"...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

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Newspaper Clipping of the Day

This latest installment of the "Boston Post" series, "Famous Cats of New England" introduces us to Rummy, pride of Harvard:
"For he's a jolly good fellow, which nobody can deny." So proudly chant the myriad friends of "Rummy," the Harvard University cat. Not a Harvard man in the last eight years but knows the big powerful tom-cat. In fact there's hardly a man who studied there and there surely isn't a man among those who were there and didn't study with whom Rummy hasn't shared some escapade.

No mere musty old academic cat is Rummy. True, he invades President Lowell's sanctum at will; he has played with "Terry" in the recorder's office; he has vivisected a few frogs on his own account in the Zoological Laboratory; he has taken a peep at Venus in the observatory; he has browsed among the books in the Widener Library.

More than that he has shared the real life of the students, especially in the days before July 1, 1919. That's how Rummy got his name. Many were the glad rides on the train to Boston Rummy enjoyed in the old days, hidden under the great coat of some merry-making under class man. On several memorable occasions Rummy went to the theatre with the boys, and after the theatre supper rumor has it that "Fred" the baldheaded boy who served 'em up in the College Pharmacy, "The Farm" caught many a glimpse of Rummy staggering up the subway stairs from the last train "home" and zia-zagging across Harvard square to the yard.

The biggest cat around the square is Rummy. So proud is he of his 17 pounds that he sits up on the scales. He gets weighed about seven times a day, because parked on the platform the collegians get to betting on his weight and drop pennies into the slot to see how much he gains each day. The fellow who owns the scales is a bigger gainer than Rummy, the students say.
~December 18, 1920

Monday, October 17, 2016

Diamond in the Rough; Or, A Tale of Two Jonahs: Guest Post by Gill Hoffs

On the open sea, a 19th century ship's captain was virtually an absolute monarch. Many handled this life-and-death power with wisdom and skill. Others turned into abusive tyrants, even monsters. Sadly for the passengers of the William and Mary, one of the worst of the lot was Timothy Reirdan Stinson.

The kindest thing one can say about Captain Stinson was that he was completely unfit for his job. He was indifferent about the quality and quantity of provisions on board the vessel. If his impoverished emigrant passengers were starved, or forced to eat rotted garbage, it was of no concern to him. He saw no reason why he should bother with a ship's surgeon, trusting instead to the curative powers of ham. (All this helps explain why 14 passengers died on the ship's Liverpool-to-New Orleans journey.) His equally barbaric crew took to torturing the cook on deck, and promised passengers a dose of the same medicine if they dared to intervene. Finally, when Stinson's incompetent seamanship caused the vessel to wreck just off the Bahamas, this captain declined to go down with his ship. Rather, he and his crew commandeered the few lifeboats on board--through the handy method of taking a hatchet to a few passengers--and sailed for shore. Stinson trusted that all witnesses to his appalling behavior would soon be at the bottom of the sea, leaving him home and dry in every sense of the phrase.

It's always embarrassing for a would-be mass murderer when some of his victims turn up alive, well, and eager to talk. Such was the case with Captain Stinson. Through a combination of amazing bravery, unselfish heroism, and sheer luck, many did survive the sinking of the William and Mary, and their incredible story ignited mass outrage.

In her latest book, "The Lost Story of the William & Mary," Gill Hoffs does a wonderful job of resurrecting this bizarre 1853 tragedy. It is a tale of hardship and adventure which highlights human nature at both its worst and best. I am delighted to help revive this unjustly obscure Victorian slice of The Weird by introducing a guest post by the author, where she looks at a peculiar footnote to her tale.  Read on, and ponder the riddle of The Two Diamonds:

HMS Tayleur

At a time when there were an average of three wrecks reported every day in British and Irish waters alone, the story of the White Star Line’s RMS Tayleur still stood out. This enormous iron clipper was sailing from Liverpool for Australia in January 1854 when a combination of bad luck and awful weather meant she wrecked 48 hours into her maiden voyage with shocking loss of life, despite the first to leave the ship literally jumping from the deck to the rocks beside her. While researching this tragedy for my book “The Sinking of RMS Tayleur: The Lost Story of the ‘Victorian Titanic’” (Pen & Sword, 2014, 2015), I looked at accounts of other shipwrecks of the time and discovered the long forgotten story of the William & Mary.

