<![CDATA[Ranker: Recent Politics & History Lists]]> http://www.ranker.com/list-of//politics--and--history?source=rss http://www.ranker.com/img/skin2/logo.gif Most Viewed Lists on Ranker http://www.ranker.com/list-of//politics--and--history?source=rss <![CDATA[How Moonshining Led Directly To NASCAR In Just A Few Easy Steps]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/how-moonshining-led-to-nascar/nicky-benson?source=rss

Many people may not realize this, but NASCAR and moonshine go hand in hand. How? Pretty directly - in fact, the early days of NASCAR were quite literally founded on hooch and trying to outrun the law. NASCAR-bootlegger history set its roots in the Prohibition era, when people tried to make extra cash by producing and transporting alcohol illegally. Future stock car racers resided primarily in Appalachia and modified their average-looking vehicles in order to evade police and get their moonshine safely to their destinations - and fast.

Daniel S. Pierce, author of Real NASCAR: White Lightning, Red Clay, and Big Bill France, didn't realize how heavily bootlegging influenced the founding of NASCAR. He had believed that the myth was overblown and was shocked to learn during his research that the origins of NASCAR were in fact deeply embedded in firewater. He noted, "Early car owners...were bootleggers. The thing that really surprised me was one of those things that was hiding in plain sight, that nobody talked about, was how many of the early promoters and track owners were people involved in bootlegging."

How Moonshining Led Directly To NASCAR In Just A Few Easy Steps, videos, history, politics & history, america, US history, other,

Bootleggers And Rumrunners Were Essential To Getting The Product Out To Anxious Consumers

The people who produced the illegal alcohol were called moonshiners, but those who actually smuggled and transported the hooch around town were known as bootleggers. The name dates back to colonial times when alcohol smugglers would conceal their drinks inside their large riding boots. Eventually, bootleggers upgraded their methods and began using cars to move their product instead. Rumrummers were essentially the same as bootleggers, except they moved their products by sea, usually hiding it below deck in the ship's cargo area.

Bootleggers Had A Big Advantage Over Other, Less-Experienced Drivers

The most famous bootlegger-turned-NASCAR driver was Junior Johnson, and he was convinced that his experience transporting moonshine gave him an edge on the race track. He even told NASCAR.com:

"It gave me so much advantage over other people that had to train and learn how to drive. When I sat down in that seat the first race I ever ran, it was a backseat to what I'd already been through. I had did all them spinning deals sideways and stuff like that. It just made my job so much easier than anybody I had seen come along and go into it. Never, ever, did I see a guy who could take a car any deeper than I could and save it, as long as I raced."

The Faster The Car, The Better The Bragging Rights

Moonshiners gained so much practice running away from cops that they soon started racing one another to see who in fact was the fastest driver. In 1947, Big Bill France organized a meeting with other car drivers, owners, and mechanics in Daytona, FL, to set up the official racing rules. The result of this meeting was the creation of the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR). The first official NASCAR race then took place on February 15, 1948, on the beach in Daytona. The majority of the drivers had a history of moonshining, and Red Byron, a notorious bootlegger, won the very first race.

The Term Moonshining Originally Referred To Any Job That Was Performed At Night – But It Didn't Stay That Way For Long

The word "moonshining" originated in England, and at first it referred to any job or activity that was performed at night. During the period of time between 1920 and 1933 when the United States banned alcohol production and consumption - AKA Prohibition - people didn't stop making the products illegally, they just adapted their methods of production and distribution accordingly. Brew masters secretly operated illegal whiskey stills at night with the goal of avoiding the attention of the authorities. These men became known as moonshiners, their wares were moonshine, and those who distributed their illicit products became known as bootleggers. In the dark of the night, all they could do was hope that no one would notice the smoke billowing up from the stills.

The Famous Ford Model T Was A Favorite Among Serious Bootleggers

One of the most famous moonshiners, Raymond Parks, operated his bootlegging operation with the help of the Ford Model T. At the time, a majority of the cars on the road were Model Ts, so it wasn't hard to travel around unnoticed. Ironically, Henry Ford was an avid Prohibitionist.

The Ford V-8 1939 and '40 coupe were also particularly popular among bootleggers. Mechanics would bore out the cylinders, install specially designed cam shafts, and completely rebuild the carburetors to allow them to generate more power - essentially turning them into hot rods. Mechanics would also swap in engines from Cadillac ambulances to make them even faster.

NASCAR legend Junior Johnson (who was himself once a bootlegger) favored the 1961 Chrysler New Yorker with its V-8 engine and large amount of cargo space. He even installed a switch that could turn off his tail lights and brake lights in order to more easily escape from authorities.

To Avoid The Law, Bootleggers Souped-Up Their Cars

In the 1930s, '40s, and '50s, bootleggers drove what appeared to be average cars - except they were filled to the brim with moonshine and had much more powerful engines than any passers-by would expect. These vehicles were anything but stock. Their engines were boosted so the bootleggers could outrun police and tax authorities. Often, the bootleggers eliminated the back seats entirely in order to fit more alcohol into their vehicles. And to prevent the jars of moonshine from shattering during high-seed transport on switchback turns and bumpy back roads, the cars were fitted with super-stiff suspensions. As a result, bootleggers were able to drive around with upward of 100 gallons of moonshine inside their cars at any given time without raising any suspicions.

Southerners Relied On Their Moonshine For Income

As early as the 1700s, officials started taxing liquor. So, in order to earn some extra money on the side, southern farmers and immigrants began mass producing their own moonshine in secret – tax free. Moonshine became a huge income generator for people in Appalachia during the early 20th century, particularly in areas entrenched in poverty. And when the Prohibition laws were enacted, moonshiners simply increased their production quotas and fed the demand for illegal hooch.

Fri, 04 Aug 2017 02:14:49 PDT http://www.ranker.com/list/how-moonshining-led-to-nascar/nicky-benson
<![CDATA[Donald Trump's Dad Was Arrested At A KKK Rally 90 Years Ago]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/fred-trump-arrested-kkk-rally/amandasedlakhevener?source=rss

On Memorial Day, 1927, over 1,000 robed and hooded members of the KKK marched on two different boroughs of New York City. Fred Trump, father of Donald Trump, was arrested at the rally and parade in Queens. Word of Fred Trump's KKK arrest first made headlines in 2015, when Matt Blum, a writer for the website BoingBoing, discovered it in an archived issue of the New York Times. He went on to investigate the Trump KKK allegiances, and discovered more than one article tying Fred Trump to the incident. Although Fred wasn't officially charged with any crimes that day, his documented arrest just lends credence to the theory that Trump and the KKK are intertwined. 

Donald Trump's Dad Was Arrested At A KKK Rally 90 Years Ago,

Two Men Were Killed At A Combined Pro-Fascism And KKK Rally In The Bronx On Memorial Day In 1927

In 1927, a rally took place in the Bronx. It had members of the KKK and the pro-Italian fascism movement on one side, and anti-fascists on the other. Italian fascism proponents and their opponents skirmished in the Bronx, and two men – both on the pro-Italian fascism side – were killed. In Jamaica, Queens, 1,000 Klansmen descended, rallying around the idea that "native-born Protestant Americans [should] organise to protect one flag, the American flag; one school, the public school; and one language, the English language." This rally took place on Memorial Day.

Seven Men Wearing Klan Robes Were Arrested At The KKK Rally That Same Day In Queens – Among Them Was Fred Trump

Of the 1,000 members of the KKK who marched through the streets of Jamaica, Queens, that day, seven were arrested after a massive fight broke out. One of those men was Fred Trump, the father of one Donald John. The others were John E. Kapp, John Marcy, Harry J. Free, Thomas Erwin, Fred Lyons, and Thomas Carroll. According to records, police arrested Trump for "refusing to disperse from [the] parade when ordered to do so." All of the men arrested wore white Klan robes. 

Fred Trump Reportedly Refused To Rent Homes To Minorities Throughout His Life

In 1973, Fred Trump was hit with a Civil Rights lawsuit for refusing to rent homes to African Americans. One of his rental agents testified against him, claiming that Trump ordered him to not rent to black people and even wanted him to force existing black tenants out of his properties. The lawsuit was settled in 1975, but the Justice Department stated on record that "racially discriminatory conduct by Trump agents has occurred with such frequency that it has created a substantial impediment to the full enjoyment of equal opportunity."

Fred Trump Was Released Without Charges, Although Several Of The Men He Was With Were Charged With Assault

Authorities charged the men arrested at the Jamaica, Queens, rally with things like felonious assault, third degree assault, and disorderly conduct. The first two charges were related to an attack on two policemen – William O'Neill, and Sergeant W. Lockyer. The bail amounts for several of the assailants were between $500 and $1,000 ($7,000 and $14,000 in today's money, respectively). One man, Fred Trump, was simply discharged, or not formally charged with any crimes. 

The KKK Claimed That The Police Were Out Of Line At The Rally

In an article from the June 3, 1927 issue of the Richmond Hill newspaper, James P. Conlan, a marshal for the Jamaica division of the KKK claimed that the police were to blame for the brawl. He said:

"Police action was atrocious and entirely unwarranted. Police performed atrocities which were unpardonable. Without their interference the parade would have been perfect. I am a Knights of Columbus man and I do not agree with the principles of the Klan, but I do believe they should have been granted permission to participate in any parade to honor dead war veterans."

Apologias for Klan gatherings – and the desire to place the violence they incite onto others – is no new impulse, apparently.

Because He Likes Alternative Facts So Much, Donald Trump Denied That His Father Was Ever Arrested – But He Was

When asked about his father's involvement in the KKK, Donald Trump denied it. After admitting that his father lived on Devonshire Rd – at the house where the 1927 New York Times article stated he did – Donald backtracked and claimed that they lived at a different address. While it is true that Fred Trump was never charged for his actions at the KKK parade, he was indeed arrested for them. 

At The Time Of The Rally, Fred Trump Was 21 Years Old And Already A Successful Businessman

Fred Trump was born in 1905, making him 21 years old in May of 1927. He wasn't a naive 21 year old either. By the time he was halfway through high school, he already owned a construction business that built garages. Throughout his late teens, Trump's business increased, and he began constructing entire houses. It's safe to say that he wasn't the average 21 year old – he was a mature business owner who was aware of the decisions that he made, including one to participate in a nativist, xenophobic Klan rally. 

Folk Musician Woody Guthrie Called Out Fred Trump In Two Songs

Woody Guthrie, who once lived in a Brooklyn apartment owned by Fred Trump, called out the man's racist beliefs in the song "Old Man Trump," as well as in one titled "I Ain't Got No Home." Several lyrics of the "Old Man Trump" indict Trump's deep hatred: "I suppose/ Old Man Trump knows/ Just how much/ Racial Hate/ He stirred up." "I Ain't Got No Home" includes the lyrics: "Beach haven looks like heaven/ where no black ones come to roam/No, no no! Old Man Trump." 

A Flyer Promoting The Rallies Claimed That Catholic NYC Cops Were Targeting Native-Born Protestants

Although most people picture the KKK lynching African Americans – which is undoubtedly something they've gotten up to in their sordid history – they are also against other groups of people, including Catholics, Jews, and immigrants of all types. Put simply, if your ancestors are not in the WASP (White Anglo-Saxon Protestant) category, then the Klan probably doesn't like you. The 1927 rally was promoted as being against the "Catholic police of New York City" who, they claimed, regularly assaulted "Native-born Protestant Americans." 

1927 Marked The First Time That The Klan Paraded In NYC

William J. Simmons, an Imperial Wizard, started the new version of the Klan in 1915. He used the fear of immigrants to help spark this new movement of hatred. This nouveau KKK spread beyond the South and into the North, leading up to Memorial Day of 1927 which is when the first-ever Klan parade in New York City took place. Prior to this, they paraded throughout the South, but never in as diverse a place as NYC, at least, as far as Patrick F. Scanlan recalled. 

Thu, 17 Aug 2017 07:46:10 PDT http://www.ranker.com/list/fred-trump-arrested-kkk-rally/amandasedlakhevener
<![CDATA[The Quiet 25-Year Long Genocide That Destroyed The Congolese People]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/congo-free-state-belgian-atrocities/hugh-landman?source=rss

African colonialism is replete with stories of mass death and horrific acts of violence committed in the name of European imperialism. The Congo Free State history is not unique in that regard, but it is one of the worst lesser-known genocides in history. The Congo Free State was formed in 1885 after Belgian King Leopold II, one of the cruelest leaders in history, convinced his European peers that he should be in charge of a territory over 70 times the size of his own country. Leopold promised that he would civilize the Congo while also exploiting its natural resources and trading with the region. 

However, the civilization that Leopold had in mind was a grotesque vision that ended in human tragedy. The Europeans forced the Africans to work without pay, justifying their actions by saying that the labor was in exchange for civilizing the natives. Far from creating the trappings of what was considered civilized, the modern world committed atrocities against the people living in the Congo that lasted for nearly 25 years. The result was mass murder, kidnappings, and genocide on an unimaginable scale. 

The Quiet 25-Year Long Genocide That Destroyed The Congolese People,

The Belgians Enslaved The Entire Population

King Leopold II ran the Congo Free State as a business and sought to have the lowest labor costs possible. At first, Leopold bought slaves from human traffickers for the rubber gathering operation. However, this practice didn't last long as Leopold realized he could just enslave the whole population. He chased Muslim slavers away from the Congo and announced it to the world as a humanitarian act. He then created a system of forced labor, where women and children of the villages throughout the Congo were kept hostage as men were required to fill harsh quotas of wild rubber. 

Locals Were Often Flogged To Death

The consequences for not reaching rubber and ivory quotas were harsh. Slaves who failed to gather the requisite amount of resources were brutally whipped. Reports noted that a typical flogging was 25 lashes for just minor infractions. People who committed more serious crimes in the eyes of their masters would face 100 lashes, and those who received such a sentence often died. The tool of choice for the whipping was a chicotte, a hippopotamus hide whip that was so sharp it could easily break the skin in a few strokes. 

Victims Were Sometimes Cannibalized

An account from the Congo Free State shows the extent of the barbarity and horror of daily life under King Leopold II. In 1904, a man named Nsala failed to reach his rubber quota. That very same day, local overseers, who had been hired by the Belgians, came to punish him for failing to gather enough wild rubber. They cut off the hand and foot of his five year-old daughter, murdered her, and then murdered his wife. More terrible still, they cannibalized the bodies of his loved ones in a final act of cruelty. 

The Congo Free State Was Created Without The Actual, Informed Consent Of The People Of The Congo

The Congo Free State was founded under the claim of colonialism, an arrangement where a stronger country imposes itself on a weaker one for economic and political gain. King Leopold II of Belgium sent British explorer Henry Morton Stanley to the Congo to create treaties with the rulers of the region. From 1879 to 1884, Stanley made over 400 treaties with many of the rulers, who were illiterate. He brought these documents back to Leopold, who then doctored them to achieve his purposes. 

The Congo Free State was officially founded when the Berlin West Africa Conference of 1884-85 sanctioned the formation of the state with Leopold as its ruler. There was no period of time when the people he had sovereignty over elected him. Leopold also never visited the Congo. 

Villagers Were Drowned En Masse

A witness to the atrocities in the Congo Free State reported that cruel punishments knew no bounds. At times, entire villages were punished for missing their rubber quotas and were "swept clean." One example is the fate of the people of Boyeka. A guard selected ten of the villagers, ensnared them in a large net, tied rocks to it, and pushed them into a river to drown. 

Forced Labor Led To Famine Conditions

The forced labor that the Belgian administrators imposed upon the people of the Congo Free State had a devastating effect on society. Because most men were forced to collect rubber and women were taken hostage, few people were left to produce the necessary food or medicine to care for their villages. This led to famine-like conditions, where many people starved to death or died from common health problems that could easily have been corrected.

Soldiers Had To Prove Their Kills With Severed Hands And Decapitated Heads

A boom in the rubber industry in the 1890s gave birth to gruesome practices in the Congo Free State. Out of greed, King Leopold imposed higher and higher quotas of wild rubber to be gathered throughout the villages in the country. If a village failed to meet the quota, some of its members were taken away and shot. Other times, Leopold's army would take women as hostages to "encourage" men to fil the rubber quotas even faster. Because of the death and cruelty associated with the profitable resource, it became known as "red rubber." 

Leopold was in the business of making money. Because bullets cost money, he imposed strict rules about the use of ammunition. Soldiers had to prove that they were shooting to kill humans and not just wasting their bullets. They were required to bring a severed head as proof that they had killed someone. Oftentimes, soldiers would cut off the hands of their victims to show that their ammunition was used to catch fleeing villagers. 

A Private Army Enforced Order

King Leopold II employed a 16,000 man army called the the Force Publique in order to ensure that rubber gatherers didn't rise up against the Belgians. The Force Publique was largely made up of African mercenary soldiers, led by a couple hundred European officers. As an unruly and savage army, they wreaked havoc and cruelty wherever they went. They decapitaed tribal chiefs who didn't obey them, set fire to villages, brutally murdered the children and wives of men who refused to collect rubber, and ruthlessly crushed any signs of rebellion. 

Villages Were Brutally Slaughtered If The Rubber They Offered Was Not The Best

Even when villages met the rubber quotas, they were sometimes still punished. In 1896, the town of Bandakea Wijiko was massacred because the rubber they collected was deemed to be less than perfect. Congo State soldiers went into the village and killed 50 of its inhabitants, taking 28 people as prisoners. Every one of the dead bodies had its right hand chopped off by the soldiers. 

A Legendary Explorer's Legacy Became Dark Through His Association With Leopold

Henry Morton Stanley is known for exploring Africa through various expeditions. His stories and journeys "enthralled the public," with figures like Mark Twain commenting: 

"When I contrast what I have achieved in my measurably brief life with what [Stanley] has achieved in his possibly briefer one, the effect is to sweep utterly away the ten-story edifice of my own self-appreciation and leave nothing behind but the cellar."

By 1887, Stanley was on his third expedition to Africa, which was ordered by King Leopold II. At some point, Stanley and a few other men pushed ahead, leaving a group of others behind. The men left behind were slowly bringing up the rear and committing horrifying atrocities along the way. They were accused of rape, starving their African workers, beating locals, buying women, and shooting people for minor crimes. Stanley's reputation and popularity steadily began plummeting into darkness over the next century as he was criticized for his association with Leopold and colonialism. 

Fri, 14 Jul 2017 07:31:07 PDT http://www.ranker.com/list/congo-free-state-belgian-atrocities/hugh-landman
<![CDATA[Roman Emperor Elagabalus Was A Sex-Crazed Torture Fiend Who May Have Invented The Whoopie Cushion]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/naughtiest-things-emperor-elagabalus-did/carly-silver?source=rss

When it comes to the weirdest royals throughout history, Emperor Elagabalus might be the craziest of all. He was the Roman emperor for a brief time from 218-222, but he packed a lot of scandal into those years. It's hard to separate the fact from the fiction in these legends about him, but with tales this eye-popping, who would want to?

A devotee of the Syrian god he was named for, Elagabalus brought the deity's cult to Rome and tried to make it the main religion of the empire. He wasn't above violence, either; Emperor Elagabalus stories have him torturing unsuspecting guests while they dined on weird cuisine, and even making human sacrifices. But he got the most attention for his sex life. Elagabalus had multiple wives as well as a husband, and some reports suggest he was transsexual and enjoyed dressing up in traditional female garb.

If that wasn't intriguing enough, consider this: Elagabalus was only 14 when he became emperor. The good times didn't last. At the age of 18, the young emperor was slain by his own soldiers.

Roman Emperor Elagabalus Was A Sex-Crazed Torture Fiend Who May Have Invented The Whoopie Cushion,

He Was Rumored To Sacrifice Children To His God

Elagabalus was already considered a barbarian, due in part to his Syrian heritage. The Historia Augusta took that one step further, alleging that Elagabalus killed children in honor of his son god:

"Elagabalus also sacrificed human victims, and for this purpose he collected from the whole of Italy children of noble birth and beautiful appearance, whose fathers and mothers were alive, intending, I suppose, that the sorrow, if suffered by two parents, should be all the greater. Finally, he kept about him every kind of magician and had them perform daily sacrifices, himself urging them on and giving thanks to the gods because he found them to be well-disposed to these men; and all the while he would examine the children's vitals and torture the victims after the manner of his own native rites."

It's unlikely these claims were true, though; human sacrifice was rarely practiced in Syria or Rome at the time.

He Tortured Guests On A Water Wheel

The Historia Augusta records one of Elagabalus's least charming supposed habits: torturing his guests. He reportedly strapped them to a water wheel, "plunge them into the water and then bring them back to the surface again, calling them meanwhile river-Ixions."

In Greco-Roman mythology, Ixion was a man who tried to rape Hera. To punish him, Zeus condemned him to be strapped to a spinning wheel in the Underworld for eternity.

He Opened The Royal Baths To Attract Well-Endowed Men

It would have been blasphemous for an emperor to bathe in public, let alone with the public. But Elagabalus didn't care. He opened the palace baths and the baths of Plautinus to the general populace, but he had an ulterior motive: "by this means he might get a supply of men with unusually large organs."

That wasn't all he did. Elagabalus supposedly "also took care to have the whole city and the wharves searched for onobeli, as those were called who seemed particularly lusty." The word is a rough combination of the Greek words for "donkey" and "weapon," and you can fill in the blanks from there.

He Had Five Wives – And One Husband

Elagabalus married five women while he was emperor. Historians only know the names of three of the women, but perhaps the most famous was Aquilia Severa. According to the Historia Augusta, she was a Vestal Virgin, sworn to chastity and the worship of the goddess Vesta. That didn't deter Elagabalus. He violated her vows and married her, declaring that their union would produce "godlike children."

Rumor had it that Elagabalus also married a man. His identity is unknown, but it was likely one of Elagabalus's favorites: either the athlete Zoticus or the chariot driver Hierocles. Apparently, Elagabalus liked to get "caught" in flagrante delicto by his husband.

He Enforced Worship Of His Favorite God

Before he was emperor, the Syrian-born Elagabalus served as priest of the sun god Elagabalus, hence his name. He was originally called Varius, supposedly as a cruel joke: "The name Varius, some say, was given him by his school-fellows because he seemed to be sprung from the seed of 'various' men, as would be the case with the son of a harlot." Later, he adopted the names Antoninus (to make himself seem more Roman) and Elagabalus.

The emperor imported Elabagalus's worship to Rome, neglecting governmental duties in favor of making his patron deity the first and foremost god. He built the god a super temple near the Palatine Hill and tried to give him the most sacred emblems of Roman religion, including the fires of Vesta and the Palladium. He planned to incorporate all faiths under worship of Elagabalus.

To worship Elagabalus, the emperor conducted "barbarian" rites in public. According to Herodian, "Accompanied by flutes and drums, he went about performing, as it appeared, orgiastic service to his god."

He May Have Invented The Whoopee Cushion

Feasts at Elagabalus's place were anything but tame. Instead of seating his guests on cushions, according to the Historia Augusta, "some of his humbler friends he would seat on air-pillows instead of on cushions and let out the air while they were dining." The cushions deflated, and the flabbergasted guests would slide under the table without anything to support them.

He Pranked People By Siccing Animals On Them

Elagabalus loved playing jokes on dinner party guests. During the dessert course, the emperor would let in lions and leopards, "which had been rendered harmless and trained by tamers... causing an amusing panic, for none knew that the beasts were harmless."

Once, Elagabalus collected a ton of snakes and then let them loose in a crowd, "when the populace usually assembled for the more frequented games, and many people were injured by their fangs as well as in the general panic."

Even the streets weren't safe: Elagabalus also had a habit of riding chariots driven by exotic animals like camels or elephants.

He Created A Senate Just For Women

The Roman senate was just for men... that is, until Elagabalus came along. According to the Historia Augusta, "He also established a senaculum, or women's senate, on the Quirinal Hill." This organization wasn't particularly great for women, though; under the influence of Elagabalus's mother, they set restrictive rules regarding what matrons could wear, how they could ride, and who could wear gold shoes.

It's unclear whether this all-female senate actually existed, but Elagabalus's female relatives did seem to play important roles in his reign. But if he did create the senaculum, it wouldn't necessarily have been out of his drive to bring more rights to women. More likely, it was an insult to the existing senate, as "He often showed contempt for the senate, calling them slaves in togas."

He Enjoyed Dressing As A Woman

Elagabalus reportedly often dressed as a woman. He clad himself as the goddess Venus, wearing a crown and makeup. He also bathed with women and removed his body and facial hair, just as they did. His decadent dress and expensive habits also feminized him in the eyes of Roman chroniclers. Perhaps, as some have suggested, Elagabalus would have identified as transgender in modern times.

He Smothered Visitors With Flowers

Elagabalus loved nice-smelling things. According to the Historia Augusta, "He used to strew roses and all manner of flowers, such as lilies, violets, hyacinths, and narcissus, over his banqueting-rooms, his couches and his porticoes, and then stroll about in them."

Sometimes that love of flowers went a little too far. Reportedly, at one party Elagabalus released tons of flowers from the ceiling of the room, covering his guests in blooms. "Some were actually smothered to death, being unable to crawl out to the top," while the emperor looked on in amusement.

Tue, 25 Jul 2017 02:22:12 PDT http://www.ranker.com/list/naughtiest-things-emperor-elagabalus-did/carly-silver
<![CDATA[Parents Used To Literally Mail Their Babies Because It Was Cheaper Than Public Transit]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/history-of-parents-mailing-children-to-save-money/lisa-a-flowers?source=rss

When American Parcel Post services launched on January 1, 1913, citizens suddenly found themselves with a revelatory new way of getting objects from point A to point B. And back in those days, "objects" often meant parcels in the form of unlikely entities like live chickens, bizarre medical supplies (such as cadavers), and even flesh-and-blood tots themselves. Yes, children were sent through the mail.

The history of mailing babies is whimsical rather than shocking, however: kids were always chaperoned to their destinations, not sealed up in boxes with breathing holes. In fact, most people thought of the process in terms of purely economical advantage: it was far cheaper to send one's child through the post than it was to buy him or her a train ticket-proper. Eventually, the practice was deemed inappropriate, and it gradually fell out of fashion, but not before some folks took full advantage of posting their progeny.

Parents Used To Literally Mail Their Babies Because It Was Cheaper Than Public Transit,

All Sorts Of Bizarre Things Were Also Sent Through The Mail

If you can believe it, children were by no means the most bizarre packages being ushered through the postal system back in the day. As the Washington Post explains

"When the parcel service began, all kinds of cargo showed up in the mail stream, including coffins, eggs, and dogs." 

There were also a host of other questionable items being dispatched, like taxidermied animals, deadly and inadequately contained medical specimens (like the Smallpox virus), dead fish, and even buildings themselves, which were mailed to their destinations in crushingly dense blocks of bricks.

Postmen Were Sort Of Like Temporary Nannies

The early and mid 1900s represented a simpler, safer time For that reason, local postmen were often beloved figures who were widely trusted by the citizens they worked for. By most accounts,

"The mail carrier was considered a crucial part of communities—a touchstone with family and friends far away from each other, a bearer of important news and goods. In some ways, Americans trusted their postmen with their lives (and ... with their babies!)."

In other words, the mailman was right up there with the stork: both could be counted on to deliver the goods.

Mailing Children Was Generally Looked Upon Favorably

Since the image of the mailed child was largely a charming and quaint one, the practice wasn't seen as cruel and unusual by most people. Indeed, the paper mail seemed to have had more problems arriving at its destination on time: there are no records of any mailed children suffering mishaps in transit or not reaching their recipients as scheduled. By most accounts, the Postmaster General's decision to outlaw the practice really had more to do with possible legal ramifications down the line (after all, nobody wanted their child to end up in the "dead letter" office).

One Child Traveled A Whopping 720 Miles

The longest child-postal journey was undertaken by one Edna Neff of Pensacola, FL, a 6 year old who created a stir when she was "mailed" to her father in Christianburg, VA, which was 720 miles away. However, Neff's trip – primarily because of its exhausting length and distance – was met with criticism rather than whimsical amusement, and it ended up being a major factor in child-mailing becoming illegal in 1915. 

The First Baby To Be Mailed Was 8 Months Old

The first baby to be delivered via mail was one James Beagle, an eight month old who, at just under 11 pounds, was still technically under the weight limit that the postal service was imposing at the time. The child was mailed to his grandparents, who only lived a few miles away; so, fortunately for the tot, the journey was not arduous. (Indeed, sources claim that he slept most of the way there). According to the Smithsonian, James cost a mere 15 cents in postage – a "discount rate" if ever there was one. However, his parents also "insured" him for $50.00, which was no small charge back then. James's journey created a sensation, and it established a child mailing trend that would continue for several years to come.

Children Weren't "Packaged" In The Traditional Way

Children weren't exactly wrapped up like the standard box of Christmas gifts. Instead, as the Washington Post put it, they were "more like companions or well-swaddled bundles in the arms of their carriers." (In some cases, in fact, depending on the distance in question, they merely trotted along with the postman as he went on his route, and were "delivered" along with the rest of the mail).

(Some) Humans Still Try To Mail Themselves

Think the days of human parcels are over? Not so. In 1980, one William DeLucia caused a scandal when he packed himself in an airborne trunk along with food and an oxygen tank, as the US Postal Museum explains it. Upon arriving/landing at his intended post office, "he climbed out, pilfered thousands of dollars’ worth of goods from the registered mail, and sealed himself back up."

Granted: these were the days before scrupulous airport security and state-of-the-art package screening. Nevertheless, DeLucia's plan was foiled by way of a mishap: he was arrested at the Atlanta airport "after his trunk popped open as it was being unloaded."

Mailed Children Could Be As Old As 6

As postal-weight restrictions shifted and relaxed, older children began to be mailed, as well. (Though they technically weren't being sent as packages proper, so weight wasn't really an issue). In 1914, a four year old named Charlotte May Pierstorff was "delivered" via train to her grandparents, who lived about 74 miles away. The little girl's journey was widely publicized, and it charmed the public ... so much so that it inspired a now-legendary children's book, Mailing May.

As the Smithsonian put it:

"Luckily, little May wasn’t unceremoniously shoved into a canvas sack along with the other packages. As it turns out, she was accompanied on her trip by her mother’s cousin, who worked as a clerk for the railway mail service ... it’s likely that his influence (and his willingness to chaperone his young cousin) is what convinced local officials to send the little girl along with the mail."

Even After It Was Technically Illegal, Some People Still Mailed Their Children

Though the practice of mailing children was formally outlawed in 1915, restrictions were rarely enforced ... perhaps because so few people were in the habit of UPSing their offspring by then. Nevertheless,  a handful of kids were mailed and delivered between 1914 and 1915; and by the time 1916 rolled around, the practice had ceased.

Classifying Your Child As "Mail" Meant Lower Rates

It was all well and good to be a rich kid who could afford to travel in a luxurious, first-class train compartment, but if you were a working-class child, things weren't that easy. That's why sending children by post was considered, by many, to be a sensible economic solution. In some cases, in fact, the deliveries even took place off the record. Many who knew and trusted their small-town postmen would simply ask them to escort their child from point A to point B, and the whole arrangement really wasn't all that different from giving a cab driver a few extra bucks to go the extra mile.

Wed, 16 Aug 2017 09:36:44 PDT http://www.ranker.com/list/history-of-parents-mailing-children-to-save-money/lisa-a-flowers
<![CDATA[Even Robert E. Lee Opposed Confederate Statues]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/robert-e-lee-opposed-confederate-statues/stephanroget?source=rss

On August 11 and 12, 2017, a far-right movement called “Unite the Right” marched in protest of the removal of a Robert E. Lee statue in Charlottesville, Virginia. While the angry and hateful group of “protestors” made their motivations and justifications abundantly clear, it was also clear that none of them had stopped to check what Robert E. Lee’s thoughts on Confederate monuments were. Robert E. Lee after the Civil War was a different person than the one who led the Confederates against the Union, and his opinions would probably shock some far-righters – if they weren’t certain to denounce it as “fake news” rather than listening to its message. Lee opposed erecting Civil War monuments of any kind, and he specifically denounced the raising of Confederate statues.

If the leader of the Confederacy opposed raising Confederate monuments, where does the push to build them come from? Perhaps unsurprisingly, the answer is embedded in America’s long and troubling history of racism, particularly racism in the South. There can be little doubt that the current efforts to fight Confederate monument removal have similar roots.

Even Robert E. Lee Opposed Confederate Statues,

Confederate Monuments Started Appearing In Earnest During The Jim Crow Era

The Civil War ended in 1865, and, although a few Confederate statues were erected in the immediate aftermath, they didn’t really start to appear in earnest until the Jim Crow era, which began in the late 1870s and continued into the 20th century. During this time, black rights were rolled back in the South via the system of Jim Crow laws. These racist laws restricted the personal freedoms of black folks, who had been federally protected in the immediate wake of the Civil War, and the laws began to enforce segregation. Eventually, black Americans were even stripped of their right to vote in some states. During this time period in which white supremacy was being asserted in the South, dozens of Confederate monuments were built.

The Trend Really Took Off In The Era Of Lynching

The construction of Confederate monuments really began to take off as the era of lynching began. Emboldened by continued segregation and the “success” of Jim Crow laws, racists were at their peak in the South as the 20th century began. The Klu Klux Klan saw a resurgence in power, and racially motivated lynchings became a frighteningly common event. This was the peak of post-Civil War white supremacy in America, and it was a time period that saw hundreds of Confederate monuments go up.

Confederate Statue Erections Steadily Decreased, Until The Civil Rights Era, When They Exploded Once Again

As white supremacy died down in America for a few decades, simmering in hateful wait, there was a corresponding drop in the construction of Confederate monuments. Any brief upticks followed events like race riots or the rise of worldwide fascism, and the common denominator was clear – when race became a hot-button issue in America, or when people of color began to share the same longstanding rights of white people, the South responded by putting up Confederate monuments. The last big push to memorialize the Confederates came during the Civil Rights era – immediately after the Brown v. Board of Education case ended segregated schooling. Disturbingly, this era saw a particular increase in the number of schools named after Confederates. After the Civil Rights era, Confederate monument making continued to drop drastically, but it never disappeared completely.

What Does All Of This Mean For The Charlottesville Dialogue?

Some of the dialogue from the Right in the wake of the horrors of Charlottesville indicates that the alt-right “protestors” were in the right because they were protecting their heritage. In fact, the President himself said as much, ranting:

“Not all of those people were neo-Nazis, believe me. Not all of those people were white supremacists by any stretch. Those people were also there because they wanted to protest the taking down of a statue, Robert E. Lee. You take a look at some of the groups and you see and you would know it if you were honest reporters, which in many cases you are not.” Doubling down, the President continued with, “Many of those people were there to protest the taking down of the statue of Robert E. Lee. This week, it is Robert E. Lee and this week, Stonewall Jackson. Is it George Washington next? You have to ask yourself, where does it stop?”

It’s a diatribe that ignores the painfully obvious true history of Confederate monuments. The data is clear, and it shows that constructing statues of Civil War soldiers and naming schools after generals has always been about asserting Southern and white supremacy. That’s something that was also made perfectly clear in Charlottesville by the actions of the alt-right marchers, who carried torches and chanted hateful slogans. This was always about race, and both “protestors” and counter-protestors knew it.

Robert E. Lee Represents The Best And The Worst Of The Confederacy

Robert E. Lee commanded the Confederate Army in a losing effort in the Civil War, but he’s still viewed with an enormous amount of respect in America, particularly in the South. In many ways, Lee represents an idealized view of the Confederacy to sympathizers – he made a bold stand against a much more powerful opponent, fought bravely, and, in the end, surrendered with honor and dignity. His surrender avoided a long and drawn out Southern insurgency.

Lee boosters often go as far as to say that Lee opposed slavery, but that isn’t quite true. Lee held a fairly high opinion of slavery, having only been exposed to the least abusive forms of it, and he thought the whole issue was up to God to solve, anyway. Moreover, Lee was complicit in slave-promoting actions. His Civil War troops raided settlements and captured free blacks for the purposes of enslavement.

Lee Spoke For Reconstruction And Reconciliation After The Civil War

Many who support the legacy of Robert E. Lee mention how Lee spoke out in favor of reconstruction and reconciliation after the Civil War. While it’s true that Lee spoke out about the need to unite the country once again, including in a hearing before Congress in 1866, his motivations for doing so were probably less than altruistic. Lee knew that reconstruction and reconciliation were in the best interests of the South, as harsh sanctions and punishments were a likely alternative. Lee was still primarily interested in protecting the interests of white Southerners.

But Lee Fought For Racist Practices After The War, Too, Which His Cult Of Worshippers Conveniently Likes To Forget

Although Robert E. Lee spoke out for reconciliation and seemed to publicly welcome the end of slavery, he also continued to espouse some extremely racist beliefs. During the same hearing with Congress in 1866 in which he called for unity, Lee let it be known that blacks were not equal. Said Lee, “I do not think [a black man] is as capable of acquiring knowledge as the white man is.” He also described them as only willing to work as much as was needed for sustenance, saying “[they] like their ease and comfort.”

The point Lee was trying to make was that blacks should not be allowed to vote; he sated plainly: “My own opinion is that, at this time, they cannot vote intelligently, and that giving them the right of suffrage would open the door to a great deal of demagogism.” He also advocated evicting all blacks from Virginia, opining ““I think it would be better for Virginia if she could get rid of them.” 

Given these sentiments, as well as his leadership of the half of the country that wanted to protects its right to own human beings, it's little wonder that many present-day Americans believe statues dedicated to Lee would make for better museum attractions of a troubling historical moment than modern-day shrines of worship.

However, He Opposed Putting Up Civil War Monuments Of Any Kind

Despite Robert E. Lee’s bigoted views on race, even he opposed putting up Civil War monuments. When asked to help out in a project that sought to mark troop positions at the site of the the Battle of Gettysburg, Lee politely declined with a letter. In it, he wrote “I think it wiser, moreover, not to keep open the sores of war but to follow the examples of those nations who endeavored to obliterate the marks of civil strife, to commit to oblivion the feelings engendered.” In Lee’s opinion, any monument to the Civil War was just keeping old wounds fresh, and it was best to move on.

More Than Just Statues In General – Lee Specifically Opposed Confederate Statues

Robert E. Lee didn’t just vocally oppose Civil War monuments in general. He also specifically spoke out about Confederate statues and why they were a bad idea. Lee wrote his opinion on an 1866 proposal to erect a Stonewall Jackson statue, stating:

“As regards the erection of such a monument as is contemplated; my conviction is, that however grateful it would be to the feelings of the South, the attempt in the present condition of the Country, would have the effect of retarding, instead of accelerating its accomplishment; & of continuing, if not adding to, the difficulties under which the Southern people labour.”

Lee had a better idea for any efforts to memorialize the Civil War – “All I think that can now be done, is to aid our noble & generous women in their efforts to protect the graves & mark the last resting places of those who have fallen, & wait for better times.”

If Not From Confederate Leaders, Where Did The Push For Statues Come From? This Damning Chart Clearly Illustrates The Racist Motivations

Those calling for the removal of Confederate monuments in the modern age claim they are symbols of racism, whereas opponents of their removal claim they’re a part of Southern heritage. However, a damning chart released by the Southern Poverty Law Center and simplified by MotherJones, shows that the movements to erect Confederate statues have obvious been racially motivated. In times of racial turmoil, such as the Jim Crow era or the height of the Civil Rights movement, the creation of Confederate monuments skyrocketed. In more tension-free times, nobody seemed to care about putting up statues.

Wed, 16 Aug 2017 07:06:49 PDT http://www.ranker.com/list/robert-e-lee-opposed-confederate-statues/stephanroget
<![CDATA[This Bizarre Peace Plan For Post-War Europe Split The Continent Into Equally Sized Pie Slices]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/radial-map-turned-europe-into-sliced-pie/stephanroget?source=rss

History is full of some fantastic “what ifs,” collections of good intentions, bad ideas, and unfulfilled possibilities that could have potentially changed history. Some of these are well known, while others languish in obscurity, like a 1920 radial map of Europe that was actually part of a strange European Union plan from long before the EU formed. This bizarre plan for post-World War I Europe might not be easy on the eyes, but it’s a revolutionary idea that is well worth examining.

The mysterious map was never widely circulated, and its author attempted anonymity; however, most scholars are quite sure of who it was. While the map was never seriously considered by anyone with the power to enact it, it does raise some interesting questions as to just how effective such a radical plan would have been. Given that the map’s intention was to prevent future European wars, and given that World War II erupted less than two decades after its publication, there’s every chance this wild plan would have sent European history in a drastically different direction.

This Bizarre Peace Plan For Post-War Europe Split The Continent Into Equally Sized Pie Slices,

The Author Isn’t 100% Identified, But There’s A Likely Candidate

The map and proposal in question came from an anonymous source, although scholars are pretty certain they know who created it. The author, listed as “P.A.M.” only, left a note that says, “I have informed a Notary of my name, profession and role as author and editor of this work of peace, and it will be announced only when the four principal Nations in the Union have expressed their judgment publicly.” Since that never happened, the author’s name was never revealed. However, the entire 24-page pamphlet was published by Otto Maas, who had a son named P.A. Maas, making it pretty obvious who the secret peacemaker was.

The Author Was Correct To Criticize The Treaty Of Versailles

The “Die Unionisierung Mitteleuropas” map was created by P.A. Maas as a direct reaction to the Treaty of Versailles, which was the official peace treaty that ended World War I and attempted to set Europe up for a peaceful future. In the 24-page pamphlet attached to the map, Mass criticized the Treaty and said:

“the nation states are definitely torn apart, but they are as it were joined together under one roof, by creating sub-regions in which all nations are fused (…), in which racial hatred does not prevail as before, but the love of the people wins out, thus bestowing happiness and blessings on all in that unitary nation.”

Whether his plan was good or not, Maas was definitely right to criticize the Treaty of Versailles. The overly harsh conditions it laid on Germany directly paved the way for the rise of Adolf Hitler and the start of World War II.

The New Map Would Unify Mainland Europe In A Radial Pattern Of Cantons

The “Die Unionisierung Mitteleuropas” plan was definitely of the “start from scratch” variety. P.A. Maas proposed redrawing the map of Europe completely and splitting it up into slices like a gigantic pie. These slices would be called cantons, and they were to be arrayed in a radial pattern as they narrowed and met in the middle. The cantons were equally angled but not equally sized, with some being far “longer” than others. Each of the cantons was to be named after a major city that fell within its borders, like Paris or Brussels. These cantons covered all of what is generally considered mainland Europe, and they showed no preference for the winners or losers of World War I. In fact, the cantons ignored the previously established borders completely.

Vienna Would Be Renamed Union Capital St. Stephen And Sit At The Center

The new map had Vienna at its center, with all the various cantons narrowing and meeting there. Vienna itself was to be completely recreated as a perfectly circular, walled capital and renamed Union Capital St. Stephen. The author envisioned the capital as similar to Washington, D.C., but much more aesthetically pleasing. He wanted St. Stephen revitalized as a garden city, providing a central place of beauty for all of Europe to take pride in. Union Capital St. Stephen would also serve as an access point, with 24 gates on its circular border leading to each of the 24 cantons.

The Borders Purposefully Ignored Ethnicity, Language, Religion, And History

P.A. Maas saw that divisiveness had caused World War I and threatened the future peace of Europe, so he set out to ignore all of the things causing that division in his new map. The traditional determiners of borders, such as ethnicity, language, religion, and history were not considered at all when slicing up Europe into cantons. The cantons were intentionally arbitrary, which Maas hoped would force Europeans to forget their differences and come together as one people.

Four “Nations” Were To Be Recognized, And There Would Be A Rotating Presidency

Though the new map was meant to unify Europe, it was still to be split up into four distinct nations, which were to be drawn on historic and ethnic lines. The nations were Romans, Germans, Slavs, and Magyars (Hungarians), and they were each to hold equal sway. The cantons were designed so that at least two of these nations were represented in each canton, ensuring that no cantons were completely dominated by a single group. The four nations would also share the presidency of the newly unified Europe on a rotating basis, taking turns electing a leader for a three-year term. Everyone over the age of 20 would be able to vote, with the exception of married women, because history often likes to remind us of just how ingrained sexism is.  

Esperanto Was To Be The Common Language

A unified Europe would benefit from a universal language, and P.A. Maas selected Esperanto as the official dialect of his radial imagination. Esperanto was a language with its own lofty goals, as it had been created in the late 19th century as a “second language for everyone.” Esperanto was designed to be so easy to learn that people from any country could quickly learn it, with the idea being that a truly universal language could help forge world peace. Unfortunately, Esperanto never really got off the ground, although it certainly would have had it been adopted as the official language of Europe.

Some Nations Were Left Out Of Maas's Plan

The newly unified Europe would not include every nation in the previous version of Europe – only the mainland. The union left out all of Scandinavia, Ireland, the UK, Spain, Portugal, the Russian Empire, Bulgaria, Greece, and a new Serbian-Albanian Empire. The plan also declared most of Italy a papal state, save for some portions that were carved off and given to Greece. In addition, P.A. Maas called for Palestine to be recreated as a Hebrew Empire, something that wouldn't happen for a few more decades.

Neutral Entry Points To The Mediterranean Would Have Been Established; Colonies Would Be Shared

P.A. Maas really pulled out all the stops in removing potential barriers to peace. He proposed making the three main entry points to the Mediterranean Sea – Suez, Gibraltar, and Constantinople – into neutral territories accessible by all. The pamphlet also called for Europe to share its various colonies, removing major international competition that had partially driven the First World War. Of course, this would not have affected the colonial holdings of the British Empire, which would remain a major source of conflict in the world.

The Suggestion Came In The Wake Of World War I

Militarism, alliances, nationalism, imperialism, and assassinations had made up the MANIA that created World War I, and Europe was ready for something different. Germany had been defeated, and the question remained of how to re-structure Europe in the aftermath. The overall goal of this process was to create a lasting peace in Europe, although each of the powers at the table came in with other agendas of its own. Given that it’s called World War I, and not just “The World War,” it should be obvious just how successful these plans for peace actually were. However, multiple unofficial plans for European peace were created, including one with an absolutely mind-boggling map attached to it.

Tue, 15 Aug 2017 07:16:46 PDT http://www.ranker.com/list/radial-map-turned-europe-into-sliced-pie/stephanroget
<![CDATA[These English Factory Laborers Were Forced To Work With Toxic Chemicals Until Their Faces Became Deformed]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/london-matchgirls-strike-phossy-jaw/melissa-sartore?source=rss

During the late 19th century, the East End of London was home to several factories that produced matches. Men, women, and children worked long hours for very little money, dipping matchsticks into phosphorus, unaware of the fumes they were breathing in and the toxins that were destroying their bodies.

"Phossy jaw" was the most common physical side-effect of working as a matchstick worker, a condition that led to the deterioration of one's jaw to the point of utter deformity. A precursor to later factory-based occupational diseases like those endured by the Radium Girls and an early example that using chemicals without a full understanding of their consequences can have disastrous consequences, the resulting 1888 Matchstick Girls strike (no pun intended) set a path for increased workers' rights and improved workplace conditions. Unfortunately, there was a great deal of pain and suffering along that path. 

These English Factory Laborers Were Forced To Work With Toxic Chemicals Until Their Faces Became Deformed,

The Bryant & May Factory In London Was A Classic Industrial Revolution Factory

Bryant & May were leaders in the matchstick industry, innovating and producing at the expense of their workers. Matchstick production was competitive, and there were several factories located in London, Birmingham, and Liverpool. Out of the over 4,000 matchstick workers in England, Bryant & May employed more than 2,000 people, mostly young girls and women between the ages of 14 and 18, during the 19th century.

Factories in the Industrial Revolution were tightly packed, dirty, and often dangerous buildings run by strict and greedy owners looking to increase their profits as much as possible – no matter the cost. The Bryant & May factory was no different. Descriptions of the factory indicate it was akin to a "prison-house." The matchmaking process was done under one roof, and "Lucifer" matches, as they were known, found great popularity as an alternative to flint-and-steel. By dipping small pieces of wood into a chemical compound of white or yellow phosphorus, consumers could light their lanterns, fireplaces, and any other fire they wished to start with newfound ease. Putting all of the workers into one place cut down overhead costs and made for a more efficient system of mass production.

Workers Were Paid Poorly For 12- To 14-Hour Days

In order to increase profits, factories paid low wages for long hours of work. There was no shortage of labor, and factories could take advantage of this, paying as little as necessary. Matchstick workers, because most of them were women, made even less than their male counterparts as they toiled from 6 am to 6 pm daily. Many women made less than the equivalent of 10 cents an hour and were expected to pay for their housing, food, and clothing with that money. 

It's important to note that sometimes women worked from home to put together matchstick boxes as well. The residue from the phosphorus was still present on the materials they took into their homes.

Workers Lost Eyes, And Their Faces Rotted Away

Sometimes, in order to stem the effects of phosphorous poisoning, removing the jaw wasn't enough. Workers reportedly lost eyes and eye sockets, as well as experienced problems with their throats and rotting facial tissue. Once the rot became widespread, the pus and odor from the wounds increased. The only way to stop the disease from continuing to eat away the face was to remove the jaw.  One London surgeon report described one case as follows:

"The patient was a 35-year-old matchmaker who presented with great external swelling and in a debilitated state from inability to take solid food. Extending from ear to ear along the line of the jaw was a chain of ulcerated openings, from which there was profuse discharge and through any of which a probe could reach dead bone. Inside the mouth, the toothless alveolar process was seen bared of soft parts in its whole extent, the bone being rough and brownish-black. The gum gaped widely away from the dead jaw and had receded so as to leave it above the natural level of that bone, a probe could be passed easily either in front or behind the bone toward the sinuses of the neck. Under chloroform, the jaw was removed by dividing it at the symphysis and dragging the two halves out separately."

When The Factory Workers Started Getting Sick, Bryant & May Fired Them

In addition to the struggles of low wages and shoddy working conditions, matchstick girls experienced physical horrors that began to manifest over time. Exposure to phosphorus was known to be dangerous as early as the 1838 in Austria when the first case of phossy jaw appeared. Charles Dickens acknowledged it in 1852 in an article for Household Worlds, and medical journals were discussing it during the 1850s and 1860s. It appears as though Bryant & May were well aware of the consequences of working with phosphorus, as well. Their archives contain reports of women complaining about dental problems, nausea, vomiting, glowing, and other ailments, but Bryant & May continued using phosphorus and took to dismissing anyone that showed signs of its effects. There was no shortage of labor, and those affected could easily be replaced.

In Addition To Low Wages, Factory Workers Were Fined For Sitting Down Or Talking

The Bryant & May factory took money out of the wages they paid their workers for infractions such as a messy work-station or matches that caught fire during a shift. The fines could also be levied for sitting down on the job – because the women were expected to stand all day – for talking, or for being late.  If a worker was late, she was docked half-a-day's wages. The factory owners took liberties with wages in other ways. One example at the Bryant & May factory included deducting from each girl's wage to pay for a statue to honor Prime Minister William Ewart Gladstone in East London. 

Money aside, the women were also subjected to physical abuse and bodily harm in what was termed "white slavery" by Annie Besant in 1888. 

Most Women Got Sick Within Five Years Of Beginning Work

Based on the earliest cases of phossy jaw in Europe, it was determined that women got sick within five years of exposure to white or yellow phosphorus. This was further supported by an argument that only a few women would have been around enough phosphorus to suffer the most serious effects. The poverty, disease, and horrible living conditions in London's East End created an already unhealthy population and did very little to help workers in the factories. Even Charles Dickens wrote about the horrors of phosphorous poisoning that the women in the factories were exposed to, remarking that the factory where they worked was in the "unfashionable East" of London.

Inhaling Phosphorus Fumes Led To Tooth And Jaw Deterioration, And This Was An Everyday Job Hazard

Workers at the Bryant & May factory, as well as other matchstick producing facilities, experienced face swelling and tooth pain because of the phosphorus fumes they inhaled. Teeth often rotted and fell out, leaving the jaw exposed and deterioration to continue leading to what was called "phossy jaw." The faces of those affected glowed in the dark. Bryant & May's dentist stated that the women who were experiencing these symptoms were older and of a lower social class which, according to them, explained their deteriorating teeth. 

The Matchstick Girls Strike Didn't End The Use Of Phosphorus

Despite the gains of the Matchstick Girls in terms of labor and working conditions, the use of phosphorus continued in Britain and in other European countries. The British government had banned eating in the workrooms of matchstick factories in 1864 but only slowly moved to address the larger concerns of phosphorus exposure. This was, in part, because the Bryant & May factory hid the incidences of phossy jaw and other illnesses. The government regulators were under the impression that the diseases were on the decline. In 1895, however, the Factory Act made it mandatory for factories to report cases of phossy jaw, but there was still no move to stop the use of phosphorus. It was determined that the risk of foreign matches taking over the market was too dangerous.

British match factories didn't end the use of phosphorus in producing matches until the beginning of the 20th century. Europe as a whole turned away from white phosphorus, however, and by the end of the first decade of the 1900s, phossy jaw was almost eliminated. 

Organ Failure And Cancer Were Common Results Of Phosphorus Exposure

The osteonecrosis that ate away at a matchstick worker's jaw was often deadly, but skin cancer was another associated outcome of working with the carcinogenic chemical. In some cases, kidney failure, brain swelling, convulsions, and bleeding lungs were reported.  

If a matchstick worker with phossy jaw or some other related illness didn't die as a result, she was susceptible to malnutrition and a slow death by starvation from the inability to eat solid food. 

According to Dickens

"Robert Smith is twenty-one years old, and worked 
six years before he began to suffer; he was a dipper. 
He has now no teeth in his lower jaw, of which a great 
part is destroyed...He knows of fourteen who have had 
the disease; two of them died."

The 1888 Strike Was A Statement Against Wages And Conditions Alike

Denmark ended the use of phosphorus in the matchmaking process in 1874, but it was unique in that regard. Most countries continued to produce "Lucifer" matches well into the late 19th century despite growing medical knowledge and worker discontent. 

The Matchstick Girls Strike of 1888 was a reaction to the entirety of the conditions at the Bryant & May factory, but it called special attention to the occupational hazards of working with phosphorus. The strike itself was kicked off after Anne Besant's article on "white slavery" was made public, and in July 1888, 1,500 workers walked out of the factory in protest. Besant helped the women organize into a union, and negotiations took place between the workers and the factory owners. Ultimately, the workers were granted some of their demands, including the end of the fine system and the reinstatement of the women fired for talking to Besant. 

Tue, 15 Aug 2017 09:42:10 PDT http://www.ranker.com/list/london-matchgirls-strike-phossy-jaw/melissa-sartore
<![CDATA[They Went On A Hunger Strike For Women's Rights - So The Government Imprisoned And Brutally Force-Fed Them To Silence Their Voices]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/suffragettes-force-fed-during-hunger-strike/setareh-janda?source=rss

In the early 20th century, British women were demanding the right to vote in new ways. The gloves had come off, and they were willing to do whatever it took – even go on hunger strikes, which photos of suffragettes document. In response, the British government and prison guards resorted to force-feeding suffragettes in a ghastly display of state cruelty.

Why did the suffragettes go on hunger strike? They knew that only through resistance could they be taken seriously and legitimize their cause in the eyes of a sexist government and public. "Suffragettes" were, specifically, militant suffragists in the Women's Social and Political Union (WSPU), an organization whose sole aim was to agitate in order to expand the vote to British women. The WSPU and its suffragette members believed that direct action was necessary in order to secure the right to vote. From their perspective, they were locked in a battle with the British government, and suffragettes were foot soldiers who must be willing to make sacrifices in the battles for women's suffrage. They targeted private property by smashing windows and vandalizing the Prime Minister's car in order to make their voices heard. For that, they were thrown into prison and undertook hunger strikes in protest.

The heroic hunger strikes and horrific force-feedings that followed captured the public's imagination. Photos of suffragettes being force-fed soon circulated in newspapers and pamphlets, and they served as lasting evidence of what some members of the women's movement endured in order to secure the right to vote for all.

They Went On A Hunger Strike For Women's Rights - So The Government Imprisoned And Brutally Force-Fed Them To Silence Their Voices,

Women Went Public With Their Stories Of Being Force-Fed And Likened The Process To A Public Violation

Suffragettes quickly used the horrific ordeal to their advantage. They published accounts of their treatment in prison. These stories enraged the public, which was disgusted that women would be treated in such a manner.  Though the word “rape” was not directly used in the accountsthe intrusive, violent nature of the process means that many scholars have described the experience as an oral rape, and suffragette propaganda itself visually depicted it as a rape. Today, force-feeding is considered torture in some parts of the world. 

Being Force-Fed Was Absolutely Excruciating, As Tubes Were Brutally Inserted Into Different Orifices

Force-feeding was not a pleasant experience – guards did not gently spoon-feed porridge or pre-sliced meat into suffragettes’ mouths. Instead, the experience was intrusive, painful, and traumatic. Officers and doctors would have to literally pry open suffragettes' mouths with a screw, stuff a rubber tube down their throats, and pour liquid food directly into their stomachs. It was a painful procedure, both physically and emotionally, and prisoners usually vomited the food back up. According to one suffragette

“You cannot breathe, and yet you choke. It irritates the throat, it irritates the mucous membrane as it goes down, every second seems an hour, and you think they will never finish pushing it down… I forgot what I was in there for, I forgot women, I forgot everything except my own sufferings, and I was completely overcome by them.”

Tubes were not only inserted orally. Sometimes, suffragettes were actually force-fed through their nose, rectum, and vagina. And, sometimes, they were re-used without being cleaned first.

Force-Feeding Led To Life-Threatening Problems For A Number Of Suffragettes

During and immediately after the feeding, suffragettes often vomited the liquid food back up. But vomiting was a relatively mild side effect. The process was so violent and intrusive that liquid food sometimes ended up in the lungs as suffragettes choked and cried out in pain during the process. The liquid food in the lungs sometimes, in turn, led to pneumonia. Worse, the tubes and equipment used to force-feed suffragettes were not always clean, with some tubes being used on multiple women before being sterilized. The unsterilized equipment meant that suffragettes were exposed to germs and risked illness. Indeed, suffragette Mary Jane Clarke, Emmeline Pankhurt’s own sister, died only three days after having been force fed in December 1910.

As A Result Of Public Outrage, The British Government Passed The So-Called 'Cat And Mouse Act' To Prevent Hunger Strikes Altogether

Due to the PR debacle of force-feeding suffragettes, the British government looked for a different way to manage hunger-striking prisoners. In 1913, Parliament passed the Temporary Discharge for Ill Health Act, otherwise known as the "Cat and Mouse Act." Rather than risk having a suffragette die during a hunger strike, the act provided that she would be released, nursed back to health, and then re-institutionalized to finish out the remainder of her sentence.

As the leader of the WSPU, Emmeline Pankhurst was a prized target of the Cat and Mouse Act. So, for protection, Pankhurst actually recruited an army of suffragette bodyguards who protected her with their jiu-jitsu skills

Suffragettes Got Medals From The WSPU For Going On Hunger Strikes And Being Force-Fed

Due to the physical demands of a hunger strike, suffragettes who made it out alive were presented with medals that said “for valour.” The first hunger striker’s medal was presented in 1909. Women who had endured being force-fed also received medals – their names were engraved on the medal along with the words “fed by force.”

Considering that suffragettes believed themselves to be locked in a struggle with the government, the awarding of medals for hunger-strikers and survivors of force-feeding was an interesting statement. They were the suffragette equivalent to medals of honor or purple hearts – they were political warriors who had made physical sacrifices for their cause.

British Suffragists Weren’t The Only Going On Hunger Strikes – American Suffragists Did It Too

The women’s suffrage movement was international. Suffragists from around the world often worked together in solidarity and learned from one another. American suffragist Alice Paul was actually in Great Britain and participated in the WSPU’s activities – she was even arrested and went on hunger strikes. Though Paul returned to the United States in 1910, she brought the British tactics with her. In 1917, Paul was sentenced to seven months in prison, and she used the opportunity to engage in a hunger strike to challenge the American government.

Many British Suffragettes Who Had Been Arrested Went On Hunger Strikes As A Form Of Political Protest

Between 1908 and 1914, over 1,000 suffragettes were imprisoned for acts of civil disobedience. When they were thrown into prison alongside petty criminals, suffragettes strongly objected: they were political prisoners, they argued, and should be treated as such. The distinction was important; if they were political prisoners, then the government would have to acknowledge that their acts of civil disobedience were political – and not simply women acting hysterically. 

In 1909, suffragette Marion Wallace Dunlop was the first one to engage in a hunger strike.

World War I Interrupted The Momentum For Women’s Suffrage, But Hunger Strikes And Tales Of Force-Feedings Helped Sway Public Opinion

World War I knocked the wind out of the sails of the women’s suffrage movement in Great Britain. Emmeline Pankhurst called for a suspension of suffragette activities in an effort to enlist women in the war effort. But, thanks in part to the sacrifices made by women during the war and the fact that they proved their value to the nation, the hard work of the suffragists eventually paid off: in February 1918, one glass ceiling cracked, and the vote was extended to some women. It was a long, hard fight, but their voices were beginning to be heard.

Government Officials Worried That The Striking Suffragettes Would Become Martyrs By Starving Themselves, So Prison Guards Resorted To Force-Feeding Them

Going on hunger strikes meant that suffragettes voluntarily refused all food. There was a real danger, then, that they would ultimately starve themselves to death. As a result, officials feared that the hunger strikes would lead to death, and death, in turn, would transform the disobedient suffragettes into full-fledged martyrs. Rather than risk making martyrs of suffragettes, officials decided to force them to eat instead.

Guards Literally Pinned Them Down And Strapped Them To Chairs To Shove Nourishment Into Their Bodies

When confronted with the possibility of being force-fed and having their own will undermined, suffragettes put up a strong resistance. But the strength and number of guards overwhelmed them. Leader of the WSPU Emmeline Pankhurst, for example, recalled that it took six female guards to restrain her. Suffragettes were then strapped into a chair or to their beds so that they could not resist. Their wills were forcibly undermined. 

Tue, 15 Aug 2017 09:26:40 PDT http://www.ranker.com/list/suffragettes-force-fed-during-hunger-strike/setareh-janda
<![CDATA[The Bizarre Saga Of The Guy Who Got A Sheep's Blood Transfusion And Became Convinced He Was A Sheep]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/arthur-coga-sheep-blood-transfusion/genevieve-carlton?source=rss

Medical advances often take steps back before they reach a breakthrough – and that's exactly what happened in 1667, when one man claimed that a medical experiment turned him into a sheep. 

The story starts in the 1660s, when French and English scientists raced to perform the first successful blood transfusion into a human. But instead of taking blood from another person, these scientists used animal blood. In 1667, English scientists performed a sheep’s blood transfusion on Arthur Coga. Who was Arthur Coga? He started as a Cambridge-educated man, but by the end of his transfusions, he claimed to be Arthur Coga the Sheep Man, transformed into an animal after receiving too much sheep's blood.

Did something go terribly wrong in this 17th century blood transfusion? Did the sheep to human blood transfusion change something vital about Arthur Coga’s identity? The scientists at the Royal Society worried that they had done something crazy, or that they had gone too far in their drive to be first. They had certainly made progress, but in the process, they created a man who honestly believed he was an animal.

The Bizarre Saga Of The Guy Who Got A Sheep's Blood Transfusion And Became Convinced He Was A Sheep,

Coga Was An Ideal Experimental Patient

When news of Jean-Baptiste Denis's experiments reached London, Richard Lower decided it was time to find his own human recipient. He selected Arthur Coga, a Cambridge-educated man whose brain was "a little too warm." The Royal Society Fellows argued that the transfusion would cool Coga’s blood, curing his mental instability. If Denis could only cure fevers, the English scientists would prove they were better by tackling a more challenging ailment. Also, Coga was educated and able to speak Latin, so he could reliably report on the transfusion's effects on his body.

When the men approached Coga and offered him money in exchange for serving as a test subject in a medical experiment, Coga agreed. He would become only the third man in the world to receive a blood transfusion directly into his arteries. Coga was paid 20 shillings – about $225 in today's dollars – to serve as a human test subject.

Coga's Fate Is A Mystery

Arthur Coga's claim that he had been turned into a sheep halted blood transfusions in England – not necessarily because people believed him, but because he made the Royal Society look foolish.

People began to ridicule blood transfusion experiments. In 1676, playwright Thomas Shadwell even wrote a satire called The Virtuoso that mocked the Royal Society’s experiments on Coga. In the play, a virtuoso transfuses blood into a drunken patient who is turned into a sheep. The excited doctor decides to make a flock of sheep-men, declaring, "I’ll make all of my clothes from ‘em... 'tis finer than a beaver."

As for Coga, nothing is known of his life after his mysterious transformation. Did he continue to live as a sheep, always looking for his lost wool? Did he transform back into a man? Unfortunately, the world may never know.

Many Medical Experiments At The Time Were Deadly

In the 17th century, scientists experimented with all sorts of things. Galileo performed experiments on falling weights, Newton used prisms to understand light, and in London, the Royal Society tried to understand how blood worked.

In the 1620s, William Harvey had proved that blood circulated through the body rather than being generated by the liver and burned up by the heart. Harvey’s groundbreaking work meant that it was theoretically possible to transfer blood between two bodies. And that’s exactly what the scientists in London’s Royal Society decided to test. 

