<![CDATA[Ranker: Recent Politics & History Lists]]> http://www.ranker.com/list-of//politics--and--history http://www.ranker.com/img/skin2/logo.gif Most Viewed Lists on Ranker http://www.ranker.com/list-of//politics--and--history <![CDATA[Famous People from History You Had No Idea Were Hot]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/hot-people-from-history/mike-rothschild
Who knew there were so many hot historical figures from the last few hundred years? Attractive historical figures can be found in every profession and every culture. But with the advent of photography, people got to see just how sexy a brooding novelist or scientist or inventor could be. Many of the men and women who are best remembered as old actually used to be incredibly hot - and we have photographic proof.

Everyone knows Joseph Stalin as the mustachoied dictator with a pock-marked face and yellow teeth. But in his younger days, bank robbing revolutionary Stalin cut a handsome figure. Inventors Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla were dashing young men before they fought the War of the Currents against each other. Jane Eyre author Charlotte Bronte probably could have made a few "hottest women in history" lists. And Lewis Powell, a young man who happened to be a member of the conspiracy to assassinate Abraham Lincoln, might have been the most handsome man of the 19th Century.

Here are 20 famous people throughout history that you probably had no idea were also gorgeous.

Famous People from History You Had No Idea Were Hot, history, politics & history, all people, people,

Alma Mahler Gropius Werfel

Barbara Bush

Charlie Chaplin

Charlotte Brontë

Hermann Rorschach

Hunter S. Thompson

Johannes Brahms

Margaret E. Knight

Mark Twain

Rupert Brooke

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<![CDATA[Crazy Punishments, Rituals, and Violent Practices in Native American Culture]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/native-american-capital-punishment-practices/morgan-deane

Scholars have spent plenty of time debating the rituals of Native Americans. Some tribes were peaceful, some were war-faring, and many fell in between. Many of the customs and traditions of tribes have been studied and researchers have good ideas about how the Aztecs, Mayans, Iroquois, and others lived day to day. 

Some documents help us understand interesting evidence of violent Native American rituals. These were painful Native American practices and capital punishments that often defy the imagination. Keep reading to learn about some of the ways these historical people doled out punishments, celebrated victories, and mourned their dead. 

Crazy Punishments, Rituals, and Violent Practices in Native American Culture,

Aztec Heart Removal

Once the Aztecs captured enemy soldiers, they began the heart ceremony with at least four days of fasting. The captured soldiers were ritually cleansed and Aztec priests led their people in dances, songs, and rhythmic music as the captives were escorted to the top of the giant temples. The captive would either have their hearts removed on the altar of the great pyramid or fight to the death in mock combat. These terror-inducing ceremonies sustained the aura of leadership surrounding the emperor and his elite soldiers.

Conquistador Bernal Diaz wrote: "When Alvarado came to these villages he found that they had been deserted on that very day, and he saw in the cues (temples or pyramids) the bodies of men and boys who had been sacrificed, the walls and altars all splashed with blood, and the victims' hearts laid out before the idols. He also found the stones on which their breasts had been opened to tear out their hearts."

The skulls and other bones of the victims were piled in huge stacks that could sometimes number almost 100,000. Since these were prisoners of war this enhanced the power of the state and convinced the population of the Aztecs spiritual and martial supremacy. 

Mayan Pre Battle Insults and Ritual Blood Letting

Much of Mayan battle practice is still shrouded in mystery. There are very few written accounts, and Mesoamerican scholars largely rely on very laconic glyphs on monuments that have only recently been deciphered. 

These monuments record an honorable precedent where two opposing armies would stand apart on the battlefield. The leading warriors, decked out in their head gear, chest armor made of shells or bone, and obsidian weapons, would proclaim what house they come from, challenge the opponent to single combat, and then insult their martial prowess. This was done ostentatiously with great ritualistic flair. 

The Bonampak murals also depicts ritual bloodletting. The blood of person represented life, and thus was a vital part of Mayan ceremonies. The king would slash himself in the tongue, ear, or foreskin with small obsidian blades or a stingray spine. Then the kind performed an ascension ritual that included bloodletting to appease the gods, while the priests performed human sacrifices for the same purpose. Another relief shows the king’s wife pushing a barbed rope through her tongue in order to see their ancestor emerge from the mouth of a giant vision serpent. At other times the blood fell on small strips of paper that were then burned by the priests. These ceremonies were very painful but designed to access supernatural power. 

Huron Feast of the Dead

The Hurons (they actually called themselves Wendat) would begin the Feast of the Dead by digging up their dead relatives and ancestors (some of the bodies were recently deceased and were seething with maggots). Then they would put them in beaver-skin clothes and clean and scrape the bones of those that had died. They re-wrapped them in the beaver skins, and the families of the dead held a feast.

After several days of feasts and at the command of the village leader, the family carried the body to a pre-dug hole. With loud chants and cries they placed the bones in a pit. With more chants and cries they threw in items such as clothing and food, as well. The preparation and elaborate rituals were designed to ensure the safe transit of the dead souls to the afterlife. After several days of this ceremony they would finally cover the pit and consider their relatives interred. At a famous feast of the dead in 1636, the bones from almost 700 people were thrown into the pit.  

Miami Sacred Bundles and War Dance

When a chief of the Miami tribe wanted to go to war, he would take a red wampum belt to the other war chiefs and invite them to a council. After explaining his plan and reasoning they would each discuss the prospects of war. If they agreed to launch a war party, each member of the war party brought their sacred war bundles to the meeting.  The Shaman would put them into one bundle that he would carry as he led them in the march to the battle.

This was followed by a night-long war dance. One such dance was the Calumet dance. (Fun fact: the Calumet inspired the term peace pipe.) The warriors would take turns striking a post and then told of an act of past bravery. They would then smoke the Calumet and interweave their bodies with the rising smoke. In the morning they would put out the fire and embark on their journey.  

