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Not many topics polarize the mothering community more than breastfeeding. The merits of natural suckling have been debated by scientists and clinicians for decades. There are many benefits to both that we will discuss within this article, giving a brief glimpse into the great breastfeeding debate. Breastfeeding is a natural process that has been the norm for hundreds of thousands of years and there are several benefits to mother and child worth mentioning. Firstly, natural breastmilk is digested with greater ease by a young infant. This results in significantly less wind, constipation, and all-around discomfort. Natural feeding is is also said to be the optimal way of transferring valuable nutrients between mother and child. Breast-milk contains antibodies that reduce the risk of disease in both baby and mother. For new mums, these antibodies reduce stress and lower the risk of depression. Another benefit of natural feeding is the development of a strong bond between mother and child during feeding times. Skin-on-skin contact is known to be extremely beneficial to a developing infant while families also report massive savings in comparison to buying expensive bottles of formula. Even though these benefits are proven, only 30% of mothers choose to breastfeed their child as there are definite drawbacks to choosing the natural route. For instance, feeding times fall exclusively to the mother and ties the woman to her child for long periods of time and new mothers fear the judgment they will receive when feeding in public. All mothers want the best for their children and this sometimes leads them to be racked with guilt if they are deemed to be making the wrong choice. Some in the mothering community tend to stigmatize formula feeding so let us examine the characteristics of this method. In greater detail. Bottle feeding is a relatively modern innovation, coming into general use around the dawn of the 1900s. This is a synthetic mixture that closely mimics the ingredients of breast milk. It is seen as a convenient alternative to those who wish to forego breastfeeding because it allows both parents to share the division of labor as all the work is not left up to the mother. Formula also offers flexibility as the bottles are pre-prepared. Parents in need of a break have the option of leaving their infant with a babysitter and feeding is taken care of. Science has advanced exponentially but formula still cannot match millions of years of human evolution. As mentioned, synthetic bottle-formula is much more difficult for an infant to break down and digest so this leads to distress in a young child. Formula lacks some natural antibodies that are present in breastmilk. Professor Peter Harman is a specialist in breastfeeding and milk production and in an interview with Medela.com, he explains that: “Scientists have shown there are more than 1,000 proteins in breast milk – and the best formula companies are looking at increasing just one or other of them. What’s more, people have only just been able to synthesize some of the many oligosaccharides found in breast milk so copying a couple of proteins and oligosaccharides is not going to get you breast milk!” Similarly, the cost of formula can be very expensive in the long-run and bottles are not always at hand in the same way that breastmilk is always available. In conclusion, this fierce debate does not have to be either, or, there should be nuanced shades of grey in which both can be used in tandem. Parenting is difficult and we can all agree that there should be less shame around how you choose to feed your baby. Formula feeding can act as a helpful substitute in times of need but the majority believe that breastfeeding is the healthiest option. Both methods provide energy, hydration, and nutrients but breastmilk is the clear favorite in terms of antibodies and associated health benefits. As Professor Hartman puts it: “Look at the bigger picture when deciding whether to give your baby breast milk or formula because breast milk isn’t just food. It has an important protective function, reducing your baby’s likelihood of diarrhea, gastroenteritis, ear infections, colds and flu, and thrush and halves his risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)”.
At the very beginning of a pregnancy, parents may prefer not to know their baby’s gender. In fact, they would like to be surprised during their big day. Nonetheless, just a few parents-to-be are actually able to wait for nine months in order to know the sex of their child.   Even though a surprise is what most of them would love to have, couples focus on making sure that the arrival of their baby will be perfect: without knowing the sex, there are several problems to solve though. For instance, the clothes to buy, the color of the room, the type of cake to cook: just a few small details which, nonetheless, make that day become the most special moment of their lives.   Regardless of sex, having a baby is always an immense joy. Once you make sure that your baby is healthy, you can’t stop thinking about how he will look like, the best name to choose and… his sex! Human sexual differentiation is the process that determines baby’s gender. This is actually determined by baby’s genes. While eggs contain an X chromosome, sperme can have an X or a Y chromosome. According to their combination, the sex of a child is determined: a XX embryo will be a girl, whereas a XY embryo means that you are expecting a boy! If differences are not so remarkable during the first weeks of pregnancy, after week 7 the baby starts producing hormones that stimulate the development of its sexual organs. As far as girls are concerned, ovaries develop between weeks 11 and 12. For boys, on the contrary, their sexual organs start developing by week 9.   We all agree with the fact that the health of our baby is more important than his sex. So why are we so obsessed with finding out his gender? According to Daniel A. Potter, M.D., a reproductive endocrinologist at the Huntington Reproductive Center Medical Group in California, “”It’s human nature. A family without sons, whose job was to hunt and keep everyone fed, might not have survived. So offerings were made to the gods, and soothsayers were consulted. People passed on to the next generation the methods they considered most effective for guaranteeing a boy, and this inspired old wives’ tales.” Even though there are several legends aiming to help women discover their baby’s sex, just a few of them are actually true. In most of cases, it is very easy to predict the wrong sex, that’s why couples had better talk with a doctor instead of relying on popular myths. However, if you want to listen to your body and try to deduce your child’s sex, there are some tips you should know. Whereas mood swings are common to all pregnancies, other signs may tell something more specific about your baby’s gender. For example, women with higher cortisol levels are more likely to carry a girl, experts revealed. The same it goes with severe morning sickness, even though this research is still ongoing.     According to Dr. Potter, “By your fifth month, around week 18 or 19 of your pregnancy, a sonogram can show you the sex of your unborn child with about 95 percent accuracy. From a medical standpoint, we do an ultrasound to check the age, position, and health of the fetus, but most parents want to know the sex too”.   Even though these tests are never 100% right, they can help couples prepare their house for the new arrival. If the baby’s sex is very important, his health is an aspect parents-to-be should always pay attention to. Maintaining a healthy nutrition, checking the fluids you consume during pregnancy, and staying active are the best ways to go through a pregnancy. Your baby’s sex will be unveiled at another time!