This ordinary emigrant ship met an extraordinary end in the Bahamas while sailing from Liverpool for New Orleans, when the vessel wrecked in a shallow channel and the captain and crew attempted mass murder (yes, really). Two very different emigrant ships, two unusual wrecks, one port of departure, and one other possible connection – a Jonah on board.

Out of approximately 700 people travelling toward the Australian Gold Rush on the RMS Tayleur that stormy January day, only 290 survived – and amongst them was a man travelling alone, John Diamond. Similarly, when the William & Mary holed on rocks eight months earlier, a John Diamond was able to escape the sinking ship in a longboat before being picked up by a passing vessel and returned to Liverpool.

The John Diamond who returned to England from the Bahamas appears in enough records to allow him to become one of the ‘stars’ in my latest shipwreck book, “The Lost Story of the William & Mary: The Cowardice of Captain Stinson” (Pen & Sword, 2016) – possibly enough information for a descendant reading this post to recognise him as an ancestor.

In 1851, this young Irishman married the pregnant eldest daughter of a mining family in Hartlepool in the north of England. Two years later, John and Susannah decided to emigrate to St Louis with her extended family so father and son-in-law could work in the mines there.  It was a tough voyage with a high mortality rate due in part to the lack of ship surgeon on board and the captain prescribing bacon to treat fever in passengers dying of measles and typhus.  Susannah and John’s little girl was among the 14 to die as the emigrant ship crossed the Atlantic. 
Below deck on an emigrant ship

When the captain and crew abandoned the sinking ship in the Bahamas, murdering several passengers with a hatchet as they did so, John Diamond went with them.  His pregnant wife screamed for him to come back but to no avail, and she threw her wedding ring into the water after him.  She went into labour prematurely and a Dutch doctor and midwife helped her deliver the child while she was partially submerged in the sea – literally up to her waist in water.  The baby died half an hour later but 19-year-old Susannah managed to stay alive for another 18 days, consumed with fear over the fate of her husband.  She reached the safety of the British Army barracks in Nassau then died of yellow fever, and is buried in the Bahamas.  Her family continued their journey to New Orleans then St Louis and eventually settled in Hangtown, California (so called because of the number of executions there). But what happened to Susannah’s widower?

There were around 160 adult John Diamonds of various spellings recorded in the UK census of 1851, several years prior to these wrecks. Many of the men had families, trades, or were considerably older than the average traveller looking to make their fortune in the Gold Rush or at the very least start a new life in glorious surroundings. The only information available regarding the John Diamond on RMS Tayleur is his name so it is impossible to narrow the search results down further. Did the grieving widower stay in Liverpool until a few months later when a ship meant to be one of the safest afloat sailed for Australia? Could they be one and the same? Possibly. This is just one of the many mysteries involved in these strange shipwrecks. If you can solve them, do get in touch!

Gill Hoffs is the author of “Wild: a collection” (Pure Slush, 2012) and two shipwreck books, “The Sinking of RMS Tayleur: The Lost Story of the ‘Victorian Titanic’” (Pen & Sword, 2014, 2015) and the recently released “The Lost Story of the William & Mary: The Cowardice of Captain Stinson” (Pen & Sword, 2016). She lives in Warrington, England, with Coraline Cat. If anyone has any information regarding the wrecks and the people involved, they can email her at gillhoffs@hotmail.co.uk or find her on twitter @GillHoffs.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Weekend Link Dump

As promised, all October Link Dumps are sponsored by the Halloween Cats!