Iroquois Mourning War and Cannibalism

The Five Nations of the Iroquois spread through the Great Lakes region and dominated much of the Northeast. Upon the death of a family member they felt they needed a powerful ceremony to help overcome the sadness. They practiced in what was called “mourning wars." Their captives were either accepted into the tribe or tortured to death. If the latter, they first had their fingers cut off. Then they were forced to sing and dance upon a scaffold. The Iroquois burned the victim with a branding torch throughout the night. By the morning they finally ripped open the captive’s head and poured sand in it. Jesuit missionaries recorded what they saw, writing that the soldiers carved up and ate the body when their captive finally died. 

Smoke and Flames: The Cree Raiding Parties

These are not the Kree from the Marvel Universe. They lived in the North and Western parts of what is now Canada. When the Hudson Bay Company started exploring the region, they set up several trading outposts. Even though the Europeans didn’t want to foster Native American warfare, they ended up supplying guns to the Cree in exchange for furs and other specialty items.

As a result, the Cree became more belligerent. They blamed their enemies for their natural and [perceived] supernatural misfortunes. With their new guns they pushed farther and farther northward and their warriors and war parties received more prestige. Warfare tapered off in the late 1700s as the Inuit also gained guns, but before that happened, the Cree would regularly send devastating raids that depopulated entire regions and left many women and children as slaves. This often led to a lifetime of suffering and misery, if they weren't killed right away. 

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<![CDATA[7 Classic Film Sets That Actually Killed People]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/7-classic-film-sets-that-actually-killed-people/matt-blackwood
Accidents happen on the sets of big budget movies, but most of them don't cost the cast or crew their lives. Film productions follow a number of regulations to keep performers and crew members safe, but while shooting scenes of manufactured peril, performers sometimes put themselves in situations where the slightest miscalculation can quickly become deadly.

What are some examples of people dying on movie sets? People have lost their lives on films as early as 1928's Noah's Ark and as recently as 2012's Expendables 2. Here are seven of the worst cases where mistakes and misfortune have collided to produce fatal consequences.

Check out Ranker's other lists like the Most Disgusting Films of all Time.
7 Classic Film Sets That Actually Killed People,

The 2008 sci-fi thriller Jumper is the story of a young man with the amazing ability to teleport and his adventures escaping the clutches of a group of religious fanatics who inexplicably see this power as evil. Where were these guys when Seth Brundle was doing his experiments?

The film, directed by Doug Liman (Mr. and Mrs. Smith), contains many action sequences and stunts, but the production's lone fatality occurred during what should be one of the safest activities: striking the set.

Set dresser David Ritchie was helping to dismantle an artificial wall of sand and rock, when a large chunk collapsed onto him. Ritchie was killed instantly, and another crew member was injured in the freak accident, making this the least-watched, least well-liked film to have ever claimed a human life on set.
The Adventures of Milo and Otis
The delightful and sappy tale of boundless friendship known in America as The Adventures of Milo and Otis is, for many, a fondly remembered 1986 film entirely starring animals. Cat Milo and dog Otis are best friends that help each other out of scrape after scrape, set to adorable frolicking music that fills all of our hearts with glee.

But there are some things you might not know about the film. First, you might not know that it was a Japanese production known as Koneko Monogatari or The Adventures of Chatran. The narration by Dudley Moore was an afterthought for international release, since he was so inexplicably popular at the time.

The other, far more disturbing piece of information is an unconfirmed but widely spread rumor. Animal rights activists in the US and Japan protested the film strongly, claiming that the filmmakers knowingly put animals in danger, perhaps even purposely injuring them. One story includes a crew member breaking a kitten's legs in order to get a shot of it stumbling.

It may be strange to see this film on a list of films where humans died, but the numbers involved here are quite staggering. If the animal societies are to be believed, as many as 30 Milos and Otises died during filming, including over 20 kittens. Remember, that's over 180 in human lives.

Even though the film was approved by the American Humane Society, none of its officials were present during filming. They tried to investigate what happened, but could not confirm whether or not it was false. The Japanese Humane Society posed that the proof was in that there was no evidence of animals being harmed on film.
The Conqueror
The Conqueror, 1956's sweeping biopic about Genghis Khan, is often listed among the worst films of all time. Besides the era-approved casting of Caucasian John Wayne as Genghis freaking Khan, the production suffered much worse consequences from another decision.

 The exteriors were shot near St. George, Utah, a barren, secluded area that could double for Southern Asia to the undiscerning eye of the era. Unfortunately, St. George lies downwind of one of the desert locations where the US Military had tested nuclear weapons just 2 years earlier.

Over the next few years, 91 of the 220 cast and crew members contracted some form of cancer. 46 died, including John Wayne.

This film set literally killed John Wayne.

No lawsuits were ever filed, but experts agree that the percentage was high enough to show a clear causal connection between the illnesses and the leftover radiation.

Producer Howard Hughes felt so guilty over the incident that he hid all the copies of the film away from the public for nearly 18 years. It is reportedly one of the only things the billionaire recluse would watch over and over in his later years, driving himself further into madness.

Although no one was ever found culpable, the U.S. government is on record as having assured the filmmakers that the area was safe prior to filming. *X-Files theme*
The Crow

Alex Proyas's critically approved and cult-embraced adaptation of James O'Barr's The Crow tells the story of a man who rises from the grave to take revenge. A year after his death, rock musician Eric Draven is granted life and power by a mysterious crow; Eric uses his abilities to hunt down and kill the men that murdered him and his fiancee.

The role, a blend of gallows wit and martial prowess, should have skyrocketed actor Brandon Lee to superstardom. Instead, a series of incidents and a single misplaced slug cost the star his life.

See what other frightening things happened on-set here.


