The Quick 7: Seven Kidnappings with Safe Returns

It was this day in 1973 that John Paul Getty III was found alive in Naples, Italy, after his July 10 kidnapping. Although what he went through was certainly horrific, his kidnapping is proof that sometimes victims are returned home safely. Here are seven of those stories.

getty1. John Paul Getty III was kidnapped in Rome at the age of 16, but his family wasn't too keen to pay up the $17 million: John Paul III was a rebellious teenager and many of his family members suspected that he was behind the whole thing. After waiting a couple of months, the kidnappers got tired of the Gettys not taking them seriously and lopped off their captive's right ear and sent it to a newspaper in Rome. John Paul III's grandpa, the Getty who founded the family business, finally agreed to pay the ransom, but negotiated it down to about $2.8 million and made his son pay him back with interest. JPG III made it home but was never the same, and ended up becoming a drug addict. His son is actor Balthazar Getty of ABC's Brothers and Sisters. He was also on Alias.

2. Bizzy Bone of Bone Thugs-n-Harmony was kidnapped when he was only four. He and his sisters were kidnapped and told that their mother and grandmother had died. After about a year, one of their new neighbors recognized Bizzy and his sisters on America's Most Wanted and reported their kidnapper to the police. The kids were immediately taken out of school, questioned, and returned to their mother.

3. Jemima Boone, Daniel Boone's daughter, was probably one of the earliest famous kidnapping victims. You probably know of the incident from its (fictionalized) depiction in The Last of the Mohicans - kidnapped along with Jemima were the daughters of Colonel Richard Callaway.

The three teenage girls were out canoeing on the Kentucky River when a party of Cherokee and Shawnee men abducted them. Daniel Boone organized a search-and-rescue party and the girls were recovered just a few days later. Despite the depiction in The Last of the Mohicans, Jemima Boone went on record later in life and said that their captors were very kind to them.

4. Sixteen-year-old Edward Cudahy, Jr., the son of a multimillionaire Packing Company owner in Omaha, was kidnapped as he ran an errand. His dad closed the plant the next morning and asked his workers to please help look for his son; his competitors closed and asked their employees to do the same. By 9 a.m., a ransom note demanding $25,000 was found. If the sum was not paid, the kidnappers explicitly said they would "put acid in [Edward Jr's] eyes and blind him." They left instructions as to how to pay them, which Edward Sr. followed to the letter. His son was returned five hours after he left the money at the specified drop-off point. Edward Sr. then hired the Pinkertons to find the kidnapper, Pat Crowe. He wasn't captured until November, 1905, but jurors acquitted him of all crimes after hearing "the best speech in a criminal case ever made in Omaha." Upon hearing this, the Washington Post declared Omaha "a happy hunting ground for savages and malefactors." Crowe ended up going on lecturing tours across America and making even more money off of his heinous crimes.

george5. In 1935, George Weyerhaeuser, the nine-year-old son of wealthy Washington lumberman J.P. Weyerhaeuser, was kidnapped. The kidnappers demanded $200,000 in unmarked bills in denominations of $20 and under. Mr. Weyerhaeuser was given very specific instructions, and tried to follow them to the best of his ability. One of the locations he was instructed to go to, however, was missing the note that the ransomers had left behind. They contacted him and admonished him for not following directions. He was given a second chance, and this time he was able to do as the kidnappers had instructed. He dropped off the money as asked, and his son was released by the next morning. George later said his captors had put him in various holes they had dug into the ground, covered with boards and tar paper. Sometimes he was simply in the trunk of the kidnappers' car. Three men and a woman were eventually convicted of the kidnapping, and $157,319.47 of the ransom money was recovered. George Weyerhaeuser eventually became the Chairman of the Board for the Weyerhaeuser Company, which is still one of the largest pulp and paper companies in the world.

6. In 1972, two Australian men managed to kidnap an entire classroom of students in the Faraday School kidnapping. Granted, the class only consisted of six students (plus the teacher). The kidnappers left a ransom note asking for $1,000,000. The same day it happened, the State Government announced that it would pay the ransom. When the men left to collect their ransom, the 20-year-old teacher, Mary Gibbs, kicked down the door of the van she and the children were being held in. They found help not far away. The men were captured and sentenced to jail terms, but in 1976, one of them, Edwin Eastwood, escaped from prison and attemped to perpetrate another kidnapping.

7. So, in 1977, Edwin Eastwood kidnapped a teacher and nine of her students from another school in Victoria. When he was making his getaway, he ran into a truck and ended up taking its two passengers hostage, too. With his car wrecked, he stole a camper from a group of elderly ladies and added them to his growing list of hostages. Not only did he ask for $7 million, he also asked for drugs, guns, and the release of 17 of his friends from Pentridge Prison. He didn't get any of it. When one of his hostages escaped, Eastwood decided to cut his losses and run for it. He was shot in the knee and sentence to a minimum of 18 years in prison, plus the nearly 11 years he had left to serve on his previous kidnapping charge.

