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A helpful ghost

Not all ghosts are frightening, as this snippet from the San Bernardino Daily Courier from Aug. 13, 1891 demonstrates.
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The Fiendish Revenge of Achilles Bertoni

In November of 1907, a wealthy Italian banker exacted revenge against his cheating wife and her playboy lover in the most shocking manner. The true tale of Achilles Bertoni is proof that, when it comes to cruelty, the human mind knows no boundaries.

At the age of 52, Signor Achilles Bertoni was a self-made millionaire who had risen from humble origins to become the wealthiest man in Rome, if not all of Italy. Three years earlier, enjoying his newfound success as a leading figure in European finance, Bertoni had attended a concert at an opera house and fell instantly in love with a Sicilian singer by the name of Ellen Rotelli, whom the press touted as a great beauty (judging from Ellen's picture, however, it's probably safe to say that legends of her beauty had been greatly exaggerated). Bertoni's friends warned him about the object of his affection, however, as the singer had a bit of an unsavory reputation when it came to her, well let's just say... sexual proclivitie…

The Mysterious Doppelganger of Bryce R. Blair

In the coal regions of Pennsylvania, the Blair family has left an indelible mark that can still be observed even today, more than 128 years after the body of Bryce R. Blair was laid to rest.

Born in Glasgow, Scotland, on Sept. 21, 1832, Bryce R. Blair set sail for America aboard the packet ship Isaac Wright, arriving in this country in the fall of 1852. He settled in Carbondale, and before the age of 40 Bryce had erected some of the largest coalbreakers in Lackawanna and Luzerne counties and had laid out a number of local railroads. In February of 1865 he became superintendent of the Nottingham Coal Company. It was Blair who oversaw the sinking of the Nottingham shaft, through forty feet of quicksand, and the construction of the Nottingham breaker, all without the loss of a single life (which was quite a rarity in those days). The Nottingham would eventually become one of the most famous coal mines in Pennsylvania, if not the entire United States. His cousin, Bryce W. Blair, was equal…

The mule with a snake in its eye

A rather strange story from the August 21, 1894 edition of the Delphos (OH) Daily Herald.

The Ghost of the Queen City Cotton Mill

The Lakeside Development in southern Burlington, Vermont, is one of the more interesting listings on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places because it is not a singular structure, but the remnant of a company town laid out in 1894 by the Queen City Cotton Company. The mill, which stood just to the east of the Vermont Railway tracks, was reportedly haunted by the ghost of a young woman named Mary Blair, who was killed by a train while walking to her Lakeside home in June of 1900. According to local legend, both the mill and the spot where she was killed have been visited by her spirit.

One following account of the haunting appeared in national newspapers in November of 1900.

And, for those who are interested, here is the June 30, 1900, article from the Burlington Free Press which describes her tragic death.

The Falls Church House of Horrors

Most people would agree that houses seem to have a spirit and personality all their own. Like the people who dwell inside of them, some houses seem to attract joy and happiness, while others seem to attract tragedy. Some may chalk this up to paranormal phenomenon, while the more skeptical among us may claim that it's nothing more than bad luck.

Yet, there are some houses with such dark histories that even the most skeptical person may have a hard time explaining it. One such house stood in Falls Church, Virginia, and this house was the scene of several unimaginable tragedies.

On a rainy Sunday morning in May of 1907, hundreds of curiosity seekers braved the mud and trudged their way up to the top of hill to obtain a glimpse not of the little white frame house, but the lifeless bodies of Silas Putnam and his housekeeper, Mrs. Emma Beavers-- victims of a shockingly brutal crime that had occurred the day before.

While murders and suicides always drew a good crowd of gawkers in those da…

Debunking the Pittsburgh Synagogue False Flag Claim

As could be expected, it didn't take long for right-wing conspiracy theorists to claim that the recent attack of the Tree of Life Synagogue in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh was a staged hoax.

Since we've devoted a lot of time to conspiracy theories over the years, we listened to these claims with casual interest, with no intention of weighing in on the matter. However, since we are based out of Pennsylvania, and are better informed than most outsiders about state politics, we thought it might be a good idea to debunk some of these spurious allegations before they pick up steam.

The most absurd allegations come from the alt-right conspiracy site State of the Nation, whose contributors were already crying "false flag!" within hours of the fatal shooting that claimed the lives of 11 Jewish worshipers. For those who are unfamiliar with this repository of right-wing hogwash, State of the Nation describes itself thusly:

We have no political affiliation.  SOTN …