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Showing posts from May, 2017

Flat Earth: A few thoughts

While going through my email today I found an email sent by a woman who pointed out that, out of all the topics we've covered on this site over the years, we have never written anything about the "flat earth" theory.

This caught my attention because I was pretty sure that we've discussed flat earth theory at some point in the past but, alas, we never have.

Here's the problem with the theory, which I have never heard addressed by flat earthers. Since mankind first began exploring the seas, why hasn't anyone like Magellan, Hudson, Vasco da Gama, Drake, DeSoto or Columbus ever reached the edge?

You'd think at some point in the history of exploration, somebody would've reached the end of the earth, and said, "Whoah! Turn this mofo around, we're about to go over the edge!"

Just a thought.

When real life imitates cartoons

The following newspaper article, which appeared in the Maysville, Kentucky Evening Bulletin on March 4, 1889, involves a man who got shot while pretending to be a ghost, in an attempt to pull off a land-grab scheme that sounds like something from a Scooby Doo episode.

Casey, Iowa, March 4.-- There is a little pond known as Silver Lake, four miles west of here, and near it a schol house in which the young folks of the neighborhood are wont to hold a lyceum. Recently a ghostlike apparition has caused nightly terror in the neighborhood. Several nights ago the apparition frightened a farmer's team, which ran away, tipped over the buggy and nearly killed the farmer's wife.

The husband procured a shotgun, loaded it with buckshot and then lay in wait for the ghost four nights. Thursday night he filled the ghost with buckshot. It cried: "My God, don't shoot anymore," and fell prostrate. The ghost was carried home by the shooter and cared for. No one but the attending phys…

The chilling last testament of Joseph Obney

In early 1896 a bone-chilling discovery was made inside of an abandoned coal mine about a mile east of Colliers, West Virginia. A local adventure seeker, David Snyder, decided to explore the old mine, which hadn't been used since the days of the Civil War, and his gruesome find cleared up a mystery that had boggled the people of Brooke County for thirty-two years.

That was the last time anyone had seen Benjamin Ayers, John Ewing, Thomas Ackelson and Joseph Obney alive.

Snyder found the skeletons of the four missing men, who seemingly had fallen off the face of the earth after deserting the Union army. One of the skeletons was sitting upright against a rocky ledge, and next to the skeleton was a flask containing several well-preserved notes. And the contents of notes were every bit as disturbing as the moldering bones in the forsaken tunnels beneath Brooke County.

They read as follows:

November 2, 1863-- Should this ever reach the outside world let it be known that we are prisoners h…

Setting the record straight about Atlas Obscura's debunking of Victorian 'tear catchers'

A few days ago Atlas Obscura published an article debunking Victorian era "tear catchers"-- glass bottles into which grieving persons wept. Being sentimental sometimes to the point of absurdity, those who lived during the 19th century had an obsession with grief; post-mortem photography, for example, was a popular way for people to preserve the memory of the dearly departed. Considering that thousands of Victorians had no qualms about displaying portraits of their deceased children in life-like poses in their homes, the concept of crying into a bottle doesn't seem so far-fetched.

As Atlas Obscura correctly pointed out, the antiques and curiosities marketplace is burgeoning with bottles hawked as authentic Victorian era tear catchers, and, in many cases, the romantic backstory is worth far more than the bottles themselves. In many cases, these bottles are really nothing more than perfume bottles.

As for the common belief that Victorians wept into them, Atlas Obscura claims…

History's Most Evil: Gilles de Rais

No conversation on the most evil men in history would be complete without mentioning Gilles de Rais, the French military hero turned occultist who, in order to quench his thirst for human blood, committed some of the most graphic and revolting crimes the world has ever seen.

Born in 1405 of noble blood, Gilles de Rais was a knight and lord from Brittany, and a descendent of the the wealthy and powerful House of Montmorency-Laval. As a young man he served with valor in the French army, eventually becoming a commander and fighting against the English alongside Joan of Arc. For his heroism in the Hundreds' Year War he was awarded the title of Marshal of France.

He soon retired to his sprawling country manor, but before long the locals became alarmed at the disappearance of children from the vicinity. Strangely, only children under the age of seven went missing. When it was learned that Gilles had adopted a fascination with the occult, parents who had lost their children staked out t…