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Showing posts from November, 2016

The most tragic coincidence that has ever happened

The only thing worse than getting hit by a train is getting hit by a funeral train. Such was the tragic fate of an unfortunate man who, in 1891, made the mistake of getting in the way of General William Tecumseh Sherman's funeral procession. The following comes from the Feb. 21, 1891 edition of the Pittsburgh Dispatch.

An intimate look at a 19th century morgue

In 1894, the city of Philadelphia completed construction of a new morgue on Wood Street. Philadelphians were proud of their new state-of-the-art morgue, so proud, in fact, that the Philadelphia Times devoted nearly an entire page of their June 3, 1894 edition to the new structure. This story, reprinted below, is a unique and fascinating glimpse of the day-to-day operations of a large city's death house more than 120 years ago, as well as the gruesome work performed by the "morgue-keeper" and other individuals who kept the morgue running.

The new Morgue on the north side of Wood street, above Thirteenth, is finished and ready to receive the city's unknown dead. Philadelphia is consequently better equipped in this department than any other city in the United States. In fact it is stated that although some of the European morgues, particularly those of Paris, Berlin and London, are larger than the Philadelphia institution, they are not by any means as satisfactorily equ…

David Rice Atchison: The Man who was President for One Day

Being that today is Election Day I thought it would be fitting to write about something presidential. And, being a website devoted to the strange and bizarre, the logical choice would have been to write about something spooky, like White House ghosts or some other aspect of Washington's haunted history. But, as entertaining as they may be, those types of stories have already been done to death.

Instead, today's post is about my favorite U.S. president. No, I'm not talking about Honest Abe or Thomas Jefferson or FDR. I'm not even talking about John Tyler (he was our 10th president, in case you had forgotten). I'm talking about David Rice Atchison-- a man forgotten by most, but remembered by few as the man who was "President for One Day".

Atchison was born in Kentucky in 1807 and studied law at Transylvania University in Lexington, where his classmates included several future prominent American politicians and the future President of the Confederacy, Jeffers…