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The mule with a snake in its eye

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

The man who tricked P.T. Barnum

A rather amusing story about a fellow who successfully tricked P.T. Barnum out of $25 appeared in newspapers in October of 1861, and involves a man who sold Barnum a "cherry-colored" cat. Barnum soon learned, however, that cherries come in a variety of colors.


The Curious History of the Magic 8-Ball

With the possible exception of the Ouija board, the best-selling prognostication device in American history is the Magic 8-Ball. According to Mattel, over one million Magic 8-Balls are sold each year. I've owned one, and there's a good chance that you have too. However, while almost every man, woman and child is familiar with this beloved toy, few people are aware of its curious history.

Here are some truly fascinating facts about the Magic 8-Ball and its inventor, Albert Carter.



1. Carter was the son of a real-life fortune-teller



The inspiration behind Albert Carter's toy was a divination device used by his mother, Mary, who eked out a living as a professional clairvoyant in Cincinnati, Ohio, during the early 1900s. It was based on a tool used by psychics for "automatic writing"-- the supposedly supernatural phenomenon of jotting down words without conscious thought.



2. Carter's toy was originally known as the Syco-Seer





In 1945, Carter's invention hit toy…

Science confirms Earth's core is solid

For generations schoolchildren have been taught that the core of the Earth is liquid, while a smaller percentage of non-conformists adhere to the theory that the earth is hollow. Science has now conclusively proven that the earth is solid, confirming the theory first proposed by female Danish seismologist Inge Lehmann in 1936.

According to Daily Mail, Associate Professor Hrvoje Tkalčić and PhD Scholar Than-Son Phạm of Australia National University (ANU) arrived at this conclusion by studying shear waves, or 'J waves', which are produced by earthquakes and can only travel through solid objects. These waves cannot be observed directly, so the researchers had to devise a creative way to detect them.

They accomplished this feat though correlation wavefield method, a method which has been traditionally used to calculate the thickness of the ice-shelf in Antarctica. This correlation wavefield method also revealed another interest fact about the planet's core.

'We found the inn…