With a newborn bouncing bundle of joy, it is normal to rack up a few sleepless nights. If regularly woken by a cry from the other room, new parents can struggle. Leaving some well and truly at the end of their tether. Young parents are thrown in at the deep-end. Totally unsure of what they are doing. Leading to huge amounts of anxiety. Sleep deprivation only adds to this feeling of helplessness. Fear not! We’ve got a handy guide to get your baby nodding off like clockwork. These gentle, natural solutions will allow you beleaguered parents to catch some much-sought shut-eye. While your well-rested baby will be significantly more tolerant, patient and engaging. Routine Babies thrive on order and routine. Order means safety. To a child’s undeveloped brain, this is an essential need. A regular wake-up and bed-time regulates the body clock of a young child. Allowing the circadian rhythm to enforce regular sleep patterns. On waking, it is advised to expose the baby to bright natural light. Triggering the circadian rhythm to full alertness. Therefore starting the countdown to another full sleep. At the approach of night-time, a set of pre-sleep habits encourage proper slumber. Pre-sleep habits might include a bath, reading or simply cuddling. As long as it allows the child to wind down, easing into a peaceful reverie. These routines act as psychological cues for the young infant, reinforcing healthy sleep over time. Swaddling A swaddle is soft fabric that usually wraps around the newborn, offering a safe and secure cocoon of warmth. This envelops the child, limiting the effect of the innate startle reflex. A startle reflex is typical of newborns. After so long in the womb, infants can jolt awake suddenly, with a feeling of falling. Usually ceasing after about six months. A swaddle which is tucked snugly, prevents this violent movement from waking your little tyke up. The lightly weighted fabric of the swaddle also mimics touch. Reassuring the child and encouraging them to return to their charming slumber. Ideally without the intervention of soundly dozing Mom and Dad. Limiting nap-length Fledgeling parents are often so relieved to have a minute to sit down, they let their infant nap for far too long. These naps may offer relief in the moment but this time is stolen from night-time sleep. It is a thorny issue to wake a sleeping baby. However, parents should aim for 2.5 hours of napping. Followed by feeding and time awake. Before another well-earned snooze. Especially in the late afternoon when parents should be gearing up for deeper nightly rest. As they grow and get older, you will notice they need less nap-time throughout the day. A 2.5 hour limit also builds a schedule. Consistency being key to comforting an irritated child. We urge to parents to use their judgement. If a child is overtired, allow some extra time for recovery in the sleep schedule. Eat, wake, sleep, repeat On waking, a child should feed immediately. Followed by a period of alertness and playtime. Finally, the infant is lulled back to sleep. Repeat these steps as part of an ordered routine. This is known as the eat, wake, sleep cycle. Eating before sleep trains the brain to associate food with tiredness. Which fast becomes a crutch with young children. As a result, babies cannot return to sleep without a feeding. Meaning that Mum will always have to be around during the night to tend to any unexpected wake-up calls. This consistent routine allows babies to soothe themselves at night and return to sleep most often. While reducing the risk of overtiredness. As the infant learns when to sleep through practice. This predictability allows parents to plan their day with greater regularity. Keep your baby close Newborns yearn for close contact. Skin-to-skin closeness is known to bond mother and child while reducing bawling throughout the day. It is recommended to carry your child, whether in a sling or not. A baby can sense when parents are not close-at-hand. Understandably so, as an abandoned child would not last long in our wilder evolutionary past. Use rhythm and motion to usher in sweet dreams. Or sleep snuggled up with the child lying on your chest. This regulates body temperature and creates a sense of ease in an infant. If necessary, share the same room. The early stages of child development can be tough, but bear in mind they do not last forever. Use every tool at your disposal to get through it! Who ever said it would be child’s play? Newfangled parents will often hear stories of angelic babies, sleeping soundly throughout the night. Urging them to plead – why me? Like adults, every little infant is different. Each with its own distinct personality, wants and needs. It takes time to figure out what is best for your family so don’t throw in the towel. Those hefty bags under your eyes won’t be there forever, we promise! A shorter sleep cycle is expected. Celebrate small successes and take an hour to yourself now and again. Remember it takes a village to raise a child. So, reach out and ask for help. You are a better parent when you are well rested. In the midst of your sleep deprivation, keep in mind that these are simply guidelines. Trust yourself to know your baby better than any external authority. Do what works best for your family. People who say they sleep like a baby, have usually never met one!
