Christmas may be a generally pleasant break from realities with easy access to all the ham and turkey one could ask for and a wealth of close family and friends to spread all the season’s joys. But every once in a blue moon some psychopath makes a big at creating a far more association with the holiday.
Here are 10 heartbreaking and terrible tragedies the shocked the world during Christmas, the supposedly “most wonderful time of the year.”
Christmas Blizzard (1909)
On Christmas day in 1909 in New York City, what began as a hint of soothing snowfall quickly grew to something infinitely more terrifying. An enormous blizzard took locals by surprise. Eighteen individuals lost their lives in this saddening true story; six lost their lives to the elements while the remaining 12 perished as a result of accidents caused by the tumultuous storm.
Lawson Family Massacre (1929)
What is it with family members murdering each? That’s a question I can’t answer, but I can tell you that on Christmas day in 1929 (this has to be one of the earlier cases on this extreme nature), Charlie Lawson swept through his house with a fire-arm, killing his six children and wife, who sat idly on their front porch. To make matters even more disgusting, he proceeded to bludgeon his family, including his own baby.
Cyclone Tracy (1974)
Christmas Eve and Christmas proved to be a hellacious nightmare for the residents of Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia. A cyclone tore through the town, leaving in its wake extensive damages and 70 dead. A reported 41,000 people were also left homeless.
Ronald Gene Simmons Murder Spree
Just a few days before Christmas, 1987, retired Air Force Sargent Ronald Gene Simmons decided it would make for entertainment to embark on a murderous rampage. Merry Christmas, right?
Simmons kept his victims quite close, as he shot and killed his wife and son. Then he strangled his year-old daughter. And then, when the man’s remaining four children arrived at his home, he strangled thm and stuffed their bodies inside barrels.
Now, all of that insanity happened on December 22nd. Somehow, the lunatic simply wasn’t done. The man soon killed his just-arriving son and daughter-in-law before eventually drowning their 20-month-old son. I know, it’s getting terrifyingly creepy as we move forward. And believe it not, Simmons still seemed to believe he had more work to do: He proceeded to kill his oldest daughter—with whom he fathered a child with—her husband, and their children.
The killing didn’t stop there.
Just a few days later he killed a woman who had rejected him, and then proceeded to kill those he had disgruntled feelings for.
Now that’s paralyzing stuff, right there!
Air France Hijacking (1994)
Airplanes in general scare the hell out of me. Throw a terrorist, or a hijacker in that rickety plane and things get really, really scary! And that’s what happened on Air France Flight 8969, on Christmas Eve of 1994. Four men with ties to the militant Islamic sect took over the plane. Three individuals lost their lives on that fateful Christmas Eve, while more than 200 passengers made it out alive. As terrible as this Christmas tragedy was, it could have been significantly worse.
JonBenét Ramsey (1996)
Few cases have left as mesmerized and disturbingly concerned. JonBenét Ramsey was a cute kid with the world in front of her, and that all ended on Christmas night when her parents found her in their own home, strangled and bound. The parents faced years of speculation, though no proof was ever produced in order to charm them with the murder.
Congo Massacres (2008)
In Congo, Christmas took a devastating hit. A number of the Lord’s Resistance Army invaded multiple churches, machetes in hand. 400 citizens were killed in the attacks, but those who survived were subjected to horrifying torture, mutilation and more death. Most of the children who survived were either groomed to be warriors, or eventually sold into sex slavery rings.
The Covina Massacre (2008)
One of my illogical yet powerful fears is that I’ll run into a man in a Santa suit, only to gaze, slack-jawed as he withdraws some heavy artillery to slaughter all the innocent boys who came to see the not-so-jolly gift giver. On December 24, 2008, that pretty much happened. 45-year-old Bruce Jeffrey Pardo showed up at a Christmas and did just that – he let the led fly. Numerous partygoers were executed.
Nearly as disgusting as his bloody rampage was the fact that he shortly thereafter committed suicide himself, successfully bypassing the criminal justice he so deserved.
Badger Girls Tragedy (2011)
The Setting was Stamford, Connecticut. It was Christmas day in 2011. Things should have been perfect, but, as you probably guessed by reading this article, things were most definitely not perfect. An uncontrollable fire broke out in the home, and while mother, Madonna Badger and her boyfriend, Michael Borcina survived.
Three beautiful young sisters met their depressing fate when they found themselves incapable of escaping of an abode fully enflamed with thirsty fireballs. I was a total and utter loss.
Grapevine Murder-Suicide (2011)
Anytime an entire family finds themselves terminated, it tugs at the heart-strings. Knowing the circumstances of a tragedy such as this is just really, really saddening news.
What’s even darker about this case is the fact that law enforcement theorized that Mr. Yazdanpanah dressed as Santa Claus (um… not so merry Christmas).