For a scene in which a character loads a gun, where a film would normally use fake bullets, the crew instead used real bullets, believing they had removed the possibility of danger by dumping the gunpowder propellant. Unfortunately, they left the primer attached, so when the trigger was pulled, the gun's firing pin shot the bullet slug into the gun's barrel.

The character of Eric's death scene flashback was saved for the end of production, reportedly so Lee could spend the last few days of production out of his intricate makeup. So when the time came for the villains to shoot blanks at Lee, the slug was already stuck in the barrel. The bullet shot out and struck Lee in the stomach, hitting his spine. Lee was rushed to the hospital, but it was too late and Bruce Lee's son lost his life on the set of the film that made him famous, solidifying the Halloween costume of goth dudes trying to get laid for generations to come.

The Return of the Musketeers
W.C. Fields famously advised against working with animals or children. No child performer has ever caused the death of a beloved character actor, but any film where cast and crew work alongside large, powerful animals such as bears, elephants, and horses, carries with it an extra element of danger.

1989's The Return of the Musketeers, a loose adaptation of Alexandre Dumas's sequel Twenty Years After, featured many swashbuckling action standards including swordplay, gunfire, and horseback riding.

During a sequence on horseback, English actor Roy Kinnear, best known for his role as Veruca Salt's father in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, suffered a fall while filming a scene.

The 54-year-old actor sustained a broken pelvis and died in a Spanish hospital of complications the following day. The film's director Richard Lester was so shaken by the accident that he made a very permanent decision.

Richard Lester was so distraught by the incident that he never made another film again.
Top Gun
Top Gun is a romantic action film focused on the macho, highly competitive, overtly homoerotic pilots in a naval air squadron. The movie was one of the biggest hits of the 1980s and helped turn Tom Cruise into the most famous movie star in the world at the time (pre-Scientology and everything).

Obviously, the film's in-air dogfights between all the awesome fighter jets weren't real, but there was no way to fake the shots of U.S. fighter jets taking off, flying side by side, and doing barrel rolls and other stunts without using unconvincing miniatures. Skilled pilots were brought in to perform the aerial acrobatics, which is awesome. People risked their lives to be in Tom Cruise movies.

Even though the pilots were trained professionals, and every precaution was taken to keep the crew as safe as possible, flying has inherent dangers that the performers flirted with every day. Pilot Art Scholl, while performing a flat spin, was unable to recover from his maneuver and ended up accidentally crashing his jet because of it.

The film was then dedicated in Scholl's memory.

Twilight Zone: The Movie
Rod Serling's The Twilight Zone is widely regarded as the greatest science fiction anthology of all time. 1983's Twilight Zone: The Movie was John Landis and Steven Spielberg's love letter to the groundbreaking show.

Along with co-directors George Miller and Joe Dante, Spielberg and Landis adapted three of the series' best known episodes and created one semi-original story. Landis's segment was a loose update of the episode "A Quality of Mercy," and starred actor Vic Morrow as a bigot forced to spend a night in the shoes of some of his favorite whipping boys.

During a scene in which Morrow was being attacked by American soldiers in Vietnam, some unknown error caused a helicopter to crash. The helicopter's main rotor decapitated Vic Morrow, along with child actors My-ca Dinh Le and Renee Shin-Yi Chen.

John Landis and four others were later charged with two counts of involuntary manslaughter due to the illegal hiring of the children. After a very public trial where the court was shown footage of the accident, the jury decided that Landis did not expect the scene to be dangerous, and all defendants were found not guilty.

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<![CDATA[The Greatest Minds of All Time]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/greatest-minds-of-all-time/walter-graves
List of the Greatest Minds of All Time, throughout history. This list represents the most influential thinkers across various disciplines, ranked in a way that represents the power of their ideas and their impact on the world. The wisest men and women include top philosophers, physicists, famous poets, thinkers, teachers, physiologists, artists, inventors, engineers, the most irreplaceable CEOs in the world, economists and politicians and those whose talents span across many fields of study.

This list takes a historic perspective, so the greatest thinkers who are included on this list come from many different eras. The greatest minds of the 21st century may be quite different from great geniuses from the distant past, but each person should be judged within the context of the time that they were living. For example, inventing a new type of telephone in 2013 would not qualify one as "the most brilliant mind of all time," but in 1876 when Alexander Graham Bell first patented the telephone, it was an act of genius not seen before.

See Also: The Most Influential People of All Time.
The Greatest Minds of All Time,

Albert Einstein



Galileo Galilei

Isaac Newton

Leonardo da Vinci

Nikola Tesla


William Shakespeare

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

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<![CDATA[Cool Historical Photos You Probably Haven't Seen Before]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/rare-historical-photos/larry-taylor
One of the most interesting things about looking at pictures from our long-forgotten past is that you discover that people haven’t really changed much since the advent of the camera. The rare historical photos on this list provide insight into the lives of people from all over the world, dating all the way back to the 18th century when Lincoln was just walking around the American northeast, begging people to take photos of him. One of the coolest things about some of these rare pictures from history is how they add another way that we can view some of the largest looming figures from the recent past. Dictators seem less like stuffy monsters, and people, like Anne Frank, who we’ve resigned to one specific point in time are suddenly able to live a full life. But why read about it when you can take a trip through time with these cool history photos?