What the hell are astral bells?

Who the hell was the Girl in Blue?  Now we know!

Watch out for those phantom cars!

Watch out for those orange bat-eating crocodiles!  Yes, I know that probably goes without saying.

That time Simon Bolivar met Ferdinand VII.  At a badminton match.

Smith Wigglesworth, who just couldn't let the dead rest in peace.

This week in Russian Weird: They're being invaded by spiders from Mars.

How hot is Hell, anyway?

A 17th century Icelander in India.

Blood suddenly materializes on your writing table.  I hate it whenever that happens.

A ghost saves a woman from bad plumbing.

The legacy of William the Conqueror.

Victorian butterflies.

Celebrating with transparencies and illuminations.

The execution of the Terror of Richmond.

Aboriginal astronomy.

The Battle of Hastings, as viewed by the losing side.

One very, very odd death.

Know your trolls!

Know your bodysnatchers!

Madame de Genlis on female education.

Remembering Edith Cavell.

The case of the disappearing boat.

An 18th century Irishman weighs in on French torture.

Another of those art world "Oopsie!" moments.  And this one's a whopper.

The first modern bookseller.

A chapel of bones.

Some accounts of execution by boat.

Digging up the Hellfire Club.

The legacy of Ben Jonson.

The murderous American 1820s.

The uniquely dreadful death of Giles Cory.

A historic 18th century French home.

Oh, just that characteristic Victorian good taste and sensitivity about death.

Ah, those Victorians.  Not even a bath of molten iron could get them down.

Historical prostitutes' symbols.

That's all for this week.  See you on Monday, when I will present Strange Company's first guest post!  In the meantime, here's Joseph Kraus, sometimes called "the Swedish Mozart."  Even though he was German.  Never mind, just have a listen:

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Newspaper Clipping of the Day

And here we have The Case of the Fortean Flower Pots. "St. Louis Post-Dispatch," December 28, 1896:

Mrs. Wm. Niedig of Belleville is a handsome young matron, buxom and high-spirited. She enjoys a good story and tells them herself in a way to convulse her listeners. She has a new one now. But she tells it in awed tones to only her most intimate friends, and they do not laugh.

It is a story of flower pots, not ordinary flower pots which sit demurely on the shelf and never say a word, but flower pots which make strange noises and dance about most unbecomingly. Mrs. Niedig is not superstitious, but flower pots that dance and hop about are not to her liking.

Mrs. Niedig has a very dear friend whose name until a few months ago was Mrs. Jennie Decker. She was a young and pretty widow with a literary bent, and she attracted the discriminating attention of Wm. T. Crouch, a photographer. Mr. Crouch has white hair and a patriarchal beard, but his cheeks are rosy and he is an inveterate punster. He is a prominent G. A. R. man, and belongs to most of the secret orders. He is also an excellent judge of female beauty. He proved this when he selected the attractive and intellectual Mrs. Decker for his third connubial companion. They were married and took a. trip to Chicago. Then they settled down in Belleville in the handsome and modern brick residence at Monroe street and Mascoutah avenue, which had been built by the second Mrs. Crouch. When the second Mrs. Crouch died about a year ago she left a will which occasioned much comment. She was possessed of considerable property, but she cut off her husband with a pittance. Mr. Crouch formally relinquished his rights under the will, and took instead what the law allowed him. which was much more than the bequest. She also gave detailed directions about the dimensions and cost of her tombstone and set aside a fund for keeping her grave green. One of her nieces was commissioned to perform the latter task. There were many other queer provisions, not all of which have been carried out. It is said that in life Mrs. Crouch No. 2 was credited with the ability to take care of herself and incidentally make it uncomfortable for those surrounding her. It is said "she had often threatened if things did not go to suit her after her death that she would return and give token of her displeasure in the usual way. She was very fond of flowers, and left behind her, when she went to heaven, a choice collection of beautiful flower pots. The widower did not share her love of posies, and after her death the pots were unceremoniously consigned to a dark corner of the cellar. His new wife appreciated the beauty of the pots, but it was perhaps only natural that she left them reposing in the cellar. A few days ago Mrs. Niedig called to see her friend. They were looking over the house and came to the cellar. Mrs. Niedig is also an enthusiastic floriculturist. She went into raptures over the beautiful pots. "Pick out half a dozen of them." said Mrs. Crouch, "and I will send them to your home." The pots were sent and Mrs. Niedig filled them with rare flowers and placed them on a broad window sill at her cosy home on East Main street and Douglas avenue. They had not been there long when they began to get prankish. Strange noises issued from them, Mrs. Niedig says, and they shifted about in a manner suggestive of spirit agency. Mrs. Niedig got nervous and kept a close watch on the uneasy pots.