Rather than starting with human transfusions, the Royal Society began experimenting on animals.

Once Scientists Perfected Animal Blood Transfusions, They Turned To Humans

In June 1667, Jean-Baptiste Denis, a French physician, became the first person to transfuse an animal's blood into a human. Denis transfused lamb’s blood into a 15-year-old who suffered from fevers. After the transfusion, Denis declared the boy was cured.

Denis believed that blood transfusion was a powerful medical tool that could cure a range of ailments. But he ruled out using human blood for the transfusions because it was too dangerous. Denis explained, “I am persuaded that it will be much more expedient to make use of the blood of other animals.” 

But why didn’t the transfusions kill Denis’s patients? They had the era's limited technology to thank: physicians were only able to transfer a few ounces of blood into a human’s body, which is not a high enough dose to be fatal.

Coga Demanded More Money For A Second Transfusion

The Royal Society had turned to Coga as a model subject because of his education, but Coga did not live up to his reputation. Rather, he spent his 20 shilling payment on alcohol, which also meant he wasn't a reliable source of information when it came to discussing the transfusion's effects on his body. At Coga's request, he was offered another 20 shillings for a second transfusion, which took place on December 12, 1667.

Scientists Tested Theories About Blood Circulation On Animals

Scientists in the 17th century frequently experimented on animals. The father of the scientific method, Francis Bacon, argued that you must carefully examine, even torture, nature to understand its secrets. And in the mid-1600s, that meant performing experiments on dogs.

In 1656, Christopher Wren, best known as the designer of St. Paul’s Cathedral in London, injected wine and ale into the veins of a dog. Wren observed that the dog became very drunk. This experiment confirmed Harvey’s theory that the veins could transmit materials throughout the body.

A decade later, Richard Lower, an Oxford physician, tried transferring blood between various dogs. He was somewhat successful in his experiments, though the dogs all eventually died as a result of the gruesome tests.

According To Coga, The Blood Transfusions Turned Him Into A Sheep

The English scientists wanted to continue their experiments on Arthur Coga, certain that by curing his madness, they could defeat their French rivals and prove that English doctors were superior. There was only one problem: Arthur Coga refused a third blood transfusion, claiming that he had been transformed into a sheep.

Coga began writing under the name Coga the Sheep – Agnus Coga, in Latin – complaining about the scientists who had “transform’d him into another species.” Coga wrote that he could not find his wool, and signed his letter “The meanest of your flock.”

Coga’s startling transformation may have been directed by adversaries of the Royal Society, who mercilessly mocked their experiments as useless and foolish. Still, it was an open question in the 17th century whether transfusion really could change someone’s nature.

The First Experiment On Coga Appeared To Be A Success

The Royal Society published an account of the transfusion, relating how on November 23, 1667, “in the presence of many considerable and intelligent persons,” Lower transfused about 9 or 10 ounces of lamb’s blood into Arthur Coga.

Coga reported that the blood was not hot. When Coga said he’d had enough, they removed the silver pipe used for funneling in the blood and asked how he felt. Coga said he was very well and asked for a second transfusion.

Tests On Animals Were Grotesque And Deadly

In 1665, Richard Lower successfully transferred blood between dogs. His success spurred a race for blood transfusions, with the ultimate goal being human transfusion. The French put sheep’s blood into horses and goats. The English put calf’s blood into sheep. The Italians performed transfusions on horses and cows. They claimed this medical breakthrough would not only save lives, but it could also improve foods; the Royal Society Fellows put milk and sugar into a sheep and claimed it made the meat sweeter.

These experiments were incredibly harmful for the animals. In nearly every case, the animal “donating” blood died, and many of the receiving animals also didn’t survive. Dogs alone have 13 different blood types, and mixing blood types can be deadly.

People Believed New Blood Might Change Someone's Identity

In the 17th century, everyone agreed that your environment, including what you ate, affected your temperament. Samuel Pepys recorded a story in his diary about a very old man who lived on breast milk. Pepys reported, "While he fed upon the milk of an angry, fretful woman, [he] was so himself; and then, being advised to take it of a good-natured, patient woman, he did become so, beyond the common temper of his age."

Blood, too, was linked to a person's very essence, their vital spirit. Robert Boyle, famous for his experiments on gas, questioned whether transfusing the blood of a cowardly dog into a fierce dog would turn it tame, or if a dog’s fur might change color after a blood transfusion. Would a dog trained in retrieving ducks lose that skill if given blood from an untrained dog? And what might happen if a person received new blood?

Tue, 15 Aug 2017 06:15:26 PDT http://www.ranker.com/list/arthur-coga-sheep-blood-transfusion/genevieve-carlton
<![CDATA[The Bizarre Saga Of When Jesse James's Corpse Went On A Cross-Country Tour]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/jesse-james-body-photo-tour/nicky-benson?source=rss

Did you know that outlaw Jesse James's body was preserved on ice and people were able to look at his corpse before it was buried? A famous photo has made the rounds over the years showing the true, historical Jesse James body on ice, surrounded by a marshal and two deputies from St. Joseph, Missouri. There's nothing to debunk about this image - it's 100% what it seems like. 
Although James and his gang were sometimes depicted as Robin Hood-type heroes, he, his brother, Frank, and their fellow criminals were anything but. They were law breakers who robbed banks and killed anyone who got in their way. The Jesse James assassination has fascinated history lovers for years, and even inspired the movie The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, starring Brad Pitt and Casey Affleck. James was just 34 when someone he thought was a friend betrayed him and shot him in the back, and there was nothing sexy about it. 

The Bizarre Saga Of When Jesse James's Corpse Went On A Cross-Country Tour,

One Of His Own Gang Members Killed Him In Cold Blood

Robert Ford, a member of the James-Younger Gang, decided to kill Jesse James for a couple of reasons. First, the $10,000 bounty on his head. Robert was also a bit of a fame whore and wanted credit for the killing. So he and his brother, Charley, went to Jesse's house on April 3, 1882, under the guise of planning a bank heist. Meanwhile, Jesse had discovered that his cousin, Wood Hite, was killed, and believed fellow gang member Dick Liddil, who was one of Robert's friends, was the killer (in reality, Robert had killed Wood).

Jesse wondered why Robert and Charley didn't say anything about his cousin's death, but didn't confront them. When the Ford brothers came to his house to plan the bank robbery, Jesse stood up to wipe down a dusty picture on the wall in his living room, and Robert shot him in the back of the head. 

His Corpse Was A Point Of Public Fascination, And Was Briefly Put On Display

Following Jesse James's death in 1882, his corpse was preserved on ice and put on display. An infamous photo shows Jesse in his ice coffin under the guard of St. Joseph City Marshal Enos Craig and two deputies. It's unclear whether, or for how long, James's body was put on display, though it's known it was transported from St. Joseph, Missouri, to Kearney, for burial. After James died, before his body was collected, crowds allegedly swarmed the house in which he was murdered for a glimpse of his body, and continued to do so after his corpse was carted away. 

The Funeral Museum in St. Joseph, Missouri, displays the wicker casket that transported Jesse's corpse from the room in which he was killed to the Heaton-Bowman-Smith funeral home. The museum also features his ice casket. During the 1800s, ice caskets kept bodies cool before the process of embalming became common. The ice casket includes a window on top that enabled people to view the deceased person's face without having to open the coffin.

Even In His Own Lifetime, James Was A Larger-Than-Life Outlaw Legend Known Around The Country

Jesse's Widow And Her Landlord Charged Admission To The House In Which Jesse Died

Following James's assassination, his widow, Zerelda, was faced with raising their children, Jesse Edwards, 6, and Mary Susan, 2, by herself.  In order to support the family, she sold some of her and Jesse's belongings, including their dog. She also charged curious members of the public 10 cents to visit their rented home in St. Joseph, Missouri. In addition to buying items from Jesse's widow, people stole what they could for souvenirs, including chunks of the fence, house, and surrounding buildings.

The house's owner, Henrietta Saltzman, moved into the home a few weeks after Jesse's death in order to profit off its notoriety. Her tourist attraction included over 50 bullet holes, despite the fact that only one bullet struck Jesse, and it remained in his brain until it was removed during an autopsy. Saltmzan reportedly made $1,500 from her scheme.

The James-Younger Gang Earned Public Support In Missouri For Loyalty To The Confederacy

The James-Younger Gang is credited with murdering anyone that interfered with its crime spree, during which members of the gang robbed nearly two dozen banks and trains. They reportedly pocketed $200,000. And while you would think the bandits would be hated for their crimes, fellow Missourians supported the James-Younger Gang for their loyalty to the confederacy.

Ford's Method Of Execution Branded Him For Life

Ford shot James in the back of the head, while the outlaw was turned away form him. This method of execution earned him a nickname that followed him for life: "coward." Pictured above is James's farm, where Jesse and Frank were born and raised, and where Jesse was briefly buried before being moved to a cemetery. 

Ford Was Sentenced To Hang But Eventually Pardoned

Robert Ford and his brother Charley surrendered to authorities after killing James, in order to claim the reward for his capture. Instead, they were arrested and tried for murder. Over the course of a single day, they were convicted, sentenced to hang, then pardoned by Missouri Governor Thomas T. Crittenden (pictured) and given partial payment of the reward in question. Some believe Crittenden had advanced knowledge of their plans, given how quickly he pardoned them. 

He Despised Northerners And Everything They Represented

Jesse James, born in 1847, was a famous outlaw of the Old West. When he was a teenager, in 1863, Union soldiers besieged his family's farm in Missouri, which prompted revenge-seeking Jesse and his brother, Frank James, to join a group of Confederate guerilla soldiers.

Once the war ended, James assembled a gang, known as the James-Younger Gang (there were four Younger brothers, in addition to the two James brothers). Angered by what they perceived to be anti-Southern post-Civil War laws, they fought back the only way they knew how: robbing banks, trains, and stagecoaches owned and operated by Northern companies. 

The Gang Lost Public Support After James Shot An Innocent Man In The Heart

The James-Younger Gang lost public support after robbing a bank in Gallatin, Missouri, on December 7, 1869. For whatever reason, Jesse James got it in his head that one of the bankers had killed Bloody Bill Anderson, a leader of the Confederate guerilla group Quantrill's Raiders. So James shot the banker in the heart. The public was appalled by the cold-blooded killing, and newspapers called for justice. Authorities went on a manhunt for the gang, and offered a reward for James's capture. 

His Tales Were Retold (And Exaggerated) in Serials Not Long After His Death

Wed, 09 Aug 2017 04:11:17 PDT http://www.ranker.com/list/jesse-james-body-photo-tour/nicky-benson
<![CDATA[Famous Historical Figures Most People Have No Idea Lived At The Same Time]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/historical-figures-who-lived-at-the-same-time/stephanroget?source=rss

History is a murky concept at best, and it gets murkier the further back one goes. That’s why it’s often so surprising to learn about famous historical figures who lived at the same time, let alone historical moments that happened at the same time. Sometimes, it’s even more surprising to learn about historical figures who were born at the same time, which, rude as it may sound, often gives one a true sense of just how damn old some people are!

History is full of amazing paths that crossed. Thanks to all the famous world leaders who were alive at the same time, humanity has had some unlikely friendships throughout history, like the one between Elvis and Nixon, who invented the war on drugs. As they say, it’s a small world, after all, and it also happens to be a world filled with interesting people - many of whom walked the Earth at the exact same time.

Famous Historical Figures Most People Have No Idea Lived At The Same Time,

Leonardo Da Vinci Was A Year Younger Than Christopher Columbus

Leonardo da Vinci is the definitive figure of the Italian Renaissance and Christopher Columbus is known as the man who brought the world into the modern age with his discovery of the New World. One would think that da Vinci was born long before Columbus, but he was actually a year younger! Columbus was born sometime in 1451 in Genoa, Italy. Elsewhere in Italy, Da Vinci was born on April 15, 1452, less than a year later.

Martin Luther King, Anne Frank, And Barbara Walters Were Born The Same Year

The 20th century was a tumultuous time in which several of history’s most influential figures made their mark. It has ensured that certain birth years are absolutely “stacked” when it comes to notables. The year 1929 is one such year. Right away, on January 15, civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. was born, followed by author and Holocaust victim Anne Frank on June 12. Then, legendary TV journalist Barbara Walters was born on September 29 that same year.

Although several other important figures were born in 1929, these three in particular are interesting because they each appear to belong in different eras. Frank made her mark before and after World War II, King Jr. changed the world in the ‘60s, and Walters was active up until she retired in 2014! 

Donald Trump Was Around For Nine Years Of Stalin

Donald Trump is the 45th President of the United States of America and that’s about all that can be said without getting political. He’s also one of the oldest individuals to hold the office, which means that he was around for nine years of Joseph Stalin’s brutal rule over the USSR, and was well into his (private) school years when Stalin kicked the bucket. A holiday baby, Stalin was born in Gori, Georgia, on December 18, 1879, and died on March 5, 1953, after a lengthy reign. Trump was born on June 14, 1946, in New York City, not long after Stalin had helped win World War II.

Buddha And Socrates Could Have Philosophized Together

The exact birth date of Siddhartha Gautama, the man who would become Buddha, is not totally clear, but he’s definitely “religion founding” old. One possible life span for Buddha is about 480 BCE to 400 BCE, which would mean that his life overlapped almost perfectly with another important philosopher: Socrates. The Greek thinker, who practically defined Western thought, was born around 470 BCE and died in 399 BCE after being sentenced to death by hemlock poisoning. A well-traveled individual could have possibly learned under both men.

Abraham Lincoln Was 12 When Napoleon Died

Abraham Lincoln is probably most famous for winning the Civil War and helping pave the way for slaves to be free in America. He was also a contemporary of another world leader famous for winning (and losing) a few wars - Napoleon Bonaparte. Honest Abe was born in a log cabin in Kentucky on February 12, 1809, and was six years old when the French Emperor was fighting the Battle of Waterloo. Lincoln was 12 years old when Napoleon, who was born in Corsica on August 15, 1769, died in exile on May 5, 1821.

Neil Armstrong Reached His Late Teens Before Orville Wright Passed Away

Orville Wright is one half of the famous Wright Brothers, who achieved the world’s first successful flight in 1903. Amazingly, humanity would only take another 66 years before putting a person on the moon, which means that Orville’s life actually overlapped with that of the first man on the moon, Neil Armstrong. While Wilbur Wright died at the age of 45 in 1912, Orville, the younger brother born in 1871, lived a much longer life before dying on January 30, 1948. Neil Armstrong, who was born on August 5, 1930, was 17 at the time of the last Wright brother's death.

Pablo Picasso Outlived Jimi Hendrix

Pablo Picasso is one of the most influential artists to have ever lived. Some people will find it surprising that he did all of his work in the 20th century. Picasso was born on October 25, 1881, and lived a long life until April 8, 1973. His life actually overlaps with some interesting characters. In fact, the entire life of another influential artist, Jimi Hendrix, was encapsulated within Picasso’s. Hendrix was born on November 27, 1942, and died tragically young in 1970 at the age of 28. 

Queen Elizabeth II Was 14 During Winston Churchill’s First Stint As PM

The reign of Queen Elizabeth II, who was born on April 26, 1926, and coronated in 1953, has been the longest of any monarch in British history. Although it may not be surprising that she is a contemporary of another famous British leader, Winston Churchill, it is surprising just how much of a contemporary she was. Churchill was born on November 30, 1874, and died on January 24, 1965, and in between he served two stints as Prime Minister, from 1940 to 1945 and from 1951 to 1955. Queen Elizabeth around for both of them. 

Queen Elizabeth II Was Born The Same Year As Marilyn Monroe

Queen Elizabeth II and Marilyn Monroe are two of the most important female icons of the 20th century, albeit for entirely different reasons. Queen Elizabeth, born on April 26, 1926, is the longest reigning monarch in British history. Monroe’s reign as the queen of Hollywood was, tragically, quite brief. She was born Norma Jean Mortenson less than two months after the future Queen, on June 1, 1926, and died on August 5, 1962 at the age of 36. 

Abraham Lincoln And Charles Darwin Were Born On The Same Day

Both men were born the exact same day, February 12, 1809. 

Wed, 09 Aug 2017 02:58:06 PDT http://www.ranker.com/list/historical-figures-who-lived-at-the-same-time/stephanroget
<![CDATA[Disneyland's Opening Day Was The Biggest Failure In Amusement Park History]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/disneyland-opening-day-disaster/rachel-souerbry?source=rss

Today, Disneyland is known as "The Happiest Place On Earth." But on its opening day, it was known as "Walt's Folly." Walt Disney's vision of a friendly, educational, and magical amusement park was made a reality in just one year – a back-breaking and mind-bending timeline for such a massive project.

Disneyland opened on July 17, 1955, on what came to be known as Black Sunday. What went wrong when Disneyland opened? Nearly everything. The list of Disneyland debut disasters was long. From a lack of food to raging heat to counterfeit tickets, the problems were endless. The only thing missing was a Disneyland death. The first fatality at the park didn't occur until nearly 10 years later, in 1964.

Thousands of guests were miserable in the less-than-ideal conditions, but that didn't stop them from staying long past their assigned ticket times. It also didn't stop people from coming back to visit the park as more rides opened, and within weeks Disneyland had gone from disaster to the success Walt had dreamed about.

Disneyland's Opening Day Was The Biggest Failure In Amusement Park History,

Thousands Of People Crashed The Party

Depending on who you ask, attendance on opening day should have been between 5,000 and 15,000 people. Unfortunately, the private invitations that were mailed out had been counterfeited, and over 28,000 people showed up. To make matters worse, there was even one entrepreneurial man who used a ladder to sneak people in at $5 a head.

There Were Weeds Everywhere

While workers rushed to finish planting trees and painting buildings, they overlooked the large amount of weeds that were popping up along the banks of the Canal Boats of the World ride. As a quick fix, they decided to put little signs with fancy Latin names next to some of the plants. The goal was to give it the look of an arboretum instead of a heap of weeds.

The California Sunshine Actually Made Things Worse

On the day of the grand opening, the weather worked against the park. A record-setting heat wave of over 100 degrees was sweeping through Southern California, and park guests baked in the blazing sun. It was so hot that the recently poured asphalt hadn't dried properly; it became a gooey mess, and some women's high heels got stuck.

A Plumbers' Strike Meant No Water Fountains

Although there were plenty of water fountains around Disneyland, few of them were working. A plumbers' strike had thrown a major twist into Walt Disney's plans, and he ended up having to choose between working bathrooms and working water fountains. He chose bathrooms. Although the guests were probably grateful to have access to working toilets, they were also extremely thirsty in the intense heat.

Traffic Was Backed Up For Seven Miles Outside Of The Park

Another consequence of the unexpected guests turning up was the traffic. While southern California traffic can be intense even on a good day, the thousands of extra park-goers on the road that Sunday essentially shut down the freeway. Reportedly, traffic was backed up for seven miles from the park's entrance.

The Park Quickly Ran Out Of Food

Because there were so many more guests than expected, the planning that had been done for the food vendors became irrelevant. They quickly ran out of supplies, leaving thousands of people hungry and thirsty throughout the park. The problem was only made worse when people who had passes that expired at 2:30 p.m. did not leave to make room for the ones who had later time stamps.

The Mark Twain Riverboat Was In Danger Of Becoming A Submarine

Disneyland planners had not actually determined a maximum capacity for the Mark Twain riverboat attraction by opening day. It ended up being more of a trial and error process, and the boat became so full that it kept leaning from side to side, with water sloshing over its deck. After it came dangerously close to sinking a few days later with over 500 guests on board, officials decided to put the capacity at 300 people to prevent an accident.

Sleeping Beauty's Castle Almost Went Down In Flames

During the course of the day, a gas leak was discovered when flames were seen near Sleeping Beauty's Castle in Fantasyland. Luckily the fire didn't spread, but it caused several sections of the park to be closed for the rest of the afternoon. Due to how busy he was, Walt Disney supposedly didn't know about this event or several others until the next day.

Some Of The Rides Broke Down Immediately

Of the rides that were considered ready to go on opening day, several of them turned out to still need some fine-tuning. Quite a few of the rides and attractions experienced technical difficulties and physical damage- Autopia, for example, didn't have guard rails yet so some of the cars crashed into each other. The Storybrook Land Canal ride broke down as well, and it was reported that crew members had to pull the ride's boats themselves wearing rubber boots.

The Park Was Open, But Some Of The Rides Weren't

Although Walt Disney and his crew raced to meet his deadline, not all of the rides ended up being finished by the time the park officially opened. Most of the rides in the futuristic Tomorrowland, such as the Rocket to the Moon, were closed, as well as the Peter Pan and Dumbo rides. However, this didn't seem to hold people back from enjoying the rides that were already in use, and actually gave them a reason to come back to visit throughout the year as more attractions opened.

Mon, 14 Aug 2017 08:42:12 PDT http://www.ranker.com/list/disneyland-opening-day-disaster/rachel-souerbry
<![CDATA[The Disturbing Consequences Of When We Used To Put Radium Into Common Products]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/consequences-of-radium-in-common-products/melissa-sartore?source=rss

During the first part of the 20th century, radium was used in products ranging from paint to makeup and spa treatments to chocolate to toys. Radium was sold as safe and even beneficial long before the dangers of the radioactive element were understood. The effects of radium exposureon the body were often horrific and painful, blamed on other ailments, and could lead to death. The "Radium Girls," factory workers who handled radium daily, experienced all kinds of health problems, as did fans of radium water and other quack medical treatments that contained the element. The common use of radium resulted in slow radiation poisoning, which broke the body down as it ate away at bones, teeth, and organs.

Radium is still commonly used in cancer treatments and some electronic products, and it occurs naturally all around us. However, putting radium in common products has more or less ceased, thankfully, but due to the half life of the element, it will be another 1,500 years or so until some of that stuff goes away.

The Disturbing Consequences Of When We Used To Put Radium Into Common Products,

When You Were Drinking Radium And Wearing It In A Jock Strap At The Same Time, Bladder Cancer Seems Like A Likely Result

William J. A. Bailey, the founder and salesman for Radithor, the radium infused water that Eben Byers drank, swore by the Radiendocrinator, which he also invented. This product, which was a radium-infused jock strap that men were supposed to wear at night, was purported to increase male sexual performance. Bailey also drank a lot of Radithor, and the combination of the two may have led to his death from bladder cancer in 1949. 

In A Condition Known As 'Honeycomb Jaw,' Pieces Of Jaw Bone Would Come Right Out When Teeth Were Pulled

Unfortunately, many of the factory workers who were exposed to radium on a daily basis and had to have tooth surgery to help with the radium-induced pain didn't have the ability to heal from the wounds brought about by pulling teeth. Even worse, pieces of decayed jaw would also come loose during the procedure. Some doctors thought that the jaw rot was due to an infection associated with the teeth, but soon they began to look more closely. In many victims of radium exposure, the jaw bone was honeycombed and breaking down. In 1924, a New York dentist, Theodor Blum, was the first to connect "radium jaw" with the women working with the element. 

For his part, serial radium drinker Eben Byers also experienced deterioration of the jaw. When called to testify at Federal Trade Commission hearings about the use of radium in consumer products, Byers was unable to do so due to illness. According to his lawyer, who visited Byers and was shocked, Byers's "whole upper jaw, excepting his two front teeth, and most of his lower jaw had been removed. All the remaining bone tissue of his body was disintegrating and holes were actually forming in his skull."

Basic Movements Like Sitting Up Became Increasingly Difficult To Achieve

That joint pain associated with radium puzzled physicians, and various treatments were used by doctors to combat it. In 1924, Quinta McDonald's hips bothered her so severely that she was put into a body cast for six months. By 1925, she was unable to move her hips and couldn't do the most common movements, even sitting. Similarly, Edna Hussen lost the ability to move one of her arms during the late 1920s, and while she experienced problems with her teeth, removing them seemed to solve her oral ailments. Not coincidentally, McDonald and Hussen were both Radium Girls, and their muscles had begun deteriorating from exposure.

Exposure To Radium Led To Stillborn Births, Miscarriages, Infant Deaths, And Birth Defects

Several of the Radium Girls blamed their exposure to radium for the failed pregnancies they experienced. Albina Larice reportedly suffered from several stillborn births and overheard doctors talking about the her as a "radium case" in 1925. She later had a child die in infancy and blamed both deaths on her exposure to radium. Irene Corby LaPorte worked as a Radium girl from 1917-1918 and experienced three miscarriages during the 1920s. 

As recently as 2011, studies indicate that exposure to radium, as well as uranium, may cause cleft palate deformities in children. The conclusions need further research, but in areas with high levels of radium in the water, women reported babies born with defects along with high infant mortality rates. 

Bones Were Eaten Away And Broke Easily – And Spines Could Crumble From Their Own Weight

Just as Byers's bones decayed, so too did the Radium Girls' bodies break down. Prolonged exposure to radium led to bones that weakened to the point where they "would crumple or snap under little pressure," a condition known as radiation osteitisX-rays revealed crushed vertebrae, broken legs, and jaws eaten away to the point of deformity. Many individuals ended up disabled as a result; some had their vertebrae compress simply because they couldn't support their own weight anymore. However, the severity of effects on their bones depended on their exposure. 

It Made Your Body Glow – Even From Beyond The Grave

At first, the strange glow that working with or consuming radio seemed to give you seemed almost glamorous – at least for the Radium Girls. Given that they were consuming the stuff at an alarming rate daily as part of their job, some of the Radium Girls glowed in the twilight as they walked home, or blew luminescent snot into handkerchiefs when they had a cold. Perhaps even eerier than this glow while alive, those with enough radium in their systems – enough to have died from it, for example – are illuminated into the after life. The unearthed corpses of some of the Radium Girls still glowed in their caskets.

Bone Cancers Were Incredibly Common

A compilation of studies into radium exposure identifies no fewer than five major cancers caused by the element. Bone sarcoma and head carcinoma, usually of the sinus and ear cavities, commonly occurred several years after exposure. Bone marrow cancer, or multiple myeloma, occurred in several cases of radium exposure, as did breast cancer and leukemia. 

One of the ironies of cancer and radium is the use of radiation to treat cancer. This can lead to future types of cancer in a patient, especially if he or she is treated as a youth. Additionally, radium is everywhere, and we are all exposed to it every day. The EPA has created RadTown to help ease any fears. 

The Documentary 'Radium City' Documents The Horrific Medical Consequences Of Radium In A Small Town In Illinois – And You Can Watch It Here

Extreme Fatigue Was Usually The First Sign Something Was Wrong... And Radium Was A Common Treatment For Fatigue

The popularity of and confidence in radium made it difficult for people to identify it as the cause of an illness. Women who worked with radium in factories first reported being exhausted, but this was often attributed to some other illness, including syphilis. Due to the paucity of records on patients treated with early radium treatments, it's difficult to assess what their initial symptoms may have been, if any. Additionally, they were being treated for some sort of illness – arthritis or fatigue, for example, sometimes with radium – so attributing their symptoms to radium is impossible. But when initial reports that radium could be causing these problems emerged, companies that produced products with radium immediately began passing the blame onto other sources as much as possible. 

Exhaustion among the factory workers may have been linked to anemia, which was also a common affliction to come out of exposure to radium. Marie Curie, the famed scientist who discovered radium and praised its use, died of aplastic anemia in 1934, caused by prolonged exposure to radium. Anemia continues to be a problem for cancer patients who undergo radiation treatment, as well. 

You Couldn't Hold Onto Your Teeth For Very Long When You Were Drinking Radium-Infused Tonics Regularly

The most commonly reported conditions from exposure to radium during the first half of the 20th century involved its effects on the teeth and joints. Factory women experienced pain in their mouths, and their teeth sometimes rotted to the point of falling out or had to be pulled by dentists. Famed amateur golfer and playboy Eben Byers began to lose his teeth three years after first imbibing "Radithor," a radium-infused tonic, in 1927. He drank approximately 1,400 bottles of the stuff in a two-year period, causing his body to decompose from the inside out.

Wed, 09 Aug 2017 05:57:52 PDT http://www.ranker.com/list/consequences-of-radium-in-common-products/melissa-sartore
<![CDATA[The British Arctic Expedition That Left Behind A Trail of Perfectly Preserved Corpses]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/franklin-expedition-preserved-bodies/will-gish?source=rss

The Franklin Expedition was a British arctic exploration mission designed to find and map the Northwest Passage along the northern coast of Canada. Sir John Franklin, who headed the expedition, left England with two ships, the Erebus and Terror, on May 19, 1845, and, after brief stops off the coast of Scotland and in Greenland, the ships set off into the wilds. His ships were last seen by Europeans in July 1845. 

In 1850, a mission to discover the fate of the Franklin Expedition found the graves of crew members John Torrington, William Braine, and John Hartnell in far northern Canada. In 1984, the bodies were exhumed to determine cause of death. Because Torrington was the first casualty of the expedition, it was thought that determining his cause of death would give some insight into what happened to the rest of the crew. The preserved bodies of the Franklin Expedition took their secrets with them, however.

The British Arctic Expedition That Left Behind A Trail of Perfectly Preserved Corpses,

The Bodies Were Creepily Well-Preserved By Permafrost

The eerily well-preserved bodies of Franklin Expedition members owe their preservation to the frigid weather of northern Canada. The area in which they were buried is rife with permafrost, earth so cold it's frozen solid for at least two years straight. The corpses of John Torrington, John Hartnell, and Marine William Braine were essentially buried in a freezer, which kept them fresh for about 140 years. 

A Note Found In 1859 Provided Details On The Expedition's Fate

In 1859, Francis Leopold McClintock was sent to determine the fate of the Franklin Expedition. A member of his crew found a note, pictured above, on King William Island in Canada, left by a member of Franklin's crew. 

According to the note, the xpedition had trouble with ice as early as winter 1846. On April 22, 1847, the crew abandoned the Terror and Erebus, having been stuck on ice since the previous September. At the time of abandoning the ship, 105 men survived, and 24 had perished. 

The Expedition Was Doomed From The Start

In 1984, Owen Beattie, an anthropologist at the University of Alberta, led an expedition to exhume the bodies of three dead members of Franklin's crew to determine their cause of the death. The members in question were John Torrington (pictured above), John Hartnell, and Marine William Braine, and they were the first three people in the expedition to die. 

Torrington's corpse, which was fantastically well preserved, was emaciated, and it showed signs of Torrington having been ill for some time before his death. Tests conducted by Beattie's team concluded Torrington died of lead poisoning, which was the result of the expedition's food being canned improperly in England. Regardless of the crew getting stranded on ice, they likely all would have suffered serious illness, and, eventually, death, from lead poisoning. 

The Terror And Erebus, Franklin's Ships

This Map Shows The Probable Route Traveled By The Franklin Expedition

Crew Members Resorted To Cannibalism

The remains of crew members found in the years since their disappearance show ample evidence of cannibalism. According to a piece on Smithsonian.com, this cannibalism took place in stages: it began with carving flesh from corpses for consumption and progressed to cracking open bones to suck out the marrow. The latter is known as end-stage cannibalism. 

Members Of The Crew Suffered Horrible Deaths

The members of the Franklin Expedition lucky enough to survive until the abandonment of the Terror and Erebus suffered a variety of horrible deaths during a trek of unknown length across the frozen nothingness of the Canadian wilderness. They died of hypothermia, scurvy, and starvation, if not sickness induced by lead poisoning. Before dying, they subsisted on the corpses of their fellow crew members. Nom nom nom. 

A 2008 Study Offered New Insight Into The Source Of The Expedition's Poison Problem

Owen Beattie and his team of scientists concluded the lead poisoning that affected members of the Franklin Expedition was a result of improperly canned food. A study published in 2008 suggests the source was the water system installed in the expedition's ships. Author William Battersby argues the canned food theory is incorrect because the same canning was widely used by the Royal Navy, which didn't suffer similar cases of poisoning.

As Battersby argues, the Terror and Erebus, Franklin's ships, were outfitted with unique water systems, which make them a far more likely source of poisoning. 

The Preserved Bodies Show A Lifelikeness That Is Just Unsettling

Some Doubted Bodies Were Even Buried In The Graves, But A Stench Led The Way

When Owen Beattie went to exhume the corpses of the first three dead members of the Franklin Expedition, many doubted he'd find anything. The rock-hard permafrost made digging a pretty unpleasant task, but, eventually, Beattie's crew encountered a unique stench, which gave way to a coffin. In the end, they found John Torrington, John Hartnell, and Marine William Braine buried alongside one another. 

Fri, 11 Aug 2017 08:00:38 PDT http://www.ranker.com/list/franklin-expedition-preserved-bodies/will-gish
<![CDATA[These Haunting Photos Of Native Americans Make Their Genocide Even Harder To Stomach]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/historical-photos-of-native-americans/rylee_en?source=rss

Photography became a commercially available practice in 1839. A few decades later, an American named Edward Curtis was becoming increasingly convinced that because of dastardly US policies and practices like the Trail of Tears, many Native American tribes and communities would soon be gone, devastated by two centuries worth of colonialism. So, Curtis – and others like him – took to the West in the hopes of capturing Native Americans on camera, giving contemporary viewers the haunting, inspiring, and heart-wrenching images of Native Americans from the turn of the 20th century that we have today.

For his part, Curtis spent 30 years living among different tribes in the western US, and he and "his crew collected more than 10,000 recordings of songs, music and speech in more than 80 tribes, most with their own language." In total, Curtis snapped over 40,000 photos in his three decades spent among Native tribes, and he published this work in a 20-volume tome, The North American Indian. As Smithsonian.com puts it: "The photographs of Edward Curtis represent ideals and imagery designed to create a timeless vision of Native American culture at a time when modern amenities and American expansion had already irrevocably altered the Indian." And for that, modern viewers owe him a debt, especially considering his work eventually resulted in him having a mental and physical breakdown. 

But Curtis wasn't the only photographer out there capturing Native Americans on film. As the photographs below demonstrate, several turn-of-the-century photographers became involved in this project right along with him.

These Haunting Photos Of Native Americans Make Their Genocide Even Harder To Stomach,

This Photo Was Simply Captioned 'Native American In Traditional Clothing' By The Government Photographer Who Took It

A Group Of Men Posed In The Positions Of A 'Snake Dance' Near St. Louis, Missouri

A Sioux Child In An Adult's Headdress, 1907

A Haunting Photograph Snapped Near What Is Now Omaha, Nebraska

A Photo Simply Captioned 'San Diago' Taken By The Gerhard Sisters

Chief Crane, Potawatomi, Holding A Tomahawk On A Delegation To Washington, DC

'Long Charlie,' A Member Of The Paiute Tribe, Astride His Horse

A Portrait Of A Crow Man Published In A 1909 Volume Of Curtis's Images

A Young Walpi Girl, Photographed Circa 1900

Sun Flower Had His Photo Taken In The Last Decade Of The 19th Century

Fri, 11 Aug 2017 04:44:45 PDT http://www.ranker.com/list/historical-photos-of-native-americans/rylee_en
<![CDATA[12 Historical Headlines That Could Not Have Been More Wrong]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/wrong-newspaper-headlines/brian-gilmore?source=rss

Hindsight is 20/20, but these incredibly wrong newspaper headlines are jaw-dropping. Some are haunting reminders to not count chickens before they hatch, while others are actually funny in their erroneous views on the world. Mostly, though, these historical headlines that were wrong are examples of how off the news can be. Journalism is about reporting the truth, but there are still times newspapers got it wrong.

Everyone knows the public face-palm that was "Dewey Defeats Truman!" but incorrect headlines go way beyond comedy. Some of these totally wrong headlines in history could have changed the world if they were true. What if no lives have been lost on the Titanic? What if nobody ever heard a peep from Hitler after 1924? And what if the death of Elvis really did end rock 'n' roll for good?

Get ready for a trip down memory lane, where most of the language is inaccurate, even more of it is offensive, and all of it was actually printed on paper.

12 Historical Headlines That Could Not Have Been More Wrong,

AIDS Is Labeled A Rare Cancer

On July 3, 1981, The New York Times ran an article on a "rare cancer seen in 41 homosexuals." The condition described is AIDS, but no one knew what it was, or how to prevent it. It's just as tragic in hindsight.

No Lives Lost On The Titanic

Headlines from the Vancouver Sun, the Vancouver Daily Province, and the World all reported that nobody had died on the Titanic the morning after the disaster. In reality, over 1,500 people died, including both passengers and crew members. Most of the survivors were women, children, and "higher class" passengers.

Otters And Kangaroos Are About To Go Extinct

The Saint Paul Globe bemoaned the state of the natural world in 1905, warning that species including sea otters, elephants, kangaroos, and giraffes were set to go extinct in the near future. Fortunately, most of the animals mentioned in the article are still around, though species continue to go extinct at an alarming rate.

Hitler Tamed By Prison

On December 21, 1924, The New York Times claimed that Adolf Hitler was a changed man after a stint behind bars. They added that Hitler's "behavior during imprisonment convinced the authorities that, like his political organization, known as the Volkischer, was no longer to be feared. It is believed that he will retire to private life and return to Austria, the country of his birth." 

Hitler published Mein Kampf a year later in 1925, and World War II started in September of 1939 when a Hitler-ruled Germany invaded Poland.

No More Babies After 2015

Several articles from 1910 reported on the studies of one Professor Walter F. Wilcox from Cornell University. He predicted that American women would stop having babies by 2015, and that by 2020, the country would be forced to import infants from France.

Obviously, people continue to reproduce, and with continued government squabbling over contraception, the population doesn't seem likely to decrease anytime soon.

Peace On Earth

On November 11, 1918, the Chicago Herald Examiner declared peace on earth after World War I ended. It may have felt as if a war of that magnitude could never happen again, but that was not the case. Unrest continued around the globe, and the tensions of World War I spilled over into World War II.

Fidel Castro Dead In 1956

In December 1956, The New York Times ran an item claiming Fidel Castro was among the 40 revolutionaries killed by the Cuban government. Castro actually died on November 25, 2016.

Washington Falls To The Confederacy

"Glorious news!" said this misinformed newspaper, reporting in 1862 that the Confederacy had taken Washington, D.C. This, of course, was not true; the South did not win the Civil War, and the conflict lasted for another three years.

As for the newspaper's blotchy appearance, that comes from what it was printed on: wallpaper. A Union blockade made paper scarce in the South, so printers used whatever materials they could get their hands on.

Rock Dies With Elvis

On August 17, 1977, The Guardian proclaimed that, since Elvis was dead, rock was too. That assumption was proven wrong by groups like the Rolling Stones, Guns N' Roses, and the Foo Fighters.

It's also interesting to note that the article cites Elvis's cause of death as "acute respiratory distress." Today, it's widely believed he died from an overdose of prescription drugs.

Dewey Defeats Truman

This is the most famous of all erroneous newspaper headlines. On November 3, 1948, the Chicago Tribune printed papers declaring Thomas Dewey the winner of the presidential election – before the final electoral count came in. Harry Truman, of course, won the presidency, and the image of him holding the Tribune is a memorable moment in U.S. history.

For their part, the Tribune points to a printers' strike as a contributing factor to the error. They had to go to press hours earlier than they normally would, and running the headline seemed like a safe call. Everyone assumed Dewey would win in a landslide.

Fri, 14 Jul 2017 04:44:52 PDT http://www.ranker.com/list/wrong-newspaper-headlines/brian-gilmore
<![CDATA[South African Cops Blasted Anti-Apartheid Protesters With A Purple Water Cannon To 'Mark Them']]> http://www.ranker.com/list/anti-apartheid-protesters-sprayed-with-dye/nicky-benson?source=rss

The Purple Rain protest South Africa took place in Cape Town in 1989. It was one of the most famous anti-apartheid protests, thanks to the images that came out of it; specifically, photographs of citizens and buildings covered in purple dye.

When thousands of activists marched in Cape Town several days before parliamentary elections in September '89, police responded with a water cannon filled with purple dye. Their aim was to stop demonstrators in their tracks, and use the dye to mark protestors for later identification and arrest. Activist Philip Ivey wrestled the cannon from officers, and the dye gun used in anti-apartheid protests was turned on the office of the National Party spearheading of the crackdowns.

The Purple Rain Protest became an international symbol of civil disobedience. The purple dye apartheid protesters may not have realized it at the time, but their actions marked in a turning point in the history of South Africa. Everyone involved - protestors, police, black and white citizens - became the same color, blurring the line between race and power. 

South African Cops Blasted Anti-Apartheid Protesters With A Purple Water Cannon To 'Mark Them',

Following The Riot, Anti-Apartheid Graffiti Covered Cape Town

Following the riot, activists graffitied surfaces throughout the city. The Cape Times described it:

“Graffiti artists at the weekend sprayed several Cape Town suburban railway stations with slogans reading: Release our leaders, Free our leaders, unban the ANC and Forward to purple people's power, -- a reference to the police use of purple dye in the water cannon directed against demonstrators....”

Anti-apartheid graffiti also appeared on the Old Town House in Greenmarket Square, an area originally created as a slave market. It read: "The purple shall govern," a play on “The People Shall Govern,” which appears in South African's Freedom Charter. 

The National Party's Headquarters Was Dyed Purple

Anti apartheid activist Philip Ivey managed to get ahold of the nozzle of the water cannon and turned it away from protestors, towards the South African National Party's Cape Town headquarters. The NP was a primary architect of and lobbyist for the continued system racism of the apartheid system. 

Desmond Tutu, Wearing Purple, Marched Through Cape Town One Week Later

One week following the riot, social rights and anti-apartheid activist Bishop Desmond Tutu wore purple and marched through Cape Town with 30,000 people by his side. Law enforcement did not interfere with the march. The Purple Rain Protest was the final time the apartheid government used violence to stop political protestors who wanted their voices heard.

Graffiti Found In Cape Town After The Protest

The National Party Was A Perfect Target That Day

By the mid-'70s, South Africa was one of the last remaining nations in Africa ruled by whites. By 1984, the National Party, the dominant faction in Suoth African's government, had arranged the country's constitution to permit a controversial Tricameral Parliament consisting of the House of Representatives, filled with black South Africans (called "coloreds"); the House of Delegates, filled with South Africans of Indian ancestry; and the House of Assembly, filled with white South Africans. Unsurprisingly, the whites had more representation than the Indians and black communities combined. 

Police Arrested Hundreds, Including Prominent Academics And Intellectuals

Riot police on the ground in Cape Town that day targeted anyone covered in purple dye for detention, arresting hundreds, including several journalists.

Among those taken into police custody included cleric, politician, and anti-apartheid activist Dr. Allan Boesak and University of Cape Town professor of religion and society, Dr. Charles Villa-Vincencio. Police also apprehended Rev. Pierre van den Heever, a representative of the South African Council of Churches, and attorney Essa Moosa, who helped build the anti-apartheid National Association of Democratic Lawyers and through his work defended political detainees.

Based On Reports, Philip Ivey Comes Across Like A Hero From A Movie

The Chicago Tribune describes activist Philip Ivey, who took control of the dye cannon, in a manner befitting a triumphant character in a movie: 

"A young march marshal wearing a red headband leaped on top of the tanker and turned the nozzle wildly back on the office buildings and massed ranks of police, kicking away officers who tried to grab him. Some of the dye landed on a building housing offices of the ruling National Party. As police fired tear gas and charged, the young activist escaped into a church."

Riot Police Used Tear Gas & Other Weapons

Riot police tried to prevent protestors from marching on parliament by using its new, anti-protestor device (the purple-dye-filled water cannon), unaware their actions would backfire when a lone protestor took control of it. But the water cannon wasn't the state's only weapon that day: cops also had clubs, whips, tear gas, and dogs.

Four Months Later, Nelson Mandela Was Released From Prison

Four months following the Purple Rain Protest, anti-apartheid revolutionary Nelson Mandela was released from prison. He had spent 27 years behind bars after being charged with conspiracy and attempting to overthrow the government. In 1994, he was elected president of South Africa, making him the first black head of state and the first elected in a fully representative democratic election. The photo above shows him voting in the election.

Many Knelt Defiantly As The Water Cannon Sprayed Them

When police began spraying protestors on that fateful day in 1989, not everyone fled. Some knelt on the ground in defiance. Others were knocked off their feet from the power of the water cannon. Bystanders and shoppers who were not part of the protest ran for cover. Stores and businesses locked their doors, and Adderley Street, the man thoroughfare in Cape Town's business district, was shut down.

Wed, 09 Aug 2017 03:56:23 PDT http://www.ranker.com/list/anti-apartheid-protesters-sprayed-with-dye/nicky-benson
<![CDATA[What Sex Was Like For Nomads Traveling The Silk Road]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/sex-on-silk-road/melissa-sartore?source=rss

The Silk Road was a network of markets and trading posts throughout Asia and the Indian Ocean Basin that extended from the eastern Mediterranean to the interior of China, and it earned its name thanks to the most valued commodity on the route: silk. Because of the large number of travelers making their way down the road, the different cultures that came into contact on the route, and the luxury goods that were being exchanged, sex on the historical Silk Road was an interesting, complicated, and nuanced cluster of encounters.

Silk had been exchanged for centuries, but in the 3rd century, the Han Dynasty in China used silk as its chief commodity with an increasingly interested and willing-to-pay outside world. Contact between Romans and the Han – and all groups in between – allowed for cultural and commercial exchange on an enormous scale. The Silk Road was used for over 1,500 years with varying popularity, reaching its height under the Mongols during the 13th and 14th centuries.

The merchants, diplomats, travelers, and missionaries who traveled along the Silk Road rarely traversed the whole route but rather participated in a relay system. Mostly men, these individuals took part in sex on the Silk Road, naturally, but over the extensive land mass and lengthy time period that the Silk Road was used, ideas about sex, sexuality, and gender varied. This was not a bad thing, however, because there was a lot of influence and exchange that affected sexual practice and principle for the better. From brothels and prostitution to sex manuals and genetics, the blending of influences that informed sex along the Silk Road had a little something to offer to everyone.

What Sex Was Like For Nomads Traveling The Silk Road,

Women Were Kidnapped And Exchanged

The Silk Road served as a conduit for moving women around Asia – by both force and diplomacy. The story of Wenji highlights the role of women along the Silk Road. In the 2nd century, Wenji was captured and transported along the Road, forced to marry a nomad warlord before being rescued. Wenji had two children by the man, and after her rescue, she mourned the loss of her nomad family. 

"For each step is a step away from them.
My soul is overwhelmed.
As their figures vanish in the distance
Only my love remains."

In the 7th century, Wencheng faired a bit better when she was escorted from China to Tibet as the bride-to-be for for a Tibetan ruler. The event was celebrated in China and Tibet alike.

Eunuchs Did Lots Of Political Work – Specifically Because Of Their Sexlessness

Eunuchs were commonly used as diplomats and court officials by the late Roman and Byzantine Empires, as well as by Chinese dynastic leaders. After castration, a eunuch could be a hot commodity for a merchant within both empires. Being a eunuch was shamed in the Roman and Byzantine worlds, but as neutral and harmless men, eunuchs often received privilege and prominence in social and political settings. The stigma abetted during the Byzantine period, and young male slaves were increasingly castrated for political purposes.

In China, eunuchs were similarly deemed unthreatening and found their way into the closest and highest imperial circles. Diplomats and explorers such as Zheng He used the Silk Road to extend Chinese dynastic contact and influence, neither a threat to ladies nor distracted by his man parts along the way.

The Hindu Book On Sensuality Spread Along The Road

The Kama Sutra was written, or at least compiled, in the 3rd or 4th century and is considered a sex manual by modern readers. In its origin, it emphasized sexual relationships as social and economic duties and offered positions, illustrations, and guidance about lovemaking. "Kama" means pleasure – so that was part of the plan too.

Hinduism never made its way too far outside of India, but it was one of the faiths exchanged along the Road. A work like the Kama Sutra was not well received by Christians and Muslims, both of which were dominant in Silk Road trade and had much more conservative views about sex and women. But Hindu works like the Kama Sutra, as well as the poems and plays of Kalidasa, were popular during the Gupta period throughout the Indian Ocean basin.

The Mongols Had A Lot Of Sex Along The Road

The legacy of Genghis Khan and his genetic code is legendary. Mathematically speaking, he is said to have over 16 million male ancestors, which makes sense given the role of women as items of plunder at the time he was alive. Genghis Khan and his sexual activities highlight sex as a way of demonstrating power – as well as leaving one's mark, so to speak. During the reign of Kublai Khan, Genghis's son, in China, Marco Polo mentioned the practice of the Khan taking any beautiful woman for himself. Tribes within the Yuan dynasty of Kublai Khan also sent women to the Khan. Overall, Mongol leaders did not want for sexual partners. Polo wrote:

"Now every year an hundred of the most beautiful maidens of this tribe are sent to the Great Kaan, who commits them to the charge of certain elderly ladies dwelling in his palace...then such of them as are of approved beauty, and are good and sound in all respects, are appointed to attend on the Emperor by turns. Thus six of these damsels take their turn for three days and nights, and wait on him when he is in his chamber and when he is in his bed, to serve him in any way, and to be entirely at his orders. At the end of the three days and nights they are reHeved by other six. And so throughout the year, there are rehefs of maidens by six and six, changing every three days and nights."

Hosts Along The Road Let Travelers Sleep With Their Wives

According to Marco Polo, when travelers stayed at the house of a stranger, the host was often willing to let the visitor sleep with his wife.

Polo wrote that when a traveler arrived:

"the host is delighted, and desires his wife to put herself entirely at the guest's disposal, whilst he himself gets out of the way, and comes back no more until the stranger shall have taken his departure. The guest may stay and enjoy the wife's society as long as he lists, whilst the husband has no shame in the matter, but indeed considers it an honour. And all the men of this province are made wittols of by their wives in this way. The women themselves are fair and wanton."

Marco Polo indicated that the Mongols were not particularly thrilled about this activity, but they left the men to their shame and their "naughty practice."

Sex Slaves And Prostitutes Bookended The Road

Roman attitudes about slaves, prostitutes, and concubines were not always clear, and sexual relationships between male owners and female slaves were common. In the Byzantine Empire, women sold themselves into prostitution to survive, and, despite the modest Byzantine disposition, sex was the preoccupation of many. With the importance of silk in the Byzantine Empire, the Silk Road was traversed by Byzantine traders who had extensive contact with other merchants. Brothels were present throughout the Empire, which was the western terminus of the Road. 

Buddhist Tantra Influenced Sex In Practice And Spirit

Tantric Buddhism, a variation of Buddhism that emphasizes the path to Enlightenment through achieving ecstasy, is based on the idea that a person embraces the Divine. In art, this relationship is represented with depictions of sexual embraces between gods and consorts. As Tantric Buddhism spread along the Silk Road – out of Tibet, where it was based, and into China – these depictions influenced sexual attitudes and practices.

Sex Could Be Medicinal

In Ancient China, sex was natural, valuable, and believed to have a therapeutic, medicinal value. Medical texts include descriptions of proper and improper sexual intercourse, practices that continued during the ebbs and flows of the period within which the Silk Road was used. The Tang Dynasty sex manual known as The Classic of the White Madam offers advice to men about sex.

Huangdi asks: “Lately even when I have a strong desire for sex, my ‘jade stalk’ does not rise. I am so embarrassed that my face is covered with shame and beads of sweat. Yet my desire is so strong, I have no choice but to seek the assistance of my hand. How should I do it?”

Sunu replies:

“Your question is a common one. When a man wishes to have a sexual relationship, he must observe traditional preliminaries. First the breathing needs to be harmonized, and then the ‘jade stalk’ is aroused according to the principle of ‘five consistencies’, while sensations flow through the nine parts. As for a woman, the five colors are to be noted. Upon the change of color, the man collects saliva from the woman’s mouth, which it turn in transformed and fills marrow of his bones as well the internal organs of is body. The man must obey the ‘seven deficiencies’ follow the ‘eight benefits’ and observe the ‘five constancies.’ In doing so, the disorder will be cured as energy strengthens the body. When his internal organs are harmonized his face will shine. Should desire come, the ‘jade stalk’ that has been strengthened becomes erect. Where then is the shame?" 

It also stresses the importance of the act for health and nature. 

Huangdi asks: “What will happen if one abstains from sex?”

Sunu replies: “That is absolutely out of the question. Yin and yang have their alternations as does everything in nature. Human beings should follow the rhythms of yin and yang just as they follow the rhythms of the seasons…”

Inns Along The Road May Have Offered Women To Travelers Too

Turfan, an area in China through which merchants passed, entered into contracts with locals and officials for services like interpretation and travel passes. Official documents from Turfan reveal that women were at the market, as well, and may have been offered to men staying along the Road as part of a contractual agreement.

Merchants could also buy slaves, and "the new owner can beat his slave, maltreat her, tie her up, sell her, hold her hostage, give her as a gift, or do whatever he likes with her." Sex isn't specifically mentioned, but that was common when it came to slave expectations.

Same-Sex Relationships Were Common

During the early days of the Silk Road, Roman influences were heavy, particularly on the western end. As a result, Roman ideas about same-sex relationships were extended along some of its length. The history of male companionship in the Mediterranean is long and storied, but historians find that the Mongols engaged in homosexuality in China as well as in the Russian khanates. There are accounts of Ghenghis Khan, whose given name was Temujin, sleeping under blankets with other men, and while this doesn't mean they were in a sexual relationship, it's impossible to know either way. That said, in the Mongol world, there was a heavy Islamic influence, which punished sodomy severely. 

Mon, 17 Jul 2017 06:50:19 PDT http://www.ranker.com/list/sex-on-silk-road/melissa-sartore
<![CDATA[Watch An Entire Government Get Executed By Firing Squad In 3 Brutal Photographs]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/liberian-government-execution-photo/1499368817867?source=rss

The decades-long political unrest in the country of Liberia in western Africa has led to some of the most disturbing imagery captured in history. After years of rule from a one-party political system in a dual-society country – where the elite lived a charmed life, and everyone else suffered – a rebellion sprang up, which led to the Liberian coup d'état of 1980. Led by Master Sergeant Samuel K. Doe, the coup was a brutal takeover carried out by 17 non-commissioned officers and soldiers of the Armed Forces of Liberia. President William R. Tolbert Jr. was killed in the Presidential palace while his cabinet was rounded up for trial.

The cabinet members were put on trial in a kangaroo court with no jurors. They were unsurprisingly all sentenced to death. This photo of the Liberian government execution, just moments before it took place, shows how public and fiercely personal the brutal executions were. The 1980 Liberian coup d'état results were broadcast on television for the rest of the country to witness. In the picture, a few of the cabinet members are mostly undressed as they were forced to parade naked through the streets before their public execution.

The execution of the Liberian cabinet members was only the beginning of what would be years of civil unrest and eventual war in Liberia. The picture lives on as a reminder of the horrifying places classism can lead.

Watch An Entire Government Get Executed By Firing Squad In 3 Brutal Photographs,

The Liberian Civil Army Horrifyingly Featured Child Soldiers

The most shocking imagery associated with Liberia over the past few decades has been pictures of the children the rebel forces of the country have used to help fight their battles over the years. The sight of child soldiers welding machine guns almost as large as they are is both sad and sickening. The high death toll of the multiple civil wars in the country has led rebels to resort to forcing children to fight with them. 

A Crowd Watched As The Cabinet Members, Many From Distinguished Liberian Families, Were Killed

People gathered to watch the execution, and despite the brutal cruelty of the display, many Liberians welcomed the regime change. The previous year, President Tolbert had proposed an increase in the price of rice. The Liberian people were outraged and appalled by the proposed increase; a peaceful protest was planned, but it quickly escalated. 2,000 people grew to 10,000, and riots and looting broke out, causing more than $40 million worth of damage. The event was dubbed the "Rice Riots," and they were the beginning of the end for Tolbert.

The Men Were Shot At Short Range On A Public Beach Before A New, Similar Regime Was Established

After storming the palace and killing off the majority of governmental leaders, Samuel K. Doe founded a new government called the People's Redemption Council (PRC). Before the rebellion, Doe was virtually unknown by the Liberian public. He was a low-ranking officer with no political training. Once in office, he grew paranoid and favored indigenous Liberians like himself, flipping the scales but essentially keeping classism alive in Liberia.

The Execution Was Broadcast Live On Television – And You Can See That Video Here

Samuel K. Doe gave a public press conference right before the executions, which were aired on television. Doe told reporters: "The revolution which brought down the Tolbert government was motivated by the sufferings of the Liberian people throughout our country. Things were fixed in such a way that only a very few people enjoyed everything."

Liberia's Oligarchy Led To Its Civil Unrest

Once the people of the Republic of Liberia began running their own country in the 1840s, a two-tiered society emerged very quickly. The upper class was comprised of those who came from America or were descended from those who had come from America, and they were called the Americo-Liberians. In contrast to the indigenous African people who also lived in the newly formed country, the Americo-Liberians were highly Westernized. They instituted Christian religious practices and founded schools. Soon, a general sense that certain Liberians were "whiter" than others emerged. 

The Republic Of Liberia Was Essentially Formed So White Americans Could Dump Freed Slaves Somewhere

In the early 1800s, Quakers and slaveholders in America got together and formed the American Colonization Society (ACS), a strange pairing as Quakers were staunchly against the rampant slave trading happening within the United States at the time. However, it turned out the two groups had a common goal. They both wanted to find a place for freed slaves to live. The Quakers wanted them to have their own space, and the slaveholders wanted free black people far away from them in case they ever considered rebelling.

Over the next 60, years tens of thousands of former slaves and freeborn black Americans were sent to the settlement of Monrovia (named for U.S. President James Monroe) where the population grew as they combined with the indigenous Africans already living in the area. In 1847, they declared themselves an independent state: The Republic of Liberia.

The Men Executed Were Paraded Around Naked Before Their Deaths

Thirteen cabinet members were rounded up when Master Sgt. Samuel K. Doe led his rebellion against President Tolbert. An additional 27 members of the government were also killed, but 14 cabinet members were given trials. However, the trials were really just five-man military tribunals led by the rebels, and all but one of the cabinet members were quickly sentenced to death. The former information minister, Johnny McClain, escaped execution because he was an indigenous Liberian, not an Americo-Liberian. 

Some of the men were forced to walk naked and partially clothed to the beach where they were shot.

A Month Prior To The Picture, The President Was Murdered In The Coup

On April 12, 1980, 28-year-old Samuel K. Doe and 17 other military officers and soldiers stormed President William R. Tolbert's palace and murdered him there. Tolbert was an Americo-Liberian and a member of the only party to really have any political influence, the True Whig party. His death effectively ended 133 years of Americo-Liberian rule. 

The Man Who Led The Coup D'état Was Eventually Killed In Another Coup

Ironically, Samuel K. Doe, the man who stormed the presidential palace and murdered President William R. Tolbert, Jr., was eventually also overthrown by rebels. On September 9, 1990, only 10 years after overthrowing the Liberian government and nine months into the first Liberian civil war, Doe was captured by the Independent National Patriotic Front of Liberia (INPFL), led by Prince Johnson. He was stripped and interrogated on camera while being tortured. His ear was cut off, and within a few hours, he was murdered. 

Two Liberian Civil Wars Have Led To More Than 250,000 Deaths

Though the picture of men about to be government officials on a Liberian beach is truly disturbing, the next few decades of Liberia's history provided even more repulsive imagery. Two civil wars broke out in Liberia, the first in 1989 brought down Samuel K. Doe – the man responsible for those beach executions – and lasted 13 years. The second started in 1999 by the Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD) and only ended in 2003 when President Charles Taylor resigned. 

Thu, 10 Aug 2017 07:23:47 PDT http://www.ranker.com/list/liberian-government-execution-photo/1499368817867
<![CDATA[Meet The Groupie Who Made Plaster Molds Out Of Rock Music's Most Famous Penises]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/collection-of-rock-n-roll-groupie-plaster-caster/rebecca-shortall?source=rss

Cynthia "Plaster Caster" Albritton wasn't any old groupie bed-hopping her way through the rock star recesses of the '60s and '70s. She had a unique hook, an angle that made her stand out from the masses of adoring teenage rock fans. She was the groupie who made plaster casts of some of the most majestic wangs of old school rock, a c*ck-n-roll fangirl, if you will. Though her work, Cynthia Plaster Caster amassed quite a collection of rock n roll plaster penises in her heyday.  

Cynthia loved rock with a burning passion, and was determined to meet the people behind the music. Problem was, she was lost in a sea of similarly young women determined to do the same. She had a stroke of inspiration and luck in an art class, which kicked off a great chapter in the an(n)als of rock history was born. 

Since Cynthia cast her first penis, she's been the subject of documentaries and songs, and has put on exhibitions for which folks travel from far and wide to gaze upon her molds of famous d*cks with unfettered wonder. 

Meet The Groupie Who Made Plaster Molds Out Of Rock Music's Most Famous Penises,

Some Of Her "Babies" Include Harvey Mandel And Ariel Pink

Cynthia referred to the many wangs she cast as her babies. When she left Los Angeles to get a square job in Chicago, she entrusted many of her babies to the care of Herb Cohen, Frank Zappa's business partner (what are you gonna do, pack an entire suitcase full of plaster loin lances and check them with the airline?). 

In that illustrious collection of manhood were casts of Jimi Hendrix, Noel Redding (bass player for The Experience), Eddie Brigati (singer of The Young Rascals), Harvey Mandel (guitarist), Zal Yavonksy (of the Lovin' Spoonful), Aynsley Dunbar and Beach Boys drummer Ricky Fataar. Not all casts were successes; Pete Shelley (singer/songwriter for The Buzzcocks) and Eric Burdon (lead singer of The Animals) both broke the mold, literally, and their plaster members didn't survive. 

Drummer Aynsley Dunbar Took Forever To Get "Big And Beefy Enough" To Cast

Jimi Hendrix was a dream to work when it came to penis molding. Other musicians, all of them invariably less talented than Jimi, were either less accommodating or unsure of what the process entailed. Some made roadies dip the wick first as a sacrificial penis, to determining whether the process was safe. 

Journeyman drummer Aynsley Dunbar, who has played with everyone from Jeff Beck, David Bowie, and Lou Reed to Journey, Whitesnake, and even Frank Zappa, was one of the most difficult subjects for the Plaster Caster. Cynthia told MTV Dunbar "wouldn't dip into the canister until he thought he was big and beefy enough." It took him quite some time to get hard to his own satisfaction, as a result of which the Plaster Caster wasted a fair amount of material. 

She's Cast Women As Well

Cynthia hasn't just cast men. She turned her artistic talents over to women; specifically. their breasts. Some of her most famous female casts include Karen O (lead singer of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs), Peaches (of "F*ck the Pain Away" fame), Laetita Sadier (Stereolab's singer and keyboard player) and Margaret Doll Rod (singer and guitarist for Demolition Doll Rods). According to Cynthia's website, she's never once failed at casting a woman.

Jimi Hendrix Was The First Rock Star To Have His Junk Cast By Cynthia

The late 1960s. The Jimi Hendrix Experience was about to roll into Chicago and Cynthia Plaster Caster had yet to cast one penis. She decided to buckle down and make sure her casting game was on point for Hendrix. She practiced on two friends, asking them to dip their dongs in a dental mold. Lo and behold, the d*ck-dipping was a success.  

Cynthia popped the question to Jimi, who was on board. She and her friend Dianne (the "designated blowjob giver") got some face time with Hendrix, and now his voodoo child is forever immortalized in Cynthia Plaster Caster's collection. The cast came out a bit cracked, a testament to Hendrix's incendiary power. 

Her Art Project Fit Right In With The Libertine Weirdness Of The Period

Cynthia did most of her casting - or, at least, her most famous castings - in the heady days of the late '60s and early '70s, and her project fit right in with the hedonism and weirdness of the era. The sexual adventures of rock stars included coke-fueled orgies, (very) underage girls, and mudsharks. Whacked-out cults stalked the ancient streets of London and sun-blasted canyons of the Hollywood Hills, merging with celebrity culture if occasionally startling and violent ways. 

She Lost Her Virginity To A Member Of Paul Revere's Band

One of the first rock stars Cynthia Plaster Caster propositioned in aid of her penis casting project was Paul Revere, leader of Paul Revere & the Raiders, who was in Chicago with Dick Clark's Caravan of Stars when Cynthia and her best friend (who sported the very punk rock nickname "Pest"), rocked up to him and requested he lend his penis to them.

Alas, Cynthia did not walk away with her first penis cast (Revere wasn't interested). She did, however, swipe her V card at the register of Mark Lindsay, a member of Revere's band. Not only did she come away from the experience a great virginity loss story, she also began the legend of the woman who casts penises. 

The Idea To Cast Dongs Arose From An Assignment In Art School

Cynthia and her rock-and-roll-loving BFF Pest were desperate to meet the musical gods who blew through Chicago on the reg, but found themselves lost in a sea of groupies, unable to raise their voices above the melee of the seething masses. 

One fateful day, Cynthia's art teacher assigned the class a plaster casting project, the sole criteria of which was casting something solid enough to "retain its shape". Cynthia had one hell of a brain wave, and it set her on a plaster-and-penis lined course to fame. 

A Rumor Went Around That She Could Only Orgasm Through Plaster Casting

After casting Hendrix, Cynthia suddenly found herself d*ck-infamous. She and her fellatio-ready gal pal Dianne enjoyed the perks the limelight afforded them. But when d*cks are your business, there are going to be rumors, such as you being unable to orgasm without asking a man to dip his penis into a dental mold. Yes, indeed: rumors abounded that Cynthia and Dianne couldn't climax without casting. 

