"...we should pass over all biographies of 'the good and the great,' while we search carefully the slight records of wretches who died in prison, in Bedlam, or upon the gallows."
~Edgar Allan Poe

Friday, July 22, 2016

Weekend Link Dump

This week's Link Dump is sponsored by the Fellowship of Kitten Aeronauts!

What the hell is the Eye of the Sahara?

What the hell are the Fort Mountain Petroglyphs?

Watch out for those sea serpents!

Watch out for those Devon witch wars!

Watch out for those Minneapolis caves!

Watch out for those flying Coney Island monsters!

Watch out for those Megalodons!

One of the more offbeat Jack the Ripper suspects.

A scandalous Victorian bank failure.

Medieval hairstyles.

George Washington's dog.

16th century strange sounds in the sky.

Why it's amazing that we can still read "Beowulf."

Edward Braddock and George Washington.

An Arab embassy in Dark Age Scandinavia.

Ladies share some pleasant discourse in 16th century England.

A wartime execution.

Hints to Victorian unmarried ladies.

A murder in King's Meadow.

Murder for fun and profit.

Georgian cakes and puddings.

The Roughriders of the Mediterranean.

A brief history of the Evil Eye.

Horses who sniff out death.

A DIY cathedral.

19th century Pedestrianism.

Mozart's "Il Seraglio."

The church with a cat greeter.

Neolithic fairies.

The First Servile War.

Life on the road in the Napoleonic era.

The King of the Fairies.

The brewery flood of 1814.

The first woman to be filmed by an Edison motion picture camera.

Using liquid to carve stone.

A particularly sad case of eighth century infanticide.

Another account of a child's death, this one from the early 18th century.

The extremely unfortunate Hoo Loo.

One very busy sleepwalker.

The enduring mystery of the Boy in the Box.

How spiritualism became a craze.

The execution of John Ball.

The Swell Mob vs. Two Intrepid Females.  Three guesses who wins.

Being broken on the wheel: one of the nastier aspects of life in the 18th century.

Canines and crinolines.

That Damned Charles Fort.

That time Voltaire gamed the lottery.

A bad dream of the Romanovs.

Countess Castiglione, queen of the selfies.

19th century longevity.

Major Ward and the skeleton.

And we're done!  See you on Monday, when we'll look at a particularly weird murder in Seattle.  In the meantime, here's some Salieri.  It's a pity those silly legends about him have obscured the memory of this quite charming composer.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Newspaper Clipping of the Day

This unpleasant bit of Forteana comes from the "Spokesman-Review," March 1, 1971:
Oklahoma City (AP)--There's something out there. It walks like a gorilla, leaves hand prints like a man, rips doors off their hinges, and it likes chickens.

For want of a better name we'll call him Oklahoma's Abominable Chicken Man.

It's a long story and it goes like this.

An El Reno farmer walked out to his chicken coop one day in December and found its door on the ground, apparently thrown there after being ripped off the wall.

On the surface of the door, and inside the coop on the walls, were a number of strange hand prints--like none he'd ever seen before. They were about seven inches long and five inches wide.

The farmer called a state game ranger. The ranger had never seen anything like it either and he sent the door to the Oklahoma City Zoo to see what experts could make of the prints.

The experts were baffled too. Zoo Director Lawrence Curtis says the prints appear to be like those of a primate. A primate is an animal like a gorilla or a man that can stand erect.

The thumb of the print is unusual. Curtis says it crooks inside, as if it were deformed or had been injured.

"It resembles a gorilla," he said, "but it's more like a man."

"It appears that whatever made the prints was walking on all fours. There were some footprints on the ground outside," he said. Whatever it was was barefoot. Barefoot in December.

Since Curtis got the first print he has had reports of similar finds around the state. A man in Stillwater and a woman in McAlester have told him of discovering similar prints. The woman has a photograph she is mailing to the zoo for comparison.

Oklahoma has only four native animals big enough to leave such prints: the black bear, the mountain lion, the wolf and man. Curtis has ruled out all but the last.