Not many topics polarize the mothering community more than breastfeeding. The merits of natural suckling have been debated by scientists and clinicians for decades. There are many benefits to both that we will discuss within this article, giving a brief glimpse into the great breastfeeding debate. Breastfeeding is a natural process that has been the norm for hundreds of thousands of years and there are several benefits to mother and child worth mentioning. Firstly, natural breastmilk is digested with greater ease by a young infant. This results in significantly less wind, constipation, and all-around discomfort. Natural feeding is is also said to be the optimal way of transferring valuable nutrients between mother and child. Breast-milk contains antibodies that reduce the risk of disease in both baby and mother. For new mums, these antibodies reduce stress and lower the risk of depression. Another benefit of natural feeding is the development of a strong bond between mother and child during feeding times. Skin-on-skin contact is known to be extremely beneficial to a developing infant while families also report massive savings in comparison to buying expensive bottles of formula. Even though these benefits are proven, only 30% of mothers choose to breastfeed their child as there are definite drawbacks to choosing the natural route. For instance, feeding times fall exclusively to the mother and ties the woman to her child for long periods of time and new mothers fear the judgment they will receive when feeding in public. All mothers want the best for their children and this sometimes leads them to be racked with guilt if they are deemed to be making the wrong choice. Some in the mothering community tend to stigmatize formula feeding so let us examine the characteristics of this method. In greater detail. Bottle feeding is a relatively modern innovation, coming into general use around the dawn of the 1900s. This is a synthetic mixture that closely mimics the ingredients of breast milk. It is seen as a convenient alternative to those who wish to forego breastfeeding because it allows both parents to share the division of labor as all the work is not left up to the mother. Formula also offers flexibility as the bottles are pre-prepared. Parents in need of a break have the option of leaving their infant with a babysitter and feeding is taken care of. Science has advanced exponentially but formula still cannot match millions of years of human evolution. As mentioned, synthetic bottle-formula is much more difficult for an infant to break down and digest so this leads to distress in a young child. Formula lacks some natural antibodies that are present in breastmilk. Professor Peter Harman is a specialist in breastfeeding and milk production and in an interview with Medela.com, he explains that: “Scientists have shown there are more than 1,000 proteins in breast milk – and the best formula companies are looking at increasing just one or other of them. What’s more, people have only just been able to synthesize some of the many oligosaccharides found in breast milk so copying a couple of proteins and oligosaccharides is not going to get you breast milk!” Similarly, the cost of formula can be very expensive in the long-run and bottles are not always at hand in the same way that breastmilk is always available. In conclusion, this fierce debate does not have to be either, or, there should be nuanced shades of grey in which both can be used in tandem. Parenting is difficult and we can all agree that there should be less shame around how you choose to feed your baby. Formula feeding can act as a helpful substitute in times of need but the majority believe that breastfeeding is the healthiest option. Both methods provide energy, hydration, and nutrients but breastmilk is the clear favorite in terms of antibodies and associated health benefits. As Professor Hartman puts it: “Look at the bigger picture when deciding whether to give your baby breast milk or formula because breast milk isn’t just food. It has an important protective function, reducing your baby’s likelihood of diarrhea, gastroenteritis, ear infections, colds and flu, and thrush and halves his risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)”.
At the very beginning of a pregnancy, parents may prefer not to know their baby’s gender. In fact, they would like to be surprised during their big day. Nonetheless, just a few parents-to-be are actually able to wait for nine months in order to know the sex of their child.   Even though a surprise is what most of them would love to have, couples focus on making sure that the arrival of their baby will be perfect: without knowing the sex, there are several problems to solve though. For instance, the clothes to buy, the color of the room, the type of cake to cook: just a few small details which, nonetheless, make that day become the most special moment of their lives.   Regardless of sex, having a baby is always an immense joy. Once you make sure that your baby is healthy, you can’t stop thinking about how he will look like, the best name to choose and… his sex! Human sexual differentiation is the process that determines baby’s gender. This is actually determined by baby’s genes. While eggs contain an X chromosome, sperme can have an X or a Y chromosome. According to their combination, the sex of a child is determined: a XX embryo will be a girl, whereas a XY embryo means that you are expecting a boy! If differences are not so remarkable during the first weeks of pregnancy, after week 7 the baby starts producing hormones that stimulate the development of its sexual organs. As far as girls are concerned, ovaries develop between weeks 11 and 12. For boys, on the contrary, their sexual organs start developing by week 9.   We all agree with the fact that the health of our baby is more important than his sex. So why are we so obsessed with finding out his gender? According to Daniel A. Potter, M.D., a reproductive endocrinologist at the Huntington Reproductive Center Medical Group in California, “”It’s human nature. A family without sons, whose job was to hunt and keep everyone fed, might not have survived. So offerings were made to the gods, and soothsayers were consulted. People passed on to the next generation the methods they considered most effective for guaranteeing a boy, and this inspired old wives’ tales.” Even though there are several legends aiming to help women discover their baby’s sex, just a few of them are actually true. In most of cases, it is very easy to predict the wrong sex, that’s why couples had better talk with a doctor instead of relying on popular myths. However, if you want to listen to your body and try to deduce your child’s sex, there are some tips you should know. Whereas mood swings are common to all pregnancies, other signs may tell something more specific about your baby’s gender. For example, women with higher cortisol levels are more likely to carry a girl, experts revealed. The same it goes with severe morning sickness, even though this research is still ongoing.     According to Dr. Potter, “By your fifth month, around week 18 or 19 of your pregnancy, a sonogram can show you the sex of your unborn child with about 95 percent accuracy. From a medical standpoint, we do an ultrasound to check the age, position, and health of the fetus, but most parents want to know the sex too”.   Even though these tests are never 100% right, they can help couples prepare their house for the new arrival. If the baby’s sex is very important, his health is an aspect parents-to-be should always pay attention to. Maintaining a healthy nutrition, checking the fluids you consume during pregnancy, and staying active are the best ways to go through a pregnancy. Your baby’s sex will be unveiled at another time!