Frank Zappa Moved Her To LA So She Could Make An Art Exhibit Out Of Her Dicks

Cynthia's plaster penises caught the attention of Frank Zappa, who loved the idea so much he decided to fly her to Los Angeles to cast as many penises as possible. Zappa had the idea of showing off Cynthia's collection as part of an art exhibit. Unfortunately, the idea fell through, because even though Cynthia had a cavalcade of c*cks, there weren't enough famous ones to generate interest. D*cks in hand, she moved back to Chicago and got a boring old regular job that wasn't at all d*ck-based (she neglects to mention what that job was in the bio on her website). 

Tue, 25 Jul 2017 02:12:36 PDT http://www.ranker.com/list/collection-of-rock-n-roll-groupie-plaster-caster/rebecca-shortall
<![CDATA[Shel Silverstein Has Pretty Much Lived The Most Kid-Unfriendly Life Imaginable]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/dark-shel-silverstein-stories/erin-mccann?source=rss

Many children grew up reading Shel Silverstein's poetry, but stories about the poet's darker side depict him in a completely different light. Hints to his creative yet twisted mind appear in some of Silverstein's creepy poems, but the real Shel Silverstein personality emerged through his work for adults, including songs, plays, and cartoons. Silverstein was a private man who never gave many interviews. Instead, he threw himself into almost every area of creative expression.

Born in 1930, Silverstein began drawing at a young age, but was quickly seen as a rebel with controversial ideas and the lifestyle of a drifter. Some of Silverstein's best books, like The Giving Tree, Where the Sidewalk Ends, and A Light in the Attic, harbor creepy insights into the genius's mind. Although these are the titles that brought him the most fame, they also created some controversy by appearing on banned book lists. So, what was Shel Silverstein like? What really lurked in the mind of a man who possessed tremendous amounts of imagination, creative passion, and a twisted sense of humor? These dark Shel Silverstein stories may help shine a little light in that attic. 

Shel Silverstein Has Pretty Much Lived The Most Kid-Unfriendly Life Imaginable,

He Nearly Cheated His Daughter Out Of The Tooth Fairy

As can be seen from Shel Silverstein's wild imagination, he has nothing against fantasy. However, he believed fantasy should be purely that, and not something that could possibly interact with real life. For him as a parent, that included the Tooth Fairy.

Silverstein was divorced and his daughter from that marriage sometimes came to stay with him. But when she lost a tooth, he refused to play along, making her extremely upset and unable to understand why the Tooth Fairy had not appeared. Silverstein realized his stubbornness was making the situation worse. "Faced with a screaming six-year-old, for my own comfort I continue the legend of the tooth fairy."

Silverstein Loved Women Almost As Much As His Work

Silverstein spent a few years living at the Playboy Mansion and was a devoted fan of ladies throughout his life. However, he didn't have much luck when he was younger. When talking about his college experience, he remembered, "I didn't get laid much. I didn't learn much. Those are the two worst things that can happen to a guy."

As he became more successful and women became more interested in him, he always made sure they were aware he did not want a relationship. The 1966 Playmate of the Year, Diane Chandler, noted, "He instantly saw the signs and would say something like, 'Well, let's see, where shall I put you on my list?' to let the girls know that they shouldn't expect anything from him." 

Silverstein once said in an interview, "By the time I got to where I was attracting girls, I was already into work, and it was more important to me. Not that I wouldn't rather make love, but the work has become a habit."

Playboy Jumpstarted Silverstein's Career As A Cartoonist

As a child, Shel Silverstein was always drawing. Growing up, he was able to translate his childhood love for art into a few paying gigs for magazines like Sports Illustrated and Look. Eventually, he landed the job that would launch his career - creating cartoons for Playboy. The magazine had started only a few years earlier and Hugh Hefner was excited by Silverstein's work, buying several of his cartoons immediately upon meeting him.

In addition to gaining a larger audience for his cartoons, the new gig at Playboy meant Silverstein was finally able to make a living as an artist. Eventually, he took on more of a writer role at the magazine, creating a series of travelogues, complete with photographs and illustrations. 

He Sent Away His Young Daughter When The Mother Passed Away, Only To Have The Child Die At An Early Age, Too

Shel Silverstein had two children (at least), including a daughter named Shoshanna who stayed with her mother (his wife) until she passed away from cancer. Since Silverstein had no intention of being a father, he sent Shoshanna to live with an aunt and uncle. At the age of 11, she had a cerebral aneurysm and passed away without Silverstein really getting to know her. He was said to have always felt guilty for not spending more time with his daughter and dedicated A Light In The Attic to her memory.

In a obituary written by David Mamet, the playwright noted of his good friend's feelings about his wife and daughter's death, "And he told me that the terrible thing was not that they were dead, but that they stayed dead." 

His Most Famous Cartoon Was Used For Psychological Testing, Which He Thought Was Ridiculous

Shel Silverstein expressed frustration with readers examining his work too closely. For example, take his most famous cartoon where two men are chained in a prison cell. Their tattered clothing and unshaven faces show they've been stuck there for some time. The caption of the cartoon, as one man speaks to the other, reads, "Now, here's my plan." Silverstein thought this image was funny, but many people saw a deeper meaning in it and the cartoon was even used in psychological testing to observe people's reactions to it. Silverstein expressed that people were reading too much into the drawing:  

"You ask about the story behind it because everyone was, you know, trying to figure out the psychological and philosophical connotations of this, which is a lot of sh*t, because I don't do stuff that has any deeper meaning than what the stuff shows. Yeah, it's been used in psychological testing; it's been used by Alcoholics Anonymous to describe courage. You do something, you make it simple, and everybody else starts loading it up with deeper meanings."

A Cartoon He Drew For The Army Almost Got Him Court-Martialed

Like many American men, Silverstein was drafted into the US Army in the early 1950s. He was sent to serve in the Korean War, but was luckily able to hold onto his love of art, becoming a cartoonist and writer for a military newspaper called Stars and Stripes. He quickly became known as a sort of rebel and some of his humorous illustrations received complaints from offended soldiers and officers.

In fact, a few of his cartoons almost got him court-martialed. Luckily, the controversy was caused by military officials not completely understanding Silverstein's message in the questionable pieces, and he was let off the hook. Misunderstanding or not, it quickly became evident that Shel Silverstein was not afraid of taboos, even in cartoon form. 

Shel Silverstein Penned Some Pretty Raunchy Songs

In addition to being a cartoonist, children's author, and playwright, Shel Silverstein was also a musician. During his career, he created nine albums, as well as one unreleased album with more adult content. He also wrote songs for other artists including Dr. Hook, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Johnny Cash, since his fans were unimpressed with his own voice. He once claimed, "I don't see anyone running out and buying my records, but I like the way I sing."

In addition to songs about drugs, Silverstein also penned songs about venereal disease, masturbation, nude beaches, and sexuality. Clearly, he didn't want his career to focus on one art form or one audience, stating, "I run into difficulty because people want to find a nice clean handle for everyone, and you can't do that for any creative person. Nobody has only one side. You want people to allow for all of you."

Shel Silvertein Hated The Children's Book Genre

Considering Shel Silverstein has become one of the most beloved children's book authors of the world, it's funny to think the thing that led him to write stories and poems for kids was his hatred of the genre. He was offended not only by the condescending writing style many children's authors used, but also the artwork. During an interview, he once ranted, "They have modern-type illustrations - some girl does a series of silly-*ss illustrations; she tries to imagine how a six-year-old would draw, and no godd*mn six-year-old wants to look at illustrations that look like they're done by a six-year-old. So they come up with a modern type of children's book that is a real atrocity."

After writing Uncle Shelby's ABZ Book: A Primer for Tender Young Minds, a children's style book that was definitely not for children, a few friends finally convinced Silverstein to give writing a real children's book a shot. Lo and behold, the books were a global hit. 

His Very First Published Cartoon In A College Newspaper Featured Nudity

Shel Silverstein's college career included getting kicked out of University of Illinois at Urbana, dropping out of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and finally attending Roosevelt University in Chicago. There, he started making a name for himself as a writer and cartoonist. He managed to secure a position on the student newspaper, The Torch, and publish his very first cartoon. It featured a naked student smoking a cigarette, explaining to an angry professor, "What do you mean, 'No Smoking?' I thought this was a liberal school." His career was off to a great start. 

He Wrote A Disturbing Sequel To A Boy Named Sue

Johnny Cash once threw a party and invited some of his musician friends to share the latest pieces they'd been working on. Among offerings from Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan, and Kris Kristofferson, Shel Silverstein sang, "A Boy Named Sue." At the urging of his wife, Cash sang the song at a performance at San Quentin prison and knew it would be a hit. Silverstein later decided to write a sequel to the song where the father was the main character.

But "The Father of a Boy Named Sue" reveals a side of Silverstein that's a whole lot darker. Sue's father likes to drink and gets in a violent, physical fight with his drag queen son. Then, the father essentially makes the kid his slave and caretaker. He ends his tale with, "And on nights that I can't score/Well, I can't tell you any more," implying that the father manipulates his son to sleep with him. 

Thu, 03 Aug 2017 03:16:31 PDT http://www.ranker.com/list/dark-shel-silverstein-stories/erin-mccann
<![CDATA[The US Government Created Fake Towns To Test Out Nuclear Weapons]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/us-created-fake-towns-to-test-out-nuclear-weapons/kellie-kreiss?source=rss

On March 17, 1953, the United States government carried out one of a series of nuclear tests in the desert outside of Las Vegas, Nevada. The tests, appropriately named "Operation Doorstep," involved the creation of an eerily authentic-looking neighborhood made up of two fully furnished model homes, 50 donated automobiles, and numerous mannequin families to populate it – all so it could be blown up.

Looking more like a post-apocalyptic film set than a real-life neighborhood, this test site was set up to measure the impact that a nuclear bomb could have if the US were attacked by their ever-worsening enemy, the Soviet Union. As soon as the Soviet Union perfected their own nuclear weapons, a full-fledged arms race began, and people in the United States were more than a little nervous – they were sent into a full-blown panic. As a result, bomb shelters, lean-tos, and box shelters were being developed en mass – all sporting their own guarantees of protection from the impending nuclear threat. The government, however, had to test these methods out – and apparently the best way to do so was by creating this model neighborhood. 

The results are eerie to say the least, as the mannequins that survived the blast look out from beneath the rubble and glass of their blasted-out homes, and photographers and government surveyors determine how well they held up. Below are many of those pictures.

The US Government Created Fake Towns To Test Out Nuclear Weapons,

In 1953, The US Government Constructed A Fake Neighborhood To Study The Effects Of A Nuclear Bomb Explosion

As part of a greater nuclear security program known as Operation Upshot-Knothole, Operation Doorstep was organized to test out just what would happen to the average American neighborhood if tragedy suddenly struck. The experiment included people who were said to be prepared for an attack, as well as those who were ignorant of the impending threat. For instance, some of the mannequin families were set up to be casually enjoying time together in their living rooms, terribly unprepared for their fate, while others were already hiding out in various types of shelters in hopes of demonstrating their effectiveness.

If The Mannequins Weren't Disturbing Before The Bomb Went Off, They Certainly Were After

This Is Supposed To Be A Family Hiding Out In Such A Box

The Government Developed "Box-Type Shelters" That Were Hoped To Protect Families From The Impending Doom Of A Nuclear Blast

Here, A Mother And Her Children Are Shown Hiding Behind A Basement Lean-To Shelter

The Test Was Organized By The Federal Civil Defense Administration As Part Of Operation Upshot-Knothole

The test was initiated on March 17, 1953, with the explosion of a 16-kiloton nuclear bomb strategically positioned at the top of a tower just outside the fake neighborhood. The event was caught on film and later broadcast to the entire nation in a propaganda-like short film that was intended to serve as a call-to-action to American citizens to increase civil defense preparation in light of the increasing threat. 

The Test Was Broadcast On Televisions Across The Country

They Set Off A Nuclear Bomb From The Top Of A 300-Foot Tower

The US Government Made This Creepy Propaganda Film That Explains Operation Doorstep In Its Entirety (Skip To 5:30 To See The Explosion In Action)

Everyone Was Terrified Of Nuclear Fall-Out

With the beginning of the nuclear age – thanks in large part to the US's detonation of two atomic bombs at Hiroshima and Nagasaki during wartime in 1945 – global tensions were running high, and when the then-Soviet Union initiated the arms race with the detonation of its own atomic bomb in 1949, tensions between the two world superpowers came to an all-time high. 

As a result, the US government began organizing a series of nuclear tests, primarily in Nevada, to determine the effects of a potential nuclear attack and learn how to better prepare the citizens of the United States for their potentially impending doom. One of the most unsettling potentialities that people were afraid of was nuclear fall-out, which a handy US Government-approved pamphlet explains as being "nothing more than particles of matter in the air, made radioactive by nuclear or thermonuclear explosions," explaining that "some of these radioactive particles spill out into the immediate area of the explosion soon after it occurs, but others may be carried by the upper winds for miles." It's when they finally fall to the ground that you get nuclear fall-out.

Thu, 10 Aug 2017 03:36:50 PDT http://www.ranker.com/list/us-created-fake-towns-to-test-out-nuclear-weapons/kellie-kreiss
<![CDATA[This Doctor Actually Tried To Resurrect George Washington From The Dead With Lamb's Blood]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/george-washington-lamb-blood-resurrection/genevieve-carlton?source=rss

When George Washington died on December 14, 1799, the nation mourned the loss of its first President and the heroic general of the American Revolution, but one man didn't accept the President’s death. Instead of waiting for a divine presidential resurrection, Dr. William Thornton came up with his own plan to bring George Washington back to life. 

Dr. Thornton, who was famous for being the architect who designed the United States Capitol Building, was also a trained physician and a friend to George Washington. Thornton was familiar with cutting-edge blood transfusion techniques, which had been banned in France for over 100 years because of their link with a grisly murder. But that didn't stop Dr. Thornton.

Thornton arrived at George Washington’s side only hours after the President died from a viral infection of his throat and bloodletting. The death had been caused by a loss of heat, air, and blood, Thornton reasoned, so it was possible to use heat, air, and blood to restore the President. Dr. Thornton’s plan to “resuscitate” George Washington started with thawing the President’s frozen corpse and warming the body. Dr. Thornton then planned to perform a tracheotomy to inflate the President’s lungs. The final step was to infuse the President’s body with hot lamb’s blood.

Only the intervention of George Washington’s family stopped Dr. William Thornton from creating the first Frankenstein president – though given the range of their ailments, other presidents likely would've appreciated the effort, as well.

This Doctor Actually Tried To Resurrect George Washington From The Dead With Lamb's Blood,

Thornton Was Building On A Couple Centuries Of Transfusions – Including The One That Involved A Pope Drinking Kids' Blood

The very first known attempt at a blood transfusion occurred in 1492, when Pope Innocent VIII fell into a coma. His physician recommended blood and hired three young boys to donate blood to the Pope. The technology to inject blood intravenously didn't exist, so according to one account, the physician poured blood into the Pope’s mouth.

It didn't work. The Pope died, and so did all three boys.

But the groundbreaking medical work of William Harvey in the 1620s brought blood back into the spotlight. Harvey demonstrated that blood circulated through the body, meaning that it was possible to insert new blood into someone’s veins. By the 17th century, scientists had also designed metal tools that could inject blood into the veins. This combination of technology and scientific theory set off a wave of blood experiments. 

Scientists in London’s Royal Society were the first to test Harvey's hypothesis, but rather than attempting a transfusion between humans, which might be dangerous, they experimented on animals. 

The Whole Thing Started With The Death Of America's First President

On December 13, 1799, George Washington rode his horse through icy rain, snow, and hail. He rushed home for dinner and didn't change out of his damp clothes. Washington hated to be late.

But he paid a price. That night, Washington woke up clutching his chest, almost unable to breathe. His wife, Martha Washington, frantically called for help. Washington’s chief aide, Colonel Tobias Lear, rushed to find a physician.

Two men, Dr. James Craik, who had treated Washington for over four decades, and George Rawlins, an expert in the art of bloodletting, treated the ailing President through the night. 

Col. Lear gave Washington a tonic made from molasses, butter, and vinegar, which nearly choked the President. Every few hours, Rawlins removed blood to cool the President’s fever. By dusk on December 14th, Rawlins had taken out nearly 40% of the blood in George Washington’s body.

George Washington died just after 10 pm on December 14, 1799, from a combination of a viral infection of his throat and the bloodletting treatments.

In Despair, Dr. William Thornton Hatched A Plan To Resurrect Washington

Dr. William Thornton rushed to Mount Vernon to try to save the President’s life. A specialist in performing tracheotomies, which were dangerous surgical procedures in the 18th century, Thornton was confident he could relieve Washington's suffering. But by the time Thornton arrived on December 15, 1799, Washington was already dead.

Thornton described the scene 20 years later. He saw Washington “laid out a stiffened Corpse.” He wrote: “My feelings at that moment I cannot express! I was overwhelmed with the loss of the best friend I had on Earth.”

Thornton was not deterred, however. He still believed he could help Washington by bringing the man’s corpse back to life. 

Thornton wasn't just an expert in tracheotomies. He had also read about the history of blood transfusions in the 17th century. These experiments were deemed so dangerous that the procedure was banned in France. But Thornton still believed it might work.

But Thornton Still Hatched A Scheme To Try To Bring Washington Back To Life

This long and sordid road of human-animal blood transfusions, transformations, and death brings us back to December 15, 1799, when William Thornton looked at the frozen corpse of George Washington. Thornton believed that he could revive Washington, even after rigor mortis had set in, by combining heat, air, and blood.

Thornton called for cold water to slowly warm the President’s body. He then planned to wrap the body in blankets, and “by degrees and by friction to give him warmth.” This would revive the President’s cold blood vessels, Thornton argued. 

After warming the body, Thornton would perform a tracheotomy. This procedure, which was risky in the 18th century, long before sterilization procedures or antibiotics, would carry less risk when performed on a dead body. Thornton would inflate George Washington’s lungs with air, artificially replicating respiration.

Then Thornton would use lamb’s blood to provide the vital energy to spark the President’s life force. Thornton, who no doubt had read about Arthur Coga’s transfusion in the journal of the Royal Society, believed that if madness could be cured, so could death. (Perhaps he didn't see the letters from “Coga the Sheep.”)

Before Thornton's Daring Attempt, Blood Transfusions Were Outlawed

But the biggest setback in the science of blood transfusions came in 1667 with the murder of Antoine Mauroy. In Paris, Denis tried to cure Mauroy with calf blood, but during his third transfusion, Mauroy began having seizures and died.

Denis was charged with the murder of Mauroy. 

The trial was chaotic. A neighbor claimed that Mauroy’s wife, Perrine, had murdered him, and police found mysterious, deadly powders in her house. Another neighbor said a mysterious physician had offered him money if he’d testify that Mauroy died during the transfusion. 

Many physicians opposed transfusion. One of them was the self-trained physician and former pirate-ship doctor Henri-Martin de la Martinière, who argued that blood transfusions would lead to the kidnapping of children and cannibalism. Martinière wrote to Denis, “Allow me to tell you, Sir, that Satan reveals himself through your work.” And, in fact, he knew Perrine Mauroy and told her to blame Denis for Antoine’s death.

In the end, Denis was found not guilty, but blood transfusion was banned in France as an unsafe procedure. 

In The End, The Washingtons Stepped In, And The Plan Never Came To Fruition

In the end, Thornton’s plan to resurrect the President was quickly overruled by Washington’s family. Rather than arguing with Thornton about whether it was possible to bring the President back, they claimed it was better to leave the President’s legacy intact, as “one who had departed full of honor and renown; free from the frailties of age, in full enjoyment of every faculty, and prepared for eternity.”

In short, death was better than a Frankenstein president resurrected with lamb’s blood. 

Thornton disagreed. Even two decades later, he wrote, “there was no doubt in my mind that his restoration was possible.”

After Animals, The First Human Blood Transfusions Finally Happened

The first successful human blood transfusion occurred on June 15, 1667. Jean-Baptist Denis was already an expert in animal transfusions. He performed public transfusions on the banks of the Seine river in Paris to prove that circulation was real. Denis invited gentlemen, noblewomen, and commoners as he transfused blood between dogs in front of a live audience.

But no one had transfused blood into a human. Denis ruled out using human blood, declaring it barbarous to shorten the life of one man to extend the life of another. Instead, he decided to use animal blood. Denis said that animal blood had fewer impurities than human blood because animals did not drink or swear.

In June 1667, Denis gave lamb’s blood to a 16 year old who suffered from fevers. The physician declared the boy cured. Then Denis transfused a butcher with lamb’s blood. After the procedure, the butcher was in a cheerful mood, and he butchered the lamb on the examination table and took it home for dinner. 

Denis’s successful human blood transfusion set off a race for other countries to perform their own transfusions.

The 17th-Century Brought Animal Transfusion Experiments, And Thornton Drew On These Too

In 1656, Christopher Wren, famous for designing St. Paul’s Cathedral in London, tested William Harvey’s theory by injecting wine and ale into the veins of a dog. Unsurprisingly, the dog became very drunk. Wren’s experiment proved that the veins transmitted the alcohol throughout the dog’s body.

One of Wren’s colleagues at Oxford, a physician named Richard Lower, then tried injecting other substances into a dog’s veins, including warm milk and broth. These experiments were less successful. But they led Lower to wonder if it was possible to swap blood between two dogs – if blood was nourishing, could it be transferred? In 1665, Lower successfully transfused blood from one dog into another.

Scientists across Europe began moving blood from one animal to another. But these scientists wondered if transfusion would alter the recipient. If blood was tied to identity, what characteristics might be carried in the blood? Robert Boyle, famous for his work on gasses, wrote a list of questions on transfusion. He asked:

“whether a fierce Dog, by being often quite new stocked with blood of a cowardly Dog, may not become more tame?” Would a dog lose the ability to fetch and carry if given blood from a dog without those skills? Would a dog’s fur curl if it received blood from a poodle?

Scientists also wondered if it was ever safe to give a human a blood transfusion. If the blood and the soul were connected, a blood transfusion might threaten someone's very soul.

That is, until a French doctor, Jean-Baptiste Denis, performed the first successful human blood transfusion.

One Man Claimed The Animal Transfusion Turned Him Into A 'Human Sheep'

In November of 1667, the English scientists of the Royal Society planned their own human-animal transfusion. The chose Arthur Coga, a Cambridge-educated man who was mentally unstable. He spoke only in Latin, and physicians said his brain was “a little too warm.” The English scientists hoped the transfusion would cure Coga of his mental illness, thus proving their transfusion was better than the French method.

Under Richard Lower’s direction, a large audience gathered to watch Coga’s transfusion. Over 40 people attended, including a bishop, multiple physicians, and members of Parliament. Lower successfully transfused lamb’s blood into Coga. A month later, Coga returned for a second transfusion. 

However, when the Royal Society scientists wanted to perform a third transfusion, Coga refused. He declared that the transfusions had turned him into a sheep. He began writing under the name “Coga the Sheep,” and he claimed that the transfusions had transformed him into another species. 

William Thornton Wasn't Even Crazy – Just Over Eager To See His Friend Again

William Thornton wasn't a mad scientist – in fact, he was educated at Europe’s best medical schools, and he was known for using cutting-edge medical techniques in 1799, such as the tracheotomy.

Thornton was born in 1759 in the West Indies, but he grew up in England. He went on to train as a physician in Scotland and France, before moving to the United States and becoming a U.S. citizen. 

In addition to his training as a physician, Dr. Thornton was an amateur architect. Thornton is best known as the “first architect” because he successfully won the competition to design the U.S. Capitol Building. In fact, Washington gave Thornton this honor in 1793. Thornton’s payment was $500, a building lot in Washington, D.C., and a friendship with America’s first President.

Wed, 19 Jul 2017 02:08:33 PDT http://www.ranker.com/list/george-washington-lamb-blood-resurrection/genevieve-carlton
<![CDATA[That One Time A Scottish Family Killed And Cannibalized 1,000 Innocent People]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/sawney-bean-cannibal-clan-history/melissa-brinks?source=rss

To call the story of the Sawney Bean cannibal clan history would be a bit of a misnomer; "Sawney Bean folktales" is a more appropriate moniker. While there's likely some truth to Sawney Bean, also known as Alexander Bean, his story may not have enough basis in fact to be considered true history. Yet he's an impactful figure nonetheless. Widely considered to be The Hills Have Eyes true story basis despite the dubiousness of his veracity, Sawney Bean is an important folkloric figure, and may be a product of propaganda; even if he didn't exist as the tales suggest, his story is no less significant because of this.

Sawney Bean is said to have been the leader of a Scottish clan sometime between the 1200s and 1500s. As the legend goes, he led his family to murder and cannibalize more than 1000 victims. This idea of a family of killers who ambush victims is prime horror film fodder, and while the clan itself might not be the historical cannibals they're often made out to be, there's no doubt they're still incredibly relevant in a mythic sense. 

That One Time A Scottish Family Killed And Cannibalized 1,000 Innocent People,

Innkeepers Were Often Blamed For The Missing Bean Clan Victims

Sawney Bean's murders didn't go unnoticed, even if nobody knew the culprit. In fact, innkeepers were frequently accused of murdering the missing people, as were often the last to have seen them alive. As the rumors went, innkeepers robbed and murdered guests, likely while they were sound asleep. Because these rumors threatened business, many innkeepers were forced to quit their professions and move, an enormous undertaking in the time.

Sawney Bean's Cave Provided Plenty Of Room For A Growing Family

Sawney Bean's cave (the entrance to which is pictured above) wasn't just a hole in a cliff face. It was an incredible network of tunnels that supposedly extended for miles, giving him and Douglas plenty of room to live and, naturally, expand their family. Even better for their purposes was the fact that the cave flooded during high tide, making it an unlikely place for people to live, and thus a place those on the hunt for the reported thousand or so victims wouldn't bother to check. Because of its size and hidden nature, the Bean clan was able to grow to around 45 people strong, all of them, aside from Bean and Douglas, related to one another.

Sawney Bean Left A Life Of Work For A Life Of Crime

As the story goes, Alexander "Sawney" Bean was born to an honest ditch-digging and hedging family. Sawney, disinclined to manual labor and looking for an easy way out, left his family business along with a woman named, according to some stories, "Black" Agnes Douglas. Together, they moved into a cave somewhere between Girvan and Ballantrae, on the southwestern coast of Scotland, and stayed there for the rest of their lives.

Isolated from society and refusing to work, Sawney and Douglas are purported to have ambushed travelers for 25 years. 

Sawney Bean And His Clan Robbed Travelers On The Nearby Road

Though Bean retreated from a life of honest work, living wasn't free. To make ends meet, he and his girlfriend (for lack of a better word) ambushed passersby on a nearby road. To maintain the secret of their whereabouts (the cave in which they supposedly lived is pictured above), Bean and Douglas had to get rid of the bodies, which they could do by tossing them from nearby cliffs or, as Bean discovered, turning them into a food source. Cannibalism became an intrinsic part of the Bean clan lifestyle, a gruesome but effective means of sustenance and hiding their attacks from authorities. 

The Bean Clan Was Almost 50 Inbred Family Members Strong

Inside their secluded cave, Bean and Douglas had time and space to start having children. And have children they did; according to legend, they had eight sons and six daughters. Uninhibited by social mores - they were murderers, thieves, and cannibals, after all - those sons and daughters had 18 grandsons and 14 granddaughters with one another and their parents. What else are you gonna do in a cave?

Consanguineous fornication and procreation is an integral thread in the tapestry of horror woven by Sawney Bean's clan, which not only consisted of criminals of the worst kind, but interbred children likely born to very young parents (given that they were said to live in the cave for 25 years and produced two generations). 

The Bean Clan Pickled Human Meat To Preserve It

If the stories are true, the Sawney Bean clan killed an average of 40 people per year. That's a lot of meat, even for 45 people, and it's said they preserved what they couldn't eat by pickling and salting leftovers. Not everything got eaten, however. Preserved body parts were said to wash up on nearby shores, giving local towns some idea of the fates of their missing loved ones.

Sawney Bean Was Caught After Botching The Murder of A Married Couple

Though the massacre went on for 25 long years, Sawney Bean's reign of terror eventually came to an end. According to legend, the clan attacked a married couple returning from a fair and killed the woman, but the man fought back. In some versions of the story, he had a sword and/or pistol on him; in others, he had a horse, which he used to plow through the attackers. Whatever the weapons, the man escaped and others were warned. After 25 years, the Sawney Bean clan was exposed, and investigations began.

A King Led The Manhunt Against Bean

With 1000 people dead, finding the person responsible was a huge deal. That's why King James (King James I in some sources, IV in others) is said to have gotten involved. As the story goes, King James himself led 400 soldiers to the site of the botched murder, using bloodhounds to find the cave where the clan was hiding. Even the 45-person Bean family wasn't enough to take out 400 soldiers, and were subsequently arrested.

The Clan Was Brutally Executed

Evil as the Sawney Bean clan was, it's no surprise their execution was as violent as the lives they led. There was no trial, given the amount of bodies found in their cave, and the entire clan was put to death the day after they arrived in Edinburgh. The men were dismembered and left to bleed to death while the women watched, and the women were burned as witches. Violent delights have violent ends indeed.

Black Agnes Was Believed To Be A Witch

Bean reportedly left his life as a laborer behind around the time he entered a relationship with Agnes Douglas. Though not much is written about her life prior to their relationship, one of the few things that has survived is that, after they got together, Douglas was accused of being a witch in East Lothian, Scotland.

When Bean and Douglas left their home, it was as much because they no longer wanted to work for a living as it was because both had been rejected by society, as Bean's father was allegedly abusive and Douglas was accused of human sacrifice and conjuring demons. Given their later activities, it's hard to feel sympathy, but we can still wonder how their stories would have turned out if not for those events. Assuming any of this actually happened. Which it probably didn't. 

Fri, 14 Jul 2017 09:26:57 PDT http://www.ranker.com/list/sawney-bean-cannibal-clan-history/melissa-brinks
<![CDATA[Photos From The 1910 Paris Flood Are Oddly Beautiful]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/1910-paris-flood-photos/rylee_en?source=rss

In 1910, the Seine River, which runs directly through Paris, France, ran over its banks – to the tune of a little over 26 feet beyond its normal level. The result of excessive winter flooding, the Great Flood of Paris, which took place in January of that year, brought Parisian life to a screeching halt, as flood waters filled the city's streets – for a moment at least. The resourceful and inventive Parisians of the day didn't let the legendary floodwaters stop them from moving about their city. They just got inventive, and photos of the 1910 Paris flood attest to this inventiveness.

From walkways built of chairs to gondola-like flatboats that could be poled around the city, images from the flood showcase the lengths that a community will go to in order to be able to navigate its surroundings. But the photos of the flood don't just showcase ingenuity; they're also hauntingly beautiful, like a city frozen in time, blanketed by snow – only wetter.

The flooding itself lasted for 35 days and cost the French government an estimated $1.5 billion in evacuations, damage, and rebuilding. Reaching its highest point at day 10, the water eventually receded in February 1910.

Photos From The 1910 Paris Flood Are Oddly Beautiful,

Boats Were Required In Front Of Gare Saint-Lazare

The Army Laid Some Of The Wooden Walkways Throughout The City

When Planks Couldn't Be Found, Chairs Were Used For Crossings

The Gare d'Orsay Train Station Took On Water – And Was Beautiful

A Polar Bear Experienced The Flood Waters That Rushed Into His Enclosure

Improvised Pathways Were Built Along The Sides Of Buildings So People Could Still Get Around

Paris Transformed Into Venice As People Used Boats And Poles To Navigate The Streets

For Some, Wooden Planks Enabled Perilous-Looking Street Crossings

Droves Of People Were Forced To Use Makeshift Bridges As Life In The City Continued

Some Relied On The Help Of Kindly Gentlemen To Get Around

Wed, 09 Aug 2017 07:26:03 PDT http://www.ranker.com/list/1910-paris-flood-photos/rylee_en
<![CDATA["Baby Cages" Might Be The Single Worst Invention Of All Time]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/baby-cages-worst-invention-ever/kellie-kreiss?source=rss

Everyone knows the importance of fresh air and sunshine, but in the early 1900s, new mothers took this suggestion a bit too far. In 1922, a woman named Emma Read from Spokane, Washington, patented a unique design for a large – apparently secure – wire crate that could be attached to the outside of apartment windows, providing city-dwelling infants an opportunity to catch some rays. And they looked just as precarious as they sound. 

The idea was that parents living in city-based apartments didn't have the same access to backyards and parks as country dwellers; thus, they needed a plan B. So, as cities became more dense and apartments increasingly smaller, so-called "baby cages" only got more popular.

"Baby Cages" Might Be The Single Worst Invention Of All Time,

Baby Cages Were All The Rage In The 1930s

In 1930s London, country homes gave way to small apartments as families moved en mass to cities for work and greater opportunities. Sadly, this came at a price, as early cities weren't necessarily equipped with the amenities that modern cities enjoy – including adequate outdoor space to let your young ones crawl about safely. Lucky for them, Emma Read of Spokane, WA, had already thought up the perfect solution: baby cages.

They Were Likely Inspired By Dr. Luther Emmett Holt's Book, "The Care And Feeding Of Children"

In 1894, Dr. Luther Emmett Holt published a book that aimed to assist new mothers in caring for their children, as numerous ailments were causing widespread illness in infants. The book, titled The Care and Feeding of Children: A Catechism for the Use of Mothers and Children's Nurses, provided solutions and suggestions, ranging from only feeding children certified milk to "airing" out children and subjecting them to cold temperatures to help them build immunity to common colds. However, he also argued that parents should avoid playing with their children until they are over six months old, as they "are made nervous and irritable, sleep badly and suffer from indigestion" when given too much attention.

The Eventual Decline In The Popularity Of Baby Cages Can Likely Be Attributed To Safety Concerns

Even Eleanor Roosevelt Used A Baby Cage – Until A Neighbor Threatened Report Her To The Authorities

As early as 1906, Eleanor Roosevelt reportedly purchased a chicken-wire cage with the intent of "airing" her new-born daughter, Anna, out of a north-facing window in their New York City apartment while the baby napped. Roosevelt had heard that fresh air was good for babies, and with baby cages being the up-and-coming childcare product of the decade, she thought she'd give one a shot. However, her neighbors quickly took notice of her strange childcare methods and threatened to report her to child safety services if she didn't stop.

Still Not Sure About The Baby Cages? See If This British Propaganda Film Changes Your Mind

Baby Cages Were Fastened Directly To Window Frames Much Like Modern Air Conditioners

These baby cages – which more closely resemble a cage that you would keep a pet bunny in than something you'd ever want your child play in – would be suspended from the outside of window frames, much like popular window-based air conditioners are today, fastened with a little ledge for your sweet babe to sleep on.

Mothers Would Literally Hang Their Napping Babies Out Of Windows

Wed, 09 Aug 2017 02:02:38 PDT http://www.ranker.com/list/baby-cages-worst-invention-ever/kellie-kreiss
<![CDATA[Brutal Pictures From The Battle Of Verdun]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/battle-of-verdun-photos/melissa-sartore?source=rss

The Battle of Verdun was the longest fight of all the battles of World War One, lasting from February through December in 1916. It was also the largest battle of the war, with an insanely high number of munitions used and soldiers deployed. The chaos resulted in massive amounts of death and destruction. German and French troops who fought at Verdun on the Western Front used increasingly brutal weapons like flamethrowers and gas, which resulted in various ways WWI changed the world forever. 

Pictures from the Battle of Verdun reveal the hardship and horror of WW1 and the shocking aftermath. WWI relics with their own stories and photos of hardened soldiers reveal the grueling truths about trench life and display a very human side of war. By the end of the ten-month battle, very little changed in terms of one side having an advantage. The landscape was devastated and there were almost a million casualties. Check out these photos compiled below for a small window into the brutal Battle of Verdun. 

Brutal Pictures From The Battle Of Verdun,

German Troops Advancing Out Of A Bombed Trench

Sunday Services In A Bombed Out Church

Piles Of Dead Bodies Left In The Trenches

Injured Soldiers Waiting For The Next Round Of FIghting

A Moat At Verdun

Keeping The Wounded Close

Remnants Of The Battle Left On The Field

Body Parts On The Battlefield

French Troops Waiting In The Trenches

A Soldier Carrying His Fellow FIghter

Thu, 03 Aug 2017 03:14:36 PDT http://www.ranker.com/list/battle-of-verdun-photos/melissa-sartore
<![CDATA[Children In Victorian England Were Sold Into Chimney Sweeping Slavery]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/victorian-chimney-sweeps/lisa-a-flowers?source=rss

The jaunty image of the Victorian child chimney sweep is indelibly romantic, evoking the picturesque London glamorized in Mary Poppins. But the truth is that chimney sweep kids – and children living in Dickensian squalor, in general – usually led lives that were "nasty, brutish, and short," to quote the philosopher Thomas Hobbes.

The history of chimney sweeps is, in many ways, the history of London itself. After the Great Fire of London gutted half the city in 1666, chimneys were rebuilt to minimize the risk of inferno. Their new, narrow, winding structures meant that children were the only humans small enough to fit through them. The horrors of child labor were, of course, legion; and  the repercussions were dire for these small workers: they often suffered stunted growth, damaged joints, and even "Chimney Sweep's Cancer," which claimed countless lives

In other words, children chimney sweeps in Victorian England may seem whimsical, even today; but in reality, they represent a particularly dark chapter in the UK's past.

Children In Victorian England Were Sold Into Chimney Sweeping Slavery,

The Practice Wasn't Abolished In Britain Until 1875

Even in its heyday, the practice of using child chimney sweeps was met with criticism. In 1788, a bill calling for regulation was passed, but rarely enforced. Various other attempts to curtail child labor followed, but all were largely unsuccessful until the Chimney Sweepers Act of 1834. Said law prohibited "masters" from taking on any boys under the age of 14 ... but it did little to lessen the suffering of older boys, or of sweeps in general.

Finally, the Chimney Sweepers and Chimneys Regulation Act of 1840 made it outright illegal for anyone under 21 to work as a sweep, but even this law was still widely disregarded. Business continued more or less as usual until 1875, when a 12-year-old sweep, George Brewster, got stuck in a chimney and died. His boss was found guilty of manslaughter, and widespread publicity incited a fervent campaign for strict regulations. Sweeps were finally protected under a bill that was aggressively enforced – though it was too late for the countless young laborers who had come before.

Children Often Died On The Job

Most chimneys were no more than 18 inches wide, and twisted, to boot – and many young sweeps got fatally lost in their dark and winding structures. These children – who were sometimes as young as four years old – were frequently at the mercy of "cold-hearted masters [who] would light fires to spur [them] on to climb more quickly."

When a child did get stuck, a second child would sometimes be sent in to rescue him, and both would often perish. The walls of the house would then have to be torn down in order to remove said corpses.

Child-Workers Were Purchased From Their Parents

The dangers of chimney sweeping were well known, and as a result, there were few candidates willing to accept the risks the position entailed. So unscrupulous taskmasters got around the problem by "purchasing" children from their poverty-stricken parents, who were generally saddled with too many mouths to feed. Said transaction was a one-time thing: children received no pay for their work, and although they were technically sold-out as "apprentices," they were essentially slaves.

Testicular Cancer Was Rampant

The high rate of scrotal carcinoma in men who worked as chimney sweeps was first observed in 1775 by doctor Percivall Plott, who described the progression of what he called "Chimney Sweep's Cancer" in detail:

"It is a disease which makes its first appearance on the inferior part of the scrotum, where it produces a painful, ragged, ill-looking sore. The trade call it the soot wart. I never saw it under the age of puberty which is, I suppose, one reason why it is generally taken by both patient and surgeon for venereal, and being treated with mercurials. In no great length of time it penetrates the skin... and seizes the testicle, and when arrived at the abdomen it affects some of the viscera, and becomes painfully destructive.

The fate of these people is singularly hard: in their early infancy they are most frequently treated with great brutality and they are almost starved with hunger and cold. They are then thrust up narrow, and sometimes hot, chimneys where they are bruised, burned and almost suffocated; and when they get to puberty, become peculiarly liable to a most noisome, painful and fatal disease."

Because of the invasive nature of the condition, few people who contracted it lived past middle age. And those who didn't often developed lung cancer later on. (Sweeps inhaled countless toxic substances, so some form of cancer was often inevitable/simply a waiting game).

Working Conditions Were Beyond Harrowing

A child chimney sweep's working conditions were far beyond merely awful. Kids were customarily given a blanket designed for collecting debris; this usually doubled as filthy bedding. As stated, the job almost always stunted their growth as well; they had to remain crouched in unnatural positions inside the chimneys, which damaged their growing bones and joints.

And then there was the actual experience of cleaning, which was often terrifying. Chimney flues were "pitch black, claustrophobic... and confusing to navigate in the dark," as Owlcation put it. Even if the sweep successfully wriggled into the narrow portal, there was no guarantee he would make it out:

"If the apprentice climbed the whole chimney, cleaning it from hearth to rooftop, and exited a row of chimneys, he could forget which chimney he came out of. When that happened, he could go back down the wrong one, or go down the right chimney, but make a wrong turn at some merging of the flues. Children could suffocate or burn to death by getting lost on the way down, and accidentally entering the wrong chimney flue."

Mon, 24 Jul 2017 07:14:43 PDT http://www.ranker.com/list/victorian-chimney-sweeps/lisa-a-flowers
<![CDATA[The Enduring Mystery of What Happened To Tank Man, The Most Famous Protester of All Time]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/tiananmen-square-tankman-story/stephanroget?source=rss

For a photo so well-known and easily recognizable, almost three decades later the world still wonders who was the man who blocked the tanks at Tiananmen Square and what happened to him. The “Tank Man” photo is one of history’s most famous, yet mystery shrouds the unknown rebel at Tiananmen Square. Especially what his motivations and ultimate fate were. The mysteriousness has only added to the legend that is Tank Man.

The fact that so little is known about what happened to the Tank Man should not be surprising. China has a history of extreme censorship and the actions of the government in crushing protests at Tiananmen Square in 1989 are among the most carefully concealed. Despite his worldwide fame, many people in China have never seen the Tank Man picture. Discussion of the events is discouraged. With all of this secrecy, the Tiananmen Square tank man picture mystery may never get exact answers, but there are enough clues for us to conjecture who Tank Man was in addition to being one of history’s greatest badasses.

The Enduring Mystery of What Happened To Tank Man, The Most Famous Protester of All Time,

The Legacy Of Tank Man Lives On, Except In China

Tank Man has become a worldwide icon and an inspiration for protesters everywhere. Everywhere, that is, except China, where state censorship has put a clampdown on the story of Tank Man and the photograph that made him so famous. The Chinese government has tried to erase the entire Tiananmen Square Massacre from their history books and that includes Tank Man.

In China, one cannot even search for the terms “Tiananmen,” “Tank Man,” or “June 4th” on the internet. There are plenty of people within China who have never heard of Tank Man much less seen a picture of him. Tank Man’s motivations will be forever unknown, but he’s inspired legions of fellow protesters across the globe and his government clearly fears what he came to symbolize.

Tank Man Took His Stand The Day Before The Tiananmen Square Massacre

It’s tough to make a man who is staring down an entire column of tanks seem even braver, but Tank Man does appear so given the context of what was going on in Tiananmen Square at the time. The Square in Beijing was the scene of student-led protests in the summer of 1989 with young people demanding a move toward democracy. The government did not take kindly to this, and declared martial law.

As the weeks wore on and protesters continued to occupy the Square, the China’s People’s Liberation Army were sent in with orders to clear the area at any cost. On June 3rd and 4th, tanks and soldiers poured into the Square and began killing protesters. The death toll ranged wildly from the hundreds to the thousands. Tank Man made his stand on June 5th, 1989.

Tank Man's Protest Was Likely A Spur Of The Moment Decision

Nobody knows who Tank Man is and likely never will. The anonymous man, who appeared to be student-aged, walked into the Square with a pair of shopping bags in each hand. His game of chicken with a squadron of tanks was likely not a planned protest. A theory his shopping bags give credence to. 

Once the photo had widely circulated, a British tabloid identified Tank Man as Wang Weilin, a 19 year old. Though, their source for the identification was unclear. No record of a Wang Weilin exist leading researchers to believe it was a hoax.

One professor in Hong Kong claimed that Tank Man was a friend of his. He said he was an archaeologist who escaped to Taiwan after the incident but could provide no evidence of this. Tank Man will likely go down in history an anonymous hero.

Tank Man May Have Faced A Dark End For His Protest

Other sources recounting Tank Man's last stand are more in line with the atrocities of Tiananmen Square. Bruce Herschensohn, who served as deputy special assistant to Richard Nixon, told a group in 1999 that he knew that Tank Man had been executed 14 days after the standoff. Different reports claim that a death by firing squad came for Tank Man after a few months in captivity. There is no way to confirm whether Tank Man lived or died for his act of defiance.

Some Eyewitnesses Claim Tank Man Was Saved From Arrest By Concerned People In The Crowd

The imagery of Tank Man confronting the tanks is familiar to many, but not everyone knows what happened after. After forcing a long column of tanks to stop in their tracks, Tank Man got up onto the lead tank and demanded that its driver come out for a conversation. The chat didn’t go anywhere and Tank Man jumped down, once again halting the tank as it tried to move forward. 

Eventually, two men emerged from the crowd and escorted Tank Man away. That’s the last that anyone would see of him. There are two basic schools of thought on what happened. The optimistic version of events is that the two men who grabbed Tank Man did so to protect him and prevent his arrest. This is backed up by a few eyewitnesses who claim that “the people who took the Tank Man away were concerned people.” This ended up being the official party line when Chinese General Secretary Jiang Zemin told Barbara Walters that Tank Man was “I think…never killed.” Jiang claimed that the Chinese authorities had never caught up with Tank Man and other Chinese officials have stated that no records of his arrest exist.

Wed, 02 Aug 2017 05:55:52 PDT http://www.ranker.com/list/tiananmen-square-tankman-story/stephanroget
<![CDATA[Unsettling Photos of Innocent Children Born Into KKK Families]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/kkk-children-photos/melissa-sartore?source=rss

Though most people recognize the blight of the KKK upon culture, photos of KKK kids explicitly depicts the organization's relentless push towards indoctrinating all minds, even the most innocent and easily influenced, in the miasma of racism. The origins of the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) stem from post-Civil War resistance towards Reconstruction-era efforts to establish equal rights for African Americans. As groups of protesters grew and formalized their agenda, the KKK became an organization with a large following, leading to the surreal and horrifying trend of KKK kids pictures. KKK rallies, outreach, and recruiting for men, women, and even children helped the KKK grow in size and strength.

Most pictures of children in the Ku Klux Klan show youth with their parents or other adults, often dressed in traditional Klan garb as indoctrination into the KKK mindset started early. Based on pictures, many of the Ku Klux Klan kids failed to know any better, but sometimes it's not so clear. Regardless, anyone with a sane head realizes children should never be exposed to this backwards behavior, and those who celebrate it fall into a disturbed group of individuals.

Unsettling Photos of Innocent Children Born Into KKK Families,

Children Showing Their KKK Pride

Date And Location Unknown

A Family Photo For The Klan

Date And Location Unknown

Look At All Of The Hoods, Son

Date And Location Unknown

Sisters In The Klan

Date and Location Unknown

KKK Rally And Cross Burning

Tupelo, Mississippi, 2012

Grand Master Dr. Samuel Green With Two Kids

Atlanta, GA 1948

Training the Klan Youth

Date and Location Unknown

Keeping Kids Hydrated At KKK Services


Rallying The Children

 Date And Location Unknown

Get Them Started Young

Date And Location Unknown

Wed, 02 Aug 2017 03:27:45 PDT http://www.ranker.com/list/kkk-children-photos/melissa-sartore
<![CDATA[What Sex Was Like During The Great Depression]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/sex-in-the-great-depression/melissa-sartore?source=rss

Coming on the heels of the Roaring Twenties, the Great Depression brought on an entirely new – and markedly worse – decade, heralding an end to the excesses of the flapper era and bringing about global hardship and despair. Unsurprisingly, Sex in the Great Depression was not immune to these sweeping lifestyle, social, and economic changes. With mass unemployment and a daily struggle to survive for many, everyday life during the Great Depression included fast and increasingly complex changes to the roles of men and women in society. Marriage declined, and families shrank – what with the difficulty of feeding mouths – but men and women found ways to express sexuality and expend their sexual energy.

At the same time, liberal attitudes about sex and sexuality that had grown during the '20s regressed during the '30s at the expense of anyone outside of the traditional sexual norms. Sex in 1930s America both adapted and grasped onto tradition as people fought to control their surroundings in a time when control felt pretty impossible.

What Sex Was Like During The Great Depression,

Nudism Spread Throughout The US

With changes in attitudes about sexuality and morality, nudism found increased popularity in the US during the early 1930s. Already quite popular in Europe, nudism thrived during the first decades of the 20th century as the "naturalism" movement. Relaxed ideas about showing skin during the Great Depression benefited nudists who had unsuccessfully attempted to practice during the 1920s, during which time the movement still faced opposition. Despite efforts to ban nudism in major cities like New York and Chicago, there were also proposals to open nude beaches in the latter half of 1932.

The proposal failed, but nudists didn't quit. A group of nudists bought land in Northern Indiana and established a resort at the Lake O' The Woods Club in 1933. Annual international nudist conferences continued to grab headlines and attention from around the country. 

Music, Dance, And Sport Substituted For Sex

Swing dancing and the jitterbug were 1930s dances that met physical – and sexual – needs and desires during the Great Depression. Dancing was a "funny, breathless kind of sex" that resulted in breathlessness from "dance rather than emotion." Dance and music alike were improvisational and interactive in ways that reflected changing sexual morality and how men and women interacted with one another. 

Sporting events provided another outlet and distraction during the Great Depression. Men and women listened to baseball games on the radio, visited boxing matches, and became increasingly involved in football as a means to escape their realities. Placing physical expectations on sports heroes like Babe Ruth and Joe Lewis channeled energy into national pastimes. 

Prostitutes Found Safety And Decent Money In "Ringer" Houses

Sex sells and continued to sell even at the worst of times during the Great Depression. Prostitution remained a lucrative profession, despite financial strife and concerns about venereal disease. In the 1930s, women could be independent prostitutes or work in a house as a "ringer." In order to work as a ringer, women had to be tested for disease and get a certificate of health, something both madams and customers would be interested in seeing. A ringer would have anywhere from 10-15 clients per day. Ringer houses were usually part of a chain of houses, and the women would be registered at a main house. Independent girls had to fend for themselves and were must more likely to be arrested. In many ways, prostitution during the Great Depression signaled a change in authority, as madams and criminal bosses became increasingly powerful over the girls they employed. 

At least one prostitute in 1938 wrote about her lifestyle and was honest about how she felt about the job. For her, it was better than spending eight hours a day doing counter work at some store or working in a factory. She didn't like but "it depends on the customer... if it's a frowsy guy with buck teeth and B.O. we hustle him through as fast as we can and hope to never see him again." She went on to say that she was also able to take part in wild, private parties for more money.

Birth Control Was A Necessity – And States Passed Legislation Saying So

During the Depression, unemployment and lack of income made family life a struggle, and having a lot of kids wasn't ideal. Couples actively tried to avoid pregnancies and children, and methods of birth control became essential. The struggle over birth control during the first two decades of the 20th century brought the Comstock Act of 1873 to the forefront of political and social discussions. The act was used to condemn birth control advocates as purveyors of obscene materials, but, during the Depression, many states passed legislation allowing for women to have access to contraception. By 1935, the US began importing contraceptive devices from Europe and, shortly afterwards, companies in the US started manufacturing their own. 

Women welcomed birth control information and devices. Condoms for men were common, but with the push to have women control their own reproductive options, diaphragms and female condoms gave women the ability to actively control the size of their families. Early versions of inter-uterine devices and eventually the birth control pill continued to revolutionize reproduction. Fertility rates during the 1930s sunk to as few as two children per woman from over three children two decades earlier. 

Homosexuality Was Targeted And Viewed As A Disease

During the 1920s, homosexuality was still taboo, but with relaxed views on sex, homosexual men were able to live in cities like Chicago and San Francisco relatively quietly. During the Great Depression, the pendulum swung back the other direction. Homosexuals were targeted as threats to economic prospects and the overall weakening male identity.

Gay nightclubs, drag shows, and other "pansy parlors" in Chicago, which had been successful in 1932, were shut down en masse. Homosexuality was increasingly viewed as a mental illness similar to those which affected sexual voyeurs and child molesters. It was also actively criminalized. For example, in New York, police conducted undercover operations in gay bars, dressing up and going into them to solicit sex, trapping homosexuals into committing a crime. In Germany, on the other hand, the Third Reich began putting homosexuals into concentrations camps as soon as they came to power in 1933.

Living Together, As Opposed To Marriage, Became More Common

Because of the economic insecurity of the period, ideas and ideals around such institutions as marriage and the family changed in some surprising ways. Along with a rise in the use of birth control, many young couples decided that marriage – as an economic and familial building block – just didn't make sense for them. So they shacked up without the legal designation. As one newspaper from the period described it: "There were a lot of 'we'll get married later on, but meanwhile let's not wait' romances. Before long, the whole affair resembled a square dance." This was especially prevalent in Washington, DC, according to the article because lots of unmarried, working women were living there at the time.

Lesbians Had Their Own Subculture With Its Own Lingo – For Those Brave Enough To Take Part

To be a lesbian during the Great Depression was risky and often lonely. Women who expressed too much of an interest in sports – or not enough interest in men – were suspect. Women who openly "chose" to be lesbians were perceived to be threats to men, especially at a time when masculinity was in jeopardy; it had taken a serious hit when men became unable to provide for their families. As a result, many lesbians married men for safety, security, and to avoid social stigma. There were, however, expressions a lesbian couple could use to indicate they were living a gay lifestyle, under cover of course. To be "in the life" was to self identify as a lesbian.

Some lesbians were transients and, ultimately, were able to experience more freedoms than their domestically rooted counterparts. Same-sex couples could rely on claims of traveling together for safety and companionship without having to justify their relationships. Finding a female to be in a relationship with was difficult, too, which is why a lot of women opted for heterosexual relationships. Women met each other at universities or in prisons, but living openly as a couple was difficult and isolating. In her book about lesbianism in the 20th century, Lillian Faderman recounts a story of a couple in Texas who had no idea other lesbians even existed for over 20 years. 

Masculinity Took A Hit When Men Couldn't Be The 'Primary Breadwinners' Anymore

Men were used to being the providers to the household, and, when they lost jobs, that was a major hit to their manhood and esteem. Global economic decline resulted in decreased productivity and employment, but the US was hit particularly hard with as many as 15 million unemployed at the height of the Depression. Men wanted to work but often would not take anything they considered to be "woman's work" – those jobs were beneath them. As a result, women and their roles in the home gained importance and prominence within the family unit. Men of all ages and former vocations found outlets for their frustration, from men's clubs to sporting events, but the social stigma remained. While men wandered the streets looking for work, women managed the household and family, and it's safe to say that "no housewife lost her job" during the Great Depression. 

Shirtless, 'Manly' Men Were Highly Visible

The image of a shirtless man with a sledgehammer or shovel is associated with one of the numerous government programs that ran as part of FDR's New Deal, including the Civilian Conservation Corps. Men earned money to work the land, found camaraderie, and, in their own way, challenged notions about showing skin and morality.

The government also actively portrayed men as virile and strong in Depression-era propaganda, aware of how unemployment had damaged the collective male psyche. New Deal art as well as literary portrayals of men sought to recoup the male image. With a bare-chested man, or at least the depiction of a muscular, tough man on the wall around the corner, there were lots of opportunities to see good-looking men at every turn. 

According to John McParkland, women joined in the skin-bearing as well, first showing their stomachs on the beach and "gradually on the streets and even at social occasions."

Two Dollars For 15 Minutes Was The Going Rate For Sex

At a time when employment wasn't readily available, prostitutes found that charging $2 for 15 minutes was a good way to make a living. Women could work domestic jobs or in factories for anywhere from $5 to $25 dollars a week, but many did the math and figured prostitution was a better option. If a prostitute was at a "ringer" house, part of her income necessarily went to the house itself for upkeep, but the trade off still remained appealing to a lot of women. Another perk of living in a "ringer" house was that they were usually tipped off before any police raid and could prepare accordingly. That alone was "worth the 50% split each girl pays out of her earnings." 

Wed, 02 Aug 2017 04:47:16 PDT http://www.ranker.com/list/sex-in-the-great-depression/melissa-sartore
<![CDATA[The Pulitzer Prize-Winning Photo So Emotionally Devastating It Drove The Photographer To Suicide]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/vulture-and-little-girl-photo-story/stephanroget?source=rss

Most people are familiar with this picture from the South Sudan famine, but not everyone knows that the tragedy portrayed goes far beyond the picture itself, extending to the photographer, Kevin Carter. The photo of a starving Sudanese girl struggling while a hungry vulture looks on patiently needs no added context to have an effect on all but the most callous of viewers. However, the details of what happened at the time and after the photograph was taken combine to make it one of the most striking and complex stories of human suffering in the modern era. It may have even led to the suicide of the very man who took it.

Kevin Carter took this photo in South Sudan in 1993 when covering the famine and the international attempts to stop it. When the photo first appeared in The New York Times, it ignited a firestorm of reaction that included both condemnations of Carter and huge congratulations, namely in the form of the Pulitzer Prize. Kevin Carter's suicide not long after adds another layer of tragedy to this somber and twisted tale.

The Pulitzer Prize-Winning Photo So Emotionally Devastating It Drove The Photographer To Suicide,

The Suffering In South Sudan At The Time Was Blatant And Appalling

Unfortunately, famine is not an uncommon thing in South Sudan. To call the famine that occurred there in 1993 - when Kevin Carter visited on assignment - a singular event is a bit misleading. South Sudan was caught in the grip of famine off-and-on for the entirety of the '90s. 

The death rate was high in the country at that time. The situation would have been a lot for anyone to take in, but especially anyone having to look closely at the suffering through a camera lens, like Kevin Carter.

Carter Claimed That He Chased The Bird Away Right After Taking The Picture

The basic details of the photograph are simple. While on the way to a United Nations feeding center, a young girl had stopped to rest, exhausted by starvation. As her parents had likely gone ahead to grab food, the emaciated child lay there, vulnerable, attracting the attention of a vulture.

Initially, Carter claimed to have come upon the scene, snapped a few photos, and then chased the bird away. However, this was not the whole truth – or even the partial truth.

There Is No Shortage Of Heartbreaking Photos From The '93 Famine

When It Was First Published, The New York Times Got Lots Of Heat From Readers

Carter sold the photo to The New York Times where, upon publication, readers were instantly riled. People hounded the Times, inquiring as to whether or not the girl had survived. This prompted them to insert a note in their next paper stating that she escaped the vulture, but nothing further was known. From there, critics turned on Carter, wanting to know why he hadn't helped the poor child.

The Photo Was The Final Straw In A Lifetime Of Capturing Depressing Images

At the age of 33, Carter drove his car to a place where he used to play as a child, hooked a hose up to his exhaust, and committed suicide via carbon monoxide poisoning. He left behind a suicide note that said he was suffering from depression and debt troubles and also mentioned the trauma he was experiencing from a career of photographing horrible situations. He talked in the note of “vivid memories of killings and corpses and anger and pain…of starving or wounded children, of trigger-happy madmen, often police, of killer executioners...”

The photograph and the controversy surrounding it were added stress in a life full spent capturing atrocities on camera. Kevin Carter's memory could not erase the images he'd seen with his own eyes. It all added up, and winning an award for one such haunting image likely only compounded the guilt until Carter decided he'd had enough.

In Reality, He Let The Bird Inch Closer And Closer – So He Could Capture The Perfect Shot

Later, another photographer present at the time of the picture revealed that the process was a bit more extended than that. Carter eventually admitted that he watched the scene for about 20 minutes, waiting for the vulture to get closer to the girl and hoping that it would spread its wings for a more dramatic shot. When that didn't happen, Carter finally got up and chased the bird away.

He did not help the girl, nor is anyone sure what happened to her after that. Carter noted that, considering the rampant hardship throughout the country, he did not regard the girl's situation as particularly unique.

Unfortunately, This Wasn't The Only Incident In Which A Photojournalist Captured A Child's Tragic Death

In a similar situation – albeit one with totally different circumstances – a photojournalist captured 13-year-old Omayra Sanchez dying in water up to her shoulders after an earthquake and flood destroyed her small Argentinian village. In Omayra's case, however, her death could be confirmed. More about Omayra's tragic story can be found here.

Despite Winning A Pulitzer Prize For The Photograph, Carter Was Highly Criticized For How He Took It

In Carter’s defense, photojournalists at that time were specifically instructed not to touch famine victims due to the possibility of spreading disease. There was little he could have done to help the girl, but it was easy to judge someone who watched and took photographs while a human being suffered. The revelation that Carter spent 20 minutes on the scene certainly didn't help his reputation. Said the St. Petersburg Times, “The man adjusting his lens to take just the right frame of her suffering, might just as well be a predator, another vulture on the scene.”

Still, not all of the reaction to the photo was negative. Many praised it for how powerfully and emotionally it captured the human suffering that was occurring in South Sudan. No written description of the famine could make so striking a point as this single picture. Kevin Carter was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for the photo in 1994. He took his own life shortly thereafter.

A Civil War That Was Happening At The Same Time Added To The Death Count

The situation in 1993 was particularly chaotic as a civil war had erupted. This complicated both relief efforts and the ability of starving people to reach aid being offered.

A Baltimore Sun article from the time reported that: 

"For the last decade, a grim civil war has been waged. The government of the north, which seeks to fashion an Islamic country, is fighting non-Muslim rebels in the south. The southerners historically have been oppressed by the north, and they resent Arab culture's rule over their traditional African ways.

But the southern rebels also have turned on each other. When not fighting the government, they have clashed in grabs for power, for territory and to satisfy old tribal grudges."

Wed, 02 Aug 2017 05:08:32 PDT http://www.ranker.com/list/vulture-and-little-girl-photo-story/stephanroget
<![CDATA[If You're Still Anti-Vaxxer After Reading About The Polio Vaccine, You're A Dumbass]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/polio-vaccine-history/nicky-benson?source=rss

The polio vaccine changed lives in the mid-1950s, a decade during which thousands of children were being devastated by the disease. At its height in 1952, the virus infected almost 60,000 kids in the United States. Thousands of these children were paralyzed, and over 3,000 of them died from the epidemic. Summer was a particularly brutal time for the disease, which is spread through contact with human feces. Towns closed swimming pools, and moviegoers were advised not to sit next to one another so they wouldn't spread their germs. This was the horrifying and frightening context for how the polio vaccine came to be.

While most people didn't exhibit polio symptoms, those who were struck the worst – with what is called paralytic polio – were forced to spend time in hospitals where they were hooked up to machines so they could breathe. The disease didn't discriminate: both the rich and the poor (as well as future celebrities) were victims. Thankfully, virologist Jonas Salk and his colleagues at the University of Pittsburgh invented a polio vaccine in 1952. They tested it out on a group of children in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in 1954 before mass immunization began in 1955. The history of polio is very depressing, and the photos of children (and adults) affected by the disease are heartbreaking. Fortunately, researchers were able to develop a vaccine that eventually eradicated the disease in America – all things to consider if you find yourself doubting the efficacy and necessity of vaccines in the present day.

If You're Still Anti-Vaxxer After Reading About The Polio Vaccine, You're A Dumbass,

95% Of Polio Sufferers Show No Symptoms

Most polio victims show no sign of the disease. In fact, 95% are considered asymptomatic. The other five percent fit into three categories: abortive polio, non-paralytic polio, and paralytic polio. Abortive polio is characterized by symptoms such as fever, tiredness, headache, sore throat, nausea, and diarrhea.

Those who contract non-paralytic polio experience similar symptoms as those with abortive polio. But they also display neurological symptoms, including light sensitivity and stiffness in the neck.

The worst type is paralytic polio, but it is extremely rare. After experiencing viral-like symptoms, patients feel muscle pain and have muscle spasms. Most individuals have a complete recovery, and less than two percent become paralyzed or experience muscle weakness. According to the CDC, polio caused paralysis in approximately one in 200 of those who contract it.

Inoculated Children Are 99% Safe, Which Seems Like An All-Around Good Thing

The Western Hemisphere eradicated polio in 1994 thanks to vaccination. Only a few countries today experience outbreaks, such as Afghanistan and Pakistan. In the United States, children generally get the inactivated polio vaccine when they are two and four months old. They receive two additional inoculations before attending elementary school. Thanks to this procedure, 99 out of 100 children who get the vaccine are protected from the disease.

President Roosevelt, Mia Farrow, & Other Famous People Had Polio

President Franklin D. Roosevelt contracted polio at the age of 39 in 1921. He was forced to use a wheelchair and tried to keep his paralysis hidden from others. Actress Mia Farrow spent eight months in the hospital in the 1950s after contracting the disease and had to use an iron lung to help her breathe. Actors Alan Alda and Donald Sutherland; musicians Itzhak Perlman,  Neil Young, and Joni Mitchell; and New York City ballerina Tanaquil Le Clercq also suffered from the disease.