"We've shown it to several mammologists and several wildlife experts in Oklahoma and some passing through. All agree it is a primate," he said. "These prints were made by some sort of a man, perhaps one looking for chickens."

Asked about the wide distances between the points reporting similar prints, Curtis said, "If there is one there is more than one. There has to be more than one unless he's hitchhiking."

There are no zoos in El Reno, no circuses and no one known to be keeping a gorilla. In fact the only thing in the area that "keeps" primates--in this case men--is the federal reformatory just on the outskirts of town.

The Abominable Chicken Man is being compared with reports of similar findings from California. In this case people have reported seeing a seven-foot man-like creature wandering in the northern wilds. They call him Bigfoot, after the large tracks he makes.

The description also seems to match the Sasquatch, also known as Bigfoot, a towering primate reported in Washington and British Columbia.

Curtis is trying to find a book and a magazine article that tell about the Bigfoot sightings. He's anxious to make a comparison.

In the meantime he has the chicken coop door in his office for reference, and one supposes, for conversation.

There's not much else to go on until somebody reports actually seeing the Abominable Chicken Man.

There are a lot of people looking.
So far as I know, they never did find it, so Oklahoma poultry had better remain on guard.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Grace Sherwood, the Litigious Witch

Although America's most notorious witchcraft trials took place in Salem in 1692-3, judicial persecution of alleged "witches" lingered for a surprisingly long time. In fact, the state of Virginia's last prosecution took place some years after the Salem hysteria. These unusually tangled proceedings centered around one woman: Grace White Sherwood, who is remembered to this day as the "Witch of Pungo."

Grace was born sometime around 1660. In 1680, she married a planter named James Sherwood. The marriage produced three children: John, James, and Richard. After Grace's husband died in 1701, she inherited his farm, which she managed herself, largely without assistance. She was a strong, capable, independent woman who evidently disdained the idea of remarriage. According to later legend, the practical Sherwood was also in the habit of wearing men's clothes to do her farm work. Such unconventionality was rare at the time, which would have made her an object of puzzled disapproval in some circles. Tradition--whether true or false--has it that Sherwood was also a talented midwife and "healer,"--two professions that traditionally have left a woman vulnerable to charges of sorcery by the more superstitious members of a community.

Sherwood's first known legal dispute was in 1697, when a Richard Capps charged her with "hexing" his bull to death. Sherwood retaliated by bringing a defamation suit against him. The surviving information about the incident is sparse, but it is known that some sort of settlement was worked out between the two parties. The next year, another neighbor accused her of casting spells against his hogs and cotton fields. Sherwood counter-sued for slander, but these efforts to defend herself were tossed out of court. Later that same year, one Elizabeth Barnes declared that Sherwood had taken on the form of a black cat, and then entered Barnes' home and whipped her. Other neighbors, John and Jane Gisburne, asserted that Sherwood "bewitched their piggs to death and bewitched their Cotton." Sherwood filed more defamation suits against these new accusers, again unsuccessfully.

In 1705, Sherwood got into a brawl with a woman named Elizabeth Hill. She sued Hill for assault and battery. This was one of Sherwood's few legal successes: the court awarded her twenty shillings in damages. Hill and her husband retaliated by charging Sherwood with witchcraft. Allegedly, she had "bewitched" Mrs. Hill into suffering a miscarriage.

This charge was taken very seriously by the authorities. A jury of twelve "ancient and knowing women" were ordered to search Sherwood's body for "witches' marks." (The forewoman of this jury was the same Elizabeth Barnes who had earlier described being attacked by Grace the Shape-Shifting Black Cat, which gives one a clue about the impartiality of this tribunal.) These woman reported that Sherwood was "not like them nor noe Other woman that they knew of, having two things like titts on her private parts of a Black Coller, being Blacker than the Rest of her Body."

In May 1706, the court ruled that, although there was no proof Sherwood was a witch, there was still "great cause of suspicion." She was ordered to stand trial.