Saturday she was sweeping at a far side of the room when the pots became restive. She stopped and looked up. As she did so the largest of the pots was hurled by unseen hands across the room. It crashed into fragments at her feet. Mrs. Niedig was entirely unnerved by the manifestation. She locked up the house and went down town. She found Mr. Crouch at the photograph gallery. He was as full of life as the flower pots and began to twit her about looking pale. She told him about the performance of the flower pots. He stopped joking and turned very pale himself. "If I were you." he said, very soberly and earnestly, "I would destroy those pots." Mrs. Niedig hurried back home. One by one she carried the pots into the back yard and dismantled them into small pieces. Then she breathed freely again and the color came back into her cheeks. Mrs. Niedig does not, as stated, believe in supernatural manifestations. She does not attempt to explain the phenomena which she witnessed, but she is very sure it all happened just as she says. She could not be induced now to accept anything which belonged to the lamented Mrs. Crouch.

If this is how Mrs. Crouch #2 felt about losing custody of flower pots she had once owned, one wonders what she had in store for the woman who appropriated her husband.

Just a thought.

Monday, October 10, 2016

The Killer Coroner and the Pesky Peacock

The moral of this week's post is: Never give gifts of peacocks. Also, don't get into quarrels with coroners. They are far too comfortable around dead bodies.

All this will soon become clear to you.

The central figure in our little cautionary tale is Dr. Hugh McCullough, coroner for Jefferson County, Kentucky. He lived with his wife Hattie and young son in what was--thanks to them--about to become one of the bloodiest neighborhoods in Louisville. Living across the street from them was the family of William and Perrina Owen.

The two couples had been friends for some years. The McCulloughs had even gifted the Owens with a peacock, and you can't get much more neighborly than that. Sadly, this suburban bliss ended in a big way on September 17, 1900.

On that fateful day, Mr. and Mrs. Owen got into a very noisy argument--so noisy that Hattie McCullough could follow every angry word. She snorted that Mr. Owen should beat his wife's face "into a jelly" and send her to an asylum. As it happened, the Owens' daughter Julia was passing by the McCullough house at that very moment. She overheard this remark, and couldn't wait to pass it on to her mother.

The good news is, this caused Perrina to forget about her anger towards her husband. The bad news is that she transferred her wrath to Mrs. McCullough. She marched over to her neighbor's and got into a flaming war of words with Hattie, after which she stalked back home. Things might have calmed down after this, if young Julia hadn't gone running to her mother again, this time with the complaint that Mrs. McCullough had called her a "damned strumpet." Perrina went dashing back to the McCullough home, and the whole exchange of insults was resumed.

Later that day, after he had learned what had happened, Hugh McCullough went over to the Owens and urged the two women to kiss and make up. Perrina responded to this peace offering with, "Yes, I will let it drop. It wouldn't do me any good to bring you into court, for you haven't got anything anyhow."

Without saying a word, McCullough turned on his heel and stalked off.