It’s known now: during pregnancy we eat for two, so our diet changes as well. But what is best to eat for the baby and ourselves, doubts always remain. Here is a list to guide you through your pregnancy.   Raw/Undercooked meat We should all cook well our meat but especially pregnant women. Toxoplasmosis lives in raw meat and this parasite can be bad for your baby. To avoid any risk, avoid undercooked meat like sausages or mince meat, but also raw cured meat like salami.   Unpasteurized milk and dairy products  Milk we find in supermarkets are pasteurized, but the ones you can find in farms aren’t. So avoid them or boil them to suppress any risk of toxoplasmosis, listeriosis and Campylobacter. Liver and foods containing vitamin A All liver products should be avoided by pregnant women (liver pâté, sausage,etc…) because of the high level of vitamin A it contains, harmful for your baby. It goes without saying then that multivitamins, fish liver oils, food with added vitamin A are prohibited as well. Pâté Yes, this is very sad but pâté is not good when you’re pregnant. And to add to this, it’s not only valid for meat pâté, but also vegetable pâté. Why? Because pâté may contain listeria, causing an infection called listeriosis, very bad for the baby during the pregnancy but can also cause severe illness when he.she will be born.   Some cheeses Another very sad news… But don’t despair, they’re aren’t all prohibited, just a few! Because of listeria, mould-ripened soft cheeses like brie or camembert are banned, same for soft blue-veined cheeses like Roquefort and gorgonzola. Probably the sadest news you’d have as a pregnant woman… Undercooked ready meals Another risk of listeria is present in ready meals. That’s why it’s very important to be sure that the meal is piping hot before eating it, be even more careful with the ones containing poultry. Raw eggs or undercooked eggs If you’re craving for eggs, make sure yolks and whites are solid when you cook them. In cooked recipes, eggs are safe, but not used raw like in mayonnaise or mousse. You’ll avoid salmonella infection this way, really bad for your baby but also you. Bye dear deviled eggs… Some fishes Even if you’re not pregnant you need to be careful about fishes. You should avoid shark, swordfish and marlin, because of their high levels of mercury, very bad for your baby’s nervous system. Same for tuna, this one is known for its high level in mercury, so try to stick to two fresh steaks or four mediums cans of tinned tuna. Oily fishes are also to limit,such as salmon, sardines or trout: you should eat no more than two portions a week because of the pollutants they contain. And last but not least, you should avoid eating raw shellfish like oysters because of the risk of food poisoning ! But don’t worry, cooked shellfish are authorized, such as pre-cooked prawns. Alcohol This one is pretty obvious but there’s some info you might not know. Like that you can have one or two glasses once or twice a week maximum after the first three months of pregnancy! We told you that was some breaking news! Joke aside, experts are still not sure that any amount of alcohol is safe, so technically, avoid to drink for your baby’s safety. Caffeine Limit your consumption of tea, coffee, cola and other soft drink, but also chocolate! You shouldn’t have more than 200mg a day of caffeinated food or drink. It can happen quickly, so be very careful as caffeine can cause miscarriage and low birth weight! If you have any of these foods/drinks and you don’t feel ill, that’s a good sign, and don’t worry, but a doctor’s advice is always good!
Ah Millennials, those lovable, self-absorbed, social media obsessed, selfie taking rascals. We hear over and over again that Millennials are self obsessed, lazy, entitled and unreliable. But is this really the case, or is it just that each generation thinks that the next one that comes along is not as good, or not doing things right? Can you really stereotype an entire generation of young people? Every generation thinks that the one that came before was worse than them, and that the one that came after is too. By comparison to the generation before them, Millennials have access to an awful lot more technology, resources and information. The rise of social media has meant that information and connections come much easier to the current generation. That being said, the ease of access to these things does not necessarily mean that Millennials are inherently lazy. We have an aging population of Baby Boomers and Generation Xer’s who missed out on what it means to work in such a technologically advanced age. Working from home is common place now, jobs like being a ‘social media influencer’ exist, and people can become YouTube stars from the comfort of their own bedrooms. This doesn’t mean that they are not working, just working differently. Most Millennials you meet will tell you that they have an array of different interests, hobbies and even jobs. A finger in every pie so to speak. Just because they are not holding down 9-5 jobs does not mean that they are not working hard. The way we make money and the way we interact and make new connections has changed exponentially over the last 15 years. For Baby Boomers, coming into retirement age this is an incomprehensible idea. The fact that someone could make money by sitting in their room playing video games is lost on them. Unfortunately, human nature is such that often times the automatic response to things that we do not understand is either fear or ridicule. A Cultural Shift Both Baby Boomers and Generation Xer’s had a strong work ethic drummed into them from an early age, but a very specific and rigid one: go to school, go to college, start your career. They then also had similar life expectations hoisted upon them: get married, buy a house, have children, hope you don’t die of heart disease by 40. Now however, we are seeing the parents of younger children, (and have seen the parents of Millennials), encourage their children to stray from that set path. Parents are encouraging their children to do things like take a year out from college to travel or explore other avenues other than school, college and marriage. Parents are finally accepting that we are not all cut from the same cloth. What the parent wants for the child is not always going to be what the child ends up wanting, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Individuality is being celebrated more and more these days. When Millennials were just children, parents had begun to reprioritise what mattered, allowing a certain amount of importance to be allocated to social interaction and events. This has taught this generation that it is OK to be different and it is also