There are a few pictures of history that are burned into our brains: Einstein sticking out his tongue, the guys having lunch on a steel beam, and Muhammad Ali standing over Sonny Liston. But none of those pictures are on this list of interesting photos of history. These are the rare historical pictures that took place outside the grasp of the history books. These photos tell a story of a world that wasn’t simply black and white, but of a time that contained a vast ocean of civilizations and experiences. Turn your computer into a time machine and enjoy these cool historical photos you probably haven’t seen before.
Cool Historical Photos You Probably Haven't Seen Before,

2,800 Year-Old Lovers

General Patton's Dog on the Day of Patton's Death

One of the Hoover Dam's Pipes

George Washington Being Carved Into Mt. Rushmore

Albert Einstein Having Fun at the Grand Canyon

Final Photo of the Titanic at Sea

JFK's Funeral at the Capitol

Lincoln at Antietam

The First Photo of Abraham Lincoln

An Illegal Picture Taken Atop the Pyramids

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<![CDATA[The Funniest Twitter Reactions to the First 2016 Presidential Debate]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/2016-presidential-debate-twitter-reactions-v1/kellen-perry

The first 2016 presidential debate, held on September 26, was not only the most watched in American history - it was also the most tweeted. It was also arguably the funniest night (and early morning!) that Twitter has seen in a long time. People brought their "A" game.

If you were one of the 81 million who tuned in to see Trump and Clinton go toe-to-toe, these 2016 debate tweets should require little explanation. If not, do yourself a favor and watch the whole surreal thing, then come back and read the list. The fog of insanity will clear - we promise.

If Twitter's not your thing, the list below serves up all the funny tweets about the first 2016 presidential debate in one convenient place. Vote up the funniest of them all, and let them bring your heart rate back down to normal after the wild back and forth between the candidates.

The Funniest Twitter Reactions to the First 2016 Presidential Debate,

We've Reached a Verdict!


The Creator of 'Dilbert' Offers an Analysis


But There's So Much Buzz!


Jimmy Fallon Is Never Going to Hear the End of It


Lady in Red




Doesn't It Count as a National Emergency, Though?




It's an Historic Night!


It's Science


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<![CDATA[Everything Lester Holt Thought but Kept to Himself in the Debate]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/lester-holt-debate-thoughts-v3/jacob-shelton

During the first Presidential debate of 2016 Lester Holt had the unenviable job of trying to corral Donald Trump in the heat of rehotrical battle with Hillary Clinton. From the beginning of the debate, Holt drew took heat on social media for mostly staying quiet and letting the candidates go at it like an angry daddy and an upset mommy. You can only imagine that there were a lot of things Lester Holt didn't say out loud during the first 2016 Presidential debate, and this list will help you figure out what they were. Read on to find a run down of thoughts that debate moderator Lester Holt probably had over the course of 90 minutes in the spotlight.

The human mind is a weird thing. It’s recalling facts about your day, taking in information about your current surroundings, and reminding you of embarrassing stuff you did when you were 9 years old all at the same time. If you take that concept and apply it to the moderator of the first 2016 Presidential debate, you’ll have a basic rundown of Lester Holt's debate thoughts.

Vote up the things you think were running through Lester Holt’s head during the first 2016 debate.

Everything Lester Holt Thought but Kept to Himself in the Debate,

"I've Made a Huge Mistake."

"Should I Ask Her About Benghazi or Would That Make the Internet Explode?"

"Suck It, Matt Lauer!!"

"I Hope My Kids Aren't Watching This."

"I Wish I Had a Buzzer."

"This Is Worse Than That Year I Spent Substitute Teaching."

"How Long Has Trump Been Talking? Oh My God Where's My Stop Watch?"

"What Gives with the Sniffling?"

"Why Ask Hillary a Follow up When Trump's Going to Do It for Me?"

"Actually, Sir, Stop and Frisk Is Super Racist."

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<![CDATA[The 17 Craziest, Most Tragic Blimp Disasters in History]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/blimp-disasters/jacobybancroft

It's not hard to look at all the blimp disasters throughout history and realize why we don't use them anymore. What's that thing in the sky? Oh, it's a giant balloon filled with flammable gas, on which people are traveling. Some of the biggest aviation accidents throughout history involve some type of blimp or airship. No matter how much work was put into design or safety features, blimp accidents were common enough to prevent the vehicles from becoming a routine part of air travel or military activity.

Archer had it right, airplanes are superior in every way. From the outside, blimps and airships look like gigantic deathtraps filled with explosive gas. Which is exactly what they were. Below is a list of the worst blimp disasters throughout history. Looking at the list, it's easy to see why we no longer value blimps as modes of transportation. Or at all, really. From the well-known Hindenburg explosion to the USS Akron tragedy and a mysterious Ghost Blimp, read on to discover the craziest blimp disasters of all time. 

The 17 Craziest, Most Tragic Blimp Disasters in History,

R38-class airship

Th crash of the British R38 had the honor of being the first post-WWI airship disaster. The original goal of the British airship program was to produce better, faster vehicles than German Zeppelins, and maybe it was such determination that led to tragedy. On August 23, 1921, the R38 was en route to Norfolk from its home base of Howden. Bad weather resulted in an early landing, and, the next day, bad weather persisting, the R38 was directed back to Howden. 

So as to not totally waste the trip, it was decided the R38 should perform some trials and maneuvers. This would test the capabilities of the airship, and proved to be fatal. During a maneuver, the ship broke in half. The front half exploded, the back half plummeted into a river below. Of the 49 people on board, 44 died in the accident. 

The Hindenburg Disaster

You can't have an article about blimp disasters and not mention the Holy Grail of airship accidents, the crash of the Hindenburg. It's not the deadliest blimp disaster in history, but it is perhaps the most well-known, thanks to the live radio broadcast of the Hindenburg's final moments in the air on May 6, 1937. On that fateful day, electrostatic discharge ignited leaking hydrogen, and the blimp went up in flames. All told, 35 people lost their lives, and though there were 62 survivors, the accident put an end to passenger airships. As the reporter who horrifically recounted the events live said, "oh the humanity" indeed. 