All was quiet, if not exactly peaceful, until September 24. The resumption in active hostilities was triggered by the Owen peacock. In the words of Mrs. Owen, "Two men who were in the employ of Mrs. McCullough came into my yard with a lighted lantern looking for a peafowl which the McCulloughs had given me some weeks ago, but which had made its escape some time yesterday afternoon. Not liking to have strange men walking around the yard after dark I ordered them off the place. The men left and a short time after Mrs. McCullough come to her front gate and demanded to know why I ordered them away." The two women got into yet another screaming match. Perrina Owens then turned to drowning out Mrs. McCullough's insults by singing the popular ballad "Ben Bolt" at the top of her lungs. Anyone who has ever heard the song will not be surprised that Hattie reacted by grabbing her revolver and firing a round of shots at the Owens home.

Mrs. McCullough then phoned her husband at his workplace with a demand that he hurry home and get in on the action. When he arrived, his lady handed him a gun.

At this point, the most rational thing Coroner McCullough could have done was flee town and never look back. Instead, he went over to the Owen house and snapped at Perrina, "Damn you, you will have to stop this trouble with my wife."

What happened next remains uncertain. Both warring parties gave widely varying and equally unreliable accounts. All we know for certain is that when Perrina's 21-year-old son George joined in the argument, the coroner wound up shooting him dead. The Owen family dog, a Newfoundland named Nell, was also fatally shot when--according to Hugh--the animal tried to attack him.

When the police came to arrest Dr. McCullough, the coroner made the only sensible remark attributed to anyone in this story: "Well, boys, it looks like I'm in trouble."

That night, the doctor gave an interview from his jail cell to a "Courier-Journal" reporter. McCullough claimed that he had only acted in self-defense. George Owen, he stated, had tried to attack him with a knife. McCullough went on to say that for years, the Owen family had been "terrorizing" the entire neighborhood. "They have always been obnoxious. The mother pried into the affairs of the neighbors and trouble often resulted. About two weeks ago they began their attacks on my wife and myself. They irritated us in every conceivable manner. It finally became unbearable and last week I reported them to the police." He added, "While I greatly regret the affair, yet it was thrust upon me, and I only acted as I should have done."

At the preliminary hearing, a policeman named Maurice Dooling testified that the morning after the murder, he found a knife near where George Owen had been standing when he was shot. Julia Owen, however, stated that she had seen Dooling himself plant the knife on the scene. Perrina Owen maintained that her son did not even own a knife.

The defendant gave his version of the tragedy. He declared that he went to the Owen house, not to commit murder, but to attempt another peace mission. When he arrived there, Mrs. Owen greeted him with "You [expletive deleted in all published reports,] get off my premises." Then McCullough heard George ordering the Newfoundland to attack him. "I saw the dog and Owen advancing and, as God is my judge, he had a knife in his hand. I shot the man first and then the dog. The dog weighed about 170 pounds. I shot because I believed my life was in danger."

McCullough added that a boarder at his home, Katie Hogan, had told him some days before that George was threatening to kill him. Hogan corroborated this claim. She also asserted that when the coroner went to the Owen house, he was not carrying a gun in his hand. She went on to say that "When he reached Mrs. Owen's house, I heard her call him a vile name and soon afterward her son stepped around a bush. I saw him draw his knife. He sicked the dog on Dr. McCullough and said, 'Now I have got you!' Then Dr. McCullough fired. I certainly saw the knife."

There was more spectacularly confusing testimony about this alleged knife. George's uncle, John Oyler, claimed that he searched the scene shortly after the murder, and found no knife. The two policemen who arrested McCullough stated that George indeed had had a knife, but they conceded they had been unable to find it. More witnesses from the Owen camp testified that George never carried a knife in his life.

The testimony all boiled down to a "They said/They said" situation, with both sides facing serious credibility issues. In the end, the jury sided with the prosecution sufficiently to order that McCullough stand trial for murder.