OK to live in the moment and worry less. This does not mean that previous generations were doing things wrong, it just means that this generation is doing things differently. It will be news to some, but despite what you may have heard, different does not necessarily mean wrong. The only thing wrong with Millennials is that they caused a huge cultural and societal shift that not everyone was ready for. Dedicated, Creative, Non-Conformists The freedom that was afforded to them during their upbringing has resulted in a serious dedication to what ever they end up committing themselves to. This potentially creates a hugely innovative young workforce. It has been proven that forced societal constructs eventually crumble under their own weight. The Millennial work ethos has caused conformity in the workplace to be significantly minimized. We are seeing less and less offices who force staff to wear full suits, tattoos and piercings are widely accepted in the workplace etc. This has also allowed for many individuals to feel enabled or empowered enough to follow their dreams. They feel this way regardless of background, education or social status. They are creating a more tolerant, inclusive and accessible world, and everyone looks set to benefit from it. They may appear lazy and self absorbed to the untrained eye, but their stubbornness to accomplish their goals can be quite powerful. A Generation Of Innovators However easy it may be to tarnish an entire generation with the one brush simply because we do not understand the way they do things, it is more honest to accept them for who they are. Millennials are a generation who started off with very little when it came to prospective employment. Most of them came of age in the middle of a global economic crisis that was caused, incidentally, by the Baby Boomer generation. They had to change things. Things simply couldn’t stay the same, they weren’t working anymore. Millennials have turned the tide for themselves and found new and creative ways to turn a buck. Really, the shape of our future has changed and the relevance and importance of civil convention has all but gone away. Maybe it is time to take a leaf out of their book and stop trying to categorize and label everything, but also accept this brave new world that is burgeoning upon us. We need to work in tandem with the younger generation, not against them, if we are to see true societal and cultural growth. #acp_paging_menu, .acp_wrapper { display: none; }
Music festivals are generally synonymous with warm sun, feel good tunes, and happy summer vibes. With the majority of the most famous European and UK festivals happening during the summer months, it would be easy to assume that the festival season ends in August. Thankfully, this is not the case. Here we take a look at some of the best winter festivals Europe has to offer, after all, what’s cooler than cool? Ice-cold. Awakenings Eindhoven – Netherlands Another dance music offering from the Netherlands, Awakenings takes place in Eindhoven each year. It is housed in Klokgebouw, a renovated industrial building that has the capacity to hold up to 9,000 party goers. Awakenings is a staple of techno culture and any dance music enthusiast should try to make to at least one of these in their lifetime. Snowbombing – Austria Snowbombing is the largest winter festival on the snow. It has a varied and eclectic line up each year, and takes place on the slopes of the world renowned Mayrhofen ski resort in Austria. Along side the regular stages there are also a whole host of other fun and interesting things to see and do. Including an igloo rave, street parties and even an enchanted forest. This world leader in winter music festivals is a wonder to behold and goes on for an epic six days. Horizon Festival – Andorra Horizon Festival is held in the ski resort of Arinsal, Andorra. Taking place over the course of a full seven days, this lineup of many international DJ’s bring the party to a number of different venues throughout the resort. Incorporating mountain top stages, and secret forest raves, there is also a welcome acoustic chill-out area. There are even workshops available for up and coming, or novice DJ’s and producers, to learn a few tricks of the trade, or, hone their existing skills.  
Morbid fascination is an intrinsic part of the human condition. It could be argued that it is this curiosity that heightens our sense of suspicion and prudence, and serves to make us more vigilant in dubious situations. As a result of this proclivity, vicious evil doers, like Ted Bundy and Charles Manson, have found their way into the collective psyche, and everybody knows their names, and are familiar with their crimes. A 2014 study estimated that, at any given time, there are between 25 and 50 active serial killers in operation in the United States. Serial killers seem to be as much a part of our society as the law makers, and the peace keepers are. With this in mind, who, aside from the Bundys’ and Mansons’ are you aware of? If you are interested in whetting your macabre appetite, read on. We have compiled a list of some of the most barbarous, perverse and brutal serial killers ever caught, but who failed to achieve the infamy of the aforementioned psychos and sociopaths. Be warned, what you are about to read is both 100% true and 100% unsettling. Readers should continue on with caution, this is not for the faint of heart, and definitely not for younger readers. Robert ‘Willy’ Pickton Canadian serial killer Robert Pickton is described as being one of the worst serial killers in the world. He was a pig farmer based in Port Coquitlam, in British Columbia, and his crimes are known as The Pig Farm Murders. Outwardly quiet and introverted, Pickton was harborouing a terrible and savage secret. By the time of his arrest in 2002 he had viciously butchered 49 women on his farm, before grounding their remains into mince, at a meat rendering plant. Most of it was fed to his pigs, however, he sold some of it for human consumption. The depraved killer was arrested in 2002, after items belonging to a number of missing women were found on his farm. Officers made the discovery after a chance visit to the farm, in search of illegal firearms. Following his arrest, DNA of at least 26 women who had been reported missing were found at the property. Many of these women were thought to be prostitutes who Pickton had picked up in Vancouver’s Red Light District. It is alleged that he brought them back to his farm to have sex, before brutally murdering them. He unintentionally confessed to the murders after he was put in a cell with an undercover police officer. Irritated at being caught, he complained to his cellmate: “I made my