In a truly medieval touch, county justices ordered that Sherwood undergo "trial by ducking." On July 10, 1706, she was brought to the mouth of nearby Lynnhaven River (now known, predictably enough, as "Witch Duck Bay.") There, she would be bound in a sack, and tossed into the water. If she floated, that would be considered proof that she was a witch. If she sank--vindication! (The one nod to humanity shown in the matter was that several justices stayed near the scene in a rowboat. If she proved herself innocent, they would save her from drowning.)

Legend has it that just before being pushed off the boat, the accused woman told the justices, "Before this day be through you will all get a worse ducking than I."

Sherwood was, perhaps, just too self-reliant for her own good. She not only easily floated on the surface, but she was able to untie her bonds and swim to shore. Even though it had been a clear summer's day, as soon as she was out of the water, a sudden downpour broke out, leaving all the spectators soaking wet. Well. If all that didn't prove she was in league with the Evil One, what would?

Although surviving records do not give many details about what happened next, we know Sherwood was jailed for some period of time--perhaps as long as seven years. There is documented evidence that she was a free woman by 1714. As far as is known, there were no further charges made against her.

All in all, Sherwood was a party--either as defendant or plaintiff--in about a dozen known lawsuits. Sherwood was forced to pay court costs in all these cases. As she was far from wealthy, being accused of witchcraft proved to be a financially ruinous pastime.

Still, Sherwood was more fortunate than many alleged witches of her era. After her release from prison, she recovered her 145-acre property, and appears to have been allowed to live quietly on her farm until she died in 1740, aged about eighty.

The "Witch of Pungo" lived on in local memory. One particularly colorful legend has it that after Sherwood's death, her sons laid her body out near the fireplace. A strange gust of wind rushed in through the chimney, causing her corpse to disappear, leaving only a cloven hoofprint to give a clue to the "witch's" final destination. (The dull truth is that she lies in an unmarked grave near what is now Pungo Ferry Road in Virginia Beach.) Shortly after her death, gossip swept the area that her "familiars," in the shape of black cats, were roaming the town, leading to a widespread massacre of felines. The result of this extermination was a serious rat and mice infestation throughout Princess Anne County, which is about the closest this entire story comes to some measure of justice. To this day, locals assert that Sherwood's ghost still appears at "Witch Duck Bay" on every anniversary of her ducking. A far more charming legend has it that all the rosemary growing in the Virginia Beach area was started by a single cutting planted by Sherwood.

In 2007, a statue of the "Witch of Pungo" was erected in her memory near the courthouse where she stood trial. The year before, Virginia Governor Timothy Kaine had formally overturned her conviction.

Better late than never, I suppose.

Via Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=29338017

Friday, July 15, 2016

Weekend Link Dump

This week's Link Dump is sponsored by the Bureau of Cheerful Cats!

Where the hell was Saint Martin's Land?

Watch out for those lying ghosts!

Did vampires kidnap Susan Walsh?

The Vere Street Gang.

Cleaning up Napoleonic battlefields.

Uncovering excommunication records.

Food rationing during WWII.

Space travel is impairing the eyesight of astronauts.

London's first Indian restaurant.

The varying reputation of Jean-Paul Marat.

If D.B. Cooper happens to read my blog, he can know that the FBI has given up on finding him.

A drumming well.

An early female ghostbuster.

The first woman to bicycle around the world.

Brainlessness isn't necessarily as bad as you'd think.

Alexandre Dumas' cat.

This week's Advice From Thomas Morris: What not to do with a circular saw.

Some 18th century legends of the sea.

A review of a recent biography of Evelyn Waugh.

The lost palace of Richmond.

Ah, yes.  Spouses: 0 Cats: 1  (More stories on this old blog post.)

What an Amazonian tribe teaches us about music.

Albert Hicks, the last pirate hanged by the U.S.  Maybe.

The high cost of living in early 19th century India.

A chat with a public executioner.

A "primitive machine" in the Great Pyramid.

A domestic murder from 1800.

The rebellious Paracelsus.

George Cruikshank's London summer.

How one lawyer escaped the wrath of the French Revolution.

