The Gruesomely Real Origin Of The Term “Stiff Drink”
Forget the fancy alcohols of today in their decorative little bottles. People in the early 19th century used to get their libations straight from the barrel; whiskey in particular.
Back in the 1800s things were a little bit different in America. Whiskey was served in plain barrels, but some of those vessels had more than just hooch–they were storage containers for preserving stolen dead bodies and unknowing customers were getting served from them.
How? You ask. Well, it’s quite a story:
Medical science has come a long way in the past 200 years. But in its early stages, it required research of course. That research consisted of using cadavers as learning tools. But people were funny about donating their loved-ones to science, so academia employed gravediggers to bring them fresh ones.
Gravedigging was a sort of an unregulated occupation back then. Everyone from students to janitors to doctors participated in the practice and it was good money.
But unlike today, shipping these large forms wasn’t easy. However, thanks to the new railway system it wasn’t impossible.
These heavy dead-weight bodies were hard to excavate. It required a crude pulley system in which the bodies were hoisted from the ground and then shipped to the client. The question was how to ship them to someone in New York from St. Loius.
Enter the railroad.
The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad was the only long-distance mass transit service at the time. So gravediggers would fold and stuff their stolen corpses inside whiskey barrels and send them down the rails in cargo holds. There was only one problem: the stench. How to disguise the smell of a decomposing body to a train full of people?
Easy: whiskey. The barrels were filled with whiskey and that seemed to hide the unpleasant odor. Once the barrels were received the bodies were removed and on their way to labs to be explored.
Ever resourceful, the grim thieves found another way to make a buck. They sold the leftover whiskey to unwitting customers. These were called “stiff drinks” according to Ripley’s. The term was actually coined to describe a dead English Admiral whose body was preserved in brandy.
Grave robbing wasn’t legal in America, but lawmakers seldom did anything about it. Cemetary owners were sometimes cut in on the deal so they often turned a blind eye.
Eventually, sometime in the 1900s, the laws were enforced and the practice was discontinued.
The most famous “graverobbers” in history are probably William Burke and William Hare. In the early 19th century, Scotland’s cadavers for scientific study were in short supply. Laws were put into place so that only dead prisoners, suicide victims or orphans could be used. This limited the available quantity of usable dead bodies so Burke and Hare decided to make their own.
They killed 16 people in just under a year in 1828. A comedy movie, directed by John Landis, about the grave-robbing duo was made in 2010, starring Simon Pegg.
So the next time you use the term “stiff drink” to describe your cocktail you’ll know that it doesn’t describe the amount of alcohol in it, but pays homage to the dead bodies pickled in a barrel in the name of medical research so many years ago.
‘Ghostbusters’ Receives Slime-Covered, Glow-in-the-Dark Sega Genesis Cartridge
Sega Genesis’ Ghostbusters game was a complete blast and with the recent updates, patching in Winston and a few other characters was a much-needed update. The underrated game has recently seen an explosion in popularity thanks to those updates. Gamers are checking the full game out on Emulator sites. In addition, @toy_saurus_games_sales released some Sega Genesis game cartridges covered in glow-in-the-dark.
The Insta account @toy_saurus_games_sales is giving fans a chance to purchase the game for $60. The awesome cartridge also comes with a full-fledged exterior case.
Have you played the Ghostbusters game for Sega Genesis? If you have, let us know what you think.
In order to purchase the limited edition, slime-covered game cartridge head over HERE.
John Wick in Development for a Sequel and a Video Game
John Wick 4 was a complete blast and the ending pointed at the odd fact that John Wick might actually be… dead. I didn’t believe it for a second. Not John Wick. The dude is a tank. Lionsgate has already greenlit development for a John Wick 5.
That isn’t all the studio has in store though. It also appears that we will receive a big triple-A game based on the Baba Yaga.
“What is official is that, as you know, Ballerina is the first spinoff that comes out next year,” President of Lionsgate Joe Drake said, “We’re in development on three others, including and including television series, “The Continental”, will be airing soon. And so, we’re building out the world and when that fifth movie comes, will be organic — will be organically grown out of how we’re starting to tell those stories. But you can rely on a regular cadence of John Wick.”
In addition to those awesome projects, we also have The Continental TV spinoff coming and a whole new Ballerina film based on the assassins introduced in John Wick 3.
The synopsis for John Wick 4 went like this:
With the price on his head ever increasing, legendary hit man John Wick takes his fight against the High Table global as he seeks out the most powerful players in the underworld, from New York to Paris to Japan to Berlin.
Are you guys excited about a John Wick 5 and a full-on, shoot-em-up video game based on Wick? Let us know in the comments section.
Tim Burton Documentary Features Winona Ryder, Johnny Depp, and Other Regulars
Tim Burton will always be a part of horror for us. He has a page indexed here and we love it. From Beetlejuice to Ed Wood the director has broken the mold time and time again. A documentary focused on Burton is headed to Cannes this year and will feature all of the director’s co-conspirators in action.
The four-part documentary features Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, Michael Keaton, Winona Ryder, Jenna Ortega, composer Danny Elfman, Christopher Walken, Danny DeVito, Mia Wasikowska, and Christoph Waltz. All of these awesome actors to talk about their time with Burton.
“Tim continues to build his aesthetic, the Burton-esque style, derived from a wealth of art, cinematic, and literary genres,” the release says “The documentary explores how Burton brings his vision to life through his own joyous idiosyncrasy and his ability to meld the ominous and the frightful with a sense of whimsy. Tim’s films are just the tip of the iceberg.”
The documentary will take us through Burton’s life and many adored films.
Are you excited to see Burton’s documentary? Let us know in the comments section.