It was a busy time indeed for the McCullough family. In addition to the murder indictment, the coroner was also being charged with extorting money from local undertakers. On October 24, his wife was indicted for shooting at Mrs. Owen. Just for good measure, the eyewitness testimony claiming he planted the knife got Maurice Dooling charged with being an accessory after the fact.

The trial began on November 21. It essentially followed the same lines as the preliminary hearing, although in his opening remarks, the defense attorney managed to sneak in the interesting information that George Owen had once attacked his own father with a club, and that at the time of his death he was under a peace bond.

Several of the victim's friends took the stand. They testified that on the fatal night, they were lounging around with George outside a local saloon. They saw McCullough speeding by in his buggy, and they instantly suspected there would be trouble. George told them he was going home to defend his mother. One of George's friends, John Hawes, stated that he heard Mrs. Owen tell Dr. McCullough to get out of her yard. George said something that was inaudible to Hawes. McCullough responded with "What in the hell have you got to do with it?" The next thing Hawes heard was a gunshot. He claimed McCullough told bystanders, "If you don't shut up, I'll kill a couple more." This damning testimony was somewhat blunted when the defense was able to prove that Hawes was nearly deaf.

Perhaps the most surprising witness was Fred Krause, another friend of the dead man's. He proved to be a gift for the defense. He testified that contrary to what the prosecution was arguing, George did indeed sic his Newfoundland on the defendant. He added that McCullough had backed up several steps before firing his gun. (Confirmation for this last detail came from a doctor, who testified that George had no powder burns on his body, suggesting that the doctor was trying to retreat when he fired.) Unfortunately, no witness for either side was able to clear up the enduring riddle of whether George was holding a knife or not.

McCullough made a good witness for himself, coming off as "self-contained" and seemingly honest. He denied that his wife had given him a gun. His story was that he had gone to the Owen house in an entirely pacific spirit, only to be met with abuse from the fearsome Mrs. Owen. As he started to leave, he was confronted by George, who addressed him with unprintable words and ordered the dog to attack. When he saw that George was holding a knife, he knew that "my life was in danger." When the dog sprang at him, he felt he had no choice but to shoot.

With so much conflicting evidence, the character witnesses took on unusual importance. This also was to the defendant's advantage. While a parade of witnesses were willing to praise McCullough's good reputation, the dead man had fewer supporters. In fact, many were quite happy to declare that George Owen had been nothing less than a neighborhood menace.

After deliberating for half-an-hour, the jury returned a verdict of "Not Guilty." Dr. McCullough happily returned to his job. (The charge that he had solicited kickbacks from undertakers seems to have been dropped.) Fortunately, he appears to have provided no further corpses for his mortuary. Presumably, the charges against his wife and Officer Dooling were dismissed as well.

And before you ask, what became of the peacock is not recorded.

[Note: There was a characteristically weird sequel to this case. In 1904, William Owen, who had become a hopeless alcoholic, committed suicide by drinking whisky he had laced with carbolic acid.

Or did he? A Mrs. Joseph Stabb told the police that immediately after William died, the newly-minted widow told her, "Mrs. Stabb, I fixed that up for him and he got it--I am glad of it." When asked to clarify this startling remark, Perrina responded, "I mean that I put carbolic acid in whisky for him and he got it; that's what I mean." Investigation turned up the interesting fact that on the night William was poisoned, his wife had sent their son Rem to the druggist to buy carbolic acid. It was also learned that William was hated by his entire family, he had been heavily insured, and Mrs. Owen was to receive his army pension after his death.

Perrina Owen was arrested for murder. She changed her story. Instead of asserting that her husband killed himself, she now claimed that she had put the poison in the whisky to use as a household cleaner, and William drank it by accident.

Fortunately for Perrina, when Mrs. Stabb was put under oath, she also told a different tale. She denied that Mrs. Owen had boasted of murdering her husband. Instead, Perrina had merely said that she had put carbolic acid into the whisky to kill bedbugs, but she wouldn't mind if her worthless husband drank it as well. Lo and behold, a few minutes later, that was exactly what he did.