The disappearance of a child artist.

A double disappearance in 1958.

Sweden's greatest naval victory.

The execution of a prominent Anabaptist.

The battle over Wofle's Farm.

A look at American pamphlets.

How to talk like an 1867 sailor.

Suicides in Brompton Cemetery.

The library that's patrolled by bats.

Brandy as a cure for rattlesnake bites.

A strange ancient skull.

If a goat stares at you, you'd better pay attention.

The Cocaine Bear of Kentucky.

A family has gone to war over an art collection.

The mystery of Philip K. Dick.

Victorian concealed births.

A Swedish forest is hiding a statue of Greta Garbo.

Early 20th century child prodigies.

Yet another tale of deepest crime.

Yet another headless saint.

An Arctic mermaid.

A strange Brazilian disappearance.

And, finally this week in Russian Weird:  Yeah, we're still trying to figure out what the hell happened at Tunguska.

And then there's the tale of a Russian who may or may not have been an American spy.

That's all for this week!  See you on Monday, when we'll be looking at witchcraft in colonial America. In the meantime, here's the Kingston Trio. The Beach Boys made "Sloop John B" famous, but I actually like this version better.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Newspaper Clipping of the Day

This fourth installment in the "Famous Cats of New England" series published by the "Boston Post" features two handsome ladies' men:
The cats that have 1800 girls to love them--Mike and Ike, the Telephone Company's twin cats--scorn to lay claim to any such plebeian accomplishment as mice or rat catching. Never, since last April, when they came to 119 Milk street, wee bits of black kittens, have they done one single stroke of honest work.

Today, great black and white beauties, they bask in the smiles and caresses of the 1800 girl operators;they spend most of their time curled up asleep on the comfortable leather couches of the recreation hall, and show pronounced enthusiasm only when the rattle of dishes in the locker room below announces that it is getting on toward mealtime.

New England can hardly lay claim to two handsomer or more dignified cats than Mike and Ike. Their fur is like silk. Its black is as black as it is possible for black to be. Its white is the white of faultlessly laundered linen.

Not a minute of the day passes that Mike and Ike are not being talked to and stroked. The girls, working in relays, are coming to recreation hall for their 15-minute reliefs every hour of the day and night. They never go back to work without a bit of play with the twins. They always used to bring them some little treat, like a taste of chicken or some catnip.

Killed with kindness, very nearly were poor Mike and Ike. Treats from 1800 loving "aunties" soon landed them up at the Angell Memorial Hospital. Now they are kept on a strict--no eating between meals--diet. Still Mike and Ike appear excessively well fed cats. They are heavy to lift. They have that delicious sort of sleepy languor that makes contented house cats so comfy and cuddly.

Man haters indeed are Mike and Ike. They can scent a man the moment he enters the room. Let them be curled up fast asleep at the other end of the big hall and let one mere man so much as set foot inside the door that is furthest away and "Pssssssst! Pssst!" The twins are on their feet--backs up, tails bristling.

Spitting at the Post photographer the moment he entered the room were Mike and Ike. No soothing word he could say had the least effect. They regarded him with suspicion every moment he was there. Their great gold eyes watched him unwinkingly wherever he went. Their tails stirred uneasily. Thoroughly displeased were they that mere man should have invaded the sanctum where they reign supreme.

A Christmas tree with 1800 presents is coming to Mike and Ike. There will be little wooly play mice--not the mice, in the flesh, all dirty from the cellar that would soil the little white mittens of their paws of which the girls are so proud. There will be little balls, too. Mike and Ike are fond of playing ball occasionally.

They bat a small rubber ball about for hours between each other, racing the length of the big room to catch it and bat it back. But as their kitten days grow further back they play ball less and less. They sleep more and more.

Each with a mammoth lounge completely to itself the cats were blissfully sleeping when the reporter called. They were gracious enough about being rudely awakened. They are used to that. They consented to having the head gear slipped over their heads and to sitting up quite professionally, as if they were saying "Hello." Nor did they run from the photographer. But, oh my goodness, how they hated him!