own grave by being sloppy. Doesn’t that just kick you in the ass now. I was just gonna [expletive] do one more, make it even, I wanted one more to make the big 5-0.” Alexander Pichushkin Alexander Pichushkin is a Russian serial killer nicknamed The Chessboard Killer. He was caught in 2007, in Moscow, and convicted of killing 48 people. During the investigation, detectives found a chessboard with dates on all but two of the squares. These dates were connected to the murders Pichushkin had already committed. Pichushkin said he wanted to kill one person for each of the 64 squares on a chessboard, and crossed out a square for every kill, earning him his nickname. At the time, Russian authorities considered reinstating the death penalty, due to the gruesomeness and number of murders. Pichushkin targeted the weak, elderly and hopeless. He would lure his victims to a local park, to reportedly drink with him at his dead dog’s grave. He would then wait until his intended victim was drunk, then he would begin his attack. He would hit them repeatedly with a blunt object until they were dead or lost consciousness.  He would then, often, throw his victims into a sewer pit. On occasion, some of his tragic victims were alive when thrown in, and died from drowning, rather than from blunt force trauma. Over time, Pichushkin’s attacks grew even more savage. He began leaving a broken vodka bottle, protruding from the skulls of some of his victims. He also became more lackadaisical when it came to disposing of the bodies. He left many of them out in the open, without bothering to try to conceal them. Authorities finally caught up with Pichushkin in June 2006, after he murdered a female colleague from his job at a supermarket. She had left a note for her son to tell him that she was taking a walk with Pichushkin. Chillingly, Pichushkin’s confession was aired on Russian television. In it, he went into great detail about his need to kill, he said: “For me, a life without murder is like a life without food for you.” He also later claimed that there were in fact more than 48 murders. He said that he had in fact killed 61 or 63 people, (his story varied), On this he said: “I thought it would be unfair to forget about the other 11 people.” Donald Henry ‘Pee-Wee’ Gaskins Donald Henry Gaskins, known as Pee Wee Gaskins, has gone down in the annals of serial killer history as the most prolific killer South Carolina has ever known. He was executed in 1991 by electric chair, after being convicted of 9 murders, however it is thought that he murdered far more people than that. His own claims bring his death toll to over 100 people, and a litany of other vile and depraved crimes can also be attributed to this seemingly unassuming man. Up until 1968, Gaskins spent most of his life in and out of prison for various crimes, from theft to gang rape. In 1969 he moved to the town of Sumter in South Carolina, and it is here that he would begin his true reign of terror. His first murder in Sumter was a hitchhiker that he picked up, tortured, and murdered, then sunk her body in a local swamp.  In the book he wrote in prison, detailing his life and crimes, he wrote: “All I could think about is how I could do anything I wanted to her.” This woman was the first of many in what Gaskins referred to as his ‘coastal kills’. He would  torture and mutilate his victims, while attempting to keep them alive for as long as possible. He confessed to killing these victims using a variety of methods including stabbing, suffocation, mutilation, and even claimed to have cannibalized some of them. He would go on to confess to over 80 of these types of murders, although none of these claims have ever been corroborated.  Then, in 1970, Gaskins committed the first of his so-called ‘serious murders,  which were people  he knew and killed for personal reasons. Some of these victims included his own niece, Janice Kirby, aged 15, and her friend Patricia Ann Alsbrook, aged 17. He beat both of the girls to death, after attempting to sexually assault them. One of his most shocking murders was that of two of his neighbours, Doreen Dempsey, who was 23 and pregnant, and her two year old daughter. He drove Doreen and her little girl out to a secluded, wooded area, and violently raped, sodomized, and killed both her and her little girl. Gaskins was eventually arrested in 1975, and was found guilty in 1976, and sentenced to death. However, this was later commuted to life in prison when the South Carolina General Assembly’s 1974 ruling on capital punishment was changed to conform to the U.S. Supreme Court guidelines for the death penalty in other states. On September 2, 1982, Gaskins committed another murder. While incarcerated in the high security block at the South Carolina Correctional Institution, Gaskins killed a death row inmate named Rudolph Tyner, he was tried for the Tyner’s murder and sentenced to death. While on death row, Gaskins told his life story to a journalist named Wilton Earle. He claimed to have committed between 100 and 110 murders, however, law enforcement sources found his claims impossible to verify. Patrick Kearney, ‘The Trashbag Killer’ In Los Angeles, in the mid 70’s, Homosexual men were being murdered and dumped in trashbags along the highways between LA and the Mexican border. The investigation centered around Patrick Wayne Kearney, an electronics engineer from LA. Kearney would eventually end his murder spree, when he walked into the Redondo Beach police station, and gave himself up. He plead guilty to killing three men, and was sentenced to life in prison, however, police knew there was much more to Kearney’s story than met the eye. They offered him a no death penalty deal, in exchange for a complete list of victims. Shockingly, it was worse than they had imagined, and Kearney initially confessed to eighteen more killings. He would later admit to a further eleven murders, which would bring his total to 32 killings. Kearney’s first known murder victim was an unidentified 19-year-old man, in 1962. Kearney claimed that he took the young man to a secluded area on his motorcycle, shot him in the head, and proceeded to engage in acts of necrophilia with the man’s corpse. Kearney would mostly pick up male hitchhikers, or homosexual men from gay bars. He would almost always shoot them in the temple, above the ear, with a .22-caliber derringer.  