The ZPG-3W Reliance Crashes Into the Ocean

ZPG-3W airships were among the largest ever built. It was a massive vehicle, longer than 400 feet, and the last airship ever delivered to the US Navy. The blimps were equipped with radar equipment, and were designed as part of an early warning system for Soviet attacks on America. The first of these ships to ever head out over the ocean, the Reliance, suffered a tragic fate. On July 6, 1960, the Reliance collapsed not long into its flight from Long Beach Island, NJ. Of the 21 people on board, 18 were killed. Fishing boats and other craft in the area rescued the three survivors. 

The Schutte-Lanz SL6 Mysteriously Explodes

The biggest name in airship construction was Ferdinand von Zeppelin. In the early 1900s, his biggest competitor was the Luftschiffbau Schütte-Lanz company, which distinguished itself by making its ships from wood, rather than metal alloys (which seems like a terrible idea). Because of their construction, the Schutte-Lanz airships were highly susceptible to moisture, though what brought down the SL6 on November 10, 1915, remains a mystery. The airship took off at Seddin, outside Berlin, and something malfunctioned, causing a deadly explosion that killed 20. 

The LZ 104 Blows Up Near Malta After a Wasted Trip to Africa

German Navy Zeppelin LZ 104 (nicknamed The Africa Ship) was famous or attempting a long-distance resupply mission across the Mediterranean, over Allied-held African, and into German East Africa (what is now Rwanda, Burundi, and Tanzania). Because there was no hydrogen in German East Africa to refuel the airship, it would be dismantled and reused in various ways upon landing. The LZ 104 (military designation L 59) made it as far as Sudan before it was ordered to turn around, because Germans could find no suitable landing site for it in their African territory. 

After traveling more than 4,000 miles in almost 100 hours, the airship started having problems, so it was set down in Yambol, Bulgaria. Because the Germans never planned on the ship returning from Africa, they had no use for it, so it hung around Bulgaria for months, until it was decided it should be used to attack the British naval base on Malta, which didn't go well: on April 7, 1918 the blimp exploded midair, and all 21 people aboard were killed. Neither the British nor Italians claimed to have attacked the LZ 104, so it's destruction was officially declared an accident. 

The Helgoland Island Air Disaster

On September 9, 1913, tragedy struck the first airship owned by the Imperial German Navy. Originally the LZ 14, the airship's name was changed to L-1 when transferred to the Navy. On that fateful day in September, the airship confidently flew into a storm with 20 people on board, and didn't make it very far. The L-1 crashed into the North Sea near Helgoland, off the coast of Germany and broke in two. Of its passengers, 14 passengers drowned. The incident became known as the Helgoland Island Air Disaster. 

The Johannisthal Air Disaster

A little over a month after the Helgoland Island Air Disaster, another accident befell the German Navy, the Johannisthal Air Disaster. Rather than rethink its strategy or maybe look at birds and consider whether wings would be a good idea, the German Navy forged full steam ahead with its exploding-balloons-of-gas air program. 

A new blimp, designated the L 2, was the second Zeppelin bought by the German Navy (not a great track record so far). On October 17, 1913, a test flight went horribly wrong when escaped hydrogen was sucked into an engine department and caused a massive explosion. All 28 people aboard the ship were killed. This disaster came so soon after the Helgoland accident it caused the Navy suspend their planned expansion program.

The LZ 40, Struck by Lightning

Although the LZ 40 was a pivotal component in German raids against Britain in the First World War, nothing could protect the airship from the forces of nature. In September 1915, lightning struck an airship over the North Sea. It was forced to crash land. All 19 people on board died. Though the German Navy clearly had a terrible track record with its airships, the psychological effect of being able to quickly traverse the distance between Germany to England and bomb the British homeland was integral to the German war effort. 

The Experimental Zeppelin LZ 4 Explodes in Front of Thousands

What's the saying? If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. Were it not for stubborn, dangerous perseverance, we may not have had airships or blimps at all, given the fate of the first few prototypes. One of the first experimental airships, the Zeppelin LZ 4, first launched on June 20, 1908. It was famous for making a successful 12-hour flight over Switzerland, after which the overseers wanted to test it more.

During a 24-hour endurance test, which turned out to be something of a disaster for many reasons, the blimp landed to refuel, and so mechanics could make engine repairs. On its way down, it brushed some trees, which ripped open the gasbag, generated a static charge, and blew the whole thing to hell before an audience of somewhere between 40 and 50 thousand. That could have been the end of airship development, but, somewhat improbably, the German people, having witnesses an exploding behemoth in the sky, wanted more, and their support raised enough donations to make sure the air program maintained its funding. 

The USS Akron

The Hindenburg is the most recognizable name in the annals of airship disasters, though the worst such tragedy of all time befell the USS Akron. The crash of the Akron on April 4, 1933 resulted in the deaths of 73 of the 76 men on board. Perhaps the ultimate tragedy is that almost all the deaths could have been easily prevented. 

The Akron crashed off the coast of New Jersey. It's unknown exactly what happened, though the airship was flying far too low for the terrible weather conditions of the day, and it's possible navigators simply drove it into the ocean. The crash, however, was the least of the crew's worries. Despite being a Navy vessel, the Akron had no life jacket and only one raft. Most of the men who lost their lives drowned or died of hypothermia. To make matters even worse, one of the airships that went looking for survivors crashed, claiming the lives of two more men. 

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<![CDATA[8 Shocking Historical Events That Have Been Blamed on the Mafia]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/historical-events-that-have-been-blamed-on-the-mafia/carly-silver

Classic films like Scarface and The Godfather showed audiences the less-than-savory side of the all-too-often glamorized Mafia in America, but this organized crime group has gotten involved in far more misdeeds (and the occasionally helpful act) than you could ever imagine. The historical events attributed to the Mafia, both in America and back in Italy, range from assassinating a President of the United States to fixing the World Series to helping the American government keep Nazi spies out of New York's waterfronts during World War II.