"They show their good sense and the way we girls train them," said the hello girls. "They're a credit to their 1800 aunties, Mike and Ike are." 
~December 10, 1920

Monday, July 11, 2016

The Vanishing at Euston Square

Euston Station, 1851

A particularly odd international disappearance generated a great deal of copy in newspapers and magazines in the first half of 1872. It is small wonder the case attracted attention, because whatever the truth may have been behind the mystery, it reads like something from that era's most outlandish Penny Dreadfuls.

William Blews and Sons was a firm of gas engineers based in Birmingham, England. They were contractors to the City of Moscow Gas Company. Their manager in Moscow was 26-year-old L.R. Bauer, a Russian of German descent. Bauer was an excellent employee. He had a fiancee in Latvia whom he planned to marry soon. His life, so far as is known, was prosperous and untroubled. On January 12, 1872, Bauer wrote to Blews and Sons, stating that he was coming to England to consult with them about a business matter. He arrived in London on the 25th, where he had a meeting with a member of the Moscow Gas Company. The following morning, he telegraphed Blews announcing that he was about to take the noon train from Euston station to Birmingham. A cabman later asserted that he delivered Bauer to the station at twenty to twelve. However, for unknown reasons, Bauer failed to make his train. He told a porter at the station that he would take the next train at 3 p.m. He sent a second telegraph from the Euston office advising Blews of this change of plan.

Bauer never arrived. No one heard a word from him until eight days later, when Blews and Sons received an envelope containing two notes, both dated January 27. It was postmarked in London on February 2. The first letter read,
Dear Sir,—As a special grace permission has been granted to me to address these lines to you; they will be the last, because in a few hours I shall be dead. In good faith of doing a good deed I joined some people a few years ago. Alas! it was a sad error into which my youth and want of experience had led me. About a year since I discovered my great mistake, because I was not bad enough to carry out some consequences of my vow—the very point of my misunderstanding, and ever since I lived in dread, although I was not prepared for this when one of these devils in the shape of men peremptorily stopped me from leaving London yesterday noon. I was not even aware of being so closely watched. Having no choice left but either to do things against which my whole soul revolts, and which I find utterly impossible to do, or to die myself, I have chosen death, and shall die in some hours hence. It is a very hard thing, I feel, to go thus suddenly for ever without seeing anybody whom I loved once more, and my heart breaks when I think of my family and my poor girl in Russia; but it cannot be helped. I know but too well my fate is sealed, and I am quite composed now. How could I write these lines were it otherwise? My luggage has already been destroyed, I believe, for they will make sure work about me. On account of the trouble that will arise to you, dear sir, through my sudden death, I am exceedingly sorry, because a good many things I had in my mind only to explain; but I hope you will grant me pardon when you see that I am thus cut off from all, O God! everything that could have made me happy. Farewell, dear sir; I am punished hard for my mistake of men, but I have the knowledge, at least, which gives me strength to endure all—I shall, at least, not die a villain!—Farewell, for ever,
L. R. Bauer
The second note said merely, "Sir,—The foolish author of the enclosed brief has informed you right; he is dead. Our safety forbids us to send your property— to wit, some papers, which have been burnt.—We are, sir,
"A Sufficient Number."

Opinion differed on the vital point of whether these letters were both in Bauer's writing, or in two different hands. Everyone was at a loss for words to explain what was going on here. Bauer's father in Russia apparently took these letters seriously. He wrote to the head of the Blews firm stating, "His letter to you, and the enclosure signed 'A sufficient number' speak to my heart as of his death. It seems to me no insanity. The persecution of this gang to which my son alludes in his letter is a truth, because in the summer before last in St. Petersburg he was through it then seized with madness, and spoke of it alone." The missing man's fiancee, Marie Schulze, also wrote to Messrs. Blews that when she last saw Bauer, shortly before his trip to England, he was "filled with evil forebodings." His final letter to her, dated on January 26 and bearing the stamp of the London Charing Cross Hotel, "contained anxious misgivings, and fears of a heavy approaching calamity."