It's Highly Contagious & Spreads Through Poop, Sneezing, And Coughing

The poliovirus is highly contagious and resides in a person's throat and intestines. A person catches the disease through his or her mouth and passes it on to other people through fecal matter, sneezing, and coughing. If a person has infected feces on his hands, for example, and touches his mouth, he can get the disease. Certainly, while this sounds disgusting, it's also not hard to imagine among very young children. It can also spread through objects, such as toys. If a kid plays with a doll that is contaminated, she can contract the virus. Infected people can spread the disease immediately. Even those without symptoms can pass it on.

Polio Terrified Parents In The 1950s Because They Didn't Know How To Stop It

Very few things scared parents in the early 20th century more than polio. Beginning with its first outbreak in Vermont in 1894 – in which 132 people contracted the disease – it would cyclically reoccur, and, for decades, no one knew how to stop it. Children tended to contact the disease during the summer, and, every few years, a polio epidemic would spread through a town. The majority of sufferers would recover from the disease, but others were not so lucky. Some would be temporarily paralyzed while a few were disabled permanently. Others died. 

Vaccines Resulted In An Enormous Drop In Cases – They Made The Disease Stop Occurring Naturally

The first polio vaccines were administered to children at Arsenal Elementary School in Pittsburgh, PA, on February 23, 1954. Once the polio vaccine was distributed to Americans, the number of people who contracted the disease dropped tremendously. In the early 1950s, there were approximately 20,000 paralytic cases per year. By 1960, that number had dropped to 2,525. By 1965, there were only 61 cases of paralytic polio. Finally, in 1979, the United States witnessed its final cases of naturally occurring paralytic polio when an epidemic took place among a group of Amish people in the Midwest. 

There Is No Cure – The Only Prevention Is Vaccination

The best way to beat polio is through prevention – AKA vaccination – because there is no known cure. Sufferers with muscle impairment can take drugs or undergo special therapy to counteract the symptoms. Those few who are paralyzed by the disease may require a machine to help them breathe if polio affects their throat and chest muscles. If they don't use artificial breathing support, sometimes known as an "iron lung," they can die.

Fri, 04 Aug 2017 02:21:37 PDT http://www.ranker.com/list/polio-vaccine-history/nicky-benson
<![CDATA[People Are Freaking Out Over Whether This Photo Shows A Young Vladimir Putin Spying On Reagan]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/vladimir-putin-ronald-reagan-photo-1980s/kellie-kreiss?source=rss

At first glance, this picture seems to simply portray a shy Russian boy shaking the hand of U.S. President Ronald Reagan while visiting Moscow for the first time in 1988. But experts suggest that the image may contain far more than an average presidential meet-and-greet. 

Upon closer inspection, it appears that the man standing just behind the boy in the photo - the one with the well-coifed, side-swept hair and tourist-approved striped tee - is actually a young Vladimir Putin. Why would the eventual President of Russia be hanging out with President Reagan in 1980s Russia? Well, some experts believe evidence points to one shocking reason: That a young Vladimir Putin was in fact a KGB spy sent to sabotage Reagan's trip in order to humiliate him in front of the people of the Soviet Union. 

Russia swears that the photograph is a fraud and that it would be impossible for Putin to have been in that photo. However, the man who took the photo, Pete Souza, has declared time and time again that Putin was there and that he was up to no good.

People Are Freaking Out Over Whether This Photo Shows A Young Vladimir Putin Spying On Reagan,

The KGB Would Have Been Looking For A Way To Publicly Embarrass Reagan On His Trip

In 1988, Reagan decided it was time to take a summer trip to visit the capital city of his newly acquired ally and see for himself was the Soviet Union was all about. He met with Mikhail Gorbachev who was the General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union at the time and the man who helped negotiate the newly formed US-Soviet alliance on behalf of the communist government. Afterwards, the two took a tour of Moscow's historic Red Square.

The picture's photographer, Pete Souza, says that while they toured a secret service agent told him some of the people that were scattered throughout the plaza were, in fact, KGB spies dressed as unassuming tourists. Their intent was to ask President Reagan humiliating questions about his policies and America's human rights record that would cause him public embarrassment.

Souza also confirms without a doubt that the man pictured is Putin himself:  "Off to the left is one of these [KGB] tourists with a camera around his shoulder and it has been pointed out to me and verified that that was Putin."

Even If It Wasn't Putin, The Man Was Still Likely To Have Been A Member Of The KGB

Expectedly, Russia has denied all accusations of Putin's likeness in the photo. They claim it would have been impossible for Putin to have been in the photograph as he was, in fact, stationed as a KGB spy in the East German city of Dresden at the time. Saying a spy couldn't have been spying in one place because they were too busy spying in another, may not be the strongest argument for Putin's innocence.

Souza remains steadfast in his beliefs on the matter, noting that KGB families posing undercover were all too common during the reign of the Soviet Union. Especially when given such a public opportunity to descend on the highest leader in the free world.

Russian Experts Say Putin's Hairline And Beer Belly Prove It's Not Him

Russian consultants asked to offer their opinion of the photograph claim Vladimir Putin was not only stationed in Dresden at the time of the picture, but that he was also too low ranking in the KGB to have been asked to carry out such a mission all the way over in Moscow. Additionally, they say a young Putin wouldn't have resembled the man pictured.

In the '80s, Putin already had very thinning hair. The man pictured is supposedly too slim as well. Putin has mentioned having gained weight while stationed in Dresden due to his penchant for indulging in at least six and a half pints of beer each week. 

Thu, 03 Aug 2017 02:22:21 PDT http://www.ranker.com/list/vladimir-putin-ronald-reagan-photo-1980s/kellie-kreiss
<![CDATA[We Found Photos Of Every Nazi Corpse We Could]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/pictures-of-nazi-leaders-after-death/kellie-kreiss?source=rss

Nearly ten months after Nazi Germany announced its complete surrender to Allied forces, which officially marked the end of World War II, the fate of the remaining Nazi officials was finally determined. The Nuremburg Trials brought 10 of the highest ranking Nazi party members to justice for "crimes against peace, crimes of war, and crimes against humanity" that they committed throughout the duration of WWII. On October 1, 1946, a total of 12 Nazi leaders were condemned to death by hanging. Two of the 12 actually managed to escape this fate - one died by suicide and the other died while trying to run away.

Because the impact of the Nazi regime had shaken the world, people wanted to make sure they documented the deaths of any Nazi party members that they could through pictures. In addition to the executed convicted Nazis, soldiers took photos of the bodies of Nazi leaders whenever they could. Adolf Hitler himself was photographed after his suicide. Compiled below are all the Nazi corpse photos you can find. Check them out to bear witness to the end of a horrifying, genocidal regime. 

We Found Photos Of Every Nazi Corpse We Could,

Adolf Hitler

Alfred Jodl

Alfred Rosenberg

Anton Dostler

Fritz Sauckel

Hans Frank

Heinrich Himmler

Joachim von Ribbentrop

Wilhelm Frick

Wilhelm Keitel

Fri, 04 Aug 2017 01:50:40 PDT http://www.ranker.com/list/pictures-of-nazi-leaders-after-death/kellie-kreiss
<![CDATA[The Story Behind This World-Famous Photo Is Even Sadder Than You Can Imagine]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/florence-owens-thompson-depression-photo/amandasedlakhevener?source=rss

The famous Dorothea Lange depression era picture of a woman and her children, portrays a part of the Great Depression that is seldom seen. Entitled Migrant Mother, the picture was taken in 1936, a time when most depictions of the depression were of the urban poor. Little attention was paid to those who were forced to take on low paying farm work in order to feed their children. 

It wasn't until the '70s that we learned that the Great Depression-era woman in the picture was Florence Owens Thompson. Thompson was born in what was then known as Indian Territory, now part of Oklahoma, in 1903. By the time Dorothea Lange took her picture, Thompson had seven children. Six of them were with her first husband, Cleo Owens, who died of tuberculosis before their last child was born. 

Thompson's expression of worried uncertainty as her children cling to her for comfort came to exemplify this difficult time period in American history. Here's what we know about the woman behind this distinctive picture. 

The Story Behind This World-Famous Photo Is Even Sadder Than You Can Imagine,

On Film, It Was A Time Period That Looked Like No Other

Dorothea Lange wasn't the only one to recognize that the extreme circumstances of many Americans, and the literal change in agriculture and farmlands at the time, made for compelling visuals. Photography out of the Great Depression is among the most striking in American history. The powerful images portray one of the most overall low points in American history. This time period in photography was also pivotal to a growing movement in using the medium to capture the more intimate moments of reality.

The Picture Incited The Government To Action, But Thompson Was Gone Before They Could Help Her

Lange sent the pictures off to the San Francisco News, who published two of them, along with a story about the migrant workers. The story that accompanied the photos, called "Ragged, Hungry, Broke, Harvest Workers Live in Squalor," reportedly inspired John Steinbeck to write his great American depression-era novel, The Grapes of Wrath

Once the U.S. government saw the pictures and were aware of how dire the situation in the West was, they sent help. The pea pickers camp received a rushed shipment of 20,000 pounds of food. However, Thompson and her family were no longer there - they had repaired their vehicle and moved on to find new work. 

Thompson's Life During The Depression Was Worse Than Lange Knew

Lange never even asked for Thompson's name when she took the famous photograph. Thompson would later tell the reporter who found her that she had learned to pick any kind of crop necessary. At one time she was picking cotton and making 50 cents for each 100 pounds of cotton she picked. She said she could pick 450-500 pounds each day, without even weighing 100 pounds herself.

She would put her young children in burlap sacks so that they couldn't get away while she worked, dragging them alongside her as she worked from row to row. The children who were old enough to walk would work alongside their parents. 

A Reporter Found The Migrant Mother In The '70s And Learned Her Story Was Even Sadder Than The Picture Suggested

Despite all of the publicity surrounding the Migrant Mother photograph, her identity remained a secret until 1978, when a reporter from the Modesto Bee tracked her down.

Thompson was open to sharing her story. She was born in a teepee, a Cherokee in Oklahoma, and married at the age of 17. By 28 years old, she had six children and her husband had died of tuberculosis. By the time of the picture she had another child with Jim Hill and the two were making their way north through California looking for field labor jobs. Their car broke down near pea fields but the crops were ruined by frost and the workers had nothing to do and no food.

At the time of the picture, Thompson and her children were waiting for her Hill to return with the car parts they needed to move on to another place offering them work. She told the reporter, "We just existed. We survived. Let's put it that way."

Only Once Did Thompson Benefit From The Picture's Fame

In 1983 Thompson's children were desperate to raise funds to pay for their mother's medical bills after she had a stroke. Only then did they decide to try to capitalize off the fame of their mother's picture. They raised money by putting out a call for donations for the "Migrant Mother." Although Thompson died shortly afterwards, the fundraiser did cover most of the costs.

She is buried in Lakewood Memorial Park in Hughson, California. Her headstone reads “Migrant Mother - A Legend of the Strength of American Motherhood."

Thompson Never Wanted To Be The Face Of The Poor During The Great Depression

Thompson remarried after World War II to George Thompson, a hospital administrator, and this was when she finally found a little financial balance. Much needed as she went on to have three more children, for a total of 10. Her children would report that she never wanted to become the face of the Great Depression. The irony of being the face of a picture that would come to represent a time period, and catapult the artist who took it to fame, was that it did nothing to improve her own situation.

Her legacy lives on through her 10 children, all of whom worked as hard as possible in order to not end up living in poverty and who are grateful for the suffering their mother endured for their sake. 

The Picture Earned Lange Notoriety And A Photography Fellowship

Migrant Mother helped Dorothea Lange build a reputation and its success earned her a Guggenheim fellowship. She's a revered photographer in the annals of American history. She certainly earned her fame with the talent she possessed, and the other pictures she took chronicling the Great Depression ensure that the difficulty of the period will never be forgotten. 

But one can't help but be astounded that a picture depicting such poverty and sadness would earn the photographer fame, the subject's face a place in history, and would do nothing for the woman who's emotive body was what expressed such poignant sadness and silent suffering.

The Great Depression Would Last 10 Years

The Great Depression began with the stock market crash of 1929 and would extend to 1939. It was perpetuated by many things, including a major banking crisis and dust storms that destroyed crops in the Dust Bowl farming land of America. The literal dirt in the air earned the time period the nickname the "Dirty Thirties" and the lack of food added starvation to the list of problems an already impoverished people were suffering. 

When She Took The Photo, Lange Didn't Even Ask For The Woman's Name

Lange said that while she was taking pictures, she approached a makeshift tent and found a woman sitting there with a few of her children. Thompson was with her daughters, waiting for her partner to come back with car parts.

Lange wrote down in her notes: "I did not ask her name or her history. She told me her age, that she was 32. She said that [she and her children] had been living on frozen vegetables from the surrounding fields, and birds that the children killed."

Lange Was Taking Pictures To Show The Government Just How Bad Off Many Of America's Poor Were

Lange was working on behalf of the Resettlement Administration (now called the Farm Security Administration) when she took the now-famous photographs. Their mission was to showcase the plight of migrant workers to officials in Washington. While the Great Depression made life difficult for almost everyone in America, those on the East coast had no idea just how bad things were in the Dust Bowl. 

Lange was attempting to capture a snapshot of the vagrant lifestyle those who had lost everything were forced into.

Tue, 25 Jul 2017 08:59:22 PDT http://www.ranker.com/list/florence-owens-thompson-depression-photo/amandasedlakhevener
<![CDATA[New Evidence Proves Starving Settlers At Jamestown Cannibalized A Teenage Girl]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/jamestown-cannibalism-evidence/nicky-benson?source=rss

Expert and history buffs have long been fascinated by stories of cannibalism at the early settler colony of Jamestown. While there have been several written accounts of cannibals at Jamestown, VA, it was only a few years ago that physical evidence proved that the settlers did in fact eat their own people in order to survive.

One hundred and four people founded the Virginia colony in 1604. Within nine months, 66 died from starvation and disease and some possibly from drinking water tainted by arsenic and human waste. The settlers, among them John Smith of Pocahontas fame, struggled to grow crops due to drought and relied heavily on supply missions and trade with local Native American tribes to keep them fed.

Desperation set in during the winter of 1609, starting what would become known as the "Starving Time." A supply ship went missing, and the settlers fought with the Powhatan Confederacy, ending their food supply. The settlers resorted to eating their horses, cats, rats and even the leather from their boots. Jamestown president George Percy later wrote in a letter that they were forced to dig up dead bodies and consume their corpses. One of the victims of the Jamestown Colony cannibalism was a young woman who likely arrived with a new group of 300 settlers in 1609. Her timing couldn't have been worse. 

New Evidence Proves Starving Settlers At Jamestown Cannibalized A Teenage Girl,

Physical Evidence Proves English Settlers Butchered And Fed On One Of Their Own

In 2012, archeologists from the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History, Historic Jamestowne, and the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation found the first piece of physical evidence that starving English colonists resorted to cannibalism to survive. The incident took place during what is known as the Starving Time from 1609-1610 when around 80% of the colonists died.

According to William Kelso, director of archeology at Historic Jamestowne, researchers had already known about five written accounts of cannibalism from that time period. It wasn't until this new discovery that they had physical proof that cannibalism actually occurred.

A 14-Year-Old Girl's Skull Was Split In Half And Her Brain Was Removed

Archeologists from the organization Preservation Virginia discovered the bones of a 14-year-old girl from Jamestown and gave them to Smithsonian forensic anthropologist Douglas Owsley for examination. Owlsey's conclusion: “The chops to the forehead are very tentative, very incomplete. Then, the body was turned over, and there were four strikes to the back of the head, one of which was the strongest and split the skull in half. A penetrating wound was then made to the left temple, probably by a single-sided knife, which was used to pry open the head and remove the brain.”

Owsley believes an individual split the young girl's head in half using either a cleaver or a light-weight axe. Researchers excavated cleaver blades and knives from the Jamestown site.

The Carved-Up Skull And Shinbone Of The Girl Were Thrown In The Trash

The archeologists named the victim "Jane" and found pieces of her "butchered skull and shinbone" inside the site of James Fort. Her remains were discovered in the cellar of a 17th century building buried 2.5 feet down in an area used for garbage. William Kelso, director of archeology at Historic Jamestowne, was shocked by the finding, having dismissed the reports of cannibalism. Instead, he thought cannibalism rumors were created to make the Virginia Company (who financed the settlement) look bad.

Researchers determined that Jane was 14 years old after examining her shinbone. They also believe she was either a maid or a member of a high-status family because of the high nitrogen content on one of her teeth. That indicated that she ate a lot of protein, foods that were pricey and difficult to acquire.

Experts Don't Know If Jane Was Eaten After Dying From Natural Causes Or Murder

There are still many questions about the details surrounding Jane's death. Scholars don't know if the settlers murdered her or if she died of natural causes. It's also unclear how many people carved up her corpse. Smithsonian forensic anthropologist Douglas Owsley noted, "Historians have gone back and forth on whether this sort of thing really happened there. Given these bones in a trash pit, all cut and chopped up, it's clear that this body was dismembered for consumption."

He added, "I don’t think that they killed her, by any stretch. It's just that they were so desperate, and so hard-pressed, that out of necessity this is what they resorted to."

The Settlers Likely Ate Jane's Brain First

According to Smithsonian forensic anthropologist Douglas Owsley, the settlers probably ate Jane's brain first because the organ quickly decomposes following death. They also likely consumed her tongue, cheeks, and leg muscles. He was able to determine this information by examining Jane's skull, which had cuts on the jaw, face and forehead. There were also marks on the shinbone.

Owsley noted, "The clear intent was to remove the facial tissue and the brain for consumption. These people were in dire circumstances. So any flesh that was available would have been used. The person that was doing this was not experienced and did not know how to butcher an animal. Instead, we see hesitancy, trial, tentativeness and a total lack of experience." Clearly, they didn't realize human brain consumption can lead to madness.


Wed, 02 Aug 2017 04:10:59 PDT http://www.ranker.com/list/jamestown-cannibalism-evidence/nicky-benson
<![CDATA[These Creepy Photos Of Fake Beheadings Were The Biggest Meme Of The 1920s]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/horsemanning-photos-1920s/kellie-kreiss?source=rss

Apparently the 1920s wasn't just the decade of flappers and economic turbulence – it was also the age of fake beheadings. Just like today's most eccentric Internet memes, images of people appearing to have been beheaded took the world by storm. Everyone wanted an opportunity to take a swing at the headless challenge, revealing a bit of their morbid sense of humor in the process.

This rather macabre trend – also known as horsemaning – has roots that reach even further back in history. It potentially dates to the mid-1800s, when people were only beginning to figure out unique ways of manipulating the images created through the recently invented camera.

Don't worry, no one actually lost their heads during the creation of these photographs (hopefully). They were just a creative illusion meant to get a rise out of unsuspecting viewers, much like the images that filter across screens on social media today. The real question is, how exactly did they do it?

These Creepy Photos Of Fake Beheadings Were The Biggest Meme Of The 1920s,

The Photo Fad Was Known As Horsemaning

Taking headless photos of oneself and sharing them with neighbors may not be something that you'd initially associate with the 1920s. But it was essentially the mannequin challenge of the pre-Depression era, and people were all about it. 

These momentarily disturbing photographs of headless individuals were the result of an activity known as horsemaning, a label inspired by the chilling figure who haunts the pages of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. In essence, the concept is simple: one person acts as if their head has fallen off while the other, you guessed it, becomes the head. One explanation paints the scene as involving an individual "laying on one’s back on a flat surface with [their] head hidden over the edge while another person hides behind the same object, only leaving the head exposed in the picture."

As a relatively simple concept with an initially terrifying outcome (at least by 1920s standards), horsemaning became something of a family affair. All you needed was a camera and a few willing participants. 

The Trend May Have Been Inspired By The Victorians

Horsemaning goes back much further than the '20s. In fact, some of the earliest photos of beheadings that weren't actually beheadings come out of the Victorian era in Great Britain. These, however, employed more sleight of hand than visual illusion. 

In these images, referred to as headless portraits, individuals are seen holding or otherwise displaying their own heads as opposed to using their friend's head as a prop. The way they accomplished this was rather creative for the day and, in many ways, was the original use of Photoshop. Basically, the images were created by layering the negatives of two or more photographs and exposing them so as to bring out the head in one place and eliminate it in another. The resulting image was then a macabre illusion of the person's apparent beheading.

Horsemaning Enjoyed A Resurgence In 2011

Horsemaning may have been lost to time if it weren't for the meme-worthy fad's sudden re-appearance in 2011, when people around the world began resurrecting it. In fact, the activity became so widespread that it landed on the list of the top ten Facebook sensations of 2011. It even gave rise to the likes of "planking" (which involves laying face down in the dirt like you're dead) and even "owling" (which involves perching yourself on objects and rooftops as if you were, yes, an owl).

A Portrait Of William Henry Wheeler Holding His Own Head On A Stake – 1875

A Boy In Great Britain – 1890

A Head Being Served On A Platter – 1900

Wed, 02 Aug 2017 03:40:16 PDT http://www.ranker.com/list/horsemanning-photos-1920s/kellie-kreiss
<![CDATA[How One Of The Most Powerful Families In History Destroyed Itself Through Inbreeding]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/habsburg-dynasty-inbreeding-history/melissa-sartore?source=rss

The chaos of the Habsburg family tree brought down the dynasty and is one of the most famous cases of royal inbreeding throughout history. The Habsburg line traces its roots to the Middle Ages and extended its influence through the early 20th century. Some of the most famous names in European history had links to the family: Marie Antoinette was a Habusburg, as was Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the man whose death triggered the start of World War I.

Habsburg dynastic power reached its height in the 16th and 17th centuries. As the Spanish and Austrian lines of the House of Habsburg dominated Europe, they married one another and kept bloodlines pure. Cousins married cousins and uncles married nieces; keeping track of who was related to who in the complex matrix of the House of Habsburg inbreeding - not to mention how they were related - is mind-boggling to the modern observer.

Habsburg inbreeding and intermarriage brought together bloodlines in a way that caused physical and mental illnesses, ultimately resulting in infertility on a royal scale. Confusing and fascinating, the Habsburg dynasty inbred itself into oblivion.

How One Of The Most Powerful Families In History Destroyed Itself Through Inbreeding,

Charles II Of Spain Was His Own Cousin

The more Habsburgs who married, the more incestuous the marriages became. Philip III of Spain and Margarita of Austria, who were the offspring of two uncle-niece couples, had two children, both of whom married relatives. Their daughter, Maria Anna of Spain, married Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand III in 1631 and their son, Philip IV, married the daughter of his sister's marriage, Mariana of Austria, who was his niece and cousin in more than one way.  

The best-known inbred Habsburg, Charles II of Spain, was a product of this marriage. He was born in 1661 as his own cousin. One of his grandmothers was also his aunt, the other also his great-grandmother. All of his great-grandparents were descended from the same couple, Philip I and Joann. 

By the birth of Charles II, the Habsburg lines of Spain and Austria were so intertwined they were a genetic catastrophe. Charles II was infertile, had a tongue so large he could barely speak, possessed such an offset jaw his teeth couldn't meet, and was unable to walk until he was nearly fully grown, at which point he had such trouble walking he fell regularly. Charles II was the last ruler of Habsburg Spain; while the Austrian line continued, he marked the end of Habsburg dynastic dominance. 

As The Family Declined, It Suffered Infant Death And Infertility

According to a 2009 genetics study published in multidisciplinary journal PLOS One:

"[I]nfant and child mortality was very high in the Spanish Habsburg families. From 1527 to 1661, when Philip II and Charles II were born respectively, the Spanish royal families had 34 children, 10 (29.4%) of them died before 1 year, and 17 (50.0%) of these children died before 10 years."  

The authors, Alvarez, Ceballos, and Quinteiro, argue that the high rate of infant and child deaths in the Habsburg family resulted from the intermarriage and inbreeding. The inbreeding coefficient, as they call it, grew over time; very little fresh blood entered the family line, making serious health problems inevitable. 

Alvarez, Ceballos, and Quinteiro also looked at birthrates and found "there were 51 pregnancies in the eight families: 5 miscarriages and stillbirths, 6 neonatal deaths, 14 deaths between month 1 and year 10 and 26 survivals at age 10."

Charles II was the apex of Habsburg inbreeding and how it affected the continuity of the family line. His parents, Philip IV and Mariana of Austria, had five children, only two of whom lived until adulthood. By the time Charles was born in 1661, he was the only surviving child. Charles II was married twice, but was unable to produce a child in either case.

Many Of The Habsburgs Lost Their Minds

The Habsburg lines of marriage created more and more medical problems as time went on. Speculation about Joann the Mad and her mental condition were linked to the fact that her parents were cousins. That was fairly early in the Habsburg story as far as intermarriage goes. By the end, with Charles II, the Habsburgs created a mid-17th century "imbecile."

Along the timeline, there has been speculation about which rulers experienced mental illnesses, with focus on Holy Roman Emperor Rudolf II. Born in 1552, he was the grandson of Joann the Mad of Spain, and his episodes of depression severely hindered his political authority; he was forced to cede power to his brother, and retain his title in name alone. 

It All Started In The Thirteenth Century

The founding of the Habsburg Empire is attributed to Rudolf I, who became King of Germany in 1273. He was a member of the Habsburg family, which had been around since the 11th century. With his election as king (yes, he was elected king), he brought together extensive Germanic lands under a single leader. Territory under his control extended in 1276, when he seized Austria.  In 1281, he gave his Austrian possessions to his son, Albert. From that point on, Austria and the House of Habsburg were linked. The Habsburgs added Bohemia and Hungary to their growing empire, and continued to acquire land and power for centuries, through both military action and diplomacy.  

Marriage Alliances Were Key To Imperial Growth

When Maximilian I, son of the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick III, married Mary, the daughter of French King Charles the Bold in 1477, the Habsburgs extended their European influence immensely. The marriage resulted in Maximilian, who later became Holy Roman Emperor, gaining control of the Netherlands, Luxembourg, and parts of France. He later married Bianca, daughter of the Duke of Milan, after Mary's death.

The passing of Mary caused various problems for Maximilian; he had to fight to maintain control over the Netherlands, which he gained in his marriage to her. He also struggled to maintain control of Hungary, though he ultimately did. However, by his death, in 1518, he had lost ground in Switzerland.  

Maximilan's biggest contribution to the Habsburg dynasty may have been securing his son Philip's marriage to Joann of Castile. Joann, also known as Joan the Mad, was the daughter of Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain, and came with a lot of money, land, and prestige. The vast swaths of land and royal families infiltrated by the Habsburgs led directly to the culture of inbreeding that ultimately destroyed the family. 

The Holy Roman Empire Was Neither Holy Nor Roman - It Was Habsburg

The Austrian Habsburgs controlled the position of Holy Roman Emperor from the 15th century to the early 19th. Even after Charles V of Spain abdicated the title in 1556, the connections between Spanish and Austrian Habsburgs to the role remained solid.

Habsburg dominance of the title Holy Roman Emperor speaks to the tremendous reach of the family, which was achieved through intermarriage and breeding. To give some indication of the sprawl of Habsburg power, Holy Roman Emperor Charles VI held the following titles, all achieved through centuries of consanguineous marriage and breeding:

  • King of Germany
  • King of Bohemia
  • King of Hungary
  • King of Croatia
  • Archduke of Austria
  • King of Naples
  • King of Sicily
  • King of Sardinia
  • Duke of Luxemburg
  • Duke of Teschen
  • Duke of Parma and Piacenza
  • Count of Flanders

Philip Of Austria And Joann Of Castile Sealed The Spanish-Austrian Deal

Maximilian's son Philip married Joann of Castile in 1496. As the daughter of Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain, Joann brought numerous possessions and great prestige to the Habsburg dynasty. When Joann inherited Castile, after her mother's death in 1504, her father acted as regent. By 1506, Philip was actively vying for control; he negotiated a treaty with Ferdinand to give Castile completely over to Joann. Due to claims of his wife's failing mental health, Philip took complete authority Castile, thereby formally linking the Spanish and Austrian houses of the Habsburg lines.

As for Joann's mental health, according to a piece in The Journal of Humanistic Psychiatry, the queen, aware many believed her mad, wrote a letter "denying insanity, [and] stating that she simply had jealousy issues that she believed she had probably inherited from her mother." It remains unclear whether she suffered from psychological ailments or was a political puppet. She was the product of a marriage between second cousins, which may have contributed to any psychological disorder she had.

Historians speculate Joann may have suffered from depression or bipolar disorder, but it's possible this was exaggerated by her husband and father for their own gains. Philip only lived for a few months after he declared Joann incompetent to hold the crown of Castile. After his death, Ferdinand re-took control, and had Joann confined to prison, which may have caused her mental health to fail. After Fredinand died in 1517, Joann's son Charles, later Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, inherited Castile and other Spanish possessions.

Physical Deformities Were Passed On, And Exacerbated, By Interfamilial Bone Zone Action

The Habsburgs became known for distinctive physical characteristics. The Habsburg jaw, associated with the Habsburg lip and the Habsburg chin, were prominent in the line by the 17th century. When Charles II was born, he was said to have such a big tongue he drooled constantly, and his bottom jaw protruded so much that he could not match his teeth to chew. The misshapen head that characterized Habsburg rulers included a deformed nose and sagging eyelids. 

Interestingly, according to a genetics study, the Habsburgs are one of the few families in history to show Mendelian inheritance of these facial characteristics. Even with modern knowledge, geneticists aren't 100% sure how this happened. 

Cousins Marrying Cousins Wasn't Anything New, But When A King Married His Niece, Things Got Weird

During the early 16th century, Habsburg marriages created a dynasty that touched most of Western Europe and, by extension, explored the New World. In addition to Charles I of Spain becoming Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, his sister Isabella married into the royal house of Denmark and his brother, Ferdinand, who later became Holy Roman Emperor as well, married Anne of Bohemia and Hungary. 

Given the massive reach of the Habsburgs, there were concerns over maintaining power, and difficulty in arranging marriages to do so. Charles V's daughter, Maria of Spain, married her cousin Maximilian (son of Ferdinand and Anne) in 1548; his son, Philip, married Anna of Austria, daughter of Maria and Maximilian, who was his niece. Keeping the bloodlines connected was ideal for dynastic power, though such marriages kicked off increasingly close links in kinship.

That said, cousins marrying one another wasn't new or scandalous. In the 12th century, Eleanor of Aquitaine married her fourth cousin, Louis VII of France, before later marrying Henry II of England. Louis VII married his second cousin, Constance. Henry VIII married several relatives, and Isabella and Ferdinand of Spain were second cousins.  

Sixteenth Century Marriages Were All In The Family

Increasingly close connections of dynastic marriages within the Habsburg family became problematic from a genetic standpoint in the 16th century, though no one at the time could have possibly known. Interestingly, the Catholic Church had prohibitions on consanguinity (of the same blood lines) in marriage, but the Pope could, and often did, make allowances for royal families.

With uncles marrying nieces, such as Phillip II of Spain to Anne of Austria in 1570 and Charles II of Austria to Maria Anna of Bavaria in 1571, familial loops closed into tighter and tighter circles. The products of those two marriages, Phillip III and Margarita of Austria, married each other.

Fri, 14 Jul 2017 07:56:47 PDT http://www.ranker.com/list/habsburg-dynasty-inbreeding-history/melissa-sartore
<![CDATA[The Reason This Buddhist Monk Lit Himself On Fire Is Uncomfortably Familiar]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/thich-quang-duc-burning-monk/rachel-souerbry?source=rss

In 1963, a Vietnamese monk committed self-immolation in front of hundreds of people. But why did the burning monk light himself on fire? The simple answer is as a protest, but the reasons behind his final act go much deeper and shed light on a deeply conflicted and war-torn nation.

In the midst of the Vietnam War, South Vietnam was going through a period of religious intolerance. Although Buddhists made up around 80 percent of the population, Ngo Dinh Diem, the newly-declared President of South Vietnam, was a Catholic who had decisively stripped the religious freedoms of Buddhists. Buddhists were not allowed to fly their religious flags, and were openly discriminated against by Catholics. Even though there were many fewer Catholics, they often held higher positions of power. 

There were a number of protests by large groups of Buddhists in the spring of 1963, and many were met with violence from the police and government. These clashes led to deaths – including those of children. 

The situation reached a peak on June 11, 1963, when an older monk named Thich Quang Duc committed ritual suicide in the middle of a busy intersection in Saigon. He sat in the traditional lotus position as other monks poured gasoline over his head. After Duc uttered a Buddhist prayer, one of his colleagues lit a match and dropped it into his lap, burning him to death.

The crowd that had gathered was stunned by his act of martyrdom, and it was captured by several Western journalists and photographers. The photo of the monk on fire became an indelible image of the 1960s, and his death was a tipping point for the fight for religious tolerance in Vietnam.

The Reason This Buddhist Monk Lit Himself On Fire Is Uncomfortably Familiar,

JFK Addressed The Deep Emotional Impact Of The Moment

Once photographer Malcolm Browne sent the photos he had taken of the monk on fire to the Associated Press, they made it to newspapers in the United States within 16 hours. The Western reaction to the images was one of shock, and President Kennedy was quoted as saying, "No news picture in history has generated so much emotion around the world as that one." Browne was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for the photograph.

The photos and news of what was occurring with the Buddhists in Vietnam supposedly made Kennedy take a second look at America's policies and presence in the country.

Other Monks Followed Suit

Although it is known as a pivotal moment in the fight for religious equality in Vietnam, Duc's death did not have an instant effect on President Diem's policies. Several other monks also self-immolated in the following weeks, amongst continued protests by the Buddhist community. 

In November of 1963, members of the South Vietnamese military assassinated Diem and his brother during a coup, ending his Catholic reign over South Vietnam.

Duc's Heart Did Not Burn

After Duc's self-immolation was complete, the other monks placed robes over his body and carried him away in a makeshift wooden coffin. He was later re-cremated for a proper burial, but for whatever reason his heart did not burn and remained intact. 

Duc's heart was placed on display in a glass container in the Xa Loi Pagoda. It was seen as a sacred relic representing compassion.

A Journalist Captured Duc's Utter Composure

Duc prepared himself for his fiery death with a steady, calm demeanor. David Halberstam, a journalist for the New York Times, was present for Duc's suicide and wrote about the dramatic act:

"I was to see that sight again, but once was enough. Flames were coming from a human being; his body was slowly withering and shriveling up, his head blackening and charring. In the air was the smell of burning human flesh; human beings burn surprisingly quickly. Behind me I could hear the sobbing of the Vietnamese who were now gathering. I was too shocked to cry, too confused to take notes or ask questions, too bewildered to even think... As he burned he never moved a muscle, never uttered a sound, his outward composure in sharp contrast to the wailing people around him."

As for Duc himself, he left his final words in a letter:

"Before closing my eyes and moving towards the vision of the Buddha, I respectfully plead to President Ngo Dinh Diem to take a mind of compassion towards the people of the nation and implement religious equality to maintain the strength of the homeland eternally. I call the venerables, reverends, members of the sangha and the lay Buddhists to organize in solidarity to make sacrifices to protect Buddhism."

The Monks Were Demanding Acceptance

President Diem's discrimination of the Buddhist population pushed hundreds of monks to protest and call for change. In May of 1963 they presented the government with five demands, which included laws against religious discrimination and the freedom to fly whichever religious flags they chose.

The government had promised the monks a response, but Diem essentially ignored their requests. This silence from their government ultimately pushed the monks to take much more drastic action to fight for what they believed was right.

Mon, 24 Jul 2017 06:26:09 PDT http://www.ranker.com/list/thich-quang-duc-burning-monk/rachel-souerbry
<![CDATA[Anti-Japanese Racism Was So Bad During WWII That Chinese Americans Had To Wear Labels]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/chinese-americans-in-wwii/kellie-kreiss?source=rss

At the onset of the 20th century, the United States was not the most welcoming country to Chinese immigrants. From the Chinese Exclusion Act to blatant racism, Chinese Americans were unable to find jobs, had to establish Chinatowns where their families could live peacefully, and - of course - still had to always pledge their unwavering patriotism to the United States, lest they risk further social ridicule.

However, this all changed on December 7, 1941, when the Japanese launched their surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, killing 2,000 American soldiers and injuring 1,000 others, spurring the United States's involvement in World War II. Yet, for Chinese Americans, this suddenly meant that they were no longer viewed as the enemy. Rather, the US and Chinese immigrants now shared a common enemy: Japan.

In order to further establish their loyalty to the United States - as well as to protect themselves from the brutal surge in racist violence and forced internment that Japanese Americans to which were suddenly being subjected - Chinese Americans began to wear signs, pins, and flags declaring their Chinese descent and even became active participants in the racist culture that had erupted in the US since the Japanese attack.

Anti-Japanese Racism Was So Bad During WWII That Chinese Americans Had To Wear Labels,

During WWII Chinese Americans Wore Signs Distinguishing Themselves From Japanese Americans To Avoid Discrimination

As soon as Chinese families began immigrating to the United States during the California Gold Rush in 1848, social tensions began to run high. Racism and discrimination against people of Chinese descent became the norm as they were viewed as intruders who came to the US to take jobs from other American citizens. They faced joblessness, exclusion, political and legal discrimination, and violence.

So, once the Japanese began to draw the focus of US ridicule after the attack on Pearl Harbor, Chinese Americans finally had a chance to begin to pull themselves out from under the oppression of racism. With China becoming a new ally to the US war efforts in WWII (and with Japan being a common enemy), Chinese-American pride began to expand. In an effort to further deflect harassment, Chinese Americans began to wear signs and pins, and carry flags with them to clearly display their Chinese heritage and avoid being mistaken as Japanese.

Tensions Were Already High Between Chinese And Japanese Americans Due To The Sino-Japanese War

Just as the stage was being set in Europe for the rise of the Nazi Party and the eventual conflict that would become World War II, China was continuing on in its own battle with its neighbor, Japan. Conflicts between China and Japan go back for generations; however, at the beginning of the 1930s, these historic tensions began to take a turn for the worse as Japan sought to assert its control over Chinese territories. By 1937, the two countries were in at war with one another, with China launching a full-scale resistance against Japan, known as the Second Sino-Japanese War.

This resistance quickly fell into a lull as the Chinese struggled to regain their territories from Japanese control. Yet, when Japan set its sights on Pearl Harbor, they not only made an enemy of the United States, they also pushed the western superpower into a political alliance with China. This meant that the United States would begin providing aid to China to help defeat their now common enemy - and meant that Chinese sentiments in the US were, for the first time, on an huge upswing.

The Chinese Adopted Much Of The Racist Rhetoric Being Propagandized At The Time

As the US entered into WWII and tensions with Japan continued to rise, Chinese Americans and even Chinese newspapers "adopted the inflammatory anti-Japanese rhetoric and racial epithets used by the mainstream press." This led many Chinese Americans to become passive to the prosecution endured by their Japanese neighbors on US soil, and in many cases they even took over the jobs and shops that had been forcibly abandoned by the Japanese once the latter had been interred.

Tue, 01 Aug 2017 02:57:38 PDT http://www.ranker.com/list/chinese-americans-in-wwii/kellie-kreiss
<![CDATA[Nobody Has Figured Out Why These Ancient Statues Are Exposing Their Vaginas]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/medieval-sheela-statues/kellie-kreiss?source=rss

When it comes to deciphering ancient carvings and sculptures, it's usually pretty easy to deduce the symbology behind the likes of a rain cloud and a lightening bolt with the right cultural context and some intuition. However, when it comes to these proudly provocative sheelas, historians and archaeologists are totally stumped.

Found en masse across Ireland and parts of western Europe, these carvings - popularly known as Sheela-na-Gigs - date back to somewhere around the 12th and 14th centuries and depict a wide variety of women proudly opening their legs and allowing the world to gaze on the wonder that is the female genitalia. The female figures are portrayed as being both skeletally thin and sexually robust and have been found everywhere from church doorways to castles to literal man caves once used by the Knights Templar.

So, why does this lascivious lady keep showing up in such diverse contexts, taking on seemingly contradictory personas? It's hard to say whether or not sheela was in fact meant to be a symbol of pornographic desire, prosperous fertility, or even feminine power, but one thing is for sure - like most powerful women, she makes some people uncomfortable.

Nobody Has Figured Out Why These Ancient Statues Are Exposing Their Vaginas,

These Sheela-Na-Gig Carvings Found Across Western Europe Are Proudly Displaying Their Yonis To The World

Across Ireland and parts of Britain, you can find sheela-na-gig carvings welcoming passers-by with legs outstretched above church doorways, under roof awnings, and interwoven into wall carvings. No matter where she is, though, her genitalia is being proudly displayed with the help of her own two hands.

The sheela-na-gig has gone by a diverse array of names over the years, including names of adoration such as "The Idol Hole" and "Julia the Giddy" as well as names of disdain such as "The Witches Stone" and "The Whore of Kilpeck," among others. Despite her apparently controversial presence, she has been most commonly spotted in places of particular significance and prominence on buildings and walls, suggesting that she was a figure people were encouraged to gaze upon, regardless of whether it was as a warning or as a blessing.

No One Can Figure Out Exactly What The Sheelas Are Supposed To Symbolize

With the uncovering of nearly 140 sheela-na-gig sculptures, historians agree this symbol once held significance for ancient peoples inhabiting Ireland and western Europe. The question now, though, is exactly what did she represent?

These statues have been found hiding in the architecture of buildings, at the bottom of wells, and even in piles buried beneath the earth. However, despite how common her likeness has become, historical records describing her - much less mentioning her - are suspiciously rare. It is believed that, due to her sexually explicit form, medieval scholars may have shied away from discussions surrounding her origin story, and those who were brave enough to discuss it still didn't dare write the stories down. So, thanks to the perceived inappropriateness of female sexuality, many of the traditional stories surrounding the Irish roots of the sheela have likely been lost to history.

Still, many myths about her existence remain. Most commonly, sheelas have been associated with such concepts as luck, fertility, and the aversion of evil, for in many ancient cultures the vagina was associated with protection. In fact, it is believed that women would rub the sculptures when entering churches in order to receive her blessings. Others, though, have interpreted sheelas as being images of lust and as warnings against the sins of the flesh, explaining their prevalence on churches.

Sheela-Na-Gigs Are Most Often Found On Churches

The presence of sheela-na-gigs on the walls and above the doorways of churches has both perplexed and offended members of the modern Christian church, and has frequently led to the vandalism of the sculptures. Since the post-reformation church gained popularity, it is believed that a vast majority of the sheelas that once existed were either taken as personal mementos, hidden away for safe keeping, or destroyed by church goers who were less than enthused by the image's greeting them every day. 

Sheelas have been found at the bottom of wells, in rivers, and even buried in graveyards outside of churches after having been crushed, burned, and otherwise destroyed. The discomfort with nudity that resulted from the reformation of the church is likely what led to the destroying of so many sheelas, however it is also likely that - due to the prominent position and sheer volume of the figures - they were once significant and positive cultural symbols.

Tue, 01 Aug 2017 02:58:07 PDT http://www.ranker.com/list/medieval-sheela-statues/kellie-kreiss
<![CDATA[Japan's Horrifying Use Of Sikh Prisoners As Human Target Practice During WWII]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/japanese-troops-using-pows-for-wwii-target-practice/mel-judson?source=rss

In August 1945, Allied forces prepared to launch Operation Zipper, a massive operation intended to liberate Singapore and Malaysia from Japanese control. On August 15, Emperor Hirohito announced Japan's surrender. Seishiro Itagaki, the Japanese officer in charge of military operations in Singapore, initially refused to accept this surrender, and secretly planned to executed all Allied prisoners before fighting to the death against Allied invaders. However, five days after Hirohito's surrender, and after a meeting with Japanese South East Asia army commander Hisaichi Terauchi, Itagaki alerted Allies personnel of his willingness to surrender.

Operation Zipper became Operation Tiderace, and Allied forces swept into Singapore, retaking control of the city-state. As with Allies liberating Japanese territories throughout Asia, those who arrived into Singapore were faced with scenes of obscene violence and inhumanity, from the treatment of POWs to mass graves, tales of civilian massacres, and scenes of slaughter in hospitals. Among the things left behind by the Japanese were photographs of soldiers using Sikh prisoners for target practice.

Allied personnel, and the world, has an absolute inability to understand the Japanese mindset during World War 2. What would compel a military force to conduct medical experiments on prisoners of war; rape, mutilate, and murder civilians; burn enemies alive and use them for bayonet practice; or commit suicide in the face of imminent defeat? The reasons for this are complex and historical; the images and context provided by this list offer just a snapshot of what happened during the Pacific War, and why. 

Japan's Horrifying Use Of Sikh Prisoners As Human Target Practice During WWII,

Allegations Of Japanese Cannibalism Targeting Indian Prisoners

A Reuters report from April 2, 1946, on the trials of Japanese military leaders, reads: 

"The Japanese Lieutenant Hisata Tomiyasu found guilty of the murder of 14 Indian soldiers and of cannibalism at Wewak (New Guinea) in 1944 has been sentenced to death by hanging, it is learned from Rabaul."

Eyewitness accounts from prisoners in Japanese camps during the war corroborate tales of Japanese cannibalism. According to Captain R U Pirzai, who gave testimony to an Australian newspaper in April 1945:

"Of 300 men who went to Wewak with me, only 50 got out. Nineteen were eaten. A Jap doctor —Lieutenant Tumisa, formed a party of three or four men and would send an Indian outside the camp for something. The Japs immediately would kill him and eat the flesh from his body. The liver, muscles from the buttocks, thighs, legs, and arms would be cut off and cooked."

John Baptist Crasta of the Royal Indian Army Service Corps even wrote a memoir called Eaten by the Japanese: The Memoir of an Unknown Indian Prisoner of War. Allied personnel maintained for years that Japanese cannibalism began when Japan was running out of food at the end of the war. However, in 1997, Japanese historian Toshiyuki Tanaka published Hidden Horrors: Japanese War Crimes in World War II, in which he asserted Japanese cannibalism was committed as a form of psychological warfare, and sanctioned at high levels of the military. 

Of the Indian soldiers captured by the Japanese during the war, only 5,500 survived. 

The Fall Of Singapore

Singapore fell to the Japanese on February 15, 1942. The days following Japan's takeover of the city-state saw the Alexandra Hospital Massacre, during which around 200 civilians were killed, the Banka Island Massacre of Australian nurses, and Operation Sook Ching, during which the Japanese army sought out and massacred ethnically Chinese inhabitants of the city (death toll estimates for this operation range from 5,000 to 25,000). 

Huge numbers of personnel surrendered to the Japanese in Singapore, marking the largest defeat of the British Empire in history; the Japanese earned 130,000 prisoners in one day, and they were all treated with equal contempt. In traditional Japanese martial conduct, defeated warriors don't surrender, they commit suicide; because of this, the Japanese saw those who surrendered as cowards who dishonored their family and nation.

Many captured in South East Asia were forced to work on the Burma-Thailand railway in brutal jungle conditions, during which 13,000 POWs and 100,000 local "laborers" (they were basically slaves) died. Others were sent to camps where torture, starvation, and tropical disease were a day-to-day reality. 

Life In Japanese POW Camps

Life in Japanese POW camps was miserable. As Robert B. Edgerton writes in Warriors of the Rising Sun: A History of the Japanese Military:

"Often, for no other reason than Japanese scorn for anyone who surrendered, prisoners were beaten, burned alive, forced to run barefoot over broken glass, hideously tortured, and use for bayonet practice, or as targets for rifle practice."

Author Thomas Berger notes that the Japanese army, in particular, romanticized historical samurai as models of martial behavior, and soldiers and their superiors often acted in accordance with impressions of samurai from folklore. To this end, they used weapons like swords to inflict beheadings and other feudal brutalities on POWs. 

Those interred in Japanese POW camps were left exposed to bombing raids from Allied planes, forced to work 10 to 14 hours days, and fed paltry rations of rice, salt, tapioca, and sweet potatoes. When transported on Japanese ships, prisoners were forced into tiny compartments with no air and deprived of water. A British army doctor on one such ship claims the Japanese told him "water and air was not for the prisoners"

A report from the Times of India on the treatment of India POWs during WWII notes:

"According to Australian historian Professor Peter Stanley, the Indian officers gave a written petition in English to Takano in July, 1943. The Japanese colonel was so angry to see it that he paraded all of them before him and told them that they had no rights as they had surrendered unconditionally. He also called them 'traitors of Asia and India'. Harsher conditions were imposed on the men.

Then in one Allied strafing raid, five Indian PoWs were killed and 13 others injured. Takano didn't let their wounds be treated. Instead, he threw sand at the men crying in pain and told them to shut up as it was their 'Churchill and Roosevelt who did this' to them. All the men died later of infection."

Human Target Practice

Among those captured by the Japanese upon the fall of Singapore were 40,000 members of the Indian Army, who were presented with the choice of joining the Indian National Army (INA). The INA was a guerilla force fighting for independence from Britain created in Southeast Asia in 1942, composed largely of Indian soldiers captured by the Japanese in Malaysia and Singapore; the army allied with Japan to battle its common enemy. Those who didn't join the INA were treated as poorly as all other POWs captured by the Japanese; many were shipped to islands around SE Asia to perform labor. 

During war crimes trials in 1946, details emerged of the treatment of Indian soldiers by the Japanese in Singapore and other parts of South East Asia. Several Indian POWs were beaten to death for transgressions as trivial as stealing sugar; another was beheaded for trying to escape. According a lengthy report on these abuses in the Times of India

"At Wewak in New Guinea too, Indian PoWs were treated worse than beasts of burden. They were made to work 12-14 hours and were left exposed to Allied air raids. The senior-most Japanese officer here was one Colonel Takano, who even flogged men sick with beriberi for 'working slowly'."

Photographic evidence found by the British when the Japanese surrendered Singapore shows Sikh prisoners of war used for target practice. Looking carefully at the photo, you can see targets placed over the hearts of each POW. The prisoners were set on high ground, and assigned numbers corresponding to those of Japanese soldiers taking target practice - soldier one shot prisoner one, and so on and so forth. 

As Thomas Berger writes in War, Guilt, and World Politics after World War II, education, propaganda, and military life in Japan, which promoted the notion that Emperor Hirohito was a god and Japan an exceptional nation with a common spirit (a notion reinforced by native Shinto beliefs), created a culture that:

"... effectively obliterated any sense of individual morality, and any action, no matter how atrocious, was acceptable as long as it ostensibly was done for the good of the empire... the hierarchical structure of Japanese society, with the Emperor at its apex and the conquered or colonized Asian peoples at its base, encouraged a pattern of brutality in which those in higher runs of authority reflexively dominated and bullied those below them."

Tue, 01 Aug 2017 02:54:31 PDT http://www.ranker.com/list/japanese-troops-using-pows-for-wwii-target-practice/mel-judson
<![CDATA[The Man Who Killed John Wilkes Booth Was A Religious Nut Who Cut His Balls Off]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/boston-corbett-john-wilkes-booths-killer/nicky-benson?source=rss

You know the name of the man who assassinated Abraham Lincoln: John Wilkes Booth. But do you know about the man who killed him? His name was Thomas "Boston" Corbett, and his biography – and the story of the Boston Corbett castration – is one of history's weirdest tales.

Thomas Corbett was a devout Christian who enlisted in the military in 1861 during the Civil War. He wasn't exactly liked by his fellow soldiers. He carried a Bible with him and preached the good word while condemning those around him for taking the Lord's name in vain or cursing. Eventually, higher ups were so irritated by Corbett's behavior that they court-martialed him and sentenced him to death. However, Corbett escaped execution and was released from jail in 1863.

Two years later, following Lincoln's assassination, Corbett's regiment was tasked with apprehending Booth. They found Booth in a barn with an accomplice, but he refused to surrender. The regiment set the barn on fire, and still Booth remained holed up inside. Although orders were to keep Booth alive, Corbett shot him with a Colt revolver, claiming self-defense. The Union soldier who killed John Wilkes Booth became an American hero and media darling known as "Lincoln's Avenger."

What many probably didn't know at the time was that Corbett was living as a eunuch.

The Man Who Killed John Wilkes Booth Was A Religious Nut Who Cut His Balls Off,

His Wife And Baby Died, And He Had A Religious Awakening

Unfortunately, Corbett's wife and baby died during childbirth. In order to numb the pain, he turned to alcohol.

Then, in the late 1850s, he was in Boston and experienced a religious awakening. Corbett encountered an evangelist who was extolling the virtues of God. Before long, Corbett was regularly attending these sermons on the street. He changed his first name to "Boston" as a sign of his rebirth, gave up alcohol, and became a Methodist minister.

He Was A Hat Maker Who Was Probably Exposed To Mercury

Corbett was born in England and moved to New York City in 1839. He became a hat maker, which was a respectable job for an immigrant at the time. But it wasn't exactly a safe one – mercury was often used to improve felt, one of the fabrics hats were made of. Mercury poisoning was not uncommon for hat makers in the 19th century and was known to cause dementia and erethism. The latter is feeling a sensitivity or an odd response when a body part or organ is stimulated.

He Claimed The Bible Instructed Him To Do It

In castrating himself, Corbett believed he was doing what the Bible said to do. According to Matthew 19:12, Jesus says, "There are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven."

Later in life, Corbett explained that he felt the need to "preach the gospel without being tormented by animal passions." While making himself a eunuch prevented him from giving into sexual temptations, it did not stop him from apprehending one of America's most wanted men and becoming a hero.

He Castrated Himself – And Then Had Dinner

At just 26 years old, Corbett had been born again. He grew his hair long like Jesus and spread the word of God on street corners. He criticized those who swore or slept with hookers.

One night, two prostitutes ridiculed Corbett and tried to tempt him into becoming a customer. He was so afraid that he would not be able to resist their wiles that he made a drastic decision. Corbett went home, took a pair of scissors, and removed his testicles through a small incision under his scrotum. Before seeking medical attention, he attended a prayer meeting and ate dinner. Only afterwards did he go to Massachusetts General Hospital.

Mon, 24 Jul 2017 05:01:52 PDT http://www.ranker.com/list/boston-corbett-john-wilkes-booths-killer/nicky-benson
<![CDATA[Oh Yeah, Pythagoras Was A Cult Leader Who Murdered People Who Disagreed With Him]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/inside-cult-of-pythagoras/nicky-benson?source=rss

The Greek philosopher and mathematician Pythagoras, who came up with the Pythagorean theorem, is a bit of a mystery. Everything modern scholars know about the man who started the Pythagorean cult and influenced countless artists was written hundreds of years following his death. In fact, it is unclear whether his famous theorems were actually discovered by him or his followers. 

Pythagoras was born on the Greek island of Samos in approximately 570 BCE. After traveling to the Far East and Ancient Egypt, he started teaching people his philosophy and beliefs, which were based on mathematics. His religion became known as Pythagoreanism, and his followers were called mathematikoi. They worshiped mathematical harmonies, believing that everything in the universe, including nature and music, was built on numbers. For example, the number 10 was considered a supreme number. Ten was made by adding 1, 2, 3, and 4 together. These number were called tetractys, and the Pythagoreans prayed and swore oaths to them.

The Pythagoreans settled in Crotona in southern Italy where they made a life for themselves. In general, they were peaceful towards other people as well as animals – though Pythagoras supposedly had some violent tendencies. His strange philosophy impressed his followers so much that they were willing to mutilate themselves to protect his secrets. The Pythagoreans' ideas influenced great thinkers such as Aristotle and Plato, but their lives were undeniably eccentric.

Oh Yeah, Pythagoras Was A Cult Leader Who Murdered People Who Disagreed With Him,

Their Leader Was Accused Of Murdering One Of His Followers

The Pythagoreans believed that rational numbers helped explain the universe. But one member of the cult, Hippasus, came up with the golden ratio. The finding challenged one of the core principals of Pythagoras's work, and the mathematician purportedly killed him.

According to the story, the pair was on a boat together. When Hippasus revealed his contradictory calculations, Pythagoras allegedly pushed him overboard, drowned him, and forced the rest of the cult to keep the incident secret. In another version of the tale, Hippasus was murdered for discovering the square root of two.

Regardless of the truth, that and the discovery of other irrational numbers were a big blow to the Pythagoreans, who were convinced that the universe was created from whole numbers and ratios.

They Were Vegetarians Who Believed People's Souls Lived In Animals (And Beans)

One of the core beliefs of the Pythagorean cult was transmigration of the soul. Transmigration is defined as "the movement of a soul into another body after death." Essentially, they believed in reincarnation; in their minds, the human soul was reborn, sometimes into animals.

This belief may be one of the reasons why the Pythagoreans were vegetarians. The philosopher and mathematician banned his followers from consuming meat. They were also not allowed to eat beans, although it's unclear why. Some say Pythagoras thought men's souls were inside the beans.

They Believed Pythagoras Had God-Like Powers And A Golden Thigh

The Pythagoreans believed their leader had supernatural powers. They thought he could communicate with animals and remember his previous lives. Pythagoras supposedly knew when an earthquake was about to occur. He was credited with preventing hail from falling and the wind from blowing, as well as having the ability to calm the ocean. It was even rumored that he had a "golden thigh," and that his leg was literally made of gold.

Roman historian Cicero noted that Pythagoreans would defend their ideas by saying, "The Master said so," referring to Pythagoras.

They Had To Observe Five Years Of Silence And Commit To Strange Rules

In addition to following a strict diet, the Pythagoreans daily life was also full of rules, some of which seemed completely random. For example, they were told to put on their right shoe first and not to travel on public roads. They were also forbidden to touch white roosters.

But other parts of their regimen required much more commitment, such as the Pythagorean silence. Pythagoreans had to remain silent for five years. Even outsiders were impressed by the discipline and self-control this rule required; Greek rhetorician Isocrates noted that people of the fourth century "marvel[ed] more at the silence of those who profess to be his pupils than at those who have the greatest reputation for speaking."

One Follower Bit Off Her Own Tongue So She Wouldn't Reveal Any Pythagorean Secrets

Women were very active in Pythagoreanism, and the mathematician supposedly treated them as equals. Although they were a minority in the cult, Iamblichus listed 218 male Pythagoreans and 17 Pythagorean women in his writing On the Pythagorean Life. It's unclear whether these women were part of the sixth, fifth or fourth century Pythagorean cult.

One of the more famous women was named Theano. She is referenced as the wife of Brontinus but also as either the wife, daughter, or student of Pythagoras himself. Several works were forged in her name.

Another famous female Pythagorean is Timycha. Allegedly, she was 10 months pregnant when she bit off her tongue to prevent herself from revealing Pythagorean secrets to Dionysius under duress.

Thu, 27 Jul 2017 07:55:16 PDT http://www.ranker.com/list/inside-cult-of-pythagoras/nicky-benson
<![CDATA[New Unearthed Photos Reveal Secret Rothschild Illuminati Party]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/1972-rothschild-illuminati-party-photos/1499368817867?source=rss

In 1972, Marie-Hélène de Rothschild, the affluent descendant of the French Rothschild banking family, threw a "Surrealist Ball" at Château de Ferrières, the family's extravagant country estate. But some think it was more than just a regular party, alleging it was an Illuminati party complete with A-list guest list, symbolic puzzling decor, and instructions to come dressed with "Black tie, long dresses & surrealist heads."

As part of one of the world's longest-running and wealthiest families, Rothschild was basically born into the world of wealthy cliques, and her family's name appears on any list of those who make up the supposed Illuminati. Her exclusive party seemed to have all the markings of an Illuminati event, complete with a cryptic invitation, a labyrinth for guests to puzzle their way through upon arrival, and servants dressed as cats curled up on the stairs as though asleep until needed.

That December evening in 1972, the elite of the art, culture, and business worlds tapped into their pop culture veins to be as surreal as possible. These leaked photos give us a rarely seen look at both the extravagance and craziness an event of this nature could provide.  

New Unearthed Photos Reveal Secret Rothschild Illuminati Party,

The Surrealist Theme Was On Full Display By Guests Who Literally Used Their Faces As Painting Canvases

Marie-Hélène De Rothschild Was A Stunning Host In White... And Antlers

The Invite Could Only Be Read When Held Up To A Mirror - True Illuminati Secrecy

One Guest's Surrealist Interpretation Had Others Seeing Double

Ornate Headdresses Interpreting Famous Art Were De Rigueur For The Party

Decor Was Bizarre With Fuzzy Plates And As Many Glasses For Drinks As One Could Want For

Guests Balanced Intricate Head Gear And Showed Off Their Face Paint

When Guests Arrived, They Wandered Through A Maze Until Servants Came To Their Rescue, In Order For Them To Feel Properly Disoriented

Audrey Hepburn, A Close Friend Of The Baroness, Wore A Bird Cage

The Château Was Lit With Red Lights To Give The Illusion Of Being On Fire - A Hellish Illuminati Ritual

Mon, 31 Jul 2017 07:17:30 PDT http://www.ranker.com/list/1972-rothschild-illuminati-party-photos/1499368817867
<![CDATA[The Unsolved Case of the Mysterious 'Tri-Racial' Dark Skinned Europeans]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/who-were-the-melungeons/cheryl-adams-richkoff?source=rss

You might not know the history of the Melungeons, but their strange, fascinating tale is well worth learning. Who were the Melungeons? These both dark and light-skinned people live throughout Appalachia, and in the past, their very presence confounded their narrow-minded white neighbors. In fact, the term "Melungeon" probably derives from "melange," a bygone slur for multiracial people. Were they the descendants of sailors? Or were they perhaps Roma?

The truth was less romantic than those invented narratives: Melungeons were originally the descendants of early European and African settlers, likely with some Native American ties as well. But those Melungeon facts took decades to sort out, due in part to the isolation of the group. Like the Blue Fugates, they were shunned by the rest of society – though their separation was brought about by racism. For years, they lived in fear of harassment and even enslavement due to their mixed race heritage. The Melungeons often assimilated into whatever aspect of their heritage they most identified with.

Melungeon families still exist today, though they're no longer considered outcasts. More and more, Melungeon people are connecting to their unique origins. Theirs is a story of individuals who survived, despite the fact that social, cultural, and legal cards were stacked against them.

The Unsolved Case of the Mysterious 'Tri-Racial' Dark Skinned Europeans,

They Suffered Under Jim Crow

Many people have heard of the so-called "one-drop rule," the notion that anyone with a trace of African blood must be considered black. The term came into use in the 19th century, and it heralded a new era of racist laws in the United States. Later, the Jim Crow Laws reinforced pervasive discrimination.

The national climate was not friendly towards multiracial people, and the Melungeons continued to isolate themselves. As soon as anyone discovered their heritage, the knowledge was revealed to the entire community, leaving Melungeon families vulnerable to abuse.

Their Heritage Was Often Lost

During the latter part of the 19th century and throughout the 20th century, Melungeons typically merged with whatever major ethnic group they most identified with. In many cases, that meant identifying as white to avoid racial discrimination. As a result, many Melungeon people lost touch with their heritage; today, many individuals descended from Melungeons are likely unaware of that fact.

DNA Testing Continues To Reveal Melungeon Ties

By the turn of the 21st century, some people with Melungeon ancestry decided to try using DNA to determine their true origins. The Core Melungeon DNA Project was created in 2005 as a collaboration with Family Tree DNA, and the results were revealed in 2012.

The long-standing stories about Portuguese or Roma descent were proven wrong. The DNA indicated that the first generations of Melungeons were the offspring of Sub-Saharan African men and Northern and Central European women. But there's no one "Melungeon gene"; today, the term refers to people of many different backgrounds.

They're Found All Over The Mid-Atlantic

The term "Melungeon" first appeared in print during the 19th century, and referred to a tri-racial group of people living in Appalachia. The word likely comes from the French "melange," meaning mixed, a phrase often used as a racial slur. "Melungeon" was also sometimes used to refer to boogeymen; people recall being told, "Don’t go out in the woods at night, the Melungeons will get you," as children.

Besides Appalachia, Melungeons are also found in pockets all over the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast, as well as points in the Western United States. They represent a mix of European, African, and American Indian heritages, and resemble people of any number of races.

They Often Claimed Portuguese Ancestry To Remain Free

For years, Melungeons were thought to be Portuguese – and that story was likely spread by many Melungeons themselves. If their heritage was questioned, the claim of Portuguese ancestry helped explain their ethnic looks, while at the same time establishing them as Europeans.

However, stories like these were also life-saving, particularly before the abolishment of slavery in the United States. By claiming European heritage, Melungeons could remain free and avoid the social and legal troubles associated with being non-white.

They Came About In Part Due To Indentured Servitude

How did all these multiracial people spring up in the early United States, a country marked by racism and prejudice? The causes lie in indentured servitude. True, many multiracial people can trace their heritage back to the raping of black slaves by white masters. But historians theorize that most Melungeons are descended from free people of color. DNA has proven it.

American slavery did not truly develop in the American Chesapeake region until the late 17th century. Prior to that, almost every person who came to the area from other parts of the world arrived as indentured servants, who agreed to work for a specific amount of time before (hopefully) living out their lives in freedom.