Sure, some of these might be nothing more than mafia conspiracy theories, but other historical events that have been blamed on the mob actually have merit in their accusations. Some have even been definitively proved. The range of secret activities performed by the Mafia, from despicable to useful, is very surprising.

8 Shocking Historical Events That Have Been Blamed on the Mafia,

1919 World Series

Nearly 100 years ago, the Chicago White Sox beat the Cincinnati Reds in a true World Series upset. But something was fishy: gamblers affiliated with the Mafia had bribed a bunch of the White Sox players to lose games, including the Series itself. Several players were charged, but all were eventually acquitted. The incident became known as the "Black Sox" debacle because of the shadow it cast upon baseball.

The man reputed to be behind it was gambling whiz Arnold Rothstein, although research now indicates he only loaned money to the people fixing the games. Rothstein, dubbed "The Great Brain," was well-known for organizing such affairs, but not getting his own hands dirty, organizing gambling rings involving everyone from low-level mobsters to high-end socialites. He also befriended and mentored up-and-coming mobsters like Lucky Luciano and Meyer Lansky, investing in their illegal operations that ranged from prostitution to bootlegging. In all of his ventures, Rothstein was a polished, business-like criminal, creating a prototype for the modern American gangster.

But Rothstein's schemes came to an end in November 1928, when he was shot to death in a hotel. Rumor had it he had lost hundreds of thousands of dollars in a poker game a few months earlier and refused to pay up. Given until November 1 to make good on his debt, which he didn't do, Rothstein was killed in revenge.

John F. Kennedy assassination

Ideas abound about who exactly killed President John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963, but one of the most popular conspiracy theories assigns blame to the American Mafia. JFK and his family were rumored to have deep ties to the mob: his father, Joseph Kennedy, allegedly made some of his fortune by violating Prohibition laws with Sam Giancana of the Chicago Outfit. Kennedy and Giancana both had an affair with the same woman. Giancana and his wise guys also supposedly helped JFK win the 1960 presidential election, but many mobsters got angry when John's brother, Attorney General Bobby Kennedy (RFK), started persecuting them.

Much anecdotal evidence points to important mafiosi taking out a hit on Kennedy. A governmental committee reasoned that there was probably a conspiracy to take out the president. New Orleans boss Carlos Marcello reportedly said that the only way to get Bobby off their backs was to cut the head (JFK) off the dog, then the tail (RFK) would stop wagging. When asked how he'd kill the president, Marcello quipped that he'd get a "nut" (like Lee Harvey Oswald) to do it. Moreover, Jack Ruby, the man who offed Oswald before he could testify, boasted numerous mob ties.

But lots of people argue against this theory. American mafiosi don't often kill high-profile American public officials, and contrary to what Oliver Stone preached in his film JFK, a lone gunman actually could have shot both the president and Governor John Connally with one bullet. And former organized crime expert Ralph Salerno, who investigated the mob's connection to JFK for decades, concluded the Mafia didn't do it.

St. Valentine's Day massacre

Most everyone knows the name of Al Capone, the charismatic yet absolutely ruthless leader of the Chicago Mafia in the 1920s. Known equally for his high-flying lifestyle and his violent ways, Capone most infamously displayed his vengeful side by killing seven of his rival gangsters in one fell swoop on February 14, 1929. That day, called the St. Valentine's Day Massacre, was broadcast across newspapers nationwide and helped bring a lot of unwanted attention to the Mafia.

For a long time, the Italian Mafia, in charge of the South Side, had feuded with the Irish mob over control over Chicago as a whole as well as individual bootlegging rackets. One of Capone's biggest rivals was George "Bugs" Moran, who controlled the North Side and had tried to off Capone on multiple occasions. Fed up with Moran and his men and the way they'd stolen his business, Capone took action. He ordered his soldiers to dress up as cops and fake a raid, forcing Moran's men to line up against a wall; then the mafiosi brutally executed seven of Moran's guys in eight minutes. Ironically, Moran himself wasn't there.

The image of seven dead bodies made national headlines and centered attention on Capone, who was never actually charged with the deaths of Moran's men. Other reports indicate that real-life cops were the ones to pull the trigger, but when "Bugs" heard of it, he said, "Only Capone kills like that." 

The Murders of Anti-Mob Attorneys Giuseppe Falcone and Paolo Borsellino

The names of Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino aren't very familiar to Americans, but will ring a whole cathedral's worth of bells for Italians. Two of the most important Italian crusaders against organized crime, both attorneys were murdered by the Sicilian Mafia, AKA Cosa Nostra, in the early 1990s.

Falcone rose to prominence when investigating bankruptcies, which dovetailed into political corruption galore. Cosa Nostra had always bought politicians, but by the 1980s they were openly assassinating cops and public officials, including Mafia investigators. In the late '80s, Falcone convicted 342 mafiosi in the infamous "maxi trial," which ultimately signed his death warrant. He protected himself with a bombproof bunker, but wound up dead in a roadside blast. Less than two months after Falcone's death, his friend and fellow prosecutor Paolo Borsellino was blown up in a similar fashion.

The men behind these murders? Salvatore "Toto" Riina, the capo dei capi (boss of all bosses) of the Corleonese faction of Cosa Nostra. His brutality earned him the moniker of "the Beast," and he never hesitated to take his revenge against those opposing him, as Falcone and Borsellino sadly learned. Now in jail for life, Riina still remains a feared name.

Locating the Bodies of Murdered Civil Rights Volunteers

The Mafia didn't just cooperate with the American government during World War II; they also helped solve the mystery of who murdered several Civil Rights volunteers in 1964.

According to the ex-girlfriend of mobster Gregory Scarpa, Sr., the FBI recruited mafiosi to find the bodies of the Civil Rights volunteers who had gone missing in Mississippi; their bodies were found in a dam with evidence they had been tortured and shot. Seven men were found guilty of these brutal murders, marking the first conviction in Mississippi's history for harming a Civil Rights volunteer.