I didn't include Elizabeth Smart on the list just because it's such a recent case - I was going for older kidnappings that the average person might not know about. Did I miss one? Let me know in the comments.

Charles Dickens Museum Highlights the Author's Contributions to Science and Medicine

Charles Dickens is celebrated for his verbose prose and memorable opening lines, but lesser known are his contributions to science—particularly the field of medicine.

A new exhibition at London’s Charles Dickens Museum—titled "Charles Dickens: Man of Science"—is showcasing the English author’s scientific side. In several instances, the writer's detailed descriptions of medical conditions predated and sometimes even inspired the discovery of several diseases, The Guardian reports.

In his novel Dombey and Son, the character of Mrs. Skewton was paralyzed on her right side and unable to speak. Dickens was the first person to document this inexplicable condition, and a scientist later discovered that one side of the brain was largely responsible for speech production. "Fat boy" Joe, a character in The Pickwick Papers who snored loudly while sleeping, later lent his namesake to Pickwickian Syndrome, otherwise known as obesity hypoventilation syndrome.

A figurine of Fat Boy Joe
Courtesy of the Charles Dickens Museum

Dickens also wrote eloquently about the symptoms of tuberculosis and dyslexia, and some of his passages were used to teach diagnosis to students of medicine.

“Dickens is an unbelievably acute observer of human behaviors,” museum curator Frankie Kubicki told The Guardian. “He captures these behaviors so perfectly that his descriptions can be used to build relationships between symptoms and disease.”

Dickens was also chummy with some of the leading scientists of his day, including Michael Faraday, Charles Darwin, and chemist Jane Marcet, and the exhibition showcases some of the writer's correspondence with these notable figures. Beyond medicine, Dickens also contributed to the fields of chemistry, geology, and environmental science.

Less scientifically sound was the author’s affinity for mesmerism, a form of hypnotism introduced in the 1770s as a method of controlling “animal magnetism,” a magnetic fluid which proponents of the practice believed flowed through all people. Dickens studied the methods of mesmerism and was so convinced by his powers that he later wrote, “I have the perfect conviction that I could magnetize a frying-pan.” A playbill of Animal Magnetism, an 1857 production that Dickens starred in, is also part of the exhibit.

A play script from Animal Magnetism
Courtesy of the Charles Dickens Museum

Located at 48-49 Doughty Street in London, the exhibition will be on display until November 11, 2018.

[h/t The Guardian]

Beyond Wanderlust: 30 Words Every Traveler Should Know

For those who travel, wanderlust is a familiar feeling. It’s that nagging voice in your head that says, “Yes, you do need to book that flight,” even if your bank account says otherwise. Regardless of how many passport covers this word may adorn, it doesn’t begin to cover the spectrum of emotions and experiences that can be revealed through the act of travel. Here are 30 travel words from around the world to keep in your back pocket as you're exploring this summer.


From the Latin vagari, meaning “to wander,” this 16th-century word originally meant a wandering journey. Nowadays, "vagaries" refer to unpredictable or erratic situations, but that doesn’t mean the old sense of the word can’t be invoked from time to time.


An Old English word that refers to something that’s both strange and marvelous. It's a great way to sum up those seemingly indescribable moments spent in an unfamiliar land.


Who hasn’t felt a strong desire to be somewhere—anywhere—other than where you currently are? That’s fernweh, or “farsickness," and this German word has been described as a cousin of wanderlust, another German loan word.


A busy street in Hong Kong

Anyone who has traveled abroad will recognize this feeling. The French word refers to the sense of disorientation that often sets in when you step outside your comfort zone, such as when you leave your home country.


Another gift from the French, this word literally translates to “drift,” but thanks to some mid-20th century French philosophers, it can also refer to a spontaneous trip, completely free of plans, in which you let your surroundings guide you.


To peregrinate is to travel from place to place, especially on foot. Its Latin root, peregrinus (meaning “foreign”), is also where the peregrine falcon (literally “pilgrim falcon”) gets its name.


Similar to peregrinate, this word essentially means to travel over or through an area by foot. So instead of saying that you’ll be walking around London, you can say you’ll be perambulating the city’s streets—much more sophisticated.


The Grand Canyon

This English word could appropriately be used to describe the Grand Canyon or the Northern Lights. Something numinous is awe-inspiring and mysterious. It's difficult to understand from a rational perspective, which gives it a spiritual or unearthly quality.


The young and the restless will want to incorporate this word into their lexicon. The adjective refers to those who are constantly moving from place to place—in other words, a nomadic existence. It stems from the Greek word peripatein (“to walk up and down”), which was originally associated with Aristotle and the shaded walkways near his school (or, according to legend, his habit of pacing back and forth during lectures).