These servants were housed together, worked side by side, and socialized together, regardless of race. Indentured servants were not permitted to marry; however, that did not stop romances between servants, or the birth of mixed race children resulting from these romances – though the women were often punished.

The Slave Codes Drove Them Into Isolation

Scholars continue to debate when, how, and why the social construct of race took hold in the colonial Chesapeake. To understand the state of flux occurring socially and legally at that time, consider the story of the very first official slave in the region: an indentured servant from Africa whose master was his fellow countryman back in Angola. The indentured servant, John Casor, followed the custom when his indenture was done in 1655 and went to court to demand his freedom. His master, a wealthy free man of color named Antonio Johnson, insisted to the judge that Casor agreed to serve him for the rest of his life. The judge ruled in favor of the wealthier man.

Once a few early cases of indentured-turned-slaves were on the legal books, planters and farmers all over the colonies began to see an opportunity to further enrich their coffers at the expense of black and mixed race servants, as well as free people of color. And then, in 1705, the Virginia General Assembly enacted the Slave Codes, which stated:

"All servants imported and brought into the Country... who were not Christians in their native Country... shall be accounted and be slaves. All Negro, mulatto and Indian slaves within this dominion... shall be held to be real estate. If any slave resist his master... correcting such slave, and shall happen to be killed in such correction... the master shall be free of all punishment... as if such accident never happened."

Mixed race people saw their property seized and began to receive threats. Seeing the writing on the wall, many of them fled, and the isolation began.

They Settled In Remote Areas

As the threat of enslavement loomed, multiracial people began heading west into the Blue Ridge Mountains. They settled in modern-day Tennessee, Kentucky, West Virginia, and North Carolina, areas that were then largely wilderness.

The threat to their freedom eased somewhat, but the future Melungeons continued to isolate themselves from other communities. Some married into Native American families, and soon the Melungeons weren't identifiable as one particular ethnicity. Their skin could range from dark brown to very fair, their eyes might be blue or brown, and their hair could be straight or curly. But still, they were always identified as "other."

Fri, 14 Jul 2017 05:48:14 PDT http://www.ranker.com/list/who-were-the-melungeons/cheryl-adams-richkoff
<![CDATA[This Isn't A Tank - It's The Single Largest Gun Ever Used In Military History]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/nazi-gustav-gun/kellie-kreiss?source=rss

In many ways World War II was the beginning of unbridled mechanized warfare - and the development of Hitler's Gustav gun only added to that legacy. The Gustav gun was like nothing else anyone had ever seen before: at a whopping four-stories high and weighing in at over 1,350 tons, the giant tank-like gun had destructive abilities that put it in a class of its own; however, it had its downsides.

The giant weapon was hugely impractical and stuck out like a sore thumb in the German countryside, leaving its operators incredibly vulnerable to attack from Allied planes overhead - not to mention the fact that the gun could only be fired 14 times a day based on the tedious nature of its operation.

Despite the fact that only two of these guns were ever manufactured, and that they were sent to the junk yard within a year, the Gustav gun remains one of the most devastatingly impressive methods of firepower ever developed, and without a doubt one of the largest.

This Isn't A Tank - It's The Single Largest Gun Ever Used In Military History,

The Gustav Gun Was Four Stories Tall And Weighed Over 1,350 Tons

The creation of the Gustav gun began with Hitler employing the expertise of the Friedrich Krupp A.G. company out of Essen, Germany, with the intent of developing a railway gun capable of destroying the French trench. The result was a four-story, 1,350-ton gun that was capable of firing off both 10,000-pound shells and "16,540-pound concrete-piercing shells—roughly the weight of an unladen 71-passenger school bus, traveling at 2700ft/s."

The weapon's precision was also remarkably high - it could hit a target as far as 29 miles away and could break through as much as 264 feet of reinforced concrete with a single blow.

It Required Nearly 2,000 People To Operate And Could Only Be Transported By Railway

The Gustav and its sister gun, the Dora, only saw brief action. In total, the Gustav fired off a little over 300 rounds in its lifetime before its bulky self was seized by Allied troops. Dora's fared no better: the Germans quickly dismantled the second gun for fear of it being taken and used against them. 

The failure of the gun within just a year's time can be credited to both its enormously impractical size as well as its slow recovery time. The gun not only had to be transported from place to place via railway, but was so large that it had to be partially disassembled as well, adding to the time required to simply get it into firing position. Once it was ready to go, it would only end up being able to fire around 14 rounds per day, thanks to how involved the process of loading it was. Plus, it could hardly be considered stealthy and was particularly vulnerable to Allied war planes.

Hitler Was Bent On Invading France - And He Needed The Gustav Gun To Do It

Near the beginning of WWII, Germany set its sights on overtaking its western neighbor, France. France's military defenses relied on rather archaic methods recycled from WWI, so Germany decided to get creative. 

France's only real defense against the Nazi army was its Maginot Line, which was essentially "a great line of fortifications that spanned France's borders with several neighbors" forming "a glorified trench." And despite the fact that the line itself was strongest along France's boarder with Germany, it was naively outdated when it came to the mechanized fighting that was ushered in by WWII. 

Though Hitler eventually had his armies simply bypass the Maginot Line, he still continued the development of the weapon that would have allowed him to destroy the line altogether.

Mon, 31 Jul 2017 02:53:07 PDT http://www.ranker.com/list/nazi-gustav-gun/kellie-kreiss
<![CDATA[Dr. Seuss's Political World War II Propaganda Proves He's Not The Man You Thought He Was]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/relevant-dr-seuss-political-cartoons/brian-gilmore?source=rss

Due to humanity's knack for repeating historical mistakes, a well-done political cartoon often resonates far past its original creation, and this includes political Dr. Seuss Cartoons. Dr. Seuss (or “Theodor Seuss Geisel” if you’re doing a book report) set out to publish a series of political cartoons during World War II criticizing people's lack of awareness or care towards atrocities committed by the Nazis. And, like a lot of extremist comparisons, Dr. Seuss's political cartooning is relevant even today, applicable to the state of today’s presidential administration, racism, and the repercussions of isolationism. Becoming involved in everything war-related was a bit of a crusade for Dr. Seuss, who also wrote army training videos as the commander of the Animation Department of the First Motion Picture Unit of the United States Army Air Forces. He used his platform for his effort to teach Americans everything he possibly could for people to really just get along (except when it came to Germans).

This isn’t just a brain dump of Dr. Seuss cartoons that apply to Trump, but a round-up of the famed author's clever, and at times problematic, illustrations that apply to modern day politics, bigotry, and xenophobia. Theodor Geisel's political cartoons go to show that if you’re not a part of the solution, you are actively a part of the problem. Dr. Seuss had a lot to say, and much of it was very sound, yet none of it kept humans, including Seuss himself, from repeating their mistakes. At least not yet.

Dr. Seuss's Political World War II Propaganda Proves He's Not The Man You Thought He Was,

If You're Not Part Of The Solution, Then You're Part Of The Problem

Taking Their Time

So Far Removed

War Losses As Potential Gains

Leaving The Comfort Of Your Computer Chair

And The Wolf Chewed Up The Children: An Affront On American Isolationism

Too Little Too Late May Just Be Too Late

Achieving Harmony

Mission Accomplished

Looking Down On The Real American Worker

Thu, 27 Jul 2017 05:31:06 PDT http://www.ranker.com/list/relevant-dr-seuss-political-cartoons/brian-gilmore
<![CDATA[The Russian Monarchy Nearly Escaped Assassination Due To Bulletproof Underwear]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/how-the-romanovs-nearly-escaped-assassination-thanks-to-bulletproof-underwear/kellie-kreiss?source=rss

The story surrounding the fate of one of Russia's most controversial royal families, the Romanovs, has perplexed historians for nearly a century; however, the true mystery surrounds not only the circumstances surrounding their murders, but the ultimate fate of their remains. 

After Vladimir Lenin - the leader of the Bolsheviks who had overthrown the royal family - secretly ordered the murder of the Romanovs, rumors began to circulate that some members of the family had managed to escape thanks to the unanticipated benefits of having smuggled out their diamonds and jewelry. 

During the lengthy and terrifying process of being captured as political prisoners and exiled from their home, the Romanov family managed to conceal many of their diamonds by sewing them directly into their underwear, inadvertently turning the family's undergarments into bulletproof vests. The question of whether or not these bulletproof bloomers had, in fact, helped members of the family - most notably the Grand Duchess Anastasia - narrowly escape death has inspired hundreds of imposters to lay claim to the Romanov name, only to be quickly revealed as frauds. The truth is that the presence of the diamonds only seemed to delay the inevitable, and perhaps even added to the great brutality endured by the Romanov family in their final moments of life.

The Russian Monarchy Nearly Escaped Assassination Due To Bulletproof Underwear,

Lenin Wanted The Royal Family To Be Murdered And Disposed Of In Secret

Early on the morning of July 17, 1918, the Romanov family was awoken by a group of guards and promptly ushered down into the basement, apparently awaiting yet another relocation. However, the truth was that Lenin had grown weary of the innate threat caused by the very existence of the family and, with political tensions becoming increasingly complicated, had ordered their assassination. 

The family was then lined up against a wall in the basement of the house as a group of armed guards filed in and raised their weapons. The results of the impromptu firing squad were chaotic and brutal - each of the guards were to fire on a different member of the family, though most of them focused their weapons on the Tsar and his wife, avoiding the children. Yet, when the time came to fire on the children, many of the bullets seemed to ricochet off of them and back towards the guards, thanks to the hidden gems.

Sadly, this only served to prolong the children's suffering as "the murderers [then] waded into the gruesome scene of wounded, bleeding children (one of the killers compared it to a slippery ice rink awash with blood and brains) and stabbed them manically with bayonets or shot them in the head."

The Family's Remains Were Found Nearly Obliterated In Two Unmarked Graves

The assassination of the Romanov family was ordered by Lenin in secret - official records only show that Lenin had the Tsar himself killed and the rest of the family taken to a secure location. However, history tells us this was not the case. 

In 1979, a burial plot containing most of the family members was found - though two bodies were missing. It wasn't until 2007 that the remaining two Romanov bodies were found and what their remains revealed was truly terrifying. 

After the family was murdered in a flurry of gunfire, the guards proceeded to dispose of their bodies in a fashion that would leave them completely unidentifiable. Under Lenin's orders, the guards "pummeled the bodies with rifle butts, doused them with sulfuric acid, and burned them with gasoline...[burying] what was left in two graves."

Despite the fact that the diamond-studded undergarments could have helped save the Romanov children, it is now certain that they did not.

While Being Held As Political Prisoners, The Romanovs Sewed Diamonds And Jewelry Into Their Underwear, Inadvertently Turning Them Into Bulletproof Vests

After the government of Tsar Nicholas II was successfully overthrown by the Bolsheviks, he and his family were promptly relocated from their family home to a mansion in Tsarskoe Selo and placed under strict house arrest. However, as political conflicts became more heated and Lenin - the leader of the Bolshevik party - became more anxious about the heirs to the dynasty, he determined that the family's life of comfort was all but over. 

In April 1918, Lenin had the entire Romanov family - including the ex-tsar, his wife Alexandra, and their five children, Olga, Tatiana, Maria, Anastasia, and Alexei - relocated yet again to a house in Tobolsk, a location substantially closer to Moscow, where Lenin was. This house, though, was referred to as the House of Special Purpose and had essentially been "converted into a prison fortress with painted-over windows, fortified walls, and machine gun nests," not to mention strict food rations and attentive guards.

However, little did Lenin know, the Romanovs had managed to smuggle out a substantial number of their diamonds, having sewn them directly into their undergarments. Apparently the family had hoped that the diamonds would help them fund their escape and got into the habit of keeping them close at hand.

Sadly, their opportunity for escape would not come, and the bulletproof-nature of their undergarments would not be able to save them.

Mon, 31 Jul 2017 02:38:15 PDT http://www.ranker.com/list/how-the-romanovs-nearly-escaped-assassination-thanks-to-bulletproof-underwear/kellie-kreiss
<![CDATA[The Serra Pelada Gold Mine Is The Closest We've Come To Creating Hell On Earth]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/violence-in-brazilian-serra-pelada-gold-mine/kellie-kreiss?source=rss

What started with a child stumbling across a small, six-gram spec of gold hidden within the silt of a local river soon became one of the most notorious and violent open-air gold mining excavations in history. In January of 1979, word got out that gold had been found on a rural lake-side property in Pará, Brazil, and that the site would be open to the public for mining.

Within a week, the area was flooded with prospective diggers hoping to cash in on the discovery and build a better future for themselves; however, they would instead find themselves in a veritable bottomless pit, dripping with mud and sweat, carrying 40-pound bags of silt and soil up rickety ladders in order to sift through the debris and – hopefully – unveil their riches.

Sadly, not all those who ventured into the mine found their way back out, and those who did risked having both their riches and their lives snatched from them by the murderous chaos that had enveloped the rural town.

The Serra Pelada Gold Mine Is The Closest We've Come To Creating Hell On Earth,

The Mining Operation Was Eventually Put On Hold As The Area Flooded From Heavy Rainfall – It Is Believed That 20 to 50 Tons Of Gold Still Remain

By 1986 – six years after the mining operation had begun – the excavation site was officially put on hold after immense rainfall led to flooding in the area and severely limited miners' ability to access the plots below. Despite a number of futile efforts, the mine has remained closed ever since and has been overtaken by water, leaving a highly polluted lake.

The areas surrounding the mine are now considered dangerous as they are contaminated with high levels of mercury residue left over as a byproduct of the mining operations themselves. However, despite this contamination, rumors of a remaining 20-50 tons of gold sitting below the water continue to tempt individuals and mining companies alike.

Each Of The 100,000 Miners Was Assigned Their Own 2X2 Meter Area To Dig – But Many Never Made It Back Out

When gold was discovered in Serra Pelada, which means “Naked Ridge" in Portuguese, men flocked from all around Brazil in hopes of finding work at the mine. Workers, or garimpeiros, who made between USD $2 and $3 per day (or 20 cents per sac of soil), would scale the nearly quarter mile of ladders and ropes to reach the area where the plots began, with each worker being designated their own 2X2 meter square of soil to excavate – all by hand.

But since the garimpeiros were limited by the borders of their plots, their only option was to dig progressively deeper. The problem was that the deeper their plots went, the more dangerous they became, as the flimsy clay walls that formed between neighboring plots would often fall in on diggers, burying them with their gold below. 

Those who were lucky enough to fill their 40-pound sacks with silt had yet another challenge to endure before they'd even be able to determine whether their efforts had been fruitful: they had to carry the mud back up the ladders to reach the sifting stations at ground level nearly a quarter mile above them.

The Nearby Mining Town Had Women, Alcohol, And A Murder Rate Of 60-80 Unsolved Deaths Per Month

Since the Brazilian government had taken charge of the mine within three months of its opening, the presence of women and alcohol near the site was quickly banned. As a result,  the nearby town became inundated with under-age prostitutes, drinking establishments, and – of course – brutal crime.

The town essentially invited conflict, and it averaged between 60 and 80 unsolved murders every month at the height of the mine's operation as it was a hub for underpaid, overworked men determined to strike it rich – and with bits of smuggled gold and cash stashed away in their pockets, everyone had a target on their back. In fact, it is estimated that as much as 90% of the gold recovered from the mine was smuggled out before being registered, though a total of 45 tons of gold was turned over.

Fri, 28 Jul 2017 02:12:18 PDT http://www.ranker.com/list/violence-in-brazilian-serra-pelada-gold-mine/kellie-kreiss
<![CDATA[Why William Haines, Hollywood's First Openly Gay Superstar, Stayed Out Of The Closet]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/william-haines-first-openly-gay-hollywood-superstar/donn-saylor?source=rss

Hollywood in the 1920s. Movies were silent, studio bosses ruled the Tinseltown system, and the nascent self-censorship of the Motion Picture Production Code was taking hold. Despite these limits on creative and personal freedoms, one immensely popular silent film actor refused to be silenced, or have his life dictated by the changing tides of oppression. He was William Haines, openly gay superstar, likely Hollywood's first openly gay movie star. While Haines is known among those versed in LGBTQ Hollywood history, the larger world is unfortunately unaware of his story, and the trails he blazed for so many.

So, a little Billy Haines bio: his life began in Staunton, Virginia, on January 2, 1900, though he claimed he was born at midnight on 01/01/1901: evidence he was a "true child of the twentieth century." As a young man, he moved to New York City, and was persuaded by an acquaintance to send a photo of himself to a talent manager. He'd never considered acting, but was young, handsome, and in possession of a firecracker wit and a sparkling-champagne personality. His agent submitted him to the New Faces of 1922 contest, and, much to Haines's surprise, he won. He was whisked off to Hollywood and given a contract.

It would take a few years for Haines's career took off, but when it did, it exploded. His success started with silent comedy Brown of Harvard and continued through more than 50 motion pictures. The public adored him, as did his colleagues and directors. In 1930, he was the number one male box office star in the nation (and a Top 5 box office star from 1928 – 1932). For Billy Haines life was good. 

Then, Haines disappeared from public life. Studio bigwigs did not adore Haines, chief among them MGM's tyrannical Louis B. Mayer. Though Haines's films made money, the star's refusal to dump long-term partner, Jimmie Shields and enter into a "lavender marriage" enraged Mayer ("I'm already married," Haines reportedly told Mayer).

The Production Code, which set strict rules about morality in motion pictures and the lives of motion picture actors, was becoming the norm by the early '30s; Haines living his life openly and unashamedly was perceived as a threat. Mayer fired him, and Haines began a career as an interior designer; William Haines Designs is still in operation today.

So why did Billy Haines walk away from a level of fame most people, past or present, would have killed for? He had made a choice to stay out of the closet, and he stood firmly by that choice for the rest of his life. And, as it turns out, there were many, very good reasons he did.

Why William Haines, Hollywood's First Openly Gay Superstar, Stayed Out Of The Closet,

Hollywood In The Roaring '20s Was A Freer Place Than In Subsequent Decades, And He Had No Interest In Remaining As It Changed

When most people think of Old Hollywood, they think of the chaste romances, G-rated humor, and formulaic epics of the '30s, '40s, and '50s. But Hollywood in the 1920s was a much different place: freewheeling, rambunctious, and uninhibited.

Movie studios cultivated elaborate fictional back stories for their stars and had little interest in their actors' real lives. This was the Hollywood Billy Haines entered with his inaugural motion picture, Brothers Under the Skin. By all accounts, Haines had already been out for years; arriving in the liberal utopia of silent-film Hollywood, it likely never occurred to him to go back into the closet.

When studios tried to force stars into elaborately concocted, fictional lives in subsequent decades, Haines threw in the towel. After all, he only took to Hollywood in the first place because it was place where he could be himself and have fun. If those things stopped, so did his interest in acting. 

He Was In Love And Refused To Live A Lie

The biggest reason Billy Haines stayed out of the closet was love. He met his partner, Jimmie Shields, during a trip to New York City in 1926. Shields was fixture in Haines's life; Billy's friends, coworkers, and clients all knew of their devoted relationship. When Mayer tried to interfere in that relationship, Billy walked away from Hollywood without a second glance.

Joan Crawford, one of Billy's best friends, famously said Haines and Shields had "the happiest marriage in Hollywood." They were together for 47 years, until Haines's death from lung cancer in 1973. Despondent and heartbroken, Shields committed suicide less than a year later. The two are interred side-by-side in Woodlawn Memorial Cemetery in Santa Monica.

He Never Took His Career All That Seriously, And Saw His Popularity Waning When Mayer Threatened Him

Billy Haines never considered himself a great thespian, and while his acting career was extremely lucrative, his main reason for making pictures was simply that it was a lot of fun. Billy loved to have fun. There are stories, and rumors, about the wild parties he held and attended (did he really have sex with Clark Gable?!), and he nurtured his lifelong passion for beautiful things by surrounding himself with luxury. His spirit of whimsy and good humor is well-documented, and the sobriety and tedium that often accompanies the making of a motion picture surely bored him on some level.

The storylines of Haines's movies all followed the same basic formula used in his first major succes, Brown of Harvard, and Billy knew that, eventually, both his studio and the movie-going public would tire of this formula (which they did); to Billy, staying out of the closet didn't seem that much of a risk.

To Flip The Bird To The Motion Picture Production Code

The only full-length biography written about Billy is Wisecracker by William J. Mann. It's an appropriate title; Haines was a smart ass. He loved telling jokes, reveled in bawdiness, and chafed under conventional norms and expectations. When the Production Code started to become the standard in Hollywood, Billy railed at its fake morality and ludicrous restrictions. Staying out the closet meant a great big flip o' the bird to the Production Code, which surely thrilled him to no end.

He Already Had A Second Career As An Interior Decorator

Haines always had an eye for design, and his homes were showplaces where he not only threw legendary parties, but also applied his design skill. Friends hired him to redesign their homes, and Haines's circle of clientele grew such that he had a thriving side business. Recognizing the limits imposed the Production Code, the formulaic nature of his own movies, and the shelf-life of a Hollywood actor, Haines saw a second career for himself that was more enriching and sustainable than movie work. And in the interior design business, there was more acceptance of him staying out of the closet and living life on his own terms.

Fri, 21 Jul 2017 08:52:53 PDT http://www.ranker.com/list/william-haines-first-openly-gay-hollywood-superstar/donn-saylor
<![CDATA[This Photo of Bison Skulls Shows How Close We Came To Making Bison Go Extinct]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/americans-nearly-hunted-bison-into-extinction/kellie-kreiss?source=rss

At the end of the Civil War, the American drive to achieve an apparent Manifest Destiny regained its stronghold over settlers and economic entrepreneurs alike, compelling droves of people to pick up and head westward into the unknown wilderness. However, settlers quickly found this wilderness to not only be inhabited by various Native American communities that weren't too keen on the idea of bowing down to the individuals overtaking their land, but also by impressively large hoards of bison that were sure to earn a pretty penny or two for anyone who managed to successfully hunt them down. So what did they do? They went on a slaughtering binge that brought the bison to near extinction – from 30 million to under 400 in the course of a few decades.

The bison's ultimate demise was due not only to the indifferent attitude they held towards people (not to mention their impressively slow-moving demeanor), but also to the exploitative and cruel intentions of the settlers who found the economic and political advantages of killing the bison to be too good to pass up. 

However, the consequences inherent in the exploitative practices of bison hunters became evident when observing the massive piles of bones from the animals, which collected as they decayed across the Great Plains – until the population of millions had dropped to only hundreds before reaching the turn of the 20th century.

This Photo of Bison Skulls Shows How Close We Came To Making Bison Go Extinct,

In The 19th Century, Americans Massacred Bison By The Millions For Their Skin And Tongues

Before American settlers had set their sights on the extermination of the American bison, or buffalo as they're colloquially known, the animals' numbers were estimated to be around 30 million across the Great Plains (with some estimates even pushing 60 million). However, by the end of the 19th century,  the bison population had dramatically dropped to fewer than 400. 

Hunting down these animals for their skins, tongues, and bones was not only economically and politically fruitful for settlers – but they also believed that the extermination of the animal was necessary for their achievement of the American Manifest Destiny. Andrew Isenberg – a history professor at Temple University and the author of The Destruction of the Bison: An Environmental History, 1750-1920 – even pointed out that:

"there was a general belief in the 1870s that the bison were wild animals who were likely to eventually go extinct anyway... The eradication of bison from the Great Plains and their replacement with cattle would be an improvement that turned a wilderness into a productive landscape.”

Hunters took down the animals in droves, often while leisurely riding on trains through the Great Plains and shooting them as they passed by. This left tens of thousands of bison carcasses littering the countryside, stripped of their skins and tongues and left to rot until their bones could be harvested and ground into a charcoal-like substance used for everything from fertilizer to refining sugar.

American Settlers Believed That Getting Rid Of The Bison Would Make Controlling Native Americans Easier

The killing off of the bison population didn't just have economic benefits for the settlers – it came with perverse social and political benefits as well, only serving to bring settlers closer to their goal of complete control over the land.

Once settlers began exploring the Great Plains, it became obvious that the Native American tribes throughout the area relied heavily on the bison for everything from food to clothing to spiritual fulfillment. And with this realization they also determined that the downfall of the bison would eventually lead to the submission of the Native Americans – and the achievement of Manifest Destiny. As a result, the US government instructed "military commanders [to order] their troops to kill bison — not for food, but to deny Native Americans their own source of food." As early as 1867, Colonel Richard Dodge – a prominent US Army official – declared that: “Every buffalo dead is an Indian gone.”

By 1880, it is estimated that only a few thousand bison remained, reaping devastating consequences for Plains tribes and the ecology of the area as a whole. And, by the turn of the 20th century, that number had dropped below 400.

The Bison Are Slowly Coming Back From The Brink Of Extinction

Efforts to repopulate the Great Plains with bison and prevent their impending extinction began as early as 1899 with a small herd on a farm in South Dakota owned by a man named James "Scotty" Philip. By 1911, Philip had managed to grow his heard of bison to an impressive 1,200 animals – though that was nowhere near enough to save the species. 

Since then, numerous other conservationists have become involved in the efforts to save the bison from extinction, and today there are many reserves set up across the US that cater to the preservation and growth of the species. There are now close to 500,000 bison living on private land reserves, with an additional 30,000 on public government held nature preserves.

Fri, 28 Jul 2017 02:01:14 PDT http://www.ranker.com/list/americans-nearly-hunted-bison-into-extinction/kellie-kreiss
<![CDATA[How One Photo Captured The Chaos Of The Vietnamese US Embassy Evacuation]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/saigon-face-punch/kellie-kreiss?source=rss

On April 29, 1975, chaos erupted throughout the streets of Saigon – the capital of South Vietnam – as the US Embassy closed its gates for the last time, signaling to the Vietnamese people that US involvement in the Vietnam War was finally coming to an end. However, officially ending the US occupation of Vietnam also involved promptly evacuating US military and civilian personnel from the Embassy, and with Saigon under the control of the People's Army of Vietnam (the army associated with North Vietnamese powers), the only way out was up. However, in order to get out, you had to beat out lots of others making desperate bids to escape, and, as one photo of a man punching another off of a helicopter demonstrates, the violent melee meant survival of the fittest.

With the nearby airport having been all but destroyed, US military helicopters had to be brought in by the dozens to evacuate as many US and South Vietnamese people as possible before it was too late. This created an even greater panic as people stormed the streets and rooftops surrounding the embassy while watching helicopters flee the area – never to return. 

By the morning of April 30th, nearly 1,000 Americans and more than 5,000 Vietnamese had been evacuated while thousands more continued to rush the Embassy compound in hopes of achieving freedom for themselves and their children. 

How One Photo Captured The Chaos Of The Vietnamese US Embassy Evacuation,

It Has Been Deemed The Largest Helicopter Evacuation In History, Using A Total Of 81 Helicopters

By the end of the nearly 19-hour evacuation, a total of 81 helicopters had been used to evacuate at least 1,373 Americans and 5,595 Vietnamese from the city of Saigon. However, this still left thousands of other South Vietnamese citizens in the hands of the North Vietnamese People's Army, which had suddenly overtaken the city. Left with no other options, an astounding 65,000 additional South Vietnamese people fled the city on their own "in fishing boats and barges, homemade rafts and sampans" all in hopes of reaching the US warships that waited off the coast. 

The evacuation was both violent and sudden, and all too many people fell victim to the circumstances and tragedy that the city had been engulfed by. 

Violence Erupted Soon After The US Embassy Announced Its Evacuation

After the North Vietnamese Army had overtaken significant portions of the South Vietnam capital of Saigon on April 29, 1975, the US Army knew that there was nothing left for them to do but leave the country – which was completely engulfed in turmoil – to its own devices.

Once word of the evacuation had gotten around, and droves of US civilians and military personnel had been gathered together within the gates of the US Embassy compound, there were still thousands of South Vietnamese who were desperate to flee their homes and find freedom, fearful of the likelihood of "massive arrests, 're-education' camps and executions at the hands of the communists." But with a limited number of helicopters and a mission to evacuate all Americans as soon as possible, the process not only involved deciding how many South Vietnamese could be evacuated, but also who got the golden ticket out. 

The result was complete chaos and violence, with hoards of panicked Vietnamese civilians breaking through the compound gates and rushing the stairwells leading to the roof where the final group of US military helicopters would be leaving from. The desperation inherent in the scene was caught on film, with one image even showing an American punching a South Vietnamese man who was trying to force his way onto the helicopter.

The Entire City Broke Into A Panic When They Realized That The US Embassy Was Officially Evacuating

The scene outside the US Embassy was one of complete desperation, and it only became increasingly so as word of the US evacuation from the falling city spread across Saigon. Individuals and families, young and old, all occupied the area surround the US Embassy trying to find their way through the gates and onto a helicopter by any means possible. 

Some South Vietnamese tried to buy their way through with money, jewelry, and gold, while others simply tried to convince soldiers to take their children to safety. As was reported by an Associated Press reporter the day after the evacuation: 

"Some tried to jump the wall and landed on barbed wire strung along the top. A middle-aged man and a woman were lying on the wire, bleeding. People held up their children, asking Americans to take them over the fence."

When The Last Helocopter Came In, People Were Still Trying To Break Through To The Roof Of The Embassy To Escape

The Nearby Tan Son Nhut Airport Had Been Bombed Beyond Recognition By The People's Army

Siagon Had Fallen To The North Vietnamese Army – And Everyone Wanted Out

Small Vietnamese Huey Helicopters Evacuated Up To 50 People At A Time

Fri, 28 Jul 2017 01:59:19 PDT http://www.ranker.com/list/saigon-face-punch/kellie-kreiss
<![CDATA[Rich People In Victorian England Would Get Drunk And Unwrap Corpses For Fun]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/victorian-corpse-unwrapping/lisa-a-flowers?source=rss

Egyptomania. It wasn't just an obsession with anthropology, as one might think, but, rather, part of a 19th-century craze that found its expression in everything from heavy Cleopatra eyeliner to elaborate headdresses to Victorian mummy unwrapping parties. The Victorians, you see, were a trifle death obsessed, and seriously into mourning rituals. And, as their name suggests, mummy unwrapping parties were basically gatherings where corpses were de-bandaged amidst great cocktail consumption, afterlife enthusiasm, and merrymaking.

If all this sounds like a gimmick, it wasn't: said mummies were real and imported, and it cost a pretty penny to get a front row seat at their unveilings. Despite the high price, however, no socially conscious person would be caught dead (get it?) at home on a Friday night when they could be seen alive at an unrolling.  Read on to find out why ancient Egyptian mummies in Victorian England were the veritable life of the party, despite the fact that they'd been dead for centuries; and to learn why corpse unwrapping parties in Victorian England made their way from ceremonial tombs to gilded parlor rooms in the first place.

Rich People In Victorian England Would Get Drunk And Unwrap Corpses For Fun,

A Good Corpse Unwrapping Often Yielded Unexpected Results

It wasn't just the corpse itself that enraptured onlookers: the idea of the various conditions it might be found in was equally compelling. The results were often surprising.

On one occasion, for example, an unwrapped mummy was found to have a head full of sand. (Centuries of moldering away in the desert will do that to you). In another instance, a corpse's under-layer of bandages "had fused with the body," which made it almost impossible for gawkers to distinguish between fabric and flesh. But one of the most sensational discoveries involved the revelation that a female mummy – long rumored to have been an Egyptian princess – was actually a man. 

The Royal College Of Surgeons Was Better Than A Bar – And It Was Where Everything Happened

If you were a mummy enthusiast in the 19th century, Thomas Pettigrew’s parlor (AKA, the Royal College of Surgeons) was the place to be. As Atlas Obscura explains it,  Pettigrew, whose 1834 study History of Egyptian Mummies had created a sensation, was "a friend to many artists and authors, including Charles Dickens; he also knew how to spin scientific theory into fascinating spectacle."

And what a spectacle it was. The first unveiling commenced on the night of January 15, 1834. It took place in a London anthropology museum and was sold out/standing room only, and a storm was poetically raging outside. The mummy in question (a female) was "placed in a contraption that made it seem like she danced as her bandages unraveled around her." (A moving corpse is infinitely more enticing than a deathly still one). 

Rumor has it that The Duke of Hamilton was so impressed with Pettigrew's unrollings that he asked him to mummify his own corpse, in the event of his death. Years later, in 1852, Pettigrew honored his wishes, and interred the Duke in an ornate sarcophagus. (According to the article, Pettigrew was also interested in lots of other things, like severed heads, which he often decked out in cockatoo feathers).

Guests Could Win Hidden Death Prizes

Mummy-unwrapping parties often featured treasures that gave the toys in standard issue birthday goodie bags a serious run for their money. Apparently,

 "A rich personage would ship a mummy from Egypt, and then invite his friends to help unwrap it... secreted away in the wrappings were perfumes, religious scriptures, trinkets, and jewelry—exotic prizes for guests to take home!"

All of these jewels had been strategically placed during previous, private unrollings, of course – it's not like hosts were just going to let their vulture-like guests take home real Egyptian artifacts. But the effect was mesmerizing, nonetheless. Just call it an ancient, bandaged piñata that exploded into prizes instead of dust.

Tue, 25 Jul 2017 04:02:44 PDT http://www.ranker.com/list/victorian-corpse-unwrapping/lisa-a-flowers
<![CDATA[The Medieval Japanese Practice Of Self-Mummification Is Horrifying And Disgusting]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/japanese-self-mummification/lisa-a-flowers?source=rss

Can people turn themselves into mummies? Have you, personally, ever wondered how to mummify your own body, or how to otherwise become a species of zombie? Wonder no more. As it turns out, certain dedicated, masochistic, and/or courageous Japanese monks - all of whom hailed from the Vajrayana school of Buddhism known as Shingon - perfected the art of self-mummification long ago.

Otherwise known as "sokushinbutsu," this particular process of self-mummification involves such extreme asceticism – the self-denial of worldly pleasures like food – that one becomes, for a brief and agonizing time, a living corpse. Though it was mostly practiced in northern Japan at various points between the 11th and 19th centuries (an almost incomprehensibly long span of time), the rite is both highly illegal and widely frowned upon now. Also known as "miira mummies," ("miira" refers to the myrrh that was frequently used as a corpse-preservative), these relics are singularly unique. Read on to find out more about their grotesquely holy history, and to get a crash course on how to mummify your own body – if that's something you're, you know, really determined to do.

The Medieval Japanese Practice Of Self-Mummification Is Horrifying And Disgusting,

To Mummify Yourself, Restrict Your Diet, Drink Some Lethal Tea, And Sit In A Sealed Chamber For Three Years

Desiccating yourself isn't as simple as it sounds. For starters, there's a "3,000-day 'training' process for turning an ordinary ascetic's body into a mummy's," to consider, as Damn Interesting tells it

"The key element of the process [was] dietary. Japanese ascetics would commonly abstain from cereals, removing wheat, rice, foxtail millet, pros so millet, and soybeans. Instead, they would eat things like nuts, berries, pine needles, tree bark, and resin... over time, the diet would become more restrictive, starving the body of nutrients and eliminating the fat and moisture that can encourage bodily decay after death."

There was also "urushi," a gradually lethal tea said to be fashioned from "the sap of Toxicodendron vernicifluum, which is typically used to make lacquer." The article delineates the exact purpose of this corpse-elixir: "In addition to facilitating vomiting, the urushi may have functioned as a sort of embalming fluid, rendering the body toxic to potential flesh-eating invaders."

A combination lacquer and embalming fluid – what could be more resourceful? After that, the monk would enter his own burial chamber, which had a very tiny opening for air. To prove he was still alive, he would chant and ring a bell. When the bell finally stopped ringing, his comrades would wait 1,000 days before opening the door to make sure the mummification had truly been achieved.

If Your Body Mummified Itself, Huzzah! If It Decayed, Bad News For You

As stated, after three years of no bell ringing, the mummy hopeful's chamber was opened. If his corpse was mummified, it was taken out, dressed in rich robes, and "placed in a shrine where humanity could await [its] reawakening," as Gizmodo puts it. However, if the body was merely decayed, it was buried like any other corpse... and an exorcism was performed over its remains, to boot.

Note: if you'd like to see the results of the successfully "executed" process for yourself, you can always travel to Ryusui-ji Dainichi Boo Temple in Tsuroka City, Japan, to view monk Daijuku Bosatsu Shinnyokai-Shonin, who corpsified himself at the ripe old age of 96 in 1783. Happy mummy hunting.

It Was Done For Enlightenment And To "Become A Buddha In The Body" – With A Little Glory Mixed In

According to All That Is Interesting, "the first attempt at sokushinbutsu took place in 1081, and ended in failure." Nevertheless, the effort launched a macabre copycat phenomenon of sorts: as of July of 2017, it's estimated that 100-odd monks have tried to dispatch themselves in the same way, though only two dozen or so have succeeded. (The last person to do it is said to have been a monk named Bukkai, who mummified himself illegally in 1903).

The first monk to carry out the ritual, a Japanese priest known as Kukai, was thought to exemplify the spiritual tenets of "discipline and dedication," as Ancient Origins put it. (It made you "a Buddha in the body"). There was also the goal of prestige to consider: the monk who succeeded in corpsifying himself was "posthumously placed in a temple for others to see and honor."

Tue, 25 Jul 2017 03:56:15 PDT http://www.ranker.com/list/japanese-self-mummification/lisa-a-flowers
<![CDATA[The White Guy In The Black Power Olympics Photo Paid A Huge Price For His Help]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/peter-norman-olympics-black-power-salute/stephanroget?source=rss

Few moments in Olympic history are as visually memorable as the Black Power salute at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics, and this moment had very little to do with sporting competition. Two black American sprinters, Tommie Smith and John Carlos, raised their fists in defiance while a third man stood in silence. That man was Peter Norman, sprinter for the Australian team, and he’s often thought of as a visual footnote in that powerful image. If anything, Norman looks awkward and out of place.

Appearances may, however, be deceiving. Not only was Peter Norman a willing participant in the brazen protest for human rights, but he was also more than eager to play a role in it. Smith and Carlos found an ally in their fellow sprinter, setting up what should have been an inspiring story of interracial togetherness. Unfortunately, Norman also ended up being the individual most personally affected by the photo, as he watched his sudden infamy destroy his career, reputation, and place in his own home country.

The White Guy In The Black Power Olympics Photo Paid A Huge Price For His Help,

Smith And Carlos Became Simultaneously Lauded And Hated For Their Bravery That Day

The year was 1968, and the fight for civil rights in the United States was as heated as ever. Martin Luther King Jr. had been assassinated earlier in the year. One place where African Americans could usually feel welcome was in the sporting world, and Tommie Smith and John Carlos were two excellent examples of that as they competed in the Olympics, which were held in Mexico City that year. However, Smith and Carlos were both deeply affected by the issues back home, and they wanted to use their time in the Olympic spotlight to send a message. Smith finished the 200 meter run in first place, setting a world record, while Carlos finished in third.

At the podium, the two wore carefully coordinated outfits, with black socks and no shoes representing black poverty, a black scarf for black pride, an unzipped top for the working class, and black gloves thrust high into the air in the universal symbol for black power. They raised their salutes with their heads bowed as the Star-Spangled Banner played, eliciting a shocked reaction from the crowd and a firestorm of controversy back in the United States. Once the heat died down, both Smith and Carlos were hailed as heroes and civil rights icons.

Norman Played An Unheralded – But Extremely Important – Role And Was More Than Willing

Peter Norman is often portrayed as the “other guy” in the famous photo because he is white and just sort of standing there, raising no salute of his own. However, Norman was in on it from the beginning, and he actually played an integral role in planning it.

Norman was considered a long shot to sprint in the Olympics, but he put in the performance of his life, finishing second to Smith. Afterwards, Norman became aware of Smith and Carlos’s planned demonstration, and he wanted to be a part of it. Back home, Norman was already a staunch anti-racism advocate, and human rights were an important issue to him. He was excited at the opportunity to make a stand alongside his fellow sprinters.

When it was discovered that Carlos had left his black gloves back at the Olympic village, it was Norman who suggested they wear one glove each on opposite hands. Wanting to make a visual demonstration as well, Norman asked an American rower to borrow his badge, which read “Olympic Project for Human Rights.” Properly adorned, Norman took the podium with his fellow winners, bowed his head respectfully, and waited for history to happen. The deafening silence told him that the Americans had gone through with it before he even raised his head to see.

Norman's Stand Made Him A Pariah In His Home Country Of Australia – He Was Hated Until His Death

The consequences for Tommie Smith and John Carlos were swift, as they were kicked out of the Olympics – banned for life – and sent home to face death threats and controversy. Eventually, however, the two were hailed as civil rights heroes. Peter Norman would not be quite so lucky. Upon returning to Australia, Norman found himself a pariah for what some of his countrymen viewed as an attack upon white people. Norman obviously assented to the act, even if his fellow Australians had no idea just how complicit he actually was.

Norman continued to train for the next Olympics, held in Munich, but he found himself mysteriously cut from the team despite being a legitimate gold medal contender. Norman was never picked to represent Australia in the Olympics again, having earned the scorn of the powers that be in Australian athletics for his bold stance on human rights. This was not a grudge that disappeared quickly, either. The 2000 Sydney Olympics, which set out to honor Australia’s past Olympic greats, failed to mention Norman a single time.

Norman Had No Regrets – And Smith And Carlos Were Pallbearers At His Funeral

The Australian government formally apologized to Peter Norman in 2012, but, unfortunately, it was too late for him to hear it. Norman died in 2006, and Tommie Smith and John Carlos were pallbearers at his funeral. Norman’s story became more widely known after his nephew, Matthew, directed a documentary titled Salute!, which made waves in Australia. Matthew wanted it made clear that Norman wasn't just “helping out” Smith and Carlos; he was making a stand of his own about something he believed in just as much as they did. Despite passing away before this vindication, Peter Norman did not go to his grave a regretful man. According to him, "It has been said that sharing my silver medal with that incident on the victory dais detracted from my performance. On the contrary. I have to confess, I was rather proud to be part of it."

Mon, 24 Jul 2017 07:47:36 PDT http://www.ranker.com/list/peter-norman-olympics-black-power-salute/stephanroget
<![CDATA[Everything People Have "Diagnosed" Abe Lincoln With]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/all-the-things-abraham-lincoln-has-been-diagnosed-with/stephanroget?source=rss

American history is full of weird stuff, and some of that weirdness crops up long after the era or subject in question has passed. For proof, just look at all the diseases people have "diagnosed" Abraham Lincoln with.

Was old Honest Abe really all that honest about his health? Despite the fact that Lincoln’s actual cause of death was pretty clear-cut (conspiracy theories aside), the sheer amount of Abraham Lincoln health issues people have supposedly discovered posthumously almost leads one to believe that John Wilkes Booth was acting out of mercy. If everything that modern doctors or historians have claimed about the 16th President of the United States is true, he was riddled with illness. Everything from syphilis to constipation has been tossed out by armchair experts..

While some of the medical claims about Lincoln may hold water, they obviously can’t all be true. A diagnosis or two might feature actual research, but most of the speculation consists entirely of anecdotal guesswork, and that doesn’t have a reputation for accuracy. The real answers will never be known, which is probably part of the reason why theorizing about Abe's health (or lack thereof) is still so popular today.

Everything People Have "Diagnosed" Abe Lincoln With,


Lincoln’s possible diagnosis of MEN2B would mean he and his family would be particularly susceptible to cancer, and some historians blame cancer for the deaths of Lincoln’s sons Eddie, Willie, and Tad, along with the death of his mother. Some even go as far as to claim that the man himself was suffering from cancer at the time of his death, but this is highly speculative.


One thing that poor Lincoln definitely suffered from was constipation, though stories of his digestive issues were vastly overstated. For instance, one of his long-time friends, John T. Stuart, claimed that Lincoln "was a kind of vegetable" and that "the pores of his flesh acted as an appropriate organ for such evacuation" – meaning that Lincoln pooped through his skin. This diagnosis can be safely assumed to be false.

Marfan syndrome

Probably the most common diagnosis associated with Lincoln is Marfan Syndrome, a genetic disorder that affects one’s connective tissue. It’s easy to see why people might think Lincoln had it, as its victims are normally quite tall, thin, and long-limbed. Lincoln remains the tallest president ever at 6’4”, and was incredibly tall for his time period.

However, no testing of Lincoln’s remaining DNA samples has been conducted for Marfan. Detractors say his excellent cardiovascular health and vision give good evidence that he didn’t have it.

Multiple endocrine neoplasia

The best "catch-all" diagnosis for Lincoln is probably Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia, type 2b. The disease, which carries the boy-band-like acronym of MEN2B, would explain Lincoln’s lanky body, weird lips, constipation, and hypotonia. It also increases a person’s risk of cancer, and there is a history of that in Lincoln’s family. Lincoln’s famous mole, his one drooping eye, and even his depression could all be interpreted as manifestations of MEN2B. No DNA testing has been done to confirm this theory, however.


Lincoln did have smallpox at one point in his life. He is said to have contracted the disease right after he delivered his famous Gettysburg Address in 1863, but most thought it was a mild case.

Recent evidence suggests that the illness affected him more seriously than previously thought, and that it hampered him while in the White House. Some claim that Lincoln had to carefully choose which advisors he personally met with in order to avoid further complications.

Spinocerebellar ataxia

Some Lincoln diagnoses have been thoroughly debunked, and such is the case with Spinocerebellar Ataxia. Ataxia affects the body's ability to control its muscles, and can often lead to peculiar and awkward gaits and other motions. Spinocerebellar Ataxia can also cause problems with balance, speech, and eye movements. Type 5 Spinocerebellar Ataxia was once called "Lincoln’s Ataxia," but subsequent research has concluded that he did not have the disease.


Could Lincoln have had syphilis? It was definitely around plenty back then, and Lincoln’s former law partner claims that he told him about his affliction. Lincoln could very well have had syphilis, but there isn’t much direct evidence of it. More incendiary accounts claim that Lincoln passed the disease onto his wife and children, resulting in early deaths for the children and eventual madness for Mary Todd, but this is speculative at best.


Tuberculosis was a common disease in the time of Lincoln, and some think he and his family members may have contracted it. The deaths of Lincoln’s sons aren’t fully diagnosed, but tuberculosis is a likely culprit in the demises of both Edward and Thomas. There’s no real evidence that Lincoln or Mary Todd themselves caught the illness, but their close proximity to the children makes it a distinct possibility.


In his day, Lincoln was described as "melancholic," the old-timey term for clinical depression. It appears to be something that Lincoln struggled with for the majority of his life, and he may have been genetically predisposed to it.

At several points in his life, close associates worried that Lincoln might commit suicide due to his extremely low moods. Eventually, Lincoln learned to use humor to combat his depression. Others suggest Lincoln took medication, but there is no direct evidence of that.


It can’t be denied that Lincoln had a weirdly shaped head – to the point where medical historians have spent decades trying to figure out what made it so strange. The general conclusion seems to be plagiocephaly, more commonly known as “flat head syndrome.” Plagiocephaly often happens in the womb, and results from a fetus being in a supine position for too long, which flattens the developing skull. Although plagiocephaly can lead to other developmental problems, that doesn’t always happen.

Fri, 14 Jul 2017 09:36:17 PDT http://www.ranker.com/list/all-the-things-abraham-lincoln-has-been-diagnosed-with/stephanroget
<![CDATA[30+ Weird Slang Terms From The 20s That Prove Young People Have Always Been Dumb]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/1920s-slang-words-and-expressions/nicky-benson?source=rss

There isn't a whole lot of 1920s slang that's still in circulation in the 21st century. However, there are some pretty cool Roaring Twenties slang words that should be brought back into the vernacular, mostly because it's very entertaining. Some of the old '20s expressions are really good, or as they would say, "Really berries!" If Roaring Twenties slang was still in use after the turn of the 20th cenutry, business magnate Richard Branson would be considered an "egg," or someone who is very wealthy with a lavish lifestyle. Mariah Carey would be a "sheba," or a sexually desirable woman. And instead of eating a doughnut, you'd be eating a "sinker."

You have to admit, old '20s expressions are charming and bring you back to a time when flappers ruled the world and alcohol was prohibited. Check out some weird and offbeat slang from a bygone era below and vote up your favorite slang from the 1920s that people actually used. 

30+ Weird Slang Terms From The 20s That Prove Young People Have Always Been Dumb,

Wet Blanket

Someone who doesn't know how to have any fun.


Drunk. Inebriated.

Big Cheese

A person in charge or someone very important.


An engagement ring.



Out On Parole

A person who is divorced.

Bee's Knees

The best.


Dollar. 100 clams equals 100 dollars.


Everything is alright or even perfect!

Know One's Onions

If you "know one's onions," you are very knowledgeable about a topic.

Mon, 24 Jul 2017 08:15:48 PDT http://www.ranker.com/list/1920s-slang-words-and-expressions/nicky-benson
<![CDATA[People In Ancient Iceland Allegedly Made Pants Out of Corpse Skin For Good Luck]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/icelandic-necropants-nabrok/lisa-a-flowers?source=rss

What are necropants? Precisely what they sound like: pants made from corpse-legs. Ones that are fashioned by skinning a (male) corpse from the waist down – testicles and all –drying the skin out, and climbing into the resulting pair of all-natural britches. This macabre and whimsical fashion statement (otherwise known as "nabrok," which translates, literally, to "death underwear") comes to us from the great nation of Iceland. However, said death-trousers weren't the result of some elaborate Spanish Inquisition-esque torture ritual, as one might assume. Rather, they were all about the quest for good fortune: the magic necropants were said to bring great luck to their wearer. And the desiccated scrotum that hung betwixt the dehydrated legs was where the enchantment really happened.

Though the pair of necropants on display at the Museum of Icelandic Sorcery & Witchcraft are an ingenious replica rather than a real corpse suit, they're still quite something to behold. If you thought the flesh mask donned by The Texas Chainsaw Massacre's Leatherface was disquieting, you ain't seen nothing yet: read on to find out everything you need to know about the unique function and rich folk tradition of necropants in Iceland.

People In Ancient Iceland Allegedly Made Pants Out of Corpse Skin For Good Luck,

The Pants Were Not Socially Acceptable, And They Could Get You Burned At The Stake

It's worth noting that necropants weren't exactly a run-of-the-mill clothing item that nobody looked at twice. In fact – at least according to lore – they were profoundly frowned upon, and the nature of both their acquisition (i.e., digging up your friend's corpse) and their application (i.e., wearing your friend's corpse) was highly illegal. So much so that it could get you burned at the stake. As Atlas Obscura points out

"The practice was no more accepted in 17th century Iceland than it was in colonial Salem, Massachusetts, and a number of accused parties were burnt at the stake, although interestingly the majority of the victims of the Icelandic witch hunt were male as opposed to the overwhelmingly female victims in other parts of the world." 

Dying With Your Necropants On Was A Huge No-No

It was all well and good to walk around letting your corpse-scrotum fill with coins while you were alive, but if your death was imminent, your necropants represented an equally encroaching peril. As a documentary put out by The Museum of Icelandic Sorcery & Witchcraft explains,

"[A man's] spiritual well-being is at risk unless he gets rid of the necropants before he dies. If he dies with the pants on, his body will become infested with lice as soon as he passes away. The sorcerer must therefore find somebody that is willing to take the pants, and put his leg into the right leg before the sorcerer steps out of the left one. The pants will keep on growing money for generations of owners."

In other words, necropants were a lot like the sex-entity in It Follows... only with the option of a good outcome.

They Involved A Pre-Corpse Pact (That Was Largely Concerned With Testicles)

Though the mere sight of them conjures up images of The Silence of the Lambs' Buffalo Bill and his flesh-suits, necropants actually had nothing to do with murder. On the contrary, they could only be gleaned by way of explicit permission from the trouser-donor. As Atlas Obscura explains it:

"The sorcerer [e.g., the wearer] must make a pact with a friend that he can skin the friend’s body from the waist down after the friend dies of natural causes. Once the friend is dead, the greedy magician must then wait until the friend has been buried, dig up the body, and then skin the lower half of the corpse without creating any holes or tears. Once the 'necropants' have been created, the caster must don the purloined pantaloons against their bare skin."

Note: it was particularly important that the testicles remained intact, as the next stage of the process stipulated that the wearer "steal a coin from a destitute widow" and set it in his dead friend's dried scrotum-sac. This ill-gotten penny had to be accompanied by a piece of parchment with the Icelandic stave symbol etched upon it. One then put on the trousers, and voilà: the suit's private parts would magically fill with coins, which would just keep on coming (no pun intended). 

Mon, 24 Jul 2017 09:33:36 PDT http://www.ranker.com/list/icelandic-necropants-nabrok/lisa-a-flowers
<![CDATA[13 Presidents Who Lived Insane Lives Before Becoming President]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/things-that-happened-to-presidents-before-presidency/stephanroget?source=rss

Few professions in the world are as scrutinized and well-documented as the Presidency of the United States of America, so it might seem like every single aspect of all the former presidents' lives has already been covered. But sometimes there’s just as much interesting material from before they were president as there is from their time in the White House. It takes an extraordinary kind of person to run for the highest station in America, so it makes sense that extraordinary origin stories are the norm for Oval Office occupants.

Crazy presidential stories don’t just come from the White House or the campaign trail. They come from these men's childhoods, first jobs, and even romances. From wartime adventures to struggles with medical ailments, these future presidents had some unbelievable experiences. With all these examples, one thing is clear: if you haven’t had some wild stuff go down in your lifetime, you probably don’t have what it takes to be president.

13 Presidents Who Lived Insane Lives Before Becoming President,

Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln is America's tallest president, measuring 6'4". He apparently used his size to his advantage before his presidency; Lincoln was a renowned wrestler in his youth, and there’s only one known record of him ever being defeated.

That fighting attitude went beyond the ring, too. On one occasion, when a political opponent challenged him to a duel, Lincoln accepted on the condition that they fight with broadswords. Fortunately, the fight didn't actually happen.

Andrew Jackson

Andrew Jackson has a well-earned reputation of being one of America’s toughest presidents. His nickname was Old Hickory, and he once beat a would-be armed assassin with his cane.

Jackson honed his hotheaded temperament fighting in multiple wars and several smaller martial engagements – namely, over 100 duels. Jackson was a bit duel-crazy, challenging anyone who dared call his, or his wife’s, honor into question. He was shot twice in the course of his dueling, and one time he actually killed his opponent.

George W. Bush

Although George W. Bush was a decent baseball player, he put most of his high school athletic attention towards cheerleading. In fact, Dubya was good enough at it that he was head cheerleader in his senior year at the Phillips Academy in Andover, MA. Unfortunately, Bush, Jr. never managed to maintain the same nimbleness when it came to public speaking.

Gerald Ford

Good looks aren’t an absolute necessity when it comes to running for president, but they certainly don’t hurt. Gerald Ford wasn’t much of a hunk by the time he reached the Oval Office in 1974, but he spent his youth as the perfect picture of masculinity. Ford was a football star and even dabbled in male modeling, which landed him a gig posing for a magazine cover illustration. That magazine was Cosmopolitan, which is better known today for its sex tips and personality quizzes.

Grover Cleveland

Few past occupations look more foreboding on a resume than “hangman,” but that’s one of the jobs Grover Cleveland did before becoming President of the United States. Cleveland served as the sheriff of Erie County, NY, from 1871-1874, and one of his duties was executing those assigned the death penalty. Cleveland could have delegated that particular duty, but instead he did it himself, hanging two men. Some praised Cleveland for his honor, while later political opponents tried to use the executions to label him as bloodthirsty. Cleveland was thereafter known as the "Hangman of Buffalo."

Herbert Hoover

Herbert Hoover and his wife Lou moved from California to China shortly after getting married in 1899; Hoover was to consult the Chinese Emperor on mining operations. The new job was interrupted when the Boxer Rebellion broke out in 1900, as rebels began a month-long siege of Tientsin, where the Hoovers were living. Hoover helped build barricades while Lou volunteered in a hospital, and some accounts claim that he managed to rescue some Chinese children and keep them safe from the urban warfare.

During his presidency, Hoover and Lou would reportedly speak in Chinese while in the White House to keep their conversations secret.

Jimmy Carter

Most politicians stay away from the topic of extraterrestrials. But Jimmy Carter claimed to have seen a UFO while serving as Governor of Georgia, and it didn’t stop him from eventually reaching the White House – although he would forever be known as the UFO President.

Carter said he saw a bright, unidentifiable object moving in the sky during October of 1969, and he claimed it was larger than the Moon from his perspective. He didn’t officially file his report until four years later. Carter promised to release any and all secret documents about UFOs when he became President, but he didn’t share a single file.

John F. Kennedy

John F. Kennedy would prove to be one of the most popular presidents, but he was an American hero long before he took the Oval Office. During World War II, Kennedy served on a patrol boat in the South Pacific. When a Japanese destroyer struck his craft, Kennedy led his crew to safety on a nearby island. He even towed an injured comrade all the way to shore by pulling the man’s lifejacket strap.

Richard Nixon

Given how his presidency ended, it makes a certain amount of sense that Richard Nixon was an expert at a game that relies on deception and bluffing. In his youth, Nixon was reportedly a fantastic poker player, learning his craft before entering the Navy and excelling at it throughout his time in the service.

Nixon reportedly earned enough playing cards that he funded his first congressional campaign in 1946 mostly with poker winnings.

Thomas Jefferson And John Adams Vandalized Shakespeare’s Property

Before either of their presidencies, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson struck up a friendship when they both found themselves living in England for a while. The two founding friends toured the country together taking in all of the history, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they had a great amount of respect for the past.

Adams and Jefferson visited the historic home of Shakespeare, where some of the Bard’s property was still on display. The two men chipped off a piece of Shakespeare’s chair to take home as a souvenir, vandalizing the belongings of one of England’s favorite sons.

Mon, 10 Jul 2017 02:45:59 PDT http://www.ranker.com/list/things-that-happened-to-presidents-before-presidency/stephanroget
<![CDATA[This Shocking Photo Captured The Violence Of The '70s Vietnam Protest Movement]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/kent-state-massacre-photo/amandasedlakhevener?source=rss

The Kent State shooting took place on May 4, 1970, after several days of unrest in Kent, OH. College students were angered by President Nixon's April 30 announcement, during which he revealed the Vietnam War had now spread into Cambodia. On May 1, a student anti-war demonstration took place on the Kent State campus. Later on that night, a riot took place in the streets of Kent, with students setting small fires and throwing beer bottles at the police.

The National Guard arrived on May 2, but was met with more protests. The ROTC building on campus was set on fire sometime that night. A rally was held the next day, but it was nothing in comparison to the one on May 4, which drew in an estimated 2,000 unarmed students. They faced off against the National Guard, who were fully armed. Everyone assumed the guards wouldn't fire on students – but they were wrong. The guardsman began shooting at 12:24 p.m. After approximately 13 seconds of gunfire, four students were dead: Sandra Lee Scheuer, Allison Krause, William Knox Schroeder, and the subject of the famous Kent State shooting photo, Jeffrey Miller. Another nine students were wounded.

This picture of Kent State shooting, along with other Kent State massacre images, presents a vivid glimpse of the often violent anti-war protest movement of the 1960s and '70s.

This Shocking Photo Captured The Violence Of The '70s Vietnam Protest Movement,

The Photo And Events Inspired The Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young Song Ohio

Neil Young was inspired to write the song "Ohio" after being a handed a copy of Life magazine featuring the Kent State shooting photo. Young said the emotions evident in the picture sparked something, and he spent an hour in the woods with his guitar writing the song. Afterwards, he booked some studio time, and he, David Crosby, Graham Nash, and Stephen Stills recorded it. The sleeve for the record featured a copy of the U.S. Constitution illustrated with four bullet holes.

In 1997, Crosby, Stills, and Nash (notably without Young) attended the commemoration of a memorial at Kent State for the four victims. They performed "Ohio" for the crowd. 

Kent State Photojournalism Student John Filo Won A Pulitzer Prize For The Picture

John Filo was a senior photojournalism major at Kent State. He was in a photo lab when he heard the gun shots and rushed outside with his camera. At first, he didn't believe that the National Guard had live ammunition in their guns – he thought they only had blanks. But then a guardsman turned and shot at him, putting a hole in a nearby statue.

Filo took a number of pictures that day with his Nikkormat camera and Tri-X film, but none became more famous than the shot of Mary Ann Vecchio kneeling over Jeffery Miller's body. That photo wound up being published in Life magazine, and he won a Pulitzer Prize for it.

Mary Ann Vecchio Screams In Dismay While Kneeling Over The Body Of Jeffrey Miller

According to witnesses, members of the National Guard attempted to disperse the students with tear gas. In response, the students threw rocks and yelled insults. And then, for reasons that are unclear, some of the guardsman began opening fire. An estimated 67 shots were fired towards the crowd of unarmed students.

After 13 tense seconds, the gunfire ended. Four students were dead, including Jeffery Miller, whose body is seen above. The woman kneeling down and screaming is 14-year-old Mary Ann Vecchio, who was a runaway from Florida. She had hitchhiked to Kent, and was spending the night with some people who lived nearby. They had invited her to attend the rally.

Mon, 10 Jul 2017 02:52:53 PDT http://www.ranker.com/list/kent-state-massacre-photo/amandasedlakhevener
<![CDATA[Women In The 16th Century Could Sue Their Husbands For Erectile Dysfunction]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/historical-impotence-trial-facts/melissa-sartore?source=rss

Sex, marriage, and impotence are the sorts of private matters not usually heard in public discourse. But in the 14th century, erectile dysfunction was under increased scrutiny in Europe. In pre-modern France, a woman could bring her husband to public trial for an annulment on the grounds that he was impotent. Impotence as a basis for divorce wasn’t unique to France, similar accusations were made in medieval Spain and England as well.  

The methods by which men had to prove their virility reached increasingly invasive and public levels during the Early Modern period with intricate medical exams, virginity tests, and even Trial by Congress - a public display of one's sexual ability. This insane method of determining whether a man was up for his marital duty (sorry, the puns write themselves) lasted less than a century. However, in a pre-reality TV world, the public followed these erectile trials closely.  

Enlightenment thinkers called it an example of the over-reaching authority of the Church, while the general public just liked to read about the drama in published accounts. Back then, a man's erection was his only weapon in a challenge to his manhood. Without a doubt, pre-revolutionary impotence trials brought what we now consider to be private matters into very public places – literally.

Women In The 16th Century Could Sue Their Husbands For Erectile Dysfunction,

Impotence Was An All-Out Epidemic In 16th Century France

Based on the number of impotence cases in France by the 16th century one would assume there was something in the water. Of course, as one of the few ways to dissolve a marriage, it was an appealing process for a woman in a loveless marriage. Upper and middle class women were the most common litigants because they could afford to bring the cases to court.

Several factors contributed to the increased number of and interest in impotence trials. As more and more cases of impotence came to court, treatises and books about law and marriage alike proliferated. Contemporaries attributed the rise in trials to overall moral corruption, as well as the growing audacity and overt sexuality of women, with as many as ten thousand trials held during the 17th century. 

Men's Defenses Ranged From Evil Spells, Indigestion, And Proof Of Pregnancy

One defense men used to explain alleged impotence was that they were under a magic spell. The connection between magic and impotence was common during the Middle Ages and with concerns over witchcraft during the 16th and 17th centuries, it gained strength.

In 1603, Jacques de Sales argued that his impotence was caused by a magic spell cast by his wife. The annulment was granted and both parties were allowed to remarry. The "frigidity through evil spell" excuse didn't work much further beyond the seventeenth century.

Men would often argue that impotence was temporary, caused by indigestion, a chill, a broken rib, or something similar. They could sometimes throw the blame back on their wives, claiming they were frigid women constantly rebuffing them. In desperation, a man might claim his wife had been pregnant at one time, clear proof of his ability to perform. 

Divorce Was Rare So Impotence Was A Woman's Best Chance To Get Out

When it came to marriage during the Middle Ages and the Early Modern period, the Catholic Church didn't allow for many exit routes. The basic goals of marriage were to procreate and provide the only acceptable outlet for sexual urges. Therefore if a man couldn't hold up his side of the bargain, an annulment was allowed. 

It wasn't as easy as that, however. If a woman alleged impotence, there was a three-year window before the annulment was granted. In case the condition corrected itself. Additionally, not all annulments allowed those involved to remarry. This depended upon what was known about when and how the problem started.

Protestant Reformers believed that impotence was a valid reason for divorce, but also that remarriage was a must. For Protestants, women could only bring impotence to court after enough time had been given to procreate - anywhere from one to three years - and divorce was granted after a series of oaths or medical examinations.

There Were Three Possible Results From An Impotence Trial

If a man and woman in an impotence trial abided by their three-year trial period, endured the physical exams, and provided all the necessary info a court needed, there were three possible outcomes. If impotence was not proven, the parties were "condemned to live as man and wife." If the impotence was proven, the marriage could be annulled - with provisions that one or both could remarry. Last, in rare cases, the couple was asked to give it another three-year trial period and see if things worked themselves out.

Men Had To Give Quite The, Ahem, Public Performance

Doctors in Spain devised their own methods of testing a man's penis in the fourteenth century: A hot and cold water test. A man's penis was put into cold water, then hot, and then observed for dilation and blood-flow. If this proved inconclusive a male surgeon would then attempt to stimulate the man to erection. 