Information came out that the FBI brought Scarpa in to get a confession and help them find the bodies of the slain. He stuck a gun in the mouth of a Ku Klux Klan member and demanded he be told where the deceased could be found. Some have suggested, though, that Scarpa didn't help with this case, but instead helped solve the fire-bombing of Vernon Dahmer in 1966. 

The Disappearance of Jimmy Hoffa

Meet James Riddle "Jimmy" Hoffa, a sinister figure who, despite his middle name, bears no relation to Tom Marvolo Riddle (AKA Lord Voldemort). Hoffa was the longtime leader of what became America's biggest union, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (that is, truckers). But Hoffa wasn't the most stand-up guy, misusing millions of dollars from pension funds, bribing, and extorting drivers. He wound up going to prison before being pardoned in 1971 by President Nixon, but then mysteriously vanished on June 30, 1975. Whodunnit

On the day of his disappearance, Hoffa was headed to a meeting with two mob bosses, but he was the only one who made an appearance. His car was found, but not his body. Perhaps those he went to meet decided to off him instead? Famed mafioso Santo Trafficante reportedly said that Hoffa was threatening to expose Teamster and Mafia secrets. The mob also didn't liked Hoffa's Teamster successor and didn't want him getting back in. And a memoir by Mafia-affiliated labor union official Frank Sheeran admits that he was the one to pull the trigger on Hoffa. One mobster claims that Hoffa's body, which has never been discovered, was chopped up and stuffed in a drum.

No substantial evidence arguing against the Mafia killing Hoffa has recently been presented, but historians debate just who pulled the trigger. Sheeran is an option, as is Richard Kuklinski, a contract killer called "the Iceman." An eighty-something named Anthony Zerilli is another candidate (he might have hit Hoffa with a shovel and buried him underneath concrete), as is Charles Allen, who, on the orders of the mob and a Teamster leader, supposedly had Hoffa's body ground up and dumped in a Florida swamp.

The Creation of Las Vegas

The Mafia helped turn Las Vegas from a spot in the middle of the Nevada desert to a flourishing mecca of entertainment, gambling, and sex. They ran hotels and clubs with millions of dollars in money stolen from teamsters' unions and organized rackets galore.

Although technically founded in 1905, Las Vegas began flourishing about 40 years later, when the Mafia began investing in luxury hotel-casinos in the city. The most famous of these was the Flamingo, which got $6 million in backing from Meyer Lansky and his pals back east. Although the man behind the Flamingo, Benjamin "Bugsy" Siegel, didn't invent the idea of the lavish Vegas hotel, he popularized it and, with his dramatic death, made the Flamingo a place to remember.

Siegel opened the door to Mafia investors, who saw hotels, as well as legal gambling and prostitution, as ways to make a ton of legal money (they also skimmed funds from casino intake, which wasn't exactly licit). Siegel himself brought the glamor, palling around with Frank Sinatra and building a giant mansion where he hosted movie stars at lavish parties. Other major Mafia figures who invested in Vegas from farther east included Chicago's Sam Giancana and Johnny Roselli, both of whom may have had ties to the Kennedy assassination. Ironically, JFK once visited the Sands Hotel, one of the glitziest resorts in Vegas, where Sinatra introduced him to Judith Campbell, his future mistress; Giancana and Kennedy both shared Campbell's favors at one time or another.

Operation Underworld: Patrolling the NY Waterfront

World War II brought about a rare collaboration between the American government and the Mafia. During the early 1940s, stateside authorities feared Nazi interference on the American waterfront, particularly in New York. On February 9, 1942, a giant fire broke out on a luxury liner called SS Normandie that docked in NYC. It appeared that the flame was an accident... but Americans were worried that Nazis - or discontented Italian and Italian-American workers - had somehow sabotaged the ship. 

The government reached out to the Mafia, which controlled New York's waterfront and had an influence on the city's Italian population. The intelligence community got Meyer Lansky and his New York mafiosi to help them keep control of the waterfront. At the time, Lansky and his longtime BFF and the head of the NYC mob, Charles "Lucky" Luciano, was in jail.

Lucky and Lansky negotiated with the government to make the waterfront workers cooperate, though one of Luciano's deputies, Joseph "Socks" Lanza, did most of the heavy lifting. Lanza controlled the Fulton Fish Market and arranged for Navy intelligence to get fake union cards so they could patrol the docks undisturbed.

In exchange for his help, Luciano, then serving a 30- to 50-year sentence, received a commuted sentence in 1945. Although he wasn't stuck in prison anymore, he did have to return to Italy and was ordered never to return to America.

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<![CDATA[8 Times the CIA and the Mob Worked Together to Influence World Events]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/cia-working-with-the-mafia/brit-haines

Many Americans feel little trust in their government, and with so many corrupt politicians and scandals, who can blame them? People can't help but wonder what other secrets the government might hold. It’s no wonder people are drawn to conspiracy theories about the CIA and the mafia working together, from involvement with the 9/11 attacks to the assassination of JFK.

While these conspiracies can’t be proven, CIA-mafia collusion is real. Does the mafia work for the CIA, or vice versa? Or do the two opposite sides of the law simply work together when they have a common interest, mutually beneficial for both parties? Is there sometimes a lesser of two evils? Conspiracies are hard to prove, but there are a few times the CIA worked with the mob and got caught...

8 Times the CIA and the Mob Worked Together to Influence World Events,

Mob Boss Lucky Luciano Helped the Government Invade Sicily During WWII

Known as the father of organized crime in America, Charles "Lucky" Luciano (born Salvatore Lucania) dominated the illegal liquor market during Prohibition before landing a 30- to 50-year prison sentence

While in prison, Luciano offered to help the United State's World War II effort by using his criminal connections in Italy to advance the Allies' cause. The operation, known as Operation Husky, took place on the night of July 9, 1943, when 160,000 Allied troops landed on the extreme southwestern shore of Sicily. 