Mrs. Stabb's altered testimony led the judge to dismiss the charges against Mrs. Owen, and, like her old enemy Hugh McCullough, she was set free to go on her merry way.

One can only comment that old Louisville must have been a paradise for the homicidally-inclined.]

Friday, October 7, 2016

Weekend Link Dump

We are terribly proud to announce that for the entire month of October, the Link Dump will be sponsored by the Halloween Cats!

What the hell is the difference between Yeti, Bigfoot, and the Abominable Snowman?  Now you know!

Watch out for Spring-Heeled Jack!

Watch out for those bewitched cows!

Watch out for those kites!

Watch out for those Demon Hands!

Watch out for those Cigarette Fiends!

The Corpse Queen of Portugal.

All the vintage ghost-hunting tools you'll ever need.

The sad case of the blue cats.

A ship on top of an iceberg.

18th century English ladies and their hats.

Escaping the workhouse.

Amelia Dyer's infamous baby farm.

Egg folklore.

The Wailing Woman of Zululand.

The killer who painted Voltaire.

Speaking Esperanto.

A long-lost photographic record of life in a Swiss valley.

How to solve your own murder.

This week's Advice From Thomas Morris:  What not to do with a pencil, guys.

And a simply sad tale from the medical journals.

The other victim of the Lincoln assassination.

Ladies and gentlemen, meet the Iraqi Transport Minister.

The art world has one of those "Oopsie!" moments.

From the "history's odd couples" file: Sixtus V and Elizabeth I.

Gone down to Plimsoll's Mark.

The world's oldest fossils.

Singing your way to health.

The history of messages in bottles.

The mystery of the buried stone slab.

That time Napoleon met Goethe.

The soap opera life of Alys of France.

The execution of a Haitian tigress.

Flesh falls and blood rains.

Langevin, Royalist heroine.

WWI poetry.

How not to be buried alive.

Because I know you've been dying to ask me, "Undine, how do I make my fingertips pointy?"

Because I know your follow-up question would be, "Undine, do you know of any hotels where a ghost will sit on my chest?"

An 18th century hunting accident.

The reign of England's William IV.

The Great Scottish Bingo Panic.

An 18th century bandit.

Recreating a home in Pompeii:

Reconstruction of the House of Caecilius Iucundus in Pompeii from Livius Drusus on Vimeo.

Restoration Poisonous Beasts.

This week in Russian Weird:  Oh, just a bunch of Siberian headless skeletons.  

And there you go for this week.  See you on Monday, when we'll look at the time a peacock instigated a murder.  In the meantime, I leave you with, um, this:

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Newspaper Clipping of the Day

The star of the tenth installment of the "Boston Post's" "Famous Cats of New England"is the aptly named "Handsome."
The only punches now served at the Boston Press Club are served by Handsome, the club cat. An expert boxer, Handsome delivers upper-cuts and undercuts with a pep that betrays more than one-half of one per cent. The force of Jack Johnson and the speed of Carpentier are claimed for the Press Club cat by his champions which include practically every scribe in Boston from the cubbiest cub to the veterans of the Fourth Estate.

It is to Miss Josephine Leary, who presides over the culinary department that the club is indebted for the cat and the cat for his thorough training in the gentle art of self-defense. She brought him to the club and many a homesick young journalist dropping into the club in the wee small hours for a bit of a bite after a hard day finds cheer and comfort hanging over the club kitchen range and engaging in a few rounds with Handsome while Josie broils a steak and boils the coffee.

Since his arrival Handsome has known no other world but that of the Press Club. He never has been down on the street, taking his occasional walks on the neighboring roofs of fire escapes. He never seems obsessed with any desire to pursue the elusive birds that come up often to the window sills. Human society seems completely to satisfy him, due no doubt to the wide acquaintance he enjoys of distinguished people.
~December 17, 1920