In Naples, matrone (female sex experts) were used. This woman would accompany a couple, rub ointments on them, encourage them to relax, give them aphrodisiacs, and watch to see what would happen. She'd then report back to the court. In France, in a Trial by Congress, men were expected to get an erection in front of the Court, usually by mounting his wife and copulating on demand.

Church officials and doctors did seem to realize that the inability to perform in front of an audience was possible but, generally speaking, a man could either get it up or he couldn't. 

The Test To Verify Virginity Could, In Fact, De-Flower A Woman

The physical examination that a woman underwent to prove her virginity was, naturally, invasive. She was given a bath, in case she was using something to fake virginity, and then put on a bed in front of midwives and doctors. Her legs were spread and a doctor used a "mirror of the womb" or a mock-penis to explore the woman's genitals.

It was possible to break a woman's hymen this way but was still used as a method to determine virginity nonetheless. If a woman was said to not be a virgin, she could claim her husband had violated her with his fingers or had tried unsuccessful sex thus breaking her hymen.

The Church Had A Right To Be In Your Bedroom

From a moral perspective, Catholics and Protestants, among others, argued back then that marriage was the only appropriate outlet for the erotic urges humans suffer (yes, suffer). Impotence, in this context, was a criminal offense. A fraudulent crime against one party in a marriage.

Marriage didn't explicitly become a sacrament of the Catholic Church until the Council of Trent in the 16th century, but theologians and clergymen were active in matrimony through late antiquity and the Middle Ages. Christians who took part in marriage in its sacramental form understood that it was an agreement entered into with provisions. Marriage was between two baptized Christians, it was monogamous, it was for procreation purposes, and it was indissoluble. Protestant views on marriage were similar to Catholics in that it was a necessary institution.

Whether Catholic or Protestant, all religious officials agreed impotence was a valid reason to end a marriage and was definitely a matter of Church business.   

A Man's Package Was Under Severe Scrutiny

A man with a penile malformation was a relatively straightforward case in these affairs. Similarly, cases of men with too little going on downstairs to allow for sex were quickly found lacking and a divorce was granted. Such was the case of Nicholas Cantilupe whose wife Katherine claimed that "that she could not stroke nor find anything there and that the place in which Nicholas’ genitals ought be is as flat as the hand of a man."  

Other cases weren't so clear cut (circumcision zing!). In the late 16th century, Magdeleine de Chastre claimed that her husband, the Baron d'Argenton, had no testicles and was thusly impotent. The two had consummated their marriage, proven by bloody sheets found after their wedding night, but the wife took her case to court anyway. The Baron's lawyer, Sebastien Roulliard, argued that denying the existence of hidden testicles was similar to denying the existence of the heart, lungs, or other non-visible organs. Nor, he argued, were they necessary for an erection.

All manner of impotence was brought before the courts. Accidental, temporary, and intermittent impotence all muddied the waters, so to speak. An increase in medical knowledge complicated impotence divorce later in the 18th and 19th centuries. 

A Wife Had To Prove She Wasn't To Blame

Unsurprisingly, a woman still had to prove she wasn't the cause of a couple's sexual woes. Her easiest way out of the marriage was to claim the marriage was never consummated. In this scenario she then had to prove she was still a virgin.

One test to prove this was to drink a diuretic. Since the urinary and reproductive systems were believed to be the same, if she urinated immediately, her hymen had been corrupted. An un-penetrated woman would be unaffected (or really good at holding her bladder). She was often subjected to a physical inspection also.

A woman's second best route to prove she was blameless was to claim her husband came with a faulty tool kit. This meant her husband was subjected to physical scrutiny. In 1370, for example, a certain John, was examined and found to have a "member...like an empty intestine of mottled skin... [with no] flesh in it, nor veins in the skin, and the middle of its front...totally black...[that] neither expanded nor grew..."

Like Bad Viagra, Some Impotence Cases Lasted For Years

The average length of an impotence trial was a couple of months but sometimes the court got bogged down by details. On some occasions, one of the parties would flee - usually the male - unwilling to submit to the physical examination.

The Spanish case of Geromina Martinez de Texada and her husband Diego Belasca in the 1680s lasted 15 months. The 1712 French case of Joachim Bernard Poieier, the Marquis de Gesvres, and Marie Mascranni lasted until his wife withdrew the complaint in 1717.

Fri, 14 Jul 2017 04:51:26 PDT http://www.ranker.com/list/historical-impotence-trial-facts/melissa-sartore
<![CDATA[This Ancient Child Sacrifice Found Perfectly Preserved In Ice Is Fascinating]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/facts-about-inca-ice-woman-juanita/lisa-a-flowers?source=rss

Part of the morbid allure of mummies lies in their surreal out-of-time physicality. Mummies from around the world offer people a glimpse into the literal, tangible past, bringing history to life in a way no written chronicle can. And when it comes to making ancient life seem real, few human relics can match the impact of the Inca mummy girl Juanita.

Mummy Juanita – also known as Juanita the Ice Maiden – was discovered in the Andes in 1995. Uncannily well-preserved (even her organs and the contents of her stomach were intact) she immediately captivated researchers. She's believed to have been an Inca child sacrifice who was killed to please ... or appease ... the gods around the year 1450. She was a mummy long before she was found ... and centuries before civilization as we know it began to define the foundations of what we call contemporary life. Nevertheless, if it hadn't been for the volcanic eruption that effectively dislodged her resting place, she might never have been discovered at all

Today, Juanita has been relocated from her icy tomb. She sits on display at the Museum of Andean Sanctuaries in Arequipa, Peru, where she seems to greet visitors from across the centuries.

This Ancient Child Sacrifice Found Perfectly Preserved In Ice Is Fascinating,

She Was Likely Drunk And Drugged Before Her Sacrifice

According to historians, the Incas often attempted to alleviate the trauma of imminent sacrifice in a rite known as capacocha. As National Geographic explains it, children were customarily given chicha, a potent alcoholic drink distilled from corn, to "ensure intoxication." They were also sometimes given coca ... the plant used to make cocaine ... to chew, and studies have indicated that Juanita was likely sedated in a similar fashion before her death.

She Was Probably Chosen For Sacrifice Before Birth

According to some experts, many Incan child sacrifices were selected at birth. The "healthiest, strongest, and most attractive child" was generally chosen for the "honor" of slaughter; and candidates who came from nobility, as Juanita likely did, were given special precedence over members of the working class. (This might explain why Juanita's umbilical cord was preserved along with her body: it suggests a fate that was already irrevocably established). 

Why Juanita was sacrificed remains a mystery. Scholars believe that her type of ritualistic killing was meant to appease the gods, thereby ensuring rain, good crops, and protection. But the "necessity" of sacrifice could also be be triggered by other major events, like natural disasters or the unexpected deaths of prominent leaders, which were seen as indications of the gods' displeasure.

She Was Found Holding Her Umbilical Cord, Which Revealed More About Her Genealogy

Juanita was found holding her umbilical cord, which had likely been saved specifically for the occasion of her sacrifice. The stem cells contained therein revealed a wealth of information about her genealogy, and established (via genome) that she likely hailed from a very rare group of native peoples. 

There May Be Hundreds Of Sacrificed Children Still Out There

Juanita's sacrifice was far from an isolated incident. On the contrary, historians theorize that there were likely "hundreds of Inca children sacrificed nearly 500 years ago [who remain] entombed in graves of ice atop the western hemisphere's highest peaks."


She Was A Healthy Teen When She Died

The superb condition of Juanita's corpse and the artifacts buried with her reveal fascinating details about her life. Tests indicate that she likely died between 1440 and 1450, and at any point between the ages of 12 and 15. Further studies suggest she was in generally excellent health, with "a good and well-balanced diet," though she had fasted for one day prior to her sacrifice.

Even Juanita's clothes were well preserved. The red tunic she was wearing, as well as her llama skin and alpaca wool shoes, indicate that she likely came from nobility, and that she may have lived in the city of Cuzco.

She Was Killed By Blunt Force Trauma

Blunt force trauma is an ugly way to go. Nevertheless, there were far worse ways to die in the Incan Empire. According to experts, victims were also killed via "strangulation ... asphyxia, or burying the victim alive."

Juanita's official autopsy report determined that she died due to a blow to the head, and mentions the "massive craniocerebral injury" that "destroyed and collapsed" not only the upper and frontal parts of her skull, but also her facial bones.

She's One Of The Best-Preserved Mummies In The World

Juanita is one of the most intact mummies of all time. Unlike the standard desiccated mummy, she was frozen solid, which kept her as lifelike as it's possible for a corpse to be. She has, however, experienced some perhaps inevitable setbacks since her retrieval. In 2006, her skin reportedly began to turn from its "natural beige shade to a darker brown, a sign of trouble," and officials quickly took steps to arrest the problem.

She Was Only Found Because Of A Volcanic Eruption

Juanita might have remained atop Mount Ampato in the Peruvian Andes indefinitely, were it not for a nearby volcanic eruption that caused the peak's snowcap to melt, thereby dislodging her burial site and sending her tumbling down the mountain.

In 1995, anthropologist Johan Reinhard and his assistant, Miguel Zárate, discovered the ragged bundle containing Juanita's remains. Along with her incredibly preserved corpse, they found pottery and miniature sculptures of llamas, which were likely intended to be gifts for the gods it was assumed she'd meet in the afterlife.

She Inspired A Mummy Craze

Juanita's discovery sparked a new wave of interest in mummies and their excavation, and in some cases, the trend was taken up by thieves who attempted to plunder various archaelogical sites illegally. According to the National Endowment for the Humanities:

"Eager for gold and silver statues to sell on the black market, looters pose a constant threat to high-altitude ... sites, which are difficult to protect. Some even use dynamite to blast through the ice, decapitating or disintegrating any mummies below in the process."

Fri, 07 Jul 2017 03:34:20 PDT http://www.ranker.com/list/facts-about-inca-ice-woman-juanita/lisa-a-flowers
<![CDATA[Historical Artifacts Discovered Under Parking Lots]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/historical-artifacts-found-in-parking-lots/erin-mccann?source=rss

If Indiana Jones ditched the temples and instead went looking for historical items discovered in parking lots, he may have found some very interesting stuff. Artifacts from the past often lie hidden under the concrete slabs and garages where people stash their cars, forgotten until curious archaeologists wonder what's underneath. Just like strange items found on construction sites, artifacts found in parking lots can include bodies of famous people from history, bygone building foundations, or items that were used in daily life way back when.

Anyone can dig for buried treasure in their backyard, but digging up (and therefore destroying) a parking lot is no easy matter. Sometimes, archaeologists will use radar devices to scan the ground before bringing their case for excavation before the parking lot's owner. Other times, a parking lot was in the process of being turned into something else when an archaeological find was unearthed. There are even some artifacts that have just been left where they were, as digging them up would pose a problem.

These historical artifacts found in parking garages and lots may surprise you, and lead you to wonder what's underneath your own parking spot.

Historical Artifacts Discovered Under Parking Lots,

A Medieval Knight And Monastery Were Dug Up In Edinburgh, Scotland

When a parking lot was dug up in order to build the University of Edinburgh's Edinburgh Centre of Carbon Innovation in 2013, workers made an unusual discovery. A sandstone slab was unearthed, along with a skeleton and an ornate sword. The Calvary cross was carved into the slab, leading historians to believe the body was that of a knight, and the slab was his gravestone. The foundations of the Blackfriars Monastery, founded in 1230 by King Alexander II and destroyed in 1558, were also discovered under the same parking lot.

Archaeologist Ross Murray once attended school a few feet away from the discovery and was amazed at the find, saying, "We used to take breaks between classes just a few feet away in the building's doorway and all that time the grave was lying under the car park."

A month later, archaeologists found what they believe to be the knight's family. Eight skeletons were unearthed, including those of a woman and an infant. Since they were discovered buried behind a wall, it is believed they are related to the knight and were placed together in the family crypt.

Queen Helena's Palace Was Excavated In Jerusalem, Israel

A team of archaeologists using radar to detect objects under the ground found something big under a parking lot in Jerusalem, Israel, in 2007. They got permission to dig up the lot and were pleasantly surprised at what they found: Queen Helena's Palace, a Second Temple structure near Temple Mount. The palace and the Second Temple were destroyed by the Romans in 70 CE.

Archaeologists used coins and pottery found at the site to date the structure. This major find proved the ancient city was bigger than anyone previously thought.

Artifacts From The Gold Rush Were Unearthed In San Francisco, CA

A 2011 dig under a San Francisco, CA, parking lot excited archaeologists greatly, as they kept discovering new treasure the deeper they dug. Tableware made in Philadelphia, liquor bottles, and serving platters were found at around 11 to 12 feet below the surface. But further down, they discovered items dating back to California's Gold Rush, such as pieces of tent.

"We got down to just immediately after the Gold Rush, like 1850 and maybe even late 1840s," noted lead archaeologist Heather Price. She also pointed out that the area was a working class section of town, and the variety of artifacts from all over the country demonstrated just how many people traveled to California at the time to seek their fortunes.

A Native American Village Was Unearthed In Miami, FL

In 2014, a downtown waterfront parking lot in Miami was set to be turned into a new building project. But before construction began, an archaeological dig was requested – and some incredible finds were made. In addition to shell and bone tool artifacts, evidence of an entire village was unearthed. Archaeologists dated their find to be about 2,000 years old, and were amazed to find carved holes they believed to be the foundations of homes built by the Tequesta native people, as well as the remains of boardwalks used to connect the village.

Archaeologist Bob Carr was thrilled, commenting, "It’s one of the earliest urban plans in eastern North America. You can actually see this extraordinary configuration of these buildings and structures.’’

An Ancient Greek Fortress Was Located In Jerusalem, Israel

At one point in history, Jerusalem was under the control of Greece. Being the crafty construction artists they were, the Greeks built a fortress called an Acra around the Temple Mount in order to control who could come in and out of the temple.

Until 2015, archaeologists were unsure of the Acra's exact location. Artifacts found beneath a parking lot at Jerusalem Walls National Park have led them to claim the location as the fortress's site. The artifacts discovered include arrows, sling shots, coins, and stones featuring the trident symbol of Antiochus IV Epiphanes, ruler of Greece at the time.

A Roman Cemetery Was Discovered in Leicester, England

The same team of archaeologists who discovered the remains of Richard III also made another important discovery in 2013. The remains of a Roman cemetery they believe to be about 1,700 years old was found in Leicester, England. Along with 13 different skeletons, the team unearthed many artifacts such as belt buckles and jewelry.

However, the burial site was different than the archaeologists expected. They noticed bodies were buried pointing in different directions, and the skeletons were a mix of ages and genders. They concluded that the section of the cemetery possibly displayed a combination of various burial beliefs.

King Richard III Was Discovered In Leicester, England

Richard III, a 15th century King of England and one of the more prominent jerks from history, suddenly made news again in 2012 when his remains were believed to be discovered. Greyfriars, the friary in which he was buried, was thought to be hidden under a parking lot in Leicester, England.

The supposed discovery was so big, archaeologists had to give the press daily updates to appease the interest of the public. They first found the remains of the building, and eventually a skeleton. Its condition seemed to match that of the late King, mostly due to evidence of scoliosis and a battle wound to the head. DNA testing later proved the archaeologists to be correct: it was Richard.

A Viking Parliament Was Found In Dingwall, Scotland

Evidence of a mound believed to be an ancient Viking gathering spot was discovered hidden under a parking lot in Dingwall, Scotland, in 2013. Such establishments – or "Things" – were places where the parliament or governing body could meet.

Archaeologists believe the mound was built at the request of a Viking known as Thorfinn the Mighty. It is the second such structure to be discovered in the UK. Radio carbon dating places the mound's construction around the 11th century.

The Navy Steamship Zavala Was Found In Galveston, TX

In the 1800s, before it became a state, the Republic of Texas had its own navy. The steamship Zavala was originally a passenger ship, but it was later purchased by the Texan Navy and used for battle. But the Zavala was badly damaged in a storm, and was run aground at the Port of Galveston and left to deteriorate.

In 1986, novelist and underwater adventurer Clive Cussler discovered the ship's hull buried under a wharf parking lot. He wrote about the find in his book, The Sea Hunters.

Henry VIII's Chapel Was Found In London, England

Located on what was originally the grounds of the Palace of Placentia, the royal chapel was believed to be a worshiping spot for Henry VIII as well as other monarchs. The palace was built by Henry VII, but destroyed in 1699 to make way for a hospital. The chapel was believed to have been torn down along with it.

The chapel was lost for 500 years, but unexpectedly rediscovered when construction workers hit brick lying underneath a parking lot in the Greenwich district of London in 2006. Archaeologists carefully excavated and discovered walls, a floor that was once covered in checkerboard tiles, pieces of stained glass, and decorative stonework. Expanding their search, the experts also found a nearby room for storing religious objects and a river frontage.

Fri, 14 Jul 2017 05:48:01 PDT http://www.ranker.com/list/historical-artifacts-found-in-parking-lots/erin-mccann
<![CDATA[Facts About The First Attack On The World Trade Center]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/1993-world-trade-center-attack/stephanroget?source=rss

The world changed on September 11, 2001, when terrorists attacked the World Trade Center, forever altering America. Due to the violent impact the event had on the nation, it can be easy to forget the first terrorist attack on New York's Twin Towers: the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.

The first World Trade Center attack happened almost a decade prior to the attacks of 2001, but the two terrorist plots are linked in several ways. The 1993 attack on the World Trade Center can be looked at as a sort of trial run to 9/11. The goal - to topple the Twin Towers - was the same, as was the motivation and international power behind it. In fact, some of the very same individuals who plotted the 1993 attack managed to maintain their freedom long enough to be involved in 9/11.

The 1993 attack was, for the most part, a failed operation, but it helped set the stage for the horror and destruction that would occur eight years later.

Facts About The First Attack On The World Trade Center,

One Conspirator Was Caught Upon Arrival In The U.S....And Then Released

Some of the co-conspirators involved in the 1993 bombing were caught before they had even perpetrated the crime. Ahmed Ajaj traveled to the United States from Pakistan with a forged Swedish passport and bomb-making materials in his bag. He was caught and arrested, but his arrest served as a diversionary tactic to allow Ramzi Yousef, the primary bomber, to make it through security on the same flight.

Ironically, Yousef was caught for using a fake Iraqi passport, but he claimed political asylum upon arrest. He was set free and given a future hearing date, allowing him the freedom to carry out the plan.

The Bomber Explained His Actions And Demands In A Letter To Newspapers

Ramzi Yousef had a clear agenda in attacking the United States. He sent letters to a few prominent New York newspapers before the bombing, outlining a series of demands if the Americans wanted to avoid further attacks.

Yousef wanted the United States to cut all ties with Israel, including aid and diplomatic relations, and to pledge to stop any and all interference in the affairs of the Middle East. Yousef referred to his plans as terrorism, but noted that his actions were in response to “the terrorism that Israel practices.”

The Whole Bombing Was Foiled By The Difficulty Of NYC Parking

The 1993 attack on the World Trade Center failed in its primary goal by something that all New Yorkers struggle with: parking. The yellow rental van housing the bomb was driven to the WTC’s underground parking garage, but Yousef failed to park it close enough to the concrete foundations of Tower 1.

Had he found a closer parking spot, his plan may have succeeded. Instead, most of the damage was done to the parking garage itself. His plan an abject failure, Yousef escaped to Pakistan hours later.

Smoke Was So Thick It Traveled To The 93rd Floor

Though the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center failed to bring down the Twin Towers, it was incredibly scary for those involved. The blast shook the entire building and caused mass panic inside. Smoke from the bomb reached as high as the 93 floor and smoke inhalation was responsible for a large portion of the injuries received that day. All power to the tower was cut, leaving several people stuck in elevators for hours, including a class of kindergartners.

Six Were Killed, Over 1000 Were Injured

The bombing resulted in six deaths, including five Port Authority employees and a businessman who was parking his car. One of the Port Authority employees killed was a pregnant woman. More than 1000 other people were injured, including WTC employees and first responders. Most injuries resulted from smoke inhalation, fire, and the mass exodus of evacuating both towers.

A Chemical Weapon Was Planned That Would Have Been Even Deadlier

The bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993 killed six people, but it could have been far deadlier. The investigation into the attack revealed that the conspirators had a large stockpile of cyanide they acquired while planning. It appears that at one point the van was meant to be loaded with cyanide, but that part of the plan was later abandoned.

If the cyanide had been included, the blast would have produced a chemical weapon spread via gas. As the smoke of the bomb reached as high as the 93 floor, it's easy to imagine just how many people this would have reached. 

The Attack Took NYC Off The Air For A Week

The 1993 attack cut all power to Tower 1 and a few buildings around it. This had a massive impact on New York media outlets, many of which were located at or near the WTC. Most of the New York radio and television stations lost their over-the-air broadcast signals for a full week and were only able to broadcast via satellite or cable channels. Most of Manhattan also lost their telephone service for a number of days.

1993's Attack Was Also Carried Out By Al-Qaeda

The 1993 World Trade Center bombing was primarily an operation of Al-Qaeda. The terrorists involved received training, funding, and advice from major Al-Qaeda figures, many of whom were in Afghanistan at the time.

Not all Al-Qaeda support came from overseas, however. Conspirators also received aid from Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman, a blind cleric who lived in New York City. Rahman was eventually arrested for his role in various terrorist plots and conspiracies. The 1993 bombing was the first time Al-Qaeda took direct action against the United States on U.S. soil.

The Man Behind 9/11 Also Funded And Planned The '93 Attacks

One of the chief architects of the 1993 World Trade Center attack was Khalid Shaikh Mohammed. He was uncle to Ramzi Yousef, the man who planted the bomb, and an active member of Al-Qaeda. He not only funded the conspirators via money transfer, but also directly advised his nephew over the phone on how best to pull off the attack.

Later, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed would gain worldwide notoriety when he was acknowledged as the principal planner behind the 9/11 attacks. He remained free until 2003, when the United States finally caught up with him.

The Plan Was To Topple Both Towers

The ultimate plan in the 1993 bombing was to topple the Twin Towers at the World Trade Center. Only one tower, Tower 1, was targeted, but the terrorists hoped the blast would toppled it at such an angle as to knock over Tower 2. As the attack was aimed at the tower's foundation, it would have brought the towers down more quickly than the 2001 attack. This would have meant an even higher death toll. Fortunately, the attack was unsuccessful in meeting its goal.

Mon, 10 Jul 2017 03:18:06 PDT http://www.ranker.com/list/1993-world-trade-center-attack/stephanroget
<![CDATA[France Was Still Beheading Criminals The Year 'Star Wars' Came Out]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/last-french-guillotine-execution/april-a-taylor?source=rss

If asked when France last used the guillotine as judicial punishment in a trivia contest, most people would probably guess much longer ago than 1977. Most would also not guess that when France first introduced beheading by guillotine as a form of the death penalty in 1792 that it was invented to be a more humane method of execution. 

The contraption that many associate with the rampant bloodshed of the French revolution was, in fact, used well into the 20th century. The last criminal to find himself literally cut short by the razor's edge was Hamida Djandoubi on September 10, 1977. Also known as the "Pimp Killer," Djandoubi was convicted of kidnapping, torturing, and murdering his ex-girlfriend.

Despite the morbidness of decapitation, it was the end of the line for most people on death row in France from 1792 until the 1950s. By the time the Pimp Killer beheading took place, many of the criminals who had been facing execution received clemency. Hamida Djandoubi's crime was considered so brutal, the French President at the time declined him a reprieve.  

France Was Still Beheading Criminals The Year 'Star Wars' Came Out,

He Was Caught Because He Tried To Kidnap Another Woman

Djandoubi's motive for the torture and murder of a woman he once dated was revenge, but this wasn't the first, or last, time he would harm a woman. In August 1974, only a month after killing Bousquet, Djandoubi kidnapped an unnamed young woman. Unfortunately for him, she got free and ran straight to authorities. Djandoubi was arrested and confessed to the murder.

He Tried To Delay His Beheading With Cigarettes And Rum

The Pimp Killer's last 20 minutes of life were uniquely recorded by Judge Monique Mabelly, who was assigned to witness the execution. She wrote that just before being taken to the guillotine, Djandoubi was visibly nervous and did what he could to delay the inevitable. She described him as "...almost like a child that will do anything to delay bedtime!" 

The guards had given Djandoubi two cigarettes and then a glass of rum. He tried to ask for a third cigarette, saying he preferred a different brand, but the executioner pointed out they were only delaying the inevitable. The rum may have calmed his nerves slightly, but there was no avoiding the guillotine. 

The Guillotine Wasn't The First Time Djandoubi Lost A Limb

Djandoubi and his victim, Elisabeth Bousquet, met in the hospital while he recovered from a work accident that resulted in partial loss of his right leg. In 1971, he was employed as a landscaper and his accident included equipment used in his profession.

Djandoubi wore a prosthetic limb after the accident. This new handicap kept him from finding work, and he took up drinking and doing drugs. It may have even been the reason he turned to work in the world of drugs and prostitution. Later, at trial, his prosthetic limb would play into much of his defense attorney's attempts to convince the jury he was mentally unstable due to his injury.

He May Or May Not Even Have Been A Pimp

Djandoubi's inability to get work forced him into some shady dealings, but it's unclear if he was actually a pimp. He was motivated to murder Bousquet because she accused him of being her pimp to authorities. He claims it was his resentment at her false accusations that made him seek revenge.  

According to Djandoubi, Bousquet was the one wanting to prostitute herself for money, and Djandoubi was offended at the notion. Then again, he's the one who was keeping two teenage girls at his home and "in his employ" when Bousquet was murdered. 

The Pimp Killer Carried Out The Murder In Front Of Two Teenaged Girls

One indication of Hamida Djandoubi's extreme cruelty in his crime is that he was so determined to kill his ex, Elisabeth Bousquet, he didn't try to hide the crime from two witnesses. After being outraged that his ex-lover accused him of being her pimp to authorities, Djandoubi spent the next few months waiting until he saw her again to enact revenge. She came to him, in the end, claiming she wanted to be with him again.

The Pimp Killer took Bousquet home, beat her, raped her with a club, and burned her several times with a cigarette while forcing the two teenaged girls he had living with him at the time to watch. After torturing Bousquet, Djandoubi took her to the outskirts of town where he strangled her and left her body. She was found four days later, but Djandoubi wouldn't be caught for another month. 

Fri, 21 Jul 2017 03:32:18 PDT http://www.ranker.com/list/last-french-guillotine-execution/april-a-taylor
<![CDATA[Early Lobotomy Surgeons Would Literally Pour Alcohol Onto Their Patients' Brains]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/history-of-lobotomies/amandasedlakhevener?source=rss

The history of the lobotomy, a medical procedure that involved entering a patient's brain and severing the connections between the front lobe and the remaining sections, is quite disturbing. How did lobotomies start? What were the differences before and after lobotomies? Doctors were influenced by the ancient practice of trepanation, in which holes were drilled into the skull for a number of ritualistic and medical reasons.

The first lobotomies were performed on animals in the 1890s and within 50 years, doctors were conducting early lobotomy procedures on mentally ill humans. In the 21st century, lobotomies are viewed as archaic and barbaric because history has seen the horrific aftermath. Oftentimes, patients were left as little more than drooling toddlers who struggled with daily tasks. Although the procedure did help some people, for the most part, lobotomy history shows that it did more harm than good. 

Early Lobotomy Surgeons Would Literally Pour Alcohol Onto Their Patients' Brains,

Psychologist Walter Freeman Once Performed 20 Lobotomies In One Day

Once Freeman had simplified his ice pick lobotomy procedure, he could perform many of them in one day. In his view, he was "helping" as many patients as possible. His record was 20 lobotomies in one day. Freeman was reportedly a bit of a showman and he enjoyed having an audience, even when the procedure went wrong and killed his patients. Over the course of his career, Freeman performed 2,900 lobotomies, with his last one taking place in 1967 and ending with the death of the patient after Freeman accidentally severed a blood vessel in the person's brain. 

Joe Kennedy Had A Lobotomy Performed On His Daughter Rosemary, Because She Was A Potential Embarrassment To The Family

Rosemary Kennedy was the third child born to Joseph Sr. and Rose Kennedy. She was the younger sister of former President John F. Kennedy, and, due to a possible brain injury that she received at birth (a nurse reportedly held her in the birth canal for two hours while waiting for a doctor to arrive), Rosemary was the mentally slowest person in the entire family. This seemed fine when she was a child, but once she became an adult, her outbursts led her father to seek treatments.

Rosemary's sister, Kathleen, looked into the newest treatment at the time - the lobotomy. She rejected it as an option, but Joseph Sr. secretly took Rosemary to have it performed. It had drastic consequences, leaving her unable to walk properly or speak properly. As a result, she spent the rest of her life hidden away in a residential care facility and her plight inspired one of her sisters, Eunice, to create the Special Olympics.

Moniz, An Argentinean Neurologist, Was Awarded A Nobel Prize For Inventing The Procedure, Which Was Then Known As A "Leucotomy"

In the 1920s and '30s, a neurologist in Argentina named Antonio Egas Moniz fine-tuned a procedure that he called a leucotomy. It involved drilling holes in the front sections of the skull, then inserting a metal implement with a wire attached to demolish segments of the tissue in the frontal lobe of the brain. After this was completed, he poured a small amount of absolute alcohol into that part of the brain to kill any remaining live tissue. His procedure was reportedly so successful (or so people believed at the time) that Moniz was awarded a Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1949. 

Freeman Performed Lobotomies On A Disproportionate Amount Of Women And African Americans

In 2005, author Jack El-Hai was researching a book on Walter Freeman. Called The Lobotomist: A Maverick Medical Genius and His Tragic Quest to Rid the World of Mental Illness, it was contained plenty of information about Freeman and his practices. While researching, El-Hai uncovered some disturbing statistics about the patients who Freeman chose to undergo lobotomies: they were disproportionately female and African American.

Part of this was because doctors at the time believed that women were more likely to be able to function at home as caregivers after undergoing a lobotomy and they wouldn't need as much rehabilitation afterwards as someone who went out of the house to work. Another factor, according to Freeman's records, was that African Americans had greater family ties that would help them recover properly from the procedure. 

In The 1940s, Over 40,000 Americans Underwent The Procedure - Including A Four-Year-Old Child

Over the course of the 1940s, a whopping 40,000 people were lobotomized throughout the United States. In 1949 alone, 5,000 underwent the procedure. The people who received it weren't all adults either - one was a four-year-old child. Another was also a 12-year-old boy named Howard Dully who suffered from a "reluctance to go to bed on time" and had the bad habit of daydreaming. Dully received his lobotomy in 1960, proof that it took some time for the procedure to fade out as a treatment option. 

Gottlieb Burkhardt Removed Parts Of Schizophrenic Patient's Brains In The 1890s

Gottlieb Burkhardt, a doctor at a mental asylum in Switzerland, was inspired by the work of Friederich Golz, who removed parts of the brains of dogs to make them calmer. In 1892, Burkhardt decided to conduct a similar procedure on six patients in his asylum. All suffered from agitation and hallucinations. Burkhardt removed sections of their cerebral cortex in the hopes of curing them. Although the complete results of his procedure (which didn't yet have a name) are unknown, the four who survived the operation were reportedly calmer. However, Burkhardt's experiments were viewed negatively in the medical community, so for 40 years, research into this new field of surgery was heavily frowned upon. 

Mentally Ill WWII Veterans Were Given Lobotomies To Treat What Is Now Known As PTSD

According to records found in the National Archives, nearly 2,000 World War II veterans received lobotomies. The lobotomies were performed on vets who had been diagnosed with depression, schizophrenia, and psychosis - all of which have symptoms overlapping with what is now known as PTSD. In some cases, war veterans received the lobotomies against their will, and for the most part, they were left with serious problems, such as seizures, the loss of motor skills, and even amnesia.

While it was a success for some of the men, the fact that the US Department of Veteran's Affairs didn't save any of the records in their current files and downplays the lobotomies, shows that weren't proud of having forced the procedure on the men whose wellbeing they were in charge of. 

The Lobotomy Turned Some Patients Into "Living Zombies"

In some cases, when it was done carefully, the lobotomy helped patients. However, most of the time, it had drastic consequences that resulted in patients becoming zombie-like versions of themselves. There are many stories of former lobotomy patients not being able to walk, talk, or even perform simple tasks after the procedure. Others were left feeling apathetic, forgetful, unreactive, or even careless. While it did take away the violent tendencies of the mentally ill, it did so at a great cost. 

Psychologist Walter Freeman Renamed And Simplified The Procedure, Turning It Into The Ice Pick Lobotomy

American psychologist Walter Freeman took Moniz's ideas to a different level. Freeman simplified the procedure and renamed it the lobotomy. Instead of drilling holes into a patient's brain, he simply inserted an implement that resembled an ice pick into their eye sockets. This made recovery time faster, since there were no incisions. Also, rather than using Moniz's two-pronged approach of a leucotomy tool and alcohol, Freeman simply severed the connections between the front lobe and the rest of the brain. This became known as a transorbital lobotomy, the procedure that most people associate with the word, "lobotomy." 

The Procedure Was Used To Treat Schizophrenia, Compulsive Disorders, And Depression

Prior to the beginning of the WWII, there were over 400,000 people in mental institutions. During the early 20th century, most people with a mental illness were put into institutions. The lobotomy was designed to help the patients, specifically those with schizophrenia, depression, and compulsive disorders. Once they were treated, they would either be able to function in regular society, be cared for by family, or be less of a hassle for the nurses and orderlies in the asylums. 

Fri, 14 Jul 2017 05:48:28 PDT http://www.ranker.com/list/history-of-lobotomies/amandasedlakhevener
<![CDATA[16 Famous Bodies From History Found In Inconspicuous Places]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/famous-historical-bodies-in-strange-places/brian-guthrie?source=rss

You might expect the locations where historical figures are buried to be grand. Royals like Anne Boleyn and Louis XIV seem destined for ornate coffins, and it's easy to assume great artists such as Leonardo da Vinci and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart would be interred in fittingly beautiful surroundings. But there are a surprisingly number of stories about historical figures buried in decidedly less glamorous places. Just consider Richard III – his remains were discovered in a parking lot.

How did the bodies of these notable individuals turn up in humble locations like construction sites? Some of that has to do with the reputation of the deceased. Throughout history, souvenir-hunters have made off with relics from the famous and dead. And then there are the sometimes despised rulers – there's nothing like a good revolution to ensure corpses go missing.

From a mysterious head discovered in an attic to entrails stuffed in a barrel, there's no shortage of bodies found in weird places. And these are just the famous people. Who knows how many other corpses have been lost to antiquity?

16 Famous Bodies From History Found In Inconspicuous Places,

Anne Boleyn

Anne Boleyn was the second wife of Henry VIII of England, and the mother of Elizabeth I. But that historical standing didn't warrant the onetime queen a decent burial.

After her beheading in 1536 – following almost certainly false accusations of adultery, witchcraft, incest, and conspiracy – Anne's body was buried in an unmarked grave in the Chapel of St. Peter ad Vincula in the Tower of London. Her corpse remained there until 1876, when parts of the pavement in the church collapsed. As workers lifted the pavement to repair it, they found remains later identified as Anne's. Her body has since been moved to a marked site within the chapel.

Edward V of England

Following his father's death in 1483, Edward V assumed the throne of England at the age of 12. His Uncle, the Duke of Gloucester, was appointed as his regent; he quickly deposed Edward and became Richard III. After his successful coup, Richard III locked Edward and his younger brother Richard up in the Tower of London, where they vanished from history. Legends arose about what became of the two boys. Some say they escaped; others believed they were brutally murdered in the Tower.

In 1674, workers remodeling the Tower stumbled onto two wooden boxes buried under steps leading to the White Chapel. They contained the remains of two boys assumed to be the missing brothers. No other examination was done until 1933, when further study declared the skeletons to be a close match to the missing boys.


Hatshepsut was one of the most successful pharaohs to reign over ancient Egypt. She ruled over a particularly prosperous time in Egypt, from around 1479-1458 BCE. Some of the monuments she built still stand to this day.

That didn't save Hatshepsut from nearly being wiped from history by her stepson after her death. Much of what she had built was destroyed or buried. Even her tomb wasn't safe; when archeologists opened it 1902, it was empty. A nearby tomb, however, contained two female bodies. One was identified as Hatshepsut's wet nurse, and the other remained a mystery.

In 2006, scientists decided to finally determine who the mystery woman was. The key to their research lay in a molar found in a box bearing Hatshepsut's name. They matched the tooth to the unidentified body, and concluded the remains likely belonged to Hatshepsut.

Henry IV of France

Henry IV was one of France's most popular kings, despite religious conflicts between the Protestant king and the Catholic church. He reigned from 1589 to 1610 and is most famous for issuing the Edict of Nantes, a religious freedom bill. But his life came to a bitter end when he was stabbed in the back by a Catholic fanatic. Henry was buried in the Basilica of Saint Denis in Paris. However, during the French Revolution and the subsequent desecration of the royal tombs, his body was disinterred.

What happened next is a bit of a mystery. Most claim his body was lost in the new burial trenches before the mixed remains were later exhumed and reinterred in the Basilica. His head was likely stolen by looters – but it eventually seemed to turn up in the attic of a tax collector in 2010.

Leonardo da Vinci

Not even the great Leonardo da Vinci was immune to the ravages of the French Revolution. The Italian artist's body was placed in a tomb in the chapel of Saint-Florentin at the Chateau d'Amboise in 1519, but the structure was looted and destroyed at the end of the 18th century.

It would take more than sixty years before someone found bones presumed to be da Vinci's buried nearby. A new tomb was built in the smaller chapel of Saint-Hubert during the 19th century, but a sign was hung over the tomb declaring doubts about the true identity of the remains. However, with the success of identifying other long-lost bodies using DNA, hope has arisen that the identity of the bones could finally be proven once and for all.

Louis XIV of France

Louis XIV, the Sun King, is one of the most famous kings in French history. He brought the court to glittering new heights of excess, and transformed Versailles from a hunting lodge into the sumptuous pleasure palace that still stands today.

Even in death, Louis seemed determined to outshine the kings and queens of the past. As was tradition, his body was divided into three parts – body, heart, and entrails – and interred in three different locations. The body was destroyed during the French Revolution, though erroneous accounts claimed it was preserved. The heart essentially disappeared, and no one knows what became of it.

Louis's third piece, his entrails, were interred in a barrel at Notre Dame. Unfortunately, the record of where exactly that barrel ended up remained a mystery for 200 years. Finally, though, historians were able to determine the entrails had been placed at the foot of the stairs leading to the sanctuary.

Richard III of England

Richard III gained quite the reputation during his two years on the English throne. He was appointed regent for his young nephew, Edward V, but soon deposed of the boy and his brother (and likely murdered them) and took the crown for himself. Richard's political adversaries didn't take too kindly to the new monarch; he was defeated and killed in battle against the future Henry VII in 1485.

Richard was made an example; his naked body was put on display as a warning before being buried in a Leicester church. The site was eventually rebuilt, and Richard's body disappeared until 2013. That's when an excavation at the locale – now a parking lot – turned up a skeleton. DNA testing proved its identity, and Richard was finally laid to rest in Leicester Cathedral in 2015.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Like many of the not-so-rich Europeans of his age, composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was buried in a common grave and later was moved to make room for more bodies. During one of these moves, his skull vanished. Presumably, it became a morbid souvenir, and passed through the possession of many different Viennese citizens before landing in the hands of anatomist Joseph Hyrtl. There, it presumably stayed, although no records of the skull can be found.

In 1902, a skull was donated anonymously to the Mozarteum, with a label marking it as Mozart's placed by Hyrtl. Multiple attempts have been made to properly identify the skull as Mozart's, though the results have been inconclusive. Whoever the skull belonged to, it was removed from display because of complaints by guests stating the skull emitted eerie music.

King Arthur Might Have Been Buried In A Log

The location of isle of Avalon, the mythical final resting place of King Arthur, has been the source of much debate and study throughout history. But has Arthur's tomb been in plain sight all along?

The monks of Glastonbury Abbey seem to believe so. According to one story, in 1191, a dying monk wished to be buried between two pyramid structures on the grounds of the abbey church. When the monks began digging, they found a grave 16 feet underground. It contained two bodies entombed in a log and a cross bearing the names of Arthur and Guinevere.

However, most historians and experts have dismissed the claims as a 12th century publicity stunt to raise money for the abbey.

Prince Alexei And Grand Duchess Maria Romanov Were Dumped In The Woods

The imprisoned Czar Nicholas II and his family were executed by Bolshevik forces on July 17, 1918. Their bodies were burned and doused with acid, and left in a birch grove outside of Yekaterinburg. But only nine bodies out of the supposed 11 people killed that night were uncovered. Prince Alexei's remains were missing, as were those of Grand Duchess Maria. Did the two children somehow escape?

They hadn't. In 2007, an amateur historian was exploring the birch grove when his prodder slipped through some brambles with a crunch. He had stumbled upon bone fragments, all that remained of Alexei and Maria.

Thu, 15 Jun 2017 02:13:28 PDT http://www.ranker.com/list/famous-historical-bodies-in-strange-places/brian-guthrie
<![CDATA[Some Historians Think These Historical Figures Died As Virgins]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/asexual-historical-figures/erin-wisti?source=rss

Awareness of asexuality has been rising in recent years, but this sexual orientation is nothing new. This orientation, marked by a lack sexual attraction, can be found throughout history. Asexual historical figures include philosophers, composers, artists, and writers. Famous asexual people in history often never married or had mostly sexless unions.

Even though these asexuals may have lacked the modern language to describe their orientation, many indicated their preferences in a way that reflects how they identified. Authors, inventors, celebrities, and political figures - history proves asexuals have always been among the general population.

This list of historical asexual icons is a reminder that human sexuality is as diverse as any other aspect of humanity and obviously was no hindrance to the capabilities of those listed. These figures already made the history books and now you know they were also asexual.

Some Historians Think These Historical Figures Died As Virgins,

Adolf Hitler

Adolf Hitler’s sex life has long been a subject of fascination and there has been a lot of speculation over the years about his relationship with Eva Braun. Some of those rumors are that he died a virgin who was uninterested in sex.

Another allegation is that Hitler was obsessed with hygiene to the point where sex was difficult for him. One maid of Hitler's claimed he was “not strongly sexed.” Due to the mudslinging of political propaganda, it's impossible to sift the truth out of what we know about Hitler's sexual orientation, but ambiguity has often been the trait of an asexual.

Edward Gorey

Edward Gorey was an illustrator and writer known for his quirky and morbid works of literature. He was also asexual. He never married or had children. While his work sometimes featured sexual themes, he once said in an interview that he was "reasonably undersexed." Like other asexuals he preferred to be known and understood outside of his sexuality saying, “I am a person before I am anything else.”

Emily Brontë

Emily Brontë was a very private person and as such it’s impossible to be entirely certain of her sexual orientation. Some Brontë scholars believe she died a virgin, never having had physical relationships with men or women. However, most Brontë scholars think that the content of her novels would suggest she may have been asexual, but she was not aromantic.

Florence Nightingale

Interestingly, though "the Florence Nightingale effect" is a situation where a caregiver develops an attraction to the patient they are caring for, the effect's namesake, Florence Nightingale, was likely asexual. The famous nurse never married and instead chose to devote her life entirely to her work. She even refused a marriage proposal from a suitor who had been pursuing her for years. 

Nightingale rarely discussed her personal life and the term “asexual” was not widely used at the time, but asexual activists and scholars strongly suspect she lacked sexual interest.

George Bernard Shaw

Renowned playwright George Bernard Shaw was a man far more interested in intellect than sex. He never consummated his marriage (also at the request of his wife, Charlotte Frances Payne-Townshend) and was a virgin until 29. Shaw told friends he appreciated the ability of sex to produce "a celestial flood of emotion and exaltation" but only as it compared to the "conscious intellectual activity" he strove for with his work.

H. P. Lovecraft

H.P Lovecraft was a beloved science fiction author. While his fantasy writing was often hyper-sexual, Lovecraft himself lacked much interest in physical intimacy. He was a virgin when he married at 33 and the relationship crumbled within three years due to Lovecraft's disinterest in sex. According to his wife, Lovecraft was squeamish at even the mention of the word "sex." 

Isaac Newton

Isaac Newton's supposed asexuality is based on his recorded behavior and lifestyle. He had strict religious views, never married, was obsessive in his scientific careers, and supposedly died a virgin. Whether he truly lacked sexual attraction or was simply too immersed in making massive scientific discoveries to have a sex life is unsure. 

J. M. Barrie

J.M. Barrie, the man who wrote Peter Pan into existence, was reportedly asexual. His marriage was never consummated and ended in divorce when his wife cheated on him. Because of his relationship with his neighbor children, and the subject matter of his books, some speculated Barrie was prone to pedophilia. Those who knew him closely vehemently deny Barrie ever exhibited such behavior. Instead his lack of sexual relationships was more likely due to his asexuality. 

Nikola Tesla

Nikola Tesla, the revolutionary engineer who was instrumental in the invention of electricity, also lived a life of celibacy typical of asexuals. He showed very little interest in sexual relationships throughout his life, preferring to focus on science. Many asexuals describe their lack of attraction as a blessing allowing them sharp focus. Once again, we have a person who could have been too busy (and brilliant) to focus on relationships, but who's asexuality likely allowed him to be busy (and brilliant). 

T. E. Lawrence

Tragically, T.E. Lawrence – a man immortalized in the film Lawrence of Arabia – was sexually assaulted while held prisoner during The Great War. His lack of sexual and romantic relationships in life were mostly attributed to this trauma but some scholars argue he may have been asexual. 

He had no documented relationships with men or women. Most notably, since it was the turn of the 20th century, Lawrence was known to be non-judgmental of homosexuals. His personal orientation may have motivated his tolerance. 

Fri, 14 Jul 2017 08:06:04 PDT http://www.ranker.com/list/asexual-historical-figures/erin-wisti
<![CDATA[Putting 'Dunkirk' To The Historical Accuracy Test]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/dunkirk-historical-inaccuracies/stephanroget?source=rss

Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk opened to rave reviews from critics and audiences alike, earning special accolades for its dramatic yet accurate representation of the evacuation at Dunkirk. But just how historically accurate was Dunkirk? It’s been many years since the 1940 operation that saw 338,226 people evacuated across the English Channel in just eight days. The story of Dunkirk is extraordinarily well-documented, and Nolan seemed determined to tell that story as accurately as possible. That makes Dunkirk the film an honest portrayal of Dunkirk the event, and one of the most precise World War II movies ever. 

That’s not to say that Nolan’s Dunkirk was historically flawless. When creating a movie, certain artistic licenses need to be taken in order to make the story work on screen, and Dunkirk is no different. Despite Nolan’s insistence on historical accuracy, there are plenty of minor tweaks, exaggerations, and thematic choices that might leave a history professor tutting with disapproval. 

Putting 'Dunkirk' To The Historical Accuracy Test,

All The Characters Are Fictional

First and foremost, none of the personal stories seen in Dunkirk are real because all of the characters in the film are fictional. Although the characters are meant to be accurate portrayals of the Dunkirk experience, none of them are based on any one person specifically. None of the soldiers, officers, pilots, or civilians seen in Dunkirk are authentic, so they won’t be found in a history book. Christopher Nolan chose to do this because he wanted to tell the entire story of Dunkirk, as opposed to one individual’s journey.

Commander Bolton Is A Composite

The only character in Dunkirk who has direct historical influences is Commander Bolton, portrayed by Kenneth Branagh. Bolton is a composite character based on people like Sir Bertram Ramsay, who was in charge of the overall evacuation, and James Campbell Clouston, an officer who oversaw the actual loading of evacuees into ships. Some others have argued that Bolton more closely resembles the story of Captain William Tennant. Either way, Bolton was clearly meant as a representation of the heroism shown by the officer class during Dunkirk. 

The German Color Scheme Is Premature

The imagery present in Dunkirk is incredibly accurate, with Christopher Nolan and his team going to great efforts to make everything look just right. However, some deliberate creative choices were made in order to help the audience follow the action. While the German Luftwaffe would eventually adopt a yellow color scheme for their fighters, they had yet to do so when the Dunkirk evacuation occurred. Nolan decided to speed up the recoloring so that Dunkirk audiences would have an easier time following the dogfighting action.

That Ship Is An Impostor!

The team behind Dunkirk used as much authentic material as possible when creating the film, but real leftovers from World War II are not the easiest thing to come by. Although the British Navy was loaded with destroyers at the time of the Dunkirk evacuation, there aren’t that many floating around anymore. Christopher Nolan and his crew were forced to use a French destroyer instead, although they dressed it up to appear British. Only the most dedicated of naval historians would have been able to spot the difference, but there are probably a lot of naval historians who went to this movie, so somebody was probably offended.

The Little Navy Is A Bit Exaggerated

The role of the “Little Ships of Dunkirk,” as the civilian fleet was commonly known, is definitely overplayed in the film. The smaller vessels did play an important part in ferrying soldiers from shore to larger vessels in deeper waters, but the depiction of them as absolutely vital to the operation is not really accurate. Only about 5% of the more than 300,000 people evacuated were rescued by “little ships,” highlighting that Royal Navy vessels still did a majority of the work. However, 5% is not insignificant at all, and the “little ships” saved thousands who might otherwise have been lost, so it is easy to see why Christopher Nolan focused on them for thematic purposes.

The RAF Presence

For a multitude of reasons, the movie Dunkirk plays down the role of the Royal Air Force in the Dunkirk evacuation. While three Spitfire pilots do play a large role in the film, they’re depicted as the only aerial response from the British against the Luftwaffe. It is true that the British held back a large portion of the RAF for the pending Battle of Britain, and it is true that soldiers on the beaches expressed dissatisfaction with the RAF presence, but they still played an enormous role. Overall, RAF pilots flew over 3,500 sortees during the evacuation and lost 145 planes.

Downed Pilots Had To Fight To Get On Rescue Boats

The animosity seen in Dunkirk between troops on the ground and in the air was definitely real. Soldiers escaping Dunkirk were not pleased that the Royal Air Force was largely held back in England during the evacuation, and some of them blamed the pilots themselves, rather than the men giving the orders. The pilot portrayed by Jack Lowden is rescued from his downed plane and let onto a boat, but on at least one occasion, RAF pilots had to fight their way onto rescue boats, with more than a few voices shouting to let them drown.

The Royal Navy's Presence

The largest complaint that some historians have with Dunkirk is its portrayal of the scope of the Royal Navy. At the time, Britain absolutely ruled the seas and they had more than 200 destroyers at their disposal. 41 destroyers were deployed to Dunkirk, whereas the film only shows a handful (most of which sink). The Navy also sent hundreds of smaller ships to aid in the evacuation in real life, which aren’t really seen in Dunkirk.

The Spitfire’s Capabilities

Sometimes, historical accuracy is put aside simply because it wouldn’t work well for a film. The capabilities of Spitfires during World War II is a good example. Real Spitfires had about 15 seconds worth of ammunition, but the pilots in Dunkirk fire off shots for a lot longer than that. Pilots would rarely shoot down more than one enemy on a single flight due to these limitations, but that would have made the dogfighting action in Dunkirk quite boring. In addition, Spitfires wouldn’t have been able to land on a beach with their landing gear as depicted at the end of the film. 

German Luftwaffe Were Not That Effective

The German Luftwaffe looks like a devastating power in Dunkirk, and Britain would soon experience that destructive capability when regular bombings began. However, the Luftwaffe weren’t actually as effective or as prevalent at Dunkirk as they appear to be in the movie. The British lost more than 200 ships during the evacuation, but the majority were sunk by collision or torpedo. The Luftwaffe only sank 31 ships, which is not an insignificant number, but isn’t quite the massacre seen in Dunkirk.

Mon, 17 Jul 2017 06:38:18 PDT http://www.ranker.com/list/dunkirk-historical-inaccuracies/stephanroget
<![CDATA[Fascinating Facts You Didn't Know About The Hindenburg And Its Untimely Demise]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/facts-about-the-hindenburg-disaster/nicky-benson?source=rss

On May 6, 1937, the German passenger airship LZ 129 Hindenburg, a type of rigid aircraft known as a Zeppelin, was making its final approach to Manchester Township, New Jersey, when it caught fire and crash landed. In total, 35 of the 97 people on board died in the disaster along with one ground crewman.

Once ignited, the ship crashed quickly, with some reporting the entire incident took as little as 32 seconds from the first sign of distress to the airship hitting the ground. The disaster captured the public's attention thanks to the eyewitness testimony of a reporter who was present and the fascinating and disturbing footage filmed during the disaster. 

There have been many theories about what went wrong during the fateful flight of the Hindenburg. The fire could have been caused by lightning, static electricity, or may have been an act of anti-Nazi sabotage. Despite an airship's ability to travel over the ocean in considerably less time than an ocean liner, all airship travel ceased after the explosion. 

This fiery historical disaster continues to intrigue those who see the jarring imagery captured during its final moments. But history has revealed more around this crazy moment in time not captured in photographs. Here are a few of the fascinating details. 

Fascinating Facts You Didn't Know About The Hindenburg And Its Untimely Demise,

Despite Containing Highly Combustible Gas, Passengers Were Allowed To Smoke

The Hindenburg was filled with seven million cubic feet of hydrogen gas, but that didn't stop the ship's designers from including a smoking lounge on board. Passengers were banned from bringing their own matches and lighters on the ship but they could buy cigarettes and Cuban cigars once aboard.

Smokers had to use a special pressurized room that prevented hydrogen from coming inside. A steward escorted people into the room to make sure they were abiding by safety protocol and no cigars, cigarettes, or pipes were allowed out of the room still lit.  

The Disaster Was Blamed On Anti-Nazi Sabotage

Both German and American accident investigators determined in 1937 that the Hindenburg fire was started by an electric spark that ignited when it reached leaking hydrogen. There are those who believe that the electric spark origin story is only a theory. Initially many in the public speculated that the Hindenburg was purposely set on fire as an act of anti-Nazi sabotage. Following the disaster, rigid airships were no longer used for commercial air transportation.

It's The Most Famous Airship Disaster In History (But Not The Worst)

People remember the Hindenburg disaster because of both the famous film footage that was shot when it occurred and because of the eyewitness report by Herbert Morrison - who muttered the now famous line, "Oh, the humanity!"

However, this wasn't the first or most deadly airship crash on record at the time. In 1933, the U.S. Navy airship USS Akron got caught up in a major storm and crashed off the coast of New Jersey. In that disaster, only three passengers survived and 73 died. Additionally, in 1930, the British military airship R101 crashed resulting in 48 lives lost.

The Ship Wasn't Even Originally Going To Use Flammable Gas

The Hindenburg was originally designed to be filled with helium gas, however, export restrictions by the United States against Nazi Germany meant that highly flammable hydrogen gas had to be used instead. The ship reached top speeds of 84 mph with a cruising speed of 78 mph. During its inaugural season the Hindenburg carried over 1,000 passengers between Germany and the United States.

The Airship Was Almost Named For Adolf Hitler

Paul Joseph Goebbels, the Reich Minister of Propaganda of Nazi Germany and a close associate of Adolf Hitler, wanted the airship to be named after the Führer. Dr. Hugo Eckener, the head of the Zeppelin company, was anti-Nazi and instead named the airship for late German president Paul von Hindenburg.

Hitler wasn't exactly enamored with airships to begin with and after the crash was likely especially grateful not to have shared a name with the doomed vehicle.

Passengers Jumped Out Of The Windows To Escape The Fire

The airship had 97 passengers and crew members on board when it burst into flames, but less than half were killed in the disaster. Thirteen passengers, 22 crew members, and one worker on the ground perished. One of the more gory details of the incident was that passengers were forced to jump in an effort to save themselves.

Some of these jumpers survived as the Zeppelin was close enough to landing to be near the ground. Others either did not survive the jump or couldn't run away from the aircraft before it ran aground. 

Surprisingly, Most Of The Casualties Were Not Burn Victims

The hydrogen on the Hindenburg burned quickly but safely above the passengers as they flew. This flammable gas is what kept the ship afloat. Once the skin of the airship was on fire - for whatever reason - it quickly ignited the gas. Surprisingly, despite the fiery spectacle the disaster was, only two people actually died from being burnt to death. These two passengers were likely close to the proximity of the fire's origin. 

The Fire Consumed The Ship In Less Than A Minute

The Hindenburg was destroyed in less than one minute. By some accounts, it took just 32 seconds for the airship to catch fire and crash to the ground. The Hindenburg’s commander, Captain Max Pruss, delayed the landing in order to wait out a storm. Landing ropes were dropped when the ship was approximately 180 feet from the ground. Most witnesses saw the first flames at 7:25 p.m. and the fire spread quickly over the next minute, consuming the airship.

Pieces Of Mail That Survived The Disaster Are Very Valuable Today

One of the functions of a Zeppelin at the time was its use in delivering airmail service across the Atlantic. On its fateful last voyage, the Hindenburg was carrying an estimated 17,000 pieces of mail. Most of it was destroyed, but 176 pieces survived because they were stored in a protective container. While they were charred from the fire, they were still readable. The mail was postmarked four days after the airship was destroyed and is highly valuable among modern collectors.

The Hindenburg Was Meant To Be A Symbol Of Nazi Power

In 1936, the Hindenburg made its first public flight alongside other ships to gain support for a referendum ratifying the reoccupation of the Rhineland. Loudspeakers on the airship blared patriotic music and pro-Hitler propaganda. The airship also dropped leaflets and swastika flags on cities in Germany. Notably, the airship itself was adorned with swastikas on its tail fins.

Wed, 07 Jun 2017 07:23:04 PDT http://www.ranker.com/list/facts-about-the-hindenburg-disaster/nicky-benson
<![CDATA[How The Crash of Uruguayan AF Flight 571 Drove A Rugby Team To Cannibalism]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/andes-flight-disaster-details/nicky-benson?source=rss

On Oct. 13, 1972, a plane carrying 45 passengers, including the Old Christians Uruguayan rugby team, crashed in the Andes between Chile and Argentina. The Uruguayan Air Force flight 571 survivors believed they would be rescued within days. They could not have predicted how long their ordeal would last or that they would become famous as the "Andes mountains cannibals."

Of the 27 passengers who survived the impact, only 16 returned home alive when they were finally rescued over two months after the crash. In order to survive on an Andes mountainside, the rugby team crash survivors were forced to consume the flesh of fellow passengers who passed away.

Their plight has been referred to as the "miracle of the Andes" considering the incredible odds many of them beat to eventually return home. By the time they were rescued, search parties had been called off. Before resorting to cannibalism, many of them prayed to God to give them guidance. But they were starving, and while it couldn't have been an easy decision, they found the courage to cut into the bodies of their once co-passengers in order to sustain themselves. 

Following their rescue, the Uruguay rugby team's cannibalism made headlines all over the world. Many were stunned by their actions. Several of the survivors wrote books, and the movie Alive is based on their traumatic incident. Read on to learn more facts about the Andes flight disaster and just what a person can endure before they are driven to cannibalism.

How The Crash of Uruguayan AF Flight 571 Drove A Rugby Team To Cannibalism,

The Plane Was Left In Ruins In The Middle Of A Blizzard

When the plane finally came to a stop, the seats, in a domino effect, pushed forward towards the cockpit. The smell of jet fuel and people's screams filled the air. Canessa remembered how the plane's body split wide open. The fuselage broke apart and the tail was nowhere to be seen. The team, and their family and friends aboard the flight, were surrounded by mountains in the midst of a raging blizzard.

Among The Team's Survival Methods: Urinating In Rugby Balls And Coats Made From Plane Seats

The survivors resorted to many clever devices in order to stay alive.

They melted snow for drinking water using a section of aluminum from one of the seats. They needed blankets for warmth and so they disassembled the wool seat covers. They used seat bottoms as snowshoes to walk around the thick snow. They packed suitcases into the fuselage to block the cold air. They fabricated sunglasses from plastic they found in the pilot's cabin. To accommodate people with broken legs, they made hammocks. They made sleeping bags from insulation in the plane's kitchen and they peed in rugby balls because if they tried to relieve themselves outside their urine would freeze.

Roberto Canessa, a medical student at the time, used his middling skills to nurse the injured. He drained fluids and stabilized fractured bones. He was also responsible for moving the corpses, a job some could not tolerate. He noted in an interview with National Geographic, "You get very smart when you are dying."

The Crash Itself Was Bloody Chaos

Dr. Roberto Canessa, author of I Had To Survive: How a Plane Crash in The Andes Inspired My Calling to Save Lives, relayed how he felt after the plane struck the mountain. His body lurched forward upon impact, and he struck his head. His first thought was that he was going to die. He held on to his seat and began to pray.

Next to him someone yelled, “Please God, help me, help me!” while another person shouted that he was blind. When Canessa looked over at the other passenger, he saw that his brain was coming out of his head. There was also a piece of metal protruding from his midsection.

An Avalanche Struck Several Weeks In, Taking More Lives

Out of the 45 people who were on the plane, 12 died in the crash. Five more passed away within hours. Another person died a week later from sustained injuries. On the 17th day, a sudden avalanche swept over the crash site. Eight people were killed.

This is when times started to get especially dire. The survivors struggled desperately due to a lack of food. Trapped at an altitude of 11,800 feet, their second biggest enemy to starvation was the freezing temperatures.

They Made A Pact To Donate Their Own Bodies If Needed

Canessa and the others had serious difficulty committing to eating another human. As Canessa put it, he felt it was "raping their dignity by invading their bodies."

To come to grips with the notion, Canessa and the others reasoned that if the situation were reversed, they'd want their own bodies to be used similarly. Canessa felt the act of eating another person connected them both physically and spiritually. The survivors then made an agreement that if they died, they would willingly donate their bodies to the other survivors in order that they may live.

A Pilot's Crucial Mistake Led To The Plane's Crash

En route to a rugby match in Chile, the athletes aboard the flight weren't that alarmed when the pilot told them they were about to encounter turbulence. One of the passengers, Roberto Canessa, a 19-year-old medical student, recalled that someone near him said, “Aren’t we flying too close to the mountains?!”

A moment later, the plane hit the side of a mountain. It was an error made by the pilot that brought down the plane. While still high among the Andes, the pilot had turned north to begin the descent into Santiago, Chile, but the mountains were still too high where they were. In an attempt to gain altitude, he tilted the plane nearly fully vertical which caused the plane to stall. It sputtered and then descended, hitting the mountainside. 

Cannibalism Was Inevitable

In order to stay alive, the survivors were forced to eat the bodies of the dead. It was that or die. Roberto Canessa knew human flesh contains protein and fat, similar to any other kind of meat, and that it would sustain the starving passengers. Canessa, due to his medical background, felt confident being the first to cut into the first corpse's body.

Canessa wrote in his memoir of the mental barrier he discovered in eating his friend's bodies. It was one thing to be hungry and know you need food, it was another to know the "food" in one's hand is from a loved one. The process was emotionally taxing on all of the survivors.

The Survivors Were Resistant To Doing The Unthinkable

Nine days after the crash, the survivors' biggest problem became a total lack of food. Everything they found on the plane was gone. The land around them provided neither vegetation nor animals to sustain them. Within days, they were feeling the signs of starvation.

The survivors knew that if they waited too long to eat, they would be too weak to survive. The bodies of the deceased passengers lay preserved in the packed snow away from the fuselage. The solution was obvious. Many of the survivors resisted and many of them prayed, asking God to guide them in the decision to break the universally taboo idea of partaking of human flesh. There was plenty of discourse among the team before starvation led to action. 

They Initially Believed Rescue Would Come Quickly

After they crashed, the team gathered whatever food and warm clothes they could find. They were convinced a rescue would arrive swiftly. They took their empty suitcases and made a cross out of them that could be easily seen. They also carved the snow out with footsteps to write out an SOS message for planes flying overhead.

Their second day of desertion they heard both a jet and a smaller plane fly over them. Elated, they felt sure it was a rescue. Day after day came and went with no sign of help. 

They Made A Pact To Leave Some Bodies Untouched

Canessa sliced into the first body with a shard of glass and each survivor took a section, forcing themselves to consume it. All except one, that is. Coche Inciarte refused initially, unable to stomach eating another human. But eventually, he too took part in order to survive.

What they did is not technically "cannibalism" as that term usually refers to the murderous consumption of a human. The proper term is anthropophagy. Still, they felt the severity of their actions and vowed to consider it a sacred act. Of the 10 bodies they had, they also deemed three of them off limits as food: Fernando Parrado's mother and sister and Javier Methol's nephew.

Fri, 14 Jul 2017 09:02:36 PDT http://www.ranker.com/list/andes-flight-disaster-details/nicky-benson
<![CDATA[The Different (Physical) Sizes Of US Presidents]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/different-physical-sizes-of-us-presidents/justin-andress?source=rss

It goes without saying that the President of the United States of America looms large in this nation's day-to-day life. In some cases, that was very much the case physically. Abraham Lincoln, the tallest president, towered over his contemporaries at 6’3". William Howard Taft, the heaviest president, was a physical force at 340 pounds. Beyond those standouts, though, how much do you really know about the physical lives of the presidents?

These men have run the gamut in size and stature from Lincoln to little James Madison, who was just a pint-sized 5’4". How tall were the presidents? What were the presidential shoe sizes? How much did they weigh? The POTUS owes part of their character to their physical size, just like they owe a bit of themselves to the diseases they battled or their accomplishments in office in the first 100 days. If you have ever wanted to know how big or small each of the Presidents were, your wait is over. Here’s a list with just those facts. 