After murdering them, he would take the bodies to a secluded place, and engage in acts of necrophilia, then take them home, where they would be sodomized with X-Acto knives. They were then mutilated, and dismembered with hacksaws. He would dispose of the bodies in various ways, including, dumping them in trash bags, earning him his nick name. He would also leave them out for wild animals to eat, throw them off cliffs into local creeks and would even drain some of the bodies of all their blood, to eliminate odors. Kearney, now 79, continues to serve his life sentence at Mule Creek State Prison, California. Danny Rolling, ‘The Gainesville Ripper’ Known as the Gainesville Ripper, Danny Rolling murdered four University of Florida students and a Santa Fe Community College student in their apartments in 1990. He is known to have decapitated one victim, posed with the bodies, and removed skin and body parts and arranged the murder scenes using props that included broken mirrors. Rolling’s reign of terror began when he broke into the apartment of 17-year-old university freshmen Sonja Larson and Christina Powell. They were found mutilated and stabbed to death. He had raped both women, one after she was dead. The next day, Rolling killed Christa Hoyt, 18. Her body was found propped up, sitting on her bed bent over at the waist. Rolling had sliced off her nipples and left them on the bed next to her, and police discovered that her torso was sliced open, from her chest to her pubic bone. Her severed head perched on a shelf across the room. Two days later, Rolling killed roommates Tracy Paules and Manuel Taboada, both 23. Rolling remained at large until September 8, when he was arrested after a botched robbery in the central Florida town of Ocala. He was later linked by DNA to three more killings in Shreveport, Louisiana, in 1989. He was not charged in the Gainesville slayings until 1992, while serving a life sentence for armed robbery and other crimes. He pleaded guilty to all five murders as the jury was being selected for trial in 1994. He attributed his behavior to abuse by his father, a police officer, and to an evil alter ego. In prison, he drew disturbing pictures and wrote a graphic book, ‘The Making of a Serial Killer’, with a woman who was his fiancée for a time. Rolling was executed by lethal injection at Florida State Prison on October 25, 2006 Arthur John Shawcross Arthur John Shawcross was an American serial killer who was in operation  between 1972 and 1990 around Rochester, New York. Shawcross is known to have killed at least 14 people, as well as being a known cannibal and mutilator. He was also known as, ‘The Genesee River Killer’  and ‘The Rochester Strangler’, all due to how he would carry out his murders and where he would frequently dump the bodies of his victims. In 1967 he was drafted by the US Army at age 21. He served one tour in Vietnam, and loved to brag about the  violent, gruesome atrocities he committed, like raping and cannibalizing children and, according to a police interview: “beheading mama-sans and nailing their heads to trees as a warning to the Vietcong.” After his release and discharge from the army, Shawcross and his second wife would move to Clayton, New York, where Shawcross would terrorize the surrounding counties, until his final arrest. In the Spring of 1972, 10-year-old Jack Owen Blake disappeared after going out to play near the Cloverdale apartments, where Shawcross lived. Shawcross had gone fishing with the boy a few days earlier, but denied knowing where he was. When Jack’s body was eventually found (after Shawcross’s arrest) months later, he had been suffocated, mutilated, and molested. Shawcross would later admit to luring the boy into the woods, forcing him to strip naked and run, before murdering him, and consuming his heart and genitals. Months after Jack’s murder, 8-year-old Karen Ann Hill disappeared, while on a Labor Day vacation with her mother. Her body was found under a bridge near the Black River, and she had been raped, mutilated and strangled. After reports surfaced detailing that Shawcross had been seen with Karen before she disappeared, and he was later seen eating ice cream cones, on the bridge where the body was found, Shawcross was brought in for questioning. After being arrested for both children’s murder, Shawcross confessed, and agreed to reveal the location of Jack’s body, in order to have his charges dropped from homicide to manslaughter. He was sentenced to 25 years in prison, but would only serve 12. Unfortunately, staff and social workers made the call to grant him parole, stating he was: “no longer dangerous”, despite numerous psychiatrists warning that he was a schizoid psychopath. His parole officer would later be quoted as saying: “At the risk of being melodramatic, the writer considers this mant to be possibly the most dangerous individual to be released to this community for many years.” These words would ring tragically true when in 1988, Shawcross began a bloody, depraved murder campaign, that would claim 11 victims. Most were prostitutes and all were strangled and battered to death. They were also posthumously mutilated, and sexually assaulted.  After the last victim’s body was found in January 1990, the police decided not to remove it and instead keep surveillance on the area. Based on a psychological profile that suggested the killer would return to the scene of the crime, police figured this would be the best way to catch their killer. Sure enough, Shawcross was spotted masturbating as he sat in his car, on a bridge over the creek in which the body of his final victim was floating. He was arrested and eventually confessed in custody. In November 1990, Shawcross was tried for 10 murders in Monroe County. He was found guilty and sentenced to 250 years imprisonment. On November 10th, 2008 Shawcross complained to officers about a pain in his leg. He was taken to the Albany Medical Center where he went into cardiac arrest and died that night. Louis Garavito In 1999, Luis Alfredo Garavito Cubillos was arrested in Colombia and he confessed to murdering 140 children. He was charged with killing 172 altogether, but some of the cases are still ongoing. It’s thought he could have been responsible for hundreds more deaths, with the number potentially estimated as being higher than 400.  Better known as “La Bestia” or “The Beast”, Luis Alfredo Garavito Cubillos was one of the most ruthless serial killers of all time. Garavito’s victims were poor children, peasant children, or street children, between the ages of 6 and 16. He would  approach them on the street or countryside and offer them gifts or small amounts of money.  Once he had gained their trust, he would take them for a walk, and as soon as they began to get tired, he would pounce. He would rape them, slit their throats and dismember the corpses. As if this wasn’t bad enough, he would often mutilate the corpses, and many of the bodies found showed signs of prolonged torture and abuse.  