In May, Blews and Sons supplied the newspapers with a letter they received from another of their agents, who was currently in Brazil. It only made the mystery still murkier:
Gentlemen, — I am in receipt of your letters informing me of the disappearance of Mr. L. R. Bauer. I am very greatly touched by the horrible event. When we parted at Moscow we parted as two brothers would; he embraced me as no man save my father has ever done; he promised to write me instantly in any difficulty business might bring about; we sketched out how each was to pull with the other, how we were not to be separated, though we lived in different hemispheres; and I came away satisfied that you had as good and faithful a servant in Bauer as you ever had in any man. Of his connection with one of the numerous associations professing freedom for the Baltic Provinces and for Poland he has informed me fully, and of his bitter sufferings in connection with his vows; and when it became necessary to appoint him in my stead, it was only on the distinct arrangement that he should marry at Christmas, 1871, and then look out for a magasin having store-room beneath or in rear and apartments over it for his occupation. Such an act would, I knew, bring him face to face with the association, and in any such contest, supported by a loved wife, and protected by the position your Moscow business furnished him with, the issue was in his hands. The fact of his youth having been allied to such institutions would not weigh against Mr. Bauer in the eyes of the General Governor of Moscow, and to him I urged any appeal which might become necessary during the strife, and also to myself. I undertook to run over to Moscow at any time on his informing me the hour had come. His appointment to a business position was essential to his marriage, and I many a time dwelt on the urgent necessity there was for marriage among the young men in the Hotel Haldy. Many will remember these adjurations of mine, and they may possibly now see their point. Bauer promised he would marry, and I promised to secure him from your service what would enable him to live comfortably. From this you will see I am not surprised that trouble has befallen him, but I am sorry it did not happen in Russia. In London I know of several such associations, organised, officered, and managed entirely there ; and the consequences of their actions are never traced to them in England. Many a poor fellow falls in an emcute instantly suppressed, and seldom reported; but that does not affect smug John Bull. The organisations are perfect in London; they are only deficient in action in the locality to be advantaged by association. In London, then, Bauer was much less safe than in Russia. It is always a difficulty to a foreigner how police can be useful for protective purposes; they are known only for repressive purposes, and strangers hesitate to utilise them. Bauer, doubtless, arrived at Euston for the twelve o'clock train, and was there accosted by an agent, and unfortunately, in his exceeding great courtesy, would balance his head two or three times, and proceed to address the agent instead of demanding a seat from the guard and leaving the agent to himself. Of course the agent would have a plausible story with which to detain Bauer, and in this, the first minute of the attack, life or death to Bauer were in the scale. Failure was irretrievable. Steady progress towards his seat was salvation. But I have several times found him in Moscow staying in the street to listen to the applications of strangers. This is a habit I have studiously avoided in England and abroad. In a thousand ways it is dangerous. The letter of January 27 is quite Bauer's style of expression. Phrases in it are indisputably his. Russians speaking to Russians say "my bride." Bauer to my wife and me, invariably said "my girl" and other instances I could name, but you have the original and can test the handwriting. If I were in England I could readily ascertain whether he really had fallen under the displeasure of his association, but no assistance would be rendered me at this distance. Satisfaction is quite possible on this head, and also upon the point if he is sent to Russia for adjudication, for I do not think action would be taken in London beyond his being sent to Paris or Russia. I notice the Telegraph points to possible defalcations. My knowledge of the position sets that aside. The sum open to him was valueless to him. I am as certain of his superiority to temptation of that kind as I am certain of my own; and I am equally certain Bauer was quite indifferent to the temptations of London life. You will find no one person charge him with intemperance or immorality, and I am confident Messrs. Laidlaw and Son's manager will join in assuring you that the whole of Bauer's intercourse with him was, as it was with me, singularly pure. From none of these sources will help come to you in your search. If that second letter (February 2) is the production of another, then my first hope that he has been attacked with the fear of those devils being near him, and had lost his reason, vanishes. He would not, under any such attack of insanity, perpetrate the second letter. The first he would; but if the second is not in his writing, then I have little hope of your finding him in England. You have lost a most valuable servant, and I have lost the dearest friend late years have brought me. My wife (who also besought him to marry) is quite unable to believe the story. All seems to her like a miserable dream; it is not possible, she says. Had we been in England he would have been safe.