The Different (Physical) Sizes Of US Presidents,

Andrew Jackson

Height: 6'1"

Weight: 140 lbs

Jackson was “tall and gaunt [...] and carried himself in the ramrod-straight military manner. His face was long and thin, and his eyes were clear, dark blue. He had bushy, iron-gray hair, brushed high above his forehead.” The seventh president also had a notoriously bad temper.

George Washington

Height: 6'0"

Shoe Size: 13

Washington is described as a man with a “slender” build and “with pretty long arms and thighs.” He also had larger than average hands and, presumably, feet to match. William Sullivan described him as "over six feet in stature; of strong, bony, muscular frame, without fullness of covering, well-formed and straight. He was a man of most extraordinary strength.”

James Madison

Height: 5'4"

Weight: 100 lbs

Madison was known for having “brown hair, blue eyes, and a rather tawny complexion. His nose was scarred from once having been frostbitten. He wore a size 7.25 hat. Until his last years he always appeared young for his age.”

James Monroe

Height: 6'0"

Weight: 189 lbs

Monroe was characterized as having “an imposing, muscular body." His eyes were a steely blue-gray and his brown hair shifted into a gentle grey as he aged.

John Adams

Height: 5'6"

A notoriously sickly man, Adams was “stocky in his youth and portly in middle age. He had quick blue eyes and fine brown hair. [...] By the time he became president, his hands shook with palsy, and most of his teeth had fallen to pyorrhea. He refused to wear the ill-fitting dentures of the period and thus, from this time, talked with a lisp.”

John Quincy Adams

Height: 5'7"

Weight: 175 lbs

Quincy Adams had brown eyes and hair that thinned out as he entered old age.

John Tyler

Height: 6'0"

Weight: 160 lbs

The tenth president of the United States, Tyler had blue eyes and brown hair.

Martin Van Buren

Height: 5'6"

Van Buren earned the nickname “Little Magician” during his tenure because of his stature, his excitability, and his constant political scheming.

Thomas Jefferson

Height: 6'2"

Weight: 181 lbs

Shoe Size: 12.5

Edmund Bacon, overseer at Monticello, wrote that Jefferson was "well proportioned, and straight as a gun barrel. He was like a fine horse - he had no surplus flesh. [...] His countenance was always mild and pleasant."

William Henry Harrison

Height: 5'8"

Weight: 162 lbs

The shortest-serving president in United States history, Harrison was “slim, [with] thin brown hair, angular face, fair complexion, closely set eyes, thin lips, strong jaw.”

Wed, 24 May 2017 08:48:01 PDT http://www.ranker.com/list/different-physical-sizes-of-us-presidents/justin-andress
<![CDATA[The Remarkable Tale Of Yasuke, An African Slave Who Became The First Foreign Samurai]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/facts-about-yasuke-african-slave-and-first-foreign-samurai/christopher-myers?source=rss

If you've ever played the video game Nioh, you might have noticed a tall, ax-wielding, black samurai named Yasuke. Maybe you're a fan of the Afro Samurai anime. Perhaps you're a Hollywood insider all about Lionsgate's Black Samurai film, which was announced in spring 2017. All of these projects are based on a real person. Yasuke was an African samurai who arrived in Japan with Jesuits during the Sengoku period (the Yasuke Nioh character's massive ax is a fabrication, alas). 

During his short stay in the annals of Japanese history, Yasuke rose from slave to vassal to sword bearer. The (maybe) former African slave samurai arrived on Japanese shores in 1579, and only appears in recorded history until 1582. In that small window, he made a huge impression on a very important figure in Japanese history: daimyō (warlord) Oda Nobunaga, whom he served in various capacities. Yasuke was one of few foreigners officially designated a samurai, and he fought in a few major battles, which ought to earn him a spot on the list of awesome samurai.

The Remarkable Tale Of Yasuke, An African Slave Who Became The First Foreign Samurai,

No One Knows Where He's From Or What His Real Name Was

No one knows for sure where Yasuke was born. Most accounts attest he was from Mozambique, information gleaned from Histoire Ecclesiastique Des Isles Et Royaumes Du Japon by Jesuit Pere François Solier. However, Solier's work was published in 1627, 48 years after Yasuke first appears in recorded history in Japan. It's unclear where Solier got his information, which makes its accuracy difficult to authenticate. 

Other accounts suggest Yasuke came from the Congo, Angola, or Ethiopia. Really, no one knows anything about him for certain other than what was recorded in Japan durning his lifetime. Even his name is a mystery: Yasuke might be a phonetic translation  (also called a "Japanization") of his birth name. 

Yasuke's age is also uncertain. Some suggest he was 24 or 25 when he arrived at Nobunaga's court in Kyoto, which would put his birth date between 1556 and 1557. Other sources state he was 26 or 27, meaning he could have been born as early as 1554. According to some, he was as young as 16 in 1581, and could have been born as late as 1565 or 1566. Even primary sources contradict one another with regards to his age.

Those With Black Skin Were Well Respected In Japan At The Time; Yasuke Was Invited To Dine With The Daimyō Regularly

According to pioneering work on perceptions of black people in premodern Japan by historian Midori Fujita, those with black skin weren't discriminated against in Yasuke's day. Indeed, it wasn't uncommon for Japanese temples to contain depictions of a black Buddha. 

Yasuke, who spoke some Japanese upon arriving in Kyoto, picked up the language quickly, and before long was invited to dine with Oda Nobunaga, who enjoyed his company. The daimyō also gave Yasuke a house and a katana, and directed his nephew to give the young African money. 

He Was Such A Sensation In 16th Century Japan People Were Crushed To Death Trying To Catch Sight Of Him

When Yasuke arrived in Kyoto as part of Alessandro Valignano's mission inspection tour, he caused such a sensation people mobbed to get a glimpse of him. The throngs of curious onlookers swelled such that people were climbing over one another to get close to Yasuke. According to Lawrence Winkler, author of Samurai Road, "several people were crushed to death clamoring to get a look at him."

He Met At Least Two Of Japan's Three Great Unifiers, And One Very Famous Turncoat

Aside from Oda Nobunaga, Yasuke met a handful of some the most important figures in the history of feudal Japan. Returning from the Battle of Tenmokuzan, Yasuke and Nobunaga met Tokugawa Ieyasu, founder of the Tokugawa shogunate, which rule over unified Japan from 1603 to 1867. Nobunaga was Ieyasu's lord at the time; along with Toyotomi Hideyoshi, who succeeded Nobunaga and preceded Ieyasu, they are known as the great unifiers of Japan. It's possible Yasuke also met Hideyoshi, though this isn't explicitly stated in written records. 

Yasuke also had the misfortune of meeting Akechi Mitsuhide, a general under Nobunaga famous for rebelling against the Oda clan, who is often cited as one of the most loathed figures in Japanese history. 

It's Unclear Whether He Was A Slave

In his book Samurai Road, author Lawrence Winkler refers to Yasuke as "a black African servant." A profile by Leslie Nguyen-Okwu refers to Yasuke frequently as a slave. Some sources suggest he was an African-born attendant, while others posit he was a European-born slave from Portugal or a victim of the Arab slave trade in Africa

Yasuke's Wikipedia page makes no mention of slavery, and asserts that no contemporary accounts of his life before his arrival in Japan exist. Because of this, it's virtually impossible to tell whether he was a slave, and most assertions he was a slave are purely speculation. 

Famed Daimyo (Warlord) Oda Nobunaga Thought Yasuke's Skin Was Painted With Black Ink

Oda Nobunaga supposedly first caught wind of Yasuke on March 23, 1581, when the African's arrival at a Jesuit church caused such a fracas the daimyo heard it from his nearby castle. He summoned Yasuke and, upon first seeing him, assumed his skin was painted. He ordered Yasuke to remove his shirt and had servants scrub his skin to remove the "black ink."

Impressed by Yasuke's stature, demeanor, and genuine otherness, Nobunaga made him a vassal. If Yasuke had at any point been a slave (records are unclear), Nobunaga freed him from that form of bondage and cast him into another: that of the attendant-lord relationship of feudal Japan. A firsthand account of Yasuke and Nobunaga's first meeting reads: 

"[A] black page came from the Christian countries. He looked about 26 or 27 years old; his entire body was black like that of an ox. The man was healthy and good-looking. Moreover, his strength was greater than that of 10 men... his name was Yasuke... He was black, and his skin was like charcoal."

He Was The Only African Ever Officially Granted The Title 'Samurai' By A Japanese Lord

Yasuke first appears in recorded history in 1579, when he was noted as an attendant to Alessandro Valignano, a Jesuit missionary visiting Japan. By 1581, he had captured the attention of daimyo Oda Nobunaga. Nobunaga is regarded as one of the architects of modern Japan; he spent his entire adult life waging a campaign to unite Japan, and managed to bring half the country together under his dictator-like rule, which brought much needed political stability to chaotic regions. In the years after he died, all of Japan unified as a result of events he set in motion.  

By 1581, Nobunaga officially bestowed the rank of samurai on Yasuke, noting the African had the might of ten men. This was a near-unheard of honor for a non-Japanese warrior. As you may or may not know, not just any fool with some swords and a set of armor could become a samurai. The samurai were members of a unique caste in Japanese society. In 1603, some 20 years after Yasuke's ascendency, samurai accounted for only 10% of Japan's population, making them a rare breed. 

He Fought In Major Historical Battles, And Witnessed A Seminal Event In Japanese History

In 1582, Yasuke was present at the Battle of Tenmokuzan, at which the combined forces of Oda Nobunaga and Tokugawa Ieyasu defeated bitter enemies the Takeda clan, which resisted the unification of Japan. 

Later that same year, Akechi Mitsuhide, one of Nobunaga's generals, betrayed Nobunaga. Yasuke fought alongside Nobunaga's men when Mitsuhide's army of 13,000 surrounded and attacked Honnôji Temple in Kyoto, where Nobunaga was staying. Nobunaga realized quite quickly the day was lost, and committed seppuku (he allegedly said "What's done is done" when told the temple was surrounded by Mitsuhide's men). 

Yasuke escaped with Nobunaga's son, Oda Nobutada, whom he planned to serve in the wake of Nobunaga's death. They fled to Azuchi Castle on Lake Biwa, not far from Kyoto, where they were ambushed by Mitsuhide's men. Yasuke fought alongside Nobutada, but they were overwhelmed. Nobutada committed seppuku like his father. 

Mitsuhide got his comeuppance. Just 13 days after the coup, the second great unifier of Japan, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, whom Mitsuhide assumed would be unable to respond to his uprising because he was fighting the Mori clan, signed a peace treaty with the Mori, marched to Kyoto with twice as many soldiers as Mitsuhide could wrangle, and put his enemy's treacherous ass in the ground like a gangster. 

He Fit Right In With Oda Nobunaga's Interest In Foreign Ideas, Which Played A Pivotal Role In Japanese History

As the first of Japan's great unifiers, Oda Nobunaga inexorably changed the direction of Japanese history. His success as a military and political leader was in part due to an abiding interest in foreign ideas and cultures, into which Yasuke played directly. 

Thanks to his interest in the West, Nobunaga revolutionized warfare in Japan, adopting the use of the arquebus (a type of musket) and employing multiple rows of gunners to fire volleys as others reloaded. He also sometimes dressed in Western style, sat at Western-style tables, and drank out of a goblet. His tolerance of Western missionaries caused some to suspect he had converted to Christianity, though it's well documented he was an atheist.

He Was Massive, And Towered Over The Japanese

Yasuke's height was measured at six shaku two sun when he arrived in Oda Nobunaga's court in 1581. Converted from traditional Japanese measurements, this is 188 cm, or about 6'2". At the time, the average Japanese man was about five feet tall, making Yasuke 14 inches taller than the average. For comparisons's sake, in the 2010s, the average American man stands around 5'9". Relative to that height, Yasuke would stand 7'1", about the same height as Shaq. 

Thu, 25 May 2017 07:18:36 PDT http://www.ranker.com/list/facts-about-yasuke-african-slave-and-first-foreign-samurai/christopher-myers
<![CDATA[Reasons the War of 1812 Was the Biggest Mess of a War in American History]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/war-of-1812-giant-mess/amandasedlakhevener?source=rss

In the history of American wars, the War of 1812 is largely forgotten. And that's a shame, because it was a doozy. The War of 1812 started in June of 1812 and ran until January of 1815. You read that right: a war named after a single year ran for almost three. That's just one of many crazy War of 1812 facts.

What was this whole mess about? The United States started the war in response to trade issues, and to protest naval impressment – a policy under which the British essentially kidnapped American citizens and put them to work in the Royal Navy. The conflict was a land grab, too; the U.S. wanted Canada.

None of that worked out as planned, and the War of 1812 became one of the most overlooked American armed conflicts. It was a messy tangle that led to insane war stories, relating how the soldiers lacked uniforms and training, how a battle was fought after the war officially ended, and how nothing was really won when the dust had settled.

Reasons the War of 1812 Was the Biggest Mess of a War in American History,

The War Was Paid For By Private Citizens

By 1812, the United States didn't have the proper tax base in place to pay for a war. There wasn't even a Bank of the United States anymore, as it was shut down in 1811. And wars are expensive; consider the costs of weapons, uniforms, ships, soldiers, and sailors, among other things.

One year into the war, the leaders of the country finally had a tax system and a set of treasury bonds in place, but they were still short by $16 million (in 1813 money). So, they borrowed money to keep the war going. The cash was ponied up by private citizens John Jacob Astor, David Parish, and Stephen Girard.

The U.S. Finally Won A Land Battle – After The War Ended

Two of the largest U.S. victories in the War of 1812 were the Battle of Baltimore and the Battle of New Orleans. In terms of glory, the Battle of Baltimore takes the cake. It was fought on both land and sea, but primarily won on the water. The battle inspired Francis Scott Key to pen "The Star-Spangled Banner"; the soon-to-be national anthem referred to the flag raised over For McHenry after the British withdrew.

Throughout the war, American troops didn't fare very well on land against British or Canadian forces. The Battle of New Orleans, however was a land battle that the U.S. military actually won – after the war was over. The Treaty of Ghent was signed on December 24, 1814, effectively ending the war. However, word didn't travel fast enough to prevent the Battle of New Orleans from taking place a few weeks later. The American victory didn't really matter.

Female Spies Were Everywhere

Women traveled with many of the regiments during the War of 1812, typically cooking and cleaning for the soldiers. But some of these women turned their service into an opportunity by spying on the troops' movements and reporting them to the British.

One woman, Elizabeth Coles Stewart, kept a network of spies going on behalf of her husband. He was a British merchant who lived in the United States, but who had been banished to an inland community for suspected anti-American activities. His wife – who was pregnant at the time – supposedly foiled a blockade-running attempt from an American officer in retaliation.

Another woman, Laura Secord, warned British troops of an impending American attack near Beaver Dams on the Niagara Peninsula. She had overheard plans of the ambush from American soldiers, and walked 20 miles through enemy territory to deliver the message to British command.

The White House Was Set On Fire

The White House is synonymous with America, but the current building technically isn't the first. The original structure was finished in 1801, and Thomas Jefferson was the first president to live in it. The last was James Madison, who was still living there when British troops set it on fire on August 24, 1814.

President Madison and his wife Dolley had already fled. Reportedly, the redcoats ate leftovers in the White House before raiding the interior and setting the building ablaze. Dolley's quick thinking had saved some of the most valuable items, however, including a famous portrait of George Washington.

American Troops Were Vastly Outnumbered

The War of 1812 was fought against the British in name, but in reality it was also waged against the Canadians and some Native American groups.

The reasons for teaming up with the British varied. The Native American tribes that joined in the fight hoped that the British would help them maintain their lands. The Canadians had no choice, since Canada was a British colony. This left the Americans outnumbered and surrounded by enemies.

There Weren't Enough Uniforms For The Soldiers

The newly forged United States was totally unprepared for the War of 1812 – to the point of not having enough cloth to make uniforms for the soldiers. With a lack of standard blue fabric, manufacturers had to substitute in gray, brown, black, and olive green cloth for various regiments. The resulting outfits were colorful, but it made it difficult to tell who was on each side.

America And England Almost Went Bankrupt

During the War of 1812, England was dealing with another foe: the French, led by Napoleon. When the war in America started, the country's military expenditures caused them to nearly go bankrupt.

The United States wasn't much better off, as they didn't even have a taxation plan in place and had to borrow money to keep the war going. In the end, both countries wound up being financially insolvent.

U.S. Soldiers Weren't Properly Trained

American troops weren't properly prepared for the War of 1812. Though West Point was already in existence, there wasn't much of a program in place for standard troops. What's more, there simply wasn't time to get them ready for battle. As a result, the strategies used were ineffective, missions were often bungled, and there weren't enough troops to go around, even with the lure of a weekly salary and a free uniform.

Just Two Gunboats Were Left To Guard A Key Military Fort

Gunboats were the favored naval vessels of the era because they were inexpensive. At the time the war began, the tiny U.S. Navy had a bunch of these small boats, each of which only had two to three guns on board.

The American military left only two gunboats to guard the fort on Mackinac Island in Lake Huron, even though the fort had plenty of munitions, soldiers, and other things the army needed. Needless to say, the defense of the fort was not successful; British troops claimed it almost immediately in 1812. American soldiers wouldn't reclaim the fort until the war was ended in 1815.

Riots Broke Out As People Protested Against The War

Not every American citizen was united during the War of 1812. At the beginning of the war, riots broke out between the anti-war Federalists and the pro-war Democratic-Republicans. Things came to head when a Federalist newspaper in Baltimore published an opinion piece condemning the war and James Madison for leading the country into it. The opposing faction of Democratic-Republicans was so incensed that they rioted outside of the newspaper publisher's office, breaking into it and destroying his printing press. The publisher wound up in the city jail for protection from the mob, prompting them to break into the prison to get to him.

The rioters were out for blood, literally. One account claims rioters were shouting, "We’ll root out the damn’d tories. We’ll drink their blood. We’ll eat their hearts." In the rush on the jail, one man was killed and 11 more were severely injured.

Fri, 18 Nov 2016 08:46:35 PST http://www.ranker.com/list/war-of-1812-giant-mess/amandasedlakhevener
<![CDATA[Things You Never Knew About The Alliance Between Seminole Indians And Escaped Slaves]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/alliance-between-escaped-slaves-and-florida-seminoles/rachel-souerbry?source=rss

The Black Seminoles were a group of people that history, for the most part, forgot about. Their alliance with the native Seminole tribes resulted in a unique relationship that had never been seen before, and that changed the course of history for both the Seminoles and the State of Florida as a whole.

The Black Seminoles, sometimes called Maroons, were a group of freed men and runaway slaves living in Florida during the mid-16th century. They settled the first free black town in American history, attained their freedom by joining the Spanish and converting to Catholicism, and formed a tight cultural bond with the Seminole tribes. 

The participation of the Seminole tribes turned out to be the key to the largest slave rebellion in the United States, although their efforts - and those of the runaway slaves who fought beside them - were largely swept under the rug. 

The Black Seminoles were a fierce, proud, and extremely unique group, and still exist today scattered throughout the Southern US, the Caribbean, and Mexico. Read on to see how they formed their alliance with the Seminoles and fought hard for their freedom.

Things You Never Knew About The Alliance Between Seminole Indians And Escaped Slaves,

The Black Seminole Rebellion Was The Largest And Most Successful Slave Rebellion In American History

Most scholars, even those who focus on African American Studies, have surprisingly overlooked the significance of the Seminole uprising. And for nearly 150 years, it was all but forgotten, as most history books focus on the role of the Native Seminole fighters rather than on the escaped slaves and Black Seminoles who fought alongside them. 

From 1835 to 1838, roughly 385-465 runaway slaves and 500-800 Black Seminoles fought alongside their Native Seminole counterparts in the Second Seminole War, forming an ever stronger alliance that would eventually win them their freedom.

The First Seminole War Set The Stage For Florida To Join The Union

Around 1816, General Andrew Jackson was tasked with the forced removal of any runaway slaves who were being sheltered by the bands of Black Seminoles. The burning and raiding of villages quickly became the catalyst for the first major conflict between whites and the Seminole Nation.

Although the Black Seminoles fought back, Jackson was able to capture the Spanish-held cities of Pensacola and St. Marks. The Spanish ended up ceding Florida in 1819, giving up their claims for sovereign Spanish rule in Texas.

The Black Seminoles Were Ethnic, Sociological, And Political Pioneers

The relationship between the Black Seminoles and the Native Seminoles was complex - they were partners of fate who joined together as a team when it was to their benefit and parted ways when it wasn't. The two groups shared much of their cultures with one another and further unified themselves by practicing intermarriage over the generations.

They were one of the first communities to navigate the murky waters of joining two different ethnic groups, and though they weren't recognized for it back then, today's scholars are finally beginning to acknowledge the great strides that they made as true American pioneers.

The Indian Removal Act Led To The Second Seminole War

From 1835 to 1842, the Seminole Nation waged a brutal war against the white settlers who wanted to again take their land. The land that had been granted to them by the United States as a reservation turned out to be very desirable to plantation owners looking to expand their operations, and the resulting conflict was devastating.

Not wanting to leave their home, the Seminole tribes fought back against the Indian Removal Act. It was an extremely costly war for the US (between $40 and $60 million), and the fighting lasted until around 1838.

Slave Participation In The Second Seminole War Was Widely Unknown

When slavery was still being practiced in the Southern United States, power was the key as whites had to maintain their power over blacks to ensure the continuation of the lifestyles they had established for themselves. This dynamic played a large role in the reason why the escaped slaves who fought in the Second Seminole War were lost to history.

It was in the whites' best interest to downplay any occurrences of slave rebellion - particularly those that were successful - so that other captives would not try it themselves. They even developed a system of euphemisms to use in newspapers to get the story out without any African Americans realizing the truth.

The Seminole Nation's Territory Has Undergone Many Changes

The home of the Seminole Nation has changed many times and spans across several states and countries. After the War of 1812, both the Native and Black Seminoles moved from northern Florida into the southern and central areas of the state, away from the encroaching white settlers. In the early 1820s, a large group also escaped to the Bahamas.

After the Second Seminole War, many Seminoles and escaped slaves were removed to yet another new territory in Oklahoma, but others chose a different path and ended up in Texas and Northern Mexico.

Black Seminoles Joined The Natives On The Trail Of Tears

The Indian Removal Bill was passed in 1830, but it took officials a number of years to actually evict the Seminoles from their home. Many other tribes from across the American Southeast were forcefully relocated into what became known as "Indian Territory" west of the Mississippi.

The Seminoles, however, were marched to New Orleans, where they were placed on a boat that would take them to their new land at Fort Gibson. Having been promised their freedom if they went along, a group of 250 Seminoles including a large number of Black Seminoles agreed to the terms of their journey.

They Were The Only Rebellious African Americans Emancipated Before The Civil War

It was not in the best interests of white plantation owners to admit their defeat by African American rebels; however, that is exactly what happened after the Second Seminole War

In an attempt to appease both sides, the black members of the rebellion were granted their freedom and the incident was purposefully swept under the rug of American history. Although slaves had been granted their freedom in other situations, this was the only time before the Civil War where freedom was granted to runaway slaves.

Their Alliance Began With The Founding Of The First Free Black Village

Spanish settlers in Florida were in the middle of a huge conflict with their British neighbors in the late 1600s, namely the residents of Carolina (which consisted of modern-day Georgia and North/South Carolina). As a result, they needed a fort that could act as a buffer to protect them; so in 1681, Gracia Real de Santa Teresa de Mose, or "Fort Mose," was founded just north of St. Augustine.

With so many escaped slaves seeking freedom in Spanish Florida, the settlers decided that the fort should be run by freed black men. In total, 38 men ran the fort and established the very first all-black town in North America.

When Florida was later ceded to Britain in the Paris Treaty of 1763, the freed men were no longer welcome and many were forced to flee to the Seminole Nation, thus beginning The Seminole Nation's alliance with the Black Seminoles.

John Horse Was An Incredibly Successful Black Freedom Fighter

John Horse was a Black Seminole who led an incredible life. Born in 1812, he died at age 70 having accomplished his dream of securing a land where his people could live freely. 

In fact, he was the leader the largest slave uprising in American history, met two presidents, and was an advisor to Seminole chiefs. He even served as a distinguished officer in the Mexican military. Toward the end of his life, he led his people from Florida to Northern Mexico and provided them with a safe place to live - and his descendants still reside there today.

Wed, 24 May 2017 08:59:02 PDT http://www.ranker.com/list/alliance-between-escaped-slaves-and-florida-seminoles/rachel-souerbry
<![CDATA[What Everyday Life Was Like For Aztecs]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/everyday-life-of-aztecs/melissa-sartore?source=rss

The Aztec civilization was built upon a complex combination of Olmec and Mayan traditions, but during the 14th, 15th, and early-16th centuries, the Mexica people acquired a new level of power, influence, and wealth across Mesoamerica.  

The Mexica originally settled in the area around Lake Texcoco, where they founded their city-state of Tenochtitlan (now Mexico City), and entered into alliances and tributary relationships with neighboring clans and tribes. Clear social expectations, cultural uniformity, and general economic stability allowed the empire of the Aztecs to thrive before eventually falling victim to Spanish conquerors in the sixteenth century. 

The daily life of an Aztec man or woman was full of blood, sweat, and tears - and of course a huge appreciation for nature and the divine. Despite their untimely fate, they did their best to keep their noses clean - literally - and their bellies full.

What Everyday Life Was Like For Aztecs,

Men Could Have Several Wives, But Adultery Was Illegal

Marriage was ceremonial and done according to strict legal conventions. Only a man's first wife, however, went through the elaborate marriage ceremony. Men usually married when they were in their early 20s while women married in their mid-teens and nobles could only marry members of other noble families. Surprisingly, marriages could even be set to a limited period of time.  

A man could take on a secondary wife, who would also be legally recognized, but his rightful heirs would only come from his first marriage. It was usually the wealthier men who took on multiple wives, as they were supposed to treat all of their wives equally and fairly. Concubines were also common, but cheating on one's wife was illegal. Presumably, because men were the head of the household, a woman committing adultery resulted in a death sentence. Men committing adultery with a married woman was also a capital offense. However, court petitions to separate on the basis of abuse, incompatibility, lack of a male heir, or abandonment could be filed in certain circumstances.

They Sang, Danced, And Played Ball

When the Aztecs weren't working or fighting, they played board and dice games, sang, danced, and even gambled. Patolli was one of the most common games and was played by moving tokens on and off a reed mat based on the throw of beans that served as dice. 

Young women were taught dancing and singing in school as part of their instruction in maintaining a household. Musical instruments like drums, flutes, whistles, and rattles were made out of shells, bones, and wood. Singing and dancing was also an important part of religious ceremonies and community celebrations.

The Mesoamerican ballgame predates the Aztec civilization, but they picked up where the Olmec and Maya left off and played the game as a religious event. Just as battles provided Aztecs with sacrificial victims, so too did the ballgame. The game was played on an H-shaped field with the creation story of Mesoamerica carved into the surrounding stone walls. The loser of the game - which involved trying to keep an 8-10 pound rubber ball from hitting the ground or to get it into the opponent's goal - would be sacrificed to the gods.

Accessories Made The Man

Aztec men and women wore simple clothing, but their level of adornment and decoration was a matter of social rule. Individuals of a higher social class were able to dress up their loin cloths, capes (tilma), skirts, and loose fitting shirts with gold bracelets, necklaces, earrings, and pendants. They would also wear furs and feathers to further indicate their social position. 

The elite classes wore clothing made out of ayate cloth, crafted from the maguey cactus, while commoners wore cotton garments. All of the Aztec loved color and often dyed their cloths vibrant shades of yellow, red, and blue with plant and flower dyes. 

The merchant and military classes typically used jewelry to distinguish themselves.  Warrior heroes were able to wear additional ornamentation as they became more successful in battle. Lower classes were unable to wear adornments comparable to their social superiors, but they could dress more elaborately than merchants. Priests on the other hand wore special clothes and costumes (xicolli), which consisted of some sort of jacket or long robe that was dark in color depending on the role the priest was playing.

They Hunted With Blow Darts

One of the many weapons in the Aztec warrior's repertoire was a blow gun, or a tlacalhuazcuahuitl. Warriors also carried slings (tematlatl), bows and arrows (tlahhuitolli and micomitl), and spears (atlatl) in preparation for combat at various ranges, not to mention daggers (tecpatl), batons (cuahuitl), clubs (cuauhololli), and axes (itztopilli) for hand-to-hand combat.  

The blow gun was most commonly used for hunting animals, but would have been a handy tool against one's enemies as well. The guns themselves were five- to six-foot-long hollow tubes, harboring darts that were tipped with poisonous frog secretions. 

Aztec men often hunted for rabbit and deer, which was eaten at ritual feasts with vegetables, corn, and chocolate.

They Ate Bugs And Worms, Among Other Things

Like most cultures across Mesoamerica, the Aztecs depended on maize, or corn, as their staple crop. They also grew a lot of beans and squash, as well as tomatoes, avocados, chilies, tubers, and root vegetables, enjoying a mostly vegetarian diet.

The upper classes ate more meat and fish than the commoners, but there were plenty of ants, grasshoppers, and worms for everyone to enjoy. Insects, which are actually quite high in protein, were often harvested and eaten. Aztec farmers even cultivated insects and used their eggs to make tortillas similar to the ones made out of corn today. Some insects were cooked while others were eaten alive, and some even had presumed medicinal values. In fact, in many parts of Mexico and Mesoamerica today, insects are still part of the cuisine.

Education Was Universal, Mandatory, And Practical

Boys, girls, men, and women all received an education in the Aztec empire, though each group was trained to do specific tasks based upon their gender, age, and social status. Girls and boys were educated by their parents from a young age, with a greater emphasis placed on basic skills. Some girls were also taught sewing, weaving, cooking, and other home-based tasks while boys learned the basics of farming or whatever trade their fathers practiced.  

Noble boys would then branch off to calmecac, which was essentially military school, around the age of 12 or 13. There they'd learn the skills necessary to be warriors - running, jumping, fighting - as well as matters of law, religion, and other civic topics.  They were expected to go on to become government officials, scholars, teachers, or priests.

Around the same age, common boys went to telpochcalli to learn more about agriculture and receive some warrior training. Girls on the other hand went to a separate school to learn about running the household as well as singing, dancing, and crafts. Once common boys and girls finished school, most returned home to put their skills to use.

All of the schools taught about religious rituals and the duties related to citizenship and history. Talented students were then chosen to become priests and ritual healers, respectively.

They Dredged The Lakes And Terraced The Land

Agriculture was essential to the survival of the Aztecs, and as a result they developed several practices to ensure they got the most out of their land. They used the chinampas system (which called for the dredging of mud from the bottoms of swamps to fertilize soil) for planting, growing, and harvesting everything from corn to peppers to tomatoes. Aztec farmers would then place the muck on top of reed rafts and float the rafts on top of water, holding them in place by planting trees or building walls. 

The Aztecs would also channel water into these raised fields and terrace them to increase yield efficiency. In addition to that technique, the Aztecs planted small gardens, collected algae, and fertilized soil with human manure.

They Started Wars When They Needed Humans To Sacrifice

Human sacrifice was a normal part of religious and social convention in the Aztec civilization. Slaves and prisoners of war would be sacrificed to the gods according to a ritual calendar as well as in times of drought, famine, or other periods of strife. If there weren't enough people around to sacrifice, then the Aztecs would start by attacking their neighbors to gather some prisoners for the bloodletting.  

The so-called Flower Wars, the first of which took place in 1450, were likely conducted to bring about tributes from neighbors as well as to train warriors, but were ultimately agreed-upon conflicts where both sides would fight long enough to obtain prisoners for sacrifice. Then the war would end.  

These ritualized conflicts, known as xochiyaoyotl, were never about land or killing, but as the number of sacrificial victims grew, the demographics of different clans and states changed. Resentment grew as well when Tlaxcala, a state within the larger Aztec empire, refused to pay tribute and engage in the wars and, eventually, allied with the Spanish.  

Everything Symbolized Something Else

Aztec civilization was full of symbolism and imagery and gods were associated with animals such as deer, birds, and dangerous beasts. For example, one of the creator gods, Tezcatlipoca, turned into a jaguar and destroyed the world while Quetzalcoatl, the feathered serpent, was the god who would create humans.  

The days on the calendar included animal and natural designations, art and architecture featured similar displays, and in the interest of keeping nature in balance, sacrifices were often made to and with animals. Additionally, body art and jewelry depicted symbols for everything from military conquest to light and dark to happiness and celebration. 

Aztec scribes used symbols, or pictograms, to indicate specific items and details as well as ideograms to record abstract concepts and ideas. A frog, for example, meant joy while a butterfly indicated some sort of transformation.

They Used Merchants As Spies

Trade was essential to the success of the Aztecs, though long-distance merchants were often viewed with great skepticism - they'd been out in the world and made vulnerable to outside influences, after all. Regional markets, however, were managed and overseen by the government and were great outlets for the quick exchange of goods, not to mention gossiping and socializing.

Pochteca, or long-distance merchants, often lived in separate areas of the city and formed their own social groups. And as there were no wheeled vehicles, merchants had to move their goods by hand or on their backs, making it strenuous work. It was also dangerous work at times because of pirates and bandits, so some pochteca were put to work as informants, spies, and messengers. Occasionally, they'd even wear disguises when working for the government gathering information. 

Mon, 19 Jun 2017 09:37:16 PDT http://www.ranker.com/list/everyday-life-of-aztecs/melissa-sartore
<![CDATA[France's Angel Of Assassination's Murder Of A Hero Brought France To Its Knees]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/facts-about-french-assassin-charlotte-cordray/cheryl-adams-richkoff?source=rss

Most anyone with a perfunctory knowledge of world history knows about the French Revolution. The ten-year upheaval in France started in 1789 and was inspired by the American Revolution. It heralded egalitarianism, liberty, and brotherhood for all. But the average person may not be familiar with Charlotte Corday and the role she played in the French Revolution.

Who is Charlotte Corday? History has labeled her the "Angel of Assasination" and she is known to most casual students of history as the aristocrat who murdered French Revolution leader, Jean-Paul Marat, in his bathtub. Marat's death is most famously depicted in Jacques Louis David's painting "The Death of Marat." 

Casual historians would label Corday's act as a tragic setback for the revolutionary cause in France at the time. But diving deeper into the story of this educated, young noblewoman reveals a fascinating and complex character in what is usually seen as black and white historical event. Here's everything your history teacher skimmed over in class about the cunning revolution assassin, Charlotte Corday.

France's Angel Of Assassination's Murder Of A Hero Brought France To Its Knees,

The Murder Weapon Was A Six-Inch Kitchen Knife

Originally, Corday had hoped to kill Marat in a public place, but she heard he was at home due to illness and wrote for an appointment to see him. He refused her twice until she wrote up a letter saying she would give up the name of Girondists Marat was especially hoping to find and kill. 

Marat had a serious skin condition, one which was temporarily relieved by soaking in a bathtub. He set up a desk over his bath so he could work while he soaked. When Corday was allowed in, she did as requested and told Marat what he wanted to know. He was pleased and proclaimed his intentions to kill those she'd just told him about. This propelled Corday into action. She pulled out a sharp, six-inch kitchen knife and stabbed him repeatedly in the chest.

Horrified, Marat cried out "Aidez-moi, ma chère amie!" ("Help me, my dear friend!") He died quickly and, ironically, Marat was known for recommending the use of knives for revolutionaries to kill their aristocratic adversaries.

She Felt Misunderstood After The Assassination

Charlotte Corday was immediately captured and arrested following her murder of Jacobin leader, Jean Paul Marat. A large number of French people were furious, heartbroken, and horrified at her actions. Clearly, to their minds, Corday cared nothing whatsoever for the French people, since she murdered one of their greatest champions. 

She was written off as an aristocrat. Corday was devastated to be so misunderstood in her motives. Prior to her execution by guillotine, she wrote a long letter directed to the French people, in a last effort to explain and justify her actions. She may not have convinced anyone caught up in the fervor of the times, but history has shed light on the consequences of the extremism of the French Revolution. 

Her Motive For Murder Was The Greater Good

Chief among Corday's reasons for murdering Marat was she feared France was descending into civil war. She believed such a conflict would lead to far too many casualties, including of the Girondin friends she already knew to be in hiding from the blood-thirsty Jacobins.

Once caught and put on trial, Corday said that she "killed one man to save a hundred thousand" and hers was a politically calculated move to prevent a shift in the revolution. Little did she know the revolution was only beginning it's "Reign of Terror."

Charlotte Corday Was A Protofeminist Who Advocated For Women's Rights

Like other French Revolutionary women, Corday was involved in demanding rights for women. It was an ideal time for the movement as the overall goals of the revolutionaries involved human rights in general.

Though the term "feminist" had not yet been coined, Corday was certainly among those who could fit into a feminist prototype. It was Corday and other women with enthusiasm for female rights that would influence British author, Mary Wollstonecraft.  She wrote her powerful Vindication of the Rights of Women during this time period. 

She Essentially Supported The Same Revolutionary Ideals Of The Man She Murdered

Charlotte Corday was born to a minor Aristocratic French family from Normandy. An educated young woman, she was caught up in the fervor of the ideals of egalitarianism and liberty promoted by the French revolutionary movement. She supported the ideas the revolutionaries were fighting for, but as the cause pushed forward it split into opposing factions.

Her identity as a minor aristocrat put her into contact with the Girondins, a political party during that supported disbanding the monarchy but resisted the violent spiral the revolution was headed in. The Girondins started as a part of the larger group of Jacobins but eventually the two came to disagree on paths toward their shared goal of enlightenment and restoring power to the people of France. Jean Paul Marat, the man she would assassinate, led the Jacobin movement. Corday believed Marat would be the downfall of the movement.

Corday's Infamy Provides Historical Perspective On The Role of Women In The Revolution

Corday may have realized the significance of her actions but she couldn't have known the longer implications they would have in history. Especially in how women of the revolution would be viewed and the due they deserved.

While longer term successes in the women's movement in France would take much longer to enact, Corday's example of what an educated woman could accomplish and the passion she could exhibit for a cause would prove pivotal in the longer term. 

For example, no one had considered that a woman would be clever enough to plot and enact the brutal murder of a high-ranking and highly respected government official. It was not just that the act itself was so bold, it was the revelation that a woman could be the one to carry it out.

Corday's Corpse Underwent A Virginity Test

As if Charlotte Corday's corpse had not already suffered enough indignities, her body was forced to undergo a "virginity test." Rumors had spread around Paris that she had at least one lover in the city, and she was suspected of more. It was believed a woman thusly educated and violent must also be loose in her sexual morals. It would have provided further reason to villify her. 

The test concluded Corday did indeed die a virgin.

Witnesses Claim Her Decapitated Head Scowled When Slapped

Charlotte Corday was sent to her execution on July 17, 1793. Her demeanor as she arrived at the scaffold was described as calm and collected, despite the efforts of Parisian fishwives hurling words and blows to her as she approached the executioner.

The executioner was a moral man who didn't draw out the execution but his assistant felt the affair needed more show. He picked up Corday's head and slapped it across the cheek. Witnesses stated that when Corday's face was slapped, it took on a look of fierce indignation. As for the executioner's assistant? He was convicted by the same tribunal that doomed Corday, and sentenced to 12 years in prison.

She Was More Educated Than The Average Woman

Charlotte Corday's family was of noble stock, but of modest means. Still, they managed to send her to a convent to receive an education. She had already received some education at home, but then spent five years at the Abbaye aux Dames, in Normandy, where she received a first rate academic education. An abnormal amount of time spent in education for the time period. Her writing, rhetoric, and analytical skills would come in handy as a revolutionary.

Corday Sat For Her Portrait Hours Before Her Execution

Despite impending execution, Charlotte Corday wanted a record of her appearance after she'd murdered Marat. Right after she was sentenced (only four days passed between her arrest and her execution), she asked permission from the court to have a portrait of herself commissioned. She claimed she wanted the portrait to provide evidence of her "true self." Permission was granted, and artist and National Guard officer, Jean-Jacques Hauer produced the portrait.


Wed, 24 May 2017 08:27:37 PDT http://www.ranker.com/list/facts-about-french-assassin-charlotte-cordray/cheryl-adams-richkoff
<![CDATA[Details About The Blood Eagle, One Of History's Most Nightmarish Torture Methods]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/details-about-blood-eagle-torture-method/melissa-sartore?source=rss

The Blood Eagle is one of the most graphic, cruel, and slow torture methods ever described, and it's associated with the Vikings. According to 12th- and 13th-century authors, the Blood Eagle had a long tradition in Scandinavia and was used against the most heinous enemies. There's no exact date attached to its origins, nor is there a specific legal prohibition as to its use, but popular culture depictions keep it alive and well.

The debate among historians about whether or not the Blood Eagle actually occurred continues – was it a real punishment?  Was its inclusion in Viking sagas part of Christian propaganda meant to depict the Scandinavian pagans as heathens? Has the lore of the Blood Eagle surpassed the historical accuracy of its existence?  Here are some details about it to help you answer those questions for yourself!

Details About The Blood Eagle, One Of History's Most Nightmarish Torture Methods,

When The Back Was Open And The Ribs Were Pulled Out, They Literally Rubbed Salt In The Wound

According to Saxo Grammaticus's Gesta Danorum, once the back was cut open, ribs broken, and lungs ripped out, the flesh was then rubbed with salt.

"For the slayer by a cruel death of their captive father, Ragnar's sons act the blood-eagle on Ella, and salt his flesh."  

Saxo, writing in the late 12th and early 13th century, recorded oral traditions and history as well as events from his own time.  The use of salt was picked up by later writers who described it as a "saline stimulant" intended to inflict additional pain and suffering, applied after the ribs were spread but before the lungs were spread. 

Blood Eagle Or Blood Owl? Both Were Used To Describe It

The conventional term for the back-breaking, rib-cracking, lung-spreading practice associated with the Vikings refers to eagles, but it could also be associated with owls. According to Saxo, the term eagle was used by men who rejoiced "to crush their most ruthless foe by marking him with the cruellest of birds." The author of Frithiof's Saga mentions that it could be called "Blood Owl," a term used by later antiquarians and authors who wrote about the Vikings.  

To Be Subjected To The Blood Eagle, You Had To Do Something That Made You Honor-less

In the numerous sagas that mention the Blood Eagle practice, revenge and pure disdain were present as precursors to its usage. In Frithiof's Saga, Bjorn swears to use the Blood Eagle on the man that killed his comrade:

"Fall'st Thou, War Brother! I'll 'venge Thee well;
Blood-Eagle lines on Thy foe shall be flowing."

In The Orkneyinga Saga, Hdlfddn (Halfdan) underwent the Blood Eagle after having been defeated in battle:

"Next morning they found Hdlfddn Hdlegg on Kinar's Hill. The Earl made a blood eagle be cut on his back with the sword, and had his ribs severed from the back-bone, and his lungs pulled out."

The Saga goes on to explain that when Hdlfddn underwent the Blood Eagle at the hands of the Earl Einar, it was because Hdlfddn had killed the Earl's father.

It Was Meant As An Offering To Odin, The God Of War

The Norse war god Odin was the recipient of Blood Eagle sacrifices before battles and after. Hdlfddn's death in The Orkneyinga Saga was as much an act of revenge as an offering to Odin. However, later writers omitted reference to Odin.

Some scholars believe that the Blood Eagle was connected to earlier human sacrifices made to Odin, although it remains controversial as to whether or not those ever took place. 

It Involved The Back Being Carved And The Ribs And Lungs Being Pulled Out Through It

The conventional interpretation of the Viking Blood Eagle is that it was done by carving an eagle onto the back of one's enemy, prying his back open by detaching his ribs from his backbone, and pulling his lungs through the opening. The lungs were then spread over the ribs, giving the impression of wings. This made the body look like a spread eagle, albeit a mutilated one. 

According to some of the translations of Viking saga, a Blood Eagle could be performed by simply carving an eagle with outstretched wings on the naked body of one's enemy. To add cruelty, it could also be done by cutting open an enemy's chest and pulling out his lungs, making him appear winged from the front. 

Fri, 14 Jul 2017 08:30:42 PDT http://www.ranker.com/list/details-about-blood-eagle-torture-method/melissa-sartore
<![CDATA[Let's Bring Back These Hilarious Sex Insults Used Throughout History]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/sex-insults-from-history/rachel-souerbry?source=rss

Of all the old-fashioned ways to insult someone, sexual insults have long been the best for causing a fight as quickly as possible. Throughout history, people have come up with hundreds of creative ways to sling insults at each other. While masters of words like William Shakespeare came up with extremely witty and cutting insults ("embossed carbuncle in my corrupted blood," for example), there were put downs for the rest of us common folk, too.

Simple yet devastating words have been used for centuries all around the world. From Vikings to pirates, Victorian aristocrats to more recent Australian pioneers, nobody was safe. Some Medieval insults have even been documented for their zesty takedown status. The most significant thing to note is that historical sex insults reflect heavily on the values of the particular time and place in which they would have been used. The Victorians, for example, placed a high value on a woman's purity, hence all the words for "whore" that spring out of that period. 

These short and sweet sexual insults might not make us blush nowadays, but, used properly, they can still make a heated argument much hotter. 

Let's Bring Back These Hilarious Sex Insults Used Throughout History,

Flapdoodle – 1800s Term For Someone Who Is Either Too Young Or Too Old For Sex

Think Hugh Hefner. 

Slag – An Old English Word For The Worst Kind Of Whore

On the opposite end of the spectrum from high-class call girls.

Mewling Quim – 19th-Century British Zinger, Similar To Calling Someone A P*ssy

Literally meant a whimpering vagina.

Strumpet – Coined By Shakespeare & Used By Pirates, A Very Sexually Active Woman Or Prostitute

Always swipes right on Tinder.

Wagtail – In The 1800s, A Woman Who Was Either Promiscuous Or A Prostitute

She's pretty thirsty.

Dollymop – Victorian Term For A Part-Time Or Amateur Prostitute

She works as a stripper at night to pay for college.

Bedswerver – Shakespeare's Way Of Calling Someone An Adulterer

He's the town pony – everyone gets a ride.

Camp As A Row Of Tents – Australian For 'Extremely Gay' From The Early 1900s

Someone who very much prefers penises. 

Dirty Puzzle – Victorian For Really Nasty Prostitute

An extra-nasty corner hoe.

Hedge-Creeper – 1800s Phrase For A Prostitute Who Worked The Countryside

These may have gone extinct.

Thu, 01 Jun 2017 09:42:31 PDT http://www.ranker.com/list/sex-insults-from-history/rachel-souerbry
<![CDATA[The Insane Life Of Violet Jessop, Survivor Of The Titanic—And 2 More Shipwrecks]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/violet-jessop-titanic-survivor-story/nicky-benson?source=rss

The Violet Jessop story is an incredible tale of survival. Who was Violet Jessop? She was a survivor of three ship disasters, including the Titanic. Jessop was a nurse and an ocean liner stewardess in the early 1900s. Most people would probably change professions after being involved in such terrifying incidents, but not Violet. Instead of quitting her job, she spent a good portion of her life working on the sea.

Born to Irish immigrants, she did not set out to work on a ship, but family circumstances forced her to seek employment on the ocean. Her first brush with disaster happened on the Olympic, but fortunately no one died. Then she joined the crew of the Titanic, where she purportedly saved a baby's life. Her third disaster involved the Britannic, yet she survived with just some bumps and bruises. To learn more about how this incredible woman led a daring life at sea, read on to discover fascinating Violet Jessop facts. 

The Insane Life Of Violet Jessop, Survivor Of The Titanic—And 2 More Shipwrecks,

The HMS Hawke Collided With The Olympic In 1911

During its fifth journey across the Atlantic ocean, the RMS Olympic collided with the HMS Hawke on September 20, 1911. Both ships sustained considerable damage. Passengers such as Violet were dropped off at Osborne Bay and forced to seek an alternative way to their destination. It took two weeks to repair the Olympic. The White Star Line strove to get the ship up and running as quickly as possible because they wanted to keep their reputation in tact. 

Jessop's Third Experience Aboard A Sinking Ship Was On The Britannic, Where She Fractured Her Skull

In 1916, Violet was involved in her third ship disaster. She had secured a job as a nurse for the British Red Cross during World War I aboard the Britannic. The vessel was moving wounded soldiers from the Mediterranean back to Great Britain. However, during one voyage, the ship supposedly hit a mine. The Britannic sustained substantial damage and quickly started sinking into the Aegean Sea. Jessop noted in her memoir:

''I leapt into the water, but was sucked under the ship's keel which struck my head. I escaped, but years later when I went to my doctor because of a lot of headaches, he discovered I had once sustained a fracture of the skull!'' 

Apparently, Jessop had been hit by part of the ship's propeller during all the chaos.  

She Waited In A Lifeboat For Eight Hours While Holding A Baby, Hoping To Be Rescued

Violet spent about eight hours on the lifeboat before she and other survivors were rescued by the Carpathia. She wrote:

''I was still clutching the baby against my hard cork lifebelt I was wearing when a woman leaped at me and grabbed the baby, and rushed off with it, it appeared that she put it down on the deck of the Titanic while she went off to fetch something, and when she came back the baby had gone. I was too frozen and numb to think it strange that this woman had not stopped to say 'thank you.'"

When the Titanic sank, 1,503 people died. Violet was only 25 years old. 

She Worked 17 Hour Days On The Olympic

When Violet joined the White Star Line, she worked on the Majestic before switching to the Olympic. Her shift was 17 hours a day, with the meager pay of £2.10 per month (equivalent to about £200 in the 21st century). 

Initially, No One Wanted To Hire Her Because She Was Young And Pretty

At first, she had a difficult time finding work because of her age. Most female stewardesses at the time were middle-aged. Employers didn't want Violet's youthfulness and beauty to distract the crew and passengers. In order to land a job, Violet tried to look older and not as pretty by wearing worn clothing and no makeup. She was eventually given a position, but she couldn't hide her good looks. While working as a stewardess, she got three marriage proposals.

When The Titanic Was Sinking, She Was Told To Get Into A Lifeboat To Show Women That It Was Safe

Violet recalled the collision in her memoirs. She said she was "comfortably drowsy" in her room when the Titanic hit the iceberg. The crew members were alerted and she was instructed to help women and children get into lifeboats. When people began loading the lifeboats, she watched the women passengers fiercely embrace their husbands before getting on a boat with their children.

Eventually, she was also ordered into a lifeboat, initially to prove to the women passengers that it was safe. When the boat was being lowered into the ocean, an officer placed an infant into her lap and ordered her to take care of it. 

Jessop Became A Stewardess At 21

After her father died when she was 16, Violet and her family returned to Britain. Violet went to convent school and her mother became a stewardess for the Royal Mail Line. After her mother got sick, Violet left school when she was 21 to take care of her young siblings and to follow in her mother's footsteps. She worked for the Royal Mail Line and then reluctantly sought work with White Star, a line known for difficult passengers. 

She Believed Strongly In The Power Of Prayer

Violet was a devout Catholic who carried a rosary in her apron. Once, an old Irish woman gave her a Hebrew prayer, which Violet brought on board and made her roommate read. The prayer was supposed to protect Violet from fire and water. 

She Nearly Died As A Child

Violet Constance Jessop was born in 1887 and raised in Argentina. Her parents, William and Katherine Jessop, were Irish emigrants who ran a sheep farm. Violet had five younger siblings and was very sick as a child. At a young age, she contracted tuberculosis and doctors told her parents their daughter would only live for a few months. However, she fought hard and recovered, going on to live a long life. 

Friends Persuaded Violet To Work On Titanic

Despite being involved in a collision on the RMS Olympic, Violet liked working on the ship. However, her friends told her they thought it would be a "wonderful experience" if she switched to the Titanic. In her memoirs, Jessop recalled how she "dressed in a new ankle-length brown suit" and traveled in a horse-drawn carriage to the berth in Southampton to begin her new adventure on the Titanic.

Fri, 14 Jul 2017 05:48:21 PDT http://www.ranker.com/list/violet-jessop-titanic-survivor-story/nicky-benson
<![CDATA[Real Nazi Relics You Can Visit Right Here in the USA If You're Into That Kind Of Thing]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/nazi-relics-you-can-visit-in-the-us/brian-guthrie?source=rss

Have you ever wondered what relics of Nazis in the USA can be found – or even visited? Of course you have because who hasn't, right? That's not a totally weird obsession at all. Who doesn't want a Panzer sitting in their driveway? Who hasn't fantasized about eating breakfast off of a silver platter that Hitler once owned? Maybe you're a dedicated comics fan who wants nothing more than to finish that stunning replica of the Red Skull. Hail Hydra!

Regardless, the mysteries of the Third Reich have long fascinated historians. Thanks, in part, to ex-patriot Nazis who were never caught, for the more dedicated students of history, it is very possible to view the vestiges of the doomed Aryan empire in the USA. From the still-in-existence planned community in Long Island to a nearly intact U-Boat, opportunities abound for you to see Nazi relics in the USA. Not all of them are even in museums, and, if you have a small fortune you're just itching to use, you could become the next Kevin Wheatcroft. If that's what you're into, of course.

Real Nazi Relics You Can Visit Right Here in the USA If You're Into That Kind Of Thing,

Rosenberg Diary, U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, Washington, DC

Imagine discovering the long-lost diary of a man who predated Hitler in the Nazi Party, once served as the interim party leader, and formed his own task force to steal the art of Europe in support of Hitler's museum dream. Imagine this journal contained the inner workings of a man who wrote a book detailing the struggles of Aryans against the Jews. As a historian, this would be a gold mine of information, potentially a Rosetta Stone for understanding a controversial and devastating period of history.

Just such a discovery was made in 2013, when the U.S. government confiscated the journal of Alfred Rosenburg (convicted of war crimes and executed in 1946) from a scholar who claimed he had found it in the possession of Rosenburg's former aide. The diary proved to be less earth shattering than many hoped, but it still gives insights into one of the early masterminds of the Nazi rise to power.

Army's Secret Treasure Room, Fort Belvoir, VA

Tucked away at Fort Belvoir, Virginia, stands a warehouse unlike any other in the world.  Maintained by the U.S. Army, it houses more than 16,000 pieces of art, firearms, uniforms, and gear. These include pieces of propaganda art confiscated from the Nazis during WWII, as well as works by Hitler himself, completed years before he rose to power in the Nazi party. The Army hopes to build a museum on Fort Belvoir to display the collection, but, until then, the Internet and other media are your only chance to see what is hidden in this Indiana Jones-like warehouse.

German Walther PP 7.65-mm. Handgun, Chicago, IL

In World War II, taking possessions off of dead foes was a common, if now illegal, practice. Weapons topped the list of hot, sought-after items, especially German handguns. One such weapon found its way into the possession of U.S. Army Maj. General William P. Levine (now deceased), one of the highest-ranking Jewish generals in American history. Levine was one of the first soldiers to liberate the Dachau concentration camp and later interviewed both captors and captives to make sure the records were preserved of what actually happened there. He obtained the handgun from a captured German officer and kept it in his possession until he died. Today, it resides in the Pritzker Military Museum in Chicago, on display for anyone interested in looking for it.

Nazi Uniforms, Virginia War Museum, Newport News, VA

Everyone loves a crisp, sharp-looking uniform. History is replete with tales of soldiers marching briskly through cities en masse, inspiring fear and awe in people everywhere as they presented themselves in force, dressed in their uniforms. Well, if you're into military uniforms, the Nazis were no stranger to producing some of the most memorable, fear-inspiring uniforms of the modern age. You can find some on display in museums around the world, like at the Virginia War Museum in Newport News. You could even acquire replicas and originals online, you know, for that Red Skull cosplay you've been meaning to do.

A Nazi-Era 'Planned Community,' Siegfried Park, Long Island, NY

The 1930s was a decade of radical movements, both in Europe and America. One such movement, led by the German-American Bund and German Settlement League, sought to cultivate and propagate German language and culture (and train Aryan youths). This was embodied in the German Gardens (or Siegfried Park), a planned community that still remains to this day near Yaphank, Long Island. Despite attempts in 1995 to expunge the records of the planned community, the records still exist as a poignant reminder of what could have been. 

The most offensive street names, of course, have all been changed, but the streets themselves remain where they were originally laid down, and many still have their original names. You can walk on what once was Adolf Hitler Street or Goering Street. One street is believed to have been named after a man later convicted as a Nazi leader. Eventually, the community agreed to stop controlling the racial make-up of the people living there, a practice that had been guaranteeing a certain level of German heritage in all of its residents long after the Nazis fell from power.

The P-Horse, National Zoo, Washington, D.C.

So, you're in the market for a horse. Something unique. Rare. How about one that was never domesticated? Well, thanks to the Nazi obsession with dominating the genetic code of all of life, just such a horse exists. Enter Lutz Heck, a German zoologist who found himself right at home with the more extreme elements of the Nazi party. In his attempts to gather together the world's most unique animals and cross-breed them to resurrect long-dead ancestral predecessors, he inadvertently helped prevent the complete extinction of Earth's last undomesticated horse, the Mongolian Przewalski's (shuh-val-skee) horse, or P-horse.

Sometimes mistaken for the tarpan, an extinct Eurasian horse of particular interest to the Nazi zoologists, the P-horse found itself declared Extinct in the Wild in the 1960s, with only the horses Lutz Heck preserved in his zoos standing between that and complete extinction. From nine of those horses came salvation through science; today, the the species is listed as Endangered, and you can see one at the Smithsonian National Zoo in Washington, D.C., where scientists are working hard to figure out breeding issues that continue to threaten the animals.

U-576, Cape Hatteras, NC

If your hunt for rare, Nazi relics includes sunken ruins and potentially dead German bodies trapped inside them, then you should head for the coast of North Carolina. There, less than 35 miles off the coast, lies the wreck of U-576, sunk after it attacked the SS Bluefield and her convoy. The battle resulted in both ships sinking to the ocean floor less than 200 yards apart, lost to history until their rediscovery in 2014. The submarine was found mostly intact and is considered a war grave for 45 German submariners. And, if one submarine isn't enough for you, another German U-Boat, U-550, was sunk about 70 miles off the coast of Nantucket.  Just be sure to bring your own submarine to get a good look.

Looted Souvenirs From Eagle's Nest, Private Collection, Cape Cod, MA

When the 101st Airborne Division captured Berchtesgarden and Hitler's mountain retreat on May 5, 1945, the soldiers that arrived found a golden opportunity to pilfer some very rare pieces. However, the 101st did not capture the town first. That was done the day prior by members of the 3rd Division. When they arrived on May 4, orders were given to minimize the looting and their impact on the area. As such, when they evacuated on orders, they left no sign that they had been there. 

This meant leaving massive amounts of treasure for the soldiers of Easy Company (of Band of Brothers fame) to loot. Fred Butts was no exception, being the "first" American to set foot in the mountain fortress high in the Alps. His loot included monogrammed wine glasses, a stainless steel tray, a special, leather-bound phone book that belonged to Hitler, a tapestry, a blanket, the key to the front door of the fortress, several awards given to Hitler by various German mayors, and a bed sheet to wrap it all up in. Later, he broke into Hermann Goering's home and stole a sword with a gold hilt. The loot was stashed in two foot lockers of soldiers returning home and then hidden away in a Cape Cod home for 60 years before Fred Butts finally told his tale on the eve of his death.

Hitler's Limo, General Lyon's Automobile Collection, Southern California

Every car enthusiast loves to see unique or rare cars. Some even acquire them, as was the case with William Lyon, U.S. Army General, retired. The vehicle that caught his eye was a 1941 Mercedes-Benz 770K Grosser W150 Offener Tourenwagen, but it's more famously known as Hitler's limousine. This particular model is one of the rarest ever built, and, despite all of its unique compartments and additions, it only ever carried the genocidal leader twice during a trip in Scandinavia. 

Still, the car was built especially for him, and it has gained a fame all its own since the war ended. It drew crowds across the U.S. when it was paraded around. Eventually, even this beast of a vehicle (it weighs five tons, in part, because of all of the armor and it need for special tires that will withstand the pressure) could only stay in the limelight for so long. It languished away until William Lyon and his father bought it and slowly restored it. Now, it sits on display in the General's private collection, resting atop a spinning platform that no longer functions because of the weight of the massive car, an eerie reminder of the decadence of a madman.

Wed, 07 Jun 2017 08:01:35 PDT http://www.ranker.com/list/nazi-relics-you-can-visit-in-the-us/brian-guthrie
<![CDATA[Los Angeles Has A History With The Occult Unlike Any Other U.S. City]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/occult-history-of-la/christine-aprile?source=rss

Los Angeles is a city filled with dreams and fantasies. The magic of Hollywood movie stars permeates the air, the sun always seems to be shining, and young, beautiful hopefuls come to the city from near and far hoping to make it "big." Yet, below the sun drenched surface of LA sits a hidden occult history steeped in rumors, magic rituals, death, sex, drugs, and even rocketry.

The streets and suburbs of Los Angeles are brimming with a creepy, supernatural history just waiting to be discovered.

Los Angeles Has A History With The Occult Unlike Any Other U.S. City,

David Bowie

Back in 1975, David Bowie moved to Hollywood hoping to break into the world of acting and film directing. Things didn't go quite as he had planned, and his escalating cocaine use sent the artist into a delusional occult-filled nightmare.

Rumor has it that Bowie became increasingly paranoid, fearing he was under the influence of dark occult forces and refusing to leave his rented mansion at 1349 Stone Canyon Rd. in Bel-Air. With his mania reaching epic proportions, he called on a friend to find him a white witch to exorcise his personal demons, an episode which ended (allegedly) with a New York Wiccan, lots of chanting, and a demonically bubbling swimming pool.

Apparently the ritual worked, and once his album Station to Station was complete, Bowie packed his things and moved to Switzerland to sober up.

El Capitan Theatre

Before its tenure as a popular entertainment and event hub, the El Capitan Entertainment Centre was the home of the Hollywood chapter of the Freemasons. Built in 1921, the building housed the super secretive society until 1982, when declining membership forced the Masons to sell the property.

The true nature of the rituals practiced by the Freemasons remain a mystery, but the symbolic and allegorical nature of the rites has created rampant speculation by conspiracy theorists. Some aspects of Freemasonry are so closely guarded that members must take a blood oath to be initiated, agreeing to choose death over the breaking of their vows.  

Griffith Park

Griffith Park has a plethora of ghost stories, sightings, and mysterious legends attached to it, making it one of the most haunted places in Los Angeles.

In the mid 19th century, the area was owned by a rich bachelor named Don Antonio Feliz, who was coerced on his deathbed into leaving his entire estate to a scheming politician. The disinherited niece of Feliz reportedly cursed the land in 1863, stating that the wrath of heaven and vengeance of hell would befall all subsequent owners of the property.

The curse seemed to hold true for years: the area was plagued by drought, wildfires, tragedy, and ruin, eventually leading its final owner Colonel Griffith J. Griffith to bequeath the land to the City of Los Angeles.

Kenneth Anger

Underground filmmaker and magician Kenneth Anger shot his cult-classic short film, The Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome, in Hollywood in 1954.

This cinematic foray entered uncharted territory with its depiction of early psychedelic fantasies and Thelemic rituals. Centered around the teachings of Aleister Crowley, the short features various mythological beings played by members of the LA occult community enjoying a healthy dose of hallucinogenic potion.

Filming took place at 6026 Barton Avenue at the home of Samson De Brier, whose debaucherous salons drew notable figures from the Hollywood scene for nearly 50 years, including Stanley Kubrick, L. Ron Hubbard, and Jane Fonda.

L. Ron Hubbard

Back when L. Ron Hubbard was a fledgling science fiction writer in Los Angeles, he was deeply involved in the occult scene, and even lived for a time with Jack Parsons in Pasadena.

Hubbard and Parsons took part in the “Babalon Working” ritual in the hopes of bringing forth the Antichrist through a creative combination of chanting, parchment paper, and semen. Their relationship imploded when Hubbard stole both Parson’s mistress and his last $20,000, leaving the once well-heeled scientist broke and alone.

Hubbard’s own son believed his father used dark magic as the basis for Scientology, a claim denied by the Church.

Cecil Hotel

As one of Los Angeles’ most notoriously haunted spots, the Cecil Hotel has likely seen its share of occult rituals throughout the years.

Constructed in 1924, the opulent hotel quickly went downhill, thanks to the Great Depression and its location on Skid Row. The Cecil (now called The Stay on Main) has seen multiple suicides and mysterious deaths throughout its lifetime, including the frightening story of Eliza Lam, the Canadian student who turned up dead in the hotel’s water tank, and who was caught on surveillance cameras acting as if she were being tormented by an invisible entity.

Several notable serial killers are thought to have stayed at the Cecil, including Richard Ramirez, the self-proclaimed Satanist who killed 13 people from June 1984 to August of 1985.

Jack Parson's Agape Lodge

Jack Parsons, the infamous occultist and rocket engineer of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Altadena, was once a fixture in the occult community of Los Angeles, holding magical lodges in his South Pasadena home.