In 1997, police uncovered a mass grave. Suddenly, a widespread investigation into the missing children began. In February 1998, the bodies of 2 naked children were discovered lying next to each other on a hill in Genoa, Colombia. The next day, another child’s naked body was found, just a few meters away. Garavito was captured on 22 April 1999. He confessed to murdering 140 children. However, he is still under investigation for the murder of 172 children in more than 59 towns in Colombia. During his imprisonment, Garavito helped police to find the bodies of his victims. This, along with his confessions, allowed him to win a reduction in sentence by 8 years, thereby making the effective sentence 22 years. Colombian law does not have life imprisonment or death penalty options, and the possibility of serial killings was completely ignored in Colombian law. However, with increased public unrest, the law was revisited, and the maximum sentence for murder was increased to 60 years of imprisonment. Joseph James DeAngelo, ‘The Golden State Killer’, and ‘The East Area Rapist’ The Golden State Killer is a serial killer, rapist, and burglar who committed at least 13 murders, more than 50 rapes, and over 100 burglaries in California from 1974 to 1986. What was initially a search for the East Area Rapist, ended up being a 40-year manhunt for a killer, rapist and home invader. The reawakening of this cold case decades later led to the April 2018 arrest of suspect Joseph James DeAngelo, now dubbed as the Golden State Killer. DeAngelo was born in New York but went to Folsom High School, in suburban Sacramento, and was a former California Police Officer.  In 2016, around the 40th anniversary of the first known attack, the search for the culprit of a suspected 12 homicides and about 50 rapes was renewed. Thanks to the advancement of DNA techniques and databases, DNA from a discarded item, and genetic information on a consumer genealogy website, guided police to the missing piece with DeAngelo as the suspect. DNA evidence linked the Golden State Killer to eight murders in Goleta, Ventura, Dana Point and Irvine; two other murders in Goleta, were lacking DNA evidence, but were linked by the killers usual modus operandi. His initial modus operandi was to stalk middle-class neighborhoods at night, in search of women who were alone in one-storey homes, usually near a school, creek, trail or other open space, that would provide a quick escape. He was seen a number of times, but always successfully fled; on one occasion, he shot and seriously wounded a young pursuer. Although he originally targeted women alone in their homes or with children, he eventually evolved to attacking couples. He would break in through a window or sliding glass door and awaken the sleeping occupants with a flashlight He would then begin threatening them with a handgun. Victims were bound with ligatures, and gagged. The male victim was beaten and left in a different room, while the female victim would be raped repeatedly for hours. In 1979, he moved on from rape, and began to murder his victims by gunshot or bludgeoning. After 1986 the case would go cold, until April 24, 2018, when the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department arrested 72-year-old Joseph James DeAngelo in connection with the crimes. DeAngelo, was charged with eight counts of first-degree murder. On May 10, the Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s office charged DeAngelo with four additional counts of first-degree murder. Unfortunately, DeAngelo cannot be charged with rapes due to the statute of limitations expiring for those offenses. Identification of DeAngelo had begun four months earlier when officials uploaded the killer’s DNA profile from a Ventura County rape kit to a personal genomics website. The website identified 10 to 20 distant relatives of the Golden State Killer, from whom a team of five investigators working with genealogist Barbara Rae-Venter, constructed a large family tree. They identified two suspects in the case (one of whom was ruled out by a relative’s DNA test), leaving DeAngelo the main suspect.  
Located about 140 miles east of San Diego, in the Imperial Valley desert, there is a place that is known as the last free place in America. There, you will find no mayor, no zoning laws, no sewer system, no police force. It’s known as Slab City. It was built on an abandoned military base and offers its residents something much more valuable than modern amenities, it offers them freedom. Slab City was created when U.S. Marine Corps abandoned a military installation near the town of Niland. Though they dismantled the buildings, they left behind the concrete slabs that served as their foundations. Hence the name Slab City. When workers from the local town found the slabs they built a temporary settlement out of them close to their job site. This initial build and the trailers they had brought with them became the beginnings of the new community.  Over time, people from all over the state were drawn to the area. Its isolation being a huge attraction for people who were looking for a way to live off the grid. In this forgotten place, there are no property taxes or utility bills, which makes it ideal for people trying to stretch their pensions or Social Security checks. Even today, Slab City’s population swells to over 4,000 during the cooler winter months. There is no formal initiation process to becoming a full time resident of Slab City. All that is required is that you simply show up. Once you have found a patch of land that no one else has a claim to, it’s yours. But to live there requires a certain degree of self-reliance. The nearest public amenities are in Niland which is a few miles away. There is just a single communal shower that is fed by a nearby hot spring.   You must be entirely self reliant, electricity will come from a collection of solar panels, generators, and batteries that you will have to set up and provide yourself. Or you can hire “Solar Mike,” a long time Slabber who has been selling and installing solar panels out of his trailer since the 1980s. Though police from Niland occasionally patrol the area and will respond to emergency calls, the community largely polices itself. Slab city is completely uncontrolled and isolated from government concern. All parking is free and unregulated. Yet, despite the drugs, freedom, isolation and heavy south-California sun, the residents reject seniority and avoid shrewdness, remaining polite and open-armed to newcomers. Hippies, free-spirits, eccentrics and adventurers, people have been living for free in Slab City since the late ’40s. What do you think? Could you live off the grid in a self made community? We think it could be an awesome experience, but maybe not forever.