You’re alone in a forest. It’s peaceful. The sun is filtering through the trees and there’s a light breeze. That’s waldeinsamkeit. (Literally "forest solitude." And yes, Germans have all the best travel words.)


In a similar vein, this Japanese word means “forest bathing,” and it's considered a form of natural medicine and stress reliever. There are now forest bathing clubs around the world, but you can try it out for yourself on your next camping trip. Take deep breaths, close your eyes, and take in the smells and sounds of the forest. Simple.


In those moments when you just want to run away from your responsibilities, you may consider becoming a solivagant: a solo wanderer.


This Japanese phrase literally translates to “a meal eaten sideways,” which is an apt way to describe the awkwardness of speaking in a foreign language that you haven’t quite mastered, especially over dinner.


A woman at the airport

You just booked your flight. Your heart starts racing. You’re a little nervous about your journey, but mostly you just can’t wait to get going. The anticipation, anxiety, and excitement you get before a big trip is all rolled into one word—resfeber—and you can thank the Swedes for it.


Taken from the French flâner, meaning to stroll or saunter, this word describes someone who has no particular plans or place they need to be. They merely stroll around the city at a leisurely pace, taking in the sights and enjoying the day as it unfolds.


This could be construed as the traditional English equivalent of flâneur. Likely stemming from the Middle English verb gadden, meaning “to wander without a specific aim or purpose,” a gadabout is one who frequently travels from place to place for the sheer fun of it. In other words: a modern-day backpacker.


Sometimes, no matter how amazing your vacation may be, you just want to come home to your bed and cats. This Welsh word sums up the deep yearning for home that can strike without warning. As Gillian Thomas put it in an interview with the BBC, “Home sickness is too weak. You feel hiraeth, which is a longing of the soul to come home to be safe.”


The karst peaks of Guilin, China

This Japanese word can be taken to mean “graceful elegance” or “subtle mystery,” but it’s much more than that. It's when the beauty of the universe is felt most profoundly, awakening an emotional response that goes beyond words.


Translating to “threshold anxiety,” this German word sums up the fears that are present before you enter somewhere new—like a theater or an intimidating cafe—and by extension going anywhere unfamiliar. The fear of crossing a threshold is normal, even among the most adventurous of travelers—but it often leads to the most unforgettable experiences.


Have you ever seen something so beautiful it made you cry? That’s commuovere in action. The Italian word describes the feeling of being moved, touched, or stirred by something you witness or experience.


This Danish word refers to a warm feeling of contentedness and coziness, as well as the acknowledgement of that feeling. Although not explicitly related to this term, author Kurt Vonnegut summed up the idea behind this concept quite nicely when he said, “I urge you to please notice when you are happy, and exclaim or murmur or think at some point, 'If this isn't nice, I don't know what is.'"


Here's one for those who have a beach trip coming up. Taken from Kwangali, a language spoken in Namibia, hanyauku is the act of tiptoeing across hot sand.


A patch of wild strawberries

This Swedish word translates to something along the lines of “place of wild strawberries,” but its metaphorical meaning is something along the lines of a "happy place." Whether it’s a hidden overlook of the city or your favorite vacation spot that hasn’t been “discovered” yet, smultronställe refers to those semi-secret places you return to time and time again because they’re special and personal to you.


This Old English word describes what might happen when you visit a place like Pompeii or a ghost town. While reflecting on past civilizations, you realize that everything will eventually turn to dust. A cheery thought.


In some Spanish dialects, the word vacilando describes someone who travels with a vague destination in mind but has no real incentive to get there. In other words, the journey is more important than the destination. As John Steinbeck described it in his travelogue Travels With Charley: “It does not mean vacillating at all. If one is vacilando, he is going somewhere, but doesn't greatly care whether or not he gets there, although he has direction. My friend Jack Wagner has often, in Mexico, assumed this state of being. Let us say we wanted to walk in the streets of Mexico city but not at random. We would choose some article almost certain not to exist there and then diligently try to find it.”


Backpackers and budget travelers, this one is for you: The Hebrew word lehitkalev translates to “dog it” and means to deal with uncomfortable living or travel arrangements.


Sun shining in the woods

This beautiful Japanese word is a good one to save for a sunny day spent in the woods. Komorebi translates to “sunshine filtering through the leaves.” Does it get any lovelier than that?

28. RAMÉ

This Balinese word refers to something that is simultaneously chaotic and joyful. It isn’t specifically a travel word, but it does seem to fit the feelings that are often awakened by travel.


Translating to a “lucky find,” this French word can be applied to that cool cafe, flower-lined street, or quirky craft store that you stumbled upon by chance. Indeed, these are the moments that make travel worthwhile.


Just in case you needed another reason to plan that trip to Yosemite, here's one last word for nature lovers. The Sanskrit word ullassa refers to the feelings of pleasantness that come from observing natural beauty in all its glory.


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