As a part of the deal, Luciano received parole and was deported back to Italy. He eventually made his way back to Cuba to meet up with crime cohorts Meyer Lansky and Bugsy Siegel before he was once again deported to Italy in 1947.

Could it be a coincidence that Luciano aided the CIA in the invasion of Sicily, only to wind up in Cuba just before the CIA and the mafia plotted to assassinate Castro?

The CIA and the Mob Caused the 1980s Cocaine Epidemic in America

The CIA has been accused of drug trafficking for years, from running drugs into the country to be placed in the hands of the mafia to opening the drug trade in Panama. While these rumors can't be proven, there is an overwhelming amount of evidence that links the CIA to the introduction of crack cocaine into Black neighborhoods in the 1980s, causing the 80's cocaine epidemic in America

In 1996, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Gary Webb wrote "Dark Alliance,'' the Mercury News series about how the CIA sold tons of cocaine to the Crips and Bloods street gangs of Los Angeles. Although he has been criticized for being biased as the mainstream media poked holes in his story, the Associated Press also reported on these connections in 1985, a decade before Webb. 

Still not convinced? In 1993, the Justice Department investigated reports of the CIA moving over 2,000 lbs of cocaine into the United States. 

Veteran and Former FBI agent Richard Taus Jailed After Exposing CIA-Mob Link

After exposing details outlining political corruption in the CIA and White House during the 1980s, Richard Taus, a decorated veteran and FBI agent, was charged with sexual assault charges and given a 90-year sentence back in 1991.

An FBI Special Agent, Taus investigated many high-profile cases, including organized crime, the US Savings and Loans scandal, the 9/11 attacks, and Irangate. That's where he discovered unlawful CIA operations, which he reported to his supervisors to no avail before becoming a source for Rodney Stich's America's Corrupt War on Drugs-and the People.

After Taus's imprisonment, his son wrote a book, To Be a Hero, Stolen Honor: Inside the FBI, CIA, and the Mob, that further details CIA-mafia collusion.

Basically, Taus claims the CIA has long been involved in drug trafficking, even moving products directly to New York crime figures. And it doesn't stop there! He even claims the CIA infiltrated FBI investigations that could expose their criminal misdoings and cracked down on the Sicilian mafia to eliminate competition for the American mafia.

Was his arrest a ploy to shut him up?

Corrupt CIA Teams with the Mafia to Steal Billions in Savings and Loans Scandal

Back in the 1980s, the United States financial sector suffered through a period of distress focused on the savings and loans industry, the greatest bank collapse since the Great Depression

According to former reporter for the Houston Chronicle Pete Brewton, the CIA teamed up with the mafia under George Bush Senior's reign to steal billions of dollars in the savings and loan scandal of the 1980s that crippled America's economy

His book The Mafia, CIA and George Bush chronicles the findings of his investigation, which began as an investigative journalism series he wrote for the Houston Post. It suggests then-president George H. W. Bush was a member of a small circle of powerful Texas businessmen who conducted business with the mafia, with the assistance of the CIA to scam money from savings and loans.

CIA Technician Arrested for Bugging Mob Boss's Girlfriend as a Favor

When it comes to the mob, there's no such thing as a favor. Especially when it comes to an overly jealous mobster. 

After the CIA-mafia collusion to assassinate Castro, Chicago crime boss Sam Giancana asked operatives to return the favor by bugging his then-girlfriend, singer Phyllis McGuire's, room to discover if she was cheating on him with Laugh-In comedian Dan Rowan, according to CIA-released records.

However, before he could get the job done, the technician was caught in the act and arrested

The CIA Enlisted the Mob to Assassinate Cuban Dictator Fidel Castro

In 2007, a CIA dossier was released under the Freedom of Information act that outlined CIA-mafia collusion in an attempt to assassinate Fidel Castro, who at the time was attempting to overthrow current Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista in favor of a communist revolution. American officials claimed Castro was a threat to national security. During the 1960s, the CIA roped in John Roselli, an influential mobster in Chicago, Hollywood, and the Vegas Strip; Chicago mobster Sam Giancana; and New Orleans boss Santo Trafficante to have Castro poisoned. Obviously, their attempt failed.

Even Before His Dictatorship, the CIA Worked with the Mob to Undermine Castro

Even before Castro was sworn in on February 16, 1959, the CIA began working with the mob to undermine him. Why? Well, the Cuban dictator Castro overthrew also happened to have some pretty serious mob connections, creating a corrupt state full of drugs and gambling, where "Havana would be a party that never ended." 

Naturally, when Castro's revolution prevailed, mobsters became outcasts. It's no wonder the mafia wanted Batista to stay in power so they could continue to thrive, rake in a ton of cash together, and take advantage of Cuba's close proximity to the United States.

But what was in it for the CIA? Fear of a communist nation so close to the US and the Cuban missile crisis

There are even some rumors Nixon (VP at the time) was in on the action. 

The CIA Recruited Mafia Hitman Enrique "Ricky" Prado

Enrique "Ricky" Prado - a high-level CIA spy, veteran of the Central American wars,  CIA operation manager in Korea, and top spy in America’s espionage programs against China - allegedly began his career as a hitman for the mob

Evan Wright's novel, How to Get Away With Murder in America, details Prado's relationship with mob boss and lifetime friend, Alberto San Pedro. Although it remains unproven, Wright's investigation suggests that as Prado rose up in the CIA ranks, he helped San Pedro with numerous illegal deeds

While the relationship between Pedro and Prado is strong, it's hard to believe the CIA would recruit a mafia hitman without prior knowledge of his dealings. 

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