under 40 mph winds. All of a sudden you see a long, thick, black shape that is being battered around by the wind and waves. It looks huge.  The water pushes it up on to a pier and then across the pier into the water again. It has been fun reading comments speculating about what it was in the water. It has been nicknamed the Lakeness Monster. My personal theory is that it was a large lake sturgeon. Female sturgeon can live up to 150 years, weight up to 300 pounds and grow eight feet long.  The video link will be in the show notes for this episode.

https://www.clickondetroit.com/news/6-michigan-priests-charged-in-clergy-abuse-probe-what-we-know

Electric Shock Drowning

Water levels in Michigan’s lakes in 2019 are higher than average. Michigan’s DNR, Department of Natural Resources, has increased patrols in southeast Michigan. There is an increased chance of electric shock drowning. Piers and docks that are normally well above the lake are now submerged. These structures also have electrical connections. Being shocked while in the water causes a loss of muscle control, an inability to move your limbs, which leads to drowning. According to the DNR, if you see this scenario happen, throw them a flotation device, call for help, and do not go into the water.

There are homeowners who are raising their docks as well as abandoning them once they are below the water.

https://www.mlive.com/news/2019/06/electric-shock-drowning-a-real-risk-as-michigans-water-levels-rise-officials-warn.html

High Water Levels in the Great Lakes and Detroit River

With the higher lake levels, boaters have begun to disregard No Wake zone warnings. This has made it dangerous for people trying to swim in the area. The high water also has caused beaches to disappear. The high water is pulling sand away from some beach homes and depositing it in other areas of the lake. Homeowners are having to try to protect their property line by using heavy equipment to move the soil around. Detroit had to create sandbag walls around the canal district. Part of Belle Isle’s shoreline road is flooded.

https://www.bridgemi.com/michigan-environment-watch/surging-great-lakes-water-levels-shrink-beaches-flood-docks-michigan

https://www.freep.com/story/money/business/john-gallagher/2019/07/16/high-water-levels-climate-change-michigan/1703252001/

Miss World Michigan 2019

Kathy Zhu was named Miss World Michigan in 2019 and served under that title for one day. The day after she won her crown, Kathy lost it due what was considered insensitive and racial tweets.  Her tweets were insulting to people of the Muslim religion and black people.  For example, in regard to black on black crime, Kathy tweeted, “Fix problems in your own community first before blaming others.” Kathy was not apologetic. She said the organization was aware that she was a conservative Republican before she won the crown and her tweets have always been available for someone to view.

http://www.fox2detroit.com/news/local-news/michigan-beauty-queen-stripped-of-title-over-controversial-tweets

Airless Tires Being Tested in Michigan

Automaker GM is about to begin testing their airless, puncture proof tires on Michigan roads, using a fleet of Chevrolet Bolts. (I see it as a trial by fire.) The new tire is being called the Uptis Prototype which is short for Unique Puncture-proof Tire System. According to the company the tires last longer and use less raw materials, making them better for the environment. The tires could be available for purchase by 2024. 

https://www.metrotimes.com/news-hits/archives/2019/06/07/gm-to-begin-testing-puncture-proof-airless-tires-in-michigan-this-year

Cream Of Wheat Man

Cream of Wheat is a hot cereal that comes in a red box and has the picture of a smiling chef at the top. Frank L. White, who died in 1938 is believed to be the model for the chef’s picture. Frank spent the last 20 years of his life in Leslie, MI and was buried in a cemetery in Leslie. However, Frank did not have a tombstone.  In June of 2007, Jesse Lasorda, a family researcher in Lansing, had completed a campaign to provide one. A granite gravestone was placed at his burial site that included his name and a rendering of the man depicted on the Cream of Wheat box. (The chef on the box was photographed in 1900 and was uncredited. Frank, who was a chef who often traveled, claimed the picture was of him and that is how he has been credited.)

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/final-tribute-for-cream-of-wheat-man/

Trip Advisor Reviews of Sleeping Bear Dunes

9/1/2016

SiobhanDM from Cleveland, Ohio

Sleeping Bear Dunes of Death

I have been visiting northwest Michigan for 24 years, I grew up every Summer at Interlochen and attended The Interlochen Arts Academy. It has been a family venture every year and my father use to live in the area as well. How pathetic is it that a National Federal Park first squeezes $15 from visitors! People come to see the dunes and use the bathroom, that does not require $15! The tax money is obviously not being used wisely, it is sadly a blue state, go figure. I was stunned and insulted as this fat entitled woman taking our (my boyfriend and I) money at the entrance told us the money was used to help keep the parks in the U.P. SINCE WHEN DOES NATURE NEED MONEY TO MAINTAIN ITSELF?! If there had been a place to turn around, we would have but we drive almost 7 hours and we were in front of many annoying tourists from around the country…Not only this but signs have been removed for letting people know the distance to Lake MI, it is dangerous climbing in the heat! Oh, but our ticket was good for six days, such a good deal for just climbing on sand…

The pamphlet we were given was hardly any help! As we neared heat exhaustion, we gave up and barely made it back to our car. It was over 90 degrees (around 9:30 am) and I am glad I brought water. We had no warning and no reliable information about the soul sucking “dune climb”. More like death climb! WORST NORTHERN MI EXPERIENCE OF MY LIFE! Thank you for making an absolutely magnificent park into a death-heat-money-trap for visitors, Michigan! What a SHAME and DISAPPOINTMENT! 

There were 5 Poor reviews of Sleeping Bear Dunes. One person complained about the dunes not being one single area, the review above, a person who was thwarted by fog, another saying there were too many tourists and the last one complained about GPS and traffic.

Here is an example of the 1,467 Excellent Reviews. (Trip Advisor doesn’t give stars.)

Tahirihcc from Columbus, Ohio

7/2019

Omg, what a beauty we have as a country and in the Midwest. The National lakeshore is beautiful beyond belief and we were so lucky to have a clear day! 
This is a national park so there is an entry fee. Upon entering there is a guide of 12 points along the scenic tour that are interesting, but honestly what is the best part of the scenic drive was the view of Lake Michigan., wow. 
Also there is a climb within the park. I think it fair to tell you it is tough if you are only moderately fit. The pitch of the dunes are a beast !!

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g42182-d143265-Reviews-Sleeping_Bear_Dunes_National_Lakeshore-Empire_Leelanau_County_Michigan.html

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