I await with anxiety further intelligence from you and remain, gentlemen, yours very respectfully, Joseph Edward Jones

It gets even weirder. Several publications indicated that the "gang" Bauer's father alluded to was the sect known as the "White Dove," or "Skoptsy," a fanatical Orthodox cult that practiced voluntary castration as part of their rituals. The Skoptsy first emerged around 1770, and at the time Bauer disappeared, this sect of mystical eunuchs had acquired a great number of proselytes. The suggestion was that the young man had become involved with the Skoptsy, but after finding a girl he wished to marry, Bauer naturally rebelled at the idea of castration. In revenge for this apostasy, members of the cult kidnapped and murdered him.

Was Bauer's disappearance tied to his links with subversive political groups, as Joseph Jones seemed to intimate?

Or, suggested less romantic types, did Bauer simply do a runner? Was this seemingly contented man secretly nursing a dissatisfaction with his job, his life, and his intended bride? Did he fake his own kidnapping and death so he could start anew under a different identity? Did he kill himself? Others noted his father's reference to Bauer having been "seized with madness" in 1870. Did the young man have another sudden attack of "madness," causing him to wander off in a daze? But if that was the case, where was he?

For some weeks, the public prints carried fruitless speculation about the young Russian's fate. Then, inevitably, the story faded from general attention. And L.R. Bauer was never heard from again.

Friday, July 8, 2016

Weekend Link Dump

This week's Link Dump is pleased to be sponsored by the Federation of Extraterrestrial Cats!

Who the hell was the Ghost Sniper of New Jersey?

Where the hell is Wanka?

Alhambra is really booming!

The castle of Death Valley Scotty.

New York's Grumpy the Bulldog.

The museum clerk who saw the Battle of the Somme.

Female soldiers in the Mexican-American War.

Women in Russian folklore.

Marriage-by-abduction in the 17th and 18th centuries.

The Jewish pirates of Jamaica.

Canada Day, 1867.

Port wine and war.

Folklore involving birds and death.

The murder behind "The Ballad of Reading Gaol."

This week's Advice From Thomas Morris:  What not to do with a fork.  (A truly unforgettable headline on this one...)

Studying history through medieval graffiti.

Stravinksy's troublesome Star-Spangled Banner.

Famous last words, French Revolution department.

The rather depressing Budapest Smile Club.

The remains (well, bits of them) of the Buddha may have been found.

The 10,000 year old grave of a "Shaman woman."

Popinjays, fops, and macaronis.

The most haunted town in America.

Food'll kill ya.

A fortune-telling praying mantis.

John Jackson's Boxing Saloon.

This has got to be one of my favorite funeral stories ever.

Divided loyalties during the American Revolution.

The world's worst fireworks accident.

The bishop and the bread knife.

Some of the greatest royal epithets.

The ultimate Crazy Cat Man story.

That time Los Angeles celebrated the 4th of July with a cricket match and a bagpipe contest.

A 10th century Bigfoot?

A Thames sailing barge.

The Man in the Iron Wax Mask.

A 1,000-year-old arson case.

The bones of Betsy Ross.

Victorian Cat Ladies, crazy or otherwise.

Some crime and punishment from the 18th century.

Dora Jordan, 18th century comic.

Why one man keeps dying in terrorist attacks.

Everyone's favorite alien conspiracy theories.

The library that serves two different countries simultaneously.

The Devonshire costume ball of 1897.

Historical children-scarers.

Was Noah's Ark a pyramid?

And, finally, this week in Russian Weird goes sunbathing.

And that's that for this week.  See you on Monday, when we'll be looking at the very odd mystery surrounding a young Russian man.  In the meantime, here's something from the early 18th century.