During the 1930s, Parsons became obsessed with Aleister Crowley’s Thelemic teachings, organizing wild and risqué occult rituals in the basement of his home, which he called the Agape Lodge or the Parsonage. The orgiastic parties and soirees aroused suspicion from the community, and eventually led to an FBI investigation and his dismissal from the JPL.

Always the maverick alchemist, Jack Parsons met his untimely death at age 37 during a botched rocket fuel experiment that took his life and destroyed his home.

The Philosophical Research Society In Los Feliz

If you’re in need of some inspiration for your next coven meeting or magic circle, consider visiting the library of The Philosophical Research Society in Los Feliz.

A man named Manly P. Hall traveled the world collecting rare manuscripts for the library, and in 1934, created one of the most comprehensive collections of esoteric and religious books in the world. Hall was a pivotal component of the early New Age thought scene in Los Angeles, and dedicated much of his research to the use of rituals in cultures around the world.

The library is open to the public once a week, and it’s rumored that the collection includes rare texts on the dark arts.

Sex Magic At The Devil’s Gate Dam In Altadena

Tucked away behind the Arroyo Seco parkway near Altadena is the infamous Devil’s Gate Dam, named for an outcropping of granite that resembles the profile of a particular horned man. Legends abound about the area; in fact, the Tongva tribe believed that this narrow portion of the river was cursed, and that it was taboo to linger too long in the vicinity of the rock.

The unusual formation even piqued the interest of rocket engineer and occultist Jack Parsons, who was told that the dam was a portal to hell by Aleister Crowley, the founder of the Ordo Templi Orientis cult that Parsons had grown increasingly involved with. Parsons is said to have performed portions of Crowley’s cult rituals at the gate of the dam, including an attempt to conjure a Moonchild using sex magic with his mistress.

The Semi-Tropic Spiritualists Of LA

The Spiritualist movement took the United States by storm following the bloodshed of the Civil War, eventually finding its way to Los Angeles by the early 1900s.

During the height of the movement in Los Angeles, popular mediums and lecturers would hold gatherings at the Semi-Tropic Park, a grassy hill at the edge of the Elysian Hills near the modern day Silver Lake neighborhood at the intersection of Allesandro Street and Riverside Drive.

Hoping to commune with the spirits of the deceased, the Semi-Tropic gathering held seances, workshops, and lectures, but the camp was met with tension from city officials who began arresting mediums and demanding permits for the use of the park. By 1915, Spiritualism was on the decline and the Semi-Tropic camp disbanded, fading into near obscurity.

Fri, 23 Jun 2017 09:06:24 PDT http://www.ranker.com/list/occult-history-of-la/christine-aprile
<![CDATA[The Insanely Violent Life Of The Greatest Samurai Of All Time]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/hardcore-miyamoto-musashi-list/christopher-myers?source=rss

There are many famous samurai and many great stories of samurai doing some seriously badass things. A careful examination of the facts suggests the award for the greatest samurai of all time probably goes to Miyamoto Musashi (1584-1645), if for no other reason than that he was an undefeated samurai. These true Miyamoto Musashi stories illustrate, beyond a doubt, that he was hardcore af. Consider yourself trigger warned: badass Musashi Miyamoto facts to follow (in Japan, he's Musashi Miyamoto, in the English-speaking world, he's called Miyamoto Musashi; potato potahtoh). 

Musashi never commanded armies, though he did fight in a few battles. His claim to fame was his dueling record, which was perfect. The legendary swordsman went around Japan for years challenging, and defeating, every opponent he came across. When he was satisfied he had pwned every skilled swordsman in Japan, he decided to write the book on being a badass: The Book of Five Rings. Musashi's legend lives on through his writings, the tales of his life, and the school of kenjutsu (swordsmanship) he founded.

The Insanely Violent Life Of The Greatest Samurai Of All Time,

He Invented His Own Two Sword Technique

Unlike most famous duelists of the time, Miyamoto Musashi was not classically trained in a sword school. Instead, he developed his own technique, honing his skills by practicing daily.

The Niten Ichi Ryu school of kenjutsu developed by Musashi utilizes both katana (long) and wakizashi (short) swords that samurai typically carried with them. Wielding these swords simultaneously was revolutionary at the time. Musashi believed using two hands to hold a sword, the common practice, was cumbersome. It also put one at a disadvantage in certain situations, such as on horseback.

Thus, Musashi believed samurai should wield a sword in one hand, for increased fluidity of motion. It followed that the other hand could be used to wield the second sword. This technique is still taught in Japan today. The school traces its lineage to Musashi through his direct pupils.

He Fought Against, And Defeated, Masters Of Every Weapon

Musashi didn't just fight swordsmen in duels. He made it a point to seek out masters of every weapon. In 1607, he sought out an undefeated master of the kusarigama (sickle and chain) named Shishido Baiken. According to legend, Baiken struck first with the chain, dulling and bending Musashi's blade. As the two drew close to one another, Musashi pulled out his short sword, usually only used in ritual suicide. Baiken hesitated, and Musashi drove the short sword into Baiken.With his last breath Baiken whispered, "Thank you."

Later that same year, Musashi dueled Muso Gonnosuke who was a master of jojutsu (a short staff technique). At the time, it was said Gonnosuke had never lost a duel. Musashi fixed that. Since the two agreed to battle with wooden swords, however, Gonnosuke lived to fight another day. Gonnosuke spent years training for a rematch, only for Musashi to win again. C'est la vie.

In The Book of Five Rings, Musashi writes, "You should not have a favorite weapon. To become over-familiar with one weapon is as much a fault as not knowing it sufficiently well."

He Killed A Master Swordsman With A Wooden Sword Carved From An Oar

In Musashi's most famous duel, he faced off against Sasaki Kojiro, the Demon of the West. Kojiro was the ideal samurai in many ways. He was highly respected and classically trained in the Chujō-ryū school, and was the creator and head of the Ganryū school of sword fighting. Kojiro used the longer-than-usual no-dachi two-handed sword in his technique to give himself superior range.

The duel was set for the morning of April 13, 1612, on the island of Funashima (now called Ganryū after Kojiro's famous fighting style). When the time came, however, Musashi was nowhere to be found. Kojiro and the officials sent to observe the fight were left waiting for hours. When Musashi finally showed up, intentionally late, he was disheveled and holding a bokken (a wooden sword) he made from an oar he found on the boat ride to the duel. Making opponents wait was a psychological trick integral to Musashi's battle plan. 

Kojiro became furious at this display of disrespect. He is said to have cast aside his sheath in anger, to which Musashi responded, "If you have no more use for your sheath, you are already dead." Musashi carved his bokken to be a few inches longer than Kojiro's no-dachi, negating Kojiro's main advantage. Musashi defeated Kojiro, killing him.

He Was Undefeated In 60 Duels

Duels in early 17th century Japan were no joke; they were often to the death. Miyamoto Musashi spent a large part of his life traveling across Japan engaging in duels, killing plenty of master duelists along the way. Through this campaign of continual combat, Musashi perfected his skills, and rose to become the greatest swordsman in Japanese history.

Not only did Musashi risk his life during duels, he also fought in several battles. He writes in The Book of Five Rings,

"Generally speaking, the Way of the warrior is resolute acceptance of death.

In my strategy, the training for killing enemies is by way of many contests, fighting for survival, discovering the meaning of life and death, learning the Way of the sword, judging the strength of attacks and understanding the Way of the 'edge and ridge' of the sword."

He Spent Years Wandering As A Shugyosha

When Musashi was a teenager, he left his hometown to trek around Japan like a drifter. His samurai journey, called musha shugyō, saw him wandering the wilderness training, dueling those he could challenge, and living a hard, minimalist lifestyle. Becoming a homeless vagrant was a common way to develop a name for yourself as a samurai, and often landed warriors employment.

Life as a shugyosha wasn't easy, but it helped Musashi become a fierce warrior. In The Book of Five Rings, Musashi writes, “Do not sleep under a roof. Carry no money or food. Go alone to places frightening to the common brand of men. Become a criminal of purpose. Be put in jail, and extricate yourself by your own wisdom.” 

At Age 21, He Defeated Two Sword Masters In Quick Succession

When Miyamoto Musashi showed up in Kyoto in 1604, he was a nobody. He was determined, however, to make a name for himself. To do so, he challenged Yoshioka Seijuro of the Yoshioka Clan, to a duel.

The Yoshioka clan were sword fighting teachers who had tutored members of the powerful Ashikaga clan for four generations, running one of the eight great sword schools in Kyoto. They taught using the Yoshioka Ryu style, and their kenjutsu was top notch. Musashi might not have even gotten them to agree to a duel were it not for his father's reputation as a skilled swordsman. That, and, you know, honor.

On the morning of the duel, Musashi showed up late. Like, really late. Like, "Who the heck does this guy think he is?" late. Which he did on purpose to piss off Seijuro. It worked. Musashi won handily, breaking Seijuro's arm with his bokuto (a wooden sword). Seijuro was so dishonored he quit swordsmanship and became a Zen monk.

But the story doesn't end there. Seijuro's brother, Yoshioka Denshichiro, challenged Musashi to a duel so he could restore his clan's honor. The duel was to the death. Again, Musashi showed up late. Using a bokuto, Musashi killed Denshichiro with a single blow to the head. Pwnd.

He Beheaded A 12-Year-Old Challenger And Sliced His Way Through A Retinue Of Warriors To Avoid Assassination

When you roll into town as a nobody and take down two masters of a famous sword school, as Musashi did upon arriving in Kyoto in 1604, you ruffle some feathers. After Musashi defeated the esteemed Yoshioka brothers, who ran a venerable sword fighting school, the rest of the clan was fuming. They hatched a plot that involved the new head of the clan, a 12-year-old named Matashichiro, challenging Musashi to a duel, at which the clan would ambush - and kill - Musashi.

When Musashi was challenged to a night duel, he knew something was up. He showed up early the night of the duel and hid in the bushes. Sure enough, Matashichiro arrived with a retinue of fully armed men. Musashi wasn't about to sneak away, though.

In true badass form, Musashi ran out of the bush screaming and decapitating Matashichiro. Surrounded and outnumbered, he doubled-fisted his swords and got to cutting. Despite the odds, Musashi fought his way out of the scrum. It's believed this moment is when Musashi first discovered his two-sword technique.

In The Book of Five Rings, Musashi writes

"The principle is 'strategy by means of the long sword'. If he attains the virtue of the long sword, one man can beat ten men. Just as one man can beat ten, so a hundred men can beat a thousand, and a thousand men can beat ten thousand. In my strategy, one man is the same as ten thousand, so this strategy is the complete warrior's craft."

He Won His First Duel At Age 13, Beating His Opponent So Badly He Died Vomiting Blood

While Musashi was living at a Zen temple with his uncle, wandering samurai Arima Kihei came seeking challengers. Kihei, of the Shinto-Ryu school of kenjutsu, went from town to town issuing open challenges to anyone who would duel him. When the 13-year-old Musashi challenged him, he didn't take the boy seriously. 

The next day, at the time of the duel, Musashi bum-rushed Kihei, knocking him to the ground. Musashi then beat his opponent to a bloody pulp with a wooden sword known as a bokuto. Kihei died vomiting blood.

He Died With His Sword In Hand

At 61 or 62, after completing The Book of Five Rings and just a week after finishing the Dokkodo, Musashi knew he was dying. A warrior his whole life, he wasn't about to go out sick in some bed like a civilians. He summoned the monks he was staying with in the monastery near Reigando, pulled himself up onto one knee and, holding his sword in one hand and cane in the other, died like a true samurai warrior. He was then buried dressed in full samurai body armor, standing up like a boss.

He Fought In Two Massive Battles At The Castle Of Osaka, The Second Of Which Caused Him To Swear Off War Forever

In 1614, Tokugawa Ieyasu was pretty much in charge of all of Japan. His son was shogun, though Ieyasu was pulling the strings. There was only one potential rival to his hegemony: the son of the previous leader of Japan, Toyotomi Hideyori. Hideyori's father, Hideyoshi, unified Japan and even invaded Korea. Upon Hideyoshi's death, Hideyori was supposed to take his place. Tokugawa Ieyasu put a stop to that, but Hideyori's existence still posed a problem.

In the winter of 1614, Ieyasu marched 200,000 men to surround Hideyori's stronghold at Osaka Castle. Even with overwhelming numbers, Ieyasu was unable to take the castle. Ieyasu was able, however, to persuade Hideyori to sign a treaty ending the fight. Ieyasu reneged in the summer of 1615, and besieged the castle again. This time, weakened and partially disarmed by the treaty, the castle fell. This second battle was epic.

Mushashi fought in both the winter and summer battles. Historians disagree which side he was on, however. Some say he fought the winter battle on the side of the Toyotomi Hideyori, and the summer on the side of the Tokugawa Ieyasu. In any case, he fought, survived, and clearly saw some sh*t. Afterward, Musashi decided to never kill again.

Tue, 20 Jun 2017 09:51:45 PDT http://www.ranker.com/list/hardcore-miyamoto-musashi-list/christopher-myers
<![CDATA[What Happened To Concentration Camp Prisoners Immediately After Liberation?]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/what-happened-after-concentration-camps-were-liberated/anna-lindwasser?source=rss

World War II concentration camp liberation began on July 23, 1944, when Soviet soldiers entered the Majdanek camp in Poland. Efforts by multiple nations to find and free prisoners continued into 1945. However, the story of the Holocaust doesn't end with the liberation.

Many recall the haunting pictures of prisoners in the camps, but there is more to these people's stories after the war. Sadly, many of the survivors who were found in places like Bergen-Belsen and Auschwitz died shortly after being rescued due to disease, starvation, or suicide. Others survived and faced the long and difficult process of rebuilding their lives from scratch. For anyone who's ever wondered about the experiences these astonishing survivors went on to have, here are a few of the things concentration camp prisoners went on to do after the war.

What Happened To Concentration Camp Prisoners Immediately After Liberation?,

Many Couldn't Return To Their Homes

The obvious first thing a survivor of a concentration camp would want to do upon release is return home. For a few survivors from Germany, their homeland was what they now considered "cursed soil." They wanted to be as far away from it as humanly possible.

Many survivors couldn't return to their homes at all. In those cases, their homes were either destroyed or they had no surviving family members. Even sadder was that many of the European communities that survivors hailed from were rife with anti-semitism and going back was still too dangerous a prospect. For these reasons, many survivors sought to leave Europe altogether. 

Immigration Restrictions Remained In Place

Despite the dire need for safe haven, many countries had restrictions on the number of survivors that they would accept post-Holocaust. While America eventually admitted 400,000 displaced persons between 1945-1952, they were initially quite reluctant. The U.S. admitted only 16,000 people the first year after the liberation.

This was a continuation of America's wartime policy. The country turned down hundreds of thousands of visa applicants. They even turned away a ship full of refugees during the war, forcing the ship to return to Europe, a veritable death sentence for its passengers. Other countries had similar limits. For example, entry into Palestine was severely restricted until the establishment of the State of Israel in May, 1948. Many displaced persons attempted to enter illegally. Those who were caught were held by British authorities in detention centers in Cypress. 

There Were Multiple Epidemics

When the prisoners were released from the concentration camps, they were filthy, starving, and vulnerable to disease. As a result, infections like typhus ripped through the resettlement camps like wildfire. These diseases often proved fatal. Out of 50,000 survivors from Bergen-Belson, 13,000 died. Despite doctors' attempts to treat the disease, many of these deaths were caused by typhus.

Significant efforts were put forth to contain these epidemics. These included thoroughly disinfecting the survivors' bodies and possessions, disposing of the thousands of dead bodies that might still be harboring disease, and in some cases, burning down the concentration camps to get rid of any infectious material. This was done with Bergen-Belson, which is why, unlike Auschwitz, it was never used as a memorial to the dead.

There Were Revenge Killings

On April 29, 1945, American soldiers came to liberate the concentration camp Dachau. There, they found thousands of naked, emaciated corpses piled into box cars. There was a recently used gas chamber, piles of human excrement, splattered human brains on floors, and a few victims still alive but starving and critically ill.

They also found combative, resistant German soldiers who tried to fight them off. Horrified by what they saw, some of the American soldiers rounded up the German guards and shot them on the spot. Taking advantage of their freedom before the troops could organize their escape, prisoners took their own revenge. Several accounts describe inmates beating their former captors to death, including one who stomped on a German guard's face until it was completely destroyed. Approximately 50 German guards died that day.  

Many Died From Starvation Despite Having Access To Food Once Again

As a result of prolonged starvation, many recently released prisoners lost the ability to digest food. When well-meaning liberators offered the emaciated prisoners something to eat, many were too weak to digest food and died soon afterward. Tragically, half of the prisoners found alive in Auschwitz died within days of being rescued. A few were fortunate to receive an easy-to-digest, nutritionally dense concoction created by medical staff at resettlement camps that allowed them to slowly gain strength and stay alive.

They Had Tons Of Kids

Compared to the general population, Holocaust survivors had children at much higher rates. For example, in 1945, there were 14 births per 1,000 Jewish displaced persons in Bavaria, but only five births per 1,000 within the non-Jewish population. This occurred for a couple of reasons. First, most of the survivors were in their 20s and 30s, which is a time when people start having children. Second, nearly all the survivors had lost their families. For many, the most liberating and healing thing that they could do was form new ones. 

Many Committed Suicide

Tragically, many Holocaust survivors took their lives after being released from the concentration camps. While it's impossible to know the exact motivations these survivors would have for committing suicide, there are several reasons that are often cited. First, the traumatic nature of the Holocaust experience caused serious mental health issues like depression, anxiety, and PTSD. Second, while life was certainly improved by being released from the concentration camps, many were physically ill, in mourning for lost loved ones, or continuing to live in dehumanizing conditions.

Today, studies suggest that Holocaust survivors are three times more likely to commit suicide than the general populace. This flies in the face of what many held to be true in the past regarding survivors.

In 1947, Dr. Aharon Persikovitz, a gynecologist living in Tel Aviv who had survived Dachau, gave a talk where he said that "Holocaust survivors do not commit suicide; they heroically prove the continuity of the Jewish people." His words don't seem to be based on any study, but instead likely stem from stigma around suicide.

Survivors Started Multiple Cultural Institutions

Despite the horrific nature of what they'd just endured, many survivors were more than ready to get on with the business of living. While staying in camps for displaced persons, survivors organized their own theater groups, started their own Yiddish and Hebrew language newspapers, and started multiple sports teams. They also started schools for the few remaining children and created new places of worship. Through these activities, survivors formed communities, expressed themselves creatively, and established their cultural identity.

Some Were Not Allowed To Leave Their Refugee Camps

The Harrison Report, the result of an American investigation led by Earl G. Harrison, dean of law faculty at the University of Pennsylvania, said the following about the treatment of concentration camp prisoners after their release:

“...as matters now stand, we appear to be treating the Jews as the Nazis treated them except that we do not exterminate them. They are in concentration camps in large numbers under our military guard instead of SS troops. One is led to wonder whether the German people, seeing this, are not supposing that we are following or at least condoning Nazi policy.”

This seems extreme except that previous camp prisoners were not allowed to leave their resettlement camps and were guarded by military personnel, a situation that must have felt quite similar to the conditions they had just left. The reasoning for these restrictions had to do with health containment.

Survivors Started To Organize Politically

Almost immediately after their release, survivors began to organize politically. In Bergen-Belson, they formed a representative committee as early as April of 1945. These committees expanded from individual resettlement camps to entire geographic zones. The two major political leaders were Josef Rosensaft, a businessman hailing from from Bedzin, Poland, and Zalman Grinberg, a physician from the Lithuanian city of Kovno.

These politicians represented the interests of Jewish survivors. Their aims were explicitly Zionist, and the ultimate goal was for the creation of a Jewish state.

Thu, 25 May 2017 05:34:40 PDT http://www.ranker.com/list/what-happened-after-concentration-camps-were-liberated/anna-lindwasser
<![CDATA[Terrifying Things You Should Know About Erik Prince, Blackwater, And Modern War Crimes]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/terrifying-erik-prince-facts/erin-wisti?source=rss

Whatever your stance on America's involvement in the Middle East, stories about Erik Prince and Blackwater are undeniably troubling. Prince seemed destined to get into the military business: the son of a self-made billionaire, he went on to become a Navy SEAL. He credits his experiences in the armed forces with inspiring the formation of Blackwater USA in 1997. The private military company quickly became the go-to contractor for the State Department. Then, disaster struck. In 2007, Blackwater employees became involved in a firefight in Baghdad that resulted in multiple deaths. It's the highest-profile incident in a long list of alleged crimes committed by the company.

Did Blackwater commit war crimes? It's difficult to say for certain, as many lawsuits and investigations are ongoing. However, facts about Erik Prince and Blackwater reveal some sketchy information. Former employees claim Prince took sometimes deadly tactics to shut down opposition, and Blackwater employees have been involved in a number of questionable violent episodes. Prince himself stepped down as Blackwater CEO in 2009. Whatever the truth may be, it's worth your time to read up on Erik Prince and his role in these potential modern war crimes.

Terrifying Things You Should Know About Erik Prince, Blackwater, And Modern War Crimes,

Blackwater Contractors Were Briefly Immune From Iraqi Law

In a controversial provision issued by the U.S. administrator for Iraq in 2004, Blackwater contractors were granted immunity from Iraqi law. The article stated that "multinational force, foreign liaison missions, their personnel, property, funds and assets and all international consultants shall be immune from Iraqi legal process."

After a series of seemingly unprovoked shootings, often against civilians, the Iraqi government revoked the provision in February of 2007.

Prince Supports A Military Model Similar To Imperialist Britain

In a 2017 appearance on Fox's Tucker Carlson Tonight, Erik Prince described his ideal model for military warfare in Afghanistan. He suggested handling Afghanistan with an "East India Company Model" to make the cost of war cheaper. The East India Company was a British corporation that colonized India and kept the country under its control for nearly 250 years.

Prince claimed the U.S. could fund a military occupation by drawing resources from Afghanistan itself, noting, "There’s a trillion dollars in value in the ground: mining, minerals, and another trillion in oil and gas."

Critics have pointed out that Prince seems more concerned about drawing profit from a military occupation than from targeting extremists and promoting stability in the region.

Prince Is Betsy DeVos's Brother

Erik Prince supported Trump's presidential bid, and it seems he's not the only booster in the family. His sister is Betsy DeVos, Trump's pick for Secretary of Education. She's married to Amway CEO Dick DeVos.

Prince Has Been Accused Of Murder

In a 2009 court case, a former U.S. Marine and an ex-Blackwater employee made serious allegations against Prince. Both alleged Prince had been involved in illegal arms dealings in Iraq, and had facilitated the murders of individuals who cooperated with federal government investigations against Blackwater. The men also claimed Prince and other Blackwater employees had destroyed incriminating videos, photographs, emails, and other documents implementing them in these and similar scandals.

Blackwater Employees Supposedly Hunted Iraqis For Sport

In a lawsuit brought on behalf of Iraqi citizens, the plaintiffs claimed they were shot at by Blackwater employees hired under Erik Prince. The plaintiffs alleged that Prince monitored employees remotely 24 hours a day and rewarded soldiers who harassed Iraqi citizens and hunted them for sport. One disturbing practice described was known as "night hunting," during which Blackwater soldiers would supposedly use night-vision goggles to shoot at civilians from helicopters after 10 p.m.

Two Blackwater Employees Were Fired For Driving Recklessly

In November of 2005 a Blackwater convoy collided with 18 cars in Iraq. Subsequent investigations ruled the convoy operator's report of the accident invalid and dishonest. Witnesses claimed the convoy's commander was ordering acts of random negligence for no apparent reason. Two Blackwater employees were fired after the incident.

Prince May See His Actions As The Modern Crusades

In 2009, lawyers from the Justice Department sought out evidence that Blackwater soldiers were trained to be needlessly hostile towards Iraqis. Some disturbing evidence was found, including testimony from a former Blackwater employee regarding the type of men Erik Prince's company hired.

The employee claimed Prince looked for men who shared his Christian views. The men frequently used call signs based on the Knights of Templar, Christian soldiers who fought during the Crusades. Supposedly, Prince "views himself as a Christian crusader tasked with eliminating Muslims and the Islamic faith from the globe."

Prince Met With Russian Officials Before Trump's Inauguration

The United Arab Emirates reportedly arranged a secret meeting between Erik Prince and a Russian official close to Vladimir Putin in early 2017. The timing of the meeting is suspicious, given the level of evidence that Russia interfered in the United States presidential election. Prince was an avid Trump supporter and is close to many in the president's inner circle.

The meeting took place nine days before Trump's inauguration. UAE officials claimed they agreed to host the meeting in hopes that Prince could convince Russia to lessen their relationship with Iran. White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer claims Trump had no knowledge of the meeting, and that Prince had no formal role in the president's transition into office.

Blackwater Employees Were Involved In A Firefight That Resulted In 17 Deaths

On September 16, 2007 in Nisour Square, Baghdad, a catastrophe allegedly unfolded when an Iraqi man out driving and running errands was shot by a Blackwater soldier. As the man's weight was still pressing on the accelerator, his car moved towards a Blackwater convoy. Blackwater employees panicked and opened fire in a deadly shooting that resulted in 17 deaths. According to witnesses, Blackwater soldiers initially shot at the moving car, hitting several Iraqis trying to flee in the process. Then, another group of soldiers opened fire on a line of traffic a few hundred yards away. 

Witnesses claimed the man in the car posed no threat to the Blackwater soldiers, and that his car didn't approach the Blackwater convoy until he was shot and lost control of the vehicle. Four of the men involved were eventually convicted of murder, manslaughter, and weapons charges. While the catalyst for the first gunshot remains unclear, the incident caused public scrutiny of Blackwater's presence in the Middle East.

A Fatal Plane Accident Was Caused By A Reckless Blackwater Pilot

On November 27, 2004, a Blackwater plane crashed into a mountain in Afghanistan. The accident resulted in six deaths and was apparently caused by joy riding. Supposedly, the pilot deliberately flew in a risky fashion. A recording captured on the cockpit revealed the pilot saying, "I swear to God, they wouldn't pay me if they knew how much fun this was."

Wed, 21 Jun 2017 03:45:37 PDT http://www.ranker.com/list/terrifying-erik-prince-facts/erin-wisti
<![CDATA[These People Did Shockingly Disgusting Things In The Name Of Medical Science]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/things-people-did-to-themselves-for-medical-science/rhiannon-bruce?source=rss

Have you ever wondered exactly how we know what we do about medicine? Ever thought about what medical experiments people did to themselves to learn the things we take for granted today? Well, try as you might, history is here to prove that truth really is stranger than fiction, and life in the past could be a painful and horrifying experience for those striving to make significant medical advances. Kudos to the brave men and women who experimented on themselves to give us medical insights and treatments.

Past medical treatments were so terrifying that it makes sense that people would do anything to find better ones, including pursuing some "miracle cures" that proved far more harmful – like radium-laced everything, which was all the rage at the turn of the 20th century – than they were helpful. Thankfully for the human race, not all these trailblazing experimenters used patients as guinea pigs; some of them went above and beyond, using their own bodies as living petri dishes and contracting self-inflicted medical conditions for the good of all humankind. 

These People Did Shockingly Disgusting Things In The Name Of Medical Science,

Stubbins Ffirth Swallowed Vomit To Prove Yellow Fever Wasn't Contagious

Stubbins Ffirth was a man not only with an excellent name, but also with a mission. When writing his medical thesis in 1802, Ffirth developed a theory that yellow fever was not contagious. Now, we may know that yellow fever is spread by mosquitoes or blood, but in 1802, yellow fever was considered highly contagious, and people believed even the bedding of victims could transmit the disease.

Ffirth disagreed, and, in order to prove his theory, he underwent some of the most revolting self-experimentation in the history of medicine. When lying in bed with victims and trying to breathe in their breath failed to infect him, Ffirth stepped it up a notch.

He took the black vomit that was a symptom of the disease and rubbed it into open wounds he cut into his forearms. He also rubbed black vomit into his eye. When this didn't work, he took black vomit straight from the patient and swallowed it. Then, he turned the stuff into a pill and swallowed that.

Despite all of these truly disgusting experiments, he did not get infected, and he felt this proved he was entirely right in his theory – if not his mind.

Is Cancer Contagious? Some Doctors Tried To Find Out By Injecting It Into Themselves

The question of "what exactly is cancer?" has puzzled physicians for centuries. Growths and tumors can look extremely alarming, and, as with any illness, there was a fear that it might be contagious. 

In the late 1700s, British Dr. James Nooth put his life and limb on the line to test whether cancer is contagious. He did this by taking some cancerous tissue and inserting it into his own forearm. Despite some localized swelling, the wound healed perfectly, and Nooth did not get cancer. He was not the only person to do this.

Dr. Jean-Louis Alibert across the channel in France was injecting fluid into his body from a breast cancer patient to test for a reaction. Aside from some inflammation, he was also unaffected. Luckily for these gentlemen as well as others, cancer is indeed not contagious.

John Hunter Gave Himself The Clap By Injecting Pus Into His Own Baby Maker

John Hunter (1728-1793) was an esteemed anatomist and doctor in Regency London. His dedication to his craft went above and beyond; his notes include descriptions of the smells, sights, and tastes (yep, he licked some pretty gross things) of the medical conditions that came across his table. He was not simply an observer – his experiments led to great surgical advances that we still use today.

However, Hunter was not infallible. He believed that gonorrhea and syphilis were the same disease in different stages. Venereal disease was one of the great threats of the age, and London, with its thousands of prostitutes, was silly with it. His belief in his theory was so strong that he actually injected venereal disease into his own member. He needed a subject who he knew for certain had never had either condition, and the only man he trusted was himself.

Hunter took pus from a man infected with gonorrhea and injected it into himself. First, Hunter developed gonorrhea. Then, he developed syphilis. Theory proved! Except, of course, that unbeknownst to him, Hunter had taken pus from a man who had both gonorrhea and syphilis. It was years later that the mix up was finally proven wrong. Syphilis and gonorrhea are definitely two different diseases, and John Hunter definitely got the pox for nothing.

Santorio Santorii Invented A Scale That He Basically Lived On In Order To Measure His Poo

Everyone who has ever sat on the toilet and had a ponder has probably thought through the math of what goes in versus what comes out of our bodies. One man went further. Santorio Santorii (AKA Santorio Santorio, 1561-1636) was a Renaissance-era physiologist, and he was determined to work out exactly what was going on in his dark and mysterious insides.

Santorii decided to meticulously keep track of everything that went in and out of his body. To do this, he built an enormous scale – called the "weighing chair" – on which he could sit, work, sleep, and weigh himself at the same time, as well as all of his food and drink and waste products. What he realized was that what came out weighed a lot less than what went in, but he himself did not gain weight. He was confused, but Santorii came up with an explanation that he called “insensible perspiration,” whereby we are constantly sweating out moisture that evaporates before we perceive it.

Making a scale may not seem that extreme, but here is the thing – Santorii ran his experiment continuously for 30 years! That is 30 years of weighing his poop, to come to the same conclusion we all have; more goes in than comes out.

August Bier Made His Assistant Inject Cocaine Into His Spine And Then Beat Up His Assistant

Spinal anesthesia is one thing you absolutely do not want to get wrong. Now, imagine being the first person to try it. August Bier was this man. In 1898, he developed a method whereby he injected cocaine into the cerebrospinal fluid within the spine. Having tried it on six patients who later complained of many painful side effects, Bier decided to try the procedure out on himself.

Bier had an assistant attempt to inject anesthesia into his spine, only for the procedure to go wrong, leaving him with a hole in his neck that was leaking cerebrospinal fluid. Unperturbed, Bier simply turned around, and the brave assistant stood in as guinea pig. Now, perhaps August was not so sanguine as he had seemed – when the anesthesia took effect, he tested its strength by kicking his assistant in the shins, burning him with cigars, and even pulling out pubic hairs before hitting him in the gonads. Ouch. Or actually, not ouch. The successfully anesthetized assistant did not feel a thing.

Drinking Cholera To Prove Your Theory: A Masterclass In Inadvisable Self-Experimentation

It is the end of the 19th century, and cholera is a serious public health concern. Transmitted by unsafe water and food contaminated with human waste in cities where sanitation was poor, cholera outbreaks were common and deadly. Thankfully, along came the fantastically named Max Josef von Pettenkofer and his certainty that the bacterium that causes cholera was not enough on its own to cause the disease.

Pettenkofer believed that being unhygienic was an important factor in contracting cholera, and that someone who was clean would not fall ill upon ingesting the bacteria. He was so certain that, in 1892, he harvested the bacterium and drank down a nice big cup of it.

In a surprise twist everyone saw coming, Pettenkofer got seriously sick. However, the dose of cholera he experienced was quite mild, and, because of that, Pettenkofer believed that he had been proven correct. To be fair to the man, he was definitely onto something with his “be cleaner, don’t drink dirty water” idea, but also definitely do not drink cholera; all you will get is cholera.

One Man Ate Worms From A Dead Man's Bowel To Understand Parasite Transmission

Giovanni Grassi was an Italian doctor who worked in parasitology. When conducting an autopsy in 1878, he found the bowel of the corpse filled with tapeworm eggs. Unlike normal folk who might have recoiled in horror, Grassi saw an opportunity to study the transmission of the tapeworm, and who better to test this on but himself?

After ascertaining that he himself was worm free (by spending a full year checking his own poop), he swallowed the eggs (again, they were from the feces of a corpse) and waited. Sure enough, a month later, Grassi started feeling intestinal discomfort and found worm eggs in his own feces. Success! He now knew the worm is transmitted via egg-infested feces, and his bowel was full of them. You win some; you lose some.

One Doctor Found Out Six Months Of Eating Only Cheese, Crackers, And Beer Is Super Bad For You, Surprise Surprise

In the days of long sea voyages, scurvy was a menace to sailors and passengers alike. Caused by a deficiency of Vitamin C, scurvy causes weakness, gum disease, poor wound healing, infection, and eventually death. The link between wound healing and Vitamin C was hypothesized by a young surgeon called John Crandon in 1939.

In order to prove his hypothesis, Crandon needed to induce Vitamin C deficiency in a body, and he figured why not use his own. He cut everything except cheese and crackers from his diet and determined to keep going until symptoms appeared. Unsurprisingly, 19 weeks of nothing but cheese, crackers, beer, and sugar does terrible things to the body. For example, 132 days into the study, Crandon noticed that his skin was abnormally rough, and blood was coming out of his hair follicles.

After 18 weeks of extreme fatigue, with his concerned colleagues leaving glasses of orange juice in front of him at the canteen, Crandon’s body crashed. He was quickly injected with 1000 milligrams of Vitamin C and immediately recovered. Though he showed deficiency was a cause of poor wound healing, because he was deficient in so many things, he could not say for certain it was the Vitamin C after all. Whoops.

Kellgren And Lewis Discovered That Yes, Bones Feel Pain When You Drive Wires Through Them

The history of understanding pain is a long and tortured one. To truly understand how something feels, self-experimenters have been hurting themselves in elaborate ways for centuries. British doctors and researchers Jonas Kellgren and Sir Thomas Lewis took this to the next level in the 1930s. Over a period of a year, they injected themselves over a thousand times with painful chemicals, testing muscles, tendons, cartilage, and bone for exactly how their pain behaved.

Not content with painful injections, Kellgren decided to find out just how pain was felt within bone. After anesthetizing the skin and bone covering, Kellgren had a metal wire driven through his tibia. It turns out that, although the hard bone itself feels no pain, the spongy interior of our bones truly, absolutely do. Kellgren explained:

"While the wire was passing through the compact bone I experienced a sensation of vibration and pressure but no pain... but when the wire entered the soft cancellous [spongy] bone, diffuse pain was added to the sensation of vibration."

Despite all their aches and pain, these two carried on, and medicine is still informed by many of their discoveries.

Nathniel Kleitman Kept Himself Awake For 115 Hours To Pioneer The Science Of Sleep

Nathaniel Kleitman made his name as a sleep scholar. It is because of him and his mid-20th-century experimentation that we know about REM sleep and circadian rhythms. Kleitman loved a good self-experiment. He once tested sleep deprivation by forcing himself to stay awake for 115 hours. At one point, deep in hallucination, he suddenly said: “It is because they are against the system." When asked why he said it, he responded that he believed himself to be having a conversation about labor unions.

In 1938, Kleitman spent 32 days in a light-less cave in order to study the body clock. He hoped that in a constant temperature and light level, his body clock could be retrained to work to a 28-hour rather than 24-hour day. Despite 32 days in the dark, it turned out that his body clock was un-trainable. His assistant, however, successfully managed to reset his body clock, so at least a month in a cave was not a total waste.

Thu, 15 Jun 2017 06:54:22 PDT http://www.ranker.com/list/things-people-did-to-themselves-for-medical-science/rhiannon-bruce
<![CDATA[What The US Looked Like Before The EPA]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/what-usa-looked-like-before-epa/ella-talkin?source=rss

You think the US is gross now? Try living in the US before the EPA. Before the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency, smog obscured the air, glass lined the beaches, and flammable waste coagulated in the nation's rivers. Pollution before the EP grew to such astronomical heights that the eventual bill to create the agency received uncharacteristically high bi-partisan support. But even when it came to be in 1970, it took years for the EPA to address the rampant deterioration of America's ecosystems. So, starting in 1971, 100 photojournalists set out across the country, amassing almost 100,000 photos over a six-year span.

These EPA before-and-after photos came as part of the then-new agency’s documentation of the environmental devastation across the country. Looking at the pictures, it appears the EPA drastically improved environment you live in today. Have you tripped over a shopping cart covered in human feces and oil lately? Yet almost fifty years later the EPA’s existence is under attack. President Trump gutted the agency's budget at a time the planet lies under threat of climate change and water scarcity. If the photos below scare you, it's because they look like the country's possible future if you don't save the environment in the ways you can.

What The US Looked Like Before The EPA,

Free-Flowing Sewage From The Blue Plains Sewage Treatment Plant, Washington DC, 1973

Peabody Coal Co. Navajo, AZ, May 1972

Burning Discarded Automobile Batteries, Houston, TX, July 1972

Tires Cover Baltimore Harbor, MD, January 1973

Abandoned Refrigerators At Breezy Point, NY, May 1973

George Washington Bridge Obscured By Smog, NJ, May 1973

Abandoned Car In Jamaica Bay, Inwood, NY, 1973

Unfiltered Waste From A Paper Mill, Jay, MN, June 1973

Open Garbage Dump In Aguadilla, Puerto Rico (US Territory), February 1973

Cuyahoga River Fire, Cleveland, OH, 1969

Mon, 26 Jun 2017 09:49:15 PDT http://www.ranker.com/list/what-usa-looked-like-before-epa/ella-talkin
<![CDATA[Things You Didn't Know About The Sistine Chapel]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/facts-about-the-sistine-chapel/nicky-benson?source=rss

The Sistine Chapel is located in the Apostolic Palace in Vatican City where the Pope resides. It is famous largely because it is home to of one of the greatest artistic achievements of humankind. Michelangelo painted the incredible frescoes on its ceiling and The Last Judgment on the wall during the 15th century.

Millions of visitors travel to Rome each year to see the paintings. Pope Julius II commissioned Michelangelo to paint the chapel, and the artist, who was predominantly a sculptor, reluctantly agreed to the arduous task. The Sistine Chapel frescoes include stories from The Book of Genesis, such as Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.

In addition to Michelangelo's famous artwork, the chapel is also the location of the papal conclave, where high ranking officials in the Catholic church elect the new pope. Cameras are not allowed into the chapel, so those who want to see it today either have to fly to Rome and visit in person or peruse published representations of Michelangelo's masterpiece. Know before you go and read up on these little known facts about one of the world's most treasured art pieces.

Things You Didn't Know About The Sistine Chapel,

The Details Of The Ceiling Are Preserved For All Time In Stunning Digital Photos

All of the frescoes in the chapel have been photographed and preserved digitally, showing incredible details of Michelangelo and other artists’ work in 270,000 frames. Photographers spent 65 nights in the chapel between 7 pm and 2 am to get the film photography images and used a computer technique called “stitching” to put the frames together digitally.

The project took five years, and the finished images were made public in early 2017. The last time photos were taken in the chapel was during its restoration between 1980 and 1994.

Michelangelo Painted His Own Grumpy Face Into The Last Judgment

Michelangelo reluctantly agreed to paint the Sistine Chapel, and it took him four years to complete it. He suffered physically from the task, and as a result his relationship with the Catholic Church suffered. When he returned many years later to paint The Last Judgment, he hid two self-portraits in which he looked miserable.

He included his face on Holofernes’s severed head and on Saint Bartholomew’s flayed skin. Both are morbid, pathetic depictions. Michelangelo painted the panel behind the chapel's altar from 1535 to 1541.

Michelangelo Gave God His Famous Hairy-Old-Man Look

In the 15th century, God was usually more ambiguous in depiction, often portrayed as just a hand reaching out from the clouds. Michelangelo decided to paint a muscular God with long white hair and a matching white beard.

God is featured six times on the ceiling but Michelangelo didn’t paint him in until the very end of his project. He wanted to refine his technique first. Michelangelo’s vision of God stuck, inspiring many Christian works in the following centuries. Many today picture the almighty the way Michelangelo painted him on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.

Cardinals Gather At The Chapel In A Super Secret Ceremony To Elect The Pope

While the Sistine Chapel is Vatican City’s most famous tourist spot, it is also a sacred site. Many papal conclaves - the process in which cardinals elect a new pope - have been held in the brick building since 1492. The conclave announces its pick by using a special chimney on the roof. If white smoke is released, a new pope has been elected. If black smoke billows out of the chimney, then the cardinals have not yet reached a two-thirds majority to pick a new pope.

All 115 cardinals participating in the conclave are sworn to absolute secrecy when entering a conclave. They are also not allowed access to the Internet or allowed cell phones, television, or radios in order to prevent leaks to the press about deliberations. Staff of the Vatican are also sworn to secrecy with the threat of excommunication as the price of revealing what happens during the election process. 

Michelangelo May Have Painted Hidden Internal Organs In The Ceiling's Most Famous Section

One panel of the ceiling's painting, known as The Creation Of Adam, shows two figures depicting God and Adam reaching their arms out to each other. Their fingers don’t quite touch. It’s one of the most recognized images in the world. Some believe the image is the outline of the human brain, which includes the angels and robes around God.

Doctor Frank Lynn Meshberger came up with this idea, believing that Michelangelo was demonstrating how God gave the first human being intelligence. And he's not the only one who believes Michelangelo showed off his knowledge of human anatomy in the details of The Creation of Adam. A kidney and other brains have been among the other hidden anatomical items viewers claim to see.

Michelangelo Wrote A Poem About How Miserable It Was To Paint The Ceiling

Painting the Sistine Chapel was physically exhausting. In 1509, Michelangelo related the struggle in a letter/poem to friend Giovanni da Pistoia. He wrote, “I’ve already grown a goiter from this torture.”

He added,  "[my] stomach’s squashed under my chin,”  “[my] face makes a fine floor for droppings,” “[my] skin hangs loose below me” and “[my] spine’s all knotted from folding myself over.”  He also complained about being chosen for the job, writing, “I am not in the right place—I am not a painter.”

Michelangelo Painted The Ceiling On His Feet, Not His Back

It’s an urban legend that Michelangelo created his masterpiece while lying on his back. He and his assistants built wooden scaffolding that allowed him to stand and paint the ceiling above his head. Michelangelo designed the platform and attached it to the wall with brackets to keep it steady. The myth that the artist painted the ceiling while lying down may have come from Charlton Heston’s 1965 film The Agony and the Ectasy which is about the creation of the painting.

Michelangelo Really Didn't Want The Job

Pope Julius II asked Michelangelo to paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in 1508 while the artist was in the midst of working on the pope’s marble tomb. Michelangelo had no interest in the project. He considered himself first and foremost a sculptor.

Michelangelo much preferred to complete the tomb but funding for the project was running out. He reluctantly agreed to paint the ceiling and spent four years on scaffolding in order to complete it. He finished the papal tomb, albeit on a smaller scale than he had envisioned, in 1545.

People Wearing Tank Tops Are Refused Entry Into The Chapel

There is a strict dress code for visitors to the Sistine Chapel. Tourists who have exposed shoulders or who wear shorts or skirts that fall above the knee are asked to cover up their skin before they are allowed to enter the chapel. Visitors must dress appropriately if they want to see Michelangelo’s masterpiece. Only 5,000 people are allowed to visit the chapel each day because a person’s sweat, carbon dioxide, and skin flakes can damage the sacred area.

The Nudes Were Considered Inappropriate So Their Bits & Pieces Were Covered Up

In 1564, the Council of Trent decided that the nude images on the ceiling were not appropriate. As a result, the council commissioned Daniele da Volterra to paint fig leaves, clothing, and other items over the private parts to hide them. The alterations stayed in place until restoration efforts were undertaken in the 1980s and 1990s. The articles used to cover up sensitive areas were removed, revealing details that hadn’t been seen in centuries.

Fri, 30 Jun 2017 09:26:26 PDT http://www.ranker.com/list/facts-about-the-sistine-chapel/nicky-benson
<![CDATA[Fascinating Fact About China's Terracotta Army]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/facts-about-chinese-terracotta-warriors/nicky-benson?source=rss

Qin Shi Huang, the first emperor of China, built the huge Terracotta Army to protect him in the afterlife. An elaborate tomb complex in Xi'an, the city-size compound came equipt with everything the emperor would require in the afterlife. Like the Egyptians, the ancient Chinese believed the items they took with them to the grave would accompany them into the afterlife. But instead of burying actual people with him underground, the emperor created clay reproductions of warriors, servants, horses, and other objects. An incredible feat of design, the army also features a number of ancient Chinese inventions, many of which no one realized dated back as far as the Qin dynasty.

Despite excavating it for over 40 years, archeologists have barely made a dent in this wonder of the ancient world. In total, they've unearthed approximately 2,000 soldiers and believe 6,000 remain uncovered. The focal point of the tomb, the Emperor's resting place, may never even be touched due to the hazardous material found near it. So even 2,000+ years later, the famous Terracotta Army still manages to protect its Emperor from the greedy hands of the living. 

Fascinating Fact About China's Terracotta Army,

The Horse Statues Received As Much Attention As The Warriors

The horses in the army are equipped with saddles, proving the saddle's invention came about during the Qin Dynasty, much earlier than scholars originally believed. In ancient armies, the calvary and war chariots held great importance. The excavated steeds, accurate in size to living horses, are depicted as well-fed with erect ears, wide open eyes and open mouths. Some believe the horses resemble the Hegu horses who live today in Gansu, while others posit they're based off of Heitian horses from Xinjiang. These animals are good at climbing hills and racing and are very strong.

Acrobats, Birds, And Horses Were Found Alongside The Warriors

In addition to the 8,000 soldiers, the three pits contain 130 chariots pulled by 520 horses and 150 cavalry horses, most buried near the Emperor's mausoleum. The pits also include non-military statues, such as acrobats, strongmen and musicians. Bronze ducks, cranes, and waterfowl also appear featured among the human statues, a sign that Emperor Qin hoped to be surrounded by similar people and animals in the afterlife.

Only One Percent Of The Emperor's Tomb Has Been Excavated

Even though the Terracotta Army was discovered over 40 years ago, only one percent of the emperor's tomb has been excavated. At first, archeologists worried an excavation would damage the emperor's corpse and artifacts in the tomb. But the biggest concern is safety. In his quest for immortality, the Emperor allegedly tasked laborers with creating rivers of mercury throughout the tomb. Tests on the burial ground found high levels of mercury in the area, leaving archeologists struggling to find safest way to excavate the tomb, if they can at all.

The Army's Weapons Stood The Test Of Time

While excavating the pits, archeologists uncovered about 40,000 bronze weapons, such as battle axes, crossbows, arrowheads and spears. Even though they remained underground for over 2,000 years, the weapons emerged in excellent condition and free of rust. This is likely because they were covered in a protective chrome plating - a technique thought to have been pioneered by the Germans in 1937. The discovery proved how ancient Chinese metallurgy was far ahead of its time.

The Warriors Were Hidden Underground For Over 2,000 Years

For over 2,200 years, the Terracotta Army remained untouched underground. Nobody knew about them until 1974, when a group of farmers discovered them while digging a well in Xi'an. The Chinese government naturally investigated the area, and it turned into one of the country's greatest archeological sites. 

The Emperor Built The Army Because He Feared Revenge

During his reign, Emperor Qin not only defeated armies in six states of China, he massacred them. As a result, he feared the military from these states would pursue him into the afterlife, so he built his Terracotta Army. One of the reasons the Terracotta Army looks east is because it faces the direction an enemy would likely come from to attack the underground mausoleum.

700,000 Laborers Built The Statues, And Some Of Them Died For It

After he took the Qin State throne in 246 BCE, Emperor Qin Shi Huang ordered the Terracotta Army to be built. Over 700,000 laborers spent 40 years working day and night to finish the soldiers and the tomb. The workers molded the legs, arms, torsos, and heads, which were then assembled together. Many laborers and artisans died during construction, some possibly executed to keep the location of the tomb and treasures a secret.

When the work was finally completed in 206 BC, Qin had already been dead for four years.

The Statues Were Originally Painted

Tourists today won't see the Terracotta Army in its original form. After being molded, the statues also received vibrantly colored paint jobs. However, once buried underground for several centuries, most statues lost their color. When archeologists excavated the area, the dry air took its own toll, disintegrating the paint right off the statues. The lacquer beneath the paint curls in the exposed air, causing layers to flake off within minutes. Fortunately, scientists developed a solution known as PEG, which they spray onto any statue the moment it becomes unearthed.


No Two Soldiers Look Alike

 Amazingly enough, each of the 8,000 statues is different and unique in its own way. If you look at them closely, you notice the subtle differences the craftsmen included to differentiate each solider. While laborers only used about eight different molds for the soldiers, each warrior sports its own facial features, which were added in clay.

Aside from being separated into different ranks, infantry, archers, generals, and calvary, each soldier features unique facial expressions, clothing, and hairstyles. They also have varying heights, the taller ones representing generals. Most of the statues are 5 feet, 11 inches tall, but some stand as tall as 6 feet, 7 inches.

The Emperor's Tomb Is Thought To Be Surrounded By Rivers Of Liquid Mercury

Though known today as one of the world's most toxic chemicals, mercury was considered by the ancient Chinese as the elixir of life. Emperor Qin, in his quest to live forever, ingested mercury pills regularly, likely contributing to his death by the age of 50. The Emperor's belief in mercury may also mean his unexplored tomb is surrounded by rivers of the substance.  

Fri, 23 Jun 2017 08:35:09 PDT http://www.ranker.com/list/facts-about-chinese-terracotta-warriors/nicky-benson
<![CDATA[Heartbreaking Facts About Human Zoo Exhibit Ota Benga]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/facts-about-ota-benga/cheryl-adams-richkoff?source=rss

Ota Benga. The name has a lyrical quality. This is the name of the early 20th century African pygmy who was brought to the United States as an exhibit subject in 1904 and met a sad end when he couldn't find happiness in the land of opportunity. So, who was Ota Benga and why in the world would he leave the Congo to live so far away from all he knew and loved?

Benga's story is complex, fascinating, and heartbreaking. He arrived first as part of an anthropological exhibit at the St. Louis World's Fair where society's growing fascination for strange human oddities featured into the entertainment. Later he lived in a zoo alongside animals, like some sort of circus exhibit. Eventually he would attempt to find a life of normalcy but, like other social pariahs before him, found it difficult. The astonishing life of Ota Benga is full of shocking surprises and provides much food for thought about identity, race, loss, and social acceptance.

Heartbreaking Facts About Human Zoo Exhibit Ota Benga,

He Led A Difficult War-Shattered Life In The Congo

Ota Benga was born in the Congo around 1883 and a member of the Mbuti people, a pygmy tribe. He had a difficult early life, as did many people on the African continent during the 19th century. Civil wars were common between peoples, and captured enemies were often sold into slavery. The interference of Europeans on the continent also created a series of crises for Africans. 

Ota Benga attempted to maintain a normal life despite the strife. He married young and had two children. He and his family lived in a forest near the Kasai River. At that time, Belgium ruled over the Congo. The Belgian king, Leopold II, sent a militia into the area where the Mbuti lived. A number of people were killed in the conflict including Ota Benga's wife and children. His life was spared because he was on a hunting trip away from home. 

Fed Up With Being An Oddity, Benga Threatened Zoo Keepers At Knife-Point

After the infamous exhibit was shut down, Ota Benga continued to live on zoo grounds taking care of the animals. However, he had become such a popular fixture that visitors continued to seek him out and engage him in conversation or to pose for photos. Whether it was the onslaught of curious tourists or he was just fed up with life at the zoo, Benga soon lashed out. He threatened zoo keepers with a knife resulting in his removal from the zoo.

Next he was sent to an orphanage in New York, but local religious leaders formed a committee to organize a way to bring Benga to a better life.

Benga Got A New Chance At American Life In Lynchburg

The same clergymen who had helped shut down the Bronx Zoo exhibit worked to make positive changes in Ota Benga's life. He offered him a home at an orphanage, but it was no place for a grown man in his mid-20's. So, the New York clergymen contacted a private Christian seminary in Lynchburg, Virginia, now Virginia University of Lynchburg, who agreed to help Ota Benga start a new life. 

Carrie Ellen McCray was a little girl when Ota Benga was brought to Lynchburg. Her family originally housed Benga in their home. Benga was provided with his own room in the home, but having grown up in a forest, he preferred camping out in the woods behind the house. She remembers, "I was only two and a half, but my brother Hunter knew him well. Ota taught him how to make fishing rods. He taught him how to fish and he would take him out in the woods, build a fire and he would tell them stories."

Benga Was Put On Display In A Monkey Exhibit

Things only got worse for Ota Benga as far as living situations go. Staying at the museum was a disaster. Verner was still trying to do what he could for Benga and contacted William Temple Hornaday, the director of the Bronx Zoo. Verner thought fresh air and outdoor activity would help improve Benga's quality of life.

Hornaday brought Benga to the zoo and the African man did cheer up when he saw the animals native to his homeland living there. Verner and Hornaday proposed that Benga help out at the zoo, taking care of and feeding the elephants and other native African animals. So he did and once again he found himself a popular figure. Visitors would see him dressed in his native clothing and chat with him.

It didn't take long for Hornaday to realize that more people were coming to see Benga work than to view the animals. Here's where the story turns truly reprehensible. Hornaday decided to make Ota Benga part of the exhibit. He lived in a cage/habitat with an orangutan and a chimpanzee. Visitors flocked to see Benga with his ape companions. The New York Times wrote that “there could be no doubt that to the majority the joint man-and-monkey exhibition was the most interesting sight in Bronx Park.”

Others, however, were angry. A group of African-American clergymen protested the shameful exhibit. Rev. James H. Gordon, superintendent of the Howard Colored Orphan Asylum in Brooklyn, stated, “Our race, we think, is depressed enough, without exhibiting one of us with the apes. We think we are worthy of being considered human beings, with souls.” The exhibit was shut down shortly after the protest.

Benga Returned To Africa Only To Come Back To America And Live In A Museum

Once the World's Fair was over, Verner returned Benga and his colleagues to their homes in Africa. Benga had lost his family and was now displaced from his tribe of origin. He went to live with the Batwa tribe, several of whom he had worked with in America. He tried to settle down and took a second wife. Soon, however, he realized that he did not fit in with the Batwa people. Heartbroken and at loose ends, he asked Verner if he could return to America with him to start a new life.

Verner was having a hard time financially at the time. He contacted the director of the American Museum of Natural History. An arrangement was made for Benga to live at the museum, which was every bit as odd then as it would be today. Benga was miserable living there. His behavior became unpredictable and at a fundraising gala he threw a chair at the head of donor Florence Guggenheim. During his stay at the museum, a sculpted bust of Benga was made, which survives.


Brokenhearted That He'd Never Return To Africa, He Took Drastic Measures

Ota Benga's job allowed him to squirrel away some savings. He longed to go home and had plans to return to Africa. Then World War I began. The Europeans were once again meddling in African affairs and battles broke out across the continent, including the region where Benga was born and raised. Travel to the area was prohibited and Benga's plans were put on hold.

In March 1916, Ota Benga ventured out into a nearby wooded area. This was nothing unusual, as he spent much of his free time in the forest hunting and collecting herbs. In the woods, Benga prepared a ceremonial fire. He knocked the caps off of his teeth to restore the pointed ends. He then shot himself using a stolen pistol. Benga's remains have been moved from their initial burial site and thus there is no specified marker for his grave. 

He Americanized Himself In An Attempt To Fit In

Once he moved past the bad beginnings of his life in America as a displayed oddity, Benga began to find friends and build a life. He got a job working in a tobacco warehouse. He even got his teeth capped by a dentist to give him a better chance at fitting in to society. He even changed his name to Otto Bingo in an attempt to Americanize himself. 

He Was A Crowd-Pleaser At The World's Fair

Looking back, the anthropological exhibits at the St. Louis World's Fair appear beyond ethnocentric in nature. However, Ota Benga and his fellow pygmies on the journey (all of whom were from another tribe) made the most of it. Some of the Africans were freed from slavery and enjoyed the exotic sights and sounds of America.

Ota Benga made for a particular crowd pleaser. He was eager to meet fair visitors, and joked, talked, and laughed with them. He became so popular he started to be known by name through newspaper articles featuring him around the country. Fair patrons were impressed with his engaging personality and his ritually-sharpened teeth.

Benga Was Enslaved And Then Bought By An American

With the Belgian army still occupying Ota Benga's ancestral lands, Benga and others in the Mbuti tribe were enslaved. He was caged and taken to a slave market. An American missionary, S.P. Verner, spotted Benga and purchased him for several bags of salt and some brass wire. Verner had been sent to Africa specifically to locate individuals to feature in the 1904 World's Fair in St. Louis, Missouri.

Upon purchasing Benga, Verner freed him and invited him and a few other tribal people to go to America with him to participate in the upcoming World's Fair. 

He Was Super Short But His Razor-Sharp Teeth Most Intrigued Gawkers

While Benga's short stature was certainly noticeable by the average American, (he was described as about 4'11" and 103 pounds), it was Ota Benga's pointed teeth that most shocked those who he met. For Benga this was just a non-painful practice common to his family tribe back in Africa. His natural teeth were carefully shaved down to points, leaving the roots fully intact.

Eventually he would get his teeth capped. 

Mon, 03 Jul 2017 08:20:09 PDT http://www.ranker.com/list/facts-about-ota-benga/cheryl-adams-richkoff
<![CDATA[These Gross Photos Show The Weird World Of Grisly Catholic Relics]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/catholic-relic-photos/kellie-kreiss?source=rss

Anyone who is familiar with monotheistic religions like Catholicism is aware of the fact that the theology specifically dictates that followers "shalt have no other gods before [God]," which has, in turn, made the concept of Catholic relics a point of contention for many Catholics and non-Catholics alike. Yet, beyond the debate around the use of relics is the fact that they are venerated by hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of people everyday and are nevertheless viewed as significant symbols within one of the largest religions in the world.

Oftentimes, many of these relics go beyond being just sheets of papyrus and bejeweled scepters; instead, they are made up of the very essence of the saints themselves. That means they are flesh and bone – and sometimes blood, preserved and cherished across the centuries.

Many of the sacred relics honored by Catholics are made up of the preserved remains of the religion's most significant saints; however, the truth surrounding just how these churches came to possess such well-preserved pieces of history (and whether or not the items are even real) is often both hotly debated and tacitly ignored. And the very fact that Catholicism encourages the praise of "bits and pieces of human corpses as the holiest of the holy" remains puzzling for many, including Meghan MacRae who wrote about her fascination with the concept in a piece for CVLT Nation.

In this collection of Catholic relic photographs you'll find everything from flesh and bone to blood and hair (and maybe a little papier mâché, but who can really say).

These Gross Photos Show The Weird World Of Grisly Catholic Relics,

The Remains Of Saint Hyacinth Are On Display At The Church Of The Assumption In Bavaria, Germany

Saint Vincent de Paul

Saint Francis Xavier On Display

Relic Of The Martyrdom Of Saint Lawrence

The Mummified Head Of Saint Catherine At The Basilica Of San Domenico, Siena

The Holy Right Hand, Believed To Belong To Saint Stephen King Of Hungary

Rarely Opened Crypt Containing The Skull Of Saint Helena At The Cathedral Of Trier In Germany

Relic Of The Holy Blood Of Jesus Christ At The Basilica Of The Holy Blood In Bruges, Belgium

The Skull Of Saint Valentine At The Santa Maria In Cosmedin Church In Rome, Italy

The Arm Of Saint Francis Xavier

Fri, 14 Jul 2017 01:29:42 PDT http://www.ranker.com/list/catholic-relic-photos/kellie-kreiss
<![CDATA[Co-Director Of The Boston Marathon Attacked The Race's First Female Participant]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/first-woman-to-officially-run-the-boston-marathon/kellie-kreiss?source=rss

On April 19, 1967, Kathrine Switzer made history (or better yet herstory), becoming the first woman to officially enter, run, and finish the Boston Marathon at a time when women were still not allowed to participate. But it wasn't an easy feat to accomplish, and some people weren't particularly happy about it. How did Switzer run in the Boston Marathon? By donning some sweats, leaving the makeup at home, and doing her thing.

Enraged, Jock Semple – the race's co-director – went so far as to chase Switzer down during the first mile and a half of the race and attempted to literally push her off the track, aggressively shouting "Get the hell out of my race!" Journalists covering the high-profile event snapped photos of the assault, resulting in the series of shocking photographs that quickly circled the globe and put into motion the historic campaign advocating in favor of women's participation in marathons and running sports.

At a time when women were perceived as being too "fragile" to participate in long-distance running events, Switzer intentionally entered under a gender-neutral name, wore baggy sweatpants, and put on little makeup in an attempt to blend in with the other male participants, proving once and for all that women could run alongside men and not just succeed – but excel.

Co-Director Of The Boston Marathon Attacked The Race's First Female Participant,

Switzer Wasn't The First Woman To Try To Run In The Boston Marathon

The year before Switzer made international headlines for her successful attempt at being the first woman to officially run the Boston Marathon, a woman named Roberta "Bobbi" Gibb took her chances as well, though she took a less conventional approach. After being rejected by race organizers, Gibb decided to participate in the race illegally, literally hiding in the bushes next to the starting pen and jumping over the hedges at the start of the race; however, because she was not given a race number, she was not considered a valid participant in the race.

Women Weren't Officially Allowed To Enter The Race Until 1972

While running the final stretches of her first-ever Boston Marathon, Switzer became consumed with anger and frustration over what she had just experienced – when the cruel and vicious hand of institutionalized misogyny very literally tried to pull her backward. By the end of the race, which she finished in 4:20:02, she had a newfound determination to change the world of running for women. "Running had given me everything, and I wanted other women to feel that as well," she recalled.

In the years to come, Switzer became an active voice in the running community, using her skills and connections in journalism to attract some much-needed attention to the issue. After five years of negotiating with the members of the Boston Athletics Association and the Amateur Athletic Union (the groups that help organize the Boston Marathon), she was finally able to convince them to officially allow women to sign up for and run the Boston Marathon in 1972, which she then did along with seven other women. And they all finished, uteruses intact.

Switzer has since continued to run in marathons, even participating in the 2017 Boston Marathon at age 70 and finishing with a time only 24 minutes longer than her race in 1967. She has also set out to use her celebrity to empower young women across the United States through her nonprofit, 216Fearless, which encourages women to unite through their shared love of running.

Men Thought That A Woman's "Uterus Might Fall Out" If She Ran A Long Distance

As is the often the case with any action that challenges social norms, Switzer's dream of running in the Boston Marathon was met not only with stern opposition, but also with substantial disbelief. Apparently, at the time – and remember this was the late 1960s – the popular belief held by men and the general public was that marathons were "too long for fragile women to run," or, in other words, that "[a woman's] uterus might fall out and [her] legs would get big, and maybe [she] would grow hair on [her] chest."

Not surprisingly, none of these concerns turned out to be valid, and, in fact, upwards of 58% of runners in the United States today are women. But when 20-year-old Switzer decided to join the men's cross-country team while attending Syracuse University, even her coach Arnie Briggs didn't think women should participate. He went so far as to make Switzer prove to him that she could run the 26 miles that the race required. So, she ran the 26 miles, tacking on an additional 5 miles for good measure. He then insisted that she sign up for the race.

The day of the race, Switzer recalled how, just after starting: 

"a man with an overcoat and felt hat was then in the middle of the road shaking his finger at me; he said something to me as I passed and reached out for my hand, catching my glove... Moments later, I heard the scraping noise of leather shoes coming up fast behind me... instinctively I jerked my head around quickly and looked square into the most vicious face I’d ever seen. A big man, a huge man, with bared teeth was set to pounce, and before I could react he grabbed my shoulder and flung me back, screaming, 'Get the hell out of my race and give me those numbers!' Then he swiped down my front, trying to rip off my bib number, just as I leapt backward from him... but now the man had the back of my shirt and was swiping at the bib number on my back."

The shock of this encounter with a man who turned out to be the co-director of the race at first discouraged and frightened her, but she quickly turned those feelings into motivation and went from "terrified to radicalised."

Fri, 14 Jul 2017 01:28:44 PDT http://www.ranke